SIM:LtCmdr Sky Blake, "Kidman I."
- OOC note: This was written on a phone while I was traveling to Queensland and back (for future travelers, beware of the ridiculously bumpy road). The intent was to address ongoing efforts of "fixing" communication in the Shoals, which is plagued with tetryon fields and emissions (explaining exactly how far Starfleet is in upgrading the current lackluster system) and addresses some background information of both Sky Blake and Tristam Core.
- There is no timestamp, but it's safe to assume it occurs some time after the Veritas mission The Omega Paradox.
::When they'd set down on the small M-class world, empty of inhabitants and surveyed for potential Colonial Coalition use, Keyri Largew and Pierce MacNamara had fully intended on its use as a small settlement for livestock and otherwise. The couple had been unlike any other kind of people Sky Blake had ever met - their understanding of technology was that it was a luxury kind of item, having been born and raised on a small world a little way from Ketar V. But they were not born from a family of ship builders or engineers that generally came from that region - in fact, Blake doubted that either of them would know what to do with a shuttle or broken communications array if one was ever presented to them.
::While Largew was off being as much of a businessman as she could be, Pierce was more comfortable in the hold of the small cargo vessel with his horse - a bay Australian stockhorse, of which Blake was incredibly hesitant to approach, despite its surprisingly calm temperament and attitude at being locked in a cargo hold for the better part of a month. Same with the small dog Largew had brought with her. In fact, all four of them *slept* there in the hold, swags and all.
::Blake had questioned the need for such things - why need livestock when there were replicators? After all, these were two Terrans, and Terrans were from a society where energy was the primary form of sustainability, not livestock. Largew simply laughed, pulling off her black hat she was wearing (of which Blake would later learn was called an "akubra") to run her fingers through the hair on the top of her head, and talk about how colonies sometimes had to start from scratch. If anything broke down, the crew on Kidman I had no one truly qualified to fix it - at least, not on the permanent crew. And replicators cost energy - they could harness solar energy, sure, but to supply replicators they didn't want nor need? It was equipment they simply didn't want to lug around. Blake was sure there was more to it - some kind of profit that Largew wasn't mentioning, but the most they'd brought with them were the beginnings of crop, building materials, the two animals, and an electric land rover (which, ignoring the shuttle, was what most of their few power reserves would ultimately go into).
::So they'd gathered an entire team to get them resettled on a potential colony world. They had no livestock to speak of, save the horse and dog, but a load were supposedly on their way. For now, it was establishing much needed structures - water tanks, fencing equipment, amenities, that kind of thing.::
Largew: I know some people don't say it, but I appreciate your assistance, Starfleet.
::Sky glanced over her shoulder, snapping her tricorder shut. She'd been using the land rover to set up perimeter markers. It'd been a rough and entertaining ride, with Pierce just ahead of her on his horse clearing the way where possible since the land was not exactly appropriate for travel by vehicle, but that was part of the fun. Tomorrow she'd drive behind Pierce again to push the boundary markers out a little further so some serious ground could be cleared in preparation for the necessary structures - hopefully that would be completed before her time here was up.::
Blake: "Blake" is fine. And I'm happy to help. This is the kind of thing I signed up for.
Largew: I'm told Kidman will be the site for a comms tower, too?
Blake: That's my understanding of it. It'll be part of a network that cuts through the tetryon interference, hopefully it'll clear up subspace communication.
Largew: Just being able to get a text message out quick would be a godsend.
Blake: That, too.
Largew: Is there any particular place that needs to go?
Blake: I was told it'll be nearby the base camp. It'll be joint run - not just a Starfleet operation, but with the Coalition, too. It won't be operational until the network's complete, though, and I'm not sure when that is.
Largew:::nodding:: I got the run down. Finally. I was just wondering if that was going to use our resources.
Blake: I'm not totally aware of the project itself, but I know the lead engineer that's coming along to work on it. I can set up a meeting with him if you'd like?
Largew: That'd be great. Thanks.
Heavy piece of equipment
::There was something to be said about the vast emptiness of Kidman I. What was once bushland shrubbery that she and Pierce had been required to navigate through one inch at a time had been effectively cleared by Largew's small crew intending to inhabit the planet. Cleared in just two days work thanks to their modern technology, Blake now stood in 1 square kilometre block of empty land, tiny patches of a greeny-yellow weed grass atop a hard dirt-clay ground being the only indication that there once sat a patch of bushland. There wasn't a cloud to be seen in the perfect blue sky - if a colony wasn't being built in the background, it would have been totally silent.::
Core: Hold this for a second.
::And without much warning, a Rodulan dropped a heavy piece of equipment onto her, immediately adjusting some settings on it as she struggled to keep it from landing on her feet.::
Blake: Are you right, there?
