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Re: Chapter 01: Tensions Rising

Reply #225
[Captain Tristan Kendrick | Briefing Room | USS Resolve ] Attn: Melissa Wright, Parnak, Six and A'vura, Suq & Krystal Tancredi.

Kendrick had to admit that he had some sympathy towards Melissa's plea. He doubted that she wanted to remain on board his ship for any length of time, she probably had just arrived in order to help Six and deliver the evidence. He was thankful for her service on board his vessel but what she was asking was currently impossible.

"I feel for you, it's always difficult when the line of duty prevents a social event. However in order to beam you back on board Starbase 84, we would have to lower our shields. That is currently something I am unwilling to do as it would make our entire operation open to being boarded."

He hoped that his explanation as to why he couldn't allow her to go made sense. He had no wish to take hostages... well additional hostages as Bradford was still being loaded onto the yacht. "I am afraid that your date will have to be put on hold until such a time that I can return you to the starbase without my crew being arrested for war crimes they have not committed."

As Parnak called in, he let out a long sigh of relief. "Thank you Doctor, your service is greatly appreciated." Out of everyone on board his ship the Cardassian had little or no need to help them. He could have set up a comm-link to the starbase and told them everything that was going on, given away the plan. Instead he had turned out to be one of the greatest helps he could have envisioned on board his ship. Parnak was going have Kendrick's gratitude for a long time to come.

Tapping his combadge, Kendrick connected to Drauc, out of everyone he was the person he had the most difficulty trusting, but also the least incentive to betray his crew. "Drauc, the canisters are on their way to you. As soon as they are on board you have permission launch."

He hoped that putting the details out onto the table would win some sympathy. Of course there was another problem with the plan. They could launch the shuttle but the ship it's self was still locked in place. He blinked for a moment feeling completely stupid. The docking clamps would keep their ship from running.

As Ensign A'vura made her suggestion and Six made her proper introduction he nodded, both were good suggestions, but there was some work to be done. "Actually there is a third option, and one that is a little more critical." He said trying to keep an upbeat tone about this.

"How do you three feel about zero gravity? We are currently still attached to the Starbase, we can't get out until the docking clamps are removed. Since we don't have access on our side, it will have to be done manually. On the bright side, the jamming signal will also cover the immediate proximity to the hull, so we won't be detected there either."

Kendrick tried his best to remain optimistic. He smirked trying to make it more of a joke, but they were going to need some extra hands for this.

Suq's transmission reached him shortly after his cracked joke. He blinked for a moment not having a chance to sit down before he found out who the traitor was. He blinked not even thinking for a moment. Captain Hawthorne. It made sense, it made a lot of sense and he had to agree with Suq this was a bad conspiracy theory if he had ever heard one. "Thank you Suq..." He already had some suspicion by how the investigation had been handled according to Six, but this was proof. "Suq, I'm about to lead a team onto the outside of the ship to remove the docking clamps. You've done a lot today, could I ask you for one more mission? We could use a few extra sets of hands."

With that, there was only one other person he was going to contact. "Kendric to Tancredi. I need an extra set of hands for some work are you free to go for a walk with me? I promise you will hate every step of it."

Re: Chapter 01: Tensions Rising

Reply #226
[ Drauc T'Laus | Aerowing Cockpit | Docked w. the USS Resolve ] Attn: All

Because of the fact that many of the Resolve's crew were on the starbase, Drauc was not stopped on the way to the aerowing's docking bay, which was located on the ventral side of the Luna-class starship's saucer. The few he met looked at him strangely, but he said naught to them, nor did he look them in the eye, and thankfully, they did not get in his way. He supposed an escort would have eased things along, but since his brother died, he preferred to work alone. Even when he sought new battlefields as a mercenary, he had refused aid from like-minded. It was not until his people's civil war began that he'd been forced to travel on a raiding ship, just in order to get somewhere before the empire or rebel forces locked down transportation and trade. Survival against all odds. That was why he had sabotaged the raider's navigation system and made the ship stray far beyond the RNZ, so that the Federation might capture his vile travelling companions, and while in custody, he had hoped to barter for a second chance down a more righteous path. He simply hadn't foreseen just how he would accomplish that in the end, yet the truly righteous way was never easy to tread. For if he had wanted a certain chance for freedom... he would not have sworn his loyalty to Captain Kendrick.

With his scarred hands flexing inside the sleeves of his threadbare cloak, he stepped upon the aerowings small bridge. Through his tresses of red hair, he looked at the controls, and found them familiar enough. It was soothing, to be alone on the ship, with no minds present besides his own. No thoughts to infer upon his, allowing him to seat himself at the helm of the shuttle, and run the usual pre-flight checks in solitude. He had left the Cardassian exobiologist in the medical lab to synthesise the biomatter, and he would use the time to reacquaint himself with Starfleet helm controls. What was it that humans used to say? His memory failed him at the specifics, but they had a saying about riding a two-wheel contraption, learning to balance it, and how doing so allowed them to do so for the rest of their lives. It was not accurate, but it was a valid enough comparison for what he was trying to do. With too little time, he keyed up a vid-tutorial on the HUD... only to reject it because it was not an expedient solution. I will simply have to test that saying of theirs at my own convenience...

