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Topic: CH02: S [D01|1920] Invisible Stars  (Read 340 times) previous topic - next topic

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CH02: S [D01|1920] Invisible Stars
CH02: S [D01|1920] - Invisible Stars

[Ens. Irnashall "Shall" ch'Xinya | Stellar Cartography | Deck 15 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @jreeves1701

A full month of work.  A full month spent tearing out disabled Borg tech, replacing bank after bank of isolinear chips, reinstalling three very large display boards, reconnecting feeds for almost every sensor bank on the hull, and rebuilding a custom-made interactive holographic matrix effectively from scratch.  All of that done for the express purpose of giving Starfleet's lone defender against the "Nameless Darkness" a better chance of staying in the fight by being able to see farther and in more detail than most ships of her type, possibly even better than some long-range survey ships.  And when the time came, the entire room went dead the moment Theurgy punched through subspace.  The only real comfort Shall had at that moment was that he was alone in the lab when it happened, but of course that meant he was the only one leaning down into an open access panel in the floor of the cylindrical room trying to find out which feed blew out the optical processor.

For the dozenth time the Andorian pulled his long hair out of his face and away from his antenna as he hung down into the crawlspace.  If anyone came in they'd see him laying flat on his belly below the operations platform, just enough to keep from falling in while the rest of his body hung down into the guts of the machine.  He'd given up on trying to tie the long strands back, the artificial gravity undid everything he attempted.  Sighing in resigned defeat he continued his search through the different data conduits, reading the labels upside down and through a wispy curtain, old T80 diagnostic scanner in hand.  Point, click, read results, over and over again since each sensor pallet had its own data line.  Everything had come up just fine so far, but something in this one panel had to be the culprit, no other data tap was heavy enough to crash the system like this.

Shifting yet again in a vain attempt to get another lock of hair out of his face Shall took one last scan with the T80 before he planned to throw it into the nearest bulkhead.  To his surprise, the display turned red and greeted him with a welcome negative note.  Antenna rose in victory despite the gritted teeth and resigned sigh.  It was the gravimetric sensor array, and if he was reading the probe correctly a massive burst of gravitons in close proximity overwhelmed it and locked up the processor with the shock load.  One quick twist of the connecting head late the cable came free, a temporary solution but until Ops could get that sensor repaired it would be useless.

Grunting under the strain from the bad position the chan pulled himself out of the access panel and rested on his knees for a minute to let the blood drain out of his head before sealing it up.  His head was reeling right now, between the blood and the missing antenna (finally showing some growth now) his balance was way off for the moment.  Finally he managed to get back to his feet with the help of a support pillar and hobbled his way to the control station in the middle of the room.  Blue fingers tapped in the reboot commands and actually let slip a cheer when his pride and joy hummed back to life!  His smile was short lived though, while the data flow was steady the processor couldn't make any sense out of what was happening.  It was almost as if they weren't in the universe proper, but some sort of tunnel.  Did they enter a wormhole while he was working?

One thing was for certain though, at the moment Stellar Cartography had no idea where they were or where they were going, and that needed to be fixed.  Calling up the current on-duty rosters Shall looked for someone who could help link him back in.  Thea suggested one name in the end after comparing skill sets and current duty load: some new person named Larrant.  Shall had no idea who that was, but whatever, if Thea said he could help he'll trust her.

"Stellar Cartography to Larrant, I've suffered a full-on system crash down here and could use some assistance reestablishing the navigational functions.  Do you have a few minutes?"

Re: CH02: S [D01|1920] - Invisible Stars
Reply #1
Chapter 02: Quantum Frontier [ Day 01 | 1900 - 2000 hrs. ]
[CWO1 Larrant | Main Bridge | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy]

Larrant watched from the rear of the bridge as the Captain gave her orders. The Medusan's pod hovered at the auxiliary station and a small indicator light blinked as a communication alert went off.

