Canaries in the Mine.......
Posted on 30 Aug 2018 @ 2:28pm by Lieutenant Remington Dodd & Lieutenant Commander Alexanderia Cahill & 1st Lieutenant Eleonorrhea (Butch) Delfin & Ensign Teela Tjaansz & Ensign Matthew Thompson
Edited on on 10 Sep 2018 @ 4:15pm
S02 Ep05: The Avian Flew the Cukoo's Nest (Incidental Posts)
Location: Xindaria Surface and the old mine shaft
Part Two of the Away Team Mission to Xindaria
-- Old Mine Ruins on the surface of Xindaria --
"Ensign Thompson, are you able to pinpoint the source of the Starfleet signature ahead?"
Thompson fiddled with his tricorder. "Uh..." The ensign said turning this way and that scanning, "It’s difficult to get an accurate reading Sir. The interference is getting stronger, but the strongest readings are coming from 015 mark 2 approximately 2 clicks distant, Lieutenant". Mr. Thompson reported.
"That way Sir," Mr. Thompson continued pointing in the direction indicated...
"Thank you, Ensign." Dodd replied. "We will need to move quickly and cautiously once we enter the mine. I am optimistic that we will have not major issues. The Gorn don't seem too interested in this old mine
=/\= Dodd to Cahill =/\= Dodd called back to Dr. Cahill.
=/\= Cahill here. =/\= Cahill replied.
=/\= Please bring Webb and the two of you join us when you can. We may need your assistance in this mine if we experience any gases or such. =/\= Dodd requested.
=/\= The two of us will depart right away and be with you as soon as we can. Cahill out. =/\= Cahill replied and prepared to depart for the mine.
The four officers kept on course and soon arrived at the opening of the mine shaft. From the looks of things, this mine had not seen any sort of activity for a very long time. There were no footprints in the dirt and the entrance was overgrown with vegetation.
"Let’s get this vegetation cut back. Once the Doctor and Webb join us, Webb and Derrigo will stand watch here at the entrance, while the rest of us venture into the mine to find the source of this beacon." Dodd stated.
"Okay Doc... Can't say that I like this place, but orders are orders" commented Derrigo as he put his hand inside his jacket, feeling the butt of his Commando Knife, which gave him a bit of comfort as he looked around at every nook and cranny, looking for some elusive ghosts....
Dr. Cahill followed the Webb, the pace was fast but it was also steady. After they arrived at the mine entrance Cahill noticed the rest of the away team. Being the cautious type, she took some readings from her tricorder.
"It appears the source of the Starfleet signature is about 2 kilometers from the mine entrance. Also the nearest Gorn signature is about 9 kilometers away." Cahill reported.
As the four entered the mine shaft, the good doctor continued her readings. She stopped near a certain point. Odd she thought to herself. As she picked up a branch located inside the mine. She turned, "Keep alert, this branch could not grow below the surface without sunlight and rain to water it."
"Wow it’s a lot cooler in here," Mr. Thompson said wiping is brow, then taking a drink from his canteen.
"Hey Doc take a look at this. These are ventilation grates, and they are active". Thompson said to Dr. Cahill.
Dr. Cahill took some readings and started looking at her tri-corder. "The temp in here is 82 degrees Fahrenheit and the oxygen concentration is ninety-four percent. There are some pockets of methane in the mine shaft but levels are low. Should be safe as we go, need to avoid any unnecessary sparks though."
"Thanks, Doc. I am glad I had you join up with us. I am sure Delfin and K'Muss will be fine holding down the shuttle." Dodd replied. "However, we are not alone. I am sensing thoughts from someone other than the four of us or the two marines. We have not detected any other lifesigns as of yet. But Thompson is correct in the fact that these mines are not as ancient as the reports led us to believe." Dodd added.
Meanwhile back at the shuttle, Ensign K'Muss and Delfin who had been minding the store, were sitting inside the cool shuttle cabin watching the less powerful shuttle monitors, when suddenly the tactical monitor detected six lifeforms moving out of the jungle in the direction of the shuttle. "GREAT THAT'S JUST GREAT" spoke Eleonorrhe as she began to play with the display and the keyboard. With the intermittent electronic interference, Elenorrhea was able to get fix on the six bipedal humanoid lifeforms, and suddenly she said "GORNS". "Gorns" replied K'Muss?
"Yes Mr. K'Muss, the ones who like to eat beasties with hair that come in the feline persuasion" smiled Eleonorrhea who was now trying to decide whether to fight the Gorns if they tried to enter the ship, or to have K'Muss continue to contact the Tomcat and the Landing Party as she would go out and try to contact them herself. Either way it was a risky proposition.
