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Hello, Is It Me You're Looking For?

Posted on Nov 08, 2019 @ 2:36am by Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Nov 08, 2019 @ 2:37am

Mission: Last Days of Empire

"Hello, is it me you're looking for?"

(cont. from Shawn's post "Noise")

* * *=(/\)=* * *

Location: in orbit around ALCYONUS I
Stardate: 2.19.1106.2143
Scene: Cargo Shuttle 1-1


As the Phoenix dropped out of warp in the Alcyonus system, a tiny dot of light was flung away from the mighty vessel at high speeds. This tiny dot of light was Cargo Shuttle 1-1, now unofficially dubbed the Cheng Shih, and inside it was one Corporal Honda Midori, and Captain Kassandra Thytos.

The shuttle was currently off, their suits were set to the lowest survivable temperature, and both of the women were chattering. At least, Midori assumed the Captain was chattering. Midori’s breath had condensed, then frozen into lacy frost flowers over her faceplate, and she couldn’t see much besides light and dark in the shuttle. They could have fallen into the sun, for all Midori would have known. So here she was, cold, functionally robbed of vision, but the worst of it was the silence.

With no air but that in her suit to conduct sound, Midori was acutely aware of all the small noises her body made, the churning of the acids in her stomach, the creaking of tendons as she moved, the chattering of her teeth. It was enough to drive you mad. The only thing that saved her from going over the edge was the soothing hiss of the oxygen and pressure components of her suit. She turned her head to look at her commanding officer but she could barely make out Captain Thytos’ form through the ice crystals. The blur that was her commanding officer loomed closer, and then there was a slight thump as the older woman touched her helmet to Midori’s.

“You hangin’ in there, Corporal?” Thytos’ was understandable, but muffled as the vibrations of her voice transferred between the transparisteel of their helmets before becoming audible noise again in Midori’s helmet.

“Yes Sir. Freezing my ass off is all, and I’ll be very glad to get this thing powered back up,” Midori responded, trying to not let her relief of hearing something besides her own breath into her voice. Captain Thytos chuckled.

“Careful what you wish for, Honda. Once this baby’s up an’ runnin’ it’s time to ride th’ vomit comet, an’ hope the last thing that goes through our minds ain’t our asses.” There was a pause. “That’s a joke.”

“I got that, Sir.”

“Well good. An’ if the silence is drivin’ you nuts, I always find that singin’ songs in your head is a good way t’ ward off the screamin’ mimis. As fer th’ cold… Well, we’re just about comin’ up on sunrise now, an’ you’re gonna be getting swamp ass, so enjoy the cold while you can. We’ve got about another hour to planetfall.” Thytos pulled back and sat back down, and they resumed their silent hurtling through the blackness of space.

For all the time it took them to float to the edge of the atmosphere and start reentry, the actual free-fall and landing was surprisingly quick, and as stomach churning as the MCO had implied, even with her experienced hands at the controls. In less than 15 minutes, they had touched down in a canyon a few miles away from the prison.

Midori’s first impression as the shuttle doors opened was that it was hot outside. Hot enough that it felt as though she was standing in the backwash of a shuttle’s engine, hot enough for her to immediately begin sweating despite her suit’s environmental controls, hot enough to feel like home.

Midori flipped open the faceplate of her helmet and took a deep breath of the hot, dry air, her practiced nose noting the slight musty smell that promised water. She didn’t expect that they’d need it, but it was deeply comforting to her. As a colonist from a desert world, Midori had a fixation on water. Even though the colonists on her world seldom strayed from the enormous cenotes where they built their towns and vertical farms for long, everyone had a healthy respect for how precious water was.

Captain Thytos seemed less than enthused by their surroundings, muttering about the heat and her sensor nets, but at least she seemed to have a healthy respect for the desert. Most people, in Midori’s experience, wrote the desert off as a dead, barren wasteland, and acted accordingly, as though the only dangers were the heat. As they emerged from the canyon onto the rocky plain around the prison the two women set about attaching bits of vegetation and detritus to their armor, muffling their shape and helping them to blend into the background. Normally, this would have all been done with holographs, but with no clues as to how much scanner technology the Klingons had at their disposal to guard their prison, they didn’t want to draw any more attention to themselves than necessary.

“I really hope the crew of the SATET have shoes,” Thytos grimaced gesturing towards the sharp slivers of black, glasslike rock that covered the ground in a desert pavement. “This ground would cut ya to ribbons if you touched it without armor on.”

“I’m hoping we don’t have any sand storms,” Midori agreed, eyeing the drifts of black and green sand that accumulated around the leeward side of every hill and rock. “It looks like the sand is almost as sharp as the rocks, a sand storm could be deadly. I will say for now, it’s awfully pretty.”

