Previous Next

From The Immortal Divide

Posted on Jul 25, 2017 @ 5:35pm by Ensign Lynette Ryan
Edited on on Jul 25, 2017 @ 5:44pm

Mission: The Romulan Way

############################################
“FROM THE IMMORTAL DIVIDE"

(Continued from Sarah's "The Advocate and the Secret Keeper")
############################################

====================
Location: USS Phoenix
Stardate: 2.17.2607.0030
Scene: CEO’s Office
====================

A sense of frustration permeated the air of the CEO’s office as after nearly two hours of attempting to crack the Romulan signal they had gotten no way. Two hours and no significant accomplished left both Arak and Lynette feeling deflated and mentally tired. The Science Officer still possessed a bit of determination within him as his fingers continued tapping on the display, while Lynette was slowly pacing the room.

“Come on….why does it have to be this difficult.” Lynette’s hand slammed against the desk, the sudden sharp noise not even startling focused Aaamazzarite whose eyes were still fixed to the display screen of the workstation.

“It’s now 1400. I need to eat something before I expire.” Lynette stated as she tried to stretch away the aches and stiffness of her body from sitting for so long. As she finished stretching, she re-opened her tired eyes to the large viewscreen that overshadowed the office where a live feed of the Romulan signal was being played.

“Hold on…” The acting chief engineers tired eyes widened with an invigorating gleam as if she had been struck with a sudden burst of inspiration..

“Arak. You know those bursts of distortion we have been picking up.” Lynette asked as she continued to watch the feed.

“Yes...common stellar radiation affecting the signal in a minute degree.” Arak responded, tiredness and fatigue clearly audible in his voice.

“That distortion though should be just constant background noise though if it was stellar radiation, correct?”

“Unless it is from a form of weather phenomenon moving through the system.”

“Maybe...but I’ve got a hunch.” Lynette stepped back over towards Arak. The frustration and growing hunger instantly forgotten as her cat like curiosity now fully took over.

“Can you bring up the recording of the signal when we first detected it?” At the touch of a few buttons, the small screen changed and the signal waveform from the moment it had been detected now was displayed on screen.

“Now scan the first hour of the recording for distortion?”

“There is a faint distortion…insignificant impact.”

“Okay, scan the second hour for the same.”

“Distortion bursts at the same intensity as we are now currently receiving.”

“Now hour three.”

“Background interference as per the first.” It was at this point that Arak started to realize the idea or hunch that his colleague had been getting to.

“If I scan in what we are currently receiving now…. I will be betting that we will see the bursts again.” Lynette jumped into the empty seat beside Arak, her fingers tapping at the panel getting step by step closer to confirming her hunch.

“YES!!!” Lynette shouted with glee pushing away from the console and performing a victory chair spin. The Engineer’s smile could have grown any wider at this point.

“You are correct. These bursts of distortion seem to occur at exact intervals of two hours.Too uniform and precise to be random interference.” Arak confirmed, Lynette’s excitement seemed to be infectious as he delivered his words at a rapid and heightened pitch.

“The remaining question is what are we dealing with?.” Lynette commented and over the course of the next half hour they tossed around a few theories onto the newly discovered signal. Some being that the primary signal was but a decoy to hide the second signal and through them off the trail, but they could find no evidence of it doing any harm to any of their internal systems.

Another theory was that the Romulans were attempting to plant a virus into the Phoenix’s systems to disable her or take control of key systems. Again there were no signs of that so they were at a loss.

“In any case let’s bring up a recording of the signal with a distortion burst and display it on the screen.” With a few finger taps the signal appeared once again filling the confines of the main screen. Pulsing clouds of bland color filled the background with a large mass of varying waves and arcs in that foreground that constantly changed and shifted.

“Computer, remove main signal pattern from the display.” Upon Lynette’s command, the signal dissolved and melted like a glacier submitted to extreme temperatures. The background of pulsing color had mostly vanished and the waveform had diminished into a unique pattern.

“Our second signal.” Arak remarked as they both analysed visually. Watching for both the significant and subtle differences from the primary one.

“Let’s try it with another.” The computer repeated the process displaying the signal captured from another time index which they both inspected closely.

