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Lt Costello, LtJG Lexil, Ens McKenzie, Ens t'Rehu & Ens sh'Eikshah - "You've Got to Live With What You Know"

Posted on 2020-01-23 08:53 by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kennet Ek & NPCs (Amy) & Lieutenant JG Lexil & Lieutenant JG Mayoko Takeuchi & Ensign Liam McKenzie Ph.D. & Ensign Lia t'Rehu & Ensign Siriad sh’Eikshah & Lieutenant Amadeus Costello & Crewman Kaeriss & Crewman Fearne Popples

Mission: Poisoned Apples

Breaking atmosphere should have been a source of comfort for Lieutenant Lexil. The Denobulan had been able to formulate a plan of action based on the observation of Lovelace heading to dock at the moon's orbital platform and had decided that the multiple escape pods that had been swallowed by the aqua green mass of the planet would need the assistance of the Turing, especially seeing as some of them had been hit during the battle. Was it a battle? Perhaps more like a turkey shoot. Like fish in a cosmic barrel with no reef or rock to escape to. At least a good proportion of the crew seemed to have come through unscathed, although one of the pods supposedly on the planet was missing from her sensor data. That was no small concern.

The effect of gravity and G forces on the crew started to tax the inertial dampeners but after thirty seconds or so the fiery orange of re-entry gave way to a cool green, the natural colour of the sky, and the pressure of re-entry began to settle. The roar of atmosphere against the shuttle was a new and conspicuous sound, broken by the beeps of Lexil and Lia's fingers working the controls of the Turing. But the relative peace of skimming the clouds didn't last. Drones had followed the shuttle into atmo and were soon, thanks to Lia's work, a collection of scorched parts falling towards the barren landscape below.

"Heh, green sky. That's cool," Fearne commented as the shuttle approached a cloud layer and the windscreen was filled with mint green fog.

"Perhaps," Lexil replied as she took stock of all of her sensor readings. "There is a higher quantity of xenon and chlorine in the atmosphere than most of us are accustomed to. The former is not a problem, however the latter… not toxic levels but far from ideal. I'm going to set down by AlphaTwo and hope reducing our power signature will throw off any more of those drones."

On the surface a few thousand feet below Mayoko studied the green sky above her through a clearing in the trees. She thought she had heard a distant explosion, but saw no evidence of any source. Being planet side again filled her with a curious ambivalence. It was hard to get more secure than the feel of proper dirt under one's feet, yet this planet was completely alien to any she had seen before. The flora around were coloured with a strange blue-green. It made Mayoko uneasy. The demolitionist took a deep, calming breath that proved to be anything but calming as a tingle in her lungs made her start to cough.

Don't try that again… she thought. Her attention was taken from the fantastical plant life around her to a strangely subdued Degu by a steadily growing wheeze now audible over the sound of the tropical winds playing with the taller trees about them.

"Rusty?" Mayoko was no veterinarian but it was clear Rusty was having more of an issue processing the atmosphere. The wind about her picked up throwing pieces of grit into the air and into her face. Mayoko pulled part of her worn and stained uniform jacket over her face to shield them both for a full five seconds before she realised that the sudden gust was in fact the Turing hovering twenty feet or so above her. She darted back into the tree line and watched the craft set down, spying the forms of Lexil and Lia t'Rehu through the view screen. A third joined them — Fearne waved like a nutter to Mayoko. Mayoko smiled and waved back.

Dhodot had lingered inside the escape pod after touch down — the plant life didn't look particularly friendly, and his skant uniform provided less protection from the dense undergrowth than he would have liked. When he saw the Turing lowering itself gently through the opening in the canopy, he dared leave the pod — moving gingerly through the plants that all seemed to want to scratch him or tangle around his ankles. He finally emerged from the treeline next to Mayoko just after the shuttle settled in place on the ground.

"That doesn't sound good," Dhodot said, looking at Rusty.

“No. I should find Doctor Costello,” Mayoko agreed. But as she turned to do so a call from the shuttle turned her head.

“Hey Lieutenant, we’re replicating uniforms. What’s your measurements?” Fearne called.

