*Episode 2-2: Official Landing Party

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OOC Date: August 01, 2011
IC Date: March 09, 2128

A science team and support unit of Marines arrives on the planet and establishes a foothold. Due to strict safety protocols, quarantine procedures are engaged, making this a temporary one-way trip for those who venture down to the surface.

Corona Solaris 2 - Planet's Surface

A wide field of red-gold grass, miles across and miles wide. At the center is a vast lake of serene blue water. Forest-covered steps protect the plateau on one side, while steep mountains rise up on the opposite side of the lake.

Two shuttles launch from the Genesis, one carrying crew members and the other equipment. As the shuttles arc away from the Genesis and turn towards the planet below, the blue-green sphere comes into view. Chrysalis. It's roughly a third larger than the Earth, and like their home planet is predominantly water. Two large continents and a plethora of islands cover the surface, almost entirely filled with rainforest and jungle, similar to Earth in its early days. Swirls of white clouds spiral and stretch around the globe, obscuring it in places. Soon, the entire view out the front of the shuttle is dominated by the planet's surface as the small craft prepares to breach the atmosphere.

"Touchdown in 2 minutes, 45 seconds," states the automated voice of Adam over the com. "Prepare for turbulence."

Though it didn't take long to get from the orbiting ship to the outer fringes of the atmosphere, Eisley spent most of it reviewing information on her datapad. Now, however, as the nose of the shuttle dips and the screen fills up with an ever-growing view of the planet, corresponding with Adam's so-helpful warning, she clears it and stows it and curls her hands under the edge of the seat that she picked out. Her attention shifts around the cabin though, briefly visiting each of the field trip attendees in turn.

We've already established Illyanna is no fan of shuttle rides; even less so is a shuttle ride with /turbulence/. She's strapped into one of the shuttle seats tightly, eyes squeezed shut and an oversized data tablet held against her chest as if it were a life-saver, as the shuttle starts passing the upper atmosphere of the alien planet. Despite her obvious displeasure, she does crack open an eye and call over to Ivan next to her. "You know what would be ironic? If we crash now, after spending years in the freezer, escaping the end of the world and flying across an alien galaxy." Hello, deadpan.

Ivan has a busy day ahead, have his combat engineer badge and all. So naturally, he's sleeping. It's a peculiar and useful trait of the professional soldier - they can sleep anywhere if given half an opportunity to do so. With his chin on his chest he sits there, strapped down and ignorant of the turbulence the ship is about to plow through. Mostly ignorant. Hearing Illyanna's voice, he replies in a grumble without opening his eyes, "That's my sandwich." He must have misheard there in dreamland.

Dr. Graves is looking a little green around the gills, too. He's gripping white-knuckled to whatever is available for white-knuckled gripping. "Did I ever mention I hate atmospheric flying? Because I really, quite genuinely do. Space. I can handle. It's usually quiet and…straight." He pinches his eyes closed at Illyanna's statement. "Not particularly helpful."

Several Marines in full power armor grab ahold of the overhead railing to steady themselves as the shuttle pierces the atmosphere and begins to vibrate. All round the crew the shuttle rattles loudly from the friction for roughly a half a minute before it fades and all becomes smooth once more.

The surface can be seen quite clearly, now. Mountain peaks covered in red-tinged jungle, beaches of black sand, and water as crystal blue as any of them have ever seen. The shuttles streak along towards a distant series of plateaus that stack up upon them selves like giant steps of earth carpeted in dense rain forest. Atop the highest plateau is a field of red-gold grass at least 25 miles wide and 15 miles long, at the center of which is a serene blue lake roughly 3 miles in diameter. The forest covered steps that lead up to this grassland clearing protect it on one side, while steep mountains protect it on the other. It's a perfect pocket clearing with natural fortifications. A shuttle rests in this clearing, having taken down the advance recon team some 20 hours earlier. Quickly, the shuttle draws near.

