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Part of USS Rubidoux: Beware that which Glitters and Bravo Fleet: Labyrinth

Climb Down and Watch your Step

Transporter Room, Rubidoux - Planet Surface
Stardate 78881.1
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Chief Science Officer log Stardate:  78881.1

 

Due to an as yet unexplained spatial disturbance the Roo has found itself in an as yet unexplored sector of space. Close by to our entry point is a planetary body with unique properties. Preliminary scans indicate its surface to be entirely crystalline in nature with varying degrees of density, the presence of dilithium was most intriguing. The elements present the proximity of both a bark nebula and a neutron star. This led me to theorize this was once an ‘ice giant’ planet, and the star it once orbited supernovae, striping the planet of its up layers and leaving behind this world. Captain Morr has agreed to an away mission, led by our first officer to take samples and more close range scans in order to test this theory.

Assembling in the transporter bay Ishan Bacshi was one a pair of Humans, joined by an Andorian, and a Betelgeusian, for the first steps onto the latest ‘gem.’ Due to the planet’s complete lack of atmosphere, the first officer Commander Merrova had sensibly stated that all four were to be decked out in the latest EVA suit starfleet had to offer, an almost all white exterior save the obligatory color code stripe across the midriff, red for Merrova, one yellow for Commander Wren, and a blue one for himself and Lieutenant Racshaw, an up and coming officer with science not just as a field of study but practically running in her blood.

“Comm check, sound off, let me hear you.” The first officer’s voice interrupted his train of thought, although at least she had the presence of mind to use a softer tone when first in suit, the sense of separation and the dulling of surrounding audio tended to make the internal comm a little jarring.

“Wren receiving, anyone else.” Came the bright sound of the operations and second officer.

“Bacshi receiving Wren, receiving Merrova.” He responded, offering a smile in the direction of his younger colleague.

Racshaw, receiving Wren, receiving Bacshi, reviving Merrova.” She spoke carefully, the last always seemed to have the most to either repeat or remember.

“All received , comm check complete. Pressure check and signal then we can get some exploring done.” Merrova responded, making sure to satisfy protocolo of course but her way, and with one eye on what they were after.

“Always feel odd in these things, hey Bacshi speaking as an experienced wearer, this is second time in a month you’ve been in one if memory serves, does it get easier?” Wren piped up, while they completed the check, signaled ready and took a place on the transporter pad. Her eye for detail and remembrance were well known which always seemed like it might be a double edged sword.

“I can confirm it does not. It still feels like I’m in a fish tank and trying to understand the world, at least when the sensor enhancements and external mics are off.” Bacshi responded with similar humor, having spent a little more time with Wren recently, shadowing the less seen parts of her role, he was beginning to catch her drift a little more, and more readily responding.

“Coordinates confirmed Commander.” The transporter operator stated, pulling everyone’s attention to the imminent next phase.

“By all means. Energise.” Merrova stated.

 

Once they were whole again on the planet surface the sight which greater them caused a silence that lasted longer than expected. They found themselves in a field of white crystal, laid out like a carpet, to the south this ended abruptly in a cliff edge, contained to the north and east by a the behinds of rolling hills, graduating into a green that darkened to the north as the hills have way to a mountain range with the color hitting a deep jet back at the peaks, while the east showed glimmers of red, yellow, orange in satin shades with crystalline tree-like objects in the middle distance that appeared to gradually increase and thicken. To the west things appeared much simpler as the white fields stretched onward to the horizon.

“Well the sensor images didn’t do this justice. Baccshi finally made a hugely understated opening. “It’s so intriguing and so beautiful.” He added qualifying his statement and a point where his love of the effects of the natural world came to the fore. Sure he could be objective and qualitative when needed, but so could all scientists. Baccshi prided himself on being able to appreciate the form as well as the function.

“Love the fact you come out with expressions like that.” Wren offered with a smile and a glance over in the chief scientist’s direction. “Are we splitting up or staying together, boss?” Her query followed quickly, either eager to explore further or just eager to know her function and place, you never could tell with Wren.

“Let’s split up.” Merrova responded. “I’ll take Racshaw and go see what these tree-like formations are all about. Wren, Bacshi, looks like a bit of a cliff, see if you can find a way down and what might be below.”

