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The Places We'll Go

Posted on 11 Jan 2019 @ 3:44am by Ensign Quinn Mackie & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant Danyl Adan & Lieutenant JG Jazmin Parks & Senior Chief Petty Officer Alexander Rylan

Mission: The Kalisa Conundrum
Location: Runabout Mississippi
Timeline: MD 1 || 1230 hours

Entering the shuttlebay, Thiago immediately saw the Mississippi. The Danube-class runabout was surrounded by a team of both engineers and support craft technicians. He stood back and observed them work. The other members of the away team were due to arrive shortly. In addition to Di Pasquale and Parks, he'd requested someone from Medical to join them. He wasn't sure who from Ops Parks was bringing either.

Alex arrived with his field kit with him. The runabout of course had its own medical equipment and supplies but Alex preferred to have his own personal load out ready, that way he knew exactly where everything was and was prepared for things that Operations may not have thought of.

"Commander," Alex said. "Ready when you are."

Camila showed up with a grizzled enlisted Security veteran who handed her a tactical belt equipped with her phaser, two stun grenades, monofilament wire grappling gun, hand and foot restraints, tricorder, exographic targeting sensor, a portable med kit, door opener and a gas mask. She put it on her waist, then headed for the Executive Officer. "Di Pasquale and Balderos, reporting, Sir," she said.

Jazmin arrived a moment later. "Parks reporting, Sir. Ensign Mackie should be here shortly."

As if were some sort of majestic cue, the shuttlebay doors parted and Quinn entered, brandishing a phaser, tricorder, and toolkit. He had no idea what to expect of their mission, but scuttlebutt had already seeped down from the bridge about a minefield, weapons platforms and more. "Commander. Lieutenants."

Lieutenant Danyl Adan, now the Assistant Chief of Ops, entered the shuttlebay ready for action. Loaded down with much needed equipment, he was prepared for nearly almost engineering contingent.

Glancing over at Commander Teixeira, He acknowledged, "Commander, I'm ready to go."

As the last of the technicians finished up their work on the Mississippi, Teixeira ushered the assembled team members towards the runabout. "Let's go. Mind taking the helm?" he asked Parks as they walked across the bay.

Jazmin nodded. Inside she was awash with emotions. Her confidence had increased dramatically since she had been promoted and being selected to pilot the runabout only served to increase that. She was by no means cocky, but she had a new sense of confidence. "Aye, Sir. I'd be glad to."

She entered the runabout and made her way to the helm, taking a seat and going through her pre-flight checklist. "Ready when you are, Commander."

Alex boarded, stowed his gear, and grabbed a seat.

Ensign Mackie followed close behind the medic. Like Rylan, Quinn was nowhere near senior enough to have a seat near the front, so he made himself busy near the two-person transporter to run a diagnostic.

Camila and Balderos went aboard the runabout, then went to their seats and prepared for the voyage. From everything she had seen while on the bridge, this was going to be a tricky run. She had debated challenging for the right to pilot since she was trained in Search & Rescue piloting, but the Commander had chosen Parks to pilot the Mississippi and that was his right.

Upon entering the runabout, Thiago touched the panel to close the external door. "I'd like you up front, Lieutenant," he said to the Security Chief. "With Ms. Parks." To lowered himself into the seat behind Parks and tapped on the console, calling up a sensor display. "Ready when you both are, Lieutenants."

"Aye, Commander," Camila said, surprised that the Executive Officer didn't want the front. She got up and moved up beside of Parks and began to calibrate the boards for Tactical.

Jazmin finished her pre-flights and took a breath. "Flight Control, this is Mississippi, ready to depart."

"Acknowledged, Mississippi," came a voice over the front speakers. "Be safe out there."

"Roger that, Mississippi out." Jazmin tabbed the controls and the runabout lifted off, slowly exiting the hangar into space. She knew this wasn't going to be an easy, but she remembered everything Kelly had taught her. She was confident she could do this.

"Beginning approach." She announced.

The minefield that awaited them had learned from the smaller objects that their visitor had tossed their way. Even for all their learning, their sensors had not picked up the small craft that had launched from the rear bay. Active sensor sweeps ran from each of the platforms constantly, leaving no window for something to slip through.

Jazmin piloted the runabout on a slow trajectory towards their destination. She kept the craft on a slow course, doing her best to "tiptoe" through the field as it were. The shielding was working well, but she didn't want to take any chances should there be sensors they hadn't taken into account.

