How does this thing work
Location: Main Science Lab
Timeline: MD 01 - 1000
Alanna leaned against the railing and stared down at the Romulan Computer Core. She was fascinated by it. How old was it? What informtaion would it reveal?
She was good with computers. She could program and decrypt, she could even build and repair, but that was for scientific purposes. Something this size was a little out of her scope. Still, she found it fascinating.
Ensign Kivan walked into the depressurized walkway leading into the containment area that was holding the Romulan Computer Core. He had been fascinated with the device ever since he had first learned that he station had been in possession of it for so many years. Undoubtedly, a deal had been worked out that Starfleet could keep the Core while Captain t'Vaurek remained in command and "kept an eye" on everything. However, with the recent, if not abrupt, departure of Captain t'Vaurek, the Core appeared to be an after-thought.
Regardless, he was excited for the opportunity to actually study the device. That was assuming he'd ever be able to decrypt the device and gain access to its higher functions. Unfortunately, the device had never been thoroughly studied because nobody had the time nor experience to fully uncrack the artifact. He hoped that it would change with the new Chief of Science that would be able to assist.
Alanna heard someone approach and turned to smile at the ensign. "Hi. I'm Alanna Wells."
"Hello, I'm Ensign Kivan Ta'Gas," The Engineer of Cardassian and Bajoran heritage said as he entered the lab. He looked around the area, trying to sort out the different devices and experiments that were taking place.
"I heard that you had been given the Romulan Core to look into." He added. "I've read reports about them, and even did a few simulations in the academy, but this is the closest I've never gotten to an actual working Romulan Core." He said enthusiastically.
"How far have you gotten in accessing it?" Ensign Kivan asked.
"I just arrived here," she admitted. "So I haven't done anything myself. I've read over the reports, though. Not much has been done yet. But I must admit, I'm curious to see what she holds."
"I guess we should be grateful that this core came from the wreckage of the Romulan fleet that attacked us. It appears that some of the security fail-safes have been damaged or not responding." Ens. Kivan said. Ordinarily he would have already pulled up information on the device; however, seeing as how he was not in charge of the Science Department he quickly realized he was at the Lieutenant's mercy.
"Anybody have suggestions on how to get deeper, ma'am?" He asked.
"We want to start by building some redundancies so that if we trigger something, we aren't going to set off a chain-reaction. Then we'll go in layer by layer and see what we can find," Alanna said. "We'll back up anything we find for analysis. It'll be a slow process, but I'd rather do that than risk losing everything." She glanced at the Ensign. "Do you have any ideas?"
"I would start by trying to duplicate the master harddrive onto a local system. That way we could at least get the computer to try to translate the information that is stored on it. Right now, everything is encoded in Romulan and I doubt the Romulan Empire would be too willing to just give us their translation codes." He responded.
"I read and speak Romulan, and I know a little about codes," Alanna said. "But not enough to take this one without proper safeguards. What I'm afraid of is that if we try to copy the data, the computer will erase everything. So I'd like to get some sort of sandbox set up so that we can bleed off the data without triggering any fail safes."
The Ensign nodded in response. "We should probably go about getting it recognized by our systems so it can began partitioning the inner drive and bring it online." He said as he activated the console. Within moments, several arms extended to connect through several available ports. A status bar began to indicate the duration of time remaining until the device was completely brought online.
Alanna set up a backup for copying data as soon as the core was activated. She needed time for a proper containment, but she didn't want to lose the opportunity to get what she could just in case something went wrong.
"I'm still curious as to why the Romulan Government has never tried to take back the Core. I understand the attack against the station was non sanctioned, but it still seems odd that the entire Government has seemed to 'forget' this thing ever existed." He added.
"A good point. Hopefully we'll find out more when we see what the core does," Alanna said. "I'm familiar with setting up buffers and sandboxes to prevent computers from failing or being corrupted, and I know Romulan. But you know more about cores themselves. Together we should be able to figure it out."
Ensign Kivan continued to monitor the readings that were being produced by the device. It had been years since anything close to a scan or a test routine had been run on the device, so the Cardassian/Bajoran hybrid was more than curious to discover what the device was capable of. His attention turned to a panel to his left once he began to receive a frantic notice.
"Ma'am, the gravimetric neutrino levels have suddenly spiked." He said as he turned to the source of the alert. "The Core itself is. . ." he began to say, but stopped himself, as if unsure of what he was actually seeing. "The Core is transmitting and receiving from. . ."
"From the planet," Alanna said, looking at the data. She checked to make sure she was getting backups and then traced the signal to a spot on the surface.
"Ma'am. . .the Core is communicating with the Pangaea surface. Whatever is down there has a receiver that is able to form a limited connection with the Core" He reported.
"Yes, I know. I'm tracing it now," Alanna said. She went to another console and set up an algorithm to record and analyze the signals so they would know what the messages were. "It's encrypted," she said. "The core was probably left behind because it was set up to communicate with whatever is on the surface. The question is, can or should we shut it down and can or should we go to the surface?" She definitely thought she should go down to the surface with a team to see what the core was talking to. But she wasn't sure if shutting it down at this point would cause more harm than good. "What is your opinion, ensign?"
"Dammit. . .it seems like we won't have a choice! The gravitational fields are causing the neutrino levels to reach critical levels. We have to shut down the Core before it overloads our systems!" Ensign Kivan said as he raced between the consoles.
Alanna swore and hurried to back up as much data as she could before anything catastrophic happened. At this point, it looked like that would only be a matter of time. Encryption could come later, but getting the data was critical to figuring out what they had.
"Ma'am, this...this was completely unexpected. I had no idea that the two were connected, or at least had the ability to connect." The Cardassian/Bajoran hybrid said, in between heavy breathes. "We need to report this, there's no telling what could have happened, but more importantly, we have to find out what is behind this." He said
"Of course not," Alanna said consolingly. "There was no way of knowing beforehand." Although she would have preferred going more slowly and setting things up before turning on the core. Moot point. "Yes. "Can you shut it down?" If it decided to blow, she doubted even a force ten containment field would protect the station from the damage. She went to another console and checked the neutrino levels.
She put up a containment field to block all communications between the core and the planet. Hopefully by severing the umbilical the neutrino levels would drop. They did, but not enough. "Computer, cut all power to the Romulan core."
Finally, the core powered down and the neutrino levels dropped. "Well, that was exciting," she said facetiously, smiling at the ensign. "Now we know what not to do. Any ideas on where to go next? I'd like to analyze the data we did get and see if it gives us any information."
"I'm not sure, but from the looks of it, this overloaded primary differential magnetometer and the Secondary Short-Range Sensors on deck 14." He said, reading the report. "I'm dispatching maintenance drones to determine if there was any structural damage." He sighed. He knew that Operations was going to have a field day with this.
Alanna nodded. "I'll leave the repairs to you and Ops. I'll get a team working on data analysis." She couldn't help grinning. "Well, this was definitely an interesting experiment."
"Yes ma'am," The junior officer sighed as he activated the containment protocols for the Core. "I think interesting is putting it gently." He said, still uncertain of what happened and why the Core would immediately begin communicating with the planet surface. It was obvious that he was going to have his work cut out for him.
"There's an old Chinese proverb that says "May you live in interesting times." I think this falls in that category," Alanna said with a grin. "I'll let you know what I find. Good luck."
Assistant Chief of Engineering
Lieutenant Alanna Wells
Chief Science Officer