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Let's go for a swim?

Posted on Thursday 24 September 2020 @ 10:44 by Commander Melody Jones & Civilian Sansa Draxx-Jones & Commander Save'ena (Sav) Tillatix & Commander Caroline Miller & Lieutenant Commander Marbim Rejal & Lieutenant Hayley Godding & Lieutenant Kyhl Ch'rehron

Mission: A Whale of a problem (We're going to need a bigger boat)
Location: Main Shuttlebay, USS Percival
Timeline: MD 6 0930
2341 words - 4.7 OF Standard Post Measure

ON:

Melody and the away team entered the shuttle bay and headed straight for the Danube class runabout, the USS Percival which was sitting near the launch bay doors.

"Commander Tillatix, take the helm and get us ready for departure. The rest of you, find a seat."

Sav grinned widely as she responded, "You got it, Sir. On my way." She headed to the helm and sat down, feeling very happy to be piloting the runabout. Her hands flew over the controls for warmup and system checks.

Godding led her team of three security officers into the runabout and instructed them to take seats in the aft cabin in preparation for departure. Once they had departed, they were to prepare equipment necessary for their arrival. The team comprised of Lieutenant JG Anders, a happy-go-lucky type who liked to crack wise but was an excellent marksman and knew his job; Petty Officer Wilson, a shy, lithe and feminine woman who knew her computer systems and could be relied upon in a firefight; and Specialist Jang, a hulking brute of a Klingon who more than added to the visual security presence but to his close friends was something of a softie.

After making sure her team were settled, Hayley entered the main cockpit and took a seat at the starboard console station and configured it for the runabouts tactical and sensor suite, providing support for the pilot and co-pilot respectively.

Kyhl adjusted the strap on her med kit as she walked onto the runabout. She mentally went over the supplies to make sure she didn't miss anything.

She took her seat and looked around at all the new faces. She smiled a little and then adjusted her uniform after placing the med kit on the deck beside her chair.

Caroline walked in with Melody having snaffled her personal medical tricorder on the way down. The way she saw it an extra pair of hands for Dr Ch'rehron was an asset.

Sav nodded to Hayley and whispered in her swamp dialect, "Glad tah have yuh wit' me. Now yuh get tah see me in action, ayuh."

More used to Sav's tone on the bridge, the change in dialect had thrown her a bit, but it was an amusing change none the less. She was growing fond of the fluffy pilot, that was for sure. "Kick the tyres and light the fires, big momma." She replied with a bemused smirk on her face as she paraphrased one of her favourite old Earth movies.

Sav gave her a big smile and then called back to the rest of the Team, "Preflight checks Green, we have all clear from Bay Flight Control, ready on your Mark, Captain."

"Take us out Commander." Melody replied before settling into the seat next to Sav.

Sav replied, "Aye Aye Sir." Sav closed her eyes as her right hand was laying across the controls. The shuttle lifted up, all the while moving forward with a rotate 360 along with a barrel role, resulting in a controlled spinning corkscrew just to have fun with the flight team. The runabout missed any other craft nearby, some by inches, as it settled facing forward as it reached the forcefield over the door and out into the darkness of space it went.

Sav opened one eye to look at Hayley, then closed her eye once more as the runabout's speaker activated. "For those who have not seen the Merlin from an outside perspective, watch the windows or viewscreens, please." The Runabout now did an outward loop around the Merlin to allow everyone to take in its size and ship type. Once that was done, the runabout changed course towards the planet.

The mood was sanguine as they left the ship and flew towards the planet. For the most part, no one spoke needlessly, lost in their own thoughts as they flew down into the unknown. Of course, doing just this was what they'd all obstensively signed up to do as part of Starfleet, but it didn't make the experience of actually doing it any less nerve wracking and stressful as they actually did it.

The shuttle touched down on the seemingly barren landmass. There was no sign of any vegetation or life for that matter. The shuttle had landed near a very large mountain that seemed to have a cave system at the base. As Melody exited the shuttle, she produced a tricorder and tapped her comm badge. "Jones to Merlin. We have landed safely. There is no sign of life so far. Will keep advised."

Miles taps a button on the arm of the command chair, "Thank you Captain, we'll keep tabs on you from here. If you get into trouble stay as close as you can to each other so we can beam you out at once, other than that, I'll keep your seat warm."

Melody started to walk towards the caves, scanning as she went. "This landmass is strange. It's not fixed to bedrock and is only 5000 meters deep. It's floating in the ocean and if my scans are right.... It's only about 100 years old."

Checking her own tricorder, Hayley noted the oddities in the scans. "Captain, this makes no sense, although the landmass reads as organic and sedimentary rock, it has an artificial construct signature..."

"Hang on!" Melody stopped in her tracks. "I'm reading a warp signature and very faint human life sings coming from that mountain. "I think we should...." She had turned back round to face the rest of the away team and the Runabout and her voice trailed off as standing in the doorway of the runabout behind them was Sansa.

"Sansa! What are you doing here?"

Hayley snapped around at the Captain's tone of concern and alarm seeing Sansa in the doorway to the runabout. How the hell had she managed that?! Okay, sure, she loved whales, but this was beyond the pale and even for Sansa, this was bold beyond stupid. "Sansa!" Hayley exclaimed. "Oh, you silly girl..." She made to head over to the runabout and contact the Merlin to have her beamed back.

Caroline bit her lip but said nothing. This was Mel's daughter and her mission. All she could think of though was it was another thing Draxx wasn't going to take well too..

Sav turned to look, and smelled Sansa. She wasn't on the Shuttle, sooo... but then, she didn't 'feel' Sansa, the vibrancy that was Sansa was missing.

Sansa ignored the other member of the away team and looked at Melody as if without recognition. When she spoke her voice was not her own. It was slower with a strange resonance. "Welcome.... Captain.... You are in danger!"

