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[Deniaud/Salieri] Collaboration Log
Stardate: 1701.01 [01 January, 2017]
FAIR LORELEI: A LOG SERIES
What Lies Beneath [V]:
Attack at Nymesta Hill
Nymesta Hill had once been a stately oceanside city, so named for the single hill marking the landscape on the north side of the city. The Tarkeerians were enjoying Malanash, their day of rest and reflection when the earth beneath them started to shake. The epicenter of the earthquake struck almost directly underneath the mayor’s mansion, leveling the opulent structure immediately. The destruction of the rest of the city came in a wave rippling outward from the hill. Being surrounded by desert meant that the buildings were constructed using mud bricks, cement mortar and plaster to cover them. The odd structure had steel beams in its construction, traded in with an exorbitant sum of glass that Nymesta was known for.
Within hours of the earthquake, the ocean had swelled. A rising tsunami wave engulfed the city, pushing debris and mud further inland before retreating back to the sea. In the days since the disaster, Nymesta Hill’s remaining citizens had fled north to Surikan, leaving all manner of worldly possessions behind to rot with the death and destruction.
She could taste the salt in the air with each breath. If it wasn’t for the grit of the dust that mingled in the air, she would have thought the air fresh. Marielle wiggled her fingers to remove the lingering tingle of the transporter. The petite engineer was easily dwarfed by the six men who surrounded her. “Alright,” she called out loudly as she stepped forward and carefully turned around to avoid tripping over the debris on the ground. “We’re just trying to find this power source and then we’re back to Surikan to assist. So the sooner we get this done, the better.” The engineer turned to Gideon and nodded once. “Do you need to secure the perimeter or may I proceed with Lieutenant White?”
Scans of the area had shown no lifesigns, the tsunami having long since wiped the landscape devoid of life. “Proceed, we’ll work in tandem.” Gideon watched her a moment before beckoning the other three security team members his way. “Mark cleared structures, open comms,” he instructed them. It was more of a refresher as they’d gone over the protocols of their mission for several hours before arriving at Malahakir. Salieri pointed at Jake Miller, then motioned Mudan over. “Stick with Lieutenant Deniaud, we’ll call if you’re needed.” There was an unspoken understanding that Gideon expected there would be no survivors.
Her vibrant eyes swept through the area before they dropped to the tricorder in her hand. Her body turned and motioned towards the north. “This way,” she instructed. Marielle stepped over a long and chipped beam, her boot immediately sinking near to the ankle in water. She and Lieutenant junior grade Benjamin White walked side by side. He carried a silver crate designated for the capital, and she carried the equipment to remove it. “So where are you from, Ben?” she asked as if she was merely asking about the weather.
White turned towards the woman by his side. He easily towered over her. The Trill native smiled briefly before his eyes returned to the path they were taking. He easily stepped over large pieces of debris while Marielle had to climb over them. “My home is the city near the Caves of Mak’ala,” he replied as he offered his hand and helped the engineer over and around a jagged support beam. “How about you?”
“Avignon, France,” she replied as her foot fell into another puddle, the water reaching mid-calf. She gasped softly as she caught the sight of a dismembered hand floating just under the murky surface. Marielle’s face paled and she scrambled back to get her foot out of the deep puddle. Ben’s hand tightened around hers in support and she was more than happy that he pulled her forward. “Thank you,” she managed.
“Not a problem,” Ben offered in support as he released her hand. The engineer destined for the USS Aldrin adjusted the crate in his hands. “So what do you know of this power source of theirs?”
“Not much,” Marielle admitted as she looked around. She tried not to look sick when she caught the sight of the ocean filled bodies that floated within the glass building a good ten meters from them. There was an odd beauty in the way their limbs swayed in the still water. She trained her eyes on the silver structure in the distance, ignoring the sudden increase in her heart rate. She released a long and quiet breath, her hand gripping the kit in her hand as she moved forward. “I do know that it takes about three canisters of whatever the hell we’re getting to power their city. It’s extremely powerful, but highly volatile. They always have two on back up so that power doesn’t stop should one is drained. The Surikan plant apparently lost two sources before we arrived,” she explained as she stepped over another chunk of rubble, “and one is threatening to go out any time now. We’ve got to collect all the canisters in the outlying cities today. Secure them in case of another aftershock.”
Despite the destruction that surrounded them, the building itself seemed to stand strong. The exterior shined brightly, the sun reflecting in near blinding intensity. The black and amber sand swirled in the water that pooled where it collected when the waters receded.
“How do you just lose power canisters?” Ben asked as they reached the door of the power plant. He watched as Marielle tentatively pulled at the handle to find the door locked.
