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Where'd She Go?

Posted on 25 Feb 2014 @ 2:47am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Harper Dane & Lieutenant JG Harold Sherman

Mission: Echoes
Location: Altair IV
Timeline: January 2, 2388 || 1215 hours

"Hurry up already!" pressed Petty Officer LaSalle, instructing her assistant, Crewman Anderson, to catch up to her. What was supposed to have been an uneventful day was growing stranger by the minute. It didn't take long for word about Security Officer Baird to circulate. For now, Lab Two was off-limits while it was disarmed. Meanwhile, instructions were given to start packing and dismantling Lab One.

The base was fitted with its own cargo hold, filled mostly with empty containers reserved for the dismantling. Others were filled with personal items and artifacts already collected and cataloged. Those would go up in the first load, but they needed to be moved aside to get to the containers for the lab equipment.

"Ready?" LaSalle asked, attaching her mag lift and preparing to lift her end of the last of the filled containers.

"Ready," replied Anderson, locking in her mag lift.

With ease, both women lifted the container and walked it outside. LaSalle noted the presence of the security personnel, patrolling the landing pad and the area. It didn't make her feel any safer as there were still so few clues left as to what was going on and there was no sign of the research team or their cargo shuttle.

They sat the container next to the Runabout Tigris. Though these would go up in the first load, they would be loaded last so that the artifacts would not be damaged by accidentally having other items thrown on top.

"It would be easier if the transporters worked," Anderson commented to her superior.

"No kidding." Too bad the magnetic field caused too much interference, thought LaSalle. "Let's get that first round of equipment containers out here," she ordered, leading Anderson past the security guard back into the cargo dome. Anderson was directed to one side of the dome while LaSalle went to the other.

Just as LaSalle picked up one of the empty containers, she heard a clatter of plastic on metal. "You okay?" she called out.

"I'm good!" Anderson called back. "Lost my grip!"

Satisfied, LaSalle calmly took the container out to the landing pad and set it down a few meters in front of the dome. Had she known exactly what Ensign Sherman and Lieutenant Dane were ready to pack, she would have taken the containers to Lab One. For now, it was simpler to organize them out on the pad to help identify what would be needed first.

It wasn't until after she had brought out five containers that she noticed that only five containers had been brought out. Nothing had come out via Anderson. Concerned, LaSalle reentered the cargo dome and looked around for any sign of Anderson. One container had been moved out of place, but was still sealed. A tricorder was sitting on top of it. LaSalle recognized it as the one issued to Anderson. She looked around the rest of the dome and didn't see her anywhere.

Leaving the dome, she approached the security guard. "Ensign!" she called out to the officer who had kept the cargo dome in his eyesight. "Have you seen Crewman Anderson in the last couple of minutes?"

"Wasn't she with you?"

"She was. But now I can't find her."

"I didn't see her leave, no."

LaSalle, perplexed, softly replied, "Thanks..." She entered the dome one more time and opened her own tricorder to scan the area around the last place she knew Anderson would've been. Detecting nothing out of the ordinary, she left the cargo dome once more. She spotted Lieutenant Kerr, the man temporarily placed in command of the Away Team.

"Lieutenant!" she called out.

Finchley heard his name being called and looked up to see and NCO heading towards him. As she approached he saw it was PO LaSalle "How can I help you Petty Officer?" he asked.

"It's Anderson, sir," she replied to the Lieutenant. "She... I don't know how, sir... but she's gone."

Finchley looked at the NCO for a few seconds, expecting more of an explination other than "I don't know how...but she's gone."

It wasn't going to be forthcoming so he knew he'd have to nudge her along a little bit "Can you explain what you were doing, and where, also the circumstances under how Anderson disappeared? I mean, I'd like to think my deductive powers are reasonable, but I flunked mind reading class so you'll have to forgive me for asking" he quipped.

LaSalle knew as an NCO she should've been more ready to speak with the Chief of Security, but she was still doing her best to shake off the shock of not just losing a crewmate but a friend. "We were in the Cargo Dome, sir," she replied, struggling to collect herself. "We were taking out the equipment containers. She was on one side, and I the other. I noticed she hadn't brought anything out in a while, so when I went looking for her, she was gone!"

She added, "I searched the Cargo Dome and couldn't find her. I checked with the guard outside and he said he didn't see her come out."

