Lt. Alem shook his head, an hour of loud screaming and getting bumped around in the pilot's seat. How did our ancestors do it he mumbled; he didn't expect anyone to hear him but you couldn't hide anything from that half Bajoran/Betazed. Lt. Cho'arie just laughed as twelve kids crawled and jumped on each other playing starship Soldier games. Its probably the first time in a long time, these children were allowed to be children.
My grandmother used to tell us stories about the occupation and the settlements I seem to understand where these kids are coming from. It was a little strange for Chip to hear, afterall Cho was more Bajoran than anything and didn't usually show good nature when Cardassians were involved. I guess so, but I feel like I've been thrown under a stampeded of Telleran Mountain Goats with the noise and rough play.
There was no response from Cho this time, she was busy punching buttons on the sensors. She looked over at Chip, we've got trouble. The Captain's group is at the settlement and so are a group of Romulans. The two adult Cardassians in the back knew something was going on in the front and busily began gathering the children and quieting the passanger area.
UMOTH PRIME PLANET/ CARDASSIANS AND CPT SALAS
"Very Good Captain, you are correct about the tea, I'm Commander Vesna; The Romulan Star Empire wants to thank you for collecting this group of conspiritors." a sultry female voice said form behind them. despite the heat ice shot through him, after a moment he forced the feeling down and comely rolled over on his elbow and used his other had to tip his hat back to where he could see her and the Romulan solders who were now standing over them, disrupters ready.
the solders were tense like a taut bow, waiting for there commanders single. Raymundo had to think fast to defuse the situation. Putting in as much of his Latino charm as he could muster he said, "Howdy Senorita, fancy meeting yourself here" he rolled up on his back and rolled forward and jumped to his feet and placed his hat over his chest in one graceful motion. "Now i don't take too kindly to accutisitans of who did what and why someone acted as they did for I myself don't have all the answers." he reached for one of the packs on his belt and the two bodyguards to the Commander raised their weapons at him, Vesna raised her hand giving the odd human a hard stare.
Form the pack Ray produced a small isoliner chip, "I do admit that morning tea sound lovely and my friends could use some refreshing as well, on here is a replicator orders for some of the best Turkish coffee you have ever had." he bounced the light green rod in his hand a few times before turning his eyes to the Commander. "It also has some of Starfleets latest data on the area Jem`Hadar, what we could get at least. all I need is someone....trustworthy, tell me Commander lest settle down and talk about what we know."
UMOTH PRIME/PLANET/ROMULANS AND CAPTAIN SALAS
The female Romulan Commander just looked at Captain Salas with amusement. Not many Starfleet officers would just jump up and start casual dialogue with armed Romulans surrounding him. Captain, we just arrived to the farm to continue our investigations. Please join us while Sub-Commander Dremoss takes CARE of the prisoners. At first, that comment didn't quite sound right to Ray, especially the Care part. Still, he escorted Commander Vesna towards the farm house for a nice cup of Coffee. Maybe he'd be able to learn more of what exactly is going on and have a better picture of whether the Cardassians were or were not conspirators to the Admiral's murder.
Once inside the strong sweet aroma of the spiced tea took Ray's memories back to his childhood and the various spiced teas his grandmother used to drink. Still, over the years he'd fallen more towards his brand of poison...the Turkish Coffee. The Commander spoke again as she poured hot water into two cups one with the hot spiced tea; We monitored the approach of the Cardassians Captain, we just began the investigation and there are some very interesting items in the farm house which you should see before making judgement on the innosence of these Cardassians. Captain Salas thought to himself, wow now this is going to be interesting. Commander, can you enlighten me a little of what I'll be walking into at the farm house.
Commander Vesna handed the Captain one cup; We will easily be able to prove that the Cardassians were heading to a weapons stock pile among other things. One of the guards found the butt of a weapon underneath a pile of hay and after shoveling that miserable stuff, found several Jem Hadar rifles and body armor.
"Commander Telru, First officer log, mission time +28:25, it has been six hours since leaving orbit and two from losing primary communication form Captain Salas' group. we are entering the edge of the system after tracing the emissions of the freighter that entered orbit when we left. I have strong suspicious that there were Jem`Hadar supplies on that ship, If not solders themselves. we will begin with a standard raidil sweep of the area and make our way back inward."
Umoth Prime Farm
Commander Vesna handed the Captain one cup, "We will easily be able to prove that the Cardassians were heading to a weapons stock pile among other things. One of the guards found the butt of a weapon underneath a pile of hay and after shoveling that miserable stuff, found several Jem Hadar rifles and body armor."
