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Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

[Lieutenant Fynir | Hotel Restaurant and Bar | Hotel Juldiut | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire] @Ellen Fitz

The Vulcan was sitting in a table of a very well to do restaurant.  He was a tall and thin looking Vulcan with the typical pointed ears and a sharp Patrician nose.  Aside from that, he was exceptionally unremarkable.  It shouldn't have been that hard to do well here. This station represented one of the main entrance ports to the Romulan Star Empire.  Both Romulan, Federation, and any one else who was going to try to sell something to the Romulans at the very least had to visit this system before entering.  Only special missions on a Starfleet vessel could consider bypassing the customs station, but they were not on a Starfleet vessel.  Fynir's team had originally been one of several teams tasked with tracking down the rogue USS Theurgy after it's escape from the heart of the Federation.  Rumours had abounded along the Romulan Neutral Zone of the ship's sighting, but most of these proved to no more than wild fantasies. 

With the detonation of the Thalaron device in Paris, priorities had shifted and the team went passed the Neutral Zone with the job of giving intel on the state of the Romulans and any additional warning of incoming hostile forces.  Posing as a small freighter crew, they'd made it into Romulan space just before the border had closed and a state of war had been declared.  Trapped under impound, they'd seemingly given into the misery of durance vile of trying to eek out a living while they couldn't go anywhere.  The information they'd gleaned though had proved useful, though it was more along the lines of how confused everyone was at their current situation. If a station like this made the Vulcan nervous, he gave no sign of it as he sat with his human companion.  As far as humans went, she was reputed to be a beautiful example.  While he did find her aesthetically acceptable, he would not know about beautiful, and in the end it was just one more tool in the arsenal of the Starfleet Intelligence team.  They were supposed to meet an information broker and if necessary extricate him. The team commander supposed they should be grateful that the Empire had been thrown into turmoil by the fighting between Donatra and Tal'Aura since it meant the Tal Shiar were busy rooting out Romulan traitors instead of worrying as much about foreign spies.  They were too ruthlessly efficient an organization, and any edge helped.  As he looked at his menu once more and actually contemplated getting a bowl of soup while he waited.  The main question remained though, where was their Yridian contact?

[Chief Petty Officer Dominic Lau | Five floors up | Hotel Juldiut | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire]

The human of Asian descent stared out the window as he crossed his arms, and finger idly traced the shark tattoo on his right bicep.  His face was blank as he stared onto the concourse, His thoughts mirrored those of his commander.  Where was the Yridian?  He simply stared knowing that the team's deadly communications specialist, Petty Officer 2nd Class Klaudia Cheung would let him know if anything came up as she monitored the station's data net. Still, his instincts said something wasn't right with the atmosphere here. It didn't feel sufficiently paranoid maybe. With a sigh, the Chief went to one of the beds, sat down and began looking at the PADD. Cheung's data feed was being mirrored on a PADD, and after another perusal, found nothing. Maybe he should was the promenade and see if he could hear anything. He'd seen an ad saying there was a 500 bar gold pressed latinum pot for the winner of a Dom Jot tournament, maybe he'd take a crack at it later.

Cheung watched the hard compact form of the Chief out of the corner of her eye and she smiled in sympathy. Anyone who did this work needed an abundance of patience since there were times when there was nothing to do or find. With an extraction happening today, the LT had decided to keep everyone on standby. Just because the Tal'Shiar were busy didn't mean they wouldn't spare the time to go after a Starfleet Intel team. "Hey Chief. If you get up to start pacing again, we could move the beds and go a few rounds." Chief Lau shook his head. "I don't think we could afford the time to clean your blood out of the carpets, and doc would just be mad with us after." Cheung gave him a faux-pout and turned back to her terminal.  It seemed like it would be more of nothing, but then the terminal began blinking and her own fingers began typing out sequence commands to get more information.  Lau had seen the blinking and moved to join Cheung. She tapped a few buttons and brought up the secured back channel to everyone. "Fynir, we've got messages going to all the police posts.  It's encrypted and will give me a moment to break hang on."  The Asian woman's fingers flew over the key pad as she applied a cypher program to it, and the message began to decrypt in front of her.

"This is a most fascinating development.  I did not realize you travelled in such circles Yordo."  Fynir's voice came back over the comm.  Lau and Cheung looked at each other perplexed as to what was going on.  Lau though, got a sinking feeling in his gut. "I could say the same for you Vulcan.  What brings you to the Empire?"  Lau looked at Cheung.  "Signal the other two to get the car ready, looks like we're going for a hot extraction."

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #1
[Sindari i-Kir Baratan t’Na | Private Quarters | Hotel Juldiut | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire] @RyeTanker

The greying head of the Tal’Shiar Research and Development department chair tipped sideways as Sindari i-Kir Baratan t’Na glared daggers at the Special Intelligence Division Commander. Her narrowed grey eyes tracked the lithe movements of the younger woman as the commander paced the length of Sindari’s private quarters. The Commander’s attention was on the PADD in her hands, her fingers fluttering over the screen with such speed, Sindari’s fingers ached at the concept of mimicking the movements. In her prime, perhaps, Sindari moved with the same rapidity. Still, that age was gone, replaced with a certain confidence that her wisdom and expertise served as enough of a buffer between the Tal’Shiar’s need for her and their general distaste for aging members.

Heaving an exasperated sigh, Sindari leaned back in her chair, gaze moving from the Commander’s tense shoulders to the bulkhead window. Whom had Sindari angered? What mistake had she made to end up on this station with this green-skinned dyypan kllhe* in charge of her protection and evacuation back to the home world? Sindari had been perfectly happy to stay at her assigned research station. It had been remote, highly protected, and it left her well out of the way of the comings and goings of the chaos that seemed to enthrall all her compatriots in this new power game. But the civil war erupted just as Sindari and her associates found a new breakthrough in thalaron radiation, and Commander Nalah ir’Menhei t’Sei had been sent with her team to collect Sindari and her assistant to deliver them to the Empress with these breathtaking finds personally.

The door slid open, causing the Commander to pivot on her heel, expression as tense as her shoulders. At the same time, Sindari remained at the table, hand on her hidden weapon resting in her lap, but otherwise remaining relaxed. A somewhat genuine smile tugged at Sindari’s lips when she recognized the scarred face of her assistant. With her grey pallor and layers of scarred skin marring the entirety of her left side, the younger woman looked her part. By official accounts, she was dead, with all necessary precautions taken to ensure the believability of her death. She and several of her colleagues who’d been serving on the same ship, working with the same experimental technology placed in the field by Sindari’s department. This woman and those they’d chosen to save had proven apt in adapting to the technology. This woman, in particular, had proven her worth further, working her way up the department ranks to become Sindari’s assistant. While it would be a stretch for Sindari to say she trusted Llaiir i-Mirek t’Aimne, personally, she trusted the ambitious Tal’Shiar “owned” researcher would do everything necessary to protect their research and ensure the success of their mission.

Giving Sindari a quick nod of acknowledgment, Llaiir’s amber-colored gaze moved swiftly to the Commander, her head tilting back toward the anteroom she’d just left, “S’Talon and Nuhir have intercepted a Yridian in the corridor. They wanted to know your orders.”

Sindari raised an eyebrow as she watched the Commander’s lips pull back into a feral smile, the PADD lowering to be clutched at her side, “Contact Aerv,” she moved toward the door, calling to Llaiir and Sindari over her shoulder, “tell him to meet us in the bar downstairs in twenty minutes.”

The door slid shut. Sindari and Llaiir blinked at one another a moment before Llaiir moved to their secure communications console to do as she’d been told. They both found the Commander’s orders irksome but knew it was far more irksome, potentially even lethal, to annoy a Special Intelligence Commander.

[Yaltrok Kron | Hotel Restaurant and Bar | Hotel Juldiut | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire]

Reassuring himself that he’d made the right decision for perhaps the fortieth time in the past five minutes, the rotund Yridian stepped into the darkened confines of the hotel’s restaurant and bar. It did not take long to spot his contact, sitting at a table with one other female. From this distance, the Vulcan could visually pass as Romulan. Still, Yaltrok knew from their previous encounters that this Vulcan had very little ability to express emotions, certainly not to the level of even the most stoic Romulan. Yaltrok glanced up at the clock above the bar, noting the time. If everything went according to plan, the mercs would help apprehend in a few minutes. He just had to keep the Vulcan occupied while the Commander and her team did their job upstairs, flushing out the Vulcan’s associates.

Once Yaltrok had realized who he’d been about to sell information to, especially considering the civil war and the instability of everything around him, he’d panicked. The likelihood of him surviving such a sale for over a few days was slim, especially with so many Tal’Shiar on the station. He didn’t know why they were there, but Yaltrok had recognized a few of the operatives from previous encounters, and from that point onward, he’d known he couldn’t go through this with them. This Vulcan, and his associates, were supporting Donatra, and any support he gave them, however minuscule, would get him killed. Of course, dealing with the Tal’Shiar had its own risks, so Yaltrok wasn’t going into this entirely blind. His bargaining chip of the information hidden on a disc, set to release to the dark net in a matter of hours if he did not deactivate the dispersement code, should be enough to ensure his own safe extraction from the station. His cousin was due to arrive later in the day, so everything should be…

“You are late.” The Vulcan commented dryly as Yaltrok came to stand next to the table.

The Yridian scratched the back of his neck, noting the layer of sweat that had developed in the short period it’d taken to walk from the entrance to the Vulcan’s table. He really needed to take better care of his health. His sister-in-law was always after him about second helpings, and it seemed they’d caught up with him after all.

“I had things to see to. Do you have the credits?” The Vulcan raised an eyebrow at Yaltrok’s bold question, the single eyebrow joined by a second when Yaltrok added another bold question, “For the information?”

“Do you think it is wise to speak so casually of something so delicate, Yordo?”

Yaltrok ground his teeth. He’d given his most hated uncle’s name to the Vulcan, and though the use of it protected Yaltrok to a point, hearing its use always set Yaltrok on edge, reminding him of all the times he’d had to endure his uncle’s torturous presence. He had hoped that by using the fiend’s name, the man could get some of what he was due after so many years of being a bastard.

Yaltrok leaned against the table, still not taking a seat. “Do you think purchasing information that could be used against Empress Tal’Aura while sitting on this side of the Neutral Zone is wise?”

The Vulcan glanced at his companion for a moment, no words passing between them, and yet it seemed much had been said. Still watching the Vulcan, Yaltrok knew the minute the mercenaries arrived, based on the subtle widening of the operative’s eyes as he tracked movement over Yaltrok’s shoulder. Yaltrok smelled the Nausicaans before he saw them, hearing their panted breaths as four arced around his position next to the Vulcan’s table. Gaeto, their leader, took up position directly beside Yaltrok, towering over the Yridian and glaring at everyone in front of him with the typical Nausicaan disdain.

“This is a most fascinating development.” It sounded almost as if the Vulcan were amused, but Yaltrok was far from an expert with Vulcan moods. “I did not realize you traveled in such circles, Yordo.”

Gaeto snarled before Yaltrok could respond, “I could say the same for you, Vulcan. What brings you to the Empire?”

[Nuhir Koval | Five Floors Up | Hotel Juldiut | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire]

Personally, he thought the Yridian was full of hnaev*, but orders were orders. If there were indeed enemies of Tal’Aura lurking in this hotel, associates to the Vulcan downstairs, then it was Nuhir’s job to find them and eradicate them. While S’Talon scouted the floors above, and Aerv took the floors below, with the Commander waiting on the roof near the flight pad, it was only a matter of time before the could-be infiltrators did something stupid and walked right into their hands.

*incompetent shit eater, shit

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #2
[Chief Petty Officer Dominic Lau | Five floors up | Hotel Juldiut | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire] @Ellen Fitz

The wonderful thing about technology was that a lot more power had been packed into a relatively small frame, and what would have required rooms in the past had been dialed down to a small tablet.  All they really needed to take in case of an emergency was stuffed into a backpack, just a PADD or two and a case of encrypted isolinear chips.  First off though was the body armour. It wasn't strictly standard issue and not many wore it, but after the Dominion War, the protective equipment had made a resurgence amongst Starfleet.  Something had gone wrong and two of his team were in trouble, and from what he could figure out, trapped at the meeting place.  From the language used, Lau figured they'd been double crossed. Why the Yridian had done it would have to wait as the PO finished velcroing his armour while his the team's comm specialist executed a final transfer to the PADD in the backpack, then activated the self-destruct program in her terminal.  Whatever was found in the room would be nothing more than slag.  Pulling the Cardassian phaser from his thigh holster, Lau made his way to the door as Cheung quickly donned her own armour and strapped on her own weapon.  Taking a breath, the door opened at his command and he took a quick peek outside.  He couldn't see anyone else and light tap on his shoulder told him that Cheung was right behind him.  There was a moment where he felt something get jammed in his ear.  "Comms up" came the real and distorted voice of the woman behind him and he nodded. 

