USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Going For A Stroll

Posted on Mon Aug 29th, 2016 @ 9:49pm by Lieutenant JG Tora Benjarvi & Captain Claudia Ainscow & Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Major Storr Garlake & Lieutenant JG Imogen Kaz & Ensign Anastasia Bogolyubov & Captain Isobel Joyce & Lieutenant JG José Muñiz

Mission: S1E1 - Booby Trap
Location: USS Mersey/Rakhar
Timeline: Mission Day 6; 10:00

Claudia arrived in the shuttlebay to find the runabout they were using for their away mission was almost ready. She was excited about her first away mission with the Vindex but at the same time she was nervous about what they'd find when they got there. Nobody had any idea a team from the Renown was already down on Rakhar and how dire their outlook was.

"Glad you could all join us. Are we all ready to go?" Claudia said.

Benj nodded. "I believe so Captain", he said, making sure that his phaser was tucked neatly in his holster. Then he checked the holdout that was tucked in his pocket. He decided to wait and see that Garlake was bringing before deciding on a few phaser rifles.

"The runabout is prepped and standing by," Akiva said, nervously eyeing the weapons rack filled with phasers. He had qualified with them at the Academy and certainly kept up with his regular qualifications, but they still made him nervous. Modern phaser technology with its particle beams did not exist on Hebron Colony, which made do with the antiquated laser weapons from pre-Starfleet colonial times. They were... less reliable... than the standard phaser he now affixed to his hip. Away missions in hostile territory made him anxious. Situations with high potential for destructive blasts of energy always made him anxious. Hopefully nobody would notice.

Anastasia gave a sharp bob of her head, her eyes continuously taking in her surroundings while her fingers tapped her equipment in a repetitive sequence.

John emerged from the runabout and stood with the away team. He was excited to depart on an away mission but he was still cautious about what they would find when they got there. Even he knew this away mission was risky.

"Glad to hear it Lieutenant. I believe we're just waiting on Captain Garlake and Lieutenant Kaz then we should be ready to depart. I anticipate we should be away from the ship for a few hours at most but we could be a bit longer or we could be there and back" Claudia said.

Imogen walked in, hearing the end of the Captain's sentence. "Apologies for the delay Captain, I had some issues waiting for my relief, I shall deal with that when we return." She said, checking she had all the kit she needed for the situation.

Captain Garlake nodded to everyone already on the runabout as he entered, noticing that he was the last to board. While he would rather not have been tail-end-charlie, he had been making last-minute preparations with Sergeant Zaltin in regards to communications and internal security within the detachment. That, and he had the darndest time finding his lucky socks. Taking a quick scan of the paltry weapon rack, the Marine was glad that he had brought his own phaser rifle and sidearm. Better to need and not have...

"It's alright Lieutenant. Let's get going - the sooner we do this the sooner we can start piecing together what on earth is going on here" Claudia said.

She gestured for the crew to enter the runabout before she entered at the rear of the group. Henley had taken his position at the front of the craft at the pilot's station and requested permission for the runabout to depart the ship.

=/\="USS Mersey requesting permission to depart"=/\= John said.

Confirmation that the craft was allowed to depart came moments later and soon the craft was well on its way to the planet. Claudia was sat at the rear of the craft's command area and she was having mixed feelings about this mission.

"Anything on sensors yet Mr. Tora?" Claudia asked.

Benj had taken up the small console that held the sensors and simple weapons array of the shuttle. While it was armed, the sensors were their best line of defense against ambush. "Nothing yet, ma'am. I've also received notice that the probe is now clearing the moon, so hopefully we get more answers from it. That information should be forwarded to us in about 5 minutes."

Benj cringed a bit. In 5 minutes, they would be halfway between the planet and the ship... not a good place to be caught in an ambush.

"Thank you, Lieutenant. Miss Bogolyubov I'd like you to scan the planet for any life signs or anything that suggests there could be somebody down there - Mr ben-Avram I'd like you to scan for suitable landing sites and recommend the best one" Claudia said.

Akiva scanned the planet from the rear console. "Sensors show a large valley on the northern continent spanning hundreds of kilometers. Preliminary scans suggest a complex cave system along the western ridge. It would seem an optimal place to hide for an extended period of time. We could either land at the valley's edge and work our way up or land on the ridge and work down."

