Summary: The slipstream shuttle is to the mock-up stage in the holodeck.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns the Star Trek Universe. I own my story. I just took the characters out to play for fun, not for profit.
Thanks: I know some of you that have read my stuff over the last few months will want to thank my beta\proof readers, PJ in NH and Lesa as much as I do. They try to keep me from making huge mistakes but I admit that they don't always succeed. I'm a bad girl at times. My thanks for trying.
Warning: A little sex between the pages. Less than your kids would see on a sit-com.
Copyright by Jan Monroe 1998
Tom was pulled off from all other duties to work on the holographic mock-up with Vorik, Harry and Tuvok. Because all the plans were in the main computer, the holoprogram was finished in four days. The Captain had left Tom in charge of the shuttle project because "You have gotten it this far, keep doing what you are doing." He clearly remembered the staff meeting where he was trying to pass the project on to someone else, but she didn't let him.
The shuttle was now a priority project. The whole crew knew of the plans and were eager to see the shuttle. The grapevine had them doing everything from sending one person on a one-way trip to pulling out the stasis chambers and everyone going home in the freighter. The truth was actually somewhere in between. The speculation became so bad that the Captain finally issued a statement.
TO: All crew members
RE: Shuttle Mission
If all goes according to plan, with the vessel passing rigorous testing and we are able to build the shuttle with the materials we either have or can trade for, the mission will be simple.
The mission will be to go the Alpha Quadrant and get supplies and materials that we need to convert the Voyager into a slipstream capable vessel. We have a preliminary plan on how to modify Voyager, unfortunately, the plans will only allow Voyager to travel at slipstream for 8 hours approximately every 7 days. The reasons are complex but they mainly deal with power consumption, metal fatigue and structural stresses. We are still working on modifications that would allow longer slipstream hops or shorter "rest" periods of low warp to build up our energy reserves. If the modification work we will be home in less than three years.
The Time Table
2 months for mock-up testing of shuttle designed on Holodeck.
5 months to build shuttle.
2 months for the first trip back to the alpha quadrant and return with supples.
1 month to prepare shuttle for second trip to alpha quadrant for more supplies.
2 months second trip for supples not included on the first trip.
3 additional months for modifications to Voyager.
16 months doing weekly slipstream hops toward home.
31 months Total Estimated Time to complete trip to Federation Space.
The shuttle crew will consist of six members. The first trip will be only Federation Officers in good standing. The reasons for this is simple. We are sending people in a strange new ship, with a new propulsion system asking for supplies for Voyager. I have no doubts that they will be tested medically and psychology before allowing them to return.
I am hopefully that we will acquire a few extra crew members to help eliminate the extra shifts that almost everyone had to work over the years; maybe a human doctor to work sickbay. Although they were all comfortable with the EMH, the fear was that some day his program would fail and we would be left with a doctor remains. Although Lt. Paris has worked diligently on his medical training, he will be the first to admit that he doesn't want to be Voyager's only medical practitioner.
The second reason is that the possible legal problems of the former Maquis crew members. I will instruct the officer in charge of the shuttle mission to determine their legal status. The intention is to have all legal problems resolved before we return to the alpha quadrant. I intend to make it very clear to Starfleet Command that none of this crew is going to spend even a hour in a cell upon our return. These talks are best conducted over long distances where command can't put anyone in a cell until they make a determination. This gives us almost three years to work out a satisfactory solution. We have worked together for too long not to fight for each other. Time in this instance is on our side, when we return to the alpha quadrant we will have been gone for over seven years. Most of the Maquis activities will have timed out under the statue of limitations. We may have to hire a defense lawyer to try and prevent charges from being filed, that will be a decision that will be made by the officer in charge if he determines it necessary.
I will inform you of further developments as they arise.
Cpt. K. Janeway
Tom and B'Elanna read the notice from the Captain. They knew that they would not be on the maiden voyage, but they would be in on the actual testing phase. Tom's only worry was that the Captain would send Harry. He knew that Starfleet command would want to keep him. He knew all the designs except for the biobed. However, Harry had reasons to come back, seeing Voyager home and of course Seven.
