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2ndLt Wes Greaves - Would You Like to Know More?

2020-05-10 20:28:19


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=20

*((Subterranean Tunnels, Vel Maijan))*

It took some time, but eventually the frontal cortex in Wes's brain=
won the=20
fight against his medulla. His heart rate and breathing returned to=20
normal, and his fight or flight response withdrew altogether. The Marine=
=20
was the master of his own body again, although he knew that after a few=20
hours he'd be exhausted following the adrenaline dump. Fortunately,=
Wes had=20
plenty to do to keep himself focused. =20

=20

Being on mission allowed the man to fall back into a familiar rhythm, honed=
=20
over years of field exercises, and several dozens of live missions. What=
=20
to the others was likely a walk deeper into the cave complex and tunnel=20
system, to Wes was a combat patrol. He could manage a combat patrol, and=
=20
the thought gave him a glimmer of his self-confidence back. =20

=20

After several minutes of walking deeper into the cavern, the ceiling seemed=
=20
to get closer and closer to the ground, and the walls appeared to narrow. =
Wes=20
left his tricorder holstered and focused on his sight and hearing for the=
=20
time being. It was strange. The further the team traveled; the cave=20
seemed to get almost smoother. The ceiling was generally the same, but the=
=20
stalagmites on the ground gave the impression of being shorter and fewer=20
apart. The walls seemed to become more and more smooth. It was oddly=20
unnerving, but Wes couldn't place why.=20

=20

*Teller*: =3D/\=3D Mr. Lovar, how's the environment. We still going to g=
et a=20
tan if we take off the suits? =3D/\=3D

=20

*Greaves*: =3D/\=3D It'd be a real treat if you said yes Lieutenan=
t. My=20
thighs are already starting to get chapped in this thing. =3D/\=3D

=20

*Lovar*: =3D/\=3D Radiation levels seem constant, no change yet. =3D/\=3D

=20

Wes sighed. The EV suits didn't bother him much, but they could be=
a real=20
pain to walk in for a long time, and the prospects of a long walk seemed=20
high at the moment.=20

=20

*Brell*: =3D/\=3D I know they don't seem fully even, as if machine worked, =
but=20
does this tunnel have a worked feeling to anyone else? =3D/\=3D

=20

As soon as the Captain mentioned it, Wes finally knew why the cavern felt=
=20
so unnatural. The walls shouldn't be as smooth as they were. Heck=
, they=20
nearly reflected their lights right back at them because they were so=20
smooth. Natural caves had outcroppings, rough parts, and other non-uniform=
=20
aspects to them. These caves weren't normal.=20

=20

*Teller*: =3D/\=3D I think you're right, Captain, but there's no way some=
=20
colonists did this. It almost looks...I don't know...carved, somehow. =20
Eyes up people - look for any signs of recent use. Could be we're not the=
=20
first ones here. =3D/\=3D

=20

*Pandorn*: =3D/\=3D Aye, sir. =3D/\=3D ::to Greaves:: =3D/\=3D Heavy stun, =
Lieutenant.=20
We want to be sure anything that attacks is neutralized, not dead. =3D/\=3D

=20

Wes nodded in response as he made the adjustments to the phaser, then=20
realized that nonverbal responses probably couldn't been seen well =
in the=20
bulky suits.

=20

*Greaves*: =3D/\=3D Roger that sir. Ready for anything. :Pausing to look a=
t=20
the walls:: If I didn't know that these tunnels weren't pe=
rfectly=20
straight, I'd say it could have been an orbital strike from a stars=
hip's=20
phaser bank at some point in the past. =3D/\=3D

=20

*Brell*: =3D/\=3D Increased signs of wear even older signs could point us=
=20
towards our goals. =3D/\=3D

=20

*Teller*: =3D/\=3D Agreed. ::Teller's tricorder pinged a movement reading =
from=20
ahead, but it vanished once he tried to lock in on it.:: Lets keep moving. =
=20
=3D/\=3D

=20

*Pandorn*: =3D/\=3D Now this is odd. I detect traces of aluminum and oxygen=
in=20
the marks on the wall where is seems that part has been removed. It seems=
=20
to have had a bite taken out of them.

