Finally feeling that he was winning some ground with his sons, James was somewhat grateful for the unexpected treasure that Theo found on the beach almost two hours ago. It had given him the excuse to rope his sons into helping out what it meant. What made their little quest interesting further was the discovery of several more trinkets that they dug up after scanning for them on the beach. These items were definitely from a civilisation that had existed on the planet.
Having access to the Calypso’s sensor array had helped greatly, it gave James the opportunity to place a filter into the scanners to detect specific substances, with gold being at the top of the list. After hunting along the beach in unplanned treasure hunt, their finds had been brought onto the yacht.
The Calypso herself was another brand new vessel, assigned to the ship when it was undergoing its refit and overhaul after the Archanis Campaign in Earth orbit. The design followed a similar lineage to the yachts found on Galaxy-class era ships instead of the more mission-orientated ones from the designs of the Intrepid and Sovereign-classes. His wife had said it looked almost like a flying saucer, something she had seen from one of the many chapters of their sons’ favourite holonovel series: The Amazing Adventures of Captain Proton. Nevertheless the Calypso herself was created to be quite the agile ship. It was more aimed at supporting the commanding officer of being able to host diplomatic functions on a smaller scale when the Odyssey was not available or it could turn into another support vessel, for short missions that lasted only a week or two. It didn’t carry enough provisions compared to the Telemachus, but it would suffice for what they needed to do today.
“Why didn’t we see any of this before?” Duncan asked as they all stood in the port cargo hold of the Calypso.
McCallister looked at his new first officer, “Unfortunately, Number One, our sensors are not precise enough to detect such objects. The original focus had been to gather as much information on the planet’s composition first, not to be digging for treasure.”
“But we’ve been on the bridge before where we’ve detected settlements before.” Duncan stated back. “How come we’ve not seen anything to indicate where these objects have come from?”
At that point, Tierra, Odyssey’s Deltan assistant chief engineer stepped into the room with a PADD in her hand. “I think I’ve found some more information that may answer the commander’s question.”
Passing the PADD over to her captain, she gave McCallister a moment to read over the recent scans she had just taken. Handing the PADD over to Duncan, McCallister had an answer for him. “There’s your answer, Number One. The settlement isn’t on land, which is our default setting…”
“…it’s under the water.” Duncan finished, astonished at the revelation.
“I’d assume these treasures have been washing up on the shores of this island for sometime, hence why we’ve been able to find so many.” Tierra suggested.
Tapping his combadge, McCallister felt it was time they halted their treasure hunt on the beach and went elsewhere with it. “McCallister to Court, we’ve got a new lead which may give us some more answers about lost treasures. Fancy bringing yourself and the boys on board the Calypso?”
“Sir, the Calypso hasn’t been tested for underwater operations.” Tierra warned her superior.
Appreciating her concern, McCallister knew the risks. “Don’t worry lieutenant, with the Calypso’s immersion shielding, her strong hull the only thing we would need to do is modify the thrusters and she’ll be seaworthy in no time.” He explained as he indicated for them to leave the cargo hold and head out into the main area.
Entering what was known as the informal reception area, the three officers encountered Court entering via the starboard airlock hatch with the McCallister boys in tow. “Permission to come aboard captain?” Court mockingly asked.
Smirking at his yeoman’s request, McCallister nodded and answered. “Permission granted. Welcome aboard the Calypso gentlemen.”
Alfie stood forward in front of his godfather with his mouth wide open. “Wow this ship is huge on the inside, dad.” He said and looked into the centre of the large room they were in. “Is that a whirlpool tub under there?”
“Shut up! Why didn’t you tell us about how cool this place is dad?” Henri interrogated next as he started to look around and peeked his head into one of the guest cabins and back out again.
“Tobi, show the boys where they can store their stuff in one of the guest cabins.” McCallister ordered, noticing that his other son Theo was remaining quiet while the other two were still getting excited over the ship. “Theo, you want to come up the front with Max, Tierra and I to the cockpit?”
