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Return to Base, Part I

Posted on Wed Apr 5th, 2023 @ 8:26pm by Ensign Sheldon Parsons & Lieutenant Charles Bridgeport & Lieutenant Xex Wang & Ensign Noah Balsam & Lieutenant Timmoz & Lieutenant Arianna Durand & Lieutenant JG Irynya & Lieutenant JG Kestrel

Mission: Predators and Prey
Location: Base Camp, Shaddam IVa
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 1200

[The Waverider]
[Base Camp, Shaddam IVa]
[MD 1: 1200 Hours]

While Oliveria and Parsons kept watch on the Waverider and its systems from the cockpit, Doctor Xex and his patient were still in the craft's small Sickbay. The Kazon woman Kaldri was hooked up to a number of instruments and was restrained to her biobed by a forcefield -- a protection put in place while the Waverider had been tossed about like a leaf in the wind. With the craft having now landed and the threat of being bounced out of the bed thusly ended, Kaldri looked up at Xex with expectant eyes.

"I'd very much like to sit up now, Doctor," she said, imploring Xex to release the forcefield that held her. "Feeling so much better than I was...and that's thanks to you," Kaldri said appreciatively. "Do I still need to be connected to all this?" she asked, looking down her body and gesturing with her hands as much as the forcefield would let her. "If the Kazon try to board this ship, I want to help."

“Of course,” Xex agreed without hesitation. Though he’d had to brace with grim determination while the Waverider descended through the storm, now that they were stationary on the moon’s surface, he’d been able to keep a closer eye on Kaldri’s vitals. Solely this focus prevented him from freeing her earlier, and it was only with long practice he managed to keep the chagrin off his face. A few keystrokes later and the force field holding the Kazon woman to the biobed released, allowing her full movement.

Before she could so much as sit up however, Xex was back in her line of vision. “That’s the drugs talking, Kaldri. I cannot stress this enough: you almost died. A few deciliters of sub-par fluid replacement is no substitute for actual rest and replenishment. You really should keep receiving the therapy if you don’t want to see long-term damage. That said,” he lifted a finger to stave off her inevitable protest, “I also have no desire to be caught here defenseless if they try to board. So I’ll make you a deal. You get a phaser if you can agree to stay here in the med suite with me.” His gray eyes held hers seriously. “Deal?”

Kaldri rose to a sitting position and nodded. "Deal," she confirmed, fighting past the slight swimmy feeling in her head. Moving her legs laterally to the right, the Kazon woman slid off the biobed to stand on her own two feet, a hand reaching out to the Doctor for the mentioned phaser.

Xex held her eyes for another couple heartbeats to assure himself of her sincerity— or perhaps to reconsider his offer— before slapping his own phaser into her outstretched hand. It was still set to stun, and he made no effort to point this out to her. Instead, he moved for the Waverider’s armory to replace his weapon. As he ducked through the intervening short hallway to the cockpit, he asked the engineers, “How’re they looking out there?”

It was Oliveria who answered Xex. Looking back from his console, the Chief Engineer said, "I've got them on sensors, though the storm is interfering with them a bit. They do seem to be moving in the direction of the closest team. I imagine they'll meet up with them before the Kazon arrive. As for the two other teams, I show them both heading in this direction. The coral forest is closer, so that time should get here first. The people checking out that complex are probably a good ten minutes away."

Anticipating the Doctor's potential next question, Parsons spoke up from the tactical console he'd sat down at. "The Kazon are only a couple minutes away now. The question is whether they'll park their two shuttles down next to the Waverider or land a bit away, to give themselves a little time and distance to approach strategically. This storm is going to make an encounter with them that much more challenging, though"

“And the next question after that is whether our team on the ground or this ship are the more tempting target,” Xex muttered, more to himself than the engineers. Deciding a barrage of observations and further queries would be counterproductive to them keeping a careful eye on the away teams, the doctor ducked back through the hallway and into the medsuite, eyes immediately going to Kaldri to assure her IV was still securely in its port, and to assess her situation.

