Academic Nagging

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

Stardate 994.1

I have editors from two journals nagging me for the final version of your last two papers. You may be 45 light years away from these people, but I work in the same city and they know where my office is.

I know, I know, mission priorities, other duties, etc, etc. Please could you get the edited versions to me before I have to take drastic action to avoid the editors, like hiding out in the Appalachian mountains for the rest of the year.


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

Stardate 995.6

I’m sorry, I had no idea. I heard about the ship, but…

I’ll see if I can push for another month, that shouldn’t be hard. I’ll give them some vague reason. Also, see if Renzo has some time to help out with the one that he co-authored.

And keep me updated on the other matter as well.


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

Stardate 999.8

Looks good. I’ll pass both of these on to the editors. The only additional thing I might suggest at this point is to add a footnote to the first one about what happened to the planet Silik since the first draft was written, if anyone’s figured out what happened yet that is.


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

Stardate 1000.9

The formal notification should be coming in a couple of days, but I thought I’d let you know early. I got word this morning.

Both papers are scheduled for publication, I’ll make sure you get copies of the relevant journals as soon as they are available. The Review Committee met yesterday, and they’re happy that all of the requirements have been completed to their satisfaction.

There’s a pile of declarations and related paperwork to complete, that should also be coming in the next couple of days. I took the liberty of indicating that you won’t be attending graduation in person. At least I assume you’re not planning on coming 40 odd light years just to spend two hours in a stuffy, over-cramped hall.

Lastly, what now? Are you planning on spending the next few decades fixing conduits, replacing lights and patching holes, or are you coming back to the academic side at some point? Let me know?

A horrifying discovery

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 999.6

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find my calm center, especially in the last couple of days. I haven’t haven’t woken from a nightmare in many years, but the last three days…

All the same. The inside of that structure. The cocoons in the floor. The covering of the closest gets removed but it is not one of the bear-like creatures lying within.

I wish I could dismiss it as just a nightmare, but I fear that is what has happened.

Where did this come from?

Report on Item of Indeterminate Origin
September 2203

During an Academy field trip to Duwan’Ktra, a buried structure was uncovered after a minor subsidence incident. While the architecture and construction materials of the structure itself were consistent with existing structures found on the planet, one item found under a debris pile was not.

The underground structure appears to be the buried remains of a stable, or other agricultural building. The surrounding area, a series of mid-altitude flat plains, were minimally populated before the extinction event, and while there have been archaeological, mineralogical and geological analyses done, there have been no comprehensive digs.

The structure in question is found at grid coordinates 549.87, 142.04, and at a depth of 6 meters below the current surface. The anomalous item was found in the north-west corner of the structure, buried 0.56 metres within a pile of debris. The debris was a mixture of soil and building materials, the latter being dated to Cira 10 000 standard years ago.

The item itself is a perfect geometric solid, a stellated dodecahedron. The metal framework is a mixture of durasteel and corunduim. The crystal, while superficially resembling a quartz-type mineral, is a member of the hypersonic series and is, in some ways, similar to dilithium. There are no apparent power sources within the item, and measurements indicate that the crystal is solid with no intrusions. There is one unexplained phenomenon related to the item. It intermittently emits a low-level localised subspace field. The exact mechanisms which lead to that production and the exact physical processes behind it are unknown at this time.

The metal frame is scratched in several places, and there are scorch marks on the tips of most of the pyramids. Where the scratches and scorch marks overlap, the scratches appear to have been made after the scorching.

The item does not match any artistic or structural artifacts previously found on Duwan’Ktra and the technology required to produce the alloys is far beyond anything which the inhabitants are theorised to have reached. As such, it appears likely that the item was placed in the location it as found, perhaps as a prank, or it originated beyond the system and impacted the surface sometime in the last 10 000 standard years.

A trip to the center

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 999.2

A visit to the centre of the expanding bubble revealed nothing at all. There’s no trace left of whatever caused the subspace shockwave. Nothing that might suggest a cause. The only clue is that the centre is approximately half way along line between Brissid and the hypothesised nebula origin point. Could this perhaps be related to the mechanism which, on previous waves, caused the rapid expansion of the nebula?

Despite the importance of investigating the cause of the shockwave and the value of the data that we gathered in the process, during the travel to the centre and back, I couldn’t help but see every minute as potentially wasted. Not that I expect to find anything where the two extrapolated paths cross, perhaps more crystal remnants at best, but I would still have preferred to investigate that immediately.

At least it gave Nikolai and I time to examine the crystalline particles we retrieved from Chanu-Weianu in detail. The crystal shells match exactly to the crystal in the item I found 6 and a quarter years ago and 35 light years away, buried under 10 000 year-old debris.

