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Thread: Star Trek RPG - Mission #7: "The War-Brotherhood of Irkhuit"

  1. #951
    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    Graham shakes his head. "I-S-Sidonia. It's a desert, hot, super hot temps, Doc...'ectothermic' does that mean she needs heat--like from the sun?'," I don't know--" He grunts. "Shit I think we need to get her up off this goddamn ice..."

    Graham spreads a blanket down and tunes his phaser for maximum safe heat at close proximity. He momentarily sets his phaser down next to it, then takes hold of Nia lays down on his back on the blanket, pulling her, facing upward, on top of him. He grabs his phased and starts applying along her side (taking advantage of a bit of the heat for his own self).

    "Come on Nia," he mumbles. Then to the doctor: "As soon as you and...and Rangin can help, I think she needs this more than the rest of us."

  2. #952
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    Lizards on rocks, lizards on rocks, Graham thinks.

    You're not a lizard but let me be your "rock."

  3. #953
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    Rawlings sees the phaser setting Rangin used, follows his lead and begins drying and warming himself. He then shows Kylah what to do. At times it hurts just a little if the beam is not kept continuously moving, she realizes, but she soon gets the hang of it.

    Rangin shows Graham and Dr. Mäkeläinen what he's done, too. "Need any help, Doctor?" he asks, looking worriedly at Onn.

    Night has now completely fallen. Ollos has no moon, but the blaze of stars overhead across the enormous open sky, shining on the snow all around you, provides quite a bit of illumination beyond what your phasers do.

  4. #954
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    After Rangin shows him the correct phaser settings and offers to help, Dr. Mäkeläinen says, "Yes, please. What we are going to do is carefully heat up all the sodden clothing so that it dries. I want to leave it nice and warm, but not hot to the touch because it's in direct contact with the skin. Two— er— three of us working together will minimize the exposure time. Then we'll wrap her back up in the blankets." Then I am going to do myself. And we need an ETA for that crawler. Can't spend the night standing on a bare ice floe.

    "Warn us if it feels like it's burning or it gets too hot," he tells Nia.

    While he is busy, he explains to Graham, mostly by rote, "Ectothermy is a way for the body to save energy when the temperature of the environment is practically constant. The disadvantage is that the body then relies on environmental heat sources. If she is from a constantly hot desert, and ectothermic, then she needs that heat— it does not necessarily have to be from direct sunlight— or her core temperature will drop much faster than yours or mine would. Not that any of us are adapted to sitting around in freezing cold for hours without any shelter or environmental suits. I don't even know how cold it gets here at night."

    Bizhi did observe Graham instinctively huddling together with Onn. If they cannot get moving off this exposed floe, they may soon all find themselves massed together for warmth. Yet, as he was just saying, who knows how inclement it usually gets here, for them to have classified the entire world as L? Were there no crawler on the way, their best chance would be to light out for town, off the lake at the very least, and hope that their phasers and other tools last long enough to keep them moving and keep all their bits from freezing solid.

  5. #955
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    "Exactly. I c-can't regulate my temp on m-my own," Nia says in a tiny, shuddering sigh. "W-when I'm this cold I need external heat. Ideally prox-proximal heat." The combination of the sterile, steady heat from the phaser beams, and the physical warmth reaching her through Booker's familiar, strong form, begins to seep past and dissipate much of what feels like several layers of ice enveloping her. Her shivering gradually weakens, with blood returning to her limbs in a painful tingling sensation.

    "Oh..." Nia groans and turns over to rest her head on Booker's chest, wincing but still heaving a ragged sigh of relief as the doctor's phaser now beams its warmth to her back and Booker's heartbeat does the same to hers. "It hurts," she says softly. "But that's good. Better than the alternative. At least I feel something." The double meaning doesn't escape her, and she keeps her eyes closed to let herself have one last moment of such blessed warmth.

    But she's aware of the dangerous delay she's causing, and that's unacceptable. Bracing herself, she tries to push her heavy body up. She flops down, both from her peripheral numbness and the increasing effects on her nerves from her breathing issues. Fuck. If she doesn't separate from Booker he'll feel her staggering breaths and the uneven pace of her heart--slow from the cold alternating with bursts of rapidity trying vainly to push Bilitrium through her veins.

    She'll have to tell them. Not now--she needs Mäkeläinen's and Booker's minds on the group's survival as a whole. The former seems more than capable of objectivity, but the latter...

    While Book may have switched his affections at warp speed, Nia knows that overprotective side of him hasn't entirely vanished. So now's not the time to tell him her clock is running out. But... it needs to be handled soon.

    "Th-thanks, gentlemen," she says to both Booker and the Doc. "But you c-can't indulge me forever. W-we have to get moving, find shelter." Even as she says this, the tug to remain in Booker's arms is strong, for all sorts of reasons, and she has to fight it for just as many reasons. Her eyes close again. She's so damn tired. But her duty is to her crew and she can't give up on them. Again she tries to rally and get to her feet and a quick look in Booker's eyes begs for him to help her.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 25 Nov 2022 at 04:10 PM.