It was fair to say that intelligence operatives had to be on the paranoid side and he'd had Klaudia hack the hotel records specifically to place the dispersed team members close to alternate escape routes, and he hoped the rest of the team were filtering out to their rendezvous locations.  There was a series of beeps behind him on a tricorder, then another tap on his shoulder.  The soft whisper of alloy brushing against polymer could be heard as the Cheung unholstered her own weapons and Lau led the pair out. "There's a pair of Romulans and Nausaicans moving down the hall behind us from the turbolift.  I've also uploaded a worm into the computer system.  It should scramble internal sensors in a few moments.  The Chief didn't even nod as he moved forward, pistol held close to his chest.  His senses were being strained to give him any sort of edge over their opponents.  He hoped the sound and smell of Nausicans would throw the Romulans off their game enough for them to get away.  The Chief's heartbeat was steady as the only other sound he could hear was Klaudia's foot steps behind him, and the access shaft wasn't too far away.  When they reached it, he punched in the code he'd been provided earlier, then stared when it returned a negative function.  "Well, shit.  Cheung, override it. Team, main exfil routes may be locked down. Proceed to alternates." Lau headed back the way they came and kept an ear towards the hall, listening for any signs of pursuit.  A door whooshed open somewhere, and a laughing couple could be heard, then silence.  More beeps from the maintenance shafts direction, then the a humming sound of technology being re-wired.  The Asian man's head twitched for a moment and he held his breath as he eyes darted from side to side. Had it been a stress induced figment? It was barely perceptible, but then a series of faint thumps could be heard. "Klaudia, we got company."

The dark haired woman twitched, but nothing more as she continued working.  Lau brought the phaser higher up his chest.  A beep and whoosh sounded beside him.  Just in time.  He could also hear something that sounded like cursing coming from down the hall.  The program worm must have kicked in and scrambled everything. "Time to go." Lau commented as he followed his partner through the door.  "Oh Prophets!" rang through his earbud and the harsh shriek of weapons fire could be heard.

[One Floor Down]

PO1 Yemma, the Barzanian team medic and PO3 Bessir, the Bajoran-Cardassian team sniper had tried to leave in a hurry when the call came, but it had been kind of hard when their moans and groans of passion had covered the first call, and it had taken precious moments to realize what was going on.  This slowed them down considerably on their exit.  Making their way to the nearest access shaft, they'd tried to get in, but at hearing they'd been locked out, tried to leave to the alternate route.  Yemma was leading and rounded the corner when she spotted the Tal'Shiar team rounding the corner and doing the same thing.  The Barzanian stared at one of her worst nightmares made manifest right in front of her. "Drop the weapon and surrender!" The Romulan operative yelled.  The Barzanian briefly considered following the command, but quickly rejected it and pulled the trigger.  The team lead yelled as he was hit in the chest and crumpled to the ground.  "Oh Prophets!" Bessir yelled as he blasted the man next to him and the pair ran.  Disruptor beams flew past as the Nausicans rounded the corner and began shooting at the two Starfleeters on the run. 

The high pitched whines of weapons fire rang through the corridors along with sentient who began to scream as their vacation/residence was turned into a war zone.  The pair rounded a corner and Bessir took a moment to turn around a corner and fire a few shots at their pursuers.  The leading Nausiacan took the shot to the head and was knocked onto his back with a hole in the centre of his face.  Another shot struck the following one in the arm and twirled him about to fall flat on his face with a final roar of hate.  The other two quickly scampered back around the corner and began shooting in earnest at the deadly foe who'd felled two of their compatriots.

Bessir was already gone, quickly running after Yemma.  He found her working another panel, trying to get it open. Turning back, he went back to the corner and began trading shots with their pursuers. "Shit" came a response behind him. "Tech, doc here, I can't bypass the secondary lock. Need help." "Sei la, wait one. " More Romulans and Nausicans arrived and soon began pouring more fire into the hallway. Bessir dropped one as he tried to cross the hallway before the sparks from the return fire drove him back into cover.  "We don't have a minute!" The sniper yelled back. As if to punctuate the point, a pair of Romulans appeared behind Yemma and Bessir screamed uselessly as he brought his phaser to bear. He was a bit quicker and shot the one aiming at him, but a green lance plowed into the Barzanians back and she grunted then fell over. Bessir quickly shot the other one who flew back and landed with a crash, a smoking hole in his chest.

Bessir scrambled over to check on his friend, and all to briefly lover, but knew it was too late. Pushing aside her hair, he saw she wasn't breathing and her eyes looked vacant, the spirit gone. "Doc's gone, DOA." Came the dead voice that sounded like his. There was a pause, but the sound of thumping boots coming down the hall towards him. The door he wanted to go through suddenly opened and he stared at it incredulously for a moment. The Bajoran-Cardassians looked at the body one more time, and closed the dead woman's eyes, then reached into a pocket and activated the plasma grenade she habitually kept there before diving through the door and closing it behind him.

[The restaurant]

The sudden outbreak of violence was unexpected on all sides, but Gaeto was more prepared for it as he pulled out his disruptor and aimed it at the Vulcan. "I should shoot you to avenge my comrades, but I'm a professional and this is a curtesy. Tell your people to surrender. Now!"

Sei la = "We gonna die" in Cantonese

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #3
[Jeijar | Hotel Restaurant and Bar | Hotel Juldiut | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire] @RyeTanker

The noisome earpiece crackled in Jeijar’s ear with the sounds of battle from one of the floors above mere seconds before the lead on this job, Gaeto, pulled a disruptor and aimed it at the Vulcan’s head.

"I should shoot you to avenge my comrades, but I'm a professional, and this is a courtesy. Tell your people to surrender. Now!"

The sweaty Yridian huffed out a faint, “In the name of Tal’aura,” his gaze nervously glancing between the Vulcan and his humanoid-looking companion.

In truth, Jeijar knew nothing about who was fighting who among the Romulans. He left those details to Gaeto or any other lead who took him on their jobs. Jeijar knew his specialty—that of killing swiftly and without remorse—and focused on that part of the job alone. Thinking of the details was far less fun than ripping someone’s ears off and making them eat them before slitting their throat.

“I was unaware that Nausicaans knew the definition of courtesy.” The arrogant Vulcan easily tossed the insult across the table as if he cared nothing for his life. Jeijar tightened his grip on his stinging club. He liked to knock the heads in first, watching the body jerk from the electric shock for a bit, before carving into them.

“Now, let’s just wait a Ferengi minute here,” the dark-haired female humanoid at the Vulcan’s side straightened in her chair, her body lurching forward as all four legs of her stool met with the floor, and motioned for one of the Orion barmaids to come over, bearing a tray full of Romulan ale. “I think we can talk through this with a little less gunfire over a drink. Don’t you?” She picked up one drink and set it in front of her companion, then snagged two more, gently pushing them across the table towards Gaeto and the Yridian, and brought a fourth between her hands and cradled the glass just beneath her nose, giving the pale liquid a sniff. “Thirsty conversations tend to get explosive.”

One moment, Jeijar watched the humanoid sip at her drink; the next, his ears rang, vision blurred. When his eyes cleared of the momentary haze, Jeijar noted Gaeto and the Yridian hunched over on the floor, covered in shared of glass, ale, and what was left of the splintered table. Grabbing the shoulder of his lead and jerking the man back to his feet, Jeijar pointed to the now empty chairs.

Still wobbly from being the closest to the controlled explosion, Gaeto shook his head a few times to further clear it before he nodded to Jeijar and pointed toward the door. “We have a breach,” Gaeto growled into his wrist comm. “The Vulcan and his female humanoid companion have fled the bar. “Shac and Yojhuu, follow through the back and see if they fled that way. Rerrg and Jeijar, you go out the front. I’m going to rendezvous with the Tal’Shiar Commander. If they fled here, they’re likely making their way to the rendezvous point.”

Jeijar started to follow his orders when Gaeto grabbed his elbow. The lead bent down and drew a finger through a globular green droplet, lifting his fingers to sniff and then lick it. His lips pulled back into a violence-loving grin, tapping his wrist comm to add, “The Vulcan is wounded.”

[ Aerv Malerok | Staff Only Corridor | Hotel Juldiut | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire]

The purpose of this tenebrous corridor was to connect all of the hotel so that staff or operatives could readily access the different floors, official meeting rooms or restaurants, or entry/exit points without encountering guests or non-authorized personnel. Made up of a series of moving walkways, angled gangplanks, slides, and narrow stairwells, it was a proverbial labyrinth that only those trained in the hotel’s layout could maneuver without a smidgen of concern for getting lost. In Aerv’s favor, he’d once served as personal guard to a senator who enjoyed staying here. In his quarry’s disfavor, they fell into the corridor almost at Aerv’s feet.

Separated by an angled gangplank, with Aerv standing on a stairwell halfway between two floors, he heard their approach long before he saw them. A female humanoid emerged onto the gangplank first. Aerv took aim. But his body flooded with sudden pain, his mouth dropping open on a stunned grunt. He watched as a Vulcanoid male stumbled into view, his weapon already drawn, the wound in Aerv’s shoulder the result of the archaic-looking projectile launcher. Aerv took aim again, still at the female, and heard the schnick seconds before he felt another brutal sting of pain from his leg. But he fired before falling back against a curve in the wall, trying to seek cover from any more attacks. He heard the woman scream out a name just before he heard the telling thunk of a body hitting the gangplank. When the next Aerv peered out, he saw the lifeless form of the Vulcan but no female.

Breaking off the ends of the arrows stuck in his shoulder and thigh, Aerv sniffed the wood. He recognized the scent and couldn’t help but applaud the Vulcan’s preparations for this mission. Even when it wasn’t embedded in its victim’s body, the wood gave off enough radiation naturally to make the carrier sick if they didn't take the necessary precautions. Only a man knowing he was likely to die, would arm himself with the poisoned arrows of the Grethorn. Aerv heard more footsteps and turned to see two of the Nausicaan mercenaries emerge from the same shadows from which Vulcan and his companion had come.

“No,” Aerv reached through the air, wishing he could stop the mercenary from touching the Vulcan’s body, “don’t tou-“

[ PO2 Frances Lee Knox | Staff Only Corridor | Hotel Juldiut | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire ]

Pushing into the heavy gloom between two sets of slides, PO2 Combat Engineer Knox gave a self-satisfied grunt when she heard the gift she left for her pursuers detonate. The fuckers deserved worse, but she hadn’t had the time to build them a bigger gift. Hopefully, it took out the bastard Tal’Shiar operative who’d taken out Fynir. The lieutenant commander had been an uptick prick, but he’d been their prick.

“Knox here,” she whispered into her comms, “Fynir’s gone. I’m shifting and heading to the alternate route. “

Knowing she had little time left before either hotel staff or more Tal’Shiar bastards were on her locale, Knox concentrated on her shift and moved back into the hesitant light in his male form. Darting into the closest entry, and deftly maneuvering through the twists of the alley, he couldn’t help but smirk. The damfool spalpeens were looking for a fuckable female, not a fine as fuck male. Well, they could suck a dick now—preferably his.

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #4
[Chief Petty Officer Dominic Lau | Five floors up | Hotel Juldiut | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire] @Ellen Fitz

Lau cringed internally at the sudden calamity that had overtaken the team.  The medic was dead, and worst off, so was the CO. Grieve later the CPO told himself as he locked away that pain in a mind box for another time to deal with.  He couldn't lose it now. Outwardly, his face betrayed nothing except intense focus. Not even Cheung's gasp and barely audible stumble could shake his focus as he led them down the stairs and kept the pistol tucked tight against his chest. "We aren't dead yet Petty Officer, so keep an ear open on those comms. I want to know if there's anyone headed towards the parking garage."

Behind Lau, Cheung's dark brown eyes had begun to water at the sudden loss and she turned furious eyes on the Chief.  She was about to retort that they'd just lost friends, people they'd been with for months.  While humans may not have had ESP, they were able to read emotions, and given their line of work, intel people had to have a better sense than most.  She could practically feel the cold focus coming off Lau as if it was a magnetic cold front made manifest.  Her own sense of grief was stopped in its tracks as she tried to work out what she was feeling.  It was more like a focus singularity.  Everything just seemed to sink into it and all that was left was the need to keep going.  His orders also helped give her something to do, and she used the tips of her fingers to wipe away the burgeoning tears as the pair descended.

Lau's mind had shifted into tactical mode as they made their way to the garage.  Depending on who got down first, their kob was to secure the vehicle they'd 'appropriated' for an escape of necessary to the docking slip 57 where their ship was.  "Cheung, can you get in touch with the ship and beam us out?"  "Aleady tried Chief. There's some sort of dampening field up that's interfering with communications."  Lau grunted. "They're quick and thorough." "uhmmm, Chief, there's reports of multiple explosions all over the station.  The local security force is pretty upset.  Seems like the floor below where we were staying is a has about a dozen rooms on fire.  They're saying it was a Federation terrorist attack."

