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The Crimson Tide Part II

Posted on Tue Nov 22nd, 2022 @ 2:07am by Staff Sergeant Gaagii & Lieutenant Commander Rowena McGowen & Lieutenant Paul Michael & Major Cornelius Tremble & Captain Edmund Merrick & Master Sergeant Lachlan Barr & Lieutenant JG Mira Jayna & Sergeant Miranda Schultz & Corporal Andrew Shy
Edited on on Tue Nov 22nd, 2022 @ 2:31am

3,397 words; about a 17 minute read

Mission: Episode 13 - Crooked River
Location: Jutrai Controlled Planet Igion
Timeline: MD004 1700 hrs

Last Time on Crimson Tide Part I

Merrick sat back, his eyes closed, listening to the chatter of them getting underway. He did open his eyes long enough to watch as they left the USS Pioneer on their way to their destination. He then closed his eyes once more, taking the brief moment to catch a quick nap to be refreshed for what was to come. Who knows when they would be able to sleep next, and as a habit of his, best to catch a catnap while you can.
And Now The Continuation...

Andrew was bored.

They’d spent the better part of a day sweeping over various tributaries with the shuttle while members of the team took turns doing ground sweeps in the shallows.

And they’d found nothing.

The corporal was starting to think that the Jutari were keeping them from being useful. Giving the Pioneer’s crew busy doing scut work that wasn’t likely to accomplish much.

Then the com’s lit off and he glanced over to see Major Tremble’s visage fill the screen.

“Pioneer to Serenity, we’ve got a tasking for you Commander.” The major’s face disappeared and was replaced by a topo map with a series of coordinates.

“The Jutari picked up a distress beacon from this approximate area approximately twenty minutes ago. The signal was intermittent and from an unknown source. No information given. Which is odd. Usually there’s an automated message for any vessel or facility…but this one only held a looped message.”

The screen changed again, this time a static filled video of a Jutari clad in a smock over a jumpsuit, in what looked like a medical bay of some kind. He was speaking rapidly but there was no sound. The image flickered and the Jutari could be seen fiddling with controls, frustration and… panic?,,, written on his face before he flinched and looked over his shoulder and then he mouthed. “Help Us.”

And then the vid cut out.

Major Tremble’s face came back on the viewer then and he said, “That vid looped for about forty five seconds and then was cut off. The Jutari identified him as Dakan Wohlm. A marine biologist assigned to a research assignment in one of their Universities. The University claimed he was on sabbatical and isn’t supposed to be anywhere near where the signal came from.”

After a breath, Neil continued. “In fact there’s nothing in the area except ocean. Jutari command thinks it’s some survey mission that went off course and they requested our assistance. Vector in, search the area in preparation for Search and Rescue. Serenity is the closest asset and they’re drawn thin with the other search.

Gaagii watched the transmission and all it did was reinforce what he felt since this mission began. A lost signal, and no further evidence of something ever being there. Add to that they were going out to sea. Gaagii like his kin before him was a man of the land. He had a healthy respect for water, but felt uncomfortable to say the very least while at sea.

Jayna turned to Rowena. "I don't know if anyone on the Pioneer has tried, but I can read lips, if you want me to see if he said anything else we can use," She was rusty, but she might be able to get some of the words. Then again, she didn't think Neil would overlook something like that, so it was likely whoever did try couldn't get much more than the call for help.

Rowena was silent. She took a seat in one of the other chairs and rubbed her arm a little. "Thank you, Miss Mira. But that won't be necessary. I rather look at what was in the back. Play that video again." She looked at it, her eyes moving rapidly to not miss anything. "It's hard to tell, he is blocking the view, but it definitely looks like some kind of experimental medical lab. I can't tell if there are test subjects and what they are." She then reached over and paused the video and then looked at the Jutrai in the video. His panicked expression. Like someone was on to him. Like he didn't want to be there, but was against his will. Like someone was also after him. This was someone fearing for his life.

"Helm, take us to the designated coordinates. Mira scan for under water structures. Structures big enough that hold labs like this." She tapped on the frozen image behind the Jutrai. "Everyone, get ready. There is a great possibility this scientist is already dead when we arrive, let's not be the next."

"Course laid in, engaging thrusters." Paul pressed the button, the thrusters fired and the ship started moving forward. "ETA, 15 minutes."

Jayna began to scan the ocean bed for anything that was out of the ordinary. She had to filter the data twice before she found three anomalies, but only one was large enough to meet the lieutenant's description. "I found it. Sending coordinates to the helm."

The shuttle dropped down closer and closer to the surface of the water as it raced out into the ocean, throwing up plumes of water behind it as it neared the surface. Soon they were hovering over geospatial coordinates.

Finding nothing on the surface.

Andrew tapped his mission ops panel, running systems checks before announcing, "Hull Integrity one hundred percent and the drive shrouds are in place and reading water tight."

Glancing at the rest, Shy said. "Looks like Serenity is ready for a swim, ma'am."

Miranda watched from the back, curious to see how the shuttle handled underwater and more curious to see what they'd find when they got to their destination. At least she hoped they'd find something when they got there besides bodies.

