Sunday, April 18, 2010

Captain's Log Challenge 0109.20 "Whatever it is, contact in six seconds."

(TOS era)
USS Star League, NCC 2101. Commodore Stewart recording. What began as a simple planetary survey of a gas supergiant in the Epsilon Aenar system has turned into a unique rescue operation. The survey ship USS Maine was mapping the Epsilon Aenar system when an impulse manifold blew, dropping the ship into a perilous orbit around the gaseous seventh planet in the system. The survey ship was still relatively safe until a chance meteor passed by and struck the damaged ship. From that point, the immense gravitational pull began to draw the ship down. A distress signal was received by a nearby Starfleet Monitor Station and retransmitted to Starbase 16. The Star League was docked at Starbase 16, receiving crew transfers and computer upgrades, and left immediately for Epsilon Aenar.

Upon arrival, we located the Maine's flight recorder spinning in an unstable orbit, as well as debris indicating that the ship had been slowly pulled apart by the tremendous gravitational forces exerted by the Class I gas supergiant.

After beaming the recorder aboard, we scanned its exterior, which showed signs of actually coming up through the atmosphere. Intensive scans of the planet's thick atmosphere revealed a wake left behind the recorder as a chemical rocket blasted it upward, confirming the scans. Furthermore, the flight recorder seemed to indicate that a large part of the ship, including the bridge and engineering survived to penetrate the outer atmosphere and gaseous hydrogen surface. The voice of Captain Holden can be heard clearly as the ship passed through the surface, stating "Whatever it is, contact in six seconds." Sensor scans from the Maine at that point were sketchy, but seemed to read a large energy source in their path. At this point the Maine's propulsion systems were inoperative. It was in a slow-motion freefall. At that point, the flight recorder was ejected. Since that happened, almost twenty-four hours ago, there have been no matter/antimatter explosions beneath the surface of the planet, leading me to believe that the Maine still may be intact down there. I see no choice but to attempt a rescue. Fortunately, the Star League is a Mark X Federation Class Dreadnought. This is the kind of mission that this ship was built for.

Captain's Log, Supplemental Entry: Captain of Engineering Brahms transferred surplus warp power into forward shields and the structural integrity field to bring us through the atmosphere of Epsilon Aenar VII. At two kilometers above the surface, our sensors detected an energetic plasma field in place below the surface. Gas supergiants can be strange things, but an energetic plasma field does not naturally occur within the body of one. There was no doubt that the field is what Captain Holden was talking about when he said "Whatever it is, contact in six seconds." We pushed the Star League through the gaseous surface, and at three kilometers below the surfacd, found the saucer and engineering hull of the Maine intact, and contained within a second field. Scans showed 36 lifeforms on board out of a crew complement of 87. We were unable to communicate through the plasma field, but we did detect a life force existing in the plasma field. It wouldn't be the first energy-beings ever discovered, but as far as I know, it's the first found living inside a gas giant. Within seconds, the field enveloping the Maine had grown to surround us as well, and we found ourselves being pulled back through the atmosphere and into space. Moments later, the plasma field had plunged back into the soupy planet without communicating with us.

We are obviously happy that there were survivors from the Maine, and it is always a bonus to meet an intriguing new lifeform. But I will admit to being humbled. These energetic plasma lifeforms were quite capable of rescuing the Maine without our help, and in fact they picked up the massive Star League and pushed it into orbit without apparent difficulty. It is disquieting to discover that what we call a dreadnought doesn't impress every creature that it encounters.

No comments: