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The Archive

Posted on 09 Apr 2019 @ 2:29pm by Ensign Quinn Mackie & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant Commander Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant JG Jazmin Parks & Senior Chief Petty Officer Alexander Rylan & Lieutenant Danyl Adan
Edited on on 10 Apr 2019 @ 12:03am

Mission: The Kalisa Conundrum
Location: Kalisa
Timeline: MD 1 || 1630 hours

"They're coming," said a voice in the dark.

For the last several years, the two survivors of the failed expedition had holed up in the Kalisa Central Archive's lowest levels. While they had indeed overpowered the internal defensive system, they hadn't found a way to disable the minefield. The archive's security interface allowed them to see failed attempt after failed attempt to enter the sector and the archive, taunting the survivors with its advanced technology. Each attempt had initially strengthened the survivor's resolve to overcome, but eventually that resolve yielded to defeat.

There had been no way off this planet, and while they had learned of everything this archive had to offer, escape had eluded them for decades.

Then the aliens had landed on the surface. Kalisa's sensors recorded their every move, as well as performed scan after scan of their biological forms. The archive possessed no entries on these creatures, nor the technology in its craft or in the gear they carried. All that had been recognized were two bands one of the aliens the archive registered as female wore. These items the archive seemed to regard with significance, but the archive was still unclear as to why those were being returned.

For those held captive by the archive, hope for departure was now at hand.

For those who were riding the elevator to the lower levels, danger and answers both laid in wait.

When they arrived at their destination, Camila drew her phaser and gave another scan with her tricorder. "The lifesigns are about two hundred and thirty meters away but the way there is a bit convoluted. They don't seem to be moving this way, though. Belaros, bring up the rear guard."

Quinn followed the group out of the elevator, his eyes focused on the tricorder that he waved around slowly, trying to gather information. On occasion, he would glance up to see rows and rows of tall cabinets. Several of them had been opened and items scattered about. "Seems like someone was either looking for something," he remarked, kneeling next to a pile of broken artifacts, "or someone just got bored and tried to see what all of this stuff did."

Camila looked to where the Ensign was studying items scattered on the floor by some cabinets and went to exam a drawer herself. "Hmm. What do we have here?" she mused as she opened one at random. Inside was an assorted collection of partially assembled machine components and a blinking round ball. She scanned it with her tricorder which indicated it wasn't lethal as far as it was concerned, then she pulled it out to study. Under the blinking light were several small indentation and she pressed one with her fingertip.

An image of an alien came up in a hologram and spoke something, but whatever it was saying, the language matrices that they had acquired didn't have a translation for it. She nearly dropped it, but turned to the others. "I think I found a recording device, but my translator can't decipher it," she said.

Quinn looked up and approached Camila to examine the hologram for itself. "This place is an archive of sorts. Perhaps these holograms are their version of a tour guide or information placard."

Lieutenant Adan glanced at the object for himself. "I'd say you're right, Mackie. The design is interesting," he finished as he also scanned the object with his tricorder.

Suddenly the hologram flashed leaving after images on their retinas before it deactivated. Camila blinked and dropped it, then rubbed her eyes. "I think it outlived its usefulness," she said. Little did the three Starfleet officers know that they would later be dreaming of alien ads that had been subliminally implanted in their minds during the flash.

Alex had his back to the device when the flash went off. The officers didn't seem to have much use for him or his opinion, so he figured he'd leave them to their work and go over the data from the bodies they'd encounters. He was now sure that not only the second body, but the first as well, had starved to death, or more likely died of a combination of starvation and dehydration. When his peripheral vision detected the flash, he turned around, assessed what had happened, and then moved. "How's everyone's vision?" he said. "Spots are to be expected, but they should be clearing. Anyone seeing double? Anyone in pain? Just doing my job, folks, so kindly don't get upset with me."

Camila let the Petty Officer check, then nodded. "Thank you, Chief," she said. "Just a few spots from the flash."

"You're welcome, Lieutenant," Alex said. "Let me know if you have any other symptoms with your vision, or headaches or dizziness or anything."

"I will," the ombre haired woman responded.

Jazmin rubbed her eyes and blinked several times to get her vision to clear. She felt her bracelets vibrating even more and she rubbed at them. Then several strange thoughts come to her. They were out of place as well as perfectly normal at the same time.

