Alpha-7190 Sector, Alpha Quadrant
Note: The Great Black Hole is currently declared a no-travel zone. No Starfleet vessel shall visit the region in any circumstances, under penalty of reprimand for the commanding officer and all non-objecting members of the crew.
The Great Black Hole was first known to the Federation in 2355, though not by that name. Originally the region was only labelled as a 'Hazard Zone' on Cardassian starcharts obtained by Starfleet Intelligence from enemy ships destroyed in the Federation-Cardassian War. Due to the instability of the Alpha Quadrant at the time, the area would remain unexplored until 2396.
In 2396, the Trill Science Academy determined that the last known location of a Trill expedition which disappeared over 200 years ago was near the border of the Minos Korva and Alpha-7190 sectors. The USS Oberon ferried a Trill science team to the general area, where they learned that several neighbouring civilizations in the Dubhe, Minos Korva and Betazed sectors avoided the region and referred to it as the Great Black Hole, believing it to be untraversable. While no sign of the Trill expedition was found, the Trill scientists managed to determine that this 'Great Black Hole' was in actuality a field of quantum filaments that either surrounded or covered a vast amount of space, encompassing at least three systems (which was the number detected by the Oberon's long ranged sensors).
For two decades the region would once again remain unstudied as there was no way for ships to pass into the anomaly zone. In 2416, Dr. Athena Ved of the Trill Science Academy, who had developed a prototype countermeasure against quantum filaments, chose the site for the field test of her technology. The USS Fearless, parasite craft of the USS Gainsborough, successfully entered the Great Black Hole and discovered that it only surrounded the area. Within the anomaly zone was an area of space inhabited by a spacefaring civilization which demonstrated xenophobic tendencies, engaging the Fearless in combat. The Fearless eventually came to an agreement with the natives, the EereE, agreeing to leave their space and respect their desire for isolationism.
Later that year, the USS Gainsborough briefly crossed into the anomaly zone once again to rescue a fleeing refugee trapped in the filament field. The individual recovered, Mana-Arshai Dos Sndoi'Ihaie'Vaie Nos Indoi-Ihai, provided much more information on the region beyond the anomalies. According to Mana, the area was controlled by the EereE Order, a civilization which willingly subjected themselves to be ruled by a network of artificial intelligences called the Overseer. Abiding by a strict isolationist and non-expansionary ideal, the Overseer generated the quantum filaments as an advanced minefield around their space. Within EereE space, the Overseer held dominion over three species- the avian EereE, the humanoid Arshai and the insectoid Vu'Lez.
M-CLASS TERRESTRIAL PLANET
EereE Order Territory
Known to contain rich deposits of aluminum and duranium
The EereE refer to their planet of origin only as the Homeworld. As many aspects of the EereE language is unpronounceable by other EereE Order members, they rely on translation technology for communication and the name of their planet has always been translated as Homeworld. This has led to the other species simply calling the planet the EereE Homeworld, and no other names for it exist.
The EereE Homeworld possesses a plethora of environments, though it is known for areas with tall mesas where the EereE are speculated to have first evolved in. A fair amount of the landscape is left untouched for nature to develop in, though many of these regions still hold remnants of structures that belonged to ancient EereE civilizations. The EereE once made use of nuclear weaponry on their homeworld but the radiation has long since dispersed, with the entire planet said to be perfectly habitable.
Urbanized parts of the EereE Homeworld are covered with massive skyscrapers which supposedly have aesthetically pleasing designs. The skyscrapers often do not possess connections to one another due to the EereE's ability to fly. Instead, many landing platforms are built into the sides.
Note: All known information on the EereE Homeworld come from second hand accounts by Mana-Arshai Dos Sndoi'Ihaie'Vaie Nos Indoi-Ihai and her drones.
