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Deep Dark Places

Posted on 13 Oct 2017 @ 5:22pm by Lieutenant JG Shisa & Lieutenant Torrna Maliya MD & Ensign Kibi Hren & Ensign Jilani Ranor

Mission: Mission 01: The Hromi Shakedown
Location: Stasis Pod Bay
Timeline: A little after 'Forty Fathoms Deep, pt2'


"I'm starting to think you had the right idea being concerned." Jilani quipped, the young woman trying to keep the shakiness from her voice. Her father might have been a brave Gul and her mother probably the fiercest woman in two quadrants Jila had never seen any real danger... so far she wasn't taking to it as well as she hoped. "Uh...ma'am."

Maliya noted the tension in the woman's voice. Cardassian or not, she was still in Maliya's charge, as was the young security officer, Juliani.

"Ranor, relax, keep your focus on the job." Maliya said, trying not to sound too rude.

"Aye... aye ma'am." Jila took a deep breath trying to calm her nerves. Easier said than done considering the alarms going off all around them. She'd have to draw her strength from within and from her superior officer. The Doctor was obviously used to being a leader and was prepared or at least used to situations like this. She would take her inspiration from the woman and do the job.

"Okay, Juliani, set your rifle to high stun. You do the same for your phaser." Maliya said as she opened up her tricorder. "We're as likely to get confused people as we are to get crazy dangerous people. So if they start attacking, shoot them, okay?"

Juliani nodded simply as he adjusted his rifle setting.

Keying her phaser setting to heavy stun, Jila let the weapon sight lightly in her hand. Never the greatest shot, Jila had to spend extra hours on the phaser range so she'd pass qualification. "Ready ma'am."

Maliya stepped over to the door and tapped a few commands. The first set resulted in what could easily be interpreted as input error, wrong pin or simply the wrong code to open the door, as a loud bleep sounded off from the console. The bajoran tapped on her tricorder, studied the readings for a moment then tried again.

This time the door slid open with a hiss, the atmosphere in the room adjusting to the pressure change nearly immediately. Maliya's tricorder bleeped and whirred as it did its primary function, detect lifeforms.

"Prophets, there are so many of them. So..." Maliya paused suddenly, looking at the readouts.

"Hundreds by the look of it." Jila said tracking the power flow to a massive junction near one of the walls. "I think this is central control ma'am."

Torrna stepped over to the control console, then tapped on her tricorder to see the translation of the text, or its closest approximation. The readings were very odd. Whilst there were the more or less standard readouts of the stasis pod operation, the mix of gasses and cooling elements that kept the body alive etc, it was the readings of the bodies themselves that seemed odd.

"Ranor what do you make of this?" Maliya pointed to the body readout display and provided her tricorder readings aswell.

Quickly looking back and forth between the two, Jila scratched her neck frindge uncomfortably. The readings didn't make any kind of sense, it was like every ten pods repeated but there were subtle differences in some that suggested the subject was the same but different. Not to mention the neural activity, it was off the charts, usually those in stasis showed decreased neural output considering their bodies weren't doing much and their minds were simply being kept occupied to stave off insanity. But what she was seeing here looked more like the scans of someone doing advanced astrogation calculations in their head.

"Ma'am I'm not quite sure what we're looking at here. They appear to be clones, but some have been altered, like take these two, the reading's are physically identical except for here, look at the data from the ship's readouts, this one is appears to have been given modifications to these three genome clusters."

Before Maliya could examine the read-outs and reply the subject green-skinned clone opened its eyes and chest heaved with taking a deep breath. The stasis pod hissed as its lid popped open an inch.

...HISS

HISS...

....HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS-HISS...


It seemed all the stasis pods were releasing their occupants.

"Oh not good." Maliya grumbled, frowning at a familiar readout. A readout that should not have been there, not that soon anyway. She wasn't quite clear what the wording was, but she could recognize bajoran, human and cardassian physiology display. Why would that appear on the console?

