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Demon Slaying Part II

Posted on Mon Sep 11th, 2023 @ 9:37pm by Major Cornelius Tremble & Lieutenant JG Mira Jayna
Edited on on Tue Sep 12th, 2023 @ 12:15am

0 words; about a 1 minute read

Mission: Episode 14 - The Poseidon Adventure
Location: Planet Aquil
Timeline: MD009 1400 hrs

Last Time on Demon Slaying Part I

She'd been going through the pre-launch checklist, but paused, smiling as she remembered their last shore leave. There were a lot of things about that trip that were memorable. "Yes. That was a first for me." She glanced at him and grinned. "Among others." She hoped this trip would also be memorable--in a good way. She turned back to the console and finished the checklist. "All set?"

"Light 'er up," Neil said, double checking everything was still in the green. "Automated launch and recovery makes things so civilized."

And Now The Conclusion...

"Civilized can have its advantages if you want to sleep--or any of a number of options. But sometimes you just need a hammock and a campfire." She smiled as she guided the shuttle over the ocean and then down to the underwater city.

The external lights illuminated schools of fish as they darted out of the shuttle's way. Jayna tried to focus on the directions to the city, but she couldn't help comparing this to the last time she went underwater.

"Well," Neil said after conversation had lagged the closer they'd come to the planet’s surface water. "We're definitely Feet Wet. So far, doesn't look like anything's leaking. How are you holding up?"

"A little tense, but under control." She didn't have much opportunity to take a shuttle into the ocean, so a part of her enjoyed the view. "We should reach the city shortly."

"Roger that," Neil said as he continued to gaze through the canopy and reached out to tweak the controls, increasing the telemetry feed. The deeper they went, the less light was present and the shuttle's sensors were enhancing the image accordingly, giving them a good view.

After a few minutes, they picked up the city's Port signal and he said, "Right on time. Looks like you're dead on your vector, though sadly they have automatics for the landing control."

"Better that than a bad pilot," she countered. A moment later, they could see their destination ahead. The large dome over the Aquilian city seemed to shimmer a pale opalescent green. From what Jayna read, the main city was protected from predators and unwanted visitors by the dome. It was made up of several forcefields that let the inhabitants in and out, but even a wayward shuttle would find it impenetrable.

A smaller dome attached to one side was also under a series of forcefields, but the area below it shimmered with light. This dome was set apart for surface dwellers to interact with the Aquilians. There were areas for shopping and dining, as well as accommodations for rent if any surface dwellers wanted to stay for a night or two.

"Wow. That's impressive," Jayna said appreciatively. They were too far away to see details, but they could see the larger buildings under the smaller dome shimmering under the multi-layered shielding.

Neil played with the sensors and thought out loud, "I wonder if that's all flood proof. Or if they flood the place on purpose if some threat rear's it's ugly head. Pop that dome and it'd be a huge mess." He froze and gave her a guilty look. "Oops?"

Oops indeed. her mind flashed back to the research facility when it began to flood. At least they had their suits on when they accidentally shot a hole in the wall and let the sea water in. She pushed the thought aside. She couldn't think of that here. "I think there's space between the layers for that. And they can put up forcefields much like we do on a ship or station."

"That was more of an Oops for talking shop, than giving you something else to worry about," Neil said. "Though it does make me wonder if they have birds and if the birds are trained to duck and cover." He said it straight faced and tried to keep his tone neutral.

Jayna chuckled. "Now I can imagine them training their chickens to bawk and cover--but would it really do any good? Maybe they just get together after and have a chicken cookout?" She knew he was trying to help her feel better, and it worked.

"Nice community building, that," Neil commented as the city loomed ahead of them and they shifted from different flight controllers until they finally set down ten minutes later. "And speaking of chicken," he remarked. "I'm kinda hungry. Food?"

"Definitely food. I'm curious about what they serve here." She was curious about the city in general, but food was the best place to start. "And what they sell in the markets." You could learn a lot about a city that way. She grabbed her bag and met Neil at the hatch.

"I'll vote for a market," Neil said as he watched her exit the craft, then he stepped out and cycled the hatch closed and made sure the mechanism dogged and sealed. He adjusted his clothing and shoulder bag and glanced about.

Lighting was soft and they'd incorporated floor, rail and overhead lighting to keep the oppressive darkness out. Neil could still feel the weight of the water above him and the crackling in his ears indicated he was still adjusting to the pressure differences.

It they exited the shuttle. She was used to the thrum of a starship, but this thrumming was something she felt in her bones. Or maybe it was more a feeling of pressure? She looked around, noting the faint shimmer from the forcefields around the city. This would take a bit of getting used to.

The shuttles were housed in a smaller dome on the far side of the visitor section. At the far end of the shuttle park, an arch indicated the entrance into the public area. "There should be some information through there," Jayna said, nodding to the arch. "Or we just head to the central area and see what we find." She was sure they'd find what they were looking for once they got far enough into the center.

