Part of USS Mercy: Mission 1 – “Life as a House”

Challenge accepted

USS Mercy - Communications Center
0730 11 Aug 2400
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0730  – 11 Aug 2400

USS Mercy – Communications Control Center

Lieutenant S’Atilen made sure that the com channel was closed as he turned towards the communications center, small as it was. “ Ok ladies and gents, you heard the Lieutenant. We have one hour to come up with an answer that those blue shirts are overlooking. This is a communication signal so it’s right in our wheelhouse. Let’s start with the basics, shall we? Chief Oakland, let’s hear the signal.”

The signal played over the room’s internal speakers. “Lieutenant, from what I can tell and see looking at the signal there does not seem to be a start and stop to the signal, it’s just a continuous signal.”

S’Atilen’s ears twitched and twisted as he tried to pick up on any particular sounds, though it just sounded like a jumbled mess of static and meaningless sounds. “Anyone getting anything out of this?” Heads shook as he looked around the room. “Ok, next step. Petty officer V’lonvaa put the visual of the signal up on the central table please.”

 A holographic image showing the signal floated above the central table. “Sir, let me adjust for anything that the relay stations or the ship might have added to increase or improve the signal.” As she made these adjustments the visual changed slightly as did the sound, mostly dealing with the strength of the signal. “Ok, that’s a bit closer to what the actual signal should look like.” 

“Sir, how about removing any noise that is on the same bandwidth that the signal might be picking up? That is not part of the actual signal.” A cadet sheepishly asked as they shyly stood by one of the crew. “That’s a good idea. Go ahead and make those adjustments cadet.” They watched as the holo cleared up a little bit, and there was a bit less noise on the speakers. 

“Ok, so let’s put our thinking caps on folks. What are we looking at and hearing? Let’s start with what we know.”

“Well sir, we know there is no starting point or ending point from what we can tell, it just runs.”

A note appeared on a panel of the table as S’Atilen typed something in. “Chief, pull up the signal visual that science put in their report.” Another holo appears as the two holos are now over each side of the table, port, and starboard, with the note panel in the center. 

Petty Officer V’lonvaa walked over and looked at the science holo. “Well, science says it’s layered with five to six layers, which I could agree with from a science perspective. Ensign Ekabaab Th’iviakron doesn’t that seem a bit much to you if we factored in the technology of the time period that this base is from.”

The Andorian ensign walked up and stood beside the Vulcan petty officer. “Chief, switch the science holo to their layered signal report.” The holo changed to show five rows each with a different signal. “Hmmm, this.” He pointed at the science breakdown. “This may be ok if this was a data stream, but as we all can hear. This signal is not a data stream, it’s a communications signal. Now, we just have to figure out what we are hearing.” He cleared the science side of the table. “Let’s focus on the signal as we hear and see it.”

S’Atilen stood in front of the center table. “Ok, let’s take a few minutes and see what we can come up with. Several smaller groups with different ears and eyes may find something that someone else misses. Yell out if you find something, anything, so we can all discuss the idea.”

Several minutes later.

“Lieutenant S’Atilen, I think we have figured out a piece. The signal is layered sir, just not the way that the science department thought.” A small group of two cadets and a Petty Officer Third class stepped towards the central table. “Sir, the cadets had an idea that I think makes sense.” The petty officer slightly pushed one of the cadets forward. “This started with your idea, cadet, so take the credit and brief the department.” 

The cadet took a deep breath and walked forward to the center table. “Sirs, my first thought was if this was a base that was “dead” for nearly 200 years then it would make sense that part of a message would be a way to guide ships to it. So I did a quick historical search and I saw that many bases during the 22nd and 23rd centuries used a navigation/ homing beacon or signal. If you were in range and heading towards it you picked up the signal on a certain frequency as you got closer it got stronger. If you deviated off of the path too far you would lose the signal till you got back on the right path. With the help of my fellow cadets and Petty Officer we were able to find a certain signal that according to our research follows the make-up of one of these signals.” 

The cadet started to type and made some adjustments on the table’s central console. A signal started to separate into its own row under the main signal. “Once we were able to isolate the sounds that made up the signal we were able to get the computer to pull the signal fully from the main one. Which gave us this.” She has the signal play through the room. Now if we compensate for distance, interference, signal strength, and the power source. This is what the signal sounds like.” A code made up of electronic beeps came through the room. 

