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Part of USS Hathaway: Episode 11: No Justice, No Peace and USS Hathaway: Season 3: Prometheus Squadron

CH5: A Mystery Uncovered

Various
Stardate 24011.7 (Jan 7th, 2401); 2345 Hours
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“Tell me again how this is supposed to help us investigate the Captain’s death?”

Glancing across at Prida, watching the Bajassian lean back and rub her tired eyes with her balled fists, Noli let out a sigh. “It’s a long shot, but we’re looking for anything that might give us some indication of hostility towards the Captain,” the blonde bombshell echoed her orders from earlier. She’d gathered her friends very late in the day, just before midnight, and that was almost two hours ago now, so no wonder they were tired. She was tired. Tired of many things already and they had only been aboard the Prometheus for less than a day.

“I still can’t quite believe they think there is some link between a historical away mission and an event that took place five years later, tens of thousands of lightyears away from here,” Chiera moaned, leaning on one hand, elbow on the desk space in front of her computer screen.

“I know, it’s absurd. And the fact they are making this tedious link because of dodgy intelligence is even worse, but it’s all we’ve got,” Noli’s frustration was regularly boiling to the surface, so she pulled out a chair and took a seat. “If you want to go to bed, we can regroup in the morning,” she suggested to the other two, whilst making it clear she was settling in for the night.

Prida and Vittoria shared a quick, silent exchange and then turned to their consoles, silently resuming their search for clues.

By zero-four-hundred, their search of mission logs and crew reports had produced nothing of note, the tension in the room long having evaporated and been replaced by exhaustion. According to the logs they had sifted through, everything was as normal, as stated in the official duty logs, and Ulysses was supposedly located above Lendorian and waiting for a diplomatic delegation from the planet to arrive. Prida had taken one of her famous power naps, causing her to wake up with a renewed purpose. Noli was growing increasingly anxious, whilst Vittoria was on the verge of replicating some matchsticks to keep her eyes open. The sudden sounding of an alarm on her console jolted the Betazoid awake and drew the attention of the other two officers.

Adrenaline was the only thing sustaining her at this point, the empath tapped at her console. “It’s one of the Captain’s duty logs…” she sighed, and gave them a sheepish look, “voice only.”

A knowing look shared between the three women told each everything they needed to know; hearing the voice of their friend, in some cases mentor, and their former Captain again would be tough. They hadn’t heard it in months, at a time when life seemed easier. Steeling themselves for the expected avalanche of emotion that was to come, they took a moment, then huddled around the Counsellor’s console. Vittoria hit play.

At first, there was nothing but silence. It lulled them into a false sense of security, making them think that they wouldn’t have to face the pang of emot…

First Officer’s log, stardate 23961.18. First contact with the people of Lendorian has taken a turn for the worse…

Tharia’s calm tone, and her Andorian inflexion with each spoken number; both hit like a torpedo blast to the gut for each of the women listening for it. For Prida, it was like listening to a loved one again, a smile despite the welling up of the eyes showing how much she had missed her friend and mentor’s voice. Vittoria sat in silence, staring at the blank screen in front of them, taking in every word. Noli on the other hand, the hardened tactician with a penchant for brashness, felt overwhelming sadness. Bowing her head to hide the tears forming in the corner of her, she did her best to listen. No one seemed to acknowledge the gravity of her initial words, however.

“We have managed to locate and retrieve the sensor probe that went missing during the ion storm several hours ago. The Chief Engineer has begun his analysis and found evidence to…(static)… suggest that the probe’s findings had been corrupted by the…(static)… of the storm.”

“Computer, pause…” Noli sat up and immediately noticed the shared expression of her engineering counterpart. Vittoria, not so much. “Ion Storm?” she enquired of Prida.

Prida didn’t need any further prompting to sit forward and begin tapping away at the console in front of them, drawing Vittoria’s late-night ire. “Would someone mind telling me what’s going on?” the Betazoid asked, turning in her chair to face the pair of yellow shirts.

