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Mysteries & Enigmas

Posted on Fri May 24th, 2019 @ 1:01pm by Admiral Myrkul Sharr & Commander Ame Vovihl & Lieutenant Tadeo Kita & Lieutenant Marcus Eriksson

Mission: Welcome to the Future!
Location: City State, Lower Level
Timeline: 00:42

The three officers had descended down into the abyss of the behemoth city state and its cavern. Driven only by the Admiral's sense of direction and eternal drive to delve into the darkest, dangerous mysteries.

Hovering flashlights illuminated the labyrinth they wandered through, Sharr never letting his hand leave a surface for long, using his natural senses to drive him towards the thing that was telling them all to leave.

They had been gone for an hour, orders given to the Away Team to continue the search and setup defence perimeters wherever they could, his small team continued on in silence. The walls were dull, the dampness had destroyed the sharpness of colour and the fine detail that had been carved, the wooden parts of the walls and buildings long since succumb to decay, but that ended quickly as the team stood upon a precipice. Looking down the Admiral gave a sigh, "Nothing but a void and mist..." he turned to look at the two men, "I need some way to get down, and back up. Thoughts?"

"You wanna go down there?" Marcus asked with a hint of fear, before quickly adding "sir?"

Realising the Admiral's seriousness, he summoned one of the floating light units, sending it over the edge and down. The illumination didn't give much away, save for the rocky walls, and seemed to fade quickly into the blackness. "I'll repurpose one of the sensor drones." The science officer suggested. "See if we can get some idea what's actually down there."

"If I can get a sense of elevation, we can rig up a set of pulleys and levers to get you down with rope, but that's only going to go so far. Without knowing the make up of the most, I would be hesitant to pull out any personal propulsion tech. Also-" and without asking for permission, Tadeo gave Sharr a purposeful look, "I recommend you take someone down there with you in case whatever tech we do use ends up malfunctioning from something even our advanced scanners may not pick up."

An unimpressed gaze washed over Tadeo as Sharr sighed, "Very well, we just need to get to the bottom of this thing, I have a funny feeling what we need is down there."

"If there's at least one human lifesign, I would say so." Tadeo agreed, already setting his backpack down to root around for the necessary equipment. "Hey -" he paused, looking to the scientist. "Eriksson, right? If you can get me a good idea how long we've gotta go, I can make the rope end happen."

"Uh, yeah, Marcus Eriksson sir." The young scientist replied. "The readings are all over the place, and we can't get a definitive depth, but..." He picked up a rock from nearby and tossed it into the void. They stood silently for a moment, waiting to hear it hit the ground. "We can extrapolate an approximate depth from the delay..."

By the time Eriksson had his methods, Tadeo had set up a trio of lines for them to leap down into the abyss below. "We have over 200 meters of rope between three lines, but I can go get more if we need it. Any good approximates?"

"Looks like eighty... three? Give or take." Marcus answered. "Too much interference to be exact but I'm fairly confident."

They had traversed a rough 3km of sheer cliff face, the only light they had was from the flashlights that followed them faithfully. Sharr lead the way, the fun had faded after the first few minutes of going fast, but now he did it as his mind wandered.

His feet finally landed on something solid, unlatching the cable he looked around. The darkness infiltrated everything, to the point it felt as it was fighting back the light that came from their equipment. He did notice, however, footprints in the dusty ground; he knelt down to take a closer look, "Starfleet treads... Winter was down here" he commented to his team, "Stay alert" gesturing for them to follow him. Slowly he followed in the same footsteps that matched Winters, his own feet a little smaller than that of his prey.

The unnaturally flat surface eventually gave way to steps, scans came back inconclusive as the stone they were on had been interfering with their readings since they got close, "This feels... strange" he turned to face the young men, shocked and amused he took a step back, "Commander, you sneak..."

It had been a long time since anything like this happened, he misjudged his footing and his heel was supported by nothing more than fine dust that very quickly gave way, a calm and unimpressed "Shit..." is all the three officers heard as the Admiral disappeared into the blackness below. The odd thud, followed by a curses in various languages went on until the sounds seemed too far away.

"Sir?" Tadeo, who insisted upon being last in case something happened. As he hung there for a moment, he looked down to Eriksson, in hopes that the scientist had seen something more. "... You think you can get that drone down there before we can make it down there?"

"Someone once said that gravity's a harsh mistress." He replied, turning off the antigrav systems on the drone. "But I like to think it comes in handy every once in a while." The drone dropped like a stone into the black, until it triggered an impact alert. Marcus had left the safeties engaged, so the small device came to a controlled stop two metres above whatever the ground was down there. "Scanning now."

Ame had been looking in an area all alone when she had heard first the soft voices and then the curses. She leant over seeing the Officers below sending down the drone that had been her side kick on her own little adventure. "Can I help?" She offered speaking through the drone not sure what was occurring at all between the trio.

