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It's What's Inside That Matters

Posted on Tue Oct 11, 2016 @ 7:18pm by Captain Edward Pearson & Commander Jeannie Sherebrook & Lieutenant Hamilton Long & Lieutenant JG Jonah Taylor PhD & Ensign Erwan Tanet & Ensign Aliyah Sahar & Ensign Allen Ricky & Petty Officer, 2nd Class Tyler Alvarez & Crewman William Janson

Mission: The Eye Of Sin
Location: E Deck - Launch Bay One
Timeline: January 1, 2157 - 0800 Hours

Ham wheeled a cart of tools into the launch bay where the others were waiting for him. "Ok time to get started." He said handing scanners to Ensign Ricky and Lieutenant Taylor before picking up one of his own. "Let's see just what we can find out about this little probe."

Jonah would have been lying if he didn't say he was tired... exhausted really, but his scientific curiosity got the best of him this time. He walked around the probe, doing a visual inspection of it. It seemed rather ordinary really, not much different than most probes. He knew, however, that looks were deceiving in a lot of ways. Once he was back at Ham's side, and Ensign Ricky's, he was handed a scanner. There was a bit of uneasiness about this, but again his curiosity outweighed all that. "Should be rather fun," he said as he started up his scanner.

Right at 0800, Petty Officer, 2nd Class Tyler Alvarez walked into the launch bay. He stifled a yawn, he was tired, and hated having to be up for his. Him, and some other enlisted had gotten together for new years in one of the smaller lounges in the lower decks. He didn't get to sleep until 0300, but was awoken to being called to come down to the launch bay. "PO2 Alvarez, reporting for duty," he said to Lieutenants Long and Taylor, and Ensign Ricky.

"Glad to have you join us." Ham said as he started to scan the probe starting at the front end. "Feel free to jump into the fun."

Ensign Tanet entered just right after Alvarez. The Denevan didn't look particularly tired - he had spent the night shift on the bridge, but he had slept through the previous afternoon, so he was more well-rested than most. He was sipping a cup of coffee - almost finished. "Lieutenants" he said, saluting Taylor and Long.

Janson entered the launch bay, slightly intimidated by the officers present. Nonetheless, he drained the last of his coffee and found a bin for the mobile cup he'd grabbed from the mess hall. He approached the knot of people studying the probe and greeted them.

"Good morning... Heard we had some excitement last night, eh?" He studied the probe with both his eyes and his scanner, his curiosity peaked from both his security and engineering sides.

"Some excitement, some excitement??" Aliyah asked in playfully teasing admonishment. "Do you see this thing? I've been waiting to crack it open for hours." It had actually taken all her willpower and a stern glare from Ham to keep her from setting up a cot in the launch bay so she could keep studying the probe.

"Don't worry Ensign we will be opening this thing up soon enough." Ham said.

Janson scanned the probe. Nothing unusual, except for something in the middle. It seemed harmless--no radiation, no energy coming off it. But still... "Did anyone think to put this thing in a force field or something?" he asked. Sometimes, he really liked having multiple areas of interest, particularly now.

"It was under continuous surveillance from the bridge - we rigged every single sensor bank in here with an alarm" said Tanet calmly. "I had some detectors from the scientific section installed in here just for added monitoring power - including exotic mesons, baryons, and subspace manifestations. This probe was absolutely inert, as far as the internal sensors can tell: and if this probe had been advanced enough to trick the sensors, it would have had no problem in getting past our primitive force fields."

"We coulda had it under human surveillance too..." Ali said with a smirk, elbowing Ham lightly in the ribs.

"Do you expect me to believe you would have just sat here all night and looked at it with out touching the probe?" Ham said giving Ali a look that made it very clear that he thought she wouldn't have been content just to look.

"Of course, I can keep my curiosity in check...." Ali said, hands on her hips. "Mostly...ok you might be right, but it wouldn't be more than a little touch." She finally admitted, quickly sticking her tongue out at Ham.

Janson shot her a look. "Maybe I'm saying too much, but I sincerely doubt that. Don't you agree, Lieutenant?"

"Definitely, She would have had torn the probe apart before we even got here." Ham said with a smile.

Clutching her chest in mock indignation, Ali let out the littlest of scoffs. "You boys have no faith."

The large doors to the lower section of the launch bay parted once more, this time admitting the Captain and Commander Sherebrook to the room. Eddie took a sip from his thermos filled with warm coffee as he quickly surveyed the room. Everyone appeared to be very eager to get to work to uncover the secrets that the long, cylindrical silver probe had to offer.

