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Part of USS Crazy Horse: Blood For Blood and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Establishing a Home Base

Great Desert, Eden
November 22, 2400
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The temperature was hovering around 46° Celsius.  According to Commander Torin’s tricorder they were standing roughly 60 meters below sea level.  The air was heavy and thick and the heat was like standing in front of his mother’s bread oven.

Wiping the sweat from his brow he opened the front of his uniform jacket and set it on a nearby crate careful to remove his combadge and affix it to his under shirt which was already heavily saturated with sweat.

Approaching Commander Hayden he spoke, “How’s it going?”

The operations officer looked away from her work to acknowledge her superior officer.   She was still wearing her uniform jacket but it was open and her blonde hair was matted to her forehead with loose strands sticking to her cheeks.

“Should have these shelters up in fifteen minutes sir,” she lifted a pouch of water to her lips and took a long drink.  “Here, you look like you need this,” she said handing him the pouch.

Torin took the silvery plastic pouch and finished off the contents in to long gulps.  The water tasted like plastic and was at best described as “tepid”, and it tasted wonderful. “Thanks,” he said as the engineers slid the roof onto the first shelter and it clicked into place. The buildings were made of a lightweight but incredibly strong composite material.  It didn’t have the appeal of concrete or wood, but in reality it was not only more durable the insulating properties were far better.

“Well look at that. Our base of operations is coming together. There’s no shelter so we’ll have to mine in short shifts.”

“Agreed,  and we’ll need lots of water,” Erin added.

“We should probably get a hospital set up and get some of the Horse’s medical staff down here.”

“I’ll get on that. This is being set up as out administration building and mess hall,” Erin said of the newly erected structure.   “Over there,” she said pointing to a pair of larger structures being built, “Will function as out barracks.”

“Fine work commander,” Torin said.  He squinted into the horizon,  “I never did get a chance to talk to you about our current dynamic.”

Erin looked up at him confusion on her face,  “Sir?”

“I know you were acting captain after Captain McKenzie and Commander Halstead disappeared.  It had to be a tough pill to swallow when Starfleet assigned myself and Captain Murphy over you.”

“It’s not my call sir,” she said.

Torin nodded, “I know it isn’t.  I read your log reports and talked to several of the crew.  You did a phenomenal job.  You didn’t deserve this, and yet you have handled it professionally and you have treated myself and the captain without any hint of resentment.  I appreciate that. I attribute your actions to our smooth transition.  I just wanted the thank you.”

“Your welcome sir,” Erin said feeling a little uncomfortable.

“If you ever need anything let me know Commander. I owe you that much.”

“Thank you sir. I’ll keep that in mind.”

Torin nodded, “Carry on Commander.”  

The first officer walked away from Erin and picked his way up the rocky trail that lead up to the ore processesing.  Here the raw mined dilithium would be loaded into crates and beamed onto the ship or loaded onto shuttles. 

There the engineering team carved out a loading facility from the rocky terrain.   Lieutenant Washington had abandoned his uniform top all together and his dark muscles rippled under his labors.  Only Ensign Prol looked comfortable in the heat thanks to his half-Cardassian heritage. 

“Commander,” Washington said wiping the sweat from his brow.

“It’s hot today,” Torin commented.  

“That it is,” Washington said in in Midwestern accent.   The chief engineer had grown up in Michigan and never dealt with this kind of heat before.

“Should be a touch cooler tomorrow if we are to believe Lieutenant Shrin.”

Marcus looked up at the binary suns, and the gas giant Gantz IV loomed large in the sky. “I’d say a touch is probably still too warm.”

Torin checked,  “You’re probably right.”

“I’ve been thinking. Back in the 20th Century crews building Las Vegas faced similar temperatures.  I think we should follow their example and do our mining early in the morning before the suns come up, and then by mid-day we retreat to the air conditioning.”

“That’s not a bad idea.  This is miserable,” Torin replied. 

“Speak for yourself sir!” Prol said with a smile still in full uniform.

“Yeah well, not all of us are hot blooded like you Cardassians,” Torin responded with  wry grin.  “Yeah, let’s do your plan Mr. Washington.  The rest of the day we can take off or use shuttles to survey the moon.  The alternative is to wear EV suits.,”

Marcus frowned, “I’d rather risk the heat stroke.”

Torin laughed,  “Fair enough.   So, what’s it looking like here?”

“Progress is slow, but we’re getting it,” Marcus said. “We should be ready to mine tomorrow.”

Torin nodded, “That’s what I like to hear.  Carry on Lieutenant.”  Torin turned and headed back down the  path.  He stopped after taking a few steps, “Oh and stay hydrated.”

“We will sir,” Marcus replied. 

When Torin had returned to their little settlement the barracks were already finished and they assembly crews were erecting the hospital.   He wondered if they would send Dr. Mulder down here or utilize the EMH.  Torin decided he wasn’t going to worry about that.  Engineering and Medical could figure that out on their own.

Entering the administration building he was immediately hit with  blast of cooled air, and he shivered despite himself.  The tiny room was empty and the only lights came from thr duraplast windows on either side of the room. His desk was on the far side and draped over the seat back was his dust covered uniform jacket.

He slid into his seat with a heavy sigh. He was exhausted.  The heat did that to you.  Absently he could smell himself; sour from sweat and there was an unpleasant body odor musk.  He hoped they got the shower building built next.

The door opened and Lieutenant Diego Garza entered.   The Chief of Security looked as beat down as he felt.  Maybe worse. “Mr. Garza.  What can I do for you?”

Diego shrugged,  “I have a preliminary security report for you sir.”

Torin nodded, “Go ahead.”

“We did a five kilometer patrol around the settlement.  I have yet to detect any threats.  The largest lifeforms are some primitive arthropods and reptilia.  There’s a type of horned lizard that’s venomous,  but the venom is fairly mild.  There’s a series of caves along the northern edge of the desert as it transitions to a grassy plain.”

Torin nodded, “I think it’s safe to say our biggest threat will be the two-legged variety.  Once it gets out that there’s this much dilithium here people are going to flock.”

“How should we handle that?”

Torin shrugged,  “I guess with the attitude of, ‘you leave us alone we’ll leave you alone’.”

“Sounds reasonable,  but I probably should bring more personnel in.”

Torin nodded, “Do as you see fit.  I’ll support you in that. We might want to get a security office built.”

“I was thinking that too.”

“Get with Commander Hayden.”

“I will sir. ”

“Very well, you are dismissed.  See you at dinner.”

“Yes sir,” Diego said and walked out of the building.

Torin smiled watching him go and leaned back in his chair.  He needed to write a report for the Captain, but that could wait. For now he would rest his eyes.  It had been a long day and tomorrow promised even more work.

 

Comments

  • You've done a fantastic job on this chapter. The attention being paid to world building and showing us, not telling us, the conditions the crew are working under really cements this as a terrible place to be. You can really see this in your minds eye as if watching on a screen. I really enjoyed the conversation between Erin and Torin and you can see the camaraderie between the pair as they do their utmost to ensure any issues between them do not impact the overall mission. Looking forward to seeing how the 'you leave us alone, we leave you alone' situation develops, more so if they become overrun by opportunistic company.

    November 26, 2022
  • Thank you! I appreciate the positive comment.

    November 26, 2022
  • I got to agree that you did a wonderful job explaining the conditions they have to work in and the heat of the binary suns. Plus how to deal with it to be able to do some mining! Very creative and the chapter gives a great visual explanation as to what you are building and what your goal is. I love the interaction between the crew and the development of relation between them! I look forward reading more!

    January 6, 2023