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Parental Emancipation (Part I)

Posted on Mon May 13th, 2024 @ 9:43am by Lieutenant JG Peri Valeri & Lieutenant Percival Bálor Ph.D

1,094 words; about a 5 minute read

Mission: Standing By
Location: USS Ontario | Deck 14 | Astrometrics
Timeline: MD02


Once Lieutenant Percival Bálor had stepped into the turbolift to proceed down to deck fourteen, his request to have Lieutenant junior grade Peri Valeri meet him in the Ontario's Astrometrics Laboratory, formerly Stellar Cartography, had been carried out. She was paged to meet him in the laboratory. Percy was determined to find not only the cause for the power fluctuations, but to devise a plan to remedy the situation. The first part In doing so was examining the why. They knew what was happening, but not why it was occurring. "Solve for X" he said walking into the Astrometrics Laboratory and noticed that the officer from Operations had beat him there. "The equation is X minus Ontario power supplies equals a headache" he teased.

He was genuinely pleased to see the woman and to have her available to work with. "All systems were operating within normal parameters until recently. I'm having Engineering send their diagnostic reports to us. I want you to assist in reviewing those. I suspect within the past few hours that we will be able to identify something abnormal. A sudden blip, spike, drained, outage, disruption...something to give us a time frame to concentrate on" stated Percy.

"I assume the acting chief engineer is clueless? Ontario minus power does not always equal Haruna," she replied with a grin. "However, in his defense, when dealing with theoretical physics, 2 plus 2 can equal 5 for irregular values of 2. So, with this particular problem, it can be something that doesn't show up on a diagnostic report. Do we know when the problem began?"

"Within the past half hour," Percy replied to Peri's inquiry. Though he padded some minutes onto it. "At least that is when things became noticeable for the Acting Chief" Percy elaborated. "It could have begun earlier than that."

He too knew theoretical physics were more complex than simple answers. "I think we have an Engineering department problem. Haruna has worked with them. They have become too used to her" explained Percy. "It seems like they all have looked up to her and not necessarily in the best kind of way."

"I've done some work with engineering, but not as much as on other ships. Haruna does appear to be the go-to person for any problems. I agree that they treat her like a miracle worker. to be fair, she's got a keen ear and knows ships inside and out. From what I've seen, she tends to take on the problems herself rather than teach others how to fix them." Peri sighed. "Again, I can't blame them. She can fix it faster than anyone else in the department." She was trying to be both fair and honest about her experience with the chief engineer. She also thought Zero was equally competent in operations.

Percy had a fondness for Haruna as a person, as his friend, but not as an engineer. "She's brilliant. She has such a passion for engineering especially older starships. It makes her a bit of an expert on Ontario. She can usually tell how to fix problems with it. That is wonderful, but she lacks discipline and leadership skills. Sure, people listen to her and will follow her, but that's getting into the territory of a cult. A true leader listens to others, not just their own internal soliloquies. They need to be able to delegate tasks not try to tackle everything by themselves."

Peri nodded. "I wasn't going to bring that up." Then again, she was talking to Percy. "I know, I should be more up front with my feelings on the matter, but I'm still just a junior officer." She shrugged. "I agree with you. She likes to be the one to rush in and save the day and she's easily distracted--especially with older ships. So, we can assume engineering is waiting for Haruna to solving this. Where do you want to start? The engineering diagnostics? Recent ship scans? I can give you the sensor scans, power allocation, and the ops diagnostics for the past week. That should be enough to run a comparison analysis with the engineering data."

Then Peri had an idea. She looked around the Astrometrics lab. "You know, my specialty is communications. I wonder if we can use my programs along with Astrometrics and see if there have been any anomalous sounds either on the ship or in space? You never know. Sometimes you can hear something you can't see on a normal diagnostic report."

"What I wouldn't give for a Ferengi right about now," Percy replied. "Run with it, Lieutenant. Use your program and see if you find any anomalous sounds."

Percy liked the idea. "You should. Be more up front that is. Being assertive and speaking up doesn't always have to be a bad thing. It could lead to getting past that junior officer point in your career."

"Oh, I'm assertive enough when it comes to work, but not when it comes to complaining about fellow officers. I've heard what happens when Lieutenant Mizuhara gets angry, and I'd rather keep under her radar." She went over to one of the computers and logged in to her personal files. Then she fed the long range sensors through two of her programs and waited. While that was running, she turned to Percy. "We'll need the bridge's sensor logs for the past week sent here. I'll contact ops on the bridge and ask Lieutenant Zero to send the sensor data along with the ops diagnostic information here. I'll let you deal with engineering."

She sent a quick request to the ops station on the bridge. When those files appeared, she fed them through her programs ask well.

"I'm sending the data through two programs for redundancy. It'll take a couple of minutes to get through everything as I'd rather not rush."

"Enough time to enjoy a beverage then" Percy said with a smile. "Assuming we haven't suffered that bad of a power drain" he added as he proceeded over to a replicator. "Maybe you should have thrown your hat into the mix for Acting Chief Engineer."

Peri shook her head and pretended to shudder. "Never. I like operations. We do so many different things you can never get bored. Plus, as I said, I specialize in communications--especially ancient ones. I can build a dozen archaic communications devices from memory, and probably more if I work on it. That's my bailiwick. Engineers just deal with power."

(To be continued...)

Lieutenant Percival Bálor
Chief Science Officer

Lieutenant JG Peri Valeri
Assistant Chief Operations Officer


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