“Sure dad.” Theo answered with a smile and joined his father as they entered the cockpit area.
Slightly wider than a cockpit found on a runabout, the forward compartment followed the curve of the yacht with consoles and chairs under the tilted windows. The usual configuration of stations was set up, with the helm and operations centre stage under the middle window. Stretching around to the left were tactical and mission ops. Running on the other side were engineering and a dedicated science station. The best thing though about the cockpit was the inclusion of a captain’s chair with integrated holographic computer access, allowing even just one person to fly the ship if need be.
“Here, take my chair.” McCallister offered this to his son before heading to the front to take the helm.
Hesitant at first, Theo sat down and felt how smooth the chair’s arms were and got himself comfortable.
Tierra had sat herself at the engineering station as she started to work on the modifications to the thrusters. Duncan on the other hand had sat at the operations console.
“How are we doing?” McCallister asked his small crew.
“Thrusters are almost ready sir.” Tierra announced.
Duncan was tapping away at his controls when he replied. “Unimatrix shielding is active, I’m bringing the immersion shielding program online as we speak.”
“Good,” McCallister said as he started to get himself familiar with his new ship. The holographic consoles were a lot more intuitive than those he had gotten used to on the Aquarius. “Max, we won’t be needing the warp core, channel power from the core into the deflector and then use it to reinforce our shields and structural integrity fields.”
“Aye sir.” Duncan replied.
“Thrusters are done, sir.” Tierra announced.
“Great job Tierra,” McCallister praised, just as Court entered the cockpit with Alfie and Henri.
“That’s not fair, why does Theo get to sit in the centre chair?” Henri moaned.
“Oh get over it Hen.” Alfie remarked as he took a seat at the science station.
Court took the chair at tactical, not that they would need the ship’s weapons array, but it was best to be prepared. They had encountered other unexpected surprises so far, who knows what else they would find down there. He looked at Henri and motioned for him to sit down next to him at the mission ops station.
“I think we’re ready to go.” McCallister said, after doing one more systems check. “Everyone sit tight and anchors away!”
Activating the seatbelts in the cabin, McCallister raised the Calypso up from where it was parked on the beach front and further up into the area. He did almost a loop-the-loop action and brought the ship back down, smashing into the seas below.
Northern Continent underground caves and tunnels,
Finding this ancient settlement had blown Reyas’ mind. Almost pulling everyone from her team to get started on scanning every centimeter of it had been her first task. Climbing down into what appeared to be some sort of trench had been easy for everyone. There was some natural light pouring down, along the route of the waterfall that was entering the cavern and leaving via a naturally created path to other parts of the underground tunnels. The view was breathtaking but the golden icons they had discovered were just as beautiful.
The settlement reminded the chief science officer of a tour that she had taken to Athens back on Earth. The design of the buildings reminded her of the Greek architecture she had seen, with the huge pillars and intricate sculptures woven into various patterns along walls. The use of gold was excessive though.
Leading her team around on what appeared to be a semi-stable rocky path, Reyas continued to scan as they went around. “This is marvellous.” She recounted to Hunsen, who was right behind her.
“Spectacular is what I call it.” He replied, also scanning the settlement. “Do you think whoever constructed all of this, did it purposely underground or it has somehow got pulled down here and eventually was buried?”
“Without taking detailed scans of the cave walls, I couldn’t be certain.” Reyas answered.
Speaking up from behind, Lieutenant Abbej revealed that Hunsen’s second idea was most likely. “Before we came down, I took a scan of the planet’s tectonic plates and we are almost three kilometers from the nearest one, I’d summarise that the planet may have undergone a number of quakes that may have pulled the settlement in and then over the years has been covered over.”
“We should inform Odyssey.” Hunsen suggested. “We may want further scans made of the area before we move anything.”
