“Well, if it wasn’t us, then who?” Gabrielle asked, not to anyone specific, just the universe in general, hoping that some omnipresent entity would suddenly bestow upon her the answer to her question.
Before her on the assembled monitors was an absolutely dizzying array of information regarding the storm bearing down on the Port Arthur system, the system itself, Atlantis’ emissions – essentially anything that could possibly be responsible for a sudden shift in the storm. Their last data burst from Starfleet before comms got washed out by the storm’s interference had hinted at chroniton and tachyon radiation concerns, but these hadn’t been noticed at all so here. Thank goodness for little miracles.
Because of that, she’d even included those readings into her puzzle, which hadn’t helped at all. Nothing at all made any sense.
“Definitely wasn’t us,” Ensign Krek said as they set a padd down on Garielle’s desk next to her abandoned and now cold coffee. “Engineering confirmed at no point has our warp field ever done something like this,” they indicated the acceleration curve of the storm. “Only used it once since being here and never with this pre-shock event.”
“Thought as such,” Gabrielle said, her tone not entirely unsurprised. She reached forward and closed down a few of the windows on her monitors, expanding others to now take up the valuable screen real estate. “Thanks, Goresh.”
The tellarite’s huff of acknowledgement was a marked improvement over previous interactions, something they’d been working on apparently since earning the nickname Starkiller amongst the crew. Then without warning and completely violating the sacred rule of ‘don’t touch the boss’ desk’, picked up her coffee cup, sniffed it once, then huffed again. “You need stronger coffee,” and with that departed for the replicator, Gabrielle staring at the back of her junior for a moment before returning to her puzzle with a shake of her head.
An instant later, or five minutes, maybe a few days, the cup was returned. Steaming hot and richly smelling, it was also much larger than the cup Goresh had taken away. “Try,” came the demand, though for a tellarite maybe that was polite asking? She really needed to look things up. Or talk with an expert in tellarite culture. The coffee was very rich as well full of sugar to the point of just about being too sweet. Bitterness and sweetness combated each other as she swallowed. “What in the sweet merciful name of coffee is this?”
“Go-juice 6,” Goresh replied. “From the Antimatter Café near the Academy.”
“Go-juice? That horrible over-caffeinated, over-sugared stuff they blended and brewed for cadets?” She experimentally sniffed at it, took another sip to confirm it was indeed what she thought. “Goresh, I appreciate the thought, really, but I’m not a cadet anymore and I don’t pull all-nighters.”
“Yes, you do,” they replied matter of fact. “Have you considered looking at historical events that might fit this double bump pattern?” Then with an out-reached hand grabbed the back of a vacant chair and dragged it over to sit next to Gabrielle. No asking, just doing, the tellarite way it seemed.
“Well then, the question is how far back do we want to go. At impulse speed from Stormlea to where the storm sped up would be, a few months?” She shrugged, then jammed in a query to the computer to pull up more records. “And we can eliminate emissions or ships that were travelling in the opposite direction,” followed by another command to exclude some results.
“Not a lot of traffic here is there?” Goresh spoke up.
“Not a lot of traffic from here going into the Paulson Nebula,” she corrected, having excluded most of the rest in the last filter. “In fact, none in the last three months.” She then applied the time and directional filters to all the other data she had and was instantly met with a ‘processing’ dialogue box. “Let’s let that run and get a proper coffee Ensign.”
With the Go-juice appropriately consigned back to the reclamation systems and no doubt artfully redeployed as the superior coffee she had been drinking before, and another cup that was now being sampled begrudgingly by Goresh, Gabrielle took the chance for a walk around the lab. A chance to stretch legs, just check on her staff and more importantly take a look out the window that this lab was lucky enough to have.
A benefit of a smaller vessel with such a large surface area compared to internal volume is more workspace had windows than some other ships might have. Which right now afforded her the chance to watch the sunset over Brisbane, the gas giant that Highcroft orbited. Of course, Highcroft would only experience total darkness for a few hours before emerging from the umbra on the other side, but still, it afforded a pretty view, including the large prominence being ejected from the star made visible as the disk of the star was blotted from view.
“Huh…” she said out loud, punctuated with a sip of coffee. Rich Colombian blend, a single spoonful of sugar and a dollop of cream. Sunset and the coffee both seemed to have done wonders for her brain though as she suddenly had a thought.
Her rush back to her workstation wasn’t slowed by the slosh of coffee onto her hand and the sleeve of her uniform, or the spill on her front either, the cup hitting the table with a loud clatter. “Computer, display all CME activity for Port Arthur for the last six months, class X and above, heading in the direction of the Paulson Nebula.”
The dutiful chirp that followed was accompanied by a new window on her screens, the information she’d dutifully asked for. “Goresh, W’a’le’ki, over here,” she called out, hands pinching at some of the information on the screen and finding what she had been looking for this whole time.
“Knew it wasn’t us,” Goresh commented when they arrived and saw the data.
“Thatssss a very large CCCCME Lieutenant,” W’a’le’ki hissed. “XXXX37.” One truly has to experience a hissing whistle to truly appreciate it. “With an XXXX12 precccceeding it. Thissss would have caussssed conssssiderable magnetic dissssruption.”
“To the entire star system. The local bubble, solar wind, the heliopause,” Gabrielle continued. “I want you two to model the disruptions these two flares would have had on the greater magnetic environment on the system and then model how an ion storm months later coming along would interact with them.”
Head nods, acknowledgements all around and they both left her to carry out their assigned task. She hadn’t meant to then hover over them, asking for updates, but clearly had ended up as Goresh and reminded her she had assigned them the work and to let them. They knew time was of the essence, which is why when they finally did return a result, it sent her running straight for the bridge, padd in hand.
“Captain, we’ve got a problem,” she burst out from the turbolift. “Stormlea is in bigger danger then we thought.”