USS Omaha
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Sensory Shenannigans

Posted on Mon Aug 31, 2020 @ 2:39am by Commander Jason Faulkner & Ensign Zayde Bridger & Ensign Emily Rose

Mission: Episode 1: The Milk Run
Location: Main Bridge
Timeline: Mission Day 4 at 1000

"Good morning, everyone," Jason said to the morning bridge watch as he came in through the rear stair entrance. "Apologies for being late, I had to sooth some ruffled feathers. Lt. Estrada, you look like you're about to fall over, go get some sleep. I have the conn."

He waited for a bleary-eyed young junior lieutenant in red to scurry off toward the lift, then settled into his chair. He frowned, briefly swivled, and then adjusted the height slightly. That done, he took a look around, checking the various status screens while also making sure he was familiar with the various crewmembers. Many of the stations were currently unmanned, as was usual when the ship was in orbit.

"Ensign Rose, right?" he said to the person at tactical.

Emily's head shot up from her station. "Yes sir?"

"And you... I don't think I've seen up here before," Jason said to Ops. "Starts with a Z?"

"Zayde sir," he said, happy that his voice didn't crack. "Zayde Bridger."

"Well, Ensigns Rose and Bridger," Jason said, "anything interesting happening this shift?"

"Um, well define interesting?" Zayde asked.

"Anything beyond the usual routines like watching for approaching ships or monitoring the comms channels. Unscheduled maintenance, unexpected solar activity, probe launches, shuttle test flights?"

"Nothing of that sort," Zayde said. "We did get a request from Lt. Barton to start some orbital scans. She said something about thier tricorders not detecting any of the people or equipment on the other side of the...artifact."

"Interesting. Well, by all means, let's oblige them. I've been wondering why this wasn't detected during the original survey. Let's see if our new sensors can do better than a Miranda from fifty or sixty years ago."

"Aye sir," Zayde repled. He looked over at Emily. "I'm narrowing the lateral array and increasing the bandwidith, see if you can get anything now."

Emily looked down at her dislay and frowned. "That's weird... um sir, now I can't detect the pyramid... at all."

"Hang on a second," Zayde said. His hands danced across the ops panel. "I'm boosting power to the array now. Anything?"

"Wait...there it is!" Emily said. "And now it's gone again."

"Interesting," Jason said, idly tapping his left hand on the armrest. "Well, at least that tells us it's not just a matter of older sensors or the object being covered with dirt. We could turn the ship and point the main deflector at the thing, but that seems like overkill. How are our readings for other things around that location? Lifesigns, geo-magnetic, that sort of thing."

"I'm trying to isolate the away teams signatures," Emily said, tapping in more commands. "But the whole area around the structure looks like it's full of sensor echoes or ghosts."

"Some sort of scattering or dampening field, then. What does the academy teach you people about penetrating stealth or cloaking technology these days?"

"Depends on the cloak," Zayde said.

"Whether it's Romulan, Klingon, or other," Emily added. "Did any of the other Preserver artifacts have any kind of field like this?"

"They might not have known it was a dampening field," Zayde said, glancing at Emily. "Sensors back then had poor passive resolution. It would certainly explain the less than stellar readings the orginal Enteprise crew received."

"That sounds like a lot of non-answers to me," Jason said. "Let's start with the basics. We can at least point optics at the thing and see it, right?"

"Aye sir," Emily replied. "Adjusting sensors now."

Zayde was listening to the conversation but also had his eyes locked on the main optical sensors. After Emily had made the adjustment he looked again, surprised to see that the pyriamid was there... sort of. Even optically, the system was having a hard time recognizing the fact there was something there.

"I'm able to get readings there's something there. I'm going to try and antiproton sweep and see if that comes up with anything," Zayde said, tapping at his station.

"Mmm-hmmm. Interesting choice,"  Jason said, very mildly.

Zayde stopped what he was doing and looked back at the captain. "Or we could try a tachyon scan... which might be better?"

"An anti-proton scan can be a good place to start for finding cloaked ships, especially since a lot of older model devices are vulnerable to them," Jason explained. "Unfortunately, in this case there's the planet's atmosphere between us and the structure, and the air is made of...?"


"So anti-protons are out. Tachyon beams are another good choice, and in this case probably a better one. While mostly used for detecting where a cloaked ship is, if you have a fixed location already you can do a lot of refinement with them. The main issue is that for the most detailed scans, you need some kind of secondary emitter or receiver."

"We could tie in the astrometeric sensors," Zayde said, glancing down at his station. "They've got the range and the sensotivity to detect subtle changes in most bandwidths."

Jason nodded. "They do, yes, in more ways than one, since they include a state of the art geophysics package. You can often learn a lot about a hidden structure with indirect observation of the surrounding rock - unusual heat sources, pressure from the weight, that sort of thing. The neutrino sensors are also helpful. Normally a cloaked ship is as transparent to them as anything else, but stealth fields interacting with air and a planetary magentic field can create a lensing effect. You need a background source for those too. The sun works, but we're on the wrong side of the planet for that."

"Probes?" Zayde suggested.

"We have enough onboard to do that," Emily added. "We would only have to reconfigure the transciever arrays."

"Exactly what I was thinking," Jason said. "There's a trick we figured out for finding cloaked Romulan bases, using a makeshift grid. I should have some config files for the settings you'll use for the probes." He tapped at the controls on his armrest. "There, just sent it to your consoles. You'll still need to adapt the exact numbers to optimize the emissions for the ship's sensors, but most of the work should be done already."

"Got it," Zayde replied. "Give me a second to adapt the config files."

"While he's doing that, load up a couple of probes. Class Two or Four, I'd say."

"Aye sir," Emily said. She tried to keep herself from blushing but she was a little annoyed that she didnt' think of the solution herself. Her station chimed a few seconds later. "Probes are ready to fire on your order."

"Launch probes," Jason said. "Mr. Bridger, once they reach their assigned positions, you can start your scans. Let's see if we can give our folks on the ground a little more to work with."

"Understood sir," Zayde said. "Probes should be on station in two minutes."

"The nice part of learning this right now," Jason mused as he watch the ensigns work, "is that there's no chance it's going to explode and kill everyone for hundreds of kilometers if we don't finish the scan and get inside in the next few minutes. You kids have no idea how easy you have it these days."


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