Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 3 – Island of the Damned (IOTD)

IOTD 022 – The Regulators

USS Mackenzie
12.28.22 @ 1700
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“Approaching sector C20.”  Prentice kept his hands above his console as he announced his update.  They weren’t quite ready to take on the neighboring sector, and so the consolation was getting as close as they could.

T’saath glanced up from the center chair, “Slow to impulse.  Lieutenant Fowler, start your scans.”  The ship floated into C20, the scanning systems kicking to gear.  The bridge crew worked at their various stations.  

Atega studied the communication traces coming in and out of the sector while tuning across various bands to see if there was something they were missing.  One of the key lessons in the academy had been centered around the idea that communication was heard through so many different bands, frequencies, and means of communication you had to really work to find signals that didn’t fall within the standards they had become accustomed to over the years.  She spent much of her free time studying the history of early Earth communications as a starting point.  She reported, “Nothing on communications.  Expanding the frequency search.”

Fowler was next as her teams across the ship were compiling data and identifying trends and interesting signals.  Her eyes searched through the reports as they came in quickly, her hands slowing the speed for a moment before she flipped to the next piece or part.  “The reading is definitely coming from C21 – sensors are able to pinpoint roughly the location on the planet.  It’s a large grouping and is at last two to three acres.”  She reoriented the map and commented, “This looks like a…farm or something, commander.”

T’saath moved from the center chair to examine the screen, “Please clarify, Lieutenant.”  Her eyes soon understood as the science chief explained.

“The rows here and there – they’re faint, but I think they’ve found a way to farm dilithium?”  She tapped at her console, “I’m not showing any ships in the area – the readings from the sector are only coming from the dilithium.  No electronic signals, power readings, or otherwise.”  She turned to the commander, “An abandoned farm?”

The Vulcan considered it, “It is logical given that we are some distance from the Palasa Operations planet.”  She paused, her mind wondering what other possibilities existed.

Fowler filled in the blank, “Or…it could be a trap.  It is an attractive target for us to investigate.  They’ve proven they’re dangerous enough to make us think about it.”

T’saath agreed, “Also, a logical conclusion. The only way to determine for certain would be to investigate and get in closer.”  She tapped her badge, “Captain Harris to the bridge.”

Ambrose stepped from his ready room and listened as his executive office updated him on the situation.  He sat at the station next to Fowler and glanced at her screen, “I’d agree, looks like a farming setup.” He asked the science chief, “Have we made progress on the options for reducing the effect of the Jade Dilithium?”

She confirmed, “We have – using a mixture of electromagnetic waves at varying resonances together with other emitters, we think we’ve got a solution.  Engineering also crafted away team suits coated with the materials we identified and a mask attachment with a strong filtration system.  Chief Okada was able to build a pretty flexible and movable suit.  It also broadcasts the same thing we’ll be transmitting from the ship at a local level.”

“Nice work, Fowler.”  He returned to his chair and spoke quietly to T’saath, “I’m going to have you hold back on this, Commander.”  

She gave a nod, “A logical choice, sir. I can monitor the away team from a console on the bridge.”  She understood.

Ambrose was thankful his XO was going to fight him on it.  He returned to his chair and tapped the open channel button, “Beta Away Team to Transporter Room 1 for briefing and load out.”  He turned to Prentice, “Set us a course and engage – activate Fowler’s systems once we’re underway.”

 

Harris walked into the transporter room and greeted his chief engineer, who was sorting out the away team equipment, “Chief, how we doing?”

She glanced up as she rechecked the standard equipment cases for each department, “We’re doing just fine, sir.  The team is changing into their away team suits as we speak.”  She stood and walked over to the transporter controls, “I’ve locked the system onto both the bio signs and the suits.  With your permission, I’d like to have a shuttle standing by just in case something happens and we’re not able to get them back.”

Ambrose didn’t have to think about that, “Make it so…and make it part of our standard away team practices from now on – choose the shuttle team and get them moving.”  She went to work on the console as the door opened, and Jordan stepped through, her helmet in hand.

She complimented the chief engineer, “Okada, you did a bang-up job on these things.”  She turned to Harris, “Captain.”

“Doctor.”  They were saying far more with their eyes, and Katsumi rolled her eyes.

“You two don’t need to try and fool me.” They both turned to her, mouths open in mild shock as she chuckled to herself and went back to work on the loadouts.

The door slid wide, and the rest of the away team clattered in – Kondo and a security detachment along with Fowler and two of her science team.  Two medical officers joined the crowd a moment later, while two engineers came in last.  They gathered around their equipment and looked at their captain.

He looked back at each of them as he spoke, “You’re going to be going into a bit of an unknown scenario.  We’re going to put you down the hill from the site – take it nice and slow.  Scan everything you come into contact with and report anything unusual – observed, felt, or otherwise.  We’ll have a transporter lock on you at all times.  We need to know the state of the Jade Dilithium, and we need to know how much is truly there.”  He gestured to the transporter pad, and they all moved to stand in their places.  He reiterated, “If anything feels off or feels wrong…do not hesitate to come back.”  Each of them nodded, and Harris stepped behind the controls, “Energizing…now.”  The beam of light took each of them, and in a flash, they were gone, sent to the planet below.  Ambrose let out the breath he was holding.

Then the yellow alert klaxon sounded with the commander’s voice, “T’saath to Captain Harris.”

The CO quickly exited the transporter room and began to fast walk his way to the bridge, “Harris here, go ahead.”

=^=Captain, a Cardassian Galor class destroyer, is on an intercept course to our location.  The estimated time of arrival is approximately thirty minutes.  We’ve attempted to hail them, but there is no response.=^=

Harris couldn’t help but wonder at the timing, “Keep us at yellow alert.  Have Gul Hasara meet me on the bridge. See what we can find out about why we’ve suddenly got the attention of the Cardassians.”  She confirmed, and the channel closed.  Harris rounded a corner and entered the turbolift.  Whatever it was, it wasn’t going to be good.