Using the holographic communication device to speak with Commodore Bennet and his wife allowed McCallister the opportunity to go over their discoveries on Outré.
The holographic version of Bennet was of him standing in his ready room as he attempted to multi-task by listening to the Odyssey crew and while also reviewing a range of reports. The life of a commodore mused McCallister.
Bennet spoke up, “At the moment your find on the planet isn’t the only one we’ve encountered in the Delta Quadrant. A couple of other ships have found Tkon influences on other worlds. That said, Starfleet is keen to find out as much as possible. What’s your thoughts on the planet James?”
As he stood in the centre of the Calypso’s informal reception room, McCallister leant against the handrail that went around the inner circle. With Commander Duncan at his side, McCallister had been able to join the call that his wife had made shortly after they had ascended to a safe distance to get a signal out.
“Our best bet is to run further scans before we remove the artefacts and limit our surveying of the planet to two teams at the moment.” James suggested.
“I’d agree with that.” Reyas said in support. Her holographic representation of her standing on the bridge of the Telemachus almost made it feel like she was right there in the room with them. If it hadn’t been for slight transparency of her image, McCallsiter may not have known the difference. Being this close to the ship allowed for such strong reception. She continued with her recommendation. “We know the Tkon had the power to move entire planets, star systems, so it’s hard not to believe they didn’t have the power to make worlds the way they wanted them. We should start from the Tkon symbols we’ve found.”
Bennet looked at McCallister, “Any sign of anything unusual from the planet?” he asked, inferring about omega molecules without saying it outright in front of Duncan and Reyas.
Shaking his head in answer, McCallister explained that nothing out of the norm had appeared. “We can run further scans to be sure.”
“Very well, keep me informed of your progress. Bennet out.” The commodore proceeded to close the channel from his end.
Looking at his wife, McCallister informed her that they’ll be another ten minutes or so before they resurfaced. “Max and I will return to the ship to assess the situation, carry on with your investigation of the ruins.”
“Understood. Are the boys okay?” She asked, eager to know if her husband was returning with the same set of moody teenagers he had left with or if he had made some progress with them.
Smirking at her question, McCallister told her that matters were improving. “Do you need anyone else to help you with the ruins?”
“No, Tremt and I have most of what we need and once Cline and Lukiz arrive with the hazard teams then we should be secure.” Reyas informed him.
“Sir, can I make a suggestion?” Duncan offered from where he was standing.
Turning to his first officer, McCallister nodded.
“Lieutenant Flemen is a somewhat pro when it comes to ancient civilisations, I recall he did a thesis on the Tkon while he was working on his masters in archaeology, it might be worth he beamed down to the site as well.” Duncan proposed.
Scratching his beard, McCallister considered the idea. “If he is our Tkon expert, then I think I may want to keep him on the ship to assist with getting to know our underwater city.” He appreciated the idea, but moving all of their senior staff to the ruins may cause more problems. He turned to Karyn, “Commander, once the Hazard teams have helped secure the site then I want Lieutenant Commanders Lenjir and Jen to return to the ship.”
Understanding his thoughts, Reyas agreed and then closed the channel so she could get on with her work.
Turning to his first officer, McCallister ordered Duncan to inform the Odyssey to have Flemen start to review the scans they had taken of the underwater city. “I want Craigen to review that obelisk, I’d like to know what it’s for and if we could remove it safely.”
“Very good sir.” Duncan answered, somewhat frustrated that his early idea wasn’t taken up. Nevertheless he could understand the captain’s thinking. Placing all of their eggs in one basket was not a good idea, especially on an alien world like Outré.
USS Odyssey NCC-80000
Sitting in the centre chair of the bridge, Lieutenant Tomaz was reading the latest progress of the away teams returning to the ship. To his left side he could hear Lieutenant Flemen getting frustrated at his task. Getting up to see if he could assist in any way, Tomaz walked over. “Craigen, are you okay?” He asked the ship’s new chief diplomatic officer and contact specialist. Stepping around the command pit and up the slight ramp, he stood just behind the man who wore a red command uniform.
Looking up from the mission ops console he was working from, the Lumerian sighed heavily first in response. “These scans are somewhat incomplete.” Flemen complained with a frown. His distinguished markings on the top of his forehead appeared all crumpled in his annoyed expression. “The computer is finding it hard to compare the Tkon structure that the captain found with anything that’s in the ship’s archeological database.” Scratching his almost curly blonde hair, the diplomatic officer turned back to his work. “Sorry if I was being too loud in my frustrations.”
