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The Mouth Of The River Part I

Posted on Tue Jan 17th, 2023 @ 12:38am by Commodore Tyler Malbrooke & Gunnery Sergeant Gaagii & Staff Sergeant Shayla Kunadt & Lieutenant Commander Alyssa Maren & Lieutenant Commander Rowena McGowen & Lieutenant Ja'sol H'ros & Lieutenant JG Gage Tohoyia & Ensign Rachel Sinclair & Captain Edmund Merrick & Sergeant Major Lachlan Barr & Lieutenant JG Mira Jayna & Ensign Hoa Nhi Nguyen & Ensign Auba Lyna & Lieutenant Junior Grade Mignon Mejia & Senior Chief Petty Officer Leela Capella & Senior Chief Petty Officer Sha’Zen D'Tem & Petty Officer 1st Class S'kaadaar & Warrant Officer Mercy Ryan & Sergeant Azure Thompson & Sergeant Miranda Schultz & Corporal Adélaïde Moreau & Corporal Sina Ravenna & Corporal Andrew Shy & Corporal Rairror Thoran
Edited on on Tue Jan 17th, 2023 @ 1:57am

5,269 words; about a 26 minute read

Mission: Episode 13 - Crooked River
Location: Romulan Encampment - Planet Igion
Timeline: MD006 2200 hrs

Experimental Chamber

Shayla's face hurt from the tears and although she would hate to admit it the fear. She kept looking at her right hand and something within her told her that the hand did not belong, that she should tear it from her body. The other part of her brain told her to hang on. That it was whatever the frakkin Romulans did to them. She glanced and Mignon who now laid sprawled out in a pool of blood. Shayla could see that the woman's chest rose and fell so at least she still breathed.

The sharp metallic smell of blood brought Sha'Zen back to her senses, but not entirely. The Wil-Zak was still 'there' but she now knew it was only a hallucination. Blood! someone is bleeding. She thought. She turned the medical tools on her restraints. Her left hand itched, but she ignored it and concentrated on freeing herself and come to her companion's aid.

Mignon had thrown the severed foot away from her and lay on the deck, crying. She was in shock, barely aware of her surroundings.

Someone was crying. Alyssa could hear it internally and externally. She slowly became aware of the others and turned her head to see if they were okay. "Mignon!" She was close enough Alyssa could just reach her. Not seeing anything she could use as a bandage, she removed her shirt and wrapped it around Mignon's stub. Then she pulled off her shoes and tied her socks together to act as a tourniquet. "Is there anything to stop the bleeding?" she asked the other two. Her jumpsuit was too thick for an effective bandage, but she would use if if it meant keeping Mignon alive.

Shayla began to scratch at her right hand, she scratched violently. "How the hell did this get on me. It is not my hand, it is too big to be MY hand..." At the sound of Alyssa's words Shayla's head snapped in the scientist's direction. The look on the Marine's face was frenzied, and crazed. After a short moment Shayla closed her eyes and swallowed hard, she re-centered herself. When her eyes opened there was a first aid kit within reach. "Commander heads up..." She managed to fling it in Alyssa's direction where it skittered into the pool of light that Maren sat in. No sooner was that done then Shayla returned to the frenzied state.

Determined to help her colleague, Sha'Zen made no attempt to hide the fact that she had managed to free herself, and made her way to Mignon. "Commander, we have to elevate the Warrant's leg to help prevent her bleeding out." She said when she saw the other woman's injury.

"Oh, yes." Alyssa knew that, but she was still having trouble focusing. Her thoughts kept going back to what could be the cause of her tingling foot. She subconsciously rubbed it against her other leg as she reached for the medkit. "I'll try and stop the bleeding first." She needed something to cauterize the veins before Mignon lost more blood. If she couldn't find something, she'd elevate the foot. She opened the medkit and stared at it. What was she looking for? Her foot went numb again. Was it dead? She pulled her thoughts back to Mignon and searched through the kit.

Mignon reached for Alyssa. "No. You need to cut it off."

That cleared Alyssa's thoughts. "No. We have to stop the bleeding." She found what she needed and began to work on the stump.

