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The Excavation

Posted on Thu Jul 20th, 2017 @ 4:35pm by Captain Claudia Ainscow & Lieutenant Megan Atkinson & Lieutenant Emilie Delameilleure & Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Major Storr Garlake & Lieutenant Commander Arturo M'Rohass

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: Various
Timeline: Mission Day 100; 13:00

Claudia was on the bridge ahead of the removal of the alien shuttle from the surface of Nova Mercia. With an investigation on the craft due to be carried out at Starbase Unity the Vindex had been tasked with carrying that and the four dead crewmembers to the secure facility for a far more detailed analysis than the one carried out on Nova Mercia.

It was certainly a big day. The data from the probe didn't help them locate the ship that had fired on the Allard, but Akiva was pleased that another lead had panned out. He gave Claudia a nod to indicate all was on schedule.

With everything seemingly in place Claudia decided to check in with the surface team to see how things were going.

=/\="Ainscow to Lieutenant Atkinson. How're things going down there?"=/\= Claudia asked.

Megan and the team had just about finished their preparations to have the shuttle dragged up to the Vindex via a pair of shuttles currently holding position around fifty metres or so above them. Tapping her commbadge to respond to the Captain she delegated a task to one of the other engineers on hand.

=/\="We're almost ready Captain. We'll be dragging it up once we're satisfied it won't bring any of this cliff face down on top of it. Give us five or ten minutes at most and it'll be on its way up"=/\= Megan reported.

Claudia nodded. =/\="Keep us apprised Lieutenant. Ainscow out"=/\=

Claudia then turned to Akiva in the seat next to her.

"What the hell are we letting ourselves in for?" Claudia whispered.

Akiva shrugged. "The shuttle is of an unknown design. We still don't know who fired on the Allard, either." Akiva turned morose. "I don't know what's worse, Captain--to think our first contact with another species was a hostile one, or that we may have founded a colony in the middle of a war zone."

Claudia nodded slowly and the thought Akiva had shared definitely hit home. She wondered whether they'd stumbled across a mere lost shuttle or something much worse.

"You have a good point Commander. Let's just hope whoever owns that shuttle doesn't come looking for us while we're taking it to Starbase Unity. To arouse less suspicion we will be going without an escort...which isn't exactly ideal but there we go" Claudia replied.

"I have been reviewing the star charts with Petty Officer Laena," Arturo said. "I believe that I have plotted the shortest route on which we are least likely to attract unwanted attention. Our voyage should appear very routine and normal from that perspective."

"Good work Lieutenant. I know we're heading away from our border but we don't know who we're dealing with - the sooner we get to the safety of Unity the better" Claudia replied.

A few minutes later Claudia decided to ask for an update.

=/\="Miss Atkinson...can we have an update please?"=/\= Claudia asked.

Megan had just given the shuttles the order to lift the craft off the surface - albeit very slowly - and up off the ground again. It was a precarious operation but the planning and patience had certainly paid off.

=/\="The shuttle's just left the surface. I will inform the shuttlebay to expect the shuttle shortly"=/\= Megan replied.

Claudia nodded. =/\="Well done Lieutenant. Please return to the ship when you're all ready - Ainscow out"=/\=

"As soon as that thing's on board we'll break orbit. I want to get this done with as soon as we can" Claudia commented.

Akiva nodded. "I'll alert the other ground teams to return to the ship immediately."

"Standing by to break orbit on your order, Captain," Arturo said, eagerness evident in his voice. Arturo was an absolute professional, but he loved his job.

"When I give the order I need you to take us to Warp 7 once we're clear of the planet. Lieutenant Atkinson has masked our warp trail so we shouldn't be discovered too easily" Claudia replied.

"Aye, aye, Captain," Arturo said grinning from ear to ear (which was impressive because his ears are pretty far back on his head). "Warp Seven at your order."

Akiva assessed the data from his armchair panel. All four transporter rooms had been utilized as per the captain's request for haste. "The remaining away team leaders report all hands have returned."

Meanwhile down in the shuttlebay Emilie was working with Storr to prepare the force fields which would keep it contained on the short journey to Starbase Unity.

"This is the first time I've worked with a Marine Detachment but I really appreciate the cooperation from you all. Is the defense perimeter around the shuttle bay ready to go or do you need a bit more time?" Emilie asked.

"Well, I hate to break it to you," Storr said with a wink and a grunt as he manhandled the the last of the perimeter stasis fields into place, "but we'll be setting the bar so high you'll be sad to put on that gold uniform every morning, LT." The units were made to be transported on anti-gravity lifts but the MCO knew that the delicate vibration sensors often were interfered with by the lifts which mean brute force was the better way to go. That is, if you didn't enjoy spending two hours recalibrating the frakking thing.

