TUE: Reykjavík - Warnings Unheeded In Darkest Night

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gibraltar, Apr 27, 2020.

  1. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    A rather unusual but effective ploy to protect the Reykjavík. In effect, wait for the muzzle flash, then shoot down the barrel of the attacker's gun. Piece of cake. Actually, both brilliant and crazy - yet it worked. Kudos to Garrett for making it happen and to Trujillo for having the patience to allow it to work.
    Glal is an excellent First Officer - providing his C.O. with options and counter-points, yet willing to follow orders he may not like. I like that he's willing to push back.
    And Trujillo and Gael?!? Did I miss a memo . . . ? :shrug:
     
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  2. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    No, this has been going on for a while now. This was just the moment to let the proverbial cat out of the bag to the audience. :hugegrin:

    Thank you for the feedback!
     
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  3. CamSPD

    CamSPD Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2011
    Location:
    Space, the final frontier.
    Wonderful new addition. I like how the captain lets her people do their thing, even the newbie ensign. And oh, what a surprise at the end! I did not think that Trujillo had much of a personal life, tbh. Can't wait to see where this goes.
     
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  4. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't usually care for fan fics that delve into so many characters in such a short amount of time (well, I actually that is a complaint I have with some professionally published novels to be honest--looking at you David Weber) but this one succeeds. The balance feels right and enough of the individuals characters stand out without resorting to datadumps. Thank you!
     
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  5. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Abemeda II

    The humanoids were tall, over two meters on average, and had dusky skin tone that varied in hue from burnt orange to a dark caramel. Even here in the planet’s northern climes, the weather was semi-tropical, a byproduct of the world’s proximity to the star system’s twin suns.

    Their hamlet was a kind of collective, with large family groups living in their own mini-communities, connected to the larger village by roads and footpaths along which commerce traveled. The larger village contained a sizeable market area and stockyard, as well as an outdoor amphitheater and structures suggestive of houses of worship.

    The buildings here were between one and three stories high, mostly of kiln-hardened mud-brick construction over wooden frames. The dominant shape was round, tapering to a conical dome above the final story.

    The smell of wood-smoke wafted through the air, accompanying the scent of newly cut grasses that were being bound and transported by animal-drawn carts to the community’s market area.

    Trujillo and her away team studied this scene via binoculars, the image enhanced with tricorder information linked to the binos’ internal display. The team lay along the crest of a ridge overlooking the community, trying to remain unseen while observing the goings-on below.

    “Well,” Trujillo commented as she scanned the pastoral scene with her binoculars, “these people don’t appear to be worried about an alien invasion.”

    “Agreed, sir,” Garrett said from where she lay beside her, studying her tricorder intently. “Odd, though, you usually don’t see mud-brick construction techniques used in semi-tropical climates. It suggests a wide variance in this region’s seasonal temperatures. Probably something to do with the accelerated rotation of the binary pair…”

    Trujillo cast a glance at the younger woman, who remained completely engrossed in her readouts. The captain looked over Garrett’s head to share a knowing grin with Kura-Ka, whose responding smile could be deduced from the flexing of his cheeks at the edge of his breather-mask.

    “Commander,” she asked him, “any indications of transtator technology or electronics of any kind?”

    “None, sir,” he replied in his mask’s slightly digitized tone. “Wheel, axel, and lever-based technology, roughly analogous to pre-Columbian Mesoamerica on Earth. The most developed mechanization we’ve seen has been windmills and water-wheels utilized for grain milling, but that’s the extent of it. Their clothing is all fashioned from natural animal and plant fibers, no synthetics.”

    “Captain, something of note,” Jarrod offered, moving to lay next to Trujillo as Garrett scooted over to accommodate him. Jarrod painted one of the villagers in his binos with a target indicator, then transmitted that information to Trujillo’s optics. An orange field highlighted one of the aliens in Trujillo’s field of vision, and she saw the man carrying a wooden object shaped vaguely like a cricket bat.

    “It’s one of the swords Ensign Garrett hypothesized about, wooden core with what looks to be sharpened rock on the cutting edges,” Jarrod pointed out.

    “Indeed it is,” Trujillo breathed, enhancing the image to magnify the weapon clutched in the man’s hand. “We’ve also seen spears and arrows similar to those found aboard Esau.”

    “But how do people with this level of technology stage an attack on a starship?” Jarrod asked.

    “I’ve got Glal working on that upstairs,” Trujillo responded. “If everything goes according to plan, that will be our next stop on our tour of scenic Abemeda II.”

    “Comaoura,” Garrett corrected her by reflex, still engrossed in her data.

