Monday, February 25, 2013

Relic - Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Reyard sat at his desk at home that had a dedicated Daystrom adapted comms interface on it. Normally he would call up holo displays when he needed direct comms with any person or system, but the Daystrom system required its own input link to a device that Reyard now carried with him at all times. That device had his quantum encoding recorded in it and was part of the wearable, stipped down and miniaturized M-3 system that he now carried with him. He hadn't wanted the burden of that, until Enid had explained the threat of the Swarm and that no longer could transporters or sub-space comms be expected to be secure unless there were quantum cross-links to foil data capture and decoding. Karl had worked out the basics of that to ensure that Enid's designs couldn't easily be copied, and it had the side benefit of creating a purely quantum set of connections that allowed for more than just user to weapon security, but one that could extend over every individual with that modified M-3. Normal sub-space comms could now be encrypted in a way that made it impossible to decode the messages without having that connectivity. At the same time sub-space scanners would no longer be able to track anyone having that system with them.

On that Daystrom screen were all of the tracking data he had for every outbound employee in the section that Ushanda and he ran. He looked up as Ushanda walked by his open door in the hall and she waved at him, while continuing to talk with someone on her comms system. Their children were at their mid-morning mentoring session and would soon be going through their physical activity regimen for the day. Looking at the screen he remembered a conversation he had with Commodore Blacks, who suggested that all family members start thinking about personal safety as the business they were in would tend to garner individuals with grudges. He pointed out that this wasn't limited to the immediate adults, but anyone that the Daystroms cared about which was, most pointedly, their children. That had brought on a long talk with Ushanda, Eileen and Karl, and Blacks had been able to offer a few trusted individuals who could help on this in Sol System. Reyard had thought this would be a 'hard sell', even as they all agreed it must be done, and that the children would balk at it. He forgot who pointed out that this was just following in the footsteps of Enid, but whoever it was had an immediate effect on each of the children. They were coming to make a hero out of Enid, and if they could be more like her...

Reyard sighed.

"Kids," he said softly to himself.

A soft intonation and change on the Daystrom screen meant that he had a sub-space contact and that it was with Raul Edrera who had just found an old hulk of a starship that just might be brought in for salvage. Or even bring itself in with the M-Series equipment he had been given for the project.


" 'Easy to move around and install', she said," Raul Edrera muttered to himself, pushing an M-Cluster console over to the cargo hatch of the Klingon ship.

"Which 'she' is that, Mr. Edrera?" came the voice of Captain Suval via the comm link to Raul's suit.

"Huh? Oh, just a second, one of the rigging cables has gotten loose," and it had, so the entire skid that now held the main console was drifting off in the general direction of the open hatch due to the push he had to give it to get it moving in that general direction, but the cable that was supposed to slow it that had been attached to the shuttle had gotten loose.


Reaching out Raul grabbed and quickly tried to find a stanchion or other attachment point to wrap the cable around. He saw one, just a mere half meter behind him, but by that time the full force of the nearly one ton mass moving at just millimeters per second was dragging him along the hull of the ship. Even with a powered suit, one really did have to be able to lock their legs in place and have the boot attachment system actually adhere to something relatively massive so as to then utilize leverage and transfer some of that momentum from the one mass to the other.

"The bastard thing..." Raul said as he skidded on the hull looking desperately for anything to grab on to as the skid now hit one side of the hatch and the other side was beginning to move around that and upwards relative to the hull. As it started to do that the loose cable that Raul Edrera was holding on to came taught and pulled him up and away from the hull in an arc that was going to wind up with him having some of that momentum at a distance on what would be a centripetal maneuver very much like a whip, save not as fast. And no breaking of any sound barrier, either. His bones on the other hand, were another matter.

"Ah, I see you have run into the lack of magnetic responsive alloy again, Mr. Edrera. That is a particularly novel hull design and alloy composition used for the construction of that vessel's hull," Suval said calmly as Raul was being pinwheeled around and over the hatch and saw the hull on either side of the hatch.

"No shit," Raul barely whispered shifting his body.

He shifted his grip, moved his legs to either side of the outstretched cable and triggered his thrusters. Years of training paid off, yet again, as he had properly aimed his thrusters to keep the cable taut and counter some of the momentum that had been moving him towards an unpleasant, though survivable, impact. He killed his thrusters just as his momentum stopped and, perforce, so did that of the skid, save for a very, very slow movement away from the hull. The cable was now slack and Raul gave a slight kick from his thruster towards the hatch and a cargo stanchion which he quickly used to run the cable through it so the ship would now get that very faint momentum as the skid pulled it taut.

"'Doesn't mass all that much, and has the extra units you will need put together all in one console,' she said. A ton and a half isn't much? Where did she grow up? Utopia Planitia? SFHQ overhaul bays?" Raul muttered climbing the cable to get to the skid so he could properly position it to be moved into the ship.

"Ah, the same woman, Mr. Edrera?" Suval asked.

Looking at the cable arrangement he had hooked up to allow a very small traction motor to pull loads down to engineering and then stop them, Raul started to move attachment loops on the pulley system and then onto the attachment points on the skid.

"Uh, yeah, same woman," he said as he was shifting to affix the attachement points evenly and ensure that the self-spacing cargo cables were properly affixed and ready to do their job. He pressed the control panel and the cables moved and the final skid attached to it moved into the accessway and towards engineering.

"Kathy Lorimar," he said as he grabbed an attachment point as it passed and followed the skid through the opening originally used to move large sections of the warp core into the vessel. "She said that Karl had put together a condensed prototype unit as the M-5/V of the Grant had indicated an expanded need for M-2/V units so this has a gang of them."

"You did check the sub-manifest for that skid?" Suval asked.