"Can you abseil Commander?" Marcus asked. "We've got an... 83 metre drop to traverse and the Admiral has made considerably more progress than us." He tried to pick up speed in the hope of making up ground. "I'm getting data from a drone, but it's like some kind of echo chamber down there, false readings, tachyon distortion, chronoton haze..."

"I will join you soon." The disembodied voice said before the drone disappeared back up to where the Trill stood. All the tachyon and chronoton couldn't be healthy at all for them. It took the Executive Officer a few moments to set up the equipment and a few more for her to join the pair. "So what is happening?" She wondered pulling out two of the floating orbs of light to help with visibility. "So where is the Admiral?" She wondered looking down but it was impossible to see any further down a few meters.

"Down there," Tadeo answered, pointing downward. "And he fell doing it." Before Ame could respond, the engineer adjusted his line and followed down after where he saw the Admiral fall. "I'll go make sure he isn't bleeding out."

"I've... never done this before." Marcus admitted with a half shrug that he quickly regretted as his left foot slipped a little. "You may as well go on without me Commander; I'll catch up when I can." He resumed his slow descent, wishing he'd rigged up some kind of antigrav system with the drones instead.

The decent into the cavern wasn’t as bad as Sharr thought, a rough twenty foot drop and then a few flights of solid stone stairs. The darkness and enveloped him as he fell, the flashlight trying to catch up as he did.
Pulling himself up from the floor, he noticed his right shoulder had been dislocated from the fall. Sighing he positioned it back into place before slamming into the wall with his full weight to hear the sickening pop of the socket being put back in place. He had no time to wait for any of the medical team to fuss over him and fix it. At the foot of the stares he was met by a large set of doors. They were perfectly smooth with only a small groove to suggest they were even there. The flashlight dimmed itself as it got closer, the doors were acting like a mirror and reflecting the light back. The stairs and wall were smooth but not as smooth as the doors and behind them, Sharr felt, was the source of the uneasy feeling that permeated the entire city state.
The team had managed to catch up to him as he was pushing open the doors, the initial crack echoed up the stairwell before the sliding of stone become the only noise in this void. As his eyes adjusted he held his hand back and stopped the team from going any further, “No…” his attention wasn’t so much on the crew behind him but on the sight before him.
They stood upon a precipice of a much larger cavern, but this was perfectly carved cube. There were no markings anywhere and the only way down was a thin set of stairs to the left, he gestured to the flashlights to head out. Their protocol made them fan out and raise their illumination as high as they could to allow them to see what they were entering.
“I’ve only ever heard of these…” in the vast empty cube floated another cube, it rotated slowly and gave off a faint dark purple glow. Below it he could see large bones, as the lights rotated bringing light to more of the room he was taken back by what he saw. The bones he recognised, rather intimately. “A world engine, I never thought I’d ever see one” he pulled out his tricorder and started to take readings but they were coming back confused and erratic, “we shouldn’t be here. Team, we don’t have much time, we need to find Winter and get out of here. I’ll answer questions after we get back to the ship!” Sharr’s tone was stern and authorative, but it was clear that this placed unnerved even him and it wasn’t up for debate, “A rough guess, we have 20 minutes at the most, ten of those will be getting up and down these death trap stairs. He’s here, I know it.”

"Wow." Marcus said quietly. There were a lot of things that didn't make sense down here, but this dwarfed the rest. He wanted to start detailed scans, but the Admiral was clearly convinced they didn't have time for that. Fighting his instincts, he took a look at the drone data. "There's a lot of ambient noise, but we might be able to use that, look for something absorbing some of the..." He got a reading, just a direction but it was probably the best they could hope for. "That way sir!"

At the word he Ame pulled out her phaser and resisted the urge to just start popping off shots in an attempt to get him but held fast as she looked the admiral over. "You need medical attention but it will have to wait as you seem to have all your facilities and we have bigger issues. We should have brought a telepath." She hissed the last part to herself as she tried to see through the darkness and ignore the readings that she could see from the drones.

"I'm fine, Commander. If any of the little amount of information I know about a World Engine is true, I am glad none of us are telepathic." He gestured for her to head down with the rest, "As for me, I'll be fine in a few hours"

Ame didn't say anything then and there but she would ask more question to Sharr when she got the chance the healing ability he had wasn't something she knew El Aurian's possessed.

Tadeo simply gave the Admiral a look before exchanging one with Ame. He was no doctor. "I would recommend we likely not shoot anything else until we can get a better idea what a world engine is, and if this is the only way in or out. Our readings aren't helping. Admiral, do we have clearance to know what this thing is?"

