Edge Of The Orion System
Captain Gregorius Videk ran his hand down his face in exasperation before returning his gaze to the figure that loomed before him. Well, loomed perhaps was not the correct word given the figure was miniscule, translucent and hovered some few inches above the holoterminal before the Captain. The figure present however was anything but little and as he stared into the face of Simonetti, Videk let out a small sigh. Not so small it wasn’t picked up however.
“Do you have an issue with my orders, Captain Videk? If so, I can assign someone else to this task, another more capable Captain?” Simonetti’s expression never changed as the words left his mouth. “Whilst I am fully aware this mission may be nothing more than a wild nerf chase, the situation calls for our response. Do you not agree?”
Videk said nothing for a few seconds and turned his eyes to his second in command, Vanel Fremlin, who sat perched upon the edge of the desk. She simply shrugged her shoulders, nodding slowly but making no sound. The Shaevalian Captain once more turned his expression to the face of his commanding officer.
“I have no issues with your orders Sir. This just seems a waste of resources that could be better spent elsewhere. The Retribution isn’t entirely suited for this type of mission after all. We’re a combat vessel, not a…” his next words were cut off as Simonetti interjected.
“This is my navy, Captain. I was here long before you arrived. Do not advise me what the ships under my command can do again. Do I make myself clear?” Nothing came back from Videk. “Good. You will be transporting several members of the Warhost Special Forces. You will also be accepting an engineer on board from Sepros plus two members of House Marka Ragnos who will be assisting you in organising this mission. Ensure they are comfortable, you depart as soon as everything is ready. Simonetti out.”
The comm died and the two commanding officers of the Retribution stared at one another. Vanel spoke first, flicking her lekku over her shoulder as she hopped from the desk. As she landed on the floor she took several steps towards the door and hit the release button. Before she exited she simply turned on heel and stared at her fellow officer.
“No good will come of chasing this ghost ship. I’ll go prepare the ship for receiving guests and heading off. Guess we’ll need to prepare the guest quarters for these ‘Special Forces’ units they are sending us. Wonder if they’re sending us after the Dominion again.” She looked to the ceiling for half a moment, a twinkle in her eye.
With that she departed leaving Gregorius to his own thoughts. He stood and turned his back before walking towards one of the viewports. Hands clasped behind his back he grimaced as thoughts ran through his head. They can send who they want, as long as they don’t send that thing.
“Captain on deck!” the Junior Lieutenant’s voice rattled around the deck as the doors to the command deck opened and Videk walked in. “All in order, Captain. The ship appears to be drifting. No life signs have been registered but there is a low output of power. The ship isn’t as dead as it seems.”
Videk moved along the deck and took his seat, bringing the read outs up before him on his view screen. His eyebrow raised slowly as a piece of information came to light. “You are quite sure of this?. This information does not entirely sound reliable. If this information is correct however, it’s suggesting this vessel is…Old Republic era. Sarana, is this information viable?”
The Zelosian scientist looked up from her desk, glasses perched upon the end of her nose and simply nodded. “This…well this isn’t really my area of expertise. But as I understand it, and having cross referenced with our engineer friend down stairs. This is indeed an Old Republic Hammerhead cruiser.”
The door to the bridge opened once more and heavy footsteps echoed into life. All eyes turned and Videk grimaced as he took in the armoured figure standing before him. Silence filled the bridge and Videk rose, taking an involuntary step backwards. “Miss Delacroix, a pleasure to see you up and about once more. I take it the trip was to your satisfaction. I have not seen you up here since you boarded the craft.” The figure said nothing as he continued. “I do not see the other one that came with you, Hawk was it?”
