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Risk Assessment

Posted on Mon Jul 2nd, 2018 @ 11:32pm by Lieutenant Alana Tovan & Commander Walter Prescott & Master Warrant Officer Vestara Stronghold

Mission: Weathering the Storm
Location: Starship & Auxiliary Craft Support Center, Starbase 332

"Attention all hands, visitors, and residents of Starbase Three-Three-Two. This is Captain Liarra Von. We have just detected an ion storm forming near the station. We currently estimate that the storm will hit the station in about two hours and fifty minutes. At this time we are engaging emergency protocols, and will be asking all civilians and non-essential personnel to report to the emergency shelters. Security officers will be leading everyone into position. Please only pack essential items only. We apologize for the inconvenience, and we evacuate the shelters once the storm has passed. We appreciate your assistance in this matter. Thank you. Von out."

Vestara was enjoying the regular maintenance work after they had finished reconstruction of the starbase's damaged infrastructure when that announcement came over all loudspeakers. She hated Ion storms, and pretty sure most technically minded people did.

"Just great," Bennen said then sighed. "Just when I was doing so well at wearing down your defenses Miss Stronghold."

Ves rolled her eyes and adjusted her hair up into a ponytail and tied it. "Keeeeeeeep dreaming Benny," she replied unimpressed with his advances towards her.

As the two made their way to their duty stations they began talking about the storm. "It's going to wreak havoc with the base's power systems and shields, especially if it attacks the shields as a whole." Ben said.

"Number one reason why I hate Ion storms," Ves said with a groan.

Vestara had several training sessions in a couple of hours but with the storm she doubted the trainees would be attending, though she could be wrong. The trainees after all were very low on the essential list, but it's not every day an Ion storm passes the station in order to train operations personnel in how to deal with it's consequences. She tapped her combadge. "Stronghold to training teams," which she had linked the badges of all Operations junior officers, non-commissioned and enlisted personnel to, "anyone without Ion storm experience please report back to be in fifteen minutes in Secondary Operations on deck hundred and one."

Ben listened as the two walked and a few, six people, responded and they seemed very eager to get started with the storm fastly approaching. "Well you have some work to do, I'll see you around sweety," he said playfully and headed off to the Command Level Main Power Distribution Network. He was an all rounder Operations Officer and so could quickly, without prompting, see where he might be needed.

On the other hand, Ves had to quickly gather a few padds with Ion storm regulations and procedures so she could vocally quiz the trainees during the storm. She hoped that the station could handle it and a slightly mischievous part of her wanted a few problems to occur so she could give on-the-job instruction for whatever occurred. Having gone to her office, picked up the padds and not for the last time rearranged a few things, Ves made her way to Secondary Operations.

[[Starship & Auxiliary Craft Support Center]]

Walter studied the display in front of him. No amount of staring at the data could change what he was seeing. The latest reports indicated several areas within the developing storm front that were already producing higher levels of ionic energy than expected. Higher energy levels would lead to more frequent discharges, meaning the storm could have a much more significant impact on the station than they'd originally predicted. Standard procedures for dealing with ion storms were meant to provide broad, general protection in most situations. It was entirely possible that standard procedures alone would not be enough this time.

As he continued to watch the scene playing out before him, Walter was keenly aware how much his presence was needed in Ops. He was supposed to be helping oversee preparations for the entire station. Yet, here he was, lingering in a part of the station that by all rights did not require his direct supervision.

"Prescott to Stronghold. What is your location?"

[[Secondary Operations]]

“Doesn’t Ionic energy modulate?” A junior asked.

Ves nodded. “It’s possible depending on what the storm encounters on it’s path. Though not every Ion storm is the same frequency, it’s level and age can affect its modulation and unless you’re in the storm it’s not easy to find out those details.”

Another spoke up, "well we will be!"

"Indeed…" Ves said and the call from the Chief came through her commbadge, she tapped it. "Sir I’m in secondary ops, what can I do for you?”

[[Starship & Auxiliary Craft Support Center]]

The response was quick and to the point. No doubt, Stronghold was dealing with plenty already, what with the added responsibility of having to supervise trainees from the Academy adjunct.

Walter glanced over toward Tovan and their eyes made contact. Their working relationship had continued to improve since she'd agreed to take on her current role. So had efficiency within the department. However, they were definitely still learning how to read one another's silent cues. He couldn't be sure what sort of look she was trying to give him at that moment, but he knew he couldn't go to Ops without being able to give the captain (and, by extension, the entire station's population) at least a few ideas that might improve their chances of making it through this storm. To do that, he needed help.

"Report to the SSC," he told Stronghold, "on the double."

Aye sir, came her reply.

Alana gave Prescott a pensive look. They had less than three hours to prepare for a storm of unknown intensity. It was going to be a long night. "I suppose somebody should put on a pot of coffee."

[[Ten Minutes Later]]

Later Vestara entered the Starship Support Center, she had been here a few times when training a starship’s quartermaster, who served as the supplies officer as well, in the art of requesting supplies from a starbase as they had just recently replaced the last person in that dual role. The bosun found Walter and Alana, “Chief, Lieutenant,” Ves greeted.

"Bosun," Alana replied, greeting the newcomer.

"Fine weather we are having..." Vestara commented trying so hard to suppress a laugh and pressed her lips together hard as they began trembling.