"Not much we can do about that, and we're almost at the garage."  Sure enough, the pair arrived at door that they'd scouted in their long stay.  Lau took the left side while Cheung took the right as they got ready to go through.  The pair took a moment to catch their breath as it could be their last.  The Chief nodded when the moment was up  "Okay, on the count of three.  One, two..." The intel operative never got a chance to hit three as a metal grating was knocked loose and his reflex reaction was to point his weapon at it as a human male suddenly emerged.  Cheung whirled around and pointed her phaser at the source of the noise.  The pair stared at the male as he froze in place.  "Guys, it's me."  The male morphed in front of their eyes and the pair exhaled breaths they didn't know they'd been holding. "Shit Knox, you fucking scared us, well me mainly not sure about the Chief." Knox climbed out and pulled her own weapon. "Don't be absurd, I nearly pissed myself.  Good to see you made it Knox.  Have you heard anything about Bessir?"  The now female shook her head and Lau exhaled at this.  "Bessir, it's Lau, we're at garage one, where are you?" "I'm no my way via alternate route.  Will rendevous with you soon.  "Shit. Okay, we'll deal with that later. Cheung on three. One, two, three."  

The comm tech pressed the button to open the door and as soon as it cleared, Lau went through weapon raised and his eyes swept the garage.  The head turned right then left and tilted as he listened to for any clues of pursuers.  The other two filed out and the three formed an ad hoc perimeter, each listening for any sign of an ambush.  With quiet whistle, Lau led the trio in the direction of the car vehicle when a couple of Romulans in uniform rounded the. "Hey it's the them! Halt!" "Fall back!" Lau ordered as they took off. "Stop!  Call for backup!  Get the Tal'Shiar down here!" The trio were running in the opposite direction hoping to lose the security officers before circling back, but it was not to be as another pair of officers came jogging from the other direction and one of them was much more hot headed as he pulled out his disruptor and began firing.  He was a bad shot and the green beam went wide, but in the heat of a battle it no longer mattered as the others pulled their weapons and began lacing the area with green energy. "What in the hell?"  Cheung yelled caught clearly off guard.  "There's more on the way......shit the Tal'Shiar know and they're on the way down too!" Lau took turn between a pair of cars, then a moment to assess the situation as he popped his head back out.  His head ducked back quickly as sparks exploded from a near miss.

"You two lay down covering fire."  Cheung and Knox nodded as they popped out and began firing back with teh screams of phaser fire being returned adding to the cacophony from the whines of the disruptors. "Bessir! Local security forces are in the area and have us pinned about seven five meters away from the car."  There was a pause. "Bess?"

"Fuck, don't call me that!  But that explains the four guys that were headed in the same direction.  They're down for now.  I'll be able to join you in a few minutes. Just hold on."

"Acknowledged." Lau killed the link. "Knox, I'll lay down cover, you deal with those guys." With a nod, the sapper ducked down and began to circle.  Lau stood up and made himself a bigger target for just a moment as he fired several shots back.  He had the briefest glimpse of someone in the distance and he adjusted his aim.  The trigger pull was rewarded with seeing a beam fly straight into the roof as the Romulan was hit.  The Chief quickly ducked back as another shot went wide over his head.  "I'm not going to talk about getting out of this. That just invites more problems from Murphy."  Lau told Cheung as he turned to see how she was doing.  The comm tech leaned out the side then fired and was rewarded with a scream as someone took a hit. "No kidding"

As the Chief leaned out again to take another shot, his brows furrowed as he saw a pair of Nausicans come running out, then suddenly disappear as if something had gone after them.  The last security officer on his side jumped up a the sudden assault.  He had been trained for many things, but being attacked by something like an ambushing beast was not one of them.  The panicky guard backed up into the street then turned as a a vehicle came roaring in and he only had time to widen his eyes as Bessir slammed into him and sent the man sliding along the metal surface.  The hybrid quickly shoved his head out the window. "Did someone call for a cab?"

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #5
[PO2 Frances Lee Knox | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire] attn: @RyeTanker

When ordered to deal with the enemy, the Chief probably didn’t mean what Frances decided the Chief meant. But Frances had a reputation to live up to, one that was carefully crafted and strategically built over time. He solved problems. Big or small, he was a problem solver. Effective, decisive, final. If the Chief wanted these Tal’Shiar dealt with, well, they would be dealt with. Expeditiously.

Frances accessed his matrix as he ducked down and circled around while Lau drew their fire. He hadn’t seen the bastard for long, but he’d seen enough of him to channel the bulk of the Romulan features of the operative who’d taken out Feynir. In this environment, looking close enough to the others should suffice in dealing out his deadly gifts, compliments of the Chief. The earlier report from Bessir had made Frances smile. It always felt good when the explosive side of a plan came together. It wasn’t his job to deal with the finer things of their work anyway; that was for the likes of Cheung or Feynir. He was given problems to solve with boom-boom, and there they went, boom-boom gone.

Now looking more like the pointy-eared bastard he hoped had been blown to bits, Frances shifted into the line of sight of those attacking the Chief and Cheung. They noticed his arrival but, at seeing his familiar visage, returned their attention to the attack on the Starfleet personnel. Frances fought a predatory smile as he crouched behind the crates they used as cover to get closer. While he still had some explosives, this was more of a blade problem. And after what they’d done to the rest of the team, Frances looked forward to feeling their warm blood run over his fingers as he slit their throats.

Just then, the door behind them burst open, with more Tal’Shiar pouring through, guarding what looked to be two civilians. Upon seeing Francis nearly on top of the others, after an initial shock, the leader raised her weapon and aimed. Apparently, the bitch knew the operative he was impersonating was dead. Fuck. Frances had gambled on being able to take out these witnesses when he’d taken on the Romulan form. Even the Chief didn’t know he could morph quite like this; the rest of the team presumed he was something he was not, and it’d always been safe to let them presume. He didn’t have to change identities quite so rapidly when he let the “innocent” presume.

Flipping back behind a crate with more agility than a regular bipedal would have, Frances barely avoided the shot. But he didn’t leave the area without a parting gift. Especially not now that they’d all seen him. Throat-slitting would have to wait. It seemed this was a boom-boom problem after all. Just as Bessir knocked out a few Nausicaans still firing on the others with their getaway vehicle, Frances tossed one of the two remaining frag charges over his shoulder on the run. It had only two seconds before detonation, sending fragments of poisoned metal shards into anyone stupid enough not to get out of the way. Which, from the sounds of their bitching and moaning, were quite a number. It was far from standard-issued Starfleet, probably illegal in fact, but problem solvers couldn’t be picky.

By the time he sent his body sailing through the air on a last-ditch leap, clutching onto the edge of an open door as Bessir accelerated away from the fight, Frances was morphed back into her female form. Cheung helped her the rest of the way into the vehicle, reaching around her to seal the door while Frances caught her breath. Running her hands over her face, France looked at the Chief with a murderous pout.

“Chief, the Tal’Shiar fucks have some high profiles with them. Two of them. I think they’re why fuck all happened back at the hotel. That fuck face Yordo must’ve sold us out. More operatives were on board than ever and had to be connected to those two shitters I saw back there. An older female and a scarred-as-shit younger one. Made the leader pissed, bitch tried to take a shot at me.”

“Pity she missed your mouth,” Bessir’s voice was monotone as he maneuvered through the narrow passages leading them toward the docks, “Chief, we’ve got company.”

Frances looked through the narrow slit in the back of the vehicle. The fucker was right. At least three single-seated security vehicles were on their tail, the drivers already accessing the vehicle's weapons. While the Chief began talking with Bessir, working through a plan to get to the docks, Frances pulled out her knife and sliced at the carpet on the floor.

“Color not to your liking?” Cheung wisely kept her feet out of the way even as her confused sarcasm sounded from the seat beside Frances.

Pulling away the carpet, Frances grinned when she saw the hatch that’d been hidden beneath it. Cheung immediately moved closer on the bench seat, reading Frances’ intent the minute the sapper grinned manically at the comms woman. It took some effort and a fuck ton of motivational cursing—all the while with Bessir tossing her hither and thither against the back of the vehicle in his efforts to avoid attacks—but eventually, the hatch was free and set aside.

“Want to stop trying to bash my head in for a few fucks, Bess?” Frances called up to the driver as Cheung wrapped her arms around Frances’ legs and braced her own against the back of the front seats.

“Fuck you, Franc.”

“You wish, fucker.” Frances lowered her head through the hatch, only to quickly jerk it back in when Bessir ran over the remains of a cart. “How’s a girl supposed to blow shit up when you take off her head, eh?”

Bessir grunted, “You’ve got another one further south on your better days.”

“Ignore him.” Cheung cut in, goading Frances to finish what she’d started.

After wishing all sorts of gastrointestinal distress on the pickiest eater she’d ever met, Frances lowered herself through the hatch again. It was difficult as hell to get the timer right or the device properly calibrated, but if she liked simple, she wouldn’t have taken on this identity or this work. Giving the mine a last kiss for good luck, Frances let it go and called back into the vehicle, “Mine’s loose. Brace.”

The impact of the explosion pushed their vehicle forward, jerking them sideways. Cheung’s grip on Frances’ legs gave way, and the comms herself nearly fell through the open hatch. If it weren’t for a timely reach-around catch from the Chief, Cheung could’ve been a speed bump to the remaining two security vehicles still chasing them. Frances helped Cheung back into her seat, then resumed her position, “I’ve got one more mine, and we’ve got two tails. Please try to be more impressive, Bess.”

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #6
[Chief Petty Officer Dominic Lau | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire] @Ellen Fitz

As soon as Bessir had arrived, Lau shouted Go! and both he and Cheung began laying down a carpet of beams towards their enemies.  Carnage and chaos reigned as energy beams whined back and forth and as soon as Lau figured Knox was at work, he turned around covered Cheung.  Bessir quickly leaned over and opened the passenger door then pulled his own weapon out and laid down a significantly more accurate covering fire.  A Nausican was knocked off his feet as Lau shot him dead centre of mass while Bessir's shot spun a guard around with a shoulder hit.  Sparing only a moment to hop in, Lau slammed the door as he heard an identical one behind him shortly after from Cheung.  "Let's move Bess!" Lau shouted and there was a muffled "motherfucker!" as Bessir fired a shot forced another Romulan back.  the curising hybrid dropped himself into the seat and hit the reverse as he backed up to where Knox was doing his thing and everyone lurched as he slammed on the breaks. "Having anger issues Bess? "No Chief, I'm just peachy, can't you tell from my driving?"  Knox piled in and Bessir took off.

Lau listened with one ear as the team took snipes at each other while he pulled up a screen on his PADD and began working out the route.  "They'll have the primary entrance covered.  Let's head to the Under East 1."  The Chief typed in a series of commands to upload the map that he was adjusting on the fly to make pursuit more difficult.  "Got it!"  Bessir confirmed as he continued driving with one eye on the map, and another on the road.

The call of security forces pursuing them galvanized Lau into further action as he grabbed his phaser, upped the power and leaned out the window.  As soon as the first shot came in, he began firing back.  The security bikes were armoured against mainly the lowest weapon settings and his first shot punched through the front window on one of the pursuers forcing to fall into the rear as he swerved in panick and fought to regain control of his vehicle.  THe other two went around and began laying down fire withe abandon that soon began to scorch and explode the road and buildings all around the pursuit.  The Chief's fire was normally good, but with Bessir now driving evasive, his accuracy nose dived and the phaser added to the destruction all round. The cell ran dry and Lau pulled himself in to replace it, then lowered the setting.

There was a cry of "Mine's loose!" and the Chief turned around to see what was going on and his eyebrows rose as the lead pursuer disappeared in a fireball that shook the car.  Instinct took over and Lau dove after the comm tech after she yelped and almost went through the hold that Knox had put in the floor.  It was a bad catch, but a catch nonetheless and Lau held on for Cheung's life. "Knox! Help me get her up, she's heavier than she looks!" Cheung responded by swearing and cursing in Cantonese "You deformed leperous unwanted son of a whore no good gender confused premature ejaculating useless pile of fuck!"  The rage worked as Cheung managed to haul herself out of the hole with help from Lau and Knox to which she though it was better to spend her time time glaring at everyone else before grabbing her phaser and firing out the window.

Lau had understood every word she'd said and smiled as he pulled back and sat in his seat just as another explosion rocked the car and left Bessie cursing. The Chief looked back and saw Knox deploy another mine. His timing was just right as the blast clipped the rear bike and hurled it spinning over the side of the highway. Lau leaned out the car and joined in laying fire with the other two. With more incoming fire, the last bike swerved in three dimensions and everyone's fire went wide as explosions tore through the industrial district.