The voice that escaped the helmet of the Raider sent a shiver down the Captain’s spine. It sounded as if several pitches had been melded together into a scratching, almost silent scream. It made him wince and several of the junior officers averted their eyes and got back to their work. “I am to presume that everything is in order, Captain? I’d hate to have to report anything…untoward to your superiors.” She moved away from the Captain and gazed up at the holographic image that hovered above her. “This is the ship that has our engineer friend so excited? It seems harmless enough. As I understand it the launch operation is currently underway to send our initial forces across to the ship”
Videk moved away from the armoured figure, closer to the Warhost troops that guarded the bridge. “This is correct, ma’am. The landing team should be departing within the next five minutes. We have detected some low power signs which may or may not be emitting from the mercenary vessel that made its way to the derelict vessel some time ago…” He was cut of by a soft growling and looked over at the dread knight in anticipation of one of her outbursts.
“You didn’t stop them, Captain? Whilst I can do nothing of this matter right now Captain, be assured this matter is not over. This mission is simple as you know. Exploration. Any hostiles are secondary nuisances. Standard procedures apply.” She turned her head head to stare at Vanel, before moving her gaze back to its original target. “We wish to know what this ghost ship is, why it keeps appearing in systems and vanishing. As I understand it this vessel has been reported appearing numerous times over the years, it has been registered in our own database on several occasions. However each time we approach it it simply…disappears. ” Ophelia turned her back to the Captain and looked up at the ship that rotated before her. “We need this small victory to boost morale after the conflict on Mygeeto. We need this. Ensure it is done correctly.”
With that silence descended upon the bridge once more. Ophelia raised her own communicator before her and flicked it into life. The small image of Darkhawk appeared before her and she nodded to him. “It’s time. Tell the shuttle pilot to launch when ready. Commence operation.”
“As you command.” DarkHawk replied to his Aedile as he bowed to her. The Warrior shut his communicator off as he walked the corridor and entered the launch bay. Two eight man teams stood before the shuttle awaiting their orders. DarkHawk stood in front of the two teams, and called for their team leaders to step forward. Command Sergeants Winst and Teal stepped forward and stood at attention.
“You two will take the strike teams over and investigate the ship. Both strike teams will have open comms and video. You will report directly to Raider Delacroix or myself, no exceptions. Are we clear on that aspect?” asked the Sith. DarkHawk’s stare was deep and he gave no expression of leeway on those orders.
“Copy that, sir!” exclaimed Command Sergeant Winst.
“Winst, you have command on this one, and it’s done by the book. Sweep every room, every bulkhead of that ship. Take Science Officer Denning and his escort with you so they can assess the situation from a science standpoint. No more, no less and they remain in your sight at all times. We don’t know what is on that ship so standard rules of engagement applies. I want every inch of that ship covered, we need to know what’s on board and where it’s been. Get your techs to initialize ship’s data banks and life support systems. Full diagnostics and status within fifteen minutes. No stragglers and no one, I mean no one, wanders alone.” instructed DarkHawk.
The tone in his voice made it abundantly clear how important this was. Command Sergeant Teal replied this time, “By the books, sir, seems like a walk in the park.”
The Shaevalian moved his large frame directly in front of the Command Sergeant, DarkHawk towered over the Sergeant and stared into his eyes. “Do not fail me.” the Warrior said. The words had no emotion, but they carried much clought. Sergeant Teal knew exactly what was being intensely instructed and saluted the dark clad figure.
Winst barked “Move out men.” and as instructed the teams boarded the shuttle. Winst saluted the Equite, entered the shuttle and closed the doors. DarkHawk nodded to the shuttle pilot through the cockpit’s viewscreen and the roar of engines consumed the launch bay.
DarkHawk moved into one of the adjacent control rooms and watched the hangar doors open. The blackness of space was a beautiful sight. As the shuttle made its way down the flight deck, the Warrior watched the wreckage of an ancient ship bounce around in front of them. A very nervous Ensign sitting at the control console stared at the scene, he caught the Equite’s eye. DarkHawk quickly looked down at the Ensign. The junior officer’s throat instantly dried up, sweat rolled from his brows. The black clad figure turned away and left the control room. The ensign released a sigh of relief once he left the room.
Pressing a button on his gauntlet, Ophelia appeared before him, “It is done, my liege,” DarkHawk told her. “You should be able to watch everything on the bridge’s viewing screen and you and I both have direct communications with the strike teams.” he stated.
