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Down the Tubes

Posted on Thu Sep 8th, 2022 @ 2:44pm by Lieutenant Commander Emni t'Nai & Captain Björn Kodak & Lieutenant Timmoz & Petty Officer 1st Class Kotri Tesren

Mission: Echoes and Effigies
Location: Jeffries tube leading into the Bridge
Timeline: Mission Day 3 at 2040

[Jeffries Tube]
[Outside Main Bridge]
[MD 3: 2040 Hours]

The transporter shunted Timmoz and Kotri into the Jeffries tube, both appearing on their hands and knees to fit into the cramped space. Commander t'Nai materialized after them, furthest back in the tube. The trio was stationed at the egress point onto the Bridge, though a force field prevented them from pushing open the hatch. Around them, the quiet, inner-workings of the ship thrummed: no apparent crisis evident from within the tube itself.

"Scattering field is still doing its thing," Kotri grumbled at the tricorder she'd pulled out and took a scan with. "If we can overload the force field, we'll make it onto the Bridge alright. But I have no way of knowing what's waiting for us there. I assume no holograms," she referred to the junior officers' efforts, "but who knows what else we might run into."

"Mmmhmm," Timmoz murmured, as if unconcerned. They had made a stop at the transporter pad of the Waverider where the Orion had disappeared briefly in the back and then returned with a small dice-shaped glob of gray. He said nothing as he then moved for the transporter. He bent and retrieved a pair of engineering tools. And then they'd been whisked away to the Jefferies.

"No problem," Timmoz added to his previous murmur. "Commander," he grunted. "My phaser." He fumbled to pass it back to her. He then shunted himself against the bulkhead to give her room to come forward. "Crewman. Ready phaser." Timmoz spidered to the side and back and began by opening up a panel. His eyes narrowed. "Alright. I need you both to challenge the field. A low band, rotating EM. Probably on a kill setting." He smirked and looked at them. "Try not to hit me."

Emni accepted the phaser, thumbing in the settings that Timmoz had given as he said them and then holding it low and ready as she crouched. "Whenever you're ready Petty Officer," she said, waiting for Kotri to finish the adjustments to her own phaser.

The Bajoran keyed in the directed settings on her phaser and nodded. "Ready here," Kotri said, holding her weapon aloft. "Firing," she said, depressing the firing stud. In unison with t'Nai, twin beams of glowing, red-orange energy leapt from the hand units and barraged against the force field, which sparked and complained against a few seconds of fire.

"Hold fire," Timmoz stated. And then there was the warbling buzz of one of the tools Timmoz had brought. "Xoquaan Booska," he grunted as there was flash of sparks. "Fire again," he stated through gritted teeth. Timmoz looked at the dark scalding now across his wrist and the blistering on his thumb joint into his hand. He flexed his mouth into a determined line despite the pain and focused.

Again the pair fired, the beams splaying across the field and then converging on a single spot. Waves of energy rippled across the field as it tried to dissipate and recycle the power directed at the field. Again the beams flared for a few seconds, causing the energy barrier to sparkle and flex.

"Hold fire..." Timmoz repeated. And again the tool in his hand warbled. This time the power signature of the force field and the light around visibly faltered before it snapped back into place. Timmoz sighed. "To Bunjeezu with the V'draysh obsession with backups...." he muttered. "Multiple backups..." he sneered. "Fire again." He was using the phaser fire- and the force field's reaction- to determine which of the ODNs and power couplings were feeding it.

While they could have simply tried to overpower the field with a higher setting, Timmoz had ordered a lower band, ostensibly to monitor the field and disable it rather than shorting out or destroying the circuitry. Nodding to each other, Kotri and t'Nai fired one final time, allowing their beams to converge once more, the splashing of energy against the field more pronounced this time. Was the field weakening or was it Kotri's imagination?

In close quarters with the Bridge on the line Emni held her emotional barriers at their highest level and so she'd been able, mostly, to drown out anything that Timmoz or Kotri might be feeling. Kotri's spike of excitement, though, at the shift in the field came through and Emni felt a broad grin spread across her face.

