Left Jab, Right Hook
Posted on April 24th, 2004 by Adam Drake
Adam went over the checklist of things he had to complete. Needless to say the repairs were going to take a long time – and repeated assaults were just another hindrance of his duties. Granted, the flagship of the third fleet would take a beating from time to time, but the lack of time between barrages was shrinking by the hour. Recovering as fast as he could, and as fast as his crew could work, was beginning to fall short of expectations; what more, there wasn’t a thing he could do about it. Adam had taken an oath – a personal oath – that he would never ask more of his crew than he knew they could give.
“Seventy meters?” He climbed up a ladder into a Jefferies tube junction to check some EM relay conduits. The power systems had been fried, the back-up components fused together, and the auxiliary initiator had been melted into oblivion. Thankfully a starb ase was around and the repairs could go at a quickened albeit reduced pace. “I didn’t sign up for this.”
“You didn’t sign up for it at all, remember?”
Turning to the voice in the dark, Adam smiled a smile that he knew wasn’t seen, “Alexandra. If I didn’t know any better, and didn’t have such a load to complete, I would say that you were stalking me. I will call security,” Adam laid down and opened up a junction and began poking around at the charred circuitry.
“You know I’m not stalking you. I would call it hopelessly pursuing.” Alex placed a hand on his leg, which he moved to tell her of his intentions – or lack thereof. Again, probably out of spite, her hand slipped up her leg to his thigh. “You know that what we once had won’t go away. I’m always here if you need a helping hand. And, you know what I mean.”
Replacing the damaged item, Adam sealed the conduit and slid away from Alex down the tube from whence he had come. It wasn’t that he didn’t want Alex – she was absolutely gorgeous – but there was something about her that sent his senses into an emotionless coma. What ever was there, hiding under the darkness, it wasn’t anything he wanted to be involved in. He had his own past to reckon with. “Have you seen the state of Atlantis?”
“What about it?”
“The fact that we’re missing a good majority of the second hull and casualties pouring in from all over the ship, I’d say that we’re somewhere between screwed and worthless. I lost four engineers alone in this battle and I don’t intend on losing any more.” Adam still lamented over the fact that they were all fine officers – with family and friends – who had served him and Starfleet well. That was the downside to war.
Alex pulled herself closer to him once again, and he could feel the hot breath from her labored breathing. A hand graced his stomach, but the joke was on her: he was covered in sweat and grime. Adam perked an eyebrow a t what he knew was her disgusted face. “You have Michael and P’Tel helping you out – what more do you want?”
“You to work.”
“Don’t go all noble on me Adam Drake. So what you were the sole survivor had whatever battle in whatever quadrant. Here, on Atlantis, you are nothing but Lieutenant Major Adam Drake. Chief engineer of one of the most powerful ships in the fleet and – ”
Adam interjected, “and your boss.”
“It doesn’t matter. You’re human – ”
“Betazoid,” he chimed in again.
She was visibye flustered, or so he surmised, the blackened state of the tube allowed whatever light he managed to get from his tricorder or whatever flashing beacon was possessed by his tool of choice. “You get the point, Adam, everyone needs some rest. If I check the duty chart you’re actually scheduled to be off at this time.”
Slamming his tool down on the metal grating floor, Adam sat up, “have a sense of duty, Alex. People died today and if everyone was off wasting away on the holodeck I’m sure that the Admiral would have a lot more to say about our supposed “˜wonderful ability’. There is no time off when a war is being fought.” He couldn’t imagine what he’d said. Above all, it was the most hypocritical thing that had ever wormed its way out of his mouth.
“No one is asking you to stop working.”
“I’m asking you to relax and take a load off. Your tension, whether you like to believe it or not, echoes from person to person in engineering. What you give off, especially because you’re Betazoid, dampers or lifts the crew’s spirits. “Alex did have a point and for the first time in a long time Adam found her to be making sense. “You have to take a break at some point.”
He shook his head, unwilling to show her that he knew he was incorrect, “too much to do. I have decks that need to be swept, I have conduits to be replaced, and I have bridge circuits that are out that nee d to be fixed. As it stands, the Secondary Command Protocols have been disabled. If we needed to self-destruct the ship for any reason at all Blackthorne would have a hell of a time pushing the core out himself.”
“Delegate, Adam, you’re the chief.”
“Shirk responsibility. Huh, I’ll add it to the list.”
“Why are you so stubborn?”
“Why are you not working?” Adam replied in response.
She shrugged under the cloak of darkness and sighed audibly in the silence, “I’m attempting, albeit futilely, to get our chief engineer to accept some sense and not drag us all down. At this point in time, talking to you and working under your orders is about as much fun as assimilation by the Borg.” She scampered away into nothingness, but Adam surmised that she was out there listening to his reaction to her comments.
Adam wiped a sweat-laden hand across his sweat-covered brow and laid flat on the floor. Relishing in a momentary reprieve, Adam let out an exasperated sigh. She was right, he thought. There was a time to focus on the task at hand, and there was a time that needed to be allotted for rest. Somehow, during the course of the battle, Adam had manage to blur if not completely destroy the line separating the two ideas.
Drawing up his new found demeanor on the situation, Adam trudged down the tube and back into the open expanse of Main Engineering. He sat on the ledge for a fraction of a second and looked down at his workers. They scurried about from conduit to panel, from panel to workstation, and from the workstation back to the open conduit. Starfleet’s finest, Adam gathered as he began the short climb to the lower deck, but they were always forced to give more than they could handle.
Crossing to his highest ranking officer, newly promoted Marine Captain Michael Jeddin, Adam handed him a PADD. “Michael, I need to get some sleep. If anything happens, or if the Admiral calls down here asking for a report – ”
Jeddin raised a hand, nodding with a smile, “I know how to respond, Major, I’ve done it enough times already.”
Showing a gesture of compliance, Adam started for the door. Within four steps, halfway between Jeddin and the doors to sanctuary, Adam’s ears rang with a piercing alarm from a nearby console. Sidestepping Adam looked at the output display. “Damn it.”
“What is it?” Jeddin said, following Adam’s lead.
“The main weapons array is beginning to falter. Too many power systems being converted or replaced. The whole network of weapons is going down. Fore and aft torpedo tubes are already offline and the integrity of the phaser batteries are started to decline.” Adam looked up at Jeddin, “who needs rest, right?”
“This is going to be a long night,” Jeddin added.
“Yes, it is,” Adam turned to him, smirking slightly, “I thought it was morning already.”