That unearthly tone, that strange glaze to her eyes. Something wasn't right... Hayley stopped in her tracks and just stared.

Melody realised that this was not Sansa speaking. She took a tentative step towards her. "Who are you and what are you doing with my daughter?"

"Not yet Melody. They will be coming. I am your friend. Do not trust them. When you are there, in the Etheria. Find me." Then cryptically, she added, "They say the sea is cold but..."

Melody frowned something in the back of her mind remembering something. "Wait... Etheria? Who is coming?"

Sav found this strange, so tucked this information away into a compartment in her mind. She would remember later when needed.

Like a puppet whose strings had been cut, Sansa suddenly saged. She then looked around confused. "Mom? where am I? How did I get here?"

Melody came over to her and embraced her. "I'm not sure sweetie but I want you to wait in the runabout ok? "Godding, make sure she's ok and then rejoin the party. We're going to investigate those readings coming from those caves.

As if she needed telling! "Aye Captain." Hayley said, having rushed over to Sansa as soon as she'd sagged. She'd been behind Melody by a mere nano-second as she stood next to her. She hefted Sansa up under her arm and carried her back into the runabout, placing her onto one of the benches at the back so she could lay down. Whipping out her tricorder, she scanned Sansa carefully, receiving strange readings from her, but they were fading incredibly fast. "Sansa, you okay honey?" She asked..

Sansa nodded weakly. "I was in our quarters, reading and then... I was here." Sansa said as she let Hayley help her back to the Runabout. "Where are we?"

"You're on the planet we came to investigate." Hayley said, her face a picture of concern. "Sansa, you sure you're okay? I can stay here..."

"I'm ok." Sansa smiled at Hayley. "Go look after Mom. I promise I won't' go anywhere."

Sav hovered nearby, but stayed out of the way. When Sansa sagged, she could once again sense 'vibrancy' from Sansa, so whoever had been speaking before had temporarily taken over Sansa's conscious mind to speak, which didn't bode well. Well, she had guarded one captain's child through a crisis, she would do her best with another Captain's child.

Melody was leading the team into the cave. which after a few 100 feet opened up into an entrance chamber with pods on the floor at regular intervals, arranged neatly in rows. These pods were about 2 meters long and seemed to have grown straight out of the ground. Melody estimated there were over 400 at least. The arrangement of the pods was far too precise to be a natural phenomenon.

In the distance was an enormous cocoon.

Melody frowned as she took readings on the pods. "These pods are newer." She said indicating the ones closest to them. "They seem to have been formed in the last week or so. The others look to be about the same age as the landmass. My God! There's someone inside! A human." Doctor, can you get a reading?"

Kyhl pulled out her tricorder and began scanning the cocoon. She pursed her lips and then growled. She gave the tricorder a series of rapid whacks with her blue palm. "I'm sorry, but there is something interfering with my scans. I can tell you there is neural activity, but not much of it. Or maybe a lot. My readings aren't reliable."

She began scanning a few of the other pods for a more accurate baseline and frowned. Kyhl sighed. "Same interference sir."

Melody turned her attention to the enormous cocoon while the Doctor scanned the smaller pods. She had a feeling she knew what it was.

"The warp signature is emanating from that! And if my readings are accurate... That's the USS Darwin. I'm willing to bet that these are the crew." she gestured back to the smaller pods. "But why would you bring an entire starship down here and imprison its crew like that?" She asked, not sure if she really wanted to know the answer.

Kyhl shook her head. "Whatever the reason, I don't think I want to know."

Melody suddenly found herself unable to move her feet. She looked down to see fresh rock creeping over her boots and up her legs.

"Everyone! Get out! Now!" She looked and saw the rest of the away team in a similar situation. They were being trapped in pods which were growing around them, literally. Soon Melody's lower body was covered, the stone, flowing like a liquid, rising higher and higher.

She tapped her comm badge "Jones to Percival Computer! Emergency transport! Lock-on and beam everyone back now!"

There was no response.

Sav was trying to free herself, but her claws went through the liquid, but when it hardened it was tougher than her claws could cut into. And, as it flowed around the form of the body, once hardened a person could not move or gain leverage. She looked over the others and saw they were all in the same predicament.

Hayley struggled against the oncoming tide of the pods. "Capta-" She was cut off as the pod grew over her face and then she slipped into nothing...

Melody took a deep breath as the stone rose up over her shoulders and started to cover her face...

Then blackness.

Sav released her forced control and allowed herself to panic. In that way, her tail's natural protective abilities would activate and hopefully give her an edge later to help herself, or the party, to escape. That was all she had right now, and so it was what she would use. She also realized that the substance that flowed about her fur remained liquid, only becoming hard on the outside of the uniform. It also was regulating her temperature, which could go higher faster as she was a furred race, hence why a very breathable uniform on her. So, as it covered her head, she knew it would keep her alive, just not for what purpose as shown by the Darwin's crew and ship. Then... Blackness.

On the Runabout, Sansa was waiting for her Mom and the away team to return when suddenly she heard a voice in her head. They have been taken. They are in the Etheria now!

Sansa looked around then spoke aloud "Who said that? Who's there?"

The voice in her head replied. I want to help you. Come with me...

Sansa suddenly found herself standing and heading out of the runabout in the same direction as the away team. She entered the cave and found herself standing next to the pods and the enormous cacoon that was the USS Darwin.

We have brought you here to help out the cause. To make peace with you and your kind. The council wants to keep you here and punish you but, we in the rebellion know that you are not responsible for the mistakes of the past. Come and be with us.

In her head, Sansa knew somehow, that the being was speaking the truth and she stood there calmly as the floor started to move up her legs, cocooning her like the others.

OFF:

 

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