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Journey to the Center of the Earth

Posted on Sun Mar 4th, 2018 @ 6:46am by Commander Karsel`lyn Lylyl-Llytherraias & Commander Sun Mei Xiang & Sun Cai

Mission: Of Persephone
Location: Unknown, Golovin
Timeline: Current

It hurt.

Everything hurt.

Reiko's eyes opened slowly, the girl feeling a sudden flush of terror as everything was pitch black. She reached up and rubbed her eyes, clearing dirt and dust from her face. Yep, still pitch black. Lifting the small cricket phaser she had stashed on herself before stepping out of her mom's runabout, she tapped the wake key, relieved to see the red power indicator light up.

So she wasn't blind after all! A little bit of good news that heartened the aching teenager.

"Cai-chan?" she called out softly. Her free hand feeling around her, she located a good sized rock. Setting it in front of her on the ground, she pressed the phaser emitter against it before depressing the firing key, the stone beginning to heat up and glow, offering Reiko her first glimpse of their surroundings.

Only five feet away lay the slowly rousing quarter-Orion girl, Reiko slowly and painfully crawling over, "Cai-chan! Are you okay?"

Cai gave a little groan and a soft, almost whispered, "No," as she dragged herself up against a nearby rock, struggling to even roll over to lean against it. She let out a whimper, a whispered bit of pained word of some sort or another. Then she shook her head, softly speaking through the bit of pain, "My back hurts," She admitted with deep hissing breath as she spoke. "Not my spine... like... the back of my ribs." She whispered through watery eyes, but she gave a pat on the dirt. "I think I just need a few minutes..."

Reiko still had her tricorder in the waist pouch and it appeared that it was sturdier than either girl was. Pulling it out, she flipped it open and started to scan her cousin, speaking softly to try and distract her from the pain, "I am already EMT-I certified. I got the training while my mother and I were on Earth, with her recuperating from her time in captivity."

"Scans don't show any injuries to your head, neck or spine, though I do see some bone bruises to your ribs. Do you know where the medkit ended up?" Reiko finally pronounced. "You're going to hurt for awhile but you luckily don't have anything broken."

The young teen gently lifted Cai's head, settling it into her lap after she slid her legs under. Before Cai could answer, Reiko's left hand suddenly settled on some cool, smooth and metallic. Gripping onto it, she pulled it out to where the faint light revealed what it was: The aforementioned medkit.

A smile of relief crossed Reiko's lips as she popped it open, drawing out the hypospray and an ampule of Asinolyathin, "This is the safest we have, because I don't know your physiology and don't want to give you something that will cause a reaction. Asinolyathin is mild and will take the edge off. It's mostly used for back spasms and should let you relax and even sleep."

"I..." Cai hissed again at the feeling of trying to speak with the bruises. "Whatever works..." She said softly. She gave a little wave as she settled in and just tried to concentrate on anything but the pain in her chest. She gave a little whimpering sigh and waited. She did not have anything to add for a moment, "I can't sleep, though..." She said quietly, "We have to figure out where the flitter went..." She seemed to have a little better hold on the pain, and was taking small but deep breaths and concentrating lightly on just getting past it. She gave a bit of an adjustment again, leaning up against her cousin a bit. "See if we can find the crew..." She took a moment to lean up a little bit and looked around slightly.

She realized it might take her a bit to get feeling up to exploring. But she knew they had too. Still, she wasn't sure where they were - what they had fallen into, really. It was a cave, but how they hadn't detected it in any scans confused her. She looked around a bit to try to find a direction to go. The cave seemed to slope down, and up - and through the dim lights she could see very, very little. She wasn't sure, "Of course..." She said softly, "Survival training... says... to stay put..." She said, with a little hint of her usual bit of snark or sarcasm trying to come to the surface.

"Cai-chan," Reiko reached out and took the older girls hand. "Slow down. Give the analgesic time to work. We have will find them, but we won't if we push ourselves too hard too fast and hurt ourselves even more."

What Reiko left unsaid was that she was in considerable pain, but was focusing on Cai's welfare for the time being. It certainly helped take her mind off of her own hurt.

