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Posted on 06 Aug 2022 @ 11:36am by Lieutenant Commander Harva Taliborn & Lieutenant Callisi Veera & Lieutenant Madalene Sabine

Mission: A New Frontier
Location: Science Lab

Madalene was the first to arrive at the labs with Callisi right behind her, and a message was sent to the commander, who hopefully was on his way, "...good, they have the pool table set up," Madalene said as she walked into the large circular area where several science officers were parsing and putting data packets together.

"Ah, lieutenant, as you can see the data is well....," a junior lieutenant said, " is a lot and at the same time, not a lot, it is tough as we try and figure out what exactly we are looking at," he added showing how the data is being processed, sorted and studied.

"Lieutenant, take a deep breath, we are not under attack, and this thing is not making any moves to disappear, lets's take our time and do this right, yes?" The junior lieutenant nodded, "alright Callisi if you could study any and all data pertaining to finding potential power sources, any signs of life, and even just to get a general idea of the layout of this artifact.

Callisi walked in behind Madalene, the cyclopean glance sliding along the department as she walked. The nervous lieutenant earned her attention for a moment before joining Madalene at the pool table. "If this were an ocean I'd suggest sonic probes and echo mapping. Out here, not an option. Plus I'd hate for the honest knocking to be thought of as an attack."

She loomed over the table, leaning over to observe the data, "So instead, it's honest guess time."

The lumbering, heavy footfalls of the Odin's largest officer soon joined the assorted gathered voices and noises. "I've gone over preliminary data on my way here," the deep sonorous rumble of Sirran's basso profondo voice resonated. "We could use the tractor beam to give it a slight nudge, see if it responds. Poke it with a stick, as it were. Lieutenants Veera, Sabine, thoughts?"

"Possible." Veera offered in return, "But I'm hesitant to touch or nudge the object in question at the moment. Once we transition from a Hands Off approach to more of a Hands-On approach, then that may be the way to go."

"I have to agree with lieutenant Veera, poking things with sticks tends to not work out in favor of the pokee," she said with a soft chuckle looking at the scans, "but I do agree we need this thing to do something so we can get an idea what we are dealing with," Madalene said.

"We'll shelve that idea for later then," Harva mused with the flick of an ear. "Alright, talk to me, give me opinions. What're we looking at here?"

"Alien object. Presumably a craft or vessel. Unknown hill composition, unknown internal structure." Callisi stated, bringing up a projection of the data. "Presumably this region here is either the central power core or the bridge. Deep into the structure, well defended." She pointed out.

"No obvious propulsion system could be impulse driven. No obvious weaponry. Though not everyone announces their capacity." the cyclopean rabbitess continued. "Quite the mystery you've offered up." She directed her glance from Harva back to the projection. Regions were color codes to show possible use. Crew quarters, bridge, power plant, and so forth.

"How big is it, both size and weight?" Madalene asked as an idea was forming in her head.

"My readings show about 27 meters long, 15 wide. A bit bigger than a standard Danube class runabout," Harva mused, looking down at his PADD. "Mass, not sure. I would estimate around 250, maybe 350 tons. We could conceivably tractor it in and take it with us, it'd fit in the fighter bay."

Madalene tapped her fingers on the pool table running things through her head, "if I was that thing and I got tractored in out of nowhere, I would take that as a hostile act, wouldn't you?"

"Possibly, though mostly if I couldn't comprehend any attempts to communicate. To the best we can tell, this is an inert object. No power, no heat, nothing." Callisi pointed out. "If we're doing this, and that's an if declared by the Emperor herself, we follow quarantine protocols and treat it like something with a hair trigger." she paused, and shook her head. "That's H-A-I-R trigger. Yes yes, I've heard the joke a million times."

"But no, we treat it as potentially dangerous and we prep to shove it back out into the black at a moment's notice. Probably could set up the fighter deck launch slingshot to help send it on its way."

