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Bridging The Gap
Episode 11 - Family Matters
Stardate 73834.3
MD005 0900 hrs

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The Search Part IV

Posted on Tue Jul 27th, 2021 @ 5:45am by Captain Tyler Malbrooke & Colonel Loval & Lieutenant Commander Vaebn tr'Hwersuil & Ensign Eleanor Raine & Warrant Officer Mira Jayna & Captain Cornelius Tremble & Lieutenant Junior Grade Jayden Robertson & Sergeant Miranda Schultz & Corporal Adélaïde Moreau

Mission: Episode 11 - Family Matters
Location: Outpost Tavea IV (Romulan Space)
Timeline: MD004 2200 hrs


Last Time On The Search Part III

"Probably not. New folks always have to pay the highest price..." Vaebn began. "And shouldn't they..." The barkeep interrupted. "We all have paid our dues with blood, sweat and tears and you lot think you can just come here and reap the benefits."

"We've paid our dues working in the fields," Jayna snapped. "We're here now to sell, not beg."
*****

"The bar..." Adelaide said as she pointed and feigned confusion. "Are you telling me I've been outside the bar this whole time?" she asked. "You get a bit thirsty after travelling a lot. What do you do here Big Man? Look like you've seen quite a bit..." she made a reference to not only his age but the scar on his face.
*****

Loval withdrew a small device from his belt. It had chimed just a moment ago, and it confirmed what he had already suspected. The Starfleet team was here. "Lyie you will have to go find your dear brother had bring him to our side. Should he refuse you must kill him. Is that understood?" Lyie nodded her head in agreement and holstered her disruptor. If there was a part of her that regretted having to kill Vaebn it certainly did not show.

And Now The Continuation...

Constable Coddington and two of his men walked into the refectory. Immediately they noticed two people who fit the description that Loval had mentioned sitting at the bar. Coddington turned to the two officers with him and spoke softly. "Take strategic positions around the refectory. Do not move in until you see me move in. I would like to get them all together if I can." The two officers, one male and one female dispersed into the crowd. Coddington made his way to a table that was close enough to hear what Vaebn and Jayna were saying but his back was to them.

"Well if you are here to sell. Then what are you selling? Why are you not at the marketplace earning your keep." The barkeep snapped back at Jayna.

"Because we just arrived and wanted a drink first. Selling is thirsty work," she replied.

This barkeep was unlike anyone that Vaebn had come into contact with previously. He did not react in the way that Vaebn had come to expect a Romulan to react. Not really sure how to proceed Vaebn allowed Jayna to take the lead here and he sipped his drink to cover his silence.

The barkeep looked at Jayna and Vaebn with disdain. "That it may be what you still have yet to answer my question. What are you selling?" A few other patrons began to take notice of what was being said with interest.

"Quintotriticale and black rice." she shrugged. "So that we can resupply for the fall harvest."

The barkeep's eyes narrowed as they attempted to decide if that was the truth or not. Quintotiticale was something that was desperately needed at the moment. So for everyone's sake he hoped this was the truth. He simply harumphed and went back to cleaning barware.
*****

The Romulan smiled broadly. "This is the refectory it is the bar and restaurant in one. As for me I served in the Empire's Navy prior to Hobus. However, now I am a smith." He spoke happily with Adelaide however, there was an edge of suspicion in his voice. There was rarely if ever newcomers to Tavea.

"Nice. I have to say I find scars sexy..." Adelaide admitted quite openly.

Jayden walked along, having gotten separated from Raine, he looked around after running his scans so that he could report back to the others. He was concerned about Raine, one minute they had been together and the next she was gone.

Continuing on his way, his eyes went back and forth until he saw someone he recognized. He wandered over in Adelaide’s direction.

Adelaide noticed Jayden approaching, he was by himself and that gave her a little pause as he stopped next to her. "Hi, I thought you are Raine were seeing what supplies we could get before we move on?" she asked putting a little cover over her question.

Despite the suspicion the Romulan would appreciate some company. "Well if you would like to know how the scar was obtained then join me inside for a drink." There was a twinkle in his eye that indicated he had wanted something more.

Adelaide had done her scouting of the exterior and with the knowledge she had gained was confident of entering the replomat should anything come up that needed a quick exit. "Lead the way big man. I love a good story."

They entered the bar in good spirits as Adelaide blended in well with her newly acquired cover in the shape of a well known large bodied blacksmith.
*****

Neil had joined a group of wandering townspeople as they moved and chatted, entering the village and found a place in the market where he could keep an eye on the door to the tavern.

"Or whatever they call it here," he murmured to himself as he did his best to be inconspicuous. The marine noted the people going about their business around him, getting a feel for the pattern while looking for abnormalities in that pattern.

It didn't take long.

Several sharp eyed Romulans came into his site, with two breaking off to enter the Refectory while others scanned the crowd and seemed to be looking for something.

Or someone. Maybe a group of someones.

The marine touched the bio patch on his left forearm, keying his mike and subvocalized. "Be advised. We have security personnel in the crowd forming a loose perimeter around the Rectory, with two targets making entry."

