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Part of SS Vondem Rose: Jailhouse Rock and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Jailhouse Rock – 14

Depot 816
Late November 2400
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“Why can’t anything ever go according to plan?” Deidrick shouted as he and four others were hunkered down behind a barricade, pinned in place by a continuous stream of particle weapons fire from a dozen Devore soldiers no more than ten meters away.

Soldiers with way better firing positions.

Almost like a prison was designed to resist prison riots or armed assaults.

“Because then life would be borrowing,” the young man beside him said. Hendricks was fresh-faced but wasn’t a fool, having spent some time with Starfleet Auxiliary before opting for a life in the grey areas of the law. “Besides, Mel should be circling around in a moment, we just need to keep these guys looking at us, not checking their rear.”

That was in its simplest form the actual plan, but the happy day plan was just to waltz in, find the Devore willing to surrender, do what they came to do and waltz out. Unfortunately, that plan never came to be, so Plan A it was – multi-pronged rapid assault through the prison, sweeping and clearing choke points.

With a sigh of inevitability, Deidrick checked his phaser’s charge level once more, simply out of habit more than a real need, then popped up briefly to take a handful of shots before dropping back down once the fire shifted from the other two back to Hendricks and himself. “Mel should have hit them from behind by now, what’s the hold-up?”

“Beats me, but what can we do?”

While Deidrick and his people had split off into groups throughout the prison, all with objectives or coordinated plans of attack as they weaved through the prison sowing chaos, Sidda and Orin were moving with a dedicated purpose in a direction away from the administrative tower that dominated the southern wall of the prison. They’d stop, consult a tricorder, proceed some more, occasionally ambushing a couple of soldiers busily making preparations to fight off a massed attack. They said nothing but moved with haste at least till they got to a single cell block door.

It was sealed, power cut to the controls and after a quick try deemed too heavy to try and force.

“They’re right on the other side of that door,” Sidda growled, pacing back and forth as she pondered her options. “Right there!” she shouted.

With an audible sigh to get her attention, which failed, Orin reached out to spin Sidda to face him, then shoved his tricorder into her hands to free his. ‘Air vents,’ he signed, then pointed to the sword on her hip. ‘Covers are hardened against most weapons.’

“You want me to crawl through the air vents?” she asked, then shoved the tricorder back at him without even looking at it. “I’d be asking to get shot!”

Orin’s eye roll could have been heard a lightyear away as he pointed to the rebreather on his face, covering his nose and mouth, then at the satchel at Sidda’s side. ‘Get in the air vent, give it a minute, then move.’ He looked at her seriously for a moment, before signing a single word that caused Sidda to sigh with dramatic exasperation.

“Don’t you fucking start calling me that,” she warned him, then looked up for the nearest air vent, then corrected another with Orin’s guidance. “Need a boost,” she added and was dutifully given one to first get the needed reach to cut through the grills on the vent with the sword before she grumbled as she slithered into the vent, sword leading the way.

“I need a knife,” she muttered as she crawled awkwardly through the confined space, pushing the sword before her and careful how she moved thanks to the disruptor on her hip and the satchel now occupying a weird space between her back and the ducting’s ceiling.

“Dammit Mel, where are you?” Deidrick shouted as he dropped back behind the cover again. Hendricks was there beside him but the man had effectively been side-lined when one of the Devore had managed to shoot him in the arm, the only saving grace being they’d missed any arteries and everyone was at least somewhat first aid trained.

“She’s on her way,” Hendricks replied, looking a little pale, the sleeve of his shirt more stained in red than before. “Got held up she said.”

“We’ve been here too long,” Deidrick argued.

“No argument there,” Hendricks answered. “Shit, left!” he suddenly exclaimed and Deidrick swore as two Devore soldiers came at them from down the corridor that they had used to get here.

A hasty shot sailed right between the two black uniformed and generally unpleasant looking individuals, neither the Rose assault team them having any cover, but Deidrick was the only one firing at them. His second shot wasn’t much better.

