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Tick Tock Goes the Clock

Posted on Sat May 22nd, 2021 @ 5:36pm by Lieutenant JG Shaille Levine & Lieutenant JG Tamarack & Chief Petty Officer Lisa Terrix & Cole Gunnison & Ensign Rajeo & Warrant Officer Koh Ottasu & Warrant Officer Callisi Veera & Lieutenant JG Alistair Fletcher

Mission: Pathstone to History

 

What had started as a small, skeletal crew on the bridge had grown. Not exponentially, but it had grown. The lack of communication outside of the ship had started to become common knowledge, as had the fact that they had essentially been put in a lockdown situation. Concern and uncertainty was growing.

Shaille and Koh had both gone to the docking port and attempted to speak to the Dalacari, who were thoroughly unhelpful and simply advised them that there was a security incident and they would be notified once it had been resolved.

A security incident.

It didn't sit well with Shaille at all. If there was a security incident, why were they not being given details? Why had their communications and sensors been blocked? More importantly, why were they not able to contact their own crew members?

She glanced at the center chairs, the grouping of command chairs had remained vastly empty since this had begun, though every station on the Odyssey class bridge had at least one body at it. "This waiting and not knowing, it doesn't sit well with me," she commented quietly.

On the other side of the airlock, seeming miles away really, there stood the lone Dalacari security drone. The same one as had been there before. Unmoving, unflinching. It didn't even have the decency to PRETEND to be bored of its post.

"It doesn't sit well with me, but on the upside, they haven't arrested us yet or demanded we leave. Believe it or not, that's a good sign." Koh offered to help the moment. "So, what's going on now is the drones on world are gathering up the crew down there and securing them. Not as bad as it sounds, they have apartment complexes essentially converted into friendly holding cells. Yes, I've been in one." he admitted with a smirk. "Fresh out of pilot academy, I'll tell you about it later."

"Not knowing is the worst part, though." he agreed.

"Sir, ma'am, I've got locations on seven drones so far that are jamming us, but there are several more I haven't been able to find yet." Lisa's eyes glanced up to Shaille and Koh from the secondary engineering station, "I'm not using active sensors at all, just passive and visual. I'd like to use the actives for a few seconds just to see if we'd even get anything back, but I agree that it could be seen as untoward."

At some point, Rajeo had meandered to the Bridge. Word spread quickly on the ship, and he hoped someone might have an update. He crossed and stood behind Lisa at the Engineering station, placing a hand on the chair and leaning in. "Any word yet?" he asked quietly.

"Nothing yet, sir," Lisa answered in the same quiet tones, "Of course, we're not going out of our way to try to punch a signal through. It's not a dire situation, sir, just waiting to hear from the authorities what's going on." She gave the Ensign a smile, "If you want to stay here and lurk, I can explain anything that comes in that you don't understand?"

Rajeo was thankful for her kindness. “Thanks Lisa.” He said with a warm smile.

Tamarack arrived on the bridge just in time to hear Lisa's report. "I apologize for my delay in getting to the bridge," he noted. "There were several among the crew who were confused and had many questions. I take it that you have yet to get any sort of satisfactory explanation on current events from the Dalacari." The last comment was directed towards Shaille and Koh.

The lucky break the crew was waiting for seemed to arrive. The Astraea was actually being hailed... A relay hail from the station, direct connection through the airlock docking assembly.

(blah blah on screen)

On screen, there was a Dalacari in a security uniform of sorts. Clean, proud, pressed. "Good afternoon. I'm Ezoi Mathe, I'm the chief of security and well-being here. You've all complied with the Special Investigation, and for that I extend an appreciation." he paused, and cued up some images. The first was a standard planetary solar system. Single star, four solid worlds, two gas giants.

"Prior to your arrival, this was system of interest J-4. Note the number of planets and the lack of complicated life." he pointed out, "Roughly sixty standard minutes, your time, after your..."

"... arrival, Exoplanetary Exploration Probe 73-R detected an anomaly. This anomaly had the mass and dimensions of an entire planet, and was broadcasting on frequencies that..."

"... we've registered as common use to the Federation. This planetary body also showed signs of high-grade energy production, again in frameworks used by the Federation." he paused to catch his breath. "Now..."

"... from the moment the anomaly occurred I've had Tee Eee Sigma Seven Six investigating all the angles. It suggested the Special Investigation on the off chance that the Astraea was working..."

"... as a forward observation marker for some form of mass shifting transport. Like the catapult the Federation used to use, only scaled up drastically. I've had EEP 73-R continue to monitor..."

"... the new planet, and it's settling in nicely. Orbital pattern, rotational spin, the techs assure me it's not going to smash into any of the other planets there anytime soon, and if you didn't..."