"We have more incoming!" Knox yelled as he spotted another pair of bikes along with a larger mini truck roared up from the rear at high speed. Well Fuck. Lau thought as he spotted the reinforcements coming in and slotting in behind the last original pursuer. "Well Fuck!" Bessir shouted in a tone that clearly stated Now What?"Knox, drop the last mine, Bess, go airborne when it goes off and punch it!"  "Mine away!" Was the response shortly after.  Cheung yelped as the truck produced a turret and began firing rapidly if inaccurately at the getaway car.  "That was close but I think it's manned and by a noob!" the comm tech deduced. A blast shattered the last original pursuer and the hydrogen reservoir violently combusted in a blue and orange actinic explosion.  Shrapnel hurled itself against the armoured truck to little effect except to make the driver lose control for a moment before plowing through the fireball trailing fire and smoke.   The other two bikes were less lucky as the explosion knocked one into the side of a warehouse that conflagarated in the process.  The other simply crashed as the pilot was collandered by metal shards from the explosion and the impact debris from his own bike.

Bessir yanked back on the control yoke and the vehicle rocketed skyward. "Holy Shit!  There's a massive fucking drop in the floor now!"  "Didn't your momma tell you to put on the safety harness!?" "Bless both your hearts, but shut the fuck up, that big metal box is still there!" Knox finished the argument. Lau looked over his shoulder as g forces tried to compress him into the seat and green bolts zipped into the 'sky'. The Chief guessed it was time to admit what he's always known as he looked down and around, the spotted what had the make of a really stupid and possibly brilliant plan. "Knox, hold onto Cheung!  I don't care how! Bessir level off."  The Chief grabbed the sniper's phaser and made an adjustment to the power setting before handing it back. "Alright Bessir, on my mark head for the pipes at 10 o'clock then dive for the deck. The sniper stole a moment to stare incredulously at his superior then shrugged. "Only gonna live once anyway, here we go! Yeahhhh! Turn and burn baby!" "Lunatic" Lau groused as he stuck his body out the window and fired several shots at the truck.  One struck but didn't seem to do much except make the truck mad as it fired it's turret again, but Bessir had noted that there was only a turret on the top, so all the shots sailed ineffectually over as the team leader hauled himself in. "Bess, go!"  "Fuck all of you!" Came the reply before the sniper turned the car towards the pipes and slammed the throttle to max.

The chase hit ground level as Bessir dove between pipes and the truck followed, scrapping several as it tried to negotiate the narrow gap.  Explosions rocked the area as the turret was able to depress down enough for it to start firing on the fugitive vehicle once more.  Lau watched the pursuit as his mind turned over the timing of everything as Knox and Cheung cursed in the back as they returned fire "Let it get closer Bessir." Lau said quietly as he watched the truck in the mirror, his face one of pure concentration.  The Bajoran Cardassian hybrid looked at his boss and recognized the look, then nodded and slowed down just a touch.  The truck got closer and the interior of the car was becoming brighter with near misses as ugly green blobs flew past, but none of this perturbed the senior NCO as he watched for the right distance, then when his mind judge it to be right, he acted.

"Bessir aim 0 mark 45"  The hybrids hand went out the car and the phaser aimed 45 degrees into the sky while the Chief matched. Seeing a set of pipes ahead, they both fired and their beams sliced through a series of pipes.  Loosed from the structure of the rest, the fluid transfer pipes fell to the ground and the getaway car just missed the first pipe as it hit the ground in a crash.  The following truck didn't have time to evade as it smashed into the rapidly piling up metal and it's anti-grav gyro became unbalanced, overcompensated, then flipped the vehicle on its side where it skidded along the ground at high speed before hitting a liquid runoff trench and flipping end over end.  The security truck eventually ground to a halt as smoke and sparks poured out of the body.

Chief Lau looked back in satisfaction and then to the rest of his team, then settled into his seat as he worked out the next phase of how to actually get onto their ship.

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #7
[ Commander Nalah ir’Menhei t’Sei  | Shipyard | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire ] @RyeTanker

“Your carelessness has cost the Tal’Shiar.” Nalah snipped the words over her shoulder as she led the aging scientist susse-thrai and her amton'wi-kha aide to their waiting vessel. “Two of my top agents were eliminated by Starfleet ryakna because of your dyypan efforts. My superiors will hear about this.”

The commander heard when the nohtho elder stopped in her tracks, glancing back in time to see the scientist reach out to stay her aide with a sharp grip on the scarred woman’s elbow. Nalah ground her teeth as she pivoted on her toes. Nodding to two of her guards, they continued to the vessel to alert the rest of their crew that they would depart shortly. The remaining two guards standing behind the scientist were there to ensure they would leave, either altogether or with the information alone. Nalah didn’t care either way, so long as she was able to secure the intel and recover from the embarrassment of this day.

“If I’m not mistaken, Commander, it was under your orders that we remained on the station for one day longer than our original itinerary recommended. And this action was taken despite my reported concern regarding the security of our research. We were already on a strict timeline, and now, it seems everything is in jeopardy because of YOUR veruul arrogance.”

Nalah watched as the scientist folded her hands together in front of her body, both hands disappearing into the folds of her robes. One of the guards behind the elder stiffened, hand already moving to his weapon. Nalah gave a quick headshake. Let the woman play her cards and reap the rewards. Switching her gaze to the aide, Nalah flared her nostrils as she regarded the woman. She was on wraith watch; one of the experts in her field the Tal’Shiar had given little option except to follow their orders.  Llaiir i-Mirek t’Aimne was not the first wraith watch Nalah had worked with, but she was among the ugliest. Whoever had created the “accident” that had “killed” t’Aimne in her old life had been quite thorough. 

“You have the intel secure, no?” Nalah watched for micro expressions or micro movements from the aide, hoping for a clue regarding where the intel was being kept secure. The woman remained stoic, the scars on her face lending aid for disguising any micro expressions there might have been in response to Nalah’s question.

“WE have done our duty,” t’Na curtly interjected, “now you do yours.” The scientist curled her lips back into a blatant sneer of disdain, “Or are you too hhakh to do that as well?”

t’Na would only speak so boldly in her disgruntlement if she felt she had the upper hand. Which meant the aide had the research, and the scientist was trying to goad Nalah into killing her.

khoi-udt.” Nalah withdrew her weapon and shot the aide, the setting on the disruptor high enough to wound but not kill. Before t’Na could draw out the weapon Nalah knew she kept hidden within the folds of her robes, the guard behind her shot her, stunning her unconscious. At Nalah’s signal, he hoisted the older woman over his shoulder and started toward the vessel, leaving Nalah and the remaining guard hovering over the wounded t’Aimne. “I will ask one more time, wraith, where is the research?” With her hands holding her guts in where they threatened to spill out of the hole Nalah’s shot had made in her belly, t’Aimne tipped her head back in a defiant, yet mute, glare. “You realize we own you, wraith. We will not let you die, at least not until we want you to die. For now, you are still useful. But we must remind you of where your loyalty lies.” Nalah crouched, pulling the aide’s knife from its holster and dealing out a series of quick, shallow cuts over the small patch of unmarred skin on t’Aimne’s face. Whatever hint of beauty she’d had left there was now gone, covered in the green of her blood. “That woman cares nothing for you and has no power to save you,” Nalah used the knife to point toward the ship docked just behind where they remained on the gangway. “The Tal’Shiar likewise cares nothing for you, but the marketable difference is this, we have the power to sustain you. So I ask again, where is the research?”

Before the aide could respond, an orange beam took down the remaining guard, with a series of yellow ones pinging off the metal near Nalah’s feet. Calling for assistance, Nalah dropped the knife and pulled out her disruptor, turning to fire back on their as-of-yet unseen assailants.

khoi-udt   drop dead.
veruul   fool
hhakh   stupid
dyypan   incompetent
ryakna   garbage
nohtho   crazy
knvuk   ugly
susse-thrai   she-wolf, bitch
amton'wi-kha   slut; promiscuous

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #8
[Chief Petty Officer Dominic Lau | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire] @Ellen Fitz

With a brief lull in the storm, Chief Lau took a moment to take a look at the survivors and assess how they were doing.  Bessir seemed calm, even content as he focused on driving the car to the space port.  The hybrid sniper caught the team Chief looking at him and took a moment of his own to look back and grin. "Shit man.  Touch and go there for a moment, but those rent a cops got an experience they'll never forget."  Lau merely grinned back, then turned around to see how the two in the back were doing and frowned at the scene.  Cheung was staring wide eyed at Knox wondering what he or she really was, at the same time though, she wasn't letting her teammate go as she tightly gripped the jacket.  Lau could almost feel the factors being weighed in the communication techs head as she tried to work out who she'd been teamed up with since the group's formation.  The tightening of her grip was being counterbalanced by the steady push and pull of her arms as the Asian woman worked to reconcile.  It was a hard call and Lau decided to leave her to it as he turned back to his PADD and continued path planning.  A resounding slap behind him told the NCO that Cheung had come to a decision.  "Knox!  How could you!?  We're teammates you fucking bitch!  Asshole!  Whatever you are!!"  Bessir sniggered while Lau blew air from puffed cheeks.  This was why Lau always had to have someone with Cheung since her situational awareness could go out the air lock when she focused too intently on her screens.

Cheung turned to the front despite grabbing Knox's shirt. "You two knew!?" she accused. Lau snorted while Bessir continued grinning. "I'm the team Chief, not old and senile. Cheung was about to issue a retort when Lau cut her off. "We're almost at the docks, Cheung, get us past the gate. The communication tech grumbled as she pulled out her tricorder and began accessing the back doors she'd mined into the dock's computer system. This gave everyone a few moments of blessed peace except for the sound of beeping. It also gave everyone time to think. "Chief, this is really weird." Bessir started. Lau nodded in agreement and he was sure Knox was as well. Cheung would have been too if she wasnt so busy. "The Tal'Shiar presence is way bigger and heavier than a station like that has any right to be I know." More silence followed till Knox spoke up. "If the Tal'Shiar was really going to come after us, it would have been more convenient for them to track us deeper into Romulan Space then nab us with a warbird, or see who'd we'd been in touch with and disappear them too." More silence. "We're a side show, an accident, even a cherry on someone's career." Lau concluded. "Probably a rotten one now with all the fighting and damage." Knox added in and Lau nodded again.

The Chief's mind moved quickly as he brought up a map of the docks. "To use an old cliché, I'm getting the feeling there's something bigger to all this. Cheung, change of plans." Fingers deftly manipulated the map till he found what he was looking for. "Put a call into the system for a lorry by warehouse 76-110. Bessir, drop us off at this point in the fence. There's a maintenance access port there we'll crawl through to get inside. We'll ditch the car nearby and set it on remote so when we need a distraction, it'll blow though the gate and maybe get itself destroyed, and hopefully security will think we went with it. We'll grab the truck, and Cheung, see if you can find our friends. I think is worth looking into."  The Chief's face turned hard as his eyes turned to hard coals. "And we're owed some payback."  A low growl from the cabin gave him all the sign he needed for the idea.

The communications tech accessed the network and hacked her way in then began looping sensors to give them a clear window while uploading the travel orders for a truck to arrive at the designated 'pickup' location.  Bessir made sure to drive low to the ground and casual while Lau and Knox kept an eye out.  It looked like they'd made a clean get away so far and they really should have just moved to pull out, but the Chief got the feeling that this group was going to be more useful.  As soon as the group spotted the gate in the wall, Bessir landed and everyone began working to extract gear while setting up the remote control.  "I'll put the car in an alley about a half klick from where we are.  And just give me a moment, annnnnd there."

The gate opened with a swish and the team moved in weapons drawn.  Once inside, Bessir took up the rear and closed the gate while Knox led the group.  The tunnel was dirty and dusty, but remarkably free of detritus.  The only sound came from environmental systems and the sounds of boots on the move.  Occasionally it was interspersed with beeps as the communications tech checked on the status of the loop and used the commercial network to keep an eye out for the Tal'Shiar team.  "I got the security feed from the hotel and ran facial recognition.  They're at dock 5, and I think you're right that they organized this whole thing on the fly.  The perimeter is really light.  Maybe a couple of roving patrols of Nausicans, but they seem to focused around a pair that don't look military or intel."

The Chief nodded at this. "Set up a map." He ordered as they neared the exit and saw Knox pull out his tricorder then make some adjustments and begin scanning.  "The truck's on the other side.  One life sign."  Knox's head seemed to twitch.  "It's a Xenexian Chief, male." "Not a Romulan? I wonder what happened here."  Stacking up, Knox nodded to Cheung who forced the door open at the press of a button, and he seemed to slither into the exterior.  The team could smell him before they even got out as the gawdawful stench something smokable wafted in.  The team followed a few steps later to find the long haired man with purple eyes struggling as Knox had him in a head lock and the cigarette was smouldering on the ground. "... What do you want with me?  I made my payment on time. Please don't take any finger! Look! I can.." The Xenexian stopped blabbering when the rest of team entered his vision.  "Hey Hey!  I don't know who you are, but I pay Sarris on time."  "Quiet." The Chief gave in a command voice that was instantly obeyed as the driver dribbled to a halt. "We're not going to hurt you, we just need to borrow your truck for a bit."  The driver's eyes widened.  "You can't! It's a company truck!  I already owe way too much to gangster, if the company makes me pay for the truck, I might as well space myself!" The Chief gave a tight smile as the team began piling in. "We just need it to get close to the docks then we're going to leave you and your truck alone. Nothing more friend.  You'll be unharmed, as long as you don't keep struggling.  Knox, throw him in the back. Bessir take the wheel."