“Excellent, DarkHawk, make your way to the bridge” Ophelia instructed.
“As you wish” replied the Equite.
The doors whisked open and DarkHawk entered the bridge of the Retribution. This was the Warrior’s first time on the ship, a very impressive sight indeed. Crew scurried around and maintained the many stations on board, their target ship was not only visible out the many windows of the bridge, but was on just about every viewing screen as well.
Raider Ophelia was standing right next to the captain’s chair. As he walked toward her, the chair swiveled around and Captain Videk’s grimace was apparent on his face. He stood and extended his hand, DarkHawk ignored the gesture and moved to the side of his Aedile.The captain ignored the snub and sat back down and continued monitoring the mission at hand.
Ophelia whispered to the Equite, “You know, dismissing the captain like that sets a precedent for his crew.”
“He is not my captain, my liege, plus can you not feel the slight nervousness flowing through him?” asked DarkHawk. A small smile came across the Raider’s face. DarkHawk gestured as the shuttle came into view.
At that moment DarkHawk spoke to the communications officer, “Lieutenant, open all strike team channels for the Captain.”
“As you command, sir.” replied the communication officer.
Captain Videk scowled inwardly, unused to having the command removed from him by the impetuous Sith. It would not happen again he thought to himself.
As the shuttle made its approach to the old Hammerhead cruiser, the pilot’s voice came over the comm system, “I am gonna make a pass around her just to make sure we have a clear shot at docking.”
“Copy that.” replied Command Sergeant Winst. The shuttle passed around the starboard side of the cruiser.
One of the troopers commented upon the appearance of the old vessel “It’s awfully odd she has that large power array on top of her, sarge.”
“True.” replied Teal, “That could be the cause of her fading in and out. Maybe some sort of old experimental cloaking device, it would need a lot of power to cloak something the size of her.” Teal continued.
The pilot made his pass and found a docking port just adjacent to the engines. “Commencing docking sequence. Maintain harness security.” said the shuttle pilot. The shuttle approached her target and hovered for a moment with a flick of a few toggle switches the docking pillow extend and the pilot moved her in closer.
The shuttle seemed to be caught in some sort of paradox as she was phasing in and out of sight with the cruiser. The bridge of the Retribution watched as the pilot completed his docking sequence. Unknown to those watching on the bridge, once inside the perimeter of the cruiser all seemed normal. The pilot locked the docking pillow on the cruiser and started the pressurizing sequence.
“All clear Sergeant Winst.” the pilot instructed. The cabin lights of the shuttle went dark and the emerald flashing lights began to fill the cabin.
“Troopers on your feet, by the numbers. Team one with me, Team two with Sergeant Teal. Comms/video on….LET’S ROLL!!!” ordered Winst.
Teal came to the docking port door, he turned the lever and a loud whisk of wind echoed throughout. Teal opened the door fully, both teams entered the cruiser. Their helmet lights filling the dark dingy vixen. A cloud of dust filled the ship and made it hard to see clearly. Sparks from from broken wires and control panels arched and dimly illuminated the the glass shield of the strike team helmets.
“Teal, take your men and get to the engine room and see if we cannot get some power restored. Science Officer Denning is with you until power is up, then make your way to the bridge. I will take my team to the bridge and start the sequence there.” instructed Winst.
“On it, sir!” replied Teal. Teal barked at his men to move out and within seconds Teal and his team were out of sight.
Strike Team One
Winst maneuvered around the corner and went immediately into a kneeling position, his troops came around the same corner one by one and flanked one another. Their helmet lights pierced through the darkness with almost little aid for their vision. Vision was approximate to about two meters. The cruiser creaked and moaned as they made their way through her.
The strike team made its way down the corridors of the eerily dim ship. Climbing each level, slowly but surely through the maintenance ladders. Just one floor below the bridge
Winst gathered the team in what was the remnants of a briefing room. Winst had his team give a status check and as it stood from that briefing room all was a go.