While she worked, she glanced over at Sha'Zen, noticing that she'd removed her restraints. "Can you help Shayla? Then we'll see about getting out of here." She had to focus on one thing at a time. Stop the bleeding. Remove the restraints--she might need Sha'Zen to help with that--then get all four of them out of here. As the senior-ranking officer she felt responsible for the others. Her foot began to tingle. It felt like something was crawling on it. She shook her foot and kept working.

"Aye, ma'am." Sha'Zen said looking around to see the Wil-Zak following her life a lost puppy, before heading over to Shayla.

"Sergeant." She said approaching the Marine to get her attention. "Its Chief D'Tem, I'm here to free you from your restraints." She added brandishing a scalpel.

Shayla watched as Sha'zen approached. Her mind took the situation off the proverbial cliff. For in the Marine's frenzied mind an enemy combatant approached to sever her leg. "Nooo... Stay back! Put the weapon down and I will not have to harm you."

Sha'Zen back away slowly, dropping the hand holding the scalpel to her side. She wanted to help the Marine, but the drug had far too tight a hold on her.

Once she was out of striking reach of the Sergeant, the SerNumi slid into the shadows to await the arrival of their captor.

A group of five Romulans entered. All were armed and seemed to be sent in to put a stop to the escape before it started. These five Romulans entered in formation with the senior officer in the front.

Gage felt the already sizeable knot in his stomach grow larger as he took in the scene before him. Somehow he'd managed to successfully pass Cortana's "interview" and had been placed in charge of the entire facility. This is not good he thought. His mind was processing things so quickly that it felt like instinct. He could tell that the neuro-toxin had been administered. The smell of blood was heavy in the area and blood covered part of the floor. His gaze settled on the foot that lay resting on the floor, tilted on the side. He gritted his teeth, trying to master the surge of anger that boiled up inside. These were Starfleet personnel. His comrades. And they were in bad shape. He turned to the four guards following him.

"Place them back in restraints. I'm going to call for a med tech to inspect their wounds."

The four guards nodded at him. The idea of questioning him or disobeying him wasn't even a possibility. Gage let them get well past him and then pulled the Romulan disruptor, flicked the setting to the lowest, hoping that it was stun but not really caring if it wasn't. The Romulan weapon flared as he shot four quick bursts at the guards. They all hung still for a moment and then collapsed, unconscious.

I guess this mission is over he thought. He pointed to the two mobile Starfleet people. "You and you, grab a disruptor. I'm going to get us out of this mess."

Sha'Zen picked up one of the disruptors. She was suspicious of this man. Was it another trick by their captor? Was he another hallucination? "How did you locate us?" She asked him as her 'imaginary pet' scrambled over the unconscious Romulans.

Gage looked over to the woman who was speaking. "My name is Lieutenant Tohoyia. I'm undercover here for Starfleet Intelligence. I'm an Infiltration Specialist. I found you because the director of this facility is gone and trusted me to be in charge. However, I decided rescuing all of you was more important. But I don't know if firing these disruptors has trigger a security alarm or not so we need to get everyone moving as soon as possible," Gage said.

"Well, Lieutenant Tohoyia, that is easier said than done." Sha'Zen said. "I'm Chief D'Tem, and of the four of us, I'm the most lucid, Ensign Mejia is in need of urgent medical care, Commander Maren is attending to her, and Sergeant Kunadt seams to be experiencing vivid hallucinations and perhaps paranoia." She explained.

Alyssa listened to Sha'Zen talk with the person who claimed to be an infiltration officer. She didn't trust him. Just because he said he was with Starfleet didn't mean he was. And if he really was, why was he here alone? Why would the Romulan put him in charge? She wouldn't. Did he shoot his men just to gain their trust? Her brain was too foggy to tell if he was lying, but she had one other way of being sure. She pushed into his surface thoughts, still careful not to go any further.

Shayla saw the disruptor skittered to the floor at her feet. Within her mind she fought the urge to pick it up. Her subconscious seemed to know that she could turn on her friends. She swallowed hard and her right eye seemed to twitch. "I don't know how long I can be in control. But Sha'zen is right. We need to go before I do something rash. Something within me seems to want to control, and my hand, my hand is not mine." Her eye twitched again as she stared at her hand.