Anastasia peered at the readout from her workstation before announcing, "Sensors indicate no complex lifeforms on the planet, humanoid or otherwise. However, the valley Lieutenant ben-Avram has indicated has high concentrations of neodymium and ruthenium." Anastasia turned around to look straight at Claudia. "Approximately two billion years ago, Captain, this valley was the site of multiple naturally occurring fission reactions that lasted for a few hundred thousand years. Although this fact poses no threat to our health if we were to land there, it is interfering with our sensors. It will be difficult to locate any humanoid life form unless we are..." Anastasia paused, looking for the right phrase "...right on top of them. And I would agree with Lieutenant ben-Avram's assessment that the caves would indeed be the optimal place to avoid detection."

Claudia listened as the ridge and the cave system was explained to her - it seemed that this area would be the ideal position to base themselves if there was indeed anyone down on this planet that would be able to help them with their mission. After Anastasia finished speaking she felt that that the ridge would be an ideal landing site - plus it would give them the advantage of the caves to hide in and also the ridge would give them a good view of any potential enemies.

"Sounds like a plan to me. Mr ben-Avram please send the co-ordinates to Mr Henley - set a course once you have them" Claudia instructed.




Soon Henley had landed the Mersey on Rakhar in the indicated position. Claudia had decided it would be best to split up into two teams - so she called a briefing before they went on their way.

"I think it'd be a good idea to split into two teams. Akiva - I'd like you to take a team - Imogen, Storr and Anastasia - into the caves. Myself, John and Tora will do some recon and see if we can find anybody. I suspect that craft we detected on the way down belongs to someone so we must have company here somewhere" Claudia instructed.

Benj nodded and reached inside the shuttle. Typing in a coded sequence he opened up a small weapons cache that only held two weapons... another phaser and a phaser rifle. Activating the rifle, he checked the charge and switched on the life. "Ready to go ma'am."

"Aye, aye, Commander," Akiva said. He turned to the other officers Claudia had named, assessing their roles as best he could. "Captain Garlake will take point, followed by myself and Ensign Bogolyubov. Lieutenant Kaz will bring up the rear. Let's keep sharp."

Anastasia was using her finger to make slight adjustments to her tricorder, to compensate for the high amounts of neodymium and ruthenium she had reported earlier. She looked up and gave Lieutenant ben-Avram a sharp nod before saving her new settings.

Storr nodded at Claudia as he unslung his rifle from his shoulder, holding it at the low ready position as he then turned and exited the runabout. The terrain was rocky, with loose fill leading up a gentle slope towards a cave entrance and he looked around them as he moved a short distance away to allow everyone else to exit. While it was indeed kind, it was also tactically sound in that the Marine didn't want them all to be in an explosive blast radius if an ambush became more of a reality than possibility. "Let's scramble to the entrance, then reassess our formation when we see exactly what kind of passageway size we're dealing with."

Akiva followed Garlake's forward position as they made their way up the slope toward the mouth of the lowest cave. "The cave system potentially runs interconnected, so we might be in for quite a hike," he said as he read from his tricorder. "Lieutenant Bogolyubov, keep scanning for lifeforms."

"Aye, sir," Anastasia answered, still tapping her tricorder. "Nakonets!" she exclaimed, then turned to Akiva. "With your permission, sir, I believe I have an algorithm that will counteract the interference the residual radiation is creating in our instruments. It will only take a few minutes to send to the rest of the party's instruments."

"Do it." Akiva held up his hand to signal everyone to stop. While Anastasia reconfigured her tricorder, he watched Storr take a knee with his weapon at the ready.

Anastasia again gave a curt nod, and uploaded the algorithm to the other devices. A small light appeared on Anastasia's device, indicating the upload had been successful. Satisfied, she continued her scan.

"Very good," Akiva said. "Let's move. Captain Garlake, lead us in."

Storr waited as the Ops and Science officers worked their technical magic, using his position at the front of their group to provide 360-degree security from his single station. The cave entrance was as dark as night and he hoped that their personal lights would be able to pierce the blackness that seemed to seep out from the rock's maw. Akiva's movement order was acknowledged with a nod and the Marine gave the appropriate signal to move ahead as he stood.

Meanwhile Isobel and José were down in a cavern around 200 metres from the cave's entrance. They were scanning for lifesigns and all of a sudden both of their tricorders detected four approaching biosigns.

"We've got company it seems" José said.

Isobel nodded and raised her phaser. She wasn't taking any chances - especially now they thought they were the only two Starfleet officers on the planet still loyal to Starfleet and not The Consortium. She gestured towards the narrow entrance and the sides of the route they had taken into their hiding place.

"Either side of the entrance Ensign" Isobel said quietly.

José and Isobel took position and waited for the approaching lifesigns to get to their location.




