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Time To Be A Hero

Posted on Wed Aug 30th, 2023 @ 10:19pm by Ensign Kateyo Fenn & Ensign Vivienne Conrad

Mission: Wrath of the People
Location: Pirate Support Ship: Various
Timeline: MD08
3083 words - 6.2 OF Standard Post Measure

It had been at least ten minutes and Teyo couldn't hear anything except the sound of his own breathing, or maybe it had been twenty, or five? Time had no meaning when you were stuffed in a storage locker, on a shuttle, in the dark, with minimal life support. His joints hurt from being still for so long and he couldn't wait to be free from his makeshift prison. I've had enough! He thought as he fumbled in the dark for the release mechanism, clutching the phaser in his other hand.

He found the latch and pulled it as gently as he could. On the off chance the shuttle was filled with pirates, it would be better to be sneaky-sneaky rather than... well, his usual self. What he hadn't accounted for was how well he was wedged into the tiny compartment, so the second there was the slight hint of some extra space, his body expanded to fill it. He tumbled out of the storage locker and landed on the deck with a thud. "Goddamnit!" He yelled when he realised the shuttle was pirate-free.

The cockpit, utterly devoid of any presence, friend nor foe, still managed to exude an eeriness that was, at first, difficult to pinpoint. Beyond the doors, any clues about their current containment filtered in only as the occasional ricochet of decently-distant voices shouting back and forth to each other. This was interspersed with considerable lapses in any noise, however, which only seemed to add to the isolation. Straight ahead, the viewscreen indicated they were parked pointed directly at a bulkhead and, as was to be expected, the cabin was dimly-lit in all but one significantly out-of-place aspect.

The tiny red flash of the internal communication responder.

Getting to his feet, Teyo saw the flashing red light. His heart lifted, hoping that it would be a message from Xav or maybe even the Athena, though he knew that was less likely since they would probably be on the far side of the asteroid field right now. He pressed the button to play the message.

[[You locked it from the outside?!]]

The indignant rage reverberated as an oddly-crafted echo given the origin of the percolating temper tantrum. Conrad's voice, hissed over the comm. channel with some degree of consideration for being overheard, could also just be made out as an actual projection through the doors of her metal prison.

Oh, just Conrad, moaning again! Teyo thought as he rolled his eyes and made his way over to where she was hiding, or stashed, depending on how you wanted to look at it. "Cool your nacelles," he said as he released the catch and let her out.

It had taken more effort than Vivienne ever wanted to exert again, at least under similar circumstances, to work a hand upwards to the point where she could activate her comm. badge. Now, as the door swung open to reveal her simmering deadpan, there was something a little ludicrous about the way her arm crossed diagonally to rest over her breast. Whatever pledge it looked like she was making, it didn't appear that Teyo was going to be on the receiving end of anything pleasant. With a single, silent step forward, she exited the supply cupboard.

And swiftly aimed her knuckles into the meat of the other engineer's upper arm.

"Easy Targ," Teyo said as he rubbed the spot where he had been hit.

"I can break your nose instead if you like," Conrad offered, raising her fist part-way before pushing her way past to approach the helm. There could be a lengthier discussion later on about the inherent risks of locking crewmates inside cramped spaces and rendering them entirely reliant on outside assistance in an environment filled with potential threats. Right now, crouched low, trying to figure out the situation outside was the greater priority.

"I'd rather you didn't," he replied as he ran his index finger and thumb down the length of his nose. A lesser person might have worried about the pain that would follow the snap of their nasal cartilage, however, he was more concerned with how a broken nose would throw off the symmetry of his face. Maybe that made him the lesser person but looks mattered as far as he was concerned. Though a broken nose did give an air of bad-boy charm, a look that would match his personality. "On second thoughts, let's keep that idea in mind for the future," he joked, knowing full well she would be more than happy to oblige. "So what's the plan?"

"My plan was not to get intercepted by pirates." Easing herself tentatively into the pilot's seat, confident that there was limited enough space between the viewscreen and bulkhead to make it very unlikely that their movements could be easily observed, Vivienne checked over the deactivated console and tapped a fingernail against the edge of it as hesitation stayed her hand for a moment. "Apparently I set my expectations far too high."

"Hindsight is great and all but in case you hadn't noticed, these scum have our people," Teyo said, starting to get annoyed. "Feel free to sit around all day, but I'm going to get them back," he added as he moved to the weapons locker to see if he could find himself a rifle and tricorder.

Rolling her eyes, Conrad ran her hand along the edge of the console until she found what she was looking for. Pausing, she waited until the mumbling from the back indicated that at least one of them was armed and activated the emergency beacon. Several of the helm lights activated, though a quick investigation confirmed that any discernible energy signature would likely fly under the radar unless explicitly scanned for. It was a calculated risk but stood the best chance of letting Athena know where they were.

Then, exhaling in resigned defeat, the pilot left her seat to join the best alternative to actual support that she had.

