Civil War Ground Zero
Posted on Tue Apr 3rd, 2018 @ 2:13pm by Lieutenant Caradan Eunidas & Lieutenant Davmorda Rex & Lieutenant JG Mindo "Minduno" & Lieutenant JG Riaan Rrareth & Lieutenant JG Scott Erickson & Petty Officer 3rd Class Jasmine Shepherd
The Tornado rolled and turned as Ensign Hamilton piloted the ship. He managed to avoid a torpedo and simultaneous phaser fire. Though there were several shield impacts, the shields held. That would not last forever though.
“Hamilton get us alongside those flanking Birds. Get us between them. Reis, prepared a spread of torpedoes. Lieutenant Mindo, how are we on that ionic pulse?”
"I'm getting it ready," Mindo replied. "It's gonna be big."
=^=”Engineering to Bridge, this is Keselowsky. An ionic pulse of this magnitude may overload our shields. To save us the light show of being showered in sparks, I would recommend a momentary lowering of our shields to send this pulse out.”=^=
“How long is momentary, Ensign?” Davmorda asked.
=^=”About 10 seconds ma’am.”=^=
“Hamilton,” was all she needed to say.
Lewis, at the helm, worked his controls with one hand and tapped away with his free hand.
=^=”Warning,”=^= came the computer, =^=”Inertial dampener settings at unsafe parameters.”=^=
“Ready on your order ma’am,” returned Lewis.
“Lieutenant Mindo,” Davmorda spun to the him at his station, “I want you to get a few engineers to accompany you to that cruiser. I know your creed is to fix things, but I want you and your team to break whatever you can get your hands on. Shields, weapons, life support. Bring it all down. A security detail with accompany you.” She spun back toward the viewscreen displaying a chaotic array of ships, debris and dangerous light. “And don’t come back without Captain Takato or Lieutenant Eunidas. Eriskson, you’ve engaged Klingons before. You’re going too.”
"Aye," said Mindo. "Let me get my tools." He hurried off the bridge and went down to engineering. Time to bust stuff up!
Riaan stood from her science station. "I'm coming as well. If they captured Caradan, there is a good chance she is injured. No one knows Changlings like I do, I should come along." Riaan said firmly.
"With all due respect, Lieutenant," came Davmorda as she kept her focus on the viewscreen, "this is a critical situation, highly combative, and not a place I could consciously send a non-combatant. I understand your knowledge of Changelings is extensive but you..." and she turned to Riaan seeing the same firmness in her eyes that she heard in her voice.
Through symbiontic memory, Davmorda recalled both Bajoran bullheadedness and Cardassian aggression, especially among the more quiet and seemingly complacent ones. Seeing the possibility of both traits in Riaan, "...you better make sure this rescue op for two does not turn into a rescue op for three. Am I understood?"
Riaan nodded, "Yes Ma'am. I will meet you in the transporter room." She said, there was steel in her eyes. She was not a fighter, but she would fight to the death for this. In the last few days she had lost her wife while she could do nothing. There was something she could do this time for her girlfriend, and she would. Riaan turned and left the bridge, there were some supplies she needed to get.
Erikson nodded and secured his station. He left the bridge to gather up his own equipment. If captain Takato and Caradan are on the ship he wanted to be there to make sure they get back home. "
Hamilton spun and rolled the ship to avoid fire and direct hits whenever he could. Everyone on the Bridge, everyone on the ship for that matter, could feel the rotation of the ship and had to sometime perform fancy footwork to keep upright. That was until the shields came down.
Davmorda watched as a volley of torpedoes sped away toward a few flanking enemy Birds of Prey. Once the ionic pulse was fired, she hoped she could get a message out to all the Tornado’s allies that there were friendlies on board the cruiser.
‘Yeah,’ she thoughts sarcastically as she sat back in the captain’s chair. ‘And let’s not let the enemy know at the same time.’
She pressed the ship-wide intercom button. “How are we doing Away Team? Get to the Transporter Room now!”
Riaan arrived at the transport room with a backpack, a tactical vest which she looked slightly uncomfortable wearing, a phaser pistol gripped in her hand, and a quiet certainty.
