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Underground, Part 2

Posted on 23 Apr 2014 @ 11:25pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant JG Harold Sherman

Mission: Echoes
Location: Altair System
Timeline: Current

[Elsewhere]

"Aahhhh!"

Anderson rolled on the floor, gasping for air. Her seat lay on the floor, with one of the pirates standing over it. He and his comrade had had enough of these Federation types looking for a way out. "This planet is property of the Golden Stars!" he exclaimed.

Immediately, the other three crewmembers of the Black Hawk stepped in front of the research team, though only two were security. Surak, the Andorian, was an engineer, but duty now called elsewhere. Even though there were rules in the system to prevent harm to one another, it seemed the designers didn't account for brute force.

Not one person in the room knew the particulars thus far of Anderson's conversation with the Away Team, only what she verbally spoke to everyone else just a couple minutes ago, "I'm talking to the XO!" she'd informed them.

As the ranking officer, Lieutenant Ellis took charge. "Surak, L'wreen, watch the other guy. I'll take this one. Elanor, look after Anderson. Turok, Richard, get back into that computer. Go!"

[Control Center]

Anderson's screen turned red immediately after her face disappeared. Her body, down below, began to twitch in her pod as a murky green liquid was inserted to the fluid that enveloped her body.

"Doctor!" Jason called out, hoping he could offer an explanation.

Geddon had been silent before, but not now. "We need to get her out of there, and get her out of there now." He cracked his knuckles, and moved to advance on the pirates.

[USS Black Hawk, Bridge]

"Bridge to Transporter Room!" ordered Commander Geisler after slapping his badge. "Get a lock on Crewman Anderson and beam directly to sickbay!"

=^= "I can't, sir!" =^= replied the Transporter Chief with a frustrated tone. =^= "I have clear signals on the Away Team, but I can't distinguish Anderson from the other captives. There's too much interference!" =^=

[Control Center]

For once, Jason enjoyed the benefits of an open comm channel as he was able to keep up with events on the Black Hawk. He peered out the window, looking below for an entrance. He found none. "I'm going to blast through this window," he told the Doctor, pulling out his phaser and setting it for a wide beam. We'll have to repel down to get to Anderson. You ready?"

Just then, another terminal flickered, and a Vulcan face appeared on it. "This is Turok." His voice was expectedly calm for a Vulcan. "The pirates have assaulted Crewman Anderson. Your team is fighting to protect us in here, though I believe their efforts will be in vain. We were told harm could not be inflicted one another. That claim now appears to be false."

Sherman was little confused, for Anderson body was obviously in the Pod here with the computer terminal, yet it seemed she was elsewhere too. This was very complicated he need to know more, "Turok, are you telling me 'Anderson' has been harm there?" As Sherman was trying to sort it out mentally.

Now that he had spoke the question he could place it in the back, "'Turok' can you tell more of the situation, and fill in some of the blanks. So you were told that no harm would come to you, but it some in the party you have been with had other ideas!" This part had verified part of what Sherman had believed up to this point. There must be some Holographics working with all of this. His guess was the the real bodies were in the Pods due to the intricate interface connected to them.

"Our minds, rather our consciousness, has been uploaded into a central unit," Turok explained. "We were all made aware of the rules, but the rules were changed the moment Crewman Anderson hacked into the central unit. Perhaps it was how the pirates forcibly removed her from the central unit that is causing her harm."

Sherman frown, "Well that could be, do you have any idea who these pirates are? They uploaded your consciousness!" Sherman was still trying to digest it all, "So any idea why your bodies are kept in the pods?"

"Logic would preclude that either we can be returned to our bodies or for some reason our bodies are still needed in this construct." Turok paused, considering the situation. "I apologize. I'm afraid I'm not nearly as skilled as Crewman Anderson, but I know a bit about magnets. Perhaps we can use the shield grid to disrupt the integrity of the weapon."

Sherman then realized how distracted he had been, "Yes the shield grid, maybe we can set it up to work similar to this weapon system as the magnetic interference we encounter when we enter the system. Turok can you bring up specification without raising the any alarm?"

Turok was silent as he attempted to do so. It took nearly a minute, but before long specifications were displayed in front of Ensign Sherman.

Sherman looked over the specification, as he looked over them he let out a low whistle. Why would an advance race have built in, for the destruction of their weapons, in such a matter. Sherman knew the answer was simple, in case hostile forces had somehow connected to the Weapons System. It amazed him how the entire system worked.

"Heads up!" Jason called out. As soon as everyone ducked, he pointed his phaser at the window and fired a short burst. It vaporized instantly, leaving behind absolutely no debris. He then led the doctor through the window, down the wall and onto the base floor. Indicating Crewman Anderson's pod, he adjusted his phaser settings and pointed at the pod. "This shouldn't hurt her, right?" he asked, waiting for the doctor's permission to open the pod.

