Lieutenant Lambert – The cleft

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Christopher Lambert

Jan 31, 2018, 12:43:37 PM1/31/18
to Atlantis

((Planet Aetna - South Pole)) ((Landing site))

:: The view from the aeroshuttle’s aft section was of a breathtaking beauty. Literally. There was not enough molecular oxygen to breathe, neither enough pressure to fill the lungs. Sitting at the ramp edge with his legs pending outside, fully dressed in an standard environment suit, Christopher was gazing alone at that bleak and barren discovery. A wide open space, truly epic but unspoiled natural marvel. ::

:: The landing site was chosen by Ensign Nidi, a young human exogeologist, whose name was suggested by Lieutenant Udro to be part of the away mission. The Bajoran officer was the most experienced scientists of Atlantis and the only one who had already acted as a chief of science before. For this reason Christopher valued a lot her opinion. The other member of the team was the rising star of medical department, Lieutenant Cattan. Her expertise proved to be essential for the away team, especially in such harsh environment. ::

:: The south pole was the most geothermically active part of the planet, with some unexpected things happening. The Frenchman wished to explore the region by foot, and although they had landed on stable plateau, things were quite out of ordinary at that alien world. The surface was made mainly of squeezed dense water crystals and small amounts of methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide. There were fissures, plains, corrugated terrain nearby, but with exception of some cliffs and mountain ranges at tens of kilometers to the east, there was nothing to bump into. However, the simple act of walking was challenging at most. ::

:: The surface was so cold - around minus 237 ºC - that the ground was like a polished metal, very reflexive, smooth but brittle. Walking was possible but only in a moderate fashion with the help of crampons attached to the boots. After the first unsuccessful attempts of walking they were forced to replicate them. His last climb in the ice proved valuable after all, and he could at least think at one person that would be proud. ::

:: There was almost no visible light on that world but a dark red hue throughout the environment. As expected, the light scattering effect on that thin anaerobic atmosphere was not present. Together with the high albedo of the surface, which could reflect some light from the brightest stars, the ground was barely visible. So, on the horizon, the heaven and the ground had an interaction that defied the usual visual reference. It was difficult to know which one was up or down. The wanderer planet curse was ruthless, and most of the away team experienced giddiness, nausea and vomiting. ::

:: In a similar way there was an effect produced when you were walking on a beach with water quickly moving below the feet. For a fraction of time your brain did not know which one is moving, you or the ground, and you could get disoriented. So, you avoid look down until get used. At that barren world the best would be to avoid look at the horizon, until get used as well. ::

:: If you look straight up, you would have probably the most astonishing immersion  experience of your life. That part of the expanse was dominated by a red supergiant star, near the frontier between provinces Larokon and Barahn. Anywhere above and beyond was so cluttered with debris, stray particles and gas clouds that the majority of the distant stars did not stand a chance to win against that red Goliath’s bright. The blue, purple and yellow tendrils of intergalactic vapor were beautiful and majestic, but not enough to cast shadows or overthrow the red dominance over that unsullied land. It was as you were staring at a impressionist painting from Claude Monet - an Earth old artist from nineteenth century - of galactic proportions. ::

:: On the ground, the lifeless landscape could be hazardous in many ways, and all of them disguised in the murk. Without a guide and straining to see, the initial in situ exploration was made with the help of the aeroshuttle’s advanced sensor pallets, in conjunction with the tricorders and infrared filters of the helmets. The exploratory group was always made of two scientists and the medical officer, tied themselves together by a rope, while the third scientist stayed behind to operate the sensor suite and the transporter in case of an emergency. ::

:: Tiny cracks could turned into huge crevices, which could hide large and deadly crevasses. The risk of slipping on the ice and sliding into open one, or of breaking through and falling into a hidden crevasse was too great. Crevasses were dangerous, but could be easily avoided if everybody was paying attention. In case of any problem, they were briefed to abort and immediately transport back. This was especially true if the person was injured in the fall or the EV suit was damaged. Everybody was carried ice axes to stop themselves from sliding if necessary. ::

:: Meandering through the icy environment was exhausting, both mental and physical. Part of the problem was due to the planet gravity - around 10,73 m/s2 - and part due the time you have to be concentrate looking for hidden traps. Walking through that world was hard, even without challenging canyons, valleys and hills, but at same time a thrilling experience. Despite that, face the darkness had a profound impact on human psychology. He had not have time to discuss that with the crew but Christopher was happy for not having to stay much longer. He had barely survived a murder attempt and the emotional wounds were still hurting and haunting him. ::

:: Three days ago they spotted a strange celestial body. The initial consensus was that it could probably be a old sub-brown dwarf star of some type. However, due the expanse’s interference in the sensors, it was difficult to discriminate the readings from such great distance. Then, an in-situ explore team was suggested by Lieutenant Udro, the stellar cartographer leader, and Christopher as the new chief of science brought the matter to Captain Brell’s attention. To avoid having Atlantis to take another detour from the oscion shipping lane, an away mission was authorized under his command. ::