"I don't know about any of you, but if we get out of here I think I might like to buy some real estate on Garanan VI. Scenic river views and direct access to the nightlife in Uleas."

She was so surprised by what she just said, her eyes went wide and she put her hand over her mouth as if to keep from saying anymore.

"Uhm, I don't know why I said that." She took a step back, bumping into a cabinet behind her. One of the drawers snapped open, startling her and making her take a quick step forward. She looked and saw no handles on the cabinet.

She turned to face the Commander. "Sir, I think I should probably let you know that these bracelets I purchased back at the trading planet," she took a deep breath, readying herself for the dressing-down she knew she was about to receive, "well, they've been acting strangely since we got here." She held up her hands, arms bent at the elbow to let her sleeves slide down and reveal the beautiful gold bracelets.

"And, well," she paused, "they don't seem to want to come off."

Weird bracelets weren't really in Alex's wheelhouse, so he went back to looking at his scans of the corpses, in particular, the data on their eyes. The scans were inconclusive, and since he'd didn't know to look for signs of ocular damage, he hadn't really taken in depth scans of their eyes. There were definitely some indications of what might have been ocular damage, but nothing conclusive on the scans he'd taken at the time. He'd just have to keep an eye...he grimaced at his own choice of words...on the situation.

Quinn, still blinking to recover his eyesight from the flash of light, turned a tricorder to the bracelets. "Odd," he remarked. "The metals used in the bracelets aren't in our record, but there are trace elements in the vicinity."

"Anything dangerous?" Teixeira asked. If the bracelets were going to be problematic, he didn't want to continue on until they addressed the situation.

Jazmin shook her head. "Not that I can tell. But, it does seem like they almost want to be here. I'm sure, though that it's just the proximity to this place and a result of their function, whatever that may be. Perhaps they're some sort of key, or psychic translator?"

"There's only one way to find out," Quinn supposed, shrugging his shoulders. "We'll need to find an access console of sorts. If my scans are correct, then those consoles are ahead where the lifesigns are."

Camila looked over at the other drawers and then at the Commander. "Either we stay here and search, or we continue on. Your choice, Commander."

* * *

In the center of the archive, one of the two inhabitants watched the new arrivals closely. Rather than come directly to the center, the arrivals had been distracted by the artifacts. Items of importance lay in wait all throughout the archive, and while the inhabitants had notated where each one rested, no effort had been made to collect each of them at the center. The facility had performed well in protecting everything up until this point, but it was certainly curious how the arrivals had imparted their curiosity onto mere trinkets when the real valuables were resting beside it all.

Looking up at his companion, the eldest of the inhabitants simply nodded. This pre-determined signal confirmed it was time to attract some attention. The companion tapped a couple buttons of their own, locking the elevator and illuminating a path to the center of the level.

* * *

The new lighting attracted Thiago's attention. He peered in the direction the lights seemed to be leading, not sure what he hoped to see. Or not see.

Turning back to the rest of the team, he said, "We continue. This way." He motioned towards the path. "Lead on Lieutenants."

"Onward it is," Camila said but had to wonder if the path was a trap designed by whoever occupied the place to get rid of them permanently. With her tricorder on full scan and her phaser in her other hand, the ombre haired Chief advanced down the illuminated path, her every sense on alert.

Jazmin double checked the charge on her phaser, then activated her tricorder, advancing alongside Camila. As they advanced, the vibration in her bracelets shifted into a steady pulsing, the frequency of which grew stronger the closer they got to the center.

"Well, if I'm interpreting what the bracelets are telling me, I think we're getting close." A strange sense of excitement, or anticipation began building in Jazmin as well. "Is anyone else excited about what we'll find?"

"That's one word for it," Quinn mumbled, watching his cracked tricorder screen closely. Looking up, he could see a bright area ahead coming from what appeared to be an open doorway. "I think there's more than one entrance there," he remarked, trying to read his scans. "According to our maps, it's a control facility."

It was a short time later when they arrived at the end of the line where the lights had led them and Camila checked her tricorder. "It's confirmed that there's two life signs inside," she said as she looked for a control panel to announce their arrival or to gain entrance.