"Youuuu....might want to set your phasers to kill just in case. Because, I'm pretty sure that our lifesigns shouldn't appear on an ancient orion console.

The symbol was translated moments later. COMPATIBLE. COMPATIBLE, it blinked next to their three lifesigns.

"Definitely not good," Jila already had her phaser leveled and ready if the clones really started to come after them. She hated the idea of killing them but she also didn't want to be used as a template by this machine. "Should we try contacting the ship, see if they can beam us out?"

Why the fuck would they be scanning us saying compatible? Maliya wondered as she stepped back over to the console, trying to get another reading before she was sure they were going to need to run. "Yeah, try to call them, and be ready to shoot and run if we need to.

Juliani noticed movement on his tricorder. "Two on approach from back where we came. It's Ensign Hren and Lieutenant Drag'nah, ma'am."

"I can't get the ship..." Jila breathed out, feeling some of that familiar panic from before coming on. Her gaze dragging over to the Bajoran Doctor again, Jila tried to refocus. There wasn't time to panic there was only the three of them right now and she couldn't be the teams weak link. "I mean, the Cross isn't responding ma'am, I think we're being jammed." The Cardassian again reported this time her tone much more steady as she moved over to cover the Doctor as she worked at the controls.

Maliya sighed, glancing over at Jilani, "Ranor, for the love of the Prophets breathe and focus. Panicking is going to get us anywhere but dead." She said as evenly as she could, keeping the annoyance out of her voice. The bajoran understood that troops panicked. A panicked trooper was a dead trooper. Medic Torrna couldn't let that happen, even if the trooper was Cardassian. Not here, not now, not in this Starfleet no matter how much she'd like to.

Then she jumped about a foot away as a clone sat up and opened its eyes. They were red lined, yellow eyes. She'd seen those eyes years ago on Driaan. Those were eyes of a genetically modified mad man, a war monger, someone who did not deserve mercy for what he had done. Now this clone had them...likely all of them had them.

"Oh...shit." Maliya gulped as more of the clones began to sat up and look over in the team's direction. She quickly pulled out her phaser and shot at the console in hopes of at least short circuiting some of the many pods. "Run!"

Following along at Maliya's heels doing the best she could not to just bolt in a blind panic, same as before Jila had to keep her head. Following along behind the Bajoran, Jila kept a tight hold on her phaser, hearing the telltale thud of many footsteps following after them.

"We need to block the door, contain them!" Maliya instructed as the trio did a slow lumber run out of the bay.

It was at that moment just as they ran out that they saw Kibi and Drag'nah arrive.

"We need to block this door quickly, those orions in there want to harvest our DNA!" Maliya quickly did a turn as she came to a stop and pulled Juliani with her, hoping Kibi would catch on and assist.

The thudding of footsteps seemed to stop, if one looked backward the cloned orion crew seemed to have stopped where Maliya had been examining the prior console...sniffing, touching...finding nothing but trace elements of what they sought. They seemed confused and running on...broken programming. once it seemed collectively agreeable that the genetic material they required was not where it was they then rather dumbly stared about, sniffing deeply.

Then one clone spotted what they sought once more, seeing the retreating forms of Maliya's team. The clone let out several gorilla like inward grunts which caught the attention of the other clones.

The thudding of rushed feet resumed.

Kibi had ran the last ten meters to the others at the sounds of commotion, full of reckless courage, but upon actually reaching them, one look at the clone things was enough for Kibi to squeak in panic, her eyes wide in horror. She didn't even hear Maliya's order. Without any conscious thought the small ensign was crouched on one knee, her rifle raised to her shoulder and firing orange bolts of fire back at the green attackers...only for the targets she hit to stumble and slow, but not fall to the deck as they should.

"What are they!?" the Cardassian girl shouted in fright even as she kept up the suppressive fire, the monsters getting closer by the second, their massed grunting and roaring drowning the musty air as they closed on their prey.