"Now, now. These shuttles are about ten times better than our old re-entry vehicles ever were." The XO relaxes slightly when the shimmying and rattling stops, though once the cloud cover is broken and the surface becomes so dramatically visible her gaze snaps to and locks on that first real technicolor view of it. "…that's going to take some getting used to," Eisley adds next, more than half to herself. She lets out a breath that had been carefully held, but aside from that little breaks her relative calm neutrality. Aside from her sharp interest in the landscape, other impressions are kept locked up tight. Mostly. "Please return your seats and tray tables to their full upright and locked position."

Illyanna frowns at Ivan's response, and mutters something in Ukrainian to him, along with a backhand slap to the chest. The new doctor's response draws a somewhat contrited look from the redhead. "Sorry." She murmurs, and at Eisley's words, she forces down her discomfort and looks out a viewport. "Oh joy. Our landing strip is a patch of weed." She observes helpfully.

"And prepare to scream like a small child as the alien T-rex bounds out of the underbrush and bites our shuttle in half." Harry sounds like he's only half joking. He balloons up his cheeks and closes his eyes. Apparently the newly-unfrozen isn't too concerned with the view.

Ivan wakes up with a snap (or a slap rather), blinks to shake the cobwebs and flashes a smile at Illyanna. So long as she hasn't stolen his sandwich, it's all good. Rainbows and sunshine. "At least the weeds aren't shooting at us." He notes, even if there is an odd edge of disappointment there like he'd kinda prefer if they were.

The shuttle slows, then shifts to hover in place as it lowers down towards the surface in smooth descent. In less than a minute, a slight rattle can be felt as the shuttle touches down and comes to rest only a few hundred yards from lake. The hum of the engines dies down and the rear loading doors slide open as the ramp deploys. A new world awaits them just outside.

The system is a binary one, two suns hang in a sky of faint blue much like the Earth's. It's a clear, sunny day at the landing site, no clouds to be seen. Even as they descend the ramp and step out onto the golden red grass the crew can already feel the slight difference in gravity - it's just a touch lighter, here, making them feel just that much stronger. It isn't a huge difference, but it is noticeable after months on the Genesis with its replicated Earth gravity. The shuttle has landed facing away from the mountains and lake, so it is the mountains and lake that they see first when they walk down the ramp in back. Unlike the plateaus that lead up to this clearing, the mountains are not so densely forested. Red-black earth spotted with greenery extends high into the sky on the other side of the lake. The air, it should be mentioned, is slightly warm and a bit thin at this elevation, like an early summer afternoon in the mountains. A faint scent similar to cinnamon hangs in the air, although those in power armor would not notice this. A gentle breeze blows over the grassy plateau, that golden red carpet rippling faintly. The soil is apparently rich in iron according to preliminary scans, accounting for the reddish tinge to the earth and vegetation, but it's not believed that the concentration is high enough to pose a problem for agriculture.

The second shuttle, carrying the equipment, lands in unison with the first. A third shuttle, the one that has already been down here for some time, sits idle about 30 yards away. The Chief of Security stands nearby it, waiting for the crew members to disembark.

Having stayed down on the planet's surface for nearly a day, the Marines have kept the landing zone secured. Next to the shuttle that carried him and the others down prior, Dominic stands as he watches the two shuttles come in, out of his power armor and wearing his normal uniform. He is the only one at the landing zone with the other two Marines no where in sight. He approaches the shuttle carrying the passengers to greet the Commander and the others. As the shuttle doors open and Eisley departs the shuttle, Dominic offers a salute. "Welcome to Planet Bob, Commander." He says with a slight smirk at the inside joke between the two officers. He glances up at the two suns still hanging in the sky. "We have another 20 hours of daylight left before night finally comes, so we have plenty of time to get things setup." He points towards the mountains in the distance. "Sargent Santiago went to explore the mountains and I sent Jensen after him to check on his status." He says before he turns to the Marines in power armor. "You guys secure the parameter at 20 meters for now and those who are not scheduled for first patrol can help us unload the equipment." He turns his attention to Ivan. "You can help your sister with whatever she needs."

