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Part of USS Thyanis: Children of the stars

Part 3 – The Prime Directive

USS Thyanis
Late April 2401
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There was a unanimous feeling of relief across the faces of the senior staff as they took their seats around the port side mess hall. Its spacious environment and ample seating meant that everyone could attend the briefing in relative comfort with the option of a chair for every officer and plenty of food replicators to provide hot beverages and a snack if one was so inclined.

“So this is what briefings on a California class must feel like,” Garcia suggested with a hint of satire; a concept that the Vulcan science officer sat to her left was unable to grasp.

“I fail to see the logic of your comparison Lieutenant, Thyanis is not a California class vessel,” T’Nira stated, applying her cold and unwavering logic to Olivia’s playful statement was like dropping ice cubes into a pot of steaming coffee; it killed the warmth of the room.

Wallace was yet to take his seat, he stood gazing out of the port-side window at the landscape they now found themselves deposited in. It was still night-time and a clear one at that. The stars glistened overhead casting a subtle glow across the valley. The trees swayed softly in the breeze, Wallace could almost hear the rustling of their leaves through the transparent aluminium of the window. He tried to imagine himself lying on his back in the meadow, looking up at the stare and trying to identify the constellations. It was something he always enjoyed as a child and something that he had sadly neglected to indulge in for some time.

“Captain, you ready to start?” Wallace’s brief moment of serenity was sharply cut off by his first officer trying to bring the meeting to some order. He turned and looked at a fully staffed table, ready to discuss the reality of their situation. “Sorry number one, I was miles away…” Wallace explained as he took a seat at the head of the table.

He turned to stare at his Vulcan science officer and set the meeting in motion by promoting her for her report, “T’Nira, any explanation for what happened?”

“I have examined the sensor logs from the time Thyanis entered orbit of the planet.” T’Nira placed a PADD at the centre of the table and set it to holo-display her data in a graphical representation of what happened.

“Precisely 36.84 seconds after establishing a stable orbit, sensors detected an energy signature from the planet’s surface which was focused into an intense beam and directed precisely at Thyanis. The beam acted as both a dampening field and a tractor beam, effectively disrupting Thyanis’s engine output and pulling the ship from orbit.”

The display echoed T’Nira’s detailed explanation in both accuracy and thoroughness; showing the vessel essentially ripped out of orbit by the beam.

“Are you saying we were attacked?” Garcia questioned.

“Not quite Lieutenant, the sensors show that the beam disengaged the moment Thyanis entered the atmosphere. If we would have had more time to prepare the ship, I am confident we could have made a safe and efficient landing.” Replied T’Nira.

“But that doesn’t mean we weren’t attacked, you don’t just pull ships out of orbit before opening hails if you don’t want to pick a fight!” Garcia added, growing frustrated that the Vulcan couldn’t see her way of thinking.

“But it also doesn’t mean that we were attacked Lieutenant, the power of the beam was more than sufficient to cause significant damage to Thyanis, or destroy the ship entirely. It could also have prevented us from landing safely but didn’t… Logic suggests that the intent was not necessarily malicious.” T’Nira responded.

“Any clues as to who operated the beam?” Wallace prompted, looking to subdue the abrasion between T’Nira and Garcia.

“None that I could find, however, I have pinpointed the source of the beam to a settlement approximately 10 kilometres from our present location, we would be wise to begin our investigation there,” Said T’Nira

“Do we know anything about the population?” Harris asked curiously.

“I regret to report that sensors were unable to make any detailed scans. However, we should be cautious. I have not yet been able to detect evidence of Anti-Matter technology since we entered the system, the indigenous population, may, be at a Pre-Warp stage of development.” T’Nira explained

“If there’s a chance they are less advanced, shouldn’t we send out a distress call and wait for rescue?” asked Garcia with the most sincere tone, indicating genuine concern.

“We can’t risk endangering another starship until we know more about the beam, and if they send a larger ship to our aid, there’s no telling the damage that could be done if anything larger than an Intrepid class was to be pulled from orbit.” Wallace made his position clear. 

From the head of the table, he reached forward and switched the display over to a map of their current location on the surface and began hatching a plan. “Garcia, take one other security officer and beam just outside of town. Try and find out at least what they look like, what they’re wearing, and how they talk.” The moment Wallace gave his instructions, eyebrows raised across the room. 

Direct observation of primitive cultures was a practice seldom endorsed by command because of its inherent risks of discovery. Prosthetics and make-up can only carry you so far, and even the best disguises aren’t perfect. “You should have a few hours of darkness left before dawn so use them wisely, be back on board before twilight, and keep in constant communication, understood?” Wallace added.