"Do we rush them?" Quinn asked, looking up at Lieutenant Di Pasquale and Commander Teixeira. "Or do you think they want us to knock first?"

Alex raised his hand. "My vote is knock first. It's usually easier to start a conversation with someone if you don't charge in looking for a fight. If it turns out they're looking for a fight, we can always start shooting at them then. But I'll leave that up to you folks. Just let me know what you want me to do."

Thiago looked at the team. "We're Starfleet. Let's try this the diplomatic way first." He turned towards the door in front of them. Here goes nothing! He stepped forward and banged on the door.

Jazmin had to release a held breath as she waited for some kind of response. Her bracelets were throbbing now, so much so that she had to put away her tricorder and focus on keeping her phaser steady by her side. "Whatever these things do, Commander, they do them on the other side of that door. I just hope the beings in there are the rightful inhabitants of this place."

The door slid open, revealing a room unlike the rest of the facility thus far. While it was littered with artifacts, it was also dimly lit, save for the dozens of glowing computer monitors. In the middle of the room, behind a free standing console, were two beings: one Triosian, and one Boreriri.

"Welcome to Kalisa," said the Triosian, its long purple hair flowing far to the ground, indicating his long age, as well as his long inability to maintain his own visage. "You are the first to make it this far in decades. Beware of your weapons, however." A stray finger pointed upward to reveal active weapon turrets. They had already trained themselves on the new arrivals, but had yet to fire.

Camila holstered her phaser after looking where the alien was pointing, then motioned for Belaros to do the same.The gruff man did as he was told, but he was on alert all the same. "We mean no harm," she told the aliens.

Alex had never drawn his phaser. Since the officers had made it clear they wanted him to hang back, he hung back. He let them go in, and when he didn't hear anyone dying, he followed them in...and now there were weapon turrets pointing at him. He looked from turret to turret then at the two beings in front of everyone. He frowned. He really hoped one of these officers didn't get him killed down here. He had things he wanted to do when he got back to the ship, and someone to do them with and to.

“You’ll forgive us if we don’t take you at your word,” the Triosian declared. “You are the first to navigate the minefield in decades. Anyone with that sort of power cannot be taken lightly.”

"You don't need power if you have knowledge," Camila said. "That's our goal. Knowledge and exploration of known and unknown space. It's what brought us here."

The Boreriri began to scan their minds. Somehow these new arrivals could speak their language, despite never being seen before. "You are not from here," he declared.

Jazmin kept her face neutral as she listened to the exchange. She holstered her phaser, but kept her hand close by. The bracelets were pulsing now, a silent throb that traveled up her arms and set her on edge.

"We're glad to be here, good beings." She nodded slightly, eyeing their disheveled appearance. They hadn't detected any ships on the planet. "I'm curious, how long of a posting do you get here? Starfleet doesn't keep us in one place for too long." She spread her hands and shrugged. "I'm just curious about the differences in how our commands operate in that regard."

The Triosian didn't have to look at the Boreriri to share his surprise at the dark-haired woman. "You passed over our fallen brethren on the upper levels. We wish to escape this place, break free from the chains our ancestors placed upon us. Our species have fallen into great despair thanks to their actions. It is time for those wrongs to be corrected."

The Boreriri continued to scan the alien minds. The dark-haired woman stood out, something he attributed to the bracelets she wore. The mind of the most youthful of faces was also of interest, as was the darker-skinned man with the red collar. The ombre-haired woman seemed to possess a unique energy, one fueled by guilt. The only male wearing a blue collar, he could sense a feeling of devotion and protection to the new arrivals, as well as an attachment to something far away. The other two, the one who had put away the weapon, and the one with the spots appeared to be more curious and cautious than anything.

"We can help you do that," Camila said. "But why were you put here? What are the wrongs you wish to correct?"

"We came here of our own will," replied the aging Triosian. "You have seen our space. Our planets have been destroyed or stripped of resources. We are unable to make improvements to our technology. This entire region is a prison, condemning us all through the actions of our ancestors."

