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First Casualties

Posted on Thu Dec 3rd, 2020 @ 12:56am by Captain Gary Alexander & Lieutenant Audrey Chester & Lieutenant JG Alexandra Campa & Lieutenant JG Jennifer Bullock & Lieutenant JG Jordan Blackford & Lieutenant JG Talia Flowers
Edited on on Sun Jan 31st, 2021 @ 10:10pm

Mission: Mission 3 - A Whole New World
Location: Marketplace of Floria
Timeline: 2168/08/10 1300

Gary, Jennifer and Talia were rushing over towards the general explosion. He flipped open his comm and called out, =^= All teams, this is the Captain, report in now! Give me your status. =^=

Blackford flipped open his communicator. =^= Lieutenant Blackford here sir. Team 3 is taking shelter in a building we came across. No injuries, sir. =^=

=^= That's good. Rendezvous with us at our current location, =^= Gary ordered.

=^= Aye sir. Blackford out. =^=

Despite Team 3 reporting in, nothing could be heard from Team 1. "I don't like the sound of this. Where's team 1. Bullock, can you figure out a way to get in touch with them?"

Jenn shook her head slightly and looked at the captain with a questioned expression, "What? I'm a security officer not an engineer. What do you want me to do, send smoke signals?"

"If I thought that would work, I'd order you to do it," Gary shot back at Bullock.

Bullock shrugged and then pulled her laser pistol. She adjusted the beam setting so it was wide and would simply create a big light beam. She then pointed it up and pulled the trigger. A bright wide beam erupted from the weapon. Jenn held the shot for a moment, then stopped. She continued two more times and then waited.

"Is that your idea of a smoke signal?" Gary asked Bullock wryly.

Bullock merely shrugged.

Gary reported back over the comms, not having Team 3 arrived yet. =^=We're getting nothing from Team 1. Have you received anything, Team 3? Chester?=^=

Audrey pulled out her comm unit and frowned in the direction of the explosion. =^= Nothing on this end, Sir. Moving out to your location now. =^=

She waved her hand at the others. "Ak-ak formation, Blackford in the lead - watch ahead and left, Campa behind me - watch the rear, I have right and comms. Understood?"

"Yes, sir," Alex said, moving behind the doctor, keeping an eye behind the small formation and getting ready to move.

"Acknowledged." Blackford took his position at the lead.

When everyone managed to get together, Team 1 was nowhere in sight. Gary looked at his crew. "Stay together. I do not want to lose anyone else. Bullock, get a bead on that explosion and get us there." Beings of all kinds were running away and towards the away team, while sirens started to blare.

Talia peered into the swirls of smoke. Light white wisps clung to their ankles as others trailed behind those fleeing towards them. There was a darkened knot of billowing clouds, thick and opaque, an odd tang of burning electronics and unknown substances wafting towards her. She was grateful for the makeshift mask and dug through her bag to look for anything else she might have brought. She made sure to keep one eye on the others in case they decided to move.

Blackford had his weapon out, and he slowly moved forward, trying to be aware of his surroundings. But never getting out of sight of the others.

It was not much time at all before the away teams reached the site of the explosion. Nobody was cordoning it off. There appeared to be wood and stone spread about in a circumference of about 30 meters. Sprinkled throughout the outer central area and towards the away team were several pieces of burnt and shredded fabric. They appeared to be Starfleet uniforms. Gary turned to his crew and said, "Start scanning. Tell me what you find."

Blackford took out his tricorder and starting scanning. He walked over to pieces of what appeared to be the remains of fabric. As he past his trocorder over the fabric, the readings shocked and surprised him.

He expanded the search range of the tricorder and it detected metal alloys. He scanned the alloys, and his worse fear became all too real. He walked over to the captain. "Sir, I have some findings to report."

Alex frowned as she scanned her own tricorder over the ruins. She bent down to look closer, scanning again, and then shook her head. One hand reached out to grip a piece of fabric. She stared at it for a moment and then ran the scan again. She slowly stood and walked back to the group.

Gary looked at Alex and Jordan and asked, "Is it as bad as I suspect?"

"I scanned the burnt fabrics and melted metal pieces, and the readings indicates that the fabrics show materials that are used in Federation clothing, sir." Jordan reported.