"... know it from before, they'd say it was there the whole time." he cycled between two images from the exoplanetary probe. In one of them, the planet was there, and in the other, it was gone.

"Astraea is currently being jammed externally. I don't know what kind of sensors you have on there, so I'm just ordering the local region flooded with false readings. No harm will come to your..."

"... ship or your crew. Dia's knees, I'm not looking to start a conflict. I'm just trying to solve a mystery and right now, you are all my best options. But you're also my best suspects." the screen then cut to the image of the drones in the airlock docking assembly.

::Message relayed from Chief of Security and Well Being. Questions can be accepted, but there will be a delay in responses due to the Chief being in primary contact with the remainder of the Astraea guests. The Special Investigation is progressing at as best a pace as feasible to ensure all parties are safe. At the moment, the sensor and communications blackout cannot be lifted. Station security apologizes for the inconvenience.::

Shaille stared at the screen blankly. "A Federation planet?" she asked dumbly before looking across the bridge. "How does a planet just appear? That's not possible." She sighed and ran her hand through her blonde hair before she looked around again. "Is it?"

"Sure it is." Lisa deadpanned, shaking her head, "And if you believe that, ma'am, I've got an antique bridge to sell you back on Earth, dirt cheap." She sighed as well, "I don't like that they've got us isolated from the Captain or the rest of them."

Raj could not believe what he was hearing. A planet? How?

Shaille turned to Koh. "Our sensors and communications are blocked, or jammed or scrambled or whatever they want to call it..." she sighed. "Is what ever they're doing going to affect Ghost?" she asked hopefully. "If Ghost is unaffected maybe we can use your sensors to get more information?"

"No, he said they're jamming broad spectrums that they THINK the Federation uses, but Ts'usugi ships don't use any frequencies the Federation uses, scanning or otherwise. Just have to filter out the noise they're broadcasting. Oh, and if there's a drone swarm out there I'd have to..." he paused, and smirked, "I *might* be able to get out. The fighters aren't as socially clever as the other models of Dalacari drone, and in theory I'd only have to fool one of them to get a good window to look around. After a few minutes, though, that window's going to close so whatever I can get is it." he explained. "They won't shoot at me, I'm technically a citizen of Dalacar. They *will*, however, ask me to return to the Astraea and they'll petition the engine to update my status to match all of your's. Which'll take hardly a nanosecond."

"So, I guess the question is, assuming I have about ten minutes out there. What do we want to learn?" he asked around.

"Anything we can pull in on that planet, sir, transmissions, visual if we could get one from this distance, but anything electronic." Lisa blurted, "I can dig in to it to see any communications protocols or signatures to see if it is Federation in origin."

Shaille nodded slightly. "Agreed. Anything, anything at all that may help us work out what the hell is going on out there will be a benefit."

Koh gave a nod, "Alright, whatever I can get, you'll have it." he said, that pilot's bravado showing. Briefly, he stopped before he turned to leave and gently pressed his forehead to Shaille's. A brief moment, together, before he turned to run towards the hangar bay. He knew the way almost by heart, and could probably navigate the way blindfolded.

He made it to the hangar, and hopped into his Blink Fighter, "Specter", and started the launch sequence. A mental countdown, going through each step. Activate this, engage that, verify, verify, and then prep. Engine charged, pops prepped, capacitors ready. All Koh needed was a moment to launch, and that moment was...

Even as she was speaking, one of the amber warning lights on her console went to green and Lisa tapped it to expand the information, "Lieutenant, Ma'am, we've got a change in situation." She tapped a short series putting a new image on the main screen, one with movement, "We're getting data from our sensors again, full range." Another light switched from red this time, "Report from the docking hatch as well, we've got access again from the station, ma'am." Lisa looked up, "It looks like we're being released, ma'am."

"This is Ghost, there's a shift in some of the readings I'm getting pre-launch. Verify Go, No-Go for launch?"

The doors to the bridge opened, allowing Abigail and Ichiko access to the bridge just in time to hear the final query. "That is a No-Go for launch," she ordered calmly. "Stand down Ghost."

There was an audible sigh of relief that rippled across the bridge at the sound of the familiar voice. Shaille spun on her heel to face them. "Captain, Commander, welcome back. You have no idea how glad we are to see you."

Turning toward Shaille and the rest of the crew that had gathered on the bridge, Abigail offered a nod and the faintest hint of a smile. "Likely as glad as we are to be back," she assured. "We'll talk about this later," she added quietly. "I want all senior staff in the conference room in ten minutes. No questions. Lieutenant Levine, kindly escort our..." she paused, looking at the drone. "Please escort our guest to the conference room with the rest of the senior staff."

Without waiting, she nodded toward Ichiko, the two silently making their way toward the ready room.

 

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