"Sure. Multiple times. Why?"

"There is an old style, full-power portable APU on that skid along with the M-unit listing."

"There is an APU listed, its modern, though. Compact microfusion system for powering up automated systems," Raul responded.

"That is the second system on the manifest. The first one is under the 'General Support Equipment' sub-manifest in the 'Power Accessories' area, line 35 sub-part 'b'. Addenda added by Karl Daystrom to the original by one Alexander Jomra. You did check that part of the manifest?"

Raul Edrera thought quickly as the cable smoothly moved the load further into the depths of the Klingon Dreadnought, then grabbed onto it to head into the following the equipment skid.

"That section is just for cabling, though..." Raul said and brought up the manifest on the inside of his helmet visor. "There isn't a... oh... line 35?"

"Yes, Mr. Edrera, that is the line in question and the only object that would take up most of that mass for the cargo skid."

"So she wasn't lying, then..." he said doing a look-up on the equipment. "Say, this came from the plant in Indiana! Looks to be a pretty old unit but refurbished by Charles Wollat. They built that equipment good in those days. I should know, I spent the better part of a day helping to get it out of the building it was in."

"I was surprised that you did not realize the mass involved with the main cargo skid. That is now explained. You have been doing well the past two days, Mr. Edrera. You have four days, sixteen hours and ten minutes left before our delay time is at an end and our ship must leave here."

"So noted, Captain Suval. I thank you for offering to lend me a crewman to help, but this is one of those jobs where help would get in the way. No matter how big the ship is, the actual work that needs to be done makes another person redundant. Or at least that is what Kathy said."

The engineering deck was coming into view as the light at the end of the tunnel grew larger. Cabling slowed via the traction system and the skid came to a halt just above the main floor of the engineering deck. He let go before the system came to a full halt and let the velocity take him past the side of the skid and to the decking which was, thankfully, had magnetic capability. By shifting the motor contol he was able to get the skid down to the decking and attached to it via a small permanent magnet system.

There were actual lock-downs to go through the grating that served as the floor, but the warnings from Karl, Kembe, Charles and Tananda about low temperature brittleness of certain composites were ones he took to heart. Until there was something a bit above the ambient 4 degrees above absolute zero (around -274 degrees centigrade) that the vessel had, he was to treat it gingerly. For such a hulking vessel it was hard to picture it as brittle.

"I'm down and the skid is secured. I'll be busy with set-up here, Captain Suval, but have transponders set up across the areas of engineering I'm expected to go to."

"Very well, Mr. Edrera. I will set our systems to give you periodic updates as well as background feeds in case you need any of our datasets."

"Thank you, Captain. Now I need to get busy."

"Understood. TL-51621, out."

Each of the major skids was a self-powered unit, but not made to operate in zero-g and Alex Jomra had made sure that the sides of any sub-box or crate on each skid could serve as a radiant energy panel to direct low level radiant energy at certain pieces of equipment. That was the first item on the to-do list from his arrival at the ship and those units had been operating at a low level since that time. The rest of the ship was still at that 4 degree mark, but the central area of engineering was now heading into the 80 degree Kelvin or -195 centigrade, which is past a major turning point for boiling liquid gasses such as nitrogen and with another 15 degrees or so he would be at that point for oxygen. As it stood Klingon design made that range the low end where their structures started to regain good metallic bonds in certain materials. Like the flooring, although he was putting the new skid behind the last so as not to interrupt the slow flow of heat, but that would soon get a major boost.

He linked into the skid's data system and it informed him that only the skid base would be necessary for the equipment for thermal regulation. Particularly for item in line 35 sub-part b. Raul smiled and opened the major container surfaces and placed them upright but facing the container. Upright being to the local floor, but not held in place by anything. A series of 6 smaller boxes, with labels for adapters, connectors, and other miscellaneous equipment to allow Federation series systems to hook up to Klingon ones he moved off the side of the skid and kept them magnetically attached to each other. Four larger boxes indicated M-Series unit cables and connectors plus some more of the actual M-Series equipment. Beneath those were two longer and flatter boxes with cable, lots of cable. Under those were the largest box, the Indianapolis APU, a major M-Series gang housing system, a smaller box containing the electonics APU and then two more boxes of cable.

One Ship Emergency Rescue System in two relatively large skids.

Some assembly required.

The first thing to do was clear: start up the larger APU then position the larger panels from the skid's main crate so they could be aimed at the upper and lower engineering areas. The other two were to start taking over the job of the previous four as they would be needed elsewhere. Raul Edrera started up the APU and was greeted with its indicators going on, a quick self-test of the equipment and then going into minor operational stand-by as it should do with no load. Now the fun could really start.


Raul was finally done with running around, installing shunts, bypasses, retreiving computer modules from the security stations, and letting the active heaters do their job at the engineering APU system as well as the main engineering decks. He admitted that the set-up advice from Alex and Karl had been worthwhile as it allowed him to familiarize himself with the generally simple layout of Klingon comms and data systems which had redundant cross-feed capability to re-route information in case parts of a vessel fell under mutiny. Many of those had been utilized by the now dead crew, so they each required a small, hand held thermal heater to ensure that each panel was warm enough to actually remove their by-passes and ensure a normal data feed via the standard cabling of the ship.

The M-Series set-up started with M-1s that needed simple connections to the Klingon vessel, and Alex had put in an engineering identification program so that his suit's systems could properly identify Klingon terms along with standard connectors. Klingon standard connectors, that is. After the first hour Raul had put in all the adapters for Federation standard connectors so that each M-1 would be able to actually interface with the ship's systems, once they came on-line. He had gone through installing all of those connections and turned on the smaller APU for the M-1s, then installed the gang connections between them and three of the M-2s, and then a final connection to the major housing that held the rest of the M-Series equipment.

