Academic Correspondence

To: Lieutenant (j.g.) T’Laan, Repair & Refit Division, Starbase 12
From: Commander Calista Erikson, Science Division, Starfleet Academy

Stardate 704.2

My day is made, my week even! A new paper! At this rate you might finish all 8 in, oh, another decade.

I do understand that it is rather difficult to engage in new and original research while stuck on a starbase. If you’re interested in an assignment to a research outpost once your tour on Starbase 12 is up, let me know, I can pull some strings if necessary. Jokes aside, the Review Committee is going to be asking some hard questions if you’re still working on this in another 3 years.


To: Lieutenant (j.g.) T’Laan, Engineering Department, USS Thunder Child NCC-397
From: Commander Calista Erikson, Science Division, Starfleet Academy

Stardate 729.1

Convoy escort duty along the Romulan Neutral Zone? Rather you than me. There isn’t all that much interesting out that way.

The one thing that does come to mind is the outpost at Iota Horologii. It was established a little under three years ago. There’s a debate as to whether the ruins on planet 4 and 5’s moons are from the same race as the ruins on planet 4 itself. See Ch’zhylnoq & Marcus (2205) and Wright, et al (2204) for the main arguments on each side. I suspect they’d appreciate an engineer’s point of view on the matter. See if you can get a day or two shore leave during a resupply visit and have a look at the ruins on the moons for yourself.


To: Lieutenant (j.g.) T’Laan, Engineering Department, USS Thunder Child NCC-397
From: Commander Calista Erikson, Science Division, Starfleet Academy

Stardate 774.8

Um, hello? It’s been months and not a word. What’s happening?


To: Lieutenant (j.g.) T’Laan, Chief Engineer, USS Jemison NCC-547
From: Commander Calista Erikson, Science Division, Starfleet Academy

Stardate 815.6

Congratulations on the new position. It’s a good ship, from everything I’ve heard.

Once you get settled in, give the team on Ego a shout. A former colleague of mine is there, Dr Renzo Balducci. I’ll send an introduction later today. They’ve got a fairly small team there and, from what I understand, a planet full of mysteries to be solved. He’ll likely welcome a hand.


To: Lieutenant (j.g.) T’Laan, Chief Engineer, USS Jemison NCC-547
From: Commander Calista Erikson, Science Division, Starfleet Academy

Stardate 842.1

About that paper you promised me? Just a reminder. That is, if you’re intending to finish any time before I retire.


To: Lieutenant (j.g.) T’Laan, Chief Engineer, USS Jemison NCC-547
From: Commander Calista Erikson, Science Division, Starfleet Academy

Stardate 906.1

70 million years old? And still intact? That is astounding.
I assume I can expect a detailed writeup sometime in the next year or two?


To: Lieutenant Commander T’Laan, Chief Engineer, USS Jemison NCC-547
From: Commander Calista Erikson, Science Division, Starfleet Academy

Stardate 963.5

From some of the chatter I hear, the sector’s expected to blow up or something sometime soon. Please send me the last required paper before that happens.
And be careful.

A poor welcome

Chief Engineer’s personal log
Stardate 959.7

There are many things that I do not understand. There are some that I do not want to understand. The reception at Zuriel falls into the latter. I’ve seen it before, too many times before and the usual explanation is usually the Romulan war, or the Xindi attack on earth, or other events even further in the past. I can’t discount those, and I can’t discount that my experience is different to theirs, Vulcan has never been threatened in such a way, but it often seems as though it is more of an excuse for behaviour than a true cause. Especially when I consider that I’ve seen the same from my own people.

 

The Ancient cities of Silik

T’Laan(a1), Venar(a2), Lett(a3)

Received: stardate 959.4
Published: pending

Abstract

Silik, currently inhabited by a faction of the Suliban people, has had at least two prior races resident upon it. One race lived approximately 70 million standard years ago constructed towering buildings which survive intact until today. The second, dating to around 9 million years ago, came from elsewhere and settled upon Silik, taking up residence in the existing buildings and making minor modifications to them. Very little is known about either race, no biological evidence of the first race has been found to date, nor have any writings or artifacts other than the buildings and a single statue. Of the second race, trace biological evidence has been recovered as well as a single example of their writing, however no buildings or artifacts can be attributed to them at this point in time. In this paper we discuss the details known, what we can extrapolate from these details and present a number of hypotheses on the origin and fate of these races.

 

Occupation

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 953.2

 

Again I find myself asking the question ‘Why?’. On the surface, the takeover of Fairydale could be seen as a way to acquire the colony’s production, however the effort to which those behind the plot went to challenges that. Someone on Fairydale beforehand to get a transporter lock on the governor. Two Orion ships. The individual to impersonate the governor. The equipment necessary to impersonate the governor. The recruiting of people for the militia who would go along without question.

Then the utter callousness of the way they covered their tracks, at a point when they couldn’t have known whether they’d been discovered or not. The bomb in the communications centre could have killed everyone in the capital, and the fallout devastated a good part of the continent. The device they dropped in front of our ship was powerful enough to destroy a small starbase.