Alyssa finished bandaging Mignon's foot. It wasn't enough, but she wouldn't bleed to death. She registered the disruptor fire and picked up the scalpel. She was more lucid now, but she wasn't sure how long that would last.

She stood and faced the lone male. "Why would Starfleet send you when they knew nothing of this place and we were sent here to investigate?"

"Listen, I don't know what you are doing here. I only know what my mission was and that was to infiltrate this base and find out what exactly they were working on. You are an unexpected complication. But I didn't get all this," Gage gestured at his Romulan appearance. "Done in order to rescue you. But I am rescuing you. You can choose to believe that I'm lying, and try to find your own way out. But I am leaving and I have access to the entire facility, including the communications array and the shuttles that can get us out. So do you want to come with me or stay here and keep doing what you are doing? The clock is ticking."

That was not a response that appeased Alyssa, or made her want to trust this man. "Why do you honestly think we're ready to walk out of here and blindly follow you?" She pointed to Mignon. "Do you think she can walk anywhere?" If he was who he claimed to be, then he was going about this the wrong way. He expected them to follow him simply because he shot his men. This could just as easily be another game to mess with their minds. What bothered her most is that all four of them were in bad shape and in need of real help.

"Commander, if you'd like, I can accompany our would be rescuer to the Comm. station and send for help." Sha'Zen said. "If he is lying to us, he won't live long enough to regret his decision." She added.

Shayla swallowed hard as if pushing something that tried to take hold of her away. "No we all need to stay together. If any of the guards come back and fine some missing they will know something is up. If I know the Captain and the Major they have not left orbit yet. If we can get out of this camp we can get back on the ship. But we have to travel together. Perhaps it is best if we appear as prisoners to the Lieutenant's prisoners then we can get to the outskirts of the camp." It took immense concentration to keep control but as she spoke Shayla's eyes kept glancing toward her hand. She so wanted to cut it off.

"I agree with Shayla," Alyssa said. "We have to stay together." She glanced at Gage. "You said you were left in charge. Where are the others?"

Gage pointed at the fallen guards. "These are the most formidable guards. This is a research institution, after all. Almost everyone else is a researcher assigned to a different part of the overall project. At this time of day, they should all be hard at work, trying to keep their heads down. The director is a really scary person but, thankfully, she's gone. I have overall control of the facility and nobody here will question that. Your ship is in orbit?" Gage asked. "We could go to the comms station and call for help. Or we could just steal a shuttle and leave. What do you think?" Gage asked. He glanced over his shoulder in the direction he'd entered the room. He knew there were other guards that ran patrols but they shouldn't arrive in this section for a while.

A primal scream left Shayla's mouth as she tried to tear her right hand from its joint at the wrist. As others watched they could see the bones in the wrist separating and the skin pulled. However, the Marine just did not have enough strength to get the hand off. She gave up partially in frustration, and partially out of exhaustion. The lack of sleep and drugs took their toll. She stood with her shoulders drooped as she caught her breath, as if nothing happened.

Alyssa watched Shayla for several seconds as she also fought for self control. They needed to get out of here now. "No. We aren't going to steal a shuttle. Our people will be looking for us." She still wondered why the Pioneer's Intel department had no knowledge of this man. Surely since Starfleet knew the Pioneer was coming here, so did Starfleet Intelligence. Why didn't they inform Commander McGowan this man was on the planet? Yes, she knew first-hand that intel kept its operations secret, but this seemed to be a situation where information would have been important.

"Alright then," Gage said. "Let's try to get to the comms station. It isn't far." He waited to see what would happen, already running through the possibilities of what might happen when they left the room. I hope we get lucky because they are in no condition to fight.

As they made their way down the corridor, Sha'Zen featured ahead staying to the shadows.

As they rounded a corner they came face to face with an armed Romulan male.

"Sub-Lieutenant, Security detected several disruptor blasts in the containment area. I was sent to investigate." He said. "Sir, where are you taking the test suspects?"

As the words left his lips, the SerNumi dived from the shadows. Her arm wrapped around the Romulan's neck and suprisingly strong woman brought him to the ground unconscious.

Her job done, she grabbed the man's disruptor and returned to the shadows without a word.