At that point only a single M-1 was active and that was the one that was monitoring the anti-matter cache of the ship. It examined the charge level in the superconductive materials that contained the anti-matter, pronounced it at 80% charge level and safe to operate. It then fed in power through the standard superconductive cabling and announced that the anti-matter storage system was nominal, fully charged and now secured. That M-1 had been simple to work with, the others were coming up with null readings, the M-2/V web announced itself on stand-by awaiting more inputs, and that sent him on cross-feed chases around engineering and then to the APU room off of the lower engineering deck to hook up a radiator and power cable from the large APU still on its pad from the level above, using pre-wired by-passes in engineering to make a connection at the upper level and take that feed in at the APU. The M-1 on that connection came up null due to the lack of impedence on the Klingon side of things, which was due to the ship's connectors being so very cold. That M-1 told him that and was waiting for a solid connection before it could seek a data stream. He found a few single use heating pads in one of the boxes, along with rechargeable ones, and placed one on each of the connectors. It would take time to get a positive contact throughout that system, and the radiator panel moved into the APU room should warm that equipment up enough to allow it to operate.

That is what Alex Jomra laid out, at least, on the 'what to do if you can't get a connection' list. It only took a few minutes as contact conductive heating is generally faster than radiative heating as more heat can be transfered across a given surface area in an attempt to get the heating pad to ambient temperature.

When that connection got made some indicators actually became active in engineering beyond the the single one for the anti-matter cache which required a positive pad push to get, and that started up a few of the M-1s and then the M-2s came on-line to better coordinate things. What Karl had pointed out in his recordings was that the fastest way to get any vessel warmed up and running was with an atmosphere in it, and that required the main atmospheric holding tanks for the ship to be warm enough so that they could be opened and then trickle feed liquid into a nebulizer system. All of that required one of the ship's APUs. Getting power to any single APU would allow the entire start-up process to proceed, which was what happened when the portable large APU he brought made its connection with the Klingon one. With power moving through parts of the system under the guidance of its M-1, there was the first beginnings of resistance to current flow and the generation of heat inside the unit. With heat its on-board sensors would operate, take stock of the situation, allow hydrogen feed would be able to open and start the electorstatic fusion process which would then be guided by that M-1 to the systems first necessary to get the ship's atmospheric containment warmed and to begin the process of shutting all the airlocks.

Raul had made getting a connection to the shuttle's comm systems one of the first priorities so that he could rest in the ship between tasks. Hours and hours of tasks, but there was time to just look around too and take some stock of the bodies he kept pushing in the aft direction down main corridors. The body count stood at 178, so far, including a number of the highest ranking officers that would normally be on a starship, and a lot of the crew. Some had just died as their suit systems gave out on them, those were mostly the low end crewmembers not of Klingon stock. Violence was seen with them, too, as with the mid and upper tier officer cadre which all seemed to have violent ends to their lives.

"M-2/V web active, multiple units on stand-by. Preliminary assessment check, complete. Integration of Klingon standard shipyard codes, complete. Klingon processing sub-unit for power systems, available."

There was no voice to that, just a readout on the inside of Raul's helmet. He drifted over to the various M-Series components and watched them begin to access each other and seek out contacts with the ship. A dull glow of an active console came from the Chief Engineers office, which would have all the critical read-outs for engineering. He drifted over there to examine the read outs on the Klingon system with his suit interpreting them as they changed. A large number of the indicators were those not relating to normal operating status but shipyard status, as well as missing security units in the system, which Raul had removed as part of the start-up procedure. As far as he could determine by tracing out the cybernetic control systems indicated by Alex and Karl, this ship no longer had any capability for an internal security system, and the engineer's console indicated that as well as shipyard access codes flowing into the system to hibernate normal computer code of the ship.

Status indicators for cyber storage systems flashed on, and the entire suite of code from the ship downloaded into those systems which then went off-line, requiring a hard reset somewhere in the bowels of the ship. What happened next shocked Raul as he hadn't expected it: console indicators reconfigured to Star Fleet standard types, where available, and indicators for the M-2/V web showed up. The code analysis suites within the M-2/V web utilized a number of basic tools for interepretation of Klingon cyber code, then adapted and adjusted to those and flowed into a hardware system not designed along duotronic or multitronic lines. The M-2/V was not just interfacing with the ship's cybernetic systems, it was becoming the ship's cybernetic systems.

From the console he now got direct M-2/V output.

"M-2/V power systems analysis complete. Single APU function is now independent of portable system. Mr. Edrera is requested to disconnect the panel for that system and power contacts and make contacts to the warp core coolant system for the radiant panel."

Raul blinked. Of course it knew he was there and was given his background assessment, which had been done by the M-5/V at the Museum. It was beginning to get a list of next available tasks that could be done faster by an autonomous sentient being with certain skill sets, known as Raul Edrera.

It also had a timeline for projected start-up given current conditions at it was a month away.

"Ah... if it will take that long to do, then I should probably just leave you here to do it..." he heard himself saying.

From the console came an altered timeline if he stayed. It was 26 hours long.


There is nothing as vital, as compelling, and deeply moving as knowing that what you do can and does matter. Raul Edrera made the mental calculation of the value of him being out at the old KNZ worlds trying to get intel, or staying to bring this huge vessel back to life. Since he suggested this idea and it appealed to him, this was an instant decision.

"Just let me know what you need, ok? I can't get some of this done quickly due to zero-g, but can't do others with a gravity field."

From the console came: "Acknowledged. Thank you, Mr. Edrera."

It was the simplest statement of appreciation by a computer system that had only been on a few hours. Yet it went beyond what Raul Edrera had ever felt for similar compliments from other sentient constructs in humanoid form or those in standard holodeck creations. He was at the birth of a new sentient being and it needed his help.

