Obsidian Command

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Refractions: Let Yourself In

Posted on 04 Mar 2024 @ 7:11am by Commander Calliope Zahn & Admiral Zavareh Sepandiyar & Lieutenant Louke Haille

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: Pathfinder Patrol - Away Team POV
Timeline: D25
2220 words - 4.4 OF Standard Post Measure

The interior of the shuttlecraft was deadly silent, all eyes on the hatch. In a normal instance, they might have docked with the Virgil side by side but they didn’t have that luxury. The docking port was heavily damaged on the ship leaving them with no other choice but to make a forced seal with the dorsal hatch of the shuttle.

Corporal Garza carefully applied the shaped explosives to the hatch of the Virgil along the seams to force the door open and hopefully not damage it too much, a task made all the more difficult by the fact that the shuttle was oriented so that the dorsal section was attacked to the port hatch of the vessel they were boarding. Meaning that Garza was technically standing on the ceiling, or rather kneeling on it, to make the seal.

Around him, the rest of the fire team was assembled in their combat EVA armor, weapons at the ready, waiting for Garza to finish his task so that they could breach the ship and move forward. Unusure if they were making the transition between vessels into an alternate gravity or no gravity as they couldn’t get a solid reading.

“Alright,” Garza finally declared, stepping back, “Fire in the hole,” he called out.

Everyone turned away as he fired off the charges and they all heard the detonation, muffled only slightly by their EVA suits. There was a sudden hiss of air as the air equalized between the two vessels and Staff Sergeant Bondieux smirked knowingly, glad that he’d not had to argue with their Starfleet handler about depressurizing their side before they blew the hatch.

“Two by two, Garza. You’re up,” Bondieux ordered, waving a hand forward sharply.

Garza pointed to Private Pate, who nodded. Both turned, weapons up to the hatch and prepared to go through. No sooner than he’d squatted to make the transition, the Private cried out and jumped back out of the way, scrambling for his weapon. Garza rushed forward to cover but lowered his weapon, instead looking to Bondieux, who was looking concerned himself.

“There’s a body in the airlock,” he explained. “Cover me, Pate,” he added to the shaken Private, going in first himself.

Garza squatted into the lock, pushed through feet first and expected to rotate to the new gravitational axis but instead found himself free floating. He pushed from the new ceiling and engaged the mag locks on his boots as they hit the deck.

“We’re zero-g on this side, Staff Sergeant,” Garza announced in their internal comms as Pate was coming through now. “Two bodies in here. Looks like crew of this ship,” he went on. “Pate, cover the door, I’ll seal it…” he trailed off.

Carefully, the rest of the fire team came through, Bondieux coming through last with their Starfleet handler.

Noah nodded as the Staff Sergeant moved forward, keeping his form as compact as he could manage as he slipped through the lock and into the unrestrained atmosphere. He was still gripping the lock slightly as he activated his boots, already touching the base before he released and moved aside. Ahead were the bodies, free-floating yet eerily still in death. Noah closed his eyes briefly, murmuring a quick chant of respect from childhood memories past as Bondieux finished sealing the lock.

“Secure the bodies,” Bondieux ordered.

Moving back, Noah allowed space for the officers to work; while he was the officer present, he knew his place was more advisory compared to Bondieux. Instead, his focus shifted over the scene as a whole, taking in the damage caused in the assault. A part of him worried that they would find no survivors save for the Pirates still present on the ship.

The Marines locked the corpses to the bulkhead using a small tool in their kits and then deployed out on the next doorway, ready to open it and move forward. Bondieux looked back to make sure their handler was secure and then nodded to his Marines, gesturing forward. “Two by two, let’s go,” he repeated.

Garza hit the control and the door opened slowly on low power. He had his weapon up on the gap first then, with Pate on his left, moving in slow deliberate steps down the corridor.

The lighting was flickering down the hall, glowing through the fog of damaged pressurized plasma conduits which had auto shut down at the valve junctions after bursting, but not before letting off enough steam to reduce visibility.

“Switching to sensor imaging,” Corporal Garza announced from the front of the advance down the corridor, tapping the controls on his arm to send the command to his helmet. Inside, where only he could see, the glass hazed over gray, almost like it was tinting the view and then came to life with an augmented display showing everything through the haze of fog as if it wasn’t there, relegated to a mere footnote on the HUD display. He nodded to Pate who returned the gesture and they moved on.

Noah’s gaze swept over the damage as they pressed deeper into the vessel. The fact that the source was internal gave tribute to the sheer violence that had been wrought, resulting in the deaths of the officers. His eyes registered weapons fire, with heavier artillery peppered in … a concussion grenade, perhaps, to stun before they finished the job?

The freighter was a common enough layout, but a little more old school, where the deckhands got around on ladders, save for two cumbersome, oversized lifts reserved mostly for cargo. Below the away teams’ feet were the cargo hold accesses side to side, and the Engine room, beneath and to the tail of the ship. Ahead, the corridor would lead to the inset crew bunks, and beyond them, a half deck step up to the bridge.

A terrible whine creaked through the decking as the structural integrity fields were off line and the Virgil’s bones sounded to be resettling around them. Everyone froze as the noise reverberated throughout. When it quieted again there was the sound of voices at the junction ahead– indecipherable but tense and shouting.

