For the first time in a long time, Karyn Reyas was meeting with everyone from the science department. The last time she recalled having everyone in the same room was shortly after the ship had launched over thirteen years ago. Sat before her were the best and the brightest that Starfleet had to offer the Odyssey. She knew them all, most of them served with her from the Triton while the rest had come from the last ship named Odyssey and a few had joined the ship since its launch in 2386.
Deciding to assemble everyone in the dedicated holodeck assigned to the science department, which was a huge room itself without holographic features enabled, the commander had set up the holoprogram to show a simple briefing layout room which allowed the different sub-departments to gather together. At the front of the room she would chair the meeting and a holographic recording of the meeting was being broadcasted to the cetacean ops. This meeting was required to ensure that the whole science department were clear on their objectives for the upcoming mission.
“Good morning everyone,” Reyas said as she took her seat and picked up her mug of raktajino and the PADD with the meeting’s agenda on it. “This is the first time since our launch that I have gathered you altogether and the days ahead will require our entire department working closely together. As you all know, the captain plans to take the ship into a region of space known as the Belt of the Tkon Outreach. However this belt is built on numerous anomalies and the records we retrieved from Outré indicate that its inhabitants believed the Tkon kept an outpost at the centre of it, hence its name. It’s our job to ensure we have all of the information at hand to assist with dealing with what this belt will throw at us. Everyone will be involved in reviewing the data we retrieved from Outré, so let’s begin handing out sub-department priorities.”
Reyas looked down at her notes on her PADD and started the process of informing everyone what area they would be working on. The Belt of the Tkon Outreach would not outsmart them and they would be prepared for what awaited them. Whatever it took.
With a mug of Tarkalean tea in one hand and his chin resting in the palm of the other, Lieutenant Flemen was slowly sipping on the hot beverage while reading everything that Starfleet had on the Tkon. He sat in the ship’s library after deciding that the escape to the large room, which contained lanes of consoles and books surrounding its edges, would give him the space to think and study. The captain had made it his priority to revise everything he already knew about the Tkon and review all of the latest information that Starfleet had recently discovered. He was grateful that he was not the only one assigned to the job. Sat opposite him was Lieutenant Tomaz, who was also deeply reading the records. The Barzan strategic operations officer was also drinking the same beverage as he was, Flemen had suggested it to him.
Blinking several times, Tomaz looked away from his holographic screen and at Flemen to give out a slight moan. “Craigen, you never mentioned how many different ages there were of the Tkon. This stuff is going to take me ages.”
Chuckling slightly at the remarks coming from Tomaz, “I thought you were concentrating on their technology?” He asked aloud, still focusing on his reading of the recent discoveries in the Alpha Quadrant.
“I am, but they’ve all been categorised by their era.” Tomaz complained further. “I’m trying to see what we have on their technology on being able to move planets and stars, to see if there’s anything we can use there as a form of defence or perhaps even help us journey through that belt but I keep getting referred to the Age of Xora.”
Looking over to his colleague, Flemen smiled as he knew why. “That’s probably because Federation archaeologists have theorised that during the Age of Xora the technology they used to move their planets and stars was what may have caused their central sun to go nova.”
“Sort of an overuse of their technology?” Tomaz assumed.
Nodding to confirm, Flemen explained further that it was one theory. “Try changing your search parameters and perhaps focus on the technology their portals have. When they disabled the Enterprise-D, the technology to defend against it was never explored further for sometime. It might be worth seeing if anyone had any luck with it, you may want to include the Ferengi history database as well.”
“Ferengi?” Tomaz questioned.
Flemen gave another nod. “Yeah, the Ferengi were there as well.”
“Thanks.” Tomaz responded as he got back to his work. Focussing on his work, the Barzan spoke up. “So Craigen, how are you enjoying being on the senior staff now?”
Smirking at the question, the Lumerian answered while still taking notes. “I thought it was a bit of a culture shock, but it’s not as bad as now that I’ve had some time to get used to it.”