S’Atilen looked around the room and nodded his head. “Alright cadets, good job. You just set the bar for everyone else. Team, we just got the first part thanks to the cadets and the petty officer. That took roughly 20 minutes, so we have 40 more minutes to beat the lieutenant’s challenge. As we can see “ he pointed at the holo floating above the table “the computer is separating the navigation/homing signal, and this is what we have left. Let’s figure out the rest of it, I have every confidence we can do this.”

Chief Oakland walked up to look at the main signal holo. “Sir, I can’t put my finger on it, but doesn’t this area here look familiar? It reminds me of something I’ve seen before. Let me go work on it.”

Roughly 25 minutes later.

“I know I’ve seen something like this before.” Chief Oakland closed his eyes as he tried to remember. “No, no, no no no no, it can’t be.” The chief opened his eyes and looked at the parts of the signal again. “Lieutenant, if this is what I think it is. Then we gotta get this ship moving and in a hurry.” Computer activate the EMH. A hologram of a Bajoran in medical teal appears next to the chief. “Please state your emergency.” “ Mmmmm, sorry doc no emergency. I need you to look at something and give me your medical opinion on it. I think I’ve seen this particular signal before when my wife was having our second child and I was able to be there that time.” 

The EMH looked at the chief with a sideways glance.” Chief, I am not meant for research or to be called on just because you think you see something.” “Ya I know, I know. But this could be kind of important. Just take a look at this signal visual. What do you see?” Everyone stopped what they were working on so they could hear the conversation as S’Atilen and Ensign Th’iviakron walked over to see what the chief was working on. “You want me to look at this,” the EMH looked at the console. “Hmmmm that by itself is nothing, however.” The EMH started to make adjustments to the signal. “ I believe what you were thinking of is this’ ‘ as the EMH started to pull more bits and pieces from the entire signal into one. A low thrumming sound played over the room. The EMH looked at the Lieutenant, then the ensign then the Chief. “Recognize it, sirs?” The three of them shook their heads. “What if I do this and speed it up, hmmmm say to this” the sound sped up. Chief Oakland snapped his fingers “it’s a heartbeat.” The EMH turned and raised an eyebrow and looked at Chief Oakland “yes, yes it is. Sir, I believe my job here is done.” The EMH faded out. 

Chief Oakland turned and looked at the signal holo tan at Lieutenant S’Atilen and Ensign Th’iviakron “but what does it mean?” The two officers looked at each other and then back at the signal. “That is not for us to figure out, Chief.” “What about the rest of the signal?” 

Petty Officer V’lonvaa started to work on her console. “Lieutenant, after pulling out those two layers. It looks like the rest is what we would call white noise. However, it’s not I see something but it’s too degraded to tell what it is. Possibly given some more time as we get closer and the signal becomes stronger and there is less interference within the signal we could get something else out of it. But right now it’s just too weak and there is still too much interference being picked up. Logically speaking we shouldn’t have gotten what we did out of it.”

Lt S’Atilen turned and walked towards the center table and placed both hands on it. “ok, but what does it mean? A navigation/homing beacon and a heartbeat.”

Ensign Th’iviakron walked up and stood beside the Lieutenant. “Well sir, In my opinion, it says I’m alive come get me. The question is who? And why after 200 years is this station active again?” S’Atilen nodded his head. ”I agree, good job everyone. Very well done to get this out of that.” As he pointed at the signal. S’Atilen typed on the console.” sending the report to Lieutenant Sesias now. And by the way, folks if he accepts the report we beat his time by five minutes.”

0825 – USS Mercy – Bridge

Lt Sesias was seated at his console when he noticed an icon flashed on the panel he used to receive messages from the various operations departments. 

“Hmmmm what’s this, a report from Lieutenant S’Atilen in the communications center. Wonder if they found anything in the signal.” He opened the report and started to read it, then he looked up at the view screen and rubbed his eyes and forehead with his center hand, and reread the report. “Am I reading this right? Why would that be in the signal?” 

Sesias turned toward the middle seats “Commander Sorek, I have a report here that deals with that signal from the moon base that you may be interested in. The communications center may have figured something out. I’m sending you the report now.” 

 

  • Sesias

    Chief Operations Officer/Tactical

  • S’Atilen

    Science and Communications Specialist