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In the Midnight Hour

Posted on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 @ 3:33am by Rear Admiral Yasin Elria & Commander Galatea & Lieutenant Rrawran & Minister Zehoi D'ian & Director Esoria sh'Vreshaa & Captain Ryan Walsh & Captain Nathan Bishop & Commander Nathan Hawkins & Commander Jasmine Haynes & Lieutenant Commander Patton O'Sullivan & Lieutenant Dylan Blake & Lieutenant Bissiv th'Zaanaq & Lieutenant Cyrus Marner & Chief Petty Officer Harris Zim

Mission: When They Come for Me
Location: Zletha Colony
Timeline: 0000-00-64, 00:00

Zletha Colony Docking Bay 327, like most hangars, was a colossal open space with an expansive open portal to the outside world. In the distance the waves of Svian lapped against the base of the artificial structure as a storm raged in the distant night sky. The walls and decks were lined with various power sockets where the visiting vehicles could be fueled before departure. Directional markings were etched into the floor that were illuminated by the tower to guide ships toward a safe resting place. Tractor beam generators were built into the ceiling that could help guide craft with inertial dampeners available to cushion landings. A large lift was available in the center of the bay to transport vehicles, equipment, and people into the barracks, workshops, garages, and supply rooms located below.

Lieutenant Zehoi sighed as she checked the tricorder readouts from her TriCOM badge. Her fingers probed through the holographic displays that hovered above her displayed a full schematic of the Zletha Colony, but the scans were heavily refracted by the region being flooded by thoron particles. The tricorders were useless, the equipment not being able to gather readings further than a meter away. Everything else was distorted, including their transporter signatures.

"They've engaged sensor jammers," the Orion woman explained. "We can't scan further than a meter away from us and transporters are out of the question too. Are we sure about this?"

Zim kept his weapon at the ready and his eyes darting about. This whole operation was going from bad to worse. Zehoi's report only reiterated his thoughts from earlier. The Admiral was an acceptable loss.

"We have our orders, let's proceed with caution. Well the best we can, given our situation." Jasmine called out, as she looked to the others. Trying to rally them up. She was just as concerned as them. But she was trying to protect strength and confidence to them.

“Commander Haines is right.” Patton spoke up. “We have been in jams worse than this let’s just move forward, we can do this.”

In the distance of the hangar bay a single door slid open against the far wall, a dim light shinning through as shadows moved passed. From the open portal three Emerald Chain Regulators stepped forth dressed in their imposing suits of black armor and nondescript helmets. All three were armed with the Antiproton pistols favored by the members of the Emerald Chain and were in tactical stances monitoring for any threat to their mission.

Then they saw her. Coming next through the door, shackled with braces on her hands, Vice Admiral Yasin Elria was the pinnacle of class and elegance despite her imprisoned state. Her long red hair was a bit disheveled - so much so that the black streak common of a Rutian woman was practically invisible - though she maintained a dignified stance as she walked. Three more Regulators followed close behind.

"There she is," Rrawran indicated as the prisoner was being escorted toward an Emerald Chain vessel. "Orders?"

Bishop watched as Admiral Elria walked shackled and her hands bound. "By the numbers, Get the Admiral. Prevent her from boarding the Emerald Chain ship."

That was their cue. Rrawran made a fist and then an upward open palm to activate the holoPADD function of his TriCOM. Using his clawed fingers he got into the remote sequence of controls and activated their little surprise. After they arrived he had returned to the Docking Bay to carry out his part of the assignment. Finding a small transport, he hacked into its control functions and drew up a little surprise. Pressing the holographic control stud he released their little surprise. "You may want to cover your ears."

Cyrus plugged his ears as what was instructed, it seemed there was going to be a big boom.

Not too far from the Emerald Chain scout one of the parked vehicles erupted into an immense ball of flame that rocked the entire deck. Smoke billowed from destroyed shuttle throughout the bay, obstructing their view in a smokescreen.

"Alright everyone, you know the drill! get the Admiral out of here and to the Enterprise while we have the time and surprise on our side." Bishop told the group even as he laid down covering fire to get Admiral Elria to safety.

The Andorian Lieutenant nodded, he hoped he knew the drill. He'd read all the literacy about away teams and rescue missions before the mission but he was still an untrained officer.

Taking upon himself ensure Biss came back with all him limbs attached having promised to teach him card games in the future Blake followed behind shortly.

Patton put himself between the team and trouble, his weapon firing as they moved quickly towards the Admiral. He wasn’t going to fail and that meant losing any crew either.

Zim made his way to a small alcove and he held position there. He took on the job of perimeter scout. As such he laid cover fire for the rest of the team as they completed the mission. For the Capellan this was the most fun that he had in quite some time.

Cyrus moved forward cautiously, his phaser at the ready and on heavy stun, when he got close to someone who wasn't his team mates or the admiral he fired. When he saw a chance he went up to the Admiral, "You're coming with us, we need you." giving an friendly smile.

The Rutian Admiral stood still in the center of the broken down soldiers, surveying the Doctor.

