The Ancient Travel Pods of Pharius Seven
By Nathaniel Miller
“Captain’s Log, Star date 3424.5, We are currently in orbit about Pharius Seven, in connection with the last known expedition of a science research vessel U.S.S. Chance, who had come to this planets to study the ancient ruins found by Starfleet probes. Our mission is to ascertain the ship’s whereabouts and fate, also the expedition’s whereabouts. If they survive, and find out what happened to the Science Vessel Chance. Perhaps complete their mission and evacuate all remaining expeditions from the planet before suspected Romulans interference happens.”
Captain Picard leaned back in his chair in the ready room, staring at the screen of his terminal in which he worked. He had done this so many times, and done so many logs, it was like second nature, but something about this mission intrigued him like many in the crew about the Chance’s mission which they were investigating.
Jean Luc scanned the screen again and managed a nod at the wording, and filed the report. They had achieved orbit and were just about start operations in this area, even though this planet was not in a disputed area with any of their neighbors, it almost screamed Romulan Intrusion by the mere look of the planet. Turning he scanned the room carefully, and he let out a quiet sigh, before hitting the communicator on his breast.
“Picard, to Command Riker.” He said quickly.
“Number one, when you have a moment, I would like to see you in my ready room.” Picard told him, “Just final notes before you take your away team to the surface.”
A moment later there was a chime and Jean Luc looked up at the door. He had not expected him immediately, and he managed a playful frown at the door.
The doors entered and Commander Riker entered, pulling down the uniform firmly, to straighten the tunic into a rigid form, so customary of the Captain. He walked toward the desk where Picard sat, and he waited until the Captain motioned to the chair on the far side of his desk. He swiveled the chair, and straddled it, facing Picard straight on.
“You wanted to see me, sir?”
“Yes, Number one, I just want to make sure we have a full away team for this mission.” He said which made no sense. Jean Luc rarely questioned Will on the points of crew choices of the away team but there was something that the Captain saw that he felt Will was missing.
“The Commodore just wants to make sure if the Chance’s crew is found, their discovery will be held in confidence.” Picard said, “They also are very picky about the ruins here on Pharius Seven. Every since they were discovered a year ago, there have been three expeditions that have vanished, and we want to make certain that the Romulans don’t have any involvement in this. Three expeditions to study this planet and the ruins have met in their disappearance.”
“I agree whole heartedly.” Riker replied, “What makes Starfleet think its Romulan interference? This planet is quite far from the Neutral Zone.”
“There have been reports and sightings from vessels in area, cargo ships that run the zone, and exploration vessels in this area.”
“If that’s true, they are in violation of treaty.” Riker observed making Picard shake his head.
“Not this time, Number One, this planet is not in Federation territory either, so we do not and cannot say they are in violation of the treaty.
“I don’t like it, Captain, that’s not the Romulan way, scientific study.”
“Precisely, we were here first, and we cannot allow them to interfere. We must rescue the crew if they are being held hostage, or locate information of the fate of the Chance, hopefully with the crew safely on the planet below us.” Picard replied, “Don’t take any chances, but do not allow any prisoners to be harmed. If you have to kill, you are free to do so, and we do not need them wandering about the ruins, infiltrating our find and using it against us. Neither should we allow them to hold our expeditions hostage. We need them to be removed from Harm’s way and you are clear to do anything you think necessary to complete the task.”
“Yes sir.” Riker replied quickly, and he grinned slightly, “Anything else, Captain?”
“Not at the moment, other than a personnel change for the away team.” He replied, “Archeologist, Lieutenant Stone will be accompanying you with current party.”
“Yes Worf, Data, Dr. Crusher, and Geordi are on the away team with me.” Riker reported quickly, “We’ll be beaming down at sixteen hundred hours.”
“Good, take Fink with you, a security man, to assist Worf.” Picard suggested, “We don’t want to be caught down there.”
“Aye, sir.” Riker replied, and he held up a hand held device in which he punched in figures quickly. It resembled the old fashioned I-Pod from the twentieth century.
“Anything, else?” Riker repeated, and Jean Luc looked up with his eyebrows raised.
“Not at the moment, Number One, just be careful.” Jean Luc replied, and Riker nodded rising quickly from the chair.
“I’ll get the team ready and prepare to beam down.” Riker said, “Data has some extra equipment he developed in his lab. It should improve finding the Chance’s crew.”
