Away Mission Descends in to Chaos
Posted on Mon Apr 2nd, 2018 @ 11:13pm by Commodore Nilani Azulas & Commander Tara Neprem & Commander Audrid Kane & Lieutenant Commander Arnon Barak MD, PsyD & Lieutenant Naddia Yole & Lieutenant JG Lisa Creed & Master Warrant Officer Lucinda Ingham MD & Chief Petty Officer Dived Dumet
Episode 3: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Location: Planet's Surface
Piercing the silence and the dark of the science lab, Alpha Team led by the Captain began rematerializing after transport from the Nogura. Eventually, the blue hue of the transporter beam dissipated and several humanoids were all that was left behind. Lieutenant Raygi had been replaced by Ingham from his medical department with the other team at the last minute whilst the resident Cardassian from Engineering had joined Nilani's team.
The darkness surprised the Captain, the Trill expecting a much brighter hive of activity as was standard on Federation installations. It soon became quickly apparent that the darkness was caused by an absence of power.
“Okay people. Tricorders,” she called out, glancing around her team. They had arrived in the main Command section of the three level complex and were on the only one at surface level.
Arnon looked around, then walked over to a view port and looked out on the planet.
"Brave of them to come out here by themselves to terraform this place," he said. "It takes great emotional and psychological fortitude to work and thrive under these conditions."
Dived shifted uncomfortably in his tactical vest as he ran a series of scans with his TR-600 Tricorder Mark XII. The latest in Starfleet’s legendary mobile sensor device, it was a matter of mere seconds before it revealed that this entire deck was devoid of power. The comment from the Chief Councilor momentarily brought his attention from his task and prompted a barely audible response from him, “A man can do anything when survival depends on it.”
Without another word the Cardassian made his way to the nearest console and began overlooking a schematic of the base on his tricorder before running a detailed scan of his device. Once he was sure that this was the one that would best suit his task, he nervously turned to the Captain and addressed her in a shy tone. “With your permission Captain, I believe I can power up this console to hopefully get a better idea what is going on here.”
"Feel free to try," the Captain nodded as she took out her tricorder, scanning the nearby vicinity. "Odd," she declared. "Something is limiting the range of my tricorder to only a few meters. Anyone detecting anything?"
"No, I'm not getting much more than a few meters either," Tara confirmed as she worked on her tricorder. "And I'm not detecting any of the usual causes of sensor interference. Very odd," she remarked, moving closer to Nilani to compare tricorder results.
Dived completely missed the exchange as he had already dropped his engineering backpack and was now digging out the tools he will need to revive the dead console. He first used EJ-7 Interlock to remove the access panel to get a better idea of what he was dealing with. A quick examination with a Trident Scanner revealed it had suffered a power surge at some point. A quick pass with a Micro-Resonator and a repair of a few circuits with a Hyperspanner brought the internal components up to par, but still it was not receiving power. To solve this, he tied a portable power supply into the system and suddenly the console flashed to life.
“Captain, I was able to bring it back online but we only have have few minutes before she loses power,” Dived called out shyly.
“Chief, see if you can figure out the power loss issue. Lieutenant Rashkae, see if you can access the scientists logs,” the Captain ordered as she continued to scout around with her flashlight scouring the room.
“Yes, Captain.” Dived replied meekly before setting about his task. For the experienced engineer such a task should be an easy one. He quickly brought up the schematics for the base on his tricorder and began searching for the location of the nearest power relay. A minute later he had removed a wall panel and was busy bypassing the burnt out relay with a Hyperspanner. He was successful in establishing new connections around the damaged component, but the room remained dark.
Hmmm, must be a problem with main relay. He quickly made his way across the room and removed the flooring to gain access to the desired part. As soon as he had it exposed, his earlier confidence eroded and he couldn't help but exclaim "Ghencardăst!”
Azulas had begun wandering round, her flashlight illuminating the hidden recesses of the command room. She was about to reach for something she thought she saw in the darkness when the outburst from the Cardassian drew the her attention. "Chief?"
Dutir looked up from the panel and immediately regretted his outburst. "I apologize, Captain. That was inappropriate of me. It's just that not only is the main relay fried beyond repair, but all the lines leading into it have been completely eroded. I can't restore the power, Captain. I failed."
"You only fail if you give up trying to exhaust all options," Tara pointed out, aiming her tricorder as some of the other equipment in the room to assist the Engineer. "Let's see if there's parts we can salvage from something else." Everything else in the room would likely be in a similar state of erosion, but it was still an option worth exploring.
“As you wish, Commander.” Dived said in a tone that showed little confidence. While he knew there was probably no chance that they would find a miracle component among what was most likely now scrap, he appreciated that the officer at least made an effort to lift his spirits.
