USS Traveller
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In The Land Of The Unpublished Academic

Posted on Mon Sep 28th, 2020 @ 1:47am by Lieutenant Dinui Locke (loch) & The Narrator

Mission: S0:1: What Is Past, Is Prologue
Location: Canopus Station, Main Science Complex
Timeline: MD3: 13.00

Starfleet had sent Canopus Station out into Messier 4 with every toy it could think to stack on a shelf, and the fabrication system to build anything they could think after those stopped working. The main Science Complex of the station was set up like a flower, with petals peeling off devoted to a particular discipline or field of study.

The turbolift car rose up from the centre, opening to allow Captain Ingram to usher the Chief Science Officer of the Traveller in its pastel-coloured splendour.

"As I was saying on the ride up from the concourse, Starfleet has only received the raw data dump from the Traveller's crash beacon. So a lot of the theories we were able to put forward were done out of context, or on guesswork. Your travel through the Whisper Gate network, a stable connected phase space transit system that makes the Alpha Accelerator in the AQ look like a child's slingshot is worthy of note," Ingram said. "It's even given us a few clues ourselves, in regards to the ancient builders who created the Whisper Gate, as we have a Prior artefact under study. A plant scale terraforming device on the far side of Carpathia, heavily damaged it seems but still gamely attempting to fulfil its task."

He rubbed his hands together.

"Now...can I offer you something? One scientist to another, I want you to feel at home here during your ships repair cycle. Feel free to use these facilities to pursue your projects during that time, I insist."

Dinui took a moment to answer him, she was still gobsmacked by the extensive layout of the place, she shook her head softly and looked up at Captain Ingram, "Oh aye there's plenty we would like to save an' study, as for anything else, no' tha' canna wait for when ye'r no' being generous wi' ye time."

"I'll be honest with you, I've wanted to come down to these labs since I got the assignment here. Its been far too long since I enjoyed the simple pleasures of scientific research, instead of the long tedium of station administration," he sighed. He pointed to one door that was sealed, a pair of Canopus Station Security officer's standing to either side of the door. "Our biological study lab is currently off-limits I'm sorry to say. It's working on a project that's a touch to infectious for my liking. Whilst you were off chasing the Myriad and being then chased by the Reka, we stumbled across the Concordance."

He shook his head.

"They seem to travel from world to world, infecting a good percentage of the targeted species with what can best be described as some sort of 'faith implant' before razing the planet with kinetic strikes and atomic fire. Half of the station's marine compliment were infected during a brief and ill-advised away mission to the surface," he pointed to the lab. "Study of that implant and its infection model is happening beyond those doors in a Level 5 biohazard zone. I ask for your own safety, and that of your crew, to not let your scientific curiosity compel you to seek answers there."

Dinui nodded and looked up at him, "Do ye want wha' we're learned from the Reka weapons thus far?" Though with the labs he was offering to let the Traveller use they would likely find even more from the confiscated weapons than they had with the previously limited resources.

"As it turns out we might be able to compare notes of a sort on that," Ingram said and lead her into one of the petal lab complexes beyond the reception area. Here in the larger workspaces were fragments of the black glassy hull material of the Reka carrier, as well as complete sets of the streamlined armour they wore. Ingram walked among the tables. "We ran into them on an away mission to a unique stellar phenomenon. And of course, the Battle Of Canopus Station has resulted in us gaining some interesting research material."

He walked to one of the tables and picked up one of the Reka phase staff's that had so ruthlessly cut through the Travellers crew.

"Its a lot lighter than I would have expected," he said and held it out to Locke.

"Deadly too." Dinui retorted softly, she took the staff carefully. "Have ye found the weaknesses?" There were a few that she had only recently found from the study of the Reka staffs collected on the Traveller, but if his team had found more she would definitely take notes. She looked at the rest of the samples, gear, it was impressive. She could easily loose herself in the work being done here but she had to focus and be ready to return to the Traveller. "Iffen this station be our new Home-Port can Ah start a project an keep up wi' visits when Traveller returns?" Dinui asked looking up at Ingram far as she knew he was in charge here and that meant his permission was needed. If he refused well she would do what she could with the time given during the Traveller's repairs.

