Cardassian Penal Colony (Away Team)
Location: Cardassian Penal Colony
Away team composition is Cmdr Eneas Clio, CPO Cato West, Nexi, and three random security crewmen. Attire is EV suits. Weaponry is at your discretion.
As the away team launched in the most stealthy runabout the Hera had, the Hera herself did the best she could to shield the away team from incoming fire from the old Cardassian weapons platforms. They were hard to pick out in all the interference, but they seemed to be doing well enough and only a few shots came close to hitting the shuttlecraft.
Nexi was relaxed but focused at the helm of the Selune; despite the weapon fire going off around them, this was the kind of thing that Nexi lived for.
"Hey boss, get on the sensors, see if you can find us a way in," Nexi said with a steely calm to Clio as she continued to weave the shuttle through asteroid and debris, trying to stay in Hera's shadow where they would be safe from the weapon platforms.
"Already working on it." While the security mooks seem unsettled by Nexi's flying, Clio didn't mind it at all. Taking advantage of the Selune's upgraded sensors, she looked carefully for any entrance into the base. "Here." Tapping the entry into a shuttle bay, she sent its location over to Nexi's panel.
Cato was strapped in, EV Suit on and pressurized. His old TR-116 rifle in hand, a MACO issued Type II Phase Pistol strapped in a drop leg holster. Chewing some bubblicious gum inside his EV helmet, Cato had his head back against the bulkhead, eyes closed and chewing away as the Runabout maneuvered through the weapons platforms. He too didn't mind Nexi's flying.
As the information was transferred, the lights in the half open and waiting shuttlebay flickered to life, giving a nice beacon for the runabout to follow in. It also showed the remains of at least one of the prior teams. The scraps of an arrow class runabout similar to their own was scattered across the rocks just outside the shuttlebay, blackened nearly unrecognizable by the weapons platforms.
"Look," Nexi said as she pulled the Selune away from the Hera. "Looks like they almost made it," she remarked as she brought the shuttle closer. She didn't want to leave them vulnerable out here with the weapon platforms just so they could look at the remains of the other shuttle, so she skillfully glided the Selune into the open shuttlebay where they passed through the environmental containment shield (but that was still no guarantee the station had an atmosphere) and set her down. She was somewhat disappointed that she hadn't heard the telltale sound of regurgitation, but she still had hope for the return trip that she would get one of the grunts to blow chunks.
"How we doing on atmo?" Nexi asked Clio as she put the shuttle in standby. "Do we have air in there or do we need the suits?"
Clio's gaze lingered for a moment on the charred remains of an Arrow-class runabout before she turned her attention back to the sensors. "I'm reading atmosphere, but I can't tell for sure if there's anything airborne that might be harmful to us."
Unbuckling the straps as soon as the runabout touched down on the deck, Cato stood and pulled the charging handle of his MACO modified TR-116. Far from standard, his EVA suit was different. His was a matte black and streamlined; A slim cut for battle in the worst conditions one could imagine. His former insignia (MACO) had been visibly scraped off the arm with a blade of some kind. Painted over crudely with a slightly different shade of matte black, the punisher skull replaced it. "Then let's not roll the dice." Cato added tapping at his arm 'quarterback' style computer.
"Righto," Nexi replied, adjusting the blade strapped to the leg of her EV suit; she was unable to wear her collapsed pike sheathed at the small of her back as she usually did, not in this suit, and it was unlikely that she'd be able wield it effectively in this bulky thing, but she liked having it with her, just in case, and barring the use of her pike, she had a standard issue rifle clipped to her side. "C'mon boss, don't worry about that shuttle; ain't going nowhere and we can always tow it back to the Hera when we're done."
"I don't think we'll be able to tow it when it's in so many pieces." Shaking off the shock of seeing the shuttle plastered against the rocks, Clio unbuckled from her seat and stood up, settling her EV helmet in place. Like West's, hers was the farthest thing from standard issue. The metallic armor plates had been replaced with stronger light-weight armor in a dark steel grey, and some had been removed entirely to save weight. To it she had added a soft cloth belt for this mission, with her plasma-energized mek'leth tucked neatly in place. She also carried a phaser rifle, held magnetically by its sling to the shoulder of the suit with a bit of engineering magic she'd picked up over the years. "Check your seals and then let's get moving."
