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Timothy Rouse
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Re: Mission 9: "Cold Case"

Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:45 pm

Cargo Bay, Breen Freighter
On route to Breen space
Authors: Alenis Meru and Timothy Rouse as Ellen & Frederick Washington

Standing in cargo bay 3, Meru stood silently, awaiting the impending transport of the captain of the Dresden. Whether it was good fortune or something more planned out, the fact that it was Ellen's brother commanding the ship gave her a chance. She still didn't know what Frederick's orders or intentions were, but the fact that he was willing to talk rather than simply take the crew into custody was a good sign.

She muttered a prayer to herself in Bajoran; knowing that she needed all the guidance and help she could get, but was interrupted by the sound of a transporter beam activating.

"Captain Washington," she said as she approached Frederick. "Ellen has told me all about you."

"Captain Alenis," Frederick said with a smile on his face. "I must say my father told me a lot about you as well. Is she around? My sister?" He asked as he looked around the empty room, with a more serious look on his face.

"She's fine," replied Meru, in a reassuring tone, noting Frederick's concern for his family members. "She's helping out with the repairs at the moment; we took a bit of a beating back there. We were lucky to escape with our lives."

"I noticed, do you require any assistance with the repairs. I can loan you some engineers." He said.

Meru breathed a sigh of relief. "I thought your orders were to recover the cloaking device and prevent some rogue crew from taking a stolen freighter on a suicide mission that will surely risk a major diplomatic incident?" she asked, raising her eyebrow near the end to prod Frederick a little bit.

"Those are my orders exactly," he said with a smile. "But with a bit of creative writing I'm sure we can make sure that is the exact outcome of my mission. But on a more serious not, I can't let my sister become a widow. Not when there is something I can do about it. And if we can get the cloaking device back home, no one will need to know what happened in the time between."

"And your crew?" asked Meru. She knew that her crew would follow her into the heart of Breen space and back, risking their commissions, long prison sentences, and possibly death at the hands of the Breen. They were a family, and they knew they couldn't leave family behind. But to the crew of the Dresden, Timothy was a stranger. If they weren't on board with the idea, Frederick could be facing court martial or a mutiny. "Have you discussed this with your senior staff?"

"They are aware that this mission has a personal touch for me, and they will support me in achieving both goals. Our official mission and the unofficial mission." He said.

Meru breathed a sigh of relief. Frederick's response meant she could drop the pretense. "We could use some assistance with repairs," she admitted. "And I have a feeling we're going to need an extraction if we can pull this off."

"You'll have whatever assistance we can muster," replied Frederick, before pausing for a moment in the presence of Captain Alenis. While they were of the same rank, Meru had a certain air of confidence, backed up by experience, that made her seem like the one in charge at any given moment. "If I may ask... what is your plan anyways?"

"Oh, nothing too complicated," she replied, a little joke to conceal the fact that attempting to sneak into Breen space with a damaged and mostly unarmed freighter was pretty much the definition of insanity. "We've tracked his location to an asteroid belt in the Xylara system. Starfleet intelligence has known for some time based on the comings and goings that there are major mining operations there. Presumably, he's being held in a labour camp. Our plan is to pretend to be there for a pickup, shoot the place up, knock out their shields, and escape with Tim in a cloaked runabout."

"Simple. I like it," replied Frederick in the same nonchalant tone, before tapping his comm badge. "Lieutenant Zhang, prepare damage control teams for critical repairs to the freighter's systems and hull. One to beam up."
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Re: Mission 9: "Cold Case"

Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:55 pm

Breen in the new Black, Part 2
Asteroid Prison B-02
Authors: Timothy Rouse, Sera Williams & Emmony Safford

Emmony frowned. She tried to wrap her mind around the fact that this was technically self defense. They had after all been injured by these Breen and there was no way to tell who had done the injuring with their helmets on. She decided it passed her criteria for acceptable violence. If barely. "So what's the plan?"

"I guess I have to follow your lead on this escape. Im not familiar with this place, as you most surely are." Tim said as he tried to prevent bumping his head in the small space.

Sera tested her makeshift taser. As the purple electric arc jumped from one of the heavily modified fork's prongs to the other, it made a soft snap. It wasn't as loud as a phaser discharge, though anyone in the room would hear the muffled electric crack. In her time at the prison, she had not been treated well. She was looking forward to her escape, and wouldn't be terribly sad if some acceptable violence broke out. Sera then took the extra taser and handed it out to give to whichever of her companions wanted it, "Lead the way."

Somehow she was hoping one of the others would decide they were leading this operation but she supposed she did know the layout best. Emme nodded curtly and then gestured for the others to leave through the opening. "Maybe we should go at a distance from one another. So it doesn't look like we are traveling together." Then once they were out she headed left toward the showers, looking around her to make sure they weren't attracting unwanted attention.

"Tim, it'd look a bit awkward for you to follow us through here," Sera cocked her head toward the showers. "Maybe meet us on the other side?" she followed up. Sera followed Emmony at about 4 meters behind. The engineer picked up a towel on the ground to hide her homemade weapon as she let her dark hair loose, making it appear as though she were about to make use of the facilities.

Tim nodded in the affirmative as he took the second taser. He was still dazed by all that had happened from his capture to the death of his friends and family to being thrown in a Breen prison. Though he technically was the highest ranking officer there, he had deferred to Sera and Emmony, who had been in this prison the longest. "See you soon," he uttered as he began making his way around.

Emme followed Sera into the showers. It was a place she normally tried to stay clear of. The individuals known to congregate in the area that didn't exactly like Humans. It was early though, at least early according to Emmony's internal clock which was usually pretty reliable despite having no way to tell what actual time it was. She took a deep breath and hoped for the best.

On the other side, Tim took a deep breath as he waited for Sera and Emmony. They should have been here by now. Dark thoughts filled his head. Perhaps they were captured with the taser? They could be undergoing painful neural spikes at the hands of the Breen, or chained up and thrown down a mine shaft, as was the fate of countless prisoners who the guards deemed too "difficult." Hearing a sound, he breathed a sigh of relief as he turned around. "Sera, it's about--"

Freezing in his path, he realized that the person in front of him was not Sera, but the very same Nausicaan that he had had the not-so-pleasant interaction with earlier. "Oh, you again," he muttered, reaching into his sleeve to power up the makeshift taser.

"I think someone needs a lesson in how this place works," started the Nausicaan, sneering at Tim as he punched his open fist menacingly.

Tim sighed. <i>Here goes nothing,</i> he thought, hoping that Sera's makeshift engineering was as good as it was back on the Portland. "Maybe some other time," he replied, getting into a defensive stance.

The Nausicaan laughed slightly. "Some people just never learn," he said as he advanced and pulled back to deliver a punch to Tim's face.

But the punch never came. Seeing the Nausicaan drop his guard to attack, Tim rushed in with an open-palmed strike to the chest. Which normally wouldn't be enough to stop a determined Nausicaan assailant, but with the addition of tens of thousands of volts of energy, turned out to be enough to send him reeling backwards, his head hitting the wall and knocking him out cold. As Tim breathed heavily with relief, he heard a grate open up. This time, it was his companions.

"Nice one, Commader," Sera congratulated as she pulled herself from the grate. She stuck out a hand to help Emmony behind her. "You probably only have one, two at best, more of those before the charge runs out," she warned, nodding to Tim's hand.

"Unfortunately, some people just never learn," replied Tim, gesturing with his eyes towards the Nausicaan who was out cold. "Well, seeing as we're outside of Starfleet jurisdiction, and you've been here longest, you're the boss," he said, looking at Sera. "So, where do we go from here, and how do we get off this rock?"

Emme gratefully accepted the hand and straightened up, slightly popping her back in the process. She resisted the urge to check on the Nausicaan as he'd just tried to harm one of her new friends twice. While she wrestled with her oath it took her a moment to process what the Commander had said. "I've never had to think of an escape plan before."

Sera pointed in the general direction of the laundry area. She explained in a hushed voice, "There is a large exhaust port that starts just to the side of the laundry." Shrugging a bit, she admitted, "I don't know what we'll face or the layout, but it's all I have." In truth, the engineer had never expected to make it out of the prison.

