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Hold Your Breath

Posted on Saturday, 24 June 2023 - 6:07pm by Commander DeVala Victrix Ph.D & Crewman Leopold Eberhardt & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Lieutenant Konata Hiiragi & Lieutenant Scarlet Rogers & Lieutenant JG William Knight & Lieutenant JG Hayashi Hamura & Lieutenant JG Kay’la & Captain Barret Stillwater

Mission: Operation: Lobes & Liberties
Location: Balancar
Timeline: 2396

There was nothing like piloting your way through the atmosphere of Balancar, just when you thought surely you'd be beneath the cloud coverage, you weren't. Thank the stars for excellent navigational sensors because visibility was null. It was what would have been considered 'high noon' on Balancar and the sun was high in the sky on the continent that the Standing Bear's team was landing. The problem was, it looked like twilight at best. The skies were a light golden hue, the clouds were not the least bit white, and the sun from the surface looked like a dark sienna orange saucer.

All sorts of alerts were happening from various consoles and Stillwater who had been piloting the shuttle, turned in his seat and looked at Victrix who was sitting in the seat next to him. "Just focus on any navigational hazards," he said to the woman from Risa. "In this visibility? I could easily clip a cliff or fly us right into the side of a mountain if I'm not careful" commented Stillwater.

Commander Victrix nodded and was keeping her focus on the navigational sensors and relaying information to Stillwater's console as she worked to chart any large structures man-made or natural in their flight path. "Ease off on our speed. We are approaching... well, a lot of buildings. I don't know if I would be so generous as to call it a booming metropolis" she said.

The environmental console in the runabout was chirping like a demonically possessed bird. "Alex?" came Stillwater's voice from the pilot's seat. He knew Balancar was bad. He had been there before, but this was a lot worse than mild radiation and smog. "Environmental report, please?" asked Stillwater but he suspected that he was about to regret asking.

From behind them, Lieutenant Kingsley went through the motions of silencing the alarms as they triggered, while keeping a watchful eye on the readings. “For one thing, never recommend this place to anyone as a holiday destination,” the science officer advised. “Pollution in the atmosphere is dangerously high, I’m reading heavy metal toxicity in the soil and we just hit a second radiation pocket as we cleared the clouds...

So far the shields and environmental systems are coping but these levels are much higher than we anticipated. Radiation levels are now falling. Slowly, but coming down. However outside this shuttle is not going to be pleasant for anyone. Fresh air is not on the menu and more then thirty minutes at a time without safety precautions is going to need the attention of the good Doctor.”

"Yeesh," Victrix said in response. "And you were worried we brought too many 'damn blue shirts' with us?" added Victrix teasing Stillwater using his words against him. The radiation levels alone were unsafe for brief exposure let alone being there for a while. "Doctor, work with Kay'la. We are going to need the two of you to cook us up something to withstand this radiation exposure for longer durations. I don't think the topical cream we brought with us is going to cut it."

Kay’la nodded then looked at Konata. “What do you think doctor? If we give out too high a dose of anti radiation meds the side effects won’t be very pleasant. That and we’ll run out faster.”

Konata shrugged. "But on the other hand, if we give out a dose that's too low, sure it'll last longer, but that'll mean the leftovers will be for the Ferengi when we succumb to radiation sickness. It's a good thing I snatched that formula for anti-radiation meds from a previous doctor I served under, otherwise, we'd be in a real pickle right now..."

Victrix shook her head. "This doesn't sound pleasant. I would prefer to do this in Environmental suits, but the Ferengi won't take kindly to that."

Leopold smiled. Sometimes working in waste reclamation came in handy when you wouldn't think it would. He proceeded to the back momentarily. The sound of the replicator broke the tension until he came back returning with a device in hand, an apparatus. "Not the most fashionable, but these will help. These breathing masks should do the trick so long as the Doctor can help us with the radiation exposure."

"Could be worse," Scarlet shrugged, gladly putting the mask on, "on a plus side, for humanoids, after 20 minutes you go nose blind."

Hamura snorted a laugh at what Scarlett said while getting ready.

With thanks, Alex took her own mask and sat it on her lap as she continued her ongoing battle of wills with the computer and the many alerts. “We have a lock on the navigation beacon for landing,” she called out as her console chirped rather than screamed for a change. “Forwarding data to the helm, just in case you wanted to live a little less dangerously today…”

Especially, she reminded herself, when the mountain their former CO mentioned was a little too close for comfort in such poor visibility. The occasional turbulence during the decent didn’t help either. She would actually be glad to get her feet on solid ground.

Konata came in with her own breathing apparatus, having requested one from Leopold to examine, she had found a way to reverse engineer the masks to passively administer the anti-radiation medication she and Kay'la had been working on, and it utilized the filters attached to the masks. Along with her own mask, Konata carried with her several other filters which had been infused with the medication.

"Here; you'll want to change out the filters on your masks with one of these." She said, indicating the spare filters she had brought with her. "They're infused with an anti-radiation medicine nurse Kay'la and I have been synthesizing. If I've done everything right, these should provide us with protection from the radiation for about 12 hours before I'll need to administer a hypospray to all of you."

"Doctor, I have a question." Hamura said. "You said if you did everything right...what happens if you didn't?" They shrugged. "I plan for the worse."


"Load up some hyposprays," Commander Victrix instructed. "We will make sure to monitor time and not push the limits. We'll call it eleven hours tops, not a minute over" she added. "I expect the two of you as medical officers to monitor everyone's vitals. Any sign that one or more of us aren't handling Balancar well, let's get them back to the shuttle immediately."

Captain Stillwater cleared his throat. "Asses in seats ladies and gentleman" he announced. "I'm about to sit us down in a clearing...let's hope for solid land and not a bog."

“Please let it be solid land,” Alex whispered in a quiet plea to whatever gods may be willing to watch over them.

“Still a nervous passenger I see,” Knight whispered from his spot to her right, an amused grin on his face despite having spent the trip wedged into a small space where he spent his time pouring over schematics and plans.

“Could be worse,” Alex pointed out. At his curious look she grinned, “you could be the pilot.”

Knight laughed, “true! Don’t worry. As you know, I made many promises to many admirals to never sit at the helm of any vessel.”

With a wink and a reassuring smile, the engineer stowed his PaDD and focused on what limited view they had of the outside world as they entered the final stage of the journey.

"Into the belly of the beast..." Hamura muttered checking their equipment. This was sure to be a good or bad way they were not sure.

Stillwater set the craft down just fine. "I still got it" he said confidently.


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