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Sun, Fun and... Guns [CD]

Posted on Fri Oct 4th, 2019 @ 9:46am by 1st Lieutenant Jack Cunningham Jr & Master Sergeant Robert Schiano & Lance Corporal Damian Quigley

Mission: Mission 5: Arising From the Ashes
Location: Holodeck 1/ Harken
Timeline: 10 February, 2394 - 1900 Hours

[ON]

The Marines sat in the heavy transport, waiting for it to land. The ride was bumpy, throwing them against their restraining harnesses time and again. They sat in two rows, one on each side of the transport, wearing their full battle rattle, and equipped with phaser rifles. The helmets on their head were thin and gray, with an orange-colored visor in front of their faces. The visor was actually an electronic screen that was capable of displaying video, audio, maps and the short range sensors from their suits.

Jack adjusted his helmet after being tossed against the wall. Mother nature didn't care what your rank was. She'd kick your teeth in if you let her. He looked at the Marines, pleased to see that they were all alert and taking the training seriously. It helped that the holodeck made everything feel real. A face appeared on the inside of his screen, it was the holographic pilot.

"Sir, we will be wheels down in three minutes," the holographic corporal said.

"Thank you, Corporal Beeman," Jack said in a voice low enough that only the sensors in his mask could hear. He held up his hand, three fingers extended.

"Three minutes!" He yelled. "I don't know what kind of welcome we are going to get. This island we are landing on isn't on any of our maps. We are supposed to be met by representatives of both factions. You will not fire without express permission from me or the first sergeant. I don't care if some jungle dinosaur is about to eat you. Yse your Marine diplomacy to change its mind. It might be related to one of the Undrin or the Medrin."

"You heard the EL T keep those trigger fingers stowed. I want to add to that, keep you mouths stowed as well. If you lot say something that you think means nothin, it could be taken as an insult to the Undrin or the Medrin. I want everyone to keep their scuba gear at the ready just in case we need to go below the water. The one thing you lot should keep open is your eyes. Call it if or when you see it, anything that even remotely looks like a threat. Corporal Beeman, if things go South take the ship to rally point zulu it is there we will meet you. When we land form up on the El T. Now stand by for debarkation." Schiano shouted over the din of the engines. He paced the back in forth in front of them as he spoke.

The shuttle slewed sideways, throwing the Marines to the left, and then landed hard. "Sorry!" Corporal Beeman yelled from the front. "Massive downdraft. Not much I could do about it. Lowering ramp now. Good luck, Marines!"

There was a high whining sound as the entire back part of the shuttle broke away and became a ramp. A blaze of light spilled into the craft, temporarily blinding the Marine contingent. Their faceplates dimmed automatically, filtering out the intense sunshine so that they could see. Jack hit his quick release on the harness and the straps fell away. He stood up and shouldered is rifle.

"Alright, Marines, lets move!" He yelled and the Marines responded. They too freed themselves from their harnesses, grabbed their gear and hit the ramp at a run. Jack watched them deploy as they had trained countless times before. One group went to the left, one to the right and one took a knee about ten meters directly in front. Jack and the first sergeant knelt in the center of all three groups, waiting for the shuttle to evac.

There was a rush of air as the shuttle's engines powered up and a moment later the whining sound was gone, replaced with silence. Looking around, Jack had to admit that their destination did look a little like Risa. He'd had a few vacations there and was hoping to get back someday. What he didn't see was any kind of structure or traces of civilization.

"First Sergeant, we got anything on comms telling us where to go?" Jack asked.

"Yessir! We are to proceed ten klicks north by northwest. There we should find the meeting place. Our first task upon arrival should be to secure and set up a perimeter." Schiano responded as he secured the extended communications pack that he carried.

"Roger that, First Sergeant. Detachment, follow me!" Jack said and oriented himself in the direction that Schiano had given. The jungle, and it was a real jungle, looked impassable. The trees were black trunked, things with wide blue-white leaves that formed a thick canopy overhead. As they moved from the open area where the shuttle landed into the jungle, the temperature dropped noticeably.