Not having anything better to do Gaagii kept his eyes on the scanners. As did most of those aboard the ship. When he saw a slight ping he thought to dismiss it as background noise. However, he then remembered his training. As a Pathfinder and Sniper he was trained to use the old Hansel and Gretel method. That is to say when going deep in the brush he should leave a trail that only he could follow to get out. Gaagii began to see a pattern among these little blips. They were in fact small navigational markers designed to look like underwater debris. "Commander McGowen I believe I have something. These bits that look like broken coral are in fact navigational buoys."

"I also have it on my scanners, commander. On our present course, we will pass within 100 meters." Paul reported.

Jayna turned to the nearest console to have a look for herself. It took her a moment, but she saw the pattern. Very clever. The computer should be able to pick up the navigational markers in case they had the opportunity to see what else was of interest down here after they answered the distress call. This was not part of their briefing and she wondered what else was hidden under the waters--and how they could use this to their advantage. She copied the data to her PADD to study later.

Tremble's message was a welcome break from the sweeps they were making, but the video that they had witnessed disturbed Merrick. He took another look at the readings. "If all is ready and able, I suggest we enter into the briny depths and get to it." he turned his gaze to Rowena and the rest of the crew. "Time waits for no man and darned few woman." giving a brief flash of a smile. Scans were fine and dandy, but he wanted to get a look see in a more personal way.

Rowena gave a concerned smiled. "You are right, Merrick. But still be on your toes. There is still a lot we don't know. But what I do know is, that something is going on down there. And its not going to be pleasant."

Gaagii did not like the sound of going underwater. He and his people were of the land and as such had a healthy apprehension for the deep water. This was no different, however, his face did not betray his feelings. He simply turned away from the window as the vessel made its dive.

Jayna checked over the data she'd put on her PADD about the planet. She was curious to see what was under water,and especially what had caused the call for help. She wasn't sure what her role would be, but she wanted to be ready for whatever McGowen needed of her.

Schultz' gaze went from the front of the shuttle to the nearest console as she watched their progress. This felt like another hurry up and wait scenario and she really didn't like waiting. But, as a Marine, she'd learned to deal with it. Mostly.

As the shuttle descended into the water, Andrew watched the pressure readings on the hull. Water put more of a strain on the systems than did space or even atmospheric flight. But so far everything was operating in the green.

Then a flicker on the proximity scope caught his attention and an alarm flickered.

Jayna was immediately on alert. "What was that?" She checked the readings she could see from nearby monitors, then looked out the front in case she could get a glimpse of what pinged the alarm. While she knew this was not her bailiwick, she didn't like feeling helpless. Knowledge of what was out there would help ease that feeling. Besides, whatever was out there could be dangerous.

Schultz wanted to hear what was out there. If they couldn't see it, sensors were their best option, but if not, getting an audible reading might be helpful. She glanced over at the lieutenant in charge. From the scuttlebutt she'd heard, the new chief of intel was competent. So, for now, the Marine held her peace. Besides, she was biased in favor of comms regardless of the situation.

Just then, something thumped against the top of the shuttle, shaking it. Whatever it was, it was big.

After the creature brushed against the shuttle, Michael went into evasive maneuvers. "Whatever that was, it's big. We're going to have to put some distance between us and it, otherwise it's going to think we're a small fish, and if it's hungry, we might be a snack." He pushed the engines to full power.

Gaggii leaned his rifle against the bulkhead. Something told him that if this came to fighting the rifle would be useless. He did bring his tomahawks closer to his sides for quick draw if needed. The man of the land hated being in the water and he hated the idea of fighting some sea creature even more. Oddly enough in this moment as he prepared for battle his thoughts wandered to Sofia and whether he would see her again or not.

"Could we electrify the hull and drive it off?" Jayna asked. There was a chance whatever creature that was--if indeed it was a creature--would not want to attack something that shocked it.

"I would rather avoid a fight. We don't know what that thing is capable of. I'm going to look for someplace to hide, and when it loses interest in us, then we can return to our mission." Paul started piloting the shuttle through rock formations and what looked like large kelp beds, to throw the creature off its tail.

Jayna wasn't talking about fighting, rather she was suggesting a way to discourage what4ever it was from attacking, but if they could hide in a place to hide, that would work, too.

The creature continued after the object. It appeared to be blind, it was following the electronic emissions, which was its natural instinct.

Paul spotted a cave, just bigger than the ship. He made a run for the cave, turned the ship around, then backed into the cave. When the ship settled on the floor of the cave, he shut down all power.

The creature had followed the trail its prey left but lost it. It searched, but quickly gave up after awhile.

Gaagii stared into the inky darkness of the water and the cave. The idea that stirred within his head was one that he did not want to suggest. However, he knew that it was probably the only way to proceed and get out of here. "We can take a walk and either get the creature away enough for the ship to escape or kill it."

"How far away are we from our goal?" Merrick finally saying something. He didn't like being pinned with a big beastie outside in the water. He would be up for drawing it away from the ship. "Don't we have something that will emit an electronic feed that could be used as bait and then we can get out of the cave?"

