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Larger than Life

Posted on Mon Jun 10th, 2024 @ 1:40pm by Lieutenant JG Toareth Rouen (née Darqa) & Captain Qa'ada MD & Commander Naois Mercy MD & Lieutenant JG René Rouen & Ensign Willa Baker

1,853 words; about a 9 minute read

Mission: Fortuna
Timeline: Stardate 52981.8

Planetary Information:

The planet Xachara, is an O-Class planet in a thinly populated solar system with only six other planets. Xachara is about 1.75 times larger than Earth and its gravity is about .93 times that of Earth. A single day lasts 28.00 hours and a year lasts 154 days. The planet is made up of 2 continents, which make up 18% of the planet's landmass. 4 moon(s) orbit the planet and Xachara itself orbits a white sun in a wide, elliptic orbit.

The plant-like organisms on this planet are mostly flowers, grasses and odd types of fungi. These species make up the lower organism layers, but many of them are eerily similar to each other to the point of being almost indistinguishable. Several plant species have evolved to release seeds around the area when consumed, which are either swept away with the wind or get stuck on the animal to be taken away and thus ensure the species can continue to grow in other areas. Trees, in many different sizes, make up most of the upper layers, but there are some species of shrubs and bushes as well.

While most living organisms don't have to fear being completely destroyed when eaten by animals, some have made sure they will survive by evolving to taste horrible, by growing thorns or by being poisonous. Corals, or what closely resembles corals, cover the bottom of almost every body of water, both lakes and oceans. Their beauty and the unique properties of this planet's waters make for some of the most impressive natural spectacles.

Colony Information

The Fortuna Colony was built at the center of a relatively small island and its beauty is matched by the backdrop of modest hills which have helped shape the city to what it is today. The climate these hills brought were of great importance, but they were also influential and impacted the architectural designs of the colony as the vast majority of buildings have been built in shapes and with elements of the hills around them.

The skyline is spreading, but incorporates few large buildings with none larger than five levels. Life is great at Fortuna Colony and it has attracted a lot of attention, despite the recent Dominion War. Multiple cultures have settled at Fortuna and impacted the colony's identity, but Humans are the largest population at 67% of the populace. The Fortuna Colony often attracts visitors due to its tropical climate with its bars, clubs, and restaurants offering a plethora of culinary choices and those who feel hungry. Water sports, tours, and an amusement park are among the many other recreational venues available for guests.

Captain's Log, Stardate 52981.8:

The Britannic has arrived at planet Xachara, home to the Federation's Fortuna Colony, in response to their distress call. While many may consider the treatment of a viral infection caused by Melvaran Mud Fleas beneath a dedicated medical ship, the number of deaths caused by the treatment has become a true concern. We're preparing an away team to investigate.

Meanwhile, elsewhere aboard the ship, several Human crew members are celebrating the Christmas holiday. I plan to visit the Chemistry Department's Christmas Party, schedule permitting.

Captain Qa'ada sat in the Captain's Chair on the Bridge of the Britannic watching as the large, blue world appeared on the viewscreen. Planet Xachara was one of the most beautiful and peaceful worlds in the galaxy. Xachara was, as many races would describe it, a paradise and was a popular vacation world. You would never have guessed such a thing today though. Right now, no vessels orbited the planet. It's starport, an older K-Series station, had a single starship docked at it.

"Standard orbit and sensor scan, please," the Captain ordered as they approached the large planet, the shimmering blue orb taking over the viewer.

Toareth was pouring over planetary information. She was sitting at the CMO station of the Bridge, still getting used to being the CMO, eventhough it was only an acting position. She was wondering how a planet, larger than Earth could have less gravity. Because it was less dense, she found out. Despite being a rocky planet with a molten core, it was, however less dense. Its core was burning hotter than Earth which balanced out the temperature as Xachara's orbit was generally further away from its sun than Earth's. 'Generally' because its elliptical orbit brought Xachara almost as close to its sun as Earth travels to its own, but Xachara would then travel out to a distance to join its jovian counterparts.

'Hotter and less dense' Toareth thought. That only concluded that Xachara was far younger than Earth, perhaps a several million years into its own Phanerozoic Eon. This was a time when many organisms were still coming out of the soil from far underground and joining life on the surface. And the fact that many of the species of plants were very similar to each other, nearly indistinguishable, could mean that evolution was happening on the internal biological level but not yet in physical appearance. She could not rule out that possibility that this was also happening to insectoids and other life forms as well, other than plants. Perhaps an answer lied somewhere in there.

Sample analyses from one organism could probably be far different than sample readings from another, but there was little avenue to find out without sampling every single life form on the planet. Two different oragnisms that looked identical could have prevented sample takers from testing both. And, therefore, kept them from realizing they were looking at two very different organisms.