"You're welcome, M-2. I'll let you know when I'm done."

"Acknowledged, Mr. Edrera. Current systems are nominal, power-up procedures are in-place. Help will be necessary to close off decks to allow for atmosphere and warming to continue. Contact with the forward boom sensors are now in-place, external visual sensors are on-line. Further M-Unit activation awaiting contingent power-up in 10 hours."

As he floated down to the lower engineering level, Mr. Edrera took stock of the thermal differences between the active and inactive consoles in engineering and noted the entire area was, slowly, warming up. This nameless prototype vessel was not just powering up, but waking up for the first time, ever, all due to one man alive, one man dead and two women who helped him by taking him at his word. Then there would be actually getting the ship to where it was supposed to go.

What could go wrong with that?


In 10 hours Raul had seen the intimate environs of the Klingon vessel, particularly in and around engineering, but also ducts and external vents that all needed examination and closing. There had been no Klingon lubricants available, or sealants for that matter, from what Mr. Jomra shipped to him so he had to find the Klingon storage area which held the necessary canisters and seal reinforcements. Plus a handy tool to trigger the release for each set of doors to allow them to close. This was not all that easy, considering that the ship had no real signage put in place as that was a finishing job for a crew to do final fit and finish for a vessel. This ship had never gotten that treatment as it was not fully constructed. He had to make due with his suit's integrated translation system overlaying Klingon hand-scrawled markers put in by the work crews.

The further he got from the engineering decks the harder the task of deciphering became as storage areas were obviously high traffic and well known storage places for work crews which needed little in the way of indicators. Getting through doors that had been gently sealed shut by the cooling of the vessel's structure required the use of the rechargeable heating pads and aiming some of the larger radiative surfaces from the main portable APU down corridors so as to gently re-expand the metal. A millimeter or two across 10 meters of corridor may not seem like much, but it made a large difference between getting doors to slide or having them bound in their recessed tracks. It was a step-wise process of heating a corridor, placing heating packs, then opening a doors to see what was behind them. He had gotten used to finding of mini-security stations for restraining or abusing a crewman or five placed at regular intervals down corridors.

There were also bunk quarters for work crews, communal lavatories, unfilled lockers in storage areas, and some rooms that just weren't finished at all that allowed him to see up or down a number of decks behind installed material like decking and power conduits. He would place one set of heaters in a corridor then go to another one which had been working and check out that corridor, gather any useful materials, then shift and move that equipment to another corridor before going back to the last new set-up which should be ready for examination.

Rail lubricant and a Klingon security door opener were easy to find, relatively speaking, with the former at a more or less completed storeroom just a deck down from engineering and the other at a security station that had been finished so that security officers had a place to 'discipline' crewmembers. The general layout of door systems followed that of the K'tinga and Vor'cha Classes of ships, which was not surprising given that the same family technical organization that had made those had also drafted the designs for this vessel. There were some enigmas in what would be the highest numbered decks, thus lower from engineering, along the underside of the ship in that many of those corridors were in a seeming state of partial completion and many appeared to have doors, lighting and other fixtures installed not on the deck but the relative ceiling. Even with that the general plan of the ship remained much what one would expect it to be and he chalked up the strangenesses to the problems of prototypes under development in a shipyard. In mere hours he had a general layout of the decks surrounding Engineering in a database, along with with captured imagery and automatic tagging of items via his suit's systems.

Getting a 3-axis set of airtight containment of decks and compartments was difficult, laborious, tedious, time consuming, but necessary, as the M-2/V could only do so much with conductive heat transmission from the APUs. This simple task took him to the surface of the ship to coax a few of the open vents closed and it required the largest amount of time as there was no easy way to get the vents to close, save via spot heating. The M-2/V indicated that it could utilize internal cut-offs to stop atmosphere from escaping, but those needed to be warmed up, first, and the large number of them that were behind bulkheads or otherwise not easily accessible which made closing the exterior exhaust ports a better option. He could spend days crawling around down air ducts and between unfinished spaces between decks and corridors, but it was much simpler to spend the hours necessary to close the few ducts at the ship's surface and utilize the emergency airflow cut-offs from security stations to isolate the mid-section of the rear hull than to do that. He had checked those systems over for connection status when going to remove programming start-up modules in his earlier set of quests around the ship.

M-2/V had not been idly waiting during this time, as it was getting a feel for the ship it was in and how it worked. Klingon cyber systems had yielded some ship schematics, diagrams and other materials that it analyzed so as to understand them and utilize them. As the vessel was incomplete and a prototype, it found many things at variance with the schematics in storage which was either due to lack of construction work on them or on-the-fly changes that weren't documented. Or both. Every ship, from every era, even using the exact, same overall design blueprints would vary from its sister ships in some way due to the differences that happened during construction. Prototypes were notorious for this, but even Ships of the Line of each fleet in the exact, same class, had differences in layout and arrangement between them due to shipyard concerns. Overall their structures would have high degrees of similarity due to the original schematics and blueprints allowing for crew trained in similar vessels to quickly familiarize themselves with their new vessel during crew transfers. Changes in design generally came from fleet officers in charge of the work that then varied ships to allow for 'lessons learned' from existing vessels to be implemented in new builds. Or as on-the-fly changes to cover problems in materials not being properly sized or having other irregularities which meant changing such things as where power conduits would pass through bulkheads. This had not changed since the begining of ship construction of multiple vessels with similar construction design since the building of ships began far back before the Slaver Empire, now dead for billions of years.

