USS Traveller
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A Glitch in Time

Posted on Sun Nov 1st, 2020 @ 3:00pm by Lieutenant Dinui Locke (loch) & The Narrator

Mission: S0:1: What Is Past, Is Prologue
Location: various
Timeline: to be determined

A while After her informative meeting with Captain Benjamin Ingram and the Long Jump mission leader Zado Kasmir

Dinui wandered back to the Traveller to check on the progress of the Wise Men and their findings from her request to go over the data of the Traveller's entrance to the station, system and anything that might have been of interest while they were being shot at, dodging fire from the Reka and the other intricacies of the art of battle that Dinui honestly hadn't thought about much before now. Though after the latest boarding and attack, she planned to get some additional training for worst case scenario.

She grinned as the avatars of the Wise Men danced over the science station A chess piece Bishop. A Russian Matryoshka doll. And a constantly shifting tesseract. "Well lads wha' have ye found fo' me?"

Casper, the chess piece, was the first to make a move. Methodical, meticulous, and precise were the words to use for this program as a detailed analysis of the Traveller's sensor logs began to play out. Star system data for Beacon and Medina, as well as a more thorough stellar survey of the Carpathia System.

Balthazar was next, and clearly showed something of an artistic streak. Thoughtful, with just a hint of insightfulness. Close up's of the Reka carrier craft, catching glimpses of markings on the hull, scars that were either repairs or badges of honour. It had even identified the 8 Reka carrier craft that had followed the Traveller back to Carpathia: four had been part of the blocking force that they had rammed through to escape, whilst the other four had joined the hunt from the other side of the system. Clear evidence of sophisticated command and control systems.

And Calvain, the complicated hard to look at tesseract, was focusing solely on the candy cane striped world of Tangerine Dream, the gas giant around which Canopus Station and Carpathia orbited. Not insightful. Not thoughtful. Pig headed perhaps, as spectral analysis and sensor logs began to overlap the other two Brothers reports. Calvain had become myopic on the topic of Tangerine Dream. Like a child staring in awe at a spectacle, Calvain could see nothing else.

'Data Set: Incompatible: Results Equal False' was the single text file report Calvain deemed worthy of reporting as the boilerplate over the mountain of data it was trying to show her.

Dinui blinked trying to take it all in. "Okay Lads Ah'm needing more details can ye spread ou' a bi' Ah need to see wha' ye'r tryni' to tell affore Ah can make sense o' the information." she brought up the screens to spread out around her in a semi circle, "What do ye mean by Data set incomplete?"

Calvain's data panes flew to her right, opening like flower petals to form a small wall around her. One of the more dazzling piece of data was a hull camera holo. From the slope of the hull and the glow of the nacelle, it was on the port side of the Travellers angled down. As the video played in silence, the image jerked and spun, the RCS quad thruster in the image firing a long stuttering blast of corrective thrust as the star field danced. A Reka carrier craft came into view and vanished as the Traveller rolled, and then Tangerine Dream came into view.

The image flickered and the roll continued, returning to where it had been with the Reka carrier expanding out in a flower of fire and debris.

'Data Set: Incompatible: Results Equal False'.

It replayed the video, slowed as Tangerine Dream came into the frame...slowed further...

And there. Caught between one frame and the next the barest flicker of an instance...Tangerine Dream vanished and reappeared.

Dinui blinked shook her head softly, "A righ' puzzle ye found lad, Ah love a good puzzle solvin'. She looked at Casper's and then Balthazar's data again. "Lads ye'r wonderful, have ye compared wi' the station's data tha' we've access t'?"

Caspar and Balthazar moved with something approaching a will, accessing the Canopus Station data net with a fluency that suggested they'd been plundering those data stacks long before she arrived. Smaller sub panes popped up, each listing various devices and apertures for data capture dotted around the station's hull. Gravimetric. Radiological. Visible light. High gain electromagnetic. Subspace. And slowly each of them came back with red hash marks.

'No pertinent data sets found: Unique anomaly found only in TravPSHullSpecCam45.' Were the twinned responses by two of The Brothers. But Calvain was still working, throwing up smaller and more outlandish sensor feeds that the other two had ignored. Shuttle pod black box recorders. The data logs from the Gryphon starfighters that had been part of the battle. All of these smaller eyes dancing through the system, and soon they too began to fill in with red.

And one green.

Calvain's searches vanished, replaced by a fuzzy image. The header data identified it as a long-range survey probe, one of a score sent out into the Carpathia System to map and catalogue the various astrological minute out there. This one had had its flight path radically altered by Station control to do a flyby of the Reka fleet as it jumped into the system, and in doing so a single visible light sensor head had been pointed back towards the inner system.

The image was fuzzy, the telescopic lens not focused in for a planetary body light hours away. But Tangerine Dream wasn't exactly smaller, either. The fuzzy candy cane ball of a planet was there one second, gone the next, returned the following. But what proof was there apart from two visible-light images. No other sensor had picked up the flicker, gravity hadn't shifted when the gas giant had vanished or all of its moons (including the one they were in orbit of) would have gone flying off into the night.

Dinui hmmmmed as she looked at the data from each of the Brothers she would have to mull over the conflicting information but she wasn't me to dismiss because it didn't match. She enjoyed unraveling puzzles and the Brothers had given her a doozy. "Nicely done lads. Ah want to keep the lot even wha' ye'r no agreein' on."

There was a musical ping of agreement from all three, a harmony of tones that sounded if not delighted than utterly smug with themselves. It was Casper, though, who threw a wrench into things. The hull camera and the probe image of the vanishing planet appeared side by side, and the time codes re-appeared.

August 18th 2389, 1213 Federation Standard Time.

The timestamp was identical for both images, and ticked forward slowly until the image of Tangerine Dream flickered in and out of reality again. If the images had been in the same area when taken that would have been no problem. But the two images had been recorded at the same time 8 light hours apart. There should have been a corresponding 8 hour lag between the hull camera and the probe camera.

Somehow the Glitch had broken not only the law of relativity, but it had also given a good shot at bending causality.

The puzzle before her would give most folks nightmares but Dinui looked at it like what it was a true puzzle that would take a lot of thinking and different approaches to finally solve, but between the data and the Wise men and her team in science, Dinui was betting it was going to be an amazing discovery once it made sense. "Thank ye lads, Ah'm goin' to have me lunch an' consider this,"



Dinui Locke, Chief Science officer


Narrator, (As the Wise men)


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