"If it's hurting to talk, just think what it is you want to say. Remember, CaiCai, I can read your mind," Reiko reminded her. "If you absolutely must keep on, let's move slow. There should be a few palm lights in the first aid kit. Mother does like to be prepared for anything."

Cai nodded. She knew that Reiko had to hurt too, but she seemed to be doing alright. It made Cai feel a little guilty for being unable to hold back her own pain better. She finally gave in to the request. Or had planned too, but a thought crossed her mind. "Reiko," She said, "We have to look. But..." She took another slow strained breath. "...I'll take a minute..." She swallowed, then added. "How are you feeling? And... adjusting? Kind of a bit of sudden... change. And then an emergency..." Her voice was quiet, a bit raspy, as she trailed off.

Now Reiko sighed as Cai seemed to assent to the pain suppressor. Reaching over, she pressed the hypospray to her cousins pale green skin, which just made Reiko think of Auntie Lynnie. After the hiss of the medication being injected, "I'm hurting, but not as bad as you. I'm smaller and lighter than you and mother made sure to teach me how to properly fall."

"I have been through worse," Reiko admitted. "One time, a couple of Orion slavers attacked a shuttle I was on and kidnapped everyone on board. They killed three of us before the Covert Operations team broke in to the place they were keeping us and killed the Orions."

"I really can't complain too much, after seeing recordings of what my mother's owner was doing to her while she was kept as a slave," Reiko said with a faint, haunted voice. "I know that there's something unusual about you, CaiCai. I just don't know what. I can always feel an odd undercurrent whenever you come into a room where mother is. Which means that she knows?"

Cai gave a nod. She didn't know how to answer that. She still didn't know what she was supposed to say, or rather not say. She just thought about it for a moment. To her, it was obvious what had happened. She gave a little shrug though, not sure what she knew even. She took a deep breath, a bit less pain, but still plenty there.

She sighed, "It's probably that I was born in 2392." She rasped with a light shake of her head. "Sent back... to stop an event." She gave a shrug, "Not sure my timeline exists anymore." She gave a glance over to her cousin. "Not sure there's much that is special otherwise. Think that's it?"

"I guess that I understand why my mother wouldn't talk about it," Reiko said. "And you're special to me, you're my cousin!" Reiko was very emphatic on that point, as she wanted the older girl to understand that Reiko cherished her and Lynnie as the only family she had past her mother. "There's not much interesting to me, so don't worry. You're in august company."

Cai gave a little smile, "Good start..." She said softly, "And we'll just have to make something interesting about us... like..." She paused for a moment, "Rescuing flitter pilots as a start, maybe." She gave a quick nod, and as the pain subsided a bit, she was able to adjust and sit up a bit straighter and take a deeper breath without wincing as much. She knew it would be a while still.

Moving to kneel on both knees next to Cai, Reiko embraced the taller girl around her shoulders, careful to avoid squeezing her ribs, "At first, I wasn't very sure about coming out here on the Shanghai with Mother, but now that I have Auntie Lynnie and you with us, I'm really glad we're here. Well, except for the whole falling down a really deep hole thing."

"Is your pain easing?" Reiko asked.

"Yes," Cai was not sure that was the total truth of the matter, though. "We should set a beacon of some sort. Scans don't read, but... maybe a phaser burst, or physical thing. Like... construction, or a carving or something. Something rescue teams can see." She added, "Then slow exploration of the hole..."

Reiko nodded, "Bread crumbs. Good plan." She began to look around them, noticing a newly exposed and crumbling vein of a bright yellow stone that even glowed faintly. 'How didn't I notice this before?' Raising the tricorder, "I'm reading faint alpha emissions, so it's pretty safe for exposure. Let's just keep it away from our heads and midsections."

"We should use small pieces of that like breadcrumbs," Reiko said, pulling off her skirt, leaving her in leggings underneath. "We can use this to carry it. The cloth should block the radiation."

Reiko moved over and started picking up the small crumbled pieces of the glowing stone, placing them in the skirt.

