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Planet Fall

Posted on Sun Aug 15th, 2010 @ 11:19am by Lieutenant Commander Deanna King

Mission: Battle Front. Season 2, Episode 2

As Leanne materialized, a strange forbidding place found it's way to her eyes, a thick jungle laid before her and the team that she had chosen to come down with. She touched the light pack that was strapped to her arm and shone it around the area. Ancient monoliths and stone works could be seen poking through the underlying vegitation.

"Alright everyone, scanners and phasers out, I don't want anything to jump out at us, wide angle scans and check your fire, if things get crazy I don't want one of us getting hit."

"Understood, sir." Lieutenant Shire still felt somewhat prickled by the over ridding rule from DeVuor to bring more crew down with them but in hindsight the Admiral had her hands full. She unslung a phaser and unclipped the tricorder, snapped her wrist lamp into life emitting a gentle glow and began to the scan the area feeling a warm, humid breeze ruffle her hair.

Shannon had never been put into a situation like this, all she had wanted was some fleet time so she could then use it in her tender application for the daystrom institute back on Earth. Now she was tromping around in some unknown jungle with a phaser in one hand and a tricorder in the other. Fear didn't cover it.

The night blanketed the area like a funeral shroud, not even the lights from the flashlights were making a noticable effect against the pitch. The doctor walked forward and brushed away some of the foliage around one of the closer ruins and inspected the writing hoping that it might reveal some kind of clue as to the inhabitants of this planet. After a quick second the glyphs and pictographs sparked something in her, a long dormant and buried memory. She stood up and backed away quickly, It can't be, that planet was light years away from here. Noticing her hand began to shake, she quickly flexed her fingers to try and hide it. "We need to get moving to the crash site, now, everyone, phasers on maximum setting. Lieutenant Shire... come here for a moment."

In three strides Shire was there while the remainder of the team began to move deeper into the jungle. "Yes, Commander what is it?"

She stood close to Helen, and spoke just loud enough to hear. "It was bad enough when we potentially had to deal with legions of Borg drones, but..." She practically pulled the woman over to the small piece of ruin that she had exposed in the undergrowth. "I've seen these before... some time ago... I hope that I am wrong.. but if I'm not we could be in serious trouble."

Crouching Shire lifted the beam of her torch to illuminate the object in question. "Where did you see it?" She was probing the Doctor's thoughts hoping desperately that she wasn't thinking of the same event Helen was.

"Latanna" Leanne looked down at Shire, a place that they all had tried to forget about. "The runes are eerily similar... I'm not an Archeologist but they look damn near identical."

The name of the planet alone made Helen look up sharply, her eyes wide with fear. However in a blink she had managed to contain it. "Let's hope we're wrong. I'd give my left arm to avoid a repeat performance."

Shannon was leading the rest of the small team through the brush, stepping over one of the most impressive ferns that she had ever seen. What little light was making it through the canopy was setting of the multi tones of blue and green in the leaves which were almost the same size as she.
"Its beautiful!", she was looking up, gazing at the large blossoms from the canopy trees' Each pink and purple blossom was the same size as a runabout, the stigma of the nearest bloom almost eight meters in length.

Next her tricorder chirped, finally having detected a signal of the crashed sphere. It was weak, but it was defiantly reading as a transwarp signature.
"Commander Ulonova. I have a read on the sphere!"

"Estimated distance and travel time?" She wanted to get out of the jungle and make it to the wreck. If she and Shire were right, the Borg were the less of the two evils.

Shannon cast an eye around at the Doctor and Security Officer. Both were huddled over something and both had gone a similar shade of white. "About an hour as the crow flies. I'd estimate about an hour and a half with this vegetation!"
Gently she leaned into the other two stood with her. "Is it me, or do the Doctor and Shire look scarred, more so than they need to?"

"It's not you," said Deanna. "When we get back, I will speak with them." Deanna could sense their emotions. Deanna did not feel that this was the time not place to get to the root of the problem.