Claudia led Tora and John towards the Cardassian craft - a look on her tricorder revealed that it was empty - although she couldn't find where to open the door of the craft to investigate the interior.

"Can you find a way in Mr. Tora?" Claudia asked.

Benj had taken up a flanking position from the Commander since she had assumed point. As he walked he continued to sweep his weapon from side to side, ready for an ambush. As they approached the vessel, Benj began to study it. Being Bajoran, he was all too familiar with their ships.

"Typical Cardassian shuttle craft. Based on the Hideki-class patrol ship, but only twenty meters long. The door should be on the other side of the ship, Captain." Benj raised his weapon and began to slowly move around the aft "forks" of the ship toward the door.

Claudia nodded and followed Benj - alongside John - towards the craft's entrance. She too raised her Type 2 phaser and had it ready to stun any occupants inside if they proved to be hostile. Once she reached the door she pointed her phaser at it and gave Benj the signal to open the door. John stood next to the Bajoran as to offer him protection from any hostile occupants.

"If it doesn't work you have my permission to shoot the access panel," Claudia said.

Benj nodded. He slung his rifle over his shoulder and pulled his phaser out of his holster. At this range of close quarters, the rifle would just be a hindrance. He moved to the door panel and stopped for a second, listening to see if there were any sounds that came from inside the shuttle.

It was eerily silent.

He made eye contact with both the Captain and John and nodded. Then he counted down from three. As he reached one, he pushed the panel on the side of the ship which was the hatch release for the shuttle.

The door swung cut in two panels, one sinking down into the floor of the craft and one rising up into the roof. Benj could tell that the door wasn't in good repair, as it made a loud metal shrieking sound that echoed off the walls. He winced. That probably just let everyone in the ravine know where they were.

Claudia too winced at the screeching noise and was relieved when the door was opened. She indicated that she would bring up the rear and gestured for the two other officers to enter first.

"In we go," Claudia said.

Benj nodded and then moved suddenly... more suddenly than he really moved on the ship. In the blink of an eye he was in the shuttle, phaser quickly scanning to the left and the back toward the right. They were in the cockpit of the shuttle which was about 10 meters across. Back behind the wall, there should be a small bunk room. With the cockpit clear, Benj headed toward the rear of the shuttle and then spun to look behind the wall.

Once inside John investigated the cockpit of the craft and powered the systems on to find out the potential occupants of the craft prior to it being left where it was. When it powered on he discovered all the consoles were in English - not what he was expecting to find.

"Commander...these consoles are in English..." John said.

Claudia turned and came over to have a look for herself. It was clear that this craft wasn't operated by Cardassians anymore - it appeared it was operated by a vessel belonging to the United Federation of Planets.

"Very intriguing. Mr. Tora have you found anything back there?" Claudia asked.

Benj came back around the corner, holstering his phaser. "All clear ma'am. No one is here, but I would assume by the state of the back, someone was here recently but left in a hurry. There are two bowls of soup back there and they are still warm. It is possible that our approach scared them away."

"It's likely. We should go and catch up with the other team to see if they've found anybody yet. Let's get moving - just in case whoever this shuttle belongs to decides to come back and doesn't like us" Claudia said.

John nodded and powered down the shuttle before making his way back to craft's access hatch. He was unsure about what was going on - and he admittedly felt a little bit nervous about what was going on - it was eerie and it reminded him of a previous experience.

Benj moved to take point to lead the others out of the craft. At the hatch, he holstered his phaser and unslung his rifle. Checking the immediate area outside the shuttle, he found no one waiting nearby. Then he scanned as much as his could to make sure they weren't walking into an ambush. Only then did he exit the shuttle.

Claudia vacated the craft after the two other officers had exited and closed the hatch very slowly and gently. It still creaked and groaned - but less so than when Tora first opened it. Once it was closed Claudia pressed her commbadge.

=/\="Ainscow to ben-Avram. Have you found anything yet?"=/\=

=/\= "Negative, Captain," Akiva said. "We've breached the cave entrance. The residual radiation has been wreaking havoc with our scans, though Lieutenant Bogolyubov believes she has corrected for the interfer--" His tricorder warbled at the same time as Anastasia's. "Commander, we have lifesigns." /=\

=/\="We'll be there as quick as we can. Ainscow out"=/\= Claudia replied.

"We've got company down here it seems. Let's get over to the team in the cave gents," Claudia said.

Claudia led the way and soon they reached the cave entrance. She got her torch out and shone it into the cave - which immediately - albeit gradually - dropped down and over to the left.

"Are we ready gents?" Claudia asked.

