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[2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

[ Cadet Regiene Suder | Cadet Examination Barracks | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ]  Attn: @Stegro88 

21 November 2370
17:30 Hrs
Stardate: 48099.2


Regiene, “Reggie” as she liked to be called, Suder stood at ease, making every effort not to flinch as the Academy instructor though his tricorder poked and prodded at her as if she were some criminal being frisked down before thrown into the brig.  She knew the protocol, of course.  Every Cadet did and while the details of what exactly the Survival Final Exam was remained under strict confidentiality, enough rumor and supposition ran through the campus to know that it was just as intensive, if not more so than the Kobayashi Maru.

Damn how she had grown tired of that test.  She had only participated in it close to two dozen times this term alone.  Of course she had never sat in the command chair, but as a pilot candidate she had been added to the ‘crew’ rotation to serve and die under the latest command candidate destined to fail an unwinable test.  After getting blasted around the simulator by the latest Jim Kirk wanna be in one harebrained scheme after another, only to get patched up and sent back in, she figured a few days of survival training would be a walk in the park. 

At least she thought it would be a few days.  No one really knew for sure but scuttlebutt had it that the test protocols were randomized to a point where the statistical odds of two teams of cadets experiencing even similar scenarios was so minuscule, even a Vulcan would have difficulty calculating them.  But the one thing that all cadets knew for sure was that they would have to submit to a contraband scan before beginning their test preparation.  This instructor, a Lieutenant, was taking his sweet time with her scan, leaving her to wonder  if he was trying to determine if her underwear was standard issue.  It was, of course, even the sports bra she had chosen for this, (who knew in what scenario she would end up and the girls might need that extra support), and she wondered idly if it might be faster if she just stripped out of her uniform and let the man see for himself.

“That will not be necessary, Cadet.”

Her cheeks flushed hot.  She hadn’t meant to send that thought out for all to hear.  Dammit.  Would there be an insubordination charge waiting for her in the morning?

“Yes, Sir,” she snapped.  “My apologies sir!  That was not meant for you to hear.” 

“No apology necessary, Cadet.  I pick up stray thoughts all the time.  You’re not the first and you won’t be the last.  Think nothing of it.”

“Yes sir!  Thank you, sir.”

He closed up the tricorder and motioned for her to step through.  “Okay, Cadet, you’re clear for the exam.  But before we begin, I am required to offer you the option to withdraw which you may do freely without fear of penalty or reprisal beyond the need need to re-schedule your exam.  If you chose to continue, you understand that you are committing to see this exam through until it’s end, whenever that may be.  Do you wish to withdraw at this time?”

“No, Sir.  I do not.”

The instructor nodded.  “Very well.  This way please.”

He led her down a dormitory corridor to a room marked “29A”.  The door opened and he motioned for her to enter. 

“As of this moment, Cadet Suder, you are confined to these quarters until you are transported to the test site tomorrow.  You will be randomly paired with one of the other forty nine cadets beginning this exam tonight.  Do not ask me who your partner is, I do not have that knowledge, nor do I believe the assignments have been made.  You are free to avail yourself of these quarters as you see fit, though I would personally recommend that you remain in uniform at all times, especially when going to bed.  You will thank me in the morning.  Do you understand?”

Reggie nodded.  Knowing her luck she’d be assigned a Klingon who would see this whole thing as just another way to prove his honor and courage.  Yeah… a Betazoid and a Klingon - if there was an odder pairing she sure as hell couldn’t think of one.

“Yes, Sir.  I do.”

“One last thing cadet.  There is a hypo on the end table.  It is loaded with a mild sedative that will help you to sleep, should you feel the need.”

She frowned at that.  Reggie had never had issues sleeping before and it made no sense that she would have issues now.  “With due respect, Sir, why would I need drugs to help me to sleep?”

“It’s not personal, Cadet.  It’s a courtesy.  We often have Cadets take this exam who are too anxious or nervous about the exam to get a proper night of sleep ahead of time.  So we offer this to all cadets as a way to take the edge off safely and ensure a quality rest before the work begins.  The sedative is both mild and tailored to Betazoid physiology.    You will suffer no ill effects from the hypo, nor will it impair your ability to perform in the morning.  The choice to use it or not is yours alone and you choice will not factor in any way into the evaluation of your exam performance.  Do you understand?”

“Yes sir, I do.  Thank you sir.”

“Do you have any questions, Cadet?”

Reggie smirked.  “Probably a few dozen, Sir.  But none of them are ones you’d be allowed to answer.  In short, no, I am good.”

“Very well then, Cadet.  I recommend you get a good nights sleep, and good luck in the morning.”

He turned and left Reggie alone in the room.  The quarters she had been provided were a bit smaller than her regular quarters, but as the room only accommodated one, that made sense.  She had been told she could avail herself of the room, but truth be told there wasn’t much for her.  A PADD had been left on the coffee table, and a view screen hung on the wall.  But beyond that nothing had been provided and she had been allowed to bring nothing at all.  Usually on these field survival tests, Cadets were permitted a phaser and tricorder.  But she hadn’t even been allowed that.  For a moment she considered she should turn in, but she was not tired and she would be damned if she’d use the sedative.

