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That makes it a whole other situation.

Posted on Sun Jan 10, 2021 @ 5:35pm by Lieutenant JG Finchley Kerr & Lieutenant Commander Ethan Brash
Edited on on Sun Jan 10, 2021 @ 9:13pm

Mission: Episode 2: Rising Tides
Location: Shuttle Gemini/Orbital station
Timeline: MD 05
3594 words - 7.2 OF Standard Post Measure

"We read your approach, Gemini," a voice came through the shuttlecraft's comm system, "approach the station with caution. Remember that we're several minutes out if anything goes south. Good luck."

Normally, the ever-cheerful Ethan had a quip and a dren-eating grin at the ready. Instead, he almost droned his response, "Understood, Eagle. Gemini out." His red index finger tapped away at the armrest as he looked out the shuttle at the Cardassian station, it's ever-looming presence taking up more and more of the view.

"There's a small subsidiary access port we can dock at" Finchley said as they approached the station "I think it may be safer than using any of the main docking stations, you never know what surprises could have been left behind if this place was abandoned quickly...better putting safety first don't you agree?" he asked looking at Ethan.

A moment passed before he responded, "Yeah, good, good. Safety, first."

"Initiating docking appro..." Finchley got partway through saying before he stopped as a beam from the station shot out into space and visibly moved back and forth over their shuttle.

Finchley hands quickly over his console as he tried to ascertain what the meaning of the bean was. Finally, the shuttle computer shot the answer back at him "It's a scanner!" he called to Ethan, then as quickly as it had come, it was gone, leaving them to carry on with their docking maneuver.

Looking at Ethan, Finchley was at a loss as to what to say other than "It would appear we're being allowed to dock."

"Huh..." He rose from his mental slumber, his body following his mind as he walked towards the back of the shuttle. "Okay, then." He said, grabbing the helmet for his suit off the rack, "That's weird, but let's get the job done and ask what-the-frell later."

"I want to take precautions before we set one foot on that orbital station" Finchley said, the Security Officer part of his mind now taking hold "that scan was set for a reason, and the fact that no alarm bells have gone off, or no attempted automated communication has been made with us has the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end."

He to moved forward and took a helmet and a suit from the rack. Once he had it on though, he went back to his console and began looking for a way to interface with the on board station computer. After using a few algorithms he finally managed to isolate a link and he began downloading the docking port information. He want over it carefully, piece by piece till he was sure that everything was fine to proceed.

"The dock seems to be ok, but to be on the safe side, I suggest we take it easy moving from section to section" he said "something, I can't quite put my finger on it, but I've learned to trust my instincts and at the moment, they're telling me to be cautious."

"Yeah, I'll keep my eyes open." The helmet locked into place with a satisfying set of clicks. Ethan's hands dropped to the phaser rifle on the wall, pulling it in and keeping the tip pointed at the floor as he checked the power cell. "So, if we're done confirming how little we know and how little we can do about it..." His gruff straight-forward response was about as un-Ethan as it could be. "Let's get going."

It's not as if Finchley hadn't heard all this before, on numerous occasions, only most of those who had said it didn't live long enough to regret it.

"Sure thing Mr Wayne, you go right ahead and do whatever you want with the, you know...getting going" Finchley replied. Taking a phaser rifle himself, he to checked it over to see it was in working order, moved past Ethan then said "I'll stick to my approach."

[Orbital station, docking area]

Finchley carefully moved forward, the docking area had a lot of stacked boxes, as well as those that had fallen over and scattered around the floor when the inhabitants had left in a hurry. Holding out a tricorder in front of him, he swept it gently from side to side as he walked. Reaching what looked like the exit door, he noted that the power cell to the opening mechanism was dead. Opening an access panel in the wall next to the door, he looked inside and saw that the feed wires had become loose, so he put them back in and as soon as he did, the mechanism burst back into life. He crouched down, force of habit when entering an unknown area, and reaching up, he pressed the pad to open the door. With an audible hiss, the doors began to slide back, revealing the corridor beyond. Inching forward, he checked first left and up the corridor as far as he could see, then right, as far as he could see. The corridor was lit with a dim red light which pulsed ever so slightly. Standing up slowly, Finchley inched himself into the corridor, phaser rifle at the ready. This still felt odd to him...his stomach had that sunken feeling in it and his anxiety level was rising. Once again he began the sweeping motion with his tricorder, then stopped as something in the corner of his eye moved. By the time he looked, there was nothing there "You're getting jumpy in your dotage Finchley..." he said to himself.