Jazmin frowned at the exchange. There was something, off about all of this but the bracelets were making it hard to concentrate, the constant vibration registered in her subconscious and it was beginning to get irritating. "So you weren't posted here, rather you came here seeking new science or technology that you could use to advance your race." She smiled wanly. "A noble goal to be sure. Starfleet too, seeks out new life and knowledge. We have guidelines on how that is to be accomplished in a peaceful manner, but those guidelines allow us to defend ourselves as well."

Jazmin eyed the Commander, hoping that she wasn't overstepping here. A sudden image of getting reprimanded and busted down to Recruit, flashed in her mind. She forged onward.

"It seems to us that the builders of this place, the beings that in fact, have trapped everyone here, are cruel to put it mildly."

During all of this she scanned the room, looking for anything like an interface terminal. More specifically, one that would accept the bracelets she wore. She wondered if they were a key of some sort. She flicked her gaze back to the Triosan and the Boreriri. Something was telling her that the secret to all of this might be something simple. She locked her gaze on the Boreriri. He seemed awfully interested in them all.

"Why would the builders want to keep your people trapped here and deny you the blessings of beign able to advace your own technology? And, why would they want to guard this archive as heavily as they did?"

She looked back at the Commander again, her voice a whisper. "I'm just curious sir, sorry if I overstepped my authority."

"We have searched for answers in this archive for decades," the one who could talk said. "Centuries ago, the Great Conflict devastated our homes. The truth has been lost since then, and even this archive does not contain more than vague details. There are artifacts galore from our greatest moments, but any sort of technology beyond what we've been able to possess has been forbidden. The Guardians keep us from advancing, as if to avoid a repeat of the Great Conflict."

Alex stepped forward. "Excuse me," he said to the Triosian and the Boreriri. "Would it be okay if I used this device," Alex indicated his medical tricorder. "To run a scan of the both of you? You look like you're in rough shape, not to mention hungry. If I can scan you, I can determine if you can safely eat our rations, and I can see if I can figure out what vitamin and mineral supplements I might have that might make you feel a little better. If you have any medical complaints, I can try to address those as well."

The Boreriri peered into the blue-collared man's mind, searching for hostile intent. A confirming glance at his sensor controls revealed that the device he held was quite harmless. The alien slowly nodded, permitting the action if only to observe this human in under a closer microscope.

"Thanks," Alex said. He calmly approached the two and scanned them both. "Alright," he said. "You're both pretty malnourished and are suffering the effects of that, as far as I can tell. Going from these scans, and whatever other information we've gathered about you, I think our ration bars are safe for you to eat. Would you like some? I can spare a few. I'm sure the others will contribute, too, but start with one each of mine and let see how that goes." Alex reached into his pack and pulled out a ration bar. He opened the package on one end, and handed the other end to the Boreriri and then repeated the process with the Triosian. "My family name is Rylan. My given name is Alexander. My friends call me Alex."

As he observed the exchanges between Parks, Rylan, and the two 'residents' of the archive, Thiago's mind went in two different directions. The first was about the quality of the Black Hawk crew. He'd been impressed by Parks previously, and continued to be as she engaged with the two aliens. Rylan's caring nature was on full display as he saw to the nutritional needs of the Triosian and Boreriri. Simultaneously, he was wondering when the other shoe was going to drop. They'd managed to get this far with minimal issue, so, as past experience dictated, it was only a matter of time before things went wrong.

"Ensign," he said, summoning Mackie, "see if you can get anything out of the computer here. Mister Adan, assist Ensign Mackie."

Quinn nodded to the Commander. He held up both hands slightly as he approached the two residents. "Is it okay if I take a look at a terminal?"

Both the Triosian and the Boreriri turned to examine the youngest team member just before the Boreriri burned into the alien's mind. There was something about this... Mackie... that made him different from the rest. He bore a frightened, nervous appearance, yet his mind showed nothing of the sort. The Boreriri turned to the Triosian, engaging in telepathic communication to share what he had learned. Somehow, the Triosian managed to keep his surprise. He gave Quinn a soft nod, acknowledging the request.

"Thank you," Quinn said, lowering his hands and leading Adan across the line and towards one of the larger computer stations. "All right. Let's see what we can find."

Teixeira approached the Security Chief. "Think you could disable those turrets if you got into the computer?" he asked quietly. "I'd rather be sure they aren't going to open up on us without warning."

"Will do," Camila said.