=20

With the tunnel narrowing and beginning to wind back and forth, Wes could=
=20
only rely on his sight and hearing so much. With reluctance, he drew his=
=20
tricorder and began scanning out in front of the team. A rapid blip of=20
movement appeared then vanished. Unsure if the tricorder had just given a=
=20
false reading, the man ran a quick diagnostic. The small device reported=
=20
it was functioning nominally, but Wes wasn't so sure. When a piece=
of=20
equipment began to fail, it commonly failed to tell you it was failing. Ju=
st=20
in case he set the tricorder to only report movement via disturbances in=20
the air. It would be useless if the atmosphere became too thin and it was=
=20
functionally a very short-ranged setting, but it would be unaffected by=20
heat or geological disturbances.=20

=20

*Greaves*: =3D/\=3D Sir, it looks like the tunnel starts to get pretty narr=
ow=20
going forward. I'd say we'll be lucky to get two people th=
at could walk=20
abreast of each other. I'll continue to take point, but it might g=
et=20
cramped pretty quick. =3D/\=3D

=20

*Teller*: =3D/\=3D Response? =3D/\=3D

=20

*Brell*: =3D/\=3D I've been reading a steady increase of carbon dio=
xide in the=20
cavern, its small but notable. =3D/\=3D =20

=20

*Pandorn*: =3D/\=3D Something lives down here? =3D/\=3D=20

=20

*Greaves*: =3D/\=3D Could be from our suits dumping excess CO2. =3D/\=3D

=20

*Lovar*: =3D/\=3D Response? =3D/\=3D

=20

*Teller*: =3D/\=3D Interesting. If there's more carbon dioxide in here, th=
e=20
original colonists may have been able to trap a bit more heat. ::Geoff=20
glanced at his tricorder - the ambient temperature was coming up slightly,=
=20
and the more exotic gasses in the caves atmosphere were diminishing to=20
safer levels.:: It's possible there's a thermocline in here somewhere - we=
=20
get below that layer and the environment may become a lot more livable. I=
=20
think we're on the right track. =3D/\=3D

=20

*Greaves*: =3D/\=3D Just say the word sir, and I swear I'll make t=
his EV suit=20
disappear. I'll be the group's canary in a heartbeat when t=
he time comes.=20
=3D/\=3D

=20

*Brell/Pandorn/Lovar*: =3D/\=3D Responses =3D/\=3D

=20

As the group continued their descent, the back and forth of discussion=20
subsided into a calm monotone of crunching rock under the team's bo=
ots,=20
amplified slightly by the EV suit's external microphones. The soft=
crunch=20
was pierced every so often by a short expression of compressed air being=20
expelled by the EV suits, which echoed down the unnervingly smooth stone=20
walls of the tunnel. Adding to the unnaturalness of the rock formation was=
=20
the uniformity of the tunnel. While it was narrow, and barely eight feet=
=20
high, it was consistently eight feet high and could reliably fit for two=20
people shoulder to shoulder. It had to have been created by someone, or=20
something.=20

=20

After ten minutes, the trek had fallen into a quiet routine, and Wes moved=
=20
into an autopilot of alertness that was a finely honed tool of his trade. =
In=20
the lead position in front of the away team, his head swiveled back and=20
forth scanning for threats, hazards, and obstacles that could impede their=
=20
progress. Every few steps the Marine's sweeping gaze turned to loo=
k back=20
at the rest of the team, swiftly counting their numbers to ensure it=20
remained unchanged before returning to his forward scan.

=20

Left, right. Up, down. Tricorder readout. Left, right. To the rear. One,=
=20
two, three, four. Front. Left, right, up, down. Every few cycles the=20
Marine softly touched all of his most important equipment and mentally=20
accounted for them. Phaser pistol, tricorder, trauma kit. The cycle=20
continued robotically and the rhythm further worked to push the man into=20
the calm professionalism he expected of himself. A stark counterpoint to=
=20
the near panic from the beginning of the mission. Wes pushed the=20
embarrassing memory out of his mind and drew his focus back to his scan.

