Updated: Mar 20
A unusual planet offers even more unusual findings when a submersible survey stumbles across a piece of surprisingly relevant ancient history...
Keliaya@anncarise FX | It has been over a week since the Valley Forge rescued the young Orion girl from the freighter. After contacting nearby New World patrols, one of their Toroki mercenary groups have taken the - Keliaya@anncarise - derelict and survivor back home, and the Valley Forge resumes its journey rimward... Keliaya@anncarise | Keelah stands in a turbolift by herself as it heads up to the bridge. Before it reaches there, it makes another stop and Kelly strolls in as the doors swing open. Keliaya@anncarise smiles, "Morning, Captain. I assume you got Vrolmacht's notification that we're approaching a new system as well?" Keelah@crystyll nods, "Indeed, though he didn't say much more than that. You know anything else yet?" Keliaya@anncarise: "Only that it's a system of interest Gwi identified shortly after we left Colonial Space. Likely to have a life-bearing planet, that is." Keliaya@anncarise: "It's quite refreshing to get back to exploration again after all that. The unknown has its own set of issues and dangers, but I prefer handling that over politics any day." Keelah@crystyll smiles a little, "You and me both" Keliaya@anncarise FX | The lift stops upon reaching the bridge, and the doors slide open. Keelah@crystyll | Crystyl glances over, "Captain on deck" Keelah@crystyll waves her usual casual dismissal as she moves to her station, "What's the situation?" Keliaya@anncarise moves over to take the engineering station. Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "ETA's four an' a half minutes." Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Nothing on long-range sensors at the moment. No sign of ships or advanced technology, but we are not close enough yet to detect anything pre-industrial." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie arrives from turbolift, looking around as she takes her station, "Good, I ain't late" Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "Not at all! Still four minutes till we get there." Keelah@crystyll: "Just the one M-class planet in the system?" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Yes, Captain." Keliaya@anncarise: "I'm getting something. It looks like a tech signature near the third planet." Keelah@crystyll: "Let's see it" Keliaya@anncarise: "It looks like it can be an artificial satellite, but we'll need to be closer to get more readings on it." Keelah@crystyll: "Continue our approach and monitor for opening comms" Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "Aye aye, Cap'n." Keliaya@anncarise FX | Three minutes pass quietly, with no sign of comm activity or additional sensor readings. Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "Droppin' outta warp on ten." Keliaya@anncarise FX | The starstreaks slowly turn back to regular dots in the darkness ahead. Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Early scans show unusual meteorological activity on th'surface" Keliaya@anncarise: "That's definitely a satellite as well. Looks like...Arshai technology?" Keelah@crystyll: "I don't recall any points of interest flagged up out here by the Colonial Fleet... abandoned insustrial unit, perhaps?" Keliaya@anncarise: "I think it's a monitoring satellite. Still active, but very old. Not sure if its signals are even going back to the New World anymore." Keliaya@anncarise: "I can see if Mana knows anything about it." Keelah@crystyll nods, "Please do. Run a diagnostic scan in the mean time too" Keliaya@anncarise: "On it, Captain." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Can maybe get more on th'planet surface readin's from short range sensors if we close" Keelah@crystyll nods, "If the satellite scan comes back negative, and Mana has no insight; then we will proceed into orbit" Keliaya@anncarise announces, "Mana has something. Apparently this planet confounded the Researcher's Guild when it was first discovered, so the Colonial Fleet deployed that satellite to gather data for long-term - Keliaya@anncarise: - study. The data didn't help them understand any better, and no ship could manage to make it into the eye of the storm, so the research fell into obscurity." Keliaya@anncarise: "The satellite is defunct, but if we retrieve it, we might be able to extract its computer core." Keelah@crystyll: "Seems a good place to start then. Helm; take us into synchronous orbit with the satellite" Keelah@crystyll: "Kelly, do you think you can remotely retrieve it's core?" Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "Aye, Cap'n." Keliaya@anncarise: "With the current state of the satellite, we might still be able to link in and upload the information directly." Keliaya@anncarise FX | As the VF moves to enter orbit around the planet, it draws closer on the viewscreen... Keliaya@anncarise FX | https://i.imgur.com/HJOgmtc.png Keelah@crystyll watches a moment, "...that is quite the weatherfront indeed" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie pours over the readings, "Ain't no way tha's naturally occurin', Cap'n" Keelah@crystyll: "So someone forced it. The question then is who... and why..." Keliaya@anncarise: "There's ruins across the planet, but no sign of whoever used to live there. Maybe it was a weapon, to wipe out whatever civilization inhabited this world." Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Or an experiment gone wrong." Keelah@crystyll: "Possible, but still... weaponized weather does not seem a particularly efficient method. An experiment of some sort, maybe" Keliaya@anncarise: "It's hard to tell how advanced they were from what's left, but there's no sign of any space junk. I don't think the natives here ever made it into space, and I'm not sure they have the technology - Keliaya@anncarise: - to do this to their own weather, intentionally or not." Keliaya@anncarise: "Anyways, my techs are starting to extract data from the satellite now. We'll send over anything we have to you, Commander," she looks over to Lennie. Keelah@crystyll | Lennie nods, "Thanks. S'kinda hard t'see wha's goin' on under all tha'" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie, "Ok yeah... so somethin' at th'eye's emittin' frequent energy discharges into th'upper atmosphere. Definitely advanced tech" Keelah@crystyll: "I suppose this is the part where you tell me the only way we will learn more is to go down there...?" Keelah@crystyll gives Lennie a knowing look, like peering over the rim of her glasses if she wore any Keelah@crystyll | Lennie smirks, "Y'know me so well Cap'n" Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "No shuttle's gonna make that trip, though. Not even the sturdiest runabout." Keelah@crystyll: "Well, if you can prove a safe means to get in and out then we shall sate your curiosity" Keelah@crystyll: "Transporters?" glances back to Kelly Keliaya@anncarise shakes her head, "Far too much interference. But there might be a way..." Keelah@crystyll: "Go on" Keliaya@anncarise: "Remember when you jumped into orbit with the Valley Forge to save us from the Syndicate?" Keliaya@anncarise: "Our new armour will be able to take the weather. If we go in low enough, we can bypass the worst of it, and deploy a shuttle from there." Keelah@crystyll: "Like you will ever let me forget that with your highlighted structural integrity repairs on the weekly reports..." she chuckles some Keelah@crystyll hrms, "Would we be able to hold position down there while the shuttle mission is out?" Keliaya@anncarise: "Once we're past the worst of it, we should be able to. I wouldn't recommend going directly into the eye of the storm, though. The shuttle will have to navigate its way in." Keelah@crystyll: "What about communications with the shuttle?" Keliaya@anncarise: "Hard to say, but concentrated energy can definitely pass through the storm, as the energy pulses from the eye shows. If the shuttle gets into trouble, a low-powered phaser emission should function - Keliaya@anncarise: - as an SOS flare if comms stop working." Keelah@crystyll: "Alright... we'll give it a timed run then" Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "I can take the shuttle! If ya want me to o' course, Cap'n." Keelah@crystyll smiles, "I can't think of anyone better suited" Keliaya@anncarise | Ann smiles back, "I'll have Fisher take over the Forge, then." Keelah@crystyll turns to Lennie, "It's your mission, Commander. Prep your team and go dig up a mystery" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie grins, "Aye Cap'n!" and joins Ann at the turbolift Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Armour generators are standing by to deploy, Captain. We are ready to enter the atmosphere as soon as Fisher takes the helm." Keliaya@anncarise: "I'm rerouting all the power we can spare to the generators and reinforcing our SIF just in case." Keelah@crystyll: "We'll move as soon as the shuttle is ready to deploy" Keliaya@anncarise FX | A few minutes later, Fisher is on the helm of the ship, and the shuttle team reports that they are all set. Keelah@crystyll: "Ok, bring the armour online and set a course into the storm" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht nods, "Bringing armour online." Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "Course set, Captain. Ready to engage on your mark." Keelah@crystyll: "Take us down" Keliaya@anncarise | The fully armoured VF descends towards the planet, the trademark flare of entering atmosphere blazing around it. The brightness is soon replaced by a thick, dark layer of cloud, lit by every - Keliaya@anncarise: - other second by the flash of lightning which looks much more powerfully charged than any storm they had seen before. The frequency and intensity of these strikes increase as they descend further, - Keliaya@anncarise: - and before long, the Valley Forge shakes from a direct hit, then two... Keliaya@anncarise | It doesn't take long until the ship is constantly shaking, and everyone is bracing onto their consoles to prevent themselves from falling down. Keelah@crystyll: "Armour status?" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Armour integrity at 80% and dropping. This is no ordinary storm." Keliaya@anncarise | A particularly powerful strike sends the bridge shaking more violently, and some of the lights flicker for a moment. Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "70%. It is not difficult to believe that this may have been the result of some weapon now..." Keliaya@anncarise: "We'll be out of the worst of it in a minute..." Keelah@crystyll taps her comm panel, "Bridge to hangar control, "We're going to need a rapid deployment here" Keelah@crystyll: "Mr. Fisher, prepare for a quick turnaround to get us back out" Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "Aye Captain." Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "60%. 50." Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "Thirty more seconds until we reach optimal deployment point..." Keliaya@anncarise: "Looks like the storm is getting less intense down here." Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Armour is holding at 50% at the moment." Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "Five seconds." Keelah@crystyll: "If it drops any further we will have to abort" Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "Three...two...one..." Keelah@crystyll | Crystyl: "Shuttle is away" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "We should have just enough armour to make it back out." Keelah@crystyll watches the shutte move away on the viewscreen, "Mr. Fisher take us out" Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher nods, "Taking us out." Keliaya@anncarise | The VF heads back up as the tiny shuttle that has just departed from it makes towards the centre of the massive storm... --- Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The shuttle departs the hangar into a dramatic lightning storm above a violent ocean... Ann Carter@anncarise weaves through the lightning strikes, but the shuttle rocks slightly as one manages to land nearby. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Okay, tha' lightnin's gonna be a problem..." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Water conducts electricity, but a body o' water like tha' is gonna spread it out evenly enough tha' we ain't gonna be constantly electrified, right?" Lendaria@crystyll: "Th'hull ought'a do a decent enough job, sure" Ann Carter@anncarise: "I'm thinkin' we'll have a better chance o' makin' it to the middle o' that by travellin' under the water." Ann Carter@anncarise points to the eye of the storm, where the lightning strikes almost non-stop, seemingly all concentrated on the same spot. Lendaria@crystyll: "I trust ya, Sweets" Ann Carter@anncarise nods, "Alrighty, takin' us underwater." Ann Carter@anncarise | The shuttle dives down into the ocean, the flashes of lightning continuing to be visible above them for several seconds until the shuttle travels deep enough that the darkness of the ocean - Ann Carter@anncarise: - obscures anything above it. Lendaria@crystyll breathes a sigh of relief, "Now then, le's see wha's down 'ere. Soon's mah eyeballs stop rattlin'..." Lendaria@crystyll: "Ok, no evolved life in scan range. Bacterial only s'far..." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Sorry 'bout the rough ride. Not much I can do with the weather..." Lendaria@crystyll: "I'm-a seein' signs o'structures deeper down though. Looks like they'se stretchin' all th'way to th'eye" Ann Carter@anncarise: "No life still, though?" Lendaria@crystyll shakes her head, "Nadda" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Wanna check 'em out still, or head right for the centre o' the storm to figure out just wha's goin' on here?" Lendaria@crystyll: "Le's continue on course an' see wha' we see along th'way" Ann Carter@anncarise nods and continues flying the shuttle onwards. Several minutes pass in the quiet depths of the ocean, a stark contract to the flashing skies they knew were above them. Lendaria@crystyll smiles, enjoying the serenity of it, "S'kinda nice down 'ere when ya look at it" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Yeah. It's like space, all quiet an' empty an' good for thinkin' in." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Hard to believe we're still on the same planet as tha' monster storm up there." Lendaria@crystyll: "Tha's wha' I love 'bout storms" Ann Carter@anncarise smiles, "I can see wha' ya mean." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Looks like elevation is startin' to rise here. We're probably gonna be at the sea bed soon if we don't pull up, an' we'll probably get some ruins in our sights." Lendaria@crystyll: "Aight, stay sharp on th'horizon - f'wha' it is - an' I'll keep watchin' ahead for ya" Ann Carter@anncarise nods and taps away at her pilot's console. Lendaria@crystyll: "Elevation's risin' almost back up t'sea level ahead. Keep on th'bed long as ya can though, I wanna get a better look at these ruins as we gets closer" Ann Carter@anncarise nods, "I'll keep us by the bed long as I can." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | As the sea bed comes into view, Ann taps her console and lights emanate from the front of the shuttle illuminating a small area before them, allowing them to barely make out the ruins in the - Ann Carter@anncarise - darkness: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/79/23/95/79239553712912702356b539f9d4c4b5.jpg Lendaria@crystyll: "Well would ya look at tha'..." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Like a whole lost world down here..." Ann Carter@anncarise | The shuttle hovers from ruined structure to ruined structure, each in a similar state of decay. Lendaria@crystyll: "Capturin' all I can, but so far nothin' t'help solve this mystery" Ann Carter@anncarise: "I'm sure some o' the archaeology folks in ya department would love this data, though." Lendaria@crystyll: "No doubt of it!" Lendaria@crystyll: "Still wouldn't mind figurin' out this storm though, even if just for a smoother ride back" she chuckles Ann Carter@anncarise: "You an' me both..." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The shuttle continues to ascend while sticking by the rising sea floor, passing ruin after ruin. Lendaria@crystyll: "Y'ain't gonna believe this Sweets, but I'm-a seein' fossilization down 'ere. There were definitely evolved life on this planet, so whever built this coulda been native" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Maybe ya can figure out wha' the natives were like from tha', too!" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Or wha' they looked like, at least." Lendaria@crystyll: "Yeah, I'm-a grab a sample wit' th'transporter if I can..." Lendaria@crystyll FX | A modest sample materializes inside a shielded quarantine inspection tank Lendaria@crystyll: "Nailed it!" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Good work, vijra! I'll keep gettin' us to the eye o' the storm while ya figure out the people here." Lendaria@crystyll: "Still tryin' a find clues as to wha's gone on 'ere" Lendaria@crystyll: "Lookin' at this sample, I'd-a say they was fairly typical bipeds. Maybe Preserver seeded" Lendaria@crystyll: "An' this structure definitely weren't built underwater. This was once dry land" Ann Carter@anncarise: "I'm guessin' tha' big storm was the reason it changed." Lendaria@crystyll nods, "Same" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Alright, we'll be comin' up on the centre soon. If there's answers, tha's where we'll find 'em." Lendaria@crystyll: "Stay sharp. No knowin' wha's ahead" Lendaria@crystyll: "Energy field showin' ahead. Could be linked to th'pulses" Ann Carter@anncarise: "We're gettin' close to the surface, but we should still be safely underwater when we reach the centre." Ann Carter@anncarise | Indeed, the flashes of lightning above come back into view, with greater frequency than before. As they approach the centre of the storm where lightning strikes every second, the light reveals - Ann Carter@anncarise: - the ominous silhouette of a tall, conical tower. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Tha' looks like it's survived a lot better than everythin' else." Lendaria@crystyll: "I think we'se found th'source o'things. Tha' structures a hella lot more advanced than anythin' else we seen 'ere" Ann Carter@anncarise: "An' this is right in the middle o' everythin' else...I don't like the look o' it." Lendaria@crystyll: "Yeah... don't risk gettin' too close. Le's jus' see wha' we can see on sensors" Lendaria@crystyll: "Huh..." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Wha'd ya find?" Lendaria@crystyll: "Tha' towers got like, a lightin' rod at it's peak. S'drivin' th'storm power through tha' place, like they'se channellin' it or somethin'" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Any clue how it's causin' this storm? Or if it is responsible in any way?" Lendaria@crystyll: "Is a reasonable leap, but still got nothin' conclusive beyond a definite connection" Ann Carter@anncarise nods, "Might need to get closer, or even inside to see, then. Think the energy'll affect us if we approach?" Lendaria@crystyll: "Was kinda hopin' ya'd see a convenient safe way through..." she chuckles Ann Carter@anncarise chuckles and taps her console, "Lemme see...well we're safe from the lightnin' underwater, an' it seems to be drawn to tha' rod anyways. This energy field looks like it's flowin' through the - Ann Carter@anncarise: - structure, like some kinda EPS, but I can't see any conduits or anythin'. But it ain't a force field or anythin' so it shouldn't block our way." Ann Carter@anncarise: "I think we should be safe to approach. Gettin' inside, well we'll have to find some kinda door for tha'. Definitely not beamin' through that energy field." Lendaria@crystyll: "Le's take a look then. Maybe once we'se closer I'll-a be able t'see somethin'" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Alright. I'll keep our shields on, just in case." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The shuttle approaches the tower, which becomes more visible under the light of the constant lightning. Ann Carter@anncarise | https://66.media.tumblr.com/ef3b9c45f7c393c1d2df17cfe289d3db/tumblr_novaz4xmtd1uw2knpo1_1280.jpg (But underwater!) Ann Carter@anncarise | As they draw even closer, the outside surface of the structure becomes distinct, something visibly advanced in nature. Ann Carter@anncarise | The shuttle's lights turn on again, scouring the side of the structure. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Wait, ya said all this didn't used to be underwater, right?" Lendaria@crystyll: "Yeah, no way all them ruins were always underwater. Why, ya got somethin'?" Ann Carter@anncarise: "If there is an entrance, it's not gonna be all the way up here if this wasn't built underwater..." Ann Carter@anncarise lowers the shuttle as they dive towards the bottom of the tower. Lendaria@crystyll smiles, "Tha's mah smart Sweets" Ann Carter@anncarise circles the shuttle around the tower bottom, the light soon coming upon what appears to be an old courtyard with a statue base and several pieces of broken statue around it. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Now tha's more like it..." Lendaria@crystyll: "Nice one!" Ann Carter@anncarise turns the shuttle towards the base of the tower, the lights falling upon a large entrance archway, "Aha!" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Well, one problem though..." Lendaria@crystyll tries to get full 3D scans of the fallen statue pieces to reconstruct into a theoretical model of the finished article Lendaria@crystyll: "Wha's tha'...?" she asks idly while working Ann Carter@anncarise: "There's a lotta water between us an' tha' door. We're gonna have to suit up, an' I know ya don't like tha..." Ann Carter@anncarise | Meanwhile Lennie's reconstruction runs slowly, as the statue is very damaged and eroded over the years... Lendaria@crystyll grumbles, "How're we f'time before the rv? we'se even got time for an EVA?" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Hmm...the energy ain't as strong just by the entrance. We...might be able to beam through, an' I don't see any water on the other side..." Lendaria@crystyll: "Lemme send a comms repeater through first. If we can successfully bounce a signal off it, an' beam it back then we should be good" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Good call. Don't wanna try with ourselves first." Lendaria@crystyll: "Aight, strong signal. Seems we'se good t'go" Ann Carter@anncarise grins, "Perfect." She stands and heads over to the transporter, retrieving hand phasers along the way and handing one to Lennie. Lendaria@crystyll: "Thanks Sweets" she smiles, taking the phaser as she joins Ann Ann Carter@anncarise heads over to the transporter, tapping the console to set the transport. Ann Carter@anncarise: "All set. C'mon." Lendaria@crystyll steps on to the pad, "Le's do it" Ann Carter@anncarise steps onto the pad as well, and the two dematerialize... Ann Carter@anncarise | The camera lingers as the statue reconstruction on Lennie's console completes to display... Ann Carter@anncarise | https://i.imgur.com/fvyEqiU.jpg Ann Carter@anncarise SOUND FX | https://youtu.be/m69iLwMa5c4?t=52 Ann Carter@anncarise and Lennie beam into an entrance hallway leading into a large central chamber. A single skeleton is reclined against the wall of the hall, wearing some form of long robe or dress which is now - Ann Carter@anncarise: - little more than a dusty rag as its shape can no longer be supported by the decomposed corpse. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Place is in good shape considerin', but it sure looks abandoned..." Lendaria@crystyll looks around, "Better shape than th'former occupant" she notes, moving to get a scan of the skeleton Ann Carter@anncarise | The skeleton has the exact same bone structure as the sample Lennie retrieved earlier. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Tha' one of the natives, or somethin' else? Like an offworld conquerer, maybe." Ann Carter@anncarise: "This place doesn't look like the locals built it." Lendaria@crystyll: "Yeah, this ain't consistent wit' everythin' else we seen. As for our old friend 'ere, could be local or not still" Ann Carter@anncarise takes a scan of the skeleton too, "No sign o' trauma to the bones. Could still be a flesh wound, though I don't see signs o' a fight in here." Ann Carter@anncarise: "An' they definitely didn't suffocate either, cause we're breathin'." Lendaria@crystyll stands back some, still looking at it, "I don't know, looks almost kinda... peaceful there, don't it" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Yeah. This whole place looks quiet an' peaceful." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Anyways, let's see wha' else we can find before we run outta time." Lendaria@crystyll nods, "Lotta mystery t'solve an' not a lotta time t'do it" she proceeds cautiously, letting her tricorder lead the way Ann Carter@anncarise | Energy readings are all around them, but the strongest seem to be coming from the top of the tower. Lendaria@crystyll looks for a way up to get closer to the source Ann Carter@anncarise | The only way ahead leads to the large central area with several other halls and doors extending from it. Perhaps one of them is or leads to a lift. Lendaria@crystyll: "C'mon, looks like some sorta central foyer ahead" Ann Carter@anncarise nods and moves ahead warily. Ann Carter@anncarise | As they approach the central foyer, what seems to be a huge stone slab in the centre is soon revealed to be the base of a massive statue stretching up the tower, a very similar statue to the - Ann Carter@anncarise: - one outside, depicting a great, muscular man holding a trident. Ann Carter@anncarise | On the huge stone base of the statue appears to be a number of inscriptions. Lendaria@crystyll slowly looks up at the statue as the draw near and it comes into focus, "Well tha's... somethin'..." Ann Carter@anncarise nods slowly, "Tha' is one big statue..." Lendaria@crystyll: "S'it just me, or he kinda look... Human? Th'Trident's a common enough feature in a lotta mythologies, but I'm-a almost positive it features heavily somewhere in Earth history too" Ann Carter@anncarise: "I'm probably not the best person to go to for Earth history, but he does look Human. Ain't the first species I've seen tha' looked like me, though..." Ann Carter@anncarise: "I mean the Regulators are almost exactly like Orions, save the skin colour." Lendaria@crystyll: "Yeah, well... nobody's perfect" she smirks a little Lendaria@crystyll: "See if ya can find a clear way up from these other entrances, would ya? I wanna get a closer read of these inscriptions" Lendaria@crystyll moves closer to the statue to get detailed scans of the inscriptions Ann Carter@anncarise nods and goes to check out the different doors and passageways as Lennie scans the inscriptions. Ann Carter@anncarise | The inscriptions are clearly in multiple different scripts and the UT instantly manages to recognize two of them. One an obscure ancient dialect from a minor Alpha Quadrant species, and the - Ann Carter@anncarise - other as ancient Greek... Lendaria@crystyll captures all the detail she can while Ann scouts around Ann Carter@anncarise | The recognized inscriptions all seem to read the same thing with slightly different wording: "Here lies/rests Poseidon/Poleshka, King/Ruler of the Land of Atlas/Alavei, Lord/Master of the - Ann Carter@anncarise - Sea/Waters and Storm, He who is a father to his children, a brother to his kin/kind, He whose wrath spares no enemy and whose protection shields all those He loves/cherishes..." Ann Carter@anncarise | The two recognized languages being the same also allows the UT to use the inscription as a Rosetta stone, quickly deciphering the other languages as well! Lendaria@crystyll: "Hey Sweets, be careful yeah. I'se think we found th'eternal restin' place of someone preeeetty important..." Ann Carter@anncarise calls over, "I found a lift, just gettin' it to work again! Wha'd ya find?" Lendaria@crystyll joins her, "Th'name Poseidon mean anythin' to ya?" Ann Carter@anncarise looks over, "I...think I've heard somethin' like tha' readin' up on Earth culture, but I'm not sure..." Lendaria@crystyll: "I ain't surprised. Some o'this scriptin's already in our database... from ancient Earth!" Ann Carter@anncarise: "How'd somebody all the way out here know a language from ancient Earth? Most o' the species we met so far needed to adjust to Federation basic..." Lendaria@crystyll: "This ain't Basic, this's somethin' called... Gre-eek? Very ancient Sweets" Ann Carter@anncarise: "We didn't find another Forged Earth, did we...or wha's left o' one." Lendaria@crystyll: "From th'timelines, y'all had barely even started t'explore ya oceans, let alone th'stars durin' tha' time" Lendaria@crystyll glances back up at the statue, "Like I said... ancient an' important..." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Huh...guess we'll just have to see if there's more answers up there," She looks back to the door she was at before. Lendaria@crystyll: "Got it workin'?" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Door works, but I can't find a way to call the lift down." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The door slides open as she approaches, revealing an empty shaft, "Unless..." Lendaria@crystyll heads over to see if a fresh set of eyes might help Lendaria@crystyll: "Unless...?" Ann Carter@anncarise takes out her tricorder and checks up instead of around the door, "Unless there's no lift." Ann Carter@anncarise tosses the tricorder in and smiles as it just hovers there, "Yup." Lendaria@crystyll grins, "Shiny" Ann Carter@anncarise: "C'mon!" Ann Carter@anncarise steps into the shaft and retrieves her tricorder before pushing herself off the floor and floating in seemingly near-zero gravity up towards the top. Lendaria@crystyll steps in right behind Ann and floats up with her Ann Carter@anncarise | They float in darkness for a time before platforms with glowing railings begin appearing, "Which level do ya think we should go to?" Lendaria@crystyll: "Sweets please, when'dya know any Orion not go all th'way?" Ann Carter@anncarise grins, "Thought as much!" Lendaria@crystyll chuckles, looking up as they aim for the highest level they can reach Ann Carter@anncarise waits until she reaches the topmost level before grabbing one of the railings and pulling herself onto the platform before turning to help Lennie up. Lendaria@crystyll takes Ann's hand as she - slightly less gracefully than she'd like - exits the gravity lift, "Whew, that were fun!" Ann Carter@anncarise grins, "Don't get to experience those very often! Most places in the Federation stick with lifts from wha' I've seen." Lendaria@crystyll: "Yeah, never quite got why... Anyways, wha' we got now..." she scans around again for the energy source Ann Carter@anncarise they step out into a much smaller circular room at the top of the building. The roof in the centre seems to be open as a massive trident reaches up into the sky, attracting bolt after bolt of - Ann Carter@anncarise - lightning. The energy seems to be coming from the lightning, channeled through the trident and circulated into the building. Around the trident are a number of skeletons and a variety of ruined - Ann Carter@anncarise: - pieces of equipment. Lendaria@crystyll: "Goddess, I could see mahself to retirement in this room alone..." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Well, I could do without the bodies..." Lendaria@crystyll chuckles, "Oh no, retirment itself's still gonna be our place on Legia I reckon. But th'work before tha'... got a lifetime in studyin' this place" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Tha' ya can!" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Let's not get too close to the middle, I got a feelin' tha's wha' happened to the bones in there." Lendaria@crystyll nods, "Don't gotta tell me twice. Just a lil' static an' mah hair never wants t'settle, let alone tha' much juice!" Lendaria@crystyll chuckles to herself as she continues to cautiously survey the room Ann Carter@anncarise begins to survey the room as well, noticing that there are bodies on the edge, and what seems to be various rigged up bits of tech. Ann Carter@anncarise: "All this stuff's pre-warp. Electricity-based, some o' it even steam-based. Definitely way behind the tech of the tower here." Lendaria@crystyll: "S'a lotta common mythology where lesser developed species come t'worship more powerful beings as deities. Tha' kinda direct interaction were pretty common among some species in ancient past" Lendaria@crystyll: "Could be, whoever were responsible f'this place did th'same an'maybe these locals were tryin' t'interact wit'their deity" Ann Carter@anncarise takes another look up at the giant trident channeling the lightning, "I can believe tha'..." Ann Carter@anncarise | As Lennie looks around, she notices several workstations set up in the corner of the room. Many of them have old papers and diagrams on them, now covered by dust or worn away, but one - Ann Carter@anncarise: - part of the room appears to have a very large and unwieldy computer with a big screen set up. Ann Carter@anncarise FX | https://live.staticflickr.com/4132/5039526131_e1c0f8c571_b.jpg Lendaria@crystyll gives an impressed whistle as she looks at the machine, "Kelly'd have a field day wit' this thing..." Ann Carter@anncarise steps over with Lennie, "Tha's definitely some real old tech. Like a very early computer or somethin'." Ann Carter@anncarise smirks, "The kinda tech I know best." Lendaria@crystyll looks around again, "Ya can almost see th'countless generations o'locals tryin' better ways t'interact wit' this thing..." Ann Carter@anncarise takes out her tricorder and gives it a scan, "Looks like it's outta power, but I'm sure I can rig up somethin' from all the stuff lyin' around in the rest o' the room." Lendaria@crystyll smiles back, "Think ya can learn anythin' from it?" Ann Carter@anncarise: "We'll have to see when we get it online. Think we got...maybe ten, fifteen minutes to spare?" Lendaria@crystyll checks their mission time and nods, "Jus' make it a quick ten or fifteen. I'll-a keep studyin' wha' I can read in th'meantime" Ann Carter@anncarise nods, "Time to work some scavver magic, then." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | Lennie manages to verify that the lightning strikes appear to be powering the building, but only a fraction of the power is used to operate things like gravity lifts, doors, lights, etc. The - Ann Carter@anncarise - majority is being used for something, but she can't determine what exactly. Lendaria@crystyll fiddles with her tricorder, "Boy, I wish Kelly were 'ere. I'm-a kinda lost tryin'a figure out where all this power's goin'..." Ann Carter@anncarise continues tinkering around with the various bits and pieces of pre-warp tech around the room, "I think I can get this computer powered back up soon. Got the monitor hooked in and this - Ann Carter@anncarise: - rigged generator's definitely workin'. One sec..." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The screen flashes with static as lights on the large computer begin blinking on and off. Ann Carter@anncarise: "Okay, tha' did somethin'..." Lendaria@crystyll moves back over to her, "Impressive!" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Now tha' it's powered up, we just gotta figure out how to use it..." Lendaria@crystyll checks it over for any kind of script she can decipher from her recent readings Ann Carter@anncarise | There seem to be buttons and keys all over the place with a variety of labels, one of the most prominent arrangements being a button titled 'Navigate' followed by 'Previous' and 'Next.' Lendaria@crystyll points them out, "Seems like a fairly intuitive tactile interface..." Ann Carter@anncarise examines the buttons, "Looks like it. Not sure wha's exactly in here, but I guess there's only one way to find out..." Lendaria@crystyll nods, "Should be a simple menu navigation, lookin' at it" and starts pushing buttons to find her way around Ann Carter@anncarise | The large monitor displays a selection of image stills, mostly of the same robed individual. With another button, it begins playing some sort of black-and-white recording. It doesn't take long - Ann Carter@anncarise: - for the UT to apply what it has learned from the scripts to the spoken language. Ann Carter@anncarise | Recording: "...likely my last entry. The food supplies are gone. Most of the others are dead or dying. Contact with all but one of the remaining cities have ceased. I fear this is the end of - Ann Carter@anncarise: - Atlas' Folk. I believe...I want to believe that if we had kept our faith, this would never have happened. But...as time has gone on, I cannot help but think...perhaps the heretics were right..." Lendaria@crystyll quietly listens while capturing the recording onto her tricorder Ann Carter@anncarise | Recording: "Perhaps the heretics were right. That this was His nature all along. Maybe I am a blasphemer for even thinking such thoughts, but what does it matter? God is dead, and we will soon - Ann Carter@anncarise: - follow. We know there are others like Him. One day, maybe they will come from the stars and find this. We will let history judge our mistakes. I just hope our judges are not too harsh..." Ann Carter@anncarise FX | The recording pauses as it ends. Lendaria@crystyll: "Heavy stuff..." Ann Carter@anncarise: "Looked like there were more o' 'em," she reaches forward to tap the previous button before looking to Lennie for confirmation. Lendaria@crystyll nods, "Might be th'one an' only time anyone ever comes 'ere. We should get all we can so these folks ain't forgotten" Ann Carter@anncarise nods and taps the button... Ann Carter@anncarise | The same robed alien appears on the screen. Ann Carter@anncarise | Recording: "We cannot stop it. We understood His Works the best, but mere mortals like us cannot wield His power. We've used our best minds, and our best instruments. It seems like the energy - Ann Carter@anncarise: - inside this building is drawing the water from across Atlas