Getting Out of A Jam
Episode 4: Fires of Arcadia
Location: Transporter Jammer Array, Promenade Pier
Timeline: After "I Have a Bad Idea"
Having made their way a good distance from the bar the trio of officers had somehow managed to avoid any nasty surprises. Dante could only figure that the infected were far more worried about gaining and keeping control of the Starfleet presence than they were about any civilians, so those areas given over mostly to civilian interests were being fairly well ignored. That wouldn't last though, he knew that. As they approached the building that would contain the computer access to the systems they needed for their assigned roles he held up his hand. He'd just spotted someone in a red Starfleet uniform.
"Security guard, nine o'clock.", he said, crouching down and motioning for the others to do the same. "I was hoping to make it without alerting anyone, but that doesn't look like it's going to be possible. I'm going to at least see if I can make sure he's alone, and take care of this as quietly as possible.", he added.
Moving slowly, maintaining his crouch, he crept further along until he had the security officer well in sight. Even from a distance, and facing away, Dante knew the man had been chosen for security for a reason. He was heavily built and carried himself like a professional fighter. Thankfully he was also alone. Bringing his phaser up he took aim and fired. The bright beam of charged particles slammed into his upper back and staggered him forward into a bulkhead. He'd aimed well and as he slid down to crumple on the floor he made no further moves. Keeping his eyes trained on the head he waited and kept aim. Seconds later the parasite wriggled out of the man's mouth and began to skitter towards Dante. A single phaser blast disintegrated it. He remained in the area for a few minutes more, wanting to make good and sure the man hadn't had any backup, or relief close by. When he was satisfied he left just as carefully as he'd come.
All told it had taken less than five minutes. As he rejoined the others he saw the looks on their faces. "He was alone, we can move out.", he said. He'd never had to kill someone before, and it was gnawing at him, but he'd have to face that later when everything was done. Now was not the time.
Without trying Ian could sense the emotions rolling off the other man. He didn't know what had transpired, but he could tell something was wrong. "You okay?" he asked.
Claire followed behind the group closely. She was armed now, but she didn't know how much good that would do her. She barely had passed her previous phaser trainings and she certainly wasn't combat ready. As the slunk into view of the guard, she looked down at the man. She hated this. These used to be their fellow officers. And now, for their own safety, they'd been forced to dispatch them without pause. "Our terminal is going to be in that building," she said, pointing toward the ornate structure that the guard had been assigned to.
It wasn't going to be a safe building to infiltrate. Walls of windows on every side ensured that they'd be both on display and exposed to fire from outside. They'd need to make this fast. It appeared empty, but she wasn't sure she wanted to take that chance. Her hands were already shaking from the continuous stress of just being outside like this. "I'm not picking up any life signs in there on my tricorder, but I'm not sure I trust that," Claire said, looking at the other two. "Lieutenant Acainus, you're a telepath, right? I don't know exactly how your abilities work but can you...sense them, I guess?"
Ian nodded at her and closed his eyes briefly to focus, "Yes, I am a telepath, I can tell you there's four of them and their emotions are all wrong so I'm pretty sure they're all infected. But I can't give you a precise location. Your tricorder is better at that."
"Not right now it's not," Claire said, hitting the side as if that would solve anything. Whatever men were there, they were going to have to deal with them without advance information. "So what do we do?"
"We push on. There isn't a whole lot more we can do. Just stay down, and find cover anywhere we can, but be ready to have to fight our way through. I don't think it's going to be easy no matter what.", Dante replied. "Let's head out.", he added, moving forward as stealthily as he could.
The trio crossed the open area, making it to the building containing their target, the transporter inhibitor. The door opened with a slight creak, but otherwise silently. Claire snuck ahead, getting to the terminal. "It's still active," she said, punching up the commands she'd need. "I'm going to need a moment or two to work my way through the system firewall. Keep an eye out, ok?"
"I'll watch the inside," Ian suggested, "do you want to watch our six Dante?"
"That's fine, Lieutenant.", Dante replied. Looking to Claire he nodded, "Keep down, and don't try to be a hero. If they start shooting let us handle it. Your job is the most important.", he said, and then turned to watch the way they'd come in. Truthfully, he knew that the resistance to them would likely come from inside the building, but there was always the possibility of someone sneaking up from behind as well. Something about this seemed a little bit too easy to him, and he hoped it was just a bout of pessimism creeping up on him.
“Got it. I’ll keep my head down. Wouldn’t be much use in a firefight anyway,” she said with a chuckle, reaching into her jacket pocket and retrieving a small data chip. “My program is working its way through the firewall, but it’ll take a bit. Starfleet isn’t exactly skimping on security. I think we’re about another minute away from me having access to the system controls.”
Ian had sensed anger and hatred before, more than once, but when the parasites infected someone it raised both emotions in their victims exponentially. And right at that moment, he could feel a whole pack of those emotions coming their way.
He pulled his phaser and announced, "We're going to have company in about ten seconds."
