“Paul! What do you make of this?” Sumiko questioned as she pointed toward a vent-like opening in the side of the wreckage.
Paul moved closer to what she was pointing at to get a better look before responding, “It bears a striking resemblance to the technology used in our impulse engines, but at the same time it’s vastly different.”
“I thought so too. Now if only we can find a way to get inside, we could take a look at whatever powered this thing.”
“Mathers to Commander Harrison!” came the voice of the security officer over the comms interrupting the conversation between Paul and Sumiko.
Mathers was some several hundred meters away on the other side of the wreckage. He had been exploring areas around the large craft, looking for anything in the form of weapons or a trap that might pose a danger to the crew.
“Go ahead Lieutenant.” Paul replied.
“I’m on the starboard bow side of whatever this craft is and I’ve located the source of the energy signature, and it’s not coming from within the wreckage. I’ve found an obelisk of sorts with some strange markings on it. And well…I think it might be some kind of beacon or something. The power signature is emanating from it.”
“Understood Lieutenant. I’m on my way.”
When Paul finally joined the lieutenant, he was holding up a tricorder, pointed at the aforementioned obelisk which stood roughly three meters in height and as described had unknown markings on it. Possibly symbols of the ancient Tkon empire. He could hypothesize all day, but in reality it would probably take a team of scientists decades to figure out what they meant.
“What have you got?” Paul asked the Lieutenant.
“Well sir, the tricorder is picking up an energy signature in the upper EM band, not unlike our subspace communications systems. However, the power levels appear to be too low to actually transmit any information. In any case it appears to be a pulsating frequency. That’s all I can really tell you. Here…this is more your area of expertise sir. ”
Paul took the tricorder from the lieutenant and examined the scans for himself. The lieutenant was correct. If the obelisk was in fact a beacon, what was it trying to transmit? Military intelligence? A distress signal? The crashed ship could have supported either scenario. In any case, Paul at least had enough information to provide the captain a significant update.
On the bridge, Treylana was in the midst of a casual conversation with Phil about their mission to date, and how she was looking forward to a respite when it was all over. In all her years in Starfleet, she never dreamed she’d be doing the very things she’d been forced to do over the past several weeks.
“Harrison to Atlantia.” Came the call from the Chief.
“Atlantia here. Go ahead Paul.” Treylana replied.
“We’ve located the wreckage we were looking for. We’re still trying to gain access. However in trying to find it, we tracked a faint energy signature. A signature we assumed to be emanating from the ship. It turns out it’s coming from an artificially created obelisk about three meters tall with some unusual markings on it just outside the ship. I can only assume the markings are in the Tkon language.”
“Based on what you’ve found…”
Before Treylana could finish her sentence she was interrupted by her Operations Officer, “Captain, incoming message from Starfleet, marked as urgent.”
Treylana pulled up the message on the console next to her chair and began reading.
- To all Starfleet Captains and Flag Officers serving as Commanding Officers,
- Effective immediately, all officers shall be on the lookout for any device resembling an obelisk-like structure. Such obelisks have been reported to exist throughout the galaxy and may function as a beacon in a massive network that controls the galactic barrier. If such beacons are found, every attempt must be taken to ensure the restoration, if applicable, and operation of the device in order to stabilize the galactic barrier and neutralize the continued threat of Omega.
- These orders shall supersede any previous orders under the Omega Directive and shall remain in effect until further notice.
- Fleet Admiral Kirsten Clancy
Treylana finished reading the message and then returned her attention to the open comm channel with her Chief Engineer, “Paul, you said you found an obelisk?” She asked, reconfirming what he had previously told her.
“I’ve just received new orders from Starfleet Command. We need to figure out how that thing works and get it operational again. I can’t explain it, but we need to get this done.”
“Understood Captain. I will need to bring down additional personnel and equipment. I think Forrester is on duty in Engineering right now. He’ll know who and what to send down.”
Meanwhile, Tekris, Dotan and Horom had just arrived at the caves, with their gear in tow. The open room still faintly aglow from the now cooling rock that had been phasered hours previously.
“Hey Dotan. That rock wasn’t glowing when we were here earlier.”
Dotan examined the surroundings, looking particularly at the rock that Horom was pointing out. He’d also noticed what appeared to him to be bags yet they were made from a material that he was not familiar with, “You’re right Horom, and look at these. These weren’t here either. There must be someone or something in these caves.” He said as he went to grab one of the bags left behind by the away team.
Tekris was beginning to feel a little scared. His friends were talking about very unusual things, “Maybe we shouldn’t be here.” He spoke up to his friends.
“C’mon Tekris. Just a little bit longer. I promise, we’ll leave at the first sign of trouble”, Dotan replied, trying to reassure his friend everything was okay.
Tekris hesitated for a moment and then nodded to his friends and then the three of them took off down the cavern passageways in search of more artifacts. As they began to approach the larger cavern room where the wreckage was located, they began to hear the voices of the away team echoing off the walls, albeit very faintly.
Dotan gestured with his hand to signal to his friends to get lower to the ground so they wouldn’t be seen as he discreetly moved closer to the cliff face that was known to be there from their previous trip. He looked below and saw two figures moving about below but could not make out much detail from the distance they were at. What he could see was one of the figures was slowly getting closer.
“I need to run back to camp for my bag. Continue searching for a way into that ship.”
No sooner had the words been uttered, the climbing rope that had been dangling over the edge for the team to repel down on began to move as Paul began to scale it back up the cliff face. The movement startled Dotan and in the blink of an eye, his grip gave way and he went careening over the edge.
“DOTAN!” screamed his two friends in unison.
Paul looked up at the sound of the screams and saw the teenage body hurtling toward him and instinctively went to reach for it. He managed to grab hold, but the momentum was too great and he too got pulled along with the rapidly falling teen. In a matter of seconds Paul and Dotan plummeted the remaining distance and the two became impaled on one of the sharp stalagmites at the base of the cliff.
Hearing the screams, Sumiko came rushing to Paul and the unknown teen’s aid. She frantically slapped her combadge with her hand “Tamura to Atlantia. Medical emergency. Paul and one unknown humanoid to beam directly to sickbay!” she said to whomever would be listening on the other end.
The two bodies dematerialized as they beamed to the ship as instructed. Sumiko looked up toward the top of the climbing rope and saw the dim outline of the two remaining boys hovering over the cliff’s edge. While she acted instinctively to save her colleague, her gut sank as she knew they had been spotted.