Shadows Dancing

Shadows dancing in the moonlight
Shadows dancing in the dark
Memories, dancing for me . . .

As Lieutenant Emerald Drake wedged herself in a corner of Engineering, she typed out a message to Acting Captain Chapel:

Captain, how are the life support readings from the bridge? Any sections, other than Security, reporting failures?

It took only a few minutes for the captain to reply.

Still show life support out on Decks 3 and 4. Everything inside hull breach shows green. Most fires out, too. Priorities: life support, sensors, communications, then warp engines. Chapel out.

Hmm. Okay, Mo, life support on decks three and four is still out. There are just junior officers there, so no rush, right? The dark green Orion-Betazoid science officer mentally smiled at her Imzadi, which did not cover up her concern for the injured.

Emerald inwardly smiled as she watched the young crewman working nearby. Hey, Mo, I'm heading up to deck five to check out the conduit junctions for life support for decks three and four. Mind if Robert here helps out? she asked in a playful tone.

Lieutenant Moira O’Shaughnessy was bone-weary; being in zero-g didn't help any. Ensign Bai had finally arrived from the bridge with several other crew members, and they were assisting with the cleanup of the Engineering department. She glanced over at Emerald where the latter was still working with Robert Poli on the fuel line.

Hold on a minute, will ya? I'm seeing a green board for everything on three and four, but red all over the place on twelve through fourteen. With the problems I'm having with the computer, I'm after fixing it from here before ya go on your little hike. Her thick brogue was just a whisper in her mental communication with Emerald. And don't think I don't notice ya bedazzling poor Robert already, she said her her Imzadi, chuckling out loud. Ya might want to look over the sensors while you wait to see if this is going to work.

Mo, we've got a ship coming in. We're either gonna need shields to repel them or a tractor beam to land them. Are either functional?

Negative on the tractor . . . Moira's fingers flew across the panel. The computer says we have shields. If they'll be hostile, I think we can keep them away. If they'll be friendly. . . Her sigh was audible to everyone around her. Well, I hope the pilot will be a good one.

Emerald PADD beeped with a priority email signal just a few seconds after she notified the bridge of Moira's assessment. Apparently, they'd been anticipating Drake's message.

Re: small vessel approaching hanger bay. Understood. Vessel is runabout Mississippi of Starbase 319 here to assist us. Currently assigned shuttle bay 2. Can we automate landing? - JC

Damn it, thought Emerald. Not without the tractors, they couldn't.

Captain, tractors n/a, manual landing. I will assist.

Moira both saw and felt Emerald leave Engineering; she sent Reynolds to help Poli with the long-range sensors. Neither were experts, but they could get some preliminary work done until the resident expert showed up. Assuming the resident expert wasn't among the dead. She shuddered.

Chigara had the warp engine repairs well in hand, having snagged one of the security officers from Bai's group to help, mostly just handing tools to the engineer. Moira managed a smile at the tableau. The security officer was utterly bewildered by the array of implements and panels in front of him. Chigara's mannerisms were gruff and seemingly impatient, but the flame-haired lieutenant noticed that he was taking the time to explain what he was doing to the younger man. It was cross-training at its finest and, not for the first time, she found herself appreciating the excellent staff Commander Mulvihill had brought together here in Engineering.

The automated level four diagnostics had shown nothing wrong with the computer systems, and Moira decided she could spare the extra few minutes for a level three diagnostic. She suspected a damaged optical line somewhere near Engineering that was preventing the local subprocessor from communicating properly among themselves, and was hoping the diagnostics would confirm that and give her a location of the damage. While she was waiting, she sent a status report to the captain.

Life support coming back slowly on 3-4, 12-14 per Engineering. Please confirm. Working on LR sensors. No expertise available until Drake returns. Running diagnostics to determine communications problem. Need transporters to repair warp engines; 1-2 hours after that, plus recalibration time. Please advise your status of transporters. We show transporters "unavailable on Galaxy class ships." - MO

Perhaps Chapel would find the computer's sense of humor as amusing as Moira might have found it in less dire circumstances. On second thought, they might all have to look back from a good long distance to spot the humor.

