Posted on Wed Aug 21st, 2019 @ 8:09am by Lieutenant JG Morgan Lindsay & Lieutenant Ian Acainus & Lieutenant Caroline Isley & Lieutenant JG Connor Burton & Ensign Thyra Sh'shraaqir & Ensign Samaire MacBride & Master Chief Petty Officer Amelia Redgrave
Episode 1: A Lesson in Humility
Location: Rocky Arches, Unknown Locations
Timeline: Following “A Lukewarm Welcome”
The bright surge of light was suddenly replaced with a sudden impact. Rock. Hard, hot rock had made its appearance beneath the bodies of the Defiant officers quite known. With an impact hard enough to hurt, but not enough to do more, the three Defiant crew made a bouncing impact on a massive stone outcropping, with a several thousand-foot drop beneath.
Morgan was momentarily blinded by the flash and stunned by the fall's impact. Then he felt himself sliding. Automatically he reached out and his feet skidded against the rocky surface. His feet caught an outcropping and he was able to steady himself enough to stop. Wincing, he started to sit up when something hit him from behind, shoving him ahead.
And over the outcropping. His hands scrabbled and he turned, catching himself by digging in his elbows as his right hand found a knob of rock and his left found something…soft?
Morgan’s attention was first drawn to the thousand (several thousand?) foot drop under him as he looked over his right shoulder. Then he willed himself to stop looking at the drop and at the soft object he’d grabbed.
That’s when he realized it was an ankle.
Thyra was blinded and then fell on the hot rocky surface. She didn't like it. And then she felt a tug on her ankle. She turned around as she was pushing herself up. She looked at the suit she was wearing and her environment and then she saw who was grabbing her ankle. She blinked a few moments. "Doctor?" She called.
One minute Ian had been moving towards the intruder, not quite sure what he would do if he caught him and the next minute his body hit hard on the almost sheer face of a cliff and he was sliding towards the edge all too quickly. He wasn't afraid, he enjoyed climbing, but he was startled by the sudden change. So he lost several precious seconds, sliding further down the cliff face while he oriented himself.
His Akadian agility and previous experience saved his life and he just managed to find a hand and footholds before he would have plunged to his death. Taking a deep breath he looked around to see if anyone else wast there. Having spotted two of his companions, he called out "Are you two okay?"
Morgan half crawled back over the lip of the drop, avoiding crawling up Thyra.
There wasn't time for that, and this seemed hardly the place.
Finally, he levered himself over and into a sitting position. "What is this? I'm a Doctor. Not a billy goat," he said, climbing to his feet then and offering a hand to the Communications officer. Catching sight of the Akadian Diplomatic officer and waived. "I'm alright. Any injuries?"
Thyra grabbed the doctor's and let him pull her off. She laughed at the doctor. "Well right now that would have come in handy, doctor, if we were billy goats I think."
"Yeah," Morgan remarked dryly as he held her hand for a moment as they looked around. "Then there might be trolls around here someplace." Looking around, he checked himself over and grunted. "Looks like I have a medical kit anyway."
The sun was beating down on the numerous rocky arches that stretched out in the near distance. The archways curved back and forth across a precarious canyon, connecting to the cliff faces on different levels. Along the length of it, there were a few noticeable cavities in the rock, potentially indicating deeper holes. A low whistling noise from the nearest of these, some 200 meters away, seemed to support that theory.
Ian now felt much more relaxed. He was still more than puzzled about how they got here, but he and his companions seemed safe enough, at least for now He noticed a cavity of rock which didn't seem that seemed somewhat out of place, about fifteen or twenty meters above him and to the right. His curiosity piqued, he started climbing in that direction.
“I'm checking some things out,” Ian yelled back at the group. “I'll let you know if I find anything.”
Thyra tried to control her breathing. "Maybe we should find a cooler place." She suggested. She didn't like it here at all, even though they were wearing the survival suits, she could still feel it was warm here. She then noticed Ian climbing away. "Should we follow him?" She wondered as she looked at the doctor. He was in charge of this group, he was the highest-ranking officer.
"Probably, since it's not overly smart to split the party," Morgan agreed. "Higher ground might let us see more. How are you at climbing?" He saw and heard the general area the others were heading for and started out. "Sounds like possible wind movement and caves would offer respite from the sun, and would be a logical place to find any inhabitants. Or signs of them anyway. If there is anything logical about this place, that is," Morgan finished.
Thyra sighed. "Climbing is not the issue here," She said, "Andorria is covered in icebergs and mountains, climbing is what we do. But this heat...I don't want to complain, I try to keep up with you guys. But, I can feel it draining on me." She held tightly as the heat was slowly eating away her strength. She did her best to hold on. "Getting out of the sun might be a good idea."
Morgan nodded to her, "A very good idea. We go slow, take our time and find some shade. I don't sense a timetable here, so we look after ourselves and each other here."
"Slow walk on a hot rocky planet in a red shirt." Connor mused quietly to himself as he brought up the rear "I'm sure that's never gone wrong for anyone..."
