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Eclectic Surprise

Posted on Tue May 10th, 2022 @ 12:25pm by Lieutenant Commander Deanna Celes & Commander Jonathan Grayson & Petty Officer 1st Class Amethyst Reece

Mission: Jupiter Mystery
Location: Shuttle/Mystery Planet

Deanna was sitting in the copilot seat of the shuttle as the trio made their way to the neighboring M-class planet. She was excited for the opportunity, but she wished they could do so outside of the environmental suits. She had been in the suit for 8 hours now, and to say that it had been uncomfortable was understatement. She wouldn't complain though, as Jon had been in the suit just as long. Before they had left the Jupiter she had determined that the language on the artifact was in fact a hodgepodge of ancient Earth dialects, though the computer was still trying to translate it when they left. Amethyst had brought with her the latest information from sickbay and Deanna planned on scanning the planet for both the nanotechnology and the strange biological factor once in range.

Amethyst fidgeted uncomfortably in her seat. “I really hate wearing these suits, why on Earth couldn’t they make them more comfortable to wear?” She offered a wry smile. “Hopefully we won’t need to keep them on.”

Jon chuckled at Amethyst's statement as he went through the preflight checklist. "I think safety was paramount over comfort Amethyst. Hopefully we won't need to wear them much longer." He looked at his two companions. "Ready to go see if we can get some answers?"

Amethyst nodded. “Ready as I’ll ever be Commander.”

"Good deal Amethyst." Jon replied as he brought the shuttles engines to full power, and they left the Jupiter heading for the other M-class planet and hopefully some answers.

“So this signal we’re following, do we have an idea what it might be leading us to?” Amethyst looked at her companions curiously.

Jon glanced over at Deanna, "You want to answer Amethyst's question Deanna?"

"I wish I had an answer" Celes said in reply. "To my knowledge we'll be the first to visit the planet. I do know that the planet is much like the one we are orbiting, very much like Earth. I can't say what for certain we'll find. The thrill of exploration" she said with a smile.

“Well let’s just hope we don’t end up with any nasty surprises” Amethyst grinned.

"If we're lucky we will be able to take these suits off. That would be a welcome surprise to me" Celes replied.

"I agree Deanna but we will only take the suits off once we are absolutely certain there is no infection and that may be only when we return to the Washington." Jon pointed out.

Deanna looked at him, "I agree Commander, but for reference, a complete interior scan of the shuttle shows it is all clear, if you are interested in at least removing your helmet for a bit."

Jon considered Deanna's statement, "I'll wait a bit however if you and Amethyst want to remove your helmets be my guest."

Celes took a moment to consider. They had 20 minutes before they would be in orbit of the planet, and at least taking off the helmet would at least let her breathe fresh air for a bit. She slowly removed her helmet and placed it to her side, taking her first breath of fresh air in several hours. She looked at Jon and then at Amethyst, "It really is nice to just breathe the fresh air."

Jon nodded, "How do you feel? No lightheadedness, no wanting to go to sleep?"

Amethyst had followed suit in removing her helmet, the suit was making her feel claustrophobic. “That’s so much better!” She looked around at Jon. “No ill effects here Commander.”

Jon looked at both Deanna and Amethyst. "Might as well make it unanimous." He quipped as he unsnapped his helmet and removed it. "Ah, That does feel good." He admitted.

Deanna smiled as the others removed their helmets. "Take it in, because once we are ready to go planetside we will have to put them back on" she quipped. She worked the controls and made sure the sensors were ready when they reached the planet.

As they approached the planet Celes activated the sensors and began scanning. "This planet is like a duplicate of the other, though I am not reading the exact same atmospherics, that is to say, the biologic doesn't seem to be present." She continued scanning. "I am reading something, an interference of some sort, dome shaped, quite large. I don't think we could transport through it, but we could look at it in person."

Jon listened as Deanna gave him a preliminary report, "Dome shaped? Can I land close to it Deanna? I don't want us to have to walk a long way in these suits."

"Confirmed sir. We could definitely land close to it. I have a landing site in an open clearing all scouted out." she replied as she sent the coordinates to the helm.

Amethyst was looking at the readings as they came in. “So far there’s nothing in the atmospheric readings that concerns me at present, but I wouldn’t recommend going without the suits either.” She offered a wry smile.