Cato quickly did a run-up on suit systems, the suit responded with MACO H.E.C.A. Operating at 100% Integrity. Something T'Pral had said to him the night before during their dinner date suddenly popped into his head; 'I plan to live forever' it made him smile. He moved past the three gold-shirts before standing at the top of the landing ramp, his TR-116 in his right hand with the muzzle pointed towards the deck; Supported by a good old fashioned single point bungee-sling run over his right shoulder and under his left arm. "Ready to lower the ramp, when ya'll are ready."
O'Shea, De'Ath, and Dover looked at each other and then at the three intel operatives and then to their suits. "Ok, after this mission, I'm transferring to Intel. They get all the cool toys while I feel like the Sta-puft Marshmallow Man," Crewman O'Shea complained as he gripped his rifle.
"Regulation says nothing about the marshmallow suit. You choose to wear it," Clio reminded O'Shea with a grin. She did a brief spot check on helmet seals and then nodded at Cato. "Open it. We've got a job to do."
Cato lowered the ramp, the sound of a pressure differential sounded with that all too familiar swoosh of air. "O'Shea, Dover, secure the landing area... On me." Cato raised his rifle and began to move down the ramp. His eyes began to scan the shuttle bay up, down, side to side. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast ran through his head right now for some reason. Suddenly replaced by his 'love' for Cardies; They were sneaky little shits with no honor. Gloved right index finger rested on the trigger guard, ready to move in a split second; standing about 25 feet away from the front landing gear of their runabout. "Looks clear..." His voice trailed off.
"My turn." At Cato's all clear, Nexi stepped up, approaching the door separating the shuttle bay from the rest of the station. Given the level of paranoia in Cardassian defenses, she wasn't taking any chances and carefully checked the door panel for any rigging that might indicate a trap or alarm, then removed the access panel to the get a look at the inner workings. Even if she hadn't been briefed about what happened the last time someone came across an abandoned Cardassian station, she had enough experience with disabling locks to know that sometimes people were just fucking crazy when it came to securing their shit, and the Cardies were no different.
"This'll just take a sec, so get ready to make entry," Nexi said as she pulled out a tool and a Ferengi PaDD looking device.
Indeed, there was a booby trap, but rather than it being Cardassian in design, it had the distinct look of Federation tech. There was also a slight buzzing coming from the panel and an alarm sounded through the base momentarily, to be replaced with a decidedly male Cardassian voice filled with the usual detestable arrogance known for that race.
"Bunny-chan... Bunny-chan... Where are you? Oh... There you are... Six nice little Bunny-chans have come to play!~" The voice trailed off in an upward singsong voice before cutting out and the door Nexi was looking at opened on its own.
The door opened into a security foyer and other than a few flickering lights, everything was smashed. Then there was the floor. It had been soaked in blood and gore, but it looked like whatever did it, tried to clean the place up with its tongue and there were quite a few large footprints. They resembled Cardassian vole prints... If they grew to six feet long...
"Oh fuck that noise," Noxi said, backing away from the door panel at the sound of the familiar 'Bunny-chan'. It wasn't the same as the Bonnie-kin motherfucker from the other station, but she wasn't going to stick around to see if they had the same taste in sadistic experimentation. Then the door opened and there was the biggest Cardassian vole she had ever seen. "Oh fuck..." She couldn't grab her pike fast enough, there was no way she was letting this thing live.
Clio didn't understand Nexi's reaction to the Bunny-chan chant, but she didn't have time to question it either. Within seconds of the eerie announcement, a truly massive Cardassian vole appeared and made a 'die motherfuckers' face at them as it moved menacingly forward. "Oh hell no." Bringing her phaser rifle up, she fired at the monstrous creature.
Cato wasn't too far away before that creepy announcement. Moving to position himself to the right of Clio, he muttered to himself "Fuckin' cardies...". Suddenly, that door opened; the reactions from Clio and Nexi told him everything he needed to know. Flicking the safety off, the multi-role optics on top of his TR-116 were in red-dot mode. In one fluid motion, Cato brought the rifle to his shoulder, non-dominate hand supporting the forend, cheek to the stock and red dot put on target. Trigger finger squeezed off a few rounds in-between blasts from Clios rifle; The timing was so he could get feedback from his round placement.
The half starved vole reared up and screamed in pain and frustration as it was struck several times, then charged the group, still very much alive.
