A Little Too Dire
Posted on Tue Oct 10th, 2017 @ 9:33pm by Lieutenant Caradan Eunidas & Commander Landon Milo MD & Lieutenant JG Mindo & Lieutenant JG Riaan Rrareth & Lieutenant JG Scott Erickson & Ensign Ixelom Vejeem & Ivy Sharzin
Location: Tornado, Qlj Hegh
Riaan, Ivy and Crewman Logano were in the Science Lab. Logano was looking at some readings from scans of the planet and made a startling discovery. Having little knowledge of the Klingon language, he sought to back up his find. He scrolled through his PADD, launched the universal translator and…
Logano slapped his commbadge and immediately wanted to call the Away Team, but looked over to Riaan, doing her own duties. He quickly decided that she was too busy to be bothered and that he could deliver the newly-found knowledge to the Away Team, but, even more quickly, decided she needed to know first. He did want wish to be demoted again in such a short time.
“Um, Lieu…Lieutenant Riaan,” he stammered a little. “I found something that you need to see.”
Ivy looked from her work. She had been classifying different vegetation species that were native and non-native tonthe planet. Interruptions took place like this all the time and she went back to her work.
Riaan moved from what she was looking at to join Logano. "What have you found mister Logano?" She asked, her eyes scanning the data on his screen.
Joey backed away from the microscope so Riaan could take a look. “Please ma’am. Have a look.”
As Riaan looked into the scope, Joey narrated what she was looking at. “That is a pathogen that appears to be corrosive to anything metallic. What are you looking at is a simulated reaction to the pathogen coming into contact with sodium. Scans of the planet’s atmosphere seem to have low concentrations of this pathogen. But the concentrations are increasing.” He brought up the information graph on his PADD. “If you will have a look at this, you will see that the increased concentration of the pathogen happened only within the past hour…When our Away Team landed.” His eyes went wide again as he fully realized his revelation. “Something on the planet seems to be reacting to our presence down below. The Away Team is already exposed. And…” he pointed back at the scope, “that simulation is sped up 100X. And it shows that the total corrosion of sodium can occur in about 12 hours.” He swiped frantically on his PADD. “But that is not all. This pathogen is also attracted to Iron, Calcium, Iodine…all the metals that is required for mammalian life. This pathogen is essentially corrodes bone structure and all metals circulating in anyone’s bloodstream.” Through a nervous twitch he dropped his PADD.
Hearing an abrupt noise, Ivy looked up to see Riaan and Joey, but they seemed to be very nervous about something. She moved away from her station and walked over to them.
As Joey bent to pick it up, “If there is a refugee down there, then there must be a cure or vaccine. And…” he brought his PADD back up and showed it to Riaan. The running app was the computer’s universal translator. He had, typed in, the name of the planet below; ‘Qlj Hegh’ and the translation that was displayed read, ‘Black Death.’
“Without a vaccine,” he said, “the Away Team has about 10 hours before they…” he could not put into words the side effects of the human body with absolutely zero metallic content.
Ivy's mouth opened in shock and fear for their crewmen on the surface. She looked to her friend Riaan, hoping for an answer to the situation.
Riaan nodded silently. "Scan the away team specifically. See if they have been infected." Given the vector, she already knew they were infected, but on the small chance they were not, she was going to pull them out. Then she tapped her commbadge. "Rrareth to Milo, Caradan, we have something that you need to look at." Her voice was still soft, but tinged with concern.
On the surface, Caradan was busy looking at the landscape with Meera and Scott. The three were plotting out the easiest route to the location of the refuge woman. Caradan did look back to Milo with a nod for him to see to what Riaan needed.
The Chief Medical Officer looked nervously at Caradan. Though he quickly responded. "This is Doctor Milo, I am on my way" the man swiftly replied.
Logano finished scanning Commander Shaqdac, Lieutenant Eunidas, and Lieutenant Deloria. He looked to Riaan as they awaited Dr. Milo’s reponse. Shaking his head, “Three scans complete. It seems they are already infected and cannot return to the ship without a vaccine, otherwise they would infect the ship. Only Lieutenant Eunidas appears unaffected.
Ivy looked down, slightly sad for the crewmen's situation. She didn't know what to do or say, but would help if she could.
On the surface the Doctor walked away a bit to speak, "What do you have for me?" he asked curiously. He quickly assessed it was a discovery or finding of some sort.
Riaan quickly ran down the pertinent information for Milo. "I'm transferring all of our Data to you PADD. We could quarantine you here, but I'm not certain of our ability to find a cure in time. However, I'd be willing to bet that the target has a cure of some form. Your best chances will be to find the cure on the ground rather then just sitting around up here." She said, completing her analysis.