From his position, Thiago monitored their journey. Parks was doing a fine job at the helm so far. But they were just beginning their trip. It would take a little time to reach their destination, and skill. A healthy amount of luck wouldn't hurt either.

wrrrrAAAAH wrrrAAAAAH

"Proximity sensors are indicating more mines close by," Camila said as the alarm went off. "Ten degrees to starboard, Lieutenant."

Jazmin nodded. "Aye, Chief." She piloted the runabout to avoid the mines, keeping the vessel moving in a slow trajectory that she hoped wouldn't set off any sensors. As they passed the new group of mines, Jazmin let out a slow breath.

"You're doing a good job," Teixeira encouraged. "Slow and steady. Isn't that right, Lieutenant?" It wasn't a question he expected anyone to answer, so it didn't matter that it wasn't clear which of the three lieutenants in the small vessel he was referring to. "Just keep your eyes open and your touch light," he offered.

Things continued well enough, if not slowly. Every couple of minutes, a small warning would inform them of a possible threat in their path of travel. On occasion, the warning was, like the first one, not so minor.

"Be careful with maneuvers to port," Quinn called out from the back, moving to the free standing console in front of the transporter. "Structural integrity on that side is registering at eighty percent for some reason. I'd reroute power to compensate, but the multi-adaptive shielding is using practically everything."

Camila remembered all the drifting hulks of ships that had been taken out by the mines and platforms and an idea formed. "I have an idea" she said as she checked sensors. "If we can get a piece of one of those ships floating around, we could use it to push ahead of us to clear the way, at least temporarily if we can extend the shields over it."

It was an interesting idea, Teixeira thought. And one that might work, too. "Ensign, will we be able to extend the shields?"

Quinn thought for a moment. "I think it's possible. Runabouts have limited power though. I'll have to take what few non-essential systems we have offline and lower power levels to life support."

"Get ready to do that," Thiago instructed. "Find your preferred debris chunk, Lieutenant, and feed the coordinates to Ms. Parks."

The ensign nodded. "Lieutenant Adan, can you give me a hand please," he asked the Trill assistant chief, gesturing for him to join him at the console.

"Of course, Ensign," said Lieutenant Adan as he rose from his seat. Sidling up next to Quinn, Adan glanced at the console. "I might be able to adjust the shield harmonics a little as well," he suggested.

"Up to you, sir," Quinn informed Adan, fiddling with the controls a bit himself.

Adan's slender fingers made the proper adjustments. "That ought to strengthen the shields without drawing quite as much power," said he. "What do you think, Quinn?" he asked the young man next to him, looing up with his dark eyes as he did so.

"I hope it works," Quinn said, taking a moment to look over the readouts. "See if you can divert more from transporters and library processing to increase strength by five percent."

Jazmin swallowed back her apprehension as she deftly piloted the runabout through the field. She compensated for the reduced port SIF and waited for the debris coordinates. A thought occurred to her.

"If we bring the debris inside the shields, will it be hidden from the defensive sensors? Also, what will the defenses sensors do if something just disappears from their scans? Will it cause us to be, in effect, detected?"

An alert on her console sounded and she corrected course to avoid a mine that had drifted into their path, the inertial dampeners taking a moment to fully compensate. "Sorry," she paused checking the mine they had just dodged, "still undetected."

Quinn grabbed the edge of the freestanding station as the ship lurched. He wanted to protest the lieutenant's necessary actions, but he knew he was among the lowest ranked here. He'd remain quiet while he and the Trill Lieutenant worked together. "About ready, Commander."

"Coordinates set," Cama reported. "The piece I picked should be able to be covered and give us some cover."

Jazmin eyed the coordinates, gently easing the runabout in that direction. "Closing in on target coordinates."

"Ready," Quinn confirmed, looking up at the officers in the cramped cockpit. "Let's grab some debris."

Camila activated the tractor beam and locked onto a large piece of hull plating and drew it closer to the runabout, then brought it around in front of them. "That should act like a nice battering ram if we get boxed in."

"Shields holding," Quinn remarked, watching the power output. "But the tractor beam is using more power than I expected to keep that debris in place. We're going to have to move faster if we're to keep moving."

"Reducing power on the tractor beam," Camila said as she made an adjustment. "It's forward momentum will work for us now. We just have to stay within range of it to give it a bit of guidance."

