Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by The Badger, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. USS Avenger

    USS Avenger Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Once again excellent! I really liked the way you described the movements of the boarding party, reminded me of our old maxim of "shoot and scoot". I also enjoyed Reed's story (whether it was a tall tale for the CPT or not). It made alot of sense, the amount of calories that soldiers takes in is amazingly high, it takes alot of energy to do what they do. The idea of going out on a patrol "lean and mean", yeah that CO was just dumb hopefully she was reassigned to a supply unit afterwards :shifty:. Also the patrols described sounded alot like the long range ranger patols undertaken during the Vietnam war, again adding a good sense of realism. Keep it up, I am looking forward to more! :bolian:
     
  2. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Interesting you should say that. The inspiration for Reed's tale came from an article I once read about the Australian Special Air Service Regiment serving in Vietnam. One of the things that surprised them was that many American units did indeed adopt a 'lean mean' approach, with adverse effects on health and performance.

    Incidentally, I hope you can help me. Whilst describing the Marines progress through the station I wanted to have Reed give an order for a particular formation. I know it's got a specific name but I keep drawing a blank. Something like 'staggered snake', but not that as a 'net search draws a blank. But it's the standard formation for moving small groups through buildings. Has anyone any ideas?

    Yes, this seems to be the only area where her Mary Sue status fails. Normally MS's are omnipresent, but for the good of the story as a whole, I'm not going to shoehorn her into every chapter*. The story is Starship Enterprise, not The Polly Partridge Show. It's meant to be more of an ensemble piece, even if certain characters do have a vocal fan base.


    *Apart from everything else, I can't find my shoehorn. I think Polly's borrowed it. Well, she has to get into those outfits somehow.
     
  3. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Really? I thought the outfits were sort of spray-painted over her. ;)
     
  4. USS Avenger

    USS Avenger Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Wow, been a long time since my MOUT training but you may be looking for "staggered stack". Most everything in MOUT revolves around the use of stacks. In the Army, it was usually four men to a stack, but I think the Marines use six. Of course multiple stacks would than be used to assault a single building or area. The reason the Marines use six as opposed to the army's four? Well it simply takes six marines to do the job any four army soldiers can do! :evil:

    Not surprised that the Aussie SAS adopted a better LRRP strategy during Vietnam, those are some badass motherfrackers. I don't even think most Americans even know the Austrailans helped us out in that war. It is something that should not be forgotten.
     
  5. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    'Staggered Stack'? Yeah, that could be it. Thanks Avenger. I used to know that stuff (no military experience, but I played Rainbow 6 a lot) but my memory ain't what it used to be.

    And yeah, the Aussies were fearsome in Vietnam. The SASR had an absolutely terrifying kill ratio. Almost 600 enemy combatants confirmed, another hundred or so probable, at the cost of just five of their own. Only two of which were as a result of enemy action. And the Aussies didn't even care about kill ratios. Hearts and minds were more important to them.


    Duncan, Polly did experiment with a spray on suit once. At first it seemed a big success, and she went out for a pint or two to celebrate (this was in her drinking days). Not long after that, she realized there was a basic flaw in the concept of an outfit that adheres to the skin and can't be removed for twenty four hours...
     
  6. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yes, it would tend to make using the loo a trifle difficult. LOL.
     
  7. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As a teen I lived next door to a Ranger who ran LRRPs in 'Nam. One day, while high, he opened up about it. If Reed did similar work there are probably some dark patches upon his soul. Some of the stories I heard were...disturbing, to say the least. I never looked at that guy the same way again-he frightened me on a fundamental level.
     
  8. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, without knowing what stories you were told I can't address them directly, but I will say this. Like the Aussies in Vietnam, Reed and his people were concerned with hearts and minds. Whilst they carried out difficult dangerous missions, that sometimes came close to morally questionable areas, their targets were always military in nature.
     
  9. adm_gold

    adm_gold Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Finally back after a change in jobs. Good chapters. But let's get them to the action! :rommie:
     
  10. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Dennis's missions ran like this.

    Get dropped 20-30 klicks behind enemy lines.Return to base. Kill anything they encountered. Burn anything made by man. One night a VC slipped into their camp and slit their sentry's throat-along with a few atrocities I'd rather not mention. They caught him the next day-and did some on-the-spot surgery sans anesthetics with punji spikes. The description was a bit more vivid. What got me was how he told me this in a normal, almost unemotional tone of voice. Like, yeah, we did this and then broke for lunch. I had the ham on rye.
     
  11. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The unknown station. Upper atmosphere of Theta Iota 6.
    17th May 2151.

    I wonder how the Cap'n's doin' Trip thought to himself as he finished scanning the lock. Whilst the Marines Section B had their own technical specialist, it had been agreed that the chief engineer was more experienced, and better suited to opening doors. All the same it was turning out to be much harder than anticipated. They'd left the part of the station made from an old Vulcan ship. The area they were now in was completely unfamiliar to any of them. Sergeant Woo had ordered complete visual records to be kept, for intelligence purposes.

    It wasn't just the architecture or design that was alien. The technology was unlike anything he'd seen before. Before even attempting to bypass the locking mechanism he had to carefully check everything, work out it's function, deduce voltage and amperage. One false connection could seal this hatch permanently, or set alarms off all over the station.

