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Posted on Tue Apr 5th, 2022 @ 9:31pm by Captain Shran dh'Klar & Lieutenant Deanna Celes & Commander Jonathan Grayson & Lieutenant Aiko Kato & Lieutenant L'Rissa

Mission: Jupiter Mystery
Location: USS Washington

Shran sat on the bridge as the ship made its way to its destination. His thoughts were of the Jupiter, its crew, and the trials they had faced before and during the war. He wanted to find them and hopefully return them home safely. He looked to Jon, "Any thoughts about what we might find?"

Jon turned his seat to face Shran, he didn't rush an answer. After a few seconds of thought he answered. "The fact that they went dark with no distress beacon means the ship is intact. No distress beacon being activated. So it could mean that they are deliberately not answering any communications. Or.... the crew is no longer on the ship."

Shran nodded. "I had similar thoughts. I also considered the possibility that they are unable to answer. And that is the possibility that concerns me the most. If they are unable to answer, then something has happened to cause that to be the case. What that might be and how it impacted the Jupiter and its crew."

Jon nodded, "That is a possibility sir and if it is indeed true then we need to take every precaution as we investigate because it would be something the Jupiter had never encountered before."

"Or something that happened so suddenly they didn't have time to respond. We'll have to scan the whole system no matter what just to be certain we don't run into any of the same surprises." Shran looked to Aiko at the helm. "Are your preparations made for when we arrive at the system lieutenant?"

"Yes Captain," Aiko replied. "We've got two Danube class runabouts prepped and on hot standby and ready for deployment with Lieutenant L'Rissa and Ensign Ramone piloting. They've both been briefed by flight ops on the navigational hazards in and around the system."

It was a challenging assignment, she knew. She had also taken time to study the system. The fighter pilot in her had found it too hard to resist such a mission. Were it not for the Captain's explicit orders that she stay at the helm of the Washington, Aiko would have swapped roles with Ramone.

Shran felt they were as prepared as they could be. "Celes, are we detecting the signal that the Jupiter reported?"

"Not as of yet. I suspect it might be a local phenomena that we might detect once we enter the system."

Shran nodded. "Very well. Keep on it." He look at the readouts, "Aiko, drop us out of warp, one quarter impulse as we enter the system. I want the runabouts to launch as soon as we drop out of warp. They will focus on those gas giants and all the moons they have. We will push into the system. I have a feeling the Jupiter will be somewhere around one of those M-class planets."

"Aye Captain," Aiko answered as she passed on the instructions to flight ops. She could almost visually seeing the team passing on orders to L'Rissa and Ramone who were at the ready in their respective runabouts having completed all preflight checks.

She glanced at her ETA countdown and noted they were only a few minutes away. She straightened in her seat. L'Rissa and Ramone may get to have all the fun, but piloting the bigger, howbeit graceful ship, had its own level of challenges.

"Recommend we go to yellow alert sir. Before we get too far in system. being at yellow alert now instead of waiting could make all the difference in survival or not." Jon spoke from the XO's chair.

"Agreed. Yellow alert. Raise the shields once the runabouts are out, and I want the runabouts to do the same once they are out."

"Understood Captain," Aiko replied, tapping at her console to relay the order.

"Dropping out of warp Captain," Aiko announced as the ship arrived at the edge of the system in a brilliant flash. "Adjusting course to the closest M-class planet on one-quarter impulse."

"Launch the runabouts. Shields up. Aiko, get us underway to those M-class planets."

Aiko relayed the order to flight ops and got confirmation that the runabouts had launched. "Runabouts away Captain," Aiko announced.

As the ship passed out of the asteroid belt after dodging several large rocks the view screen gave them their first distant glimpse of the twin M-class worlds. Celes was working feverously at Ops. "Captain, I am detecting the the signal. It is faint but constant. It is patterned from what I can tell thus far. I am also detecting a faint ion signature that has a StarFleet signature. It has badly dissipated."

