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Operation Homeward Bound: Taking Command

Posted on Fri Apr 10th, 2020 @ 10:20am by Sergeant Shayla Kunadt & Makeba Brown & Warrant Officer Mira Jayna & Major Cornelius Tremble & Sergeant Miranda Schultz & Sergeant Azure Thompson
Edited on on Fri Apr 10th, 2020 @ 10:28am

Mission: Episode 9 - Empok's End
Location: Command Center - Central Core Deck 1 - Empok Nor
Timeline: MD005 0830 hrs

Shayla had never felt so alone in her life. She sat in the Hawkeye and had every member of the Cure's readouts on her screen. She was monitoring their vitals and could see their progress through the vid feeds. And yet she still felt alone. She made sure to keep her phaser in her hand and ready, just in case the enemy decided they would try to get the door to the Hawkeye open. For the time being she sat on Landing Pad 5 watching, listening and waiting.

Makeba Brown was actually happy and content to follow orders. She had been strafiing side to side in the middle of the group. Makeba took cover when ever it would preset itself. Just as they stepped toward the lift two Cardassians were running in their direction. She fired two quick and controlled shots. The Cardassians fell in turn. "We need to get a move on I think they know we are here."

Neil took moments to survey his team, even though his HUD was keeping a running tab on everyone. It had been a hot breakout from their insertion point to the lifts leading to station ops. The defenders had known it would be one of, if no theprimary objectives in any attempt to retake the station.

The marine captain was also having déjà vu from the last time they'd done this. Shaking off the distractions his mind was throwing at him, Neil checked the MARVEL-EAS's heat sinks and moved to breach the lift's tube. They'd forced the doors moments ago and he didn't want to give the defenders time to catch up to them.

They'd run the gauntlet that the defenders had set up quickly, bypassing some pockets of resistance and using the suit's sensors to mark defensive positions as they went. He checked the permitter and then looked at the former Maqui. "I certainly hope so. I have big surprises waiting for the defenders when they arrive."

Looking at the approaches to the central turbo net area, Neil unclipped a tube from the small of his back and rotated the cap. Five baseball sized orbs rolled out and immediately launched into the air attaching themselves to the superstructure . He saw them link to his sensor net and go active.

That done he began motioning his fire team into the tube and made an adjustment to his suit. Small pegs and handholds popped out from the the below the knee and to either side of the chest piece and he gestured toward Jayna and Brown. "Express elevator leaving now. You two climb aboard with myself or the good Sergeant and we'll give you a lift. Prior to breaching into Ops, we'll get you secured someplace in the shaft where you can join us right after we take the brunt."

Looking at the marines with him, he said. "There's enough room for Schultz, Azure and myself to breach and we're going in preceded by stun grenades."

He caught Makeba looking up at the orbs he'd launched and he smiled, "Those are bouncing Betties. First group that walks in to range, one of these eggs drop and fire off about 15000 flechettes, all coated with a aero-toxin that will put most anything to sleep for about twenty hours. And they'll look like a pin cushion."

Schultz nodded, checked her weapon, and fell in behind Tremble.

Makeba went to stand behind Tremble as she got ready to piggy back down. "If you think that I am going to wait out this fight simply because you are in some suit. You must be out of your mind." She checked her phaser one last time before she holstered it, and waited for Tremble to be ready.

"You can go in first, but I distractions planned," Jayna added. If all went well, they would give the Marines a bit more time and cause a little chaos along the way.

Azure signalled her assent and checked her weapons. A brief smile crossing her lips in anticipation of combat.

Neil stepped into the shaft, his anti-grav boots kicking in and he launched his left shoulder mounted prob up the tunnel toward ops. His suit's shielding moved to cover his passenger and he kicked in the boosters.

About 30 meters up, his probe hit something and disintegrated.