    Eventually he was satisfied. At any rate, staring at the scanner's display wouldn't offer any more answers. He nodded at Woo, who held up one hand for him to wait. A few more hand signals summoned three marines who stood in single file, two in font of him, one behind, each placing a hand on the shoulder of the man in front.

    "James, keep your boys on overwatch. Rest of you, you know the drill. Standard buttonhook formation. Priest, how's it look?"

    Priest was the tech man, in James's squad, pressing a scanner tight against the wall. "Nothing on thermal or movement, Sarge."

    "Alright, stand by, standby...Go!"

    Tucker hit the controls, praying he'd not screwed any thing up. There was a soft clunk as the hatch unlocked. In a blur of movement the squad had entered the room beyond. A flurry of shouts came over the LOSIR communications net, words and phrases that meant nothing to Trip.

    Then "Left clear!", "Right clear!", "Front clear!"

    Woo's voice. "Immediate area clear. James's squad, enter room!"

    "Squad entering room!" James called. Tucker and Sato were bundled quickly through the hatch, which was closed tightly behind them.

    "Commander, seal the door please." Woo asked.

    As Tucker went to work on the lock, Sato looked round. Priest's scans had suggested a very large area, and he was right. This was clearly a cargo bay, packed with large rectangular shipping containers stacked three high. She could understand why Woo had said that only the immediate area was clear of threats. It was massive, at least five stories in height, and thirty meters wide. The tracks for a suspended crane system hung from the ceiling. With the wall of containers blocking the view there was no way to see how long it was. Securing this place would take far more time and manpower than they'd had. But, they'd also have to pass through it to get to the ship repair area.

    "Maybe ah should run a quick scan, sergeant, see if there's any dilithium here." Tucker suggested.

    "Well, it'll take forever to check this place out manually. Go ahead. But keep it brief. The professor said there was a risk of being detected."

    Tucker nodded. "It's an active scan. Ah'll start off at low power, an' slowly increase till ah get something."

    As Partridge had promised, the geological scanner did indeed bleep. He turned the volume down, even though anyone close enough to hear them would have to be aware of their presence already.

    Then, after a few seconds, he said "Hey. Got something already. Yeah. Definate traces, in that direction. Either this room, or in the next one along. So we just gotta go get it."

    "Looks like there's two possible ways through here." Woo said. "OK, everyone take five, get your breath back. But stay alert."

    Whilst the two UESPA's were content to sit on the floor to rest, the marines dropped to one knee, rifles at the ready, looking outward, prepared for possible conflict. Idly Sato unholstered her pistol, checking the magazine was firmly in place.

    "Careful ma'am." Woo said, a cautious note in his voice. "Best keep that secured unless you really need it."

    She nodded, and replaced it. After a moments reflection she drew her lucky deck, holding it up for Woo's approval. He grinned and gave an exaggerated nod.

    She'd always found the techniques of card manipulation to be relaxing, almost soothing. A quiet focus for the mind. It was difficult at first, in the tight gloves, but soon she got the hang of it, at least well enough for a two handed riffle shuffle. She was just about to try some more advanced techniques when the sergeant decided to move on.

    "OK, my squad will go right, James go left. You all got your painters?" He held up a pen shaped object. "Once we lose line of sight the LOSIR will be down. So we use these for communications. If you find a way through to the other side paint a green spot on the ceiling. Find the dilithium, collect it, fall back and paint gold. If there's no way through use blue, then fall back and follow us. Use red if you encounter hostiles. Try to avoid conflict if possible. If not possible, don't shoot if you can help it, the energy surge may be detected. Taking prisoners for questioning might be useful, but don't compromise the mission. Got it?"

    "Got it boss. White spot to let you know we saw your message?" James replied. She aimed her painter at the floor to test it. The compact laser was a useful signaling device. She cycled through the colour settings a couple of times.

    "Right. Commander Tucker, come with me please. Lieutenant Sato, go with James's squad. Take care, watch your backs, and good hunting."

    ***

    The pathway to the left was little more than a meter wide, just a gap where the containers didn't quite meet the wall. There were also gaps between some of the containers themselves. At each of these the marines stopped, carefully checking that there was nothing unpleasant lurking in there, before continuing onwards. It made for slow progress, and Sato found it frustrating, but she could see it made more sense than getting ambushed. It was also better than the fast dash they'd made from the boarding site.

    Tipping took the lead, followed by Priest. James herself was in the third spot. That surprised Sato, given the woman's alleged status as top close combat expert. Probably the fact she was squad leader had something to do with it. It was something to ask about later. Even with the supposedly secure LOSIR system, Sato didn't want to get into any unnecessary chatter now. She herself was in fourth place. The heavy weapons expert, Sandstrom, brought up the rear. Every few seconds he'd stop and check behind them.

    Tipping's name flashed up in green on her HUD. "Problem." he said simply, bringing them to a halt.

    James ordered "Show me."

    Nothing seemed to be happening for a moment, then Sato realized that James was looking at an image transmitted from Tipping's helmet camera. She found the controls. Tipping's point of view came up inside her visor.

    Ahead the containers had been placed so that they contacted the wall itself, forming a steel barrier.

    Sato noticed James tap the laser painter at her belt. Not drawing it, just unconsciously checking it was still there.

    "We could climb it." Priest suggested.

    "Hmm. Let's check out some of those side passages first. We'd be much more visible up there. Besides, I don't fancy trying to haul you lazy asses all the way up there by myself. None of you can climb for toffee."

