Posted on Sat Dec 21st, 2019 @ 11:15pm by Captain Charlotte Reynolds V1 & Lieutenant Commander Nathan Bishop & Lieutenant JG Connor Burton & Lieutenant JG Morgan Lindsay V1
Edited on on Tue Feb 11th, 2020 @ 8:53am
Episode 2: Inevitable
Location: Planet's Surface, Star System 133-05B, Expected Destination of Intergalactic Object
Timeline: 44 Hours Before the Arrival of the Extragalactic Object
The small shuttlecraft slipped into the atmosphere as quietly as possible, arching over the open waters of the planets sea and then slipping silently into the dense cloud cover that dominated much of the region. Small water droplets began to accumulate across the viewports of the vessel. A thick layer of mist covered the ground below them, giving additional cover for the craft. It's possible they'd be heard from a distance, but they'd most likely go unseen.
Dustin sat at the control panel in the pilots seat, his hands deftly piloting the small craft down to the surface of the planet. He was heavily relying on instrumentation because of the cloud cover and condensation, but the view outside was still striking enough to garner at least a bit of his attention.
"It's so beautiful.", he said, to no one in particular.
Just as he'd finished saying that the shuttlecraft lurched violently and plummeted nearly two meters. "Shit.", he said, before he could catch himself. "Sorry about that, everybody, looks like we got ourselves some turbulence.
Another ten minutes passed, and several more sudden jolts as well, before he was able to drop into the relatively normalized lower atmosphere and begin their true descent into a small clearing. When he'd finally set them down safely he popped his back and stretched his arms. "Whoo, that was a fun trip. Bet the one back up is gonna be even better!", he said, genuinely enthused.
Morgan stared at the feed he'd been attempting to fine tune at one of the small secondary stations.
Well, glowered if you got right down to it.
"Atmospherics combined with the geographical densities is playing hell with sensors," he groused. "The beacon is there, but it's weak and it's not telling us anything useful."
Bishop sighed, "Alright. Complaining isn't going to make it better." He looked at Morgan. "Which direction is the signal coming from?" He asked as soon as he knew that they could go and see for themselves just what was going on.
The Doctor was tempted to comment further but stifled himself and continued to half fumble with the unfamiliar sensor suite. Glancing over to Connor, he asked, "Any luck filtering that beacon signal through your systems?"
"Beacon signal's better," the doctor read off from his console, "Looks like approximately 2.8 kilometers, bearing 020 North, NorthEast. Sensor's did some topographical mapping..." He touched a few controls and an overall map of their landing site and the beacon's location came into view with the computer's best guess at the easiest pathway to reach same. "Shouldn't be too bad a hike, but we'll want to watch our footing," he commented.
Dustin was hot, he was sweaty, and his uniform was dirty, but he had a broad smile on his face. Growing up he'd always been an active, outdoorsy kind of guy, so this sort of thing was what he lived for. They'd been hiking for about an hour and a half, and he could feel the familiar burn in his legs, and ankles from going up and down the hills, and he had a few scrapes from the times the terrain had been a bit less friendly and he'd slid, but none of it was anything less than fun for him. When he heard that they only had a few meters to go he was actually a little bit sad, but then they came up over the last rise and looked down at the area they were headed for and all thoughts of disappointment quickly vanished.
"Wow...", was all he was able to come up with as they look out on what the'd been trying to find.
Unlike the previous patches of wildlife, the next area was noticeably disturbed. Massive, towering tree trunks were splintered in an obvious entry vector, coming in from the other side. In front of them was the remains of said entry. It was somewhat fresh by the looks of it, not here for more than a few days. Possibly even hours.
The pieces of the metal scraps around were indistinct, just warped and partly melted pieces of shredded metallic material. But further down along the path, was something much more recognizable. At first, it had looked like a hunk of space junk, covered in mud and moss and tree bits. But a further analysis made it clear that was not the case. Sitting on one badly damaged nacelle and one stump where one used to be, was a small shuttle craft. It's exterior was scorched nearly black, but the few untouched portions were visibly a whitish-silver metal.