“Well,” she conceded, “might as well see what’s available.” 

She flopped down on the couch, activated the screen and found an entertainment package that looked interesting.  By the time package finished some four hours later, she was ready for bed.  She made her way to the head, did the needful and turned back to her bed.  She started unzipping her tunic, but the words of the instructor came back to her and she thought better of it.  It would be difficult to sleep in her uniform and duty boots, but she was loathe to reject strong recommendation on the eve of an exam she knew next to nothing about.  She slid under the sheets, rolled onto her side, and closed her eyes.

Sleep took her soon thereafter.


SOME TIME LATER


She awoke to a throbbing in her head and groaned as she tried to roll over.  Her entire right side ached and she felt as if she had gone twelve rounds in the boxing ring which, was saying something considering she had never boxed before.  Again she tried to roll over, only to find her back up against something hard- a bulkhead perhaps.  Slowly she forced her eyes open as she willed herself to push through the pain of her headache.  As the world around her came into focus, she noticed the telltale drab gray bulkheads and the telltale segmented windows that she immediately recognized as the aft compartment of a Danube class runabout not so dissimilar from the one she had taken a flight test in not more than two days prior to her arrival for the survival final. 

She looked out the window from where she sat.  Outside the skies were blue, pierced here and there by the white fluff of cumulus clouds.  But for some reason she couldn’t see the horizon.  Something was off.  Her back was against the bulkhead, her legs on the deck, but her equilibrium was off.  Reggie surveyed the compartment, and it wasn’t until she saw the chairs from the shared table all smashed together in the small corridor that led to the forward compartment, that she realized the runabout itself was off it’s normal landing axis.  She’d need to get to the cockpit to know for sure, but if she wasn’t mistaken the craft was nose down and slightly rolled to port.  The table itself had not moved as it was anchored to the deck.  But everything else was out of place, and askew…sure signs of a crash.  Or at least a simulated crash.  There wasn’t much in the compartment with her other than… she looked to her left, across the compartment and saw the other cadet.  Reggie didn’t recognize the woman, no surprise there.  They’d gone to great lengths to make sure the partners did not know each other.  Then she noticed the pointed ears.

A Vulcan.

In that moment, she realized that yes, there was a pairing more odd and out of place than a Betazoid and a Klingon.

“Well shit…”

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #1
[ Cadet T'Less | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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Her first thought as her mind clawed back to consciousness was that she was laying on her side. She noted that it was an odd thought to have given the unknown situation she knew to be in. But it was the thought that she was beginning with. And she had always been taught to begin with the most obvious, if only to eliminate it from further thought. It was only logical.

“Sleeping on my side instead of my stomach due to a slight port rotation along the craft’s longitudinal axis. Also pitched down at the bow. A simulated crash,” T’Less deduced, only now opening her eyes to confirm her deductions. She immediately recognised the familiar interior of the rear compartment of a Danube-class runabout. Sunlight was flooding in from the rear windows, but Sol was not visible, preventing her from accurately determining their approximate position. It also stopped any initial views of the landscape in which they had been deposited in.

“Consoles and internal lighting non-functional,” T’Less observed as she sat up, ignoring the exclamation from her fellow cadet. Introductions were not necessary in the initial stages of a crash. “Daylight though unknown local time. Access to supplies,” T’Less continued, glancing at the closed doors that sealed them into the rear compartment. “Unknown,” she said before turning back to face her fellow cadet.

“Humanoid, Terran. No, eyes are indicative of a Betazoid,” T’Less calculated. “I am T’Less. We will need to use the manual controls to gain access to the other compartments forward.”

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #2
[ Cadet Regiene Suder | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn @Stegro88 

Reggie shifted in her position as the Vulcan, T’less, quickly and curtly (if she did have anything to say about it) introduced herself and reminded her of what she felt they needed to do first. 

Well, that is the Vulcan way.

She made a mental note to keep her telepathic guard up.  She couldn’t risk alienating her partner in this exercise with stray thoughts that disparaged her.  She’d chalk it up to her emotions and probably dismiss it just as quickly.  But even so Reggie found no interest in adding that tension.

“Agreed,” she conceded.  “I’m Regiene Suder, by the way.  Feel free to call me Reggie.  In fact I’d prefer it if you did.”

She started to stand and groaned as the aches in her body protested.

“That said, how are you feeling physically?  I’m a bit achy and sore almost as if I had actually been in a crash.  I didn’t take that hypo they offered, so I know it wasn’t that.  But I almost wonder if they drugged me in my sleep.”

Reggie moved towards the corridor to the fore section of the runabout, using the corner where the deck and the wall met as her walking surface. 

“We’re going to have to get these chairs out of the way in order to clear the door.  Help me.”

Reggie set to work, separating the chairs from each other and tossing them into one of the corners.  She did not care much how the settled, only that they were out of her way. Once the doors were clear, Reggie popped the emergency panel, primed the manual bypass and began to pump.