Shayla followed the group in a haze. She walked with a shuffle step, she did not fully know what happened. All the drugs that the Romulans had pumped into her had rendered the highly trained Marine to almost a zombie like state. A stranger in her own body. She knew that she could follow, but she was not sure for how long. Her eyes kept darting to the hand that she was almost sure did not belong to her.

Alyssa slipped the scalpel into a pocket. She would rather use it for other purposes than attacking someone. Her mind was slowly clearing of the fog, but the disorienting electromagnetic white noise made her head throb. She remembered her bracelet, and the small darts on it. She pulled her tubular hair tie from her hair and slipped one of the darts into position. Sha'Zen was effective up close, but Alyssa had a ranged weapon that would knock out an elephant--or a Romulan. She was tired of feeling helpless. The next guard she saw was hers.
Perimeter of the Encampment

Gaagii had exchanged his heavy MARVEL suit for an old-fashioned set of camouflaged fatigues. This mission was something he knew and knew greatly. He was the RECON specialist and along with Corporal Moreau they should make short work of this. He was in a small boat with the Corporal and a few others of the team. The lead boat which had the Chief of Security and First Lieutenant Merrick glided to a stop and all the other boats stopped as well now they waited for the go ahead from the Pioneer.

Adelaide's foot was tapping against the deck. She always had this anxious energy that tried to leave her through her feet just before heading off into the unknown, well unknown of sorts. "Do they need to take so long?" she asked rhetorically.

"I'm sure they are just confirming the go ahead through the 10 people it takes to get an 'aye on yi go' order from upon high." Lachlan chimed in. "We'll be busy soon Ade, don't you worry."

Leela also hated waiting. "On my world there is one ruler and his word is final. That is until he defeated by one of his lords. It is not an ideal government, but it cuts down on bureaucracy and waiting around." The Master-at-Arms said.

The conversation swirled around Mira as she looked down at the water, her mind going over everything they'd discovered as she waited for the go-ahead.

Miranda monitored the comms while her eyes moved from one group to another. She had no idea what to expect and wanted to be ready. Or as ready as she could be.

Ja'sol tapped his combadge for an open channel to the strike team going in on the beach. " alright everyone, listen up. Those with Tricorders open you screen and pull up a GPS map of our location. We're going to divide into two teams and encircle the encampment. Set your phasers for heavy stun, we want prisoners and answers. When we encounter the enemy I want each team to make use of any and all cover that we have, I want you all coming back to the ship in one piece. " Ja'sol asked the team and waited for the answers to come back.

"Sir, how many hostiles are we expecting to encounter?" S'kaadaar asked.

Jayna had already been scanning and had a map of the location. As Intel and Marines worked differently, she was chomping at the bit to move in.

Gaagii engaged the SAR feature of his suit, and ordered his team to do the same. Once that was confirmed he acknowledged the call. "Lieutenants and Master Sergeant Tac 2 is standing by and ready."

Tyler sat on the bridge and sighed heavily. This mission kept getting worse and worse and sucked up more and more of his resources. Well this would be it. They would get Maren and her team back and put a stop to it. "Ensign get me a channel to Lieutenants H'ros and Merrick." When the Operations officer of the watch acknowledged the channel Tyler continued. "Lieutenants you are green across the board. We have received the go ahead from General Tivau and the Jutrai forces will be standing by to receive any captives. Keep in mind that this is an internal matter for them. Our mission is to first and foremost get our people. Secondly to put a stop to the Romulans."

Merrick heard the orders from Tyler it was now time, "Orders heard." Merrick responded, then turned his gaze to Ja'sol. This was the first time he'd be working with the chief of security, but the man seemed to know what he was doing.

"Its time, Lieutenant H'ros, lets get our people back"

Ja'sol keyed his comm channel to the entire group. " Alright people the mission is a go. Keep your heads on a swivel and bring back romulan prisoners, we need them to be able to talk. Godspeed and best of luck to you all. "

When the order came, Mercy would climb on of the tall trees around them, from there she could spot any Romulans who try to flee and stun them using Ruby, her sniper rifle.

As corpsman, Azure was preparing med packs and linking her fellow Marines into MedNet, so she could monitor their lifesigns during the mission.