"It better not," The Doctor growled, "Or I'll be hurting whoever put her in here." He pulled out his tricorder, scanning the tank to see what the safest way to remove her was. "Let's see how to get my new patient out of this tub…"

Jason took a look at the edge of the pod, looking for a seal to maybe pry loose. Glancing back at the tank, he noticed the murky fluid getting darker. "Doctor?" he asked, hoping he had a solution.

[USS Black Hawk]

"Captain..." Harvey looked to Lieutenant Carmichael who had returned to the bridge shortly before the CAG arrived. "In spite of the heavy interference, I got a good look at those weapons. It looked like they're drawing power by siphoning energy from subspace. A couple well placed antimatter explosives should be enough to destabilize the primary gun and ripple through the entire field."

Turning to Operations, Harvey asked, "Is the magnetic interference still active near the weapon?" The ensign nodded an affirmative. Tapping his combadge, the captain ordered, "Bridge to Lieutenant Sheldon. Scramble everything you've got. Set the torpedoes to remote control and we'll detonate them from the bridge. You've got 30 minutes."

[CAG Flight Ops]

Sheldon and the pilots who were on the flight deck were just going through a briefing, with the 4 pilots on the flight deck viewing it from their birds. Sheldon responded to the order, "Aye, Squadron is set in motion to scramble with torpedoes with remote control to detonate from the Bridge remote command. 30 minutes mark now on when we have to launch. Should be less time than that."

He turned to the Briefing Officer for him to do short version of the briefing since all the pilots were already in flight gear. This was more for the junior pilots, but it was good practice for all to go over what they were expected to do. Each Division Leader and Flight Leader would go over finer points with their wingman.

[Bridge]

"What about Anderson?" Harvey asked, walking over to the railing near the Operations station. "Surely there's something we can do to beam her out of there."

"We could send down a set of transport enhancers," the ensign offered. "That could be enough to pull her out of there."

"Do it." Harvey looked back to the viewscreen and tapped his badge. "Geisler to DeVries. You've thirty minutes to get whatever you need and get out of there. Have Ensign Sherman identify the weak points of the weapon and transmit the information to the CAG. We're sending down some transporter emitters to help you retrieve the captives."

[Control Center]

"Acknowledged," Jason replied, tapping his badge.

Meanwhile, above them, Turok posed a thought. "Mister Sherman. If our bodies are still functioning, perhaps there will be some sort of override to purge our collective consciousnesses from this computer system." It was only logical. Considering there had been an active weapon in this system for centuries, it was odd that no one had ever the opportunity to use it. No bodies or evidence biological decay had been discovered on the planet. Whoever was here last either left in a quick hurry, or was somehow vaporized. And, surely whoever was elected to merge with the computer was also meant to be removed from it.

Sherman listen and he agreed, "I have been assume as much myself. Yes, I have asked myself what happen to the people who built this complex and weapons system. We can only hope that you all will be released little worse for wear. Well we are waiting for them to attempt to destroy the Weapons system, then we will go from there."

"Leaving us in this system may be unwise," warned Turok. "I have uncovered some data on the power source for both the planet and the weapon. It seems the designers have a fail safe in place should the weapon fail. This installation will self-destruct if the weapon goes."

=^= "I heard that." =^= came Harvey's voice over the comm. =^= "Ensign, you have got to get everyone out of there. You have thirty minutes." =^=

The Ensign could feel the pressure mounted, =^= "Sir if we have transporter lock on everyone in the Pods?"=^= Then turning to,"Turok we need to find a way for the everyone who wants to be downloaded back to your bodies. Otherwise..." He knew Turok knew what would happen. As they worked to find a plan.

[Flight Deck]

Sheldon and the rest of Squadron had were walking to their respective fighters. Each pilot took minute or two to walk around their bird as custom dictated, the only time this wasn't done, was during extreme emergency. They had been order to scramble, but the Black Hawk wasn't in danger of attack. It was one of the things Sheldon learn early, you try to do every mission the same, even though they only did quick walk around, it was to keep the pilots in practice of looking over their aircraft. It was their lives that depended on them. They began settling into their birds one by one.

As the last of the pilots were settled in, there were 12 Fighter Captains, one out side every bird. The pilot and the Fighter Captains exchange a salute after each bird was powered up, the Fighter Captain walked away and signal to the Chief Safety Officer to let him know they satisfied that their bird was ready. At the same time messages were sent by the pilot and Chief Safety Officer letting Flight Operations and the Flight Boss know they were ready. Once the Safety Officer had ensure the Flight Deck personnel were in safe area of the deck, he signal to the Flight Boss that force field could be activated that would allow Deck Hatch to be open. Then the process of launching 12 fighters would start.