“Okay Chief,” Nilani nodded, “you guys stay here and see what you can do. I’m going to check out the next compartment,” the Captain instructed before heading for the exit to the nearby corridor. “=/\=Azulas to Kane,” she called after tapping her commbadge, but there was no response. She tried again, and a third time, yet every time was the same. “Commander, you try,” she instructed from the doorway.
Tara paused in her search for salvageable components, giving her commbadge a tap in an attempt to make contact with the other team. =/\="Neprem to Kane,"=/\= she started, but recieved no response. =/\="Neprem to Nogura, are you reading me?"=/\= she then ventured, but the outcome was no better. "It seems, Captain, that we have a problem," Tara remarked.
“Commander Neprem, you’re with me. We’ll try to make contact with Bravo team. Commander Barack, you are in Command here. Do what you guys can to restore power and, if possible, restore communications,” the Captain ordered as she drew her phaser. “If you don’t hear from us in thirty minutes...” she paused for dramatic effect, “...you’re screwed!” she smirked, but in all seriousness, it was a very real possibility at this point.
Tara likewise drew her phaser and joined Nilani in the doorway. "Thirty minutes, really? I know I'm a bit rusty, but surely we can hold out longer than that," Tara replied with a hint of a grin.
"Captain," Lieutenant Rashkae nodded as he continued to work away at the console he had hijacked to try and download the scientists logs. So far, like Dived, he was having no luck.
"I'm sure we'll be fine, Captain," Arnon said, drawing his phaser while grinning mischievously. "Before you go, remind me. Which end of this thing am I supposed to point at the enemy?"
Nilani let out a smirk and a shake of the head as she departed with her colleague.
Whereas Alpha Team had beamed to the command and control facilities, Bravo was instead sent to the more residential areas as well as some more minor control systems. The places you would usually expect people to be. The room they beamed into was pitch-black, as if drained of all power somehow. Not even emergency lights were functioning.
As Audrid beamed in she turned on her flashlight to at least bring some light to the area.
As the blue hum of the transporter faded leaving Lisa and those with her in a semi lit room, Lisa drew her weapon as a saftey precution and not knowing what to expect, With her right hand she pulled her tricorder from its holder and began to scan the room. "So Commander, What do you want us to do?" She asked the Nogura's Executive officer.
Lucinda stood with her medical kit in her trusty bag. This was the first time she had done an away mission on the Nogura and already it was giving her the creeps. Nevertheless there was a job to do and she was ready to do it.
"Spread out, teams of two. Seek out any member of the staff and keep an active commlink." Audrid ordered, she had a horrible feeling about this away mission. It was something she had only experienced a few times before. Perhaps most notably during an Intelligence operation back in the war. Things were bound to get interesting. "Ingham you're with me. We'll head towards the living quarters to find any injured. Creed and Yole, head to the auxiliary control rooms to get the systems running again"
"Aye sir," replied Lisa as she looked over at Naddia, she knew that they were going to have to find their way in the dark. However, She knew that if they got the power back up what would they find here. As she turned to face the operations chief, she said," Come on let's go," as she hoped that things would not go pear-shaped. she pulled out her tricorder and scanned the area to find out which way to start, This being her first away mission on the Nogura, she wanted to be seen that she could handle herself.
Lucinda nodded and removed her tricorder from her pocket and unfolded it. She moved closer to Audrid in preparation for their departure to their objective. Away missions were something Lucinda usually enjoyed but she had a feeling this one wasn't going to be one to add to the list of enjoyable away missions.
Yole was scanning the area, "Something is effecting our scans I can't get much more than a few meters. Could be the same thing that was effecting our communications from the ship."
"Okay, let's move" Audrid ordered as she proceeded in the general direction of the living quarters, she had read the floor plans before getting here but it sure would have been easier to navigate in proper light. With it being unclear what the hell happened to the staff, she grabbed both her phaser and tricorder. In situations like these, one never knew which one you would need. Her focus on the tricorder readings were suddenly broken as she heard footsteps in the distance, she turned around instantly to focus light on the area but nothing was there. Even the tricorder didn't seem to acknowledge any presence. "Did you hear anything, Master Warrant Officer?"
Lucinda nodded and looked and pointed in the direction of where she thought the noise came from - the same direction Audrid had her flashlight pointed in. To her bemusement there was nothing there.
"Yes. Sounds like whatever it is came from that direction...although I can't see anything" Lucinda replied.
"I think whatever happened here is causing a low level dampening field. There may not be anything wrong with the power core, the field is just preventing it from working." Yole said.
[Alpha Team (Azulas/Neprem)]
In the short space of time since the Captain and her partner had left the majority of their team behind, the two had not covered a lot of ground. Locked doors, dead ends and poor sensor coverage and even worse lighting was playing havoc with their search. Azulas was leading the way, her flashlight scanning the corridor before them as they walked, cautiously, with phasers at the ready. She wasn't sure what to expect, but she wasn't afraid to admit, to herself at least, that she was more than a little nervous. Small, dark spaces were never her favourite places.
