Descent into Hell
Posted on Sat Dec 2nd, 2017 @ 11:53am by Captain Elijah Michaels & Lieutenant JG Elliot Keller & Commander Bertrand Cuprum & Commander Cor Cordale & Lieutenant Commander Ziyal Tajor & Lieutenant Jaton Alyl & Lieutenant Sara'draphia T'eseri & Captain Allen Jones & Ensign Todd Bailey
When the Sinful strike back
Location: Orbit of the Colony
"Captain we are clear of all Hostiles, any power has been routed to the forward shields to help our descent to the surface." Keller commented to Cordale from the Ops console. "ETA to drop zone is three minutes."
Three minutes. Hardly enough time to really consider anything, but he was certain that AJ was considering everything. Once this bucket hit the ground, it became his show.
The Lift to the of the Pioneer opened up and the General and AJ arrived in full combat gear. "Captain Cordale I have a request of your staff."
"I'll certainly hear it." the Thux responded.
"I cannot spare any of my Marines to form a rear guard and protect our escape, I need Security Staff and willing volunteers to hold the line." He said looking to the Bridge and the Crew.
"I...I'm willing, to...to volunteer for the eh, the...rear guard duty Sir" Todd said, raising his hand.
Cordale gave Todd a nod, then turned back to AJ "We'll keep the systems and the ship on idle, which'll give us access to the phasor arrays. The Pioneer'll become a fortress as well as a CNC, but anyone who volunteers is your's if they meet your approval. Just make sure you leave me a few to keep this position secure. You worry about a retreat. I have to worry about giving you a place to retreat to."
"Warm up a few shuttlecraft for aerial support once you know there's no Anti Air waiting for them." he suggested.
Elliot stepped away from Ops. "Alright Ensign Bailey lets go and be heroes." The young Diplomatic Officer commented as he checked his Phaser.
"I never look, nor want, to be a hero Lieutenant, I simply wish to do my duty to the best of my ability" Todd answered the diplomat.
Cordale put the heavy weight of his prosthetic limb on Elliot's shoulder. "I don't serve with heroes, I just serve with good men." a pause, "And women." he added with a slight smirk, but the weight of the limb was there. "Whoever's going, make sure you come back. Intact." he added, then took the hand off Elliot's shoulder.
"I'll keep the lights on, and the engine running."
AJ was going through the plan in his head. He had already discussed the General's request for security staff. "OK Elliot and Bailey get suited up. Cor is right we aren't here to be heroes just to do a job and making home alive." He said to the two then turned to Cor. "The General will stay with the CNC and I will command things in the field. Our first objective is to secure the village three clicks north. The Jenarri and using it as a base of ops."
Todd didn't understand the need to reiterate about not being a 'hero', he'd just stated that he wasn't looking to be one, rather, he simply was looking to do his best in his duties. He looked over his phaser, checking the power pack and the setting were all working. He also took a tri-corder so he could use it for scanning purposes. He felt he was ready so stood by waiting for orders.
"You're to follow Captain AJ's orders as though they were my own. His focus will be both on your safety and on the successful completion of the mission." Cor said in something akin to an inspirational message before turning to the Marine captain. "Good luck out there. We'll give you all the cover we can. Call out trouble spots, and we'll send hell."
"Alright, Let's go." AJ said simply as he lead the way onto the ground outside. His main fire squad spread out and started to move forward using the natural terrain as cover. Things seemed to quiet....... Just as the thought came in AJ's head it was to late to take it back and as always the fire fight was on. Jenarri had a higher position off to the west and started to fire on the marines. Everyone took as much cover as they could find. There was so much fire coming in thier direction it was hard to even peak out and see how many where firing.
AJ looked back at the Pioneer time to bring same hate. "Attack team to Pioneer we are being slowed by superior fire due west. Stand by for a position mark." AJ turned to one of his battle engineers and that was further east from the fire. Without any verbal commands the marine knew exactly what was going on. He pulled a visual scanner out of his pants and just looked out from behind the rock to get a glimpse of the position of fire. This should give the Pioneer the coordinate needed to do what Cor had promised.
Back on the Bridge, tactical received the telemetry from the scanner. "Give me a visual on that region." and when the visual feed came up on the screen, Cordale pointed to the ridge. "Lock phasors, fifty percent power, and glaze those coordinates." the Thux ordered.
Elliot nodded as he tossed Bailey a Rifle. "Remember we hold the line at all costs, if they get through us then they'll get onto the Ship and turn their guns on the Ground troops." The Diplomatic Officer checked his weapon then looked around at the volunteers. "Lets show them why you don't mess with us."