What was their end goal? And who was behind it all?

So much strangeness

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 949.2

 

Silik is an enigma in a number of ways. So far we have found seventy million year old buildings, three different species of Earth dinosaurs, a <redacted> belonging to the Suliban Cabal, a piece of dilithium with illium incursions in a pattern that I have never seen before, and evidence that at least one other sentient race occupied the abandoned buildings before the Suliban arrived.

The dilithium is… strange. The position of the incursions suggests a prolonged period exposed to two subspace fields which were interfering with each other, but the only model which even remotely fits has the two sources more than half a light-day apart, and to produce the observed incursions with that kind of distance requires an incredibly powerful, and large, field. I’m not aware of anything which could generate a field which matches those criteria.

The <redacted> was unfortunately destroyed when the lower decks of the space station collapsed. If there were any records remaining within it, they are now lost. Is it possible, I wonder, if this is why the Denobulan ship was found in this system? Like calling to like perhaps. We know so little of <redacted> physics, without both devices it is impossible to tell. Without either, no more than guesswork is possible.

The second race, that they lived in the cities is a certainty, although little more can be determined. They were not from Silik. They arrived at some point after the original race either left or was destroyed. The carving in the collapsed tower suggests destroyed. They themselves either left or were destroyed approximately 9 million years ago. The carving again suggests destroyed and destroyed by the same phenomenon as destroyed the original race. How did they know? Did they know? And, if they did, what phenomenon can destroy two space-faring races millions of years apart? Perhaps if we can decode the writing it will give us more insight.

Coping

Chief Engineer’s personal log
Stardate 917.8

Meditation helps this time. There is that at least. Working to exhaustion helps too.

Talia noticed something is wrong. I suspect she is not the only one. But this is not something I can talk with her about. It is not really something I can talk with anyone on the ship about.

I wish I could spend some time with Adept Varen, but he is over 40 light years away. Or speak with Selak. Text messages across half the Federation are an inadequate substitute.

 

Retrospective

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 915.9

I do not know where to even begin.

Thuln.

My original concerns over what we would find here were without substance. But I suspect that the consequences of the last day will linger for much longer.

The Zenians, their origin, the strange circumstances that left them stranded here, all things that need attention, need investigation, analysis, understanding, but I cannot focus. I keep seeing the ships exploding in space, keep seeing a phaser pointed at me, by someone that I trusted, someone I looked up to.

It’s almost as bad as after the events at the Academy.

Why? Why, and how, could someone willingly do such a thing? I know what anger can drive someone to do, all too well. Is it that? Is that all that separates us from savagery?

 

Ancient cities

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 897.6

70 million years ago. At that time, Vulcan was mostly ocean dominated by amphibians, Earth was covered in shallow seas and dense forests with reptiles being the major animal type, and the original inhabitants of Silik were building towering structures that we could not reproduce today.

What is most unexpected though, is that there is no other trace of the race that once lived there. No remnants of machinery, no debris inside the buildings, no biological remains of any kind. A single, worn statue and the buildings are all that remain. Certainly 70 million years grinds very fine, but of a race that was technologically advanced enough to have built skyscrapers that still stand today, I would have expected there to be some trace, some evidence.

Did they leave Silik? Pack up everything and depart? Did some sudden disaster wipe them out and the passage of time then erased all the evidence?

I wish we could spend more time here. The study of Silik’s past is a lifetime project. Not a couple of days.

A close call

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 891.7

That was a closer call than I would have wanted to experience. I checked the reports from the structural integrity fields, once we were out of the subspace rupture. If we’d been travelling even 0.2 faster there would have been only an expanding debris field stretching approximately 3 light-hours from the boundary to show that a ship had ever been here.

The navigational sensors should have picked up some trace of the rupture, but the sensor logs showed nothing, right up until the point that we hit the edge. There must be some way to detect anomalies like this. Perhaps some of the higher frequencies would reflect off the boundary. It is not something I can test, but we should be able to model the boundary with sufficient accuracy based on the readings we took.

My initial concerns regarding the combined reactor design were confirmed. With the two reactors sharing shielding, containment systems and cooling, a problem with one becomes a problem with both. With a containment failure, as happened when we hit the rupture, the safest approach is to scram both reactors and leave the ship on battery power, rather than scramming the primary and running on auxiliary, as would happen with other engine designs. On paper, emergency power should last 7 days, however I have found that reality seldom agrees with the design documents. I would not like to have to rebuild any major part of the reactor in such a short time.

A life cut short

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 889.8

Vosk is dead, and it hurts more than I would have expected. I didn’t know him as well as I should have. He was quiet and dependable, always the first to volunteer for any assignment no matter how unpleasant. One occasion I remember well, Talia had mentioned that she wanted to learn to play chess. Vosk patiently tutored her for several evenings. They must have played over 20 games before he was satisfied with her game.

As for Vezerc, I don’t know what to think about that. I didn’t agree with him often, but I never would have suspected him of being capable of murder. What was he even trying to do?