Matthew materialized in the cave with his toolkit in hand and two large storage containers at his sides. With any luck, he had everything he needed to get the obelisk the captain told him about working again. “Tamura…Mathers, are you there?” he said, calling out for his colleagues.
“Over here!” replied Mathers from a distance.
Matthew gawked in amazement at the large vessel as he followed the direction from where the sound of the lieutenant came. Never had he seen something look so old, yet so modern. It was an engineer’s dream, but it wasn’t his reason for being there. He approached Mathers who had been sitting on a nearby boulder, waiting for something to do. “What have we got?” he said to him.
“Obelisk here seems to be emanating a subspace signal, very faint. Captain told Harrison it might be a beacon and we needed to restore it. Didn’t catch why.”
“Alright, let me take a look.”
Matthew pulled out his tricorder and began his scans. Everything looked as expected; the frequency, the modulation, all was within a tolerance for transmitting a signal. The only issue seemed to be a lack of power. The tricorder obviously wasn’t going to tell him anything at this point that would help him. He had to either find the source of the energy drain or find a way to get it some power. He turned his examination next to the obelisk itself.
The obelisk was approximately one and a half meters square at its base. At the base around the perimeter there were several embossed markings, pictographs of sorts. The imagery was impossible to distinguish due to the surface erosion over the course of however long the obelisk had been placed there. There also appeared to be a rectangular cover panel in the center of several of the markings on one of the faces. Matthew kneeled down and attempted to open the panel but it was sealed tight. He then tried to touch, slide or turn to no avail some of the embossed markings in the hopes that any one of them could have been a locking mechanism to open the panel.
Suddenly, the obelisk and the wreckage behind the two men experienced a small surge in power. Various parts of the obelisk, invisible to the naked eye, lit up from under layers of dust that had accumulated over millennia. The ship appeared to be powering up as if beginning a pre-launch sequence. After a few seconds both returned to their previously unpowered state.
“What the hell was that?!” Mathers said as he nearly fell backward off the boulder.
“Your guess is as good as mine. Where’s Tamura?”
“I don’t know. I suspect by now she’s found a way inside that thing” Mathers replied pointing at the ship.
Matthew tapped his combadge in an attempt to contact his Operations colleague, “Forrester to Tamura, what’s your status?”
“I’m inside this ship. Don’t tell me…you want to know if I know anything about that power surge?” Tamura replied.
“How did you guess?”
“Well, that’s because it was probably me. I found what appears to be the engine core of this thing. There’s a small reaction chamber that was open on it. I closed it so that I could try to bring the engine back online but there doesn’t seem to be sufficient fuel to keep it running.”
Matthew took a moment to process what he had just heard and the observations he had witnessed outside. The moment the ship powered up, so did the obelisk. Could they have been trying to transfer power to the obelisk and then run out of fuel? Six hundred thousand years is a long time, and maybe nothing on this planet was compatible.
“I’m coming in there.”
Matthew joined Sumiko after a couple of minutes and she explained to him everything she had done since being able to get into the ship including how she found the reaction chamber. He proceeded to examine the chamber, in particular noting how in essence it operated very much like the warp reaction chambers on starfleet vessels. The main difference being that it operated with a fuel that produced a much larger reaction than that of matter and antimatter using dilithium crystals as indicated by the heavily reinforced chamber walls.
He thought for a moment. With a few modifications, he could easily convert the engine to run on Starfleet technology. It may not get the same lifecycle, but if necessary, Starfleet could schedule routine expeditions to service the engine and keep it running after they were gone.
Not being a fan of awkward silences, Sumiko politely interrupted Matthew’s thoughts out of concern for her other colleague in sickbay, “How’s Paul doing?”
“Hmm? Oh. I’m not sure. I didn’t see him. I beamed down not long after the Captain requested it. I’m sure he’s doing fine though. We’ve got one of the best doctors in the fleet. I’m sure you heard about his mission on the Hiawatha. The man discovered that the plague that was infecting the local population was actually a biological weapon. If he can do that, Paul’s got nothing to worry about.”
Feeling comforted, Sumiko let Matthew continue with his work. He contacted the ship to request the needed materials that he had not previously beamed down with and then started with the conversion.
It took the better part of a couple of hours to make the necessary modifications, but as the last of the fuel was being loaded into their respective tanks, Matthew closed the reaction chamber door. Instantly the engines began to power back up as if by design, and this time the power stayed on. If all had gone well, Matthew knew that the obelisk would also be lit up. He called the lieutenant to confirm his assumption.
“It’s lit up like a Christmas tree out here. Power levels are rising. I think we’ve done it.”
The team would have to do some more research, but it would seem that the vessel was sent to repair the obelisk, rather than for military purposes and in doing so, they became stranded. Matthew contacted the ship and notified them of their completion and then packed up his remaining tools in order to beam back to the ship.