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Where Are We?

Posted on Tue Mar 19th, 2019 @ 10:45pm by Cadet Junior Grade Emma Phelps & Lieutenant Erin Whitlam PhD

Mission: Starbase 332, Where Are You?
Location: Astrometrics

There was a hint of panic in the air as the astrometrics team frantically set about the unenviable task of figuring out just exactly where in the universe they were. For the moment, at least, all the astrometrics computer could spit out were error messages as it tried to find nearby pulsars and known stars to cross reference with its substantial databases. But thus far, it had turned up nothing.

After Commander Drusus tasked Erin with figuring out where exactly they were, she had grabbed Cadet Phelps and made a beeline for the Main Astrometrics Lab. When she got there, she was confronted with what looked like plain chaos. No organised chaos or even a group of people doing their best to work with imprecise instruction. Chaos. One of them was aggressively thumping a panel, as though that might get the system to magically figure out their location. While three of them were just standing in the corner with pained expressions completely unsure of what to do. Ensign M'Gora, the Caitian who ran the lab, seemed to be the only one doing any work, but even his fur was disheveled and he looked like he was a fraction of a second away from destroying something with his claws.

The lab needed somebody to take charge and as soon as she walked in, Erin knew that person had to be her. She took a deep breath, put her thumb and forefinger between her lips, and let out a sharp whistle that reverberated through the lab and immediately snatched everybody's attention.

If there was any consolation, the scene in front of her at least taught Emma that actual commissioned officers could be in just as much of a panic as the cadet. On the other hand, the disorganization didn't leave her with much confidence. But Cadet Phelps only had a moment to ponder the situation before Lieutenant Whitlam let our her whistle. Even seeing it coming did little to soften the blow on her ears thanks to her close proximity. She cringed as the high pitched sound ripped through the room, and she only started to relax as the din died down.

An instant silence fell as the astrometrics staff looked up at her. Erin gave a satisfied nod and said, "That's much better." She looked to M'Gora. "Report, please, Mr M'Gora."

Erin nodded, listening intently as the Caitian went over the myriad of problems they were having. He went over the error messages and how the system was having trouble recognising any stars or pulsars in range. Finally, he shrugged his large shoulders and held his paws out plaintively. "I wish we had better news."

Immediately, Erin knew what to do. "Well," she said. "Let's break the problem down. First thing's first, let's see if we're still in our galaxy." She turned to Phelps, "Cadet, get on a console and see if you can locate Andromeda and the other galaxies in the local cluster."

Emma nodded. "Aye, sir." Phelps hurried over to the nearest console and pulled up what sensor information she did have at her disposal. Just a short time ago she had been the first to notice that anything was amiss when the sensor readings had shown that the stars were all wrong. Now she had to take a crack at actually finding out where they were. Starting with the obvious markers made the most sense. Scanning the local cluster and looking for signs of nearby galaxies could be an easy well to determine that they were at least in their own galaxy. And if they're lucky, the position of said galaxies might help determine where in the Milky Way the station might be. Emma aligned the sensors and began her search.

As the cadet moved to the station, Erin turned her attention back to M'Gora and the others. "M'Gora, perform a system and software check on the Astrometric computer. Make sure the matching subroutines weren't damaged in someway during the ion storm. If they were, that might explain why we aren't getting any matches." The Caitian nodded and went to work. Erin didn't think there was a problem with the system, but it would keep him busy. At this point, the staff here just needed to be kept busy, so she gave out busy-work to the rest of the team so that she and Phelps could get to the real task at hand.

When she sent the last pair of crewmen off to conduct a full volume scan of the space immediately around the Starbase, she walked over to Phelps. "Any luck, Cadet?"

Emma nodded as she pulled up a few images on her screen. "I think so. I was able to locate the Andromeda galaxy, and by the looks of it, we don't appear to be quite as far away as we might have feared. I don't have enough data yet to give an exact position, but based on a couple of stable reference points, I would put us somewhere on the far side of the Beta Quadrant, maybe a good thirty to forty thousand lightyears from Archa IV. Certainly in uncharted space. But that's a pretty vague estimate at the moment. I'm having trouble finding other points of reference within our sensor range."

"Well that's to be expected," Erin said, peering at the console. "If we had similar navigational sensors to what's on a starship we'd ..." she paused as the idea formed in her mind.

Both women looked at each other, eyes wide with the same thought. "The ships in dock!"

Lieutenant Erin Whitlam
Deputy Chief, Astrometrics

Cadet Junior Grade Emma Phelps
Science Intern


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