    “Beg pardon, Ensign?” Trujillo couldn’t contain a mischievous smile that Garrett was unable see with Jarrod in the way.

    Garrett blanched. “I—I’m sorry, Captain. I didn’t—”

    Between them, Jarrod dropped his head to his arms, his shoulders shaking with silent laughter.

    “Please explain, Mister Garrett,” Trujillo asked with cloying sweetness.

    “Sir, the name for this world in the local dialect is ‘Comaoura.’” Garrett gestured vaguely behind them. “I found it etched into that shrine near where we beamed down.”

    “Comaoura,” Trujillo repeated, sounding out the word. “I like it.” She gestured to Garrett’s tricorder. “Make sure you note that in our reports and let astrometrics know to add it to our star-chart updates for the sector.”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “Glal to Captain Trujillo,” the XO’s voice issued from her combadge, sounding tinny and distorted due to local electromagnetic interference from the system’s binary pair.

    Trujillo rolled onto her side and rifled through a pocket of her away mission jacket, producing a flip-grid communicator. She flicked it open, finding the old-fashioned activation chirp comforting somehow. “Trujillo here, go ahead.”

    Glal’s signal was much clearer over the handset. “We’ve recovered the reconnaissance drones we beamed into those caverns, sir. It’s a massive network, extending out for dozens of kilometers. Some of the chambers are big enough to park Reykjavík in.”

    “What did you find?”

    “Lots of technology, or more accurately, it’s remains. DeSilva’s been looking at the telemetry and she believes that those energy blooms they attacked us with were actually some kind of two-way transit portal. It’s her best guess that our phasers may have exited the other end of the portal within the cavern system and started a destructive chain reaction.”

    “Any life signs down there?” Trujillo inquired.

    “Indeterminate, sir. That cascade of explosions released a good amount of radiation and hazardous chemical residue, which made reading life-signs in all that mess problematic.”

    Trujillo stifled a sigh. “May I presume we’ll need to beam back to suit up in EVA gear?”

    “That’s correct, Captain. And may I convey my everlasting gratitude for your taking my place on this landing party.”

    This time Trujillo did sigh. “Don’t mention it, Commander.”

    * * *​

    Garrett’s first thought was that she and the others had beamed into her distant ancestors’ concept of Hell.

    They had materialized onto an outcropping of rock halfway up the wall of a gigantic subterranean chamber, its ceiling towering another hundred meters overhead. This enormous cavern was lit from below by burning, twisted metal that cast eerie, writhing shadows dozens of meters high along the cavern walls.

    “Well, this is… cozy,” Jarrod quipped from within his EVA suit’s helmet.

    “Perimeter scans,” Trujillo ordered, looking to her own tricorder. “If anything looks like it may be building to another explosion, call out. This isn’t the time to be bashful.”

    Jarrod nodded to Garrett with an appreciative expression, making a sweeping gesture with his rifle to encompass the apocalyptic scene below them. “When you break something, you don’t mess around.”

    Garrett merely goggled at the havoc her calculations had wrought.

    Kura-Ka pointed down to a passageway leading to another chamber, barely visible against the smoky haze from the smoldering equipment below. “The recon drones showed the next chamber over suffering significantly less damage than this one. However, that chamber is also partially shielded by heavy elements in the rock strata. We nearly lost the drone we sent in there when we beamed it back. It’s safer to walk there from here.”

    There was a roughly hewn rock staircase leading down from their perch to the next chamber’s entrance, some eighty meters below.

    Trujillo looked to the two security personnel accompanying Jarrod, all three of which had transport pattern enhancers strapped to the backs of their EVA packs. “Be careful with those,” she said. “If we get stuck in there for some reason, those may be our only way out.”

    The away team descended carefully, panning their suit-mounted lights around to illuminate the steps which became intermittently shrouded in the smoke-laden air.

    “Radiation levels are rising, but are well within our suits’ safety tolerances,” Garrett noted as she swept her wedge-shaped hazardous-environment tricorder back and forth. “No life-sign readings,” she added.

    They passed through the tunnel into the next chamber, where true to Glal’s word the damage appeared considerably less severe. This cavern was less than half the size of the one they’d just left, and here they found row upon row of ovoid-shaped pods, each about four meters in diameter.

    On a raised platform at one end of the cavern was located an enormous crystalline prism, surrounded by numerous articulated arms, each one ending in a different sized circular aperture. These in turn were flanked by a row of conical structures that bore a striking resemblance to stacked warp coils from an engine nacelle.

    Hlavic, one of the security detachment, frowned at the grouping of pods. “Please tell me those aren’t eggs,” he joked over the shared comm-net.