The explosion had quickly drawn attention, more figures were appearing through the smoke screen: "Let's hurry it up!" Hawkins shouted levelling his weapon.

"Get the Admiral out of here and to safety now!" Bishop ordered, firing his phaser at the on-rushing figures causing them to slow their advance.

The Admiral began to smile at the Starfleet Officers who had come to rescue her, immediately fading away as the holographic replica of the Admiral was replaced with empty air. The manacles that had been holding her hands in place skittered across the floor as the internal holoemitters disengaged. The lights inside the docking bay changed in their stead, rising to their full illumination and the smoke immediately faded away too.

Throughout the Docking Bay the sound of Emerald Chain Regulators transporting in was unmistakeable. The armored soldiers of the Andorian/Orion Alliance lifted their weapons as their leader, Director Esoria sh'Vreshaa, transported in with them. They positioned themselves defensively to protect their Commander as they held their weapons firmly trained upon the crew from the Enterprise.

Her voice was lyrical, "That is enough bickering for the time being, Starfleet. I will only ask this once: surrender."

Biss suddenly felt awkward. Seeing other Andorian's including one in command might make his fellow officers look at his intentions. He didn't like the feeling but there wasn't anything he could do but follow his orders.

"Oh sh-" Blake hissed behind Biss. "We've been made."

Rrawran looked in horror at the gathered Emerald Chain Regulators, led by an Andorian woman dressed in similar regalia just lacking a helmet. He kept his hand on his phaser should Captain Bishop order that they continue their attack upon he enemy, but he wondered just how successful they could be. There were more than enough Regulators before them that they were significantly outnumbered, if they came to a fight there would be little they could do to survive. They could try to run to Biss' ship but even then they'd be at risk.

"How did they know about us?" He questioned in a near whisper as his universal translator struggled with his natural language of growls and yips.

Zehoi was not nearly as questioning. The Orion woman looked at the Emerald Chain soldiers, "We need to try to get out of this. If they capture us they're going to either throw us in one of their salvage yards as their prisoners, or they're going to kill us violently. No matter what we don't want to be here for that."

"Agreed." Bishop replied evenly. "We need a diversion to give time to get out of here."

"We rigged up another ship, but we're too close," Hawkins nodded to a second scout vehicle to the right.

"We may have to take that chance and blow it Nathan." Bishop replied. "Give the team a chance to escape and we still don't know where the real admiral is."

"If the Admiral is even alive." Patton spoke up. "I vote for taking that chance. I would rather die at my own hand than whatever they have planned for us."

"An excellent point Patton. We don't know if the admiral is alive and imprisoned elsewhere." Bishop replied as he turned to Hawkins. "Blow the ship Nathan and we'll make a break for it."

The Commander swallowed heavily as the truth began to settle - they'd been drawn here into a trap in the hopes of rescuing nothing more than a dream. And now they were going to pay a terrible price for it.

Zehoi shook her head, "I can't let you people do this. I can't let you all die foolhardily."

The Orion woman lifted her hands like a prisoner and rose to her full height slowly, the Regulators lifting their weapons toward her as she rose. The laser sights built into their weapons began to train over her as she looked at the attackers, but none of them fired. Instead an odd silence befell them.

"No Zehoi, don't!" Hawkins hissed diving to pull her back behind cover but the Orion had already stepped away from his grasp.

Director sh'Vreshaa lowered her weapon at the sight of the Orion woman before her in the distance, a broad smile twisted her lips like a mustache twirling villain of yesteryear. She lowered her weapon, but kept it trained upon her target, "I was wondering if you'd give yourself up."

"I can't let you hurt these people, Esoria," Zehoi announced as she looked back at the Starfleet Officers there. "I will surrender myself to you if you allow them to leave."

"What makes you think that you're my target?" The Andorian woman asked holding the weapon steady.

The Engineer answered, "Because I know that I'm your true target: Director Zehoi D'ian of the Orion House D'ian. Osyraa sent you for me didn't she?"

"Actually it was your brother Tirriv," the Andorian Director answered. "He was worried about you."

"Probably worried about what secrets I would share," Zehoi answered in a yell. "Let them go and I will tell you everything that I shared."

There was silence for what felt like an eternity from the opposing camp, the Emerald Chain's leader thinking carefully of her options and how to proceed. Forever passed by as the Andorian holstered her weapon, "Take her into custody. The rest of you are free to go."

From his hiding place Zim watched the events unfold and rolled his eyes. "This is why I said coming here would be a bad move." He said to no one. But since they were there he would see that they all return home. Opened his holo badge and sent a message to Commander Hawkins. "They do not know that I am here. Take the team and leave as they say. I will blow the other ship and get Zehoi out of here. -Zim-"

Numb by Zehoi's true identity Blake blinked heavily crouched beside Biss and shook his head: "Let us leave just like that, I doubt it very much."

Exchanging glances with Bishop and O'Sullivan whom had also seen Zim's message Hawkins carefully and very slowly lifted his head above the barricade they'd been hiding behind to survey the situation and the truth behind the Director's word.

