Canopus Station
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A Devil For Details

Posted on Mon Jun 8th, 2020 @ 1:38pm by Captain Benjamin Ingram Dr & Lieutenant Commander Mara Ricci & Master Chief Petty Officer Ryan Terry

Mission: S2:2: Best Laid Plans
Location: Canopus Station, Station Operations, Ingrams Office.
Timeline: MD1: 18.15

Ingram imperiously held up a finger as he extracted a small black cube from his desk draw. He placed it on the surface and tapped its upper face with the same finger he had used to call for silence. Almost instantly the room's smart glass walls turned opaque, and Mara and Terry's com badge chirruped in unison as they lost access to the station comm net.

"There. Given the nature of your assignment, we can consider this debriefing to be off the record," Ingram said cooly. "Please. Have a seat. Can I get either one of you anything? Tea? Coffee? A snifter of Andorian brandy?"

With a smirk, Mara took a seat. She usually declined a drink, but this time, she said, "coffee would be marvelous."

"Indeed," Ingram beamed, walked to a small side table in his glass-walled office and poured from a carafe a measure of the steaming dark liquid. "Arabica beans dried and roasted on my families plantation on Rise. Nutty and complex, so I'm told. For all its vaunted rejuvenating properties, it's always been a bitter brew to me."

He took the cup, and placed it before Mara. He then returned to the table and poured something from a crystal decanter into a wide glass.

"Pear brandy, again from my families holdings on Risa," he said, breathing in the aroma. "Very good memories. Now, anything for you Mister Terry or are we to business?"

"Coffee, if you please," Ryan said as he took a seat beside of Commander Ricci. As yet, they hadn't had the chance to come up with a game plan of what to tell the Captain, but he figured she had something.

Ingram poured another cup of coffee, and placed it before Ryan, before returning with his brandy behind his desk and taking his chair. Settling into it, he took a sip of the rich liquor and smiled.

“Now that we are all suitably comfortable, you may dazzle me with the technical insights you have gained.”

From the pocket of her uniform jacket, Mara produced a data chit. “A 3D representation of their Luminal Cartographer, as best I can remember it,” she announced. “And everything he told us on the matter, word for word. This is how they communicate. I don’t think we have enough to build one of our own, but we might be able to work out how to tap into their signals.”

Ingram reached out and took the data chit, rolling it around in his fingers.

"A picture of something called a Luminal Cartographer, made from three-dimensional visual scans, and a written report on everything that came out of the Myriads mouth," Ingram said, his fingers toying with the chip. He then flicked it onto his desk, where it clattered. "If I had wanted a picture and some pretty words I'd have tasked a Marine with a helmet cam to go on that mission. I instead sent the Chief Engineer of this space station, with a noted Xeno technologist in her own right, and a man whose work will win him a Daystrom award when its declassified in a hundred years. So pardon me if I feel short-changed."

He held up a finger.

"One: how do they communicate? You have suggested we might be able to tap into their signals, that is wonderful and something I want more concrete data on. Two: what did they not show you. They took you to see something they know we have no means of replicating, what else did they not show you? What did they keep you away from?" Ingram curled a second finger up and then added a third. "And third: Make it worth my time to hear what you have to say. I like both of you, your work speaks well of my command here on Canopus Station. It would be...a see such talent squandered on a mining barge in one of the Unicorn Asteroid Belts. Damn shame to be sure."

He then used his three raised fingers to pick up his glass and sip from it.

"Now, I ask again: dazzle me."

Ryan took a sip of his coffee and had to admit, it was very good. He gave a nod towards Ingrams, then looked at Mara to see what she'd say since she was the one in charge. He had tried to make a bargain, but she had foiled him and they had left with nothing of use.

"I find silence tiresome," Ingram said. He snatched up and data chip and slotted it into his desk terminal. The glass display built into the desk began to light up as data loaded. "So let me pick out some interesting points of discussion...huum...ah, yes, here. This, Luminal Cartographer, is how the Myriad communicates over interstellar distances. Locally they use subspace, something we already knew. The Traveller's command used that tidbit to make their so-called 'Silver Bullets'. Little more than subspace warheads with little respect for the local stellar medium. Now, can we use that factoid to jam without also ripping apart subspace and removing Starfleet from the space business?"

With a roll of her eyes, Mara sighed. "Keep in mind, I said may be able," she replied. "We have a theory as to how this thing works." With a slight wave of her hand, the reconstructed image of the Luminal Cartographer appeared. "It took us awhile to work out what this was," she added, pointing to the spinning mass that her brain had blocked out. "But we finally figured it out. I think, anyway. Keep in mind that this is just a theory." Another wave of her hand and the power source- or so the theory went- zoomed in. "We think it's a microverse," she said.

"Or a galaxy," Ryan added, then handed Ingrams his tricorder. "All the data is on that, but we haven't fully analyzed it yet. I have it uploaded to Engineering."

"Well...I cannot help but feel short-changed by the gambit. The diplomatic risk, not to mention the material losses if Haztor had taken umbrage and decided to use force against you," Ingram leaned back in his chair, tapping a finger against his desk as he thought. "But you returned with something more than what we have, and the data should allow you to work something out."

He reached out and tapped the black cube he'd placed on the desk that had blacked out the office from the Stations security network.

"Go back to engineering-" Ingram began to say before his voice cut off. His desk screen blinked with a file upload message from the data chip he'd taken from the two engineers. In the same instant the holographic display winked out, and a series of crackling flashes lit up under the surface of the glass. With a final sizzle, a large crack appeared in the glass surface, and blue smoke began to twist up towards the ceiling.

Ryan flinched when the desk cracked and looked at the smoke before the desk again. He hoped the short circuit and crack hadn't been because of the chip. "Fortunately, Captain," he began. "You have two Engineers here who can fix this right away."

"I hope you can," Ingram said with a look of disgust at the cracked table. "It was imported."


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