to rain down in an eternal storm, and His Trident in return captures the energy of that storm. Our scientists call it a feedback loop." Ann Carter@anncarise | Recording: "As long as the storm brews, more energy comes into the temple. And as long as there is energy in the temple, the storm continues. We've done everything we can to disrupt the Trident - Ann Carter@anncarise: - and lost so many good people. All for nothing. We cannot stop it." Lendaria@crystyll: "Did this monument ultimately wipe out th'folks wha' lived 'ere...?" Ann Carter@anncarise: "I ain't so sure it's a monument..." Lendaria@crystyll: "Then wha'?" Ann Carter@anncarise: "A weapon? Maybe them tryin' to tap into their so called god's power an' going wrong?" Ann Carter@anncarise taps previous again. The alien appears, looking less scraggy and wearing a cleaner robe. Ann Carter@anncarise | Recording: "The lightning has destroyed the rest of the city. The constant storm here is turning the rest of Atlas' land into a desert. Crops are withering. Animals are dying. People are dying." Ann Carter@anncarise | Recording: "Everyone left has taken refuge inside the temple. The Trident is the key. It's causing this storm and harnessing its power. Our best minds, priests, scientists, engineers, even the - Ann Carter@anncarise: - soldiers are working on this. Maybe this is His punishment, but He is gone now. He cannot possibly mean to destroy us all. We have to stop this." Lendaria@crystyll: "So if this temple belonged t'some advanced species, an' from th'religious implications o'these logs; likely predates th'indigenous folks..." Lendaria@crystyll: "It must not'a been always like it is now, else they'd have never evolved to sentience in th'first place" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Maybe..." Lendaria@crystyll: "Any more in there?" Ann Carter@anncarise nods and taps previous again. This time, the alien has clean, long hair and no beard and only a few stains on his robe. Ann Carter@anncarise | Recording: "The unimaginable has happened. The heretics marched on the city, and Palonias' fury...it was like nothing we had ever seen from Him before. He said if we would not love Him, then we - Ann Carter@anncarise: - will die with Him. And then He planted the Trident at the top of the temple and called down the most terrible of storms...and then He was gone..." Lendaria@crystyll: "Aaaand maybe not then. Damn..." Ann Carter@anncarise | Recording: "We cannot go out. The storm is destroying the city, and this is the only safe place. We have prayed to Him, every minute of every day, but He will not answer. Can He truly be gone?" Ann Carter@anncarise: "Looks like there's one more." Lendaria@crystyll: "Le's have it" Ann Carter@anncarise pushes the previous button yet again. This time, the alien is also wearing a clean robe and appears to be living in good condition. Ann Carter@anncarise | Recording: "We are at a turning point in the history of Atlas' Folk. I do not like it, but I feel it is my duty as High Priest to record such events. The others assure me that this new - Ann Carter@anncarise: - mechanical contraption will keep our words much longer than our tomes do, and even Palonias himself has verified that. But it is...technology like this that started the heretic movements in the - Ann Carter@anncarise: - first place. We have no need of great steel barges or airships, of rifles or bombs. Our Lord Palonias came to us and He gave us His love and protection. It was He who shielded us from the wolves - Ann Carter@anncarise: - that descended from the skies, He who revealed the stalkers in the darkness beyond." Ann Carter@anncarise | Recording: "This heretic movement has spread through our cities like wildfire, claiming that we need no God, that He is only holding our people back, keeping us prisoner. We would not be alive - Ann Carter@anncarise: - if not for Him, the fools! Soon they will learn that He is capable of great wrath as well as great love..." Ann Carter@anncarise: "An' tha's it." Lendaria@crystyll: "Stalkers in th'dark an' wolves in th'sky... this's starin' t'sound jus' a little too familiar t'current affairs, don't ya think?" Ann Carter@anncarise nods, "Yeah. This place's at least a thousand years old, though. They musta been plaguin' these parts for a looong time." Lendaria@crystyll: "Well if there's no more, we oughta be gettin' back if we don't miss th'rendezvous. If the Cap'n wants, we can maybe bring a team back t'study this place more" Ann Carter@anncarise: "If the Forge can weather the storm any more. But yeah, let's get goin'." Lendaria@crystyll looks around one last time, glancing up at the statue, "See ya big guy..." Ann Carter@anncarise | They return to the shuttle with no trouble and make their way back through the sea towards the rendezvous point... --- Keliaya@anncarise FX | Back on the Valley Forge, the bridge crew prepares as the rendezvous time gets closer... Keliaya@anncarise: "Armour integrity is back up to full. We're ready to extract the shuttle team." Keelah@crystyll: "How long until the shuttle is due at the rendezvous?" Keliaya@anncarise Fisher: "Four minutes. If we enter atmosphere in one minute that should be exactly enough time to pick them up and get out of here." Keelah@crystyll nods, "Make it so then" Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "Aye Captain." Keliaya@anncarise | A minute passes, and Fisher announces as the Valley Forge begins another descent... Keliaya@anncarise | Once again they pass through the atmosphere and plunge into the darkness of the storm, lit up by the streaks of lightning around them. The ship begins shaking as the energy of the unusually - Keliaya@anncarise: - powerful lightning bolts hits the armoured hull... Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Armour integrity at 75% and dropping." Keelah@crystyll: "Let's make this as smooth as the drop off and get out of here sharp" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "We're taking more hits than last time. 60% and dropping." Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "We need to do this faster..." Keliaya@anncarise: "Rerouting all available power to armour and engines." Keelah@crystyll: "Can we increase descent speed?" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "55%..." Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "It'll be riskier to pull off but I'm increasing our speed..." Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "50%..." Keelah@crystyll: "Time to RV?" Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "Thirty-seven seconds!" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "49%! Captain, we must abort or we will not survive the ascent." Keliaya@anncarise: "We can't just leave them down there!" Keelah@crystyll: "If we can get benath it, we can recover enough for the ascent. We have to get them back" Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "Aye aye, Captain! Continuing descent! Thirty seconds!" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Armour at forty-" The bridge shakes again. "38% and holding!" Keliaya@anncarise | Fisher: "We've passed the worst of it. Coming up on the rendezvous now." Keelah@crystyll: "Any sign of the shuttle?" Keliaya@anncarise | Gwi: "I see it on sensors. It's running a few seconds late." Keelah@crystyll: "Prep the hangar bay to receive" Keelah@crystyll looks to Vrolmacht, "Are we clear enough to recover armour integrity before ascent?" Keelah@crystyll | Crystyl: "Shuttle is landed. All clear" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "The lightning intensity has dropped to a point where our armour can hold integrity, but we cannot regenerate it in this current state." Keliaya@anncarise nods, "We might be able to hold position for a while, but we're stuck here for the time being. I hope the Commander's learned something that can help stop this storm..." Keelah@crystyll: "Can the armour regenerate in current conditions?" Keliaya@anncarise shakes her head, "It's having enough trouble just maintaining current integrity. It can just about manage not to drop any further, but we can't bring it back to 50%." Keelah@crystyll: "Then it's all on Lendaria..." shakes her head, "Keep working on alternatives in the mean time" Keliaya@anncarise: "I'll see what I can find, Captain." Keliaya@anncarise FX | Soon, the turbolift doors open and Lennie and Ann return to the bridge. Keelah@crystyll | Lennie steps out, immediately pausing to see all eyes on them. She looks around briefly before raising her hand casually, "Hey. So, uh... I notice we'se still under th'storm..." Keliaya@anncarise: "Our armour integrity's fallen below 50%. We won't make the trip back unless we manage to regenerate it, or thin this storm out a little." Keelah@crystyll: "Now would be an optimal time to give us some good news from your expedition, ladies" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie downloads the data from her tricorder and puts it across the main viewscreen Keliaya@anncarise takes quick glances as she continues working on other solutions. Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "This place's somethin' else, Cap'n. Whole storms bein' generated by an ancinet an' advanced construct. Seems t'be a single powerful alien took up home 'ere an' kinda adopted th'locals" Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "Then the locals tried to overthrow him, an' it all went wrong from there." Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "Apparently this fella has some connections to ancient Earth, too..." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie nods, noting Keelah's quirked Vulcan brow, "Aye. We'se found ancient Earth scripture down there from..." she checks her screen, "Oh, it's called Greek!" Keelah@crystyll: "Ancient... Greek?" Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "Apparently so. Y'know about it, Cap'n?" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Yep, matched some other lesser known scriptures from th'Alpha quadrant too, but figured tha' one'd catch ya attention. This guy were called Poseidon" the screen shifts to show the giant + Keelah@crystyll: + statue wielding the lightning Keelah@crystyll shakes her head to Ann, "Not intimately, Ensign. I'm afraid my ancient history is limited to Vulcan. Though I am certain I have heard my husband talk about it before. An early development of Human + Keelah@crystyll: + society who practised religious worship of multiple deities, each representing different aspects of existence; life, death, work, love et cetera" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Pretty common pattern. An' lookin' at th'database, this ain't th'first time Starfleet's encountered modern day reference to figures o'tha' era" Keliaya@anncarise taps at her console, "I'm seeing references to it too." Keelah@crystyll: "You had better not be about to throw another one of Admiral Picard's ship logs at me..." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie smirks, "Nah, at least not /tha/ Enterprise" Keelah@crystyll facepalms Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Kirk's Enterprise has logs of an encounter wit' a being claimin' t'be the ancient Earth god Apollo. Seemed it were of some advanced tech species wha' used it's tech t'curry worship from + Keelah@crystyll: + lesser species. Somethin' about reverence bein' a form 'o sustainance an' longevity for 'em" Keliaya@anncarise: "Apollo's part of the same culture as this Poseidon, according to our databanks." Keelah@crystyll taps her armrest console, reviewing the old logs too, "Given the common heritage, it's a reasonable leap of intuition to surmise that this Poseidon is of the same species" Keelah@crystyll: "The question is; how does this help us?" looks to Lennie, "What about the storm, did you find anything that might help us alleviate it?" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie nods, "Not tha' I could make much sense o'it. What'd ya reckon t'this, Kel?" she bumps the data to Kelly's console Keliaya@anncarise checks the data for a moment before bringing up the image of the fancy tower onto the viewscreen, "It looks like that structure is harnessing the energy of the lightning and using it to..." Keliaya@anncarise: "I don't know how it's doing it, but it's releasing the energy into the atmosphere which then evaporates and gathers water from all over the planet to continue the storm." Keliaya@anncarise: "This energy is responsible for the unusually strong lightning, and enough of it is being recaptured to continue the cycle over and over again." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie nods: "We saw somethin' 'bout tha' in th'logs down there. Kinda described like a self-perpetuatin' feedback loop" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "That it! Technically some of the energy is escaping and some of the water vapour is being converted into more energy, so the loop will end eventually. By eventually I mean in another few - Keliaya@anncarise: - thousand years when all the water's dried up. There's a lot of water still left on that planet." Keliaya@anncarise: "It's not a true loop, but as far as we're concerned, we're going to need to break it." Keelah@crystyll: "I'm fairly certain our armour won't last that long. Either way, I'd prefer not to wait to find out..." Keliaya@anncarise chuckles, "Even if it does, I'm pretty sure most of us won't." Keelah@crystyll: "So, how do we shut it down?" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie: "Th'people o'this world went extinct tryin' a figure tha' one out" Keelah@crystyll | Crystyl snerks, "Way to lighten the mood, Commander" Keliaya@anncarise: "According to the Enterprise logs, they managed to disrupt Apollo's power by destroying his energy source, which was also kept in a structure, with their ship's phasers." Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "The locals here were pre-warp, just startin' to build rifles an' basic aircraft from the sounds o’ things. They woulda never been able to blow the building." Keliaya@anncarise nods, "But we can." Keelah@crystyll sighs, "Is there no alternative to destroying it?" Keliaya@anncarise | Ann: "They also said somethin' 'bout the Trident bein' the conduit..." Keelah@crystyll: "Show me the image of that main statue again..." Keelah@crystyll | Lennie nods and the main lightning rod statue appears on screen again Keelah@crystyll: "Well, there's a very distinct Trident and it is certainly acting as a conduit for the lightning" Keelah@crystyll: "Could we create a barrier around it? If the lightning can't strike the Trident then the cycle is broken...?" Keliaya@anncarise: "We could, but it would require enough energy to block the lightning for a certain amount of time." Keelah@crystyll: "Is it an option?" Keliaya@anncarise: "The only thing that can block that lightning for any amount of time is, well...the Valley Forge. Let me run the calculations quickly." Keliaya@anncarise taps on her console for a few moments before saying, "With the current armour we have left...if we shut down all non-essential systems, and switch power to regular shields as soon as the armour - Keliaya@anncarise: - fails, we should be able to disrupt the loop long enough to break it. But if we fail, we'll be left with no armour and no shields." Keelah@crystyll: "Alright, so it's all cards on the table with that one. Firing on the statue and potentially destroying this historical site. Am I missing anything?" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "Either we destroy the building, or we put ourselves in between it and the lightning." Keelah@crystyll: "Much as I loathe such an option, it is preferable to risking the ship..." Keliaya@anncarise: "I agree. It's a very big risk to take." Keelah@crystyll: "Target phasers on the Trident. Keep it to a narrow beam, low a yield as we can get away with. Maybe if we're lucky we can just do enough to break it's functionality..." Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Aye Captain. Phasers locked on the Trident." Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Ready to fire on your command." Keelah@crystyll closes her eyes with regret, "...do it" Keliaya@anncarise | The forward phasers emit from the Valley Forge and impact the top of the building. The Trident protruding from the top begins to glow brightly as the stormclouds churn violently... Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Captain! The energy of the phasers is being absorbed by the Trident and giving it more energy!" Keliaya@anncarise: "We have to target the structure. The Trident itself seems to feed on energy..." Keelah@crystyll: "Very well" Keliaya@anncarise | Vrolmacht: "Retargeting the structure. Phasers ready on your mark." Keelah@crystyll: "Fire" Keliaya@anncarise | The phasers fire again, impacting the structure, which glows bright orange for a moment before cracking and toppling down. Keelah@crystyll watches, "...forgive us..." Keliaya@anncarise | The storm continues around them, lightning continuing to strike down, but no longer being drawn to the structure as it hits randomly across the flooded landscape. Keliaya@anncarise: "The loop is broken, Captain. It'll take some time for the storm to dissipate fully, but the lightning should reach manageable levels for ascent in less than an hour." Keelah@crystyll: "Can we hold position for that long in present conditions?" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "We'll manage. The lightning is already starting to get weaker with every strike." Keelah@crystyll: "Alright then. Let's do what we can to bolster systems in the meantime, I'll be in my ready room" stands to leave before Lennie pipes up... Keelah@crystyll | Lennie, "Uh... Cap'n... I'se still got a residual energy readin' down there..." Keelah@crystyll glances back, then to the front, "On screen" Keliaya@anncarise | Among the ruins of the tower, gripped by the broken hand of the statue, the Trident is still glowing. As its glow fades, it seems to shrink smaller and smaller, falling out of the grasp of the - Keliaya@anncarise: - giant hand and landing gracefully on the sea bed beside it. Faint energy readings still emanate from it. Keelah@crystyll: "It survived..." Keliaya@anncarise: "That may look like a simple close-quarters weapon, but it's a piece of advanced technology. I can't understand these readings fully, but it's highly compressed." Keliaya@anncarise: "Like how we compress communication and tracking functions all into a little combadge." Keelah@crystyll: "Can we get a transporter lock and recover it?" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "Chief Oliver is able to lock on to the signal." Keelah@crystyll: "Bring it into a dampened holding unit" looks to Lennie and Kelly, "Ladies, we have an artifact to study" Keliaya@anncarise: "We're bringing it on board now." Keelah@crystyll leads the way to the turbolift Keliaya@anncarise follows Keelah over. Keelah@crystyll | Lennie signs off her station and joins them as well Keelah@crystyll enters the holding area with the others and moves straight to get a closer look at the shielded Trident Keliaya@anncarise | The Trident is now much smaller; still about the length of a spear, but manageable for a typical biped to hold. Keliaya@anncarise FX | https://i.imgur.com/gGHdLEP.png Keelah@crystyll: "Could we truly be looking upon such a monumental relic of Earth history...?" Keliaya@anncarise: "And a very advanced alien artifact at the same time..." Keelah@crystyll: "What do the scans tell us about it?" Keliaya@anncarise steps over to a nearby console to check, "It's a...multipurpose energy device. Capable of absorbing, storing and releasing energy, in possibly a variety of forms." Keelah@crystyll: "First and foremost; is it a danger to us like this?" Keliaya@anncarise: "Not that I can tell. There's no tactile interface, I'm not sure we could activate its functions even if we wanted to." Keliaya@anncarise: "It's also incapable of storing too great amounts of energy. It was acting as a conduit for the lightning, but the structure held most of the energy gathered." Keelah@crystyll: "So it's... not likely to suddenly expand into a giant statuesque lightning conductor in the middle of our cargo bay. Good to know" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "It would probably have to absorb more energy first before it can do much, and even then it won't be able to store as much energy as it did with the lightning unless we hooked it up to the - Keliaya@anncarise: - ship. At its current energy levels, it's no more dangerous than a hand phaser." Keelah@crystyll looks to the pair, "And before you ask, no you can not try hooking it up to the warp core" Keelah@crystyll | Lennie smirks, "Aww..." Keliaya@anncarise chuckles, "As useful as having a lightning conductor fuel source would be...that's probably for the best." Keelah@crystyll: "Take the time we are down here to study everything you can about it. If by the time we are ready to leave... /if/ then, you can provide sufficient data to convince me that we can keep this safe in + Keelah@crystyll: + whatever form you deem necessary. Then we will retain it for posterity and future study" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "Understood, Captain." Keelah@crystyll smiles, turning to leave them to it, "I look forward to your debrief on it" --- Keliaya@anncarise FX | As predicted, the storm calmed down enough within an hour, and the Valley Forge was able to safely ascend to orbit, where it continues to remain to monitor the dissipation of the storm. Keliaya@anncarise | As Keelah works in her ready room while the science labs do their work, her doorbell rings. Keelah@crystyll: "Come in" Keliaya@anncarise steps inside with a PADD in hand, "Captain." Keelah@crystyll looks up, leaning back from her console, "Kelly. Please, come in" she smiles, gesturing to an empty seat Keliaya@anncarise smiles back as she takes a seat, "I've got a more complete analysis of the Trident for you, thanks to a few of our resident experts." Keliaya@anncarise sets the PADD on the table for Keelah, "We still don't know what some of it does, but it'll take time to unravel all its secrets." Keelah@crystyll: "I must confess an elevated degree of curiosity on this one" chuckles, taking the PADD to skim over, "I imagine study of this will go on long after most of us here see retirement" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "Most likely. And I highly doubt we'll see the Federation replicate any technology on this level in our lifetime." Keelah@crystyll: "So what have we been able to learn about it so far?" Keliaya@anncarise: "It's composition is a material we're not familiar with, almost certainly laboratory-synthesized and not naturally occuring. Something about it allows...veins inside it to conduct energy, and I - Keliaya@anncarise: - suspect the tower we had to destroy used a similar concept. Our scans detected the same material within, but no signs of any EPS or other power-conducting systems." Keelah@crystyll: "Such a similarity could explain the apparent connection between the two..." she nods Keliaya@anncarise: "This material can also alter its density when it's subject to specific energy currents; we're not sure how exactly it works yet, but that's how it's able to expand and shrink." Keliaya@anncarise: "The current length, about 1.9 metres, appears to be its natural, dormant size." Keelah@crystyll: "Do we know if this reaction is subjective to the type of energy it comes into contact with?" Keliaya@anncarise: "No, we think it depends on how the energy is channeled inside the Trident." Keelah@crystyll perks a brow, "Curious. What is your theory exactly on that?" Keliaya@anncarise: "The material has an unusual relationship with energy we don't fully understand yet. As for how the specific channelling changes things...well, it's no different from setting a phaser to wide-spread." Keliaya@anncarise: "The difficult thing with the Trident is...how to set it to anything at all." Keelah@crystyll: "I would not be surprised if such a piece of technology was attuned to a form of touch-telepathy for its control method" Keliaya@anncarise: "Yes and no. I had Kazra look into the biology of the member of this species encountered by the Enterprise. From Admiral McCoy's scans, these beings are not very different from your average biped - Keliaya@anncarise: - with the exception of an additional organ which allows them to harness and control energy. We believe the Trident was designed specifically for one of their species to use." Keliaya@anncarise: "Despite their otherwise remarkable abilities, we don't believe these beings had much, if any, telepathic capability." Keelah@crystyll: "Perhaps telepathic was a poor choice, but what you mentioned about these 'veins' running through the material... I wonder if they would be able to detect and interpret neural imulses" Keliaya@anncarise: "They're not exactly neural, more like a form of circuitry we've never development. But...the yes part of the answer is, while the Trident was made for someone with that specific organ, there might - Keliaya@anncarise: - be other ways to control it." Keliaya@anncarise: "We believe individuals with fine-tuned telekinetic abilities might be able to use their ability in a way similar to these beings in order to trigger the mechanisms." Keelah@crystyll: "Insofar as the Trident serving as a... conduit of sorts for their telekinesis?" Keliaya@anncarise: "It's a little more nuanced for that. Their telekinesis will be used primarily for activating and controlling the Trident, which in turn absorbs energy and is able to project that energy in a - Keliaya@anncarise: - variety of ways, and in greater amounts than most beings with telekinesis. But from the outside...it essentially looks like an amplifier for telekinetic abilities and energy projection." Keliaya@anncarise: "Without the organ these beings have, the user won't be able to literally use their own energy through the Trident as their bodies won't have enough, but they can control it and charge it in other ways.” Keelah@crystyll: "It would certainly be interesting to try and test the theory, though I am not sure how comfortable I am with doing so on board..." Keliaya@anncarise nods, "The only people I'm aware of that have the potential to use it are Luthril and Sin." Keliaya@anncarise: "In the hands of anyone else, despite its advanced technology, it's just a very long, pointy stick." Keelah@crystyll chuckles, "Don't underestimate the power of a long and pointy stick, Kelly. Many great battles have been won throughout history with those. Probably..." Keelah@crystyll: "But yes, only two potential candidates and of those only one I am disposed to trust with anything of this magnitude" Keliaya@anncarise laughs, "Well Vrolmacht can probably still overpower a few Lupan with it." Keliaya@anncarise: "And speaking of that...Vulture heard about the artifact and paid us a visit while we were studying it. Actually we'd probably have a much more incomplete report if it weren't for her." Keliaya@anncarise: "At first she wasn't thrilled with the idea of us having the Trident, but I made the point that leaving it here would mean risking the Lupan or someone else getting their hands on it." Keelah@crystyll: "Of course she heard about it..." shakes head a little with disappointment Keelah@crystyll: "You do however raise an interesting point regarding the impact of a find such as this..." Keliaya@anncarise: "Vulture said the Regulators would be interested in safeguarding it. It sounded more like a request than an offer." Keliaya@anncarise: "If you want to bring it to a museum on Earth...you might need to negotiate with them the next time we establish contact." Keelah@crystyll: "I'm afraid they don't get a say in this as far as I am concerned. This is a historical relic pertinent to a countless number of civilizations, all of whom would rally - rather competitively in some + Keelah@crystyll: + cases - for ownership of. This is why I have decided to secure the relic on board until our mission is concluded. Once we return to Federation space, it will be presented to a neutral party with + Keelah@crystyll: + appropriate historical interest and Federation support. Memory Alpha, perhaps" Keelah@crystyll: "If the Regulators wish to stake a claim of interest, they can do so with the neutral party at that time" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "That sounds like a good idea to me. You might have to tell them that, though." Keliaya@anncarise: "Vulture's content on letting it remain with us until we next encounter a Regulator vessel. I don't think she has the authority to make the final say what happens after that." Keelah@crystyll: "Well then, we'll just have to make sure we don't encounter any more of their vessels