"Thank you, Dr. Malcolm." Eisley is also pretty deadpan, though the look she gives Harry might possibly hint at a very thin thread of amusement. Since no alien dinosaurs appear to try and take the field she gathers her own very limited collection of possessions, which amounts to the datapad and some device from the science lab. Almost all of the rest of the gear is on the other shuttle and will have to be unloaded in a bit, but for now getting off the transport and into the grass takes immediate precedent. She files out and clears the ramp, pausing nearby to listen to Dominic's report. "Very good, Lieutenant," she acknowledges.

As much as Illyanna dislikes the shuttle, she's even more reluctant to leave it once they've landed. She waits for everyone else to file out first - in case said alien dinosaurs show up and need a quick bite or two - and once she's certain nothing here is going to eat her, the programmer unstraps herself from her seat and cautiously makes her way outside. Of course, she'll need a few moments to glance around, to marvel at the fact that, yes, this is an alien planet. "This is crazy." She murmurs, finally placing her first step on alien soil. She looks almost lost for a moment as she takes in the sights, but Dominic's appearance shakes her out of it. "Right. C'mon, I need help getting the generators set up first." She adds to Ivan, before heading directly for the equipment shuttle.

"Hey, I'll take that as a compliment. Jeff Goldblum was usually right." Harry gathers his things and hefts a pack onto his back. As someone newly-woken, it doesn't seem quite so long for him since he breathed fresh air. His body does know the difference, though. He's a little unsteady on his pins. "I don't think you all want to know the possible contamination dangers of being on an alien planet. It would only serve to terrify you into a catatonic state, and that's good for no one. So I'll bear the burden of that particular gem of knowledge by myself. You're welcome."

Ivan rocks power armor, cause, why the hell not? Everyone else is wearing it and it's super comfy to sleep in. Maybe it'll even prove useful when he's helping his sister with whatever she needs. The order is digested with a not very well concealed 'buh' face, but he fires off a salute all the same before heading for the equipment shuttle with a bounce to stretch his legs. "I can tell you a story about generators…" He begins, lapsing into Ukranian since he's just talking to Illyanna.

The rear loading doors of the second shuttle slide open and the ramp extends, followed shortly by two small vehicles similar to dune buggies on autopilot - the vehicles have four seats set back to back, two facing forward and two backwards to conserve space, and a small flat bed for hauling equipment or other items. Monoko and the Engineering crew have been working on them for the past two days and just recently finished them. Atop the roll cage, several solar panels have been affixed, powering the vehicles. They drive down the ramp and come to a stop out in the middle of the small camp area that the three shuttles have formed between them. Some of the equipment, such as the tents and bedding fill the flatbeds of the vehicles while the more sensitive equipment for the science and medical labs still reside within the second shuttle, and will only be taken out once camp is established and shelter has been provided for them.

A small flock of birds passes overhead, each bird easily bigger than a condor. Five in all, they land at the edge of the lake and begin their stilted stutter steps through the shallows of the water, seemingly unconcerned with the new arrivals.

Dominic watches as the others as they head off to do whatever they have to do before he looks back to Eisley and smiles. "We've already collected several samples that are currently stored in the shuttle. But we've found several varieties of animal life." He says as the bird makes it's appearance overhead. He looks up at it again, smirking. "Like the giant condor there. There's also fish in the lake and the Sargent found some type of ant things. We've only got samples of the ants though."

The unloading process will probably be about as methodical as the loading was; setting up will be a much more complex process, but for the moment the Commander makes no move to go over and oversee any of it. Instead she steps away from the shuttles for a better look at the planet proper and, on spying the birds, spends several long moments tracking their flight and landing. "Ladies and gentlemen," she informs the whole landing party simultaneously, com opened to include the forward Marines exploring the mountains yonder. "I want to know every single reason why we shouldn't be staying on this planet." Which means that Harry gets a look and the loft of an eyebrow. "Yes, Doctor; I even want to know if there really are toxic little microbes swimming through the air, or nasty flagellated things in the water, or parasites crawling on each blade of grass." It's almost a challenge, but she is, as ever, so very calm. Surely there are none of those things on this idyllic little world, right?

