Star Trek

USS Turing

Black Holes and Revelations

Posted on Mon Jan 13th, 2020 @ 7:44pm by Irene Hatch

Mission: 1 - Celestial Navigation

Personal Log | Admiral Irene Hatch, Starfleet Office of R&D:

The trip to Nepenthes XII was supposed to have been a fourteen day, uneventful trip at high warp. I was really looking forward to two weeks of catching up on my field research papers, and reading the proposal for the new Sarek class. My own staff has a backlog of work about 2 weeks long, so all in all, it was going to be a unique opportunity to play a little catch up, and I certainly didn’t need any help preparing for a conference on advanced stellar cartography.

About two days into the trip, we picked up a very...I suppose you could call it loud… subspace transmission. It reminded me of stories of the “Bloop,” a massive underwater sound from the late 20th century on Earth, apparently said to have been caused by ice shelf calving. I put my own personal staff as well as the Turing’s entire science team on it. We must have gone through a month’s worth of Raktajino that night alone. But the next day, we deciphered the message. It contained spatial coordinates, and the first portion of the algorithm for quantum slipstream travel. The message was sent simultaneously in Breen, Horta, and Tholian.

Needless to say, I cancelled my appearance at the conference, and we’re on our way to the coordinates.

Bridge | USS Turing
0722 HRS

“Coming up on the coordinates now,” Lieutenant Plaze said, operating the helm station with smooth efficiency. “Dropping out of warp and proceeding at impulse.”

Admiral Hatch stood at the rear of the bridge, leaning against the bulkhead. While she was often offered one of the command seats, she preferred to let the bridge crew get on with the actual work of the ship, and keep her distance so as not to be a distraction. She’d admired the helmsman’s piloting skills in the months he’d been aboard, and suspected a lot of the successes he had in his position were due to him being a Betazoid and being able to instinctively react to what the Captain needed before she voiced it.

“On screen,” Captain Velin ordered. As the viewscreen adjusted, a massive space station appeared, looming large on the screen. The main portion of the installation was a curved pylon, reminiscent of a Cardassian mining station, but with more mass. A saucer-like central hull curved out from the middle point of the pillar, forming a full enclosed circle from one end to the other. A soft, lavender light pulsed from several windows around the complex, and more of them began to pulse slowly on as the ship continued her approach.

“We’re going to have to edit the maps,” Plaze said from the helm. “We have this listed as a star, but it’s pulling like a black hole. Looks like we’re in the accretion disc. I’ll bring us closer so...whatever this is...shields us from some of the gravitational effects.”

“Thank you,” Velin responded. “Who would build a station in orbit of a black hole?”

“We might be about to find out. They’ve started sending a transmission, Captain. It sounds automated,” an officer called out from the Operations Station. Velin nodded.

A soft voice permeated the Bridge: “Welcome to The Reliquary, ancient bastion of the Builders and their great work.” After repeating several times, Velin ran her thumb across her throat, and the transmission quickly stopped.

“That sounds like an invitation if I’ve ever heard one,” Hatch said from her leaning place.

“I’d say it sounds like an introduction more than an invitation,” Velin replied. “But they didn’t seem to immediately target us or start firing, which is a good sign. Let’s try not to do anything to provoke them. deLeon, what’s on the sensors?”

The young officer at the science station was bent down over his console, frantically pouring over the information, appearing not to have heard the Captain. After a moment, he quickly put his hand in the air, holding up a single finger. Velin smiled at the reaction and waited patiently. Admiral Hatch had hand-picked the kid as the Chief Science Officer for the Turing, but she’d found him remarkably easy to work with, and competent in his job.

“Coming in now,” he said, after a delay and a few minutes of awkward silence permeated only by the standard sounds of a starship’s bridge. “, it’s big obviously. But we’re talking about five times the size of a Spacedock. Sensors can’t determine what alloy it’s made of, but it’s nothing in our database. It does look to be structurally sound, from an engineering standpoint, but I’d rather let Commander Hrzlthrp make that determination, I’m no engineer. Let’s see. There’s a ring of what I’m positing are shuttlepods, small craft of some kind anyway, along the upper pylon. They appear to be docked, and on low-power mode. The whole station is, but I’m seeing a slow rise in power signature. I think...I think maybe it was dormant until it pinged.”

