Mars Mission - Part I"
By: Ian Hunter, Commanding Officer, [PC]
Samantha Carter, Security Officer, [RNPC]
Teilani Dane, Chief Medical Officer, [PC]

Stardate: 58209.19 0900



Prologue:

The USS Zion was now ready to execute the next segment of its dangerous mission. A runabout had now ferried the away team to the Oberon Mining station near Uranus where the team had been successfully recruited.

As their destination drew near, Captain Hunter walked from the flight deck of the runnabout to the transporter area and nodded at Sam Carter and Doctor Dane. He could tell by the look on Dane's face, she was nervous, "don't worry Doctor, no amount of training and preparation is ever enough.

"I know Sir, but I just can't help myself. It's not something I do everyday.

"You are a Doctor, you are used to making fast decisions, let's not sweat the little things." he said giving her a little smile for encouragement.

He turned to Carter, "You have the ids?"

"Aye Captain," Sam responded calmly as she handed him the ID's.

He took the holographic badge and looked at it. It was a state of the art id system. He looked up at Carter, "These are going to work huh?" he asked with a sly grin.

"Well Sir, " she grinned back, "I had to work with only limited knowledge, these and a little prayer should do the trick."

Teilani grimaced and tried not to roll her eyes. She felt itchy all over, the cloths she was wearing felt hot and prickly. Come to think of it she was pampered by the fine fabrics of her medical uniform.

Again she checked her little knapsack, containing a small tricorder, water satchel and some food bars. It wasn't much but all a miner would possess. She hoped that Carter and Hunter had studied the workings for the breathing gear. One false gesture or so would blow there cover.

Hunter looked at Dane's ID before he handed it over to her. "Nice to meet you Miss Wellington."

She smiled " Nice to meet you to... Mr.... Jones," she said glancing at Hunters ID.

"Are we ready to go?" Asked Hunter looking at the other members of the away team.

Carter nodded as well as Teilani, Scott Xavier one additional security officer.

"Any last minute questions?"

"None from me, Sir."

Hunter turned around, "oh, one more thing. Don't call me that."

"How should we call you then Sir," Sam asked as she adjusted the back pack she was carrying.

Hunter looked at his ID-tag and said, "Warren, call me Warren."

"Maybe," she suggested, "we better use our own first names, so we won't get confused. Oh and one more thing, Marsian miners are a tough bunch, don't get insulted if they... well use tough language. Once they get into town they head for the nearest bar..."

Hunter nodded, "Noted."

He stepped up on the transporter pad and nodded at the transporter operator.

"Energize."

When they materialized on a large personnel transport they were greeted by a scruffy looking man who eyed them over.

He was somewhat short, with a large potbelly. On his ample unwashed face he wore a goatee. Little handlebars accented his mustache.

"Well, ain't you all be nice and shiney? First timers I bet."

Hunter nodded slightly.

"I know, things are tough. It's hard to make a living ever since the Federation went back to using money."

The man cleared his throat, "speaking of which,' he said with a nod in their direction as he held out his hand, "transportation is 80 credits hard each."

Hunter opened the bag slung over his shoulder that Carter had prepared for the mission. He reached in and pulled out a small money bag. "Will pressed latinum suffice?"

The scruffy man smiled as he took the bag, "John Betlow," he said holding out his other hand.

Hunter reciprocated and shook his hand, "Warren Jones."

Betlow pulled open the top of the bag and inspected its contents. "Ferengi money eh? It'll do," he said as he put it in his vest pocket. "...and what lovely companions. Why would such fine ladies as yourselves want to work in the mines?"

"Because all other jobs are taken?" Sam quipped at the scruffy looking man. Teilani held back a little observing the other travelers.

"Is that so?" quipped Betlow, "I could think of other great jobs for a lass like yerself."

Sam grinned and gave him a wink. "I think you do. Unfortunately I fancy minegophers more. So what you say, can we go through?

Betlow's eyes undressed Carter, "hmmpf," he grunted in reply and stepped aside, "Deck 2 section 7, you can find a spot to sit there. We'll be at Mars in about 9 hours.

"Excellent," Sam responded and walked passed him, "Well Jonesy, Wellington," she said at Hunter and Dane. "Don't daddle come on!."

Hunter repositioned the bag slung over his shoulder and nodded at Betlow, "thanks."

Teilani rolled her eyes a little but then followed Sam. The boldness of this woman would someday get her into trouble.

