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JP: Ensign Sirok, 1stLt Greaves - Professionals

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As a HCO officer, I dig procedural sims - it's great to see how the ship ticks over. This post by our talented Chief Engineer @Sirok and mighty marine @Wes Greaves ticks lots of boxes for me. I like the inter-departmental collaboration, the fact that we see a team struggle to get the basics right and two department leads having to figure it out for the benefit of the ship!

Nice one! :)


((Marine Quarterdeck, Deck 9, USS Thor))

The quarterdeck was oddly quiet for being mid-morning on a duty day.   Hannibal’s reassignment had been abrupt and equally as shocking to the Marines as the move to the Thor.  Despite the ever present need to train, the detachment had gathered to give the Major the proper send off he deserved before his departure.  For yet another morning after their last mission, Wes regretted the alcohol related decisions of the previous night.  Come to think of it, most of the detachment was probably regretting the choices of the previous night.

Wes whistled softly to himself, and immediately stopped as the piercing noise caused a shooting pain in his head.  Reading a training report on his padd,  he was enjoying the abnormal quiet of the quarterdeck.  The Marines were hardly rowdy in the near sacred room, but it was uncommon to be able to hear the dull hum of the engines so clearly.  The man was lost in his own thoughts, no longer focused on reading the words on the device, when a notification caused the padd to beep and vibrate softly.  Puzzled upon receiving a message from the newly appointed Chief Engineer, Wes opened the communique and read through it quickly.



From Ensign Sirok

To 1st Lieutenant Wes Greaves

Subject: Joint training on damage control

 Due to their incorporation of the Marine Corps into the crew of a starship dedicated to the exploration of deep space. I'd like to invite you to the damage control drills to be held tomorrow at 1100. This knowledge will help you to cooperate better with the rest of the ship's crew and save your life in case of danger.

 I understand that your work is more focused on safety and combat, but in space the most likely danger does not come from a phaser or disruptor, but from a multitude of anomalies, ion storms, gravitational effects... Space and the technology we use to move within it is the greatest danger we face.

 Awaiting your response.

 Ensing Sirok

Chief Engineer, USS Thor


Wes looked up from the padd and gave a mental shrug.  Now was as good of a time as any to run such drills.  Well maybe not this specific moment, with most of the detachment hung over.  Regardless, most of the crew would be in reduced working hours or off ship.  The officer looked up across the quarterdeck to the empty office once occupied by Major Parker.  The reassignment had been so sudden, no one had spoken to Wes about the change of command.  He was reluctant to occupy the office intended for the Detachment Commander until someone told him he was the new boss.   Even so, Wes was the ranking Marine aboard the ship now, and as Commander of Troops, it was his call to make. 

((Main Engineering, Deck 20, USS Thor))

Sirok was waiting in engineering for Greaves.  The activity in the huge chamber seemed to be what it should be.  All the repairs had only been completed a few days ago. They had been exhausting. After them, the engineers had had to take mandatory shifts, including the chief engineer, in order to get back to normal, physically and mentally.

Once the repairs were completed, the space in the cargo bays where the Azcou and the colonists had been, could also be fully recovered. Therefore, the cargo bay the Marines  had assigned themselves had to be shared. At the time Ensign Sirok simply told him that given the small space of a starship it was practically impossible for anyone to be assigned such a large space. For the same reason he had to talk to the captain one day about the bowling alley, it was totally illogical from the point of view of the available space.

Sirok: Lieutenant Greaves, welcome. ::Without further preamble or ceremony, the Vulcan turned on his holographic table, displaying a three-dimensional map of the ship.::

Wes smirked as the chief offered a greeting.

Greaves: Nice display you’ve got there. Excited to see me? 

Wes wasn’t surprised that his friend decided to ignore the joke and he listened attentively as the Vulcan dove directly into business. 

Sirok: To simulate a situation in which your men are deployed, I have chosen a yellow alert situation, which will turn red once the simulation begins. It's practically impossible to know where they might be in a normal situation, some in their quarters, recreational or training areas. So I think it's best to start in a controlled situation.

Greaves: A logical decision.

Wes studied the holographic layout of the ship.  The Vesta class really was large, and the detachment was just a drop in the bucket that was the manpower of the ship.  There was no way they could cover even a portion of the vessel’s emergency responsibilities themselves.  The moment struck Wes with the weight of the need for teamwork in the bleak hostility of space. 

Sirok: The engineering team is distributed near the most important locations, shield control, deflectors, weapons controls, thrusters... You can see it on the map. Unless the command officers order otherwise due to circumstances. As you know, security usually sets up teams on different decks, to protect key locations.

Greaves: Right.  They’ll make sure that no unauthorized personnel are about, and defend the critical ship functions are protected in case of being boarded. 

