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Fool's Errand

Posted on 09 Oct 2019 @ 7:28pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant JG Kemm & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh

Mission: Truth and Justice
Location: Guardian Vessel
Timeline: MD 15 || 1730 hours

Half an hour had passed since Varke had agreed to Harvey's ridiculous plan. Three hours from the point of agreement, and the clock was ticking. Every minute that passed during their preparations made their window for success just that much shorter. Varke had agreed for a small team to accompany Geisler during his fool's errand, under the condition that if Geisler, Kemm, or Walsh were captured by the Dolmoqour that they would be killed immediately and then destroy the Black Hawk or otherwise force it out of Penduli's orbit.

Harvey was determined not to let that happen, but his determination was beginning to turn to desperation. The runabout had been badly damaged, and it had taken some work to restore the craft to a semblance of working order. It had taken Harvey a bit as well to repair himself. He managed to apply some salve to his wounds, keep the skin around his eyeball from grafting itself shut, and place an eyepatch over the wound to heal. He believed the eye could be saved, as long as he could get proper medical treatment. Assuming, however, if this all worked.

Six in all would travel with the runabout back to the Black Hawk. The team would be armed with sonic cannons, similar to the devices used by Lieutenants Cooper and Corwin-Geisler in their takedowns of the Chimera and Cochrane. The cannons would disable any attackers, and then the hundreds of replicated discs would take care of the Dolmoqour. Performing this action deck by deck would be daunting, but the more they could free, the greater the army to retake the ship.

"What do you think?" Harvey asked Commander Walsh, hoping his Marine mind had devised a good plan. "Have you selected a proper beam in point yet?"

"I recommend the Library on Deck Six," said Terry. "We need a place that's not considered a primary location and is not likely to be under guard. If the external sensors are working, and I'm going on the assumption that they are, our element of surprise is gone as soon as they see the runabout. From the Library, we'll have a few options. One, hit the medical complex and free all the people there to treat wounded. Two, slow the ship and create a diversion by disabling the main impulse engine on Deck Five right above us. Three, Environmental Control isn't that far from the Library. And from there, we can access consoles to gather intel and make things uncomfortable for the Dolmoquor. We can start our sweep with the sonic cannons after any of those scenarios."

Harvey nodded, taking a look at the schematic of the Black Hawk that was displayed in front of them. "You had one of these in your head," he pointed out, not to apply guilt to Terry, but to lead to his actual question. "We know that previous Dolmoqour hosts committed suicide, assuming those from the Vasco de Gama were infected. What can we expect from the crew that is infected?"

"I did," he said heavily. "They want out...out of their prison, out of the zone. And they'll do anything to accomplish that goal; including killing their hosts. If they leave a host, they take that life. Other than the means which the Aketi have perfected, there's no getting them out without the host's death. And negotiation is out of the question. The crew will be dead set on their mission. They may pretend to not be infected for a while until they can get the upper hand. It'd be best to not trust any of the crew right now." He turned to face Harvey. "We're nothing more than a means to an end to them. If they think we'll stand down because they threaten to kill a host, they'll do it. And then move on to someone else. They want out, Harvey," moving to the familiar to stress his point, "and they'll do whatever is necessary."

"Which means when our cover is blown, we won't have long." Harvey sighed. "If the Dolmoqour want out, then we just have to control how they get out. Mister Kemm, what do you think about this?" The Captain pointed at an area where the saucer connected the engineering hull.

The Kelpien Lieutenant examined the schematic. "Deck Fifteen? There's nothing critical there. Just quarters and torpedo storage."

"Then here." Harvey tapped just a deck below. "Deflector control is there. We destroy it, then the generator we picked up from the archive will fail. The Dolmoqour will either have to stay and let the minefield consume their only chance at freedom, or leave orbit. That'll put them in the hands of the Guardians." Harvey then took a moment to sigh internally, as much as he didn't want to lose the Black Hawk, or another soul aboard for that matter, he had to make sure that these Dolmoqour never left the system. If he had to sacrifice everything and everyone dear to him to save trillions, Harvey had no choice. It had to be done.

Terry took a deep breath, "That's a big move. But if it has to be done, that it has to be done. So, our goal is eventually deflector control and saving some crew while en route. Do you think we'd be able to bring those we save along the way with us? Or do we risk leaving them for the Dolmoquor to reacquire?"