Moira hated waiting, but at this point, that was about all she could do. She wondered where her brother had disappeared to this time. Since she could really use his help right now, she had no doubt he was off communing with the computer banks again. She sighed. She hated admitting it even her herself, but she really missed him.

Emerald's voice tickled in the back of her mind. Mo, the two crew from the runabout are aboard. I'm bringing them to engineering for a sec. Can you spare someone to run them up to the bridge while I get back to the sensors? Moira glanced around her. Jefferson was tending to the growing crowd of wounded near the doors. He was doing his best, but without a medkit or any real medical training, he was limited. Aye, that was another item lost in the mess of the Engineering department.

I can, sure. Jefferson can run them up. Poli and Reynolds will be appreciating your return. I don't think they know much about the sensors. Her grief over losing so many good people flashed over her face and through the bond she shared with Emerald. And I don't suppose either of them will be a doctor, will they? Bai will be finding far too many people for my taste that didn't make it. 'Twould be a shame if we were to be losing more for lack of medical attention. Her mind wandered to Tommy Delaney, who now had at least a dozen people gathered around him. So young and scared, so much pain . . . a brave lad. She shook her head. Back to work with ya, Moira Maeve.

"Sir, do we have casualty reports from the whole ship? If not, I'd like permission to spam the network with an injury report request to all senior active officers by ship's department." Lieutenant Richard Lucas looked around the at the destruction of the Eclipse's Engineering department. There must be four hundred people about this vessel wondering what on earth is going on, he thought to himself.

Moira looked up from the nearby panel she had been muttering at.

"We don't. Reports from the whole shop? Now, what will we be needing with those being Engineering and all? And not having much communications besides," she said, her brogue thick but her voice light. She looked around the disaster that was her department and shrugged. "We were the worst hit, we were. Near to a third of us gone just here in Engineering," she said softly, speaking almost to herself, before shaking her head. The lieutenant from the Mississippi was just trying to do his best, like everyone else. "We'll be working hard to get the Lady Eclipse on her feet again, won't we? I'm thinking, though, that the captain is already having that information." She nodded to the PADD in his hand. "I don't doubt she'll be getting back to ya as quick as she can. 'Tis a wee bit hectic here, is it not?" She shrugged as she tucked unruly red hair behind her ears.

"And I'm thinking that obnoxious systems administrator eejit in Ops will be stopping any such broadcast not originating from the bridge." Although her weariness colored the statement, some of her innate humor slipped out. Moira started to turn back to her panels, but then looked back at the man, looking at the collar around his neck. "And thank ya for the help here, Father. When I'm having a moment, I'll bring ya around to the lads I know to be Catholic and will be after wanting the Last Rites."

She was not going to cry! She had too much work to do! Oh, but so many people . . .

"'Tis a blessing that ya be here," she admitted softly, studying the priest for a moment before turning back to her work.

"It's the will of Got that we're all here," Lucas said warmly. "We must believe that some good will come, even of all this destruction." He nodded toward the covered bodies of the fallen. "Knowing that death is not the end enables us to function even in its presence. Isn't that so, Lieutenant?"

"Sure, 'tis true, Father, and will be the truth some hold to. No doubt my Lady will be blessing them on their journey to a better place," she said absently, then suddenly slammed her fist down on the panel. "Ha! Found ya! Timor!"

Privately, Father Lucas thought, But if I were a betting man, I'd say that most of those crew aren't even Catholic, the Lieutenant's offer notwithstanding. Extra ecclesia nulla salus est. Some of them may even have had . . . occult powers. Involuntarily, he closed his eyes and crossed himself. But God's mercy is wide. I will say Mass for them, regardless.

He opened his eyes to see a tawny Caitian jump down from a catwalk and land gracefully near O’Shaughnessy.


"If ya hug me again, Timor, I'm after slugging ya with a chair. Can ya rip the front off the panel here? I'm thinking half my problems with the Deity-forsaken readouts will be crossed wires."

The Caitian gave her a toothy grin and proceeded to pull the front panel off Moira's station.

"Lieutenant," Lucas said, interrupting O’Shaughnessy again, "do we have transporters working to the point that we can attempt priority emergency transport direct to sickbay? There's equipment there I need, and I need the CMO there, too." Silently, he added, if we aren't going to lose a lot more people.

