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[Deniaud/Elkhorn/Salieri] Collaboration Log
Stardate: 1701.01 [01 January, 2017]
FAIR LORELEI: A LOG SERIES
What Lies Beneath [IX]:
Abduction at Drikaana
Marielle stood quietly in the transporter room as she waited for the rest of the team. Nervous energy had made it difficult for the engineer to sleep through the night, and she had arrived in the transporter room far earlier than was necessary. Her closed kit was on the transporter chief’s console. She bent over at the waist, her long hair dangling over her head as she gathered the loose strands near the base of her neck.
Gideon had a hand on Jake Miller’s shoulder, chuckling softly at something they’d said between them as the Security team stepped into the transporter room. They all wore black tactical jackets, pockets filled with phasers, a tricorder, flash grenades and other devices for their mission. They each had a headband on, comm unit within their ear canal and a small square display hovering over one eye. Salieri was the only officer with a phaser rifle, while the others opted for hand-held phasers.
Her body snapped up at the waist as she heard the sound of the doors open, a hand wrapped tightly around her hair while the other began to wrap the black band around her dark strands. Once she straightened, she watched the team quietly as she smoothed the top of her head before creating a tight braid with her ponytail. The braid was then wrapped into a tight bun that she secured with another black band. Like the security escort, she was dressed in the rare black uniform, only a thin ribbon of colour on her collar and her pips stood out.
Lieutenant Rayna Elkhorn was the last to enter, adjusting the gear on her shoulders uncomfortably. The Alpha Eridanian blew an unsteady breath from her lips, her porcelain skin appearing even paler than normal. She had a constant shake in her features.
Ensign Eyeri Mudan stepped over to Rayna, taking her hand in his as he squeezed, leaning forward to quietly reassure the operations officer.
Marielle assessed the team quickly. “Looks like we’re all here. Any questions?” she asked as she grabbed her kit and made her way towards the transporter pad.
Rayna could only shake her head as Ensign Mudan helped her onto the transporter pad.
Gideon stepped onto the pad. “We’re all set, Lieutenant,” he spoke in Marielle’s direction, smiling gently at her. The other security officers followed suit, nodding at the engineer.
“We will be transporting a click from the plant. We still have to deal with distortions due to the unstable power source. The Chief can get through it in a pinch, but it’s safer if we don’t have to go that route,” she explained, her eyes settling on each of the team members.
The lead security officer nodded, glancing toward Rayna. “Lieutenant Elkhorn will be with you inside. The rest of us will secure the perimeter.”
“Good. Let’s get in there, do what we need to do, and then get out.” Marielle touched the phaser to her hip and released a breath as she adjusted the headset on her head. “Energize, Chief.” Her eyes closed as she felt the familiar pull of the matter buffers. When the tingling sensation passed, she took in a deep breath as a cool breeze touched upon her skin. Marielle slipped the night vision goggles over her eyes and patted Gideon on the shoulder. She watched his image turn to face her, and the engineer pointed in the direction of the plant. She kept her voice low, “Sunrise is not for three hours. We have that long.”
Gideon nodded in understanding and lifted his right hand, two fingers raised and pointed to the left, one finger raised and pointed to the right. He pointed two fingers toward Marielle and Elkhorn, signaling them to head straight to the plant. He motioned Mudan to follow him as the other officers split off. “Give us two minutes,” he said quietly to Marielle before stepping ahead toward the plant.
Marielle walked quietly beside Rayna as she watched the security team move ahead of them. Just like Nymesta Hill, Drikaana was eerily quiet. The air was still. There was a pungent scent in the air that spoke all too much of the destruction that befell of the coastline cities. It took all her energy not to gag at the stench. She kept her eyes trained on the structure in the distance as it grew clearer and larger with each step.
Rayna sang quietly to herself, her voice a whisper on the breeze. Her fingers fidgeted on the tricorder in her hand, her light green eyes focused on the display.
