Those left behind
Mission 3 - A Whole New World
Timeline: 2168/08/10 1315
McNier was at the Science Station; he had commanding view of the bridge and sitting in the Center Chair as this is likely not a more permanent position left him with the Logical conclusion that his Science Station will serve his 'Observations and being ready for action while on the Bridge. After all, what was 1.7 meters positioning difference?
The port side sensory bank focused on the planet; Helm station had the Shuttle Transponder; Communications would keep an open channel and the Starboard sensory Systems could be focused on the star pattern and he might even get a few particles while in orbit to compare how the Solar Winds effected this Solar System.
Once the Star in the center was in better focus he might get some readings as to the Light Spectrum wavelengths and compare this unique Solar system. It in the variation of the micro-particles absorbing and repelling varied level of radiation that constituted the unique structure that is...here. Nowhere else has the exact ranges and radiation signature.
He sat back in his chair; every five minutes he would break his train of thought and make a survey of the bridge stations and how the Personnel are doing their assigned duties.
KAT stood at her regular place on the Bridge, monitoring everyone and each Department, including the acting Captain. She listened in intermittently to chatter from the surface to the ship, half disappointed that she had to remain aboard. But... someone had to be left aboard who knew what was going on... she chuckled softly to herself and then cleared her throat, covering any sound she might have made.
“Sir,” she whispered softly, standing at the Lieutenant’s elbow. “Can I get you a refreshment?” Herbal tea might lower the man’s high strung appearance as he regularly checked the Bridge. The Yeoman was sure it hadn’t changed too much between each scan the Deputy Chief made.
Looking over at the woman at his elbow.
"Yeoman, I do believe some coffee will keep my stamina and alertness to my desired level." McNier stated. "Thank you for your vigilance."
“Coffee.” KAT said it dead pan as if she thought his need of caffeine was NOT necessary. “Of course.” Decaf would work just as well, she was sure and went to retrieve his request and returned promptly with a small mug with cream and sugar on the side as an option. Somehow, she had a feeling they weren’t necessary, but it was protocol. If anyone could appreciate protocol? It was the XO.
“Here you go, Sir,” KAT said, standing at his elbow once more.
"Thank you, he took it to drink and took a sniff before drinking. "I am terribly Sorry, I should have stated caffeinated; or do you call it 'Leaded' rather than unleaded please."
KAT’s face was sufficiently surprised and she nodded. “Of course,” and she rolled her eyes as she turned back to get him a replacement.
She wondered if this guy ever simply relaxed. And then realized with a start that she was probably viewed even worse. So instead of criticizing someone, even in her own head, she simply pushed those thoughts and emotions into the deepest part of her and provided a professional apology and another cup of coffee.
“Sir? Please let me know if this one’s acceptable?”
Taking a drink McNier sat back a bit in his chair and savored the brew, the simple pleasure of a cup.
"Very vice Ms. Tell, thank you." He looked at the Yeoman and nod his gratitude. "I needed that, not really used to this, I spend my time in a lab." He admitted only loud enough for her to hear, looking into her eyes for more than a glance.
"You have kind eyes and obviously know bridge operation from experience." He complemented. "Thank you for the coffee, it helps me relax." He realized he was rambling and took a more casual glance about. "Do you think it better I sit in ... the chair or will I be okay remaining here in your opinion?"
“Acting Captains get to use The Chair,” KAT responded, verbally emphasizing the importance of the item. “That way there can be no confusion on who’s in charge.” And it’s always fun to observe the face of the person caught with his butt in it...
McNier was closely monitoring the sensors and had given the computer very precise parameters, while the contact would not set off the automatic shields it did venture a bit closer in what McNier thought their personal space; for an alien entity, but he glanced at his monitor.
It was a Star Ship, the initial scans show it as coming closer in orbit. The reports are that this is a merchant type planet so McNier simply kept an eye on it; yet, it was altering slightly the orbit.
"Excuse me." He turned from Tell to scan the vessel, it was close and could be due to orbital drift. "Helm, are we able to move?"
"Yes Sir." The Helmsman replied. "Impulse and Maneuvering thrusters answer.
"I am reading another vessel in proximity." Luckily McNier did not notice or was to busy to note the Helm eye roll.
"Holding stationary, I have noticed the vessel , it is out of any real chance of collision Sir." The Helm pointed out.
"Yes; however, it has been steadily 'drifting' a meter every two minutes in our direction..." McNier glanced up. "Against the gravitational rotation of the planet." He nod. "What ship drifts opposite the wind Helmsman?"
The Helmsman quickly checked the proximity settings and the ship mentioned was drifting closer aginst the gravitational rotation.
"Confirmed, it is drifting closer to us while we are trying to hold station.
