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I Have a Headache...

Posted on 04 Mar 2024 @ 3:02pm by Captain Easton Lawe & Commander Elleese Elloyia

1,065 words; about a 5 minute read

Mission: Miranda

Captain Easton Lawe had a headache.

He knew that it was not something truly physiological, so he didn't bother finding the good doctor. This one was born from the psychological effects of the past twenty minutes. From the moment they received the message and image from their strange crewman until he and roughly half-a-dozen strangers strolled into camp, a sharp pain behind Easton's right eye had begun and grown.

I guess he hasn't reached the first contact protocols section of his studies yet, the captain thought wryly.

Yet, surprisingly, that was not actually the biggest part of Easton's concerns. It was a big part, make no mistake, but what concerned him more was that there were freaking people here while the ship's sensors had said this planet was uninhabited. There was barely even any wildlife of the non-humanoid variety here, let alone humans. By all accounts, though, that's what these people were. Surreptitious scans said human. (And unarmed.) There was no evidence, not yet at least, of artificiality or mixed species. They were all 100% human. That in itself was a little odd, since Easton wasn't even 100% human. (There was at least one inter-species mix a few generations back.)

Why hadn't they known about these people? They clearly were not agog at technology, so this was not stumbling upon some primitive people. Hopefully, we'll avoid any issues with the Prime Directive, the captain groaned inwardly. Had there been something in the composition of the planet that could conceal a settlement that their scans had missed? Everything had been a little rushed, after all, following the plague. Crew had been slim, with so many sick and recovering. Many had not been at their best, whether exhausted or being sick. Maybe that was it. The idea did not cause his mind to settle, however, because this was still a considerable oversight.

There had been three other ships scanning as well. One of the ships that had not been affected had scanned as well, helping them locate the planet to use... Hadn't they? Easton was tired. Everything had been too much, and the pain behind his eye was like a spike.

"Are you alright, Captain?" someone asked from his left side.

It was at that moment he even realized that he'd closed his eyes and was squeezing the bridge of his nose. Easton forced his eyes opened and turned his head, seeing the pale silver-blue hair and eyes of the ship's counselor. She had only been on board, what, a couple of weeks at this point? What a hell of a way to start a posting. Outside of that thought, it wasn't surprising that she'd come to find him. She was both biologically and professionally crafted to recognize people's states.

"I am...a little stressed, Counselor," he admitted with a wry smile.

"This was quite the surprise," she agreed with that polite, noncommittal smile, yet there was nothing disingenuous about it. "Our crewman-of-many-names is always interesting, and I find myself not surprised by it being him who would find people on an uninhabited planet." The woman's pale eyes glinted with what Easton interpreted as amusement, even if it was not obviously shown. "Have you spoken to any of them yet?"

The captain shook his head. "Not yet. I've been speaking with medical and security first." He nodded toward where his first officer was already moving in on the apparent "leader" of this strange little group. A woman by the name of Maria, as he recalled. "I don't want to overwhelm them, though they seem quite nonplussed. I'll see what Commander Petrova thinks after her conversation. In the meantime, I'm just going to observe." I should speak with the crewman, as well...

Elloyia nodded. "You should probably get something for your headache." She met his gaze with a faint half-smile. "It is quite pronounced, sir."

Easton couldn't help but chuckle, then he rubbed his right temple as that eye winced slightly. "Yes, I will do that, Counselor, thank you." He nodded (very slightly) toward the strangers. "What do you think of them so far?"

"That is difficult to say," she replied, glancing briefly at the group while not making it obvious that's what she was doing before she turned back to the captain. "Their minds do...feel human, but there is still something else. There is a concealment. I would not say that I think it is dangerous to us. I do not believe they intend us harm. However, there is more to their story than I believe they are likely to let on. I cannot find more than that without breaching ethics, however. If anything else does come about, I will of course let you know immediately."

"This is good to know as a start," he said. There had to be more than they had told them so far, even he knew that just by logic, but it was always good to have it confirmed by someone with more know-how to do so. "I am thinking to send a small team to the cave where they were found. I think it would be interesting if you were part of the group, see if you can sense anything in the area that might help us in understanding how we missed them. I know it is perhaps a slightly daunting task, of course. A large unknown. I will send security with the team, however, and you do not have to go if you don't wish to. This is an optional assignment."

She observed him for a moment before nodding once. "I will attend. I am curious as well," she said.

Easton flashed her a brief smile. "Thank you, Counselor. I'll be interested to see if you find anything out."

"As will I," she said, turning when he nodded that she could go. She took a couple of steps and then paused, looking back over her shoulder with a somehow innocuous yet still penetrating, all-too-knowing look. "And do not forget to see the doctor, lest I be required to send one to find you."

Yes, Mom, he thought but did not say.

However, her brow arched, and he realized that he must have thought it really loudly. Oops. "Yes, Counselor," he said, almost chastised before looking away at anything other than the Betazoid.

Somehow, his head hurt even worse now.


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