The team split off to carry out their assigned tasks as Knox twisted his prisoner's arm while he complained about the pain he was being caused.  "At least take me with you!  Please! I wan outta this shit hole!"  The Chief shook his head as they began moving.  The drive was short as the Tal'Shiar had commandeered the nearest free pier and Lau looked over the terrain and guided Bessir to a hiding spot near a communications tower. "Bess, head up there and setup.  Knox, bind the driver, then you and I are going to deal with the guards.  Cheung, keep an eye on the driver."  Closing up the truck, Knox followed Lau as the pair made their way between several crates towards the Tal'Shiar.  Spotting a pair of patrolling Nausicaans, the pair crouched and Lau indicated who should take who and the two pulled out their knives.  The sound of a disurptor whine drew the guards attention back to the dock and the two intel operatives moved as one since this was too good an opportunity.  It was dirty messy work as Lau closed with his target and pull on the ugly head then plunged the knife into the exposed neck before pulling the rapidly weakening body into cover.  Knox was a fraction of a second slower and soon two cooling corpses were laid out.  "Two down.  Bessir, what was that?"  "One of the Romulans just shot another and they don't look too friendly with each other.  Shiiit, one of them looks in bad shape. Another one is being carried away.  The clock is ticking Chief."

Lau pulled his disruptor and headed towards the Romulans as Bessir suddenly called that he was engaging.  The one carrying the comatose prisoner was about to get out of view when a bolt slammed into his lower back, causing him to grunt as he fell and dropping his captive with a thud.  The other ones scattered while Knox and Lau rushed the dock, firing as they went.  Green mixed with orange in lighting up the dock as deadly energy fire was traded back and forth.  Knox switched to female to make a smaller target as the lasts pair of roving guards came running to the sound of fighting and she nailed the first one, but missed the second.  Lau covered his own advance with fire, as he moved from cover to cover.  A green beam sizzled by and he had to rolled behind a crate as survival took over.  Leaning over the cover, he fired several more times then ran to cover the remaining distance and shoot the offending Romulan.

Nalah had initially been firing at the long distance shooter when someone else began firing at her and she hunkered down behind her own cover as the barrage kept her pinned.  She took a moment lean out realizing that if she didn't kill her pursuers, her entire mission was going to be for naught.  The blast almost hit her in the head as it struck the crate and she recoiled, eyes wide as terror surged through her veins.  She was the one on the high end of the power spectrum, and it had been a long time since she'd met a peer or been on the receiving end of power spectrum. Taking several quick breaths to try to find calm, Nalah leaned out to face her attacker and found the demonic human much closer than she thought and pulled the trigger.  The shot hit the pistol and sent it flying and this gave her some sense of hope before he vaulted over the crate and tackled her where the two grunted as they rolled on the ground and her disruptor was sent flying.  Hand to hand had been quite a while a go, and she really preferred a knife to the back for these situations, but the human also got to his feet as she pulled her knife and swiped at her assailant.  The human backed up and got his fists in the air.  The Tal'Shir agent felt herself in control of destiny with the knife and gave a predatory smile as she flicked the knife at her opponent.  The human just kept watching her, then she lunged fully expecting her superior Romulan speed and reactions to eviscerate her target. 

Lau watched his quarry arrogantly smile at him and he waited for her to make the first move. When she did, he side stepped and his hands moved.  She cried out as his strong grip latched onto a pressure point on her wrist and reeled her in where her head was snapped back by his upcoming elbow. A fist to the underside of the jaw stunned the Romulan operative.  Lau then dropped and swiped her feet where she fell to the ground with a thud. The martial arts expert then unleashed something he was given a good natured ribbing over, known as the Dragon Jackhammer as he stepped over his prone opponent and delivered a rapid chain of punches that saw the Romulan's head and body pounded into the ground. The incessant bodily thumping knocked Nalah bloodily unconscious.  With his enemy subdued, Lau took a moment to take stock of his situation. "Cheung get to the dock.  We have casualty to evacuate and one to carry out.  Knox, are you finished with the Nausican?"

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #9
[ Wraith 237 aka Llaiir i-Mirek t’Aimne  | Shipyard | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire ] @RyeTanker

“t’Na,” her voice gurgled as green blood gushed around her tongue, struggling to speak loud enough to catch the human’s attention, “pro…tect, t’Na.” She moved a hand down her abdomen to her hip, keeping the dark-haired human’s gaze; she patted the area. “Take…chip.”

Another human trotted up, their facial features morphing back and forth between a male's more angular planes and a female's softer curves. The transition lasted but a moment before they settled on male and gave the dark-haired human a strange hand gesture with their thumb pointing skyward.

“All taken care of, boss. Now what do we do with this,” his eyes traveled over the length of Llaiir, “barely put-together mess of a Romulan?”

“L...leave me.” She responded in the same weak voice, her brows furrowing to add determination to her sentiment. “They will…track me.”

Llaiir felt her body deflate with relief when t’Na walked into view, accompanied by a hybrid Bajoran-Cardassian. Her mentor immediately bent to do as Llaiir had asked the humans to do but was stopped by the hybrid, an arm on her shoulder jerking the scientist upward and back.

“Hold up now, grandma, are you trying to finish the job?”

t’Na scowled at the hybrid. “She is carrying the other half of my research. We must retrieve it before we leave.”

The male-female raised an eyebrow, “WE? What is this we?”

“You are obviously no friend to the Tal’Shiar, and they have proven less than effective in both keeping me and my research secure. If I am not mistaken, you are all undercover operatives from,” her eyes strayed to the dark-haired human before her lips pulled back into a self-satisfied smirk, “Starfleet. I believe in Federation terms, I am requesting asylum among you as you flee this station. This research is more important than Tal’Shiar pride or the Empire’s isolationist fears.”

The hybrid waited a moment before getting a confirming look from the dark-haired human before letting go of t’Na. t’Na spared Llaiir a pitying look, one that Llaiir stoically accepted. At least the research and hope for their people would make it through this.

“I will need a knife.” t’Na looked up at the surrounding trio, frowning when no one immediately moved to assist her. “There is a chip embedded in a subdermal compartment in her hip. Before we leave, we will need to remove it.”

The male-female looked a mixture of shocked and curious. “Why can’t we just take her with us?”

“I am a Wraith.” Llaiir pointed out to the strange creature, knowing s/he would not understand and yet not caring for their ignorance. “I cannot…go.” Talking was painful and laboring.

“Well, that’s fucking lovely,” the male-female rolled his eyes, “makes not a fucking lick of sense, but here you go, grandma, have a knife. I’m curious, and we don’t have time.”

Llaiir braced herself as t’Na cut through her clothing first and then made a quick incision. In truth, the wound from the Commander hurt worse, but this act merely solidified Llaiir’s death. She’d failed both t’Na and the Tal’Shiar today and once the remaining Tal’Shiar flooded this place, they would see her as dispensable and end her. Then her second life would be at an end. Llaiir almost looked forward to the killing blow. At least then she wouldn’t have to deal with taking orders without question from the Tal’Shiar, a group she’d once worshipped as the perfectors and protectors of their people.

The chip popped out in a rush of hydrogenic goo and green blood. Her mentor was just about to pull it into her hand when the male-female extended his arm to an unnatural length and snatched the chip away. t’Na glared up at the creature, struggling a little against the hybrid’s hold when he reached down, took the knife away, and hauled her back to her feet.

“You have no right to take that!” t’Na pulled against the hybrid’s grip, wide eyes wandering to Llaiir before turning an almost pleading look to the dark-haired human. “I demand you return it to me. It is MY research.”

[Chief, we’ve got company pouring in from all over. We’ve got to go, NOW.]

As much as Llaiir wanted to defend both t’Na and the research, she was in no position to do either. It was her turn to give the scientist a pitying look. She would have an upward battle still, but at least she and the research would continue on.

“Consider my holding onto it as pre-payment for safe passage.” The male-female took another look at Llaiir before following after the hybrid and t’Na as they quickly retreated toward the ship already prepped for take off. “Want me to end you? I can make it quick. Painless.”

Llaiir thought for a moment. With the Tal’Shiar there was always a risk. What if they chose NOT to kill her and instead saved her and positioned her to take down t’Na in the future? The debate taking mere seconds, Llaiir nodded to the male-female.


[ PO2 Frances Lee Knox ]

“Gotta say this for her,” Knox wiped the remaining green blood from his knife with a bit of fabric he'd cut from her clothes, following the chief up the platform into the ship. “she had grit.”

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #10
[Chief Petty Officer Dominic Lau | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire] @Ellen Fitz

Chief Lau had stared stone faced as Knox administered the coup de grace to the Romulan scientist and pariah.  Decisions in the field didn't have the niceties that the JAG corp or the higher ups would have wanted and Intelligence understood that better than most.  Without Doc, there was little chance of actually saving the Wraith with the dirsuptor hole in her body, and she appeared to have accepted her fate.  Bessir quickly applied a set of plastic fast ties to one known as t'Na away while Knox pocketed the chip.  Lau motioned for Cheung to enter the ship, with one happy but wary Xenexian being marched on board with his hands tied behind his back. "See if you can crack it open.  We might have use for it.  Bessir, Knox, go with her and make sure it's secure." As the three went for the courier ship, the Chief went back to the Tal'Shiar commander he'd beaten senseless.  She was still out cold, and the Chief hesitated for just a moment before he pulled the disruptor, set it to stun and shot her.  With his quarry secure, he threw the body over his shoulder and carried her up the ramp.  "Chief we got a problem, this thing is biometric locked.  I can't even get past the first layer."  Moving more quickly, the Chief made his way onto the ship.

"Ship's secure Chief."  Knox told Lau as he entered the command area.  Lau nodded as he watched Cheung work. "Stand by the hatch and keep an eye out.  I may need you to make a run back to our ship."  Knox nodded, while Bessir took his time to strap their captured scientist to the chair and made sure she couldn't move.  The Romulan initially tried to struggle out of the bounding, and Bessir tried to solve this by explaining it was for everyone's safety.  When t'Na continued to try to escape, Bessir punched her in the temple and the scientist slumped down unconscious.  Lau mentally shrugged as made his way to the main console that Cheung was working on. "Where's the sensor?"  Cheung pointed at an interface. "I don't see how..."  The Asian woman quirked an eyebrow as the Chief casually dropped the unconscious Romulan onto the deck and dragged her hand onto the scanner and it beeped obediently as it read the necessary life signs and granted access.  "Good to know non-lethal still has a use, aaaaannnnnd we're in."

"Tell me when we can take off." Lau ordered as he looked around the small ship and found a locker that contained all the necessary equipment a Romulan snatch team would require.  Grabbing a pair of cuffs, the team lead made his way back to lock the commander's hands together.  He was about to get to her feet when Knox suddenly yelled "Comapny!"  The scream of disruptor fire began to echo through the ship as Knox returned fire with her pistol and Bessir had unslung his rifle. Lau pulled his own weapon and hit the deck to see who was coming after them.  He spotted a party of Romulans trying to advance against the ship, but stymied by the accurate fire of the two operatives.  Four bodies were already lying on the dock while the rest fired back with reckless abandon.  One man stuck his head out and Bessir repaid his aggressiveness with a blast to the face.  That helped, but the situation was getting bad as Lau could see another party rushing to reinforce the first group.  At this rate, they were going to get swarmed.  Inside the bay someone could be heard yelling that he didn't sign up for this and really didn't want to die.  Given the level of wailing, it must have been the Xenexian.  Another security officer leapt up to rush the ship and Lau nailed him in the chest where he seemed to leap in mid air and fell on his back. 

"Hand on! I'm taking off!" Cheung yelled from the cockpit and the sound of power thrumming through the drive system could be distinctly heard as the lift system drew more and more energy from the reactor.  "Get us to our ship! We'll take both."  Bessir squawked as he took a hit and fell over.  Knox dropped his weapon and quickly moved to grab the hybrid so he didn't fall out as the ship leaned backwards to gain altitude.  "Okay! Course is set for Auuu!  Ooof!  Cheung cried as she was suddenly struck from behind.  Lau turned and ran back to the command deck in time to see Nalah battering the comm tech in the back then placing the binders over the operative's head and pulling back to choke the life out of the human woman. "You will kindly die now ryakna!" Nalah whispered into the struggling human's ear as she used her superior Romulan strength to pull the cuffs tighter against he pale neck.

