USS Odyssey (NCC-80000),
The Belt of the Tkon Outreach, Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
“ECH Log, stardate seven-six-five-one-two-point-eight. After almost twelve hours in the radioactive nebula, which we have designated no-man’s land, we have had to undertake a number of course corrections due to gravimetric fluctuations and increase in radiation. The amount appears so above normal that I have had cetacean ops investigate this further. Lieutenant Commander Quendez believes his team has found something.”
For a hologram appearing in water did not bother Penelope in any shape or form. Her sudden appearance did startle some of the members of cetacean ops though as they were startled by the holoemitters bringing her to life in their presence. Some of the dolphins swam away while others gave her some distance before realising who she was.. It was the first time for the ECH to visit the large aquatic laboratory, also known as the aqua chamber. Penelope had not expected for the holoemitters to adjust her properties so that it appeared like she was floating, as a result she had to get her balance somewhat before Quendez approached her. Her swimming subroutine quickly switched on.
Normally the Antedean would be in his full uniform, as he was able to breathe above and below water, but in this area he only wore his underwater costume, which was skin tight but showed he was a member of the science division (just like most of the members of cetacean ops). Besides him swam Lieutenant Artir, the deputy manager of cetacean Ops. The Aquan man was a bulkier in size to his superior and wore a similar skin tight apparel. His green skin made him look like an Orion but his curly emerald hair, that gently floated in the water, and his flat nose and gills gave him a distinctive handsome look.
Before they reached her, Penelope adjusted her appearance template to reflect a similar uniform with her command red division showing and her hair tightly tied up.
“Gentlemen, your call sounded urgent.” Penelope said as she greeted them.
“It is.” Replied Quendez. “We’ve run a quantum analysis on the space we have had to alter course for and we’ve determined that they are not random fluctuations.” Activating a holographic console, he showed her the analysis they had undertaken which was a map showing the locations of every course correction made since entering the Belt. Then overlaying it was a range of further scans taken. He was right, there was certainly a pattern forming.
“So what are you saying? That something is making us change our course?” Penelope inquired after glancing at the analysis.
“Indeed.” Spoke Artir. “We believe something or someone is actually trying to bring us into the center a lot quicker.”
“So is someone trying to bait us into a certain location? Any reasons why?” Penelope asked.
“None that are clear to us now, but if we continue on our current path then we believe that we will reach the centre ahead of schedule.” Quendez shared. “So either someone wants us there fast for a reason or we are heading into a trap. It’s almost like some sort of tractor is dragging us there and nudging us along.”
“We know the Tkon have advanced technology and if we do find a beacon there, it may be what’s trying to draw us in.” Artir offered. “At the moment we don’t have enough data to truly speculate. Our Xindi-Aquatic think tank is currently determining how many variables could be at play here and what outcomes could take place.”
“What are your current suggestions then?” Penelope asked as she calculated their best course of action based on what she knew.
“Until we know more, stay on course and ensure we don’t get destroyed by the radiation. I want to send out several more probes to see if we could map some of the nebula. It may give us a better picture.” Quendez suggested.
“Do it.” Penelope ordered and looked around the large filled chamber. “Let me know if you find something. I’ve got to join the engineering team for a maintenance update, then on to see how our crew are doing.”
Both water breathing men nodded in acknowledgement as the ECH transferred from one room to another in a blink of an eye.
The rest of the ship was not as bright as cetacean ops, as a result, Penelope adjusted her optical subroutine to deal with the lowly lit engineering. Appearing in the middle of engineering, she looked over and saw the ‘Twins’. A pair of holographic engineers that worked in unison to lead the holographic engineering team in maintaining the ship’s systems. Appearing human as well, the two of them looked over to Penelope and reacted to her arrival.
“Penny!” They both said in unison.
Penelope had never understood why the Twins could not be made to look like Bynars or Miradorns, but instead Commander Hunsen had kept their templates appearing like a pair of humans in their late thirties. “Boys,” She said, greeting them. “What’s the latest?”
“Everything is working fine,” said Peter.