She was about to turn and talk to the Commander when a loud bang in the distance drew her attention and caused her to stop dead in her tracks. It had definitely come from ahead of them. "Hello? Bravo Team? Is that you?" she called out, glancing briefly at her fellow Trill beside her. Both shone their flashlights ahead of them.
It was about this time that their flashlights began to flicker a few times before shutting off completely. "Would this be a bad time to mention that my previous host liked zombie movies?" Tara spoke up timidly as she tapped her flashlight to try to get it working again, and thankfully it sprang back to life. "Like obsessively enjoyed them, and this would be the perfect time for zombies to come out of nowhere to try to eat us."
"That's not even..." Nilani never got chance to finish her sentence, a loud sound ahead of them making her jump out of her skin, drop her flashlight and grab hold of the Commander beside her. Yeah, she was terrified of small, dark places. "Seriously, if that is any of my people, you better say so or I'm going to start firing!" she declared, holding her phaser out in front of her.
Tara flinched, but managed to keep her wits about her as she aimed her flickering flashlight ahead, keeping her phaser leveled and steady, though her heart was racing and she could feel her symbiont quivering in her belly; damned zombie movies... "Would you mind not squeezing so tight? I rather enjoy breathing," Tara remarked as she cautiously scanned the area with her light to find the source of the sound. Nilani would no doubt hear the trepidation in her voice along with the erratic breathing, but Tara was making a valiant effort to remain calm and composed despite the terror-inducing ambiance.
"Sorry," the Captain whispered as she let go of her fellow Trill. She tried to follow the erratic flickering light as the Commander aimed and let out a massive gasp as she caught the silhouette of a figure. "What the hell was that?!"
Whatever it was, it was fast, and as quickly as the light touched it the silhouette was gone, and Tara couldn't help but take a step back as the fear gripped her. She scrambled to try to find the shadowy figure again, and if both of her hands had not been occupied, she might have put an arm around Nilani for comfort because by now Tara was as terrified as the other woman.
"Hello?" Tara said with a quivering voice. What the hell was going on here?! The room was suddenly eerily silent, the random noises gone and all they could hear was their own erratic breaths; this was the part where the monster jumps them from behind, wasn't it? 'Run' her fight or flight instinct told her, 'RUN!' because she couldn't fight what she couldn't see!
[Alpha Team (Dumet/Rashkae/Barak)
It had been a few minutes since Captain and Commander Neprem had left and Dived had absolutely no luck in finding anything to help him restore power. It turned out that the console was the only piece of equipment that was serviceable, and barely so because the computer drive proved to be utterly corrupted. He was busy attempting to salvage components from said console when a sound behind him startled him, causing him to strike his head on the underside of the panel. He pulled his phaser and began looking for the source of the sound with blurry eyes. The Cardassian with phaser in the right and light in his left hand, looked out the doorway in hopes that the Captain had made the noise on her way back. Unfortunately, the hall appeared empty and there was no apparent cause of the disturbance. “Did you hear that?” an outwardly scared Dived asked his shipmate. Why had the Captain chose him for this away mission?
Arnon drew his phaser. His Vulcanoid hearing had definitely picked up on a sound. He pulled his tricorder out and scanned the area. There were a few anomalous readings, but nothing definite. He closed his eyes a moment and reached out with his sensory empathy, feeling for emotions, yes, but also trying to get a sense their new friend's biology. As with his tricorder, whatever was there was just out of reach, dancing on the edge of his perception. He could just make out...fear...of the unknown? Perhaps. Curiosity. And something base...fight or flight response?
"Rashkae, Dumet," he said. "Move over here, backs to the wall, facing the room. Something is in here with us, and I'd rather it didn't get behind us. It may be more curious and afraid than hostile. Phasers on stun only."
“Yes sir, Lieutenant.” Dumet replied sheepishly as he pulled out his phaser. He hadn't used a phaser since his training on Beta Aquilae II and now his life may depend on him using one properly. If the Captain was going to keep bringing him on away missions, he definitely needed to schedule some training once he back to the Nogura. With a barely shaking hand, he checked his weapon’s setting as he made his way along the wall to the Counselor.
“What’s out there, sir?” the engineer asked in a hushed town that he hoped hid his dread.
Dumet was clearly nervous and Arnon didn't think this was the time to correct him, so he let the Chief get away with calling him 'Lieutenant' instead of 'Commander'.
"I'm not sure..." Arnon said. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught something moving and...the very faint shuffle of feet? "Something is in here, something that is able to somehow stay within the periphery of our senses. It could be a biological defense mechanism. They may have some ability to confuse our senses. Or...perhaps they're just out of phase to avoid our direct notice, but not out of phase enough to avoid being observed completely? I really don't know. Let's remain calm. Panicking and firing wildly isn't going to help the situation."