“I don’t know about that,” Thytos said dubiously, “It reminds me of that glitter shit my kids used t’ use in all their arts and craft when they were kids. And I don’t like the look of the critters livin’ in it. Too many legs, too many eyes, and some wicked claws on them.”

Midori glanced up at her CO, half certain she was joking, but Thytos’ face was deadly serious. Midori shuddered, and glanced again that the glittering dunes, hoping that they wouldn’t have to spend too many nights out here, and resolving to stay well away from the sand when choosing a place to sleep.

Their progress was slow, almost painful, alternating between quick sprints between large, jagged hunks of obsidian, and slow crawls over large stretches of open ground. Finally, they found themselves at a good vantage point on a slight hill which had just enough height for them to see into the prison complex. They settled in, digging themselves a shallow foxhole, and in hushed tones began to create a layout of what they could see of the prison, with Midori taking visual measurements, and Thytos drafting diagrams on a piece of broadsheet in a surprisingly neat hand. It was tedious work, with Midori tracking the movements of the pack of four Klingon sentries that patrolled the perimeter, who Midori dubbed Hottie, Muttonchop, Plumber’s crack, and Rapunzel. She was panning across the complex when something in the back of her mind needled her for attention, and she swung her binoculars back.

“Non-Orion in the exercise yard. Human, no, maybe Vulcan? They carry themselves like a Vulcan, anyway, you know, like they have a pole up their spine?” Midori hissed at Thytos.

“Lemme see,” Thytos took the binoculars from her and held her hand over one of the eyepieces so her sensor nets could assemble a more refined image for her. After a moment she handed the binoculars back to Midori. “Accurate description. Hottie and PC still around the side of that building?”

“Yep, and Rapunzel and Muttonchop are around the back of the compound,” Midori said, scanning the scene.

“Thank god for bored guards with predictable patterns. Okay, watch the Vulcan, and let me know if it seems like he sees me. Keep a watch out for any other Klingons,” Thytos ordered. She put one hand in her utility belt and fumbled around in it until she found a small mirror that was included as a firestarter, which she aligned with the sun, directing the reflection towards the Vulcan.

-.-.
.- ...- .- .-.. .-. -.-- .----. ... .... . .-. .

Thytos repeated the message a few more times.

“He’s looking this way. I think he’s noticed.”

“Good. Keep a close watch on him,” Thytos ordered, wielding her mirror once more.

..
... . ...- . .-. -.-- --- -. . .- -.-. -.-. --- ..- -. - . -.. ..-. --- .-.

“He’s shrugging. I think he doesn’t know. You have about one more minute before the guards are back in line of sight,” Midori said tersely.

“Right,” Thytos sped up the delivery of her message to the fastest pace she could manage.

-
.-. ..- ... - .--- .- ... -- .. -. . .--- --- .- -. -. .- .- .-.. .-.. .. ... --- -. .... . -.-. -.- -... .. --. .... ..- .-. .-. .- ....

“Shoot, guards coming. I think he saw, but he’s acting nonchalant now so the guards don’t get suspicious,” Midori said with a sigh. “Do you think anyone else might have seen it?”

“Nah, everythin’ here is flashin’ and reflectin’ light. I don’t think our message woulda gotten through if it wasn’t a Vulcan we was talkin’ to. The have a second eyelid, helps them filter out the light, so he could actually see our message in the sea of reflectin’ light. Try openin’ your faceplate, I’m bettin’ it’s dazzlin’ out there,” Thytos replaced the mirror in her belt. Midori pressed the button by her visor experimentally. The Captain was correct. Without the polarized visor and light reduction, looking at the landscape was like looking at a disco ball, with light glittering off rocks and sand in a thousand tiny stars. Midori quickly shut her visor. Thytos looked amused, then thoughtful. “I bet it’s an’ amazin’ sight.”

“It really is,” Midori looked at the shadows on the ground. “It’s just past noon, hottest part of the day.”

“Coulda told ya that,” Thytos said wryly. “We’ll have a busy night ahead of us, we better get some sleep now. I’ll take first watch an’ keep making notes, you get a few hours of shut eye, and then I’ll wake you up and do the same.”

* * *=(/\)=* * *

NRPG: Okay, starting the ground game rolling. This should give people something to play with!

Ran, if you're wanting to write for the ground team, just let me know and I can let everyone else know you're working on something so you don't get scooped.

Shauna, let me or Shawn or Jerome know if there's a way we can get you in the swing of things!

More writing this weekend for what Kass and Midori are doing on the planet whilst waiting for the jailbreak.


Alix Fowler
Writing as
Captain Kassandra Thytos
MCO
USS PHOENIX

 

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