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[2007: SEP-OCT] Destined for Failure?

Fleet Captain TPen

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Destined for Failure?

By Captain T’Pen

Georgia lay flat on her back, her breathing raspy and heavy. The warning lights and miniature klaxon of her EVA suit drowned out any sound of the avalanching rock and dust that fell all around her prone body. A gentle hiss of escaping air from the perforation in her suit’s leg, echoed through the cavern like an overly zealous snake ready to strike.

Grunting with effort, Georgia attempted to sit up, but her gloved hands slid over the plethora of tiny pebbles and sand, causing her shoulder and helmeted head to violently fall and impact against the ledge she was precariously lying on.

Three hours earlier, Ensign Georgia O’bin-okē, an un-liked, snotty American Indian Terran, along with a crack team of scientists from the U.S.S. POPE, prepared to beam down to the surface of a desolate commit, whose streaking path crossed the POPE’s pre-directed course along the Romulan Neutral Zone.

Captain Bla’aten, a emaciated Bolian male, had many concerns, chief of which was that the team stay together and not disrupt anything on the comet’s surface. “Take readings, take measurements, take a couple of moon rocks if you must. But don’t do anything more.” Bla’aten said, as he smiled his rather disarming smile at the team. His smile tended to give younger officers the willies. Today, as he spoke from the transporter console, his smiled sent a shudder down the spine of more than one officer on the transporter platform. His white teeth were a stark contrast to his sea-blue skin tone. “Just be careful.”

Shortly after the team arrived and each was given their orders, Georgia all on her own this trip, decided to traverse the rocky surface near one of the fissures in the craggy soil. It took her more than an hour to set up the repelling equipment. When no one had even bothered to check in on her, she just assumed that they were not interested in her input. “Just the way I liked it.” She repeated the phrase over and over as she set up the equipment.

The repel harness lowered her down the shaft at intervals of 5 or so feet at a time. Her tri-corder wasn’t reading anything too out of the ordinary. Thinking that she could show up the rest of the team by bringing back a true find, she lowered herself further down, descending deeper and deeper into the commits’ interior. The only light reflected off the walls came from her helmet lamps and the blinking lights from her tri-corder.

She looked down into the black pit and wondered where the hole ended. As if on cue, the harness line stopped in mid-run. With all her might, Georgia tried to un-snag the line by jerking her body, clicking the leaver control and yelling profanities into the blackness. Her grunts and groans, as she dangled in mid-air with nothing but blackness and cold void of air, dulled the thrill of adventure.

“Come on.” She yelled and then felt the line free it-self. But more than free it-self; it freed her from any kind of secure line to the surface. She plummeted down into the dark, her screams swallowed in her helmet.

She bounced off the craggy wall several times, before finally seeing and then feeling the ledge she came to rest on. As she lay flat on her back, the un-tethered rope whooshed past the forward view of her helmet. It was followed shortly after by the white angular form of the climber’s control equipment. Little ripples of dusty, rocky air clouded her visor’s forward view. When it finally cleared, Georgia was able to make out a coiled length of rope, whose end appeared to be severed. It wasn’t ragged like a rock had rubbed it till it broke. She’d checked the line herself before coiling it and getting it ready for the trip down.

Her tri-corder lay open face down over an exposed craggy rock. The lights on it’s surface blinked a bit dimmer than normal. The casing had cracked where it landed in the commotion. Knobby, electronic innards were visible through a sliver of plastic that had been broken away.

Looking at the tiny half lit screen, she saw the scans of minute traces of metal along the edges of the severed rope. She slowly closed up the tri-corder to preserve its battery life, and realized that someone had purposely cut her rope and tossed it and the climber into the cavern with her. She pondered this for several seconds before realizing that her suit was talking to her.

“Danger. Emergency decompression in 10 seconds,” the computer voice announced. Georgia thought how contradictory the voice sounded. Even in the midst of a major crisis, the computer voice was annoying calm.

“Not much time.” She said to herself. Grabbing the length of rope that lay coiled on the ground, she wrapped the tight cord around her leg just above the cut. “I’ll probably loose my leg for this, but at least I’ll see someone fry for trying to kill me.”

Finally managing to lift herself up, Georgia tried to catch her breath. The emergency klaxon finally stopped and she breathed normally; a twinge of nervousness wrapped around each easier breath. Taking out her tri-corder again, she scanned her surroundings. There wasn’t much here but small mineral deposits, craggy sharp rocks and plenty of darkness. From the estimate on the tri-corder, she’d fallen close to 10 stories. Without someone missing her, there was no way they were going to find her down here.

Looking over her EVA suit, Georgia assessed that it was still in fairly good condition. “Now there’s the matter of climbing out.” Though the coiled up cord was now tied around her leg, it was also attached to the climber. She knew that she just had to try and get back up. Even if it meant she’d get left behind. “I’ll be dammed if I’ll die in the dark.”

Georgia spent several long minutes trying to get the rope coil off of the climbing equipment, but the line was snagged in several spots. Looking through her kit, the knife that was usually supplied, was no where to be seen. “Sabotage!?! They wanted me to fail. Fine, I like a challenge.” With nothing more than her will to live and justice on her side, she began to climb the rocky wall. It wasn’t going to be easy.

She stopped often to rest, keeping her fingers tightly gripped into the wall’s surface. She slipped a couple of times, but not so often that she was discouraged to continue. After a while, she felt the tug of the climber below her, dangling loosely on the cord tied around her leg. It wasn’t so much a heavy burden, as an annoying tug. With all her might, Georgia soldiered on.

Light, but not sunlight or even starlight, hung down over her head. Georgia saw flickers and stars above her. It had taken more than four hours and every last bit of strength to make it to the top. She was almost to the craggy lip’s edge, when an EVA suited hand jutted out, the fingers flexing to grab hold of her. She brushed it away, her pride taking over. “Show no fear.” She grumbled inwardly, as she crawled up over the lip and began to pull the cord holding the climber.

“What the Hell happened to you Ensign?” came a voice from just in front of her. “We’d almost given up on you.” Georgia pulled the last of the cord up and the climber with it. Looking over at the others on the team, she saw the look of disbelief, shock and amazement etched in each face. She’d beaten the odds and climbed out of the pit.

“Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice.” She smiled smugly at the group. “Till someone tries to kill me.” She stood defiantly, one hand outstretched with the cord, the other going swiftly to her combadge. “Away Team to POPE. Transport us up and make sure the Captain’s there when we arrive. O’bin-okē out.” The rest of the team continued to look shocked, as they transported away.

Edited by FltAdml. Wolf
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