I'll leave some of my October 2019 rewrites, but my continuing efforts on this project has been moved to what is effectively a private blog. I realize and understand that no-one is particularly interested in reading my fan fiction.
The year is 2410, the beta quadrant still recovers from the devastation of the Iconian War. Outlying colonies continue to be greatly impacted by disruptions in trade.
The role of Starfleet's Materials Prospecting Division has been temporarily expanded until prosperity has been fully restored. Several new Oscar teams have been deployed to several resource rich worlds.
One of these teams - Oscar 19 - is about to embark on a most ridiculous journey...Entry #1 - First Impressions Matter
Like most planets where the Acquisition Division has operated, TF-2011-04, informally "Vestige," was largely a toxic wasteland. The air wasn't breathable, life was an unfamiliar concept, the water-if it could be called that- would dissolve anything given time, and the landscape was dominated by rocks. Some of these were smooth, but most were sharp, grumpy looking rocks.
It was sunny today, although the two figures wearing EV suits and standing at the summit of a mountain peak didn't seem to care too much. A day was a day after all. They were a gruff Tellarite, one Blathma Miracht, and a lanky Andorian, one Ensign Syn Indarax Th'Ansgar. With them were two exocomps. The silver and yellow one was known as Tax and the faded rust and orange was none other than Charlemagne.
"Yes, yes, I think this spot will work." Said Blathma, “There’s little seismic activity, we’re at this planet’s equator, and we’re just high enough for most of the weather to be a non issue. Perhaps aside from the wind.”
"Great,” replied Syn, “...and this spot will work for..."
"The space elevator."
"The space elevator? We're building one of those?"
"Didn't you see today's orders?"
Syn thought about it for a moment before answering,
Blathma would’ve been in disbelief had it been anybody else. But it wasn't anybody else, it was Syn. After shooting an accusing glance he asked,
"Where were you this morning?"
"Fixing the miner."
"Is that thing still broken?"
"Is it still broken now?"
"...yyeesss, but I'll try fixing it again this evening."
Blathma seemed satisfied with that answer, for now at least.
"As I was saying, we've been ordered to construct a space elevator. We'll be using this elevator to transport the duranium...we've... mined..."
The two figures thought about this for a minute. Syn proceeded to contact his exocomp,
"Hey Tax, meet me at the miner. We need to fix it as soon as we can."
Blathma contacted the exocomp in orbit,
"Charles, we need to delay the elevator project for a little bit. We need to do some work on the miner."
Location: Starbase 114, Celes Sector
Lieutenant Delia Genome Ferraro approached the Commander's office with butterflies in her stomach. She hoped this would be the day she got her first real assignment as a newly minted Lieutenant. Maybe I will get a posting on the Buran?
She thought to herself, but then she quickly lowered her expectations, Nah, an older class is more likely. Maybe an Intrepid? Or a Sovereign?
She hoped that her time serving on the Enterprise would earn her a suitable position. In any case, she needed to see to formalities first. Alright, time to enter the office...
Standing at attention, "Lieutenant Ferraro reporting as ordered, Commander."
Commander Cleveland gave the new arrival a warm smile in greeting.
"At ease Lieutenant."
Delia took to opportunity to relax a little. There was a moment of silence before the Commander continued,
"Lieutenant Delia, Starfleet is transferring you to the Materials Prospecting Division."
Delia could feel herself deflate a little, and she wondered if the Commander noticed.
"Resource Acquisitions? With all due respect, I was hoping for another starship assignment."
"I understand, but we can't always get what we want. However, Starfleet seems to believe your skills are needed over there. You are to head to..." the commander took a moment to read from his PADD, "...TF-2011-04 and assume command of Team Oscar 19. Ever since the removal of their previous commander their performance has dropped. They need someone to set things right."
Delia considered pushing against this decision. Surely there was someone else that could fill that role. Besides, why did Starfleet still have a division dedicated to collecting resources in a society as glutted with resources as the Federation was? And why did this system have a TF designation? Weren't they supposed to be NGC dash numbers?
