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Won't Know till We Get There

Posted on Tue Aug 2nd, 2022 @ 2:42am by Lieutenant Commander Jamison Adams Ph.D.

Mission: A Celebration Short Lived
Location: En Route to Starbase 4
Timeline: Day 1 at 1800 Hours

He drifted off; he must have drifted off because he was back in the lab and Endri was interested in seeing the work he'd done. The excitement level across the team was running high but then reaching a milestone, having the math support their findings and being ready to publish were all good things. Great things. Everyone was smiling and then they weren't. There was this low rumble in the distance and ... He came back to consciousness, running from the sounds of explosions and having to see Endri die again.

"We're nearing the Starbase," the younger of the two pilots said quietly. "Do we risk hailing them? We could encrypt the message, but it could still draw some attention our way."

"You could do a passive scan of the area," Jamie said quietly. There was a hesitancy in the depths of his voice, but this was something he knew a bit about. Work. It kept his mind engaged and away from the more difficult problems. For now, that was enough. "And have the computer here on the shuttle doing an on-the-fly interpretation of the data. Not as accurate as an active scan but it could give you some advance warning of any larger vessels in the area."

The older of the two pilots asked as he turned in his seat. You were in the Science Lab on the Starbase. He exchanged a look with the other pilot, who shrugged, and then nodded. "You can set this up," he asked.

"Yes," Jamie said. He moved over to a console and pulled a PADD out of his briefcase. It took him a few minutes to work out an algorithm that would include enough factors for a reasonable hypothesis on the part of the scan. "This will be rough and there's a fair," he shrugged, "margin of error given the limited data."

"But more than we'd know otherwise. Visual just isn't enough. We're a shuttle, not a starship. We need more time to react," the older pilot said.

It took longer than he would have liked. Mostly because he felt vulnerable out here in the vastness of space with the Borg on the hunt. Not that a starbase or a ship would be safer if it came down to that, scientifically speaking, he knew the odds. Emotionally, it just felt ... safer. And with all of that pressing on him, he didn't exactly hurry. It wouldn't help if there was mistake in the calculations, if he didn't check the work, and it might just make things worse for everyone. Finally, it was ready and Jaimie, after plugging in the algorithm, prepared the scan then turned toward the pilots. "Okay, I think this is ready to go. SafeScan."

The pilots initiated SafeScan and slowly, information started appearing on the screen. Nothing. "Nothing is good," the older pilot said. "Beginning approach to Starbase 4."

"Getting an encrypted message," the younger pilot said. By the earring and nose ridge, he was Bajoran and nervous. He tended to move quickly so that long chain of his earring seemed to be in perpetual motion. "Unable to pinpoint a source."

"Go ahead and play it," the older pilot said. The shuttle's computer offered its credentials which were accepted and after a moment, the message played. "To all Starfleet vessels. The Borg are targeting all Starfleet installations and major population centers. Recommended you do not approach Starbase 4. Instead, go to the following coordinates." The coordinates were provided and then the message looped, repeated. The older pilot shut it down and found the location through the shuttle's navigation system. "Asteroid field. More than six thousand of 'em."

"That's a lot of looking," the younger pilot said with a shake of his head. "Still, there will be places to hide if it comes to that and some asteroids are even known to have an atmosphere. Not that I'd particularly want to set down on one ..."

He said more but the drone of their conversation faded into the background. It seemed reasonable to Jamie that if they were being directed to a specific place, then there would be someone or something at that place that could direct them further. Nothing much to do but go there which was what the older pilot was saying as Jamie drifted into an exhausted sleep.


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