USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Storming the Gates

Posted on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 @ 1:33pm by Major Storr Garlake & Lieutenant Commander Martha Cusack & Lance Corporal Thani th'Rrone
Edited on on Tue Mar 21st, 2017 @ 5:49pm

Mission: S1E4 - Remnants Of A Lost Cause
Location: The Facility; Various
Timeline: Mission Day 69; 10:45

With the Bird of Prey successfully landed near to the facility entrance Martha walked with the away party whilst continually looking for any potential ambushes between the hijacked ship and the entrance. Clearly, this was going to be a tough mission - and for that reason, Martha insisted Lucia remained behind with Chris so they could beam the away team out at a moment's notice if necessary.

"I suspect this door isn't going to open easily. Care to do the honors, Major?" Martha asked.

The flight to the planet's surface had been mostly uneventful, though the smaller size of the Bird of Prey had made Thani lose his lunch no less than three times when they were forced to navigate through two particularly violent sandstorms. For that reason, it was the MCO himself that placed the breaching charge on the massive durasteel door and armed it with a 5-second delay. Turning, he pressed his back to the wall and crouched down, covering his ears, though not before winking at Jaya along with an arrogant grin.

The shaped charge detonated, violently rattling the earth beneath the away team and sending a white-hot blast of plasma and melted durasteel into the hall beyond, the edges already "cooling" to a searing orange with liquefied metal forming stalactites across the expedient entryway's edge. The dust kicked up from the pressure differential settled slowly back to the ground as the four Marines entered the darkened hallway in classic room-clearing fashion, preparing the way for the security contingent and the counselor.

Jaya suppressed a girlish smirk. As much as she admired Storr for his prowess and expertise, this was not the time to be fawning over a brawny soldier blowing a door apart. She instead kept her tricorder at the ready.

"No lifesigns in the immediate vicinity, but I'm sure that had to get their attention."

Martha nodded. "I would say so - come on - let's get moving before they come and find us. The main lab is four levels down so we should look to find the quickest route to the lab without going through too many of the safe points. I know the Maquis abandoned this place a while ago but...I doubt that means all the high-security areas are poorly defended under Saalkan's control"

Storr grunted an acknowledgment, the lights from the four men's headlamps tilting wildly as they continued to peer into the corners and crevices of the room. Now would not be the time for them to have made it this far to fall from simple tactical carelessness. His playful demeanor from the doorway was banished for the chiseled confidence that dominates competence...the 2/5 were quiet professionals when it came to their craft and the MCO had no desire to see that end here.




Within the main hall, Doqqu stood assembled with his remaining security forces. Somehow, bilge rats had climbed from the depths and torn the facility asunder. Little remained now except to enforce the will of his master and preserve his life. Today was a good day to die, but not before he earned his place of honor in Sto'Vo'Kor. Falling in battle to one's enemies only for them to overrun your master was a double dishonor that would surely drag his soul to Gre'thor. This day, he would surely die, but he would do so on the bodies of his slain enemies.

"Here they come," Doqqu said to the dozen mercs behind the cover of pillars, utility fixtures, and blind corners leading to other modules. "Director Saalkan is working out his master plan, and what that entails doesn't matter. Today we hold the line. Our lives are no longer our own. We are already dead. We can only live by taking the lives of those who rise against us. If we should fall, then we rise to glory in Sto'Vo'Kor to fight forever more in the halls of our fathers. Either way, if you want your life back, then claim it with the blood of the ones coming through that corridor! Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam!"

The three Klingon mercenaries at his back repeated the battle cry, but the nine others merely grunted agreement.

Spotting the guards she quickly moved Jaya aside gently to ensure she was out of harm's way of the fire the Klingons would be sending in their direction. Jaya was a counselor and normally this would be no place for a counselor - but this time she had a purpose and Martha wasn't going to let any harm come to her.

"Go to Gre'thor you waste of space," Martha said.

Once the counselor was confirmed to be out of the way Martha fired her rifle at the closest Klingon who went flying into the air and crashing into the wall behind him.

"You were right," Jaya said sarcastically. "I definitely should not have a phaser at this time."

Martha entered the room with Jaya first before Storr and the marines had a chance to go over a quick ROC drill and he cursed under his breath. "Blerrie Fleeters!" It was one thing to want to move quickly but everything here was a complete unknown; the potential for ambushes, traps, and simply being outnumbered and outgunned was very, very likely and in the pit of Garlake's stomach was the feeling that all of them wouldn't make it home, no matter how careful they were. Pressing forward without serious tactical consideration did not help matters in the least.