Starting with basic, overall design philosophy seen in the D-7, K'tinga and Vor'cha Classes which came as reference works courtesy of Mr. Jomra, M-2/V began to ferret out just what was similar and what was different with this ship as compared to its forebears. All Klingon vessels that utilized major connectors to its port and starboard extended intercoolers to the rear of the secondary hull had strong resemblence to each other as there were limited ways in which the intercooler system could feed into those swept back designs. This ship, being a thick structure one in which the intercoolers were derived with a similar design philosophy, but had major variations as it could get a direct feed to the warp core cooling system and other power systems. As the engineering area warmed up an M-1 unit involved identified those components and tagged them into the general structure's layout. It also identified 3 main cooling units that connected to an intermediate set of warp core cooling systems and which then went to the direct rear of the vessel. There were alternate systems for emergency direct use from the upper and lower areas to the external intercoolers and those were scaled down to meet the needs of cooling their sections of the warp core.

The block diagram schematics for the systems included the fact that warp core coolant did not go directly through to the intercoolers during general operations but through a high capacity heat sink to the rear of the core just aft of the central engineering area. This was not showing up in other ship schematics and the M-1 analyzing the input from that system put a note in place so it showed up as a major design scheme variation. That major variation helped to explain some of the equipment to the rear of the vessel that were getting anamolous tags from Raul's visual inspection system, which had no real referents within his suit's database. Although such a system was known for such things as starbases and base stations, no one in known space had implemented it before on a starship as it was scale dependent for efficient operations. It would serve little purpose on smaller vessels as it didn't have enough mass in relation to surface area, while on larger vessels the mass would prove prohibitive for efficient warp pocket maintenance and generally make the ship sluggish due to mass in normal space encounters. Such a system had practical drawbacks and benefits that had been talked about for years, which included one of added mass versus ability to store large amounts of heat on-board so as to operate ship systems at higher levels of operation for longer periods of time without the need for larger intercooler systems.

By placing the heat sink and indirect coolant systems together with a regulated thermal superconductive material, they served as a linear way for the warp core to lose heat energy at higher operational rates. That design philosophy had been utilized with the standard APU cooling system, as well. What was less obvious was the exterior hull coatings led to the heat sink inside the ship that could store useful heat for various purposes and then utilize the port and starboard intercoolers as necessary to remove waste heat from the system. The problem of cooling such a system had always vexed the engineers looking at it as a concept, and mostly it was ignored for all save the smallest of probes that were single use and high speed or for the largest stationary designs which could afford multiple intercooler systems. The M-1's job was to simply identify the components going to the heat sink and then those going from it to the intercoolers. That M-1 would call for another M-1 to help in this process as the number of coolant systems leading out from the block to the rear of the vessel was far, far higher than was necessary to go out to the pylon systems. This would lead to the entire schematics for the very rear of the hull falling into place to identify just how the Klingons worked that mass/heat transfer trade-off for a vessel this size.

Unintentionally the Klingon design team had just thwarted Enid Daystrom's anti-intercooler rounds from immediately getting to the warp core as the Klingons were willing to forego the extremely efficient intercooler to core system on this vessel and attempt to manage heat build-up in this new, though somewhat less efficient way. The multiple redundancies in this system meant that this ship could sustain coolant loss to 85% of its primary intercooler systems and still achieve warp speeds, albeit low end ones and still cool the system through the remaining 15%. This was achieved as the added mass to an already huge vessel for a heat sink system was low in proportion to a vessel with its volume. This would be unacceptable for any normal vessel of the Vor'cha or even Federation Sovereign Class as the mass would change the entire cooling structure and make such ships somewhat less maneuverable. Beyond probes that could utilize large amounts of surface area for a relatively low mass and the high amounts of surface area under utilized on starbases, no one had initiated such a system for ship design as it was too unwieldy for general use.

This was not just a larger ship, but a different kind of ship, altogether. It was not just an expanded and scaled up version of previous Klingon designs, which would be the norm throughout known space as all other spacefaring peoples did just that. There were many structural similarities in exterior appearance so this vessel was unmistakeably a Klingon ship, but the interior and external variances pointed at a new philosophy of ship construction for a vessel at this scale. The entire design team, construction diagrams, everything that would point to this vessel having been designed and constructed like this had been lost through warfare or intentionally destroyed as the design team left the construction yards with the vessel. Only the Klingon Empire at its highest peak could afford such a luxury of such a design, and when the Empire imploded the ability to have luxuries went with the fading industrial power of the Empire. An Empire secure in its holdings could afford to try something this different. One fighting to survive could not.

The M-1s handling the overall power systems, such as they were, found another set of inputs into the cooling management system that it couldn't figure out. By the way the M-Series worked this problem was then passed up the assignment chain of cognition for further analysis. That task was passed over to an M-2 that had part of the job of making sense of basic sensors as one of its sub-duties. Upon review it then involved the rest of the array to start finding out where those thermal contacts were coming from. The array moved from 3 active M-1 units and 2 active M-2 units to 5 of the M-1 units and 3 M-2s for a short period of time as this appeared to be a critically different variation to the ship's design. There was no power system attached to those inputs, and yet they were, clearly, thermal superconductors with a bi-modal system that could cut off heat movement in either direction. As with an electrical system that used switches and diodes to change current flow, and this system used a simple mechanical change in contact arrangement that would block heat flows in either direction as needed or just disconnect the system completely. At first M-2/V thought it was a solid state form of intercooler, which it was to a degree, but the shunts for it were normally from whatever the heat source was to the ship's cooling systems. In other words this was a system to transfer heat to the intercoolers, in its normal position, not one to help cool the vessel or separate the exterior hull from the interior cooling system.