"Yeoman Tell." McNier rose from his station and went to the Center Chair, taking a drink from his cup. "I do not want to alarm anyone but..." He looked at the controls on the Arm rest. "I think that Yellow Alert might be prudent. While not aggressive it could be what is called 'Jockeying for a position." He glanced to the woman. "You did not want us to be bored while the team is away do you?"
KAT’s eyebrows raised as she looked at the Lieutenant. “I can’t imagine being bored in a part of the Galaxy that humans have never seen before.” She smiled easily, no sarcasm or hint of humor indicated in her voice or demeanor.
“Yellow Alert,” KAT noted as she took more personal notes to complement the observed situation. “Is this ship posturing for aggression or just coming to this planet for a bargain?”
She was a little concerned that the next steps they took could define their interactions with whatever faction was represented out there. And somehow upset some alien family’s shopping trip.
"That ship has been drifting against the Gravitational effects." McNier had a wry smile, "It is testing how close we will allow it to get?" He added. "Communications, use the Translator and give her of proximity warning." He instructed. "If they continue to drift this way without heeding our signal then we will give them a little warning."
"Opening hailing frequencies and warning of Close Proximity." The Communications Officer repeat as she followed orders.
"Better to give them the impression we like a 'Wide Personal Space' than let them get too close and we have no options." He smiled. "Like a experiment when watching the Bell Jar; hope for the best and plan for failure." He put up a finger for emphasis. "And learn from all the experimental Data."
The next few seconds saw the Drifting wship hesitate; not move away but the drift rate lingered for another moment while McNier waited to see.
"They hesitated." McNier rub his chin contemplating it. "That could mean they understood something?"
“Or attempting to.” KAT murmured under her breath.
"At least they have halted the Drift." McNier pointed out. "They have a reaction that we desired, now if they heed it or just hesitate will tell us if they understand?" He nod.
"Possibly," KAT responded. "If they do what you ask, that indicates that they understand, I suppose." She leaned in to look at the proximity between them and the other ship. "Or they could simply be adjusting their course so they don't collide with a rather large object that they've never seen before."
She held her breath. "We're alone out here, with nothing familiar, and no guarantees that all beings from this part of the universe have anything in common with us at all."
Jumping to conclusions was a sure way to get the Horizon destroyed or even shrunk down to the size of a Christmas ornament. KAT's imagination was running a bit wild, but she stepped back to her place and continued her monitoring.
"Please continue," KAT responded, a dot of pink on each cheek. She had no right to voice an opinion unless it was requested, and even then, within her own purview.
"Plan for the worst and hope for the best." McNier said as the vessel. "They are stationary at the moment." McNier pointed out and glanced over to Tell. "Your assessment had merit though according to scans and our guests they are some that appear Humanoid so there is a commonality; they use vessels to move about and come here to this alleged hub for various reasons." McNier watched the distance. "I dare say they are trying to figure us out as well?" He gave a sly Grin. "The possibility versus Probability does make for exciting calculations."
"If approximately 286 souls weren't at stake for this exciting calculation..." Her smile was cold. "Taking a risk of such proportions when everyone in this sector who is human is either on board or below us on the planet?"
She turned back and stiffened, rising to her full diminutive height. "Try not to kill us all? I'd like to have a job after your exciting calculations..."
"Helmsman, can you acquire a target if the targeting systems are off-line?" McNier asked.
"That is standard gunnery to compensate for battle damage." The Helmsman seemed Leary.
"Reverse the energy wavelength of the Tractor Beam as I wish us to 'Push' rather than pull the vessel away should it start to move our direction again." McNier glanced to Yeoman Tell. "No harm in helping them maintain safe distance from a collision without damage to either vessel would you not agree Yeoman?"
"Targeting a ship might considered to be an act of aggression," responded KAT in a clipped tone. "And pushing might as well..." Her conversation was directed at him without her looking at him.
"You have no idea about weapons, intent or anything else." She breathed in deeply, holding her emotions tightly in check. Her fingers were flying as she watched what unfolded.
"Being glib or even feeling clever about what's happening is a sure-fire way to lose THE CAPTAIN his ship." She turned to look at him, a small fire lit behind her green eyes. "You are here to take care of Her and Her Crew... not assume things about a species we've never seen let alone spoken to..."
A situation that might require an actual Captain. "Might you not attempt to contact our teams, Lieutenant?" She bit the inside of her cheek and gnawed on a small piece that had become accustomed to her regular attention. "Appraise them of the situation up here? I mean, Yellow Alert... if we raise shields, we effectively cut them all off below."
Her anger retreated as her logic overtook her. They should have contacted the Captain as soon as they had engaged the unknown ship.
"The Captain has entrusted me with the ship; we have a vessel pushing orbit closer to us against the Gravitational drift." He pointed out. "They would have to use thrusters to move towards us; would you not agree that is doing things in a planned move? When we told them they are drifting close they paused... another ordered move with maneuvering thrusters in use."