P-CLASS GLACIATED PLANET
EereE Order Territory
Small deposits of Jevonite and Nitrium, large amounts of water ice
Sae-En, translating to 'New Home' in the Arshai language, is the planet that almost all members of the Arshai species call home. Arsae, the planet where the Arshai evolved from, was rendered uninhabitable by the advanced weaponry and resource extraction technology given to the pre-warp Arshai by the EereE. The devastation led to a mass exodus of Arshai from their homeworld and the near extinction of their species, an event which is described as the trigger for the EereE's decision to change their ways and construct the AI Overseer.
In an attempt to fix their mistake, the EereE resettled the Arshai on what is now known as Sae-En. The planet, while possessing a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, had a much lower average temperature than the EereE Homeworld and was deemed to be barely habitable by the EereE. The choice was not made to give the Arshai a poor planet which was undesirable for the EereE; while it did make efficient use of a world that otherwise held little value, the selection of planet had the Arshai's best interests in mind.
Due to the Arshai's ability to adapt their metabolism to their surrounding climate (see the Compendium of Information on the Arshai Species for more detail), Arshai lifespan was maximized in cold environments. While this meant that the Arshai took longer to mature, it also extended the rest of their life, including the amount of years during which they could reproduce. This was the most effective way to repopulate the species. With an AI regulated breeding program, including the task of actually raising the young relegated from the parents to the Overseer, Sae-En grew from its initial population of barely 50,000 to over 400 million in just four hundred years.
Even for Arshai physiology, the areas surrounding the poles of Sae-En are far too cold to live in. All Arshai settlements exist largely around the central region of the planet, with the equatorial band being the most dense and the population thinning out further away from the equator. Modern Arshai architecture is constructed with the direction and supervision of the Overseer, which performs with the most efficiency possible, resulting in all the structures on Sae-En possessing a brutalist, function-over-aesthetic style.
Note: All known information on Sae-En comes from Mana-Arshai Dos Sndoi'Ihaie'Vaie Nos Indoi-Ihai and her drones.
EESHA / FORE-ROI
F-CLASS GEOMETALLIC PLANET
EereE Order Territory
No Permanent Settlements on Surface
Rich in various minerals including Magnesite, Tritanium and Topaline
The second planet in Sae-En's system is named Eesha by the EereE after a deity that an ancient EereE civilization once worshiped. The Arshai know it as Fore-Roi, which translates roughly to 'Rich Element,' expressing what the world is best known for- its abundance of natural resources. Eesha was the original reason that the EereE took control of the system, and even after 400 years resources are still being extracted, though at a careful rate managed by the Overseer.
Being so close to the star, the surface temperatures are extreme, and the geographic instability means that the thousands of volcanoes dotting its surface often erupt and cover the landscape in lakes of magma. Most mining is done by artificial intelligences linked to the Overseer network, which control mechanical constructs as small as drones and as large as entire ships and facilities. Biological lifeforms rarely set foot on the surface and instead work on small orbital refinement facilities. Most of these are EereE, but Arshai specialists and Vu'Lez larvae labourers are also employed here, making this one of the most diverse places in EereE Space.
Note: All known information on Eesha/Fore-Roi come from second hand accounts by Mana-Arshai Dos Sndoi'Ihaie'Vaie Nos Indoi-Ihai and her drones.
EEEEAI / VU'LEZ HOMEWORLD
L-CLASS MARGINAL PLANET
EereE Order Territory
Rich Dilithium deposits
EeEeAi is the rough transliteration of the barely pronounceable EereE word for what the Arshai simply call the 'Vu'Lez Homeworld.' It is the home planet of the telepathic Vu'Lez insectoids and where most of the species can be found today. Little is known of its climate and landscape apart from the fact that it possesses a very rocky surface and is deemed barely habitable by the EereE, making it likely an L-Class planet by Federation classification.
The EereE first attempted to colonize EeEeAi due to the rich dilithium veins on the planet. They were opposed by the native insectoids which eventually came to be known as the Vu'Lez. Despite being more advanced, the EereE had significant trouble with the Vu'Lez due to their telepathic abilities. The Elders, Vu'Lez who had survived past metamorphosis, possessed powerful telepathy that could be used for direct mental assaults. Meanwhile the small, caterpillar-like larvae were only linked through a hive mind to one another and the Elder who had spawned them, but this gave them high coordination as well as the ability to join together into massive biological constructs.
