Sphere Today, Gone Tomorrow (Darwin-A)

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Season 3, Episode 4

The mission starts off with an awards ceremony! LtCmdr Varaan is promoted both to the rank of Commander and also assumes the role as First officer on board the Darwin. Lt Brell and Lt John Valdivia are promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, with Brell becoming the Chief Engineering Officer. Additionally Doctor Isabel Pond is promoted to the rank of lieutenant and becomes the Assistant Chief Medical Officer. Pond and Ensign Paul Scudder are both awarded the lifesaving Ribbon, FltCapt Renos was awarded the prioner of war ribbon and ne and LtCmndr Icavoc are awarded purple hearts. Ltjg Kurt Logan is awarded the innovation Ribbon and the final ribbon of the evening, the Good Conduct Ribbon is awarded to Logan, Cook, and from the outpost itself, Ens Sindrana.

Additionally the crew has just recently said goodbye to Chief Phillipe Marquette from the engineering department but is now welcoming a variety of new and returning officers that have arrived on the Darwin: LtCmdr Didrik Stennes returning from a short stay on Outpost resuming his post as second officer and lead counsellor. LtCmdr Tovin Aleris assuming a role as a diplomat, LtCmdr Emery Rhyn joining the tactical team, LtCmdr Nathaniel Wilmer is a mission specialist, LtCmdr Rendal Rennyn returning to the Darwin and a new officer, Ens Amira Paulsen both joining the Operations department. And as part of the crew CPO Poppy Reynolds takes on the position as the transporter Chief. And completing the lists of transfers is Kael Wilmer, a 3rd year Cadet

With that the promotion and awards over, the music is turned up and the dancing and merrymaking began.

At the same time, all around the surface of Dyson Sphere doors have opened each with strange sigils doing some sort of countdown. With help from Valdivia an examination determines that there are only 72 hours before the doors will close again! Six exploration teams are organized. Everyone has the same goal: Get in, acquire as much information about the sphere as possible and get out before the timer hits zero!

After years of searching for a way in, the Dyson Sphere of its own accord has finally opened and everyone is poised to see what is inside. The only problem is that the sphere has started a 72 hour countdown. Once each of the teams received the go-ahead from Renos, the explorations began!

Sphere Today, Gone Tomorrow

Team 1: [Emerald] Leader: FltCapt Renos, LtCmdr Reynolds, LtCmdr Rennyn

Stepping inside the gate Renos and Rennyn enter a small chamber, which without warning sends them plummeting into the unknown at dizzying speeds! Panicked by what appears to be a malfunction Renos calls for extraction. Establishing a lock the Darwin attempts to initiate transport. However instead of bringing Renos and Rennyn back to the Darwin, an energy buildup overloads the transporters and inadvertently transports Reynolds onto the lift. The lift soon slows and deposits the newly formed trio in the middle of a large building.

As the team begin to explore they find a beautiful and spacious atrium filled with huge glass windows. Exotic plants and huge gardens fill the room stretching out as far as the eye can see. After discussing the possibility of what some of the plants they had discovered were, Poppy Reynolds discovers a decorative object that resembled a small lighthouse. So awed with its beauty Renos, Ren and Poppy decided to holoimage the piece inside the greenhouse after making them repeat silly phrases. Afterwards, Ren and Poppy began to explore the gardens while Renos, following them, notices a long, chrome pole on the grass. Calling out to nir teammates ne takes nir eyes off the object for a few moments but when ne looks back it's gone. Unable to resolve the strange dilemma they decide to press on.At the same time Ren and Poppy have discovered a musical rolling river, with a large, mechanical device built in the brook itself that created music as the water moved its parts. Unfortunately, when Renos was brought back to listen, much like the sprinkler that Renos had found it had all vanished,

The rest of the three days were filled with many more exciting finds and the captain brought back a great many photos, some of which ne featured in after a little bit of arm twisting. Back in nir ready room, Renos spends days reflecting upon an expedition that everyone wished could have lasted longer. How long would it be before they could once again delve into the depths of the sphere and unlock more of its secrets? The captain was just grateful that everyone made it out of the sphere safely, bringing back exciting discoveries of their own.

"Sphere Not In Kernzys Anymore"

Team 2: [sapphire] Leader: Cmdr Varaan, Lt Pond, Ens Paulsen

Sapphire Team, upon entering their gateway are encounter to a turbolift they cannot control. When it finally comes to a stop they emerge into the middle of a modern looking city. No life signs, and a large amount of hazy dust in the atmosphere are the only distinguishing features. They begin to explore the streets, looking for anything that may yield clues about what is happening here. Finding a promising edifice they prepare to enter.

"Once More Unto the Breach..."

Now inside the mysterious building Doctor Pond, using her tricorder, determined that the air was okay to breath and they removed their breathing equipment. Moving further down the halls they soon discovered that the further they traveled inward the darker it got. Once at the center of the building, two mirroring spiral staircases led up either side of the building from the ground floor to the second. Following another spiral staircase they found numerous large rooms and halls separated by transparent walls. Shining their lights through the walls revealed tables and benches filled with tools and apparatus of varying kinds. Doctor Pond got very excited as they looked like medical labs. They entered one and Varaan was able to restore power and lighting to the area. Pond speculated it to be a lab for researching medicine of some sort. Paulsen attempted to access a interface terminal but was unable to do so when the system prompted her for a code.

