The Argus has arrived in the Ganoris system in response to a repeating Morse code SOS message sent in bursts of electromagnetic radio signal, which appears to have been specifically targeted at the ship. Upon arrival we have discovered a three hundred year old DY-300 class sleeper ship bearing the markings of the B.R.S. Argus.
Commander Thomas Patel looked in the direction of the port side aft turbo lift, which had just deposited Lieutenant Harry Johnson on the bridge. The Lieutenant was breathing heavily with a look of deep worry on his face.
“I’m too late,” he said quietly, his whole body sagging in defeat.
Patel turned back to the view screen, his own sense of unease growing rapidly. “I don’t like where this is heading at all,” he said to himself more than anyone else. He quickly started to formulate his next move and came to the conclusion it was best to gather more information and go from there.
“Lieutenant Parker,” he said, turning to the Argus’ science officer, “what can you tell me about that ship?”
“Sensors confirm its age at around three hundred and thirty years, placing its origin in the early 2050s,” she reported. “There are several anomalous readings that are inconsistent with a ship of this age though.”
“Such as?” said Patel.
“The power source Lieutenant Davis detected earlier seems to be a small matter/antimatter warp drive and there seems to be an active transport inhibitor field encompassing the ship’s interior,” she continued. “Both are more consistent with modern technology than that of the mid twenty first century.”
“That ship has warp drive?” asked Patel in disbelief.
Parker shook her head. “No. A warp core this size would only be able to generate enough power to get a ship the size of a shuttlecraft to warp.”
“And we can’t beam over?”
Parker’s report did little to relieve Patel’s sense of unease and he turned to Johnson for more answers. “What do you mean by ‘I’m too late’, Lieutenant?”
Johnson took a moment to pull his gaze away from the viewscreen and look at the Argus’ acting Captain. “That ship,” he said, his arm pointing shakily at the viewscreen. “It’s from the Third World War.”
“We know that Lieutenant,” said Patel a little impatiently
“It means my brother’s gone,” stated Johnson, only serving to confuse Patel further.
“Isn’t you brother with Captain Lex on the…” The thought stopped him dead in his tracks, “Lieutenant Davis, contact the Defender and request an update on their ETA.”
“Aye, Sir,” she responded from the Ops station. After a few moments she turned to face Patel, “I’m sorry Captain. There seems to be some sort of subspace interference near their last known position preventing communications.”
“Damn it,” exclaimed Patel. “Ok, Lieutenant Parker, put together an away team and take a shuttle over to that ship. Let see if we can get some answers, rather than just more questions.”
“With pleasure,” she replied, securing her console and heading for the turbolift. En-route she indicated to Richard Parsons who had been standing quietly at Tactical, “Lieutenant, you’re with me.”
The shuttlecraft Radcliff docked with the sleeper ship BRS Argus with a loud clank and a shake. Sara Parker had never really been a fan of shuttlecraft. Lacking the thick hull of a starship the small craft always felt too flimsy to her. She mainly disliked them though because an accident in one of them had caused the death of her mother, depriving her of both her parents before she was able to know either of them.
“Fascinating,” commented Lieutenant Commander Simok, Argus’ chief engineer, getting Sara’s attention.
“What is it chief?” she asked.
“It seems that the docking system and airlock have been specially configured for a modern Starfleet shuttlecraft,” he said. “I needed to make no adjustments to our docking system at all.”
“It’s almost as if the ship is expecting us,” commented Parsons with a hint of trepidation.
“The evidence so far would suggest that it,” responded Parker. She leaned forward and opening the hatch into the airlock, “Come on, let’s get on with it.”
She entered the airlock and Simok and Parsons followed. Parsons closed the hatch behind him with a clunk.
“Intruders identified,” boomed a strong male voice reminiscent of a twenty third century starship’s computer. “Simok, Lieutenant Commander, Chief Engineer, USS Argus (N C C 7 5 1 2 4), Parker, Sara, Lieutenant, Science Officer, USS Argus (N C C 7 5 1 2 4), Parsons, Richard, Lieutenant, Tactical Officer, USS Argus (N C C 7 5 1 2 4).”
“It’s definitely expecting us,” said Parsons the trepidation in his voice growing.
The computer ignored him. “Proceed.”
There was a click from internal airlock door. Parker reached forward, pulled down the handle and pushed. The hatch opened without much effort and Parker exited the airlock into the ship itself.
“A moment Lieutenant,” said Simok. Sara stopped and put her head back through the opening. “There’s a phaser emitter rigged up to the scanner about the airlock door. It appears to be set to disintegrate.”
“You mean that if it had failed to identify us properly we would have been vaporised,” said Parker.
“I believe so yes,” replied the engineer.