Jazmin looked at the aliens. They had not given her any reason to think they were hostile, or even antagonistic regarding them, but something roiled in her gut. She knew that she had a propensity to take an idea and run in the wrong direction with it. In fact, most of her reprimands were for that very thing. But, this was different. She thought about what she did know about what was going on.

First, there had been some sort of war eons ago. A race of advanced beings sealed off this sector from the outside universe and made certain no one could advance beyond a certain level of technology. The aliens here resented that. So, either the Guardians were capricious and evil, making this whole area their own private menagerie, or experiment in evolution, or there was a damn good reason for them to do it.

If the aliens were to be believed, then it was so long ago, no one remembered when, or why. But, she reasoned, if her people had been put in this situation, unfairly or not, the reasons would be so ingrained in her people's psyche that it would be forgotten.

The Guardians wanted no one to get to this archive. In fact, they wanted to keep people out so badly that they had built an insanely good defense system. They wanted to keep any new technology out of the hands of the locals that they would go to great lengths to capture or destroy that technology,

Then there was the simple fact that these two beings had survived. For years if she could judge by the amount of hair that one fellow had. They were stuck here, the rest of their raiding party had been killed. So they couldn't even get out of the building it seemed.

Why did she get the feeling that this whole sector was a prison. A prison designed to keep some very bad people from being able to play with the rest of the galaxy? Why did she think they were being played even now?

Jazmin's voice was a barely audible whisper. "Jazzy, you're such an idiot." She turned to the Commander. "I don't think we should disable those turrets. They might be keyed into other subsystems that we aren't aware of. One possibility is a failsafe to keep the archive out of anyone's hands. We take out the turrets and the system might think its secrets are about to fall into enemy hands." She made an exploding gesture with her fingers. "It might be what happened to the other half of the planet." She shrugged as if it were nothing, however.

It was then that she noticed a terminal that was different from the others. Without another word, she stepped towards it. The pulsing in her bracelets became almost soothing and she looked it over. There were two openings that looked like you could put your hands inside and there was an indentation of a ring around the outside. The symbols carved into it, matched the bracelets and she took a deep breath, then put her hands into the machine, feeling and hearing the click of the bracelets seating into place.

Suddenly, she wondered if this was a bad idea. Please don't court martial me, Commander." her last words came out in a half-joking, half-terrified tone.

The screens in front of Parks flashed to life, having been inactive for several years. Both of the residents watched with great interest as lines of code scrolled down the screen. After a few seconds, the screen went dark, as did all of the other screens in the room. "What the...?" Quinn asked, looking up from his dead workstation at the group.

No one had a chance to answer as the workstations soon flickered back to life, the screens appearing to have been enhanced by Parks' actions. "Commander," Quinn called out as the Triosian and Boreriri looked closely at their stations and experimented with new features they hadn't seen in their tenure. "Whatever the Lieutenant did, it unlocked something. I know I was here just for a minute, but there's a whole new set of database records here. Instructions, classified equipment, even historical records, maps and specifications."

A quick query summoned specifications for the weapons turrets and mines. "The defense system around the planet," Quinn mumbled. "It's all here. And it looks like there's another planet with a similar defensive set up."

Jazmin exhaled slowly, at least she hadn't been electrocuted, or had her brain melted, or any number of a thousand different horrible, painful deaths. She suddenly remembered a warning sign she had seen in her youth:

Warning! Not only will this kill will hurt the whole time you are dying.

But, no such bad luck here. So, she took a deep calming breath and assessed her situation. "Commander, it seems we have full access to the archive." She felt a strange sensation in the center of her brain and concentrated on it. In seconds, she could feel different pathways opening up. She wasn't getting information downloaded into her brain, but as she watched her screen, she could see menu options changing as she thought about them. "The system must consider me an authorized user. I'm going to poke around in the history archives for a bit."

The monitor flashed different information, screen switching as she maneuvered her way around. She was looking for historical information, the reason for the isolation of this sector, the implementation of a ban on technological advancement. WHY did they do it? Her frustration continued to grow as she hunted down the information.

