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Difficult Colleagues

Posted on Tue Jan 30th, 2018 @ 5:15pm by Lieutenant Cailus Griffin & Lieutenant Mindo & Petty Officer 1st Class Greep & Petty Officer 2nd Class Zo

Mission: Into The Wild
Location: Main Engineering
Timeline: Current

With Captain Temple's departure aboard the captured Raider, Cailus and Mindo were now the only senior officers left on the Pandora. It wasn't a particularly cheerful thought for the crew, but fortunately, they were too busy preparing for the coming battle to spend time worrying about it. Various specialists had been poring over the sensor data of the Carnage as it bulldozed its way through the Killing Fields, sharing their findings and coordinating attack strategies for the inevitable battle. The reports gave Cailus a distinctive chill as he read them. The Carnage was a monster of a ship, all jagged lines, armour and giant cannons, a horrible sight to be behold compared to the sleek, graceful Pandora.

The reports all agreed on two disquieting things: the Carnage outgunned the Pandora by a considerable margin, while its shields and armour provided far superior protection. The Starfleet ship was in for a hard fight...and, if they made even a single mistake in the coming battle, their last.

It was one such report that Cailus held in his hand as he entered Main Engineering, still looking as stern and disgruntled as ever. He looked around the vast space, searching for the diminutive Feserian who was the master of the area.

It didn't take him long. Mindo hovered over a work station inputting data into a PADD. His back was turned to Cailus and it didn't seem like Mindo was aware of the Security Chief's presence. That, or he was ignoring him. Either was just as likely.

Supressing a sigh, Cailus walked over to Mindo, holding his hands behind his back out of habit. "Lieutenant," he said politely, "do you have a moment?"

Mindo hovered around, facing Cailus. "Zo, take over this panel for me," he yelled across Engineering. Zo, furiously at work on the center "pool table" console, grumbled something as he made his way over to where Mindo was. It was rather out of character for the Ba'ku Crewman, but everyone seemed a little on edge in anticipation of the fight that was sure to come.

Mindo handed the PADD to Zo and made his way over to Cailus.

"Is there something I can do for you, Cailus?" he said, finally addressing the security officer, though not as formally as Cailus had just been a few seconds ago. Mindo did not use much formalities in Engineering on principle.

"Yes," Cailus said dispassionately, handing Mindo his own PADD. "We believe that we have identified an unconventional weapon on the Carnage. It looks like some kind of large heavy duty claw, designed to physically rip into a ship's hull and maintain a grip on it during a boarding action. I'll do everything in my power to ensure that they do not get the opportunity to use this claw, but regardless, I need to know if there are any countermeasures that you can implement to stop this claw should it get within range."

Mindo's eyebrows went up upon hearing this. "Let's go to my office," he said. "Zo, take over for a minute. Greep, I'd like you with us."

Mindo, Cailus, and Greep headed to the second floor of Engineering and into the Chief Engineer's office. As he fixed himself a drink, he had Greep look at Cailus' PADD.

"Is this real?" squawked Greep, handing the PADD back to Cailus. Mindo, drink in hand, sat down across from the gentlemen.

"I don't think this is another of Cailus' practical jokes," said Mindo. "How does this thing work?"

"Unknown at this point," Cailus replied a frown as he took the PADD, crossing his arms. "It could be a simple hydraulic system, but our estimates on its grip strength suggest something much more sophisticated, presumably some technology stolen from one of the Ravagers' victims. Without interference, that thing will crush our hull like paper and make a mess out of our counterboarding plan. With luck Captain Temple's team will send us a schematic on that thing before the battle, but for now, we have to operate on what we've got."

Mindo's brow furrowed. "The Captain is not on the ship? Who's in charge?!"

Bemused, Cailus simply raised his eyebrows and waited for the penny to drop.

Mindo rolled his eyes. Of course. Nyx would want Mindo in Engineering, not on the bridge in a battle better-suited for, he had to admit, someone with tactical experience.

"Fine," he said. "I'm not about to pull rank. Just tell me what we know about this weapon. How big is it? Where on the ship will it try to attach? Are we sure it's big enough to penetrate our shields?"

"Big enough to grab one of our nacelles, if necessary," Cailus replied, his frown deepening. He was privately grateful that Mindo was acting with such professionalism, but knew better than to show it. "I fully expect that thing to be capable of penetrating our shields with sheer kinetic force, especially if they're already depleted from battle. As for where they'll try and grab us, I can only speculate, but I'm fairly confident that they will aim for our saucer section if the opportunity is presented. It's a traditional tactic for attacking Starfleet ships with weapons of that type."

