Lisald looked around, surprised at how many people were on the bridge. Even during red alert, there were not this many people aboard, and certainly not standing in the open area behind the command seats, behind Tactical and in front of Science Station 1, his old station. They were all standing roughly in an elongated circle, oval-like, he amended, to conform to the space available. He took note of everyone that was here. To his immediate left stood Ravi Winters, his new friend he had met last night at the bar. To her left stood Lieutenant Anderson, the Chief Engineer who had been gracious enough with her time to teach Lisald some advanced Engineering principles to help him better with his position on the ship. To her left stood Lieutenant James Carson, the Assistant Chief Tactical Officer. Beside him was Lieutenant Gore, the Chief Tactical Officer, formidable and deadly looking, but Lisald knew him to be quite soft and gentle. Still, he didn’t ever want to get in an arm-wrestling match with the guy. To Gore’s left stood Dr. Elodin, which was directly across from Lisald. Dr. Kin’Fuji stood next to Doctor Elodin, her tails swishing back and forth behind her. To her left stood Ensign Andy Robinson, Vaat’s Assistant Chief of Operations. To her left was Ensign Spangler, arguably Vaat’s best friend on the ship, and somehow also his nemesis. Spangler now held the job that Vaat should have never left. He was good at his job, no doubt, but the sciences is were Lisald’s true passion lay. To his left, the Counselor of the ship, someone Vaat had yet to really talk to yet, in any manner, was Ensign Ally Scott. To her left, and to Vaat’s right, rounding out the mass of people crammed on the bridge and not manning stations was the Executive Officer himself, Lieutenant Commander Erik Larsen. The only senior officer not in the circle was Captain Bane. He was watching over the ship at his seat just in front and below them. Every single one of them standing here had an identical PaDD with identical information on it, ready to be reviewed and discussed.
Vaat snuck a peek at the viewscreen and chills when up his spine, causing goosebumps to jump to life on his skin. The Crystalline Entity was ahead of them by a fair distance, apparently either out of its sight range, or out of its line-of-sight. Either way, Lisald was glad for that. Without having a full on consensus of what to do with the Entity, if it turned on them suddenly, it would force their hand. As a scientist, Lisald wanted to study it in detail in its natural environment. As a Starfleet Officer, he had a duty to protect all life, no matter the form or size. As Chief of Operations, he had to be ready to supply the power to nurture the creature, or destroy it if it posed a serious threat to the Cygnus.
The audience was becoming a bit of a distraction; Spangler didn’t need any more reason to feel uncomfortable on the bridge without feeling somehow cramped in the spacious room. Despite this, he was more than occupied keeping every possible scanner array going continuously, and filtering through the flood of information. The amount of data they were receiving about the entity was near overwhelming. The scientist inside him was giddy over the thought of spending the forseeable future going over everything they had; while the the rest of him tempered the excitement with the thought of becoming crystal-poop.
Elodin glanced at the data PaDD in his hands before clearing his throat and speaking up. “We’ve been unable to come up with a way to prevent biological matter from being consumed by the Entity,” he said. “The process occurs at a submolecular level, very much like that of a transporter beam. There’s no medication that we can administer that would prevent it.”
He looked at Lisald. “The first line of defense should be to turn the thing away from inhabited planets. Based on data we’ve seen from the Enterprise, it seems the Entity is averse to compressed graviton emissions. What about a network of satellites in orbit that would send out those emissions if the creature gets too close to an inhabited planet?”
Lisald looked first to the Executive Officer standing next to him, then to Spangler before answering. “I think that could probably be done. We would have to have Commander Larsen or Captain Bane reach out to Starfleet, then to the Cardassian Union to get permission to cross into their space and deploy the satellite network around their planet. That is,” he said, looking again to Spangler, “If Spangler and Lieutenant Anderson can construct that many satellites in time to get them all deployed before the Entity reached its destination. However, doing a bit of quick math in my head, it would take roughly a week to get all of that set up and deployed. At present speed, the Entity will reach that planet long before that.
Kin’Fuji remained in the back of the pack. She saw the creature on the screen as they where following it. She was unable to study any of the files upon this creature, because they where spotty at best. This creature was also beyond her understanding and specialties.
Lisald saw the young medical officer looking to the screen and back to the PaDD in her…paw? hand? “Do you have a question or maybe an idea, Doctor? We’d love to hear it,” he said, reassuringly. After several moments of pregnant silence, Lisald continued, knowing full-well how embarrassing it could be to have the spotlight trained directly on you, and wanted to relieve the Doctor of that terrible feeling. “Ok, what about diverting it,” he asked of anyone standing around. He briefly wondered what Scientific, Engineering or Medical methods that could be used to guide, or force it, into another direction out into open space. Lisald again longed for his days in the Science Department, where he could concentrate on the science instead of the coordinating of all the departments. “Doctor Elodin has a point,” he said, actually pointing at the Chief Medical Officer, “About the compressed graviton emissions. Could we get that together in time before it crosses into populated space?”
For several minutes, the group stood around, wondering to themselves in silence. Everyone was out of ideas. In the 30 plus years that the Federation was aware of the Crystalline Entity, little had been able to be done with the study of the creature. When the Enterprise destroyed it all those decades ago, pieces of the creature were picked up and analyzed. It was discovered, much to the dismay of literally everyone involved that without it being studied alive, little could be gained, as the ‘dead’ pieces were nothing more than hunks of crystal that anyone could find on almost all bodies in space larger than a class III comet, including most planets. Without further research, being able to come up with the precise amplitude to move this particular beast would take a great deal more time than they had, it seemed.
Captain Bane chose this moment to approach the group. “Any headway,” he asked the group, his eyes scanning the officers assembled.
After a moment of silence more, Lisald spoke up. “No sir. We have been trying, but we are making little headway. We do not believe we can raise the proper defenses at the Cardassian system. The technical and manufacturing demands are too great for the amount of time we have. Doctor Elodin brought up a great point about using a compressed graviton emission, but without greater study, we aren’t sure what amplitude to use to be able to deflect it out into open space. We could guess, but it could push it into Federation space, or a more densely populated area of space, or could hurt it. We just don’t know.”
The Captain nodded. “I see. What about communicating with it? I seem to recall the Enterprise having some small measure of luck with that.”
The officers assembled looked around at each other. Lisald spoke again after a silent agreement between them all. “I think we could work on that,” he said, again looking to both Spangler and Anderson. “We might be able to get something together using the information from the Enterprise before it crosses into Cardassian space.
Bane nodded. “Alright. You guys have your marching orders. We do not have much time left, so lets get to it.”
A mass JP by, well, everyone.