Gideon walked quietly among the rubble-strewn streets. He listened idly to the chatter on the comms, phaser rifle at his side while his eyes remained peeled open, scanning the area around him between glances at the tricorder in his hand. The Betazoid mix clenched his jaw as he stopped at the remnants of a structure, tricorder sweeping over the debris before he took a chalk pen from his pocket and marked an ‘X’ on what may have at one point been a doorway.
Marielle’s hands moved over the panel, lifting the cover to reveal the set of foreign letters. She hummed in thought as she punched in the memorised code she had been given. Nodding once, the engineer pulled at the door handle when she heard the lock unlatch. She stepped inside first, tapping the light on her wrist to activate it. She took a moment to look inside. Instantly, the hair on her arms stood at the thrumming that filled the space. “Wow,” she breathed out softly as the individual torches of their team flickered on to fill the dark space.
It was as if the destruction outside hadn’t happened. The interior was dry and clean. The power plant was sealed tight. A steady hum and pulse filled the walls. It vibrated the air, making it thick and heavy.
“I’ve got movement in the east sector,” came a voice over the comm. Rentaki Mordecai of the Lorelei spoke quietly as his breathing quickened.
Shiloh Jackson from the Geneva answered in a lowered voice. “On my way from the south.”
The security officer from the Trincomalee chipped in last. “Standing by,” Jake Miller said in a hushed voice. He reached a hand out to pat Ensign Mudan, the Betazoid medical officer from the Lorelei, on the shoulder, reassuring him with a thumb’s up.
She nodded once to Ben, taking a moment to look back at Ensign Jake Miller. “We’re going to go to the control room and the housing unit,” Marielle informed him. “Come on Ben.” Their steps echoed in the cavernous interior as they moved deeper into the structure. They disappeared into the far left room.
Gideon glanced at his tricorder, noting the positions of the officers before frowning and looking back over his shoulder. There were no lifesigns other than the Starfleet team showing up in the readings. Unbidden, a shudder ran through him and he turned, making his way toward the east sector. “Is it a scavenger?” he asked the open comm, hoping that it might just be an animal.
She glanced around the control room, taking a moment to look over the foreign lettering over the switches and buttons. Just beyond the window, Marielle could see the steady thrumming of the power source. It glowed blue, the colour fluctuating as it pulsed. The tricorder chirped softly as it attempted to process the language that had just been input into their universal translator. Because the Lorelei computer was still sifting through the hundreds of exabytes of information, their tricorders only had a miniscule database available for her. “I think,” she paused as she placed the open tricorder on the pristine surface and her fingers danced over the glassy surface. Instantly, lights flickered on throughout the plant.
Ben glanced around in the small control room. “How did you do that?”
Marielle lifted her head and looked up at the younger engineer beside her. “This symbol right here,” she pointed, “means light. I took a chance?”
The Trill beside her raised a brow. “That could have meant explode the power source,” he argued.
She giggled softly and shook her head. “No. Those are usually sectioned off,” she explained. “There are a few constants in this universe. A destruct sequence is always highly elaborate and extremely difficult to initiate.” Marielle hummed softly as hands continued to move over the panel. At first she was slow, her eyes drifting to the tricorder every so often to check the translations. After several long minutes - thirty, maybe forty - her hand swiped over the glassy surface and the room beyond their window blared into life.
“Haven’t made contact. It’s on the move, headed north toward the plant,” Mordecai informed the team.
“Come on. Let’s go. We’ll need to release the clamps and put it into the crate within twenty minutes or else the chemical compound will begin to degrade.”
Ben followed her, his boots clicking against the metal grating as they left the control room and entered the housing chamber. “So the rumours are true about you then?” he asked as they descended the stairs.
Marielle paused mid-step, turning to look up at him as she was several steps ahead of him. “What rumours?” she asked tentatively.
“You’ve got a brain of a computer.” Ben grinned brightly at her.
The response had her laughing, a bell-ringing sweet tone that easily filled the housing chamber. It echoed in the ventilation system and made the usually warm and bright sound eerie. “No,” she managed as she began to walk down the stairs until she reached bottom of the chamber. Her boots clicked against the floor as she approached the power source.
The silver cylinder was easily two meters tall and a meter wide, but the source itself was only the size of a small ball. The sphere measured no more than twenty-five centimeters around. It was bright, pulsing as if it was the very heart of the city.
Gideon powered down the tricorder and took his phaser rifle at the ready as he began jogging back in the direction from which he’d come, headed for the plant. “All personnel converge on the plant.”
