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News from the Surface

Posted on Fri Mar 9th, 2018 @ 3:12pm by Commander Karsel`lyn Lylyl-Llytherraias & Lieutenant Rhis Jhaeryn & Commander Sun Mei Xiang & Captain Isabel Tyler

Mission: Of Persephone
Location: Sickbay

On:

A nice nights sleep in sickbay had been all Mei had wanted. She didn't care about much else, and she had been tired enough that she had fallen asleep with a book in hand in the little corner bed they had for family members in the observation suites. It had been a deep sleep, she thought, burning that last bit of time before they got to the planet where she could finally check on the rest of her family. She was stirred a bit after only a bit of sleep. There were a few heated voices outside the suite, and then a bright light as the door hissed open.

"Captain, I'm sorry, she wouldn't take no for an answer," Petty Officer Ui'ani, the risian nurse who had been watching over them for the nights, protested. The she in question was Marine Captain Tyler. The pilot Sun trusted the most was Lyn, but she only narrowly beat out Libby - who had been Mei's wingman during her time as squadron leader, deputy CAG, and CAG.

Libby had not waited for the man to stop speaking before she jumped in. "Cai and Reiko took a shuttle to search for a downed flitter. They're missing. No check ins."

"What?" That woke up Mei almost instantly. "What happened?"

"Not sure. Wave hit a flitter and it took a dive sounds like. No available ships to mount a rescue, so they asked the girls to look into it." Libby said softly, "Hiroko stayed put just in case. But the others were just supposed to be looking, so they're not sure what happened. We've got a lock on the shuttle. Rhis is lighting a fire under the Rooks."

"Good... I'm..." Mei started to move towards the door.

"Going to need a shuttle. Calanthe is already standing by. Recon has an SAR team loading up now to go with you. Duvala insisted Security come too. Vosa's got two more teams loading the Argos."

"What do we know about the first missing personnel?" Sun asked as she pulled her jacket on.

"Science team that was heading to or from the weather stations. Four total - but some may have been at the weather station."

"Okay. Ready time?" Sun asked with a little shake of her head.

"When you are, ma'am." Libby said quickly. "And boss, if you'd prefer, Rhis and I can take the lead. Your hands are shaking." Before pointing to the CO's hands. She knew it was a sign that Mei was more anxious than she wanted to admit.

Mei had intended the shake of her head to toss off any notes of that. But now everyone in the room had seen it pointed out. "I'm going down there." She said quietly.

"With all due respect, Captain," came that incredibly sultry voice from around the corner. The blue face of Lieutenant Jhaeryn appeared a second later, "You're in no condition to be on the stick. Let Libs and I handle the flying with you on sensors and comms?"

Mei looked unhappy with that suggestion for a moment, but gave a nod. "Fine." She shook her head. "Almost any other situation and I'd argue that point." She stepped over to Lyn's bed and gave her a hand a quick squeeze, before looking at the Risian nurse. "Keep me up to date." Then the captain looked back to the others, "Lets go. The time is of the essence." She said as she headed out of the room and into sickbay proper.

"Captain. Captain. Lieutenant," the two Captains and Lieutenant were greeted by a Staff Sergeant. "I'm Rita Hernandez. I am Marine Executive Security and without a flag officer or Ambassador to protect, I was assigned to ensure the security of the Senior Federation Representative in the sector. Which means you, Captain Sun."

"Which means that you're not going anywhere without me, Ma'am. Regulations stipulate that you are accompanied by at least one security specialist, if not a detail. Besides, Reiko is like a goddaughter and I want to be sure that we retrieve her safe and sound."