“Can we beam over? Or dock with it?” Hatch inquired.

“Oh we can dock, there’s 172 docking stations on the outer ring. And just a ton of weapon placements all over the place. Energy and concussive.”

“I think beaming over or docking is a bit premature, Admiral,” Velin added. “We don’t know if the atmosphere inside there, or the architecture, is compatible with our own biologies. They broadcast the original message in non-humanoid languages.”

“Yeah, that would stand to reason, sir,” deLeon replied. “I’m trying to get that figured out now. But if worst comes to worst, we do have suits we can use. As far as’s really old. Older than anything on record, including Iconian structures. Sirs...this could be the find of the century! This is seriously impressive, how did no one know this was here?”

“We’re pretty far from the nearest shipping lanes, Lieutenant,” Velin responded, “and the nearest major powers are days away at maximum warp. But we don’t know that no one knew it was here. If it was dormant, it could have just been a...thing people ignored, if it held no inherent value to them.”

“I’d like to return their hail,” Hatch replied. “If we don’t open discourse with these people and just stand here talking about what’s on our sensors, we’ll never make heads or tails of this. Open a channel.”

A soft tone chimed as the channel was open. Hatch cleared her throat, and orated, “This is Admiral Irene Hatch of the United Federation of Planets’ Starfleet. We received your burst communication while en route to a conference. We are...frankly, in awe of what your people have accomplished in the building of this station. The mission of the Federation is to seek out new life and new civilizations, make peaceful contact with them, and share in their culture. Is your ‘great work’ similar in nature?”

The bridge was silent for a few moments before the response came. “Admiral Irene Hatch of the Federation: Your response has been catalogued in the Reliquary’s databanks. The great work of the Builders is multi-faceted in nature. It consists of cataloguing, exploring, data processing, and invention.

Admiral Irene Hatch of the Federation, for the sake of clarity and understanding, know that you do not address a sentient biological lifeform, and none exist onboard Reliquary. The Builders, the first race to achieve sentience in the galaxy, are long gone. What remains here is an archive of their great work, and my continuation of it, as is my mandate. I am Reliquary Intelligence Voss.”

Hatch’s face dropped. The chance of meeting a species who could build something like this was now zero. But perhaps the station still held some information about them. Some nugget of technology that could be studied.

“I understand, Voss,” she replied. “What can you tell me about The Builders?”

“The Builders, in their great wisdom, knew that races would arise into sentience but not until long after they themselves were extinct. Thus, they mandated that their great work be passed on to the children of the galaxy, those with the same love of knowledge, love of exploration, and the pursuit of peace that their civilization was founded on. I am unable to continue this mandate to its full extent in my current operational state, and it was not the intent that I continue it alone. Any species capable of discovering The Reliquary would have the technology to be able to continue, although not necessarily the same ideological goals as The Builders. Before you are permitted to board, do you accept the following terms? Will you carry the mantle of the Builders, and continue their Great Work?”

This was the coin flipping in the air, and Hatch knew it. Could she, would she accept this on behalf of the entire Federation of Planets? On behalf of the remnants of the Romulan Star Empire? On behalf of the Breen Confederacy? All of sentience could be interested in this station, there could be a wealth of information that would be beneficial to the whole galaxy, not just her crew, or her Starfleet, or her Federation.

“But we got here first, Admiral,” Lieutenant Plaze said, from the helm. “Apologies for the intrusion. You were broadcasting.”

“It’s okay Lieutenant,” Hatch replied. Truthfully, she didn’t actually care about the Betazoid reading her thoughts at that moment, it was a good snap back to reality. “You’re right.”

She nodded to the Operations officer, and replied, “Voss: on behalf of the United Federation of Planets, we accept your terms. The vessel we arrived on is my personal flagship, and I have a wealth of intelligent, compassionate, and inquisitive beings aboard. I’m certain that with your knowledge and our expertise, we can find a common ground, and potentially even make necessary repairs. Please allow us to dock, and come aboard. We’re so excited to meet you.”