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Ens. McKenzie, PO2 Ek, Cn Kaeriss & Cn Popples - "But You And I, We've Been Through That "

Posted on 2020-03-20 07:43 by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kennet Ek & Ensign Liam McKenzie Ph.D. & Crewman Kaeriss & Crewman Fearne Popples

Mission: Poisoned Apples

As predicted, the undergrowth was thick and treacherous, and only got worse as they got further away from the small clearing. With a machete in one hand, tricorder in the other, and the type two phaser strapped to her hip, Kaeriss was grinning beneath the filtration mask it had been a long time since she'd been able stretch her legs in a jungle like this. She longed to climb the trees, leap across branches, but she didn't know the lay of the land like she did at home, how to tell if the trees were strong enough to take her weight without scanning them. So she was focusing on the job at hand, which for her was the plant life and whether any of it was edible or particularly dangerous. A bush of pale pink berries caught her eye and she scanned it as she approached.

"It looks like most of everything here is going to be the same, because of the atmosphere, but we might get lucky and find something less toxic," she informed them. "Anything up ahead look promising for shelter?"

Kenny had volunteered to lead the group, and had about a meter's lead in front of the others. She'd been trying her best to minimize cutting her way through the plants, in part because she wanted to leave as little of a trail for someone else to follow as possible — in case those who'd attacked them came looking again. She looked up towards the canopy, pausing to listen as Kaeriss had spoken.

"It could just be my mind playing tricks, but I want to say that it's getting lighter ahead again. Might be approaching another clearing. We should go slow, and def keep an eye on those tricorders for life signs — there may be no real animal life, but–" Kenny fell quiet again. There was no point reiterating what everyone in the group already knew.

Liam glanced forward and nodded to Kenny. In his mind the jungle was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that they could move about with a certain amount of concealment, as opposed to open grassland. But it was also a curse in that someone could be waiting to ambush them from that same concealment. Granted the team had a tricorder, but he realized it wasn’t impossible to hide from one. That’s why he had asked the team to keep the talking to a minimum, and to also keep their voices as low as possible. He was pleased they had been doing just that.

As they went he couldn’t help but think about the early archeologists who explored the jungles of Central America looking for the ruins of ancient cultures. As a cultural specialist, there was nothing he would love to find more than signs of sentient habitation. As it looked so far, though, there didn’t seem to be any native animal life present. If that turned out to be true everywhere, then any sentients who turned up wouldn’t have been native. All that taken together meant it was unlikely they would find a ruin. Probably for the best, he thought to himself.

“Have you ever seen a silent jungle? With no animals at all?” he asked quietly to anyone who cared to answer. “It’s odd,” he observed somewhat unscientifically. “A clearing might be a nice change of pace but be careful up there. So far I haven’t seen anything that could count as shelter. We may have to build lean-tos at this rate.”

Fearne, who was bringing up the rear of the party might usually have engaged in plenty of chitchat but she was in full security grunt mode and patrolling to her meant staying alert and generally reasonably quiet. She had heard what Lieutenant Lexil had said about there being no fauna on the planet, but that didn't stop her imagination concocting wild and wonderful alien beasts that could come crashing through the undergrowth at any time.

"What does the Tricorder say Kae?" she asked in tones rather more subdued than normal. "I mean the readout, not when you turn it into Mister Tricorder, that guy's useless!"

Kaeriss let out a sound that was a cross between a chuckle and a purr, and looked over her shoulder to smile at Fearne, not that she could see it. "Mostly just more plants, no other life to speak of, though it looks like there might be some rocky formations towards the south east," she replied. Honestly despite the interesting plant life the quiet of the jungle was a little creepy, but it wasn't as quiet as the others were assuming. "It's not silent, the plants are pretty vocal if you can hear the right frequencies, but it's still quite quiet," she added.

