Mission Day 94
“Computer, active Emergency Command Hologram.”
“Processing,” was the only response Tikva got from the computer.
She stood there, waiting for a few seconds before a hologram of a man appeared before her. She didn’t recognise him, or his admittedly ruggedly good looks, but just the stance the hologram took was enough to tell her it was definitely modelled after some swaggering Starfleet officer somewhere in the Fleet. A smile that quickly spread to his eyes and the hologram extended a hand to Tikva.
“Emergency Command Hologram at your service,” he said in what she placed as some North American drawl. “Though if I’ve been activated and you’re still standing Captain, guess that means it’s somewhat dire.”
Tikva nodded and shook the man’s hand, noting the firm, but not to firm, handshake. “Omega,” was all she said as she let his hand free and indicated the slightly more relaxed area of her ready room. “Commodore Marshall-Bennett sent you to me for a full briefing since I’ve only just got my field promotion and clearance.”
“Ah, I see,” the man said as he followed, taking a seat opposite Tikva. “One moment.” He got a faraway look in his eyes, as if thinking about something, which Tikva took to mean the hologram’s programming was consulting with the ship’s computer on a few things before he came back to attention. “Right, yes, field promotion confirmed by orders from the Commodore and the Directive has been activated. Well, this isn’t an ideal briefing situation, but Starfleet is adaptable Captain, I’m sure we can make this work and work well.”
“We better. What I’ve been told has been…frightening and unhelpful all at the same time.”
“Perhaps I should just start at the beginning then, yes?” he asked, then continued with a nod in the affirmative from Tikva. “Omega is a rather complex molecule derived from a predominantly boronite ore base with enough other elements for flavouring. While it’s scientific and industrial potentials are extreme to say the least, so too are its destructive capabilities either as a purpose-built weapon or as part of a simple industrial accident.”
“The subspace rift properties the Commodore mentioned.”
“Exactly. While Omega has the power a warp core in a molecule, the fallout is commensurate with that power. The Federation’s first encounter with this phenomenon occurred during the first and only attempt at synthesising Omega under Dr Ketteract in the Lantaru sector. The molecule’s rather violent destabilisation almost immediately after being created resulted in a several light year subspace rift, making warp travel and subspace communications impossible. It took Starfleet years to find out what actually happened as travel was limited to relativistic speeds. Since then, the Omega Directive was drafted, approved and put into place in order to safe guard not just the Federation, but the galaxy at large.”
“Even to the point of violating the Prime Directive?” Tikva asked.
“Captain, would you leave an unstable warp core in the hands of a steam powered civilization?” the hologram asked back.
“Well…no. I’d do what’s needed, within the confines of the Prime Directive, to make the situation safe.”
“Now instead of a warp core, we’re talking about something that could not only destroy a planet, or a star system, but ruin interstellar civilization for lightyears around. And which is proven to be volatile. We’re not talking about a situation with a limited and contained fall out zone, we’re talking light years and billions of lives that could be at stake. And imagine if there was a galactic level chain reaction.”
“Gods…” Tikva responded as she looked down at her hands. “Prometheus gave us fire and we got burned so badly we’re running around putting all the fires out.”
“Basically yah,” the hologram agreed. “We’re trying to prevent anyone else getting as burnt as we did. The Federation got lucky – we lost a lot of good people, a starbase and a good chunk of a sector, but we can’t rely on luck all the time. We need to be proactive in this situation.”
“To the point of throwing out our guiding principles?” she asked.
“Command recognises priorities when they come along. We need to stop this phenomenon before it’s too late. The Prime Directive, medical and engineering regulations, even treaties get suspended in the face of this threat Captain. You have to stop Omega before something truly terribly happens.”
She shook her head, not really wanting to accept what was being said, but at some level understanding. Starfleet worked for the greater good and sometimes, just sometimes it seemed one needed to set aside the rules and regs that helped keep people on the straight and narrow in order to the ‘best good’ you could. She could see why such things were kept to Captains and Flag Officers – those sapients within the Federation that had already proved they knew how to do the ‘best good’ by proving themselves time and time again.
“Okay, so, it’s a do whatever needs to be done situation to save the galaxy. I understand that, I accept it, but I’m still going to let those rules and regulations guide my decision making.”
The hologram smiled and nodded. “Don’t think anyone in Command would argue with you, just don’t let them get in the way. If you can follow the rules and still come out on top, then great. But if one of those rules gets in the way Captain, set it aside and do what is required. And remember, you can’t tell your crew why. This is one of Starfleet’s greatest secrets and it has to stay that way. Can you imagine the public outcry if this got out?”
“I…I understand. So, how the hell am I supposed to deal with Omega then?” Tikva asked, setting aside her displeasure at the situation in order to be prepared to learn how to solve it.
“Depends on how many you’ve detected, where they are and what you’ve got on hand,” the hologram stated back to her.
“Sensors can only confirm an Omega signature at the moment, located in a white dwarf containing binary star system with no planets of any worth. Nearest M class world is roughly fifteen lightyears away, not surveyed. We’re on course for a star system four light years from the signature at warp nine point four. I’ll then depart in a runabout once I know what to do.”
The hologram nodded at Tikva’s report. “Well, you’d best be building a resonance chamber, plans now being sent to your terminal,” it said as it pointed to her desk, “just in case you find more than a handful. Engineering will likely need a few days to fabricate it. If there’s only a few, you could get away with a high-yield gravimetric torpedo, again designs to your terminal. Basically, a big enough charge to collapse the molecule in on itself and prevent an uncontrolled breakdown.”
“A big enough boom to suck the air out and stop a bigger boom?” she asked, getting an affirmative nod from the hologram. “I’m assuming both plans are of the ‘Just follow the plans’ sort for the crew to follow?”
“Naturally. And minimise who does and doesn’t see the plans. Trust me, plenty of suspicious people will want to know, but you need to limit this. Normally we’d be celebrating curiosity, but not right now.”
Tikva stood, thinking for a moment and then started to pace. “Right, well, the torpedoes won’t be difficult. Lieutenant Ch’tkk’va is Xindi-Insectoid, they’ll follow orders and not ask questions if I make it clear not to. Building a chamber…I recruited a particularly curious and intelligent Engineering department. They’ll figure out the workings of such a machine easily enough.”
“As long as they don’t know what’s going in it, they’ll only have half a picture. The design has been tested, refined and approved by the SCE.”
“Great comfort there,” Tikva muttered. “Fine, we’ve got five days. I’m going to hold a day on the chamber plans, maybe we’ll get a better read on the signature. If not, I’ll order Engineering to start construction.”
“And the torpedoes?”
“I’m asking one person to do the work, so straight away. How many should I have?”
“How long’s a piece of string?” the hologram asked back. “Five should be a good start. Build one for each molecule. If you have more than five molecules, you’ll need the chamber for safe dispersal.”
“Five days. I’ve got to keep my crew in the dark and not answer questions about this for five days,” Tikva said as she turned on the hologram. “Don’t delete yourself till this is over. I’m going to need someone I can talk to.”
“Not going anywhere until Omega has been dealt with Captain.”
“Good. Computer, deactivate the Emergency Command Hologram.” With that the figure on her sofa faded from view with a smile on his, its, face. She waited, unlocked her ready room door and stepped out onto the bridge. “Ch’tkk’va, I need to speak with you please,” she said to the Xindi-Insectoid and then stepped back inside.
Now we start a conspiracy.
No, we’ve been part of it ever since the Commodore sent us that field promotion. Now we’re involving the crew as our minions.
Always wanted minions.
Shut up Evil-Tikva, not the right time.