Information freely flowed into the woman's mind as easily as blood slipped through an artery. The additional access did not allow her to learn what had caused the Great Conflict, nor much more about the technology that was used, but it did highlight a new planet, five light-years away. It had a similar defensive system to Kalisa, though the position was further fortified. Images flashed in her mind, revealing ape like creatures, vast jungles, technology on par, or in some cases greater than what Starfleet possessed. The file ended, but not before warning her that the area was not to be entered.

Before Camila could do more than start to make an adjustment on her tricorder, she saw Parks approach the terminal, then data started flowing across it as it activated. "...or not," she said. "It looks like Parks has it under control, Commander."

Jazmin felt her knees go weak, but forced herself to remain standing. It wasn't unlike the endurance course she had run back in the Academy. It was amazing what the body could achieve through sheer force of will. Blood pounded its way through her body and she swallowed back the bile that threatened to erupt.

The images flashed through her mind at a rapid pace and her mind almost buckled under the onslaught. Focus Jazzy! She focused on what she was being shown and was both elated at the new knowledge, and frustrated beyond belief that the answers she sought were still beyond her grasp. Then, like the end of a summer rainstorm, the images slowed, then came to a trailing stop.

She pulled her hands free of the terminal and held onto the edge of the console with one hand. She looked up at the Commander, her face pale, as she swallowed hard to keep the contents of her stomach where they belonged.

"Commander," she paused, breathing deep, then forcing herself to stand tall. "The Ensign is right. The planet is Pendula V. If we thought it was difficult getting down here on Kalisa, then we've got our work cut out for us. The place is even more heavily fortified. They have technology on par and in some instances greater than the Federation and there's an ape-like race of creatures there."

She took another breath, continuing to steady herself, although to a trained eye, she wasn't fooling anyone.

The Triosian and Boreriri communicated amongst themselves once more. "We know of this planet," the old Triosian softly said, a bit of tremble in his voice. "No one enters. No one leaves, though many have tried. Rumor tells of an duonetic field around the planet so great that electrical technology will not function."

"Confirmed," said Ensign Mackie, unaware that his mind was still being probed by the Boreriri, just like everyone else in the room. "Thanks to the upgraded access from Lieutenant Parks, I'm seeing additional items on the archive's manifests. Looks like there's a few things with access ports much like what the Lieutenant just used. Maybe one of them can help us get out of here without the multi-adaptive shielding we used to get here."

"Get on it, Ensign," Thiago said. "I'm all for an easier trip home. You're up too, Parks." He approached the two stranded aliens. "We can take you with us. I'm assuming you'd like to get out of here."

Nodding, Quinn synced his tricorder to the console in order to download the artifact's location while still skimming the manifest. "We'll just be a few minutes," he said. "With the way this archive is set up, we'll have to carry it all back to the runabout. Transporters can't cut through down here."

Parks had collected herself and straitened her uniform. "Ready when you are. May I recommend looking for some sort of specs on the next planet, perhaps there's an ident code of some sort of that would allow us to get past their defenses unscathed. " She looked around at the other consoles for anything that might work for them."

"With respect," the Triosian said to the unidentified officer, "it's not enough to remove us from here. We would like to remain on board your ship, see the universe through your eyes. Will you be going to Pendula V?"

"We can certainly talk about that once we get back to our ship," Teixeira said to the Triosian. "I can't say for sure if we'll be heading to Pendula; our Captain will have to make that decision. But its a good possibility."

Camila kept a wary eye on the pair of aliens. After encountering a Thriosian on the seedy space station they had visited, she wasn't about to let the fast alien get the draw on her. Her hand never strayed far from her holstered phaser and she kept an eye on the weapons turrets as well. "If you really wished to leave here, you'd do a show of faith of your good intentions by deactivating those weapons turrets," she said.

The Triosian nodded to the Commander, having no reason to distrust the man at this point. Looking to the woman, he stated, "Their weapon systems are disabled, always have been. The system and the turrets cannot be shut down. We have since reprogrammed them to accept us, but the disabling of their energy emitters was for your benefit, not ours."

"We appreciate that," Teixeira replied. He looked to where Parks, Adan, and Mackie worked at a console. "How's it coming? Find what we need?"

"Looks like there's five different items," Quinn stated, holding up his map. "Pass keys for the defense grid, shield modulators for polaron weaponry, and a few other things that could prove to be useful, including duonetic cancelling field generators. The range isn't much, but it would work for shuttlecraft, pattern enhancers, and so on."