Illyanna pauses as Eisley makes a speech, but as she finds nothing to complain just yet, she turns towards the approaching buggies instead. She points to the second shuttle's ramp while shouting something to Ivan… something about generators and other assorted equipment, no doubt, in Ukrainian. As for herself? Her data tablet is tossed on to the closest buggy, before she proceeds to grab and toss the tent equipment on to the ground. Someone else can set up the tents - marines are good for that stuff. Illyanna slides into the driver's seat of the buggy, but instead of driving it, she taps on the dashboard and apparently does final checks on the vehicle, as well as adjusting the solar panels. No, Illyanna is not just a computer wiz; clearly she works with machines too. "This one's all yours! Remember, you have to be /this/ tall to drive on this planet." She calls to… well, someone, efficiently finishing her tuning so she can move on to the second buggy.

"Ohhh, Commander. A full risk-assessment of an alien world is nigh-impossible. Hell, I can't even give you a full risk assessment of the possible causes of environmental deaths on Earth. If you would like me to give you a thorough assessment of that area directly surrounding that spiny bush over there, I might be able to oblige." He motions to a small patch a few feet off. "I can however, endeavour to find out if there's anything that's likely to kill us immediately and horribly." Harry's tone is droll. "There's always a significant risk. As HG Wells wrote in War of the Worlds - humans earned the right to live on Earth with countless deaths as the course of evolution took place. I'm pretty sure we were banking on the benevolence of the Givers to be reasonably sure that our original destination wouldn't be stealthily toxic. I am one mere man." Regardless, he starts to make his way out of the shuttle with his gear.

Ivan is all out of one liners for the moment. He merely nods to acknowledge his sister, dodges the buggies rolling out and trucks up the ramp to start dragging stuff out. I lift you! GRAWH. Aside from a cursory sort of lookabout on the tromp over to the second shuttle, he doesn't seem that interested in the planet - just the task at hand. He's focused. He'll worry about everything else when an alien bacteria is turning him inside out or the alien t-rex shows up.

"TOK-TOK!" calls one of the birds to the others, it's voice as loud as one would expect for such a large creature. It's a bit far away to make out their markings and coloration clearly, but they look to be somewhere between a flamingo and a crane, long, graceful and sleek, their feathers dark and perhaps green with a hint of red in color. The others make similar noises back at it, and the whole group stomps their taloned feet and flutters their wings, splashing water about the shallows of the lake a couple hundred yards away. Are they playing? Washing? Performing some weird mating dance? Who knows. A couple of the science team, however, have stopped in their tracks in mid journey to the equipment shuttle to watch in fascination. There's so much to see and learn here, an entire new world with two alien suns in the sky. For the science team, Christmas has come early.

Dominic doesn't seem to be making much attention to the birds as they play, having already had enough time here for the nostalgia to wear off. He looks to the ones off loading the equipment. "Make sure you guys load it off the beaten trail there. There's a large herd that came running through several hours ago towards the lake. That seems to be an animal trail."

Apparently Eisley is not particularly put off by the doomsaying doctor, though she smiles very thinly at Harry and his summation that this order is nigh impossible. "Now, now, Doctor. You have to learn to look at the big picture. I'm sure that if someone comes running back to me with one very glaring major reason why we ought not be here I might settle and tell everyone to pack up and get off, but if you're not looking for the bad things, you might not find them." The cry of the bird distracts her briefly though; her smile fades as she looks toward the water again. Her grip on her datapad tightens, while her empty hand curls reflexively into a fist. "Anyway, two sets of ship's scanners have cleared the basic elements: the water is drinkable, the air is breathable. It's everything else that concerns me."