Cato's eyes narrowed and he quickly adjusted how he went about engaging this target; flicking the selector switch on his rifle from 'semi' to 'auto'. Taking aim at where this giant ass creatures brain should be, his trigger finger unleashed a fury of tritanium bullets that were surgically placed. Cato slowly pulled his aim downward, moving towards center mass of the creature; continuing the reign of 'thunder'. Suddenly, the energy mag on his rifle was depleted and the eery sound of a click from the trigger resulted. He moved to drop the depleted, smoking energy magazine onto the deck; Cato's right hand quickly dove to his left thigh pocket and retrieved a fresh one - slamming it into his rifle in a secondary motion. Flicking the selector switch back to 'semi', he resumed firing - selectively this time.
"What the fuck is that thing made of?!" Nexi cried out as she watching the creature take such heavy fire. "The last time something like this happened, it was zombie Borg dogs and we lost the security detail that came with, as well as the doctor who fell to his death in the turbolift shaft. I say we get the fuck out of here and let Hera blow the fuck outta this thing!" And Nexi was not one to scare easily, she had stared death in the face more times than she could count and came out not only the victor but laughing, but if this Bunny-chan person was anything like the last guy who did something like this, then she had every reason to make such a hasty retreat.
"I agree with Ms. Nexi," CPO Ritea De'Ath spoke at hearing the unfortunate demise of the previous security team as all three security officers joined West in firing at the Cardassian Vole.
The vole's tail whipped around, smashing into Crewman Ben Dover's legs, causing him to hit the deck hard. "Shit!" she cried out as he tried to get back up, seeing the vole attempt to grab at his legs with it's claws. Pain was throbbing through his legs and attempting to stand, he fell, this time closer as the Vole latched on with it's claws and decapitating the crewman with it's mouth filled of razor-sharp teeth before falling dead from it's wounds.
"Ok, I'm going to be sick," Crewman Rick O'Shea said as he turned from the gruesome scene.
It took Clio about a second and a half to figure out that phaser fire and bullets wasn't going to hurt this monstrous creature. Dropping the rifle so it again hung from the armor plate at her shoulder, she instead drew her mek'leth. Quickly energizing the blade, she brought the weapon down across the vole's neck, lopping off its head before it could go after anyone else. As the creature fell over dead, she turned off the energized monofilament but kept the bladed weapon in her hand. "We came here to do a job, which we haven't finished. We stay until that job is finished." Her tone was firm and somewhat cold, but it got the point across. Looking over at O'Shea, she just shook her head before turning to West. "West, I appreciate your enthusiasm but I swear on whatever it is you hold sacred... fire that weapon on automatic again in close quarters and I'll feed you to one of those things." Perhaps that was harsh, but Clio was not going to go back to the ship explaining to Enalia how anyone died of friendly fire. "Now, we have people to find. Let's go."
Without waiting for anyone else to reply, the intercom crackled to life once more. "Bunny-kun... You've destroyed my favorite baby vole... I was going to train him and enter him into the pit fights. Bunny-kun... Bunny-kun... Where will you go next..." And then the voice dissolved into high pitched mechanical laughter as the far door to the security antechamber cycled open. On the other side, the lights were stable, at the very least, revealing a short hallway.
Cato took her remark with a grain of salt and kept his asshole jarhead comment to himself. He didn't like to openly disagree with anyone, especially in front of a team. Things differed between divisions, operators like him trained to use FA (full-auto) to achieve fire superiority/suppression in a close quarters engagement. Sure, it was only a 60 round burst of hell before he switched back, but apparently she didn't like it at all. So, he wouldn't be doing that again. Eyes shifted towards Nexi and the remaining two security personnel "You need to get your fuckin' heads on straight. If it moves, it can die. She's right, we aren't leaving until the job is done." TR-116 slung to his back before withdrawing the knife on sheathed into the back of his suit; A 13" tops tactical 'anaconda 7B' knife was drawn. He turned and pushed past O'Shea "Sac up, motherfucker.". Cato continued walking across the deck towards the open door.
"You've clearly never seen a zombie Borg dog," Nexi remarked dryly. "And the voice said this thing was a baby, I'm not looking to get my head taken off when its fully grown mother comes looking for it! My assessment of the situation based on prior experience, this is fucked up. I say we at least call this in to the Hera before proceeding."
