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Boldly Going

Posted on Fri Oct 15th, 2021 @ 1:13pm by Lieutenant Commander William Rogers & Lieutenant Commander Evelyn Rozia & Joquer & Captain Abigail Laurens & Commander Ichiko Gail & Lieutenant Commander Calvin Morgan

Mission: Double Bind
Location: Shuttlebay -- Alien Space Station

Ichiko stood on the deck of the shuttlebay, a designated Federation shuttle to her side. To her, an alien design thought up by minds a million billion miles from here. To others, a beacon of familiarity and comfort in this moment. From here on out, they were in troubled waters. Untested waters.

From here on out, they were fugitives if this all went wrong.

"Superstition often has a tiny glimmer of fact to it." Ichiko said to Rogers and Calvin. "I wouldn't doubt you for a moment if you had a lucky charm or something going into this. I understand that on Earth, rabbit feet are considered lucky." she smirked, "I'll pause to remind you, I'm not a rabbit."

"The two of you have been chosen for specific reasons. Mr. Rogers, for your stated experience with first contact scenarios and your familiarity with pre-warp cultures. Mr. Morgan, your medical expertise will go far in assessing if any inhabitants of their station are injured, but also to assess if their atmosphere is compatible for our needs. I'd hate to work up the nerve to make contact just to discover that the air there is just the wrong mix to breath."

"Any last minute questions?"

"None from me," He responded with a mixture of formality and casualness in his voice. He shifted the medical bag on his side, which was packed heavier with extra science equipment.

"How's your zero-gee rating?" Buck asked looking between the other members of the team. He'd opted to remain in uniform for the mission. It seemed silly, given they were breaking Starfleet's cardinal rule, but he still felt it important that he represent the organisation well. He produced a PaDD and handed it to Ichiko. "The docking ports weren't designed with Starfleet shuttles in mind. I'll get us as close as possible, but we might have to jump the last bit."

"I remember the steps, but personally a little rusty. I'll practice all the appropriate safety steps. Buddy system, tethers, and adequate suit lighting." she rattled off. "But, if we're all ready, then lets not put this off any longer. Gentlemen, let's begin."

Calvin shrugged, "Not usually my cup of tea. Just keep me tethered and push me in the right direction." He responded with a tired smile.

The shuttlecraft lifted off easily, as though even this piece of equipment knew the weight of the actions these three undertook, and the consequences they and the crew would bear. In eerie silence, the shuttle departed the Astraea, and headed off to orbit the moon the starship hid behind, to make its presence known to the station that hung over the doomed world below it.

====
ON THE STATION

It was still a really rough time on the station as the two remaining scientists continued their lonely vigil over what they increasingly were believing was their dying world. Radio contact with the ground remained an on and off thing (mostly off with occasional non-random static and words here and there) and the storm that they had recently seen look bad enough to have wiped the town they’d watched it pass over off the map. It was depressing, but Dessich knew it wouldn’t last for long, since their supplies would only last a couple more weeks, even rationed tightly as they were. Malnutrition was already showing in the two of their now-gaunt faces.

The other scientist, Grayzuk, didn't at all seem concerned that he was beginning to suffer from malnutrition. As of late, the usually dedicated scientist had abandoned his mission duties to helplessly watch what could only be described as the apocalypse from orbit. He had largely fallen silent after the last city the storm had destroyed, as there were many friends he knew that lived in that city, and silence was Grayzuk's way of coping and mourning their loss, for even if they had made it out, the storm was massive and relentless, and they would have perished regardless.

Finally, after over a day of not speaking, and watching the storm's latest devastation from orbit, Grayzuk suddenly punched the window out of frustration.

"Damnit!" He shouted. "This can't be our fate to just die up here watching others die below! Surely, there has to be something we can do!

“Certainly there’s something we can do.” Dessich said with a look and a gesture towards the main airlock hatch, “We can speed things up by a couple weeks for ourselves and open that.” He gave a morbid laugh, “There isn’t anything we can do for our people except watch and hope and pray.” He took a somewhat longing look at their way out from watching that and saw something. He scrambled over to the airlock’s window, “Grayzuk, come here! There’s something out there, a craft the size of our faster-than-light prototype! It… Looks weird, not of it world.”

"Are you holding out on me with extra hallucinogens you weren't telling me about?" Grayzuk asked. "You said what we had had the other day for fun was the last of-!"

Grayzuk's voice trailed off as he approached the window. Dessich was right: There was an approaching alien craft...

====
IN THE SHUTTLE

"If they had artificial grav it's out." Buck remarked as he checked over the sensor data coming in from the battered space station. He was about to ask Calvin about the atmospheric readings when something caught his eye. Movement. "Anyone else catch that? I think they've seen us." He pressed a sequence of buttons on the flight console. Outside the lights on the shuttle began to switch on and off; an arithmetic progression from one to ten.

"If they have artificial gravity, would it even exist for them technologically yet?" Calvin responded, focused on his screen. The majority of his scans passive, working slowly towards any active scans, not knowing how their technology would respond. Calvin glanced over towards Buck for a moment, before looking back at his screen. "Didn't catch anything. Their atmosphere inside the station is similar enough for us to breath. Unsure if the abnormality is because of their filtering or their standard. Need to run some quick tests but it should be safe long term."

"You'd be surprised what people discover on their way up the ladder." Ichiko advised, watching the silent exchange between the two spacefaring nations at work. "So, magnetic boots it is. Alright, let's prep for contact."

====
ON THE STATION

The two men were both looking out the window at this point, watching the strange craft slowly approaching. Neither had ever met with aliens, in fact the theory of non-Caetrovian life was just that: Theory. Of course, within that theory was the idea that if there was life out there, there was a universal language that could be used: Math. Both men were bright, else they'd not be up there. "Grayzuk, get the flashlight, I don't trust the lighting breakers on the station at this point."

"Use mine;" Grayzuk said, unclipping his flashlight from his spacesuit. "Don't know how much life the battery has left, but it'll work for now."

Dessich took the light and pointed it out the window, doing what the craft's pilot had done, beginning with a numerical progression from one to ten. "Maybe they'll come in and rescue us?" The senior scientist asked his companion, "Maybe they can save our world?"

"Well, they're not shooting us;" Grayzuk responded, recalling all the Caetovan science fiction he had ingested over his lifetime and how poorly extraterrestrial encounters usually went in those stories. "Which means either they really are friendly, or they're waiting to kill us in some other horrible way."

“At least it would be quick.” Dessich muttered, “Better than staying up here and starving or dehydrating. And who knows, perhaps…”

====
IN THE SHUTTLE

"Mr Rogers if you would, come about and line up the hatches as best you can." Ichiko said, suited up for her walk. A tether line was connected to one of the hooks as she prepped herself for the transit. "Keep a transporter lock on me just in case the tether isn't enough. I'd rather not solve their weather problems by landing on them from this height."

 

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