U.S.S. Corsair - NX-011979
Nebula II Prototype
“Sic Parvis Magna”
(Greatness From Small Beginnings)
“Progeny of the Progenitors – Part 28”
Romulan Planet: D’aisnenn – Underground Alien Complex
Hours came and went. Days perhaps? Time had little meaning in the hellish hole NeoDyne had confined them within. A single bulb illuminated the dank, foul bowels of their rocky prison. Hollowed out of the rock somewhere nearby the massive alien facility, Captain Ramius, Akina, and two remaining marines were confined to a wet, cold, and inhospitable cave converted to a makeshift prison. The ice cap above them half a mile or more thick and heated by NeoDyne’s mining activities seeped through the rock around them creating wet, slippery rock, freezing puddles of water, and an endless stream of constant droplets which would eventually drive them all insane if they could not find a way out of this hell.
Ramius, propped against the wall had yet to regain consciousness except for a few disturbing moment of lucidity that came and went. No medical attention had been offered or provided. It was anyone’s guess if the captain was dying, injured, or would recover from the effects of his encounter with some form of alien technology. Left to rot in this wet, freezing hole it was doubtful any of them would survive but just a handful of days if indeed they were permitted such a death.
Akina knew all too well the NeoDyne president had a score to settle with him that went back a decade. His infiltration of the company and the testimony he had provided 10 years ago had nearly destroyed the corporation and resulted in Allistair Merikai’s father being convicted of multiple crimes foremost for selling and leaking classified weapons technology to the Breen.
Akina could only wish for death to come. He knew that Merikai would eventually seek to settle old scores and that death would not come swiftly at his hands. It was only a question of when they would come for him. Reaching over, Akina adjusted the makeshift pillow he and the men had fashioned from scraps of their own uniforms and outer coats. What he wouldn’t give right now to hear Ramius’s voice. The man would no doubt have some impossible plan for escaping this dungeon and stopping NeoDyne. It would be outrageous and preposterous yet in situations like these such thinking was often exactly what an enemy would never expect. Ramius’s divine luck it seemed had finally run out. It seemed that the unique and singular captain was indeed mortal and vulnerable despite successfully cheating death for nearly his entire life first as a legendary fighter pilot and later as a cunning captain.
It had been hours since anyone had spoken. What was there to say? Death it seemed was in their midst and it would eventually call for them. Akina and the two marines were tried, freezing, and hungry. Captivity in this hole was slow torture, however it was only a prelude of the terrors to come. If they were lucky the marines might meet a quick end assuming their bodies were not used for NeoDyne’s grotesque experiments like they had witnessed at other facilities.
A chain rattled at the entrance followed by men arguing. Akina could not discern their words, but a heated conversation was in progress. After several moments the voiced died out and the door which sealed their tomb was opened bathing the four men in brilliant light from the outside blinding them as they shielded their sensitive eyes.
A lone, dark figure emerged from the light which quickly faded as the door was sealed closed. Had the end finally come? Akina drew in an unsteady breath as a lump formed in his throat. He had never imagined death at the hands of so vile an enemy and especially had not contemplated a slow, tortuous death. Intelligence work had always carried risks yet they had never bothered him – until now as his mortality became all too apparent. Only fate knew what horrors lay in store for him at NeoDyne’s hands. Part of him wished he still carried the poison releasing implant which would kill him instantly in the event he was captured and forced to divulge information. Such a device was often removed after each mission to prevent accidental triggering. However, suicide was the coward’s way out. If they were going to torture him to death for Merikai’s amusement he would ensure his pleasure and victory would be as empty and hollow as possible.
A second locked door opened as a cloaked figure appeared before the men. His dark cloak was almost medieval as if they had sent an executioner to collect them.
“Despair not gentlemen for the lord works in mysterious ways.”
Akina looked upward in disbelief as the man pushed back his cloak revealing his face and the glint of his profession hanging around his neck.
“Father Dakota! How the hell”, Akina shouted scrambling to his feet.
“Remain quiet. There’s little time for explanation as time is short. I am here to grant the condemned absolution and to bestow upon them grace and mercy.”
“Mercy? You came down here to save our souls before NeoDyne takes them? Is that the best you can do!”
“Calm yourself captain. Saving souls may take many forms. You would do well to have more faith. However, now is not the time for a sermon. So rank and foul are the Devil’s machinations in this place that if we do not act soon I fear for many more souls who will be swallowed by the darkness being unleashed from this icy tomb.” Dakota pulled back his cloak exposing his stomach. Akina felt the preacher had appeared to have gained several pounds since their last encounter.
Reaching down, the preacher unzipped his enlarged belly revealing a clever and nearly undetectable and realistic prosthetic which concealed a storage compartment.
“You men are the last line against the darkness. I have brought you swords to vanquish the hellish minions that walk the halls and clothing to help you avoid their watchful eyes.” Dakota produced several phasers and NeoDyne uniforms. “These should help you.”
Akina tossed the marines phasers grabbing one for himself checking its settings. As he stood watch the two marines, filled with a renewed sense of hope, quickly changed their clothing taking on the guise of NeoDyne security officers.
“How the hell did you manage to get all the way out here and down here”, Akina asked as the marines quickly changed.
“I hitched a ride aboard your starship with a false ID when you left the starbase. Your commander Novada was most accommodating when I explained my intentions to her when Ramius failed to report in or return.
“Incredible, however even with weapons and disguises we are far from safety. Captain Ramius has been injured and has been unconscious for some time. They mentioned something about a machine damaging his mind. I have no idea of the extent of his injuries but I will not leave him behind.”
Dakota produced a hypo which he held out before the captain. “I managed to learn what happened to the others that had gone before Ramius and were forced to touch that pillar. The doctors here gave them several doses of this in an attempt to reverse or at least hinder whatever damage that infernal machine caused those poor souls. None of them survived, may they rest in peace, but I learned that those who received this treatment survived longer than those who went without. I cannot say if it will help or hurt but I managed to obtain the drug.”
Akina slowly took the hypo flashing a look at Ramius’s unconscious body and then over his shoulder at the marines. He had little medical knowledge other than basic field training. Consensus might help him make the difficult decision before him.
“Use it captain. If it has any chance at all of working, I say do it. If we leave him here he’s as good as dead anyway.”
Akina looked at the men around him who visually approved. Logically they were correct. If they left Ramius here they would condemn him to death and if they tried to take him with them they would almost certainly fail as an unconscious body would draw far too much attention. Without a second thought, Akina pushed the hypo against Ramius’s neck and injected the unknown drug. It was anyone’s guess as to its effect, but perhaps now was the proper time to heed Dakota’s words. Faith was all they had left and was perhaps Ramius’s only hope of recovery.
[ To Be Continued ]
Captain Taverain Ramius
Commanding Officer, USS Corsair
Captain Zane Akina
Father Fredrick Dakota