A couple of hand lights flicked on and Melody hissed, motioning for people to shut them off. After a moment of confusion, the lights were turned off. She tapped the scope of her gun in the dim light still filtering in from the drainage grate then slid the targeting mode back until her scope glowed faintly green: Night vision. Melody peered down the corridor. She couldn’t see much in the dim light. It wasn’t completely dark, but the lights were dim and few and far between. She lifted her rifle and looked for and flickering movement through the scope. She saw nothing, but didn’t know if she’d even be able to detect the flicker motion of the Jem’hadar through the night vision filter anyway. She sighed and shook her head. No time for what if’s now.
“Kutav, Gates, take the rear with Juarez. Stanil, Kartyk, you’re taking point with me, the rest of you fall in,” She said, whispering as loudly as she dared over the sound of the water. “Get out of the water as soon as you can so we make less noise,” She said, motioning everyone to move toward the service platforms in front of them.
She hoisted herself up onto the nearest one, moving forward into the darkness, crouched down low . She heard the sounds of others coming out of the water behind her. It wasn’t long before the sounds of the drainage reservoir faded and they were left with the light sound of flowing water and dripping pipes. He stared down the scope of her phase rifle like a lifeline, feeling like the darkness of the tunnel was laying on her like a cloying shroud.
French slid in beside Melody and squeezed her shoulder, “I’m not sure if the light in this tunnel is a blessing or a curse. The schematics that Blake is showing me says there’s a junction box… Do you want it completely dark in here?” The other woman asked.
Melody pondered that for a moment. At the moment, there was enough light that the Jem’hadar would see them coming, but not enough that Melody or her team would be able to see them before it was too late. It seemed counter productive, but if the Jem’hadar were going to be invisible… her team might as well be, too.
“Do it,” She said, making room for French to move ahead to the junction box.
She turned back to everyone and motioned for quiet, then mouthed out “going dark” and tapped her scope again, then turned back the way French had gone. A moment later, there was a slight rumble, followed by darkness enshrouding them completely.
Melody’s heart raced as she stared down the night vision optics of her scope. She ran through in her mind why this was logically and tactically a good call, but something in that tiny lizard brain part of her head kept telling her about all the monsters hiding out there in the shadows, and unfortunately for her… she knew some of them were very real.
She started moving forward and motioned for the rest to follow. If she remembered the map Blake had shone her, there’d be a cross way that would take them to the central corridor where they’d have originally come in from. Once there, it would be a straight shot to the corridors that would take them into the city. As long as things stayed quiet, this would be a relatively easy mission.
They’d only gone a few dozen meters when they heard voices behind them: Jem’hadar, griping about the lights. She heard some shuffling behind her, but she snapped her fingers and motioned forward again. They were not her problem, they were not the folks in the middle’s problem. Juarez and company would alert them if anything was important from the back. The best thing to do was keep moving, slowly and quickly.
After a few moments, there was an odd scramble behind her and a hand grabbed her shoulder abruptly. She almost let out a yelp, but slowly turned back to find Blake pointing at his tricorder. She checked her scope forward and saw nothing, and looked back and Blake. He offered his tricorder and pointed at the screen, then forward, an urgent look on his face. Melody took it and held it forward… and sure enough, a faint heat signature was registering where there just shouldn’t have been one. She mouthed “Jam’hadar” and Blake grinned, nodding his head wildly.
A slim grin came on Melody’s face as she went belly down on the ground and balanced her rifle on her arm. She aimed carefully for where the blob had been and fired. There was a yelp, followed by a Jem’hadar dropping it’s shroud and falling to the water below. Blake tapped her back twice purposefully, and she fired two more shots, resulting in two more downed Jem’hadar.
Behind them there was an alarmed shout from the first batch of Jem’hadar, “They’re coming hot!” Juarez hissed from the back.
“Fast and low!” Melody called back, moving forward quickly again after giving Blake a ‘good job’ pat on the shoulder.
Five meters. Ten. Fifteen. Finally, the intersection was in front of them. The Jem’hadar behind them were approaching, but carefully and cautiously. Melody motioned Blake forward and he scanned in front of them. Six signatures showed up on his tricorder. Melody scowled but motioned her people forward.