The EereE only won the conflict by converting several Vu'Lez groups to their cause. By bringing their best philosophers and pretending they were tactical leaders, they lured the Vu'Lez into reading their minds, and several Elders found themselves agreeing with the EereE's ideals of order. With their people divided, the Vu'Lez soon fell to their new conquerors.
However, victory was not enough. The imperialist regime of the time decided to execute the Elders who did not accept their principles. Then they picked out one Elder who most closely followed the EereE ways. Vu'Lez that matured into Elders have all the knowledge and memories of a previous Elder telepathically transferred into them, but this process could be done by any Elder, not just the one that they are spawned by. While each new Elder would still hold unique traits, they generally ended up adopting similar ideals from the one they inherited knowledge from. The EereE chose the one zealot Elder to transfer his memories into every new Elder of that generation, and those Elders in turn passed it down to their successors, resulting in all modern Vu'Lez being fervent believers of EereE philosophy.
Note: All known information on EeEeAi come from second hand accounts by Mana-Arshai Dos Sndoi'Ihaie'Vaie Nos Indoi-Ihai and her drones.
Prototype Testing Report
Stardate: 93408.2AAR: Prototype Testing Report Submitted: LT KeliayaLevel 2: Confidential
On stardate 93405.7, the crew of the U.S.S. Gainsborough was selected for the testing of a prototype deflector modification, due to my involvement in the project that developed it. Headed by Athena Ved of the Trill Science Academy, the project, and our testing, seeks to eliminate the dangers of quantum filaments. Instead of detecting a quantum filament, which is very difficult due to its almost non-existent mass, the deflector modification is designed to read the resonance frequency of a filament and automatically adjust a starship's shields to counter and minimize the damage caused.
The Aquarius escort Fearless was taken to conduct the experiment on my suggestion, in order to limit losses as much as possible should something go wrong. The Fearless was staffed by a small crew, headed by Captain Lazard, while Commander Leveson-Scott took command of the Gainsborough in the commanding officer's absence.
Our destination was a region in the Alpha-7190 sector known as the Great Black Hole. Most of the sector is currently unexplored, but reports claim that the region is untraversable due to mass occurrences of quantum filaments, originally speculated to be a giant black hole when ships entering the area never returned, hence the name. As detecting filaments is difficult even when close, this region was the best way to locate one for testing.
Upon arrival, the Fearless scanned the area in order to find as many filaments as possible so we could maneuver around some of them instead of charging headlong into all of them, which increases the risk. Thanks to the Lt. Caelia's sensor work and Lt. Sh'Vethit's piloting skills, we were able to avoid several of the anomalies and our deflector modification kept the Fearless intact as we passed them by.
The quantum filaments ceased once we had cleared the thin band of them; they appeared to encircle the region, forming a barrier around it. However, once we were in, three ships approached from inside the anomalous region on an intercept course. We tried to communicate them, but neither our messages nor Lt Cmd. Eunbi's telepathic attempts proved fruitful.
The unidentified starships possessed an avian aesthetic, similar to the birds of prey employed by Klingons and Romulans, but visibly different in design. They had shielding that was slightly stronger than those used on Klingon or Romulan birds of prey and were equipped with phaser banks, albeit ones that were at least a century behind that of Starfleet's phaser technology. Their deflector array, however, appeared to be extremely powerful and their warp cores were capable of at least warp nine. Both the Fearless sensors and Lt Cmd. Eunbi's abilities confirmed that there were lifesigns on board; though details on them could not be distinguished, they did not match any known species.
Despite our best efforts to avoid conflict, the alien vessels attacked us, using their combined deflector power to seemingly generate a quantum filament. One of the ships tried to tractor the Fearless into the filament, and when we attempted to break free, a second joined in and our efforts only delayed the inevitable. Captain Lazard gave the command to retaliate, and the deflector modifications held the Fearless intact long enough for Lt. Zecou to open fire and damage one of the alien ships.