Then the ambush lit off. Cloaked phaser turrets began filling the tube with fire and his suit's shielding began taking on a golden color. He muttered, "Keep your head down and watch the phaser," into his suit's intercom. He didn't even get the words out before his shoulder mounted phaser began indexing and firing. Slightly behind him, Azure and Miranda's point defense systems kicked in as well, all synchronizing with one another filling the air with return fire.

Then the mines exploded and filled the tube with pure energy. The shield went critical and began venting heat into the armor itself, sparring his passenger as it was meant to but he felt the heat within his suit began building in the heat-sinks. Neil could see the writing on the wall and began to build speed.

His suit wasn't going to last much longer..

The hail of phaser fire came quick and unexpected. Makeba clung tight and instinctively drew her phaser. "Those frakkin Cardie set turrets in Ops. FRAK! Tremble get me up there and I will take em out and get off you back." She shouted over the din of phaserfire.

Miranda took cover. Even with her suit, she knew she wasn't invulnerable. Staying out of direct fire for a bit would allow her to fight longer. She began taking out the enemy as they came in range.

Neil grimaced as he felt the heat build and called out. "Computer, phaser point defense to rapid fire: tracking. Pipe sensor feed to fire team for triangulation and cross fire." The marine captain then kicked in the anti grab and he began to ascend much quicker than he had planned.

But there really wasn't going to be time to follow the plan.

Neil's phaser indexed and fired, taking out three of the turrets as they pushed up the tube and his suit's sensor suite tracked eight others and fed targeting data to Azure's and Schultz's suits as they followed.

With the top of the tube coming up fast, Neil brought his left arm and turned and punched with it, his eye flicking to the suit's fire control and cuff peeled back revealing a chain of blue, micro photon grenades. A beat later the orbs launched, firing up the remaining distance of the tube. The chain automatically expanded as it reached the bottom of the lift which was locked at station operations.

Seconds later, the directed breaching charges blew and disintegrated the floor of the lift. His suit's shielding automatically switched to umbrella and he and brown rose through the shock wave from the blast.

His sensors told him the tube doors to operations were highly warped and buckled from he of the grenades had been a second behind the others and went through the beginning of the breach and blew inside the lift itself.

Neil grunted, and angled his left foot to counter his planned action and with all the power of his augmented right leg, kicked the damaged doors.

Luckily, the lift doors were ray shielded, not blast proof and the segments flew inwards. He saw a variety of faces looking at him...then looking for cover as the doors flew through the Operations well and he entered the room.

As Neil went in, he began taking heavy fire from more phaser turrets and he yelled, "Federation Marines. Stand down or I'll burn all you rats." There wasn't any good place for him to seek cover in his suit and his computer began to klaxon. "WARNING. WARNING. Suit integrity field at 20 percent and degrading by 2 percent per second."

Swearing, Neil switched to comms and said, "Keebs, get to cover quick. This suit is going to go. Azure, Schultz: More turrets. My suit will mark them as long as it can, burn them out and stun anything that moves. Anything that keeps moving after that, burn down."

As he spoke, the Klaxon switched to a harsh klingon metal opera...his own personality quirk for when the feces was really going to hit the flywheel.

As soon as she could Makeba tumbled off Temble's back and clear of the immediate turret fire. She managed to take cover behind one of the consoles. She could see that there was a turret on the ledge just in front of the CO's office. Makeba had helped program these, and that is what gave her a small edge. It was all int the timing. One... Two... Three... Mark! she thought. At the mark she jumped up and issued three short bursts from her phaser. The first two targeted a device that was embedded into the top of the door frame of the CO's office. The third the turret itself, a split second after the third shot the turret exploded. The remaining turrets all targeted Makeba as they now read her as a large threat. She began to duck, weave, and tumble behind anything she could. "Tremble, go get them while they are targeting me. They will only stay locked on me for a limited time." She shouted into the comm.