"I have already noticed one thing that concerns me," one of the scientists offers to the Commander, managing to tear her gaze away from the splashing birds. "From the initial report Lieutenant L'Anse sent up, with the exception of the insects it seems that all of the animals they've encountered so far are extremely well camouflaged for the environment. Take our bird friends over there, for example. Their coloration would help them virtually disappear in the forest that they came from. That suggests that they have a predator, and a predator big enough and dangerous enough to be a threat to a bird their size. The lizard-turtle herd creatures also mentioned in the report were similarly colored, and they were big. Like, almost cattle size big. It's only two species to go on, but it suggests that there is something very large and very dangerous in the forest. Something they need to hide from."

"Microbes that consider us a foreign organism and will interact with our bodies in a strange way is my major concern. Especially if someone gets cut open, slash I have to cut them open down here. So. Before that happens, I would like to turn the medical bay into as sterile an environment as possible, perhaps even with its own life support system if that's at all feasable. Just in case someone gets hurt before we have a chance to study the finer workings of the bacteria on this planet." Harry very obviously avoids anything with spines and is conspicuously /not/ paying attention to the alien birds. "If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, a lot of knowledge is downright distressing." As the scientist goes down the camoflauge schpeel, he deadpans, "Told you. Alien t-rex." And then he mimes one tiny little dino arm and snaps his teeth. Then he's making his way to do what needs doing. Priorities - set up the med bay so that when something attacks, he can stitch them back together.

As Illyanna heads for the other buggy, she crosses paths with the doctor. "If we're counting on the Givers' benevolence, I'd say… we're boned." She offers dryly, before continuing on to her destination. The science team's slacking is noticed, and since Illyanna is in no position to yell at them, she merely pushes herself in between the group and points her data tablet at the 'birds'. "Hey look! TOKKERS!" It's loud enough to get their attention, hopefully reminding them they actually have work here. Besides, she now gets to /name/ the alien wildlife! More scientific names can be handled by the real scientists later. With that little interjection, she quickly returns to her duties to prep the second buggy.

Good old power armor. Ivan uses it for good by unloading the Illyanna specified generators and junk out of the second shuttle. He sets up off the trail.

"We could use the empty equipment shuttle for a medical bay," the same scientist offers. "It had all of the seats removed in order to load the equipment and vehicles into it, so it's basically a big empty chamber now. We could probably set up an airtight corridor up the ramp and into it, helping to seal it off." She then sets about getting that very thing in motion with several of the other scientists.

Dr. Graves follows after, helping to set up the medical bay.

"Good. Better to have it and not need it…" Eisley nods at the doctor and that group of scientists and finally looks down at her datapad, making a few notes there with the tap of a fingertip. It's the other scientist, the one who commented on the camo qualities of the wildlife, that gets her next reply. "That would be a good reason for us to avoid the forest, then, wouldn't it. There are several miles of open grass between us and the nearest tree, and we have Marines keeping a solid perimeter up. Which reminds me…" She looks up, first at the nearest scientist, then off in Dominic's direction. "Has your forward team reported anything of interest yet?"

Several of the Marines begin to set up the tents that will house the science lab and living center for the time being, leaving the generators to Illyanna and her brother Ivan. In time, two large tents the size of cottage homes are erected side by side, canvas walls hanging down to enclose them. Plastic windows dot the walls, allowing those inside to see out. At the center of each tent extends a makeshift chimney that connects to a fire pit area inside, allowing for fire to be burned inside the tents for cooking and heating purposes without choking everyone on the smoke. A short corridor connects the two tents, making the entire complex self contained.

Unless Ivan has to assemble each generator from scrap metal using a spork, he should have those set up quick and easy. A sweat will not even be broken over there. He's a generator setting upper monster.

Dominic shakes his head as he looks back to Eisley. "No word yet. They're too far out of comm range. I told Jensen to report in soon, so I"m sure that when he gets back in comm range, we'll have the initial report from the mountains. In the forest, at least 200 huge animals came out of. They seem to be like cattle, so maybe we could attempt to domesticate them." He says, glancing towards the forest the flanks the other side of the field they're in.

Eisley nods in answer to that, though only once; it's an indication of understanding of the information - or lack thereof - without any emotional connection. That will come a little while later, as the tents are erected like a pair of big white marshmallows on the red-gold grass. It makes her mouth curve into what is very nearly a smile. "You know, after all the time we spent wrapped in the most advanced piece of technology known to mankind, this feels almost like going back to the stone age. Tents. I'm half expecting someone to kill something to cook over fire for dinner."