Jon nodded, "Agreed Amethyst. Rather be safe than sorry. Especially after what we've seen with the Jupiter and it's crew."

Celes reached down for her helmet and sighed. "Well, it was nice while it lasted" she said as she moved to put the helmet back on. She looked at her sensors, "Well at least it looks like it will be a nice sunny day on the planet. Ready when you are Jon."

Jon moved the shuttle into the proper landing approach. "Go ahead and get your helmet on as well Amethyst. We're on the approach and will be landing in a few minutes." He glanced at Deanna, "Sunny day huh? That's good. Better than rain."

Deanna sent a quick text message to Washington informing them of their dissent to the planet. She continued scanning as they entered the atmosphere. She had no real complaints besides wearing the suit at this point, Jon's piloting of the shuttle was impeccable. A few moments passed and they were breaking out of the clouds and in sight of the terrain. Deanna loved the view, it was like they were on Betazed from her perspective. They were over a river that was crystal clear and quite large, her readings made it appear to be almost as wide as the Mississippi River on Earth, quite impressive really. Untouched wilderness seemed to encompass both sides of the river and then, almost without warning, sprawling clearings that were lush and green and covered in wildflowers that were the most beautiful reds, purples, yellows, and blues. It was like something out of some great landscape painting, quite remarkable to see.

"We are coming up on the location Jon," she said as she refocused herself to her task. 50,000 meters ahead, just past this large grove of trees that are coming up. It'll be on the port side."

"Thanks Deanna." Jon replied as he eased back on the power and slowed their speed to let the three of them take in the sights below them. "This quite remarkable." Jon observed as he maneuvered the shuttle close to their destination and powered the engines down.

Deanna checked the sensors once more as Jon powered down the shuttle's engines. "Everything appears to good, no signs of the biologic nor the nanotechnology, though I think we should remain in our suits as a precaution all the same."

“Agreed” Amethyst nodded. “We could end up finding who knows what down here, though I would love it to be a safe and welcoming environment. This would make an amazing Shore leave destination!”

"Here's to hoping it is Amethyst. It would certainly be a nice place for shore leave, stress free." Jon observed as he snapped his helmet back on and in place.

"Yes, the planet is breathtaking to be sure. I would certainly have the captain push for the Federation to get StarFleet Engineering out here. Between the two planets we are looking at some of the most mineral rich locations I have ever seen. The idea of creating colonies here has a certain appeal as well. Let's hope we don't encounter any negative surprises as they did on the other planet." Deanna holstered a phaser and checked her tricorder to make sure everything was ready as she waited for the hatch to open.

Celes carefully stepped out and looked around, seeing only the natural landscape. It really was everything the sensors had told her, though she was a bit miffed having to experience it all through the discomfort of an environmental suit. The sky was a magnificent blue with only a sporadic group of wispy clouds around; the sound of the river running in the distance was soothing, as was the sounds of nature coming from the nearby treeline. She began scanning with her tricorder, picking up the anomalous distortion.

Jon stepped out and looked around, "This is magnificent! A perfect world. Except for the fact we're here." He noted. "What is the tricorder showing Deanna?" Even as he asked his question he bent down and ran a hand through the long grass, "I wish I could feel it with my hand." He commented quietly.

“It’s so beautiful here!” Amethyst was revelling in what she could see around her. “I could quite willingly set up home here!”

Deanna looked up from studying her tricorder readings. "The distortion is this way. It is the only thing out of the ordinary thus far."

"Lead the way Deanna and let's see if we can get some answers. Amethyst you follow behind Deanna and I'll take the rear." Jon told the two women.

Celes nodded and started walking, keeping one eye on her tricorder and one on her surroundings. It didn't take long for her to reach the distortion field. She scanned it with her tricorder and looked around. She didn't see anything that would be causing it, and yet the tricorder was reading it. A strange thought crossed her mind, and while not the most scientific, she decided it was worth trying. Slowly she reached her hand up towards where the distortion field was supposed to be, where her eyes told her she was looking at open space, and suddenly she felt some sort of energy barrier. She looked down at her tricorder and then back at Amethyst and Jon.

