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Security Update

Posted on Sunday 26 July 2020 @ 16:00 by Lieutenant Hayley Godding & Commander Melody Jones

Mission: A Whale of a problem (We're going to need a bigger boat)
Location: Captain's ready room
Timeline: MD 2 1600
1799 words - 3.6 OF Standard Post Measure


Melody's voice came over the comm system. "Lieutenant Godding, Please report to my ready room."

Hayley had been working in her office since lunch, having only been a few minutes late returning. She had been hopeful that no one had noticed since there hadn't been any comments from anyone in the two hours since she'd arrived. About two thirds of the way through reviewing the duty report from the team who looked after deck 31, she received the summons from the Captain to report to her ready room. Naturally, she assumed the worst and concluded that she knew not only had she been late back from lunch but more specifically why she had been late, and she was about to face a huge reprimand. Although, she did figure that this kind of mundane thing would be handled by the First Officer, since Hayley submitted such reports of disciplinary action to the XO each morning, not to mention this kind of thing was a bit beneath the CO's attention - since it was her daughter, maybe she wanted to handle it herself?

Hayley acknowledged the summons and made her way towards the ready room promptly and tapped the chime.

Melody was sat at her desk. She answered the door chime "Come in!" Her face brightened as the doors opened, "Ahhh, Lieutenant. Please sit and tell me where are we with our security concerns."

The tightness of her stomach had released considerably at the warm reception so she chose to think nothing further on it. After all, what two consenting adults did in their leisure time wasn't really the concern of the ship's captain or her girlfriend's mother, right? She had to assume that 'that' kind of thing was taking place, even if she didn't want to think about it. To business then.

Hayley took a seat and got comfortable. "Quite well Captain. We're running drills as best we can. As you know, we have a pretty green crew in the security department thanks to the losses we incurred during the Borg problem. However, the teams are integrating well and despite Petty Officer Lynch dropping an armed torpedo onto his foot, I'd put our efficiency at about ninety percent. We've certainly room to improve, I won't deny that."

Melody leaned back in her chair and pressed her finger together in a tent. "How are you finding the chief of security position?" She asked, keeping her voice neutral.

That caught her off guard a bit. Had she not been doing a good enough job? Was she about to be busted? "It's certainly a lot more involved than I ever believed was possible. Admittedly, this is a much bigger ship than I served as Chief on previously, so there are far more people to worry about. It's one heck of a juggling act to manage all the teams we have as well as seeing to the security of a fourty deck behemoth of a starship, not to mention the tactical department as well. I certainly am enjoying the challenge, ma'am." She said, hopefully convincing the Captain she actually appreciated the magnitude of her job. Internally, she was screaming 'Please don't sack me. Please don't sack me'

Melody nodded thoughtfully. Then she spoke rather sternly. "Well you see, I have a problem. I see here a security chief who is performing above and beyond her required duties and doing a damn fine job of keeping the security of this ship running to the highest standard. I, therefore, have only once course of action. I hereby promote you to the rank of full Lieutenant with all the right and privileges thereof." Melody finally broke her stern facade and smiled warmly at Hayley. " Congratulations Lieutenant, and you can blink now."

Melody placed a small wooden box on the desk in front of Godding and extended her hand.

Wait, what? Promoted?! Well, you could knock her down with a feather at this point. She'd come in expecting a bollocking, relaxed at a status update, then thought she was about to be fired, now she's been promoted! Talk about your emotional roller-coaster! Well, at least Sansa will find this story amusing. She smiled warmly and accepted the offered hand. "Thank you Captain." She said. "I won't deny you surprised me considerably. Who knew getting the approval of Nibbles would lead to a promotion." She grinned.

Melody raised an eyebrow "So you've met our resident Hedgehog and gained her approval? I warn you, that can be a double-edged sword. I once spent 24 hours crawling through the maintenance decks of Starbase 24 looking for said hedgehog after she escaped. Now I know I can send you and Sansa out to look for her should she escape again. And she loved chewing through my Starfleet issue boots, hence that where she got her name from."

"Sansa introduced me to Nibbles this afternoon on my lunch-break." Hayley explained. "Apparently, I'm going to be loved forever because I gave her food and sang to her. If only winning over Lieutenant Draxx was as easy." She grinned. "I appreciate the vote of confidence you've shown me, ma'am. It means a lot."