"A pleasure Staff Sergeant, I appreciate the protection." Sun said softly, without pausing in her walk through the room. Though she pointed back towards the other two. "Lieutenant Rhis Jhaeryn, Dragon Leader and Captain Isabel Tyler, Diamond Leader." She nodded. She glanced over the Marine and then shook her head. "I'm not used to being the top of the chain. Nice to have a marine as a shadow though." She only stopped once they all reached the turbolift. "Captain's Yacht dock." She said softly, as the lift hummed to life. "Staff Sergeant," Sun spoke softly, "If you're going to be acting as my personal security detail, I'm going to need to have you come sit down and talk to me sometime soon. Just to get to know you." She didn't have time to say anything else before the turbolift hissed open, and they were in another hall.

"It's my job, Captain," Rita smiled. "I know the Lieutenant from the London, while she and Commander Lylyl-Llytherraias were aboard briefly. I remember watching numerous Marines swoon over that voice of hers."

Rhis silently rolled her eyes as the four headed below decks.

One could easily tell where the dock was, as a group of marines and security officers kitted out in search and rescue gear stood waiting. Warrant Officer Duvala was the first to salute, followed by the Efrosian marine next to her.

"Captain," Duvala said with a quick nod before the caitan pressed the hatch button to open the door.

Sun gave a nod, "Warrant Officer, Corporal, marines. Alright, everyone knows their jobs. Lieutenant, Captain - lets get down there as fast as safely possible. SAR teams set up, set aside extra kits for the Staff Sergeant and myself. Warrant Officer, get a plan together." Mei took a deep breath. "And I know each of you would do this with the same urgency for any crew member - but that being said, thank you." She said with a quick bow. "Now," She said softly, stepping through the hatch and into the Calanthe. She headed to the cockpit, through the ship. The captain's yacht was the Sovereign style yacht, but modified by the Deltan government specifically for the Shanghai crew. It was technologically advanced, comfortable, and frankly not designed with a search and rescue team in mind. It would work, of course, but the seating quarters in the vessel were more designed for ferrying diplomats than marines. Still, there was little faster and it could launch independently. That was all that was on Sun's mind at the time, getting the ship to the surface fast and starting the search. Something about it made her nerves flare though. Sitting at the sensor station, she couldn't help but worry.

The sensor station was to the immediate right of the pilot, which was currently Rhis Jhaeryn as the senior active pilot aboard. Rhis could sense the Captain's tension, slender antennae twitching faintly. A blue hand settled calmly on Mei's forearm, "We will find them, Captain. That girl of yours? She's Lyn's too and that makes her even more important to me than she already was. I won't stop until they're found."

"New report from the colony says that the downed flitter had three aboard, all scientists. The fourth is still quartered at the weather station," Rita Hernandez said from the rear of the small command deck, too small to be a bridge and too large to be a cockpit. "The flitter itself is a strong build, so unless they were going really really fast, it's likely that there will be survivors from that crash."

"Also in the report, Commander Lylyl-Llytherraias' runabout is still in the colony at the temporary housing the girls were staying in, which means that they took the Colonel's ride," Rita smiled. That would be very helpful in their search. "The Colonel has a tracker on her ship, which I will pick out from the Colonel's file before we disembark."

"Departure in two," Rhis intoned softly, her voice picked up and broadcast throughout the Captain's Yacht.

"Captain Sun, transferring tracking software to your station for the Colonel's runabout. We should be able to pick it up once we're in atmosphere," Rita said before sitting at the tactical station. Yeah, it's a yacht, but it's a Sovereign class' yacht and as such was appropriately armed.

"Dragons Four and Seven coming on station for our escort," Rhis announced.

"Good," Sun said quietly, without much in addition for the time being - after all, there was not much she could do until they reached the atmosphere except watch Rhis and Libby fly. It was not a feeling she particularly liked. Still, it was something she had to do for the time being. As the craft slipped out of its berth and into formation with the fighters, there was a pleasant familiar hum though. The light, muffled chatter of marines in the back, the buzz of engines. That was at least calming to her, or something she could latch onto as calming.

