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Up up and away

Posted on Tue Jun 18th, 2024 @ 1:27am by Lieutenant JG Toareth Rouen (née Darqa) & Commander Naois Mercy MD & Lieutenant Amelia Fox & Lieutenant Faith Hawkins & Lieutenant JG Jasmine Brooks

1,348 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: Fortuna
Location: Shuttle bay

Naois waited next to the shuttle, watching as his team arrived. Would the chief medical officer bring the equipment the captain had mentioned, he wondered. EV suits were indeed cumbersome, but how safe would a kind of forcefield be? And how would it allow them to breathe?

Brooks made her way quickly up the shuttle ramp. She hated being late but always seemed to lately. She had had difficulties getting her EV on which slowed her down. To her surprise, only Commander Mercy was present. "Erm, hello Commander." She said awkwardly.

Her first away mission on Britannic. With her battered, well travelled tool case in hand, Faith arrived in the shuttle bay. She would have preferred the transporter, but a shuttle it was to be. Normally Faith could deal with it, for a short period. Just. At least she wouldn't have to wear one of those wretched environmental suits. That was a huge sigh of relief. A few last minute preparations were in order, so Faith gave the shuttle a final once over.

Toraeth entered the shuttle bay. She pulled along, a cart with medical and analytical equipment. Of course her personal satchel hung from her shoulder. In one hand she held her personal SEVAAC Field belt. Setting the equipment cart to the side, she palmed her tricorder and started a back and forth between scanning her field belt and tapping away at it, punching in commands and the like.

"SEVAAC Field belts," she said. She did not like them personally and would have preferred EV suits but the belts were the captain's orders. And since the captain himself was also a doctor..."Doctor's orders." She stopped tapping at her Tricorder and addressed the few already present. Toareth took an additional glance at Jasmine, in her EV suit, figuring she had not gotten the memo; no EVs this time. "I am going to remodulate the shield frequencies of all our belts to the same modulation. That way, we can interact, hand equipment back and forth, hold hands, sing kumbaya, things like that without causing shield impacts, cyclical shield feedback resonations, or any other adverse effects." She stood to the side and continued her work on the belt.

Not an engineer by a long shot, the XO cast her a concerned look. "Why would you want to sing...kumbaya?" He queried, not even knowing what it was, exactly, "and how do we keep breathing?"

"The protective field allows only preprogrammed particulates through coming in and it lets everything out the leaves the body. If I were to program these things to disallow the passage of O2, yes, we would all suffocate. If I told it to allow on O2, we might burn up. By default, thought, these things allow O2, CO2, Nitrogen, and others naturally found on M-Class planets." Toareth was still working away at her own belt. "I am programming mine to disallow all bio life forms, no viruses, no bacteria, no spores, as well as no ammonia, methane and the like from getting inside the field. They will still allow everything out. So...uh...if you...uh..." she shrugged and nodded her head inclined behind her hoping to indicate her intent to meaning 'pass gas', "...well then, that is allowed out."

Amelia was in navigational control when she received the summons to the shuttle bay for an away mission. She immediately headed for the shuttle bay. When she entered she saw several crew members including the XO standing prepping one of the shuttlecraft for departure. She headed over to the Xo and came to attention. "Lieutenant Fox reporting as ordered.... Sir."

"Take the helm," he ordered Fox, "start pre-flight while we board." He offered the faintest of smiles towards Toar. "That is good to know doctor," he offered wryly, "once everyone is aboard we will depart."

Toareth nodded to the man and started for the shuttle. As she passed him, "Sir?" and she held out her hand hoping to work on his protective belt next. "I am finished with mine. I want to load my parameters onto yours next." Taking into account his stature of course.

Her checks now complete, Faith considered delaying the inevitable a little longer. "Accidentally" knocking over her tool case. Running back to engineering to get something she'd "forgotten". No. That would probably make things too obvious. Toareth probably had her suspicions after Faith's panic attack in the access shaft. Also, either course of action would just delay the inevitable. Not make the journey any shorter. After a deep breath, Faith climbed aboard the shuttle. Sat down at her station. Tool case stowed next to her. "Why me? Why not...anyone else?" she thought to herself. A pause. "Keep it together Faith." At least Toareth was there. One face she considered familiar, friendly. Maybe, just maybe, trustworthy.

Amelia acknowledged the XO and Torath and headed into the shuttle. She was glad that her friend was accompanying them on the away mission. She was still getting to know the other senior officers. She settled in at the helm and began preparing the shuttle for takeoff.

Toareth was working away at the XO's belt in her hand, copying her own parameters onto his. "This will be a pretty straight forward mission," she said to the others in the shuttle. Through her empathy, she could feel tension from Faith and a sense of familiarity from Amelia; which she was still wondering how and why Toareth herself found Amelia, familiar at the same time. "We do not know what we are dealing with, but rest assured...we will find the answer."Toareth stopped what she was doing long enough to fetch her hypospray from her satchel and hit herself with it on the back of her neck. She flexed her neck from side to side, working the medication forth.

"Indeed," Naois answered, casting her a long look but saying nothing - yet- as he watched her. "And that is why we are heading down there, to find a cause, a cure, and if possible a vaccine so this will never happen again." He looked around. "If everyone is ready, then we should move. We have wasted enough time already. Time, these people do not have."

After attracting Naois' attention, Toareth held up his protective belt and tossed it back to him with a nod that she had entered the parameters correctly. "Lieutenant Fox?" she said to Amelia, indicating she needed her protective belt so as to copy the parameters again.

Amelia turned her head and smiled at Toareth as she held out her belt for her. The control panel in front of her beeped drawing her attention back to it. "Preflight is complete, all systems are fully operational. Ready for takeoff."

Toareth did not look up from her work on Amelia's belt but heard the last of her medical team settling aboard. "All medical equipment is loaded; personnel are aboard." She continued her work as her tricorder whirled and the belt beeped away its acceptance of parameters. She loaded the same settings she did for her and Naois' belts only changing the user. In this case, Amelia, and Toareth used the computer's most recent medical scan of Amelia for her size and weight. As long as she did not gain five or more pounds since her last scan, all would be well. "Lieutenant Fox," she said as she held Amelia's belt back out toward her. She then reached out for a belt at random. It did not matter who.

"Doctor, please continue while we are in transit," Naois ordered as he claimed the co-pilot seat, "we have no time to lose. Lieutenant Fox, set course for the colony.."

"Aye Sir." Amelia replied and signalled the control booth in the shuttle bay. She watched as the blue glow of the forcefield snapped on as the shuttle bay doors began to open. The shuttle's engines hummed to life as it lifted off from the deck and proceeded through the open doors and into space.

"We're on course. E.T.A. to landing 10 minutes." Amelia reported.


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