"You've earned this promotion Lieutenant," Melody added. "You can relax. Mind you, I don't suppose I'm going to be able to relax until we've discovered who is behind this probe and why they chose now to initiate contact."

Bringing the conversation full circle was pretty crafty of the CO, making sure that the focus came back to the more pressing matter at hand. "Probe data still hasn't really given us much more than we already had when we were parked next to it, Captain." Hayley said, glad that she'd made a point to read that report first, even if it had been as dry as overcooked chicken. "Whoever these people are, they're not really ready to give up their secrets to us. However, I do have some positive information."

Amelia raised an eyebrow, genuinely intrigued. "Do go on. What have you found out?"

"As we get closer, that Starfleet signal is getting much clearer. It hasn't changed what it's transmitting, still the same coordinates, but I can determine that it's on a much older carrier wave than what we use currently. This suggests that the equipment being used to transmit it is considerably older than what we presently use, by a factor of probably fifty years or more, give or take. This does lend credence to the theory that the transmission is coming either from the crew of the Darwin, equipment from the ship or the ship itself. As to why it's taken this long to come across this transmission, I also have an answer." Hayley explained.

Melody considered. "So the transmission was being relayed by the probe rather than being generated by it. It raised several possibilities. These aliens studied the Darwin and copied their technology. Or they cannibalised the ship, stipped it and took technology from it or the third possibility the ship is still on one piece and the aliens are deliberately using it to send a transmission. In any case, it suggests that the Darwin did indeed reach their planet but why did we lose contact? No, we're still missing a big piece of the puzzle. She pondered, the went back to Hayley "And the reason for the delay in the transmission?"

"The transmission isn't coming over subspace as we'd expect, but rather real-time over a standard comm signal, more akin to a radio transmission." Hayley said. "My guess is that for whatever reason, wherever this signal is originating, they do not have the ability to send via subspace. It was being piggybacked off the probe, which was how we picked it up, but the actual signal is on a much slower frequency. By my best guess, it should've taken about one hundred and twenty two years to reach the Federation."

"If they can't send a subspace transmission, it would go partway in explaining their use of probes. Mind you, they may not have discovered subspace technology. They could have no use of it." Melody suggested. "The original probe was dispatched to determine why they lost contact with the Humpback whales on Earth which begs the question of how they were communicating with them in the first place. The Humpbacks went extinct in the last 21st century but the probe didn't arrive at Earth till the late 23rd century. So that's about 200 years between the loss of contact to the probe arriving at Earth. And now another probe appears. Assuming the Darwin arrived at their planet, did they manage to make contact? Did these aliens learn anything from the crew? Was communication even possible? And ultimately, what happened to them?

Melody seemed lost in thought. She snapped out of her reverie. "That's some good work you've done Lieutenant. I want you to listen to something." She tapped a few controls and a Humpback whale song played through the ready room. She rotated her desktop monitor and showed Godding a display of a humpback whale. "We still know so little about them and their method of communication. I showed Lieutenant Tillatix a holographic representation of a whale and played her some of what you're listening to now. Let me tell you seeing a holographic whale in person, it's a lot bigger than it appears here." Melody paused as she got a bit off-topic. She continued "But I digress. Anyway, apparently, Mephetians can hear more, even in recorded whale song than humans can and it seemed to affect her almost on a subconscious level. Sav'ena described it as 'seeing music'. Mephetians had never encountered Humpback whales. I've asked her to listen to some more recordings of whale song to see if we can take advantage of this, It's the closest we've come to getting any kind of information about whale song and what it means."

Hayley nodded. "If we are to assume that whatever species sent the probe can fully converse with the whales and understand their language, it is entirely theoretically possible that when the Darwin arrived at the probe source, that they inadvertently insulted or offended them without even realising it. If they followed standard Starfleet procedures which haven't changed much in over a hundred years, they would've opened a hailing frequency to the species. What if that simple act caused some kind of opposite hostile reaction? We've seen that kind of thing before when you review the logs of the Enterprise."

Melody nodded. "Indeed. When it comes to communicating with these aliens, I think we'll let them make the first move. Before we go bumbling blindly in. Let us hope we have better luck."

"At least we know what's coming, to some degree." Hayley replied, quietly, wondering how prophetic things were about to become.



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