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Part of USS Daradax: Mission 2 – Wings of Salvation (Sundered Wings Fleet Action) and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

SW – Chapter 9: A Stormy Delivery

USS Daradax - Kunhri III
May 2400
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Thanen sat in the command chair of the Daradax lost in thought looking at the view screen and the planet Kunhri III as it slowly spun on its axis below them.  ‘I hope the Kirin is ok. SFI really has their own set of rules…’ “Sir” ‘… sending a lone officer down with virtually no information…what are we meant to do if something goes wrong…’ “Sir?” ‘…maybe I should send Ril….no, she is needed here.’

“Sir!?”

Thanen blinks and turns towards Belania’s voice. “Sorry Ensign, what is it?”

“We have received a response from the officials at refinery 27C confirming the coordinates for landing as well as the name of the office we are meeting. She is a Romulan…wait…yes they have confirmed her name is Shasha. She has given us the all-clear but included a heads-up that there are some minor protests ongoing about the federation’s involvement but her security team has them covered.” Pausing she make s quizzical face, “I thought Romulans were not in favour here?”

“Thank you for the update.” Thanen remarks as he turns to Ril. “Anything on the sensors we need to be aware of before taking her down Ril?” RIl looks up from the tactical console and shakes her head, “Nothing, Sir.”

Turning back to the con he responds to Belania, “It is not so much that Romulans are persona non grata here but that the new Romulan government and in a sense the old government are not welcome. There is a large enough Romulan population within this system and the sector as a whole and not all of them support the military coup. They are just people after all wanting what is best for themselves and their families. Now, everyone buckle up, let’s see how this bird handles during entry. Belania, take us in.”

“Yes, sir.” Belania responds as the Daradax’s thrusters kick in and the ship beings to decelerate and bank down towards the planet’s surface and their destination. After a few minutes, the edges of the view screen start to glow red and the ships shake slightly as they begin to push through the thermosphere of the planet.

“Belania, we have entered the outer edge of a large volcanic plum focused  150km and 30° to port. The plum is feeding a large storm system. I would suggest adjusting the course around it.” Kerry comments as they continue their descent. “Sir, that storm system is moving in the direction of the refinery; ETA 4 hours. There should not be any issues if we are on the ground but we don’t want to be outside during it. Looks like a nasty one.”

“Thanks, Kerry, that is noted. We will try to have this delivery done before the storm hits.” Thanen responds. ‘There is always something… lets up this is the only curveball…’

— 

The Daradax slowed its descent as it approached and circled the massive structure that was the refinery.

“The refinery’s borehole goes down almost 3 kilometres and is over 300m wide all the way. The conditions down there must be horrible.” Kerry remarks as the viewscreen shows the now refinery and former mind in great detail causing everyone on the bridge to mutter agreements.

“Landing gear extended. Touch down in 5…4…3…2…1.” Belania says as the ship shudders slightly before coming to a halt and the gravity shifts to match that of the planet. 

“Ok everyone, let’s get this done. We have a lot of material to get off the ship, some of it is not transporter friendly either so our work is cut out. Ril and Kerry you are with me. Standard away team gear, we do not want to give the wrong impression by stepping out in full tactical gear. Belania, you stay on board. I want deck 4 sealed off so no one can get in except us. We will need help from some of Shasha’s people to get this stuff offloaded in time. I know Shasha said it was only a minor protest but things can turn so keep an eye on it, the storm and the general lay of the land.”

“Not a problem sir.” Belania remarks.

— 

Standing on the lift as it descended from the belly of the ship Ril looked around, her tension high as she hated to deal with situations like this. Meeting some unknown leader of the refinery to offload a substantial amount of very expensive equipment and a lot of food items while the people they were here to help protested the actual help was not a situation could not be classified as ‘safe’ especially given the issues on the planet. 

She glanced over at Lieutenant Thanen beside her and was impressed with how stoic he looked giving off nothing but an ere of confidence but she knew he was uncertain as well. Why else would he have sealed off the rest of the ship? Kerry on the other hand looked a little nervous or on edge. She was brilliant and Ril had taken a liking to her. She was shy but the few times she has started to open up to Ril; usually when she got talking about some sort of science experiment or something she saw on the scanners she would sometimes let her guard down and start just talking and engaging before realizing what she was doing and retreating back into her shell. She had made it her mission to crack that shell.

