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Part of USS Daedalus: Mission 1 – Measure by Measure and USS Mackenzie: Mission 12: Measure by Measure

DMBM 009 – Volcano

Shuttle Icarus
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“You don’t think it’s a bit…of a bad idea to name a shuttle Icarus?”  Athena wondered aloud as she sat on the right side of the shuttle as they sped towards the mysterious planet that had the answer to some of their questions.  The Daedalus would watch them from a distance.

At the helm, Sadie Fowler kept her eye on the sensors as they drew closer to the intercept point.  She was adjacently aware of the ancient Icarus story.  She didn’t subscribe to the idea that the names of ships portended their future or their end.  “No, I don’t.  I think it’s…,” Fowler realized whatever she said would be run through the filter of their relationship.  She landed on “…an interesting thing to believe in stuff like that.”  She smiled weakly at the stare of annoyance from her fellow officer.  “That didn’t come out any better than what I was going to say, did it?”

The tactical officer scoffed, “No, it did not.”  She checked the console and changed the subject, “We’re nearing the drop point.”

Sadie brought the shuttle out of warp and angled them toward the pockmarked moon that was far from the planet.  “Powering down non-essential systems.”  The lights dimmed, and the cabin cooled as the signal presence of the shuttle was minimized.  They had examined the system and found the moon was close enough to allow for passive scans and far enough away to resemble nothing more than a meaningless blip on routine sensor sweeps.

Athena spoke up, “Reading one small Syndicate signal on the plan…holy shit.  Look!”  They both glanced up.  The volcanos that had previously been three of four on the planet’s surface were pervasive across most of the planetoid.  Most of the topical features had been seared away, and the raging fires of lava now covered much of the surface.  The Bajoran officer scrambled to use the passive sensors and her eyes to understand better while Fowler carefully navigated the shuttle to land gently on the grey and listless moon.  The silence was held in the cockpit for several minutes until Athena could cobble together a report, “There’s a small section of the planet that’s livable, and that’s where the Syndicate ship is holding.  I’m guessing they’re underground.  We’d have to get active with sensors to know more.”

Fowler took the data the ensign had mined and fed it through her science console.  There was plenty of data to be examined.  She furrowed her grow, her mind searching the data for indicators of what was coming next with the eruptive cycle.  Every planet had a different rhythm as to how it moved and shook, yet there were core principles that guided the study overall. Given how quickly the eruption spread had shifted across the globe, she was worried.  There were Syndicate scientists, some of whom had done incredible work for the universe over the years.

She didn’t think this group intended to do any incredible work for anybody but themselves and Patra. She relayed her report and worries to Athena, who replied, “If this thing is moving as quickly as you say it is…they might not have the time they think they do.”

Sadie deliberated. She was the ranking officer on the mission.  Time was not on their side.  One more look at the sensors.  “Shit.  We’re going to have to take the risk.  Let the Daedulus know we’re making a move.”  The engines responded as she threw the shuttle into a hard climb and aimed them on an intercept course for the ship’s location.

 

The shuttle slid to a halt on the rough clay.  Fowler jumped out of the opening hatch in the rear, a phaser pistol in one hand and tricorder in the other.  Athena’s annoyed voice was shouting behind her, and she soon stood beside the impatient science officer. “Just what in the hell is wrong with you?”  She checked her phaser rifle while she dressed down her superior officer.  “I’m here for a reason, Lieutenant Fowler.  Your safety is my job.”

Fowler was tempted to ignore the security chief.  They needed to find the hostages, and they needed to find them soon.  The ground rumbled gently and shook hard as the rumbling boomed from the depths.  They both fell to the ground with a grunt and picked themselves up as the shaking subsided.  Sadie conceded, “I…may need your help.”  Athena ‘harrumphed’ and carefully led the way into the mouth of the cave.  They went down and around until they reached a large room.  Five bodies lay on the ground in the middle of the room, unmoving.

Sadie instinctively ran ahead, and Athena shouted as she ran after her.  Suddenly, the entrance behind them exploded in a rain of fire, smoke, and debris.  The Bajoran pulled herself up and looked back at the blocked entrance.  She checked the Science Chief, who rolled over and looked back at the wall of clay that prevented them from leaving through conventional means.  Athena stared at her accusingly, “So help me…if we can’t transport out of here, I’m going to throw you under the shuttle.”

Groaning, Fowler stood and dusted off her uniform.  She didn’t respond and instead shambled over to check on the hostages; a quick scan, and she reported, “They’re alive..but we need to get them back to the shuttle.”  She tapped at the tricorder, “We’re still in range.”  She smiled wearily, aware that she hadn’t done much to improve her relationship or standing with Ensign Catari.  She tagged each hostage and worked through the PADD to connect to the shuttle.  She handed it apologetically to Athena, who snatched it away with a huff.

“We’re going to have a lot to talk about when we get back to the Daedalus, Lieutenant Fowler.”  She tapped the energize key, and the white light spun up and picked them up.

 

Fowler opened her eyes and panicked.  She wasn’t back on the shuttle.  She was inside the cargo hold of a transport ship. A middle-aged woman stepped out from behind a stack of crates with a blaster rifle, her eyes drilling holes into Fowler.  She snarled, “You’re not Carolyn Crawford.”  She sighed, charged the rifle, and fired.