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3.6 Seconds To Inspiration

Posted on Apr 19, 2017 @ 3:07am by Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Apr 19, 2017 @ 3:09am

Mission: In Place of God

"3.6 Seconds to Inspiration"

(cont. "Guesswork and more Guesswork")

* * * =(/\)=* * *


Stardate: 2.17.0418.2213

Scene: Eve's office

Kassandra was trying to pay attention to her teammates as they pored over the pictures, but it wasn’t going very well. They were throwing around phrases like “Sarkon-Tibbault theory of xenomorphic form and functionality” which apparently made sense to them, but sounded like gobbledygook to her. She felt keenly undereducated and unhelpful, which made her feel particularly cantankerous. She tried to keep her sulkiness from showing on her face, and occasionally interjected a noise to make it seem as though she was following the debate, even though she was really falling further behind with each passing moment. Suddenly the door whooshed open to admit an unruly mass of curls and scowling, pouting moue of Buttercup, Horatio’s ward.

The child made no explanation, but walked purposely up to Kass, and melodramatically threw herself into her lap. Kass turned her eyes towards the girl and raised one eyebrow.

“Why aren’t you in school?” Kassandra picked the child up and plonked her onto the table so that they were face to face.

“I got in trouble,” Buttercup said sulkily. “I bit Dimple. She was being mean.”

“Buttercup, you’re way too old to be *bitin’* people you oughtta-” Kassandra was suddenly aware of Eve’s gaze on the back of her head, and she quickly rerouted. “You should be using your words, instead of yer fis- instead of bitin’ people. I’m gonna let it slide for now, it ain’t my place to be disciplinin’ you, but why ain’t you down in the Barracks?”

“Harry’s busy, and he told Pia to take care of me, only she was servicing the mines, and she was letting me help her, and then Stacy came in and she was really mad, and then she said that I should go up to counseling with Lysander, and so I came here,” Buttercup rambled.

“If Stacy sent ya to Lysander, why’re you here?”

“Because he’d give me a lecture. You don’t give me a lecture. You skip straight to the part where you make me feel sorry for doing what I did. It’s shorter.” Buttercup looked expectantly at Kassandra. Kassandra sensor nets could pick up Eve’s lips struggling to stay in a stern line.

“Well, are you sorry? And not just because you got in trouble.”

“Kinda. I’m sorry because she said I proved her point after I bit her, and because I mostly like her, and because now the other kids won’t play with me,” Buttercup’s lips slumped into a pout. “How many pushups do I haveta do as punishment?”

“None this time, clearly I’m teachin’ ya to be too physical. Instead, you’re gonna be bore- I mean, you’re gonna look at these here pictures, and you’re gonna help us figger out what the f- what in tarnation they are. We’re all real stumped, and we could use some help, right Eve, Jasmine?” Kass tilted her head upwards to ‘look’ in the direction of the two women for affirmation to signal that she was requesting affirmation. Eye related body language was becoming something that came to her less and less organically every year since she’d lost her vision, but working with so many people over the last year and change had made her realize how important it was. People were remarkably reliant on the nonverbal cues, and she’d found herself accidentally sending the wrong message when she forgot to use her eyes.

She liked kids, but not everyone did, and Buttercup could be a handful, so better to let them know that the kid staying was up to them. The two women nodded, Eve even had a smile on her face. Kass knew the counselor found it very amusing on some level that Kassandra liked kids so much, especially as in all other respects she was the antithesis of nurturing. Kassandra liked the directness and honesty that kids had, and thought it was a crying shame that people learned to lie and dissemble as they grew up.

She swung the child to sit on her lap, and let Buttercup look at the pictures.

“What are these, bugs? Why are you looking at pictures of bugs?” Buttercup made a face.

“Not bugs, a new species of sentient life. Got sent to us, and now we’re tryin’ ta figger out who they are, and why they sent it ta us.”

“Creepy. Well, that’s a black hole, with a quasar right? We learned about those in class when Mr. Tennant was teaching us about stuff that’s in space. Why’s the planet so close? Isn’t that dangerous?”

“You’re one smart cookie kid. Eve and Jasmine here had to tell me what it was. Dunno why the planet’s so close, but it certainly don’t look so good. One of the other teams are trying to figure out what the planet’s like, and all the sciency stuff. We’re trying to figure out what they’re like.”

“Oh,” Buttercup sucked on her lip for a while, and stared at the pictures. “Maybe that’s a dress, it’s all frilly and stuff, and it looks like something a creepy alien would make.”