B'Elanna would never mention it, but she was glad that Tom could not go without her. His personal demons were waiting for him back there. She had been awakened by his nightmares too often not to know. She wanted to be with him when he had to face them. She knew she couldn't protect him but she could be there when he had to confront them.
After the mock-up phase was completed, the Doctor planned to claimed Tom, like his time was a prize or something, for three weeks, for four full shifts a week so that he could "catch up" on his studies. The duty schedule for the next month was wild. Chakotay didn't even schedule Tom for duty anymore. Chakotay just marked off one half shift a week for bridge duty. The rest of Tom's time was just marked medical duties and shuttle design duties. Thus Paris' schedule had more freedom than any other on board, including the Captain. The first half shift that he worked on the bridge, the Captain quizzed him about the shuttle and the holoprogram. He was flying Voyager but at the same time still working on the shuttle project. Chakotay requested that Tom account for his time, just to make sure that Tom was getting work done. After reading the first report, Chakotay sent a note:
Working yourself to death will not get the shuttle on its mission any faster. You are ordered not to work more than 60 hours during a seven-day period. Chakotay.
The newest data padds B'Elanna found around their quarters were not for people with weak stomach. The most disturbing part of it was that Tom was reading them to relax before going to bed. One title was "Trauma Surgery" and another was "Surgical Interventions." They were both books with graphic pictures and illustrations of accident victims and the surgery needed to put them back together. She knew that he was advancing quickly in his medical studies but this was the troubling. She finally confronted the Doctor one afternoon when Tom was setting up the holographic mock-up for its first test.
"Doc, Why am I finding padds about surgery around my quarters?" B'Elanna asked, in what she hoped was a casual tone.
"Most likely because Mr. Paris lives with you," the Doctor replied, stating the obvious. Everyone knew that they were living together even though they had never made a formal announcement.
"Why is Tom reading those books?" She tried again, taking the direct approach.
"He has reached that level in his studies. His dexterity and ability to monitor many different situations at once combine to make an excellent surgical assistant. With more training, he will be a full medical doctor," He saw the distressed look on her face. "I would think that you would be the first to encourage this, his time as a patient has decreased dramatically. I don't know if he is just more conscious of not getting hurt or if he isn't going into situations where he can get hurt as often."
"I know, I'm actually very relieved by his health status now, I'm just worried about after we get the alpha quadrant. He's a convicted felon, is anyone going to let him practice medicine?"
"Starfleet will and any of the outer colonies. I don't think that you understand, he is not just adequate, he has the makings of an excellent doctor," the Chief Medical Officer told her. "He's caring, sympathetic, and knows his medicine. I know that he has great pride in his flying ability but with time his medicine could be just as good, if not better."
"Have you told him about this yet?" B'Elanna asked. She knew that Tom was still mainly focused on his flying and the new shuttle.
"No, I saw no point in burdening him with this information. He knows that he can handle the work that he has been doing. I believed that to offer further information would be detrimental to his studies. If he doesn't know he's going to medical school than he can't say he is inadequate for the task," the Chief Medical Officer stated.
"Doc, I never knew that you could be so manipulative. Use it wisely, it works on Tom but you try that with the Captain, you are in big trouble," B'Elanna warned. "Have you spoken with the Captain about this?"
"No, she has left Mr. Paris' medical training to me." The Chief Medical Officer proclaimed, "From what I have learned from the psychology texts, this is the most productive way to handle Tom."
B'Elanna almost laughed. The idea that Doc could read Tom so well and hide the real reasons for Tom studying was amazing. "Doc, you are fine. I'm putting another memory unit on my shopping list, and mark it as a priority."
"What are you taking about?"
"I started making out my shopping lists as soon as I knew that the shuttle would be capable for going to the alpha quadrant. I keep adding to them but at least when we get to the point when we have to choose what we need from the first mission, I'll have my lists. I'll cut them down later."
She had started her three shopping lists less than twelve hours after hearing about Tom's design idea, one list for normal repairs, one for repairs that the manual said can "only be done in space dock" and one for the conversion of Voyager to slipstream. She acknowledged that her lists to date were about ten metric tons and they still had six months before the first mission and eight months before the supplies came aboard.
