Part of Outpost Houtman (Archive): Start-up problems

Nothing comes good from going into the dark

Sheo III - In the Field
October 2400
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Shuttle Rosalind Franklin – Science Shuttle

The damage to the base was quite considerable and extensive. The sudden earthquake ravaged the area. The Andorian shrugs looking at it “Just here and already a wreckage….” Looking at his side he notices the Commander and Ensign approaching and salutes them “Petty Officer Iress Ch’kaoverh, I am part of the Operations team that will assist you in finding a suitable location. The Rosalind Franklin is ready for take off ma’am” 

Not meaning to jump ahead of the Commander but he was perplexed. “You went through the whole flight checks already? Well dang! Excuse me while I warm up my seat.” said Ethan would let the two chat while he got himself comfortable.

Roberts looked at the Petty Officer, “While I appreciate the enthusiasm please make sure an officer is present when finishing a flight check. This is for your safety, as well as ours.”

Letting the Commander and Ensign enter the shuttle, Iress shrugs and mutters to himself “Great it is going to be that kind of day” He enters the shuttle and closes the door. “Seal locked, we are ready to get going Sir” Iress walked to his chair and sits down powering up his console. 

Ethan skimmed through the checklist, all was good so he didn’t need to mention anything and proceeded to lift the shuttle off the deck. He then hailed the command center. “Rosalind Franklin to Command, we’re taking off to find us a better home! Wish us luck.”

With that stated the shuttle started to hover over the ground and pushed forward into the forest of the unknown territory. The forest was quite thick in growth and difficult to navigate through, but not impossible for a skilled pilot. Iress looked at the Commander “We got a few plausible locations to check out, option one is the waterside, but readings do give away that it has the activity of fauna nearby that might cause us problems. Another one is near a volcano. Operations state that the material of the ground is valuable for us to use….I disagree with an active volcano its not worth the risk. The last option is on top of a mountain…. a great point of view and can be used as a colonization starting point. But I can’t get clear readings from the area. What is your choice Commander?”

Roberts thought for a moment “Let’s check out the mountain I would have picked the volcano, but I believe the mountain is the best option for us to take. If we have time we might check out the volcano, but it’s not like we won’t have time.” She looked at the Petty Officer “You look like you know this shuttle inside and out. Where is the best landing spot on the mountain?”

“I honestly don’t know the inside and out of this shuttle Commander, I just manage to be there the first at the said shuttle per the request of Commander Ga.” Iress pointed out “The trip towards the mountains is a bit of a tricky one, wild life has been posted by long range scanners ma’am”

Ethan smirked as he spoke up to answer the Commander’s question in regard to the best landing spot. “This is a standard Type-11 Shuttlecraft with the science package installed. Meaning it can do science-y stuff. I assume the P.O. here knows how to run that equipment,” He then turned his head to look at Roberts. “Unless you got some science experience under your belt too.” He then went back to his flying and adjusted the altitude a bit higher to not disturb the wildlife that Iress pointed out. “Regardless, it’s simple standard science equipment that anyone in Starfleet can operate. I mean, a lot of us got the basic science courses, right?” He chuckled.

Ethan then licked his lips as he entered a command to the console to the side of him to perform a sensor sweep of the mountain range. “As for finding the best landing spot, it would have to be a sturdy cliff or a very flat surface on the mountaintop or at the bottom of the mountain. Depends on how we’re going to re-establish the base. Are we going to slap it on top of the mountain? Build it at the bottom? Or perhaps go into the mountain, be hidden, and have a bit of an underground shelter feel?” Ethan asked with a grin before the console to the side of him beeped that it finished the scan and he went ahead to send the data to Commander Roberts. “As I thought, those are the most suitable landing spots for this type of craft. Either at the top of the mountain, sturdy cliff on the side, or at the very bottom of the mountain.”

Kaylynn was unsure of the full plans of the outpost as this was still in the process of surveying, but cover never seemed like a bad thing so she made her decision “Put us down on the sturdy cliff. We will see what we can find from there. These reading seem to indicate a cavern into the mountain. I can’t see how far it goes because sensors are experiencing interference, but we will be able to ascertain this information upon investigation.”

Letting his hands slide over the console “The scans indicate indeed a cave, I could send out a probe to explore the cave system and see if it has anything that is valuable for us” Iress looked at the Commander. “Because scouting ahead in a cave with limited information is by far ill-advised”

Ethan adjusted the craft’s course, speed, and altitude to bring it toward the cliff. Then he had to smirk at Iress suggestion. “We could do that but remember, we’re Starfleet. We explore the unknown, and there will always be risks involved. We’ll never learn anything if we play it too safe. Not against the probe, but remember, if there are creatures that may be hostile in the cave, Starfleet has a history of encountering creatures that can slow down their heartbeat to the point that their life sign is non-existent and probe or sensors won’t pick them up.” Ethan then laughed as he looked at the Commander.

“Remember back at the Academy, the old history lessons. When they sent out those Constitutions on five-year missions? They were always beaming people down onto planets, even after a thorough sensor sweep, and still encountered all sorts of things. I even dug a little deeper and when red shirts were operations and security, should see the count on that. Absolutely crazy.” Probably was not helping in the slightest but Ethan knew the risks when he joined Starfleet, as he returned to his controls right on time to begin the landing process. “Houston, we have landed! The seatbelt signs are now turned off and everyone is free to move about in the cabin. Thank you for flying Ryozo Airlines!”

