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Raiders of the Lost Jeffries Tube

Posted on Sat Jul 6th, 2019 @ 8:41am by Lieutenant Commander Nolan Marc & Lieutenant JG Hulio Xe'ceda & Taran Willeg
Edited on on Sat Jul 6th, 2019 @ 8:48am

Mission: Wrong Place, Right Time
Location: Deck 24
Timeline: MD01
Tags: Nolan

On an alien world...

The surface was desolate, waiting for the end of days -- when its star would go nova and all their yesterdays would vanish from the galaxy.

Whatever civilization might have once existed was now merely ruins. The structures seemed a labyrinthine lattice. A maze that wove through tight corridors that seemed to spread infinitely in all directions. The two intrepid explorers were naught more than a pair of ants, crawling around the nest of some forgotten species.

Dwarfed by the size and spectacle that was the vast expanse of ruins, the pair voyaged on. They had been crawling through the catacombs for what seemed like hours now, on a quest to try and discover whether there was any evidence of the culture that had constructed the ruins. The journey was long. A descent into a dimly lit shaft, which ended at what appeared to be a dead end.

Shuffling around on his hands and knees, the blond haired surfer boy stopped short. Sitting back, he raised an arm in warning.

Brushing up against him, the dark haired Klingon child squeezed in so that he was perched shoulder to shoulder with the brave explorer. Black, Betazoid irises scanned the barrier that blocked their path. "Is there a way around?" Taran asked, casting a look over at the Okinawan youth.

"No," Nolan said, carefully inspecting the markings that adorned the wall. "What we're looking for is here," he uttered finally, confidence running through his voice. Then, he added, "But, it's a trap."

"A trap!?" Taran echoed, with a grasp. Turning back toward the barrier before them, the Klingon asked, "How do we disarm it?"

Nolan closed his eyes for a moment as he seemed to seriously contemplate the challenge that now barred their quest. "There's only one thing we can do," the Okinawa boy uttered finally, opening his eyes and giving a snap of his fingers as if to say by jove, I've got it.

Then, with a simple motion, he tapped his combadge.

Deck 10

"Nolan to Astrometrics Lab."

A pair of large, bat-like ears swept up toward the ceiling at the announcement. Tilting his head back, the small, furry alien answered, "Astrometrics Lab. Xe'ceda here."

The S'ti'ach wasn't normally found in this part of the science deck. Speaking entirely for himself, Xe'ceda found complex organic lifeforms much more interesting than particles of space dust, random bits of electromagnetic radiation, or hypotheticals related to subspace physics.

Unfortunately, the ship's periodic maintenance schedule required that he be present to help observe the rather complex workings that went into performing a diagnostic on a ship that was currently operating in interstellar space.

"We're at the sensor palette. Shift all current scans to the primary sensor array."

Vesta had two main sensor arrays. In day to day operation, tasks involving active and passive scanning were alternated between the two. Initial verification of sensor feedback could then be achieved by running a complimentary scan from the other array, and then comparing the results. But, most of all, it gave the ship a redundant capability that it could fall back on in the event of a catastrophic failure of either one array.

Of course, taking an array off-line for maintenance had several second and third order effects. Foremost among which was that the available operational bandwidth was halved. This meant that task prioritization became an issue. It also meant that the active sensor array had to be monitored closely for any indication of malfunction or failure. All of which meant that the Science Department treated maintenance of one of the sensor arrays akin to how it staffed the ship at Red Alert. The Bridge and Astrometrics were both fully manned, with personnel from the off-duty sections recalled to cover key positions.

Standing atop a console, Xe'ceda used four arms to reach a variety of touch points. Signalling the bridge that the maintenance was beginning. Verifying that there were no operations currently running through the secondary sensor array. And, most importantly, notifying Security that someone would be accessing the terminal located at Deck 24, Section 8.

"Security, Navigation, and the Bridge have all confirmed," Xe'ceda reported aloud after another moment, before looking up and adding, "You are clear to proceed."

Deck 24

"You are clear to proceed."

Sliding forward, Nolan flipped around so that he was lying on his side. Reaching out with both arms, the diminutive Miran used both hands to access a small control pad that was recessed into the side of the maintenance shaft. As he did, an alarm rang out, echoing loudly off the walls of the Jeffries Tube.

No sooner had Taran clapped his hands over his ears than the alarm had stopped. There was a distinct hum that followed next, as a shimmering light seemed to sparkle and then cut out as the force field shielding the access hatch disappeared.

A second later, the hatch itself popped open, revealing the chamber beyond.

As Nolan rolled over and then scrambled through the open hatch, Taran sat back and asked, "Why can't you just use your access codes to get inside from here?"

Nolan's tennis shoes slammed down on the metal grating with a loud bang that echoed above and below them. "Starships have to rely on their sensors a lot," the Okinawa boy remarked. Dropping to his knees, the youth reached out to the wall and then pulled a section toward him. Bioneural gel packs glowed a blue-green, as isolinear components blinked red. Reaching back, Nolan pulled his tricorder free. "The safeguards are designed to prevent anyone from getting inside here without explicit permission," he added, opening the tricorder and pausing to review the read-out.

Seemingly satisfied, Nolan nodded slightly and then put the tricorder away. "You have the tool kit?" he asked, turning back to his self-proclaimed assistant.

"I thought only engineers did this kinda stuff," Taran remarked, heaving the satchel that the two boys had carried down with them.

Catching the toolkit, Nolan set it down on the grating and then rummaged through for a tool. "Its important for a scientist to understand his equipment," the boy opined, dropping down before the open drawer so that he was seated cross-legged as he started to go to work.

Taran was lying on his stomach, looking down at where Nolan was working. "Isn't that boring though?" the Klingon boy asked.

Nolan just seemed to shrug. "It's kinda like cleaning your room," the boy offered, kicking his head to one side as he flipped the hair from out of his eyes. Continuing to work, he said, "You may not want to do sensor maintenance, but you need to do sensor maintenance." He paused a moment, shifting position and standing on his knees in order to be better able to reach a spot with the tool. "All it takes is a particle of preanimate matter in the matrix to skew your whole data set."

Chin resting on his hands, Taran seemed skeptical as he echoed back "A single particle?"

Glancing back at the other boy, the Okinawa youth said, "We're moving at speeds thousands of times faster than light. At that velocity, you don't want to settle for anything short of precision."


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