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To stop nightmares

Posted on Fri Nov 17th, 2023 @ 1:29am by Lieutenant N'vok Holv & Lieutenant Myne Redal & Consul Andrinn Orin & Lieutenant JG Dr. Anna-Lee McEntyre Ph.D & Avalon [ADMIN NPC]

Mission: Season 6: Episode 4: Memory Lane
Location: Science Lab 2
Timeline: After the staff meeting
2842 words - 5.7 OF Standard Post Measure


N'vok leaned back in his chair watching a hologram of the Elysium fly through various waveforms in blue and violet. His fingers idly tapping on a datapad.

Myne made her way slowly to the Science Lab. A operations officer had been requested and she was on duty. Might as well break the monotony of her daily routine with something new. Because of course, typical of Myne, she was oblivious of the going on aboard the ship that had nothing to do with her departmental duties. Nightmares were something that happened to other people, Myne herself boasted night terrors that would chill anyone ever since she got Joined with Redal, but that was her normality.

Entering the Science Lab, she looked around for a bit before stopping N'vok and waving enthusiastically. "Hello there skipper. I heard you put in a request for a ops person to do ops things around here?"

"Hello Lieutenant Redal, please call me N'vok," he gestured to the hologram. "This is a visual description of the psi and chi band energy we have been encountering over the last few days. "For contrast," he tapped his datapad and the waveforms faded to almost nonexistence, "those are the readings from previous weeks."

"Both energy types remain poorly understood," continued the science officer, "but we should be able to devise a way to at least dampen their effect, yes?"

"I'll be calling you Not-my-yoke if you call me Redell again!" Myne chuckled and beamed a smile at him, ignoring the hologram for now. Only afterwards did she turn to see it and leaned her head to one side to look at it. "Ha, what is this thingy though? Psi and chi? Aren't those human philosophy things? Why are we researching that? Also, what effects we have been encountering over the last few days?" Myne turned back to look at N'vok with a brilliantly innocent and completely oblivious look. "Has something been happening aboard the ship?!"

N'vok raised an eyebrow in best Vulcan tradition. "There has been an outbreak of nightmare affecting most of the crew. Both due to the intensity of said nightmare and the fact that almost all of the crew has been suffering from such, the assumption is that it is either it is naturally or artificially induced." He gestured again to the hologram. "Usual reading in the chi and psi bands of ambient energy." He tapped the datapad and the waves thickened and became more numerous. "Recent readings in the same bands."

Raising her own eyebrows, though more sweetly, Myne chuckled. "Ooooh, nightmares? Well that feels interesting. Speaking of, do nightmares even get Vulcans? Ooops, I meant do Vulcans even get nightmares? Like you usually dream of a perfect line because your chi and psi are in fine tune with the universe, and then as a nightmare that line has a slight indentation along it?" Myne asked turning her attention to the hologram.

"Though honestly, I think nightmares are the ones that get Vulcans. Wouldn't you agree Nighthawk?" She asked trying to make sense of the readings. "You know, this feels like a medical thingy. Hey Vocationman, do you understand any of this? Like, are you trying to tell me that something is wrong with the ambient energy around the ship and that's interfering with people's brain waves or something? Because that is kinda cool on one hand, and very much in tune with Human religious beliefs a few centuries back during the reign of some deity known as the Bitten Apple." Despite her bantering, Myne obviously had her attention on the hologram and readings, trying to wrap her head around the situation.

"The interaction of chi and psi waves on sentient consciousness remains a matter of debate, neither is well understood and we have only recently developed ways to detect them," says N'vok. "But, the fact remains, that much of the crew has been suffering from nightmares. At the same time, the intensity of chi and psi wave energy has increased around the ship. Correlation is not causation but it seems a useful line of study."

"I get it. So basically we can just think of this being just another background radiation messing things up and we either find a way to stop it from passing through the ship by blocking it, or make something of our own to pulse out and counter this evil chi and psi wavey thing? Actually, we do have a lovely officer in Ops. Mind if I call them in on this?" Myne asked before taking her PADD and quickly sending a request to Anna-Lee to report to their location. "Software Engineer, really smart, might be able to help out with the math for this at the very least."

It took longer than they would have normally expected for Dr. Anna-Lee McEntyre to get to the Science Lab. When the doors slid open to admit the cat, she was looking like she hadn’t slept…again. She had a can of Red Bull in her hand, her fur all tousled and messy and hair tied into a hasty ponytail. Even her uniform looked like she had put it on from a pile on the floor, her lab coat wrinkly. A fairly normal appearance for the Operations crew.

“Ya Call?”