Jake touched Mudan on the shoulder, motioning him closer and then inside. “May have incoming, let them know.” The medical officer nodded and disappeared into the building.
“I’m looking forward to working with you,” Ben watched as Marielle’s hands moved over the panel. He heard the canister powering down. The thrumming increased and he inhaled sharply.
The shorter engineer chuckled lightly. “We’ll see if you still feel that way once we’re on the Aldrin,” she mused as her hands remained trained on the power source. The steady thrumming had quickly become a near steady whine.
Ensign Mudan glanced around quickly, making his way toward Ben and Marielle. “Lieutenants,” he called quietly. “What’s the status? We have movement in this direction.”
Marielle turned her attention to Mudan. “We’re about to disengage the safety protocols so we can take the source out of the containment field. Maybe, another ten minutes.” The urgency was clear on the medic’s face, and the smaller engineer turned to the Trill beside her. “Get the containment crate ready. We’re going to have push it.” She didn’t even wait for him respond. Her head had already turned to the panel and the power source.
“There’s more movement from the south.” Jackson’s voice came through in a rush.
Her steps were quick, near jogging, as she rounded around the railing and slid under the glass finish. She didn’t even realize her hands were shaking as she lightly tapped on the releases on the edge of the seams. The large cylinder opened with a hiss, and the once muffled whine filled the air like a scream. It took all she had not to wince at the assault on her eardrums. “White, I need that crate now.” Marielle reached forward as her peripherals caught the Trill straightening beside her, the crate in his hands.
“Are you supposed to be reaching in there with your bare hands?” he asked hesitantly.
“I didn’t see any protection wear anywhere, so I’m going to assume that it’s one of those ‘Explode-y’ types of unsafe, not the ‘Melt your face off’ types.” Marielle’s hands were steady as she pulled the sphere from within the housing unit. Her tongue poked out in the corner of her mouth as she kept her hands steady.
“That’s the official terminology then? Is it Latin?” Ben offered. The lieutenant watched as his superior officer carefully lowered the sphere into the small crate and as her fingers snapped the latches to lock the lid.
“I think the Latin is ‘Explodious’ vs. ‘Meltious Cheesious’,” Marielle offered with a relieved and tense chuckle. The lighthearted exchange had been uttered without a hint of humour in their tones. “Let’s go.” She moved under the railing, motioning for Ben to move ahead of her. She looked to Mudan, who had been silently watching. “Go tell the team that we’re done and ready to move.” The diminutive engineer watched as the medic ran ahead, near leaping two or three steps at a time until he disappeared into the control room and towards the security team.
“Do we have a number?” Gideon asked as he broke into a run, his strides lengthening as he focused his cobalt gaze on the one building that remained somewhat intact.
“Just one from the east,” Mordecai confirmed.
“Looks like two- no three from the south.”
“Miller, secure the entrance.”
“Aye,” Ensign Jake Miller simply confirmed as he already stood at the entrance of the plant. His phaser rifle was raised, the tricorder propped on a large piece of rubble so he could look for any sign of approaching hostiles. The equipment only showed the other three security officers as they made their way to his position.
“I’m taking fire!” Rentaki yelped as a bullet struck him in the arm, turning him midair as he dropped for cover.
Ensign Eyeri Mudan turned the corner into the main area, his feet skidding at the sounds of gunfire. Immediately, he dropped to the ground. His medkit clanked against the metal surface. “We’re done!” he yelled out as he attempted to make his way to Rentaki Mordecai, who was crawling toward the plant.
Gideon growled softly as he slid to a stop, his head snapping in the direction of the gunfire before he changed direction, rifle at the ready as he scanned the area. “Report, Mordecai.”
Marielle glanced at Ben as the sound of gunfire echoed loudly through the structure. “Crap. What the hell is happening?!” she muttered in a panic under her breath. Her hand grabbed the tricorder from the control room, snapped it shut, and slipped it into her holster while her other hand removed her phaser. “See if you can contact the Lorelei! Tell the transporter chief that he may need to boosting the molecular imaging scanners and realigning the phase transition coils to compensate for the matter degradation. Have him transport that thing directly to Surikan before they attempt transporting you,” she hissed at Ben as she stepped out of the control room.
“But-” Ben’s eyes widened as the diminutive engineer leave him.
She looked back into the room. “Listen to me. Stay down and get that power source to Surikan. That’s why we’re here,” she reminded him with a finality in her tone. “Get a hold of the Lorelei!” Marielle closed the door and hurried out towards the main area and towards the sounds of gunfire. She could feel her heart thumping loudly as adrenaline coursed through her.
