Canopus Station
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Everyone Likes Bob

Posted on Thu Jul 23rd, 2020 @ 12:32am by Commodore Theodore Grissom & Lieutenant Commander Amie Cerys & Lieutenant Jinn Tevran

Mission: S2:2: Best Laid Plans
Location: Canopus Station, Task Force Hecate Command Annex
Timeline: MD3: 0930

"Well...now ain't that a thing," Grissom looked through the one way glass into the medical examining room. Within a pair of Starfleet doctors were running tests and scans on the strange insectile alien christened Bob. He seemed agreeable to the process, even if half the instruments in the lab beyond the glass wall were assuring one and all that there was no Bob.

Grissom turned back to look at Jinn and Amie, and smiled.

"Not quite the conquering heroes, but I'll take it in a pinch. Had the boys in the Task Force CIC look over the Black Birds crash beacon data, and turns out the Masker did its job. Just a random energy flare refracting off the hull of the Sensor Pod gave you away. Not a thing to be done for it," Grissom said. He reached into a pocket and pulled out a small bottle and threw it to Jinn. "Medic's also said you're still feeling the effects of that Bob fella. Had one of the Betazoids on my staff take a crack at him, fella's still unconscious in sickbay. Doc's say he'll be fine. Turns out brain damage ain't so long term of a problem these days."

Jinn caught the bottle and gave Grissom a shrug. "I've honestly never experienced anything like it. Although, to be fair, I would have said the same thing about the Reka a few days ago. M4 is... Interesting."

Amie raised an eyebrow as she looked through the glass. "That thing...was interesting to talk to. Liked random things, computer couldn't see it, as we can tell by the medical equipment. I'm almost glad I don't have any full telepathic abilities, else this could have gotten much worse." She looked to Jinn, "You doing any better?"

"Yes, thank you," Jinn replied earnestly, giving Amie a nod. "Basically, imagine the worse migraine you ever had. Now multiply that by the worst hangover you've ever had and that's roughly what we were dealing with there. Had I held contact for a second longer, I would probably have suffered the same fate as the Commodore's staffer."

He looked at the bottle Grissom had tossed him. It was unlabelled. "Magic medicine from Intel?"

"Asprin, fresh from the replicator. You know back in the day when we came back from a successful Op, we just got a pat on the back and an orange slice," Grissom chuckled. "Now you all fancy techno magic to fix everything. No stamina at all. In fact, only thing with stamina was that Sensor Pod. Utopia made'em good."

"If the tech is available, why not use it?" Jinn grinned, popping an aspiring.

Grissom snapped a finger and pointed at a display screen. On it appeared a summary of what the pod recorded.

"Mostly it's just them bird's and their carriers flying around. An interesting thing happened a week ago before you arrived. Out of range of the visual sensors, but the gravimetric got a good look at it," Grissom muttered. On the screen a hazy map of ill-defined particles appeared. Slowly an image formed out of them, suggesting a void like a sphere. "That there is a gravimetric assay that says for a single day a week ago, a new planet arrived in Beacon. Roughly the size of Earths Moon, it just appeared. In fact the pod that might well have brought old Bob aboard came from it."

"That seems... Abnormal," Jinn stated. "Did the pod get any other readings off this rogue planetoid?"

"I'm wondering about the same thing. A lot of this doesn't make any sense at all, and that just adds to the abnormal bits of it." Amie was listening but still watching Bob.

"Prevailing theory whatever that was, was performing a similar recon mission to yours. We're a new addition to this corner of the universe, makes sense we'd get sniffed at by the wild...life..." Grissom trailed off as through the glass Bob ate a metal surgical tray like it was a pound cake. "Yeah that there Bob doesn't strike me as the starfaring type. Hell, I'd bet money he doesn't even know what electrical current is."

"Simplistic starfaring whales are a thing that exists, sir," Jinn replied with a chuckle. "We shouldn't be so quick to judge. Regardless of how he appears, in several ways he's clearly more advanced than we are."

Amie nodded, "I agree with the fact that he seems more advanced than we are. But also doesn't seem to understand things the same way we do."

"Is true!"

Grissom looked through the glass at where Bob was now waving at them, his bright eyes and four jawed mouth opening in a horrible grin.

"I can see ultraviolet! And sound! And I can sing the song of old singers, and know their many names! I once sang the stormy seas of the Middle River to calm so that I could pass! I was much smaller, many malting before this one."

"That's...that's good to know," Grissom said, looking back at Jinn and Amie. "One of the techs went over the Black Birds sensors of that capsule that was attached to the Sensor Pod. The way it acted under sensors is similar to a number of artefacts the Messier 4 Expedition have discovered here. Things the locals say are made by The Priors. A local high technology species who apparently swept through this neck of the woods building all manner of wonders, and then left with no trace of themselves save their machines."

Grissom hooked a thumb back at Bob.

"That there might be a Prior. Plenty of evidence out there in the Milky Way of technological societies regressing to primitiveness when their technology got to a certain self-sustaining point. No need to learn new things when you've done it already," he commented.

"You're not wrong," Jinn agreed. "If that's the case, then we may have stumbled upon quite the find, especially if Bob can be convinced to be a friend."

