Away team 3 - And into the Depths
Posted on Fri Jul 26th, 2019 @ 8:44am by Captain Phoenix Lalor & Avalon & Commander Gary Taylor & Lieutenant Commander Sthilg & Lieutenant Commander Arrianna Salannis an Vantar & Major Azhul Naxea & Lieutenant Commander Jessica 'Valkyrie' Vaii & Master Chief Petty Officer Ken Waters & Gunnery Sergeant Timothy Rhodes Sr. & Chief Petty Officer Fernando De La Rosa & Captain Taam Sor'el IV
Episode 1: Hell is a four letter word
Location: Prison Planet
Timeline: MD 12
"Shuttle three, all lights are green, good hunting out there." The shuttle chiefs voice came across the comm.
Naxea nodded and stood. "Corporal A'ndar," she called out to the Andorian sitting near the exit hatch. "Take point."
The Andorian nodded with a grin. "Aye, ma'am," he replied, standing and readied his rifle, waiting for the shuttle's hatch to open.
On the west side of the prison, the shuttle landed gracefully and the crew disembarked to find themselves separated from the prison by a few trees and then a large expanse of dirt. There was one gate and no guards on the gate.
"I don't like it," Naxea commented. "That's a killing field if I ever saw one."
"Doubtless it's a trap, Captain; but traps work both ways." Arri noted. I have an idea, if they're expecting company, why not give them something to shoot at."
"Attack the wall, ma'am?" Naxea asked as her mind came to the conclusion that springing the trap would be the best way to deal with the likely ambush.
"We have two options. We perform a saturation attack with wide arc phaser beams, but that would also leave us vulnerable to a counter attack by giving away our positions, or we could call in Lt. Vaii for an airstrike, but that would make the opposition desperate, and desperate people holding Starfleet Officers prisoner are capable of anything. We need cover fire, but also we need our raid to be decisive, anything less gives our opponents too much time to react and will endanger the prisoners. I am open to a third possibility though?"
Fernando walked up to the two senior officers, "Excuse me Commander, Captain but if you want a diversion, I Fernando can provide it. I will use the trees for cover and using my rifle and pistol along with some grenades it will seem like a platoon of soldiers is attacking. When the enemy fires at Fernando you can see where their firing from and take them out."
[[Away teams, please be aware, the fighters are starting their strathing runs!]] Avalons voice crackled in their ear comms.
"As you were, Petty Officer La Rosa. We have incoming," Naxea replied as she heard the approaching engines of a fighter, followed by a burst of pulse phaser fire that severely damaged the wall. A moment later, she could pick up commands being given in Romulan and shouting. She now spotted several dark figures emerging at the top of the wall and through the door. She raised her rifle to her shoulder to get a better look through her scope. She saw several Romulans with shoulder mounted weapons, aimed at the sky. "We need to take those Romulans out before they get a lock on our fighters. Gunny Rhodes, put that sniper weapon to use and Petty Officer La Rosa, hit them with your grenade launcher. Suggest we spread out," she looked to Arrianna for confirmation since she had command of the Away Team.
"Um Captain." Fernando began "No offense to the Gunny but I should have the sniper rifle and he the grenade launcher. I'm a better shot then he is." There was no brag in Fernando's voice just a statement of fact.
Arri nodded. "We need to neutralize those anti-air launchers." Arri spoke. "Those launchers are the priority, but don't linger out there too long. Lt. Vaii is going to uproot them. That will force them to give themselves away. That being said; I expect no foolish heroics from you Mr. Del La Rosa. Don't make me regret it. Captain give us some cover fire." Arri prepared her rifle. "Gunny, time is crucial"
"NO ma'am! I mean sir, uh Commander!" Fernando answered as he grabbed the sniper rifle and headed away from the rest of the away team. "You will be proud of Fernando!" Soon he was out of sight and moving into a firing position to take out the Romulan guards as they sought to fire on Lt. Vail. "You are in for one heck of a surprise my green blooded friends." He whispered.