One shot from them just about took off his ear, slamming into the barricade he was hiding in behind from the dug-in defenders. Another went right over his head; the Devore mistimed the shot as he ran and it sailed high. The defenders could see their fellows approaching as all their fire seemed to switch to the other piece of cover that Deidrick’s people were using, leaving him with two brutes.

Both he and the flankers had time for another shot before they closed into melee with him. He got one, his phaser set to the highest stun setting the old 2360s type-3 phasers went to, taking the attacker in the torso and imparting a spin to the man as he went limp and slammed into the ground. The other attacker had fired and he spun his shoulder out of the way but himself right into the butt of the rifle as the man closed on him.

What should have been a quick fight turned into a series of brutal blows as weapons were turned into cudgels, each man capable of taking a beating and dishing it out. A fight that Deidrick would swear went on for ages but was in reality only a handful of blows ended with him knocked to the ground, his weapon scattering across the floor as the Devore’s sub-nosed rifle was aimed right at him, the man’s sneer perhaps the more frightening thing though.

“Gaharey scum,” the Devore brute drawled. He opened his mouth to say something else but took a high-pitched phaser blast right to the face. There was no time to get out of the way of the man as he dropped on Deidrick, dead or unconscious he couldn’t rightly tell.

There was no more weapons fire, just a handful of shouts. “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!”


“Took you long enough.”

“Medic!” Deidrick managed to shout out as he rolled the Devore off of himself before taking an offered hand to get to his feet and then accepting his phaser from a sheepish Mel and her team as they came from the direction of the checkpoint his people had been holding. “Hendricks needs evac.”

“Fuck that,” the injured man said. “I’m good coach, put me back in.”

“Out, now,” Deidrick said, then rubbed the back of his hand under his nose. It was purely a subconscious reflex, looking at the back of his hand and the slight smear of blood there. He must have looked a treat. Then it hit him – where was his mask? He hadn’t even started to scramble before Mel was offering him a fresh one.

“Sorry we’re late, got held up helping dig Klec’s team out of trouble. We’ve got the whole sector now so no surprises behind us.”

He nodded, then offered a proper nod to Hendricks and one of the others who was helping the man back the way they came to a staging point they’d already declared as a fallback. “Path to environmental controls?”

“Only three more checkpoints between here and there,” Mel said. “And the Devore have been kind to us.” With that two of her people showed off the bandoliers they now sported with a trio of spherical objects each. “Should we give them back their grenades boss?”

“Yeah, let’s go do that.”

“I’m telling you Jasec, there’s only one of them left out there, we can pop the door and take him.”

“And I’m telling you we have orders to stay put Helvin, so stay put we do, you understand me?”

There were three of them guarding this side of Cellblock 9’s door. Jasec, Helvin and Krell weren’t exactly the elite of the Imperium. They weren’t even the run-of-the-mill as evidenced by their being prison guards, but they had their duty and they’d do it. But right now, as far as Krell was concerned, both Jasec and Helvin were acting like a pair of macho idiots, intent on proving something.

Helvin wanted to march out there and take out the one gaharey they could see on cameras that were still there, waiting for something to happen or someone to arrive. Jasec was against the idea, increasingly violently so, intent to do his duty, to be an upstanding soldier of the Imperium and all it stood for.

And as for Krell, she was getting sick of their behaviour. It was like the schoolyard all over again with two boys trying to prove to each other who was the better.

“Boys, can you please stop with the display of who’s better than who so we can do our damn jobs?” Krell said, her tone edging towards irritability now as well.

“Listen here, Private,” Jasec said, “I’m in charge here, I give the orders.” He then turned on Helvin. “And we are staying right here.”

“Oh, enough of this,” Helvin said as he went for the open power box beside the doors. “I’m going to get in on the action. Kill me some gaharey invaders.”

“Stand down private!” Jasec shouted and moved on the other man. A hand on a shoulder was met with a punch, which was responded to accordingly and soon enough both men were at each other. A few punches, and a couple of kicks and both men were wrestling on the floor so quick that Krell had barely gotten to her feet to break them up when an air vent clattered to the floor behind her and a green-skinned gaharey dropped to her feet from above, a sword, an actual sword in one hand, a vicious looking sidearm in her other.