"The same," Alex agreed, "but I'm just finding fabric and equipment, captain. No bodies. Consistent with some weaponry which can vaporize but..." Alex frowned and looked at the doctor.

"Maybe it was some kind of virus that destroys the bodies, sir." Jordan added.

"A virus? Along with an explosion?" Gary asked curiously. "What would make you think that?"

Talia was used to debris... just not so recent. She knelt down at various locations and peered through what could only be described as human remains and held her breath. If they had been vaporized... they could be inhaling them right. Now.

Her eyes widened as she found a communicator still clutched in someone's hand. She followed the hand upward presuming that it was attached to an arm. And unfortunately, unbelievably, it was not.

"Um." Talia pointed, unused to dealing with fresh death. As an archaeologist, she was ready for desiccation and centuries-old decomposition.

The air was filled with a stinging ozone taste-smell that tried to worm its way into her nostrils. She pushed her bandana closer to her face. "I uh... found something." Perhaps the only thing left of this someone that had been on their crew.

"What is it, Flowers?" Gary asked curiously.

Blackford when back to scanning the area.

Talia opened her mouth and then shut it with an almost audible clack of her teeth. Such a moment required concern, a sense of loss and perhaps even a certain level of reverence. Which is why a myriad of flippant answers that went scrolling through her mind at breakneck speed kept her uncharacteristically silent.

Instead of referring to some older, obscure movies from the 20th Century, she wanted to say, ‘I need a hand down here, oh wait, I already have one. Too bad about the rest of them.’ Instead, she held up the disembodied arm with the communicator and said, “I’m a Comms Officer, not a Doctor, Captain, but even I can see that this one’s dead.” Or perhaps mostly dead all day.

The communicator trilled and Talia almost dropped it and the remains of the dead Officer still clutching it. “Who could be calling us now?” she asked wryly.

"We had better answer it," Gary responded. Immediately, he took the communicator from Talia and he saw that from the signal, it was the Horizon. What could be going on up there? He answered the call, =^= 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. =^=

Gary looked at his remaining away team. "There is nothing more we can do here. We have to get back to the shuttle."

Blackford spoke up. "Sir. We're going to leave without finding out what happened to our people?"

"I think it is quite obvious what happened to them." He pointed at the destruction and the shreds of what used to be part of Starfleet uniforms. "I intend to know if our 'guests' had anything to do with it, too. To the shuttle!"

Talia nodded mutely, unsure why the arm had simply... well, melted away... after the Captain had taken the communicator. Her eyes scanned the ground but could see nothing else of their missing crew.

Blackford started following the captain to the shuttle. "But sir, we haven't found conclusive evidence that something did indeed happen to the crew here. I feel, sir, this merits further investigation."

"Mr. Blackford, I appreciate your sense of hope but when someone is vaporized, you're not going to find more evidence. Now, let's get to the shuttle and tend to the living."

"Yes captain." Blackford followed behind the captain.

Alex followed the captain towards the shuttle, though, as they approached, she stepped ahead to take her seat as the pilot. She didn't seem to have much to say. Her expression was grim. How could it not be? However, she was also alert and cautious as she went through her checklist carefully. They might know what had happened to the lost crew but not why it had been done or by whom. As far as she was concerned, the danger wasn't over.

Blackford boarded the shuttle and took his seat. His mind was still on what may have happened to the missing crewmen.

Talia boarded and took her seat. She sat stone-faced, still trying to process what had happened on the surface. Crewmen. Lost. Dead. There would be mourning, but too, this would indicate to the whole ship how precious life was. And how dangerous and unpredictable this new place could prove to be. Resting her head in her hands, she met the fabric.

Pulling her bandanna off her face, she pushed it into the bottom of her bag. Her fingers met with an unfamiliar object and as she tugged it out gingerly, she remembered what it was. “Universal Translator.”

Nodding, she wrapped it carefully and placed it gently in a pocket of her backpack, mentally reminding herself to get it to the Captain after things had settled down. Swallowing some unfamiliar emotions, she sat in silence. This would be a long ride back to the ship.

Jordan sat in his chair, head down. He was depressed that some of his ship mates could be dead. He will still hold out hope, and that they return to find some evidence that the people are alive...or dead.

 

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