Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 2: Wayward Sons and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

27 – The Way of the Gun

USS Mackenzie / Markonian Outpost
11.3.2400 @ 1130
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They’d requested to take the weapon to the Mackenzie, and that had been quickly denied.  They’d negotiated to be allowed to bring some equipment over and inspect the gun in the security office with an observer in the room to watch what they were doing.  The item was evidence in the investigation, and the chain of custody required preservation. Cadets Polson and Ode stood nervously at the table while the outpost security team placed the weapon before them and stepped back.  Chief Kondo hovered near them, “Let’s get to work.”

They began with a surface scan of the device with tricorders.  Both Paul Polson and Jenni Ode had been trained as forensic analysts as their specialty within the science department.  They had gone through the academy and been placed on the Mackenzie for their final six months of classes in August.  Paul was the taller of the two and the quieter.  Jenni was the inquisitive one who was always asking questions, poking, and prodding until she was satisfied with the answers.  She transferred the scans to her PADD, “The weapon’s energy signature is unusual.”  She tapped at the screen and set it on the table for Kondo and Polson to see, “Every weapon has one.  Phasers, disruptors, cannons.  With each type of weapon, you can see the energy pattern in either a wound or a physical impact on something.  We’ve done a lot of work with the weapons of the species back home from all corners.  This,” she gestured at the weapon, “doesn’t fit any of the profiles that we have records for – it’s significantly different from anything Voyager experienced as well.  Related, yes…but it’s an evolution in weapons design and application.”  She tapped at the PADD, “There’s something else.”  The screen showed a part of the weapon that was blinking red.”

Kondo looked closely at the image and then at the weapon, “The tricorder can’t tell what it does?”

Ode shrugged, “Sorta.  It’s identifying something…biological where something mechanical should exist.  It’s having trouble identifying the purpose of the mechanism because it doesn’t make sense.”

Paul pushed a cart over next to the table, “This might help.”  With the help of the outpost security, they placed the weapon in the tray of the scanning unit.  It slowly slid inside, and the computer began to scan, beeps and whirs swirling out of the unit.  Polson tapped at the console on the unit and waited, “This will do a far more intensive scan on the weapon. I’ve asked it to look, examine, and identify any biological elements within the gun.”

The security chief had been listening and watching.  He wondered, “What if this weapon…and others from the Devore…have been modified not just to injure the target…but kill them slowly?  The medical reports from the XO and the assistant chief are clear – whatever it is that’s affecting them is going to kill them eventually.”

Jenni followed his logic, “Someone out there is making and outfitting weapons for these species that target humans.  Someone knew we’d eventually come out here in larger numbers….and doesn’t want us out here.”

De La Fontaine countered, “They thought this would scare us away, send us running.  They had to have known we’d try and figure it out.  And then track them down.”

A shrug from the cadet as she wasn’t sure, “They may have already gone to ground – became a ghost in the darkness that we’ll never find.”

Kondo grumbled, “They do not know us very well.  We’re very tenacious people.”  

The computer beeped, and Paul tapped the console and sent the report to Jenni’s PADD.  She set it on the table for all to read once more, “The biological element in the weapon is indeed a bacterial agent.  As far as this can tell, it is a neurological infection that also attacks the pulmonary, cardiovascular, and, eventually, the skeletal system. Good god, this was manufactured.  There’s no way this is naturally occurring with this kind of…specificity targeted to so many of our body systems.”  She sighed, “We’d have to take a sample of the biological matter back to the Mackenzie to start working on a cure.”

The security chief asked, “How long?”

Paul spoke up, “Normally, it’s months.  This being abnormal, we’d work as fast as we could.”

Kondo turned to the two security officers, “Get your boss in here.  I need permission to take a sample from that chamber.”  They looked at him and then at each other.  One of them moved to speak and De La Fontaine stepped forward, “Get. Him.  Now.”

They quickly went and found their boss.