U.S.S. Corsair - NX-011979
Nebula II Prototype
“Sic Parvis Magna”
(Greatness From Small Beginnings)
“Progeny of the Progenitors – Part 23”
## Planet: D’aisnenn – Underground Complex ##
Moving out of the noisy massive room they had successfully crossed Ramius and company steadily headed north through a smaller shaft that rose several degrees leading back into the icy earth strata they had seen in their trip down the entrance shaft. There were fewer refinements in this area of the underground complex. Lights were strung along the walls and water dripped from the melting ice around them creating tiny streams and puddles under foot. The air was damp, cold, and filled with an unusual mix of earth, dirt, water, and something mechanical.
Approaching a larger room ahead the group slowed and cautiously entered a medium sized rocky chamber. The environment was barely tolerable. Rock gave way to mud and slush from the huge blocks of melting ice around them. The water and mud, now ankle deep, was laced with lubricants and other chemicals possibly in use by the heavy drilling machines they had seen earlier. Water ran from the walls and ceiling everywhere in miniature waterfalls. If the goo under his boots and the stench of chemicals was removed from the air the cavern might be considered relaxing.
Slogging through the mire they had encountered, Ramius stopped suddenly noticing several unusual objects protruding from the rocky ceiling of the cavern. Akina had noticed the unusual objects as well.
“Looks like machinery, possibly a wall, and look more of those markings.”
“Appears this is some sort of underground complex they’ve discovered and are attempting to unearth. There’s something down here buried under all this ice. We still need to figure out what. Come on, let’s keep moving.”
The men continued splashing their way through worsening conditions as dozens of personnel scurried about like ants paying them little attention. A fleet of pumps, hoses, and various other machines were being attended to by frantic engineers who appeared to be fighting against the elements to keep this area from flooding. The large excavation equipment was probably generating too much heat causing the ice above and around them to melt. Ramius wondered just how safe this area was given the risk of cave in and collapse.
Moving past the machines and personnel, the path narrowed again into a straight shaft cut through solid ice. The mud and water receded and the temperature dropped considerably as they left the areas influenced by machinery. Ramius was keenly aware of how sparsely populated this underground maze was with the exception of workers. He expected more than engineers, hired guns, and forced labor. Where were the other NeoDyne personnel hiding?
“Up ahead, look.”
The squad stopped as the tunnel emptied out into yet another massive cavern. Before them a massive monolith encased in ice rose upwards before disappearing into darkness. Their path was blocked by a wall of metal that expanded in all directions. With a silver sheen it strangely bore few signs of weathering or damage from the icy prison around it.
“What is this place”, one of the marines mumbled looking upwards at the impressive structure.
“Hell if I know”, Akina replied as he too was also in awe of the structure’s grand size and scale. “NeoDyne didn’t build this. That much is for sure. It must have been down here for ages, but look at the metal. There’s no rust, corrosion, or denting. Ice moves and flows over time, yet there’s hardly a scratch anywhere. If this was an ordinary structure it would have been crushed by the ice long ago. I’m beginning to see NeoDyne’s interest in this place.”
“As fascinating as this is sir, I suggest we remain on the move. This wall is a dead end. Do we head back and scout the other areas”, one of the marines asked Ramius.
“Wait a moment”, Ramius stated moving closer to the giant metallic wall. “There’s something else we are missing here. Look around. They wouldn’t have just given up after hitting something like this.”
The team searched the giant room for several minutes before regrouping.
“Nothing here sir, just that metal wall. Found some tools, but nothing else.”
Ramius faced a dilemma. This wall held some secret but what was it? If they could not learn its secrets they would be forced to retreat and head back into the more heavily populated and dangerous areas they had already passed through. Risking an encounter with the mercenary guards was a poor option.
“I’ve scanned the wall Ramius. Tricorder says it’s some neutronium based alloy. We don’t have anything on record that even comes close to this material. It’s no wonder the ice has had little effect on it. The combined output of our weapons would barely scorch its surface. It’s so dense I can’t see what might be on the inside and there doesn’t appear to be any access panels, doors, or hatches. Perhaps NeoDyne ran into this thing and is just as confused as we are on what it is and how to access it. Perhaps they too have been unable to penetrate inward hence the drilling and digging.”
“Perhaps”, Ramius said looking upwards. He still could not shake the odd sensation of familiarity which seemed to ring louder within him now than ever. He was unable to recall anything specific, but something within him felt as if he had perhaps seen this place before or perhaps even been here. Dismissing the unusual sensation the marine was correct. They needed a new plan. Time was against them and staring at a wall would not help them determine NeoDyne’s intentions.
“We’ll head back. Let’s try some of those side passages where we encountered the machinery. Perhaps we can find another way in or past this thing. It’s risky, but we might try chatting up one of those engineers and see if they can help point us in the right direction.”
He took one last look at the wall moving closer to its surface. Ramius reached out and touched the metal and to his surprise the surface was warm. Again the sensation of familiarity surged forward into his consciousness and he noticed an odd tingling that spread across the surface of his hand. Without warning the metal before him seemed to lose it rigidity. Suddenly its surface felt soft and pliable like clay. His hand sank into the softening metal and before he could react he felt himself pulled forward. In an instant the captain was absorbed into the surface of the wall vanishing from sight.
“Ramius”, Akina shouted as the captain suddenly disappeared against the wall. He reached out but it was too late. He was gone. Zane pressed his hands against the wall where the captain had been but there was only solid metal. “Ramius.” Feeling around the captain searched for some sort of hidden switch or trigger that Ramius may have pressed, but he could find nothing in the nearly flawless, smooth surface of the wall.
After several moments of frantic searching Akina hit the wall with a fist and a string of blistering profanities. Ramius, his friend, ally, and perhaps the most hazardous man to peace alive was gone, missing in enemy territory, and there was seemingly nothing any of them could do about it. If NeoDyne was able to capture him then Akina feared for the future as the galaxy as they knew it could be in serious peril.
“Captain, what do we do now”, one of the marines anxiously asked as it became clear that Ramius was gone.
Akina looked at the wall with an expression of loss mixed with anger. He was a highly trained intelligence officer. A captain by rank, he preferred working as a lone operator in difficult situations with only himself as a concern. He was unaccustomed to leading others and wasn’t a born leader. He was certainly no replacement for Ramius.”
“I..I don’t know”, Akina said with an exasperated voice. “I just don’t know…”
[ To Be Continued… ]
Captain Taverain Ramius
Commanding Officer, USS Corsair
Captain Zane Akina
Starfleet Intelligence Operative