Savik fought the urge to chew her knuckle as she so often did when she was wrapped in thought. She was not certain what lay ahead of them, but her ever formulating mind was considering every possible angle and developing a plan. As the doctor boarded the shuttlecraft with his medical bag, Savik addressed Captain Ryder over her comm.
“Captain, we are aboard the shuttle and prepared for departure.”
Michael was watching the progress of repairs when he heard the voice of his new XO. He smiled in pride of her calm demeanor. He wasn’t going to admit it currently but she was going to shape up into a fine XO, but he couldn’t be too easy on her.
“Very good XO keep me apprised of the situation.”
Savik nodded to the Master Chief who sat at the controls. “Take us to the ground, Chief,” she ordered.
Their slow descent began through the cloud of gasses surrounding Praxis III. The Master Chief had locked on to the faint distress signal, and had plotted a course which would have them landing on a hill roughly one mile from the origin of the signal. Savik wished to scope out the area from high ground before they approached the distress call up close.
The Master Chief skillfully maneuvered the craft through the dense gas, carefully keeping an eye out for any enemy Klingon vessels that may be in their path. Savik observed his expert command of the shuttle with pride. It gave her a sense of satisfaction to know that she was now a member of such a skilled team of individuals. She hoped she would soon be able to prove herself to both her CO and the crew, and show herself to be a valuable and contributing member of the team. To be a respected commanding officer on a ship such as this one was something Savik had always dreamed of, and now the realization was so close she could almost taste it.
It was only minutes before the Master Chief had gently set the shuttlecraft down on the hilltop, but to Savik it seemed like hours as she ran through all the possible scenarios she could think of. Savik turned to the doctor.
“Wait in the shuttle till we’ve scoped out the area.” She then turned to the Master Chief. “What is your name, Chief?”
The Chief nodded and pulled up his phaser rifle. John had seen action and he knew not to trust even the safest of landing zones. He hadn’t been under a command like Michael’s, but he had to admit he really liked the ship and well the XO was pretty attractive though he wouldn’t let her know that. “I don’t plan to leave the ship Commander. That’s a good way for enemies to get it.”
Savik gave him a short nod. “I’m glad to have you with me. Scan the area for any other signals that may reveal if this distress call is a clever ruse or a valid cry for help. I’m setting boots on the ground to take a look.”
“Well from what I know of these D’Ghor bastards they will do anything they can to better themselves and kill anyone who stands against them.” He replied scanning the area in front of the shuttle.
Savik’s lungs filled with a slow intake of breath as the shuttlecraft doors slowly opened with the familiar noise of sliding hydraulics. This would be her first time setting foot on a new planet in her current position as XO of the Tesla, and she hoped to have many more opportunities to explore other worlds. Her sharp eyes scanned the horizon, carefully checking her perimeter as she emerged from the shuttlecraft, her other senses drinking in everything this new planet had to offer. The hot sun beat down on her and a dry wind stroked her skin. In the distance she could see a few dust clouds, but the valley before her was clear. Lifting her binoculars, she scanned the dust bowl below her. What had once been a small village, likely a mining town, lay at the bottom of the basin in ruins. Broken down buildings and protruding structures dotted the barren landscape. Savik could see no sign of life among the debris, but the distress call had to be coming from somewhere.
“Scanners cannot identify the origin of the signal to determine if it’s a trick or not. I suggest caution Commander.”
Savik nodded her head in agreement. Since the atmospheric gasses were interfering with the scanners, there could be any number of cloaked Klingon vessels hiding nearby, but it could also mean there were refugees in need of help, hiding in the destroyed village below. Savik strode back towards the shuttlecraft to unstrap the hoverbike.
“I’m going down to investigate more closely. We can’t return without being certain that it’s not a genuine distress call. Cover me from here where you have the high ground.”
Savik twisted the throttle and the bike shot forward, skimming over the sandy terrain to dip down the hill towards the valley. Within moments she had reached what remained of the now desolate village. Seeing no signs of life or movement, she stepped off the bike to advance down what used to be a main street. Checking her comm screen on her left forearm, she could see that she was nearing the source of the distress signal. Glancing up, she could see that the signal was directing her towards a disheveled building, barely holding itself upright. A wooden door precariously hung from one hinge, creaking as it slowly shifted in the wind.
“This is Commander Savik of the Federation! I’m here to help!” she announced her presence. Any potential enemies would have already known she was there, but she wanted to reassure any possibly hiding refugees of her good intentions.
