EL734 Nova Arctys

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Nova Arctys.jpg
EL734 Nova Arctys was a planet that the USS Allegiant visited in order to rescue survivors from the destroyed USS Harbinger in March of 2381, following the final battle and defeat of the USS Calamity. The Theurgy officers on the away mission were Natalie Stark, ThanIda zh'Wann, Dr. Maya, and Aisha S'Iti.

Story Excerpt: SAR Mission

[ EL734 Nova Arctys | Somewhere on the Northern Hemisphere | 2000 hrs. ]

As she checked the level of oxygen in her EVA-suit again, Yvette Conway hoped the storm would abate soon. With bitter mirth, she thought it would be quite ironic if she was to run out of air after all they had survived so far.

Their escape pod had come crashing down hard into a frozen bank of snow. What looked like snow, anyway, for what qualified for snow on Nova Arctys was like nothing on Earth on a chemical level, but it was close enough. It certainly was cold, - 220 degrees Celsius in the midday, so in lack of another term, she would stick to 'snow'.

The impact had been quite severe, though the hull of the pod remained intact. This was good, as the atmosphere consisted of mostly hydrogen and helium, and it would not be breathable without an EVA-suit. In the event of a breach, the remaining crew would have perished quickly. The shock of the impact, however, had been catastrophic. Of the eight who were aboard, two had been instantly killed when they were ripped out of their restraints and thrown across the interior. One was Lucy Rasmussen, who had suffered blunt force trauma to her head when she slammed into one of the bulkheads. Jonathan Ramos' fate was even worse; he hit his neck against a console and his spine was severed. His head and body appeared roughly intact, but they sat at odd angles to each other, connected by the torn fleshly tube of his ruptured neck. It had taken minutes for him to die, screaming while they had tried to do something, but none of them were medical officers.

Afterwards, it took a while for the rest of the crew to reach a position to evaluate what had happened. Fang Zau, Loraine, and Haruko were completely unconscious. The rest had surveyed the damage. Yvette had help from Kalen Jinnai and Ere'Ket, and they slowly ambled around to find the dire news that while life support was intact and most of the supplies had made it too, the most important component, the distress beacon, was a total loss.

It had been two days after they crashed. At this point the dead had been left outside in shallow icy graves. Yvette had ordered some brief expeditions outside the pod in the EVA-suits, but aside from some interesting mountains, barren icy caves, and vast frozen planes, there was little to be found. It did not seem as though anything could live here, nor was there anything much of use outside of the pod. This did not bode well for the survivors from the Harbinger , who in addition to being unable to contract anyone, appeared unable to gather many necessary resources. The worst was yet to come, Yvette now knew for a fact, as the crew had not seen the most extreme conditions the unknown planet had to offer.

The temperature had continued to drop. It was - 280 degrees Celsius outside. Strange clouds had appeared to Yvette and Kalen Jinnai, the old CONN officer she had brought with her since he was the most physically able. Harsh winds threatened to pepper their suits with razor shards of ice. They had run into a deep icy cave for protection, and that was where they were stuck. Even the short-range comms they had salvaged were useless in those conditions, only allowing them to talk to each other through the suits. All she and Jinnai could do was wait and observe the weather. So, they sat on the cave floor and watched through their helmets as the winds whipped the landscape. The nearly horizontal razor hail was deafening. It was too much for words at first, just staring outside, observing in awe. Much like that of early human life on Earth, as if they were cave-dwellers witnessing their first hurricane. Yet this silence gave way as they had remained trapped for hours. All there was to do was to talk among themselves lest they go crazy being stuck in such a situation.

The situation getting to her, so Yvette broke the silence with an abrupt opening subject. A blunt question to the elderly Bajoran she shared the cave with, but one apropos to their current predicament. "Jinnai... are you afraid to die?"

Kalen Jinnai sat and thought for a bit, then said in his usual stern and cold voice - distorted by the static of the comm. [No, the first step one must take as a warrior is to kill the fear of death. Even if the Prophets forget me, I know I lived an honorable life, and that I was strong. Death is just a part of our journey, and the proud end of a life of strife.] As a Bajoran, Kalen Jinnai did not at all seem to be swayed by the philosophical sticking points that plagued mankind since time immemorial. Chiefly, the fixation on one’s fate after death. Then again, like an orb experience, Yvette suspected it was a personal thing and not something a Bajoran talked about.

Yvette shifted into a cross legged position on the floor, arms folded around her waist in an uncharacteristic posture of vulnerability. "I- I just…" she began. "Ever since Lucy and Jonathan, I’ve been thinking more about it than I ever have. I don’t know if I'm ready to be like them. I want to bear the children that Vasser will lead to victory, just like T'Rena showed us. Anything is more meaningful than being lost," she finished flatly, thinking about the dismal fate of the two dead's final and frozen resting place. Unknown corpses, rapidly being devoured by the layers of relentless frost, likely never to be found again.