Harvey grunted, managing half a smile this time. "Strength in numbers, as they say," he told the former Marine. "Anyone we can save or prove they're not Dolmoqour, we keep with us. Better chance of spotting attempted re-conversion at that point. As for deflector control, that's where the Mississippi's going to go. We start like you suggested in the Black Hawk's library, head for sickbay and move out from there. Besides, most of the crew thinks I'm a traitor or something. It's going to take a large, united front to shake that image."

Terry shook his head for a second. "Oh yeah. Still trying to straighten out a few things up there. The bigger the better. As for the traitor, I think that once we free the ones from their Dommy's, you won't have that much convincing to do. They'll know better. Or at least should." He paused for a second. "Everyone else on the other hand...two different groups trying to take the ship while each says the other is lying. That's where the united front will come in to play more, I think."

"That's the gamble we have no choice but to play." Harvey looked back at the schematic. "And we have to recognize that we're going to play this close to the chest. Once the Dolmoqour know we're aboard, it's not going to be pretty. Mister Kemm, do you have our earplugs and gas masks?"

"Replicated and ready," replied the Kelpien.

"Good. Mister Walsh, since you are the experienced pilot, I'll need you at the helm. I'll cover weapons. Mister Kemm, you're on the transporter. As soon as we make it inside the Black Hawk's shields, get us aboard the ship. I imagine we'll have a nice reception provided by the 325th, and they'll try to stop us no matter what."

"I can do that," Terry said. He tapped on the console in front of him and quickly set it up for helm control. "Got it, sir. She's kinda glitchy, though. I didn't realize I did such a number on her." He adjusted their course slightly and looked to the Captain. "Oh you can bet on it for the 325th. Though, I, er, the Dolmoquor left them with orders not to launch unless it came expressly from me. I think it was trying to prevent the XO or someone from sending the squadron out after us when I took off chasing you. They were getting into their fighters when I left."

The Captain nodded, sitting down at the station beside Walsh. "If there's one thing we can count on, is that we can count on the unexpected. Until we know for sure a person isn't Dolmoqour, they're enemy combatants. I hate it as much as the rest of you do, but we have only one shot at this. If any or all of us turn, our Guardian escorts will not hesitate to make sure no one has a second chance. We must succeed."

"And succeed we will," said Terry. He checked his console for a brief second. "Especially if we can keep the runabout's power going up like it is." He looked over to Kemm. "How's it look from your end? Will we have shields and weapons?"

Kemm sighed. "Frankly, Commander, I'm thankful you didn't take us out when you did. We'll be operating close to seventy-percent power, and most of that will be allocated to the Kalisan artifact. I'll give you everything I can for weapons and shields, but I highly recommend we don't get hit."

Terry nodded. "I can take care of that," he said. "It won't maneuver in combat like a fighter, but it'll still maneuver. So just a few adjustments on my end and we should be okay. But we should keep in mind that we'll trying to penetrate a wall of highly trained fighter pilots in order to access the ship behind them. We'll all need to be on our toes. And our...friends...back there should be ready for some tossing and turning."

"Just get us to the Black Hawk, Mister Walsh," Harvey said, biting back a sigh of his own. "I know it doesn't sound like it, but you've got the easy part. Once we're back aboard, we're going to be fighting our crewmates and friends. Believe me, I wish the circumstances were both better and different."

"Yeah," Terry said, letting out a little sigh. "I've not been looking forward to that. But knowing what they've been experiencing internally, I can't wait to get them free. So, one step at a time...get to the Black Hawk. And at seventy-percent power, we should be ready to go whenever you are."

Harvey turned to face the Kelpien engineer who was quickly moving about the aft console. "Mister Kemm?"

The exasperated engineer replied, "I really need another hour, but I know we don't have it, Captain. Let's get this done quickly."

"Roger that." The Captain turned back forward and pressed a control stud. "Geisler to Varke. We're ready to go."

"Your clock is ticking, Geisler. Remember the agreement."

"How could I forget?" Harvey muttered to himself. There would be no second chances today. "Of course, Commander. Open the hangar doors and let's get this done."

Terry watched as the hangar doors slid open. He began the process of getting the runabout off the deck of the Guardian ship. "Here we go, folks." Terry nudged the runabout forward as the doors completed their opening. Once out into open space, he accelerated and tapped the button for the previously laid in course. "We're on our way. Let's get this done."

 

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