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What Were They Afraid Of?

Posted on 13 Jun 2021 @ 1:26pm by Lieutenant Commander Camila Di Pasquale & Captain Harvey Geisler

883 words; about a 4 minute read

Mission: Extinction
Location: The Planet
Timeline: Mission Day 22 at 1330

After arriving back at the base camp, Camila went to check in with the personnel who had been stationed there. Of the six, four were on patrol and Petty Officer Second Class Jablonski, a bulky human and Crewman M'Rille, a lanky Caitian with dark colored fur remained at the base.

She got a report on Ensign Thi Ng and Jess were out cataloging the medical facility that Commander Geisler had found, and two others were running their drones from a nearby building that seemed fairly secured and were on the rooftop.

Ensign M'Rille seemed very restless and kept pacing back and forth while Jablonski seemed content to sit in the shuttlecraft and check the long range sensors. With a sigh, Camila ordered the Caitian with her and the two of them set out in a direction that hadn't been explored yet. It was a few kilometers, but the SAR trained Security officer covered the distance with ease while M'Rille had wanted to scout ahead and come back every few minutes.

After an hour of walking, they came to a partially overgrown city center which looked like it had been boarded up from the inside. Every window was covered with some form of decaying wood, plastic and furniture that had been big enough to block the way in.

The two found a way into the building and found a large concentration of old skeletons inside, a large amount of crates that revealed to have ancient food stores, all rotted and decayed after so long, and a number of weapons. She took note that several of the aliens that had been found near the windows all had them, but as far as she could tell, there had been no attempts of anyone to get in or out.

After more investigating, the Caitian found several journals that indicated the power plant in the city had stopped working and no one seemed to know how to fix it and they could do well enough with what they had. The people who had holed up in the building seemed to be a group of extremists and there was a number of theories about why people were suddenly dying, but most of them seemed far fetched, including blaming the flora of the planet, the star the planet rotated, different factions of science on the planet, different ideas and a lot of blame.

What they didn't find was a reason people were dying.

One room in particular appeared to be some sort of office. A lone skeleton laid backwards over a chair, as if they had died sleeping in the seat. One wall featured a large map with several pushpins and strings connecting them all with intersection lines over the main city. Different periodicals, reference books, and even older photos of different locations, including city hall, museums, military airfields, and even a couple buildings that no one had seen yet.

"Hey, Chief," M'Rille called when he saw the map and skeleton. He gave his ears a twitch and was grateful the smell of decay had long since dissipated. "I found something in here!"

Camila came in and glanced at the skeleton, then at the maps. "This looks..." She paused and pulled up the scans from the sensors on her tricorder. "We landed....about here." She pointed at a place on the map that had one of the pins stuck in it. "And we explored....this area." She pointed out another place where Joey had found the medical lab. "This looks like a layout of places they possibly thought they could shelter...or something."

She carefully scanned each of the books with her tricorder and the images of all the locations. "We need to check out all these locations. Let's get back to the shuttle and start checking out these locations."

M'Rille gave a nod, glad to be gone from this particular building. "What gets me, Chief," he said as he finished checking the floor around the skeleton for anything the person may have dropped. "Is that they all just died. There's no wounds. There's no sign of trauma. They all just...died."

"What worries me," Camila said. "Is whatever killed them going to affect us, too? Granted, we are a hundred and fifty or so years more medically advanced than they were, but it killed them where they sat, stood or laid."

If M'Rille didn't want out of there and off the planet before, now he certainly did. "We should get this to the Captain," he said as he exited the building.

"Let's get back to the shuttle, then we can take it from there." The Chief started to say before she stopped and looked at one of the photographs closer. It was old and seemed to be out of focus, but what she thought she saw didn't make sense because it looked like an unidentified flying object but the planet didn't seem advanced enough to have something like that. Then again, it could be an alien bird for all she knew. She collected the photograph carefully and put it in a a specimen bag from her tactical belt. "Now we can go," she said. "This is likely to be very interesting."

With that, the two headed back to the shuttle and once again, Camila headed back to the ship.


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