"If we get back, they probably know that this whole thing is fubar and are trying to decide which one of us has got to go." One of the security personal looked at the other assembled team members. "It just might be you." He pointed at Deanna and laughed. "Just remember, if something comes after us, you don't have to be the fastest, just faster then then slowest."

"Well lets move toward the crash site, maybe we'll get lucky." Leanne stood up and swept her tricorder towards the crash site. "Have we heard from the Anubis yet?"

Shannon spoke up this time, her nose still buried in her tricorder data. "No sir, and we might loose communication with the station. The radiation coming from the sphere's engine core is disrupting communications!"

"That sounds familiar too," Shire muttered close to Leanne before striding forward gesturing for the two security personal to take up defensive positions around the away party. "I'll take point Commander... just in case."

"Heh, I'll make sure you don't get tasseled too much." The security guard smiled at Shire as he lit a giant cigar and hoisted the phaser rifle to his shoulder.

This was going badly, everything about this entire thing was beyond comprehension. Double threat of assimilation, either from the Borg or from the creatures that might inhabit the planet. She prayed that she was wrong about the runes on the walls and began to move forward with the group of officers.

Shannon wove her way around a tree the same size as one of the pylons on the station. Its bark a mottled grey green color with thick ivy like vines growing in all directions. She brushed away some low hanging vines and ducked under the few that had fallen back regardless of her gently guidance.
The air was thick and full of the scent of the pink umbrella like blossoms above them. In many ways it was one of the most beautiful places she had ever seen, and she would no doubt be asking to return once the current crisis had been averted so she could study not only the geological formations but the ruins as well that she had seen Ulonova and Shire investigating.

Finally, she rounded the tree and stepped over the last of the massive roots that were plunged into the earth below. However, the sight before her was just as impressive as the tree itself. Before her spread out a wall of a soft grey color stonework. Large pillars standing sentry over the immense gateway that had fallen into disrepair. One of the massive wooden gates had collapsed from its hinges and now was precariously leaning against the onyx colored obelisk that stood as the main frame of the gateway, one on either side.

"Commander, my tricorder reads the wreck just on the other side of this wall!". Out of interest she checked her carbon dating system on the tricorder and ran it over the stonework as they moved inexorably closer to the wreck. "The tricorder reads this as predating human culture by almost one hundred thousand years!"

Leanne's eyes became as big as saucers, this was a repeat of her worst nightmare, and scene where she lost her innocence as a naive young Starfleet officer. The obelisk was the confirmation that she was dreading.

The sweating hands of Lieutenant Shire were white knuckled upon her own rifle as she stared in horror at the sight before them like staring into a dream. The wilderness of the planet jungle would have bee a wonderful sight to beyond normally, but not today.
The sight of the stone structure before her made Shire feel sick to the stomach - this was confirmation of what the Doctor and herself had feared. And if their deepening suspicious were right the Borg wouldn't be a threat to them at all.

"Ulonova to Roark, come in Roark... we need an immediate beam out." The sound of clicking could be heard over the comm signal, the tell tale sign that communications were down. She tried again with the same results. "We must be too close to the crash site." She sighed and looked Shire. "We need to get to that crash site as quickly as possible."

The security officer had glanced over as Leanne tried to hail the station trying to hide her panic only to have it expressing through her wide eyes in capital letters. Shire nodded pulling herself together.
"Understood," she replied stiffly returning to the away team. "Stick together, I want passive scans only, eyes and ears open - and for God's sake put that out." She snapped at the rather unruly officer smoking pleasantly.

Shannon had no idea what was going on. The fear and panic in Shire and ulonova was spreading around the group, herself included. "Commander... What... Whats going on?"

"I'll tell ya what is going on." Ricardo took his cigar out of his mouth and tapped the ashes against his phaser. "We are all seriously dead." He kind of cackled and took another draw off of the cigar. "I've seen that look before, heh, right before a Klingon or a Jem'hadar sticks something sharp and pointy through someones face."

