Working with the biology department’s main lab was another welcome change for Odyssey’s chief medical officer. Slyvexs found the change of scenery from being in the large medical complex aided with her enjoying her current work. Though it was not her job to perform such work, her field of expertise in genetics made her the ship’s most senior expert on the matter. Nevertheless she enjoyed working closely with Lieutenant Treiskreedfrek, the ship’s chief exobiologist. The Ktarian man was in his early thirties and had originally been assigned to the Triton originally after he had graduated from the academy. Like many from the Luna-class, he had joined the Odyssey in 2386.
“I’m just saying,” Slyvexs said, continuing her conversation with the tall man, “you should consider applying for more training so you can get that extra pip on your collar. I’m surprised we have so many lieutenants running around on a ship this large.”
Chuckling at the doctor’s sentiments, Trei (which was the short name he went by) admitted that the chief medical officer may be right. “You’re probably right ma’am but for most of those courses they require an endorsement by our department head. A majority of us in the science department don’t want to upset the commander as she’s such a good head. We love our jobs and love being on the Odyssey.”
“All of you are hurting your careers by remaining still.” She remarked. “With a ship this size having numerous lieutenant commanders isn’t going to make Starfleet take you all away. Plus we’re in the Delta Quadrant, over thirty-five thousand light years from Earth, they can’t do anything about it. Promise me you’ll look into it.”
Before he had the chance to respond, the computer beeped which meant the electron resonance scanner had finished recalibrating itself and was ready for their next specimen to look at close range. Placing a small sample of the purple like corn vegetable they had encountered on the planet below, Sylvexs dipped her head into the viewing area and the mixed blue and purple hue illuminated against her eyes.
“How’s the resolution?” Trei asked, from where he worked at the nearby station.
Nodding to indicate it was good, the Denobulan doctor zoomed in further. “This is bizarre.”
“Not another one?” Trei asked as he wandered over to her side.
“Take a look for yourself.” Slyvexs said as she stood up straight.
Taking a peep, Trei was astonished at what they had found. “Once again there seems to be some kind of contaminant on the base pair sequence. It’s on the same location like the other hyper-stimulated segments of DNA we’ve scanned. But what are they for?”
“This level of sub-molecular technology is highly sophisticated.” Slyvexs remarked. “My only assumption is that these tags are used to control the organic matter on the planet.”
“An extremely advanced version of genetic engineering on the sub-molecular level, perhaps.” Trei suggested. “We should run a compositional analysis.”
Agreeing with his thinking, Slyvexs nodded as she looked at the DNA further. “If I’m right, it looks like the parts of the vegetable’s DNA that are hyper-stimulated are what is making it exhibit certain properties, like its nutritional value. Whoever did this wanted these crops to live long but carry all of the nutrients by those who consume it.”
Working on the analysis, Trei spoke up. “I’m having trouble getting a clear reading from the sample. It looks almost like the er, genetic tags could be slightly out of phase.”
Moving over to where the lieutenant stood, Slyvexs spoke up. “That may be the reason why our tricorder scans never picked them up in the first place. Can you compensate for the phase variance?”
“I’m attempting to.” He answered and then he got a response. “You’re not going to believe this, but I’m picking up an energy signature. These tags are transmitting some kind of a signal to the planet, right towards the underground settlement.”
Surprised at that news, Slyvexs immediately tapped her combadge to call the captain.
Standing around the science station, which was currently showing the in depth geological scan that the ship and its almost fleet of probes had taken of the planet, Captain McCallister was listening into the muscular form that was Lieutenant Naef Oran. Several others stood close by as well.
“So as you can see sir,” The Brikarian male said as he pointed to the upper display, “there’s too much precision in the make-up of the planet to conclude that the planet was naturally formed. For example, the tectonic plates are evenly distributed across the planet, with almost the same amount of dimensions. Our geologist department has had a wild time examining all of the data we’ve taken.”
Sniggering at the image of the geology team on the ship enjoying their mission made the tone of the conversation lightier, McCallister did his best to keep his composure as he spoke. “I bet they have. Have they come up with any other ideas about how the planet was artificially created?”
Oran nodded, “Yes sir, but their theory is that someone changed the planet at the subatomic level and almost reprogrammed how the planet should…well exist. Their guesses are that the planet itself was changed at least twice over six-hundred thousand years ago.”
“Why twice?” asked Lieutenant Commander Jen, the Trill operations manager was stood behind the captain, listening into the presentation.
“Scans from the different layers of the planet’s crust show significant changes happening more than once as well as the unnatural stress we’ve registered placed on the tectonic plates indicating that two waves of transformation took place. Another working theory we have is that the second wave actually melted large parts of the planet’s polar ice caps which forced sea levels to rise drastically.” Oran explained.
“That may account for our underwater city,” Duncan said as he tried his best to understand what the lieutenant was sharing. “But what about the settlement that Karyn and Tremt have discovered? Any more ideas on how it came to be underground and preserved so well?”