Core: Not really. ::He pulled back to sneeze into his elbow.:: This environment is horrendous.
Blake: When was the last time you spent serious time outside?
Blake: That hardly counts.
Core: I'm a Starfleet engineer - my assignments are usually in the climate controlled environments of space.
::She shook her head.::
Blake: Climate control. You're missing out.
::She'd been asked to assist in the establishment of Bupirninyirring - with new colonies, extra hands were always welcome, especially so here, with this being the first uninhabited world Largew and MacNamara had ever set foot on. They'd asked for Starfleet assistance and expertise. In return, Starfleet asked for a small piece of land for a communications array.
::Tristam Core, however, was sent here to actually build the communications array. Outpost 3 was just one piece of his proposed "fix the tetryon field" puzzle. And he was regretting the decision to head the project, as the Rodulan was suffering from "seasonal allergies". Not to mention was incredibly moody, nauseous, and had missed the first hour of every shift since arrival. He made up for it, of course, staying around longer than everyone else, working twice as hard - one could never say that Tristam was unreliable. But being planetside was doing nothing good for his health, which made next to no sense for the Brekkian Betazoid Blake. But they had just two more days here before they had to pack up and return to the Veritas.::
Core: The structure's finished. Just a matter of setting up the system and connecting to Outpost 3.
Blake: And I suppose I have to carry this to it?
Core: If you could ever so kindly.
::Of course, Core's mainframe would be on the top floor of a five storey building, complete only with stairs. With the Rodulan's begrudging assistance, what she figured was a heavy comms relay was carried up and installed.
::Now she waited next to the currently empty cabinets for Core to give her new instructions - unplugging and replugging relay cables being her primary mantra for the possibly slightly insane man sniffling behind a console.
::She'd unlocked the cupboard to have a squiz inside, out of boredom and curiosity, when what sounded like a red alert alarm went off.::
Core: Spacial proximity alarm has been tripped - one unidentified vessel, heading this way.
Blake: Pirates? The colony's not even built!
Core: Go help the colonists - I'll lock down the antenna.
::She'd bolted down the five flights of stairs, Aquila pulled from its holster and at the ready. The colonists had been armed and ready - the Shoals weren't exactly the most safest place to set down roots.
::She was glad to see the kids ferried into one of the constructed "lock boxes", as Pierce had called, designed for the safety of those whom couldn't or wouldn't hold a weapon. Largew, now the settlement "Mayor", was currently ordering those who chose to work as colonial security around, a plasma rifle (designed for hunting) in her hands.::
Largew: Your early warning system works like a treat, Starfleet.
Blake: Core thought it was best. Defense towers were supposed to be installed Tuesday - I should have pushed for them to be sooner. I'm sorry.
Largew: Don't apologize. It's not as if you planned for an attack in the first month of establishment. Besides, thanks to you people, we've had the time to get ready.
::Out in the distance, on a slow decline from the open blue sky and coming in from what would have been kilometres away, was a small vessel inbound.::
MacNamara: Oi, Blake, you right mate?
::She opened her eyes to see two dark skinned and brown eyed human staring at her.
:: No, scratch that - the two merged into each other to become one. One Pierce MacNamara, the sun behind him blocked out by his tan wide-rimmed akubra hat.::
Blake: What happened?
::She took his hand to assist her up, brushing off the dirt on her sleeves.::
MacNamara: Buggers side-swiped ya. Took off with an arm-load of equipment.
::She took a deep breath, steadying herself lest she swayed.::
Blake: Was anyone else hurt? Casualties?
MacNamara: All colonists accounted for - scrapes and bruises, mainly. We can't find your co-worker, though. You know, the demon-eyed fella.
::She'd heard many descriptions of Tristam Core, but "demon-eyed" had to be a new one for her.::
Blake: You mean Core?
MacNamara: Yeah. The coms array is locked up tight - none of us can get into the top floor to check on him.
::She used her override to get past the security lock, stepping through with her Aquila in hand.::
::There was a banging, one of the doors of the cupboards she'd been inspecting before the attack being violently hit on the inside with a muffled yelling.::
::He'd been locked in one of his cupboards.::
Blake: Hold on! Calm down!
::She keyed in her override again, the door siding open when he was mid-sentence.::
Core: -to "calm down"! I'm going to write a nasty letter, those stuffy little-
Blake: Are you injured?
Core::: with a huff:: I'm fine. Whatever shred of dignity I've managed to retain has been lost, though. You're the one bleeding!
::The shorter man pushed past her to stand at one of the consoles, peering at the readouts, arms flapping about as he surveyed the readouts and glanced around the room.::
Core: They stole my hammez! I just got that installed!
