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Baptized by Ice

Posted on Thursday, 23 December 2021 - 11:08am by Captain Pippa Whitley & Lieutenant K'Var & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Lieutenant JG Adrianna Eberhardt

Mission: Operation: Mirror of Madness
Location: Vulcan Mount Seleya

When the ancient Vulcan texts described in intricate detail about the thousand steps of a winding staircase that lead upward to what was best translated to ‘the heavens’ by Federation Standard equivalent in relation to Earth, they were surely not exaggerating, and why would they? ’Vulcans never lie’ Pippa thought to themself, echoing what they had heard over and over from various Vulcans who devoutly followed the teachings of Surak. There was, however, a difference between being told in great detail the challenges of ascending Mount Seleya even with the carved steps, and actually doing it physically. Pippa was an Efrosian, and not even a full one. They were not nearly known for their physiques and stamina, not like the Vulcans that were native to the planet. “Their monks must be ripped” Pippa quipped as they looked forward at her Caitian Security Chief who was several steps ahead of the Captain.

K'Var had heard the term 'ripped' before and looked over her right shoulder with a smile "indeed Captain" was all she said at the joke. She had caught her second wind and was having no problem traversing the steps, in fact she was often skipping a step and taking them two at a time. Keeping a close eye out for any danger and wanting to stay ahead of her Captain incase said danger reared it's ugly head.

Bloody damned Caitian agility thought the Standing Bear’s still freshly appointed Commanding Officer, envious of the security officer. The Caitian was far more than tactically mindful, they were fast and agile, a quick responder in addition to being good at battle strategy. There was no battle to be had here though, not unless you counted the war against the body, and the falling temperatures and thinning air that they were all facing the higher in elevation they got.

Bringing up the rear, but by no means falling behind was Lieutenant Raith Kolani, a human. Just an ‘average Joe’ as they expression went, but Pippa felt like Raith was beyond average – brown hair, blue eyes, just shy of two hundred pounds of solid masculine muscle. He was as if Starfleet had rolled him off an assembly line while producing the ship-of-the-line. Though Pippa had no romantic desires to explore, not with their crew; Captain Whitley could glance back at the specimen of man behind them and easily see what Lieutenant Vali was swooning over.

The man was eye-candy, but the captain was sugar free at least until the next cheat day. Trying to clear their mind of impurities, Pippa focused on the journey up Mount Seleya and what exactly they would say when they reached the top. It was then that they came to another twisting turn up the mountain, and Captain Whitley slipped on slick ice.

Lieutenant K'Var was quick to react and reached for the Captains arm before the she could fall. "Careful ma'am" K'Var said as she stopped the two from sliding toward the ledge. She didn't need to let the newly appointed Captain die on their first away mission together and didn't want to be the one to have to write up that report to Starfleet Command.

It was the Security Chief, blessfully gifted with quick reflexes that saved Pippa from what looked to be a fall that was several miles down to jagged edged icy death. In that moment the half-Efrosian had their life flash before their eyes amidst the snowy white tundra. Their chest being penetrated by glaciated shards, crimson blood melting the white snow and opaque sheet of ice. “A little too close to death,” Pippa commented, brushing some powdery snow from the arctic gear they had changed into after transitioning from the desert of the Forge to the arctic chaos of Mount Seleya, and symbolically brushing off death’s cold breath.

"Yes" K'Var finally let go of her death grip on the Captains arm. "Let's make that a one time occurrence" she paused and smiled at Pippa "at least on this trip ma'am."

"Certainly will try to," Pippa replied. The Captain reached out to steady themself, but quickly let out a bit of a wince. Pippa turned their hand over, palm side up. There was a slight horizontal incision. The ice had sliced open the Captain's hand.

With a sigh the Captain looked at K'Var. "The ice is sharp," commented Pippa.

"That looks painful Captain" the Lieutenant pulled her back pack off and started rummaging through the supplies they had. Pulling an emergency med kit from the bag "won't take long and we will have that fixed up" K'Var smiled and got into position to open the kit and retrieve the dermal regenerator. "Seems like it's getting colder" she commented as she started working on Pippa's hand.

"Aye," the Captain replied, retrieving a tricorder and taking a quick environmental scan. "Approximately negative 18° Celsius, 255° Kelvin, not factoring in windchill. It would be advisable that we try to get to the top before temperatures fall further." They were not too far from reaching their destination.

"Agreed" the Caitian was finishing up the medical work on the Captains hand, she was no Medical Officer by any means. "How's that?" she asked as she deactivated the device she was holding.

Pippa nodded. "Much better, Lieutenant, thank you." The Captain looked upward. "Not much further now. We should be clear for communications now. Best check in with the Stabding Bear before a search party gets sent after us."

The crew on the bridge were probably worried by now "I'd suggest we continue as we talk" K'Var didn't have to check a tricorder to know it had gotten colder and the best thing to do was move.

"Agreed wholeheartedly, Lieutenant," the Captain replied, putting the tricorder away and preparing for the last leg of the ascent up the mount. They tapped their communicator hoping that their signal would be strong enough for the Standing Bear to receive. "Whitley to Standing Bear...Whitley to Standing Bear."

“Good to hear your voice, Captain,” came the almost immediate reply.

It was nice to hear Alex's voice once again, a refreshing reminder that things were calm. Everything was running fine. "We are just about at our destination at the top of Mount Seleya. I foresee this speech taking some time to deliver, but once it is over; I'll contact again" explained the Captain.

“Understood. Good luck,” the science officer offered.

The Captain fetched the PaDD that they had packed for the journey. The connection was decent. "Is Lieutenant Eberhardt there?"

"Here, captain," Adrianna replied.

"Lieutenant, I'll take that data I had you working on about Vulcan history. You should have a strong enough signal to send it to my PaDD, and one more favor. Don't have that baby of yours until I'm back aboard, Captain's orders."

"On its way to you," Adrianna tapped the transfer over, "the baby will come when they come. We'll have to see how good they are at following orders."

"Hopefully they take after their father in that regard," Pippa replied in a feisty manner. Thank you, Lieutenant. Whitley out."

Adrianna looked to Alex with a raised brow, "I refer to him as a well-trained husband, but what do you think she means?"

Alex laughed as she shook her head, “I am not brave enough to guess!”

The Captain looked at the two officers at their side, nodded, and confirmed that they were minutes away from success, a trek through the Vulcan Forge had not killed them, ascending Mount Seleya had not either. They had conquered both, and soon Captain Whitley would have a beast to slay, the beast of political upheaval. Let's hope the Vulcans are more receptive to what I have to say than the Gorn thought Pippa, recalling a time in their youthful days as an ensign where Pippa inadvertently challenged a Gorn to the fight to the death.


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