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Safety Measures

Posted on 04 Oct 2022 @ 2:29pm by Captain Easton Lawe & Lieutenant Commander Cintia Sha'mer

1,260 words; about a 6 minute read

Mission: A New Frontier
Location: Ready Room, USS Odin

Sha'mer had volunteered for a second shift on the bridge. Not because she didn't trust the alien object out there – it still hung where they had found it, cold and inert. But because it intrigued her.

There were moments when it hit you all over, the immense size of space. Sometimes it was easy to forget, while travelling in Federation space from point A (say, Andor) to point B (Betazed, Bolarus IX, whatever). Those were the familiar routes, with few surprises on the way. And even so, from time to time something unexpected did crop up and then it hit you, all over again, just how endless space was, and filled with mysteries which wouldn't be solved in a hundred lifetimes.

So she stared at the image on the viewscreen in the relative quiet of the evening shift, studying the artifact's sleek lines, the weird appendages which trailed behind. Those reminded her of the grappling tendrils of an old Romulan mining vessel, but on a far smaller scale. The front end-

The sound of her comm badge pulled her from her thoughts.

"Commander Sha'mer," her badge chirped with the captain's voice, "please come see me in my ready room when you have a moment."

"On my way," she acknowledged briskly. "I'll be there presently." After all, it was just a few steps from her console. With a last look over her shoulder at the viewscreen, she crossed the bridge and pressed the chime.

"Come in," Easton called from inside. As his chief of tactical walked in, he set aside the PADD that he'd been reading and offered a sparing but friendly smile. "Have a seat, if you like. Help yourself to the replicator." He waved at the device, which had generally been behaving lately. "I just wanted to discuss our current situation from a tactical perspective, with the...vessel out there."

"Thank you." Sha'mer called up a raktajino from the replicator – the mundane way, by actually taking a small detour towards the device and ordering from there instead of just calling out her order and then making it appear in her hand halfway across the room. It tended to freak people out when she did that. Then she sat down and looked up at the captain. "Yes. Well. The problem is that there's only so much we can learn by scanning it, and I think we've reached the limit on that." She had read the report of those scans, which came down to a long list of unknowns. Weapons: unknown. Propulsion systems: unknown. Shields: unknown. Threat level? Unknown.

"From what I've heard, a suggestion has been made to give it a nudge with a tractor beam first, to see if that will wake it up. If that doesn't elicit a reaction, an option is to take it on board. An alternative might be to send an away team over to the vessel itself and take a look around." Sha'mer called up an image of the artifact on her PADD, rotated it and zoomed in. "This looks like it could be an access hatch, if that's the case we wouldn't even have to beam in. Just send a shuttle over and dock." She heard the eagerness in her own voice and took a quick sip of her raktajino to get some control back. Even if the captain would agree to send over an away team, chances were slim that he'd send her over with them. Get a grip, Sha'mer. You sound like a cadet. A first-years. But oh, she really wanted to go and have a good look.

Easton listened closely and nodded. It all fit together with what the other reports were, which were limited. "So far, the recommendation seems to be to bring it inside and I think I agree with that for now. Without more suggestions as to this actually being a ship of some sort, I don't want to try going in." He paused thoughtfully. "I'm sure you've received the report from Taliborn, Sabine, and Veera... is there anything you want to add for defensive measures?"

Sha'mer forced herself to keep her face neutral, though she was taken by surprise. She didn't want to have the thing on board, not unless she was absolutely certain the thing was as lifeless as the space which surrounded it. "Sir… should the artifact not be completely inert after all and wake up at some point, it would be a greater danger to have it inside than to be outside and examining it from there. Even if a team goes in and it wakes up then, it would only endanger that team, not our ship as a whole. If we do bring it in, my suggestion is to isolate the bay where it is completely. No active computer links in and out, shield around it, preferably keep it in vacuum – unless we can prove beforehand that it is fully inactive and won't suddenly start doing stuff."

She took a sip of her raktajino and looked up. "I hope you don't think I'm too paranoid, sir." Though given what happened to the last ship she served on, it was only surprising she wasn't more paranoid than this, she thought wryly. "I'd rather be too cautious than risk anything happen to the ship."

"It's rather your job to be paranoid," Easton said easily. "Several plans similar to what you're suggesting are already being implemented, so our other teams are of a similar mind. I'm sure you'll want to talk to them and coordinate each department's efforts. In particular, I think you'll want to talk with Ensign Walker from the fighter wing."

Ensign Walker? Sha'mer's mind shifted gears again. Thus far, she'd had only interacted with her a few times and she hadn't heard that the Ensign had been involved with the investigation of the object. Still, it made sense. Extra eyes, extra options and a different point of view. "The fighter AI, right? Very well, I'll go and see her." And the others.

She suppressed a sigh when another realisation hit her. "I'll also have to talk with commander Hawk, since Security also needs to be involved if we bring it in." Their relationship was cordial enough, with the occasional training sessions and their normal duty interactions. But she still remembered all too well those first weeks on board, the strange way her own mind sometimes reacted to the security chief. The last thing she needed now was for something like that to happen while they were examining a potentially dangerous alien artifact.

"Of course," Easton agreed with a nod. "I look forward to receiving your report and further ideas for this. I think we can do this study safely if we all work together to each department's best strengths."

"Yes, sir." There was nothing else she could say to this. All she could do was to make it as safely as possible. It was most likely that that thing out there was indeed what all their scans thus far proclaimed it to be, some antique artifact, long dead. But just on that off-chance that it would suddenly come to life while they brought it on board… Sha'mer bit her lip. She would make damned sure that should that improbable event happen anyway, the rest of the ship would come to no harm. She finished her raktajino and absentmindedly sent the cup back to the recycler with her mind before getting up to take her leave. "I'll get right on it."

"Thank you, Commander," Easton said with a small smile. "Dismissed."


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