    They backtracked to the nearest gap. It was very narrow.

    "I don't think I'll fit in there, Corporal." Sandstrom said.

    "You say that to all the girls. Alright, I'm smallest, I'll head on down and take a look."

    James handed her rifle to Priest, and drew her pistol, before turning sideways to proceed.

    Sato looked at the gap. "I can fit through there. I'll come with you. You shouldn't really go alone." she added.

    James hesitated for a moment, then nodded. "Lieutenant, you're OK...for a squid. Come on then."


    ***

    For twenty meters they made their way into the gap. Hoshi had never been claustrophobic, but she could begin to understand why some people were so afflicted. Progress was slow.

    "Should have left this body armour behind." she muttered. It took up a lot of room, and kept snagging on the containers ridged surfaces.

    "Oh crap." James said succinctly. "Looks like a dead end. No...wait...I think...yes, yes it turns right at the end."

    It did indeed turn at the end, and James reported that she could see a wider area further on. Before continuing she put a LOSIR relay beacon at the corner so they could stay in touch with the others.

    They carefully entered a large, poorly lit area. Just a wide space between the shipping containers. James gave a quick description to the others, then asked Sato to scan for dilithium.

    Almost instantly the device began to beep.

    "We're practically on top of it." Sato said. "Somewhere in...this direction. Probably that yellow container."

    It was locked, the chain of an electronic padlock wrapped round the handles. James's sent an image to Priest.

    "Hey, that's Earth tech. Which is useful. I know how to bypass that. Without setting off the alarms. Here's what you do..."

    Whilst Priest lead James through the details of lock breaking, Sato looked around.This place was filthy. All manner of rubbish and detritus covered the floor. Mostly ration wrappers, but also bits of bone. Her attention was caught by a small grill on the ground, like a small drain. The surrounding area was relatively clean, and glistened wetly. Nearby a length of hose lay coiled, water dribbling from the business end, the other attached to a short tube protruding from the floor.

    "Got it." James announced, pulling the chain free. "OK. Hoshi, when I give the word...Hoshi? You with me? OK, I'll give the word, you pull the door open, I'll go in and check it's clear. Don't try to follow me, you don't know the drill. Ready...stand by, stand by...Go!"

    Sato twisted the handle till she felt a solid clunk as the locking bars disengaged. Digging her feet in she heaved with both hands, feeling exertion burn across her shoulders. The gravity was low but that didn't help, the heavy door's inertia tried to hold it in place. Much slower than she liked it swung open, James darting inside. The door swung as far as it could before bouncing back. Sato grabbed hold, straining to stop it slamming shut. It ended up slightly ajar.

    "Clear." James called. "Hoshi, get in here, I may need a hand. There's a lot of cases marked in a lot of languages. I can't make heads nor tails of it."

    There were indeed a lot of cases, but it didn't take long to find what they needed. "Here we are, dah-pim-tukh. That's Vulcan for dilithium."

    After checking to ensure that the case did indeed contain what they were looking for, they turned to leave.

    "We got it, boys." said James as she stepped out. "We're on our...WHAT THE HELL!!"

    There was a loud thump, and the floor shook as if something heavy had fallen. Sato, halfway out of the container, saw James reach for her gun. Then something banged against the container door, slamming it shut on her.

    She was lucky. She'd been holding the case up in front of her. It, and her body armour, took the bunt of the impact. All the same she was sent sprawling back, winded and bruised.

    Gasping, she struggled to her feet, drawing her pistol. Putting her shoulder to the door she heaved it open, pistol sweeping the area ahead. No sign of James or anyone else...wait. There was James, lying in a heap, all the way by the other wall.

    Suddenly a massive hand thrust from behind the door, clamping on her wrist like a vice. Even through the forearm protection it hurt. The gun dropped from her numbed fingers.

    She was yanked viciously upwards, gasping with pain as her shoulder dislocated. Into view swam a face from a nightmare. It was humanoid, but bloated, crude and brutal. Jagged teeth showed behind leering lips. Oily blue black hair hung in tangles. The skin was a sickly mottled verdigris. Brass and bronze piercings were scattered across exposed flesh, along with violently coloured tattoos.

    It held her high, dangling from her injured arm, and roared triumphantly. Spittle sprayed across her visor.

    She aimed a kick at it's face. There was a satisfying shnuuk as she felt it's nose spread under her heel. It roared again, this time in pain and anger, but didn't let go. Things were getting desperate. She coiled one ankle behind the beast's neck to anchor herself, and drove the toe of her other foot into it's throat.

    That worked. It dropped her, staggering back, clutching it's neck. She landed poorly but the low gravity prevented serious injury. A spasm of pain ripped through her inured shoulder. Dazed, she stared at it. What the Hell is it? That kick would have crushed a human's trachea!

    She heard garbled shouts from the rest of the squad, saw an icon on her HUD telling her that the life support system was boosting the oxygen supply in response to sudden exertion. None of that registered. Her eyes were on this hulking creature. It was massive. Half as tall as her again. Arms thick as her torso. Grotesquely over muscled. Only a crude cloth to preserve it's modesty.

    It caught it's breath before she did, and began lumbering forward. She scrambled backwards though the detritus. Then...she felt wall behind her. The creature grinned cruelly as she found herself backed into a corner. No way out, no way out. From the corner of her eye she thought she saw James twitch, but even if the Marine was still active it was too late to help. Looks like my luck's run out...