"Can I put items on your list?" the Doctor asked.
"Sure, what do you want?" B'Elanna asked.
"I would like copies of "Starfleet Medical Digest," and "The Journal of Modern Medicine" covering the time from when we left the alpha quadrant to date. Plus schematics of any new equipment that we might need so that we can replicate it," the Chief Medical Officer related.
"It's on the list," She paused, "I have an idea, make your own list. Keep updating it as we go. The mission isn't for another six months."
"Would my items be considered a priority?" the Chief Medical Officer asked. Keeping the ship running was more important that a few medical supplies that he might wish and he agreed with these priorities.
"I don't know. I know that the data requests are going to be a priority. Data chips don't have much mass. We should be able to request as much information as we need," B'Elanna answered. She paused to look at the chronometer on the wall, "I have to get back to work."
She left sickbay slightly relieved. Tom would have a marketable skill when they returned to the alpha quadrant that he found as fulfilling as flying. They would make a great team, the engineer and the doctor. That is if the Captain got her way and they were free. According to the rehab contract, Tom was a free man, but her legal problems were just beginning.
Meanwhile, the doctor started his lis of desirable supplies, journals, information about medical advances, and the Medical Boards for Mr. Paris to take. He would be ready to take the test about the same time as the shuttle returned from Earth.
Harry and Seven were both back to their regular posts on day shift. Harry had thought that he would hate the night shifts that they had worked on the plans. Actually it had been one of the most productive times he could remember. A stimulating project with a team that knew their jobs and were willing to work. He had missed having so much free time to be with Seven but that was one of the trade-offs.
At lunch he had asked Seven out on a date, casual dress. This was unusual, normally they just wore their uniforms. He had found a program and had added a few extras. The program was of an old auto race. A driver once said that it was "a cross between a carnival and the super bowl coming to town." He wanted to take her to a place that teamed with people. He was going to take her "people watching." The race with the loud noise, spectacular crashes and a happy crowd was just the place to learn about mobs and large disorganized masses of people. He didn't know a lot about auto racing other than it was a race with brightly painted cars. The watcher picked a car to support and then cheered for it to win. The program included tickets for the first corner grandstands.
Seven was on time for their date. She was wearing a version of B'Elanna's casual clothes, an oversized white blouse and jeans. An outfit that Lena had assured her would be appropriate for any casual date. It was simple and elegant.
The date started out well. They walked around in a park-like setting with many others. Children were running around and vendors were selling food and souvenirs. It was loud and Seven never let go of his hand as if she was afraid that she would loss him.
As race time neared, they all proceeded to their seats. The stands were crowed and the excitement of the day was even affecting Seven. She was beginning to rival Naomi in the "Why" department. "Why are the cars painted like that? Why did those men jump out of that plane? If a pit is a large hole in the ground, then why do they have a pit road, pit box and pit stop? I don't see any large holes in that area. Why do those men jump over that wall and run around the car?"
Harry struggled to answer the questions but his own limited knowledge of racing made that difficult. The pre-race show consisted of sky divers, jet fly overs, three marching bands, driver introduction then a song they called "The National Anthem." The race was long, over three hours. Seven watched the cars as much as she watched the people watching the cars. She didn't know which car to cheer for since the car in the lead was both cheered and booed.
"Why is the leader both cheered and booed?" She asked. She couldn't understand the contradictory nature of the crowed.
Harry could answer that question, "Everyone here has a favorite driver and car. There is a crowd of over 100,000 people here and only 43 cars. They want the car they cheer for to win, not another car. It's like watching me and Tom play volleyball. You want me to win and B'Elanna wants Tom to win," Harry explained. Seven even smiled at that example. She knew that Harry won about half of all the volleyball games. It was better than his pool game but still she thought that he should stick to Parisee squares were he was ship's champion.
The race ended when a man on a high stand waved a black and white checked flag. The car in the lead went to a place called victory lane even thought it just a place with a checkerboard painted on the grass.