"Surely there is someone who is perhaps more suitable for that assignment? Maybe someone with previous experience mining? Or something like that?"
"I'm sure Starfleet would assign such a person if there was one available. Or perhaps they don't need someone who knows the technicalities of mining. Besides, I've already tried fighting the Admiralty on this and their decision stands."
Delia was disappointed.
"Understood Commander, I'll get underway as soon as possible."
"Before you leave Lieutenant, you should go down to the science lab. They have something that you will find most helpful for your new assignment."Maybe it's a silver lining
, Delia did not say out loud.
Location: System TF-2011, Planet "Vestige" (TF-2011-04)
Two engineers and two exocomps spent the past two hours swarming the miner. The device was a mobile platform that moved slowly across terrain and used a sensor suite to detect any valuable minerals it could mine. It then drilled using a highly focused phaser cutter. The materials it gathered would then be moved using a miniature tractor beam to one of three detachable pods, each able to hold 1000 kilograms of raw materials. The pods were designed to be transported a variety of ways which included a space elevator.
The space elevator was as simple as they come. A single, high strength cable attached to a counterweight in orbit. The counterweight is a docking port designed to hold as much twenty pods. A transport ship mere needed to get in range to tow the pods into a cargo hold or to attach externally to the hull. Digressing to the relevant topic at hand...
When the miner was initially deployed it had worked as designed. After a day however, stopped producing any raw materials. Oscar 19 only has one such miner, so some effort was made to repair the miner. Today, it seemed the problem had been discovered and corrected.
"There, it should work now." Said syn after reattaching the last panel.
"Fire it up!" barked Blathma.
The machine roared to life, and by roar it was really a whine that increased in pitch, and proceeded to execute the very task for which it had been designed.
"I’ve never seen roots grow that fast before. Let's hope the elevator doesn't suffer the same problem or this whole operation is done."
*Beep?* inquired the gray exocomp who’s name was Charlemagne, although Blathma preferred to shorten it to Charles.
“Okay Charles, you can get the shuttle ready for takeoff now.”
Charlemagne proceeded towards the shuttle in a gray blur. Tax, the other exocomp which was colored black and silver, merely hovered in the air as it monitored the miner for any new issues. Syn meanwhile seemed confused by something.
"Blathma, why are we building a space elevator?"
"What do you mean?"
"We have energizers, we could just beam whatever we've mined into space.”
"Yeah, we could, but these are the orders we were given so build an elevator we must."
"I don't know, this whole thing seems like waste to me."
"Well it's a good thing you're not in charge."
"Maybe. Speaking of, have you heard anything about who our new commander will be? It's been a while, so surely a replacement has been found by now."
"You don't know who it is?"
"Why else would I ask?"
"It really is a good thing that you're not in charge."
Syn’s antenna moved into a position of aggression, pointed straight at the adversary. Blathma was always up for an argument, even if the justification was flimsy.
"Well perhaps you could just tell me who it is instead of getting all judgmental."
"How am I being judgmental? You seem to neglect knowing importing information like who your superior officer will be, and that is not a trait I'd want from someone who is in charge of anything!"
"Well I'm sorry for not knowing! Seriously, who is it?"
"I'm not telling you."
"You should learn these things on your own."
"We'd waste less time if you could just tell me right now!"
"Sorry, but my lips are sealed."
Syn’s antenna suddenly shot upward in a gesture of surprise. Blathma noticed, and gave a brief snort as he knew what that meant.
"Wait a minute, do you know who it is?"
"Of course I do."
"Then tell me."
Blathma crossed his arms, still standing his ground.
"You don't know who our new commander is either!"
Blathma slapped away the accusatory finger that was pointed at him.
"And what makes you say that!?"
"Because you're being evasive!"
There was a long pause. Syn waited patiently for his colleague’s reply. It didn’t take long...
"Okay, I’ll admit it, I don't know who it is either. But that’s because there’s been no word on it!"