Tim frowned for a moment and took a deep breath. Emmony and Sera's responses didn't exactly inspire him with confidence. "Well, it's a better plan than anything I've got," he replied, before glancing back at the Nausicaan. "Besides, I'd rather not be around when he wakes up."

"Once in the laundry room, I'll stand guard. Tim, you and Emmony take turns knocking the paneling out behind the third washing machine. Once in, just leap in, pull the machine back to cover us, then follow the vent," planned Sera, making it sound much easier than it probably would be.
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Re: Mission 9: "Cold Case"

Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:36 am

Illumination
Runabout, Outside the Breen freighter
Authors: Sera Williams (as Sylok) & Arthur Couer-Reynolds

Arthur knew why he volunteered to help Sylok work on the runabout. That didn't mean he'd been looking forward to it. Despite all his experience with Vulcans, he recalled how judgmental and pretentious they frequently behaved, especially when he was young. Then again, he found that to be true of more than just the cold-hearted space elves. If there was only one thing he appreciated about their kind, it was their ability to separate work and relationships. Given his own beleaguered past, that particular skill appealed to him.

So it made sense that the lieutenant wouldn't say much as they worked. As Sylok did what Sylok planned, Arthur kept to himself and focused on calibrating the runabout's circuitry not to give out upon being charged with all that chroniton energy a cloaking device would unleash. They had to work fast. While the Commander's recovery was part of the reason, there was another. Whatever it was, it drove the human to work much harder.

"Okay. I've adapted half the secondary EPS manifolds to work together with primary systems. They should be able to contain any power surge once we activate the cloak." His job mostly finished, Arthur closed his tricorder and looked back toward the cockpit. "Circuits IB-5 and 7 have been adapted to the generator. We should be able to activate it from navigation."

Sylok looked to the Chief Tactical Officer, "Very good. You are sure that your... improvisation... will be sufficient to contain the power demands?" The question was meant as a usual check on his crewmate's work. However, in this case the Vulcan held doubts. Before he could answer, Sylok had already moved to Arthur's work area to inspect the handy work.

"Absolutely," Arthur exclaimed as he finished tweaking one last circuit with an isodine coupler. "I did something similar with a Klingon device--" Luckily, he caught his slip-up, but given years of making similar mistakes in nearly revealing something he'd rather have kept private, Arthur simply explained, "A small project at the Academy with my roomie. He hated being the muscle, but being part-Vulcan helped... more than he realized."

After looking at his tricorder, Sylok was a little more pleased than he expected. "There is a fissure, a few microns, on the connection. Reinforce the connector and this should be sufficient." For Sylok, sufficient was high praise, though his Vulcan manners and monotonous left much to be desired in expressing it as little more than false praise.

Sylok's analysis took Arthur's attention away from his brief wondering and back into the present. Arthur nodded and went to work without complaint. After all, he knew how Vulcans thought. Hell, he shared their difficulty with sympathy and compassion, even though he certainly felt both. Normally, he found small talk unproductive and sought to avoid it, but he couldn't help but mention, "I served aboard the Henderson. Did you know Captain Sevor?" Taking a moment to further analyze the conduit where the cloaking device would be connected with his tricorder, Arthur found the opportune moment to speak without compromising his work's efficiency. "To be honest, I'd still be there if my human shipmates didn't believe I needed companionship. Most of the Vulcans I met were easier to talk to. But there was one...

"Sintek. Arrogant bastard. Took everything about your Surak's philosophy and ignored it." The scan complete, Arthur glanced back at Sylok while retrieving the relevant tool he'd need to reinforce the connector port. "Pride's a pretty intense feeling... isn't it?"

"Many species confuse how we understand and cope with feelings," Sylok explained. "In truth, our emotions are stronger than yours. It has taken millennia for us to become at peace with ourselves using logic. There have always been those who reject the teachings of Surak, the most famous were what we know of today as the Romulans, though they were not the last." Most Vulcans would never have gone into even such little detail about their people's past, though Sylok was a bit more pragmatic. "Feel free to discuss this Sintek with me if you feel that it would help."

As Arthur got back to work, he carefully monitored his results with the tricorder in one hand and an isolinear spanner in the other. "I've been around Vulcans the better part of my life, lieutenant. It was clear the moment I volunteered that you don't think too highly of me." When he finished, put the spanner back in with the rest of his tools behind him and glanced briefly at Sylok before going back to his tricorder readings. "Why is that?"

Pausing slightly to put the words together. There was nothing about the man before him that immediately jumped out that would make Sylok consider the man lower. Well, at least lower than those who choose to have uncontrolled emotions. Sylok locked eyes with the man, "Upon my first meeting with you, you mentioned that you could rig up something to make the cloaking device work." Letting those words sink in for a moment, he continued, "To me, it seemed that you put little thought into the task before you took it on. For me, engineering is an art as much as it is a science. Everything needs a plan, and it seemed that you were not going to take that approach, endangering the mission."

While others might've lashed out at Sylok or become inordinately defensive, Arthur only chuckled. He felt the tension finally melt away to be left only with the solid truth beneath. At first, the human didn't even bother responding. Instead, he figuratively threw himself into his work, making the final adjustments to the adapter that would convert the cloaking device's foreign signals to Federation isolinear standard and seal it for protection. When he had finished, he sat up, replaced the tool he'd been using, and stepped away with toolkit and tricorder in hand.

"There, check it now," he suggested, sidestepping Sylok's response as he stepped aside to let the Vulcan get a better scan of the circuit.

Sylok lifted his tricorder to the now reinforced construction. The blinking lights and beeps were the only movements for a moment or two. With a satisfied nod, the Vulcan engineer placed his tricorder back into its holster. "That repairs were completed in a satisfactory manner."

"That's what I've always liked about your people. You don't sugar-coat the truth. Humans like to mask their intentions behind their emotions. But if I don't care about something, I won't pretend that I do." Arthur finally sat down and activated a console to test connectivity. The computer detected the cloaking device without even a single complaint that the device's systems weren't up to Starfleet standards. Somehow, he'd managed to fool it into thinking otherwise. "Connections are set. We can take it out and give it a test run."

He turned and faced Sylok again, then respectfully added, "If you think we're ready."

"I am satisfied," Sylok responded to the most important question first. "Simulations suggest that the new modifications will be will function within tolerance, however a 'test run' would ensure the simulations are correct." In truth, he did not know who to respond to the rest of what Arthur had spoken.

Minutes later, Arthur finished one last check of the runabout's systems before preparing for takeoff. Once they received clearance to depart, during which the Breen freighter would have to drop out of warp, Arthur powered up the engines. "Let's make this quick," he stated while opening the shuttle bay door. "I modified the freighter to mask its warp signature, but short-range sensors can still pick us up if a patrol gets close."

Calculating a few things in his head, Sylok responded, "If we stay within ten kilometers of the freighter and loop around it, the freighter should mask our signature beyond point-two astronomical units."

Finally, they were out, hovering with the freighter no more than a kilometer off the bow. Arthur brought the 'shuttle' about and deftly maneuvered it so they didn't stray too far. "I'm putting the runabout into close orbit of the ship. Activate the cloak when you're ready."

Sylok shifted in his seat to better reach the cloaking controls. "In three... two... one... activated," he called out as he pressed the activate command. Immediately, the cockpit took on darker hues and the ship began to run a bit quieter than it had moments before. Already Sylok could spot an issue, "While the cloak should be able to handle the expected time frame for the mission, the shuttle will not be able to hold it indefinitely. Federation ships are not constructed to handle the excess retention of exhaust."

"We'll tie it in to the exhaust ports. The cloak produces an ion discharge, so the plasma manifolds can handle it." Again, Arthur's memory hearkened back to the days he served under the chief engineer of an Orion vessel - something he kept out of his Starfleet profile. In any case, he sounded somewhat disinterested, his mind on other things. Subtly, he conducted a detailed tachyon scan of the freighter, deliberately using the cloak's ion exhaust to reverse some of the chronitons produced into the well-known FTL particles - the only sensor particles capable of penetrating a cloak. Rather than discuss what he was doing, however, Arthur quietly maintained the scan, illuminating the freighter as they slowly spun around it.