If the crystal portion does come from Sector 21, then how did it get to Duwan’Ktra and end up under the debris of a collapsed building? Who set the crystal into the metal frame? And what does it have to do with whatever it is that is destroying starships and towns?

Devastation

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 997.1

I had hoped for further clues, but not like this. An entire town, gone. Thousands inhabitants missing. Captain Thoggev was very confident when he told Meme-Ar that the inhabitants were likely still alive.

I do not share his confidence.

The initial conclusion that what affected the town was a transporter effect was based on the quantum signatures remaining in the surrounding material. It didn’t match transporter effects, it was that a particular form of transporter malfunction creates signatures similar, and nothing else in our data banks came closer to matching the observed signatures.

It is possible that we’re looking at the after-effect of some form of advanced transporter effect capable of removing a 6km diameter cylinder in a less than a minute. It is also entirely possible that we’re looking at the aftermath of some weapon capable of disintegrating the same area.

There is evidence that there was something physically present at the time that the effect, whichever it was, happened. The 0.1c particles emitted from 100m above the ground. The warp-speed particles emitted much closer to the ground, the effects on the soil microbes which Nikolai reported.

Why? Who or what is responsible and why are they doing this? Destroying starships, killing and kidnapping crew, removing an entire town. To what end?

More anomalies

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 996.5

More subspace strangeness. The deeper parts of this nebula seem to be rife with subspace anomalies of various types. I shouldn’t be surprised, given what we know and theorise about the nebula’s origin. The expanding shockwave itself is not as strange as some of the other anomalies that we’ve encountered in the last year. How an inverse field forms naturally however, I cannot begin to theorise at this point. I’ve never seen that outside of a lab, and even there it’s hard to create a large field. We need to get further readings of this subspace wave front. It should be losing energy as it expands and as it compresses the nebula medium and slowing down as a result, but to what degree is unknown, and it may present a threat to Ego and Fairydale.

On a related subject, I suspect my mother would find the Chanu-Weianu themselves absolutely fascinating. From the reports they seem to be completely communal, no obvious economy and, I would expect to find no concept of violence between themselves.

Almost 2 months now, and still no further clues or leads. I should not be this badly affected. For the past seven years we’ve spent years apart and days together. And yet…

Nam-tor ha’ge t’nash-veh i’ki, ashayam

Into the Past

Chief Engineer’s Personal Log
Stardate 993.1

Of all the possibilities that I had considered for the alien structures on Silik 6, finding them to be of Gwuanian origin was not one of them. There’s too much damage to the structure to determine its purpose, damage most likely caused by the recent subspace wave, but I suspect it may have been a communications relay.

We know, from the co-ordinates found in the device on Ego that they either had an outpost or were in communications with another race deep into Nausicaan-held space. The Silik system is directly on the line between Ego and that location, and 43% of the distance, making it an ideal location for a subspace communications relay.

The Cabal’s temporal device is harder to understand. It appeared to be based on the kind of communications device which we’ve seen before, but altered. They were using it to speed time within the algae pools and within the reactor. I wonder if they were also using it to slow time in a larger area. The age of some of the Suliban which the Dehli rescued, as well as the age of the reactor, suggests they were. If that is the case, it was not functioning any longer, perhaps also as a result of the subspace wave.

Is that what the visions were? Side effects of a malfunctioning temporal device. Again, our knowledge in that field is not sufficient to be certain of anything.

As for the device itself, if I could have figured out how to turn it back into a temporal communicator and use it I would have. To send a message 14 days into the past to warn a ship about a hazard that we didn’t know existed at the time. It’s wrong, I know that. I knew it was wrong at the time and yet in that moment it didn’t seem to matter.

An analysis of the cyclic subspace wave and its effects on Brissid

Lobochevski, N(a1), T’Laan(a2), Tiavann(a3), Hudyk(a4), Senn(a5)

Received: stardate 988.1
Published: pending

The recent subspace shockwave which recently affected Brissid as well as other systems in Sector 21 is an entirely new phenomenon, and unprecedented in its strength. Analysis of the wave shows that while the phenomenon had an original source in or near the Suliban system, it was the unique geography of the planet of Brissid itself which turned the wave into a cyclic process repeating every 60 standard years.

This paper discusses the phenomenon itself, our theories as to the initial triggering event, and some observations which suggest previously unknown aspects of hyper-geometry. We also include a comprehensive coverage of how we dissipated the wave, so that should the phenomenon occur elsewhere, it can be appropriately dealt with.

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?