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Treasure hunting

Posted on Sun May 30th, 2021 @ 5:28pm by Captain Jacob Kane & Lieutenant Finnley Keating VII & Gil Silnan Tolbarr

Mission: By Artemis' Bow
Location: Main Shuttlebay
Timeline: MD01 - Approximately during arrival in Iuvat system.
2176 words - 4.4 OF Standard Post Measure

Silnan stood in the auxiliary craft bay of the Athena; larger than he imagined with a small variety of starfleet craft on show. He slowly walked around the small civilian shuttle which had brought both he and P’rel to the ship, and noted it was roughly the size of one of the old Danube type runabouts starfleet used - most of which themselves seemed to have been retired to civilian transportation these days. Large enough for a cockpit and a couple of cramped aft compartments, the vessel was clearly Yridian in origin; though a handful of dome-like attachments to the outer hull in seemingly random asymmetrical places indicated more recent upgrades. Ships were hardly his specialism, and he didn’t really have a great deal of an insight as to why P’rel had asked him to go over the shuttle, but nonetheless it was far wiser than not to agree with Vulcan, and so he stood waiting the arrival a human engineer - Keeling, Keaton or something.

The strange and randomly placed fittings were the first thing that Finn noticed on the shuttle as she entered the room, making it look somewhat odd and misshapen. She took a quick moment to make some mental notes and then walked around the craft to find the Cardassian she was to inspect the vehicle with. Keating was relieved to find that the Cardassian was unaccompanied by P'rel, the emotionless yet infuriating Vulcan. "You must be Silnan?" Finn asked.

Smiling at the new arrival politely, the young Cardassian nodded to her; “Gil Silnan Tolbar, and you must be Lieutenant....Keeling?” Silnan held his left hand out to shake hers; a human custom as he understood it, showing one was open and unarmed, and able to be trusted.

"Keating, yes," Finn said as she shook his hand before pulling out her tricorder. "These fittings are odd, they look like some sort of possible system upgrade attachments, yet..." She moved in closer with the scanner, "the tricorder isn't able to penetrate the material to scan what's inside. Maybe we'll have better luck with the inside. Have you figured out the sequence to open the hatch yet?" Finn asked, unsure of what the Cardassian had discovered about the vehicle before she had arrived.

"Kee-ting" Silnan repeated, acknowledging her correction. "The hatch is open, Lieutenant, there appeared-" he pressed the release and the door slid open "-to be no restriction moving around the ship; what is left of it". He gestured for her to step onto the port nacelle and subsequently enter the craft ahead of himself. "The vessel appears to be entirely stripped for speed, and only the most basic of life support remains. Even the trans-species waste reclamation unit was downgraded to a basic genetic unit". He recalled the journey to the Athena, and how one's normal usage of facilities had proven 'interesting' to say the least.

"Oh," Finn said, slightly embarrassed of the oversight, as the hatch opened. Why hadn't she seen the release button? Taking a mental note to pay more attention to detail, she stepped into the vessel. It was in rough shape. The controls were oddly placed and there were multiple access ports lining various portions of the ship. "It wasn't stripped for only speed. All of these attachment pods have to serve some function as well." She stated as pulled out her tricorder and started taking readings.

"Is there anything of note you noticed while you were in here?" Finn asked, hoping for maybe a clue on where to start. Otherwise, they'd have to go piece by piece, which was fine, it just took longer.

Characteristically, the young Cardassian pondered the question a moment so as to give an accurate answer. "Silence." he answered, if a little cryptically. "Silence, Lieutenant Kee-ting; for a ship so radically changed to emphasise speed, there was, now one thinks of it, a distinct lack of noise...no plasma pulsing, engine vibrations...nothing, really..." He smiled briefly, realising he was of course way out of his area of knowledge; "I am vey far removed from being an engineer however, trust me, perhaps that is normal?"

She shrugged. "It's not normal, but I suppose it's possible. If the vehicle had sound suppression systems, a well-maintained engine, and depending on the frequency at which the engine operates. I'm not reading any sound suppression here though." Finn paused at the front of the vehicle. Evaluating the data on her tricorder. She had thoroughly scanned everything, but half of the pods seemed to be shielded and gave no readings. Opening the access hatch would likely be the only way to get additional data.

Finn pressed a button that seemed the most logical option for power and the vessel lit up. Her face brightened almost as much as the interior of the ship. Exploring a foreign vessel was fun and exciting, not to mention the fact that she was anxious to see what was in the shielding compartments. She searched first for anything obvious, not wanting to make the same mistake as she had earlier when she missed the entrance hatch release. Nothing. Finn turned her attention back to the main console, searching for anything that might stand out, but wasn't met with anything obvious.

"Mayyybe..." Finn spoke under her breath as she discovered a subpage on the main console. The page lined with various box-looking shapes, almost numbered, but in a different language. In a way, they resembled the various pods and compartments on the vehicle. She pressed one and a compartment opened.

Silnan jumped slightly as the faint sound of something tumbling down the outer hull could suddenly be heard; looking at his Starfleet colleague both she and the Cardassian communicated in some kind of almost Betazoid way, to go and look outside. Stepping back onto the nacelle and again onto the flight deck, he looked at a small pile of what he recognised to be biochemical tools; handheld scanning and extraction equipment mainly, and a broken sample container with a putrid looking substance oozing from it. "Uhm, Lieutenant Kee-ting?" he asked; hoping she had at least the first clue, which would be one more than himself.