Ethan caught up, almost backing into him. There was so little noise that the very sound of his heel clicking on the floor-grating seemed to resonate like a beacon. "What?" He asked in a hushed tone, "Did you see something?"

"I'm not sure...perhaps" Finchley said. He began moving up the corridor, left of where he'd exited the docking area, keeping his phaser rifle level in the crook of his arm whilst he kept an eye on his tricorder. After about twenty metres the readings on the tricorder began jumping up, there was something ahead...then the readings disappeared again. His instinct was to rush forward and see what was ahead, but he pushed those feelings down deep, caution was needed here, calm and precision, so he kept going at a steady pace. Once again the readings on the tricorder began to jump up and...a clunking scrapping metallic sound came from up ahead. Finchley instantly dropped to his knee, dropped the tricorder and trained his rifle on the end of the corridor.

With a slow deliberate action as he slowly stood again to move forward, he motioned to Ethan to take up position in the small doorway alcove to his left, where he'd have safe cover and be able to fire at anything that came down the corridor.

With a glance down the hall, Ethan noticed nothing in particular that caught his attention. He chose to move on his own, stepping through the doorway.

A single bolt of energy sounded from the far end of the corridor, followed by the sizzling noise of material being burnt to a crisp.

Ethan coughed a curse as he staggered back through the doorway, holding his shoulder. Another shot flew towards his head but barely missed as he fell back into place on his side of the doorway, across from Finchley.

Before Finchley could physically say anything to his companion, Ethan had moved through the doorway and not to the place of cover Finchley had gestured to. The phaser shot from down the corridor had happened so fast, all Finchley could do was watch as Ethan fell back through the doorway.

"Oh shiiiiiiiiiiit!" he said out loud and stood, firing down the corridor towards where the phaser bolt had come from. A single shot came back, but then nothing. Finchley dived across the corridor and back through the doors to where Ethan was. Crouching down he asked "Are you ok?"

Ethan removed his hand from the wound, looking it over. "Just a graze, I think."

"What the bloody hell was all that about, going out into the corridor like that" Finchley yelled "I motioned to you to go to the doorway alcove so you'd have cover in case there was something or someone down the corridor!"

"I didn't-" Ethan began, preparing an angry protest, his black spikey locks rocking forward with the movement of his head. "They were too-well hidden! If you had gone out there, first, you would've been shot, too!"

"I was out there!" Finchley retorted, then forcefully tried to make himself sound calmer "I was in the middle of the corridor, crouched down. I deliberately motioned to you to head for the alcove because instinctually I felt there was something there. You however decided to stroll out into the corridor without a care in the world. Tell me, were your thoughts somewhere else, was something distracting you, because you certainly weren't here on this station mentally?"

Ethan's eyes narrowed, shaking his head, "What are you talking about? I'm not distracted! I'm fully in control of my faculties!"

"REALLY???, You recon you're in full control of your faculties, so the walking out into the corridor, in plain view, was all a part of your master plan to find out if anyone or anything was there then. In order to prove your point, you thought you'd get yourself shot as well, just for good measure? My God, I thought there were times when I was insane, you've taken this to a whole new level of stupid. If there's a next time for us doing this, can we try it my way, you know, the 'not getting shot' way, it would certainly be very kind of you" Finchley finished sarcastically.

He looked down at his red hands. They were still gripped around the phaser rifle... and they were shaking. "Frelling dren." He cursed, closing his eyes for a moment. A deep breath moved in and out before his body began to relax, and his fingers released their white-knuckle death-grip around the handle. By the time his eyes opened again, his pupils were no longer dilated from the pain of the plasma burn, more focussed. The Eagle's Second Officer looked up at Finchley, "Ehem. Sorry. My bad."

"Lucky for you I have a small medi kit" Finchley said "Now let me have a look at that wound, see what I can do, in the meantime, tell me what the hell it is that's on your mind that has you so distracted...and don't bullshit me, I'll know!"