Milo teetered with Riaan's opinions. "This would not be the first time I was faced with finding a cure before the sands of time ran out" replied Landon. "However, I do agree with your assessment Lieutenant. It may be prudent to make this attempt" added Landon
Riaan nodded even though Milo couldn't see it. "We'll be looking for a cure up here. Let us know if there is anything you need from us?"
During a pause in the conversation, Joey managed to get in a word. “Lieutenant,” he said to Riaan, “May I ask Ivy for a sample, a leaf at least, to test in this simulation?”
Riaan considered it, "What for?" She asked.
“Well ma’am. Um…” Joey glanced at his PADD then back at Riaan. “This pathogen seems to be attacking only organic-based metals. There is much metal on the planet and beneath the surface but nothing rusted or corroded, which leads me to believe it is attracted to organic-based life forms. There is flora on that planet and many species of flora acquire energy from various metalloproteins…That is…metal-based proteins that contain metal ion cofactors. If the flora down on the surface is not affected by this pathogen then…” Joey’s words ended as he shot his eyes to Ivy.
Riaan thought for a moment, then nodded slowly. "You may ask, politely."
“Yes ma’am,” said Joey as he stepped away.
Riaan turned to the whole science crew, she did her best to speak in a confident tone of voice. "Ok, looks like we have a infection scenario on the ground. We can't be certain that the fugitive is going to have a cure. Therefore, it falls to us to work our magic and find one ourselves. Let’s get to work."
Surface: Team Shaqdac
Caradan broke from her position next to Scott and Meera and walked up to Dr. Milo waving for her attention. He detailed everything Riaan had informed him.
Caradan nodded. “Understood.” She slapped at her commbadge, “Caradan to Away Team,” which activated the commbadges of all, to include Mindo and the pilots in the shuttles, “We have an infection scenario. It have been discovered that we have approximately 10 hours before we start to face fatalities. We cannot return to the ship for fear of spreading the infection. Something in the atmosphere is attracted to and attacking the metallic makeup of our biologies. Shuttle pilots, seeing as how our shuttles are equipped with biological neurosensors, you are to take off immediately and return to space. Do not…I repeat, DO NOT return to the Tornado. I will check in with you every hour. If you have not heard from the landing party in two hours, scan for life signs and return. Lieutenant Mindo, maintain your progress and alert me to any discoveries or if your team starts to show symptoms. Again we have approximately 10 hours and we are close to our objective. Our target has been here for days already which means she could possess a vaccine. We are moving forward with this operation. Eunidas out.”
"If that Klingon woman has a vaccine, or a quarantine containment forcefield," Ixelom suggested hesitantly, a small quiver of fright in her voice, "and she's really hostile to us...she might try to wait us out. Just hold us off for a few hours until we're...um...not in a fit state to keep going after her."
“Well we can be there in an hour’s time at regular pace,” Caradan said as she looked at her tricorder. “And our Klingon shows no sign of fleeing.” She looked back at Ixelom, taking in her short stature and decided to act a little like a Tellarite. “Think you can keep up if we double-time it from here?”
The counselor shot Caradan a scathing look in response, but her indignation did at least settle her nerves a little. "Trying to appeal to my Tellarite pride? Nice try. Yes, sir, I can keep up. We Tellarites are fantastic marathon runners, and I haven't gotten that fat since I graduated from the Academy."
“That settles it,” Caradan said. She rose her voice so that all could hear. “OK, check it out! We are going to double-time it from here. Watch for wildlife though we have seen none. Watch the terrain and your footing. It should be easy going from here. We move out in five minutes.” She finished speaking and looked at Commander Shaqdac for approval. The man seemed ill-interested but not disapproving at the same time.
"Sirs, permission to break of from the team and infiltrate the base on my own, I think I found a way in. I can secure the entrance and find the refugee before the rest of us arrive." Scott asked both Commander Shagdac and Lieutenant Eunidas.
Caradan nodded to Scott’s request. “As the rest of us move out in five minutes, you have permission to break formation. Being our infiltration specialist, I don’t need to tell you to watch yourself out there. Getting in should be relatively easy. We still pick up no sign of any shielding and no other life signs. Remember Scott,” her words grew serious, “We are working for the Klingon Empire but we are still Starfleet. The Empire said ‘dead or alive’ but we take our prisoners alive. And we don’t shoot first.”
"Yes sir!" Scott nodded set his riffle to stun and moved out. "I'll report back once I am inside the facility." He sprinted out. He was thankful that having a desk did not make lazy. He estimated the facility to be a 15 minute run. Assuming nothing got in his way.
Surface: Team Mindo
Mindo grunted and sighed, turning to address his team, who looked a bit worried by this news.