"Stellar Cartography to Larrant, I've suffered a full-on system crash down here and could use some assistance reestablishing the navigational functions.  Do you have a few minutes?"

It looked as if the ship would be flying blind so to speak.

"I  S H A L L  B E  T H E R E  D I R E C T L Y" the computer-generated voice spoke from Larrant's pod. As if on cue, the holographic avatar materialized around the pod as the pod's systems finished rebooting. "If you direct the Theurgy to the following coordinates..." Larrant paused as his pod remotely sent navigational coordinates to the main CONN station. "...we will still be on course for Qonos."

The medusan's avatar turned and moved toward the nearest turbolift. As the holographic form walked, its arms remained static against its sides.

[CWO1 Larrant | Stellar Cartography | Deck 15 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy]

The turbolift journey from the Bridge to Stellar Cartography had been uneventful. The entire ship was abuzz with activity following the conclusion of its first quantum slip-stream jump.

"Please state the nature of the navigational emergency?" Larrant's holographic avatar spoke with a raised eyebrow and a shudder. The medusan wasn't sure where that phrase was translated from. Perhaps a remnant subroutine from the original holographic matrix. He had quickly reviewed the pod's schematics shortly after coming aboard and remembered that holomatrix was a recycled version of a Mark 1 EMH.

"My apologies for any delay in getting here."

CPO Sithick [Show/Hide]
CWO1 Larrant [Show/Hide]

Re: CH02: S [D01|1920] - Invisible Stars
Reply #2
[Ens. Irnashall "Shall" ch'Xinya | Stellar Cartography | Deck 15 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @jreeves1701

Hunched over the semi-circular control station, Shall didn't see Larrant arrive, the only hints he got were the quiet "swoosh" of the door sliding open behind him and the subtle electric buzz in his antenna.  That perked up his attention immediately, and the Andorian turned just as the Medusan started to speak.  Shall's antenna curled forward in curiosity and his eyebrow rose almost like a Vulcan's.  There was definitely something different about this man, the way he stood with his arms stiff by his side like a cadet in a review contrasting with the shudder.  What was all that about?  And he was definitely the source of the EM hum filling his blue sinuses.  They stood in silence for a moment or two before Larrant spoke again, this time with some apology over an imagined delay.  "Nothing to be sorry for." Shall dismissed it with a wave, "It takes plenty of time to get all the way down here from the Bridge."  Waving the visitor forward towards the console Shall turned around and brought up the main screens.

"As for the emergency, someone left the gravimetric sensor array feed to my processor cluster active and it picked up such a massive spike that it overloaded them.  I cut the feed and rebooted the system but these readings don't make any sense."  Shall waved at the multi-deck tall images almost completely surrounding them: an image of Theurgy sat stationary in the middle of the center screen while massive ribbons of subspace geometry flowed around her.  The time-stamp in the top right corner betrayed the fact that this is a recording from approximately 20 minutes ago, and it was ticking forward at a far slower rate than real time.  "Did we travel through some sort of subspace corridor or wormhole while I've been offline?"  Blue fingers tapped a new command and a navigational display full of error code appeared in a sub-window to Theurgy's side.  "But aside from that, I can't get a read on our current location, too many sensor feeds to the lab were knocked out, and without a full sensor suite linked in I'd be running half blind down here."

Shall sighed and sunk into the stool, shoulders slumping in fatigue.  "I thought I had this all fixed..." he muttered to himself.

Re: CH02: S [D01|1920] - Invisible Stars
Reply #3
[CWO1 Larrant | Stellar Cartography | Deck 15 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy] attn: @chXinya

Larrant sensed the mind of the being in front of him as the Andorian ensign spoke. Medusans within the Federation had agreed to the established social customs and laws regarding telepathy and individual mental privacy, something Larrant followed strictly while serving Starfleet. However, there were times when his own personal curiosity overwhelmed him or was it the remnants of Sollek's katra craving to solve the complex genetic makeup of the mind standing before them. The telepathic markers tickling Larrant's noncorporeal form were unique. He had encountered them over a century ago following a massacre on the telepathic minority of Andoria. Ensign ch'Xinya must possess trace amounts of Aenar DNA.