“Static in duty logs like this is highly unusual. Usually, it points to a serious situation the ship is facing at the time. But according to what we know, Ulysses was sitting in orbit, waiting for a delegation from the planet. There was no record of any kind of ion storm in any of the logs up to this point, so where has it come from?” the tactical officer told her counterpart in blue, answering her question but apparently leaving the Counsellor more confused.

“She means there is reason to suspect foul play,” the Bajassian directly in front of the console called out, to address the confusion from the Betazoid, “and I think she might be right.” The mere suggestion of something untoward caught everyone’s attention again, with Noli and Vittoria inching closer to either side of the Lieutenant.

“Someone ran a fractal algorithm on the duty log approximately two days after the entry was made,” Prida remarked, pointing to her analysis of the file itself on the computer screen before them.

“That’s after Ulysses left…” Chiera reminded them, eliciting a nod from the pair.

“Download the evidence to your own files,” Noli instructed, tapping the engineer on her shoulder. “We’ll get some sleep and then approach the Captain in the morning.”

Whether the Captain would do anything about their suspicions was another matter entirely.


Back on shift by zero-nine-hundred, Commander Noli looked surprisingly refreshed upon her arrival in the command center. Prida was already on the bridge and hard at work, exchanging eye contact for a few seconds, the engineer calling the tactician over with a slight jerk of her head. It was a move that failed to go unnoticed by the XO.

Bachmann watched as Noli tried to surreptitiously make her way to the engineer standing by one of the auxiliary engineering stations at the back of the bridge. For now, he simply observed and listened.

“You’re early,” Noli yawned, sidling up to her colleague in yellow and leaning on the bulkhead between the MSD and the auxiliary consoles.

“Yes, well…” Prida used her hands to silently insinuate they should hush their discussion, “I had a hunch that I wanted to explore,” she told her friend. Having piqued Noli’s attention, the younger of the two continued by tapping on her console. “I tapped into the long-range sensor telemetry from Deep Space Five at the time, and their sensors detected no trace of any ion storm or phenomena of any kind in the vicinity of Ulysses or Lendorian at the time of the duty log,” the engineer whispered, leaning closer to her colleague.

“Right…”

“Well that, coupled with what we heard in the log…” At that moment, Noli spotted the emergence of Captain Nazir from her ready room and put a stop to the conversation as she had heard enough.

Using her discretion as tactical officer, the blonde took a step away from the engineer and addressed the Captain. “Excuse me Captain,” the Bajoran called out, can we have a word in private?”

Pointing at the door nearest to them, the Captain ushered the engineer and her tactical companion into the observation lounge that swamped the deck behind the bridge. When she had entered and stood behind her chair at the table, the Captain nodded to both. “Alright, what have you got?”

Over the course of the next twenty minutes, the conversation took several twists and turns as the two yellow-shirts divulged all they had learned and offered their ideas and suggestions to the Captain. To her credit, the Trill listened and made up her own mind as to the veracity of their claims.

“Someone tampered with the log after Ulysses departed,” she nodded slowly, much to the relief of the two newcomers to the Captain’s crew. “The question is why? What happened there that they covered up?”

“And who?” the tactician added swiftly, eliciting a further nod from the Trill.

“We’ll arrive at Lendorian in the next few hours,” the Captain informed the two, heading back to the bridge and ordering them to pursue her, “we’ll try and get answers from those on the planet. Lieutenant Prida, make sure engineering is a go for anything that may transpire. Noli, I want you hot on the button if the natives still don’t like us,” Keziah instructed the two and then assumed her seat at the center of the bridge once more.

Prida exchanged a look with her fellow Bajoran, a look that said a thousand words. They were relieved to have someone supporting them, but it was time to try and get to the bottom of this confusion.

Comments

  • This story was like a two-pronged attack and I'm so impressed by that. I love the choice of reminding the readers, and the characters, of the guttural impact the loss of Tharia has had on them. It brings an emotional continuity to the ongoing story and it strikes home what a motivation these characters have to investigate the mystery. And oh what a mystery we have. The crew are going Holmesian --or at least Data with a pipe-- to pause and steep in the clues they've found to deduce the components to the bigger mystery at play. Love to read a character think deep and reach a new conclusion.

    March 8, 2023