“I believe I have found something.” Arak stated.

“Computer display previous signal with current one on display, removing the main signal pattern and compare.” The image on the screen split into two and both signals appeared one on top of the other.

“They are identical.” Lynette raised a curious eyebrow as she glanced at both signals comparing them visually. Unfortunately that new revelation, piece of the puzzle still had not brought them any closer to its nature or its origin.

“So everything transmitted with the second signal has been exactly the same, but repeated every two hours. Still doesn’t bring us any close to what it is.” Lynette continued.

“Computer, perform a level 2 data analysis on secondary signal for any common or recognizable elements. Reference with the Federation database.” Upon Arak’s command the image on the screen warped and twisted as the computer prepared its deep scanning program.

[[Analysis will take approximately fifteen minutes]]

The pair let out individuals sighs relieved to let the computer take over for this portion of the work as their minds had been hard at it solid for two hours. While the analysis was in process, they each took it advantage of the time to relax with Lynette taking a moment to use the food replicator to order a light lunch while Arak lounged back in his seat closing his eyes.

It didn’t take long for Lynette to dig her fork into her chicken carbonara and begin shovelling it into her mouth at a rate that Sofia would probably highly disapprove of.

Several minutes passed and Arak had not shifted even a micrometer in that time and to the eye it would appear that the Aaamazzarite was in a form of light meditation. Lynette sat comforted by her delicious meal with a satisfied smile upon her face, she glanced up at the display to check on the status of the analysis when she noticed that the computer had already provided the first portion of its results.

“Arak...take a look.” Lynette shouted and Arak’s eyes flicked open instantly at attention as if they had not been closed.

“It’s a word….Phoenix!?”

“I was expecting to see sub-routines of a complex program...not a word.” Arak commented as the computer continued its analysis.

“There is another...We.”

“Lynette...this isn’t another signal. It’s a message.”

“From whom? The Romulans?” Lynette was puzzled at the discovery of the signals nature and at her own puzzled also by her own question. Why would the Romulans embed a coded transmission into their own signal?

“Don’t know...except it appears to be intended for us and whoever they are they have gone to great lengths to make sure that no-one else receives it.”

“It’s a remarkable way they have used to get it across to us. Hijacking the primary signal and burying their own within it. I’m impressed.” It was out of the box, unconventional and that was what really impressed Lynette, their way of thinking and approach. This made Lynette eager to meet those behind it and pick their brains for more information on it.

“We should inform Commander Crichton.” Arak suggested and Lynette instantly agreed. After two hours of grueling mind taxing work they finally had something and it was more significant and unexpected than they had thought and there was even more to follow.

======================================
Scene: Conference Room
Time Index: Thirty minutes later
======================================

It had not taken long for the senior and the acting department heads to assemble back into the conference room. Its members Lieutenants Byte and Proctor, Ensign Andersson and Sergeant Bellacotte took their places around the long rectangular conference table apart from Arak and Lynette who stood either side of the display screen. Jake sat at the head of the briefing table.

“Okay, give us all a rundown on what you both have discovered.” Jake asked and Arak briefly explained the methods they had used to identify the secondary signal and in its analysis.

“This is the full message we have received. Repeated to us every two hours.” Lynette reached her hand out to the small panel alongside the screen. Within a single touch of button the full results of the computer analysis appeared on the screen. All eyes within the room focused intently on the screens contents.

{{Phoenix. We know the reason you have been summoned to Romulus but it is not all as what you have been precisely told. There is something greater happening in the shadows. There is too much to explain but for the wellbeing of your ship and crew we need to meet. From a friend and ally. Response.}} Silence remained in the room even moments everyone had read the unknown message as they pondered its form and meaning.

“In addition to the message following from the signal each time is a code. As you can see here.” Lynette continued and with another touch of a button a long line of non-sensical text sprawled across the screen.

{{G37X/T390/RRTX/KB3H/AS7K/ENZ5/BLK7/BAB5/4409/THX35/2259/UX4B/0001}}

“Wow...that is some code.” Mackenzie Proctor remarked with a fascinated tone.

{{Judging by the complex structure of the code and the method of its delivery that it was intended solely for the Phoenix}} The Maddox android replied.