"Right... breadcrumbs..." She said, holding a finger to her cheek for a minute as she thought. She rolled over, crawling a bit away from where they fell, and finally pulled herself up onto her knees. She gave a little bit of a strained breath and nodded. She sat on her knees for a moment, thinking, before finally putting two fingers in the dirt in front of her and drawing three quick symbols. "Mianbao xie." She repeated the term for breadcrumbs as she traced the figure. "If its Muqin, she'll know what it means. If not, they'll know it was a message from us..." She said before taking a minute to push herself up.

She had to steady herself a bit, but then was finally standing again. She took a breath, and was able to do so without too much pain. Then she gave a bit of a wry smirk, "Well, lets go exploring... slow, still..." She said as she took her first couple of ginger steps. "And... I can carry that..." She said lightly. "Orions are a bit more resistant to radiation. So. Shouldn't be any ill effects for me... long term or otherwise. If there's any leak of radiation."

"I really should not say much, but grandmother was very resistant to radiation. Mother was engineered to be even more resistant, mostly with Vulcan genes," Reiko told her cousin. "I have those genes myself, so I will be okay. You need to focus on you, CaiCai."

"Besides, the cloth should manage it and I won't touch the stone without using cloth or a rag, promise."

"Have you met my parents?" Cai said with a little bit of a smirk, "I never learned to worry about myself. Kaachan and Muqin always focused on others. Family, crew, each other, me, whatever." She said, "But if you insist." She took a few steps forward and after pausing to grab a light, she began down deeper into the caves. Steps still hurt, breaths too, but she was determined, it seemed. They had to find the pilots. Or what had happened to them. "Coming, itoko?" She said with a quick glance back to Reiko.

Reiko dutifully followed along, dropping a tiny glowing stone every several paces. Hell, the girls would be able to easily find their way back visually in the dark by following the light emissions from the unusual stone.

It felt like ages of walking, likely due to the pain. While the walk had been a long one, and quiet at times, it was still good. They did talk a bit along the way of course, but nothing stood out. Maybe Reiko was as nervous as she was that they would find nothing. That feeling abated quickly when there was a sound. At first Cai didn't think it was anything, but as they continued the sounds became clearer. Running water, first, then faint voices. "Do you hear that?" Cai said with a little bit of excitement before picking up the pace as best she could.

Reiko had heard it too. Sound apparently traveled a long way in an underground and enclosed environment like this, echoes traveling far further than most would anticipate. She managed a tiny hushed, "Yes."

It was perhaps another minute before their lights hit a curve in the tunnel they had been following. The curve twisted left, and then a second or two later their lights fell on a large opening. It took a second to realize, but as Cai stepped through the opening, she didn't have words. Her mouth hung open, and she audibly gasped. The cave they entered spanned out before them like they had come over a hill. This wasn't a large cavernous room. They stood on a cliffs edge, overlooking a nearby waterfall, that fed into a river lit by glowing fauna. It stretched as far as the eye could see as well, and though the dim light may have made it look bigger than it actually was, it was still enormous. They could have easily fit the colony down here. Still high above the environment, Cai had to stop and just shook her head with a quiet, "Ai ya... I..." She paused, "What is this?" She asked, a bit rhetorically. Not too distant from them, though her eyes caught a flicker, no a flashing. As she settled on the light she heard a whistle, a distant voice - but it from the excitement it was clear that they were Federation. "Itoko, there," Cai added with a quick point in the direction of the figures.

"We found them!" Reiko enthused. "And we found this!"

"This is great!" Reiko continued. "Maybe we could do something with this cavern? Homes even. If not, emergency shelter and storage, perhaps?"

"Anyways, this place is cool!" Reiko was truly flabbergasted by the enormity of what lay before them.

"Who goes there!?" came a sudden voice, in an accent Reiko recognized from back home on Earth.

Speaking up, "Watashi wa Bayushi Reikodesu. Kore wa shokuminchi to Shanhai no san Caidesu. Watashitachi wa anata o sukui ni kimashita." (I am Bayushi Reiko and this is Sun Cai, from the colony and the Shanghai. we came to rescue you.)

"Well why didn't you say so?" there was a huff and a sigh, an older Japanese woman stepping forward before calling out, "Lang, Jordan, rescue is here!"

Before Reiko could respond, the woman approached the two teens, "Wait, you're not Starfleet."