Toareth looked up from her terminal at the captain, whose attention was on the viewscreen. She wanted to speak up but only had theories and hypotheses, nothing concrete. She wanted something definite to report and remained silent for the moment as she continued pouring over the vast information regarding Xachara.

Naois was going over the data as well, occasionally glancing up to take in those present on the bridge. It would be mere minutes before the would arrive at their destination. "Helm, prepare for standard orbit," he ordered as he got to his feet. "Captain, do you intend to join the away teams?"

"I will leave the honor to you, Commander," the Aurelian answered as he looked at the viewscreen. "I can better coordinate from here. Please prepare a team based on your perceived needs for this mission."

"I need to be down there," Toareth spoke up from her terminal without looking up from it. "Sir," she added to properly finish her statement. She finally looked away from her work and turned her attention to the command team. "I require hands-on, eyes-on, first-hand examinations to properly remedy this situation in a timely manner."

The bird-like alien motioned toward the Doctor, "There's one."

"Indeed there is," Naois answered sagely, "but the doctor's presence was a given. I also require the presence of the chief of science, perhaps security for our protection and depending on our means of transport, a pilot."

"Entirely at your discretion, Commander," the Aurelian answered as he looked at the viewscreen. He was curious who from the crew the Commander would pick. It wasn't a test, but it was a method of seeing the Commander's preparedness.

"Doctor Rouen, Lieutenant Rouen, Lieutenant Fox will pilot. I also require Doctor Knight and Miss Brooks from science. If additional people are needed, I will contact the ship. All are required to wear hazmat suits for protection."

René paged the standby tactical officer to the bridge and went to stand with the XO once his relief took over.

"I will have CWO Keselowski take over medical for now," said Toareth. She realized she needed to do some selection to find her assistant CMO. For the time being, her warrant officer would have to fill in. She paged Sick Bay for someone to report to the Bridge.

"A good group," the Captain confirmed after having heard the XO's assignments. He pressed a series of controls on the keyboard of the Captain's Chair, "I've released access to a cargo container that was brought aboard with me from the Bradbury. With the Britannic now part of D-14, you have access to additional equipment not in wide use throughout the rest of the Federation. Life support belts will be prepared that you may use on this mission instead of the cumbersome hazmat suits."

The Captain didn't specify what they were, but the life-support belts were an older technology that had been repurposed and restricted to D-14 in the early 25th Century. Known as the Starfleet Extra Vehicular Activity Atmospheric Containment Field, or ‘Life
Support Belt,’ the devices were designed originally to allow for users to operate outside of the protective hull of a starship. Unlike EVA suits, the life support belt wasn't bulky and didn’t hamper movement or fine motor control. Powered by an internal power pack, the devices generated a thin forcefield around the user and produced purified oxygen through an emitter assembly on the belt. The only risk would be the battery fully draining (they had a 12-hour charge) or a Phaser blast.

"I recommend that the Chief Engineer join you on this mission," the Captain added. "If there's a problem with production of the treatment, the Lieutenant's probably our best candidate to help."

"I agree," the XO answered without pause. He seemed to blanch a little upon his next decision. "We will take a shuttle," he added, "everyone meet me in the bay in thirty minutes." That should give everyone enough time to prepare.

"Good hunting," the Captain said as he took the Captain's Chair.

Toareth had already sent a message to Sick Bay for Kez to take over Sick Bay for the time, and the send a the next highest rank to the Bridge to operation the station there. She stood from her terminal as Rene stepped by and followed her husband out and away from the Bridge.

Willa sat and listened in silence. She did not enjoy the mention of her senior officer. Ever since their disagreement, Faith had permanently posted Willa to the bridge. Eight hours a day in the exact same spot. Well, seven, minus her lunch break. It was mostly boring, but the conversations between the senior staff could be interesting. So it balanced out. It was also better than the alternatives.

René thought about the mission for a moment. "I would recommend hand phasers instead of phaser pistols. They are easier to conceal so we'll look less threatening considering the circumstances."

Captain Qa'ada looked over at the Executive Officer, "I'll leave that decision in your hands, Commander."

"Make it so," the XO ordered, "we need to be able to defend ourselves in any circumstance."

"Aye sir." Rene nodded. "I'll head to the arms room and draw weapons. I'll meet the away team in the shuttle bay in five." Rene boarded the turbolift to procure the weapons as the XO finished the final preparations for departure.

As the Away Team made their preparations to depart, the bird-like Captain retook his Captain's Chair and watched the viewscreen carefully, wondering what they would find.


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