The woman’s skin was sweat-slicked and her hair was matted to her brow and the sides of her face as she levelled the weapon on Krell, a mere moment having been spent to assess Jasec and Helvin and dismissing them. “Men, am I right?” the alien woman said. “How about you be a dear for me and stun both of them?”

“How did you,” she started to ask, before her vision filled with a bright green bolt that hit her in the chest. Pain wracked her body and she dropped to the ground, clutching at her chest as the gaharey woman walked up to her. She reached out one hand, unable to form words.

And was met with that sword tip and a gentle shushing sound from the woman. “Better than you people deserve,” the woman said as she then withdrew the blade and stepped past her. And as Krell lay there dying, the last things she heard were two screams of sharp pain from Jasec and Helvin before the grinding sound of the door they’d been tasked with guarding.

“You hear that Cap?” Matt Horne asked as both he and Gaeda Ruiz took note of the noises reverberating through the structure of the prison they’d called their unwilling residence for over a month now.

They’d both noted the thump nearly ten minutes ago that had driven through the entire complex. A single heavy bass note that they’d never noted here. That it had been nearly twenty minutes after the prison went into lockdown had meant only one thing to both men – an explosion.

But the latest noise they heard had been something entirely different. Something rather familiar.

“That Mr Horne was a Mark 38 Klingon disruptor pistol,” Gaeda replied. “Specifically, one with a dodgy compression coil.”

“You can hear a bad compression coil?” Matt queried.

“You have some idiot fire that thing off multiple times next to your ear and tell me you can’t recognise it.”

“Wait… you’re not hearing the compression coil, you’re hearing a specific weapon.” Then it clicked for Matt. “Oh fuck, they got your message.”

“And if you ever tell Sidda I called her an idiot, I’ll tell her this whole thing was your idea,” Gaeda threatened with a smile.

Both men were wearing drab red jumpsuits, to better stand out against the vegetation should they try and flee while working the farms. They were also both looking a lot more ragged than they had over a month ago, having endured physical labour, poor food, worse medical care and psychological oppression bordering on sadistic. In other words, a forced labour prison camp. But they’d never given up hope once Gaeda had informed his crew of his failsafe message. They knew help was on the way.

That weapon fire echoed through the cellblock a few more times, accompanied by Devore weapons and another heavier-sounding disruptor before all went silent. Within two minutes Gaeda and Matt were staring through the centimetres thick transparent aluminium cell door at the most magnificent thing either of them had seen in months – Sidda and Orin.

The cell door was opened and before either man could say anything Orin had thrown them each a rebreather mask and jabbed a finger at his own. The hint was taken and they both popped the masks on straight away without complaint, though both had noted Sidda’s distinct lack of a mask.

“Sorry Boss,” Gaeda finally said after he was happy the mask had sealed. “Lost the Thorn.”

“I saw,” Sidda replied. She looked terrible to his eyes – wired yet tired. Sweaty, a touch twitchy, but with a slump of exhaustion to her. And it didn’t help she reached into a satchel, pulled out a hypo and dosed herself. “Couldn’t be helped.”

“Least I denied them a cloaking device,” he said.

“Thank the goddesses for that,” Sidda muttered, then turned to look over the railing of their floor at the rest of the cell block. “Trid and Telin in here?”

“Telin’s up a floor, Trid is on the other side, right there,” Gaeda said as he stepped up, pointing at a cell almost directly opposite. “Just busting us out?”

“Busting everyone out,” Sidda said, then turned on her friend and threw her arms around him in a hug. “Fuck I’m glad you’re alive.”

“Would have been a shitty rescue if I wasn’t,” he answered.

The hug only lasted a moment before Sidda turned him loose and took both Gaeda and Matt in. “Don’t like that red on either of you,” she commented. “Don’t take those masks off unless you want to be fighting each other over me.” Then she reached down and unholstered her disruptor, offering it to Gaeda.

“Shall we?”

He took the weapon, immediately dialled down the settings on it, checked the powerpack and smiled as it whined happily in his hands.

“Oh, I’ve got a complaint to lay with management. Turndown service here sucks.”