“We dropped out of warp.” Ryker notified Carter.
“Evasive maneuvers, Mr. Ryker.” Carter ordered. “Gomo, what do you have?”
“It registers as a standard Romulan Research Station, but sensors register powerful shield generators and high energy plasma beams and disruptor cannons, as well as standard photon and high plasma torpedo launchers.” Gomo reported.
“Nothing of which we need to worry about.” Said Gomez as she had been leaned over the engineering station for about an hour. She stood up straight and looked to Captain Carter to had looked to her for an explanation, among other people. “For some reason the power grid to their offensive and defensive systems has been disabled, they are completely exposed right now.”
“We’re not looking to take down an entire space station. Starfleet may know that we are here but they don’t know why and I’m certain that they would not be pleased that we took the liberty of eliminating a Tal’Shiar facility, whether we know that to be true or not. As Gomo said, it registers as a Research Station and if we eliminate it, the State will certainly demand Starfleet for our heads.” Carter shook his head. “But we will use this opportunity to send both Alpha and Bravo Teams in to get our First Officer back.”
“Well I wasn’t implying on taking the station out at all. For starters, the torpedo launcher is in worse shape than we had thought. The reloading system is fried and with only three torpedoes in the tube, it wouldn’t make much of a dent.” Said Gomez.
“Bringing us in transporter range now, Captain.” Ryker informed Carter before turning in his seat. “Permission to join the rescue teams, sir.”
“Denied. I need you here, Ryker. You’re our best pilot. If those weapon systems come on line, going to need you to use your skills to avoid getting hit.” Carter told him.
“It wouldn’t matter if we shunt all power into the shields, even one facing shield. Those high energy weapons will pulverize our defenses and cut our hull like a hot knife on butter.” Gomez added.
“More reason to keep you here, Mr. Ryker.” Carter told him before tapping on the comm button in his chair. “Bridge to Transporter One and Two. Alpha, Bravo, we’re closing in on the station. Their shields and weapons are offline. This gives us a perfect opportunity to send you over, get our First Officer and get the hell out. I advise that you work very quickly.”
At Transporter Room One. Maya checked everyone’s gear one more time before looking up at the ceiling. “This is Alpha Team, we’re ready to go, Captain.” She then looked at her team members one more time. She had Ensigns Elidia, Mizu and Ortiz with her. Maya then went over to the transporter terminal and checked the sensor display that the transporter chief pointed her to. There were several blips near their transport site, but they will have to deal with it. “Get on the pad everyone, we’re going in hot.” Maya soon joined them on one of the empty pads and then knelt down with her rifle raised into a firing position, everyone else doing the same. “Ready to go on your mark, Captain!”
At Transporter Room Two. Koyda, Lieutenant Commander Sivol, Ensign K’Roll and a random security crewman were the members of Bravo Team. After having checked the sensor display from the transporter terminal and finding their beam in point to be less crowded than Alpha’s, he nodded to his team and they all stepped onto the pad. “Bravo Team ready for transport, Captain.”
“Good Luck, Hazard Team.” Carter’s voice rang in the transporter room. “Transporter Rooms One and Two. Energize!”
Through the eyes of Lieutenant Koyda Daco, he watched as his vision was filled with sparkling light and the scenery of a Starfleet Transporter Room changed to an unfamiliar scene of a Romulan Cargo Bay. All around him were crates and containers, likely full of standard supplies for a station like this. With his rifle up at the right, held up by his right hand gripping the pistol grip, he rotated his left arm so the back of his hand rested under the foregrip. On the top of his forearm was a device that they had quickly put together for both him and Maya to act as a tricorder and an active communicator. All he had to do was whisper to it and it would bring up a sensor display to show him their surroundings and if any Romulans were near by.
But after he got the tricorder display to turn on, he heard a blaster fire. Looking to his left, he saw a silhouette and in an instinctive reactor, he turned the rest of his body until the barrel of his rifle was aimed right at the target and pulled the trigger. After that it all happened so fast. What he remembered is he took down the target before him, rotated to his right rapidly and immediately pulled the trigger on another Romulan. The firefight was essentially over in matter of seconds, as Koyda remembered from earlier, there were only a few blips on the transporter terminal’s sensor display.
