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Listening Frequencies Open

Posted on Mon Aug 20th, 2018 @ 4:48pm by Lieutenant M'rrina & Captain Ewan Darrow & Ensign Rufus Marocain

Mission: A Misguiding Hand
Location: USS Vesta, Bridge
Timeline: MD01 Alongside "When Prime Is Complicated"

Rufus sat at the helm, keeping the ship in the shadow of the large moon but within range to receive reports from the shuttle. But until those started coming in, there wasn't much else to do. He stared down at the planet, wondering what was going on down there - if they were making a jump to hit space at warp right out of the gate, the whole planet should be buzzing about it. ... Unless it was just some small secret group working out of sight.

He cocked an ear toward where M'rrina sat at the comm station, wishing he could hear what she was hearing while monitoring the broadcasts from down there.

Ewan stood right behind the pool table a cup of tea in hand, it was far to early to be up really but he hadn't been able to sleep and once he had been checked the status log and noticed a shuttle going out and the ship holding position behind a moon of a planet off their route, he had dressed and made his way to the bridge. "So, what's on TV tonight on our little marble then Lieutenant?" The XO asked as he brought the tea to his lips and took a sip.

"I believe I have isolated a selection of local news channels, sir." M'rrina replied, ears flicking slightly. "Shall I place one on screen?"

"I wouldn't mind a little entertainment," Rufus quipped. "I don't suppose they have any good wildlife shows?"

"Bring one up, if the translator has figured out their language get it working, I'd like to know what's going on." Ewan said as he nodded towards the screen, "Did you happen to find anything mentioning warp engines, government frequencies or civilian?"

"Well..." One ear flicked in time with the tip of M'rrina's tail. "Sort of. I'm not entirely sure it's the most...reliable...programming though." She brought up a channel on the viewscreen which would have been recognizable to anyone who'd ever watched various world's versions of "talk" shows. A scrolling line of alien text flashed along the bottom of the screen, translation laid over the top in text as well by Vesta's computers: "Tonight's Topic: Are Aliens Among Us?"

Rufus tipped his head to the side. "Is this like what they used to call infotainment?" His tail wagged a little. "I've seen some old shows like that - fur really flew when they argued over the topic."

"Seems pretty similar to even our current form of 'talk' shows." Ewan commented as he thought of FNN and some of the less credible news services that held marketshare within the Federation. "If only they knew who was watching." He chuckled as the program went on. The host of the show seemed to be directing the conversation towards some recent discoveries by the scientific community that pointed to signs aliens might have once visited their world, so of course the news groups had put that spin on it, the same on every group did, were they still within us?!

Of course for Earth, the really had been, Vulcans had been in and out of Earth's history for decades before official first contact was made. The planet below really may have been visited before, and a few times since but they'd never know for sure. "Nothing else out there talking outer space?"

The channel flipped along with the comm officer’s fur-covered ears, this time bringing up the classic news-anchor shot, one of the locals behind a desk, with a graphic in the corner of the screen and the same local text next to it, the translation of which overlaid read ‘Zombie Satellite?’

"Better." Ewan said as he stepped from behind the console and towards the forward screen. "Up the audio a bit please Lieutenant. Lets see what our friends are talking about. Im a little curious as to what they mean by zombie satellites."

"...satellite, which lost contact with its flight control center decades ago and was left for dead as space junk has suddenly sprung back to life," a neatly coifed anchor read into the camera. "Apparently resetting itself after its unexplained breakdown almost 30 years ago, it has resumed transmitting signals. Scientists at the Celestial Investigations Agency so far have no explanation for the this sudden resurrection as key connections in the onboard systems should have disintegrated after so many years in space."

"Another 'zombie satellite'," his cohost remarked, shaking her head with a wry grin. "Almost makes you wonder if these people talking about aliens are right and someone up there is messing with us..."

Rufus chuffed a laugh. "Ha. Can imagine developing FTL and then using it just to play practical jokes on pre-warp planets?"

"Sounds like something the Ferengi would do." Ewan commented as he watched the headlines roll on past with translations overtop. "30 years in space. Even in vacuum they're right in that they should have degraded to the point where they don't work anymore, or at least not reliably. To have them coming back online with full functionality is suspicious. Do we know if there are any deep space sensor arrays pointed in this direction? Even intermittently?"

The click of mostly-retracted claws on keypad surface as M'rrina's fingers played across it sounded, searching for the answer. "Very intermittently, sir." A stream of data started running on a split screen to the left third of the screen.

"It looks like that satellite was good and dead every time our sensors took a sweep by," Rufus remarked, and tapped at his console, bringing up a passive scan from their own sensors. "Though it's clearly operational now. In fact..." He narrowed his eyes, ears twitching back as he studied the data. "It looks like it's operating at better efficiency than some of the newer satellites here."

"A quick comparison of the data indicates this may not be the first time this sort of thing has happened, either, sir." said M'rrina. "I can find two other power spikes in previously deactivated devices that could indicate similar events, in running a query on the last ten years of data from other sweeps of the region."

"So our mysterious friends have been here for a while." Ewan commented as he watched the screen as the station switched to commercials. "Long range scans, they must have just thought their space program came up and fixed them. We used to do it with some of our more important satellites. Might explain our jump to warp power from basic satellites."

"They certainly appear to have a strong fascination with space." M'rrina commented, tail flicking gently as a commercial played on screen showing a pair of what she assumed were children of the local species playing with a toy rocket. "I've had an analysis program running through local print news sources I was able to access; it's flagged several news stories over the years on the sort of discoveries that might fuel such an interest; comet fragment discoveries with rare minerals or fragments of alien bacterial DNA. The details of some of the discoveries leave open the possibility that at least some of them could have been planted."

Rufus cocked an ear sideways. "You think maybe someone is dangling a lure for these people?"

"Yeah." M'rrina's ears flicked in response. "Just like they were little kits."

"Well I can tell you humans would have 100 percent tried to catch that lure as fast as they could." Ewan said with a shrug, "Im sure your own would have as well. I'm still hesitant on the drastic jump on technology though. From basic satellites to Warp.... I wonder if its more then just a lure but a helping hand. A few notes here, an undercover operative there, one person in one key spot could change history."

"Could be." M'rrina's tail wrapped around the base of her chair and her ankles, then half unfurled again. "To stand any chance of discerning if that's true or not, though, we'd have to do more than poke around in transmissions. We'd need paws on the ground."

"The shuttle may have more data for us," Rufus put in, dipping his head in a Kainan nod. "But even with all we're collecting remotely, there's nothing quite like taking a scent right at the source - something to indicate if whoever might be interfering is playing game warden or setting a lure to draw an easy kill."


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