"Everyone keep your eyes peeled. Watch your sensors but also actually look around. Don't get sensor locked. Computers are smart but they aren't perfect," Jack said.

The Marines spread out in a normal staggered formation, with the lieutenant and the tip of a zigzag line. They all knew that the formation prevented devastating ambushes and allowed them to bring maximum fire to bear if necessary. Their feet crunched on the husks of some alien looking fruit as they walked. Private Collins, bringing up the rear with his sniper rifle, regularly paused to turn and walk backwards so that he could observe any possible ambushes. But there were none and the hike proceeded smoothly.

"Hey, first sergeant," Collins asked over their integrated comms. "You ever been in a fire fight in this kind of terrain?"

"I have been in a scrap or two Private. It is my experience that if we were going to get hit it would come from above. These fruit trees provide the perfect cover for shooters. Also explosives that look like fruit. So stay on your toes." Schiano spoke solemnly into the comms. However, there was a small smirk across his face. All of what he said was true. However, he doubted it here. He was trying to spook the young private.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, except for Private Wilks phasering a fruit that happened to fall nearby. They emerged out of the jungle, unexpectedly, onto a white sand beach. Jack had the Marines take a knee as he made his way to the First Sergeant. He was amazed to see a large, eye shaped, pool in the middle of the beach. All around them the tall, alien trees waved in a constant breeze.

"That is some seriously beautiful water," Jack said as he reached Schiano. "And my suit tells me that it is also seriously deep." He shared his viewscreen's readout, knowing that his suit had some advance capabilities. "And I'm also showing that there's something at the bottom of that water that is moving around."

Schiano was taking it all in, it was indeed a sight for sore eyes. "I have to wonder if whatever that is down dere is friend or foe. I just don't like it El T. On the one hand, it seems all on the up and up, and this is where the talks are going to happen. If dat is da case we have some serious issues safeguarding the location for one we can't secure the water. On the other hand this all seems like a set up." Robert looked at the readouts and then scanned the horizon with his own two eyes. Something he trusted more than computer screens. However, right now all he saw was nothing but rolling waves. They were indeed clutching a raft in the middle of nowhere, or so it seemed.

Jack nodded. "Let's do a quick search around this pool and see if we find anything." The words were barely out of his mouth when a high whining sound filled the air. He and the rest of the Marines reflexively looked up, and saw a strange shuttle inbound for their location. It was smaller than their shuttle and looked more... elegant? It was blue with two fins that rose from the sides, swept back. As it grew closer, a wide window, oval-shaped, in the front of the craft revealed two people at the controls.

Jack held up his hand as the shuttle landed about one hundred yards from their position. "Hold tight people!"

An access hatch irised open on the side of the shuttle and two gray-colored bipedal creatures emerged. They were shorter than the average human, but with square, stocky builds. Their faces were smooth, with four eyes arrange in a row near the top of their face. Beneath there was nothing that resembled a nose. Instead, there was one large round looking mouth. Their arms and legs were gangly, ending in five digits. Jack shook his head.

"Oh boy."

Schiano turned to the rest of the team and whispered. "Right everyone best behavior. Parade rest and shoulder the weapons." Leading by example Robert shouldered his rifle and stood with his legs shoulder width apart and his hands behind his back. He was not about to make all of the Federation look bad, and he was damned if anyone on his squad would do it.

Jack stepped forward, in front of his formation of men an held up a hand in greeting.

"I am Lieutenant Jack Cunningham, Star Fleet Marine Corps, United Federation of Planets. We have been assigned to this location to assist," Jack said, hoping that he was doing things right.

One of the beings mirrored his had motion as they walked closer. "Greetings, Lieutenant," the translator said in Jack's ear. "I am Yivalyn of the Medrin people. This is my assistant Jubir. We are thankful to you and your men for your presence here at the upcoming intervention with our Undrin cousins. We look forward to long, fruitful relationships with the United Federation of Planets."

