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Posted on Thu Aug 31st, 2017 @ 1:29pm by Commander Tyro Adina & Lieutenant Commander Alekelia illm A'olha & Lieutenant Amata Zan & Lieutenant Ritona Frialis & Lieutenant Jita Kejal & Lieutenant Kaybok & Ensign Lenore Fitzpatrick Ph.D.

Mission: Paradox Lost
Location: Tranquility, Briefing Room
Timeline: Transit Before Arrival at Ikenga

:: ON ::

Doctor Ikenga once more found himself if front of the Tranquility senior staff, only this time there was nothing holding back their commentary. The ship was in transit, warping through space to the anomalous star that the man had been researching. Tranquility was designed on the same template as the intrepid class of ship, but it had major modifications to size and distribution of bulkheads. Most of the bridge was the same, but in fact a bit more crammed-in, to make room for the enormous diplomatic spaces below. The abrupt curved slope of the briefing room gave occupants a sense of impending vertigo, especially while the vessel was at warp. The area of the room was comfortable, but the ceiling was low. In the centre was an article of furniture that was eye-catching enough to ease the tension of the shape and size of the space. It had been reclaimed from the time Tranquility spent wrecked, and at one time had been split in two. There was significant plasma scarring across the edges and legs of the table, and one had been entirely replaced. The surface was now polished and mostly unblemished, except for a ring on the table where Tyro kept her mug.

There was no holographic display for this briefing, since Tranquility would be the first crewed ship to even survey this star system. Ikenga relied on information he transferred to the padds of the assembled crew, fumbling between his own particulates of research.

"My team and I detected the anomaly without realising it," he explained, at his feet though nobody had asked him to stand. "We were cataloging the stellar drift in this region and nobody identified the anomaly as anything strange until it had stopped transmitting. We would have thought it was interesting enough to send a survey team, but the activity began again while we were studying the data. That was how we were able to decode it... somewhat."

"Start at the beginning thanks. Please," said Tyro, trying to get clear information forward before she added anything else.

"Of course..." continued Ikenga. "Some months ago, our array detected anomalous behaviour from what we now call, em, my star. The Ikenga Star exhibited unusually amounts of activity, both on the service, in luminosity, and in temperature. After the events, it appeared that the star returned to normal, and we were unable to explain the phenomenon. After a subsequent viewing of the event, which was identical to data in the first detection, we determined that an intelligent force was manipulating the star in order to relay a message."

"Starfleet Intelligence believes the message was intended for us specifically," added Tyro. She adjusted in her seat at the head of the rounded oval table. "If Starfleet and Mister Ikenga have interpreted the message correctly, they think an alien presence is using the star to lure us in and make first contact."

Ritona sat forward, suddenly glad that the metaphasic shielding had been so vigorously stress tested. "Us specifically? The Tranquility?" she asked, a note of caution in her voice

"We don't know," said Tyro simply, cutting off something that the doctor had meant to say. She continued, facts and probabilities at the forefront of her skillset. "We have to assume that this is a message intended for Starfleet. The pulses from the star are encoded, which is how we know the activity is most likely artificial in the first place. At first, the theory was that Mister Ikenga was observing a beacon, leftover from a civilization we can assume by now is dead and gone. The cypher hasn't been broken yet, but Starfleet Intelligence now believes the message is written in a Starfleet command language, one still used by our computers. That suggests whomever is manipulating the star is currently observing the Federation, at least on some level. Nothing has been ruled out."

"Well it's hard to rule out anything when so little of what we have to work with is substantiated," chuckled Kejal, shaking her head as she skimmed her PADD. She turned her gaze toward Tyro. "Is there an ET for Intel deciphering the message? It'd be nice to know what the entity said before we step into its domain."

"Intel was vague on their timetable," offered Amata from across the table, sounding frustrated.

Kejal's brows rose at the reply. "Well, that sounds about right," she muttered, rapidly nodding.

Alekelia raised her brows. "Well even if we knew what was being said, how are we to communicate? An entity using an entire star would seem likely not to even pay attention to most anything this ship could bring to bear. It would seem to me like an elephant trying to talk to a mouse."

Amata, his head tilled a bit to the side, "I don't know what an elephant is, but if they are trying to contact us, we should be able to get their attention." He looked towards Kaybok and the ship's new Operations Chief, "Could we use the phaser array to mimic the fluctuations Doctor Ikenga's team observed, if not their scale, answer quietly?"

"More importantly," Ritona spoke in the same cautious tone, "what dangers are there to the ship? A star normally would pose severe hazards to any starship getting close. Has this 'use' destabilized the star at all?"

"An excellent observation, perhaps we should 'park' a safe distance away and get some observations," Alekelia noted.

Kaybok thought a moment. "Yes, yes, that would be extremely possible. We only have to readjust the phaser array only slightly...," Kaybok said. As he responded, he looked up as if he could imagine it in his mind. "The adjustments would be to the smallest millicochran, but it can be done." I shall gather a team as soon as the meeting is over."

"Agreed" Ritona nodded, smiling at the Doctor, she looked at Tyro "Captain from an engineering standpoint, as we don't know if or how this star will effect the ship's mission-critical systems, I recommend the Leftenant Commander's stance. Whilst the Metaphasic Shielding is in perfect running order and able to be pushed, I'd rather know how far we need to push it before the fact, rather than getting In close and realizing that we don't have a snowball's chance in hell of protecting the ship. The observations that we can make will allow us to run simulations while we try to decipher the message at range."

"Well if we choose to sit on the edge of the system contemplating the odds of getting blown up by a freak incident, we might want to think about our communication medium," added Kejal.

