What a Piece of Junk
The Junk Heap
Location: Main Engineering
Engineering was certainly the source of the odd metallic scent on the ship. The main pit area was a mad rush of something just short of insanity as every engineer he had on board rushed back and forth trying to patch up various bits and pieces. No one called 'Captain on Deck', in fact, no one seemed to be aware he was even their they were so focused on their tasks. A different Captain might have been miffed, complained, made a big deal... not Calvin. He was glad for it. Pomp and circumstance had no place when things needed to get done. He was just another soldier on the line.
He wandered into the center of the room, staring up at the warp core, an odd look on his face. After a moment, he muttered, "Thrum is off..."
"Noticed that too, did ya?" a Lieutenant replied in a heavy Northern English accent as he stepped from behind the port plasma coolant tank with an open tricorder in one hand and a tool kit in the other. His focus was clearly on the tricorder as streams of data filled the display. "There's minor resonance coming from the dilithium crystal assembly. Whoever installed it when they dragged this core out of storage must not have aligned the cradle correctly. Problem number 27 to correct today alone." Closing the tricorder, he sighed and wiped the sweat from his brow with the cuff of his uniform tunic before looking to the crewmen working at the Master Systems table. "Sorik, Bilson. Break out the core diagnostic scaffolding. I'd rather not have to take the core offline and shift her into maintenance mode until Alpha Team has completed maintenance on the auxiliary power generators."
"You got it, Lieutenant," Bilson replied before gesturing to his Vulcan colleague to follow.
The Lieutenant's attention finally turned to the newcomer in Engineering. "4 pips, command red. You must be the poor sod they put in command of this boondoggle. Kaelan Lambert, Chief Engineer," he said as he holstered his tricorder and offered the Captain his hand.
"Yeah, but there's more than that," Calvin replied, listening intently to the noise the warp core. There was a beat, then he met eyes with the Engineer, "Check the secondary power coupling. See if the resonance frequency is at peak intervals or if it's off..." He offered. It was an easy thing to overlook. He only knew to think of it because he'd run into once on his cadet cruise after the ship was hit by some rogue space debris.
"You know what to listen out for with a faulty core. There aren't many out of an Engineer's uniform that would even consider that," Lambert gave an impressed nod. "It's one of the reasons I called for the scaffolding. Once I get it in place, I can run the necessary diagnostics while I check the dilithium chamber itself. two birds, one stone. When you have a to-do list as long as mine, you have to multitask. Now, is there something you need? Or have you just come down to find out why your new command is in the state she's in?"
"I love it down here in the pit. Always have, but got shoved a different route to go command. I sneak down every chance I get to get my hands dirty though," He admitted with a laugh. "As far as why she's in the state she's in... she's old and she's been through hell," Calvin replied with a grin. "I know why she's in the shape she's in. Just trying to figure out if we're going to blow up when we jump to warp?" He said with an arched eyebrow.
"I'll be blunt, Starfleet put you in command of one of the last victims of the Dominion War. In the years since, while the fleet was rebuilt, she's been overworked, undermanned and essentially became a low priority in the maintenance schedules. It got so bad that they had to run her last baryon sweep twice, just to get the levels within Starfleet guidelines. I've seen 60-year old Ambassador-class ships in better condition. Hell, the flagship was in better condition after ramming a Reman warbird!" Lambert explained. "The good news is, Starfleet assigned me to the Century to oversee getting her up to mission-ready status. And before you think I'm boasting, let me explain. My expertise is heavily rooted in the Sovereign-class design. I've served on many of the Century's sisters, including the prototype. During that time I've built them, refit them and put them back together when needed. The Century might look rough right now, but if you give me the time I need, she'll perform better than she should for a ship her age. I'll state my reputation on it."
"So I've got at least one member of my crew that doesn't have black marks all over their record?" Calvin replied with a chuckle. "I didn't get a chance to go over your file before I came down here... there's been a lot of fires to put out."
"Figuratively and literally," Lambert replied with an understanding nod, since coming aboard, he'd been no stranger to exploding consoles or disruptive Engineers within his department. "As for my record, You'll no doubt be curious as to why a man of my age and experience isn't at a higher rank. While I may not have black marks on file, I have had a few >issues with protocol and the higher-ups within the Corps of Engineers. Nothing that would compromise the safety of the ship or the crew, mind you. Just in getting things done. Take for example the plasma injectors we'll need to get the warp drive fully operational. Following requisition protocols for a ship like the Century would mean filling out 5 separate requests for non-replicatable parts and transmitting them to Utopia Planitia Control for approval, processing and dispatch. During that time, we'd likely be docked for at least another 3-weeks while we wait for the shipment to be sent over. Instead, I made a few calls, sent off a bottle of Saurian Brandy here and there and called in a couple of long overdue favours with the sector quartermaster. I should expect the parts later today."
Calvin idly scratched at his jaw, a hint of a grin on his features as he appraised his Chief Engineer, "I... will... I'll let the details remain ambiguous on that, huh?" He said, almost playfully. "I don't want us to get in any shit with Starfleet command... but I'm a big fan of pulling strings and cashing in favors," He explained, nodding. "You keep our nose clean and this rattle trap of a ship going and you and I will get along just fine, okay?"
"Works for me. But in the interest of getting along, I guess I better warn you," he nodded. "My people are pushing themselves to get the ship in some sort of shape, which is fine. It's what they're trained to do. But I've dealt with many Captains and Admirals who have demanded too much and ended up paying for it. I won't blow smoke with you and I won't be a yes man either. If my people and I are in the thick of it, you'll get what we're capable of, nothing more and nothing less. If I tell you that it'll take us 12-hours to get a job done, then it'll take 12 hours. Push too hard and we will have problems... sir."
"I assume that when you say 12 hours, you mean 4 anyway... some Scottsman somewhere told me that," Calvin replied with a grin. "That's not a problem, Chief. I know you can only do what you can do. So long as you and your crew are giving me the best you can do, I'm happy. Doesn't mean I won't have to ask you to shave time off from time to time, but you've got my word that I'll only ask it when it's absolutely necessary. That work for you?" He asked.
"I think we can work with that, just promise me you'll try and keep this ship out of trouble long enough for me to get her into respectable shape," Lambert returned the grin as Sorik and Bilson re-entered Main Engineering pulling some assembled scaffolding behind them as it lay atop a large anti-gravity sled. "Get the scaffold in place and bring the diagnostic array online."
Bilson nodded as he and Sorik set about following the Chief Engineer's instructions.
"Have at it, Chief," Calvin said, patting the CEO on the shoulder. "Oh... and if you get a chance, could you take a look at the environmental controls in the forward lounge? The new bartender isn't a fan of it being ten below zero," Cal said with a chuckle.
"I'll add it to my ever-expanding to-do list, Skipper," Lambert nodded as he opened his toolkit and retrieved his PADD. "I'll see what I can do, but I have to prioritise what's essential and what isn't. I've got people working in a sweatbox down on deck 24. It's raining in the arboretum too."
Calvin sighed and nodded, "Of course it is," He said, dryly. "Good luck, Chief," He said, already backing toward the door. "Let me know if you need anything!"
"If I can't get my hands on what I need, you'll be the first to know," Lambert replied with a grateful nod before returning his attention to the Warp Core. "Right then, let's see about getting this monster back up and running properly, shall we?"