=20

Commander Teller's hand signal to halt broke the monotonous cycle a=
nd Wes=20
took the opportunity to readjust part of his suit. His thighs were=20
undoubtedly chaffed and break in the repetition brought his mental focus to=
=20
his now burning skin. =20

=20

*Teller*: =3D/\=3D Teller to Thor, come in please. =3D/\=3D ::His comm badg=
e=20
chirped and blatted, unable to get a signal out. He tried a few more times=
=20
with no results. Geoff cursed inside his helmet and clicked back over to=
=20
the teams channel:: =3D/\=3D I can't raise the ship.=3D/\=3D=20

=20

*Pandorn*: =3D/\=3D We may be too far down in the tunnel. That and with the=
=20
composition of the rock face, I would suggest extreme caution from here on=
=20
in, unless we get back closer to the surface. =3D/\=3D

=20

Wes stopped rubbing the insides of his legs where he hoped he wouldn=E2=80=
=99t be=20
bleeding by the end of the walk. A quick transition in scan modes on his=
=20
tricorder to survey the walls quickly overwhelmed his personal knowledge of=
=20
geology. Scanning through the readouts Wes looked for the telltale names=
=20
of some of the only rocks he knew. The only ones that professionally=20
mattered to him enough to commit to memory. There it was.

=20

*Greaves*: =3D/\=3D Lieutenant Commander, it looks like there's a =
significant=20
amount of basalt in the walls around us now. I'm no geologist, but=
one=20
thing I know is that basalt and lead play havoc on communications. =3D/\=3D

=20

*Brell/Lovar/Teller*: =3D/\=3D Responses =3D/\=3D

=20

Wes had just flipped his tricorder back to his original scan pattern when a=
=20
rushed shout from the XO sounded the alarm.=20

=20

*Teller*: =3D/\=3D Contact front, 425m and closing. Defensive formation on=
e,=20
now. =3D/\=3D

=20

Wes's tricorder setting was too short-ranged to confirm the command=
er's=20
reading, but it didn't matter. The Marine's phaser was in =
his hand=20
instinctively and at the motion of the chief of security, his body was=20
pressed in a crouch against the hard rock wall of the tunnel. The two=20
warriors formed a shield for the away team in the narrow tunnel with their=
=20
bodies as they prepared for a fight.

=20

*Pandorn*: =3D/\=3D Hold your fire until we see whatever it is and it attac=
ks,=20
Lieutenant. =3D/\=3D

=20

*Greaves*: =3D/\=3D Will do sir. Not until the whites of their eyes. =3D/\=
=3D

=20

*Brell/Lovar*: =3D/\=3D Response =3D/\=3D

=20

The sounds of tunneling were reverberating throughout the passageway so=20
loudly that it seemed like the noise was coming from every direction at=20
once. Finally, Wes' tricorder began reading the significant distur=
bances=20
in the air less than 100 meters directly in front of their position. This=
=20
particular part of the tunnel played to their advantage and Wes thanked the=
=20
heavens for their luck. The tunnel stretched straight ahead for at least=
=20
150 meters, so whatever was coming toward them would be visible shortly, or=
=20
so he thought. =20

=20

*Greaves*: =3D/\=3D 75 meters and closing sir! Whatever it is, it=E2=80=
=99s coming=20
through the rock! ::Checking his tricorder again:: 30 meters! =20

=20

Wes's eyes bounced back and forth between his tricorder in one outs=
tretched=20
hand, and over the sights of his phaser aimed down the tunnel in the other.=
=20
Suddenly out of the darkness appeared a giant=E2=80=A6 creature. =20

=20

*Pandorn*: =3D/\=3D What in blazes...? =3D/\=3D

=20

It looked almost bug like, with long scythes for claws and a rock like=20
carapace. =20

=20

*Greaves*: =3D/\=3D Visual! =3D/\=3D

=20

The sounds and vibrations of digging were still as loud as ever and Wes=20
glanced back to his tricorder.

=20

*Greaves*: =3D/\=3D Wait, there's two of them! Second is ten meter=
s and=20
closing, two meters below us! =3D/\=3D

=20

*Brell/Lovar/Teller*: =3D/\=3D Response =3D/\=3D

=20

Suddenly the floor of the tunnel opened up directly beneath Greaves and=20
Pandorn, swallowing the pair in inky blackness. Wes could feel himself=20
sucked into a tangled mass of writhing limbs when abruptly the chaos was=20
punctuated by a crash against hard stone and shooting pain.

