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And Away We Go

Posted on 08 May 2021 @ 1:29am by Lieutenant Lucas Abrams M.D. & Ensign Kelly Khan
Edited on on 23 May 2021 @ 1:41pm

2,985 words; about a 15 minute read

Mission: Extinction
Location: Shuttlebay
Timeline: Mission Day 21 at 1500

Ensign Kelly Khan finished cleaning out the Doohan Type 11 Shuttlecraft while she waited for anyone that needed a ride to the planet. So far, she hadn't had any orders from her department chief and she didn't think she was at any time soon, so she decided to volunteer herself and let that reflect in her personnel files. As she stepped out of the sleek shuttle, she admired the lines of it and glanced around to see if there were anyone that needed to head down immediately.

Lucas made his way into the shuttlebay with his medkit in hand. He still wasn't one hundred percent sure what she was going to be doing down on the surface, but getting the chance to stretch his legs and explore. "Ensign," he greeted. "Going down?"

"That I would be," Kelly replied when she saw her gigantic doctor of a neighbor. "How are you, Doctor Abrams?" she asked as she gave a panel a quick polish with a static free wipe.

"I'm doing well, Miss Khan," the large man said as he boarded the shuttle and set his things down where they wouldn't be in the way. "How about you?"

"Doing good," she said as she headed up to the cockpit. "Make yourself at home. I don't know if anyone else will be joining us or not, so I'll wait a few minutes."

"I don't mind waiting," he said, taking a seat and stretching his legs a bit. "I'm not entirely sure what the surface has in store for us, but I'm looking forward to exploring it a bit. Have you been down yet!"

At that moment, Ensign Shep Hollingsworth from Security stepped onto the shuttle checking his Tactical belt. "Hey, ya'll. Ready?"

"No, I haven't," Kelly said before she blinked and looked back at the officer. "I didn't know you were coming," she said.

"Chief's orders," Shep replied. "At least one Security per shuttle."

"Welcome aboard," Lucas said, looking to Shep. " We'll wait another couple minutes just in case."

Ensign Sarah Proctor arrived with the standard security away team belt, pausing when she caught sight of Shep, nodding briefly in greeting. "Ensign Proctor for away team duty."

Lucas looked to the second Security officer and offered her a smile. "Welcome aboard, Ensign Proctor. Come on on and take a seat. Ensign Khan, we can head out when you're ready."

"Ready and willing," Kelly said as she closed the hatch and ran down the last of the pre-flight checks, then called to request clearance and received it. She smoothly lifted the Doohan off the floor of the Flight Deck and out of the bay, into the blackness of space. "Any particular site you want to check out, Doc?" she asked.

"I have a feeling most of the teams are going to want to explore inland locations. How does everyone feel about a coastal area?" Lucas asked.

Sarah glanced over from her position in a seat near the back door. "I'd be game Sir." Though she didn't mind anywhere really but if he was asking preferences she never turn down the chance to be near water.

"The coastal area it is," Kelly said as she brought up the sensor information and set a flight path. "We'll be there in three minutes if anyone would like to move about the cabin and get a refreshment."

Three minutes didn't seem like long enough to really enjoy any sort of refreshment or stroll, no matter how short, about the cabin. With that in mind, Lucas opted to stay where he was and try to come up with some sort of game plan while they were on the surface.

With a smile, the brunette pilot eased towards the planet smoothly and vectored an approach towards a coastal area. "Now entering the atmosphere," she called.

Proctor shifted in her seat but like the doctor had stayed seated, mentally going over a checklist in her head to make sure she'd done everything. This was her first away mission and she was looking forward to it.

Lucas leaned forward a bit so he could see out of the front window. "What do you guys think we're going to find while we're down there?"

"Hopefully, a map pointing to a lake of liquid latinum and the latest in yachts designed for the sun skimming Admiral's kids," Kelly quipped.

"If only," the big guy mused. "I think out group would go missing if that happened."

Proctor spoke up, "If you could limit latinum yachting until I'm not around I'd appreciate it since I'd like to return to work someday." she joked mildly.

The Flight Ensign gave a smile as she headed the shuttle towards a likely set down spot and glanced over the sensor readouts. "I'm not picking anything up at all," she said.

"I'm not surprised given the reports that there is no life here short of nature. It makes me wonder..." the big guy started as his brow furrowed. "Are the animal species that lived in the surface dead, too?"

Proctor couldn't resist her curiosity and got up to look out the viewport near the front, "No idea Sir, but I don't know if the science guys found any signs there used to be or no."

"Then, I think we found our objective," Lucas stated, looking to his companions. "Even if there isn't any animal life on land, then maybe there might be some in the water somewhere. Any objections?"

"None from me," Kelly said as she lowered the shuttle towards a landing spot and touched down with barely a bump. "Last stop, dead planets and stuff."

"And soon, our adventure begins," the big guy said.

