Characters: Katia Santiago, Dr. Robert Evers, Miina Awenata
Having just been summoned by the Chief Engineer, Miina made her way to Katia’s office. “Chief? You called for me?” she said as she entered.
Katia looked up to Miina, and pulled out of her thoughts about the ships current situation and Shaver’s dissappearance. “Ah, yes, Miina,” she answered and motioned to the chair on the other side of her desk, “Please, sit….”
“Was there something in particular you wished me work on?” Miina asked.
The Chief Engineer looked down at the padd she was holding. “We were able to bring back several items of interest from the White Star. Items that I feel might help to enlighten us as to what it was that caused the damage…or at least give us an idea how we can prevent the same fate from happening here. What I need is for you to lead a team in the investigation of the….,” just as she was trying to continue, her link beeped and she sighed in exasperation.
Katia tapped her link and answered with a sigh, “Santiago here, go.”
Meanwhile, Miina sat and waited patiently for the end of the Chief’s instructions.
Over the link, they both heard, “Santiago, Awenata, Matsumoto, Darquin, Evers and Brannon. Report immediately to the shuttlebays.”
Katia cursed to herself silently and opened her mouth to protest, then thought better of it and replied, “Aye, sir.” The she tapped her link and closed the channel.
“It would seem the Captain has other plans,” Miina said quietly.
Katia nodded, “Yes, I suppose so. We can worry about this later, I guess.” Her dissatisfaction plainly could be heard in her tone. With that, Katia stood up. “Well, let’s go….” She said as she headed toward the door, Miina following close behind.
Katia listened to the Captain as she explained where they would be going, and the Chief Engineer couldn’t believe the Captain would route them away from the current investigation to check out the planet, but she realized it was not for her to argue. There was no reason for it, in her opinion, but she knew that the Captain must have some reason.
Miina looked to the others and found herself wondering about the combination of people and positions in the teams. She could tell Katia wasn’t happy with the situation by looking at her face. Miina began to wonder, almost nervously, whether she was actually questioning a command decision or was merely intrigued by the personnel groupings.
Katia stalked over to the shuttle and glances around at the six member team, one shuttle pilot and two security along with Katia, Miina, and Evers. Macgregor was already on his way out in his ship.
“All right, everyone, we need to do some exploring, let’s see what this planet holds. If we have to go, let’s try to make it quick.” Miina nodded, hoping she could help Katia–that they could help each other deal with the strangeness of the mission the planet below.
Katia could sense Miina was confused with the situation as well and closed down her senses yet again, knowing she was letting them slip a bit in her anger.
The Security Officers nodded and checked out their gear then entered shuttle. Miina waited until Santiago followed the Security people and pilot in and then stepped inside the shuttle herself. Katia glanced up at Evers and Awanata, “Do you two have your gear?”
Evers answered first, “Yup, I’ve got everything I need.” He held up his pack with a grin. “Ready whenever you guys are!”
“Yes, Chief,” Miina answered as she set her gear down at her feet, under the seat, strapping it in first.
Once she saw that everyone else was situated, Katia sat down and strapped herself in. Then she began the briefing. “Okay, here is the situation. I have looked over the readings from the planet and it seems to be a fairly temperate climate, so we will not have to worry about that. But, there seem to be two sites of unknown disturbance on the surface that we are going to check out. We need to be ready for anything.” The two nodded, knowing this already from the Captain’s briefing, but realizing Katia needed something to focus on to relax a bit as the shuttle took off.
The shuttle landed and as soon as it did, Katia unlatched the harness and stood quickly. It had been a quiet trip down to the planet as many unspoken questions hung in the air. They sat silently even through the turbulance they had come through as they entered the atmosphere. Evers had tried to make a few jokes about the situation, but the crowd was being incredibly tough. The pilot said the turbulence was from the gravimetric interference from all the planetary activity and not to worry, but the crew in the shuttle worried nonetheless.
Security immediately stood and headed toward the door as the shuttle settled in place. The woman in charge of the security team turned and said, “We will secure a perimeter outside and then you can follow.”
Katia nodded, “Understood….”
The Away Team began pulling their gear from the storage area and readied themselves for exiting the shuttle. The shuttle pilot stood and said, “I will stay here and keep an eye on the shuttle while you do your investigation.”
“That works, we will need to keep the shuttle ready in case we need to leave suddenly.”
“Yes, in light of what we have seen happen,” Miina replied, “that would be most….” She paused for a moment and then said instead, “Good idea.”
The security officer peeked his head in the door. “Perimeter is secure, Sir. Ready anytime you are. Nothing within a quarter kilometer…but we can’t be sure beyond that. The sensors seem to fade at that point.”
Katia smiled over at Miina, noticing a change in the young woman and planned on mentioning it to her later, hoping they could deepen the friendship. She stepped out of the shuttle and looked around at the plateau they landed on, looking at all the plush greenery around. Miina exchanged glances with the Chief and smiled in return with a nod. Then Miina followed Santiago out the open door, Evers toting his medpack and several other items as he brought up the rear.
The three of them stopped and looked around in awe at the lush greenery surrounding them. It was beautiful with a lush undergrowth and many trees offering shade on an already shaded planet. They all pulled out their scanners and began checking out the area. It was easy to see why the Vorlons had chosen this world as one to populate. But what had happened to make them leave? There were no signs of habitation which meant there hadn’t been anyone there for many years, decades, maybe centuries.
Katia finally motioned in the area they needed to go. “It should be about a kilometer in that direction,” she said, leading the way. “The sooner we check it out, the sooner we can return to the ship.”
Copyright (c) 1998 Judy Caswell and Tamara Friese. All rights reserved.