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Lost and Found

Posted on Thursday July 8, 2021 @ 3:05pm by Trinity Anderson

Mission: Tributaries
Location: Bridge, Deck 1 - USS Crucible
Timeline: Day 36

Previously, on Star Trek: Cardinal

[USS Crucible - 36 Days Ago]

Grash shrugged, her hooves upturned, "We do not know. However, the Cardinal is cutting edge, and her crew is smart. We will get them back!" As unpredictable as it was, nobody could have foreseen the anomaly would appear in the direct path of the Cardinal's exit from the warp corridor. Had everything gone according to plan, they'd have studied the anomaly in detail, sending in a probe before ever thinking about having a starship attempt the journey. But all had not gone as they'd hoped or predicted. So, they had no other option but to plan for the worst-case scenario. "Our experts are trying to find a way to open an aperture on our end, but the process, I regret to tell you, is slow going, and for obvious reasons."

"So, then, Doctor Grash; if I understand completely, your advice is to... 'stand-down' and wait," Blackwater said with a tight jaw.

"Indeed, my good Captain; I'm afraid that's all that any of us can do."

Releasing a long, audible sigh, Blackwater nodded, accepting defeat. "I understand, Admiral. The Crucible and her crew are ready to lend whatever aid is needed to find and rescue our colleagues. However, as much as I despise sitting on the sidelines, I'll await your word. Blackwater out." Smashing his thumb into the glossy surface of his chair's command interface, Blackwater closed the communications channel. He ruminated for a short while before returning his attention to the eerily quiet bridge,

"Helm, resume patrol maneuvers." He ordered begrudgingly.

And, now, the continuation

Lieutenant Sulrak raised his right eyebrow an inch from its usual position as he glanced at the strange sensor readings from his console. His fingers gingerly tapped against the glass surface of the console interface, commanding the computer to run a series of analyses to better understand the raw data that seemed impossible. However, the Vulcan Science Officer was aware that this readings - as strange as they were - were not entirely new to him. The computer had registered a similar sensor profile over a month ago before they had strangely stopped after the Cardinal disappeared.

"Captain," Sulrak called, swivelling in his chair to face Blackwater, the commanding officer of the Defiant-class ship. "I am picking up unusual readings from the 329 Aurigae star system."

At the mention of the star system, Blackwater jumped out of his seat and walked over to Sulrak. "Analysis Lieutenant."

"Nothing concrete at this time Captain," the Vulcan replied in his usual monotone voice as he swivelled back to face his console. He was keenly aware of how irritating his answer must be to the Captain. However, it was simply the fact. He had unusual sensor readings and there was no way to understand them, because the readings were technically impossible. "However, long range sensors are registering the same gravimetric distortions and subspace distortions that we started detecting prior to the disappearance of the USS Cardinal."

"On screen," Blackwater ordered as he turned to face the forward screen.

“Aye, sir.” Sulrak tapped a simple command into his console and activated the forward holodisplay, which mirrored his screen.

“Those wave patterns," Blackwater commented. "Now, that's a familiar sight."

"Indeed," Sulrak replied. Both men had spent the better part of a month meticulously pouring over every data immediately after the mysterious disappearance of the USS Cardinal. The wave patterns being displayed on the screen was always a familiar sight and yet, they had never been able to properly analyze what it meant - even with support from the Federation Science Council. They had theories, but never anything definitive.

"Status of the subspace distortions?" Blackwell asked.

"Increasing sir...exponentially."

"Exactly like before," Blackwell muttered. He folded his arms across his chest and began stroking his chin. "What do you make of it Sulrak?"

Sulrak stood up from his console and walked to the side of the Captain. "If as the Federation Science Council has theorized, this anomaly which we now know to be a wormhole of sorts, is a recurring phenomenon, then this could be the start of yet another cycle. I have compared all scans to previous ones we took and they are nearly identical, down to the structure of the anomaly and absorption of specific particulates from our space."

"And you and your science buddies still think this thing is a wormhole?"

"Affirmative," Sulrak replied. He understood the meaning behind Blackwell's question. "The anomaly behaves very much like a wormhole - from the gravimetric distortion to the subspace distortion. However, it is unlike a wormhole in the sense that it actually absorbs particulates from its surrounding space - twenty-six particulates to be specific. Furthermore, our molecular scans - the readings we have been able to get back from sensor probes before they were vapourized - suggests that the quantum state of the subatomic matter inside the wormhole is asynchronous with the matter in our space, thus suggesting that the wormhole is not from this universe."

Their analysis had also suggested that the particulates being absorbed from this universe was not native to the parallel universe that the wormhole led to. Understandably, this had generated a range of questions that they were unable to answer. For one, the presence of the wormhole suggested some intelligent being was controlling it on the other end. It would be difficult, although not impossible, to construe the wormhole as naturally occurring. The science was a bit complicated, but suffice it to say, the probability of it simply being naturally occurring was very small.

This finding naturally led to questions around the purpose for constructing such an elaborate and complex means of extracting particulates. The sheer level of power required, not to mention the knowledge of quantum and wormhole mechanics involved, was, as one of the Federation Science Council scientist put it, was on a Q-like scale.

The question that was more pressing for Captain Blackwell however in all of this, Sulrak had observed, was what had happened to the Cardinal. Their analysis leading up the ship's disappearance suggested that the wormhole had appeared unexpectedly directly in the path of the Cardinal as it exited its warp corridor. There would have been no chance for the ship's helmsman to get out of the way. Even if there had been time...coming out that close to the wormhole would have instantly caught the ship in a gravitational pull it would no be able to escape from.

The working theory that they had arrived at was that the Cardinal, should it have survived the sheer gravitational force of entry into the wormhole, could be in the other universe. Of course, they could not entirely rule out the fact that the ship had been destroyed by the gravimetric waves of the wormhole. Granted, they did not register any debris, but the strength of the some of the gravimetric waves they had recorded suggested it was capable of literally disintegrating matter. Additionally, in all the time they had been studying the wormhole, they had only seen matter travel in one direction - from this universe into the wormhole. They had never seen the reverse.

Yet, for reasons not entirely clear to Sulrak, they proceeded as if the Cardinal had not been destroyed but had been swallowed inside the wormhole.

Sulrak's console beeped and the Vulcan tilted his head about three degrees to the right at the unexpected alert. He hastened back to his console.

"What is it Sulrak?"

"Sir, long range sensors are picking up a ship at the aperture of the wormhole." Sulrak's hand flew with ease across the dashboard of his console and paused at the answer to his inquiry. There were very few things that surprised the Vulcan science officer in his decades of service, and this was undoubtedly one of them.

"Cat got your tongue Sulrak?" Blackwell asked.

"Captain," Sulrak stated. "Sensor shows the ship is the Cardinal"

That was all the information Blackwell needed.

In truth, he had been waiting for this moment for over a month since the Cardinal disappeared. He had fought with brass and with the Federation Science Council to keep his ship patrolling this sector of space, believing against reason that one day he might be able to render assistance to the Cardinal and her crew. It seemed that day was today.

"Helm, break off from course. Set a new course for the anomaly, maximum warp."

Walking back to his chair, he turned to his right. "Lieutenant Prestley, send a message to Admiral Niamh and the Federation Science Council to inform them that we have found the Cardinal and we are commencing a rescue operation."

"Aye sir," Prestley replied.

"We are coming Cardinal," Blackwell muttered. "Hang on just a little longer..."


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