Saturday, June 19, 2010

[USS Charon] SD241006.19 || Joint Duty Log "Here there be Dragons" Part II || Savant, Cmdr Robert Tisdale, Lt(jg) Vara Siddon

[USS Charon, Deck Eight, Science Lab Five]


Conventional. Robert snorted but then his grey eyes seemed to light up as suddenly a plethora of readings began to dance over his screen. Nothing solid yet, nothing you could sink your teeth into. But it was a start…

"I thought conjecture was your métier Miss Sa-vant." Not even bothering to take his eyes off the panel, the Commander took a long drink of the hot coffee and then nearly choked when a small, caramel colored hand poked him in the ribs at last.

"Robert, you are rude. And Miss Savant is being so nice."



"All of this must be terribly exhausting for you." The Trill looked at the hologram with a mild smile, figuring that if the AI went through the trouble to give her a focus to talk to, she might as well do that. "Or the equivalent. Thank you for trying to help us out even though you're probably the busiest person on the ship right … uh, Robert? Why did the snake just wince?"

"Dunno. Maybe it's ticklish?"

"Be serious. You think it noticed we're scanning it?"

"It'd have to be deaf, blind and stupid not to."

"Oh …"

"Not saying it isn't, mind you."


"Well, I'm just the archaeologist here," Vara bit her lower lip and looked at the serenely floating Savant "but it would hardly survive for long out there being stupid, right?"

"Give the girl a cookie." Robert mumbled, but the Trill ignored him.

"Silicon." She mused, "and it flies at warp. Evolved that way so it can find food sources … or built so someone can explore? Is it a thinking deep space probe or a ship? Or is it really a dragon who has no idea what to make of us?"

"I can tell you what it isn't." Robert sounded triumphant, but then his almost smile turned into a frown at the sight of the coffee being gone. Damn that stuff never lasted long, did it?

"It's not been built this way. Look."

"What am I looking at, Robert?"


"Ah. And  …?"


"Explain to the archaeologist why this cell division pattern suggests this big dragon has once been a cute little dragonling, please." An empty coffee mug was waved at Savant and a mightily puzzled Trill. "Damn. If only big guy out there would hold still."

"What if it's a girl?"

"Very funny, Vara."


Savant didn't seem to dislike being ordered around; instead she turned to Vara and explained helpfully, "The segmentation of the body, and the differentiation of the forward and medial segments into the head and vanes, strongly indicates that the creature has grown from a more basic body plan, with the complex structure evolving from the simple by the channel of simple locally-followed rules, such as the genome found in terrestrial organics." She held up her hand and displayed the plan view of a tadpole, showing it slowly growing into a full-grown frog - pausing the playback at points to highlight those areas of divergence and increasing complexity. "Our subject demonstrates the same variegated patterns - note the similarities between the cranial plates and the first dorsal plates, for example."

Robert raised a finger, though he didn't look away from his screen, "And what does that have to do with this cell division pattern, Miss Hologram?"

"Not very much, Sir. What you're looking at is well outside of an acceptable error range. You could be looking at sensor artifacting."

Savant smiled at him like a cat with cream when he turned around."Well, fix your sensors! This ship's got one of the most advanced long range sensors in the Fleet, and you're telling me you can't get me one good clear shot?"
"Yes Sir, that's what I'm telling you. My apologies, Sir." She acquiesced with good cheer.



It seemed the only comment Robert was prepared to make but the young Trill was fighting hard not to snicker.

"Well, so we know it has been a baby once, right? And it's … at least not stupid. So, …" spots flushing a shade of pale apricot with silent delight, Vara started to pace, tugging at a loose strand of hair as she always did when a really fascinating artifact had fallen into her hands.

