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Join Date: Apr 2013
05-02-2013, 07:13 AM
With nothing to do but wait as the Granameir was dragged closer to the artificial star system, Andrea fell back into her routine. Duty Watch, paperwork, being beat up by Jem’Hadar. The Federation side of the crew busied itself converting one of the empty torpedo bays into a data analysis center. Of particular interest was the unique power plant of the object, which Allen was referring to as a Subspace Furnace.
The Jem’Hadar performed their duties, then went to train, and release some aggression in the holodeck. When storeroom two went empty the holo-emmiters there were upgraded, and it became a firing range. There was far more crew interaction here, as both the Federation and the Dominion appreciated a good shot.
Andrea spent some time keeping her aim, but still spent most of her free time sparring with the Jem’Hadar.
Two months into The Drag (what the crew was calling their unwilling trip to the object) Genis changed the training program again. “Narse is to start instructing you in weapon combat, starting with the dagger.”
“I don’t carry a dagger.”
Genis held up a black velvet cloth, and it revealed a beautiful eight-inch silvery dagger. “The Jem’Hadar have forged you this from the very hull of the ship. It is small, but effective, and has the ability to be useful in any fight it is in, much like our Captain.”
She felt the blade in her hand, the simple handle, the straight edge of the blade as it formed a tip of deadly purpose.
“We, on occasion, give to a good leader something to remember his… or her command. The dagger reflects you best; small and deadly, and with many useful purposes.”
“I’m not sure what to say.”
“Say nothing.” Genis handed her a training dagger, which would show, in a holodeck, a brightly colored line wherever she sliced, and a star wherever she jabbed. For hours every day she and Narse trained in close-combat techniques.
The Inter-Galactic Chess Tournament was also a big draw, and into its second month Andrea was showing as top contender, with Selan being close to her in the rankings.
A ship with power and class II replicators can exist for quite some time without resupply. The only concern came from Sal’Ar Rei, who was unsure if he would be able to replicate the White, should the voyage last that long. Fortunately he found that the Founders had provided him with extra White, in their great wisdom. Andrea wondered if that explanation would work again.
So did the days go, and under Andrea’s command the crew did truly seem united. Everyone was free to pursue, within reason, that which interested them the most.
Four months from the initial tractor beam did the Granameir finally arrive at the object.
“Power generation up seven percent since our initial capture.” Allen pointed to the power curve on the display screen. “The scanner beam has been constant on us, although I still can’t tell what kind of information the beam is supposed to extract.”
“Anything currently useful your science club can share with us?” Sal’Ar mentioned what the crew had been calling the personnel that locked themselves into Torpedo Storage Bay One every day.
“We’ve been studying the Subspace Furnace almost exclusively. It’s impractical as a ship-based power source, as it disrupts subspace. In fact the Federation would most likely ban the technology even if we came into possession of it; long term use in a base would permanently damage subspace in the region. We do think that the engine was purposely built, ‘Dirty,’ it was made to disrupt subspace.”
“What purpose could that possibly serve?” Sal’Ar swirled the liquid in his mug, his tell that he was nervous.
“In a strategic sense,” Genis said, “it would keep reinforcements from reaching a besieged system. There would be no quick strikes if you had to travel four months at light speed just to attack.”
“That means something else. If the engine can’t be used to travel, then this thing must have a second form of power.” Andrea looked briefly at Selan before continuing. “What other power source could possibly sustain a ship this size?”
“We’ve been theorizing based on other power readings we’ve discovered in the last week. The problem is every time we lock in on the source, all our sensor equipment shuts off. I mean it shuts itself off. We think we’ve found a code in all the Federation equipment that shuts down all the Federation equipment when this energy signature is found, but we don’t know why.”
“Something Smith put in our computers?”
“I don’t see why. Plus, when I access the computer to ask what protocol this is, it pretends not to hear me.”
“Keep working on it. We stay at full alert until further notice. Allen, we’ll form the second tactical watch out of your shift. Get them ready for watch at 02:00.”
Everyone left the ready room, with the exception of Selan and Andrea.
“Why would Federation computers shut down after gathering information?”
“Seems just the opposite of what a Starfleet computer should do, doesn’t it?” Andrea ordered coffee while she thought about it. “Before I left the Diego I was supposed to have had a clearance review with my Captain, but that never happened. There’s a rumor at the Academy about a docket of secret emergency plans…”
At that moment the Holographic Doctor’s voice made itself known in the conference room “Captain! I must speak with you immediately!”
“Come in, Doctor.” The Doctor appeared and began to speak, then noticed Selan in the room. “I don’t mean to seem rude, but this is a personal conversation.”
Selan arched one eye-brow in perfect Vulcan fashion, and then excused herself.
“Captain, I know why the computers and sensors are shutting down when you scan this new power source.”
“How on Earth would you know something that I don’t, considering our relative security clearances?”
“I am a duplicate of the Doctor that traveled with Voyager. I was so upgraded and patched together that when Mr. Smith recruited me, they just copied the entire matrix from Voyager. Captain, what you are seeing is the Omega Protocol. If this ship were purely Federation you would have seen the entire ship shut down, and received an eyes-only document regarding Omega.”
“It sounds like my only briefing is to come from you.”
“Omega is a particle of immense power. A few atoms of Omega could destroy an entire quadrant of Subspace. It is Starfleet’s highest protocol that we eliminate any Omega particles we come across. It even overrides the Prime Directive!”
“That may be difficult to implement, seeing our relative position to this object. Thank you, Doctor…”
“One more thing Captain. Usually the Omega protocols demand absolute secrecy, even from your own command crew. Captain Janeway was cut off from Starfleet command, and felt she had to count on the crew.”
“It seems history is repeating itself. I’ll call on you later for any further details you can provide. Thank you, Doctor.”
As the Doctor left, Selan entered the room. “What was that about?”
Andrea stared at her a long time before continuing. “There isn’t enough trust in the galaxy.”
Selan seemed to understand something had just happened that made the Captain upset. “The keeping of secrets has its uses. Compartmentalization of information can keep a battle-plan alive if a leader is captured.”
“But outside of combat… Starfleet would probably shoot me for this.”
“Starfleet never shoots anyone, except in self-defense.”
“No, there are some death sentences still on the books. This one is most likely not in any book, anywhere.”
“I can help without understanding, but I can most likely help more if I know what has you so scared.”
“I’m not scared, not exactly. If attacking Borg and being swallowed by a giant spaceship hasn’t scared me out of my skull, I doubt anything will.” Andrea looked into her coffee, and to the face that reflected back to her.
“Once upon a time, there was this magic particle…”