The engineer pulled at the door handle, pleased to find it locked. Adjusting the kit from one hand to the other, Marielle pulled the cover up and stared at the intricate set of characters. Her fingers danced over the memorised sequence she’d been given by the Tarkeerian liaison, and she pulled at the handle once more when she heard the latch release. Her boot echoed against the metal flooring with her first step, the sound of sand scratching against the surface accompanying each click of her heel. Marielle removed the night vision glasses and tapped the torch on her wrist. “The control room is this way,” she swept her wrist towards the far door to the right.
The security teams remained silent as they moved through the desolate streets. They approached the plant from two sides, securing the area surrounding the large building with ease. Gideon frowned as he commed in, confirming that they were clear. “Keep your eyes and ears open.” Each of his officers acknowledged and the Betazoid mix glanced around, scanning his tricorder before looking at the streets surrounding them again.
The operations officer followed, suddenly silent as her gaze scanned the interior of the building. Her steps were surprisingly quiet as Rayna followed the engineer. It was almost as if she wasn’t breathing, either. Golden flecks seemed to appear from nowhere in her light green irises.
There was no hum of energy in the control room. Her beam of light swept over the consoles, reflecting off the pristine glass. Marielle moved to a console and her fingers danced over the surface. Most of the workstations, which were asleep, flickered to life and a soft light filled the control room. The console she required, however, remained dark. She moved deeper into the control room and immediately set to work. “Were you able to speed up the translation breakdown? I got the schematics from the Tarkeerian engineers, but I need to know I can translate something if I run into anything out of the ordinary.” She spoke to Rayna without looking at the operations officer. Marielle fell into the seat, the kit placed on the console, and the top flipped open. Her fingers lightly tapped on the dark screen, and she frowned when the console didn’t respond to her touch.
“I know the language,” she said quietly, finally focusing on the engineer. Rayna pulled another chair over and settled down, her knee bouncing with possible nerves.
The engineer slipped out from the chair and slid under the console, her fingers prying the panel cover off. She reached into its interior with one arm, her head pressed against the cold metal surface. With a grunt, she pulled at the wires and stared at the mess in her hand. Marielle remained on the floor, her hand reaching up to grab at the kit above her. Her fingers found what she needed on touch alone, and tool cut through the wires with ease. A few twists and reconnections, and Marielle watched as the controls to her console sparked to life.
Elkhorn watched quietly, her gaze jumping to the door every now and again before she sighed softly and focused back on the engineer. She hummed again in song, the gold within her irises spreading to push out the green. Rayna reached up to pull her hair back from her face, putting it into a quick ponytail.
“Talk to me,” Marielle instructed as her hands danced over the glassy surface. “It’s too quiet in here, and I don’t do well when it’s too quiet.” The engineer chuckled lightly, her eyes moving from the screen and the console. “It’s why I always had music blasting over my speakers in Engineering.” With a light kick, the engineer sailed to one direction to reach the work station two consoles away from Rayna.
Rayna leaned forward, pointing at symbols and muttering before she realized that Marielle just wanted conversation. “Uhm.” Her mouth hung open slightly, at a loss for what to say.
“Tell me about your hobbies?” she asked. “What do you like to do?” Marielle paused and looked at the operations officer with a wry smile. “Aside from hitting rocks with a little tiny hammer.”
She chuckled softly as she shook her head out of a fog, blinking some green flecks back into her irises. “That’s basically it. I’m a rock hound. I like hiking, too, since that goes along with searching for stones.” Her rand reached up to grasp the black stone around her neck.
“I need to re-establish the linear distortion circuit,” Marielle muttered to herself. With another kick, she sailed back towards Rayna. “I like hiking,” the engineer offered weakly. “Actually, I like running on trails.” Her eyes remained on the quickly scrolling Tarkeerian texts. Her finger pressed into the glassy surface to stop the text. “This. What does this say?”
“Yeah, you didn’t do so well hiking,” Rayna recalled with a soft giggle. She watched what was going on, sliding forward to peer closely at the symbol.
“To be fair, that wasn’t hiking,” Marielle argued softly, unintentionally allowing a defensive tone to colour her voice. “I was- Well. Thank you for your discretion.”
The Eridanian grinned quickly in her direction, simply nodding in response before pointing at the symbol. “This is part of the startup sequence.” She scrolled back up, pointing to a symbol. “This is step one, priming.” Rayna scrolled down. “Step two.” Another scroll returned to the symbol Marielle had questioned. “This will activate the cylinders.”
