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Hidden Mysteries

Posted on Tue Aug 6th, 2019 @ 10:15pm by Captain James Tyson Sr. & Lieutenant Commander J'Ela Teisen & Lieutenant Liam Holt & Lieutenant Jacen Rendar & Lieutenant T'Risa

Mission: Wounded Pride
Location: USS Sutherland: Bridge: Alpha Shift
Timeline: MD 35

It had been two weeks since the Sutherland, Victoria and Tyche launched from Starbase 214 to begin their exploration portion of the Wastelands, and in that time the three ships were relaying data between each other until the range became too much. In the past two weeks the Sutherland encountered five class three comets, and a class three pulsar about ten light years from the boundary of Federation space, that stretched into the Wastelands. The one thing about exploration was that it could very well be boring if nothing exciting was going on, but none the less it was still the thrill of discovering something new. As he sat in his chair sipping on a cup of coffee that he had been working over for the past few minutes, he looked at his XO and gave a half smile and said "The one thing I've hated about exploration missions, it so boring unless you are a science officer," he said as he sipped his coffee.

"Starfleet is built on Exploration." Andrea commented from one of the rear consoles.

"Yeah I agree, hundred percent. It would have been the same way if we were patrolling the Cardassian boarder," he said as he continued to sip his coffee.

Holt was at the CONN and smirked, "You mean you don't find flying through mostly empty space riveting? There's got to be a planetary system nearby or something more exciting than an interstellar snow ball for us to look it." He said in the general direction of the science station.

T'Risa arched the quintessential Vulcan eyebrow at the Helm, but made no other response. Though the data being gathered didn't fall into her primary fields of interest, it would undoubtedly prove useful to the Federation Astrophysical Survey and other relevant agencies. With that thought in mind, the Chief Science Officer continued to dutifully monitor the information being gathered.

"I agree," Edward said in response to Liam. There had to be something out here that was worth exploring other than just the regular stellar phenomenon of gases, background noises, comets and pulsars. "However the study of that pulsar a couple of day's back was the break that we needed."

"Studying pulsars is hardly a fair test of the ladies abilities after her refit. We need to test her systems properly before we have any confrontations", J'Ela said

Liam kept his mouth shut this time, while observing a pulsar did pose some minor piloting challenging they had maintain a, somewhat overly cautious, distance. A day an half flying slow circles wasn't exactly his idea of fun. The mission so far had given the rest of Air Wing time to work on the fighters, the phaser upgrades had been completed on 8 of their 12 birds, and the modifications to the warp power distribution system was underway, he had ordered that at least four of the fighters remain alert ready meaning they had to complete the modifications on one set before they could move on to the others, the engineers lending a hand had been less than thrilled. A particularly opinionated JG had insisted it would add almost a week to the total time but compromising the ability to use any of the fighters in combat should the need arise was to great a risk.

"Sir, I'm picking up some odd, it's almost like a slight drag on warp field. Could be a localized subspace distortion." Liam reported.

"Liam take us out of warp," replied Edward as he sat up a bit, it could be a natural occurring distortion in subspace; but most ships would have just re calibrated for the drag and kept moving forward. "T'Risa, I give me a detailed scan of the area.

"Dropping us to impulse." Liam reported as the ships warp field collapsed hurtling the ship back to sublight speeds.

"The 'drag' Lieutenant Holt was describing could be an effect of the pulsar we were investigating earlier," T'Risa noted as she made adjustments to her console. "Granted, we are some distance from the pulsar, but it was reminiscent of PSR J0751+1807, including the relatively high solar mass. One would expect the possibility that..." The Vulcan Science Officer froze in mid sentence, a slight frown appearing on her face. "Captain, I am picking up an unusual low band power emission, unrelated to the phenomenon we dropped out of warp for. There's a pattern to it, though I'm having difficulty isolating either the pattern or the source of the emission." T'Risa made an entry into her panel, but the continued frown on her face showed that her adjustments were not having the desired effect. "I believe the phenomenon Lieutenant Holt described may be interfering with our sensors. I would like to launch a Class Two probe to compensate."

"Agreed," said Edward as he walked over to the science station and awaited the readouts from the probe.

Liam continued the course the ship was on, they had dropped to sublight in the interstellar void between star systems. "We're more than 2 light years from the nearest star system, not detecting any other vessels." Liam reported. He quickly hit a few keys sending a message to the air wing to make sure the alert fighters were ready in case something happened, he was hoping it was just good old paranoia.

T'Risa signaled for the appropriate type of probe to be launched. When the signal began returning from the probe, she ensured a duplicate of the signal was streamed to stellar cartography.

"Definitely a pattern," T'Risa observed. She paused before adding, "And of Federation origin. Encoded. The signal is still too degraded to decipher. But it's similar to the signal that a standard Federation escape pod would emit except..." T'Risa paused, before adding, "Modern Starfleet sensors work on an unique fractal algorithm. The emission that I was able to pick up was designed so that it would be almost impossible to detect unless it was...sorted...by sensors using that algorithm."

