U.S.S. Corsair - NX-011979
Nebula II Prototype
“Sic Parvis Magna”
(Greatness From Small Beginnings)
“Progeny of the Progenitors – Part 22”
## Planet: D’aisnenn – Underground Complex ##
Surrounded in freezing blackness Ramius activated a small light clipped to his outer coat. The lift was passing through layers of ice and rock as it continued to drop toward some unknown destination.
“Once we get off we need to find a shady spot to ditch these heavy clothes. We’ll need them for the return trip so keep your eyes open for any suitable locations like a maintenance hatch or air ducts.”
“Captain, take a look”, one of the marines suddenly said nudging the captain with his boot. The men peered down past the open grating under their feet making out a faint pinpoint of light in an otherwise dark environment. “Lights.” “Must be getting close.”
“Keep close. Stay alert.”
The next three minutes were spent in silence as the elevator car continued its descent. Ramius switched off his light as the car passed into an area of the tunnel illuminated by lighting. Gone were the icy layers replaced by rock. Suddenly even the rock faded replaced by solid metal whose surface was rough and jagged as if it had been cut or melted through.
A slow change in their momentum signaled their destination was fast approaching. Ramius’s gloved hand tightened on his phaser the rifle he had secured behind him on his back. Akina drew his two disruptor pistols from the holsters at his sides and closed his eyes for a final moment of reflection, mediation or perhaps something more.
The lift car slowed again as its metal carriage touched down on hardened concrete. The narrow vertical shaft they had descended through had a single dimly lit horizontal shaft at its base which led to a large, heavy door well illuminated in the darkness.
“Let’s go”, Ramius said taking point.
Quickly and quietly the men filtered down the outside edges of the shaft reaching the heavy door. Once again it was up to Akina to investigate the locking mechanism.
“Looks like the same as before”, the intelligence operative indicated after a quick inspection.
“All of you stay out of sight. I’ll open the door. If we end up with a hard contact they will have seen only me.” The squad nodded and took up defensive positions on each side of the massive door. Ramius took the keycard and slid it through the card reader. The computer panel beeped as the air was suddenly filled with the deep echoes of heavy machinery. A hiss filled the shaft as the door slid sideways.
Ramius readied himself for anything. In his mind there could be a full infantry division behind the door with their weapons aimed and ready to fire. He had to be ready for the worse possible scenario. As the room beyond came into view he suddenly tensed as he was assaulted by the unexpected.
“What are you doing down here”, an officer shouted with a high pitched, raspy voice. “What is going on up there? Our visual sensors are obscured by all the snow and ice. You can’t see a damned thing top side. I warned them about relying upon all of this technology! But they don’t listen to me.”
Ramius stood alone nearly dumbfounded. He hadn’t expected this.
“Are you just going to stand there like a frozen statue or something”, the man shouted. “Obviously the starships in orbit have discovered our location. I warned them about putting too much faith in that cloaking shield. I was in charge of defense planning for this facility. Now I guard doors! DOORS! They said my ideas lacked merit. Told me I didn’t know when to be quiet. Told me I was paranoid and unfit to plan the defenses! But look now! The starships in orbit have obviously seen through their deception. What are they going to do now against two ships?”
“I don’t know”, Ramius answered the peculiar officer who obviously had something shoved deep up his…
“Exactly! And neither will they! We don’t need orbital defenses they said. They’re too costly and hard to maintain in cold weather they said. They are unnecessary they said. HA!” The officer returned to his station. “Well this should be interesting. We’re too far down for those ships to do anything to us and there are enough supplies and resources down here to last a small eternity. It would take the combined firepower of the Star Empire’s fleet to blast their way down here. I’d almost like to see them try.”
“Look I came down here to”…
“Request assistance? Call for backup? Perhaps runaway from the battle? Smart man. You’re far safer down here than just about anywhere else in the galaxy. Let the mercs up there battle it out. No one is getting down here with all of the security in place and now that we’ve been detected the facility is officially on lock down meaning you can’t return to the hired help above until these ships finally decide to give up and leave. You might as well make yourself useful though I’m not sure what a dumb grunt can hope to accomplish down here. If you want my advice I’d just find some corner to inhabit and stay out of the way if you know what is…”
The annoying man clutched his chest in horror before slumping to the ground motionless. Ramius holstered his weapon as the squad moved in behind him.
“What was that”, Akina muttered glancing at the stunned officer.
“Hell if I know”, Ramius answered moving over to inspect the body. “It’s a wonder none of the mercs didn’t kill him. Hello…”
Ramius produced another security card and an ID badge from the officer. “Hmm…I have an idea.”
## A Few Minutes Later ##
Having stashed his heavy cold weather gear in a spot not easily seen the squad appeared ready to move out into the interior of the facility which appeared to be behind yet another large door. Ramius had opted to switch clothing with the stunned and now drugged officer while the squad remained suited up in their white winter gear. It was likely they would be dismissed as mercs from the surface and the added bulk kept the team’s identities better concealed.
