Rescuers (JPx2)


Colm
 

ON: Tower Chamber, Zone 6A

 

Evan’s finger paused on the rifle’s depressor. Years of service together, and friendship, and it all had to end this way. His finger moved ...

 

His eyes caught movement beyond the tower to his left. At the far end of the chamber, the doors he and Briar had been escorted through only minutes before were opening. Reinforcements or would-be captors, he wondered.

 

Not comfortable with the heavy phaser rifle McWest had hoisted upon her at the station armory, Adrianna could not deny that the situation had warranted its use. With Malachi’s assistance, they had somehow penetrated the jamming field and had managed to enter the sequestered area without meeting resistance. Her heart pounded in her chest as she followed McWest forward toward the opening doors. The struggling battle-station lighting gave the scene a surreal feel, and she pressed herself up against the wall ready for whatever lay on the other side. He motioned her forward toward the doors, his own rifle at the ready. 

 

Darney and McWest. Where’d they come from? A new hope surged in his chest. They’d been retrieved from the Delta Quadrant. Maybe they were like him, or he’d missed something in their scans. But the look of shock and alarm on their faces as they took in the transmitter, the bodies scattered carelessly and painfully across the deck and their captain aiming a phaser rifle at one of his senior officers vaporised that hope as surely as he was about to vaporise Briar.

 

But did he have to? Permutations flashed across his mind. They wouldn’t be expecting him to fire on them, so he might get the drop on them, but they were both armed and McWest was a trained Security officer. Worse, their heightened state of alarm might cause them to react to the threat faster than would be the case in calmer circumstances. He didn’t know whether he had the time for a firefight while Briar remained connected to the transmitter and potentially capable of doing untold damage. He wasn’t even sure he could win it. And if he shot her first, well, bye bye all hope of catching the others by surprise. But a power surge in the neural weave ...

 

He changed his aim minutely and fired at the biobed assembly just past Briar’s head. It exploded in a shower of sparks, severing her connection to the transmitter. Whatever baleful thing she was causing the tower to do ceased and its golden light receded into a calmer blue.

 

He switched the phaser back to stun, ready to fire on her and silence her for a time, but she collapsed senseless at his feet. Of all the luck

 

He looked to Darney and McWest. “Quick. We have to get out of here before they wake up and figure out what she did to their transmitter.”

 

Gavin rushed the room ignoring the Doc’s loud gasp behind him. His brain quickly ran through several possible tactical scenarios. The Captain had disabled all these people? It seemed unlikely, but he was the only one still standing, and the only one with a visible weapon. “Captain! Who? What transmitter?” He took to the perimeter of the room, weapon at the ready to ensure there would be no more encroachment by any baddies, whoever they were, since the fallen were wearing Starfleet colors…

 

Adrianna tossed her rifle behind her where it caught on its strap and bounced against her back. Pulling a med tricorder from her pocket, she knelt next to the nearest fallen officer. Her brow furrowed. Despite the acrid burning smell in the air, these injuries had not come from Captain Yearling’s phaser rifle.  Looking up, she slowly met his eyes.

 

“How bad is it, Doctor?” Only McWest held his phaser now. Evan’s chances were improving. He kept his rifle ostensibly trained on some of the nearby personnel. “They were trying to integrate her into their telepathic array, but I don’t think it went as planned.”

 

As Adrianna scanned the room, her tricorder beeped. Except the one she was currently attending, most of the fallen officers were alive with minimal physical injury.  Why they were unconscious was something she’d have to look further into.  “My guess is psychic shock.” 

 

Evan pointed his rifle at the tower, its pock-marked facade obscured by scaffolding. “That’s the transmitter we’ve been looking for,” he said. He then waved his hand at the bodies strewn nearby. “It was controlling these puppets until Commander Elin somehow figured out a way to incapacitate them.” 

 

“That would fit, then…” 

 

Gavin, having satisfied himself that there was no threat of the bad-guy type immediately at large, came over to stand beside Captain Yearling. His face scrunched in confusion. “Controlling?” He shook his head and grinned. “I don’t get it, but howja manage to incapacitate them all?  Must’ve been quite a shoot out!” Gavin had images of the O.K. Corral running through his brain. “Pow, pow!!” 

 

Adrianna had moved close to Commander Elin, having left the previous officer’s side as they had already been past any help. She watched the tricorder readouts carefully, while keeping an open ear to the conversation McWest was throwing the Captain’s way.  Something wasn’t adding up. How did Commander Elin get in such a vulnerable position? Her isoboromine levels were literally registering off the charts. Thankfully, Adrianna thought she would recover, at least physically, but there was significant neural damage she would have to monitor. That would take time.  She looked up.  “What exactly did happen here?” 

