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September 12th 2371 – 1045 FST
Misaki sat in the mission ops seat of the USS Galen
as it descended into the ruins of Coral City’s Central Park, still restricted from flying but allowed to perform her duties as a combat medic.
As the runabout gently touched down, she looked at the scene of destruction that surrounded her and wondered how anybody could have survived it, and yet sensors were still picking up intermittent life signs throughout the city.
Lieutenant John Dorian stuck his head into the cockpit, his seemingly permanent smile still in place despite the horrors outside.
“Lieutenant Ress wants to set up a security perimeter before we’re cleared to start.” His smile faded slightly as he glanced out of the cockpit window. “Looks worse in daylight doesn’t it?”
Misaki was simply glad that she was still alive to witness it. She passed the Doctor a PADD containing all the closest life forms that sensors could detect. “There are not many here, but you can see that further in towards the centre there appear to be more.”
“Resss to Galen, you’re clear to disssembark.”
“Looks like our good Lieutenant seems happy with things out there. The MedCentre in back’s prepared as well, so we’d best go see what we can do.”
Misaki stood and followed Dorian through the small but comprehensive ER compartment before stepping out into the misty morning air. The stench of the sea was everywhere, not the fresh salty tang of the beach but the smell of decaying seaweed and aquatic life that had been dragged ashore by the tidal wave.
Trees that had once proudly lined the park’s perimeter were snapped off at the base, their trunks now elsewhere, and the tall glistening structures that had once reflected prismatic light across the manicured lawns were little more than skeletal shells. Despite the sun trying to break through the pervasive mist, a chill hung over the park and Misaki shivered.
“Lieutenant Ress?” Dorian called. “Lieutenant Andrews has orders to lift and loiter if he feels the Galen
is under threat, you happy with that?”
“Happy isss a sssubjective term Sssir, but it isss a wissse precaution. If you’re ready?”
Dorian nodded and the team of four combat medics and three security officers set off through the rubble towards the nearest life sign.
TANGO CONTROL – SERVICE DUCTS
September 12th 2371 – 1047 FST
Petrov couldn’t deny it. She was lost, completely and utterly. As she’d started to make her way down through the ducts, she’d scratched markers on junctions to indicate her passing. Bizarrely on her way back up, she had reached a junction without any markings and cursing her inattention had retreated to what she thought was the previous one.
Oddly that also proved bereft of any markings and Petrov felt a small shiver of panic. Had she been so distracted by her thoughts that she’d passed more than one junction? She was now torn between reversing her course to attempt to once again pick up her trail and continuing on in the hope that her upwards climb would at least bring her to the surface.
She looked at one of the small rodents and shook her head.
Not this time little Rata, not this time.
September 12th 2371 – 1100 FST
As the team made their way carefully through the wreckage clogged streets, Misaki was amazed by some of the bizarre sights. Where buildings had been gutted by the force of the sea, a lighting post decorated with festive lights still stood. A ground vehicle hung suspended in cables some twenty metres above the street causing the team to take a wide detour. A shop containing gaily dressed mannequins stood almost untouched while the jeweller’s next door was impaled by what looked like a small craft’s nacelle strut.
Above all this hung the pall of silence that lent the scene a dreamlike quality. As Misaki glanced up and around, scanning as she’d been taught in Basic Tactical, the shattered windows reminded her of the empty eye sockets of countless skulls.
Ress suddenly stopped, dropped to one knee and held up his hand. Misaki dragged Dorian down behind an upended cargo container as the other two security officers did likewise with the remaining two medics. She knew from the briefing that the main concern was possible gangs of looters roaming the derelict properties. Reports coming out of the city had hinted at them but so far there had been no sign.
She watched carefully as Ress carefully moved forward and extended his tricorder before him. He paused briefly then stood, shaking his head and chuckling. “All clear!” He waved them forward and pointed down an adjoining street. Misaki saw a mechanically animated astronaut lifting a drink to his mouth and noted it had become entwined with cable. As the twisted arm lifted it scraped along the supporting beam causing an eerie wailing sound that Ress had obviously detected before them.