"Fine." Ethan huffed, his arm resting across his torso as Finchley began working on the injured shoulder. His crimson lips compressed, a distant look overcasting his gaze, which was fixed forward. "Starfleet Intelligence gave us the data we used to find this station." He explained, "but something... weird happened. We were in the astrometrics lab; the Captain was with us. They must have some sort of back door into all Starfleet ships, because my comm badge went off." He turned his head to look Finchley in the eye, "Not the ship, not the bridge, not the Captain... they sent the message through me." Ethan threw his free arm in the air for emphasis, "Why? Why bother? Why me? Maybe I'm making much ado about nothing, but I can't stop thinking about it!"

Finchley listened to what Ethan was saying, but didn't stop working on the wound. As he did so, he replied "Starfleet Intelligence would only have two reasons for doing something like that...they already know something puzzling about you and want you to know they do because they want to know more, or, something puzzling has come up you've come up in context to it, so they want to know what you're involvement is, again, they want you to know so that it puts you on the back foot."

Finishing up his patch job on the wound he said "The bleedings stopped and the wound...well, graze, is dressed as best I can as I'm just a field medic, but it'll keep you going till we return to the Eagle. I'd imagine your arm will be a little stiff, so look after it. I'm not going to give you a pain killer right now because I need you alert. If whoever or whatever it is who did this to you is going to be trying to kill us, you being groggy is the last thing I need. Oh, and in addition to what I said earlier about Starfleet Intelligence, it could also just be that they think you're a suspicious character and want you to know they're onto you.."

He watched as Ethan's raised his hand to gesticulate whilst answering, but quickly interjected with "I'm just know, a Doctors bedside humour."

He stood up and offered a hand to help Ethan stand, then added "Besides, why do you think Starfleet Intelligence as me to return to the ship!" he winked, picked up his phaser rifle and walked away laughing gently.

With a deep breath, the Eagle's Second Officer combed his blood-red fingers through his jet-black hair, fixing his looks. The light scraping of his fingernails over his scalp sent a warm tingle down his spine, and he twitched slightly in response before relaxing, again, his shoulder pain temporarily forgotten.

"Because they enjoy torturing me?" Ethan lightly mused under his breath, a little more of his perky self returning in a small smirk. Bringing his weapon back into proper position in his hands, he turned and moved to catch up to Finchley. The hallway was seemingly deserted, now, their attacker from before no longer haunting it with weapons fire. "You think they repositioned further in?"

"I think they're protecting something" Finchley said "so yes, they'll have repositioned themselves. I'll take the lead, let's see it if they have."

With that Finchley moved out into the corridor again. Taking a deep breath, he moved to the middle and started walking down towards where the firing had come from, but there was nothing. Finchley motioned for Ethan to follow, and soon, they found themselves down the end of the corridor and baring round a corner came to what seemed like a large set of double doors.

"Whatever's in there is what I think they're protecting," Finchley said "I guess there's only one way to find out. Can you see what you can do with the opening mechanism please, I'll cover the doors he said, kneeling down and training his phaser rifle dead ahead.

Ethan moved toward the side of the door, setting his rifle down and opening a small pouch on his utility belt. From it, he pulled several small tools. "Hey, Ethan, work on this science project!" He said mockingly under his breath, "Hey, Ethan, enhance the weapons!" The quiet sarcasm continued, "Hey, Ethan, be an engineer and open this door, would you?"

The work was done by the time he was done with his tirade, the locking mechanism giving off several loud clacks within the wall. Even Ethan himself was impressed with how quickly the job was done, raising an eyebrow at how little effort was needed. Maybe this extremely old tech was just not that sophisticated?

"Okay... guess that's that." He grabbed his weapon off the floor, moving to the side of the door, "Ready?"

"Ready" Finchley replied "but you need to rush the room, regardless of what may happen to me. One of us has to get inside kill or at least disable whoever or whatever is in there and find out what's so important that they're willing to kill to protect it."

"... hey, Ethan, be a marine and storm the castle!" The wounded Operations officer mocked once more before reaffirming his grip on the rifle.