“Lieutenant.” Said the Caitain, Ensign K’Roll.
Koyda lowered his rifle once he was certain they were clear before moving over to the Ensign, only to find one of their team members has fallen. He saw Sivol was checking the crewmember’s vital signs before looking at Koyda and shaking her head. Koyda sighed heavily before reaching over and double tapped the crewmember’s badge, signalling the transporter chief to transport. He then tapped his own, “Bravo Team reporting in. We encountered hostiles at our beam in point, we lost a member. We’re proceeding on mission. Alpha Team, how are you doing over there?”
“I little busy at the moment!”
Maya, and Elidia were pressed against the wall at one side of the door, Elidia closest to the door frame and knelt down, while Ruby and Mizu were on the other side of the frame, Ruby mirroring Elidia. Outside the open door, was a corridor branched out three directions, straight, left and right and each one were filled with Romulan soldiers.
“What is your status, Alpha Team?” Came from the Captain.
“We’ve encountered a higher volume of hostiles than we expected, Captain. But we got it covered.” She then looked to Ruby, “Grenade!” With that, she yanked her stun grenade out of her pouch and handed it down to Elidia. Ruby did the same, reminded her how to activate it and pointed that she was going to roll hers down the corridor on his side, and he would do the same on hers. They counted from three then Ruby rolled his hard, immediately after she did the same and waited to hear them go off, or at least hear the bodies drop.
Then Maya took out one more and tossed it down the last corridor after activating it and gave it five seconds before stepping out of cover and walking out of the room with her rifle drawn. Ruby and Mizu followed suit, Ruby looking down the left while Mizu looked down the right and if they saw any soldier flinch they fired. Maya then looked at everyone to check on them, all three nodding to her that they were okay before she nodded back at them. Maya tapped her badge, “Alpha Team is good to go and heading out now.” She then looked to Elidia, “I hope that picks him up, because I don’t want to be here for too long.”
Elidia looked at her tricorder before she nodded her head. “If what Commander Ryker and Commander Sivol say is true, we should be able to find the trace.”
[Three Hours Ago]
“So how are we going to find the Commander in…that.” Carter pointed at the slightly stable holographic image of the station.
“Well about that.” Ryker looked to Sivol, who looked directly back at him before looking to Carter to explain.
“When we realized that we were going to be actively helping the border colonies near the three Romulan Governments, we were concerned that we could end up losing Vakai in the crowd.” Sivol explained.
“There was also the fact that, when Vakai ever used those nodes of his that he places on his temples to visit this virtual reality training, mainly to see his parents now since he says he has learned just about everything they had stored in the data padd that came with the nodes…his parents would tell him that the Tal’Shiar may come for him and to be prepared for when they do.” Ryker also explained.
“So we followed his instructions, and created our own version of a Tal’Shiar tracking device. With Vakai’s help of course. Also with some tweaks, so that the Tal’Shiar themselves cannot detect it.” Said Sivol.
Carter frowned, “How come I am learning about this now?”
Ryker sighed, “Honestly, I was hoping it never happened. I didn’t think the Tal’Shiar be this dumb. Or clever. I mean, how were we suppose to know that there was some mercenary out there with a cloaking device identical to the one that the Reman Warbird used when it engaged the Enterprise? Let alone being armed to the flipping teeth!”
“Point is, Commander. I should have been informed about this. He is my First Officer after all.”
Sivol nodded her head. “You are right, Captain and we do apologize.”
“So how does it work?”
Ryker sighed again, “Well, one of the tweaks to keep the Tal’Shiar from detecting it was reducing its signal strength by eighty percent.”
“More like ninety five percent.” Sivol corrected.
Ryker nodded, “Right. It means that, even though we changed the trace and the signal for which only we know of and can search for, we would have to be within thirty meters.”
Carter sighed heavily, “Bloody hell. And with this station filled with corridors, and decks, you’d have to transition to whichever deck he may be on, if there is a way to get to that deck without losing him.”
“I’m certain we will find him, sir.” Said Maya.
“Absolutely.” Koyda chipped in.
“You better.” Carter told them.