Moira looked up from where she was working with Ensign Timor, blinked at Lucas's question, then glanced around. "Domingo," she called out to someone on the upper level. "Transporters?"

Crewman Domingo conferred a moment with Master Chief Kennedy, then called back down, "Aye, sir. Site-to-site is stable, medical has priority."

After dropping Commander Akira on the bridge and Lieutenant Lucas off with Moira, Emerald had dashed off to the long-range sensor operations room to finish repairs there. Considering the extent of damage, the ship was bouncing back nicely. Moira had a real knack for directing the Engineering staff.

That Lucas was a strange one, though. She'd hear Moira call him "father," but she hadn't sensed any emotional feeling from Moira that she would have expected from meeting a family member. And there was that odd collar he wore.

Mo, you called Lucas 'father.' Why?

Back in Engineering, Moira smiled at Emerald question. Well, without giving ya a history of the whole of the Catholic Church, 'twould be simplest to say it'll be a title of respect we'll give to the priests.

Emerald smiled at Poli as she entered the ops center. "Status?"

"Not too bad. The repair droids are back online, but due to the power outages, they require your authorization to activate." Poli returned her smile "Sir."

"Hah. Knock of that 'sir' stuff. Let me see." Emerald glanced at the priority board; the hull repair bots hadn't been activated either. She typed in her authorization, and the readout indicated that the automated deep space repair bots had come online and were beginning to swarm over the hull breach. With their built-in replicators and tools, it would take them about three hours for the initial patch. A trip to a drydock would be needed for a full repair.

Mo, I stared the hull repair bots. After they done there, I'll shift over to the sensor repair droids. Can't do much else without going EVA with a work crew. What's next?"

At that moment, Moira and Timor were fighting with the central console, which had started a banshee-like wail. The Environmental Systems display showed a flashing yellow light at the bottom, which turned red as Moira watched. Both trouble sections -- decks 12 through 14 and decks three and four -- were showing a rapid drop in temperature. Before she could switch displays, the computer spoke for the first time in hours.

"Warning. Warning. Hull breach on decks twelve through fourteen. Complete life support failure in four minutes. Re-routing emergency power to force fields. Warning. Warning. Hull breach on decks twelve through fourteen. Complete life support failure in three minutes, fifty seconds. Re-routing emergency power to force fields."

The redheaded engineer turned off the sound and a stream of lilting, melodious Irish words flowed from her lips. Only someone fluent in the language would realize that she was choosing some of the most potent curses available in that language. Lights began to dim once again in Engineering as power was re-routed to the force fields.

Fookin' computer is saying we're after having another hull breach on decks twelve through fourteen. I don't know if I can trust the bloody git, but I'm going to evacuate those decks. Let the captain know, will ya? I don't have time to write an email. Oh, and send Poli back here to help Chigara, thanks.

Moira cracked her knuckles. Didn't the Mississippi just come into bay two? Wouldn't they have noticed a problem there if there was one? Certainly Em would have. Well, never mind. It was time to give the folks up there a bit of a drill. As though they needed one. And where the hell was her brother?

"Timor, go on back up to the shield systems, help Chief Kennedy." She looked over at the chief Warrant Officer. "Chigara! I'll be wanting more power, and I'll be wanting it now." Moira waited until the man floated into view. "Ya have transporters, replicators, and spare parts. I want the main line working. Obviously, the aux will not be doing its job," she said, nodding to the red emergency lights that had come back on in Engineering. "Between your man Poli and you, I'm thinking I'll have an expert, won't I?" She smiled through her exhaustion. "If ya need anything ya don't have, let me know. I'll see about getting it for ya. And . . . thank ya, Chief."

"Thank me later, Lieutenant, when we've got our lady patched up. You'll owe me a drink at Cooly's." He snagged Poli's arm as the younger came into view and expertly dove toward the main power couplings.

Moira turned back to the console. "Bloody eejit computer," she muttered under her breath. There was no way to tell from Engineering whether the hull breach was real or a figment of the computer's imagination. It was entirely possible that the computer was wasting their power putting up an unnecessary forcefield. She queried the idiot computer for the exact location of the breach. The numbers flashing on the screen made no sense. They indicated that the breach was in sector nine, compartment thirty-seven on decks twelve, thirteen, and fourteen in the Engineering hull. Those decks didn't extend back to sector nine! So where the heck was the forcefield being created?