Once the doors were open enough to be useful, she stopped her work and took her assessment.  Emergency lighting flickered sporadically in the narrow corridor amidships..  On either side a pair of doors each marked with the words “Crew Module” and then a number one through four.  At least she assumed it was one through four.  Modules three and four were closest to her on the port and starboard side of the ship respectively.  The other two doors, closer to the forward section were partially submerged


“This is not good… “

Reggie reached forward, cupped her had in the water and drew some out.  It seemed clean enough so she dared a small taste…and spat it out just as quickly as the salt taste hit her tongue in an assault on her taste buds.  She flicked the water out of her hand.

“T’Less," she said, “I think we’re in an ocean somewhere on Earth, and we’ve sprung a leak.”

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #3
[ Cadet T'Less | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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Regiene ‘Reggie’ Suder on first impressions, seemed competent enough as a partner for this examination. Definitely better than some of the other first impressions that the Vulcan had been subjected to for different instances over the past year. Listening to cadet’s assessment of her physical condition prompted T’Less to also climb to her feet. Taking a moment to catalogue her own body, she referenced similar symptoms as Reggie.

“I believe you are correct,” T’Less agreed as she moved to assist with moving the chairs. “I also did not utilise the hypo to sleep and yet I feel as if I have indeed suffered from a crash. There are any number of compounds, each with different half-lives, that can induce these symptoms without causing us actual physical harm.” Saying nothing more, T’Less assisted in the removal of the blocking furniture. Once that task was complete, Reggie opened the doors revealing their next obstacle.

“The leak is obvious,” T’Less confirmed as she removed her boots before climbing through the doors. It was obvious to her at least that remaining out of the water was not an option and delaying their exfiltration from the wreck would not be beneficial. Dipping a hand into the water, she assessed the temperature of the water. “The water is warm; I believe between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. That would put us within the tropical regions of Earth.” 

That said, T’Less continued into the water, her uniform quickly becoming saturated and conforming to her body. Popping the cover on the emergency controls for the midships bulkhead door, T’Less paused before opening it, turning back to look at Reggie.

“Do you have any experience in the water?” T’Less asked calmly. 

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #4
[ Cadet Regiene Suder | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn

Well, she thought to herself, at least I’m not the only one. 

To a certain degree it gave Reggie comfort knowing that T’Less was also feeling as crappy as she was, even though the Vulcan would likely never admit to it beyond the acknowledgment of the situation.  They were working well together so far, she thought, and as T’Less stripped off her boots and waded into the water, Reggie found herself slowing her own thought process down as she tried to analyze the situation from a practical and yes, dammit, a logical perspective.  Vulcans had a hard exterior, everyone knew, but she had heard somewhere, dammed if she could remember where, that if one could make an effort to think to their level, that could potentially win their respect.  Trying to out think a Vulcan was neigh on impossible for her.  But if she could approach problems from a logical and a rational standpoint… yes.  That would help them.

“Do you have any experience in the water,” T’Less had asked.

Reggie had to stop herself from laughing.  It was a fair question and her partner had no way of knowing that she’d swam competitively in her high school years, continued to swim for exercise at the academy, and had participated in three intramural meets since enrolling.  No.  This was not the time to brag or show off.  Just answer the question.

“Thanks for asking,” she said, a sincere tone in her voice.  “I have plenty of experience and should be fine.”

She stripped off her own boots, and her uniform jacket, exposing the tank top she’d worn underneath.  She debated pulling her pants off, but decided that it might be too soon to cross that line.  Likely the Vulcan would never approve of her stripping down like that, but she also knew the nights got cold on the ocean, and if she were sitting in damp clothes, things would not go well.

She waded in, next to her partner as the proposed plan formed in her head. 

“It seems to me that our priorities should be to secure the emergency supplies locker, and to assess the condition of the ship.  So with that in mind, I propose we divide and conquer.”

She paused, only for a moment in the hopes that the Vulcan would hear her out before commenting on the illogic of separating during a survival scenario.

“I suggest I swim down to the cockpit and assess the situation there.  I’m a pilot and know exactly what I’m looking for.  While I do that, I propose you work on getting that supply box out of storage and back up here.  As a Vulcan, I’m almost certain you have more physical strength than I do, and will have an easier time of it than I.  If you need help, I’ll assist on my way back from the cockpit.”

She paused for another moment, a little worried about the next part.

“The other thing I propose is that you allow me to link with you telepathically.  I…I…” her voice faltered as her confidence wavered.  “I understand and respect your people’s preferences for privacy, but in this case if you allow me in so that you can hear me and I can read your surface thoughts, I believe it would help to facilitate communication in the event we are trapped under water and or need assistance.”

Reggie let out a breath as the anxiety started to build.  She could not figure out why the idea had made her so nervous.  Perhaps it was the fear that T’Less would judge her.

Hopefully her partner would find the suggestions at least somewhat logical.

