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Part of USS Daedalus: Those Moments Inbetween

Unraveling a Mystery

USS Daedalus
9.10.2401
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“I don’t know what the hell this is.”  Jake Shaw tapped at the console, frustrated.  He’d recently been assigned to the communications team from science. He’d been tasked to trace, identify, and catalog the communications traffic in their sector and beyond.  There was a grouping of data that was giving him a hard time.  He leaned back in his chair, stretching his aching back, “Steph, you see these?”

Stephanie Marson slowly rolled her chair over to his console, her arched eyebrow giving the readings a quick glance, “They passed through my desk, but I wasn’t sure if it was necessary.  Looks like an error or something.”  She shrugged, “You could just let it go, Shaw.’  She gave him a shrug and returned to her console.  They were on the night shift.  It was a lot of analyzing, reworking, rescanning, and back again.  He was getting pretty good at finding the unique stuff and forwarding it off to his department head.  Lieutenant Presley Atega had come to the Mackenzie just under a year ago.  In the eleven months since, she had impressed her team.  Shaw’s assignment had come after a ship-wide review of positions and specialists – Atega had made a point to hunt him down and ask for an interview.

“I don’t let things go, Steph.  What if it turns out to be something?”  She shrugged without turning around, and he returned his eyes to the screen.  Something was here.  He needed another eye on it.  He checked his clock.  She’d be on duty in a few hours.  He went back to work, sending her a message.

 

“That is…weird.”  Shaw stood at attention in the office of his commanding officer.  She had read his report several times and was in the process of examining the data points on her console, “It’s almost like a…tracking signal.  Hidden inside some noisy code.”  She shifted the signals around, unraveling the pieces as she wanted, “You said Ensign Marson passed it to you?”

He pursed his lips, thinking about how to answer her.  It was true.  Steph wasn’t the most hardworking communications analyst he’d met, but she wasn’t the worst he’d encountered.  “She was having trouble sorting out the signals, sir.”  He still had to work with Marson.  “It took me a few hours to get as far as I did.”

Atega flipped the signal around a few more times, “Well, you got pretty far.  Signal indicates it’s leading to this small moon here,” she pointed to the location just an hour from their current location, “…and I don’t think this is normal.  We’re on the lookout for anything unusual, and this fits.”  She handed his PADD back, “Ensign, this is good work.  I’ll take this to Captain Dread.  If we make a go of checking it out, I’m going to want you on the bridge with me.  You saw something I didn’t, and that’s valuable.  You’ve been on overnights for a year now?”

He stared at her for a moment, “Uh, yes…sir.  I arrived on Mackenzie just a few months before you were assigned.”

She considered his service record, “I’m moving you to first shift, Ensign Shaw.  You’ll assist me and Fowler in tandem – you’ve got an eye and ear for the oddities.  We need that on the bridge.”

His stare turned to shock, “Uh, the bridge, sir?”

She turned to her console, “The bridge, yes.”  She tapped out the orders and changes until the system beeped, confirming the change.  “You’re now assigned as a bridge science and communications team member.  You’d better dose up on coffee, Ensign.  Your shift starts in fifteen minutes.  Once I present this to the captain, she’ll want to talk to you.”

“Uh…thank you, sir.”

“Don’t thank me yet.  The bridge is a lot busier than the communications office.  I’ll see you in fifteen.”