Episode 1: Hell is a four letter word
Location: Type 9 Shuttle Code named
Timeline: MD4 11h00
The five shuttles exited the Shuttle bay, and after momentary paused, jumped to warp along their proposed courses.
Rhodes was the first one aboard, even if he didn't know exactly what his role was to be on this mission. Obviously they weren't going to find a stand up fight, and there was little chance of them needing his skills as a linguist, but, if he could help in some way, he as there for the team, ~Maybe I'm here as the gunner...~
Kara shifted slightly in her seat. This idea wasn't half bad, but the potential risk was, that if the command team really had encountered something hostile, all the shuttles could end up sharing the same fate as the command team; whatever that was.
She said aloud. "We'll reach our first scanning destination in twenty five minutes gentlemen, at that point we'll be travelling by impulse. If anyone wishes to introduce themselves, now might be a good time. " She tapped commands into her console as she spoke. "If ye' dinnae ken, I'm Kara hoffman, chief Engineer. It's a pleasure to be working with you both. What about you?" She turned to face the Sergeant. "We've never met, have we?"
"Not officially, no." Rhodes replied, realizing he was already under fire on some backwater world when this child was born, "Just came on at DS9. Tim Rhodes, I'm NCOIC of the Marines."
Kara smiled. "I feel safer already." She said, looking across to the third member of their crew, a Vulcan security officer? "What about you..." She noticed the pips on his collar, "Lieutenant? Your definitely a security officer, I've seen you do patrols quite early in the morning around deck 8. Unless i'm mistaken..?"
Turak responded with a smile, "No ma'am, I often walk that deck on my patrols. It is nice to formally meet you, I am LTJG Turak." Looking around for an instant at the other members in the shuttle, he asked LT Hoffman, "how may I be of assistance on this mission, LT?"
Kara was stunned. "Hold on, you weren't told what your doing here?" She was shell-shocked. "I thought...but...um." She turned slowly to Timothy. "What about you muscles mcgee, surely you were briefed on what your job in this mission was, right?" She again shifted uncomfortably in the co-pilot's seat.
~I wonder if Garrett sent them with me. I know him, he wouldn't want anything to happen to me... Why do they not seem to know what they are doing here though...~
"Nope, nothing officially." Rhodes shook his head, this was the start of a clusterfuck, he knew it from the moment he came in, "I can only think of one thing I could be good for aside from combat if we get boarded."
Turak tried to ease the worries of LT Hoffman, "relax LT, I know that this is a search and rescue mission - I was just merely asking how I can assist at this very moment."
Kara nodded. Alright, I'll need you on the sensors. Manually set them to the frequencies I am sending to your console. Hopefully, if we're real lucky. We'll find something soon." She said. "Sergeant Rhodes, You just sit back and relax for now, hopefully we won't have need of your fighting abilities." ~Yeah, not like a shuttle can hold up in a sustained firefight anyway...~
---20 minutes later---
the sleek shuttle came out of warp into... aw crap... the edge of an asteroid field. The shuttle alarms went off.
A satisfied smirk crossed the old Gunny's face, he'd been hoping for something like this. Turning to Lt. Hoffman he said, "Remember when I said I could only think of one thing I could be any good for here? Get ready to see that one thing."
Moving to the co-pilot's seat he took control of the shuttle's phasers, blasting asteroids with them, "They sent me here to cut a path through the wilderness." ~Kind of weird for them to want me to play bushmaster here, but whatever...~
Kara nimbly moves to the pilot's seat. "I'll bank us to the right." She said, as she tapped commands into the display to release the autopilot. "Hit the ones that get close. I'm beginning the scans."
"You just worry about keepin' our asses off of the rocks." Rhodes laughed, "I can do this in my sleep."
Turak watched quietly as the Gunny destroyed every asteroid that came close to the shuttle. He decided then to look at his personal scanner to see if he could detect any of the missing personnel nearby...
Kara struggled. Her piloting skills were limited, but probably better than both of her current companions." Anything? we're reaching maximum radius!" She said, her voice louder than usual.
Turak suddenly looks up from his scanner and says "I believe I am picking up what appears to be possible Tetryon Particles from a Star Fleet craft. However, this is where they suddenly start, we would need to go further if we want to find the source. Perhaps we should let the Elysium know and they can redirect the search efforts."
"Well it's a start." Kara said, tapping commands into the pilot's side console.
"We should do that and make a tactical withdrawal." Rhodes suggested, "Come back with heavier firepower and manpower. Brave is one thing, Sirs, dumb is another."
