Mountainous Terrain (II)
Posted on Tue Apr 14th, 2020 @ 7:07pm by Lieutenant Nella Hawthorne & Fleet Admiral Donatella Figueroa & Lieutenant Junior Grade Shras th'Zarath & Lieutenant Junior Grade Amanda Turell & Lieutenant Commander Michael Essex & Lieutenant Thavus th’Koruh
Edited on on Sat May 2nd, 2020 @ 11:44pm
Location: Rigel VII - Ingarr Mountain Range
Fig was testing him... she had to have. She'd put him in charge of an away team. A part of him thought of it as a test and another part could not wait until the mission. He'd called the team to the transporter room. There were six of them. Essex was the last to enter. "Alright everyone. We don't know what we're going to encounter so I want everyone ready for anything. There is no such thing as a stupid idea. If you are thinking it, I want to hear it."
The Andorian snorted. It was hard to tell why.
With that sorry excuse for a rally call they all entered the transporter pad and got ready to go. The transporter shimmered and the back drop of the ship disappeared replaced by that of the planet below. Six left the ship, but only three were on the planet.
Chief Petty Officer Thavus th’Koruh raised his phaser rifle the minute he had reappeared from transport. He knew they were away from civilization, but that didn't mean that there weren't random dangers in the wild. There were also nomadic tribes on this planet. He didn't want to run into one suddenly, unprepared. He swung the rifle around in a slow circle, his eyes scanning the edge of the area they were in. As he scanned around a second time he noticed something was slightly out of place. He shouldered the rifle, his antennae spun in slow circles, as if they too were looking. "Commander?" he asked, his eyes on Essex. "Weren't there six of us?"
Essex sighed. Instantly, sweat broke over his brow. Hawthorne, Vinia, Turell were missing. He whipped out his communicator. =/\="Essex to Musashi! Were missing three. Tell me you have Hawthorne, Vinia, Turell up there."=/\=
=/\="Musashi here,"=/\= came the response through a crackling communications signal. =/\="We do not... but we have determined the problem. A rare mineral called Colarium is interfering with the comm channel. Your location doesn't have a heavy concentration of it, but your location is off from the intended target location. My hypothesis is that the others made it to the intended location, but Colarium scattered the transport,"=/\= replied Fig.
Essex let out a breath he'd been holding. The ship didn't have them, but they were alive. They were okay. =/\="Alright. We better not risk transport again. We'll have to go looking for the team and collect information along the way."=/\=
=/\="I'm working with Lieutenant O'Donoghue on something right now,"=/\= replied Fig. =/\="If it ends up working, I'll let you know. In the meantime, be careful down there... your location puts you in danger from nomadic Kalar."=/\=
=/\="Acknowledged. We should be fine, no women to show off for."=/\= He snorted a laugh, knowing that Fig would get that look on her face she always did when someone pulled a bad joke.
Thavus had slung his rifle back over his shoulder and pulled his tricorder and was starting to look around at the environment. "I'm not picking up any readings, Sir... some life signs. I'm pretty sure most of them are animals. I don't see anything large enough to be a humanoid." He snorted again and actually shook his tricorder. "Did the captain say something was interfering?" He shook the tricorder again, as if that would somehow clear up the malfunction. "It's doing a lot more than interfering with the coms."
"Lovely, so we could be in danger but we wouldn't know it." Essex looked around. "It would make sense that we put as much distance between us and here as we could and do it safely. Suggestions?" As he spoke his eyes went to the tree line. Forests could be safe but dangerous, the hills, same. But maybe if they had their backs to rock they would have enough time to see something coming.
"Only one sir," Shras spoke up. "If tricorders are proving unreliable and comms that means one thing. We watch each other's backs. Comms crackling means they may just cut out without warning." The Andorian had phaser in hand. "But maybe we can construct a beacon that may lead us to the other team. But the dangers of nomads and native wildlife remain. So I suggest weapons where you can get to em and we head out cautiously."