Expedient, however, was the Cardassian in completing his task, because no more had he managed to arrange his tactical displays the way he wanted them until Kendrick contacted him. "Acknowledged, Captain. I will launch as soon as the biomatter and officer Bradford are aboard, drawing the eye of Starbase Security." The reality of the situation did not escape him, that any further contact between the aerowing and the Resolve would compromise all personnel on the starship, so he added, "I wish you luck in finding the true traitor, because I have likely wagered my life on this chance at redemption under your command. My only request... is that you use the time and opportunity I will provide to its fullest extent. I hope you can make all of this right again... redeeming your good name and your crew."

Words failing him, he simply ended the transmission, using his former rank. "This is Junior Lieutenant T'Laus, shutting down communications. Over and out." In the following silence of the cockpit, Drauc leaned back and closed his eyes, seeing his brother in his memory. In his mind's eye, Drauc saw him smiling at him, a bitter, sharp expression, but he imagined it to be the approval he sought. For whatever quaint wisdom he might have gained from reading the minds of thousands, the opinion of his dead brother mattered most to him. Drauc opened his eyes, mind focused, and slowly pulled the hood of his cloak over his pointed ears.

Then, with deft motions, he powered up the aerowing's engines. His battlefield awaited.

While he did so, the airlock opened in the back compartments and admitted CMO Lyhn and her staff, loading canisters of Parnak's false biomatter. Drauc did not turn the opening of his hood towards Doctor Lyhn until she stepped up to him, saying, "Mister T'Laus. We are about to release a viral agent aboard the ship, and you need a vaccine against it otherwise you'll..."

"I understand, doctor," he said, cutting her off, because he had already glimpsed the symptoms she had been about to detail, instead wishing her to leave him alone. For while he could certainly respect the tactic - the airborne virus about to deal with any starbase insurgents on the Resolve - it was not his battle. "Proceed."

Timidly, at first, Lyhn reached inside his hood with her hypospray and inoculated his neck with the vaccine. He said naught, uninterested in the way she mentally debated saying anything further to him, ignoring how she was still attracted to him because of that Vulcan lover she had taken in the Academy - this memory of a man that resembled him causing her to feel the way she did in his presence. He waited for her to just leave him without a word, while the unconscious Bradford was carried into the back of the aerowing. The human was protected by the hard shell of a stasis unit. Indeed, Drauc reasoned that it would have been a step backwards on the righteous path if the - albeit vile - security guard was exposed to too much danger while on the aerowing. Lieutenant ch'Rayya had trained his people well in foreseeing the problem. Eventually, Doctor Lyhn stepped away with a hushed, "Godspeed."

"There is no such thing," said Drauc evenly in reply, not caring if she heard him, and not having moved an inch while the aerowing was loaded. When the last medics stepped out, however, he reached forward and tapped the airlock's controls with his fingertips. The door closed. It was time to launch... but... someone had got aboard before the airlock sealed shut. He turned the helm's chair around, finding a... Caitian-blooded woman in the entrance to the cockpit, bedecked in some kind of exosuit that must have construed in his years away from the fleet. Drauc stared at her, both incredulous about her presence and annoyed - face shadowed by his hood as he wondered what might be going on. Her thoughts, however, slowly revealed that she held no hostile intent, her being as surprised as he was at seeing her. There was no time. He had orders.

"The Captain has authorised this shuttle to launch as a decoy, so I suggest you sit down... whoever you are," he said and swivelled back to the helm controls, tapping in the command to release the docking clamps, "because you will be coming along for a rather rough ride."

True to his word, he decoupled the aerowing from the Resolve at an angle, making a barrel roll down from the view of the docking pylon. He also powered up the phaser arrays, primed torpedoes, creating weapon signatures that were bound to draw instant attention from all levels of the starbase.

Inertial dampeners and gravity on the shuttle compensated for the brutal movements, and Drauc narrowed his eyes as he took in the terrain on the sensors. As soon as they vacated the Resolve's jamming field, all kinds of readings became available, klaxons going off as Flight Ops on Starbase 84 tried to contact him and his Caitian passenger - likely alarmed because of either their collision course or their powered weapons. Scarred hands moving across the controls, he made the aerowing sway out and away from the Galaxy-class cruiser that had docked at a pylon below the Resolve. Had he been a less composed warrior, he would have cursed. He corrected his course again with his fingertips, manual input too slow for his liking, and raised the nose of the aerowing just before it would have collided into a docking bay that located at the bottom of the vast area inside the base - an area only protected by a pressurised structural integrity and gravity field. The docking crew that they had almost killed were naturally panicked, scrambling like ants in Drauc's peripheral vision as he set a third course at a climbing angle. Imminent collision warnings had gone off inside the cockpit, and he was positive he had heard the dock workers screaming even from inside the shuttle, but Drauc said nothing - quietly taming the beast of which he had taken the reins.