Larrant's holographic matrix interpreted his reading of the trace threads of telepathic genetic material by wiggling the avatar's ears.

"The vessel has completed its first jump through a successfully generated slipstream corridor. However, upon exiting, the vessel was attacked by a gravitational anomaly that disabled my EMU along with various other systems. It appears Stellar Cartography being one of them."

Larrant walked over to a nearby console and tapped a few of the terminal buttons with little response. The displays continued to read various error messages.

"From our previous position near Aldea, we are currently located roughly halfway to Q'onos. The system before us is Epsilon Monocerotis. A binary consisting of a magnitude 4.39 A5 IV white subgiant star and a magnitude 6.72 F5 V yellow-white main sequence partner. No records of indigenous life. Beyond that lies the 59 Eridani System, Epsilon Hydrae Pentary System, and the Epsilon Hydrae T'Tauri Class Nebula." It was nearly the same textbook explanation that he had given the captain earlier.

Turning to face the Andorian, "Have you checked the Cartography computers interface with Astrometrics?" Larrant did not see the need for two dedicated astronomy labs on Starfleet vessels, yet in the recent decades, the Starship Design Bureau seemed to see it necessary to install both Stellar Cartography and Astrometric labs in all vessels. "Or, if you would like, I could directly link with the Stellar Cartography computer and manually input our current position. It would not be a complete stellar chart. Just our current sector, nearby supermassive stellar objects, and relative position to the galactic center." Medusans were renowned navigational experts. There wasn't a Starfleet navigator at the Conn that didn't benefit from the algorithms generated by Medusan engineers. Larrant was only one of a dozen Medusans serving in Starfleet, Theurgy was indeed lucky to have him. The thought caused his holographic avatar to produce an inhuman grin.

CPO Sithick [Show/Hide]
CWO1 Larrant [Show/Hide]

Re: CH02: S [D01|1920] - Invisible Stars
Reply #4
[Ens. Irnashall "Shall" ch'Xinya | Stellar Cartography | Deck 15 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @jreeves1701

The more Larrant explained what had happened in the past hour the deeper Shall's frown got.  He knew of the new slipstream technology and what precautions were needed with it of course, that's why he was so annoyed at the one graviton sensor.  It never occurred to the chan that they could've hit some anomaly as well.  A part of him didn't want to believe that it was coincidence, perhaps this was the slipstream equivalent to the wormholes generated by misaligned warp cores?  Didn't matter in the end, it still broke his precious lab.

While Shall tried to get back to work the visiting Medusan was already on point, interacting with the console to see what kind of errors the computers were throwing up and suggesting solutions.  Shall had forgotten about the Astrometrics lab, while they had similar functions at heart they had different specialties (stellar cartography for mapping, astrometrics for more in-depth study of celestial objects and phenomena) so he rarely delved into that realm.  In truth he probably should, with all the upgrades he'd made to Stellar Cartography the line between the two had been blurred quite a bit.

Solutions in mind, Shall sat up and worked quickly to reset the lab systems: rebooting and reinitializing the entire screen array, cutting and reconnecting sensor feeds, then slowly rebooting the links to the main computer.  "I never thought about directly linking into Astrometrics, they usually just pull the information from the databanks for their surveys, but if you know where we are I can use that as a base point.  The system can take that point and compare it with everything around us to pinpoint our location down to the meter, and with more data get us down even more precisely."

The ramifications of Larrant's last statement pricked up his antenna.  "Link directly with the computer?  You can do that?"  Shall swiveled around and away from the console to look directly at the Medusan's simulated body.  "Would that allow you to track how the system processes location data, as well as how it interprets incoming sensor data and correlation with the databanks?  To the point where you might be able to find inefficiencies?"  He'd heard that there was someone else on board that could link straight into the computer, but he'd never met them.

