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A Failure to Communicate (Working Title)

Posted on Mon Jun 5th, 2017 @ 8:15pm by Lieutenant Commander Cara Nichols MD & Brigadier General Christopher Mitchell & Lieutenant Beowulf "Wulf" Byrnes & Lieutenant JG Alyssa Matthews

Mission: Down on the Upside
Location: R&D Labs- Deck 11- Section B
Timeline: Five hours after 'Here Be Dragons'

ON:

Christopher walked into the slightly cramped lab that served as one of the research and development centers for the base. Looking around, he saw smoking beakers and devices that were beeping and blinking. Gingerly making his way around the lab tables, he made his way over to the assembled team.

"What do you have for me?" Christopher asked, his hands clasped in front of him.

Byrnes was to the left of the entry, creating a small space he could move in without fear of knocking things over, and the niche provided him access to a sensor station and computer. "Not much. Same situation. I'm half-tempted to take a runabout, go out there and start using hand signals. If they are intelligent then maybe they'll respond." He tapped more keys on the holographic screen. "I've been using scans to see if there are any unusual bio-electric signatures. So far, no luck."

Alyssa had not expected to be part of a research team right out the gate she had just barely beat the captain to the team group and was trying not to pant to catch her breath. "If we go by myth and legend then Dragons are either telepathic or can speak as normally as you or eye like for instance in the 20th century Dragon Heart, a movie I believe, or series of movies actually" She looked a bit puzzled before carrying on with what she found.

"In some instances like for instance an old 21st century game known as Skyrim they speak a mixture of English and Dragonia." Alyssa managed to get out pulling up what little research she had been able to make when she learned about this team research she had been assigned to. "Granted a lot of these movies and information is just that mythical and fictional, but often times fiction has some root or basis in factual I just haven't found any factual information yet mostly fictional." She added biting her lower lip slightly.

Cara walked into the lab carrying a sound card and plugged it into one of the open terminals. "Everyone....listen to this," she said. "It's North American eagles from Earth. Specifically...the mother calling to her young...apparently...letting them know she is coming home with food." She played the sound and a graphic appeared on the monitor showing the ebb and flow of the sound on a graph. She paused it. "Next is the male eagle during mating," she said and played the sound. "Mother eagle searching for her young after one gets bounced out of the nest," she said and played that sound. "And last, but not least...angry male eagle defending his turf," she said and played it. Once all recordings had been played and recorded on the sound meters she looked at each of the scientists and Byrnes and asked, "can you do anything with this? Compute sequences...duplicate them and amplify them in some way?"

Alyssa wasn't exactly a scientist, nor had she been in the ops command when they first met the dragons, "What exactly do North American Eagles have to do with Space Dragons?" Alyssa asked not seeing the connection.

Cara said, "Computer...access my video library. Circa 21st Century television shows. Game of Thrones. Episode 6-10. Play last 5 minutes of video." She turned the screen of the monitor so everyone standing there could view the scene where a dragon came screaming across the valley.

Wulf cocked his head, listening intently. His left hand picked up a wireless earbud which he promptly put in his left ear. While listening to the recording he was also splitting attention with his screen, seeing if there were any bio-electric signals that may, or may not, match.

"I still do not see the connection to Eagles, most of my research says that Dragons have more relation to dinosaurs than birds, of course, a lot of birds come from dinosaurs as well so there is that connection. " Alyssa commented though expected that she would be questioned on everything she did, that did not mean she wasn't going to ask questions as well.

"Same sound," Cara said, simply. "Whatever," she added with a shrug. "It was just an idea."

After listening to Cara's recording, which he now had a copy of to use for further research, Byrnes looked at Nichols. "Thanks, Doctor. I will endeavor to find anything remotely similar, or being used in the same manner. The only hitch I see, or hear in this case, is that this screeching was done in atmosphere." He gave a casual pointing to the screen with the dragons still flying around the asteroid. "That is space, no way for sound vibrations to travel in the same manner as you have given. But, it's a start and kinda where I was going with communications between them. Just because we don't understand how something works doesn't mean it isn't plausible."

