Away team and Mission
Posted on 11 May 2020 @ 11:30pm by Captain Jasmine Somers & Captain Maia Sterling & Lieutenant Lamia ‘Mia’ Arderne & Lieutenant JG Doctor Amiri Aldana 365 D.V.M., M.D. & Lieutenant Serina "Reaper" Donovan & Ensign Angelica Wright & Ensign Teela Tjaansz
Edited on on 13 May 2020 @ 12:49pm
S03 Ep 02 Trouble in the Sticks (Main Post) Galen IV Phase 1
Location: Captain’s Ready Room
Timeline: S3 Mission 3 MD 04
Commander Sterling had assembled her away team and scheduled a mission brief for 09:00 in the captain’s ready room.
She prepared her briefing as her team arrived.
Ensign Wright had just finished her last task and then headed the captain’s ready room. Once inside she headed to the replicator and ordered a cup of South African Coffee with one cream and double sugar. Then she took a seat to wait for the rest to arrive.
Lamia arrived at the briefing, PADD in hand in case she needed to take any notes for future reference. Walking over to the replicator she ordered herself a chilled lemonade before picking up her glass and taking a seat at the table, nodding politely to those already present as she did so.
Ensign Tjaansz walked into the briefing room, her pointed purple tail swishing behind her as she walked in, carrying her PADD and a small mug of thlaksha, a morning beverage from her home planet, resembling a mix of orange and cherry juice, at least, that’s how Lieutenant Taggert described it to her. She smiled and waved at the others who had already arrived.
“Nice to see you Ensign Tjaansz,” Wright stated to the purple ensign. “I am looking forward to working with you if that is the reason, we’re all gathered here.”
“Good to see you too, Ensign Wright,” Tjaansz replied with a friendly tone. “I love your hair, by the way. Aktevans usually have purple hair or pink,” she said, holding her long ponytail full of a dark purple (KSU Purple), but humans’ hair is just so exciting! Your hair does have some pretty reflectiveness to our eyes and so many different colours. “Teela’s eyes, like others of her race, had a tapetum lucidum like earth cats, plus two more cones to perceive different shades of the E.M. spectrum, giving her eyes a unique reflective look in normal ship lighting. In ship normal lighting, they were radiantly purple.
“Thank you, so much,” Wright replied with a smile. “I have started using a new product from Risa on my hair. I got it at a shop on Starbase 51. I will let you try it if you want.”
“I’d love to,” Teela replied. “Nicci said the caffeine makes me act funny but I felt great last time I had some.”
A short time later Doctor Aldana entered with hir shadow, Sombra. S/he felt a little flustered, for she felt like s/he’d been recruited to the away team last minute and thought, s/he may be running late to the briefing. S/he burst into the room, hir head a flurry with five or ten plausible excuses. Upon entry and glancing around, s/he noticed almost no one was there, and s/he breathed a sigh of relief internally. Performing the other famed ‘Picard Maneuver,’ on hir uniform top, and flattening a tuft of fur on Sombra’s back, s/he smiled over at the pair of young ensigns. “Hello… what’s good from the replicator this morning?” S/he crossed and replicated a Medical PADD first.
“I was going to have some more thlaksha,” Tjaansz offered, raising her cup. “I have a great blend I brought from home for the replicator.”
“Well, Doc. I have a South African Blend in my cup. It is three different South African coffees from Earth blended. It helps me feel like I am on the wildlife reserve where we had many family gatherings.” Wright added in response to Aldana’s question.
The fur on Doctor Aldana neck bristled, s/he’d didn’t particularly care for being addressed as ‘doc,’ it was nothing against the individual and s/he just couldn’t pinpoint why, but the shorthand just triggered hir. S/he tried to shake it off as s/he looked at the alien – s/he’d thought s/he’d heard was a Tjaansz – “What is thlaksha?” Aldana thought.
Serina walked into the briefing quietly and took her seat. She was deep into thought as she reviewed the repair logs on the fighters from her mini-PADD.
“Okay please take your seats,” Maia said.
She waited a few minutes before continuing.
“I wanted to give you an overview of our mission and especially what we are up against.
The bluegill – more commonly referred to simply as parasites – were a parasitic genetically modified off-shoot of the Trill symbionts created to try and cure the symbionts of a terrible disease. The experiments failed to result instead in a race of psychopaths which the Trill tried and failed to eradicate. From then on, the parasites maintained a hatred for the Trill and by various means attempted to destroy them. Bluegill has a number of possible forms, ranging from small creatures capable of entering a victim through the mouth; we also know that there are at least two versions of Bluegill, there may be more.
In our experience, we know of the Drone/soldier called a ravager and the Larval Queens. The Queens are capable of controlling about 50 ravagers. We know most are capable of spitting poison and can change form and size seemingly on the spot. Bluegill-infested individuals display heightened strength and endurance and are capable of surviving multiple hits from energy weapons by redirecting the energy as infrared radiation. They cannot possess joined Trills, or Cardassians though.
In 2364, the Bluegill infested the admiralty of Starfleet in an attempt to seize control of the Federation. The plan was foiled by the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D, who were able to destroy the “mother” parasite. They covertly took over key assets to strategically place warships around the planet Trill in an attempt to destroy that planet.
The Parasites are insect-like in appearance and take control of their victims by crawling down his or her throat and tapping directly into their brain and spinal cord. The process is eventually fatal to the victim. In addition to an impressively fast crawl speed for such small creatures, the parasites are capable of jumping the height of most humanoids to quickly gain access to the mouth. They had a large set of strong pincers which they used to force their way into more resistant hosts.