The conflict ended there as the alien vessels stopped attacking. We once again attempted to communicate with them and after several failures, we were able to find a common language in an archaic backwater dialect of Cardassian. The aliens simply prompted us to leave and we did as asked, receiving another message warning us not to return as we began to exit the region and made our way back through the filaments without incident.
The mission was a success as the experiment performed well. There are still a few improvements to be made, and it did not act as absolute protection against a quantum filament, but it is a step closer towards it and a layer of protection that may save many lives. However, Dr. Athena Ved was injured during the unidentified aliens' attack and her condition is uncertain as of the date of this report.
The unidentified aliens discovered inside the Great Black Hole possess rather advanced technology. Though their weaponry is outdated in comparison with Starfleet's, their ability to create quantum filaments and other potential methods of weaponizing their deflectors can make them dangerous. It is believed that the reason for the existence of filaments in the region is to create a protective barrier around what is supposedly their space, a minefield of anomalies. Their actions against the Fearless appear to be nothing more than defending their home, and they should not pose further danger to Starfleet or the Federation if we remain out their space. For that reason, I suggest that the region remain flagged as unsuitable for travel.
AAR 93178.8: LCDR Leveson-Scott
Stardate: 93178.8AAR: Colony PatrolReport Submitted: LTCD Leveson-Scott, M.Level 2: Confidential
On stardate 93178.8 The U.S.S. Gainsborough dispatched an away team via shuttle for a unscheduled review of the development progress of a recently establishing trading colony. In light of recent reports pertaining to increased pirate activity in the region, it was deemed necessary to check on the stability of the colony.
Initial attempts to establish contact with the colony fell proved fruitless during our approach and after landing, we discovered that the outpost had been destroyed. With initial investigations yielding no discernible results we returned to our shuttle with the intention of relocating to the central command structure in an effort to ascertain the situation.
In doing so we became aware of an evacuation signal which had been sounded during out time away from the shuttle and found the last few trade freighters leaving orbit with no further knowledge of events than we possessed. We proceeded with our investigation but were intercepted by ships presumed to be said pirates and our shuttle was shot down (Note of commendation for Lt. Eunbi after an exceptional display of piloting skills saw her safely land the severely damaged shuttle with no serious injury to it's occupants).
Our crash site was still a lot closer to the central command structure than our initial landing site and so - after making the crashed shuttle secure - we continued with our investigation; having little choice as our distress call was not verified as being received by the Gainsborough and we lacked supplies both for extended survival and attempted repairs, both of which were anticipated as being present at central command.
Cmdr. Zh'Kerro scouted a secure route for us to proceed along which led us to a secluded approach to the rear of structure. Along this approach however we encountered hostile beings and a firefight ensued which saw some of the away team taking moderate injuries - this officer included.
Doctor Bida performed an admirable job in tending our wounds after we barely survived the firefight; and went on to work with Lt. Keliaya to retrieve what appeared to be some form of a control implant from one of the creatures. We proceeded towards the structure and witnessed more unusual behaviour from these seemingly hive-minded creatures before arriving at central command.
As we gained entry to the building; we were confronted by a large number of the beings who all immediately registered our presence, though did not react. Finding ourselves in a chamber which was a far cry from the anticipated control room, we were surrounded by ad-hoc technology that appeared to have been strung together from the remnants of an array of crashed ships - presumably the work of the supposed pirates in the region.
More troubling however, was what we found to be the remnants of the ship occupants and the colonists; disembodied brains either networked together in sat in storage awaiting allocation to one of the creatures we had earlier encountered. Our approach was met with a disembodied voice which appeared to represent the central column of technology which - at it's broadest - was most akin to a vast server network.
Communication ensued and it became apparent that this was indeed an artificial intelligence that seemed to have evolved beyond it's original design as a working platform to aid in the colony's development. Whilst found to be crude and lacking any degree of morality as we would view it, the AI displayed clear signs of sentience and a 'will to survive'.
