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Dark Shores Part I

Posted on Thu Oct 13th, 2022 @ 8:25am by Sergeant Shayla Kunadt & Lieutenant Commander Alyssa Maren & Ensign Mignon Mejia & Chief Petty Officer Sha’Zen D'Tem
Edited on on Thu Oct 13th, 2022 @ 8:27am

2,959 words; about a 15 minute read

Mission: Episode 13 - Crooked River
Location: Planet Igion Unknown Shoreline
Timeline: MD004 1700 hrs

They had been walking for about a half hour already and as far as Shayla could see they had nothing to show for it. Of course her mind did not work as hard or fast as the scientists, but she thought there should have been something by now. What made matters worse was that the beach was quiet, almost too quiet and all of her training had put her on high alert. It was situations like this that could cause a mission to go south quickly.

Alyssa had noticed the lack of ambient noise around them as they walked. Twice she checked to be sure her flexible blowgun was still holding her hair back and once she'd checked the tiny darts disguised as earrings and a bracelet. The farther they went, the more edgy she felt. She was walking along the high tide line, stopping every now and then to examine the sand and take readings.

"Anything yet?" Mignon asked.

"Nothing definitive. The readings are off from what I'd expect, but I don't have any older samples to compare them to."

"Yeah. I've been looking around. I'd love to get an entomologist down here to have a look. It's so...quiet."

Alyssa dropped the sand she'd been examining and wiped her hand on her pant leg. "If the military had been here collecting body parts, why does it feel deserted?" She nodded to the nearby trees. They weren't large, but they were relatively straight. "There's no indication of strong winds, so did they land at low tide and only cover the shore?"

"I think I'll go take a closer look at that copse of trees over there. Maybe we'll find something." Mignon headed off at an angle to check out the trees.

"Okay, but stay where we can see you."

Sha'Zen had been shadowing Mignon. The lack of animal sounds had her on alert. Her right hand hovered near her N'Zhara blade. The warrior in her sensed danger, and the biologist wondered how the nearby trees grew and flowers bloomed without the presence of insects or other animals. Something wasn't right here.

For those of her own people, it would be easy to tell her emotions, as her change in skin tone displayed them clearly.

In an effort to maintain eyes on everyone Shayla raised her helmet and activated the heads up display or HUD. Immediately she was able to see everyone moving about in a green display. Sha'zen and Mignon were disappearing into the distance and the brush. She began to look about using the HUD to search for any living organisms. She walked up and stood next to Alyssa. "Ma'am it seems that there are no lifeforms on the land save the four of us. However, the water seems to be teaming with life."

Alyssa nodded slowly as she turned to look at the water. "Yes. It's disconcerting for a telepath. This is...wrong, but I can't tell why." There was a feeling, like an omnipresent buzz, that made her uncomfortable.

With the helmet retracted the heads up display routed to a wrist mounted screen. Shayla raised her left wrist to take a look. A few commands later and she had something of interest. "Commander..." She called out as she jogged over to Alyssa. "Commander it seems that my HUD is reading a large electro magnetic pulse. If this is correct we are in the middle of it. Have a look." Shayla stood next to Alyssa now and showed her the screen on her wrist.

"Send that to the ship, if you can. If not, the shuttle." She adjusted her tricorder to take readings. "We need to get somewhere out of its range. I don't like the looks of this."

She tapped her combadge, but the electromagnetic interference was preventing her from getting through. "This is not good. We need to get to the others and then either head into the water or back to the shuttle." She checked her weapons, just in case she'd need them.

Shayla tried to send the data to the Pioneer, and that failed. Sending the data to the Roosevelt also failed both due to EM interference. "I don't like this..." Shayla was cut off as all at once a squad of four people emerged directly from the water. "Nor do we..." a nondescript voice could be heard from one of the newcomers. Shayla pushed Alyssa behind her and engaged her HUD her right arm reached for the phaser rifle at her side. "This is an authorized exploration. The government of Igion has issued us permission to work here. You are hereby ordered to stand down." Kunadt screamed she hoped it was loud enough for the other two scientists to hear.

Alyssa pulled out her phaser to act as backup, if needed. Once she would have gone out of her way to avoid this, but Jek'Lar seemed to be rubbing off on her. Still, she hoped they simply didn't realize the scientists were here with permission. She reached out telepathically to Mignon to warn her. At least that should get through the interference.

The strike force all cocked their head to the same side at the same time. This gave the team a rather eerie look. Shayla was unnerved for the briefest of moments. Then the unknown attackers gave their answer in the form of a green lance of disruptor energy. Her suit's shields absorbed the blast and she quickly returned fire. "Commander Maren get back to the ship I will cover you." Shayla returned fire and dropped one of the Strike Team members. This person now stunned lay floating in the water. Kunadt took notice that they wore breathing apparatus. Wherever they came from they must have had to travel through the water.