Seven enjoyed to race but had great difficulties afterwards. Too many people were trying to go to the same place at once. The chaos of the crowd caused her to become visibly upset and Harry called for the arch. He took her back to his quarters to relax. She had become distressed the number of bodies pressing in from all sides. Harry finally gave up and called Lena.
They traded charges, he went and babysat for Nick and Pete and Lena came and talked to Seven. Three hours later, Seven was feeling better and was calm. She knew that she could handle smaller crowds but the huge crowd had overwhelmed her. The randomness was over whelming to her. To be Borg meant that every thing and everyone was ordered, disorder on such a grand scale was difficult to understand or function in. She laid down on Harry's bed and was drifted off to sleep when Lena left. Lena explained to Harry exactly why Seven had became upset before she sent him home. Lena didn't ask if he kicked Seven out of his bed or just crawled in with her.
The Captain had been meaning to get Seven her own quarters but the huge effort involved with the shuttle project had put the remodeling of quarters as a low priority. She still needed to spend eight hours a week in her Borg regeneration chamber and one of the chambers would have to be installed before she could move it. Harry wasn't sure why she couldn't have regular quarters and just visit the chambers when needed it.
She had was now falling asleep in both Harry's and Lena's quarters with regularity. She didn't exactly dislike the cargo bay but it was a reminder of the past. It didn't seem like it should be part of the future. Lena was working on getting Seven temporary quarters that she could use until an alcove could be moved. The alcoves required special power systems that were not difficult to work with but were time consuming for an engineering staff that was already overworked.
The first test of the mock-up came just a week after the completion of the holoprogram. Tom was at the helm. B'Elanna and Seven were in engineering, Harry was in the co-pilot's seat. They fired up the engines for a simple straight line cruise at impulse with an empty cargo bay.
"Initiating Engines," Tom called down to Engineering.
"Fire it up, Tom. The engines are ready for the test," B'Elanna replied. She was working the engine controls while Seven was monitoring the engines, power use, environmental controls, and hull integrity. Harry on the command deck was monitoring the speed, shields, hull stress and the deflector arrays.
"Engaging," Tom reported. "I'm going to 1/4 impulse. I'm starting the time count. We need to stay at this speed for 15 minutes. Report. B'Elanna?"
"Everything's looking good down here."
"Seven?" Tom called.
"All reading within the acceptable specifications."
"Check the speed. My monitor says we are going 8.74% over 1/4 impulse."
Tom stated to run diagnostics to find the speed discrepancy. It wasn't much but later at slipstream, going a little too fast could destroy the ship. He searched for five minutes to find that the control calibrations were slightly off. They shut down and he recalibrated it. They restarted, this time they ran the full test of achieving a quarter impulse, half impulse, three- quarters impulse and then full impulse and stayed at each new speed for 15 minutes. They had reams of data that they had to review before the next test.
Overall it was a successful test. The data had indicated that the shuttle was stable and safe at low speeds. Later tests showed that the ship could make breakthrough speed even overloaded by 20%. The shuttle was stable and safely traveling at slipstream after a few bugs were found and corrected. The next set of tests were for durability and for writing procedures for the operation of the ship.
They followed a set procedure of testing that was part of the Starfleet regulations. They also added many of their own tests because of the slipstream drive.
Tom decided to take advantage of the first 48-hour test. He scheduled himself and B'Elanna on one 12-hour shift and Seven and Harry on the other.
The test progressed normally with few problems, he knew that everything that they said over the comm system was being recorded as part of the test record so Tom decided not to call down to B'Elanna. He had figured out how to lock the crew quarters so that they could have some privacy.
When Harry relieved Tom at the end of the shift, he met B'Elanna in the crew lounge for a dinner. He replicated lasagne pinwheels with a green salad and chocolate terrine, three of her favorite dishes. He set the table with a small candelabra and dimmed the lights. He pulled out B'Elanna's chair as she came in.
She smiled. They had decided that they would not bring any other work with them on this trip, that included Tom's medical texts. Dinner looked like the beginning of a romantic evening with no interruptions. She looked at dinner and again was thankful that Tom loved to pamper her. She hated it when Tom pampered her too much but a little was fun.
