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Part of USS Al-Batani: 001 – Uncertainty at Alim and Roosevelt Station: 001 – The Hunt

11: Trial by Fire

Betazoid Colony Ship Muse of Ravens - Lower Decks
2383
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Content Warning: Death of a child.


Eden couldn’t feel the Breen. Under any other circumstance, that was the hardest part of fighting them.

Under any other circumstance, she did not have the fear of three hundred civilians, nearly half of them children, pressing against her mind, trying to force its way in and steal her strength.

The Muse of Ravens was bound for the Sanctuary colony when it had fallen under attack by Breen raiders, and somehow managed to survive until help arrived. Sovereign was fighting the raiders outside the ship, but they’d already boarded. The Hazard Team was sent aboard to keep the colonists safe.

Most of the team was in the hold with them, but a few pairs were sent to sweep the ship. Eden and Petty Officer Tracey Browning were one of those pairs.

“Hazard One to Hazard Nine,” came a voice in Eden’s earpiece. “Report.”

“Nine,” Eden whispered just loudly enough for the earpiece to pick it up. “We’re on deck three, aft section. About to move to deck 2. Nothing…” A sound from a side corridor. “Hold, One.” She lifted a hand, then gestured. Browning nodded.

Two weeks of intense training and one operation together, and Eden and Browning were already a well-oiled machine. The part of Eden’s mind not occupied with holding back the terror of the colonists or keeping aware of where a Breen might strike from idly wondered how people functioned without Starfleet discipline.

She reached the corner, and Browning carefully drew her tricorder. It was set to silent, scanning without a sound, and Browning nodded before holding up three fingers. In tight spaces, Eden’s marksmanship meant less than it did when she had a proper perch and space to work, but Browning was as good a spotter with a tricorder as with her eyes.

Eden hazarded a glance down the hall without breaking cover. She could see two of the Breen at a door. There was someone behind that door… someone terrified. Someone…

The emotions erupted with pain before vanishing, and Eden went cold. The door opened, and the third Breen stepped out. With Sovereign fighting their ships, they had moved on from kidnapping. Now, they killed.

All Breen saw humanoids as animals to be tamed, but Thanget’s held to the idea that those who could not be tamed – because of temperment or circumstance – should be put down.

All three targets visible, Eden raised her rifle and stepped into the corridor. Aim. Squeeze. One Breen fell, a hole blasted through his armor, rancid methane erupting from that hole. The others turned, raising their weapons. Aim. Squeeze. Eden’s finger tightened on the trigger of her rifle, and the second Breen fell. The third fired, and she ducked around the corner, on the opposite side from Browning. The surviving Breen ducked into the room where his fallen companion had just done murder.

Browning looked to Eden for orders, and Eden considered a moment. If the only problem was this one Breen, they could wait him out, force him to come to them… but he was almost certainly calling for backup, which meant the rest of the Breen would know her position. They can’t know, can’t find us, we’ll die, we’ll all… Eden pushed the fear away. It was not her own.

She held too much fury to have room for fear.

She held her hand up. Hold. Then touched her chest where her commbadge would be if she wasn’t on a Hazard operation. Contact Hazard One. Then she moved forward, to the door the Breen had vanished behind.

She touched the panel beside it, and it opened. A blast of green shot through it immediately, and Eden held just a moment. Then she drew a disc from her belt, slid it into the room. A muffled explosion accompanied a flash of light – one that would be far brighter in the Breen visible spectrum than in her own – and she stepped through.

The Breen visor took less than a second to adjust to bursts of intense infrared light and reset to allow its wearer to see clearly again. It was more than enough time. Eden fired, and the Breen stumbled back a step before a soft pop sound indicated the failure of the refrigeration system in his armor and the inrush of room temperature air. His frozen methane bones were sublimating.

Eden ignored the fallen Breen. “Hazard Nine to Hazard One. Sweep complete. Expect Breen converging on my location. Going to move to a better spot.”

“Three and Four are on their way,” Hazard One replied. “Meet them at junction C.”

Eden nodded, turned to go. As she turned, she saw the person the Breen killed before she got there. Had killed because she was too late.

Terror on a face made for joy. In her arms, the child clung to a stuffed toy in grey and red. Along the nacelle of the soft toy, a small bit of text in the Latin alphabet caught Eden’s eye.

NCC-1701.

This girl had waited for Starfleet to save her.

 


 

2401

Eden shook herself out of her memories, taking a few deep breaths. It was time to put the past aside and prepare for the future. “Ensign Walton to my ready room.”