The field snapped and made a powering down noise. "That should be it," Timmoz said behind them. "I've cut the power to the field. Now. The hatch."

Timmoz shimmied, his blistered hand curled to favor the scald on his thumb. He pulled the die-shaped cube of gray. And he began to smear it like putty against the latch. "Move way back," Timmoz muttered back to the two. "This stuff is going to start eating Duranium. And it emits small amounts of Krieger radiation. We should be a good three meters back..." He said as he kept mashing and forming the paste.

The Orion then started to move back himself and fumbled back at t'Nai. "My phaser please."

Emni watched the long limbed Orion work with no small amount of curiosity. "What, exactly, is that stuff Mr. Timmoz?" she asked, handing him his phaser.

The wolfish smile turned back to the Commander, an eyebrow arched. "Never ask the chef what's in the sauce. Unless you really want to know."

Timmoz eyed the phaser and reduced it to setting four- a setting more than stun but well less than kill. "It's a glycerinated femtoacid... it breaks down atomic pair bonds in Duranium. And is activated by temperatures around 425 Kelvins." The phaser kept whining as Timmoz made sure to pass over the entire smear of goo. "We used it extensively at Qualor II. You wouldn't believe how many things get jammed and corroded when they've been hovering in space for years."

"I see," Emni commented wryly. Why the acid was currently in Timmoz's possession was certainly something to consider another time. For now, it was doing its job of getting them onto the Bridge and that was what mattered most to her. A few more passes of Timmoz's phaser and the latch was well and soundly eaten through. The whine of the phaser stopped and Emni began to shift forward, shimmying past Timmoz. "I'll lead, Mr. Timmoz in the center. Ms. Kotri if you would bring up the rear."

A quick inspection confirmed that the latch was no longer intact and that it was now just a matter of moving the hatch aside. Bracing herself, Emni pressed firmly, muscles along her arms and in her calves flexing as she worked until, with the sound of forced pneumatics, the hatch opened revealing the egress to the bridge.

Though normally the XO would have expected a shift in the airflow, suddenly she felt the pressure in the jefferies tube drop precipitously. Her hands flew to her ears as her body attempted to account for the change in pressure until, with an uncomfortable crackling pop her ears adjusted. Breath, though, was now coming in gasps as the oxygen held within the jefferies tube spread out through the bridge and she fought the urge to panic. Instead, she scrambled for the hatch, straining at the door to pull it tight and seal it again.

"The environmental controls," she gasped when the hatch was closed and she could finally speak again. "They must have turned off the environmental controls on the bridge."

"Camaza sho xoka booskari-vand," Timmoz growled. "I should have shot that little fake the moment I saw him." He added with a headshake. His ears rang and his lungs ached. Timmoz's original words translated roughly as, Ive had enough of these alien shit stains. "No more kid games. If they want to play Tatahroc. Let us play Tatharoc." He slapped his badge angrily. "Timmoz to Engineering. The Bridge's environmental controls have been disabled. We turned off the force field and have access. They decompressed the entire deck."

"Ranorak to Timmoz," came the crisp voice of a Vulcan, tinny over the Orion's combadge. "Lieutenants Oliveria and Margarar are elbows deep in trying to stop the ship. As the Lieutenants are busy with this task, I will do my best to assist you. You mentioned the environmental controls were disabled. To confirm, you reached the Ops console and were unable to affect change?" he asked.

The Orion blinked. And blinked again. His mouth twisted. He tapped his badge mute, "Apparently we have to gain control of the environmental controls. Located at Ops. And if we fail, we die." He shook his head and sighed. Timmoz tapped his commbadge again to unmute. "And... the Captain's code lockdown won't be an issue there? We have not attempted further entry."

