Darion was preparing for his first solo away mission; it was a milk run really but he was pleased, nonetheless. The mission would be the first of its kind to go on his record and act as one of the first landmark successes that would hopefully lead to more of its kind. With a smile, he placed his pack full of the supplies he’d need for the next 2 days down next to the other bags by the transporter.
He was assigned to land on Duotone IV to scout out a location suitable for a scientific outpost to be set up. Several locations had been scanned from orbit, but the intense local weather systems brought in storms that proved to be problematic to the ship’s onboard sensors. Darion was tasked with beaming down to the surface in a safe position and hiking up to the proposed site and performing a suitability survey. Although it was a Solo mission 4 others were going down in other locations each scouting out the areas for the best location for the observation of the local populous. A Peaceful pre-industrial mercantile species that had yet to be named.
“Alright folks” the transporter chief announced snapping Darrion from his thoughts. The Human woman was scanning their bag contents with an odd-looking tricorder “All your gear is being disguised using micro holographic projectors, they will look like everyday items the locals use as far as we can determine” she half shrugged before continuing “you’ll only have 5 days of power for these projectors so do not. Leave. Anything. Behind” she looked at each separately “Johnson your up” grabbing a bag Johnson ran up to the teleporter pad and promptly vanished from sight with no more ceremonial ordeal other than a half-smile to the transporter operator.
Last in line Darion took up the remaining bag and took up position on the pad, smiling as the ship faded out of vision as was replaced by wind, rain, and a very rocky mountain path. Darion swiftly replaced the smile with a grimace as reality sunk in. He was already cold and wet, and it had been less than a minute on the surface. Taking a deep breath Darian put his head down and ploughed forward head-on into the wind and up the mountain path to gain elevation.
Four and a half hours later Darion found himself at the mouth of the cave that have been designated for him to scout out, taking a few steps inside Darian sighed with relief as the continuous wind and rain that had been bombarding his face since he’d arrived finally abated. Slinging his pack off his back Darion sat down on a nearby outcrop of rocks and took in the scenery around him. Duotone was a beautiful place, even with the miserable weather. A gargle brought him back to his senses as he quickly looked around for the culprit before grinning in slight embarrassment as it dawned on him that it was him. He hadn’t eaten in over half a day. Reaching for his pack he swiftly unzipped it, eager for the rations he’d packed. Unlike most Darion really enjoyed the field rations he’d always loved camping as a kid and he hadn’t really outgrown it. His smile however faded as his hand brought out the rations. Vegetable omelette. “NO…” he called out in exasperation, almost starling himself as the echo of his outburst reverberated back at him a few moments later.
Standing up Darion upturned the back and watched in muted horror as a series of unfamiliar items spilled onto the floor “Who in the name of the deities packed this rubbish” he moaned to himself taking in the random assortment of what could only be described as toot, emerged in front of him. Including a stuffed animal of some kind that Darion had no idea what it was supposed to be. Sorting the items Darion clipped the phaser to his belt that appeared to have someone broken or at least glitched the setting wouldn’t change from 1.75 which would do little to anything much larger than a domestic earth cat. At least the tricorder seemed to function. He placed the PADD to the side for the moment. He picked up the canteen and shook it lightly, at least it was full. He had the supplies at least, to last him until the rendezvous the following evening, but he was not happy with the mix-up, one of the others must of grabbed his bag by mistake leaving him with this mess. Three crystals poked out of the bag, picking one up he twisted it in the failing light watching how the light danced across the surface of the crystalline structure. Unclipping the tricorder he began to take a reading to confirm his suspicions.
“What?” he exclaimed on the third attempt. The tricorder wasn’t picking anything up except for rock, as if the crystal were invisible. Placing it down to his left he scanned the bag he’d left on the floor with the remaining two crystals. This time it was getting a reading but was only picking up one crystal, and rock but no bag “odd” he muttered to himself for a few moments scanning the surroundings. After a few moments, he realised that the tricorder needed calibrating and was reading around 4 metres to the left. It wasn’t something he could fix in the field it needed to be aligned on the ship. Groaning about his rotten luck he threw everything that was scattered about back into the bag and reluctantly opened the Vegetable omelette mush. It had a slimy, jelly-like texture and when mixed with the hash browns quite literally looked like vomit. He wolfed it down as quickly as he could trying to ignore the texture as best, he could. It was just a cold lump of matter.
Grabbing the canteen, he took a few mouthfuls of what he was expecting to be water to wash down the offensive ration. He almost spluttered when he tasted the familiar bitter aftertaste of tonic water “Oh for crying out loud, who packed this atrocity!” thankfully though he felt a wave of calmness wash over him a little taking off the edge of his ever-growing frustration. Frowning he lent over and picked up one of the shards of what he now confirmed to be Dilithium and using the butt of the phaser shattered it, placing it into a small pile he gathered up sticks, rocks, and twigs the local wildlife had brought in and arranged it around the crystal pile. Using the burked phaser he took aim and ignited the fire. At least the crystals would keep the heat for most of the night. Laying down on the rock outcrop he sighed and picked up the PADD hoping to discover what sadistic fool had packed this kit. To his dismay, all he found was file after file of opera, Klingon opera at that. With a final sigh and muttering of “why me” he allowed sleep to claim him.
The morning came both too quickly and too slowly for Darion. He had a terrible night’s sleep in the confines of the cave without his own equipment he’d selected for this purpose, but at least it meant his task was to be over soon. He had just 5 hours to scan the cave and then had to hike back down to the pickup location. Pulling out the tricorder he got to scanning, at least now knowing the scanning lens was off to the left he could compensate manually ensuring the scans would pick up the full area, he’d just have to notify the technicians that the geolocation would be a few metres out which wasn’t a major issue, at this stage of the project at least.
The scans went without issue and Darion found himself 6 hours later already well on his way back to the rendezvous location, The cave was the perfect position to place the outpost overlooking the village below, well out of the way for normal villagers as the major trade routes between the town tended to pass through the valley itself rather than over the passes. He’d resorted to swallowing down his last ration while on the move, he just wanted to get out of this place now, get back to the ship and back to normal fit-for-purpose edible food he was still none the wiser to who had packed the dismal supplies and was past caring now. He just wanted home and out of there. A wish thankfully he was just about the be granted. Smiling for the first time in over 24 hours he sighed a breath of relief as the familiar transporter lights surrounded him and Duotone IV faded from his vision.