Liam, unable to hide his scientific curiosity, raised an eyebrow. “That must be amazing to hear. If the trees whisper that someone is coming this way, let me know,” he said, flashing a brief smile toward Kaeriss. While their mission was important and their situation dire, Liam didn’t mind some banter to keep stress levels down.

“Let’s check out the clearing, since we’re almost there. If nothing looks interesting there, I am curious about the rock outcrops. Those might be promising.”

"Kae's got the advantage on me, but I can hear some of it," Kenny said, slowing down to let the others catch up with her before the clearing. "Maybe when we get home, we can come to this planet there and take some recordings — adjust the range so it's within human standard?" She stopped, holding up her arm to get the others to group behind her. "Go slow, high alert. Kae, you see any life signs–" Kenny knew she didn't need to say it, but better safe than sorry. She approached the break in the trees.

Ahead sunlight played around the opening in the canopy above, but the jungle floor was in relative shadow as the sun was already moving down in the sky even though there were still hours to sunset. Kenny's eyes moved around the edges of the clearing before she moved from between the trees, machete and phaser at the ready. A stream trickled through the middle, between the fronds of ferns that filled most of the clearing.

Fearne moved into the clearing last, starting a slow circle around the edge, observing everything she could. She had had quiet time on the walk to consider their situation and to her it didn't look rosy. She smiled sadly at the ferns. Sometimes different planets managed to find the same solution to certain evolutionary problems. Fearne was no botanist but the plants around were fundamentally familiar... something that on Earth would be considered neolithic, ancient and somehow known to everyone. "Heh," she said to the ferns around her quietly, "I bet you have never seen this kind of Fearne before, have you?"

In a brief but horrible moment the enormity of everything that had happened over the last day and a half landed on Fearne's conscious mind like a ton of bricks. No, they hadn't seen a human before, the most they had probably seen was the occasional drone from the moon base above. The one that had shot at them. Even on a planet in the middle of nowhere with a barely breathable atmosphere the pressure wouldn't let up. They had one working shuttle with minimal weapons and supplies. At the very best they could look forward to a stone-age life of inhaling Chlorine. They weren't just marooned, they were marooned in another universe where nobody would come looking. The faces of her parents popped into her head the moment Fearne considered for the first time that there was a good chance she would never see them again. She had tried so hard ever since the Romulan probe attacked to be everything Starfleet wanted her to be, but at that moment she was just a nineteen-year-old girl marooned on a planet in an alien universe and wanting her daddys.

"Kenny?" she called out, a tremble in her voice. Fearne breathed deeply through the mask, trying to control herself.

Kenny had advanced around the clearing perimeter in the opposite direction from Fearne. When she heard her name, she turned towards her younger colleague.

"What's up, Fearne?" Kenny stopped, her eyes moving to Liam and Kaeriss for a moment—to verify their status—before she directed her full attention towards Fearne.

“You... you think we’re going to get home?” Fearne asked. She blinked hard and the tears she had been trying to hold back started to roll and were collected quickly by her mask.

There was a long pause as Kenny looked at Fearne. The clearing wasn't that big, but there was enough space there that Kenny wasn't sure if that was a tear on Fearne's cheek or not — but there was no escaping the tone of voice, even a full blooded human would have been able to pick up on it. She directed another look at Liam and Kaeriss before she crossed the clearing to join Fearne.

"Hey, we gotta get home because I need a new piercing." Her tone was tender, but there was a joking lilt pulling at it as well. "I don't know about you, but I don't want to find out what their piercing tech is like in this universe, it's been pretty crappy in every other way so far. So, we're getting home somehow."

Fearne wiped the tears from her eyes and swallowed hard.

“I can’t just disappear on my first fucking mission, that’s bullshit!" she confided in her friend. "What about my Dads? Like... I knew I might well get hurt or die or whatever doing this but on my first fucking mission? That’s not how it’s supposed to go! I wanted to be like queen of Starfleet by then!” She smiled, making another Fearne quip, but more tears betrayed her appearance of joviality.