Sirok: I do not know the deployment of your men in a situation like this. Reinforcing security work and a strike team on standby in case they have to go after a target?

Wes turned inward in thought and crossed his arms as he wracked his memory.  Honestly, the precise reactions in the different alert states needed review as they hadn’t been discussed in detail since the Thor was an auxiliary vessel to the Embassy and most the Marines were assigned to the Thunder-A.  For not the first time, he missed Major Parker’s expertise and experience.  He tried to remember how they did it back on the U.S.S. Hood when he was there. 

Greaves:  If I remember the S.O.P. right, during yellow alert the Marines report to the armory and don combat gear.  On red alert, the squad on duty sets up as a quick reaction force on the quarterdeck.  They are responsible for repelling boarders or rushing to emergency locations.  The other squad reports to main security to reinforce their positions.  

Sirok: I will set up the teams for the simulation as you say. ::The Vulcan started typing on the console and the marine teams showed up in the yellow alert simulation.::

Greaves:  We could rewrite our procedures so our medic reports to sickbay and our combat engineer leads the fighter maintenance personnel as damage control teams.

Wes paused as he turned the idea over in his mind more.

Greaves:  Actually, it might be better to keep the medic with the reaction force as an emergency trauma team. . . Regardless, that’s a discussion to have with our medical department.  Our combat engineer is the perfect leader for a damage control party. 

Sirok: I do not know how many doctors you have but I would keep them distributed near their equipment. Except in an extremely serious situation, the infirmary should be able to proceed very quickly. In many cases your medics should not even give them time to stabilize the patient if the transporter is available. But as you said, it would be better to coordinate with Dr. McKenzie. ::Sirok spoke as he entered the data to place the teams as Wes had said in red alert.::

Sirok: As far as your combat engineer is concerned, their knowledge should be taken very seriously by the teams they are on.

Greaves:  Agreed.  So what were you thinking for drills? It’d probably be smart to start with some classes and demonstrations on the appropriate tools and responses before we dive into some full scale drills.

Sirok: It would be convenient. I would start by teaching them the operation of the systems closest to the areas to which they are sent. Security protocols for the most common damages and ways to disconnect that system and to switch it to the secondary if it has not been achieved remotely. Obviously in that process they would be taught how to use the necessary tools and where to find them on the ship.

Wes nodded along as Sirok described his plan of attack and made his own mental notes on how best to organize the classes before turning to some live drills. 

((Training Holosuite C, Deck 9, USS Thor))

It was a strange feeling to step out of the quarterdeck, walk down the hall, and then step into a holographic representation of the same quarterdeck.  Immediately upon starting the simulation Wes determined he did not like it.  It was disorienting.  How could he even know if he ever left the holodeck if the simulation looked and felt exactly like being aboard the ship.  Wes visibly shook his head to clear the thought.

Surrounding him and anxiously chatting with each other were seven Marines in full equipment.  The lighting of the simulated room was normal, but diodes built into the walls gently flashed yellow indicating the alert status of the ship.  This was going to be their first try at a damage control simulation after Sirok’s classes and Wes was sure the chief engineer was going to be putting his Marines through their paces. 

For their part, the teams talked amongst themselves and watched the officers calmly.  At least as long as they thought Sirok wasn't listening to them.

Sirok: We are on yellow alert, move on. :: Sirok: It was hard to tell if the Vulcan was saying it in an informative way or half a lecture, because of his monochordly tone. ::

At the sound of the Vulcan’s voice, Wes and most of the Marines turned to face the Vulcan.

Sirok: For the purposes of this training I will not act as chief engineer, someone must supervise. We can use a more impartial arbiter later, perhaps Commander Teller. Given our current area of operation on the Thor, it simulates a battle with tzenkethi ships.

Greaves: Sounds like as good of a plan as any.  Let’s get started.

Wes turned to the group of Marines and began addressing them.

Greaves:  Alright, here’s the deal.  We just hit yellow alert while in Tzenkethi space.  Per the regs, you all were on duty and raced to the quarterdeck, geared up.  What happens next is on you, and the simulation.  Take Chief Sirok’s classes to heart, and we’ll do just fine. ::motioning to Sirok and himself::  We’ll be monitoring your progress from here.  Any questions?

Wes looked about the room at the assembled group.  Aside from a few glances, and one imperceptible comment in the back, no one made any indication of wanting to speak.

Greaves:  Very well then. Computer, begin simulation.

Immediately the room shook as if the Thor had taken a violent impact and the yellow flashing lights on the walls shifted to an angry red. Wes shot a dirty look toward the Vulcan who designed the training simulation.  

Greaves:  oO He’s not giving us any down time in this sim Oo

All the rooms turned red followed by the alarm buzzing indicating that the ship was on red alert.