Dry-rubbing his palms, he then placed them on his hips and surveyed the bay. The area 3 feet below the deck to 3 feet above the ceiling would be monitored by an expanded electro-baric quantum field, filling the room with an invisible electronic gas. Precise sensors detected movement between particles, created a baseline algorithm and them sent reports based on deviations from it. Major Garlake didn't pretend to understand even half of the theory behind it but he knew how to set up the system, run it, troubleshoot it, and most importantly-not to drop the sensor stands. Each ship was issued one set of 12 and they were un-replicatable items; replacements could be light years (and weeks of requisition) away. Storr's butt still hurt from the chewing he received as a lowly Corporal fireteam leader on Benthari when he tripped over that Guevara root and turned the sensor into a couple thousand pieces of electronic confetti.

He turned to the Belgian brunette and the present, extending a hand. "I think we're good here, though we haven't been properly introduced. I'm Storr Garlake, MCO of the best blerrie Marines in the fleet, the Two/Five." The Vindex's personnel transfers left the Afrikaner's head spinning though they were still recovering from the traitorous losses and the most recent ones as well. Emilie didn't hold a candle to Jaya but the new Sec/Tac was pleasing to the eyes well enough and Garlake hoped that she'd stay around...he was quite tired of having to go through the same intro shtick.

"I'm Lieutenant Emilie Delameilleure - although Lieutenant is fine if we're on duty. However if that guy in the shuttlebay asks then my name is Adelle. It's a very long story" Emilie responded.

Storr stood silent for a few moments, trying to process her answer. Professional, somewhat cool but...does she mean Ryland? Or someone else? And Adelle? A puzzle indeed. "Well, Lieutenant, the pleasure's all mine."

Before the two had to endure any additional awkward silence, the communication system blared to life.

=/\="Ben-Avram to... Shuttlebay."=/\= Akiva nearly stumbled over Emilie's surname and so chose to address the entire staff on hand. =/\="Surface team reports the shuttle is prepped and inbound for transport. How are things on your end?"=/\=

=/\="We're good to go. The Major reports the perimeter around the shuttlebay is ready to go and the forcefield can go up on your command"=/\= Emilie replied.

=/\="Acknowledged. Stand by to receive transport."=/\=

The MCO simply crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the nearest large stack of cargo containers. Given the reports, he was not looking forward to the sight they were both about to see...the loss of comrades was never an easy thing.

"I hope this is going to be worth it. I was promised some nice Tactical systems to analyze...." Emilie commented.

=/\="Atkinson to the secondary shuttlebay. We'll be having the shuttle on its way up to you any second now"=/\= Megan reported.

=/\="Understood"=/\= Emilie reported.

Emilie then turned to Storr.

"So...I hear you got married recently. A belated congratulations" Emilie said.

The Marine Major gave a lopsided grin and a nod. "Your hearing is superb and I'm a more complete man that didn't even know what he was missing. "You know," he began, flicking his eyes over the Belgian's shoulder as the shuttle broke the visible plane of the shuttlebay and began its slow transport into the bay, "there's a quote that I think encapsulates Jaya more than me...'the Corp doesn't build character, it reveals it.' Sure, I might be suave, toned, the veritable Greek-god that saw a great body, sharp mind, and amazing personality but her...she willingly risked everything to become my bride. She's made of far stronger stuff than me."

Rocking his chin over Emilie's shoulder, Storr pushed off against the crates as the shuttle touched down and the tractor beam disengaged. "Seems our ride's here."

Emilie often wondered what married life would be like if she found the right person to be with. Ryland was just a bit of fun and she didn't see a long term future between them - but she did think about if that right person would eventually come.

"Let's get this show on the road" Emilie replied.

Twenty minutes later the shuttle was secured in the shuttlebay and ready to be analyzed once the Vindex had gone to warp. Emilie looked at Storr then back to the craft which stood in front of them.

"This is one of the more unusual looking things I've seen. What do you think?" Emilie asked.

He grunted in the negative. "Nah. Blown things up like it but never taken a closer look at one."

With everything confirmed as secure and safe, Emilie informed Claudia that they were ready to depart on her order.

=/\="Delameilleure to bridge. We have it - we can go when you're ready"=/\= Emilie said.

=/\="Understood Lieutenant. Thank you"=/\= Claudia replied.

"Prepare to break orbit Lieutenant" Claudia ordered.

"Standing to break orbit on your order, Captain," Arturo said. "Ready when you give the word."

=/\="Ainscow to Atkinson. Are we ready down there?"=/\= Claudia asked.

Megan was running the final diagnostic on her modifications. Looking at the computer and confirming she was satisfied with the results of the diagnostic she moved up to the pool table and tapped the communications panel.

=/\="We're ready when you are Captain. Remember - this won't work above Warp 7"=/\= Megan replied.

Claudia responded. =/\="Understood. Ainscow out"=/\=

"Alright Mr M'Rohass - break orbit and set course for Starbase Unity at Warp 7" Claudia ordered.

Arturo's hands and fingers flew over the controls. Smooth as butter, the big starship broke orbit and went to warp.

"Course set for Starbase Unity," Arturo said. "Warp One, Warp Two, Warp Three...Warp Four... Warp Five...Warp Six...we are now steady at a cruising speed of Warp Seven."


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