Todd deftly caught the rifle, turned it around, and gave it the once over. He changed the settings so that it was eight percent more efficient and accurate in it's wide angle fire setting.
Satisfied the rifle was as he required it he answered "Yes Sir, hold the line at all costs."
A battle scene is something that is hard to describe. It overloads all of the senses. It is a blend of chaos with a mix of hell involved. Marines trained for this. They look forward to getting into the suck as they call it because it is simple. This is your objective go win. In an actual battle there is very little grey area and/or rules. The plan never goes as layed out so you improvise, adapt, and overcome.
This was some of the most in-depth fighting AJ had scene since the war. The Jenarri were very ruthless and what they lacked in strategy they made up with overpowering firepower. With the much need assistance from the Pioneer to help clear the ridge AJ and his men where able to advance up to the outer edge of the village. "Listen up. Form a perimeter no one squirts out and gets away. Alpha squad your with me we are going for the courthouse. Everyone else form the perimeter and squeeze to the middle."
With that the nods came from varies squad leaders and the men all reacted kinda borgesque as started to form the perimeter around the city. As AJ and his fire team started to weave around buildings trying to make their way to the center base of ops.
"Captain!" A call came from one of the Marines who was at a forward position. Moving up Aj saw what had given the man pause.
A group of four Federation personnel were helping a Jenarri set up a heavy mortar position, one that would soon cause the Pioneer some serious headache. One of them was a girl, barely 14. There was no obvious signs this was forced labour.
"I have no orders about firing on Federation personnel," the Marine said, "and I can't get a clear line on the mortar without hitting one of them."
AJ's jaw dropped at the site. 'What the hell was going on here.' Is all that raced through his head. He turned back to the Marine and through the helmet communicator which he switched to all hear. "Be advised we have no Jenarri in the field of play. They look like they are sympathetic to the Jenarri. Your orders stand to defend from all opposing forces foreign or domestic." He held his breath. "If we don't take out that mortars they will reign down on not only us but also the Pioneer."
Cordale was keeping an ear on the channels that he could, and keeping alert for more painted targets. With the channel switched to All Hear, his ears perked at the report. "AJ, sounds like you need someone to be that jerk. I'll do that for you. Switch to stun and disable. Requisition that mortar for possible use against actual Jenarri targets."
Source knew the Thux had enough ghosts on his shoulders. Though the order was for stun...
AJ was glad that Cor had his back. "You heard the Thux. Set to stun none Jenarri but no matter what neutralize that mortar."
"Aye, sir!" The unit, to a man, did a quick flip of the thumb to switch weapon modes. One thing the Federation were very good at were non-lethal options. "Moving out!"
Ziyal watched the exchange carefully and replayed the sensor telementary. She quickly discovered who the civilians were that were helping the Jenarri. It didn't make sense, it didn't fit the profiles. "If we do manage to stun the civilians. We should teleport them to the brig. Perhaps we might be able to get some intelligence out of them." She suggested to Cor.
"Reports did suggest that once the Jenarri arrive, a planet's population does become as fanatical as the invaders," a junior Intelligence officer provided. "No one knows why yet, because this is the first time we've got close enough to anyone to ask."
"Exactly, and now that we are close enough, I'd very much like to ask." Ziyal agreed.
"No time like the present then. Cordale to AJ, we'll be looking to transport these civilians to the brig once they're stunned. We'll need to drop the shields to do so, so give us a sit rep once they're taken care of so we can minimize our vulnerable window." Then Cor switched to the internal comms to inform Security to prepare the brig to receive some company.
The only advantage of attacking civilians, is they are not trained and rarely mount any significant resistance. The construction group were put down with rapid efficiency and the marine engineer attached a Transporter tag to each of them, including the Jenarri. As they disappeared in a haze of blue the Alpha Unit commander turned to AJ.
"Sir, this asset," he pointed to the mostly finished mortar, "Should it be held and re-purposed, or destroyed and push on tot he court house? If they have one position, there is a good chance there will be more."
"We don't have the manpower or resources to hold this Mortor with respect Sir." The Marine Corporal who was watching their perimeter commented. "But it could cover our six if we have to fallback to the Pioneer."
AJ turned to the demo corpman. "Destroy it. We keep moving three more blocks to our objective." He turned to the Corporal. "Keep an eye on the rooftops if they have mortar teams they probably will have snipers as well."