    Luck! That triggered a thought, an act of desperation. As the creature reached for her she grabbed a couple of playing cards from her pocket and sent them spinning into it's face. At this range the low gravity had no effect on her aim. It howled as the cards hit it's eyes, throwing it's hands up to instinctively protect itself.

    With it distracted she dived forward, between it's splayed legs, and scrabbled out of immediate danger. Need to find my gun...There was no sign of it where she'd dropped it. Autumn's gun...if I can get that...

    She was halfway to the fallen marine when a fast moving shadow caught her attention. On instinct she dived to one side, landing flat. Something slammed down next to her, right where she would have been. It leaped all that way! Low gee or not, I'd have been crushed!!

    It lifted one massive foot, clearly intending to pulverize her. She tried to scramble away but the garbage gave poor traction. She cringed...

    Something flashed through the air. A marine issue combat knife. It's blade penetrated half way into the monstrous chest. An almost comical look of surprise crossed the beast's face as it stared down, and it staggered back a few steps.

    "Hoshi! Get on all fours, now!" James ordered.

    It was a strange request, but now wasn't the time to quibble. As Sato got into position, putting her weight on her uninjured arm, she saw James running full pelt straight at her. To her utter astonishment the Corporal hopped up, putting a foot on her back and using her as a platform for a flying kick! A kick aimed not at the creature itself, but at the knife protruding from it's chest, driving it fully in.

    It screamed, clawing at the handle, trying instinctively to pull the knife free. But Corporal James wasn't having any of it. She darted round behind it, drawing another knife from her belt. Not a standard issue one, but a recreation, in modern materials, of the famed Fairburn Sykes Commando knife. With all her strength she drove it into the thing's back, just left of the spine, blade slanted upwards, before twisting it to one side. On a human that would sever many blood vessels and possibly even the heart itself. She had no idea how it would work on this being.

    It certainly didn't like it, thrashing around with enough violence to send her sprawling. Her knife remained stuck in it's back. Blood bubbled from the wound, and from it's mouth. It's bleeding into it's lungs, she realized.

    It dropped to it's knees, reaching behind itself in a futile attempt to reach the knife. Finally it slumped forward. It's breathing ceased.

    "Corporal James! Corporal James! Come in please!" Tipping's voice, over the LOSIR.

    "I'm up. So's Lieutenant Sato. We got the...ah...." She paused, taking a long, shuddering breath. "We got the dilithium, but we're both hurt. I think we'll live though. Hoshi?"

    "I've been better. I think I'd like to go see your medic now."

    "Me too. I want to get my stuff back first. And let's not forget the dilithium." James looked down at the creature. "Seriously, what is that thing?"

    "It's...it's..." Hoshi shrugged her good shoulder, and gave the only answer she could think of. "It's green."
     
  12. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Excellent chapter!

    Tense, good character building, and a top notch action sequence.

    It was so good I didn't even miss Polly. ;)
     
  13. USS Avenger

    USS Avenger Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    "its green" :guffaw::guffaw::guffaw:

    Sorry, thats always been one of my favorite lines!.

    Once again a great chapter, good action sequence. :bolian:
     
  14. adm_gold

    adm_gold Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That's what I was looking for! Nice chapter.
     
  15. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Excellent! Love the set up for the flying kick. You know, if you keep this up you are going to rival TLR and David F for King O' the Fanfic. This is so visual, so dynamic. Loving it!
     
  16. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks for your thoughts. Given my usual writing style I wasn't sure if I could manage a faster paced action sequence. So I tried unleashing my inner Matthew Reilly and that was the result. Lots of things happening in italics, followed by exclamation marks!!!!

    So I'm pleased it seems to have worked out.

    And I'm glad you liked that line, Avenger.
     
  17. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The unknown station. Upper atmosphere of Theta Iota 6.
    17th May 2151.

    Captain Archer was not happy when the message came in from Woo's section. Whilst the recovery of the dilithium was good news, two injured personnel was not. Especially when one of them was one of his own people.

    Damn it! What the hell was I thinking? Hoshi could have been killed! And for what? Did I really think my people would be needed? Or was I just trying to make sure UESPA played a part in the rescue?

    It was an unpleasant thought, and he had to force himself to face it. With the chain of command divided between separate organisations, he was worried that any success by the military would give UEMA more influence. That was exactly the sort of politicking he hated, but now found himself mired in. And as a result, one of my officers is injured.

    He raised a frustrated fist to pound against the nearest wall, stopped himself just in time. They were getting very close to the most heavily populated part of the station, and it wouldn't do to give their position away. They'd had to give up corridor travel entirely, even the side ones, and for the past ten minutes had squirmed through narrow access tubes. Eventually they'd reached their current location, an unused room, empty. It was a good spot to run some scans.

    "Has the wall offended you, Captain?" T'Pol asked. Archer stared blankly at her before realising he still held his fist ready.

    "Ah, no. But right now I feel a lot like hitting something. You found anything?" He gestured to the scanner.

    "I have. At this range I am confident that there are in fact two separate thromium sources. One is approximately ten meters in that direction, the other about five meters further along."

    Archer nodded. "So we are practically on top of them. Right, Mr M'boto's been running his own scans, trying to get the internal layout. Coordinate with him, I want an idea of what we're getting into."

    "Yes Captain."

