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Voyage of The USS Darwin

Posted on Tuesday 28 July 2020 @ 08:55 by Captain Hans Andersson & Commander Luke Springfield

Mission: A Whale of a problem (We're going to need a bigger boat)
Location: Main bridge, USS Darwin
Timeline: 2286
1724 words - 3.4 OF Standard Post Measure

ON:

Captains log: USS Darwin, Captain Hans Andersson.

We left Earth 3 weeks ago and we are still following the Probe back to its place of origin. We've left Federation space far behind and are now in uncharted territory. The crew are a bit on edge but are performing well under the circumstances.

Before we left Earth, I consulted with Dr Gillian Tayler, the marine biologist that returned from the 20th century with Captain Kirk. She gave me some very valuable information on whale habits but apparently could not provide much more information on the whale song. In the 20th Century, the Whalesong was largely a mystery and I'm afraid it still is in the 24th century.

I'm not entirely sure how successful our mission is going to be. If these aliens can communicate with whales, whats makes Starfleet command think they are going to want to speak with us? Well, I suppose the opportunity for first contact is too great to ignore.

I can tell you that Elsa was not happy with me being deployed on this deep space mission, what with her being 4 months pregnant. I promised her I would be back before the baby was born. Hopefully, I can keep that promise. I still can't believe I'm going to be a father. I'm considering handing in my resignation as soon as this mission is over to spend more time with Elsa and our new baby.

**** 2 weeks later ****

Captain Andersson sat on the bridge of the Darwin staring at the viewscreen. They had been following the probe now for over 5 weeks now. Staying in contact with Starfleet was starting to become problematic but he was still determined to carry out his mission.

Doing his usual lap of the bridge, Commander Luke Springfield leaned over the communications panel and spoke softly with the Lieutenant manning the station before finishing his tour at the science station and speaking with the officer there before returning the middle of the bridge. The bridge of the Constitution class Darwin was little different from the counterparts still in service throughout the fleet. Whilst there might be minor variations between refits, if you'd been on one bridge you'd been on them all. The Captain sat on a raised dais in the middle of the bridge, with navigation, helm and weapons control on the two forward positions and the other stations ringing the back of the bridge against the bulkhead wall.

Luke's position aboard ship was somewhat novel in that unlike on most ships in the fleet, his position was not a dual role of leading a department of his own in addition to his duties as First Officer, but rather was a stand-alone position. It was something that command were experimenting with having the ships XO focus purely on that responsibility instead of splitting their focus between an important position in addition to the responsibilities of command. He along with several other of his compatriots were coming to terms with it, especially as the bridge design didn't really incorporate a dedicated 'First Officer' position, so Luke would normally sit at the vacant Damage Control station which would be manned by the Chief Engineer if they were on the bridge. However, most of the time saw him standing next to the Captain's chair like a spare part, which he tried his best to supress his irritation of.

"We're nearing the outer limits of our transmission range with Starfleet Command, Captain." Springfield reported as he took his place beside his Captain and longtime friend. "Commander Lynch thinks he can fashion some more relay beacons from some of the older probes, but the range on them won't be as good as the standard ones. Lieutenant Fisher says we're getting terrible feedback on our comm frequencies that Lieutenant Orion can't figure out."

"The question is what do we do when we run out of those?" He looked at his first officer and picked up his uncomfortable stance "Would you relax Commander? he chucked at the younger officer. "Have Lynch start working on the beacons but he better have a backup plan in case..."

The helm officer interrupted the Captain. "Captain! We seem to be approaching some kind of planet. It has a nickel-iron core and mantle and the atmosphere registers as M class but the entire surface is covered with a vast ocean. It registers over 1000 miles deep in places. Sensors are having difficulty scanning beneath the surface of the water. I can't see any indications of technology so far. The probe is entering the atmosphere... It's starting to submerge. Captain! As the probe is coming into contact with the water... It's literally dissolving... It's becoming part of the water."

The Captin looked at this XO with a surprised expression "Well I was not expecting that. Helm! Put us in a standard orbit and I know it's a long shot but try the universal translator and send a standard greeting.

From the tactical position, Ensign Davis reported "Sir, we are being scanned! It's coming from the planet. I can't get an exact fix on its origin."