"And tell them what, exactly? That a giant rat scared us off so we're not going to do the job Captain Telvan sent us in here to do?" Clio took on a very no-nonsense tone that conveyed so much more than just the words. "There's nothing the Hera can do to help us, and we are not leaving until we finish our mission. So you've got a choice to make. Suck it the hell up and continue forward or go back to the runabout and wait there because I am not going to give this order again. Get moving."
"No, you're not listening-" Nexi tried to interrupt with frustration only to be cut off by Clio's 'get moving', to which Nexi scowled. "Yes ma'am," she said, clenching her fists tightly. "But there is a connection to a prior mission that I am trying to warn you about that you are choosing to ignore, and if this goes sideways like I think it will, then I reserve the right to rub it in your face, assuming we even survive."
Cato laughed, a deep, dark ha-ha-ha laugh that echoed the deck about the zombie-borg dog. He stopped in his tracks and turned around "You know what, you can stay behind and secure the runabout." he said motioning towards Nexi, looking at Clio "Ma'am, all due respect let's ditch the dead weight. We get jammed up in there, I don't want any of them behind us." Cato said bluntly, sure it might've been harsh but Nexi's attitude and O'Shea's weak stomach didn't win them any points.
"Chief West, I did not ask for your input. Can it," Clio said forcefully before turning back to Nexi. "I have read the reports. I have watched the recordings. I have spoken at length with Commander Fairchild about the Hera's prior missions. I am well aware of the apparent connection, and along with finding our missing people I intend to find out who did this and how. So you can help me or you can go back to the Selune and wait while the rest of us complete our mission."
"Forget you, Jarhead, I'm still an independent contractor, and it's my responsibility to do a risk assessment to evaluate the cost to offset that risk, and this is turning out to be a job you couldn't pay me enough to do, so forgive me if I'm have trouble switching motivations from profit to duty," Nexi said sourly, then turned to address Clio. "Sorry, I'm with you. Reports don't do that mission justice, but it's good to know we're on the same page. I'll try to control my outbursts, but hearing that voice calling 'Bunny-chan' is not helping," she said in a more collected tone.
The voice came back to taunt them a bit more. "Bunny-chan... I know who you are now. Scans are complete. I know something you want. I'll not give it to you though, no I won't. Nothing for Nexi but full security activation! Hahahahaha!" With that, the doors leading back to the shuttlebay closed and resealed while several turrets came down out of the ceiling of the hallway and the security center they were in and started firing phaser stun bolts at the team.
Oh fuck, the voice knew her! Nexi was just barely able to get inside the doorframe before her suit took any damage, pressing herself against the door so the turrets couldn't hit her. "I get the feeling that Bunny-chan doesn't like me too much," she said, calculating her options. Then she grinned. "Alright, before we all die, I just want you all to know, I was right," she said, then disappeared in a shimmer as she activated her (illegal) personal cloaking device. It wasn't working at 100% efficiency with the EV suit, so they could see just the tiniest hint of distortion from movement as she stalked off to take out the turrets while the others kept them distracted.
"Woman, I am going to skin you alive when I find you again." She tried very hard to be serious as she said it, but the absurdity of the situation had hit critical levels. Clio couldn't quite suppress a chuckle as she dodged a few of the stun bolts and sought shelter near the walls. One of the turrets managed to lock on and clip her shoulder with a bolt. While the armor shielded her from the stun effect, the inertia of the phaser bolt knocked her breathless to the floor with a few muttered curses.
The Cardassian voice popped back in again with another interjection, but this time, it was decidedly more stable and sounded strangely like Dukat, whom died at the end of the Dominion war. "Let's see how long you survive, Nexi. I'm activating Singh protocol nine now.I hope that you understand that this is a... Necessary precaution." In a medical bay deeper into the complex, fifteen stasis tubes started cycling to release whatever was inside.
O'Shea leaped to the deck as a stun bolt passed through the space he was just at. He fired in return but it was more of a panic fire.
CPO De'Ath was more composed as she fired and moved, doing her best to keep the turrets' targeting computer guessing. A burst hit one of the turrets, destroying it.
"Bloody fucking hell, O'Shea, at least aim the damned thing!" Getting up from where she'd been knocked to the floor, Clio narrowly avoided a few most phaser bolts before finding her way into a sheltered area along the wall where she could try to take a few turrets out herself. "Nexi, if you're going to do something I suggest you do it fast!"
