Episode 1.1: Sidetracked - Into Orbit
Episode 1.1: Sidetracked
Location: Bridge, USS Aeon
Estrad stepped out of the turbolift and headed down towards his command chair. The viewscreen showed passing stars indicating that they were still at warp.
"Commander, report," Estrad ordered.
"Almost there, Captain," replied Barim, comfortably in Estrad's chair. He got up and politely gesture Estrad towards it.
"Very good. Go to yellow alert," Estrad ordered as he sat down in his chair. A few more seconds passed.
"Approaching the system now, sir." Marla leaned across her console and with a few taps eased the ship out of warp. She looked up at the view screen, "Looks… uninviting."
The view screen changed to reveal a planet orbiting an orange star. The glow of the sun reflected off the atmosphere of the K-Class planet to give it an almost ethereal look. Various dust clouds could be seen even at the low magnitude view of the planet they currently had.
Estrad pulled himself away from the screen and glanced towards his tactical chief. "Lieutenant Hawke, what have we got?" he asked.
Hawke was peering at the readout on the tactical scan he had initiated as soon as they dropped from warp. It wasn't a full scientific scan, but rather a targeted scan designed to pick up anything that might pose a threat to the ship's safety - artificial structures, like ships and stations, or even rocks or radiation sources the might be a little too close for comfort. The result was pretty much what he anticipated. "Nothing, skipper," he reported. "System is all clear."
"Captain, we're getting some interference that seems to emanate from the planet. We won't be able to go to warp unless we put some distance between us and the planet again," Cheldu interjected. "I'll try to modulate the deflector to see if I can clear it out."
"There isn't much information on this place, but there is some," Castor spoke up, while reading one of the wall mounted displays, "Nothing about warp interference or communication disruption though, not even on a small scale as far as I can find." He frowned, taking in the information before him, "Is it something that was always here but inactive, or did it come here from someplace else?"
Estrad's eyebrows raised. Something was definitely not right about this planet. Random subspace signals that caused communication disruption and warp interference around the planet was all too fishy. "I guess we best take a look then," he spoke thoughtfully.
"Let's take her into orbit," said Barim.
"Aye, sir." Closer to the unsettling world it is then, she thought.
The impulse engines stirred as Marla eased the Aeon into a high orbit. A standard orbit would have sufficed but she felt that staying out of weapons range of the surface might be a good idea… just in case. Some of the large storm systems on the world below reminded her of Kalan, but the foreboding feeling she had about the planet was anything but like arriving home.
"Scan the planet," Estrad requested. "What have we got? Any signs of life?"
The Aeon's powerful sensors directed at the planet and quickly soaked up a significant amount of data. Data scrolled up Hawke's console, showing what was no doubt fascinating information about the planet's composition, it's atmosphere and it's geology. It had a thin oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere, breathable but not comfortable and tainted with slightly elevated carbon dioxide levels. Several large windstorms were tearing across the southern hemisphere while the surface temperature had a range of 40 degrees Celsius down to about minus one hundred and forty. There was no liquid water, but traces of water ice at the poles. It also featured a massive mountain range with a monstrous highest peak of almost thirty-eight kilometres, at least three other geological curiosities and two volcanoes showing signs of recent activity.
None of which was of interest to the Security Chief, who scrolled through all that irrelevant minutia to the important result. "Negative signs of life, Captain," Hawke reported, shaking his head. He looked up and added, "There's nothing down there."
Ohlasa responded. "Captain, I'm detecting a few anomalies on and below the surface. Very faint, so most likely it's just interference, but it might be someone or something hidden by a dampening field."
"Interesting," Estrad acknowledged them both. He contemplated the planet below for a bit. "I guess that leaves us no choice but to investigate the matter. Commander," he concluded, looking pointedly to his side.
"I'm afraid beaming down isn't an option due to the interference, Captain. The team will need to take a shuttle down to investigate." Ohlasa continued.
"Sounds like fun," said Barim. "Miss Kanso, Mister Hawke... I would like to have you two along with me."
Captain Estrad Dagan
Commander Barim Nash
Lieutenant Lucius Hawke
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
Ensign Marla Kanso
Chief Flight Control Officer
Ensign Castor Navin
Ensign Ohlasa (NPC)
Acting Chief Science Officer