Part of USS Neptune: Mirum and Bravo Fleet: The Stormbreaker Campaign

The Night of the Shadow

Captain's Ready Room, USS Neptune
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The senior officers on the bridge immediately rose to follow the captain into the ready room. There was a tense silence as everyone took a seat around the holographic table, and the XO was the one to speak first.

“So what information do we have concerning this planet and any potential threat?” Tia directed this question to Tallie, who she knew had done the research and prepared a briefing on Uneta Prime before their departure. 

Tallie looked through the information one more time before looking at the group then to Captain Ryder and back to Tia “There is no indication of a threat the inhabitants here have never caused trouble and we have no records of any past conflict. In fact this is probably the most surprising action to come from Uneta Prime in near a Century“ She said as she concluded with no indications of anything further to report.

“And what information do we definitively know from the scans?” This time Tia turned to Ruvok.

Ruvok looked at the XO and shook his head “Definitive is relative in a situation like this, Commander. What I can tell you is the information stated they were Romans from around 57 to 58 B.C. Other than that we have no true information other than what the computer has in its databanks regarding the Romans and their forces of that time.” He said wishing there was more information that could have been gathered by the scans.

“What could be possibly be dealing with here?” Tia questioned under her breath, then her voice rose as she spoke to their Captain. “Do we have enough information to take any sort of action, or should our primary goal be to gather more intel?”

Michael had sat listening carefully to the different Officer’s give their different insights on what was unfolding. He looked around the room at the different members of the room. “I think we need to learn more about why these Romans are here and more important how they got here. I do believe we should gather more Intel. XO I want you to take a team to the surface of the planet to see what you can learn. This is a stealth mission so the whole point is to gather information and not get caught.” he said firmly looking at the XO. 

“Any preferences on the team members?” the XO questioned.

Michael rubbed his chin for a moment before giving two suggestions. “I would recommend Lieutenant Kennedy, due to her tactical training and weapons proficiency. I‘d also recommend Kra’vaak as he is a skilled strategist and knows how to get out of a pinch.” 

Tia opened her mouth to speak, and then hesitated for a moment as she considered whether or not she should make a suggestion, but Ryder’s consistent support of her decisions and his management style of teaching by allowing her to take a lead role in some situations gave her confidence to speak her opinion. “May I suggest medical officer Kula. I worked with her a good bit on Ryex and she proved invaluable to the team, as well as levelheaded in combat situations.”

Michael thought for a minute at the suggestion. Tia had proven herself to him and he was giving her more freedom in making decisions. He gave a nod “Agreed, Commander. Prepare your team.”

“Copy that, Sir,” Tia affirmed the orders and immediately rose to her feet to assemble her team.

                                                                          *******

Cassius had been informed of the arrival of an unexpected ship to the planet by one of those chirping infernal flat tablets that enjoyed speaking to him when he least expected it. The Sergeant had already broken three PADDs by throwing them against the wall in frustration as the key to their intricate dealings continued to allude him, but he was just beginning to understand the strange devices and had been reprimanded for his refusal to learn the ways of this advanced technology. If this is the world they were now stuck in, then he determined to learn to use the tools available to him. So when the tablet dinged out a signal and then read aloud a message to him, he accepted the strange herald with nothing more than a “Tool of Hades!” curse and a punch of his knuckles against the stone wall of his room. Certainly an improvement to his previous reactions to the messenger device. But Cassius scooped the PADD up with not gentle hands and strode out of his room with the device, on his way to the headquarters where he knew Secundus would be waiting. He clenched the annoyance in his hand, cursing to himself with every step but bearing the annoyance of the close proximity of the PADD since he knew Secundus would question his appearance without the wretched machine. 

On his pathway down the winding halls, a forgotten PADD leaning against a bench caught his eye. Who by sweet liberty thought they could get away with leaving their accursed implement laying around while he was forced to carry his own? Cassius questioned. With a sigh exploding from the depths of his chest, he snatched up the gadget to determine its owner. 

The Sergeant’s rough brows furrowed, dipping down low over his eyes as he glared with eyes of fire down at the tablet. Cassius who was uneducated in the new contraptions of these strange people couldn’t be certain about the information he was viewing, but his keen sense of sniffing out potentially treacherous activities held true, and he knew there was something strange afoot. With a growl, he continued on his way to their headquarters, the newly found tablet in hand. 

Upon entering the headquarters, he tossed the PADD to Secundus’s aide who just barely caught it. “What am I looking at?” he bluntly asked. 