"I know I know Robert, but it's never wrong to separate the likely from the unlikely so don't snort like that. A grownup or at least a teenager by the standard of its species. And … it didn't uncurl those wings until it was close to the star. If they were sails, the pressure would have made it move by now." She gestured at the screen and smiled "It can fly at warp, too, so really no point in having solar sails, right? Collectors, then? But what is the dragon after? Light? Warmth? Is it only a certain spectrum of light, one that made it pick this particular star? I'm no astrophysicist like Stefan, but … doesn't a star going nova go through cycles? Maybe right now this star tastes really good?"


For once, the Commander did not frown. In fact, he slowly turned around to look at the two ladies with an almost mild expression "Taste good? Girl, I put that in my report, the Vulcan dragon is going to have me for breakfast."

"But Robert … it's just sitting there, looking at us. Don't you think if it wanted to hurt us it would have done it already? Maybe it's as scared of us as we are of … Miss Savant?"

Wringing her hands before her, Vara looked at the hologram with an almost pleading look on her pretty face "You probably think I'm crazy, too. But the waves, energy, whatever it is that gives our telepaths those headaches … it's coming from the dragon, right? Now do you think it's maybe … trying to tell us something as is wondering why we don't answer?"

"What, as in 'back off I found it first'?"

"Maybe." Vara seemed determined to stand her ground, looking between Savant and the Commander like an archaeologist way out of her element but unwilling to be dismissed on those grounds alone.


"I suggest that it is likely not overtly hostile. A creature evolved to live in deep space would be unused to competition for resources - there's more than enough sunlight for everyone after all." Savant put a holographic hand on the monitor, touching the image almost affectionately? "If it is being controlled we can't assume this, but if it evolved through natural means then it should be friendly and curious. Probably even amorous." She grinned wider.


"I can see it now." Robert snorted "This is the latest from your Federation news service – Somewhere in the Beta Quadrant, a blossoming romance came to a violent and abrupt end when a dragon creature fell hard for a starship but alas, mistook a torpedo tube for ..."



Vara looked for a convenient object to throw at the Commander's head, found none, and made a face. "Not overly hostile … I think you're right, Miss Savant. Maybe I'm jumping to the wrong conclusions here, but there's a planet out here … just a week or so away at high warp … " Commandeering one of the auxiliary screens, the Trill tapped into her personal database, watched by a part disapproving, part curious Robert "It's claimed by the Romulans of course and the ruins are not exactly the most splendid ones, but there are records of a few … unofficial digs. Look."


Shards, images of stone and wrought metal, and an alien script. "Assumption is they were about at the same stage of development as the Bajorans when they first built those little solar sail ships… and then were hit by some natural disaster … or war. We really don't know a lot about them and I only remembered because of the dragon's sails and because Miss Savant said it may be curious."

She pointed at a highlighted section of text and smiled like a historian who has just unearthed unexpected treasure in a dusty archive "Barring any context or idiom misunderstandings, this refers to great sailors of the star ocean. They don't speak and appear in showers of light, but … here it is. They dance with the light of the sun. And not one record refers to them as anything but benevolent. In fact I think those early starfarers thought of them as a bit of a good luck charm."


Pivoting around on her heel, Vara waved her arms "Showers of light! They dropped out of warp! If those were our dragon creatures, they've been around for millennia! Do you know what that means?"

"That I need more coffee. And you a sedative."

"Oh, hush, Robert."


Savant grinned at their exchange and bobbed upwards slightly, "Call if you need either. I will leave you to your work." And with that she winked out with a shower of light of her own.


 "Neat little trick, that." The Commander deigned to look over his shoulder and give the now empty air an appreciative look. "Would like to have that installed in every lab."

"Savant? I think she can appear everywhere on the ship."

"Nah, having people disappear without a fuss."

Sighing, Vara went to get another coffee. And herself … something soothing. Tea. Or maybe the sedative Robert mentioned. An iron cast frying pan should do nicely.



[End Log]






Cmdr Robert Tisdale



Lt(jg) Vara Siddon



(NPCs apb I-Chaya)


USS Charon