USS Armstrong

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Bumpy Ride

Posted on Mon Aug 5th, 2019 @ 8:52pm by Lieutenant Commander Chanz
Edited on on Wed Aug 21st, 2019 @ 3:36pm

Mission: Groping in the Dark
Location: USS Leeland
Timeline: MD1 - 1410 Hours

Aboard the Runabout USS Leeland, 3 weeks out of Niveq Station on a routine patrol.

Lt. Commander Chanz sat alone, looking out of one of the few windows aboard the Runabout. The ship was tiny by Federation standards, and his large stature made maneuverability a challenge. He was constantly bumping his head while walking through doorways. It wasn't really a problem since he was used to cramped quarters growing up on the Research Station, but sometimes he enjoyed the freedom of gazing off into outer space. It was a form of meditation for him. He could concentrate on the emptiness of space and turn off his thoughts.

He sensed a presence behind him, and snapped his head around. A moment later, Ensign Emily Relios walked in. "Commander, what are you doing here all by yourself?" She had been on the bridge earlier, and Chanz assumed she was now off duty and most likely bored, as she was constantly reminding everyone.

"I am enjoying the view." He said. "You are welcome to join me."

She plopped down into the seat next to him. "Sure!" The two sat there, looking out the window. Chanz relaxed his gaze again, and again got lost in the vastness of deep space. The Reayan Sector was unusually dark. There were not many visible celestial bodies, so nothing to break his concentration. He rather enjoyed the lack of anything to look at.

Chanz was content to remain in silence for the duration of the trip, but other humans- "Sooooo, tell me about the Armstrong." Relios blurted.

He tried not to sigh. "What would you like to know?"

Relios cocked her head, "well, do you know anybody onboard?"

"No."

"Oh. What's your first mission?"

"We will be patrolling the Reayan Sector maintaining Federation interests in the region, along with monitoring the activities of Klingon rebels"

Relios rolled her eyes and looked back out the window. "Sounds thrilling," she said with as much sarcasm as she could muster.

The silence lingered for another moment. "So," Relios began, "is there a... Mrs. Chanz?"

"No."

"A Mr. Chanz??"

"No."

"Oh."

The awkward silence returned. It wasn't that Chanz was rude. He just never learned the human art of "small talk". The other children on Darwin Station rarely spoke, unless it was in a classroom. Most of the time they communicated telepathically, so you knew instantly what others were thinking, what their motivations were, etc. It felt awkward and inefficient to use vocalization to communicate these simple concepts, although Chanz was trying to learn.

"Is there...a Mr. Relios?" he asked.

The ensign cocked her head and giggled, "No."

"Mrs. Relios?"

"No!" She said, laughing, slapping him on the shoulder.

He didn't see what was so amusing, but was glad the ensign seemed to be enjoying herself with their conversation.

In that instant, time stopped. He sensed a disturbance nearby, and looked out the window. In his periphery, the ensign's laughter slowed as she froze in place. Everything around him was motionless and silent. The darkness of Reayan space was ever so slightly broken by a small distortion headed for the Runabout.

"Chanz to bridge, evasive maneuvers." Time snapped back into place. "Ensign, with me." he commanded, before jumping up and heading for the bridge compartment.

The Runabout began to maneuver, but it was too late. The tiny vessel was slammed by an incredibly powerful...something. Relios was violently knocked off her feet. Again, for Chanz time slowed down, and he saw her head on a collision course with the bulkhead. In a nanosecond, faster than any normal human's reflexes, he stretched his arms out and grabbed her shoulders. If he hadn't, the hit would have surely fractured her skull or broken her neck.

"Are you okay?" he asked. She nodded "fine, thanks."

Just as they both regained their footing, the Runabout rocked to port. Chanz could sense the duranium hull twisting. Shear forces from whatever they were caught in were literally tearing the ship apart. He closed his eyes and visualized the exterior of the Runabout. The hull was beginning to rip along the port seam. Space ship hulls were designed with high tolerance for normal phenomena, but this was above and beyond normal specs.

His eyes snapped open, the bulkhead in front of him began to distort. An alarm sounded. Hull breach was eminent. He focused all of his concentration on the hull. The tear began to rip the hull apart like a zipper, and the compartment started to depressurize. Before him, Relios' horrified face froze as the bulkhead suddenly blew out, exposing the compartment to open space. In an instant, her feet left the deck as the force of the escaping atmosphere blew her out into space.

The emergency forcefield was supposed to deploy nearly instantaneously upon depressurization, but even that wasn't fast enough to prevent disaster. Chanz summoned all of his concentration on Relios and pulled her back inside, just as the forcefield kicked in.

She collided with the deck. A few bruises, but none the worse for wear. The Runabout stopped shaking. "Wh- what the hell was that??" She shouted.

"I do not know," Chanz said calmly. He walked to the bridge compartment. "Lieutenant, status report."

Lieutenant Alders had a nasty cut on his forehead. He must have been knocked around pretty badly. Luckily the Leeland was equipped with seat restraints, a long overdue equipment modification. "All systems are nominal, sir. It looked like we were about to break apart there. I guess today wasn't our day."

"Indeed it was not," Chanz replied. "What is the nearest Federation starship?"

Alders typed in a command and a very short list popped up on the display. "Looks like the closest ship is the Armstrong, sir. She's two light years away."

"Very well," Chanz said, "assemble all data logs and hail the Armstrong."

 

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