Saturday, July 26, 2008
Captain's Personal Log USS Guadalcanal Stardate 0708.27
In orbit of Jibalia III
Cargo shuttle Bunker Hill.
Away team personnel:
Captain Mike Murphy
Science Officer Commander T'Par
Senior Helm Officer Lt Gallo
Chief Geologist Lt Cmdr Carstairs
Security Specialist Seward
The largest tool the ship carries for putting holes in planets (aside from its main phasers) is a Mark III drilling phaser, and that doesn't fit in a type-two shuttle. What you have to do is mount the drilling phaser (which is used for everything from dilithium mining to drilling holes so transporters can penetrate deeper than normal) onto the aft deck of the shuttle. Then you land the craft so that the drill is positioned where you need it. The aft panel of the shuttle lifts straight up, exposing the business end of the drill, and all you do is fire from there. Easy.
The journey through the planet's frozen atmosphere was understandably rougher. The Bunker Hill is considerably larger than the Stalingrad, and as such, as Mister Gallo pointed out several times before we landed, is less responsive and more subject to 'atmospheric irregularities'. Another irregularity is the fact that T'Par had great difficulty locating the artificial signal that brought us here in the first place. The fact that we couldn't find it didn't bother me as much as the simple fact that it indicated a change. Had someone or something detected us on the surface? T'Par felt it necessary to suggest that the change may have been a response to my use of the phaser rifle. I didn't answer her, choosing instead to help her tune and retune the sensors until we located the signal. It was possible, T'Par speculated, that the alloy shell just below the surface acts as an antenna, and our efforts might have thrown the transmission off.
We landed moments later, as Lt Gallo brought the shuttle down to the same site we'd left not long ago. As geologist Carstairs began to tune the drilling phaser appropriately, I raised the aft hatch. Jibalia III was no more inviting than it been the first time, but I also had the feeling that I was about to trip an alarm. T'Par would say 'I told you so', and Lukara would probably say I was being too timid. But we'd started this mission to get answers, and the only answers had to be below the surface.
As I was thinking about this, and seeing ghosts on the horizon where there were probably just rocks and swirls of dust, Carstairs warned us that he was about to drill.
We all jumped (aside from T'Par, naturally) despite the warning, as the bright red phaser beam shot into the level of dust that had settled over the exposed shell. T'Par scanned as Carstairs drilled, and a few minutes later, announced that sensors had penetrated a small gap drilled in the shell. Carstairs immediately cut power to the drill, and we stood around T'Par, trying to interpret the images scrolling across the screen on her tricorder.
The answer sounded flat, carried through the comm systems of our environmental suits. No lifeforms. I was just breathing a sigh of relief as five Klingons materialized a dozen meters away from us. So, we aren't the only ones who've moved into the Delta Quadrant.
What is Fantasy Trek?