Ken Waters stepped forward. "Give me something to do," he urged. "My future wife is in there somewhere."
Rhodes handed his rifle to De la Rosa, "Something happens to my rifle and I'll gut you like a fish, got it?" He then took the grenade launcher, "Pick a target then and let me show you how Marines do this."
"Relax Gunny. The only thing Fernando has ever missed was the first call for breakfast. Your rifle will be fine. I will treat it with TLC just like the fine lady she is." Fernando replied.
"I'm sure you'll do just fine." Rhodes sneered, "Oh, and remember, you gut a fish ass to throat." De la Rosa seemed okay, the crusty old Gunny liked him, a lot, but he loved that rifle.
One of the Romulans fired a shoulder launcher. They heard Vaii over the radios. "Son of a... we're under fire." Arri aimed her rifle at the Romulans with the shoulder launchers and opened fire, forcing them into cover. 'Del La Rosa... I would appreciate some professionalism if you're done grandstanding?"
Fernando bit back a snappy reply. He would let his shooting speak for him. As he brought the rifle up and sighted it. He notched the name "Janet" etched into the side. "Ah fair Janet what a lovely name." He whispered not knowing the connection to Gunny Rhodes other than she was someone one special to him. "Be a love and show Fernando what you can do." As he fired and a Romulan fell off the wall. He sighted again and other fell and then another. "That's fine Janet. my dove. Just a few more to take down." Fernando spoke softly to the rifle as he fired and another Romulan fell from the wall.
Naxea cursed under her breath. If they survived this, she was going to have some words with Petty Officer La Rosa. She shouldered her weapon and fired at the group on the ground, by the door, hitting one as thew others dove for cover. "Gunny Rhodes, fire that launcher!" she ordered as she continued to move among the trees and fire to keep the enemy from focusing in on her location. "Master Chief Waters, give covering fire!"
Fernando continued to work in a methodical fashion and Romulan after Romulan fell from his expert shooting. He was completely unaware of Captain Naxea's ire at him. He moved from tree to tree to keep the Romulans from concentrating their fire on one location.
What few people knew is that Rhodes is a master with the grenade launcher, making a quick decision and adjusting a few degrees, he dropped three grenades behind them in rapid succession. The resulting blast blew fourteen of them forward, some doing complete somersaults from the concussion, "That should clear the road a little."
"Now they know we're here." Arrianna noted. "We've lost the element of surprise. We're storming this compound and we're doing immediately. Captain, we're moving in two by two cover formation. Master Chief?"
Ken turned away from the chaos to face her.
"I'm assigning you and another of our team to hold our escape route." Arri noted. The task was vital, but it also remedied another problem; the possibility he'd become emotionally compromised. Arri flipped open her tricorder and began scanning for Phoenix.
"Commander, please! I can be of help --" Ken let his voice die out as he caught the look in her eyes. He had seen Arrianna in situations like this before. He didn't know a great deal about her, but he did know that once she set her course she didn't need someone to re-enter it for her. He also knew that she was a woman of her word. "Just promise me you'll get her out of there."
Naxea so far was impressed by Arri. She hadn't known many science officers or lab rats as she liked to refer to them as being knowledgeable about tactics. "Got a fix on the captain, ma'am?"
She spoke quietly to Ken. "I understand your feelings; Ken, but they can't rule my decisions. Furthermore, the task I am giving you is vital to our success. The Romulans may encircle us once we enter the prison, you will warn us of this and protect our retreat once we have extracted any and all prisoners in this compound. And we WILL bring our people home." Arrianna did not give a request. That was an order. "Move out!! We do not have much time." Her usual calmness was reinforced with strength.
Ken nodded. And without another word he left to take up a defensive position to cover their exit.
"Now if we're all done arguing about commands given. Corporal Barnes, take point. Sergeant T'Val, cover him.". The group moved quickly to the door as Barnes entering with T'Val right behind him as they cleared the corners. As Naxea entered, she paused for a moment to take in the dark, grisly interior. "Looks like something out of a horror movie," she commented.
