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SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 12th 2371 – 0254 FST
Vonny held the last ten or so cards in her hands and looked around her at the room, marvelling at how different it appeared to when she’d first entered. Active consoles showed multiple screens of scrolling text and views of space around Scorpion, including a beautiful image of the Angel seemingly close enough to touch.
The lights and chirps from the panel she was working on added life to the room and just a few moments ago, the booth that had the appearance of a transporter had come to life, its pad glowing warmly. While nothing else had happened, Vonny couldn’t help but wonder if it might offer her the means of returning to Angel.
She also wondered whether the changes taking place around her were being reflected across the ship. Her communicator had remained stubbornly silent for the duration of her work so she had no idea exactly what was happening beyond the sealed door.
Sighing, she looked up at Fido, a name that had stuck when Vonny found that applying it had helped her focus slightly better on communicating with the small sphere.
“I don’t suppose you’ve decided to talk yet?” Rhetorical as the question was, she still harboured hopes that replacing the cards would in some way enable it to communicate with her, but so far nothing.
“Oh well, let’s get these last pieces in and see what happens next shall we?” Surprisingly, up to a few moments ago, Vonny hadn’t actually considered the end results of her work. She’d been happy to treat it as an engineering challenge until now, but the thought stayed her hand momentarily.
Fido bobbed down to shoulder height, glowing an affirmative blue and flashing its laser pointer at the slot as it encouraged her to continue. This late in the operation, Vonny realised there was little point in delaying and so, checking the card matched the port, she slid it home.
Again, as had happened twelve times now, the light remained dark and the chime was absent. Withdrawing it, she held it up for Fido to scan and then it bobbed off to indicate the correct replacement. She withdrew the replacement card and returned to place it in the slot where she was rewarded with the familiar light and sound.
Some ten minutes later, with the final card in her hand she looked at Fido. “This is it then. What happens next?” Fido didn’t say of course, and so Vonny slid the card home in its slot. It remained unlit and silent. “Had to happen on the last one didn’t it?” She pulled the card and allowed Fido to scan it, then followed him across to the rack. He roamed the length of the replacements, and then repeated his scan of the card before searching again.
When he stopped and hovered in front of the lines of cards, Vonny stepped up to retrieve the replacement but found the rack empty at that line. Fido flashed yellow as he pointed at the empty rack. For possibly the first time in the past two and a half hours, Vonny was at a loss. Without the card there was nothing at all she could do. She pointed at the line next to the empty one and held up the useless card.
Fido increased his flashing yellow and continued pointing at the empty rack.
“Well unless you can pull up more spares my little friend, there’s nothing I can do.”
Vonny stood silently as Fido bobbed around for a short while in a seemingly random manner. Eventually he returned to her, indicated the unserviceable card and then the slot with his pointer, and flashed blue. If Vonny didn’t know better, she would have sworn it was the equivalent of a shrug.
She returned to the wall and slid the card home with as equal lack of response as the last time she’d tried. Sitting down once more at the console, she watched as Fido bobbed along the panel scanning each slot with a golden wave before hovering at ceiling height over her head. A noise to her left, the same silk rustling noise that had accompanied the dissolving door, caused her to turn as another panel appeared from behind the rippling wall.
A box like extrusion slid out and Fido came down to hover before her. With his laser pointer, he indicated her hands and then pointed at two translucent panels on the front of the extrusion. He flashed blue, hovered to the side and then repeated the show. Vonny stood and reached out her hands tentatively before drawing them back again.
It was then that Fido did the most unexpected thing. Moving in close and flashing blue, it gently nudged her shoulder. There was no force to the action and as soon as it had done it, it floated away again. Vonny was forced to smile at the gentle encouragement and suddenly felt more confident. The contact had been that of request, not demand.
Moving forward with her hands extended before her, she finally placed them against the plates. It was almost as if she had pushed them against a spongy and sticky surface. There was resistance but her hands seemed to sink in a little and it was then difficult to pull them away, until suddenly it released her. The extrusion withdrew and the wall reformed leaving Vonny stood with her hands out and feeling slightly silly.
At the familiar rustling sound, she turned quickly, half expecting the door to have opened to allow her to exit. Instead, what she saw was something totally unexpected, and her mouth fell open in shock.
USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
September 12th 2371 – 0310 FST
“Ensign, how are the hull scans progressing?” Dan felt fatigue creeping up on him now and he pressed his hands to his eyes in an attempt to remove the gritty feeling of exhaustion.
The young Bolian, who had replaced Kara Asheen at Science 1, and whose name Dan simply couldn’t remember at the moment, turned in his seat.
“Scans are 30% complete Sir. Negative results so far.”
“Thank you Ensign, keep me updated please.”
Turning to face the main view screen he peered intently at Scorpion. Just what is going on with you?
T’Sell appeared by his seat hands folded primly behind her. “Might I suggest Sir, that while we have a quiet period you take a break.”
Dan grinned. “Is it that obvious Commander?”