“Thank you Fearne!” Mayoko smiled at the thoughtfulness. “Five four, thirty-four, twenty-five, thirty-five, inside leg thirty!” Mayoko called back.

“Holy shit... ok one tiny uniform coming up!” Fearne grinned and popped back inside Turing and left Mayoko free to locate help for her charge.

Costello was busy packing up all the supplies left in the escape pod, checking the medical supplies he'd managed to grab and making a mental list. The limited sensors and then when they'd opened the pod and used the tricorder had told him everything he'd needed to know about the atmosphere. He was rustling through to see if he could find a way to make it easier for everyone to breathe with what they had with them, and hopefully the Turing would have more of. He heard the Turing arriving and his ears pricked at the sound of his name and he stuck his head out of the pod. He frowned as he made his way over to Mayoko, pulling out his medical tricorder. "Smaller lungs, she's struggling more than us because of it," he said quietly.

Kaeriss was stood a little ways off, she'd needed to stretch her legs and flex her claws, her fur blown this way and that by the landing of the Turing. She was stood in awe of the beauty of the jungle they'd landed in. The hue of the foliage was intriguing, the structure of the jungle somewhat similar to the jungles of home. She was smiling but she looked around in concern at the conversation about the small rodent they'd so carefully brought with them.

Lia was going over the sensor readings Lexil had taken during the descent as well as ones she was currently taking. She was scanning the database for the most energy efficient replication pattern for a filter she could pass out to crew members. If there was enemy fire as they came in, there would be some kind of security force around and she wanted to be prepared. As she did so she was also mentally punishing herself for leaving the phaser rifle. At least she had a normal type II hand phaser and a cricket model with some spare energy cells.

Dhodot looked at Mayoko headed back towards the escape pod, looked around at the various plant matter that surrounded them, and started towards the shuttle. "Excuse me, crewman? Can I get a pair of pants to wear with my skant?" Dhodot called after Fearne long after she'd disappeared into the shuttle again, stopping pretty much every step of the way to shove aside or tear at some vine or leaf that brushed against him or wrapped around his boot. His exposed legs were starting to become a little red from his unfortunate and clumsy interactions with the local flora. As he had a particularly animated tug-o-war with a vine that had become wrapped around his left boot, he stumbled into Kaeriss when the vine gave way to his tugging.

"Oh, er, excuse me, Crewman." He offered a sheepish grin at the Caitian.

Kaeriss was almost laughing at Dhodot, but managed to restrain herself, that was until Dhodot stumbled into her. She hissed, baring her sharp teeth, but not at Dhodot, at the plant. It did not retreat, and so, Kaeriss slashed her claws at the plant holding him tight.

"I'd recommend taking her into the shuttle, find somewhere safe for her and we'll keep the door shut as much as possible until we're ready to move," Costello said after a moments consideration. Mayoko nodded.

“Thank you Doctor,” she said with a subdued sort of smile and went with curiosity to check out Turing, passing Lexil on the way in who offered her a supportive greeting and made a beeline for Costello.

“Good to see you sir,” she offered pleasantly, although there was plenty of truth in the observation. “The captain’s shuttle is on the moon along with Jarkil and Dragamirov. There are at least two other pods that broke atmosphere on the planet but one disappeared from the sensors over one of the oceans. One pod was destroyed in the battle I’m afraid... I just didn’t anticipate there being life here.” Lexil looked glumly up at her superior, clearly she blamed herself for the loss of some of the crew.

"Right, we need a plan, and as cramped as it might be, I suggest a discussion in the Turing, we've got some issues we need to sort and this atmosphere is less than ideal. We need to decide on a course of action, and we need to prioritise in clean air." he paused. "Kaeriss, can you keep emptying the pod, we need to pool resources," he said, knowing that the crewman would have less issues with the local wildlife having grown up in a jungle similar to this one.

Having just been liberated from the smell of the Turing Lexil was not overjoyed about returning to the dubious olfactory experience that was her interior. Yet Costello’s suggestion made perfect sense. As it happened Lexil’s biology was better suited to filtering the chlorine than her human crew mates, but that was no reason to let them suffer.

“After you,” she said cordially, “But I should warn you of the smell beforehand...”

