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Topic: [2370] Survival Training: Final Exam (Read 280 times) previous topic - next topic

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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."
  • Last Edit: August 31, 2021, 02:01:56 PM by Stegro88
PO3 Lorad [Show/Hide]
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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
[Show/Hide]

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. 
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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.
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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.
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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 combadges 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?"
  • Last Edit: December 06, 2021, 12:12:31 AM by P.C. Haring