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Friend or Foe?

Posted on 29 Aug 2020 @ 8:20pm by Commander Roscoe Mayhew & Captain Martin Collins & Lieutenant Morgan Ryan & Kibyr

Mission: Fool's Errand
Location: Engineering Deck
Timeline: MD 3 || 1345 hours

The Engineering level, like most of the Lexington, was quiet. That didn't stop Lieutenant Scheayuv from lurking in nearby compartments. When the Lexington sought refuge in the asteroid field, there were only eleven survivors. The ship had lost all its shuttles during the Klingon conflict, and with the unpredictable drift patterns, there was little chance an escape pod could clear the asteroid field.

Like the others, the Denobulan had survived on rations, though radiation from engineering slowly claimed their lives. Now the eleven were down to four, none of them engineers. So far, they'd managed to avoid detection by the Orions. But that would only last for so much longer.

He and Crewman Sanchez, a wire-thin woman of forty-one, hid in a nearby locker outside the Jeffries tube acces, trying to survey the Orions from afar.

Taking point once again, Mayhew led Morgan and two of his Security officers toward Engineering. Two officers went with Marty as backup while the two remaining ones stayed in Auxiliary Control to run overwatch between both teams and maintain a fallback point if things went south.

One Security officer was Morgan's shadow while the other took up the rear. Mayhew directed them all by hand signals in order to maintain silence and comm silence.

Realizing that Morgan was untrained in Security measures, Mayhew realized he'd have to break silence. "Readings," he said, nodding toward Engineering. Hopefully the young whelp would figure out he meant for her to scan with her tricorder.

A loud clanking sound could he heard down the corridor, along with some muffled cursing. Two burly Orions appeared a moment later, carrying an elongated object in the direction leading away from Engineering.

"That goes over there," came a gruff voice from an Orion the group couldn't quite see. But a few moments passed and he rounded a corner, completely oblivious of the officers that were sneaking through the ship. "Has my little brother gotten the sensors online yet? This heap of junk is taking too much time and it better be worth it." The large Orion man would be better described as hulking. His bulk was massive and his muscular form was almost unnatural compared to those around him. One smack from his hand would send an average man flying across the room.

Morgan's eyes went wide as the Orion pair came around the corner, especially larger of the pair. He was big. Real big. Glancing down at her scanner, which thankfully was on silent mode, she scanned for more life scenes. 3 other Orion life scenes were in the engineering room, but nothing else of note except... was that a human lifesign? Faint but... not in the engineering room, somewhere else. "Well that's... interesting." She muttered to herself as she flipped the device around to show it at the old man.

Multiple contacts. That much was obvious. What drew Mayhew's attention was the non-Orion life signs. It was not uncommon for Orions to draw other species, even Humans, into their Syndicate. Their own Daniel Bishop was an example of that. But... a Denobulan? It was unlikely for them to be working independently from the Orions. That could mean they were surviving crew members... or they could be trusted Syndicate operatives.

Mayhew realized they faced a gamble either way.

It was tempting to simply move in and attack. Three on three, plus the rookie, put the odds in Starfleet's favor here even without the advantage of surprise. But after his overkill in securing Auxiliary Control, Mayhew opted for further reconnaissance before committing to a combat action. They only had one chance. Even the slightest mistake or misfortune could cost them dearly.

Using silent hand signs, Mayhew ordered his officers to wait until the coast was clear before moving forward. It was only afterward that he realized Morgan likely had no idea what his gesturing had meant.

"On my signal, we move quick and quiet-like to those other life signs. If they're friendly, we make contact. If they're hostile, we keep moving and complete our visual survey. Understand?"

Morgan simply nodded in acknowledgment as she followed along. She was more in for the ride now then anything due to her being the engineer for their little adventure down to the Main Engineering and having little to no tactical training at all. A downside to her way into the fleet.

She had never really been a fighter anyways, she simply worked to survive.

"Would now be a bad time to mention that no one ever taught me to fight properly?" She whispered out as she moved to a crouch ready and waiting to move.

"Nobody expected much from you anyway," Mayhew quipped.

Not far away, Scheayuv tightened the grip on his phaser as he watched the Orions disappear down the corridor. By his count, that had left no more than eight in the actual Engineering complex, but that was still more than he and Crewman Sanchez could handle.