She allowed him to seat her. He sat down across from her and opened his mouth to start talking. He closed it without speaking. He repeated this three times before starting, "Do you know I can't think of anything to talk about that isn't about work? We have been working too much lately."
She took a bite of salad, "I do have a small tidbit that isn't about work. Do you want to hear it?"
"Seven was telling me about Nick and Pete. Nick is starting to crawl. Yesterday, Seven was changing his diaper. He rolled over, kicked the diaper and crawled away from her. She was shocked that baby could move that fast on all fours. I could just see him trying to escape the diaper. That kid is a nudist at heart. Pete's is now getting up on his hands and knees and rocking back and forth," B'Elanna told him.
He laughed, Nick had always kicked and fussed about getting his diaper changed. Getting the old one off was easy but he would try everything that he could think of the avoid the new one. "I feel sorry for Lena, within the year, those two will be running her ragged. She can manage them I'm sure, but they are going to be a handful."
B'Elanna laughed, knowing that the boys were a handful now and that toddlers can be ever worse.
"Ever think about have a few of your own?" Tom asked. He knew that he was in a dangerous area but his dreams of marriage and family were on the line.
"A time or two, children have always seemed like a future event," she answered.
"I have always thought of one or two, but like you, they were always far in the future," Tom told her. He smiled, "Do you have any plans for this evening?"
"No, but I bet that you do." She knew what he was planning something or he wouldn't have used the candles on the table.
"I have a few ideas. I put a lock on the crew quarters' door. Would you like to retire for the evening? I'll even let you throw heavy objects at me," he joked.
"I would love to know were all those rumors about us started. I have never broken any of your bones or thrown stuff at you, well that one time but I was really mad and you deserved it. Why do we have a reputation for being so rough?" an outraged B'Elanna retorted.
"Wishful thinking. If it really bothers you, go talk to Lena. You didn't answer me, do you want my body or not?" Tom joked.
"I'll think about it. Keep eating you'll need your strength," she told him, not joking.
After they cleaned up the dishes from dinner, she took his hand and led him into the crew quarters. She turned half way there to kiss him. He hugged her close but keep moving them towards the crew quarters. When they passed through the door, she turned, made the sure that no cameras were on and locked the door.
"Harry, why is the crew quarters locked?" Seven asked
"Tom and B'Elanna are in there. Why?" Harry asked
"The lock on that door was not in the design. It shows as a malfunction on my engineering screens," she answered.
"Don't worry about it. I'm sure that Tom will put the lock in the design. He was going to do some work on the offices so that they could be converted into crew quarters if needed. Bringing the total people that can live here up to 12," Harry told her.
"Why more crew?"
"So that if the crew needs to bring more crew members back with them, they have room. Hot rack is not my idea of fun."
"Hot rack?" Seven asked, perplexed.
"It's an old navy term for having more crew than beds. One person would get out of bed and some one else would get into it before it cooled down. It caused huge arguments. Just think if they bring back six more crew members then some one won't have to work as many extra shifts. More hands to help keep Voyager going."
"Is more crew always better?"
"No, but we are down 30 people from the official crew requirement of 180," Harry explained. He himself wanted another competent Ops person so that he could have some more time off and have more time for special projects.
"What are we having for breakfast?"
"Seven, do you know that everything we say is going in the official record?" Harry asked.
"No, I opened a separate channel so that we may speak freely," Seven stated. It was an idea that she had gotten from the doctor when the aliens had been experimenting on the crew. "According to both the Captain and Lena, confidentiality is required in many situations. Remember to make all shuttle related inquires through the onboard com channel."
"What do you think we are going to do, talk dirty?" Harry joked.
"What does soil have to do with language?" Seven asked, not understanding his terminology, again.
"Talking dirty is actually when two people make sexually suggestive conversation."
"Does this act as an aphrodisiac?" Seven asked, intrigued by this new area of sexual conduct.
"For some. It's word games where each word has a double meanings. After our shift, I'll explain it better," Harry stated, knowing that he did not want to mistakenly get some of that conversation into the official record.