With a loud thud, the large lift stopped as it touched down on the landing pad. Ril could see a small group of seven individuals approaching from the entry hatch on the pad. “Sir, we have a welcoming committee” she comments as her hand moves to rest on the handle of her phaser.

Walking towards them the group of seven stopped 15 meters off and the women in front waved in greetings though there is some visible hesitation within the group before a haggard-looking Romulan woman steps forward towards the lift. Without pause, Thanen steps out to greet her before Ril has a chance to comment. “Greetings, I am Shasha the new leader of refinery 27C; it is nice to meet you in person Lieutenant Thanen Th’zalnar.”

Smiling Thanen takes the hand that she offered, “It is a pleasure to meet you Shasha, I am Shasha.” before turning back to Ril and Kerry. “This is Ensign Ril Mnass, our tactical and security officer and this is Ensign Kerry Dawson our science and medical officer.  I hope we are able to help you and your people and I also wanted to apologise again that the commander couldn’t be here for this but she had pressing business she had to attend to.”

“Your assistance is greatly appreciated but if you don’t mind I would like to get to it. My people here have had no ability to work since the empire stripped or destroyed key equipment that was needed for its operation. Idle hands are of no benefit to us now.”

“I understand that” Thanen agrees. “ We have three lifts…” gesturing back towards the one he stepped off. “The other two are stacked with most of what you need once this one is cleared off. There are additional items in the bay that will then need to be moved onto the lifts for disembarkment. Sadly some of the items have been deemed non-transportable so we will need to do this by hand and with the anti-grav seld and lifts. If you have the manpower to spare we should be able to get everything offloaded in a couple of hours. Additionally, we have stocked most of our empty space with food supplies; several tons in fact. These are standard MREs that Starfleet believes will be able to be used by the Reman and Romulan populations alike. We will be able to transport them directly onto the pad.”

“Manpower won’t be an issue. These here are my most trusted staff members, some foremen some of who I grew up with. I will also send for additional people with vehicles to help with the offloading.” With that, the remaining individuals step forward. At this Ril tenses as most have pistols at their sides.

“Sir, Ma’am” she says as she steps up to Thanen and Shasha, “We can allow your men onto the ship into the cargo area only but I cannot let them board armed. Is protocol in a situation like this; I hope you understand.”

“Really?” Shasha says a bit taken back, “They mean you no harm…”

Thanen turns and gives Ril a look of frustration and understanding before nodding and turning to Shasha, “On this matter, Ensign Ril is right. It would be in violation of Starfleet protocol. They can leave them here at the base of the lift but they are not allowed onto the ship.”

With a sigh, Shasha nods in agreement and waves towards the men and quickly says something in Reman and they unclip their weapons and place them in an empty crate they removed from the lift.

“Thank you for your understanding Shasha” Thanen says with a smile before turning to Kerry. “Kerry let’s bring down the next two lifts and get started.” Tapping his combadge “Belania, can you start transporting the food supplies from deck 3 onto the pad to the area designated by Shasha’s men. It will be marked in a few moments.”

“Affirmative XO.” Belania responses.

“Yes, sir” Kerry responds before tapping a button on her PAD causing the lifts to her right to groan slightly before they started to extend downwards revealing a substantial amount of mechanical equipment. Walking over to the lifts as they stop she gestures to the first. “This is mostly replacement mechanical equipment, repair tools and a lot of self-sealing stem bolts…hmm ..not familiar with them. The next lift has the power junction replacements as well as the chemicals needed to restart the refinery. We can start offloading the equipment first.” At this, five Remans move to grab several anti-grav sleds while one goes towards a large shed on the edge of the hanger emerging a few moments later in a mechanised lifter and they got to work.

Thanen walked onto the bridge of the Daradax to find Belania at the con watching the viewscreen as it was split between multiple camera angles around the ship as well as the protestors.

“Great work getting those food supplies onto the ground. I see Shasha as already organized their distribution” he says as he points to the screen. On one of the split displays, a very large pile of boxes of emergency food supplies was being attended by 20 or so Remans and Romulans quickly taking the boxes and moving them into the nearby hanger bay while others within unpack and moved them onwards to the population in the refinery.

“Thank you, Lieutenant.” She responds with a quick glance back at him. “I was about to message you, good timing I guess. I have been watching the storm and the protests, we may have a problem.”

