Two days later…
Lieutenant Commander Erin Hayden stared down at the computer translation that the computer had returned. It was utter nonsense, and she sighed. “Okay that didn’t work.”
Shrin stood and crossed the science lab to stand next to the blonde woman that headed the operations department. “‘The window runs high at night’? Yeah, that’s nonsensical.”
Erin sighed and pushed an errant stand hair behind her left ear, “Okay let’s do this. I have one more translation matrix to try.” She entered the commands into the computer and the computer beeped and started running the data through the system.
“Well ladies,” Ensign Arthur Talon announced with a grin. The massive navigator barely fit behind the console, and even with the looseness of his uniform tunic the bulging arm muscles could be clearly made out. “Your theory was correct. It is a star chart. Specifically a celestrial navigation map for Earth.”
“Earth?” Shrin asked surprised. “Are you sure?”
“Uh… yeah I am. I’m the navigator here.”
“Could it be coincidence?” Erin suggested speculativly.
“It’s possible I guess,” Arthur said with a shrug, “but highly unlikely.”
He brought up the scans device they had found on the planet. The science teams had all decided that the glowing face was intended to be in the “top” position since the opposite face was blank, and was presumably the bottom. All other faces on the device were covered in markings. Either the unknown script or the graphical depictions of stellar constellations.
“This here is Orion,” Arthur said, “and those are Casiopia, Scorpio, the Big Dipper, and that has to be Polaris and the Little Dipper.”
“Okay there’s a tie to Earth,” Erin thought for a moment. “Perhaps there’s a language tie-in as well. Computer, access ancient Earth languages and cross reference them to the symbols on the device.”
The computer beeped, “Working… There are three partial matches. It is a Brythonic Language similar in structure and syntax to ancient Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Irish Gaelic.”
“Can your run a translation subroutine?” Erin asked excitedly.
“Working…” There was a pause as the computer ran the information through the database. “Translation complete.”
Shin’s fingers danced over the terminal and brought up a holographic representation of the device with the carved characters translated into Federation Standard. As the words rotated slowly, her eyes widened in surprise.
“Beyond the gateway in Avalon, reigns Aurthur, King of the Britons and his Knights of the Round Table. With Merlin’s staff a lightning of time bridges the distance between time and space.”
“What does that mean?” Erin asked. “They could have been more specific.”
“Maybe not,” Shrin replied. “Think of it. I don’t think this was intended for an advanced people. They probably thought a transporter was a magical time machine. Think about it. You can move from one place to another instantly. So a trip that might take months on foot is done in a couple of seconds.”
“So this thing is a sophisticated transporter?” Ensign Talon asked suspiciously. “Smallest transporter system I have ever seen, but the low level gamma radiation could be a small nuclear power source. What about the staff?”
“Which would seem like magic in it’s own right, and the staff is probably the control mechanism.”
“Well, it looks like we’re fresh out of staffs,” Talon replied.
“”Yeah, there wasn’t one in the dig. Mostly religious artifacts. Stone statues and the like,” Shrin replied.
Erin looked up from her console breaking her train of thought, “The message said ‘lightning of time’ what if it isn’t a transporter beam? What if it wasn’t a beam at all, but a particle stream of tachyons. These people would have no concept of subatomic particles.”
“No…” Shrin replied thinking. “That seems like a stretch,”
“There’s one way to find out,” Erin said with a grin as she crossed the lab and picked up the unknown device and headed out of the lab.
The others followed her out into the corridor and down the passageway to the turbolift to deck 19. Lieutenant Marcus Washington looked up from his engineering panel as the trio walked into main engineering.
“Commander,” Washington greeted. “What can I do for you?”
Erin approached with a smile on her face, “Hey Mark. You think you can generate a tachyon pulse?”
“Well, yeah. It will take a couple of hours to make the modifications to the main deflector,” Washington replied, confusion etched into the brow of his face.
“Not out there, in here, and directed at this.” She held up the artifact to the engineer.
He stared at it for a moment and then realization creeped in and a grin spread across his dark face. “That’s the mystery artifact isn’t it?”
“The one and only.”
“Yeah, let’s see what we can do. Set it on the master situation table. Gail get me a micro emitter array and force beam generator.”
“You building a model deflector array?” An ensign asked from the other side of engineering.
“That’s exactly what we’re doing.”