Carter stood there at the very center of the Bridge before his chair, staring at the view screen as the teams carried on, moving through corridor after corridor in search for Vakai. They were both heading for the interrogation room of which they were told Vakai would likely be in, but both teams were coming from different points of the station to try and cover more ground, in case Vakai had escaped. With the weapons and shields being down, it is most likely that Vakai had escaped the interrogation but hopefully had not gone too far. Sooner they find him, the quicker they can leave and get back to Federation Space.
Bravo Team was the first to make it to the interrogation room and there, they saw bodies on the floor but nothing else. The team reported their findings and moved on, as now they had to solely rely on the tricorders to pick up the tracking device.
A Romulan Soldier came charging into the interrogation room, “Commander!” He shouted only to see Commander Soldar laying on the interrogation bed and thriving about. He quickly went up to the terminal and began terminating the system before going over to the Commander and pulling the nodes off of his temple. The second the nodes came off was the second that Soldar’s eyes flew wide open, rising up from the bed and grabbing the Romulan Soldier by the throat instantaneously. Breathing and grunting heavily through clenched teeth as he glared hard with his bloodshot eyes, growling as his grip tightened more and more around the soldier’s throat. But just as the soldier was seconds away from losing consciousness, Soldar realized that the man he was choking was not Vakai and that was when he relaxed and released the man.
Soldar rested his arms on top edge of the terminal as he caught his breath, clenching his fists as he could still feel the intense pain of the atmosphere burning his flesh off his bones. “Commander.” The soldier coughed. “Starfleet ship…entered…space…boarding party…we’ve been boarded!”
Soldar growled heavily in frustration as he walked fully around the terminal and began to access its systems, only to see that he has been locked out of both weapons and shields. “How is this possible?” He said under his breath. “There is no way he could have my codes.” He continued to speak under his breath, keeping his words to himself before a wicked plan came to mind. “If I cannot stop them from taking you home…then I will end you along with them.” He accessed the reactor control systems and then shut down the coolant system, as well as increased reactor output. Then he locked the control system completely and began corrupting the logs of his actions so that if the data recorder was recovered from the wreckage, it would look like a simple malfunction. In theory. The soldier had gotten up just in time to see that Soldar was going to overload the reactor. “What are you doing?!”
Soldar began to chuckle uncontrollably until it turned into a full blown hysterical laugh but the second he felt the soldier’s hand on his shoulder, he grabbed the wrist, twisted, turned to face the man, pulled him in and at the same time, slugged him right in the face, causing the soldier to stumble across the floor. Seeing that that was not enough, Soldar went to one of fallen centurions on the floor that still had a disruptor, reached down, pulled the disruptor out of the holster, stood up straight and began adjusting the power settings. “You’re mad!” The soldier said as he rubbed his jaw. “You’re going to kill us all, for that one traitor!”
Soldar chuckled. “No. That traitor is the one who killed you all. You just don’t know it yet.” Soldar told him as he tilted his head to the side before instantaneously raising the pistol and fired, vaporizing the soldier. Without hesitation, Soldar left the interrogation room in a hurry to grab one of the few scout ships left in the hangar so he can depart immediately. And just as he went around the corner at one end of the corridor, Bravo Team came around another from a different end, the two groups missing each other entirely.
Gomez eyes went wide as she saw the sensor readings on the station’s reactor go off the scale from her terminal. “Shit!” She jumped out of her seat, turned around, placed her hands on the rail and leaned forward as she looked right at the Captain. “The team needs to find him now! Some psychopath is overloading the stations reactor, it’s going to go critical in five minutes!”
Carter’s eyes grew and he looked right back at the view screen. “Did you hear that, Hazard Team? You got less than five minutes to find him, get back to a beam in point and get the hell out of there so we can get away from the blast!”
“You heard the Captain, double time it people!” Maya’s voice chipped in.
“Move move move!” Said Koyda.
“Wait! I got him!!” Said Elidia. “This way!” She then took the lead and after a few bends, they found Vakai on the floor with his back against the wall, grasping his right wrist.
Maya knelt down beside him, “Commander. It’s okay, we’re here to get you home.”
“My hand…” He complained, wincing and breathing sharply as if he was in pain. “It burns. Burns so much.”