“What exactly is coming our way ensign?”

“Well first off the storm will arrive sooner than expected. It is an hour out at most, not two but they should have moved the equipment and material into the hanger in time. Only just. I am more concerned about the protests.” She says as he taps on the console and the viewscreen switches to show the protesters gathered beyond the fences of the landing pads. “Their numbers have been increasing, there are about 60 now. In the last 15 minutes, a group of 15 people arrived and they seemed to be stirring up the crowd. They were also visibly armed.” 

“Has Shasha been informed? How are her security forces doing?”

Nodding Belania quickly responds, “I sent her a message and video file showing their arrival. I also believe her security team has been in contact with her. As for the team. They have had more personnel arrive and are still on the inside of the fence so it’s hard to say.”

“Thanks. I am heading back down, keep me updated.”

Watching Thanen leave Belania exhales and pulls up the multiple view screens again. “Now, let’s see what damage this storm could cause us…” she says as she starts analysing the data on the approaching storm while casting an eye every so often on the screen and the protesters.

Thanen stood near the cargo lifts under the Daradax watching the black violent clouds as they settled overhead. A hot and violent wind whips around him as lightning streaks the sky and the rain rapidly closes the distance.

“Sir, that is the last of the equipment for the refinery offloaded and it’s now on its way to the hanger and the refinery,” Kerry says as she steps up beside Thanen. “The food supplies have now been collected and inside the hanger. My estimate is that the supply will last for three to four weeks. Long enough for the first convoy from the fleet.”

“Thanks, Kerry, good work organising the offloading. You should be proud of how efficient it went.” Thanen says while turning his head slightly to look at the hanger and Ril who jogged towards them.

Ril stops under the ship just as a wall of rain begins to fall. “Sir, I have spoken to Shasha and she has asked if we could aid them with the installation of the equipment. They have reviewed what we were provided by fleet logistics and it will need to be modified. She thinks it should only take an hour or two.”

“You would have thought the logistics team would check that before loading up the Daradax,” Thanen says with a sigh and shrug. “Ok, Ril you with me. Kerry, go update Belania. Send a message to the task force letting them know the supplies have been delivered and we will be departing soon.”

With a nod, Kerry steps onto the lift and taps her PADD causing it to lift and Thanen and Ril head out into the rain.

 

Comments

  • It's great to finally get up to date with the Kunhriverse! I find myself empathising with Thanen's wish for no more curveballs in an adventure of curveball after curveball. Sadly for him (but great for us :P), there are no doubt going to be many more. I want to take a moment to enthuse about some of your prose describing the environment on Kunhri III. "A hot and violent wind whips around him as lightning streaks the sky..." I thought stood out as an excellent snapshot of the unforgiving, industrially ruined planet's surface. Your writing has been peppered with little bits like this here and there, and it's a real strength, placing the reader right there in the story along with the characters. Your choice to write some of the narrative in present tense lends the story a sense of urgency, too. Almost reads like a sceenplay in places! Cracking stuff!

    June 7, 2022
  • I really enjoyed the sequence for landing the Daradax. That's such a cool feature of a Raven, putting them right on the ground in the thick of things. Although that may prove to be a bug and not a feature with the riots and the ongoing storm. The riots on Kunhri IV coming to Kunhri III makes for a tension-filled escalation. Poor Daradax is only trying to bring the Remans food, and their protests are very shades of "protecting a world that fears and hates them". And then Shasha's response to the Remans having to disarm upon entering Daradax was... interesting. She wasn't belligerent as we might expect from a Romulan in authority, but there were still shades of imperiousness at being questioned or denied. I sure hope the Remans didn't do anything shifty aboard the Daradax!

    June 9, 2022
  • This one had me on the edge of my seat not knowing what was going to happen next. I loved it. The tension from the incoming storm and the protestors. Who only knows what's going to happen next. I also loved how Ril point blank said that no one was going to get on the ship armed. There she is “Miss Bad-ass” Ril, who knows her protocols and regulations. I am loving that character more and more every time you use her. She is developing well in my books. Also I am loving how you are switching between the events that are happening with Kirin and the events that are happening with the rest of the crew and the supplies. Awesome work there. As always, keep up the great work, and look forward to the next story.

    June 10, 2022