"Get down!", Dante yelled at Claire. As he'd turned to focus on Ian he'd noticed something she couldn't have from her position. If he'd been even half a meter closer, or further away he'd have missed it. Inside the console, a small red light had begun to flash, and he recognized it instantly. "That console was rigged for tamper alert. You tripped the alarm.", he added, scooting closer.
"Lieutenant Acainus, head for that small passageway.", Dante said, pointing towards a narrow hallway of some sort that led at an acute angle away from the area they were in. "It looks like it will give us at least a little bit of a chance to see how many people are headed our way before the fighting starts. I'll cover you from here in case you don't make it in time. Keep the ensign safe, she's our best bet at taking the jammer offline. If all else fails find and take out the entire control system for it.", he finished, pushing Claire towards the other man and hunkering down beside the console.
Ian didn't know a lot about security protocols, but he knew enough to follow instructions. "This way," he offered as he moved towards the corner. He lowered himself down on his haunches and peeked around the corner. There were five, burly looking men coming towards them and they were almost upon him. He put one hand behind him holding up five fingers. He then peered around the corner again firing his phaser.
Hey may not have been the best shot with a phaser, but he couldn't really miss this close. The phaser had been sent to kill. It did its job on the lead attacker.
The second, however, rounded the corner, grabbed him around the neck lifting him up effortlessly.
Dante saw the blur of motion as the other man was attacked. It was almost effortless for the infected officer. Raising his phaser he fired directly at the man's head and watched as the lieutenant was dropped to the ground. In the time it had taken him to do that he'd seen another four, probably those Acainus had sensed, enter from behind them. Darting forward he helped the fallen man up, and pulled Claire to her feet, dragging them forward. Sighting his phaser he fired at the closest of the infected, the close-range shot lifting him off his feet and burning a hole through his torso as it sent him flying.
Ducking into the corridor he'd headed them towards he looked to Claire. "Can you tell with your tricorder if the program has done its job?", he asked. While he waited for her to check he turned back, his phaser held at the ready. Seconds after they reached the relative safety he saw one of the infected peek out from around a console and fired. He didn't hit him directly, but he saw him jerk back as pieces of the console exploded off in a brilliant eruption of superheated metal and glass.
The science officer pulled out her tricorder, checking the display. “It’s still working. I’m going to need another minute or two!” A shower of sparks just inches from her indicated a phaser blast that had pierced through the wall. She had to shout over the sound of energy weapons fire. “I don’t have control yet, but if I can get to the console I can overload the system and fry the jamming device. It’s not a perfect solution, but it should work.”
Dipping his head out he saw the other infected officers in various places. He didn't know if he could see all of them, but there were still at least four. He'd taken out one, and Acainus had done the same. "Alright, let's get it done. Acainus, to the right, I'll go to the left, you stay behind us both. Once we get to the console we'll each take a side and cover you while you work. I hope you can do it crouched down because we are going to need as much cover as we can get. If you can't we'll have to figure it out as we work.", he said.
Just as they were about to head out a stray phaser blast slammed into the wall beside him, inches from being a direct hit to his right shoulder. He felt the searing heat, and a wave of pain as a section of the bulkhead was blasted away, shrapnel shredding the sleeve of his shirt, and tearing into the skin, and muscle underneath. Leaning back against the wall he grunted and screwed his face up in a rictus of pain. "Shit...", he muttered and gritted his teeth. "At least it wasn't my left, I can still shoot. Let's get moving.", he added. As he moved every jolt was agony, but he knew if they didn't succeed the pain as only going to get worse, and it wasn't going to be just him experiencing it.
Claire cringed at his injury. It looked bad. Not out of commission bad, but it was undoubtedly painful. The situation was getting worse and fast. "Ok. I'm going!" Diving out from behind cover, she rushed to the center of the terminal, doing her best to manipulate the device from a crouch. As the two men took position, she shouted. "It should be just about 30 seconds!"
Dante sprinted to cover her while she worked, and was glad he had. Just moments after both him and Acainus had taken up position a previously unnoticed infected officer leaped over the console, displaying the extra power they had in doing so. As he thudded down he turned and kicked Dante, sending him sprawling, and tumbling the phaser out of his hand.
Landing on his injured arm Dante screamed and saw dark spots in his vision as the pain washed over him. Channeling the emotions the pain brought up he tried to stand, only to feel a brute force punch to his face, whipping his head around. Collapsing to the floor, giving the illusion that he'd passed out. He was hoping to get the man to leave him alone long enough so he could get back to his feet.
It worked better than he'd expected, and he was able to open his eyes just enough to see him turning his attention to Acainus who had been laying down suppressive fire to keep the others at bay. Moving nothing but his eyes Dante found the phaser a couple meters away against a planter and began to formulate a plan.