    As she walked away he became aware of a sudden change. The faint hiss of the communications system was silenced, and an icon appeared on his Head Up Display. Reed had isolated his frequency.

    "I'd tell you not to worry, that she wasn't seriously hurt, but we both know that's not the point."

    "She could have been hurt. Or killed. So could Trip." He paused. "I'm sorry Malcolm, that's selfish of me. One of your people was hurt as well, but right now I can only---"

    "Think of Lieutenant Sato?" Reed interrupted. "That's perfectly natural. The UESPA's are your concern, the UEMA's---"

    Now it was Archer's turn to interrupt. "No. No, that can't work. This division into separate groups gets us no where. We all have to work together. Doesn't matter if your uniform is blue, black or green, or if you don't wear a uniform at all. We have to be one crew. One crew."

    He could see Reed nod, and lift his hand to restore normal comms. The Marine paused before touching the control.

    "One other thing. Not really my business, so if you don't want to answer....Captain, have you ever lost anyone? In the line of duty?"

    Archer exhaled slowly, remembering. "Two. Two people have...died, while under my command."

    For a moment he thought Reed wanted details, but a second later he was reconnected to the comms net.

    "Alright, alright, what have we got?" Reed asked M'boto, as if his conversation with Archer had never happened.

    Tapping a control on his pad, M'boto sent a schematic of the local area to everyone's HUD.

    "OK. We are here. Now if we go out the main door, up that corridor, through this bulkhead hatch, then left at the intersection, that'll take us to this point here." A bright spot pulsed on the display. "That's just out side this room, the nearest of the two thromium traces."

    "Bit of a long way to go out of cover." Delaney, the heavy weapons expert, pointed out.

    M'boto shrugged, the movement almost hidden by his body armour. "True, but I can't find any access shafts that'll get us any closer."

    "What about the second contact?" Archer asked.

    A second light came on. "That's in this room here. There may be a connecting hatch between the two rooms, I can't be certain at this range. Otherwise, we'd have to continue along here, turn right at the end. Should be a door along there."

    Reed studied the display for a moment. "OK, here's the plan..."

    ***

    As well as the top-down map, the HUD could generate a simple 3D wire frame display of the surroundings. As Archer scurried along the corridor he could see precisely where he should go, even through walls and the upcoming bulkhead hatch. Rather like X-ray vision from the Superman comics he'd read as a kid, though it was based on M'boto's scans instead of Kryptonian powers. As such, Reed had cautioned him, it should only be used as a general guide to location. It was easy to fall into the trap of assuming that if there was nothing on the display, there was nothing really there. The marines were trained to be extra vigilant, but mistakes were still possible.

    Sliding to a halt by the hatch, M'boto pressed a scanner to it. With well rehearsed precision the others took up their positions, weapons at the ready, guarding against someone coming up behind them, or opening the hatch from the other side. Archer couldn't help but notice that both he and T'pol were pushed, politely but firmly, down and out of the way.

    "Nothing detected." M'boto said.

    Reed ordered "Unlock it."

    It took the technical specialist some twenty nerve frazzling seconds to bypass the security systems. After announcing that it was unlocked he ran a scan again, just to make sure. Same result.

    The hatch swung open. The corridor beyond was dark, Archer's night vision coming on automatically. That was a good sign, it meant this corridor was not currently in use. On Reed's orders they scrambled the hatch's locking system behind them. It'd be possible to open from their side, if they needed to go back that way, but no one could get through from the other side.

    There was another bulkhead, in the distance, but they weren't going that far. Tharpa, taking point, stopped just short of the intersection, and lifted his arm. A thin rod slid out from his wrist computer, the microscopic camera at the end sending images of the left corridor to his HUD. He signalled all clear.

    They proceeded round the corner into the side corridor, maintaining tactical formation. The door to the first room was about half way along, at the end it turned right. The door looked sturdy and there was no observation port. Reed and his squad, with Archer in tow, went straight past. Behind them M'boto's squad placed a LOSIR relay beacon on the wall opposite the door, then began preparing for entry. T'Pol, remaining with them, checked for Thromium waves.

    After checking that the next section was clear, they continued to the door of the second room, leaving another relay beacon at the corner.

    "Cross, check the door." Reed said. "Delaney, scan for thermals. Tharpa, slap a relay where it'll do some good. Captain, I don't mean to be rude, but, er..."

    "Keep my head down and stay out of the way?" Archer said, forcing a levity he didn't feel into his voice to let Reed know he was not offended.

    "Yes sir, something like that. In fact, whilst we're doing our stuff, it'd be helpful if you can keep an eye out that away." He gestured further along the corridor. It ended in a blank wall, but there were several doors each side. "If you see anyone, get in before they see you and let us know."

    "Got it."

    Cross, a compact but muscular young woman with short blonde hair, said "The door isn't locked sir. Opens inwards."

    "Three thermal traces. Two probably human, one's hotter. Could be Vulcan." Delaney added.

    M'boto, over the LOSIR net. "Two thermals in room one. One of them could be a Vulcan. Squad stands ready."

    T'Pol added "From this vantage, it does indeed appear that there is a thromium source in both rooms."

    Reed took in a deep breath, let it out carefully. "Right. Everybody get ready. Try not to use ranged energy weapons if you've got a choice, it might show up on internal sensors. But if you've got no choice, don't hesitate."

    Tharpa, Cross and Reed lined up on one side of the door. Delaney took the other side, one hand on the opening lever, braced to force it open.