Winst came over comms “Teal. Status report.” Silence. “Command Sergeant Teal. Status Report!” Winst said with a tone of deep bass in his voice. Again silence. “Teal, answer your freaking comm!!!” he shouted. Nothing but static. Winst switched channels and hailed the Retribution. “Captain, this is Command Sergeant Winst, I have lost all communication with Command Sergeant Teal and Strike Team Two.”
A broken response came over the comm, “Radios are trashed, we are losing comms.” Winst exclaimed in exasperation. Just then a flash of light rolled through the aft corridor. The strike team immediately reacted with weapons pointed down the corridor. Each commando poised to attack any approaching target. “Easy fellas, easy…” Winst ordered.
Strike Team Two
Teal was trying to respond to a barrage of broken comm hails. His strike team had made it to the engine rooms and was about to begin the power restoration sequence when the radio calls started coming in. “Winst, do you copy, over?” he hailed his colleague. Nothing but static.
“What the hell is going on here, sir?” asked one of the troopers.
“Not sure as of yet, but we still have a mission. Start the sequence, we need power in this dump!” ordered Teal. “Mr. Science guy, take your assistant and do your thing, but do not leave my sight!” barked the Command Sergeant.
The science officer was a very thin man, his helm was fogged up because of his improper breathing during the trek to the engine room. “It’s Denning, Sergeant, Science Officer Denning.” replied the man.
“Yeah well, its Command Sergeant Teal, and I don’t give a rat’s ass what your name is, just do what you’re supposed to do!” snapped Teal.
The Science Officer stood there in almost in bewilderment as the Sergeant rounded on his fellow team member. “Move your ass, Caldwell or I am going to empty this clip in your backside!” Teal shouted. Caldwell moved like a scolded pet and started in on his assigned duties.
The Command Sergeant continued hailing both his counterpart on Strike Team One as well as the Retribution. Nothing. That old feeling of trepidation came over the sergeant. He watched Denning going through the boot sequence for the engines and generators. His troopers were following suit, making necessary adjustments and checks to the ION coils and power supplies.
In an instant a flash of light blinded the entire team. It was so intense that it set them back on their heels. Teal’s eyes tried to adjust his eyes, but it was like looking into the sun. Teal blinked rapidly to try to clear up his sight. The flash so intense was affecting his equilibrium, he staggered to his feet. As his eyesight slowly returned he saw his men unconscious on the floor. Denning and his assistant were nowhere to be seen. He heard a noise behind him and as he turned, he saw the growing light in the corridor. As he regained his composure, he glanced back down the corridor and before he could blink the light consumed him.
Ophelia and DarkHawk stood with no emotion staring at the screens. All screens aboard the flagship bridge were completely black. A long pause took place before DarkHawk turned to his Aedile. “Seems your feelings were true, my liege. We have apparently lost all communication with the expedition.” said the Warrior. The Raider looked up at her adherent and almost smiled. She turned toward the Captain, whose face was completely blank of expression.
She muttered only one word “Captain.” The words resonated to his core. That fiery voice cut right through him. The captain stood from his chair and turned to his First Officer. “Commander Vanel, keep attempting to contact the teams.” Turning his attention to the Ensign manning the communications array, “Ensign, please raise the shuttle.”
He waited, fearing the worst and then the reply came back he didn’t want to hear. “Unable to contact the shuttle, Captain. Just static on the comm.”
Videk’s fist clenched and he rose, rounding on the Sith and Raider. Anger flashed across his eyes as he rose to his full height. “You have potentially cost the Warhost irreplaceable professionals on this ridiculous endeavor, not to mention a shuttle. As commanding officer of this ship, I demand you fix this and get my men back. Now.”
Ophelia said nothing, impressed by the Captain’s moxy and nodded her head. “As you wish, Captain. Keep attempting to raise our forces and the shuttle. Until then, I believe we have some other guests on board who may be able to lend their aid.”
The Captain growled and snapped back. “Fine, get it done. Your objectives have been updated, this is a search and rescue operation. Exploration be damned. Find my men, bring them home. You can have access to one more transport, if you lose this one your head will roll. Now get it done and while you’re at it, get the hell of my bridge!”