“But we have started to detect a drain on our energy reserves.” reported Benjamin.
Peter could be told apart from Benjamin by the fact that he had a streak of blonde hair at the front of his hair while Benjamin was just slightly smaller by two centimeters. Another reason why Hunsen had not changed their appearance was down to the fact the captain had named the Emergency Engineering Holographic Team after characters from one of his son’s favourite children’s stories. The group of six engineers had not followed in the tradition where McCallister had named her after Odysseus’ wife. Alongside Peter and Benjamin were their ‘sisters’; Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail. Each one of them had a responsibility for certain areas of the ship’s systems. Peter and Benjamin focussed on primary systems, while the sisters focussed on secondary systems while the sixth member of their team, Tiggy, was in charge of maintaining the emergency back-up systems.
“Coming from what?” Penelope quickly asked, alarmed to hear that they were losing power.
“The anomaly we are in.” Peter answered. “We are cutting all power to all decks we don’t need and keeping those essential systems we need online.”
Now with this added bonus, Penelope considered all of the variables. “Can we survive long enough to get through the nebula?”
Peter started to answer first, “Yes, but the moment the crew awake…”
“…we may find ourselves having to keep the ship in grey mode.” Benjamin finished.
“Great.” Penelope replied sarcastically. “Can we find a way to stop the drain?”
“We’re trying.” Peter answered. “Tiggy is already looking at alternative ways to maintain our systems and the girls are running system checks to see what the long term effects the drain will have.”
“Could this day get any better?” Penelope moaned before she left engineering and made her way to the stasis catacomb.
The stasis catacomb, which Penelope believed was a horrible name for the shelter that protected the crew, was dimly lit like engineering. As such the ECH didn’t need to adjust her optical subroutine. Walking across the deck, she noticed that her medical counterpart was scanning one of the many stasis chambers.
“How’s it going Agnes?” Penelope asked.
“Still scanning,” the EMH replied. Doctor Angodice was named by the captain after the legendary figure credited as the first female physician in ancient Athens. Over the years after she was first activated, Doctor Slyvexs had shortened her name to Agnes. As a result, both Penelope and Agnes were kindred spirits in a holographic sense. “No news to report. How’s everything else going on the ship?”
“We’ve got a mysterious force dragging the ship on a particular heading that we have no clue why and something is draining our power. Except for all of that, everything is fine as well.” Penelope said as she noticed that Agnes was scanning their guest, Professor Shu’varn. The large Pendari, from the captain’s records, had protested a bit before agreeing to enter stasis. Doctor Slyvexs had left standing orders for Agness to scan him regularly as she was unsure of what effect the stasis chamber would have on his physiology.
“Anything I should worry about in regards to the catacomb being affected?” Agnes asked as she moved onto the next chamber.
“Not for now, no.” Penelope said. “But just make sure your portable emitter is closeby.”
Pulling the device she had been given over twelve hours by Penelope, out of her side pocket while still scanning, Agnes showed she had it close by. “I know if I go offline that Doctor Slyvexs would probably request for a new EMH. I’m not upsetting her.”
Smirking at the comment, Penelope had gotten to know the chief medical officer as someone who had not always been best pleased in using holograms but since being in charge of Odyssey’s medical facilities, over the years Slyvexs had come to rely on Agnes quite a bit. She was certain that a sense of loyalty was there for her counterpart.
“I’ll leave you to it.” Penelope remarked and then transferred herself back to the bridge.
The moment she was back on the darkened bridge, she uplinked with the short and long range scans to update herself with what the ship could see. Besides radioactive space clouds, there was nothing else for her attention. This trip was becoming boring, even for her own program to deal with. Sitting in the captain’s chair, she began to review the latest shipwide diagnostics to keep herself occupied while also calculating every variable shared with her about their apparent upcoming doom. She accessed the Starfleet database as well to research if there was anything like this that others in the past had to deal with, and if so, how they dealt with it. She knew the think-tank in cetacean ops would be a lot more rigorous with their analysis but until they made up their minds, which could take some time due to Xindi-Aquatics known for taking time to make a decision, she had to be more prepared.