"Well done, everyone," Teixeira encouraged. "Carry on, Ms. Parks. This should ease things a little."

"Aye, Sir." She slowed the runabout to match speed and as the runabout nudged the debris ahead of it, matched speed to maintain a constant distance.

The runabout continued on it's path, albeit an erratic one, towards the archive. As he followed along on his console, he was pleased by the progress they were making. As they neared the halfway point, he turned towards the front of the cockpit to offer some encouragement. "Keep up the good work, Lieutenants," he said. Before he could turn back to his console, the runabout jerked suddenly to port, tossing him from his chair. "What was that?" Thiago asked, beginning to pick himself up off the deck. His arm hurt; he'd landed on it pretty solidly.

Jazmin gripped the console to keep from getting thrown. As the disturbance ceased, she hurriedly entered commands to the system. The readings were strange and the runabout started to shake. "Something is causing some sort of gravitational wake. I don't understand what it could be, but if this keeps up, we may not stay undetected, regardless of our cloak." She paused, fighting another eddy that bucked the runabout. She managed to turn the craft in the right direction, minimizing the bucking. "It's going to take all I've got just to keep us from getting shaken to bits!"

The runabout bucked again and she turned the runabout to compensate, he shoulders and neck tensing painfully as she worked to keep the craft stable.

Camila got thrown against the side of the runabout before she pulled herself back in her seat with a grunt.

At least I didn't hit my head, he thought. As he pulled himself up, using his seat to assist, some blood dripped onto his hand. Instinctively, he reached up to find the source, moving his hand around his head. Or maybe I did, he realized, as his fingers found a warm, wet spot.

Alex moved quickly, carefully making his way over to the XO.

"Hang on, sir," he said. "Let me take a look at you."

Alex helped the XO back into his chair and then scanned XO and physically examined him, trying his best to let the man work while he patched him up.

"The head wound is nothing," Alex said. "Probably hurts a bit, but you didn't break either your skull or your brain. I'm going to clean it up and close it right now. Looks like you fractured your arm. It's a hairline. I can fix it right now with the bone knitter if you can sit still for just a moment. You can bark orders while I do it."

Alex quickly and efficiently cleaned the XO's head wound and then closed it up with a dermal regenerator. Then he took out a bone knitter and began to work on the arm. The device was the combat medic version that would work through clothing.

"Transferring power from the weapons to structural integrity and inertial dampeners!" Quinn called out. His fingers did his best to hit all of the right controls while the ship shook. Slowly, it began to subside, but it did not totally disappear. "Commander, this is causing a massive power drain. If we're going to make it through this field, we're going to have to pick up the pace."

"Thank you," Teixeira said to Rylan quietly as the medic tended to him. "You heard the Ensign. Get us out of here, Lieutenant," he instructed Parks. "I don't intend for the Mississippi to join the debris field."

Jazmin nodded. "On it! But, the debris is going to be more of a hindrance than a help at this point," she said as she began cycling up systems, then to Camilla. "Weapons might be useful as well."

"We need those weapons, Mister Mackie," Camila stated. "I'll release the debris and hopefully it'll make a better target than us."

"It's a small ship, ma'am," Quinn called out, unable to stop himself from protesting. He started shunting power from replicators and the entire life support system from the aft cabins. "There isn't much to work with here. Best I can let you have is the forward emitter only."

Camila released the piece of debris to hurtle ahead of them and brought the shields back around the runabout. "Now we should have extra power."

"Let's do this," Thiago ordered. He wasn't sure, but it was possible the little nagging voice of anxiety was creeping into his own words. They were at a 'now or never' moment; either they could give it a solid go and power through to the archive or they could miss their opportunity, squandering their remaining power, and fail in their mission. And, likely, not make it out alive.

Jazmin took another breath before throttling up and sending the runabout towards their destination. She routed extra power to the shielding, remembering to leave enough for the weapons. "Commencing run," she paused, eyeing the shield readout, "so far, so good. The shield are still keeping us from being detected. However, there is a chance we will lose any stealth advantage in the new few minutes."

"Still trying to boost the shields," Quinn remarked. "I'm sorry, Commander. This multi-adaptive generator is just draining a lot of power. When we get a chance, we'll have to open it up and see what we can do for it to perform better on the return trip." Quinn certainly didn't want to die out here in some ancient minefield. He still had a life to live, a mission to complete, and more. This could not be how it all could end.