For training missions it took usually 10 to 15 minute to launch the Squadron. In a outright Scrambled it could be done in under 3 minutes safely. For this mission it took 6 minutes, since it was the first time the entire Squadron was being used, training in the flight simulators was now taking over. The Divisions and then the Squadron formed up and were heading out for their mission. Each Division had been assigned targets, and they would attempt to hit their targets at the same time as safely as possible. No one knew how the computers at the Control Center on the planet would react, they were working on the assumption that all the System need to operate to protect this system too. Sheldon hoped so deep down.

[The mining mission]

The Squadron formed up by Flights, then by Divisions, and then by the Squadron. The flight to the Squadron Rally point was uneventful, before the Division split up to head to Division rally points. Each Division Leader took their Flight to plant their mine via torpedoes while the 2nd Flight of the Division would loiter around the Division rally point keep eyes out to protect the attacking flight. Once the Divisions Leaders Flight were done the 2nd Flight would take their turn. It went very well Red Two Two a problem with targeting, but after reset the system it seem to work.

The Divisions formed up at the Division rally point. Then they each headed out Squadron rally point. At the rally point Lt Sheldon asked for Division report. Each Division Leader ordered the same with their Flight Leaders. Soon Lt Sheldon and the CAG-Flight Control knew of all concerns. The Squadron started off to Black Hawk. Flight Boss called back Lt Sheldon with the order in which Red Division and Red Flight Two would land first.

[Flight Operations]

The recovery took longer than launching, and finally Lt Sheldon was the last one to land. The Pilots were filing into the into the Squadron Briefing Room. Lt Sheldon turned in his side armed and talked to the Briefing Officer. The debriefing would go on he stayed listen for few minutes. After a Sheldon obtained what information he felt important he headed to the Bridge. He stepped onto turbo lift going to the bridge.

[Bridge]

Harvey turned to the turbolift doors as they opened. The Bolian's expression was all Harvey needed. The Captain nodded to the Operations officer to reopen the channel to the Away Team. "Geisler to DeVries. The mines are ready. I hope you are too."

[Control Center]

"Not quite," Jason quickly responded. In the last thirty minutes, their situation hadn't changed. Despite setting up the pattern enhancers, Crewman Anderson was still in her pod. The murky liquid had begun to clear, and hopefully that was a sign of her vitals stabilizing.

Hearing a strange sound, Jason spun around to see the eleventh pod activate. A transporter beam gave way to reveal Petty Officer LaSalle, whom had returned to the Black Hawk with the remainder of the engineering teams who were just ordered to abandon their mission. She was laid out, unconscious, on a thin table and tubes began to penetrate her body, head to toe.

Jason took aim at the largest piece of equipment. "Doctor, please tell me I can shoot that!" He desperately wanted to fire at the mechanism, but he wanted to make sure it would not harm LaSalle in the process."

The Bajoran doctor looked down at his tricorder. "Her vitals are nothing like the others. She must not have been downloaded yet."

"That's good enough." Jason squeezed the trigger. A bright orange beam lanced across the room and struck the mechanism. It exploded, showering debris and sparks around the room.

Instantly, the lighting went red and an alien voice began to echo throughout the pod room and the control room above. Turok began to speak to Ensign Sherman, attempting to give an update to the situation, only to be cut off at the first syallable. His face disappeared from the screen as did all of the information from all of the nearby monitors.

Down below, all of the ten occupied pods began to drain their fluid.

"What's going on?" Jason asked just as the Doctor began his report.

"Their vitals are returning to normal!" announced Doctor Geddon. Within a couple of minutes, each pod had opened on their own, freeing each of their captives. As they were still unconscious, Geddon quickly revived Turok and moved to inspect Anderson.

"Commander DeVries," Turok groggily said, sitting up. "This facility is self destructing."

"Say no more." Jason tapped his badge. "DeVries to Black Hawk. Get us out of here."

[Bridge]

Harvey kept his gaze on the Operations officer until he had confirmation that the Away Team and everyone else was aboard. It was just in time too. Sensors picked up a massive explosion under ground, causing a massive collapse of a 200-mile diameter of the surface, including what was left of the Research Team's base.

"And the weapon?" he asked, expecting the confirmation that it was indeed still active. "Arm the mines, set for thirty-second countdown. Helm, set a course for New Bajor, Maximum Warp."

Harvey remained standing, watching the viewscreen as the ship went to warp. He did not move a muscle, even for a full minute after the tactical officer reported the mines had detonated, taking the ancient weapon with them. He left the bridge to the Tactical officer and moved into his Ready Room. Avoiding the desk, Harvey moved directly to the forward viewport to watch the stars streak by.

In one afternoon... he oversaw the destruction of the remains of an ancient civilization. He saved his crew, and citizens of the Federation. But that didn't make him feel better.

"What have I done...?"

 

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