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Posted on Tue Aug 4th, 2020 @ 3:09pm by Captain Osegan Trenna & Ensign Geoff Martinsen & Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Batchelder & Lieutenant JG Evaad Hessen & Ensign Calvin Nash & Ensign Atyhle sh'Paveress & Staff Warrant Officer Bryan Itajime

Mission: Searching for the Lost
Location: USS Altai/Alpha Remidian IV
Timeline: Mission Day 5 at 1245

At the rear of the bridge sat Ensign sh'Paveress at one of the science stations. She hadn't left the bridge since she'd been relieved at Operations by Lieutenant Hessen, and had been purposely standing by in the event that her services would be required. Her dark eyes remained fixated on the sensor readouts, trying to ascertain why the away team was in trouble. "Commander," she reported after a few minutes of working. "Sensors are detecting high concentrations of minerals unknown to our databases. The beam-in sites and surrounding areas contain a large amount of something that looks a lot like kelbonite. It also has a strong magnetic field, which is probably energy dampening, not to mention interfering with our scans."

Kelbonite? Geoff thought. It sounded familiar but he couldn't place it. For a brief moment, he got upset with himself for not being able to recall the element. Then he remembered that Commander Batchelder had just suggested firing a torpedo at the Captain.

"Commander, we can rig the torpedo as you say, but I also recommend finding a solution to the transporter problem." Evaad blinked hard a few times, the stress of the crew beginning to get to him. "When we rescued the Qlo'ka from the Glurone, we used isolinear tags. We know we can beam down to the planet. Maybe we can beam down more tags?"

"I don't want to take the risk of them not working if we beam down there. Also, I can't imagine they'd have just stood still while they've been down there, so who knows if anyone would be able to catch up with them. Also also, if we don't warn them that something's after them, we'll be beaming up corpses. So let's...you know, presume that the crotchety old engineer knows what he's doing and get to work on Plans A and B, please."

"Yes, sir," Evaad kept his eyes on his console and away from the chief engineer as he worked on a suitable formulation for a torpedo flare. He felt the annoyance coming from the older man in command.

He waved the young Andorian woman over to his console. "Ensign sh'Paveress, what do you think of this?" The display showed a torpedo interior with casings holding a few different high energy chemicals that he believed would react and cause a brilliant display upon detonation.

Athyle had been quietly considering some of the alternative options that had been presented in the last few minutes in addition to conducting other scans of the planet. The moment she was called for, she had been looking at remotely controlled drones that could deliver the isolinear tags if necessary. But that idea would have to wait.

The Andorian rose from her station and joined Lieutenant Hessen at the Operations console. "Looks non-lethal," she remarked. "Between the atmospheric travel and the explosion, there shouldn't be anything left of the torpedo itself, so that shouldn't contaminate the planet. The real question is, what do we plan to communicate? Could we control the detonation to release words into the sky? Much like an ancient Earth skywriter airplane?"

"If we want to write a message in the sky, I can do that with a shuttle," Geoff said, joining the conversation. Immediately, he began silently chastising himself. Why would you volunteer? Whatever took out that survey team might be able to take out a shuttle too.

"Assuming that the power-dampening field doesn't take down the shuttle," Ensign sh'Paveress remarked. "But, all we're trying to do is warn the away team. A cloud of red dust should alert the teams. When it's time to get them out of there, we could use a series of torpedos to give them a path to a destination."

"That's my concern too, Ensign," Jon nodded at the Andorian. He mulled over options for a brief moment, and continued, "I don't think we need to write a message in the sky, although...I admit that would be pretty neat to see, and a pretty impressive feat of chemical engineering. Let's at least make sure it's bright red. Red Alert, danger, et cetera. Hopefully they'll get the message."

Turning his attention to Hessen, he said, "While Atyhle is managing that, see if you can dig up anything in the computer about how we can get our transporters and...anything...to work while dealing with Kelbonite without having to go plant-side ourselves, Evaad."

"Aye, Commander," Athyle said with a nod. She withdrew to the tactical station to work with its operator on the configuration of the torpedo. "This should just take a few moments," she added.