The two sipped there drinks for a minute before Ray looked up and asked, "T'Vess, seemed to govern this planet with a stern hand. i find it hard to believe that there would be a Cardassian weapon catch under his nose." Ray put the chip in a padd on the table and flipped through the menu till he found the data entry he was looking for. "Shortly after we arrived a Freighter arrived that was heavily shielded and has been farrier servile shuttles to a area in this general vicinity."
UMOTH PRIME CAPTAIN SALAS
Vesna smiled Captain, the Admiral T'vess wasn't as in control as many would believe. We don't know what's going on in orbit. We only receive shipments from Admiral JVal's shuttle craft, we would directly beam Admiral T'vesses supply to his quarters and keep the rest. This farm to our knowledge had been abandoned for years now and the Cardassians (a pause) chose to reside in the mountains near the food supplies. We haven't monitored the area much until we researched the path of these rebels.
Captain Salas and Commander Vesna's communicators chirped simultaneously, the Romulan left the room to respond so Ray kept an eye out and answered the call from the Richthofen. The strong feminine voice of Lt. Cho'arie came through Captain we are arriving at the farm, is everything alright? Raymundo wasn't sure why the Commander rushed him to this house, so he looked through the window watching Romulan guards standing watch over the small Cardassian group. Jevak didn't look happy, but was having his team eating rations. The rest of the gear was spread out in a second area and being searched by another group. They're fine so far, but consolidate the groups outside of the area until we figure this out. The captain cut off his communications to prevent any tracking from unwanted eavesdroppers and began to walk slowly towards the room which Commander Vesna entered. As he approached he could hear some of Vesna's directives to her staff. Make sure the guards know, only I'm authorized to speak with the Starfleet officers any inquiries should be directed back to me. There was a slight creek from the floor, everyone in the house froze for a moment and the Commander cut off the signal.
CARDASSIAN SPACE USS ARCHANGEL
The more Commander Telru and the crew investigated, the more the Andorian didn't like what was forming. They found tachyon particles and a very weak warp signature similar to those used by the old Dominion Attack ships, but Telru thought it was a little too easy and if these ships had only been seen when last reported there should have been no trace at all.
The traces led the Archangel to the Badlands, but with the amount of time Telru had gone without communications with the Captain chose to return to UMOTH PRIME. It seemed every step brought on more complexities; he figured the Romulan ships were cloacked again as there were no visual traces of any traffic. Sensors didn't pick up cloaking, but did discover a new wrench to throw into the pile...more tachyon particles and a fresh warp signature identified as a Jem Hadar attack ship.
Scans of the surface, located a sector with human, cardassian, and romulan signatures. This wasn't good..but it reminded the Andorian of an operation him and Ray were on and was hoping the Captain was remembering the same thing. Telru looked at the time, if Captain Salas was thinking of Operation Majestic then contact by the Captain would be made in about an hour. Maintain orbit and keep a close look out for any communications from the Captain. Now we wait for a call.
Cho steeped off the Richthofen into the noonday sun and walked over to where Lt Shihab was Helping the organization of the groups till they could find a way to get everyone to the tunnels, now guarded by the Romulan patrols. As Cho walked up to them the oldest of the bunch stood up and turned to watch her approach.
"Chip, I just spoke with the Captain, he and the last of the Cardassians are at the Farm below......we need to do somthing." She said looking toward the farm with a slight downward turn of the lip.
"So he told us to hold fast?" Said the Cardassian standing with Shihab, he smirked at the flash of annoyance in Cho'aries eyes and introduced himself. "I am Revok, former leader of the Council of Merchants of Umoth Prim.....and new village elder." he did not look that old to Cho, mid 50's with wings of gray in his close cut ebony hair, like the rest of the Cardassians he showed the look of having lived out in cave huts for the last few years and the last few days hard march though the mountain pass had put oppressed stance in the way he carried himself. Not a defeated stance, but only holding on, hoping for that break to lay down his load.
Looking around Cho was taken to her childhood, sitting on her mothers knee listing to her grandmother tell of fleeing Bajor during the occupation and life in the camps, of how she struggled to support herself and her son, Cho's father. (OHer Grandmothers first husband being caught and executed during the flight from Bajo)r. she had been practicing as a Midwife, when her Grandfather meet her, a young Betazed Doctor volunteering in the camps.