"Unknown," came Ranorak's matter-of-fact reply. Truth told, he had no idea what would await the team on the Bridge itself. He'd simply wondered if they'd tried to access the controls or were just guessing based on what little information they had. Either way, though, the problem that presented itself was the same. The team was going to need a way to operate in vacuum. "We have some environmental suits we could beam into the jefferies tubes. Do you have room to don them?"

Timmoz sighed tersely. "No. There's not enough room to stand, let alone put on a vacuum suit. And we're losing time."

"Very well. We'll stand by to help however we can. Ranorak out," the Vulcan said, then closed the comm channel

Timmoz, tense, looked at Kotri and t'Nai. "So. It appears I'm going out there," he said. Timmoz tied back his hair with harsh moves of gathering his hair and then, producing a band around his wrist, he tied it back. "I'm going out twice. First, to survey for some kind of dampening device. If I see one, I'm destroying it."

"Good plan except for one thing," Kotri spoke up, her tone challenging. "I'm going with you," the headstrong Petty Officer asserted, leaving no room for dissent. "Pretty good at holding my breath and depending on what's out there, you might want an extra phaser backing you up. I could make my way to Ops, see if the controls are locked out?" she suggested, eyes darting from Timmoz to t'Nai, hoping one of the two would OK her involvement in the plan.

"Negative," Timmoz said sternly. "Two of us trying to get out of this hatch at once is going to draw too much oxygen out. Also," Timmoz's mouth formed a thin line. "You can't hold your breath to survive in a vacuum, Crewman. Unless you want your lungs to explode. You have to equalize the pressure inside you as much as you can." He gestured at the Bajoran. "Your job is to close this hatch as quickly as possible. And when I knock on the hatch, get whatever's left of me back in here."

Kotri looked as if she wanted to argue but thought better of it. "Alright then, I'll stand by, sir," she said with a nod, holstering her phaser so both hands would be free to manhandle the hatch. "With all of the holograms shut down, I'm hoping no one is in there to give you any trouble. careful, ok?" She didn't know the Orion as well as some but she still cared about the man's safety.

Emni had listened to the exchange with Ranorak and then the ensuing conversation between Timmoz and Kotri with an unreadable expression. She couldn't help calculating the odds here and she didn't love any of them. Sending Timmoz out could endanger him in a way that she didn't like. But also he was the most qualified to do what needed doing. It frustrated her to admit that. She was, certainly, qualified for bridge control, but in the end her training was as a medical doctor and she was less familiar with ship's systems than the Orion.

"Mr. Timmoz," she finally said. "Environmental controls first. Dampening device second." She sighed. "We don't have a lot of time, but we do have some. I'd rather have you alive and able to contribute than lose you because you took out any devices and didn't make it back. Then we'll simply be in the same spot we are now only with one less highly capable crew mate."

She stared at the Orion, expression serious. She wanted to be sure he understood and she had no intention of losing anyone on this mission.

The Orion searched the logic in that, his eyes dipping. "Alright. Agreed. Environmental controls first." He breathed out and moved to the hatch. "Close this as soon as you can." He said. Timmoz began to breathe in deeply, trying to oxygenate his bloodstream as much as he could before he had to breathe it all out and make a dash into the vacuum. He knew he'd have seconds at best.

There had only been a few moments in her career when Emni had been particularly glad that no one else in a group had a real grasp on what it mean to have any kind of empathic sense. Timmoz, his mind organized and tidy as usual, held a grim determination. There was an edge of something else, though. Something that struck her as fatalistic, though she couldn't truly explain what it was. She knew he'd no idea to give up his own life, and yet. Kotri, too, seemed grim, her emotions holding a messier, more anxious tone.

With one last look at Timmoz, Emni offered the man a reassuring smile, placing her hand on his forearm and squeezing for just a moment. "We'll see you when you get back Mr. Timmoz," she said, and she forced as much confidence into that statement as she could possibly manage, practically willing him back to the safety of the jeffries tube even as her brain made her acutely aware of how truly difficult this task would be.

Timmoz smiled back his Cluros smile. He took a few more enriching breaths, before and filling his chest. And then with a last, puckered exhale he pushed it all of his lungs.