  6. #956
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    Now that Kylah's uniform has been warmed and dried, from top to toe, she feels the benefit of the emergency blanket surrounding her, and she thanks Mr. Rawlings profusely, and Velir even more so. Her gaze is drawn to Lts. Onn and Graham, cuddled like... like something Kylah cannot place. It is a familiar position, a woman in repose atop a man, faces lifted up in the same direction. Soon Lt. Onn has turned over so they are in a more standard 'embrace', if that is what this crisis can be called. It is a good thing that Lt. Graham is here, for neither the doctor nor Velir is large enough to provide her with as much cover, and the person who would be best for such a task is hindered by an arm injury. How fortunate the two Lieutenants are to be together, even if they are not still... together.

    Suddenly Kylah's eyes widen and she takes an involuntary step away. Of course, she knows what this pose reminds her of. The crypt, her family crypt, where the cremains of her parents were interred beneath a marble statue of the two of them, hands held, facing the unknown journey of death ahead of them. There were problems in their marriage but they worked well together, and died together.

    Shaking her head to dispel the memory, Kylah is glad when Lt. Onn makes an effort to rise, although she seems to need more assistance to do so.

  7. #957
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    Bizhi is relieved to see Onn relax slightly and begin to rise; he maintains his usual professional demeanour. She voices exactly what he was thinking--- they cannot stay here.

    He notices Kylah moving behind him, and he turns to her. Someone is going to ask, so it may as well be he: "Shall we ask for the estimated time of arrival of that crawler? They have our coordinates, right? They must be told we cannot wait here on the ice more than a few minutes. We are on foot, and we need directions to the nearest shelter; it's an emergency."

  8. #958
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    Thanks to the careful use of phasers, the Tesla party is soon dry if not particularly warm. Even with dry clothes and wrapped in emergency blankets, it's dark and the temperature remains below freezing.

    You are all still on the surface of the frozen lake, not on a separate ice floe. The treeline of the surrounding dense forest, relatively well-lit by the many, many stars in the clear sky above now reflected by the snow, is only a few dozen meters away.

    Rangin takes a tricorder scan, then points and says, "Freetown is about an hour's walk that way, to the planetary northeast. I don't see any natural shelter anywhere nearby, nor any artificial structures, unfortunately."

  9. #959
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    The doctor's words bring a faint flush to Kylah's face--not the sort of warmth she is hoping for. "Of course, Dr. Mäkeläinen. I should not have needed reminding, please excuse me." She turns toward the direction of the nearest city for the best possible reception and tries to reconnect with her Ollos Traffic Control contact.

    If she manages to do so, she asks, "Our shuttle has completely sunk and we are on some lake, with Freeport to the east--the northeast. Do you have an ETA as to assistance arriving? As I mentioned we have an injured officer--"

    Hesitating, Kylah glances back at the others, then turns again and lowers her voice. "Two injured officers, now. The second is impaired more than injured, I suppose... Anyway please have emergency medical personnel at the ready."

    She stands, shifting slightly since movement keeps her warmer than being still, and awaits a response (assuming she has been able to have the above discussion).

  10. #960
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    "Take it slow, Nia--uh, Lieutenant," Graham says to her as she tries to get up. "One step at a time...let's sit up, then you can take a knee and I can stand and give you a hand, OK?"

    Assuming Nia agrees and as long as all goes well this is what he tries to do.

  11. #961
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    While struggling to her feet, Nia makes a mental note to tell Booker to ease up on the formality once and for all. If she's about to shut down and possibly never wake up, she doesn't want to hear Lieutenant from this man. Just Nia.

    "Thanks, and sorry for the trouble," she murmurs once upright. Her legs could be wooden stumps for all the feeling she can sense of them, but she does her best to avoid leaning on anyone. The balancing act, the fractional calculations of how much weight to put on one foot, then the other, nearly raises a sweat--if she were capable of it. Visually there appears to be three duplicates of everyone, too. Her dizzy mind's not quite hallucinating, but it's not giving her accurate representations of reality either.

    Doesn't matter. She can see clearly enough to know what they need to do. "First priority," she begins, before realizing just how weak she sounds and starting over more forcefully: "Getting off this ice. Seems strong but could crack and down we'll go. Head to the shore, people. Lighter ones first. Kylah at the point--" Nia glances briefly at Booker. "There's no enemy ahead, we don't need a standard defensive formation. Rangin and Mäkeläinen next. Then me, Graham and... well. Sorry, Double-T," Nia adds gently. "You're the most likely to weaken the ice."