As one of her engineers floated by, she called the warrant officer over. "Contos, I want ya to keep me updated on the progress Chigara and Poli will be making on the main like. Lend them a hand if they're needing it." The older woman seemed about to speak, but Moira waved a hand at her. "Sure, I know. Ya don't know the engines as well as some. Well, there'll be no time like the present to learn," she said with a hint of a mile and waved Contos off.

Down here in Engineering, Lucas felt about as useful as . . . well, as something not particularly useful at all. He scanned through the casualty report, trying to determine where he could be most useful at the moment. The medical people seemed to be getting things under control, though, so maybe it was time to put on his counselor's hat. Which meant he needed to get to the bridge. With the captain fallen, a little "putting people back together again" might be called for.

"Lieutenant, I believe duty calls me to the bridge unless there's a task I can perform here to assist you. I'm not sure that I wouldn't be more of a hindrance than a help, to be honest with you," he said with a wry smile.

Moira nodded to him, not bothering to look up from the control board in front of her. "That may be true, Father. We'll have plenty of inexperienced hands for holding bits and passing tools." She glanced over at him then. "Sure now, Captain Chapel can use your help more than we, and I'll be after thanking ya again for your help with my lads." She managed a warm smile for him. "Go on with ya, now."

Turning back to her panel, she felt more than saw that he left the department. Her biggest concern right now was the ship, and she needed people who could actually help the remaining engineers. She still had no idea whether or not the hull breach was real. She assumed Lucas had sent the email to the captain, or would at least talk to the captain, requesting that Hawking visually verify the breach.

She couldn't trust the computer, that much was certain. Power was draining quickly, and Moira couldn't tell where it was really going. Or was that all a lie too, and their power consumption was in normal ranges? The readouts indicated that a forcefield had been set to contain the breach, true. But the bloody computer couldn't tell her where it was. The fact that things had stopped getting worse in Engineering told her the forcefield was plastering deck thirty-six, not twelve through fourteen.

"Chigara! The main line . . . when are we going to have more power?"

Em, I really need to know what'll be going on. I'm not getting any kind of useful information from these computers. Do ya think ya might get up to the bridge and let me know what'll be going on with that hull breach and life support? she asked her Imzadi just as her control panel when completely dead.

"Ah, just bloody great!" she muttered. "Will there be anything on the ship that'll be working?"

Moira, the computer core was damaged . . . an EMP or something. We need to reboot it. Or so this sys admin fellow says. Emerald sounded mildly frustrated. Reinitialize, blah blah blah. Otherwise, we'll lose a lot more than a forcefield. I'll pass the word to Chapel.

What? Why didn't one of the backup cores take over? Moira sighed. Never mind. I can do a complete shutdown and restart from here. Tell the git to go fix something else.

Emerald composed the brief message to Chapel, unaware of the sudden change in command -- again! -- and posted it with the highest priority.

Captain: The primary computer core has been damaged, resulting in dangerous and conflicting reports. We need to reinitialize immediately. Seal all bulkheads. It should only take a few minutes. Please advise when it's safe to proceed. All haste. Forcefields are about to fail. - Drake, CSO

Moira moved to the master situations monitor, which was only fifty percent operational despite the best efforts she and Timor had put into it. Fifty percent was enough, though, for what she needed to do.

Will take about ten minutes for the reboot, Em. If that'll be fixing the problem, we'll have most systems back in about two hours, then four hours for the warp engines. Communications will be back in either ten minutes, or whenever we can get the optical line repaired. Go on to the bridge with ya, darling . . . I'll be needed to know the second Chapel okays the shutdown. We've still got power for the transporter.

Crewman Domingo floated toward the control board. "Um, sir? Chief Chigara says he and Rob got all the fused parts beamed out of the main line and the newly replicated ones beamed in. He says full impulse in two hours, maybe less, but it will keep building gradually until then. Um, he says it would be faster except that it looks like something is draining the power."

Moira half-smiled at the young man. "Thank ya. 'Tis likely the bloody computer itself will be the one doing the draining." Domingo looked as worn and battered as she felt. "Ye all will have been miracle workers today, and it'll not have been the best of days."