Cato wasn't as lucky, probably his karma for being a dick just a few seconds before. While his suit deflected the effects of the bolt, he got hit centermass and knocked onto his ass before scrambling to take cover in the narrow hallway; a nice big scorch mark on his armor as a reminder. Of course his eyes tracked Nexi as she activated a personal cloak. "That's a new one..." he muttered to himself. Laying down selective suppressive fire towards the turrets while Nexi went about doing her invisible man thing.
Almost on cue, one of the turrets started sparking up a storm, only to turn and start firing at another turret, and then at the last turret in the room aimed at the door until they were disabled. Then Nexi's cloak dropped to reveal that she had shoved the blade of her pike into the backside of the turret to aim it. "Shit!" she said when she noticed her cloak had failed, giving the pike a twist to destroy the turret she was controlling, then pulled the pike free and darted to a corner as more turrets in the hallway began to fire on her, but ducking behind a Security terminal she was now out of their line of sight.
"What's that human phrase, 'your wish is my command'?" Nexi said with an exhilarated grin. "I caught sight of 3 more in each hallway, but at least the door is clear now," she added. "Concealing the bulky suit is putting a bigger drain on my cloak than normal, I'll need a few minutes for it to reset before I can do that again."
"That was a neat trick." Clio's suit carried a stealth module, but it didn't have a full cloak and likely wouldn't fool targeting sensors. "We might be able to shoot them out, now that we know where they are. I have a sneaky suspicion that staying still in this place is suicidal."
"Agreed" Cato added, still under cover from what was probably the largest bulkhead in the corridor. "I'll lead the charge and make a run for the door, you guys shoot out the turrets. Just don't miss..." Cato suggested it as he seemed to be the most expendable aside from the security detachment.
"I'll be right on your ass," De'Ath said as she fired two more shots. She then turned to O'Sea. "O'Shea! Just keep moving and firing! Don't give the turrets a chance to get a lock on you!"
That's when two of the augmented Cardassian soldiers entered the far end of the hallway. They had no visible weapons, but from the rippling muscles, it looked like each of the 7 foot super soldiers could have ripped the head off of that vole easily. They silently advanced on the rest of the away team wearing nothing but shorts.
De'Ath cocked her head to the side at the odd sight. "Ok, who ordered the Cardassian strippers?" She then fired off a shot, hitting one in the shoulder, not phasing him. "Shit!"
"Yeah, peaceful mission my ass." referencing the conversation Clio and Cato had when he came aboard "Giant fuckin' rat, now giant fuckin Cardassian's from fuckin' hell." Cato bitched, mostly to himself. Fingers working quickly on the control panel on his rifle, switching the rounds from Tritanium to 18mm Explosive Airburst rounds. His rifle sounded "Airburst rounds selected, warning, reduced magazine capacity."; he'd get about eight rounds per energy magazine instead of 120+ tritanium. If Clio didn't like Cato using full auto earlier, she definitely wasn't going to like what he was about to pull. Pulling from cover, Cato aimed down the hallway with surgical precision and locked onto the two targets. Firing, one round per target, the loud launches echoed the hallway. Secondary explosions from the airburst and the sound ofsomething being shredded down range.
The ventilation system cleared the air quickly enough to reveal that one of the super Cardassians was badly injured but still standing. Also, there were three more of these bastards shuffling into the corridor.
Armored EV suits protected the team from the bulk of the pressure wave, but not the noise. The resulting sounds of the nearby explosions left Clio half-deaf and more than a little irritated. Also, it hadn't worked, so it wasn't even worth the risk. "Fucking hell, West, you attracted more of them! Good fucking job!" It was clear from the engagement so far that phasers and bullets had little to no effect on the Cardassians, just like the voles. But she sure as hell wasn't getting into melee range with West firing airburst ammunition in an enclosed space. Enalia would be hearing about this, and any future missions she'd be leaving his crazy ass on the ship.