Kelly activated the shuttle's hatch and stood up. "Is anyone staying with the shuttle in case fresh air attacks?" she joked.

Lucas looked at the two Security officers, then back to Kelly. "I can't speak for either of them, but I'm definitely going out to explore."

"I'm in." Sarah replied eager to stretch her legs, moving toward the hatch to look outside.

"I have the drone to control," Florkiewicz said as he pulled out the control table and one of the Type III drones.

"Then let's go," Kelly said as she followed Proctor.

Lucas got to his feet and reached for his gear, then followed the women out to take a look around. He inhaled deeply, taking in the salty sea air with a smile. It wasn't often they got to explore new worlds like this. "I say we get started."

Kelly looked at Proctor and the Doctor. "Do I get a phaser to carry, too?" she asked.

Lucas turned his attention toward Kelly. That was a rather odd question. "Did you bring one with you?" He found himself asking. "I only brought the one with me." He indicated to the holstered phaser at his hip.

"I'm an Ensign," the petite woman said. "They don't give us anything but a tricorder."

"It sounds to me like you've answered your own question, Mis Khan," he stated, pulling a tricorder out to start scanning their surroundings. "However, Miss Proctor and Mister Hollingsworth are our Security escorts, and they're both armed. Should we run into some kind of trouble, we're in good hands, I'm sure. Not to mention Mister Florkiwics is manning a drone, so we should know if there's any reason to require a phaser well ahead of time, and in which case, I'll see to it that you're given one."

Proctor who had stepped out to look around but could still hear the conversation replied, "One of us should be with you at all times if you separate from Doctor Abrams." She continued, "In an emergency I do have a spare." She informed them, since it was in a pocket along with a pocket knife it couldn't be seen on the belt of other useful tools.

"Grumble, grumble, mutter, sir, yes, sir," Kelly said as she activated her tricorder. "I call dibs on travelling with the Doc." I

"Then, we'll all stay together. Let's see what we can find, shall we?" The behemoth asked, though, he wasn't expecting to get an answer. He looked toward the drone pilot. "Scan up the beach a ways and let us know of there's anything interesting."

Florkiewicz had just finished setting up the drone control table and ran a quick diagnostic on it, then got it airborne. "Yes, Sir," he said and sent it flying, the video coming in on the display. For a few minutes, there was nothing but water, sand and more of both.

Then it came upon what should have been a fun family scene. Two adults, two kids and an animal of some kind. A picnic basket, blankets laid out. Idyllic under ideal circumstances. These circumstances weren't ideal at all. All that remained of the individuals were bleached bones and shreds of clothing and the animal was just a skull and some vertebrae.

"Oh gah..." Kelly turned away from it and tried not to remember being in the future and getting her hand trapped in Mrs. Geisler's hair.

Lucas looked down at the young woman. He could almost guess what she was thinking. "A family outing? What happened to them?" He asked. "I think that's going to be our first destination. Let's head that way. Miss Khan, will you be okay?"

Kelly gave a weak nod and swallowed hard as she looked away from the display on the monitor. "I will be."

Proctor blinked at the scene, "Mr. Florkiewicz." She asked the drone pilot, "Does that have sensors or just video?"

"Limited function, Ensign," came the response, "Mainly life signs. These things are packed with everything."

Proctor nodded, the three types were fairly distinct looking but she hadn't been sure if it had been internally modified or not. "Thank you. How far away is the location?"

"About a kilometer ahead along the beach," Florkiewicz responded.

Proctor nodded her thanks, "Easy enough hike. We should continue to be careful though." She observed mildly, her eyes drawn to the nearby water. The sea air and sight of it already grounding her. She briefly wondered if she could get permission to explore under the waves and made a mental note to check the geo scans of the area when she got back.

"So here we go?" Kelly asked.

Lucas nodded. "Yes. We certainly aren't going to get any answers standing here," he answered, gesturing ahead of them. "Miss Proctor, would you like to lead the way?"

"Yes Sir." Proctor replied, mentally shaking off the hypnotic movement of the waves and turning her attention to the path ahead. She headed forward at a steady pace something she could maintain it for a long distance if needed, making sure not to outstrip the others too far. The sand pulled at her boots in such a way as to make it harder to walk than if it had been on the ship but not unusually so.

"Short straw draws the longest legs," Kelly said as she headed into the sand and noted how it felt. "Can we take off our boots, Doc?"

"We have a family that appears to have died on the beach a kilometer away, and you want to take your boots off?" The big guy asked with a raised brow. "What if there's something in the sand, water or surrounding area that caused that to happen? Are you sure you want to?"

The young Ensign stopped, then shook her head hard enough to send her brunette locks flying. "No. Nope. Nevermind. Boots are staying on. Forget I asked, Sir."

"If something happens to me Sir, can you make it sound epic to my parents?" Sarah called from the front, her tone mostly joking as she carefully made her way, looking ahead.

