Chapter 12 - Season 3, Episode 12, Mutually Assured

Lieutenant Commander Carl Hedley Executive Officer
Lieutenant Elli-Navine Chief Engineer
Lieutenant Alexander Artopolis Chief Medical Officer
Lieutenant Reeza Ral Chief Operations Officer
Lieutenant Johnny 5 Chief Tactical Officer
Lieutenant JG Geoffrey Danielson Chief Flight Control Officer

Along our way, sensors detect triangular single deck ship 100,000+ yrs old!

Pax orders Jeffrey to drop out of warp. The ancient ship’s hull is almost pitch black. Has micro meteor pockmarks. (Nearest star a couple of light years away. unremarkable.)

Ship is about the size of a football field. Has a cockpit and and an environmental deck and mechanical stuff above and below.

No energy signatures, no life signs. Pax wants to investigate. Elli is away team lead. 

Transport into cargo hold in EV suits. No gravity on the ship. Incredibly cold- cold as space. Thin atmosphere contains almost no oxygen, but otherwise elementally similar to oxygen nitrogen atmo.

Elli scans behind the door- super conductor and capacitor where there should usually be a warp core. Next door is a weapon’s locker- weapons are unpowered and alien to us. We transport them back to potemkin. Elli tasks Meme to inventory the cargo hold as we continue to explore. Third door, we go through, and it’s an auxiliary engineering space with nothing much installed.

Another door leads to a large stateroom

“As the last few minutes of breathable air pass the ships passive sensors detected a massive gamma radiation burst. I wonder if this is the last resort that the Admirals spoke of. It seems to fit but for it to be so far out so quickly??? I’m not sure, the power seems right though. It would have killed everything in 100 @”(!*” of the site but would be harmless beyond that. I wont know either way, there isn/t enough power left to conduct a scan…

 (The log ends there but the time stamp indicates that the log remained in edit mode until the power failed completely)”

Explore the cockpit- no power, can’t be battery powered from the cockpit- needs to be energised from the engine room.

Metal half tube looking engine room. Elli checks the main console. Big capacitor tube extends through both floor and ceiling of the engine room. Power probably allows for warp one. Elli plugs in a battery to charge the capacitor. LED lights come up. Johnny Four of Five interfaces and brings the systems back online.

Last Engineer’s log comes up and Elli reads out:
“I managed to get us as far as i could before the engines gave out. The warp drive gave out just 20 days out, it should have lasted much longer but the crew had insisted that I push the engines well past the redline! However, that was the right choice, we got away clean and we got much further than I ever expected. But now the drive has been burt out and the power will fail in a few minutes. WE are bound to follow shortly!”

Another log from Conn read out by Geoffrey
“I managed to get us away, even through all the blockaids and sensor traps. The Captain ordered the engines to be run at 130%. fast enough to take us half way across the sector but now we are stuck, and worse, when the engines burnt out they damaged most of the other systems too, including the Quark generators. We will all be dead within the week!”

 (A set of Galactic coordinates are attached to this log)

Right ascension: 

8h 32.9m

Declination :

+12.91 degrees

What are Quark Generators? Obviously Quarks are primordial matter, but there’s nothing in federation info about how they might be used to generate power/ propulsion.

Looking at the helm controls: they are remarkably user friendly. Also, we are detecting a power leak in the system

In science: Doc Artopolis explores and finds it’s mostly a stellar science station. Finds a map of about 20 cubic light years- a comparatively small explored space. Has a number of points of interest marked out. Some coincide with known planetary systems. Assuming that the middle is the point of origin of these people, we note the center of the map is the site of a potential neutron star collision 100,000 years ago, which would have killed off everything via gama radiation with in a reach of the radiation’s worst effect.

Johnny finds mummified remains of crew in the mess hall. Four individuals. 6-7 ft tall. Doc evaluates, Johnny assists. Humanoid, usual shape probably had hair. Only differ in that they have 2 hearts and a third lung- the third lung is smaller and situated between the two larger ones- serves as an additional filter and possibly allowed them to survive in harsher environs. The DNA bears the same markers as other humanoid species (reference to TNG episode that discovered mutual ancestor). Doc beams bodies to statis in morgue

Another message reads:
“Our life support is failing, we have maybe an hour before the power leaves us and then only the air left in the ship. The Doctor thinks that it will last maybe a day if we remain calm. I find myself reflecting upon how we got here but it’s hard to tell when it started!”

Geoffrey wants to run a diagnostic for ship composition- elli suggests we read the ship specs.
A long range scout ship- with a sector’s reach of space before needing resupply. No weapons, no shields we are familiar with. But the hull is a layered hull, doubled, inner layer is a composite of titanium and iron- a weird mix (they haven’t discovered durranium) outer layer covered in “solar panels on crack” incredibly absorbent/ efficient- will absorb all light across the spectrum including x ray.

Geoffrey finds another message:

“They cam so quickly and in such numbers. I didn’t even think we had that many enemies. Millions of ships, billions of soliders crashed our defences like a storm upon a shore, but unlike a storm our shores were no match, within hours for the first attacks all but our core systems had fallen. Mere days later and the core systems had fallen as well. The orders were given to leave and never return, some of us had to survive!”

Johnny supposes that the neutron star collision may have been intentional to knock out the forces.