Secundus was looking over the little information about this ship in orbit when Cassius burst through the door in his normal rule breaking manner. Secundus sighed and looked at Cassius “Care to explain what’s goin on Sergeant?”

“Maybe my plebeian mind just has trouble understanding things,” Cassius threw out this self-debasing comment knowing full well what the soldiers said of him behind his back, “But lots of things on that contraption aren’t matching up.”

Secundus gave him a questioning look and snatched the PADD from the aide looking over the information he snarled. This PADD contained orders he had given in different areas that had been altered. The information showed that his army had been redirected as to sabotage certain areas not to mention surveillance and notes taken.

He looked at his aide with fire in his eyes “Do you care to explain this?”

The aide’s eyes widened as he realized the seriousness of his situation. Neither Secundus nor Cassius were known for their mercy, and the methods of torture which they could devise to loosen his tongue were certainly unthinkable for any civil human being. “I- I- I don’t know what you mean, Sir,” he stuttered out quickly.

Cassius circled to the right of the aide, eyeing the soldier as a wolf eyes its prey before the pounce. The Sergeant waited for his general’s command, hungry to go in for the kill but aware of the possible information an interrogation my provide and patiently awaiting his master’s orders. 

Secundus looked at the aide with a disapproving and disappointed look in his eyes, but held his hand up to Cassius “Let’s not kill him yet…he could prove to have valuable information. GUARDS!”

The room filled with four soldiers and Secundus looked to them “Take him to the cell and lock him up. Give him just enough bread and water to survive. And do not take your eyes off of him.” He said with an obvious tone not to break the orders given. As the soldiers left with the aide Secundus looked at Cassius “Read these surveillance notes and give me your opinion on them.”

Cassius reached out to take the PADD. “Think his actions are related to the arrival of this new ship?”

Secundus thought for a moment “I can’t say for sure. Do we actually have any idea who that is or where they come from? Any communications from them?”

“I just got here,” Cassius responded bluntly with a short shrug. “But I’d be happy to start questioning the spy now and try to find out if he knows anything.”

Secundus looked at his sergeant “Let him mewl in his cell for now we will let these unknown people make there first move.” He said as he looked at the hologram then swiped to look at the ships distance to the planet. He looked closer and stopped taking a note and looking back at Cassius “I have a feeling the gods are going to test us put someone at the entrance.”

                                                                          *******

Tia reached over her shoulder to the handles of her katanas which rested in the sheaths at her back and then slid the palm of her right hand over the phaser handle at her hip. This final check of her weapons had been a longstanding custom of hers and was now a force of habit which she did without even thinking. 

Medical Officer Kula was bent over her field pack, checking her supplies as well as the team stood in the hangar bay, preparing to board a shuttle for their covert mission to the planet’s surface.

“Everyone clear on the parameters of this mission?” Tia asked the group.

Kra’vaak was prepared as always donning the black stealth outfit like the rest of the crew. He had the Bat’leth strapped to his back and dual phasers on each hip. He looked at the XO and nodded.

Kennedy’s heart was beating fast as she had never done a mission quite like this. He adjusted the pack he had on and double checked her weapons. “Sneaky time.” he said smirking.

“Then let’s board up,” the XO ordered. Moments later the shuttle was speeding on its way to the planet’s surface. They settled down a short distance from the compound which the scans showed had experienced the most activity over a recent period of time. Tia spoke to the team as they gathered at the door of the shuttle to depart the cloaked aircraft. “We stay together unless discovered. If our presence becomes known, getting the intel we gather back to the Neptune is our top priority. Lieutenant Kennedy and Officer Kula will head back to the shuttle as Lieutenant Commander Kra’vaak and I cover their retreat.” Tia turned to their Chief Tactical Officer. “Kennedy, you will only wait for Kra’vaak and I for as long as you deem feasible. The integrity of this mission cannot be compromised. If a member of the team is taken, the remaining team must return to the Neptune. Understood?”

Kennedy looked at the XO and nodded “I understand Commander I will make sure to make the decision if the need arises.”

“Good,” the XO gave a quick nod, glad to have the tough conversation over with. “Then let’s head out and first try to get a good view of the city below and an idea of what we’re dealing with.”

The ground team departed the shuttle to hike a short distance up the hillside obscuring their landing from the city, and as they crested the hill they were shocked by the scene that stretched before them. Despite the fact that the scans had given them somewhat of a heads up on what to expect, Tia’s jaw dropped a little at the sight before her. When looking down upon an ancient Roman encampment sprawling across the fields of a planet in the year 2400, no amount of data from scans can quite prepare you for that surprise. The small white tents of a primitive camp dotted the hillsides surrounding the city, and several soldiers in traditional Roman garb could be seen. 

