((???, Darime IV))
Consciousness filtered back with all the reluctance of a Starfleet cadet dragging themselves to class after a night on the town. Ryan’s brain felt too small for his head, pounding and struggling against the confines of his skull, and he breathed out a low groan of pain. The stench of burnt dust bit at the back of his throat, and he coughed, choking on the taste.
But he couldn’t lie there forever. Cracking open his eyes, he pushed himself up—and for one horrifying moment, he thought he was blind. There was nothing but thick, impenetrable black, brushing over his skin with fingers of ice. He swallowed, goosebumps shivering across his skin, and then vague shapes took form. Straight edges in the distance he could only see out of the corners of his eyes, and much closer to him, the softer lines and curves of people.
Three of them. Vaguely recognisable for spending so much time in each other’s company.
Isaacs: Ugh... ::He pressed his hand to the back of his neck, massaging the muscles in an attempt to relieve his headache.:: Is everyone okay? Or at least... you know, alive?
Talking while he fumbled on the ground around him, Ryan’s hands bumped over what felt like an engineering kit. His fingers were clumsy on the latches in the gloom, and the opening snaps reverberated through the space as though they were in the middle of some vast flight deck, sound waves bouncing off the metallic, cavernous walls.
Which didn’t make sense, because he was pretty sure they were on one of the greenest planets he’d ever seen. Granted, as someone from Mars who occasionally visited Earth, that wasn’t saying much, but the point was the same. There were trees and grass. Lots of it.
His hand closed around the smooth, orthotopic form of a tricorder. He tugged it free of its housing, blindly thumbing at the controls until he hit the right one to make the device light up. Chirps and beeps echoed, the subdued light of the tricorder casting ghostly shadows across his youthful face.
Isaacs: Anyone know what happened? One minute we were... ::he paused, and screwed up his eyes in thought.:: Uh... I’m actually not sure. The last thing I can remember is breakfast.
He felt it before he heard it. A low, bass rumble that burrowed into his chest before it reached his ears, an electric thrum his engineering training recognised as power rushing through conduits. Maybe they were on a starship, but how—
A deep chime sounded, and light blinded him. Ryan’s hand snapped up, shielding himself against the sudden onslaught of brilliance, squinting and blinking until he was able to brace himself against the brightness searing his retina. He scrambled to his feet and his hands dropped to his side, tricorder loose in his fingers and momentarily forgotten. Dumbstruck, the young man stood agape at the sight in front of him.
Tall spires erupted from the earth and clung to the rocky ceiling high overhead like stalactites and stalagmites, glistening and glittering in ivory and gold. But they weren’t rock formations, they were buildings, with windows and doors and walkways threading like silver ribbons between them with no obvious means of support. He and his fellow cadets were standing in the centre of a septagon, and around the edges it looked as though it was some kind of... garden? Ferns and mosses in vivid shades of blue and violet, indigo lichen clinging to artfully arranged boulders, and huge geodes with amethyst and sapphire crystals sparkling inside.
He spun on the spot, taking it all in. It was incredible, the kind of thing he’d joined Starfleet to see... except he had no idea how they’d got here. Or where “here” even was. He smacked his combadge with his palm, but wasn’t the least bit surprised when the only response was the dismayed burp of a no-contact alert.
Isaacs: So... We should probably try to get out of here, or at least get comms working. Any ideas?
Cadet Ryan Isaacs
4th Year Cadet