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No Rest For the Wicked

Posted on 15 Aug 2019 @ 12:53am by Lieutenant Khaled al Rashid & Lieutenant Warren Paige & Lieutenant Eugene (“Mike”) Falkenberg & Chief Petty Officer Jiang Tian Ming (江天明)

Mission: Handle with Care
Location: Starboard Directional Stabilizer
Timeline: Current
Tags: Rashid, Paige, Tian Ming, Falkenberg

Tian Ming was tired...dead tired. He and his crew had been working double shifts every since the directional stabilizer had failed sending the Minerva into an uncontrolled spin. Tian Ming was an experienced spacer, but this slight but noticeable spin had been going on for quite some time and was starting to take its toll. He looked to his right at Crewman Watkins, whose face was turning green.

"Suck it up Watkins. Your orders don't include unauthorized biological releases."

Watkins gulped, "Aye, aye Chief."

"Just focus on your task, we are almost done here. Hand me that spanner."

Watkins complied. A few turns of the spanner finished closing the electrical termination cover. This was the last step before the Engineering Officer could try to bring up the stabilizer back online. What was that Ensign's name again? In the end it really didn't matter, he could just call him "sir."

The Ensign, no more than a boy really was leaning up against the bulkhead with his head between his knees trying not to hurl all over the deck.

"Sir, the stabilizer is ready for your team to bring back online. My men and I finished, and if there is nothing else, we will rotate off duty now."

The boy Ensign hardly looked up. "F-fine, Chief, good w-w-work, carry on."

"Team One, gather up your gear and fall out to the DC Office for debrief."

Team one complied with obvious relief. They were tired and space sick, and the left the Starboard Directional Stabilizer room for the Damage Control Office for the required debrief. He would make it a short debrief, his team was the best of the best, and had preformed stellar, as usual. It was mainly a formality at this point.

Just as Team One had entered the passageways the emergency alarm went off.

"Emergency! Cargo Bay 2! One of the hazardous cargo containers has fallen and now multiple containers have broken. Damage Control Team to Cargo 2 at the rush!"

There was an audible, collective groan from Team One.

"All right Team One that's us! Cargo Bay 2, double time!"

Tian Ming lead his Team down the passageways and ladder wells to Cargo Bay 2. The DC teams had to know the best and fastest ways to all parts of the ship in times of emergency. Before too long Tian Ming had led his team to Damage Control Locker 427-Bravo located just outside the cargo bay. Tian Ming opened the locker and took out a set of protective equipment including a breathing mask and protective gloves and donned them. His first reaction was naturally to hand them out to his crew members first, but the rule was, always don your own PPE first, or you could become incapacitated. About the time he team was squared away, Tian Ming noticed a group of crewmen arrive, led by Lieutenant al Rashid.


"Sir, we have a hazmat situation, inside the cargo hold. We have not encountered any crewman assigned here, so we should assume they are inside and incapacitated. My Team is ready to make entry."

Al Rashid grunted and held up an index finger. "Stand by, Chief." The first officer headed to a bulkhead and thumbed the communications panel. "Medical team to deck six, cargo bay hangar deck access on the double! On the double!" He closed that channel and opened another. "Al Rashid to bridge, Lieutenant Falkenberg."

“Bridge here,” replied the science officer. The alarms were clanging, but the urgency in Rashid’s voice was palpable. Mike’s eyes sped across the scrolling readouts. Air quality in the hangar area had passed critical. “Falkenberg!” Mike deliberately kept the two-way system open. He wanted Rashid to hear. “Captain, they have a hydrogen fluoride leak. Toxic to anyone in contact with it. Highly flammable, sir. Recommend immediate isolation of the ship from that section.”

"Do it!" came al Rashid's voice through the communications panel. "This entire section. We'll use this location evacuation. Give us life sign readings in the cargo bay, Lieutenant. Number and condition."

The officers on the bridge looked to Paige for ultimate confirmation of the order and the next step. In situations like this it was necessary to trust the team dealing with it. More than that, Paige couldn't think of anything wrong with the order.

"You heard the man, do it." Paige commanded.

“I ‘m reading three crew in the bay, Number 1. Two down, one near the container. One—correction three down. One is between the turbolift hatch and the storage room corridor.” He took a deliberate slow breath at the console. “They still have heartbeats, but need a medic. Be careful of that stuff when you go in. It will fry your lungs if you breathe it.” Mike watched a yellow tracer suddenly shoot across his screen.

WARNING, WARNING. Ignition identified.

“Hurry, Khaled, you’ve got a fire on your hands.”

Down in the corridor outside the cargo bay, al Rashid steadied himself against the bulkhead. Sweat glistened on his bald pate. They had gone over these scenarios in command school, and the solution always seemed obvious and rational. Now that he was faced with the reality of sending men under his command into certain danger, he struggled.

But there were three crew members on the other side of that heavy door whose life depended on the training of the folks on the safe side of it.

"The medics aren't here yet," he muttered to himself, followed by an Arabic curse. He looked at Tian Ming. "Do your thing, Chief. Go put out the fire."


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