Instead of asking him about the scans or the cloaking device's efficiency, Sylok noticed the bit of extra scanning being performed. "Notice anything odd about the ship?" the Vulcan asked emotionless. In truth, it was a bit odd seeing his crewmate scanning the ship instead of their own wake, but Sylok deduced that there was some sort of logical reason. He could have even been trying to determine if the shuttle somehow distorted the Bree craft's warp signature.

"Just making sure the engineering crew didn't miss anything after our last encounter with the Breen." Without delving into too much detail, Arthur continued the scan until something blinked to life on his sensor readouts. "Gotcha..." he whispered, but before he could reach over and activate the transporter, a Federation shuttlecraft of unknown design attached to the hull of the Breen freighter decloaked and detached, knowing it had been seen. "No you don't," Arthur murmured as he disengaged the cloak and locked a tractor beam on the shuttle just as it flew by. But when he smugly thought he'd caught his elusive prize, the shuttle had begun to activate its warp engines. "Shit. Phasers online! Target his engines!"

Before Sylok could protest his concerns about just what was occurring, he found himself arming the ships weapons and powering up the shields. "What is the meaning of this?" the Vulcan asked as he sent his first phaser volley to the other ship's engines, or more accurately, the EPS hub.

"Wrapping up some old affairs," Arthur 'explained' nonchalantly. With the engines on the shuttle damaged, it began to float listlessly through space. But even though it could still raise its shields and power up its weapons array... it didn't. At least he's got some goddamn sense, Arthur thought as he locked on to the sole humanoid figure within the craft. He reached over to the button that would beam the stranger aboard and activate the containment forcefield... but he hesitated. Heart in his throat, he murmured to himself, "Time waits for no man."

"Do you know this intruder?" Sylok asked. It was obvious to even the most casual of observers that his shipmate had some sort of connection to what was happening. "What is the meaning of this?"

Finally, Arthur activated the macro and reflexively reached for the emergency phaser compartment beneath his console. Once the transport cycle was complete, he'd already retrieved a phaser and turned to point it at the individual who'd just been beamed in. There on the platform stood Arthur... but much older and weathered. He'd long since dumped his Starfleet uniform in favor of some old, inconspicuous civilian attire. Inconspicuous, that is, from the view of a Rigellian. The patches of soot on his skin and partially greying hair only completed this trifecta of a disguise. One of his eyes peered through a headset display not unlike those the Dominion had used over a decade ago.

"Well," the older Arthur remarked as he glanced between the weapon and his younger self, who failed to repress much of his anxiety. "If you're going to shoot me, set it to kill and make it quick." He slowly pulled his arms behind him and stood in a strict, military pose, his chest an open and unobstructed target. "You know," he growled as he looked between the two officers. "I could've seen this coming."

"Get us back to the freighter," young Arthur snapped at Sylok without taking his focus off the phantom. "We need to talk."

"Yes, I am eager to understand what is happening," the Vulcan replied, skeptical. His fingers danced on the piloting console as he made a beeline for the Breen starship. The Captain would need to make some sort of judgement call on whatever was going on.
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Re: Mission 9: "Cold Case"

Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:45 am

The Forgers
Breen Freighter
Authors: Lt. Jason Beauvoir, Ensign Nikki Barclay (NPC Meru)


Jason walked into the freighter's engineering section. Spotting who he was looking for, he approached Nikki. "Ensign Barclay, I know you're busy, but how would you like to indulge in a little forgery with me?"

"Forgery?" asked Nikki, not bothering to look up from the console she was working at. "I don't know, I don't really know anything about..."

As she continued her work, the console began lighting up like a Christmas tree, each glowing light indicating yet another fault with the freighter's systems. She let out a long, angry growl before slamming her hands down on the console. "Urgh! Why won't this stupid thing work? It's so..." Breathing heavily, she looked up at Jason before closing her eyes, trying to focus her thoughts. "Calm down, Nikki, it's just a bio-neural EPS system. A bio-neural EPS system that is PISSING ME OFF!!!!"

With that, she kicked the console as hard as it could. The lights went blank for a moment, then came back on as the console restarted, this time showing normal readings. "There," she said, satisfied with her work before focusing back on Jason. "Now, you were saying..."

"Well," Jason began. "If we're going to affect a rescue of Commander Rouse, we're going to have to convince the Breen that we're the freighter here to pick up their ore shipment. To do that we need to forge some documents."

"But I don't know anything about Breen cargo documents," replied Nikki, blankly.

"Me neither, I am certain we can figure it out together." Jason replied.

"Okay," replied Nikki, before taking a couple of deep breaths, satisfied that her repairs to the ship would hold for now. "Let's get to the main computer; it will be easier from there," she added, as she quickly scooped up the assortment of tools and PADDs surrounding her workstation and plopped them down haphazardly into an extra-large engineering kit. As she continued speaking, she led Jason out towards the door. "All I know about Breen communications is that they use a duodecimal system, and most of their class III communications are encoded with a two-hundred forty-eight thousand, eight-hundred thirty two bit encoding, which, of course means..."

(seven minutes later)

"...and, of course, they use a confirmation method similar to auto-Turing decryption testing, in order to prevent such a thing as we are trying to do." As they finally arrived at their destination, Nikki rambling on the whole while, she paused and froze before the main computer. Or, at least, what the Breen would call a computer; it was not quite the sort of computer that she was used to. She shuddered slightly at the tentacles overflowing from the giant vat of green liquid and stretching across the room.

"So..." she started. "Here we are..."

Jason understood most of what Nikki was saying. He was a linguist, but cryptography was more his sister's specialty. On the other hand, he had studied bio-mechanics. Examining the Breen 'computer', the Science Officer finally deduced how it functioned. "Fascinating." He said. "Ensign, I believe I have discovered how this 'computer' works. If I am incorrect, please inform Nurse Washington." He told her. He then put on the Breen helmet he was carrying and grabbed the two larger tentacles.

"Okay," replied Nikki as she opened her toolkit and pulled out a plasma cutter. The "computer" reminded her of something from a cheesy holo-program that she had seen. The program, of course, didn't end too well for the main antagonist, who was dragged into the tank and drowned by his horrific creation. Nikki reasoned that with a plasma cutter in hand, she might be able to make sashimi out of the creature before it dragged her or Jason to their deaths.

As Jason made contact with the tentacles, the liquid in the tank began sloshing around, foaming up and preventing her from getting a good glimpse at what sort of Lovecraftian horror lay beneath the surface. Nikki herself became sick to her stomach; the vision of the tentacles put her off eating sushi anytime soon.

Jason gritted his teeth against the pain as his mind tried to cope data entering his brain.

Nikki cautiously crept closer to Jason, tightening her grip on the plasma cutter. "Ummmm, you okay, Lieutenant?" she asked, keeping her eyes on the tentacles.

Suddenly Jason let go of the tentacles and lifted the helmet from his head. He blinked a couple of times and took a few deep breaths. Seeing Nikki brandishing the plasma cutter. "Oh, I am fine, Ensign. I just miss calibrated the helmet." Under his breath, he said. "Thank you, Sovar." Sovar was the monk who had taught him meditation and mental techniques, on the Science officer's last trip to Vulcan following his fiancee's death.

"Hmmmmm..." started Nikki, still quivering and holding her improvised weapon. "Are you sure this is safe?"

"I believe so. Anyway I have the data we need." Jason replied.

"Good," replied Nikki before breathing a sigh of relief. "I'm not in the mood for sushi anyways," she added, her face having long since turned green at the sigh of the tentacled horror still sloshing around in the tank. "So... what next?"

"We find what the Breen use for a PADD and use the data I have discovered. Ensign." Jason replied.

"One sec..." Reaching into her bag, she fumbled around for a bit and pulled out what looked like a Starfleet PADD and square Breen device mashed together with console tape and randomly coloured bits of wire. "They use the left gloves on their suits as input devices. It's quite ingenious, but I didn't think any of us can master becoming a Breen typist within a few days, so I rigged this thing up. Should work just like you're used to"

"Thank you, Ensign." Jason with a blink-and-you'd-miss-it smile as he accepted Nikki's jury rigged device. He then got to work forging the required documents. "What do you think of the name Kolot?"

