Episode 1.1: Sidetracked - In the nick of time
Episode 1.1: Sidetracked
Engineering was buzzing in preparation for the combat simulation. There was so much work to be done, that Cheldu had asked Rilneven to prep the Tishratin fighter and brief Elar for the encounter with the Sarragut. Knowing her, she would volunteer to co-pilot the fighter. He envied her. The last time he had taken the old fighter out for a spin was months ago.
As soon as the tests had started, Cheldu had noticed the problem with phaserbank 4. Normally he would have just send an engineer over to check it out, but the tight time window made him decide to check it out himself.
He just returned from inspecting the ventral phaserbank in question as Lt Hawke entered main engineering.
"I suppose you're here about the phaserbank, right?" he asked Lucius.
"That's right," Hawke replied. He was eager to get this phaser issue sorted out quickly, not just because of the Captain's orders, but as a point of pride; he needed all of his guns working. "Skipper's given us half an hour to get her fixed. Have you had a chance to look at the diagnostics?"
"I just got back from Phaser maintenance where my team is currently working on a solution. We found the problem easy enough. Not something we can fix in 30 minutes I'm afraid. But we might be able to get a temporary solution in place. I'll have to track down who screwed up here sometime later, because they really did a number on us."
He pulled up a schematic on the view-screen and pointed at the red-blinking power distributor. "As you probably know, the phaserbanks draw power straight from the fusion reactors. There are several distributors allowing maximum power to be divided over the two phaserbank groups in use. However one of the distributors is assembled wrong. Instead of flowing from the generator to bank 3 and 4 it flows from the reactor to bank 3 and from 3 to 4.
In essence this means that right now bank 4 leeches power from bank 3 instead of getting it straight from the reactor."
Hawke studied the schematic with his arms crossed and his brow furrowed. "When you find the numbskull responsible, let me know, would you; I'd love to chat with them," he said, his eyes glued to the schematic and a slightly menacing inflection in his voice.
"So they plugged it all in wrong and now Three is getting all the juice, leaving Four to suffer the leftovers and when there is none, she gets nothing and we have a gun that won't fire?" Hawke shook his head and internally cursed the incompetence of some people - how could that happen? "So, what's the temporary solution you have in mind?"
Cheldu paused, thinking how to explain this in a way that it made sense, "Okay. bank 4 can fire either with bank 3 or with bank 2. So basically what we're trying, is to rewrite the whole subroutine that controls the distributor to allow the flow to bank 4 to go through the bank 2 with 4 junction, while firing a bank 3 and 4 combination. That make sense to you?"
To Hawke's delighted surprise, it did. Or, at least, he thought it did.
"So, in the event that I have to fire Three and Four at the same time - which, let's face it, will happen," Hawke said, watching the Andorian engineer nod along with him, "- your re-written subroutine will direct the flow via Number Two? But, if I'm only firing one or the other, Four will draw from Three like it has been?"
"Almost," Cheldu responded. "Firstly, you really never only fire bank 4 really. The subroutine automatically determines which two banks to use depending on the position of the target. It's currently even impossible to fire bank 4 solo. With the adjusted subroutine it should theoretically be possible though."
"There is a downside to this approach though. We have to adjust one junction adding temporary a valve. Basically making it an AND distributors instead of an OR distributor. I cannot even guarantee this valve will hold the entire fight. However the worst that can happen if itbreaks is that bank 4 will fire at half force."
"As long as it can keep firing, Chief," Hawke said. "I'll take a half shot over a no shot every time. How long will it take to get it working?" He looked up at a nearby time display and added, "We've got about twenty-three minutes now."
"I got a team of engineers building in the valve as we speak. That shouldn't take more than 10 minutes. The tricky bit is the new subroutine. I came back here to work on that. Getting it ready in time should be doable. But there will be no time for extensive testing to make sure everything is working optimal."
Hawke thought for a moment, weighing up the situation. It was the best they could do with such a limited amount of time and a more permanent fix would happen as soon as possible. He was happy with that. He nodded and smiled, "Thank you, Chief," he said. "I'll get out of your way now. Let me know if my team or I can help any further."
Cheldy nodded and was already emerged in his work again.
Lieutenant Lucius Hawke
Chief Tactical Officer
Chief Engineering Officer