"Yeah. I was just planning on having a picnic too," Alana replied. She was slowly becoming more comfortable with her position, and with that, a little more sarcasm.

That did it. Vestara started laughing, once she recovered she frowned. "Sorry couldn't resist. So I take it you need help with training for the storm Chief?" She asked.

A small smile tugged at the corners of Walter's mouth. He appreciated the effort of both women to lighten the mood a little. Having to put in extra hours was rarely something people looked forward to or enjoyed. Given the nature of their present situation, it was especially daunting. The threat of the approaching storm was like a wet blanked draped over the whole station. It seemed to put a damper on everything.

"I hope you remembered your thinking cap," Walter said, addressing those who had gathered around the situation table, "because we have a problem that needs solving."

"Which is?" Vestara asked.

Walter tapped one of the control surfaces, causing a three-dimensional image of the station to materialize several inches above the table. The projection immediately expanded to include nearby satellites and weapons platforms, the planet, and the surrounding space until the leading edge of the storm was also visible. They could see charged ions roiling like an angry ocean wave, interrupted by frequent discharges that arced back and forth as the storm front continued its relentless march toward them.

"That looks bigger than I remember from the initial scans," Alana added as she quickly checked her notes to confirm.

"They've upgraded the classification."

Alana shook her head. "If this is correct, that's going to play havoc with our systems. Wireless comms will be pretty much useless, and keeping the structural integrity field up is going to be a massive power drain. We may need to start shutting down any non-essential system to squeeze everything we can out of the generators. Even then, it will be rough."

"I'm not surprised that the storm is more than what was initially picked up, considering that the ionics interfere with sensors." She stopped and tapped at the console bringing up the results of a deeper sensor scan. "Chief can you confirm that this is the amount of energy the storm is giving off?" Vestara asked stepping aside to let Walter to look at her display that showed spikes in ionic energy.

"That seems to match what we've been seeing from Main Operations."

Walter appreciated how both women were taking the situation seriously, not that he'd expected anything less from either of them. The changes they were witnessing were unexpected and had essentially come out of nowhere. Yet they and their teams were already working on coming up with solutions. They were deliberate, both in their observations and in their questions.

"What if we could augment the back-up systems," he mused, more so to himself than to anyone in particular.

Alana looked very Vulcan-like as she raised an eyebrow out of curiosity. "Augment them how?"

"Assuming we're able to reinforce shields and structural integrity, that should reduce the storm's effects on everything within the station itself," Walter clarified, "Obviously, the closer one is to the outer hull, the less effective those protections will be. The closer you are to the station's core, however..."

"The furthest point from the outer hull would be the center of the main starship dock. But I'm not sure where you're going with that." Alana hated to admit when she didn't follow something, but this time she was willing to defer to her chief.

The somewhat confused reaction made Walter realize that perhaps he was getting ahead of his own thoughts. He reached out, keyed a short sequence into the console, and adjusted the display. Immediately, the holographic model of the station and surrounding space shifted. Their field of view zoomed in until they were looking directly into the primary docking area. Smaller representations of the starships berthed within the structure could now be seen along with a brief overview of their status.

"Every single one of these vessels is operational," Walter said, "We can't let them outside, but maybe we can put them to use. Could their systems - power, communications, life-support - be used to supplement our own?"

Alana considered the idea. "It might be possible, but we may not get the support of every ship in the dock. Starships are one thing; civilians are something else. The best we could reverse the umbilical flow, but if one of their ships is not prepared for it, it could mean too high of a drain on their systems. It's worth trying. We'll lose a lot in the transfer, but every little bit could help."

"Reprogramming the umbilical connections to pull energy then give it can fill that idea. Another idea is to use the storm itself to fuel our protection." Vestara said, she wanted their full attention to explain. It was going to take time to get this plan into action.

"We might be able to harness some additional power from the storm itself, but we'd have to hurry and get the equipment in place. It could backfire, and it will take some time." Alana rubbed her temples. "If we're going to try, we'll have to hurry."

"Indeed, and all over the station, so we should get started. We could hook up portable energy collectors to the hull then feed them back into the power grid." Vestara said, "we have plenty in storage I believe."

Walter considered the suggestion carefully. It was a good idea, in theory. There was plenty of energy within any given storm front that could potentially be used to augment systems such as those aboard the station. As Stronghold had pointed out, they just needed to find some way of safely harnessing that power. Yet Walter shared Tovan's concerns that attempting to do so presented certain risks. A storm as strong and unpredictable as this one was shaping up to be seemed more likely to overload everything, causing even more problems than it would solve.

"I appreciate the suggestion, but we'd be risking a lot."

Alana nodded. She hated shooting down the idea, especially since she thought it had merit. If they had more time, she would have been fully behind it.

"Let's focus on those reconfiguring those umbilicals so we can draw power from the docked vessels," Walter said, accepting a PADD that was being handed to him by one of the nearby technicians, "and if anyone comes up with other ideas...don't keep them to yourself."

"Aye, sir," Alana replied. She pulled up her console and started making arrangements.


Lieutenant Commander Walter Prescott
Chief of Operations

Lieutenant Alana Tovan [P:Von]
Deputy Chief of Operations, Non-Resident Vessels

Master Warrant Officer Vestara Stronghold


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