As the craft hit atmosphere and she heard Libby reading off atmospheric measurements and adjustments for Rhis, Mei took a breath. She pulled up her console and the tracking software. "Tracker online." Sun said quietly, "Readings are Northeast by East from the Colony - Five Four point Nine Six degrees and two six point one one klicks." Sun spoke twisting her seat to look fore and see what the pilots saw. "That should put us basically on top of the runabout." She said quietly.

"Boss, take a look," Libby spoke with a quick nod as the Calanthe moved towards the colony and began to adjust heading. Sun stood up and moved to stand behind the two. Libby's nod had been towards the Shune, which had come into view. The small, andorian escort cruiser was now sitting in the bay, with just a few decks still above water - and contrary to some reports with one of its nacelles about a hundred meters away from the rest of the ship. "I'd say that helmsman deserves a cigar."

Rhis nodded, "I have seen recordings of the USS Proxima putting down on the surface of Obsidian. It managed to avoid everyone and nobody was killed. There was only one injury," the Andorian pilot glancing over at Captain Sun. "The Proxima was the Stations attached Nebula cruiser and under the command of Commander Lylyl-Llytherraias. The crash rendered her incapable of having children and she spent six months in both stasis and rehabilitation."

"I haven't seen the recordings," Sun said with a light shake of her head. "Carry children." She corrected lightly. "I'm pretty confident Cai is hers." Sun poked a bit at the pilot, mostly to diffuse the thought of her partner crashing - even if it was history now.

It took a few more minutes, but as they flew over the forests of Golovin colony it didn't take long for the clearing they were looking for to come into view, with the runabout sitting quietly in the field. "There," Sun said softly. "Put us down nearby, Lieutenant."

"Aye, Captain," Rhis intoned, gently banking towards the very large clearing, spying the Colonel's flat black Runabout. Keying in the ship-wide comm, "Coming in for landfall. All personnel strap in."

Rita finished securing her station and snatched up her go bag before pulling her straps tight. Even as a Marine assigned to starships, she had an ingrained fear of flight, even more so the entire landing procedure. Once she was pressed back into the jump seat,she reached into the bag and pulled out an IHADSS visor and a helmet, reaching over and handing it to Captain Sun. "I brought one for you, Captain. I imagine that the Colonel would approve."

Pulling the helmet on and attaching the visor, she accessed the internal firmware for both visors and synced them with the Calanthe's sensor array.

"Thank you, staff sergeant." Sun said taking the helmet and slipping it on as she sat back down and secured herself for landing - even if it was for just a moment.

The sleek Captain's Yacht flared gently before coming to a dead stop and hover, before Rhis very gently set the vessel down. She keyed in the comms once more, "We have achieved landfall. Please remember that the smoking light is still off and do try to remember your trash. It is sunny and twenty four degrees Celsius here in the deep forest of Golovin. Thank you for flying Dragon Airlines and have a wonderful day!"

Rita smirked. Rhis Jhaeryn was among her favorite officers and moments like that just cemented her opinion even further. Rising, she held a hand out for the Captain, "Let's go find your girls, Captain. If it looks like it might be dangerous, let me do it, ma'am. Crazy and dangerous is what I'm trained for."

Sun stood up, "Hernandez, I'll agree to it this time." She said quietly, as she adjusted and headed out of the ship behind the marines and security. "Just try to remember I'm a pilot and a marine - I'm really still not used to being out of the action. Not sure how much I enjoy it, either." She gave a bit of a smirk, and visibly shook off her nerves before stepping out into the field. The marines had done what it was they did best - rushed out and set up a small perimeter, scanning the woods for signs of where the others had gone. Unfortunately for Sun and the rest of the team, some time had passed, and the visible signs the girls had followed had faded. There wasn't smoke to get them started, or anything of the sort.

"I understand, Captain. The thing is, you're a lot more than a Marine and pilot, now. You're the senior Federation official for the entire Perseus Arm of the Galaxy. That makes you one of the most important people in all of Humanity."

"Even more importantly," Rita was making sure to avoid acting insubordinate. "You're Cai's mother and from what I have heard, soon to be the Commander's wife."

