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Mercury Falling, Part 2

Posted on Thu Jun 14th, 2018 @ 8:28pm by Commander Jonathan Mantell & Commodore Yoshi Minawara & Lieutenant Commander Nolan Marc & Lieutenant M'rrina & Ensign Rufus Marocain

Mission: A Misguiding Hand
Location: Bridge
Timeline: MD01

The surfer nerd had one of the sensor technicians take his place at the forward facing bridge terminal. Taking a step back toward the perimeter wall of tertiary stations, Nolan dropped down into a seat in the port-side nook that was marked as the Sciences II terminal.

Pulling information from stellar cartography and astrometrics, the young scientist began to extrapolate and develop data points on the sector -- historic and current.

Long range sensors were still unable to discriminate a focal point for the omicron particle emissions, but the surrounding energy waveforms were causing Nolan to develop a hypothesis of what this was, and what it wasn't. That hypothesis most likely skewed his perspective on the data, as the boy tended to estimate what the result of the final analysis was going to be when it was all said and done.

At present warp velocity, the ship should be in range to conduct a more thorough analysis in another minute.

"Coming up on target coordinates," Rufus announced, almost on cue.

The doors hissed open a mere seconds breath before the Kainan had announced the approach, and the frame of Captain Minawara appeared out of it. "Slow to impulse, and switch secondary core to data processing and allocation of sensor information." He smiled slightly, and took a few paces towards the centre of the room, nodding to Jack. "I go to have dinner and a good work out, and you discover something weird? Unusual radiation you say, tell me what we're looking at Commander," he added, before taking his seat at the centre of the bridge. Teasing aside, the Captain was curious what was going on, and a little relieved to not have to show up for patrol duty right off the bat.

Vacating the seat for his captain, Jack stood to the side of the executive chair, placing his hands on the seat's headrest. "Yep," he chirped gleefully, his curiosity plainly on display. The normal news he dealt with was hearing that something had broken down or needed replacing. Approaching what could be a discovery of something new and unknown to the universe at large was getting him excited. "We, that is Lieutenant Marc, picked up omicron radiation near a system catalogued with a pre-warp civilization."

Yoshi pivoted the chair towards the science section, and laced his fingers together. "Well then, Lieutenant Marc, we have omicron radiation, and a pre-warp civilization. I suspect then that you are assuming we have a possible First Warp situation on our hands, or at the very least, the beginning of anti-matter production?" The Captain offered a smile, and if the fact another Miran had made it's way onto the ship had surprised him, he gave away any indication. "So theories?"

"Lots of theories," Nolan answered. Getting up from the chair, the boy moved back to the Science I console from the back corner nook. Relieving the technician there, the boy looked up at the captain as he continued. "The data right now lends itself to no conclusions. However, we have isolated the readings and they are coming from within the star system."

The boy glanced back down again, kicking his head to one side as another errant lock of hair fell down into his face, noting a few recommended annotations for a course toward the system and routing them to the helm. When he glanced back up, Nolan added, "I'd recommend that we take a closer look."

It might very well be early warp drive experiments. On the flip side, it could be the early stages of anti-matter weapons, and the dawn of a global apocalypse were they to be used.

It could also be that Shaggy the Helmsdog's first impression was right, and someone was using the planet as a toxic waste dumping ground. Though, Nolan was still ruling that out as likely. It was within the realm of possibility.

Right now, the surfer nerd didn't have enough facts to offer a more concrete theory one way or the other.

The Captain turned himself towards the large view screen, and hummed to himself for a second, thinking over the possibility for a moment. "And, if we are seeing the dawn of a new civilization into the warp fold, it would be interesting to drop a probe, and capture the moment, wouldn't it?" The Captain drummed his fingers on the chair for a second, and then nodded. "Very well then, helm lay in a course, but keep us outside of any primitive sensor sweeps that may be available, last thing we need is to be violating the prime directive. And," he turned towards the officer at Ops, "notify Starfleet that we will be delayed getting to Deep Space 9, we're going to take a short stop and see the sights." Minawara turned to Jack, "See about getting a Class Five probe ready, to send through the system, have it look to see if we're dealing with weapons or warp travel. I am curious as to what is happening myself." Looking back to Lieutenant Marc, he nodded, and added "Get me what information you can. And if it is a civilization, I want to know how close we are to them achieving warp flight. Who knows, maybe we'll have our own Bozeman Incident on our hands here."