Core: The big piece of equipment we moved up here today - the Veritas has one too. It's adapted Rodulan technology - it utilises a different kind of signal more suited to tetryon interference. It's supposed to strengthen the connection to Outpost 3 to create a more stable subspace network for the area. Think- :: He paused, finding words for an explanation easier for Blake to understand.:: Think our current subspace equipment, but 2G.
Blake: You're telling me pirates can now beat the tetryon interference?
Core: They'd need to be able to integrate it into their systems and connect too the network - which is still incomplete and would take-
Core: Alright, yes, they may have the ability to cut through tetryon interference-
Blake: Arsumble pahc!
Blake: I've got a signature that matches the vessel that attacked us. Looks like they're preparing to warp.
Core: Not in a huge hurry then. ::He huffed.:: Can you sit still for five seconds?
::She glared at him while he continued using the dermal regenerator over her forehead, hand steady as he wiped away dirt, blood, and twigs near the area and on her hair.::
Blake: It stings.
Core: Considering the dirt, I'm surprised you don't have a burning sensation.
Blake: I thought that thing just stitched up skin.
Core: Starfleet Medical are behind in many things - dermal regeneration is not one of them. ::beat:: You're lucky you didn't crack your skull.
Blake: What are you talking about? :: She paused.:: And what do you mean Starfleet Medical is behind? Behind in what?
Core: I didn't start in components engineering. I got my Mareits degree in medical technology - Rodul has made further strides in the medical fields compared to Starfleet.
::He switched off the regenerator, pulling off and tossing the glove he'd put on into the replicator terminal.::
Core: Bit of a culture shock when the Academy's answer to nausea was medication.
Blake: What's Rodul's?
Core: Feuen waves.
::He took a seat in the copilots chair, not elaborating on what a "feuen wave" was.::
Core: I thought you said they were going to warp.
::She looked back down at her readouts.::
Blake: Apparently not. Looks like they've lost power.
Core: Or they've detected us following them, and it's a trap.
Blake: They'd risk being boarded by Starfleet officers? No way. They'd be trying to bolt.
Core: I'm not convinced.
Blake: Relax, it's a happy coincidence.
Not a coincidence
Core: I'm never following you onto a pirate vessel ever again.
And now they wait.
::She sighed, and slid down the opposite bulkhead. A malfunctioning escape pod. They'd been tricked into a malfunctioning escape pod.::
Blake: How much air do we have?
Core: Given the life support system and what we're already breathing, probably about two hours.
Blake: Can you rig something?
Core: We were here to take back the hannez, not repair a shuttle - the best I have is a tricorder and a phaser. Even I'm not that much of a miracle worker.
::She sighed, pulling off her mustard tunic, the Rodulan taking off his jacket and throwing it in a corner. It was already warm in here.::
Blake: Great. So now what?
Core: Now we wait.
Further through the stars
Captain: She's a fine vessel. Hasn't bowed down to any pirates yet.
Ekal: And yet she's in a perfect condition.
Captain: My crew and I like to keep her that way. She could make the trip to Ketar if we really pushed her - though I try to stay away from such areas. Once we're off the Mother Road, we might as well be in the Shadows. We're just not suited.
Ekal: Well, that is my job here, sir. Hopefully once I'm done, it'll be like you strapped a flashlight onto your hull.
Captain: It'll be a much needed upgrade! ::beat:: Where did you say you were from again?
Ekal: Rigel, sir. Rigel V.
Captain: You made the trek all the way from the Beta Quadrant? I can't work out if you're brave or daft.
Pilot: We're picking up a distress signal. Coming from the Kidman system.
Captain: Blimey, we're . . . what, about a lightyear away?
::The brown haired Rigelian looked away for a brief moment, contemplating his options. This was it. This was the beginning of the network. The big spotlight onto this region of space.
::And there was nothing he could do to change it.::
::So they'd been tricked. Worse things had happened.
::Worse things had happened, though they'd usually have someone in close proximity to come and get them.
::At least they had Core's HANNEZ, of which he was now seated next to and poking at. He caught her full attention when he snapped his tricorder shut.::
Core: At what point do you start sweating?
::She rose an eyebrow.::
Blake: When I need to cool down. Do Rodulans not do that?
::It was a bit of a redundant question, as the Rodulan's forehead and undershirt was damp with sweat. His eyebrows rose almost all the way past his forehead in a strange expression she couldn't read.
::Meanwhile, with her torso and arms exposed to the warming air due to shedding her tunic earlier, it was only starting to get uncomfortable for her.::
Blake: This is regular temperature of Kekorna right now.
::He rolled his eyes, flipping open his tricorder and closing it after just a second or two - checking the time, maybe. He shuffled in his spot next to the HANNEZ, getting more comfortable.::
Core: You remember your time at the Academy?