Then another thought came to mind. "Lieutenant," she said, looking at Byrnes. "How far would the Zumwalt and Hopper have to be from the dragon's asteroid to grab it with their tractor beams?"

Wulf glanced her way. "Usually, they operate best at short range for particle weapons. When towing damaged vessels and other objects, a longer 'tether' is dangerous. Wait..." His voice trailed off as he tapped a secondary screen to come up, looking at engineering data. "We can also reverse the polarity and push things away, at greater distances. Pick a direction and just give the spacial body a little nudge, let inertia do the rest. But again, Doc, that all comes down to how close the dragons will let us get before they see a threat."

"What if...," a voice from the back of the room spoke up and Dr. Tookl, the base's Alien Anthropologist, stepped out of the shadows of his office in the lab. "...we enlist our Language Specialist to come up with a sound similar to the eagles' nesting cries that can translate in open space while Mr. Byrnes does whatever has to be done to do what he just said," the old guy waved his hand in Byrnes general direction indicating all of the engineering mumbo jumbo was out of his realm of knowledge. "Then we can try and make nice with the creatures through the emission of the sounds from one of our shuttles, allowing the two ships to get close enough to nudge the asteroid away from the Rock."

Alyssa fell silent mostly because well they were all a higher rank than her and so far they seemed more intent on believing they were dealing with large space eagles than dragons it seems so she let herself fall to the background. However, she did put her own research into the mix adding to what was already there from her PADD.

Cara shrugged. "Sounds like the workings of a plan," she said, then added, "I'll leave the sound card with you guys, just in case." Looking at the General she said, "let me know how it turns out,' and with that she made her exit and headed for her office.

"General," said Byrnes. "There's no reason to risk more than necessary on this endeavor. The smaller the object approaching the better our chances. We all have given ideas, based on Earth dragons, but these are obviously of a different nature. Our dragons didn't breathe plasma, they breathed fire. So, with that in mind, and my engineering knowledge for the tractor beam, I volunteer to take a runabout out there and try to move that damn rock. It will gauge how they will respond to an outsider, and we only lose one man in the process. IF they attack before trying to warn away."

"Isn't there a regulation that states no one officer should head into danger alone or something? I volunteer to go with him, besides two heads are better than one?" Alyssa said understanding the man's willingness go to it alone, but no one should face that kind of danger alone. Besides she had every intention of returning to her daughter.

"Of course," Dr. Tookl said with a chuckle. "Then we lose both of you. Of course, that makes all of the sense in the world." He shook his head, still chuckling. "General....if I may make a suggestion that makes more sense than two of your senior officers making a suicide run. Why not program a drone out there to see how close it can get before they feel threatened. It can also record whatever sounds they might be making so that our Language Specialists can analyze them and figure out if we can communicate with them. They are, after all, sentient beings and isn't it our job to make First Contact as painless for both parties as possible? I may be a civilian but when I joined the Federation Exploration and Research team I seem to remember they drilled that into us before we left Earth. Granted it was quite some years ago but my memory hasn't become that addled yet."

She had to admit that was a better idea, though she had to smile a bit she had no intention of dying now. Besides, it wasn't her time or so she liked to think.

"Damn, you two are like Drax, you take everything literally," said Wulf, both with cynicism and sarcasm. His voice changed to a more serious tone. "I've been saying we need to communicate since we were upstairs. Matthews, I intended to take you the whole time, just because I say 'I', doesn't mean some kinda Lone Ranger shit, okay?" With an exasperated breath he walked around Alyssa, went over and brought up a second screen next to the one monitoring the dragon movements. "Now, bare with me, this may shock you that I can listen to you and at the same time do my job. These animals are not acting like parents protecting a nest, these are parents concerned about their young because they can't get to them." Walking over to a sensor log station he pointed to a screen. "This is the same asteroid they are now around. With the Borg attack debris from starships began to collide with spacial debris and planetesimals, which would cause inertia. This asteroid was approximately one million kilometers further from the sun than its current position, and with the change in solar heat I can say it would alter the composition of ice and rock, and may end up becoming a comet. If I am correct, then this is a rescue mission, and all we need do is find out how to talk to mom and dad."

