Needle in a Haystack
E1 Only The Beginning
Timeline: MD10 || 0458 hours
"Are you sure?" Tim asked, standing over the operator's shoulder at the science station. Ever since he'd ordered the Magellan's course altered towards the Alrakis system, the crew had done well keeping their sensor scans passive. Anything direct with all of these anomalies would tip off whoever was around them.
"Positive," replied the Benzite at the controls, even going so far to point at the data the scans were showing them now. "There can be no doubt at this point."
Tim nodded. This had officially gone above his paygrade, especially since Delta shift was nearing its end. He tapped his combadge. "Bridge to Captain Terax," he calmly called.
Startled awake by the transmission chime, he took a few moments to allow his brain to fully wake. He looked at the clock on the end table to his left. 0458. Two more minutes. It couldn't have waited for two more minutes he thought to himself. His alarm was set for 0500. "Go ahead, Commander," he replied with the subtlest of hints of irritation in his voice.
Tim could hear the voice of his father in his head. Ever the diplomat, Tim's father cautioned his son to recognize the fact that the Captain was now slightly irritated and that he should tread cautiously. Tim mentally shrugged, only slightly heeding the imaginary advice. "Long range sensors have detected what appears to be a large artificial structure in the Alrakis system."
Dam Terak thought to himself. "How are we defining large?" he asked as he got out of bed, and checked his console, spotting a message from Commander Parker, likely on this subject.
Tim paused for a second, trying to figure out how best to answer the question. Finally, he answered, "If I had to guess, Captain, I'd say we're looking at a space station."
He thought for a moment. Who would have a station out here? Maybe it was this 'Wi'u'Kai that kept popping up, whoever they were. "I'm on my way to the bridge, Commander. Have Commander T'Prynn meet me there. I'll be up in 5".
"Acknowledged. Bridge out." Tim tapped his badge twice, once to close the current channel, and then again to open a new channel. "Bridge to Commander T'Prynn. Report to the bridge immediately. Repeat, report to the bridge immediately."
There was a moment of silence before the Vulcan's stoic voice filled the air with a simple message of "acknowledged" and the comm terminated. She had been awake for a short while, so it wasn't long before she appeared in the command center. "Report?" she queried as she made her way towards the science station, her hands clasped together behind her back as she walked.
Having previously been slouched over the science officer's shoulders, Tim stood straight up and reported to the Executive Officer, "Last night around 2355, we adjusted course to get a better look at some unusual sensor readings from the Alrakis system. We're still too far away for a clear look, but we believe we've found a large structure that's not on any of the charts."
"A structure?" the Vulcan asked as she stepped up to the science station and asked to look at the readings. "The structure appears to be artificial," she confirmed with a nod, "your thoughts?"
"If I had to guess?" Tim asked rhetorically. "I'd say it's a space station of some sort. The last time Alrakis had been scanned by Federation sensors, there was nothing here of the sort. And that was just a few months ago."
"To construct a structure of this size in such little time would be an impressive, albeit worrying, feat," the Vulcan responded, a hint of concern in her hushed tone as he she looked the readings over again. There was nothing to suggest he was wrong and, she couldn't determine anything that suggested even a possible alternative. "Have we been able to ascertain the origin of the structure? Do we suspect it to be Breen?" she turned her head, her ponytail swinging freely as she looked at the Ops Chief and began her next line of inquiry.
Tim shook his head and sighed, the fatigue of the quiet night shift catching up to him. "We're too far out to tell. We still can't determine size, mass, design, much less even the energy or metallurgical exactness."
Captain Terax walked onto the bridge a few moments later. "Do we have any visuals at this range Commander?" He asked.
Tim shook his head for what felt like the twentieth time in the last five minutes and replied to the Captain, "No, sir. We're still too far out, and the distortions are too much for our long range sensors. We're going to have to get closer."
"Captain," T'Prynn called out as she turned to her superior officer, "I believe now to be a prudent time to change tactics. We need a more in-depth scan to really know what it is we are looking at. Knowledge is the first weapon in any arsenal."
"Agreed Commander. Helm, put us on an intercept course for the station." The Captain looked to his Operations Chief. "Commander Parker, time to the Alrakis sector?"
Tim moved over to a nearby station and checked the navigational computer and the sensor logs. "Looks like roughly seven hours. That'll put us there around 1200 hours."
"Take us to Yellow alert. I don't know what's out here, but I wont be caught with our trousers down, especially after we discovered our tail."
The ship's senior-most resident Vulcan took several steps to the tactical station and stood beside the tactical officer for the shift. "Ensign, yellow alert. Inform any enquiring personnel that we are stepping up our investigation and they should not be concerned at this point," she ordered before returning to her command chair as the brief yellow alert sounded.