"Torrna, this is Night, sound off." It seemed communications were back up.

"I'm going to need a moment, Commander!" Came Torrna's agitated voice.

"They are cloned maintenance crew for this vessel, corrupted by genetic degradation over time. Follow my instructions precisely and you will make it to safety. Corridor to your west, third door to the right, I will control the doors." An unknown yet smooth female voice sounded around them from the walls.

Maliya didn't waste time thinking, "you heard her, move! Coverfire as we move. Go!"

"Don't humans usually have a saying about listening to strange voices from above!?" Jila called over her shoulder as she brought her hand phaser up and fired into the ever-growing mass of green bodies. Waiting a few more moments to let Kibi and the Doctor get down the corridor Jila stood and sprinted down the way as others provided cover for her retreat.

It took serious effort for Kibi to not run flat out down the corridor with the others, instead stopping every few seconds to spray the green monsters with phaser fire. The bright orange bolts from her rifle, in conjunction with the thick beams from the others sidearms, illuminated the dark corridor with blinding flashes, but their combined phaser fire barely seemed to be slowing the undead Orions down.

Finally they reached the open door in question, made obvious by the bright light in the room beyond, but now the Orions were right on their heels as the Starfleet officers sprinted through the entrance. Kibi was the last one to get there, just like she was trained, but as she reached the doorway, she felt a horribly strong hand grip her EVA-armoured shoulder, the awful screaming behind them getting louder and louder.

"Help!" she yelled, struggling desperately as another pair of hands grabbed her helme from behind, seemingly trying to pry the thing off.

"Hold on! Ranor, you pull, I'll pry." Maliya motioned for Jilani to help her. "Juliani, Drag'nah, cover us!"

Nodding to the other Cardassian, she reached out, putting as much strength as she could with her gloves on, and attempted to pry away the grabbing hands.

The other security officer and the pilot laid down cover fire as best as he could from his position behind the three women.

Grabbing onto her friend's suit, Jilani planted her feet and leaned bag, pulling with all her strength. "Hang on Kibi! We got you!" Jila's voice was strained, the various clones had a really good hold on her fellow Cardassian.

Finally, after a flurry of weapon fire and some a final, desperate yank, Kibi was pulled free by the others, and the door immediately closed, separating the Starfleeters from their pursuers. Kibi fell to the floor on her hands and knees, panting heavily in dulled shock at what had just transpired.

Letting out a high-pitched squeal as they pulled Kibi free, Jila went topling backwards, her hands still grasped tightly to the woman's chest piece. Landing with a thud on the deck Jila shook her head as she heard the Doctor begin to speak.

Maliya knew though that they couldn't stop, "come on, we need to keep moving." Then however she realized she wasn't sure where. "Ranor, where does this way take us?"

Slapping her hand on Kibi's shoulder a couple of times, Jila tried to wriggle her way out of under the stunned woman. "Kibi c'mon we have to go." The few moments it took to awkwardly extract herself felt like an eternity with the clones banging on the sealed hatch. "Um, sorry ma'am..." Snatching up her tricorder she tried to get her barings on the unfamiliar map. "Um looks like weapons storage, a couple of cargo bays... something called reclamations and what might be a shuttle bay of some sort."

"The Auxiliary craft bay would be your ideal destination." A female voice sounded again from the walls, "I have sealed the way behind, but the clones do know the override, proceed with haste."

"Well that answers that. Alright, Hren and Ranor, take point, the rest of us will watch our back. Don't hesitate to shoot if they break free." Maliya nodded to Juliani who stepped up behind them to cover their back. Maliya and Agron would assist him. "Let's go folks, I don't think any of us want to stay here any longer."

"Aye ma'am..." Jila quickly turned, giving her fellow Cardassian a questioning pat on the shoulder wanting to make sure she was ok. Taking another glance at her tricorder, Jila was confident in where they were heading and drew her phaser once more.

