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Inspection: Science

Posted on 25 Jun 2016 @ 8:59am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Adam Casey

Mission: Risky Business
Location: Chief Science Officer's Office
Timeline: MD 2 || 1015 hours

Harvey approached the doors to Adam's office with a bit of trepidation. Since the virus... whatever the hell they were going to call it... struck the Black Hawk, the last interaction Harvey had with Adam was standing at the foot of his daughter's bed. Now that the virus was gone, Harvey had been too busy to drop in on Adam.

That was two weeks ago. Or three? Harvey had lost count.

He was certain Adam was going to give Harvey a what for speech. While this inspection of the ship had been completely professional, Harvey knew that Harvey had to enter the office at the same time as Captain Geisler. He'd tend to the friend first, and then get down to business.

Harvey tapped the chime beside the door and awaited permission to enter.

Adam stared at the screen in front of him, and had been doing so for hours. His department knew not to disturb him, so when the chime rang, it brought him out of his thoughts. A half eaten sandwich was sitting on his desk, and his girls were asleep in the corner. Since the virus, Amy had been sleeping a lot, and Maria had just been worn out from running around. He knew it was just in Amy's mind, but a small part of him wondered if it was something else, hence his staring at the virus and cure for hours, trying to understand it, down to the last molecule. "Enter." He said rather gruffly, expecting to have to give someone hell for disturbing him.

The doors parted, and already Harvey could feel the strangely calm and tense atmosphere. "Adam," Harvey greeted, stepping inside. His eyes looked around the room, noticing the sleeping girls nearby.

"Harvey." Adam returned the greeting as he shut off the screen in front of him. "How are you feeling? I can't imagine it's been easy for you, after everything." He said, indicating the chair in front of his desk. "Drink?"

"No, no," Harvey said, waving him off. "I've already had a naturally brewed cup of coffee today. It's not fair to follow it with anything replicated." Looking back at Adam, Harvey added, "I'm doing well, now that I have a command staff again. But I'm more concerned about you. How are you doing?"

"I'm okay. Amy's doing better, although she's sleeping a lot. But she feels a lot better thankfully. I'm just doing some research, so everything's back to normal, right?" Adam asked, not really wanting to go into his research. He couldn't tell Harvey about his research...he would put a stop to it. But he wouldn't give up.

"No one's sick any more," Harvey replied. "Before the radio silence, we knew that no one was infected on Unity, so it sounds like normal has returned. At least, as normal as it can get with the Consortium still in our front yard."

"Indeed." Adam agreed. "But we'll track them down. That's what happens, isn't it? The good guys win, the bad guys lose. Least, that's how it happens in stories. I know, this is real life. But a little optimism never hurts."

Harvey couldn't help but chuckle as he took a seat in front of the desk. "Maybe the virus did more of a number on us than we realized. I thought I was supposed to be the cheerful one," he quipped sarcastically.

"Well, as you said, no one's sick anymore. The girls are happy, and so I am. They're excited to see the stars up close. They've been looking at star maps all day, saying where they want to go. I think they might need some education before they do though: The first place they chose was the centre of a Black Hole." Adam explained.

The Captain smiled. "I think I heard somewhere that one could time travel doing that," he suggested. "Although, it's just a theory. The reality could be much harsher."

"Well, the theory is sound. The reality is you'd get crushed like a bug before you managed it" Adam said, returning the smile. "Still, I'm sure people are trying it. Some people need the thrill."

He shook his head. "Not your girls, and not my ship," Harvey warned. "It's good to see you and the girls well. I hear we have a teacher aboard now. Maybe she can help supplement your girls' schooling?"

"Maybe. I'm still not sure about letting them out of my sight for the moment, but I think it'll do them good to take regular lessons." Adam agreed.

"And it'll do you some good too," Harvey said. "It's not healthy for a single parent to keep their kids so close. The Black Hawk's a safe environment. Besides, it takes a village to raise good children these days, or so I hear."

"I've heard the same thing, funnily enough." Adam replied, with a small smile. "I'll enroll them, they do need a good education. Plus, I've got some work that needs doing and little eyes shouldn't see it."

"Speaking of work," Harvey said, taking the opportunity to transfer the conversation to Captain Geisler, "have you had any thoughts on sensors in the nebula. I know you've been given two days to do what others haven't been able to do in two hundred years, so even the tiniest bit of modifications will help."

Adam activated his computer screen, immediately changing what was on it. "In fact, I have. Everyone working on such a project has been working on new ideas for technology to help see inside this kind of nebula. Well, I've taken an old fashioned approach." Adam said.

He called up an image of a probe, which had clearly been modified. "We need to deploy a series of probes around the perimeter and inside the nebula. Each probe will be modified to give out no reading at all, except to us. And even then, it's using a unique frequency to contact us. But that frequency will also be sending out pulses, which we can then use to detect when each pulse is interrupted by contact with a vessel. It's what was known as Sonar on old Earth sea faring vessels." Adam explained.

"How many probes are you talking?" Harvey asked. In his command of the Black Hawk, he could only recall of one or two probes they ever launched. In fact, he couldn't even recall how many probes were aboard the ship.