The only response was the whistling of the wind through a deserted town. Savik’s eyes narrowed. Her right hand drifted back to rest lightly on the handle of her phaser. Methodically, she turned her body sideways, presenting a more narrow target for any potential shooters as she advanced on the source of the signal. With slow steps she neared the broken down hovel. The beeping of her comm reached an almost feverish pitch as she reached forward to push open the wooden door. Savik peering into the darkness till her eyes adjusted to the thin beams of light streaming through the numerous cracks and holes in the structure.
In the center of the room laying in the sand was an old sensor relay emitter, but other than the bygone signal transmitter, the one room building seemed empty. Savik stepped inside, carefully scanning the corners of the room to see if any hidden attacker was lurking in the shadows, but no enemies emerged. The building seemed to be a mostly demolished saloon, with a sagging counter and several knocked over stools and tables. She began to cautiously inspect her surroundings for any tripwires or pressure plates, also searching for a possible entrance to a bunker where potential survivors could be hiding.
Suddenly Savik started, her hand no longer rested on her blaster, but now gripping it tightly. She heard the familiar whirring of a shuttlecraft setting down just outside. Why would the Master Chief pilot the shuttlecraft down here without orders? The hairs on the back of Savik’s neck began to tingle even before the Master Chief hailed her over the comms.
John perked up and his face flushed. He hadn’t moved the shuttle and that only meant one thing. The D’Ghor had sent someone to close the trap they had set.
“Well, I guess we’ve successfully established that the distress call was indeed a ruse,” Savik surmised with pursed lips.
Savik was correct. The signal was most certainly a trap, and the trap had closed… with Savik in it.
As the Klingon shuttle set down Krassik had a huge smile on his face. The Federation had sent a party down and it was perfect practice for Krassiks Bat’leth. He stepped off the shuttle ramp and the dust settled to show an Orion woman standing at the doorway of the building. Krassik signaled and two more Klingons flanked him, all holding a Bat’leth.
“Surrender, little pig,” the Klingon commander ordered, pointing the tip of his Bat’leth at the federation scum.
“Surrender?” She gave him a tight smile. “To a handful of hairy pugs?” She almost laughed outright.
Krassik stepped at the top of the small hill and pointed at the Orion. “You Federation pigs always think you’re smart well for once you have fallen into our trap and this is where you die.”
Krassik advanced with his Bat’leth in defensive position. It was time for some fun. He signaled the other two Klingons to stay back; this was his prey and he would have fun catching her. Krassik advanced, standing mere feet from the enemy motioning her as if to challenge her.
Savik’s mind flipped to the katana at her back for a split second as she eyed the blades of the advancing Klingon. Fighting with honor be damned, she thought as she reached for her phaser and flipped it off stun without further hesitation. She fired three quick shots at the Klingon leader and then sprayed a few more at the warriors on either side before ducking back into the broken down building to search for a quick exit out the back. Lifting her comm she hailed the shuttle.
“Master Chief, get down here and provide me with some cover fire!”
John heard the order and immediately fired up the shuttle and departed in record time towards the XO’s location. He could see the Klingons coming towards her and knew she was in trouble. He touched down on a hill overlooking the city and grabbed the case that was next to his chair. He quickly made his way off the shuttle with the Dr in tow.
“Dr al-Assad get down there and provide some cover for the Commander. I am going to set my rifle up and provide suppression from the hill.” He ordered.
He saw the Dr nod and make his way down towards the zone, as he set up his rifle and perched he got the two Klingons hanging back in his scope and fired two shots at their feet. They jumped and began looking around. The hill was perfect cover and with the sun it was impossible to spot John’s spot.
“I am here Commander providing fire from cover. We will make sure this is a fair fight.”
“You keep the two lackeys pinned down outside,” Savik ordered. “I’ll handle the big guy,” she stated dryly as she poked her head up to observe the Klingon leader advancing towards the building. Savik sprinted to the bar and rolling over the rough wooden countertop she flipped to the other side, crouching in the shadows with her blaster pointed directly on the sagging door. Every hair on her arms stood on end, every muscle in her body tensed, as she waited for the Klingon commander to enter.
Krassik slowly made his way to the entrance of the building as he stepped at the threshold he could smell the fear of the enemy. He grinned and walked inside slamming his Bat’leth on the wall to intimidate the Starfleet coward. “Hiding from me? Are you scared to fight? Scared this will be the day you die? Why not just come out and make it easy for me.” He taunted.
Phaser fire was the only response he received. Savik fired a few quick shots from behind the bar before rolling to the other end to spray a few more rounds in the Klingon’s direction, trying to lay down fire from multiple angles.
“Nothing about this will be easy,” she informed her opponent with a grim set to her jaw.
