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The Mystery Of C-121, Part One

Posted on Wed Jun 28, 2017 @ 4:42pm by Captain Edward Pearson & Ensign Reidar Nordheim & Commander Jeannie Sherebrook & Major Glenn Walker & Lieutenant Hamilton Long & Lieutenant JG Louise Rigby & Ensign Solok & Ensign Erwan Tanet & 2nd Lieutenant Erin Ishay

Mission: The Eye Of Sin
Location: A Deck - Bridge
Timeline: January 2, 2157 - 1100 Hours

By the time their destination was looming on the viewscreen before them, Jeannie was filled with an overwhelming sense of purpose. They were finally there. Right where they needed to be. Now they needed to answer that burning question on the lips of every crewmember...why?

"Putting us into orbit now Sir." she stated from her position at the helm as she guided the ship gracefully into position.

The Captain took a deep breath. He was uncertain, yet eager, about what they might find here. "Reidar, let's see it," he said to the Chief Communications Officer.

The Norwegian pressed a couple of buttons on his console and immediately thereafter, an ashen grey orb filled the screen.

This is where they were meant to be? From the image alone, Eddie could tell that there wasn't much life on it, if there was any at all. There were no hues of green or brown depicting vegetation. There didn't even appear to be any large bodies of water. Why was it important for them to be here? "What are we looking at?" he asked aloud to his bridge officers.

"Looks like Berengaria after the fighting was over." Ishay observed from beside the tactical station, arms crossed over her chest. It felt strange to be unarmed and unguarded while on duty, but she could understand the Captain's hesitation to allowing her on the bridge with a phase pistol strapped to her hip. "Like all the life has been burnt away from the surface."

Solok, who was sitting right next to her, quirked an eyebrow at the woman. "An accurate assessment."

"I can confirm that" Erwan opined from the scientific position. "Preliminary scans detect high levels of planetary crust radiation - mostly delta and omicron. There are no signs of life and the radiation level is too high for anything but extremophiles, but the atmospheric composition suggests that an ecosystem should have been present." He frowned. "I... think I'm detecting structures on the surface."

"Structures? Was this planet once inhabited then?" Pearson wondered.

"Oxygen levels already confirm that it was once inhabited, but the structures seem to suggest it hosted a sentient species capable of large constructions" Tanet answered. "However, I detect no energy readings and no technological activity currently on the planet."

From his station, Solok spoke, his soft tones in sharp contrast to Tanet and Pearson. "Captain, I have done a scan of local space surrounding the planet. There appear to be a significant amount of advanced metal and composite space structures in orbit. Most of them appear to be broken, and the signals I am receiving from the rest are weak and garbled. Based on the decay rate of the various isotopes present, I surmise that whatever happened here occurred between seventy-five years and as much as a century ago. If we are going to investigate this, I recommend that Endeavour not attempt a lower orbit--even with our hull plating polarized, the sheer amount of debris would be hazardous. A shuttlepod might be able to get through, but it would take both piloting finesse and use of the onboard plasma cannons."

Eddie wasn't about to send down anyone to the planet just yet. They needed more information. "Is there any indication as to what might have happened to the planet and its people? Could they have wiped themselves out in a nuclear war?" he wondered. It would certainly be consistent with the fact that there was high amounts of radiation.

Tanet took quite a while before answering. He did a number of checks - classification of radiologic activity, analysis of active nucleides in the atmosphere, detection of detonation sites using radiation distribution on the crust - and compared the data with the Starfleet database. He had found a match, linked to one of the least pleasant parts of recent history. "Negative, Captain" he finally opined. "It was for sure not a nuclear war. The problem originates by an ongoing violent subtropic spallation reaction in the rich dilithium sediments on the planet. The radioactive profile fits what has happened on Coridan III a couple years ago - a Cochrane field, possibly a warp field, having brought the unrefined dilithium to resonance. But this is much worse than what happened on Coridan."

"Coridan," Pearson said softly to himself. Its native people were on the brink of achieving warp seven technology when the Romulans launched a vicious assault on their planet, killing one and a half billion people, and forcing the Coridanites to withdraw from the Coalition of Planets. Of course, that immediately brought upon another question. "Is there any evidence that the Romulans did the same to this planet?" he asked.

"There are no signs it was the Romulans." Ham said from the engineering station. "Any energy signatures from weapons fire would have dissipated into background radiation by now. We would have to examine the debris a lot closer to find any indications of who did this."

Not that it would change the outcome of what happened to the planet. It was long dead. Eddie began to think about what drew them here though. "What about the probe? Do we know if it might have come from here?" he queried further.

