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Posted on 20 Nov 2022 @ 5:17pm by Commander Kristiana Petrova & Crewman Apprentice Unknown 'Weirdo'

1,451 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: A New Frontier
Location: Cargobay three

In the aftermath of the attack of the tentacle creatures, while the engineers of the USS Odin was still patching up the holes the intruders had left behind and doctors and nurses were still patching up the wounded, something else disturbed the silence of space. Smaller even than the alien artifact they had taken on board, this was, but not inert. It bleeped a radio signal into space, a brief message which repeated itself over and over again. It was drifting along at sublight speed, its path more or less intersected with the Odin. Other than the beacon, its energy output was minimal.

The beacon was the first thing they noticed. Matter of fact, they'd noticed it before, but figured it had been part of the swarm of beings. Now though that those had fled, the beacon stood out as something different entirely. A scan was run, though it didn't really reveal much. Size, mass, sure. Faint power readings, those too. But nothing much more than that. For some reason the materials used in the pod interfered with ship's sensors. Been a lot of that going around, lately.

Still, the size and mass along with the beacon suggested it was a lifepod. Probably dragged here by the aliens. Which was silly, really - they seemed to have taken great offense at Odin capturing one of their own - a deceased one - even after releasing it unspoiled when confronted, and yet they just casually dragged a life pod around, just like that? At least, if it had come along with the swarm. Truth be told, things had been a bit chaotic, and the crew of Odin wasn't sure.

Still, an escape pod is an escape pod, and Starfleet had their regulations and morals. So the pod was locked on to with a transporter beam and with a shimmering blue beam deposited in the tertiary cargo bay, there to be greeted by a small group consisting of a nurse, an operations officer and a securityman.

The pod was a cylinder, mabye two and a half meters long and one across. It was dark grey and had no outer markings. In fact there were no other features other than one round identation on the top. A small light blinked there, keeping time with the now audible bleeps from the beacon.

It didn't take long for the Ops officer to do his scans with his tricorder, meanwhile the nurse standing by anxiously and the securityman keeping his weapon at low ready. After the 'visits' from the tentacled alien creatures or beings things were a bit tense when dealing with foreign artifacts. Like this one. After some deliberation among the trio the Ops officer put his hand in the indentation, though the three jumped back when the pod reacted.

The moment the Ops officer touched the pod, the beacon stopped. For a moment – maybe a heartbeat or two – nothing happened. Then the area around the identation folded or irised open. It wasn't clear which because a bright light streamed out of the pod itself and flooded the bay and their occupants. The light was yellow, shading towards orange and red at the edges. After a minute or so it dimmed, then vanished altogether. And now the sole occupant of the escape pod became visible. It was a man of indeterminate age, with a wild mass of dark curls above a pale face. His eyes were closed. The clothes he wore, or what remained of them, were torn in many places, singed in some, and seemed to be several sizes too large for his slender frame.

Then he opened his eyes. They were a startling colour, a kind of blue-grey with flecks of green, like the sea. He blinked and looked up at the people standing nearby, then smiled and gave a friendly wave.

The assorted crew stood back while the bright light shone, blinding them, forcing them to look way or shield their face. Though confusion reigned when the light faded and they could see again, the occupant of the pod now visible, and awake it seemed. The nurse waved his tricorder in the direction of the occupant, though the readings seemed to confuse him. Still, he didn't seem to be in pain but rather in decent to good spirits, which was also an indication.

The securityman lowered his weapon again, though keeping it at the low ready. "Hello?" he ventured. "Can you understand me?"

The man in the pod sat up and looked at the person who had spoken. "Hi!" he said brightly. He took the man in, looked at the weapon. "What was the traditional phrasing again?" he asked nobody in particular. "'I come in peace?' Please be careful where you point that thing, I'd hate to go through all this again…" He tapped a finger against one temple, seemingly in thought. "Or was it 'Take me to your leader?'… No, I'm pretty sure it was 'I come in peace'." He gave a nod, looked at himself, then at the others again. "Yup. Peace. Definitely."

The securityman kept his weapon exactly where he had it, at the low ready, pointing at the ground but definitely able to bring it to bare in a flash if needed. Fortunately, it didn't seem necessary. "Peace is good. You're aboard the Federation Starship USS Odin. I'm Lieutenant Sebastian. Who are you? Where are you from?"

"Pleased to meet you, Lieutenant Sebastian. I have no idea, and I have no idea," the man said cheerfully and looked around, taking in the cargo bay this time. "A starship, how nice! Oh, hold on, sorry." He focused on the security officer again. "Am I supposed to raise my hands or something? I have no idea what your local protocols are. Wouldn't want to offend you." He grinned.

"No, you're fine where you are," fortunately Sebastian was not easily plussed and remained the opposite. Though the other two raised an eyebrow and seemed bemused. "Just don't make any sudden movements. We just had an - unpleasant episode with uninvited guests, so you'll excuse us our caution."

"Uhm - hello, I'm petty officer Jamal," the nurse spoke up. "I have some questions of a medical nature, since these readings are - .. unlike any I've ever seen, though they seem stable. Which - uhm - is good, at least. How are you feeling? Any injuries? Headache? Lightheadedness? Do you know what species or race you are?"

"Hm. Just when I was looking forward to stretching my legs." The newcomer looked down at himself this time, seemed to notice the torn remnants of his clothes for the first time. "But as you wish." He shifted his attention to the nurse. "Pleased to make your acquaintance as well. I'm feeling fine. No injuries as far as I know, and I hope to keep it that way," he added with a quick look at the weapon again. "No, no, and no idea whatsoever. I was hoping you could tell me."

"N-no, whatever you are is not in our database. Sorry," Jamal offered.

Sebastian decided that this newcomer was safe enough, so he put his weapon away, securing it in his holster. "Come," he offered, his tone of voice kind.

"Take it easy, no telling how long you've not used your legs," Jamal added.

The man moved his legs, wriggled his toes – socks and shoes were missing from his otufit – then rose in one fluid motion. "Everything seems to be in working order," he commented and stepped out of the cilinder. As soon as he had left, the cilinder closed behind him. "And it's alright," he added to Jamal. "It's a big universe out there. So… what's next?"

"I'd like to escort you to sickbay, for some basic checks to make sure you're alright. I'm sure the captain will want to come meet you too," Jamal explained, sounding a little more confident now that the discussion had entered his wheelhouse, so to say. "Since we don't know what you are and how your biology would react to the transporter, we'll take the long way there if you feel you're up for walking. Shouldn't be long, a few minutes and we're there."

The man gestured with one hand. "Lead the way." He followed the others out, meanwhile scanning the front and backs of his arms and hands. "There don't seem to be holes where they shouldn't be, nothing's leaking as far as I can tell… There, basic checks done," he said in that same cheerful tone. Just before they left the cargo bay, though, he turned around and pointed at the now inert escape pod. "And don't go anywhere!" he called and stepped through the doors.


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