"Is it me or does this feel like Christmas morning all over again?" Jeannie looked over at Eddie and grinned.

Seeing that Ensign Tanet had joined them from his previous shift on the bridge, Eddie looked to him first as he approached the group. "I trust that the rest of the night was uneventful, Ensign?" he asked him. It certainly wasn't for the Captain.

"Captain! Commander!" saluted the science Ensign before answering. He finished his coffee. "Nothing of note for the security, but we were very busy on the bridge. We ran through the sensor telemetry of the probe - specifically when it was following us - it's rather fascinating stuff, if I may allow myself an unscientific comment.. We might have discovered a way to prevent it from following us. We don't know if we can actually do it - it's more of a theoretical proposal. But then again, the probe is now sitting here, so it's easier to just open it and disrupt whatever machinery it's got inside."

That wasn't entirely true. The probe didn't belong to them and the only reason Eddie gave the order to bring it aboard at the time was because he saw no other alternative. "It might be easier to do that, but if there's another way I'd like to hear it," Pearson told him.

"The probe seems to respond attractively to our warp bubble, and manages to travel by, so to say, rolling down into the trail of our warp bubble - and importantly, just inside of the trail" explained the Denevan gesticulating quite widely, as was his habit when he was going through something complicated. "Once it's into the trail of the warp bubble, it manages easily to stay there - no matter how fast our warp bubble moves, its trail moves as fast, and the probe can't roll out of the trail, and that's how it can match our speed. If we had a single warp nacelle, as the Klingon do, we'd be at a loss. However we have two warp nacelles, and that allows us to reconfigure the shape of the trail we leave in the subspace. I'm no engineer and I don't know how feasible it is, but by quickly oscillating the warp coils within our two warp nacelles, we could theoretically destabilize the trail of our warp bubble without disrupting the warp bubble in which we travel. If you allow the crude metaphor, we could shake it off by wiggling our warp nacelles."

As he was not an engineer either, Eddie had to defer the Ensign's idea to one of the people in the room who was. "Ham, what do you think?" he asked Endeavour's Chief Engineer.

"It could work. By setting the plasma injectors in one nacelle to fire out of sequence with the other nacelle we can get the warp field to destabilize and that would let us slip out of range of the probe. It will be a rough ride while the field is destabilized so we can not keep it up for long and I wouldn't go past warp two. Otherwise we run the risk of damaging the nacelles, inertial dampers, and ourselves." Ham said.

"It would also take a few hours to make all the modifications to do so safely." Ali added, her mind already working as she began listing all the things they would need to do first. "Not to mention if we do this right we'll be spending just as long putting things right, longer if we mess up and keep things going too long." They would also be spending weeks returning the warp field to make it as smooth as it was now, but that wasn't something the Captain needed to worry about.

Tyler Alvarez didn't really have anything to add to this conversation. He would help out where he could, but all this jargon about doing something to the nacelles seemed overkill to him. He trusted Lieutenant Long, but when one started messing with plasma, and warp coils, and all that, it spelled a recipe for disaster. He was pretty confident they were going to blow themselves up. But, if he said that aloud, he would have been vilified, at least punched in the stomach by Ali at her earlier conveinence. He really just wanted to bust the probe open, and - no pun intended - do some probing.

That gave them a way to potentially deal with the problem of the probe following them although it seemed to be a risky one. "Alright, before I make a decision on whether or not we'll go ahead with that plan, there is one question that I would like for us to answer. 'Why?' Why did it become attracted to Endeavour? What is its purpose all the way out here?" Hoping that they would have the beginnings of an explanation for him, Eddie looked to Jonah and his team.

Tanet nodded and turned to look at Taylor.

Jonah, despite paying close attention to scans, was fully listening to the plan that was forming. He wasn't a certified, or qualified engineer, but he was pretty sure the plan they were going to undertake was a risky one. The outcome could be rather... drastic if everything didn't play out right. He was actually surprised to hear Ensign Tanet give the idea, maybe there was a hidden talent in there that Jonah hadn't realized. However, that would be another thought for another day.