"Space goo isn't exactly what I expected to find on a vessel outfitted for speed," Finn kneeled down to one knee and her brows furrowed with curiosity as she inspected the tools. "This is some sort of biochemical compound," she pointed at the goo from the container. "There's residue of the same substance on most of these tools as well. The makeup of this looks familiar, but I can't quite place it."

"Let's see what's in the rest of these pods. Maybe it'll help us draw a connection," Finn got back on her feet and stepped back into the vessel, returning to the main console. This time, she pressed each pod on the screen. The sound of multiple hatches being released was easily heard from within the vessel and she ran out to see the shuttlebay floor littered with various pieces of equipment and materials.

The Starfleet officer moved to investigate, though nothing stood out from what they had already found. Then suddenly, they both heard a plop noise as a piece of something that most closely resembled a large grotesque filet of salmon hit the floor, covered in the same gloopy material that they had leaked from the jar they scanned earlier. "Does this look familiar to you?" She asked Silnan as she hovered over the newfound slab of meat. Was it just her or did the outside skin of this thing look kind of like the pictures of the Pilgrims she had seen?

Jumping backwards to avoid the rainfall of clattering equipment from the simultaneously opened pods on the hull, Silnan's attention was swiftly drawn to the appetising lump of fish-like meat on the flight deck. It certainly looked delicious, and could easily be blended down with some Terran seaweed and Ferengi sea snails to make a formidable breakfast broth. Taking his eyes off of breakfast, he was almost literally puzzled to see the components of a biospectral imager laid out on the deck like a jigsaw. "I believe so..." he answered, bending down to pick up a small metallic disk; it was roughly the size of a humanoid fingernail and indeed was only noticeable in the first place owing to the grey-blue lump of flesh it was hanging out of. "Unfortunately, yes..." he continued, holding up a termination implant. He had studied one during his training on Cardassia, a late 2370's Dominion termination implant embedded into Vorta clones. He offered the disc and the attached rotting flesh to Keating, wondering if she recognised it. As she took the somewhat macabre handful, he bent down to look closer at the flesh upon the floor. "A pilgrim..." he paused before he added "space-cow, as I believe your crew have come to call them."

"Damn," Finn muttered, as her initial suspicion was confirmed by the Cardassian. She had kneeled to get a closer look and sat there in silent mournfulness for a moment. They weren't exactly adorable-looking creatures, but they were basically the space equivalent of the manatee, which was her favorite aquatic mammal back on Earth. Regardless, seeing creatures hunted and destroyed always tore at her heartstrings. With a sigh, she stood up and tapped her combadge. "Keating to Kane. Captain, I think you're going to want to see this."

"On my way, Lieutenant." The response came back over the comm.

Keating and Gil continued to scan the fallen pieces of equipment and oozing substances as they waited for Kane. Following which, Finn ran a cross-analysis with what data they already had on the Pilgrims. Everything seemed to confirm their suspicions.

The Captain strode onto the shuttle bay deck a little surprised to see their Cardassian guest poking around. When he saw that the Gil was partnered with Keating, however, he sensed a connection.

"Lieutenant." He approached, glancing over the shuttle. "You have something?"

"I think we may have found a poaching vessel," Finn replied with a hint of sorrow in her words. "Based on our scans, this," she pointed towards the hunk of flesh-like substance, "matches the biological makeup of the Pilgrims. I'm no scientist, so I've sent it over to the lab to be evaluated as well just in case I'm off base."

"I am, however, pretty good at figuring out what different pieces of equipment are used for, as is Mr. Tolbar it seems. All of these tools seem centered around the extraction of certain materials and chemicals. It looks like this is what they're after." Finn picked up an unbroken jar of the goo-like material and held it up.

"This vessel..." Kane frowned. "We picked this ship up before we arrived in the Iuvat system. Where did it come from?"

Silnan stood from his squatted position amidst a pile of equipment components and a delicious smelling goo; "Captain Kane" he acknowledged with his customary long nod of deference to the Commanding Officer. "We are unsure where it came from exactly, though it would seem someone is trying to fill in that particular gap for us..." he gestured to the mess on the flight deck and took a few steps around the ship, with Kane and Keating following. "The pods on the outer hull contained this mixture of equipment and samples; I am quite certain that once properly analysed we will see that we have here the components of a sophisticated genetic extraction device..." he pointed to the lump of pilgrim flesh "...the material the extraction is focused on..." and finally to the container in Keating's hand "...and the finished extraction". He bent down and picked up an armature of some kind; "with your permission perhaps Miss Kee-ting and I could put these components back together....we may have more answers than questions at that point sir...".

"Get to work on it. If someone is using this stuff I want to know who, and what they're doing with it," Kane said firmly.

"Understood," Keating replied, already eagerly looking at the various devices and components. Putting foreign mechanical devices back together would be a fun and interesting chore. "With your permission, I'd like to send the biological components over to the science team. They can confirm our suspicions and gather more data on the materials."

Interjecting with more urgency than he had intended to convey, Silnan raised a finger as if pointing to his idea on the ceiling; “perhaps Captain, miss Kee-ting, we might also include Lieutenant P’rel in the reconstruction of this equipment, and the samples?”.

"Do it." Kane leaned in to the Cardassian. "If this relates in any way to our previous discussions I want to know about it, understood?"

Has the Cardassian had the requisite organs and tissues, he might have gulped. “Yes, yes Captain Kane certainly yes sir”, he instead responded. Being unaccustomed to the convenience of a starfleet comm badge, Silnan walked across to a wall terminal to contact his mentor, and bring her up to speed.

 

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