“Aye, Commander,” Evaad said. He began exploring the computer, beginning with drone deployment of isolinear tags like he picked up from sh’Paveress. She also considered the possibility that the equipment would fail, so he considered other options at the same time. He also tried to quiet his mind and tried to signal the surface again. Anything to report, Dr. Franze?

We are not alone in the caves anymore. I'm not sure how far away they are, but there are other humanoids.

They might be ours. Have they made themselves known?

I think they are near one of the entrances. We are much deeper in the caves. We wanted to get as far from those hunters as we could.

Understood. We can't contact them. If you can do so without risk, try to see if they're ours and make contact.

"Sir," Evaad reported to the chief engineer. "The survey team reports that other humanoids are in the caves with them. Unclear if it's our people or someone else. I've suggested they try to find out, if they can do so without risk."

"Good call," Batchelder responded. "Hopefully it's just our people making their way through the caves. We could use a slight bit of good news."

"Commander," Athyle said, looking up to face the engineer. "The torpedo is ready for launch, and two others are ready for use when needed."

Batchelder rubbed his palm with a finger for a moment, before replying, "Fire it off. Let's hope they get the message, such as it is."

Athyle nodded. She slender blue hand reached across the control panel to tap the firing mechanism. On the forward viewscreen a single orange orb streaked out from under the Altai and into the atmosphere. "Detonation in ten. Nine." She continued to count down the seconds until a buzz sounded from the tactical console. "The torpedo has detonated at the designated coordinates."

* * *

"This terrain is getting rockier," Trenna said to no one in particular. They'd been heading in the direction of when Talbot's team had beamed down in hopes of meeting up with them.

"Captain!"

The Bajoran woman turned to look at Itajime. "What is it?"

The security officer pointed into the sky. She followed his finger, her eyes finding a small, bright trail in the sky. Before she could ask for thoughts on what it might be, it exploded in a bright red flash. It seemed to pulse a second time, though she wasn't sure if it was a secondary explosion or something else.

"That was a Starfleet torpedo," Itajime stated confidently. "It was modified, the flashing, but it was Starfleet."

"Altai is the only Starfleet ship in the area. That we know of at least," Trenna replied. "Are they defending against an attack?"

Bryan shook his head. "I doubt it, ma'am. That explosion was too small to have been against the hull of another ship. And it was too low for that." A few second passed. "Maybe it was an attempt to communicate? A message?"

"They know by now that our communicators aren't working," the Bajoran woman thought aloud. "They could be trying to make contact with us. But what are they saying?"

"Well," Itajime started, "it was red. Danger, maybe?"

"It blinked too," she replied. "Like a red alert?"

"Could be."

She considered for a minute. "Okay everyone, eyes open. Stay alert. The ship seems to be keeping an eye on us, even if we're unable to communicate normally. Here's hoping they can find a way to give us more information."

"What do you want to do?" Itajime asked.

Looking back up at the sky, she hoped for another sign from her orbiting ship. With none seemingly forthcoming, she sighed. "Continue as we were. Joining up with the other team is our best option right now."

Bryan nodded. "Alright everyone! Let's keep moving," he said, rallying the two remaining members of the team.

Walking alongside the tactical officer, Trenna probed him for ideas. "Any thoughts on communicating with the ship?"

"I'm not an engineer, unfortunately," Itajime replied. "Although I don't know if an engineer would have much to work with here."

"I wonder if Commander Talbot has managed anything," she mused.

Itajime nodded. The Executive Officer was just recently Chief Engineer and seemed the type to be able to jury-rig something.

* * *

"How will we know if it worked?" Geoff asked.

"We can't communicate with them," Evaad noted, "and we can't get ourselves close enough for our sensors to see them individually. The resolution isn't good enough." He thought a moment and picked up a few random thoughts from others as ideas came to people's heads. "We do have extremely high resolution visual sensors on probes though. We could modify one so that it stays in geosynchronous orbit and transmit to us real-time visual data. The communications question is still hard though."

He took a moment to transmit down to Dr. Franze. We still can't reach our people, but I reiterate a suggestion to try to safely make contact. I think the humanoids you're sensing are ours. I know it's a risk, but staying in hiding might be a bigger risk.

If you believe it to be safe, we will attempt to make contact, came the reply.

 

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