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Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's Off To Work We Go - Part 1

Posted on 03 Aug 2021 @ 3:45am by Lieutenant Commander Joey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Arjin Djinx & Ensign Quinn Mackie

Mission: Extinction
Location: Sadoria
Timeline: Mission Day 22 at 1600

Joey stood near the opening that led down to the underground cave that was found and looked at those present. "We don't know what things are going to look like once we're down there, so everyone be careful and watch your step," she said as she checked over their gear. Anything she felt would be useful in their current task, they had it. "Does anyone have any questions?"

Aidan had everything portable that he'd need and could carry for a cavernous archaeological site. As he adjusted the pack on his back, he turned to Commander Geisler. "Are we only cataloging what we find or tagging things and areas for more study or transport?"

"That's all going to depend on what we find," Joey answered. "Samples have been taken from other locations and brought back to the ship for analysis. I'd say it's likely going to be a little bit of everything within reason. We don't have use of transporters, so it will be limited to what we can carry."

"We should have brought some extra anti-grav carts," Quinn remarked, noting that they'd only brought two. "Anything to help us get these heavier items out of the cave."

“If we really need them, they can always be brought in by shuttle.”, Arjin offered. He struggled with with his pack a bit but was excited to do some more exploring.

"We'll definitely get them if we need them," Joey said. "That being said, are we all ready to get going?"

“Ready”, Arjin nodded.

Aidan nodded. "I have everything I need," he said. "And am ready to get going." This was yet another trip to the planet that he was looking forward to. What a journal article this would make if only it were not a Starfleet operation.

Proctor walked up to the group, after having talked to the two security officers monitoring the area nearby. "The transport inhibitor is active and there's been no changes. We can go down anytime. "Anyone not feeling comfortable with repelling?" She asked politely adjusting the straps on her back.

Quinn wanted to offer a snide remark, but this was not the time or place. This was his second away mission since the Convergence Zone and he'd be damned if he stuck out like a sore thumb already. He shook his head to the security officer and started to put on his own harness.

Joey looked toward Quinn. The incident with the Dolmoqour did happen nearly a year ago, but it was something she was having a hard time letting go of. Especially since she'd been hellbent of killing her husband thanks to the parasite in her head. Was she nervous? Absolutely. It'd been a long time since she'd done anything like this, but it had to be done.

First, though, she took the time to check each individuals harness and personal anchor systems to see to it they were done correctly. She didn't want anyone getting hurt on her watch. When she was satisfied, Joey took a deep breath and moved toward the opening in the ground. "Is anyone familiar with rappelling?" she asked, hoping someone knew a bit about it. Sadly, there was no way she could be surface side and in the cave at the same time.

"Yes Ma'am." Proctor replied, "I am certified and comfortable. As she talked she was putting on climbing gloves, it was a short hop but she didn't like to cut corners. The helmet with its light (currently off) already secured in her head, where goggles also rested.

"Good, you're going down first," Joey said, nodding toward the opening. "Look around and let us know what you see, then we'll all follow."

"Aye Ma'am" Proctor replied and headed off toward a squat looking, solid device about feet high and a few feet around. It was a portable weight from which she pulled a rope, spooling it on her arm she carefully followed a path with little red flags, indicating the last known safe places to walk, toward the hole. Turning her light on her helmet on she peered in, nodded once to herself and tossed in the rope watching it unfurl. After a moment she went back to the device and pressed a button, pulled out a little more rope then set the manual lock override to hold it into place.

Then secured her locking rig to the part of the rope near the hole, "I'll be just a moment." and then without hesitation jumped into the hole, hands on her locking carabiner. She carefully controlled her descent and landed, her boots crunching on crystals as she hit ground, keeping knees slightly bent to absorb impact. After a complete but swift check she unhooked and moved aside, "All Clear." She reported over the away team coms.

Arjin was not really confident whilst getting down, but after some time he was glas to be with both feet firmly on the ground.

Joey was the last one down after making sure everyone else made it to the surface below safely. She shined her light around their rocky surroundings and indicated that the others should do the same. There were crystal fragments everywhere, some much larger than others, but there were still a few others anchored on the caverns ceiling that showed signs of damage. "I'm glad you, Abrams and Khan made it out of here alive," she said.

The beam of her light moved again. Roughly seventy feet away from them were a couple tunnels that seemed to branch out in different directions. "I wasn't expecting more than one cave," Joey told her team with a frown. "And given that we have no idea how stable things are down here, I'm not comfortable splitting up. I say we pick one and hike a bit. If we don't come across anything, we come back and go down the other."

