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A Ticking Clock

Posted on Thu Dec 29th, 2016 @ 6:26pm by Lieutenant Elsa Johansson & Ensign Anastasia Bogolyubov & Captain Isobel Joyce & Lieutenant Commander Rafael Muñiz
Edited on on Thu Dec 29th, 2016 @ 9:35pm

Mission: S1E2 - Unity
Location: USS Renown
Timeline: Mission Day 15; 15:00

Rafael had been briefed by Captain Hutchinson when he returned from the Vindex that he was to work with Lieutenant Johansson from the Vindex in creating some mines to deploy in order to distract and ambush The Consortium attack fleet's escort vessels. It was a good idea and Rafael looked forward to getting started on the project - he already had a few ideas that he was going to propose to the Vindex's Chief Science Officer upon her arrival.

Rafael had prepared the Engineering Lab for their arrival so they would have plenty of space to work in. They only had three hours so they would have to hit the ground running and be ready for 18:30 when Captain Hutchinson wanted to deploy the minefield. It was his plan that the minefield would stop the escort and the Brandenburg, Renown and Sarek would be able to distract them while the Vindex helped out at Starbase Unity.

"Computer - open a new design file on my console and save it as Project 88 Gamma 6" Rafael instructed.

With the lab ready to go Rafael waited patiently for the arrival of his guests.

Two tall women, one blond with the pips of Lieutenant JG, the other an ensign with bluish-black hair, strode down the corridor toward the engineering lab, leaving more than a few inquisitive glances in their wake. The blonde lieutenant had a certain determination in both her gaze and her stride, whereas the ensign had a sort of quirky movement about her head, as she seemed to randomly focus on different points as the pair mode their way down the corridor.

Upon entering the engineering lab, Elsa immediately announced herself and her companion. "Commander Muñiz? I'm Lieutenat Johannson and this Ensign Bogolyubov, from the Vindex. We're here to help you get a minefield built."

"The pleasure is mine ladies. I've started a file here and brought up a couple of designs that are fairly basic but effective - my team are ready to get started with production once we've come up with a final design. We have three hours so let's get started - do either of you have any ideas" Rafael replied.

"Since we are limited on time, I would suggest the self-replicating mines used to blockage the Bajoran wormhole prior to our war with the Dominion. We have the plans on file and, with Unity and the assembled fleet assisting, I believe we can create enough mines to establish a substantial wedge along the vector of approach of the Consortium task force. And to that end, Ensign Bogolyubov is here to suggest the best place to put those mines."

Anastasia, whose attention had been directed at various points in the engineering lab, turned her attention to Commander Muñiz or, more specifically, to bridge of Commander Muñiz's nose. "Once I know what type of mines will be deployed, I can suggest the pattern of deployment using optimal gaming strategy. Since the minefield in question will be designed to blunt the initial attack of the Consortium force, and hamper its maneuverability, we establish a primary wedge field based on the projected vector of approach, with possible adjunct field located by determining the best application of a correlated equilibrium..."

Elsa cut off Anastasia. "Let's find out what we're working with and how much, before we get into details." Anastasia nodded, as she turned her attention to a point between Elsa and Rafael, her fingers tapping out a pattern on her right hip.

Some interesting points were made and the Spaniard nodded to show that he was listening. After taking it all on board he decided to suggest antimatter warheads for the self replicating mines.

Rafael nodded. "I think the self replicating mines are a good idea. We shall go with those - firstly however we need to work out which type of warhead we're going to use in them. I think we have enough antimatter to spare for the amount we desire if you're both in agreement with that?"

Anastasia nodded, then produced a PADD, which she began tapping furiously upon, She then forward her calculations to the other two officers. "If we divide the labor among the four ships of the Force in this fashion, and use the following schedule for transportation of manufacturing material, allowing for necessary protocols for the handling of the antimatter, this should allow for the production of the optimum number of mines with adequate time for the Renown to deploy them."

Elsa looked nonplussed as she reviewed Anastasia's outline before looking up at Rafael. "That work for you, Commander? Dividing up the work and then assembling all the mines on the Renown?"

"That works for me. Let's get started" Rafael said.

He started to configure the design of the mine on a holographic projection hovering above the work bench. He added an antimatter warhead in and started to alter the design of the exterior shell - leaving space in case the Vindex officers had any other suggestions to add to the device.

