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Lightening Strikes Twice

Posted on Wed Sep 15th, 2021 @ 12:10pm by Lieutenant JG Shaille Levine & Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Commander Evelyn Rozia & Lieutenant JG Henry Ashton & Linza (Lin) Esni & Lieutenant Commander William Rogers & Lieutenant Tavis Styvek & Lieutenant Naomi McLaren & Commander Ichiko Gail & Lieutenant Commander William Gunnison & Lieutenant Roxa Onaix & Lieutenant Alexis Aenera & Warrant Officer Koh Ottasu & Warrant Officer Callisi Veera

Mission: Double Bind

The lightning came down in sheets now, not individual bolts, fires burned seemingly at random, more starting even as they were highlighted in the screen. The tallest building in the town, a three story monstrosity had been stone on the first floor, ceramic, glass and metal for the upper stories. Now it was a pile of rubble, molten glass still dripping through the cracks in the stone blocks. If anyone had been inside, they were assuredly dead, with lightning strikes still impacting as if making sure of its work.

As the storm finally passed the island town, fires still burned in its wake, the rain following the electricity already beginning to damp down the smallest of them. No buildings remained standing, not even the smallest shed. Crumpled and smoking lumps of what used to be people were scattered here and there as they'd attempted to flee their collapsing buildings. The rest were mercifully hidden, their modes of death concealed by the wreckage.

It was over, the storm had passed the islands, the damage had been done, and they'd watched on, obeyed the prime directive like good little boys and girls and not interfered with a race that was not warp capable, and as a result every single one of them now bore the scars on their souls for their inaction.

"Turn it off," Abigail ordered, the cold anger in her voice shattering the emotional silence of the bridge. Standing up, she started walking toward the front of the bridge, toward the screen, then stopped and walked toward one of the science consoles instead. "What was the estimated population of that set of islands?" she asked.

Naomi had the number of life signs from the islands and she knew the Captain wasn't going to like the answer. "Captain, there were two thousand five hundred and eighty four life signs detected in that region prior to the storm. I'm working on an attempt to determine if there are any survivors, however, there is a great deal of interference all across the EM spectrum due to the storm."

Abigail gave a curt nod but didn't speak. Two thousand, five hundred and eighty four... that number, spoken out loud, seemed to echo across the bridge.

A turn on her heel and Abigail started across the bridge again, almost as if she were pacing. A caged tiger filled with anger, frustration and most of all helplessness as she moved in silence, contemplating on the response she'd been given, just as she knew almost everyone else on the bridge would be doing as well. Finally, she stopped pacing and looked at the screen. Though the storm was no longer being shown in detail, they could see the two distinct storm cells over the planet, two cells on collision course that would cause an arctic freeze, killing almost everyone left on the surface. "Damn it!" she cursed loudly. "God damn it all to hell and back!"

Evelyn had slumped back in her chair, horrified with the destruction and death that was so obvious in that wreckage strewn scene. “Captain.” It came out more like a sob and she fought he urge to weep for the dead, forcing herself to speak more like normal, “Captain, I’ve got something.” She said softly, not sure if it would carry far enough.

Lieutenant Onaix wiped a tear as she turned to look the direction the voice calling the Captain came from.

Styveck looked around the bridge, the horror of the event was etched on their faces, to see thousands of peoples lives snuffed out like a candle when you could do something about was disastrous to the crew's mental state. He observed tears, grief stricken faces, and even the Captain lashing out in anger. The Vulcan even found his cheek slightly moistened by a few rogue tears. He fought for words of comfort, some platitude to offer, Humans were great at this sort of thing, but nothing felt right. Especially as they all knew deep down, this was going to be the beginning of a larger, cataclysmic event.

"Lieutenant McLaren I want to know when the storm is going to hit the next inhabited landmass. I want to know how big the landmass is, how many lives, give me information. I don't care what you've got to do to get it," Abigail ordered before turning toward Evelyn. "What is it Commander?" she asked.

“It’s not definitive.” Evelyn had to point out, “But I have what could possibly be a testbed of a warp ship.” She beckoned the Captain to come over, “It’s got a fusion power plant that could theoretically provide sufficient power for the drive, plus the outline and configuration of what I could see with the lateral sensor array look like it’s a viable design. The radiation in the atmosphere is reducing sensor performance, but to determine how close they are, I want to go down to check it out. It could be that it’s ready to go, it could be they’re still working out technical issues or design flaws, it could also be only theoretical in their scientists minds and they have nothing. Give me an hour or less down there and I could tell you.”

"That is not a viable option Commander," Abigail replied calmly. "Weather uncertainty aside, we know thing about this race and these people. There will be other ways to find out what we need to know." She reached up, running fingers through dark hair before shaking her head. "Put what information we have through to my ready room. Commander Rogers, you have the bridge. I need to think." Turning on her heel, Abigail strode across the bridge before disappearing through a set of doors, leaving the crew on the bridge to reflect on everything that had just happened.

"Yes, ma'am." Evelyn obediently sent the data she had to the Captain's ready room, along with the best refined image she could get from the sensors of the potential warp ship. For a few seconds she considered a couple of other options, such as trying to transport down, which would be difficult at best through the radiation interference, or taking a shuttle to do it. She dismissed those thoughts after a few additional seconds, placing her forehead down on the console. The Captain had made herself clear with her decision. Alternatives, there had to be alternatives.

Ichiko followed Abigail close behind, giving Rogers a nod to echo the Captain's handoff of the chain of command. She followed the Captain out, to help discuss a course of action, or inaction.

Will got up and walked over to the brige engineering station and gently placed a couple of fingertips on Rozia's shoulder. "Just how much of a look of this ship of theirs do you need?" he asked quietly. "Would security camera feeds be enough?"

Evelyn looked up sharply, nodding slowly, "It might be... It'd give me a starting point at the least. Maybe, if you can get into their computer systems, they might have some of their other records available? Or at least some recorded footage of them working on it?" There was some life to her voice now, something there that wasn't there before: Hope.

Will nodded. "It's something to look for. For something like this, they'd have security cameras all over the place, at the very least, plus computers on-site. Even if there's no visual records, there's always other stuff to look for if we can get into their computer systems. After all, when you're building something important, you always make lots of notes, right? We'd just have to make sure that they don't know we're hacking into their systems."

Evelyn glanced over at the Ready Room door. They should ask the Captain. They should ask the Captain. But... "Yes, they would. They'd absolutely have everything in their systems, so a freak accident can't destroy their only schematics. How are you at that sort of thing? If we need to, I've got a Senior Chief down in engineering that's rather good at accessing information she ought not to have. Comes in useful, that."

"Fortunately, I just happen to know a thing or two about getting such access," Will said. "I'll see about getting into their systems and will let you know when you can start sightseeing."

"Thanks, Will, this means a lot to me... And to them. If I can prove that they're capable, it might sway the Captain." She smiled at him.

Linza felt useless, standing at the back of the bridge. She could only listen and watch, because, what else could she do? She could dig into Starfleet computers easy enough with her history, but not systems like what they had down there.

The news of a potential FTL capable ship was the silver lining to the storm clouds dominating the planet's atmosphere. It would make intervention an easier sell, Buck reasoned. After all, you can be capable of something even if you haven't actually done it yet. Right?

 

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