 

Evan decided it might be a good idea to throw in other mysteries here to occupy their minds. “No shoot out, Ensign. It was the Elder. I think her link to it got triggered by what they were doing and it acted to preserve her.”

 

Adrianna nodded.  She was familiar with the Commander’s file.  “If she hadn’t been Trill, she would not have survived.  Her unique physiology was her saving grace.”

 

“I think it saved her again.” The truth would stand to him here. It was the only way to explain all of the details.  “We discovered the transmitter, but we were captured almost immediately afterwards.” Evan indicated the tower again. “Commander Elin knew intricate details about its tech. She couldn’t be sure, but she surmised it was because of her link with the Elder. That freaked out our friends here when they found out.” He nodded towards the damaged biobed. “They hooked her up to the transmitter through this because they wanted to find out exactly what she knew, but I think the Elder gave them more than they bargained for. The transmitter neutralised everyone in here it was controlling, but she was still trapped in the connection and losing control. I couldn’t break her out of it without damaging the device.”

 

She listened with one ear, knowing that McWest was sifting through the information from a security standpoint. The Commander was still unconscious and would likely remain so for quite some time.  “I’d like to get her to an actual sickbay.  Is the jamming frequency still in effect?  We need to get medical and security teams in here...” 

 

“I’ll check.” Rifle still in hand, Evan went back to the control station. Mr. Ko still lay slumped against the base of the console. Carefully, he nudged the engineer’s leg with the tip of his boot, but there was no movement.

 

He ran a check on the interference. It was still up. Carefully, he secreted its command sequences into a subsystem of the power grid and behind a wall of garbage code to make it look like system damage. “The jamming’s still in effect. There’s no way of disabling it from here. We’ll have to move her out of the area for transport.”

 

Adrianna looked up at the modified biobed.  She followed the circuitry with her eyes, lifting the tricorder up and punching a few buttons to get it into a more standard mode. There was something eerily familiar about the design of this telepathic device...

 

Evan began going through the rest of the tower’s systems. He had assumed Darney had briefed McWest, given the exigency, but it seemed he was in the dark. Was there a way of making that work to his advantage? Evan didn’t have time to think about that right now, though. He had different priorities. He needed to check to see what type of damage had been done to the tower, if any.

 

It was difficult to make heads or tails of all the readings. The disponer array was quiescent. There was no trace of Briar or the Elder anywhere in the system, but whatever they had done had caused a feedback loop in its core functions, forcing it into a standby state. The matrix was intact, as were its secondary components. He could reinitialise it and bring it back to full operability in moments.

 

And then what?

 

His finger paused above the command. A few minutes to reinitialise, but how long before his compatriots regained consciousness? Half an hour? An hour? The rest of the day? They might have enough time to make good their escape, but there’d be none at all to deconstruct the last of the tower’s critical systems and shepherd them away. Darney and McWest were the first, but others would be coming.

 

A new screen opened up on the display. It was an incoming message, but it was blank save for a rectangular block of colour at the very top. One confused moment later, though, a word dropped down from the block in Federation Standard, then another and another, filling up places in the space below and making a comprehensible, if staccato, message even as holes appeared in the block.

 

[We/Your/Our situation is perilous. Confiscation of We/Your/Our secure material is imminent. Eradication of threat?]

 

It was the Scin-ili. He glanced upwards to see a pale limb sliding out of sight behind the edge of an induction coil. He typed in a reply. =^=Improbable.=^=

 

The response came startlingly quick. Again, a block of colour appeared and disintegrated word by word into a message.

 

[Destruction of We/Your/Our secure material is mandatory.]

 

The solution was straightforward. =^=There are major plasma lines running through this section. They can be routed through the transmitter. The explosion will destroy everything in here.=^= And on the surrounding decks, he thought.

 

[We/Your/Our survival is preferred.]

 

The Scin-ili weren’t ones for going down with the ship, then. Judging by their consistent use of pronouns, he didn’t think they would let the same fate befall the clones either. Which was all well and good, but unless they had a way to achieve both goals---

 

[Crystalline matrix can be destabilised. Disponer array will rupture and vaporise. Plasma surge will overload the transmitter. We/Your/Our secure material will be destroyed.]

 

Evan scanned through the instructions the Scin-ili were sending. The matrix itself contained no energy, but the power running through the disponer array would be enough to take out several decks of the tower’s height. The plasma surge would scour the rest of the tower’s systems.