"Boy or girl?" asked Nikki in response.

"Girl,it is going to be the CO's alias." Jason replied.

"Hmmmmm, not too bad," replied Nikki, going deep into thought as to what she might name her first child. "It does sound Breenish..."
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Re: Mission 9: "Cold Case"

Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:28 am

Jailbreak, Part One
Authors: Alenis Meru, Jason Beauviour, Tyrlai Zade, Arthur Reynolds.

Breen Freighter


On the bridge of the freighter, all were quiet as the ship slowed down and dropped out of warp. Everyone knew what they had to do, and were busy keeping up the illusion that they were there simply to pick up some ore. For a moment, the bridge was silent as they waited to see if they would be met with disruptor fire or not. Then, a chime rang in all the helmets, alerting the crew to an incoming transmission.

For a brief moment, Meru let it ring. The coming seconds would determine whether they would have a fighting chance of busting Tim out of jail, or "Jason, you're our linguist..." she started, telling him to answer it.

Jason nodded his helmeted head, answered the call and in his best Breen explained that they were the freighter Relga under the command of Captain Kolot here to pick up the ore shipment.

After a moment they requested their documents. Jason sent the forgery and hoped for the best.

Tense minutes later the reply came. They were allowed entry. The Science Officer held up his thumb to indicate to Meru that they'd made it, as the Breen port authority explained the docking procedures.

"We're in," said Meru to the bridge crew as she spotted the large docking bay come into view on the slowly rotating asteroid that was home to the slave labour camp. The runabout would hopefully be following them, not too far behind and cloaked to stay safe. "Helm, take us in slowly, not to attract too much attention. The rest of us had better lock and load."



Meanwhile, on the runabout...


Inside a cloaked runabout in Breen space, Nikki tried desperately to control her breathing and keep her hyperventilation in check. Not only was the stress of the mission getting to her, but the fact that she knew she would be relied upon -- again -- to get everyone out of there with the transporter made her nervous. The lives of the crew would be in her hands once more, and the fear that she might crack under pressure was causing her to be on the verge of a panic attack.

"The freighter is maneuvering towards the docking bay now," she called out. "Looks like captain's the ruse may have worked..."

Tyrlai put her feet up on the edge of the copilots station and took a drink of steaming Kolu. "I may have missed the planning meeting, what was the plan again?"

"Wait patiently for the crew to knock out the shields and rescue the commander, then beam them up and get out of here." Nikki paused for a moment to take a couple deep breaths as she glanced back at the cloaking device jury-rigged into the runabout's systems. "I just hope this cloaking device holds out..."

"Just focus on the transport, Ensign." It wasn't like Arthur to use rank in referring to someone, but underneath that concentrated exterior, he felt just as nervous as she did. He just focused on his console enough that it wouldn't get in the way. "I'll handle the cloak."

But it wasn't so much the mission that made him nervous. It was what it could entail...

Tyrlai looked over at Arthur as he spoke and for a few moments afterward as he fidgeted and overconcentrated. She had spent years on the Soranus counseling the least well-adjusted group of officers she'd ever seen. So she knew what she was seeing in Arthur, there was something important he wasn't telling. But she barely knew anything about Arthur, she wasn't even completely sure his name was Arthur. There was Meru and Tim and Sara and the rest of them kind of blurred together. She went with the ships councilor standby and pretended she knew everything. "Is there anything I need to know about here, Lieutenant?"

At first, Arthur said nothing. He didn't think it appropriate to get into any long-winded explanation this late into the mission. They didn't exactly have the time. But just as Tyrlai noticed Arthur's discomfort, Arthur recognized when a superior absolutely expected an answer. If he didn't give one, he'd never hear the end of it. On the other hand, maybe he could deflect her question entirely...

"It's nothing that can't wait." But, of course, it wouldn't be Arthur if he wasn't digging himself into a hole: "Just a hunch."

"Mmm hmm." Tyrlai had heard variations of 'I don't want to talk about it' several times before. Given the situation it was understandable. It was the last thing they really needed to be discussing or at least one of the last things. They could be going over contingencies, 'what to do if's, planning responses to different outcomes. The plan didn't seem to be up to Tyrlai's normal standards and that wasn't exactly the highest bar in Starfleet, so contingencies would most likely be needed. So that was definitely what they should be discussing.

"It's just that you seem to be tangentially unsettled. Something not specifically related to the task at hand. Believe me, I know how that feels."

Again, Arthur's only response at first was silence. It wasn't so he'd have time to think over what he'd say. On the contrary, he wanted to say nothing. But knowing that Tyrlai had shown concern made him wonder. "Have you ever thought about death, commander?" Although he'd directed his rhetorical question toward her, it sounded more like he was talking to himself. "I never gave it any thought until today."

Tyrlai checked her displays, it would be embarrassing to go so introspective as to miss the extraction. Trans-species psychology could get tricky, especially when the stakes were seemingly greater for the other. Still, honesty was always mandatory. "It's a little different for me I expect. I've died at least twenty times, and there's some ancillary temporal evidence that I have at least ten more to go. What brings you to these considerations today?"

Arthur let out a chuckle and shook his head. "Dunno. Maybe I just got out of the wrong side of the bed." Whether he could answer Tyrlai or not, Arthur wouldn't divulge anything. He'd made a promise to the captain and wasn't about to break it. "The cloaking field is running smoothly." A pause followed, long enough for him to think of an answer if Tyrlai thought to press the matter. "Guess I finally realized how lucky I've been all these years. Don't know how long I can keep it up."

"Luck doesn't exist," interjected Nikki, glancing up from the console she was monitoring. "Reality is simply a series of collapsing probability wave functions, with each discrete probability representing one universe in a near-infinite multiverse. Our reality is simply one of those many, many multitudes of universes, which, of course begs the question as to whether we actually have free will, or whether our actions are predetermined by..."

Trailing off, she looked up at Arthur and Tyrlai. "Sorry."

"Nothing to apologize for." Arthur looked nonplussed, continuing to monitor the cloak very carefully... as if he expected something to go wrong. "I did some digging on the subject last night. If a near-infinite multiverse exists, there'd always be one where we survive until the end of time." He reflected on that, but not so much as to miss anything on his display. "It's called quantum immortality. The idea that we never die." Then he glanced over at the Trill in a moment of wonder before facing his console again. "If luck doesn't exist because of that, neither does death.

"So why doesn't that comfort me?"

Tyrlai smirked. "Because obviously if one of us is going to live forever, it's going to be me." She patted him on the shoulder in mock consolation.

At her answer, Arthur hid a smile by looking back down at the console to his side. He appreciated Tyrlai lightening the mood a little, even if only for a moment. He didn't need that storm cloud hanging over him during this mission anyway. Especially if it would be his last...



To be continued…
Commander Timothy Andrew Rouse
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Re: Mission 9: "Cold Case"

Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:36 am

Jailbreak, Part Two
Authors: Jason Beauvoir, Marcus Kallan, Alenis Meru, Arthur Reynolds, Ash Sullivan, Breen Guards by Alenis Meru and Tricia MacGanna by Tyrlai Zade.

Last time on the Portland:
"So why doesn't that comfort me?"

Tyrlai smirked. "Because obviously if one of us is going to live forever, it's going to be me." She patted him on the shoulder in mock consolation.

At her answer, Arthur hid a smile by looking back down at the console to his side. He appreciated Tyrlai lightening the mood a little, even if only for a moment. He didn't need that storm cloud hanging over him during this mission anyway. Especially if it would be his last...




Breen prison mining facility

Inside the command center, the warden paced back and forth behind his communications officer. The freighter scheduled to pick up their latest shipment of ore had docked successfully, but was no longer responding to any hails or opening their cargo bay doors to receive the shipment. Further, an apparent radiation leak had prevented them from scanning the interior of the vessel. "Resend instructions," he called out, growing frustrated with Captain Kolot.

The communications officer resent his message, instructing the freighter to open their cargo bay doors and prepare to receive the shipment. After a few moments of non-response, a small man-sized hatch on the freighter opened and a small ramp automatically deployed.