Smirking at Flemen’s response, Tomaz leaned against the back of his chair and considered a solution. “What if we launched one of our multi-spatial probes, it’s shielding and hull composition should withstand the pressure of the ocean, like the Calypso?” He offered in between taking breaths from his respirators.
“It would help, I wanted to get some ideas thrown together before the captain docked with us.” Flemen answered. “The Federation has engaged in numerous digs about the Tkon back in the Alpha Quadrant, so there should be something of some resemblance to what he has found.”
Tomaz told Flemen to leave it with him while he gave out the orders. The Barzan understood how much Flemen wanted to impress the captain. This was his first big assignment since being made chief diplomatic officer and contact specialist only days ago. Wanting to help his kindred spirit, especially as he found himself feeling the same level of anxiety since he was left in command, Tomaz issued the orders for a probe to be prepped and ready for launch. Walking over to the security and tactical station that arched around the center pit, he ordered Lieutenant Keli to prep the probe for launch. The Coridianite nodded in acknowledgement and loaded the ship’s forward torpedo tube with its scientific ordnance.
“Probe is ready sir.” She announced.
“By all means launch.” Tomaz said. “Have its sensor telemetry sent straight to Lieutenant Flemen’s station.”
Several minutes later and the aft turbolift doors to port opened, allowing Doctor Slyvexs and Lieutenant Commander T’Rani to step out. Tomaz, who was still standing at the tactical station discussing their mission with Lieutenant Keli, turned around to see his superiors and automatically he knew that his time in the captain’s chair was now coming to an end. “Welcome back.” He said with a slight smile.
The Denobulan woman with her Vulcan companion made their way over to the Strategic Operations Officer. As the ranking officer, Doctor Slyvexs had the authority to assume command. “How’s it going on up here, Tomaz?” She asked with sincerity. “Is the captain back yet?”
“He’s on his way up now.” Tomaz answered, “Besides coordinating getting our people to return home, nothing else exciting is happening. Did you want to assume command ma’am?”
About to shake her head, Slyvexs was interrupted with Flemen crying out loud in joy. The three senior officers were interested to see what had got the man so excited so all walked over to the mission ops station.
“Good news, I hope?” Tomaz asked Flemen.
“Very good news.” Flemen replied, he continued to tap away at the console he had been working on. “The obelisk the captain found, we’ve had dealings with something similar before.”
“By ‘we’, I assume you mean the collective termin inferring to the Federation?” T’Rani questioned, she was certain the Odyssey since its launch in 2386 had never engaged in a mission that included anything related to the Tkon Empire.
“Indeed.” Flemen said. He brought up the scans of the obelisk on Outré and then one on a planet in the Alpha Quadrant. They looked almost identical. “Archaeologists, historians and cultural anthropologists over the years have unearthed this symbol before on dig sites that do not correspond to any known Tkon worlds. Instead they are ones which they have theorised have been influenced by the Tkon and had their own culture, their own history, their own civilisation.”
“Fascinating.” T’Rani said in amazement.
“An old professor of mine once theorised that these monoliths are either the Tkon’s leaving cards or they are some sort of monument that is worshiped by the race that created it.” Flemen stated. “She always believed it was the former, as most of them were designed in the same fashion. Other colleagues stated that she may have been right or it was a mixture of the two. But the dimensions are almost exactly the same.”
“So can we confirm that this planet has been visited by the Tkon?” Tomaz asked.
Looking over his left shoulder, Flemen nodded once. “I believe so, but the reason why is unclear.”
Considering the evidence before them for a second, Slyvexs turned to the pilot and started to postulate an idea that was forming in her mind. “T’Rani, logically speaking we know the Tkon were pretty powerful and based on what we discovered in that valley, it makes me start to think that this planet was made for its inhabitants. The fact it is the only planet in a cluster that is capable of sustaining life, it makes me wonder if they purposely either built or changed this planet for a reason.”
“An interesting concept doctor.” T’Rani said. “But there are still so many factors to investigate to rule either in favour or against your assumption.”
“A DNA analysis of the crops we brought back may reveal if certain segments of their DNA have been hyper-stimulated or resequenced so they can be adapted to survive on the planet.” Slyvexs remarked.
“That would most certainly determine if the planet’s organic matter has been artificially created or not.” T’Rani replied.
Looking at Tomaz, the doctor told him she was heading down to the biology lab and would be leaning on the scientists there to assist her. After she left, the Barzan man looked at T’Rani. “What are your orders ma’am?”