Scott shouldered his riffle and secured a phaser on his belt. He took his place on the transporter pad. He felt comfortable in his stance and did a final inventory on some of the classified intelligence tools that he had been itching to try out.
Crewman Wallace ran from transporter room to transporter room to make sure everyone was ready. Riaan had arrived, Lieutenants Erickson and Mindo as well as a security detail and a team of engineers. He slapped at his commbadge. “Crewman Wallace to Bridge. Away Team ready.”
=^=”Copy that. On my mark ‘Operation To Hell With It All’ engage…MARK”=^=
Running to his telepad, the transporter chief danced his fingers across his terminal. At the same time, the Tornado’s shields came down. Instantly, everyone could feel a greater sense of being tossed about as the ship continued to roll. Many systems nearly overloaded as the lights brightened and the ship’s hum turned almost into a high-pitched squeal. The ionic burst was fired.
=^=”Good work on that burst Lieutenant Mindo. The shields are down and the cruiser is cloaking.”=^=
“Initiating transport,” said the transporter chief immediately.
Hamilton piloted the ship close to the cruiser and performed a quick roll to avoid a torpedo but did manage to catch a glancing phaser fire. Everyone on the ship that was not already holding tight onto something were thrown to the side. Except for everyone being transported.
Crewman Wallace saw the transporter chief being tossed about as the room faded away. A Klingon ship’s interior was fading in but he was more concerned on the burly Klingon pointing a disruptor at him. Fully materialized aboard the Battle Cruiser, the Away Team realized they were transported into a circle of armed Klingons.
“We saw what you were doing Starfleet,” growled the Klingon before Wallace. “We did the same thing.” The Klingon smiled, showing a set of crooked but sharpened teeth. He raised his disruptor and turned to his comrades. “For the Empire,” he yelled. The others called out in unison and the crowd dispersed in various directions to bring their own fashion of chaos to their traitorous brethren.
Riaan raised her pistol instinctively, seeing they were surrounded, but lowered it again when she realized that they were friendly. She looked slightly pale and nervous, but determined.
Relieved after almost relieving himself, Darrell turned to Riaan, seeing her with an obvious aura of uncertainty. “It’s ok, ma’am. They’re friendly.” He took a breath. “Caught me by surprise as well. Lieutenant Erickson.” Darrell turned to Scott. Erickson was the ranking officer after all. “Sir, our orders?”
Scott lowered his riffle. The quick survey in the room showered enough room for an armed conflict. He had a plan for this very moment. “Lower your weapons.” He ordered.
Darrell gave a few hand signals and the security team spread out to keep a lookout for any enemy advance as the Imperial Klingons ran ahead.
Once the away team did so Erickson let out his own battle cry. “For the Federation!” He dropped and company shifeld Tierney behind him. It took less then a second to activate as it hit the ground between the away team and the Klingons a shield had formed.
“Take them out!” Erickson ordered.
“You heard the man,” yelled Darrell, “Bravo Team,” and he meant Lieutenants Mindo and Rareth as well as the security detail and a few engineers with them, “We are making for the source of this radiation. Lieutenant Eunidas has to be there. Alpha team,” Scott Erickson and the teams of security and engineers with him, “the brig is your best bet for finding Captain Takato. If you seen any enemy combatants, send them directly to the Barge of the Dead. Let’s move out!”
Darrell was taking point with another security crewman. The team’s advance through the ship was relatively unhindered though they did come across a few attacking Klingons. Most however were tackled by Imperial Klingons and, as the fight ensued, Darrell motioned for the rest to press on as quickly as possible. As he was unable to tell the SoK Klingons apart from the Imperials, he did not want to accidentally shoot a friendly.
He raised a fist and the team stopped. The security detail pressed themselves against both side of the corridor and took guard. A pair hunkered around to guard Riaan.
“Lieutenant Mindo,” said Darrell, “right there is a K-14 junction box. You can use that to throw off their sensors, and destabilize their shields.”