He felt Keebs clear his suit and he waded into the phaser fire from both the Maquis and their turrets. His suit's shield popped a second later and the heat sinks of his suit super heated two seconds later as the dwell time from the phasers poured more energy into the MARVEL-EAS. Neil closed his eyes as the suit's safeties kicked in and it's arms extended to the sides and the legs planted and a second later, it aborted him with the air reserves out the back as the rear plating blew allowing him an emergency exit.

The marine captain hit a bulkhead and bounced to the deck. Under the armor, he's been wearing a form fitting body glove which had precious little padding. He knelt, luckily out of the field of fire, as the pain from the impact washed over him and looked up to see his suit disintegrate under the phaser barrage. Neil rolled automatically for cover and drew the Nova Special phaser from it's chest holster, even as he coughed and spit blood.

Miranda entered command, her suit targeting the enemy while she moved to protect her team. She noticed the captain on the ground and moved to draw fire. The barrage slowed as she continued the assault.

In an effort to keep the turrets from re-targeting Makeba ran in a serpentine pattern through out Ops. She kept her head low and often tumbled to avoid exploding consoles. It seemed that a number of them had been taken out but there were still some left. "Hey Green Machine care to get this done sometime today." Makeba shouted over the fire into the comm.

Azure moved forward to bear the brunt of the barrage, as she shielded the Skipper. Opening her right palm, a handful of nano-drones burst forth targeting the the remaining turrets. Their plant-based makeup, made it difficult for the sensors to pinpoint them as a threat, this gave the drones time to take them out.

She then went to check on Tremble.

With Azure taking out the last of the turrets, the fighting was soon over. Schultz kept an eye out for anyone coming into the command center, juts in case.

Jayna entered and found a working computer console and went to work. In short order, she polarized the deck plating in the areas where the Cardassian soldiers congregated, causing the deck plating to act like a magnet for the troops trying to help defend from the Marine onslaught. Then she removed Cardassians from the main computer so it would see them as alien intruders. Finally, she blew the bulkhead doors to a cargo bay on the other side of the station as a distraction. She'd prepared carefully so they only took seconds to implement. None of the Cardassians would be able to get into the computer to fix the problems, or get through any doors. She may not have been trusted, but she had far too much time to set this up. Taking the command center was a major step to taking over the station, but there was still a lot to do. With her distractions activated, she went through subroutines and secondary systems to take over the main computer and restore what Federation authorization codes she could.

Neil watched as his team efficiently re-took Empok Nor's command center and he nodded gratefully to Azure as she began administering to him. It mostly felt like he'd cracked a few ribs again and the blast from his suit had left his exposed skin reddened.

Holstering the pulse phaser, he walked over to the op's comm station and began working. Aloud he said, "Good work, Marines, Brown, Jayna. Secure this area, you all know what you're doing." Activating his heads up command link, he checked on his other teams and noted their progress.

Finally he keyed his comm and broadcast, "This is The Cure. Stage one complete."

Looking at the displays, he saw warp signatures begin to pop in as the Brigades landing force emerged. Eight Anaconda class landing craft rapidly deployed around the station, each deploying two PEARL drop ships each. The PEARLS began to close toward various air-locks on the station.

Things weren't completely locked down however as one of Emok's phaser turrets began firing at the landing marines and Neil felt his stomach muscles twinge as two PEARLS, 500 marines, were blown apart under the phaser garage. Then it was two late and the remainder of the drop ships were attaching to the station's superstructure and the main force began to breach.

Switching to his tactical net, Neil called out "All stations and Pioneer elements. The Marines are landing: stand by and watch for reinforcements."

The shooting had stopped and the dust had settled. Makeba climbed out from under the steps leading to the station commander's office. When she stood up she felt the sting in her ankle, it seemed that she had been grazed and with the adrenaline pumping did not feel it. "Well glad that is over..." She said as she limped toward Neil. "Sir I recommend you have your Marines take up station to guard this place. Jayna and I can do what we do best and hack the system. She smiled at Niel and Jayna.