Alyssa's first instinct was to help, but she knew that Shayla would fight better if she wasn't protecting the scientist. She turned and ran back to the shuttle, taking what she calculated to be the safest route. She needed to think on the response of the hostiles and how they all got the same message at once. Was it an electromagnetic signal and could they disrupt it?

Mignon didn't notice anything until she got into the trees. It was as if someone--or something--took great pains to disguise themselves closer to the water. "It definitely looks like someone's been here. Let's see if they left any clues behind."

Sha'Zen nodded her agreement. An itch inside her brain, that had started when they touched down, was becoming less noticeable as they neared the undergrowth. It was similar to the feeling she felt invisible Tuk'Nar beasts or the Dominion's Jem'Hadar were near.

"Ensign, be careful, there may be cloaked individuals or organisms present." Sha'Zen said. "My people are sensitive to certain electromagnetic frequencies. These often overlapping with those used by natural and technological cloaking fields." a brief smile crossed her features. "The Jem'Hadar received an unpleasant surprise when they invaded my world."

Mignon paused. "Interesting. I haven't picked up any telepathic indications there's anyone here." Although she hadn't expected any cloaks. She'd never encountered any that could mask thoughts. Still, it was better to be careful. Especially as Sha'Zen noticed something. "Should we head back?"

Whatever response the SerNumi was gong to make, was forgotten, when they heard the Sergeant calling. Sha'Zen thought for a moment. If the others had encountered a possibly hostile force, then making for the shuttle was probably the best choice, but also the most expected cause of action. If she were alone, she'd go on the attack, but she wasn't alone and she was responsible for the Ensign's safety. "Ensign, I suggest we make our way back to the shuttle, nut though the foliage, rather than the beach. Once there we can figure out what to do next. What do you think?"

Mignon nodded. "That doesn't sound good..." Then she got Alyssa's telepathic message, although it was slightly garbled and some of the words were missing. "Yes. We need to get back to the shuttle."

"Okay, keep close to me." Sha'Zen said and began to move through the undergrowth towards the shuttle.

Mignon pulled out her phaser and kept close. If they were fortunate, all four of them would get back to the shuttle before anything happened. Unfortunately, Mignon wasn't feeling very lucky right now.

It didn't take long for them to reach the landing site, but when they did, they found Sergeant Kunadt and Commander Maren facing off against four hostiles. Sha'Zen said. "Ensign, make a run for the shuttle, I'll distract the hostiles." That said she pulled her telescopic javelin from the back of her belt and activated it to its full length of two metres. Aiming it at the closist hostile, she through told Mignon to run, and throw it. It impaled its target, pinning them to the sandy shore.

Shayla opened fire and hit one of her targets square in the chest and he fell into the water in which he stood. Another of the four was dropped by what appeared to be a javelin that sailed past the Marine. What she did not notice was the six more that came from the water further down the beach. These six ran directly toward Maren and Mignon and surrounded them. About thirty seconds after Maren was surrounded Shayla's heads up display showed the new arrivals. "Well shit!" she exclaimed as her training took over. She activated the comm in her suit. "Kunadt to shuttle Roosevelt. Come in..." Unfortunately for her all she heard back was static, they were being jammed. "This just went from bad to worse." She took the last shot at the final of this Strike Team and he fell dead in the water. Shayla started to make her way to the next group slowly and delibrately.

Both scientists used their phasers set to wide-angle stun, careful not to hit Sha'Zen or Shayla. However, at close range, they still could only take out half the circle around them. They both shot again, but more assailants seemed to appear around them.

"They're cloaked," Alyssa yelled. She indicated that she and Mignon should stand back-to-back and keep shooting. Eventually they would have to get the upper hand--or get the attention of the shuttle. However, with the electromagnetic interference that still buzzed through Alyssa's head, she wasn't sure they'd notice in time.

There was a clump of trees near where some of the assailants had been hiding and she switched her phaser settings to set three trees on fire. She switched back to heavy stun and continued shooting.

Mignon tried not to look at the sheer number of humanoids that came after them. At first she thought it was only a few, but now there were more than she could count. It didn't help that stunning seemed less and less effective the more she used it. She raised the level of her phaser and continued shooting, but as soon as one went down, two more took their place. "This isn't working."

"Switch tactics," Alyssa told her telepathically. "Melt the sand. Start a fire. Do something unexpected."

Mignon decided to target their weapons.

