“Commander Duncan, can we borrow you for a moment, please?” Jen asked from where he was standing by the engineering station.
Walking from one side of the bridge to the other, Duncan made his way over to the small collection of senior staff. Sitting in front of Jen was Hunsen, while Banfield was seated at the console. The first officer asked, “What do you have?
Hunsen pulled up a few sensor scans and schematics. “We think we’ve got a solution to break through the trinimbic interference.” He explained.
“We’ve also got a possible working theory as to why it’s there as well,” added Banfield.
“Do tell more,” Duncan insisted. They knew that the sciences and technical side of things were not always his strong point; he did value their contributions and expertise (even Banfield’s).
Hunsen gestured for Banfield to start first. “Our scans of the planet indicate that it’s undergoing a severe global shift in its climate,” She tapped a button, and a sensor image appeared before them. “This sudden change has only happened recently and has been strong enough to overwhelm the weather control systems that the Odyssey installed several years ago. Hence the current down our that is happening around the settlement.”
Intrigued by that idea, Duncan stepped forward to study the scans on display further. “What’s caused the sudden change?”
Another tap on her console, and another image appeared. “I believe the planet has moved closer to the gas giant it orbits.”
“Moved?” Duncan repeated, sounding quite astonished at such a procedure happening.
“Indeed,” Banfield said as she pointed at her console. “Before we landed, I conducted several scans of the surrounding space. From my analysis, I am certain that someone has moved the planet only by a few degrees through the manipulation of subspace through a cluster of micro singularities.” Noticing the first officer was happy for her to carry on, she showed more sensor readings. “The scanners picked up traces of what I can best describe as an imprint on subspace made by many micro singularities. They were positioned close to the orbital path Vorash takes as it orbits its gas giant. They had just enough of an influence to disrupt the gravitational pull that would alter the planet’s position. By becoming closer to the gas giant, which has huge amounts of trinimbic interference, it’s been enough to make significant rapid changes to the planet’s climate. I’m also detecting the changes have impacted the planet itself; I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve not had to endure a few earthquakes too.”
Accepting what she said, Duncan moved to look at his operations officer and chief engineer for further ideas. “So, what’s the solution to break through the interference?”
“The weather control systems would need to be upgraded and modified and within a few days should be able to clear up most of the interference,” Jen answered. “Our scans show the entire network is down; we’ve already got teams ready to go to help with repairs.”
Hunsen proceeded with what he wanted to show the commander. “Max, in the meantime, we have a workaround solution.” He pressed a button on his console, and a holographic display showed the planet and several dots around it. “We establish a series of hyper-subspace communication relays around Vorash. It’s the only thing strong enough to break through the interference.”
“Hyper subspace technology has advanced a lot in the past twenty years; we’ve got a few spare relays in storage from our time in the Delta Quadrant. While we’re not exploring and down here, they would be best placed in service to help us.” Jen added. “We could even launch them into orbit using our torpedo launchers.”
“I’m not too keen on keeping advanced Federation technology for the Romulans to look at,” Duncan said hesitantly.
“We dropped hyper-subspace comm relays throughout the Delta Quadrant all the time for any other civilisation to encounter; what’s different about this?” Banfield challenged Duncan. “If it makes you more comfortable, sir, we could easily collect them before we depart.”
“That assures me a bit,” Duncan replied dryly, not appreciating Banfield’s way of making it sound like he wasn’t prepared to take risks while in command. He considered the idea for a moment and then nodded to all three. “Get on with the work.”
As the three officers returned to their work, Duncan got called over by Court to show him something he was monitoring at one of the mission ops stations. “Max, look at this.” He said as he activated the holographic display to show more information coming from the ship’s sensor array. “Two of our Argo jeeps are on their way back.”
Intrigued to see what was happening, Duncan told Cour to open a channel. After the whistle sound played, indicating the channel was open, he spoke up. “Odyssey to Argo Jeeps Beta and Gamma, come in.”
“Go ahead, Commander Duncan,” answered Doctor Slyvexs. “Sorry for not calling ahead, but this storm isn’t the prettiest.”
