Ethan stared at Cheon as he went over the information on the PADD. This man seemed to be a scientist, and he hoped that would be enough. Not to mention no one on the Pike were actual scientists either. Dr. Kyo wanted answers? Yeah, well, so did he. Maybe there could be something of an exchange that could be made, and Ethan hoped this sensor data would whet the doctor’s appetite.
Cheon looked over the data on the PADD after having a quick crash course on how it worked. A few ‘hmm’s and ahh’s could be heard coming from Cheon as he continued to absorb the data. He set the PADD on his lap and looked at Ethan. “This is all interesting, but none of it makes sense about how you were found on our planet.”
Ethan was tired of getting nowhere, and Cheon’s seemingly oblivious question was the final straw. “How did I find the planet? How did I find Earth, you mean? The damn planets didn’t move. I know where Earth is. I’m human. I went to Starfleet Academy in this very city! What kind of idiotic question is that? You are dense for someone who is supposed to be running some government research facility.” He stood and slapped his combadge. As expected, it gave the no signal click. He figured they would block communications after his stunt with the PADD. They were a suspicious lot, and to be honest, so was he. Grumbling, he returned to his seat, and in the back of his mind, he was hoping Jolie was solving their problems with a hammer because he felt like busting out a wrecking ball.
Jolie placed a hand on Audren’s forearm. “Don’t take offense to this, my Narlin friend, but you might stick out a lot with your current setup. Plus, I think a small, one or two man, team will be able to remain more stealthy than an entire fire team. But keep yourself and the rest of the team on standby just in case we are discovered and are unable to escape.”
The Hylon scowled at Jolie but nodded, “Of course. Take Kovalev with you. I believe she will be of use.”
She then turned to look at Carolyn, “Miss Crawford, if you wouldn’t mind taking me wrist-sling and adding a passive scanner to it so that I can walk and not look suspicious, that would be great.”
Crawford nodded, quickly accepted the wrist sling, and set it carefully on the engineering console. She knelt down below and found the engineering kit she had stashed there. Quickly she snagged a tricorder from her belt and went to work on taking it apart. The scanning unit’s power level would need adjusting and the programming function as to how it would scan. Regular tricorder scans were targeted at the space that was being scanned or a piece of equipment. She needed to widen the scanning band as well as adjust the power output. Her hands moved with trained precision – she’d done the exercise of taking apart a tricorder to a timed effort and had nearly won every time in class and the field. Now it really mattered.
Finally, she turned to look at Dougal, “Mister MacDonald, if you would follow me to the replicator, we’re going to both need to replicate current timeline clothing to fit in with this timeline’s Starfleet,” she stated as she moved away from the CIC table.
“Aye, lass. I dinae ken what you have planned, but I will do what I can,” Dougal replied.
Carolyn adjusted the power output and checked the programming function of the scanner device. She slipped it carefully into the sling, making sure to hook and secure it so it wouldn’t drop loose. She routed the power to a battery unit that rested hidden within the sling as well. Turning it over to check, she called out to Audren, “Before you head off, the sling should do what you need now.” She showed her the hidden sensor and explained the changes she had made. “It’ll operate at a range and power in order to avoid detection or suspicion. The range will be enough to get a sense of the room you’re in, but that’s it. Any more, and they have a good chance of picking something up, even as primitive they are.”
Audren tucked it into her belt. “Ingenious. Think you could do it for Jolie’s?”
Crawford nodded and quickly went to work on the device with another spare tricorder. This time was quicker, her hands having done this once already. It was a little more challenging ensuring it was hidden, but she managed after three different placements. She handed it back to Audren, “That’ll have to do.”
Approaching Jolie, Audren slid the golden device over her head. “Take this with you just in case.” She pressed the activation button, telescoping arms shot out horizontally on each side, and four fingers grew to form the arms vertically. Once fully deployed, which only took a second, an energy shield closed the gap with a hum and was nearly translucent with auras of gold and blue along the shield parameter. “The power cell will only last about 15 minutes, but if you use it to block phaser fire, it will convert the energy to recharge the battery. Thay doesn’t work with disruptors, but given that you are dealing with humans, I expect they are using phased energy weapons.” She clicked off the shield, and the emitter arms retracted back inside, leaving only a gold disk with a handle a bit smaller than a dinner plate. Handing it to Jolie, “May Narla be with you.”
Jolie took the device from Audren and looked it over. “You sure about this?” She asked as she continued to look at the Narlin in her eyes.
“I would not have loaned it to you otherwise,” Audren replied. “What is it, you humans say? ‘Use it in good health’?”
Mikaela listened to Audren volunteer her for the extraction. ‘Fork!’ she thought to herself as she activated her type-2 phaser and the rifle she had brought with her. Slinging the rifle across her back, she holstered her secondary phaser and then turned to look at the rest of them. “I assume, Jolie, you want me on extraction and exfil?” she asked directly. “And if I am… I’m going to need to blend in. Because wearing a different Starfleet uniform than the one they have is going to be a problem.”
Jolie looked over at Mikaela, “It might be a good idea for you to change, just in case,” she stated as she waited for her wrist-sling to be given back to her.
Carolyn did one more check with a tricorder, scanning both of them carefully, “We’ve done all we can. Good luck down there.”
Mikaela ran final checks with her weapons, making sure both of them had plenty of power and were ready to use at a moment’s notice. “Alright, Mikaela, you’re locked and loaded. Saddle up,” she quietly said to herself, using the same shorthand Kate had used to get the team ready to move out.