She gave quick hand signals: six, spread across the hallway, set to kill. The crew acknowledged. The other group of Jem’hadar wasn’t far behind and she was not going to pinned now. She held up three fingers.
“GO GO!” She barked, leaping from around the corner and unloading on the unprepared Jem’hadar. One fell, and two. Soon she was joined by the rest of her crew, and then last four were dead on the floor.
“Move! move! Into the corridor, go go!” She called, already setting off at a sprint into the corridor. Once everyone was with her, she turned back and dialed up her phase rifle all the way and starting firing at the entry support struts. The other crew of Jem’hadar rounded the corridor just as it came down on their heads.
Melody allowed herself a grin, but just for a moment, before turning around and heading further down the corridor as quickly as she could, motioning for the others to follow. It wasn’t long before they’d reached the final junction that would take them into the city. A few more Jem’hadar had attempted to stop them, but there was enough concentrated phaser fire that they never stood a chance.
“I’ll jam the door,” French called up to her once everyone was in the smaller tunnel. The engineer ran a few quick commands and the door panel parked and exploded. “There… mechanism is completely jammed now. They’ll have to blow it to get to us,” She explained.
“Good, let’s go,” Melody said, heading up the stairs that would take them up to the final run of corridors into the city.
Except… it didn’t. Melody emerged onto a catwalk on the edge of a massive cavern. Everyone was confused as they came out, trying to figure out where they were supposed to go.
“This… wasn’t on the schematic,” Melody quipped.
“Nope, it definitely wasn’t,” Blake replied.
There was a pop-hiss behind them, and everyone turned to find this door slagged as well. French looked at everyone and shrugged, “Better two doors than one,” She said with a grin.
“I think you just like burning things,” Melody replied, returning the grin.
“Looks like a natural aquifer, Commander,” Starnil offered, shining his hand light over the guardrail in front of them, down into the cavern below. “They probably didn’t know it was here when they started building and simply build around it,” He explained. “It was very likely an early source of potable water for them.”
“That’s all well and good, but where do we go from here?” She asked.
Blake had flicked on his hand light as well, shining it both ways down the catwalk, “There. Stairs up,” He said, pointing at the metal stair’s at the end of the walk way.
“Alright, people, let’s move,” Melody replied, already starting to make her way to the stairs. She didn’t like this. Not at all. They were far too exposed and this was far too dangerous. And now stairs? They’d be sitting ducks while they were trying to make their way up, but what other choice did they have. She grumbled as she launched up the first set of stairs, but the only way out was through.
As the team got about halfway up the stairs, her worst fears came to fruition as a blast slammed into the stairs in front of her. She blurted out a curse as she almost lost her footing, but she caught herself before she could fall. She called back, “Return fire! Keep ’em busy and MOVE!”
Her team followed their orders perfectly, peppering the edge of the upper catwalk with enough fire to force the Jem’hadar back and stop their onslaught of fire. The twelve of them rapidly made their way up the stairs, dodging the few shots that made their way through the cover fire. It was a brutal and dangerous climb, but one by one the team made it to the top and engaged the Jem’hadar.
Melody unclipped a flashbang from her belt and tossed it over to where the Jem’hadar were waiting, grinning at the sound of them screaming out in surprise. As soon as the loud pop sounded, she yelled out “Go! Now! Engage!” And fell in with the rest of her team. They quickly overran the last of the Jem’hadar soldiers and made their way up the last flight of stairs.
There was a intersection of corridors and Blake stopped short, studying his Tricorder for a moment, then looking down on of the corridors for a moment. “Commander?” He called.
Melody stopped and turned back, “What’s up?”
“This is it. This passageway should take us to the warehouse where they were keeping the hostages,” He said.
Melody looked down the tunnel and nodded, “Take Miller, Stafford, and Kutav with you,” Melody replied with a nod.
“Yes, ma’am!” Blake called, already heading down the cooridor with his assigned Security team.
“Good luck!” She called after them, then turned back to the people remaining with her, “Alright team… get ready for a firefight. This is the final push.”