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Technobabble, Times Three

Posted on Wed Aug 3rd, 2016 @ 9:46am by Lieutenant Elijah "Eli" Dreznik & Lieutenant Commander Soren Himmel & Commander Akiva ben-Avram

Mission: S1E1 - Booby Trap
Location: Holo-lab, deck 16
Timeline: MD 2, 1730 hours

Several hours following their briefing with the Captain, Eli Dreznik had invited the Chief Engineer and the Ops Chief to do a little brainstorming/planning of their own. The way the Science Officer saw things, their responsibilities were twofold: 1) to formulate some offensive strategies to give the Vindex any possible advantages going into potentially hostile territory, and 2) find ways to help locate the Renown as quickly and quietly as possible.

In tech labs such as this one, Eli was really in his element. He had created an individualized work area for each of his colleagues at their respective seats at the holo-table. Eli himself had donned a tight fitting pair of black gloves with embedded nanosensors so that he could manipulate the holographic environment directly with hand gestures instead of voice commands. There was just one final touch missing. "Computer," he said. "One pot of coffee, and three cups. And an assortment of scones." The tray with the beverages and scones appeared in the center of the table. If nothing else, the Science Officer was a gracious host. He reached for an almond scone, poured a cup of coffee, and waited patiently for his colleagues. They were due any moment now.

Soren had arrived promptly. He was impressed by the lay out that the Science Officer prepared for them. He was most impressed by the steamy pot of coffee sitting there. "May I grab a cup, Lieutenant?"

"Eli, please. Of course. And there are scones as well...almond, cranberry, lemon, blueberry."

Himmel walked over and filled a cup, nothing extra added to it.
He took a sip and stood over by Eli, "What do you got cooked up for us here?"

"I set up an advanced holographic interface for each of us," said Eli carefully. "It literally puts every bit of data we could possibly need at your fingertips, including real-time feeds from the sensor arrays. And this holotable has one of the fastest processors in the Fleet. We can run simulations faster than ever."

"I prefer to work with my hands," Akiva said, having sneaked in without the others noticing. He placed a composite metallic case on the table and popped it open, revealing a number of hand tools and precision instruments. "Simulations never replace the real thing, so if we're going to modify anything, I'd prefer to trouble-shoot our way directly toward a solution." He set the open case aside and reached for the coffee. "We can, of course, discuss our plans first." After pouring himself a cup, he examined the tray of scones before selecting a cranberry one. He gave it a sniff and a nibble. "Now, what is first on the agenda?"

Eli's smile lessened ever so slightly. He wondered if the Ops officer was aware that he had just dealt Eli a backhanded insult, but he decided to let it slide for now. "Our first item is to find ways to make the Vindex less visible to the enemy. Reduce our sensor profile." Eli took a seat and keyed a control on the holotable that pulled up status screens for primary and secondary systems. He balled his fist, then opened it quickly; instantly, the screens dispersed into an orderly grid pattern.

"Fascinating," Akiva said. He studied the grid to supplement his growing familiarity with ship systems. Turning to Eli, he asked, "What were your thoughts? Traditionally the best way to avoid sensors is to run silent on impulse with minimal shielding, if my understanding is correct, but our current mission essentially rules out either of those options."

"I think a good place to start is masking our warp signature," said Eli after a short sip from his coffee cup. "The way I see it, there are three options. We can either mask our signature completely, alter it so that the enemy will see it as nonthreatening, or alter it such that the enemy will be scared enough to stay away."

"The warp core is outside my purview, but I'd rather not use it to announce ourselves. That could make us a bigger target than we already are," Akiva said, "so I'd like to rule out that last option." He looked to Soren. "What are the pro's and con's of totally masking the warp signature versus disguising it?"

"Pros and cons for masking the signature are obvious, no one can follow. Cons is the actual time, and labor to get it ready and working. Disguising it would be easier to do but would leave a non-Federation trail, which is a toss up whether good or bad, especially in this territory." Soren observed, calling upon very little experience in this quadrant.

"So masking it would be ideal if we could figure out how to get it done quickly." Akiva rubbed his chin. Maintenance problems were easy, but puzzles like this always gave him pause. "I wonder if we routed power from the auxiliary power grid and restricted it to the primary one, enough to keep vital systems up, that could help us run silent." He looked back to Eli with a shrug. "If the the ship's power requirements were reduced enough, would that reduce our profile on either short or long range sensors?"