(Meanwhile on the USS Tesla)
Michael had watched the shuttle depart and had a pit in his stomach there was something about this situation he did not like. He had been part of multiple engagements, but nothing quite like this one. He had a feeling the D’Ghor were holding a secret and something that could potentially hurt his crew or possibly the entire Federation.
Michael had pulled up the information about his old friend Michelle Oliver. He was looking through her record to see if there was any indication of her being a part of this attack. He had seen her family had been killed in a Federation attack and he knew this could be a reason for revenge. Michelle had never wanted to hurt the Federation before, but now it could be the case.
Amanda had been running through the D’Ghor tactics in the system and something seemed off with Vilk’on, as most cases of these attacks ended in no retreat from the D’Ghor. The tactics worried her and she was not about to let them trick her. She thought back to her Texas roots and the way the horses would go into hiding when threatened, but usually it was an entire herd.
Wait an entire herd…no that can’t be the case. If that’s the case we are in trouble.
Amanda began to calculate the odds of her calculations and she had a worried look on her face. She was interrupted by Kra’vaak who looked at her with concern.
“What’s on your mind Lieutenant? You look worried?” He asked.
Amanda looked up at Kra’vaak and shook her head “I think we are in trouble and I mean big trouble.”
Kra’vaak looked at her confused and walked over to the console, as he looked at the information on the screen his eyes widened in complete shock and he shook his head. “There’s no way it can’t be. If that’s the case we will need reinforcements.”
Amanda cocked her head in confusion “What reinforcements?”
Kra’vaak smiled and winked “That’s the surprise we have up our sleeves.”
Michael had been pouring over all the information when he got a comms alert on his desk PADD. It was encrypted, but it looked like a federation transmission. He paused cautiously before accepting it to see a disheveled face of Michelle Oliver. His eyes must’ve been all the response she needed to hear.
“Hi Michael, I don’t have much time, but the Klingons captured me. It took me some time to get a message out. They captured me and have been using me to tell them the strategies of the fleet.”
“Michelle, why would you agree to do that? We were trained to keep from betraying the Federation. Why would you do something to endanger the fleet or any of the many friends you have.”
Michelle thought for a second she had not seen Michael for awhile so if he didn’t know the truth she could lie about why she was doing it. That should get him off her back for now, as they planned to spring the trap.
“They threatened to kill my family Mike. Wouldn’t you do the same thing if it was for your family?”
Michael had chills running up the back of his neck as he knew she was lying to him. It was time for him to play along. “I understand now and yeah I would always want to protect my family. Michelle what can I do to help?”
Michelle smiled “I’ll let you know when the chance comes. Thanks Mike. I better go before they discover I’ve done this.”
Michael nodded and cut off communications immediately, springing up from his desk and quickly walking out to the bridge. He saw Kra’vaak and Amanda huddled by her console. “What’s going on?”
Amanda jumped as she saw Michael in front of her “We could have an entire D’Ghor fleet hidden here. After looking at the information it’s the only thing that makes sense.”
Michael rubbed his chin and nodded “I think all this information coupled with the information I just learned calls for trouble.” Michael then explained to the senior crew that Oliver was a traitor to the Federation.
(Meanwhile on the D’Kara)
Vilk’on was drinking another mug of bloodwine when he heard from Krassik who had reported that he was about to fight the Federation officer. The smile on his face was all he needed.
He grabbed some Gagh off his plate and showed them into his mouth as the ship’s guest knocked on his quarters door. “Enter” he yelled.
The door opened and he saw Oliver standing there. He motioned her in and offered her some food which she politely declined. The stench of these ships was enough to churn her stomach. She looked around the Captain’s cabin and had to stay normal though inside her skin was crawling. The Klingons were a disgusting race, but perfect for her plans.
“Captain I talked to Ryder as we had planned. And he fell for my story.”
“Are you sure he doesn’t seem like a fool? Could he have just said that to make you feel like you won.” He asked
Michelle thought about it but shook her head. He isn’t quite that bright; he always was smart but he never out maneuvered me. She smirked as she tried not to vomit as Vilk’on shoved more Gagh down his mouth.
“Well if that’s the case we need to figure out a way to get him out of here or destroy him the fleet can’t move until he is dealt with. Do you think he know s about the fleet?”
Michelle thought for a second “How could he? He didn’t see them and they performed perfectly making sure to hide. If we are to be part of the big attack we need to get out of here. In fact without your forces the Federation could win this battle and that’s the lay thing we want.”
Vilk’on nodded and concluded “Well it’s time to squash the bug before us.” He stood up and raised his glass “For honor and glory!”
To Be Continued….
A joint post between:
Suz- Commander Savik
DarthCrusader – Captain Ryder