"Johnny, Vinar, take the right flank!" Storr yelled as they burst into the room after the two women, quickly taking in the surroundings. Storr took cover behind a large pillar on the left flank, which thankfully was next to his betrothed; this was completely unplanned. Mostly.

His rifle pressed hard against his chest, he risked a quick peek around the edge which resulted in ferrocrete shrapnel exploding in his face as several phaser and disruptor rounds nearly found their mark. Closing his eyes, he counted and tried to remember their locations and the intervening cover. Thirteen total, with that uppity Doqqu leading them. Breathing out and opening his eyes, he looked down at the diminutive Counselor, her features as angelic as when they began this endeavor, much unlike the disheveled appearance of the Afrikaner. As he began cracking a smile, it immediately sank when he noticed her empty hands.

"My maat, where's your weapon? Please tell me I didn't forget to ensure you were armed..."

"Our security chief wouldn't let me have one because I'm uncertified," Jaya said.

Storr's eyes closed again as he sighed and struggled to compose himself. Red was creeping into the edges of his darkened vision; it was partly his fault that she was here without a weapon. What a dom nool he was for not ensuring that Jaya had appropriate weaponry when then left the ship. He had assumed that since she was with the security chief that it would have been taken care of. Bilksem assuming got people killed. He would die if it did Jaya today.

Thankfully, before his rage could begin winding its course more tightly through his heart, he felt Maera's hand on his and a cool breeze of blue and white weaved itself up his arm and around his shoulders. He puffed out the breath he didn't know he was holding.

"Don't worry," Jaya said winsomely. "I'll protect you anyway."

He smirked. "Let's fix this. Reach around to my right thigh and take my phaser. It's held in with a retention button and thumb break, just depress the first and flip the second back." As she fumbled for a moment, pressed against him to keep herself covered by the small pillar, he couldn't help but quip. "Take any more time and I'll know you're just enjoying this."

"Too bad," she whispered. "I could take all night."

As goosebumps run up and down his spine from her response, he had to purposefully re-center himself before continuing. "Remember how to use one right? Blinky end toward the bad guy and press," he said with a wink. It's a fact that humor is one of the only ways to cut lethal tension, which is one of the reasons that marines in general (and Storr sometimes in particular) are so often accused of laughing in the face of danger, often with gallows humor. Given that they were outnumbered nearly two-to-one, with odds going to the defender, the MCO thought it was as good a time as any to deploy it.

"I can handle blinky," Jaya said.

The sheer volume of weapons fire in the room had caused the acrid buildup of ozone to sting Storr's nose fiercer than he had ever remembered. Three more mercenaries were down while Vinar was taking a knee due to a nasty looking disruptor burn to his left thigh and Lucia cradled her right arm. The Starfleet away team having only battled forward 10 feet, Storr was beginning to falter. He had used 3 of the 4 extra battery packs they had brought and he knew the others had burned through them at the same rate, while their grenades had been mostly ineffective due to the enemy's cover and respirators. Given the amount of time that they had been fighting, how many reinforcements were on their way? What was between this group and the hostages or Salkaan? How many more casualties could they take and still be a viable fighting force? The MCO did not like the answer to any of these questions and the scowl on his face proved it.

Taking a deep breath, Storr spoke from his diaphragm over his shoulder, his back to the small laboratory console. "Doquu, I challenge you to a challenge of honor...single combat!" If he knew anything of the Klingon in the short few exchanges they had had, it was that he had an ego the size of their Sovereign-class ship and to turn down the challenge (especially in front of fellow Klingons) would be unthinkable. Or, so he hoped.

"Who are you to challenge me?" Doqqu shouted back from his cover.

" A man rescuing his comrades and stopping a maniac from attempting genocide on a scale nearly unimaginable...A man not willing to put his life in the hands of mercenaries...A man far more honorable than you!" It wasn't just an empty challenge...Storr belived it with all his being.

"Surely you must be joking," said a Cardassian merc. "Shoot him and be--"

Doqqu discharged a direct blast into the merc's face.

"This is a matter of honor," he said to the dead man. When his disruptor was reading low, he swapped with the dead Cardassian and then stood up.

"I accept." Doqqu marched to the center of the main hall and raised his hand to order the other men to stand down. All but three retreated to Saalkan's lab.