    Nia does her best to smile at Rawlings. "If you need help I can hang back and we can lean on each other. Kylah, if you're able to get in touch with traffic control, tell em we're on the move. I'm sure they'll find us either way; we won't be moving fast enough for them to lose track."

    She looks behind at the vast void in the ice where the Tesla used to be. Her heart aches. Then, after taking advantage of the dwindling light to covertly pull out her nebulizer and inhale one of the last remaining doses, Nia feels clearheaded enough to move on.

  12. #962
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    Kylah has no answer to her call via communicator.

    The party is able to get off the frozen lake in the order Onn specified, onto land and up to the treeline. The snow is almost knee-deep.

    It occurs to Graham that he did not check the shuttle's Library Computer to see what predators, if any, the winter woods of the Ollos archipelago might contain. That information would not be on any of your tricorders.

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    After reporting her lack of success, Kylah continues every few minutes to try to reach someone, anyone, on her communicator as they continue to walk. Despite the cold, she is perspiring--it takes quite an effort to plunge through unbroken snow with such short legs. Still, even in their woeful predicament, she suddenly gets an amusing image of how much easier this would be if she could ride astride Mr. Rawlings's shoulders.

  14. #964
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    "Uh, about enemies ahead," Graham says to Nia as they walk along. "I should have checked what, if any, native predators there are on this rock..." He shakes his head. "My bad that I didn't. But in any event - I recommend we switch phasers back to stun while we're walking. Or at least me and Rawlings."

  15. #965
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    "Predators?" muses Bizhi. "I have heard and read about creatures like wolves, and sehlat, and tigers. Many of them would rather ambush their prey than risk a fight. Something to keep in mind if we are going to advance in a single file without watching our backs."

    What concerns him more is that they may have to keep up the pace for an hour, in the shape they are in. He would never complain for the sake of complaining, but his body definitely *feels* cold and miserable and he has to force himself to keep walking. Some of them are barely ambulatory; Nia already explained how much she needs a source of heat. But, without rescue or shelter, what choice do they have but to keep marching? And what if one or more of them cannot make it all the way? Could they all indeed huddle together under their blankets? A phaser seems like it would definitely get wood burning, at least, assuming they can find any fallen branches. Altogether it would be better to push through than to stop and take their chances. He vigorously circles his arms for half a minute as he walks, to warm them up, as well as a reminder to the others of what he said about keeping frostbite at bay by remaining active.

  16. #966
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    Nia thanks Mäkeläinen for his good common sense. Privately, to Booker, shakes her head tightly and mutters just for his ears, "It's not 'your bad.' The 'xenos' are part of Rangin's area of expertise, aren't they? He researched this planet enough, he should've called them out." She pauses to catch her breath and pretends she's just getting a look at the path ahead. "Noble of you to fall on your sword for him--albeit kinda out of character. Anyway, get him to scan for lifeforms. I'd ask him myself but..." She hesitates. "...You're second in command here, might as well give you the fun of reminding him he forgot due diligence."

    She'd really been about to add that she's not sure she can walk any faster than she already is, much less pass the others to catch up with Rangin. Watching the group trudge forward, she swallows hard. She wants to lie down and suck on her inhaler until it's all gone and she's unconscious. I'm not gonna make it. I'm just not.

    Her false smile dims. "Um... Book, I... I should've told you earlier, but..." Nia meets his gaze, imagines what she has to say... then imagines what he might say or, worse, what he might not. Without too much of a pause she quickly turns away to dizzily find Kylah. "But--but we should be keeping our bigger people up front now. Breaking a path in the snow's hard work for anyone, much less the shorties in our group." Her arm lifts listlessly to indicate the young woman struggling up ahead. "Kylah should be walking in your footsteps. Go on, take her place, or ask Rawlings to take the lead."

    Nia gathers her flagging energy and waits until the last minute to follow the rest. I'll tell him only when there's nothing left. When I can just say goodbye and there's no other choice. Please let me have that much dignity.

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    The Starfleet landing party finds what appears to be an old, unpaved, snow-covered and unplowed road heading towards Freetown. Rangin scans the area for lifeforms and finds none larger than rabbits; all are well-concealed and/or hibernating; none appear to be carnivores.

    After about ten minutes of uncomfortably cold trudging, you hear the rumble of an engine somewhere down the road.

