Powell’s people were already exploring the rest of the facility, and Eden and her team stepped to the console. “This doesn’t look like one of the beacons connected to Horizon,” Ral said softly.
“No. It doesn’t,” Eden whispered. “What can we do as far as translation?”
Ral was already scanning the console, frowning at her tricorder. “It’s going to take some time to get everything, or even enough to really interact with it. But… this looks to be some form of archive. Backup files from across the Tkon Empire.”
“Nothing glorious,” Eden whispered. “But a treasure nonetheless, and one that might help us understand Horizon. Keep working.”
You did so well. Eden’s mother’s voice rose in Eden’s mind as she moved to the next person. Her hands shook, her eyes were wide, but the warmth of her mother’s feelings in her heart helped calm her. Helped her center herself.
I can’t talk. Eden couldn’t keep the worry out of her answer. Not being able to talk usually went badly for her…
You’re doing well. You don’t need to talk. Rest a few moments.
Yes, Mother. Eden fell against the wall, sat back against it and let her eyes close. Forced out the sounds of the station around her, her father’s mounting urgency in Ops, the fear of the crew, the hate of whatever it was outside. Focused on herself and her mother. Took a sip of water from her canteen. Resting.
Good. When this is done…
There was a scream, and Eden’s soul ripped away from her, the calm gone from her heart, replaced with a moment of raw terror and regret and a pain she could never have imagined. A future gone. Never seeing her daughter grow…
Then emptiness. Emptiness in Eden’s mind and heart where her mother had been. She kept hearing the scream, and it would be a long time before she recognized that the voice screaming was her own.
“Commander? Commander!” Ral’s voice rose in pitch, in volume, and Eden looked up from where she sat, resting against the wall of the archive chamber while the tricorder and the Cestians did their work.
“Yes, Lieutenant?” Eden pushed herself to her feet, banishing the memories. Pushing the empty pain that still lingered when she remembered that terrible moment aside, filled its place with work and focus and purpose.
It probably wasn’t the healthiest coping mechanism, but it would do.
“We have more of the translation,” Ral said. “I don’t know how much data is stored here… it’s huge, and will probably take decades to sort all of. But the primary databank is a record of stellar movements.”
“An astronomic record?” Luvrodo blinked. “We keep those on every starship in the quadrant…”
“No.” Eden breathed. An entire bin of trouble. “The Tkon Empire’s focus wasn’t on recording the movement of the stars. The Tkon moved the stars… took entire systems from one place to another. You’re saying the archive records where the Tkon moved star systems to and from?”
Ral nodded. “There’s hundreds of detailed records about it, Commander. Hundreds of star systems, recorded to miniscule detail, the reasons and times of their movements marked.”
“We’ll need to inform Starfleet,” Eden said. “There could be implications to this they’ll need to be ready for.”
“I’ll contact the ship,” Luvrodo said. “Have them get in touch with Earth.”
“Not Earth,” Eden said. “Starbase Bravo. The people I want to have hear about this first will be there.” She looked to Powell. “Any sign of a beacon?”
“None at all,” Powell said. “Racks and racks of computer storage far more advanced than anything I’ve ever seen. Personal artifacts that will inform our understanding of the way the Tkon lived and our world’s place in the galaxy’s history for generations to come.” He smiled. “No beacon, though, and a relief that is. This archive will probably bring more than enough attention.”
“We’re going to get back to our ship soon, then,” Eden said. “Thank you again, Mr. Powell.”