Dominic looks to Eisley at her comment about the situation, chuckling. "Yeah, we're going to need to figure out what is edible here plant and animal wise. I can go with some of my Marines and try to go hunting and see what we can find. If anything, we'll have the carcasses for the scientists to study and see if they're edible or not." He offers with a slight shrug of his shoulders.

Cohen has been quite involved in her study of the local flora and fauna, only hearing snippets of conversation here and there. Finally, she returns to the group with her arms full of contained samples, as well as uprooted plants. On her way to the makeshift science lab, the Israeli woman grins broadly and whistles as she goes, uncharacteristically happy in this element.

That is weighed for a few seconds before the Commander shakes her head. "Let's not go shooting up the landscape just yet, Lieutenant. As nice as real, fresh meat might be, we shouldn't open up with hostilities. Let's get set up and settle in. We have about eighteen hours until nightfall and there's no telling what will come out when it gets dark." Eisley is far from paranoid, merely pragmatic. Her attention does go back to the birds though, as they are the only native wildlife visible and thus the most interesting bit of the planet's landscape.

And Illyanna returns to the generator Ivan has unloaded and set up, proceeding to get it properly geared up and running. Solar panels and fuel cells are the order of the day, and once it's tuned properly, the generator set kicks in with a dull roar. Let there be light!

Dominic looks to Cohen as she makes her appearance, noticing the samples she carries. "There's a pack in the shuttle" Referring to the one he took down earlier. "that has some additional samples for you guys." He says to her, motioning to the pack that is visible inside the shuttle. He looks back to Eisley and nods. "Alright. Guess it's MRE's for now then." He says with a smirk. "Maybe we should have brought a cook bot." As the lights come on, he looks to Illyanna, applauding the artificial light, though they're not really needed at the moment.

Ignition of the lights seems to indicate to Eisley that camp is more or less set up, save for some last fiddly little lab bits on the parts of the science team. "I know you are all itching to go and collect samples, but for the time being I want everyone to stay within half a mile of the shuttle. If you actually run out of things to pick, pluck, catch, and poke at, we may organize an expedition to the tree line, but I don't want anyone caught anywhere near the forest when it starts to get dark." With one glaring exception, sadly, acknowledged as she looks at Dominic. "It's up to you whether you want to recall your Marines. -If- you can recall them. We'll foray out further during the next day cycle."

Once Cohen sets her samples down in the pack, she starts back toward the others. Hearing the half-mile rule wipes the grin from her lips and has her looking out toward the woodline longingly. "I hoped for real meat tonight," she comments in her thick accent to nobody in particular.

Dominic nods his head to Eisley and smiles. "Once they're within comm range, I'll have them return to base so you can speak with them since they've missed the speech." He tells her before he looks to Cohen and chuckles. "Don't worry. Soon we'll have some once we understand what animals are edible I'm sure." He says with a soft chuckle as he looks back to Eisley. "We're going to need to start getting some sort of fortifications started to keep out any predatory animals that happen to come by."

"Mmmn. If they don't, maybe we can take a shuttle for a fly-over." Eisley is not particularly concerned, though her attention shifts now to Cohen as the woman speaks. "It could happen. One of the mandatory requirements to live on this planet would be finding a sustainable food source, and one component of that would be meat." She nods once, then again, this second time at Dominic. "A double perimeter, perhaps. This particular site appears to be off of any direct traffic routes, but that doesn't mean that there aren't stray things that will come wandering through here. We'll try to keep those non-lethal, though we'll need a pretty hefty watch rotation to get through the night."

Cohen smirks and asks Dominic, "How can you know what is edible if you do not try to eat it, sir?" After a perfunctory nod to Eisley while the commander addresses her, the hydroponics lab assistant heads toward the other scientists to discuss vegetation with more animation than any person has a right to express over such a topic.

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