Finchley gave what LaSalle said some thought for a few moments then said "Well, as far as I can see, there's only three explanations for this occurrence. Once is that she's playing the worst timed game of hide and seek, two, she can walk through walls and has ran away and three, she was transported out some way. The first two can be discarded I believe, which logically leaves the transportation reason. Go back to the Mississippi and scan for any kind of transporter activity."

"Yes, sir," LaSalle replied. As she began to walk towards the runabout, her ears detected the familiar whine of an impulse engine. Looking up, she noticed a Type-11 Shuttlecraft heading their way. She also spotted Ensign Sherman, her supervising officer. "Ensign?" she asked, walking over the to the man, "Sir, I need some help. Crewman Anderson has disappeared, and Lieutenant Kerr wants me to use the Mississippi to scan the area. I don't have much experience filtering the magnetic field, so I was hoping you might be able to teach me."

Ensign Harold "Hal" Sherman was concern and disturb by the disappearance of crew member. He had been wondering things were going to easy, and notice the new arrivals, as they had travel toward the Mississippi.

Aboard the shuttlecraft, Spiner, Lieutenant Commander Beh'ruken was studying the recent intel that Captain Geisler had compiled before sending the Antican, Geisler's new First Officer, down to the planet where someone had apparently already gone missing. It was a disconcerting turn of events.

The trip from Black Hawk down to Altair IV was rather short jump, and the time felt like only a matter of minutes when Beh'ruken plunged his snout-like nose down, concentration on the PaDD that Geisler had given him.

When Spiner touched down, the tall canine looking Antican rose up from his seat and collected his equipment. He had little time before leaving the starship to replicate himself a new uniform. In stead, he was still wearing one his old uniforms from Carnwennan, a Science department teal.

Finchley watched as another shuttle touched down. As far as he was aware, there weren't meant to be any other shuttles authorized to come to the research facility, and he hadn't been told that there were, even by the imbecilic XO, though that didn't surprise him seeing as the man could hardly find his own arse with both hands behind his back.

Snapping his fingers, Finchley signaled for four of Baker team to take up position at the disembarking door of the shuttle ready for whoever, or whatever was about to come out.

"If they don't introduce themselves within five seconds of when the door opens ladies and gentleman, you're authorized to bring them down, and we'll deal with them later, we don't have time for this unauthorized bollocks" Finchley said matter-of-factly.

Baker team locked and loaded, then took up their firing positions, ready for the door to open.

Finchley turned to four other Baker team members and said, "About face and make sure whoever's in there doesn't think they're a smart arse by beaming themselves out of the shuttle and into the camp. Wide angle dispersal firing arc, again, if they try and don't introduce themselves within five seconds, you're authorized to bring them down and sin bin them!"

Lieutenant Commander Beh'ruken had been collecting the last of his supplies when he was alerted to the approaching security forces. idiots thought Beh'ruken as he swung his satchel around his shoulder, holstered a tricorder to his body. He opted to hold onto his phaser for the time being.

Hal and LaSalle both were about to board the Mississippi and both had witness the over reaction by the Security. Hal was bit amusement, since the Shuttlecraft approaching was from the Blackhawk. He and LaSalle moved to the control panel as he looked for known transporter signatures was negative, so he change the parameters to include other signatures that had been cataloged in the past. He had got an answer, but one that perplexed him since this particular signature had seen before. It had been seen in Alpha Quadrant on the other side of Federation several years before. Since he had observed that the Lt. Commander DeVries was walking toward Lt. Kerr, and he was the mission commander. Tapping his combadge, "Commander DeVries it appears that Crewman Anderson was transported out of the Cargo Dome with Transporter Signature that hasn't been recorded predates the Dominion War, and on the other side of Federation Space."

"Stand down, Lieutenant," Jason advised, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. "That shuttle is carrying some extra hands for the job down here."

Finchley chose to ignore the impertinent comment for the time being and instead turned to Ensign Pope, saying "If anyone interferes with this Security operation, or comments out of turn, arrest them and charge them with breach of Security. Place them onboard the shuttle Mississippi."

"Aye Sir, understood" Pope answered.

Not turning away from Kerr, DeVries tapped his badge. "Good work, Mr. Sherman." DeVries knew from the mission briefings and studying the limited information available on the planet that there was no way to scan past the surface or the atmosphere as the magnetic interference was far too strong. "Please report to the landing pad and share that information with Commander Beh'ruken. He may have some ideas on how to proceed."