Watching K'Muss trying to contact the landing party and having no success, Eleonorrhea just stood there assessing the situation who along with K'Muss were the only ones inside the shuttle. Not liking the fact that this was not a Marine led Landing Party, but being led by some 'snot-nosed' Lieutenant with no combat experience or away team procedures for landing on a probable hotspot, all Eleonorrhea could do was fume in silence, and just sit tight letting K'Muss do his thing.
Back in the mines the six members of the away team were moving more cautiously than originally planned due to the whole new situation discovered.
"Okay, Tjaansz, you take the anchor and Thompson you take the lead. Keep your weapons ready and your tri-corders scanning. We don't want to be caught off-guard." Dodd ordered.
"Yes Sir". Matt replied as he started down the cave past the ventilation grates. tricorder up helping him choose directions.
"Got it, Lieutenant," Teela said with a nod. She had put her dark purple hair in a ponytail, with her bangs nicely cut across her forehead, revealing her almost Vulcan-like pointed ears. She could naturally see better in the dark than humans, her species' vision reaching into infrared normally. Her tail swished unconsciously as she held out her tricorder in one hand, and held her type-2 phaser in the other. She was tense and a bit nervous, with a little claustrophobia. oO I wish I were out in the trees, to be honest, Oo she thought to herself. oO Jumping from tree to tree, back home like on Ascþenra, my home town on Akteva. But time to focus. I can probably get out in the trees after this part of the mission. Oo
The mine had to have a dampening field of some kind to mask that fact that it was still somewhat operational. And the technology involved was very surprising because even the Xindi claimed this world was dead.
Matt led them about 150 meters through the craggy rock. He wondered if this could be some sort of Avian Xindi habitat, whatever he was headed for had a distinct power source. He was careful to check for traps, He couldn't help feeling that they were being watched. Just ahead and to the left the cave opened up into a much larger cavern type of enclosure.
Dr. Cahill continued her readings. "It appears the source is near the area that has the Star Fleet signature. Not able to determine if it is a Star Fleet life form or someone that is using stolen technology.
"Did you say Starfleet signature, Doc?" Matt asked. "Look at this," Matt said pointing to transporter pattern enhancement rods which were still on.
"I don't think we are the only ones here," Matt reported.
Dr. Cahill took some readings and looked over to Matt. " The Transporter Pattern enhancements are actually working and at this time. Not sure how long these have been here but it is sure that someone has been here but it is very much a lead.
There is the possibility that this has been here a while and the one who set all this up is deceased too. These may be handy for us too. It appears they are still operational. May be handy if we need to beam out quickly.”
"They must be fairly recent they have a limited battery life of only 2 months or so. What do you make of this Lt Dodd?" Matt asked.
"This is an interesting twist to our mission," Dodd replied. "We were not expecting any modern technology on this planet except the source of my Starfleet signature. The reason I am leading this mission is that someone detected my Starfleet signature being transmitted and that it had been doing so for a very long time."
Dodd used his tricorder to scan for himself and come up with the same readings. However, he did detect his signature coming from behind a panel on the far wall of the room.
"Hey, I am picking up my Starfleet signature across the room. It is behind a large piece of equipment and then behind a panel in the wall. So it is likely in the rock wall behind the panel. Ensign Tjaansz and I will go to get it while the rest of you work to get as much data from the equipment in this room." Dodd ordered of the team.
Tjaansz and Dodd then got to work moving the piece of equipment and the panel from the wall. Dodd then found a very old version of the very tricorder he had in his hand. It had been configured to act like a homing beacon and tapped into a naturally occurring power source. Apparently this planet has electrically conductive rocks that don't seem to burn out and thus the tricorder was adapted to run off of that power source. Over the years, the environment had morphed around it some but only to help protect the device.
The equipment was big, like the old style computer banks on the old Regula-class space stations, but Teela was surprisingly strong for her frame. Women in her species were usually about as strong as an average human male, due to their tree-dwelling, hanging, running, and jumping ways. oOCome on,Oo she thought to herself, as they finally got the hulk to move.
"Doctor Cahill, can you detect any bio readings that may help us determine the species that may be up to something in this room? Any residual fingerprints or dander that could help us?" Dodd asked with a large sense of uncertainty to his voice.
Something was starting to affect Dodd's abilities and he was picking up on the thoughts of another individual and they were not pleasant.
Dr. Cahill increased her tricorder to full strength. As she did she detected an unknown source of presence. Along with an unidentified star Fleet presence.
