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Author Topic: [Runner Up] clerkenwell  (Read 2682 times)

Offline Zach

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[Runner Up] clerkenwell
« on: 12 January 2010 03:18 PM »
"Report, Lieutenant."

"Sensors are showing an atmosphere of almost pure carbon-dioxide," the science officer Lieutenant Culver scanned the data on her display. "No signs of life or technology."

"This doesn't make any sense." Ensign Connors swiveled in his seat at the conn to face the captain.

"Ensign?" Captain Sorin turned to meet the perplexed gaze of his junior bridge officer.

"Captain, I can't enter orbit."

"Explain, Mr. Connors."

"Sir, there's no gravity well." Connors turned back to his instruments. "The planet's gravity should be pulling us into an orbital path but…speed and trajectory are unaffected. It's as if we're flying through empty space."

"How is that possible?" Sorin left the question to hang as his bridge crew exchanged puzzled looks.

"Sir," Culver looked up from her data. "Sensors do indicate gravity equal to approximately three quarters of Earth standard, but there are some strange readings here. Normally I would write them off as minor anomalies caused by interference from stellar radiation, but…"

"But given that we seem to have discovered a planet that exerts no gravitational pull, there may be something else going on here." The captain sat back, frowning at the view screen showing the rust-colored planet below. "I wonder if this might have something to do with whatever was interfering with our scan of the eleventh planet in the system. Ensign, lay in a course and get us there as quickly as possible."

"Aye, Captain."

"Sir," the ship's Bolian security chief, Lieutenant Commander Moht spoke up. "This could all be a Borg trick. I recommend we go to yellow alert."

"Deception is not the Borg's style, Mr. Moht. But you are right in suggesting that we be wary of a trap. Sound the alert."

"Captain," said Connors. "We are approaching the planet now. There doesn't appear to be a gravity well around this planet either."

"Put it on screen."

The viewer showed a small, dark planet with a thin set of dull rings set around it.

"Lieutenant Culver, what do you read?" Sorin asked.

"Not much, Captain. It's…bizarre. I've got fractured bits of data that could come from a planetary sensor scan, but it's gibberish. Whatever interference is present in the system must be stronger here."
Sorin considered this for a moment.

"Commander Moht, prepare a Class-A probe and launch it directly at the planet's surface."


"I have a hunch, Commander," said the captain, a gleam in his eyes as he kept a fixed gaze on the viewscreen.

"Yes, sir," Moht answered, his brow arched. "Launching probe."

All eyes turned to watch the viewscreen as the probe shot out towards the planet surface.

"The probe should impact the planet's surface in five seconds," Moht said.

The probe quickly became too small to be seen as it pulled away from the ship.

"3…2…1…Sir, the probe is still transmitting. The readings are, as the Lieutenant said, gibberish. It seems to be reporting its location as within the planet itself."

All eyes were still on the viewscreen when the entire planet, rings and all, vanished for a fraction of a second and then reappeared.

"Captain?" Connors asked.

"It seems my hunch was correct. This planet isn't just missing its gravity well; the planet doesn't exist at all. And I'd wager the same is true for the other ten planets in this system. They're nothing more than incredibly sophisticated projections designed to fool sensors. An illusion."

"An illusion disguising what, Captain?" Culver asked. "And why is the projection failing here?"

"To answer your second question, Lieutenant, I would guess that it has something to do with our now missing Borg," the captain replied, standing up from his chair and turning to face his crew. "This is exactly the sort of advanced technology that they would be eager to assimilate. As to what is being hidden, I cannot say, but whoever put this system in place must be extremely technologically advanced, perhaps advanced enough to drive off even the mighty Borg."

"Then Captain…" began Moht.

"Yes, Commander. It is now our mission to dispel this illusion and find what is hidden." Captain Sorin turned back to look at the planet on the viewscreen. "And…" he added after a pause, "we must hope that, whatever we find, it is more friendly towards us than it was to the Borg."