“As a Starfleet science officer, I am a trained observer.” She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Over the past seventeen minutes, you have yawned six times, rubbed your eyes three times and generally asked staff to keep you updated far too often.”
“Other than that though Commander, is it obvious?” Seeing that she was about to reply, he held up his hands. “It’s alright T’Sell, suggestion accepted. If I’m required I’ll be in my ready room.” He stood to leave the bridge when the chime of an incoming communication caught his attention.
“Sir?” Ottesen called from tactical. “Incoming hail from Scorpion Sir, it is Ensign Dixon.”
Dan’s fatigue fell away instantly. “On screen Mr Ottesen.”
He stepped down from the raised command platform to stand between conn and ops as the familiar view of the white ship changed to show the young ensign standing in a similarly white room surrounded by active consoles and equipment. Her face was slightly flushed and she was beaming broadly.
“Ensign, report.” He’d wanted to say a great deal more but protocol dictated otherwise.
“Sir, there’s a great deal to tell which I think can safely wait until the debrief. The most important part is that there is a surviving crew member and I believe she wishes to speak with you.”
Vonny stepped aside and a stunning but obviously alien woman appeared.
Standing in front of the pickup with an air of regality she spoke with a beautiful, lilting cadence. “Hath tehr’manyo cad berekjah. Meendes lek ens’etyel.”
She pointed to herself and then inclined her head. “Im neth harch Chariscarpia.”
The last was spoken as if a proclamation of identity although Dan wasn’t certain whether it was her name or her race. First contact protocols ran around inside his head, tumbling over each other and eventually emerging as a broad smile and widespread arms.
“Welcome,” he said, “to the United Federation of Planets.”
SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 12th 2371 – 0310 FST
“Welcome to the United Federation of Planets.”
The Captain stood waiting for a reply and Vonny stepped in before the silence could become embarrassing.
When the beautiful alien woman had appeared in the transportation chamber, Vonny had almost panicked, but the calm and gentleness she’d projected had soon soothed Vonny’s fears.
What had followed had been a conversation of improvised sign language as Chariscarpia had indicated herself and spoken her name.
“Hath tehr’manyo cad berekjah. Mends lek ens’etyel. Im neh Chariscarpia.”
The voice had reminded Vonny of Amanda Gittings Welsh lilt as it flowed and danced even though she could understand none of it. Her tricorder recorded every word but with no previous knowledge of the language, it would require much more input before it could even begin to translate.
The woman had pointed to the image of Angel
on the screen, and then at Vonny. She nodded, confirming that she had come from there. The next part had been difficult to mime and even more difficult to translate, but it seemed that Chariscarpia was asking if she was the commander of Angel
. Vonny shook her head, pointed to herself and at the single pip on her collar. She then repeated the hand on shoulder gesture that the alien had used to indicate commander, pointed to her collar again and held up four fingers, then pointed at Angel
Chariscarpia had nodded and smiled. She walked across to the bank of cards that Vonny had earlier reinserted. With a questioning look, she indicated the cards then pointed at Vonny.
Vonny nodded but pointed at the non-working card, shaking her head and pulling a hand across her throat. Oops, I hope she doesn’t think that’s a threat!
Fortunately, Chariscarpia understood. She pointed to the card, then her mouth and finally at Vonny and herself. It’s the translation unit! Realised Vonny. Typical that the one card she couldn’t replace would be the very one that would be most needed right now.
Chariscarpia crossed to the console in her curious gliding walk and pointed at Angel
, her collar and held up four fingers. She then pointed at the deck, her mouth and herself. “You want the Captain to come over to speak to you?” She repeated the pantomime emphasising the words connected to the gestures. Chariscarpia nodded.
Vonny had then pointed to herself, her mouth, her collar with four fingers and finally Angel
. Chariscarpia had defined her request instantly and opened the channel that had finally put her in touch with the Captain.
“Sir, I should tell you that right now Chariscarpia’s universal translation equipment is down, but I’ve spoken to her in a fashion and she wants you to come over.” Vonny tried to condense everything into short succinct phrases. “I believe there is no threat Sir, and she will lower her shields at your request.”
Turning to Chariscarpia Vonny nodded encouragingly, and pantomimed with her hands a falling curtain. The alien closed her eyes and aboard the Angel
, Vonny heard the big Danish lieutenant report “Scorpion’s shields are down Sir.”
The Captain looked at Vonny with a quirky smile. “It would appear you’ve made a new friend Ensign. Good work. If you wouldn’t mind telling Chascarap…”
he said trying to control the blush he knew was creeping up his neck, “tell her that I’ll transport over shortly with Commanders Gray, T’Sell and DeSalle.”
“I’ll do that Sir. The best location is close to the null node where Commander Gray was before.”
Dan nodded. “Thank you Ensign, we’ll be there shortly.”
He inclined his head in a copy of Chariscarpia’s previous gesture. “Angel out.”
Vonny stood slightly dazed as the commlink terminated. In the space of three hours she’d gone on her first active away team assignment, repaired an alien ship and made a first contact. Tevara would never believe it!