He turned to Tell.
"Two orders had to be given and negitive thrust used to halt their movement. Direct actions by the ship in proximity. Hailing the Captain he will ask if it seems hostile and a danger to the ship, logically. How would you relay the fact a ship is maneuvering closer in our direction; not drift, but maneuvering?" He asked calmly while keeping eye contact.
She did have attractive eyes; the way the light caught them would be considered quite beautiful wit emotional reaction adding a sparkle that women seem to have in common with agitation. Biochemistry is not his forte but interesting.
KAT narrowed her eyes and levelled them at McNier. “Another assumption,” KAT countered. “OUR ship requires such a process, but theirs?” She approached the view screen, mindfully avoiding blocking anyone’s view. “How do we know?”
She shrugged gently and stepped forward to be almost nose-to-nose with its image. “Perhaps they, like we, are curious.” She stepped back, gazing at it from a further distance. “Or just keeping an eye on some unknown ship from a different place.”
She grinned lopsidedly for a moment as she let the situation settle. “And it’s protocol to maintain communication regularly with the Away team, especially when it includes the Captain.”
She faded back almost magically to her position behind the elbow of the Captain’s chair. “And Yellow Alert.” She leaned forward, a light fragrance of strawberries accompanying her movement. “Tell me, if you were below, and your acting Captain had a [b] potential [\b] issue that might threaten his ship, the lives of his crew or the Away team’s return...” Her green eyes gleamed and at this distance, one might see a swirl of nearly luminescent light that seemed to emanate from within her very being. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
A small noise sounded from Comms. “And I believe it’s also time for the scheduled check in.” Leaning back, KAT stood tall, her left hand flexing out of view behind her PADD.
"What is your threat assessment?" He gave only a second. "He would tell us to steer clear and in doing so the vessel will put us out of position to scan and recover a shuttle when needed." He nod. "If you wish more analysis it can wait for the alien's next move?"
“And instead of assuming what the Captain might say...” KAT’s face was poised belying nothing. “...Perhaps a direct communication might be best?” The upward inflection did turn it into a question, but she certainly did not mean it as such.
Analysis required facts... not assumptions.
Her face maintained a serene smile regardless of her inner monologue.
"Thank you, I see why the Captain values you Yeoman tell." He said quietly his back a little stiffer in a way some might take as professionalism. "Communications, open a channel to the Captain, we are at a stage he should be aware."
Pretty eyes and smells good; fine genetics in her, very attractive example of getting the best from her parents. Why should her proximity affect him in any way? Keeping his hands upon the arms of the command chair he looked to the screen.
"Meanwhile we will maintain vigil and..." He noted that the star ship was adjusting the orbit again; a lateral shift to the port in the same orbital plane as the Horizon. "Yeoman, they are moving so that they are adjacent in orbital track and no further danger of collision." He look over his shoulder. "It is as most would call Paralleling our position and giving us some 'Birth' would you say?"
KAT observed the motion of the alien ship... she caught herself. Were THEY not the aliens? She had a brief moment of panic How could they imagine to know or understand anyone’s intentions? Does anything act the same? She watched quietly, stilling her concerns and breathing in a paced manner. Physics. It always came through in a crunch.
“It appears that they’d rather not collide with us, so it shows a sense of intelligence and self-preservation.” She raised an eyebrow and turned her head to look at the Lieutenant. “But beyond that, any thoughts regarding motivation will have to wait, don’t you think?”
A signal was transmitted to the Captain on the surface. “Horizon to The Captain.”
"Have you ever had to wait out the full dwell time of a certain experiment?" McNier asked as he monitored the screen. "You do realize that more is learned from long term observation, the part where you actually wait out the little subtleties of the event?"
McNier glanced to communications.
"Continue hailing the Captain and go down the communicators of each member of the away team until we have an answer from someone please."
=^= This is Captain Alexander. What is the problem, Horizon? =^=
"We have a vessel that has been 'drifting in our general Direction against the Gravitational Standards and the Yeoman has raised concerns." McNier tried to sum it up. "It is changing it's orbit to get closer. If it is in danger of collision I would suggest use of Tractor to push it away, the Yeoman seems to think I need your authority to do this?"
The fact that KAT was worried about McNier concerned Gary. However, Gary had given the queer man the authority. Why was he not using it? =^= You do not need my authority. I already gave it, Lieutenant. And we have our own problems down here. We will be taking the shuttle up soon and will fill everyone in at that moment. Captain out. =^=
Back to tell.
"Or if you like, parallel this as a Jungle Cat slowly moving on unsuspecting prey. If noticed the Cat will cease all movement for a time while the target looks around in the general direction until the target seems satisfied it is safe and then it will start again?"