“Resume command Mister Tomaz, I’m heading down to the shuttlebays. I am certain that we will need them to remove the obelisk so I wish to ensure they are properly refueled and refitted for such deep underwater missions.” T’Rani commanded as she too left the bridge.
Smirking at the fact he still had the bridge, even for a short while more, Tomaz headed back into the command pit and sat in the captain’s chair.
Northern Continent underground caves and tunnels, Outré
Returning to the dig site, Reyas used the Telemachus’s transporter to beam back to it once it was confirmed the transporter enhancers had been set up. Fizzling in a spray of white speckled light, Reyas materialised at the entrance of the cavern.
Walking over to where Hunsen was with Abbej, she had been impressed at how quickly the site was secured by the Hazard team. “Anything else?” She asked the two of them.
Turning around to face the El-Aurian science officer, Hunsen nodded. “We think we know what this building is.” He said, pointing at the temple-like structure. “We think it’s a library of some sort.”
“How come?” Reyas questioned, impressed that he would make such a bold statement.
“Watch this.” Hunsen instructed as he pushed one of the symbols on the side of the wall and a brick underneath it popped out slowly. Dust appeared before it settled to reveal a hidden compartment. Within it sat a small talisman like object. Picking it out, the small turquoise object was smaller than in his palm as he passed it towards Reyas. “We accidently came across the fact that each of these symbols represent something in this culture’s record keeping, so when we pressed them they showed these. If you scan it you’ll find it’s a sophisticated computer storage device. Similar to our own isolinear chips.”
“Can we access what’s on them?” Reyas asked.
Shaking his head as he walked back over to where Abbej was standing. “Not here, but with Lukiz’s help, I reckon we can open them with help from the Odyssey’s computer.” He pointed to the Tkon symbol they found earlier. “But when Abbej pressed the Tkon symbol, this happened.” He nodded to the Boslic to do it.
The wall that the Tkon symbol was etched on to started to shake and tremble as it separated out. Within a few seconds it opened to reveal a hidden chamber. Behind it, hanging from the wall were more talisman like objects like the one that Hunsen had just handed Reyas. Before she had a chance to walk in the chamber wall started to close on itself and Hunsen placed a hand on her arm to hold her back.
“The wall only remains open for less than six seconds and it has alloys in it that are preventing us from getting a perfect scan when it’s closed, so I wouldn’t want to risk the transporters.” Hunsen explained. “Plus we don’t know what other traps could be in the chamber once the wall closes. The system also resets and takes another minute or so before we can press the symbol again.”
“That’s frustrating as hell.” Reyas stated as she crossed her arms. “Do we have any options on how to by-pass the automatic lock?”
“I’m working on it but the technology performing this trick is not simple to get around.” He offered her his tricord and showed the scans he had already taken. “It’s a particle synthesizer.”
“That’s pretty impressive technology.” Reyas said as she looked up from the scans. “Surely there’s a power source we can block or interfere with.”
Abbey stepped forward, “Oh there is.” She shared. “But it’s feeding energy off from the core of the planet. It’s geo-thermal.”
“So it’s endless. We need to disrupt it somehow.” Reyas stated.
“That trick is going to need a bit more thinking and I could do with bringing down more of my engineering people down here.” Hunsen offered.
Reyas understood where he was coming from, so she moved away from the group and tapped her combadge, “Reyas to the Calypso.”
“Go ahead Karyn.” replied her husband over the intercom.
Taking a breath, she hoped that James would grant her request. “I know you’re not going to be a big fan of me asking this, but we’ve uncovered what we believe is a treasure trove of artefacts related to the Tkon. Tremt believes they are computer storage devices, however we can’t access them as they are in a hidden chamber being created by a sophisticated particle synthesizer. Trent is asking for an engineering team to beam down to join us, can I call it in please?”
“Absolutely, but keep the team to a minimum.” McCallister answered. “I’m just in the process of docking the ship now, let me know if you need any further equipment.”
“Thank you captain.” Reyas replied and closed the channel with another tap of her combadge. She turned back to the group. “Help is on the way.”
“We could start to send some of the other computer devices up to the Odyssey to be decrypted and translated. We may find something else about them.” Abbej suggested. “Perhaps some clues, maybe start to work out what a lot of these symbols mean.”
Agreeing with the course of action, Reyas ordered her deputy to start to pick which ones to send up to begin the process. A headache started to form and she just hoped that they would be able to resolve some of these mysteries sooner rather than unearthing more. It was getting on her nerves; they were finding more questions than answers.