"Gather some guards, and send in an armed boarding party. See if they need assistance."



Breen Freighter

Several minutes later, eight Breen guards barged into the dark, mysterious freighter. With a wave of the hand, the leader commanded them to activate the flashlights on their weapons. Waving their flashlights everywhere, the guards slowly made their way to the bridge of the freighter. Here, they could see evidence of activity -- control helmets sitting on consoles, etc., but no one to be found.

Suddenly, they heard a clatter across the bridge. No later than had their flashlights aimed in the direction of the clatter, did several figures leap out of the shadows. Getting the jump on them, an athletic Bajoran woman swung the butt of her disruptor rifle against the back of the neck of one of the guards.

Jason aimed his CRM 114 at the lead Breen and said. "Good day, Gentlemen, I must insist you drop your weapons. I do not want to make a mess of your commander, but I will if I have to."

The highest ranking Breen, one with a slightly more ornate uniform, froze as he stared down the barrel of a CRM 114. At such close rage, a weapon like that would surely turn everyone on the bridge into a red mist. The kind of person who would threaten them with that sort of thing was either insane, suicidal, or bluffing.

"You wouldn't," replied the commander in a series of beeps and whirrs emanating from his helmet, as he held his disruptor carbine tightly as one of his companions slowly stood up from the floor.

"You are correct." Jason said lowing his weapon. Then after looking at the other crew present, he added. "TeddyBear."

Before the Breen boarding party could wonder at his last word, they found themselves stuck to the ceiling. The Starfleet Officers were standing on the deck beneath them, as they had all activated their magnetic boots before, Jason's order had reversed the freighter's gravity plating.

They were then able to easily stun the Breen.

=/\= "This has to be the dumbest codeword you've ever used, Jason," =/\= Marcus said over comms. =/\= "Artificial gravity is at nominal reverse polarity. Slowly increasing to 50% above normal to ensure our stunned guests can't move. Also starting to remove their non-essential technology via transporter -- program initiating." =/\= And with that, individual weapons and pieces of tech began to vanish into transporter particles.

For a split second, Meru flicked her boots off and on again, doing a forward flip in midair to land on the ceiling of the room. Pressing a couple buttons on her wrist, she commanded the ship's computer to reactivate the environmental controls to their factory presets. As she stepped closer, she saw the commander trying to stand up and stopped that by placing one foot on his wrist. "I'm afraid we'll also need your suits. But don't worry; I can leave the air conditioning on for you..."



Prison Facility

Leaving the bridge of the Breen vessel, several of the guards returned to a security station at the loading docks. Another guard stepped forward and, in a series of electronic noises which made up the Breen language, asked what they found on board.

"Everything is as it should be." Jason replied in the Breen language.

"And the crew?" asked the other guard. "Where are they? Why are they not responding?"

"They are having a problem with their communications array and are remaining a board to repair it." Jason replied.

"Noted," replied the senior guard, before leaning over and pressing a button on a microphone on his chest. "Security station Gamma checks out, begin loading procedure." The guard paused for a moment, sizing up the team he had sent in. Something seemed off, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. "Password forty-seven gamma?" he asked, looking in Jason's direction.

Jason sighed, drew his sidearm and shot the senior guard. "Boring conversation anyway." He said as aimed his weapon at the other guards.

Seeing their commander fall to the ground, one of the guards attempted to level his disruptor carbine at Jason, but before he could pull the trigger, he was hit with a burst of fire, sending him back into the wall. The other was knocked out before he could even unholster his weapon. "So much for subtlety," mused Meru, as she pulled out her tricorder, trying to get a bead on any human lifesigns in the prison. "Let's move; I don't want to stick around a moment later than I have to. Team A on me, Team B on Lieutenant Sullivan."

Jason followed Meru as the ventured deeper into the complex. twice they had met security and Jason had managed to talk his way past them.



Team B

Ensign Tricia MacGann checked the target building through her tactical display once again. She clutched the small medallion of her family's ancient crest and tucked it back into her jerkin. She looked over at her superiors, her ponytail flipping behind her as her head moved and patted a case strapped to her hip. "I brought photonic rockets, want me to breach the exterior wall? Might be able to just crack the generator open from here." She grinned at the prospect and hoped for a nice display of flashy colors and mid-level radioactivity.

Ash had carefully studied the scans of the facility before landing and had a very good idea of where the shield generator was located. Still it was an unfamiliar location and this mission was incredibly important. "I like your enthusiasm ensign, but let's keep things as quiet as we can for the time being." He responded as he led the group to the generator room. As they walked he added, "We don't want to draw attention to ourselves until they've found Commander Rouse and we're ready to beam out."

Marcus followed behind the eager Ensign and the Security Chief, a satchel of a variety of devices he was able to bring with him before the mission started - a Federation engineer's kit and a tricorder - and whatever else he was able to salvage from the freighter. "Actually, a photonic rocket is exactly what I need," he said, following his tricorder readings and looking around. "Ensign, can you pull the safety circuit from your launcher? Make sure to disarm the weapon first. I have an idea." Glancing to Ash, he asked, "Ever see ancient Earth pulp movie 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'? The last bit, with the bad animatronic face-melting."

"I can't say that I have but I think I know what you're getting at." Ash replied as they walked.

McGann looked down at her launcher with a little trepidation hit the release button on the armed charge to set it to neutral. "I, um..." She said tentatively biting her lip a little, "I, uh, lost the safety circuit. I completely meant to look for it earlier but It slipped my mind with all the preparation hubub." She handed the launcher over. "I promise it's not because it fires faster and more accurately and with a greater yield without the safety circuit. It just pops out sometimes when jostled." Tricia explained, knowing full well it took like four express hand movements to pop it loose.

As the team rounded the last corner leading to the generator they were met with an unfortunate, though not entirely unexpected site. The shield generator was housed in a self-contained building separate to the main facility and was protected by a large security door and reinforced titanium walls. Ash let out a sigh, "Lieutenant Kallan, before we start trying to blast our way through, do you think you can work some of your computer magic on this door?"

"I'll try." Marcus tucked the amber circuit into his waistband and produced a circular device with some sort of actuator handle. He approached the computer with the device and his tricorder. After a few seconds, a few green Borg-like symbols flashed on the door panel, and there was the click of a magnetic release. "Good news is the door's open," Marcus said, stashing his nanoprobe habitat. "Bad news is that they'll figure it out in about four minutes."

"Right let's get inside and wait for word from the others." Ash said drawing his weapon up and heading into the generator room.

"I have a magnetic shatter charge" Tricia offered hopefully patting a pouch at her ribs. "They say it can breach a Viidian thunderwall." She seemed to be working out the details as she went. "We might have to rig a timer and make a run for it."


to be continued....
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Re: Mission 9: "Cold Case"

Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:40 am

Jailbreak, Part Three
Authors: Emmony Safford, Sera Williams, Timothy Rouse, Alenis Meru and Jason Beauvoir

Last time on the Portland:
"Right let's get inside and wait for word from the others." Ash said drawing his weapon up and heading into the generator room.

"I have a magnetic shatter charge" Tricia offered hopefully patting a pouch at her ribs. "They say it can breach a Viidian thunderwall." She seemed to be working out the details as she went. "We might have to rig a timer and make a run for it."



Escapees

They were through, the last bit of softened concrete fell through the hole as Sera kicked. The hole they had started seemingly forever ago was finally large enough for the motley crew to fit through. "Let's go," she whispered loudly to Tim and Emmony. The plan was to jump into the pipe, pull the washing machine to cover their hole, and make a break for freedom.

"Ladies first," replied Tim, holding the debris aside for Emmony. He knew that if this were a mining station, there would have to be transports coming by sooner or later to resupply the station or pick up the ore. If they could escape through these pipes, they might be able to make it to the shipping area and sneak aboard a freighter. Or perhaps get a message out to Starfleet about the existence of this prison camp.

Emmony took a deep breath, following Sera into the hole. Tim was the last to go, covering their escape with the washing machine before turning around to follow Sera, who was already clambering towards freedom. "I don't suppose you have a map, do you?"