I Spoke personally at length with the AI in an effort to establish a sense of 'right and wrong' since for all it's horrific actions, it's perspective was somewhat juvenile and lacking guidance; and there was no indication of malevolence in it's conduct.
Whilst it still holds the potential to become a significant threat if left unchecked, it is this officers belief that the AI qualifies as a new lifeform and as deserves to be treated as such. Negotiations closed with the AI consenting to allow the away team to depart - against it's earlier instinct - and for our part; we would submit a recommendation for further negotiations to be conducted by a dedicated diplomatic team. This officer observed that the AI harbors a desire to avoid solitude - as the potential quarantine of the region was not a welcome compromise - and seemed amenable to forming something of a symbiotic relationship with the planets future populous.
It should be noted that the system has been quarantined pending further action; and should a team return to further study this sentient AI and seek a level of co-existence, it is a personal recommendation that a strong hand is used with this AI. As previously noted; for all it's vast perceptions it is a young lifeform and seemed to respond most amenably to a firm hand. To this end; officers with experience of raising children may be best suited to any such assignment.
LtCdr. Mischa Leveson-Scott .II
AAR 93663.5: CMDR Leveson-Scott
SUBMITTED: Stardate 93663.5 FILED BY: CMDR M Leveson-Scott SECURITY: Level 2 - Confidential
LOCATION: Great Black Hole, Alpha-7190 Sector
MISSION: Investigation of intercepted signal of unknown origin
OUTCOME: First contact with species ‘Arshai’ through individual rescued escaping from region beyond the ‘Great Black Hole’ identified as EereE space. Individual identifies self as ‘Mana’ and currently remains on board as refugee.
CAPT Lazard CMDR Leveson-Scott LT Caelia LT Keliaya LT Sh’vethit
NARRATIVE: During a standard survey mission, the USS Gainsborough intercepted a mysterious broadcast originating from the ‘Great Black Hole’ (See this report for more details on Gainsborough's first exploration of the anomaly zone). The message consisted of blinking signals determined to be numerical in nature. They formed sequences of three numbers, the first two possessing the same value while the third was one off from the perfect square formed from the previous numbers.
After much analysis, it was theorized that the message was intentionally broadcasting incorrect answers to indicate that something was wrong, being in essence a mathematical distress call. Following this trail of thinking, the Gainsborough travelled to the border of the ‘Great Black Hole’ where a single small craft was detected inside the anomaly-filled border of the region. Warp signatures were picked up on the other side of the minefield, supposedly the attackers that drove the escape pod into the quantum filament.
Having determined that there was a lifesign inside the craft, Gainsborough rescued it by transporting it into Cargo Bay 2. The command crew proceeded to inspect the escape pod and were greeted by a drone when its door opened. Much effort was spent attempting to find a common ground for communication, and thanks to Lieutenant Sh’vethit, one was finally established using the same archaic Cardassian dialect that was instrumental to understanding the hostile ships beyond the ‘Great Black Hole.’
Once we assured friendly intent, the pod’s organic inhabitant finally exited. Her name is Mana, and she named her species ‘Arshai.’ Her people inhabits the ‘Great Black Hole’ with the EereE, the ones who attacked the Gainsborough the last time we had entered the region, and an insectoid species called the Vu’Lez. Mana is a deviant, a group of rebels struggling against the artificial intelligence network called the ‘Overseer’ which controls EereE society. The Overseer is apparently highly isolationist and do not allow the species under its domain to expand or colonize new worlds; this is also the reason for the hostility against the Gainsborough.
Mana and her two drones (both fully self-aware AI) are currently on board the Gainsborough, occupying guest quarters on Deck 16. She has been given temporary status as a refugee, though she has expressed the wish to eventually return to her people.
RECOMMENDATION: The possibility of asylum has been discussed and recommendation for review by command upon the Gainsborough’s return. Until such time, Mana will remain on board as a refugee.