Part of USS Denver: Mission 4: Can’t Come Home Again Part: 2 and USS Denver: Mission 4: Can’t Come Home Again

Milwaukee

Milwaukee, WI
April 16, 2374 07:00
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Little had changed in Milwaukee,  Wisconsin, since Rebecca had last been there.  It was just another typical Midwest city,  even centuries removed from the collapse of American heavy industry, the city still had that “rust belt” feel about it.

Doctor Tess Ryder’s house was a well-cared-for three-story red brick house built in the 1880s in the typical Queen Anne style of the era.  Around the parameter of the home was a porch and awning supported by carved wooden doric columns painted white and a two-story turret attached to the right corner. 

“Pete, is the tricorder picking anything unusual up?”

Crawford adjusted his light jacket as he took a look around the block.  He’d never been a fan of cities, and this one wasn’t changing his mind.  He slipped out his tricorder and did his usual surface scan.  “Nothing significant.  Some mild readings that could use some deeper inspection, but nothing that screams and shouts, ‘This is what happened here’.  If only it were that easy.”

Rebecca had her own tricorder out, scanning the area. “I’m reading a trace transporter signal.”

Crawford adjusted his tricorder and mused, “Now that is interesting.  Faint enough to hide beneath the ambient data but not enough to be hidden from view.  Someone’s either sloppy or stupid…or didn’t think anyone qualified would look into this.”

“I wonder if the neighbors saw anything,” Rebecca said, thinking out loud, scanning one house to the next.

Peter looked up at the house, “God, I hope they were sloppy or stupid – would make it really easy for a neighbor to give us something to go on.”  He walked up the stairs to the door, scanning as he contemplated, “The signal came from inside the house.  Whoever took her…they got inside.”

“What kind of signal?” Rebecca asked.

Crawford continued to scan, “Toss me the key.  We’re gonna need to get inside.”

“Key?  Oh, the entry code. 41556.”

Peter opened the door and cautiously stepped into the room, scanning as he walked, “Strongest in the living room.”

“I assume it’s a transporter signature. Can you tell by whom?”

The operations chief knelt down as he scanned the carpet fibers, “It’s a…” he frowned, “It’s not a Federation transporter exactly….”  He scanned with the tricorder once more before opening up his engineering equipment bag and pulling out a portable sensor pack, and activating it, “There we go…now we just connect that here…and…”, there was a beep and a whir as the sensor unit kicked into action, filling his PADD screen with more data.  “Well, they’re not stupid.”  He handed the still-scrolling PADD to his CO.  “They used a…what can only be described as a transporter signal encrypter…but instead of encrypting it…it makes it harder to decode the identifying origin or equipment.  Not impossible…but a bit more challenging than normal.”

“Who has that ability? Dominion? But, why a young girl and not an Admiral or even the president?” The Security Chief said, slowly scanning the room and looking for oddities.  “No sign of a struggle. Almost like the girl knew the abductor… or thought she did.”

Peter agreed as he hooked up to the door security, “The code was entered on April 14th.”  He did a data dump of the door and removed the connection, looking around the room, “No cameras in the house, so no help there.”  He returned to the door and glanced upwards, “No cameras here either.  But…,” he looked across the way and quickly scanned the homes on the other side of the street, “That one has one.”  He took off running.

“Lieutenant!” Rebecca exclaimed watching Peter trot off. Looking at Lieutenant Willis she shrugged,  “Secure the house.  We’ll be back.”

Lt. Alexander Willis was a tall slightly built Native American from the Choctaws in southeastern Oklahoma.  He wasn’t one to get excited and he simply nodded to Rebecca as she took off after her operations chief.

He arrived on the doorstep and gave the camera a once over, “Pretty good camera.  Let’s see.”  He tapped at the door chime, and soon an elderly man opened the door and gave Crawford an odd look.

“What do you want?”

Peter gestured over his shoulder at the house across the street.  “We’re working on a missing person’s case for a friend.  Local police are calling it a runaway.  We’re working a different angle.”  The man peered at him for a moment and then shuffled off back into the house.  Crawford frowned.

“What does that mean?” Rebecca asked having walked up at the tail end of the conversation. 

He shrugged as he turned to her, “Well, he didn’t invite us in, so…,” Crawford glanced up as the man returned, a chip in his hand.

“I heard about it.  Nobody asked me for the footage.  You asked.  You get first dibs.  Find that girl, sir.  She should be back home.”  With a gruff “Bye,” he shut the door, leaving Crawford blinking at the wood.  He slipped the chip into his PADD and held it out for Talon.

“Let’s see.  April 14th…time code…here we go.”

The camera was at an angle where you couldn’t see faces clearly.  A teenage girl came walking down the path with her arms full of something.   “That must be Angel.”

Crawford watched and frowned.  Something was unusual, he wasn’t sure what.

Two figures,  a man and a woman,  approached the gate.  Rebecca couldn’t make out their faces, but there was something familiar about them, and Angel definitely acted like she knew them.

“Well, we know they didn’t force their way into the house.” They continued watching for several minutes,  but nobody exited.  “Damn. I was hoping they would walk out. We could have gotten a clear shot of their faces. We should head back to the ship and analyze the data.”

Peter gave a nod, “We could also do some tracking of the transporter signal and examine the signal itself.”

“Maybe Lieutenant Nalam or Commander Kyo can create a reasonable reconstruction of the data using the profile of our suspects,” Rebecca added. “Is there anything else for us to find here?” She asked, slowly scanning the neighborhood for anything that looked out of place.

Crawford shook his head, “We’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel several times over.  Nothing left but the dust.”

“Then let’s head back to the ship.”  Tapping her combadge she spoke, “Talon to Denver three to beam up.”