Mindo nodded and turned to his junior officers. "Crismore, Gherr, let's mess them up." Hitting the toggle for his LEGs and holstering his weapon, he went to work on the junction box. But he wasn't going into shields and sensors.
"What are you doing?" whispered Crismore as the rest of the team moved on.
"I'm finding Cara," he said.
"How are you going to find a Changeling on these computers?" said Crismore.
"I know how to find her," Mindo replied. "I know a Changeling's heat signature when I see one." He typed in a few commands. "There she is!" he said. "That's two decks down from here. I can get in their access tubes and get to her from there."
"You're not going alone," said Gherr.
"You think you can move as fast as I can in these things?" said Mindo. "I didn't think so."
“Lieutenant,” said Wallace a bit forcefully. He was unapologetic. Crewmen were not allowed to speak to officers in that way but this was a critical situation and someone was about to do something potentially very stupid. “Just what do you think…” He stopped himself and saw the determination in Mindo’s eyes. Darrell did a whole hand point toward Mindo. “Keep low and do not engage the enemy until we arrive. If you find the Lieutenant, be sure you don’t set off any alarms. We’ll be soon behind you.”
"I'll do what I can," said Mindo. "No promises."
“You,” Darrell pointed to another crewman, “you and you. Stay here with these engineers and cover them. The rest of us are advancing toward our target.” After a few ‘ayes’ were heard, “Bravo Team, let’s move out.”
Mindo pried open a hatch on the wall and, crouching, stepped inside. Within minutes he was down two decks, nearly on top of her. He found a ventilation grate and looked down through the opening. What he saw made him gasp.
Caradan was sitting in a chair. She was not bound or tied up in any way. She was just sitting there. Off to the side was a tray of medical instruments used to cut on her and probe her. Not that any of them would do any good now. Caradan appeared dried out like baked clay. Her skin was cracked and was flaking and peeling. Her hair was in mattes and did not flow naturally. She trembled and tried to move but made awful painful noises when she tried. It did not even sound like Caradan at all.
The ventilation cover falling and hitting the floor was startling but she flinched only minutely. Her dry eyes widened a bit as her vision picked up Mindo as he floated down. A look of worry came over her.
’No.’ “Not again,” her voice was airy and raspy. “Comp…uter. End…” she coughed and tried to look away.
Mindo put a careful hand on Caradan. He couldn't believe the condition she was in. It hurt him to the core. In that moment, he never loved her more.
"Cara, it's OK," he said. "I'm here now. We're going home. Riaan is on her way too. We love you and we're going to get you out of here."
Riaan moved with bravo team, there were two brief firefights as they hurried down the two levels. Riaan didn't even break strike, shooting at the Klingons with a fearlessness usually reserved for those who were very good or terminally insane. Given that she was a terrible shot, the second was more likely.
Darrell had his preconceived notions of Riaan based on rumors and a few brief personal experiences, but he saw first-hand that those notions were inaccurate. He too took a few shots at enemy Klingons and sent them on to the Barge of the Dead.
Arriving at the door to Caradan's cell, Riaan shot the lock off and barged into the room. Crewman Wallace took a quick survey of the room. So far, the only occupants were Caradan and Mindo. He ordered the other security personnel to take up positions outside the room. He did set eyes upon Caradan but did not let her pitiful appearance topple his mettle. It was there that Riaan finally paused as she looked at the wreck that had been made of her lover and her friend. She felt an anger rising up inside her. However, there weren't any Klingons to shoot.
Riaan ran over to Caradan. Pulling the bucket out of her backpack and setting it next to Caradan's chair. "Don't worry. We got you." She said, taking a reading with her tricorder and pulling out a scalpel.
Those dry eyes flicked back and forth between Riaan and Mindo. Caradan attempted to withdraw but cracked with just about every move she made. “En…nd…Pro…gra…gram.”
"It's ok, we're real, not a hologram." Riaan said quietly. She looked at the dried out and withered bits of Caradan and was honestly worried. "This might hurt, but I've got to get the device out of you." She told Caradan.
Caradan rolled her eyes at ‘This might hurt.’
