Chapter 50 - Season 4: Episode 3 "The Xec"
Returning to the Xec, a race of humanoids that joined the Federation, thanks to their wormhole technology, making them an exception to the warp development rule. They now have a limited amount of FTL vessels. They place their wormhole gate points between star systems using tow ships. There are about a dozen Xec systems within a 15 LY radius of their home system. They have been spacefaring for a few hundred years, so initially reached those systems at sunlight speeds. The Xec system is near the edge of the Shackleton expanse.
We are greeted by a number of Xec Vessels to escort/ honor guard us into the system. As we approach we see one of Starfleet’s newest ship classes: The Odyssey class vessel- USS Arcadia, fully integrated Slipstream drive, 1km in length.
Hailed by the Arcadia- aboard is a SF Admiral Geno Triv (Bajoran) invites us to beam aboard for the mission brief. Pax is already aware of the mission, and sends us aboard to be brought up to speed. We’re beamed to the back of a large, hi-tech bridge with augmentation and holo-tech displays. Large domed view of the stars. Greeted by Admiral Geno. The Xec has created a wormhole that is planned to stretch from Xec space to Federation space, specifically to Wolf359. Goal is to reclaim the system and overcome the feelings surrounding it being just a graveyard.
A Xec delegate is joining us aboard the Potemkin.
Elli asks to tour Engineering before they depart- tour guide ensign leads her down. Odyssey Class has a twin warpcore system. All the consoles and chairs are holographic- internal furniture on the whole ship are “replicated” solids, but reconfigurable instantly. The Chief Engineer is something like a humanoid upright dinosaur over seven foot tall Commander Irma. The warp tech has been created with some of the tech Potemkin has acquired over her past tours, copied from Protectorate tech that is still not completely understood (programming wise)
Medical Bay is also reconfigurable. Takes up most of 2 entire decks, dedicated medical transporters, and its own computer core (also handles it’s own emhs) and small fusion reactor as a back up. Isolation, decontamination, bio hazard labs etc. primary sickbay is a 60 bed unit. Paediatrics, neuro, artificial organ printing. 4 holodecks, 6 holosuites, a medical library, non gravity therapy wards. Environmental simulation holodeck. Multiple remote sickbays/ triage units. Dedicated counselling facility on deck 11. CMO/ Director of Medicine. Is a full Betazed, about 5’ tall. Spunky, despite size, clearly you don’t mess with her.
Science: Astrometrics is huge, there’s dozens of science labs, each dedicated to a discipline. Several astrometrics labs. Hydroponics and plant labs.
Dedicated Security level. Brigs, weapons lockers, phaser ranges, training holodecks/ training room meant to simulate different environments. Not a holodeck with a moving illusion- but a static representation of an environment on file. Armoury. Dedicated Marine country on deck 32.
Our tour is ended as the Arcadia is heading out. We beam back via a huge transporter room capable of moving 50 people at a time. Aboard the Potemkin we watch it slipstream jump.
The Xec arrive with their anchor gate, which is fitted between our nacelles for carry-on. Looks like a “christmas wreath” with a width. But when we arrive it will expand to a much bigger circle with a very thin edge.
We receive a message (radio frequency) from the Arcadia via their gate in transport already 10+ lightyears away. Message received through the Exotic matter of the pre-linked gates. The Potemkin gets underway at regular warp speeds…
Heading to the Adhil System, 18Ly away from Xec homeworld, we then have a diplomatic reception in our diplomatic lounge, to hang out with the Xec. Lead scientist introduces himself, seems to want to please, particularly given what happened last time. Introduces himself as Dete. Is very pleased that he was the one that selected the system for this particular wormhole. It was off limits to them for some reason, but now it’s not! And we’re going to reclaim it.
“Deep in our past we were ruled by our religious system, and the old religious leaders deemed that the system would be heresy to enter. Since we no longer subscribe to that, we thought it was time we head back!”
Binary systems with several planets including a Forrest class planet (lovingly we shall call it Endor)
1000 years ago, they ceased believing in their gods and much of the religious texs and knowledge was lost in a civil war.
One of the few texts recently recovered on a moon of Xec, thought to be uninhabited, had a hidden underground space, and there was an old text implying there was warp drive preknowledge. Starfleet engineers have confirmed it’s akin in theory to the Alcubierre Drive- whereas warpdrive creates a bubble around a starship, the A. Drive creates a bubble that pinches spacetime at the front and expands it at the back.
There used to be a colony on the forrest world, but at some point was abandoned, and shortly after it was deemed heresy to enter it.