=20

Brell/Lovar/Teller/Cth'am/Orh'am: Response

=20

*Tags/TBC*

=20

=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
=20
2nd Lieutenant Wes Greaves=20
Marine Officer=20
USS Thor - NCC 82607=20
E239702WG0=20
=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D

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e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">((Subterranean Tunnels, Vel
Maijan))
oman";
mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">It took some time, but eventually =
the
frontal cortex in Wes's brain won the fight against his medulla. an style=3D"mso-spacerun:yes">
His heart rate and breathing re=
turned to normal,
and his fight or flight response withdrew altogether. cerun:yes"> The Marine was the master of his own body
again, although he knew that after a few hours he'd be exhausted fo=
llowing the adrenaline
dump. Fortunately, Wes had plenty to do to keep himself focused. =3D"mso-spacerun:yes">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Being on mission allowed the man t=
o
fall back into a familiar rhythm, honed over years of field exercises, and =
several
dozens of live missions. What=
to the
others was likely a walk deeper into the cave complex and tunnel system, to=
Wes
was a combat patrol. He could=
manage a
combat patrol, and the thought gave him a glimmer of his self-confidence ba=
ck.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">After several minutes of walking
deeper into the cavern, the ceiling seemed to get closer and closer to the
ground, and the walls appeared to narrow.=

Wes left his tricorder holstered and focused on his sight and hearin=
g
for the time being. It was st=
range. The further the team t=
raveled; the cave
seemed to get almost smoother. n>The
ceiling was generally the same, but the stalagmites on the ground gave the
impression of being shorter and fewer apart. ">
The walls seemed to become more and more smooth. pacerun:yes"> It was oddly unnerving, but Wes couldn't
place why.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Teller
o-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cali=
bri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Mr. Lovar, how'=
s the
environment. We still going to get a tan if we take off the suits?=C2=
=A0
=3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Greaves
so-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cal=
ibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D It'd be a real tr=
eat if you said
yes Lieutenant. My thighs are=
already
starting to get chapped in this thing. =C2=
=A0
=3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Lovar
-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calib=
ri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Radiation levels seem constant,=
no
change yet. =3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Wes sighed. erun:yes"> The EV suits didn't bother him much, but th=
ey
could be a real pain to walk in for a long time, and the prospects of a lon=
g
walk seemed high at the moment.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Brell
-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calib=
ri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D I know they don't seem full=
y even, as
if machine worked, but does this tunnel have a worked feeling to anyone els=
e?
=3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">As soon as the Captain mentioned i=
t,
Wes finally knew why the cavern felt so unnatural. un:yes"> The walls shouldn't be as smooth as they were=
. Heck, they nearly reflected=
their lights
right back at them because they were so smooth. yes">
Natural caves had outcroppings, rough parts, and other non-uniform
aspects to them. These caves =
weren't normal.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Teller
o-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cali=
bri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D I think you're right,=
Captain,
but there's no way some colonists did this. It almost looks...I d=
on't
know...carved, somehow. Eyes up people - look for any signs of recent
use. Could be we're not the first ones here. =3D/\=3D >



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal">Pandorn: =3D/\=3D Aye, sir. =3D/\=3D ::to Greaves:: =3D/\=3D=
Heavy stun,
Lieutenant. We want to be sure anything that attacks is neutralized, not de=
ad.
=3D/\=3D mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Wes nodded in response as he made =
the
adjustments to the phaser, then realized that nonverbal responses probably =
couldn't
been seen well in the bulky suits.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Greaves
so-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cal=
ibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Roger that sir. Ready for anyth=
ing. :Pausing to look at the =
walls:: If I didn't k=
now that these tunnels weren't perfectly
straight, I'd say it could have been an orbital strike from a stars=
hip's phaser
bank at some point in the past. an>=3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Brell
-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calib=
ri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Increased signs of wear even ol=
der
signs could point us towards our goals. =3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Teller
o-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cali=
bri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Agreed. ::Teller's tr=
icorder
pinged a movement reading from ahead, but it vanished once he tried to lock=
in
on it.:: Lets keep moving. =3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal">Pandorn: =3D/\=3D Now this is odd. I detect traces of alumin=
um and
oxygen in the marks on the wall where is seems that part has been removed. =
It
seems to have had a bite taken out of them. family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-fon=
t:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">With the tunnel narrowing and begi=
nning
to wind back and forth, Wes could only rely on his sight and hearing so muc=
h. With reluctance, he drew h=
is tricorder and
began scanning out in front of the team.=