“You’re probably right.” Reyas agreed and tapped her combadge as they came to the steps of one of the buildings. It looked like one of the Greek temples she had seen before. Standing by the bottom step she called up to their ship while Hunsen and Abbej went forward to investigate the building. “Reyas to Odyssey.”
“Go ahead ma’am.” answered Lieutenant Tomaz.
“Tomaz, can you patch me through to the captain please? We’ve made an interesting discovery down here.” Reyas said.
“Unfortunately ma’am, the captain is unavailable. He is currently in the Calypso heading down into the seas to investigate something.” Tomaz announced.
The mention of the Calypso surprised Reyas and the fact her husband had stopped his camping trip with their sons to investigate something meant that it was worth a look. She hoped that he wasn’t putting their sons in danger though. “Did you say he is investigating within the seas?”
“Aye ma’am.” Tomaz replied. “The captain believes they’ve found evidence that a civilisation existed on the planet.”
Hearing that, she smirked. “Well I think we’ve beaten it to him.” She replied. “We’ve found a settlement within one of the caverns.”
“Seriously?” Tomaz said, sounding impressed at the news. “Ma’am, we’ve had a few others report in with similar unusual encounters. I didn’t think it was anything until the captain reported his findings and now yours.”
Placing her hands on her hips, Reyas asked the Barzan officer to share more as she motioned for Tremt to join her. “Can you give me examples, Tomaz. What have our people encountered?”
“Well for starters, Doctor Sylvexs reported that she believes her team have found that the large quantity of vegetation they’ve been surveying has actually been planted in a certain fashion that makes her believe they would be farmed at a later stage.” Tomaz shared. “However scans of the area indicate the vegetation has been overgrowing for sometime now and the land itself was rearranged to be susceptible to farming crops on it.”
“Go on.” Reyas insisted.
“Another interesting find came from Lieutenant Commanders Jen and Lenjir, where they found that accessing some of the valuable ore was easily done. Commander Jen is running further analysis but he believes the rock formations are not natural.” Tomaz reported.
Looking at Hunsen, Reyas wondered if they were placing themselves in danger with all of these finds. In the back of her mind she was wondering if something was about to go wrong. “What do you Tremt, shall we return to the ship, regroup and hold fire until we are able to answer some of these mysteries?”
Thinking her idea over carefully, Hunsen could see why she was giving it some serious consideration. “What appeared to be a natural planet on long range scans, to something that was enriched with multiple resources and now these discoveries, you might be right for us to play it carefully. It’s your call if the captain isn’t available.”
Reyas rubbed her forehead and spoke to Tomaz again. “Lieutenant, order all teams from the planet to return to the ship at once.”
“Yes ma’am, what about equipment and resources set up on the planet?” Tomaz enquired.
“Tell them to leave what they can’t carry back onto shuttles or for us to beam up. We may return.” Reyas indicated. “In the meantime, my team will return to the Telemachus and attempt to find the captain and his group.”
“Understood commander, I’ll send their last known coordinates to you.” Romaz replied.
“Thanks, any problems let me know. Reyas out.” She tapped her combadge and looked to the Betazoid chief engineer. “Something about this place just doesn’t sit right with me Tremt.”
“A calculated retreat, even temporary, wouldn’t be a bad thing.” Hunsen offered.
Before she had a chance to thank him for his support in her decision, Reyas was stopped by shouting coming from Abbej. “Guys, come here!” She was saying.
Rushing over, the two commanders found the assistant chief science officer scanning what appeared to be cave-like paintings on the wall of the temple. It showed a range of creatures, possibly the inhabitants working on the land, and high up was an icon that caught the attention of the Boslic woman. “Do you guys recognise that?” She said, pointing to it.
Encrusted with what could be something similar to emerald gems on top of a depiction of the planet’s sun with gold, was a symbol that McCallister had briefed the entire senior staff about several days ago. Both Hunsen and Reyas looked at each, surprised at the find.
“That looks like…” Hunsen said, taking a moment to check it with his tricorder.