"Alright...that's the basic design. Do either of you have any other ideas to add before we finalise the design? The best thing about it is the warhead won't activate until something passes into range of its in theory it should be undetectable until the last second" Rafael commented.

"Rather ironic that a mine that was first designed to deal with one threat from the Gamma Quadrant is being used to stop another," Elsa wryly observed. Turning to Anastasia, she asked, "Ensign, considering the projected number of mines, would you say there was a sufficient enough mass for replication, in the event of premature detonation or remote deactivation." Belatedly, Elsa realized she was talking to Anastasia in the same fashion she might address a ship's computer, but the Ensign seemed to take no note of it.

"Considering that the minefield is not being used for long term area denial, it should be sufficient," Anastasia answered.

"So the next step then would be to communicate the plans to the engineering departments of the Force C ships and get them in production, Commander," Elsa suggested. "And while that's happening, we'll need to come up with the best strategy for their deployment."

Rafael nodded. "We can bring in Commander Joyce to help us with the deployment. As for the production I would suggest we keep ourselves to the Brandenburg and Sarek. The Vindex's Engineering department will be busy preparing for the battle seeing as it will be up against the big guns unlike us. I think that as the Renown is deploying the mines we should be the final stage of the production process - it maybe an idea for the Sarek to be the first and the Brandenburg the second based on Engineering complements. The larger Brandenburg team will be able to produce more mine casings than the Sarek - and there's no point having too many warheads and sensors and not enough casings to put them in"

Rafael then finalised the design and requested that Captain Hutchinson request the services of the Brandenburg and Sarek's engineering departments. Once that was confirmed he relayed the production details to both ships - the Sarek would produce the sensors, the Brandenburg the casings and the Renown the antimatter warhead.

"We'll be working in Maintenance Bay 1 on Deck 16 - are we ready to head up there?" Rafael asked.

Elsa nodded and was about to follow Rafael when Anastasia held up a finger and said "Wait one." The dark haired woman lifted her right hand in the air and appeared to be punching non-existent keys with her fingers. After a minute she nodded and announced "The facilities of the Sarek, the Brandenburg and the Renown will be able to accomplish the required production within the allotted time."

"Thank you for that assurance, Ensign," Elsa said simply. "Commander, if you will lead the way, sir?"

Rafael smiled and nodded before gesturing towards the door and leading the way up to the maintenance bay four decks up. He was surprised that Starfleet had decided to keep the Renown in service considering the age of the spaceframe but she was still a reliable ship that just kept on going - even if practically everything on the ship had been replaced since it was launched all those years ago.

Once the trio where there Rafael was pleased to see progress being made on their production line.

"Ah excellent" Rafael said.

He then clapped twice to get the attention of the crew for a few moments.

Rafael smiled. "Good work so far people - I'd like to introduce you to Lieutenant Johansson and Ensign Bogolyubov of the Vindex. They will be here to help with our stage of the mine assembly as they helped me finalise the design. We should be starting production in approximately 20 minutes or so. Any questions?"

"Since the manufacturing process is in place, and the delivery method has already been established, the only remaining topic to discuss is the placement of the minefield itself," Elsa replied.

Rafael nodded. "Commander Joyce will be down to discuss that shortly. For now I think we need to see how many mines we end up with by 18:00...after all...the more we have the more deployment options we've got. Let's get back to work guys - I'll be over there preparing that area to receive the mines from the Brandenburg. If you need me just give me a shout and I'll be right over"

Rafael moved over to the area he indicated and started moving various items out of the way so there was a clear route from the beam-in point to the assembly area and then on trolleys to be transferred down to the aft torpedo launcher.

"Exactly how many are we going to have available, Anastasia?" Elsa asked the junior science officer.

"Assuming that any errors committed during on all three ships remain negligible, Lieutenant, approximately one hundred thousand."

Elsa whistled. Anastasia took this as an indication to continue her explanation. "Considering that mine itself is based on an established design, and that almost the entirety of the manufacturing will be conducted and monitored by a ship's computer, there should be no problem." Anastasia paused before asking, "Lieutenant, may I ask you a personal question?"

Before Elsa could answer, the pair was rejoined by Rafael.

"How are we doing over here? The beam-in point is ready and they'll be sending about ten at a time. Commander Joyce is assisting Lieutenant Tilston with the warheads - they estimate they'll be ready to bring them up just after the first casings arrive from the Brandenburg. After which the team will be divided into two groups - assembly and transferring them to the torpedo bay. I will be in charge of assembly group - Commander Joyce will be in charge of transferring them" Rafael said.