A rapid blip of movement appeared then vanished. pacerun:yes"> Unsure if the tricorder had just given a
false reading, the man ran a quick diagnostic. es">
The small device reported it was functioning nominally, but Wes wasn=
't
so sure. When a piece of equi=
pment began
to fail, it commonly failed to tell you it was failing. spacerun:yes">Just in case he set the tricorder to only
report movement via disturbances in the air. s">It would be useless if the atmosphere became too
thin and it was functionally a very short-ranged setting, but it would be
unaffected by heat or geological disturbances.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
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e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Greaves
so-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cal=
ibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Sir, it looks like the tunnel s=
tarts to
get pretty narrow going forward. pan>I'd say
we'll be lucky to get two people that could walk abreast of each ot=
her. I'll continue to=
take point, but it might get
cramped pretty quick. =3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
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e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Teller
o-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cali=
bri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Response? =3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Brell
-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calib=
ri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D I've been reading a ste=
ady increase of
carbon dioxide in the cavern, its small but notable. =3D/\=3D <=
/span>



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal">Pandorn: =3D/\=3D Something lives down here? =3D/\=3D<=
span style=3D"mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-=
font-family:Calibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Greaves
so-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cal=
ibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Could be from our suits dumping=
excess CO2.
=3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Lovar
-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calib=
ri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Response? =3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Teller
o-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cali=
bri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Interesting. If there'=
;s more
carbon dioxide in here, the original colonists may have been able to trap a=
bit
more heat. ::Geoff glanced at his tricorder - the ambient temperature=
was
coming up slightly, and the more exotic gasses in the caves atmosphere were
diminishing to safer levels.:: It's possible there's a thermo=
cline in
here somewhere - we get below that layer and the environment may become a l=
ot
more livable. I think we're on the right track. =3D/\=3D
p>

e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Greaves
so-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cal=
ibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: <=
/span>=3D/\=3D
Just say the word sir, and I swear I'll make this EV suit disappear=
. I'll be
the group's canary in a heartbeat when the time comes. =3D/\=3D an>



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Brell/Pandorn/Lovar
n style=3D"mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-fon=
t-family:Calibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Responses =3D/\=3D=



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">As the group continued their desce=
nt,
the back and forth of discussion subsided into a calm monotone of crunching
rock under the team's boots, amplified slightly by the EV suit=E2=
=80=99s external
microphones. The soft crunch =
was pierced
every so often by a short expression of compressed air being expelled by th=
e EV
suits, which echoed down the unnervingly smooth stone walls of the tunnel.<=
span style=3D"mso-spacerun:yes">
Adding to the unnaturalness o=
f the rock
formation was the uniformity of the tunnel. >
While it was narrow, and barely eight feet high, it was consistently=
eight
feet high and could reliably fit for two people shoulder to shoulder. style=3D"mso-spacerun:yes"> It had to have been created by som=
eone, or
something.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">After ten minutes, the trek had fa=
llen
into a quiet routine, and Wes moved into an autopilot of alertness that was=
a
finely honed tool of his trade. an>In the
lead position in front of the away team, his head swiveled back and forth
scanning for threats, hazards, and obstacles that could impede their progre=
ss. Every few steps the Marin=
e's sweeping gaze
turned to look back at the rest of the team, swiftly counting their numbers=
to
ensure it remained unchanged before returning to his forward scan.
p>

e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Left, right. Up, down. Tricorder
readout. Left, right. To the =
rear. One,
two, three, four. Front. Left, right, up, down. yes">
Every few cycles the Marine softly touched all of his most important
equipment and mentally accounted for them. Phaser pistol, tricorder, trauma
kit. The cycle continued robo=
tically and
the rhythm further worked to push the man into the calm professionalism he
expected of himself. A stark =
counterpoint
to the near panic from the beginning of the mission. cerun:yes">Wes pushed the embarrassing memory out of his
mind and drew his focus back to his scan.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Commander Teller's hand si=
gnal to halt
broke the monotonous cycle and Wes took the opportunity to readjust part of=
his
suit. His thighs were undoubt=
edly chaffed
and break in the repetition brought his mental focus to his now burning ski=
n.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Teller
o-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cali=
bri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Teller to Thor, come in please.=
=3D/\=3D
::His comm badge chirped and blatted, unable to get a signal out. He
tried a few more times with no results. Geoff cursed inside his helme=
t
and clicked back over to the teams channel:: =3D/\=3D I can't raise the
ship.=3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal">Pandorn: =3D/\=3D We may be too far down in the tunnel. That=
and
with the composition of the rock face, I would suggest extreme caution from
here on in, unless we get back closer to the surface. =3D/\=3D =3D"mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-famil=
y:Calibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Wes stopped rubbing the insides of=
his
legs where he hoped he wouldn't be bleeding by the end of the walk.=
A quick transition in scan m=
odes on his tricorder
to survey the walls quickly overwhelmed his personal knowledge of geology.<=
span style=3D"mso-spacerun:yes">
Scanning through the readouts=
Wes looked for
the telltale names of some of the only rocks he knew. cerun:yes"> The only ones that professionally mattered to
him enough to commit to memory. an>There it
was.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Greaves
so-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cal=
ibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Lieutenant Commander, it =
looks
like there's a significant amount of basalt in the walls around us =
now. I'm no geologist=
, but one thing I know is
that basalt and lead play havoc on communications. =3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Brell/Lovar/Teller
style=3D"mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font=
-family:Calibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Responses =3D/\=3D=