Tricorder in hand and with a careful pace, Baccshi walked side by side with Wren. Opening the external sensors and microphone to the setting of passive recording, the sounds of the boots crunching the delicate top layer of crystal sounded similar to when a boot trod across fresh snow, just a little sharper. A pale red mound in between their beam in point and the edge of the cliff, caused a pause in  progress.

Wren reached out and ran a gloved hand across the surface, she half turned and with a smile and an eye raise noted. “Smooth, surprisingly so. I mean the gloves take a bit of the finesse away but you get a general idea all the same. What are we looking at?” She queried simply at the end of a little discovery moment.

“It’s a ruby, but with plenty of prominent inclusion of crystalline elements. These are mostly in the form of silks, which are wispy crystals and needles, which are thin and run from one side to the other.” Bacshi explained, switching his attention from the tricorder readout and what he could pick out with the eye. “See there’s an example here.” Pointing out an area on the surface, which had a pinprick of crystal that then coursed through the gem until it intersects another surface.

“Lovely, simply lovely. All we need now is a crystal beach and we’re complete.” Wren responded with a smile, then turned to face the direction of the edge. An indication she wanted to keep moving.

The cliff was not far now, because of this a peek at what lay over the edge and below began to come into view. It appeared to be flat for the most part, with some area where a swell had occurred was evident. But the area was like glass with the hint of a blue offsetting against the white, a sea in crystal. As they approached the edge and looked over and down it appeared the ‘sea’ came all the way up to the cliff, and its layered white edges.

“Would you look at that!” Bacshi stated, arms by his side, tricorder scanning away, but the man himself was taking a moment to take in the sights of this new world, the first time he’d experienced this first hand.

“Wow, just wow!” Came Wren’s response at first, her search for a beach seemed to prompt the follow up observation. “Comes right up the wall, not even a little cove, shame. Glancing down she appeared to be searching for something.

“No natural satellite, at least not big enough to make a difference.” He noted, his reasoning was clear to him and he was more than willing to walk his fellow officer through the need for a satellite.

“Of course, that would take away any gravitational pull, cut the likelihood of tides, and take away tidal erosion. So bye bye beach.” Wren explained aloud, the reasoning she used was elementary but very much in the nose. Her way of reaching out, perhaps.

“Perhaps not completely, it’s own rotation, not to mention any effects of the spatial opening that deposited us here.” Baccshi responded, while not strictly true, he felt it unnecessary to squash this particular possibility, being they were on a planet with so many unanswered questions. “On a practical note, let’s see about getting down there, I would very much like to know what that’s made of.”

A little bit of searching later had them able to locate a rough path down. At times they were dropping from one rocky outcrop to one a few meters below. Other points had a continuous sloping ledge-like path, quite narrow in places, to the point where flattening oneself against the crystal wall and side stepping was the only way to make progress. Right now the progress was a little easier, they were still single file but not quite looking straight over the edge.

“What about Powell? he’s  been doing a bit of work with your department recently?” Wren asked, she had taken to discussing crew who were cross disciplined and how they had fared. Bacshi assumed to keep the mind off the drop they were almost continually confronted with.

“He’s fitted well enough. I’ve made sure to put him with the more ordered scientists, he seems to have that sort of a way of working.” Bacshi commented, an indication of his view of science officers, they fell into two camps, those who loved procedure and method and orderliness , and those who used method but were a bit more relaxed otherwise.

“Thought he might.” Wren started then cut straight to a yelp as she plunged forward and down. Catching her torso on on the ledge, her legs were now out of sight, dangling through a void that had opened up. Only now had Bacshi’s sense caught up with events. The ledge had given way.

“No Grip!” Wren called out, hands and arms seaking purchase on the smooth crystal to little avail.

“One moment.” Bacshi stated, took a few paces backwards, trotted and jumped up and over.

A moment of calculated risk, having no real idea if the following section of ledge was as brittle or not. His first landing was more awkward, his feet sliding forward, giving a second hard landing on his back, rolling over, he shimmed up and grabbed hold of a flailing arm.