With no response from either the Tomcat or the landing party, Eleonorrhea said "I'm going out and try to find our Landing Party, and as the senior officer on the Shuttle at this time, I order you to stay behind and do what you have to do to contact the Tomcat, and the Landing Party.
"Tell them that we now have six Gorn, and they don't look like they're in a mood for a spot of tea" yelled Eleonorrhea as she left the confines of the ship, then disappeared into the thick brush.
With her combat sense now at full tilt, it was easy for her to locate the Gorn, and Gorn were notorious for leaving signs that they had been there; broken twigs, heavy foot prints, and a certain peculiar smell that seemed to permeate from the skin of Gorn. With these it took Eleonorrhea a few minutes to find the Gorn who were now arguing amongst themselves. Finally the leader who was wearing an ornate leather halter, and collar that had a dark blue gem pointed to one of the Gorn, and left with the other four Gorn up to the mine entrance, that was less than 1500 meters away.
Watching the other five leave, the lone Gorn who wore no leather halter, except for a dark green tunic and a black collar, who stood there and began to growl at being left behind. As Eleonorrhea tried to follow the other five, she stepped on a dry branch that made a sharp noise, and suddenly the lone Gorn took in a deep breath, and turned to see Eleonorrhea now trying to run off.
For minutes both parties tried to outfox each other but finally trapped under a large mineral deposit of Diamonds that were laying on the ground, Eleonorrhea had an idea as the slowly moving Gorn came closer to her. Taking out an elastic band, Eleonorrhe found what she was looking for, a diamond with sharp edges, and as she quicly put it inside the elastic band, Eleonorrhea began to quickly swing the homemade sling, and as the she began rotate her hand, and arm in an even faster rotation, the Gorn now standing six feet away from her, finally said through a universal language translator "Give up Earthling, you cannot run away and you cannot harm me" as the Gorn pulled out a wicked looking serrated combat blade.
"See you later Alligator" replied Eleonorrhea as she suddenly, and with one smooth move let go of one end of the sling, catching the Gorn by surprise as the jagged Diamond rock easily cleaved through his tough skin and entered his forehead. Seconds later the Gorn fell to the ground dead, as a large pool of dark green blood began to pool around the diamond, and said as she left the scene, "in a while crocodile"...
Not waiting to check if he was dead, Eleonorrhea managed to bypass the slowly moving Gorn, and as she ran towards the mine shaft, she yelled Webb, Derrigo... "Move your asses, we have company" as all three Marines ran down the mine shaft and found the other six members of the Away Team. Suddenly startled to see Eleonorrhea and the other two Marines, and before any of the Starfleet officers could say anything; all Eleonorrhea said trying to catch her breath... "We now have five Gorn on their way into the mine shaft, as she looked at Dodd, and the others. oO I hope Dodd has a good answer on how to get us out of her with our skins in one piece Oo though Eleonorrhea.
Dr. Cahill heard running coming from behind her, she spun and held her fire till she identified the target. She saw Eleonorrhea coming up. She moved to cover the rear line with her. She knew they were in between a rock and a hard place.
She checked her tricorder. "The Gorn are staying near the mine entrance. It appears they are waiting to see if we try to come out to engage them. They are carrying small arms. It appears a patrol got lucky and strayed across us."
Panting softly, "any way out of here besides the main entrance Doc" replied Eleonorrhea who wasn't so much worried about herself and the other Marines whom she knew would put up a good fight before going down; but with the Starfleet officers many of whom had no combat experience, she wondered if they would be able to stand up to any type of torture, or any enhanced interrogation techniques.
Dodd and Tjaansz finally removed the rock encrusted tricorder from the stone. Once they had it in hand, Dodd was in wonderment of how it got there when he was still holding it in his other hand. It was the same tricorder only it was different in age.
"I know you don't think I can get us out of this mess, Delfin." Dodd stated. "But we will get out of this. I can attempt to plant a thought into the Gorns' minds that will make them confused enough for us to get past them and hopefully far enough away before they come to their senses." Dodd added.
Dodd then had the strong feeling that someone was nearby that was not part of the away team and yet was not Gorn.
"Doc, can you pick up on a bio signal other than the seven of us? I am sensing the thoughts of someone else who does not appear to want to harm us but wants to interfere with something we are doing in a not so good manner." Dodd asked.
The thoughts Dodd was picking up on were those of dread and worry from being found and then having to be held accountable for the action they had committed. The thoughts were juvenile in nature like a kid who knew something was wrong but did it anyway.