Alyssa put her hands up and smiled admitting she was wrong with her gestures rather than words to keep from interrupting the CEO as he spoke. Though when he brought the second image up to show them she enlarged it while listening to Wulf talk and listened to the sounds that the creatures were making again. "if we could just find a way to translate what they are saying." She growled putting in an algorithm to try and do just that, there was a family involved now no time to wait. "Doctor Tookl might I borrow you over here for a bit of your expertise?" She asked showing him the algorithm she was putting in to attempt to translate what she'd like to call Dragonia language later. Hey they where here to figure out how to communicate right?

Byrnes, for his part, went back to the sensor logs to find out what may have caused the asteroid to stop where it was, instead of hurtling deeper into the system and into the sun. There were no records before the arrival of the refugees, himself included. The only thing that made sense is that it had been impacted on the 'bow' as it traveled, hard enough to stop it where it was. That in itself would collapse internal cavities and passages as the asteroid changed in composition due to solar energy. But, the other theory in his mind was that the dragons themselves had forced the asteroid to a halt, and then people showed up so they went and hid until starships started buzzing about and people were seen as a threat.

Dr. Tookl looked at the young Lieutenant and smiled. "I don't know how much help I might be," the Alien Anthropologist said. "I don't know much about linguistics. But I'll do what I can." He walked over to the lab table and stood beside the girl with the purple hair. "What would you like me to do?" he asked as he glanced over to see what the CEO was doing.

Byrnes looked to the scientist. "Help me, Doctor. All I ask. These creatures were here before we were, and we need to remember that. I have a feeling that their young are trapped inside that asteroid."

Tookl looked at Byrnes and patted the stool at the terminal next to him. "Why don't we all work at this station," he suggested. "It will make it easier for us to work together." To Alyssa he said, "Like I said...I am not a linguist but it seems to me that if we run that recording the Doctor brought in through a synthesizer...lower the octave then run that through the language analyzer we might be able to come up with something workable. Just remember....sounds out there," he pointed upward, "will be modified."

"Of course Doctor Tookl I am not a linguistic either, I am working on an equation to work with the language analyzer to run the recording of the space dragons through and hopefully see if we can translate it into something we can use to communicate with them. I do understand that sounds are a bit more muffled in the vaccum of space. I believe I worked that into the equation to compensate for the void of space." She explained the equation as she moved to join them not at all adverse to working as a team.

Tookl turned to Byrnes. "I'm still partial to modifying a drone once we come up with a form of communication to transmit whatever we come up with," he said. "I'm not an engineer but I can turn a screwdriver so tell me what you need me to do."

Wulf came over and joined the team. "We need something low-yield. Not too intrusive, but enough to get their attention, good or bad. I can rig the probe with internal exhaust tanks so it will get filtered and not pollute space around them. The Bajoran wormhole taught us that even impulse emissions can be dangerous to some beings or creatures."

"Basically using trial and error on trying to communicate? if we could get the probe close enough there is a possibility that we could keep the probe from being detected long enough to translate how they communicate. Then, we could attempt to assure them we mean them no harm." Alyssa said thinking aloud.

Wulf nodded to Matthews. "A sound idea."

Alyssa chewed on her bottom lip unsure if she should mention another thought she had. "Lieutenant Brynes, what about echolocation like with whales keeping track of their pods? Space is dense enough in away similar to water that the dragons could possibly rely on echolocation?" Alyssa asked the CEO.