The civilians and the Jenarri were transported into separate cells in the Brig so they would be unable to communicate. Ziyal had verified the Federation citizen's identities through the bioscan when they were transported. She read up on everything that the Federation knew about them as she watched them acclimate to their new surroundings.
They were, far as Ziyal could tell, nothing special. Well, they were certainly unique individuals, but nothing that would indicate that they would turn against the Federation and work with aliens who had captured their world. Nothing to tell Ziyal how they had been transformed.
Ziyal looked at Sara, "Can you tell me anything doc?" She asked.
Looking around at the colonists, Sara wasn’t sure what to make of them. She could sence that they were nervous, which was not unexpected, but they should be calming down now that they knew they were on a Federation ship. “I am afraid i’m Not sure Commander” she said, pulling out her tricorder and taking a few scans, “they seem to be clear of any illness and their bio signs are normal.”
Walking over to the closest colonist, Sara gave a warm smile, “Everything is alright, you are safe now,” she said, hoping it would help, “You’re on a Starfleet vessel. There is no plague here.”
Ziyal was surprised by the doctor taking the lead in the interrogations. However, she relaxed, they had several captives. None of them could see and hear what was going on with this one. She gave a prayer to Oralius to guide them and joined Sara.
The woman's eyes flashed, "It will come. It always comes. The plague clings to you and this ship. Only purging flame will save you. You are poisoned and you don't even see it, because you cling to your death with both hands, eyes tight shut."
Ziyal listened, interested in how the woman seemed to perceive things. The symbolism was fairly common to a variety of religions. However, so far it was all symbolism with no apparent backing to it. There were enough religions that had some historical or scientific backing to them that it was wise to listen to what they said. The Bajoran Prophets, The Great Plume of Agosoria, and the Greek gods were only the most brazen examples.
Sara was a little surprised by her response, but she figured it was a standard response to what she'd seen on the planet. So she chose to try and dig a little deeper, "Then what can you tell me about this purging flame? Is it literally a flame of some sort?"
"It can be," The woman responded. "The flame will cleanse heart, soul and mind till nothing but purity is left. Pray it only burns your flesh."
Thinking over the woman's words, Sara sat down infront of her cell and crossed her legs, "I will admit, you have me interested. What can you tell me about these cleansing flames? Will they be brought by a person or some other kind of event?" She asked. Sara was starting to understand that although the woman may not be injured physically, she may have some mental damage which was presenting as deletions. On the other hand, she may just be very religious. The only way to be certain was to listen to what she had to say.
Ziyal thought about the information that they had gathered in that conversation as she looked at the other Federation captive. She was going to take the lead with this one. She walked into the cell. "I am Lieutenant Commander Ziyal Tajor of the USS Pioneer. May I ask who you are?" She asked. She already knew exactly who it was supposed to be. However, she wanted the captive to tell her.
"I am a Daughter of Jenar," the woman responded, "Born of loss and shame, raised through fire and light. No other identity has any meaning any more. You ask questions without understanding their meaning or my reply. You think to find answers in lists and numbers that you have invented to wrap your mind and keep you blind to any truth."
In his separate cell the Jenarri officer smiled to himself. He settled against a bulkhead and closed his eyes humming softly to himself. Although the rooms were shielded, and there was no way for the other prisoners to hear him, they picked up the tune and hummed along with him.
Ziyal nodded thoughtfully, listening to her response. "That's an interesting phrase, 'raised through fire and light', can you help me understand more about how it happened?" She asked gently.
“Sin.” The Blue skinned and red eyed Officer commented from the other Cell . “You brought this Inquisition upon yourselves, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians and the Federation are all guilty.” A wide smile spread across his face. “Commander your only holding off the inevitable doom.”
Ziyal's brow furrowed, she had already guessed that some sort of telepathic trickery was afoot, to her, this only confirmed it. Even if she was going to be called to the bridge in the next few moments, she wanted to know. "And why do you say that?" She asked.
The Jenarri smiled, "Because it is true."
Listening to the conversation, Sara stood up and walked over to stand in front of the Jenarri's cell, "And what sins are these organizations that you have named guilty of exactly? And what of those who do not identify with your designated groups, have they committed sins or are you simply attacking the label?"
The Jenarri looked at Sara, and his eyes burned, "You were provided with the guiding light, the precepts, given an opportunity to repent. But instead of sharing the wisdom, your governments suppressed the word, hid it from people, and when judgement came, they burned. Now, when we come to a world, only a remnant can be saved, and they need our help, are desperate for our help. We do not invade your worlds... Sara'draphia T'eseri... we were begged to come and save them."