Somehow after this she was beamed away leaving Varaan and Pond looking at each other in puzzlement and astonishment. They were able to make partial contact with the ship to confirm she had beamed to it.

The teams searching of the lab prompted a robotic unit to awaken named Inx. It was a copper colored robot with a blunt vaguely humanoid shape. Inx’s movements were quite stiff due to untold years of inactivity and at first had trouble communicating with the starfleet officers but it’s universal translator was able to interpret their languages. They asked if Inx could give them a tour of the facility and explain a bit about the society that built it. The robot began to comply until it reached a programming error that caused it shut down.

Lt Pond stated. “What a sad fate. It might have waited millennia for this moment, only to break down. Maybe we can take it back to the Darwin, to study it in a lab… In our own lab, of course.”

"Unfortunate loss"

Team 3: [Amethyst] Leader: LtCmdr Stennes, Ens Scudder, LtCmdr Tovin, Ens Lambert

Passing through the gateway they entered a small, sophisticated glassed in lift, housed inside a dark grey shaft. As the car descends, it emerges from the shaft several hundred meters above a pristine urban landscape, provided the team with a spectacular view of the city before touching down in the center of a large plaza.

Exploring their surroundings, Stennes observed that there were no people and Lambert discovered a strange electrostatic energy flowing through many of the structures in the city. Tovin recommended the team look for exhibitions of grandeur, indicating administrative or government presence, and Stennes elected to explore such a grand building at the far end of the plaza. Entering the large hall, the team observed intricate designs on the walls and an obelisk in the center, both of which they begin to examine.

Images: The city

The team entered the building at the end of the alien city plaza and found themselves in a cavernous grand hall with complex glyphs set into the walls. Tovin inferred that the civilization which created them was very old and established, and valued artistic impression in their communications. Lambert investigated a massive obelisk in the center of the hall. While its exterior appeared inert he detected high levels of electrostatic energy inside of it. Just before Stennes advised caution Lambert made physical contact with it and was rendered unconscious for several minutes, putting him in contact with some form of intelligence residing inside the obelisk itself, which unsuccessfully attempted to "repair" his artificial heart and hearing device.

As the team worked to stabilize Lambert, the obelisk opened and an intense violet light filled the hall. Upon Lambert's revival, the officers tried to understand what happened and what the mysterious intelligence meant by threatening to "reassemble" him.

After weighing the risks, LtCmdr Stennes made the decision that the entire team would enter the obelisk together to discover its intentions for Lambert. As the team passed toward the doorway together, they were bathed in an intense violet light. A light that appeared to scan, disassemble and reassemble the team at a molecular level. Once it was done the realized something else: They were no longer at the City Grand Hall, but in fact were under ground level inside an immense net of computers and data storage facility.

However their visit was cut short as the team was rendered unconscious and they awoke outside the amethyst gate.

Team 4: [Soladite] Leader: LtCmdr Brell, Ltjg Logan, Lt Shayne

The new Chief Engineer, after briefing his team, transported into the hanger room. Leading his team through the Sodalite gate, they found themselves in a lift that began moving shortly after they entered. Within a few moments a series of beeps sounded that repeated. A small interface appeared with a display of glyphs as if wanting them to input a code. When they were unable to enter the correct code the lift halted and ejected the officers onto ominous Crystal walled corridor. A quick examination revealed that the hall extended 200 meters in both directions. With no apparent outlet the trio to begin to look for a hidden panel or way to recall the lift.

While walking Brell felt an odd tingling sensation. A touch revealed another corridor trimmed in the same Sodalite light, shrouded with illusion. However when the illusion dropped it was not just a single tunnel that appeared, but many of them all angling in different directions. Logan commented. "Reminds me of that maze they put those lab rat’s into test their abilities."

When Shayne picked up biosigns none of them were prepared to see what arrived: Perfect copies of themselves all holding up their phasers.

Brell, soon followed by Logan and Shayne introduced themselves, with no response. Even Logan and Brell wishing each others and their doubles happy birthday brought no reaction. It was only when Kurt, using a few gestures caused them to looked at him. And when the group restated that they had peaceful intent and that they came from the outpost on the surface. Then the dopplegangers vanished.

Continuing down the corridor that the doppelgangers had emerged from the group noticed their phasers had been drained. Having little choice they kept going hoping they could still swap in an unaffected power cell later.

Hours later the trio arrive in a large octagonal room with corridors leading from all sides. Once inside they were sealed in by force fields and their next puzzle was presented to them. A starfield filled of the Pouiyeog region the room with the dyson sphere there were currently inside of in the middle. A small holographic spaceship appeared and a series of navigational challenges given to them.

