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Part of USS Crazy Horse: Blood For Blood and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

What Goes Bump in The Night

Eden Dilithium Mines
November 26, 2400
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Crewman Charles Green set his pick down to rest his back.  He had never worked this hard in his life.  His hands were blistered, his back hurt.  This was definitely not what he expected life in Starfleet would be like.  Now, they have them out here in the mines hours before the sun rose.

“I didn’t sign up for this,” Green complained. 

“Quit your complaining,” one of his fellow crewmembers grumbled at him.  Crewman Tamara Williams was a petite young woman. Because of her size she was often sent into the Jefferies Tubes or other compact spaces, which she never complained about.  

It was her positive attitude that had lead to her being promoted over Green twice, and she was on the verge of making Petty Officer.   Green hated her for that.  Williams didn’t give Green much thought unless she was on a work detail with him and had to listen to him complain.

“I wasn’t asking you Williams,” Green retorted and threw down the pick and turned heading towards the darkness.

“Where are you going Green?” Tamara demanded.

“I’m taking a piss!  Can I do that in private or do you need to hold it and tell me everything I’m doing is wrong?”

Tamara smirked inwardly,  “No, I don’t think that particular level of incompetence requires my attention.  Just get back here.  I want to get this vein cut before daylight so we can avoid the heat.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Green replied. He added something else completely inaudible under his breath as well, but the look on Tamara’s face clearly demonstrated she knew what he had said.

Screw her. She thinks she’s God’s gift to the engineering department, he thought to himself angrily. 

He stumbled his way in the dark a couple hundred feet away.  Standing behind a boulder the size of a shuttle he unzipped his fly and relieved himself.   Zipping himself back up he stared up at the night sky. The stars twinkled brightly , and he longed to be up there and not in this hell.  “I’m an engineer,  not a damn miner!” He snarled towards the heavens.

A clutter of stone drew his attention behind him.  “Jesus Christ Williams! You can’t even leave a man alone long enough to pee in peace!”

The figure said nothing,  and Green could just make out the black curve of head and shoulder silhouetted againstthe night sky. It wasn’t Williams.  Whoever it was stood at about his own 1.9 meters and 90 kilograms.

“Who is it?” Green demanded. “Shakrath is that you?”

The figure simply raised a weapon and fired.  Green never even had a chance to scream out. Fear had left him paralyzed. There’s someone else on this planet, was the last thing he thought as the darkness enveloped him.

-*-*-*-*-*-

Captain Órlaith Murphy stood with her officers around her.  The suns were up and her fair complexion had already turned red with sunburn. The rocky spot wasn’t far from the mine.

Diego carefully walked the edge of the area scanning it with his tricorder.   Green’s combadge was there right in the sand less than a meter where he has relieved himself. Other than that there was no sign of the Crewman. 

“He got into an argument with Crewman Williams,  and she is the last person to see him,” Torin said to Órlaith. 

“You think she did something?” The captain asked suspicion in her voice.

“No, she has a fairly solid alibi,” Washington added. “She was lodging a formal complaint with me.”

“Captain, Commander I found something,” Diego announced. 

The two senior officers moved next to Diego as he pointed at a foot print in the sand. “That’s the same individual I found scouting us out.  See how the sand divits deeper out the outside edge of his foot?  This guy has quite the disability.   Walking would be awkward and possibly even painful.”

“So definitely not one of ours?” Órlaith asked.

Diego shook his head, “I would guess not.”

“Which way did they go?” Torin asked looking around.

“I only see track coming in, but I don’t see any moving out,” Diego replied. 

“I may have an explanation,” Marcus replied adjusting the scanning frequencies on his tricorder.  “According to this I am reading a transporter signal of unknown origin, but it has a Ferengi look to the pattern.”

“Ferengi!” Torin exclaimed.   “Why would they kidnap someone?”

“I don’t think it is actually Ferengi, ” Marcus replied.  “Ever since the Barzan Wormhole opened Ferengi profiteers have come to the Delta Quadrant and sold Alpha Quadrant technology en masse.”

“So we don’t have a clue who it is?” Torin replied feeling helpless.

Marcus shook his head, “I’m afraid not.”

“It’s a short range type,” Garza observed. “That means they either beamed elsewhere on the planet or in orbit.”

“And no one has cloaking technology in the Delta Quadrant,” Órlaith observed. 

“That we know of at least,” Torin added, “Which means they are probably still on the planet somewhere.”

“A reasonable conclusion.   The signature should dissipate quickly,  but we might be able to find something within the next three to four hours unless a scrambler is used,” Marcus replied.

Órlaith nodded, “I’ll return to the ship and dispatch shuttles. This is going to be like a needle in a haystack,  but right now it’s our only lead.  Commander I’ll leave things down here for you.”

“Aye captain.”

Órlaith tapped her combadge,  “Murphy to Crazy Horse;  one to beam up.”  A second later the captain was wisked away into a transporter beam.

Torin turned to Garza, “We need to increase security patrols.  I don’t care where you have to beg, borrow, or steal from to get it done.  Science is mostly sitting idle get them a phaser and get them down here.  Nobody wanders off alone.”

“Aye sir,” Garza replied and trotted off the carried out his orders. 

Torin followed at a slower pace with Washington at his side, “Anything I should know about the complaint levied against Crewman Green?”

There was a long silence as Washington considered the question,  “He may have called Crewman Williams a name.  We will handle it within the department if we find him alive sir.”

Torin nodded, “Which is seemingly less likely.”  

There seemed like Torin had more to say, but whatever it was he kept it to himself. Washington wondered if was the same guilt he was feeling.   No officer likes to lose a crewmember,  but if you had to choose one to lose,  Green would have been at the top of his list.

Sighing Torin patted Washington on the shoulder,  “Call it a day Marcus.  Let’s get everyone back to town.  Make sure your people keep to groups and to have phasers on them at all times.  We’ll take tomorrow off too. Hopefully we’ll have a lead by then and can determine if it’s safe or not.”

“Understood Commander.”

Torin nodded and left Washington to carry out his orders.

Comments

  • Well Green and Williams had a pickle about the working conditions only for Green to get shot in the back. Poor Green, hope he is still alive, but as Torin said....most likely not. And of course the Ferengi would sell tech in Delta Qudrant to get a profit, it is such a low action it is just expected from them lol. A wonderful chapter, love the mystery in it!

    January 6, 2023