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If All Of This Were Mended

Posted on Mon Feb 18th, 2019 @ 1:23pm by The Narrator & Commander Calida & Lieutenant Francesca Ricci

Mission: S1E2: A Temple To New Gods
Location: Surface of Xilos (Planet Backstop)
Timeline: MD3 15.00PM

It took an hour for Formation Leader Kle, and another of her soldiers to get prepared to go out on the surface.

The armoured suits they wore were cumbersome, but judging by the care and attention the wearers and techs used around them, they were clearly state of the art for the Xilosian's. The Federation E-suit's Diana and Francine were wearing looked almost like coveralls, but probably provided far greater protection and endurance.

The ride back to the shuttle was faster too, the smaller group forgoing the bulky Crawler's in exchange for a fast-moving four-wheel drive vehicle. The bucket seats had been designed for the armoured shells, but it was an uncomfortable ride.

Kle's questions, though, did make it uncomfortable.

"AuxLeader Kuffle has my given approval to shoot your friends if this is a trap," she said as the Rover wound its way through a dried out river bed heading up the valley towards the temple.

“To be honest, I would think less of you if she didn’t,” replied Francie fairly. “I mean, you barely know us. Can’t be too safe. But if it’s a trap, then whoever set it is after us as well as you.”

"As far as I'm concerned anyone who comes out of the sky deserves all of the good judgement God's ashes gave the fishes," Kle muttered. "I'm more worried about the ideas you're putting into Kisbeck's head than anything else. We don't have a good track record with aliens putting thoughts in peoples heads."

Dania observed the conversation for a moment as they neared the shuttle. "It's quite hard to believe, I know. We do understand your..." Storm searched for a word that they might know as she doubted that skepticism would be one they would understand, "reluctance to take us at our word. Our allies back where we come from and even our enemies still have trouble believing it works, eventhough they have interacted with us for hundreds of years now."

"So you have enemies do you? An old teacher of mine would say that was a good sign, that you'd stood for something other's opposed and prevailed," Kle said as the rover bounced up the bank of the dried out river. "But look around you. This isn't our world any more, its a tomb. And all I or my Formation are doing is keeping the lid on the box until it blows up. One day in the near future people are going to realise we can't retake the surface, not in a century, not in a millenia...the Concordance knew we'd buried shelters and left us alive to suffer."

For a moment there was silence.

"I don't want you people raising our hopes only to fail us. That would be cruelty beyond measure," the rover rose up a ridge, and the shuttle's grey hull came into view. As well as the stepped sides of the Concordance temple/incinerator. "If we get off this rock, promise me you have something big and nasty to wipe that skat smear off this world?"

"Ms. Ricci, get her prepped and ready to go ASAP, and be ready to contact the Resolute as soon as we clear the interference." Dania chose to buy some time before answering Kle. Having something big and nasty to wipe the blight from that world they would likely have.

Question was, how many of Starfleet laws and by-laws they would be breaking by doing so? The other concern was Ingram. Would he order them to abandon this pursuit? Or would he put his support behind it? Storm hadn't quite made up her mind yet on their eccentric Commanding Officer. Aside from the fact that she didn't trust him. As such, she was reluctant to make promises she wasn't sure she could follow through on.

Finally, she looked over at Kle, "I promise to try, Formation Leader. These decisions go above my grade, and our leader has yet to hear of any of this and assess our information."

"So all of what your surface commander, Jiang was it? All of that was just fluff and bluster?" Kle shook her head inside the armoured dome of her suit. She got off the rover, stomping a cleated boot into the sodden dead earth. "Masterfully played, but here we are now. Let's get into sky and take it from there."

Dania followed along with Ricci, "Commander Jiang is a scientist and she gets excited at times, but she told no lies. We do have the ability to do all she said. I think she just firmly believes our leader will go along with this. Hopefully, she's right. I just don't like to promise the moon and the stars if I can't deliver them."

"Spoken like a good Formation Leader," Kle said, trudging along behind her. "Though if your superior officer cannot deliver on the rescue, a crate of those fancy suits your wearing would be a nice trade. They look like cloth, and yet you're not melting in them from the rad's or chems in the air. Meanwhile, I'm lugging this thing around like a pack full of rocks."

Kle topped the rise, and eyed the shuttle.