  18. #968
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    Much slower now, Nia takes awhile to rejoin the group. Before she does, she accepts the fact that she has to tell someone what's going on. And there's only one person who makes sense. Hanging back, she pulls out her communicator and directs a private message to him.
    MÄKELÄINEN, DR - See Villa's note in my test results re: Bilitrium withdrawal*. Didn't consider that time bt/w treatments might shorten as result. Am showing signs of mid-level hypobilitremia** a solid 18 hours sooner than expected & probably have much less before organ shutdown and/or hibernation. Cold weather not helping. Discreetly monitor my Bu blood level--normally s/b 90%; suspect it's in low 80s. Am using BuNO2 nebulizer but only 2 doses left. Notify me at 70% or signs of cognitive lapses. Will take steps to cede command. Thanks -- ONN, LT NIA.
    Her thumb hovers over the SEND button for a few seconds before she taps it and stows the communicator back on her utility belt, although she keeps her hand on it in case the doctor has questions. At last she stumbles her way forward to the bunched group and listens to the engine--barely audible over the ringing in her ears. She focuses on Booker and Rawlings. "Rec--recommendations?" Nia hears the gasping in her voice and tries to control it better. "What--what does that sound like to you?"



    * - Remarks re: Villa's note about Bilitrium are tucked in posts #705 and #731.

    ** - See the Memory Theta (TM me) page on Sidonia, specifically the section "Starfleet Medical Supplemental Biological Study" for medical notes. This message brought to you by the Association for Sidonian Continuity and Accuracy.

  19. #969
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    Kylah can hear other subspace radio traffic over her communicator, but no one responds directly to her.

    Rawlings replies to Onn, his teeth chattering slightly, "Don't know, ma'am. Sounds like a heavy ground vehicle's engine. Hope it's the crawler they said they'd send."


    Impressive Sidonian medicobabble, SidGal!

  20. #970
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    Dr. Mäkeläinen reads the message from Nia. Informed, actively concerned about her own health (she would have to be), and listening to medical advice, she is the ideal patient, but right now he is worried for her.

    He will oblige her by fiddling with his medical tricorder as he walks, in reality trying to remotely scan her blood chemistry without pointing it at her, waving it in her direction, or otherwise giving the game away, if that is possible.

    The sound of an engine is music to his ears. Even if it is not the Port Authority people, surely they will not refuse to help a group of strangers in dire straits? His party is armed and in uniform, though---not an ideal look.

  21. #971
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    Graham nods at Rawlings' comment. He cocks his head, and as best he can steps toward the direction from which the sound is coming.

    "I recommend--well, Mr. Kylah, you're with me," he says over his shoulder while checking the setting on his phaser. "Doctor, Rangin, Nia...get behind us at a 30 degree angle. Rawlings--you're covering fire if necessary, 30 degrees off and behind them." He clears his throat and glances around at his colleagues. "Fingers crossed it's the 'welcome wagon' and we'll all be inside and warm soon."

  22. #972
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    Kylah's surprise, anxiety and a little pride battle for supremacy at Lt. Graham's choice. She rarely gets chosen for forward placement in such encounters unless situations are very obviously mundane, safe and/or in need of some communication skill. "Yes, sir," she says brightly, after a glance behind at Velir and the others, including their uncharacteristically quiet command officer near the back.

    A sudden thought metaphorically taps her shoulder for attention, causing her to lift her communicator again. If this approaching vehicle is the help we requested, surely they will be capable of contacting us directly. Or vice versa, for that matter. She tries reaching out again in a soft voice to see if she is now able to get through.

    Even if there is still no success, she thinks it likely that her device might not be optimized for this remote, unpopulated location on a distant planet. Even the technological expertise of Starfleet cannot work against every contingency.

    Just in case it does mean something, she voices this very minor curiosity to Lt. Graham. The vehicle will likely be here soon and they will finally be safe and warm again, but it seems prudent to pass the thought to him.

  23. #973
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    Rawlings's guess briefly makes Nia fear her cognitive issues have already started. Of course it's the help they've requested. She's aggravated that it wasn't the first thing on her mind. Then, shivering beneath her blanket, she exhales in a kind of chuckle. "Right. I'm so used to air- and starships," she mutters. "Land vehicles all sound so c-clunky."

    Graham's official commands reach her and without hesitation she adjusts to let Double-T take the rear. She'd crack a fairly obvious raunchy joke to him if it didn't require more energy than she can expend. Also, while as her casual ex-lover Double T is perfectly fine with such comments, the new guy's right ahead of her. She's not 100% sure Doc M. would be keen on vulgarities. So, having given up on keeping her teeth from chattering, she just focuses on getting one foot in front of the other.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 30 Nov 2022 at 10:54 PM.

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    Dr. Mäkeläinen's tricorder scan of Onn pretty much confirms what she'd texted. She is not in good shape right now, and the cold - an utterly alien and inhospitable environment for her - isn't helping.

    Rangin and Rawlings do as Graham orders.

    Kylah still has no response over her communicator.

    The engine noise is getting louder. Kylah thinks she can just see twin white lights moving through the forest in the distance, slightly downhill along the snowy road.

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    Frustrated, Kylah clutches the communicator in both hands and breathes on them for warmth. She tries to pull her uniform sleeves down to cover her fingers, but the material fits too well and does not stretch that far.