Mikaela deftly moved her fingers over the shuttle’s control panel, guiding it swiftly and quietly through the sensor blindspots. On the heads-up display, the distance to the target clicked. “500 kilometers out, about 5 minutes from the target. Start getting ready!” She called out, then double-checked her holster. She was ready, so why did she feel so uneasy? This flight path was too easy. No patrols she had to evade, and nothing to indicate a real opposition. This didn’t sit right with her. Something was off…her intuition didn’t like this situation one bit. “Jolie, would you come up to the flight deck, please?” she announced through the intercom.
Jolie stood up from her seat in the rear of the shuttle and poked her head into the cockpit? “Something the matter?”
Mikaela tapped a few commands, displaying the radar screen on the console next to her. “Here, take a look at the radar screen. What do you see?”
Lifting herself into the cockpit, she took the co-pilot seat and transferred what Mikaela had found or rather not found. Other than the research facility that she had managed to escape from, she didn’t see anything. Suddenly her eye widened. “Where are the ships, and for that matter, where are the troops?”
“Exactly. I’m not sure what’s going on, but this is too easy. Either they don’t recognize the shuttle and stood down their defenses, or we’re flying straight into an ambush. Either way, we’re undetected for now.” Mikaela started tapping commands to prepare the shuttle to land in a desolate space, about 3 km from the compound, in a spot that was well hidden. “We should probably scout before we make our approach.” Mikaela grabbed her rifle and powered it up, as she powered down the shuttle.
Dougal approached the compound, stopping at the edge to lift a pair of sophisticated field glasses to his eyes, bringing the perimeter up close. Numbers indicating the range continually adjusted as he focused on various objects. “It’s quiet, lass,” he said to Jolie. “Too bloody quiet. Your disappearance should have been realized by now.”
Jolie couldn’t shake the feeling that they were being watched even though the area was completely clear. Hell, even the MACOs knew better than to leave an entrance undefended. She looked down at the wrist-sling, and as the next rotation on the passive scan completed and no one but her away team showed up, she had a sudden feeling of dread, but she swallowed it down.
Looking about she turned to face Dougal. Turning her wrist over she activated the wrist-slings holographic and the area was displayed. “What do you think would be an ambush point?” She asked her combat specialist.
Dougal sighed as he switched to thermal imaging mode and slowly scanned the compound. Shaking his head, “I dinae ken lass. There’s bloody 500 meters of manicured lawn between us and the building. Even in ghillie suits, there is no chance of sneaking up to the building. There’s no sentries so I’m certain they have some sort of closed-circuit video. If I was designing the defenses, I would have a series of tunnels to deploy behind invaders not to mention automated defense systems.”
Taking Dougal’s insight she tapped her ComBadge; “Jolie to Pike, Audren.”
“Go ahead Jolie,” Audren’s replied over the communicator.
“Audren can you have the Pike perform a deep scan under the away team’s location. Dougal just brought something to my attention,” she stated as she kept herself alert for any indication of someone having been there.
“Stand-by,” Audren replied.
Carolyn ran her hands across the console, checking to ensure that the scan wouldn’t trigger something below. It was a risk, but it was one that needed taking. She tapped the command into the console. The system kicked the sensors into action as Crawford watched the results come in slow at first and then a picture formed in short order. She pulled all the data together in a format that Jolie would be able to receive and quickly sent it on its way.
Inside Research Facility
Aimee had seen that look. She had seen it in her own expression. The look of a scientist who finally wrapped their head around a problem and understands a situation. The question was, did Cheon have a solution? Standing she approached the man, “You know what’s going on don’t you?”
Cheon looked at Aimee for a moment and then turned to walk away, “Doctor if you would follow me,” he said to Aimee
Aimee glanced at Ethan who gave her an encouraging nod. Whatever Joile was up to both Ethan and Aimee were sure that that would come to a head shortly. She followed Cheon with her hands clasped behind her back and a scientist’s expression of curiosity.
He stopped near a corner away from the rest of the group. “I do, but if I am correct, your answer will lie here.” He held up the PADD and it showed this timeline’s star chart. A single star was ringed by a pulsing icon. “It’s the Klingon’s last planet, Qo’nos,” he stated in a near hushed voice.
“Qo’nos?” Aimee exclaimed. “How does that get us home? Is there some sort of rift there?”
Cheon shrugged, “I am not sure but we detected another anomalous signature near the Klingon’s and found this,” He turned the PADD to show the USS Heracles.
Aimee considered Cheon for a moment. “I would surmise that the same sort of interdimensional instability is present at that location. I think I can modify the deflector dish to emit an inverse tachyon beam to open a rift for us to go through. I will have to tune the frequency to our realitie’s quantum signature, but I don’t think anything on the Pike is precise enough. Unfortunately this isn’t my area of expertise, but I have been reading up on similar events. I love my crewmates, but I’m the only one with a science background, and I do need your help.”
“You need to find your missing crewman and get out of here,” he stated as he looked at Aimee with the knowledge that he know that Jolie had escaped the complex.
Aimee shrugged, “That’s hardly a state secret. It doesn’t take that long to use the restroom. Don’t worry, she won’t be wayward for long. She’s either going bust through that door at any minute, or when we get back to the ship, we beam her back.”
“I hope it is the latter of the two,” he says as he looks over at Vausees and Jonas. “They may give off a tough-guy presence, but in general they both are teddy bears.”
“Then we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Can you lower whatever it is that’s interfering with comms?” Aimee asked hoping she had established a rapport with the man.
Cheon looked at Aimee with a confused look on his face. “What interference?”