She inclined her head to indicate all the engineers who'd come down to patch the ship back together while living with the pain of knowing coworkers, friends, and possibly family members had died here today. "I promised the Chief a drink, but pass the work I'm to be owing the lot of ye a grand meal and drinks should we manage to locate Cooly's place again."

"Sir . . ."

His emotions washed over her, nearly bringing tears to her eyes. Lady, but she was tired!

"Yes, sir, Lieutenant," Domingo said, almost a whisper. "I'll pass the word. We . . . we appreciate your confidence, sir."

"Ah, no, go on with ya, lad," Moira said, waving him off. "There'll be a regulation somewhere about it not being proper for the senior officer to be all choking from emotions."

His grin as he floated back to the Chief's side cheered her up a bit. She still waited, more than a little impatient, for Emerald to get to the bridge and give her the okay for shutting down the computer system. She was starting to get used to not having gravity. She absolutely still hated it, but at least she wasn't going to panic anymore, and her stomach was probably going to stay inside her body.

When Moira heard back from Emerald, it wasn't the message she'd been expecting.

Gee, Mo, we seem to have another new captain . . . Lucara, Vulcan, female, presumably from Hawking. I'm getting the strong impression that she doesn't entirely trust our abilities to recover from our current situation.

A new captain, is it? And how will Starfleet know we'll be needing a new captain, I wonder. A note of deep concern bled into her mental voice. Chapel? Is she doing well?

Jill seems okay, just tired like the rest of us.

Moira grunted softly. Well, I've got what's left of Commander Mulvihill's staff, and we'll be a fine lot of engineers, we will! Your Lucara need not worry. If I'm to have anything to say about it, we'll be recovering just fine. And ya can tell her I'm saying such, I am . . . as an Irish woman! Of course, she wasn't sure a Vulcan would take the word of an Irish woman over any other sort of engineer, but weren't the Celts the finest engineers in space? Oh, yes, indeed, Moira Maeve O'Shaughnessy would be standing by that statement.

Emerald's mental grin buoyed her spirits. I'm sure. I'll let you know the instant anything happens up here. Keep your finger hovering over the reset button!

A few minutes dragged by before Emerald spoke again. Mo, you've got company coming, but Captain Lucara wants everyone to know that you're the boss down there. Commander Sareth is apparently . . . shall we say, a take-charge sort of guy. Anyway, she wants you to reroute life support through the Mississippi's computers during reinitialization. Communications are being rerouted through the Hawking.

Lucara is believing I'm knowing more than a full Commander? By the Lady, and by the saints of my siblings! Moira laughed lightly. Sure now, that'll be a fine story to tell when I'm recovered from the shock. But aye, we'll play it her way. No doubt 'tis true anyway. I've been here but two weeks, but I'm understanding that Chigara will have been on board along with Himself since Eclipse first launched.

She was serious once again as she finished making adjustments on the control panel. Let Mississippi know I'll be ready to transfer life support to their computers as soon as they can give me access.

She surveyed the department while she waited. Things still looked bad, but not nearly as disastrous as they'd been only a few hours ago. Light in the department was gradually returning, but it still seemed like twilight. And she wasn't the only person not accustomed to hours of zero-g.

Em, will ya be mentioning to Lucara that perhaps her man ought to know they're arriving in zero-g?

I'll mention it, but it might be too late. They'll just have to deal with it, I suspect.

There was the familiar whine of the transporter, and five people wearing magnet boots coalesced in the center of the engineering section. They carried a myriad of equipment and several large cases of diagnostic tools, as well as what looked like extra components for warp and impulse drives, all supported by antigrav packs clamped to the crates they'd brought.

They're just arriving. And the brilliant lads will be wearing mag boots. Moira chuckled mentally. Commander Sareth doesn't look any too pleased to be here.

The Vulcan in question approached her with almost unnerving scrutiny.

"I am Commander Sareth, Chief Engineer aboard Hawking," he said in a supercilious tone, adding, "Are you Lieutenant O'Shaughnessy? The engineer to whom I have been ordered to report?"