The officers set up camp beneath the holographic stars and after getting some sleep were able to to crack the language and complete the challenges and tasks. Next they were led into some kind of operations room inside the crystal structure connecting the inner and outer spheres. After a few hours Brell and his team discovered it was the environmental control center of this entire hemisphere of the Dyson’s Sphere and they quickly found that the entire area was being affected by a slow eruption.

The air control systems were highly advanced but had been without maintenance for untold number of years. Their access to systems was limited but they had control of environmental systems automatic maintenance drones. They came up with a plan to redistribute them to accommodate for area unable to cope with the added stress of the volcano. Once the last robotic maintenance drone was in place, another hidden doorway had appeared this one led them to the lift they had first entered in. The mission had ended with only 2 of the original 72 hours left to go.

Team 5: [Amber] Leader: Lt R’Ven, Hars Vlin, Lt Cook

At the entrance point R’Ven briefs his team, reminding them that with no tactical officer, they would have to protect themselves. Offering both Cook and Hars a phaser rifle, they both decline. The next room beyond the gate was much smaller than the first and once ever was inside began a rapid descent. Several minutes later after coming to a stop the door makes several attempts to open. After a great deal of grinding, shearing and tearing door slid open revealing a fresh air and a clearing. A quick examination shows that they are 200 meters above a settlement that is at least partially overgrown with vegetation. Beyond the settlement is battle scarred valley that separated it from a second city. R’Ven asks for ideas.

Hars suggests looking for water and Cook suggests looking for signs of life. After a moment of contemplation R’Ven agrees. However when his attempts to check in both with the Darwin and then Renos fail, he explains that now they not only must explore, but they also have to find a way out. As Hars started scanning, R'Ven walked a few meters down the overgrown path leading to the first settlement. With still no signs of life showing on his screens something pulled R’Ven off of his feet and into the brush!

Merrick's fall takes him over rough terrain, down a hole and he arrives at the mouth of a cave that opens out into the first of two towns. After taking a short time to recover the trio make their way out into the city. An investigation reveals a town that is completely void of any lifeforms higher than that of simple vermin. However they quickly discover that while much of the city is covered in vegetation, it is constructed from the architecture of several different worlds: Hirogen, Kazon, Krenim, Ocampan, Talaxians, Trabe and Vidiian, but also some from the Alpha Quadrant, most notably Romulan . . . and human!

The rest of the day is spent making their way through the city and then across into the warzone between the two cities. They set up camp about halfway in between. The warzone itself it a broken land and it has very little in the way of vegetation, as if what ever happened has retarded growth and recovery.

The next day sees R’Ven, Cook and Hars inside the next city, but this one is very different. Rather than being constructed of multiple designs it has only one and the most unique feature is a temple at the center of the city with a glowing energy field surrounding it. The rest of the city is at best called non-descript, almost featureless. It looked as if it could be equally at home on almost any world.

An investigation of this city revealed very little. While featureless it also had homes, stores, diners, a hotel and a city center and what seemed like an power distribution room of some sort that had been damaged or sabotaged. When they came out and went towards the temple they met a being that identified itself only as Arden and that they did not belong there.

R’Ven’s tricorder and Borg enhanced eyes revealed that it was real but nothing more. A series of questions revealed several things, that their presence was unbalancing some sort of equation, that the creature recognized them as being from the alpha quadrant, and that the equation was already known at least partly in the alpha quadrant as the D’arden, the Thoth configuration and the Valenzetti Equation

However there would be no more answers as the being calling itself Arden raised its staff and they all appeared back at the gateway with no way back into the sphere.

They were the first team to return.

Team 6: [Ruby] Leader: LtCmdr Icavoc, LtCmdr Valdivia, LtCmdr Wilmer

Mission Began with Team Ruby meeting up in the Transporter Room. Delayed slightly by a misunderstanding over the difference between smores and snores, the team transports over to the Sphere. After a tentative investigation of the red force field the trio stepped through into a long room with rounded corners. At a question from Icavoc, Valdivia reminds them that everything should be holographed and sent back to Unity. An alarm sounds and with a sudden movement the room rotates and begins a descent into unknown smoke and darkness with the alarm growing louder as they drop.

When the lift stopped and the doors slid open it revealed an engineering complex of some kind . The atmosphere seemed hazy, volcanic ash and sulfur is detected in the air. Icavoc orders a determination of the air quality, before proceeding further. It is quickly determined that although there was a Volcanic eruption going on nearby the air was safe to breathe but that they should limit their presence. Valdivia also tells that the group that he feels that the gravity here is natural, not artificial and speculates that there is a white dwarf at the center of the sphere beneath them.

Icavoc, Valdivia and Wilmer examine the air quality of their surroundings, determining it safe to have limited exposure without the re-breathers. While the decision is made to move forward and investigate the volcano, there are concerns about its safety. Studying a map Icavoc locates a building that may contain vehicles that will take the trio where they want to go. They find hover cars. While testing out the new vehicle Wilmer finds that he is capable of flying the craft and during testing they discover that it is much faster than expected. Now they were ready to move faster to their destination, while at the same time, exploring the volcanic ashen lands of the Ruby Gate.