With that Dodd walked back over to the area where he and Tjaansz moved a panel from the wall to reveal the rock and discovered a passage hidden behind the next panel over.
"This is how we will get out of this room for now and the path appears to lead upwards so this could be the way out." Dodd added after revealing the passage to the rest of the team.
As Eleonorrhea and the other two Marines looked on in amazement, they saw a large circular chamber, where the walls were inscribed with some type of ancient writings. Besides the writings on the walls were crude pictures of what looked like the Avians, and a human that was crudely drawn. But what held their attention was that the picture of the crudely drawn human was holding what looked like a tablet like device out to the Avian. But the rest of the drawings were now covered by millennia of rubble that had fallen to the ground over the last three thousand years or so.
Though the cavern was dark, Eleonorrhea pulled out her torch, and turned it on to reveal a rather creepy cave that had a lot of rubble on the floor. As she continued to peer inside as her eyes got used to the low lighting conditions, Eleonorrhea saw faded paintings on the wall, and as her light continued to scan the entire cavern, she could see off to her right the dark shape of an opening, which was large enough to allow a person enough room to go through in single file. After seeing enough of the cavern, Eleonorrhea ordered Derrigo and Webb to go through the tight opening and see what was on the other side, as she stayed back and listened to Dr. Cahill and Tjaansz...
Just as Derrigo was about to follow Webb into the tight space, Eleonorrhea grabbed Derrigos arm and quietly said.. "Derrigo" if you try to go off on your own personal expedition, I will make sure you spend your entire career making small rocks into smaller rocks" got it? "Now, get your filthy ass out of my sight, Dismissed” continued Eleonorrhea.
Ensign Tjaansz was working to scan and record all the imagery in the caverns of this mine shaft. Dr. Cahill was also scanning for traces of biological evidence of who may have been in this mine or who may still be there since some of this technology was still active and in good condition.
Ensign Thompson was scanning for life signs when he picked up another signal, it was a sensor transceiver. He walked over to where the signal was recording.
"Lt Dodd over here Sir", Matt said, a surveillance device Matt said pointing at the camera.
Cleary they were being watched. It was a standard device if a bit old but it was clearly active and imbedded in the rock.
"Great catch. We will have to be careful as someone may know we are headed out of the mine." Dodd replied to Thompson. "We have to keep moving. We need to get this rock encrusted tricorder to the ship to have it analyzed for the data it holds if any of it is still salvageable."
For now Eleonorrhea kept quiet, she looked around the dank wet and musty smelling cavern. "Hmmmph" oO bird droppings, and Guano from the millions of small species of bats that lived in the area Oo thought Eleonorrhea as she went through the main cavern. With her two Marines out of range, and further down the small passageway, Eleonorrhea continued to poke and look at some of the older painted figures that had not been damaged. Stooping down at one interesting painting, she suddenly stood up, looked up at Dodd who was talking with Dr. Cahill, then returned to looking at the figure that could still be seen....
In a loud voice, Eleonorrhea said "I see that Mr. Dodd still looks a bit old around the gills, especially when this one drawing looks a lot like Mr. Dodd" replied Eleonorrhea who long with rest of the landing party were now looking at a somewhat faint resemblance to Mr. Dodd, who seemed to be offering up his Tricorder or something that resembled a Tricorder to an Avian. But then a couple thousand years of wear in the cavern did not do the painting justice, it was now a faint representation of its once brightly colored self.
"Doesn't that imply that we have done this before, or that we will do it again"? Matt asked.
"I have no memory of this nor does that look like me. It just happens to look like a humanoid handing a trinket to a large bird-like individual." Dodd said jokingly, but he really had no idea what it represented. "My tri-corder is reading that the artwork on these cave walls is from about three thousand years ago. Maybe there were primitive humanoids here when the Avians were here that this represents one of them.
Dodd ordered the pictographs and images on the cave walls to be recorded so the group could get out of the caves and get to the ruins to get the rest of the answers that Starfleet wants from this mission.
Standing to the back and observing everyone at work, Eleonorrhea tapped her com badge and said =/\= Derrigo, Webb... Status =/\= and with no answer from the two, and figuring that the walls were hindering the signal from her Combadge, Eleonorrhea waited a few more minutes, then once again tapped her badge and this time; this time not being nice as she said
"=/\= Webb, Derrigo....STATUS =/\= oO CRAP Oo thought Eleonorrhea still no answer; but just as she was about to try the third time, the voice of one person came on and said =/\= Ma'am... Webb here and =/\= with the voice starting to fade and an increase in static from the interior of the cavern, the voice finally said
=/\= Skipper..... Its' Derrigo....=/\=
=/\= Speak up Webb, what about Derrigo?=/\=, spoke Eleonorrhea into her Combadge...