Andrew glanced around and tentatively held up his hand getting some strange looks. Clearing his throat he said, "We could launch a torpedo on a burn out course, with the warhead discharging EM bursts as it goes." He worked at his console for a moment then said, "Ideally, it can run thirty clicks or more and shouldn't harm the end we can program it to go into a hover so baby out there could catch it and snack on the remnants if it wants. I think the casing is non caustic..."

"I think we should check and see if it gave up on us and moved away before we do anything that could attract unwanted attention," Janya suggested. "If it becomes necessary, the Marines are equipped to fight underwater." With the less-than-cordial welcome they're received, she didn't think the planetary government would look kindly on a warhead being launched in their ocean.

"I think Corporal Shy has a point..." Lachlan entered the conversation. "Programming a harmless torpedo with enough EM emissions to lure our hungry little chap out there away from us would be the best bet. He follows the tasty treat, and we leave and continue on mission with a slightly reduced power setting. If there is one of them, you can bet there are more." he said moving to look out the windows of the shuttle. "The idea of sitting and hoping it moves on while 50 leagues under the sea is wasting mission time. I'd like us to get a move on."

Paul looked at his scanner. "The creature appears to have lost interest in us, so there is no reason to waste a torpedo at this time. If the creature returns, then maybe we'll try it." He turned to look at the commander. "We are ready to resume course, commander."

Merrick growled out, "Get the ship moving, sir, it's time to get to our destination and we should in the meantime prep a harmless torpedo with the specifications whilst we have the time. We may need it anyway." the marine leaning forward in his seat. "I'm sure the commander would be very happy for us to move. Get to it, please. Who knows what else will be taking the creature's place while we play hide in the hole. It is time to take action now. Now, anyone want to help me do some surgery on a specific torpedo? We've got people waiting for our help, and also the marines are here to protect you as well. That is my advice, and strong urgings to get us moving. Otherwise, can't protect you unless we go out and take on a beastie." cocking an eyebrow up.

"Couldn't agree more, sir." Lachlan backed his LT up. "I'll give yi a hand with the torpedo. Could use the time to take my mind off being trapped in a tin can under water with nasty big buggers outside who think we look tasty." he smirked at Merrick.

Merrick looked at Lachlan then he looked at Michael. "Lieutenant Michael with my being the XO's right hand man for the Marines, lets get this show on the road, head out of here and lets get to our destination." his voice taking on a tone of command. "Need to do so right now. Since you said it is gone and there isn't any indication of it waiting, outside..." he paused and looked at the others, "Got a job to do."

He then proceeded to work on the torpedo with Lachlan to switch things to where it would emit an electronic signal but not explode. Just in case a beastie came back.

As uneasy as Gaagii was his training kicked into high gear. He prepared his suit and gear for going out into the water if the need aroused. He wanted to be ready. Although it seemed that the command at the moment wanted to get the heck out of dodge as the old saying went. Gaagii was not against this course of action, not one bit.

After another half hour of travel, the shuttle's had entered a deep valley and Shy called out. "There it is. Looks like some sort of modular building components constructed near the base of that mountain, under the rock overhang...and I'm reading an open docking port."

Paul ignored the lieutenant...after all, as the pilot, and since the captain placed him here, that meant HE was in command of the mission, not some jar head major. He checked the scanners. "I see it, plotting a course. ETA, 3 minutes." He tapped the buttons and the ship dived down to what appeared to be a building of some sort.

Three minutes was not very long. Jayna put her PADD away and prepared to have a good look at what was in that building.

Something that was not water. This was something that Gaagii could appreciate and he prepared his weapon. This was curious that a base of some sort deep underwater would go ignored by the Jutrai. Perhaps this was something they wanted to keep secret from Starfleet. Either way he knew there was a new job to do and he was eager to get it done.

"Finally," Miranda thought. She was eager to get out there and see what was going on.

The underwater facility fascinated Jayna. She was eager to explore, and she wanted to find out what the distress call was about and help anyone that needed it. But what was more curious was that this underwater facility was either secret or unknown by the Jutrai.

Paul looked for a way to enter the building....but he wasn't seeing anything.

The Delta Flyer class Serenity simply hovered in the water as the structure loomed before them. It seemed at the moment that Igion held a great number of secrets and the Serenity was about to delve into one of its deepest.
To Be Continued...

A Joint Post By

Staff Sergeant Gaagii
RECONN Team 2, The Cure
USS Pioneer

Corporal Andrew Shy
Tactical Systems Operator Team 2, The Cure
USS Pioneer

Staff Warrant Officer Mira Jayna
Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Pioneer

Sergeant Miranda Schultz
Communications Specialist, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Paul Michael
Chief Flight Control Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Commander Rowena McGowen
Chief Intelligence Officer/Second Officer, USS Pioneer

Major Cornelius Tremble
Executive Officer, USS Pioneer
Commanding Officer, The Cure

First Lieutenant Edmund Merrick
The Cure Executive Officer, USS Pioneer

Master Sergeant Lachlan Barr
Chief of The Boat, USS Pioneer
First Sergeant, The Cure


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