"A Jungle Cat." KAT nodded slowly as though McNier had lost it. "We're neither unsuspecting nor prey, Lieutenant. So I'm not certain why you would use such an analogy. Assuming that they have such creatures in this part of the Universe or might even utilize strategies in this manner." This looked less like a dog fight of old and more like passing ships in the night. If they intended on attacking, they were quite out in the open... both of them.
This standoff reminded KAT more of old-fashioned ship warfare rather than something so advanced as spaceships. She half-expected the other ship's side to suddenly open up to show off cannons as they did a slow meandering pass. How the hell that forwarded warfare of any type confounded her. And where was the Captain and crew?
"Continue two more cycles with the Crew on the surface." McNier stated. "If they are not answering there is a reason and I just hope we have not added to their distress by giving them away?" He pondered. "I used the jungle cat because more SHip to ship encounters; historically, if one did not know the flag of the ship getting close it was not wise to allow them in gun range, so the way they were 'easing' their way close was a closer analogy." He looked to Yeoman Tell. "Unsuspecting' can be us as we are new to the region and thus thinking this a safer trade area." He shrugged. "Using the old saying 'prepare for the worst and hope for the best' is applicable here don't you think?" He wait and look in her eyes. "If they do not call from surface we will send someone to find them, provided our friends out there stay in place?"
“Ah.” KAT’s response was succinct. “I always plan for the worst and hope for the best, Lieutenant.”
“I concur that we need to locate our Crew. Ensign Nimoy, can you please scan the surface for the present location of our crew?” She waited a beat and held McNier’s gaze. “As long as you’re all right with that. Sir.”
"You are on the Ball Yeoman Tell." McNier complemented and held up his bandaged hand. "I was working on an Isotope that would have made them easier to be picked up on the sensors and stand out from the humanoid background." He told Tell. "I thought that having a way to better track our people should an occurrence, though I did not anticipate it having advantage so quickly." Meeting her eyes he nod and then to the Communications Officer. "Have a Security team get geared up and ready if the event that we need to launch Shuttle Two in a search and rescue."
"Yes Sir." The woman acknowledged.
Whatever had happened on the planet’s surface, whatever “problems” had occurred... “Perhaps we should also prepare for casualties?” KAT murmured softly, relieved after hearing the Captain’s voice. It had been strained and angry. Perhaps even concerned. Whatever was happening on the surface, she hoped that their crew would be back aboard soon.
Safe and sound.
"Sick Bay." McNier said after pushing the intercom button. "This is the Bridge. Be ready for casualties." He knew the staff would have questions. "We have no reason to worry about the Chief Medical Officer, the request is a precaution only." McNier said. "We are in a new place and no one knows how rowdy the neighborhood might be so best be ready, thank you." He cut the intercom and looked to Tell.
"Yeoman Tell, do you have any suggestions as to whom you would most trust your protection to with our current Security People?" He asked her. "If not I will just follow the command and duty roster for the assignment of the rescue team we will have on stand-by?"
“I trust my life with each member of our Security Team,” KAT answered archly. “Please follow protocols as you see fit.” Stepping back to retake her place on the Bridge she murmured, “Are we going to yellow alert now, Sir?”
"I am have been your advice and remaining at a passive posture, but with the Captain's situation and having a security team being prepared it is now a time to be more at the ready."
He pressed the button on the Command Chair to set a Yellow Alert into action.
"We are going to Yellow Alert, Security detail to stand by in the Shuttle Bay, prepare Shuttle Keplar for launch. "All crew to your stations." McNier instructed. "Forward readiness reports to the bridge."
KAT’s PADD flooded with incoming reports. As she consolidated them for the Captain’s... ACTING Captain’s she mentally corrected herself... review. The details were listed by Department providing a summary of each of their respective levels of readiness and with an involuntary flourish of her wrist, she sent the information to the Captain’s console.
“Reports for your review, Sir,” she murmured softly between orders. The flashing yellow light warned of impending... doom? She took a deep breath and settled her nerves as she squeezed her left hand reflexively.
"Waiting is said to be the hardest part of any situation." McNier said as he accepted the reports and skimmed over them. "According to the sociology courses anticipation is a variable that often worsens a situation to those experiencing it." He glanced up and made eye contact. "The Captain called in; he will be back in his chair soon." He noted the hand flexing out of the corner of his eye. "You will not be putting up with me much longer."
There was a small flicker of her eyebrow. “Less about you and more about getting our crew back aboard, Sir.”
Glancing up to the view screen.
"Keep our friends out there at a good distance and have a tractor beam ready to gently avoid possible collision or any attempts to dock." He warned.
"Aye Sir." The Helmsman agreed.
McNier decided that keeping this posture until the return of the Landing Party and Captain arrived on the ship.