Posted on Fri Feb 1st, 2019 @ 12:23am by Commander Bertrand Cuprum & Captain Elijah Michaels & Commander Cor Cordale & Lieutenant Seamus MacDonald Jr & Lieutenant Hel Samedi & Lieutenant Simon Stevens & Gunnery Sergeant Val Seran
Convoy of the Damned
Location: Hasak class freighters
The first two teams had beamed away simultaneously, and now Hel, Seamus, Val and another two security officer stepped quickly up to the pad. Hel couldn't help but hear the damage that was being caused by Nausican weapons every moment the shields were lowered for transport.
"Energizing!" came the call and their vision was washed with a blue glow.
A moment later they were in a cramped corridor on one of the Freighters. The air purifiers had obviously packed up, and the heat was a lot higher than comfortable. No sign of any crew or Nausicans was immediately obvious.
Hel immediately reached for her tricorder the moment they materialized on the freighter. Without even looking around she scanned the atmosphere, only then did she pan the recording device over a wider area - she figured someone else would notify her of things happening around the away team, she wanted to know more about the air and the ship.
"Air is breathable, if low on oh-two. Contaminated, reading high amounts of particulates. Either their oh-two scrubbers are off line or - yeah they're off line." Hel mused. "Power is flickering, structural integrity fields barely holding. This ship is a heap of trash - and not just from the Nausicaan weapons fire."
Val Seran's two bioforms, both armed with a Type III compression rifle, took up flanking positions. Though the ranking marine present, she didn't have as much training in ship infiltration as the Corporal, so had left command of the team to him.
Valeria's ears were perked, listening for the slightest sound of the civilians, or worse any enemy combatants. "Oh, I've seen worse." she added to Hel's comment, in an attempt to break the tension. "There's almost no reason to turn off the filter units. Their power consumption is minimal, at best. Not to mention this level of atmospheric pollution. This isn't the result of the Nausicaan's turning off the system." Valeria pointed out, from a scientific standpoint.
"Could be a system fault. Older ship designs and such." she offered, before falling in line to continue the search, her tricorder out and set to look for lifeforms.
Seamus took up a defensive position, scanning the area. "Immediate area is clear, ma'am. Unless I'm missing something, there really isn't anything worth salvaging at this point."
"Hm." Hel replied, wandering over to a nearby wall, pulling down a panel and peering at the maintenance terminal inside, shaking her head a bit at the dilapidated sight. "Ship's falling apart. I've seen derelicts in better shape." she quietly mused, mostly to herself as she set about trying to get a diagnostic running on the maintenance terminal, but startling and drawing back at a small explosion of sparks. "Yikes."
On the Bridge, Simon was steered to a chair, "Sir, we have set up a live comms feed with the away teams. There is no visual any way, but you can talk to them from here."
"Thank you Lieutenant." Elijah said as he patched into the communications. "All teams this is Victory, remember your first priority is the wounded on those Ships and making sure that they are stable."
"Lieutenant!" called one of the security officers. She was crouching over a pile of crates. What looked like a pile of sackings was in fact a figure in rough robes. As the away team approaches, the security officer pulls a tricorder. Even without the results, it was obvious this person was in a bad way. Blood soaked the front of their robes and their skin was pale.
"I am getting a life signal," the security officer supplied, "but... It's weird."
Suddenly the figures eyes opened wide it looked in terror at the away team.
"Easy! Easy!" the officer tried to calm the person.
"You... get off the ship... its not safe!" the figure gurgled. With a sudden fit of explosive coughing it sprayed blood over the away team, then fell back.
The cough and the spray caught Valeria off guard as stains of red quickly marred her fur. She recoiled, and put a hand up but it was too late. "Prep them for medical evac." she turned to one of the security officers they brought with them. "He's coughing blood. Could be internal trauma." she surmised with what she had on hand.
She turned then to Hel, and shook her head, "I'm fine, just a little off guard."
Hel was spared the blood spray by virtue of being some distance away from the passenger. "Best be safe anyways. Never know what bugs they might carry." she offered.
The Security officer, half way through calling for evac hesitates, "Doesn't the Bio-filter sort all that out during transport?"
"It only scans for known 'bugs'," her colleague supplied. "That's why we get a check over after each mission."
The younger officer nodded, and activated the transport homer she had placed on the injured crewman.
"Away team 5 to Victory. One to beam straight to sickbay!"
There was a blue glow and the individual shimmered out of existence.
"Where to next, sir?"
"We should move on, explore the rest of the ship. There's nothing more I can do here." offered Hel. "Lead the way."
