"Driving Anyone Crazy, Especially One Self, Is A Unique Gift"
(Previous Post: "Fear Is A Choice")

Setting: Moon of PI ALPHA III, LOCUS 3
Stardate: 30148.1100

With the swiftness and agility of an EARTH Gazelle, the lead LOCUS maneuvered over and around the treacherous terrain with ease.  Since their departure from the crash site of the SPHINX only a few minutes ago, the Shillian acting First Officer had done nothing else but focus on her driving, acknowledging the directions of Ensign Stark with a quick and silent nod of her head.

"Is there a problem Commander?" The Operations Officer cautiously asked, his latest course correction having been once again received by the usually vocal woman with suspicious silence.  Ensign Stark had debated with himself as to the risks of actually looking into the odd behavior of the Commander, and in the end the Ensign had thought it best to insure that all had been as it should be, even at the cost of an overly lengthy reply.

"Why do you ask Ensign?" The Shillian replied, the shortness of her counter-question having actually taking the Operations Officer by surprise.

"You seem... quieter than usual," the Ensign ventured,certain more than ever that this would either bring forth the Commander that everyone had become accustomed to or prove beyond and doubts that something had truly been wrong with the Shillian acting First Officer.

"I was just thinking back to our descent and the problems we encountered.  The storm nor its intensity were truly unexpected but the flash of light and its effect on VIPER 1 made no sense. The sensors on board the SPHINX did not pick up anything that could explain what happened or even begin to indicate as to why the effects of the incident were specifically isolated to that particular craft," the Scientist replied actually causing Ensign Stark to smile, even if only briefly. Everything with the Commander seemed to be fine.

"Are you implying that this was not a natural occurrence?" The Operations Officer continued.  As much as he might have dreaded one of the excessively detailed explanations the Commander seemed so fond of, Ensign Stark believed that the silent alternative had been less desirable for the duration of their two hour plus trip to the BARRACUDA.

"I am not saying or implying anything," the Shillian said as she maneuvered the lead LOCUS around a small eruption of magma that had spewed out from the ground directly along their current trajectory.  " I am only stating the simple scientific facts that what happened during our descent does not fit within any normal natural parameters, and that unfortunately it leaves us with a great of unanswered questions . There had been no mention of any energy or magnetic storms in our mission briefing due to the fact that the sensors of the ANUBIS had not picked up any indications of such meterological condition anywhere along our descent vector."

The Ensign quietly sighed to himself as he remembered that it had been him who had started this conversation. Still, the Commander had made a valid point, one that they all had been far to preoccupied to consider up until now.

"Sound like you are saying that the storm was artificially created," the Operations Officer said as he tried to formulate in his mind how such an explanation could have been made into reality.  Weather control devises were almost common within the Federation, but all required a level of technology and power that would have been easily detectable by the ANUBIS well before achieving any type of orbit.

"Again I am not saying anything other than stating the facts as we encountered and recorded them.  I am simply trying to make sense of the information that is currently available to us in order to understand what may have truly happened," the Shillian Scientist replied, her never ending need to find a scientific explanation for everything around her having once again surfaced above all other traits of her character and attitude towards the universe around her.

"Some people just like to have all the answers," Ensign Ttosk dryly said as he shifted in his seat, trying his best to make himself comfortable despite the constant bouncing around.  The Zaldan Flight Control Officer would have been more than happy to drive the LOCUS if it had not been for the fact that the craft had never been designed for someone of his imposing physical stature.

"Part of life and why we are in Starfleet is to explain the unexplained mysteries that surround us," Ensign Stark said with a grin as he looked at the visibly uncomfortable man sitting next to him in the back of the LOCUS. 

"There is no mystery on our having survived the crash," the Shillian acting first Officer said as she made yet another rapid course change, "but there is an interesting puzzle that led to the sudden malfunction of VIPER 1 and the difficult descent of the SPHINX that immediately followed."

"You are suspecting that those Silicone-based life forms had something to do with the malfunction of VIPER 1," the Operations Officer said as he tried to visualize how this could have been accomplished without any of the required equipment that would have been detected by the ANUBIS well before the start of their mission.

"I am simply entertaining one of several possible explanations as we currently do not have enough information to formulate any type of valid theory as to what actually happened," the Shillian woman said as she threw the LOCUS into a sharp right turn to avoid a fiery bolder that had come crashing down only a few meters ahead of them.  "Such speculations could lead us to imagine things that are highly unlikely, like these boulders being sent along our current course by design instead of being a simple act of random natural probabilities."

"Well, probabilities or not," the Operations Officer said with a gasp as he looked up into the sky.  "I do not like the way our odds, imaginary or not, have changed."

The eruption of a nearby volcano behind their current location had caused several blobs of molten rocks to be projected into the air, and strangely enough the majority of these fiery projectiles had appeared to be heading in the specific direction of the three LOCUS.


Jessica Solarik

Lieutenant Commander Maya
Chief Science Officer

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)