between now and then" Keliaya@anncarise smirks, "I guess so." Keliaya@anncarise: "Anyways, that's about all we know of the Trident so far. Would you like us to keep it in a lab, or somewhere else?" Keelah@crystyll hrms, "As long as we are actively working on study of it, I am content for it to remain in a secure lab" Keelah@crystyll: "Once we reach a point where we can no longer gain any fruitful insight from study, I think we should lock it down in the secure hold" Keliaya@anncarise nods, "We'll see what else we can learn from it, and make sure it's secure." Keliaya@anncarise: "Oh, and there's one more thing, not entirely related to the Trident." Keelah@crystyll: "Oh?" Keliaya@anncarise: "The science teams are continuing to monitor the storm, but it's a /very/ big storm. It'll take much more time than even the largest recorded hurricane to dissipate fully, and it'll take even longer - Keliaya@anncarise: - for the water in the flooded area to find ways to slowly flow back to the rest of the planet. We won't be here long enough to collect all that data, and who knows how long it will be until a - Keliaya@anncarise: - Starfleet science ship is dispatched here." Keliaya@anncarise: "We could deploy something to keep collecting readings, but we already have most of the infrastructure intact from that old Arshai satellite." Keliaya@anncarise: "I was thinking we could restore it back to working condition, maybe update its system a little with modern technology." Keelah@crystyll nods, "My thoughts exactly. I suggest we do as much as we can with the native technology and I will ask Mana to inform the Colonial Fleet that this site is now active for them to study" Keliaya@anncarise smiles, "I'll get my teams working on fixing the satellite, then." Keelah@crystyll: "Excellent. Let me know as soon as you have a rough eta on the work, as we'll likely look to get underway as soon it's operational" Keliaya@anncarise nods and stands, “Will do, Captain.” Keelah@crystyll smiles, "Great work on this Kelly" she notes, raising the PADD, "It's a proud discovery for all of us"
AFTER ACTION REPORT STARFLEET SECURITY CLEARANCE LEVEL 3 | Restricted
MISSION PARAMETERSOUTCOME SUMMARY Survey potential Class-M planet in sector V-017. Further investigation of redundant Arshai observation platform in orbit & unusual meteorological conditions on the surface. Satellite confirmed as being placed to observe the unusual conditions below but abandoned due to lack of results. Evidence of lost civilization confirmed and found to be the result of intervention by an advanced species. Artifact 'Poseidon's Trident' recovered and secured along with historical recordings from archaeological site.
Despite the likelihood that the Trident artifacts power can only be channeled by a member of it's (now believed) extinct creator species, it's very historical significance may be sufficient to provoke conflicts of interest between multiple species both Federation and not. It should be held under the highest security lockdown on board until such time that the Valley Forge returns to Federation space, where it should be transferred to a neutral party of suitable scientific responsibility.
After discovering a promising looking star system on long range sensors with the possibility of a class-M planet, the Valley Forge diverted course to investigate more closely. Arrival in the system confirmed long range readings and a survey was commenced, which quickly made us aware of an artificial construct in orbit of the planet. This was found to be consistent with Arshai technology, so we consulted with Mana and she confirmed that her people had placed it here to study the unusual meteorological activity on the surface; a seemingly endless storm encompassing approximately 1/3 of the atmosphere and centered consistently at a single geological centre point.
Following our initial analysis we determined that whilst a shuttle would be unable to withstand the storm for any length of time, the Valley Forge's new armouring would be able to. So a mission was prepped to take the ship into the atmosphere to ride out the worst of the storm and launch a survey shuttle from beneath the worst of it; myself and ENS Carter forming the initial survey team. Though the launch was predictably rough, it was well within mission parameters and we proceeded towards the eye of the storm, which was found to be centered over an oceanic expanse. We found unusual readings beneath the ocean surface and submersed the shuttle to investigate further. Diving to the ocean floor we encountered expansive ruins of what was clearly a significantly developed - though likely prewarp - civilization. Sensors showed energy readings inconsistent with such development focused at the eye of the storm however, and so we proceeded underwater until coming upon a large structure which was clearly not of the same construction as the rest of the surrounding ruins. It was relatively well preserved and surrounded by an energy field which we observed taking power in bursts from the storm's lightning strikes at the peak of the tower which we calculated to just barely penetrate the surface.
With limited time before our pre-determined rendezvous with the Valley Forge, we worked quickly to gather samples for analysis and set the computer working on a calculated reconstruction of a clearly significant statue found in a central courtyard while we beamed into the structure to investigate. Within, we found evidence of generations of attempts by the indigenous people to interact with the structure, suggesting they may have evolved around it's presence. Most noteworthy from this point in the mission however, was the scripture found within the temple structure as our universal translators identified it from the Federation database as being consistent with a number of recognized historical languages such as Ancient Greek from Earth.
Our investigation proceeded towards the peak of the temple building where the energy readings seemed to be focused, gravity lifts were still functional and enabled this rapid ascent. At the peak we found more technological development from the indigenous up to and including a parallel with 20th century Earth. Records were successfully recovered which spoke of a historical - and very real - relationship with their deity, up until their own advancement led them to outgrow the need for said being. This appeared to lead - quite typically - to civil conflict, however the deity figure was also involved and acted to punish the people. It apparently created the storm to lock itself away (believed now to be a mark of the end of it's natural life as the worship it relied upon from the indigenous faded), and subsequently punish the people by flooding their world. Further analysis of the evidence led us to believe that this deity being was of a race known to Starfleet as one with a penchant for interfering with the development of less evolved species as they themselves had evolved a biological reliance on such worship. The last known survivor of this species identified as Apollo, for the consistent reference to the predominately Human crew of the Starfleet vessel who encountered him during the mid 23rd century. The individual of this species who seemed to have settled on this world appeared to correlate with the Poseidon figure from the same mythology (also to the equatable figure Shogan from Orion mythology).
With the preliminary survey complete, we left to rendezvous with the Valley Forge. Once on board however, we found the extended exposure to the violent story had taken it's toll and while the armour was holding at our present low altitude it would not regenerate enough for us to depart. After exhausting all other options, the decision was made to disrupt the storm by firing on the temple as our analysis had determined that is was holding the storm in a self-perpetuating loop in order to sustain it's energy reserve. An initial surgical strike from the forward phasers had the opposite to the intended effect and further strengthened the temple's energy reserve. Ultimately, it was necessary fire a torpedo in order to collapse the outer structure and physically block the central lightning rod (which had been observed from our survey to be a held embodiment of Poseidon's Trident, held by a dominating central statue). This approach worked and the temple structure collapsed, allowing the timeless storm to dissipate. Before departing, sensors detected the Trident - still intact - and reverting to less cumbersome state as it shrank to a more manageable size while sinking beneath the ocean. The decision was made not to less this relic be lost to the ages and we recovered it with the transporters.
Once away from the planet, we informed the Arshai that they now had a historical site to observe as the planet would now begin to settle back to a more natural balance. LCDR Keliaya and I conducted an analysis of the recovered Trident and determined that it functioned on a premise similar to the channeling of telekinetic energy. We also determined that it's power seemed to connect more completely through a specific biology which was consistent with Starfleet records held on the deity species. Specifically; a unique organ to this species. Though theoretically possible for other telekinetic capable species to wield the Trident in some capacity, it is deemed highly unlikely that any would be able to wield it's full potential as a member of that species would. After conducting our analysis, the Trident was locked away in a high security vault on board pending further action upon our return to Federation space.