But as they looked, nothing was wrong with it, even when Elidia scanned it with her medical tricorder, she looked to the team before looking back at Vakai. “Your hand is fine, Commander.”
“Don’t you see the lava?!” Vakai shouted.
They then knew what was going on, Maya looked at Elidia and nodded. Elidia opened up her kit and pulled out a hypospray, where she pressed it up to his neck and pressed the injection button where they heard the all so familiar hissing sound. In seconds, they saw the look of pain on Vakai’s face went to a look of relief and concern, his breathing relaxing and released the grip on his wrist. “What did you give me?”
“A cocktail. Something the Rangers told us about that would help with whatever it is that madman did to you.” Maya explained. “But we don’t have time, we need to go, now!” She snapped her fingers as she stood up, both Mizu and Elidia taking an arm and helping him to his feet. But as soon as he got to his feet, he pulled himself free.
“I’m fine. Really. Whatever you gave me, it’s really helping.” He told them.
“Good. Because we need to run!” Maya told him and took off running, the rest of the team and Vakai himself running after her. Along the way she tapped her badge. “Alpha Team has the Commander. Get to the Beam in point, now!”
“Yours is closest, we’re heading there right now!” Said Koyda.
“I don’t care, just go go go!”
Carter paced back and forth, between the two stations and his chair, from port to starboard to port and repeat. “Come on, come on. How much time?”
“Two minutes!” Gomez reported.
“Bridge, Transporter Room Two. I got Bravo Team.”
“Transporter Room One. I got Alpha and the Commander!”
“Bloody hell,” Carter went and stood next to Ryker at the helm, “Get us the hell out of here, Commander!”
Ryker’s fingers immediately began tapping in commands on the console. The ship pulled a hard one twenty degree turn to port and punched it to full impulse power. “I need warp power!”
“Working on it!” Said Gomez.
Ryker changed the viewer to reveal the station behind them and saw that it was beginning to go with all the micro explosions going about. “Gomez!”
“Now! Punch it now!”
With one tap, the ship jumped into warp just before the station’s reactor went critical, avoiding the explosion and the shock wave entirely.
Vakai sat there at the end of the biobed as Dr Pearce finished her check. “Well, all your vitals are returning to normal. That cocktail they gave us seemed to have repaired the damage they had done to you.” She told him.
Vakai sighed, “I certainly hope so.”
“Do you still remember everything?” Ryker asked. Everyone looking right at him, all wondering the same thing.
Vakai sighed once more before nodding his head. “Everything.”
Pearce placed her hand on his shoulder. “Give it time. Right now, what you need the most is to drink fluids and eat.”
Vakai was about to answer when the ship shook violently and the Red Alert klaxon went off. Gomo’s voice echoed throughout Sickbay. “We’re under attack, Captain!”
Vakai hopped off the biobed but both Ryker, Sivol and Carter stopped. “We just got you back, man.” Ryker told him but Vakai looked to Pearce before looking back at Ryker and then Carter. “She said I was free to go eat…why this any different?”
Carter exhaled heavily through his nose. “No time to debate, let’s move!”
Soldar plopped down in the pilot seat as he powered up the scout vessel, entered his commands to release the docking clamps and cranked up the ships engines to speed away from the station so he can go to warp before it could explode. As soon as he made his escape, he brought up the comm holo display and hailed the nearest warship.
“Commander Soldar. By the authority of the Tal’Shiar, I order you to pursue this vessel.” He entered the information and the transponder signal of the Centaur. “It is in our space, destroyed my station and is harboring a traitor of the State!”
Ri’lek verified the security codes that he also received in the transmission before nodded his head. “Orders received and will be carried out, Commander.”
“Good. One last thing. Don’t destroy the ship, not yet. As soon as you capture that traitorous slime, then you are free to obliterate that garbage scow from our space!”
“Understood, Commander. Ri’lek out.” The holo display blinked out, leaving Soldar there to uncontrollably laugh hysterically like a mad man before crying out loudly in pain as he could once again feel his flesh being seared off of his bones. It was difficult for him to try and convince his mind that the pain wasn’t real, but once he did he was panting heavily, sweating, hands trembling, he was losing control. “Computer. New course heading. Bring me home. And inform my loyal friend, Tomek, that I need his help.”