Rubbing his forehead and muttering to himself, Iress just shook his head “We have a security policy and procedures in place to make sure we are operating in a safe capacity. You are comparing us to …well the Stone Age of Starfleet” Iress looked at the reckless pilot “How did you ever get out of the academy is amazed to me” 

Ethan locked down the shuttle and rose up from his seat with a shrug of his shoulders. “Again you’re missing the point. There are always risks in Starfleet, we were told of those risks when we joined.” He said as he went to the science console to prep a probe. “And again, if there are creatures in the cave and are capable of hiding from our sensors, regardless of all the safety and procedures we do, we’ll never know until we walk right in.” And with a press of a button, the probe was away. “But we shall see what the probe tells us,” Ethan smirked as he looked at the Commander. “Permission to gear up, ma’am?”

Rolling his eyes Iress shook his head and grabbed the gear “I don’t think we have a choice right now…”  He mutters grabbing into the box. 

The sarcastic remark was not needed, but for the time Kay decided to let it slide and nodded “Yeah let’s get ready. I do not know what we might find in this cave so keep an eyes out. Run sensors to maximum, though they may not help us in the end.” Kay still was wanting to be on the top of the mountain, but here they were going into a dark cave just like the unknown of her life. She looked at Ethan and motioned for him to take point and for Iress to form up behind her. She hoped this path went to the top of the mountain and that they didn’t die in the process. 

As soon as she stepped into the cave she heard sounds that would have made a normal person run in the opposite direction, but she was Starfleet and this wasn’t going to stop her. She flicked on her light and saw a damp area as water seemed to trickle down into the caves walls. As they rounded a corner she caught shiny eyes and yelled “Ethan watch out!” She said as the creature gave a bloodcurdling roar and charged them. The stench alone was enough to knock out anyone. She fired at the creature and with the concentrated fire the animal was taken care of in short order. 

“Ok, Ethan be more careful and pay better attention I would rather not lose my pilot.” She looked at the Petty Officer “Iress are you seeing the same thing as me? If we follow this path it will lead us to the top of the mountain?”

Ethan was a little perplexed by what happened. Sure he preached that it could happen, but what were the odds really? A lot more than he realized, as he pushed himself off the cavern floor, dusted himself off, and grabbed his rifle. Now he was more on guard than earlier, prepared to defend himself and his crewmates in case another one appears. Ethan stepped over to the creature that the Commander had downed, pulled out his tricorder, and ran a scan but got nothing. “Heh. Impervious to our scans.” Ethan sighed. “I hate being right.” He stood up and tucked away his tricorder.

While the Commander and Petty Officer did their thing, Ethan kept a lookout for any more of the creatures, with the rifle’s torchlight on at maximum so he could get a good look inside the cavern in case any more were hiding.

Seeing the whole ordeal happen, Iress smirks at Ethan, but didn’t give a comment about it and pulled out his scanner “Readings are reflected by the minerals of the cave itself” Iress confirmed closing his tricoder and looked at the path “But if a Vulcan would be here, then they definitely would say that your observation is quite logical” Iress kept the surrounding in check, just in case. 

“A good point, but we have to keep moving.” Kay stated as she looked up from her tricorder.

Kay motioned for the team to keep moving forward. They had to make up lost time and she wasn’t going to make a bunch of stops. If the plan was to settle an outpost near here then scientist could discover the secret of the caves. She watched for more of the creatures, but through the rest of the cave she heard but didn’t see any. As the team continued she squinted as natural light began to hit her eyes and the smell of fresh air with a hint of moisture tickled her nose. As they broke into the sunlight she saw they had ended up on top of the mountain, which looked perfect for the outpost. It was unlike anything she had seen before it had a lake running to a waterfall over the edge of the mountain. She smiled “It’s perfect.”

The bright light blinded Iress for a second as he looked around while getting used to the lights “The area is large, flat to my surprise” He looked around “With that lake, we can get fresh water, the foundation of the mountain gives a solid against quakes. We can get something started here and the mineral in the caves are a good start for mining” He looked at the Commander “Which is the main goal of our mission here after all”

Ethan lowered his rifle when he was certain that they were clear and smiled. “Think I’ll learn to like it here. Prefer an underwater base, in all honesty. But surely that requires much more effort to build than inside of a mountain.” He smirked then cleared his throat. “Ma’am, I suggest that we request a team of scientists, and analysts, to figure out how to configure our sensors to work with these minerals here. And then a security team, to safeguard the construction. In case there are more of these things.”

“Not to spoil your dreams Ensign, but we need the Engineers and Operations get stat on the relocation. That base will not hold long” Iress pointed out. He walked forward checking the area a bit more “We can make it work for sure.”

“That’s ‘sir’, to you PO.” Ethan smirked, indicating he was just pulling their chain. “And the only way they can get a stat on this relocation, is if the location is secure. Otherwise, we run the risk of losing people. Either way, I’m sure our fearless leader and Commander here will figure it out.”

Kay just listened to the banter but made mental notes of what needed to be done before speaking up “This is where we plan to set the base and after seeing it I believe its a prime spot. Let’s get back to the base. I need to debrief the Commander.”