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Escort - GENESIS

Posted on Wed Feb 6th, 2013 @ 11:52pm by Jenna Ramthorne & Captain Rhenora Kaylen & Lieutenant Talla P'Trell

Mission: Escort
Location: Enroute to Vega

ON

Rear Admiral Kaylen Rhenora read through the scant mission report she'd been sent. It seemed fairly cut and dry - however the lack of information sent a number of alarm bells ringing in her mind. They were to rendezvous with the Freighter Artus near Vega, and escort them to the Delof system that ran between the Breen Confederacy and Tzenkethi space, a highly volatile patch of turf often plagued by pirates and other scallywags. The problem was - she had no idea what the cargo on this freighter was, and why it was so important for the Sunfire to be assigned to protect it. What could really be so important to the Federation?




"Please be careful with that. It's worth more than your life, do you understand?" Nicholai watched as courier after courier scurried in and out of the loading bay carting his prized cargo across the threshold and into position. With every piece he served to remind the movers of just how delicate and priceless each piece, secured within crates and surrounded by form fitting foam, really was. Still, he was a nervous wreck.

The boot heels of someone walking with a purpose drew closer, at last stopping directly behind Nicholai. "A moment of your time please, Mr. Wang." To which the stressed out Nicholia turned and addressed him with deep set eyes.

"It's Wahng, Wah-ng. Nicholia Magnus Wahng."

"I am sorry sir but..."

"Doctor, as in PHD. I have a doctrine in bio-chemical manipulation which suggests respect, yet my work and I receive none Captain. Would you care to explain why the trained monkeys are handling my precious packages?" He was huffy and exaggerated, almost to the point of flagrant with his arms and hands as he talked.

The Captain on the other hand was poised and collected, "As I explained to you before, this is the crew you hired and they are doing a fine job. But they would be better served if you weren't watching over them like a Kadarian Buzzard Hawk. Now, please afford me a moment of your time Dr. Wahng." He gestured away from the current workers.

Nicholia hesitated, then followed suit as he walked away from his cargo. He afforded a glance back before they turned the corner, yet he kept walking. "What can I do for you Captain?"

"I wish to discuss the route you charted past the Hellspount Nebula. I cross checked it with our intel reports from that area and I feel we should adjust the course slightly."

"How long?" Nicholai asked simply.

"How long?"

"Yes Captain, how long will it take us away from the charted course? How long must the people on the other end go without the help we are supplying them? How long Captain?" Several wrinkles formed on his hairless head in the center of a crowning cranial ridge that looked almost like an attached halo around the man's head.

"Twelve hours." Charles responded with confidence. He had gone over the details and replotted the course several times before coming to the best conclusion. There was of course one path, more direct, but a hundred times more dangerous and not one he was willing to partake, through the nebula itself. That course was suicide.

The Doctor had stopped walking. "That is unacceptable. I am on a time schedule, we must be at the points I laid out precisely on time or the whole operation is a wash, Captain." He stood firmly still, hands on his hips. His display was adamant and not entirely unexpected.

"If you want to save your precious cargo as much as I want to save the lives on board this ship, you'll do as I suggest and alter the course. If not, we can unload your cargo right now and you can find someone else to take you. I'm sure you'll be able to find someone else within thirty-six hours time. That shouldn't put a damper on your precious time schedule should it?"

He clenched his jaws knowing he was caught in a vise. "Fine. But the minute we're loaded, we leave. No waiting around exposed in this sector."

"We leave when our escort arrives. Approximately forty eight hours from now. Not a minute sooner."

Nicholai's eyes widened, "We'll be loaded well before that, eight hours before that if my calculations are correct. Why should we wait?"

Charles rocked on his heels, "Because even though you feel this cargo ship can safeguard your cargo through that region of space, Starfleet does not, and I do not. And as they are the ones who have the weapons and pay the bills, I say let them provide escort. Personally, I'll sleep better knowing someone's out there protecting your precious cargo, won't you?"

In fact the answer to that was a very complex monster. Yes he wanted to safeguard his self and his cargo, but this was a new hinderance to his plans he had not considered before. In response he just nodded. What choice did he have? His mind started into a downward spiral of thoughts as they started walking again. "What if we left early? They could catch up quickly, being a starship and all?"

Charles "Mac" MacNeil sighed. They hadn't had work in a long time, not like this anyway. He wanted to work hard to please this customer because a happy customer lead to more work and more work was good for business. "I tell you what. If the cargo handlers get you loaded in the next 36 hours, we will leave to make up the distance following my path will take, deal?"