"Given the fact your ship limped back to port in tatters, I'm pondering setting up a permanent quantum locked data stream between Canopus Station and the USS Traveller. To safeguard what discoveries you make, and allowing for more up to date findings to be forwarded to you in the field," Ingram said. He tapped the tip of the Reka phase staff in her hand. "And we did find one. During your assault by the Reka in the Beacon star system, you were instructed by a turncoat of their species to harmonise the ships structural integrity field. This in effect interrupted the Reka's contact site-to-site transport midstream, leaving many of them cut in two or materialising with parts of the bulkhead inside of them."

He gestured to a pair of elongated black bags the size of a body.

"We have a few of them for study. The way ambient matter and foreign matter interact will tell us something about their transporter technology. But that is another thing we did learn," he took the staff and tapped it against his chest. "They are not battery powered. They run off a high output capacitor with tremendous storage potential. But with weapons discharge and use as a transporter, the staff itself would have become inert inside of ten minutes of heavy use. These are weapons for lightning raids, not prolonged battles."

Dinui nodded, "Aye, ye can over load them wi' certain sound waves as well." She paused "The Reka seem hive minded, type o' telepathic too. Iffen ye've go' folk skilled at telepathic shield o' thought ye'll want them to help ye'r crew."

"Yes, I've had reason to talk to a few of the Reka we have in holding. Pretty good mimic's, and the Psi rating on them would put them well below Betazoids and Vulcan's. They like to think along similar lines, but if a larger thought gains purchase the whole flock would follow it," Ingram muttered. He put the staff back on the table and walked to one of the fragments of hull armour. "Laminated diamond lattice. Very strong, very tough. But pitted with age, which we're putting at close to the five hundred year mark. You were not fighting state of the art warships at Beacon, nor during the battle. What do you think of a speices who are still flying around in ships that predate humanities exploration into the stars?"

"They're thinkin' nothing can be done against o' they've reached their limit an stuck in the past." Dinui replied lightly as she looked up at Ingram. "O' somethin' else entirely." She shook her head softly and then eyed the room again she and the rest of the Traveller's science department had a lot of options to now expend what they had learned and with the new additions to the information available from the station and Captain Ingram's science teams and medical. It promised to be very interesting if nothing else brought up mischief.

"I'm inclined to agree. Though there is evidence, anecdotal, that these Reka were not exactly the exalted high born of their society. It could simply be we have met the poorer cousins, or it might well be all Reka share this plateau of aged equipment. Though I fear that hope hinges on a good deal of luck," Ingram said thoughtfully. "It does make some of the refit choices Captain Remas has put together more reasonable. The Reka plasma lance, for instance, is a hellishly effective energy weapon against standard Starfleet armour. A low powered beam connects to the hull, allowing a high energy discharge to ground itself with the target as the lightning rod. The thermal effects alone shattered a good deal of the TRavellers hull. Though the new active armour system should mitigate that somewhat."

He led Locke through the warren of labs and spaces until they reached a cosy lab inhabited by a familiar female Bolian. Zado Kasmir, the mind who had thought up phase space acceleration and opened the doors to the galaxy beyond the Milky Way, smiled as the two entered her lab. A Holographic map of local space filled the majority of the room, the stars connected haphazardly by faded blue and pink lines.

"Dr Ingram, Dr Locke, its good to see you again. And thank you again, Benjamin, for allowing me to move my work off the Traveller and onto the station," Zado said with a pleased expression. "Its already bore some small fruit that I think you two might find interesting."

"Director Kasmir," Dinui smiled cheekily as she replied to the (in her opinion) elegant Bolian woman, "Ye have somethin' new already?" If the longjump director thought it was interesting it was definitely going to be fun. Though Dinui knew her idea of fun was questionable to some of her peers.

"Indeed I do...or at last I think I do."

She gestured to the star map hovering in the middle of the room.

"This is Messier 4. Its a collage image from the Starfleet Deep Space Survey and private interests within the Long Jump Project. So whilst not a perfect image, it's at least an order of magnitude better than what we would have if we just arrived here," with a gesture of one blue hand she spun the map around until a blue star was before them. "Here we are, this is Carpathia. And there is Beacon...Medina...the Mire and Xilos."

A cluster of stars was illuminated in a narrow fan assortment close to Carpathia. Medina and Beacon had been stars visited by the Traveller, whereas Xilos and the Mire had been ones visited by members of the Canopus Expedition.

"Now we know that Carpathia and Medina are connected via a phase space accelerator bridge," Zado began to say before Ingram coughed into his hand.

"Not naming it after yourself?" he asked with a smile.