He stood up and moved to the powered cell bars, "One day, soon, you will beg for us to save you. And when that happens, I pray we will be in time. In time for you and Aylaah, Sophoria, Marina and Aradina, and even the father you never knew."
=/\= "Bridge to Tajor, Captain Cordale is taking off you are required on the Bridge." =/\=
If it was important enough for her to be pulled away from the interrogations, then she needed to go. "We will continue this conversation later. Thank you." Ziyal said to the prisoners, before reactivating the force field that prevented them from hearing what their captors were saying. Ziyal nodded to Sara. "You are probably needed in the medical bay. Thank you for your assistance." Then she tapped her commbage as she left the brig. "On my way."
Elliot stood at the Checkpoint as requested by the Marines. He had a set of Binoculars and examined their progress. "Well they're officially out of my viewing range now." The Diplomatic Officer had been in Combat before since the incident with the Zombies on the Space station but this was his first taste of open conflict.
"Ensign Bailey how are the motion trackers holding up?" He asked the Gold Shirted Ensign.
Todd checked the motion tracker and was about to say it was clear of any movement when a small 'blip' registered.
"Sir, we've got movement outside of the courthouse where the Marines are" he reported "and whoever it is, they're not registering as Starfleet or Marine personnel."
Todd thought quickly on who or what it could be. "Sir, it could be that the Jennari could have dug themselves in, waited till the Marines passed them and are about to attack them from behind once they were inside the courthouse, it could be a trap!"
Elliot saw the swarm of Fighters overhead and heading to Pioneer. "Fighters incoming, heading to the Ship." He pointed. "Rawlings, C'mek, Sanchez stay here and hold this poison." Elliot then checked his weapon. "Bailey, Walcott and the rest of you come with me."
Todd shouldered his rifle and walked after the Diplomatic officer.
The small unit had broken away from the checkpoint and proceeded to assist the Marines.
Todd unslung his rifle after they'd cleared a small wall line. Lifting the butt to his shoulder, he looked through his telescopic sight and scanned the area where they'd seen people move up towards the courthouse. He looked back and forth along what he guessed would be the skirmish line had the Marines come back out the way they'd gone in.
He couldn't see anything out of the ordinary, the people had seemed to melt into the ground again. He began to lower his rifle, then a slight rock slight caught his eye and he raised his rifle once again. Had he seen something or were his nerves getting the better of him?
He trained his sight on the rock slip and after a few seconds, there was still nothing, then he saw it, the open end of the rifle barrel facing them.
His eyes widened and he started to call out "SNIPE.." but it was to late, the shot rang out and his shoulder exploded, spinning him round and dropping him like a ton of bricks!
Keller watched and then returned fire as he hit the Target. He small breakaway team then headed to Todd. "Easy Ensign you've been hit by a Plasma blast." Elliot then pointed to the others. "We can't help the Marines now, Walcott you and Fraiser carry him."
With their orders the team proceeded back to the Checkpoint as they overhead orders to pull back.
AJ walked into the main room of the courthouse. His team filling in behind them. "Clear, clear, clear, all clear" Came the call from the team. AJ tapped his coms. "Pioneer this is Jones we have taken the courthouse so far it seems our enemy made a hasty exit." AJ informed them as he looked at what had to have been a command desk with all sorts of intel littered around.
The Jennarri had anticipated such an action. The Starfleet Forces had landed their Ships in the clearing outside of the settlement and divided them based on tactical expertise. But the Invaders were far from stupid.
Fighter Craft began launching an assault on the Pioneer and her Landing Ships. The agile craft firing weapons.
Their Infantry Forces had fired Artillery at the Ships and began to outflank the Settlement. They had them where they needed them as the Stark white armoured Soldiers launched their counter attack.
"Captain we have Fighters incoming." The Ensign said at Tactical. "Sensors are also picking up artillery fixed on our location. "Sir, it was a trap."
"Shields to maximum, return fire on the incoming fighters. Brace for that artillery impact, nothing we can do about the first volley. Once it's clear, get those shuttles in the air and start kicking back." Cordale said. In the back of his head he was expecting this. It was too simple, too quiet. "Any of those positions in range of our weapons? Hell at this point I'd consider an arc trajectory torpedo strike on some of those sites if that's viable."
"Aye Sir." The Officer at Tactical commented as he relayed orders through his comcole. "Shuttles are airborne, artillery piece to the Northeast can be hit with a Photon."