Although the interior of the Turing may have been somewhat odoriferous to those entering, Liam had gotten used to it by then. The cultural specialist had been lagging behind the others while waiting for his new uniform to be replicated and had yet to step outside. He was so happy to receive the new clothes that he could have hugged Fearne after she handed them to him. Never had he meant the words ‘thank you’ more profoundly than he did in that moment.

Liam was adjusting his tunic as the others began filtering in, an expression of exhausted relief clearly visible on his face. “Hello everyone,” he said, standing in as the shuttle’s welcoming committee. “It is great to see you all here and in one piece.” He waved the arrivals to the few seats that were available and chose to stand. Lexil also chose standing having been sat for so long, she leant on the console between pilot and copilot which was now partially powered down.

At the replicator Mayoko had taken over inputting measurements from Fearne (who had now crowned herself “resident computer dunce”) and uniform pieces were flashing into existence only to be quickly siphoned off by Fearne into a pile in her arms. Under the copilot’s console Rusty was starting to look a little stronger and was sniffing around small bowls of food and water her guardian had been able to replicate.

Kenny had tucked herself as far into a corner as she could, where she was fussing over her own replacement uniform. She'd wanted nothing more than to get out and stretch after a day of being cramped up in the shuttle, but she knew that with the atmosphere outside and whoever it was who'd staked a claim to this planet and moon, staying inside was the best thing to do unless ordered otherwise. So she stayed quiet and she waited for the officers to give some sort of direction.

Costello was also more comfortable standing. "We need a plan. We lost one pod, at least one crashed on the moon, and two on the planet, it looks like the latter have already been picked up." He sighed. "We need to pool resources, and ideas, we need a way to breathe on this planet without long term effects, masks might work for us for a while but long term aren't the best option and that won't work for Rusty," he said referencing the work Lia was currently doing. "Have we tried contacting the Captain?"

Replying to question, Lia offered, "I am certain that was the first thing Lieutenant Lexil did. She has a keen mind." Turning she passed a mask to Costello. "We all have our strengths. Mine is keeping people alive. The masks should last about twenty-four hours. After that, the filters will need to be replaced. Rusty will need to stay in an escape pod or shuttle until we can come up with a more permanent solution. I could make a cage out of a few extra pod panels, weld them up with a phaser and install a mask filter."

Lexil offered a slightly too bright-eyed smile to Lia.

"I certainly appreciate the vote of confidence Ensign," she said, turning to address Doctor Costello. "In fact I have not attempted to contact the captain. There was a strong jamming field present around the moon that successfully blocked all our attempts at communication. Going on the data we currently have I have no reason to suppose a transmission would reach the captain, however it would give away our position to the seeker drones that were sent after us, the same drones I landed here in such short order to avoid. As for Rusty…" On this subject Lexil found herself interrupted by Mayoko. Old Mayoko would not have dared, but new Mayoko had something to say on the matter and was going to be heard, even if she was still quite softly spoken.

"Sir? Lieutenant Lexil?" She stepped forward from the replicator holding two pairs of uniform boots, one for herself and one presumably for Fearne. "Rusty chose me… before we even left the ship she came to me, I have been looking after her, we sleep together and eat together. I would like to speak for her, be her guardian until we find Lieutenant Jarkil again." It had surprised Mayoko how comforting she had found Rusty's presence as she recovered from her concussion. It was only after the pod had landed on the planet Mayoko had realised she had never made a point of contacting Lieutenant Jarkil's pod to inform him his pet was still alive.

Costello took a deep breath, the uniforms he understood, some of the crew were in their pyjamas, but the masks... He looked at Lexil, nodding in agreement with her assessment of the situation, and then he found himself looking at Mayoko. He could tell she had grown somewhat attached to the little rodent, having it to look after had helped her stay focused during the recovery period from the concussion. "Speak away Lieutenant," he said with a nod.

Mayoko looked both pleased and relieved, and took a moment to compose what she was going to say next.

"I… I think perhaps Ensign t'Rehu is used to a more utilitarian way of life?" She started, attempting to be diplomatic. "But she is right that I will need a way to contain and carry Rusty, I'm so scared she will panic and run away into the undergrowth… If I can have a little time with the computer and the replicator I can come make something that is suitable but I will need the input of a medical officer to work out the best method to screen her from whatever it is in the atmosphere that burns?"