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #5
[ Cadet T'Less | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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The confidence that T’Less heard in the Betazoid’s voice was reassuring to the Vulcan, who herself, while a confident swimmer, had only pursued the activity to pass the required standards as set by Starfleet Academy. Others had questioned why a spaceborne organisation would need mandatory swimming qualifications, but they were quickly reminded, as T’Less already knew, that they would be exploring planets and that it was better to be prepared than to be caught unawares and unable to respond. 

“I concur that you are more qualified to determine the extent of the damage in the cockpit. I will attempt the recovery of the survival equipment that is kept in storage,” T’Less said as she considered the second of Reggie’s proposals. “I, I do not believe that our current situation warrants such a connection between us. I do not disagree that the joining of our minds would benefit our communication, that is only logical, but we are not yet going beyond other effective means of communication.” With that said, T’Less began to pump the handle to open the midships bulkhead door.

The water beyond the door smelt, if possible, more strongly of slat that the water they were already standing in, and it undulated gently from the motion of the ocean beyond the runabout’s hull. Wasting no time, T’Less waded forward, the water level quickly rising from her waist to her shoulders and lapping her chin from the angle of the wreck. She could hear the movement of Reggie behind her, but she focused on her task of retrieving the equipment. 

The locker’s release was stubborn and T’less understood that she would need to submerge to see what was causing the difficulty in opening. Taking a deep breath, the Vulcan submerged discovered seaweed had entangled the mechanism somehow, no doubt contrived, and was fouling it. Being able to see, if only just, the problem allowed her to clear it and unlock the storage area. Surfacing again, she reached in and retrieved the two packs within before beginning to make her way back to the stern of the wreck. Behind her, she heard Reggie surface and suck in air.

“The situation in the cockpit?” T’Less asked calmly after a moment, pausing in case the Betazoid needed any assistance.

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #6
[ Cadet Regiene Suder | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn @Stegro88 

Reggie waded in behind T’Less, slipping past the Vulcan as she moved.  T’Less may have had the more physically demanding job in lifting the supply locker out, but Reggie’s task was no less daunting and she wanted to get as deep as she could before putting her head under.  When the water hit her chin she sucked in as much air as she could before dipping under the water.

The salt stung her eyes but she forced herself to ignore it as she moved through the mid section, using the bulkheads and hand holds for leverage to pull and push herself through the water without having to exert energy by stroking under water.  With a grace befitting a cetacean, she twisted around the corners and slipped into the cockpit…or what was left of it.

She stopped short at the sight before her.    The forward view ports and surrounding frame had been smashed open by an undersea rock that had also taken out the forward helm station and pilot’s seat.  The navigator station had suffered significant damage as well, the console cracked and broken in several places, some sections big enough that she thought she saw fish taking refuge inside the remains of the circuitry.  Nope.  The runabout was not going anywhere any time soon without the benefit of a tractor beam.

She did not bother to check the tactical station.  No point.  Instead, however she turned her attention to the ops station.  The panel flickered, power fluctuating through it, but through the haze of the water, she could not read what it was trying to tell her.   

Having just finished her flight training final, she knew the keystrokes by heart and keyed the sequence to activate the console’s tactile interface, allowing herself to feel her way around the console.  Her air started to fail her and she permitted herself to blow some of the air out of her nose, hopefully extending her endurance by expelling the toxic air her body was creating.  She keyed the sequence, routing the ops display to the repeater console in the aft section.

Pushing off the debris she kicked for the aft section and the surface of the water within the ship.  She did not see T’Less on her way back so she continued on, pulling herself through the open door.  She broke the surface of the water with a gasp and heaved in clean air. 

“The situation in the cockpit?”

To her credit, T’Less allowed Reggie the needed moment to catch her breath.

“Massive hull breach,” she said between breaths as breathing slowed and started to normalize.  “Helm console is destroyed, navigation isn’t much better.  There is still some power and I was able to re-route ops back here.  Maybe that can tell us something.”

She paused, allowing a moment before asking.  “Any luck with the supplies locker?”

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #7
[ Cadet T'Less | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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“I was able to recover two survival packs from the locker,” T’Less informed her partner as she turned and began to wade back towards the higher, dryer, rear portion of the runabout. “It is not unexpected that the wreck is in such poor condition. I would believe that it was designed to be that way specifically to force us to adapt. A simple to solution to call for aid would not be a test of our survival skills.”

Once back in the rear section, T’Less deposited the packs against a wall, out of the water, before moving over to the replicator. It was, she determined, now the single most useful piece of equipment that they might have available and it was important to determine its functionality. Water trickled off her body from her saturated clothes but the Vulcan ignored it as she set to work on the touchscreen.

“Power reserves are critically low though the replicator does appear functional. I believe we would not get more than one, perhaps two uses from it at current levels,” T’Less said looking across at Reggie. The Betazoid’s news was also less than beneficial to their common cause. “We should inventory what we have available,” T’Less advised, glancing at the survival packs.