Lau had had enough of the Romulan at this point and didn't think it was worth keeping her alive.  Pulling his knife, he padded forward at high speed.  Nalah had been so focused on savouring the struggles of the human in her grip, she'd lost awareness of her surroundings and it proved fatal when Lau's powerful arm wrapped around her head and pulled back, then a razor sharp blade plunged itself into her kidney.  The pain was too intense for even the Romulan and she could only cry out in a silent scream as the human pushed the blade in deeper, then higher.  The sudden shock on Cheung made her lose what little control she hadl, causing the ship to bank and Knox cried out in alarm as he tightened his grip on Bessir's arm as he tried to pull his teammate in.  Nalah's attempts to fight back against the strong hold quickly weakened as her life drained away and she soon slumped in the Chief's arms.  With the pressure gone, the bruised and bloody Cheung began coughing as she gripped the console in an effort to stay upright.

Chief Lau leapt to her aid as he dropped the corpse and stabilized the ship.  Quickly hitting the port thrusters, he avoided smashing into a fuel tower head on, but the wings that all Romulans insisted on clipped storage facility and rent a hole in the side that sparks from metal grinding on metal ignited.  The tower turned into a high volume flame thrower as it spewed it's volatile load all over dock's 8 and 9.  The two piers quickly turned into conflagrations and other more combustible cargoes began to burn then explode as their thermal safety temperatures were exceeded.  On a space station, this situation was exceptionally dangerous and despite the imprecations and threats from the remaining Tal-Shiar officers, the local emergency services quickly turned to trying to contain the fast moving blaze.

Lau felt Cheung tapping his arm as she got her breathing under control though her voice was still rasped with pain. "Thanks Chief.  That fucking bitch! Cough!  Should have just disintegrated her."  Lau nodded. "Well, she won't be bothering anyone now.  Keep us on course for the ship.  We should be there in a few minutes."  Cheung nodded as she painfully settled into the pilot's chair while Lau headed to the back.  Knox had gotten the door closed and switched back to female form as she cradled Bessir in her lap.  "How is he?" The Chief asked gently and Knox stared back angrily. "He needs help bad Chief.  Without a med kit....I we, I don't know what we can do.  Lau knelt beside the shape changing engineer. "He's going to make it. We're almost at the Mary Baldwin.  When we get there, you beam in and find the med kit.  Send it back and we're getting out of here. Got it?" Knox only nodded as she continued to worriedly watch Bessir as he jerked in her lap.

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #11
[ PO2 Frances Lee Knox | Romulan Courier Shuttle Kinaen | Decadius Station  | Romulan Star Empire ] ATTN: @RyeTanker

Cheung piloted the fuck out of the Romulan courier shuttle while Knox did what she could to get Bessir secured. There was no comfortable in a situation like this; not when they could still get shot out of the sky by the Romulan fuckers still on their tail. Knox grabbed onto a nearby bulkhead as she listened to the Chief direct Cheung around the last few corners between them and their own ship.

“You ready?” Cheung called over her shoulder to Knox.

“Chief,” Knox called to Lau first, “once I’m over there, I’ll put a signal lock on the med kit. Beam it back for Bessir, and I’ll use the Baldwin for a diversion and cover while you guys find a way out of this maze. These fuckers are too thick for us to get out on one piece if we don’t break up and fuck them up in the process. Whoever finds the exit first gets to act as a breacher.”

Cheung looked to the Chief for confirmation before she beamed Knox over to the Mary Baldwin.

[ Onboard the Mary Baldwin ]

It didn’t take long to put a signal on one of the med kits, and Knox didn’t stop to watch it transport out though she heard the whine of the transporter beam sure enough. Deep rumbling from outside the hull echoed in the otherwise empty ship and she knew the courier ship was drawing all the Tal’Shiar and station fire away from this ship for the time being. Settling herself into the pilot’s chair of the Mary Baldwin, Knox strapped in and fired up the engines. Bessir was the better pilot if you didn’t want a new paint job, while Knox was the one to turn to if you didn’t mind replacing parts.

“I’m pulling out of dock now. Gonna take out a few fuckers on your tail before they notice me.” Knox commented through the comm link she’d initiated.

[ “Acknowledged.” ] Cheung replied, sounding cool as a cucumber despite the new hoarse quality of her voice from her near-death encounter with the Tal’Shiar bitch.

Her fingers danced over the console, dancing the ship into position while also cueing up one of her favorite songs to jam to while dealing out death. Interestingly enough, it was on the PADD playlist of the woman whose identity she’d stolen many years before and she'd memorized the music out of respect for the deceased who no longer needed this face. Her lips pulled back into a feral smile; Knox waited just long enough to get a lock on one of the Tal’Shiar pursuit vessels firing on the courier ship.

“KILLING IN THE NAME OF!” Knox fired on the ship and let out a screeching noise of delight as a direct hit landed on its hull, sending the vessel tumbling out of pursuit and knocking against one of the docking towers. “FUCK YOU! I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!” She continued a mixture of firing and dodging, harassing the pursuers until a portion broke off to follow her as she veered away from the courier ship. Knox continued to sing as she weaved in and out of the docking towers, her body humming with adrenaline from the fight and an added boost from the power of the music. “MOTHERFUCKER!”

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #12
[Chief Petty Officer Dominic Lau | Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire] @Ellen Fitz

Despite dialing up the inertial compensators to max, Chief Lau could feel the ship swinging from side to side as Cheung moved to evade the incoming fire, but they were flying a courier ship, not a fighter and Bessir moaned as they took a hit and the ship shuddered. Come on Knox, don't let me down. As if a telepathic message had crossed the distance between them, a blue and white shimmer appeared nearby then disappeared revealing a grey plastic box. The Chief grabbed the box before it could slide away and broke it open and quickly examined the contents. A compress bandage package got jammed between the strong teeth and a tearing sound ripped through. "Hold this." He commanded as he grabbed the weaker grey hand and placed it over the bandage.  Bessir groaned at the sudden infliction of pressure on the burned and blistered wound, but did as he was told as best he could.  Another quick rummage of the kit produced a single use hypo with a general anti-septic and pain killer that was jammed into the sniper's neck and depressed with a telltale hiss.  Gritted teeth loosened as relief washed over the injured man and his muffled groans to contain the pain eased. Bessir became more lucid and nodded at the Chief "I'll be fine. Go man."

Lau gave Bessir a final measuring glance then got up and ran towards the conn where Cheung was doing her best to avoid getting shot. “I’m pulling out of dock now. Gonna take out a few fuckers on your tail before they notice me.” Knox's voice came over the intercom and Lau kept silent as he watched the sensor readouts for any additional information he could glean.  "Acknowledged"  Cheung gave a muffled reply as she wiped the blood from her nose, then threw the ship to the side and several bursts of green flew right past the cockpit.  Music and loud cursing followed and the courier ship was buffeted as a green and orange glow lit up the cockpit.  The Chief and Cheung smiled as Knox's ecstatic cry of victory came loud and clear through the comm before the two operatives looked at each other once more and shook their heads and went back to business. 

"Can you get us through the door?"  Lau asked first and the comm tech turned her head back to the console and pulled up list of commands. "Maybe. Huh.  I don't know who you actually got to unlock this thing, but we have full access to all the databases and here we go.  A sequence of commands quickly followed as the bruised and bloodied face looked at the nearest exit. With a final press to execute, the warning buzzer activated and the glowing outline of an active atmospheric forcefield came to life.  With a bit of pause for the computer to make sure that the safeties were in place, the faint clunking of metal locks coming apart could be heard as the port doors pulled apart to reveal space beyond.

"Cheung, see what you can do to disable the station's defences while I fly.  Knox, get ready to fly evasive and send the coordinates for escape delta."

[Sub-Commander Dichras | Decadius Station Control Deck]

The lean and angry Tal Shiar officer led his personal team into the main control centre for the station and stormed towards Administrator Thutrauma's central dias.  "Why haven't you destroyed those Starfleet spies yet?  Turn the weapons on them now!"  He growled at her.

The hawk faced woman looked up in surprise at the intrusion into her domain.  She was about to snap off the unfortunate underling's head who dared talk to her that way, but held her tongue as she recognized the internal security officer.  "With respect Sub-Commander."  Remarkably, it really did sound like there was respect in her voice, at least to her. "We have a major deuterium fire on the docks and if we don't get it under control, we could lose the station.  As if to accentuate her alarm, a staff member reported that the fire fighting teams had fallen back in the face of another deuterium tank catching fire and pouring burning fuel over several more piers.

Sub-Commander Dichras sneered at this line of challenge to his authority as guardian of the state.  "A likely story to cover your negligence and incompetence."  The Administrator blanched at the accusation. "You don't need all your attention for the fire. Task someone else to use the weapons, that is unless you're seeking to commit treachery and assist the enemies of the state escape?"

Thutrauma's visibly paled at the accusation and her mind flubbered on the knife's edge knowing her next response could be her death warrant. While part of her reeled, her survival instinct kicked in hard to measure the elements before providing an answer and her throat visibly swallowed as she quickly came up with a course of action. "Ebaik hand over the fire fighting to Povek, target those escaping ships and fire when ready."

Dichras nodded at this and turned towards a spare console to watch Ebaik get ready to engage the escaping spies.

[Chief Petty Officer Dominic Lau]

The fleeing pair of vessels had blasted straight out the doors at high speed and for a moment, Chief Lau dared hope that they would make a clean getaway, the Knox yelled that the station was powering weapons and the two ships began to weave and corkscrew in an attempt the screw the station's firing solution.  Green beams and bolts flayed the space around the two ships and the courier ship rocked as near misses and direct hits bufetted the craft and tested the inertial compensators abilities.  A groan in the back told the Chief that Bessir was not enjoying the trip as pain leaked passed the anesthetic.

Whatever the official purpose of the station, it must have been meant to be a fortress on the frontier as it seemed the sheer amount of firepower was enough to stand off a squadron of Klingon attack cruisers.  "Shields are failing Cheung.  If you have a way to take out those weapons, now's the time."  The ship suddenly rocked as a loud explosion caromed through the hull and the star field began to spin while relays exploded.  "Starboard nacelle is hit.  Power is fluctuation.  Compensating."  It took another moment before the view of the stars stabilized somewhat as the Chief fought to get the ship back under control before looking at the damage read outs and frowning severely.

"Shit, I'm not sure if we can go to warp now."

"I just need a few more moments to get their weapons down."

"I don't think we have a few moments."

"Well, fly fancy! Maybe we can get the Baldwin to spread their warp field over us?"

Lau thought about it and nodded, not seeing too many other options. "Knox, can you make it happen?"

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #13
[ PO2 Frances Lee Knox | Mary Baldwin | Romulan Star Empire ] @RyeTanker

Knox shouted in delight while adjusting the ship's panels, having the freedom to do whatever he needed to keep everyone alive. In the privacy of this crisis, he'd extended his mass to include more arms and fingers than would normally be deemed acceptable. "Chief, if we set that death trap on self-destruct, we can Parthian shot that fucker into the station as our diversion to get the hell outta here.”

Through the comlink he heard Cheung’s groan at the same time, he heard a muffled “fuck yeah” from the injured Bessir. With this additional “support” by way of his extra appendages now that he had the space and privacy to use them, Knox knew he could execute this batshit crazy maneuver that would typically require at least two crew playing hopscotch on two different areas of this cockpit. Lucky for them, he was… dexterous.

[“There’s no way you can pull that off, Knox.”] Cheung’s dubious pout was heard loud and clear, even without visuals.

“Have I ever steered you wrong, gorgeous?” Knox winced as he extended his mass, adjusting to cover more space in preparation for the maneuver. He knew his cover was in danger, but he wanted to survive and take his team with him. Consequences could suck ass. “Just say the word, Chief, and I’ll beam you guys over where the party is really at, and we can leave this fun house in style.”

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #14
[Chief Petty Officer Dominic Lau | Outside Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire] @Ellen Fitz

It was times like this that Lau wished they'd gotten their hands on an actual engineer with the real knowledge and experience to come up with a more technically minded hair brained scheme to get them out of trouble.  As it stood, they didn't really have the space in system to warp out.  They needed the clearer space between stars to avoid unduly stressing the deflectors.  At the same time, it would have been nice have held on the courier ship with it's cloaking device to make their escape and evade.  Fingers flew over the Engineering schematic, and the display rendered that bit of wishful thinking moot since the shot that had damaged the nacelle had caused an energy spike in the feeds for the cloaking device and rendered it inoperative.

That simplified the situation immensely, but there were a lot of innocent people on the station and he didn't want to entirely put their lives at risk. "We'll modify the plan a bit. Cheung, shut down all systems except for communications and shields.  Keep what's necessary to start a data feed to the Baldwin and dump the data logs to our ship.  Everything else goes to the shields.  Crank the reactor to above red line.   At the look of Cheung as he side slipped in space to avoid another barrage, Lau nodded his confirmation.  "I know, the emitters won't hold out too long, but they don't need to. Just long enough for us to get away. Timing is going to be tricky.  On my mark, we'll kill the systems. Knox, we're going to drop shields and engines for a brief moment and you transport us over.  When that's done,  Knox engage the tractor beam and hurl the ship towards the station.  Cheung set the shields to automatically come down 5 kilometers from the station so they can destroy it. Got it? "  Lau heard acknowledgement from all around as he continued to fly the wounded bird that streamed plasma and fire from the damaged nacelle.