Upon entering the clearing, Kaeriss had headed for the stream. It was very quickly clear that the harsh atmosphere was only the beginning of their problems. She knelt far enough back that the ground wasn't wet, and let the tricorder take further readings. The conversation between the security pair was filtered out if her concentration until she heard the change in Fearne's tone, and then the volume increased. She stood, moving gracefully across the clearing to the pair.

"Fearne," she said gently, and reached out to lay a hand on the younger woman's shoulder. "Your fear is justified, but don't let it consume you, use it to fuel your efforts to return home." She was smiling but they couldn't see it, though it probably showed in her tone. She stepped closer and put her arms around the young woman's shoulders, the contact drawing a soft rumble through her chest. "We're all planning on making it home, we've just got to keep fighting a little longer. So, your first piece of direct advice for surviving this planet. Don't drink the water, it's worse than the atmosphere," she said as she pulled back from the hug with her hands still on Fearne's shoulders.

Fearne looked through reddening eyes at her Caitian roommate and her security fellow, their warmth and support applying the brakes to the runaway emotions that were taking her over. With face downturned she nodded and closed her eyes again releasing more tears into the mask.

"I'm sorry," she said quietly after a pause, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." She breathed deeply and exhaled loudly as she looked up, feeling her own warm breath around her mouth, courtesy of the mask. "Okay. Okay okay okay okay. I got this. I can do this... hopefully. There's no place like home. There's no place like home." Her cheekbones rose under the mask with what was clearly a smile as she referenced the ancient Earth film The Wizard of Oz. But these two knew Fearne best of anyone in the crew and it was unlikely they were convinced completely by her attempt to deflect from her true feelings. Fearne was hardy and had plenty of mental discipline. A large and scary beast would have provoked little reaction at all save near-perfect execution of her training, but Fearne was still very new to the fleet and despite her high standards being dumped into such a strange situation was a little more than she could handle alone.

"Just remember, Dorothy," Kenny said with a wink, "we may not be in Kansas anymore, but we're Starfleet. That means we have each other's back — it's not you've got this, it's we've got this. And if you want, you're welcome to join me when I go for my celebratory piercings after we get home. I was originally thinking a tongue piercing to represent that shitty exchange between me and t'Rehu after the eps rupture, but that's too negative, so I'm coming around to dermal piercings on the arm and leg that got burned." Comfort then distract, it was a time honored technique and Kenny hoped it would work here.

After Liam had sensed Fearne’s distress he drew his eyes away from the forest and sky, where he had been keeping an eye out for trouble. Turning with a look of concern, he followed a few steps behind Kaeriss as she walked over to the young crew member. Liam stayed close enough to hear them talk, but far enough away to not crowd Fearne with another person. He listened and offered a supportive smile as spoke to each other.

After it was clear Fearne was feeling better, Liam spoke up. “Crewman Fearne, you’re doing an excellent job for your first mission. I want you to know that I mean that. Kaeriss and Kenny, I couldn’t have said those things better myself. We are absolutely getting home again. Don’t you doubt it for a second,” he added with a small, dismissive shake of the head. There was only one way to get home, he thought to himself, and that was to believe they were. In his mind, therefore, they were.

“And Kenny, that sounds like a fantastic way to celebrate. After all this, when we get back, I’ll join you for something.” Liam smiled but then blinked a few times as he suddenly realized what he just agreed to.

“As for the Wizard of Oz, if you’re Dorothy,” he said to Fearne with a smile, “then Kaeriss is definitely the Lion. Kenny, you would have to be the Scarecrow since you are the most personable Vulcan I’ve ever met. That would make me the Tin Man, I suppose,” he added with a slight chuckle.

Fearne, whose mood had been slowly lifting couldn’t help but let out a cackle at this comparison which was just far too good to let go by.