“I'm a Cardassian, sir. We don't panic.” replied Dived in a defensive tone as he checked his phaser for what was probably the fifth time. He usually would never dare talk back to an officer, but the progressively worsening situation was wearing on his nerves. First the power grid was beyond repair and now they were surrounded by aliens they couldn't see with the naked eye or detect with their tricorders. This was his first ever away mission and with every second it felt like it might also be his very last. He remembered laughing at the jokes about the mortality rate of Operations/Engineering officers during his training, and given his current situation deeply regretted it.
There was a sound to their left, somewhat like something large landing on one of the consoles then pouncing off of the console to one across the room. All Arnon and the others could see was something in the corner of their eyes. If Arnon had time, he would have noticed claw marks on the consoles. He didn't though, because the creature instantly made a third jump, taking advantage of the momentum it had generated, and flew straight at Arnon. He only just barely caught a glimpse of something heading towards him in time to raise his phaser, but not in time to fire it. He was tackled to the ground. Now under direct attack, he could see the creature. It might have been Andorian at some point, but it currently resembled the stuff of nightmares. It's facial features were prehistoric...proto-Andorian almost, while it's legs were digitigrade and it had a hairless tail. It had claws on its fingers and toes. On closer examination, it appeared to be one of the 'female' Andorian sexes. Arnon, having dropped his phaser when he was hit, was using his now free hands to hold back the feral woman's claws.
"A...little...help...please..." he managed to say as he struggled. "Pull...her...off! If...you shoot...her while we're like this...you'll shoot...me!"
Dived, who had been completely taken off guard by the attack, quickly sprung into action at his superior officer’s command. He immediately holstered his weapon and tackled the creature before using the momentum to roll and hurl the creature towards the wall. Unfortunately the creature would disappear again in the mere seconds it took him to return to his feet. Instinctually he would pull his phaser out once again as he began visually scanning the room. What on Cardassia Prime was that? This was like something from the horror tales his father would tell him as a child. If the fictional tales had terrified him then, the dark reality near petrified him now. He didn’t belong here, he was a simple engineer not some legendary hero from an epic. A noise to his right brought him out of his mind and back to the dark room. No he wasn’t a hero but he was a member of Starfleet and he was gonna act like it.
With a renewed determination, Dived moved back to the Counsellor’s side and checked on the Vulcanoid. “Are you alright, sir?”
Arnon got to his feet and checked himself for injuries. He was unharmed and considered himself lucky when he finally noticed the claw marks on the consoles the creature had jumped on before she had pounced on him. He picked up his phaser.
"I think..." Arnon said. "I think that was one of the terraformers. What in the name of the Great Bird of the Galaxy happened to her...look out!"
Arnon shoved the Cardassian out of the way and fired in the direction he had just detected the surge of strong emotion. The creature came into view just as it tried to pounce on the Dived. The phaser beam struck the creature in the chest and it landed in a heap at Arnon's feet. Arnon kept his phaser trained on the creature as he examined it. While he could sense the creature's physical state, he used his other hand to operate his tricorder and confirm what he was sensing.
"Definitely Andorian, definitely female," he said. "But severely mutated."
Arnon tapped his commbadge.
"Barak to Azulas," he said. "Come in please."
"It's not working," a voice from behind the team spoke from within the darkness. As the light turned and shined on them, the Captain's face was illuminated and she looked a little worse for wear. "Are you all ok?"
"We're fine," Arnon said. He pointed to the crumpled figure at his feet. "But this thing isn't going to stay stunned for much longer. Can we beam it to an isolation room in Sickbay...or even the brig so we can figure it out if I'm correct? I'm relatively certain that this is, or at least was, one of the engineers stationed here. Actually, let's be safe."
Arnon scanned the creature and used his senses on it to determine as best he could it's weight and metabolism. After a moment, he put away his tricorder and pulled a hypo from his medical kit. He adjusted it, then injected the creature.
"There," he said. "Unless I'm mistaken, and I don't think I am, that sedative should keep our friend here unconscious for a few hours at least, maybe more. So, can we beam it aboard? Underneath the claws, digitigrade legs and feet, and the other changes, this is still an Andorian and likely a Federation citizen. It is our duty to try and help her."
"We can't reach the Nogura," Azulas spoke quietly, gesturing for them all to lower their tone. "We need to find Bravo Team and find a way to contact the ship, or find some other way off this rock," she instructed. "I will not take these... people... until I know we can keep them secure aboard ship." She looked around the small team. "Okay, we all go together. Commander Barak, you and I will lead the way. Commander Neprem, Lieutenant Rashkae, Chief Dumet; you keep working on the tricorders and trying to establish communications. Stay close," she declared.
"Understood," Arnon said. He drew his phaser and joined the Captain at the front of the group.