Nothing like this had ever been described in any design system for any type of starship or base station that M-2/V could find in its records. All solid state cooling systems called for one way directivity, only, and that was from the ship's cooling system to the solid state intercoolers. While still letting its initial warming timeline proceed, the majority of analysis time was now spent on this brand new system and determining what its function was. What could generate heat to a degree necessary to require its removal to the heat sink system? This was a true puzzle to the M-2/V and the code variations it was generating to understand it were proliferating. Internal sensors for those areas that were available, and only two of them were, gave thermal readings, which are relatively simple sensors with two metals annealed to each other and they then generate a current based on heat levels. It was a direct measurement system utilized for centuries. The one set to starboard was only registering some ambient heat from the internal part of the ship as seen elsewhere around engineering. That was 'normal' and as expected. The other was showing just a few hundredths of a degree higher than that normal baseline as seen by all other sensors that were utilized to track the heat of those areas. The gradient map clearly showed a tiny but discernable difference on one side of the ship, the port side.

Inside Raul's helmet a message came up.

"Mr. Edrera can you describe what is on the port side of the vessel's hull?"

Raul blinked.

"The port side?" he turned to look over his shoulder as he had just come from that side of the hull as part of his vent closing activities.


He described what he saw.

"Just to the port of the main zenith hatch is my shuttle and in the distance is the cargo ship that brought me here."

"Thank you, Mr. Edrera. An alternative ship heating plan is now being formulated. You may cease the current sealing operations and return to engineering as this plan will be implemented."

Raul smiled and started to replace his equipment.

"What sort of plan, M-2?"

"I have been utilizing waste heat to warm the intercooler system. I will now divert that to the on-board heat sink system connected to the hull and begin a direct transfer to it so as to allow for normal operational ambient temperature to spread ship-wide."

He carefully set his system to coil the line he had paid out so as to get back to the hatch.

"Uh... heat-sink? Conduct heat to the hull? How is that possible?"

"This vessel utilizes a passive thermal management system for the hull. It is bi-modal and normally operates to remove heat from the hull to the interior of the vessel. Its other mode is in the opposite direction. Waste heat from your shuttle is registering on the port side of the mid-aft thermal system. That sysem will be reversed and waste heat from APUs will go to the heat sink system on-board, and then to the hull. As the hull warms up all standard geometry for hatches will resume and the ship can be closed by section and atmosphere used to speed the process. This has already started. No external equipment will be damaged due to this heat system as it will still be at the low end of Federation Standard Ambient."

Raul looked at the space armor that was the exterior hull of the ship and was beginning to realize it was more than just deadweight armor. The Federation had tried active armor systems, but to little real success. The idea that a purely mechanical, passive system might serve just as well as an energetic one gave Raul pause, even as the decks started to drift by him on his powered descent to engineering via the dragline going through open hatches leading to the interior of the vessel. When he arrived at engineering he watched the line pull up all the way to the unit on the exterior of the hull. As it disappeared the hatches closed behind it.

Additional APUs were coming on-line. Although the M-2/V had not activated any ambient lighting, the lights from the additional indicators made it clear that save for the impulse and warp power systems, engineering was in a ready state of operations.

"All hatches for this section of ship are closed. All bulkhead connectors are closed. Nebulizing atmosphere, shunting through intercooler block rooms. Such atmosphere will be cold and low humidity, even at standard pressure and it is not recommended for direct breathing until humidity and trace elements can be added."

Lighting around engineering came on to their standard dull orange red that Klingons preferred. Raul's suit registered atmospheric pressure and he heard a whistling sound as the atmosphere was being trickle fed into this enclosed portion of the ship. He started to hear the sounds of the ship beyond that, which were a few warning systems giving their low level audibles. Those were stifled by M-2/V and as the whistling disappeard a deep quietness was felt by Raul. He checked the atmospheric indicator which was at -89 degrees centigrade and slowly rising, and nearing standard pressure.

"Would it be ok for me to crack my helmet open to get some clean air in?"

"A partial opening allowing some air in is possible, yes. Precautions on vapor loss and other conditions are advised."


He was tired of being inside the recycled air of the suit. He gingerly slid the faceplate of his suit up and took a short smell of it. He coughed at the coldness that flooded his sinus equivalents, shook his head and drew a slightly longer breath. There was a clearly identifiable smell and it made him gag. Temperatures were rising.

"M-2 I don't think we will have problems with humidity. In fact getting the air liveable will be a major problem, I think, until I get used to the smell."

M-2/V did not respond immediately.

"This is atmosphere stored from the tank system and is pure without contaminants. What is the smell, Mr. Edrera?"

"Death," he said, "we don't know how long the Klingon bodies sat still in an atmosphere. Their fluids and remains were... ahhh...if you don't mind I'd like to store the bodies in an enclosed portion of the ship that will be closer to space ambient?"

"Yes, Mr. Edrera. The decks inward of the shuttle decks are available and should have unused storage bays. I will begin warming those areas directly, next, to facilitate that task, Mr. Edrera."

He closed his helmet.

"Thank you, M-2. I can stand my suit for awhile more. And I will get used to the smell once we are at standard. I've gotten used to worse, just not on a ship. The place needs to be scrubbed down once it is warmed up..."

M-2/V analyzed Andorian standard living conditions, the types of pathogens that might cross from the Klingon species lines to Andorians and otherwise utilized an array of standard options that should be available to any Klingon ship for analysis of atmospheric contents.

"A Klingon hand disruptor set to wide beam and pulsed power will eliminate any biologicals adhering to equipment without damaging it."

"That figures. A nice, neat, clean and easy way to get rid of messes formed by the standard Klingon operating procedures. I'll see if I can find one for recharging once I get the bodies stowed. If you find any more bodies, could you alert me?"

"Yes, Mr. Edrera. Your comfort is necessary for the duration."

