Part of USS Aquarius: Unstable Weather

Catastrophe

Caldos
December 2399
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Tajir was inside a building assisting with the cleanup when he felt something odd beneath his feet, it could be the after-effects of the last earthquake though it was highly unlikely for the aftershock to take place hours after the first one happened. “Captain Derohl to Commander Hyden, what is the status of the next earthquake?” He asked as he stood there.

Hyden looked at his information and still had some doubt about the readings he had gathered “From all indications we should have about two hours, but my readings can’t be entirely accurate the system is messing with my sensors. It’s the best I can do though, Captain.”

“Understood, please keep an eye on it. It might be nothing but I just felt something strange beneath my feet a moment ago.” Tajir replied as he continued his work clearing out some broken items to make way for the repair crew.

Hyden looked at his equipment for any anomalous readings, but did not pick up anything “I see nothing to indicate that, Sir.”

After the comm channel ended he tapped it again, “Captain Derohl to Lieutenant Kyle.” He said before continuing, “how are the repairs coming?” He asked as he continued to work.

“We are finishing up right now,” Elizabeth responded over the comm. “We’re just doing some fine-tuning and calibration as we speak.  Give me about thirty minutes and the system will be operational.”

“Wonderful,” Tajir replied pausing for a moment. “Keep me updated,” Tajir replied before ending the comm channel and returning to assisting the others to clear out the main floor so the foundation could be supported after a few cracks were found. He felt the small vibration against his feet again though it was very faint he just associated it with the after-shock of the last one. 

Elsewhere, Aki set down one of the final metal beams from the rubble that had been blocking a walkway in an attempt to help clean up the area. Breathing a sigh of relief upon completion, she removed her outer tunic and used it to wipe a bead of sweat running down her forehead. It had been a while since she had done such manual labor.

“Next in line please.” She heard faintly in the distance.

Upon a more direct glance, she had seen one of the local women had set up a station to distribute food and water to temporarily displaced residents. There was a lengthy lineup, and since she had no immediate place to be, decided to approach the woman and offer to help.

“Hello. I see you’re a little overwhelmed here. Can I be of some assistance?”

Taking up a position next to the woman, Aki set her tunic down and began collecting some water canisters, handing one to the next person in line.

Elizabeth stared down at a diagnostic of the network that linked all of the stabilizers together. There was a persistent repeating pattern that she couldn’t account for,  nor explain its presence, but it didn’t seem to be interfering with the system.

“Toran, how’s the calibration of that last stabilizer?”

“I am just about done,” he said as he finished one thing before speaking. “There I have completed the final calibration on the last one,” he said.

“Toran, have you noticed this repeating signal pattern in the network?”

“I was wondering what that was, though I thought it would correct itself after the final calibration,” Toran replied standing there looking around.

“I’m going to isolate and remove it.  I’ll probably need your help to reinitialize the network afterward.” She entered commands and downloaded the signal into her tricorder memory banks and then disabled the device’s network capabilities.   “Computer isolate and identity signal pattern J-4571-B.”

Processing…” the computer replied.  “Unknown signal.”

“Remove signal and associated sensor data from the memory banks and restart network.”

“That procedure is not recommended.  There is a high probability of damage to Stabilizer Network.”

“Override authorization Kyle-41-Romeo-Papa.”

Signal deletion complete.  Re-initializing network.”

Bates tossed a padd on top of a pile of padds on the desk with a heavy exhale of defeat. He went over to the replicator and ordered himself a cup of coffee but the system tried to deny him after his tenth cup. Keyword. Tried. He entered his access code, with zero care of how many policies and regulations he may have violated and got himself the seventh cup of coffee.

Ensign Utsall stepped into the office and saw the mess on the desk. “Does the colony head of security know you’re making a mess, sir?”

Bates turned around in a full one-eighty by the heel of his foot to face and look at her. A little snappy. Maybe he should lay off the caffeine. “They allowed me to use the office to find the culprit. That is -IF- we find the culprit.” He slurped down the rest of his coffee, zero care of how hot it went down before he placed the cup down next to the other cups with an annoying clang sound of the two or three cups hitting each other.

The Ensign found herself a chair and plopped into it before she placed her feet on the desk. She let out a heavy sigh. “I have been diligently looking as hard as you have, sir. Followed every lead. Cross references every information and data we received. Nothing seems to come even remotely close.”

Bates nodded his head as he leaned his rear up against the edge of the desk, folded his arms against his chest. “Never met a Klingon who could make themselves so relaxed despite how irritating and stressful this is.”

“A couple of years of counseling at the Academy would do that, sir.” She told him. “But I am still Klingon and I still have urges.” She stared hard at him.