Mindo nodded, and glanced at Greep, who nodded back. The two seemed to silently agree on something, though Cailus wasn't sure what.

"The easiest thing to do is separate the saucer section and use both sections as two ships, thus two targets. If this claw machine goes for the saucer, the hull can blast it off and vice versa. Giving them that opportunity would be best, as once we castrate the thing it can't use its most powerful tool. Then again, they're decked to the nines so they could just decide to destroy us."

It was a fair point, Cailus had to admit, and he gave it some serious thought before shaking his head. "No. It would solve one problem but also create several others. Both sections would have much weaker shields and armaments. The Ravagers wouldn't hesitate to outright destroy the saucer, reduce the threat and focus on capturing the engineering hull. By separating the ship, we weaken our tactical position without enough benefits to compensate."

Mindo nodded. "I figured you'd say that. We'd need two Ficks to pull it off and we only have one."

"We could always wait for the claw to attach and then blow up that part of the ship," said Greep.

"That's pretty much the worst idea I've ever heard," said Mindo. "There is another possibility. While the claw machine is being used, their shields will have to be down." Mindo pulled up the crude schematic of the giant Ravager and used a projector on his desk to make it a hologram. "This makes them just as vulnerable to us as we are to them. I could pilot one of our new one-man shuttle pods into their ship and disable the device... heck if given enough time I could disable their entire ship. Something this big is bound to have plenty of hiding spots, and I don't take up much space. You guys could just beam me out of there after that."

"There is a word for that kind of operation," Cailus said, his frown deepening even further as he examined the hologram, his arms still crossed. "Suicide. I wasn't happy with the captain going into that deathtrap with an entire team at his back, and I'm sure as hell not sending you in alone to certain death. In any case, if that claw is used even once, the damage will be extreme enough that disabling the claw afterwards will become irrelevant. The real fight after that will be in the corridors, not in space, and if it comes to that, we'll need you here."

"Well then the most I can do is upgrade the targeting systems," said Mindo. "If we're lucky, our phasers could do the job."

Cailus nodded grimly. “Very well, do what you can. If you can spare the personnel, work on reinforcing structural integrity, but preparing tactical systems take priority.” Cailus paused, and his expression darkened. ”The captain’s standing orders were to defend Salvaxe, but if we fail to defeat the Carnage, he has ordered us to retrieve the away team and retreat until the Palatine arrives. If I am incapacitated or killed, you will be in command and required to follow those directives.”

Mindo rolled his eyes. "Cailus, the only reason I'm not in command right now is... well, I don't know what the reason is, but rest assured I'm well aware of my duties as second officer. You may be in command, but don't presume to lecture me. The only reason I haven't pulled rank is because I believe my skills are better utilized down here for the time being. But don't think that I'm not ready to clean up your mess if you screw up!"

Cailus took a deliberate breath to calm himself, to ease his irritation as Mindo snapped back at him. How the hell was it that he couldn’t say anything without Mindo somehow taking offense? It was as if Mindo hated his guts, but the hell of it was that Cailus hadn’t done a damned thing to the man. Well, okay, there was the thing in the holo-Brig, but that had been as much Shae as him, and those two had been perfectly friendly ever since...

No, definitely don’t think about that or you’ll just get angry. Focus on the present, not the past.

“Protocol dictated that I relay the captain’s standing orders to you, which I have done,” Cailus said coldly, his arms still crossed as he glared right back at Mindo. He rarely missed his old rank, but this was one time when he wished that the second pip was solid rather than hollow. “If you dislike how I have relayed the captain’s orders, I quite frankly don’t give a damn. I would have said precisely the same thing to any other officer on this ship, whether you believe me or not. Now, do we have a problem?”

"No sir," Mindo snapped back. "I think we understand each other just fine."

Annoyed, but knowing that he shouldn’t continue the argument, Cailus instead just nodded curtly. “Very well. We don’t have a precise ETA on when the Ravagers will break through the Killing Fields, but I’ll inform you when we’re ten minutes from engagement so that you can organise your people. All of our sensor data and tactical analyses are in the computer for your perusal. I’ll be on the Bridge.

With that, Cailus nodded politely at Greep, turned and left, distinctly irritated although he didn’t show it. Why the hell was it so hard to talk to that man?

Once Cailus left, Mindo stood up. Greep did the same.

"Well Greep," said Mindo. "We've got a lot of work to do with an uncertain amount of time."


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