Of course they were, Jayna thought. She'd already figured that the Bartender didn't believe them. He'd pegged them for suspicious the moment they entered. All she could do was keep up the facade until the fight started.

She finished her drink and set the glass down, looking at it longingly for a moment. "Come on," she said to Vaebn. "We should go get settled."

"Indeed..." Vaebn replied as he stood up to leave.

Seeing his quarry beginning to leave Coddington decided that he was going to have to make his move. Waiting was no longer an option. He rose and signalled his partner to move to intercept. The other members of his team blocked the exits.

Vaebn saw the teams moving in and made a quick decision. "You must follow my lead." He said to Jayna. Just as Coddington was in reach Vaebn began to speak. "Constable so glad you could come to assist us. I should would hate to lose the crop of much needed Quintotriticale. I am sure all of these people would appreciate you allowing to go get the crop to the market place." As he spoke his voice got louder and the crowd began to take interest even going so far as getting in the way of the Constable and his people.

Jayna smiled. "Definitely. It's been a long journey. I'd hate to have something happen to it. I see that the people here are as kind as I'd been led to believe," she said, her voice loud enough to be heard as she moved with Vaebn to slip past the guards.

The people in the refectory were beginning to get restless. They saw no reason for Jayna and Vaebn to be detained and made sure everyone knew of that. Vaebn took the Constable's hand as if to shake it and leaned in. When he leaned in he whispered in the Constable's ear. "The choice is yours let us go or face a riot..." He let those words settle and then added. "I will find her, and when I do woe to those who stood in my way."

Coddington sensed an impending riot and cursed himself for making this attempt in a public place. He signalled his people to clear the exits but made sure that one of them would keep an eye on Jayna and Vaebn.

They were being followed. To try and lose them in the crowds, Jayna headed for the market where they were supposed to be selling their grain and rice. They needed to lose the guards and find Vaebn's sister as soon as possible and get away before the guards caught up to them.

Keeping close to Vaebn she weaved in and out of groups of people and turned down side streets, always heading for the market.
*****

Neil heard the confrontation over his comm and muttered to himself as he saw Jayna and Vaebn exit. He had no idea where they were going, but...

"Ok, look sharp people. Vaebn and Jayna are exiting. We'll shadow as best we can and keep overwatch. Mark all of the security personnel in case we have to take them out. Miranda. We need a distraction. Think you can scramble or cross up their frequencies? Then I can detonate one of the drones on the other side of the village and see if we can't split them up."

Schultz nodded, a definite twinkle in her eye. She casually moved to a more discrete location and messed up all comms in her radius. Every communication would go to the wrong person and a comm to everyone would be sent to a farmer twenty kilometers away. He was a random choice, but he had a good communication network for his farm, so he was a good choice. Their team comms would remain unaffected as they'd been shielded from her machinations.

Vaebn led the way toward the marketplace. He knew that they were being followed and in truth had no idea how they would produce the crop they had just promised. "Any ideas? The only one I got is to duck out of here and in a hurry. Regroup and try again. But ducking the Constable is another story."

"Get lost in the crowd," she whispered back. "Then get back to the rendezvous point. If we can manage it, stop the tail, but that will be tricky, so we focus on making this as difficult as we can." She sent a quick message to Tremble to warn him the local guard had been waiting for them.

Vaebn gave a curt nod in agreement with Jayna's plan of action. "One of us should get captured. However, we make it hard for him to get us. If one of us is captured at the very least we could learn a little bit about where my sister is being held."

She nodded. "But not you. They want you, so it'll have to be one of us." She glanced at Vaebn. "Remember they knew we were here as soon as we arrived. They'll be after you."

Vaebn knew that she had the right of it. "Then it will have to be you. Good luck..." Vaebn paused for a moment as he looked at Jayna. "...Thanks" He split off from her and began to head for the rendezvous point. He was the first to arrive and he quickly scoured the area for the rest of his team. In short order Vaebn saw someone he recognized. It was Lyie, or at least he thought it was her. Vaebn moved into position to keep an eye on both her and the rest of his team. She was alone and Vaebn could not believe the luck. Then Vaebn's blood ran cold as he saw that she was armed and moving with purpose. Is she a willing a participant...

Jayna had serious misgivings about this plan. She didn't like splitting up, and she would much prefer catching one of them for information than getting caught herself. She sent a quick message to the team, using Tremble's method of sub-vocalization so no one would wonder what she was up to. She continued to weave through the crowd with the intent of getting behind one of her stalkers.

Coddington had one of his men follow the two who just left the refectory. In the meantime he went to a lookout point and began to survey the area. He knew that if there was a team in the outpost then there would be a senior officer, a controller. The former starfleet officer knew better, he thought like them. Within moments he spotted the human male in the center of the crowd. The man had the steely eyes of experience, of a Marine. Coddington climbed down from his lookout and doubled around. He would take out the head of this snake.