Benj flicked on his light on rifle and shown it down the corridor of the cave. "I'll take point. Keep back at least 2 meters."

John wasn't - he hated the dark - but he nodded and slowly but surely entered first. He'd never liked the dark since he was young and he'd still not managed to conquer his fear of it. John shone his torch ahead of him and moved slowly as not to get too far away from Claudia and Tora.




Isobel and José were waiting for the incoming team - and now they could hear them. Isobel gestured for José to remain quiet and kept her phaser raised ready for the incoming intruders. Sadly it was likely they were outnumbered and whoever was approaching knew they were there - but they wouldn't know Isobel and José were armed.

"I detect no significant energy signatures," Akiva noted aloud. "No emergency generator, no heavy ordnance, no force fields. Whoever they are, they do not appear to be situated for an extended stay." He looked to the other three officers. "That means they're in no position to hold out for long. I'm no diplomat, but I say we wait for the Captain and let her extend an offer of peace."

"Lieutenant, I do not wish to be the contrarian," Anastasia began, "But if we are aware of their presence, it is almost a certainty that they are aware of ours. If we do not establish our good will immediately, our lack of action might create a degree of uncertainty on their part. An uncertainty that could lead to actions detrimental to either or both of us."

"We don't know if they're friend or foe," Akiva countered. "Do you suggest we just walk in and say boker tov?"

Anastasia paused, wondering why a proclamation of a pleasant morning was called for, particularly considering they were not currently in the local morning, "A loud announcement of our presence and good intentions would probably suffice, Lieutenant," Anastasia said, as she returned her attentions to her tricorder for any additional anomalies it might detect.

Captain Garlake shook his head, "Tactically, we hold the high ground and there are more of us then there are of them. While I don't know their armament, there's more than enough cover here to conduct an effective ambush if you'd rather wait them out. On the other hand, we could also continue ahead and be prepared to break contact when we arrive, as again we hold the numerical advantage with known terrain and reinforcements at our back. Your call [i]larny[/i]."

Claudia followed Tora and John towards the position that Akiva and his team were waiting in. She watched her footing as even with the light from Tora's rifle the lighting was still poor. Continuing along she watched as the other team came into view.

Once they were all together again Claudia asked Akiva for a report.

"What have we got Lieutenant?" Claudia asked.

"Two life signs up ahead," Akiva replied. "Nothing else--no ordnance, force fields, or other really nasty surprises. Aside from handheld weapons or a potential improvised primitive trap, they appear defenseless. We," he looked toward Garlake, Kaz, and Anastasia, with his gaze lingering on Anastasia, "were just deliberating our next move." He gave Claudia a deferent nod.

José and Isobel were still waiting - and the latter had decided she'd waited long enough. She signaled to José to move on her next signal - and when the Spanish conn officer acknowledged they spun around from their hiding positions and pointed their rifles squarely at the away team. They were clearly outnumbered - but Isobel wouldn't go down without a fight.

"Who are you and what do you want?" Isobel demanded.

Storr's rifle, already at the ready, snapped into his shoulder like it was drawn there by a tractor beam, his cheek weld on the buttstock solid, cold and comforting. A swarthy male in Starfleet red stood directly in his sights, the Marine's front sight solidly positioned on the intruder's chest. Mentally calculating, he reasoned that he could shoot his current foe and shift to the other before she got a shot off, if necessary. While he hoped that it wouldn't come to it, he knew that he was brought along more than to just be eye candy.

Claudia spoke out. "I'm Commander Claudia Ainscow of the USS Vindex. We're here on a mission to locate the USS Renown - how about we all put our guns down and talk about this peacefully? We don't want any more people to get hurt now do we?"

Isobel didn't believe Claudia although she did seem to exert a lot less hatred than the people who abducted most of her away team earlier that day.

"How can I trust you?" Isobel responded.

Claudia gestured for the away team to lower their weapons in order to try and gain Isobel's trust. They weren't going to get anywhere if the clearly distressed officer didn't trust Claudia and opened fire on the Vindex's away team.

Akiva complied. He returned his phaser to his hip and stood with his hands folded behind his back.

Begrudgingly, Benj slung his rifle over his shoulder. He didn't like the fact that those that he was charged with protecting were lowering their weapons, but the Captain is the Captain, and her orders are to be followed. He moved slightly away from the group, trying to spread out the targets. Hopefully they all weren't going to die here today... hopefully. Still, he had confidence in his Captain to be able to talk her way through this situation, he would just feel better looking down the sites while she did it.