Bates closed his eyes and began to rub the bridge of his nose. “I can’t report to the Captain with nothing to go on.”

The comm chirped and the Chief Engineer’s voice came from the other end, “Kyle to Lieutenant Bates.  I’m beaming my tricorder to you now.” As if on cue the hum of a transporter beam deposited a tricorder on the desk in front of him. “I isolated a repeating signal from the stabilizer control network.  I haven’t had a chance to analyze it, but it should not be in the network.  I wouldn’t download that into a computer before first taking precautions.   It may be nothing more than a control program or it could be something more nefarious.”

Bates heard his name and then saw the tricorder in mention. He listened to the rest of what she said before tapping his badge to reply. “Copy that. We will look into it. Bates out.” He tapped his badge again to close his link. He then picked up the tricorder and handed it to the Ensign. “Have the signal analyzed, If you use any of the consoles here, put them in safe mode, disconnect from the main network and simulate that network, I want to see what that signal does if it were part of it,” The Ensign acknowledged and from there, Bates waited.

“Kyle to Captain Derohl. The Tectonic-stabilizers are now online. I have reason to believe the control network has been compromised and will remain here to monitor the system.”

“Aye,” Tajir replied as the comm channel ended he was still inside the building when the ground began to violently shake. “What the hell?” He said as the stabilizers should have stopped the earthquake from happening. He tried to contact Kyle to find out what was happening but before he could tap his combadge a part of the building fell on top of him. 

Macomb and Natashia had just cleared out the hospital when everything started to shake around them, “get to the shelter!” Macomb replied trying to get everyone to the basement shelter until the earthquake was over. Once everyone was in the shelter, the earthquake had stopped not before major damage was done through the hospital still stood. Once it was safe they emerged from the shelter to begin to assess the situation, he tapped his commbadge, “Macomb to Captain Derohl, what happened?” Macomb replied over the comm but got no response, “Captain?” he said again still no response. Tapping it again, “Commander Makoto, what is going on? The captain isn’t answering his combadge,” Macomb replied.

After picking herself up off the ground after the earthquake had stopped, looking over to the building that Tajir was in and realized it had collapsed. Getting confirmation that the stabilizers were online she wondered what had gone wrong as it should have stopped this from happening. “I will need medical here quickly, the Captain is trapped,” Makoto replied over the comm channel.

“On our way,” Macomb replied as he got a team together and headed for the location where the Captain was located. The hospital was in one piece thankfully, it seemed to have been built to withstand a lot. 

The moment Bates and his staff in the room felt the ground start to shake violently, he ordered everyone under the desks for cover. Their side of the building partially collapsed, the security room in which they utilized now had a large hole to the world, and half the room’s floor was gone. Luckily for Bates, he was under a desk on the side of the room where the floor had not collapsed. So when the earthquake ended, he first pushed some rubble away that was not weighted down and pulled himself out. “Report!” He shouted.

“I’m okay!” Said Ensign Utsall.

Bates heard one more voice but that was it. There were at least five people in this room, him, the Ensign, and three crewmembers. Bates slowly but carefully checked over the edge of what flooring remained and saw the rubble below. There he could see a leg and an arm, about ten feet apart. The other two crewmen that he had with him. “Damnit.” He cursed under his breath before collecting the saliva and dust in his mouth to spit it out onto the floor. “Ensign, crewman. Return to the ship immediately. And Utsall. Find out what the hell that signal is and who made it!” He snapped his finger at her and pointed up, which indicated that he wanted her to do it now. He was not happy. The Ensign nodded her head and then the two were transported out of the room.

Bates stared down at the rubble below him as he tried to remember what floor they were on before the earthquake hit. While he was still in the thought of which floor, instinctively he tapped his comm badge. “Lieutenant Bates here. Colony’s security center has suffered major damage. Far as I know, two Starfleet crewmembers have died. End of report.” He lowered his hand back down by his side, now both hands clenching into fists and unclenching, rinse and repeat…over and over again. He hoped to find the person responsible for this and make them pay.

Elizabeth picked herself up off the floor and her fingers danced over the console.   “What the hell?” She demanded from nobody in particular.  “The system should have stopped this.   Toran, do you have anything?”

“I am not getting anything on my end sir, but it could have been that signal that you picked up,” Toran replied looking at her after picking himself up off the ground. “Though it does seem that it did its work as this was supposed to be much worse than what it was,” Toran added.

Hyden got up from the ground “What just happened.” he said audibly looking around seeing the building nearby looking pretty damaged. He looked at the information for the stabilizers no indications of an earthquake were present. He scowled looking at the two officers by him “Anybody wants to explain how we missed this?” The officers looked at him and immediately began looking to see if they could discover the issue. Calum couldn’t believe such an event occurred and he missed reporting it