"Time is ticking, Lieutenant. Our priority is Winter, everything else is secondary" he ordered as he followed the Commander down the stairs. He looked down to his arm and flexed his hand, 'Damnit' he thought to himself, he could feel the impact of the World Engine on him, his former affiliations were showing their weaknesses, "Let's speed this up, people!" he barked, clearly concerned about their situation.

"So how is this going to go?" Ame asked over her shoulder as she kept trying to peer through the darkness. This was the type of darkness that was going to haunt her sleep for awhile once they got out there.

"However it wants, Commander. This has never been done before, yet." Sharr replied as he peered down into the chamber.

"I can kinda isolate the direction." Marcus worked with his tricorder, which projected a cone of greenish light into the murky darkness, giving them a general direction. It also lit him up, making him into a target. "This may be a terrible idea." He admitted quietly.

"If we keep talking, and don't do anything, I would certainly agree that it is a bad idea, Lieutenant. So, let's get to the bottom of this damn set of stairs, find Winter, who is probably a corpse by now, retrieve him in whatever state he's in, and get out of this literal Hell." He looked back at his hand, the World Engine was already impacting him, he leaned in closer to the Commander, "We need to hurry" he showed her the damage it was doing, it was unravelling his DNA, a patch on his hand couldn't determine if it was El-Aurian, or something else, constantly shifting between the merged DNA in his system, "It see's me as the major threat, once i'm gone, it's plain sailing to remove you all. Shall we speed up?"

"Wouldn't it stand to reason that if this world engine back there," Tadeo began, following up the rear behind everyone else, "is about to do... whatever it is it's doing, wouldn't that mean it would trap Winter down here? Sir, this might be a fight for another day."

"Perhaps" Sharr said as they got to the bottom of the vast stairs, "but I cannot let him go, this is the first unique opportunity I've had in nearly 600 attempts to capture that devious little..." he gripped his hand tight to his chest, "anyway, I know he's down here, I can just feel that son of a bitch. I'm guessing less than 10 minutes to get our hides out of here. Once done, once back on the Clepsydra I promise I will tell you three everything I know about these Engines." It was unusual, Sharr's voice gave away the fact that this World Engine scared him. He hadn't been scared in ages, hadn't feared anything, but these machines were something else and the crew had picked up on that as he spoke, less of an order, less authoriative and more emploring them.

Ame shook her head and held her tongue as the fear and the fact everything he was saying to her, a doctor wasn't speaking correct. How could DNA just unravel. "Lets move then because I want to know what is going on." She said simply holding her rifle just that much tighter. She was fed up of being in the dark about things.

There was a smell, subtle at first, but Marcus started to pick up on it more and more, like barbeque and mildew. It was getting stronger, and therefore harder to suppress the gag reflex. The light leading his way lot something up and he paused mid step. The source of the odor started to become clear. A thick, putrid substance was beginning to pool on the ground just ahead. "I... think I've found something." He said with barely concealed nausea.

His words falling on deaf ears to an Admrial's personal vendetta, the annoyed engineer stepped past everyone at the sound of Marcus's voice. He sounded sick enough that it alarmed Tadeo into action. "What is it?" He asked, before taking a few steps back himself, hand to his nose and mouth. "... What is it?"

Ame made a face and shook her head. She didn't want to open her mouth to tell them what it was but she certainly knew what it was, you couldn't be a Doctor without knowing that smell. "Don't touch it." The woman said quickly as she shined her light a little better to see.

As they got closer the stench of death grew stronger, however, Sharr persevered and looked upon the liquefying corpse before them. The uniform was distinctly that of a high ranking officer of the Reich, kneeling down he saw a silver chain around the wrist area and on closer inspection identified it as Winter’s, “It is him, now we leave” he ordered, still very clearly uneasy. He pulled the goo covered chain off the bone and ushered them outwards. Turning around he looked up at the Engine, it was ever so slowly turning, barely noticeable to the naked eye given the light, but there was just enough from the drones to identify it was moving.

As he rushed the crew up the stairs, he was mumbling to himself. The odd word could be caught by the officers in front of him, ramblings about resets, dimensional rifts, chaos correction and paradoxical problems. To those who may have observed, the usually unshakable Admiral was seeming more and more like a mad man. Each time the officers slowed to a pace just shy of sprinting he ushered them forwards, cutting up the beginnings of any attempt at communication other than directions or observations about the path ahead.

As soon as they were clear of the stairwell and in the vast canyon, he initiated emergency transport.

The Clepsydra moved a little closer to the entrance and deployed transport drones, they moved through the air quickly and silently to create a stable network for the transporters, though the heavy equipment would still need to be moved.

Moments later, the team that had followed the Admiral were aboard the ship. He made his apologies and headed out and to the bridge. He hated this, he hated how he was acting, but this feeling was more than just him.

 

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