“Is it true you used to lead your hazard team on your last ship?” Tomaz questioned next.
“I did.” Flemen responded. “Why?”
“Just curious why you never applied for any of the ones on Odyssey.” Tomaz stated.
“Odyssey already had team leaders and the diplomatic department was the largest one I’ve ever served in before. I wanted to focus on that before considering any other position.” Flemen then looked over his screen. “Anyway, now I’m a senior officer joining the hazard team is off the table for me.”
Laughing at that point, Tomaz agreed with it. “Do you miss it?”
“The training perhaps, but not the actual missions.” Flemen said.
“To many unknowns?” Tomaz questioned.
“Yep, just like this mission and it gives me a headache just thinking about it.” Flemen commented. “So we best get back to our reading-”
“Or there’ll still be too many unknowns.” Tomaz interjected with. “Don’t worry Craigen, we’ll have all of the information read and understood before teatime.”
Finishing his mug, Flemen held it up. “Talking of which, I could do with another. How about you?”
Rubbing his eyes, the Barzan nodded in agreement. “Please.” He said handing his mug over and going back to his reading.
The two of them knew this was going to take them a long time.
Enjoying a good medical problem always kept Doctor Slyvexs on her toes, especially when it involved other practices too. She was fortunate enough recently to support the science department with their discovery of the hologram known as the Farmer and now she stood in main engineering with Lieutenant Commander Jen and Commander Hunsen. The three of them had been tasked in working on how to protect the crew and ship from the various dangers that lay ahead of them.
“The thermobaric clouds don’t worry me, as long as the intake manifolds don’t overheat.” Hunsen remarked as they went through each barrier one at a time. “Lukiz, you’ll need to ensure that T’Rani and the whole flight control department know they can’t expect anything more than one half impulse.”
“Understood.” Jen said as he took a note on his PADD. “That said, I know T’Rani is working with Naef later today to plot a course to avoid the thickest areas of the region. She noticed some subspace eddies, so she was saying she would like an early warning system setup for them.”
“Doc, are you worried about the clouds?” Hunsen asked Slyvexs, who was sitting on one of the small stools around the main engineering command console, also referred to as the engineering pool table.
Looking up from her PADD, she shook her head. “No, radiation levels are low enough that the shields will protect the crew.”
“It’s the same for the plasma field that follows,” Jen stated. “Again nothing too significant to worry about besides intense plasma storms. We may want to look at how we reinforce the structural integrity field and improve the inertial dampeners.”
“Good idea.” Hunsen remarked.
“I’d have my staff on standby to assist with any space sickness then.” Slyvexs stated. “The radioactive Mutara class nebula concerns me.”
“It’s not quite like the Swallow Nebula, but I agree with the doctor that we need to do something or the crew will end up with radiation burns or worse.” Jen said.
“From these long range scans, the nebula would appear to have massive amounts of subnucleonic radiation, even with adjusting our shields and the use of some inoculations, it wouldn’t be long until the crew suffers.” Slyvexs remarked.
“What’s the best course of treatment?” Hunsen said.
Shaking her head again, Slyvexs explained there wasn’t. “Entering stasis is the only treatment.”
“Stasis?” Jen questioned the doctor. “That seems extreme.”
“Stasis chambers can prevent the organic matter from being so badly affected from radiation exposure.” Slyvexs.
“I’m not sure the captain would be happy to hear we need to place us all on stasis.” Hunsen stated. He looked down at the map they had of the nebula. “I mean we would only be out for two days as the ship went through at full impulse, but who would be left to run the ship?”
“I suppose the Emergency Holograms would have to do it.” Jen suggested. “Can we not just fly around the nebula?”
Slyvexs shook her head, “I’m no pilot but it would take weeks, if not months to get around.”
“Let’s put that problem to one side for now.” Hunsen said. “Doc, do you mind taking a look to see if there’s alternatives.”
