Search for the Black Lotus (Part 2)
Posted on Fri Sep 27th, 2019 @ 2:15am by Captain Tan'ato Tejera & Petty Officer 3rd Class Hayden Ahlgren & Lieutenant Commander Yvette Beauvoir & Lieutenant Commander Alohiai illm Warraquim & Lieutenant Kiernan Gallagher VII PhD & Ensign Vivienne Standen
Location: USS Nightingale
Several hours later, the search was still ongoing. Finding anything matching what was known about Rowa’ni biology and differentiating it from the surrounding jungles was proving very difficult. There were several false positives that sent Alohiai out on a futile physical search. After the latest, Hayden showed up in the transporter room and handed Alohiai a discreet glass of her preferred beverage. “Exhausted yet?” the yeoman asked her. Anything else I can get you?”
Alohiai took the glass and smiled. "No, I am fine. Actually, I just glide quite a bit when I can. It is the hovering that takes the toll." She turned away for a moment and then back again. "Whatever it takes."
On the bridge, Tan’ato said, “If they’re trying to weaponize a virus, they need a lab. Labs need power and an enclosed space, a secure building. We should cross match any of these positive results with another data set. We’re going to kill the doctor if we keep this up.”
Viv turned to Kiernan and pointed to one site that had appeared on their screen and said, "Check that one. I can't see that it corresponds to anything that's on the government survey maps, and I need a second opinion."
It had been several hours of scanning and rescanning and double checking on false positives. His optimism was starting to wane at finding anything. They would find something of significance, the hope would swell, and then it was dashed just as quick. It was times like these that he was reminded that a lot of what science officers did was the waiting game. It was a stark reminder, despite it being a constant one. It wasn't like in holonovels, or even those old movies, where things just magically happened. No, a lot of times it took hours of tedious work and know how to find an answer. What was even worse was after hours and days, sometimes weeks, and worse years, the answer would be inconclusive. That was the devastating part of science.
He suppressed a yawn and took a moment to rub his bleary eyes. Looking at scans and algorithms for hours on end had always taken its toll on the eyes. It was never healthy to stare at monitors for hours on end, but in cases like these, breaks were far and few between. Kiernan nodded. "Will do," he said, in that quiet tone he typically was known for. He started his own scan, his thin fingers doing their dance across the workstation, tapping against the lighted panel. He did what was asked and cross referenced what was found with government documents and survey maps. Nothing popped up, and he input a different algorithm and came up with nothing again. He looked to Viv and said, "My results come up the same. I don't see anything that corresponds to any government maps or records." He offered a smile. "I think you may have found something of importance."
Tan’ato glanced up from the captain’s chair. “You have something?” he asked. “Worth sending the doctor out for again?” he asked.
Viv nodded. "I think so, sir." She smiled. "Hopefully this might just be the one we're looking for."
Tan’ato tapped his comm. “Doctor, are you up for another flight? We might have something again. Don’t want to get hopes up, but I’d like to check it out.”
In the transporter room, Hayden took the cup from Alohiai and gave the doctor an encouraging smile as she stepped out of the way to stand beside the transporter operator. “Let me know if you need me to have anything ready for you when you come back.”
"Should be fine unless it gets cold, but this is Risa, and I doubt it." Alohiai stepped onto the platform and in the middle. She unfolded her wings and nodded. As in previous checks she would be materialized a several hundred feet above the ground. It would give her some time to help start catching the air before gravity pulled her down. She would then flit, scanning as she went, but trying to not look too obvious.
This time as she flew over the targeted area the little tricorder beeped as it picked up some signature not only of energy readings but also at this close a distance it could distinguish bits of non-native vegetation. Well, make that semi-non-native. She nodded as she soared past. She went a bit and then picked out a place to actually land and then called back to the ship. “Sending data to you to analyze. Definitely power readings, and I got things that on biochemical scans did not match known Risian flora, or at least not fully.”
"Acknowledged," Kiernan called out, after the doctor's voice filled the bridge, "Receiving data now." His blue eyes darted from left to right as the tricorder data began to upload through the sensor grid. His fingers, on auto-pilot, were tapping away as he began to pull apart the data. He looked to Viv, who was analyzing the same data he was, and he nodded in her direction the confirmation they were hoping for. "We definitely have something," he said. "The power signature doesn't match anything else we have seen, nor does it match anything in our database that would correspond to Risa." He turned in his chair to face the command well. "This definitely merits an even closer look, sir."
“See what you can see, Doctor,” Tan told Alohiai. “Carefully.”
The area Alohiai approached looked to be an area of fairly new vegetation, a space cleared out from the surrounding jungle a few years ago and now being reclaimed. The canopy was thinner, allowing her to fly below the tree tops. She found what appeared to be the remains of a shuttle, the registry number still faintly visible beneath the grime of what was likely an explosion, or weapons fire.
She did not land, but hovered as it gave her a bit better view and she could with some weaving among the trees as cover to circle around and take readings. She moved back and upward away from the area. "Nightingale, I have a shuttle here that the land seems to be reclaiming. It is damaged. I am sending images so that you can run them through the computers. I am not registering any particular life forms other than vegetation, but the readings are a bit confusing as well. Perhaps the computers there can clear things up."
“Thank you, Doctor. Receiving the images now.” Tan’ato looked closely at the wreckage on the view screen. “Commander Beauvoir, can you run that registry number? That’s a Starfleet shuttle,” he told Ops. “It looks familiar.”
"Aye, sir," Yvette said, and consulted the Starfleet database.
"Captain, the shuttle Faraday, is listed as part of the USS Nemesis' complement. According to Starfleet, it was shot down over Risa nearly five years ago. Any further information on the incident is above my clearance level, I'm afraid, sir," she reported after a moment. "I don't wish to venture an opinion without further data, but experience tells me that the Faraday was involved in some kind of covert mission," she added. At times like these, she wished she still possessed her intel clearances.
Tan’ato paused in consideration. “I know the shuttle,” he said. “I was Assistant Ops on the Nemesis at the time,” he recalled. “It wasn’t a covert mission. It was just a Starfleet officer and his family on vacation,” he said sadly. “His wife was killed. He and his daughter nearly so. That’s weapons fire scoring the hull.”
"I'm sorry to hear that, Captain," Yvette said. "I seem to have become cynical in my old age."
"Any idea why the shuttle crashed?" Neomi asked, as she was looking at the padd in her hand where she was looking up any official information on the shuttle.
“Official report, or unofficial?” Tan’ato asked with a wry smile. “Officially, engine malfunction. Unofficially, shot down.”
Captain Tan’ato Tejera
Lieutenant Kiernan M. Gallagher VII, PhD
Chief of Environmental Sciences
Lieutenant Commander Yvette Beauvoir
Chief Operations Officer
Lieutenant Commander Alohiai
Chief Medical Officer
Ensign Viviennne Standen