    Her gaze is fixed on the area where she sees the approaching lights. "They are not moving very quickly," she murmurs, half to herself, half to Lt. Graham and Velir behind her. "If I were trying to rescue passengers from a crash, I should think I would hurry."

  26. #976
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    Nia notices the doctor's efforts at efficient discretion and sighs in relief. She can trust him. Her feet stomp harder on the ground than necessary as she walks, in hopes of keeping her already lackadaisical circulation moving. But she can barely feel anything below her knees and she's forced to watch her steps very carefully--otherwise she has no certainty that she's balancing correctly or even touching the snow trampled by the others in front of her.

    But she can still hear, and the wind seems to whisk Kylah's soft-spoken words back to her. "And if I was rescuing passengers from a crash in a lake I'd bloody well send help by air--helicopter, hovercraft, frickin' hot air balloon." The truculent comment is followed by a reluctant leadership instinct, which forces her to append, "...But these Ollos personnel have their own methods and we'll be grateful for whatever we get."

    After a moment, the continuing rumble furrows her brow with curiosity and a sense of precaution. "D-don't suppose they're close enough for us to scan, see how many people--or whatever--are heading toward us?"

  27. #977
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    Rangin raises his tricorder and is just about to speak when something big, wide and mottled gray-and-white, for an instant looking to Graham somewhat like an Earth manta ray but airborne, silently drops out of the dark sky, envelops Rangin and knocks him to the snowy ground.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 03 Dec 2022 at 12:43 AM.

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    Kylah shrieks Velir's name. Not again! Only a few months ago at the Sakath research station, he was attacked by a lunging Denebian Slime Beast, rescued only to be swarmed by the infected, newly cannibalistic Sakathians. And more recently there was the orbital skydiving accident that nearly killed him. Kylah had always tried to rush to his aid, but now she is so surprised by this thing that she is terror-stricken and useless. Finally she recovers and her clumsy, cold fingers fumble to exchange her communicator for her phaser--but she is probably too slow to help.

  29. #979
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    Adrenaline rush! The monstrous predator sweeping down right next to him irrationally freaks Mäkeläinen out, and for a beat leaves him frozen in horror he does not consciously comprehend.

    How best to respond? His first impulse is to safely knock it out before anyone gets hurt (worse). All he currently has in his hands is a tricorder. He has drugs that would probably do it. A phaser blast, of course, not that he would ever classify that as "perfectly safe".

    Immediately after: are there any more of them? He looks up into the night sky for anything discernible. If so, he attempts to dodge it. If nothing appears threatening... his initial hesitation may have already cost Rangin. What about Rawlings, who was standing right next to him? If no one else has taken down the manta ray, he decides to take the few seconds it takes to open his bag and prepare a dose of neural paralytic for a (fish? creature?) that size, which he will try to inject while it is distracted by its struggle with Rangin.

  30. #980
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    Graham's about to reply to Kylah, when...

    Fuck.

    Personal feelings about Rangin aside, it's Nia's mission, and in terms of professional pride both militate against letting him get eaten by some alien monster.



    "Rawlings, eyes up, covering fire!" Graham shouts. If anyone could manually wrestle this thing off Rangin, it would be his extra large colleague - but Graham's well aware of his broken arm.

    As he brings his phaser up he gives it an extra glance to ensure it is on stun. "Clear! Clear! I'm taking the shot..."

    He steps toward the prone figure as he does this--watching, before firing, for the position and reactions of Nia and Mäkeläinen before firing, since Rangin was in close proximity to them and running to help might be an instinctive reaction.

  31. #981
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    Everything in Nia's evolution has prepared her for predators--animals, anyway--and as tired and slow as she is, she sinks into a crouch with her phaser out aimed at that thing. Out of the corner of her eye she sees Booker has already got there, and in the unlikely possibility he doesn't hit this fucking thing, Rawlings might. Or the Doc; it'd be great if he has a tranq gun but that seems too much to ask.

    From one swift look at Kylah's obvious discomfort with a weapon, Nia can see she's no brilliant markswoman. Can't use a phaser, can't fight physically... how the hell does she keep getting picked for active duty onboard a starship? Why why why did they force her on me?

    Dismissing thoughts of just how many times Kylah's been proven extraneous on this mission, Nia stays low but backs away out of firing range; instead she uses her inborn instinct to search for other beasts that might threaten them, calling up her memory of the direction this animal came from. Her scales are slow to emerge, she notices, which is troubling, but maybe they're not helpful. She's not sure what lethal methods this creature uses on its prey anyway. She curses silently at not having any clue about what to expect...

    Shit. She literally just insulted Rangin for not doing his job.

    That's another useless thought she pushes away. "I'm clear, take the shot," Nia hisses, knowing the order is unnecessary. "Doc, get ready to move in to help as needed. Kylah, get out of everyone's way."

