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Part of USS Cygnus: A Failure to Communicate

Tracking the Prey

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Bane looked up from the PADD that Lisald had handed him. “You are sure about this, Lieutenant?” The information contained therein was surprising.

Lisald nodded, standing in front of the Captain in his Captain’s chair on the Bridge. To Lisald’s right, the Captain’s left, Lieutenant Commander Larsen sat, watching the exchange. “Yes sir, very sure. Ensign Spangler discovered a way to track the Crystalline Entity with my help, something the crew of the USS Enterprise hadn’t come up with almost 30 years ago.”

Bane looked over at Larsen, a moment of unsaid communication going between the two. The crew of the Flagship of the Federation were the cream of the crop. To say that a method had been devised that they had not come up with was certainly a big claim. “What is this new method,” Bane asked, looking back to the Lieutenant.

“Well, we know that it consumes a considerable amount of matter. As Mr. Spangler pointed out, physics is still physics, and the remnants of that matter that is not ingested by the Crystalline Entity has to go somewhere,” Lisald started, but was interrupted.

“You are talking about waste matter, aren’t you,” Bane said.

Lisald nodded. “Yes sir, I am. It has to poop, to put it in layman terms. The Enterprise was able to track it, though with great difficulty, by looking for those telltale signs. Ensign Spangler has already attuned our sensor pallets to look for that information. While it would get us in the vicinity, we didn’t feel comfortable leaving anything to chance.”

Bane waited for the Lieutenant to continue. When it was obvious he wouldn’t without prompting, Bane said in an annoyed tone, “And what did you two come up with already? Seriously, a whole planets worth of people are now gone, not to mention all of the lower life forms. All flora and fauna had been stripped away from this planet. The atmosphere is already beginning to thin, and within a year will not be able to sustain life. All the water will sublimate and it will be a dead rock in space. Literally billions of years of history wiped out in just a few hours, Lieutenant. We need to get moving if we are to prevent this from happening to another planet and its population, and in order to get moving, I need you to stop putting on theatrics and creating drama where there needs to not be any. Do I make myself clear, Lieutenant?” Bane wasn’t mad, but he was certainly frustrated with the events of the day, and with Lieutenant Lisald specifically. For all of his education and the glowing reports that Captain Stafford and Commander Pope had left in his dossier, Bane felt the officer was in well over his head and his performance was left wanting.

Lisald was on his heels. The tongue lashing that he had just gotten was the worst by far that he had ever gotten in his entire life. His heart was pounding from the shock. His tongue felt three sizes too big for his mouth. His palms got super sweaty and his vision was suddenly tunneled. The only thing he could see was the Captain, and he could not take his eyes off him. Vaat couldn’t speak or move. He had been cold-welded to the deck plates.  

“Any time you are ready, Lieutenant. We are at your leisure, it seems,” Bane said finally.

Clearing his head, Lisald stammered forward. “I-uh, that is, we…uh, Captain Spangler…I mean, Ensign Spangler and me…I…we can…uh,” he said, looking down at his hands, exhaling loudly, expecting to see the PADD that he was carrying, and realizing it wasn’t there, wondered where it was until he spied it in his Captain’s hands. He then remembered he had given it to Captain Bane to read and approve. He wish he had that PADD again, to help him focus his thoughts. “That is, we…you, can order us, the ship…uh, to travel in the direction of the, uh, Crystalline Entity went.”

Bane was seriously out of patience with this officer. “Yes, I know I can, Lieutenant. Thank you for clarifying that. Is that all?”

Lisald looked relieved. “Uh, yes sir,” he said. As soon as he knew he could leave, his brain finally caught back up to the here and now. “Wait, no sir. I meant to tell you that even though the Crystalline Entity has left droppings in its wake, it is still hard to track it, and we don’t want to put the ship in any undue risk, so Ensign Spangler and I thought if it ate all the matter on a planet, it stands to reason it would also do the same in space. While there isn’t a great deal of organic matter in space, we all know there is still some everywhere, and we can follow the absence of that matter right to where the Crystalline Entity is now. However, the trail will quickly dissipate, within a day, maybe a little more depending on solar winds and subspace currents. We have uploaded to the navigational computers the parameters to be able to follow it, and its ready to go on your command.”

Bane nodded. He felt a little better about Lieutenant Lisald, but he felt he still had a long way to go before he proved himself in Bane’s eyes. “Very good. Please return to your station.”

“Aye sir,” Lisald said, completely relieved to be able to escape the watchful eye of the Captain, at least for the time being.

Bane looked over to his Executive Officer. “Mr. Larsen, please set in a course that Lieutenant Lisald and Ensign Spangler gave us and engage at maximum warp. Let me know when we have come within sensor range of the Crystalline Entity. We will also need to ensure the entire crew is prepared for this, and all defensive and offensive capabilities are adequate to respond to any threat of the entity. I also want options. We know the Enterprise destroyed it last time Starfleet came in contact with it. I want that to be the last resort. You have the bridge. I’ll be in my Ready Room.

 

OFF

 

Lieutenant (junior grade) Lisald Vaat

Chief Operations Officer

&

Bane Plase, Captain

USS Cygnus, Commanding