The frame of the object was not specifically familiar to them, but it was undeniably recognizable. Angular and somewhat rounded front curving to a more rectangular back. The nacelles paired beneath the craft in the way they were. And the string of letters visible near the bottom of the rear portside section of the craft. Letters in Federation Standard. "-raft 4"
Eyes wide Dustin held out a hand, one finger extended to point to the rather obvious shuttlecraft before them. "Um... y'all seeing this too?", he asked, a little bit of shock evident in his voice.
Bishop stood beside Campbell and stared down at the scene before them. "A shuttlecraft? How is that possible? There haven't been any reports of missing shuttles. Wherever this one came from, it took a beating."
The briefest flickers of life in the crafts power systems flared. It was nearly completely spent. And it was sealed shut. If there was anyone actually inside this thing, their air was running thin.
Bishop looked the area over, he couldn't see any danger but that didn't mean there wasn't any. "Put your phasers on stun and stay alert. Now lets go and get a closer look at the shuttle."
Quickly doing as he was told in regards to his phaser Dustin then scrambled his way down the slope before them and began to approach the shuttle. It was still quite warm, emitting enough heat that he could feel it as he approached. "It hasn't been here very long, and there might be someone inside. Permission to open the hatch, sir?", he asked, turning to look at Bishop.
"Crack it. Only way we're going to get some answers and help whoever is inside." Bishop replied, ready to see just what was inside.
Dustin reached out, and as he was putting in the correct sequence of buttons to unseal and open the shuttlecraft he glanced towards the doctor, "You ready, Doc? Might be someone injured inside.", he asked.
"That's what I'm hear for, Commander." The doctor nodded, before continuing, "Since we don't know what's in there, I recommend caution. No one go dashing in before we get a look at things. If there's bad atmosphere, let it clear out first...that sort of thing."
After the doctors reply Dustin entered the last command to pop the shuttlecraft door.
A loud hiss escaped as the airlock was forced open, allowing outside air to rush in. The large door slammed to the ground with a crash, breaking several of the large pieces of foliage trapped beneath it. The inside of the shuttle was very dark, lit only by the occasional shower of sparks and a slight flickering from the bridge panel at the far end of the craft.
Bishop moved to the forefront after Dustin opened the door and it crashed to the ground. He placed a hand on Dustin's shoulder, "Morgan, you follow me in. Mr. Burton you and Mr. Campbell follow us. Watch your step. It's in a word dark." With that he moved to and entered the shuttle, cautious in his movement as he looked about.
"Good thing I haven't needed a nightlight since I was eight." Connor remarked as he fell into step with the group.
The group entered the craft, moving farther into the darkness of the vehicle. It was when they had come across the door to the vehicle's cockpit that they heard the first noise in the craft. A weak, wheezing breath coming from one of the cockpit seats. As their lights reached the source of the sound, they froze.
There were two individuals on this section of the shuttle cockpit. One, an older looking Tellarite, sat in the rear seat. He was injured, with what looked to be some sort of energy burn to the chest. His wheezing breath indicated he likely was nearing his end if he didn't receive aid soon. The other figure, a young Trill woman, was slumped unconscious over the terminal, with a visible head wound.
Their uniforms were immediately recognizable as Starfleet Uniforms...but the longer they looked, the less familiar it became. The exact details were all wrong. The Starfleet emblem was similar, but off, and was much bulkier than would have been expected. The uniforms were in the usual division colors, but with odd black patches across the shoulders. And the ranks were in the wrong place, situated as a set of pins on the collar, rather than stripes on the sleeves. The Tellarite man, despite having the supposed rank of Captain, wore a red uniform, as if in Operations.
Bishop noted the difference is the uniforms, he had questions but those could wait. Of a more pressing concern were the injuries to the shuttle occupants. "Morgan, have two here that could use your talents." He called out to the doctor.
