Ready or not...
Posted on Wed Oct 11th, 2017 @ 8:40pm by Captain Azala Kahn
Location: starbase 55
Captain Azala Kahn stood within the Strategic Operations department on Starbase 55. She was before a wall full of monitors with a central, circular console where a few officers stood. They were tapping keys and glancing up at the screens, one of them with the rank of commander and the lead on this shift. "Commander Frost, what am I looking at? I see a probe doing what it is supposed to, a flash, and then the feed dies."
"Precisely, Captain Lahn." Frost came around and stood next to Azala, a PADD in hand as he manipulated the monitors in front of them. "See here?" He stepped forward and pointed to one screen in particular. "Standard operating procedure. The probe is out in wild space, going over probe data from over 40 years ago, making sure that all that had been noted previously was still there, or in fact, even existed. The probe detected this star system some one hundred light years from our current location and diverted its course to investigate. Once it dropped from warp, within the system, it detected an impulse churn heading directly for the star system. The probe switched course again to intercept and catalog the odd signature when it was enveloped in an energy cascade which damaged the comm feed. After we analyzed the sensor data it was discovered that the flash of energy was in fact pure anti-proton."
"Anti-proton?" Kahn looked at the man, incredulous.
"Yes, Captain." Frost came back to her side, facing the screens as he tapped keys. "After digging into past research and data we found that Starfleet had dealt with a similar situation in the past, and a rather famous one at that. Captain Kirk and the Enterprise, NCC-1701 I might add, faced off with what they dubbed as a Planet Killer. That device used anti-proton beams to cut planets up into smaller chunks to be consumed for fuel so it could move on to the next."
"I read about that in the Academy, during my Command courses," replied Kahn. "Kirk ordered Spock to take command of the Enterprise from Commodore Decker, on his personal authority as Captain. Spock did so, which led to Decker assaulting Security and stealing a shuttle. Decker's actions were wrong but did lead to a way of stopping the machine, through his own death-suicide."
Frost nodded, his eyes showing he was serious and a bit forlorn. "Decker tried to destroy it with a shuttle down its throat. Not enough oomph. That's when Kirk decided to risk his own life and shove the USS Constellation down the machine's throat and stop it. It was a gamble, but it worked. 97.865 megatons of fusion reaction blasted into the internals of the machine. We have detailed scans and data from the Starfleet Corps of Engineers going over the device with a fine toothed comb. But, honestly, most of it had been destroyed internally with the fusion reaction."
Kahn stood and crossed her arms over her chest, her right hand playing with her chin as she read from several screens over the next few minutes. It had gone quiet what with Commander Frost checking other probes out that way. "Any other probes detect this type of thing, out that way?"
Frost gave her a serious gaze. "Yes. Two probes that were ahead of this one have also stopped signaling, and they were light years ahead of it. If this is a planet killer, then it stands to reason it is scanning systems close enough for consumption from the last, and just following that course as it continues to move on. IF it is a planet killer. We just don't know with our limited information."
"Sovereign can go out and check it out," stated Kahn. "The repairs have gone well enough and what is left can be done while on patrol. Send word to the base commander that Sovereign volunteers."
Frost tapped a text and sent it.
Azala took a step closer to all the monitors, her eyes scanning the readouts for any indication that this was, truly, a planet killer. But, the data was just to piece-meal, and there were no visuals of the device or machine responsible. Hell, it could be any number of things. But, if it was a planet killer, and Kahn was not ready to say it wasn't, then it was on a direct course for Federation space. The death toll would be catastrophic as this device carved out star systems for fuel, obliterating not only colonies but the worlds they thrived on.
Frost spoke up. "The base commander is in agreement, Captain. Sovereign, ready or not, is given leave to launch and begin her duties. This cannot be ignored."
Kahn turned and shook hands. "Thank you, Commander Frost. I'll head back and get us prepared for departure. Crew is full up, we just have some more maintenance and minor repairs to see to in flight. Have a good day." The Commander voiced a salutation to Kahn as the Captain left Strategic Operations, a briskness in her steps that denoted focus. She tapped her combadge. "Captain Kahn to Sovereign. Command staff briefing, main briefing room in one hour. Kahn out." Azala continued to make her way through the massive Starbase.