Quinn pulled out his tricorder and instantly was met with feedback. He quickly disabled the sensor unit, reduced its range, and reactivated it. He listened for a moment, and didn't hear any resonating with the crystals. "Tricorder range is extremely limited, best to keep the range set for twenty meters." He walked to the junction of the tunnels and scanned down each one. "Can't really tell which of these is best."

Joey felt her frustration start to rise. Why couldn't anything work as it was meant to? "Then we'll start with this one," she said, gesturing to the nearest opening and began to walk toward it. "We'll walk twenty meters and see what scans tell us. Let's go."

Quinn followed the Lieutenant Commander down the tunnel, shining his light around as they did so. The cavern, as expected, was dark, yet the light shining off the exposed crystals provided some small amplification, although dimly and iridescent. "Makes you wonder how much crystal is really on this planet."

"Indeed," said Aidan, "Most likely there are many deposits underground. And they look amazing." He paused a moment and shined his light onto one. "See how the light seems to cause the raw, uncut crystal to glow. Fascinating. And it's beauty is unsurpassed by anything Federation gemologists could produce or cut." Stared for a few seconds at the outcropping.

With Joey in the front, Proctor brought up the rear. As the last member headed down the path she quickly used a piece of chalk to mark an arrow down the cave mouth they choose just in case anyone had to come in after them as scanning seemed limited then followed before they were out of sight, pausing when they did to look around. "They do look nice." She agreed, keeping the "When they're not blowing up in your face." to herself.

Joey let the others continue to talk behind her, but it seemed like the deeper they got inside the cave, the more worn out she felt. "Ensign Mackie, are you picking anything up on scans?"

Quinn shook his head. "There's not much to speak of at this point," he said sadly. "However it seems this tunnel is about to turn downward. It's not a sudden drop, but it should be a steep ramp."

"I can secure a pinon if we want to go down and we could link together for security depending on slope. Do you have the degrees? or know how far down it slopes before leveling?" Proctor came closer to where the group huddled, hoping they all brought enough rope.

"It's perfectly walkable," Quinn announced, looking down the sloped area. "If anything, we should have brought a loaf of bread to leave some crumbs behind."

Or leave behind the fingers of a certain Operations officer, Joey thought. She blinked. Where in the hell had that come from? She didn't know, but hoped it didn't happen again. "Then, we go down and run more scans," she said, then began to start making her way down the slope.

Scans, thought Quinn. Why was it that all he ever got to do on away missions was scan? He followed the senior officer, continuing to scan as they went. Crystal. Rock. Crystal. Rock. Crystal. Vein of gold. Crystal.

Quinn paused in his thoughts, watching the readouts on the tricorder. "Commander, it looks like the tunnel is widening. I'm picking up a hollow section ahead."

Proctor followed, eyeing the crystals warily as she walked behind the group, she glanced behind briefly checking their rear, Walking through a hall of potential bombs with the unknown ahead and they're acting like it's a Sunday stroll... she thought irritated then was irritated with her unfair thought as she wondered what the hell that was about. Pushing it away she focused on her job.

Instead of asking how far ahead, Joey pushed the team forward to the hollow section. She hoped it would offer up some sort of answers, but so far nothing they'd encountered had. Instead, they'd only raised more questions. She was a bit thankful they hadn't come across any bodies so far, but there was still plenty of time.

"It should be starting to widen now," Quinn said, looking at his tricorder. And hollow out it did. Soon, the cavern walls seemed to disappear from one side, and the ceiling above them lifted almost out of range of their flashlights. The path, however, started to get rockier than normal, at least for moment, before translating into something smooth.

"Um, Commander," Quinn remarked, pausing in his stride and shining his flashlight around. He'd been completely taken by surprise by the vision that overwhelmed him. "I think we're going to need some floodlights down here." He stopped his beam on what appeared to be a broken window on an artificially created structure. "I think there's a lost city down here."

"A lost city?" The Intelligence Chief echoed. "Let's head back up to the surface and get any supplies we might need before we attempt to explore a lost city."

Proctor stepped up with the rest of the group, her light shining brightly right up until it stopped, she couldn't see the entirety of the space but it felt huge and her light only settled on a few of the nearer ruined buildings. "Perhaps a brief look about a quarter or half mile in?" She suggested, "A little recon to make sure the initial zone is safe?"

Arjin looked inside the large cave. The first buildings seemed rather plain and undecorated. His initial wish was to follow the Ensigns suggestion. But he knew Commander Geisler was right and they should head back. Anyways it was her call to make.


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