Canopus Station
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The Black Synthetic Forest Of Canopus Station

Posted on Mon Jun 8th, 2020 @ 5:27pm by The Narrator

Mission: S2:2: Best Laid Plans
Location: Canopus Station, Reactor Module, Power Conduit Hall
Timeline: MD1: 18.30

Shadows dancing all around;
Some things better lost than found.
If you ask the questions, best be sure you want to know.
Some things better left forgot,
Some dreams better left unsought.
Knowing the direction doesn’t mean you have to go.

Children's Rhyme About The Myriad, From the Dead World Of Perambulation.

Lieutenant Jon Tucker did not like the lower levels of the Reactor Complex.

At the base of the conical starbase, the spherical engineering section was a heavily over-designed containment bottle for an ongoing antimatter/matter reaction. But that was the core of the engineering apple, with a host of support systems coiled and wrapped around it. Coolant systems to bleed away the incredible heat generated by the reactor, power distribution systems, battery arrays ready to back up the station if there was a power loss. A dozen or more other systems were also there.

But the one that Jon Tucker was seeking out was the one that gave him the willies: this one moved. Jon stood in the forest like pathways of the main power distribution hall. A deck or three below his feet was the main reactor, and sprouting from it was the main power feed. Here hall that feed began to branch out, splitting into various sub feeds and cable networks. It was a dark room, which was funny given the amount of power coursing through the cabling bottled to the floor and rising into the ceiling. Sometimes during peak hours of power usage, some of the cables began to wriggle in their housings as the massive current load formed magnetic fields that contorted the metal.

“=/\=Hey, Jon you there yet? I’d like to finish my shift on time for once.=/\=”

Jon nearly jumped out of his skin as his combadge went off. Taking a second to catch his breath, he placed a finger to his com badge and then flicked it to his wrist comp. A holo pane appeared there, showing his fellow engineering officer and friend Gareth. Gareths unruly mop of red hair was festooned with isolenear chips, held in place by a gel the engineer said was ‘homemade’.

Jon didn’t want to know more than that.

“I’m here,” Jon said, sucking in a breath of the hot dry air of the Distribution Room.

“=/\=Took you long enough. Still getting an amber warning light on the R5 junction connector. Probably a bad sensor head on the thing. But if the Captains desk got fried by a power surge, best your pip’s it’s not the CEO whose going to go find it.=/\=” Gareth said, looking down at the console on his end of the commlink. “=/\=I hear there’s this new restaurant opening on the Medina Level, some Earth ethnic food place.=/\=”

“You were born near Earth, I don’t think you can call it ethnic,” Jon said, stepping through a narrow partition of cable bundles. It really was like a forest in here, with drapes of ivy-like power lines, and the larger heavy-duty trunks of EPS conduits.

“=/\=I was born on Titan asshole,=/\=” Gareth said without heat. “=/\=And it’s ethnic food because its Earther cuisine in Messier 4. Denny’s I think is the name of the place. I think I remember that pretty redhead down in logistics talking about their break special having something to do with smashing plates.=/\=”

“Denise,” Jon said absently as he sniffed the air. A heavy, chemical tang filled his nostrils: ozone? Or was that the acrid scent of burning plastic? “You’re confusing the name of said redhead with your food cravings. And I can smell some serious melting in here.”

“=/\=Ahh dammit. So much for clocking out on time for once. Want me to send down a maintenance crew?=/\=” Gareth asked.

“Get them ready. I’ll check over the site and see what needs doing. Might be something I can do locally,” Jon said with a shake of his head. He plucked the holoscreen’s edge with two fingers, and flicked it back to his com badge. “Still with me?”

“=/\=Aye aye,=/\=” Gareth replied, though his words were warbling a little with static.

Jon pushed on, and soon found the source of the smell lingering in the air. One of the main power conduits at the centre of the hall was festooned with ripples of melted insulation. It really did look like bark in the wan light of Gareth’s torch. In the beam he could see the insulation’s sleeves had melted off the superconductive wire within.

He could even see the hole in the insulated sheath where the wire should have been, as it had left a fist-sized hole in it. That was...odd.

“Hey Gareth, did we have a crew in here doing repair work to the R5 main conduit? I’m seeing a lot of melted insulation but not a lot of cab-”


Jon spun about as the chittering sound echoed and died in the air, chilling the sweat on the back of his neck to a clammy residue that soaked his collar. He played the light back and forth, casting the beam around as it shone off the other power conduits rising into the vaulted ceiling. The scent of ozone spiked the air for a second.

“=/\=Jon that’s a negative on the work crew. You are the only one down there save for a the last twelve hours. You okay?=/\=”

“Yeah...yeah I’m-”


This time the sound had come from his other side, his flashlight beam catching a glint of polished metal that had glowed with violet balefire when it had touched the deck. An odd, undulating whine like a capacitor charging up began to play at his inner ear.

“I’m not fine!” Jon said, and without too much hue or cry began to run back towards the turbolift hatch he’d exited a few minutes earlier. “Gareth there is something down here!”

That metal on metal skittering sound now echoed from both sides, and whereas Jon had to push past cascades of cabling and between pipes, whatever was pursuing him had no such problem.

“=/\=-say-zzzyt-ain? Jon you-ffz-breaking up!=/\=”

That balefire glow returned, bleeding through the vines of insulated wire and from between the trunks of power conduits. But Jon did not stop to look back at what was casting it. Starfleet Engineering safety training was very clear on one point: cool people run from explosions, they do not look at them. The turbolift door was ten metres ahead of him. He could make that. He was going to-

Jon did not make it.


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