Mars Mission - Part II"
By: Ian Hunter, Commanding Officer, [PC]
Teilani Dane, Chief Medical Officer, [PC]
Samantha Carter, Security Officer, [RNPC]

Stardate: 58209.19 1000



The passenger compartment was crowded and dimly lit. Most of the occupants seemed to be sleeping. It reeked of the pungent smell of body odor. Dusty red dirt was caked to everything.

They surveyed the area, no where could three seats be found. Several slips of Latinum and from Hunter's bag helped persuade a couple of passengers to find different seats.

Hunter dropped his bag in front of him, a small plume of dust billowed from beneath it. With a sigh he slid it under his seat with his foot. "Oh, I can't wait," said Hunter, his voice glinting with a sarcasm.

"Wait for what?" Teilani said wiping away some drops of sweat from her brow. She too threw her bag under her seat. "If you think this is hot and smelly, wait until we have arrived."

"Yeah..." said Hunter as he slumped back in the seat and folded his fingers behind his head, "...and you say you grew up there?"

Teilani grinned. "You get used to it in a few days, the worst part is the dust, that gets everywhere."

He raised an eyebrow and muttered a klingon curse.

"It won't be long now, once we're there, we can stow our stuff, have a look around. Most of the mining is done underground. The surface temperature ranges from lows of minus 140 celsius to high of about 20 Celsius. It's not the temperature which create difficulties..." Teilani continued, "...but it is the dust storms.

Mars also has the largest dust storms in the solar system. These can vary from a storm over a small area, to gigantic storms that cover the entire planet. They tend to occur when we are closest to the sun, which increases the global temperature."

Hunter looked around the cabin. Most of the occupants appeared to be trying to nap before their shifts.

====

The shuttle slowed to take up orbit, the other passengers stood to disembark. "Here we go," said Hunter.

Teilani stepped out closely followed by Hunter and Carter, "Welcome to Sleepy Hollow." She said.

A puzzled look crossed Hunter face, "As in Washington Irving?"

She nodded. "Back in 2004 I think it was the name was given to a circular, shallow depression in Gusev Crater. This used to be the landing site of the Mars Exploration Rover "Spirit. You can see it more clearly from there."

"I imagine the early Martian explorers had their hands full."

"Oh indeed they had, life is still harsh but in the early days, lots of early explorers lost their lives. Do you see the shimmering in the distance?"

Hunter nodded, "Yeah. What is it?"

"It's a thin coating of water ice on the rocks and soil. Dust particles in the atmosphere pick up bits of solid water. That combination is not heavy enough to settle to the ground. But carbon dioxide, which makes up 95 percent of the Martian atmosphere, freezes and adheres to the particles and they become heavy enough to sink." Teilani explained. "Warmed by the Sun, the surface evaporates the carbon dioxide and returns it to the atmosphere, leaving behind the water and dust. The ice is extremely thin, perhaps no more than one-thousandth of an inch thick. But with the terraforming we managed to make it harder, allowing some dessert plants to set up root here. That particular plain is called Utopia Planetia." Teilani said with a chuckle.

Hunter looked around nervously at the very sound of the name - as if she had spoken some taboo phrase.

"No reference with the shipyards though," she added.

Hunter nodded, "You are quite the tour guide," said Hunter with a smile.

"Watch your step Sir."Teilani said with a smile. She was back home and now she realized she had missed it more than she would ever admit. She pointed to the left, there about 25 clicks you get the Cydonia providence, where those famous faces of Mars are.

"Jones," said Hunter in an urgent but subdued voice. He looked over his should. Only Carter was there.

They navigated some steps and they walked across a skywalk. Hunter's eyes scanned the distant horizon through the large windows as they went.

"So it was true the Cydonia structures were actually created by the Vuclans a century ago?"

Teilani nodded again. "That is correct, however, due to the storms they are almost weathered away. The only thing you can see are the outlines, the features are gone.

However, in the library there are pictures from the early days.

"Jones?" Carter interrupted. "Shouldn't we find lodgings of the sort?"

"I agree, that should be a priority.

Hunter looked up. Ahead, the stream of people who got of the transport slowed to a bottleneck as they approached the checkpoint.

As they approached the turnstile, the crowd was corralled into single file lines. The three officers each stood in separate lines.

Teilani shouldered her bag some more. Some things never changed.

In turn, the security officer in the booth motioned to Hunter to approach. Hunter handed him his ID badge which was scanned. He eyed Hunter suspiciously.

"Is this your first time on Mars?"