"Chief, there's a lot of data here, we're not going to get it all, but I'm focusing on the more classified items first." The Chief nodded at this as he watched the reactor go into over power mode and the shield systems tolerances began to be severely tested as warning lights began flashing all over the Engineering panel. A glancing hit was easily absorbed by the shields, but the energy dampeners were over stressed as a panel exploded on the starboard side.  The wiring immediately caught fire and more alarms began to scream.  "You can finish any time now Cheung." Bessir badgered from the back as he picked him self up and awkwardly made his way to a fire suppression system.  Operating it with one arm wasn't easy, and swearing quickly followed as he dropped the canister and had to chase after it.

Cheung hissed at the console, but it was clearly directed at the surly sniper as she didn't appreciate being badgered while she was working. Coming up with a remote program from scratch wasn't easy, especially when she needed to create a compatible fail safe in case the program failed.  With a quick test, and some slight debugging, she yelled out that the program was ready just as the ship shook from another hit and Bessir was blown off his feet as the abused flaming panel exploded a second time.

"Time to go, grab out stuff and the prisoner, and let's move.  Knox, lock on and stand by. Lau dragged the terrified Romulan closer to Bessir as the bloody face Cheung grabbed whatever pieces of data tech the group had brought on board.  Weapons weren't needed since the group had more on their own ship.  "Ready Chief, but we only got about a 25% of the core.  Knox, the engines and shields are going down in 15 seconds." Lau mentally shrugged at this. "Cherry on top."  The sound of a system going offline along with the whine of another going into over drive was the signal Lau needed as he saw the shield system go black for a moment. "Knox, energize."  A few seconds followed and then the interior of the courier ship disappeared in a miasma of white and blue.

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #15
[ PO2 Frances Lee Knox | USS Mary Baldwin | Romulan Star Empire ] @RyeTanker

Though he certainly didn’t know everything there was to know about Knox, the Chief knew him the best out of this crew. So it didn’t surprise Knox when the Chief allowed Knox his hair-brained scheme, albeit with some much-needed higher planes of thinking and planning. Knox enjoyed making this disappear, even before he’d taken over this woman’s identity, he’d enjoyed the aspect of disappearing and unaliving things. But he respected the Chief, understood Starfleet ideals, and complied without complaint or question.

Cheung and the Chief worked miracles aboard the Romulan vessel when it took Knox to fly the Baldwin into position to extend the shields around the ship and beam the team aboard their own. It was a flawless execution of teamwork, even if the Romulans were fucking up their shit during the process. His teammates aboard, alongside their “guests,” Knox used thrusters and tractor beams to slingshot the Romulan vessel back at the station. Not waiting to see if the plan was a complete success but assured of the presence of those who should still be alive onboard, Knox hit the pedal to the metal and got them the fuck out.

His “body,” if it could be called that, a fraction of the size it had once been and looking more like an animated nutsack now than anything else, Knox tried to smile at his approaching teammates when they appeared in the cockpit. It was more of a grimace than a smile, not that they could tell with the swirls and flaps of flesh barely holding together in the seat.

“Ready to hand things over to you, Chief. Cheung, do you happen to have a bucket I could use? I don’t feel so good.”

[ Administrator Thutrauma | Decadius Station Control Deck ]


Thutrauma grabbed at the back of her chair as the station shuddered in protest, shooting a glare at the Tal Shiar sub-commander. The idiot would rather they all die in a glorious explosion than face the reality that the spies had gotten away, and there was a damned thing they could do about. Telling him that would risk death, so Thutrauma pinched her lips into a thin line before answering. "Launching shuttles is the only option for the next hour until we fix our system stability. If we risk anything large it will create a catastrophic cascade effect, rendering the whole station without power."

"This is unacceptable!" Dichras slammed his fist against an already wrecked console. "You and your crew will answer for this failure!"

Thutrauma barely held back her snort of disdain, "Before YOUR spies finished their trail of destruction, we signaled the science cruiser Hevak, requesting support. There is too much damage for our crews to handle on their own."

Dichras lifted his head higher, glaring down his nose at her, "Is communication still possible?" She shook her head, and he cursed. "There will be consequences for this."

"I think we are both aware of that." Thutrauma enjoyed the brief flicker of fear in Dichras' gaze before she turned away and saw to the resurrection of a dying station.

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #16
[Chief Petty Officer Dominic Lau | USS Mary Baldwin fleeing Decadius Station | Romulan Star Empire] @Ellen Fitz

As soon as the transporter cycle ended, the Chief subconsciously swept the familiar surroundings for any threats.  His conscious on the other hand was immediately drawn to the flaky shrivelled fig look alike that was sitting in the conn seat, desperately trying to maintain physical semblance while flying the ship. Lau could feel Cheung freeze beside him as she saw the grotesque parody of a teammate and still tried to work on reconciling what she'd seen in the car with all the other times they'd been together. 

“Ready to hand things over to you, Chief. Cheung, do you happen to have a bucket I could use? I don’t feel so good.”

The Chief nodded at this and moved to a bulkhead near the engineering console and tapped a corner three times.  The panel clicked as it seperated and hands quickly moved to pull a compartment out.  Knox gave a rictus smile and groaned as he melted into a copper coloured puddle before slushing his way over to the cabinet and pouring himself into it.  "Closing up Knox, we need the room."  A liquid copper hand emerged and gave a thumbs up before melting back into the puddle.  The Chief pressed the corner again and the compartment disappeared into the bulkhead.

Turning to the others, the Chief noted that Bessir had already dragged the prisoner away to the back of the ship, but Cheung was watching wide eyed at where Knox had gone to hide.  "Cheung, we'll discuss it later, but we need to be alive to do that. Sit."  Lau ordered as he pointed at the engineering station while he moved to the conn position.  Another near miss glanced off the shields and the rocking snapped Cheung out of her shock, but she gave her nominal commander a dirty look and a pout.  "I'm going to hold you to that, and you owe me more."  She replied icily as she quickly took her seat to begin juggling the power loads.

The Chief noted this, but didn't acknowledge it as he retracted the Baldwin's shields and punched in a frequency into the tractor beam projector that matched the one on the courier ship.  Engaging a low level beam, he snagged their coasting former escape vessel easily and had the computer run a quick navigation plot back to Decadius Station.  It was rough, but close enough.  "Dump the reserves into the SIF and IDF.  I'm going to flip us.  A tense moment followed with a "Done!" shouted from behind.

"Here goes" and with that, Lau killed the engines and the star field streaked as he pulled the ship into a hard vertical spin.  The hull of the ship groaned as everyone on the ship grunted while gravity tried to pancake them as the IDF was unable to fully compensate for the manoeuvring changes.  When the computer felt it was in the right position, the tractor beam shut off and the courier ship flew back in the direction they'd just come.   The Mary Baldwin completed its spin and was pointed directly away from Decadius Station, everyone grunted again as the ship righted itself and the impulse engines slammed to the red line and pushed the ship away as quickly as possible.

Lau had been expecting this and corkscrewed the ship's flight path throwing off another barrage that was sent in their direction.  "Four minutes to warp. Strap in everyone!" he commanded as he jinked starboard to throw off the enemy's aim.

[Decadius Station Control Deck]

While Thutrauma and Dichras continued arguing the tactical station desperately tried to nail the escaping spies, but they were generally civilians or long retied military for which the possibility of combat was seen as very remote, thus not really worth training for.  They'd been elated at getting some hits in, but they knew their lives and those of their families were in serious jeopardy if they couldn't stop the fleeing freighter that was way more manoeuvrable than any ship of the class had any right to be.  A technician noticed the separation of the freighter and the courier ship through a fuzzy energy signature reading, but didn't know what to make of it. "Administator."  He called out to the station's head.  Seeing that he got no response, he tried again.  "Administator Thutrauma!"

The arguing pair stopped as they both turned dagger eyes on the technician. "What is it?!" she asked.

The technician nearly wilted at the gaze, but steeled himself. "The courier ship is coming back."

Confusion fell over Thutrauma and Dichras "What? No I heard you.  Why would they be coming back?"

The technician plowed on. "It's venting plasma and it's shields are up, but it's coming straight at the station."

"Coming at the..." Thutrauma partially repeated before Dichras blanched first. "Focus fire on that ship! Now!"

Normally, the tactical section would have waited for the Administrator to give the order, but with the near panic the Tal'Shiar officer's voice, they quickly focused all the weapons batteries against the forlorn courier ship.


Inertia carried the damaged and plasma streaming ship back towards Decadius.  Seeing as this was a Tal'Shiar vessel, no expense had been spared in outfitting the electronic warfare suite.  So despite it's rapid closing with the station, it was a hellishly hard target to hit.  The space around the ship lit up and strobed as green beams and bolts flew past the ship, occasionally with a shot hitting the over powered shields.  With the shift in firing patterns, the Starfleet frieghter flew straight for the safest point to engage it's warp engines went FTL soon afterwards.

Lau being an intelligence operative and not a ship operator had miscalculated somewhat when he'd modified KNox's plan and the shields had indeed come down, but not at the five kilometers.  Despite the sophistication of the jamming suite, the station's sensors were eventually able to burn through the electronic noise and get a solid lock on the ship and pound it.  At about 250 km out a beam sliced through the engineering compartment and a high powered feedback loop into the core resulting in a fatal overload of the core.

The courier ship exploded in a ball of light, fire, and fury that sent out an expanding shockwave of white hot plasma.  The station shook as the wave hit the shields from such a close distance and alarms screamed across the structure as the shields worked to absorb the blast suddenly inflicted on it.  Since explosions propagated poorly in vacuum, it was over as soon as it had started and system panels began to return to normal, though many flashed warning signs of over stressed systems.  The only area of notable danger was the fire still raging in the docking area. 

[Decadius Station Control Deck]

"Report!" Thutrauma called as soon as she was sure this danger had passed.

"We're intact.  Damage to multiple levels and systems.  We'll need a few moments to catalogue." another officer called out.

"What about the spies?" Thutrauma practically rolled her eyes seeing how there were bigger issues than some aliens who'd run away, like their own survival and that of the station.

"We lost track of them after they went to warp."  The officer replied and gave a direction that the ship had fled.

"I see." Dichras replied quietly.  "I see."  He pronounced more loudly.  The sound of alloy brushing against plastic could dimly be heard as the Tal'Shiar officer drew his disruptor.  "Administrator Thutrauma, your incompetence has placed the security of the Empire at risk. Your treasonous stupidity cannot be allowed to endanger us any longer."  Thutrauma had one moment to open her mouth to refute the charges when Dichras pulled the trigger and an excruciating shriek filled the command deck as the green beam disintegrated the former station commander.

Dichras sneered at the death of the traitorous and incompetent Admintrator and he looked around to see shocked faces all around.  Weak fools.  They need some discipline to be reminded of their duty.  Spotting the communications console, the Tal'Shiar agent turned his attention to the officer while keeping his weapon out. "Message the science vessel to pursue the spies, we'll have no more...."

Dichras shrieked as a green beam blew a hole in his back.  The other Tal'shiar guards stared stunned that their leader has been shot. Nobody dared challenge them this way.  Looking around, they saw an older man holding his own weapon and staring his hate at the dead murderer.  Within moments, the security operatives eyes met with the old man and in that instant, weapons swung out in all directions, and bedlam engulfed the command deck.

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #17
[ PO3 Bret Bessir | USS Mary Baldwin | Romulan Star Empire ] attn: @RyeTanker

“Is it poison?”

The Bajoran-Cardassian sniper glared at the aged scientist before shaking his head, “Should it be poison?”

“If you were any good at your job, it would at least be truth serum.” The old hag sniffed disdainfully in Bessir’s direction before taking a sip from the water he’d shoved into her cuffed hands.

Snorting, Bessir shook his head as he resumed sitting across from the Romulan prisoner-guest. “I’ll keep that in mind for the next kidnapping.” He shifted on the bench seat until his back was flush against the bulkhead. “So what’s so great about this research, grandma?”

“Do you honestly expect me to tell you anything?” The Romulan lowered the water, impressing Bessir when she didn’t toss it in his face.

“Nope, but conversation passes the time and distracts from other unpleasantries. Figure goading you into an elaborately constructed lie could suffice.” His gaze flitted over to the snoring Xenexian, “I doubt he’ll be able to offer much entertainment in his state.”

In that, the scientist seemed to agree based on her sigh. Ever since they’d beamed aboard the Baldwin, the Xenexian had complained about his treatment from his so-called rescuers. Bessir had been frank is reminding the man that he’d opted to join them and could basically eat shit if he didn’t like the method of their departure. Normally, Bessir considered himself fairly patient. In his line of work, patience was not only necessary but life-saving. He waited for days, using catheters and injections for survival until his target appeared and he could complete his mission. Bessir never failed to capture his target, even in challenging circumstances. If his patience was thin right now, it was very much connected to his injuries—only patched together until they could get to actual safety—and losing Yemma.

