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...
(tag - Tyrlai/Nikki)
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."
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..."
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.
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."
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."
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..."
"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?"
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!"
tag - Ash
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."
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.
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.
"The weapons fire... it's messing with the targeting sensors," called out Nikki as she frantically tried to get a good lock. For a few seconds, she quickly recalibrated the transporter, likely setting a Starfleet record for doing so. "Energizing now," she called out as the runabout was washed with the blue glow of the transporter.
A few moments later, Nikki looked back to see the entire crew. Excited, she couldn't help herself from bounding out of her seat and wrapping her arms around Tim, giving him a big hug. "Commander! It's so good to see you!"
"Good to see you as well," He said as he stepped aside. "I hate to spoil the fun, but shouldn't we get out of here?"
"Of course," interjected Meru, before taking one quick glance around the runabout to make sure everyone was there. "Ms. Zade, set course for the rendezvous coordinates with the <i>Dresden</i>. With that, she turned towards Tim and smirked. "You knew I couldn't leave you behind, didn't you?" she asked.
The name of that ship sounded familiar, but he couldn't place it."Unconsciously I expected you to rescue me, even though I was told you were dead. Again." He looked around and was surprised not to see Ellen yet. She must have heard they were all back onboard. "Do you mind if I'll join you kn the bridge later? Assuming this thing has a bridge."
Tim in Medbay part (will go here when its finished)
A little while later, on the bridge of the runabout...
Having changed out of the Breen suit and finished a cup of tea, Meru had taken over on the bridge, giving Tyrlai and Arthur a much-earned break. She was alone in the small cockpit when the door behind her opened. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the colour of his prison uniform. "So, looks like the Breen aren't too happy. Judging by the long range sensor activity, they've scrambled half their fleet to find us."
He took one of the available seat in the cockpit and took a look at the displays Meru was talking about. "All that for me," Tim chuckled. "What's your plan now? There is no way we can take them on in this runabout. No matter how much luck you have on your side."
(tag - Meru)
OOC-T: Can you please use quote when tagging. That way I don't have to add back all the bold and highlights each time.
Second Officer / Diplomatic Officer