    Trujillo silenced him with a stern look before turning her attention back to the bizarre looking structure.

    “Advanced metallurgical techniques,” Garrett marveled at her tricorder’s readings. “Equivalent to or even exceeding present Federation abilities in that area, sir.”

    “Beyond the capabilities of the native population, certainly,” Trujillo assessed.

    Jethridge, another security specialist, called Jarrod’s attention to a long, angled rack set between two rows of pods. The rack contained hundreds of spears, arrow-quivers, and swords similar to those observed in possession of the villagers, and those found aboard Esau.

    Garrett had completed cursory scans of the pods and had moved towards the assemblage of robotic arms surrounding the large milky crystal. The entire structure was some forty meters in height, and closer inspection of the arms revealed intricate scroll-work patterns set into the metal.

    Kura-Ka joined her and he and Garrett switched over to an private comms frequency and began theorizing about what they were seeing.

    Jarrod checked to ensure his security people were situated properly in places from where the landing party was in clear view before kneeling to better examine the weapons housed in the storage racks.

    Trujillo turned in a slow circle, scanning with a standard tricorder that while less sturdy than the HazEn versions was more discriminating. She paused, detecting a weak life-sign distinct from those of the away team. Trujillo moved in that direction, realizing that she was walking towards the rows of pods. The life-sign began to grow stronger as she approached. “Mister Jarrod, I have something here,” she called, drawing her phaser from its holster on the EVA suit’s abdominal plate.

    “Hang tight, sir,” Jarrod’s voice echoed in her helmet, “I’m on my way.”

    There was a cracking sound from somewhere nearby, but as exterior sounds were translated through her helmet’s comms system, it was difficult to attribute a direction to it. Trujillo stepped back a pace, raising her phaser.

    Her tricorder began to trill as one life-sign became two, and two became four…

    “Set up the pattern enhancers, now!” she commanded.

    Sudden movement in her peripheral vision caught her attention, and Trujillo turned to see one of the pods split open along a previously invisible seam. A flood of pinkish fluid spurt forth from where the seam had separated. A large, pale, three fingered hand reached out from inside the pod and grasped the edge, levering it upwards.

    More cracking sounds and the splash of more fluid spattering on to the roughly hewn rock floor convinced Trujillo that this phase of their investigation was quickly drawing to a close.

    “Trujillo to Reykjavík, we’re setting up pattern enhancers now. This will be an emergency beam-out. Do you copy?”

    There was no response and it suddenly occurred to Trujillo that she had failed to confirm an active comm-link with the ship when the team had entered the second cavern. Rookie mistake, she thought dully. That’s what happens when you haven’t led an away mission in over five years…

    “Fall back!” she yelled to the others. “Back to the other—”

    An enormous hand, identical to the one she had been fixated on, collided with Trujillo’s helmet and sent her sprawling.

    She landed faceplate down, her head reeling from the impact. The whine of multiple phasers reverberated through her helmet as heated voices called out over the team’s comm-net.

    “More of them!” Hlavic warned.

    “Behind you!” Jethridge shouted. “Look out!”

    “Captain’s down!” someone yelled.

    “Stun isn’t working!” Jarrod advised. “Max your phaser settings!”

    Trujillo gasped, coming suddenly to full consciousness. She pushed herself up into a kneeling position, her hands casting about for her fumbled phaser as she cursed the occluding spider-web of cracks marring her faceplate.

    Streams of blue light sizzled past, seemingly at random, and a weirdly detached part of Trujillo’s mind appreciated the play of light and shadow in the otherwise darkened chamber. Focus, she raged at herself. Focus or you and your people are going to die here!

    She found her phaser and clutched it awkwardly in her heavily gloved hand, trying to increase its setting despite her blurred vision and cracked faceplate.

    A shadow loomed over her and she looked up to see a monstrosity revealed in flickering phaser light. It stood nearly two-and-a-half meters tall, bipedal with short trunk-like legs and a broad torso that looked like an inverted triangle supporting two massive arms. There was no head, only two dark, watery eyes set at the top of the torso where a neck should have been.

    As she watched the creature brought a massive wooden club encrusted in razor-sharp rock chips over its head. Without warning, the monster and it’s weapon vanished like a wraith in a swirling corona of energy, courtesy of a phaser beam set to disintegrate. Trujillo glanced down and realized the beam had come from her own weapon.

    Someone grabbed her EVA by the carry-handle at the top of her atmos-exchanger pack, pulling her to her feet. “Come on, sir,” Hlavic panted. “We have to get out of here.”