“Th…the…thevice…it…ith…in…m…cheth…chest…You…hav…havaagh…k…k…” and after a minute crack in her throat and a cough later, Caradan saw what was her mimicked vocal chords waft out of her mouth as dust. Miniature bits of her being were breaking away and would join the little bits of her already spread about on the floor. Her voice was gone and her will was rapidly waning. This was it. It was finally the end. The Klingons were having their last laugh and this would be the last program they could run. But to have both Mindo and Riaan together, it did not matter that they were holograms, seeing them both die would be too much. Caradan let her head fall back and, though her neck cracked in places, her head did not fall off. She was still alive. She closed her eyes but one eyelid cracked and disallowed her from not seeing what was to come.
Mindo had his tricorder out in seconds and was already taking readings of Caradan. "My god," he gasped. "We have to remove that thing in her chest." He shook his head. "Riaan, she's dying. I have to get her out of here."
Riaan stabbed Caradan, gutting the Changling's body. Some of Caradan’s skin and torn clothing fell away in hardened chunks. Riaan reached in and pulled out the device. She tossed the device into the corner and shot it with her phaser at full power. The device vaporized with a small flash.
With the sudden surprise of Riaan’s expertise with both a phaser and with a blade mixed with the realization that all this was, in fact, real, being piled on top of the sudden removal of all her physical pain, Caradan’s form started to change involuntarily. A twisted and cacophonous array of voices emerged from her mouth as both a yell and a sign. Caradan fell to her side and hit the floor in a mangled heap of horror as her head started flattening, her arms ventured down her back and torso, and her voice gurgled to silence. The part of her that had landed on the bucket simply oozed down into it. The Changeling melted into an opaque puddle of viscous fluid. The parts of her that had already fallen away awkwardly flowed toward the main mass.
Slowly and with little strength remaining, the fluid started running up the sides of the bucket and flowing inside. Caradan wanted to express her gratitude but could not, for the life of her, perform any mimics in the least.
Riaan pulled out a lid from her backpack and started to put it on the bucket, "Ok, we don't want you sloshing around while we make our escape."
It was part irritation and part telling them to hurry up, but Caradan use what little strength she had to send a tsunami to one side of the bucket and that tsunami came out only as a small ripple in the viscous liquid.
Riaan put the lid on, and put the bucket back into the backpack. "Ok, Lets get out of here." She said.
Darrell looked in as the door opened. He gave the room another quick survey. “The lieutenant? You got her?” he asked
Riaan nodded as she moved towards the door, mentally getting ready for getting back into combat. "The Bucket is Full." She confirmed.
Crewman Wallace nodded and slapped her commbadge. “Bravo Team to Tornado, the bucket is full. I repeat the bucket is full.”
=^=”Copy that Bravo Team,”=^= came Davmorda’s voice. =^=“Reconnect with your engineers and await transport. Tornado out.”=^=
Darrell slung his rifle and checked his tricorder. “Looked like the Klingons have partial shields.” He put his tricorder away. “They’re trying to override our override. Let’s move out.” He pointed down the corridor and started forward.
Mindo regrouped with his own people and signaled for beam out. There was nothing left for them to do.
The rest of Bravo Team was hot on Mindo’s heels.
=^=”Tornado to Bravo Team, Alpha Team has Captain Takato. Prepare for beam out,”=^= Davmorda’s voice came over all their commbadges.
“Bravo Team,” yelled Wallace, “hunker down here and stand against any enemy.”
The Klingon Battle Cruiser shook and the lights dimmed. Something about the hum of the ship winded down. Immediately, all in Bravo Team saw their surroundings fade away and turn into a Federation Transporter Room.
Back on the Bridge, Davmorda was conversing with an Imperial Klingon via the viewscreen.
“We’ve taken quite a beating here Captain. Our Away Team is back on board with our targets.”
“You Federation sorts do not value death in battle like we. Consider this Klingon internal affairs.” The Klingon’s face disappeared from the viewscreen.
“Don’t have to tell me twice,” said Davmorda. “Helm set a course for Earth, best possible Warp.”
“Course already set ma’am,” said Hamilton.
“Then engage alrea…” and she felt the ship lurch a bit as it went to warp.