“Not a problem, doctor,” Duncan replied as he crossed his arms against his chest. “What’s your latest? Where’s the captain?”
“He’s with the Qowat Milat with Craigen and Tomaz while Cline has taken Hazard Team Alpha to begin saving some trapped miners. We’ll need to deploy a lot of people to help them out, commander.” Slyvexs reported. “These storms and several quakes have savagely hit the settlement.”
Glancing over to where Jen, Hunsen and Banfield had just showed him their work, Duncan saw them working at great speed to put their ideas into practice. “Yes, we’re aware of what’s happened. How can we help them?”
“We’re going to need several rescue and damage control teams prepped and ready,” Slyvexs explained. “The settlers aren’t keen on our help, but we need to turn things around quickly for them.”
“Understood, doctor; upon your return, come and brief me with what you know so we can start sending teams out,” Duncan ordered.
“Aye, sir. We’ll be home shortly, Slyvexs out.”
The channel closed, and Court looked at his partner. He could see that Duncan was comprehending everything in his mind, trying to work out what’s the best foot forward with their attempts to help the inhabitants of Vorash. “You okay, Max?” He asked in a low whisper so no one else around could hear.
Duncan paused his pondering and flashed a smile at Court. “Fine, thanks.” He nodded.
The proximity alarm went off, and T’Rani reported an incoming vessel heading through the atmosphere. “From the size, shape and configuration, I believe the design is of Ferengi origin.” The Vulcan pilot added.
Wanting to sulk, Duncan shot an expression to Court that said it all. He had hoped that the captain would be around to deal with this next part of the mission. It was one element he wasn’t keen about at all. Quietly cursing, the first officer returned to the central point of the bridge in front of the captain’s chair. Ordering for a channel to be opened, he was confronted with the face of the Ferengi businesswoman within a few seconds on the main viewscreen. She had invested a lot into Vorash and several other worlds that had required outside support during the mass evacuation of the Romulan homeworlds.
“Grand DaiMon Deliaros, it’s been a long time,” Duncan said pleasantly and diplomatically.
“It’s been too long, sweetie,” She replied in a flirty tone with a toothy grin before sipping on what Duncan guessed was an alcoholic beverage. Deliaros always appeared to have some sort of drink either in her hand or within an arm’s reach. Her pose remained strong, almost regal in nature. She was a rich, successful businesswoman and the way she carried herself was evident. “And I see you’re still as handsome as ever, Max.”
Deliaros looked like any other Ferengi woman; small earlobes with elegant jewellery hanging from one ear to the next, a strong layer of make-up (especially eye shadow) while wearing a very tight fitted, brightly coloured outfit. Her entire ensemble appeared to have extra jewels and beads dangling from several sections. She was seated in her command chair, although it almost looked like a throne made of pure gold latinum (again, jewels were placed around it in some intricate pattern).
Feeling everyone staring at him, especially Court from behind, Duncan continued with his diplomatic effort. “I assume you’re preparing to land your ship?”
“Indeed, we’ll pull alongside the Odyssey; I’d be interested to know if you’ve found anything about my missing ships,” Deliaros stated before taking a sip of her drink. “Maybe we can discuss the situation over a Klingon martini?”
“I appreciate the offer Deliaros, but we may have to hold off sharing a drink as we’re preparing teams to help the settlement. Perhaps you’d like to work with us on it?” Duncan asked her.
“Getting to work beside you again is like a dream come true, honey. I’ll join you shortly to discuss what has happened so far.” She then closed the channel.
“Well, Max, at least we know her passion for you hasn’t gone anywhere,” Hunsen commented with a smirk.
Squinting a look at the chief engineer and his friend for such a remark, Duncan turned to look at Court, who had a similar expression plastered across his face. “You definitely need to get Slyvexs to give you some anti-intoxicant.” He said with his boyish grin.
Sighing at the lack of support from his colleagues and boyfriend, Duncan ignored them as he issued more ideas to prepare for the arrival of the Ferengi delegation.