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Part of Endeavour: Where Angels Fear To Tread

Walking A Tightrope

Alpha Gruis I
Monday 16th May 2157
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After the captain departed with Lieutenant Commander Xiang, Doctor Branson walked away with Lieutenant Ricci, leaving Gasset with their pilot. Turning to Randall, the chief armoury officer gestured for them to move in the direction the captain wanted them to take. Near the flat area where they had landed was a massive lake behind some trees. “Come on then, lieutenant, let’s go see what this lake is like,” Gasset ordered.

“Right behind you, lieutenant.” Randall followed her, his scanner out and working.

“So where do you call home, lieutenant?” Gasset asked, starting some small talk with the office she knew nothing about.

“My family is one of the biggest asteroid mining companies. My youth was spent living on a ship or under a pressurised dome on one of the largest asteroids,” he responded.

Intrigued by that response, Gasset continued to ask more. “Which asteroids? The ones in the main belt?” 

Randall nodded. 

“I suppose visiting a Minshara-class world is just as alien to you as if you were visiting Earth for the first time, then?” Gasset guessed. 

He nodded again, then said, “When I joined the Starfleet, that was the first time I had set foot on Earth. It took me a while to get used to the difference in gravity. Being here is like an adventure, blue skies, trees, grass and clean, uncycled air. What about you?”

“My family are all from Chicago,” She answered with a smile, “I moved to New York after graduating high school for a year before joining the United Earth Global Defence Force. I’ve never settled down, as I was always out on assignments. That said, after going to Starfleet Training Command for a year, I fell in love with San Francisco. Jogging across the Golden Gate bridge every morning was breathtaking in more than one way!”

“I always liked looking at that bridge. It’s a miracle.”

Eventually, they got through the trees and were stunned by the beautiful scenery of the lake they were going to survey. 

“Gorgeous,” Gasset muttered as she closed her scanner to breathe in the scene before her. The sun reflected in the clear water, almost making the lake’s surface glisten and sparkly. It was impressive.

Randall knelt by the water and waved his scanner. “Drinkable, no pollution, and I am detecting a variety of fish in the water,” he reported.

Moving around the edge of the lake, Gasset had re-opened her scanner and was looking between it and the journey they were taking along the shore. She then stopped in her tracks and pointed to the floor. “Joshua, look at that,” She said at what appeared to be prints in the golden sand. Kneeling to look at them, the investigator within her gazed closer at what they had discovered. “Those are boot prints, but not Starfleet standard.” 

“Agreed. We are not alone here.” He pulled his weapon out of its holster. 

“I didn’t think we were expecting any visitors either,” She replied as she took out her phase pistol and looked around them cautiously. She couldn’t see anything else that would explain what they had found. Taking her communicator out, she called for the captain and got no reply. She then called for Branson and Ricci, but again, she got nothing. “Josh, I don’t like this.”

Randall scanned the area. “Not reading any interference that would prevent our contacting the others, so maybe their communicators are malfunctioning or can’t respond.”

Looking at where the footprints headed, she could see they re-entered the small woodlands they had crossed to get to the lake. “I think we should return to the shuttlepod but retrace our previous path.”

“Agreed.”

“Let’s go.” She whispered. 

As they entered the wooded area, they heard shuffling. Indicating for Randall to get down, Gasset got behind one of the larger trees with her weapon drawn. The movement through the shrubbery got near. Then weapon’s fire started to rain down on their location. The fire, though, was not energy based.

“Those are bullets!” She called out to Randall. 

“Crude weapons, so these people have limited weapons.” Randall raised his phase pistol and started shooting, aiming for the ground before the attackers.

Returning fire, both Starfleet officers knew they were in a dangerous situation. Looking at her attackers, who were now closer, Gasset could see they appeared almost human. All three were women wearing suit-like clothing that made them look like something from the history books she had read as a child. Their hairstyles were all identical, short bobs with tight ringlets. Also wrapped around their heads were bandannas with a few small decorative feathers and jewels attached.

Before she could formulate a plan, all three women made a lurch forward towards them. Gasset initially found herself in a fistfight and was caught off guard when she saw one of the women shoot Randall in the arm before another tackled him to the floor. Her attacker was holding up quite the fight while her companions were handcuffing Randall. Once they had done that, they used their weapon to knock him out cold. Realising she was in a tricky situation, Gasset performed a high kick to her attacker, which had enough energy to send her flying to the ground. Realising she couldn’t get to Randall, she picked up her phase pistol and started to run out of the woodlands to get to the shuttlepod. She needed to get help before she could return.