    "Action imminent. Stand by, stand by...go!"

    Delaney pulled the handle until he felt the latch disengage. With his shoulder he gave the door a powerful shove before pulling back out of the way. As soon as he was clear the diminutive Tharpa slithered into the room.

    The apparatus of a medical bay made the room's purpose clear, but he was more concerned about the bald man in UEMA uniform stood at the other side of the room. There was a comical expression of surprise on his moon shaped face as he saw Tharpa. Shocked, the man reached for his holstered side arm.

    "Contact far right!" Tharpa called. as he spoke he continued into the room, hugging the right hand wall, heading for the corner. He made no attempt to stop the man. That wasn't his job.

    Cross, second in, turned left, her path mirroring Tharpa's. "Contact near left!" she cried. An acne ridden youngster in black fatigues was rising from a chair in front of her. Lunging forward Cross rammed the barrel of her rifle deep into the pit of the youth's stomach. With the target winded Cross triggered 'the zapper'. No one had yet developed a truly effective non lethal weapon, but the EM-414 could deliver a powerful electric shock at the business end of the barrel, enough to incapacitate an adult human. With the effect being limited to contact only, it shouldn't set off the stations sensors.

    Reed was third through, side-stepping out of the door way, rifle shouldered and aimed at the bald man. Up till now all communications had been over the LOSIR net, the helmet's suppressors ensuring their voices didn't carry, but now he triggered the external speakers. "Don't move! Hands on your head! NOW!!"

    For a moment everything seemed to freeze. Reed was aware of Delany rushing in, turning to cover the far left corner: Tharpa, reaching his corner, near right, swinging round to cover their target: Cross's voice, "X-Ray stunned!": the moon faced man, wild panic filling his eyes, his hand dropping to the holster, clawing at the gun...

    It wasn't loud, no louder than someone popping a paper bag. There was no flash or cloud of smoke. But Reed felt the recoil as the underslung EM-303 delivered it's lethal payload. The flechettes were so thin that the holes they punched through his uniform were almost to small to be seen with the naked eye. But they had been designed by experts. Once they hit matter with the right consistency---for example, that of human flesh---they began to tumble, delivering all their kinetic energy in the most effective way possible. There was next to no chance of a round shooting through and harming anyone else.

    The man wasn't hurled back by the impact to crash into the wall behind him. He simply collapsed, dead before he hit the floor.

    "X-Ray down." Reed said simply. Then "Clear!"

    A chorus of "Clear!" came from the other team members.

    "M'boto, report."

    "Room secured. No sign of the Premier. Two hostiles. One human, one Vulcan. We got the Vulcan alive. T'Pol is trying to determine the thromium wave source now."

    "Acknowledged. Stay alert and maintain position. And you better send Dent to us. Looks like we've found our man."

    Near the centre of the room stood a diagnostic bed, similar to those on Enterprise but not quite as advanced. The body of a Vulcan male, his face lined, his hair grey, lay upon it under a thin blanket. He was very still, and only the beeping of the monitoring equipment indicated he was still alive.

    "Tharpa, get out there and keep watch. Captain Archer, could you come in here please?"

    Archer entered, pausing as he saw the corpse slumped on the floor. Apart from a slight red stain at his chest there was nothing to indicate cause of death.

    "Was that really necessary?" he demanded.

    "I'm sorry Captain. But he was drawing his gun. If he'd got a shot off, whoever is in charge would know we're here." Reed shrugged, then gestured to the Premier. "But at least we've found what we came for."

    "Entering room." Dent, the medic, called out. "Right, let's have a look at him..."

    Archer turned to the corner where Cross was securing the prisoner. She used a restraint tie, a small rectangular box. Squeezing the sides released a ribbon from one end. This was wrapped around his wrists behind his back. The ribbons tip then adhered to the opposite end of the dispenser. Releasing the sides caused the mechanism to retract the ribbon until his hands were firmly secured. Despite the ribbons thinness it was incredibly strong.

    The young man looked dazed still. Archer didn't bother with questions, but he examined his clothing closely.

    "Looks a lot like standard UEMA ship issue." he said, making sure his helmet camera got a good view of both clothing and wearer.

    "Yes sir." Reed replied. "This one here's a UEMA Commander, if his uniform's anything to go by...although, it is the old design. They changed it, what? Three, four years back?"

    Archer forced himself to look closer at the body. "Could be surplus gear." he suggested.

    Reed nodded. "Could be. His side arm's the EM-33, standard issue for UEMA."

    Archer grunted. He was carrying one himself, though he wasn't too keen on it. The marines themselves had a specially modified version, the 33M. As far as he knew neither version were available outside the military.

    Dent said "Sir, sirs, as far as I can tell the Premier is currently sedated. There's evidence of malnutrition, dehydration, plus multiple injuries indicating...he's been tortured, badly."

    Reed swore.

    Archer made a decision. "Ffff...forget waiting around to talk to them. Let's get him off the station, right now. Once he's safe, then we can try diplomacy. Back it up with Enterprise's firepower if need be."

    That got a quick grin from Reed. "Yes sir. Right, Dent, you reckon we should try and wake him or not?"

    The medic thought it over. "Mmmm, I'd say not. In his condition he won't be too mobile on his own. Better off carrying him."

    Archer pointed to the corner "And I want him brought with us. There are a lot of questions he can answer. The Vulcan M'boto found too."