Kara had a decision to make. Rhodes had a good point, too. However their orders were to find the location of their missing command team, the mission hadn't been completed yet, and so that left one option. "We haven't found them yet, we've barely found a crumb of their trail." Kara quickly mashed commands into the pilot's console. "Stay on the sensors, and try to get a fix on where they headed. I'm dropping a buoy, that way, we'll know where the trail begins. We keep going, I don't know what happened to them. I don't know where they are, or what lies ahead of us. However we must forge ahead. If you have a problem with it, then file an official complaint when we're back on the Elysium. I'll happily pay that price, if it means we get our team back together. "
"You seem to have mistaken me for some crying ass fleeter, Lieutenant." Rhodes fired back, if she had been he the Gunny would've put him on the deck for that comment, "How about see that you don't do that again? And, while you're at it, consider the fact that if we're killed or captured the intel we've gathered, sparse though it is, all goes bye bye with us, Sir." ~Great, got some suicidal idiot trying to be a goddam hero. Like dealing with Klingons again...~
Kara turned to face the Gunnery Sergeant, a wide smile on her face. "Glad your all fired up." She quickly turned back to face forwards. "I'm reading...hm. Lieutenant Turak, could you shift the sensor grid to six zero, mark, nine eight please. I think the sensors are tracing something but...I can't be certain. It almost appears to be a secondary wake of sorts." She examined the sie console. The sensors showed the dead stop of the Tetryon Particles, which were splitting apart almost as if something else had moved through them from behind, forcing them to the side.
"It almost looks to me, from these sensor readings. That our command team's shuttle, might have been followed...I wonder if the Tachyon grid can pick anything up.."
"If we had some good sensor equipment, we could put it in a torpedo, have it trace the particle trail, see where it goes." Rhodes suggested, it had been done before with a good bit of success, no reason to think it wouldn't be now.
After studying the sensors, Turak responds, "It is very odd, the particles do come to a quick stop and then my scanner picks up another form of Tetryon Particles in the area. The Command Team must have been ambushed and their shuttle taken aboard another craft. I will complete further scans and see if I can determine who is responsible for this possible abduction."
A ping on the bio scanners began to alert.
Kara switched the console to the side of the pilot's seat back to the sensors, and acknowledge the ping. "Well, gentlemen. I see..." Kara's eyes widened. "If these readings are correct, the other trail is... Romulan?!" Her eyebrows raised. "If that is accurate then, I'm gonna quickly reconfigure the sensors again and double check the results. That can't be right, surely."
The bio sensors were also picking up biological matter registering in that sector. Human/betazoid DNA.
"Lieutenant Turak. do you see what I see on the sensors? Some sort of human and beta-zed biological material....it couldn't... Lieutenant, can you transport whatever it is aboard. if they are still alive we might be able to save them!" Kara shouted, panicked by the discovery. ~If that energy is Romulan...then...oh no...~
Rhodes looked over Hoffman's shoulder and shook his head, "Really small sample, Sir. Anything we bring in won't be salvageable." He said, adding, "But it could be crucial evidence."
Turak quickly responded Lieutenant Hoffman, "I see it Lieutenant, agreed with your assessment." He moved to the transporter control panel and started inputting commands as fast as he could, "I've got a lock," as he entered the final command, the object materialized in the shuttle.....
Kara turned from the pilot's forward view, to face backwards into the shuttle, as the transporter particles finished pulling the object from it's still icy home. However, what was laying in the middle of their shuttlecraft wasn't even half a body. Only a head. "Damn. Seems federation personnel have been attacked, that much is pretty clear. Um, find somewhere safe for our guest to remain comfortable, once we have a rough location of these bastards, we're turning and heading back to the Elysium. Any thoughts, you two?"
"Maybe I can throw him in the cooler." Rhodes suggested sarcastically, before putting on gloves and taking the head in his hands to a computer terminal, "Computer, run facial recognition scan." ~Only way to know if this is one of ours...~
Kara tapped commands into the pilot console, as she plotted a course, overlaying sensor information over the shuttle's front viewscreen. "Alright, we need just a little more sensor data to plug the gaps in our trail. once we know for certain where and who we're up against, we'll report bac kto the Elysium. The computer just can't quite translate the scattered sensor data into a clear path just yet..." She said, as the shuttle started moving again, following the vague scattered particle path on-screen.
[[Running. Estimated time to completion 2 hours.]]
The shuttle headed back to the Elysium