"Captain..." The young Bolian science officer peered through the cockpit window at the massive beast ahead of them. "Are you sure this is a good idea...we really don't know what happened to the away team."
"What would you do Lieutenant?" Shiarrael asked, her hands dancing on the controls as the shuttle neared the beast. It was truly massive- a hundred Charon's would probably still fail to sate such a massive thing. "Our crew is aboard it- we have to find them before this sun explodes. We don't have time for study- but while we are in it, if we live, you may take a few scans to humor your curiosity."
The Bolian stared at her CO dumbfounded but did not say anything else. Her eyes then grew wide as the massive ship's front tip split open and twisted around to face them. A blinding blue light eclipsed the yellow glow of the sun and then enveloped them. "Captain..." the Bolian whispered blinded. The shuttle jolted suddenly and the brightness wore. The shuttle was now in the middle of some massive cavern. Shiarrael stood up and headed for the rear of the shuttle to begin disembarking but the Bolian leapt up and nearly gang tackled her CO "Captain wait! We need to scan the atmosphere!"
Shiarrael grabbed the woman's clingy arm and pried her off and then gently massaged the crease in her uniform away "what nonsense are you spouting now?" Her expression was calm but irritation lined her voice "the atmosphere is oxygen."
"Yes I know sir but we haven't scanned for any harmful gasses or potential microbes that might be harmful. We have to be very detailed sir!" The Bolian rushed back to her console and immediately began tapping on it violently "it'll take me fifteen minutes most to get the complete analysis done. Just give me a minute!"
Letting out a deep sigh Shiarrael was tempted to rant at the woman but knew it would accomplish nothing and she was pressed for time "is this entire fleet full of infants that need to be coddled? Are you so afraid of death Lieutenant? I brought you along because of your accolades but apparently they were obtained from the sanitized safety of a lab and workbench." Shiarrael pulled open the rear hatch console and manually released it. The Bolian science officer gasped but was ignored.
As the ramp lowered Shiarrael felt a rush of air as the atmopshere equalized. A small cloud of dust wisped up and was pulled out of the shuttle. A light thud signaled that the ramp had fully extended and Shiarrael stepped out. To her astonishment she was no longer standing in the massive cavern but a large valley covered in grass and yellow flowers she did not recognize. She turned around to look into the shuttle but it was gone. A heavy breeze pushed past her disorganizing her hair and shaking the grass. Is this a simulation or?...
"It is not a simulation Captain." Startled, Shiarrael twisted around instantly in a defensive stance. Standing behind her was a young woman wearing long white robes which seemed to glow.
"Who are you?" Shiarrael asked, her eyes narrowing suspiciously.
"Romulan." The woman said with a smile. "I am the creature you have been calling the beast. I have brought you inside my processor." She held out her hands "of course it has been modified to something you can comprehend. I have been absorbing your database- you are quite interesting creatures. Violent- certainly what my creators feared and what kept them isolated but still...you are unique carbon life forms." The woman gently pressed the grass flat and then sat down crossing her legs "it intruiges me. Your people are enemies to this Federation? Yet they have allowed you to command one of their ships?"
"That is none of your business." Shiarrael stated plainly. She wondered how the Ambassador would be reacting in this situation. No doubt he would be irate at her bluntness, she smiled. "Who created you and why are you here?"
"Who?" The beast pointed to the sky "an advanced civilization located in another galaxy. I have perused your database and I believe you may call them Amun-Ra- they are not dissimilar to the mythological creature. Over a hundred millennia ago they discovered how to harness the power of their sun. They have since discovered how to harness the energy of other suns- and phenomena. That is why I am here."
"To harness the energy of this nova?" Shiarrael was beginning to understand. The beast nodded. "Are you are machine or are you alive?"
"I am both. I am a machine that is controlled by an organic processor allowing for higher neural function. I am built to learn and evolve while completing my mission. Not dissimilar to your own, albeit, primitive Savant that is currently escorting my avatar aboard your ship."
Shiarrael nodded her head- understanding, at least in part. "Can you share your information with our computer?"
The beast shook its head "unfortunately your systems are too primitive to handle such a data transfer. We are not compatible. However, I will allow you the opportunity to observe this phenomena closer than your technology will allow."
"I see." Shiarrael said slightly disappointed "my crew that you brought into this ship?"
"They are fine- but they are suffering the effects of my processor. I am programmed to use telepathic communication to communicate with my different components. They are intercepting that information. I will have some of my components aid your departure." The beast looked up into the sky "it is time. Farewell Captain Rehu of the Federation and Romulus." The beast dissapeared.
Shiarrael's eyes opened and she found herself looking up into the face of the Bolian science officer who appeared quite concerned "Captain! Captain! Wake up...I knew this was a bad idea! I should have never agreed- nothing good ever happens around this woman!"
"Nothing good every happens around what woman?" Shiarrael asked sternly feeling a massive headache radiating down her spine. The Bolian jumped backwards startled "do not fret I am alive. We are returning to Charon...I think..." She rubbed her head and slowly stood up meandering back onto the shuttle. In front of them one of the probes attached a tractor beam to them. "Get in and close the hatch." Shiarrael shouted at the science officer returning to her seat.
As soon as the hatch closed the shuttle rocked and was jerked upwards. The blinding light returned for a moment and then dissipated. In front of them the Charon glowed bright orange reflecting the ferocity of the sun. Shiarrael could see out of the side window the other shuttle and fighters being dragged back towards Charon by the probes...
[To be continued...]