    The security man threaded an arm under hers and helped guide her through the obstacle course of pods, racks, and power trunks towards the exit. He would pause occasionally to let loose a phaser beam at an unseen opponent, and during one of these moments Trujillo caught a fleeting glimpse of another of her people.

    This figure was shooting, ducking and moving among the pods, clearly trying to draw the golem-like creatures away from the others. This person vaporized multiple of the towering horrors before another of them rose up directly behind the individual. The beast brought an obsidian-edged wooden sword slashing down at the figure, only to have it parried by the individual wielding their phaser-rifle like a polearm.

    Then Hlavic and Trujillo were through the narrow entrance and into the cavernous chamber beyond.

    DeSilva’s voice suddenly crackled in Trujillo’s helmet, “—tus report? Away team, can you read us? This is Reykjavík on emergency channel Theta-Four.”

    Hlavic moved to hand Trujillo over to Kura-Ka who stood nearby, applying a pressure-seal to a vicious-looking tear in one arm of Garrett’s EVA suit. Trujillo was still having difficulty with her vision, and her awareness continued to ebb and flow, laser-sharp one moment, fleeting the next.

    She saw a line of other EVA suited personnel, all armed with rifles, charging down the steps she and her team had descended less than fifteen minutes prior.

    Trujillo thought she heard Glal’s voice order, “Get back to the ship, we’ll cover your egress.”

    Hlavic clutched his phaser pistol and fell into line behind the others as they rushed past, vanishing back into the passageway from whence they’d escaped.

    A phaser-toting Garrett moved to follow, only to have Kura-Ka restrain her. “No, Ensign, we’re going home,” he said in an astoundingly patient voice, given the circumstances. “You too, Captain.”

    Trujillo turned to put the chief engineer in his place, only to have her eyes roll back into her head as her legs gave out.

    She fell then, into the blackness, further and deeper than even the subterranean chambers they had come to explore.

    * * *​
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
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  6. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    OKay, cool. We a technologically primitive race on the planet, but a hidden/covert location of seemingly automated advanced technology seemingly responsible for what happened to USS Esau. But a totally different species seems associated with that tech, one as yet unidentified but not really humanoid.

    My guess? The non-humanoid tech is limited in what it can do, but its computer systems are interpreting instructions very literally with some impressive but very limited technical abilities. Protect and/or hide the Humanoid race? Are they its creators in the distant past, or maybe the future in which they came to some bad end as a result of someone finding them too soon, some one without Starfleet's Non-Interference Directive? Maybe?

    I'm so intrigued by this.
     
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  7. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    Starfleet has General Order One.
    Perhaps the Science Fiction genre should have its own general order . . . If you enter an underground chamber infested with eggs. Run. Like Hell.
    Wow, what a roller-coaster ride! The away team moves from a peaceful setting to a desperate fight for survival. No telling how many casualties the away team will incur. The Captain is injured and a beam out to Reykjavík isn't a sure thing.
    Please hurry with the next chapter! I'm running out of fingernails to bite!
     
  8. CamSPD

    CamSPD Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2011
    Location:
    Space, the final frontier.
    An exciting and incredible twist to the story! Definitely agree with TLR -- always run away from a cavern filled with eggs!
     
  9. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Holy crap, hasn't anyone learned over the centuries? Don't enter a room with eggs! Especially on Janus IV! You'll get burned there!

    Every first-year cadet in both Starfleet Academy and the Border Service Academy should be taught this... on the first frakking day! Even the enlisted personnel should be taught this in Boot Camp.
     
  10. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    * * *​

    The gentle, steady beeping of a bio-monitor usually provided a soothing background sound for those confined to Sickbay. Not so for Nandi Trujillo and her troubled dreams. Her mind was awash in images of monstrously deformed creatures assailing her in a poorly lit cavern.

    She only vaguely heard and felt the touch of a hypospray at her neck, the dispensed medications prompting her eyes to flutter open. Trujillo started, reaching her hands out in a defensive gesture towards the face hovering over her.

    Dr. Bennett grabbed her hands gently. “It’s okay, Captain. You’re okay. You’re back aboard Reykjavík.

    Trujillo exhaled loudly, blinking. “Doctor?” She tried to sit up, but Bennett maintained steady pressure on her shoulder to keep her supine.

    “Let’s just take it slow, shall we, Captain? You suffered substantial neural trauma from that attack. If you hadn’t been wearing an EVA helmet, I dare say that blow would have crushed your skull.”

    “How long have I been out?” Trujillo asked, still blinking dazedly.

    “The landing party and rescue team returned to the ship about eight hours ago, sir.”