The beating of drums suddenly erupted, the sound and vibrations reverberating along the mountain ridge above the trio. The landing party was in danger as peaking over the ridge line from above were the metallic helmets, topped with fur and the mongrel faces of several nomadic Kalar with spears in hand. With a roaring battle cry, the large imposing Kalar straddled the ridge line and launched a volley of spears down towards the landing party.
"Take cover!" Thavus yelled, before he tried to grab Commander Essex by the arm in an attempt to pull him from the line of fire. If he could get the commander to cover then he could return fire and perhaps scare the more primitive people away.
Essex saw it coming at just the instant that Thavus yelled. He rolled to the side, just missing getting hit. He motioned for the line of trees. "Over there. Return fire but on stun only!"
Thavus put himself between Essex and the incoming fire. "Go! I'll cover you!"
"We all go." Essex was damned if he'd let Thavus or anyone else get hurt. He was team lead and his was the burden. "Go first. Hurry. I can take care of myself."
"With all due respect Commander I'm with you, Sir," Shras said. "No ship wants to hire security chiefs who fail to protect Lieutenant Commanders," he added, firing supressive shots at the attackers. "I'm taking the rear."
Essex smiled, "Alright." They rushed towards the tree line avoiding the shots. "We have to get well covered." He pointed to a little off the ground to a cave that looked to be covered by moss. "They're right behind us. In there?" Possibly not the best decision, but it was all they had at the moment.
Thavus nodded in agreement and made a beeline for the cave. He saw an easily defensible position. If they could get into the cave they could defend the door and protect their backs at the same time.
Shras nodded as well. The Andorian couldn't help but agree. "Go!" he said. "I'm right behind you both."
The run through the brush was not easy. The trees were dense and the long hard branches seemed alive with their effort to catch the three. The scrapes of the barbed branches were painful, somewhat like stings from a bee. Its sharp points easily tearing through clothing. They managed to reach the small rock face. It was a short climb on softer then usual rock, but they made it. From his angle first he could see that they weren't fully spotted yet. He reached out a hand to the next climber. "They haven't spotted us. Let's get inside."
Thavus took Essex's hand and pulled himself up to the ledge. "Thanks." He turned for Shras, offering his hand down to the other Andorian. "This should be a easy place to defend. Although, I am leery about being trapped here as well. I hope the rest of our away team is faring better."
"We need to stay down low. Thavus, I need you on look out and Shras, tricorder in hand, need you to scan as far back as you can. I want to check the structural integrity of this cave. We may have to stay for the night. It's already getting dark," Essex instructed.
"You got it, Commander." Shras said. "Scanning."
"You can call me Casn," Thavus said softly. The name sounded like 'Cass'. The Andorian smiled a little and checked over his phaser rifle quickly before he headed back to the entrance of the cave with a,"Yes, Sir." He stood close to the entrance, enough that he could see out and around. He raised the rifle, staying at the ready, just in case.
Essex twisted a few dials on his tricorder holding the box shape up. "I'm getting an odd reading... let's stay together. Change of plans Casn." He smiled. "We're doing what they tell you not to do in the Academy... go deeper into a cave that you know nothing about."
Casn snorted in humor. "Right?" he asked in way of confirming Essex's statement.
"I'll take point," Shras said. He raised his phaser pistol, setting it to heavy stun.
"I'll take the rear," Casn responded, raising his rifle and putting his back to the group and facing the way they had come. "I think they would have been on our heels by now if they had followed us in here. Maybe they didn't see us..." he offered.
Essex gave a nod.
They moved in a little ways finding the cave oddly lit. "These minerals... it's like they are lighting the cave."
"Phosphorescent... perhaps?" Casn offered. "It's rather convenient for us. Do you think they mine these minerals? Or are they not that complicated?"
Essex studied the read outs. "They seem..." Before he could say anything there was a rumble and the ground gave way under them. A hole opened and down they fell. Oddly, Essex thought of the book his mother had read to him as a child, Alice in wonderland. Down the Rabbit hole.
