Down in Engineering
S1-A1-Ep. 1: Spectrophobia
Location: USS Poseidon; Deck 4 - Main Engineering Complex
Timeline: Arrived at Betreka Nebula
Lazarus hissed out a curse as the wire connection sparked again. It sent several thousand volts of electrical current into him, and while his body was able to compensate thanks to his uniform and insulated hide, it still hurt! He punched the side of the jefferies tube that he was working in, just adjacent to the Deck 4 Main Engineering section. This conduit was connected to several consoles that had been, for the last two hours, going on a random reboot spree due to power loss and failure. After his investigation, it turned out that this specific junction was the culprit. To replace the old, waning conduit he had to first tie off the lines conducting current into the backup bypass line.
This was what had shocked him. For the tenth time. each time he had emitted a similar yelp of frustrating hisses.
Cursing in his native reptilian tongue, he grabbed his repair instrument and pushed himself out of the tube with his arms. His tail thudded heavily on the floor in his frustrated state as he stood, some crew passing by giving the Gorn a wide berth. His eyes wandered the crowd until they fell on what was probably a new arrival, a species he was unfamiliar with, but one which hadn't been scared away by his display. In a final act of desperation, Lazarus noted the Ensign pips on the creature's collar, heading in that direction and quickly standing before him.
"Ensign," the Gorn asked, "What is your specialty?"
The Rechakan stopped, mildly surprised to encounter someone amongst the crew taller then he was, but gave the lieutenant a cordial nod, and offered a short, guttural snarl in reply. After a moment, he hastily gave his combadge a smack, and barked an inarticulate command. "Check? Yes, there it is. My apologies lieutenant, I disabled the translator while I was dictating a log entry." Lethe straightened up, four hands folding behind his back. "Ensign Lethe Sivarr, Damage Control Specialist." He managed to refrain from offering up his Starfleet serial number as well.
Mildly taken aback by the snarl, the Gorn tilted his head as the Rechakan explained his predicament. It was obvious enough considering the display of him hitting his combadge. A nod was returned following the explanation.
"Damage control specialist," mused Lazarus with a slight hiss escaping the translation. "I might could use you. Ensign Sivarr, can you help me with a situation? There are a few electrical lines connected to a central conduit which has gone bad. Every attempt to remove it has been met with a power surge. Are you experienced in removal of active conduits in jefferies tubes?"
Lethe's eyes narrowed as he considered the request. "An interesting yet unfortunate situation. In answer to your question, I've extensive experience in the salvage and removal of components from jefferies tubes, though the conduits in question -and most of the power grid for that matter- were inactive."
The ensign turned, taking a few paces away from the Gorn before he stopped and spun on his heel to face the Lieutenant again. "Without the scans or particulars of the situation, I can only assume that shutting down the conduit would have a significant and negative impact on vital systems or our mission performance for the duration, or you would have done so already." The translator fell silent as he mumbled almost silently to himself, looking distracted as he mulled the problem over, until he suddenly straightened, mandibles giving a sharp click. "The Wyoming. Had a terrible buildup of plasma residue in her warp plasma conduits, kept conducting a charge from the magnetic constrictor standby generators. I ended up using a magnetic probe to decouple the conduit interlocks without needing to make physical contact. Perhaps that would work here to disconnect your malfunctioning lines from the main feed?"
"A magnetic decoupler," Lazarus mused, his tail swaying behind him. He was oblivious to Lethe taking a few steps back, and even if he had it wouldn't have registered much. Most of the humans had started to do a similar practice and, in truth, Lazarus really did not understand personal space that much.
His eyes lingered on the Rechakan and thereafter on the equipment locker nearby. Remaining silent, he ventured over to the equipment locker and traded out his standard decoupler for a magnetic decoupler, something which he had considered before. On his way back to the jefferies tube, the Gorn stopped in front of Lethe to begin to remark something, then stopped himself. After a brief moment of hesitation he resumed his course into the tube and, for the next fifteen minutes, sounds of moving components could be heard. Following a few bright flashes, the tail and eventually body of the reptilian Gorn came out. This time, however, he was not cursing.
A moment or two later, he stood in front of Lethe.
"You just saved me days worth of work," the Gorn remarked, clearly impressed with the Ensign before him. He look around briefly. "When did you arrive? I do not remember you here."
Lethe dipped his head slightly, four arms partly spread in a gesture of respect. “I’m pleased I could be of service,” he replied, then straightened. “I was just assigned to the Poseidon, came aboard just before she departed the starbase. There hasn’t been much need for my specialty, so I’ve just been lending a hand with the routine maintenance in all corners of the ship.”
Lazarus nodded. He looked around carefully, examining the routine that the crew followed as they conducted their duties at their designated consoles and stations. His head turned back to Lethe.
"I think we've solved the problem with the consoles," the Gorn said, his hissing guttural words coming through the translation sequence. "My next task isn't due to be done until two hours from now. The Chief is very understanding of what work needs to be done. Do you require my assistance with anything?"