“Excellent,” Marielle muttered to herself as she pushed off and sailed down several consoles. She ended before a large button covered console. “That’s what I thought it said. Let’s get you purring again, baby.” The engineer’s fingers moved quickly over the console. “I know you’ll love my fingers.”
Rayna imitated a purr, giggling softly at the engineer’s reaction before shaking her head. “Sorry, I’m super nervous.” Her knee began bouncing again.
The engineer chuckled lightly and shook her head in response as she kicked off in her chair and moved down a console to initiate the sequence. “No. It was perfect. This is a crappy mission. The sooner we get away from this damn planet, the happier I’m going to be. I feel like we’re missing something, and I don’t trust this place.” Marielle pointed to Rayna’s console. “See if you can find the iso-electromagnetic guidance grid. I need to align them before I set up the tri-modulating quantum interlocking field matrixes. And, then check with the team. Tell them I’m almost done.”
She scooted her chair into the console, fingers running over the smooth surface as she scanned the hieroglyphs. Rayna’s eyes focused on the screen, looking for a specific symbol before pointing it out. “Here. How long do you think? Ten minutes?”
“Great. Press that ignition start sequence,” Marielle instructed. “Once we’re done here, you and I should get together for a drink or an adventure in the holodeck,” Marielle offered. She paused momentarily to give the operations officer a warm smile. Her eyes removed back to her work. “Tell them twenty minutes at the most. I need to make sure the safety protocols are in place before we leave or else their power source won’t be regulated properly as it gets funneled through the grid. We’re extending the life of one of their cylinders when we should have had five, so it’s a bit tricky.”
She pressed the button as requested before Rayna smiled in return, nodding. “Sounds good. Maybe a run on the trails.” She breathed deeply to steady her nerves and tapped her badge, speaking quietly into the comm. “Elkhorn to Salieri. Finishing up here within twenty minutes. Report?”
Gideon was hunkered down with Ensign Mudan, having remained in position for the two hours that Marielle and Rayna had been working. He shifted his stance before tapping the comm at his ear, responding quietly. “In position, all clear. No movement.” ~Too quiet,~ he thought to himself, his cobalt gaze scanning the area.
The plant hummed softly to life around them. Marielle glanced around as she watched the map in the far wall. She watched as a light flickered on to indicate that power had been restored to the five coastal cities that were tied to that particular plant. Surikan lit up last and the engineer released a quiet breath of relief. They were done, and they could go home. “Let’s go,” she instructed as her hand closed her toolkit, her fingers latching the box quickly. The engineer tapped her badge. “ETA of the Tarkeerian guards?” she asked as her steps carried her out of the control room quickly. She maneuvered through the short maze of hallways to return to the main lobby.
“Thirty minutes,” Gideon answered as he stood and moved out from his position, heading toward the front entrance of the plant where he expected to rendezvous with Marielle and Rayna, along with the other team. The suns were just about to break the horizon, light filtering over the once dark sky.
Marielle shut the door behind her, her fingers pressing over the panel to lock the heavy metal door. The cover was snapped shut, and she looked at Gideon with a smile when he arrived by her side. “Let’s go home.” She gripped her toolkit and started her way to the transport site.
He only nodded in response, not yet ready to start celebrating until they were safely on board the Lorelei. He let Jake Miller take point while he and Shiloh Jackson walked on either side of Marielle, Rayna, and Eyeri Mudan. Rentaki Mordecai brought up the rear, walking backwards to keep an eye on their six.
The bullet hit the sand by her feet, and the engineer jumped back as she ducked. The toolkit was lifted to shield her head. She was sure there was a moment of quiet from that first bullet before it suddenly seemed as if all she could hear was rapid fire. Another bullet ricocheted off the stone. Then another. And another. Marielle stumbled back. “Gideon!”
He’d jumped toward her, pulling her behind him and then pushed her back against a crumbling wall. They ran between shots, crouching and ducking when there was ample cover.
“Ambush! Two o’clock!” Miller shouted as gunfire rang out. “Take cover!”