He raised an eyebrow as he headed out of engineering to one of the security stations in the sealed section of the ship, just to fore of the engineering mid-deck. His transponder network got him a message.

Raul sighed and shook his head and decided to move towards a security station connected to the rear of engineering.

"This is TL-51621 contacting Raul Edrera. Are conditions changed there, Mr. Edrera?" came the voice of Captain Suval, "We did not expect you to begin closing up the hatches this quickly. Additionally there is now a significant hull temperature beyond space ambient for the central section of the aft hull. Is this intentional or has something gone wrong?"

Raul reached the security station, just in-board of the major bulkhead doors that had slid into place prior to pressurization. He took one of the store of sensor globes he had and placed it on the open door's exterior wall so that it could still get line of sight to engineering and cover the interior of the room.

"I am well, if tired, Capt. Suval. The SERS system indicated that there was a faster method to begin the sealing process to warm up the ship by sections and I allowed it to proceed in that direction. We would lose no time in any event if this procedure worked and would make it much faster if it did that."

The connection was quiet for a moment, then Suval spoke up.

"Interesting. My sensor officer noted an increase in power output from our direct sensor aimed into the cross-ship hall that went through engineering. Just before it was closed off she indicated that power output was rising, possibly due to other APUs being put into commission."

Raul found the ready rack in the security station and it was, as he expected, unpowered. None of the disruptors indicated any charge within them.

"M-2, when you can spare some energy for this security station, I would like the ready rack to check the function of the equipment in it and recharge any that can be recharged."

"Acknowledged, Mr. Edrera," it replied in text on the interior of his helmet.

The ready rack's power indicators flashed on for a self-check, went through a progressive series of checks as seen on the indicators, and then went on-line. Built-in power base checks trickle fed current into the diruptors, phasers and multi-corders in the rack. A number of each were still available as this room had been sealed when he first got to it and was unsealed to allow for atmospheric integrity for the engineering area. This equipment has discharged decades ago and had sat in the cold ever since the ship powered down. Each sub-area held eight devices, and out of that only two of the multi-corders proved to have suffered due to the cold and could not be charged.

"Is that your SERS system, Mr. Edrera?"

"Yes it is, Captain. It hadn't occured to me that I haven't introduced you to it. M-2/V if you can open up a separate channel via the shuttle? Getting outside sensor work may help you to determine just what some of the equipment here actually does. If you would allow that, Captain Suval?"

There was another pause.

"It is an M-Series computer, as listed on the manifest?"

"That's right, Captain. Not a single computer, however."

"Derived from the work of Richard Daystrom?"

Raul inhaled, turned from the charging system for security equipment and drifted out to the door, plucking the sensor globe as he went. He checked the work list and saw that getting the bodies of the dead crew was prioritized to come after the rear section of the hull was ready to be enclosed and air nebulized into it. As that would take another hour or two he had a higher priority item of moving the various M-Units to secured attachment points in engineering and re-routing their direct connection network via unused comms and power lines.

"I don't think you could call it derived. Or partially derived but never completed. It is a sub-gathering of lower M-Series units to allow it to perform as a SERS: Ship Emergency Rescue System. It was... ahhh... rediscovered as part of a review of M-Series equipment and has gotten Star Fleet acceptance for installation on some vessels headed into refit. I took some additional time studying it during our trip out, at least the major overview beyond my initial briefings and other work."

There was another pause.

"I had taken the SERS to be a simple inventory system to examine what does and does not work on such a vessel that had been abandoned for so long. Your indications are that it is actually examining the vessel and then bringing components of it back online. I think that is a bit more than what you indicated the system could do while we were in-transit. Isn't that sort of system highly dangerous to install on such a capable warship, Mr. Edrera?"

Raul stopped at engineering and looked up to the main array of M-Series equipment and then to the cables that snaked down to panels at this level and a few below it. All of that needed back-up placement or shifting all the SERS systems around. Only the major console unit cross-fitted into some wall space near the Chief Engineer's room on this deck. The rest was just scattered around.

"It is more of a system to see if there is anything that a ship can do to save itself with the help of its crew, Captain Suval. It is a self-rescue system with imperatives to save survivors at all costs and then make any necessary repairs to save as much of the ship as is possible after a disaster. There are many instances in which a ship has been badly damaged and most of the crew killed, but with capability remaining if only the survivors could figure out what to do with it, quickly. The SERS figures that out, integrates with what is left in the cyber systems and does its best to give the longest life and safest return capability if the ship is capable of that. It allows the survivors to set their own risk parameters, if they are able to do so. Otherwise it settles on the safest course for longest life of those on-board."

There was another pause. Raul knew this wasn't due to light speed delays, which were measured in nanoseconds, but due to actual thinking by Captain Suval or other duties he had to attend to.

"That is logical, Mr. Edrera. I am surprised that no one investigated this work earlier."

"Emotions ran high around the M-Series disaster, Captain. It prevented reason and cooler heads to understand just what Richard Daystrom was working on."

"And your crates are from Daystrom Industries. You work for them. Have you seen evidence of this system at work, for yourself?"

Drifting up to the upper engineering deck, Raul retrieved a cable consolidator and mass feed cable with Klingon adapters. He knew there should be a spare open set of lines for them somewhere around the engineering area, if he could just find them. At one of the upper data and comms feeds he placed the mass connector on it, received green indicators, then went back for shorter cabling and getting attachment devices for the M-Series equipment. He worked at plugging in the new cables as he moved the M-1s, one by one, to the extent of their cabling to each other and then put in the new one. This connector could take 3 major data feeds and held a connector to one on the deck below to allow for cross-feeds between the M-Series systems. He decided that 2 of the M-1s and one M-2 would serve here and for the lowest deck, and the rest put on the larger data cable feeds on the main engineering deck. He talked as he worked.