Cho knew that her and her family were fortunate, and she felt....guilty, guilty for her feeling happy when things like this could still happen in the Galaxy and hidden in that..anger, anger at the Romulans and let the pa'wreath take there eyes she was going to make them pay.
No, she was a doctor, she was needed here, with the people that badly needed some comfort and heeling.
*SNAP CHO! *SNAP *SNAP CHO!
"What!" she snapped looking up at Shihab.
"Just waiting for your mind to beam back to the here and now, as I was saying to Revok and you Mitsuko is reporting that the Archangel is entering back into orbit, we need to fill the Commander in on the situation.
UMOTH PRIME ORBIT USS ARCHANGEL
Commander Telru's antennae were twitching nervously as the time approached to share status reports. The hour was spent silently thinking of the various aspects taking place; none of which made sense to the experienced combat veteran. The other bridge officers seems to have faded out of his perception although they continued taking readings and testing theories of the sector. When Mitsuko appeared on the bridge; Commander Telru communications with Lieutenant Alem being patched in now The Commander jumped slightly in surprise as a hand gripped onto his shoulder bringing him back to the present. Leiutenant Commander Holt stood next to him; Go ahead Mitsuko, patch it to the ready room. Mac knelt down next to the Andorian and whispered; I've found something the Captain needs to know. Telru looked at him inquisitively wondering what contraption or upgrade the Engineer made this time.
UMOTH PRIME PLANET (LT. ALEM)
Chip looked at Mitsuko jokingly; What is it today, everyone become Borg or something? Everyone seems to be in the Gamma Quadrant on me. The joke was lost to the hologram and she took the comment seriously Scanning the sector there is a 0.001 percent chance of a Borg entering the sector all life signs on the Archangel are confirmed humonoids or living matter. Chip just looked at her, how could that joke not have processed her microchip.
Mitsuko paused; Lieutenant, the Commander would like the meeting in the Richthofen. Now that was new, what could that blue skinned ice cube want to meet privately for..there must be something more than just reporting the group's status now. As he helped Cho up from her kneeling position Well, lets get to it.
The two officers began heading to the fighter when Revok began walking as if to join them. Lieutenant, as I'm the defacto leader of the Cardassians and this situation seems to have snared us into it's trap; I'd like to join you in the meeting. Elam looked at him for a moment, the expression on Revok's face showed concern yet with a determination to help in whatever fashion possible. Mitsuko ask Commander Telru if it is o.k. for us to bring a visitor
UMOTH PRIME MEETING
Telru sat at the head of the table with Mac and Pappy beside him. In the Richthofen a very dusty group and a middle aged Cardassian. The Commander looked at Chip with his usual stern demeanor Lieutenant, what is the status on the planet and what is going on with the Captain?
Chip thought not even a hello how are you? Just like the Andorian, always serious and direct. Well sir, it seems that the Captain has become a guest of the Romulans. He is inside of the house with their leader, so the best we can gather is he is alive and Mitsuko makes regular checks on his vitals so he isn't being tortured or poisoned..yet. Mac and Pappy grinned for a moment, but the prototypical serious atmosphere around Commander Telru remained. We are maintaining oversight on your group, what is the status and are there any requirements needed for the colonists?
Lieutenant Cho cut in We're fine, we've got tarps being set up for shelter. We'll need rations as the Richthofen wasn't set up for Humanitarian aid. We'll need supplies of water and salt tablets. Now, what are we going to do about the Captain? Everyone just stared at the medical officer and her reddened cheeks with gritting fangs like a little Klingon Targ foaming for a fight. Telru looked at her, Lieutenant what do you suggest, there are three dozen heavily armed Romulans around the Captain; You have two phasers and a population filled with undernourished, unarmed civilians; we have unknown number of warships cloaked in our area. Everyone knew the Commander was right although his response a little to harsh. Then the Cardassian stepped forward and spoke; Commander, my name is Revok the senior of this group now. If I may ask, have you ever had the pleasure of enjoying Cardassian hospitality? if so, have you ever played Kotra
Before anyone could answer, Cho snapped again with everything going on, you want to talk about a game? This isn't a game Revok and I don't know why we let you join us? The Starfleet officers were stunned and the already aggitated Commander''s antennae began to twitch like the tail of a Diamond back rattler back on earth. Yet Revok maintained his compossure. I have murmurred Pappy, and the game is better strategic training than many can imagine.
Revok smiled at the comment; Yes, and it is a game that favors the bold. We are seeing the board being set up as we speak. We know the terrain, We know the objective, now we just have to find all of the pieces before we begin. Now Mac chimed in And I may have found another piece.