Sure enough, the Kazon woman was still tethered to the bio-bed via the IV, though she was taking advantage of the slack in the line to peer beyond the miniature Sickbay and into the cargo loading/unloading area. When the ramp eventually lowered, her compatriots could board the small ship as much as any Starfleeter potentially could. Thus Kaldri held her weapon up and at the ready, offering Xex a nod as the doctor returned. "Guessing we'll be opening up for the first of your teams to board soon?" she asked.

Satisfied, Xex made a cursory inspection of his new phaser, ensured it was set to stun, and looked up again to answer, “Sounds like they’re a couple minutes out.”

"Alright," Kaldri said with determination, "now we hurry up and wait..."

[Outside the Waverider]

As the trio of Timmoz, Irynya, and Bridgeport strode down the Waverider's entry ramp, the base camp was most certainly not how they had left it. With the dusty winds raging, visibility was low. Here and there through alternating eddies, though, the group could see a field of scattered equipment and erected workstations blown over and strewn about by the wind gusts. There was no sign, however, of the first group of surveyors that t'Nai had ordered to operate out of the camp. Oliveria had detected them nearby but couldn't give an exact location due to the storm's interference. The trio would need to head in the group's general direction -- which their tricorders indicated -- and then find them manually from there.

"Lieutenant," Timmoz turned to irynya then Bridgeport. "Right," he said, his voice muffled and strange by his breather. The wind was fierce and brutal, and already the three of them were getting caked in the fesh-fesh like grit of Shaddam IV's moon. "Our technology won't last long out here. Get a ping, site yourself and go. Do your best to shelter your equipment between pings."

The Orion instructed. "We have three teams to locate. The base campers should be nearby. The scientists are next. They were investigating some strange reef-like structures. The last team was investigating some installations. They are farthest."

One tan hand shielded Iry's eyes and her nose wrinkled making the ja'risia on her forehead seem to crinkle as the silver grey of the dust seemed to cling to any part of her that wasn't covered. "That way," she said having finished an initial ping as soon as Timmoz gave the instruction, nodding in the direction of what looked like a stand of trees, though may had been ripped up by their roots making it look less like a grove and more like a mishmash of destruction, as if an angry child had taken a hand and swept across the trees toppling some and making others lean against those that had fallen.

“You lead, I’ll follow.” Replied Bridgeport with his weapons at the ready.

Timmoz agreed with a nod, "With this storm, we can't break up. Base camp first."

Iry's nod was quick on her verdant commander's heels and she turned, keeping close to Timmoz as the three of them stepped away from the ramp. It's wasn't far to the trees, but with the wind still gusting it felt like climbing a hill.

Time was short. The wind was harsh and the dust made it all the worse. As the readout of their breathing apparatuses went from the green of nominal to the yellows of "compromised," Timmoz scanned what looked, in essence, like a dustblown badlands. The eerie phantom silhouettes of tree limbs reached into the dusty sky. The snap of twigs- and the groan of branches- intimidated. What if they broke and fell? With the limited cover, Timmoz wasn't sure they'd be able to see.

That was confirmed when, a few moments later, there was just such a crack. And a vibrating thud through the earth to their left sides suggested something had given way.

Timmoz pressed on until a vaguely blue... scatter-like effect... could be seen intermittently in the storm. "This way!" Timmoz said into the storm and his speaker. "Did you see that?" He pointed at what was initially nothing. But as he was about to drop his hand, the strange scattering blue effect crackled again.

It was hard to run toward them but as the dust thinned by closing distance, it appeared to be three crouching figures. No. Two figures sheltering around a prone third on some kind of makeshift stretcher.

One of the forms raised a device again and pinged the dust- it appeared to be a plasma torch!

Bridgeport could make out the figures to their immediate front. As he moved forward he hoped it wasn’t a Kazon trick of some sort. “Who goes there?” He yelled hoping they would recognise this well known security challenge, and he waited for a response.

Arianna breathed a sigh of relief when the familiar voice penetrated the incessant sound of the wind swirling around them.
"DURAND, LIEUTENANT, STARFLEET ER-001-432S," she called in response, as loud as she could manage.

“Thank God, we found them.” Replied Bridgeport as he started forward to help get his people together.. “Stand by,we’re coming to you!” Yelled Bridgeport.