Rentaki panted softly, in obvious pain. “Contact down. I see the others. Their weapons are primitive, fire projectiles.”
“Start evacuation, Miller!” Gideon moved toward the southern end of the plant. He met up with Shiloh Jackson, joining him behind a wall. The Betazoid mix looked at the security officer, who motioned over the wall, held up three fingers, then pointed twice to the left. Licking his lip, Gideon nodded and peeled off to the right, staying low as he attempted to move around the hostiles.
Inside, the engineer reached the wall and pressed her back into the shadows. She peered into the large space, catching sight of Rentaki and Mudan pinned behind several large columns. The medic appeared to be attempting to make his way towards Rentaki. Marielle pressed her communicator and spoke in a hushed yet panicked voice, “Tell me what to do. Right now I’m by the only entrance to the control room. White is attempting to contact the Lorelei to transport the power source, but I don’t know if we can get through the distortion that had us transporting a few clicks from here in the first place.” Her fingers wrapped tightly around her phaser, the weapon clutched to her chest.
“Find cover and stay put,” Gideon answered quietly as he searched for the three attackers who remained in a firefight with Jackson. He glanced, backed against the way, glanced again, then pushed off, running to a better position.
“No can do, Lieutenant,” Marielle replied as her head lifted from the wall and she peeked beyond the door frame. She gasped as she pressed back against the wall as a bullet ricocheted off the plaster. “Oh geez.” The engineer slid down and turned to leaned against the wall. Her head peeked out once more as she listened to the gunshots that echoed around them. “One is at my ten o’clock,” she muttered softly to her communicator.
Jake Miller answered as he approached. “Have him in sight. If you can draw his fire, I should be able to neutralize.”
“Next time we do this, I’m bringing my bow and arrow,” she complained into the communicator as peeked over the door frame. Marielle’s arm lifted and she took aim. The phaser cut through the air, hitting the railing. She watched as the shadow ducked in response. Vibrant green eyes watched it move, her face blanching as she watched the insurgent dart to towards her twelve o’clock. He’d have a direct line to the injured Rentaki Mordecai and the medic, Eyeri Mudan. “He’s on the move!”
Gideon mentally screamed a long line of obscenities directed at Marielle and Miller as he squeezed his eyes shut, murmuring a quick prayer. He seethed quietly, his ragged breath audible over the open comm as he glanced at the other two. Growling, he pushed again and stood, took a breath and fired once, twice, before dropping back down and diving behind a desk.
“One contact down,” Jackson offered. “Wounded the second.”
Salieri nodded his head forward in disgust, shaking his chin from side to side before turning to peer from around the corner of the desk.
Marielle quickly jumped to the other side of the door and took aim at the shadow. She missed. Her brows furrowed when it disappeared. “I had sights on the third, but I don’t know where he went,” she offered over the communicator. The small engineer peeked out into the main area and nodded as she caught Mudan finally reaching Rentaki. “I’m going to go check in on White,” she informed them. Her steps already had her moving towards the control room. “With any luck, he’ll have secured the power source and we can just get out of here.”
“Providing cover fire,” Miller offered as he stood and fired in the direction of the wounded rebel.
Jason Jackson also stood then, and repositioned as he chased after the wounded attacker.
The sound of static-laden gunfire and phaser fire cut into the communicator. “Ben!” More phaser fire filled the air. “They- He- White is down. I can’t get to him!”
“Where is it!?” came the disembodied gruff voice over the communication device, the sound of her yelping following.
“Cazzo!” Gideon jumped up, phaser rifle scanning quickly as his hurried steps carried him to the control room, cobalt eyes searching the area as he made a beeline for the door.
Her eyes swept over the bronze complexion, her vibrant flawless green eyes finding that soft mint of his hues. “Let me go,” she hissed as she twisted at the hip and ripped her arm away from his grasp. The engineer managed one step away when she felt an arm grip around her waist. “No!” she screamed, a surge of panic moving through her. Memories of Atlantis flooded her, and the engineer began to flail madly. “I said no!”
“Third target has escaped, regrouping.” Jackson pulled back, headed for Mordecai and Mudan to offer his assistance.
“Where is the Eamn?” he demanded again as he began to drag Marielle down the stairs.
Marielle’s nails dug into his hand as she tried to put all her weight down into her feet. Her other hand grabbed to the railing. “It’s not here!” she screamed. The engineer twisted desperately. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she gasped for air. She could feel the cold seep into her bones as panic turned her skin numb.
Gideon shouldered the door open, rifle pointing every direction before focusing down. He placed a hand on the railing and vaulted over, dropping the entire flight and landing harshly on the bottom level, rolling forward before he raised the rifle, leaning forward to move again. “Marielle,” he said sharply as he approached them.