“Aww, shame ‘cause I left my blue Gingham dress in the other shuttle,” she sighed dramatically. And then, surprisingly, she started to sing the song ‘If I only had...” from The Wizard of Oz but with different words.

“All the plants about and flowers,
Have crazy super powers,
Because they’re fucking blue,
At least that is what I’m guessing,
Even though I’m only messing,
‘Cause I haven’t got a clue!”

Kenny hummed along with Fearne's singing, and laughed a little. She looked around the clearing then started south east. "Since Kae's warned us that the water'll try to kill us, and there's nothing else but the stream and the ferns here, let's move on to the rocks instead. And on the way, we can discuss what piercing McKenzie is getting when we're all back on Earth. I'll take you all to my favorite studio in downtown Göteborg — Carita is the only one I've ever let pierce me, and you'll love her." Kenny turned around, directing a look at Liam as she walked backwards for a spell. "I'm thinking you should do eyebrow or septum–" Kenny touched the middle of the underside of her nose. "Or a smiley would be discreet–" she grinned and pointed to her upper gums before turning around to watch where she was going again– "if you want to be shy about it, but I'm pretty sure Waterhouse won't care. She's complemented my piercings."

Liam couldn’t help but chuckle at the Fearne’s song and Kenny’s questions. Although he didn’t know Fearne very well, she was really starting to grow on him.

“The rocks are a good plan, let’s go,” Liam replied to Kenny’s suggestion. “But let’s take the conversation volume down just a bit, okay?” he asked, motioning with his hands to hint that he would like the group to take it down slightly. “I know we haven’t seen any animals yet, but we are in a new place with hostiles nearby,” he added with a smile, hoping his words didn’t sound like a reprimand.

“To answer your question, though,” he said softly, flashing a grin at Kenny. “I’m going to need your expert advice on a location. Inside my mouth doesn’t sound like something a rookie would go for. Maybe something old fashioned? In the ear? I always wanted to be a pirate,” he added with a wink.

“Anything on the tricorder, Crewman?” he then asked Kaeriss, looking over his shoulder.

Fearne nodded. Low volume wasn't her speciality but she would give it a try. Now she was in a more stable mood she would need to take her patrolling seriously again, minus the occasional grimace at piercing locations she didn't like the sound of.

Kaeriss had grinned, letting a growl rumble out of her chest when she was called the lion, and then started to head for the side of the clearing closest to the rock formations. She nodded at the suggestion of keeping the volume down. Quiet she could do. She swept the tricorder from side to side, still scanning the area. "Nothing different to what I've been getting before. Rock formations are this way," she said her voice just loud enough to carry to the other three but no louder, indicating with a nod of her head.

"Old days, smiley wasn't one a novice would want to jump right into," Kenny explained with a softer voice again as she guided the group into the trees, "but these days, with the specialized dermal and cartilage regenerators they use in piercing studios, pretty much everything's low risk. The biggest risk is if you're especially coordinated—you know, like if you bite your tongue or the inside of your cheek a lot—I wouldn't recommend metal jewelry as it can lead to needing frequent enamel repair if it bumps on your teeth too much." Even though she was talking, Kenny was listening carefully as she moved through the undergrowth. She could see light through the trees only a couple yards on, the rocks looked to be pretty close. As they group reached the treeline near the foot of the rocks—it was a steep wall of crag that was at least a dozen meters tall—Kenny heard something. She held up her arm to halt the group again.

"Kae, you hear that? To our left, sounds like. What's the tricorder say?" Kenny pressed herself against the nearest tree to her left, raising her phaser as she leaned around just a little bit. "Fearne, get up here with the rifle."

Staying low, and with surprisingly quiet footfalls Fearne swept passed the rest of the group to fall in on-line with Kenny, covering most of herself with a well-selected bush. With a sideways look she checked the direction the petty officer was focusing on and scanned the same area, the phaser rifle pushed into her shoulder and set to maximum stun, ready to fire.

