Chapter 10 - Wreckage Analysis
ON: Cargo Bay 3
What was left of the Lorrenz’s engineering section had been successfully, if slowly, beamed into the cargo bay. Despite that, Evan stopped just inside the doors to the bay, dismayed by what he saw.
There wasn’t a lot of it, not compared to the overall size of the Lorrenz’s engineering section. With the exception of the hull fragments that had been beamed aboard, Evan would’ve struggled to recognise any of it by eye. The Hiroshima’s sensors had been able to pick out the remnants of key components, but he would’ve struggled to recognise any of it by eye. The destruction of the Lorrenz had been thorough.
Technicians and a handful of teal-collared personnel hunkered down over twisted pieces of metal while others moved purposely up and down the aisles between the carefully separated piles of debris. He saw Lt. Davies-Muir speaking with a number of officers by one of the few large pieces of debris in the bay and made his way over. “Lieutenant”, he said. “Have you made any progress?”
While her answer very much depended on one’s definition of progress, she was not the sort to grumble about the challenge in front of her. “Captain,” she began. “We’re mostly sortin’ the pieces. This,” she pointed, “is the lower closure assembly of Number Two Impulse Fusion Reactor,” or, more precisely, what was left of it. She could, if she focused and imagined a bit, almost make out the elliptical curvature, yet that was admittedly helped by the fact that she knew what an intact one ought to look like more than from being able to clearly identify it from what survived. “Did a number on it, if ye don’t mind my saying.”
“Can we tell if it was a warp core detonation or weapons fire?” Or both, Evan reminded himself. The distress call from the Lorrenz’s XO had made it clear her intention was to scuttle the ship, but the exigency that had driven her to that decision remained a mystery.
That was the million dollar question. “The damage is most definitely from a warp core explosion: that, we know. What we disnae is what caused the core explosion in th’ first place. Unfortunately, a definitive answer to tha’ will take a wee bit of time.” Stephanie fervently hoped he wouldn’t ask how much time, as they had to analyze an unknown number of data points, and didn’t yet know which data points they had to work from. Fortunately, she was saved, if only for the moment, by the arrival of the ship’s Chief Medical Officer.
Evan saw Dr. Darney approaching, medical tricorder in her hand. “Doctor,” he greeted her. “Have you found anything?”
Adrianna frowned, a bit puzzled by the readings. “Not sure… I am taking some samples to the lab to analyze further.” She shook her head as she scrolled down to a particular section of data on the tricorder readout and pointed it his way. “See here?”
Evan looked at the readings. Assuming he wasn’t jumping to conclusions just because he knew what the Lorrenz claimed to have found, there was something there that looked familiar to him. Except they were indistinct. No power signature, no signs of life. “Is that nanotech?”
She nodded. “Looks like it might be. My concern is, that if these *are* some type of nanotechnology, and we don’t know what inactivated it, the logical conclusion is that we don’t know what, if anything, would reactivate it.” She grimaced internally, as she heard an echo of an academy roommate from years ago, one of the Vulcan persuasion. She couldn’t hear the word “logical” without the many Vulcanesque lectures she endured that year making a leap back to the front of her memories.
She cleared her throat. “This might be overreacting a bit, but I would recommend putting the wreckage in a containment field until we better understand what we’re dealing with. I wouldn’t want some stray omicron particle or something leaking its way into the bay and starting up a lilliputian invasion of the Hiro…” She snapped the tricorder shut. “In the meantime, I do have these,” she held up two containment vials, “and we’ll get a better analysis. Chances are we’re dealing with nothing more than a natural or technically enhanced phenomenon to help planetside debris biodegrade into the environment at a quicker rate, but…” she trailed off with a shrug.
While the ship had automated intrusion detection systems that were able to detect and isolate nanites, Stephanie believed it best not to blindly rely on automated systems. “Computer, initiate a Level Three isolation of the cargo bay.” She didn’t expect the additional precaution to be necessary, but it cost very little to add an extra layer of protection.
Darney’s suggestion that the nanotech might be as benign as an advanced clean-up tool was an interesting one, but the thought of combating rampaging nanotech gave him chills. One encounter like that was enough in any lifetime. “Full bioscans of everyone who’s been in contact with the debris as well,” he said. “An abundance of caution wouldn’t hurt.”
LTJG Stephanie Davies-Muir (NPCed by Hanmore)
Lt. Commander Adrianna Darney
Capt. Evan Yearling