Post Spotlight – NX-05 Atlantis

This post is the introduction to our newest mission where the crew of the lost in space NX class ship meet a telepathic creature who infiltrates the ship. It is creepy as the crew on the away succumb to the telepathy one by one and believe the alien is a crew member despite all the warning signs around them.

John Smith MISSION START

Mission: Memory
Location: Asteroid
Timeline: Day 293 – 16:00
2031 words – 4.1 OF Standard Post Measure

It had been a successful shopping trip for the science department from the small asteroid where they had gotten specimens from. Yes, they were trying to get home but they still needed to learn about the universe and how things ticked, it was also a good morale-boosting exercise for the science team. It was an impossible opportunity to resist and why a small team had been sent to just check it out whilst the rest of the ship stayed at a bit of a distance to repair a few things that had become an issue the last few days.

“I have never been on an asteroid before,” Darru announced as the small group started back towards the shuttle. It seemed only logical to tell the crew after the fact that he had no experience but that had not stopped the Vulcan from wanting to try a new experience, especially with them trying to rebuild the science team and labs. He fully supported the Chief Science Officer and Captain in getting the idea to send people here, it would allow them to use the skills that had not been used since they lost the four crew members when the labs had depressurised in the first Vrav attack.

William walked with the group as they headed back. The sensation of low gravity through the EV suit made the journey easy as they bounced along. William recalled his first time on an asteroid back at Jupiter Station, the memory was not a fond one, however. That time he had lost his lunch inside his suit and had been the butt of the joke for several weeks after. “This is my third. When I served at Jupiter station, our zero-G training was on a few different sized asteroids,” he said to Darru. He could tell the Vulcan had not been used to the trip, but he was impressed by how well he had been hiding it. He looked back down at the ground since looking at the stars could make one disoriented.

Ethal was happy with the samples that they had gathered from their little asteroid escapade. Asteroids were not her most favourite of assignments to be on but she saw the opportunity for crew bonding it could provide. Hearing what Darru had announced she turned in surprise “Wait this is your first time asteroid hopping? How are you finding it, lieutenant?” Ethal said with a hint of an excited tone.

“It is not something my field of science allows for.” The Vulcan in the group commented freely. It was out in the open his area of speciality was genetics and he had been sent to study humans but had turned out to actually like humans and now actually doing it due to disgust or thoughts that humanity deserved to be stifled. The humans on the ship intrigued him. “But it was strangely intriguing. I believe that if we have the opportunity again I will be more prepared for the environmental suit control and sync them more for Vulcan than human.” He commented on.

“Well that does make sense as to why you would not have had this experience before but glad you found some enjoyment in participating” Ethal was left with a smile on her face because of Darru’s reaction. In Human standards, it may have seemed cold but she recognised his wording choice.

Liang Van had stayed around the ShuttlePod while the Science team wandered about the asteroid and collected their samples. He was enjoying the opportunity to be off the ship and in the environmental suit you got that real close-up feeling of being out-in-space. He passed the time checking over the outside of the craft and enjoying the view

When the group returned, he met them at the rear door and went to open it for them. He activated the controls, but a warning light was blinking, and the door stayed shut. The safety override was engaged, meaning the interior of the ShuttlePod was pressurized with an atmosphere. “Hold on, did somebody recycle the system?” He asked. “I could have sworn I left it depressurized.”

William grew concerned. The shuttlepod could only be pressurized from within. If Liang Van had remained outside as he stated, there would be no reason for it to have automatically repressurize. “This asteroid was devoid of life right,” he asked Ethal. They had done a bio scan prior to setting down, but his hand instinctively went to his holstered phase pistol on his hip.

Ethal was both confused and concerned about the state of the shuttle. She watched him put his hand on the phase pistol which only meant that William had the same worry she did. “The scans came back clear, no discrepancies” She responded with a slight shake in her voice as her body prepared her for the worst.

Darru nodded. “All checks were done by both of us and I do not make mistakes Lieutenant,” Darru said bluntly thinking the man was overreacting slightly. “And I remember seeing you cycle the system and leave it easily available for us to come and go as we needed.” There would be a logical explanation.

Ethal took a moment to compose herself. It was no time to panic, she helped do the scans and there was no life, no bio signs and no recent warp trails either. This collection of space rocks was almost like a ghost town. A much more likely situation was an error in the ship’s recompression system that triggered itself or one of the team did it by accident. Ethal took a few deep breaths to return to being level headed about the situation.

Liang Van frowned in his helmet. That was very strange, he thought to himself, he was sure he had not done it. Maybe one of the senior officers had made a mistake and was embarrassed to admit it. He shrugged, “Ok, give me a moment I’ll recycle it” He tapped the controls depressurizing the ShuttlePod so they could open the door and get on.