Dorian stepped up beside Ress. “You weren’t honestly thinking of stopping for a drink?” he smiled.
“I’m on duty doctor,” Ress grinned toothily. “Besssidesss, I believe the drinksss would be watered down.”
“Oh you have such a black sense of humour Mr Ress, you really do!”
Ress turned to look over his shoulder. “I sssussspect it might be the company I…”
He never finished the sentence as the section of street they were walking down collapsed, pitching them into a choking dust enveloped darkness.
September 12th 2371 – 1105 FST
One of Fourteen waited patiently for his communication to be answered. Since the Borg had been transported into Tango Control just before the crash of the cube, they had assimilated staff and equipment quickly and efficiently. Wisely they had run the base at low power to avoid attracting attention in the disaster’s aftermath and now they were ready to expand. The console chimed and the rotating Zethander Militia logo was replaced by the face of General Mendark.
“Tom, you got through to Tango then?”
“Yes Sir, but it’s a bit of a mess here. Those nearby impacts caused some earth movement and the engineers seem to think there are some severed conduits. They may have to power Tango down for a while, but right now we’re operating at minimum capacity anyway.” With his previous knowledge of Tango Control, One of Fourteen found the lie both convincing and easy.
“Is that likely to present any security issues?”
“No Sir,” the Borg impostor replied, “it shouldn’t. In fact with Tango down, I’d like your permission to deploy HazTeams out to Bayview, Harriot and Bethel Ridge for site inspections. They can co-ordinate out there while I check out Haven.” He paused for a moment. “That is unless you’d prefer us to sit tight here Sir?”
Mendark shook his head as One had expected. “Waste of manpower keeping you cooped up there when we need teams out in the field Tom. Operations are at your discretion, keep me up to date.”
“Will do Sir, Rousseau out.”
As the screen faded, he turned to the drones who had remained safely out of view. With them were three drones whose assimilation had been internal only like his. They would act as the pilots for the assault shuttles he was about to dispatch performing all communication duties. He knew that by the time the shuttles were on the ground at their respective destinations, it would be too late for the people greeting them to realise their mistake.
“We are Borg but our survival and expansion now requires a change in tactics. Our mission will depend on stealth. Go.”
Without waiting for a reply that he knew was irrelevant, he turned to the master systems display and began shutting Tango Control down.
TANGO CONTROL – SERVICE DUCTS
September 12th 2371 – 1107 FST
Without warning Petrov was plunged into darkness. The ducts had built in service lighting that had provided her with both the means to navigate and the comfort of knowing what was around her. With that small measure of comfort removed, Petrov screamed in terror. They know I’m down here!
In a blind panic she tried to turn and run but in the darkness lost her footing. As she tumbled sideways, her head struck an unseen stanchion and the darkness became immeasurably deeper.
USS ANGEL – MILITIA CO-ORDINATION SUITE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
September 12th 2371 – 1108 FST
“Problem General?” Kat Gray had overheard the last part of the conversation, but was relieved to see that Mendark seemed unperturbed.
“I’m hoping not Commander. Tango Control is our main defence co-ordination centre for the region and right now we have to take it off line.” He looked around the suite that his team now occupied and smiled. “Of course with the facilities you’ve provided here it shouldn’t affect operations at all. My aide, Captain Rousseau is taking charge down there so I have no concerns.”
Kat was reassured to hear it. “In that case Sir, if you’ll excuse me I need to update Captain Fishlock. If you need anything, Ensign aBrar here will find me.”
Mendark’s smile was genuine as he said “I greatly appreciate your help Commander, thank you.”
Kat left the co-ordination suite feeling that at last they were getting on the topside of the unexpected disaster. It seemed that there was little that could go wrong now that they couldn’t deal with.