"Call me a cynic," Viv observed, well-aware that most people normally did, "but if we poke our nose out there, we're likely to get it shot off." It didn't stop her from retrieving the phaser she'd dropped at her feet whilst trapped, nor a tricorder, which she immediately switched on to scan for proximity life-signs. "Probably best to drop out of the emergency hatch," she continued, shifting the focus from the impression of reluctance to a simple matter of precaution. She wasn't big on sitting around doing nothing either.

"Well I wasn't going to walk out of the main door like a noob," Teyo said, a bit of bite in his voice. "This ship isn't very big so I doubt they have more than ten people on board, but I can't confirm as the tricorder readings are limited," he waved the small device around again and scrunched up his face, "at best." He holstered the device and made his way over to the maintenance hatch and activated the manual release, slowly sliding it open and then turning back to face her. "You ready for some fun?"

He spoke with authority Conrad wasn't really sure that he'd earned but, for once, she didn't pick him up on it. Instead, resisting the urge to point out that he was exactly the type to burst out into the middle of hostile territory like a noob, she clipped her phaser onto her belt, unzipped her uniform jacket to reveal the non-descript black tank underneath and, tossing the jacket aside, reached forward to pick up one of the spare rifles. "Ten pirates means five each, right?"

For once, the gleam in her eyes was closer to approval than ridicule.

"That's the spirit," Teyo said as he slid out of the hatch and found himself in a rather small shuttle/cargo bay. On the further side of the room was two aliens who luckily had their back to the pair. He waited for Conrad to appear next to him and he put his index finger on his lips, indicating for her to be quiet. Nodding his head in the direction of the aliens, he then pointed at himself and jerked his thumb left, then pointed back at her and then behind her, indicating that she should go right. She seemed to understand and the pair split up to get some sort of cover.

Teyo ducked behind what looked, and smelled, like a barrel of blood wine. He found himself wishing that she had broken his nose as the smell was overpowering and it took all the focus he had to not audibly gag and give their positions away. He slowly pulled out his hand phaser and then turned to Conrad. Holding up three fingers, he slowly counted down. The sound of the phasers cut through the air, as did the thud of the downed bodies. "Two down," he said triumphantly as they checked the aliens to make sure they were truly unconscious. "Let's find Xav and Charlie and get the hell out of here."

"A ship this size isn't going to have a dedicated brig," Conrad reasoned, her face screwed into a faint grimace as she nudged one of the knocked-out men with her foot. "Or working showers, by the smell of it." Lifting her tricorder, she performed a quick circular scan of the small hangar and frowned at the readings. "Assuming they're being kept as bargaining chips, best guess is they've been locked into a cargo hold or maybe someone's quarters. You've got the medical-grade tricorder, right?"

Teyo nodded as he pulled out the small device, knowing that his word was probably not good enough for Viv. "What you thinking?" He asked as he released the cylinder scanner from the housing of the main body.

"Try scanning for," Vivienne tapped her temple as she searched for a proper description, "telepathic juju." Catching the look it earned her, the pilot drew her hands up in confused protest. "Well, I don't know what it's called. I just figure Leiko is probably the only Betazoid in range."

"Telepathic juju?" Teyo repeated, a smirk on his face. He tried scanning for Betazoid life signs but the signal was weak and the tricorder failed to register any. He seriously hoped this was an issue with the device and not the fact that his friend was nowhere to be found. "No luck," he said waving the device around again for the third time. "It's too broad of a search..." He stopped. In engineering, if you were searching for a leak, you wouldn't scan the whole area and pray for the best, you would isolate the specific radioisotope and work backwards from there. What was that thing that Xav had been going on about recently, the brain chemical?

Teyo's dark fingers danced over the glass screen of the tricorder. He programmed the device to look for Psilosynine, it was much harder to mask than Betazoid life signs. "I think I have them," he said, rechecking his readings. "They are the level above in some sort of room."

A redirection of attention promptly invited Conrad to look up. After a moment's contemplation, and a quick check to make sure the pair they'd take down were the only ones in the immediate vicinity, the ensign wove her way between the storage containers with tricorder held aloft and her gaze tracing the line of the overhead conduits.

"Over here," she called quietly after a moment, appearing promptly afterwards head-and-shoulders above the clutter in the corner, having climbed up on a crate for better vantage. "Service hatch." Lowering her tricorder finally, Vivienne added, "Probably."

"Probably?" Teyo repeated as he also holstered his tricorder. "Are you not sure?" He studied the hatch that she had pointed out and her conclusion seemed solid, but this wasn't the time to be reckless.

"You mean, have I memorised the internal schematics of a ship I've never served on before? No, I have not." In place of a typically withering aggravation, Conrad seemed more or less contented to be mildly amused at the suggestion and simply pressed on with her speculation. "Hoist me up and I'll take a look. If I lose my head in the process, find a different route."

It was always a time to be reckless, at least if recklessness was your best option.

