That Was Quick
Who Can Catch the Sky
Location: Captain's Ready Room
Keith was scanning over the last few updates on their mission and getting ready to make his rounds with his chiefs and make sure everything - and more importantly, everyone - was ready to go when the chime to his ready room chirped.
"Come in," He called, surprised by the interruption.
"Just me," Sebell called out as she stepped in the room. It was an odd hello, but surely, Keith had to be used to that from her by then.
"I thought you were back with your family?" He asked, confused.
"It was a false alarm. Cody's deadly illness turned out to be curable after all, thankfully. Dad's still going to check in on him, but I decided to head on back," all came out along the breath of one sigh as Sebell sank into a chair.
"Ah," Keith said, taking it all in stride, "One of those curable incurable illnesses... good," He said, nodding his head sagely, "I'll have to tell Hel, we thought she was riding shotgun on this one," He said, chuckling a bit.
"We've gotten our orders," He replied.
"Starfleet doctors: what can I say?" Sebell said with a grin. "Most of the fleet doesn't like the word can't or no for that matter. So what's our orders?"
"Familiar with Eelis IX at all?" He asked, pulling up the files on his console.
Sebell shook her head. "Nope. Not even a little bit, boss."
Nathan shook his head as well, "Not surprised. Small colony world, about ten years further along than Everbright. They had a central hub and a few smaller outlying colonies they'd setup as they were expanding, but they weren't much in the grand scheme of things. But now," He said, turning to show her the barren, sickly green world that he'd shown Hel a few hours prior, "It's gone from an M-class planet to this," he said, grimly. "In a matter of weeks."
"Oh.. that's.. how? Do we know how?" she asked, clasping her hands in her lap.
"That's what we're going to figure out," Keith replied. "No one knows what happened, or how, but they're thinking that it's tied to the same pirate band that we ran into at Everbright," He explained. "Some unusual, scrambled transmissions came through that sounded like something was happening two weeks ago, but they cut off before anything concrete could be gathered from them. It sounded like an attack, but ... what could do this?" He asked, flicking the back of his fingers against his screen.
Sebell was quiet for several minutes as she considered the situation. "Are we prepared to take on colonists should the world prove to be caustic?"
"We don't even know if there are colonists to take on," Keith replied, heavily. "But yes, that's what we're preparing for. "With Nim gone, You'll have to work with Swift down in Sickbay. She's proving to be a capable woman, to be honest, so I don't think you'll have much problem. Get with Alexi to help organize it if you need to," He explained.
"The mission is two fold: Rescue any survivors and try to figure out what caused this to happen," He explained.
The XO nodded. "Gotcha. I imagine once we're in scanning range we'll have more answers, but hell.. I don't even know what I'd liken that to. Decades of industrial corruption?"
"The scientists that have studied it so far say it's almost the opposite. It's as if it's returned to it's pre-terraformed state," He explained.
"It's not pollution in the atmosphere, it's ammonia and other gasses that the planet used to make naturally, but we found ways to filter out," He explained.
"How bizarre.." Sebell had never heard of that one before. It was certainly one to research. "So what do you need of me to prepare for the mission?"
"Figure out your ground team, Commander," Keith replied. "I'm putting you in charge of the search and rescue efforts on the planet's surface," He explained.
"Will do," Sebell agree with a nod.
Keith sighed, "You ready to get back out there? To go up against this mother fuckers again?" He asked, a note of something almost weary to his tone. The return home had done him wonders, but Everbright still stung. Still... he was ready to track these pirates down and bring them to justice. They'd all rot in cells if he had his way.
"Not in particular. I don't think anybody can be ready to see what they do again, but I'm ready to end what they do, sir," Sebell answered truthfully.
Keith nodded, "I'm right with you there," He admitted. "Alright, get settled in. We're launching in the morning. We've got about a week of transit time before we'll be there, so we'll have time to prepare," He explained.
"Alright. I'll have my crew drawn up and to you by the morning. Anything else, Captain?" asked Sebell as she stood with her hands on her hips.
"No ma'am," Keith said, giving her a lopsided grin. "Just take me with you the next time you go surfing," He said, playfully.
Sebell smirked at that "I will. I'm off then."
"Dismissed, Commander," Keith replied, giving her a casual salute.