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Strange Readings

Posted on Thu Aug 25th, 2022 @ 7:10am by Captain Isaac Rhodes & Lieutenant Cleo "CJ" Hanks & Ensign Nick Kelly & Ensign Fesel & Petty Officer, 1st Class Marcus Wilcox

Mission: Episode 1.01 - “Lost and Found”
Location: Bridge, USS Thejal
Timeline: Day 01, 0924 hours

Captain’s Log, stardate 9505.08. We are in the second week of our search for the missing starship Richelieu. The commanding officer, Commander Whittemore, and I served together when I commanded the Mendoza. He is a competent officer, but this region of space is as notorious as the Bermuda Triangle of Earth. It pains me to think perhaps I’ve lost another colleague.


The bridge of the Thejal was quiet. Chirps and beeps sounded every so often, signifying the processing of messages and other various inputs. The hum of the impulse engines reverberated through the deck plating. But other than that, it was rather calm.

From her position at the science station, Fesel watched a series of readouts scroll across her display. Over the course of the last several days, she had observed more than a few items which, perhaps under other circumstances, might have been worth her noting. Particle displacements, gravimetric shear, wave oscillations. Each could have conceivably been the subject of extensive study in their own right. However, none were of relevance to the task currently at hand.

“Scans of grid oh-nine-four, section two-delta complete,” she said, announcing the report to the officer-of-the-watch, “Beginning scans on the final section, now.”

"Thank you Ensign. Helm, turn to our last point," Lt. Hanks replied, glancing at Science and sweeping her gaze and chair back to Helm and the view screen. CJ sat in the center chair, having the current watch. She had lost track of the time at this point, both reveling and annoyed at having the deck.

"Last waypoint aye," Ensign Kelly at Navigation responded. The two sitting at Nav and Helm talked amongst themselves. The view screen changed slowly, as the vessel moved onward to another point in space to optimize the sensors for science.

Fesel continued to monitor the readouts before her as she initiated the final series of scans for this part of the search grid. At first, the results appeared to be much the same as the last several sections. But then, something different caught her eye. "Curious," she said aloud, more to herself than anyone else.

"What is curious Ensign?" Hanks replied after a moment, distracted by something on her PaDD.

"An anomalous reading, lieutenant," Fesel replied, "one that is inconsistent with what we have observed thus far." She made some adjustments to the resolution of the sensors and ran another series of sweeps, then compared the results against the initial data. It was, rather disappointingly, inconclusive. "I am unable to be more specific at this distance due," she said, "due to interference from the surrounding spatial anomalies."

“Bearing and range please?” Hanks asked. Ensign Kelly turned from his station to look back at the conversation, his face not showing much excitement at the prospect.

Fesel consulted her display, then read aloud the information as requested. "Bearing two-eight-four mark four, range...nine-and-a-half million kilometers."

Hanks looked off in the distance, which was in reality just her doing math. “Navigation, plot the point and intercept at one half impulse. Science, call out when within sensor range.”

“Is that prudent?” Ensign Kelly asked, immediately regretting his tone of voice both in the lack of confidence and anxiety as well as the perceived back talk. “Ma’am,” he added, hoping to soften the question.

“Come to a full stop once Science calls the mark,” Hanks replied with a smile, not seeing a reason to chastise the obviously anxious new Ensign. She sat up slightly in the seat. Sector scans were boring but this was intriguing.

The Denobulan scientist nodded once to show that she understood, then turned back to her station to monitor. They would need to be much closer before she could reasonably filter out the background radiation and other such interference, but not so close as to potentially put the ship in danger. Seconds passed, then a minute, then two.

“Standby,” she called out over her shoulder, “and…mark.”

The subtle but obvious tension Ensign Kelly felt did not transfer to PO1 Wilcox, who brought the ship to a smooth stop. After checking his readouts Wilcox piped up, “Full Stop Ma’am and holding station.”

Hanks nodded, a nod the Petty Officer wouldn’t see, and glanced between the view screen and the science station. There was no sense asking the officer for an update. She was Denobulan and wouldn’t hesitate once she knew. The bridge felt quieter than before even though the noise level was the same. Intrigue in some, anxiousness in others, and at least one, little emotion to be detected.

Fesel ran another scan, the results of which caused her to involuntarily raise an eyebrow. She recalibrated the sensors and ran it again. The results were the same. “Lieutenant,” she said slowly, letting the word hang in the air a moment, “I believe I have identified the source of the readings. Transferring to the forward viewscreen.”

At her words, the transparent aluminum viewport at the front of the room shifted. The standard flight data was replaced with several additional readouts showing signal strength, wave patterns, and power levels. But the most unusual thing of all was the odd shimmering effect that seemed to take up their entire view, stretching as far as they could see in every direction - a wall of energy directly in front of them.

Ensign Kelly shifted uncomfortably in his seat, not wanting to make the same mistake twice with his words. CJ stood up from the chair and stepped forward down towards Nav and Helm to get a closer look. "A planet, no, a system wide forcefield? Is that what we are looking at?" Her eyes fluttered around to the datas around the sides and back to the picture. She didn't understand all the data, but enough to put the pieces together.

“It is impossible to be certain, based on the limited data available,” Fesel said, “but I would estimate the diameter of the field to be around one hundred astronomical units.”

Moving back to the center chair, CJ glanced at her display before activating the computer, "Computer, inform the senior staff. Non-emergency but priority. Have the CO meet me on the bridge." The computer replied acknowledging and she turned to look back at the screen. "Science, start a full analysis. We're going to want an answer on this one."


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