"The fact it's inert is telling," Jonah said as he looked up from the scanning device he held in his hand. "I still cannot get a full picture of the hull composition, but it does have a rudimentary sensor device here," he pointed toward the front of the probe, "and the computer system seems to be decades behind our own systems. We aren't looking at anything too sophisticated here but because of the less sophisticated nature, it may need the energy boost to keep going." He stood a moment in thought, another thing had come to mind. He closed up his tricorder and looked directly at the captain and commander. "We also should consider the possibility that this probe isn't just a probe at all, but some type of weapon." He hated to say that, but as a scientist he had to think of all possibilities, and this was one of those possibilities.

Janson watched the interplay between the officers with interest. As a cross-trained security and engineering officer, he could appreciate the question of getting it away from Endeavour. However, as a scientist--though only insofar as Starfleet was a scientific organization, not purely military--he was much more interested in opening it up and determining if it represented any threat to Endeavour... and what exactly was inside it.

"Weapon?" Jeannie looked from Taylor to Eddie and then frowned, "Then if that's the case should we even have it in here? Wouldn't it be safer to work on it outside? Or find a planet or moon to use?" she suggested, not really wanting to contemplate the fact that they could all be about to explode on the first day of the new year.

"Our initial scans didn't register any defensive systems," Pearson said to him. Of course that didn't mean that it didn't have any. If it was a weapon, and they weren't able to tell whether or not it was, then it would become a very big problem, very quickly. "That still doesn't fully answer the question of its purpose, whether it's armed or not. Do we need to get inside it in order to find out? Is that the only way?" he asked his two department heads.

"That would be the most sure way to do it. There is nothing that looks like a trap, so I don't expect it to explode when we open it up." Ham said.

"I'll hold you to that Mister Long," Pearson said with a smile. The Lieutenant often complained how every time he went away that the ship somehow would get damaged. This time the ball was in his court. "Open it and investigate it at your discretion. I would like to put it back when we're done with it though so don't break anything."

"Well if I am wrong we wont be in any shape to know it." Ham said. He slowly removed one of the probe's access panels and waited a minute before looking at Pearson. "No boom, so I guess I was right." He said.

Jeannie didn't realize how tense she had been until Ham spoke and her whole body relaxed. "No boom...no boom is good." she smiled over at the engineer, glad that he knew what he was doing. "So what's inside?" she asked, taking a step forward.

Ham looked into the open panel. "This looks like the probe's guidance control system. That might be the data processors for the sensors." He said.

It was something else that caught Eddie's eye though. He glimpsed a crimson iridescent jewel that was set in an intricate silver mount. He approached the probe to get a closer look at it. A gold plate was situated behind it and twelve strips of metal held the apparatus in place along its circumference. It was positioned away from everything that was mechanical within the probe and while it did not appear to have any specific function, it's being there, as a part of the whole conveyed that it was important in some way.

"I've... never seen anything quite like this before," Eddie said, almost mesmerized by the red jewel in the probe.

Janson, trying to be inconspicuous, scanned the now opened probe with his hand scanner. He couldn't get a good look at it, but something about the way Captain Pearson was looking at it bothered him.

Craning her neck to have a look, Jeannie's eyes widened as she set her gaze upon the gem. "It's beautiful..." she whispered as she reached out a hand as if captivated.

"That is a strange thing to put in a probe. I wonder what it's for?" Ham said as the jewel caught his eye.

Ali had been actively scanning the inside of the probe when she heard the others. She was all ready with a quip about turning them into real engineers if they thought computer guts were beautiful. But as she looked up the words died in her throat, the crimson gem stealing her voice as much as her attention. It was beautiful, and gorgeous and mesmerizing Ali couldn't pull herself away if she tried. Taking a few steps forward she ended up next to Commander Sherebrook, trying to get a better look and maybe even touch it herself.

Tanet looked at the jewel, raising both eyebrows. He seemed struck by the beauty of the piece. "A probe is a strange thing on which to mount such a work of art" he noted. "Maybe the question is not what that thing is for, but what the probe is for."

Janson, wanting a better look, craned his neck. "My God," he breathed out. The jewel caught the light and refracted it into a hundred different prismatic stars, each strange and beautiful in their own, unique way. It was all he could do not to rush forward and touch it, claiming this beautiful object as his.

Jeannie's hand was the closest to the gem and slowly, tentatively as if in a trance, she reached out to touch it, a look of sheer wonder in her face as the gem shimmered and twinkled invitingly and her fingers made contact with the smooth surface.

Flesh touched stone. In that one moment, a light began to emanate from within the precious red jewel. It grew larger and larger until....

FLASH!

 

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Comments (1)

By Ensign Eli Avirett on Wed Oct 12, 2016 @ 3:26pm

Fantastic log!!