Literary Challenge #11 : Hidden Agendas
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Join Date: Dec 2007
88065.6 Final Mission Report
01-24-2012, 11:46 PM
Computer: Standard Fractal Encryption Alpha. Begin recording.
It's done. I'm not proud of it, but it's done.
72 hours after Drake made the initial call, we are ready to leave this God-forsaken sector. It started innocently enough. Escort a team of scientists and archaeologists to Camus II. Seemed kind of like an old ghost story at first. Mysterious ruins, missing races, anyone sent in disappeared. The records are pretty scarce, and that includes the stuff classified back in 2269. Sadly, this ghost story managed to get a planet blacklisted from the star charts. At first, it seemed standard babysitting mission, well beneath The Geist and her crew. We're usually sent on covert missions or Borg Skirmishes. From what I'm Told things started normal enough, pots, art, ruins of what used to be vast cities, small bits of technology from toys to medical equipment. From what little was gathered from the records, each team found nothing special until they hit an "exciting discovery". After that the old logs become a Jumble. Not a lot said, but you can tell they were scared of something. Eyes glowing in the darkness, bodies that seemed to change positions, and in one case the very walls of a tunnel seemed to move as if it were alive. Even the team we sent down there seemed to start seeing things. He's ruled out the possibility of Celebium Poisoning as all traces in the planets atmosphere have all but dissipated over the last century or so. There also seems to be a series of flora that are giving off a pollen and Dr. Sabin believes this might be the cause of the disturbances. He says it's non toxic and is working on making an inoculation for it, but the team on the surface will be fine until then. If anything they'd have some more ghost stories to share with the crew.
Then it happened. One by one, they would disappear. Over the course of 30 hours, someone would be reported as "acting confused or out of it" then vanish all together. Initial investigation shows each one left sickbay only to beam back to the surface, disappearing all together. Most of the security detail ended up M.I.A. We beamed the remaining security into quarentine just te be safe. Fizi, a nurse from the med bay noticed it first, almost by accident. While looking over Sabin's shoulder she pointed out how perfect the pollen was, almost as if it were manufactured. She was right. It was a nanoparticle, one so advanced that our scans couldn't properly identify it as anything but organic. By the time we figured out what was happening I ended up taking our elite Away Team to the surface. Releasing and following one of the team to their mysterious destination. He lead us to a Chasm, deep and confined it was litered with artifacts that would make the entire Science Division of The Federation drool. Half of what they found couldn't even be identified because it was so ahead of what we know. They might have even given the Preservers a run for their latinum.
The team consisted of Chief of Security T'Pal, Engineer Soss, my science officer Dr Sabin, Fizi from Medical, Augment Donovan Wraith, and our recently acquired android Lij. Nobody expect what they were to uncover. They followed Ensign Guy Richards, or "Ricky" as they called him, deeper into the chasm and into a long series of caverns. At one point traveling deep enough to lose contact for several hours. Luckily, Lij was able to record the events for us to go over once they returned. The cavern was enormous, possibly big enough to fit a city, perhaps at one point it HAD been a city, but now all that remained were bodies. Bodies if you could call them that. Husks would have been a better word. Mumified and perfectly preserved, lying almost as if they just stopped everything they had been doing and fell asleep. Each person wired to machinery interwoven throughout the Necropolis as it were. Following the flow of the tech lead the team to what seemed the center of this civilization. At its core was where we found our missing scientists and crew. Wired in the same way, a way that would make the Borg Queen herself envious. It wasn't until Lij interfaced with the system that we found out the horrid details.
Camus II once housed a race of beings so advanced that it was said they could transcend death itself, that they could switch bodies as easily as you or I could switch a shirt. When one was damaged or became too old, they would simply transfer to a new body, leaving the old empty shell as a natural battery. Adding millions to power their vast underground city. The proverbial "tip of the iceberg" of their knowledge could have advanced our way of life almost a milenia. Cures for God knows what, adding decades to lifespans, transporters that could beam from Earth to Bajor, the possibilities would be endless. Unfortunately with their incredible advancements came a great ignorance. They began to neglect their sciences, giving up on space travel or medicine. Transfering all efforts to one central computer used to control the quality of life as well as the extensions through new bodies. They began to use up their resources, leaving the planet the empty ruin it is now. But worst of all, they became slaves to their own creation. The machine they had once used as a tool for society became a caretaker, giving them what they wanted in return for using them as a power source to keep it running. When the supply of available bodies ran out, they opted to be saved in the machine itself. Generation after generation getting smaller and smaller until the machine went silent... From what Lij found the machine even used the Celebium Deposits for power, using the bodies wired into as a sponge for the radiation. When the levels dropped it once again went dormant. That is until the Expeditions started. Using the airborne nano-particle, the Computer managed to infect the Away Teams with the "urge to return to it." Using their bodies to power itself.
My team barely made it out. In an effort to capture the non-infected, the computer began "waking" the husks. Using the old mummified remains still wired into it as extensions of itself. In the ensuring escape, the crew found themselves running for their lives. Draining rifles first before resorting to hand phasers, burning back wave after wave of these cybernetic monstrosities. Some of which had been so old that they coated the walls of the tunnels themselves, struggling to break free in an attempt to grab one of the team. Soss suffered a modest leg injury but Wraith was able to assist him to the extraction point. Lij was missing an arm but otherwise intact. Everyone else sustained cuts, bruises, and in Sabin's case, a broken nose. Oddly enough, Ensign "Ricky" had made it without harm. Those wired to machines had been found impossible to disconnect. The advanced technology was bonded irreparably to their systems. Sickbay was barely able to even discern between organic tissue and the circuitry that now infiltraded their bodies. We cleared any nano-particles from the survivors, but the decision was made...my decision. Using low yield Tricobalt devices, we would bombard the surface. The ensuing Carnage would seal any access to the tunnels, if not collapsing them out right. Hopefully keeping that terrible entity trapped for an eternity. An entity is the only word i have for it. It was aware, it was thinking, planning, and made the choice to end a civilization in order to save itself. According to Lij, the portions of the system dedicated to "saving" peoples' minds was erased eons ago once the machine realized its power supply had become limited. All those lives, all those people... gone. Erased from existence just for a few more years of power. This isn't genocide, it was a mass burial...at least that's what I told myself.
This is why Section 31 chose The Geist,my crew, and Myself. To make the hard choices. This wasn't a Federation decision, but it was for the greater good, one that needed to be made. To keep this forgotten machine lost to history, and the surrounding systems safe. I regret the loss of all that we could have learned. All that could have been gained. But all that I would have given up gladly if I could have saved the men and women we lost. 30 in total. Each was a valued starfleet officer, all of which had family. Some were mothers, some had family serving on other ships. They ALL had some one... Some one who will now be getting a letter, a condolence for their loss, but not even an explaination. No, not even that. This will be too highly classified. The 3 lightyear zone shall stand as is, and no one will know why.
This is James Charles Donovan, Captain of the USS Geist.
Computer, send report then delete from database.