Not giving the scanning device time to confirm, Reyas knew the symbol like the back of her hand. “The insignia for the Tkon Empire.”
“Didn’t Commodore Bennet order the captain to keep an eye out for Tkon memorabilia?” Hunsen questioned.
“He sure did.” Reyas said before tapping her combadge. “Reyas to the Odyssey, Tomaz, get me Commodore Bennet at once and patch him through to the Telemachus. Also take the ship to yellow alert, I want everyone back up sooner rather than later.”
“On it ma’am, is everything okay? Tomaz asked, sounding worried.
“You remember that side-order the captain briefed us about the other day?” Reyas said, knowing full well the Barzan would say yes, so she didn’t give him time to respond. “We’ve just found indications of the Tkon Empire influence on the planet. Can you have Hazard Teams Alpha and Beta along with Commanders Jen and Lenjir sent to my location at once.”
“Straight away ma’am. Anything else?” Tomaz wondered.
“We’ll set up transporter pattern enhancers so they can get down here quickly.” Reyas said. “Reyas out.”
“Tremt, take over here. I’m heading back to the Telemachus, but I want you to get those pattern enhancers set up and then once our teams arrive, have the site secure before we explore any more of it.” Reyas ordered as she started to head back out of the caves.
“Righto.” Hunsen answered as he started to do what she asked of him.
Calypso (Captain’s Yacht)
“Six hundred kilometres down, we’re almost to the bed of the sea.” Duncan announced. “Communication with the ship is failing.”
“Couldn’t we launch a buoy?” Court asked.
“Not at this depth chief,” Teirra answered. “The water pressure may crush it.”
“I’m detecting something ahead.” McCallister reported, as he slowed the ship down. “I need forward illumination.”
Tierra quickly complied with the captain’s request and the yacht’s forward lighting system came online. As the cockpit’s own illumination had been made a lot darker, the bright light increased the brightness within the cabin itself.
“Oh my god.” Duncan said that the revelation before them was somewhat surprising. “Is that a whole city before us?”
In front of the yacht was a huge broken settlement, one that appeared to spread far across the seabed. The structures all looked like something out of Earth’s ancient history with various pillars lying in awkward positions.
“Sure looks like it.” McCallister commented.
Scanning the structures in front of them, Court spoke up from the science station. “Sir, there’s a large quantity of gold, almost in the centre of the…settlement. It appears to be some sort of obelisk. It’s huge, I’m measuring it at least one kilometre tall and almost the same wide.”
“Let’s take a look.” McCallister insisted as he pushed the controls to fly the ship towards what Court had found.
Moving in and out of the ancient settlement, the Calypso soon arrived in the centre of it and the captain brought the ship to stand still, being stopped by what they saw.
Duncan spoke up first at the bombshell that just hit them. “Is that-”
“Yep.” McCallister was quick to answer his executive officer.
“And didn’t you say that Starfleet wanted us-” Duncan started again.
“Yep.” The captain repeated.
Before them, etched onto the obelisk, in green like gems, was the one symbol they didn’t expect to find at the bottom of this sea.
“That’s the Tkon Empire symbol.” Duncan said.
“It sure is.” McCallister confirmed, almost sounding as dumbfounded as Duncan did.
A billion questions raced into the captain’s mind, but knowing they might be in danger he quickly turned the yacht around and headed back up to the surface at high speed.
“Max the moment we are in radio contact, get me the Odyssey at once.” McCallister ordered. He needed to check the ship was okay before he made his next move.
What that next move would be, he didn’t quite know yet but knowing his history of what happened when the Enterprise-D first encountered the Tkon, he wasn’t prepared to find out if the planet they were on was one of their last remaining outposts and hoped that his ship wouldn’t be drained all of its power. There was no way he would risk everyone on the yacht so deep under water. Returning to the Odyssey was a safer place to start investigating this place. They could send down modified probes first.