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Lt Cmd S'Kahh Rossh: Rubix's Answers

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((Science Lab - Duronis II Embassy))

::S'Kahh looked at the cube suspended in the air over the tech labs console. He knew there was a containment field around it, but its presence was only notable though the nearly imperceptible whine it gave off as air passed though the field. He felt it more than heard it, whiskers twitching as the sound travelled though them.::

Rossh: Computer, begin a level three scan of the object.

::Lights flickered across the console for a moment before the computer replied, listing off the materials the device was constructed of. Some of the materials were quite exotic, but nothing truely alien in terms of basic materials.::

Rossh: Not getting me any further.

::He paused, glancing over at his tricorder for a moment as an idea tickled at the back of his thoughts. There was definitely something bubbling away back there, but...::

Rossh: Computer, link up to my tricorder and download the specifications on the receptacle the device was retrieved from.

Computer: Working. Download complete.

Rossh: Good, now. Computer, try and to a breakdown of the console the device was plugged into - best estimate as to the purpose of the various components.

Computer: Task will require an hour to complete.

Rossh: Go ahead.

::He yawned, leaning back in his seat as the computer chugged away - trying to reverse engineer the console it had been plugged into. He sat up after a few moments and tapped on his control panel, switching from the default layout to a thread monitor - providing a direct readout of every process the computer was handling for the task he had set it.::

::Numbers and words flashed past too fast to read, but he found the flickering flow of information interesting as he waited for the machine to complete his task.::

::At the same time he found himself falling back into introspection, remembering his time at the hospital. He hadn't realised his ribs had been broken till the Laudean doctor who was treating him had pointed it out. He'd been shocked to hear it, and shocked again when he discovered the Laudean's treatment would normally involve minor surgery to re-set the bones properly.::

::Thankfully in his case Caitian bones had a lot more natural flexibility than most species - giving them less strength perhaps, but making them a lot less prone to fractures. And when they did fracture they tended to reset quite naturally given enough rest.::

::So the doctor had opted to splint his chest to hold it in place - informing him to keep the bandage in place for a few days to let the healing process get started before doing anything too energetic.::

Computer: Task complete.

::He blinked, disturbed from his reverie and looked down at the readings before him. The computer seemed to have managed to get a fairly detailed breakdown of the likely way the console was designed to interact with the cube.::

Rossh: Simulate interactions between cube and console.

::The screen changed to an annotated diagram, highlighting the various electrical contact points and wireless signals exchanged between the two pieces of Yeltan technology. He frowned as he watched, then looked up at the cube again.::

Rossh: Now we just need one of those consoles...

::He frowned, then glanced over to the door.::

Rossh: Computer, drop containment feild around the cube. Authorisation Rossh Delta six, beta two one one.

::The field shimmered for a moment as it dropped, and he reached in to grasp the cube. He hefted it in his hand, resisting the sudden perverse urge to attempt to rotate its various sections like some ancient child's puzzle, and examined it closely as he spoke again.::

Rossh: Computer, are there any available holosuites?

Computer: Holosuites two, five and seven are currently unoccupied.

::He nodded to that, then stepped towards the door, taking the cube with him.::

((Timeskip, late at night.))

((Holosuite two, Duronis II Embassy))

::Shanri paused at the door to the holosuite, wondering just what exactly S'Kahh thought he was doing. She'd hoped to welcome him back from the mission, and indeed had come all the way out to the embassy to see him - but he'd been buried away in his work. And for the last few hours he'd been buried instead in a holosuite.::

::She wasn't the suspicious type, well, she didn't think of herself that way at least. But it was odd that he was so busy - it felt like he was ignoring her. She gathered herself, and opened the door, stepping inside.::

::The room was dark, the yellow grids invisible on the walls not due to being obscured by a simulation, but just from a lack of light. In the middle of the room a strange, yet oddly familiar, console sat - glowing faintly blue. A cube of similar appearance was plugged smoothly into the top of it. Sat on the floor between her and the console was S'Kahh, cross legged and leaning his head down onto his hands as he stared intently at it.::

Rossh: Yes?

::His voice startled her, and she took a second to compose her thoughts after the odd - yet familiar - sight of the console.::

Shanri: I, I just wanted to check up on you.

::The caitian turned to look towards her, his expression blank for a moment. He looked tired above anything else, and it took a second or two for his face to spread into a smile.::

Rossh: Ah, I'm afraid I've been letting my stubbornness get in the way of things.

::He pointed to the device, waving his hand rather than pointing in truth.::

Rossh: I've replicated every possible thing I can, every reading is the same and every link up is correct. ::He paused to scowl at it.:: But will it do a thing? Nope.

Shanri: What exactly is it?

