Yesterday's Darkness

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Iconiangateway.jpg
Yesterday's Darkness
General Data
*Production number: AST-RP153
*Initiated: 140105
*Year: 2412
Navigation
*Forum Thread: [1]
*Previous Mission: Armstrong Shakedown
*Next Mission: Ultra Blue
Credits
*SIM Concept: Poison Toocool
*Historian: Poison Toocool


History

An Iconian gateway, buried in a watery cave to the south of the main UF Starfleet Colony, has long been secretly housed beneath what appears to be nondescript buildings. Its use is restricted to only the highest necessity, and since the advent of slipstream drive and the possibility of using transwarp conduits for long range travel, it has been seldom used, if at all. The highest secrecy surrounds the knowledge of it, and its location, for if it fell into the wrong hands, it could be used to do great wrong. Yet is an object of scientific and engineering study. The facility around it has not only been built to keep people out, but to keep any visitors in. It was long thought to be the last of its kind, yet... intelligence from around the four quadrants has begun to promote the idea that the Iconians were not completely destroyed 200,000 years ago. It is said that they used the gate on Iconia to escape the orbital bombardment of their home planet. It is theorized that they settled on Ikkabar, DiWahn, and Dynassia. Linguistic morphology of the three languages of these different peoples show that they all have the same root language – Iconian. After the gateway on Iconia was destroyed by Capt Jean Luc Pickard to stop it from falling into Romulan hands, another gateway was located on Vandros IV in the Gamma Quadrant. It was also destroyed by Federation forces in order to stop the Jem'Hadar from possessing it. It is whispered that descendents of the Iconians are now becoming a powerful force in the quadrants. It is suspected that more gateways exist – many more, on many planets, throughout the known universe. Thus security around the Astraios gateway is extremely high and further measures are being taken to avoid detection by enemy forces or use by... whoever might come through it. As yet only a handful of senior officers and gateway security teams, along with the leader of the Astraionian Civilian Authority, are aware of its existence.''


Prologue

The Armstrong’s shakedown cruise ended with the transport aboard of a fragment of an asteroid used for target practice. The fragment was found to contain a foreign object, and was brought back to the SS Astraios Science Lab for examination.

The Iconian gateway, buried in a watery cave to the south of the main UF Starfleet Colony, has long been secretly housed beneath what appears to be nondescript buildings. Its use is restricted to only the highest necessity, and since the advent of slipstream drive and the possibility of using transwarp conduits for long range travel, it has been seldom used, if at all. The highest secrecy surrounds the knowledge of it, and its location, for if it fell into the wrong hands, it could be used to do great wrong. Yet is an object of scientific and engineering study. The facility around it has not only been built to keep people out, but to keep any visitors in. It was long thought to be the last of its kind, yet... intelligence from around the four quadrants has begun to promote the idea that the Iconians were not completely destroyed. It is said that they used the gate on Iconia to escape the orbital bombardment of their home planet. It is theorized that they settled on Ikkabar, DiWahn, and Dynassia. Linguistic morphology of the three languages of these different peoples show that they all have the same root language – Iconian. After the gateway on Iconia was destroyed by Capt Jean Luc Pickard to stop it from falling into Romulan hands, another gateway was located on Vandros IV in the Gamma Quadrant. It was also destroyed by Federation forces in order to stop the Jem H’dar from possessing it. Now it is suspected that more gateways exist – many more, on many planets, throughout the known universe. Thus security around the Astraios gateway is extremely high and further measures are being taken to avoid detection by enemy forces or use by... whoever might come through it.

On stardate 140110 Capt Toocool is woken from an odd dream by Cmdr Barbosa, Chief of Security. A report has come through that there is a strange reading in the gate room. Scientists are baffled. Security is deployed and marines surround the facility. Has the gateway been activated by someone on a far away planet? Is it malfunctioning? Has it been sabatoged? We don’t know. Despite the upcoming Anniversay Celebrations, Astraios goes to DefStat 2. Since the real reason for DefStat2 cannot be revealed, it is said that an Intelligence report states insurgents may try to disrupt the festivities.

The Anniversary is uninterrupted and days go by. The emission from the gateway is studied by science and engineering round the clock but no answer can be found for the change in readings that continues to persist.

LT Isis Gaelyth, who has a background in Anthropology and Linguistics, has been overseeing the science team examining the asteroid fragment that was brought back to SS Astraios for study. The piece appeared to be part of the rubble sliced from the main asteroid when hit with phasers from the Neil Armstrong. But it was clear an object was imbedded in the piece. Slowly, the rock was chipped away using advanced archeological methods, revealing an artifact made of an unknown alloy. It was some inches deep and more than 2 meters long. Engraved upon the parts of the surface that had been cleared were symbols. LT Gaelyth painstakingly works to remove the greater portion of the rock casing, leaving some areas intact as the fragmented artifact appears to be damaged. The scoring on the surface of the artifact is oddly invisible in light, including infrared, although it could be felt by a humanoid hand. This made the taking of images almost impossible.

After many hours work, the artifact is placed within forcefields and the team is order to get some rest. LT Gaelyth submits her latest report and retires to her quarters, where she does her daily Mok’bara to clear her mind and tone her muscles. Her mind wanders, each time she brings it back. She is aware Astraios has been placed at DefStat2, an image of an armed security detail in combat gear flits through her mind. She focuses on her breathing. She will need to find her DressBs for the ceremony, they may lie crumpled at the back of her closet, unwashed since the last ceremony she attended. She focuses on the movements she is making. That reminds her of her arrival at Astraios Colony, and her time with the Spouwwqna. She mutters a Klingon curse and moves more aggressively. Many people will be arriving for the anniversary, but not her Oko-mekh. The situation between the Federation and the Klingon Empire made mother now an outcast, not welcome on Qu’nos, and only tolerated on Vulcan.