He tapped his badge again to close the channel and looked at Lieutenant Kerr. "Lieutenant, I just finished speaking with the Captain. Seems Starfleet wants me elsewhere. This shuttlecraft has some scanning equipment and my relief. I'm sure you'll be pleased to be rid of me."

Before Finchley could answer, one of his Security team, Lt/jg Maxwell, came over to his Chief and said "Sir, I just double checked the work carried out by Ensign Sherman's' just now, and he misread the data. The transporter beam low band frequency wasn't checked by him, and the beam does correspond with a know Dominion transporter beam. It's not a long range beam Sir, it's localized, site to site, within, say, fifty or sixty miles of our current location. How the Ensign failed to see this is beyond me Lieutenant, it's a first year rookie academy mistake he just made."

"So, in your opinion, what harm could that have caused Lt Maxwell?" Finchley asked.

"We could have been chasing shadows in places nowhere near where Anderson could be Sir, it could have jeopardized our search for her, put her life in danger" Maxwell replied.

"Thank you for bringing this to our attention Lieutenant" Finchley said "Glad to see at least you were paying proper attention to the readings."

Turning back to Commander DeVries he said "No Sir, I'm not glad to see you go, we were just starting to get to know each other. If anything, I'll miss you're cheery disposition and our friendly chats. I wish you the very best in your new assignment Commander."

With that done, he saluted, dropped his hand back down to his side, nodded his farewell, stood back, turned round and said "Baker squad, stand down, go back to your previous assignments, all except you Lt Maxwell" he said turning to the officer from his squad. Saying it loud enough so the Chief of Ops could hear he continued "I want you to stick to Ensign Sherman like glue and double check everything he does. I don't want him making such a slovenly, rookie mistake again with anything, especially one that could potentially lead to being fatal. This time, because the mistake was caught and rectified quickly, we'll skip it for now, and we'll keep quiet about it, so as not to embarrass our Operations Chief because he couldn't do his job properly and Security Ops had to step in and do it for him."

"Always glad to help a fellow officer Sir" Maxwell said, moving to stand beside Ensign Sherman.

Lieutenant Commander Beh'ruken may have been dressed in his old banged up science department uniform, but the two solid and one hollow pip on his uniform were glistening as he disembarked from his shuttle, only to be met with his 'welcoming party' who had previously been armed and ready to shoot.

Beh'ruken snarled at them. He was not pleased with the warm reception. "May this be your first and last mistake" he bellowed as he lowered his pahser, holstering it and fetching the PaDD with his orders. "I'm looking for a Commander Devry or Lieutenant Kerr" demanded Beh'ruken.

After being directed where to go, the Antican approached. The tall canine like Antican did not bother to meet the stares and gazes at his appearance. "Lieutenant Kerr!" growled the Antican in a deep vocalization that meant business.

Finchley looked round at the sound of his name being called out, and nearly burst out laughing, but managed to keep a straight face.

He'd always found Anticans funny, and this apparition before him was no different.

Seeing the Lt/Commander pips on the dogs collar he said "I'm Lt Kerr Sir", and so wanted to add ~would you like me to find you a ball so I can throw it for you and you can play fetch?~ but instead finished with "how can I be off service to you?"

Beh'ruken glared at the man standing before him. Clearly, this man was the security chief. He reeked of it. "We could start by you informing me why your men were armed with their focus on a Federation shuttle from their own starship. However, we'll forgo that for the time being and get to the heart of the matter" the Antican said in a firm gruff tone bordering on a growl.

"Give me an up to date assessment of the situation. I would assume that you can at least provide that much, Lieutenant?"

Finchley looked at the recent arrival, and picturing the big pooch in his minds eye, all he basicaly heard was "Bow wow, wow wow wow, wow, wow! Bow wow wow, wow wow, wow, wow...Lieutenant?"

He relaxed back his stance slightly and said "Actualy Commander, Security protocol dictates that if an unauthorised ship enters an away team location, it must be investigated. Now, given the current situation we have down here with the research team missing, and also one of our own crew now disappearing, an unauthorised shuttle then suddenly appears unnanounced...I took the correct steps to have the unauthorised shuttle surrounded so we could try to ensure that the away team are kept safe and we could try to contain any possible trouble that could have ensued. Once I was informed by Commander DeVries that he'd received a communication to let us know who was on board the shuttle and why it was down here, I had the Security team stand down and return to carrying out their previous orders. I've done nothing wrong Sir, I've followed Security protocol to the letter. If you have a problem with this, please feel free to relieve me of my responsibilities to this away mission and I'll happily return to the Black Hawk and make a full report to Commander Geisler."