    “How… how many did we lose?” Trujillo didn’t want to know, but she had to know how many lives her carelessness had cost.

    “No fatalities, sir,” Bennett answered evenly. “However, a number of our people suffered significant injuries, yourself included. Lieutenant Jarrod just came out of surgery, as did Specialist Jethridge. They both had multiple fractures and serious internal injuries from blunt-force trauma. Five others from the rescue team also incurred less serious injuries.”

    “Rescue team?”

    Bennett turned to look at someone else in the exam room, and a moment later Glal’s visage replaced the doctor. “How are you feeling, sir?”

    “A little… light-headed. Kind of fuzzy. That… thing really rung my bell, didn’t it?”

    “Apparently so, Captain,” Glal confirmed. “Doc says he spent hours realigning your neural pathways. I asked him to make you nicer, but he told me he’s a Doctor, not a miracle worker.”

    Trujillo emitted a laughing snort, and immediately covered her mouth, looking mortified. “I don’t do that!” she squeaked from behind her hands.

    Glal’s tusks quivered from barely contained mirth as Bennett stepped back into view. “Don’t worry, Captain,” the doctor said. “The sedative is still wearing off. Your reactions may be a bit exaggerated for the next few minutes.”

    She blinked, trying to steady her thoughts, and turned her head to look at Glal. “Someone mentioned a rescue team?”

    “Yes, sir. As soon as we lost comms with your landing party after you entered the second chamber. I led a rescue team down and arrived just as you were exiting. You don’t remember?”

    “Vaguely…” she trailed off, a faraway cast to her eyes as she struggled to recall those last, confusing moments.

    “We were able to extract Jarrod and Jethridge and get everyone back to the ship.” Glal informed her.

    She nodded faintly, still trying to piece the events together into some kind of cogent narrative. “Good work, Commander.” Glal noticed Trujillo’s customary spark seemed to reappear in her eyes, or he at least imagined that it had.

    “What happened to the… laboratory, or launch site… whatever we’re calling it? Were we able to recover any technology or did those things chase us off?”

    Glal’s expression became grim. “No, sir. After we recovered our personnel, I was concerned about the possibility of a follow on attack. The recon probes we sent down there apparently mistook inert equipment for damaged. The technology in the second chamber was largely operational when you arrived. Ensign Garrett believes the device at the front of the chamber with all the arms was a kind of focal refractor for the long-range transporter they attacked us with. Despite our firefight in the cavern, most of their equipment remained intact. But, in all the confusion, they must have overlooked the pattern enhancers we’d left behind. So, I used them to beam three photon torpedoes into the chamber on a five-second delay.”

    Trujillo’s eyes widened. “That must have made for an impressive explosion.”

    “Brought down an estimated fifty-million metric tons of rock, collapsing four-fifths of the cavern system.”

    Trujillo nodded distractedly, craning her head around to locate Bennett. “Doctor, I’d like to see the men who just came out of surgery.”

    “Of course, Captain,” the doctor replied. He stepped forward, and he and Glal helped Trujillo up into a sitting position on the bio-bed. “Mister Jethridge is still sleeping, but Lt. Jarrod is awake.”

    Glal leaned in to whisper, “I’m putting both of them and Hlavic in for citations for valor, Captain.”

    Trujillo walked toward the recovery rooms, assisted by the two men until she was steady on her feet, then under her own power.

    She spent a few moments with the sleeping Jethridge. Half of the young man’s head was encased in an osteo-therapy cradle, fusing the multiple fractures in his skull. Long hours of exhaustive neural realignment and reconstruction awaiting him, similar to what Trujillo had just undergone. She whispered her thanks for his efforts and then proceeded slowly into the next room.

    There Jarrod lay with his left arm and both legs encased in osteo-therapy sleeves. He sipped at a cup of water with a straw, held in his one working hand. As Trujillo entered the compartment, Jarrod tried to sit up straighter, wincing with the effort.

    “At ease, Lieutenant,” Trujillo said gently.

    “Hello, Captain,” he said simply. He set the cup down. “I… regret you were injured down there, sir. I shouldn’t have—’

    She held up a hand to silence him, sitting down on the edge of his bed. “I remember someone down there running around vaporizing those things and drawing them away from us. That was you?”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “You and your security team saved us, Mister Jarrod.”

    With a pained expression, Jarrod shook his head fractionally. “No, sir. Those things got the drop on us. That shouldn’t have happened.”

    “There were very few seconds between when the creatures began waking up and when they attacked. I never saw the one that got me, and I thought I was being hyper-vigilant.” Trujillo took his hand in hers. “I led the team, and I neglected to keep an open channel with the ship, compromising our safety.”