When the scientist didn’t offer up the requested lie, Bessir pushed on another conversation topic, “What’s a ‘Wraith’? Your associate back there, she said she couldn’t come because she was a Wraith.”

Again, the scientist remained stubbornly quiet, and Bessir almost wished Knox would join him. At least the weird fucker was entertaining.

“Am I your prisoner?”

Bessir raised his eyebrows at the woman’s question, “Should you be our prisoner?”

“Where are you taking me?” She quipped back.

“Where do you want to go?” Bessir replied.

Her lips pulled into a thin line, “Are you going to answer all of my questions with questions?’

“Maybe,” Bessir paused, letting her find momentary satisfaction in the feigned statement, “Are you going to answer any of my questions?”

Her eyes widened, then narrowed into slits as she studied him, likely weighing the pros and cons of continuing their game. Bessir pulled in a deep breath, covered his wince with a fake yawn, and slowly let it out, content now that the scientist seemed to be playing nicer.

“My government will handsomely reward you if you return me. Alive.” She added the last with a determined tone that elicited a snort of amusement from Bessir. “I can give you the coordinates of a discrete rendevous point if you’ll allow me to contact one of my associates so he can arrange for my transport back to my posting.”

Bessir leaned forward, elbows braced on his knees, “Where was your posting? Maybe we can take you there directly.”

“That is highly unlikely. My research station is deep within Romulan space, it is quite impossible for you to make it there.”

“Just as impossible as it was for us to make off with you AND both halves of your research?”

Her lips fell back into that thin line as the scientist clapped her mouth shut and leaned against the bulkhead. It seemed the conversation was over for now. Bessir shrugged before he stood and hobbled away to press on a console, sparing another glance at the Romulan before he headed for the cockpit. He'd update the others on what he had thus far from the scientist, curious if the Chief wanted to follow that undoubtedly a trick route.

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #18
[Chief Petty Officer Dominic Lau | USS Mary Baldwin | Romulan Star Empire] @Ellen Fitz

The Mary Baldwin streaked back into space around a nameless red dwarf planet.  The freighter stopped for a moment as it took stock of the vast emptiness that surrounded it. The ship seemed to hesitate for a few moments before the impulse engines glowed red once more and the ungainly appearing ship arced towards the inner system for a place to hide amongst the interstellar gas and dust.

The eerie beauty of the system was lost on the occupants of the ship's cockpit as they took stock of their harrowing escape. Lau stared into the void as his mind worked on the next steps.  He pushed away the sense of grief over the loss of As the second in command, he'd had the need to know for some of the more secret aspects such as the communications protocols and possible safe locations. Deciding there was no rush, the Chief decided to see how his teammates were doing.  Cheung was holdings on to the console and staring blankly at the engineering readouts. If the observer didn't know her, they would have guessed that the comm tech was taking in the data.  Lau on the other hand knew his team and her pose was the equivalent of putting her hands on her hips and jumping up and down in frustration. Mentally sighing, he decided it was better to simply deal with the issue as quickly as possible. "Klaudia, you might as well ask."

There was tense moment from the Asian woman before she turned to face him, her face a mask. What that mask couldn't hide was the glare of accusation. "How long have you known, and why didn't you tell me?"  Came the icy response before a finger came up to get him to stop him as Lau had expected. "You and the ell-tee wouldn't have willingly put the team in danger with an unknown variable, so you two knew right from the start." Lau nodded as Cheung crossed her arms over her chest and crossed her legs as she waited for the explanation of the machinations that had kept her in the dark. "Knox was part of the hundred changeling infants, same as Odo and Laas. He has a back story, but that's been classified to levels above Q to get access to. Presumably the only one who can unseal the record is the head of Starfleet Intelligence. He did some work for us during the war, but was mainly kept under wraps till this business with Theurgy popped up."

"But how did you know?"

Lau snorted as if he was giving her a knowing smirk. "Well, far be it for me to tell you some times you get buried in your consoles and PADDs. There are times when Knox has to rest the same as us, and even though there are times there's not enough room, he seems to fit in fine.  There's also times when she shouldn't be able to reach something, but always manages to do so."

Cheung let out a quiet curse and glared at her leader for a bit longer when the sniper walked in, then paused as he felt the tension in the room. Taking a quick moment to look between the two humans. He had the briefest moment of deciding to leave and come back later, but the moment passed as if it had never arrived and he opted to help break the tension instead. "Did I miss the union meeting?" Bessir grinned at his own joke, but frowned quickly when Cheung turned the glare on him. "I kill someone I wasn't supposed to?" He asked Chief Lau in a tone of profound unfazed mock seriousness.  The comm tech had enough and seemed to explode out of her chair as she slammed her shoulder against Bessir to leave the cockpit.

Bessir grabbed her arm and the Cheung's eyes flashed dangerously as she her eyes told him to let her go.  "No can do, we got ourselves in interesting piece of cargo back there."  It didn't take long for the sniper to cover what he'd managed to get from the scientist and the deadlock they found themselves in while having to mull over the new information seemed to get Cheung to calm down.  Chief Lau turned to look out the window as he marshalled his thoughts.  "Let's see if we can buck this one higher.  Cheung, find us an out of the way subspace relay then pass the coordinates to Bessir.  In the meantime, I have a message to put together.  Taking seats, the remaining team members set about their tasks.

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #19
[ PO3 Bret Bessir | USS Mary Baldwin | Romulan Star Empire ] @RyeTanker

Bessir quietly watched Cheung and the Chief closely, wondering what had caused the tension between them. Cheung was still visibly upset about it, based on the angle of her brows.

“I found coordinates. Patching them through to you now,” Cheung tossed a brief look at Bessir, rolling her eyes when he gave her a thumbs up accompanied with an over-enthusiastic smile. “May I go scrounge up some food and drink, Chief? I’m sure I’m not the only one hungry and thirsty.”

“I could go for a beer and maybe a pizza while you’re back there, doll.” Bessir expertly ducked, avoiding the smack to the head Cheung threw at him. He didn’t miss the secondary hit, a kick to his ankle, and grunted, rubbing at his joint as she moved through the cabin toward the door. Heaving a sigh dedicated to the moody woman, Bessir punched in the coordinates. “So, what did I miss?”

The sound of a cabinet door opening had Bessir twisting in his chair, eyes widening in more shock than fear as he watched a gelatinous copper-colored goo ooze out of the cabinet. It continued to slither along the floor at a slow yet steady pace until it reached the chair Cheung had vacated. Bessir pointed at the goo, looking to the Chief for instructions, then dropping his hand to his lap when he registered how unperturbed the Chief seemed to be. A pair of humanoid hands rose from the goo, then a pair of legs, the goo stretching and morphing until Bessir was staring at an honest-to-goodness Changeling.

“The fuck –“ Bessir’s head swiveled back and forth between the Changeling and the Chief. “Knox?!”

“In the flesh,” the voice was the same as when Bessir had last seen the bastard, hovering over him with a med-kit back on the Romulan ship. “Or whatever the fuck you call this,” he gestured to his body, still not quite solid looking but not exactly gooey either. “I’ll man the station till Cheung gets back, Chief, then I think I’m gonna need to take another nap. Want to look my best for when we’ve got company.”

Bessir blinked. The Chief seemed unfazed; if this had been what had riled Cheung earlier, Bessir could handle that. Better than MANY other reasons to be so pissy. “Yeah,” shaking his head, Bessir turned to his console, “You look like shit, man.”

“You too, fuck-face.”

Bessir grinned. Yeah, it was Knox all right. Sparing a look at the Chief, Bessir again shook his head. He hoped the Chief would brief him in much the same way he’d done with Cheung in good time but sitting here with the ugly fuck Knox at his side, Bessir was already thinking of all the benefits of having someone who could morph into basically anything as a colleague.

Bessir looked back at Knox, his imagination pricked, “Can you give me a part of your body?”

“The fuck for, pervert?” Knox’s voice was tinged with fatigue but still sounded both amused and annoyed.

“For…science, of course!”

Knox gave him a single-digit salute with his right hand, far too tired to do anything else.

Re: Day 18 [1630 hrs] Out from the dark, and into the murk

Reply #20
[Chief Petty Officer Dominic Lau | USS Mary Baldwin | Unspecified Red Dwarf System | Romulan Star Empire] @Ellen Fitz

Chief Lau nodded imperceptibly when he saw Knox make his way out of the cabinet and slide onto the chair. Although his face held an expression of boredom at the change, the Chief sniggered internally at Bessir having been caught out by Knox's true nature.  He really thought the sniper paid more attention to his surroundings to the point that he'd noticed the unusual actions Knox would take from time to time.  Maybe it was a hazard of being so target focused all the time like Cheung with her screens.

Shrugging off the situation, Lau turned around and pulled up a screen and began typing up the report. He'd have much preferred to send a video file, but they needed the information sent quickly and that meant data compression, and text was a lot easier then video.

"Course plotted Chief, we'll arrive at the bouy in an hour or so." Bessir reported as the Mary Baldwin swung on its plotted vector and picked up speed before the star field streaked as the ship went FTL.

[Several hours later]

Lau was at his desk writing the condolence letters for Lieutenant Fynir and PO Yemma when a notification began beeping for a priority message. Saving his work and minimizing the window, he selected the decryption program and waited a few moments for the computer ciphers to properly align and decode the message.  When the terminal sounded ready, he tapped on the icon and his eye brows tried to climb into his hair as he saw the sender.

Dominic Lau was not really given to cursing, but a quiet. "What the fuck??" escaped his lips in his shock.  He'd expecting to hear back from his control officer, Captain Chowdurry.  The sender read simply 'King' instead.  Looking over the missive, he couldn't find any mention of the Captain. He stared numbly at the message for a moment before frowning and running the decryption program on it again, then a different one which returned a message full of random garbage. "Damn. It's legit."  The problem was whoever had sent the message had used a very high priority security code that was buried deep inside the Baldwin's computer core as a use twice decryption. Rapping his knuckles on the desk for a moment in thought, he steeled himself and began reading the message.  By the time he was finished, the Chief had to wonder if he'd fallen into a dimensional portal and just how safe his contact with reality really was.

He'd had to read the message twice more to really begin to digest what he was seeing and when he was done, the Chief leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms as he let out a low whistle. His orders were simple, the team was to investigate the lead being provided by the Romulan scientist.  The crew of the supposedly renegade USS Theurgy could possibly be at that location and he was to render assistance before joining the crew.  He was to be wary of other Starfleet Vessels till further notice, and to be especially wary of Romulans in general. Given their history to date, that was easy.

Swiveling his chair from side to side as he thought over the implications of what they were going to do, Lau nodded to himself before calling everyone to the mess hall where he'd brief them on their new orders.

To say everyone was incredulous was to put it mildly when he told them what their next desitanation was and why.  Bessir had called the orders bullshit, but that was just to get his incredularity out of his system.  Cheung's sentiments were the same, and not being told he couldn't share the message, Lau had told her where to find the message and decrypt it herself.  This had elicited a grumpy response as she got to work trying to find out if they'd been duped. Even Knox was shocked as she stared at the Chief, but since the team leader had covered for her numerous times, she felt little compunction to argue.

The Xenexian wailed loudly at his fate till Knox got annoyed and sat him in a chair, then tied him up with hundred mile an hour tape with two pieces over his mouth for good measure.

That left the scientists who was shackled to another chair.  Chief Lau approached the scientist and sat on the edge of the table before regarding the cool customer he had.  "Okay doc. Here's the deal.  We're going to see what your research is all about and you're going to show us how to get it out."

"And why would I do that?" She inquired.

"Becuase the fate of life in the universe is at stake? Not really the real reason, you'll do it since you're now missing and presumed to have turned traitor, and we know how the Tal'Shiar loves to determine loyalty of its citizens."

Despite the defiance she wanted to show, the scientists scowled at the truth of the statement.  If the Tal'Shiar got their hands on her, a long and painful interrogation was the least horrendous option.

"Very well, but I'll will want asylum in the Federation afterwards, or the means to disappear."

"I'll kick it upstairs, but it should be doable." Lau agreed smoothly. He had no authority to make such agreements, but Intelligence could always override him or agree later on. "One other thing, Klaudia here is in a foul mood and she's going to be your keeper for this trip. If she so much as suspects that you're trying to double cross us, you'll be lying in a pool of your own blood like your last keeper. Do we have an understanding?"   The Romulan scowled, but nodded her head. Nodding his own in acceptance, Lau turned to Bessir. " Bessie.." Bessir grumbled at this while Knox laughed. "Plot a course for the Starbase 324 and let's get going. We have to pick up someone or someones  before heading to the location."  Nodding despite the rude expression on his face, the Intel team split up to take care of their assigned duties as the ship hurtled to the unknown.


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