The Denobulan sighed and started to think of alternate plans. As old as the Lexington was, and no matter how much he and the rest of the survivors had been able to repair, the ship couldn't fall into enemy hands. Perhaps it was time to do something drastic.

With both phasers at the ready, Mayhew led his squad quickly and quietly toward the life signs. The Orions were heading in the opposite direction for now, so it seemed a reasonable risk. If there were, by some miracle, surviving crew members, then they would be indispensable in accomplishing their current objective and overall mission. Once the squad arrived, Mayhew raised his fist to signal them to stop.

"I am Commander Roscoe Mayhew of the Starfleet Militia from Starbase 11. Our mission is to reclaim the USS Lexington and return her to the remnant fleet. Anyone loyal to Starfleet, you have ten seconds to come out of hiding and be identified before we take hostile action."

Scheayuv and Sanchez looked at each other. "Starfleet?" he whispered. He was largely perplexed by their sudden yet convenient reappearance, but at least this meant they could likely suspend any thoughts of scuttling their home for the last twenty-odd years. The words that had just been spoken were just as shocking. Militia? Remnant? These were not terms in use when the Lexington was last in contact with an authority.

"Scheayuv," uttered Sanchez in a hushed tone, recognizing what the Denobulan was thinking, "this is a massive risk."

"I know," replied Scheayuv. He sighed, and verified his phaser was set on stun. He abhorred killing, especially due to the events that led to Lexington's demise, and he'd be damned if he had to kill someone again.

The Denobulan raised both of his hands, phaser still in hand, and stuck his arms up where they could be seen. "Don't shoot!" he called out, trying to keep his voice low. He and Sanchez slowly stood and came out from their hiding spot. Sure enough, he was greeted by several humans, all armed.

He pointed at himself and then his companion. "Sch... Lieutenant Scheayuv. Crewman Sanchez. You realize, Commander, that I now have lots of questions for you."

Mayhew signaled for his two security noncoms to take flanking positions, at which point he put his phasers away.

"I can imagine, but seeing as how we're under the literal gun, your questions are going to wait until we retake the ship. By our best estimate we only got a few minutes before the rat pack comes back, and I need to know how many Starfleet personnel remain, how many intruders are on board, and any overwhelmingly urgent detail that may obstruct the retaking of the ship."

Scheayuv lowered his hands. He first thought to object since the Denobulan was the de facto Commanding Officer of the Lexington due to the gaping holes in the chain of command. The Lieutenant bit his tongue once his body reminded him of his malnourishment and lack of tactical capability.

"There are four of us left," he told Mayhew. "Molly... I mean, Petty Officer O'Keefe, yeoman, and Crewman ch'Achonos are guarding our dwellings on Deck Six. "We've been able to count just over a dozen on the ship. Most are down here, and there's been one or two working on the bridge."

Only four? While that was a low number, it was better than none. And it did mean Mayhew had fewer collaterals to worry about. "Can you contact them? If we all converge on the Orions, then we may be able to eliminate the intruders without them calling for backup."

"O'Keefe is... was a paper pusher," Scheayuv stated. "And ch'Achonos a navigator. None of us have touched a phaser in ten years or more, in fact, I'm not entirely sure this works at all." The Denobulan gestured to his aged weapon. "But I can contact them discretely."

"Do it," Mayhew said with a nod. About what he expected. "Tell them to lay low until we contact them." Looking to Morgan, who was still the only technician in the room he fully trusted, Mayhew said, "Go rig the nearest doors on this level to seal on command. We're going to set an ambush for when the greenies come back and I don't want any stragglers giving us the slip." To Scheayuv, he added, "As for you, best you get back into your hidey hole, at least for now."

The Denobulan couldn't help but hide his exasperation. "Respectfully, Commander, unless you can produce from among your boarding party someone who knows every crook and cranny in this ship like I do--like we do--then I'm not going back into any hidey hole. I'll contact O'Keefe and ch'Achonos and tell them to stay low, but we're staying with you."

Mayhew sighed. His squad just went from four to six and half were not competent with a phaser.

"Fine. Help Morgan trip the doors to seal once the enemy comes back. Start with the outermost so we can corral them in this section away from anything fragile or vital. You'll know that better than me anyhow. We'll force them into a kill box where their numbers are useless. Me and my security team will take it from there."