“Then I’ll just take you!” The bronze man pulled her towards the door hidden behind the open power housing chamber. “You have the same uniform as the one who was guarding it. You will get us the others!”
The engineer’s eyes lifted to find Gideon in front of her, the rifle lifted and pointed in her direction. The panic in her green hues disappeared as she stared into the richness of his blues. She stopped flailing immediately, but she let her knees buckle from under her. The nails of one hand still dug into the assailant's bare arm while her other clung desperately to the railing. “Ben-,” she croaked out weakly.
“We are the Teitekians,” the assailant spat out. He pressed his nose into Marielle’s hair, ignoring the disgusted whine that escaped the woman in his grasp. “Your people don’t belong here. This is our land!” He pointed the pistol at Marielle’s head, pressing the barrel into her temple. His finger pulled at the trigger. He sneered menacingly at Gideon when the chamber clicked empty.
Marielle released a sudden scream as her body tensed. When she felt nothing, the engineer sobbed as her body turned limp with relief. “S’il vous plaît,” she begged softly as she weakly struggled. “Nous essayons juste d’aider. C’est tout!”
He’d tensed and leaned forward, finger poised on the trigger as a ragged breath passed his lips. “Let her go and we’ll leave.” Gideon’s eye twitched as he berated himself for hesitating to fire at the Teitekian.
“Give us back what you took from us and you can have this woman back.” He dropped the pistol in his grasp, his free hand quickly grabbing the knife from his holster. The blade was pressed to her bare neck, drawing a shallow bloody line under her jaw and the side of her neck as it moved towards her uniform covered shoulder.
“You’ll find it in Surikan,” he muttered. Gideon tried to suppress the memory of Oletak holding Marielle in the dungeon on Atlantis. Growling softly, his finger twisted the dial, pushing the phaser rifle from heavy stun to kill. Gideon twitched his chin to the left. “Move to the right, El,” he whispered as he tensed, inadvertently leaning forward. He watched as she shifted to the right, her face drained of colour as she softly sobbed.
“Then she dies here.” The Teitekian stared at Gideon as he lifted the blade, the tip digging into her shoulder. The movement was quick, piercing through her uniform and deep through her skin. Her scream filled the air.
Gideon pulled the trigger before he darted forward, dropping the end of the phaser rifle so that he could grab Marielle before she hit the ground. The Teitekian fell back, limp, dead before his body stopped moving. “Deniaud’s been injured, White is down. Get the ready to transport as soon as we regroup.”
Her hand came up to press against her shoulder as she remained kneeling on the ground. Her fingers brushed against the blade embedded in her shoulder. Marielle sobbed softly, her hair hiding her face as she curled in on herself. “Just a minute,” she breathed out softly. “I just need a minute.”
“Leave it alone,” Gideon instructed. “No,” he grabbed her by the arm and picked her up to her feet. “Arm over my shoulder.”
Marielle grunted as she was pulled to her feet. “He got my arm, not my legs.” Her eyes widened as she stared at the Teitekian’s body. She straightened quietly, her hand still pressed against her shoulder as she moved without his assistance. “We can’t just leave Ben here,” she muttered as they moved to the stairs.
Gideon’s shoulders tensed and he let her take hold of the railing. He certainly hadn’t intended on leaving the engineer, but was going to send one of the other officers to retrieve him. Gideon moved the phaser rifle to his back and stepped away, reaching down to gently pick up Benjamin White and settled the engineer over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. He walked back to Marielle and urged her forward.
They cleared the structure in silence. Marielle ignored Eyeri Mudan, informing the Betazoid medic to focus on Rentaki Mordecai as her injuries could easily be handled without consequence on the Lorelei. “This was supposed to be routine,” she muttered softly as they neared the transport site. The back of her hand came up to wipe the sweat from her brow. She lifted the bloody hand up to shield her eyes from the glare of the high suns.
The other two security officers had offered to take White from him, but Gideon simply shook his head, staring coldly ahead. It was only a matter of moments before Marielle was informed that the Lorelei was ready to transport and they felt the familiar tingle of dematerialization.
Copyright 2016. All works involving Mariëlle A. Deniaud, Rayna Elkhorn, Gideon M. Salieri, and Erik J. Vaeros, including character biographies and published stories, are the property of the United Space Federation and its authors. It cannot be reproduced, imitated, and copied without written permission from the authors. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction using aspects of the Star Trek universe as created and copyrighted/trademarked by Gene Roddenberry, Paramount, and their affiliates.