Schiano heard the greeting and wanted to say something but he knew that he should leave the talking to Jack. While remaining at attention he kept his head on a swivel. Anything could and quite possibly would go wrong before the Undrin arrived. He signaled a small group of the Marines to fan out and set up a perimeter.

The Marines flowed forward in a well practiced maneuver. They took up strategic positions around the deep well of water, eyes darting left to right. All of them felt a tinge of excitement, even if they knew it was all a holodeck program. It was a very good holodeck program.

"We look forward to the same," Jack said with a forced smile. He found the Medrin to be hard to look at. Some primordial part of his brain was telling him that they were a threat, even though he knew the Medrin weren't the problem. His sensors inside his helmet began beeping, distracting Jack enough to make him look. The movement at the bottom of the well was moving. Upward. "It looks like we are about to meet those cousins of yours."

Yivalyn's mouth opened and closed, revealing rows of small, pointy teeth. "Yes. They are always the last to arrive to any meeting. Lieutenant, I must warn you that our cousins are a very aggressive people."

"Understood," Jack said. What else was there to say? He'd read the files on the Undrin. He knew they were a brutal warlike people. He also knew they didn't like alien races.

The water in the pool began to froth and swirl. A moment later a group of five beings, wearing some kind of powered armor and carrying long, multi-pronged spear like objects, emerged. They were a deep green hue, with a glistening metallic scales it seemed.

"We are arrived," a voice said. Malcom couldn't see the faces of the Undrin, so he didn't know if they looked like their cousins for sure. Event he files were vague on that point.

"I am Lieutenant Jack," He began but one of the Undrin stepped forward, bringing his pronged spear to bear.

"Your reply is not needed, alien. You are not part of this negotiation. Speak again and I will kill you," the Undrin said in a cold voice.

Schiano's finger slid to the trigger of his rifle. If this Undrin tried anything he would make sure it was the last thing that he ever did. Most of Jack's Marines followed the same lead as Robert. No one threatened the EL T and got away with it. However, they were smart enough to hold fire. No need to escalate the intense situation.

Jack could feel his team tightening up around him. He knew that if he asked, they'd blow these guys away and deal with the repercussions afterwards. But the whole point of this scenario, he thought, was to try not to give into the urge to face confrontation with violence. He held up both of his hands, letting the rifle swing behind him on its strap.

Yivalyn made a warbling sound and the Undrin's head snapped around. Once his attention had shifted, Jack glanced around to make sure his team was holding steady. He was proud to see they were.

"You speak our language poorly, Yivalyn," the Undrin said. "But you show proper respect. We will meet with you as promised."

Yivalyn nodded. "As always, we show respect because you have earned it. We wish to co-exist as we have for millenia," he said and the two unceremoniously sat down on the sand, leaving Jack and his team to watch.

Jack turned to say something to Schiano when the holodeck program froze and then vanished, leaving the black room criss-crossed with the white grid. His men slowly got up from their positions, looking around as confused as he was. A yellow alert light was blinking.

"What the hell," Jack said. "I thought we were picking up some eggheads?"

"As did I... What gives?" Schiano replied with a little edge in his voice. He was rather enjoying the program and upset to see it go.

"No idea but it can't be good," Jack said. "Computer, save program. The rest of you, get yourselves suited up for real. First Sergeant, I want you to review our SOP for repelling boarders and conducting boarding operations. I am going to go talk with the captain and find out what is going on."

"Sir yes sir!" Schiano replied and then turned on the unit. "You heard the man ladies... Let's get our asses in gear. Back to the barracks on the double. We got a job to do and they got butts that need kicking. Move it.... move it..." His voice echoed through the holodeck as he broke into a jog toward the door leading the squad of Marines.

[OFF]

1st Lieutenant Jack Cunningham Jr
Commanding Officer Marine Detachment 358
USS Firebird NCC-88298
(NPC by Llwyedd)

Master Sergeant Robert Schiano
First Sergeant Marine Detachment 358
(NPC by Rees)

 

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