::He looked back to her, then sighed, stood up and walked to meet her. She noted the bandage to his side beneath his uniform tunic - still dusty and dirty from the adventures beneath her planets surface.::

Rossh: Its supposed to be important. Its supposed to be a memory archive, I think. Its also, supposed, to work.

Shanri: But it doesn't?

Rossh: Not for me, no. I don't think it likes me. And I tried sweet talking it, threatening it and even offering it a vacation to Risa. Still nothing.

::She found herself smirking at his tone, then shook her head.::

Shanri: Have you tried turning it off then on again?

::There was a pause, and the caitian then turned to give her one of the most old fashioned looks she had ever encountered.::

Rossh: I won't dignify that with a response. But yes, actually I have.

::She met his gaze and chuckled to herself, the tired Caitian joining in after a moment before she walked up close and rested a hand on his shoulder.::

Shanri: Come to bed, your tired. You'll think more clearly in the morning.

Rossh: I can't walk away till I've at least figured out why it won't work.

Shanri: Well, when did it last work?

::He glanced over his shoulder to her, then nodded to himself. It was a fair line of reasoning to explore - he had tried it earlier, but worth a second shot. He walked over to the console, leading Shanri with him.::

Rossh: Madame Day... ..er... ..oh [...] my memory. The Prime Minister's wife, she was the one who interacted with it.

::He gestured with his hands and Shanri frowned.::

Shanri: What was she doing on a mission?

Rossh: She is a patron of Laudean historical studies. I think. Regardless, she was the only one who could interact with the thing.

::Something twigged in the back of his mind, but he was unable to lay his finger down on it thanks to the tiredness of his mind.::

Shanri: Well, maybe its coded to only work for women?

::He genuinely hadn't considered that, a society in which something might had been set up for only one gender to use being a completely alien concept to him. Oh, as a sociologist he was aware of such societies on an intellectual level, but not an emotional one.::

Rossh: I hadn't thought of that.

::Shanri moved closer, holding out her hands.::

Shanri: Well, show me what to do.

::He smiled, and moved to stand behind her, sliding his hands down her arms to direct them towards the cube. To both of their shock, it glowed more brightly, and the holographic recreation of the console flared into life.::

Computer: Holodeck Program: Rossh Alien Console One is attempting to write a non standard file into computer memory. Allow this operation?

::He blinked, then got his brain in gear.::

Rossh: Sandbox the file and store it separately from any sensitive materials. Isolate it in the science department computers.

Computer: Working.

::There was a moment of silence as the console and cube continued to glow and shimmer.::

Shanri: I guess it just needed a woman's touch.

Rossh: Or a Laudeans...

::She frowned and looked back to him.::

Shanri: It's coded to only work for my people?

::He shrugged to that, and the computer replied before he could.::

Computer: Download complete.

Rossh: Computer, analyse the datafile. Attempt to decern its nature.

Computer: Full analysis will take twe...

Rossh: Analyse the file structure data, top and tail it.

Computer: Working.

Shanri: Top and tail?

::He chuckled.::

Rossh: It just means look at the beginning and end - those parts contain the file structure information in most species formats. Unless they write from the inside out - which some species do. Or their Ferengi - in which case the copyright information goes at the beginning and end...

Computer: File is a data archive with compression based on a...

Rossh: Can you decompress it?

Computer: Require suitable decoder.

::He paused, thinking for a moment.::

Rossh: Computer, attempt to use Laudean DNA as the basis of the decoding.

Shanri: Huh?

Rossh: Well if its designed to be used by Laudeans, it makes sense for them to lock it so only they could open it. Or at least, somebody with access to the basic DNA structure of your people.

Computer: Working.

::The process took some considerable amount of time, during which the couple chatted - catching up with one another. When the computer finished they paused their conversation to see what it had come up with.::

Computer: Decompressed files are of twenty five unknown formats.

Rossh: Analyse formats and look for any signs of simple text, encoded images, or data streams that could be video.

Computer: Working.

Shanri: Your computers are very advanced.

::He shook his head to that.::

Rossh: There's only so many ways you can encode data, a person would actually be better at recognising the information in the various file types than the computer. But the computer can do a bad job of it a hell of lot faster - and handle hundreds of attempts at the same time.

Shanri: So its dumb, but covers a lot of ground.

Rossh: Yep, think... ..what are those archaic weapons that fire lots of little projectiles rather than a single big one?

Shanri: Canister guns?

Rossh: Hum, humans have a shorter phrase for them.

Shanri: And your people?

Rossh: We just call them Nif-tusak. Birdhunters.

::He translated.::

Computer: Filetypes have been found for video, audio, images and formatted text. Additional file formats detected include three dimensional models and an olfactory index pallete.

Shanri: A what?

Rossh: Thing we use to digitise smells, and tastes oddly enough.

Shanri: Sounds horrible.

Rossh: Well it is what our replicators use to do flavours and smells, so... ..can be at times.