"I'll shove that rifle somewhere the sun doesn't shine in a second," Shire muttered grating her teeth in frustration that no other than Ulonova seemed to be taking this seriously. She wished dreadfully now that Commander Mason was still here.

Leanne straightened up and looked at her team. "We've encountered ruins like this before, on another planet light years away from here... an ancient race that had been turned into something... something unnatural..." She looked at the obelisk "Monsters in the dark..."

Deanna knew she needed to do something before there was an outbreak of panic. She can sense the panic in most of the people on the away team. Deanna spoke up. "I know everyone is on edge here. Stay calm and stay together. We should all be fine. Just take a deep breath."

Shannon looked from one officer to the other finally settling on Lieutenant King. The confusion on her features in any other circumstance would have been amusing, but today, the heightened fear that the two women were displaying and the more than unsettling surroundings were putting her on edge.
Finally her tricorder broke the silence once again as it started to pick up the intermittent signal from the Borg wreckage. "About twenty meters sir... That way". she pointed due east towards the setting sun that was unseen while they had been in the jungle, but now the golden red huge of the star was breathtaking, as was the whole planet.

Shire suppressed a shudder recalling with crystal clarity the long, sleepless night the crew of Genesis endured on Latanna. "Commander I suggest we aim to complete the investigation before nightfall."

"Good idea" Leanne started off toward the direction that Shannon had pointed and made sure that her phaser was out. "Let's wrap this up and go home right? Ensign Fernandez, make sure you know which end of the phaser goes to the front." She smiled as she advanced forward, scanning the area for the creatures that may have been lurking.

Once again Shannon was lading the team towards who knows what, but her hand was gently placed in reach of her holstered phaser should it be needed.

Slowly she approached a dense collection of ferns and willow like hanging tree vines. They were thick enough to mask any sign of what lay beyond, she slowly she pulled away the curtain of undergrowth. The sight that met her was grizzly and her stomach jumped before emptying itself into a small puddle of water to her left.
"Commander... I thin we've found the site!"

Laying flat on the ground, a drone who's head had been impacted by falling conduit lay motionless, oozing a graying liquid onto the ground, presumably the blood off the creature. Another was suspended from the vines, his torso hanging from a thin string of sinew that was still attached to its legs, again life fluid oozing from the sizable wound. he third and final drone was slumped in an alcove that had somehow managed to survive the crash undamaged. It was still set into a section of the sphere that had made planet fall.

Leanne ducked down to make sure she wasn't seen. "Are you reading any survivors of the crash? If there are, we might be able to liberate them from the collective." The doctor looked on at the carnage before, wondering how anything could have survived from the crash. "I know our communications are down, but is there any way that we can block out their subspace frequencies? I'd rather not have another cube show up."

Again Shannon was all over the tricorder, calling up life sign indicators and signal correlation factors and the like. Each one feeding a slight bit more information into the bigger picture.
"I'm not detecting any survivors, but that doesn't mean anything with the Borg, plus the biogenic field is still causing interference. As for stopping the signal, I'm sure if we can find the transmitter then Lieutenant Shire could easily employ the use of some spacial charges".

"So lets go find that transmission," said Deanna. She figured that the sooner they found it the sooner that they would get out of there. Besides the emotions of the away crew were putting a drain on her.

This time Shannon allowed the Security Officer to lead the way, even if she was still the one guiding the team as her tricorder was the one out and active, the rest all had phasers out and leveled ready for attack.

After rounding what was once a small house or building of some kind, many many century's ago, and pulling back the curtain of yet another over sized tree, this one with smaller yellow blossoms that were the same size as her fist. what she saw was a metallic cavern. The remains of the inner most part of the Borg Sphere, still intact for the most part, with a massive crevice running the length of the remaining bulkhead yawing open like a sharks jaw ready to swallow its prey.
"Its just ahead Commander!"

"Alright, lets get in an disable it. Shire, and Shanon, you are with me, King and Fernadez form a perimeter here" She moved over to King, "The creatures I'm worried about have telepathic abilities, so hopefully you'll be able to feel them coming if there are any here, I'm hoping that I'm just being paranoid and over reacting."