“We can’t fight in the open!” Gideon used his body as a shield for the engineer, firing in the direction from which the bullets flew, though their exact origination could not be pinpointed. His team had all peeled away, Mordecai grabbing Rayna while Jackson pulled Mudan behind a wall. His steeled cobalt irises searched their immediate area. “Back to the plant!” He ran with Marielle, shielding her as best as he could with his body between shots fired.
She ignored the pain in her hand as she nearly ran into the metal door of the power distribution plant. She stumbled with the panel, shaky hands attempting to press the proper combination of controls to open the large metal door. “I- I- I’ll get it open. I have to get it open,” she muttered to herself as she felt him pressed her closer to the metal door, her hands dancing over the panel. Marielle’s head ducked as gunfire ricocheted off the wall beside her, dust flying in her direction. Her body shook as she kept talking to herself, “Simple algorithm. Just a door. I memorized the code. I know this. I know this.”
Gideon stood over her, phaser rifle at the ready as he provided cover fire. “Just concentrate on the door, El,” he whispered between shots. The Betazoid mix winced against a bullet creating fragments in the wall of the building, showering them with plaster fragments. ~Prophets hear me. Grant this woman grace and still her fear. Allow me to protect her without falter and return her safe.~ He grunted softly, his gaze turning upward just a moment before he saw movement and squeezed a shot in that direction.
Miller raised his phaser to return fire, but was brought down by three bullets. Rayna’s scream filled the air as she was pulled behind a crumbling brick wall, phaser out but shaking in her hand.
The engineer heard the locking mechanism release, and her feet scrambled back as she began to pull the door wide open. “I got it!” she yelled out. “We need to get everyone-”
Gideon lowered the phaser rifle, reaching instantly to grab Marielle by the arm and shove her over the threshold. He reached for the handle.
“Gideon! What are you-” She rushed forward, only to stumble back when the security officer pushed her back. Marielle fell onto her behind and skidded on the ground. Her eyes locked with his for a moment. The realization of what he was doing hit her instantly, and her body went cold. There was no hiding the anguish in her voice. “Gideon! I’m not leaving you out there!”
“Find cover! I have to get the others! Contact the Lorelei.” He pushed the door shut before she could say anything else, yanking a short piece of metal from a nearby pile of rubble to jam behind the handle. It was crude, but it would keep the engineer safe inside while he collected the rest of the team. ~Be safe,~ he pleaded with her quickly. Gideon hissed, ducking again against a bullet striking the wall near his head and ignoring the constant angry banging that sounded against the heavy metal door. “Stay quiet!!” Gideon said harshly before he grunted and made a run for the wall behind which Rayna and Ensign Mudan had hidden.
Ensign Mudan had rushed forward to grab Ensign Miller’s body to pull behind the wall. The Betazoid was hit several times, collapsing forward over Miller’s chest.
He glanced around the wall between shots, firing when he saw an enemy. The Betazoid mix blanched as he saw his team cut down before his eyes, his head swimming. “Uh …” his stomach churned, threatening to reject its contents. Gideon found a moment of clarity and his hand shot up to smack his commbadge. The sound of an ancient weapon cocking made him freeze in place as blue eyes looked up, finding four militants with assault rifles pointed at the two of them. “Cazzo,” he whispered as a set of hands grabbed his uniform, hauling him up to his feet.
The men shouted commands between them in a rough tongue. His phaser was taken from him before Gideon felt his wrists being pulled behind his back and bound with rope as his commbadge was torn off and crushed underneath an olive boot. “Rayna,” he said her name quietly, turning his head to look over at her. She was crying softly as she was subjected to the same treatment. “Hey,” Gideon spoke up, looking toward one of the insurgents. “Let her go, she’s just a junior officer!”
He grunted as the assertion was met with a fist to his jaw. Gideon stumbled before he was pushed forward. His adrenaline was surging, his mind in hyperdrive. ~Cazzo, there was no one here! Prophets, El!~ The security officer turned as they walked, looking at the lifeless bodies of his team, then to the door to the power plant.