Captain Garlake's eyes flitted from his target to Claudia, then back to the target, a few moments passing before bringing the rifle back down to the low ready position. He nodded internally to Benj's decision to take distance so as to keep them all at minimal threat of a shared explosion and kept his gaze affixed to the man across from him. While he would follow the order, he was coiled like a spring if they were to take any hostile action.

Isobel watched as the human female ordered her companions to lower their weapons. After thinking it over for a few moments she too decided to order José to lower his and gestured to him to do so. Once both of them had their weapons lowered Isobel decided to open up to Claudia.

"We're from the Renown. It's in a nebula not far from here...or at least it was. Our away team was taken away by the USS Bozeman - we're unable to contact our own ship because we were ordered not to - however now we feel we have no choice in the matter. Unless of course you wish to take us with you?" Isobel replied.

Claudia wasn't sure at first and decided it would be best to confer with others before taking Isobel's word for it and taking them back up to the Vindex with them. She gestured to a position about 10 metres away and started walking.

"Akiva - a word if I may?" Claudia said.

"Yes, Commander." Akiva followed and then leaned in close, hands still folded behind his back.

Claudia lowered her tone before speaking.

"I trust what she says - but what do you think? I don't feel comfortable about leaving them down here...but I want to be sure we can trust them before we can take them back to the ship" Claudia asked.

"Not to repeat an old gripe, but this is when a telepath would come in handy," Akiva muttered. "As I doubt any of us have been hiding such abilities, the only option I see is to teleport the both of them straight to the brig until Lieutenant Tora can vet them."

"A wise precaution. They may not like it but we've never met them before. We'll take them outside and beam them up to the ship's brig until we can prove they're who they say they are" Claudia agreed.

After returning to the cavern where they were gathered Claudia looked at Isobel and although she was going to take her and José back to the Vindex it wasn't how they were planning to get off the planet and nor would they be happy with it.

"Alright - let's go" Claudia said.

Once the team was back outside and near the runabout Claudia decided to bring the Hideki-class shuttle with them - although that would mean somebody else would need to fly it - as Muniz and Joyce were going to be beamed to the brig - or they may be able to tow it back with the Mersey.

=/\="Ainscow to Vindex. I need you to beam two people up into the brig"=/\=

"What? We aren't your enemy!" Isobel said.

José was just about to reach for his phaser to stun Claudia but it was too late and after feeling himself dematerialise and then rematerialised he found himself stood next to Isobel in a holding cell aboard the Vindex. He wasn't very happy and neither was Isobel - but at least they were off that wretched planet.

Storr's phaser rifle raised seemingly in tandem with Jose's, his finger moving from the stock to the trigger well as the two began to dematerialize into blue haze. Slowly lowering his rifle again, he exhaled as he kicked at a rock and shouldered his weapon. No shots today, and everyone better for it.

Claudia looked at her crew.

"Good work team. When we get back to the ship Mr. Tora I'd like you to head over to the Brig and pay a visit to our guests - I'll join you. Everybody else we'll have a debrief in the observation lounge around half an hour after we've returned to the ship" Claudia said.

"A regrettable but necessary ruse," Akiva said, staring at the empty space Isobel and Jose had left behind. He turned to acknowledge Claudia. "Aye, aye, Captain."

"Aye, Captain. I'll make sure that they are well taken care of." Benj nodded to the others and then stepped away from them by a couple of meters. Then he tapped his badge. "Vindex, this is Lieutenant Tora. Please beam me straight to the brig."

"Yes sir. Stand by, Lieutenant." Seconds later, the blue beam of a transporter enveloped Benj and he dematerialized. Seconds later, he reappeared in the brig. The security officer in charge of the brig approached Benj. "We have them both behind a force field. Their weapons have been deactivated, but they refuse to give them up."

"Thank you Ensign. I'll talk to them. Wait for me outside the door, please." The Ensign nodded and left Benj in the holding area with Isabel and Jose. Benj didn't say anything, but he went over to a locker and locked his rifle in. The he approached the two Starfleet Officers.

"I am very sorry about these arrangements. Normally we would assign you quarters first, but these are different times and we find ourselves having to take precautions that would not be necessary in the Alpha Quadrant." Benj did not say much more than that. He hoped that they would get the message from how he spoke. If they didn't... well, Commander Ainscow would be here shortly to explain it.

With a relatively successful away mission completed the crew climbed back into the runabout and headed back for the Vindex. She would have the Hideki-class runabout removed by another team - this team had done a good job and had earned a rest. With any luck Claudia was hoping Isobel and José were the real deal and they would able to put their search for the Renown to bed and move onto their next assignment.

 

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