[What they were is not here anymore,] Kalen Jinnai said in what probably qualified as consolation for him, speaking of the dead. [Those shells are now meaningless. We are more than that, and were more than a mere legacy of dead flesh. All we can do now is to live as proudly as we can given our diminished circumstances.]

It seemed as though things were getting to him too, though for different reasons. The spirit of T'Rena's vision could only grant them so much courage.

[ Two Kilometres East | Escape Pod 09 | 2000 hrs. ]

Meanwhile, back in the escape pod, the resident engineers, Ere'Ket and Haruko were trying desperately to make use of the distress beacon. Though they had mended the short range comms, after two days of struggle, this seemed hopeless.

"It just won’t work, we need parts we simply don’t have. This is hopeless." Ere'Ket barked, quite unusually of him. It seemed even a Vulcan could succumb to frustration at times.

"Calm down, Ere'Ket," said Haruko Kimara, whose eternal optimism was beginning to wear thin. Not that she was about to show it. She was pouring over the schematics of the escape pod, and trying to figure out how much they could scrap without losing essential functions. She did so while twirling a lock of dark hair between her fingers.

"Yes, be silent, Ere'Ket," Loraine Norton chimed in tersely. She was a science officer and was trying to figure out what kind of place they had landed themselves in using the scant readings she could gather with the busted sensors and rough field data from the crew’s tricorders. Unlike Ere'Ket, she was irritated by their situation, but unfazed. So far, she had only established they were likely on Nova Arctys, a small planet registered, yet uncharted, by the Federation because of its weather conditions.

"I wonder where Conway and Kalen are?" Fang Zau said to the room in general in a distant tone. He had just been sitting there all day, listless, and this was the first thing he had said in hours. He had taken a beating in the crash and was still sore and grieving the loss of Lucy, a close friend.

"I’m sure their fi—" Haruko began but was cut short by the sudden noise. A cacophony that was like rain striking a tin roof with a distinct metallic whine. Like some sort of cosmic artillery was raining down upon them.

[ Two Kilometres West | Inside the Cave ]

Back at the cave, Yvette and Jinnai witnessed the fantastic event first hand. First, it was the relentless razor hail, then came insane methane thunderstorms, lights, and sounds they had never witnessed before, forcing them deeper inside their shelter. As the storm reached its apex, what they could see outside the cave was a steady stream of brightly flashing objects, hitting the ground hard and fast. It was as blinding and beautiful as it was terrifying. The answer to what was pouring from the sundered alien heavens came as one such missile bounced into the cave and buried itself next to Jinnai. He looked to Yvette, then took out his tricorder and checked the readings. [Diamond.]

After a long while, the diamond rain came to an end, and the methane clouds and the lighting that were the forge for such a spectacular event moved on... and at last there was a clearing. Yvette and Jinnai left the cave in stunned silence in the sparkling landscape. The vista was breathtaking, only ruined by the chirping warnings of their EVA-suits. They were running out of air, so they had to make it back. Yet in her heart, Yvette harbored fear for what they might find.

"Come on," she said, heart beating in her ears, mimicking the sounds of her suit.

Soon, the distant sight of the diamond encrusted pod told them what had befallen the others.

Hitting hard enough to embed in the hull, the onslaught had eventually ripped the pod open. Each step took Yvette and Jinnai closer to the carnage, and the details were made plain in the waning light of day. The others were all dead, reduced to minced meat around layers upon layers of sharp diamond projectiles. There was no way to even tell the bodies apart. Moreover, all their equipment was destroyed, and the rations inedible, but since there was no way for Yvette and Jinnai to remove their suits now without dying from asphyxiation, eating those rations had become impossible anyway.

Yvette sank to her knees in front of the glimmering remains of the pod, and whatever shred of hope was left in her drained from her frame. Twilight fell, and with it, the the nocturnal storms would likely scythe them down. Given what had just happened during the day, the night might be the worst yet, and the only consolation was that their suits would run out of air well before then. Kalen Jinnai stood behind her, silent in his stoic acceptance, while their EVA-suits beeped in count-down towards the end.

"We search... for whatever we can find... then we take shelter again," she said quietly and unholstered her phaser, looking down at it. "If that's what it takes for someone to find us... we'll ignite the methane storm once it comes. Pray to your Prophets that it will work... for it will be our last chance."

- Written by Auctor Lucan, Interregnum 03-04, DAY 01: SAR Away-Mission

Passengers on Escape Pod 09