Jayna continued to work on the computer, going through layer after layer like an onion as she reclaimed control of baseline systems. She was shoring up the foundational routines and programs so that when they took over the main functions, there wouldn't be any problems. She was aware of the chatter around her, but as she was already doing as ordered, she didn't respond.

Azure walked over and gave the Skipper a shot, containing electrolytes and a mild pain killer, to help his body to combat the stress it had been through. To the others she said. "When you come down from your adrenaline highs, let me know and I'll give you a pick-me-up."

Thanks for that," Neil told Azure as he felt the hypo wash over him. Some of the blurry edges of his vision cleared and he shook his head, watching as more Op's systems came online and sensor feeds began flowing, giving him a look at how the battle was raging.

Miranda carefully scanned the room, looking for anything amiss. When she'd gone over the room three times, she went over to Azure. She was beginning to shake ever so slightly and knew she was no longer functioning at her best. "I'll take a shot," she said.

"Okay, Serg." Azure said and took a hypospray from her medkit and administered the shot. "That should keep you going until we're relieved.

It took a moment to register, but Brown's words finally reached Neil and he briefly glanced toward the former Maquis then nodded and his eye flickered toward the Comm suite and seconds later a Marine Fire Team from the 480th Armored appeared. Neil's brief was short. All of this had all been planned in advance. Two of the reinforcements moved to advantageous positions, taking up overwatch while three began taking control of, binding and removing prionsers to holding cells on the various PEARLS.

"As systems come on line," Neil addressing his team, "The landing force should be taking various weapons turrets and such. As soon as they return control, direct the station's weapons at the Maquis and Order forces."

Makeba swallowed hard at the idea on unleashing the might of Empok Nor's weapons on the Maquis. Those were her friends. She stared at Tremble as his orders registered and she formed what she was going to say. Makeba Brown had gone this far on a return to Starfleet. She may as well go the whole distance. She grimly nodded at Niel. "Sir, yes sir..." She turned to the console and began to hack the station's tactical systems. It was time her friends learned that Leyton was not worthy of loyalty.

Neil surveyed Ops again, then moved over to Brown and lay a hand on her shoulder. "Makeba, we only have to stop them. Target engines and weapon systems unless they're posing a direct, immune threat to one of our ships. If you want, reconfigure a phaser into a communication laser and burn a surrender message to ships that won't answer your hail.

When she looked at him, he told her "Talk them down if you can, disable them if you have to. Take them out if you must." If they can't see which way this is going. Well...let's do what we can."

Makeba was elated that Tremble clarified the order. However, she knew that the Maquis forces would not surrender to anyone. They would fight until the last man was standing especially now that they believe her to be a traitor. She keyed in the target as ordered and waited to fire. As much as Makeba regretted it, she knew that her friends would either see the light or die.
* * *

Shayla sat in the Hawkeye and watched as pieces of hull and other debris passed by her location. She was hidden on the outer ring of the station, landed on a runabout pad. There she had sat as the battle raged, and the fear raged in her belly. Her weapons and engines were hot all that she needed was the Cap's word and she could dust off. The silence within the shuttle was deafening. But the hollow, thud sound of a metal on metal knock rocked Shayla to the core. She retrieved her phaser and turned toward the door, the phaser shook as she leveled it. There was a moment of fear, silence, and tension as the rear door was opened from the outside. All of those feelings turned to elation as some members of General Sobel's lading team stood there in their suits. "Corporal Kunadt your services for evac will not be needed the station is ours." The lead Marine said. Shayla smiled "Well boys that is the best news I have heard all day. Why don't we all go grab a drink now that I am home."

A Joint Post By

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

Warrant Officer Mira Jayna
Infiltration Specialist, USS Pioneer

Makeba Brown
Maquis Tactical Officer

Lance Corporal Shayla Kunadt
EVAC Specialist, USS Pioneer

Corporal Azure Thompson
Corpsman Command Fire Team, USS Pioneer

Sergeant Miranda Schultz
Communications Specialist, USS Pioneer


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