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  Commander Carishai, SD
 
More Questions than Answers - JDL: Cmdr. Carishai, Lt. Chimloch, Ens. Waite & Nurse Mara
 
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More Questions than Answers
JDL: Cmdr. Carishai, Lt. Chimloch, Ens. Waite & Nurse Mara.
(1st Lt. McMillian was on the Away Team but unable to participate in the log.)

Commander Carishai and the rest of the away team from the Excelsior heard the approach of the ornately constructed stagecoach as soon as they beamed in. They just missed being pummeled by the hooves of four muscular, maroon colored beasts. The cloaked carriage driver had shouted a command but iin the confusion, Cari hadn’t caught what was said.  A gloved hand motion and a slight raise of the reins seemed to reinforce the driver’s verbal command. The carriage and creatures slowed briefly as the figure looked down at the group for a second or two before making a clucking sound and taking off down  the crudely made road, sending up a cloud of greyish dust.

The commander sneezed violently.  â€œWell, wasn’t THAT special?” She quipped.  â€œLet’s get off this road, now.” She pointed to a large bush with long white fronds that waved in the breeze.  â€œOver here.” She suggested and immediately started toward the bush.  â€œJust WHAT did we just see?” She asked.

Helen had been studying the carriage set-up in the brief time they had in seeing it. ”Well I don’t think that it was Cinderella on her way to the ball. Maybe it’s one of the student coaches from Hogwarts, though I doubt that also. I don’t think that any of the missing crew would have had time to domesticate, let alone break, any of the quadrupeds for pulling a coach with that kind of precision.”  She reached into her backpack and offered the Commander a couple of neon pink caplets. “Here, they’re for allergies and the like.”

“Thanks.” Cari replied, adding the caplets to her pack.  â€œI’ll save them in case this becomes a trend.”

"These people are primitives and I am not sure how we are not violating the prime directive with our presence," spoke Lieutenant Chim'loch after some silence. She straightened her uniform and made sure her knife was in place, right by her side. "We need to gather information quickly." The science officer was concerned for missing crew like the others, but wondered why they did not consider a more stealthy approach. Would have left her out of the away mission, and that would have suited her just fine. For now all she could do was growl.

Cari did her best to keep a thoughtful, if not her usual cheerful, affect on her face.  â€œFirst, thank you, Ensign. You are very observant. Even though Starbase 382’s crew hasn’t been gone long, that conveyance did look to be some archaic form of human transportation though.  Very strange.   

She then looked at Baela and nodded. “Excellent points Lieutenant.  Yes, we find ourselves in a very precarious position for sure.  The intention was for us to be beamed down into an uninhabited area from which we could observe without being seen.  Since that plan is out, we need a new one.  Preferably one we can implement quickly and leave.”   She shook her head.  â€œI’m almost tempted to have the Excelsior pull us out of here immediately, however we were given a job to do and we will do our level best to complete that mission”  Cari took a deep breath.  â€œBut, on the other hand...whomever that driver was did not seem surprised to find us on the road.”  She paused. “And neither Lt Chim’loch nor myself are human.”

“Lt. Chim’loch, take Nurse Mara and follow that carriage. To a point that is, stay far enough back so that you make no contact, keep yourselves well hidden and gather visual and tricorder data only.  Rendezvous back here in no more than 5 minutes, with or without any data.  Got it?”

The Klingon nodded.

Mara held her tricorder up in the direction of the road.  â€œGet data, get back, get the hell outta dodge.”  She smirked.  â€œI guess this might be the first time in a few hundred years using that term might actually be more literal than figurative.  Let’s go.”  She waited for Chim’loch to lead.


“Ensign Waite, Lt McMillian, you’re with me.  We’re going to search in the other direction.  That carriage had to be coming from somewhere. Same rule, no contact.”

Helen nodded. ”I’m guessing that that carriage was a regular route runner like some of the Old West stagecoach lines. I didn’t see any signs of Heraldry on the doors the way it would have if it were a private one, showing the family that owned  it.”

“Wow, you are just a wealth of arcane data aren’t you dear?”  Commander Carishai said with a smile.  And you’re confusing the heck out of me…but I’m confident that your abilities will come in handy.  She brushed a snowy-frond off her shoulder.  â€œLet’s get going.”  She led the trio down the way.

She looked over at Peter. “Keep your phaser holstered, Lieutenant. but please, keep yourself on high alert. We don’t know what other types of animals are out there.  In fact, pretty much everything here is all one big unknown.  I have a sense that there is more going on here than meets the eye or that our tricorders can detect.”

“And Ensign Waite, I’ve noticed you have a talent for telepathy.  Kindly use it to search for any signs of sentient life.  We’d don’t want to walk up on some group enjoying their weekly  beast-roast.”

Helen nodded and composed herself to start her mental search. “So we don’t want to break up the potlatch, is that it?” She stilled her thoughts more and opened her shields to see which way there were people other than the ones in the Away Team.

“If a potlatch is anything like a picnic, no, we don’t.” The commander moved her group forward cautiously.

