Episode 3.1- Side Quest
Timeline: 2389/09/10 1010 hrs
Captain Yulin Rael sat in the command chair of Atlantis, which flew along at a brisk pace of Warp 7. They were not due to arrive at Deep Space Six for some time, and Yulin was, to put it mildly, bored. His vacation had ended, and while he was using the slow days to catch up with his technical journals, he was beginning to feel stir crazy. He’d spoken with Keri about it, and what he really needed was for something interesting to happen. Anything.
They were traveling through Federation space, but not all of the worlds along the way had been well charted. They had no time to make stops, but if anything really interesting caught their attention, he was sure they could divert. Not for long, and not often, but they could make it count.
He had Ops keep long range sensors online, and directed Lieutenant Weaver and Warrant Officer T’Para to scan planets as they went past.
Colette sat at her usual station, besides the viewscreen. The recent days have passed by without anything unusual happening, and life slowly got back to normal. She was concerned about the apparent investigation going against her friend, Anjar, which she barely knew anything about. The Spymaster kept everyone in the dark. Neverthless, she tried not to think about that, and just concentrate on doing her work as usual.
Almost bored at her station, Drey sifted through the data on the planets they passed. Nothing was piquing her interest, nor standing out. It was just boring planet after boring planet. But then, something came up in one of the long range scans of an M-class planet ahead. She sat up straighter and honed in the scanners on the planet. "Huh... interesting," she muttered as she took in more data. "Sir, I believe I've found a planet your wife would love to see," Drey said, turning to face her new Captain. "I would as well. But to get to the point, it's got one plant, literally one plant only across the entire surface of the planet, across all biomes. It reads as the same plant with minor differences to help it survive in each."
Zuub was pleased to have light duty. No combat meant no seriously ill patients. Of course, it also meant few interesting people to play with. Then again, she had research to do for her mother's ailment but she had not developed a cure in this long. Surely, it would wait if there was something interesting to play with. The fact that Drey was near pleased Zuub, as well. Drey had proven to be an interesting play partner thus far and she looked forward to more adventures with her. "One plant, you say?" Zuub asked, her antennae twittering excitedly and occasionally whirring with confusion. "That hardly seems like a normal ecosystem. I should like to meet this plant."
"I would, too," Yulin agreed. "Lieutenant Weaver, send the coordinates to helm and ops. Ensign Blanchet, adjust our course and put us in orbit once we get there. Give me our ETA once that's set. Lieutenant Raygi, look at the data from Science and find us a good spot to beam down."
"Aye, Captain." Col nodded. She felt proud that now she can actually address their commanding officer as 'Captain'. She calculated the trajectory, and typed in the course. "ETA to the planet: two hours, sir."
Drey smiled and turned back to her console. "Shooting the info your way, Raygi," she said as her hands moved over the console. She was actually quite surprised to have gotten not only a nice reaction, but a diversion in course to investigate her findings, she was nearly floored. Though she did her best to keep her surprise and happiness hidden. She didn't want her new crewmates to think she was weirder than they already thought she was.
Raygi parsed the available data. It was interesting, and also perplexing at the same time. A certain set of readings bothered him in particular. “Sir, I’m reading an extremely high nucleogenic particle density in the entire atmosphere. Like over 300 times higher than M-Class standard. I don’t think there is a such thing as a good beam down point.”
Yulin nodded at the Ops Officer's report and smiled. "You know, since we launched, I've not had the opportunity to fly aboard the Magnus. Colette, why don't you report to the shuttlebay to get her ready. A'drey, Zuub, Benyan, go get yourselves equipped for a landing party. I'll be leading the away team."
"Aye, sir." the Ensign nodded, and wondered on why did the Captain call her on her first name. "I'll get our wings ready." she grinned, and stood up from her post to exit the bridge and head to the shuttlebay.
"Yessir," Drey said, standing and nodding to the relief Science officer. She barely contained her excitement. 'What if this plant has medicinal properties?' She thought as she made her way off the bridge and down to the main science lab to gather the gear she would need for this away mission.
Zuub headed out to sickbay and prepared a standard travelling emergency medical kit and medical tricorder. If the biology was safe, she definitely was going to have to take some samples aboard for study and likely for some play.
The Captain activated the comm system in his chair. "Lieutenant Kelea, report to the bridge please."
“On my way Captain” Came Keri’s immediate response. It didn’t take her long to get to the bridge. As she walked up the stairs, she walked over to Yulin she smiled warmly. “You wanted to see me Sir?”
As he watched his bridge crew file down the stairwell, Yulin smiled to the newly-appeared Keri. “Yes, I did. Counselor, I’m leading an away team to a nearby Class-M planet. We’ll be dropping out of warp in a little under two hours. Ensign Blanchet is flying us down. I need to you take command while we’re gone.”
Keri stood looking at Yulin in surprise. "Me, Sir?" She stood there gobsmacked. "I haven't even taken the bridge test yet Sir, are you sure you want me in command?"
"You'll do fine," Yulin assured her. He stood from his seat. "We're just going to be on the planet for a few hours. Commodore St. Clair is in meetings all day, so I can't ask her. Leland is still working on the impulse drive and is being pulled into meetings with Ne'Tel at random intervals. You're the next most senior person here. You can do it. Trust your subordinates. They know their jobs and will give you good advice." He smiled and offered her the chair. "The bridge is yours."
Keri looked towards the centre seat before taking a deep breath and walking towards it. "Aye, Sir! Oh and Captain, please keep me apprised of your whereabouts. I plan on keeping a transporter lock on your party at all times.”
“Oh, transporters won’t work,” Yulin said with a smirk. “We’re taking the Magnus down. But keep comm channels open. We should be fine. Good luck, Captain Kelea!” Before he could hear her response, he headed down the stairwell to get himself and his botanist wife ready for the away mission.
Keri shook her head and muttered something to herself before sitting down in Yulin’s seat and hoping that everything was going to go smoothly.