Day Two: The Getaway
– I –
DeMara Deen found Xylion in Eagle
’s main science lab where he seemed hard at work at one of the computer stations and surrounded by a myriad of well-organized padds.
“Reporting as ordered,” she said as she stepped into the lab and gave the chief science officer a snappy salute.
Xylion raised an eyebrow to the gesture. “You are mistaken if you believe I ordered you here.”
She offered a little smirk. “’Lieutenant Deen’,” she said, putting on her best Xylion voice, “’please report to the main science lab as soon as possible.’ Sure sounded like an order to me.”
He considered her with curiosity. Cleary it wasn’t often that other officers pretended to speak with his voice. Deen almost expected him to say. ‘I do not sound like that at all.’
Instead he said. “I apologize if you were under the impression you were ordered here.”
She waved him off. “That’s alright, I didn’t have anything better to do anyway,” she said and approached his workstation. “What are you working on?”
“I have initiated a full spectrum survey of the Aphrodite nebula.”
Deen immediately began to study the screen. “Fascinating,” she said and then shot him a mischievous little look. “To borrow one of your lines.”
The empty look on his face made it clear that even after over three years on Eagle
, he didn’t really get her humor.
She focused on the screen again. “These must be the most detailed scans anyone ever took of Aphrodite,” she said as she studied the screen. “Look at the high density of particle flux. This looks almost like a still forming protostellar nebula and not an inversion nebula as we previously assumed,” she said. Even though Deen served as an operations officer on Eagle
, she had started her Starfleet career as a scientists. She had switched tracks only after Michael Owens had been unable to convince Starfleet to install the young and seemingly inexperienced woman as Eagle
’s chief science officer when he had first put his crew together. However it was rare that she regretted those turn of events and she’d had been given plenty of opportunities over the years to pursue her original passion.
“My preliminary analysis suggests that Aphrodite exhibits enough unique characteristics that it could be classified as an entirely new nebula category. However additional study is required in order to establish a categorization in line with currently established scientific parameters.”
“A brand new kind of nebula?” her voice having taken on a tone of reverence. It wasn’t everyday a scientist got to discover something that had never been seen before. “Have you tried probes to get better data?”
Xylion quickly brought up the logs detailing his efforts so far. “I have deployed a class-II sensor probe as well a class-IV stellar encounter probe. Both provided only minimal new data before full systems failure brought on by thermionic radiation approximately two minutes and thirty-eight seconds after launch.”
She nodded understandingly. “It’s not an ideal environment for probes. Did you run a high-energy proton spectrometry scan?”
“Yes, with inconclusive results.”
“How about a graviton –“
“Lieutenant, I appreciate your input,” he said. “However I did not ask you here to suggest alternative means to study the nebula.”
“I require your assistance in securing additional resources to continue my work,” he said.
“I see,” she said, putting on a mock frown. “I’m not a good enough scientist to assist you. I’m just a good enough ops techie.”
A raised eyebrow mirrored the Vulcan’s confusion. “I am not certain how you have come to interpret my request in that manner.”
She offered a brilliant smile before planting herself down on the workstation next to his. “Relax, Commander, just pulling your leg. You need an ops officer and I’m an ops officer. Good enough fit, if you ask me,” she said before she stretched out her fingers dramatically in front of her. “Tell me what you need and I shall work my wonders.”
“I require full access to the lateral sensor pallet. Specifically the hydrogen-filter subspace scanner and the low-frequency EM flux sensors.”
“Alright let’s see what we can do,” she said and began tapping away at her console. But after just a few moments she began to frown in earnest. “Looks like the entire lateral array has been locked down to be used by engineering to assist in their construction efforts.”
“Can we utilize pallet six and the virtual particle mapping camera,” said Xylion.
But Deen quickly shook her head in frustration. “Also re-purposed by engineering. Same goes for the wide-angle EM radiation scanner, the quark population analysis counter and the steerable lifeform analysis cluster.”
The Vulcan offered a minimalistic nod. “I have assumed as much.”
“I suppose there are things that trump scientific research,” said the golden-haired Tenarian.
“Indeed. Certainly war and the preservation of life and our freedom fall into that category.”
“I know,” she shot back. “But it’s all so frustrating. We are losing such an amazing opportunity here,” she said and uttered a heavy sigh. “The only thing war has ever done is throw us back decades in real scientific and exploratory progress. That and killing millions of people.”
“I do not disagree, Lieutenant,” said the science officer. “However, logic suggests that the need of many outweigh the needs of the few.”
“Vulcan wisdom,” she said. “Where would we be without it?”
Xylion had no response to that.
Deen stood and her face brightened with a new idea. “But what if the few could manage to slip away and get out of the many’s hair altogether?”
Xylion cocked an eyebrow in response.