Marines checked their weapons and then signalled to take the lead. Starfleet Officers and Crew behind them. “Check these corners, you’ll be amazed where hostiles can come from." The Corporal commented as he signaled them forward.
Tricorder in hand, Hel moved forward behind the corporal. She wasn't anxious to take the lead and was perfectly happy to let the corporal move ahead.
As Simon listened to what was happening on the Frighter, he wished that he could have been over there, but for reasons beyond his control he was stuck here listening to it he asked, "Status report," asked Simon so that he could keep up to date.
The Away Teams were scattered around the Freighter and were running into little or no resistance and it didn't feel right. "Third Squad eyes front on that hatch." The Corporal said as he directed his Marines forward, the Andorian signaled. "Dawson, Hobbs stack up."
The Marines got into position and used charges to open the hatch which was met with Phaser and Disruptor Fire. "Contact front they're using Klingon Disruptors and Cardassian Weapons." One of the Marines took a shot to the shoulder and went down whilst the other covered the hatch and signaled to pull him out.
"Man down!" The Corporal shouted as all fire was directed at the Nausicans.
The return fire was practiced and direct, taking out one of the Nausicans immediately and causing the others to rush hurriedly for cover.
Val Seran proved herself a cold and calculated, highly accurate marksman. As one of her provided covering fire with her type III compression rifle, the other bioform of the binary life form took quick and precise shots with hers.
Supporting Security officers moved forward and pulled the injured marine out of immediate danger, then set up a secondary fire line behind the Marines.
Instead of holding ground, however, the raiders quickly began to withdraw, firing only suppressing shots behind them.
"Guess they weren't counting on any actual competent resistance," a marine muttered. "Do we pursue?"
Hel peaked out from behind cover. Her side arm was out, but she'd contributed covering fire at most - firefights were not her strong suit. "I-I don't think we should split up the away team. Definitely report this to the ship, though."
Valeria gave a nod, her ears drooped down to keep from sticking out behind her cover. Her sidearm was at the ready, but the shooting was already well beyond as the Nausicans were essentially covering a withdraw. "No, we shouldn't split the team." she agreed, "Though, I wonder why they're leaving..."
"They don't appear to be carrying anything, either," a security officer remarked. "You'd think they'd at least carry some loot off with them."
Hel closed her eyes and shuddered for a moment. "That was scary." She offered. She'd passed her basic marksman training with margin to spare, but shooting at targets at a range and at living people while under fire were two completely different things. Collecting her thoughts, she gave a nod to Valeria, then to the security officer.
"T-the ship is falling apart." Her voice skipped, nerves still showing. "I can probably stabilize her, keep her from losing containment or her structural integrity field. Keep the ship in one piece. But I need to be in what passes for main engineering to do that, and I'm going to need Lieutenant Mordin's help." She turned to the Corporal - while her and Lieutenant Mordin were nominally in charge of the away team, she knew better than to do anything without the Marine team leader's approval or knowledge. "Corporal, can you get us there in one piece, and keep us breathing while we work?"
"Yes, Ma'am," the soldier responded.
He started barking orders. The Marines moved forward, weapons ready, with the engineers and science officers in the middle and Security bringing up the rear. They moved quickly down the dark corridors, moving between airlock separated bulk heads. Hel couldn't help but notice how poor the seals were. This ship would never have cleared a SF inspection, let alone be allowed to carry passengers. She hoped no one was going to try something foolish like landfall with it.
Hel did pause a moment, examining a seal. She traced her fingertips over the joint and frowned, shuddering a bit. "This ship's in even worse state than I thought." she muttered quietly.
"Ma'am? Don't get left behind." Val Seran offered, at least one of her, drawing Hel's attention, and the pale engineer hurried to catch up with the group again.
No more Nausicans were encountered, though in one section they found crates had been pulled open, their contents partially removed and then dropped on the floor. Items which would normally have been considered valuable, lay dropped by fleeing raiders.
The next chamber, the last one before Engineering, was full of people; about 30 at a quick glance. All wore simple robes and all sat huddled or hunched in corners in pairs or on their own. As the weapon lights played over them, they hunched in tighter. There were no cries of fear or pain. It was eerily silent, except for the occasional coughing. At the far end stood the door to engineering.
Val Seran held her rifles at the low ready, flanking the away team and taking careful watch over the doorway behind them. One of her coughed along with the civilians, causing both bioforms to look a bit concerned.
Hel furrowed her brows. "My god." she quietly spoke, seeing the gathering of civilians. Ragged clothes she could see, even in the dim light, and looking less than healthy. "... Refugees?" she asked, once again getting distracted from the job at hand - getting to engineering.