    Suddenly the room was filled with the blare of klaxons. Archer recognised their specific tone.

    Intruder alert.
     
  18. USS Avenger

    USS Avenger Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Well done! It shows that you did your homework on clearing a room. As usual great attention to detail, its one of the reasons I always look forward to this story. :bolian:
     
  19. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    Very true-the detail like the binders is fantastic. Of all of the stories I'm following, yours is the most entertaining amongst those that post regularly. Others are good but this is just too cool. What Enterprise should have been. Nice Supes reference, too!
     
  20. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    The unknown station. Upper atmosphere of Theta Iota 6.
    17th May 2151.

    "Well that's torn it." Reed said conversationally as the alert sirens sounded. "Right, let's not hang about. I want prisoners secured, LOSIR beacons recovered, and bodies hidden as best as possible. Delaney, Dent, see to the Premier. M'boto, Cross, try and access their communications net. See if they've detected us or not."

    Archer gestured to the loud speaker and flashing light. "You don't think this is for our benefit?"

    The marine shrugged. "I don't know at this stage. Maybe they've detected Woo's section, or the Beowulf. Hell, it might just be a drill. But whatever it is, they'll be checking all high priority areas as a matter of course."

    "And the Premier's location will be pretty high priority." Archer concluded. "So let's get moving."

    "Yes sir. Also, could you and T'Pol keep an eye on the prisoners? It'd free up my lads, in case we run into anyone."

    Archer nodded. "Certainly." He noticed that the marines had put emergency survival hoods on the prisoners, and winced. They weren't the most comfortable items to wear. Little more than black bags pulled on over the head, when activated the opening constricted tightly around the neck. They would filter out contaminants in the air, acting as gas masks, with a five minute air supply in case oxygen levels dropped too low. They were not intended for use in vacuum, as they left the rest of the body unprotected. Medical simulations said that they could keep some one alive for a few minutes, but in great discomfort, and no one was willing to find out. They had a transparent panel at the front for vision, but these hoods had been put on backwards, effectively blindfolding the prisoners.

    The group made rapid progress back to the main hatch. M'boto ran a hurried scan, determining the way forward was still clear. They passed through. As the hatch was closing behind them the corridor light came on.

    "Crap. They're almost on us." Reed said. "Back into that empty room, then the access shafts. Move it!"

    They moved it. If Archer thought they'd set a fast pace before, then this could only be called punishing. Even so they maintained tactical formation at all times, rifles at the ready, checking their pre-determined arcs of fire.

    The prisoner he was guarding, the male human, stumbled and nearly fell. For a split second Archer felt a pang of sympathy. It must be terrifying for him, hit with an electric shock, bound, forced to run full pelt blindfolded by an unknown captor. Then Archer remembered the wounds on the Premier's body. Setting his jaw he grabbed the prisoner's shoulder and yanked him upright.

    The empty room was as they'd left it. Once all were inside Reed ordered the hatch sealed.

    Cross had been listening in to the communications net. "I'm getting a lot of chatter sir. Very confused...someone's panicking, someone else is telling them to calm down...something about...an animal? A body, they've found a body, in a cargo bay....The animal is dead." She shrugged. "It's not making a lot of sense."

    Archer glanced at Reed. "That message from Woo's squad did say they killed an unknown alien in the cargo bay."

    Reed said "Maybe it's called the animal. Well, that explains the alert. M'boto, bring up the map. Now they're looking for us we may need another way out of here."

    ***

    Into the access shafts once more. Progress was slower than before, with an unconscious man and two prisoners. At one point the Vulcan captive had started kicking hard against the walls. Probably an attempt to signal for help, panic was not likely for one of her species. T'Pol had silenced her with what looked to be no more than a touch to the neck, rendering her unconscious instantly. Archer looked on with interest. He'd heard of the technique but never seen it before. He hoped the male prisoner didn't try anything, as his own means of incapacitation would be rather more uncomfortable. He carried a marine shock stick on his belt, and didn't want to use it.

    "Tharpa, freeze!" M'boto called out. The point man halted.

    "Problem?" Reed asked.

    "Yes sir. Scanning beams have just gone on throughout the station. There's one just a couple of meters ahead of Tharpa. If he passes through..."

    Reed nodded. "They'll know we are here. Is there any way round them?"

    "Just a moment, sir." M'boto examined his display. "Yes, possibly. That's assuming they stay fixed. And even then it'll take time."

    Archer said "We don't have time. Sooner or later they'll reconfigure their scanners to detect thromium. They'll know exactly where the Premier is when that happens."

    Reed swore loudly. "Right, if we can't go forward we'll have to go back. May have to abandon stealth for brute force and ignorance."

    "Sounds good to me boss." Delaney grinned.

    "Hang on a second." Archer said. Something had caught his attention. "This panel. It's a different material to the rest of the shaft. Looks like it was added later. M'boto, can you tell what's on the other side?"

    The tech. specialist consulted his scanner. "I think you are right, Captain. Looks like this was originally a 'T' junction. They've closed it off for some reason. Might be a way through."

    Archer drew the knife that had come with his equipment belt. "Right. Let's see if I can prise it open." It wasn't secured too tightly, coming free in a matter of seconds. There was indeed another shaft on the other side.

    Tharpa would have been best choice to investigate, but he was at the front of the line. Without a word Archer ducked his head and crawled in.

    "Careful sir." Reed said.

