<<OOC Moving the plot forward and giving the bridge crew something to do!>>
Charon's dark silhouette was but a miniscule blip set against the glow of the flaming red giant. Swirls of super heated plasma billowed out from the dying star creating cones of bright reds and oranges. Just beyond the Charon was a second and more mysterious visitor. The metallic vessel in the form of a giant serpent coiled- its chromed metallic plating reflected the intensity of the star on one side and blackness of space on the other. It was a giant dwarfed only by the titanic nature of the star. Smaller replicas of the beast danced around the Charon like tadpoles while shuttles and fighters homed in on their mother-ship intent to discover the nature of this mystery...
[USS Charon Bridge]
The turbolift doors parted and the Captain stepped onto the bridge without much fanfare as conversations reduced to whispers. She gave the bridge personnel an acknowledging nod as she headed towards her seat. About halfway there she abruptly stopped noticing Lamont sitting next to her chair- aggravation piled upon aggravation, but there was some reasoning for his presence. Lamont was like a family pet- to insure that it does not urinate all over the furniture it must be watched closely and reminded where to urinate. In Lamont's case it was where his place was- and that place was much lower than Shiarrael's own aboard the Charon. She gave the Ambassador a lukewarm smile as she made her way down to the center chair.
The view screen was trained on those strange things. Shiarrael had read the report given to her by Commader Tyrax before the Vulcan went to lead a boarding party to investigate the beast. She wondered if Sakarra was enjoying the chance to pilot one of the fighters. Although the fighters had been aboard for quite awhile, considering the nature of Charon's mission, it was not often that they found a use and many times had Shiarrael considered simply dumping them into the darkness of space. But those thoughts were for another time and she only lingered on them briefly before turning her attention to the smaller beasts romping around the Charon "report" she ordered and casually backed into her chair. Once seated she shifted to a comfortable posture and then slid her fingers across the glossy texture of the armrest console.
She settled and listened quietly as each department announced their status- in summary everything was normal save for those pesky things outside of Charon and a report from sickbay about a rash of illnesses among telepaths. Not that such a thing was terrible in Shiarrael's opinion- perhaps she would have freedom of thought for the moment. "Have these things made any..." Shiarrael's words were drowned out by a shout from a young Tellarite manning science.
"Oh no!" The woman squealed anxiously slapping at one of her chubby cheeks "we have a problem Captain!" The antsy Ensign fidgeted with her console and then looked up at Shiarrael who was staring at her icily wondering when she would get to the point "detecting a massive solar flare- it'll reach our position in less than five minutes!"
"How massive?" Shiarrael asked. She stood up and made her way to the science station to personally look at the data, she then turned and looked at Savant "tell the shuttles to come back!" She knew the order was in vain though- the fighters and shuttles would not make it back to the shuttle bay in time. "Will our shields protect us?" She turned to the young trill woman at Engineering and remembered it was Enors daughter.
The Ensign looked pale "Captain- I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this is a massive flare. Computer analysis indicates that our shields will absorb most of the radiation but it's likely over 10 sieverts will bleed through- best case we'll all end up with a bad case of radiation sickness. Worst case we all die." The Engineering console flickered and Nitka's eyes widened "wow- I'm picking up a secondary energy signature...it's coming from that ship..."
"On Screen." Shiarrael looked at Aerv as she returned to her seat. The young Romulan was quick and brought up the image immediately. Shiarrael watched in awe as the Serpent uncoiled and began releasing elongated hoses- or tendrils. As the wall of plasma hit the alien ship the tendrils seem to pull in the heated gas.
"Incredible!" Nitka shouted "it's apparently absorbing the flare- not all of it but its reducing it significantly. The radiation has decreased by a million rem or ten thouse sieverts. The shields and hull should absorb most of the radiation now."
"Science record all data. Savant I want you to work with Science and Engineering to analyze it at the first opportunity." Shiarrael ordered as she leaned forward to watch the interesting scene. As the flare dissipated she released a small sigh. Just then the Charon shook enough to rattle the deck plating. She looked at Aerv who appeared miffed when she informed Shiarrael that one of the miniature beasts had managed to neutralize the shields and latch itself onto the hull.
"Take no action." Shiarrael told the Romulan abruptly. She knew the woman was talented but she also knew her people had a penchant for shooting at things- although Klingons were much more likely to shoot first and ask questions later. "Let's find out what it..." She paused. In front of her a holographic projection slowly took shape. The figure was female and Vulcanoid. It wore a teal robe and smiled brightly as it studied the surroundings. Looking at Shiarrael it cocked its head.
"Jolan'tru Shiarrael t'Rehu. Reh partrai hwiiy cuuhaes doaege dha arham mnakhao." [I have downloaded your native language into my system] It said to Shiarrael's surprise. She stood up studying the hologram and then looked at Savant hoping the program would look into this issue.
"You can use lloann'mhrahel [Federation] standard as I am mostly fluent in it also. Now" She stood in front of the thing and held up her hand as several security personnel stormed onto the bridge from the turbo lift to stop them. At least someone on the bridge had been wise enough to tip off security, she thought. "How do you know who I am?"
"We have downloaded your entire database. We apologize if this causes you discomfort. Your systems were quite primitive so we had to take extra care to not damage them and not to alarm you." It held its bright smile "Please do not be alarmed. We do not mean you harm. We understand you are explorers. While it is not our primary purpose we also collect data. We would be delighted if you allowed this avatar to experience your crew."
"Experience the crew?" Shiarrael stared at the thing dumbfounded "you mean you would like to observe us?"
The hologram nodded "Yes. We are only here to collect data and our presence will be limited to observation."
"I see." Shiarrael walked over to Savant. Normally she would have given the Ambassador such a task but this thing seemed like a kin to the ship's operation officer "Captain, if you would please escort the avatar around the ship and allow it to observe the crew- within respectable limits? Also before you do inform the away team to proceed cautiously- I would rather they not offend these things. See if you can find out more about them also."
Shiarrael returned to her chair and sat down as Savant stood up to escort the hologram around. In that second she knew that Savant had probably processed a large quantity of information regarding the issue. Hopefully she would be able to find out more about these things through the Avatar. Shiarrael also typed a short note to Aerv telling the young woman to take a small team to the outer hull to investigate the thing that had attached itself to the Charon. When she finished Shiarrael looked at Lamont who appeared offended "Ambassador" She said distracting the annoying Ambassador "do you have any experience with starship operations?"