Re: CH02: S [D01|1920] - Invisible Stars
Reply #5
[ CWO1 Larrant | Stellar Cartography | Deck 15 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy] attn: @chXinya

Larrant responded to Shall, "Affirmative. In a manner. My senses are interpreted by my E.M.U. containment pod and can be translated by Thea. The ship's A.I. can then render that information for you via Stellar Cartography's holographic display." Larrant made an attempt to gesture to the surrounding walls but his avatars best attempt at pointing was a simple thumbs up.

"As for a reverse feed allowing me to interpret system processes and incoming sensor data, I found the current level of Starfleet technology to be a bit antiquated to my own natural ability. There are indeed many inefficiencies in the current design. It is something that my people serving in Starfleet have been trying to diligently to improve since becoming involved in the Galaxy Class development."

A static ribbon rolled down Larrant's avatar as he remembered the years serving on Galaxy Class ships, confined to the Medusan Navigation suite, except when bonded with his Duad partner.

"Let me show you." As Larrant finished speaking his holographic avatar deactivated revealing the pod beneath. Indicator lights began to flash rapidly as the LCARS panel on the console behind Shall came to life. "I CAN REMOTELY ACCESS MOST SHIP INTERFACES" spoke the computer-generated voice from the pod.

Immediately a holographic wireframe materialized around the room, slowly weaving into celestial bodies. Then portions of the frame warped to indicate gravity wells surrounding them. "I PRESENT THE UNIVERSE AS MEDUSANS SEE IT"

  • Last Edit: November 11, 2020, 01:53:46 AM by jreeves1701
CPO Sithick [Show/Hide]
CWO1 Larrant [Show/Hide]

Re: CH02: S [D01|1920] Invisible Stars
Reply #6
[Ens. Irnashall "Shall" ch'Xinya | Stellar Cartography | Deck 15 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @jreeves1701

Whenever Shall was out with the stars, no matter where that was, he felt like he was in his element.  Standing on the ground looking up, watching the steady pinpoints out through a starship or starbase viewport, or surrounding himself with holographic representations, they all gave him the views he worshiped since he was young.  The display Larrant was producing now made his head spin, it was as if he was seeing color for the first time.

Stepping around the small circular platform, the chan's blue eyes watched the way the holographic space bent around the different bodies the Medusan was projecting.  The detail was unlike anything he had seen before, especially not at this scale.  One "low-flying" body that he recognized as a rogue brown dwarf floated close enough to his scalp that he could feel the electromagnetic distortions in his antenna catching his attention.  Orbiting the almost-star he could see how the gravitational lensing affected the pathing around it, the background projected on the wraparound screens twisting in color and shape the deeper into the well the photons skirted.

"This is...this is beyond anything I've ever imagined.  You don't just feel gravity as a force, you experience it just as much as we experience light?  Or would thoughtscape be a better analogy?"  The Aenar's legendary telepathy gave him the thought for that followup, he'd heard the stories about how they were able to see colors despite being blind, something that had mystified doctors and scientists for over a century.  It was a shame they were all gone now, the only thing left of them being snippets of DNA in their mixed descendants.  "Wait..."

Something wispy appeared in his vision for a moment, something glimpsed out of the corner of his eye.  It took some doing, Shall was probably quite the sight for the next minute, tilting his head every which way, kneeling, standing on his toes, even looking like he's about to lay down on the deck, but eventually he saw it again.  It was faint, but it was there, the nebulous geometry of the space under space.  If he hadn't spent so much time in the subspace geometry labs at the Academy trying to figure out the link between subspace and the visible universe he might not have recognized it.  "Is that subspace?" he asked, reaching up as if he was about to waft a smoke cloud away.  "Does this mean you perceive more than just the 3 physical dimensions and time like most humanoids?"