"I do not have time for arrogance and lip, Lieutenant. Leave your animosity in your quarters, it has no place in my presence" replied Beh'ruken in a firm tone. "If you were not aware that I was coming down, then I respect your choice of caution though it was a bit theatrical for my tastes" added the Antican.

"I have no objection to returning you to Blackhawk. However, you were brought down here with your men for a reason. Do your best to perform your duties to the best of your abilities, do not question my authority, and do not get in the way."

If the new Executive Officer wasn't so far up his own jacksy, Finchley thought he'd actually quite like this puppy, he had some cahoonas about him and it seemed some bark as well.

"Oh, there was no animosity or lip there Sir, it's quite obvious when I get lippy, and yes, an officer senior to you did bring me and my squad, as they should be referred to because we have women as well as men Sir, down here" Finchley smiled as he replied, not backing down just because the Antican was trying look fierce.

Turning away and tapping his COMM badge he said "Karadis!"

A moment later the reply came back "Karadis here Chief, what's up?"

"Golden showers two" was all Finchley said.

"Slight or pissing down Sir?" Karadis asked.

Turning back round and looking directly at Beh'ruken he spoke with a clear and level tone, saying "Oh, torrential CWO Karadis, absolutely torrential..."

"Understood Sir, I'll let my team from Baker squad know now, Karadis out" the CWO replied, then closed the link.

Turning back around Finchley said "I'll never question your authority Sir, however, you may wish to...rephrase, the 'getting in the way' comment, after all, protecting everyone is part of our duty, but if you wish to let everyone be on their own without our protection, so be it" and with that he turned around away from the XO and called out to his Baker squad team "Listen up Baker squad, team one. Protocol One Alpha is now rescinded on Commander Beh'rukens' orders, I repeat, protocol One Alpha is now rescinded on Commander Beh'rukens' orders. Pass it along the line when you meet teams two and three."

"YES CHIEF!!!" the team from Baker squad all called back in unison.

Once more turning around to face his XO he said "I best get back to why the CO called us down here Sir", and with that he walked away and his squad moved away with him to the far side of the camp to carry out the check of the third laboratory.

(( Laboratory ))

Harper had been busy breaking down the equipment and preparing everything for safe transport, a process that involved making sure that no tests were running nor were there results in a queue somewhere that had not been transferred to the ship's computers. For the most part, the work was easy and had progressed smoothly. Very little was operational, in and of itself a bit on the strange side, but then again, she wasn't a scientist and who knew what their work process was.

She missed it at first because she was busy, focused on her task; whispers along her nerve endings, barely discernible. Insistent and sibilant. Softly nudging at the edge of her shields. She had been kneeling, working on disconnecting the power couplers when she realized what was happening. She straightened and closed her eyes, head cocked slightly to one side as she opened her mind the barest crack.

Just a few moments of contact but it was enough. She hurried out of the laboratory and made her way back to the landing site and came to halt not far from where someone new stood, by his insignia, a Lieutenant Commander.

"Sir," she said in her softly melodic voice, "my apologies for interrupting but ... I'm sensing something. Unshielded minds."

Beh'ruken paused his conversation and turned abruptly on his heels. "Elaborate" responded Lieutenant Commander Beh'ruken sharply. "I'm all ears" he added with a small snort.

"There are others here. Not part of the landing party. I can sense them," she said as her brows furrowed and her gaze seemed to glaze over. "I ..."

((Elsewhere))

Anderson flinched, her nerves shocking her awake. Her eyes shot open, instantly blinded by bright lights. She moaned as she forced her eyes closed. Suddenly, from all around, pain set in. Pins and needles, as if her limbs had fallen to sleep and were being rudely awakened by fresh blood surging through her veins.

Slowly she opened her eyes and began to look around the bright chamber. Slowly her eyes adjusted to her surroundings, noting the sterile environment. She was in a circular room with recessed "scoops" in each wall. A metal slab and apparatus extended from each of the openings, almost like one of the biobeds found in any Starfleet Sickbay. In her dazed state, she looked more to her left to find similar alcoves, but these were covered with a giant, glass bubble. Bright lights were coming from inside them, but she could make out humanoid silhouettes inside each of them. Each bubble seemed to contain only one person, held in an upright position.