    It was soon obvious why this shaft had been sealed. There was a sticky, greasy residue on every surface, and a greenish vapour filled the air. Whatever it was, it would probably spread through out the station if not contained. He hoped there weren't any scanners to detect leaks.

    An icon on his HUD told him M'boto was accessing his suit's sensors. "That's good Captain, that's good. I'm getting a lot of data, that seems to be a way through alright. No scanning beams in your area."

    "Thanks. Any idea what's on the other side of these walls?"

    "Ah...it looks like...oh. Captain, stay very, very still." It was difficult to tell over the comms link, but M'boto sounded concerned.

    Archer froze. "What is it? Someone on the other side?"

    "Ah, no. It's---"

    There was a sudden loud clunk, and Archer felt the shaft swaying from side to side. A second later another clunk accompanied a stomach turning drop. It wasn't far, thirty centimetres or so, but it put his nerves on edge.

    "Get back!" M'boto was yelling. "Get back here sir!"

    "I think I'll get back." Archer said. Gingerly, for the shaft now felt very insecure, he crawled backwards.

    Another clunk, and the screech of metal under strain. A couple of meters ahead of him a crack appeared, splitting the shaft where two sections met. Instinctively he froze, holding his breath. For long seconds nothing happened, and he forced himself to relax.

    A loud snap. The section of shaft he was in suddenly dropped at the far end, pivoting to almost a forty five degree angle. He found himself sliding uncontrollably forward. He reached out arrest his motion but the greasy residue allowed no purchase. He reached for his suit's control panel on his wrist. Magna-adhesion! Which one was it? Reed showed me. Is it this--

    Too late. He shot out of the tube head first into a gut wrenching drop. "Oh shiiiii---!"

    Something hit his shoulder sending him spinning. His legs slammed into something else. Finally he landed in a crumpled heap. The impact sent shock waves of pain through him. Dazed he tried to sit up, and looked around.

    He was between two rows of heavy machinery, oily and grimy. It looked like manufacturing equipment of some sort. There was a yellow warning sign on one, too blurred to make out. He squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head. Now the sign was a little clearer. Words in a language he didn't understand---the script looked Russian---and a symbol. A black horizontal bar ending in a circle with lots of smaller bars jutting out at all angles. It looked a little like a medieval mace. Appropriate. That's what it feels I've been hit by.

    Looking up through the green mist he could see the shaft from which he'd fallen stretched across the ceiling. It looked very high up. If it weren't for the low gravity, and if his fall hadn't been broken by hitting the high machinery, he'd have almost certainly been killed. As it was, he was sure things were worse than a few bumps and scrapes. Better get a medic.

    "Reed, I'm alive, but I....Reed? Reed, are you there?"

    Nothing. He forced his still blurry eyes to focus on his HUD. Damn it! No line of sight. No comms. Going to have to---

    A noise behind him made him turn. A man had come round the nearest corner. Big, a touch overweight but muscular with it. Dirty shirt and jeans. A gas mask, with orange tinted lenses. Behind them his eyes were wide with surprise.

    Before Archer could speak the man rushed at him, brandishing a huge wrench. The captain pulled the shock stick from his belt. The big man paused, but only for a moment, the shock stick was not an intimidating weapon, especially in it's unextended state.

    Archer leapt back as the wrench swung close to his visor. Frantically he began prodding the shock stick, trying to activate it. It's controlled electrostatic pulse could incapacitate even the hardiest assailant. Another swing, closer this time. He tried to retreat, felt the wall against his back. A third swing. He dropped into a sitting position. The wrench flew harmlessly over his head, but now he'd sacrificed mobility. The big man lifted the wrench for a vertical strike. In desperation Archer lifted his hands to ward off the blow...

    SNAP!

    The shock stick bucked in his hands. By chance he'd hit the control, not to activate it, but to extend it to almost three times it's length. And, by chance, the business end had pistoned into the big man's groin.

    The assailant staggered back, dropping the wrench and bending double. That gave Archer the chance to look at the stick and find the right control. Moments later the big guy was flat out on the floor, twitching slightly.

    Archer struggled to stand, panting heavily. There was a hiss in his earpiece, and a light flashed on in his HUD. "....ain Archer? Captain Archer, can you hear me? Come in please..."

    "I'm here, Lieutenant Reed. Still in one piece." He looked up. Tharpa's head could just be seen poking from the broken access shaft. It was enough to restore the LOSIR link. "Ahh, is that safe?"

    Tharpa said "I'm lightest sir. And I'm secured by ropes. I will not fall, I think." He didn't sound terribly confident.

    "Right, let's figure out---" Reed started over the net. Then, to Archer's horror, a second man wandered into the row of machines. He looked at Archer, then at the unconscious man, then turned and started running. Along the row, straight away from Archer. And towards what looked like a communications panel on the far wall.

    "Tharpa!" Archer yelled, pointing. "Shoot him! SHOOT HIM!!"

    Reed's voice. "Any energy discharge will give our position away, sir, Thapa hasn't got the shotgun, he'll--"

    The captain looked up, saw the barrel of Tharpa's rifle protrude from the access shaft. "Use the laser, the laser!" He looked at the running man, only seconds from the panel. If he gets there...

    M'boto interjected "It's still an energy weapon. The discharge can be detected easily by any---"

    "Shoot him!" Archer interrupted. "That's an order!"

    Tharpa fired.
     

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