Mac came from a long line of Starfleet & Marine engineers. She knew that engineering was what she was born to do from the first time she cast her eyes on a warp engine, on her father’s ship at the age of three. 24 years later, she could barely contain her excitement as she walked into main engineering for her first duty posting as the Assistant Chief Engineer aboard the USS Ulysses. She had spent weeks reading over specifications and manuals, determined to arrive prepared and ready to do the best job possible.
Her eyes immediately fell on the Quantum Slipstream Drive as she entered main engineering. This must be what love at first sight feels like, she thought. Although difficult to take her eyes off of the sparkling engine in front of her, she diverted her attention to the task at hand. It was her first day and as such Mac still needed to report in to the Chief.
She moved towards the Chief’s office, took a deep breath, mustered up all of her confidence and pressed the chime next to the door. When the doors opened a moment later, Mac walked into the room, stopping to stand at attention a few paces from his desk. “Ensign MacKensie Rabb reporting for duty, sir.” She stated with military-like precision, hoping that it would make for a good first impression.
Peter sat at his desk, reading dense articles on quantum stream dynamics and doing his best to understand the terminology. He had a PADD next to him he was using to reference words he did not understand. Going from Operations to Engineering was a huge jump, one that was in demand in the field away from the Starbase and in hostile territory. While excited for the promotion and the new learning opportunities, he fully expected to be moved back to ops or be a base engineer with the ship change. He only knew the base theory of a QSD but to now be in charge of a ship capable of using it was another surprise, one he was trying to master along with reviewing the MARS for any known issues that he and Zemke found.
He was a little surprised when the Ensign came in. She was ramrod straight, uniform streamlined down her body and looked like not a hair was out of place. She could have been a poster for Starfleet. He was used to a small crew and his engineers had informally called him “kid” since he was almost a decade younger then the next officer. He did not mind and enjoyed learning from them. She looked to be his age, again, caught him off guard so he fell back to his usual ‘deer in headlights’ look.
Peter snapped himself to the present and returned the salute. “At Ease Ensign Rabb. Have a chair and relax. I’m sorry but since switching from the Ulysses to the, well, Ulysses, I haven’t had a chance to review files. Hope you don’t mind a get to know you type meeting.”
Mac took a seat as offered, but relaxing wasn’t something she was good at when on duty. Though, off duty was another case entirely.
The Chief was younger and shorter than she expected and didn’t quite have the same military bearing that she had come to anticipate from a CEO. However, he seemed cordial so she chose to go with it. “Sure,” she shrugged, “a get to know you meeting sounds fine to me. I suppose we should get to know each other since we’ll be working pretty closely together for the foreseeable future anyways. Ask away.” She stated with a smile, trying to give the impression that she was relaxed when really this was the most informal conversation she had with a CO as of yet and it didn’t necessarily come naturally.
“Great. So tell me a little about yourself. What was your last assignment? Coffee?” He asked, heading to his replicator. He needed a cup. He lost track of sleep during the transfer over.
“Sure, with cream. No sugar.” Mac never turned down a good coffee.
“Well let’s see, I basically grew up in Starfleet. I started at the Academy at 18, graduated at 22 with my degree in Engineering. I’ve spent the last 2 years on the USS Midway and then I was offered the ACEO gig here and I jumped at it. I’ve spent the past few weeks familiarizing myself with the quantum slipstream drive specs. In my free time I enjoy being with my friends, going to the gym or sometimes I have a bad habit of getting caught in engineering making upgrades or doing research even when I’m not on duty….it can be a bit of an addiction haha.” She let out a chuckle as she finished her personal brief. Short, sweet and to the point. It was very efficient, just how Mac liked to operate.
“What about you?” She asked.
Peter listened and then walked back with her coffee. “A busy but productive early career. That’s great to hear. I’m from a family of business professionals. I was the black sheep and went with Starfleet. Went into operations. Was an Ops officer on the Ulysses for two years working gamma shift. Then before we left DS5, I was promoted to Chief Ops. About two weeks later I got a field promotion and was put in charge of Engineering.”
Peter continued on. It still sounded odd coming out of his mouth, but reality sometimes did not make sense. “I may see you in the gym…if I can find it here. Glad to hear you’re a tinker type person. What do you know about a program called MARS?”
“MARS, the Multi-Adaptive Refractive Shielding System,” she responded, in an almost computer like fashion. “It’s a combination of the Multi-Adaptive Shielding systems that the Hansen’s used to keep their vessel hidden from Borg sensors and that Voyager used on their Delta Flyer. It also incorporates Refractive Shielding. The system is most effective against vessels that are less than twenty-decks tall and works best at impulse speeds. It also renders the weapons systems inoperable when in use. I know that it tends to be a large drain on our power systems when it’s used, and I’ve been told that it’s only to be used for emergencies for this very reason.”
“Don’t forget that it’s finicky, problematic and takes all manor of tinkering to keep the thing working. Replicator power draw caused a blink in the Odyssey system and we found her. I had to run cable from the main sensor deflectors to the axillary computer core for the extra processing power. Did manage a 10 second test before the sabotage program activated.” Peter replied with a breath of sadness.
“You are right though with your answer. All correct.” He said and looked at her in the eye. “I’m glad you like to tinker, because we’re going to make that finicky system work and we’re going to cloak all 36 decks of this girl. ” Peter said as a grin slipped across his face.
Mac’s eyes lit up, this was exactly why she had accepted the ACEO position on the Ulysses. “In that case, I have some ideas. When do we start?”
Peter smiled at her. “That’s what I was hoping to see. Trust me, MARS was my baby on the Ulysses, well start soon. I want to swing by Ensign Zemke in Ops. She was the one that discovered the sabotage in the computer program. When she tells me the computer is good to go, you and I are going to trace every wire together and fine tune this thing.”
He said this all with a grin and then looked a little more serious. “Whatever you do, don’t tell Doctor Hill. Even though it ended up being sabotage, I’m still pretty sure he will space me if something goes wrong and I send another crew to sickbay with injuries.” He said a little awkwardly.
Mac laughed, “I try to avoid sickbay like it’s the plague so I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”
“It’s a deal. I better check on our Chief of Ops and see if she has a program for us to start the scan. While I’m gone,” Peter said leaning over and grabbing a PADD. “Here are some of the notes I made trying to get the MARS to work. You’ll notice it’s not just a power hog, but a hog for everything in general. Take a scan and let me know what you think and we’ll see what we can do to cloak this girl.”