Episode 1: Hell is a four letter word
Location: Type 9 Shuttle Code named Agememnon
Timeline: MD4 11h00
The five shuttles exited the Shuttle bay, and after momentary paused, jumped to warp along their proposed courses.
As the ship went to warp, Gallia began to recalibrate the sensors as Kara had instructed, "Brilliant idea, love." She said to the engineer not present, turning to Nerinath, "Chief Engineer, my fiance, real bright one." She didn't know why she felt the sudden need to mark her territory, maybe the 'gorgeous captain' remark hit harder than she realized.
"There." She smiled as she completed the adjustment, "Now we can track any anomolies, might lead us to the Captain."
Listening to the conversation the same sort of smile found it's way across Joachim's face. He delighted in the amount of tension around him, the feeling of the crew was exhilarating. Normally he would have to probe at least a little, but it seemed those around him wore their emotions on their sleeve. This was going to be an interesting little trip.
Gallia turned to Lt. Singh, "Do you have any instructions to relay?" She asked, recognizing that, as ranking officer, Singh was the Captain on this shuttle. Captain Counselor, this should be interesting.
"Don't crash and keep your eyes open," Joachim said with a smirk. He had yet to consider that he was the highest ranking officer there, though he was used to people asking for his opinion in matters, so it didn't feel at all awkward, even if his response was more than a little sardonic.
the Andorian at helm snorted. "Don't puke on the seats" she shot back. "ETA to search quadrant is 3 hours. I suggest you all take a rest while we travel."
"Sounds a winner.' Gallia agreed, stretching out on the deck, her jacket converted to a pillow. Her sleep had been poor the night before, dreams about gorgeous captains tormenting her subconscious.
For his part, Joachim leaned back in his chair and closed his milky eyes. Sleep was unlikely but he could meditate easily enough. It would pass the time and leave him rested enough. It would also leave him just aware enough of his surroundings to act should the need arise, something he doubted.
===3 hours later===
Neri called out their exit to warp and brought the shuttle to a stop. "Sensors are go" she muttered as she turned the shuttle in a tight circle for their own visual inspection.
Gallia, somehow having managed to get a decent nap on the deck, sat up, stretched, and checked the sensors, "Nothin' outta the ordinree yet..."
"As if we would find anything in the first few seconds," Joachim said getting to his feet to stretch his thin frame. "Best to keep our eyes open all the same. Leave no stone unturned, so to speak."
Neri nodded and turned the shuttle in a tight loop. And she frowned. "Uh... lieutenants??" She said. "I think we have an issue."
There not 30,00klicks away was a rogue planetoid.
Gallia had been about to rip into Singh about that slick little comment, but was now distracted by much bigger things; she'd tell him about his ass later. Turning the scanners onto the planetoid she groaned, "Well, doesnae this just take the piss?" She began to read the scan data vigorously, hoping for some pertinent information.
Joachim glanced to the woman for a moment, noting the unique use of language. "Well, is someone going to say something about what you're gawking at, or do I need to link my PADD to the shuttle's computer to get some idea what is going on."
"Still receivin' data, sir. I cannae go any faster than the bloody computer." Gallia answered, fighting not to add 'you stupid son of a bitch' to the end of her response; his attitude was really starting to grate on her. Turning back to the console she muttered, "Come on, baby, gimme somethin' ta wark with already."
There was numerous bio signs but none were humanoid. There was breathable atmosphere, and a warp trail going into the atmosphere.
"Whatever's down there, it's probably not the command crew." Gallia said, "No humanoid life signs but there's a warp trail... SHIT!" As a possibility suddenly dawned on her, Gallia quickly ran a scan of another sort, this one for Borg life signs; she knew it wasn't likely, but didn't feel like getting caught with her pants down in an assimilation.
A bio sign however pinged on the far side of the planet in a high orbit.There was biological matter registering in that sector. Human/betazoid DNA.
That quickly caught Gallia's attention, the scans confirming quickly that, yes, this was a humanoid, "No life signs, looks to be a corpse." A further scan revealed no harmful bacteria or excesses of radiation, but in an abundance of caution Gallia beamed it in behind a force field, "Well, would ya look at that? It's not one of our command team... Computer, give information on pilot of shuttlecraft Arrow."
The data scrolled across the screen.
Neri sighed. "Human betazoid. A DNA test will need to be done by medical. Shall we head back?"