Arri had to agree. This place was indeed ominous. "Focus on the here and now, a calm mind can overcome fear." She narrowed the scan. "Erisian DNA... this way." She noted
The prison shook to its very foundation. Phoenix could barely hear the explosions but the small brick cell she was in certainly felt it. Water was still pouring into the outside room. She didn't know how much longer she had. Or if they would get to her in time. She doubted it. Her captor had sounded VERY confident about that. Chained to the table, she wished for a way out. But this was not a fairy tale. This was deadly.
Arri continued scanning. "Phoenix. Are you there!!!" She had to keep on following these trace genetic breadcrumbs.
"How much further, ma'am? Is she on this level?" Naxea asked as she scanned the hallways before three Romulans popped out of a side corridor and fired with a disruptor beam narrowly missing Naxea.
Arrianna took cover with Naxea and returned fire from her rifle to cover the Captain. "They're trying to delay us." Arri took a look at her tricorder trying to come up with a solution to this problem. "Captain, be careful with the use of explosives in here, my tricorder is reading structural decay."
"Contact front!" Corporal Barnes called out as he dropped to the deck and returned fire.
'Why only three? Were the other guards preoccupied? Or were they simply trying to slow them down? If so, why?' Naxea thought as she returned fire. 'To set up an ambush? They likely knew their objective to free the prisoners and the most valuable prisoner would be the captain. Could they be stalling us until she's dead?' she continued to ponder.
Arrianna performed more scans and found that the prison had been remodeled several times over the last two centuries. Technology added to a structure centuries old with old access pathways. Arri then spoke. "We don't have time for this, Captain." Arri pointed her rifle to a floor grate and blew it off with several well placed shots. "Down here, hurry!"
Gary and Taam were also in the Depths searching for Phoenix using their tricorder when they heard the shots and raised voices. Sounds like our people are here. Lets go join them." Gary noted. Moving stealthily and quickly they drew close to the voices and in the dim light could see they were Starfleet Officers. "Easy Arri." Gary replied stepping out of the shadows, Taam alongside. "This whole place is a house of cards."
"I am pleased you are alive, Commander Taylor." Arrianna noted. "Captain Naxea, take point and lead the rest of the team and find Phoenix Lalor. I and Commander Taylor will cover you!!" She noted. "Once the Romulans realize they cannot hold their prisoners, I expect them to destroy this prison rather than to let us escape." Arri fired on one of the Romulans and hit him in the chest. "Gary... where's Aurelia and Liselle?!?"
Gary nodded, "Thank you Arri." He looked around, "Their in disarray right now." He observed, "But we should tarry." He continued, "Their both safe. They were at the shuttle but went with a former inmate to rescue a small child." He looked over at Taam, "Taam come with us. He's a friend and I trust him."
"What can he tell us about this place!!" Arrianna noted. "More importantly who captured you. If possible we should make sure she dosen't escape." The Alindari noted.
"He knows as much about the prison as you or I do. Has for who captured us it was a renegade branch of the Star Empire led by a Captain named Mishka Valdran. As for who else is involved or how high this reaches I don't know." Gary answered coolly. Keeping his temper under control and focused on the problem at hand that being finding Phoenix and rescuing her.
At being given the command to take point, Naxea had exchanged a confused glance with Gunny Rhodes. Officers, namely unit COs NEVER took point. But this was coming from a crew that thought it was a good idea to place nearly every senior officer together into one shuttle. Naxea sighed and followed orders as she readied her rifle and took point. "Lieutenant Edith, take up the rear. See if can aid us in getting a fix on the captain," she ordered as she came to a corner, lowering her weapon as she approached and rounded it, raising it at the same time. She caught the sight of a Romulan with a shocked expression--he hadn't expected the woman to round so fast. Naxea fired in that instant as her phaser pulse ripped into the Romulan's chest, splattering her with green blood. She then heard the tell-tell sound of a grenade dropping on the deck. She recognized the sound of a beep indicating the grenade was active immediately and before the Romulan could fall, she dropped her rifle and pulled the romulan's body on top of the grenade and she fell on top of the Romulan. "Grenade!" was all she had time to yell before the grenade exploded a moment later.
