Command Stripes and Tan Lines
Shore Leave: Business As Usual
Location: Beachside, Uncharted World 112C, Beltha Sector
The waves broke against the beach quietly, nearly lulling Charlotte to sleep as she listened. They'd finally found the perfect stretch of sand for the day, somewhere along the coast of a vast ocean. The planet they were on was primordial, no inhabitants but the visitors here. But that was perfect for their purposes. The crew needed rest. She needed rest. And a dramatic coastline with a cool breeze, a warm sun, tropical forests to explore, and active volcanic activity far in the distance just above the horizon? That would do the trick nicely.
The wind tussled her hair enough to stir her, and she rose from her position lying on the towel, to support herself on her elbows. Pulling her sunglasses back on before opening her eyes, she looked around at the other crew nearby.
"Sorry, think I may have dozed off there for a bit," Charlotte said, as she woke back up a little.
"We've not long been here," Niamh assured Charlotte as she lay a towel down beside Charlotte's own, "You must have needed it, it's about time I saw you resting," the counsellor chastised jokingly.
"And don't expect to see it again for a while," Charlotte replied with a laugh. Niamh was absolutely right. She wasn't exactly giving herself the best treatment these days. Rest was good. Which was why she'd chosen the spot that she did. Had they rolled up to your average resort planet, she'd likely have mostly hung out in her room, reading reports and thinking too much about their upcoming mission.
But here, dressed in her best red two-piece swimsuit and with nothing but beautiful coastline for miles, she'd actually been able to let go a little. She'd long ago gotten over worrying about showing the twin scars on her back and stomach, that indicated where she'd nearly been killed by a falling support beam. If she let that ruin her swimsuit days, she'd be doing the Klingons a favor. Besides, a bit of a tan would do her some good anyway, as long as she didn't get the doctor too mad at her.
"Ladies, please." Nathan said from the other side of Charlotte, "No talking, let's just enjoy the peace and quiet." He teased the pair. He too was lying on a towel, sunglasses over his eyes and wearing red swim trunks. "Enjoy the sun and the breeze."
"No talking," Charlotte muttered in a joking mimic of his voice. She felt a familiar mischievousness creep in as she intentionally provoked her friend. "You know, some of us find the fact that we don't have to hold our tongue so much a bit relieving."
Nathan rolled onto his side so he could face Charlotte, He pulled his sunglasses down so he could peer over them. "I know Captain's have a mind of their own and their judgment infallible. Along with having a thick skin for making the tough decisions." He teased back. " However what part of no talking is too hard to understand for even the thickest of skulled Captains?" A smile plastered across his face.
A broad smile spread across Charlotte's face. "On occassion, I've been described as a little stubborn." Understatement of the century, she thought to herself. "But I can give you some peace if you'd refer. Niamh, feel like going for a swim?"
Nathan continued to look at her, his smile as bright as ever. "A little stubborn?" Nathan scoffed, " You also forgot who your talking to. So please go swimming. Be a female Dr. Doolittle and talk to the fish...if there are any."
Whilst Nathan and Charlotte had been bickering, Niamh had taken the chance to get comfortable. She had removed the black floor-length beach kimono she had been wearing, leaving her clad only a white one-piece with a simple mustard floral pattern. "A swim sounds like a fantastic idea" Niamh agreed as she rose back to her feet, "I'd hate for us to be responsible for the Commander to not have enough peace and quiet on this vast beach upon which he chose to locate himself nearby" the Irishwoman joked, her face was a picture of faux guilt.
Nathan shot Niamh a fake scowl. "Laying it on a little thick aren't Niamh? " He inquired, "And you and Charley can talk, I didn't mean it the way it came out. I'm just glad not to hear the chirps and beeps of the computers on the bridge along with the lift doors hissing every time they open and close."
"It's ok, Nate. We know you need your beauty sleep," Charlotte teased as she rose to her feet and turned to Niamh. "I think we could probably swim out to the island a little ways off coast. I think Crewman Carter was out there. Could always see if he found anything fun."
"Well, that's true." He bantered back as he rose to his feet. "But now you got me curious about the island, so what are we waiting for? Let's go and see what we can see."
Niamh looked over Charlotte's shoulder to Nathan and gave him a smile before looking to Charlotte, "That seems manageable," she accepted, "mind I'm not the strongest swimmer though. I may need to catch my breath once we get there" she chuckled, as she tucked her kimono into the waterproof bag she'd brought her items in.
