Sunday, March 8, 2015

Investigation of Hoken III: Examining the Origin of the Biome

Attending Officers:
Captain Mio - USS Atliss
Commander Shranz - USS Barclay
Doctor Grey -- Away Team Medical Officer
Lt. Hawk, USS Eclipse
Ensign Sri, Acting Science Specialist

Stardate 92172.54

Science Officer’s Log: We are heading toward the planet Hoken III at warp five in the USS Barclay. Our escort is Lt. Hawk in the USS Eclipse. Our objective: perform in-depth scans of the planet Hoken III, to see if this desert world has any connection with the lifeform on the beta moon -- a species that has been designated as the Biome.

With the determination of whether the Biome are ready for first contact in doubt, we have turned our attentions away from the Biome and to the the planet -- a place with several mysteries of its own. Devoid of life, buried under meters of sand, the planet the planet does not have the means to participate in a carbon cycle, yet has a breathable atmosphere. In addition, the sand itself is a mystery, its complex properites preventing us from performing scans more than a few meters deep.

Upon arriving at Hoken III, we began in-depth scans, channelling auxiliary power to to the sensors. Before we completed scans of the planet, scanners detected a structure just a few meters below the sand. Captain Mio determined from the general configuration of the structure and materials used that it was a high probability it was a military installation.

Using the Barclay’s tractor beams, we were able to move much of the sand from the entrance, allowing for sensors to penetrate the sealed entryway, and transport us to the adjacent chamber. There we were surprised to discover more sand and dust, even though we first thought the facility had been sealed. The floor had a fine coating of dust, and there was sand in the seat of each chair we found. We were further surprised when Doctor Grey pointed out that the facility contained equipment more associated with a medical research facility. Our presence in the facility activated waning power supplies, but the installation, clearly built to withstand powerful weaponry and centuries of time, became functional.

After some initial investigation, Dr. Grey first ascertained that the sand we were examining wasn't natural sand at all, but a form of silicate put together artificially, bound to molecules of water. The level of energy necessary to do such a transformation on a planetary scale was staggering.

Dr. Grey managed to work the consoles, and we discovered archives of news reports, some close to two thousand years old. We were surprised to discover that there was a time when Hoken III was a thriving class M planet with a society that had discovered space travel and terraformed and colonized its beta moon. The first news presentation celebrated the achievement of the colony, the second, decades later, indicated the the governments of Hoken III and its colony were at brutal war, with the colonists sending the very terraforming machinery back down Hoken III's gravity well to destroy its cities.  Casualties were over a billion.

The homeworld responded with a unique biological weapon, delivered from shuttles launched into orbit and floating over the beta moon. Once in orbit, the shuttles released seeds and rhizomes, which floated down and transformed the local flora into something much more aggressive. The colonists were ready to withstand troops from the home world, not their own planet rising up against them. The final images of that newscast was the massive growth of the Biome enveloping most of the planet, the colony cities overrun with vegetation, the people choked with deadly spores and pollens. We were appalled to watch the homeworld call this ‘victory’

Even this 'victory' didn't last long.  The next archive did not explain how the Biome was somehow transferred to Hokken III, though it is entirely possible remnants were on the last of terraforming equipment hurled down at the planet, or a failure in decontamination procedures. Either way, the horrors of the previous archive were replayed against, this time on the much larger home world -- the air of the planet made thick with poisonous pollens, buildings entombed in vines oozing a viscous toxic sap. The bioweapon's hold on the planet grew exponentially and and their outlook of the natives was so bleak were were surprised to see there was still another record to be viewed.

The news feed showed the  inside of this very facility, though clearly when the facility was much newer. An earnest scientist explained that the very science that had brought them into this danger would also get them out, as they had developed a device that could create a complex energy wave signature, which would bind almost every molecule of water into a silicon matrix -- including that water inside the plants and animals of the Biome. The walls, ceiling and floor were to be energized to protect the inside of the facility from the effect, and afterward, they would come out, and begin the process of recovering the water from the silicates. The report ended, and there were no more to be viewed.

Two thousand years later, an away team  looked at the piles of sand in the seats, and realized that last desperate attempt had failed -- almost every molecule of  water, inside and outside the facility,  had been imprisoned in silicate. Even as that realization dawned on us, we heard the facility coming to life, and realized we had done more than simply play archives, that the energy pulse was getting charged up to activate again, while the 'shield' would not protect us from the energy wave, it was successful at blocking our transporter lock.

Using schematics of the station the team was able to identify essential power conduits for the facility and cut them before the system could achieve enough power to activate. With the facility de-powered, Command Shranz ordered the away team beamed back to the USS Barclay.

Addendum: Given the amount of data extracted and the low amount of damage to the facility, it is hoped that the process for silconizing the water molecules of Hoken III can be reversed, and thereby return the planet to class M status in a few decades.