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #8
[ Cadet Regiene Suder | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn @Stegro88

“Agreed,” Reggie said in response to both T’Less’s analysis of the Runabout’s condition as well as the strategy to inventory the packs.
Without waiting for further confirmation from exam partner, Reggie opened the first pack, followed by the second.  Both were packed nearly identically and the betazoid carefully removed and examined everything, taking extra care to put the contents to the side safely so they wouldn’t fall or slide around the cabin.

“Okay,” she said.  “Each pack contains an excursion suit.  One with blue trim that has your name embroidered on it, the other red with mine.  Each suit is vacuum wrapped at the moment.” She set both back into their respective packs.  “We also each have a hand phaser,” her voice trailed off as she checked the power settings.  “Neither of which have more than twenty percent charge.  We have a pair of tricorders,” she flipped each open and attempted to key them.  “Which appear non functional.  Might be able to repair them.  We also have a hunting knife with a sheath that we can strap onto our leg or arm.  Also two days rations each.”

She poked around the gear a little more, looking for any other equipment.  No commbadges other than what they had on their own uniforms.  No palm beacons or flashlights.  But there was one thing she had expected to find and was concerned that she couldn’t see it.  Had T’Less forgotten to grab it?  A Vulcan wouldn't have forgotten something *that* important…would one?

“Um…T’Less…” she asked casually. “I don't see the portable distress beacon.  Was there one in the locker?”

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #9
[ Cadet T'Less | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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T’Less said nothing as she watched Reggie go through the contents of the two packs. The excursion suits, while seeming to be suitable in the short term, the Vulcan had some doubts on their longer-term viability depending on certain environmental and locality factors. The remaining contents were all standard issue, though their state of repair was undesirable, it was not unexpected given the parameters of the test. Which made Reggie’s question regarding a distress beacon both understandable, and perplexing to the Vulcan cadet.

“I did not,” T’Less confirmed. “Nor was I expecting to find one. It is a given that that would be our first recourse in the event of a crash. But that would run counter intuitive to the examination outcomes of this scenario. We are here to demonstrate our ability to adapt and survive. Not to await rescue. A beacon would only provide us with more parts and power cells to cannibalise to repair what we need.”

“Before we proceed with any course of action that uses up our finite resources, I suggest that we venture out and climb up onto the hull of the runabout to obtain a better idea of our surroundings,”
T’Less stated calmly, unfazed by their currently developing situation. “We can then use that information to inform our choices going forward.”

“I am also uncertain to the long-term viability of both our uniforms and the provided suits in an aquatic environment,”
T’Less added. “Do you have any suggestions?”

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #10
[ Cadet Regiene Suder | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn @Stegro88‍ 

Although Reggie could not really argue with T’Less’s sentiment that the presence of an emergency beacon would, indeed be counter intuitive, she could not understand the so called logic in checking for it anyways.  To simply assume the equipment would not be provided was presumptuous on T’Less’s part. 

“True though that may be, T’Less, to not even check for one would be an oversight in any survival scenario, no?”

The Vulcan made up for her oversight (as Reggie saw it) with her suggestion about swimming out to see what they could see outside. 

“Agreed.  As to the uniform question…”

She let her voice trail off and her actions to answer the Vulcan’s query.  Reggie shrugged out of her duty jacket and then slipped off her tunic, boots, socks and finally her trousers, leaving on only her underwear.  She tossed them unceremoniously to the side, making sure to keep them in one of the dry corners of the runabout’s compartment.  She’d need to find a way to dry them out later.

“Instant bikini,” she said.  “Just subtract clothes.”

On some level she knew she was showing off her figure, even though she also knew the Vulcan was likely incapable of appreciating the work that had gone into maintaining its appealing shape.  Still, this was no time to be vain.  They needed to work together. 

“I’ll lead,” she stated.  “Follow ten seconds behind me.”

It was probably foolish of her to not wait for a response from her exam partner, but she wanted to catch the Vulcan off guard and buy herself a few extra seconds to double check the supply cabinet.  It wasn’t that she didn’t believe T’Less, but she wanted to check for herself but didn’t want to offend the Vulcan in the process.
Reggie waded in and dove, the sensation of her ass and legs leaving the water just to sink below the surface again.  Without the weight of her uniform adding drag, she felt faster, more nimble in the water than she had before and in no time she hit the emergency supply closet.  The dark compartment made seeing anything difficult, so Reggie thrust her arm in and reached around until she hit all four walls.  Nope.  No beacon at all.  Well at least she wouldn’t be marked down for not checking.

As she had before, Reggie pulled herself through the runabout, but this time turned and snaked herself out the open hatch before pushing off the frame and heading to the surface.  T’Less was somewhere behind her and she took a few strokes toward the hull of the runabout. 

The cockpit module not withstanding, the hull of the spacecraft looked more or less intact and given the angle of the ship’s crash, climbing up the nacelle pylon and onto the upper hull would be easy.  Still, she stayed in the water, holding onto the ship’s hull as she waited for T’Less to surface.


Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #11
[ Cadet T'Less | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn:  @P.C. Haring
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The Betazoid’s response to her question regarding their attire was abrupt to say the least. It involved the voluntary removal of clothing until Reggie was clad only in her undergarments. At least she had been conscious enough to sequester her discarded clothing into a dry portion of the runabout’s rear compartment. T’Less could see the wisdom in freeing oneself from encumbering clothing before surrendering to the open water beyond the hull. It was only logical, yet it was at odds with the lack of logic displayed earlier in questioning why they would not find one. 

“Understood,” T’Less said as she reached for her collar, watching as Reggie waded forward before diving under the water. Unable to see her companion anymore, T’Less focused on removing her wet uniform, laying them aside to begin to dry, if only a little. Clad now in only her standard issue undergarments, the Vulcan waded into the water once again, noting the greater freedom of movement she was experiencing. With greater skin contact to the water as well, she was able to determine that the water temperature was closer to the 30 degrees, firmly cementing her belief that their location was somewhere near Earth’s equator. 

With a deep breath, T’Less dove beneath the water, slowly exhaling as she pulled and kicked her way through the submerged forward section of the runabout. She found the open hatch by chance, belatedly realising that Reggie had never told her where the opening was, nor had she asked about it. Pulling herself through the breach, T’Less took a moment to hover in the sunlit water, inspecting her immediate surrounds before kicking upwards, breaking the surface with a spray of water and a deep breath of fresh air. A quick spin in the water and T’Less noticed Reggie clinging to the side of the runabout, as if waiting for her arrival. It took only a few strokes before the Vulcan pulled up beside the Betazoid.

“Shall we?” T’Less enquired before beginning a careful ascent of the runabout. The breeze swirled around her wet form, causing her undergarments to cling to her skin as water streamed off her. The Vulcan glanced sideways, noting that Reggie was in a similar state. She also noted that the cadet was in excellent physical condition, something that was sure to be a boon in their current situation.

“Interesting,” T’Less commented absently as she gazed at the closest landmark of significance. Off the portside of the runabout, their view of it blocked by the hull due to their exit on the starboard side, sat an island perhaps 2 kilometres away.

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #12
[ Cadet Regiene Suder | Nacelle Pylon Hull| Danube-class Runabout | Equatorial Earth? ] Attn @Stegro88‍ 

Reggie climbed up along side T’Less, ready to offer the Vulcan any assistance she might need.  While it came as no surprise that the Vulcan did not need any help, it did surprise the Betazoid to see the Vulcan had taken her advice about the instant bikini.  Even for Reggie, there was no denying the logic in her suggestion, and as such it did not surprise her that T’Less agreed with her, it did surprise the Betazoid that a Vulcan would permit herself to be seen in such revealing wardrobe.
And damn did it suit her.  The wet fabric clung to her subtle curves, leaving very little to the imagination and leaving the Betazoid more than a little distracted.

Focus!

Her self admonishment pulled her back in the moment as she found her feet next to T’Less as they stood on the aft of the destroyed runabout.  Wringing her hair out as she turned to see what T’Less had noted, Reggie saw it. 

There was not much to say for the small jungle island and the beach encircling the perimeter.  She had always been a poor judge of distances, preferring to rely on her ship’s sensors instead.  It did, however look like a swimmable distance and, despite its diminutive size, Reggie suspected it was that island that the exam proctors had intended to be their oasis.

“I see it,” she responded her voice trailing off as she surveyed the rest of the horizon.  A larger, chain of islands lay in the distance, but were likely too far to swim for safely.  T’Less might be able to make that swim, but Reggie suspected she had next to no chance in hell. 

She continued her survey of the horizon, and stopped short as she put her back to the island.    The sky, otherwise blue and bright with the tropical sun came to a screeching halt as the brightness was swallowed by the the pitch black of an approaching storm.

“Uhh…T’Less.  How far away do you think that front is?”

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #13
[ Cadet T'Less | External Upper Hull | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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Reggie’s tone sent alarms through the Vulcan’s senses, and she turned to look at the Betazoid, her attention being forwarded to the mass of dark clouds on the horizon. Her question was a valid one as T’Less could feel the breeze on her face as she faced the storm, a sure sign that the weather front was advancing towards them. Glancing down at the water, the Vulcan estimated their height above the ocean before looking once again at the storm.

“I believe it is about 8 kilometres to the horizon from here,” T’Less stated, her mind starting to race, forcing her to breathe deeply to calm herself. “I cannot see the surface of the ocean being disrupted by the storm so it is my calculation that it is beyond the horizon, and we can only see it due to its height,” she explained, trying to sound mollifying. “Although I am sure you can tell that it is advancing towards us. How fast, I do not know.”

Taking a moment, T’Less scanned the horizon again, taking in everything that she could see. If they were to survive here, they would need water and food beyond what the shuttle had supplied them. 

“I propose that we explore the island as soon as possible,” T’Less opined calmly. “If that storm hits, we will need the emergency rations to get through the worst of the weather,” the Vulcan explained. “We will also be able to ascertain if the island or the runabout will provide better shelter from the storm.”