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    Before the doctor can reach it, Graham fires his phaser-1, set on stun, at the creature, which makes an odd warbling noise and then goes limp. Rangin is unavoidably caught in the nimbus of the phaser hit, and lies still.

    Three other identical creatures come down silently out of the dark. One heads for Kylah, one for Graham and another for Onn.

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    "A ghalla!" Bizhi swears crudely. He already knows for whom the bell tolls. Notwithstanding the uncharacteristic signs of perturbation and his initial surprise, he does not cease thinking and reacting quickly and decisively now. The hypo primed with a knockout dose already in his hand, he turns away from Rangin and gets ready to inject the next closest creature, the one closing in on Onn. A hypo-injector is no gun or ray, though; he will have to make contact for the dose to go in. Apparently the creatures are hard to see or hear coming, but he will also try to use it to defend himself should he get engulfed in the meantime, before the creature can pin him.

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    Kylah sees the beam from Lt. Graham's phaser before she even gets her own weapon ready, and she blesses his extraordinary skill in the seconds she has to contemplate it. To her frightened eyes, Velir's motionless body does not immediately strike her as "stunned," but rather perhaps harmed from this creature. Without hesitation she rushes forward to kneel by his prone figure, hoping to pull the animal off him.

    Then what little light there is above her disappears, and she looks up to see what seems like an ever-growing hole in the sky, blotting out the stars. When her distracted mind senses some random mental activity associated with it, she realizes that it is yet another creature, looming larger the nearer it gets. With a cry she scrabbles for her phaser and shoots blindly upwards.

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    As Nia expected, Booker handled the attacker with dispatch. And also as expected, she spots a shadow... no, a trio of shadows flying directly to their group. Sidonians are used to being on the alert--as are well-trained Starfleet officers. Cold and slowly suffocating, Nia's not lost her full capacity yet.

    Her arms keep her phaser sight linked to her steady gaze tracking the beast heading toward her. A wave of dizziness caused by the swift movement of her head threatens to break her concentration, but she blinks, holds her breath, and once she gets a bead on the target, presses the trigger.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 04 Dec 2022 at 10:43 PM.

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    "Circle up!" Graham shouts, moving toward his colleagues, trying to get a bead on the thingie approaching him.

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    Kylah misses, and the creature winging towards her swoops very close by, brushing her arm but not attacking her. It flaps several times and disappears again into the night. Rawlings shoots at it but also misses.

    Onn hits hers, and it falls out of the sky with a muffled thump upon the snow.

    Rawlings comes towards Graham, phaser-2 still at the ready. Graham himself now has a clear shot.

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    Mäkeläinen carefully circles back towards Rangin, with the intent of examining him (and the fallen creature, for that matter, now lying there like a landed fish) as soon as the coast is clear. He keeps an eye out for more creatures (plus who knows what might leap out of the woods) and a tight grip on his hypoinjector in case he gets attacked as well, or if Graham and Rawlings need his help.

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    Graham takes a shot at the oncoming creature.

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    Kylah jerks away when the creature grazes her arm, and as she rubs her sleeve she watches the creature fly toward the others. Her eyes search the sky wildly for anything else nearby, but realizes that there is not much she can do if more of these arrive.

    Instead she turns to Velir and, seeing Dr. Mäkeläinen kneeling to help him, tries to pull the relatively heavy creature off. She cannot stop thinking of that Denebian Slime Beast, also crowding Velir, and when she tried to help the Beast chomped into her wrist.

    She eyes the doctor beside her. "Thank you," she whispers, not quite sure why she does not wish to be heard. Well, it is embarrassing to have missed from such a small distance. "At least this... thing... is stunned and does not seem to have any dangerous defenses--poison-filled spikes or toxic slime or electricity or who knows what else."

    Kylah pauses. "'Who knows'?" she echoes softly, then answers her own question. "Velir would. He would know." Blinking away tears, she swallows and tries to steady herself, to be of some use. When she speaks her words are hushed but very rapid.

    "This may not matter--it is something you can see in his record anyway--but Vel--Lt. Rangin--was in a coma for a period of time after a skydiving incident where he lost life support. It was orbital skydiving, and we had suits on, but his malfunctioned--"

    She realizes too much detail is not needed. "He was not out very long, but it had a very bad effect on him due to this... this virus with which he had been infected earlier. It had been dormant, but seemed to have been triggered by his loss of consciousness and... and... mutated. The effects were... well, it is in his record," she repeats, staring tenderly down at Velir's face, then shifting to Dr. Mäkeläinen. "I just hope it would not be affected by this as well."

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    With no other immediate dangers visible, Nia drops her arms with a relieved exhale for a moment to rest. Her gaze sweeps the area to see what the others are doing. Security are handling Thing 1, Nia's already taken care of Thing 2, and Thing 3... seems to have escaped?