"Muscles, you can make sure I don't drown," she quipped as she passed the pair and made her way for the shoreline.
Nathan gave Charlotte a look, "Muscles? Is that you or me?" He quipped as he turned to follow Niamh.
The blonde took a quick look at her slender arms. She was well toned, but in terms of muscle mass, she had about what the standard Starfleet officer did. With a joking smile, she walked along with the trio. "If you're asking that question, you might need to hit the gym. I'm not exactly renowned for my muscle mass." She turned to Niamh. "But I can probably swim well enough for the two of us, my dear. I'll make sure you don't drown."
They made it to the edge of the water. After a tentative first few steps, Charlotte strode confidently forward, tying her hair back into a ponytail. It was cool, but not freezing as she'd feared. Once she was about deep, she gave a tiny little dive, submerging herself fully to acclimate faster. She popped up a few meters away. "Come on in, the water is lovely."
Nathan sighed, "It was a joke Charley. You save Niamh and I'll save the both of you." He countered as he reached the water's edge. Without hesitation he dove in and like Charlotte found the water cool and refreshing. "This is nice." He commented.
"It's not too shabby," Niamh concurred as she paddled closer to the pair from the shoreline, "I would be much more comfortable in a boat, but the Lord gave us limbs and we best get using them," she said, her expression calm as she relaxed into the water, enjoying the feeling of it flowing around her, "otherwise I'm likely to fall asleep."
"Alright, you two. Follow me," Charlotte said, before beginning to stroke away from them. She made sure not to out pace them too much, especially Niamh who was more tentative in the water. As they got closer to the island, she briefly popped her head up and looked around. The waves were rising and falling consistently enough that they couldn't make out any heads around them. She decided to call out, though she wasn't sure the sound would carry far either. "Hey Carter, you nearby?"
"Right behind you Charley." Nathan replied but he made a point of staying close to Niamh in case she had a problem.
Jovani was only a few meters away, floating placidly, enjoying the water as it lapped around him. Raising one hand he called out, "Over here, Captain.", and then let his hand plop back into the water, waiting for the others to make their way over.
A few moments later, the trio swam up to the young crewman. Above them a cloud interrupted the sunlight, casting a stark shadow across them. Charlotte felt herself tense, as if this was some ominous sign. But it was just the weather. With a relieved laugh, she let out the breath she'd inadvertently held. They really did need this break. "So, find anything interesting out here on this little island? I'd have to imagine there's something interesting, even if it's just a weird looking fish."
"You'd be pretty surprised, actually.", Jovani said, flipping over so that he was no longer floating on his back. "I thought I was just sorta daydreaming a bit earlier, when I caught what seemed like flash of light from somewhere underwater. I decided to dive a little bit and see if what I thought I saw was any clearer a bit further down. Turns out there's some sort of crash site just below us. I don't have a tricorder with me, so I couldn't get any information, but I definitely saw something artificial down there.", he said, reporting his findings.
"Fascinating," Charlotte mused, looking down into the water. She couldn't really make out anything past her somewhat distorted looking feet. "Guess we're going to have to go down there and investigate. I don't suppose anyone brought additional goggles or breathers."
"I didn't, no. Any of you guys?", Jovani replied, looking slightly chagrined as he looked around at the others hopefully.
"I did not," Niamh said as she rifled through her bag, "I have got my communicator though," she said with a grin as she pulled it out the bag, being sure to hold it above the water despite its waterproof rating, "We also have a Captain who could have some beamed to our location, the fun would be in trying to catch them before they float away" she joked although it was a real possibility.
Charlotte smiled as she unclasped her smaller, waterproof communicator from her suit, the only piece of equipment she'd actually brought with her. "Reynolds to Defiant. I need a set of 4 googles and breathers beamed to my location."
The C-Shift transporter chief's voice came through, sounding a little bewildered. "Uh...yes, ma'am. Do you want them...at your current location?"
The blonde laughed, certain that the young crewman was staring at their current readout on the screen, confused why he was getting a comm call from the middle of the water. "Yes, that'll work."
There was a moment's hesitation and the sounds of a bit of scrambling before the officer's voice came back. "Uh...understood, ma'am. Transporting to your location now."
A moment later the bright, package arrived, floating a foot or two away. Charlotte started swimming that way. "Alright, everyone. Grab your gear before it gets too far. I'll have them transport the container back as soon as we're clear."
Bishop swam over to the package, got a pair of goggles and a breather placing them in his left hand. He then held the package with his right hand so the others could grab themselves the goggles and breathers.