Morgan frowned, the old mans plan seemed a little dangerous especially with even more people involved that couldnt fight. Well it wasn't that she couldn't fight, she just preferred to outthink her opponents. She looked down the corridors for a moment, "Hey... how well does the environmental controls respond?" The young engineer asked the rather emaciated looking crew member.

The Denobulan looked to the younger woman. For whatever reason, he was surprised to see that she was an engineer. She definitely didn't look like a grunt or a mercenary by any means, so Scheayuv supposed he shouldn't be so judgmental. "That, young lady, is one of the few things on this ship that is in perfect working order."

"Cool. Great. I have an idea." Morgan said as she turned and made for the end of the corridor where the Orions would have to come out of the turbolift to come to Engineering. "Everyone needs to close all the doors in this corridor between the turbolift and the Main Engineering door, make sure they're good and disabled too, not even brute force."

Pulling the panel off of the turbolift control panel Morgan set to work as she plugged her little display into the inner workings. Tapping quickly at the display, she set up a quick program to disable the doors and magnetically seal them once the last of the Orions had come through. Simple, quick program. Pulling the cables out, she set the panel back into place before running down to the other end past her crew mates as she then worked to seal the engineering doors.

"Oh and you'll still be able to shoot them Old man. Someone will need to make them all run out." Morgan said jerking a thumb towards the door behind her, "If we set up in there, you can flee to there. We seal the door. Orions stuck. We then lighten the atmosphere to the point they pass out. Viola."

Mayhew bristled at being called Old Man. "Commander," he corrected. "It's Commander. Your plan isn't a bad one, rookie, except for the lure. How do we keep the Orions from falling back as everyone does when fired on?" He examined her setup for a moment. "Maybe if we took position and ambushed them from behind and drive them forward. That way their fallback position will be your little trap." The Orions who stood and fought would be killed while the ones who ran away would get caught in Morgan's net. He thought it over for a moment and nodded with a pleased smirk on his face. "Let's do it."

"Why do you think I set the Turbolift doors to seal once they're out? What Orion could resist a new potential slave running away from them?" Morgan asked as she set the last doors programming to set. It was her idea and her track record of getting angry Orions to follow her enmass was good... God why was she even thinking this? And now she was saying it.. "Actually, Ill be the runner... I kinda have experience running from groups of Orions and some luck... Just make sure you dont hit me?"

"You're a cocky little shit," Mayhew grunted. "Normally I'd say no, but if your feet run half as fast as your mouth then maybe you'll pull through. Let's get set up. Time ain't in our favor."

"No just... I've pissed off more then my fair share of Orions then I should have." Morgan commented back, "Are the doors sealed?" She asked out at the others as she packed her computer up into her little side bag she had brought along full of tools.

Mayhew left the eggheads to their preparations and assembled his two security noncoms. "You heard the plan. Any questions?"

Both shook their heads in the negative.

"Good. Take position and hold your fire until my signal."

Scheayuv checked over his work on the large blast doors. One of the good things about the Engineering deck was that it featured these types of doors every other section in order to contain critical breaches. These doors had come in handy during the first couple of years the Lexington rested in the asteroid berth, and Scheayuv had become quite adept at operating them. He triggered the door and ensured it was clamped down tight. "The doors are closed," he reported to the group.

And yet no Orions were coming. Could it be they were ahead of schedule? That would mean things were going right...

"Somebody make some noise," Mayhew said. "Not loud enough to raise an alert. Just make 'em curious."

From across the desk, the three Orions lumbered out of the room, empty handed as they had just installed the new heating element. The large hulking man stood almost a foot taller than the others, though they had very similar body styles. It was obvious these Orions indulged in the physique-enhancing supplements that were all the rage among the slave traders.

As they reached the end of the corridor, they stopped, coming face-to-face with a young girl that looked very alien. Human, would be Jalan's best guess, though he hadn't seen on in ages.

"Oh... Hi guys." Morgan said as she stopped and stared at the three rather large Orions infront of her. "I uh... I'm just going to be going now. Bye!" She turned on her heel and started running to other way.

"Get her," he grumbled to the two accompanying him as he shoved them forward.

The two Orions stumbled slightly but took off, chasing the young girl down the hall.

As they left, Jalan turned towards Main Engineering where the rest of his crew was. He slammed his hand on the comm, opening a channel to the Bridge. "Little brother, there is a human on board. Your precious sensors will have to wait," he said.