She asks, opening the can and chugging the contents down like it was nothing. She needed to be awake. Her dreams were getting freaky ever since she came aboard. Not that her dreams were normal to begin with, but these were borderline disturbing and unsettling. Once she saw her own brother, a Surgeon on the Columbia, operating on a version of himself, like Frankenstien’s monster. Another saw her parents' constant unease and misunderstandings about her, like a broken record.

She looks up at the readings on the screen.

“Psi Waves? Is this what is causing all the…weird aboard ship?”

Anna asks curiously of the two as looked over the readings on the hologram, taking out her PADD and stylus and began writing furiously.

"That is my current theory, a mix of chi and psi waves," said N'vok. "They have been intensifying, well above the usual background count as in orders of magnitude higher, for the last few days."

Anna purred in thought, scribbling furiously on her PADD.

"Has the Elysium encountered anything unusual, anomolies, nebulas, rouge stellar bodies or anything like that? Maybe even a giant green space hand?"

She asked most curiously as she gazed at the hologram, trying to think. She was definitely getting fidgity, swaying from side to side, her head moving rapidly as she wrote, a ball of fluffy energy,

"Well, we were tossed thousands of light years from home and just encountered a beacon from an alien species that has a taste for mental and physical cruelty," said N'vok. "It is the latter that we think is likely behind the nightmares, though we are not sure if it is a deliberate tactic or a side effect of their technology."

"Could be both. Tactic and side effect of their tech. Y'all think they would let me pick the beacon apart and see what makes it tick? Could be something that can be deactivated and stop this too, like in IT, did we turn it off and turn it back on again"

She quickly turns around on her heels, her lab coat and uniform skirt twirling as she did. She wore a big grining smile, still bouncing on the balls of her feet with nervous energy.

Myne watched the interaction between the two of them and sighed, rubbing her forehead. "I need to start reading those boring reports more often. Also maybe get nightmares like normal people do. What do think Nyetok? Can we let officer furball poke the thing? I personally wouldn't go near it, but if she's up for it. Afterwards, if we get better readings or understand how the thing operates, we could just jurry rig something for the shields to basically repulse any excess of the two energies? Maybe, I don't know, have to ask Engineering."

"While dismantling the alien tech would be nice for the data it would provide, for the moment, I think we have to assume that is unavailable as an option and work with what we have," said N'vok.

"If only it was that easy, while we can reliably detect chi and psi waves, we are still do not fully understand how they function or what may affect or counter them," said the Vulcan.

Orin received a call from Lieutenant Holv, the new Chief Science Officer onboard, to come down to Science Lab 2 to help gather information about ways to fight the new threat from the slaver race. Orin hadn't had the chance to start looking at anything within the History books quite yet, but he knew that having other minds to figure everything out would be amazing.

So, Orin headed out of his office on Deck 2 and headed to the nearest turbolift to head down to Science Lab 2. It took a little bit longer to get down there, due to the power strain on the ship. But, once the doors to the turbolift opened up, Orin walked out and down the hall to the lab, where the doors opened up and allowed Orin access.

Orin saw that there were several people already there as he said, "I'm sorry that I'm late everyone. I just got the call for me to come down a few moments ago. Where are we at?"

N'vok gave Orin a summary of what had been discussed so far and the impass they were at now.

"Maybe we can try remotely hacking the beacon. Thing might have an Operating system we can exploit to get into it."

Anna suggested, pulling out another energy drink from her labcoat pocket, opening it and drinking it in one go.

"I can do it if we can firewall the ship from whatever countermeasures it may have on it. Don't wanna get the AI sick with a virus"

"Agreed," said N'vok. "You will have to get command's permission for any hacking attempt but it may be a route to get more information which we sorely need."

"Well, something that I'm wondering about is how these waves might be affecting different species onboard. For example, Lieutenant Holv, are the Vulcan, Betazoid, and other telepathic species onboard affected in the same way as the non-telepaths onboard? That's something that I'd like to know as well. Cause, if they are, I could do some research into their respective cultural histories to see if there's any mention of how to stop them?" Orin asked, curious as to the bit of information that he was given by everyone thus far.

"Well, I obviously cannot speak for anyone else," said N'vok, "but Vulcans have a variety of techniques to guide their dreams into useful patterns. Lately, it has been as if people or things are outside of the house of dreams, things that are trying to get in. It has made my rest less restful and my dreams less helpful but it is not as troubling as what others have suffered."

"I can have a firewall and injection packet written up in a few hours. I should probably also get with an engineer and the AI admins so I can safely sandbox our connection from the rest of the ship, and it wouldn't hurt to have the AI cordened off when we do this case of trouble."