Sera shook her head slightly. "Warmer are is bad, if we run into a cool breeze, we're going the right way" she pointed out. "Let's hope we don't bump into a guard or that Nausican doesn't wake up too soon."

"Sounds like a plan," replied Tim, crawling up behind Emmony as they were sneaking through the pipes. He know if they were caught, they would be in for a world of pain. Perhaps another neural spike, or worse. "I'm really getting sick and tired of that Nausicaan."



Team A

Staring down at the tricorder, Meru's frustration was getting the better of her. There was too much radiation to isolate any individual lifesigns, which meant there was no easy way to track Tim down. And they didn't have time to go looking. She sighed deeply as she smacked her tricorder.

"Maybe we should try scanning for something other than life signs." Jason suggested.

"That's it..." she mused, coming up with an idea. "If he still has it... there has to be a mining scanner around here... let's try scanning for Europium..."

Detecting some puzzled body language from Jason and Sylok, Meru took a breath and decided to explain. "It's his wedding band. I helped pick it out; it has a pure Europium core, encased in platinum. Europium is just rare enough that we might be able to find him... if he's still wearing it..."

"An interesting idea, Europium is indeed extremely rare and it is doubtful there will any other than in that ring." Jason said. He then reached into a pouch on his suit, pulled out a hand-sized scanning device and handed it to Meru. "I found it in a tool kit and thought it might be useful." He explained.

"You're a lifesaver, Jason," replied Meru as she quickly calibrated the scanner for Europium. "Hmmmm, I'm detecting a small, concentrated amount, moving slowly, but it's not in any of the general population areas. "Hopefully he had the same idea that we did..."

"Thanks, Cap. I'm sure he did." Jason said sounding more hopeful than he felt.



Escapees

"Ok, here it goes," Tim said after taking over the lead of their group. He pushed his shoulder against the small blockage in front of them. Bursting through out of the pipes, with two woman right behind him. As she stood up he noticed the room wasn't empty. The light he suddenly found himself in turned out to come out of the head light of a Breen prison guard. He let out a loud swear as he tried to shield the woman with his body, waiting for the disruptor fire to come.

One of the guards held up a hand. "Tim," the guard said, the tone of her voice muffled by the Breen combat suit.

"Well, I'll be damned. You're suppose to be dead." Tim said, still trying to make sense of it all. One second he was expecting death to come and next he was seeing people that were suppose to be dead.

With that, Meru pulled the helmet off her head and took a deep breath. Underneath, her dark hair was ruffled and "You of all people should know that that won't stop me," she added, before offering Tim a familiar smile. It was then that she saw Sera and another human behind him. "Sera? I don't..." Shaking her head, she pulled out a Breen disruptor pistol and handed it handle-first to Tim. "You do remember how to use one of these, right?"

"Meru, Is she alright?" he asked his friend as he took the rifle and checked its power supply.

"Ellen?" asked Meru. "She's fine... a little shaken up, but fine. Let's catch up later; I've got a runabout waiting and with any luck, Ash and Marcus will be bringing down the shield any minute now."

"Oh, right, sorry," Tim studdered. Relieved Ellen was ok. "Emmory meet Captain Alenis, Captain, meet Emmory, she got us out of here."

"It's my pleasure; I'm sure we've got room for one more," replied Meru, looking at the confused younger woman in front of her.

"Hey, Commander." Jason said still in his Breen suit.

Tim looked at the other Breen. Trying to determine who the other crew member was. Meres was easy, a woman's tone of voice was easy to recognise among all the male Breen. And Meru was the only woman he could think of doing this. But the other man.
"Thank you for rescuing me," He said, still having no idea who he was.

Realising the Commander had no idea how he was, Jason said. "it is Lieutenant Beauvoir, sir."

Tim couldn't help but smile a bit. "Lieutenant, good to see you." He looked around him to see what way could go. "Shall we go? Which way,"

Jason held up his right fore-finger as if testing the air currents. He then said. "This way." and indicated west.

Meru nodded and pressed a button on the wrist of her suit. "We've found him; Lieutenant Sullivan, Lieutenant Kallan, please tell me that you've got the shield under control?"


to be continued...
Commander Timothy Andrew Rouse
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Re: Mission 9: "Cold Case"

Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:49 am

**BACKPOST**
Future's Past
Before the jailbreak
Arthur Reynolds & Alenis Meru


Neither of them budged an inch. They sat on different sides of the forcefield, each glaring at the other. While Arthur had tried questioning his future self, the latter just as easily deflected each question with one of his own. Now here they were, nearly an hour later and less than twenty minutes from their ETA. Part of Arthur, the one who sat outside the prison cell on a crate that acted as a makeshift chair, wished he'd vaporized the shuttle as soon as they'd detected it. At least then he could focus on the mission, rather than be distracted with dead ends like this.

Moments earlier, Arthur called for the captain via a subtle message through his comm badge. He didn't want to alert the crew to anything. The less they knew about this, the better. Alenis, however, needed to know. If she was right...

"You're thinking about her, aren't you? About what she said." Younger Arthur tried his best not to let any surprise show, but it should've been obvious. His future self had probably sat exactly where he was now. Even if some things were different. "I once asked her if I should stay in Starfleet or not. It was just before the mission that got her killed. Know what she said to me?" Silence, though only for a moment. "If you run far enough, eventually you'll be back where you started. Galaxy's round." This just made his present-day self grit his teeth in frustration, prompting a subdued chuckle from the other. "You may not like it, but no matter how hard you run, you can't escape gravity."

As the elder Arthur finished his tale, the door to the cargo bay opened. Straightening her tunic as she strolled in, Meru offered her tactical officer a nod as she made her way to the makeshift prison cell. "Good afternoon, Arthur," she said in a deadpan tone. "Arthur," she repeated, this time staring the elder Arthur in the eye, acknowledging his presence.

Quietly, the present Arthur stood when the captain stepped in and started back toward the door. "You wanted to talk to him." He glanced over his shoulder and added in a whisper utterly laced in frustration. "I can't get anything out of him."

"Captain," Arthur's elder acknowledged Meru's presence with an insincere simulacrum of Starfleet decor and propriety. He'd noticed her look, and couldn't help but wonder why she'd bothered to show at all. "Admiral Washington seemed to think you being alive would change the timeline." Shrugging curtly, this Arthur took a step closer to the forcefield and matched her gaze. "What he and the rest of Starfleet fail to realize is you were already alive. Here. In this timeline." A simple glance at his surroundings confirmed that. But then he had a distant look in his eye. Not one of nostalgia or desire, but of... regret? He wasn't homesick, that's for sure. "Frankly, I think he made a big fuss over nothing."

"I'm more worried your presence in this timeline," countered Meru, trying without much success to read Arthur's body movements. "Breen space isn't exactly a popular vacation spot, and as you can imagine, I really don't want to have to deal with paperwork from DTI again."

"Then let me save you the trouble." 'Future' Arthur glowered, though the true meaning behind his gaze imperceptible. "Let me go."

"I'm afraid I can't do that," replied Meru, returning the glower. "At least, not until I figure out what you're doing here... and now."

Grumbling to himself, the far more elderly Arthur put his hands behind him in an effort to calm his nerves. It hardly worked. "You want to know why I'm here? Why don't you try asking the lieutenant?" His eyes flickered over to his youthful counterpart, who looked more restless than annoyed at this point. "He already told you why he was assigned to the Portland in the first place, correct? Did he also mention how the data contained information from Starfleet Intelligence on the Breen? Because that seems like a big oversight for my astute, younger self to make, wouldn't you say?"

"I only learned about the Breen connection a while ago," present Arthur hastily admitted. "The Yridian ship that stole it passed through Breen space. I don't know what's on it."

"For me, it was my future's past." Older Arthur now shifted his focus from Alenis to the young man he'd once been. "For you, nothing."

"Explain," called out Meru, glancing over at the younger Arthur for a moment before glaring back at the elder Arthur.

"Quid pro quo, captain." Arthur's future raised a finger and smirked knowingly. "I'll cut a deal with you. Let me out of this cell, and I'll tell you everything you want to know." Then his smile disappeared. "Leave me here, and you may as well kill me."