Jon met her gaze, and his eyes widen as Deanna placed her hand to where the distortion field was. "Energy barrier?" He questioned.

"An energy barrier with no apparent source. But here it is. But it doesn't read as an energy barrier, only a distortion field, almost like a cloaking field." Celes had a look of confusion on her face.

"Impossible." Jon stated flatly. "All fields of energy have to have a source. However..." He continued, "Put that aside for a moment. If this is a cloaking field, what is it hiding?"

"No clue" Celes replied flatly. "We have to find a way past it to know. Maybe I can create some sort of inversion to make a breach with my tricorder" she mused.

Amethyst looked at the others. “Question is whether or not this field is keeping everyone else out, or something else in?”

Celes began to fidget with her tricorder as she analyzed the field and tried to create a breach. It took her several minutes before finally she was able to isolate a frequency and open a small hole. "We will have to squat down to get in, but her we are" she said standing in front of the hole she had created. She dropped down and crawled through, standing up and stepping to the side to allow the others to come through. "You are not going to believe this" she said in awe.

Jon turned to Amethyst, "You follow me. Stay sharp." He instructed not yet knowing what Deanna had seen.

The city looked like a merger of ancient Earth styles with futuristic design. Several large buildings stretched up into the sky. They were standing at the edge of a flower covered field and in the distance inside the city people were moving about. Celes looked at the others, "Well, it appears to be inhabited. Shall we say hello?"

"Sounds like a good idea to me." Jon answered. "No sudden movements, keep your hands away from your phasers. Let's see if they're in the mood for visitors."

They began to move towards the town and people acting normally, smiles on their faces. As they got closer it became evident that these people at least appeared to be human. The people stopped what they were doing and looked at away team.

Finally a large man stepped forward; he looked like a cross between a Viking and a Druid, "Who are you? Are you servants of the gods?"

Celes looked at Jon. This seemed to be a situation where she should yield to his authority.

Amethyst looked towards Grayson, she would follow his lead.

Jon looked at the man and then to Deanna and Amethyst. "We're visitors from another area. We come in peace."

The man looked at them. "Another area? Asgard? Avalon?"

"Yes, another shore." Jon answered simply as he didn't want too reveal to much about themselves and the Federation.

“We’ve... come a long way on our journey” Amethyst offered a smile.

"A very long way." Jon stressed, hoping the answers he and Amethyst had given were enough tp appease the man.

"I am Wilhelm, Jarl of these lands, first amongst warriors, advisor to our king." He looked at the three and centered his gaze on Jon, "Who are you that travels with only two females as companions?"

"I am Grayson." Jon replied, "I am first to my Captain and these two females are most important. May I present my trusted aides and friends Deanna." he said gesturing to Deanna. " And Amethyst." Jon continued turning to Amethyst. "They are both highly skilled in the practice of science and medicine."

Amethyst nodded politely as Grayson introduced her. “It’s nice to meet you.”

Wilhelm looked at Deanna and Amethyst and then looked looked at Jon, "Son of Gray, you and your females are welcome here. Come, we shall away now to the keep and seek audience with the king."

Deanna was remaining quiet. She had used her telepathic abilities lightly and reached out empathically to get a sense of things. She didn't sense deceit or malice, but she did sense mistrust and something was being hidden. She was aware Jon was on guard, she felt she needed to be as well.

Amethyst offered Jon a nod, so far things seemed to be going swimmingly she just hoped it stayed that way.

"Thank you, Wilhelm. please lead the way." Jon replied easily.

The architecture was a collection of Celtic and Nordic cultures, the buildings appeared to be stone with some metal as braces and even the occasional tin roof, though most roofs were thatched in some fashion. As they made their way deeper into the settlement, the buildings began to take on a more modern look though the style remained the same. Deanna decided the time had come to ask a question that was gnawing at her mind, "How long have your people been here Wilhelm?"

Wilhelm stopped for a moment and then began walking again. It was as if the question caught him off guard. "We have always been here."

Celes had scanned him and registered him as human. That being the case she knew his answer was false, but that might not make it untrue in his vantage point.

Jon noted the hesitation in Wilhelm's answer but made no comment, just filing it away for future reference. He was sure Deanna and Amethyst noted the hesitation as well.

