Part of USS Olympic (Archive): Sea Lion Cave and USS Sarek (Archive): Sea Lion Cave

Sea Lion Cave – 1

Dyson Sphere
September 2400
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There was a certain catharsis that came from falling off the roof of the runabout.

She should have anticipated the fall.  Her ankle had threatened her with a wobble all morning.  Draia’s footing had felt uncertain from the first step out of the runabout’s hatch.  Her bones could practically feel the differential between the artificial gravity on the runabout and the gravitational pull from the surface of the megastructure.  Beyond the runabout, all Draia could see was an overgrown field in every direction.  Every step was a shuffle through tall grasses.  If she looked at the horizon for too long, she felt a headache sneak up on her, pinching at her cranial ridges, right beside her eyes.

When Doctor Laken whined about an error message from the emergency dump mode of his shoddy Starfleet tricorder, Draia only considered one solution.  There were at least 47 simpler solutions to strengthen the subspace signal between the tricorders and the USS Olympic.  Making adjustments to the transceiver assembly set into the roof of the runabout was just about the most convoluted strategy Draia could have undertaken.  But she was a chief engineer on a planetary survey; how else was she to prove her worth?

Not long after she climbed atop the roof of the runabout, the heel of Draia’s right boot had slipped on the glossy polymer of the antenna.  Losing her balance, she tumbled back over the side of the runabout.  Staring up at the sky, as she fell, Draia supposed it looked much the same shade of blue as the sky in her own home colony.  Only as her body twisted through the air did she see it.  Draia happened to fall through the precise angle that allowed her to see more of the interior of the Dyson Sphere on the other side of the sky.  There was no up.  There was no sky.  There was only protective shell in all directions.

A whole world inside a cave.

Plummeting from the roof of the runabout, Draia had never felt safer in her life.  Through most of her adolescence on her Cardassian home colony, walking out in the open had evoked in her a keen awareness that she could be struck down by a Maquis attack.  At any moment.  Anywhere.  Some of the happiest days of her life had been later, labouring as a miner, entombed and protected by the solid skin of a world.  She had rarely been happier than when she was down deep in a cave.  This moment was one of those happier moments.  Seconds before she hit the ground, finding this whole world inside a cave, was truly the closest she had ever felt to spiritual enlightenment.