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The Final Straw

Posted on Fri Apr 7th, 2017 @ 2:30am by Lieutenant Commander Martha Cusack & Lieutenant JG Amber Zuzan

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: Forward Torpedo Bay
Timeline: Mission Day 73; 16:30

Martha was down in the forward torpedo bay working on installing the new torpedo launch upgrades she had been sent after arrival on Deep Space 9. So far it had not been a pleasant experience - the engineers from Deep Space 9 had insisted that they used their apparatus seeing as they were helping with the installation - much to Martha's annoyance.

With the work now delayed even further by two trips to and from the station to replace their faulty equipment - refusing Martha's insistence they used the Vindex's much newer and almost certainly operational equipment instead - Martha finally snapped when a Lieutenant withdrew from the hatch he was working inside holding his hyperspanner.

"I'm going to have to go back and replace this" the man said.

In her now frustrated rage Martha snatched the hyperspanner and threw it across the torpedo bay into the opposite wall before it broke into several pieces and it fell to the floor.

"You know what? Just use the tools I offered you - which are incidentally still sat in the tool case over there - instead of going back for ten or fifteen minutes at a time and picking up crap that evidently doesn't work. We are now going to use my apparatus and these will be installed correctly and in half the time - these were supposed to be installed by now but haven't even done one yet" Martha said - angrily.

The man didn't even know what had hit him - the fiery Lieutenant Commander was clearly frustrated with the setbacks - he did understand that but he was under the impression the Deep Space 9 engineering crews were carrying out the upgrades.

"But ma'am - I was under the impression we were carrying these out instead of your team here?" the man replied.

Martha folded her arms angrily and gave the man a look to suggest she was not happy with other people carrying out work on the Vindex's torpedo bays.

"I'm the Chief Tactical Officer here Lieutenant. If you lot are going to carry out work on this vessel's tactical systems then I am going to supervise you - although clearly with the amount of faulty hyperspanners and whatever else you've got back to replace I'd be better doing it myself" Martha responded.

The man shrugged. "I apologise ma'am. I'll make sure they send apparatus that's working so we can get it done finished and let you be on your way"

"Don't bother. Leave the upgrades there and I will do them myself - you and your colleagues are free to go. If anyone questions it then tell them if you're going to carry upgrades on my torpedo launchers then at least bring apparatus that's up to the job. I'd have probably got further than we have now using a spatula instead - thank you for your time but you can go back to the station now" Martha said.

Not here to argue and clearly seeing that Martha was not in the mood for arguing he collected the remainder of his tool set and called the other two engineers inside the next torpedo launcher to pack up their stuff and leave the Vindex crew to it.

Martha knew Claudia probably wouldn't be happy - but Martha didn't like being held up and with the party planned for that evening she was getting agitated she wouldn't make it on time with the rear launchers still to do as well as find time to sign off the upgrades and then go and have a wash and choose an outfit.

With the Deep Space 9 engineers gone Martha took a few breaths before deciding to summon her trusted right hand woman Amber Zuzan - a torpedo launcher expert - to come and help. That way she'd have more chance of finishing the upgrades on time.

=/\="Cusack to Zuzan. Please meet me in the forward torpedo bay as quickly as possible"=/\= Martha said.

Amber was already in the area so she turned on her heel and headed there before tapping her commbadge to signal she was heading right there. Martha mentioned upgrades - maybe they were done and she wanted a second opinion - or maybe it hadn't gone as well as Martha planned it to be.

=/\="On my way. Won't be a minute"=/\= Amber replied.

A minute or so later Amber entered to see all three of the forward torpedo launchers were still opened up and offline with various parts removed. This wasn't what Amber was hoping to see so late in the day before the party at Quark's and also their launch tomorrow - clearly the refit had gone much more slowly than anticipated. The upgrades still needed testing before they even considered using them.

"What's the matter Commander?" Amber asked.

Martha sighed. "They got here at 15:00 - they went back to the station twice to replace faulty tools or parts that weren't what we needed for these upgrades - I got fed up waiting so I sent them on their way and told them to leave the specs here. I know for a fact we've got these parts in stock already - so I've sent O'Donnell to go and get them for us"

"Are you serious? The Captain's going to lay an egg if she finds out about that - this is beyond a joke. How many have been finished?" Amber responded.

Martha scoffed. "None of them. They're all stripped down to a point where we're probably going to be working well into the night if we're going to install these upgrades on all eight launchers and the turret. Don't even get me started on commissioning the two new aft launchers which haven't even been touched yet"

"Let's make a start and at least get the forward ones done - I'm sure the Captain won't mind if we have to get the others done while we're on the move. Once O'Donnell is back I'm sure he won't mind giving us a hand - he's pretty good with these too" Amber replied.

Martha nodded. She was worried about letting Claudia down but ultimately it would be unrealistic to get all eight launchers - including the two new aft ones - and the turret all upgraded before they left space dock tomorrow. At worst as Amber said they could do it on the move if they at least managed to get the three forward launchers upgraded and online.