Garcia nodded, she had her concerns about risking discovery, but night-time reconnaissance was certainly less likely to arouse any unwanted attention.

“In the meantime, Harris, get to work with the Chief on making repairs and getting Thyanis space worthy again!” 

Both Harris and Martin acknowledged their orders from the captain and began discreetly bouncing a few ideas off each other while the Commander paused for a moment.

“Make no mistake people, If it is a pre-warp society on this planet then we’ve got a pretty big problem. We now have several problems to work on and not a lot of time. First priority is the Tractor beam, that’s not a technology one would expect a primitive civilization to have access to. Then there’s the matter of our elusive distress call on the S-band.” Wallace began addressing the room as a whole, setting the record straight. 

“Be mindful of the Prime Directive, assume that the culture may have already been potentially contaminated, and do everything you can to reduce further contamination. Once we know more about the population, it’s probably best we try to blend in while we make inquiries… 

We go in, ask about, see what we can find out, and get out once we’re sure that the beam isn’t going to cause us further problems Starfleet can send a better, more equipped crew to clean up the mess later.

Once we’ve secured our exit, I’ll make an assessment of the merits of a search and rescue in regard to the distress call. Any questions?”

The room remained silent and Wallace took this to mean there was a unanimous understanding. “In that case, dismissed!” 

A short time later – Village outskirts


 

After being cooped up inside Thyanis for several months, Olivia began to realise how much she missed being planet side, and were the stakes not so high, she might have even enjoyed the late-night hike through the forest. A cool breeze on her face, the soothing sound of leaves rustling, as well as the subtle timbre of water trickling down a stream.

She began to think to herself that this planet was almost too perfect an example of Minshara Class, untouched by the choking grip of an industrial revolution. 

As she grew closer to the edge of the settlement, a warming glow of flame fell upon her face. The locals appeared to be awake and gathered around a bonfire in the middle of town.

The settlement itself was relatively small, with only six buildings set out in a rough square. Four appeared to be residences, Then there was some sort of dining hall and what appeared to be a church. At the centre of town, there was, of course, the bonfire, several benches, and some unusual device of technology unfamiliar to Garica.

She and her colleague moved in as close as they dared and sought concealment behind a couple of crates. They were just within earshot of the townspeople and well within range of their Tricorders. As Garcia and her enlisted companion began to interrogate their scanning devices, they began overhearing a discussion. 

“I’m telling you, something crashed about Ten clicks from here, it looked like an aircraft!”

“Aircraft? Listen to yourself, we’re in middle of nowhere, no-one even be knowing we’re here. It’s been months and we haven’t heard anything from home. Face it, No-one is coming, you need to be getting this into your head my friend, probably just a meteorite.”

“Oh, give it a rest Seirgei! They had our trajectory locked in, wont be long before they find the crash site, it is probably just a massive search grid. I’m with Collins, we should at least check it out!”

“Yeah, if Collins is right they might need rescuing themselves, but there’s bound to be a radio we can use to call for help!”

“Enough! I already tried satellite phone at the crash site, It not work! We have been sitting here waiting for rescue too long. Time we packed up and try luck someplace else!”

“Seirgei, if we move on, we’ll be harder to find. At least this town’s got enough food for a long while. But we won’t even need it if I’m right”

Garcia was so stunned at her Tricorder readings and what she was hearing, she became complacent with her balance whilst crouched and slipped her foot in the dirt, causing an agonising scraping sound that almost echoed.

“What was that?” one of the townspeople said having heard the noise of Garcia’s blunder immediately.

Garcia peaked through a small gap in the crates and watched in horror as the silhouettes of four individuals appeared to be approaching her position. Instinctively she activated her com-badge.

The townspeople arrived at the crates within seconds, only to witness the final microseconds of the Transporter sequence. “Just fireflies, nothing to worry about” one of the townspeople announced. At the same time, another was more closely inspecting the ground behind the crate, “Yeah, but since when do fireflies leave footprints?” he said, pointing out the clearly defined outline of two pairs of boots, with a perfectly imprinted Starfleet Delta on their souls.

 

Moments Later – USS Thyanis Transporter Room


 

The Transporter sequence concluded, and both away team members fully re-materialised safe and sound.

Waiting to greet them, Commander Jones eagerly awaited a situation report and an explanation as to why she triggered an emergency transport. “What happened?” he said.

“The situation just got a whole lot more or less complicated sir, depending on how you look at it” Garcia stated, simply presenting the memory recall from her Tricorder to the Commander.

Wallace’s eyes widened with surprise as he took hold of the device. On the display, is an analysis of the Townspeople’s genome.

“They’re Human!”