Nicholai was grinning from ear to ear. "Deal." He shook the Captain's hand and turned to go back to the cargo hold.

Mac called after him, "They'll never finish early if you keep watching over them." He shook his head and headed for the bridge. Sure whatever ship Starfleet sent would be able to catch up in due time, but twelve hours exposed in open and disputed space. Even his calculated path couldn't steer them clear from every obstacle and scout ship, let alone the unexpected pirate ship.

Right now it all hinged on the cargo crew, so right now all he could do was wait for loading to be finished. A man of his word, he would be patient and wait.




36 hours later...



"Mac, the loading crew reports all cargo has been loaded and we are clear for departure, sir." Charles smiled at his young nephew and the pilot of the boat.

"The old dog did it. He managed to get them moving faster." No sooner had he said it then the Doctor himself strolled onto the bridge deck.

"True to my word sir, cargo is fully loaded with a few minutes to spare. Now I trust you'll keep your word and my schedule intact." He was breathing heavy as though he had just run the length of the ship, which in fact he may have done.

"Aye, I'm true to my word." Charles said proudly. "Helm prepare for departure, all stations and moorings at keep. Prepare all non-essential systems for departure."

"Aye Captain." The young helmsman replied.

Charles took a seat and watch the young man do his job. The bridge was small, the Captain's seat, a helm officer and a control station where navigation could plot courses and could keep an eye on the cargo if travel got rough. There were no weapons, save for a forward and rear mounted phaser banks, but those were only for pot shots and asteroids. The doctor was fidjeting as he stood next to the Captain's seat, an annoyance out of the corner of his eye.

"Is there something else I can help you with Doctor?"

"No, no, just anxious to get going is all." The ship moved and Nicholai's nerves relaxed. "If you need me I shall be in my quarters." He turned and took a step.

"Doctor, may I ask why it's so important that you wanted us to be at certain waypoints at certain times. I mean normally I wouldn't ask, but if you don't mind me saying so, it is highly irregular." He held a calm and questioning tone to his voice despite how suspicious he felt.

"No, no reason. I just want everything to go as planned, that's all. These waypoints help me to keep track of... of time and distance so I know we'll be there on schedule. That's all."

Mac nodded, "Alright, relax. I'll notify you when we've reached the first waypoint." The doctor bowed slightly then scurried away. "Gerry. When we've cleared the station I want you to signal that starship, the Sunfire, let her know we've left twelve hours early. Make sure you give her our coordinates for the rendezvous."

"Yes Captain."

They were alone, in the dark. Something they had been many times before. This run felt different somehow, heightened and more dangerous. He could feel the waters churning and on the horizon, dark clouds were brewing.




Herbert Gronk had never particularly cared for his name, and when he had shipped out on his first merchantman to get away from the Arachnis colony, he'd told the lads, "Risk's the name, and risk is the game!" They had all laughed and him and called him 'the long odds' instead, and it had stuck with him. Now he sat in the captain's chair of his own vessel, appropriately named, "The Long Odds" and here, he was known as Captain Risk.

And that suited him just fine.

"Target approaching the anticipated intercept point, cap'n," his mate called, and Risk shifted in his chair to watch the display. Good, right where it was supposed to be.

"Steady as she goes, Mister Mate... I want no surprises here, just a nice smooth transaction. Are we locked on?"

"Aye sir, locked, loaded and powered up. Prepared to fire on your orders," came the reply from the gunner's mate.

"Let's drop a warning shot across her bow on my mark to give her a little wakeup call... use the pulse cannon, that's the impressive one that'll open her eyes, methinks," he said with a chuckle.

"Open comms... that was a warning shot. Prepare to be boarded, surrender your cargo and no one gets hurt. Give us a fight and we'll... ahhh, there we go. Men, prepare boarding party, stay armed- I suspect we'll have a rather warm reception at the airlock." Captain Risk rose from his captain's chair, shouldering a bandolier of stun grenades as he went. They always expected pirates to come out with guns blazing... yet smart pirates lived for the flash-bang and left their prey wounded but alive.

Smart pirates who lived to fight another day and never made 'most wanted' lists, that is. And made off with their sweet, valuable booty... or Wahng in this case.

OFF

Nicholai Magnus Wahng and Captain Charles "Mac" MacNeil
written by Jenna Ramthorne

Captain Risk aka Herbert Gronk
written by Talla P'Trell

Rear Admiral Rhenora Kaylen
written as herself

 

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