USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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Departure

Posted on Thu Oct 28th, 2021 @ 7:51am by Captain Amelia St Lacroix & Commander Jonathan Mantell & Commander Martin Sorenson & Lieutenant Asahi Kita & Master Sergeant Michael Buck & Lance Corporal Morwen Haldane & Lance Corporal Durst Haldane

Mission: Between Realities
Location: Deck 6, Main Shuttlebay
Timeline: Simultaneous with "Arrival"
2574 words - 5.1 OF Standard Post Measure

The staging room was set off to the side of the shuttle bay, complete with the half-dozen High Temperature Environmental Suits that had been upgraded specifically for the mission. The environment on the interior of a Tholian ship had been measured up to 480 Kelvin, and even if the derelict was unpowered and cooling, it was unlikely that much of the heat had dissipated in the merciless vacuum of space. Even standard environment suits would toast like a marshmallow, leaving their occupant in a state of unpalatable goo. The heavier interlocking plating of the prototypes had been largely replaced by lighter, more flexible materials that could provide enough heat resistance without as much restriction of movement. Still, the suits were bulky and required assistance to be worn properly, necessitating that the away team don them while still onboard Vesta

Despite being in charge of the away team, the diminutive Chief Engineer had still not managed to get fully dressed yet. With the rest of the Delta Flyer's future compliment suited up, or just finishing, Jack's heavy-plated bottom half was standing outside the flyer as he leaned inside the open doorway.

"What's the thermal conductivity coefficient now, overall?" The Miran boy rested his palms flat on the decking of the Delta Flyer floor, which had been stripped of its typical carpeting. Anything that would burn or melt was gone now, including the luxury of chairs which wouldn't accommodate the bulky suits anyhow. Not that the away team would miss the plush seating while encased in the heat-resistant material. Jack frowned as the number came back. "Wait, what's the heat flux being reported?"

On his knees, the member of the Flight Control department tapped at the console. Flight Control and Engineering had been working together to prep the Delta Flyer for the mission, and in Jack's opinion the outcome was less than stellar. He could have been less focused on the suits to get the flyer ready, but now that time was up and he could only blame himself.

"It's within normal bounds?" Jack shook his head, beads of sweat already bunched up along his brow. The heavy-duty suit came with a self-contained environmental system, but until he added the gloves or helmet it wasn't activated. And he wasn't about to try diagnosing last-minute issues from behind the tiny viewport the helmet allowed him. "You can't assume the absence of convection when the shuttle's in contact with the Tholian atmosphere. Which it will be from the moment we dock. Reconfigure the heat distribution profile for a Class Y atmosphere."

Jack pushed up with his arms to snap back into a standing position, relief escaping his lips as the suit settled into supporting its own weight, taking it off his back. The boy turned and nearly ran into the yellow-shirted engineer who held a padd and a questioning look on her face. "Yeah, alright," Jack waved his arms in the direction of the problem, taking advantage of the cooler air that swished through the sleeves with the action. "Let's go look at the impulse manifolds."

From the Marine element, Captain St. Lacriox had focused almost entirely on the seal that would be present once the ship was docked. Marine transports were designed to dock hard and cut through a hull if needed - the Archer even came with that specific tool just in case. But the Delta Flyer class was not a Marine transport, so if the Marines were forced to make a hole, she had wanted to check the systems herself. She'd been sealed in her suit for a while now, the EOD armor add-ons made her look far bulkier than she would have otherwise, with additional plating and a different helmet setup that included an extra plate on the front and a significantly smaller visor than normal. It didn't take an engineer to wonder what purpose the plate served. Sealed pouches covered the body, hiding all sorts of fun toys, as far as the Marine incased within was concerned. Explosives, thermite cutting charges and spare phaser batteries just incase. EOD armor was rated for 350°C for fifteen minutes with a note from Marine Command that stated "FIELD TESTED AND CONFIRMED." Starfleet Command and Medical had read that report, and collectively agreed not to check the battle report it was from, instead signing off on the Marine request.

The best part was the gloves, one of the single most cost intensive resources in the Fleet, was EOD gloves. Rumours circulated that a Marine could hold a live photon grenade while they were on, and be fine. No one was allowed to test this rumour, and several court martials had arisen from commanders dumb enough not to stop a Marine about to try. The super thin material allowed an unparalleled level of tactile control, but it made sense considering that was usually happening if a Marine was in fact wearing a pressure sealed EOD suit. Made harder was the fact the material wasn't listed in the replicator database, likely not something that could be replicated, so these were actually Amelia's pair from when she'd been an explosives tech with the Marines. Still, it didn't prevent her from walking a little funny, with the added plates making her have to sort of waddle, not enough to kill her combat effectiveness, but enough that she was going to be very annoyed should she have to be combat effective.

Martin had stood back while Jack was going over technical issues; HVAC engineering wasn't his area but he knew enough to know that took priority. However, the diminutive engineer had avoid all attempts at inoculation so far and the doctor was not about to let him get sealed into his environmental suit before administering the necessary preventatives. "Hold up a moment, Jack," he said stepping around the flyer, hypo in hand. "There's something we need to take care of. I promise I'll be quick."

"Huh?" Jack barely glanced up when Doc Martin loomed large in his view. He had stopped short of following the engineer, his nose wrinkling at being deterred. The Miran boy was hot, sweaty and impatient, and he was about to be more hot, sweaty and impatient by the time he was onboard the Tholian derelict. Whatever the doctor was peddling today, Jack wasn't in the mood to buy. He stepped around the large man to start moving towards the Flyer's impulse engines, his thoughts already back on the problem rather than the doctor but for one. "Can you walk and talk?"

"Absolutely," Martin replied falling in just behind Jack. "In fact, I can do better than that," he said quickly administering a hypo without missing a step, and smoothly returning it to his kit and extracting the next one.

The hiss was as loud as a thunderstorm in Jack's ears, making him flinch away. He would have leapt if he could, the suit's restrictive design made those actions take more planning and the boy simply shuffled over to lean against the flyer instead. A hand flew to his neck as he rubbed the injection site, already feeling the soreness creep up on him. What hurt more was the betrayal, something he should have expected from Martin and Jack's eyes glared up at the doctor. Alarm bells rang inside his head, spying the physician reaching for the next hypospray already, but a sound from the other side of the auxiliary craft drew his attention.

"Whenever you're ready, sir."

Jack's face sketched a tortured plea on its features, caught between the demand on his engineering skills and the desire in his feet to run far away. He saw through Martin's cheery demeanor, that was just a thin disguise by the crafty doctor who had maneuvered Jack so tightly into place. "You're not as clever as you think, doctor," he said. But then the shoulders of the boy engineer slumped in resignation, and he pried himself up to get on with the impulse engines. He leaned over to inspect the tricorder display the engineering woman was showing him, and the Miran's expression lightened just a little. "Oh, that's why. The impulse manifolds should be in their narrow configuration. Just leave them, we're not going that far anyway." Jack added a few pointed words for Martin's benefit. "There's such a thing as being overprepared."

Oh good grief, Martin thought. You'd think he had stabbed him with a mek'leth the way Jack had glared at him. The doctor entertained a brief fantasy of the Delta Flyer grousing aloud about the engineer's tools applied to its manifolds. But no amount of complaining had deterred him yet from doing everything he could to keep his crew safe, so Martin took the opportunity of limited mobility and attention diverted to those manifolds to bring the last hypo into play.

"Maybe in engineering," he remarked as he applied the second hypo. "After our last brush with unexpected pathogens, I'd rather we be as safe as possible."

"That one didn't even do anything to me." Jack protested, and he rubbed the sore spot on his neck again.

"It did. You just didn't feel it." Martin smirked. "See? A whole week of dodging me and it was for nothing."

"I'd still rather eat broccoli," the boy muttered dourly.

"I can't believe I'm gonna say this," stated Asahi from his spot in the Flyer, "But I actually agree with the Doc for once." The equipment he was bringing along was compact, and much lighter than what everyone else seemed to want to bring. The Intel Officer had defenses on him for sure, but he wasn't going to get into a weapons contest with the Marines. Or a tools contest with the Miran engineer. No, all he needed was a simple scanner loaded up with the means to read everything he thought they'd need. Which, in the case of an odd, Tholian craft, was very nearly everything in Asahi's arsenal. Less equipment meant less set-up, which meant more time for him to help out and make sure everyone else's gear was where it needed to be. "I don't want to find out the Tholians have a virus that makes people age faster by looking over and finding out you've contracted the made up virus in my head."

"Actually, that'd be cool," Jack remarked. With a predicted lifespan on the order of double-digit millennia, he had forgotten what it was like to get older. All he had left was watching it happen to everyone around him, and sometimes the Miran boy got a bit jealous of it. He pitched his voice down, "I could grow a beard and talk like this all the time."

The engineer giggled a bit, but quickly fell silent as he glanced over at Martin again. "If you're really worried about Tholian viruses, you could come along. This away team is gonna be LIT."

"'Lit' is one of things I'm most worried about with this," Martin replied dryly. "I'll be back here ready with burn and decontamination chambers."

"Those are going to be useless with this," Jack patted his armored chest, a self-satisfied smile creeping onto his face again. He hefted himself up into the Flyer's compartment, fetching the helmet and gloves he left there earlier. The Miran engineer raised one of the gloves up for the doctor's inspection, "If anyone gets burned, I'll eat my glove."

Martin shook his head. "I'd rather you eat broccoli." He cocked at brow at the Miran, then smiled. "Especially as not eating the glove would mean nobody comes back burned."

"Just think, you want to one day grow up strong," Amelia chimed in as she shuffled a crate into the shuttle, walking past the pair, winking at Martin. "Besides, any good soldier knows your equipment is only as good as its application, so make sure you put it on right, and the doctor will have less to worry about."

"Back ups never hurt, gives you time to fix the primary if it breaks." Buck said as he walked past the Doctor and the Mirian tugging at the connection points of his own suit as he did. "Always plan for contingencies." The Marine said as he stepped through the hatch and disappeared into the runabout.

"Oh we've got back ups to the back ups." Asahi sat at the edge of the flyer, watching the conversation as it transpired. "I mean, if you grow a beard, we could have our moment and throw it to the Tholians as a last ditch too," he pointed out. Asahi was a serious Intelligence Chief. Super serious. "I don't know about the voice though. That might not affect them the same way."

Jack grinned as he fastened the gloves to the sleeves of his suit, giggling at the Intel Chief's willingness to play into his fantasy. "It should be the other way around. Keep the beard, throw the voice. We could make it really spooky for the Tholian ghosts, make them think they're haunting ventriloquists." He hefted the helmet up and turned to Martin. There was at least one useful thing the doctor could do for the boy. "Help me with this?"

Morwen's head cocked to the side in the universal canid body language of puzzlement. Why would anyone throw a beard at the Tholians, let alone expect it to have any effect? Moreover, she'd never imagined human beards so easily removeable, though how it could be reached, removed and thrown without exposing the human to extreme temperatures was even farther beyond imagination. And what did his voice have to do with it? It had to be some sort of idiom or joke based on a human cultural reference. She shook her head. Sometimes it felt like humans were on a par with Tamarians when it came to that sort of thing.

Durst just laughed. He'd long ago decided not to over think these things and pretend to get it and play along. "If it's voice you're worried about, I can howl." He flashed a toothy smile. "I might anyway - anything to cover that screeching noise Tholians make."

"Throwing Durst's voice just might give them pause," Martin remarked with a chuckle as he lifted Jack's helmet to put it into place.

"Good idea. If we run into any Tholians, you're on howling duty," Jack said to the Kainan Marine. His voice turned muffled as the helmet latched into place, clearing up again when the mic pickups activated from inside his sealed suit. "...then you can give 'em all a taste of their own medicine."

"His voice isn't that bad," Morwen laughed.

[Jack, we are close to the ship, prepare to head on over, we will let you know when you're clear. Remember, grab and go.]

The Miran engineer activated his coms to respond. "Aye, Commodore. we're all ready down here."

He shooed the stragglers further into the runabout and then pulled himself up into the Flyer. Jack gave a meek little wave to the doctor and closed the door. He turned to the away team, the rest had assembled and secured in the Flyer's forward compartment. There was nothing left to prepare now, so the Miran took his place at the forward pilot's station and waited for the signal from the bridge.

When it came, the boy grinned and jammed his gloved fingers down on the controls. "Let's RIDE!"

 

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