Super conductor is powered by the solar radiation and uses quarks to create and then annihilate quarks and this creates the power for the capacitor and depending on the distance wanted to travel is how much of the capacitor is used. Coaxial warp drive aka jump drive. (SF vessels skim sub space, this punches straight through ie the folded space to create the short distance by collapsing space to join points) Ship would discharge the capacitor and jump. Could only jump between star systems in order to repower, otherwise would be stranded.

Would Gamma radiation burst over load the tech and burn out relays? No, gamma ray would fry all organic matter?

They were running away from the assault when they detected the radiation burst in the origin system. 

Artopolis reads another log:

“I ordered the capasitors to be super charged. We flew too damn close to a Blue Super giant. It damn near melted the collectors but it also gave us the boost we needed to get away. We increased our maximum distance to more than 20 times our standard. It came at a cost though, it will kill the ships power systems but we had to get away! There was no staying we would have been killed just like everyone else.”

Elli asks Pax if we want to explore the origin system, 12 LY away. Pax orders the away team to return and requests the Valentine to recover this derelict. 

We plot a course.

When we arrive, there is a main sequence star and several worlds, one of which is early M class. Thin atmosphere, some life, some water but not much of it. Other worlds are barren and sterile. Moving in closer to the M class, we detect a lot of metallic debris in space, ranging in size from a runabout 23m and the size of the potemkin. On approach to the planet, density of the debris field increases. Has spread out, but gravitationally locked to the M class.

Tactical scan by Johnny reveals: ships made of same titanium-iron mix as the scot ship- in pieces, destroyed or badly damaged. Of the other ships the count is well over 10,000 drifting and intact, at least a dozen different styles of ship building. More traditional designs with warp cores and engines and what not.

On the planet, we detect vast cities that are virtually untouched except in one spot in the northern hemisphere where there is a huge crater, 500 km wide.

Pax determines that there’s too much radiation interference for transporters and we send Geoffrey and Johnny to take a shuttle and tractor back one of the attack force fighter ships to the shuttle bay.

Geoffrey detects still high level of gamma radiation from the fighter, so we establish a containment field in the shuttlebay.

The fighter is boxy shaped, taller than a runabout, but taller and thinner. Nacelles double as warp engines and slower than light propulsion. Hull is a titanium durranium composite. Serves as armor as well as hull. It has energy emitters that serve as weapons. Similar to polarization weapons of old SF ships. Crude design. Simple design indicates mass production. Difficult to tell if it’s still powered or not, the hull blocks the scans. Has a rear hatch with magnetic lock. Johnny opens it. The inner atmo is carbon-dioxide based. The over pressurization blows the ramp open and a fog/ mist fills the containment area.

Medical scan: the fog is carbon dioxide heavy, but there are other elements incl quite a bit of argon. Additional material in the air, may be organic material that was at one point… the crew. Residue on the floor and the chairs and the walls…. That used to be crew. Broken down organic matter components. The ship is still powered- console is glitching- frozen on a status report- displaying warning that all is about to be radiated to death.

Elli asks Geoffrey to look into the navigation computer to find the origin of the fighters. They use pulsar mapping, this ship came from a nearby system, from the map appears to be 6.2 Ly away in a different direction than we arrived in. They stopped at a rendezvous point met by ships from other species. Seems to have been an allied attack. The 6.2 ly away star system is a main sequence star, also in the blast radius of the neutron collision.

On the planet surface, there are a few major cities, some bombarded. Some plasma weapon destruction. But for the most part the cities are intact- completely devoid of any organic material. The only life is in the deep ocean, where life restarted. The big crater is covered in gamma ray radiation- ground zero approx 2mi below the surface- spread gamma rays over 12 Ly. “Gamma Bomb” the explotion registered as a neutron star collision from UFP Long distance observation. (there was no stellar collision in actuality) Extinction Level Event. This would have allowed 6 yrs notice for the attacking force from the fighter’s source world, for instance, although sacrificing the fighters ships etc.

A few locations on the world that still seem to have energy signatures, all relatively close together- within city blocks of each other. Take a shuttle down.

Sensors indicate thin atmosphere, might have always been kind of thin, composed of substances that are heavier. The atmosphere of the planet stays lower to the surface, not as high of a stratosphere. No problems flying to the surface. Land in a plaza with a huge old fountain. Kicks up dust in the landing. A lot of park benches- the metal remains, the wood slats are gone. Everything organic is gone. Not even microbes. Water remains in the basin of the fountain.

Detect the power source nearby- scans are confusing. Another capacitor (not a generator) housed in one of the buildings. Buildings are stone constructed like limestone and granite and rock. Years of weathering stained. Impressive, important building 3 stories high.

Head inside, foyer, desk with computer and a door behind. Elli powers the secretary’s computer- the building used to belong to the minister of defence. Get directions to the minister’s office. Head up to his office.

Large office, desk, chairs, window, seating area, filing cabinets. The paper files and photos are gone. Computer records describe the development of interstellar jump drive, fast but local. In first months of space travel, made first contact with a coalition of different species. First contact went really well, but when the species decided not to join the coalition, relations chilled. This race called themselves the Delsi. Built more and more ships preparing for war and as a last resort, built a neutron bomb. There was debate about how powerful it would be. They knew it would kill all life on the planet in a mutually assured destruction. When the attack came it was overwhelming and within hours they had lost. The alternative to the bomb was to live in slavery- so someone pressed the big red button. Instantaneous death on the Delsi world. Were able to send a few ships ahead of the detonation, including a colony ship. Gives a general idea where the colony ship went. Navigation information will take a week to narrow down. Geoffrey has some work ahead of him…