Jazmin had an excited look on her face. "There's also a ton of scientific data, Sir. I think I can compress a data stream and download to my tricorder. I can't even get close to everything, but still quite a bit. The impact on what we know about the universe will be significant."

She started the downloading process. There was a lot there, as she said, but she also found an extensive history section. Much of it was damaged and garbled, but hopefully she could learn, something. She didn't trust these aliens in the least. Something nagged at her about why the Guardians would go to such lengths to isolate them here. Something screamed prison at her loud enough for her to take notice. She hoped she was wrong.

Camila went over to where Parks was and began to interface with her tricorder. "If everything we need is here," she said in Italian, knowing the others UT would translate. "We may not need the aliens. They never answered our question about why they were here."

"I agree," said Lieutenant Adan as he stepped closer to the two women and activated his tricorder. "The more we can access, the better of we'll all be."

Jazmin nodded, her voice a whisper. "My conclusion may be off, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't worry."

She paused, something just striking her. "What the hell did these people eat for all these years?"

She looked at the others. "Can we download access codes for the security systems into your tricorders? It'd be nice to have a remote control for the systems."

"This facility is equipped with protein synthesizers," the Triosian answered. "The taste is unpleasant, but we no longer have an insensitivity for it. As for the security system, it is not transferrable. Something the creators intentionally designed."

"I understand your concern, Lieutenant," he said in Portuguese, responding to the Security Chief. "I share it, but I'm not ready to leave them here. And they could still prove to be helpful once we leave here."

"Agreed," the ombre haired Security Chief responded in Italian before she tapped her combadge to switch back to the other alien language matrix. "What of the mines and platforms outside of this place?" she asked. "Can they be shut down from here?"

Lieutenant Adan nodded in agreement. "I think so. The matrix that stores that information isn't so complicated that it shouldn't be difficult. Of course, Lieutenant Parks may have a better handle on it."

Jazmin nodded. "I've finished my download." She said, putting her tricorder away. Let me see what I can do about those defenses."

She inserted her hands into the apertures once again, feeling the bracelets click into place. The now familiar rush of data washed over her and she directed her thoughts towards the planetary defenses. "I'm in. I think I can deactivate them, but I don't know if I can set them to reactivate once we're gone. I know it seems unfair to the inhabitants of this sector to keep denying them access to this place, but is that really our call to make?" She chuckled. "If I ever teach at the Academy, this might make a great course, Ethical Variations of the Prime Directive."

She poked around the defense systems some more. "It's your call, Commander, what should I do?"

"It might not be the wisest idea, Commander," Quinn spoke up. "One of the items we're going to retrieve is a sort of low-level EM transmitter. Its listed as an access key, something that will allow any ship that carries it safe passage through the minefield, and it should work for the Penduli system as well. But, if we were to suddenly disable this minefield, who knows what will happen when the rest of the occupants of the zone fine out. Prime Directive or not, are we ready for all of this technology in this archive to fall to the fittest or the strongest? We might make things worse instead of trying to make it better. Maybe, when we find what our Captain is looking for, we give this technology to a leadership group who can help reshape this place."

Jazmin watched the interactions, waiting for the Commander's final word. She also made a point to watch their new "friends" to gauge their reaction to the possible denial of tech.

While he wanted to ease their return to the Black Hawk, Commander Teixeira did not want to make it open season on the archive. "Agreed, Ensign. Gather everything, then we'll head back to the runabout."

Jazmin, having downloaded all she needed to, disengaged from the console and stepped back, eyeing the aliens, but trying not to be to obvious about it. "I'm ready to go, Commander."

Quinn checked his tricorder once more. "Looks like our first item to retrieve is about a hundred meters away." He looked to Lieutenant Di Pasquale. "Could we get some help carrying and stowing the gear?"

"Got it," Camila said as she motioned for the other Security officer to come and help, but used her eyes to indicate that he should also keep an eye on the two aliens as she went to help.

As the Starfleet officers set to work, the Triosian and Boreriri stood still, ready to answer any more questions they might be asked until it was time to depart. This wasn't at all how they thought their lives would end. No. This was so much better. At last, they would have justice.

At last, all would know the truth.


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