“I am delighted you think so sir.” Riker said with a beaming grin, and exited. As he stepped through the door, he bumped into Deanna who had been walking along the bridge from the Turbo Lift. He smiled at her as he passed, walking toward the Turbo-lift.
“Data, we will be beaming down within the hour, please gather the equipment and ready the team.” Riker ordered and Data turned.
Riker disappeared into the Turbo-lift and Deanna watched him quickly depart. She sensed a startling feeling of anxiety from him, as–if something was eating away at her former lover, and friend. It certainly had startled her, and left her wondering. Will had come out of the Captain’s ready room quickly, and made a bee-line for the Turbo-lift. He had only grunted a greeting at her, as he passed on the bridge and at everyone else for that matter. She was not sure what to make of the entire feeling she sensed from him.
Getting up, she discretely left the bridge, and made a quick deduction as she rode the lift that something obviously did not go well between him and the Captain about this mission to the surface of Pharius Seven. She also deduced that he was headed to Ten-Forward, a deduction she would be right as she entered, spying him at a corner table staring at the huge glass windows, staring at the stars, quite alone.
She didn’t glance at the near empty Ten Forward Lounge, only walked swiftly toward him across the cavernous interior of the Lounge, glancing once at Guinan who nodded to her, making her nod back.
“Something is definitely wrong, and I am the Councilor on this ship. I can get to the bottom of it.” She thought, and yet Deanna did not stop. When she reached his table, she stood next to it and stared at him. He didn’t acknowledge her at first, his eyes transfixed to the stars of space, and the large planet they knew as Pharius Seven.
As for Riker, he was a little on edge with the mention of Romulans, not fearful per say, but he felt a fueling range toward them for some reason. He was going to be exploring a relatively large unexplored planet, and there was a chance there would be confrontation between them and the Romulans as suspected by Starfleet. He didn’t like the pretences of what this meant for the Federation, and Jean Luc was with him in the same thought, it was pretence to war with the Romulans.
“Will, are you all right?” Deanna asked, and he turned his head. The drink on the table didn’t move, nor had it been touched.
“Deanna.” He replied, without turning, “Please have a seat, and have a drink.”
Guinan, as if she knew she was needed, sidled up to the table with a large glass, and set it in front of Deanna. She smiled and murmured thanks to the alien woman, who was most certainly part of Enterprise for these many years.
“I just wanted to stop in and have a round before I go out with the team to the surface.” He said lamely. “No big deal. Just looks like a tough away mission.”
“It that why you are anxious?” Deanna asked, straight faced and he met her expression with a smile.
“A little uneasy, there are a lot of unknowns with this planet is all, and you know me, I don’t like unknowns.”
“Data, to Commander Riker.” A voice said, interrupting him, and the first officer hit the breast of his uniform.
“All equipment is prepared and the team has been assembled in Transporter Room 3.” He reported, Riker frowned and realized it was time when he glanced at his chronometer on his wrist. He took up the drink and he downed the shot in a single gulp. Leaning over, he kissed Deanna on the forehead. “Just in case, we don’t make it back.”
Closing her eyes, she said nothing, and turned to watch him go. He waved at her and Guinan as the doors opened, allowing him to leave. The Bartender sidled up to the table and she turned her head.
“Don’t worry, Deanna. He has a lot on his mind, and he expects it to be rough away mission.” She said politely, “But he’ll be back.”
Deanna had turned her head to stare at the doors of Ten Forward and when she turned it back, her face carried a look of astonishment, as-if Guinan had been reading her thoughts.
She smiled, and whispered, “I know.”
When Commander Riker walked into the Transporter room, his team stood off to the side of the console as they prepared to beam down to Pharius Seven. He glanced at Data who met the Commander’s serious look and nodded, walking toward him past Geordi LaForge and Worf who had been standing next to the bulkhead with Lieutenant Randall Jones, the Archeologist who was going with them. The security man, crewman Farrell Fink also stood next to the bulkhead charting with Randall Jones. Data handed Riker the first of several pieces of computer devices. They were the size of an I-POD touch screen that came from the Twentieth Century. The device was only a few meters square, and the surface completely smooth with a screen panel. As Riker took it, he examined the device quickly.
“This is the device you developed for the Ruins on Pharius Seven?”
“Yes, this device will scan for temporal waves. According to the records, the first expedition of Pharius Seven, they found what appeared to be teleportation terminals that probably scattered the entire planet, and allowed the use of moving equipment and personnel in a “Rapid Deployment.”