Jaton had been monitoring the situation from the science station, frowning in concentration.
"Sir, if I may," he said, turning around. "I have a suggestion. The city is built upon a cluster of underground caverns, some of which were originally filled with water. And it just so happens that the artillery position is situated on one of the caverns. If we fire a phaser burst at the following coordinates, it should destabilise the ground and cause it to open up into a sinkhole. In theory, the collapse should take out not only the artillery installation, but a good portion of the Jenarri line for a couple blocks around."
Cor looked up, and he looked impressed, "Tha... that's a hell of a thing. Good find." he complimented before turning to Tactical, "Target those coordinates. Do we have any of our people in that region?"
He hit the comms, "AJ, got anyone in this region?" he asked, giving the coordinates of the strike, "We're gonna try to give you an opening from here."
"Copy that Pioneer give us two mics we are gathering intel and ex-filling back to you." AJ called over the comms as his team hurried to snatch up anything that may be battle plans or other important information.
He turned back to the Tactical station, "When they're clear, fire on those coordinates."
"Aye Sir." The Tacitcal,Officer commented as he examined his instruments. "Marines are clear of the location." The Officer then fired Phasers. "Firing Phasers."
The Artillery closest to the Pioneer roared as it fired its plasma weaponry in an attempt to disable the Intrepid Squadron. Jennarri Infantry were beginning their advance towards the liberators. Then the ground shook as the organ get light from the Phaser hit just shy of the direct position and the ground gave way.
The Artillery piece then instantly disappeared into the abyss of the Sinkhole along with a portion of the infantry.
"Captain the Artillery has gone, I'm still detecting Heavy Weaponry situated around the City but not in a location to course the Ship problems." The Tactical Officer commented.
Jaton called up a map of the city and overlayed the known locations of aquifers.
"I've got the locations of all known aquifers mapped over the city. Sending it to tactical now."
The Thux gave a nod, already weary from the constant action. Adrenaline was a hell of a drug, but it had its limit. "Keep feeding that telemetry. The sooner we resolve this the sooner we get back to exploring." That's what he wanted. He was pretty sure that's what everyone wanted.
AJ got on the comms. "Pioneer this is the attack team we are pulling back this is a wash. We have some people we can talk to and have made a dent here. The Courthouse was cleaned out. Someone knew we were coming and set a trap. All Marines and support staff report back to the Pioneer." He motioned and his men started to file out picking up anyone who had dropped on the way in. He put transporter tags on anyone that could not be saved or carried.
"Pioneer to Troops, message received." then Cor turned to his bridge crew, "Do whatever it takes to give them a clear path back here, and cover their withdraw."
"Sir incoming message from Kellers team, Ensign Bailey has been hit by a Sniper they are heading back to the Ship." The Ops Officer commented.
"Sir the other Intrepid Ships are preparing for takeoff now that they've got all their Crew back."
"Prep for takeoff but we don't leave until we hear from our teams. Inform Sickbay that wounded are incoming." Though he half expected Sickbay to already be on the ready. Cor was quite specific about not abandoning people to die on some rock full of tunnels and subterranean environs.
AJ waited as his marines rushed onto the ship and did a final check of the scared battlefield before stepping on himself. He activated his headset comms. "Pioneer assault team is aboard we have multiple friendlies with transport tags in the field need to be transported to..." He paused not sure where to send the fallen. Taking a second to reflect on how badly this had gone. "Transport to an open Cargo bay." With that AJ took off his helmet as he watched the loading bay door start to close so they could take off.
Keller and his team had arrived with the Marines and the volunteers. The young Diplomat handed Bailey off to the Medics. "Keller here, we are all back onboard heading to the Bridge now." He then nodded at Bailey. "You did well Ensign, first one is always the toughest." With a pat on his shoulder the Diplomat headed off to the Bridge.
"Captain all teams are aboard, Fleet is signalling that we have a clear path to the surface and an escort out of the combat." The Chief at Tactical commented to the Thux. "Beaming all the dead to the Cargo Bay now,"
"Then take us up. Balance all shields for the trip up, and best possible speed." He gave the Helm their To-Do list. "Signal the chaperones that we're coming up. Had a terrible time, wouldn't recommend it." he paused, "And pass along that it was more heavily fortified then expected, and resistance was higher than noted. Call it something fishy, but all this might have been a trap."
"Aye Captain." The Helmsman commented. Her fingers scrolled across the Console as the Ship began to ascend back into Orbit. "Taking her up now, all hands brace for ascent into Orbit."