Hearing the shouted warning of Grenade, Gary reacted instantly and dove around the corner just as there was a resounding explosion and ear splitting sound. Then there was nothing just and eerie silence that in it's own way was as loud as the explosion.
Naxea was blinded by light and a deafening sound followed by pain coursing through her body and finagling coming to a stop. Her ears were ringing and her chest hurt. Burnt flesh assaulted her senses--she couldn't be sure if it was her or the Romulan she had killed. She blinked open her eyes to a blurry surrounding and coughed, spitting up some blood in the process. She wasn't sure of her condition but for the moment, she was alive. "Shit," she moaned, attempting to push herself up against the wall.
Gary was at her side in an instant, putting a hand on her and pushing her back down. "Easy Captain." He said as he looked her over. he could see several shrapnel wounds as well as a shoulder that was oddly out of shape. All of that was in addition to burns on her face and hands. "Your in no condition to move right now."
Naxea took a moment to compose herself as she looked down at her injuries and actually began to chuckle despite the pain. "Tis but a flesh wound," she commented, recalling the quote from an old terran comedy she had seen during her academy days. She hated to do what came to mind but there was little choice as the captain's life depended upon it. "Sir, continue on mission to retrieve the Captain. Time is of the essence. Lieutenant Edith, you're in charge of the Marines. I'll remain here and...get myself patched up, and help clear the way back...it's the only option."
Gary was silent for a moment. So much needless violence and suffering all because some damn Romulan had a score to settle with him. He shook his head, "You aren't staying here by yourself." De La Rosa. Stay here with the Captain. She's in your care. I'm counting on you to keep her safe."
Fernando nodded rapidly. "Ye...Yes Commander! Fernando will do his best in protecting the Captain."
A medic joined Fernando and began triage on the Captain.
"Just shoot me now," Naxea grumbled at the Commander leaving Fernando to guard her.
Gary shot her a look. He wasn't in the mood for attitudes. "Your in good hands with De La Rosa watching over you Captain. He's the best shot on the ship."
"Do not worry Captain. I, Fernando D La Rosa will protect you." Fernando replied totally nonplused by Naxea's reply.
Arri raised her eyebrow at Fernando. "Petty officer, we're going to discuss your ego should we survive this assignment."
There had been no sound or explosions for ages now. Phoenix however had another noise to contend with. Dripping. And the obvious sound of water trickling down walls. In the dark she could not see it but she had a bad feeling that the water outside the brick cell she was in, was seeping through the mortar holding the bricks together.
At the end of a long, empty hall stood a large iron door. No other doors or windows or cells lined the hall. There was no guard on the door, and the air smelt of damp and death.
"That door..." Taam said to Gary, "We need to get behind it, see what's inside, and possibly kill them."
"Agreed." Gary answered stoically as he held his phaser ready. "Taam, get on the other side as we open the door. If anyone is in there we can hit them from both sides."
The door opened easily It was not locked. When they pushed it open, the sound of running water assaulted the teams ears.
The room was dark, and their flashlights swept around showing two large pipes on either side of a large space. There were numerous cells that, were filling with water from the two pipes, and in the center, a brick cell with a stone walk way to it. The cell door was in the roof. And the water was just reaching the top of the cell.
Gary looked around. " Captain!" He called out then to Taam and the others, "The Captain is in that center cell." He said with certainty. "It's filling with water, We need to get her out now!"
When Gary yelled out the water began to gush and it spilled over into the center cell, a scream came from inside the cell.
Arrianna wasn't going to wait. She took her phaser rifle and blasted the hinges and the lock off the door. She then pulled it open with the desire to save her best friend and dove into the cell immediately. She began searching under the water for a way to free Phoenix. Apparently these cells were designed to make escape impossible. She had to free Phoenix. Arri drew her hand phaser and placed it next to the chains on her shackles. One came off, but she had to surface for air.