****
After they had covered some ground, Mara scanned their vicinity with the medical tricorder then looked at Lt Chim’loch.  â€œWell, no surprise here, I’m detecting humanoids...make that humans ahead.” She scrutinized the tricorder readings. “They appear healthy….” The nurse scrunched her face up.  â€œHey, do you know what we SHOULD we be looking for out here….we knew there were people before we beamed down.  How do I we figure out if these are the people we’re are looking for or not?”

"We have to go and ask, presuming our translators work." Baela seemed skeptical.

Mara chuckled softly.  â€œHa,ha, Funny! You’ve such an unusual sense of humor for a Klingon.” But Mara didn’t see any sign that Lt. Chim’loch was joking.  â€œWait, you were serious?  I’m confused.  Didn’t I just hear you tell the new XO that we could in a position to violate General Order Number One?  She stopped scanning with her tricorder.  â€œLook, I can tell you’re worried that we're in over our heads down here. But I don’t..no I CAN’T... believe that Captain Holden, or Commander Carishai for that matter, would give us a task that was destined to fail so miserably.  I was hoping that your science tricorder could be used to perform more complex scans and gather more detailed data.  Mine is just calibrated for medical data.”


Mara suddenly stopped talking and put her arm out to block Baela -- she didn’t seem to notice their size difference.  If the Klingon had wanted to keep moving, she could have quite easily done so. “Stop….can you smell that?  Someone’s baking bread and it smells incredible!“  Mara sniffed a few times and then indicated the direction where she believed the source to be. “A loaf of hot, fresh bread just might be worth breaking the Prime Directive for. “ She looked at Baela. “I’m kidding, I’m kidding!” Following Mara’s nose, they located a clearing with a small hut. The smells of baking bread were coming from a stone oven several yards away from the door.

Mara’s chrono beeped softly.  â€œOh crud, we’re running out of time.  Last chance for you to grab some scans before we regroup with the other guys.”  Mara scanned the hut.  â€œNo life signs.  Very interesting…wonder where they wandered off to?”  She made a show of “looking” around before putting the tricorder away.  â€œMaybe I could run over there and swipe a loaf or two before the baker gets back!”  She mused aloud.  â€œI’m kidding!!” She shook her head.

****
Helen’s mental scan results were not long in coming. ”There seem to be two major settlements, one each direction, along this road. One, the  larger, is about 45 klicks in the direction the coach was going in and the other is about 15 Klicks back behind us. There’s also some scattered, homestead like groups around each.”

“Yep, my tricorder agrees with you.”   Cari stopped.  â€œShhhh!”   She motioned for Waite to move back and alerted McMillian with two fingers gesturing in the direction they were moving.

“I heard ...a sound….music maybe?  But it’s gone.  Do you ‘hear” anyone?”

Helen concentrated more to see if she could pick up what the Commander was talking about.

”I’m ‘hearing’ a large mass of heavy feet heading toward us. with some faster movement around them and some guys... Singing?”

“What the?”  Cari exclaimed.  â€œHIDE!   NOW!!!”   She dove into a frond-bush.

Helen didn’t wait for a second order, she dove behind a large boulder along the roadway.  Cari gave Peter a light push and they were soon both getting fond of fronds.

The three of them could hear a strange singing or humming…..and the sound of something, or some things, heavy and fast approaching.

Cari stifled a sneeze, not wanting to alert anyone to their hiding spots.  She managed to whisper to Ensign Waite.  â€œWhen they near, take a quick peek.  Surface thoughts only. Do they speak Standard, do they long for replicated dinners?”

Helen nodded back to the Commander and listened in on the surface thoughts of the ones on the road. ”Water,” she murmured, “as well as something called ‘Rotgut’ and... getting laid…” She blushed a furious crimson as she whispered the last to her Commander.

“Well, I won’t be inviting them to my next dinner party but their thoughts down seem for normal certain groups of people in many cultures. They seem to speak Standard -- that’s a clue.  I think we’ve most likely found evidence that at least some of the missing starbase crew could be here. I hope the data we’re obtaining plus what Lt Chim’loch and Nurse Mara are able to collect can be used to help us come to a more definite conclusion.”

Carishai extricated herself from the bush and brushed herself off.  She heard a noise and was ready to retreat again when she saw that it was Lt Chim’loch and Nurse Mara.  

“Good timing.  Did you find anything useful?” Cari asked.

Mara waggled her tricorder at the commander.  â€œMore than nothing, less than a lot.”  She told her.  â€œCoulda scored me a freshly baked loaf of bread…..” She scowled at Baela. “But noooo.”

Cari acknowledged their efforts with a nod.  â€œWell done.” She was about to tap her commbadge for transport back to the Excelsior when something….or the lack of something caught her eye.

“Ms Waite,  Didn’t you say that you detected a large group of people and animals passing this way?”

Helen nodded, ”Yes, I did, more critters than people, however. I’d guess about a 26:1 ratio of critters to people. Like some old cattle drive...”

Carishai bent to get a closer look at the trail.

“I’m no expert in this era, but despite what you saw telepathically and we all heard from our hiding spots, no group of that size has come through on this trail recently, much less a few minutes ago.”

She stood back up.  â€œI don’t like fact-finding expeditions that end with less facts than they started with.” She tapped her commmbadge.  â€œExcelsior, this is Commander Carishai, five to beam up.”

END

&&Helen-Waite, Baela&&

   
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