The doors opened and phaser bolts came out thick and fast towards Finchley, though none hit him. He in turn fired back towards where the assailant fired from, not sure if he'd done any harm.

"Now Ethan!" Finchley called.

Whether it was the physical conditioning of a Starfleet life, the small frame that gave him speed, the wound-induced adrenaline pumping through him, or a combination of all the above, Ethan found himself sprinting across the twelve-meter size room in a flash. The enemy tried to compensate for his sudden appearance, he knew, as he could feel the change in plasma-bolt trajectories swinging his way; they were too late.

There were two of them on the second floor, and Ethan made sure to aim directly up as he came under the walkway. Several phaser rifle blasts made their way up and through the grating, sending sparks and metal pieces flying upward into the enemy. One of the bolts made direct contact with a shin, causing screams and a stumbling to the knee.

Ethan was still on the move, turning ‘round the bend of a console on the first floor and turning his weapon on another dark-armored foe. This one had been firing at Finchley, hoping to take him down before turning on Ethan, but didn’t succeed on either front. A pair of shots took him as his indecision led to his failure and unconsciousness.

The third and last assailant was on the second floor. Once he saw where the tide was going, he turned and ran. As he did, he dropped what looked like a grenade down onto the first floor.

“Frell!” Ethan said before interrupting himself and ducking behind the console.

A great pressure wave and loud bang spread throughout the room. Ethan was waiting for the shrapnel to fly, tensing in preparation… but nothing happened. He looked up over the console, slowly, only to see a black mark on the floor and some cosmetic damage to the surrounding equipment.

“Oh. Flashbang.” He sighed with relief, realizing that meant the consoles and their data would be intact. “Hey, I’m grabbing the data!” He said to Finchley as he stabbed a data-stick into the console, working furiously to find relevant archives, “Let’s just get out of here before they decide they had so much fun, they demand an encore!”

Finchley saw Ethan take two of the assailants down, and as the third looked to make their escape, he saw them drop what looked like a grenade. He sought cover behind a console opened his mouth and closed his eyes, waiting on the explosion and the compression wave to pass. Instead, there was a dull thud, and through his eyelids, he saw a split second of bright light then darkness again. Opening his eye's, he heard Ethan say it was a flash bang, so he once again got to his feet and pursued the last of the three people who'd been in the room. He saw them move around a console then make a run for the door and out into the corridor again.

"Shit!" Finchley said, knowing that once outside the room they were in, the assailant had free range to run for it. Straining ever sinew, Finchley ran as fast as he could to try and cut them off, and at the last moment he threw himself bodily to knock them off their feet. Both Finchley and his opponent went crashing to the ground. His opponent was up first and aimed a kick into Finchley's midriff. The air exploded out of his lungs as the foot connected with him side, but instinct kept him rolling till he hit a solid object and he managed to get up onto one knee. His opponent came at him again, and once more aimed a kick at Finchley, this time towards his head. Ducking, he heard the 'swoosh' as the opponents foot passed harmlessly over his head, then connect with the solid wall behind him. The opponent howled in pain and grabbed their foot, meantime Finchley stood up, punched his opponent and kicked their good leg from under them. Moving quickly he bore down on their chest and began pummelling punches furiously into their face "That's for shooting at us in the corridor...that's for making me have to listen to Ethan moan time and again about working for a living doing his job...that's for the flash bang...that's for making me chase you....that's for the kick in the ribs...and that's for making me have to recite all this so I can get it out my system!" he ended, his opponent now almost unconscious.

He picked up his rifle from the floor, put it over his shoulder, then picked his opponent up in a 'fireman's lift' and made his way back to Ethan. It was now time for them to get out of the orbital station and back to the Eagle. Finchley hoped that what information they'd been able to get would be helpful to the Captain in pushing the mission forward. One thing was for sure, 'if' the people who were here on the orbital station had been meant to check in whilst they were guarding whatever was in the computer core, when they didn't, others would come looking to find out why. Finchley put that to the back of his mind, one thing at a time, they needed to disembark first, then get safely back to their ship.

Once they were back on the Gemini, he secured his prisoner so they couldn't escape, undocked the shuttle from the station and set a course back to the USS Eagle.


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