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Part of USS Cygnus: A Failure to Communicate

Defining the Problem

Bridge, USS Cygnus
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The doors to the turbolift opened, spilling Ensign Albert Spangler onto the Bridge. Out of the corner of his eye, Bane saw it happen. He also noted that the Chief Science Officer had seemed to be in a hurry, but Bane being so new to the ship, he guessed it was the way Ensign Spangler walked when getting to the Bridge. Then came the muttering from the back of the bridge at Science Station 1 that really got Bane’s attention. “Triple crap,” said the Ensign.

Turning around in his chair, Bane asked, “A problem, Mr. Spangler?” It was a fair question, given the spilling onto the bridge, the hurried walk to his station, and then the mutterings.

Hearing his name snapped him back to attention, bringing the room into focus. He still hoped maybe there was a different Spangler he didn’t know about. Probably not. “Sir.. Well.” Albert began, honestly unsure how to answer that question. “We’ve completed initial high resolution scans of the target area.” 

The Science Chief began arranging the data in way more appealing to the eye, before transferring the visual representation of the area of space they would be investigating onto the viewscreen for all to see. “This.. Is where we area headed.” He tapped out a few commands, bringing on a detailed overlay which was essentially the same as the previous image, “This is from the lifeform analysis cluster; shows density of life forms on terrestrial bodies.” 

Plase looked at the display for several moments, trying to make heads or tails of it. He was not a scientist by training, but an Engineer and Security Officer. “Seems to me nothing changed. What does this mean,” he asked for clarification.

“Well, that is.. essentially correct.” Albert was hoping the Captain would make the conclusion on his own, simply to avoid having to be the one to explain. He continued, “Simply put; our scans, found.. nothing, Sir. At all. The advanced civilization or civilizations we were expecting.. are not home. Or.. non-existant.” 

Bane thought for a moment. It wasn’t like the Federation to have incorrect data. He knew from experience it would be detected, detected again, then detected with multiple instruments from many different angles long before they would send a ship out this way. In addition to that, the Cardassians had given them, albeit limited, intelligence for a race, or races, out this way. “Could they be using some sort of cloak or masking technology to hid themselves?” As the words came out of his mouth, he knew that wouldn’t be the case either. “Oh, there is nothing,” he said, fully getting it for the first time. “I do not see any flora or fauna readings at all. Is that what I’m seeing, Ensign?”

Spangler modified the display slightly, with a couple planets only somewhat changing in appearance. “Limited potential here..” He shifted the view to said locations, “but I wouldn’t hold out much hope for flower picking.”

Damn, Bane thought. He was so pumped up about meeting a new race and learning about them. So was the crew. “Alright, thank you, Mr. Spangler. Please keep scanning the planet and the system. If there is anything at all that points in the way of life, any life at this point,” he amended, “Please let me know.” He turned to helm. “Mr. Chx, when we are close enough to the system, drop us out of warp, head for that planet and get us in orbit.”

OFF:

A post of sound and fury signifying nothing, by yours truly;

Bane Plase, Captain, USS Cygnus, Commanding

Ensign Albert Spangler, Acting Chief Science Officer, USS Cygnus