There were ladder descenders from the catwalk over the gap and all manner of shouting and banging reverberating up from the engine room. As the team neared the gap, the voices became clearer. “Shut it off!” “Shut him up!” “Divert the third junction under the manifold” “I can’t work with that muzzle stuck up my nose, mate!” There were at least four distinct voices, and clearly one of them was an unwilling party to the repairs underway.

Garza held his fist up to stop the advance of everyone and carefully Bondieux moved up the line, glancing back at Noah briefly.

Up ahead beyond the catwalk, the corridor curved into a wide horseshoe, likely connected to crew quartering. Directly across the catwalk ahead there was a half-deck stairwell upwards to the bridge, the foot of which was just in view by a sliver, with an open door and the crossing of various floating figures. There were several alert noises from damaged systems and other tense voices too unclear to make out.

“Garza, Pate, take port. Steiner, Welt, starboard. Jackson, Caparzo, you’re with me,” Bondieux ordered, lining up his Marines along the corridor. He sheathed his sidearm and drew up his main rifle now as he shifted back to speak with their handler.

“SFMC boarding protocol is: civilians are the priority,” Bondiex explained. “It sounds like we’ve got at least one in Engineering. We don’t know where anyone else is for sure. We should take Engineering, secure the civilians and use engineering to find out where everyone else is,” he explained. He knew what he wanted and thought was the right call but they were technically under Noah’s command here.

“Just tell me where you need me in this equation,” Noah offered. “I may be here as the OIC, but you’re the specialist when it comes to addressing the situation accurately. I’ll let you know if something is completely off base.” Besides, Noah knew he would be best served managing the escapees as they came by them.

“Cover our six,” Bondieux answered, pointing to a good cover spot.

Shooting the man a quick salute, Noah shifted back into the designated spot, his phaser at ready as he kept his eyes peeled for any outliers who might bleed into the space and endanger the operation.

“3rd squad, standard four dimensional insertion,” Bondieux ordered quickly now. Jackson, with me down the ladders. Caparzo, hold the catwalk,” he ordered, moving forward now to get to the down ladder he’d chosen, pointing Jackson to the other. The rest of the Marines all moved quickly to their positions, lining up on the railing right before the gap to the bulkhead. Below them and ahead was their target but if there were hostiles below that they couldn’t see, going single file down the ladder would be a shooting gallery.

Bondieux gave his Marines one last look then gave a sharp nod, “3rd squad, let’s go,” he ordered.

Immediately the Marines killed their magboots and began to free float. The Marines on the railing clutched the metal run and spun themselves expertly over the railing to land flat-footed on the wall a meter away, latching their boots again, weapons up, covering their descent to the next level. Jackson and Bondieux did the same, flipping themselves inverted and using the ladders to pull themselves down the ladder opening, their weapons facing the way they’d come then latching to the catwalk from underneath and moving that same direction to cover any hostiles hiding amongst the space.

Following at a careful distance, Noah’s gaze swept the halls about him. Where Bondieux’s people saw objectives, the Operations officer in Noah noted possible points of access into the vessel’s control center. The question would be if he could find a unit that was both accessible and defensible, without compromising the boarding team in the process. Slowing his steps, he focused on his personal search, noting a corridor that would lead to just such a niche. Sticking his head inside the entrance, Noah found what he was looking for within a reasonable stretch from the main passage. He shouldered his weapon and slipped inside, checking over the console and finding it worse for wear but still operable.

“Ok, Khoroushi,” he crouched down to manipulate the wires until the console came to life. With practiced strokes, he bypassed the ship’s systems with a standard Fleet Operations command and set to observing just what the intruders were attempting to accomplish. In the meantime, he carefully poked around the auxiliary systems until he found something that proved useful. Taking a chance, he tapped his comm. “Bondieux, this is Khoroushi. I’ve found a usable console and have access to the Virgil’s sensors. If you give me your coordinates, I can divert the systems away from your men and keep our ‘visitors’ from noticing them right away.”

A silent visual ‘confirm’ signal on the HUD of the suit was the Staff Sergeants sum total response, linking the Lieutenant his location status and trusting the officer to provide operational cover that wasn’t going to give away their approach.

As the marines silently ‘ascended’ the ladders into the belly where the engine was seated, there came into view, upside down from the typical orientation, a short corridor gap between them and the engine room to the aft of the ship. The first and most obvious form was an outline against the glow of the warp engine, marking out one figure who was nearly free floating except anchored by one hand on a support strut, the other with an extended gun arm. Sensors thermally highlighted two someones behind an assembly of conduits at which the figure was aiming.

Slightly to the right, an Andorian woman in a black tactical suit was floating just off the deck at the engineering control console, a gun magnetized on the console beside her as she worked with both hands. “Work faster.” The Andorian directed, watching the drive repair progress impatiently. There was a whimper of pain from someone out of view beyond the console to the right.

“Quit it! I told you, I’m working as fast as I can.” It was the same voice that had earlier protested working under a gun muzzle.

“Like hell you are.” The Andorian looked to someone else just out of view and there was another motivating cry of pain. She finished a sequence she was working on and tapped a comm link on her neck. “Tergosa, try sensors now. I think I’ve got through that computer lock out. Working on navigation next.”

“Nice Jamie.” Came the tinny reply from her suit’s speaker. “I’ll see how the ‘ol captain feels about cooperating again, while he still has anything left to— heads up! We’ve got a shuttle on the hull!”

The Andorian grabbed her gun and looked up. “Someone has followed us aboard?”

“It’s a Starfleet shuttle!” Tergosa called out over the link. “Take up defensive positions!”


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