"Chlorine," Lexil informed her quickly. When not in intelligence black Mayoko wore gold for security but she could easily have been the same for engineering or even blue for science. Her role covered a multitude of skills including chemistry, physics, engineering and tactics. Of all of the crew in this group her R&D experience made her best suited to fabricate Rusty a new and mobile home but she also understood the implications of chlorine in the atmosphere and winced slightly when she heard.

"Being in an emergency situation does not mean we can sacrifice self care when we don't have to, I agree that a traumatised rodent is not something we want to be handing back to Lieutenant Jarkil if at all possible. We currently have nobody looming overhead so I want to take stock of what we've got available," he paused briefly, it had been a while since he'd been thrown in charge of an emergency situation, but he knew that his instincts were good. Everyone needed a direction and a purpose to work towards a common goal. He made some decisions, one of the advantages of being Chief Medical Officer was a certain level of familiarity with every crew member's records. Even the newer ones. There seemed to be some tension developing over Rusty, so he was going to avoid that getting worse if possible.

"Dhodot will take charge of a supply inventory with t'Rehu, Lexil, I'd like you working with sh’Eikshah and Brock, defenses, stock of our weapons capabilities and some kind of plan if you can, Dhodot will join you if they finish. I will work with Takeuchi to get Rusty and the rest of us safe to move about the planet, masks will do for now but if there's a better option I want to find it. McKenzie, you can take Kaeriss to survey the flora and fauna, see if there's somewhere we can relocate to if we have to. I want to know the lay of the land and if there's anyone else here, any strategic points controlled by those who attacked us. Take Popples and Ek with you too, just in case." He stopped again, and looked around at all the crew members assembled in the small shuttle, waiting to see if anyone had any comments or objections. He was hoping for none of the latter, he'd had enough of the latter in the last couple of days.

"Am I correct in guessing that we'll maintain radio silence unless strictly necessary, sir? And not use op code names unless we need to verify that we're not our mirror counter parts?" Kenny asked.

"Correct on both counts, thank you," he replied.

"No communications using regular means." sh'Eikshah repeated, stressing it for herself as she started running through a few options they had left. "We know the approximate area where the other pods landed, right? Possibly we can reach them with other means?" she continued, already wrapping up together some more primitive means of communications with their lost crew members.

"We should probably check how fast the night falls here, and where to set up camp. Scouting the direct area of the camp to ensure safety might be a good idea," she proposed with straightened back, her cheeks gaining a slight red due to her own. "It might also give us some extra information about the planet on it's own, and how to contact the others."

The weapons specialist turned away, still painfully aware of how much she was proposing all the time. She hadn't even checked up on her own responsibilities yet and she already was butting in on the planning! Speaking about those responsibilities, perhaps it would be time to attend to those.

"They crashed or got shot down by the same drones that Lexil so kindly dealt with for us," Costello responded calmly. "They were some way off, and if they haven't managed to make contact the likelihood is that they were picked up by whoever was controlling said Drones." If they had been, there would be no contacting them and that could be picked up by a scan from the shuttle's sensors. "Scouting the area is the job of McKenzie and his team, and once the supply and defences inventories are done we will look at setting up a camp if we think that's appropriate, contacting the others would break comms silence, and we have established that contacting those who landed or crashed on the moon is not possible at this time," he reiterated firmly. "This is all worth thinking about while we work, but should be discussed once we have broken out into our separate tasks," he finished with some finality. If there were no other objections or questions they needed to get on with things, because Siriad was right about one thing, they didn't know when the sun was going to set yet.

Liam nodded to the orders passed on by Dr. Costello. “Yes sir,” he replied quickly before glancing around to catch the eyes of his team, offering those present a nod of appreciation in turn. He was glad to have their help, and it showed in his expression. On top of that, any excuse to spend time with Kenny was a good excuse in his book. He then turned back to the doctor with a suggestion.

“If I may, sir, perhaps Lieutenant Lexil could run a quick analysis with the Turing’s scanners to work out an estimate of sunset, and then dawn?" While Kaeriss and he could have taken a stab at it, Lexil was far more competent in any kind of planetary science. "Also, are there any weapons available that we could take with us?" It was standard protocol for an away team to be armed in dangerous situations, so this last question was fairly rhetorical. Still, Liam didn't want to assume anything, since the group was still taking stock of their equipment.