Pax calls Doc Artopolis and Basin up during the party and gives them both promotions. Doc to LtCmdr and Basin to CPO.
A few hours later the Potemkin drops out of Warp. binary system- G type star and then in a wide orbit ¼ Ly out, is a smaller blue star- hotter but smaller. Ship’s sensors identify 4 planets, with endor orbiting the G type. Around the blue star a gas giant and a rocky planet, around both stars orbits in outer system one pluto-like P-type world.
There is a remaining installation on endor.
The wormhole to be placed in orbit around Endor. Orbit will need to be cleaned up- currently has some debris in semi orbit from a former structure. We scan the debris- it’s about 1000 years old. The structure was a Xec construction, a mushroom shaped station. From the blast, an internal explosion, not an external attack. Some organic Xec residue and small other unidentifiable bio matter. Doc evaluates- it’s badly degraded, as it was nearest blast radius- we can make out that it was reptilian in nature.
Tactical scan of the planet shows no signs of tech. Only architecture is the Xec ruins. But they do appear to have been fired upon. There are no power sources reading on the planet. From the size of the craters around the ruins, a couple of megatons each in explosive power- possibly orbital attacks. ½ km across and same deep.
Xec representative is surprised at the sensor readings.Says that some of the other Texts they discovered did describe Xec weapons capable of this damage “10-ton tungsten rod” dropped from orbit, terminal velocity so high they hit like a nuke. We find tungsten readings at the centre of the craters. Dete is a little embarrassed that their ancient church had employed “drastic measures” possibly this method to confront “heresy”. Dete is repulsed by the concept of the reptiles like retracting from a spider- it’s deeper than knowledge- is irrational fear.
We scan for reptiles on endor. There are reptiles in the life sign readings.
Xec were not really planning on going down to the planet much. Way too humid, prefer dry climates.
If they hate humidity, then why would they have settled below? Are they Xec buildings? The buildings below are ancient materials made with granite and some kind of fusion technique- no comparison to current Xec buildings.
We beam down after we gear up and the crater nearest us is full of water now. There are about 12m between each crater edge. There are 30-40 square meters that were not directly hit (though hit by shockwave) now is grassy underbrush over grown. Can clearly see the footings of the buildings remains, tops seem to be melted probably by the firestorm of the shockwaves. Tricorder reading show where the granite was fused together to make the walls- the material is stone age, but the technique is space age. The granite is mined somewhere nearby. The etchings are just tool etchings, no engravings. Scan for underground structure- there are remnants beneath.
There is a nearby hatch- metal, set into a granite tunnel. Elli laser cuts it open and Johhny 5 throws the lid into the crater lake behind us, underestimating his own strength. Meme agrees to go down the 20 m tunnel drop, and send back scans. Sends back that there’s a door at the bottom- rounded, but fully open- a big hatch. It’s cooler, less humid, dark, oxygen/ nitrogen atmosphere.
We head down to join meme, using an improvised climbing rope. Some of us more able than others… on the other side of the hatch below, is the remains of a bunk room, 4 or 5 bunk beds. Xec sized. There’s 2 more doorways, one directly opposite, one to the side. Used to be wood framed doors, but not much wood left. Beyond directly ahead looks like a control room. To the left an empty room, possibly once a store room now overgrown.
In control room, computers, look old, but similar to modern day xec computers. Seem to be stand alone computer, Elli powers it up. It’s in an old dialect of Xec- Koolie translates it and comes to a dialogue- orders, logs, database
What was the last log entered?
General orders: This is effectively a monitoring station. The purpose of the station below was not made public to those above ground. They were something like political officers/ commissar to make sure the colony remained “faithful”. There was a connection between this station and the orbital one- orbital one was a communication relay, mostly automated, but also capable of destroying the colony.
Theres nothing to say what heresy was. The colony itself didn’t suffer a heresy- suffered a biological cleansing from a biological infestation that went through the settlement. Samples were sent up to the orbital station. The religious leaders decided that the infection couldn’t be stopped, the population was wiped out by it and then the orbital station wiped out the colony.
We check for contaminants, then beam back up to the ship- the Xec want to deploy the gate. Eng and Tac coordinate to detach and set up the gate- in geosync orbit above the lost settlement. As it is placed into position, the Xec, Dete, enters commands and the wraith-like wormhole opens up, unfolds into a rink 1 km across. A brief flash of electric blue light races around the outer edge and the whole ring flashes blue the whole ring flashes and is anchored into place. Will be ready for travel once the Arcadia deploys her gate…
To be continued… in the Halloween special- “Now You’ve Gone and Done It”