Harva nodded to Callisi. "Exactly. But we're not deciding anything yet. Just discussing options. Just remember that the last time we picked up some seemingly adrift technology, we - well, you two mostly - ended up putting it in charge of a fighter," he flicked an ear. "According to the logs that is. But we need to decide on a recommendation to give command. Leave it or recover it. Because we can't stay here and scan it forever, and I think we're running out of things we can learn about it just by looking at it from a distance. Lieutenant Veera, you said it had no power signature and - more importantly - no heat output whatsoever? It's as cold as the environment? That strongly suggests it's completely inert. We're in space, and any activity would create a measure of waste heat. That doesn't preclude it passively waiting for something to happen, again, like the last piece of tech this ship picked up adrift, but it's something to consider. We all in agreement here?" He looked around at the other two.

Callisi fixed Harva with a glance. No, this was a glare. Her single, intact eye stared daggers at him, while under the eyepatch that single mote of blue just shined like it always would. "For the record... putting that in a fighter was something I was not consulted on, nor would I condone. I tolerate it since the Captain has chosen to." a pause, as her posture relaxed. A breath, and then she continued, "Apologies. My people have a bloody history with synthetic intelligences, and while most of the cosmos seems to ignore our warnings, our allies and neighbors have heeded our request. Which makes them more clever than most. But that's not the issue at hand. The issue is the kaluph in the room, and yes. Inert seems to be the best descriptor for it."

"Barring anything unforeseen or anything literally impossible or unpredictable, I would support a plan to bring it aboard for study. As far as our understanding goes, it's essentially dead in the water."

"No apology necessary and no offense intended, Lieutenant Veera," Harva's resonant voice was warm and disarming. "I am unfamiliar with the details of your people's past, and merely wanting to move forward on the situation at hand."

“What if everything is dormant, or on essentially half-power conserving energy?” Madalene said, “….what if it’s been floating around looking for something to recharge the batteries?”

"If..." Callisi paused after saying that singular word. A tiny word. Two letters in the Common Federation Alphabet. A few more than that in the standard Ts'usugi lexicon. "Did you know that before pilots go out into active engagements, we write our last wishes and words to loved ones down on letters, and hand them to our commander. When we do, we give them with a single word to explain everything: If."

"If we fail. If we don't come home. If." Callisi gave Madalene her full attention. "If is a powerful word, a dangerous word. It always has a sense of dread about it. A doubt. Such a burden for such a small word." she paused, "But we cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by the word and what it means. I suggest caution. Extreme caution." she offered, "Perhaps your department should be put in charge of isolating the device from our hardware, while I'll make certain that it cannot interface with our computer systems. That is.... IF it wakes up." a soft smirk.

"If it has the capacity to wake up," Harva intoned. He'd been listening intently to the discussion unfolding. "I've got some ideas about potentially isolating it from the ship's systems, though most of those involve our AI fighter pilot. I've not had much chance to talk with her, forasmuch as it can be considered a 'her', but wasn't she equipped with an advanced defensive-only cyberwarfare suite? It's possibly the most secure system outside our own systems that could detect and stop any attempt at infiltrating our systems before it even reaches our own firewalls. Is that something you could discuss with Kat, Lieutenant Veera? I am aware of your dislike for AI, especially after your - ... outburst a moment ago, but I believe you are the best candidate to work on a solution in this particular situation."

"In any case, before we bring that thing on board - if that is indeed what Command would choose to do, our first course of action would be to poke it with a stick, as I mentioned before," he concluded with a quirk of his brow.

"Indeed you did, during the speculative part of the discussion." Callisi rebuked. "Seeing as we've moved to the more definite action part of the discussion, your offer of poking will be taken under advisement. I suggest you ready your stick."

"Well, first point of order would be to talk to command, see what they want," Harva flicked an ear, then tapped his comm badge. "Taliborn to bridge,"

"Petrova here, go ahead Commander," came Kristiana's voice.

"Commander, we've looked at the data and think we've learned all that we can. Which isn't much. Way we see it, our options are, we leave it and go on our way, or we bring it aboard and study it further," Harva explained.

"I'm listening, Commander," Petrova responded. "Talk to me about bringing it onboard."

"First order of business would be to see if it responds to a nudge with the tractor beam, see if that wakes it up. If not, we can bring it aboard and store it in the fighter bay. Put up barriers, force fields, firewalls, the works. Lieutenant Veera can handle the software aspect of that, set it up so that the moment it behaves inappropriately we can just yeet it out into space. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Sabine and me can do our studies at our leisure. See what we can come up with," the massive engineer elaborated.

" ... Sounds good. Start work on that. Petrova out."


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