"I still called your bluff."
"Congratulations! You figured something out."
Another moment of silence as both Starfleet officers considered the implications of their lack of knowledge concerning their team’s future.
"How do we still have our jobs?"
At that moment, Blathma's PADD alerted him that a new message had arrived.
Location: Celes Sector, Runabout Good SamaritanHow do these guys still have their jobs?
Lieutenant Delia thought to herself as she finished reading everything about the Materials Prospecting Division's Team Oscar 19. They were not the best. She was a few hours out, so she had time absorb what she knew about her assignment.
Delia brushed a hand through her velvet red hair as she began to appreciate the potential magnitude of her task. Still, she served a year on the Enterprise which was the finest starship in the fleet and this is the assignment she gets? Either her performance has been really disappointing, which would make this punishment, or really great, which would make this a challenge Starfleet thinks she can handle.
The report indicated that things weren’t always bad for Oscar 19. When Commander Vinu was in charge the team had performed admirably. But when Vinu was removed from his position by Starfleet Command that level of productivity evaporated. Oscar 19 had been without an official commander for two months.
“I hope I make a good first impression. What do you think Zoe?”
Zoe was what her trip to Starbase 114’s science lab had been about. The red and black exocomp was among the first of Starfleet’s new state of the art model. Operating with Oscar 19 will be her first field test.
“I think you’ll do fine Delia. You were picked for this assignment for a reason as was I.”
“I hope you’re right about that. Regardless, I’m going to need help to pull this off. Are you ready?”
“I am ready for anything.”
Delia took a deep breath, and once again reviewed the reports she was given. She saw that Oscar 19’s most recent order from Starfleet had been to construct a space elevator. She hoped they wouldn't start until she arrived.
Location: System TF-2011, Planet "Vestige" (TF-2011-04)
"C'mon Tax, we need to get this done to impress the Lieutenant when she arrives!" Syn called in a voice that seemed to be lined with panic. The exocomp beeped an acknowledgement that clearly conveyed annoyance. The exocomps assigned to the Oscar 19 team did not have vocal processors. This mystery may be answered at some future time.
A minute passed before all the hard points for the space elevator's ground anchor were installed and deployed. As the rods finished burrowing into the ground to secure the anchor Syn said,
"Good work Tax"
*beep* responded Tax.
"Hey Blathma! Is the power unit installed?"
"I'm working on it!" Blathma replied with a hint of annoyance as always.
Another minute passed as Blathma finished installing the power unit, which was to power the eight maglevs which will be installed in the final step of the assembly process.
"All done here!" he yelled back to Syn.
"Why are we yelling?" Syn yelled back.
"Force of habit?"
The ground anchor was small by space elevator standards, only 50 meters in diameter. It narrowed to a peak that was about 10 meters in diameter and had affixed to it 8 magnetic hooks. The anchor was designed for rapid deployment and was therefore made to utilize as few resources and energy as possible. The engineers were reviewing their work before Syn popped a question,
"Do you think that'll hold?"
"It's built according to design specifications."
"So it's good."
"Yeah, it should be good."
"Gravity will hold this anchor down assuming everything is set up properly. We could've built this on an ocean barge if the water here wasn’t so acidic."
"So what you’re saying is, it should be fine."
The two once again simultaneously evaluated the ground anchor.
"Well, we won't know until we try it. I'll tell Charles to lower the cable. Once that's done we'll see if this thing will stay together or not."
"I feel like something will go wrong. More than usual."
"Well it wouldn't be the first time. Charles! Lower the cable!"
*Boop beep* was the response over comms from the shuttle in orbit.
Everything proceeded smoothly. The shuttle had lined up the cables perfectly, and the ground anchor captured them with ease. Once all the connection points were secured by the ground team, the shuttle released its end of the cable in high orbit to let physics take over and stabilize the structure. Several things happened in the following order: a cable went taut, a rising tremble in the ground, a blue flash, a thinning of the air, and the beginnings of a very lengthy report to Starfleet Command.