Timmoz was no scientist. But the Academy had been very clear about how long your typical mortal coil could survive in a vacuum. And that was, invariably, between 15-20 seconds. Then his brain, screaming for oxygen, could shut down. And that didn't even take into account the massive internal trauma that would set in almost immediately. Bursting capillaries. Severe edema as blood collected in joints. Liquids would begin to boil.

Space uniquely tried to kill life forms.

Timmoz shoved the hatch and tumbled out.

Shock. Agony. Could not breathe. There was nothing to breathe even if he wanted. Fifteen seconds. The hatch was pulled tight behind. Timmoz sighted Ops. He took his lanky stride, finding the invaders hadn't robbed them of gravity. Agony. It rippled. Everything hurt. Every confused nerve in his body registered conflicting shots of cold and pain. He had no idea how long it took to cross the Bridge to the station.

His hearts started to pound in erratic panic. It pounded in his ears, behind his eyes. He was dying. Timmoz's suddenly clumsy fingers found the metal facade of Operations Management's bow-shaped console. Timmoz pushed the chair out of the way- his eyes gazed at how his wrist was swelling. His neck felt stiff and fattened, like his head was in a brace. His ears popped and suddenly all sound was muffled and tinny.

Darkness, tinged green, was swelling in the vignettes of his vision. He sputtered and tasted blood. Coppery. It stung on his tongue. It was like drinking boiling hot soup except it wasn't hot. He focused. What was he looking for again? Environment. Suddenly sausage, stiff and bruised green-black fingers prodded at the controls.

Red flashing. Warning of depressurized Bridge. Timmoz pushed fingers at the controls. His legs buckled. He dropped like a sack of potatoes. His chin bashed the controls. Clawing fingers caught the edge and he brought himself to a kneel. Green darkness was taking him. He pushed at keys. He groped. He heard a chime. And then Lieutenant Timmoz toppled, twisted to the ground. Pain was flaring from his head and his chest and when he blinked, he realized he could not see except through a cloudy green cataract-like haze.

Dark closed in. He jerked to try and breathe once more, mouth opened in a rictused gasp. His world went black.

Seconds. Emni knew that the pilot had seconds. She was counting down and when she reached 15 and there was no knock on the door she gave the order for the hatch to be opened adding. "If he's not back already and we don't get out there he's dead. Open the hatch."

With a whoosh that was far less dramatic than the last one the hatch swung free and in a rush of bodies the two women tumbled out.

"Breathe shallowly," Emni called out. The air pressure wasn't back to normal yet, but it was at least thinly breathable. It felt like an age as she crossed the room, fighting back the panic that wanted to flare up at the sight of Timmoz, lying unconscious, body bloated and distended on the floor. She knew he needed help. He needed it now. He needed it seconds ago.

Head swiveling she caught sight of some kind of device settled on the Captain's seat. It didn't look like any Starfleet device, but it certainly had familiar components. No time to consider what it might be though. Instinctively the Romulan knelt, freeing Timmoz's phaser and thumbing the dial up to make sure the thing was destroyed, leveled it at the device and fired.

Too slow. No matter how quickly she reacted it was too slow. As the device dissolved in a bolus of red, her hand went to her commbadge. Tapping it quickly she called out the command.

"t'Nai to Engineering. I need an emergency medical beam out. Lock onto my signature as well as Mr. Timmoz. Route us through to Sickbay from the Waverider. I don't have time to explain." And then she knelt, calling out to Kotri even as her own lungs continued to fill with air. "Get the Captain up here and get the ship unlocked. That's an order."

As the sparkling motes of gold that signified transport took hold she looked down at Timmoz saying only, "Don't you dare die." And then they were gone.

=/\= A Mission Post By =/\=

Lieutenant Commander Emni t'Nai
Executive Officer

Lieutenant Timmoz
Chief Helmsman

Petty Officer 1st Class Kotri Tesren
Brig Officer


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