A chill ran down her back as she wondered how many people had died in this small space leaving no trace that they had ever existed.
“Thank god it recognised us then,” said Parsons from behind Simok with obvious relief in his voice.
Simok had removed his tricorder by now and was scanning the airlocks interior. “It also seems to be linked up to the docking systems. It appears that if the phaser beam is activated then the clamps automatically release, ejecting the docked ship.”
“Nice security system,” said Parsons. “Do you mind if we get out it its line of fire?”
Simok didn’t reply, instead closing his tricorder and ducking through airlock's exit, with Parsons right behind him.
Once the three of them had extracted themselves from the airlock, Sara tapped her combadge. “Parker to Argus.”
The small device gave an error buzz, warning of its failure to connect and Sara tried again. “Parker to Argus. Are you receiving us Captain?”
Again the warning buzz sounded and Simok had his tricorder out.
“I would seem that the transport inhibitor is also acting as a dampening field. Until we disable it we will be unable to contact the ship.”
“Wonderful,” said Parsons, who want enjoying this is the least. “When I get my hands on the person who designed this I’m not sure whether I want to congratulate them or kill them.”
“Be thankful that they decided to exclude you from being vaporised so that you were able to make that choice, Lieutenant,” Sara reminded him.
Simok raised an eyebrow, “Indeed.”
Parsons gave them both a withering look that elicited a smile from Sara, while Simok’s face continued to be emotionally blank.
“Let’s get to the control room and see if we can disable this system then,” said Sara. “According to the plans it should be… up there.” She pointed through a doorway where they could see ladder rungs disappearing into a hole in the floor and ceiling. Sara walked up to them and started to climb.
Thomas Patel hated waiting and he was beginning to get impatient. He was used to leading away teams himself and being in the thick of the action, but currently being the most senior officer currently on the ship required him to remain in the bridge. He was too valuable to risk to the unknown.
He started to hear a quiet clicking noise that quickly began to annoy him and he attempted to surreptitiously find its source. Unfortunately, he quickly discovered that he had begun to unconsciously tap his fingers on the arm of the command chair. Embarrassed, he immediately raised his hand and flexed his fingers. The inactivity was getting too much. He rose from his chair and paced the small area around it. After about three rounds he stopped.
“Still no word from the away team?” he asked, already knowing the answer.
Lieutenant Davis supplied it anyway, “No, Sir,” she said, turning to look at him. “I looks like the what ever is inhibiting the transports is doing the same to communications too.”
Patel nodded and was about to resume his pacing when Davis console beeped. He looked expectantly in her direction, but she already turned back.
“We’re receiving a communication from Starfleet command, Captain,” she said. “Your eyes only.”
“I’ll take it in the ready room,” he said, making a beeline to the right side of the bridge. “Inform me when the away team makes contact.”
“Aye, sir,” she replied as the doors opened and he passed through the entrance.
A moment later, the doors closed behind him again and he took the seat on the near side of the desk, turning the desk monitor to face him. He pressed the control and the stern faces of two smartly dressed gentlemen replaced the Federation emblem.
“Commander Patel I presume?” asked the shorter, blond haired man. Patel nodded and the man continued, “I am Agent Dulmer and this is Agent Lucsly. We’re from the Department of Temporal Investigations.” The taller dark hair man nodded in greeting.
Patel recognised them as being DTI agents as soon as they’d appeared on the screen; they never looked like they had a sense of humour.
“What can I do for you, gentlemen?” asked Patel, cutting straight to the point.
“We need to know if you have had any communication with the USS Defender in the past six hours,” Dulmer asked.
“I’m afraid not,” replied Patel truthfully. “We tried to communicate with the ship a short time ago, but local conditions prevented us from making contact.
“What’s this about?”
“Unfortunately we’re unable to disclose any information in order to protect the timeline,” said Agent Lucsly.
“Would it have anything to do with the World War III era sleeper ship that my crew is currently investigating?” asked Patel, deciding that giving them some information might illicit a reaction from them. His ploy seemed to have the desired effect, as the two agents looked at each other a look of concern on their faces.
“We need you to halt your away team’s investigation and return them to your ship immediately,” said Dulmer. “You will then await the arrival of a starship with DTI personnel aboard who can contain this incident properly.”
“Unfortunatly, I’m out of contact will my people at this time. However I will endeavour to extract them as quickly as possible as soon as we resume communications,” replied Patel. “It would help though if I knew the nature of the threat.”
Lucsly looked at Dulmer, who nodded in resignation. “We’ve discovered the Defender buried on Earth, “said Lucsly, “and it’s been there for over three hundred years.”
Patel grimaced, “I thought you might say something like that.”
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