"This is fucking ridiculous!" Nexi muttered. Between the 'roided up Cardies, the overgrown voles and 6 MORE FUCKING TURRETS! there seemed to be no reasonable way out! Now it was time to find an unreasonable way out... Once again without any warning to her team, Nexi ran down the corridor. Before she reached the Cardies, she popped off a bulkhead panel to find the EPS conduits, then using the panel to shield herself from the turret fire, she grabbed a small explosive device stuck to her belt and placed it on the conduit. The lumbering Cardassians were almost on top of her, and she swung the bulkhead panel at them to distract them, then ran back to the team, detonating the explosive device and hoped these guys weren't immune to plasma!
They were not.
Hot plasma sprayed out, filling most of the hallway before emergency systems were able to shut down the flow. In that time, four of the five Schwarzecardassians had had their bones stripped of flesh and the fifth one wasn't looking too good, laying on the floor dead as well.
"Well." Five very large Cardassians lay on the deck, and Clio looked at them for a moment before looking at Nexi. "Remind me not to get in a fight with you." As the air circulators went to work, she ventured forth to see if anything else was coming toward them.
Then the air circulators finished clearing the air again, spurring on another message from the intercom, deepening into a more stalkerish kidnapper over the phone voice. "An efficient system, isn't it, Nexi-bunny-kin? Or was it Bonnie-kin? It's hard to retrieve my logs these days, you know. But I remember. I definitely remember the logs about you. You and your... Sister... The Master would love a sample from you, you know."
It only took a few more seconds for several more of the musclebound soldiers to make their way into the hallway, blocking their advancement. Also, the doors behind them also resealed, blocking their escape. The closest of the new batch of five grabbed the wall panel that Nexi had previously abandoned and threw it at the group like a frisbee, effectively slicing one of the security guards in half.
O'Shea was at a loss at seeing De'Ath cleaved in half. He was frozen with fear and shock. How could anyone do that with a piece of panel! She had been the most calm and experienced. He knew he should have been towards the front, taking point. He fought back tears as anger began to swell within him.
Watching one of the grunts getting cleaved in half by the blunt wall panel nearly turned Nexi's stomach, and some sadistic part of her was glad that it wasn't her. But what really struck a nerve was that this voice knew about Aewia being her sister; such a detail wasn't widely known outside of the Hera, Enalia had assured her that she had kept that detail out of any official reports! And the fact that this Master guy wanted a sample from her was not helping matters either. "Tell your Master to go fuck himself!" Nexi barked back, looking more than a little unraveled. But she steeled her nerved and finally drew her phaser rifle, falling into formation with Cato and the remaining grunt to continue firing on the Cardassians; Nexi may have liked doing things her own way, but contrary to popular belief, she did actually know how to operate as part of a unit.
"Oh, Bonnie-kin... We would have gotten a sample from you back in 2160 when you invaded Facility One, but you were just too... Slippery..." With that, the voice faded off into electronic laughter and static.
Cato had run out of patience with this shit, one of the security guards getting sliced in half did it for him. Then Nexi fell in line firing on the Cardassians, “Big-Bada-Boom” he said towards Nexi and Clio. He pulled his ‘end game’ from his right thigh pocket; a modified plasma grenade. If these fuckers weren’t immune to regular plasma, they shouldn’t be immune to a shower of plasma. Firing six more of the airburst rounds down range until his rifle was dry, Cato smashed the 'push' detonator on the top of his helmet to activate the grenade. The timer on the grenade started… 5...4…3… Cato played baseball back in high school and hadn’t lost his touch; Screaming “FRAG OUT!!!” on the '2' count he hurled it right into the middle of the Cardassian cluster fuck at the other end of the hallway. Quickly taking cover in that next split second.
Crewman Rick O'shea was now on his feet with his phaser rifle at the ready as he moved forward following the blast. Anger now pushed him forward, overcoming his fear. He fired three bursts at the Cardassians who were still twitching on the ground.
Seeing the grenade go out, Clio swore under her breath before dragging Nexi and O'Shea both back from the impact zone. "GET DOWN!" She'd barely gotten them clear of the blast radius before the grenade exploded, killing the remaining Cardassians and knocking metal plating off the ceiling and walls as the resultant pressure wave washed over the team. Who throws a fucking grenade that close to their own team? She kept that thought to herself, not voicing it but shooting a glare in West's direction. He couldn't see her, but she was getting damned tired of his refusal to consider his team's safety. Even Nexi, who she knew operated as a lone wolf, was a better team fighter. "We need to get out of this section." Clio still couldn't hear out of her left ear and couldn't quite gauge how loud she was speaking.