"At a minimum, we're looking at about twenty outside, ten inside give or take. If we don't have enough, however, we can use shuttles for the same purpose, although we do run the risk of them being detected. That being said, if we can retune the shields of the shuttles to match the signature of the nebula, they might look like a part of it to sensors." Adam replied.

"It's a mutura class nebula," Harvey argued. "No one will have shields. Besides, this nebula is half as big as the Sol system. With no sensors, we'll have a hard time finding one needle in the haystack, let alone three. Leaving a shuttle to its own accords is akin to suicide."

"Then we leave them on the outside, where they can activate their shields. If not, I can get the specs to engineering to manufacture the probes, but it'll take a little longer, depending on how many probes we have on board." Adam said.

It was an awfully big space to leave shuttles on the outside of the nebula. Even if they were shielded, the Chimera and/or Cochrane could easily overpower the small craft. Harvey shook his head. "We'll have to do this without shuttle craft," Harvey declared. "Part of our orders are to bring back the ships, or at least their crews. I don't want to be caught in a situation where I need every shuttle I can get." It was worth noting that most Starfleet vessels only had enough shuttlecraft to hold less than twenty percent of their crews. Harvey did not want to have to explain to the TFCO why he couldn't save a life.

Adam nodded. "I'll get the specs to engineering, and have my team help as well. I'll also try and tie in the radar to the tactical station, reducing the time between detecting a ship and opening fire if we need to." He said.

Harvey nodded. "Any idea on the lead time for this radar detection, or at least where the probes will be going?"

Adam nodded, and handed a PADD to Harvey. "I've listed the locations the probes need to be to start transmitting. When they do, we'll know if anything other than us moves in that soup."

One could only hope, thought Harvey as he accepted the PADD. "And odds are there will be more in that soup than just us and the Consortium. Nebulae are good places for anyone or anything to find."

"Wouldn't surprise me if we find Jem Hadar in there. Hell, could be an entire fleet and we wouldn't know it. But if the Consortium is there, we'll find them." Adam said, a little coldly. "And then they can answer for their crimes."

"We'll investigate first," Harvey said. "And those responsible will be held accountable." As much as Harvey wanted to go after the few that had made his own life a living hell, he knew there were many above him who wanted their first shot. "Besides, I have a feeling this whole thing is much deeper than we know. What if the Consortium plants in Starfleet are puppets themselves? Makes you wonder who's calling the shots."

Adam looked at his friend. "Whoever it is Harvey, they'll make a mistake. But not everyone will be puppets. Some will be doing it because they want power. Some because they think they're doing the right thing. But some people enjoy the chaos. Some people just want to watch the universe burn, because they think it's fun."

"Don't I know it," Harvey muttered, thinking of Cardassian and their actions in the Dominion War. It didn't matter how much it cost the Cardassian Union, but the Alpha Quadrant paid dearly for their greed. "Well, the universe won't be burning on our watch," he said, waving the PADD. "And if we do find a Thalaron generator in the nebula, don't plan on studying it. No one will walk away with it."

"I know enough about Thalaron to know that I will personally destroy it if I must. No way in hell will anyone have such a weapon. No one could be trusted with such a weapon." Adam said.

Harvey smirked. "And that's why you're here with me," he joked. "To keep me free of power grabbing situations."

"Don't worry, I'll protect you." Adam returned the smirk. "You'll be safe."

He chuckled this time. "And so are your kids," Harvey quipped. "Don't be afraid to let them out of your sight, at least for short periods of time. I'm sure there's a couple people willing to babysit on board if you need a break."

"I know. I've been working on a holo nanny, for evenings, and I'll make sure I speak to the teacher aboard. For now, I feel more comfortable working with them nearby." Adam said.

"For now, I'll settle with getting those probes manufactured." Harvey took a look at the details on the PADD he was given. "Keep working on their positioning since we have a day or two to fine tune that."

"I will. Anything else you need Harvey?" Adam asked. He would have enjoyed spending time chatting to Harvey, but...there wasn't time to spare. Adam had to have the answers he sought. And he would find them.

"I suppose not," Harvey said, standing from his chair. "Though I do trust you're settling in with the rest of the Science Department. I know you've got a good group there. Lieutenant Carmichael especially has been a backbone for the crew."

"They're good people, Harvey. I've already built a rapport with them, we work well enough together." Adam said. "Inquisitive minds, which is good, and a thirst for knowledge. Couldn't ask for better."

"Good to hear," Harvey said. "Well, I won't take much more of your time. If you need anything..."

"I'll call." Adam promised, lying through his teeth. He hated to do it, but what he needed to do...Harvey would stop him. He couldn't allow that. "Don't forget, the girls want you round for dinner sometime soon. Bring the good doctor with you, if you're still a couple."

Harvey merely smiled. That was another can of worms for another day. "Soon," he promised.

"Good. I'll let you know when I've got everything ready." Adam promised.

The Captain nodded and left the office, bound for his next destination on the inspection tour.

Adam watched him leave and reactivated his original screen, staring at the virus composition, and the list of potential Consortium agents. He wanted to know more about them, and he had to find them. He wouldn't fail. He couldn't fail.

His own sanity depended on it.

 

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