Kaeriss heard it too, and was already looking in that direction, bringing the tricorder around, already scanning. "It's small, not big enough to have much on board. Most likely a relay probe, if it's transmitting back to something bigger the quicker we down it the better, moving slowly, about six metres up the rock face. I don't think it's caught us, should be rounding that outcropping in three... two... one..."

Liam had been moving quietly through the brush, nodding thoughtfully in response to Kenny’s explanations before the trouble began. Instantly he pressed himself against the nearest tree as soon as the warning was given, kneeling and peeking around the side with his phaser at the ready. His heart was in his throat at the thought of a firefight that could potentially break out, and what that could mean for his small team. A team that he was ultimately responsible for; a team of people that he considered to be his friends.

“Hold fire until I give the order, or until we are fired upon,” he whispered urgently, just loud enough for everyone to hear. He knew they were in danger, but he wasn’t about to fire first. Even though they were beyond the looking glass, he was still a Starfleet officer. Even if there was no Starfleet here.

As Liam had spoken, the probe had moved around the outcropping and continued on its search pattern through the airspace between the canopy and the rock face. It was small, gold in color with black striping, with a pair of what looked like fabric solar panels attached in a way that looked a bit like wings. All together it couldn't be more than a quarter meter across.

As it moved slowly, a beam swept over the rocks, the trees, and the underbrush. Kenny directed a look back at Liam as the beam moved closer to the group.

"With respect, sir, if that probe is an uplink to something larger—possibly manned—if it scans us, they'll probably swarm the area with whatever they got."

Liam sized things up quickly, and confirmed to himself that this was indeed a probe without a sentient creature in sight. “Ready phasers,” he then replied in a whisper, extending his arm towards the probe. “Synchronized fire on my mark. Three... two... one... mark!” Liam opened fire with his phaser together with the last word of his order.

Fearne had already thumbed the power control on her phaser rifle as the size of the probe became known. Maths wasn’t her strong suit but learning power tables for Starfleet’s most common weapons wasn’t a problem and she could estimate what setting would overload the probe, what would destroy it and what would vaporise. With the rifle set squarely at the first of these she acquired the target easily through the holographic sight as she had done hundreds of times in simulations. Her breathing steadied and stopped as the order to fire was given. Liam’s phaser blast hit it’s target with intel-trained accuracy. It rocked the probe which faltered, but it wasn’t until Fearne’s landed a moment later that the probe lost power fell into the ferns over which it had been hovering.

"Nice shooting, Fearne, Liam." Kenny directed a look over her shoulder at each of them before she looked around to make sure the probe didn't have any friends — as it appeared to be clear, she moved out to cover to approach it. She had her phaser trained on it as she approached, and when the ferns didn't move, she pushed the fronds out of the way with the machete to get a closer look. The previously shiny casing had darkened at the sites of the phaser shots, and one of the solar 'wings' was bent out of shape. Kenny dared nudge the thing with the machete, and let out a breath when it didn't react.

"If Kae can verify that it's not got a homing beacon or something, I recommend we take it back with us. Might be usable for parts, if nothing else."

“Agreed,” Liam replied, equally relieved that his team members were unhurt. “Also, Kae, when you scanned did you notice anything on the probe that might serve as a booby trap? And another question, did you see any signals being sent from the device before we decaffeinated it?”

"No other probes in scanning range," Kae said checking the tricorder she'd dropped, a moment before the order to fire, she hadn't needed to shoot though, by the time she was squeezing the trigger it was falling to the ground so she didn't waste the energy. She moved over to the probe and initiating a more in depth scan. "Not reading a homing beacon right now, but if we give it any power when we get back we should be careful. Look like there's a trigger on the casing, linked to... explosives around the memory drive. It's a self destruct, focused on destroying the memory, so lucky we just shorted it, reckon cracking the casing as it fell could have triggered it, so let's be careful until we're sure we haven't done that," she suggested. "If the casing is completely intact it should be safe to carry back."