The door swung open and Liang Van had a brief shock seeing there was already somebody sitting in the cabin! The figure’s EV suited helmet swung towards the door but the silvered sunshield was down and all Liang Van could see was the reflection of himself and the other team members in the mirrored visor.

“Hey who’s…” He began, then completely forgot what he was surprised about. His brow furrowed as he suddenly realized he had been going to say something but couldn’t remember what it was, except it felt like he had a real headache coming on. Then that cleared just as quickly and he remembered the reason the hull had been pressurized was that Ensign John Smith had got back on earlier.

He stood aside and let the rest of the team get back on.

As the door opened, William heard Liang Van’s exclamation. He could see from inside something within the shuttle. He drew his phase pistol but immediately became overcome with a splitting headache. He winced slightly in pain and looked down as he struggled to clear his head. Looking back up, he started with surprise at the figure within. “Damnit John, I almost shot you,” William said as he recognized the figure and holstered his phase pistol.

Darru looked at the figure and frowned confused for a moment before he moved to his own seat and strapped in to allow everyone to pass. He was sure something was a miss but could not put his finger on it when everyone was there.

“Would have been a shame when I gave my seat up on the way here for you to be able to sit down.” The figure commented as everyone got into the small space and the shuttle recycled and repressurized allowing people to take off their helmets.

Ethal clambered in after Darru. She heard the others talking to someone and felt uneasy as there was no one else accounted for. As she looked at the mystery person, there was a shot of pain that went through her brain. What was unease quickly changed to contempt and she sat down and strapped in? “You should have said you went back in the shuttle, It would have alleviated unneeded stress,” she said with a sigh.

Liang Van clambered in last, secured the hatch and started the cycle again. Then moved forward to take his seat at the controls, he briefly noticed it appeared a bit more cramped than when they had come down. Squeezing past Smith he sat down and began his preflight checks.

John looked at everyone amused as he took off the helmet and revealed himself fully to the crew as they settled down. “You all look like you have seen a ghost. I knew wearing this environmental suit from… the other ship would freak you all out at some point or another. I guess I won that bet with you, hmmm.” He directed the comment toward Gerhard as he was the first person to give him a name – Smith.

William shook his head at the man before responding, “I told you it was a bad idea, but you insisted.” He still felt like he had a slight headache, but he remembered the conversation he had had with John. It was typical behavior for him. William remembered a similar incident when he and John had served together on the Johannesburg.

“Won the bet though,” John responded getting into the role offered to him. The man felt like the hardest to influence but he was the most talkative.

Liang Van completed his checks and notified the ship they were ready to depart. ^Atlantis, this is ShittlePod One, we are departing the asteroid. ETA is twenty seven minutes^

He got the acknowledgement and powered up the thrusters, looking over his shoulder he quipped. “Please remain seated and keep your hands inside the ride at all times. We have lift off!”

The ShuttlePod rose up from the surface and began to move forward, then lurched a little to port, dragging the left skid across an outcropping, sending a cloud of dust and debris flying. Liang Van instantly corrected and brought it back level, adding more power and adjusting the trim to maintain their ascent rate. “Oops sorry ’bout that! Just how many rocks did you bring aboard?”

“It’s okay no harm done. We did not grab too many, though it is easy to forget the true weight of things when you are carrying them in zero gravity” Ethal explained in almost a humourless tone. She knew that they had done everything right, remembering that in her proposal for this trip to account for everything. If her calculations were wrong, then any damage to the shuttle was her responsibility, not Liang Van’s.

“All that good cooking we are getting,” John said looking the group over. It was such a stroke of luck but someone was shining down on them. “Let’s get home.” He announced grinning as grabbed a strap to maintain his balance.

“I just hope the XO doesn’t spot the paint scratches,” William said to Liang Van and gave him a raised eyebrow. Everyone knew the XO treated the shuttle pods like her babies, and she was known to get quite upset even if there was dust left behind by whoever used them last. He disconnected the oxygen hoses from his pack and removed his helmet stopping to rub the bridge of his nose. He was not overly prone to headaches, but he attributed the feeling to the change in pressure from the suit to the cabin interior.

“Hopefully it will buff out” Liang Van replied wryly. Inwardly he was a little annoyed that somebody had overloaded the shuttle with so many samples. The asteroid had not had much gravity, but clearly, it had been enough to offset the trim levels he’d carefully set when they departed with the four…. no five!… of them on board.

How had he forgotten about Smith again? That headache was coming back again too he noted. He shook it off and concentrated on getting them back to the ship.