SD242009.27 - Joint Log - CO & CSO - "Black Hole Dusk"
The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Location: Starbase Versailles
=/\=Chief Science Officer's Log, Starbase Versailles=/\=
"It certainly is something else," Ly'thy Sareil whispered to himself, right hand folded against his cold-blooded heart in simple awe; the Starbase Versailles might be amidst a battle with a Black Hole, but the Andorian officer could never have hoped to see anything like it beyond a holodeck illusion.
He'd arrived without ceremony, which was fine for Ly'thy; the weight of the extra pip pinned to his neck seemed to weigh oddly heavy these days, in lieu of the company of his family. Meerin had almost allowed Debia and Miloe to live at Versailles, until the...circumstances of the starbase's current situation were made clear to the newly promoted Sareil.
"Hmm, off at Dock 4, down the hall," the Andorian muttered to himself, "empty, empty. I don't even see any cleaners. They mentioned there might be cleaners."
Along the row of airlocks along which he'd been dropped off, Commander Sareil looked in continuous amusement - near shock - at the Black Hole, and every angle he could assess it from. His walk to the turbolift was slow, slow, slow, with a million thoughts passing through his head in agonizing, expedited fashion - half thoughts and quarter thoughts and one-eighth thoughts all zipping into a vast expanse of grasping for conclusions.
Taking his time along the way, the hallway curved and turned more opaque, the clear views of his monolithic beauty fading behind his craned and twisted neck. In front of him lie the security checkpoint - hulking bulk of u-shaped metal for automated scans flanked by two burly Starfleet officers bearing an intimidating gold.
"Gentlemen!" Ly'thy opened his arms in an intergalactic gesture of warmth and friendship, "Hello, hello, you must be the men at the gates."
He offered a goofy grin and a hand for shaking, but instead the human on his left held out an open palm, steady in wait. "Welcome to Starbase Versailles, may we see your paperwork, Commander?"
Just a bit shorter than the Andorian, the security Ensign maintained an intimidating bulk with a disarmingly soft voice. Sareil reached into the only bag he'd taken with him - as the rest were being transported to his quarters. From it, he pulled out a PADD, and handed it to the younger officer; inspecting it for only a few seconds, the Ensign returned it and offered a nod. His companion - and older human - turned on his heels and over to a small control console.
"Please step into the scanning device, Commander Sareil," the Ensign said, half-demanding, half-pleading.
The Andorian complied, looking about the device as the older security officer operated the controls ever-so-slightly, setting the machine into motion.
"What exactly is this scanning for?" The curious Sareil asked.
"Biometrics first," the Ensign replied, "those will be sent to Sick Bay. Then it's looking for hidden weapons, transporters, comms devices - if your brain has been secretly microchipped and you're a sleeper agent, if there's a hidden microorganism rotting out your teeth without you knowing. That sort of stuff."
"Fascinating," the Andorian smiled as the device let out a soft ding.
"All good," the senior security officer said, from out of Sareil's view, "Biometric scans are being sent off to the CMO's office, all clean on the other scans. You're good to move on through, Commander."
With a small nod, Ly'thy turned toward the turbolift and entered. The doors swished open and closed just as he uttered, "Ops, please, computer." The starbase's new CSO held his hands behind his back, thinking for a moment, "I wonder what sort of things those gentlemen find each day." he said then to himself, chuckling.
Ops was a large, circular room, walls coated in consoles, and some control tables scattered about - though the middle of the room remained oddly empty, as if something had been there for quite a while and just been removed. Without much more than a glance to the people who were working in the command center, the Andorian officer spun to his left and spotted the impressive double doors which spelled the entrance to the Brigadier General's office.
Buzzing at the door and then folding his blue hands behind his back once more, the Andorian man called out, "General Grey? It's Lieutenant Commander Ly'thy Sareil. May I enter?"
"Yes, come in!" replied a voice. The doors promptly whisked aside at the sound of their master, allowing the CSO inside.
The office itself had seen better days. Many found that the first thing to catch the eye was the UFO that appeared to have crashed into it. Somewhat wider than the office itself, the walls and floor all bore the tell-tale signs of rent metal where the large shape had torn through the ceiling and slammed into the floor, narrowly missing the desk that sat in front of it.