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #14
[ Cadet Suder | Nacelle Pylon Hull| Danube-class Runabout | Equatorial Earth? ] Attn @Stegro88‍ 

The Betazoid nodded in agreement.  While she didn’t follow every piece of T’less’s calculations, the explanation seemed logical…which of course it did and she was more than happy to accept T’Less’s conclusions.  It also made sense to get the hell off the Runabout and over to the island.

“Agreed.  The island can’t be more than a couple of kilometers.  We should be able to swim that in, what, a half hour or so?  And does this help answer our question about what to use the last of the power to replicate?  I’d recommend a fishing kit.  There should be a preprogrammed bundle in the database that would provide a pair of fins, goggles, a snorkel, and a Hawaiian style fishing spear.  It’s a lot to spend on one request, I know.  But we have no idea if there’s any fauna on the Island and I can sense the sea life in the ocean around us.”

Reggie paused at that.  She hadn’t even realized she was sensing it until she’d verbalized it to the Vulcan  It wasn’t uncommon for some Betazoids to  sense things only on a subconscious level.  Even so, she was certain she was correct in her assertion.

“We should head back in and gather our gear regardless of what we do with the replicator.  Any way of estimating the front’s speed and direction?  I know the observations will take time, but is there a method you know that could help us?”

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #15
[ Cadet T'Less | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn:  @P.C. Haring
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“None that I am familiar enough with attempt,” T’Less advised her companion as she gazed across the sea at the weather front. “Even then, weather phenomena like storms such as that one almost have a mind of their own. They have often been observed to speed up and slow down as then move as well as changing direction. It may be heading towards us now but tonight it could very well be heading away from us only to turn back around and impact us tomorrow morning. All we can do is monitor it and prepare for its possible arrival.”

With that said, and seeing no other reason to pause, T’Less crouched down at the side of the hull and slid into the lapping water below. Taking a deep breath, she ducked back under the surface and dove for the runabout’s hatch, pulling herself through it and manoeuvring her slim form rearwards to the rear compartment where they had recently awoken. Wading out of the water, she stopped to let most of the water run off her before moving over to their packs as she heard Reggie breach the surface behind her.

“I will try and get one of the tricorders functional again if you want to replicate the other equipment you mentioned,” T’Less suggested as she sat down and reached for one of the devices in question. “The swimming gear is more important than the spear though as we might be able to fashion one from flora on the island using our knives.”

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #16
[ Cadet Suder | Nacelle Pylon Hull| Danube-class Runabout | Equatorial Earth? ] Attn @Stegro88‍ 

Reggie didn’t know if she should be miffed that T’Less hadn’t waited for her acknowledgment before re-entering the water.  She was trying not to be specist about it, but in her experience, Vulcans did not always see the ‘logic’  in some of the social niceties.  Even so, she did not lag behind her partner. 

A part of her had wanted to dive in, but she hadn’t really been able to judge the waters depth.  So instead she just lept off and fell into the water feet first and took off, swimming behind her partner.  At some point during the swim, she lost her sight line on T’Less, but her telepathic centers detected no distress from the Vulcan so Reggie was comfortable in trusting that T’Less was getting what she felt she needed for her task.

She broke the water’s surface in the corridor to the aft compartment, and waded herself out, as she wedged and positioned herself at the replicator.  The service panel for the unit came off with practiced ease but the Betazoid let out a small gasp at what she saw.

Where there should have been neatly organized, slightly damaged circuity, lay instead a rats nest of wires, cables and isolenear chips.  It was as if a Ferengi engineer had tried a bypass with all the subtlety of a Klingon.  The pilot would be able to work through it, she decided.  It would just take a little longer than expected.
As she worked her way through the maze of shit it got her wondering. 

“Hey, T’Less,” she said absent minded.  “Do you think they reset these scenarios after each exam or do they leave the improvisations of students past as challenges for students future?”

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #17
[ Cadet T'Less | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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Breaking open the pair of tricorders had almost felt routine to the Vulcan given everything that had so far happened to her that morning. One of them, she could see, clearly had a short in the power cell, preventing it from even powering up while the issue with the other was harder to see. Starting with what she could see then was the logical course of action and T’Less set about removing the damaged power cell. She had just completed that and swapped to the other tricorder to begin on its power cell when she heard Reggie speak behind her, asking her opinion.

“I do not know,” T’Less answered as she considered the question fully. “It would be time consuming to move everything after each test. Conversely, word could spread about shortcuts to assist in passing these trials,” T’Less commented as she finally freed the undamaged power cell and shifted to begin reinstalling it in the first Tricorder. “I believe that they might reposition them each semester or year, to add variety and to remove any familiarity to scenarios.” Taking a moment and looking up, she saw what she believed might have been the cause of Reggie asking her question.

“I cannot explain that, however.”

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #18
[ Cadet Suder | Rear Compartment| Danube-class Runabout | Equatorial Earth? ] Attn: @Stegro88‍ 

Between T’Less’s neutral almost deadpan tone of voice and the very simple comment on the state of the circuitry, the Betazoid couldn’t help but chuckle.

“I suppose,” she said as she started tracing the wires, “that may explain why the scenario is chosen at random.  Even if I were to tell my classmate about the bypass I’m running right now, there’s what a 1% chance they’d be assigned to the same scenario as mine?”