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Wes had just flipped his tricorder
back to his original scan pattern when a rushed shout from the XO sounded t=
he
alarm.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Teller
o-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cali=
bri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Contact front, 425m and c=
losing.
Defensive formation one, now. =3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Wes's tricorder setting wa=
s too short-ranged
to confirm the commander's reading, but it didn't matter. pan style=3D"mso-spacerun:yes">
The Marine's phaser wa=
s in his hand instinctively
and at the motion of the chief of security, his body was pressed in a crouc=
h against
the hard rock wall of the tunnel. span>The
two warriors formed a shield for the away team in the narrow tunnel with th=
eir
bodies as they prepared for a fight.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal">Pandorn: =3D/\=3D Hold your fire until we see whatever it is=
and it
attacks, Lieutenant. =3D/\=3D imes New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Greaves
so-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cal=
ibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: <=
/span>=3D/\=3D Will
do sir. Not until the whites of their eyes.
=3D/\=3D so-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-fon=
t:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Brell/Lovar
=3D"mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-famil=
y:Calibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Response =3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">The sounds of tunneling were rever=
berating
throughout the passageway so loudly that it seemed like the noise was comin=
g
from every direction at once. >Finally,
Wes' tricorder began reading the significant disturbances in the ai=
r less than
100 meters directly in front of their position. yes">
This particular part of the tunnel played to their advantage and Wes
thanked the heavens for their luck. =
The
tunnel stretched straight ahead for at least 150 meters, so whatever was co=
ming
toward them would be visible shortly, or so he thought. spacerun:yes">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Greaves
so-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cal=
ibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D 75 meters and closing sir=
! Whatever it is, it'=
s coming through the rock!
::Checking his tricorder again:: 30 meters! >



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Wes's eyes bounced back an=
d forth
between his tricorder in one outstretched hand, and over the sights of his
phaser aimed down the tunnel in the other.=

Suddenly out of the darkness appeared a giant=E2=80=A6 creature. n style=3D"mso-spacerun:yes">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal">Pandorn: =3D/\=3D What in blazes...? =3D/\=3D mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-fon=
t:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">It looked almost bug like, with lo=
ng scythes
for claws and a rock like carapace. =



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Greaves
so-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cal=
ibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: <=
/span>=3D/\=3D Visual! =3D/\=
=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">The sounds and vibrations of diggi=
ng
were still as loud as ever and Wes glanced back to his tricorder.
>

e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Greaves
so-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Cal=
ibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: <=
/span>=3D/\=3D Wait,
there's two of them! Second is ten meters and closing, two meters b=
elow us! =3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Brell/Lovar/Teller
style=3D"mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font=
-family:Calibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">: =3D/\=3D Response =3D/\=3D



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Suddenly the floor of the tunnel o=
pened up directly beneath Greaves and Pandorn, swallowing the pair in inky =
blackness. Wes could feel him=
self sucked into a tangled mass
of writhing limbs when abruptly the chaos was punctuated by a crash against
hard stone and shooting pain.



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Brell/Lovar/Teller
/Cth'=
am/Orh'am:
-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Response



e-height:
normal"> mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">



e-height:
normal"> t;;mso-bidi-font-family:
Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Tags/TBC
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Ca=
libri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">





=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D

2nd Lieutenant Wes Greaves

Marine Officer

USS Thor - NCC 82607

E239702WG0

=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=







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