Finally, he claimed a valid target during his uncontrolled flying. Without hesitation, he opened fire at a docking pylon's arm that held no life-signs, just above the Resolve. As he did, he spoke, but merely because the Caitian might be willing to aid him. If nothing else, out of sheer self-preservation. After all, thruster engines were perhaps recommended for the close confines of the docking bay, but not exactly known for their high-velocity precision. "This would be a lot easier if this shuttle had a control stick instead of making all these manual commands..."



[ Meanwhile | Outside the Travel Core | Docking Bay ] Attn: All

Stepping out of the Travel Core area and onto the deck that held the USS Resolve docked, Captain Ian Hawthorne first noticed the commotion when he passed by a window. Flashing lights reflected off the docked ships outside. Work-bees were clearing off the starships as if their pilots' lives depended on it. He frowned, slowly stepping towards the window, only seeing one half of the circular docking bay. Down the corridor, he heard raised voices, and someone was screaming in fright. "What is going on?" he said quietly, turning his penetrating stare towards two of his accompanying officers - the CAG of the base's Tactical CONN forces, and the Chief Tactical Officer, both part of his senior staff and asked to attend the dealings with Captain Kendrick. Neither held any answer, but it soon came to all three of them, roaring when something massive passed by just outside the window where they were walking towards - the accompanying force of the thrusters shattering the glass. Ian cried out, just as the parasite screeched in his mind. Falling, clawing at the deck plates, they were about to get sucked out... had not the base's emergency systems kicked in and raised a structural integrity field - re-pressurising the corridor within seconds.

Ears ringing, having landed on his side, and the thing inside him screaming for blood, Ian slowly got back on his feet with a clenched jaw - glass raining off him like a shroud of cut diamonds. "Red alert!" His glare reflected his internal reaction entirely, and he rounded on the shattered window like death itself - the base's klaxons going off in answer to his call. The turbulent wake of the passing ship's microfusion thrusters made the air shimmer outside the integrity field. The scent of the deuterium combustion filled corridor as he stepped forth - looking up with hands made into fists by his sides. He spotted the rogue ship in his bay, and he saw that it was an aerowing. An auxillary craft to... Glaring, Ian tapped his combadge before he even completed his thought.

"Lieutenant Dotnhil," he barked, because while she had requested his presence, he still had a couple of hundred yards to the Resolve's pylon, but he could see the arm leading to the Resolve from where he stood. He saw her red hair from afar as he spoke, and present in his tone were not a single shade of the lover he had been to her. "This is Hawthorne. What the hell going on?"

"Captain!" said his Chief Tactical Officer behind him, before Komial could answer. The officer was also back on his feet after the aerowing had passed, holding a finger to his ear-piece. "I am getting reports of sensor readings, from outside the base! Something has passed through the tachyon grid! It's... Whatever it is, it has some dampening field in place."

There were no end to things that justified Ian's murderous glare as he turned to the officer, knowing that whomever was out there, he might have been moments to late in calling for Red Alert and preventing any boarding parties. "Is it the Romulans?" he asked with jaw still clenched, but he thought he already knew the answer. Somehow, he just knew...

"No. It is just confirmed. It... It is the Theurgy. She must have been in grey mode, but went to Red Alert after we did," said the Tactical Officer, and perhaps the news and reports of Captain Ives' doings caused the light tremble to his voice. "They must have thought we spotted them. I have no idea how a ship that size got so close without us seeing it, I..."

For Ian, the images of Lisa and Cameron flashed before his eyes, even Trish, before he expelled them from his thoughts. Whatever Komial was replying to him from the Resolve's docking pylon, he ignored it. Her voice was irritating noise from his combadge. "It was Kendrick, I am sure. Report to the Command Centre immediately. And you," Ian said and turned to the CAG, who was also back on his feet, "scramble all your Wing Commanders, launch all available fighters, and neutralise that aerowing on your way out there!"

Then, he focused on Komial, tapping his combadge to give his cutting retort. "Lieutenant Dotnhil, shut your mouth and listen! Captain Ives is here, and you will deal with any boarding parties from the Theurgy before they manage to sabotage our defences from within. Coordinate with your second-in-command, and keep the Resolve locked down for the time being. I repeat, keep her crew locked in. I am heading to the Command Centre, and if you fail me again... and we are still alive... you will be demoted to Ensign - stripped of your position for all your shortcomings today. Somehow, Captain Kendrick's crew has sabotaged our sensors, and let Ives through our defences. All under your watch. So, will you please get your damn house in order now? Hawthorne out."

With a mordant stride, Ian returned whence he had come, back to the travel core, heading to the Command Centre...

...about to end the greatest threat to his kin once and for all.

- FIN

 
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