Adelaide had a drink with Scarface and as the excitement rose so did she. Scarface had went to relieve himself and as he had done so the tension level in the refectory rose. She could hear over the comms what was going on and decided to take some action herself. She sprayed her hand with a translucent mist and moved between the crowd. Subtlety she placed this hand on the shoulder of the security team members she had seen leaving a 'tag' on them so they could be tracked and taken out of the game if need be. "I have tagged what security personnel I could get close too without being seen." she said under her breath as she then walked into a brick wall of a man. "Hi...I'll just get out of your way."

The security guard looked down and the woman and smiled. He knew he had one of the suspects that Coddington had sent the look out for. "Or you can simply come with me..." He prepared for a fight as the Romulan suspected the woman would not go without one.

Neil had two drones circling the settlement and was using his contact to direct them. One he sent away from them, near some of the nicer domiciles. From the first drone's overhead display, he picked a more open spot and ordered it to land on the roof of the house. Then he entered a code and it attached smoke grenades to the top of the house and self-destructed with a sharp crack.

When the grenades flashed off, a column of black smoke began to drift into the air. Neil ordered the second drone to continue orbiting and it's programming caught site of someoneat one of the lookout points they'd mapped out. Then the person disappeared and Neil ordered the program to tack that individual.

A minute later, the drone told him that the individual was headed his way. Keying his comm, he subvocalized. "Ok, I have a tango inbound." Tricorder link flashed in his contact and he checked out the alert. "Face recognition identifies him as former StarFleet officer named Coddington. If he stays on target, he's mine. I'll cause a big enough stink to draw more away.

"Adelaide, Miranda. Deal with threats as you have to, quietly. Sounds like the Commander is suggesting we fall back to the rally point. Cover the Fleet's withdrawal as best you can, providing security. I'll join you when I can."

Neil then checked the drones footage and headed down a crowded alley, making sure his disguise was in place as he wandered easily, looking for a good ambush point.

Miranda played with the comms to block more of the Romulan's ability to communicate. With security after Vaebn and Jayna and now a former Starfleet officer was after the Cap. She knew he could handle himself, but she moved a little closer in case he needed backup.

It seemed that they had come prepared and that was something Coddington was not ready for. He did not think that Malbrooke would risk a complete team with drones. As the constable ducked and weaved through the crowd he followed the path of the drones as he attempted to ascertain who was in charge of this thing. It was then he noticed Tremble, Coddington moved to intercept.

The drone warned him the man was coming and Neil collapsed his command net to cut off most distractions. He found a food stall, ordered tea and simply waited for the former Starfleet officer to find him.

It didn't take long. Neil watched him emerge from the crowd; saw Coddington's eyes focus on him. The man paused then started toward him and the Marine quickly assessed him. Then he re-opened the drone's menu and powered up the weapon's suite. If Coddington twitched toward a weapon, the drone would react faster than Neil could. Plus it was a sniper model who's phaser was outfitted to fire colorless energy beams so as not to give away it's position.

If Coddington got frisky, Neil would let the drone lay down covering fire while he evaded. Neil could see that the drone's targeting array was picking up other members of the security party and tracking Neil's own team as they moved. This might just get hairy...

Coddington closed the distance if he knew anything he knew that somewhere there was a weapon trained on him. Loval's reports revealed that these people were nothing if not prepared. He got within talking distance and smiled. "Mr Tremble I presume... What brings you to our fair outpost, and undercover no less."

Neil sipped at the tea that had been placed in front of him, just testing it briefly before meeting Coddington's gaze and smiled.

"Why, hello. I'm actually on vacation. I'm guessing you're with the welcome wagon?" the Marine asked cheerfully.

"That I would be. Would care to gather up your people and all of us can go have a nice friendly chat." Coddington said with his hand on the handle of his holstered weapon. He would draw if Tremble gave him a reason.

Neil raised an eyebrow in Coddington's direction and then nudged the chair across from him toward the security officer with the toe of his boot. "Seems we can have a chat right here. Adding two many people drowns out the conversation. Then people start to get excited."

Neil waited a beat, sipped at his tea and then continued. " Excited people do random, dumb things. A popular one is kidnapping Federation cadets. That leads to bad choices being made for others. Now you seem like a bright fellow. Ex-Fleet security working for these folks now."

The marine glanced around at the steady trickle of people moving around them and said, "Wait. Who are you working for again? That wasn't in the vacation guide I read."
To Be Continued...


A Joint Post By

Captain Tyler Malbrooke
Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer


Lieutenant Commander Vaebn tr'Hwersuil
Chief Science Officer, USS Pioneer


Ensign Eleanor Raine
Diplomatic Adviser, USS Pioneer


Captain Cornelius Tremble
Marine Commanding Officer/Second Officer, USS Pioneer


Warrant Officer Mira Jayna
Infiltration Specialist, USS Pioneer


Lieutenant Junior Grade Jayden Robertson
Operations Officer, USS Pioneer


Sergeant Miranda Schultz
Communications Specialist, USS Pioneer


Corporal Adélaïde Moreau
SAR Specialist, USS Pioneer


Colonel Loval
Commanding Officer, Tal Shiar

 

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