About halfway up the large, circular intruder was a smaller, circular hole. Cables protruded from this hole, and an engineering afterthought had seen metal fused over the top; keeping the cables bound together and held tightly to the skin of the UFO, until said cables vanished into an open wall panel.
In front of all this ordered chaos was a slightly more ordered sight. One broad-shouldered man with short hair was handing a padd to a male Lieutenant with a long ponytail. The tired, yet methodical, pacing of the hand-off implied that these two had been dancing this waltz for a long time.
Fortunately, with practice comes experience, and General Grey gave off the sort of resolute vibe common to those who were wrestling the universe; one document at a time.
"Our new Chief Science Officer." stated the General, looking up at his guest. It wasn't a question, as he'd been surprised by this stuff too often as of late, and had found the motivation to read his memos.
"Welcome to Versailles." he continued, stepping around his desk. "How was the journey here? Bandits didn't give you too much trouble, I hope."
Somewhat amused by the state of the office, the science officer took several seconds to respond as he wandered in with both hands clasped behind his back, taking a somewhat detailed inspection of the UFO and the mess of cables running about - and fused to - it. He gave the small smile of a man who found many things interesting or humorous.
"The trip was a silent delight; bandits learned not to act cross with me after the Badlands, General Grey," Ly'thy replied, implying a casual ruthlessness; after all, he was Andorian.
Taking a closer look at the wires as they passed through into the wall, Ly'thy moved his right hand to his chin in a contemplative pose, looking to the Lieutenant and offering him a courteous and affirming nod before looking back to his commanding officer, "You have an interesting take on interior design, General," Lt. Cmdr Sareil said with the hint of a chuckle, "Are you siphoning power from your fascinating visitor into the starbase?"
"Hmm? Oh." said the General, realising what the man meant. "Yes, we are siphoning power. Well observed." he commented, nodding. "It is not, however, a visitor. We are currently in my foyer. Before the black hole, you would rise up on an antigravity lift, and ascend through the middle circle into my dome-office."
"Unfortunately, a gravitational eddy caused by the new black hole ripped the whole dome free of its mountings. All the armour plating, minus a few inertial dampening emitters, meant that it simply fell under its own weight. It turns out my dome-office has its own warp core, so yes, we've been using it to power Ops and the nearby turbolifts."
An interesting tidbit, to be sure - the Andorian couldn't help but let out a healthy laugh, "A unique situation to be found it, to be sure," He said, in an effort to play the understatement, "I appreciate the creative use of what I'm sure was an unexpected discovery."
How many starbases in Starfleet - let alone all of warp-capable society - could boast their own warp core? A devilish thought of experimentation passed through Ly'thy's mind for a brief moment.
"Are there any other surprises to expect, General?" Cmdr. Sareil asked with a smirk, "Impulse engines under the mess hall? Transporter pads for bathroom stalls? Replicator walls?"
"Hmm? Oh, the station has nine warp cores, my office just happens to have a little one built into it for...reasons." he explained, completely neglecting to mention "Funk Mode".
"Ultimately, this station was meant to be a fortress." the General continued. "Able to stand against a fleet of enemy ships and come out on top, whether Federation, Romulan, Klingon, or Other. Take the power draw for the shields, add weapons, life support, thrusters, lighting, etc, and multiply that by the sheer size of the place (over 3km across); yeah, that's a lot of warp cores."
"Which reminds me," he added, remembering something, "we're having a Solar Emitter added to the station as our part in a group effort to terraform a rogue planetoid. That'll be three more warp cores, just to power the thing. Sunlight, even artificial, takes a lot of power."
"Twelve warp cores," Sareil chuckled, "Are they all standard, Starfleet issue? Have they been modified in anyway way to reduce functionality of a core to one specific area, such as the shields you mentioned? I'm sure by the end the same power draw is directed to each system - I'm just a stickler for that sort of stuff; uniformity, single-output resources. If one goes down, you know exactly where the problem is, right?" The Andorian capped his statement and rhetorical off with a quick, dismissive shrug. This was a fun hypothetical for him, not actual starbase theory.
"I have no idea." the General admitted. "If you're curious, try asking our Chief Engineer. She knows the station far better than I."
"For sure I will be having a meeting with the CEO," Sareil cemented that desire quickly with a series of short, bobbling nods, "but I'm sure there are other things you want to give me the run down on, the down low, whatever you terrans call it in your playful way. Should we get to business?"
