ASSIGNED TO TASK FORCE 37 OF PEGASUS FLEET
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Let It Snow

Posted on Sat Feb 12th, 2022 @ 6:12pm by Lieutenant JG Shaille Levine & Ashe Zachariah & Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Commander Evelyn Rozia & Lieutenant Keth Soban & Linza (Lin) Esni & Lieutenant Commander William Rogers & Lieutenant Commander Ebrin Valek & Lieutenant Tavis Styvek & Lieutenant Naomi McLaren & Commander Ichiko Gail & Lieutenant Commander William Gunnison & Lieutenant Commander Calvin Morgan & Lieutenant Veznia MD PSyD & Lieutenant Alexis Aenera & Ensign Jaimie Nolan & Chief Petty Officer Lisa Terrix

Mission: Double Bind

As they materialized on the planet the first thing Abigail noticed was the bitter cold. She didn't need to be able to feel it, just the sight of the heavy snow, the wind blowing hard against her slim body, it all made her feel cold, chilling her to the bone. Beyond the weather, the thought of what they were about to do chilled her even more.

She turned toward Evelyn. "Let's test the comm signal first, make sure we can contact everyone, then we'll start setting up?" Abigail suggested.

"Rightio." Evelyn agreed, extending the legs on the portable comm node that she'd brought with them. With their position at the first spot to be hit, having a solid comm ability to at least reach out to the others with any adjustments needed was paramount. The system came up and after a few seconds, an antenna had extended into a complex series that seemed to adjust itself and a green light flashed on the screen, "We're showing everything functioning as it should, ma'am, go ahead."

Abigail nodded in response, reaching up and tapping her commbadge. "Astraea crew, commlinks should be open. Please respond with your location and status."

=/\=

Lisa glanced at Koh and smiled slightly, tapping her own commbadge as she did so, "Chief Terrix and Warrant Otassu, SouthWest edge node Delta Six. Eighteen minutes until we're all set up. We read you just fine, Captain."

=/\=

"This is Ichiko on Astraea Actual. Standing by and coordinating hub efforts. Will keep appraised of shifts in the storm motions or any changes in the situation. So far, everything is according to model," the rabbitess XO stated on the live channel.

Styveck stood on the bridge near the XO, he remained behind in case his presence was needed. He watched the rabbitess check in before he spoke, "Do you think this is the most logical course of action, Commander?"

"That question could drive men mad." she offered. "Trying to consider the most logical approach, the most appropriate approach, can paralyze the mind. Doing nothing was deemed unacceptable, therefore doing something is the course. Whether or not *this* is the most logical, well, remains to be seen." she considered her next words for a moment.

"I believe this is the best option, given all the other options we had. So, yes."

He watched her carefully consider her response, the Commander was definitely selective about her response. "Do you feel prepared or ready to face the challenges of this mission? There are a lot of lives that affected by the choices that were made and the actions of this crew."

"As much as possible, I do. Besides, the avalanche has already begun, it's far too late for the pebbles to vote." she offered a touch of cultural wisdom, turning to face Styveck, "In ten hours, we'll know for certain. Is there reason to suspect otherwise?" she inquired.

"Negative Commander, I was just attempting to analyze your mental presence while in the midst of this ongoing mission. Most of the time I only get to do post-mission analysis, so I believed this would be an effective usage of my time while I was on the bridge, " Styveck said flatly.

She gave a nod, "We're as new to you as you are to us. You're more than welcome on the bridge." she offered. "By all means, continue your assessment. I have a feeling you and I are going to remember this for a long, long time."

"What's your specialty, if you don't mind my asking?"

Styveck took a breath before speaking, "I am typically sent to ships or planet's that have been through major traumatic events. I believe on earth it is called Post Traumatic Stress. I was sent out here to the Delta Quadrant because Starfleet believes there will be incidents that will need my expertise. Honestly my time here on the Astraea has been the longest I have remained in one place. I tend to get reassigned a lot. It is Starfleet's belief that the logical assessment by a Vulcan can help in critical situations." He paused a moment to before continuing, "Which is why I was attempting to analyze you now versus after an incident so I had a baseline, as it were to compare your behaviors to. Not that I expect you to suffer through anything, but it's not often I get to counsel normally."

"We have a similar trauma back home. Deployment based psychological issues, the medical name is pretty long but we just refer to it as DBPD. It's a nice cute name for a terrible condition, but making its name something everyone can pronounce helps make everyone aware. For those that suffer from it, awareness helps. The number of cases grows everyday with our conflicts back home. For most, therapy and treatment help."

She tapped her own temple, or where her temple would be provided their skull structure was similar. "For most."

"I welcome any insight you can offer. I believe our two people could learn a lot from one another. Just forgive me if I'm more focused on the task at hand." a pause, "Perhaps I should schedule a visit with you after all of this is handled. I'm certain we could all use a talk with a friendly face."