Lucas couldn't help but smile. There certainly wasn't going to be a dull moment on this little excursion. "I'm not in charge of those calls, but I can make the request," he said to Sarah. "That being said... we're all going to make it back in one piece."

"Morbid, they're all morbid, but I can see why," Kelly said to herself. "Maybe another year and I can get a job prepping bodies for the torpedo tubes."

The large man continued moving forward. "Given what we're about to walk up on sooner than later, I think we should probably change the subject," he said, watching his tricorder to keep an eye out for anything that might require exploration at some point.

"Aye Sir." Proctor replied stifling another quip as she trudged through the sand her eyes focused on scanning the area in front of her.

"Lieutenant, you have an area coming up ahead of you that looks a bit iffy," came the voice of the drone pilot over Doctor Abram's combadge. "The sensors are picking up some strange echos."

"Sounds like a trap," Kelly mumbled.

"A trap?" Lucas echoed before answering the pilot. "How far ahead? Ensign Proctor? Is your tricorder picking anything up?"

"One moment Sir" Sarah replied, having immediately stopped at the drone pilots words and rechecked with her tricorder.
"Nothing is showing up on the tricorder, course never a guarantee." She reported.

Kelly walked ahead a little and looked around. "What kind of echoes?"

Lucas was curious as well, but wasn't sure if the drone pilot could answer such a question. He has a feeling they would need to investigate. "You say echoes. What type of echoes? Are they coming from the land side of us, or the ocean side?"

"Land side, but I'm picking up oceanographic signal returns as well," came the response. "There appears to be a cave near drone spotted, but the entrance isn't visible and the sensors are limited."

No visible? Lucas thought as he looked toward the two young women ahead of him. "Miss Proctor... Miss Khan... watch your footing. There's some sort of cave or cavern beneath that deceased family."

"Noted, Sir," Kelly said as she checked her own tricorder now with each step.

"Understood Sir." Sarah replied, she turned seeing Kelly with her tricorder and so put hers away in favor of keeping her hands free. She then stepped in front of the group carefully, "Sir, should we rope up in case of weak ceiling? Do we know the thickness beneath us?" She asked, slowing her pace to match those behind her. Examining surroundings carefully.

Lucas glanced toward Sarah. "Do you any rope? And as for thickness, a scan should be able to tell you that."

"I do Sir, a grappling as well but it'll depend on something to grab on to on the other end." She continued in her movement, "Ensign Khan, anything showing up on your scans?" She asked curiously squinting in the bright sun light.

"Then, make sure you keep it close by just in case we need it," he said before addressing the drone pilot. Until he knew how much farther up they needed to go, he planned to stay right where he was. "Mister Florkiewicz, how far up is the family?"

"About another hundred meters," came the drone pilot response.

"I'm picking up some form of crystal nearby," Kelly said. "It's crystalline at any rate."

"Thanks" Sarah replied to Kelly and to the Doctor, "Aye Sir." As she briefly paused to recheck, yes it was where she'd left it. "Wish I'd brought my spelunking gear..." She mused, glancing around before continuing. "Do you want to continue on Sir?" She said noting he had stopped.

"We'll continue forward. If anything feels off, then we'll turn back and go back to the shuttle," Lucas stated. "Do either of you have any objections. If you don't want to, we can turn back, and I can assure you it will not be looking upon negatively."

"No chance, Doc," Kelly said as she walked near him checking her tricorder. "That crystalline reading is getting stronger. I hope it's not the Crystalline Entity buried here."

Lucas' brows furrowed. This was getting more and more confusing, but that just meant they'd have to do some digging if they wanted answers. Perhaps, literally. "I didn't think so, and I'm sure Ensign Proctor will agree with you," he stated, glancing toward her to get her answer.

Proctor nodded, "I don't think the current danger quotient is high enough to go back." She replied. "I do know we won't learn much going back. It could be good, bad or indifferent. Unless it becomes a bad idea I say we go find out." She smiled to herself as she walked carefully but purposely forward.

"Then let's keep moving," Lucas said. "I'll take point. If anything happens, I'd rather it happen to me rather than one of you." With that, her began to move forward.

Sarah made sure to stay just a little ahead of him, "Excuse me Sir, you wouldn't be trying to put me out of a job would you?" She asked with a smile, most of her attention still on the surroundings.

"Not at all, Miss Proctor. Just doing my duty to see to it that we all make it back to the ship safe."

"I don't know about either of you, but I want to livvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve!" Kelly started to say before the ground buckled under her and she fell through a gap that was barely big enough to fit through. She slid down an incline underground and came to a tumbled heap about ten meters down.

"Kelly!" The big guy shouted just before he lunged in the direction she'd fallen through, but when he landed, the ground gave way beneath him as well, and sent the mountain of a man following the tiny woman below ground.

Sarah spun around at Kelly's yell, in enough time to see her fall and instinctively moved to assist before the crack widened and she slipped through with a not so muttered curse.


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