    “Sir, I—”

    “Thank you for my life, Gael,” Trujillo murmured, squeezing his hand.

    Jarrod’s eyes widened, focusing on Glal and Dr. Bennett, both of whom stood transfixed in the doorway.

    “Nandi,” he whispered hoarsely, “we have company.”

    “I know,” she replied. “I don’t care. I don’t care anymore if the crew knows. I’ve been treating you… us… like some dirty little secret for far too long. You’re an amazing person, and you deserve much better than that.”

    She glanced back at the doorway where Bennett was trying to pull a goggling Glal out into the corridor to give the two of them some privacy.

    Trujillo smiled at her XO. “Commander, be advised that Gael and I have been romantically involved for the past four months.”

    A slow smile spread across Glal’s features. “No shit?” he wondered aloud.

    * * *​
     
  11. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    I love Glal's response and I'm glad that the Captain is feeling better. I'm also loving the mystery happening here. I'm almost tempted to guess that it's either some new species or the Orion Syndicate is bringing some hate on Starfleet.
     
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  12. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    Orbiting Urectum
    The harsh reality of licking ones wounds after a bad ass-whooping.
     
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  13. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    I'm relieved there were no fatalities following the attack of these creatures. That was a near thing and the landing party is lucky to get away with some broken bones and other repairable injuries. It still begs the question, who/what are these creatures and from whence do they come? Did they create the advanced technology or are they a by-product? I don't blame Glal for nuking them from orbit, so to speak, but I wonder if any of the tech is left to study? Then again, some mysteries are better left buried and forgotten.
    Oh, and Trujillo and Gael . . . :techman:
     
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  14. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    USS Reykjavík

    “Thank you all for being here,” Trujillo said as she took her seat at the head of the conference table. The assembled senior officers followed suit.

    It had been four days since the ill-fated away mission, and Reykjavík had departed the Abemeda system, towing Esau at a leisurely warp four back to Deep Space Two.

    All the usual players were present, with the exception of Jarrod, who was still recuperating in Sickbay. Standing in for him was Lieutenant (junior grade) Levana Mendlowitz, assistant security chief and weapons officer.

    Trujillo still sported a small neural monitor on her right temple, the device observing her engrammatic responses for any aberrations as her injuries continued to heal.

    “I’m preparing my after-action report for Commodore Jiemba, and I felt it would be beneficial for us to meet and discuss what we know, or what we think we know about the attack on Esau and what we found on the planet Comaoura.”

    She looked to DeSilva first. “Go ahead, Lieutenant.”

    “Yes, sir. In compiling the various data we’ve gathered so far, it seems safe to say at this point that the attack on Esau was the work of the installation we located on the planet. We’ve seen no indications of involvement by any known or unknown interstellar power. The destruction of the equipment in the cavern system also knocked out whatever was generating the sensor-scrambling field that was masking the presence of the humanoid population on the surface.”

    “And what is that assessment based on?” Trujillo asked. Both she and DeSilva knew she wasn’t trying to be difficult, but Starfleet Command would be making important decisions based upon their findings. If their theories proved inaccurate, further lives could be endangered and precious time would be lost.

    DeSilva in turn looked to Garrett. The young science officer had a padd on the table in front of her, the culmination of all the data collected so far in their investigation.

    “Firstly, Captain,” Garrett began, “the technology we discovered in the caverns had markings and inscriptions that appear to be from a root-language that many of the current dialects spoken on Comaoura are based on. Using a variety of techniques, we’ve managed to date both the equipment and the excavation of the caverns themselves to half-a-million years. Orbital scans conducted after our away-mission reveal the remnants of large, relatively advanced cities buried beneath the surface. They date back to roughly the same time period.”

    Trujillo looked intrigued. “Did their civilization collapse? Some kind of planetary catastrophe?”

    “We don’t believe so, sir. It’s our working hypothesis that their culture made the decision to forego their technology and regress to their current state of development.”

    “Backed up by what?” Trujillo inquired, again playing devil’s advocate.

    “The temple we inspected near the village had inscriptions in much of the stone-work throughout the structure. Once translated, many of these bore references to the ‘evil’ of machinery and the dangers of scientific advancement. They certainly seem to have strong cultural taboos regarding this, which is supported by the conditions we found in their village.”

    “What about the creatures we encountered in the caverns?” Glal asked. “They didn’t look anything like the native species you found living on the surface.”