Dr. Tookl sat back and looked at Alyssa, rubbing his graying beard. "That is a fascinating idea, young lady," he said. Nodding he made some quick entries into the computer terminal in front of him and brought up a few variations of algorithms based on humpback whale calls. "Interesting," he said as he read over the data.

Alyssa nodded looking over the Algorithm that the Dr just typed out on the computer terminal. The young Caitian/Human gave a nod of approval that plus her own algorithm they would get some results.

"Ya know, I noticed their movements being more like a pod of whales trying to save their young," said Byrnes. "I couldn't quite place a finger on what that meant, and this echolocation is it. Thanks for being on the same page, Matthews." He nodded to Tookl. "Doctor, echolocation in space would need energy discharge of some kind or a frequency modulation. My best guess would be something more along the lines of say..an electromagnetic pulse they may be sending out to tell each other where they are within a certain radius. It's worth a try."

Alyssa actually smiled at that, she gave a nod of agreement on the electromagnetic pulse.

"As a scuba diver I see space as an ocean, and most creatures in it act like ocean residents, for the most part." Said Byrnes.

"I didn't know you dived Lieutenant?" Alyssa asked she had been meaning to learn diving since she and Sara loved to swim so much, she would have to ask him about a good training program after this assignment.

Byrnes cracked a grin, glancing Matthew's way occasionally as he worked. "Oh yeah. How I got into engineering. In the Pacific Ocean I was part of a reclamation project as a teen. It led to engineering. So, when I see animals in their natural enviro, I immediately relate to the seas."

Alyssa smiled, "I was thinking of learning, my daughter and I love to swim. I thought she'd like to learn so was thinking of a holodeck program to help us. Know any good training programs?" She asked even as she wondered if a six year old could learn to scuba dive?

"If you are looking to Earth diving, go Caribbean first," explained Wulf. "Water is usually warmer, no harsh tides, and set for no sharks." He tapped keys to adjust the probe for an added exhaust tank. "And I would advise to not set weather on random. Hurricanes suck."

"Duly noted." She said softly working along with him to make sure that the probe had both algorithms so it would hopefully be able to translate that they meant know harm or learn how these space dragons communicated.

Chris had sat back and listened to their discourse and thought for a few moments. "Infrared." he said. "When I used to fly recon missions during the Dominion War, we used to transmit data by shooting concentrated dual-band infrared pulses to stations on the ground. Could we try the same thing here if we can mount a transmitter to a runabout?" he asked, wondering if this crazy idea could work.

"Its a thought we could add it to the list of trial and error ideas like the electromagnetic pulse or Echolocation does not work." Alyssa said to the Captain because it was a good idea.

Wulf glanced at Mitchell, then back to his work. "I can add an infra-red sensor node, Sir. A science probe like this can even analyze the frequencies for us, if the dragons don't fry the damn thing." Getting back to work he called down to Science and had the node sent up by transporter. Working diligently for twenty minutes Byrnes looked up when the lights and machinery flickered, then went out for a few moments, and came back on. They were dimmer than normal and all the screens were now fuzz. Just as he was reaching up to his combadge a female voice came through the speakers.

"Chief Byrnes, Sirico here," said the Ensign. "Main energizer is out, completely shut down. We need you, Sir."

"Like always, perfect timing," stated Byrnes, the cynicism not lost in his voice. "Sir, with your permission, I need to see to our power needs."

"Hmmm the station has perfect timing as well." Alyssa wondered aloud, "Do you need me?" Alyssa asked him the cynicism in his voice not lost on her either.

"No," said Byrnes. "I need you to finish the probe for Dr. Tookl and the Sciences. With the energizer it could be faulty EPS and I'll already have all of Alpha shift there to help. If the dragons find the probe offensive, then we'll need all the power we can spare." He turned and walked out.

Alyssa gave a nod and went back to work on the probe wondering if she could install a shield on it to help protect it from the plasma the dragons breath.

 

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