While we were waiting for the meeting, I found another Jem Hadar signal approaching the planet. Telru turned his head and straightened up at the comment, why didn't the Engineer mention this before? I of course waited long enough to confirm this and a couple interesting discoveries. The signal came from one of the Romulan's shuttle craft transporting cargo to the surface and it delivered its cargo in the main city.
Commander Vensa walked back into the room and retook her seat. the two officers siped their respective drinks till they were gone and after some small talk about greater glaaitic politics the Captain said, "how bout we take a walk around and get to the bottom of these mysterious shipments" he stepped into the afternoon sun and walked to where Javek and the others were being guarded. One of the guards stepped to block his path, although he did not raise his weapon, he would not with his Commanding officer only a few meters away; stepped aside.
"Enjoy your tea?" Javek asked, not without a tinge of anger in his voice. "Everyone doing OK?" Ray asked
Javek gave a half laugh, "we've been given water, and some rations, but I've been better."
Captain Salas turned and walked back toward Commander Vensa and said "give me another hour and well get this all strait" as he walked up to her he asked, "Now i really do need to see some hard proof or I'm afraid I'm going to have take a leaf out of my glassier of a first officers playbook and get tough."
"I of course waited long enough to confirm this and a couple interesting discoveries. The signal came from one of the Romulans shuttle craft transporting cargo to the surface and it delivered its cargo in the main city." The Engineer stated bringing up his readings on the monitor. " there is a warehouse slash processing factory on the North side of the city. However it Is heavily fortified” The Heavy Set Lieutenant Commander brought up a map of the area in question. “I am also reading many Romulan patrols guarding the perimeter. Now the main warehouse is shielded form scans but there are many emissions that I believe are tale tail signs of Old Dominion design.”
Shihab looked at his Commander in the monitor and said, “There are many was to approach this, one we could beam in a small party and gather intel, or recon in force. But if we are caught the Captains life and the other Cardassians are in danger. Will have to rescue the captain at the same time that we do this.” He drummed his fingers one the table for a moment And looked up and smiled at the Commander. “We could do a Dust off with the Richthofen, and meet the main away team at the factory.”
“I do see one problem with your plan Lieutenant” The Andorian said, once the Romulans are on the defensive, I know of at least one D'dredrex class warbird in the area and most likely more, and two as of yet unknown Jem`Hadar attack ships. As soon as our shields drop to beam a strike team to the factory we will be exposed. And wont be able to support them, I am not prepared to send men to battle unsupported.”
Mitsuko spoke up, “I am detecting that the captain has left the main farm house and is on the move”
Commander Vesna turned away from the group and began walking towards the barn. Ray stepped up his pace to catch up with the slim Romulan female. So, you show compassion for them Vesna remarked continuing to walk in at a Soldier's pace. Raymundo quickly responded I admire them and until we prove their guilt we should demonstrate a level of respect for the native population.
the remaining paces to the farm house were quiet, giving the Captain a moment of reflection regarding the general attitude which the Romulans had towards a species which was so similar in many aspects and yet drastically different in others. The two leaders approached the barn door as guards opened the rotting wooden walls to reveal more rot from wet and spoiled hay. Jem Hadar rifles lined up along the ground in the center of the barn and several stalls obviously cleared out by the Romulan investigators.
Vesna pointed to three stalls which appeared as though nothing had been done to investigate. I instructed the guards to stop once these weapons were discovered, we didn't want to corrupt any further evidence which you may come across. Ray thought to himself, awkward but maybe that is the Romulan way; he began to walk through the barn house and view the entire scene before touching anything.
He noticed a small notch in a corner which he assumed was the mark for where the secret door on the floor was located, but walked past as not to alert the surrounding Romulans which were watching his every move.
One stall looked out of sort to Ray, nothing glaringly obvious but deep down his gut called for him to check it out. As Ray approached the area, he noticed that his boots sank a little deeper in areas which gathered more water seeping through the stitches along the sole of his boots. Still he said nothing; and the pile of hay which he approached now became more obvious to his experienced eyes at inspecting the most minute details.
He noticed the lower half of the hay was wet as with the top of the pile..this was normal as weather would hit the top first and settle at the bottom. Yet, as he dug through the hay; he noticed the heavy dampness in the center of the pile which would in most cases have been protected from such conditions.
A Romulan guard moved quickly up to the Starfleet Captain; What did you find? pulling the hay in handfuls out of the stall to reveal two containers with markings of KW2.