"OK guys, not our problem right now," said Mindo. "I'm sure science and medical are having a blast figuring this out, but we're neither so let's not worry about it. Get back to your scans." Looking back down to his own tricorder, Mindo said to the security officer behind him, "Wallace, what can you tell me about the Klingon shuttle?"
Security Crewman Wallace was looking through the oculars as Mindo gave his spiel about safety and accountability. The announcement that they were all infected and had less than half a day to live was a bit nerving to say the least. Darrell decided to hold to his security training as he peered at the derelict Klingon shuttle in the distance through his oculars. “Sir,” he said as Mindo floated up to him, “the shuttle is powered down almost completely.”
Mindo looked up from his tricorder and pointed it toward the downed shuttle. "You said, 'almost?'"
“Yes sir.” He switched to infrared. “The engines are cold, but…” he switched to another frequency setting, “there is a power source that is still active and transmitting something. It seems to be some form of disturbance, perhaps intentional.” He lowered the oculars and turned to Mindo. “Could be amplifying the atmospheric disturbance keeping us from using the transporter.”
Mindo heard what Wallace had to say, but his attention was on the readings he had just done on himself.
"Um," Mindo said, hiding his readings. "Take Crewmen Gherr and Crismore and get a closer look. I'll be over in a second."
“Roger that sir,” and Darrel performed a sing-handed pushup aiding him in jumping to his feet whilst securing his phaser rifle. “Gherr, Crismore, on me. We make for the derelict.”
As the three were off, Mindo tapped his comm badge once he was just out of earshot of the rest of the team.
"Mindo to Eunidas. You said to report if anyone was feeling any side effects."
=^=”Just a moment.”=^= A few seconds passed. Long enough to her to step away from her team. =^=”Go ahead.”=^=
Mindo looked back at his team, now moving toward the shuttle with scanners out. "I'm afraid my Feserian biology, not to mention my size, is disagreeing with this pathogen a bit more than everyone else. I'm afraid I don't have the luxury of ten hours. I'm looking at more like five or less."
Five kilometers away, Caradan stood apart from the rest of her team, all preparing to move out. She knew this was not the time for indecisiveness, but found herself truly at a loss for words. There came a sudden desire to break with her team and go running toward Mindo’s location. She knew this team needed her, that the mission needed everyone precisely where they were at that moment. She then thought on sending a shuttle back down to pick him up, but that was not going to change anything as he could not get back on the ship without quarantine procedures which could take any number of hours. Besides, Mindo was the team leader of his team. There was truly nothing Caradan could do for him at the moment save for telling him to, “gut up,” she said softly at first.
=^=”Gut up,”=^= came her voice over Mindo’s commbadge. This time there was more emphasis in her words. =^=”We are about to move out. The plan is to double-time it to our destination. We will be there in about half an hour. We see no sign of shielding or any form of containment. This Klingon may be a fugitive but she should have a vaccine if she has been here this long. I need you to tough this out as long as you can.”=^=
Mindo nodded to no one and replied, "Aye sir." He turned back to his team, still a few dozen yards away and began heading toward the shuttle for a report from Wallace.
Gherr and Crismore were in the derelict shuttle double-checking their findings. Crewman Wallace stepped out of it to maintain security of the area. He lowered his phaser rifle and stepped forward to meet with Mindo, just arriving on the scene.
“Sir!” Wallace snapped to attention. “Scan of the shuttle is complete. No enemy combatants. The shuttle does appear to have been cannibalized and repurposed to amplify the disturbance inhibiting our transporter. The central computer is the only thing running. The Warp Core appears to have roughly two years running time remaining. End report.”
"Thank you, Ensign," said Mindo. "I think it's safe to search it. Crismore and I will look for some kind of log in the computer. I want you and Gherr to salvage any kind of supplies, especially medical, that may have been left in there. Let's go."
“Roger that, Sir.”
Joey approached Ivy slowly as she appeared deep in her own work. “Um,” he started, “Excuse me. I...Ivy, m…may I…” He stopped speaking and took a deep breath as she looked up at him. “May I ask for a specimen from you? A leaf or a twig of vine maybe? Drop of sap perhaps?” He grew a little nervous in asking and more nervous as he continued to ask. Joey was always one to speak more when he grew nervous.
Ivy had heard a voice and turned from her work to find Crewman Logano, who seemed to be stuttering. He was finding it difficult to speak to her for some reason. She had learned from her friend, it was better for both parties if the person speaking was allowed to struggle through the situation, for whatever reason. Her expression changed from curiosity to a concerned frown as she pondered the request. Giving up a leaf or twig was not a significant loss to her whole, but she didn't quite understand why he wanted it.