"Where do you need us, Commander?" Elsa asked.

Rafael pointed towards the assembly area which was capable of manufacturing ten mines at a time. The design was very compact which Rafael felt would help when they were in production and deployed.

"As you helped with the design it makes sense to have you in the assembly team. We will be signalled when they are ready to send them over" Rafael replied.

"If Commander Muñiz has no objections, I'd like you to be a free floater, Ensign," Elsa instructed Anastasia. "Keep your eye out for irregularities and report them immediately to either myself or Commander Muñiz."

"Let's get the line running, Commander," Elsa told Rafael, a hint of a smile on her lips.

The first casings had been sent over and the assembly team was working flat out. Rafael was pleased that both teams were working well together and weren't getting in each other's way. Once the first batch were ready Isobel Joyce was all too keen to get them out of the way and up to the torpedo bay.

Elsa saw Anastasia roving around, her uninterrupted, slightly fitful movements showing the Russian science officer hadn't detected any anomalies in the mines being assembled.

"Looks like we're on schedule, Commander," Elsa told Rafael.

Rafael nodded. "We are. We should be ready to hand things over to Tactical for their deployment at around 18:15 once the final mines are in the torpedo bay..."

Rafael indicated that the mine he was working on was ready to be taken away and then another one was put in its place. He was passed a warhead which he checked was safe before carefully inserting it and connecting it up before closing the casing.

"I can't remember the last time I was part of a production line. I think it was in my parents' vineyard about 20 years ago...that brings back some good memories" Rafael commented.

"Tea shops are run along different lines," Elsa remarked, checking the fittings on one of the mines before passing on. "So does Commander Joyce have a plan for deployment, sir?"

Rafael shook his head. "I don't think she does yet but I'd imagine she'll be processing her ideas now. I think she'll tell the Captain before she tells me though - seeing as we're leading the minelaying operation whilst the other three ships keep watch. Once that's done I think the plan is for the Vindex to move to Starbase Unity"

"She'll want to run it by my Ensign, then," Elsa said, with a nod of her head toward Anastasia. "I know enough dirty engineer mathematics to help me ride herd on a warp engine, but Ensign Bogolyubov knows the kind of math that makes her a grand master at Strategema."

Rafael smiled. "I will do. Ensign Bogolyubov seems like a very clever young woman who's going to go a long way in Starfleet - I'm a firm believer in all departments - and ships - working together to achieve a common goal so I'm sure Commander Joyce will be happy to listen to her. Talking of teamwork this production line across three ships seems to be working well so far"

"I believe Ensign Bogolyubov is happiest right where she is," Elsa answered as she checked another mine before passing it on. "But as my grandfather would say, var fågel sjunger efter sin egen näbb. Everyone has their own place in the great scheme of things," she translated. Elsa paused, looking around the cargo bay, reflecting on the recent past when she had been looking at this ship from the bridge of an element of the Cukela. "I think we're reaching our quota, Commander," Elsa observed.

"Very true. I'm a firm believer in that too" Rafael said.

Checking to see Elsa was correct in her assumption Rafael briefly paused his work and went to check with the transfer team how many were remaining. There weren't very many left to go and just as Rafael returned to his position on the production line the final casings beamed over from the Brandenburg.

Rafael spoke. "This will be the last batch - then we're ready to go"

Anastasia chose that moment to join the two. "We've run a secondary pseudorandom selection of diagnostics. Extensive sampling shows no defect in." Anastasia stared at the assembled mines before adding, "My own ancestors were the first to use naval mines that used electrical circuitry. They were referred to as infernal machines."

"That almost sounds Miltonian," Elsa replied. When Anastasia raised an eyebrow, Elsa added, "I'll explain the reference later, Ensign. So now all that remains is deploying them," she told Rafael.

Rafael nodded just as he received the last mine casing he would be working on and carried out the necessary task to complete it ready for transfer and deployment. He then turned to face Elsa and smiled.

"That's right. If you want to go and speak to Commander Joyce if you have any suggestions then I'm sure she'd be happy to listen. I have to talk to her anyway so you can come with me whenever you're ready if you like" Rafael replied.

"You lead, we'll follow, Commander," Elsa answered, Anastasia nodded in agreement.