“I can but I’m certain what I’ll find is exactly what I’ve shared.” She replied, not sounding convinced she will find an alternative.
“The dense region of subspace vacuoles should be easy to get through, but we may want to send a probe ahead of us to map it out. A better picture would aid us, especially with auto-navigation.” Hunsen said. “Then we need to deal with the type-four singularity.”
“Is that just a prettier way of saying a black hole?” Slyvexs asked.
“Sort of.” Jen remarked. “I’ll speak with temporal and quantum mechanics to see if they could adjust the chroniton integrator in the main deflector to filter out any temporal distortions, we don’t want our sensors picking up any time-delayed reflections.”
“Good idea, while you’re at it, let’s run a level-one diagnostic on the multidimensional wave-function analysis module. I’m sure the captain would appreciate an early warning system with the singularity as well.” Hunsen suggested.
Jen nodded in agreement while Slyvexs just looked at both men, almost speechless at the techno-babble they just spoke. “How do you guys remember all of that?” She asked, almost in awe.
“The same way you remember the difference between each organ and how each one is different in a range of species, doc.” Jen answered.
She chuckled at his quick response. “I still want to see what’s on the planet, if we find it. Any chance the probe we send ahead could send us those scans back?”
Hunsen appreciated the doctor’s initiative, especially with her eagerness to always learn something from other departments. “I’m afraid not.” He said, automatically sensing her disappointment before she slumped her shoulders. “We’d be lucky if it survives the vacuoles, let alone the singularity.”
“Well I feel sorry for that probe.” Slyvexs said, almost deadpanned as she looked back at her PADD. “So besides everything else almost ripping the ship apart, we only have one barrier that could kill the crew.”
“Indeed we do.” Jen said.
“Let me head to sickbay to see if I can get some other ideas then gentlemen.” Slyvexs said as she politely left their company, she wasn’t too keen on suggesting to the captain they went into stasis, so she was eager to find another idea. Sleeping in one of those coffins was not appealing to her.
“A beacon?” repeated Commander Duncan.
“We know it sounds almost far-fetched but Starfleet has already found a number of them in the Alpha, Beta and Gamma Quadrants. From what they’ve discovered the network itself does spread this far and the network would seem to suggest where you’re heading one of the beacons is there too.” spoke the holographic representation of Commodore Bennet.
Working in the captain’s ready room, Commander Duncan had joined Captain McCallister to begin fine tuning their game plan for the Belt of the Tkon Outreach when the call from the commodore had come in.
McCallister was sitting behind his desk while Duncan was perched on the edge of the sofa. Captain McCallister had sent all of their data on Outré to the USS Discovery the evening before and the news that they were heading to the outreach to see if there was anything there. Bennet had called and informed him of what Starfleet had ordered almost every ship in the fleet to do. It would appear Odyssey was now part of that large collective response.
“Is there anything else you can share, sir?” McCallister asked his superior.
“Negative, besides the fact that a former directive is still in place.” Bennet stated. It was obvious he was being careful in what he said with Duncan in the room. “If this Tkon Outreach is in fact a Tkon outpost with a beacon, then I want the Odyssey to investigate it and do whatever it takes to repair it. The more beacons we sort out the more we can bring this crisis to an end.”
Duncan shot a confused look at McCallister, it was obvious in reference to the ‘former directive’ the commodore mentioned. McCallister ignored the look as he acknowledged the orders from Bennet and the two of them exchanged one last lot of pleasantries before the channel was closed.
“I take it the directive he mentioned is the one I can’t know about but was the one that Bexa resigned over?” Duncan inquired.
Sighing heavily, McCallister nodded his head. “Please don’t push the issue on it Max.”
“I won’t.” Duncan said with assurance. “Shall I let the crew know we’ve got new orders?”
“Yes please.” McCallister said, “I’ll start work on reading through what the commodore sent over about these beacons and how we are meant to repair them.”
“Just another day in the delightful Delta Quadrant.” Duncan said as he got up and left the ready room to get their day started properly.