"All the same, I think we should investigate this. If this planet is so isolated, why is there only one body?" Joachim asked taking a seat in at one of the consoles and activating the tactile display. "Do a wide range spectrum scan first, I want to know if there are any energy emissions at all. Then if we don't detect any other anomalies within the immediate area, launch a probe into orbit." As he spoke his long fingers moved over the controls, tapping in commands. I will prepare the program for the probe while you do the scan."
"Why only one?" Gallia asked, incredulous though her voice didn't betray it, "Most likely because they dumped the body before they went to warp. Leads me to believe this is where they were attacked, or at least somewhere in the neighborhood." She really couldn't believe this guy at this point and was starting to question his mental stability. Still, she began the wide spectrum scan he'd ordered and awaited results.
"Or its what humans call a red herring" Neri muttered.
"Or a warning." Gallia countered, "Maybe this is someone's 'Vlad the Impaler look at what I'm capable of' type a thing."
Neri nodded. "Sirs, suggest we take our find back to the Elysium."
"I agree with the Ensign." Gallia replied, turning to Singh, "We're awaitin' your order, Sir."
"You are assuming a great deal about the motivations of those who are responsible, be sure that you keep such things to yourself. It will do no good to voice them, we deal in facts. We leave no stone unturned and if that means taking a moment to launch a probe and do a more detailed scan, then we will do our due diligence. I realize you want answers, but you do know what they say about making assumptions," Joachim said as he finished prepping the probe and set it to launch when the wide range scan finished. "It makes an ass out of you and umption."
With that set, he switched off the tactile controls and stood up. "If the scan returns nothing more, take us to warp once the probe launches." He could hear their doubt in his command, but it meant very little to him. He disliked command as it was, he preferred to work in his office. But his role on the mission was not to act as a counselor or psychiatrist, he needed to lean on what little experience he had in actual science.
Neri gritted her teeth. She wanted action. They had a head in the shuttle without a body. She hit the probe launch sequence. "Something bad is going to happen" she muttered under her breath.
Gallia had now officially had enough, "Sir, you would be well advised to temper the way you speak to fellow officers, especially when we are trying to decipher a rather grisly mystery." She began, "And your glib, dismissive statement was both unprofessional and disrespectful. When it comes to a mission, especially involving the safety of this crew, I will not keep my mouth shut simply because you might not agree with me. Your desire to play bully boy is, right now, endangering this vessel and everyone on it, sir, so you'd be well advised to consider that before pushing any further."
"I assume you are stressed Lieutenant, but we do things by the book and we do not go off half cocked," Joachim said as he eased himself into his original seat. Once more he took his time moving, his frail body already somewhat tired from the journey. It did not help that he felt as if he were dealing wit children, and impulsive ones at that. "This mystery, such as it is, will not be solved by jumping to conclusions and making assumptions. We need evidence and nothing more. We have found a fragment of a body and I want more than just that to go back to the ship with. If you are unable to see the point in checking of an impulse trail or warp signature while we are here, then I must question your fitness for this assignment."
"My fitness? Gallia laughed, "With respect to your rank, sir, you're the one who seems to want to run this shuttle into a suicide mission. Also, you've been nothing but disrespectful to me this entire mission and I'm quite frankly sick of it, Sir."
Neri could not believe her ears. She spun in her seat, stared at them both. "You both may outrank me, but right now I seem to be only one not throwing my weight around. I am returning us to the Elysium. That head came from somewhere and we need answers. Probes are launched and scans being transmitted. No other biological material other than the head. And." She paused "He could be a member of my department so we are going back to the Elysium." She turned back and hit the course into the system. "You can put me on report when we get back." She said to the counselor. "But someone decapitated a person and left their head here. And we are a shuttle with limited defense capability." A button was pushed and the shuttle jumped to Warp. "And I for one find no glory in a useless death."
"And you're absolutely right to turn back, Ensign." Gallia stated, though she had no idea why the Ensign had turned on her when they'd been on the same page the entire time, one way or another she sincerely hoped to never see Singh again.
With that tended to, Joachim leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. He had little interest in reporting much of what had happened in his log. The shuttle crew, including him, were stressed and he could not act as if there wasn't a reason to be so desperate for any answers that they would jump to any answer they could. For now he hoped to catch a few moments of peace.