Valek listened to the two talk as he monitored the readouts scrolling across his workstation. On most occasions, were he serving regular bridge duty, he would have been in the seat just to the left of the center chair and thus closer to the conversation. However, the present circumstances required the Bandi be able to keep an eye on the ever-changing situation below and to report on developments. So he'd opted instead for the mission operations console a short distance from his usual position.

An indicator light flashed, accompanied by a quick chirp. It then highlighted an area of the display in front of him where the storm fronts appeared to be in a severe state of flux. Having identified the change, Valek minimized the alert. He, along with everyone else, was hoping and praying this thing would stay the course. But somehow, he had a feeling it wasn't going to be that easy...

"Pardon the interruption, commander," he called out to Gail, "but I'm afraid the projections were right. Winds have increased another six percent in the last fifteen minutes. Electrical activity has gone up as well...fourteen percent."

The rabbitess turned her attention up and over to Valek, her glance soft... comforting... alien. Her eyes, no shine to them at all. Just flat, matte pools of color. "Update the model and distribute the latest numbers to the ground teams, please. Keeping them informed of the latest updates is their best chance right now."

Tag

=/\=

"Lieutenant Veznia, ummmm here with Lieutenant Levine." She paused. "Ummm we are ready to go."

Shaille nodded slightly, though behind the EV suit there was a scowl of discontent on her face. "Well, hopefully we will be," she muttered under her breath, momentarily forgetting about the open comms channel. "The shield generator is working, the shield is up, but it's not stable. There's a red light on modulation and the light below the power control module is flashing."

The word coming from Shaille's mouth resounded in the Denobulan's head. Though it didn't mean much to her, Vez nodded. "We will uuuhh get it up and running ASAP." She smiled at Shaille. "And we do that how?"

"Like this..." Shaille replied, delivering a swift kick to the unit which promptly beeped in protest before the shield shimmered into effect. "Now let's just hope it lasts. It's gonna get mighty cold soon."

=/\=

Back at the 'front' of the group, while Evelyn set up the portable shield generator, Abigail studied the open tricorder in her hand. "Get it online Lieutenant," she cautioned over the comms while she waited for other groups to report in with their status.

=/\=

Naomi realized that it was going to be a wild and uncomfortable ride all the way from the ship. She'd taken the co-pilot seat because her flight training was lacking. "I hope you're a better pilot than I am," She told Keth. And looked at him hoping that he didn't kill the two of them before they even started the mission proper.

They are right there, a tiny voice said in the back of Keth's head. It was a voice that didn't have a voice, but it had a megaphone. The voice that in simpler times thousands of years prior, had taught Keth's race that the flickering colours under the water were fish. Fish were good. Lots of bright colours under glossy panels means more fish. Fish+.

That voice was leaning hard on the air horn trying to get Keths attention from way back in the not to distant cave-Huanni past.

"I am a very good pilot," Keth said and resolutely kept one hand one the flight controls whilst the other worked the inertial compensator. Shuttles were aerodynamic the same way pet rocks were aerodynamic: in a drooping parabola. So Keth was making the shuttle heavier in the air, so its engines were keeping it aloft instead of trying to beg some meagre lift from fickle aerodynamics.

"I'm a very good pilot," Keth said as a warning chime began to play. "I'm a very good pilot who is ignoring the manufacturer's warranty on that one system which we don't need. But if someone could convince the superconductive magnets in the inertial compensator to stay super and not...get...explodey that would be good."

Panic brought out Keth's competency, maybe the adrenaline was feeding the cocaine binge his thyroid craved. Either way this eye in the Keth storm couldn't last forever.

=/\=

Linza looked around at the location and glanced to her counterpart. Figuring it didn't matter who made the call in. "Esni and Gunnison checking in, Captain. So far so good."

"And certainly planning on keeping it that way," Will added, hoping that he hadn't just jinxed anything. "Everything looks to be going as expected."

Watching the skies a bit while making adjustments, Lin sighed. "This is really not the easiest thing to try to pull off in these suits. Always did hate these things."

"Not a huge fan, either," Will said as he tapped in several commands of his own into the control panel he was working at, "but under the circumstances it beats the alternative."

"Okay, you have a point there." Her eyes looked at the sky. "Under any other circumstances, I'd love studying this from the ship. I'm not a scientist but still like weather situations. But this is different." Shaking her head, she went back to work.

"I know what you mean," Will said. "If this wasn't an inhabited planet, I think we'd all be fascinated to study what's going on. But this... There aren't really words to describe it. Now we're trying to save as many people as we can and hoping for the best."

=/\=

Calvin looked around the planet side he was now inhabiting. The shuttle ride, well he was happy to be down at this point. His suit showed normal for internal controls, which only made him feel slightly better. He hated the confinement of these suits. "Doctor here, we're good."