Three Teikerians approached the door, their rifles at the ready. One pulled at the handle, finding it locked. He turned to the panel by the door and lightly tapped in a sequence of codes. When it didn’t open, he simply shot at the lock until the handle was nothing but a mess of dented metal. The door was eventually opened, the handle destroyed. The three rebels entered, their rifles drawn and at the ready.
“There’s one in the control room!” came the disembodied announcement from within the power plant.
“RUN, EL!” he screamed to her as he fought against the insurgents holding him. They tore off the headgear, crushing it beneath a boot as he was thrown harshly onto the ground, a knee against the back of his neck as rough hands removed the rest of his tactical equipment. “No, not again,” he whispered as he tensed, still struggling against the Teitekians.
“Where is she?!”
“There she is!” The sound of rapid fire echoed from deep within power plant. Several minutes later, the three filed out of the plant and surrounded their leader, a near giant of a bronze man. They spoke in harsh tones, and their leader growled in response to their report.
Gideon’s breath died in his throat as he felt it swell shut. “What?” he rasped in question. “She got away.” He watched as the three Teitekians only snickered. His cobalt eyes turned up to the sky. He forced himself to believe Marielle had gotten in contact with the ship and the Lorelei had gotten her out of there. The cold barrel of a revolver pressed against his temple returned Gideon to the here and now as he panted harshly. “Easy,” he said in a quiet neutral tone, all fight leaving his muscles. He was pulled to his feet, the tactical jacket strangely light as it hung from his shoulders.
Rayna whispered softly. “She got away, Gideon.” She cried out as she was met with a smack across her jaw for speaking, stumbling forward as they both were led through the street.
One of the militants kicked him behind the knee and Gideon fell forward, landing hard on his knees. He kept his balance, leaning back to sit on his heels. The security officer looked around them, noticing the destruction and desolation around them. He watched Rayna for a moment, noticing that she must have slipped into a state of shock - she looked eerily calm and collected. Gideon looked toward the gathered men in front of them, watching as another more official looking man joined them. He had a small, rattish looking man in tow.
The small man leaned in to the big guy. The general spoke quietly. The rat addressed Rayna and Gideon. “Why are you here.”
Rayna whispered to Gideon, her voice calm. “Don’t answer.”
Salieri blinked, glancing at Rayna before looking at the general. The security officer addressed the general with a nod toward Elkhorn. “Hey, she’s just a medical officer, let her go.”
The general barked a command, pointing toward Gideon. One of the militants approached, tugging on Gideon’s golden collar before reaching to tug on Rayna’s. The rat spoke. “Same uniform, you have weapons. You’re soldiers.”
“No!” Gideon opened his mouth to argue and earned a heavy punch to the side of his face. He almost fell over with the force of the blow. His head swam again as he could immediately feel the throbbing heat from an impending black eye.
Rayna whispered again, her voice almost disjointed from her body. “Were you trained for this, Salieri?”
He straightened, blinking against the stars in his vision. Gideon glanced toward Rayna, unsure he’d heard her correctly. “Huh?”
Elkhorn turned her head to lock her gaze onto Gideon. Her normally light green eyes were distant as they morphed to a molten gold color. She spoke quietly as two of their captors moved to her and lifted her to her feet. “Name, rank, and serial number. That’s all you tell them.”
The gravity of the situation hit Gideon like an asteroid, and he gasped. “Cazzo, Rayna, I’m sorry!” The Betazoid mix was rocked again as the soldier nearest to him slugged him in the jaw.
Still eerily calm as the two men began to lead her away, Rayna called to him over her shoulder. “We’re going to be fine. Name, rank, and serial number.”
He couldn’t control the quiver that took over his body, muscles shaking as the adrenaline wore off and panic set in. Gideon’s cobalt gaze darted between the two men flanking him. One reached under his arm, picking him up. Salieri’s voice failed him as he whimpered, speaking softly. “Lieutenant Gideon Salieri. Sigma, Gamma, Mu two four eight seven three.” He was led into the opposite direction as Rayna. He heard her scream and Gideon surged, turning back toward Elkhorn as he took a step in her direction. “Leave her alone!!” he roared! The butt of a rifle rapidly approached his head and the next thing he knew was blackness.
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.