Until that moment Irynya hadn't realized exactly how much concern she'd shoved down in favor of doing something. She moved quickly to converge on the three figures, swallowing a lump of uncertainty when it became evident that the prone form was not Noah. When fear for her friend's wellbeing had wormed into her head she couldn't have said, but it blared like a beacon at the image of dark locks being tossed by the wind.

And then she realized who was on the stretcher and her heart dropped.

“Here, let me help you carry her.” And he reached over to take hold of the downed crew member so they could get moving.

Timmoz nodded at Bridgeport to take their downed Security officer on the makeshift stretcher. Then he set eyes on the wounded cadet. Noah was trying to look brave, just his frailty seemed so evident against the storm and the wounds he'd sustained. His face looked like it'd had an unfortunate encounter with a bunch of brambles- or knives. "Can you move?" Timmoz said to Noah.

Noah nodded. "I-I. Yes. Sir."

Timmoz shifted with a note of doubt. "Alright. Have Durand and Xex look at you when we're out of the combat zone."

Noah's eyes widened and he looked at Timmoz, then Kestrel and Durand. "Cuh-combat zone?"

Timmoz nodded. "Kazon. We're withdrawing. This is their moon. Get to the Waverider, Cadet. Irynya." The Orion gestured at irynya. "Help Mr. Balsam to the Waverider please. Use the bunks for Triaging Kestrel and Balsam."

The Risian had watched as Bridgeport and Durand lifted Kestrel's limp form on the makeshift stretcher and began moving back in the direction they had come. She'd only known Kestrel a short while, but she liked the Argelian woman well enough. Knowing she was unconscious and clearly badly injured made her stomach clench with worry.

She was soon, however, turning back to Noah and Timmoz; nodding her understanding to her Qash and then turning back to Noah. The long hair of her ponytail whipped at her face a moment as a gust of wind shifted and, annoyed, she reached back and shoved it down the back of her suit, ignoring the odd sensation of it and the dust that inevitably invaded along with her hair.

She half crouched, hands fluttering around her friend for a moment as she tried to figure out how to touch him without makin things worse. "Here," she finally said, looping her arm under his good one and half pulling him up until she could tuck her shoulder under his arm and loop his long limb around her.

Noah's bloodied and bruised face bent in some semblance of relief despite the tension in his stomach- that they were on Kazon ground. He hissed at the pressure but didn't protested otherwise. "We're being attacked?" He asked Irynya.

As they approached the shuttle, Bridgeport was on full alert. He would not relax until they were all safely inside and under way.

Arianna tried to ignore the few locks of hair that had become unsecured and were intermittently slapping across her face whilst her hands were occupied with the stretcher. As relieved as she was to be heading back, she could sense the tension in Bridgeport and for once was glad of the storm that would be masking their movements.

Timmoz helped with Kestrel while the silhouette of the Waverider turned from a strange shadow to a gradually detailed shape. He spotted the opening sliver of light that indicated the back cargo bay ramp was opening.

"There you all are," came a gruff but also somehow relieved-sounding voice. "I saw the blue flashes and followed them, but I guess I missed all of you," Gar'rath reported. "Thankfully the wind hadn't blown away all your footprints quite yet. Caught up as quickly as I could," the Gorn explained. Eyeing the Waverider's ramp -- which had fully lowered at this point, spilling light out into the storm -- the reptilian Ops officer allowed Timmoz, Durand, Irynya, and Balsam to proceed him up the gangway.

"The Kazon have landed nearby, came Oliveria's voice over the short range comm suddenly. "Two shuttles, both full of armed warriors. They're wasting zero time heading our way. Get ready," the engineer advised.

And with that, the fireworks began...

To be continued...

=/\= A Mission Post By... =/\=

Lieutenant Arianna Durand
Chief Science Officer

Lieutenant Gar'rath
Chief of Operations

Lieutenant JG Kestrel
Tactical Officer

Midshipman Noah Balsam
Systems Specialist

Lieutenant Charles Bridgeport
Chief Tactical/Security Officer

Ensign Sheldon Parsons
Engineering Officer

Lieutenant Irynya
Secondary Flight Controller

Lieutenant Nico Oliveria
Chief Engineer

Lieutenant Timmoz
Primary Flight Controller

Lieutenant Xex Wang
Chief Medical Officer

Shuttle Crash Survivor (NPC'd by Brad)


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