    Swiveling to Kylah, she stares in disbelief. That creature was right over her head. And she couldn't hit it? Nia makes a mental note to order her ass back to the target range for some phaser training, because that's some frickin' abysmal shooting.

    She braces herself and rises, more slowly than normal in order to avoid the inevitable head rush that seems to be accompanying every attempt at swift movement. Curious, she steps closer to the stunned creature nearby and gently prods its inert body with her boot-clad foot. Doesn't look like anything on Sidonia, at least not in this light. Nia's vision in the darkening twilight isn't what it should be. But most Sidonian animals--most lifeforms of any kind--have protection against the punishing heat and the rocky, sandy territory. Scales, chitin, claws, hooves. In what she knows is her highly inexpert judgment, the creatures look like marine animals. Maybe they must abandon their usual habitat when the lake freezes over?

    She backs up again and keeps her phaser aimed at it in case it recovers enough to renew its attack. Then again... were they attacking? Her eyebrows raise at the thought. Yikes, maybe this was just their version of a welcome wagon. Well, if so, we should be forgiven for thinking otherwise. They need to rethink their style of greeting.

    With a scowl she shakes off all thoughts of this distracting incident and remembers what was going on beforehand. She turns toward the direction of that land vehicle. "Doc," she says quietly, "If you get a chance after checking Rangin, maybe take his tricorder and scan the road for other approaching lifeforms? I want to know if we should be taking cover."

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    Leaving the loaded hypoinjector within reach for now, Dr. Mäkeläinen examines Lt. Rangin. He checks for obvious wounds or trauma first, then scans his body using his medical tricorder. Any toxins and venoms should show up, at least. The phaser blast itself—a single shot from a phaser set to stun should by itself do no permanent damage, even if it is enough to shock one into unconsciousness. He also glances at the ray-like creature to see if there are indeed no obvious stingers, and to note any movement which may indicate it is regaining consciousness (if none, he tries a brief scan of it to make sure it is still alive).

    He reacts to Kylah's account. "A latent virus?" he asks with interest. "Thank you for telling me. Let's make sure he is all right and waking up first. We will check him out thoroughly later for any lingering effects." It is true that sudden trauma can perturb the body's equilibrium, even if one has been living with a condition for years. Rangin should be all right, in all probability, but he will ask him about the relevant medical history after they are all safe, just in case.
    Last edited by stolz; 08 Dec 2022 at 10:27 PM.

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    Graham fires and hits. This creature makes the same odd warbling noise as the other, falls from the sky and lands with a thump on the snow.

    Dr. Mäkeläinen sees no wounds on or toxins in Rangin, who remains unconscious, but notes that the creature has four wickedly long, thin, curved fangs in its mouth. When the creature had wrapped up Rangin, its fangs would have been close to the young Coridanite man's throat. The creature, which is well-muscled and covered with a dense fur, still does not move.

    None of you see any more of the ray-like creatures against the night sky.

    The engine noise is getting even louder. Onn can now see a wide, low vehicle moving up the gentle slope of the hill towards the Starfleet party. Its two front lights have almost reached you.

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    Dr. Mäkeläinen's calm and welcoming response to Kylah's information is gratifying. The last time she tried to explain Velir's unique situation to one of the Yorktown's other doctors, she was coldly, officiously dismissed. She cannot help a quick warm smile before returning to helping pull the creature off Velir.

    When Dr. Mäkeläinen examines its mouth to reveal those cruel fangs, she inhales sharply in alarm at the near-miss--both for Velir and herself. Again she rubs her arm as if still able to feel that animal brushing against her. Fortunately Lt. Graham has stunned what appears to be the last of the group.

    "How long will he be unconscious?" she asks, glancing from Velir to Lt. Graham. "I mean--I know how stuns work, but what level stun--" She shakes her head inarticulately. "It will not take an hour for him to revive, will it, sir? Just fifteen minutes?"

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    Nia bunches the blanket more tightly around her. She didn't notice the fur on the animal until now. Even after all these years, fur's somewhat of a novelty to her--nothing on Sidonia has such soft covering. It looks so blissfully warm and comfortable. If only she could skin the thing and bury herself in its pelt.

    "G-good shot," she says to Booker, though her eyes are still on the road. But she hears Kylah's question and raises an eyebrow. Rangin's stun duration isn't what they need to be worried about. He won't wake up and try to attack them. Presumably. But these beasts will, and she's not looking forward to standing around stunning them all night.

    Meanwhile, the advancing vehicle will arrive before the creatures are further concern. "Damn it, I really wanna know what to expect here. Doc, if you're busy--Kylah, pass me that tricorder. Or grab it and run a scan, if you know how." The last comment's rather snarky, but it's not unwarranted. Rangin's tricorder is programmed differently, with its own options unique to his specialty. Nia's an experienced engineer, she's used to improvising. She's much less confident in Kylah's ability to adapt to new tools.