Lethe gave a breathy grunt, then realized it did not translate, and shook his head instead. "At present, I do not," he replied, sounding almost apologetic about it. "I was delivering an inventory list of spare technical components when you approached me, and completed the delivery while you finalized your repairs." He nodded his head toward the jefferies tube. "Assuming your task won't require the full two hours to complete, I was considering a refreshment in the lounge however, if you would care to join me."
====[Moving towards Crew Lounge]====
Lazarus gave a nod. He took a moment to grab his tools that were in use, making sure to seal back up the plate blocking the tube entry for the sake of procedure and safety. He replaced his tools back into the equipment cabinet. Approaching a console, he logged himself as going temporarily off duty and looked up to Lethe.
"Alright, I'm prepared for a break," he remarked as his head motioned toward the exit to Engineering. "I'll meet you in the lounge or should we walk together?"
"If you need to finalize anything, I can wait," Lethe replied. "Otherwise, being new onboard, I might attempt to meet you in the wrong lounge."
Lazarus emitted a guttural chuckle. He motioned for Rechakan to follow him, and soon the duo was in line along the walkways as crew passed heading to the crew mess hall on deck six. Normally when he was off duty he'd head to the lounge, but considering they were on break the mess hall seemed more appropriate. When they entered together, there was already several crew and cadets around on the tables. Along the wall was a few replicators with receptacles for disposal. The Gorn saw a free table and approached it, sitting to one side as he waited for Lethe to get comfortable.
"Been here before?" the Gorn asked.
The Rechakan paused, surveying the room as his mandibles parted slightly, scenting the air. "No," he finally replied, sitting down across from the Gorn. "At least, not this one. The portside galley is marginally closer to my assigned quarters."
Lazarus nodded. "For such a small vessel, one can easily get lost. What made you want to serve on such a vessel? You were simply assigned without notice?"
Lethe gave a low, gurgling sort of chuckle from deep in his throat, then glanced around to make sure no officers more senior than the lieutenant was present. Momentarily satisfied, he shrugged his right hands. "I've spent my career since the academy thus far, servicing the antiques of Starfleet. First performing starship maintenance on the mothballed vessels of the fleet museum in the Sol system. After that, I was assigned to the surplus yard Z15, in order to scrap those vessels that weren't worth mothballing." He looked across the table at the Gorn. "Please don't misunderstand, I enjoyed the work, it was challenging and served a purpose; I was contributing to the success of the whole. But, I wanted to see the frontier, to serve on a front line exploration vessel, so I put in for a transfer. But, given my experience with derelict Miranda's..." Lethe raised his four hands to gesture around them, "...Starfleet decided to put me here instead."
Lethe slumped back in his seat with the faintest of sighs, then nodded at his companion. "What of yourself? Unless I'm mistaken, Gorn are almost as rare in Starfleet as Rechakans are. What brought you to Starfleet, and this ship specifically?"
The Gorn shrugged, which was an odd gesture for his species. It still gave off a similar posture and movement to a human shrug so the emphasis on the gesture was not lost. He next emitted a grunt, almost disapprovingly - though to what was not clarified as his gaze wandered around the slightly busy crew lounge. His snout angled back to face directly on at Lethe, both eyes able to focus again on his intended target of conversation.
"I was a slave," Lazarus said bluntly. It was clear now he had been debating how to approach the subject, but apparently directness was a preferred method of resolving that. "Captured by Terrans at a young age after my family went on a transport off of Gornar. After decades of beatings, reeducation, and enslavement another Terran saved me on board her ship, the ISS Asha. I was free for a time, until I died....I think. Some kind of engineering freak accident. I woke up on this ship, somehow traversing the veil between realities. Commodore Paladin gave me a new identity and name."
The Gorn gave a slow nod, mostly to himself. "My name is Kord, originally. I was given the name Lazarus by my cellmates because of how many times I came back to life from the beatings. It stuck."
A silent moment later, and then, "What is your name?"
The hackles along the back of Lethe's head and neck half raised at the mention of slavery, a practice his people -and he personally- would not tolerate. Life and freedom was too precious to simply rob someone else of theirs, for profit or personal gain. He declined to comment on it however, as he was reasonably sure Kord's personal views would not be so dissimilar. "My name..." he reached up to tap at his combadge, deactivating the universal translator for a moment before giving a brief humm in the back of his throat, matched with three rapid mandible clicks, before reactivating the translator. "That's my true name. Most aren't able pronounce it however, so I chose 'Lethe Sivarr' as my... shall we say, 'Federation' name. The irony is that other races cannot pronounce my true name, and I cannot pronounce my chosen name. It seems fair all around." Leaning forward slightly, the ensign offered his right hands in a human-style handshake, as he was yet unaware of Gorn greeting customs. "I am Lethe Sivarr, and it is my pleasure to properly meet you this day, Kord Lazarus."
Lazarus reacted by reaching his clawed hand up to meet the gesture, shaking hands with Lethe. He released his grip, careful not to exercise too much strength. There was clearly a difference between the two, not to mention the sound of true names - of which he could utilize his guttural hisses and growls, but decided not to.
"And mine as well, Lethe Sivarr," the Gorn replied. It seemed he made a new friend this day.
Lieutenant Lazarus Kord
Ensign Lethe Sivarr
Damage Control Specialist