Now Ray knew this was not going to be an easy case...KW2 was the Jem Hadar lifeforce Ketracel White.
Captain Salas opened the container to find that indeed it did contain many vile's. Commander Vessna walked up to where the Captain and the solder were standing holding a kirtchif to her nose. "Commander", Ray said picking up and tossing a vile to the Romulan and laughed inside where none could hear as Vessna tried to catch it and keep the cloth pressed to her nose.
"The Cardassians my be the lesser of your worrys, It seams that Jem`Hadar are present and if my training prepared me for anything about them its that they wont be too far form these catches"
UMOTH PRIME ORBIT: USS ARCH ANGEL
The meeting had been completed for hours, yet Commander Telru remained in the Captain's Conference room. It was clear to the senior officers that Telru was angry, but never to this extent. Mac and Pappy returned to their sections trying to fix the destination of the signals.
Commander Holt pounded on the panel None of this makes sense, first why would Romulans be transporting Jem Hadar equipment? Why here? and if this is in fact Jem Hadar forces, why would they be brought to a Romulan Compound here rather than the home world? Pappy just shook his head, I don't know. but I think I've found where they stopped at. The science officer pointed to a large manse within the Colony. Mac looked at the layout of the building and then to the Ensign; Let me guess, that isn't the cargo hold.
UMOTH PRIME PLANET; LT. ELAM AND COLONISTS
Revok spent the afternoon standing on the ridge looking at the farm house, until Lt Alem walked up. Still playing Kotra? Revok continued to stand silently as if in a state of meditation. Chip saw the Captaiin do it before, in his quarters when things weren't making sense.
After a few moments Revok turned to Chip Yes, I apologize for not responding..the pieces to this game are very The Cardassian paused What? asked the security officer. Revok looked to the sky, clouded with dust and thick blackened clouds. We are facing a Kotra master I am certain and we have failed to identify the true attack. Everyone here sees different clues, we have different strategies,
we are all bickering, yet one thing we all agree on is that what we are seeing doesn't make sense. The Cardassian Kotra players call it the Straufmek. Chip looked interested So, what are we missing? Revok smiled That is the true question my boy, lucky for Starfleet and the fellow Colonists... I am a Kotra Master as well.
Main Engineering : USS Archangel
"Busard Collectors?" The Heavy seat man said looking at the Ensign handing him a report back in main engineering. "Yes Sir, They are due for their bimonthly cleansing and inspection."
"Look son, I appreciate you keeping on top of your work but if we flush the Collectors then our sensors would be blinded for ....," He paused and furrowed his brow.
"Only a matter of minuets while it dissipated."
"Hot DAMN," the Ensign was startled by his Chiefs outburst. as Mac slapped his knee and garbed the pad out of his hand and headed to the turbolift.
"SIR?" the Ensign shouted after him.
"Get ready for the order to follow through in a hour, good job"
Administration Center Deck 3: USS Archangel - First Officer Office
Telru was tired, his shift ending nearly 2 hours ago and him planing to catch some sleep while he could. Not that he was angry at his Chief Engineer, his plan was solid but it also was a big gamble.
"Mr. Holt, I think you have come up with a great plan, Flushing the Busard Collectors will mask any singles form this ship for a few seconds while we beam a team into the manor." Telru drummed his fingers on the table for a second and said, "get a report though Mitsuko, have Lt Shihab ready to drop in and grab the captain while the Romulans are distracted.
"Aye Sir." Mac said and walked out to make preparations.
Commander Telru sat in the Captain's office shuffling reports. He hated the fact that Captain Salas was still involved on the Planet. The newest status reports from Cardassian space was perplexing to say the least. A raid of an abandoned Ketracel White plant on Andarak Prime, an assassination of a Cardassian diplomat on Pentath III, and a missing cargo vessel from the Cestis system.
So far the evidence pointed to Jem Hadar attacking areas in Federation control. In Cestis, a Jem Hadar shuttle left behind or at least Jem Hadar equipment. In Pentath III Jem Hadar sniper rifles and of course the Ketracel White plant. Yet, Telru was concerned; the Jem Hadar are as much an honorable warrior species as the Klingons and wouldn't resort to assassinations.
Reports indicated that 6 of the Cardassian Defense Force and three Federation cruisers were hunting for the missing cargo ship, three CDF ships searching for the assassin, and four CDF ships along with the remaining 4 Federation ships trying to find the raiders of the plant. The borders are extremely thin and even a Borg fleet could sneak through in this state.