“Opinions everyone?” Jake his chair back around to face the opposing end of the table so he could engage with the members of the briefing. Arak and Lynette moved away from the screen to join their colleagues at the table.

“A friend and ally. Who could that be?” Sofia asked the primary question that was upon everyone’s thoughts.

“All we know is that we found the message buried deep within the main signal. For the effort that was made to hide it and as you can see by the length of the code itself, we have a theory it is someone on Romulus outside of official channels that is trying to make contact.” Lynette expressed the opinion that she and Arak had discussed and had agreed was the most viable.

“Or it could possibly be a trap? A way to open up the Phoenix for invasion or to lure us in.” Mackenzie said with a clear distrustful tone allowing her feelings and opinions on the Romulans to be heard out in the open.

“What would their reason or motive be? If they want to capture us they already have the resources of a fleet of cloaked ships out there. They could simply just pick us off right now.” The hulking form of the marine, Horatio Bellecotte responded to Mackenzie’s question in a calm and cool voice that many would say did not belong to his appearance.

“Plus, they have already lured us here, the Captain and most of the senior staff are already on the surface. The moment they beamed down to the capital they could have been taken but as far as we understand they are fine.” Horatio continued.

“Have you been able to trace the signal back to its source?” Jake directed his question towards Arak and Lynette.

“It’s difficult to be precise as it could be coming from Romulus, the station or even a cloaked ship. What we are certain of though is that it’s coming from within the system.” Arak answered.

With the information provided, Jake quickly gathered his thoughts and came to the following conclusion.

“Okay. We have two choices. One, we respond to the message hoping that its sender is genuine about what they have said in it but open ourselves to a very likely trap.” Jake paused allowing his staff to reflect on choice one before he moved onto the next.

“Two, we ignore the message and suffer the possible consequences that could follow because of it.” The Phoenix XO finished now awaiting for feedback from his staff and suggestions for what choice to take or to provide a possible alternative.

“Whoever designed the method of sending this message is a genius and this could be my overwhelming sense of curiosity getting the better of me, but I would be very eager to meet them.” The beaming expression and smile upon the Assistant Chief Engineers face said it all without even the need for an audible response.

“With the nature of the message from an unknown friend and ally, it would be a missed opportunity to not find out their identity if we don’t respond especially if they are trying to warn us about something happening on Romulus.” Arak followed.

{{I concur. The source of the message, once we discover their identity, may present beneficial information to us on that Starfleet Intelligence have not been able to.}} Byte’s vocal processors delivered the android’s opinion and thoughts on the choices presented.

{{In addition, I calculate the Phoenix stands a 2.3% chance of surviving a direct attack from Romulan forces}} Byte concluded which caused expressions on a few faces in the room to drop to more sour level.

“Never tell us the odds, Byte.” Jake added with smile in an attempt to quickly bring that spirit back to the room.

“I still think it’s a trap. The Romulans are very well known for their deception and cunning, masters of it if you were.. It’s just another way for them to get another advantage over us. I say we don’t take any more risk than we have to.” Lieutenant Proctor again expressed with her clear opinion.

“I think we have nothing to lose by responding. We are in orbit of Romulus, the heart of their empire. If they were truly going to do something to us, they would have done it by now and they very well still could.” Again Horatio countered his compatriot from security.

“Like our android friend has said. We have a minimal chance of survival if they launch an attack against us.” Jake gave a faint nod of agreement as the Gunnery Sergeant finished.

“Sofia?” Jake turned towards the assistant chief medical officer who had remained quiet throughout the briefing. Sofia felt the eyes of her colleagues looking upon her and she felt like she had to bite her tongue especially with the regret she now carried from the last conversation she had with the Commander..

“I agree with Mackenzie. I think it’s a risk that could put us in immediate danger if the Romulans discover the message and our involvement with it.” Sofia said softly of her opinion, the temptation still remained to bite her tongue with each passing word.

“Thank you everyone.” Jake said and the room very silent for a moment as he quickly thought through the points expressed by his staff. After a few seconds, a stern look then began awash over Commander Crichton’s face as he made his decision.

“Someone out there looks like they are concerned about our well-being and trying to warn us of something significant happening possibly within the Romulan Empire. If we simply ignore it, we miss out on an opportunity on finding out the identity of our so-called ally. Also Byte has suggested we have the potential to gather important information about the Romulans that is normally beyond the reach of Starfleet Intelligence.” Jake paused as he outlined his view of the benefits and gains that they could achieve by following through and responding to the message sent.

“I understand the risks involved and that we put ourselves in danger by doing this but considering we are in orbit of the Romulan homeworld and most likely surrounded by hundreds of cloaked warbirds. We are simply already in danger.”

“I believe the benefits we could potentially gain outweigh the risks.” Jake didn’t even let out a breath as he concluded as he now turned to the Ops Lieutenant.

“Byte, prepare the response to the message using the code provided.”

“Let us go and see what our new potential friend has got to say.”

=================================
Scene: Bridge
Time Index: Fifteen minutes later
=================================

{{Message sent, Commander}} Byte reported from his station at Operations as Crichton stood overheard.

“Keep an eye on the signal for a reply.” Jake said as he began a short walk around the confines of the bridge.

*I sure hope to hell that I made the right decision* Jake thought as he continued walking around the command deck’s circular edge passing by one of the engineering stations where Ensign Ryan sat. It had been some time since he had been elevated to the position of First Officer of the Phoenix and had performed the functions of the role as expected or not been informed otherwise. Even with that Jake still carried some doubts about his abilities but tried to push them away from his thoughts as best he could.

Jake had already done a full lap of the bridge even at the extremely slow pace he was doing and there was still no glimmer of a reply. It was at that moment that he wished he had his rubber ball back within his hand to relieve some of the frustration while waiting for a response but thought otherwise as he did not want to incur the unemotional ire of Byte again.

“Picking up a distortion burst, similar intensity to the previous ones.” Lynette reported with a glimmer of excitement in her voice. “It’s stopped.”

“Analysis?” Jake turned to Byte hoping on the android’s exceptional abilities of its positronic net for results on par with the main computer.

{{Analysis confirmed. Displaying data on screen}} The Maddox type Android reported and Jake with the rest of the crew looked up to the viewscreen. Fragments of numerals shimmered into view along with four words that stood out from numbers. Arrival, Transport, Contingent and Confirm.

“Our new friend sure likes to be cryptic.” Horatio commented standing next to the captain’s chair with a stern but calming pose.

“Can we make sense of this?” Jake asked again of his Ops Officer.

{{My interpretation of the data is as follows. First sequence of numbers is that of spatial coordinates that coincide with a specified arrival time.}}

{{Second sequence depicts another specified time and transport coordinates}}

{{Third sequence contains a single digit indicating size of the party for transport}}

{{Final sequence is another response code to confirm acknowledgement}}

"Okay from the words and numbers game they are playing with us we can gather that they will be coming to us, obviously by ship or shuttle and will arrive at the indicated time. They have provided the coordinates they intend to beam to aboard ship for use to meet them and that they will only be sending across three and have asked for the coded response to confirm.” The contents of the second message definitely shone more light on their unknown friend as if Byte’s analysis was correct, which he had little to doubt otherwise, then they wanted to meet sooner rather than later.

“So we know where their ship will be arriving, where they are exactly beaming to and how many of them their will be.” Horatio commented.

“Sounds like they are giving us more reason for us to put our trust in them. I don’t blame them as I would feel the same if our roles were reversed.” Jake stated.

“Commander, I have just referenced the arrival coordinates provided by them. Their arrival point puts them a mere 50 meters away from the hull between the central nacelle and main impulse engine.” The tone Arak Schad’s voice drew Jake and Horatio’s instant attention as they stepped over.

“50 meters!? What’s so special about that point.”

“They are trying to stay as hidden from Romulan sensors as much as possible as even under cloak they would be detected as soon as they use their transporter. So they are using the power generated by the impulse drive and passive warp field generated by the nacelle to mask their transporter signature.” Ensign Ryan’s voice then spoke out across the deck as she presented her theory.

“That at least tells us they are coming by shuttle and that they have a skilled pilot. Though if we hear a scraping noise along the hull, we will know otherwise.” Jake confirmed and joked making light of the situation.