Liam looked at the ruined device and the implications of Kae’s scans, blinking as he took it all in. There were several options available, but each carried a fair amount of risk.

“We should return to the others to at least let them know probes are roving the area. Since it doesn’t seem our cover was blown, I don’t think it’s worth breaking radio silence. Still, I hate returning without having checked out those rocks, since we haven’t found anywhere that might provide some cover. That was our original mission.”

He thought for a moment longer and threw out his idea. “I’d like to quickly check out the rock outcropping, then return this way. If the probe hasn’t self-destructed or attracted attention to itself, I say we haul it back with us. Objections?” he asked, soliciting opinions from the group.

Kenny looked up at the rock face the group stood under, and then turned towards the outcropping the probe had emerged from behind before it was taken down. "Hopefully we'll find a cave large enough for all of us. Normal circumstances, somewhere like this would be perfect for a lean to if there isn't a cave... but this is some of the only airspace that's clear enough for probes to easily navigate. So I agree we should look, but we need to be extra cautious, especially knowing they're definitely looking for us still." Kenny looked up at the rock face again. "This would be a killer climb in better circumstances..."

"Agreed, on all counts, I hear Jarkil likes climbing too, you should challenge him," she suggested, her tone conversational but the volume still on the lower side as requested. "The rocks appear most interestingly formed in that direction, if there's a cave or series of, big enough it's more likely in that direction, recommend keeping inside the tree line maybe, for cover?" She added, seemed like the most sensible course of action, or at least proactively cautious anyway.

“That, my friends, is a plan,” Liam replied confidently, pointing in the direction indicated by Kae. “Let’s stay within the treelime, and everyone be extra cautious.” While his specialty was linguistics and cultural studies, he did enjoy being outdoors, even though his enthusiasm was dimmed a bit by the probe and orbital drones.

Kenny led them again, moving between the trees just inside the treeline and staying tighter with the group this time. Being completely silent left Kenny with herself in her head, and the what ifs would get noisy, so she kept her voice low and continued to chatter. "Remind me to corner Jarkil for a climbing chat when we all get home. I've heard rumors about Denobulans and climbing and I'd love to get any tips if there are any that amount to more than just be Denobulan."

“We’ll remind you,” Liam replied softly to Kenny’s request. “I’d be down for more climbing, too. Next time, though, I’ll be going up in full uniform,” he added with a smirk in his voice, referring to him not having one during the start of the emergency.

As the group moved past the outcropping they could see a small pool of water at the foot of the rock face, and what looked like a small trickle of water falling from the top of the rocks into it — it was so little that is mostly just darkened the rock on its path downward. At the far end of the pool a trickle of water ran along the base of the rocks down the middle of a mostly dry creek bed.

Liam Looked the area over carefully before speaking. “Kae, would you mind scanning? I’m wondering if the water is potable. We should be careful about the potential for flash flooding, too. That looks like a dry, but well defined channel.”

"I never stopped, Sir, and I think it's safe to assume that if we wouldn't want it raining on us we wouldn't want to be drinking any of it," she paused and nodded. "That is indeed a no, Sir," she confirmed with an apologetic shrug.

Liam sensed annoyance, frustration or both in her response. “Just hoping against hope,” he replied with a resigned tone as he explained his reasons for asking. “You know, I think I may see a cave opening up ahead, and a big one. It could be just a shadow, though. Shall we?”

"Looks like it's only a small opening initially, but definitely worth checking out," Kae replied with a smile. "Hopefully there's something larger behind it," she said as she held up the tricorder.

Fearne raised the hand that wasn’t holding her Phaser rifle.

“I volunteer to go in and check out whatever giant crazy chlorine beast lives in there with 165 razor sharp teeth and bad attitude,” she said, in her usual joking tone albeit much more quietly than normal as was appropriate for the semi-convert nature of the patrol.