=/\= Derrigo just left me, and he disappeared into a secondary tunnel =/\= spoke Webb with an urgency, =/\= after hitting me on the head with a rock. =/\=
oO DAMN Oo was all Eleonorrhea could think of as she finally saw Webb emerging from the tunnel, with a slight head wound that had been covered with a compress dressing from his IFAC, and then he fell down.
"Well, what the hell happened here?" Dodd asked after feeling the frustration of Delfin about the other two marines. "Doc, could you please tend to Webb?"
After a few minutes to have Webb treated and the data was all collected, Dodd ordered everyone to follow the cavern and exit the mine. Upon exiting the mine the way they did, they discovered that they were actually closer to the shuttle then they thought. It appears the damping field concealed the cavern from the sensors. Now that they were able to get everyone to the shuttle and join K'Muss who was manning the shuttle alone, the away team had to decide what to do about Derrigo.
"What would you suggest, lieutenant?" Dodd asked of Delfin. "I really don't want to leave anyone behind."
Many things went through Eleonorrhea's mind; the safety of the landing party and the actions of one crazy as hell male Marine, who had in the past disobeyed his orders to the point of almost being sent up for an Article 32 hearing. So looking at the landing party, Eleonorrhea said...."WEBB" help Lieutenant Dodd return the party to the ship. "I'm going to leave Derrigo alone to face his own fate" replied Eleorrhea with a serious voice.
Much as she hated to leave a Marine behind, it was better this way; besides who knows what other caverns are down there, and besides it would take a full company of Marines all armed with tricorders to find one person. Remembering a saying she heard from a Starfleet officer who said ‘The lives of the many outweigh the lives of the few or in this case, just one lone Marine’, and in this case it was the Landing party who she had to safely return back to the shuttle....
"Okay Mr. Dodd" replied Eleonorrhea; we're giong back to the shuttle....
"Okay, lets move out. I hate to do this but we have to get out of here before it is too late." Dodd ordered of his away team. Derrigo will have to make her own way back to the shuttle.
The away team continued to make their way up the shaft and eventually came to the exit of the mine. They found out they were actually closer to the shuttle than the entrance they entered the mine.
"Well, look at that, a dampening field must have blocked this entrance from showing up on sensors." Dodd stated as he pointed to the shuttle which was in sight. However, he also noticed five Gorn.
"Lieutenant, we need to have safe means to get to our shuttle. What can you come up with?" Dodd asked of Delfin.
Delfin replied "Well it appears we can just do a frontal assault and that should drive them back enough to get us in the shuttle." and she took a stance to assess the situation better.
"Well it appears we have the element of surprise as those Gorn have not noticed us yet. Do what you must to drive them away and get us back to the shuttle." Dodd ordered.
Delfin and Webb started a formation to move in on the shuttle to start to drive the Gorn off without harm to the away team or themselves. The rest of the away team quickly caught on to their tactics and joined in on the assault if you would call it that.
Upon end of the small assault from Delfin and Webb with assistance from Cahill, Dodd and Tjaansz, the Gorn scurried away.
The away team was able to convince K'Muss to open the shuttle and all of the team boarded the shuttle. Dr. Cahill tended to any injuries no matter how small. Tjaansz and Thompson downloaded all the data from the scanners and tri-corders into the shuttles computers and refreshed all the equipment. Dodd prepared the shuttle for lift-off to head for the ruins of the city.
"Alright, team. I am so proud of what we have accomplished so far. We recovered the source of the Starfleet signature from the mine. While I am not happy having left a member of our team behind in the mine, we had to get out when we did." Dodd stated to the team. "Now we have to investigate the ruins of the ancient city to find any records that could help explain why a Starfleet signature would be on this planet and how it would be so old. When we get to the city ruins, we all will debark the shuttle and make our way to the building that resembles what would be the archives of this ancient community. Maybe from going through the tablets and other carving, we might be able to pick up on some of the data to help us get the answers we need."
Lieutenant Commander Alexanderia Cahill MD
Chief Medical Officer/2XO
Lieutenant Remington Dodd
1st Lieutenant Eleonorrhea (Butch) Delfin
Ensign Teela Tjaansz [PNPC: Taggert]
Ensign Matthew Thompson [PNPC: Sterling]
Science Officer (Alien Archaeology/Anthropology)