:: Now, with one day left to rendezvous with Atlantis, Christopher was saying farewell from that nature’s marvel. That had been a mind-boggling experience, and they probably would spend several days analysing the data and samples. However, they all agree upon one thing, Aetna was a rogue planet, wandering alone near that sector for hundreds of thousands years, until caught by that red supergiant's gravitational pull and brought into the Par’Tha Expanse. ::

:: The consequences of that were hard to predict. That planet was huge in size, around fifty percent larger in diameter than Earth, but its inner core was still active after so many years. There were a lot of unanswered  planetary questions, and he probably would have to put Ensign Elzizabath to work on that too. Since the events of the Tiruelle I moon they did not talk, but Christopher had heard that she found someone. He was happy for her. She seemed to be a nice girl and deserved to be happy.  ::

:: The chief scientist's reverie was broken by a steady and rhythmic vibration that  arose through his body coming from the ramp. He turned his head back, feeling the ache on his bones and muscles, and saw Lieutenant Cattan knocking on the Lounge’s window. It was time to leave. ::

((A couple of minutes later)) ((Aeroshuttle’s cockpit))

:: The transporter beams coalesced into the form of a white tight-fitting environment suit. Lieutenant Cattan, the assistant chief medical officer was there just waiting for helping Christopher with the environmental suit. ::

Cattan: Response.

Lambert: Thanks for the heads-up, Lieutenant. ::feeling the cozy atmosphere:: Aetna said goodbye to you all. ::smiling and stepped off the transporter padd:: May you help me? ::turning around::

Cattan: Response

:: The stellar cartographer was sat at the helm finishing to put into orbit a second class III planetary probe. They had discussed the idea in the previous meeting and reached an agreement that the planet needed to be observed along an extensive time frame. The expanse sector was somehow altering the planet’s millennial behavior, and just with more data would be possible to predict what would happen. ::

Udro: Response.

Lambert: That’s excellent. ::moving toward the equipment storage with Femi::  You’re authorized to lift off as soon as you finish that. ::painful expression::

Udro: Response

Cattan: Response

:: Ensign Nidi, the youngest member of the away team, had just arrived from Captain’s suite. The exogeologist was in charge of replicating cryogenic hazard containers to store the surface samples. Due to that unpredictable discovery, they didn't have anticipated the need for such equipment. ::

Nidi: Lieutenant! ::nodding::

Lambert: Report, Ensign. ::stopping near the improvised medical bay::

Tarik: The samples were cataloged and stored as requested. ::breathing deeply::

:: Christopher had suggested to stack the containers inside the Captain’s suite. The aeroshuttle was not prepared for what they had just found. ::

Lambert: I'm sure Captain will understand the decision to put her suite in a good use for science. :giggling::

Cattan/Udro: Response

:: Christopher was not able to hide his abdominal discomforts from Femi, but before he could let her examine him, he addressed the officers once again. ::

Lambert: Ensign Nidi. Contact Atlantis and inform that we are on schedule.

Tarik: Aye, Sir. ::moving away toward his station::

Lambert: Lieutenant Udro, call me as soon as you establish a geostationary orbit over the south pole, please.

Udro: Response

:: After that, he stepped into the room with Femi for his physical exam. His belly was hurting a lot and he was afraid that he could have open some internal suture. If it was the case he had plenty of confidence that she would be able to fix it. They were all doing a great mission, and he hoped that his first command ended as planned. Everybody safe and sound back to Atlantis. ::

Anyone: Response

((A few of minutes later))

:: The south polar region of Aetna was almost entirely free of impact craters. The area was littered with house-sized ice boulders and surfaces carved by tectonic patterns unique to that region of the rogue planet. There was a deep and extensive crevasse on the surface, and from high orbit, it looked like something was trying to hatch out. Several surface jets originated near the hottest spots of that fracture and a dramatic plume sprayed water ice and vapor above the south polar region, supplying a huge but almost invisible cloud that extended into space. ::

Lambert: What do you think guys? ::adjusting the infrared filter::

Cattan/Udro: Response

Nidi: Maybe an underground ocean?

Lambert: Yeah! ::smiling with so much information to analyze:: I believe we could call this mission. ::turning to the Bajoran:: Lieutenant plot an intercept course to Atlantis.

Cattan/Udro: Response

((OOC: We have around twenty hours before meeting Atlantis. There is a fully equipped Lounge at the aft section of the ship, where we could sleep, relax and chat about this away mission or anything else you wish. ))


Lieutenant Christopher Lambert

Chief Science Officer | Physicist

USS Atlantis | NCC-74682


“When you have eliminated all that is

impossible, whatever remains must be

the truth, no matter how improbable.”

– Sherlock Holmes



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