"Couldn't agree more," Grissom said. "Starfleet Command is very interested in any means of controlling, even minimally, Prior artefacts. So far as we've been able to tell in a stand by state a Prior device can selectively turn off fusion and fission relations at the atomic scale. The White Tower on Carpathia was able to make the antimatter reactor of a run about turn off without also turning off the firing synapses of the sentient crew. Imagine a defence system that could turn off the lights of any invading fleet that got close to a planet."

Grissom turned back to the window.

"I was at the Battle Of Sector 001. I was just a captain back then aboard the Kilamingaro. Steamrunner class. Toughest piece of leather in the tool kit that ship. Came apart under me in the first minute of the battle. Now imagine if the Borg had just sidled up to ci-Lunar space, ready to enter orbit of Earth and suddenly...bam, no more lights. No more weapons. No more regenerative technologies to fill in the holes we were blasting into the hull," Grissom grinned. "And that's just what a Prior device could do for us if it's left turned on. Imagine what could happen if we found a way to control the effect?"

"Not to compare old war stories, but I was on Betazed during the occupation so trust that I know a thing or two about inadequate planetary defenses," Jinn replied. "What you're describing would be an incredible boon, but the point is moot if we can't understand each other properly. He speaks our language, but in riddles we can't understand. His mind is... Well it's probably the most incredibly vast thing I've ever dipped into. If there was a way for him to focus it to allow me or another telepath in, we may make headway. Thoughts are usually much clearer than words. Short of that, it may take awhile to find common meanings."

"And I tried to explain that we didn't understand. I don't mind still working with Bob in there...as long as he doesn't have plans to try to eat me, or whatever else he wants to do." Amie looked to Jinn, "And it'd keep you from having to get into his head again, unless you wanted to?"

Jinn shrugged. "Honestly, if he had a way to filter whatever it was I touched on, I think getting into his head again could be fascinating."

"Well that's good, because Bob needs to be our friend. And given the two of you have a sort of bond with him, well that's what my wife would call serendipitous," Grissom beamed. "Now, I reckon we can test out our theory on Bob being a Prior rather simply. We have a deactivated Prior device on Carpathia, why not take Bob down for a visit and see what happens? With its power dampening effect turned off by the Reciprocity, you should be able to land near it with no problem."

"If Bob is amenable to a little field trip, I wouldn't mind taking him," Jinn offered. "Controlling some Prior tech could be fun."

"Not to mention time-saving," Grissom said. With a gesture to the rooms holographic system, he cast a file from his com badge into the air between them. A bright yellow star bloomed into life, it's surface becoming more detailed as it morphed from a sphere to a dome, showing part of the stellar masses surface. A bur of white bone, like a collapsed child's geometric toy, could be seen hovering above the roiling sea of plasma.

"That there is a hundred-kilometre wide puzzle the Myriad call a 'Whisper Gate', it's how this Haztor fella was able to get into the system without traipsing in from the Oort Cloud. Funny thing is every sensor we have trained on that thing when it's active, show similar readings to the one's Project Long Jump use when the Alpha Phase Space Accelerator turns on back home. Meaning that Whisper Gate has the potential to be a portal back to the Milky Way: instantaneous two-way travel between Messier 4 and the Alpha Quadrant," Grissom said. He made a snatching gesture and the hologram shrank back into a file icon which he pocketed. "I'm sure I don't need to underline the importance of getting that sort of transit solution two years early? Because the Cardassian's are dragging their heels making the metamaterial superconductors we need to manufacture an Accelerator out here. Better trade deals, access into Federation space for their merchants and navy. Its why we have one of them damn dirty lizards on the station. Gul Luk'at."

"Never heard them called dirty lizards before, sir, that's a new one," Amie said as she looked back towards Bob. "Guess we get to take a field trip with the little guy...again..."

"I am excited also!" Bob said, again through sound and vision proof glass.

"That there is unnerving as all get out," Grissom said. "You two want an escort down there? I could assign some Marines from the Task Force to follow you down in a drop-ship. The leathernecks on the Normandy could use some familiarisation with the local environs."

Amie smirked hearing Bob, "Hearing through sound and vision proof glass, so much for hiding anything at all from him." She gave a small shrug. "At least he's eager." She then looked to Jinn. "Shall we?"

"I think that a Marine escort would be fine, sir," Jinn replied to the Commodore. "Assuming they understand that Lieutenant Commander Cerys has operational command and that this is an intelligence gathering mission, not a combat one. I know, at times, the lines can be blurred a bit for Marines."

He paused and looked in at Bob. The curious little creature seemed both to be oblivious and also completely aware of everything going on around him. He turned to Amie.

"Even though we're glorified babysitters, I feel like this is going to be a rather fun assignment."

"Glorified babysitters on an intelligence mission. Sounds about right, Jinn." Amie gave a small shrug. "Testing us for being parents if we ever decided to become them for real?"

Jinn shuddered. "Children, ugh. Never. I'll take unpredictable and possibly dangerous new lifeforms over spawn any day."

"That's the spirit!" Grissom grinned. "Now, get Bob to the shuttle bay and take out a shuttle. I'll have a drop-ship from the Normandy meet you planetside."

 

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