Eli did a quick round of mental calculations. "If we could reduce our power signature to, say, less than 35% of standard, that should allow us to blend in better with background radiation. There are, radical ideas that I have also. Phase shifting, specifically." He waited for the inevitable protests from his colleagues.

Soren's eyes widened a bit, "Phase shifting?! I'm not entirely comfortable making the ship run through solid objects. It'd be an engineering nightmare if something went wrong." Soren was rather curious though of Eli's suggestion, "How reliable is it though? I have not heard many positive reports from past tests." Himmel did not want the structure of this ship to be placed in a compromised state.

"I'm not saying we try to pass through asteroids or anything like that," countered Eli. He keyed a short command sequence that displayed a cylindrical device on the holotable, as well as a schematic of the Vindex's gravity network. "By weaving an anti-tachyon matrix into our existing graviton generator grid, that could push us far enough out of phase to render us invisible to most sensors. All we need is a differential of between 2.6 and 3 millicochranes."

Akiva cocked his head and frowned at the holotable in mental deliberation. "I share Mr. Himmel's concerns," he said at last, "but I confess I like this better than powering down the ship. That can lead to other unfortunate surprises. Is there a way we could perform a live test on a smaller scale? A shuttle craft, or even a crate for that matter."

Eli keyed a command on the table and a wire-frame schematic of a type 10 Shuttlecraft appeared. "We would need to use a shuttle. It already has a rotor-stator type gravity net, just like the ship. Plus it can help us solve the problem of residual anti-tachyon leakage."

Akiva grinned. "Well, what are we waiting for?"

Eli highlighted the shuttle on the holographic display, then tossed it aside with a flick of his wrist. He pulled his hands apart, enlarging the cylindrical device. "We need to construct a tachyon modulator first. The technology is too complex to replicate." He smiled at his colleagues. "We have all the necessary components in storage."

Soren nodded, "well I'm always up for tinkering with new equipment."

"Give me a component list and I'll have the Boatswain mark the items for intra-ship transport," Akiva said. He knew those initial transporter calibrations would come in handy.

"Computer, download component listing for tachyon modulator to PADD zero one six," said Eli. The computer beeped twice in compliance. Eli then passed the PADD to Akiva. "As requested, my good man."

"Excellent," Akiva said. He synced Eli's PADD to his own, then sent the listing to the storage bay along with the instructions to have it transported to the holo-lab. "Shouldn't take long," he said to the others as he set the PADD back on the day. "I've had them running calibrations since before launch, specifically with the transporter system, so--" Akiva was interrupted by the materialization of a few small crates in the far corner of the lab. "Eh, that was supposed to be equidistant to the room's dimensions." Akiva made a note in his PADD. "I'll have to check that later. Would either of you like the honors?" Akiva gestured to the crates.

"I probably know the schematics best," said Eli as he pulled off his black gloves and placed them on the table. The nanosensors embedded in the gloves sparkled like glitter. He moved toward one of the cargo pods and opened it; the Boatswain had done an admirable job of arranging the parts sequentially. "We should be able to have this assembled and integrated into the shuttle systems by 1900."

"Do you think we should alert the captain?" Akiva asked. "We are the heads of our respective departments, so there is that, but perhaps we should involve Commander Ainscow before we actually go through with the test."

Eli stroked his chin thoughtfully. "I think that's a prudent step to take," he said. "I can take care of that, if you all have no objections...?"

"By all means, you have the plans and theories better thought out I'd say," Himmel responded, "I can help engineer, build it, and make it run."

"Let's do it," Akiva said, rubbing his hands together.

"I'll go and prep one of our shuttles," Himmel chimed in.

Akiva nodded, wondering if they would be successful in time for their arrival at Rakhar. If nothing else, Akiva figured Eli's experimental interphasic technology could be an ace in the hole if the mission went south.

Eli unfolded his arms and nodded crisply. "I will update the Captain and XO, then meet you in the shuttle bay, say in fifteen minutes?" Eli looked to both of his colleagues, and neither of them objected. With that, he set out on his way to the Bridge. This was going to work, he just knew in his gut.


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