The Starship, Carta, was sliding smoothly into orbit around the planet. It was a bright blue and white world, in what was known as the Milky Way galaxy by the inhabitants.
The planet was called Earth, with two thirds of the surface covered with oceans and polar ice caps. "One might have described it as a water world," Hendel thought, as he sat in his chair watching the planet slip beneath the ship. Hendel was the captain of The Carta and leader of the expedition. The Carta had been diverted to replace the original ship, the Golioth, when it was dry for docked repairs of some kind.
Hendel, had never met a truly alien species before, at least not one who was not already a member of the Federation. All he knew about the species on the planet below was a rough sketch. They were bipedal, two arms, two legs, one head and that they walked upright.
Not much of a description. "Oh well," thought Hendel, "The life sciences people down in the science and biology departments have been given all the particulars. At least I hope so."
"I wonder what the inhabitants really look like?" Hendel though out loud. Some of the crew glanced over at the Captain but realizing that he was simply thinking to himself out loud, went quickly back to their duties.
Hendel's thoughts were interrupted by the Astrogator, Lieutenant Commander En, who turned from the control console. "Captain we are in standard geocentric orbit over the planet," En stated.
"Very well, Mr. En," The captain replied, "Lock down your board, stand down the crew from space duty and commence standard duty watches."
"Yes sir", En replied turning back to his console to issue the necessary orders.
Mr. En was from a planet in the Alpha Centauri star system, surprisingly only 11 light years from Earth, give or take a light year. He looked much like anyone else on earth. That is as long as you saw him from a distance in very bad light. He was 6'10" or 6'11". Well to be honest he was pushing 7' very hard . He had smooth gray skin and almond shaped eyes and a sixth finger on each hand. His people were known as being very precise and correct in their dealings with other beings. But they did have an understated sense of humor if you could penetrate their reserve.
Hendel got up from his chair to leave the bridge, "You have the bridge Mr. En," he stated, "I'll be down on deck eight in the life science department. Inform me if anything untoward occurs."
"Very good Captain," En replied glancing back over his shoulder.
Hendel knew he had no worries about the ship. En had been offered his own ship not once but twice. Why he had refused was a mystery known only to En and Hendel himself. And no one in the fleet would dare ask him the reason, such things just weren't done. He knew En would take what ever steps were necessary to keep the ship safe.
When Hendel arrived in the life science department on deck eight he was, confronted by a incomprehensible array of machinery, computers, microscopes and other medical equipment.
The head of the department was Dr. Seers, a cat like being from the planet Scorpa. Dr. Seers looked like his genetic roots went back to something that would have looked not unlike a Bengal Tiger who had stood up, grown hands on it's fore limbs, and become sentient.
Seers looked up from the equipment that he had been inspecting and moved over to the captain. "Have we arrived at our destination?" Seers asked.
"Yes," replied Hendel. "Do you have everything in readiness for the initial stage of the program?"
"Yes sir, we will begin orbital scans within the hour," Said Seers, "We will attempt to locate and localize possible subjects who's brain wave patterns fit the search parameters."
"How long do you estimate the search to take?" Hendel asked.
"Approximately one to two rotations of the planet," Seers replied, "At which time the ship will have to be moved to the proper location above the planet, in order to gain more precise readings. We may have to move several times depending on the number of subjects that are located."
"Very well Dr., launch your probes and inform me when you have completed the search,"
Hendel ordered. "In the mean time I would like you to prepare a report for me on the exact nature of the modifications that you and your staff intend to introduce into the subject from the planet. I'll need it when the time comes to convince the subject to agree to the procedures and become part of the mission to save this planet. His compliance must be voluntary."
"Certainly Captain," Seers answered, "You will have it well before we have selected a candidate."
After Hendel had left, Seers proceeded to check on the final preparations that his staff had been completing. Seeing that all was in readiness he ordered the launch of the probes, six in all, and assigned personal to keep a watch on the data coming in with orders to match possible candidates with as specific a location on the planet as possible.