“The C Team”
Machinery loudly hummed overhead reverberating throughout a long narrow section of the Charon’s maze of maintenance crawlspaces. Air blasted loudly down a length of the dark tunnel as massive fans responsible for cooling, ventilation, and other functions pulsed with rhythmic precision. Talking over the din of machines and rushing air was a challenge as was standing still in the less than pleasant environment. The chill of the air and the noise generated made it the perfect place to hide from Romulan patrols and it was exactly where Lt. Leon Athalla and his tiny, but growing army was stationed waiting for the opportunity to strike back at the Charon’s invaders.
“I’m freezing”, crewman Winters shouted over the noise.
“What”, Athalla shouted back as he inspected his troops.
“I SAID IT’S TOO COLD!”
“Just hang on Winters”, Athalla loudly replied over the rushing air. “We’re all bold and anxious to GO. We need to go over our plan one more time!”
The three crewmen turned and looked at each other with odd expressions. They turned toward the Romulan mercenary who as usual wore a mask of calm professionalism. His quiet, stoic expression gave no reassurance to the three crew members who had been more or less drafted by the eager pilot. Athalla paced back and forth in front of his recruits as wind clawed at his hair and everything else. The sweaty pilot, trapped in his flight suit, was something of a hazard to those…down wind.
Crewman Winters, a junior technician whose specialty was sensor repair and maintenance, had volunteered to tag along merely to avoid being captured. He was young, scared to death, and had been working in a maintenance area when the ship had been boarded. He did know what a gravity generator looked like, but had little practical knowledge other than theory on their maintenance or care.
Crewman Foster, a brash, headstrong individual with an Australian accent, was a shuttle and fighter mechanic and had met up with Athalla after being rescued from the Romulans in the hangar bay. Anxious for payback, the mechanic was gung-ho toting a large metal tool that he wielded with menacing precision much to the anxiety of Crewman Winters who kept his distance. Foster’s mechanical knowledge might be of some use although Athalla had a feeling the man had other ideas for the large metal tool he was carrying.
Lt. Somerset was a 4th grade teacher and part time botanist. Pretty as a flower, Athalla thought he heard her mention something about having some rudimentary first aid training at some point, somewhere in her career. She did have a first aid kit and a warm smile. A phaser in her hand would make her a rose with thorns. Not deadly by any means, but certainly something you would think twice about touching.
The Romulan mercenary, turned ally, Aev Keirianh was ready, willing, and able being quite a knowledgeable and lethal individual. He was puzzled by the mercenary’s tireless loyalty and advice. Keirianh didn’t seem much like the talkative type and with the ambassador missing Athalla surmised he might never uncover the odd relationship or story between the two. Not that he particularly cared, but a ship’s prisoner turned ally was something unusual.
Athalla looked at his troops. It wasn’t a perfect fighting force, but it would have to do. War was hell, was it not?
“According to the engineering schematics we were able to find the gravity generators on this deck should be just up ahead and to the right. Winters, we will need you to disable them. Once we’ve knocked out gravity we’ll enter the deck wearing the magnetic boots we borrowed from the airlock equipment lockers. The Romulans should be quite disorientated giving us both the element of surprise and mobility. We will dash in, take out as many troops as possible, and then make our way back into the maintenance hatch. From there we will move up a few decks and repeat the process. The more decks we can make impassable the harder it will be for the Romulans to move about this ship and the easier it will be for us isolate groups to target for attack. I’m sure fellow crewmen will see our progress and join up or take advantage of the chaos themselves. Any questions?”
“Is there any scenario in which we don’t engage the Romulans”, Winters asked shivering while rubbing his hands over his shoulders.
“No”, Athalla flatly replied. “We have to act on behalf of the ship and crew before there is no one left to stop the Romulans. We all have a duty to defend the Charon and uphold the values imbued in the uniforms each of us is wearing.” Athalla looked up the mercenary. “Present company excluded.”
Keirianh tilted his head ever so slightly. “Cowering in a corner is not an option.”
“Mr. Athalla”, Somerset waved to get the pilot’s attention. “Do I fire the phaser with this button or that…”
Keirianh was quick to remove the phaser from the teacher’s hand before anyone received a lesson on what a phaser could do to living tissue.
“Perhaps it might be best if you stay in reserve Lt. Somerset and guard our exit route. We need someone to keep our way out clear.”
“This button fires”, Keirianh said with an aloof tone instructing the female lieutenant. “Do not aim the weapon unless you are fully prepared to use it.”
“Oh, yes! Yes of course. I’m sorry I’m just nervous.”
“Understandable”, Athalla said with a quiet sigh. At least Keirianh hadn’t ripped her arm off though he had a momentary impression the mercenary was far from pleased with the selection of talent he had assembled. The pilot and the merc exchanged a momentary glance which communicated far more than words could convey. Keirianh was not pleased, but then again, these were not ideal circumstances they currently found themselves in.
“Alright then. Fall out and stay close. Keirianh and I will take point. If we encounter Romulan soldiers let us attempt to handle them and wait for further instructions. Are we clear?”
“Whatever”, Foster replied. “Just get me near some of those Rommie bastards so I can perform a few overhauls and drain some fluids. They’ll need more than some body work after I am through with them mates.” Foster slapped his wrench into his other hand with a menacing motion.
Athalla nodded. “Uh..right. Whatever. “ Once again Aev Keirianh was staring at the pilot with a cold gaze. Athalla didn’t return it. He knew what the Romulan was thinking. Perhaps they would run into a few security guards or marines to help supplement their less experienced ranks. He could still imagine several worse scenarios although that wouldn’t go far to placate the mercenary.
As the team set off, Keirianh whispered to Athalla. “Babysitting these individuals is not my idea of a solid plan lieutenant. Most likely they will end up hurt or killed.”
“Well no one ever said life aboard a starship was risk free”, Leon replied checking his phaser. “They are wearing a uniform, they are enlisted or officers, and they have volunteered to a degree. They know the risks.”
“Do they really? You and I have seen the battlefield. They have not.”
“Then they will learn just as we did. I’m not sitting around while the ship is overrun and infiltrated by Romulan personnel. They have committed an act of war by boarding this ship, taking hostages, and killing crewmen. If we cannot win, we delay. When we can no longer delay, we hide. If we cannot hide we do our best to destroy the ship whatever the cost. As far as I’m concerned we’re not at war Keirianh. If we find Ambassador Lamont I’m sure he would concur with my interpretation.”
“Just keep them out of my way”, Keirianh replied. “I have no desire to have innocent blood upon my hands. I’ve spilled far too much of that than any one man should be allowed.”
“I’ll take care of the hired help, you just keep those Romulans busy if we run into any patrols.”
“I believe I can manage that task.”
“Good. At least one of us knows how to use a weapon properly.” Athalla chuckled slightly as the small group of crewmen made their way down the hall toward the deck’s gravity system.
[ To Be Continued… ]
Lt. Leon Athalla
PO Foster, Fighter Technician
PO Winters, Sensor Technician
Lt. Somerset, Teacher