Tugging on the uniform jacket that just barely fit, Ramius had to relinquish his rifle and settle for the more discrete phaser which he placed in a pocket of the borrowed uniform.
“You look ridiculous Ramius”, Akina stated causing a few chuckled among the marines.
“No one ever said this job was glamorous”, he answered back. “I don’t think any of us need to have fashion on our minds at the moment.” Approaching the door, Ramius eyed the security reader yet again. “Ok, same as before. Stay frosty and let me do any talking if we are stopped. Understood?”
Nodding, Ramius slid the keycard through the reader and once again the heavy metal door slid open revealing a massive underground structure. Stepping through the doorway the men could have never imagined what they saw before them. The ongoing operations were massive and far outpaced anything Ramius or Akina had anticipated or expected. Walking through the giant chamber that surrounded them it was quickly evident the complex was of some alien design. Dozens of teams peppered the walls with drills and heavy equipment chipping away at metal, rock, and ice. The entire facility was encased in an icy tomb and someone was funneling massive funding and resources to uncover what had long been buried.
Sparks dripped from the ceilings, heavy equipment was everywhere mixed in with earth movers, excavation equipment, and scores of workers. Peppered throughout the workforce were lone armed mercenaries. Ramius noticed several observation towers scattered throughout the facility which confirmed the evidence they had obtained. Labor was being forcibly obtained and hired mercs were paid to keep the workers in line. So far the stories of abductions and smuggling were true however Ramius was still shocked by the scale of the operation.
Leading the squad to a nearby corner with several heavy tractors, Ramius produced a package of cigarettes he had lifted from the stunned guard and passed a few of them out. “Act like we’re on break. Should give us some cover to talk.” Lighting up the foul implements Ramius and his men did their best to appear as if they enjoyed the unpleasant tobacco product.
“What the hell is this Ramius”, Akina asked blowing a cloud of smoke into the air. “I’ve never seen anything like this. Someone had stumbled upon some type of alien facility. Look at the markings on the walls.”
“I noticed those”, Ramius answered coughing as he grimaced at the white stick hanging from his lips. “There’s something familiar about all of this”, he said puffing on the cigarette. “I can’t place it though.”
“Sir those observation towers are a concern. We aren’t going to be able to walk around down here forever before someone becomes suspicious.”
“Eliminating them is out of the question at the moment”, Ramius said taking a long look at the tactical situation. “We need to see what else is going on here. What does the tricorder see?”
There are a few areas off this main chamber. Looks like some barracks to the east. Storage perhaps to the west. We entered from the south. North…not getting any readings there. It’s as if it doesn’t exist. That can’t be right.”
“Let’s head there. I want to see what it is we cannot scan.”
Ramius was about to toss away his cigarette when a hand fell upon his shoulder. “Ramius, you need to see this.” Tav turned to face Captain Akina whose eyes held an unusual, almost fearful quality. Following the captain, Tav took several steps behind one of the large tractors. Several large metallic shipping crates were stacked against the rocky wall.
“What is it captain”, Ramius asked taking a final puff on the foul smelling cigarette. “Look.” Akina approached one of the crates and brushed its surface to clean away the dust and ice that had formed on its surface.
The cigarette in Ramius’s mouth fell from his lips hitting the ground. It’s glowing tip went dark on the cold rock before Tav spoke or moved.
“NeoDyne”, Ramius growled from behind clenched teeth. On the cargo container was the unmistakable logo of the NeoDyne Defense Corporation and Ramius’s sworn enemy.
“I should have guessed. Who else has this type of access to hardware, the means to secretly move and hide, and defend it, and who has nearly limitless funding?”
“Ramius if NeoDyne is involved then…”
“They have found something which is obviously worth the millions or perhaps billions of credits they have invested here. This facility must hold something they seek or believe there is something here. We must find a way to learn what they know and quickly.
Akina surveyed the massive chamber. “I’d say whatever it is they are looking for they have yet to find it. The work crews are all actively cutting away at the walls exposing more of this facility. It’s possible they’ve only scratched the surface. Who knows? This place might run on for miles underground. Anything is possible.”
“First things first. We have to try and determine what NeoDyne may be after. If we can do that then and only then can we take additional actions. Without that knowledge we cannot act. Ok, let’s head north toward the unusual sensor readings. I suspect we can learn more there.”
The squad disposed of their tobacco props and left the cover of the tractors. So far their luck was holding out, but Ramius knew all too well that it had its limits. He wondered how long he could push his before lady luck found someone else to bless with her presence.
[ To Be Continued … ]
Captain Taverain Ramius
Commanding Officer, USS Corsair
Captain Zane Akina
Starfleet Intelligence Operative