Okuda Away Mission
The Deuterium Argument [Rebooted]
Location: USS Okuda
Timeline: MD02 1700hrs
"Highlander to Okuda." Tim's voice came through the runabout's speakers with the slightly tinny quality that hadn't yet been eliminated from supspace transmissions yet. "Are you all set to start your search pattern?"
"We're just reaching our start point now, captain," Jean said from his position at the Okuda's operations station. He was still getting used to the unusual layout and technology of the little ship, but so far he'd been fairly impressed by its capabilities. "We can begin at any time."
"We're linking you in with the Jeffries," the captain continued. There was a pause as the connections were bridged. "Everyone here and coming through good?"
"Jeffries is receiving five-by-five," Holt's voice said over the comm-link.
"We're loading the algrorhythm search patterns now," Ryan said, as he tapped commands into his station. "Ensign Vega will also be monitoring from astrometerics... program loaded. Ready, when you are."
"All right, let's see how good this search pattern you two have come up with is," the captain's vocie said over the comm. "Let's get started."
"Here goes nothing," Ryan said, mostly to himself.
In theory their idea should work. However, Ryan had read enough papers and precipated in enough experiments to know that in theory occasionally lead to a lot of explosions. That shouldn't happen this time. Well, he really hoped that wouldn't happen this time.
A large portion of the screens around the runabout came to life, orchestrated by the program that had been initiated to do most of the heavy lifting of the search pattern. Screens dedicated to other functions such as helm and defensive systems remained as they were, but all three of the runabout's crew members had data start coming through their displays, recording everything deemed of import to the search procedure in an ever-expanding sphere around the small ship, before reaching the Okuda's newly-extended maximum range.
Keeping an eye on the sensor returns, as well as those of the other ships, Jean eventually said, "Sensor returns are looking good. Nothing so far, but I'm not seeing any gaps in coverage between the ships so we shouldn't be missing anything that's out there. We'll start proceeding to the next search waypoints."
"Altering course for the next waypoint," Ensign Deakin confirmed from the helm, standing in for pilot duties on the Okuda for the mission. She hadn't had much of a chance to get involved in any away missions yet, but had made a considerable effort to restrain her usual enthusiasm, given that she was sharing the small craft with two of the ship's senior officers. "This search pattern is likely to take some time, Sirs," she said, turning in her seat slightly so she could see the others.
Ryan blinked several times. He knew their sensor idea was a long shot but he would have they would have found some sort of return by now. He switched through the filters several times, just to make sure that he hadn't really missed anything.
Deakin turned back to her console and focussed on flying the craft. It wasn't an overly complicated search pattern; the two support craft were mostly just acting as extensions of the Highlander's sensor systems, so their course was largely going to shadow that of their mother ship, but even so, there were still various patches of radiation or space detritus that had to be navigated around, so it wasn't like she could just sit back and put her feet up. As the Okuda flew along, she tried to make some sense of the data that was coming in on the scanners. Most of the technical data of the planets and moons that it was whizzing through went above her head, at least without more time to study them, but she could recognise enough of the general markers to form a picture in her mind's eye of the planets the sensors were describing. 3000km diameter; lots of carbon dioxide; probably a class-a geothermal planet covered in volcanoes. 13000km diameter; very little water, but oxygen and a high number of metals detected; probably a class-h desert planet. She took to playing this game as the hours flew by, distracting herself from the fairly monotonous task at hand.
Ionised hydrogen and oxygen; no solid objects detected; half a lightyear across; probably a class-h nova remna- "Ah!" Deakin was jolted from her internal monologue by one of the consoles behind her chirping. It seemed to be far louder than it normally would be, but then that was probably only because of the silence it was penetrating. She turned her chair around, and with a sheepish and embarrased look on her face asked, "Have we found something?"
"It could be," Jean said, peering at the readings. With all the background noise from the stellar remnant, it was possible there was a false positive. After a minute he started to nod. "It's faint, but there's definitely a warp ion trail. A fairly messy one, actually. It's probably a couple weeks old but they were giving off a pretty sizeable particle wake. Could be a more primitive ship, or a poorly maintained one. North, see if you can angle our main subspace array that direction. We may be able to pick up an active warp signature or radio signal."
Ryan was snapped out of his light doze as soon as Jean started talking. He sat up straighter and started to make the needed adjustments to the array. It only took a few moments before he had the array adjusted in the right direction.
"Give me a few seconds to fine tune the signal," Ryan said, as he made some adjustments on his display. "I think we have something. It's faint though and I agree with Mr. Reynard's earlier assestment looks like primitive verision of dual-cycle warp engine. I'm picking up high levels of gamma radiation as well as heavy plasma readings. If I'm not mistaken they look like similar readings that our own early warp engines emitted."
"Okuda to Highlander," Deakin said, activating the comm link between the three ships. "We've got something on our scanners; Lieutenant North believes it looks like a warp trail. Are you picking this up too?"
"Just about, Okuda," the captain's voice came over the comm channel. "It looks like it's more in your neck of the woods than anyone else's. Jeffries; adjust your course to help triangulate. We'll do the same. Okuda, see if you can hone in on the trail in the meantime. Once we have a bearing, rendevous with the Hi."
"Understood Captain," Deakin replied over the comm. "Do we have any heading on the readings, Sirs?" she asked. The reading wasn't strong enough to come up on the navigation sensors yet, so she needed to rely on the reports coming in from the improved long-range sensors.
"Looks a bit coreward from our current course," Jean said. "Come to... zero-one-zero mark twelve. There's a G-type star not far along that vector, it's the most likely culprit."
"Adjusting course," Deakin said, tapping in the new heading on the console and watching as the stars out the view port move as the ship changed course.
Lt. Commander Jean Reynard
Chief Operations Officer/Second Officer
Lieutenant Ryan North
Chief Science Officer
Ensign Emily Deakin (NPC - played by Williams)