Casn yelped as his feet went out from under him. He scrambled for the edge, but there was none. Briefly, he wondered if this was how he would die. All that had happened to him and how long he had survived only to be killed by falling in a hole. He thought it rather ironic.
The trip was not long. After about a minute of sliding down a rocky slide and some free falling they thudded into a soft patch of ground. Essex rolled out of the way just as his companions fell to the ground. "Everyone okay?"
Casn lay on the ground and looked up at the empty space above him. "I'm alive and nothing seems broken. At least not at the moment, but I am going to lay here. Just until I can get some air..." All the wind had been knocked out of him when he landed. With an open circulatory system, such as the Andorian had, the left over vibration from the impact was a little overwhelming.
Essex sat up. "Everyone okay?"
A feminine voice replied from behind Essex after the sound of some footfalls preceding it. A soft sigh caught everyone's attention. "We get separated from you boys for a while and look at you. Uniforms tattered, breaking out sweating, and retreating into a cave no less," said Hawthorne as she approached the men from the Musashi. "We were on the other end of this cave when we heard phaser fire. Find something worth shooting at?" she inquired.
Essex let out a nervous laugh. "Glad to see you." He stood and looked around. "Everyone alright?" He asked again holding his hand out to Casn.
Casn took his hand and pulled himself up onto his feet. "I think I'm alright. Nothing appears to be broken." He closed his eyes tightly and then opened them again. "Although, that was not a comfortable landing. I'm much better at the falling part."
"I think I agree with you there." He looked around. "It would be, as Vulcans say, logical to assume that they can find a way down. Let's get out of here before the locals come a looking."
"Agreed," Casn said with a curt nod. He eyed Hawthorne. "Ah... you were missing. Did you fall in this hole too? The locals don't like us very much."
"Well we heard all this rumbling and crashing soon after we entered the cave and picked up some Andorian life signs," Amanda answered as she joined the group. "So it had to be you."
Shras sort of waved from the background, slightly chuckling. He couldn't help it, being the other Andorian in the room.
Essex turned and looked at Shras. "There are two Andorians." He sighed. "Alright. Amanda, I assume you know the way out of this. Let's get moving. Were you able to read anything on your tricorder about the inhabitants?" He rubbed the back of his neck, "We were kind of... busy running from them."
"Big giant burly Kalar, Commander Essex. It might be mating season for them... perhaps they fancied you," said Lieutenant Nella Hawthorne. She had no problems making light of the situation. They were no worse for wear. "I think our safest bet is to get out of these mountains and down to the valley. The kingdom is technically everywhere, but the palace is down there. Call it a hunch, but I don't think these Kalar are fond of anyone."
Casn snorted. "If they are fond of anyone... then they are not very good hosts. I would give anything to get out of these mountains. It reminds me a little too much of the inside of asteroids down here." He lifted his tricoder and started to scan the area regardless.
"Alright let's go. God knows what kind of welcome is waiting for us in the valley." They walked for what felt like hours but was only at most one and finally found their way out. Thankfully, the coast was clear and the trip down to the valley was done with a minimal of cussing and tripping. It was a steep climb down. As they arrived at the outskirts, the evening was falling.
Climbing down, from where he had been observing the approach of the away team, a large Orion stepped before them. "Welcome to the capital, I am Jessop. The queen is expecting you, follow me," he told them in his gruff voice.
"Well then. Lead on." Essex motioned his team behind him. If anything was to come of this, he'd be damned if he didn't protect his team.
Casn snorted and frowned. He didn't like being pushed behind when it was Essex he was supposed to be protecting. Finally, he decided to bring up the rear and keep an eye on anything that might be trying to sneak up on the team.
Essex looked back. "I don't think I smell right for meeting Royalty."
Signatures please and then we'll post
Chief Petty Officer Thavus th’Koruh
USS Musashi Security
Ltjg Shras th'Zarath
Lt. Cmdr. Michael Essex
Chief Science officer
Lt. Nella Hawthorne
USS Musashi Engineering