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Part of USS Jaxartes: Deep Six

Part 7: Run Silent Run Deep

Y'Teck V
14th February 2401 21:05
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Back on the island, Bolka and Hoydock, where busy working on boosting the signal of the MRT Atragons’ communication system.  It made no sense that everything had been working perfectly, up until may be four or five hours ago.  Now there was nothing.  It was like any signal was being blocked, but by what and where from.  The whole planet was devoid of anything other than marine and amphibious life; also had there been anything in orbit, surely the Jaxartes would have spotted it.

“Give that a go.” The Benzite called from underneath the computer console he was working on.

Bolka gave the communicator another try. “No, still nothing. Sorry.” Then she heard something very faint.  “What did you do right then?”

“Nothing, why?” Came the reply from below her.

“There was something and then it was gone.”

The Benzite spent the next several minutes going over every little action he’d just done.  Every wire touched, every capacitor or chip setting altered.  Then it happened.  The clear voice of one, Ensign Cho Hwa-yeon the USS Jaxartes communications office.

“Jaxartes to away team, this is a recorded message communications being blocked.  On route to emergency on board freighter Soufrière. Time 17:33.”

“NO!” She shouted at the control panel in front of her. “You stupid, stupid idiot!”

Hoydock came up off the floor, a look as concern on his face. “What is wrong Lieutenant?”

“Our Chief Engineer is heading straight for a trap.”

“How do you know?”

“The Soufrière was lost sometime late last year!” The Lieutenant walked over to her Tricorder and compared its inbuilt timer synchronised with the ship before the mission to that given on the message. “And they left orbit three and a half hours ago.”

“Shouldn’t your Chief be aware of such things?”

“Yes, if he kept up to date with reports.” The Lieutenant slumped down into the nearest chair. “This is going to go down very badly!”

_____

21:30

The Sea Quest was back once more following her carefully calculated grid search.  Another section was already marked off and the next was now partly done. An object appeared on the scope; something much higher than the surrounding sea floor.  They’d already had one false alarm. This time though things seemed a little more promising.  Lei the Trill pilot cautiously turned the submarine on to a heading straight for the mass the sonar was reflecting off.

Everyone waited in silence, some of them learning forward in their seats as if somehow hoping that would make a difference to how far they could see.  But the darkness was slow to give up her secrets.  The first thing that crept into view was the port nacelle of a Danube class Runabout; partly covered in a layer of sand kicked up from the ocean floor when it finally came to rest. The name USS Alberga could still be made out, along with its registration number NCC 72473.  There looked to be little damage to the craft from this angle so Lei edged slowly around to the front of the runabout.  There the front bulkhead was partly crushed along the front underside, an indication of a hard impact, either from hitting the surface of the water or hitting the sea bed.  Despite everything being intact though, they could not see anything through the forward view ports.

“Can you scan inside?” Salan asked.

Joshua worked his fingers over the controls of the co-pilots position having taken back his usual seat in the sub.  “No life signs detected. I’m afraid.” Was his answer after a few minutes. “Indication of a possible body though.”

“Just one?” Lyanna was the first to ask.

“Confirmed, one Vashra male.”  The Betazoid announced.  This meant the other Vashra along with the Andorian and Tellarite crew members were all missing, just as Chancellor Kreen had said during his final message.

“Are we in a position to retrieve the body?” The Vulcan asked. “Plus the information within the ships data recorder. It may give use the information we require to solve this incident.”

“Give me a couple of minute’s commander and I will see about landing on top of the runabout.  ” Rahs replied. “Then we’ll have to cut our way in and retrieve the body and copy what data we can from the ships log.”

Her train of thought was broken by the sudden appearance of two small blips on the sonar scan above them and off to the east.  Both appeared cylindrical in shape roughly six metres long and travelling fast.  Then the pinging sound started.

Jason who had studied Earth History and in part some of its twentieth century conflicts, felt the sound belonged to something somehow familiar, somehow dangerous.  He leaned forward looking at the screen. “Oh you are kidding me!  Get us out of here quick!”

Lei turned and was about to ask why. But he simple jumped into the gap between the two pilots and engaged full forward thrust. Still bewildered and looking for an explanation the Trill both heard and felt the detonation of two torpedoes striking the Runabout. The shock wave as the USS Alberga was ripped apart tipped the Sea Quest forward flinging Jason headlong cracking his skull against the forward window.   He landed in a half sitting position sprawled on the deck. “Get us deep, find anything to hide us!”

“I’ll try getting us to that trench we pasted about 5 minutes ago!” The Trill pilot turned the sub in as tight a circle as the rudders would allow, then increased the speed to maximum. By this point the Japanese captain had passed Ensign Stuart the medical kit and she was checking Devron over. After a quick scan she tapped him on the left shoulder and smiled. “You’ll live.”

“Do you think who ever fired those things was trying to kill us?” Hachiro asked feeling more worried than he probably ever had.

Once Jason was back in his seat he replied to the question. “Those torpedoes where guided, in my opinion once they located the Runabout; they locked on a struck their intended target.

Salan nodded in agreement “I agree with Mr Devrons’ assessment on the matter.”

“We’ve got company!” Lei shouted. “This one’s just over twice the size of those torpedo things, and not moving half as fast.”

Lyanna leaned forward getting a better look at the image on the scope. “That thing is trying to track us down. Once you get in that trench, shut everything off, like we did with that creature.”

Rahs managed to get the sub over the edge and down into the deep trench before the mysterious object had picked up on their location.  But it was close, very close, and getting nearer with every passing moment. Seconds past then minutes, however the small craft turned away and continued its search back in the other direction.

The silence was broken a minute or so later, by a bleeping sound, made to appear much louder by the absence of any other noise barring the breathing of the six occupants of the submarine.  Ensign Stuart quickly cancelled her alarm; telling her it was time to take her medication. Eyes both turning towards her and the screen for fear that somehow their pursuer had heard it and was even now swinging around towards the sea Quest’s position.  There was a visible sense of relief when the other craft continued along its current course.

Lyanna retrieved one of her tablets and swallowed with the help of a small bottle of water Hachiro passed to her. “Thanks” she whispered.