"This is horrible." Valeria spoke in a hush. "We need to get the ship back in some degree of order. Once we get Engineering squared, I'd like to head to the bridge. Maybe we can coordinate and bring this ship to some shadow of operational status." she offered. "Get some answers at the very least. Who these people are, where they're from. Political refugees, asylum seekers, we don't know." Not that it mattered. They were obviously in trouble and could use all the help they could get.
"Right." Hel shook herself out of her distraction and concentrated on the job at hand, taking charge. "Marines, can you escort Va - Lieutenant Mordin to the bridge? Security team, watch my back, while I work on engineering? Lieutenant Mordin, keep in - " she coughed, furrowing her brows. " - uh ... touch. Keep in touch. Find out what's going on." as she headed through the door into engineering.
Val Seran gave a pair of nods, stepping forward, flanking Valeria, their type III compression rifles at the low ready. "Got your back, Lieutenant. Let's - " she trailed off, the other bioform taking over steamlessly. " - get to the bottom of this."
Valeria gave a nod, "I'll contact you once I'm there." and then she turned and addressed the totality of Val Seran, "Agreed. The bridge should be this way." and the rabbitess set out with the Dalacari. The trek to the bridge was relatively uneventful, with the most exciting thing being a coughing fit from Valeria. Just the dust in the air. Needed to turn the scrubbers on sooner than later. The bridge itself was deserted, and hardly touched. "This is odd..." Valeria commented. "Sciences, Operations, Helm. Find out who we are, where we are, and where we were going." she recited, almost a mantra.
She gave her comm badge a tap, "Mordin to Samedi. Arrived safely at bridge, beginning to bring vital systems online. Sequential startup of key systems. Let me know if I'm too much of a power draw."
The system were shot. Communications didn't even have power, the distress call must have come from a different ship. Main computer was not even linked in, just stuck to the wall unconnected. There was no crew register, or logs. In fact the entire system was unencrypted and unprotected. It was almost like no one cared, who accessed the system, or what they did with them.
A simple trajectory map was easy to find, plotting a course back to Trellis IV; a class M planet in the local region. Cross matching it with Starfleet charts showed it was an independent system, not affiliated with any Empire, and with only brief contact with the Federation. Records stated that it was Warp capable society, but these ships were barely capable of Warp 2 at best.
Most disturbing was the ship inventory. There were 30 recorded passengers, and water to account for a week or two, but only food for a few days more. There was no destination in the navigation system, and the nearest habitable system in the direction they were going was 3 months at full Warp. Not that there even seemed to be any Antimatter left for warp travel.
Nothing about this made any sense. There was no supplies for starting a colony, no direction for a journey, no supplies for a round trip... How were any of these people expecting to survive?
Perhaps the passengers held the answers. Perhaps they could Contact Trellis IV directly. There just seemed to be even more questions.
Val Seran and the other marines took up defensive positions, watching over the entry way to the bridge. Weapons at the ready, they simply waited.
Hel had found her way into engineering, the security team taking up defensive positions. The pale engineeress tried accessing the computer, expecting some form of encryption, but found nothing. Sifting through error messages, she couldn't even access diagnostics. Life support gave an error warning, as did the engines, power generation, shields, everything seemed barely working.
"Samedi to Mordin. This ship is - it needs a space dock. It's falling apart, not gonna survive anot- " another cough, spitting out some blood at the console before her. "Oh, damn." Pieces started to match up, fall into place. "Lieutenant Mordin, can you have some of your marines investigate the passengers and the rest of the ship? ... Hell, send Seran, she's a team on her own."
Valeria took a moment to process the information she was seeing. It took her a bit to even reply to Hel. "Apologies Samedi. This is a lot to take in." and then she gave her badge another quick tap. "Mordin to Victory. Captain, Commander, this ship seems to have been doomed from the onset. There's hardly enough supplies to make it to the nearest planet of interest, no colonizing supplies, hardly even a destination. Just a heading. It's entirely possible these passengers are either refugees who are escaping a harsh regime and chose to take their chances with whatever they could find, or they're political outcasts cast into exile." she surmised what she felt were two of the most likely options.
"Their ori--" Mordin was cut off by a fit of coughs, which she eventually recovered from, "... origin point is Trellis IV. As this vessel is capable of warp travel from the schematics, it's fair to assume that Trellis IV is a warp capable world. Perhaps we should contact them to see if we can gauge the political climate. Mordin out."
She turned to the cadre of Marines that accompanied her, and then to Seran. "The area here is secure. Clear the remainder of the ship and see if there are any other refugees about. Approach with caution but I don't think they're hostile." she advised.