It took the Reggie more time than she would ever care to admit to get a handle on the rats nest and she could sense her own frustration start to set in. 

“Isn’t there a Vulcan game where players can spend hours trying to untangle a mess of pieces and turn it into something beautiful or something?  What’s it called?  Toh’Kah?”

She continued working her way through the maze when the solution dawned on her.  It seemed as though this shit show of connections created linkages in not only the power systems, but also in command pathways, and ship subsystems.  It was far more than she actually needed and that information alone suggested a single, albeit radical solution to the problem at hand.

“I’m going to try something.  It’s either going to be very stupid or very smart.”

Without waiting for her partner’s response, Reggie took hold of the jumble and gave a hard yank.

The rats nest came free far easier than she had expected, but it was not without it’s dangers as one of the junctions sparked, leaving the skin on her hand singed.

“Ow!  Shit,” she cursed as she shook her hand.  “That’s gonna smart for a day or two.”

Once the panel had stopped smoking, Reggie inspected her work.  Fortunately she had not damaged any of the ports which meant that if she could find enough good cabling and the chips she had pulled hadn’t burned out, she should be able to complete the bypass with ease.

Turning back to the mess that now lay on the deck next to her, Reggie returned to the task of untangling everything, a job made far easier now that it was attached to nothing at all.

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #19
[ Cadet T'Less | Rear Compartment | Danube-class Runabout | Unknown Location ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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If she were Human, T’Less had no doubt that she would find their current situation humorous to an unknown and indeterminable extent. Sheltering in a deliberately staged crashed runabout in the middle of a tropical body of water, clad in their underwear and scrounging for working equipment among the provided refuse of the wreck. If she were Human, which she was not. Which was why she did not respond to Reggie’s query about the chances of a classmate being assigned the same scenario they were presently experiencing. It was not relevant so logic dictated that she should not waste energy calculating it. Silent, she continued her efforts to cobble together a functioning tricorder.

“Isn’t there a Vulcan game where players can spend hours trying to untangle a mess of pieces and turn it into something beautiful or something?  What’s it called?  Toh’Kah?”

“It is called Kal-toh,” T’Less corrected absently as she completed the reassembly of the tricorder. Flipping it over, she powered on the device. As expected, the piece of equipment began to function and T’Less immediately had it begin diagnostics cycle to detect if there were any issues beyond what she already knew. “And the object is to find the seeds of order even in the midst of profound chaos,” T’Less recited dispassionately, her focus on the results the tricorder was displaying. She was so focused that she did not hear what Reggie was saying, believing it to be more inane speech, until the Betazoid yelped and cursed. 

“That was unwise,” T’Less commented calmly after seeing what had caused the emotional outburst. “Though effective,” she added, turning back to the tricorder as it finished. “The tricorder appears to be fully functional. Would you like assistance?” she asked as she stood, feeling the tugging of her wet undergarments as she moved.

Re: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam

Reply #20
[ Cadet Suder | Rear Compartment| Danube-class Runabout | Equatorial Earth? ] Attn: @Stegro88‍ 

Reggie shook her hand out again as the stinging subsided. As a pilot she’d spent more than few hours learning how to bypass flight control failures in shuttles and it was not the first time she had hurt herself in the process. No matter, the shit show was out and at least now she could work on it.

“Sorry,” she said as T’Less corrected regarding Kal-toh, and it’s purpose. “I haven’t dug too deep into Vulcan culture. I apologize if I offended you.”

“The tricorder appears to be fully functional. Would you like some assistance?”

The Betazoid shifted in her place, as she pulled at her underwear turned bikini, the wet fabric peeling off her breast. Already the knot of shit was coming undone and Reggie was starting to see less chaos and more progress.

“Thanks,” she replied. “I think I have it under control.”

She continued working as the very isolenear chips she needed fell out of jury rigged ports, and she freed enough cabling to patch back into the main cabinet.  With her components sorted out, she leaned forward on her knees and began to re-connect what she needed.  On her elbows and knees as she was, Reggie felt her ass sticking out in the air, the wet fabric of her underwear stretching, feeling dryer than it actually was.

The Isolenear chips slotted with ease into their correct slots, but she waited to load the last one until she’d finished running the cable.  Without the maze of shit to get in her way, the bypass was an easy task.  When all was said and done, she slotted the last chip and the entire replicator assembly powered up.  She heard it buzzing, and saw the flickering as she pulled herself out and rose to her full height.

“I think,” she said as she keyed the sequence for the fishing gear.  “We are back in business.”

She executed the replication sequence and two sets of fins, two snorkel masks, and one collapsible Hawaiian  fishing spear mineralized.

Then the replicator shorted out and died.

“Well,” she conceded.  “Thats it for Mr. Replicator.  But we have some spare parts we can possibly re purpose,” she motioned to the unused components from the rats nest, “as well as fishing gear.” 

She turned to T’Less.  “What data is Mr. Tricorder giving you?”

 
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