"Will it be able to fly with me in it?" the Formation Leader asked.

"It could fly with six of you in it," Francie promised. "It might not look like much, but it's powerful."

"It looks like a child's enthusiastic art project," Kle said, following the pair up the ramp and into the shuttle's spacious cargo area. "Had I not seen the video captures of it flying around, I'd just soon enough assume it rolled like a Crawler and not fly like an ornithopter."

With one of the mechanic claws on the end of her suit's arms, Kle reached out and grabbed a support strut. With a whine the claw closed, crimping the metal slightly as she held on. It was sensible, given there was no chair designed for the bulk of the armoured suit.

Dania grabbed a seat as close as she could to Kle, not wanting the female to feel isolated or ignored...and to observe her. "When and if there is time, will tell me more of your world? Part of our mandate is gathering stories and histories of people we meet and of our own members so that future generations may learn of others."

"Tell you what. When I can hold up my balled fist, hold it out in front of my face, and block out the sight of my homeworld because we're flying away from it, I'll tell you everything you want to know." Kle said. "My first car was smaller than this thing, and it's meant to get to orbit. I stand literally prepared to be astounded."

A comm burst came through the helm readout. "Resolute to shuttle Orlando--we read an unknown life-form on board. Please respond."

Dania stood up at this point and headed over to the pilot's chair, "open a channel, Ricci."

Francie took one hand away from the flight controls just long enough to open the channel. Once the com flashed ready, she said, "channel open."

"Resolute this is Commander Storm aboard the Orlando. Our guest is a representative of the people we encountered down on the planet. They rendered our team assistance and have requested assistance in return." Dania said, leaning against the overhead support with her hand.

"Stand by.

The channel clicked off, obviously muted for the benefit of a closed conversation on the bridge. In a moment's time, the comm officer's voice returned.

"Shuttle Orlando, you are cleared to dock in the shuttle bay. Do not deboard the shuttle until ordered to do so." His tone sounded rather hen-pecked and jumpy.

"Resolute, Storm, understood. Orlando out." Dania looked over at Ricci, then at Kle, her face betraying no emotion. Though if a an empath were around they could sense concern.

"Oh this is going to be fun. You really don't think very much of our chances with your superior officer," Kle said with a grin on her dark face. "Thought all of you Starfleeter's were hopefully souls full of all the kindness of the worlds. What, do they make your CO's hand in their souls before God's burned corpse before they get their wings?"

Dania shook her head, "it's not that. This isn't standard operating procedure, especially when involving first contact even if an unplanned one. Something's happened for them to de-facto quarantine us."

"Our CO is a hardass, but there has to be something going on for this to happen," Francie agreed. "I don't know him well except second hand through my cousin, but to order us to stay on the shuttle with no reason is definitely out of character."

The Orlando flew higher into the atmosphere, and then out into the stark black sky of space. Ahead of them, a glorious sight awaited them: both the Engineering and Support Modules were flying in formation with the Resolute. As the shuttle got closer, work crews could be seen prepping the docking supports on the base of the Support Module where the Engineering Module would connect to it. Next to the massive construction, the Norway class light cruiser looked like a minow nudging a whale.

The shuttle bay of the Resolute opened to accept them, the glowing holographic guide lights twinkling merrily...but the space tight doors didn't close behind them as the craft settled to the deck.

"=/\=Commander Storm, Lieutenant Ricci, Ingram here. I'd like a report, and any medical notation you feel are worthy of discussion.=/\="

Dania swallowed hard, "I'll do you one better sir, transferring recordings from my suit to the moment." She tapped a few controls and initiated the data transfer. "So...we have a few new problems..." Storm began explaining in detail the pyramid, the traces they had found, the central chamber with the hollow skeleton and the near singing of the team. She described meeting Kisbek and Kle along with the staggering information on the infections and the discovery of the Medusan Calida.

"And Formation Leader Kle is the one with us on the shuttle." Dania finished.

"=/\=Thats just...just...=/\="

There were a staggering number of paths Benjamin could take from this point. There was the bog standard belligerent. The sophisticated intellectual fascinated by the problem at hand. And the ever-popular sycophantic looking to save face where ever possible.


Or just go with the acceptance that life is a curse and everyone was out to shove the knife in a little deeper.