"I am," Moira agreed, ignoring the Vulcan's attitude. "Moira O'Shaughnessy, Acting Chief Engineer."

Just then, Reynolds exclaimed joyfully, "Moira, look! They've brought donuts and coffee!" He wounded as though he was happier to see the snacks than the extra hands and equipment. And he probably was . . . Moira recalled him saying at some point in the past hour that his last meal had been more than sixteen hours in the past.

Acting Chief Engineer O'Shaughnessy smiled at Sareth. "'Tis a brilliant thing, Commander, to be bringing a wee bit of nourishment for us. Now, I'll be appreciating it if ya see that the appropriate person is thanked." She watched him for a moment before summarizing the situation for him.

"I'm after shutting down the computer in a moment and reinitializing, as the core will be damaged something fierce. We'll be running life support through your Mississippi until Eclipse can take back the chore. Impulse engines will be back online, but they're needing a level one diagnostic. My lads are working on warp right now. We may be having a broken optical line, so we don't have reliable communications in Engineering. Automated repair droids were set to the sensors, but we're needing an EVA crew to get the sensors fully functional. The gravity . . . Well, 'tis a little trick the computer has been playing on us; I expect we'll be going back to normal once the computer will be reinitialized."

Moira paused to watch the Hawking crewmen interact with her team. "Ya know your people, of course, Commander. Would ya have your lads run the impulse engine diagnostics and see what more they can do for the sensors," she said, making her request a statement rather than a question. And it would be grand if ye could see about that optical line, too."

She absently brushed stray hairs from her face and then tapped her comm badge. "O'Shaughnessy to Hitachi . . . have ya arrived at Mississippi yet? If so, ya should be finding Ensign Jefferson ready to work on transferring the control of life support to ya. Ya let me know the moment ya finish, now, won't ya, Commander?"

From the sounds coming through the comm, Moira wasn't sure she wanted to imagine what the Commander was doing.

"I'm sorry to say that Ensign Jefferson is not here. I'm taking the access panels off . . . What? Oh, okay. Lieutenant, your ensign is just coming through the doorway now. Evidently, he stopped to help an injured crewman. We should be ready here in . . . I'd say ten minutes. I will call you the moment we're hooked up and tested."

Moira nodded at the news. That was Jefferson through and through. "Thank ya, Commander. I'll be waiting to hear from you."

Sareth waited with a less-than-pleased look, continuing to stand with his hands held behind him, as if at parade rest in an old-style military vid. Moira noted this with a simple raised eyebrow as she glanced at the Vulcan, then turned to look out over the department at her people. Well, Commander Mulvihill's people, but she was doing her best to take care of them for him. Since the departmental intercom was still refusing to work, she raised her voice so that everyone could hear her. Who knew that singing lessons would come in handy as a Starfleet officer?

"Ladies and gents, I'm shutting down the computer in about ten minutes. If ye will be so kind as to finish up any tasks that will be using the computer inside of that time, I'll be appreciating it."

She lent a hand to those who needed it, of course. And listening to the department chatter helped soothe her nerves. The rumors about the new captain were already like atoms flying through a particle accelerator. The conversation Poli was having with Petty Officer Bowles was the most entertaining: it was about the holodecks and their programming.

She chuckled as she helped them with the impulse engine's connection to the computer. "Lad, 'twill be my specialty. If ya have the interest, I'm leased to talk your ear off over a cup of tea when we'll be finished patching the ship back together again."

"I . . . I would like that, sir." Poli pulled on the collar of his uniform. "Well, I overheard that she appeared on the bridge," he said in response to a question Bowles had asked. "Some of the guys heard about it."

Moira gave him a quizzical look. "News will sure be traveling quickly on this ship." Then she laughed. "Well, 'tis the way of things, will it not be so? At the Academy, 'twould seem my brother would know all there was to know, even before those involved will have known about it."

Poli smiled. "There always seems to be a way. So, where is your brother assigned?"

Moira paused, her expression flattening. She was still trying to get used to Padraig's incorporeal existence and didn't like to tell people that he'd died. Because he hadn't. quite.

"Nowhere," she said softly, then turned to check on Chigara and the warp engines before making her way to the main Engineering console.

