Exploring Strange Readings

Sarah Aurana receives an encoded transmission in the mid morning hours. It’s a familiar transmission, Vident Obscura was a pretty secretive group, they didn’t have a lot of people hanging around waiting for assignments. Most anyone had other jobs to do, such as Sarah being a member of Gold Team with her own projects that were not Obscura related. She coded message was from Admiral Torm Shol, the head of Vident Obscura. She was directed to meet him on Soteria, the coordinates given were toward the eastern side of the Innana Continent toward the north of the world. It was surveyed from space, but unexplored. She was to report there by 1300 hours.

// @ryu_ketsueki

Sarah had already finished a meal by the time she received the message. She was in her apartment, with no duty shifts for that day. How convenient that one of her days off was cancelled to work on a Vident Obscura assignment but she signed up for it anyway, she may as well carry it out. After reading the message, she replies it on the same frequency, naturally disguised as background radiation and encrypted, saying she would be there at the requested time.

Taking the appropriate time to prepare herself, she knew they wouldn’t call her for something out of her area of expertise, so she took her time to request the necessary equipment at the labs. A bag with all the tools she needs to take samples, an advanced scientific tricorder, an additional one calibrated for medical use just in case along with a hypospray kit, her personal PADD, the wrist communicator and a Type-1 Phaser. Secretly, she was also with her pendant under her uniform, like always.

After that, she took the station’s transporter to the given coordinates. She was at least thirty minutes early.

Once there she finds an Archer Class landed nearby, by the markings it is the Eminent Midnight. Sitting on a small fallen log nearby a rock formation is Admiral Shol and a young woman Sarah had not met before, by her uniform a Captain, not a Temporal Operative by the looks of it. The man gets up, Torm was always calm, reserved. He seemed neither as if he’d been waiting a while nor as if he’d just gotten there. It was as if he’d always been there. As Sarah approached he gives her a nod, “Commander, we have a mystery on our hands, one that perhaps is best kept away from prying eyes.”

Sarah approached first the the two people, the two being the first thought patterns she could immediately locate, although only the first one she was able to identify. She also noticed how the admiral is unquiet just as easily. Walking closer to him, she responds “For you to be here, sir, I assume it must be serious.” and keeps the formality and respect.

“The seriousness is in the unknown Commander. Sensors have been scanning the planet’s geology for over a year, just gathering data mostly, identifying caverns and other under ground features. Most of it is pretty routine, until this morning. At about 0340 hours we received an automated alert of an unexplained anomaly here on Soteria.” He shows her his Vertex Scanner. It was folded open and showed the readings, indicating a rather large cavern 4.5 kilometers deep under the surface. “The area is reading as a Class 5 disruption in the Aether, reading a hair under 200 Oswalds in intensity, this information is of course not displayed in the official report, only Vident Obscura knows about it.”

OOC: The scanner being used here is entirely why I created the Vertex Scanner, I had been meaning to do it for ages. I have not liked the idea that Solas Tempus used tricorders like the Federation for a while. For continuity purposes, we can assume that this is the kind of scanner that gets used by Solas Tempus and that some call it erroneously a tricorder.

“Too high to be a simple splice. Unless something was brought in by one. Or…” she says as she looks through the report on the Vertex. “Did the finding coincide with the mapping of the cavern or was it already mapped before and the disruption appeared only now?”
Those questions would help eliminate possibilities as to the origins of the disruption. If it was already on the planet for so long and it coincided with the mapping of the cavern, then it could be very old. If it only appeared at that hour and the cavern was already mapped, then it could be something or someone that just appeared. She may have theorized that a splice could be the cause but literally anything could cause it.

“This is the first time we have done a detailed scan of this area since the installation of the VAM Enhanced Sensor Pallets on probes, and other tools rather than just the ones we use. It may have been here the whole time and we’re just noticing or, something may have changed. We know that the Nabu Summit has a lot of potential energy like this, but this pattern is very different. Conventional scans indicate that is a large crystalline rock that could be artificially carved, there’s apparently refined silver also present, though it is too deep to get detailed readings of how refined, it is definitely not naturally occurring.”

“I remember that some ancient civilizations, including my own, used to have large crystals as a form of battery, similar to quartz batteries in concept but much more advanced. They do let out radiation, one that is channeled into a form of energy that can be used. I know it’s a shot in the dark but when you said it’s a crystalline structure that may have been artificially carved, it reminded me of another artifact that I have only heard about but never found it. A chisel that, as the legends said, could carve energy into solid rock and allow it to conduct this energy, like circuit boards with electricity. Just that in this case, symbols are carved to… program… something in the stone. It would then have a function determined by that symbol that was carved”
Sarah voices a hypothesis based on what she had studied previously.

// The crystal and chisel are actually inspired on Atlantis: The lost Empire, which was also the inspiration for Sarah’s own crystal pendant. There is a scene in the movie when Queen Kida uses a chisel to carve the face of her deceased father on a large rock then use the crystal pendant to energize it, making the carvings light up and the rock itself, start floating in the air //

Admiral Shol nods, “We’ve located a place we can beam you in and back out again, it’s about a kilometer from the anomaly, we want you to go in and ascertain the nature of the anomaly and any threat it poses.”