::He grinned toothily, and she replied with a nudge with her elbow in the ribs - unfortunately on the wrong side. After several moments of groaning in pain and profuse apologies the two settled down again.::

Rossh: Ok. Computer, display a video file.

::The pair of them watched as something began to play in the air behind the console. The colours were heavily shifted towards the purple end of the spectrum, and the aspect ratio was a strange tall but narrow one that marked it out as something unusual.::

::On it was displayed a diagram of a Laudean, with labels coming off of it to text S'Kahh couldn't even guess as to the meaning of.::

Shanri: Its a medical text.

Rossh: Oh? You can read that?

Shanri: Er, you can't?

Rossh: No, not a word.

Shanri: Well, ok. How come I can?

Rossh: Genetic memory? Seems unlikely, but that's the only explanation I can think of.

::Together they worked their way though the first video - which proved to be a very detailed medical analysis of Laudean physiology. S'Kahh was no expert, but he suspected that the detail was actually slightly ahead of the Federation's own records on the Laudean species.::

::But the real revelation came moments later.::

Shanri: Oh... ..oh my word.

Rossh: What?

::He paused the video, showing a detailed diagram of the Laudean's coloured band.::

Shanri: This.. ...this is a record of how our fielding works.

Rossh: I beg your pardon?

::She pointed to the screen::

Shanri: They figured out how.. ...no, I think they. I think they may have manipulated us, made our ability stronger. They talk here about it being a vestigial ability from our ancestors that lived in water.

::S'Kahh blinked, then his eyes widened.::

Rossh: How dose it work?

::The woman shrugged, not a natural scientist herself, she was mostly repeating what she could read off rather than trying to understand it all.::

Shanri: I don't really know. It's talking about things I just don't understand.

Rossh: Then lets sit down and work though it, you read it out, and I'll write it down. Then I'll sit down and try and make sense of it all.

Shanri: Ok.

::The two continued, writing down everything they could from the video and compiling it together into a single document. The language was alien, not that it was written in an alien language, but that its structure and terminology were alien to either of them. Gradually S'Kahh started making lists of words the would need to find the real meaning of from other recordings, and starting building up an index for translation by running though the other materials in the download::

::By the time the sun was well up into the morning sky, the two of them had complied the first ever detailed report on how fielding actually worked. It was rough around the edges, and neither of them fully grasped some of the subtleties, but the basic methodology of its operation was right there on the PADD.::

Rossh: So, light goes in though the light permeable layer of skin here.

::He gently stroked a fingertip over Shanri's coloured forehead.::

Rossh: And impacts the coloured cells that underlay it. Those cells are filled with.. ...something, probably the pigment itself, which responds by becoming a radical with charged electrons in a paired state. Now, the pairing between the electrons is affected by the presence of a magnetic field.

Shanri: So they are either parallel, or anti-parallel. Right?

Rossh: I think so. And the heavy neuron weave beneath the pigmented cells can detect the tiny difference in the length of time the two electrons remain paired between those two states.

Shanri: And that explains part of our ability - it lets us see the actual fields, or rather their shape, but not their charge?

Rossh: I think so, though not sure how it shows you the whole field from such a small area of information.. ...maybe that second set of organs in the brain itself plays more of a role in expanding that?

::He shrugged.::

Rossh: Regardless, the light that isn't absorbed bounces right back off of the pigmented cells and is reflected out of the transparent skin cells - giving you your coloured headband.

::He chuckled.::

Rossh: So Laudean's have transparent heads, huh, there's a whole realm of new jokes opening up.

Shanri: And a whole absence of my bedroom at the same time.

Rossh: Moving on.

::She chuckled at that reaction and poked the Caitian's nose.::

Rossh: The fluid filled ampules in the brain tissue appear to sense the strength of the field - they do work like ampullae of Lorenzini as people have previously thought. But it turns out they work in co-operation with the cells in the band.

Shanri: So the Ampules detect the strength of the reaction between the fluid inside of themselves, and the magnetic field. Thus showing how much energy is in there?

Rossh: Yes, and if I'm right about this translation, then it isn't just magnetic fields this works with. It looks like there's a blend of different pigments that react to different factors. Magnetic fields are the big ones, but it looks like subspace fields can be detected as well.

Shanri: I think we already knew that.

Rossh: Yes, but now we know how.

Shanri: We think we do - you'll need to get this checked out right?

::he nodded, then yawned as he spoke.::

Rossh: I'll need to talk with a doctor or two yes.

Shanri: Bed first.

Rossh: Mmm, ok, fine. you win.

::He surrendered, allowing himself to be lead out of the holosuite - after retrieving and securing the cube - and back to his quarters for sleep.::

Lt Commander S'Kahh Rossh
Chief Science Officer & Historical and Anthropological Officer
Duronis II Embassy - USS Thunder NCC-70605-A

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