Anna was rambling again, pulling out her padd and typing furiously. Her fingers dancing along the keyboard on it's screen as lines of codes fly furiously up the holographic interface that it was projecting.

"This is probably goin take some time though."

"Well, you folks seem to have everything in hand then." Myne said and approached to pat Anna on the shoulder while looking at N'vok. "Lieutenant I leave our software engineer in your care. I don't want to double things up and I trust Lieutenant Anna to do a good job." Then turning to Anna and giving her a smile, she continued. "Anna, if there's anything more you need, just requisition it, you're Ops, I know you're going to handle things wonderfully. I'll go hold the fort and also deal with whatever more troubles we're going to have with these nightmares interfering with ship operations in general." With that, Myne saluted politely and left to head back to the operations center.

N'vok nods. "We will continue on."

Orin was thinking about it for a moment and he looked over at the crowd that remained within the Science Lab. He asked, "Has anyone asked our AI if they've been having any 'bad dreams' lately? That's something that might be helpful."

Anna stops typing suddenly, looking up, like a confused cat.

“Umm…That…that didn’t actually…occur to me. Arcadia?”

Anna said, addressing the ships AI.

"Do androids dream of electric sheep?" mused N'vok. He had not heard of AI dreaming, and if you do not dream you should not be able to have nightmares. He awaited with great curiosity for the reply from the ship's computer.

"Arcadia is the name of our ten forward lounge. I am Avalon." The AI appeared. "How may i help?"

"Avalon, have you had any odd occurences happening to you lately? any bad dreams or anything related to what the crew has been going through?"

Anna asked curiously as she smiles at Avalon's holographic representation.

"Not personally, but I have noticed that a number of crew are having bad dreams, disturbed nights, more than would be normal." the AI replied.

Anna pauses.

"Avalon? Would be willing to aid me in devlopment of a firewall and injection packet to see if we can't breach the systems on that beacon, so we can see what makes it tick and possibly shut it down?"

She turns her PADD to show Avalon.

"My hope is that if we can get into it's core programming, we can figure out what's what and maybe force it to shut down. But I want to do it in a way that will not allow the beacon to breech us, hence the additional sets of firewalls around the main core and your core if you can show me where you think you may need additional firewall protections."

Avalon looked at the PADD. "Hmm you should know my program has limitations on it. I am not permitted to hack or breakdown firewalls. The Commodore has set very strict rules in my program due to past events."

Orin looked at Avalon and thought for a moment. Orin spoke and asked, "Have you noticed any unauthorized access to your programming lately? Internally or externally as well? I know that I've posed the question of if you were having bad dreams, but have you been able to see if there have been any unauthorized intrusions to your core programming from inside or out?"

N'vok looked to Orin with new respect. "That is brilliant, Consul! But expand the question, have the communication arrays been receiving odd or incoherent transmissions? There are so many vectors that might be used to broadcast these nightmares."

"That could be an important component of what's going on! I've got a question after you answer that one Avalon," Orin said as well, waiting to see what Avalon's answer was to the science officer's question.

"Negative to both questions. Nothing has hacked my system. And no new communications have been received." The AI replied.

Orin thought about the answer to Avalon's answer and asked his other question to her and the rest of the team. "Have we been able to scan the area to see if there are any more probes or anything similar to the one that we saw recently? It can be anything, recent or ancient. So many cultures, like the Iconians, Vaddwar, Hirogen, and others have leftover tech that might be out there. Either that, or more recent tech that I'd like to know about."

"The Ships scanners are currently scanning the area. Operations and Science will have that information as it happens. If there is, then it will show." The AI replied.

Anna perks up, stopping for a moment before she pulls up the sensor feed on one of the many holo screens around them.

"That is disappointing," said N'vok, "more data would have been useful. Still, no reason to stop working on the problem. I suggest we disperse for now and continue our research and meet again tomorrow armed with new information."

Anna nods, going back to her furious typing, pulling out another energy drink, cracking it open and chugging it down before getting back to work. She sat down, crossing her legs as she worked.

"That might be a good idea. Hopefully, we all can get a decent enough night of sleep and we can come back here, refreshed to the point that we can look more into what's going on with the nightmares," Orin replied, hoping that everyone could truly get a good night's sleep.



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Comments (1)

By Captain Samuel Woolheater on Tue Dec 5th, 2023 @ 8:48am

It's so good to see everyone working together. What a great collaboration you have here. And its very cool to see some Science shit happening again. So many of you are new players that I haven't met in-game yet. As time and chance permits, I look forward to meeting you all. Nicely done on this your wee JP.