Teyo nodded, ignoring the comment about her losing her head. Maybe then I'll get some peace he thought and then instantly regretted it. He interlaced his fingers and braced himself to take her weight. In one fluid move, she was peering through the hatch. "See anything?" He asked as he looked up at her.

"Not the roomiest access tube I've ever been in but the lack of rotary blades to the face means it's probably not for ventilation. We should manage to get through."

Without waiting for any kind of response, Conrad coaxed some leverage from several bounces and hauled herself upwards. Overly reliant on upper-body strength to managed the climb, it was strain enough to keep her silent but it wasn't a reprieve that lasted particularly long. Several dull thuds, and the ensuing mumble of muted expletives, gave some indication as to the awkwardness within the confined crawl-space. Eventually, however, the faint squeal of metal on metal heralded the released of a disused mechanism and the hatch's service ladder stuttered its way down far enough to be in grabbing range.

A slightly bedraggled head stuck itself out the opening.

"I don't think anyone's been inside here for months."

"You weren't kidding," Teyo replied when he joined her in the tight space. "Cheers for the assist, now let's go hunt some pirates," he said, using his bravado to hide how worried he was about his friend. They half crawled, half shuffled along the service shaft for a few metres until they came across another hatch in the ceiling. Teyo lay on his back and pulled out his tricorder doing his best to scan the bulkhead above. "There's either no one there or fifty pirates," he said glumly shaking his head, "the readings are just super unclear. We are definitely closer to the Psilosynine readings, so I think they're close. I think we just need to risk it and hope for the best, what do you think?"

Before the woman could answer, the ship rocked violently. Teyo had been unprepared for the sudden movement, his head jerking sharply to the left and narrowly missed a piece of metal that would have taken his eye right out. The lights flickered to black and then slowly came on again. "I think that was the distraction we needed," he said, his voice a bit more shallow than usual.

Somewhere amidst the turbulence, Conrad had tussled with her own piece of protruding bulkhead and come off slightly worse for wear, though the long scratch across her upper-arm wasn't very deep and served more as a motivator than a distraction. "Felt like weapon's fire," she observed succinctly as she took the lead and picked up the pace. Several hefty pushes upwards dislodged the temperamental mechanism and the hatch shifted, leaving the stubborn pilot to stick her head up into potentially-hostile territory for the second time in as many minutes. Her ensuing scramble upwards was at least partial reassurance that the coast was clear, though by no means a guarantee.

Teyo shifted and wriggled his body so that he could follow Conrad up and out of the hatch. I'll never moan about jefferies tubes again! He thought as he felt a tug on his leg and then the eventual tearing of fabric. The deck they popped out of was clear and a quick check from the tricorder pointed them in the direction of Xavier and hopefully Washington too. He pulled out his phaser and silently pointed in the correct direction to the pilot.

They rounded a corner and just when Teyo started to feel hopeful a smaller-than-average Ferengi blocked their path, holding what looked like a very old-style energy whip. He was about to fire when his combadge chirped.

"Zora to Fenn."

The Ferengi, seeing the Trill was distracted, cracked the whip and a bolt of blue energy sizzled past Teyo's head. He ducked at the last moment, losing his footing and falling onto one knee.

Somehow, amidst imminent threat, Conrad found the time to fix their newest friend with a look of pure incredulity. "Really?" It took only several steps backwards to remove herself from weapon's range and, lifting her rifle, stared at the pirate down the scope. "Eenie," she started, aiming at the Ferengi's left ear, "meenie", she switched to the right, "miny", a slight adjustment to centre forehead, "mo."

The rifle's laser pointer swung drastically lower and came to rest in the vicinity of the hesitant man's crotch.

"We're a little busy right now," Teyo replied his breathing heavier than usual. "But it's good to hear your voice."

"Status?" Zora asked, relief flooding into her voice.

"Conrad and I are rescuing Xav- erm I mean Lieutenant Leiko and Ensign Washington now," Teyo replied. He stepped over the Ferengi that Conrad had no problems putting on his butt. There was a large entrance behind him and he hoped that was where he would find his friend.

"You have eyes on them?" Zora asked.

Teyo entered the room and saw the Betazoid and human huddled together in the small makeshift cell. "Yes, Ma'am," Teyo said, feeling nothing but pure jubilation.

"Good make your way to the shuttle if you can, we'll cover your escape," Zora replied.

Teyo couldn't help but flash one of his toothy grins. "On it," he replied before closing the channel. He turned to look at the prisoners, "we hustling or are you still enjoying your vacation?"

From her vantage at the door, leaning into the corridor to check for incoming distractions, Vivienne remarked, "I suggest we cancel room service and think about participating in some local entertainment." Unhooking her phaser from its holster, she threw it to Charlie with a grin. "We're up by one."

A commotion outside saw the pilot swivel into the corridor quickly and, following the exchange of rifle fire, poked her head back around the open door. "Make that two."

"You heard the Ensign," Xavier said as he checked the settings on the phaser Teyo had handed to him. "It's time to leave!"


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