"Choose your weapon!" The Klingon removed two mek'leths from his lower back and rolled them, one in each hand.

"Hathak, Major, kla I'il kurin aetheln." Doqqu raised his weapons to Storr, then fell into stance. "Kahlesste kaase!"

Storr looked into Jaya's eyes and smiled the smile of a man walking to his grave. Pivoting from around the pillar, Major Garlake dropped his phaser rifle to the floor and bent down to remove his KA-BAR from his boot sheath. The seven-inch blade of Cro-van steel had not changed formulation since its inception over 438 years ago and the hilt of stacked leather washers felt like an old friend in the Marine's hand. True, there had been attempts to update it but every time it was met with a fervent outcry from the Corps and the same company still produced them to this day; a greater testament to tradition and durability would be impossible to find.

The MCO didn't speak Klingon but simply raised his knife towards the former security Ensign and dropped into an aggressive stance. It was a good day to die.

"Doqqu," Jaya called out. "'It is not failure to end a battle in order to preserve an Empire'."

"Stow it, Counselor," Doqqu retorted without looking away from Storr. He circled his opponent, sizing him up. "Your man has brought this on himself."

The two had circled and landed several deep blows, rivulets of blood streaming from various cuts and lacerations on their arms, shoulders and rib cages. The Klingon's armor and natural endurance held advantage over Storr, though their size and strength were near equal. Garlake knew that he needed to end it quickly, as he was sure that the hostages didn't have the time he would need to conclude a protracted fight. That, and he didn't have enough blood.

Feigning to the left, Storr drove in with his knife to the right with another feint before ducking down and driving his shoulder into the Klingon's solar plexus, eliciting a satisfactory grunt as the two toppled to the ground. Grappling for leverage and top mount, Storr suddenly found himself wedged between Doquu's torso and the ground. The Klingon was quick to take advantage of the situation and brought the heel of one of his mek'leths down onto Garlake's face, immediately shattering the Afrikaner's right orbit. Storr bellowed in pain, his vision bloodied as he tossed his knife behind his back and driving it home up and beneath the Klingon's armor and where he hoped a kidney-like object was. The pain was excruciating (for them both) as the MCO shrimped out from beneath Doquu and donkey-kicked him in his just pierced side, a satisfying spray of pink blood spewing from the wound.

"Tohpah!" Doqqu backed away for a moment to tie off the worst of his bloody gashes. The MCO did not allow such quarter. Just as Storr was about to tackle him, Doqqu sidestepped and chopped Storr at the base of his neck between his shoulders.

The Afrikaaner landed hard on his chest, and Doqqu landed harder on top of him. Chest to back, Doqqu slid his blood-slick arms around Storr's neck and locked in a stranglehold.

"Storr!" Jaya could not hold back her cry. Despite everything... her training, her experience, her cultural knowledge... she could not sit idly by and watch this happen.
The phaser was in her hand before she knew what she was doing. She aimed it purely on reflex, and fired.

Phaser fire resonated in Doqqu's ears, though its impact was far off.

"BaQa! Who did that?" he shouted. "Cease fire!"

"'Hell with that." One of the mercs leveled his disruptor and returned fire in Jaya's direction.

Jaya noted it was the same merc she had nearly hit, even though she had been aiming for Doqqu. Her phaser had shot wide by a hefty margin. She gave Martha an apologetic look.
"I see your point now, Lieutenant."

"We'll do some training when you get back to the ship..." Martha commented.

Doqqu slammed Storr's head into the ground face first, then jumped to his feet. "Stop it! Hold fire, you taHqeqs!"

The firefight resumed where it had left off. Doqqu snarled, and left his disruptor and mek'leths where they laid. He reclaimed his family's bat'leth and strode to the science module door. A crate of explosives called to him from within.

Doqqu pulled up two bandoliers of grenades and examined the Starfleet attackers, then the mercenaries. Not a shred of honor among the lot of them. He ripped the pins off of one bandolier and tossed it at his former comrades from the Vindex, then did the same with the worthless mercs who denied him his glory in combat.

"Die well, you BiHunuch Qoh's."

He then armed a satchel charge from within the crate, drop-kicked the entire thing closer to the center of the hall, and then lunged into a sprint for Saalkan's lab.

"Let's get after him - before those things explode!" Martha said.

Martha broke into a sprint to follow the Klingon man to the lab so they could end this once and for all.

 

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