The first words out of Lieutenant Commander Larian’s mouth were, “What have you done to my ship!” The next several words were some combination of “Let me go,” and “I’ll throw you in the brig.” As Jahus and Sal attempted to hold down the yelling commander, who was obviously experiencing vascular shock from the massive blood loss and was in significant pain, Ixlain and Ragnaar tried to calm her down. Ragnaar, usually striving for dominance whenever possible was thoroughly cowed as the injured officer turned his attempt at intimidation back on him and threatened to lock him up for the rest of his natural life. Not seeing any end to the struggle with the agitated Larian and knowing that he was beginning to tire, Jahus instructed Ixlain to administer a sedative.
The administration was a success. Larian began to calm down and return to some degree of sanity. With the risk of his patient moving the embedded shard of console glass now reduced, Jahus turned his efforts to wrap and bandage the glass shard using classic gauze strips from one of the many basic first aid packets lying on the floor (remnants of Ixlain’s search of the escape pod). While Larian was still at considerable risk of causing further chest trauma, she was no longer critical. The bleeding had been more or less stabilized and while corrective surgery was still needed, Jahus could take a break.
As the party began to relax and take stock of the situation, Jahus took to cleaning off his clothing using several of the gauze pads. As a matter of principle, Jahus found it completely unacceptable to have blood and vomit all over his clothes, but for the time being he had no other alternative. The rest of the group did likewise as Larian, from her spot on the floor began to ask for a situation report. Once everyone was somewhat clean, or as clean as possible given the circumstances, and dressed in the heavier cold weather suits they turned to examine their surroundings.
While different individuals took turns performing first aid on each other, patching the myriad of small injuries sustained during their traumatic escape and landing, Ixlain began to shine her light towards what was once the back of the escape pod. Eying the blue-green ice wall dispassionately, she contemplated how the pod came to land, if the entire back of the craft was imprisoned in ice. Jahus found himself talking with Sal Vaxx and Larian concerning how to go about the much needed surgery on Larian’s chest without a working autosuture. Taking the offending surgical tool in charge, Sal concluded that the problem was lack of power and turned towards the still-working pod life support system, which bravely struggled to freshen the atmosphere in the cramped space and keep its occupants from freezing to death. As Sal toyed with the procedure required to transfer power to the little tool, he finally conceded that while he could do it, it would likely result in failure and overload of the life support system.
Somewhat unwilling to burn out the one thing keeping the party alive until they were sure of their next step, Jahus decided it would be best to wait somewhat before committing to the plan. Radda, a fair hand at computers, took to seeing if he could get any information from the badly damaged pod helm computer while Sal started scanning with the tricorder to ascertain the character of the environment the pod found itself in. What both of them found left a bad taste in the party’s mouths.
Several gross miscalculations and complete disgraces of the principles of physical chemistry later, the team was nonplussed to find their pod buried and surrounded on all sides by ice – water laden with significant quantity of heavy metals and organic compounds including methane. The thinnest ice was directly overhead at two feet thick, suggesting the pod had landed hard and the melted water had flowed in on the red-hot escape pod before refreezing. The atmospheric concentration beyond that was thin, and would leave the team gasping for air if they didn’t freeze first as atmospheric temperature was over minus sixty degrees. As if a gross insult was warranted, the air was also rich in methane to the point of possible saturation and combustion! It would not be advisable to breath the organic molecules in for very long.
Radda returned from his exploration of the computer systems to report that they had landed in the middle of a frozen desert of some kind, with a large amount of silica sand comprising the majority of the local.
“Alright. If we are going to go out there, we’ll need some why of reducing the amount of methane we’ll be breathing. It’s not the best idea, but Methane is a somewhat bigger molecule, so if we can create a filter to breathe through, we should be ok,” volunteered Jahus. The team discussed ideas back and forth for a while, until they decided to try an old soldier’s trick: Urinating on a cloth and holding it over the face…
There were a number of technical issues to address, namely how to prevent the urine-soaked gauze they planned to use from freezing, eventually working out a layered series of wet and dry gauze with sandwiched Mylar infrared reflecting fabric to retain heat. The party had yet to actually make the filters, but the theory seemed relatively sound. As preparation for this plan, the party took to urinating in one of their many water bottles to make sure they had enough. Ragnaar, canine instincts creeping up, filled his own bottle, and then poured a portion of it into the bottle the rest of the group had filled to ensure his scent was strongest. No one had observed this little display of superiority, but the question was if they would say something if they had.
Sal Vaxx conducted an assessment of the power reserves within the life support system. Since the system was keeping the party warm and breathing, they would delay breaching the ice until they had to, using the time to prepare as much as possible until then. There was a little trouble with setting the proper differential equation, but eventually the team figured out they had power for roughly two hours. With that in mind, the team turned its attention to rations.
With plenty of food rations available, water was the only other nutrition concern for the moment. Despite the fact that the pod was surrounded in ice, and indeed the back wall was nothing but ice, it was full of composite minerals, heavy metals, and impregnated with hydrocarbons – undrinkable. Making use of their physical science knowledge, the party decided to try distilling by evaporation the abundant ice at their disposal. Sal designed a still to be made using metal plating, cable sheathing, and the wonders of a plasma torch and set to work.
While Sal worked away, Jahus relaxed and mentally prepared himself for the planned surgery. Ixlain tried to sort out items scattered on the floor, deciding what she wanted to carry, while the Antican and Vulcan discussed camouflage techniques. An hour later, the still was complete, and interested persons watched as the first piece of ice was placed inside and subsequently vaporized into plasma with the plasma torch. Obviously not a success, Sal then crafted a makeshift heating element using the flickering emergency light and a plasma cell from one of the party’s flashlights. While it would not last for very long, it would be sufficient for some water production at least.
A short while later, the team had four litres of purified, drinkable water bottled and ready. The flashlight power cell was half depleted, and scans indicated the life support system had roughly a half-hour worth of energy remaining. It was time to go to work.