Alexis was rubbing her arms up and down in the environment suit, even though it would do no good in keeping her warm. She'd opted to join the doctor because well, if worse came to worst, being with the medical person was always the best place to be, "Why does it have to be so COLD?" She complained to him, "Why couldn't this be more of a heat wave rather than freezing?"

"Just think warm thoughts," Calvin replied going through his equipment. "With any luck we won't be down here for too long," he added a moment later. "Why won't this thing work?" He asked, trying to get the comms repeater to fully sync.

"Warm thoughts..." Alexis muttered, huddling around the comm unit with him and examining the readouts, "Warm thoughts aren't gonna do any good. But this says it's working." She formed a hand into a fist and dropped it on the top and the screen flickered, "Now it should be."

=/\=

"Delta 5, standing by." Rogers reported in, eyes fixed on the approaching stormfront. Over the wind he made out the sounds of crunching snow: footsteps.

"Cold enough for ya, Commander?" A female voice; one of the nurses; ensign Grant.

Rogers laughed. "Yep. Thinking of taking a nap, maybe wake up in another couple of centuries."

=/\=

The storm was approaching. They didn't need tricorders to see that. The sky was darkening and the intensity of the snow was escalating. Visibility was decreasing. Even the wind was getting stronger. It was getting harder and harder to stand up against it.

Despite the fact that she was perfectly safe and warm inside the EV suit she could feel a chill seeping through her body, right to her bones. She glanced at Evelyn. "Either this storm is moving faster or it's getting bigger. Astraea actual, can you confirm?"

High above, in orbit, the Astraea presided over the events below like a silent arbiter. "This is Astraea actual, standby." Ichiko confirmed before having the science department run a new set of scans. Minutes passed in silence before her reply came back. "Abigail, sciences confirms, the storm is moving slightly faster than previous estimates. The cause is believed to be a fluctuation in pressure behind the storm, essentially nudging it forward. They're still calculating the new time until arrival, but my personal estimate is 'Hurry'."

"We're up and going, I'm reading twenty-five of the twenty-eight shielding stations up, with all eight particle station up and in cover." Evelyn exhaled deeply, "Astraea actual, I'd like to request the sensor probe insertion into that storm as soon as is practical."

"Astraea actual acknowledges. Prepping a probe for deployment." was Ichiko's response as she gave the science officer on the bridge a nod. Once prepped, the probe was deployed. "Probe away, we'll broadcast the findings on channel eight six, as there seems to be less interference from the storm on that channel. Acknowledge."

"Ground Station One acknowledges." Evelyn responded, switching the signal reception to the indicated channel and waiting a few seconds, "We're receiving data and telemetry from the probe, all ground stations stand by for adjustment data." She glanced over at the screen monitoring the shield station deployments, "Beta-Two, Charlie-Five and Charlie-Eight, I need your systems up and functioning within the next twenty minutes."

"Charlie-Five, our unit is now online," Shaille answered Evelyn before glancing at Veznia and offering a smile from behind her EV suit. "Honestly, between you, me and that tree, I think I'd rather be in a Dalacari prison."

Abigail listened to the talk via comms, a nervous feeling settling over her. "Astraea actual, what's the ETA for this storm front?" Abigail asked over the open comm. While Evelyn worked with the equipment, the Captain's gaze was firmly affixed on the distance, watching the dark clouds rolling toward them. Already visibility was starting to become an issue on the surface as the sleet and snow started to pick up beyond the forcefields, the wind becoming more determined as it beat against an invisible shield.

The reply took a bit to return, as it took a bit to process, "Sciences estimates you should be feeling the start of the storm shortly. Fifteen minutes for the winds to pick up. You'll be deep in the freeze probably in thirty minutes. That's if the weather follows model." A silence fell over the channel, broken only by Ichiko softly begging the storm not to get any ideas. When her voice came back she was far more professional. "Bank on twenty five minutes."

Another green dot appeared on Evelyn's screen and she scowled at the last yellow dot, "Beta Eight, Doctor Morgan, I need your shield up please. You're the last one showing non-functional."

Calvin grumbled before keying up his mic, finally getting the green light on his shield unit. He wouldn't repeat it loud enough for Alexis to hear, mostly because it had not one iota of useful information to it. Raising his voice to an appropriate level, he keyed his mic to respond to Evelyn. "Just got full greens on my screen. Showing connected and good on my side now." He clicked off his mic before turning to Alexis. "Go on an away mission they said, It'd be fun they said."

"News flash Commander," Abigail's voice came over the comms. "They lied." There was the sound of a deep breath being taken. "Alright everyone, this is it. We'll keep the comms open as long as we can. If they fail, we'll get everyone beamed out as soon as possible once this is over. Stay together, stay safe..." the sound of another deep breath. "Don't get dead. The paperwork is a bitch."

 

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