“Yes, sir. I will keep recording every step I take and my preliminary analysis of everything I find in case anything happens”
Sarah taps her wrist communicator, making the holo interface appear. Once it does, she chooses the option to constantly record position, vital signs of the wearer, sensor readings and audio, so even her voice will be recorded as she investigates. One swipe makes the holo interface disappear but the recording continues. “Ready to beam in”

1 Like

Admiral Shol nods and the other woman, who did not introduce herself nods back, a hologram appearing as Sarah is beamed into the cavern. Sensors would have difficulty penetrating some of the rock, but she would be able to get a general shape of the cavern itself. It’s expansive, but her target lies deeper and to the north. It is pitch black, the sound of the transporter beam echos off the walls and can still be heard slightly for at least a few moments after Sarah finishes beaming. Oxygen content was breathable, but a bit thin.

Sarah would recognize how the air is a bit thin right away, as she is one of the beings who need a little more of oxygen than others because of their physiology, like the Vulcans, for example. She slows down her breathing and let her body take care of the rest. Like a previous water dragon who also served on Solas Tempus, she is also capable of decrease her heartrate for a limited time to save on the need of oxygen as long as she moves slowly and keep herself calm.
“Air is a little thin. Sensors show that it’s still breathable for humanoids, though.”
After a few more seconds, she starts walking
“The source of the disruption is fourteen degrees north. Sensors unable to get a precise reading of the composition of the cavern so far. Though infrared is working as well as it would always be, mapping the shape and size of the surroundings. So far it matches the sensor sweep that found this place and the disturbance. Can’t get a clear reading of anything that is past these walls, so the sensors are pretty much like me. Visual Mode. No detectable lifeforms so far”
She continues walking her way through until another thing worth reporting on her recording is found

Thermal imaging was a bit more useful, but it was still a somewhat uniform in temperature as well. Even so, she could make out the general shape. Her scanner was in active scan mode unless she changed it to passive, which means it would be able to map out the cavern and give her a wire-frame mapping of the cavern in high resolution. As she walked forward, the cavern narrowed and was sloped down about 3-4 degrees. There was a musty smell, the cave was not damp, but there was moisture in the air indicating water somewhere nearby. Geological records indicate the cavern was likely carved out by underground water flow rather than lava flows. Indeed, there was a water flow through the rock about 12 meters to the left running steadily downward. The scanner extrapolates the water course and indicates it is probably drawing water from the Ushas Sea to the south. While most of the rock around her is sedimentary, there is some sandstone, marble, and schist. Some of it was porous which would explain the moisture in the air, even though the cave itself was dry.

“I found a running course of water. Doesn’t seem to come from an underground pool of water. The concentration of salt is too high, hinting that it may come from the sea. Sensors speculate it is coming from the Ushas Sea south of my current location. It is flowing in the same direction of the source of the disruption. Air humidity is pleasing, if I do say so myself, the air moisture is significant, although the cavern walls seem to be a little dry. So far, whatever is the influence of this disruption, doesn’t seem to be affecting the environment. Looks pretty normal to me. I am now going closer to the source”
Sarah keeps narrating her findings and also what appear on the sensors of the Vertex as she continues walking to the source

The water was, in fact, not salty, though some salt deposits nearby would confuse sensors unless someone did a more detailed scan. The water flow followed the cavern, the way everything echoed in the space was surreal in a way, like hearing yourself displaced all over the cave. The Vertex Scanner popped up a recommendation, since the device could not scan far enough ahead, the suggestion was made to launch a 2 or 4-drone swarm to move ahead in the cavern. They were standard equipment.

At this point, Sarah can kind of feel the air is unusually cold. The scanner shows she’s beginning to enter a very minor disruption of Aether around her, flowing in the direction she’s walking.

Sarah stops for a moment after the recommendation popped up. She puts it away for a moment “The Vertex recommended to launch some drones to scan ahead. Considering how this is a class five disruption and the effect is still a bit of a mystery, it is the safest approach before I get closer”
With that said, she taps her wrist device again to make the holographic interface appear. With some swipes and taps, she launches a four drone swarm, keeping in mind a tridimensional scan that could be useful for posterior analysis of the sensor logs. Given the command, the drones are sent ahead

One assumes she gets out the small case which holds the drones and opens it up, activating them. If she does, the drones fly ahead, they produce a detailed map of the upcoming cave, relayed as extensions on the wire-frame image she has. It shows the cavern continues to descend and starts to move in a spiral, not unlike a spiral staircase, though made entirely of solid rock all around.

“Holographic map of the cavern updated. It continues downwards in spiral shape, apparently carved in solid rock. I’m now continuing forward”
She continues on her way and takes the spiral, walking to the bottom. Just in case, she also keeps the drones working while they still have energy, to give more info before she is physically there. She is also careful to not slip and fall, using the vertex to keep an eye on the structural integrity of the descent. Even if on solid rock, it could change at any moment

As she descends the structure of the rock changes, it becomes denser and it’s shape begins to change, varying densities and surface texture almost begin to look like a staircase. A staircase that was somehow turned into solid rock. It was an extremely peculiar phenomena. As she descends, the air starts to cool down further, a strong feeling of something being nearby, a presence perhaps? It was hard to be certain, just like there was something there.

“Personal observation. I believe I may be in a passage of some sort that alters the structure of my surroundings as I walk below. Unsure if this is a form of advanced camouflage to not give away to external sensors that this place is nothing but natural formations but that changes itself to a more artificially generated structure. Right now, it seems I’m walking down an actual staircase. Thermal sensation hints the temperature is dropping. Can’t help but wonder if I’m even alone at this point. So far, I cannot detect any identifiable thought patterns in the vicinity. Now I’m switching to scan for life forms”
She does as she recorded by voice. Not all life forms can be sensed by empathic abilities of this kind. The Ferengi, for example. And this is still not considering possible masking or artificial life forms like a Synth or AI.