    Dr. Bennett fielded the response to that question. “Tissue samples we recovered after our engagement with them indicate that the creatures are the result of significant genetic engineering. Their base DNA is clearly that of the surface species, but it’s been heavily altered to produce what are essentially biological drones.”

    Mendlowitz from security added, “We believe those creatures are what boarded Esau and killed the crew in close-quarters combat, utilizing the weapons left aboard the ship.”

    The captain appeared thoughtful. “Those things are strong, and I’ve got the scrambled neurons to prove it,” she said, tapping her temple. “However, not even one of those things could penetrate a tritanium pressure door. And why using such primitive weapons?”

    “No, sir, they’re not that strong,” confirmed Garrett. “It appears the transport ‘blooms’ they used to attack our shields were also used to board Esau. The difference being Esau's shields were down, while ours were raised. Additionally, as we saw, the portal apertures are able to generate significant kinetic energy. Commander Kura-Ka, Lieutenant Mendlowitz and I think that when the drone creatures reached a pressure door, they would facilitate an aperture opening to tear through the barrier.”

    DeSilva added, “And we think that their portal system may not be able to transport anything fashioned from metals, sir. The drones are biological, and all the weapons they utilized were fashioned from wood and rock with negligible metallic content.”

    “But why?” Bennett pressed. “Why would their civilization leave something like that behind to prey on anyone unfortunate enough to enter their star system?”

    “It’s possible they had knowledge of other spacefaring civilizations before they decided to give up their technology,” DeSilva theorized. “Perhaps they left the transporter system and bio-drones behind as a defense mechanism, to prevent their being conquered by more advanced civilizations in the region?”

    Bennett shook his head in disgust. “At least put out a bloody warning sign,” he grumbled.

    Trujillo looked around. “Anything else that we’ve failed to touch on?” There were no affirmative responses and she said, “That’s a good start, people, thank you. The commodore has dispatched the science vessel Calypso to conduct a more detailed investigation into the Abemeda system. Your work will give them a solid foundation to start from. Please have your individual and collective reports completed by fourteen-hundred hours tomorrow.”

    She stood. “Thank you again, this meeting is adjourned.”

    The senior staff filed out, with the exception of Glal and Ensign Garrett. Trujillo gave Garrett an inquisitive look and gestured for the younger woman to take the seat next to her, directly opposite the XO. “May I presume you’d like to discuss something with me, Ensign?”

    “Yes, sir, if you’ve the time?”

    Glal and Garrett were seated after Trujillo resumed hers. Garrett pushed her padd across the table to the captain. “These are provisional specs for a significant upgrade and expansion of Reykjavík’s science facilities, sir.”

    Trujillo took the padd and scrutinized the contents, her eyebrows lifting as she digested the ambitious plan. She passed the padd to Glal and directed an inscrutable look at Garrett. “These modifications would require significant drydock time, the better part of a week. Additionally, you’d be reallocating space currently dedicated to the security division and environmental engineering.”

    Garrett nodded. “I’m aware, sir. However, the Shangri-La-class starships have a woefully inadequate science and research capacity. That disadvantage made our current mission significantly more difficult. I’m confident I could have given you better and faster answers to your questions about the Abemeda system if I’d had access to resources like this.”

    The captain looked to the XO, who sat frowning at the padd while idly stroking one of his tusks. “These changes are going to aggravate Kura-Ka and Jarrod, as well as require the moving of several quartering billets.” He turned to favor Garrett with a skeptical expression. “This is no small ask, Ensign.”

    “I understand that, Commander,” Garrett replied, unfazed. She looked to Trujillo. “Captain, with respect, what was the point of poaching a promising science officer if I don’t have the resources I need to maximize my utility to you and the crew?”

    Trujillo inclined her head, conceding the argument. “A fair point, Ensign. I will take your recommendations under advisement.”

    After Garrett had been dismissed, Trujillo and Glal shared a knowing look.

    Glal burst out laughing, “She’s good! Any kid that can stare down the pair of us shouldn’t be underestimated.”

    “Not in the least,” Trujillo agreed. “She handled herself well in that shit-show of an away mission… both of them, actually, if you’re counting beaming over to the slaughterhouse aboard Esau. And damn it if she’s not right. What’s the point of stealing her away from Erlichman if she hasn’t the equipment and facilities to properly do her job?”

    He threw up his hands. “I can’t argue that, sir.”

    Trujillo drew in a deep breath. “I’ll contact Starbase 177 about getting us a priority drydock berth. We’ll head there after dropping Esau off at DS2. Don’t you have a few favors owed from your old friend in the Corps of Engineers there?”

    “Cambermyer, yes. She owes me for covering her ass with Command after the Tomed Incident.”