Blake: For all intents purposes, I didn't go.
::There was silence again. He was becoming nostalgic, perhaps even defeatist. She sighed.::
Blake: I'm sorry. But I'll get us out of this. I promise.
Core: I'm already ahead of you. Distress signal is live - people aren't too far away. Even the Veritas could hear it from their position. No, I was just curious.
Core: You've got a simple name. Sounds kind of Terran.
Blake: That's because it is.
::Only one of his eyebrows raised this time.::
Core: Your last name isn't "Blake"?
Blake: In spelling, sure.
::He laughed, head leaning back against the bulkhead.::
Core: You did what I did.
Blake: What would that be?
Core: Got irritated by mispronunciation. Took an easier name.
Blake: What's yours?
Core: Daneisle Traistem Kiorarhee. I went to the Academy on Earth - San Francisco. Terrans seem to read "core" as a noun - one syllable. My name's four.
Blake: Makes sense.
Core: If you don't remember going through academy, or anything before Veritas, why "Blake"?
Blake: Seemed like too much of a chore to correct everyone. Besides, "Blake" is quicker and nicer than "B'le-ahco".
Core: They're a strange bunch.
Blake: Everyone from anywhere are a strange bunch. And I say that as a nomad.
Core: You don't identify as a Brekkian citizen?
Blake::: with a sigh:: Not anymore. Brekkian and Betazoid by biology, but neither of those places are home. Starfleet isn't home either - not really. I enjoy what I do, but ultimately, it's means to an end.
Core: I don't think I've heard any officer say that before.
Blake: Good thing I'm no ordinary officer. ::She pointed out.:: I don't know. I see the wind changing. In the near distant future, we're going to go up against the Tholians. That's not something I really want to be around for.
And finally, rescue
Captain: Welcome aboard the SS Rowena, Commanders.
Core: I have to say; thanks for the assist. You can keep the escape pod for parts.
Captain: It's not Starfleets?
Core: Oh Artist, no. We wouldn't be so stupid as to-
Blake: We were hoping you could drop us back to Kidman I - there's some work we need to finish there.
Captain: No problem at all. Ekhail?
Ekal: It's Ekal, sir.
::The captain all but ignored the Rigelian.::
Captain: This pod of any use to you?
Ekal: I'll have a look.
Core: You could probably strip it for parts, but I don't see it being overly valuable.
Ekal:::with a shrug:: You never know, Commander. You never know.
Online and ready
Core: And . . . we . . . are . . . done.
::The console lit up green, a connection to Outpost 3 successfully established. The HANNEZ firmly re-installed into the system, welded into the building lest another gang of thieves attempt to put their sticky hands on it.::
Blake: Wait, does this mean we have better coms?
Core: Not yet. But we're about two steps closer than we were before.
Blake: So when will it be up and running.
Core: My prediction? Assuming there's no galaxy-leveling disaster that impedes work, I'd say next year.
::Next year. She gave a huff.::
Blake: 2396. Sounds like a lucky number.
- Much of this piece was an experiment of fitting as many Australian references into a sim as creatively possible, as there are few (if any) references to Australia or Australians in Star Trek as a whole.
- The Kidman system is named after Australian Sidney Kidman.
- The landscape of what's known as Bupirninyirring on Kidman I was based on a combination of the rather flat but bumpy plains leading from Northern Victoria to Cobar, New South Wales, and the bushland surrounding Clairview, Queensland.
- Bupirninyirring means "lacking mosquitoes" in Djinang, which is also somewhat telling of Bupirninyirring's environment.
- The Stockman's Hall of Fame was a primary influence for Kidman I.
- Sky Blake and Jhalib Ekal are the only two characters in these pieces with "Americanized" accents. Tristam Core has a somewhat British accent; Keyri Largew, Pierce MacNamara and the Kidman colonists are Australian; and the Rowena's Tellarite captain and pilot sound vaguely Scottish.
- A reference to a Baird class shuttle (named after Arthur Baird) was initially inserted into Heavy piece of equipment as being Core's transport to Kidman I, but was scrapped in favour of keeping a Baird class concept in reserve for potential medical transports or shuttles (as Baird was responsible for the first aircraft used by the Royal Flying Doctors).
- HANNEZ is an acronym using Rodulan words, as it's Rodulan technology - as such, it's likely called something different by Starfleet.
- This marks the second appearance of Jhalib Ekal, though is the first in which he's referred to by name through character dialogue.
- Blake mentions that defense towers for Bupirninyirring were meant to be installed on Tuesday to Largew - installations being completed on Tuesdays is somewhat of a running gag due to the slow travel times of the Shoals.