Part of USS Cygnus: A Failure to Communicate

Preparing for the Hunt

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Spangler sat down with his coffee, taking a moment to loving take in the aroma of beverage that represented a probable chemical addiction. He stared at the liquid, watched as the steam escaped the mug in a delightful swirl. The meager additions of cream and sugar turning the turbid brown substance ever so slightly opaque. It almost brought a tear to his eye. Albert took a deep breath as he looked up, a truly content smile taking over his typically cynical expression. 

The moment of simple satisfaction remained, until he remembered that Lieutenant Lisald was sitting at the table with him. “Oh. Hey there.. fella.” Albert’s smile held as he spoke, embracing the caffeinated haze.

Lisald had watched the exchange between Spangler and his beverage with rapt fascination. “Would you two like to be alone? Seems to be quite the love affair,” he teased.

The expression on Albert’s face didn’t change, although he did blink a couple times. “I would, but.. this crystal thing ain’t gonna find itself.” Spangler sighed slightly, before lowering the coffee and picking up the PaDD on the table and handing it to the Bajoran. “I was looking over the Enterprise’s reports again. Found this; how they tracked it. We’re on the right path, I think.”

Lisald took the PaDD and tapped at it a few times, his brow deepening a few times as he went over it. “There is a lot of information in here, but what I am gathering,” he said, scrolling back through it again briefly to get to the part that he was most interested in, “Comes from a report completed by Lieutenant Commander Data,” he looked up in astonishment. “Wait, was that the android officer on that ship? Man, how wild would it be to have a Synth as an officer aboard the ship, huh?” The task at hand had been forgotten.

“I hope he was, name like ‘Data’. His father, Mr. Calculator, and his other father Doctor Math.” Albert responded with a raised eyebrow. “Sounds like a real fun guy to be around.”

Lisald snorted. “I wonder how it would be taking orders from a Synth. How do you suppose he got the rank of Lieutenant Commander? Seems pretty high up to me. Maybe it was honorary in some way?” He looked back down to the PaDD. “It says here he was Chief of Operations for the Enterprise. Same position I’m in.”

Spangler’s eyes narrowed, “He was clearly a better robo-person than you.” He mused, wondering if it wad too late to trade Lisald in for a Data, “Should work on that.”

Lisald stuck his tongue out at Spangler, his way of responding to the jab. Getting back to the task at hand, he looked back down at the PaDD. “So the Crystalline Entity expels waste matter, which is how the Enterprise tracked it last time Starfleet encountered it. My uncle back home hunts all the time for the prairie moomba, and has told me more than once that tracking its scat is a surefire way to hunt it and find out where it is. If it works for him, and it worked for the Enterprise, then it should work for us.” As the words slipped out of his mouth, he had another thought. “If you knew this already and have the information in front of you, how come you have not presented this to Commander Larsen or Captain Bane? What are you thinking?”

Neither of those suggestions had occurred to Spangler, honestly. When he found what they had been looking for his first and only thought was to show Lisald. It was a thinker to be sure; in part it was because he thought that his friend might be the only one who would listen, his own self doubts lingered, or maybe he was just excited to show the man what he found? Nevertheless, Albert tried to play it off with a shrug, “Peer review, of course. Don’t tell me leaving the lab has already made you forget the scientific method.”

Vaat snorted. “Not quite,” he said humorously. He looked back over it again, a bit more carefully, since he was doing a peer review. Now that Spangler was including him, his name would be all over it, and he wanted to make sure that everything was thought of as much as possible. “Well, lets see, we know we can follow crystal scat,” he looked up at Spangler. “There is a phrase I never thought I would utter. So yeah, we know we can follow that, but it says here the Enterprise, the Flagship of the Fleet and arguably the most advanced of the time, struggled to track it. I wonder if there is some other method we could use to find it,” he said, trailing off, hoping Spangler would see it with fresher eyes than his own.

“That’s a phrase I never thought I would hear.” Albert sighed, eyes narrowing slightly. He stared at the PaDD, trying to come up with something. It didn’t work. Spangler shrugged, and turned the device upside down. It still didn’t make more sense, but at least he knew why now. “Maybe we could bait it with something, leave a pile of crystal-munchies for it and.. a big ass net?”

Lisald side-eyed his friend. “Should we leave a trail of marijuana for it as well, with the munchies at the end? We could apply red and blue strobe lights on the dorsal saucer as the trap,” he said sarcastically. “I’m sure Commander Larsen would be all up for that.”

“Naaah.. How’s it supposed to light up in space? No oxygen.” Spangler moved his head back and forth, still considering the Scooby-Doo-iest of ideas. “You think we could attract it to us? I mean, we have an idea what to look for in a trail. Maybe we could get it to come to us, too?”

The Bajoran Chief of Operations looked at Spangler full on. “That seems rather dangerous. I mean, I am positive our shields can protect us, but why invite danger? What are you thinking?”

Spangler shrugged, his inner slacker speaking to him, “Any more dangerous than us looking for it?” He thought about it, and shrugged again after a brief pause. “I’d say 50/50 odds we’re all gonna end up as crystal-poop anyway, might as well make it find us.” 

Vaat smiled despite himself at the poop comment. No matter the race, and no matter how old they were, males across worlds always found poop or fart related comments humorous. Gathering himself, he said, “You aren’t wrong about that, I suppose. So what is this idea, and how far-fetched is it?”

The two worked well into the evening and night, working on the solution and working to get all the information in order and broken down to the simplest terms to give to Lieutenant Commander Larsen and Captain Bane. Neither of them were dumb men, of course, but still, better to err on the side of caution. The plan Ensign Spangler and Lieutenant Lisald came up with could go a long way to ensuring none of them were left un-alive.


Ensign Spangler, Egg-Head Extraordinaire

Lieutenant Lisald, less-of-an-Egg-Head Extraordinaire