Reiko shook her head,"Nope! My mom's the Marine Colonel on the Shanghai. Her mom's the Captain of the Shanghai. We had the only available ships to come look for you and we're both good pilots."

"Okay," the woman shook her head. "I'm Amai Fuuko, the top scientist in the colony. We went to check out some anomalous readings from the weather control station when something hit us in the air and we crashed. We found this place and have been waiting here."

"If you're wondering," came a second voice, a gruff looking man with ruddy skin and a dense beard stepping in out of the darkness, "Practically everything you see here is edible. The plants, anyway. They're fed by this underground river, though I haven't figured out pollination or..."

"Not now, Lang," came a third voice. "I'm Jordan Simpson. I was working at the weather station when these two came to get me. Was supposed to be my week off."

Seemingly uninterested in giving the two girls the option to speak, Lang followed on, "We dropped T'Por off at the station, checked out the equipment, repaired the Stanton Array and started back when bam! Here we are!"

"So where do we go to get out?" Jordan Simpson asked.

"Yeah, about that." Cai finally chimed in. "We wait, I guess. We kind of fell through the ground into the cave system." She gave a little bit of a shrug, and then nodded. "But, we have a tracker on our ship. So, I'm sure a recon team will find that and then us shortly after." She gave a little smirk, "Unless you all have a lot of climbing gear hidden somewhere."

"Well shit!" Lang exclaimed, before grousing, "This is why you don't send a couple of kids on an adults task."

"Dammit, Lang, the girls aren't the only ones down here!" Simpson barked, before moving between the man and the two cousins. The woman turned around to Cai, "Were you two hurt at all?"

"Yes, but nothing broken." Cai responded, "First aid is holding off the pain for me for now... luckily Reiko knows what she is doing there."

Unseen, Reiko beamed at her older Cousins praise.

"What is that you have there?" Amai Fuuko asked, gesturing towards the skirt filled with small radioactive rocks.

Reiko shrugged, "I don't know, I just know that it's emitting light Alpha radiation and photons. We used it like breadcrumbs so we could find our way back and so the next rescue attempt could follow."

"May I?" the elder woman asked, to which Reiko responded by holding out the bundle.

Fuuko set it down and pulling out her own tricorder, began to scan the material, "I hope you didn't handle this with your bare hands?"

"No, ma'am," Reiko replied. "I'm EMT certified and pre-Med. I know better."

Scans complete, the woman began to look them over, eyebrows raising and eyes widening. "I think that we are going to need to speak with Captain Sun as soon as we can. You found pure dilithium, something that's incredibly rare. If there's more, you may have just made the most important discovery in the Outer Perseus."

Reiko grew up with Starfleet, but knew next to nothing about technology or Starfleet Engineering. She looked up at Cai for an explanation.

"There was a sizable vein where we fell," Cai added softly, before glancing over to Reiko, "And it seemed like it was just scratching the surface..." She said before seeming to think about it. "And the chances of naturally occurring dilithium showing up right where we fell is... well, astronomical, unless there is a larger vein." There was a second when the girl thought about what that means. "Dilithium is key to stabilizing matter-antimatter mixes. If it was found on the planet, even in small quantities, we could survive out here for a very, very long time." She tilted her head. "If it was common here, this world could be a trade world in just a few years. I mean..."

Cai paused for a minute, "I mean, it's a game changer. We could go from a backwater to a major port. With this ecosystem down here..." She said quietly. "I think you're right. Muqin and the other captains will want to know about this." She nodded. "Hopefully the find us soon."

Seemingly nonplussed about the dilithium find and ramifications, "I can't wait to take some of these plants back and examine them! Just think of the potential medicinal properties!"

The elder Japanese scientist chuckled, "You sound like you're going to fit in at our lab, little one."

"If I'm not off with my mom on the Shanghai, ma'am," Reiko replied. "Though mother does want to start a home in the colony."

"Well then," the woman shook her head mirthfully at the girl."We should return to your ingress point, to assist our future rescuers in finding us."

Reiko could sense how much pain Cai was in at current, a benefit of being a natural telepath as a physician (to be), "One moment, please."

The girl opened the medkit and once more loaded the hypospray with Asinolyathin, "I'm going to give you a bit more to take the edge off, CaiCai."


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