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Cube Conundrum

Posted on Sun Oct 10th, 2021 @ 12:42pm by Petty Officer 2nd Class Halla Dezom (*) & Commander Christopher Mitchell

Mission: Cosmos
Location: Rannadus Prime
Timeline: January 2397
1513 words - 3 OF Standard Post Measure

Halla couldn't fall asleep as she lay inside her tent staring up at the black out fabric of the tent wishing she could see the skies of Rannadus. No matter how hard she tried, excitement kept her eyes open as she thought of the archaeological dig just out there waiting for them in the morning. It was exciting to be doing something different after the holiday season.

She felt more than silly because she was positively wired thinking on all the scientific stuff that could be discovered on a dig like this. The Commodore had answered the request from the colonist to help the researchers but she had never considered herself an option until Ensign Karis had asked her to keep an eye on the Cadets. She sat up on the cot and looked at the tent flap. The Trill was usually not an impulsive person. But she did an impulsive thing at that moment. She jumped up out of bed, still in her star fleet issued PJs. She was actually sneaking out of the tent! She couldn't believe herself. She hadn't even done anything like this as a teenager. Laughter threatened to bubble up but she kept it inside. She didn't want to be heard by anyone but stopped as she heard someone else’s tent openings.

Christopher couldn't sleep either. It was for a different reason, however; he wasn't used to sleeping off-ship. The cave back on New Rixx had been hard, but necessary. This was less stressful yet somehow more difficult to manage. Part of him wondered if Alexis' presence had actually made it a little easier the last time.

"Who-" he squinted in the dark. "Ah. Petty Officer. You can't sleep either?" he asked softly.

“Good evening Sir.” She said standing up straighter as she lent back inside and grabbed her blanket doing the tent flap back up so her room mate would not be disturbed. “Not really. I am excited. I have not been on a dig for a long time. It’s one of my favourite things.”

"Is that right?" he mused with a slight smile. "I must admit, exploration is one of the reasons I'm in Starfleet. Seeing new worlds and new life's exciting. And reminds us how special we are to be able to witness it. Right?"

“I used Starfleet to escape Trill and the cult of symbionts but I found that I really enjoyed science and archaeological digs and research.” She left out that her IQ should have let her join the officer program without hesitation but she had not wanted to wait for the next intake. “We have not been doing much of that recently,” she admitted. It had been all bombings and viruses.

"You're not wrong. But your contribution has been invaluable. I heard from Commander Agrax about what you did back on Daucina. Saved some lives. That's using science the right way, isn't it?" he glanced around the stars above them. It was so different to seeing them from the viewing port on a starship. Somehow it felt more natural.

"I did but I do not want to make a big thing. I got really lucky." She said relieved that the darkness would hide her blushes. "She wants me to do the officer training program with her as my sponsor but I am not sure if I want to go that route." The woman admitted with a shrug. She was content with where her life was at the moment, everything seemed to be fitting into where they were meant to be.

"You could do worse as sponsors go," he smiled. "And I'm sure the Major wouldn't mind, if it's not too inappropriate for me to say so."

"I know I could and it's not really her that I am reluctant about as I think she is amazing its just is it really me." The woman levelled him a look. "Well, I guess everyone knows about us huh?" She wondered relieved that the darkness hid her blushes. She was not sure why she was blushing, it was not like they were being discreet anymore.

"A few. It's a small ship, and people talk. Though...probably not to the Major's face, at least." He looked up as something flashed across the sky. "Huh. Shooting star." He gave her a conspiratorial look. "Want to go take a look and see if we can find it?"

"I will grab a torch." She agreed grinning as she moved back to her tent and grabbed up the torch that she should have brought with her in the first place. "Lead the way, Sir."

Grinning, Christopher scooped up his own flashlight and tricorder and started them off in the direction the meteor seemed to have been falling. A quick check of the tricorder scan suggested it wasn't far. "Interesting, barely a mile away yet we didn't hear or feel an impact. Maybe it landed in a lake or something. What do you think?"

“Well there was a lake just in the other side of the ridge but I do not think it was close enough.” The Trill said stepping carefully as she remembered it was all rocky terrain outside of where they had made camp. “This is leading away from the dig site.” She reminded as she looked up at the two moons.

"I know, but we won't go too far if that's what you're worried about." He was feeling positive about the chance to explore a little. "We'll be back before anyone knows we're gone."

“Oh I meant that as in it is not the same direction as where all the other activity has been. It’s off the beaten track. No one is going to miss me. How about you Sir?” She wondered with a glint in her eyes.

"Let me tell you Chief, if the landing party can't cope without their leader for a couple of hours then they don't deserve to," he chuckled. "There's a reason they stopped letting Captains lead away missions; it's so their XO gets to suffer the fools that can't pull up their pants without someone in charge telling them to." He glanced at her and winked.

"I am sure the Commodore would have love to come down here." Halla grinned as she stopped seeing a strange light in the distance. "Does not look like any shooting star I have seen." She used to study them on Trill so knew what they looked like once they hit earth and it was not to glow strangely.

"Elevated exotic matter readings..." he replied, looking at his own tricorder briefly. "Nothing close to toxic levels though." He shuffled forward a little more steadily than before, pushing aside some of the foliage to see if they could get a better look at things. Beyond them lay a crater probably about twenty feet across. Some of the plant life had been scorched and burned, but nothing was on fire. Aside from the scent of smoke and the glow it hadn't left much damage. There, in the middle of it, however, lay not a jagged rock but a single metallic black cube - almost perfectly formed aside from a large crack along the side where the strange blue light was emanating from.

Halla looked from her own tricorder to the man and nodded. It all seemed the same on hers but the damage was unreal. She had never seen anything so much damage from something so small. "Not seen anything like that before. Have you?" She demanded holding her flashlight on the ground so as not to trip getting closer as the glow from the cube was enough to illuminate the immediately around it.

"Not ever," he agreed, taking a few half-steps nearer. "Feels warm, though there are barely any thermal readings coming off it. Wonder what that is?" he continued, eyes flicking between the strange object and his tricorder readings.

"Not a clue Sir." Halla crouched to looked better at it. "No damage from its descent either from the look of it." She glanced at the cube again and then the route it had taken through the trees and dirt to where it had stopped.

"That is strange. Like it somehow slowed its descent. But...that's impossible, isn't it? At least for an inert rock." He stared at the cube. "Okay, so probably not an inert rock. That implies intelligence." He took another cautious half step. The glow brightened, almost sensing his proximity. "It's reacting. Maybe we should-" Just as Christopher turned back towards Halla to discourage her from getting any nearer, a flash lit up the night's sky. In that moment, Christopher disappeared completely from view.

The woman shrugged not at all sure what it meant but they were going to have to find out. Halla was about to commented that she was going to move back when the light blinded her for a second and then the man was not where he should have been.. “Sir? Christopher? Commander?” The Trill yelled loudly hearing voices behind them as people heard the yelling.


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