"I recommend you take backup — one of these beaker heads can scan it into submission for you, since I bet the chlorine'll makes it immune to our phasers." Kenny winked at Fearne and looked at Liam, hoping he picked up the thread of serious recommendation woven through her playful reply to Fearne.

"You two are the best trained to take the lead," Liam agreed as the seriousness of the situation sunk in. "Let's go. I don't need to tell you to be careful. That would be completely unnecessary," Liam replied. A faint twist of a smile appeared as he ordered them forward. "We nerds will cover you with serious scanning, so don't worry."

Fearne looked between all of the officers and shrugged.

“Well, if it eats me I guess you can have Mr Tricorder shout abuse at it...” she grinned and turned to set off. “Bagsy the first 40 teeth for a necklace!”

A couple of minutes later the torchlight from Fearne’s Phaser rifle swept along the walls of the entrance to the cave and Fearne followed it inside, her young eyes quickly adjusting to the gloom of the cave interior. Of course there was no chlorine beast, and the potential her imagination had assigned the cave quickly turned to disappointment as it became clear that the interior was only a little larger than that of the shuttle. It could accommodate the entire group lying down, just about, and with the narrow entrance would afford good protection from the elements, but a class L Shangri-La this was not. Fearne stood in the middle of the space and watched the others file in behind her.

“I guess we found some shelter,“ she remarked quietly, pulling a face.

Liam took a few steps in from the mouth of the cave to get a closer look. After glancing around he nodded with a frown that was not entirely disapproving. “Home sweet home,” he said, lapsing into his Scottish dialect for the first time in a while, where the word ‘home’ sounded more like ‘haem’.

“We found a shelter candidate,” he continued back in his Federation-standard accent. As a translator and cultural specialist, he was able to flip between dialects rapidly. “Time to get back to the others and fill them in. Since the probe hasn’t blown up unexpectedly, I’ll plan to carry it back, since you other three already have important jobs. Just... don’t stand too close after I pick it up,” he added with a wink and a playful smirk. “Are we ready?”

"With respect, sir," Kenny spoke up, the emphasis on sir being intended to accent the serious nature of her coming recommendation, "but you should let one of us grunts carry it. You're the officer, and we need your brain intact to lead us until we rejoin the group and you're outranked again. Besides, wouldn't do for you to get a charlie horse while carrying the probe." Kenny winked to emphasize that the last part was a joke. "I volunteer, since Popples has the rifle."

Fearne’s spare has shot up again.

“I also volunteer because I’m the most extendable,“ she said, earnestly.

Liam smiled. “None of us is extendable,” he said seriously, choosing to follow Fearne’s word choice without feeling the need to correct her or tease her about it. She was clearly in the moment and motivated, and he didn’t want to dampen that spirit. He knew what she meant, and that was good enough for him.

“And thank you for the reminder of protocol, Kenny,” he said to her pleasantly before nodding in the direction of the probe’s resting spot. “I do reserve the right to go against protocol, though.”

Liam paused briefly before finishing his thought. “At the moment, personally I feel our crew needs security experts more than a translator. But if you feel strongly about it, you’re welcome to carry it. Fearne, you’ll be taking point. If there isn’t anything else, let’s move out.”

"I do feel strongly, and I will be carrying it. Sir." Kenny shook her head as she lead the way out of the cave, her eyes scanning the sky as she held her phaser at the ready.

Fearne replayed the words “Fearne, you’ll be taking point“ in her mind as she watched Kenny head out first, shrugged and followed on, offering a respectful nod to Liam as she went.

His eyebrows furrowed at the reaction that Kenny had given him, but Liam carried on without any further comment. He walked behind the others and continued watching the sky for trouble.

=/\= End Log =/\=

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

Crewman Kaeriss
Science Technician
USS Joshua Norton

Crewman Fearne M. Popples
Security Crewman
USS Joshua Norton

NPC by Amy: PO2 Kennet Ek, Security Crewman


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