Riker hit the screen and it flashed, as it began to pulse, an electronic keyboard lit up below the screen and there was a smaller box that looked like a scanning wave pulsing. He quickly hit the power switch.
“We also will have weapons that are used and able to counteract the temporal waves.” Data said, and handed him what appeared to be a phaser.
“I modified a Starfleet Type II, Phaser to be effective for this, just in case something appears. The first expeditions ran across almost ghost-like anomalies that would appear in the beam.”
“Great, Data.” Riker said, simply glancing at Geordi and the others.
“It will be a surprise Commander, of the Technology. It has been dated according to records given by Data, we should be able have complete control of the computers and other systems on the planet.” He said, “Expedition One left a terminal there as an interface before they disappeared. We should not have any trouble.”
“Everyone be on the alert.” Riker Commanded, “There is the possibilities of Romulan interference on this planet, and hostages, so we don’t know exactly what we are jumping into.”
Everyone stepped onto the transporter platform and faced the console where the chief, Miles O’Brian operated the transporter for this specific mission. He was on duty, so naturally he was the best man for the job.
“Set us down in a fairly unobserved location, Chief.”
“We can put you down in an alley, near the main building.” O’Brian replied.
There was a hum and a sparkle as the transporter was activated, and the away team disappeared from the Enterprise Transporter platform. A moment later, they sparkled and materialized on the planet surface in the alley that was chosen for landing. Around them, the alley is quite narrow and rugged, with stone walls. There are, what appears to be, metallic lanterns that line the wall every few feet in the city.
As they walked toward the main compound, there is an open area, what appears to be a parade field, with many buildings that surround it. The Main building faces this parade field and it is rather large, elevated building, with steps leading up to the main doors from the bottom of it. Riker and his party charged into the edge of the parade ground and walked toward the stairwell that would lead them up to the main building in the center of the area, approaching the steps.
“Security!” Riker exclaimed, and everyone had their phasers out. They stormed up the steps toward the main building, but halfway, were only greeted by a warm breeze that whipped across the mountain. There was no one out there, which made Riker even more uneasy.
Data also had the tricorder out, and was scanning the surroundings. He heard a beep, as it continued to scan, as the Archeologist, Scott scanned for the buildings, and Geordi scanned for temporal waves.
“We can proceed up the stairs, about ten more meters, to the main doors. That is the source of the scanned temporal displacement, we scanned from the ship.”
“There is no one here Will, human or Romulan.” Beverly reported, as she scanned with her tricorder too.
“Okay, let’s go to it.” Riker said, pointing up the steps at the buildings and the massive doors that awaited them, designed with a strange language on their surface.
‘Woo… woo… woo… whoosh!’ The sound echoed, and there was an explosion nearby.
“Disruptor fire!” Riker said, “Take cover.”
‘Woo… woo… woo… whoosh!’ The sound echoed, again and it struck the young security guard Fink. He crumpled and fell on the platform far enough to roll down the stairs.
“There is no where to go Commander.” Worf growled, as he pointed his phaser and fired. Data also fired too, as the disruptor fire continued to pin them down. They were lying on the steps, using them as a shield, as they blindly fired back.
“I have a scan of a Romulan heartbeat.” Beverly gasped, “The must be using a portable cloaking shield!”
“I would have gotten a neutron energy surge then, Doctor.” Geordi chimed in, “I don’t know what they are using, but it is not what we know the Romulans have.”
More fire pinned them down, and explosions continued to flash around them.
“We’d better move.” Riker muttered, “We’re totally exposed.” Slowly, they crawled step by step, as they fired back hitting the shield/cloaking panel that had been setup at the top of the steps.
Worf fired again and he hit one and the body of the Romulan crumpled and fell down the steps toward them.
“That’s one.” Riker murmured, as he fired again.
Another crumpled, and fell partially down the steps with another phaser barrage by Riker and his team.
Back in orbit, aboard the Enterprise, Jean Luc Picard sat on the bridge of the ship as the klaxon blared over the bridge, and throughout the ship for red alert. On the screen, the strange curved ship marking as a Romulan War Bird had appeared before them and reactions had been swift.
“Shields are up Captain.” A voice said.
“Phasers are ready too.”
“Excellent, but open hailing frequencies, maybe we can talk and not go into battle.”
“Hailing frequencies open, Captain.”
“This is Jean Luc Picard, of the Starship Enterprise. Please respond.”
A moment later, the ship shuttered, as the phasers were fired striking the Enterprise’s shields.