The parasites share the same kind of isoboramine neurotransmitter links with their hosts as Trill symbionts, but, unlike Symbionts, they take complete control of their host. The only physical clue to a parasite’s existence is a small barb that protrudes from the back of the host’s neck. The barb acts like a gill, expelling spent gases taken from the host’s blood absorbed through pores in the parasite’s exoskeleton. Regular parasites don’t have eyes or a mouth.
A parasite-infected host can be detected by changes in behaviour. Hosts tend to develop trembling fingers and rapid eye movement as well as a taste for Klingon and Ferengi food, both of which include vermiform invertebrates. The parasites could access the short-term memory of the host, but not the long term, which can give them away as a parasite-controlled host and would be unable to accurately answer detailed questions about the host’s own past. However, even once uncovered, the host is virtually immune to phaser stuns due to the parasites ability to neutralize their victim’s pain receptors and controlling adrenalin levels. This also gives the host increased strength, making subduing a host difficult.
The parasites can function independently, but it’s believed that they prefer to work in hives with a queen telepathically communicating and controlling other soldier parasites, and possibly communicating with other queens. The parasites could be removed from their hosts, but only within three-four weeks of bonding (or less, depending on the species), after which the neurological connections become too complex and the host-body would be killed. Permanent connection with a joined Trill takes less than a day for example. The exception to this is when the queen parasite is killed; in such a case the soldier parasites release control of their hosts and then drop dead or, indeed, leave their victims voluntarily with no harm to the host. We also know that low levels of delta radiation can force a parasite to release their victim.
Does anyone have any questions before we continue?” Maia asked at last.
Lamia looked at Maia “What is there to stop these bluegills infecting any of us; And is there a specific pattern to their choice of victims?”
Aldana sat listening patiently to the XO’s report with Sombra laying calmly behind hir feet at the base of hir chair. The doctor looked between Lamia and Sterling, expectantly waiting for the answer. S/he thought Arderne’s question was good and well thought out.
“Good question Lamia! First, we will be surgically altered to appear as if we’ve already been infected. The doctor will install a breathing gill in the back of our necks, so we appear to be one of them. The surprise is on our side, knowing of their trap we will have already won half the battle.” Maia stated confidently.
“Anyone else?” Maia asked.
Lamia hated to speak up again, but she did anyway. “These bluegills are linked to each other are they not?” She looked at Maia. “They will know that we’re not infected simply because they won’t sense a presence of one of their own kind inside us.”
Doctor Aldana thought Arderne had a valid point; s/he thought about it for a moment to try and think of hir own solution, meanwhile waiting for Commander Sterling’s answer.
“Not necessarily, while they are all linked to the queen, they are not all linked to each other. They can’t talk to each other like that can talk to the queen. Think in terms of a hub and spoke network if that is helpful. We should be able to fool individual drones at least long enough to infiltrate the planet. It is known by the Federation that the Orion Syndicate is trying to take advantage of the situation on Galen IV. We will be posing as part of the Orion syndicate as food merchants. The bluegills prefer vermicular life forms to consume so we will provide this for them in the form of GaHg, grubs and other types of exotic but edible serpent worms that are consumed both by us and the bluegills. This is a fairly small outpost with maybe 75 personnel, which is why it was an easy target for the bluegills. Since the Cardassian envoys were killed we estimate that a queen can only control up to 50 drones at a time. We have outfitted a class 9 shuttle with stealth technology and have built holographic transporter amplifiers to get us close to the planet and enable us to beam down without being detected. It will be our job to find the queen and eliminate her. Each of us will be surgically enhanced with a bluegill type stint in the back of our necks to fool the drones it will not fool the queen though. Fortunately, the queen always rules from the shadows, using drones as her hands and eyes.” Commander Sterling replied,
Once the XO had given her answer Doctor Aldana spoke up. “Once we get to the surface, what will be expected of me?”
“Lt. Aldana since you are the most powerful empathic entity we have. It will be your job to guide us to the queen. If we eliminate the queen, we eliminate the infestation. The problem with the bluegills is that the queen is always well hidden
Serina deep in thought looked at the XO, “Okay so where do I fit in on this mission? As a pilot or a member of the away team hunting for this mother or queen?” she asked.
“Both you will be responsible for getting us in, and getting us out if we run into something, we can’t handle. I want you in the initial away team so that you can get a personal lay of the land, then get back to the shuttle and act as our link to the USS Tomcat. The Tomcat will be out of their planetary sensor range and will be responsible for destroying any ship trying to depart from Galen IV. The Parasites are considered to be a plague, and the infestation will be stopped at all costs.” Maia stated.
Amiri had just begun to wonder how they were going to get down and stay undetected if they were currently outside of transporter range of the surface; s/he supposed s/he had hir answer now.
“Any other questions?” Maia asked.
“Nothing else from me,” Serina said.
Lamia shook her head. “No more questions Commander.”
“I have nothing else to ask,” Wright replied. “Thank you.”
Aldana opened hir mouth as if s/he were about to speak, but then decided against it, closed it again, and just shook hir head silently.
From under the table came a sort of high squeak at the tail-end of a yawn. The doctor looked embarrassed for Sombra, and winked, “Means ‘no…’
“Excellent, then I want all of you to report to medical to have your exhaust gill prosthetic installed the Tomcat should be in position by 19:00. We will launch from the shuttle then……Dismissed.” Maia said.
Commander Maia Sterling
First Officer/Chief Science Officer
Lieutenant Lamia 'Mia' Arderne
Chief Operations Officer
Lt. Jg Amiri Aldana 365 D.V.M./M.D
Assistant Chief Medical Officer
CWO Sombra C.G.CA/U, PSA,C.ESA [P: Aldana]
Counsellors aide/Morale Officer
Ensign Angelica Wright [P: Dodd]
Flight Control Officer