    “Any heartburn over calling in some of those markers to bump us to the front of the line?” she asked.

    “None whatsoever, sir,” Glal said with a smile. “Though, why 177, sir? Starbase Earhart is closer, and their drydock facilities are just as good.”

    “Because Starbase Earhart isn’t in orbit of Pacifica, and 177 is. After a mission as grueling as this one, the crew deserves some prolonged down time.” Trujillo tapped at her own padd, calling up the ship’s maintenance records. “We’re due for a refit of the main deflector anyway, so we might as well get both projects done simultaneously. That’ll put us out of commission for two weeks.”

    Glal grinned approvingly. “Any plans of your own, sir?”

    “In fact I do, Commander,” Trujillo answered with a wistful smile. “Demora Sulu owns a beachfront cottage on Isla del Paraíso on Pacifica. She’s offered to let me use it whenever I get the chance. I’m going to invite Gael to spend a week with me there. No Starfleet, no responsibilities, nothing but sand, sea, and shellfish.”

    “Sounds wonderful,” Glal noted. “And if it’s not too forward of me to say, sir, it’s very nice to see you happy in that regard. I knew something had changed with you in the past few months, but I didn’t know the specifics.”

    “I’d been in a rut,” she admitted with uncommon candor. “Both professionally and personally. That’s what prompted me to lead that team down to the planet. Hell, it’s why I went out on a limb to bring Garrett to Reykjavík.

    She looked to the ship’s seal and motto. “Things are changing, Glal. The Federation has fewer uses for dedicated warships these days. We have to adapt to the changing times, or risk becoming an anachronism.”

    The old Tellarite inclined his head in response. “Sound advice, sir."

    “Thank you for pulling my hide out of the fire down there,” Trujillo said suddenly. “I almost got people killed because I was trying to play explorer. It took another soldier to come rescue us.”

    “Next time, sir, let me try my hand at explorer. You’re too valuable to this crew. I may be old and crusty, but I can adapt, too.”

    “It’s a deal, Mister Glal.”

    * * * END * * *​
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  15. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    An excellent story! Nice work, neatly tying up the loose ends. Interesting that a culture came to a point where they decided that technology was an evil influence. The biological drones were an interesting development, designed as part of their planetary defense. (Which raises and interesting ethical question: Did they really abandon their technology, or just hide it away?) And times may be a changing as the ship gets a refit and the crew a much-deserved rest, but there will always be a need for warriors as long as predators lurk in the cosmos.
     
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  16. CamSPD

    CamSPD Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2011
    Location:
    Space, the final frontier.
    What a perfect end to such an excellent story! I totally loved this from start to finish.

    TLR makes a good point -- did the people on the planet abandon their creations or hide them away? Or worse, had they been hidden away for so long that even their creators' children had no idea they were even there? I also agree that while the Federation's focus may be shifting back to exploration, there will always be a need for those who know how to kick ass and take names.
     
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  17. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    All caught up on this.

    Not much else I can add to what has already been said other that this is one hell of a story and not just because of the awesome mystery and its satisfying conclusion but also because of what you've been able to achieve with these characters.

    First and foremost with Trujillo who is already, without a doubt, one of the greatest starship captains of yesteryear. Her relationship with Garret is particularly fascinating and its good to know that this will continue as she'll stick around to bring another dimension to a ship designed primarily to do battle.

    Would certainly love to read more about this crew and ship in the future.
     
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  18. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    This is a good story, reminding me a bit of some works by Larry Niven and Jack McDevitt. Good characters, a mystery set up compelling to both reader and character, a logical conclusion that moves a narrative involving the characters along. Way above average for the vast majority of fan fiction, and better than some published stuff (including a few best-sellers).
    I have a nit. The mystery was so intriguing and so dangerous the final solution and denoument felt a bit of let down. The gravitas at the start of the story deflated by the end. I suspect this was because the exposition/solution to the central mystery was totally distinct from the climactic perils facing our characters. As I think on it, I wonder what did the natives of this planet do which made them fear themselves so very much--because this was a titanic effort on their part, roughly ten times the effort needed to built the Pyramids and Stonehenge mulitplied by a hundred moon missions, then doubled several times at least. The biological war-drones give a hint, imho. But nobody seems to even think about the implications of an entire technological species doing this to itself.
    Along those lines it seems to me our losing nobody we really cared about again was out of sync with the gravitas of the mystery itself. Dramatically, it seems like the story pulled its punch. A bit.
    But this is nuance. The story is very good and I am looking forward to further adventures of this Captain and crew.
     
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