Posted on Fri Jan 28, 2022 @ 11:44pm by Lieutenant JG Marcus 'Mark' Shepard

Mission: Episode 6: Discovery
Location: USS Aurora
935 words - 1.9 OF Standard Post Measure

Lieutenant Junior Grade Marcus Shepard entered the turbolift, running a hand through his hand. "Deck seven." He said, sighing. The Captain had ordered them to take a shortcut through the nearby system, wanting to save time. Should be no problem. It was only a Red Dwarf. No stars or planet life. Deserted for all intents and purposes. Should be safe. But in Mark's experience, should be safe didn't actually mean safe. But Captain's orders were orders. And if Lieutenant Davidson felt it was safe enough... Well. Who was Mark to argue with his Department Head.

Exiting the lift, he quickly headed into main engineering, where officers were hurrying around, making the necessary adjustments for their journey.

"Lieutenant." Came the voice of his superior officer, hurrying towards him. "I take it you've heard about the Captain's plan?"

Mark nodded, his lips pursed tightly. "Aye, sir."

"Problem, Lieutenant?" Davidson asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Permission to speak freely, sir?"

Davidson nodded, crossing his arms over his chest, whist Mark sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I think this is a bad idea, sir. This system is, for the most part, unexplored. Long-range sensor scans show basically nothing. It just seems a little too... easy."

Davidson raised an eyebrow at him. "You don't like easy, Lieutenant?"

Mark shook his head. "It's not that sir." Sighing, he asked, "You've read my service history?" Davidson nodded but said nothing, so Mark continued. "Then you'll know that when I was nine, the Athena was attacked in a surprise attack by the Dominion. The Captain hadn't picked anything up on long-range scans then, either."

"So, you think that because there isn't anything on the scanners, we might be walking into a trap?" The Chief had a smirk on his face, his eyebrows raised in a way that clearly said he thought Mark was crazy.

Sighing, he shook his head. "No sir. That's not what I mean. I just think we need to be careful. We don't know what we're flying into. There could be anything, or anyone, waiting for us."

Davidson sighed, shaking his head. It was clear he'd had enough now. "Listen Mark. You're a damn fine Engineer. It's why I recommended you for the promotion to be my Deputy. But you need to understand something. When the Captain gives an order, it's your job to implement those orders. If you can't do that, then I'll find myself an Officer who can. Do I make myself clear, Lieutenant?" He asked, his tone indicating that the conversation was closed for discussion. Mark simply nodded.

"Yes sir." He responded curtly.

Davidson nodded. "Alright then. Get back to work."

A few hours later

The quiet hum of Main Engineering was soon broken by the familiar loud siren and flashing red lights, followed quickly by the ship-wide announcement: "Red Alert. All hands to stations." Mark hurried away from his console, as Lieutenant Davidson came hurrying through the doors.

"Lieutenant? What's going on?" He asked, before suddenly finding himself grabbing onto the nearest console as the ship suddenly rocked violently. "What the hell?" He muttered, picking himself up, fingers dashing over the console as the Captain's voice sounded.

"Engineering, what's going on down there? Why have we dropped out of warp?"

Mark tapped his combadge, quickly replying. "I'm not sure Captain. We seem to have flown into the path of... something. Sensors are showing a... Captain, you're not gonna believe this. Sensors are showing a Class G star!"

Before he could respond, the ship rocked again, more violently this time. "Captain, we just lost our port nacelle!" Davidson shouted from the console next to Mark. "Attempting to compensate, but..." He never finished his sentence. The console he'd been working on exploded beneath him, sending his body flying.

"All hands, brace for impact!" The captain shouted over the comm. Mark dove for cover away from the consoles, the room exploding around him, screams filling the air. The ship jolted violently once more, then slowed to stop. They'd landed.

Shepard slowly dragged himself out from where he'd dove, wincing as stood up. Something was broken. But he'd have to figure out what later. The moans of the injured filled the air, Shepard, checking on people as he slowly made his way over to where his chief had fallen. As he approached the body, kneeling next to, he sighed. He didn't need a medical tricorder to tell that he was too late. Tapping his combadge once again, he spoke: "Captain. This is Shepard. I'm sorry to report sir, but Davidson is dead."

There was a few seconds of silence before the Captains response came through. "Well then, Mr. Shepard, it looks like you've just gotten yourself another promotion. Get your team together, then get me a damage report."

"Yes sir," Mark said, before closing the channel. Sighing, he looked down at the body of his former chief. "Well... I hate to say I told you so." He said softly, a sad smile crossing his face before he stood up, wincing slightly once again. A cracked rib definitely seemed likely. But he didn't have time to worry about that now. "Alright. You heard the Captain. Anderson, Hackett, tend to the wounded, then find me a working console and start assessing the damage. I need to know if we're in any danger of a Warp Core breach. Cortez, take Vega and get up to the bridge. The captain's gonna need a decent pair of hands up there..." He continued rattling off the orders, trying to ignore the sinking feeling that wherever they had landed, they weren't alone...