"A Kasmir Bridge....huum, tempting but given these devices might predate the evolution of life on many Alpha Quadrant worlds, I'll save off slapping my name on the side," Zado smiled. "But to continue, we know that during the mass transit of the USS Traveller in pursuit of the Myriad provocateur Abborax, that the ships crash beacon was able to transmit a data burst through the accelerator bridge back to the Alpha Accelerator in the Milky Way."

She held up a hand, as slowly other stars in Messier 4 began to blink with soft yellow luminences.

"The Canopus Station sensor array is picking up the echo of the crash beacon broadcast emanating from nearly every star in the Messier 4 cluster," she grinned at Locke. "Meaning every star has one of these accelerator bridges buried in its corona, and that they are accessible. It's just the 'how' that bugging me at the moment."

Dinui gave a delighted laugh, "The gates are connected throughou' the cluster?" She had spotted the gate entrance by chance while looking at the scans of the star's corona, the data has been filled with interference and their guest Cleen, had helped getting them through the last time. Maybe some talk with Cleen would be a good idea and unless the long jumper Director had already had words and was just showing the extension of the reach of the gates possibilities?

"The gates are appeatures into phase space. The Alpha Accelerator in the Alpha Quadrant takes two weeks to charge up to a charge great enough to push a ship into phase space. The problem is that the moment a vessel from your brane of existence enters another, it's forced out. Square peg in a round hole. But in the time it takes the branes to untangle and force our ship back into traditional space, we've already covered just shy of 33'000 light-years. With the correct shielding, that 'buoyancy effect' can be decreased, keeping the travelling ship in phase space longer," Kasmir explained animatedly with her hands. "But our Alpha Accelerator and these 'Whisper Gates' as Abborax called them aren't part of the same network. Ergo they must be sharing the same phase space, that's why our Accelerator was able to pick up and transmit the crash beacon when we transited. It might mean we might be able to co-opt them to work for us, allowing us to pass through a Whisper Gate in Messier 4, and pop out of the Alpha Accelerator in the Alpha Quadrant. Our very own poor mans Iconian Portal, or Bajoran Wormhole. But with that level of finesse, a return traveller might be able to appear from any of the Whisper Gates in Messier 4."

She made a geature to the hologram, and the star map vanished, replaced by the gagged bar graphs of an EM sensor feed.

"Just before Abborax's ship was swallowed by the Whisper Gate in Carpathias sun, it transmitted a signal to Gate. I believe that was some sort of sorting code, a sort of routing syntax to tell the Gate where to send the matter it was about to swallow. And we got caught in the backblast and got sucked along,"

"So iffen we figure the codes we migh' have access t' the gates?" Dinui said quietly, finding codes was almost as much fun as learning a new language or solving a puzzle.

"As my husband would put it, thats the long and short of it," Zado said with a sigh. "Unfortunately the stellar feedback from being that close to the sun when Abborax sent the signal, means we only caught then high band effects. We heard someone shouting at a concert, but we don't know what they said. If we ever get close to another Myriad ship in transit, I'd love a closer look at the signal they send out."

"Lieutenant Locke? Have you any thoughts on how to improve the Travellers sensors? She's going into refit, might as well give her better eyes before they fill in the gaps in the hull with bigger guns," Ingram said distastefully.

Dinui bit her lip redesign of sensors hadn't been one of her priorities at the moment she knew the hull was undergoing some serious changes and overhauling, "Unless ye've already got plans for helpin' unscramble gravitational interference no," she didn't know what was already planned for and she certainly wasn't going to cause a fuss over making a suggestion that might seem too silly.

"The only way to do it quickly would be to have multiple starship grade sensors recording the same event from multiple vectors," Ingram said thoughtfully. "Placing them in probes would give you the multiple vectors you needed, but deployed anywhere near close enough to record a signal in the chromosphere of a star they'd be incinerated. The only sure-fire way would be to layer multiple recordings until a pattern could be discerned. Sometimes the path to truth is a long one."

"Aye worth the effort in the end, Ah'll think on it some more and iffen Ah think o' something tha' be worthwhile addin' Ah'll let ye know soon as possible." Dinui said as she was already puzzling the information and the current situation plans. There had to be a way. Then she smiled brightly as an idea accorded to her. She would have to check a few things over first but maybe just maybe there was a way to get a foothold in the problem. She would check with Captain Remas if they could try asking Clee'san about it.

Off

Lt. Dinui Locke, Chief of Sciences
USS Traveller

The Narrator

 

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