Posted on Mon Jul 29th, 2013 @ 11:20pm by Chief Petty Officer Kiyoshi Nakari
Location: Science Complex, deck 8
Timeline: 1200, day 1
Kiyoshi (NPC) glanced over his notes one final time, before glancing over at the new Chief Science Officer. It had been a change for him these last few months to start working with a new Chief. Those five years he had been stationed on the Nimitz Commander De Vos had been somewhat of a fixture in the decor, so to say. People around them had come and gone, but both of them had reasons to stay. The commander had his wife who had been a medical officer, he had had his Ph.D. thesis and corresponding research at first. Later on he had stayed to some level out of respect and commitment to his 'sensei'.
He smiled. Commander De Vos' training and exercises had seemed to be more than thorough at times, and he had heard (and though himself) the grumblings about the sheer rediculesness of it. But now, as a Chief Petty Officer himself, and in charge of a group of people himself, he found himself using some of the Commander's techniques. After all, busy crew doesn't have time to grumble. Or get into other mischief.
The new Chief had been a change of atmosphere, but not demands. Kiyoshi knew it was good for him to experience more than one management style, but sometimes he did miss the 'old' commander. After 5 years, you were able to anticipate each other well. Now he had to start from scratch again.
As the last people sat down at the central briefing table in the core Science lounge, the Chief nodded at Kiyoshi. The Asian man took a quick breath, then stood. This was one of those differences. Where Commander De Vos liked to take each and every opportunity to teach those around him, the new Chief pushed the crew much more to speak first and have their research done.
"Hello all. You're all here because you're going to be involved with the science part of the away team that is going down. Some of you will join me on the planet, others will be on monitoring duty here in the Complex. Let me give a brief recap of what we know, followed by your orders, then questions. Orders came from up," he glanced at the Chief, "and upper." Here he glanced at the ceiling, indicating the Bridge. Rarified air, that.
He activated the holoprojector in the table, which after a brief flicker projected a simple plantary globe.
"This is HD 188753A-5, though people have informally started to call it 'Shaky'." A chuckled went around the room. Only bored scientists could have come up with such a name. "It is the fifth planet orbiting HD 188753A, the yellow dwarf part of a binary star system together with its red giant counterpart. Main Starfleet Astrometrics had classified their orbit as 'stable', so it's unclear whether it has anything to do with the unusual gravitational forces acting on the planet. It is on the outer limit of the human habitable zone, so Andorians would feel right at home."
"However, this recent upwelling has unleashed all kinds of forces on the planet. Tectonic, volcanic, the full works. Think of eons of time being compressed into a few short weeks and you have an idea of what's happening." He gestured at the globe. "This image shows the current 'weather' as far as we can detected it with our long-range sensors. And I would use the word 'weather' only sparingly, as that typically implies some kind of long-range, long-time predictability. Right now, that's totally missing." And indeed, the patches of clouds looked more like the swirls and chaos typically associated with Jupiter's Great Eye Storm than any of the more usual and relatively stable seen on earth-like planets.
"Our astronomy and astro-physics people are trying to figure out if there is a space-based explanation for this behavior. Starfleet's first inkling something was wrong were gravimetric readings from a Federation sensor outpost. It is one of the Borg detection ones, so they had ultra-sensitive gravimetric sensors. Given the distance between HD 188753A and the outpost, we're looking at something happening about 3-4 days ago, and from all looks we have less than a day before it all comes apart. Literally."
Stunned looks around the table. Though academically, these scientists knew that by the law of large numbers, there had to be these acts of planetary destruction nearly every day, to actually witness one was a little unsettling. Planets were constants in a space-faring people's lives. Wars may be fought over them, but the planets themselves would still be there afterwards. Murmurs spread as the realization started to settle in on what they were about to see.
Kiyoshi let them for a few moments, then he grabbed their attention again. "Now I'd love to go around and place sensors all around the planet to get some comprehensive data, but both prudence and orders have ruled that out. Then again, with the planet in such chaotic upheavel, and the atmosphere mixing it all up, any place may as well be as good as any other."
"So, we're going down there, plant sensors, get as good a spread of them as we can, observe what may well be a rendition from Dante's inferno, and get out of there safely. Don't forget, it is not just a question of how long the ground remains under our feet. The Nimitz herself needs time to get out of the way as well. Though these events are typically not.. explosive in their conclusion, getting hit by a continent-sized chunk of rock is not something even the best deflector shields can handle."
"On to orders. The away team will be small. Last I've heard two scientists, an engineer, a medic, and a team leader. I've been chosen to go down, and I've requested Thora (NPC) to go with me." He turned towards what looked like a rock sitting on a small floating platform. "I know this is more of your expertise, Ttok (NPC), but we're unsure what the conditions are going to be down there. If it is still on the icy side, your Horta biology might be more of a bane than a boon. Thora's Andorian background as well as her ecology knowledge may be useful down there. Thora, please stay afterwards for a more detailed briefing."
"As long as it is.. thorough, Chief Petty Officer," the flirtatous Andorian female replied in a sultry voice. Kiyoshi smiled as he looked over at her, spotting the expected grin. She shrugged. "Come one now, Nakari. After knowing each other for almost a year you must have known what I would do with such an opening." Agreeing nods around the table, before focussing again on Kiyoshi. Who continued without confirming or denying anything.
His own little play of 'let-them-guess'.
"The rest of you are our support team. The entire trip is planned to be no more than two hours, but we want to make the most of it. All of us will be wearing the latest sensor technology, so you'll be getting as much data as you want. But we also want you to keep an eye out for any trouble heading our way. We'll also need you to closely monitor any equipment, because with the way things have been.." As if to demonstrate what Kiyoshi meant, behind him one of the other crewman threw up her hands in frustration as the console she was working with froze. Probably for the fourth time since she started working.
"Support team. You're off shift rotation for today, so get a mission-ops set-up here and coordinate with the science console on the Bridge. Thora, after questions we'll gather all the gear we'll need, talk to the doc for any last updates and let's get ready to go in half an hour."