"A Federation signal way out here? Much less an escape pod?" replied Jacen as he turned around in his chair from ops. He was correct, they were officially beyond any point that any Starfleet vessel had explored in the wastelands.

"What in the name of Kahless is it doing way out here?" J'Ela asked. Shaking her head, "Caution is advised sir", she added.

Andrea raised an eyebrow. "I would be careful for a trap, especially after recent events," She cautioned. "I recommend we go to at least Yellow Alert, and be prepared for anything."

Jacen smiled as he looked around the Bridge of the Nebula Class starship, taking in the opinions and thoughts of his fellow officers. "Its good to know that we Starfleet officers are such opened minded people when faced with something we aren't sure about and don't trust..." he said.

Edward looked at the readings once more from her science station, and the signal did have trace amounts of what appears to be a Federation power signature but he had never witnessed a configuration like that ever. "I'm with Jacen, I didn't know the Federation came out this far? Jennifer check into the ship's computer core and verify if our current location coincides with any other Starfleet vessel out this far?"

"None that match any Federation records," she replied from her console.

"Damn this is very very interesting. What do you think Andrea?"

Andrea looked over at the Captain. "I would proceed with caution, it could be a trap." She looked around the bridge. "I would recommend at least a yellow alert stance, to be one the safe side."

"I agree Andrea, all hands yellow alert." replied Edward.

"The system that Lieutenant Holt has detected," T'Risa continued, "Appears to be the source of the emission I am detecting. It's a binary system consisting of a Class G and a Class K star orbiting around a center point, with six planets in stable, S-type orbits around the Class G star. At least two of the planets appear to be in the 'habitable' zone, though we would either need to get closer, or send a probe, to determine if either or both of those planets are life supporting," T'Risa concluded. "The distortion Lieutenant Holt encountered earlier is still interfering with our sensor capabilities."

Edward moved towards the center of the bridge, rubbing his chin thinking about this. They were to explore the region, and now the fact that a power signature was detected with what appeared to be a Federation signature was pulling at him to further investigate. "Let's investigate this further, Liam set course for that planetary system warp 8. Once we approach the outer most planet drop us to impulse power, and deploy two of the fighters; T'Risa with the sensors on the Sutherland and the fighters we should be able to get better readings, when we move further in system."

"Aye Sir, course laid in. Taking us back to warp." Liam said from the conn, the ship accelerated back to FTL. "ETA is just over 16 hours. Fighters on standby."

"I have one more observation, Captain," T'Risa said from her console. "The pattern embedded in the emission is still too degraded at this point to decipher, but I have been able to identify the code used. Or rather, the computer has. The computer will not share the identity of the code used. Command level authorization only, Captain."

Edward watched the viewscreen as the Sutherland jumped back into warp this time on a new heading for a new star system. Suddenly things were changing now, and finally, it looked like the streak of silence would finally be broken. "I have never heard of a secret carrier wave being used with encryption on it, but send it to my console I'll take a look at it."

T'Risa nodded, sending what information she had to the Captain,

"The code is intact but whoever sent it the identifying markers on the code are I can't tell, it is not recognizing my authorization codes at all. This is really turning into a modern-day mystery," replied Edward.


====[16 hours later/Gamma Shift]=====

The Sutherland drops out of warp in a flash right on the edge of the system, the gamma shift officer Lieutenant Rendar was on station. Apparently, the captain wanted to make sure that someone from the senior staff would be on point once they had arrived at their destination. =/\=All Senior Staff report to the bridge.=/\= he replied as he pressed the comm panel on the captain's armrest.

T'Risa looked up from her console as Lieutenant Rendar called for the Senior Staff to report to the bridge. She had been on duty for the last two hours. Her (half) Vulcan physiology would have allowed her to remain on the bridge for the last sixteen hours without detriment, though she acknowledged the benefits to mental acuity of "stepping back." Still, she had been intrigued by the discoveries made the prior day, and though she would never admit to indulging in impatience or anticipation, she had shown up on the bridge two hours prior to the Sutherland dropping out of warp for ample preparatory time.

Edward walked onto the bridge yawning with his uniform jacket still open exposing his red turtle neck shirt underneath it, as he slowly applied the last golden pip on his collar. He didn't notice how early in the morning it was and when he looked at the clock on the top of the view screen read 0430 hrs he yawned once more. "Alright Liam, laaaaunch those fighters, T'Risa input the coordinates for helm, so that a flight pattern can be created for them to follow. Once they are out a wayyyyyssss," he said as he tried his best to stifle his yawn "begin scanning and let's see if we can get a clearer picture of the planet and the system as a whole."

T'Risa nodded at her Captain's orders and from her console transferred those coordinates to the helm station. "You should be receiving the coordinates now, Lieutenant Holt," T'Risa advised.

"Fighters are away, Green 1 and Green 2 taking position off port bow and staboard stern." Liam said from the CONN having made it the bridge a few minutes before they dropped to impulse.