"Yeah you're right. At least my recommendation of removing two forward launchers and putting them at the stern was taken on board - more trouble than it's worth now but in the long term we'll see the benefits" Martha said.

Amber smiled. "See - that's a good thing. The Captain's not going to be angry or disappointed if we have to work on things as we go along - but if we were in battle and they were in bits then maybe she'd be less understanding"

Amber knew of Martha's autism and how things like this could make her doubt herself - so the North American woman tried to reassure her friend that there was nothing she could have done any better in the circumstances. The Vindex was still at a depleted manning level and it was clear a lot of other ships were at Deep Space 9 for varying degrees of attention - although at least the hull was reported to be repaired and signed off.

"Thanks Amber - you're a good friend. At least one bit of good news is the engines, hull and armour are all back up to 100% so we can fly under our own power without falling apart at the seams. Our engineers did a sterling job with the warp drive - Commander Himmel has certainly got a great team working down there under his experienced leadership" Martha commented.

Amber smiled. "That is good news. Ah - here's O'Donnell now"

The Irish Warrant Officer arrived with all of the parts specified and he had personally checked to ensure they were working before bringing them up to the torpedo bay.

"All present and correct Commander - I checked they all worked myself" O'Donnell said.

Martha nodded. "Thank you Mr O'Donnell - care to join us and get some hands on experience of what the inside of a torpedo launcher looks like? Miss Zuzan has high hopes for you taking her job from her one day"

Amber giggled and looked at Martha before turning to O'Donnell.

"I'd like that Commander" O'Donnell replied.

Once Martha had put the specs up on the screen and they were carefully reviewed it transpired most of the stripping down of the now redundant parts was actually completed. With a few more power cells removed and upgraded the new components could finally go in.

"The launchers are all isolated so feel free to remove them at will. Amber - if you could get inside and show Robbie how it's done then maybe he can have a go at doing the next one. I'll keep an eye on things up here for you and pass down instructions" Martha instructed.

Robbie nodded and watched as Amber climbed into the torpedo bay and within seconds had all the relays removed and tossed out onto the floor. They were still of use to someone - but not to these torpedo launchers - so they would be boxed up and sent into storage.

"Alright Robbie - if you'd like to pass Amber the power cells please she can get those installed. Once they're installed we'll integrate them and start adding everything else" Martha said.

Robbie was excited to be involved in some hands on work but kept his focus and did as he was asked. About fifteen minutes later the first of eight torpedo launchers was completed and it was his turn to get down to business.

"Right - your turn now Mr O'Donnell. In you get" Martha instructed.

Robbie climbed in and gratefully accepted the tools offered to him from above by Amber. Taking a moment to ensure he was clear to get started Amber watched as the Irishman took out the redundant power cells and passed them out slowly - getting an approving nod from Amber as the young officer had clearly been watching and taking note as he'd been asked to.

Another 15 or so minutes later Robbie climbed out - the second one was finally done and after Martha checked it via a diagnostic to ensure it was correct she turned to the young officer and gave him a pat on the shoulder. He'd done it exactly right and both officers were very pleased with him.

"Well done Robbie - diagnostic came back and the upgrades are all working nicely. I think we'll get this other one done and then get the turret done before calling it a day and starting again tomorrow morning" Martha said.

Robbie smiled. "Thank you Commander - if you don't mind I'd like to do the next one as well"

"You're more than welcome to. In fact if you keep this up I might just recommend you for Amber's job..." Martha commented.

After her initial positive mood following the Warrant Officer's successful torpedo launcher upgrade Amber looked a little confused - last time she was aware she was in charge of the torpedo launchers on the Vindex.

"Wait...are you serious?" Amber asked.

Martha nodded. "Yes. I need a deputy and I'm looking at appointing you - Mr O'Donnell here has clearly shown he's more than capable of filling your role - if you want to take the deputy head role of course. If not then I might just offer it to Mr O'Donnell himself"

"If you're offering...then I'd be honoured to accept" Amber replied.

Martha smiled. "Excellent. I'll arrange all the paperwork and make it official for you in the next couple of days. Before we get too carried away let's get this last forward torpedo launcher sorted and then the turret. After that we're heading to Quark's - and you're coming as well Robbie - you've earned it"

Robbie was more than happy to be invited along to the party which was supposed to be for the senior staff. He was going to be on the bridge while the party was going to cover for Amber herself but now it appeared he was going along too - and he'd soon be the officer in charge of the Vindex's torpedo launchers.

"Count me in. Shall we?" O'Donnell replied - eager to carry on.

With the Irishman's eagerness to get the job done noted Martha decided to take a turn at assisting whilst Amber monitored the progress from the nearest console. She had high hopes for O'Donnell and he was definitely the best choice to replace her as she moved up to deputy head of department - and also on her mind was her feelings for Akiva and whether they were just feelings or more than what she thought they were. Time would tell with that - but for now she decided to keep her focus on the task at hand and deal with her confused feelings at a more suitable time.


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