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A Hollow World

Posted on Sun Mar 14th, 2021 @ 7:45pm by Captain Cynthia Jackson & Lieutenant Luke Osswell & Lieutenant Kevin Chambers

Mission: Mission 4 - A Rose By Any Other Name
Location: Planetoid
Timeline: 2261. 257 at 1415

Cindy gave the order to beam herself, Luke, and Kevin to the hollow area of the planetoid. When they emerged, they could see a blue sky with a yellow sun above them. Pink mountains were in the distance. Rusty soil was beneath their feet. About a couple of miles distant appeared to be some sort of buildings. She turned to her companions and asked, "Well, isn't this all interesting? What do you make of it?"

Kevin looked around to orient himself as he felt himself after beaming onto... into...?... yes, INto the planet. OID. Yes, definitely not like a regular planet he'd ever considered before. A hollow sphere in the shape of a planet... a whole other world inside of it. How... how could this be possible? His toolbox in his hand, he tried not to be just a little impressed that he, the Chief Engineer... had managed to be on an Away Mission. And with this amount of implied technology, he was glad of it.

Upon rematerialisation Luke turned a full 360 degrees to get an immediate impression of the surrounding area. He then shifted the weight of heavy automatic phaser rife around a bit, the pulse grenades dangling from his belt made a rattling sound as he did so. He'd be damned if he let his Captain or Lt. Chambers get hurt if any enemies were around. The buildings made him increasingly suspicious of his surroundings. The buildings looked old... very old, yet they were still standing, which meant they were made to be durable. Durable against attack, as well, maybe?
"If there are buildings there might be other things, possibly hostile. I'll take point, Kevin, you watch our six."

"Aye," Kevin responded, shaken back into himself. He had to admit that he was quite fascinated with their surroundings. His mind was going a mile a minute about the energy demand that had to be powering this place. He looked at the smaller weapon he had been given and wondered if Osswell might have been compensating for something... chuckling under his breath at his own inner 12-year-old boy.

Cindy smiled at Luke. It was very nice to see him taking his new job so seriously. "I do not see anyone here." She pulled out her tricorder and said, "Still no lifesigns. I think we can move towards those buildings now."

"It's automated systems and machinery I am worried about, Cap", Luke replied as he moved towards those building. Suddenly he saw a bright flash from up ahead. He motioned everyone to crouch down while he investigated the source. When he saw it a second time, he realised it was merely the sun reflecting of a window pane in one of the buildings. "False alarm", Luke said, and resumed their hike towards the buildings.

Cindy giggled. "New position got you jumpy, Luke?" she asked as she started leading the group forward.

Luke glanced back towards the Captain. "Not particularly, Cap. I'd just hate for something to happen to you on my first day. I mean, imagine the paperwork!" He grinned as she caught up to him and took the lead, much against Luke's wishes. Now in the middle, but staying close to the Captain, he glanced back, this time to Lieutenant Chambers. "You alright, Lieutenant?"

Kevin nodded slowly at Luke with a look of curiosity on his face. "Just fine, thanks for asking." His lips twisted into a grin as he watched the Captain push the Lieutenant's nervous button "Our six is doing just fine back here, but not sure how all of this is powered... I'd say geothermal energy, but we're inside... hmmm..." His voice trailed off as he took in everything from a technological perspective.

After walking what she estimated to be a mile, a figure appeared from behind some rocks. The figure looked at them and said, "Greetings! It is pleasant to make your acquaintances. My name is Doctor Roger Korby. How many I be of assistance to you all?"

Kevin was more than a little surprised at seeing anyone at all... almost as though this Dr. Korby had materialized himself.

In one quick step Luke had positioned himself between the man and the Captain. Keeping his weapon trained at the so-called Doctor, Luke said to the Captain: "I thought you said there were no life signs? What's this then?"

Cindy looked at Luke and said, "That's what the readings said. How do you explain that, Doctor Korby?"

"Ah! Well, that's simple. This planetoid has a dampening field. The creators of this wonderful vessel had all sorts of protections built in to safeguard its inhabitants." Changing the subject immediately, Korby continued, "In fact, we're having a bit of trouble with it right now, so your arrival is fortuitous. If you would come this way?" He gestured towards an opening in the rock.

A dampening field would make sense, and also be quite a concern for the Legacy in case they needed to beam them up in an emergency. That field would interfere in locking on to the Away Team... what else might it do that they might need to concern themselves with?

Luke didn't move an inch, instead he held up his hand to the rest to keep them from following this man in for now. "A dampening field, eh? So all of your team are fine? No sickness, accidents or whatever? And you just forgot to inform Starfleet about it for over a year? Or were you unable to? If the first, it means you have not followed standard protocols resulting in Starfleet allocating valuable funds and resources to come find you. If the latter, I find your nonchalant attitude highly suspicious, considering you might have been stuck here forever, alone and forgotten." Additionally, Luke thought, though he didn't voice it. If they had been stuck here, it meant Luke and his Away Team might be stuck here, too. Everything about this situation annoyed the Security Chief to no end.

Kevin wondered whether or not Luke might be Security or a glorified bean counter as he holstered his weapon. This might not have been the best Mission to have the Captain on, but bitching out some lost scientists seemed a bit over the top. They didn't even know the whole situation.