Still with an expression of concern Ivy asked, "What's this all about Crewman? Why do you want part of me?" She waited for her translator to explain her question before she raised her eyebrows with curiosity and expectation.
"Well, I…uh…” he looked back at his work then back at Ivy. “I have been running simulations based on our scans of the atmosphere. There seems to be an increase in the concentration of a pathogen we did not pick up before. Thi…this pathogen seems to attack the metalloproteins of organic life but not the flora on the surface. If I could get a sample of you be…being, and run some simulations, I could potentially find out why the planet’s flora is immune.”
Ivy listened intently to the young man. She felt his reasoning seemed sound. Giving up one leaf and a bit of a twig wouldn't be too bad. A question then came to mind, "Um, . . would you rather have an older grown or something new?" She thought about it for a second and said, "My thought was that my old growth has been exposed to more, which may still contain something that is no longer in the current environment, like a new leaf might." She raised both eyebrows questioning the scientist.
“I…um…uh…I…suppose both would work nicely. Something older and something new.” Joey pondered the thought. “I could scan one and you the other. My work is synced with the main computer. You can draw up a duplicate of the simulation and we have plenty of microscanners.” He smiled at her. “Double our efforts.”
Initially, Ivy thought that this Scientist wanted a 'clipping' of her to run experiments. She now realized that he also wanted her help. A soft smile came over her face as she replied, "I think I can provide those samples." She hesitated a second and added, "I would very much like to assist you in this work." Her smile broadened.
“Thank you,” Joey smiled, “I am confident we can find a solution to this problem very soon.”
Ivy thought this was going to work out 'just grand', but then she began to think where an older leaf on her might be. She had no leaves inside, easy to find an old cutting there. Most of her exterior 'skin' was made up of finely woven leaves. This material was typically replaced often in a rotating basis. She had to think of the oldest part and then realized that it was an area she typically sat upon.
Ivy looked up at the Science officer, looking a bit nervous and stared hesitantly, "I think I should do this in private. If you don't mind." She raised an eyebrow in a questioning fashion.
“Of course,” Joey said. “Um…uh…yes…sure…privacy. You got it,” and he turned and started away back toward his workstation.
Surface: Team Shaqdac
Everyone had spread out the closer they got to the facility where the single female Klingon life sign was picked up. Still, there were no power signatures powerful enough to produce any form of shielding. Finely tuned scans showed the place was not even environmentally sealed to keep out the pathogen, so quarantine was out of the question. Whatever this was, it was a fair bet that the Klingon woman was infected as well.
Caradan’s thoughts waivered many times during their double-timed trek across the hills and the flat land. But her thoughts came back into focus upon their mission as the team arrived upon the facility.
A set of large bay doors started to open and the metal on metal contact of gears could be heard. There came squeals and clicks, all echoing as the bay doors parted. With a fist in the air, Caradan halted the team and they all took knees. Security wielded rifles whilst everyone else wielded tricorders.
Considering some of the other derelict equipment lying around, Caradan concluded the bay doors were meant to harvesting equipment though there did not seem much was to be harvested now.
As the doors opened wide enough, the single female Klingon stepped out. No tricorder was needed for Caradan to see that the woman was advanced in her years but still very capable to take care of herself. Caradan saw no feature about her that would make anyone immediately think her to be one meant for Rura Penthe, much less a criminal. Caradan saw an additional reading on her tricorder; human life sign. Obviously Scott Erickson was inside and keeping an eye on things as the scene continued to unfold.
With the hand order for the rest of the team to stay put, Caradan stood and started walking toward the Klingon woman. She kept her phaser holstered as the two grew closer.
“Kri’Zhya Hur’q? she asked.
The Klingon woman scoffed and spat. “Hur’q is Klingon for ‘Outsider.’ Kri’Zhya will do.”
“Very well. Kri’Zhya,” Caradan remained alert. “As you know, you are a fugitive as pronounced by the Klingon Empire. We are here to take you into custody.”
“Oh,” Kri’Shya smiled, “I am not going anywhere. That is unless you want your crew to die.”
Kri’Shya did not at all appear able to kill anyone with her bear hand, not to mention an entire crew. She must have meant, “the pathogen? You’re still alive. That means there must be a vaccine.”
“To make you immune?” Then Kri’Shya gave a nod. “I do have that. Which you are free to try on yourselves. As I surrender myself, unconditionally to you, you are free to do what you will with my research. You will still carry the disease though. Which means…you are all now prisoners of this planet.”
Caradan could hear some commotion from among the rest of the team. She was just thankful for a means to keep Mindo from dying a horrible death. As for getting off the planet, that was another obstacle to tackle.