Poli watched her leave, surprised at her sudden change of mood. What did I say? What happened to him? he wondered. Well, maybe I'll find out over that cup of tea. He looked around the Engineering deck; it was quiet now compared to the commotion earlier, despite the dour presence of the Hawking engineer. He's be much happier when the gravity came back on.

Eight minutes after his last contact, Hitachi called Moira again.

"Akira to Moira. Ensign Jefferson indicates that all is in readiness for the transfer at your discretion."

Moira's fingers danced over the control board. In a few short seconds, she'd transferred control of life support systems to the Mississippi's computer.

"Very good, Commander. I'll have transferred control of life support to Mississippi. Please have Jefferson verify that ye'll have control."

She was ready to begin the reinitialization the instant she got the confirmation, which she received a moment later.

"Jefferson to Lieutenant Moira. Sir, the life support system is online here, and my diagnostics indicate that all is green. You are clear for computer core shutdown as far as the support of lives is concerned."

"Excellent work, Patel," said Moira with a smile on her face and in her voice. "Keep everything working together and peaceful-like. I'll be letting ya know when I'm ready to take back control. O'Shaughnessy out."

She tapped her comm badge again. "O'Shaughnessy to Lucara. We're ready to begin the reinitialization on your word, sir."

"Lucara here," the captain said immediately. "Proceed with all speed, Lieutenant. As soon as the reinitialization process is begun, kindly ask Mister Sareth to monitor its progress and contact me. I wish to meet with all senior staff as soon as it is possible. We must move Eclipse as soon as we are stable."

There was a pause, long enough for the engineer to take note. The Vulcan had seemed to . . . hesitate. Moira raised her eyebrows in surprise. This was certainly not something she expected from a Vulcan.

"Lucara . . . out," the captain finished, almost absently.

Although the connection was already broken, Moira replied, "Aye, sir."

The reinitialization sequence was already programmed to begin as soon as power was restored to the computer. Moira took a deep breath and held it as she cut the power to the computer core. An instant later, her brother's voice sounded in her mind.

Mo, what the hell are you doing. You just turned off all the computers!

I know that, ya dunderhead, she replied testily. If ya had been around when I needed ya, ya might have known the core's been damaged. She restored power to the computer, and checked to verify her reinitialization program was running. I suppose ya were playing in the holodeck?

Well . . . yeah, admitted Padraig sheepishly.

Moira sighed. Ya can go back to your lazing about soon enough. And if ya will excuse me, I'm just a wee bit busy now.

She turned from her monitors and floated toward Sareth.

"Commander, the captain requested that ya monitor the reinitialization of the computer. If ya will be so kind . . ." she said, gesturing toward the monitors, inviting Sareth to take her place.

Crewman Domingo peeked over the catwalk railing as the somewhat domineering Vulcan engineer watched the reinitialization procedure. Rolando was keeping an eye on the engines with Chief Kennedy, keeping them hot while the reboot proceeded. Having Sareth around made him uncomfortable, so he was trying to stay out of the Commander's line of sight as much as possible without slacking in his duties. It seemed like Chief Kennedy had picked up on it; he'd gone into teaching mode. Not that Rolando minded. The Chief was a good teacher. But he couldn't help being amused as little Lieutenant Moira kept control as the large Vulcan stomped around the deck. Well, not really stomped . . . but there was a sense of impatience about him. Okay, maybe not impatience, seeing as the man was a Vulcan. Maybe just disapproval. Vulcans could certainly be disapproving. And it was like Lieutenant Moira was all that little . . . she was actually average in height. Maybe it was just that she looked diminutive next to the Vulcan.

Moira, for her part, was beginning to get a tad bit annoyed with Sareth. He hadn't bothered to say anything to her since he first arrived, ignoring her for the most part as he watched his own crewmen work. The atmosphere in Engineering was becoming more tense, and the easygoing banter that had been flowing through the department had all but disappeared. After relinquishing her monitoring duties to the Vulcan, she made a short tour of the department. Domingo, especially, seemed unwilling to be caught in the Vulcan's gaze. After saying a few words to each of the remaining crew, she floated into Mulvihill's office.

"O'Shaughnessy to Lucara. Commander Sareth is monitoring the reinitialization. Request assistance from Hawking to transport to the bridge."

© Kelly Naylor