Re: CH02: S [D01|1920] Invisible Stars
Reply #7
[ CWO1 Larrant | Stellar Cartography | Deck 15 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy] attn: @chXinya

Larrant could not see ch'Xinya's expression but the proximity and motion sensors of his pod provided the information he needed to know that the ensign was enthralled. In the brief silence, Larrant was able to pull the ensign's personnel file. Class of 2380 he thought. ch'Xinya would have been old enough to have been in one of his classes or lectors at Starfleet Acadmey. Of course, the Andorian would not have recognized Larrant. At that time he was bonded in a Diad with a young Cairn ensign named Hendril. It didn't take Larrant time at all to discover that most of the male cadets were more focused on Hendril's appearance than the content of the lectures he gave. Because Carin were unable to speak except through a mental image communicator, the cadets had no way of knowing who their professor was. Hendril was equivalent to a grad assistant and Larrant a prerecorded holographic projections and audio recordings. How could they know that Hendril shared her mind and body with another being in a containment pod in an adjacent office?

Larrant's thoughts were interrupted by ch'Xinya's speech.

"THOUGHTSCAPE? YES. ONE COULD REDUCE IT TO SUCH A RUDIMENTARY CONCEPT." A light blinked on his pod and an enlarged LCARS display appeared among the holographic gravity wells filling the room. The text on the display began to scroll to a highlighted article.



The article went into a litany of medical and scientific jargon about the two officers' combined theory about the Medusan's physical connection to the fabric of space. McCoy believed that the Medusans existed in a transitionary stage between purely biochemical and energy-based life. That their present evolutionary stage was at a point between corporeal and incorporeal states. In laymen's terms, they were in a state of limbo as they crossed over from this world to the next. Those witnessing a Medusan's true form went mad because the viewer was getting a glimpse into the divine geometry. Spock's response to this theory was to blame McCoy of polluting an otherwise valid medical theory with emotional theological rhetoric imagery, when science and logic dictate that the Medusan were indeed in a transitionary state, simultaneously in multiple dimensions of space and subspace. This allowed them to see subspace in very much the same way most humanoids perceived light and sound. However, the Medusan senses were attuned to gravity and its manipulation of the space-time continuum. It was the only logical explanation for their existence and their ability to navigate space with such calculated precision.


Additional articles began to fill the air around the room. Most from the Subspace Physics Review.


The holographic field around the room zoomed in to focus in on the area ch'Xinya had pointed out.

"THAT INCLUDES SUBSPACE ANOMALIES LIKE THIS ONE. AT THIS DISTANCE IT IS HARD TO TELL EXACTLY WHAT IT IS BEYOND AN ANOMALY. THERE ARE MANY POSSIBILITIES." as he said this another series of LCAR displays appeared presenting various cataloged types of subspace anomalies. It was a lot for anyone to take in, some would say Larrant was bragging, but Larrant truly did not know how to express the emotion and therefore was incapable of gloating. "SO HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO PROCEED?"

As Larrant awaiting a response he couldn't help but wonder how this experience was for the Andorian ensign. Interacting with a mechanical box, one that could generate images and pull up information as easily as interacting with Thea or any other advance A.I. It made Larrant long for the mental touch of sharing minds just as a means to express that a living being resided beneath the holographic skin and within the metalic shell.
  • Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 06:07:56 AM by jreeves1701
CPO Sithick [Show/Hide]
CWO1 Larrant [Show/Hide]

Re: CH02: S [D01|1920] Invisible Stars
Reply #8
[Ens. Irnashall "Shall" ch'Xinya | Stellar Cartography | Deck 15 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @jreeves1701

Shall almost didn't look to see the new image that appeared amongst the celestial landscape Larrant was projecting around him, he was trying too hard to study the ghostly wisps of subspace that the Medusan was able to detect, something that he required entire sensor arrays and computer processors to accomplish.  If Larrant hadn't mentioned the Aenar he probably would never have seen it at all.  The mention of his people's extinct cousins drooped his antenna, while the century may have softened the blow of the loss (and there were still far too many Andorians that considered it no loss at all), but just the way it happened never failed to chill his blood a bit.