With the handheld sensor from his tricorder out, Morgan moved in and began triaging the Tellarite. Checking the beings bio signature versus those in the library, he pulled out scissors and quickly cut away parts of the uniform around the would then pulled a can of wound sealer from his kit, fished out a vile of burn. Twisting and dropping the caps from both, he jammed the vial into the can and felt the can vibrate as it mixed. When the vial butt light turned green, he sprayed the now antiseptic, hydrogel dressing over the wound sealing it quickly. Dropping the spent can, he next took a hypo from his bag and applied to the Tellarite's neck, administering further pain medication. Next, he took an IV cuff from the emergency kit he carried and fit it to the beings forearm and activated it. The cuff sealed itself and a dim light switched from yellow, to red to green indicating a successful needle insertion and that fluids were beginning to flow. Lastly, he pulled a face mask and fitted it, the membrane sealing automatically to the skin and once he rolled out the bladder and activated it. Within a few seconds, filtered air began to aid the wounded being's breathing.
Next he moved to the Trill and began the triage process. His hand sensor gave him some information and he moved on to check the Trill's pupils and check the head wound. Morgan pulled another can of bandaging from his kit and sprayed it over her head wound, then he gave her an air mask like he had the Tellarite and then gave her a measured dose of pain medication. Lastly, he applied a bio-readout disk to the back of her hand and looked over to Nathan. "Commander Bishop, they're stable but we should get them out of this shuttle and then back to Defiant soonest."
"I understand that Morgan, and we will. Agreed, lets get them out of the shuttle and outside where you can assess their injuries in daylight." Bishop answered.
Morgan's eyebrow went up at the Commander's words and he replied, "Uh, yes sir." Turning back to the Trill, he slid in beside her seat as best he could and released the webbing that had kept her in the flight chair and he gathered the limp body in his arms slowly, then backed out until he found a place where he could turn and then carried her from the shuttle. The doctor found a spot four meters from the shuttle that looked suitable and placed her on the ground. After rechecking her vitals he went back to the shuttle and said, "I'll need a hand with the Tellarite," he stated, "He's going to be a team lift."
Bishop nodded, "Alright Morgan, Mr. Burton, Mr. Campbell, we need your assistance here in moving this officer outside." As he waited for the others to join Morgan and himself, he looked at the uniforms again. "Starfleet alright, but what's with those pins on the collar and the wrong colors?" He asked.
The team's communicators began chirping aggressively, signifying a message coming in from Defiant. An urgent one, by the sound of it.
Bishop flipped open his communicator, "Bishop to Defiant. We read you. What's up?"
The Captain's voice came through the device. "Commander, hate to interrupt you, but we've got some...developments on our end. The object we're all waiting on? It just accelerated. We're looking at less than 12 hours until it's arrival. I need you all back aboard asap. What have you found?"
"It's alright, Captain. We're at the site. We've found a Federation shuttle with two Starfleet officers in need of medical assistance. Morgan has them stabilized but they need the attention that the Defiant can give."
"...Federation shuttle?" The captain's words didn't sound like they were meant for anyone in particular. There was a brief pause. "Understood. Assist Lt. Lindsay with stabilizing them. We'll transport you directly from there. Someone else will be transported down to gather the shuttle. Transporter room will be standing by for your command. Reynolds out."
Morgan looked over from where he knelt between his patients and said, "Tricorder's giving me odd readings all around. They're what they look like they are, but some of the readings are off by just percentages from what you'd expect. Given the odd insignia and uniforms, it's adding up to something strange. Given that, I'll want them in quarantine with security handy." He looked up and met Bishop's eyes then and shrugged, "It's procedure, but still. Something's odd alright."
Bishop nodded, "Agreed. Alright let's get them back to the ship and into quarantine. I'll post a security detail." He opened his communicator, "Bishop to Defiant. Beam the away team and the two survivors directly to Sickbay. Morgan is going to put them in quarantine. I also want a security detail waiting there to meet us."
Glancing back at the shuttle, Morgan said. "I'd like to grab their computer core. It might give us some answers before they are able to..."
"I'll get it Morgan, you stay with your patients." Bishop replied. "It won't take but a minute."
"Yes sir," Morgan agreed, looking back to his patients and checking their bio's again. They were starting to stabilize, which was promising but the doctor frowned anyway. Something here just seemed odd.
Bishop nodded and reentered the shuttle. He moved quickly to the computer core. Like Morgan he had a feeling that something was off. he pushed the thought aside as he concentrated on removing the computer core. Within minutes he was done and back outside, rejoining the away team. "Got it." He announced, "Now let's back to the Defiant."