 

=^=And what about your survival?=^=

 

[A plan is prepared.]

 

He thought back to the details of Everson’s escape plan. With no clones conscious to help, it seemed an impossible route to take now. =^=You’re too few. You’ll never make it.=^=

 

[We/Your/Our evacuation is possible. The Hest must trust Us/Himself/Together.]

 

The Hest? He’d been called that before. Or, rather, he and his senior crew had been called it. It was the name the Kazon had given them when they’d first arrived in the Delta Quadrant. Was he a Hest?

 

=^=Can you handle all of that yourselves?=^=

 

[No. The Hest must induce the resonance implosion. We/Your/Our role will be to create the null space aperture and the phase envelopment prior to the secure material’s destruction.]

 

“The transmitter’s still active,” he lied as he confirmed acknowledgment of the instructions. “If any of these clones wake up, they’ll still be under its control. We need to end this here.”

 

Adrianna turned. “If they wake up, they’ll do it in an infirmary under medical and security’s supervision.  We need to make that happen, now.”

 

He began inputting commands. “We have to disable the transmitter now, Doctor. That’s still our mission priority.” He increased the induction feed into the matrix. The resonance would build until the crystalline structures at the top of the tower shattered. “There’s no way of knowing how many more of them are on the station, so this might be our only chance. Everson and the rest can be picked up once we’ve got a signal out to the Hiroshima.”

 

“Hiroshima knows we’re here, they’re on their way… along with station Security and Engineering teams.  That power surge alerted them that something weird was going on… and Malachi did the rest.” Gavin winked over at Doc Darney who was putting away her tricorder. 

 

“Malachi?” McWest began to open his mouth, but Evan waved him away. Starfleet really were close. “Never mind. Doctor, you took a risk letting station personnel know you were here. We can’t be sure of their allegiance.” With Everson having pulled almost all of her people to help with the transmitter’s dismantling, he couldn’t rely on any friends showing up either.

 

“A calculated risk,” Adrianna agreed.  “Though necessary under the circumstances.” 

 

“We’ll need to reach our people first, let them know to be on their guard.” He tapped in another message. =^=How soon can you get away?=^=

 

[We/Your/Our time will be limited after the secure material’s destruction. The phase envelopment can be maintained, but the aperture will not remain open for long.]

 

He glanced towards Darney and McWest. He could leave with them, then spin them a line about needing to part ways. But there was a new risk now. Briar may very well have connected to the telepathic network itself. The information she might have gleaned from that could topple everything. The danger she posed was too great. He couldn’t leave her behind, even if it meant exposing himself.

 

=^=Can you transport Lieutenant Commander Elin?=^=

 

[No. The Intruder’s presence lingers. It obfuscates We/Your/Our perceptions.]

 

Evan had no idea what perceptions they might be talking about or how the Elder might be able to disrupt a transporter lock, but that didn’t matter right now. =^=I’ll leave some other way.=^=

 

For the first time, the reply did not come immediately. Then …

 

[We/Your/Our understanding is clouded, but We/Your/Our trust is placed in the Hest. Evacuation will remain possible.]

 

He took that to mean they would whisk him away if he needed them to. And he might. He reached down and retrieved Ko’s translator/communicator device, similar to the one he’d modified to “prevent” his compatriots from listening in on his and Briar’s conversations. He slipped it in a pocket.

 

He stepped back and levelled his phaser at the command station. With a pair of quick bursts, he destroyed its circuits, cutting its link to the transmitter. No one would be able to stop the implosion now.

 

He returned to where Darney was still ministering to Briar. “Can she be moved?”

 

Adrianna was already putting the Commander’s arm over her shoulder in readiness to move her. The med team was on its way to transfer the others, and security would be on  hand to have them in custody if and when they awoke .  “It’s not safe here, let’s go…  Medical and Security are currently en route.” She saw Yearling’s hesitation.  “Do you want to stay until they get here?” She wouldn’t advise it, but it was Captain’s prerogative... 

 

“No.” The less time these people stayed here, the fewer opportunities they’d have to find a way to interfere. If the operation couldn’t be salvaged, he could at least keep it out of Starfleet’s hands. He bent down and put Briar’s other arm over his shoulder. “Lead us out, Mr. McWest.”



JP by

Lt. Commander Adrianna Darney

CMO

 

Ensign Gavin McWest

Security

USS HIRO-B

 

Evan Yearling

The Foundation

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