"Of course." said the General, ignoring the specist jibe and taking a seat behind his desk, gesturing for his CSO to use one of the guest chairs.
"There are a great many things that require your attention, as I'm sure your message inbox will attest, but there are three primary things that you should be aware of."
"First, as you may have noticed, Starbase Versailles is currently orbiting a black hole. We believe this to be the act of a Romulan group, the same group that had Mimic Agents (disguised as various people) sabotage our power grid, though the Romulan Republic denies all knowledge. Perhaps it was the RSE, or a rogue faction of some kind. Or maybe they just failed, and now the Republic is trying to save face by denying the whole thing. Who knows."
"Second, I've been informed that the station's crew count is being reduced to around 1200 people. You'll be left with thirty in the Science department, plus a further forty in a group dedicated to R&D. The latter will operate under you, but some of their projects will be assigned by the admiralty, and you'll be seeing some new R&D-focused specialists show up. I can't promise you'll have full visibility there, but I'll be lobbying for as much insight as I can grant you."
"And third, we have the plan to escape the black hole. Simply put, we've negotiated use of ships from various groups: Romulan, Klingon, Starfleet Command, civilians, Border Defence, and even some of our maintenance craft. This mixed fleet of fleets will tow us away from the black hole via extremely precise tractor beam use and a boost in structural integrity power from the soon-to-be docked Tristan and Isolde shipyard. Then we will be drawn to a low warp speed, at which we will cruise for one week before arriving in orbit of a planet designated Rogue 17. Once there, we will have a Solar Emitter bolted onto the station, and we will provide sunlight for the soon-to-be-established Romulan, Klingon, and Federation colonies on the planet's unterraformed surface."
The General paused for breath here, and took a sip from a glass of water.
"So, do you have any questions?" he asked, finally falling quiet.
The Andorian scientist took in all the information sitting exaggeratedly cross-legged in the General's guest chair, his face somehow contorting into many different emotions without their being written all over it. He let the silence in the room hang for some tense seconds.
"General, I have so many questions I might need to file a query letter so you don't have to spend all day monologuing in your office," Ly'thy joked dryly before continuing, "Thirty people for the department and forty for R and D isn't quite the ideal for running a starbase's science division, but I'll give it to you, General, that everything around here seems far less than ideal - I can work with whoever you give me, no problem; and I do appreciate your fight for transparency, but I know it's usually an uphill battle with the Federation."
Lt. Cmdr Sareil gave a short shrug, playing it off as the politics he'd come to dance around as a Starfleet officer, "As for the rest - I will let you play the part of sniffing out who is truly behind the act, but I must admit, it is genius. Using a black hole to any means is that - genius." The Andorian seemed to revel in the supermassive object a little too much, but he didn't dally on that subject long.
"My real questions boil down to how exactly I can help; many theoreticals running through my brain, General, such as - what are the state of simulations on moving the starbase at warp speed? What about simulations for ripping the starbase away from the black hole with tractor beams? Are we sure these are things this starbase can withstand? And are there any problems you've encountered in your simulations I could possibly help to overcome? Again, I apologize for the overload, General, but you've presented me with quite a deal of foreign variables to account for."
"The simulations were run by a reputable engineering group in Australia. Starfleet command sent them the specs for the station, as well as our latest reports, and they span up some heavy-duty math along with pictures for the rest of us. Lieutenant Commander De'Lenn has the full breakdown, and can probably explain it all better than I. Perhaps that can be your next stop?" the General suggested, finishing his glass of water in one gulp.
Ly'thy paused his movement in consideration, hands wrapped behind his back; he shared a look of excitement mixed with the general confusion of the whole, odd situation, "You have me convinced, General. Once I've met and reported in with my department and I've divvied up all the important and unimportant tasks, I will walk my little, blue legs on down to engineering and - well, where we go from there, I'll have to see."
Moving his right hand from behind his back to motion toward the door, Sareil asked, "Have you any other need of me? Questions or concerns? Or should I go get started?"
"No, I think we're good for now. You are dismissed, Commander." said the General.
Given the work ahead of them, they needed all the time they could get.
=^= End of Log =^=
Brigadier General Jonathan Grey
Lieutenant Commander Ly'thy Sareil
Chief Science Officer