Erwan thought for just a moment. He considered scanning the surface, but soon discarded the idea of it, being not practical enough. He then had an idea. "I'm pulling up the scans we performed yesterday on the probe and comparing them to the broken satellites, Captain. That should give us a good indication, assuming that their spacefaring technology was homogeneous enough." He started the scans. "Sometimes these comparisons can be tricky. They could have missed, for instance, that a cold-era Russian probe was made on Earth, if the comparisons only knew of cold-era United States technology." He read the results. "However, we have quite a good match. I think it's quite likely that the probe came originally from this planet."

"Why would they design a probe to bring a ship to their planet?" Walker thought out loud at the rear of the bridge.

Ham eyed the image on the viewscreen. "Perhaps in hopes we could stop whatever happened here." He said.

"More questions than answers," Eddie commented. He crossed his arms over this chest. They weren't getting much of anything right now. They had a dead planet and a dead civilization but no explanation as to what led to this catastrophic event or why they were here. "Jeannie? Lieutenant? Are you getting any more of your feelings about this place? Something that might give us a clue as to what we're supposed to do, or what we should be looking for?"

Sherebrook cast a glance at Ishay before saying "There are answers down there Sir. I know that much. Perhaps if we go down there? Seeing it for ourselves might trigger more of a response."

"Commander's right sir, there's something down there I'm not sure what it is but I agree, there are answers down there." Ishay said with a nod, her gaze locking with Sherebrook's.

What Jeannie was suggesting was something akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. Going down there blindly could be a big waste of time for all of them. "Erwan, are there any structures down there that are partially intact? Somewhere that we could at least start our search?"

"There are" answered Tanet, looking at his monitor, "or at least they look intact from this altitude. What sort of place do you think might awake memories? I can look for a well-preserved urban centre, hoping that it used to be their capital, or look for military or scientific bases."

"Definitely somewhere where there's lots of buildings or at least the ruins." Jeannie agreed, thinking that it was a good idea.

"Any signs of anything dangerous down there?" Walker asked as he moved closer to Tanet's console.

"High levels of radiation and crumbling buildings" Tanet said to Walker, "but we should be able to take medication to prevent radiation poisoning. Probably a non-seismic, non-volcanic area should be chosen to prevent weak buildings." He looked a little bit at his monitors, then turned to Sherebrook. "I have found what looks like a city that should be relatively safe. Judging from its size, it probably had a population between ten and twenty million inhabitants. Due to the size, it probably had some significance to these people."

"Sounds as good a place to start as any." Jeannie responded to Tanet before looking at Eddie and asking "What do you think Sir?"

"You brought us here, Commander. If you believe that this is the place then I have to trust you on that," he told her. Pearson then activated the comm from his chair. "Bridge to Sickbay. Doctor Rigby, we're sending a landing party down to the planet. If you inoculate the team, how long will they have before the radiation becomes toxic to them?"

"Bear with me, Captain." Rigby replied as she made some quick calculations in her head. "I'd say ninety minutes with the added protection of EV suits."

That would have to do. "Prepare a batch. I'll be sending down some people shortly. That includes Doctor Avirett. Have him get prepped for landing team duties. Pearson out." Eddie closed the channel from the bridge. "Alright Commander, take a team down there and see what you can find."

"Walker, Ishay, Tanet, and Nordheim, you're with me." Jeannie looked around at those gathered on the bridge, "We'll pick up Tia-Jai along the way." she added before turning back to Eddie, "Let's hope that we all find some answers down there."

"Here's hoping," Pearson concurred.

Reidar logged out of his station and promptly made his way to the lift. This was going to be his first excursion onto an alien planet as a member of Endeavour's crew and he was really looking forward to lending his expertise to the others. He expected that he'd have to do no small amount of translating if they found any surviving data or texts.

The Major nodded, "Aye ma'am. Looking forward to stretching my legs."

Before Walker could join the others in the turbolift, Eddie intercepted him. "One moment Major," he said to him.

"Of course, sir." Walker said moving towards Pearson.

The Captain turned away from the others and whispered. "Keep a close eye on them. If they start behaving unusually, use whatever measures you deem necessary to bring them back here alive."

Walker nodded, "You can count on it, sir. Ensign Tia-Jai and myself will make sure they're safe at all times."

Eddie returned the nod. It was all that he could do. He would have preferred to be joining the Major on this mission down to the surface but he didn't want to risk losing the bridge again. The men were going to outnumber the women down there. If any problems arose between the two, Walker and the others would be able to deal with it. At least, that's what the Captain hoped for.

 

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