"Aye," said Deanna.

"Heh, just me and you darling." Fernandez took another puff off of his cigar and smiled at Deanna. "Don't worry commander. I'll keep her safe."

Shire simply nodded to show she'd understood Leanne's request but the pricing stare she gave Fernandez spoke volumes.

Leanne carefully moved to the front of the group and shined her light into the interior of the hulk. Everything told her to stay out, don't go further, but she had to, not only was the small team with her depending on her, the fleet above. Slowly moving up the the crevice she peered in, letting her tricorder scan when the body of a drone fell down in front of the doctor, knocking her to the ground and giving her a good scare.

Shannon likewise was startled, and finally her urge to heave erupted from her and onto the twisted metal that had once been the deck plating.
"Sorry Commander... I'm not... I'm not accustomed to this. I'm a scientist... A Geologist no less!"

Staring down the barrel of her rifle Shire kept a weary eye open scouting for movement among the carnage. Other then the away party nothing stirred, just the rustle of the trees outside and the odd call from the local wildlife.

She spun sharply her finger tightening upon the trigger at the dislodged done that lay still and deridingly dead. Feeling the nerves fraying of the team the security officer pressed in deeper into the Sphere hearing Ulonova and Shannon stepping behind.

Once an active hive of movement, the cube was eerily silent, except for the occasional spark from a conduit, the Doctors tricorder began to beep, pointing her towards the beacon. "This is a lot creepier then engineering. ARe you guys taking readings on all of this?"

Shannon focused herself on the tricorder instead of the current unsettling surroundings.
"Yes sir. Still showing it to be about thirty meters ahead!"

Leanne's hand was starting the shake as they progressed deeper into the sphere. Several drone bodies laid sprawled around the corridors. She moved her tricorder over one to check that it was indeed dead. "This place unsettles me horribly."

Probing the beam from the rifle into the darkest corners Lieutenant Shire moved swiftly around the small party nudging the occasional body with a toe as she passed. "I believe that is the general design Commander."

After a short distance, the narrow corridor opened up into what looked to be a large engineering bay with a dark piece of equipment in the middle. Attending the menacing monolith in the middle of the room were three borg drones, in various states of operation trying to correct what the Doctor assumed had to be the beacon. She ducked down next to the conduit and looked at the other two. "Options?"

Shannon was at a complete loss. All that kept coming back to her mind was 'I'm a geologist, not a Klingon Warrior'.
Instead she shrugged her shoulders and managing in one simple move to explain that she didn't have a clue.

"Be thankful they are some what peroccupied and haven't noticed us yet," Shire said lowly working on a plan. "Is there another way to access the beacon that won't bring us into contact?" She asked.

"I don't think so, what if all three of us fire at once? They won't have time to reconfigure their shields to match our phasers, we could potentially get rid of all of them and shut down the beacon." Leanne looked at the other two women standing with her in the dark.

Suddenly in the gloom their came clang of something soild, possibly flesh striking metal.

Leanne tensed up, was it a drone? Or had the nightmares and fears come true and this actually was like Latana.

Already tense Shire turned sharply at the sound with her rifle raised. She could have sworn she saw something moving only for a second upon the cracked conduits scaling the walls.... then again she wasn't sure for now with the flashlight she could see nothing.

"Alright, lets get out of here, on three fire at the drones," Ulonova turned back. "Shire, left, I'll take the middle and Shannon fire at the right one."

"Agreed," Helen nodded curtly.

Shannon pulled her phaser from its holster, if somewhat clumsily, and took aim at the Drone in the center. "Ready Commander!"

With a simple nod from Commander Ulonova the three women took aim and placed their best shot. All three Drones went down in a whirl of sparks and mechanical objections, and with a dull thud each drone hit the deck, completely immobile.
With equally swift steps the three women rounded the corner and deactivated the tracking device and made a swift exit into the slowly setting light of the planet.

To Be Continued


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