September 2007

Star Fleet Fiction Continued

Rescue On Roon

2347 hrs, Basement Corridor, Celotex
Warehouse #8, east of Roon City, Roon

Michalik burst out of the lounge into the corridor, and into the sights of Yahnke's phaser. He went down with the stun charge so fast that Annitha, close on his heels, assumed he had tripped. She fired her pistol, sending its ceramic projectile screaming over Yahnke's head as his second shot dropped her as well. Michalik, only partially stunned, tried to lift his pistol into firing position and sent another bullet screaming past the Marine lieutenant, but collapsed when Yahnke's third stun shot hit him.

This part of the mission had been rehearsed, but now there were too many options, too many variables, and even if they had rehearsed them, nobody could sort through the options fast enough to grasp the right one. From this point, the team went into a drilled routine. Yahnke worked with Stulak, opening each door in turn, one covering the corridor while the other scanned the just-revealed room. Working the other way from the elevator lobby, Grissom and Kilrathie also worked as a team. Dellik did her assigned job, tying up the guard at the elevator while waiting for something that would need her talents. Without a phaser, she was a liability in a firefight. She could hear Daneric-Tren, no longer trying to be quiet, scrambling his way back up the ventilation shaft. This was wrong. In rehearsals, he had cut his way through the hatch cover and joined the team on the search.

"Dan, where ya' going?" she asked over her communicator. He grunted something about a problem to solve and ignored her second question.

Grissom and Kilrathie had opened one door to find a storeroom, ten meters to the back wall, stacked with boxes. A quick scan with a tricorder showed nothing sentient.

Yahnke and Stulak pulled open a door to find another storage room, this one quite large and filled with stacks of large bags. The room had a pungent aroma, and Stulak holstered his phaser and began adjusting his tricorder.

"Anything alive?" Yahnke asked.

"Negative," Stulak replied, "but these bags appear to contain a substance . . ."

"Later," Yahnke ordered. "Next door. Once the area is secure, you can come back and scan that stuff."

"Of course, forgive me," Stulak replied, shifting his tricorder back to his side and drawing his phaser.

They moved to the next door and took up positions, Yahnke covering the door and Stulak covering the corridor and the two slumped bodies near the far door. Yahnke pulled the door open and felt a pistol bullet smash into his body armor and a second one roar over his shoulder. Stunned, he forced himself to fire his phaser into the room, hoping it would startle his opponent, but it was Stulak's shot that took down Kaelyn. Yahnke noted that she was naked, but this only made it easier to see she was not concealing another weapon. Forcing his eyes to focus through the pain of the pistol shot (which, he now knew, had not penetrated his armor), Yahnke noted a cowering naked figure behind the bed.

"We've got the hostage," Yahnke reported, "returning to the elevator." Grissom acknowledged the transmission, and both teams met at the elevator a few seconds later. The hostage was shaking with fear and unable to speak, but Grissom was back to a part of the plan they had rehearsed.

"Get a positive ID," he snapped at Dellik, who had readied her tricorder when she heard the call that the hostage had been found.

"It ain't him," she snapped before even bringing the tricorder to bear. When Grissom glared at her she said "I studied his photo. Right height, age, and hair, but not young Mister Plemmons." Grissom started to argue, but she pointed to the tricorder readings.

"He's native to Roon, not to Mars. He's not Plemmons." Grissom swore as Stulak did a superficial mind scan.

"Confirm," Stulak said, "this man is not our hostage. His purpose here is not criminal, but recreational." Without even a shrug, Stulak gripped the youth's shoulder and sent him to the floor in a swoon.

"Back to work," Grissom ordered, heading back the way he had come with Kilrathie. Yahnke, clearly laboring to breathe, waved his phaser for Stulak to follow him.

"We're going to skip the next rooms and go to the door those two came out of," Yahnke said.

"This is not according to the plan for this part of the operation," Stulak pointed out.

"We're improvising. It's taking too long and that must be some kind of control room. That should give us intel."

Stulak followed without arguing as Yahnke moved to the door, scanning what he could see. With Stulak covering, he slid into the room, noting the tables loaded with food, and a control console with screens showing the various cameras, assorted furniture, and an open door to another room. A quick scan showed nothing in this room, which meant that the door to the next room was the key target. Yahnke began moving to the side, watching the door and the room beyond. As he had been drilled since boot camp, everywhere Yahnke's eyes looked, his phaser was already pointed, and everywhere his phaser pointed, his eyes were already focused. When his eyes locked on those of Melika, they both fired at the same instant.

His phaser stun blast was partially blocked by the cabinet she was crouched behind, but enough of it struck her in the face to put her down. Yahnke was not so lucky. The bullet hit between his skull and the protective helmet, driving a red-hot ceramic projectile along his scalp to explode out the back of the helmet. The pain was incredible, although strangely the thought came to him that the ceramic bullet had probably cauterized the wound that it made. Which was lucky, he noted about the time he hit the floor and passed out, since scalp wounds on humans tended to bleed a lot.

2353 hrs, Basement Room, Celotex
Warehouse #8, east of Roon City, Roon

Grissom scanned the storage room while Kilrathie covered his back. "Something alive is in here," he advised the corporal, "something humanoid." The room was a large one, filled with storage lockers, file cabinets with racks of datapads, and the drawers that held datachips.

There were several desks, some accompanied by well-upholstered chairs. This was a working office, and someone was working.

Moving slowly down the aisleway, scanning from side to side with his eyes but not his phaser, Grissom searched the room. Behind the second row of filing cabinets he found a man cowering with his hands over his bald head.
"Don't shoot me!" the man cried, not looking at his captor. "Please, don't shoot me!"

"It's on stun," Grissom apologized as he fired. He moved on to check the rest of the room, but the tricorder confirmed what his eyes told him. No one else was there.

"Hostage secure," came the clipped words of Stulak in his earpiece. "Identification confirmed; this is young Mister Plemmons. Lieutenant Yahnke is down. Shot in the head. His condition is serious."

"Stand by," Grissom replied. "Daneric, go help Stulak," he ordered.

"Dan isn't here," came the words of Dellik. "I heard him going back up the service shaft. Maybe he couldn't get the panel open from the inside. I don't know."

"Go help Stulak," Grissom ordered. He left the stunned man on the floor and went back with Kilrathie to check the other rooms. At this point, enough had happened that he would leave no door unopened. The last rooms included an elaborate but empty bedroom and storage rooms filled with boxes.