Shayla leveled her weapon and tried to think what Major Tremble would do. He would level the playing field and see what can be done. she thought to herself. She knew that it was no further use in talking. So she fired in quick succession, two quick bursts. Two assailants down and just as quickly the holes in their circle was closed by newcomers. It seemed like there was no end to the amount of people that were here.

Sha'Zen sensed a cloaked figure approaching. She span around and using both her blades, cut it down. The body appeared on the sand as its cloaking device malfunctioned.

She dived for cover as an energy blast came her way.

All at once three of the assailants rushed forward and took hold on both Mignon and Maren. The two Starfleet officers fought with their would be captors and the third looked directly at Shayla. The person began to speak in a raspy, hiss sounding voice. It was a voice that was clearly disguised. "Listen here human and listen good. You and your comrades will lay down your weapons or my men will atomize these two and turn their weapons on you. We so would like to have all of you, but as the saying goes in your culture. Sometimes you have to break a few eggs. Decide now..." There was a short pause as two of the strike force turned toward Sha'Zen's position. The one who spoke began to speak again. "You can also tell your SerNumi friend in the brush that if she tries anything these two die. The decision is yours, Marine..."

Alyssa couldn't get to her blowgun or her darts, and her phaser couldn't take out all of them at once. She stopped fighting, hoping to catch her captor off-guard. If the goal was to kill the four of them, why take prisoners? They wanted them for...something, and her gut instinct told her it had to do with the body parts that were discovered, but she had no idea what that could be. She tried to reach out telepathically to the two on the shuttle, but all she got was static, and the electromagnetic buzz in her head grew louder. If one of them could get word to Malbrooke and Tremble, they had a chance of survival. They just had to play it smart.

Mignon struggled to get free, but her captor was too strong. Whoever their assailants were, they knew where to find the team and where they came from. Was the government behind this? Luring the ship here for--whatever this was? What was the old warning...never go with someone who threatens to kill you or you will definitely die. You had to fight. But she couldn't if it meant that the others would die immediately. How many of them were there? Surely the four women could do...something.

Sha'Zen watched the situation from her place in the bush. She weighed the pros and cons, and although she hated to admit it, surrender was the only way that they could all leave the beach alive. Later when the time was right, they could overpower their captors.

"What do you want with us?" Alyssa asked.

"You will find out soon enough." The leader of the Strike Team hissed. "Your decision Marine..."

Shayla's eyes darted around while her rifle remained leveled on the Strike Team. She had to think, and had to think quickly. What would the Major do? All at once she realized that the best way to win was go fight from within. She was a Marine and was capable of anything with or without weapons. She raised her hand in a sign of supplication. She dropped her rifle slowly to the ground and when she did she triggered the emergency beacon on the rifle. Shayla hoped that the Roosevelt would pick up the signal. "Listen do not harm anyone and we will go quietly."

The leader of the assailants signaled two of the other men to take Shayla into custody, which they did without hesitation. Shayla for her part knew that she could take them especially with the augmented strength that the suit afforded her. However, that would have to wait until the time was right. "You... Sernumi come down and join the rest or we will dispose of all of you." The Leader hissed while he looked directly at Sha'Zen's position.

Sha'Zen walked out of undergrowth onto the beach and dropped her weapons onto the sand in front of her. "That won't be necessary, I surrender to you." She said, the word 'surrender' almost sticking in her throat.

The Strike Team stood with their new captives in silent for a moment. In the quiet a small sound of rushing and flowing sand could be heard. When Alyssa, Mignon, Shayla, and Sha'Zen looked the rifle along with its triggered beacon disappeared into the sand. The very footprints from the fight that had just happened disappeared as well. Although no one could see the faces of this attack force was all smiles as everything went to plan, just as everything always went to plan.

Alyssa covertly dropped a ration bar and buried it with her heel as the sand removed all trace of it along with their footprints.

The half-Betazoid cried out as the sand began to move around, covering the footprints. It was to draw attention from Alyssa, although both women knew that a buried ration bar would be hard to find. Still, it was better than doing nothing.

"You all have made an excellent choice, and I am sure you will make excellent specimens. You are certainly strong willed enough. I am sure the Colonel will be pleased," The raspy shrill voice spoke almost seductively to the Starfleet Team. In a swift delft motion the attacker pressed a button on their wrist and spoke this time clearly and in Romulan. "nniet" (energize) And with that command everyone disappeared into the transporter effect.
To Be Continued...

Sergeant Shayla Kunadt
EVAC Specialist HQ, The Cure
USS Pioneer

Chief Petty Officer Sha’Zen D'Tem
Biologist, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Commander Alyssa Maren
Chief Science Officer, USS Pioneer

Ensign Mignon Mejia
Alien Archaeologist/Anthropologist, USS Pioneer


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