Ian had only hit one of the other attackers, but he has been keeping them at bay, but then his phaser began to lose some of its power. lessening its effectiveness. He dropped it and pulled his own weapon, an Akadian sonic pistol. It wasn't nearly as deadly as the Federation phaser, but it was full of charges and he had an idea. He was adjusting it to its highest level when he sensed one of the infected officers right on top of him.
Normally, he was far quicker than a human and would have been able to sidestep the man's attack. But he wasn't quite quick enough and for the second time in just a few minutes he found himself in the grasp of an attacker, but this time he was grabbed in a bearhug instead of around the neck.
Claire barely ducked out of the infected man's way. Unfortunately, she couldn't help them even if her efforts wouldn't be useless. Regardless of their own survival, she needed to take down this emitter. A moment later, her program took hold, causing a shower of sparks as it flooded the jamming device with a ton of extra energy and frying its circuitry. "Got it!
Getting off a shot on one of the other approaching infected Dante nodded. "Good job.", he said. " Now, get behind me. I'm going to try to help Acainus get free and I need you to watch for any of these sneaky bastards trying to catch us off guard. Be on the lookout for the best way out as well.", he replied.
As he got closer he noticed that his fellow officer was rather pinned down in the crushing grip of the infected officer. And no matter what he did to try to get a clear shot he kept maneuvering to keep Acainus in place as a shield. Looking around for anything that might be of help he saw the device that he'd been trying to use when he'd been grabbed. He had no idea what it was but he picked it up, assuming it was some sort of weapon the other man thought might work.
Aiming it at the floor and pressing the button on the device he immediately dropped it as an ear piercing noise was emitted from the barrel, filling the space with its painful sonic blast. The effect on the infected was instant. He quickly released Acainus and clapped his hands over his ears, as did all the others, many tumbling from hiding places around the room.
"Run!", he bellowed, hoping Claire had found them a way out.
A red phaser bolt slammed the large infected man mid-chest toppling him to the ground. Claire had retrieved a phaser from one of the downed infected men, and to her own amazement, had found the courage to pull the trigger. "This way!" She waved the two men out of the room and down a winding side hall that spilled into an alley. Claire pulled out her communicator. "Lafayette to anyone who hears me. We've disabled the transporter jammer and need immediate evac. I repeat we need immediate evac!" They were just about to round the corner when a bolt managed to clip Claire's calf, sending her sprawling to the ground with a scream, though thankfully behind the corner.
Ian who was following close behind the woman with more than a bit of admiration for both Claire having hit the man and Dante for thinking of using his sonic pistol. He saw Claire fall, dove around the corner then knelt down so he could examine her.
Claire wasn't exactly used to combat injuries. Or pain of any kind for that matter. She writhed on the ground, clutching at her leg and gritting her teeth to avoid continuing to announce their location. She attempted to get back to her feet, but that was not happening. "Ahhh!" She cried out a second time. "I...I can't walk like this. You should go." She very much did not want them to go, but she'd felt like that was what she was supposed to say in this instance. She'd just slow them down after all, and she'd outlived her usefulness for the objective. Maybe the parasites would just capture her if she surrendered?
"Absolutely not, Ensign. I'm not okay leaving anyone behind.", Dante called over his shoulder as he used his phaser to fire at an approaching infected officer.
"Lieutenant, can you get her on her feet? I can't bend my arm enough to help her up, but she can still use me to help her stand and move once she's already up. We need to get out of here or none of us are getting back to the ship.", he added, keeping his phaser pointed ahead and crouching down to give them less of a height to get her up to.
Akadians were quicker than humans, but they were weaker. But he wasn't going to bring that up now. "I can carry her if I have to," he said before turning back to Claire. "Let's do this, Ensign, but let's see if you can walk leaning against me. Put as much weight on me as you need to. He took her by the arm trying to pull her to her feet.
Claire rose shakily, clinging desperately to each of their shoulders as they pulled her to her feet. This was going to be very slow going. She tested her leg again, but it would support no weight. Still, she was glad to have not been left behind. They hobbled forward, cutting through a store to cover ground more quickly.
But exiting the store, they came face to face with a guard, phaser drawn. He sneered. “Hah. You thought you could outpace us like that. Don’t make me laugh.”
With almost all of Claire's weight hanging on his injured side, and the sheer exhaustion coursing through him from the ordeal they'd just been through Dante felt a wave of despair pass through him. As he tried to raise his phaser to fire the man slapped it out of his hand and shook his head. "I'm sorry.", he said to the other two, squeezing Clair a little tighter to his side for any little bit of comfort he could give her before this all came to finality.
Suddenly, a grinding whirring sound filled the air. And an instant later, they were no longer looking at the storefront and armed guard, but at the dimly lit transporter room aboard Defiant.
Captain Reynolds, soaked and bearing numerous wounds herself, was seated at the transporter controls.
“Welcome home, guys,” she said with a tired smile. “It’s good to see you, but I’m going to need you off the transporter pad. We have a lot more people inbound.” She glanced at the three of them. “And I’ll get us all some medical attention soon.”