"Incoming!" Morgan called as she ducked around the corner, a shot of green disrupter punctuating her call as she made her way towards the entrenched security officers that were waiting with bated breath.

Mayhew whistled to his security officers to hold their weapons ready. Two return whistles gave confirmation. The line of fire was prepared. By the time the Orion pursuers rounded the corner, four phasers were locked on them -- two phaser rifles and the two handheld phasers wielded by Mayhew.

But, as the plan required, Mayhew and his men let the two Orions pass by undeterred. For their trap to be successful, they needed all of the Orions. Nonetheless, Mayhew kept an eye on the Orions. If they managed to get hands on Morgan before she could reach the door on the far end of the corridor, or if the Orions turned tail, then the plan could fail.

Fortunately her pursuers were relentless. They ran headlong into the door that had opened for Morgan but remained fixed for them. Their impact against the door bounced them backward and sent them to the floor.

The sound of boots pounding came from around the corner. Mayhew whistled again. Hold fire. The kill box wasn't full yet.

Both Orions picked themselves up off the floor, banging fists on the metal doors as they tried to gain entry.

"This isn't working," Mayhew said after no one else had come along. They needed something bigger.

"Hold your fire," he ordered his team as he phasered one of the Orions in the back.

The Orion stumbled in pain as the other turned, spotting Mayhew instantly. With a strong fist, the standing Orion punched the wall beside him, pulled the plating from its place and holding it in front of him like a shield as he stomped forward.

"Call Jalan," the standing Orion said as he continued towards the other humans.

Mayhew waited until the plate-wielding Orion passed by the hidden security officers before giving them the signal to fire. Two phaser streaks shot out from hidden flanking positions and dropped the bold attacker. As much as Mayhew wanted to follow up with the second Orion, he had the man dead to rights trying to make contact for backup.

"Surrender or die!" he shouted. Both phasers were extended to end the Orion if he did anything but surrender immediately. "Do not call Jalan. Place your hands over your head with fingers interlocked and kneel to the ground. You have three seconds."

The large man snarled but did as he was instructed.

Scheayuv watched from his vantage point. Sanchez crouched beside him and watched the actions as well. As of now, only three of the Orions were accounted for. There were at least a dozen aboard, and the odds were that most of them were in Engineering.

"Now you may call for assistance," Mayhew ordered the Orion. "Tell them you need help fixing something. If they come around that corner with weapons drawn, then you'll be the first to die."

"We may not be the smartest, but we're not stupid," the large green man said. "Jalan already knows there's an intruder and I was instructed to catch her. Why would I suddenly be fixing something? Do you humans even talk to each other?"

Mayhew gave a shrug. "Fair enough. Hard way it is." He turned the setting on one phaser down to its minimum power level but maximum draw. Minimal damage, high pain. And then he fired at the insolent Orion. "Be sure to make it sound good!" he taunted.

Three red flashes lit up from Mayhew's communicator. It was an all-clear signal from Collins. Mayhew nodded at his security officers, each of whom fired a lethal phaser blast on the afflicted Orion.

"Mayhew to Collins," he said into his communicator. "Congratulations. You secured your AO before we did."

"And with no injuries and shots fired," came the Captain's voice back over the communicator. "Even made ourselves a new friend. But we also heard a member of your team's been spotted. What's the situation down there?"

"Not great," Mayhew admitted. "We've laid a trap for a dozen frogs but only two fell into it. Sounds like the leader is named Jalan, but he's been too preoccupied to take the bait himself." Then, as an afterthought, he added, "Should also report we encountered two friendly noncombatants who report two additional. No intel on taking the ship, however."

Silence reigned on the channel for a few moments. "The friend I mentioned. He's Jalan's brother. They haven't spoken since before we took the bridge."

That changed things. "Did you squeeze him for intel? If not, we'll retreat to your position and I'll take a crack at him."

"And leave Engineering unchecked without eyes and ears? I don't think so." There was a moment of silence, broken quickly by a sigh. "I'll bring him to you. You have a good rendezvous point?"

"We've secured a corridor and supply room off main Engineering. Get down to this deck and we'll find you."

"Acknowledged." There was a click on the channel, indicating that it had closed.

Mayhew signaled for the two officers holding Auxiliary Control to converge on their position. "Fan out and look for anyone Starfleet," he ordered the two who with him. "Bring them to this position so we can finish this today."


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