Hunter nodded and replied, "Yes Sir."

The man frowned and walked out from behind his booth. Two security guards also approached. "Are you traveling alone Mr. Jones?"

Hunter thought for a moment, "Both my other traveling companions are over there."

The security guards approached Dane and Carter, "Come with us please."

Two more guards picked up their baggage and began dumping the contents out on a nearby table.

They were each escorted to separate interrogation rooms.

In Hunter's room, an interrogation ensued. While it lasted only several minutes, it seemed to last forever. Hunter could only hope that Carter and Dane remembered everything they had rehearsed.

Then, the interrogator barged in with dramatic flare. "Here is the deal Mr. Jones, I'm a betazed. I know you have been hiding information from me."

Hunter regarded the man for moment. He rationalized from his own experience with Betazeds that this was probably a bluff. If he were a betazed they'd already be incarcerated by the Federation.

Hunter hung his head low and feigned shame. Shaking his head, he said with an apologetic voice "I said we were here to be miners....Its the girls..."

The man pursed is lips and circled chair, stopping to stand behind Hunter. "So, you thought you could waltz right in and make a small fortune?"

"Well, the girls need money badly."

"You do know that prostitution is illegal?"

Hunter looked up and was about to deny that is what he meant when suddenly the man smirked and pulled out a card chip and handed it to Hunter.

"Mr. Jones, my cut is 50%. You make sure I see at least a deposit of 120 credits a day while you are here."

"Fifty percent?" said Hunter, "that's outrageous, 25 percent."

"Hmmmph." said the man bobbing a little bit, "Thirty five and I won't throw the lot of you in the brig."

Hunter took the card from the man and stood up, "Deal."

The man placed his hand on the door's security pad and gestured for the Captain to leave as it whooshed open.

Dane and Carter were packing their things back into their bags.

Hunter began to do the same. "They took our Latinum didn't they?"

"Not all of it." Carter said with a grin. "We better hurry, before they get suspicious."

"Let's go," echoed Hunter.

Mars Mission Part III"
By: Ian Hunter, Commanding Officer, [PC]
Samantha Carter, Security Officer, [RNPC]
Teilani Dane, Chief Medical Officer, [PC]

Stardate: 58209.19 2045



The away team hurried down corridors carved deep into the crust of the red planet.

Hunter pulled out 4 slips of latinum which he had managed not to get confiscated and handed it to Dane. "Find us some lodging."

Teilani nodded and lead the group through the small crowded streets of an underground city. Merchants offering their wares, women flaunting their goods, it seemed to last forever when Teilani pointed to a small green door.

“That is a good place, rooms are small but clean and the food is cheap.? She said.

Hunter nodded. "Alright."

The proprietor insisted they should pay for three rooms. When a price was finally negotiated for the three of them to share one room, the away team was finally were able to sit down.

After bolting the door, Hunter commented on the long ride as he held out his hand. Dane placed in his palm a small cone shaped object she had been wearing as jewelery. When he activated it, it projected a small circular holographic display.

"I can't wait got get some food and a good night's sleep," he said as he refrained to chatter in small talk.

“Me too, “ Carter said as she began to check out the room. “Gosh this dust sits everywhere.?

Next he activated a nano scanner which created a small monochromatic display on his wrist. motioned for Dane to turn around as he scanned her.

Teilani grinned as she turned around slowly.

He held up two fingers indicating she had two listening devices on her.

Hunter took off his boot and opened the heel’s secret compartment and produced a keryllium power cube. He activated it and handed it to Carter.

Carter took from her coat 4 small button like modules and combined them with 2 faux hairpins, the inside contained 4 small filaments, she skillfully assembled them into a wedge shaped field generator. Not strong enough to be detected but powerful enough to disrupt the signals emanated by any undetected listening devices.

As she was working, fiddling was a better word, she said. “I never knew it could be so crowded, Jones you said we could find work here.?

"Don't worry, I'm sure we'll have some clients in no time," said Hunter as he continued his feigned conversation.

He watched as Carter neutralized the listening devices. When she was finished Hunter nodded, "are we secure?"

"We are for now, but I can not guarantee it. This, and she weighed the little device, lacks power to be 100% sure. I suggest we keep intell as minimum as possible.

Hunter nodded and looked around. It was now nearly 0100 hours. "Dane, you take the bed, Carter, you take first watch.

Hunter looked at Teilani and Carter. Each appeared about to say something, but he interrupted them. "That's an order."

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