"Ma'am." the half of Val Seran that still had both her natural arms responded. At almost the same moment, the half with the prosthetic arm sprang into action. "Johnson, Marks, with me. The rest of you, stay on the Lieutenant like a grass stain."
The two that were Val Seran stepped off the very rudimentary bridge area, moving almost perfectly in sync, the other two marines following behind, weapons at the low ready. Systematically they started sweeping the ship, corridor by corridor, space by space, calling out each space over comms as they cleared it.
"Officer's quarters - clear." A moment's silence. "Crew quarters - clear." A few moments later. "Passenger quarters - clear." But when they reached the galley they saw a shape in the darkness. A few quick hand signals from Val Seran and the four marines flanked the doorway into the galley, weapons at the ready. A silent countdown and the four stepped into the room, clearing each other's line of fire, flash lights on the figure.
The figure was a lone Nausican, obviously separated from the raiding team who had taken up a defensive position behind an overturned table. At the sight of the lights being shined upon him, the Nausican gave our a battle cry and opened fire with his disruptor. The shot went wide due to the bright lights, but it certainly spelled out that he was a threat.
The return fire on the other hand was anything but wild and imprecise. Four lances of bright orange light pierced the room, sending the Nausican to an early grave. The four bright flashlight beams quickly scanned the space, until the four marines were satisfied there had been only the one. "Galley, not clear. Single combatant, killed after opening fire." Val's voice was as calm as it had been, even if her two hearts were working faster and adrenaline was pumping.
The lone Nausican lay dead on the floor, devoid of plunder or anything of worth. He seems to have been left behind by the raiding party, though upon closer inspection there were odd discolorations and markings along his features.
" ... This a plague ship or something?" Marks piped up, seeing the discolorations. "I don't feel so good."
"Probably." was Val's only reply.
"Oh shit - we need to get out of here, we need to beam back to the ship! We need to get out of here!" Marks started panicking, only calming down slightly when Val firmly grabbed both of his shoulders with a hand each.
"Calm down, Marks. If this is a plague ship, we're already infected, and we can't beam back - " Val just shut her mouth, the other one of her seamlessly taking over speaking duties. " - or we'll infect the entire ship. The doctors will find a cure. If this isn't a plague ship, there's nothing to worry about. So just - " another focus shift. " - calm the hell down. You're a Starfleet Marine. We have a job to do."
Seeing Marks getting it back together, Val Seran led the small team onwards. "Bathrooms - clear." and on. "Storage - ... not clear. Three dead bodies. Passengers. Suicide from the looks of it." And on. "Airlock - clear. Ship swept, Lieutenant Mordin. Returning to the Bridge."
The first sound to come over the comm on the reply was a cough. "Acknowledged. Life support should be clearing the air shortly." Valeria mentioned. At least it wouldn't smell so stale in here anymore soon enough. "The Bridge is still secure, no change in status. The computer core is hardly accessible at the moment. Samedi, any better luck on your end?" she asked, opening the comm channel up to include the head engineer.
"I got the air scrubbers functioning at forty percent, but this ship is dying and if I am to save her I'll need a dry dock, three weeks and enough crew and materials to build half a new one." Hel's tired voice came back, interrupted by a couching fit. "Ew. Not feeling so good. This - .. I think we might wanna contact the ship, set up a quarantine, get medical and science working on whatever this ship's carrying."
"For now though, I've done all I can." the pale engineeress continued. "I suggest we reconvene, decide what to do next."
"Agreed." Valeria said simply, before she contacted the Victory again, "Captain, this is Mordin. In the face of all evidence and the conclusion of most of the personnel aboard this vessel, quarantine this craft until further notice at the recommendation of the Chief Science officer. There is evidence of an unknown airborne pathogen." the rabbitess' normally soft and gentle voice had a bit of a rasp to it.
"I recommend contacting the world of origin for further information regarding the disease, as the computers here are barely functional and have no information on them regarding the purpose, destination, and condition of the people."
=A=Acknowledged, Lieutenant,=A= came the voice of the Chief Medical Officer. =A=Do you know if the sickness is contained to your ship or the entire convoy. We already have a number of injured crew and civilians on the ship. I need to know if we need to quarantine sickbay.=A=
It was Hel that answered. "Better safe than sorry. I recommend a general quarantine, at least until we - " She was interrupted by a coughing fit.
Several of the Marines started coughing as well as they were in proximity of the refugees. A couple more covered their mouths that were stood outside the room.
=A=Copy that, Away team. Stand by.=A=