Rafael led the Vindex duo over to Commander Joyce who was talking with a Tactical division officer who she dispatched on his way to the aft torpedo bay once she caught sight of Rafael and two Science division officers she didn't recognise.

"Commander - this is Lieutenant Johansson and Ensign Bogolyubov from the Vindex. They've been helping me with the design and assembly of the mines" Rafael said.

Isobel nodded. "A pleasure. What can I do for you?"

"We have your mines ready, Commander," Elsa replied. "And now we'd like to give you a hand in developing a strategy in deploying them."

Isobel nodded and listened. They still had plenty of time left but there wasn't a concrete plan for deployment yet and she knew that was going to take most if not all of the remaining time they had before the 18:00 deadline.

"I think we can do that Lieutenant. What ideas do you have?" Isobel replied.

"If I may?" Elsa asked, gesturing toward a repeater display of the tactical station on the bridge.

Isobel nodded but kept a close eye on the woman. She wasn't a very trusting person - but she was willing to see what the Scandinavian officer had in mind. She watched with great interest and looked at Rafael before looking back at the console mounted on the bulkhead.

"Basted on intelligence, we know the Consortium Force will be arriving en masse on this vector," Elsa began, "drawing" a line in the air. "We can represent this as a cone, with the Unity as the apex."

"Actually, Lieutenant," Anastasia interrupted, "You should probably make allowances for the size of the force the Consortium is sending, as well as the lack of uniformity of the skill level of the various crews. If I may?" Elsa nodded, and Anastasia made a few entries, which expanded the volume of the cone. "Would you agree this would be the point that the Consortium Force would most likely be dropping out of warp, ma'am?" Elsa asked Isobel, drawing another line at the edge of the system.

Isobel nodded. "That's what we believe - yes. The escort fleet will probably attack from that angle and the capital ships from this angle to hit our fleet from two directions. The minefield should stop the escort ships getting in and we can keep them busy - although the odds are poor. Three of us against five of them - we better hope one or two of them fall into our trap"

"Then we set the minefield up as an elliptic paraboloid, ma'am." Elsa nodded to Anastasia, whose fingers began flying. Tiny little dots, with lines connecting them, appeared on the screen, in the form of an oval cup, with the apex of the cup at a point just prior to where the escort ships were predicted. "Ma'am, are you familiar with military history from the twentieth and twenty-first century?"

"I am indeed. My family have generally been in the military since the late 19th century - generally in the Royal Navy. More recent generations have chosen Starfleet however. I like your idea though - I think that is our best chance of keeping the escort ships from arriving at Starbase Unity and overrunning our fleet" Isobel replied.

Rafael stood back and watched. Tactical was really not his forté and although he admired the work that department - and all of the others in Starfleet - did it was way above his head.

"This design should take advantage of a key weakness in the Consortium style of command," Elsa added. "They have a top down style of command similar in style to that of several militaries operating on the Eurasian continent in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Very little allowance for individual initiative. Meaning that this could balance out those odds better than we could hope. If you have no objections, Commander," Elsa finished, "I'd suggest letting Ensign Bogolyubov calculate the exact points to lay the minefield."

Isobel nodded and conceded her position to Anastasia and gestured for her to do her work. Normally she'd take control of such situations herself but today Isobel felt like it was worth giving the young Ensign a chance to show her skills.

Anastasia nodded at Isobel, her fingers flying over the control of the repeater panel, one hand entering coordinates while the other brought up disparate information with the other. "I am initially defining curvatures, with c naturally being greater than zero, to allow for yours and Lieutenant Johansson's projection of the escort vessels. This should allow for optimum swarming of the mines regardless of where the escort vessels penetrate the field." Anastasia never looked up as she made her entries. A few minutes later, she looked up, the air above the repeater projecting her finished product. "I have a navigational algorithm prepared to send to your helm for the optimal route for laying this pattern."

"Very impressive Ensign. Feel free to send it up when you're ready Ensign - and then when Captain Hutchinson is ready to move then we'll go up to the bridge. Would you like to join me?" Isobel replied.

"Since we've got things up and running, I need to get back to the Vindex," Elsa answered. "But I'll leave Ensign Bogolyubov to monitor things here, if you have no objections, Commander," Elsa responded.

Isobel nodded. "That's fine - if you could take Miss Johansson back to the transporter room I'll take Miss Bogolyubov up to the bridge when we're ready. Thank you for your help Lieutenant - and good luck. If we come out of this the other side we should have a drink to celebrate"


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