Ritona raised an eyebrow and glanced in Kejal's direction. Then restrained herself from sniping a comment about safety being the first priority. "Once we've ascertained the level of risk to the ship and ways to minimise it, we should perform an in-depth scan of the star. Perhaps that will shed light on methods of communication."

"I'm actually supporting your position, Chief," Kejal purled scornfully, somewhat blindsided by the hostility she sensed from Ritona. Her summation of the engineer's preferred course of action admittedly could've come off as flippant, but that was still a ways off from the derision she seemed to take from it. "My point is that the phasers may not 'say' much beyond max effective range, which could expose us to any number of mishaps that star could impart. Conversely, using them at a safe distance makes about as much sense as a light beacon in broad daylight; it'd just be diffused unless you're standing right in front of it. Besides, [I]where[/I] would we fire? Better yet, why fire at all? If our purported penpals have the means to pick out and decipher a phaser burst from the various other ambient emissions of space, then picking up Tranquility steaming in should be cake."

Nodding, Ritona realised she'd misinterpreted the Bajoran's comment and blushed slightly. "Apologies Leftenant," she smiled. "Agreed, The phasers probably aren't the key to communication, plus they're quite obviously a weapon. If we're approaching this as a first contact situation then firing hardened beams of nadion particles at or near 'them' could be miss understood." she added.

Alekelia thought on the problem and listened. "What about a series of mirrors?" She asked a bit sheepishly. "We use the stars own output then. One mirror would not make much difference, but think like a LED light. One little LED does not make much light, but a whole series of them can be quite blinding."

"Our orders," Tyro interrupted. Speculation was about all they had now, at least until they were in the system. She read caution in the suggestions of the crew, but Tyro preferred to gather information through... active experimentation. She was an excellent problem-solver, so to her any danger to the ship could be considered a calculated risk, and would tend to be worth it even if a complication arose. That was simply more data. Unforeseeable consequences were equal in the course of an experiment, whether you are diving directly into them or not.

"We are to enter the system and look for ships or stations, and colour a stronger image of where this signal is coming from. Second, we are to ascertain whether this message represents any kind of threat to the Federation. We'll have to make that determination ourselves, and report the likelyhood that this is some kind of attack or threat back to Starfleet. Finally, we're to establish a line of contact, and then wait on the diplomats to take over."

Tyro checked in on everyone, scanning them with her curious hazel eyes, but expressionless. Since it was her mission, she would be calling the shots, but she'd not yet become the sort of captain who didn't listen to suggestions.

"It's possible this is some kind of lure, which is why the ship should be ready to exit. Tranquility has the job because, well, I'm the one telling command that the ship is always ready for things to go wrong. They expect us to be able to improvise. I want to enter the system with the shields up, and tractor debris out of our way as we move in. Have the phasers and the cloak on standby, and keep an updated calculation of our escape."

"Meanwhile, I think what we should do immediately is get close to that star. I know you figure we aught to be careful, but our sensing equipment simply won't be powerful enough to get useful readings from far away. I think we can minimize the risk to the ship, but I nonetheless think it's risk worth assuming."

Kejal nodded her acceptance of Tyro's strategy. As she'd already asserted, someone - or something - able to influence a star's emissions was also likely capable of detecting their proximity to the system. She then dropped her eyes back onto her PADD, content that the natural course of the mission would test her theory. That it appeared as if she wouldn't have to task her department with preparations beyond the typical measures for a survey was a plus.

Lenore remained quiet as she listened to the discussion around her. She couldn't deny if they succeeded in all of their mission objectives, it would be one hell of a first contact. Her enthusiasm aside however, she also couldn't deny They were given a great deal of responsibility, considering the plan was to let diplomats take over once the crew but seemingly accomplished all of the hard work. The captains admission that she had pressed for this particular mission was also interesting. She wondered if perhaps the captain was feeling a need to prove herself after last mission, and she couldn't help but be a bit concerned that in that need to make up for past mistakes, she might have taken on more than all of them could handle. All of that, of course, was best discussed in private.

For now, she decided to focus on how this latest undertaking would impact the crew. "Do we know if being close to the star question poses any medical risks to the crew?"

Kaybok knew the hazards these fields posed to Klingons, even moreso to non-Klingons. "I've been thinking about safe proximity to the star itself. There are gravitational fields, solar flares, etc. We need to stay as close as possible to study it, while at the same time we need to be in proximity to the weakest magnetic fields; there are certain medical risks to the crew that quite unpleasant; my grandfather experienced that when he was in pursuit of a Federation vessel many years ago. I propose that we send a remote-controlled probe out and keep our shields at maximum and allow it to transmit data to the ship as it travels towards the star itself. That way if a flare does destroy it, we have the data we need."

"I would second that as a good way to start off with," Alekelia replied

"I agree with Kaybok as well," offered Amata, though somewhat slowly.

"When we arrive then," conceded the captain. She wished to proceed as quickly as possible, fearing no threat that she could not overcome. Tyro wished to prove the competence of her crew, but also her own problem solving abilities. In that regard she was exceptional, but there were few opportunities to show off that she could turn horrible failures into victories, by sheer force of imagination.

"...have your probes prepared, and we will explore the phenomenon by remote. If we find nothing, everyone be prepared to take a closer look with the ship. I am not ready to take anything off the table."

:: OFF ::

Ritona Frialis
Chief Engineer
Lieutenant, Tranquility

Amata Zan
Chief of Security
Lieutenant, Tranquility

Jita Kijal
Chief of Operations
Lieutenant, Tranquility

Scientific Officer
Lieutenant, Tranquility

Alekelia Illm A'olha
Chief Medical Officer
Lt. Commander, Tranquility

Lenore Fitzpatrick
Ship's Counsellor
Ensign, Tranquility

Tyro Adina
Commanding Officer
Commander, USS Tranquility


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