As more and more articles filled the air around him Shall couldn't help but be impressed, just as much as the basic cartography was his passion, clearly subspace geometry was one of Larrant's.  In response to his question about the anomaly the view shifted to show it in more detail, the hologram enlarging to the point where it dominated the field.  The Andorian slowly orbited it, trying to see what kind of details he could suss out just with his eyes.  Theurgy was hanging not too far away, and based on her orientation he guessed that they must have clipped the edge of it as they exited the slipstream.  The followup question though, that caught him a bit off guard.  He was just a cartographer, detailed analysis of anomalies like these were usually done by scientists of the appropriate discipline in the Astrometrics lab.

But Shall was not one to pass up the chance to learn something new.  Not to mention, it was a good way to run the latest upgrades to his own lab through their paces.  Returning to the control console he tapped into the sensor arrays, bringing a few online.  "I'm going to tie in the gravimetric sensor array directly, see if we can get a better idea of the anomaly's extents.  If we can find a way to spot these from further away we can refine our slipstream calculations and make sure we don't hit another one in the future.  If you know some other methods to help narrow down the list on just what it might be I'm all ears."

Re: CH02: S [D01|1920] Invisible Stars
Reply #9
[CWO1 Larrant | Stellar Cartography | Deck 15 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy] @chXinya

There was only so much Larrant could reveal to ch'Xinya. He could not betray the Aenar refugees of this dimension residing on the Planet Ceto within the Medusan Complex. The Complex intersected several universes - subspace domains large and small, some with more than three spatial dimensions, some with different physical laws from this one. The spatial-temporal geometry far too advanced for noncorporeal minds to comprehend.

"I perceive this three-dimensional space from a much higher dimensional level. In primitive understanding, it is like being able to view a labyrinth from above and seeing the path to the exit in its entirety, while the maze's occupants struggle, wondering through blindly."

The anomaly ch'Xinya had focused on was what remained of the very one that had impacted the Theurgy earlier. The gravimetric sensors added nothing to Larrant's own gravitational awareness. "The anomaly is emitting gravitons, but also a disproportionate amount of chronitons. Fascinating. The dekyon particles I am detecting are off the charts." Temporal physics was beyond Larrant's specialty but not his understanding. "It appears that the anomaly is the creation of a temporal rift."
CPO Sithick [Show/Hide]
CWO1 Larrant [Show/Hide]

Re: CH02: S [D01|1920] Invisible Stars
Reply #10
[Ens. Irnashall "Shall" ch'Xinya | Stellar Cartography | Deck 15 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @jreeves1701

Larrant's nonchalant statement about how he perceived things caught Shall completely by surprise, his antenna shooting straight up along with his head as soon as the ramifications hit the chan. "Wait, normally perceptions like that requires actually being a higher-dimensional being."  He turned to study the human-looking hologram.  "Is that what you're implying?"  If so, that would be quite the insight into Medusan life, and is a big reason behind the psychological effects of seeing one in the flesh.  A fourth-dimensional being would look maddeningly strange to a three-dimensional being, and just the idea of looking at a fifth or higher gave the Andorian a headache.

The business at hand soon took over again, the initial results from the patched in gravimetric sensors didn't help out all that much, they effectively just confirmed what Larrant had already uploaded.  Shall definitely felt like the novice here, the Medusan was clearly far beyond anything he could provide without prompting.  This was an entirely new depth to star charting for him, and his antenna quivered with excitement.  As the other being started listing off some new details about the anomaly the quiver slowed to a stop and the appendage slipped into his hair to hide.  "A temporal rift, that can't be good..."  Unfortunately Theurgy didn't have the full suite of exotic particle sensors that would normally be used for these kinds of scans, they were so sensitive and particular that they were usually limited to dedicated science ships.  "Let me bring up what sensors I can, but I don't know how much help I can be with this if it's temporal.  Should we call up Lt. Morali, see if he's got a headache?"