She breathed and immediately submerged again to get the other shackles.
Water was pounding down on Phoenix and she could not hear, see or, she had clamped her mouth shut but water was making it hard to keep her breath held.
Gary dove in behind her, swimming down He saw Phoenix shackled to the table and Arri fighting with the chains that held her. Using her phaser to burn through them. More importantly he saw Phoenix was struggling to breathe. He went to her. Cupping her face in his hands he placed his mouth over hers and breathed air into her. They weren't going to lose her now.
Phoenix's eyes opened and with Gary holding back the water a bit she was able to gasp out "Hey..." The shackles had cut into her wrists and ankles, and she had a number of both shallow and deep cuts across her bare limbs. She wore only a ragged shirt and pants that were slashed badly showing other wounds. "Nice of you lot to show up,"
He nodded and gave her a thumbs up as he bent forward and gave her another mouthful of air.
The last chain was cut and Phoenix managed to scramble into a sitting position as Arri resurfaced. With her head down, half curled into Gary, Phoenix gave the woman a smile. "Thanks.." She got out. "C-Can we get out of here?" she asked as she began to shiver.
Gary nodded. Felt her shiver. Held her close and then kicked upwards with his legs and together they headed to the surface.
The three broke the surface of the cell as the water continued to pour in around them. Hands reached out and grabbed them, hauling them onto the stone walk way where the rest had gathered.
Once the three were on their feet, even more dripping wet than those helping them, the group raced for the steps and the door.
Arri turned towards Phoenix as she examined her. "Medic!! Medic!!!" She tended to the Captain. "Alright, we're getting out of here." She tapped her combadge. "Master Chief, Status Report!"
"Do you have her?" Waters shot back. "Arri, is she okay?"
"She's alive, we have her Master Chief. But we need a clean path of retreat. I don't think this place is going to last very long." Arri checked her tricorder. "This water table is causing the supporting structure to give way and fast, lets go people." Arri looked at Phoenix. "I had a promise to keep."
Now that Phoenix was safe, Gary relaxed … slightly. He tapped his combadge. "Taylor to De La Rosa. We have the Captain. She is safe. Suggest you and the Captain along with the medic beam back to the Elysium. We'll be following you shortly."
Receiving Taylor's call, Fernando looked at Naxea and the medic "They found the Captain! She is safe!" He then answered Taylor. "Yes Commander sir. we'll do that now." Tapping his combadge he spoke De La Rosa to Elysium. Three to beam up. We need medical along with a portable biobed."
"Understood Petty Officer, prepare to be beamed aboard."
Phoenix looked up at Gary. "Who is hurt?" she asked softly. She grabbed Arri's hands in her's. "Arri, breath. I am ok.. We need to run out of here." She said as she went to stand.
Gary looked at Phoenix, "Captain Naxea was injured in our attempt to reach you. However she will be alright once we get back to the Elysium."
Arrianna spoke. "I also have to get back to the Elysium as soon as possible. The situation with Commodore Mountbatten has... grown complicated in your absence Captain. I need to get back onboard to make sure those fools haven't made the situation worse."
Phoenix stared at Arri in silence.
"Complicated exactly how Arri?" Gary asked going right to the heart of the matter. "We weren't missing that long."
"When you disappeared, she overrode the chain of command and assumed command. Then she put Commander Lovejoy in command as Acting Executive Officer. I have been spending the last twenty-four hours coordinating a search for you, while at the same time, keeping the crew from throwing Mountbatten and her aides out the airlock. So far those two fools have absconded with your quarters, attempted to send Miran back to her relations on Hiran, accused Commander McKinley of conspiracy with the Romulans, and other forms of innuendo directed towards you personally and the crew. All of these plots have so far been unsuccessful. I should have removed those three desk-jockeys right there and then, but finding you, Gary, Liselle and Aurelia was more important than a spat with the Commodore." Arrianna explained. "Lets move." She lead the way with her Tricorder open.
