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Turning Tides

Posted on Wed Oct 19th, 2022 @ 7:59am by Lieutenant Junior Grade Michael Harris & Lieutenant Fathom Fellini & Lieutenant Junior Grade Selorina M'Kress
Edited on on Wed Oct 19th, 2022 @ 10:01pm

1,589 words; about a 8 minute read

Mission: Episode 13 - Crooked River
Location: Shuttle Craft Roosevelt / Planet Igion
Timeline: MD004 1700 hrs

Michael's eyes squinted at the screen that showed the tidal flow. The data he saw did not make sense. No matter which way he looked at it, it simply did not add up. "Either this planet defies all the laws of known physics or there is something we are missing."

"Agreed. My money is on missing something," Fathom said, once again going over the computations. "It defies logic, so let's see if we can find something to indicate what's manipulating the tides."

She turned to Michael. "Any indication of gravitational waves or fields that could be interfering? It would have to be something powerful to alter lunar influence."

Michael worked at the controls for a moment and uplinked to the Pioneer and then to the Federation sensor network. "According to all of the data that we have accumulated about this sector going back for six years no. However, we are in what used to be Romulan space so it is possible that something was concealed from us. Wait I have an idea..." He recalled that they had been granted access to the colonies computer system. So in a fury of typing, he accessed and searched for a clue, for anything. "Goddamn it! There is nothing even in the colonial computers. Only that they record the tidal changes and are wondering about them as well."

"Look for patterns," Fathom said. "Time of day, length of pattern alteration, time between alterations. Anything that could help us find out when it might happen again."

"Computer, access all recent theories and studies on tidal phenomenon and compare it to the data from the colony. What are the most likely causes of such anomalies?" She turned to Michael. "I hope we get more than human causality."

Michael set his mind to work on the readouts from the colonial computers. He searched through them for any and all patterns. Half way through, he pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed heavily. The screen hurt his eyes, but he resigned himself to the task. Unfortunately, he found nothing. He turned to Fathom with a cocked eyebrow and an air of curiosity. "What if there is nothing to find scientifically. Hypothetically speaking what if we are being fooled somehow. What if someone is disguising the tides?"

She leaned forward. "How could they disguise the tides? That's a lot of masking." On a scale the size of an ocean, or even part of one, it would take a massive amount of energy. "Or do we need to go underwater to see if there's any sign of it there?"

"I believe the first step would be to hypothesize how something like that could be done. Then we would know what to scan for, off the top of my head something that large would have an EM signature would it not? We could go underwater for visual confirmation." Michael was on roll and was ranting. He finally had something that piqued his interest.

"It would have to be something that disrupts the gravitational pull of the moon or possibly the sun." She paused for a moment. "We might be looking at something simpler. An EMP pulse of sufficient strength could alter our readings. Then it would seem like the tides are going crazy when in fact it's our equipment going wonky."

"Yes Lieutenant, yes... That is precisely what I was thinking as well." Michael worked at the sensor controls of the Roosevelt as he scanned for EMP signatures. "And there it is" He smiled and pointed toward the computer screen. "Whoever did this banked on the fact that no one would come out here for visual confirmation of the tides. They simply made sure all devices read what they wanted them to read. Well done." In the Academy Michael was known as the guy who drank and knew things. However, he was quite fond of when someone showed up his dizzying intellect and Fellini in this instance was just such a person.

"Good work. If you'll send the data to the Pioneer, I'll inform the others. This warrants more study." However, when Fathom tried to contact the other team members, all she got was static. She tried several channels, but with no luck. "I should have realized there'd be a problem."

Michael's message to the Pioneer went through with no difficulty so it struck him as odd at first that Fathom had a hard time getting through to the team. A few clicks later he had his answer. "The same EM pulse that is creating the false tidal readings is blocking communications to the team. It seems that we are just outside the range of the pulse so we are fine. Should we lift off and see if we can get visual on the team?" Michael paused as he turned toward Fathom. "You are the senior officer so it is up to you."

Fathom blinked, not sure she agreed that she should be in charge. But something was definitely wrong. She tried to reach all four members of the team, but there was no response. "Yes. Since you have better luck with the comms than I do, alert the Pioneer that we've lost contact with the rest of our team and that we're going to do an aerial search to see if we can find them." Then she prepared to launch the shuttle.

"Yes ma'am... Message sent." Michael said as the computer acknowledged that the message was received. "The Pioneer reports that they have lost transport lock on the team as well."

Fathom made a few unladylike comments in Italian and launched. "Locate the parameters of the field and find the team. We may need to postulate a likely course and distance, but we can't just sit here." She went high at first to see if they could get a visual, keeping to the shoreline as that was the most likely place to find them.

The last time Michael had piloted a shuttle was at the Academy in the simulator. However, he did his best here and in short order the shuttle Roosevelt had lifted off. "I have set a course for the teams last known whereabouts. We will be there in a minute." He spoke as he manipulated the controls. When he arrived at the location, he allowed the shuttle to circle. The sand on the beach had been disturbed and that was clear to see. A Starfleet issue rifle could be seen on the beach as well. "They were here. However, there is no sign as to where they went. It could be that they were transported."

"I can see where they came from and the rifle, but the footprints just seem to...end." It didn't look right, but she wasn't sure why. "I'm going to scan the area anyway and take visual images. We may need to recreate this area on the holodeck. There's something odd with all this, but I can't place it right now." That frustrated her. She ran every scan she could in all spectra. Then she did a 360-degree visual for holographic recreation. She dearly wanted to go under water and have a look, but couldn't justify it under the circumstances.

"There are no signs of them anywhere. Sensors can't pick up their life signs." She'd done all she could for the time being. Fathom turned to Michael. "Any response from the Pioneer?"

"Ever since we entered the area, our communications have been cut off. I did manage to get a report to the Pioneer and informed them that we had lifted off." Harris reported as he continued to circle the area. "Fathom look quick port side, Shayla's rifle." The shock of what he had witnessed caused Michael to drop all pretense of protocol. The rifle had begun to be sucked into the sand, all of the footprints and any sign that anything had happened began to disappear as well.

"That's..." Fathom shook her head. "No. Not impossible. But..." Her attention was caught by something on her console. "There's a rise in electromagnetic activity." She made an adjustment to the sensors and continued scanning. "What are you getting?" She wanted to know if Michael was getting any sort of interference.

"I am getting the same rise, and there is something under the sand. I am clearing the sensor image now..." Michael's hands moved quickly on the console, time was more of the essence now than ever before. "Compensating for the electromagnetic activity and bingo... There seems to be a Starfleet ration bar under the sand about 10 meters and falling. What do we do?"

"Get the rifle and the ration bar and have the computer note the location. That will verify that they were here." She again turned to Michael. "I think we need to take this to the captain. There's something strange going on."

"Energizing now..." And no sooner did Michael say then a Marine rifle and a ration bar appeared on the transporter pad in the shuttle. "I agree I think we should take the data we have and return to the Pioneer. There we can apprise that Captain and further evaluate the data. We are no help here."

A Joint Post By

Lieutenant Junior Grade Michael Harris
Science Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Fathom Fellini
Marine Biologist

Lieutenant Junior Grade Selorina M'Kress
Astrometrics Officer, USS Pioneer


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