USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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Going Nowhere Fast

Posted on Thu Sep 14th, 2023 @ 3:31pm by Commander Jonathan Mantell & Rear Admiral Yoshi Minawara & Captain Ewan Darrow & Lieutenant Commander Asahi Kita

Mission: Shakedown Shake-Up
Location: USS Nelson, Main Engineering
Timeline: Sometime after "And Away We Go"
1793 words - 3.6 OF Standard Post Measure

"So you see the problem, right?"

Jack gestured to the expansive hologram of the Nelson displayed inside Engineering. It took up most of the floor space, and luckily most of the processing power of the room's holographic emitters as well. Jack had turned the resolution up into the nanometer scale so he would have no trouble zooming in —and no bother from Fives or his army of holo-nannies either. Just the results of the detailed hull scan that the workerbees and drones had compiled.

The boy engineer had arranged it with Nolan's science department to set them to work as soon as the Inquiry-class ship had dropped out of warp. With their sensors tuned for detecting geological terrain as well as the hull geometry, the workerbee drones had delivered back a picture of the hull that was as worrying as it was ugly. And it was incredibly ugly.

"Like take this part of the ventral hull," Jack said, dashing the few meters over to that part of the hologram. He gestured to bring the hologram down to his side, painting the section with his hands before letting it snap back to before. The slight transluscence let the Only glance up from his angle as easily as the tall figure could look down from his. "It's angled too aggressively where the deflector meets the engineering hull. Aaaaaaand..."

The boy waved his hand, overlaying the computed data that Nolan had modelled based on the geological survey of the hull. "...once the ship gets above Warp 7, the eddies start to create drag on the hull." The results were obvious to Jack and anyone who had been on the bridge during their short-tenured warp hop, he was only verbalizing to make sure Admiral Minawara agreed with him about the impact to the structural integrity field. "Which is why we were getting the additional power drain from the SIF."

A few lightyears away, Yoshi's eyes studied the mirrored replica of the holographic display inside his office aboard Esquimalt. "Is it... S-Ducted?" He was looking at the spot where the connection fit together, and eyed it suspiciously. It almost looked like whoever had developed this section had tried to almost confused old sensors by having this weird angle. He looked to his holo-projected Jack. "I am looking at the design notes here, and there is zero reference to this problem - not that I am not saying you didn't experience it - which means one of two things. Either this is a specific issue with the Nelson... Or the design was never run past Warp Five. Can you switch to a structural scan? Ewan, are you seeing any signs of micro-fractures?"

Ewan stood across from Jack in Main Engineering, the holographic representation of the ship hanging between them. His arms were crossed against his chest, mug of tea set on the table in front of him being ignored as his mind was occupied. "None," Ewan replied as he leaned forward and began taping at the console to bring up the schematics of the ship as it was supposed to be. "Its still too fresh for anything and if they didn't do any high warp stress testing for extended periods.... then its unlikely anything preliminary has begun to form."

"It's not like it can be battle damage, that hasn't happened yet." The boy engineer dashed back to the controlling console for the room-sized hologram, and tapped a menu. He turned around to a different view of the Nelson, one with the skin removed showing its erratic, blocky skeleton around the cavernous interiors. Jack was back in a flash, craning his neck up at the points of inspection. "It's like Cap said, no damage or anything causing the eddies." He squinted at the lines of the structural scan, unnerved by it. "Some of this doesn't even make sense, it looks like a toy version of a ship." Pausing for a moment, the Only glanced between Yoshi and Ewan, "And before you ask, yes I do own a bunch of those. It's kinda a pet peeve on some of those when the lines don't fit together, but ehh, they're just toys. They don't have to travel at warp."

"They're just toys..." Yoshi said, more to himself than to the rest of the crew. "You might be on to something Jack," he added, pointing to the holographic model. "The separated build model that the Inquiry and Curiosity use is brand new, the systems were never tested in this scale. Add in the variable component builds, and you have something that was likely designed entirely in a holographic chamber, with no physical build model. In theory every model is tested in a real situation, but with the various variants and the rush to push these ships to production, that stage could have been stepped." In his office he keyed in something, linking the Esquimalt computer to Vesta. "Computer, pull all records of the Inquiry class tests, and overlay warp field diagrams of all variants and whether the design has been tested or theorized."

There was a series of chimes and four configurations showed up, with only the original prototype showing real-world testing. "Nelson is a Type Three - Quantum Slipstream with the extended nacelles to allow for better flight. It's based on the Vesta nacelles that Ewan's team helped shape. Remember the issues we had on NXQ-Beta with the subspace buffeting in transit?"

"Yeah the nacelles being too short caused the field to loop back in on itself behind the ship, it was kind of like a giant drag on it. That's when we started to extend the hull around the deflector to smooth out the flow from the saucer to the engineering hull." Ewan said as he shifted his arms to stroke his chin in thought, "Are you thinking they altered the design somewhere and now rather then flowing its slamming into it and slowing?"

"Effectively. The design was based on our existing designs for the Vesta and notes on future QSD ships. It follows the rules we established to look out for, but doesn't take into account the actual design. It's a rookie move, from a design team that is following checklist, not designing a ship. These nacelles are great if you have a ship that is expected to travel at Quantum velocities regularly, not regular warp. So as you move outside of cruising warp inside a system, you get into a space that is poorly designed for higher warp. I bet what you're experiencing is some form of subspace drag. If Rufus noticed it in the controls, I'd bet my bottle of fifteen year Glenallachie it's asymmetric." Yoshi looked to Jack. "Thoughts?"

"That I wouldn't have the first clue what to do with a Glenallwhatever," Jack remarked, wrinkling his nose at the mention of it. It was liquor of some kind, and that more than he cared to know about it. He stared up at the myriad of warp fields overlaid on the design. The tested ones looked to be in good shape, only they didn't match the hull geometry of the final design. "They definitely did something screwy, 'cause they sure didn't bother to test it. Half of the tested versions would shave off parts of Decks 25 and 26 just to make them fit."

"As for being asymmetric..." the Only flipped through the results, his arms starting to get a workout with all the gestures to manipulate the big holo. Jack tried to hold them all in his head and found it just as exhausting. He sighed and gave up. "Computer, analyze the tested results and find the closest one to our current configuration, based on the hull scans we just did. Tested results only, okay?"

[Current hull configuration retains 94.7% characteristics as the tested variant INQUIRY-Gamma-29-Alpha.]

As computer analyses went, this one was fairly conclusive. Which meant Jack had to prod it again to get the answers he needed. "What are the biggest deviations from Gamma-29-Alpha?"

[Current hull configuration varies from Gamma-29-Alpha in the following ways: Ventral hull sections 18 through 24 on Deck 24 protrudes 1.72% beyond tested clearances on starboard and port sides. Deflector casing vertical angles are 2.1% beyond tested clearances. Ventral hull sections 1 and 2 on Deck 28 has been diminished 7.29% below tested clearances...]

Jack held up a pair of thumbs gesturing at his commanders. "Totally asymmetrical, no wonder it's wobbly."

"Kinda sounds like someone thought the Nelson should be wearing high-heels... How did this pass with that much of a variance?" Asahi asked with a mild snort. "I'd have had this back in dry dock before even thinking about testing it."

Ewan frowned, "You need to recall that this is one of the first ships to come from the Fleet's new outsourcing initiative. With how backed up our primary shipyards are with specialized classes they wanted to try and speed up some of the more standardized designs." He waved a hand towards the measurements and diagrams floating between then, "Which as we can see, is off to an amazing start..."

Ewan grabbed his tea mug and began fiddling with it in his hands, "Gentleman what we're seeing here is the product of a rushed build likely pushing to beat the timeline put forward by Starfleet to show how 'good' they are at building ships which we have now clearly disproven, the question is how do we fix it in the short term? Long enough for us to get back to the base after the rest of the cruise for full repairs."

"If you power up the Quantum Slipstream Drive, you can likely use it as an auxiliary system to mitigate most of the oscillation. The Nelson's fuel burn during that time will be monumental, and you'll be turning her over with only an emergency jump's worth of benamite to keep the matrix stable during the whole affair, but it should solve the issues. Alternatively, you could likely set the computer's system's to auto calibrate. Higher fuel burn still as the ship will effectively autocorrect for the issue, but anything over Warp 5 is going to feel sloppy on the controls. Either way it's going to require someone spend their time hard focusing on the helm to avoid the issue. As for the other issues, the Nelson will likely require time in dock to correct the issues overall. Log the data, and we can send it to the crew when we are done." Something caught Yoshi's eye off the display, and he sighed. "Gentlemen, I'll leave this to your capable hands, I have something to deal with. Minawara out." Without warning the Admiral was gone.


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