"Okay, ready," Kibi said meekly, ashamed of her earlier panic even as she scooped up her rifle. She met Jila's eyes for a moment, smiling in gratitude, then moved to the door that was their next objective, working hard to control her rapid breathing. She pressed the button to open the door, breathed a sigh of relief at the lack of more...things, then began moving down the corridor, aiming her rifle with jerky movements.

It couldn't have been that long to get to the hangar bay, a few minutes at the most but with all the banging and flashing lights and everything else, it felt like hours. "Ma'am, I think those are the bay doors." Jila said pointing down to the far end of the corridor.

"Correct, releasing seal now." The ominous female voice sounded again from the walls.

With a hydraulic hiss the larger then the previous doors slowly opened to reveal a rather large hangar bay which only seemed to house five smaller craft. Four seemed fighter-like in design though it was hard to tell with the unknown configuration. The fifth craft seemed more regal and elegant and roughly the size of a danube class runabout.

"The big one I'd assume?" Jila didn't know how to fly a Federation fighter let alone an ancient Orion one.

Before Maliya could respond, Alex piped up through the comm, "Night to Torrna. Doctor, can you secure your position until we arrive?"

Maliya reached the two Cardassians, panting, "we'll do our best, Commander. What's the plan?"

"We're coming to you, and we need a way out." Alex's tone was calm and meticulous.

Maliya nodded to Jilani, "alright, we've got a big shuttle type down here. We'll try to get that one going. Better hurry, Torrna out." Then she turned to Jilani and Agron, "see if you can get in there and get it going. We'll hold them off until the others get here."

The Xindi nodded, "understood, Doctor."

"Maybe we can use those shipping containers to set up some obstacles." Jila suggested pointing to a pile of crates near the shuttle. "Or even bar some of the doors."

Agron shook his head, "the Doctor, Ms Hren and Mister Juliani are providing cover. It is up to us to get into the shuttle and try to get it going. Let's go." He said and started towards the shuttle.

"Right behind you!" Jila called out, following the Xindi into the ship. She didn't know exactly what she could do to help, but she was damn motivated to try.

Maliya watched the two go, then looked over at Kibi and Roger. That was Juliani's name, no? Maliya wasn't sure.

"Alright, Ranor was right, let's set up a defensible position quickly. I think we can use those crates, maybe even that elevation?" Maliya looked over at Kibi, "I'm hardly an expert though."

There were only a few crates that looked movable however, a stack of three to their right and a stack of two to the left. There was another stack of four several feet behind them.

Realising what Maliya was asking, Kibi looked around for a long moment with an analytical eye. This, at least, she could do: it was a simple question of geometry and mathematics, applying maximum firepower from various angles to hinder an advance. She tried very hard not to think about what would be coming afterwards, the sweat and screams and panic of combat.

"Okay," she said finally. "We need to setup two hardpoints on either side of the shuttle...runabout...thing, at a 45 degree diagonal facing outwards. And we need to do it quick. I'll take the port side, while you two take the right side." Kibi definitely didn't like being on her own, but she was determined to not let anyone see that. "When they...uh...come, fire short, controlled bursts, pick your targets one by one, and uh...we can do it."

The crates, thankfully, proved very easy to move, and within a scarce couple of minutes, Juliani, Kibi and Maliya were set up in their defensive positions. Kibi was on the left side while the doctor and her fellow security officer took the right, hoping fervently that the others would get the alien runabout/shuttle/thing working. Kneeling behind her own makeshift barricade (which seemed far too flimsy and short for her liking, Kibi clutched her rifle with shaking hands, terror and shame filling her in equal measure.

Then, after another minute of tense silence, the distant sound of thudding feet and incoherent yelling reached the Starfleet team. The Orions were coming.

Maliya took a deep breath as she adjusted her phaser, wishing it was a rifle. "Here they come!"

 

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