Phoenix grabbed the nearest wall. "Woah, hold on. Evelyn is many things but she is not vindictive or evil Arri. She is a Commodore and thus allowed to take command. And she would never do anything to harm a child. I am sure you misunderstood the situation." She shivered and tried to straighten up. "Look lets leave that conversation for when we get out of here.. where is the exit?" She coughed .
"Agreed. This way." Arrianna lead the team through the most stable of passages. The passage's tunnels began to creak and move. "C'mon. Move." Arri commanded. "This place is coming down." Daylight could be seen as they neared the entrance.
Phoenix moved as best she could. But she had not mentioned the fact that her wounds were not clotting properly and her darker almost purple colored blood was seeping from the wounds on her wrists, and ankles. She pressed her hands under her arms to keep her hands warm, and she really wanted to get out of here. She glanced at Gary and mouthed 'How much farther?' to him.
'Fifty feet'. He mouthed back as he moved to her and picked her up. "Quiet." He said softly. As they moved even quicker to the entrance.
Phoenix hissed in his ear "I am not going to be used as a punching bag by Lia so you best put me down before she sees us."
Gary chuckled softly. "No worries. I'll let Chief Waters carry you before we get anywhere close to Lia and Lis.... um Commander Qwyyn." He corrected himself quickly.
Phoenix rolled her eyes. In pain she might be, cold and shivering with what she suspected was a nasty cold coming on, and dripping wet still but she was not stupid. She knew Gary and Liselle were close, closer than perhaps was good for them and the relationship Gary had with Lia. "Maybe you should just marry the two of them and put us out of our collective misery" she hissed in his ear. "You three don't fool anyone" She turned her head as they exited the prison and made the dash towards the shuttle.
"Can I do that?" He bantered playfully. Hoping to keep Phoenix's mind on another topic and not her wounds.
"yes" The captain replied as her body warmed slightly with the dusky sunlight, which was fading towards the horizon. "While uncommon it is legal. Do me the favor please and marry the two of them so I can at least stop having to figure out which one you are sleeping with. And I might win the ship Pool on it."
Gary laughed. It was deep and joyful but was much needed to break the stress they all had been under. "An excellent idea. Only two small problems. Lia and Liselle. I don't know how they would feel about it. I like to think they would be open minded but Liselle and I...…." His voice trailed off.
"I trust you will work it out." Phoenix said softly. "Gary... are the trees much further? They seem to be moving...."
"I wish I shared your confidence." He looked ahead saw they were out in the open. "We're out. Save your strength. We'll be back aboard the Elysium in no time."
"Hey, sweetheart, don't encourage this guy, huh?" Taam interjected, "Enough people want to see my friend here die without him sleeping between two potential assassins who could flip at any given time."
Phoenix gave a weak laugh at that. "I think he can take them. Liselle is a teddy bear... mostly. But hurt her and then the best friend clause comes in...I'd have to hurt Gary.. I don't want to do that." her eyes drifted closed.
"Geez, that is all I need. Lia, Liselle and the Captain gunning for me. My life would be measured in seconds." He joked.
The shuttle was already running through pre-flight when the team returned. The moment that the computer registered their arrival Ken was out of his seat and in three steps he was hopping down to the ground.
He saw Phoenix.
He knew that for the better part of professionalism that he should wait there. He certainly knew that it would hardly be appropriate to run to her in front of so many of the crew.
"Penn!" he called out and ran for her. He reached out to her, touching her arm lightly with his fingertips for fear of hurting her. "Penn, my God," he said, his voice choked. "What in the name of the Prophets did they do to you?"
Phoenixs eyes slowly opened again, she gave Ken a half smile "Hi..." she got out.
Ken shot Gary a look of profound concern. It was clear that what Phoenix required more than anything right now was medical attention. Questions, of any kind, were clearly the very last thing she needed.
The away team moved into the shuttle. Ken slid back into the pilot's chair and with a glance at his board confirmed they were ready to set off. "Taking us out of here. Setting a course for - -" he looked back at Phoenix "-- home."
Home... what a fucking good idea, Phoenix thought as she let herself fall into unconsciousness.