The door behind the team was still sealed, but at least the turrets had stopped firing and there were no more Cardassians in sight. That left forward as the only direction to go, unless they wanted to crawl through access tubes. That sounded like a monumentally stupid idea, so Clio figured she'd stick with forward. Creeping past the bodies littering the deck, she retrieved the mek'leth she'd dropped moments before, also drawing the second one from behind her back. Nearing the open door that lead deeper into the base, she paused and looked around before continuing.
Indeed, forward was the only direction of travel possible now. the doors along the hall they were in revealed nothing but empty barracks while the open and destroyed door at the end revealed a medical center with tools and apparatus that even Starfleet Medical didn't keep on hand. There were genetic manipulation tools from half a dozen races and an entire 250 gallon floor to ceiling vat of what was listed as biomimetic gel. A lone terminal blinked on a wall panel and five more stasis tubes with augmented Cardassians were starting to cycle open. Thankfully, these five didn't look quite so threatening, being misshapen to varying degrees.
Well, it wasn't that close to his own team. It wasn't an action of gross negligence so much as it was a calculated risk. After all, their path forward was cleared but it only took another death. One by one their numbers were dwindling and Cato didn't like the body-count ratio so far. Sure, he took risks, as would any other operator in a similar situation. But it wasn't like he shooting yee-haw the whole way, he was surgical about his actions. Sure, he knew he was going to get a bitching out from Clio, but his job was to push the team forward and see the objective through using any and all means at his disposal. Eyeing the stasis tubes opening, Cato dropped yet another energy magazine on the deck. Reloading with one of his last three, he tapped on the control panel of his rifle once again. Switching back to tritanium rounds, he moved forward walking into the chamber of horrors. He moved to eye one of the disfigured creatures in their tube. "We should end them now, before they're up." He stated loud enough for others to hear.
Crewman O'Shea nodded in agreement, still filled with anger. "Best to be safe," he said, as he increased the level on the phaser rifle, leveled it at one tank and fired, shattering the tank and ripping the body inside apart.
Nexi followed them in, and with a swing of her pike, delivered a lethal jab through the tank and into the neck of one of the Cardies. "Hey, I see a terminal; maybe we can get some information?" she said to Clio as she pulled her pike free of the tank then approached another tank.
"So long as your stalker in the computer doesn't try to stop me," Clio responded dryly, obviously getting frustrated with this space station and its decidedly outlandish security system. And its zombie-Cardassians. And its werewolf-voles. "West, O'Shea. Cover the door, watch for any more surprises. No explosions unless you want to destroy our chances of finding anything. Nexi, stick with me. Take this." Clio handed Nexi one of the mek'leths to free one of her hands. "Try not to lose it. We aren't supposed to have anything like that."
Cato had been busy ending deformed cardies in tubes before he heard Clio's order. "Aye Ma'am" he responded sharply, moving to cover the door smartly.
"Oi, like this is standard issue?" Nexi said, raising her pike to show Clio. But then she remembered that was not how she was supposed to answer and cleared her throat as she took the blade. "I mean, yes ma'am... nice blade, by the way," she said as she took the mek'leth and admired it.
As they approached the blinking console, the words blinking on it became clear. 'Data Dump at 55%.' As they watched, the number rose to 56%. Meanwhile, in the back of the lab, a turbolift door opened to reveal a conglomeration of tech on a self operated hovercart that slowly slid out of the turbolift. Towards the top of the stacked computer equipment was a crooked monitor showing a severely degraded Cardassian face. "You're too late... Bonn... Bonn... Bonnie-kin. Too late. As soon as... Erased... Self destruct imminent. Five... Five minutes from no-o-o-ow."
"Fuck, why can't these jobs ever be easy!" Nexi blurted out. "Get what you can from the computer, I'm grabbing Bunny-chan here and hauling ass back to the shuttle."
"Damn it all to hell. Keep that thing off my back." Tucking the other mek'leth back under her belt for safekeeping, Clio took over the blinking console and tried to interrupt the data dump. That quickly proved fruitless so she instead initiated a rapid download of the data into one of the many recording devices hidden in her EV suit. She'd worry about how to transfer it to the computer later. Right now her recorders were faster than a tricorder or trying to establish an uplink. The data dump countdown blinked on incessantly, quickly approaching 100 percent. After an excruciatingly slow few moments, Clio heard the telltale beep in her ear that signaled that she had as much information as could be retrieved. It wasn't much, but it was better than nothing. "I have it. Forget the monstrosity... it won't be able to keep up." She checked the countdown on the destruct, wincing slightly. It sat at just under three minutes. "Don't stop to shoot anything. Run!"