As the group moved along the precarious archway, there were a few near-fatal slips. The wind seemed to gust at the most inopportune times. Maybe intentionally... However, the officers were deliberate in their step choices and after a brief while, they had made it to one of the rocky caves, the only refuges in sight from the blistering sun above them.
"Right," Morgan stated as they wandered into the cave. "Further in we go, the more likely we are to find water and cooler temps. However, other beings, if there are any, will seek the same. I suggest we explore with caution."
"I agree," Ian said, "would you like me to take the lead? I'm pretty good at seeing at night. I can't see in total darkness, but I'm betting my eyesight is the best in the group."
Morgan nodded, "That sounds like a plan. No use to rush, but no use to wait around either. Obviously, we're supposed to be doing something here...."
"I think we have been commissioned as actors in some kind of elaborate stage play," Ian said, "but all we can do is to keep pressing ahead. It's our only hope of getting out of here."
The cave system was much deeper than it would have appeared, twists and turns concealing what was ahead. A cooler, more humid breeze made its way up from the depths of the cave. Wherever it led, the other side appeared much less arid.
Ian reached out with his mind searching for something, anything that might be a clue as to what might happen next. Then he took a whiff of the air around him. He couldn't smell any better than a human, but that didn't mean he couldn't detect something if there was something there to detect. Then after checking things out as best, he could, he started to walk forward.
Morgan felt the cool air and smiled to Thyra," There. It'll be cooler down here. At least some." He followed behind Ian, looking ahead and keeping an eye on those behind him.
"Will it have a soda fountain?" Connor remarked from the back "I'd wrestle a Gorn for a drink right now."
"Water will do. An ice-cold adult beverage sounds much better since I am rather more thirsty than dirty," Morgan quipped as the group moved deeper into the caves.
In the meantime, Thyra wasn't feeling so well. She licked her lips and breathed heavily by now. She reached out to the doctor all shaking. Softly she whispered, "Mouse...." The room started to spin around her and she couldn't balance herself. Losing her balance she fell sideways against the walls. She damaged one of her antennae before she hit the ground.
Morgan turned back and saw Thyra slumping and he rushed back, failing to arrive in time to catch her. Immediately, he slid onto his knees and began checking her over to make sure nothing had been broken and that her neck was alright. He removed his encounter jacket and bunched it up, making a pillow for her head. "There? Are you alright?" Taking her temperature with the back of his hand to her forehead, he murmured "She's overheated and disorientated. We're going to have to take a rest break."
Ian heard the doctor's words, came to a stop, then turned back till he was beside the others. "How bad is she?" he asked as he sat down.
"So far as I can tell," Morgan said, "She's likely dehydrated and possible sunstroke." He began unfastening Thyra's survival suit, opening it so that what cooler air there was could get at her core. "Thyra?" He said, shaking her shoulder slightly, "Let me know you're alive Ensign." He fished a small flask of water from one of his pockets, opened it and wetted her lips slightly, then poured a bit on her forehead.
Thyra heard his voice. She licked the water of her lips and moaned softly. She opened her eyes and blinked. Slowly she became aware of her surroundings. and finally, she saw Morgan's face more clearly. "Mouse?" A wry smile came on her face. She felt the sharp pain in her antenna. Her other antenna moved nervously before she could feel the other one again. "My...my antenna." She tried to reach up to it, but she felt weak and her hand fell down again.
"Easy now," Morgan told her, "You fell and damaged the antenna. It's going to be fine though." He offered the communications officer more water and smiled at her. "It's going to be fine and so are you. Drink some more water and I'll give you something for the pain and disorientation you'll be feeling." The doctor dug into his medkit and fished out two different medicines, attaching the first to the hypospray. Watching her eyes, he applied the first, then dexterously swapped the vials out and touched the instrument to the other side of her neck.
"Ok, just lay there for a few minutes," he told her, smiling again. "Then we can discuss science and other interesting subjects later."
Thyra smiled and said whispering, "Don't leave me alone." As she felt disorientated and weak, she didn't think she was going anywhere anyway.
"No worries, Thyra. I'm not going anywhere," Morgan stated. Then he looked at the others. "Maybe you two should scout ahead a ways? See if we can find a cooler place for her, it would help her recover."
"I don't know if separating is the best idea," Ian voiced, "but you're in charge and I would like to see what's out there."
Looking at the man, Morgan shook his head. "Technically, JG Burton would be in charge, Ian," Morgan said, his hand moving to Thyra's wrist as he took her pulse and checked her vitals again. "Time in grade doesn't mean much. I'm a staff officer and not in the general chain of command. And I'm not suggesting you go very far, just enough to see what's where and maybe find us a better place to rest. With her antenna being damaged, Ensign Sh'shraaqir is likely going to feel nauseated and have her equilibrium off-kilter for the next short while."
"Sorry, I'm getting better, but I sometimes miss the nuances of Starfleet protocol, "We can do a little exploring. Holler if something happens."
Morgan grinned. "If something happens, you will hear me doing more than hollering. Screeching might be closer to the truth. I've explored a few caves over the years. Watch for loose material on the ground which can slip underfoot and watch your head. It's easy to bang your head into things."