The pain in her left arm sharpened, causing a reflex to shoot up her nervous system and the rest of the arm to flinch, only to result in more pain. Anderson's vision momentarily blurred. She felt like she was intoxicated, but her nerves were certainly still very sharp. Groggily, she looked down to her left arm and was shocked to discover that several needles, wires and tubes had been attached to her arm, and were all held in place by a glass shell. She tried to move her arm only to learn that the pain was subsiding at last, along with the ability to sense anything with her arm.

Gazing down at the rest of her body, albeit slowly as her vision continued to be blurred, Anderson discovered that the same attachments had been placed all over her naked body.

"Wha...?" she asked, softly and clumsily, now noticing her tongue was numb.

Suddenly, the apparatus holding her jerked and then began to retreat from the center chamber.

"What's... happening...?" she managed to get out, adrenaline surging, starting to counter whatever sedative was trying to push her back under.

The apparatus repositioned her body from laying down to hanging straight up and down. In front of her, a bubble of her own appeared as if molten glass had been poured and molded by a very fast glass blower.

Bright lights came to life all around her, blinding her once more. Fighting to refocus and gain her sight, she looked down on her feet only to discover a milky liquid beginning to fill her alcove.

"Help!" she screamed, now having control of her mouth. She looked forward in panic and screamed, "Get me out of here! Help!"

As she continued to scream, a new apparatus clamped to her mouth, gagging Anderson as it inserted a long tube down her throat, causing burning pain as it went into her stomach. Another apparatus affixed itself to the base of her skull, inserting ten needles of its own. As Anderson's angry and confused mind slipped into unconsciousness, all she could remember was pain.


((Research Complex, Landing Pad))

Harper cried out and dropped to her knees, head bowed under the weight of the pain that slammed into her body. Moaning softly, she willed herself to open to the telepathic impressions. Deltan physiology allowed her to receive images as well as thoughts. While generally used for more pleasurable experiences, she opened herself now, riding the pain and listening as sweat beaded on her forehead and her fingers curled into claws.

"A woman ... Anderson ... yes, Anderson. Its not clear. She's confused ... she can't move. Not alone. There are ... others ..." Harper said softly. "She's in pain. I can feel her heart racing. The panic." Her voice changed taking on a different more frantic note. "Get me out of here! Help!"

Harper screamed, making retching sounds as her slender fingers clawed at her throat and pain blasted through her head. Eyes wide, blank and staring, she fell forward and slipped into unconsciousness.

Beh'ruken grabbed the woman as she fell Forward, taking her words to heart. He eased the woman into a secure embrace and tapped his communication's badge to attempt to connect with the starship.

"Commander Beh'ruken to BlackHawk. Captain, Lieutenant Dane has lost consciousness after receiving some sort of psionic message. She said something about an Anderson, a woman in pain. Please transport the Lieutenant directly to Sickbay. Do you have any additional orders?"

=/\= "I wish I could!" =/\= Harvey replied. =/\= "The magnetic interference is strengthening and we've lost all sensor locks we've had. I'm dispatching a medical team to you now. We've just recovered the cargo shuttle with one of the researchers on board. We've checked the logs and found they've been visiting a location some 50 miles northwest of your position. I believe we'll be finding our answers there." =/\=

Ensign Harold "Hal" Sherman seeing that the XO had his hand full, he motioned for Petty Officer Surak to help him with the Chief Engineer.

Petty Officer Surak rushed forward at the Ensign's order. Just before he could kneel to assist the XO, a bright light enveloped him, only for a moment like the strobe from a camera flash. When it was gone, so was Petty Officer Surak.

Harper came back to herself all at once and sat up, the fingertips of her left hand pressed against her forehead, as she struggled back up to a sitting position in time to see the petty officer disappear in front of her. She cried out, the words choked off as she saw him disappear. She struggled to regain her feet, even as her tricorder was out and scanning. "Distinctive energy signature but not Federation. He was beamed out. And I'm guessing it was the same people who are holding Anderson." She turned toward the commander. "She's being held somewhere. Restrained. And its invasive. Her thoughts were filled with the horror of what's been doing to her."

~TBC~

 

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