"We have plenty of type twos, and I believe Popples has a rifle, you might want some kind of blade for cutting through the undergrowth, see what Ek and Popples like the look of and get a few replicated before you go," he replied. Yes more than standard weapons would be advisable in this unknown and hostile situation. He looked over to Lexil, who was already working out the information they needed at the console.

“Yes!” Fearne grabbed the rifle and held it aloft rather unnecessarily but with much enthusiasm. “Phaser rifle. I don’t have to have it though, I mean like, we could give it to someone else, someone who’s a better shot maybe?”

“No, you keep it,” Mayoko told her quickly. She was technically ranking security officer and was confident Kenny could handle herself. Fearne was a slightly unknown quantity, well trained but inexperienced. She wanted to remove any chances of Fearne being tripped up or psyched out and re-distributing the rifle might make Fearne think the officers didn’t have confidence in her. Mayoko had combat psychology very much in her mind, she had nearly fallen foul of being rattled a couple of times recently. So far she was on top of it, but that could all change if she came under attack. She tried to put the concept from her mind.

At the console behind her Lexil was finishing up.

“I’ve removed the weapon replication lockouts,” she said as an aside before turning to face them all again and moving on to the question of sundown that the Ensigns had put to her, somehow remaining ever cheerful.

“I was able to collect enough data on our journey through this system for a reasonably accurate prediction. Sundown is in five hours and twelve minutes plus or minus four minutes either way and I will be very interested to see which wavelengths of light result on this planet,” she added with her slightly feline grin. “A long press on your communicators will now give you an audio update.” She demonstrated with a long-press on her own badge which said “five hours twelve minutes” in the standard computer voice.

"Excellent idea Lieutenant. Check if a rifle will fit in the replicator before you try to replicate one, I'd rather not waste the power we have," he said, he had a feeling they were just a little too big. "Unless anyone else has anything to say, you know your duties, let's get to it," Costello said with a nod.

Fearne held the rifle up to the replicator. “Yeah, no...” she commented, “I think it’s kinda too long... which is what she said!” She chuckled to herself before realising with a grimace that the joke was probably inappropriate. She coughed nervously. “Uhhh sorry sir.” She directed a sheepish sort of smile toward Lieutenant Costello.

Kenny bit her lip to try not to laugh, and ended up snorting in a very unladylike manner. "You gotta remember what they tell you in security training, size doesn't matter," she quipped with a wink at Fearne, before she leaned in closer and lowered her voice, "though funny how they always stopped saying it after we'd put the larger recruits on the mat."

Costello smiled at the banter, the non-coms continuing cheerfulness certainly helping to improve his own mood even if it wasn't exactly pc they would all need to be kept smiling because he had no doubt things were going to get harder before they got better. "Trust me, medically at least, size matters," he said with a slightly conspiratorial smirk on his face and a wink.

“Ha!” Fearne grinned manically at Costello and anyone else who was watching. “Epic...”

Lexil's wide Denobulan grin subsided after a few moments.

"Well," she said to the assembled, "Lieutenant Costello has given you your orders, unless there are any questions, dismissed."

=/\= End Log =/\=

Lieutenant Amadeus Costello
Chief Medial Officer
USS Joshua Norton

Lieutenant JG Lexil
Acting Chief Science Officer
USS Joshua Norton

Ensign Liam ‘Mac’ McKenzie
Linguist & Cultural Specialist
USS Joshua Norton

Ensign Lia t'Rehu
Combat Medic
USS Joshua Norton NCC-74819-A

Ensign Siriad sh'Eikshah
Weapons Specialist
USS Joshua Norton

NPCs by Amy: Lieutenant JG Dhodot, Interim Bio & Chem Specialist; PO2 Kennet Ek, Security Crewman
NPCs by Zahara: Crewman Kaeriss - Science Technician
Also by Jessica: Lieutenant JG Mayoko Takeuchi, Demolitions Specialist & Cn Fearne M. Popples, Security Crewman


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