Bobbing in the gently undulating water Jovani grabbed his own set of goggles and a breather and began fitting them to his face. A few moments later he was ready and waited for Charlotte to begin their descent.
Niamh smiled thankfully as she accepted the equipment and made short work of equipping them. Whilst the others prepared she allowed herself a few moments to slip under the surface and enjoy the dulling of her sense as the water enveloped her.
Slipping her eye goggles on and placing the breather in her mouth, Charlotte activated the two devices. The readout for remaining air appeared on the side of her vision, along with a few useful pieces of information, including the projected depth of the water. Preparing herself, she slipped under the water and began to kick her way down. Sure enough, she soon saw Jovani's wreckage. It was old, possibly hundreds of years. But the device was undoubtably advance. It was also bizarrely familiar looking. The design wasn't human, but she could see the hallmarks of similar cultural progression in some ways. The Diplomatic department would have a field day with this. She made it down alongside the device before turning around and gesturing for her companions to follow.
Following the same general path as the captain, Jovani descended until he was just over the wreckage, looking down on it. It was a sight to see, and he was excited to be here for the discovery. While he wasn't a scientist, his curiosity was still piqued, and he hoped they'd be able to salvage it and take it back to the ship for further study.
Bishop was slightly behind and above Charley and Jovani while still keeping an eye on Niamh and still able to cast an eye on the wreckage before them. As he swam around the wreckage, he saw an opening in the side. It was large, large enough for a person to exit or enter. He motioned to the others to come see.
Niamh trailed behind the group somewhat still feeling slight fatigue from their journey out to Jovani. She was close enough to take note of the Captain's gesture though and carried on trailing after the others. Truth be told, she was likely the least interested in the site, her interests were less physical and more emotional but she couldn't help but ride the excitement the others exuded. Also, on the plus side, it was easier to swim below the surface than it had been above.
Charlotte slid herself in behind Nathan, being careful not to make contact with the ancient device. She doubted her skin would fair well against the jagged edges. The interior was increasingly dark and even the visual enhancements on their goggles could only enhance the limited light so far. But it was obvious enough from their view that the interior had once held crew. Not for a very long time, it would appear. She gazed around the chamber. Had this device been a part of a ship, or a station, perhaps a manned probe? There wasn't a lot of clarity yet. Perhaps Defiant's scans could discern that.
Niamh lazily circuited the room, idly observing the space around them as she took enjoyment in the feeling of weightlessness the water provided. She took note of Charlotte's excitement and reminded herself of her friend's scientist origins. In honesty, she was least interested. It wasn't that the discovery wasn't exciting, it was just the lack of anything she could analyse from her own specialization.
One hand clasped around the edge of the crashed spacecraft Jovani peered inside. He feltthe water moving around him as he floated, and he was a bit lulled by it, but his eyes lazily moved around the interior of the craft. Suddenly they landed on something he could actually recognize. Floating forward he reached out a hand and picked up a piece of equipment. It was slightly bigger than his hand, and looked to be fashioned out of almost the same metal as the craft around them, but the handle, and the small trigger made it very obviously a weapon. With a look around he noticed what looked like projectile impacts, though the growths of coral and the ravages of time made it very difficult to really know for sure.
As Jovani made his discovery, Nathan had found something as well. Resting at the floor of the opening he picked up what looked like some sort of recording device. Maybe a tricorder or something else. It would bear further looking into as it had seen better days. It was littered in coral and clearly no longer functional.
They'd lingered a few more minutes before a small alarm emanated from the device in Charlotte's mouth. The small rebreather was telling her it was time to start heading toward the surface. Its limited power supply would only last so much longer. With a large gesture, she led the team out of the crashed device and back to the surface.
As her head made it out of the water, her ears were once again greeted by the seabird like creatures above and the distant crashing of waves on the shore line of the island. "I think we're going to have to have the science team take a look at that. I can't even begin to imagine how long its been down there!"
Bishop popped up beside Charley and caught her statement." I'd say quite awhile but I wouldn't even begin to hazard a guess to the number of years it's been submerged. I wonder if the occupants were rescued or died somewhere here?"
Bobbing to the surface just as Bishop did Jovani pulled his own equipment off and wiped the water from his face. "I think we all have a few questions we'll be interested in getting answers to.", he said, thinking back to the signs of a firefight he still wasn't sure had been real.
Charlotte nodded. "Luckily, I can think of some people who might be interested in finding those answers. Let's head back to shore. I'll call up and have some science officers look into it."