"Yes I have, Captain. I have seen one system from the exterior on a Fleet Heavy Cruiser and another inside a Base Station where it was the test-bed and active prototype for the new systems. Actually it is a superset of this system, which is just an enhanced SERS."

"A superset, Mr. Edrera? When you refer to the SERS as an M-2/V, I take it that it is not the M-5 system that Richard Daystrom developed."

Raul continued moving the equipment and attaching cable so get their longer feed versions to their autospooler containers. At each M-1 he put in a STANDBY query, and when the M-1 went from green to red he disconnected its APU power cable and reconnected it to the ship's power systems. It was a simple, step-by-step procedure that an M-Series system couldn't do on its own and would limit its future ability, although it could work around that to an extent, it would only last for as long as the portable APU lasted. With the ship now becoming active, a more permanent arrangement was desireable utilizing on-board APUs and their fuel stores.

"It is in that series, a forerunner of it. It was discovered on the full re-examination of the M-Series with the original notes held by the family of Richard Daystrom, in which he sketched out the SERS project. Richard Daystrom was pressed to get each unit functional on its own, and his mental instability caused him problems. A lot of this will be coming out in research papers and publications. I think one or two of the preliminaries have already come out."

There was a pause and Raul continued working until the top of engineering was done. He drifted down to the central portion to put in a multi-carrier shunt to directly connect all three levels so they could communicate directly, and then put in a standard consolidator connector on the last level. He made sure the rest of the equipment had full comms with those he moved and decided the long-haul ones to the lowest deck had to be next as he had the most distance to travel. He sent a box of connectors and cables down the open travel-way then started moving the next M-1 to it.

"I've just consulted with my Science and Communications officers and they indicate a new paper under Richard Daystrom, et. al. has come out in the past week. I will leave you to your work, Mr. Edrera. We have established comms with your SERS system and are in communication with it, as well. Thank you for taking time from your schedule on this, Mr. Edrera. You have 3 days, 5 hours and 10 minutes until we must depart. TL-51621, out."

"Acknowledged, Edrera, out."

As he was moving the second M-1 unit a work request from the M-2/V came up: to move 2 M-1 units and one M-2 unit to the forward engine room in the ship's boom. Raul hesitated and then nodded to himself. Like the Federation the Klingons created their ships so that the forward section was detachable as a lifeboat system with some space drive capacity. When not in use for that it served as a secondary power system for the ship helping to run auxiliary equipment while the warp drive was used for ship propulsion. As a power source a warp drive system served very well, and it didn't require any balancing of warp fields between systems when it was used as a power generation system. Putting the scale of the ship into perspective, the forward boom of a vessel this size would be, itself, a pretty large vessel, perhaps something into the Destroyer region of capability.

And that meant a second warp drive unit, normally used for passive generation of energy, but it could be used for propulsion of a detached boom from the rest of the vessel. A very handy thing to have if the crew had just mutinied and you set the rear hull to self-destruct. To control that and, most likely, the forward sensors and equipment, the M-2/V array wanted a dispersed equipment set. He started looking around for patch cables as the simple comms patches he had put in during his initial exploration of the ship to by-pass security cut-offs would be nowhere near enough for comms traffic for this array. He would need such cables in any event, as he needed to adapt the M-units feeds to the Klingon data feed types.

"M-2, if you could designate which data feeds are excess here, and which of your units to take forward by putting them off-line, it would be a great help."

There was a pause.

The text came up inside his helmet.

"Mr. Edrera you have been active for 16 straight hours and while having a high physical fitness rating you are not beyond fatigue. A 6 hour rest period will ensure that you regain composure and restore mental acuity for this install. I will utilize what ship comms and sensors I can to mitigate connectivity needs and examine ship structure for quick placement of the systems. You need rest, refreshment and recovery time. This ship's protein processors are not on-line nor adapted to Andorian physiology, thus resting in the shuttle is required so as to facilitate your recovery."

"I... uh..." and what was worse is that he was very tired both mentally and physically. Knowing that the M-Series could track him and analyze his suit's sensors was one thing, having it realize his physical state and recommend a course of action to him was another.

"Is that an order?" he asked, finally.

"No, Mr. Edrera. This is part of our functioning schedule you. You had asked me to compile it so as to get this ship as operational as possible in the shortest period of time given your deadline of when the freighter must leave. To do that requires a high functional capability from you as you are the crew of this vessel. You are all that I have, Mr. Edrera."

Not only was what the system said true, and he could pull up the master schedule at any time he wanted, but the simple telling of facts held something else in its plain text: emotion. He was the one who brought the system here, had asked for it, had installed it, and had asked it to find out if it was possible to bring this ship to life again. He tried to think of another computer, another system, anything that he would even think about asking to do this task and came up empty as the M-Series was and is unique for its kind. He realized it saw a ship that should take dozens of people to run it, and it had only one crewman to do this task. He was the only one this system had come to know and, as the crew it must protect, he was its top priority. If the M-2/V couldn't do this it would tell him so. As he understood it such a system would not feel complete without a full crew, or even enough to run operations smoothly. Yet all it had was him.

"Thank you, M-2," he said softly, drifting across Engineering.

"You are welcome, Mr. Edrera."

"I do need a rest," he said softly.

Using a suit thruster he moved upwards to the hatchway for the corridor leading to the surface of the ship. Each hatch slid open and then closed behind him as he went and only the final airlock required a wait for him. During that wait and then going to the shuttle on the ship's surface he mused about just what it was like to have a ship this large with a computer like that. By the time he got inside the shuttle he realized that he was getting used to being inside the ship and that the shuttle seemed cramped and confined in comparison.

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