"It's perfectly ok Ensign" The Captain replied. "We're curious about them. It's only to be expected that they are curious about us as well."

"Captain, I am detecting a feedback wave coming from the scan." Lt Orion at the science station reported.

"Is it dangerous?" Springfield asked.

As if as an answer to that question, the lights began to fade in and out and stations began to die then come back to life. Lt Orion busied himself with his station as Cdr Springfield moved over to the damage control station. "Fluctuations in main power Captain." Springfield reported. "Seems to be as a result of the scan. It's not causing any damage to our systems, although the main computer is very unhappy."

"The feedback pulse is increasing in intensity," Orion reported.

The Captains face changed to a grim expression "Let's exercise some caution here. Helm back us off and put the shields up as a precaution."

Davis reported, "Shields have been neutralised Captain!"

"Helm controls are frozen Sir!"

The Captain locked eyes with the Xo for a moment above the red glow of the warning lights. He then looked at the science officer "Can we block the signal?"

"Too late." Orion said one moment before the ship rocked violently and several consoles exploded, one was the communications station which launched Lt Delia Fisher from her chair and caused her to crash into the hand-rail surrounding the mid-point of the bridge. She lay unmoving where she'd fallen.

Luke leapt from his seat and quickly checked her vitals. "She's alive! Medical teams to the bridge!"

The Captain was still hanging on to his chair. "Damage report!"

Luke moved through the red tinted darkness that was the bridge at red alert and moved to the damage control station. The screen was flickering somewhat but it was working. "We lost our subspace communications array in the last feedback pulse. Warp drive is offline, so are weapons and shields. Reports coming in of casualties on several decks but no fatalities."

"Sensors are functional Captain, but are completely desyncronised. I won't be able to get accurate readings until we've run a level 5 diagnostic of the sensor array." Lt Orion reported. "Main computer functions are severely restricted due to the feedback pulse."

Lieutenant Orion reporter "Sir! A strange energy field is starting to surround the ship. I can't identify the energy. It's starting to penetrate the hull."

Davis reported, overlapping the since officer "Sir I've got reports of crew members falling unconscious at their posts. 10 so far and the reports are continuing to come in."

"What? Is this energy field responsible? Andersson asked the science officer.

Orian sounded like he was having trouble thinking. "That would be my guess, Sir. This is way beyond anything Starfleet has got. I'm picking up EM waves all over the spectrum, a strange neurogenic field is forming. It's.... It...s making....." His speech started to become slurred as he crumpled over his console and lost consciousness.

One of the medical team that was now on the bridge rushed over and scanned the science officer. "Sir all his metabolic functions are slowing rapidly. It's like he is some kind of suspended animation but his brain activity is going off the chart!"

The Captain was starting to feel groggy himself but he was fighting it with his every ounce of strength "Take him to sickbay. You still with me Commander Springfield?" He asked the first officer as he fought to maintain his grip on consciousness.

"Barely sir..." Springfield said as he grabbed the med-kit and injected himself with a stimulant. It had almost no effect. He slouched his way over to the secondary communications panel on the far-side of the bridge. "I'm going to try.....a beacon... to Starfleet..." He slurred heavily. He pulled out the hypo of stimulant and gave himself an incredibly high dose. It was a horrific shock to his body but cleared his grogginess for a bit.

"With the subspace array down, I can only send it on an ULF transmission. It's going to take over a century to get back..." He said, as he turned back to see his very sleepy looking Captain. "Captain?"

“Do it”. The captain managed to reply before he added “Computer! Suspend all command functions In 30 seconds. Full security lockdown.” Before he too slumped into unconsciousness.

One by one, all the bridge crew started to succumb until only the first officer was left.

The last man standing on the bridge, Luke was barely able to function due to the high level of drowsiness he was experiencing. He realised that a voice transmission was going to be impossible on the ULF wave so simply programmed it to transmit the last co-ordinates of the Darwin back to Starfleet. As he looked up, he could see a new probe being materialised from the planet's surface, almost an exact opposite of how the previous one had been absorbed. With the last ounce of strength he had, he programmed the broadcast to 'hitchhike' off the back of the probe's transmission. If he'd calculated correctly, it would at least speed up when Starfleet got their message.

With that one last act done, Luke slumped down onto the floor and felt the last vestiges of his consciousness slip away...

OFF:

 

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