Meru shook her head. "I'm afraid I can't do that," she replied in a deadpan tone. "I've seen the future, or at least the possible version of it that you come from. Having you running around, altering this timeline, is not a risk I'm willing to take."

Gray-haired Arthur scoffed and rolled his eyes. With his hands on his hips, he briefly turned to look at the bulkhead before facing Meru again. "What would I do? Do you honestly think I'd kill you? Make your crew experience that all over again?" Shaking his head, he finally crossed his arms and stood directly in front of her, only the forcefield between them. His voice lowered to almost a whisper, weighed down by a threatening tone. "If I wanted to kill you, I had plenty of opportunities. If I wanted to kill myself, I'd have done that too." He glanced over Meru's shoulder at his present-day counterpart, who'd started prowling back and forth as if he were the lion stuck in a cage. "That's not why I'm here."

"Then why?" countered Meru, standing tall in front of the force field. She knew he was hiding something; his defensive tone and body language told her that much.

"Tell our mutual little friend there to go scrub a conduit or bug the Vulcan." A soft, almost imperceptible chuckle escaped him, gone almost as soon as it came. He really loved torturing that poor Vulcan. "You want to know what I know? Ditch the lieutenant. Then I'll talk."

Meru stared into the elder Arthur's eyes for a moment, evaluating his proposal. After a couple seconds, she glanced over her shoulder at his younger counterpart and sighed. "Lieutenant, a little privacy, please?"

At first, Arthur wanted to protest. Why shouldn't he be able to hear what his older self was up to? After all, he'd gone through all the trouble of finding and capturing him. He'd even withstood his first instinct: to silently be rid of the troublemaking time-traveler. But Meru asked him to trust her, especially given what she knew. And, despite all his reservations, he knew he owed her that much. Without a word, he did as he was asked.

As soon as the door whooshed shut, Meru tugged on her tunic and looked back at the elder Arthur. "You know, the prophets warned me about you. They said I had to keep him from becoming like you."

"Interesting," older Arthur quipped in an almost flippant manner. "Why would the Prophets care? I thought they were only concerned with Bajor." Before she could answer, he narrowed his eyes. "But more importantly, captain... why do you care?"

"Why does a shepherd care about her flock?" countered Meru, raising an eyebrow at the question. After pausing for a moment to analyze his response, Meru continued. "I'm not sure who your employers are, but it doesn't sound like bog-standard Starfleet Intelligence. And I get the feeling that you aren't too thrilled with them either."

"Not thrilled?" Arthur started to laugh and pace around his cell a bit before dignifying the captain with a response. "Why wouldn't I be thrilled to work for all that's good in the Federation? Why shouldn't I enjoy watching every last person I ever cared for die because my Starfleet masters told me I was doing what's necessary?" Finally, he took a step toward the forcefield and focused his almost maddened gaze on Meru. "I don't much care whether or not you're the Emissary himself, I'm not simply a sheep whose wool you can pull over their eyes." His eyes glazed over and he looked away, silent for a moment. He had to get his thoughts back on track... but not before getting in the last word. "I won't be fooled again."

Meru sighed for a moment before turning and strolling over to an empty crate, placing it in front of the makeshift cell. Having a feeling that she was going to be there for a long time, she took a seat. "Well, if you want to keep talking in riddles, I've got all day."

Arthur didn't speak again for a time. Years of bottling up his thoughts and feelings made it a lot easier than it was for his younger self. Maybe it was one of the positives of his growing old. No more sounding like an unscrewed bottle of angst getting stains all over the carpet. After all, words could only do so much. He had to take action. "I had to..." He mumbled at almost a whisper, followed by a stolid gaze at the stranger he'd barely known. "That boy out there's trying to be what I'm not! He has a future." His eyes and face fell. "I don't. Not anymore."

Detecting a crack in his stiff exterior, Meru decided to press her advantage. "And I'm trying to keep that future intact," she stated, looking through the force field at the elder Arthur.

That gave him pause, if only for his heart to catch in his throat. Even though he'd never known the captain like the lieutenant, he could sense her conviction. It baffled him; a reaction clearly apparent in the way he looked like a kindergartner trying to understand advanced calculus. But rather than question her about it further, he simply muttered, "So am I..."

Arthur finally leaned back against the wall of his cell and crossed his arms. For what might've seemed an eternity, he said nothing, rather deciding to stare off into the distance. When he did speak, it was with a low and measured voice. "After this is over... you need to let him go."

Meru sighed and took a deep breath. "We've both seen the future," she said, after taking a moment to ponder the elder Arthur's request. "From what I can tell, I'm the only thing different in this timeline. If you don't want him to follow the same path, then I'm the only one who can stop him."

"If you're here, in Breen space, then nothing's changed." Arthur bowed his head. "He's already met Kesuma. Section 31's got their teeth in him now. And if you pull... he'll be torn apart." A moment later, he looked back at her, pleading, "Please, captain. Don't let him make the same mistake I did."

"Kesuma? Section 31?" asked Meru, pulling at these little threads. In her heart she knew she couldn't keep him close and watch over Arthur forever. "Fine," she said, "but I want to know what's going on, starting with this Section 31 or whatever."

Arthur gave a false chuckle, as if trying to convince himself that Meru had said something funny. Nothing could be further from the truth. "It's a long story." He explained how Kesuma recruited him. The Bajoran was a former Kohn Ma-turned-Syndicate operative. As a child, Arthur met him once before being sent to the mines on Vem'ir. "Even after all that time, he still remembered me.

"Section 31 isn't the best kept secret in the Federation. Not since the Dominion War." They stayed low, but not enough to avoid being uncovered by the likes of Benjamin Sisko during the war. An illegal intelligence organization in the same vein as the Tal Shiar or the Obsidian Order. Though how much of it was a true organization depended on whether one might call the Bajoran resistance a single group. "Their recruitment tactics are simple. Once they say you're an agent, you're an agent. Whether you like it or not." He frowned. "From that point on, your life is in their hands. They can mould it, captain, like clay. By the time you realize what's going on, they make you do something you'll regret for the rest of your life."

It was the same story he'd regaled Timothy with the day his younger self had sent in his letter of resignation. Kesuma found him on the planet where they stole the freighter. Arthur got his help in exchange for a meeting with one of his operatives on Trill. From there, he learned he'd been chosen to join Section 31. All of it right before their mission into Breen space.

To say that Meru was shocked would be an understatement. Until now, the idea that there would be a secret organization, accountable to no one, engaging in these sort of unethical cloak and dagger activities under the umbrella of Starfleet would be unthinkable. To her, the Federation, and Starfleet in particular, was a paragon of virtue among the stars. Not having this sort of secret society was one of the things that differentiated the Federation from the Cardassians or the Breen.

And yet, it all made sense. The dark shroud following Arthur in the prophets' vision, and the fact that his tale was simply too much to weave together on the spot, even for a trained intelligence agent. It offended her sense of justice that this sort of organization would exist.

He could've bored her with a long tale of his past, of the main event that led to his decision to leave the future and change the past. But he didn't. He'd never grown close to the Portland's crew, so unlike them, he didn't care whether Meru lived or died. "Take it like this, captain. I didn't know you. Not personally. But you're not the only one in this timeline who wasn't in mine." He looked away. "I'm here."

Knowing full well she'd rather get to the point, hoping not to relive any visions of Timothy or anyone else mourning her death, Arthur filled in the blanks. "You can stand up to them, captain. Section 31 knows you're here. But you'd be risking your life and crew for just one man." So, he made his proposal: "Despite all the help you've given him - all the help he's had from generous people over the years... Section 31 will undo all of it. But I won't. I'm not going to let years of his life go to waste. I know who ruined my life. I know what data the Yridians stole from Deep Space 6. And now, I'm the only one who can help him." His eyes wandered to the door his younger self had disappeared through earlier.

"My shuttle can make one more journey," he explained. "I'll make sure the Yridians don't get away with that data in the first place. At least then, 31 won't touch him." Then he looked at Meru, just as determined as Timothy had been once he'd made his plan to change history... for her. "Let me take him back with me. After he's made sure the cloak is working on the runabout, I'll beam him out when it fails. You can say the Breen took him, killed him... whatever it takes." He grew quiet long enough for Meru to consider it, but added one last whisper. "But if you weren't here, I wouldn't be."