“It’s actually Romans.” Jovi couldn’t keep from voicing her disbelief. “How in the hell did they end up here?”

 The obvious shock in Jovi’s voice was not unwarranted to see this was like stepping back into the hourglass of history. Amanda surveyed the area trying to determine just how big the encampment was, but it was not successful. The sheer size of the camp was unimaginable for the time. “However they got here it’s impressive to see such a formation especially of this time.” 

“Well regardless of what may have happened, it seems as though they’re intent on remaining here, and it looks as though they’ve successfully taken over this city,” Tia observed. 

Kra’vaak looked at the situation “Let’s see what that full situation is. These Roman’s are well equipped and from what I can see they have access to some equipment from our time. This could be interesting.”

“Then let’s head on down and see what further intel we can gather. I’d like to determine the size of the force we may be facing, and their relationship with the natives.” After a quick glance around the team to determine they were all on the same page, Tia led the way down the hillside, crouching low to remain hidden in the underbrush. 

                                                                          *******

The infiltration of the Roman encampment and nearby city on Uneta Prime had gone smoothly so far. Kennedy had been able to snag a PADD left out by one of the Romans which would provide valuable intel on their movements and numbers. Tia was just about to wrap up the mission and head back to the Neptune when Kennedy made an announcement from what she had discovered on the PADD.

Amanda had seen something on the PADD that showed this was not the headquarters of the Romans. She got Tia’s attention and pointed to a tall structure outside of the encampment “It looks as though that is the base of operations over there, Commander. I feel we need to look and see if that will yield any results. I caution any approach as this area has to be heavily guarded.”

“Well if that’s become the base of their operations then perhaps we should take a quick look there before we leave.” Tia reasoned aloud as she mulled over the thought. “I’d love to actually lay eyes on the commander of this Roman force.”

Kra’vaak smiled “I like you Commander not afraid to have a little risk for a possible reward. I am ready.” He said clenching his phaser. “If we can find out who this Commander is we may have a better chance to gauge the possibility of peaceful negotiations. I also think a team of two would be better than four to make sure the chances of being caught is less of a possibility.” 

“Agreed.” Tia knew the Klingon was correct, and that a team of two would be far less easy to spot than a team of four. “Lieutenants Kennedy and Kula, head on back to the shuttle and we will meet you there shortly. If you run into any issues on the way back, notify us immediately and we will come to assist. If Kra’vaak and I aren’t back at the shuttle by sixteen hundred, then you leave without us and get that PADD back to the Neptune.”

Kula gave a short nod but Tia sensed that the officer wasn’t too thrilled with being sent back to the shuttle. However, the Bajoran turned to depart without complaint. 

Amanda didn’t like the though of the First Officer going into this mission, but she also knew that it was not her place to say anything. She gave a solitary nod and turned to head back to the shuttle with the medical officer.

The XO turned to her Chief Strategic Officer. “You ready for this?”

Kra’vaak cracked his knuckles and grinned.

Tia was amazed at the agility and stealth that such a large figure as Kra’vaak was able to command. The Klingon was able to follow her as she slid from cover to cover, avoiding detection by the numerous Romans that swarmed the facility. The two were drawing close to the headquarters when suddenly their advance was halted. 

Tia stopped in her tracks and dropped low behind a concealing crate inside a large storage room as she heard shouting and the noise of a scuffle approaching them from a hallway. She waved her arm back and motioned for Kra’vaak to take cover, before training the barrel of her weapon on the opening where the hallway entered into the warehouse. The shouting that ensued from the hallway took no straining of the ears to hear. 

“On your feet, scum! Move it along!”

A Roman emerged from the open doorway, followed by five other soldiers and pushing before him a bound man who looked as though he had just received an intense beating. The Roman in the lead held the man by his shirt collar, shoving him to his knees and producing a short blade from his belt to hold it to the prisoner’s throat. 

“I know you’re here!” The Roman leader shouted brusquely. “We found your flying machine and the scanning contraption showed you were in here!”

Tia swore under her breath. If they had found the shuttle, she could only wonder what type of predicament Kennedy and Kula were currently in. 

The Roman pulled the captive to his feet and circled him around to put him on display. “Give yourself up now, or I will drench the floor with the blood of your spy here.”

Tia’s right brow rose and she glanced over at Kra’vaak. “Spy?” she mouthed to him silently. The Neptune certainly hadn’t sent down another team to gather intel. Who was this prisoner of the Romans’?

To Be Continued…