"Following our feet works too," Neil said, offering her his hand as they started to walk toward the dome junction tube. "I hope it's not all salad or seaweed."

She took his hand and grinned. "Neither do I. There should at least be bread and cheese." She hadn't been raised as a proper Vulcan, and so enjoyed a variety of foods. "If we don't find anything after a bit, we'll ask, but sometimes you find the best places by accident." Although she was quickly learning that Neil often had ways of finding them in advance.

They passed through the second set of un-official customs. Neil recognized the checkpoint for what it was and pointedly ignored it.

Whatever made the locals happy. The city layout was a fairly standard hub wheel design as the most efficient shape for a shielded dome was round. They meandered for nearly an hour before his nose caught the scent of something and his stomach growled pointedly.

"That smells promising. I hope it tastes as good." Jayna's stomach rumbled in anticipation and she chuckled. "At least our stomachs think so."

They found the vendor who was running a small grill and hawking, as best as Neil could understand, something similar to a Yakitori grill. There were a variety of local fish and vegetables to pick from as well as sauces.

And there was locally prepared wine, which Neil was somewhat dubious about.

They'd claimed a standing table and were waiting for their skewers to arrive and he was eyeing the squeeze bottle of wine they'd each been given. "Seaweed wine...," Neil remarked.

Jayna raised an eyebrow. "That sounds...interesting." She wasn't fond of the smell of rotting seaweed on the beach. She doubted fermented seaweed would be any better. But she would try it. Once. "What is the Terran expression...when in Rome?"

She picked up the squeeze bottle and looked at it for a moment before taking a sip. It wasn't as bad as she feared. It wasn't great, either.

Neil twitched as he sipped at the wine.

"Kinda goes with everything and nothing...," he said. "But then I know nothing about wines. And I think maybe I'm getting too dependent on that contact. I kinda miss being linked into everything..."

"That's not necessarily a bad thing." She set her squeeze bottle down. "I don't know much about wine, either, but I would definitely consider this the house wine." She hoped the food was better, though.

The waiter returned and set a rectangular plate before each of them with skewers of spiced fish on a bed of rice and kelp. When he left, Jayna picked up one end of her skewer and carefully took a bite of fish. She raised an eyebrow as she chewed. It was definitely better than the wine.

Neil nodded, turning over some of the skewers on their grill and he cast a sideways glance at a nearby table. He noted those people appeared to be heating the wine and then drinking it out of small cups. He glanced under the table, found cups and retrieved a pair. Neil set both on heating elements on the table and filled them from his squeeze bottle. After a minute or so the ring around the element turned red. After another thirty seconds, the color changed to green and he looked up, meeting Jayna's eyes. "Well. Looks like the romans didn't tell us to heat the wine..."

Picking up his cup, he sniffed and flinched back slightly. Then Neil abruptly tossed his back and shut his eyes.


Swallowing carefully, he opened one eye to squint at Jayna and croaked out. "Better."

She chuckled. "The question is, than what?" Jayna raised a hand. "Don't answer that. I'm not sure I want to know." She took another small bite of her food. She had enough of the drink. "Maybe that HUD wasn't such a bad idea."

Neil poured another cup of wine and let it heat then shook his head. "No. It's a crutch, regardless of how handy it is." The wine had cooled enough and he took another drink and winced. "With the contact, I'm never cut off from everything. I do understand the Borg better now because of it. There always comes a time when we're alone with our brains and the dark things start creeping around."
He tossed back the rest of the wine and gritted his teeth. "I think it's growing on me. Maybe literally," he added with a cough.

"At least I'm alone in my head. From what I saw in that place, we're the lucky ones." She'd eaten everything she considered edible, but there was still plenty left behind. "Want to see what else is down here?" They tried native, now she wanted appetizing. Hopefully somewhere else would have both.

Neil finished off his skewer using some sort of leaf to wrap the fish in and nodded. "I wouldn't say no. Think they imported a cow down here?"

"I don't know about the cow, but they should have some sort of dessert that isn't seaweed." She lowered her voice. "Either way, I owe you a meal with dessert when we get to the surface."

Neil stood, gathered his pack and offered her his hand as they glanced about. "You don't owe me anything, but I definitely won't say no. Shall we get lost?"

She took his hand again, enjoying the simple pleasure. "I like the idea of getting lost with you--and then celebrating with a fatted calf. Or just a good steak." Dessert...well, she'd have to think about what to do for that.

"Dessert then," Neil nodded and led her into the market. "I'm going to get fat..."

"Think of it as giving your body an energy boost for the swim ahead." If they had anything that would be considered fattening here--which she doubted. Still, she was curious about what might be sold as dessert. Ration bars might actually taste good after a few days of underwater eating.

A Joint Post By

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

Lieutenant Junior Grade Mira Jayna
Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Pioneer
Intelligence Liaison, The Cure


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