"Low band emissions are definitely originating from the third planet, Captain," T'Risa announced as her commanding officer, obviously still waking up, walked on the bridge. "Class M, with a predominantly humid, subtropical climate, with water covering approximately sixty-four percent of the planet's surface."

"Sounds like a good place for a vacation if you don't mind the humidity." Liam chimed in taking the ship on a steady heading towards the planet.

J'Ela walked on to the bridge and immediately opened her console and started her diagnostics.

"The planet's primary climate is reminiscent of the South China Sea, Lieutenant Holt," T'Risa observed, as she monitored her sensors. "I am told quite a few people vacation in that region of Earth, though I've never personally availed myself of the opportunity. Captain, with your permission, I'd like to launch a Type III probe to investigate the far side of the planet. I realize our primary mission is to investigate the emissions we've detected, but I'd like to gather as much data on this planet as possible while we're here. A probe will not interfere with our primary mission."

"Permission granted," replied Edward as he stretched his arms a bit

"Thank you, Captain," T'Risa replied, entering the signal on her console to launch the probe.

"Captain, I believe I've located the source of the emissions." T'Risa entered a command into her console and a rectangle formed on a part of the planet's northern hemisphere visible on the main screen. "There is a complex of powerful electrical storms in the area in question that is interfering with ship's sensors. I believe there are at least six Federation escape pods in the area, possibly more. Sensors are also detecting humanoid lifeforms in the area. At least thirty. Human and Vulcan life signs," T'Risa concluded.

"That few, could be a crashed survey ship, or some smaller vessel with only that many." Andrea stated from the aft of the Bridge.

Edward sat in his chair looking more than shocked, he was looking dumbfounded. Starfleet records indicated that no starship has been out this far period, however on the planet near them were escape pods; with Human and Vulcan life signs. "Is it possible that we can hail from through the distortions?" asked Edward.

"Negative captain, the subspace distortions are not going to allow us to establish any kind of frequency lock," replied Jennifer from her station.

"Then looks like we need to get our boots wet," replied Edward as he stood up and stretched a bit. "Let's wait till day break in a few hours. Liam, T'Risa, Jacen, and myself will be heading towards the planet in a shuttle to a face to face with who ever is down there," replied Edward as he wanted to know personally what was going on.

"Aye, sir," T'Risa responded. "I will use those hours to..." T'Risa paused, before finding the right idiom. "...paint a more complete picture of what we could possibly encounter." With that, T'Risa turned her attention back to the data that both the ship's sensors and the recently launched Type III probe were returning."

"Sir I recommend we take one of the runabouts, the Tiber has been outfitted for both emergency aid as well reinforced against energy disruptions, those storms look pretty nasty, and if the people need support we could use the extra resources." Liam said from the CONN.

"We could rig the aft compartment to serve as field hospital as well, give us extra options." Andrea interjected as she moved towards the Ops station to take a look.

"I do not see the harm in that; but strangely enough I just do not believe the sensor readings we are picking up. Any mechanical device can be fooled, and only God knows what is causing this to happen." Edward was emphatic about that position, he had learned in his time on the battle field that sensors can be fooled to trick and fool people into a false sense.

"Captain, if you need me, I'll be down in the Shuttle Bay, prepping the Tiber for her next trip out," Jacen advised, nodding to his relief and heading towards the turbolift.

"We're entering orbit, putting us in geosynch over the site." Liam said. "I'll join you." He said to Jacen as Ensign Jacobs took the conn and followed the Ops Chief to the turbolift. Jacen smiled as Liam joined him. "By all means."

Andrea walked up beside the Captain. "With your permission sir, I would like to go down with the away team, get a lay of the land, etc." She said simply.

"Is this your way of telling me that you prefer the captain to remain on the ship?" he said with a quizzical look on his face.

Another Vulcan science officer had entered the bridge and walked over to T'Risa's console. The two exchanged a few quiet sentences while T'Risa briefed her subordinate on what was going on.

As T'Risa walked by the Captain and First Officer, she interjected "Section 12, Paragraph 4 would seem to support that position, Captain. If you will excuse me, I will be in my office compiling and organizing data for the away mission. Captain. Commander." With a curt nod to her superiors, T'Risa made her way to the turbolift.

J'Ela sat at her station quietly monitoring the power and engine readouts. She was scanning the the storms to get any readings she could on the intensity of them. "Captain, these storms are getting stronger, and they may not disipate by morning. I suggest we wait an additional 12 hours before flying down", she said.

"I concur with the Commander's assessment, Captain," the newly arrived male Vulcan science officer announced.

"Very well we will delay by 12 hours, that should push us out till 1600hrs; request granted Andrea and in the meantime I am going back to bed. J'Ela the bridge is yours," replied Edward as he gave a yawn and walked up the side ramp and entered into the turbolift.

"Understood Captain", J'Ela said taking the center seat and this time sitting in it.

"As was stated, in this instant, your place is on the ship, mine is dealing with the mysteries of what is out there." Andrea said pointing in no specific direction. "I think everyone would feel more comfortable with you here."

 

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