"Not all of my team is fine. Quite a few died. But that is a story that is better told inside." Once again, Korby gestured towards the opening in the rock. "And nothing has been taken from Starfleet. If anything, this discovery here...." He held his hands out wide. "This discovery alone will more than repay Starfleet. But, as I said, I do need your assistance and I hope that you brought an engineer. It is trouble with the engines. I have no desire to strike that planet up ahead but I need someone more technical to assist in fixing this. So, please...."

Luke didn't move. He had not heard a further explanation for not contacting Starfleet, and remained suspicious. If 'quite a few' died, all the more reason to try and contact Starfleet, he figured. He was also sure the Legacy was more than able to destroy or divert the planetoid, the one claiming to be Korby needn't worry so much about that. Luke shot his Captain a stare that he hoped conveyed all that in a single look, and waited for her instructions on how to proceed.

Cindy understood Luke's skepticism. However, standing out here was not solving anything. She said, "Yes, Lieutenant Chambers here is an engineer. I'm sure that he can take a crack at whatever is going on here." Cindy motioned for Luke and Kevin to head to the opening as she did so.

"Of course," Kevin stepped forward, reaching out to shake the Doctor's hand. "You can call me Kevin, Doctor," he said.

The Doctor shook Kevin's hand and said, "Nice to meet you, Kevin." He then allowed everyone to graciously enter. Korby followed the pack and said, "There's going to be a break in the corridor about 50 meters ahead. I can get ahead of you all, if you want and lead the rest of the way. We're going to take the left hand passage."

Before they entered Luke tried his tricorder again, hoping the dampening field would not reach into the building, but alas, it did. The corridor looked old and deserted, as if it had been empty for a long time. Where was were the others? Luke let Korby get ahead of him so he could keep his eye, and his gun, on the man as they progressed.

Unfortunately, the further in that everyone went, the less that Luke's tricorder picked up. The dampening field evidently was stronger further into the core. It would take little time before the tricorder would fail to pick up anything.

Eventually, Korby led the group into a huge computer room. Panels were everywhere. Lights were blinking and the sounds of the computer working were evident. A faint whirring noise was all around.

Roger told the party, "This is the central computer. I cannot seem to disengage the auto defense mechanisms. Nor can I seem to change course again. It is locked in place. Please tell me that you can help."

"Let me take a look," Kevin said and indeed followed word with action. After all, he was in the room with alien technology for the first time. Was he or was he not like a kid in a candy store?

As he kept an eye on the Captain and Lt. Chambers, Luke surveyed the room, feeling increasingly uncomfortable. This was a perfect spot for an ambush, just the one entrance, and Luke wondered how much cover the computers might provide, with the chance of them exploding when fired upon and all... No, Luke didn't feel safe at all. Also, one other thing bothered him: "Where are the others? You said quite a few had died, but where is the rest?"

"They are here. Have no fear, Lieutenant, they are here," Korby told Luke. "So, if your engineer could assist...."

"As well as I can," Chambers responded. Paranoia was not his forte and Kevin decided to leave that whole headspace where it belonged. Repairing the computer was one thing... weren't they rescuing them? Kevin found it odd that many died in a year but Roger Korby didn't seem phased by their loss. He also wondered about this place, the aliens that built it... and what might be inside of it that required a dampening field.

Kevin didn't let any of his concerns disrupt his easy-going demeanor. He was soon going to be elbow-deep in their technology, so he hoped to be able to ensure that the Away Team would be able to get home, despite the field and an ever-evolving situation.

Opening the computer panels was easy enough. So was engaging with the wiring. Things seemed to be in place except for a couple of wires that seem to have somehow disconnected. Perhaps because it was further in the machinery, Dr. Korby could not notice. After all, it was tucked fairly deeply. Kevin had to wriggle himself in further to reach the wires. Once he did so, it was just a small contortion act to get them back together. The moment he did, the energy pulsed through and immediately sent a high pitched wailing noise through the chamber. Worse, the entrance to the room closed and locked them all in.

Cindy covered her ears and tried to yell at Kevin to undo whatever he did. However, the whining and wailing noise only got more shrill. She tried curling in a ball to stop the noise but nothing she did mitigated the circumstances.

Korby had his hands over his ears, as well.

Kevin gritted his teeth, eyes watering from the noise. He futilely grabbed at the wires and began tugging, hoping that they'd separate. He couldn't see anything anymore, and he tried grabbing for his toolbox, hoping to cut wires since yanking wasn't working.

The sound caused a pain that became more and more unbearable and he pressed his hands against either side of his head hoping to hold his brains inside of his skull. Blackness rose behind his eyes and enveloped him within it...

His phaser rifle clattered to the ground as Luke desperately covered his ears. But it didn't help one bit. Looking around, he saw Lt. Chambers unsuccessfully trying to shut off the alarm, or whatever it was. Korby seemed to be affected as well, but that did little to alleviate Luke's suspicions. Next to him he found Captain Cindy curling up into a ball. He felt himself losing consciousness, and he was pretty sure his eardrums had burst. He managed to crawl to the Captain, hugging her head tightly against his chest in a last attempt to shield her from the noise, before he passed out.

 

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