Their breakfast was pancakes with syrup. Seven spent breakfast being introduced into the world of word games and double entre. Harry and Seven both retired to the crew quarters, to their own beds.
The second day was as uneventful as the first. B'Elanna had to laugh. They were working 12-hour shifts and were considering it light duty. They deserved a very long vacation for this.
The Captain was looking for Tom. She wanted a report on the last test-- a week-long cruise, overloaded by 20% of design capacity. "Computer, where is Lt. Paris?"
"Lt. Paris is in his quarters," the computer told her.
This was unusual. He lived at B'Elanna's. What was he doing in his old quarters. When she walked to the door, it opened without her announcing herself. She was in for an even bigger shock when she entered Tom 'quarters.' The couch was gone, replaced with a table with four chairs. Tom's regulation size desk had been replaced with one almost as big as her own and it was pilled high with padds and components. The shelves were stuffed with even more engineering components and padds. The wall behind the desk was decorated with a large schedule of testing, personnel assigned to the tests, meeting of the design team and a cryptic notes SB and MSS. The long wall near the replicater had an even larger schedule with the beginnings of the construction schedule started.
Tom had came out of the old bedroom, that had been turned into a store room. "Captain, I didn't hear you come in. Can I help you?" Tom asked, thinking nothing of the massive changes that had happened to his quarters.
She continued to look around and answered, "I wanted a report about the last test."
"The shuttle worked even better that we first anticipated. We overloaded it but it made the entire week-long run using only 2% more energy than when it is loaded to design capacity. It seems to have the makings of a work horse vessel, durable and forgiving. Because we wanted to get as much testing as possible done, we have never totally shut down the simulation. We put it into 'space dock' mode," Tom walked over to the desk and started looking for a padd. "Running totals, 412 hours in slip stream, 137 hours at impulse. No major problems. B'Elanna's going to give it a final inspection after the next test, the 21-day test to simulate going from Voyager to Earth."
"When will the report be finished?" She asked.
"Tomorrow morning. I was just finishing it up, I only have 7 hours left for this week," Tom commented.
"Hours left?" She inquired, confused by his comment.
"Chakotay ordered me to only work 60 hours a week. I have four hours at the helm tomorrow and that leaves three for the report, and briefing the crew for the next test," Tom dropped to his desk chair. "I tried to slip in a few extra hours, but B'Elanna ratted on me."
"Why are you restricted to 60 hours?" She was confused. To make 60 the top limit meant that he was putting in more than that at one time.
"Chakotay stated, 'You working yourself to death will only make me a target a murderous B'Elanna.'" Tom laughed, remembering how he had argued with Chakotay about the time limit. "Chakotay also got Doc in on the restriction."
She let the time limit drop but made a mental note to review his time reports. She examined the schedule. "What is SB and MSS?"
"Sickbay duty and medical school simulations," He told her, enjoying her shock at the mention of medical school. "Did you think that I didn't know what Doc had in mind? I know, helpers don't need to know how to do surgery and many other things that Doc has been determined that I learn."
It was her turn to laugh. "You must have figured it out much earlier than I did. I think that I started to suspect after Steth."
"A week after the Doc came back from the Alpha quadrant. He started using much different texts than before. I think that the away mission scared him. If he didn't come back or is off line, we would without trained medical personnel. He takes his job much too seriously to let that happen," Tom told her.
They chatted for a few more minutes before she left. Tom's office, for want of a better term, would work as the construction headquarters for the shuttle. She just had to decide who was going to be in charge. Tom and Harry weren't qualified, B'Elanna was overworked just being chief engineer, and Seven didn't have the people skills needed for the job. She was tempted to put Chakotay in charge of the construction but she needed him to continue with his current duties.
The last test was a disaster. The Captain had picked out three different crews so that she had a large pool of people that were trained on the shuttle's equipment and knew how to use it.
The incident happened during the third week. A new crew was working the shuttle when what appeared to the helmsman that a small glitch appeared. He called Tom, as project director, for instructions.