"=/\=We'll be closing the shuttle bay doors momentarily, but again don't try to deboard the shuttle. We'll not be repressurising the space. The Resolute will perform a low atmospheric pass through the troposphere, close enough for us to beam Calida into a shielded compartment. Should be the highlight of her day. After that, we'll begin processing the landing party through medical, and then figure out what to do about the Xilosians.=/\="

"Nice to know he cares," Kle said.

"=/\=He doesn't, but Starfleet's mission is one of humanitarian aid to one and all. I'm duty bound to provide what has been promised in whatever fashion I can provide. Oh, and Lieutenant Ricci? Commander Storm? Would either of you, for the record, give the exact wording Commander Jiang used when she placed forward our hospitality?=/\="

As Ingram exasperated voice buzzed from the shuttle's comm system, a dull rumble rang through the deck plate. It wasn't the shuttle vibrating, but the Resolute's space frame as it began to skim through the upper atmosphere of Xilos.

Dania took a moment to find the recording of the wanted statement, "I believe it is this section, sir." Storm said then replayed the scene for Ingram.

"Good, good. Now hold on down there, we're dropping through the upper atmosphere. Might get a touch choppy as we transition from orbital velocity."

The atmosphere roiled its toxic layers into a semi-liquid puddle of turgid, caustic gases, repelled by the deflector shielding around the Resolute.

=/\="USS Brennan,"=/\= said the Bridge Ops officer through the open channel. "This is the USS Resolute. Respond if you are able."=/\=

The channel lingered on a pregnant pause before a response came back.

=/\="This is Commander Calida."=/\=

The Ops officer didn't miss a beat. =/\="Be advised, we have acquired a transporter lock on your carrier pod. Stand by for emergency transport to Cargo Bay 1."=/\=

=/\="Resolute, I must request proper shielding. My carrier pod is compromised.=/\=

=/\="We can confirm proper shielding has been prepared, Commander."=/\=

The comm channel practically sizzled with the Medusan's relieved satisfaction. =/\="Energize."=/\=

"=/\=One highly energetic life form safely aboard,=/\=" Ingram voice crowed from the bridge. "=/\=Formation Leader Kle, with your permission I'd like to set the Resolute down on the surface. We can relay the transporter signal back up the gravity well to the Support and Engineering Modules easily enough. I do this so that both our people are under the same threat of risk to your planet's degraded atmosphere, so we might both seek to leave it as soon as possible.=/\="

"My wasteland is your wasteland. But don't think for a second landing your warship doesn't act as a pretty good threat to good conduct as well," Kle mused.

"=/\=First rule of negotiation, come to the meeting with something to give and something to take away. My hope is we can all come out of this winners. Now, whilst we've been talking I'm glad to report preliminary scans suggests you are all fine. Except you Commander Kle, as we don't have an adequate baseline for your physiology. We'll run the shuttle through a decontamination routine, and then we'll let you out. Oh, and Commander Storm and Miss Ricci? If during the time it takes for the decon sequence to finish you could hold off extending refugee status to anyone else who just so happens by, that would be quite agreeable. Ingram, clear."=/\=

The comm line went dead.

A not totally unpleasant languor came upon the air, a lingering pressure like the sudden stop of an elevator. Rather than still, though, it carried a vibrancy like a song just outside the range of hearing.

~I see Benjie has not changed at all~

It was a thought, but it was spoken inside the mind like an invasive whisper. Both haunting and captivating like a phantom tickle, it demanded to be heeded while also yielding in an unspoken promise of no harm.

~Nonetheless I find myself looking forward to working with him once again~ The telepathic essence scanned the surfaces of their minds like a probe. ~Yes, I expect I shall enjoy working with one and all~

Dania flinched visibly as she heard the words in her head, "yes, sir." She managed to reply to Ingram. "Orlando out."

"...None of you were speaking but I heard a voice." Kle said quietly from within her armoured shell.

"It was the Medusan," replied Francie with a grin. She had never met a Medusan before, but had found the experience pleasant. "Commander Calida. Can she hear us if we think at her?" she asked, genuinely curious. She didn't know how Medusan telepathy worked.

~I hear everything within a certain range~ Neither boasting nor admitting, it was a neutral statement. ~But if there is something you wish for me not to acknowledge, I will respect that~

"Great. Great, great, great..." Kle muttered.


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