Without a Trace

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 991.8

9 days.

9 days since the USS Noether sent a distress call indicating complete power loss, since something attacked them and ripped the ship apart.

9 days, 6 hours and 37 minutes. I should be doing something, not sitting staring into space, but I can think of nothing that will make any difference. Our only remaining lead evaporated, literally, the warp trails we were following have dissipated and by all appearances, the crew of an entire starship have vanished without a trace. I can’t remember ever having experienced such a sense of helplessness.

A trace of fear lingers. It is illogical, irrational, it serves no purpose, but I cannot fully suppress it.

I recall my father once saying that logic sometimes becomes uncertain when family is involved. At the time I did not understand. I took it as an explanation, a justification for why he came to search the foothills himself, instead of leaving the job to the authorities.

I understand now.

Intervention

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 982.2

The intervention was successful, at least as far as we can tell. Brissid is mostly undamaged, Starbase 21 was unaffected, Duboz was unaffected. Communication into the nebula is unsurprisingly rather difficult. Neither Thuln nor Silik can be contacted. That may be due to the interference, or there may have been some effects from the wave. The former would be, by far, the preferable situation.

The last three days have been a blur. Fine-tuning the layout for each site based on local geography and conditions, getting just the right amount of dilithium to the surface, checking the placement and adjusting the calculations for the next site based on all of the previous sites. We’ve logged more shuttle hours in three days than in the last three months.

All through this vivid energy flares were dancing around the planet in a near-continuous display of colour and light. I’ve seen aurora on Vulcan, on Earth and on other worlds, they pale in comparison to the display over Brissid. I haven’t checked the sensor data, but I suspect the energy in each of those flares would dwarf the entire output of their star for a day, if not far longer.

The Yonggi came when it was all over, apparently just to tell us that the danger was past, using the same ocean metaphor as they did previously. They clearly knew more than we did about the situation, why then did they not intervene? Unable? Unwilling to involve themselves? Were they testing us in some way?

Their communication was easier to bear this time. Did they learn the form of our minds from the previous ‘conversion’, making this one easier, and if so, is future communication likely?

Standing at the precipice

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 979.8

We’ll be at Brissid tomorrow. I’ve redone the calculations several times. I keep looking for the one combination of inputs and variables that will have everything come out well. But there are too many unknowns involved, too many assumptions, too many chaotic aspects, too many opportunities for everything to go wrong. We’re pinning all our efforts on a foundation of assumptions and guesswork, and the consequences of failure could be terrible. The consequences of doing nothing could be worse.

What if we’re wrong?

Even if we’re right, the precision demanded is extreme, in some cases to mere meters. Which doesn’t sound too bad, except that it’s meters of precision while working on the scale of entire continents. At the extreme end of possible consequences, millions of lives could depend on getting every single aspect perfect.

Are we up to this?

 

 

 

Meeting the Yonggi

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 963.1

I believe the humans have a saying, ‘Be careful what you wish for, you may get it’.

We have been wishing for a way to communicate with the Yonggi for some time now. Now we have at least some idea how, although I’m not certain I can define today’s events as ‘communicating’, that word implies two way discussion. What we got were instructions and, I suspect, the telepathic equivalent of a recorded message.

They’re telepathic. I suspected something like that since I read one of the dinosaurs in the mountains on Silik. That impression of something cold and distant, watching. Then the discovery of the Yonggi ship hidden in the area. I wonder if they’re some form of hive mind as well. The way the dinosaurs acted in perfect unison, the way the three Yonggi acted in perfect unison, the similarities of all their ships.

I thought at the time that the headache from exposure to the Zenian’s psychic gas was the worst a headache could get, but it paled in comparison to what the start of the Yonggi’s message was like. Their message was incredibly strong. Even hours later I was getting flashes of cold, of underwater sounds, of being underwater. It may well be that they set the message at a high ‘volume’, not knowing who the recipient would be or how sensitive they might be.

Was the circuitry in the box solely to store the message, or could there have been another component to it, one reading and measuring the recipient? And does this mean that further conversations with the Yonggi may be possible, or was this a once-off event?

Subspace and gallicite-induced storms, as a probably cause of the Ego extinction

T’Laan(a1), Balducci, R(a2)

Received: stardate 966.1
Published: pending

The currently accepted theory as to the direct cause of the extinction on Ego is a sudden climate change event. There is, however, no widely accepted theory as to what caused the climate change. There are no signs of widespread warfare sufficient to destabilise the atmospheric balance. There are no nearby supernovae remnants of the correct age. There are none of the chemical markers that would indicate a gamma-ray burst hit the planet.

In this paper, we will present a case for the climate change to have been caused by a subspace shockwave, likely originating near the Suliban system, and estimated to have occurred between 350 and 364 years ago. While subspace fields do not usually have a significant effect in normal space, Ego contains a number of mountain ranges which are rich in Gallicite. This mineral produces electrical discharges when exposed to even moderate subspace fields. The estimated subspace field strength which hit Ego is estimated to be in the range of hundreds of kilocochrane per unit time. This, combined with the amplifying effect from Kemocite deposits is capable of having produced widespread electromagnetic storms thereby increasing production of nitrogen oxides and nitric acid in the atmosphere, in turn reducing the solar radiation reaching the surface.

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.