August 2007

Star Fleet Fiction Continued

Rescue On Roon

"Let's move," Grissom ordered. The team moved to the door, Grissom in the lead with Stulak scanning with his tricorder. Daneric-Tren and Dellik followed while Kilrathie and Yahnke scanned the flanks and rear. They were in a room of about 30 by 50 meters, and anything, from a sleeping guard to a sleeping dog, could be in the room with them and missed against the trithallium background.
Stulak scanned through the door with his tricorder. "The guard is present. He walks a path about five meters long, first facing toward us, then away."
"How far?" Kilrathie asked.
"At his closest approach, 5.62 meters," Stulak answered.
"Can you take him?" Yahnke asked. If Kilrathie could not take out the guard silently, they'd have to use a phaser on stun, and discharging an energy weapon might trigger other alarms they hadn't been able to fool. Even the fire alarm would bring more reaction than the team could handle.
Kilrathie nodded. Grissom made to open the door, but Stulak clamped his hand on the commander's wrist, motioning with his eyes to the right, where Daneric-Tren was busily applying lubricant to the door hinges. When Daneric nodded his OK, Grissom looked back to Stulak, who signaled when the guard had turned away from the team and the door they hid behind. Kilrathie exploded out of the barely open door and was on the guard in a split second, wrapping a strangle cord around his neck. The guard struggled for a few seconds, his screams silenced by the cord, until he slumped to the ground.
Yahnke ran forward, past Kilrathie, to scan around the corner. Grissom dove forward, leveling his phaser down the cross corridor. Nothing.
"No alarms," Stulak said, observing his tricorder.
"No reaction," came the voice of the sensor technician in Grissom's ear.
"Standard keypad security lock on the elevator," Dellik observed. "I can be through this in a flash." She started to unsling her tricorder, but Grissom signaled her to stop.
"Passive only, Private," he warned. "I don't want to trigger anything if we don't have to. It was enough risk having Stulak use an active scan through the door." Grissom motioned to Stulak, who let his tricorder swing back to his side and approached the felled guard. Dellik and Daneric watched spellbound as Stulak initiated a mind meld, but the others kept their watch in different directions for anyone approaching. A moment later, Stulak sat up.
"The hostage is indeed below," he reported, "along with several members of the guard's family. They are all the children of the owner of this establishment, a man who has had dealings with the Orions. I have the code for the door, but there is a hidden trap. The guard must press his thumb against a certain spot on the metal plate or an alarm will sound."
"Let's do it," Dellik said, but Grissom's glance reminded her that she was getting ahead of the plan. In their many rehearsals, they had opened the hatches into the ventilating shaft and sent Daneric-Tren down on a rope to observe the lower elevator lobby for any guards. They didn't want to open the elevator until Daneric had reached the bottom and checked out the scene.
With Grissom to help him, Daneric-Tren quickly pulled the bolts securing the panel. Daneric noted that most of the bolts were missing, as they were in most industrial facilities around the galaxy. Everybody got tired of having to remove and replace that many bolts on a non-pressurized hatch they accessed every few days, and only military discipline kept all of the bolts installed in every hatch on the Tasmania. Daneric-Tren used quickset glue to attach a hook to the shaft's inside wall over the hatch, hitched his rope to the hook and to the rappelling harness he already wore, and dropped as silently as he could down the shaft. The drawings on file with the government said the shaft was 15 meters deep, but sensors couldn't probe it due to the trithallium radiation. Grissom and Dellik put the plate back with two bolts to hold it.
"Bottom," came the murmur into Grissom's earpiece. "Scanning . . . humanoid lifesign, about ten meters away from me, not moving. Doesn't seem to have an elevated heart rate. Probably sitting in a chair. Nothing between the guard and the elevator door."
They had studied six variations of this situation in their rehearsals. By the time Daneric could get the lower hatch open, everyone in the basement would be lined up with weapons drawn. By the time Daneric could phaser a hole in the hatch cover to stun the guard, the guard would have moved out of the way and sounded the alarm. Grissom thought quickly, as they had set up two choices for this problem. One was to simply go down the elevator and hope to stun the guard before the alarm could sound; the other was to ride down on the elevator roof and try to lure the guard into it and stun him from above. But Grissom had never liked that idea, as the guard was too likely to radio in an alarm before entering the car.
Signaling his selected plan, Grissom motioned to Stulak to start entering the code for the lock while he moved the guard into position where his unconscious thumb could be pressed to the metal plate. The code was good and Stulak had the doors open in just a few seconds; there was no alarm. The team silently filed into the car and took up the positions they had practiced. Grissom and Yahnke were at either side of the door, their phasers ready to sweep the lower lobby in both directions. Kilrathie was on the floor, his knees bent because there was not room for him to lie full length, his phaser at the ready and his elbows braced on the floor. Stulak and Dellik were at the back corners of the car, trying to keep out of the way.

2345 hrs, Basement Elevator Lobby, Celotex Warehouse #8, east of Roon City, Roon

Besslith looked up from the novel-pad she had been reading as she heard the elevator. What was Chucst doing, coming down unannounced? Michalik would be quite angry when he heard this, which was a perfect reason for her to report in.
"Michalik," she began as she pressed the transmit button on the small radio, "Chucst is on his way down without explanation."
She waited for a reply but there was none. She knew that Michalik must be furious and had expected an explosive reply, but none came. In her next second, she assumed that Michalik was on his way and that she would be hearing a door open, but no sound came from down the corridor. And in the next second, she realized that strangers were in the opening elevator. As she bent down to retrieve the pistol that was on the floor at her feet, Kilrathie's phaser burst struck and her motion continued until she was sprawled on the floor. Yahnke and Grissom, in a much-practiced move, exited the elevator and took station facing in each direction. Dellik leapt forward to pick up her pistol, but Stulak deftly took it from her hand and pocketed it. She shrugged and moved to follow Grissom, while Stulak moved to mind-meld with the fallen guard. This was, again, a rehearsed part of the plan, and his mission was to get a complete list of who was in the subterranean complex and, if possible, just how big it was.