Wilhelm brought them inside a large building and led them into a large chamber. The chamber had holly trees and mistletoe all about. A pair of females wearing green and blue cloaks and with some sort of paint on their faces came forward. Wilhelm bowed to them, "Aoife, Eithne, I bring visitors who wish to see the king. This is the Son of Gray and his female companions, Deanna and Amethyst."

The women looked at one another and then one moved towards them. "Where do you hail from" she asked.

Amethyst offered a polite smile. “We come from a place far from here, we’re exploring.” She was purposely vague hoping it was enough.

Aoife looked at Amethyst. "Why are you being so vague? Do you think us primitives that no not of other worlds?"

Amethyst shook her head. “Not at all, its just I erm...” she looked at Grayson hoping for his intervention.

"Of course not." Jon interjected coming Amethyst's aid. "We just don't want to bore you with information you already know. Tell us what you know and we can fill in blanks."

Eithne broke her silence. "They are bound by their Prime Directive still Aoife. They see us living as we do and assume we do not know of life on other worlds, do not know of travel between the stars. They are Terran, limited in mental scope yet trapped by their belief they know more than they actually do." She looked at Celes, "Not this one though. She is not human. She is a telepath, I would say Betazoid. Long ago she'd have been thought of as a witch, in union with dark powers. You pose little threat to us here."

Deanna grinned. "Always nice to be reminded that things are not as always as they they appear."

Jon looked over to Amethyst and whispered, "I think we've been insulted."

Deanna looked at Jon, "I think they view us as relics. We are from a period of time that is as different to them as the Dark Ages would be to you Jon. They are time travelers of some sort."

Aoife smiled. "Yes, as you understand it. We are of Earth, but we are of a different time."

“No wonder you’ve hidden yourselves away here.” Amethyst offered a smile. “May I Sir?”

Jon nodded his head and replied, "Please be my guest Amethyst."

Amethyst nodded her thanks. “We’re from the Federation Starship USS Washington, and we are explorers. We have a Prime directive that we have to follow, one of non interference.”

Eithne scoffed. "Noninterference from explorers. One day you will see the error in that. Your rules hinder your ability to actually explore. Your curiosity clouds your minds and allows for errors. At least you came here and not our sister planet."

"Why do you say that?" Jon asked his tone neutral and guarded.

Aoife interjected, "Both our world and our sister planet are much like Earth, but our sister planet has dangers on them best left undisturbed. We once lived their long ago, but the dangers made life difficult. We left some of those dangers trapped and the others simply could not follow us when we left and settled here."

Eithne jumped in, speaking in a more condescending tone, "We saw that some of your people several days ago were messing around on our sister planet and had unknowingly encountered some of those dangers. We attempted to dissuade them from continuing their time on the planet by bringing them to one of our medical facilities. They were each placed in a soul forge for observation while healers dealt with the malady. Unfortunately, some who were infected returned to their ship and interacted with others, passing on the malady. It was our hope to cure them all and send them on their way before more of you came here to fulfill your insatiable curiosity."

"That somewhat explains what happened to the Jupiter's crew" Deanna said plainly.

"Jupiter?" questioned Aoife. "You named a ship after that lecherous tyrant?"

"They don't know them the way we do Aoife" said Eithne plainly.

"We are treating the crew we found on the ship in the Jupiter's sickbay. Is there anything you can do to assist us? We also had an away team on the ground looking for the rest of the Jupiter's crew." Jon explained.

Amethyst offered a polite smile. “I’m a nurse and field medic, if there’s any details you can give me that would help us it would be appreciated.”

Eithne became irate, "You went down to the planet? Did you remove anything?"

"We found an artifact that was emitting a signal. We brought it up to the Jupiter for analysis" Deanna replied.

"You have no idea the danger you may have unleashed" Aoife said.

Beyond them, sitting on a throne, a large red haired man stood. "I have heard enough. We cannot blame them. They are like children trying to grasp concepts not yet possible for them to understand. We must make ready. While the others have left, those that were ensnared would be menace enough." He moved closer to everyone, "You are welcome to remain here, but it may be prudent for you to return to your ship, if only to help protect your people. Tricksters are not to be trusted, especially when their tricks are often so deadly. Wilhelm, escort our guests back to the barrier."

"As you wish my king."


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