“Ain’t nice to call the bug things creepy. For all we know, all them pictures are of bein’s considered the great beauties of their time. An’ we got pictures of them, and they ain’t wearing that, so probably no-”

“Well, that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t,” Jasmine interjected, “I mean, when we, Humans, first started sending stuff out into space hoping to make first contact, the first thing we did was send images of ourselves in the altogether.”

“Good point. Pervy aliens.” Kass was momentarily amused by the idea that they might be looking at Alien porn.

“What does ‘pervy’ mean?”

“Ah. Ask Harry,” Kassandra squirmed. Ah, children, like sponges when you wish they’d let it go, dense as bricks when you tell them to do something.

“This is pretty,” Buttercup picked up the strange looking picture with tessellated colorful streaks all over it. “It looks like your paintings, Miss Kass.”

“Huh? What do you mean?” Kassandra tilted her head at the child, not sure if she was being cheeky.

“Well, you know how your paintings never actually look like what they’re supposed to be… I mean to us... Harry says that you paint stuff exactly the way you see them, but it just looks weird to us because we don’t see the way you see, so of course it doesn’t look right and…” The 6 year old began to ramble, but a light bulb had gone off in Kassandra’s head.

“I think you might have somethin’ there, kid, but we gotta run and talk to some other people. You better run down to counselin’, if you want to avoid Lysander’s lecture, I’m sure Owen will let you play with Cap’n Smooshy. Or you kin go down to the Tribble and get some food or somesuch. I’ll even authorize ya a dessert. Not that you deserve one, since ya bit Dimple, but you been helpful. Git!” She swatted the girl on the rump, and Buttercup scuttled off to find Captain Smooshy.

“Outta the mouth of babes,” Kassandra turned back to her fellow officers. “We may’ve been lookin’ at this all wrong. What if what we’re seein’, ain’t what they’re seein’? At least when it comes to the stuff that ain’t photographs? Do they have compound eyes or simple eyes? What spectrum do they see in? For all we know, if we were seein’ this through their eyes, this all might look completely different. I think we should go pester the science team to see what they got, an’ maybe this will shed new light on things.”

* * *=(/\)=* * *

Scene: Bridge

Captain Kane was sitting in his chair on the bridge, trying his best to look worldly and alert, when the truth was he was marginally bored, and half wishing he was involved in his Senior Staff’s efforts to figure out what they could about the beings that were sending information through that tiny wormhole. The tiny wormhole who hadn’t changed visually in the last few hours. The wormhole that was actually vaguely hypnotic if you stared- No, stay focused. Read that intensely boring briefing from the Admiralty about the pros and cons of a change in the standard color of ships that they for some reason wanted all their ship’s Captains to weigh in on. Maybe he could make Jake get up here and sit here, and then at least he could read this report in peace, maybe with some music, and a sandwich…

“Sir, the repeating signal that was being used to send us these images has stopped, however we’re getting something new. It’s the original prime sequence, interspersed with longer data packets, but the encoding is different too, our computers can’t seem to handle whatever way they’ve been processed,” Byte said suddenly. Kane’s eyes snapped toward the android, he nodded curtly, then leaned back, steepling his fingers, thinking. If they were sending something else through the wormhole, and the information was more complex and less easily decodable, then chances were that somewhere in the images was a key to help them decode the new information. Some diagram, something to help them decode the new information.

“Inform the teams, tell them to look for something in those images which will allow us to decode the new data,” Kane said, steepling his fingers.

* * *=(/\)=* * *

NRPG: Tag to the Cultural and Science team! I’ve got ideas if anyone needs help (some to start you off down below, since you all have been quiet!)

So, I’ve been reading a bunch of stuff on the Voyager Golden Records, (see: ) and I was thinking that “Hey, we don’t have to limit ourselves to just those photos Jerome so lovingly spent all that time coming up with!” especially since they were just a jumping off point, so I was thinking maybe more information might come through the wormhole, if only we can figure out how to decode it! Granted, these guys aren’t human, but maybe what we think is important to include in a first contact would be the same sort of thing they would (or maybe we should assume they are to help us focus our energies!)

So, basically, maybe there’s a key to the new data in those pictures, similar to how we’ve encoded pictures onto the Golden Record ( and we could get more data!

Sorry this is so short, busy busy busy right now, but still around to help if anyone needs.

Alix Fowler


Kassandra Thytos


USS Phoenix


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