Meru sighed and stood up from the crate she was sitting on. For a moment, she held her head in her hands, unsure of what to do. She had promised to look after Arthur, but if his future self was right, it was too late. "I don't suppose you've seen it fit to include him in this plan," she replied, motioning towards the door.

Arthur looked caught off guard and started to look away. He put his hand up over his mouth for a moment and wandered toward the back wall, deep in thought. After a while, he crossed his arms, lowered his head, and spoke in a weary, cracked voice showing his age. "I don't know." He went silent for a few moments before looking back at her. "What do I tell him? That his future's already decided? That there's nothing he can do to change it?"

Again, he took one step toward the field between him and Meru. "He can come with me to the past, captain, but we'll only be saving the life of one Arthur in a multiverse of trillions... or more. Neither of us can live the sort of life we'd always dreamed of."

His voice began hushed, slowly increasing in volume with growing passion until it hit a grandiose crescendo of anger, sadness and confusion. "When I chose to turn against them, Section 31 made me choose between detonating a shuttle full of people... or killing my wife. They made me abandon our daughter and never see her again. All of that happens in the next two years.

"Your lieutenant doesn't have to experience that. I can't erase his past, but at least I can save his future. If you make the choice." Arthur finally lowered himself onto whatever passed for a cot in the rickety old cell and stared at his feet. "I don't know what the prophets told you. Hell, I can't be sure I even believe in them any more than you must believe me. The whole idea of a race of powerful beings who can see through time... it scares the living hell out of me." Then he raised his head and looked Meru in the eye. "But if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here... and neither would you.

"Arthur won't believe. He can't. Because, if he does, he has to acknowledge the fact that there are some things out of his control." He paused to swallow the lump that had been growing in his throat the whole time. "And that's a fact he's yet to learn."

Pausing for a moment, Meru carefully considered the offer. In spite of everything that they had both been through across multiple timelines and multiple universes, there was something about the Arthur that she knew in the old man in front of her. A certain sincerity to his actions.

"I'm sure there is a crypic, possibly mistranslated, ancient Bajoran proverb that would apply in this situation. Unfortunately, I can't think of one." Standing up, Meru took a deep breath and straightened her tunic. "What do you need?"

Arthur matched her pause, though in his case, it was because he'd felt his heart skip a beat. He didn't honestly expect Meru to help him. She'd hardly even known his younger self that long. But thankful as he was, he didn't linger on this surprise for long.

"Lower the forcefield. Let me get to my shuttle." His eyes wandered toward the door again. "But first... try and convince him to speak with me." He looked back at Meru with a lopsided frown. "We've got a lot of work to do."
Capt. Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
USS Portland

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Timothy Rouse
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Re: Mission 9: "Cold Case"

Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:06 am

Jailbreak, Part Four
Authors: Timothy Rouse, Alenis Meru, Jason Beauvoir, Tyrlai Zade, Arthur Reynolds, Ash Sullivan, Nikki Barclay by Alenis Meru and Tricia MacGann by Tyrlai Zade.

Last time on USS Portland

Tim couldn't help but smile a bit. "Lieutenant, good to see you." He looked around him to see what way could go. "Shall we go? Which way,"

Jason held up his right fore-finger as if testing the air currents. He then said. "This way." and indicated west.

Meru nodded and pressed a button on the wrist of her suit. "We've found him; Lieutenant Sullivan, Lieutenant Kallan, please tell me that you've got the shield under control?"


Now the continuation:

Team B

Having made it through the security door and into the shield generator facility, Ash, Marcus and Tricia were faced with surprisingly little resistance. Only a handful of security personnel and technicians were inside, which Ash and Tricia made light work of. They had just located the control console when the captains' voice rang out over the comms. Ash's reply was a succinct, "Standby captain."

"Looks like we won't have time to hack our way into this one Kallan." Ash said before turning to the somewhat trigger-happy ensign, "MacGann you still have those photon rockets?"

Tricia handed over the bag, photon rockets were significantly smaller than they became when you fired them.

"Good," Ash replied, "we're going to rig them up like charges. If you reverse the polarity of the propulsion coil and hard wire it to the ignition switch you can create a feedback loop that will give us about thirty seconds to get back outside once they're armed." He explained as he spread the rockets out on the floor in front of him and began pulling apart the nearest one. "Lieutenant Kallan, can you plant them in a standard concentric pattern around the generator core as we give them to you."

"Can do." As he began setting up the necessary equipment, he was humming softly to himself. It was the Indiana Jones theme.

Once all the charges were set in place Ash activated the comms again, "Captain shields will be down in 30 seconds and there's going to be a bit of a light show over here. We'll get as far from the blast as quickly as possible so the radiation doesn't interfere with our transporter signatures." Turning back to his team Ash spoke quickly, "Kallan, get out of here and make sure that door stays open for us. MacGann, you and I are going to arm half of these warheads each and then run like hell. Got it?"

"I'll set up the portable transporter pylon about thirty meters back, just beyond the door," Marcus said, and produced the safety chip and tossed it to Ash. "Time to open the Ark of the Covenant."

McGann pulled her handcomp out and established contact with the thirty some photon rockets. All of them responded, they organized automatically on her screen and a big green button appeared. Red was apparently the color for electronic fuses not counting done, but green seemed still wrong. She tilted her head a little and shrugged. "Ready when you are!"

"Light it up." No sooner than the words left Ash's lips the warheads were armed and he and McGann began a mad sprint for the door. "Pick it up!" Ash shouted as the pair of security officers began to gain on Marcus who was just passing through the outer doorway. As Marcus crossed the threshold, an alarm began blaring, flashing lights activated all around the generator facility and slowly, the security door through which the team had come began to slide closed. At the rate the door descended, Ash could tell it was going to be close and both he and McGann were going to need to give everything they had to make it through. All of this information raced through his mind but all he managed to shout was, "RUN!".



Team A

As the escapees, escorted by the Breen-suited crew of the Portland, made their way through the facility, they were suddenly rocked by a large explosion. her balance, Meru waved her crew and friends to form up tightly on her. "Ensign Barclay," she called out, pressing a button on her suit, as she heard some guards quickly approaching, "get us out of here."




The runabout


Hearing her captain's voice, Nikki quickly darted into action, her fingers darting across the control panel in a practiced way, searching for the two teams. She couldn't help but be relieved that they had heard from them again, given her fears that they too would be captured, but she pushed those thoughts aside as she focused on the task at hand. It was all on her right now.

Tyrlai activated defenses and warp coils, readying the little ship to run or fight as neccisay.

Taking a deep breath, she activated the transporter beam on one team and glanced at the back of the runabout, seeing Ash, Marcus and MacGann materialized. She smiled and turned back towards her console to retreive the others.




Team A

Firing her disruptor wildly at the approaching guards, Meru darted for cover along with the rest of the party. "Ensign Barclay, now would be a good time..."

"I can't understand how those Breen can work with these." Tim muttered after shooting a few rounds and getting back behind their cover.

"Everyone, cover your eyes." Jason ordered. He then threw a photon grenade at the Breen guards.

The first few fell to the deck, but they were quickly replaced. Jason fired his disruptor at the door control at the entrance of the corridor, causing the large heavy door to close in front of the Breen, cut off any reinforcements, but the still had to deal with those in the corridor.

Turning around Tim aimed his rifle and fired multiple shots, eliminating quite a number of Breen. "We need to get out of here!" he shouted above the weapons fire.

"I'm afraid I am all out of tricks." Jason said firing at the Breen again.

With her disruptor carbine jammed, Meru threw it to the ground angrily, before catching a glimpse of the CRM-114 at Jason's side. Quickly, she snatched the powerful weapon, and, with a hard smack, set the power cell to overload. "Take cover!" she shouted, as the power cell began emitting a high pitched whine. With all her might, she tossed it down the corridor and then fell to the ground. A second later, the room was shaken by the powerful blast. Her head and ears ringing, she could feel the faint warmth of a Federation transporter beam...



To be Continued...
Commander Timothy Andrew Rouse
Executive Officer
USS Portland

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