As the two men moved off, he shifted from kneeling to a cross-legged position next to Thyra. "Well, my dear. If you were trying to find us some quiet alone time, you didn't have to go to quite this length. Harnessing the aid of a species with a god complex and hurting yourself," he said, mock-reprovingly. He then dropped a hand to hers and squeezed it slightly.
Thyra smiled, her dry lips cracking a bit. "But ..it..was the...only move I had." She said weakly as she looked up to him.
He took more of the water they had and trickled some into her mouth, "Your moves are always perfect," he smiled at her. We'll move here after you rest a few minutes and hopefully find someplace cooler.
As the men proceeded down the tunnel, its walls became increasingly coated in mosses and other plant-like substances. The light at the end of the tunnel was a greenish-yellow, and as they rounded the corner, the view became clear.
A dense jungle, full of tall towering trees stood before them. The trees blocked out all direct sunlight, only the yellow-green filtering through the trees.
However, in the distance, a thunderous crash echoed. It was fairly far off. Too far to know what was happening for sure. But the trees rustled loudly enough to be heard even here. And then there were the faintest voices, which seemed headed their way.
"That didn't sound good," Ian said half to himself. He stepped fully out of the cave and into the oppressive heat. It was not too much different from the Dartanian Rain Forrest where he had gone camping for several summers when he was a teenager. But he didn't want to think about that. The heat didn't bother him so much, but once, when he was sixteen that he'd fallen into a den of vipers and barely survived. He still had nightmares about it now and then. "Maybe we should give the others an update."
The noises seemed to be getting closer, echoing through the trees. It was the same assortment of sounds as before. Rushing, branches being swept, wind through leaves. And a new one, higher pitch than the others. Weapons fire.
"Bloody hell," Ian muttered a Terran curse as he hurried along, the hairs on the back of his neck sticking up.
"Tell me you've got a phaser..." Connor said "All I've got is a micro-generator and, to be blunt, I'd rather not turn it into a hand grenade. Not least of all because I have no idea on how to control yield..."
"I wish I had one, or some weapon anyway. All I have, however, is a translator. Don't know how useful that's going to be. Maybe there's something inside the cave we can make into a weapon. You know, other than a bunch of rocks. I think we're going to need more than that."
The ruckus in the distance faded. It seemed whatever had been going on was over. However, a few moments later. There was another, quieter, closer rustling. A brief second later, three familiar forms emerged from the brush, limping slightly as they came into view. Lt. Isley, Ensign MacBride, and MCPO Redgrave stumbled forward.
Redgrave spotted them and brought up her phaser rifle on instinct, before realizing who she was seeing. “Uh...sirs. My apologies.”
Isly pushed through the brush behind the others in her group. She saw Redgrave's rifle flash up and she looked around for the threat. As she focused on the new forms, she had a moment of realization. It was Defiant crew!
"Are we glad to see you," Caroline said, almost under her breath as the rest of the group became visible.
"What happened to you?" Ian inserted asking the obvious question.
“Got dropped into the jungle. The XO was with us, at least, until we got jumped by some pirates. One of those trees came down. One of the big ones. We managed to get out of there and well...I guess that’s the whole story,” Amelia said, a little out of breath. She checked the charge on her rifle before turning back to them. “Is it just you two?”
"No," Ian replied without breaking stride. There are two more of us. Doctor Morgan and Ensign Sh'shraaqir. The Ensign is injured, but not too badly. We were just scouting ahead a bit while she took some time to recover."
Amelia nodded. "We passed a stream a little back that way. Plenty of shade, if you think that'd help. It's got a bit less protection than your cave though."
Ian shrugged his shoulders, "Then again that's a double-edged sword. There may be less protection, but the cave has limited egress. I think we're better being out in the open where we can see, something before it's right on top of us."
Samaire rolled her shoulders. "We should get the others, stay together. Water is important for survival. we should bring them to the stream."
"I agree,"Ian said, "would you like me to go get them?"
“No, we’ll just stand here and see if they come on their own,” Amelia replied under her breath.
"Come on then, let's go." Connor said, turning and starting back the way they'd came "Don't suppose anyone brought food? I'm kind of hungry."
"Sorry was on the bridge, not thinking about food" Samaire snarked as she headed the way he was looking.
It had been a while and Morgan judged Thyra ready to move and the others still weren't back yet. The hypo's he had given her seemed to be helping and Morgan decided they needed to move. He packed his kit away and then gathered the Andorian in his arms and started off, following the tracks Ian and Connor had went. There weren't many tracks, but he found a few scuffs and areas where debris had been disturbed by two pairs of booted feet.
Thyra was leaning on Morgan. She was still tired and weak from her earlier ordeal, but she understood they couldn't stay there. "You know, I like our second date to be on Andoria, with ice chilled drinks." She said feeling a bit bold again. "What do you think?"
"Why Ms. Sh. Sh'shraaqir, I thought you'd never ask. You won't believe how long I'v been waiting for that offer! he half teased as they made their way. "I do like the idea of ice chilled drinks, especially now." Then he winked and gave her an arch look, "But is this a ploy to get me home to meet the family? I can just see having to explain to some fierce, over protective male in your family how I was swept off my feet and I am simply there for the beverages?"