Mei, meanwhile, had to check the runabout first. She knew there wouldn't be any sign of them, but she was relieved to see that the craft was missing a medkit. She took a breath, and steeled herself for a moment. "Alright," She said quietly to herself, before speaking up. "We know the flitter was on a northeast/southwest flight line." As she spoke that, the sensors in the yacht provided a projected path in the sky above. "So we know that it most likely went down in that direction," She said point off towards the line indicated, not knowing it was at least the general direction the girls had gone.

"Aye, ma'am." The efrosian marine called out. "Alright, roughnecks, line up. We'll cover as much ground as we can." They followed the order, the few marines forming a search line. Duvala and security followed suite and lined up near them, with Sun shortly after. "Anything out of the ordinary, callout. Scan and check anything that catches your eye." And then, just like that, they were headed towards the treeline.

As the array of Marines and a few Security personnel fanned out into the woods, passing into the treeline, the gentle silence around them was suddenly shattered by the firing of the Colonel's black Runabout. Rita smiled, "I told the Captain how to access the Runabout's systems. She and the Lieutenant will be searching from the air, Captain."

"Good," Sun said softly, "With a little luck this will be an easy trip."

Almost immediately after the Captain stopped speaking, the unit comms lit up with Rhis' voice, "There's a pretty good sized hole in the ground about two hundred meters directly ahead, Captain Sun." With that came an aerial visual over the Marines IHADSS visors. "We show some debris consistent with the model of flitter the scientists were aboard, just not nearly enough for an entire vehicle."

"That's a good possibility." Mei spoke with a nod. As worried as she was that something happened, she trusted that marine training of hers. It looked colder than she wanted it too sometimes, but until they knew something - there was only one direction to move. There wasn't much talking for a few minutes as the group moved in that direction, into and through the woods. But, as they approached the destination where they suspected the hole, a marine broke the silence.

"Impact trench," The private yelled out. Seconded by another voice that saw the same thing.

A third voice added, "Damage to the limbs near by are consistent with a small craft - or part of one."

Then they were at the trench, or near enough to see it. It was clearly a hard landing for the flitter. "Rojas, Singh, follow the trench. Keep comms open. Walk softly," The Efrosian corporal motioned to two marines, who moved to the trench and hopped down into the torn up dirt and foliage. "We'll follow the sides and see if we can find that hole." He said as the group twisted around to follow the trench, heading ever closer to the opening.

When it came into view, Mei almost quickly, only stopping thanks to the Efrosian raising a closed fist. He stopped for a second and watched. "Careful - the ground isn't solid here. Marines, pull repelling lines and hook up for us."

"Yes sir," They said quickly, backing off of the area and moving back to set tie off lines around nearby sturdy trees.

"I'm not reading anything below us, Captain," Duvala said with her tricorder out.

"My HUD isn't showing anything either. Something blocking scans below," Sun spoke glancing up for a moment. "If our runabout sensors aren't picking up anything it has to be something with the soil." She paused the though as a marine came up to her with a line.

"Captain," He said softly, before reaching around towards Hernandez with another line. "Staff Sergeant." He said offering the rappelling lines.

"Well, Staff Sergeant. You said to let you go first on anything dangerous, right?" Mei said securing the line to her kit, slowly but surely. There was a clear smirk on her lips though. As anxious as she was, there was still a bit of her that was excited about the prospect of exploring. Both drove her to want to get down there. "I suppose that means you get to go into that sinkhole first."

Well-versed in the use of rappelling equipment, Rita took that opportunity to pull her harness out and then step into it. She motioned towards the Corporal, whom stepped forward and helped secure the Harness where the Staff Sergeant was unable to reach. Turning back to the assembled personnel, she grinned as she attached the rappelling line and began to slowly back up towards the sinkhole.

Mei gave a nod and worked to put the finishing touches on her harness. She wasn't as experienced, but she had the experience she needed to know what to do. With a little help, she was set and ready just a few seconds after the Sergeant began moving.