“Oh Crap!….Oh Crap! Get in there ya…….!” Wren’s comm must have stuck open during the fall,  She’d produced a probe from somewhere and was jabbing at the wall, it bounced off. She jabbed again, lower down, this one stuck.

Looking along the cliff face, Bacshi’s eyes were drawn to a fissure. Shoving a gloved hand in. “Got ya!” He called while bracing against the weight of an extra person plus EV suit.

“Thanks man. Pull me up. Pull me up on Three!” Came Wren’s hurried and anxious response, after hardly any pause she called out. “Three.” Greninging as she pushed against the makeshift hold and started to pull on Bacshi’s arm. He in turn braced against the pull at first and then leaning backwards yanked the arm he grasped upwards. As Wren appeared above the ledge and managed to get a knee down, Bacshi sat backwards, with the idea of using the freshly broken edge as a fulcrum point which should, and did tip the female officer bodily onto the sound part of the pathway.

Bacshi sat with his back to the cliff wall, legs dangling over the pathway edge, with Wren partially propped on his right side. Wren on the other hand sat facing the way she had been walking, legs dangling in the hole newly and unintentionally created by herself, back half against the cliff wall half against Bacshi’s side. Both were breathing heavily, from shock and exertion, for the next few moments no words passed between them.

“Thanks man, although did you know the rest of the ledge was sound?” Wren expressed her appreciation, but asked a natural question.

“That was a leap without looking.” Bacshi admitted, turning himself slightly, not quite sure how she would come down on this.

“Well it looked good and heroic. Probably a bit of dumb move, most heroics are. But i’m glad you made that leap.” Wren responded, also turning, looking Bacshi straight in the face. If he had to guess, he would say the whole thing had prompted a tear, but he was also smart enough to let that particular point pass without comment.

“Merrova to Wren” A comm call, which was answered promptly. “Be advised the crystal density varies. Racshaw just put her foot into a void.”

There was a moment of silence and a look passed between the pair Bacshi finally breaking into a chuckle. “Copy, I can go one better, just nearly went down a cliff the quick way. Was about to contact, but you beat me to the punch.” Wren informed, matter of factly considering, although a slight tremble in her voice added authenticity to her point.

“You okay. Did you fall far? Do you need evac?” Merrova’s response was full of concern and prepared for action.

“Bacshi to the rescue ma’am. Dragged my arse up, well my arm really but you get the idea.” Wren responded, awkward humor included.

“He’s a good one. We’ve got a few samples, a few more and we’ll make our way to your location. Mind how you go. Merrova out.” Response was to the point, genuine but to the point.

“Few more minutes, then we continue.” Bacshi offered, trying to consider how he would deal with such an event and offer suggestions accordingly. He received a nod, then Wren looked away and shifted position, likely getting herself ready to move.

Bacshi could wait, taking a moment to remember where he was. A cliff path overlooking a solid crystal ‘sea’ on a type of world there was little record of. The glint of the ‘sea’ contrasting heavily with the black of space.
 

Comments

  • What a beautiful place to land in and explore! There is lots of wonder to read through, and as all exploration goes - you gotta go crashing through a wall or two. Appreciated the interaction between the two and the risks taken to make sure both of them lived to see tomorrow! But there's always something that can go wrong, and based on what I know about what may or may not happen next - I'm excited to read more!

    June 20, 2024
  • The level of detail is amazing as if I was standing on the planet myself. Wonderful job on this, it really made me imagine how it looked. The other thing I loved is the way how green these officers are doing their first or second EVA suit drop in unknown space. It was refreshing to read this post and I loved it, thank you I looking forward for more!

    June 20, 2024
  • This post had something I love to see and that was such an amazing picture painted of the surface. Your detail was amazing and I felt like I was standing on that planet instead of your character! The way you did the exploration was great especially how things do not ever go as planned. The characters were portrayed perfectly as two who had did little EVA in the past, especially in unknown space. I enjoyed this and just want to say keep up the awesome work!

    June 21, 2024
  • What a bizarre and yet totally wonderful planet. You helped bring the place to life with your descriptions of what the crew could see and feel as they moved around. This it the kind of story that makes you wonder; what strange places are out there? Yes, I like this a lot.

    June 21, 2024
  • Ishaan

    Chief Science Officer