Keying in the comms, Merrick looked at Ja'sol. Then called out, "We've got the green light, its a go!"

Rairror checked over his suit. This mission would allow him to test his modifications to his Isomagnetic Disintegrator, code named 'the Key' including the new shoulder mount, under battlefield conditions.

Mira saw Schultz head out and followed her.

Lachlan formed up in the middle of the pack of marines. Usually he stuck close to his CO, Lt. Merrick in this case, but sometimes he liked to keep an eye on those less shiny. He noted the GPS location on his suit and all the while the location and life signs of his marines. He tapped the next person to move as they began to creep towards their people.

Gaagii took Adelaide with him. Every good sniper needed a spotter, and the SAR specialist would make a good one. "We make for the guard tower 2 kliks due northeast. We must clear the tower and take the top of it. Once there you can get the lay of the land and I can cover the push forward from the Lieutenants. Lets get to it."

"Yes, Staff Sergeant." Adelaide nodded to him as they began to move. The terrain was not harsh, nor difficult to traverse and as such made moving through it all that much easier.

Within thirty minutes the two Marines found themselves at the edge of the woods. Before them was a small open space and a large ten foot tall barbed wire fence. Just within the fence a large gray tower could be seen. At the top of the tower two Romulans stood guard. "Well Moreau any thoughts on how we can get in." Gaagii asked with eyes toward the tower. He already began to process whether or not he could take out the guards.

Adelaide looked towards their target. A tall tower protected from close contact. "What if I make for the fence? I can get through with a small opening and climb the tower then take out one of the guards whilst you take out the other one, quietly. That way we don't alert anyone by the thudding of two large Romulan bodies." she suggested.

"Sounds like a plan. However, timing is going to be the tricky part here." Gaagii began to set up his sniper rifle. Not only did he want to be ready to take the shot when needed, but he wanted to get a look at who was up there. "Two Romulans one male, one female. Both seem to be relaxed but on duty. Don't think they are expecting anything. I will keep an eye out through the scope until you are in place. Good hunting Corporal."

Adelaide nodded and began to move slowly to the fence perimeter. It was standard barbed wire at the top with a typical mesh fence. This made it easy for cutting and Ade could fit through a relatively small gap. Also, this mean that any perimeter checks would not reveal her handy work due to the delicate nature of her cutting.

Once she was through she began to move towards the guard tower. Adelaide always kept her head on a swivel just in case a surprise guard popped up from out of their initial view. Thankfully she made it into the interior of the tower and moved her way up. She moved towards the male Romulan. Yes, he was larger and more powerful but he would make the louder hit if dropped by Gaagi. The female would only make a slightly lesser noise but it was still a better choice.

"In position." Adelaide relayed to Gaagi whilst crouching around the corner from the male Romulan whom had just began to move away from her.

"Execute with extreme prejudice." Gaagii whispered into the mic of his suit. He already had the stealth feature of his rifle engaged. So when he fired at the female Romulan no sound came from the weapon, and no light was seen from the beam. However, the sniper hit his mark and the female Romulan gave a look of surprise as she hit the floor. "She is down I will see you up top." Gaagii decided that it would be easier for him to climb a tree and pass a guy line across to the tower. So, this is what he did and a moment later he found himself on the platform of the guard tower.

Adelaide heard the order to go and slipped a knife from her belt. She spun around the back of the male Romulan and stabbed him whilst covering his mouth to stop any exclamation of surprise and/or pain. As the man lost his fight with life she laid him down on the deck of the watchtower. Moments later Gaagi arrived and they began to set up a position for themselves there.

As Mercy and Sina got closer to the compound, Mercy closed her eyes and fell to her knees. She found it hard to think as he mind was flooded with emotions not her own. Fear, disgust, anger, suspicion, and pain. She tried to focus, but it was like several voices talking over each other.

She could see Sina's face in front of hers, but she couldn't make out what she was saying.

Sina could see that Mercy was in distress. She'd seen this before in empaths, emotional overload. The Vulcanoid took a deep breath. She knew what to do. She removed her comrade's helmet, then removed the glove from her own right. She placed her fingers on certain pressure points the sniper's face, as she'd seen the shamans on her world do, closing her eyes she repeated their words. "My mind to your mind, my thoughts."