Rita got within about five paces of the edge of the sinkhole when suddenly, the ground underneath collapsed, the Sergeant disappearing from view, the rappelling line going taut as it was pulled down the hole.

"Sergeant!" A few members of the group, including Sun called out after her. Then, without thinking, Mei did what she always did, and moved towards the sinkhole quickly. She gave a quick bark at one of the marines, just a swift, "Marine." And a pull of her own line to make it taut. The marine jumped into action and tightened her line as she approached the edge of the sinkhole. She moved to where the Sergeant's line had caught. She moved quickly, but checked each step before taking it, until she was near the edge.

"Please, slowly, Captain," the Corporal said. "The Colonel will murder me if you get hurt, ma'am."

Once she was at the edge, Sun could feel the dirt slipping under her feet a bit. She shook her head a bit, and glanced back to the private keeping her line close to tight. She took a breath, and backed over the edge. Even going slow, the line quickly cut into the dirt, and dropped her about a meter. She steadied herself and began to lower down again, giving a tug of her line to make sure the marine above knew she was. "Staff Sergeant, report." Sun ordered, her eyes starting to pick up on some of the unnatural pieces below her - the items left behind by the girls. Dim light and writing caught her eye first, but she couldn't make it out from here.

Rita groaned, "I think I now know what the guys feel when someone punts em in the crotch." Apparently, the harness had been yanked hard up betwixt her legs when she reached the end of her rappelling rope, stopping her sudden descent. "I will be okay in a moment, ma'am."

That moment later, Rita sat up from the dirt, immediately grabbing for the headlamp on her IHADSS visor. The lamp lighting the cavern up, revealing the writing in the dirt. Rita smiled, "Look Chinese. That means that your girl is still up and about. Also means that we're going in the right direction."

Then the light caught on something reflective, Rita bending down to pick it up. Reading the label, "Asinolyathin. Somebody was hurt here."

"Reiko is already Emergency Technician trained and certified, so at least that's working in their favor," Rita returned to the Captain's side as Rhis lowered herself down to the cavern floor, "Lieutenant. Please send a note back up top to send no one else back down here."

Rhis nodded and entered the message into a tricorder, attached it to the rope and tugged on it three times. As the tricorder began its ascent back to the surface, Rhis turned back to the other two, "Well, this cave seems bigger than I initially thought. The question is, where is the flitter, the scientists and the girls?"

"Mienbao xie," Mei said softly as she settled on the ground and unhooked. She moved across the cave to the writing. "It's sloppy, though. Cai's probably hurt." She said softly, not letting it show that how much that hit her. Well, mostly. Some could have picked up on her voice's shift. She swallowed. "It means breadcrumbs... So, that's what we're looking for..." She added, "Figuratively," Not sure how well versed in Earth fairy-tales. She began to look around the room.

"Like Hansel and Gretel!" Rita grinned. "You have a smart girl, Captain! I guarantee you that keeping an eye on her will be difficult.." As the Captain's daughter, she had to be placed in protection as she could be used to influence Captain Sun.

Mei took a moment to bend down and looked at a small item. Her eyes drifted up and the light fell on a similar item. "Looks like this direction," She said softly. She stood back up and dusted herself off. She shook her head. "Lets go see what they've found." She had to take a moment to slow herself down, wanting nothing more than to rush off and see where the girls had gone - and more importantly, bring them back.

Rita bent down to look at what the Captain saw and a bright warning light on her IHADDS lit up. "Careful, ma'am. I'm reading considerable Alpha emissions from whatever that is."

Also kneeling there was the Engineering trained Rhis Jhaeryn. Her tricorder out, "Yeah, don't touch it. That's dilithium. From what this says, it's pure. I'm detecting enough stray alpha emissions to where we're on top of significant deposit."

Looking up at Sun, "Captain, had this been found back home, this would be enough to power all of Starfleet for decades."

OFF

 

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