"What the hell is going on? " Bishop asked Hawkins. "We can't let Zehoi give herself up like this." He shook his head, "I wish we could find the Admiral and get her as well."

The Tactical Officer was the one to answer, "It's too late for this. We need to get out of here. Even with the plans we have in place there is no way that we could take out enough of those guards to succeed."

Rrawran was right Hawkins conceded bitterly watching the Emerald Chain's marksmen lingering dangerously.

"The Admiral's dead," the voice came from the middle of nowhere. From the midst of the Starfleet group the old woman they had earlier encountered appeared before them, her isolation suit deactivated, "We've known for quite some time. You're not the first rubes they've trapped this way."

Working her TriCOM deftly, the older woman brought up a holographic display and typed on it under private mode as she kept talking, "Besides, they got what they really wanted so you all would just be a bonus. Zehoi is Emerald Chain royalty; one of her ancestors helped found the Orion Syndicate and made it into a galactic government in the early 25th Century." Her fingers danced over the control interface faster than they probably expected for someone as ancient as her, "My shuttle is not far from here. Recall your personnel, Captain, we need to evacuate. Consider it an order because it is."

Bishop considered the old woman's words and their options which were two, leave or stay and die. As much as he detested leaving Zehoi behind. He had to think about the team and their lives. he gave a curt nod. " Everyone, we are leaving, Fall back...now."

Still sitting beside Biss Dylan wanted to protest and dive headlong into saving Zehoi, or least his heart did. News that she was a wolf in sheep's clothing held him back, once again this topsy turvy dog eat dog century had made mugs of them all once more. "Come on," he signalled to the Andorian. "Let's get out of here."

“This isn’t sitting well.” Patton said to Bishop. “But I am with you. We need to go people. I will cover the rear.”

"Couldn't agree more Patton but we need to get out of here and regroup as well as lick our wounds." Bishop remarked clasping Patton on the shoulder. "Don't dally."

Cyrus was in shock, he was flummoxed, standing there feeling a bit stunned. He shook his head just to clear it, he didn't want to leave Zehoi behind but now there wasn't any option. He really wanted to shoot something, just that feeling of leaving someone behind again, he just didn't like it one bit, why did it feel like he had left someone behind again. With a grim expression in his eyes, Cyrus said quietly to Zehoi, "Thank you and be safe, I don't want to leave you behind." Falling back with the others and going to the older woman.

"How many times is this going to happen and the admiral is already dead?" Cyrus quietly growled.

With his plan going unacknowledged Zim figured they were going to leave things as it were. He made his way as quickly and stealthily as possible back to the main group. He said nothing as he covered the others fall back. Zim had a feeling that this mission was doomed from the beginning and it seemed that the Capellan's gut feeling was right.

"Come home, Chief," Rrawran's voice filtered through the communicator badge. "Some old lady has ordered us to go with her and leave Zehoi behind," the alien Tactical Officer said flatly, still surprised himself.

"Yes sir." Zim replied through the communications channel. He fell back, back peddling as he walked. Harris Zim would be dead before something or someone snuck up on them. He swore an oath to Starfleet which required him to follow the orders of his superiors such as the Lieutenant. However, he wondered why they were following the suggestion of some old lady.

The Old Woman brought up a control interface on her TriCOM and started typing quickly on the floating, private display. She looked at the others, "I have penetrated their interference field and can beam you to my shuttle. Are you ready to go?"

Bishop looked around at the others before turning his attention back to the old woman. "Yes. Let's get out of here." He said flatly.

Cyrus gave one more look at Zehoi with an apologetic expression in his eyes. "Lets get going as it has been commanded." turning towards the woman who was offering her help. He was just feeling rather down was the basic feeling he had. This to him was much like losing a patient.

Zehoi D'ian watched as her friends transported away, happy to know that they were going to be fine but facing the unknown where she herself was concerned. The Chain was not happy that she had gotten away from them, not that they ever knew how to be happy, and they were going to be pushing things this time. They would want to know what she shared - the secrets that the resistance to Osyraa knew - and they weren't going to take no for an answer. Auriello's truth serum would probably be in her evening cocktail.

Director sh'Vreshaa smiled broadly as she stood before the Orion woman, the Andorian having gotten her prize. "Don't worry about those people, Minister, we're going to honor our agreement with the Federationers. They are free to go," she explained as they boarded the vessel.

"If only it were that simple," Zehoi answered. "I suppose you're going to do something to draw them back in. It isn't like you to be charitable."

"I have had a change of heart over the years since you last knew me," the Captain of the Cerulean explained. "I will gladly honor my commitment not to engage them over you. That does not preclude me from defending the Chain and its interests when under attack from a hostile actor." She pressed her TriCOM, "Cerulean."

"Yes Director."

"When we are safely aboard begin bombarding Svian. We will teach them the hazards of supporting the Federation," the Director informed.

Zehoi struggled against her restraints, "They had nothing to do with them and you know it!"

She shrugged, "How can I be sure? Get her secured and begin your assault."

 

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