Giving up, she sits on her bed and massages her toes, tired after many hours of standing in the science lab. Her mind idly wonders, thinking again of the Anniversary, and the fact the Commander in Chief of Starfleet will apparently be there. The Iconian Gateway, she supposes, will not be used by any of the visitors. She lays back, closing her eyes at last, ready to rest. “Computer, dim lights. Music off.” She drifts into sleep.

Suddenly, she bolts upright. Scrambling from the bed, she searches for the recently discarded uniform and boots. Cursing as she stubs a toe, she thrusts her boots on and exits her quarters, running fingers through her hair, dashing for the turbolift.

Arriving at the science lab, she releases the forcefields and enters the room, running her hands again over the indentations in the artifact. She reaches a hand to tap her combadge. She has forgotten it. Moving to a console, she punches up her Chief, “LT Gaelyth to Cmdr Bravin.” He comes on the line and she asks permission to move the artifact to the gateway room. A very unusual request and, with the state of heightened security, a difficult one. But after she explains, permission is granted providing proper supervision is present at all times.

Within the hour Gaelyth and Bravin are in the gateway room with a team of security personnel. A table is set by the gateway, covered in a soft cloth. The security team stands back, watching the scientists and conversing in soft voices. When all is set ready, the artifact is beamed directly to the table. Gaelyth moves between the table and the gateway, glances once at Bravin and reaches to again trace her fingers over the symbols on the fragment.

Up in the control room, the odd energy signature begins to spike. “What the dev-“ exclaimes a security officer, “Sir, look at this,” he calls his Chief, who moves swiftly to see the computer read-out. “Get everybody out of there!” A crewman flicks the switch for the intercom to the gateway room but the energy spike has affected communications. Barbosa turns to her team, “Go!” and they move seamlessly down the stairs to the gateroom door.

Gaelyth turns and places her hands on the rough stone to the right of the gateway, tracing her fingers over the textures until she finds a depression. Turning to her Chief, she says with some excitement, “It’s there, almost the same symbol, I’m sure of it.” Bravin nods, then turns away to see what the commotion at the door is about.

Gaelyth looks down at the artifact on the table. The place her hands had touched just a minute ago has begun to glow. Behind her, the gateway hums to life. She looks up at Bravin, who has his hands up, protesting the approach of the security team, facing them and not her. He stumbles as they reach for him, his weight thrown against the table, he grabs the artifact quickly so it will not fall. “Fools,” he shouts uncharacteristically, a priceless artifact almost damaged because of their aggressive movements. He turns to check on Gaelyth. His eyes glance back and forth. The security team is still at his elbow. “Shut up,” he orders. “Where the hell is Gaelyth?” Everyone looks. Huh?

A small voice calls over the intercom, which is suddenly working again: “Sir... says the crewman... “she fell through the gate.” After a pause, he adds, “The energy spike has dropped back to the same readings as before, Sir.”

Everyone turns to look as the gateway shimmers and fades away. All falls silent.

“Oh my god,” Bravin says tightly.


Prelude

Commander David7 Bravin, Chief Science Officer, examines security records taken in the gateroom during an incident in which a science officer, pushed off balance by the movement of a table placed by the gateway, fell through the gate. Bravin studies the recordings again and again until he realizes only one spot on the artifact was lit up at the time Gaelyth entered the gate. He examines her logs as well as the artifact.

She had theorized that the artifact is part of a starchart. Bravin surmises that it is likely the graphic that glowed at the time of Gaelyth’s movement through the gateway pinpoints where she has gone. He also notes that the artifact, according to her careful use of dating techniques, is likely somewhere between 100,000 and 125,000 years old. The odd energy reading in the gateroom might be linked to the artifact in some way. Records show that the rise in energy readings from the gate began when the asteroid fragment arrived on SS Astraios.

More importantly, a Starfleet officer is missing. Without a key, and without the entire starchart, it is difficult to know where in the universe Gaelyth has gone. But there are two clues. Although near a jagged edge and somewhat damaged, there is an image of a 3 planet system. If that is Astraios... and the symbols near it is Treman… then the system indicated at the time of gate activation is conceivably within the quadrant. And, it is a rare binary system with 13 planets.

The newly refitted USS Neil Armstrong is ordered to find that system, many light years away, through uncharted space. Due to the extreme secrecy around the gate, the mission parameters will be announced as deep space exploration. There is one other concern. The Treman delegation that came for the Anniversary Celebrations is still on Astraios Prime. Although Astraios sensors show no indication of energy readings outside the gate facility... the delegation was present when the gate was activated and may have recorded the emissions produced by gate activity. Thus a rumor is introduced that an explosion occurred in a facility near the Parade Square but was contained, and that security is seeking the culprits. Captain Toocool contacts Brigadier L.Q. Khan, the Treman leader, and offers to have the UFS Astraios flagship, USS Neil Armstrong, escort his ship back to Treman. Smirking, he accepts.


Orders

USS Neil Armstrong and the Treman ship "Bravo" will embark at 1000 hours. The Armstrong will escort the Bravo along the edge of the Taakar Nebula to Treman, then continue on to exit the Astraios Sector, test its new slip stream drive and begin its journey across uncharted space.


Crew participation

Events

Supplemental