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A Shock Discovery

Posted on Mon May 1st, 2017 @ 9:21pm by Elsie Cusack

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: Stellar Cartography
Timeline: Mission Day 82; 15:00

Elsie had decided to make her way down to Stellar Cartography after a long and boring day in her class. It was difficult at the moment due to the upheaval and further change that had already plagued her - and her father returning to the Vindex and then leaving again without an explanation hurt her even more. All Elsie wanted was a shoulder to cry on and someone to talk to - and that person was Laena. Their previous conversations had been brief but Elsie liked the young Stellar Cartographer and felt she could trust her.

After walking in through the large double doors Elsie looked around for Laena. Not being able to see her Elsie decided to call out to see if she was around instead.

"Laena? Are you here?" Elsie called.

"One second," came an echoed voice from somewhere in the room. A few moments passed and the massive dome screen flickered and came to life. "There we go," the voice said as a young woman crawled out of a side panel.

Walking back to her console, Laena gave the young woman a smile. "Good afternoon Elsie," she said, giving the young lady's shoulder a squeeze, "What can I do for you?"

"I've just had a really rubbish day and I want to come and talk to you while you're working. Is it a good time or do you want me to come back a bit later?" Elsie asked.

Reaching into her school bag she pulled out some cookies she'd made in her cookery lesson with Paul Foster.

"I made these today" Elsie concluded.

Taking her seat, Laena pulled another chair forward, patting it as an invitation, "I would love to talk with you," she said, turning back to the console. "What's happened?"

Elsie sat down on the chair next to the console and placed the box of cookies on top of it. Taking one for herself she took a bite and then started talking. Laena was a good friend and Elsie was glad she was still around to talk to.

"I just feel...sad. My dad came back here undercover but didn't even say anything to me or try and repair the damage between us. My mum won't tell me anything about it but I don't know why - he's my dad and it just feels like he's forgotten about me. And school is really boring right now - I want to join Starfleet and we're learning about cooking, writing and maths. I just want to do something more useful that'll help me achieve that" Elsie said.

Laena turned in her chair to face the young girl, cradling her face in her hand, "Aw, sweetie, I'm sorry to hear about your dad. He'll never forget you," she said, ignoring the pang of pain that suddenly erupted in her stomach at the mention of fathers. "You're always going to be special to him. But sometimes life takes us away from the ones we love."

Elsie looked up at Laena and nodded. She loved her hugs with the Science Officer and placed her arm around Laena's back. Elsie's admiration for the young woman was boundless and she wanted to emulate her in so many ways.

"Maybe she's just trying to protect me I guess. I just want to be like you and be a scientist - there's nothing else I feel I can do. I wish I could do some work experience or something but...the Captain probably wouldn't let me even though she's said how good I am at science in school" Elsie replied.

"You can always sit with me when I work," Laena said, her smile getting bigger. "I'd love to show you everything I do."

Watching the console Laena was working on she then turned to the one next to Laena's to see what was on that instead.

"Thank you Laena - you're probably my only friend right now and I'm glad you're still here. This place is probably my favourite part of the whole ship because it's what I've always wanted to do with my life. Just a shame it'll be another 10 years before I can join a starship after completing the Academy course" Elsie said.

"Maybe we should talk to the Captain about getting you some specialized training?" Laena asked, pulling up the most recent starchart download. "It would have to be outside of your regular school hours, but if you know what sort of field you want to get into, having some experience would give you a leg up."

Elsie nodded. "I would like that Laena. As long as I can work with you then that would be even better. Would you come with me though? I like the Captain but I'm a bit nervous about speaking to her"

Elsie helped herself to the rest of her cookie and then looked at something at the console in front of her. She looked at it in a bit more detail and then spotted something which didn't match the latest star chart which Laena had downloaded.

"Laena - I'm sure I've found a star on this screen which isn't showing up on your star chart. Compare the co-ordinates of the possible star to the same co-ordinates on your map...and maybe - just maybe...we've found a new star system. Or...I could be entirely wrong" Elsie said.

"Could be possible," Laena said, rolling over to where the young lady was sitting. "We just got the last of our Stellar Cartography download from Starfleet Command, so a lot of information is changing. Show me."

Elsie had a go at transferring the map on the console she was facing up onto the large screen. After pressing a couple of buttons she succeeded and after pressing a new few buttons Elsie had managed to highlight the potential new star on the big screen.