"Mock-up to Lt. Paris," Tom's combadge rang. He was on one of his half days on the bridge, enjoying flying his beautiful Voyager again. Chakotay and the Captain were coming out of her ready room as the call came in.
Tom answered, "Paris."
"We have a small problem, One of the plasma conduits appears to be over-heating," Murphy reported.
"Shut down the slip stream engines, go to 1/4 impulse and have your engineering person run diagnostics," Tom ordered.
"I can handle it at slip stream," Murphy stated.
"Shut it down. That isn't a request, it both an order and procedure," Tom ordered.
"I can handle it," Murphy stated again.
"If that shuttle isn't at a dead stop in 30 seconds, you will be cleaning Jeffries tubes for the next six weeks," Tom threatened. He knew that B'Elanna would back up that threat. Tom waited to hear either Murphy's reply or the mock-ups computer acknowledging the shutdown. What he heard was worse. It sounded like the conduit had blown.
"We're at a full stop," Murphy reported after the conduit explosion.
"Anyone hurt?" Tom demanded.
"Meyers and Carey, nothing serous."
Tom closed his eyes and counted under his breath. "Halt the holoprogram, but don't turn it off. Evacuate it and see that the injured get to sickbay. Contact me when you have completed those tasks." He was both angry and frustrated. He knew that this could be a major disaster both for the design and the crew. Murphy was going on report, his actions were reckless and endangered the crew. Tom knew that he was a bad choice for a crew member, the guy couldn't even clean up after a three-year-old. Remembering back to when he had taken care of Naomi for the week, and learned the difference between a baby sitter and just an adult who was there. Murphy was in the last group.
"Don't worry about Murphy, I'll take care of him, Chakotay stated, leaving the bridge on his way to sickbay.
"Paris to Torres," Tom called before anyone else had a chance.
"Torres," She stated. She knew that he was supposed to be on the bridge today and was wondering why he would call her.
"B'Elanna, there's trouble on holodeck 3. A conduit exploded in the simulation. I had the crew halt the program. When can engineering spare a team to investigate?"
"What do you need to know?" she asked. She know what regulations said but with the new design, Tom might want to know more information.
"The usual, and if it is a design flaw, material flaw or a maintenance problem. Don't worry about how long it takes, we need definitive answers," Tom told her. He sighed and returned his attention to the helm. He was angry that someone would get hurt during the simulation, the holodeck safeties could only work so far. The shuttle mock-up was a huge program with six people scattered in it and the safeties had prevented any the major injuries, he hoped.
The Captain came up behind him and put her hand on his shoulder. "Every project has problems."
"Captain, I just realized how frustrating your job is. I want to go down and strangle Murphy for disobeying orders. It might be a minor blessing that I'm not in sickbay," Tom told her.
She laughed and returned to her command station.
B'Elanna's engineering report was delivered three days latter. It was a welcome surprise.
"...The plasma conduits are a highly stressed area of the ship. It's not a design flaw, we have no way to lessen the stress with the materials that we have. The cause of the failure was normal use...."
She paused to breath and consult her notes. "We had the mock-up running continuously for 1288 hours. We had it at impulse for 127 hours, at slipstream for 795 hours and in dock mode for 366 hours. We need to change the conduits after approximately 1150 hours."
"The good news is that this was a normal malfunction. The hours at slip stream suggest that the crew will have to change the conduits while they're in the alpha quadrant," B'Elanna told the senior staff. "The conduit is fixed and the crew can return to the simulation to finish the test."
B'Elanna thought she hear a collective sigh of relief. Tom had relaxed back into his chair. The design was still on track and he knew that this was just one for the bugs they had to deal with. Funny, he thought about it, 'bugs' a term used to describe problems since the Twentieth Century but no one remembered why it was used. He made a mental note to himself, 'long vacation.'
The last test was completed successfully. The testing had actually taken ten weeks rather than the eight originally scheduled.
Mock-up Stage Completed,
Go to Construction Phase
Go back to Design Phase
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The race was a NASCAR Winston cup race. I used parts of the Bristol and Texas Moter speedways in my description.