Sirok: Now everyone must go to the designated red alert stations. :: The Vulcan had configured the simulation so that the physical effects of the simulation would not affect him, so that when the ship had a first shock, he stood still, like a column, looking at his padd. He had never looked so much like an artificial being as he did at that moment. ::

Another teeth rattling tremor rocked through the room and the Marines looked back and forth between one another, not exactly sure what to do.

Sirok looked up from his padd when he noticed that the Marines were not moving.

Sirok: If you studied the documents that have been administered, you should be able to know where you have to go. If you have not, think, act logically. But move on. ::He looked at Greaves in case he wanted to add anything else.::

Wes didn’t exactly shout, although his voice was no longer at a conversational volume. His face and body language wasn’t that of a furious man, but he obviously was not relaxed.  His words and his posture suggested something else altogether.  Something that the assembled group had no desire to discover the true meaning of.

Greaves: It’s not play time. You’re Starfleet Marines and your ship is under attack. Do something. 

It was obvious the group hadn’t studied or prepared for the exercise and cold rage burned within Wes’ chest.  He had a certain style of leadership that centered on mutual respect.  He treated all of his subordinates like the grown men and women they were, and he expected them to adhere to their responsibilities as such.  The obvious lack of preparation was a spit in his face and Wes intended to correct that attitude following the simulation.

Fortunately, a few of the group had studied, and they quickly took charge, snapping the trainees out of their stupor and into action.  Within a few seconds, the simulated quarterdeck emptied for all but Sirok and Greaves.  The Marines broke off into two teams and scattered across the holographic recreation of the ship. 

Sirok: Both teams are far behind their designated position. They're not taking the optimal route. :: He shook his head slightly, foreseeing what would happen.::

Greaves: :Stroking his chin::  Seems so.  It’s pretty obvious they aren’t even remotely ready for this duty yet.  ::gazing off into the distance:: Oh, we’re going to play games after this...

Sirok raised his eyebrow at Greaves' comment.

Sirok: I just think they have decided not to read the protocols properly. 

Immediately after his comment, a huge impact was felt on the simulation.The Vulcan waved his hand from his padd to one of the walls, where the contents of the padd were projected.  In the large projection, a diagram of the Thor could be seen, with colored dots showing the position of the Marine and engineering teams. A yellow area of the ship was shown on Decks 4 and 5, due to the impact of a Tzenkethi weapon.

Wes tapped a few buttons on a nearby wall console, and holographic screens appeared to either side of the diagram of the Thor.  After a brief pause, the floating screens faded from a dark gray into a video feed of the yellow indicated area.  A long corridor stretched off screen, with the camera focused in on an intense blue and yellow jet of flame just outside of a turbolift.  From what Wes could gather, his best guess was a ruptured EPS conduit.

Greaves: Here comes the first big challenge.  Let’s see if they remember how to deal with this. 

Sirok: At the moment they don't seem to know what to do. ::He touched the padd a couple of times to save that precise moment, for later evaluation.::

The screen showed the damage control team approaching the inferno. Now clad in heat resistant EV suits, the Marines of the ad hoc team attempted to spray flame retardant on the EPS rupture.

Sirok: They are only delaying the real problem, they must go to the panel in the next section to make the derivation.

Greaves: ::Shaking his head in disappointment:: Yup. They didn’t pay attention at all.

The ship took another big jolt, this time the damage was to the secondary hull. Closer to the antimatter containers. Apparently the battle was not going well for the Thor.

Sirok: So far the damage would only cause some personnel casualties and damage to secondary systems, but if they don't help contain the problems near the antimatter, the simulation will be over.

Greaves: Agreed.  They’re not going to put out the fire from that EPS conduit until they redirect the flow anyway.  If they don’t start thinking….

Wes trailed off as he watched the pair of video screens.  While the left most screen continued to surveil the team battling the raging inferno on deck five, the other monitor clearly showed another Marine damage control team approaching the antimatter storage tanks. 

The teams approached the danger without hesitation, perhaps because they knew it was a simulation. But there was a sense of improvisation in tackling the problem, rather than knowledge and organization.

Greaves:  If containment is lost on that storage tank, it’s all over.   At least one of the teams is thinking right. 

Sirok: The antimatter leaves virtually no room for improvisation.

The floating diagram hovering in front of Sirok clearly showed angry red indicators surrounding main engineering and the antimatter storage tanks.  Multiple EPS conduits spewed jets of plasma into the compartment, flickering brightly in high winds.  The environmental controls fought against a small hull breach that hadn’t been sealed by a force field, and the oxygen being pumped into the compartment created a harsh wind as it was sucked out into the simulated vacuum. 

