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Part of USS Rubidoux: To Rescue. To Hide. To Run and Bravo Fleet: Labyrinth

Cliff Diving Not Recommended

Unknown Planet
Stardate 78881.1
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Being knee deep in what was liquid crystal was certainly one of the more unique experiences Ishaan Bacshi had experienced to date while in starfleet. The heating of the crystal had given it transparent qualities, which allowed the ‘seafloor’ to be observed; there were patches of white similar to the ‘land’, mixed in were earthy green tones almost like a dirty emerald. To his right the Andorian twins, Charnack and Racshaw, were busy with the sample gathering. Charnack fastened the top on a cylindrical container, himself and Racshaw having gathered an amount of the liquid crystal, their principal reason for being at this particular spot on the planet. At the point Racshaw appeared to be leaning over and tricorder in hand taking specific reading of a particular point of interest.

“Found something Racshaw?” Came a question from Charnack, over a general channel, as he was ducking through the carry strap that secured the container over his shoulder.

“Think so, Looks like a blue colored dome of crystal. Based on these readings we might have some Kyanite.” Came the comm’d response from Racshaw, her voice tinged with the excitement of discovery.

“Well that’s an unusual one. The heat and pressure needed for that formation makes a surface find rare.” Baccshi interjected over the comm line. He’d been fortunate enough to be on an away mission with the Ember that took them deep enough to see this particular formation in-situ in a rock layer. He started to wade back towards the pair as he postulated “Perhaps the heat from the facing the star and the pressure from a rapid cooling and solidifying mimics the environment.”  He mused aloud, the semi-liquid crystal folding around and then folding back into the space behind his suit legs as he moved along.

Up ahead Racksahw was now half squatting, arms plunged beneath the surface to midway up her upper arms, likely trying to determine if any portion could be broken off for sample purposes. “It’s embedded in the floor, that’s for sure. So smooth as well I can’t get a purchase on it, sampling might be difficult.” She stated, still in a squat pose, and likely trying to find some imperfection in the surface.

“Might have an answer for you, time to step back Racshaw, watch yourself.” Charnack stated as he unclipped his phaser from the holster and took aim, but waited with uncharacteristic patience for the other officer to both notice and move.

Bacshi was about to reinforce the advice for Racshaw to move, and perhaps for Charnack to hold off when he observed the slight turn of head and immediate but unhurred response by the crouched Racshaw, rising from the stance and back pedaling slowly, stopping at a point where a fairly neet curve could be drawn between the pair.

“Drop your aim a little, account for refraction, and go carefully. We know this substance transfers heat, Broth.” Rachsaww commented, a phaser beam lancing out shortly after.

“Lieutenant. We’re on duty, on an away mission no less.” Charnack commented, watching the line of the energy beam.

“He knows you’re my brother, besides we’re the same rank, what does it matter?”  Racshaw responded matter of factly, tricorder in hand, no doubt a local scan to monitor proceedings.

Then a flash just above the horizon, almost at the pole caught Bacshi’s attention, while the chatter continued in the background.

“It matters okay, to me anyway. Yeah you were never dragging this out by hand.”

“Temperatures rising local to the beam.”

“Yeah expected, i’m keeping going.”

“Okay rising sharply and spreading outwards.”

“Yeah, but i’m making progress here.”

“It’s steaming and it’s spreading towards the suits, impact in five seconds.”

“They can take it.”

“Charnack shut it down! It’s not worth it.”

“Halfway through.”

Suit Temperature Threshold Exceeded. Compromised Integrity Imminent.

“Charnak!”

“Shutting down. Aww crap it’s scorched my legs.”

“What did I try to tell you?”

“Morr to Away Team. We’ve had a gravitational event up here, some effects you might have witnessed.” Came the tinny but firm voice of their Commanding Officer. This was the serious voice, add in the flash something unexpected had happened, that much Bacshi could surmise.

“Aye sir, i witnessed the flash. Do we need to return?” Came the amenable response from the 
Science officer, expecting a transporter order, but also throwing a glance to the cliff face and trying to guess the distance they might have to cover.

“That would be ideal, we’ve a wave inbound with effects unknown. But we can not get a lock from our current position. I’ve begun maneuvers to mitigate the effect. Get your team to your refuge spot, as precaution, for now.” Came the response, it was direct, it was punchy, it told of the need for action more than the actual order itself.

“Will do, sir.” He started to move forward and gestured to the pair to do likewise, to their credit they responded impeccably, turning and beginning to move towards the cliff that marked the edge of the sea. “Time to impact?” He asked, the crucial factor in determining if they would make land or not.

“Two minutes Twenty Eight. Get a move on Commander.” Came the swift response.

The next minutes were dedicated to making progress though the semi-liquid crystal. All of a sudden memories of trying to walk into, through or out of a body of water came rushing back. Progress was impeded, but less so as the shelf the liquid crystal covered shallowed slightly as they neared the cliff. A small but neat cavern a quarter of the way up was their target.

“Transporters are still inoperative due to interference. I’m going to have to raise shields to protect the ship and crew. Bacshi get in cover. You’ve got twenty seconds to impact.” Came the last slightly sorrowful call from Morr, doing what he had too, even if it did sting to be left in harm’s way somewhat.

“Climb you two.” Bacshi urged the pair as they reached the cliff wall, he noted Racshaw throwing a glance over her shoulder. He jabbed a gloved finger up towards the opening, her concern was an impediment now, even if it was appreciated.

The clawed hand and crampon feet additions came into their own during the next few moments, as the pair made reasonable progress up the wall. The moment Racshaw hooked a leg up and over the lip of the cave, Bacshi stepped up, one foot on, two feet on, hand up, foot up and push.

Their twenty seconds were well and truly up. Day started to fade. Faster than expected. A tell tale effect perhaps. Bacshi threw a hand up. Looked up. In time to see the soundless shatter of a crystal ledge. The same ledge Charnack had near-full weight on, having committed to a leg hook for the top lip. Two gloved hands grabbed him from above to little effect.

Charnack plummeted.

The fall was only short and broken by the crust of a now solidifying sea.

He floundered a little but was soon pulling himself to one knee, and wiping off the status display.

“Charnack, report, can you hear me.”

“Reporting that was unpleasant and not recommended.” Came the rather grumpy response. “Suit integrity is yellow, but no leaks.” He reported, followed by a groan and grunt as he attempted to stand. “This stuffs going all crusty and hard.” He commented while seeking a handhold.

“Well get your butt, up and out.” Bacshi retorted, having carefully and partially descended.

“Copy.” Came the response. He managed to get a hand hold and pull one foot out and onto the wall. Then progress seemed to stop, although effort didn’t. “Er Problem. I can not move my right leg. Crystal looks like it’s all around. I fear it might be encased.” He relayed matter of factly, having dropped his head, likely to determine the source of his struggle.

“Bacshi to Bridge. We have an officer trapped. Repeat we have an officer trapped.” 

Comments

  • I love how you keep introducing us to the fascinating environment of where the team is operating in, plus the mission being so scientific focus its just addicting to keep reading it. The character development in this post is introducing us more into who they area, the twins and everyone involved. The ending is a real classic clifhanger, great work looking forward to more!

    July 13, 2024
  • Ishaan

    Chief Science Officer