As the four remaining away team members ran down the hallway back towards the runabout, the previously sealed door was pulled out of its runners by the biggest, ugliest teeth any of them had ever seen. Waiting for them in the shuttlebay was a vole that was at least a meter longer than the runabout they came in and it had already taken a bite out of one of the aerofoils, leaving parts from one of the warp engines dangling out of their casing. Thankfully, the vole had caught the scent of fresh meat shortly after it started chewing on the ship, so it had turned its attention to the away team and toasted Cardassians.
Cato's eyes went wide when yet another, giant fuckin rat snatched the door less than a foot in front of him. Going from a full on sprint to suddenly skidding on his ass across the deck like a dog on roller-skates. "FUCKKKKKKK" he yelled loudly, suddenly regretting always leading the way. Large black eyes staring at Cato, he suddenly found himself in a fight for his life, with a overgrown rat... Scrambling to put rounds on target, it wasn't any use... Teeth sank into his left leg, he felt the pressure on his armor and something pierce his flesh. Screaming in agony, Cato felt as his body was lifted into the air... All he could do was continue to put rounds on target... In the next split second, the vole shook it's head just one time. Just violently enough (like a puppy with a chew toy) to allow Cato to slip from its jaws. His limp body was tossed across the deck like a rag doll in the direction of the runabout; But away from his team who now had to contend with the full attention of the vole.
O'Shea had been tired of being scared and panicky on this mission. Both Dover and DeA'th had died bravely and guilt was plaguing him from his actions earlier. He had always dreamed of being brave and a hero like his brother but actual combat was something else entirely, as he had learned today. The team only had three minutes left to get safely away from the station. He checked the power cell in his phaser and tapped in a few commands, back flowing the cell's energy back into the cell, creating a timed overload as his rifle started beeping it's warning. He tossed his rifle at the beast as the weapon bounced off the tough hide of the vole, skidding several feet away. "Shit!" O'Shea raced forward, diving for the rifle. As he picked it up, he saw that the timer only had four seconds left as he rushed the beast, who was charging him. "See you in hell!" he screamed as the vole attacked, followed by an explosion that engulfed O'Shea and most of the giant vole.
The vole wasn't dead, but it was at least stunned enough for Nexi to run over to Cato without worry it was going to attack again. He was in bad shape... "Come on, meathead, we're getting out of here!" Nexi said as she grabbed him by an arm and started dragging him to the shuttle. She worried about whether the shuttle would be able to function properly with its aerofoils chewed on like it was, but she was at the point she was just hoping and praying that they were going to get out of here alive. She opened the hatch and continued to pull Cato inside. "Boss! Load up and make sure he ain't gonna die on us, I'm getting us out of here!" she barked out to Clio, then headed to the front of the ship to get ready for take off.
Bad shape was more than likely an understatement. Armor on his left leg was shredded mixed with his blood and saliva from the vole. He grimaced as Nexi, moved in, grabbed him by the wrist and put his arm over her shoulders. Moving as quickly as he could, faceplate from his armor spider cracked and blood had dripped down his face inside his helmet. On top of everything else, it hurt to breathe. Once they had made it up the ramp and inside the runabout, Cato blacked out.
Were the vole not stunned and flopping around trying to find them, Clio wouldn't have had a chance to get to the runabout. With the large beast immediately in her path, she took a sharp turn to the left and skidded around the monster before hightailing it through the runabout hatch and closing it behind her. "Go! I'll keep this idiot alive." They weren't kind words, but there was a somewhat affectionate tone about them. Much as he drove her absolutely insane with his reckless behavior earlier, he was still her stupid brainwashed jarhead to keep track of. "You'd better not die on me because you are already in so much trouble," she told his still form very seriously before physically placing him in a more stable position that would ease his breathing.
As soon as Clio was aboard, Nexi closed the hatch and lifted off, maneuvering around the shuttle debris at the shuttlebay doors before increasing speed to put some distance between them and the station. Now to find the Hera...