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Part of USS Edinburgh: Mission 2 – Wings of a Phoenix and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

The Dark Side of the Moon

USS Edinburgh
June 18, 2400
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USS Edinburgh – The Castle (bridge)  – 2115

Harris sat in the center chair as Prentice guided them into the orbit of the moon, Pasari.  The way the governor had spoken about the thing had the CO thinking as he stared down the spinning satellite of rock.  He turned to face Ensign Fowler, who was filling in for her chief.  “What do you make of her, Ensign?”

Sadie gulped for like the fifth time in five minutes and ran her slightly shaking hands across the console, “It's reading a solid mass with little to no atmosphere.  Nothing unusual on the surface - the expected rocks, sand, and other debris that are found on most moons in the systems around us.”  She took a deep breath and turned to face her CO, nervousness shaking her voice, “I'll continue to scan, sir.”

Ambrose turned to face the moon on the scene and then slid back to face the science officer, “Good job on giving me the rundown, Ensign - steller reading of the results and the pieces of details that the system was able to quantify.”  He stood and walked over to sit at the station beside her, “Science is a game of understanding - taking the scans and details…and transforming them into a theory, thought, or hypothesis.”  He turned in his chair to face the console, “So, you said regular old readings, right?”  She gave a slow nod, wondering if she should be freaking out that her CO was sitting next to her.  Harris tapped at the console carefully and chuckled, “There's always more to the story, Ensign Fowler.  Take a look here”, and he ran the readings from the moon through the computer against other moon and planetary satellites in the database. A second later the computer kicked back with a result and he pointed out, “There - the readings are a near-exact copy of that moon a few systems over.”

The junior science officer frowned, her confusion apparent.  “Why would….that's not a coincidence, is it?”

“The infinite nature of space and the unique nature of each planet, moon, and asteroid suggests that such things are rarely possible.  In this case, I don't think those readings are right because someone copied the readings for us to read and then move on.  MInd you - I suspect the moon was doing its job before so a quick scan wouldn't have given anyone a reason to investigate.”  He turned to Fowler, “This time…”

Fowler nodded along, “Something's gone wrong with the moon…and we're not going to take the initial scan as an answer, are we?”

“We are not, Ensign.  We gotta find a way to cut through whatever is either shielding us from seeing the true picture….or stop the transmission of the moon mask, for lack of a better word.”  He tapped at the console and started a full scan of the system, “Track this scan…see what you can see as it processes.”  He stood and walked to the tactical station where Kondo stood, tapping away his console, “You have the look of a man as confused and concerned as I am.”

Kondo shrugged, “You see what I see - each scan returns the exact results - no change due to the position in space, or its distance from the sun - you would expect some variance in the surface scan results - but there is nothing to indicate anything down there that is in motion.”  Another tap of the console, “Add this to your list of odd, Commander - I attempt to lock on to anything…including the moon…my targeting sensors can't hold on the target - like the moon has oil on its floor and I cannot stay standing no matter how hard I try.”  A pause, “It is a rudimentary defense system and I am closing in on implementing a workaround…but taken with the issues science is having…this is an odd moon.”

Harris tapped his badge, “Haris to Dr. Court - report to the bridge, please.”  He returned his attention to his tactical chief, “Tell me I'm crazy - what if we powered our phasers down to the lowest possible level…and took a shot at the moon?”

De La Fontaine sat back in his chair, thinking through the commander's concept, “Even if I get the targeting sensors reworked, we're still going to be detecting the same thing…so taking a shot at whatever is around the moon might disrupt the field?”  His CO nodded as the FO, Lieutenant Commander Blanchefleur Courtemanche stepped through the turbolift doors and onto the bridge.  “You might be on the right track.  See,” he tapped at a sequence for the two officers to see, “no matter how high we boost our sensors, it's not breaking through.”  He turned back to Harris, “I had heard of methods of disrupting shields using various types of beams.”

The CO snapped his fingers and returned to the station by a concentrating Fowler.  He motioned his FO over and explained the situation, finishing with, “Mr. Kondo is correct - there are numerous types of energy beams that a starship can emit", the hands of the former Chief Engineer worked the console before it beeped and the result displayed, “We can use a small resonance burst to see if it'll knock whatever's covering our eyes off and give us a good idea of what that moon is.”

The FO and Chief Counselor had nodded along but stopped the CO before he returned to the center chair, “Commander…why am I here?”

Ambrose chuckled, “If we figure out what's down there, someone's going to have to go down there.  My chief engineering experience means I'm headed down…Mr. Kondo's on my list along with science officer Fowler." 

She gave an understanding nod, “You need someone with experience to take the CONN.  If I'm honest…I'd rather be here anyway.  Never much enjoyed away missions.”

The CO returned to his chair as the FO sat to his right, “Mr. Kondo, let's modulate the deflector to a low output resonance burst.  Fire when ready.”  A moment passed until the sight of a low-powered burst flew out to the moon, impacting upon a kind of shield….that held.

Fowler spoke up, “Sir, upon impact and disruption of…whatever that was - we detected power systems, an interior to the moon…then the shield closed up again.”

Harris signaled to Kondo, “Increase power of resonance by 15%.  Fire when ready.”  Another pause….and then the beam, a little brighter this time shot out and the shield seemed to hold…for but a moment before collapsing on itself.

The science officer gave a shout, “Ah!  My apologies sir - we've got full view…”, she tapped the console, and the developing reports built on the viewscreen as Fowler described, “There is a significant subterranean system of corridors…I'm reading an engineering section, what looks like the command and control section plus some rather strange…”, she frowned and tapped the console, “…the computer isn't sure what to make of this sir, and I'm not sure either.  We're going to have to get our hands on this to better understand.  As much as we can see, the sensors are still being obscured by lots of rock and assorted stuff getting in the way.”

Harris stood, “Very well.  Mr. Kondo, Ensign Fowler - you're with me.  Dr. Court - you have the CONN.”  She shifted to the center chair as the three officers entered the turbolift, the thrill of the unknown beating inside each of them.