Light's on but Nobody's Home Part I
Location: Starbase 945
The second away team shuttle maintained a five-kilometer distance from the starbase as the shuttle with the Marine squad attempted to dock. The hour-long flight had been uneventful. The doctor spent most of the time training the nurse and quizzing her on medical protocol. Kevin had tasked Lieutenant Colvitchka with trying to remotely access the base’s computer network. She had been unsuccessful despite her best efforts.
The shuttle had been able to transmit the appropriate commands and pass codes but there had not been any response from the base. Much like all the attempts to communicate with the base they had not responded. Either because the hadn’t received the message or they had but couldn’t respond. Given the complete lack of any communication, Kevin suspected the latter. As they arrived at the base, Kevin had the engineering lieutenant switch to try to access the starships. There she had greater success.
Kevin used his PADD to access the tactical substations on the USS West Wind. The ship acknowledged receipt of the request but he was denied access. Kevin check to ensure that he had the correct codes and tried again. Again the request was received but denied. Kevin tried the remain quantum codes for the current cryto period but all were denied. This is odd, Kevin thought, it seems like the ships quantum codes have been changed to prevent external access. A field reprogramming of the quantum codes was an extreme measure that took quite a bit of time and effort, in addition to leaving the ship without computer functions for several hours.
“Krakatoa, this is Mauna Loa,” the Marine’s shuttle called over the comms.
“Krakatoa here,” Kevin responded.
“We are unable to remotely dock with the base,” explained the Marine, “They aren’t acknowledging computer commands. We are going EVA to attempt manual docking.”
“Aye. Keep me informed. Krakatoa out.” Kevin turned back to his PADD.
The tactical substation aboard USS Mitzi took the codes provided without problem. Kevin scrolled through the ship’s log with occasional looks at video recorded by the Captain. The ship had docked at the starbase after a research cruise through the nearby star systems to gather baseline data, before continuing on to it next assignment. It had departed the starbase a little over three weeks prior and a couple of day before the starbase went silent. The ship had turned back suddenly in response to the loss of communication with the starbase.
In the video logs, Captain Jones’ appearance grew more and more haggard. The Captain herself became more distracted and nonsensical as the logs went on. The final log about returning to the base was almost unintelligible. Kevin turned and handed the PADD to Doctor Relor. “What do you make of this?” he asked.
Feyd replayed the video log watching for anything that could tell him what had happened to the Captain. The potential causes were too many to count including Schizophrenia, a brain virus, or just plain old not enough sleep. He was about to give up when he noticed something. He handed the PADD to Grimm. "What do you see here?"
She watched the video, then backed up and watched a specific part again. "What is that?" She said, pointing not at the Captain but at a panel behind her that was blinking. Feyd nodded satisfactorily. "Exactly." He said, and handed the Padd to Covitchka.
"It's a foreign particle detector...installed in all Captains' Quarters and Ready Rooms. It's designed to detect foreign microscopic bodies, to prevent the Captain from being the subject of a chemical attack."
"Or a Biological one." Feyd added. There's definitely something wrong here.
Kevin consulted his PADD. There was nothing on the Tactical substation to indicate a chemical or biological alarm. "The alarm triggered in the Captain's quarters but there is no record in the Tactical logs," he announced. Turning to the rest of the away team he asked, "Any records in the Science or Medical substations?"
Feyd pulled up the medical records on the PADD, and reviewed them. "No, nothing that would indicate...wait a minute..." He went over the logs again, noting the days and times, and comparing that against his own routine of adding medical logs. Something was off. He should know, he'd deleted medical logs before. "These days and times don't line up." He said, showing the PADD to Lance. "Someone's been deleting Medical logs."
"Why would they do that?" Kevin asked. On a whim, he ordered a systems diagnostic on the Tactical substation.
"Oh, there are reasons..." He replied enigmatically. "But first and foremost, it's because they don't want somebody to find something." He said, stating the obvious. Grimm smirked off to the side.
Kevin was about to respond when the communicator came to life, “Krakatoa, this is Mauna Loa.”
Kevin turned back to the shuttle's control panel and responded, "Go for Krakatoa."
"We we able to manually open the airlock," replied the squad leader, "Everything appears operational. Request permission to cycle the airlock and enter the base."
"You are a go for entering the base," Kevin ordered.
The PADD chimed completion of a task. Kevin reviewed the results of the diagnostic. Several systems, including recorders and warning alarms, had been disabled but were otherwise operational. It was inline with the doctor's announcement of the deletion of medical logs but there was no logical reason to deactivate them.
Kevin check with the rest of the team. Both Lieutenant Covitchka and Ensign Takach, the science officer, reported disabled systems and missing logs. A few minuted later, the Marine squad reported having entered the base. Everything appeared normal except the complete absence of any of the base's personnel.
Kevin acknowledged and ordered the Marines to remain in full protective gear.
Kevin directed the shuttle pilot to maneuver to dock with the starbase using the airlock the Marines had entered. "Helmets on," he instructed the away team, "until we eliminate the existence of a biological or chemical component. When we dock, we will split into four teams. Doctor Relor and Nurse Grimm will check the medical bay. Ensign Takach, you will investigate the science labs and Lieutenant Colvitchka will go to engineering and attempt to reactivate the disabled systems. I will explore the command ring. Each team will be accompanied by two Marines."
Lieutenant JG Kevin Lance
Chief Tactical Officer
Lieutenant Commander Feyd Relor
Chief Medical Officer