“Also their beam-in coordinates will place them inside Airlock Three.” The Aaamazarite added.

“A trusting place to beam-in. They have got only one entry point into the ship and first sign they try anything they know that we can just flush them out into space.” The Gunnery Sergeant gave us opinion at a security point of view.

“Our guests are giving us more and more reasons to trust them. Prepare another response using the second code.”

“But we will not remain complacent.” Jake said with an air of caution as there was still the high possibility of this still being a trap and he did not want to take any chances.

{{Response ready}} Byte informed.

“Send it.”

“Horatio, I want you and Mackenzie to meet us down at Airlock Three with a small contingent of armed personnel to meet our guests. Just in case.” Jake walked alongside the Gunnery Sergeant as they stepped away from the bridges circular edge and back towards its center.

“Aye, sir.” Horatio acknowledged as he turned to move towards the turbolift.

“We’re receiving another burst transmission..even shorter than the previous.” Lynette reported the moment she picked up the signal on her console.

“It contains only one word….Confirmed.”

*This is it* Jake thought as he took in a breath of air. *They are on their way*

====================================

Scene: Airlock Three
Time Index: Twenty Five minutes later

====================================

Crichton, Horatio and Mackenzie had assembled outside the doors to Airlock Three along with a few well-armed security personnel and marines. It never hurt to have a little added security especially since they were about to welcome aboard a new friend and ally or a potential shit-storm as Kass would have been labelled it.

Everything was in place for their arrival. Mackenzie had even suggested setting up transport inhibitors across the ship and in key areas, so that they couldn’t beam anywhere other than where they had designated in their message.

[[Countdown to arrival in ten, nine, eight…]] Lynette Ryan’s voice spoke over the comm. System counting down to the arrival of the shuttle and then to their beam in.

[[Three...two...one]] Lynette’s voice continued. If there guests were precise with their time as they had been with everything else then they should be beaming in on the other side of the airlock at very second. There was faint flash of green light through the windowed panels of the airlock door that then dissipated within seconds.

[[Transport confirmed. Three life signs detected inside]] Lynette reported which further confirmed to Jake other than the visual flash of light, that they here.

“Okay open the airlock doors and stand ready.” Jake ordered and the armed personnel behind him readied and trained their weapons towards the airlock door that would soon open revealing their guests.

The airlock doors parted revealing three tall figures cloaked in dark grey heavy robes that covered each of them from head to toe. At this point Crichton was still at a loss at who they were.

“Greetings. I am Commander Crichton. First Officer of the USS Phoenix.” Jake introduced himself and soon hoped that would be reciprocated and they could finally learn their identity.

“Greetings to you Commander Crichton. I wish to thank you for welcoming us aboard your ship and placing your trust in us in light of the current circumstances. I guarantee you that that trust will not be misplaced.” A soft but equally gruff voice sounded from beneath the heavy set hood.

“As you can understand before we can go any further. I would ask that you please identify yourselves and the reason you have contacted us. We have gone to lengths to put our trust in you and I ask that you trust us.”

“That is agreeable, Commander. My name is Kiarasek and we are here to ensure the future of your people and mine.” The central figure took a step forward from outside of the airlock and raised its arms to its head. With a typical response, the armed personnel behind concentrated their sight onto the central figure ready to react in the signs of any immediate danger to the Commander.

With the figure’s hands on top its head it began to draw down the hood that was covering its face. The hood fell to the figure’s shoulders revealing a light gray face with mottled, ridged skin and sharp pointed ears but clear feminine features.

*Remans*

=============================================

NRPG: Well the plot thickens…. Couldn’t let the away team on the surface have all the fun.

Apologies if my descriptions started to degrade and there are obvious errors I was running out of steam and mental energy as have been working on this for some time and I’m going to be pretty busy right up till Friday night so needed to get this out.

It had been sometime since I had done any mission development posts so I’m making up for it with this one.

Hope you all enjoy
=========================

Phillip Wright
Writing for
*Acting* Chief Engineer Lynette Ryan
USS PHOENIX

 

Previous Next

labels_subscribe