"There. I've highlighted it on the screen for you - it just doesn't appear on your latest star charts so maybe it's a new one. It looks like it's about 5 light years away from Starbase Unity - everything on here points to it being a new star but I'll try not to get too excited. I tried cooking a souffle last week in cookery class but it exploded in the oven just before I was going to take it out" Elsie commented.

Laena leaned forward, "New stars just don't appear out of no where, though," she said. Looking down at her console, she pressed a few more buttons to zoom in more. "The USS Melbourne was just in this area a month ago, and they didn't explore the area. Oh. Look at this."

First, Laena pointed to the small screen, and then to the larger screen. "You see that right there, the odd elliptical orbit of the fifth and sixth planet?"

Elsie listened and nodded. She looked intently at the orbit which was being indicated to her - and she was keen to find out more about it. Had she just discovered a planet?

"Yeah I see it" Elsie replied.

"Between the orbit of the planets and the distance from the star, it's a good bet one of those two planets is hospitable. Possible an M class or L class planet." She turned to her young prodigy. "A lot of ships that don't have a big science department tend to overlook star systems that don't have a planet that can support life. Those systems tend to be of little value to the Federation. And some science departments are sloppy and don't look closely at their scans as others do. So it's possible they saw this system but didn't think it could support life and thus moved on without taking a second look." She leaned close to the young girl and whispered, "But I think they're wrong."

With a smile she turned back to her console and pulled up the main sensor array, double checking that it wasn't being used for any specific purpose. "I'm going to schedule a more detailed scan of the system. I believe there to be enough evidence to warrant a closer look." She moved aside, "Press this button to start the scan."

Elsie pressed the button which was indicated to her and excitedly looked to see what the results would be. Ultimately this could all be for nothing - but it could be something - and if it was something then it would undoubtedly cheer Elsie up a massive amount.

"This is so exciting. How long until we find out?" Elsie asked.

"Hopefully no more than five minutes," Laena said. "Our main sensor array had a big upgrade while we were docked. We have one of the most powerful arrays in the fleet right now."

Elsie liked the sound of that. She decided to avoid watching any of the screens and offered the box of cookies she'd made to Laena. It really felt like the young scientist was her only friend right now - although she knew Grace was her friend Elsie felt she needed a friend who understood what was going on in her life and how she felt.

"I won't eat all of these. Take one - Grace Ainscow has already had one and I've saved one each for my that means there's one left for you too" Elsie replied.

"Thank you," Laena said, taking the cookie. She took a bite and moaned through her full mouth, "This is delicious," she said, smiling.

Elsie smiled. "Thank you. Paul the chef is really helpful - next week he said he's going to teach us how to make a pizza which should be fun. I'd rather be doing science stuff but cooking is still pretty good I guess - Paul is a really good teacher. I think you are too - you'd be a really cool science teacher."

Laena was about to respond when her console suddenly beeped at her. "Oh, I think we have our scan," she said, turning back to the screen. With a few taps, the image came up on the screen with detailed scans of the system in question. "Well look right there," Laena said with a smile. She pulled out a stylus and began to write on her console, making notes to herself. "It seems we've found ourselves a habitable planet in a system that was previously overlooked." She turned to the young girl and smiled, "And it's all thanks to you."

Elsie blinked for a second or two before looking at the scan of the star system - she'd just discovered a planet and everyone else who had passed through this part of space had somehow managed to miss it.

"Oh wow. You mean...I've actually discovered a planet? Can we go and visit it?" Elsie replied.

"That'll be up to the Captain, but I think we should put in a high priority request right away," Laena said.

Elsie nodded and looked at Laena excitedly. She didn't really know what to do or say right now - although she anticipated that she was going to be left out of the planet visits - after all she wasn't a member of the ship's crew.

"I just hope I can go and visit it myself if we do. But I'm probably going to be told no - shall we go and ask her now or later?" Elsie asked.

"Now would be fine," Laena said as she locked her console. She placed a hand on the young girls shoulder and gave it a squeeze, "And I'll try to make sure you get to visit."

Elsie smiled weakly and packed the box of cookies back into her bag and stood up. She was quite tall for her age but she was still shorter than Laena. Her friendship with the stellar cartographer had kept her going lately although Elsie knew that she could count on her adoptive parents if she needed to talk to them. With the difficult time they were going through Elsie had chosen to confide in her friend instead and it had clearly had a very positive outcome in more ways than one.

"Thanks. Hopefully she lets you come along too - I don't think I'd like to go along if my mum or you aren't going" Elsie replied.

"We can only hope." Laena began to walk down the catwalk, "Let's not waste another minute."


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