Shran was pensive. "Thoughts Jon?"

"The Jupiter came into the area and evidently moved further into the system after detecting the signal like we did for the signature to badly dissipated. I say we follow it as at respectful distance and see if we can find the Jupiter and it's crew."

"Agreed. If we are lucky we will follow it to the Jupiter, perhaps behind on of those planets." Shran considered it, "Celes, feed Aiko the coordinates. Aiko take us in."

"Cooordinates received," Aiko responded. "Adjusting course to 030 mark 015."

As the ship moved closer to the two M-class worlds Celes was working to scan every millimeter of space around them so that they could have the best information possible. For the most part, the system wasn't anything special. As they neared the planets she began scanning them intensively. She was gathering up a great deal of detail. The planet they were closer to at this moment which she was scanning had impressive readings for mining prospects if nothing else. She was detecting large amounts of duranium, rodinium, jevonite, cormaline, and zenite. From strictly a scientific interest she wished very much to take closer readings to see how rich the deposits were, especially the cormaline and duranium. That would have to wait though. She continued scanning.

The ship veered to the right towards one of the planets following the degraded trail. Celes noted that the signal was slowly getting stronger as they came near the planet, but she still had no answers regarding it. As the ship began to circle around the planet Celes called out, "Captain, detecting a vessel. It is the Jupiter. The ship appears to be in a high orbit."

"Move us in slow and steady Aiko" ordered Shran. "Hail the ship."

"Aye Captain," Aiko responded as she dialed back the ship's impulse speed so that the ship proceeded cautiously towards the Jupiter.

"No answer to hails captain" replied Ayana.

"Are we reading lifesigns on the ship?"

"Confirmed, though they appear somewhat weak. Captain, I am only detecting 520 lifeforms aboard the ship. Nearly half of the crew appears to be missing" replied Celes.

"That's not all Captain," Aiko piped in, figuring the update she was about to give was relevant. She had noticed the unusual positioning of the Jupiter. While it was true there was technically no up or down in space, at least the way one typically thought of such things, there was however universally accepted navigational conventions on what 'up' is, which involved using the centre of the galaxy to determine as a frame of reference.

Aiko had noticed that the Jupiter's pitch was way off that "up", and in fact her nose was pitched downwards and the engines were dead suggesting that this was not a maneuver and what was more the ship was not correcting itself. In fact, Aiko's query of her navigational computer suggested that the Jupiter was not moving of her own accord but had been caught in the planet's gravity and was assuming an orbital pattern that will eventually degrade in approximately 27 hours, which would cause the ship to crash into the planet.

Shran turned Jon, "I think we should risk an away team to go over to the Jupiter and investigate. Take Sam and Ravencroft with you along with any others you think you might need."

"Yes sir. In addition to Sam and Ravencroft, I'd like to take Deanna as well. keep the team small." Jon answered.

Shran nodded. "Practical."

"Captain," Aiko called, turning back to face the Captain and XO, "based on my analysis, I don't think there's anyone at the helm of the Jupiter and neither is autopilot engaged. I estimate the ship's current orbital pattern will degrade in just over 27 hours after which the planet's gravity will pull the her into the atmosphere. This will ultimately end in a crash onto the surface for whatever hulk of the ship is not burnt off in such an uncontrolled re-entry."

The new information gave Shran a worried sense. "We'll transport you onto the bridge. I'm sure Sam would want us to be cautious, so to be safe, I think environmental suits might be called for. Assuming nobody is available over there, you can make whatever navigational changes are needed to put the ship into a stable orbit. We'll continue scans of the ship and planet while you are over there and hopefully we can get some answers."

"The bridge is the best place for us to start. We can make the nav changes to stabilize the ship then begin a search for clues. maybe their CMO was able to make a log of what happened." Jon suggested.

"I hope you can find some sort of record of what happened. I'm hopeful you might find log entries that can shed light into things. Good hunting."

 

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