Part of USS Altai: The Other Side of Us

Meeting of the Minds

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Lisald stepped into Science Bay 3, the Natural Sciences and Planetary Science Lab, which was the third stop of five on getting to know his department, the people in it, their qualifications and capabilities, and really, just getting to know the layout of the USS Altai. Its design and configuration were very different indeed from the Nebula-class starship he had come from.

He looked around and spotted an officer working diligently and, for what it appeared from the organization and neatness of her station, efficiently. Lisald approached her. “Hello,” he said in way of greeting.

Katsu stiffs up as it legit scared her that someone was standing there speaking to her. She was so focused on her work that she didn’t hear the person come in? Looking slowly over her shoulder to the man standing there, “Good day….” Seeing the rank on his neck, “…sir” She manages to get out. 

Lisald smiled and waved his hand, dismissing the last word. “I prefer Vaat,” he said, “I’m Lisald Vaat. Just came aboard.” He looked around, getting the feel of the room. Coming back to her, he asked, “What are you working on there?”

Hearing the man prefer his name with rank made it awkward for her. She didn’t know him personally to call him by only name “I prefer stating your rank Lieutenant“ She shrugged and finally looked at her scans “Astro data of the area, what the rocks composed of in regards to the mineral that potentially could be used in our operations here in the sector. Thought the results are coming out with common minerals that we are not specifically looking for… sir.”

Vaat shrugged. If she insisted on calling him by his rank, he wouldn’t stop her. “Good work. Anything stick out specifically that grabs your attention, or is it all rather unremarkable? Also, I didn’t catch your name,” he said, blushing ever so slightly. It was always embarrassing having to ask someone’s name.

Anything remarkable, she blinked and looked at the data then heard the question of her name “Oka, sir” she was still looking at the screen. “Aside from the fake asteroid that we found earlier, I tend to look at anything that meets those criteria readings. But everything looks clear, do you think the Breen are out there, sir?”

Vaat smiled again, and nodded at her. “Pleasure to meet you, Ensign Oka. That artificial asteroid will take some time to analyze and reverse engineer. I hear Lieutenant Beck is all but beside himself with it. Honestly, it reminded me of the old O’Neill-class starbases that humans postulated, and eventually improved upon, back in the 21st century. Did you know that after humans settled Mars, they put giant lasers in space, fired them at the asteroids in the Sol System asteroid belt, causing asteroids to start spinning and heating up, and at critical mass, they ballooned outwards into a spherical shape? Humans are nothing if not incredible at thinking outside the box. But, here I am rambling on. As for the Breen, I honestly do not know. There have been a few sensor ghosts pop up, not to mention that odd sound coming through random comm channels. I suppose if I were sitting in the center seat, I would have to err on the side of caution and anticipate them being out there. Thankfully, however, that is not up to me.”

Looking with a  confused view at the lieutenant, did he not realize that she was also human? Katsu just slowly nods. “Those kinds of scientifically projects are taught in the academy, and it might be spearheaded by humans, but further investigations on the subject of rotation and gravity of subjects in space are done by other members of the Federation” Katsu then looked a bit worried hearing the possibility of Breen ghost pops “They do tend to warn about the cold behavior from Breen, but they have had no intention or interest in Federation space for quite some time, plus if I have to believe these scans there is nothing worthy to them either here.”

Lisald nodded again at her first comment. Choosing to wait to answer the second, he responded, “You aren’t wrong. It’s just Humans actually used the principle in large-scale industrial construction, the aforementioned O’Neill-class starbases. You are human, I believe. It’s a compliment, an acknowledgment of the human capacity to do things and make things that other races, my own Bajoran heritage among them, would not attempt.” He paused for a moment, hoping the compliment was received well. “And honestly,” he continued, now moving on to her second comment, “Who knows what the motivation is of the Breen. They have their ways, as unusual as they are to you and I. I cannot help but wonder why a state-of-the-art Dreadnaught would be adrift, and inside of Federation space, especially this sector. As you pointed out, there is nothing here of value to them, save for a few obsolete scientific arrays, most of which are not functional. It could be, if they are here and we don’t yet see them, that they are testing our resolve, or tactical response, our Engineering, any number of things.”

Nodding at the compliment was still a weird way of complimenting someone. Katsu scratched the side of her head, thinking about it. Katsu looked at the data on her screen “The data that I have been reviewing for the past few days since arriving here myself. I just couldn’t put my finger on this derelict ship that was adrift. I am no engineer, and the scientific field on ships is beyond my ability. But how you keep looking at the ship is in some ways too well in its shape and design. Maybe calling the Breen and letting them pick up the ship is better?” 

Moving closer to her console that she was working on and looking at the information himself, he had to agree with her. “You aren’t wrong at all about it being in really good shape to be adrift. If that ship drifted here, it has been drifting for an exceptionally long time. Short of the scorch marks and pockmarks we put into it with our torpedoes, it is in pristine shape. I imagine Starfleet will have to contact the Breen at some point to come back and get it, though since it is in Federation space, we have the Rights of Salvage to claim it as our own and reverse-engineer it. Still, I think if the Breen knew we had it, we would be up to our earballs in Breen, don’t you? No, I think we will have to turn it back over to them. Starfleet would be insane for not doing so.”

“That is where it becomes interesting,” Katsu pointed out as she swiped to the right to bring up the latest report. “The away team was terrorist by the mechanical spider that was destroyed and brought back for reverse-engineering” The images slide past, showing the spider. “If the ship, especially of this class and condition, was left behind by the Breen, then would you not agree that they would rather see it explode than be taken for reverse engineering by us?”

“Truth,” he said, sitting down next to her. “Unless it was a deliberate trap. Those mecha-spiders were intelligent, designed extremely well.”

Leaning backward, “A case of barking up the wrong tree, sir?” The idea that Breen scientifically investigated areas that were not so well known and went wrong was not a first in history. But they needed access to their mainframe to know if that had happened. 

The Bajoran furrowed his brow, a universal sign of not understanding what had just been said. “What do you mean?”

Katsu shrugs a bit. “Simply put, Breen is known for their warrior state of mind but also for its scientific achievements. What if that,” She points at the spider, “Is a newly test weapon that was put adrift to us to be tested?”

Lisald was bemused that she had all but proven his point for him. “Exactly my point. They are a warrior race, and scientific curiosity aside, that is a battleship through and through, Ensign, and obviously with an automated defense to attack the biological and the technological. That is why I believe they are up to something, and why I think we need to continue looking. There has to be a way to scan for them and detect them. If they are out there, of course. Something is up. I can feel it in my ridges,” he said, pointing at the Bajoran ridges on his nose, with a smirk on his face and a gleam in his eye, clear indicators that he was attempting to be a bit jovial at his own expense.

Nodding to the lieutenant, she brings up some waves on the screen. “Then this is something that might help, I noticed a patron among the frequency when the away team was there. It is low, but it is there…they are being instructed and what is instructed should be blocked,” Katsu pointed out. 

The Chief Science Officer scooched in closer and looked at the dataset. As he studied it, watched it be manipulated as things had happened over on that ship with the spiders and the Away Team, his eyes got wide. “Holy Prophets. I think we should show this to Lieutenant Jones!”

Katsu was a bit surprised about the reaction and just nodded to him. “Aye, sir” She replied shyly.