“We believe that it was always an underground settlement created sometime after the first wave. The tunnels for example are naturally formed but artificially created in a way that proves that a civilisation built them. However, when the second wave hit, it caused significant changes in the layers of rock above the settlement, pretty much trapping those who lived under the planet’s surface.” Oran reported.
“So lieutenant, are you saying that being able to easily access the planet’s rich resources like the ones Lukiz and I found, was specifically designed to be like that?” Lieutenant Commander Lenjir asked.
Oran nodded. “Yes, we think the original wave was designed to literally push the resources that were needed closer to the planet’s surface.”
In the back of his mind, McCallister was recalling one incident in Starfleet’s history that took place after the first and failed experiments with Omega. At least this one had been declassified by Starfleet almost a century after its creation and the misuse of its potential. “Anyone else here thinking about Genesis?” He asked.
T’Rani, raised her eyebrows at the captain from where she stood. “The Federation project created by Doctor Carol Marcus and her son Doctor David Marcus that used protomatter to rapidly terraform a planet with a programmed matrix to build whatever environment was needed on an uninhabitable world.”
Looking at his pilot, McCallister confirmed her statement with a simple, “Indeed. A good bunch of what the lieutenant just shared sounds like what Genesis was created to do.” He turned back to the Brikarian science officer. “Naef, have you scanned for protomatter on the planet?”
Shaking his head, Oran answered honestly with a simple no. “I hadn’t considered it to be honest sir. Those aren’t part of the normal scans we do.”
“Make the scans and then-” before the captain had a chance to finish speaking he was interrupted by Doctor Slyvexs’ voice over the intercom..
“Slyvexs to the captain.” She said. The urgency in her voice was heard by everyone.
Replying to her with a simple tap of his combadge, McCallister spoke up. “Go ahead doctor.”
“Captain, we’ve discovered that the edible organic matter we’ve brought up all have genetic tags on them. They’re broadcasting a signal that is being sent back to the planet.” She announced.
Confused with what she was saying but not surprised, McCallister looked at everyone else who all had the same expression on their faces, besides T’Rani. She just looked more intrigued by the doctor’s statement. This planet was now unveiling its unusual secrets to them. The inner explorers within them all were water to learn more. “Can you clarify where on the planet and what their broadcasting?”
“It’s on a low level frequency but the tags are slightly out of phase.” She reported. “The signal appears to be directed towards the underground settlement.”
“Understood doctor, standby.” McCallister placed his hands on his hips as he considered their next move. They had a huge puzzle before them which they needed to put the pieces together. “Lukiz, where do we stand in translating those devices we found in the settlement?”
“The computer should be completed within the hour in translating the information on the ones we’ve recovered, but sir they’re aren’t the Tkon ones.” Jen reminded him. “If you’re assuming what I think you’re assuming, then we need access to those devices that are sat behind the Tkon symbol to get more answers.”
“You’re right Lukiz, but until Tremt is able to crack that particle synthesiser we may have to rely on other information.” McCallister remarked.
“Sir, you’re not going to believe this.” announced Oron from the science station. “I’ve just completed the scan of the planet to find any traces of protomatter and it’s there.” Pushing the scans onto the main screen, Oron explained what they were looking at. “There are remnant traces, but barely enough to register on our normal scans.”
Pointing at the screen, Commander Duncan walked down the ramp from where he was standing towards the main screen, “What about that area? It looks like it has the highest concentration of protomatter remnants.”
“Is that where I think it is?” McCallister asked, staring at where his first officer was indicating.
“Sensors show that the promatter shockwave on this planet emitted from there.” Oron remarked.
“So it originated from the obelisk?” McCallister questioned, he wanted confirmation.
Oron looked back at his readings, “I’ve moved the probe that Lieutenant Tomaz sent down earlier and it’s sensors are confirming what we are reading. The obelisk is ground zero.”
“Fascinating.” T’Rani said.
Agreeing with his pilot’s statement, McCallister was impressed with what they were discovering. He was now wondering if they had just found several more examples of the Tkon’s advanced technology. Was this how they colonised other worlds? Or was it their way of making planets more hospitable for those that belong to their old empire. “Right, we need some concrete proof whether this is Tkon technology or not.” He said before tapping his combadge. “Doctor, I want you to investigate these genetic tags further.”
“T’Rani, Cline, take a runabout down to the planet and dig that obelisk up. I want it on the Odyssey for a closer inspection. Take whoever you need to assist.” McCallister ordered.
Both of them just nodded to their orders and left to get their mission underway.
Looking at Jen next, McCallister gave out further orders. “Lukiz, I want those devices translated and then searched through for any thing that could help us give us any more clues to what this planet is about. Again, use whomever you need to get the job done quickly.”
“Number One, I’ll be in my ready room. Something tells me I need to take a history lesson.” McCallister shared as he left the bridge to read the logs from a former Starfleet legend.