“Return fire?” The assistant security chief asked, and Picard nodded his head, “To disable only.” Outside the ship, the Enterprise’s phasers cut across space and struck the Romulan Ship’s shields. Their ship seemed to shake as another barrage, struck them again, cutting through the shields and striking the left nacelle.
“It looks like they are badly damaged, sir.”
“Cease, Fire.” Picard replied, and the Enterprise stopped firing at the Romulan.
“Sensors indicate they have activated their matter, transport units.” The officer at the science station replied, “We hit him pretty good, sir. Their ship is drifting slightly.”
“Are there any human life signs aboard that ship?”
“Raise the away team, to warn them about the Romulan ship, and possibility of Romulans on the planet surface.”
“We’ve been trying sir.” The Communications officer replied, “Commander Riker and party are not answering.”
“Maintain status, and keep scanning for humans aboard that ship.” Picard replied tersely, and there were nods on the bridge.
Back planet side, Riker and Worf stood on either side of the door. As they stood there and with a short nod that the Commander nodded his head to Klingon security officer.
With force, they pushed open he two heavily carved doors with many alien language symbols covering it, and that of what appeared to be the face of a creature.
“Doors are approximately twenty-thousand years, Commander, the symbols are that of an ancient language we have never discovered until now.” Data reported, holding up the tricorder to scan the doors.
“Shall we go in, Mr. Worf?”
“It would seem to be in order.” Worf replied and Riker managed a grin.
Together, they put their backs to the doors, and slowly they opened further revealing the strange interior of the building. As they peered inside, Data and Worf used the lights, shining and illuminating the interior. It is open and airy, with a long hallway that precedes a larger chamber. Along the smooth hallway is a sterile looking metal bulkhead, with more of the alien writings on a white stripe that runs down the hallway from the doors. There are doors every so many feet down this hallway, and as the Enterprise Away team moved down it, they checked every room carefully.
It is in one room, the first one checked, is a console on one side of the room and what appears to be a strange looking chamber with small version of a white circle, and the design of the old style PC Circuit symbols used on old blue prints for the computer. Over it is a large, what appears to be a crystal container, attached to a large arm into the wall. Each one hung over the circular design on the floor, as if they seemed to be connected together to the console on the far side of the room.
“This is very weird, Commander.” Geordi said, walking toward the console, and hitting the switch it seemed to light up. Everything was digital on the console, a touch screen design and it had alien symbols and diagrams of each chamber that was separated by a border on the screen.
“Humph… There is more of that strange writing here, Commander. I will attempt to translate, as this room seems to be familiarly similar to our transporter room.” Data said, as he quickly began to read the writing.
“What I can make out Commander, is that this room is like our transporter room, and it appears that people being beamed stand in those circles, as the cover moved down over them, and must connect the symbol on the floor for some reason.” Geordi said, “It must need a cover in order to transport someone, or something in the machine here. As you can see the lines on the floor connect the console.”
“Any life signs, Doctor?” Riker asked and Beverly, who was scanning, shook her head.
“And no bodies, If the Romulans took them, they would be transported onto the ship.” Beverly replied.
“Riker to Enterprise.”
“Picard here, what do you have to report, Number one?”
“We are at the main building and are starting our search of it. We found a strange chamber of what appears to be an ancient, alien transporter room. So far we have not found signs of life here, or anyone around.”
“Sensors indicate the temporal disturbance is in your area, proceed with caution. We were under attack by a Romulan War bird, so be aware of possible Romulan survivors from the ship to be beaming into the area with you.”
“Acknowledge, Riker out.” Commander Riker touched the badge on his shirt and it chirped as he closed the channel. He closed his eyes in frustration.
“Enterprise informs us of possible Romulans on the planet surface, so everyone keep a sharp look out.”
“Acknowledged… Commander…” Worf growled as the Archeologist began inspecting the building, the symbols and the wall.
“For now, let’s continue the search, and figure out what the hell all this means…” Riker commanded and he turned toward the platform as a crystal cover lowered when Data hit the button on the console. It had lowered one of the arms, and as the Crystal chamber sat on the platform, it seemed to connect the circuit. There was a white flash that appeared inside the chamber, as Data hit two more buttons.
“I think I understand now.” Data said, as he moved his hand across the console with lightning speed. Laforge and the others joined him, as there was a hum and another flash on the platform. Two figures materialized, two females clad in Starfleet uniforms, but much older.
“What the hell?” Riker gasped, and each one cast a glance at each other, then to the platform. Part of the U.S.S. Chance expeditions had come home.
To be continued ---