Alex returned to his seat and strapped himself in. If he got injured himself, everyone else was screwed.

To state that Quinn was concerned would be a tremendous understatement. Everyone around him seemed calm, cool, and collected, and here was the poor Ensign sweating as they tried to slip through the minefield. There was nothing more he could do with the power generators and shuffling power around. They just had to wait until they arrived in order to figure out the next steps. Therefore, he started to change gears and study the sensor data in hopes to find something useful to help them out. And that's when he saw it.

"I'm seeing something unusual on sensors," he reported. "Activity in lower-level shortband radio... This is odd." He tapped a few buttons, trying to study it further."

"We can worry about the return trip once we survive the arrival, Ensign," Teixeira explained. "Status report, Parks."

Jazmin kept her eyes on the displays, her heart threatened to jump out of her chest as she expected their cloak to fail at any moment. Thankfully, that had not happened yet. She wrestled with the controls, trying to get the runabout to line up on a new approach vector that she had just calculated.

"Commander, the cloak is holding for the moment. I'm changing our vector a bit, this should make things a bit smoother."

She looked over at Camila. "So far, so good, Chief."

Quinn nodded to the Commander, saving the data for later. By the Ensign's calculations, the runabout did not have much further to travel. Hopefully, they'd arrive shortly and could execute the next phase of the mission, whatever that was.

Jazmin kept her breathing steady as she threaded the runabout through the planetary defenses. So far, there was no indication that they had been detected, but even so, she did not want to stray too close to any of the satellites. As the runabout reached the atmosphere the ship started to shake slightly.

"Commander, entering the atmosphere now. No indication that we've been detected."

"Structural integrity is holding at seventy-five percent," Quinn reported. "Sensors report that we are out of range of the defense platforms now, and I can't see anything new on the horizon. We may be in the clear."

"Heading, Commander?"

A quick survey of the surface revealed a single, large edifice surrounded by a series of smaller buildings. "This is probably our target," Thiago said, putting the image on the viewer. "Find us a place to touch down. Someplace the ship will be safe."

Camia began a scan of the surface area and shook her head. "I'm not reading any weapon signatures, but that doesn't mean that there isn't something present. With all those defenses in orbit, I wouldn't expect anything less on the planet."

"I'm not picking up much in the way of life either," Quinn remarked from his standing console. "But there is some shielding that isn't letting us fully penetrate with sensors. Could just be how it's constructed."

Jazmin breathed a quiet sigh of relief they had made it through the most dangerous part so far, but, there could be far worse ahead. But, she knew to take her victories when she could. She scanned the terrain looking for a suitable site. After a moment she found it.

"Commencing landing, there's a small ravine near a cluster of outbuildings. It should shield us from prying eyes."

She took the ship in slow, heading towards the landing spot.

With the Mississippi on the ground, Thiago swiveled his chair around. "We don't know what we're going to encounter, so stay sharp. Lieutenants Di Pasquale and Parks will take point," he explained. Though she was now running the Operations department, Parks had previously been a security officer so she was more than capable of seconding to Camila. "Balderos, bring up the rear. If you didn't bring one, get a phaser from the locker," he said to the rest of the away team.

Balderos looked at the Commander and patted his tactical belt with his Type II phaser in it around his waist, just as Lieutenant Di Pasquale did. "Got it right here, Sir," he said.

Camila exited the shuttle and pulled her tricorder to begin scanning the area while she looked around visually as well.

Quinn had brought a phaser, so he instead took a quick look at the shield generator and made a couple quick modifications before exiting to join the others.

While the others prepared, Teixeira turned back to his console to key a simple alert program into the runabout. It would be triggered when someone approached or tried to enter the small craft, and would cause the Mississippi to send him a message while locking down the consoles onboard.

"Everyone ready?" he asked. "Lead the way Lieutenants."

"Yes, Sir." Camila gave a nod to the Executive Officer and headed towards the structure, the tricorder now in her left hand while her right hovered near her phaser.

Jazmin nodded to the Commander, hand resting on her phaser. She thought momentarily about drawing her weapon, but followed Camila's lead. She kept pace with the Security Chief, keeping an eye out for anything that might pose a threat. She felt confident, after all it had only been a short time since she had been Camila's Assistant Chief.

~To Be Continued...~

 

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