Greaves:  Did you program that or is it a random simulation?

Sirok: There are a number of base situations that appear randomly. Depending on how they help control damage, Thor will either improve or worsen her combat performance. If the damage is not controlled, the ship will be destroyed.

Greaves:  That’s pretty challenging for their first run through the gauntlet.

Sirok: The events they faced, for the most part, appeared as examples in the technical documentation given to them. The more complicated ones, but those that will appear less, require using their technical knowledge in an inferential way.

Greaves:  Fair enough.  You’re the chief, and they’ll be working for you if we find ourselves in a situation like this for real.

Wes watched as the Marines braced themselves against the wind.  One stand out in the group pointed enthusiastically toward the hull breach.

Greaves:  Seems like with the ruptured conduits, there isn’t enough power for the automatic force fields to engage.

Sirok: Cascade failures begin. They can still divert power and get the force field going.

Wes watched in surprise.  As the pair of officers spoke, the Marines hurried to reroute power in the compartment.  Almost as soon as they had mentioned it, the EPS conduits stopped spewing plasma, and power was restored to the compartment, sealing the hull breach.  A smile grew on his face, his chest swelling with pride.

Greaves: Well, I’ll be… they managed it well.

Wes noticed a new indicator on Sirok’s diagram.  A long snaking line that ran directly underneath the antimatter storage was now flashing red.

Sirok: A plasma fire is reaching the power system of the containers. ::He didn't have to explain to Wes that a failure in the containment field would cause the antimatter to touch the matter in the container itself. Which would result in an uncontrolled release of energy that would destroy the entire ship.

Sirok: They have one minute to put out that fire.

Wes watched the right most video feed as several of the Marines high fived each other, oblivious to the simulated problem below their feet.  On the left screen the damage control team still attempted to suppress the plasma fire on deck 5 with flame retardant to no avail. 

A silent countdown slowly ticked away the time remaining to containment failure on Sirok’s overlay.

Greaves: They’re too busy celebrating their small win to even notice the new problem.

Wes watched in silence as one of the Marines near main engineering finally recognized the imminent failure, too late to matter unfortunately.  Both screens flashed bright white momentarily.

Computer:  Simulation Complete. Antimatter containment field failure.  USS Thor destroyed. 

The room in which Sirok and Wes were standing, which had previously been an immaculate representation of the Marine Quarterdeck, was replaced with the black walls and orange grid pattern of a holodeck.  In one far corner of the huge room was the damage control team from engineering and in the other corner was the team from deck 5.

Wes shook his head in awe.  The number of calculations and the sheer processing power it took to allow three groups of people to explore a ship in a single holodeck without bumping into each other, or the walls, was impressive.  

The two damage control teams took a moment to reorient themselves to the change in the environment  before making their way over toward Wes and Sirok.  They knew they had failed miserably, and they approached with bowed heads, not wanting to make eye contact with the two officers.

Greaves:  ::sternly:: It is exceptionally obvious that you all disregarded the classwork and technical reading that Chief Sirok assigned.  Your performance was down right awful. At any moment we could be thrust into a combat situation, and one way you’re going to keep the Thor fighting is to make sure it doesn’t explode.  

Wes paused his lecture to size up the Marines and let his next words sink in.

Greaves:  Usually I’m proud to serve with each and every one of you, but today I’m overwhelmed with disappointment.

Wes let his gaze sweep across each Marine, none of which were willing to return the look. Finally he turned to Sirok.

Sirok: The task at hand was not easy. But a lack of knowledge has been noted. Improvisation is useful up to a point, but to use it correctly you need to have enough knowledge. Still, congratulations on solving problems 3A and 6C. ::Sirok used a technique to help sentimental beings accept criticism. Start and end with something positive. It was something he was trying to use with his own crewmen and so far it wasn't giving him bad results.::

Greaves:  ::glowering and with a reluctant voice:: Agreed.

Sirok: If you have any doubt about the material, or need to practice any particular circumstance do not hesitate to consult. What you are learning will help you to work better with other crew members, not only on the Thor but on any other starship or space station where you are posted.

The assembled teams still refused to make eye contact, but seemed to have regained some of their composure at the Vulcan’s reassurances. 

Greaves: There’s a saying I’m fond of.  Amateurs train until they get it right.  Professionals train until they can’t get it wrong.  ::Looking over the Marines:: We’ve got a long way to go until we can’t screw that up again.  Looks like we’re just going to have to keep practicing.



First Lieutenant Wes Greaves

Acting Marine Detachment Commander

USS Thor - NCC 82607



 Ensign Sirok

Acting Chief Engineering Officer

USS Thor NCC-82607

Fleet Captain A. Kells, Commanding



Edited by Ben Garcia
Post title edited - original title causes an error :/
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