"Aye, sir," Rufus replied, setting the course. "It looks like there are two moons, or one and fraction anyway. I'll hang us back of the full-sized one where we'll be hidden by its shadow even if they have better than expected sensors."

"Got it," said the blond Miran boy, still standing near the XO chair. Moving to the engineering station, Jack pulled up the menu and ordering windows to start the process of requesting a Class Five probe. As he worked, the chief engineer initiated a passive scan of the system, looking for satellites both natural and artificial that the probe would need to take into account during its course.

"We should be within range still to pick up some local transmissions and data signals, hopefully." said M'rrina, ears flicking absently. "Since our sensors are almost certainly better."

"Very good," replied the Captain as he turned back to the main display. "Put us in high orbit of the moon, and then deploy the probe. Once we're there, tell me more about what is causing this, or maybe a bit more about these people. Mister Marc, you have the lead on this project, since you discovered it." He looked over to Jack again, "and of course Jack, should he need anything, make sure he gets it. We'll grab some scans, and be on our way."

Jack did not hear the ship commander, focused instead on the scan results on his screen. A frown formed upon his small face, and he leaned forward as he tapped a few more commands to resolve the source of the unusual results the console was reporting.

"They appear to still be using radio waveform transmissions," Nolan remarked, flipping the hair out of his eyes as he glanced over at the Caitian communications officer. "I'm showing lots of activity in the electromagnetic spectrum, but nothing that would implicate an application of subspace harmonics or photon resolution imaging."

As he continued working, there was an audible chirp from the science station. Looking down for a moment, the boy glanced up at the captain as he said, "Sensors confirm the presence of omicron particles on the planet, sir." "It will take some time to do a thorough study of the levels, but the readings are consistent with a Cochrane-type matter-antimatter reactor."

"Well, looks like the xenobiologists back at home will have something to look into. In a few years, we might have another potential member to join the Federation. Drop the probe, and let's set a course to get out of here soon," said the Captain, who keyed a few notes into his chair to send his notes to Starfleet Command to investigate. "Whenever you're ready to leave, helm, you're authorized to do so. Jack, I'll be in my quarters if you need me," said the Captain as he stood.

"Captain," the alto voice said from the engineering station, the boy's eyes never wavering from the screen. "You may want to stay." He glanced over to catch the man's eyes before turning back to his screen, the source of his readings on display. "Most of the objects orbiting the planet are what we'd expect from a civilization of this era. Moderate density of artificial satellites, mostly constructed of metal or composite materials. Two natural satellites, the two moons we saw earlier. But there's one object that doesn't fit, and it's attached somehow to one of the moons. It looks like a starship, but it doesn't match anything that this civilization could have produced by this point. And there's no indication that they've mastered the ability to reach their planet's moons yet."

Rufus looked up from the helm, ears perking in interest. "So someone else is watching?" His head cocked to the side as he considered the various History of Space Flight cases he'd studied. It was topic he enjoyed, though mostly for the technical details on ship and engine design. But that was what struck him odd now. "...or maybe doing more? I mean, as far as I know it's unusual to go straight to developing cochrane-type engine without first developing in-system spaceflight."

The surfer kid tapped the side of his console. Something that the helmsman had said just wasn't sitting with him. "It's not an engine," Nolan opined finally. Why? He had no idea. Call it a hunch. Well, theory might be a more scientific term.

"At least, not so far as I can tell." So if not an engine, then what? "If I had to guess, I'd say we're picking up the evidence of a vertical accelerator," the boy went on to venture, talking through the hypothesis. "That would be the most basic configuration for a matter-antimatter reactor, which could be used as a propulsion engine, but they probably haven't reached that level of sophistication with the technology."

That was the most probable explanation, but the helmsman was correct. It was unusual that they didn't see any evidence of any of the steps normally taken to have arrived at antimatter particle physics. "But I agree, the use of antimatter particle physics is inconsistent with their overall level of technology."

Drumming his hands on the side of his leg, the Captain turned around and took a few steps towards the centre of the room again. "A ship, and inconsistent technology?" The question hung in the air, a sudden though occurring to him, one he wasn't too fond of. "Mister Marc I need a better answer than that," he added, his tone firming up. The man shook his head and sighed. "If they shouldn't be able to get this far, then how did they build a Cochrane-type matter-antimatter reactor? Furthermore, if they didn't build the reactor, who did?" Questions came easy to an Engineer, and finding answers was usually the point of them. These questions had no easy answers, and needed to find a solution. "Let's get some better scans."

 

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