    While holding her trembling hand out to Kylah, she aims her words at Booker again. "Lieutenant, we're vulnerable as hell out here. Do you suggest cover or not?"

    Cover. Oh holy mother, how she wants a cover. The fur will do, as would just about anything other than this blanket that's reflecting only her meager body heat back at her. It's better than nothing, of course. Still... Please, please let this be the rescue group. Or just nice strangers? Anything but hostiles.

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    Graham rubs his forehead before replying to Kylah. "Not long - I wouldn't set a phaser to heavy stun unless we were expecting something really big, or shielded, or somehow resistant..."

    But Nia and the oncoming vehicle command his attention. "Thanks, and I--". He pauses. "You're in command. I think we're in a pickle out here...your, ah, condition, the cold, these friggin' things that will also wake up soon...I'd take our chances, but--if you think the team can manage it...". He pauses. "I can run out and draw whoever-it--is-s attention, while you all can slide off into the dark and, ah, wait to see how that pans out."

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    Dr. Mäkeläinen finishes examining Lt. Rangin. He covers him back up, picks up Rangin's tricorder as he rises and wordlessly passes it up to Kylah. There are obviously some issues or history between the two women, but he is not sure exactly what. He would have been happy to run the lifeform scan himself, as Nia originally asked, but if the increasingly impatient Lieutenant insists on doing it herself, he is not going to argue.

    He announces, "It was a close thing, but Mr. Graham's shot stunned the creature before it was able to do any damage." I assume that M. would have a pretty good idea of how long it should be before one wakes up from a phaser blast, so he tells them. "He needs to rest in a warm bed, though; unconsciousness affects thermoregulation, and we were all freezing to begin with. We must try to get a ride with these people. Hopefully it's not the wildlife patrol."

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    Nia looks at Booker as steadily as she can with a trembling body and a deep desire to wrap herself up in a ball and fall asleep curled next to one of these fur-creatures. Her hand clutching the blanket... she can't even feel her fingers.

    With a stumbling gait she steps tentatively closer. "I trust your judgment. We're stuck with Rangin here anyway--I don't think Kylah and the doc are able to drag him to cover, and Rawlings can't help, and I--I'm not sure I--" Her throat closes and she swallows hard to get herself in order.

    She speaks softly. "The truth is, I'm gonna have to rely on you more. It's just...the time may come... well..." Struggling for words, she shrugs the topic away. "Later. For now--you make the call. Please."

    Mäkeläinen's words interrupt her piercing gaze, and with reluctance she switches it to face the doctor. "Good points. If you're done with him for now, Doc, I'd rather you run the scan. You'll be better at it than anyone currently conscious." She's glad to tuck her tired, outstretched arm back beneath the blanket.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 10 Dec 2022 at 08:43 PM.

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    Mäkeläinen obviously knows his way around a tricorder: it is a versatile tool used in practically every routine medical examination. He probably knows what to do with a sciences tricorder, and he is no stranger to firmware mods, either. In any case, a directed scan for life forms (location, number of individuals, their general type whether humanoid, mammal, fish, etc.) is one of its standard functions, and Rangin's tricorder should be able to scan the approaching vehicle at this range. They do not have much time until the vehicle is right on top of them, perhaps only moments, but he runs the scan and tells Nia what they are dealing with, and tries to squeeze in a scan for energy sources as well, for she and Graham will want to know all about any weapons they may be carrying. He really hopes there will not be any friction, though. Logically, they are the intruders and interlopers here, having landed (in a sense) on Ollos without clearance, and if the occupants of that crawler (or whatever it is) have any sensors or performed the same type of scan he just did, they would have noticed a motley crew carrying a bunch of powered instruments including lethal weapons which have just been fired.

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    Kylah recognizes the condescension in Lt. Onn's remark without any empathic abilities--in truth, for some reason the older woman's emotions feel increasingly remote: an effect typical when someone is falling asleep or moving far away. Odd, since Lt. Onn is neither asleep nor doing anything but standing only a couple of meters away.

    Regardless, Lt. Onn's tossed-off words are embarrassing. Kylah's face burns as she reaches for the tricorder, until instead the nod is given to Dr. Mäkeläinen. Which is the more logical choice, but...

    While the doctor uses the device, Kylah remains kneeling and slowly slips her hand into Velir's, giving his fingers an encouraging squeeze. (The encouragement, in truth, is for both of them--perhaps her more than him, since she is the one who is awake.) She turns to look over her shoulder in the direction of the approaching vehicle. Of course she notices what appears to be Lt. Onn's sudden private words with Lt. Graham. Though concerned, Kylah still cannot sense anything from Lt. Onn, nor can she see their faces in the dark.

    Kylah just flicks her wary gaze back and forth from the doctor to the looming headlights, distractedly brushing her thumb across Velir's fingers and waiting to learn about this vehicle--one way or another.

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