Moments later her mind was flooded with emotions, breathing slowly she sorted through the emotions one by one.

Miranda had been tasked to join the main group as her expertise as the communications specialist would be needed. Jayna's, however, would not. Her speciality was in gathering information--especially if it had to be done covertly. And here was a perfect opportunity. With the Marines dividing into three troops, she would be able to slip in and get the data on what had been going on here and why the science team had been kidnapped. She sent an encrypted message to Merrick and McGowan, informing them of what she was doing and when she planned to rendezvous, then slipped away.

A while later Sina ended the mind meld. Mercy now able to process the emotions coming from the science team, thanked her friend. The two continued on with their assignment, having gained a greater understanding of each other from the mixing of their thoughts during the meld.

"Thank you, Sina." Mercy said.

"You're welcome, Warrant." Sin said. "Are you ready to carry on with the mission?" She asked.

"Yes." Mercy replied getting to her feet.

"Good." Sina said joining her. "We should be able to see the tower soon.

Some time later, the two marines spotted the tower. Mercy's suit told her there were two guards in the tower and showed their locations.

Communicating with Sina she said. "Watch my six."

"Aye, aye Warrant." Sina said sweeping the area for hostiles.

Mercy raised Ruby, her rifle and deactivated her suits auto-targeting.

She took a deep breath and let it out as she squeezed the trigger.

The beam hit her target. She targeted the second hostile and fired.

Both Romulans were down before either knew what happened.

"Sina, let the El-Tee know that we've secured our objective."

Nhi was very excited. This would be her first mission out in the field. She could finally show how her training would pay off now. She did a finally check up off her weapons and equipment and then followed her team to their entry point of the camp. She could hear her sister voice echo in her head that she needed to stay serious. She started to whisper it to herself like a mantra.

"Look alive Ensign." Leela said to Nhi.

Nearby S'kaadaar stiffed the air. Romulans. They had a different scent to Vulcans and whatever that Marine Corporal Ravenna was.

Merrick took a few moments tracking where his people and the others were, he shifted his shoulders, checked his gear and then he moved forward, he had a target or would it be targets, that will remain to be seen.
To Be Continued...

A Joint Post By:

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

Commodore Tyler Malbrooke
Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer

Staff Sergeant Gaagii
RECONN Team 2, The Cure
USS Pioneer

Sergeant Shayla Kunadt
EVAC Specialist HQ, The Cure
USS Pioneer

Master Sergeant Lachlan Barr
Chief of The Boat, USS Pioneer
First Sergeant, The Cure

Corporal Adélaïde Moreau
SAR Specialist Team 2, The Cure
USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Commander Alyssa Maren
Chief Science Officer, USS Pioneer

Ensign Mignon Mejia
Alien Archaeologist/Anthropologist, USS Pioneer

Staff Warrant Officer Mira Jayna
Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Pioneer
Intelligence Liaison, The Cure

Sergeant Miranda Schultz
Communications Specialist, USS Pioneer

Warrant Officer Mercy Ryan
Sniper, The Cure
USS Pioneer

Corporal Sina Ravenna
Pathfinder Team 1, The Cure
USS Pioneer

Senior Chief Petty Officer Leela Capella
Master-At-Arms, USS Pioneer

Sergeant Azure Thompson
Corpsman, The Cure
USS Pioneer

Petty Officer 1st Class S'kaadaar
Security Officer, USS Pioneer

Corporal Rairror Thoran
Weapons Specialist, The Cure
USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Ja'sol H'ros Re Seva
Chief Security/Tactical Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant JG Gage Tahoyia
Infiltration Specialist, USS Pioneer

Captain Edmund Merrick
The Cure Executive Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Commander Rowena McGowen
Chief Intelligence Officer/Second Officer, USS Pioneer

Ensign Rachel Sinclair
Assistant Chief Security/Tactical Officer, USS Pioneer

Ensign Hoa Nhi Nguyen
Security Officer, USS Pioneer

Ensign Auba Lyna
Security Officer, USS Pioneer

Corporal Andrew Shy
Tactical Systems Operator Team 2, The Cure
USS Pioneer


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