To Boldly Go
Location: Freighter LaRee
The Away Team walked into the Transporter room, each equipped with an EV suit. They stepped up onto the dais and Edra stood at the front. She looked to the transporter chief. "You should have the coordinates. We'll start in the bridge. When you're ready."
"Aye, Ma'am. Energizing."
A few moments later, the blue light that surrounded and dazzled around them faded away to reveal their new surroundings. The J-Class freighter's bridge. As stated before, there was no power on the ship, and that made the deceased bridge crew the most noticeable thing upon looking around. It only looked to be a few of the bridge crew at that, bare bones. And while some of them were at their supposed posts, a few were nearby, but not at their station. Appearances suggested all had been wounded, and if she had to guess, Edra expected those wounds to be the causes of death.
It was a depressing scene, and didn't leave much hope for what they'd find around the rest of the freighter. But the Away Team needed to get busy. Edra looked between Edruj and Vox. "Either of you think you can see about getting power back up? It'll be easier to work if we can."
"Of course that would depend upon what knocked it out in the first place. But I believe that we should be able to get you something." Edruj responded as she headed for what appeared to be an operations console. She set to work by removing the access panel. "Commander if you would assist me." She looked toward Vox when she spoke.
He followed along. "Absolutely."
Edruj began to reroute the ODN lines and crossing them all over the place. It was not her specialty power couplings and the like, but she felt she was on the right track. Within moments her muffled voice could be heard from within the access hatch. "Go ahead and try it now sir."
Vox started to use his gloved fingers to try bringing the now flickering console to obey his commands as he attempted to bring at least emergency power back online.
Edra turned to the others. "Let's see what we can find out about what happened to these folks before moving out. Stewart, lets do another check to be sure there aren't any threats lurking in the shadows here."
Caressa popped open the tricorder with a gentle flick of the wrist. She started to scan the bridge crew and the environment. Shaking her head as she made her way around.
Constance "Aye Ma'am." Opening up her tricorder as she starts to move away from everyone else checking for any lifesigns or any hostiles. Her phaser in her hand set on stun not wanting to kill anyway unless its necessary.
Edra turned toward some of the bodies near the front of the bridge, opened her tricorder and scanned them. She checked over the Vulcan who had been at the helm, then the human probably had been at Ops, though he was lying a few feet away now. Frowning, she looked up at Caressa. "What are you seeing?"
"They look like they have been killed execution style. One shot in each of them. Mostly to the head. Not one has more than one shot." Moving to each body, noting position, and injury. It made her sick. "Such a waste of life"
Edra nodded, agreeing somberly. "If everyone here is past the point of saving, let's look around for any possibility of lifesigns, no matter how small. Constance, we good?" She looked at the Security Chief.
< TAG CONSTANCE >
"Vox, Edruj, status?"
Within moments of the question Edruj managed to get the last connection in. "To quote your homeworld ma'am. Et Voila!" With the last comment the power came back. However, there was a part of Edruj that wished the power remained out, as the scene splayed before her was a grizzly one. "I can only hope that they died with honor."
Had they been in any other situation, Edra would have found the Klingon's attempt at French amusing, but the scene was more sobering when illuminated. "Indeed, Lieutenant. I expect more of the ship to look this way. There was a compliment of 187."
Before moving on, the Commander tapped her badge. "Crow to the Mercutio, we got power up, and found the bridge crew killed, execution style. We're splitting up to search the rest of the ship." She looked at those lying on the floor. "I don't know that I expect to find much different for the rest of the crew."
"Understood. Use all due caution."
Others may have been hard pressed to hear the worry in his voice, but it was obvious to her. "Yes, Sir. Crow, out."
She made for the nearest exit which lead to a long corridor. When she saw the others following, she continued, wondering what they'd find next. "Let's stay out of lifts in case the power doesn't last. I want to split up into two groups. Edruj, you're with me. Caressa," she paused. "Take Vox and Constance. And behave." She looked between the doctor and Vox when she said the last with the slightest smirk.
"Yes Ma'am." Edruj replied as she packed up her kit.
Caressa looked at Vox and winked and then looked back at Edra. " I have no idea what you are talking about" She then turned on a dime and smirked to herself.
Through his illuminated helmet, Vox gave Edra a bemused expression. "I'm always the consummate professional. You know that."
Constance looks at Vox and Caressa she smiles at the both of them. She says, "Where should we start? I'm worried about what the rest of this ship holds. And if whoever did this is still on the ship. Is the away team their next target?"
Caressa looks to Vox for guidance. " Well Commander?"
Vox turned and headed down the side corridor that lead to the starboard side of the ship. "I doubt we're the target of this attack. I'm willing to bet that whoever did this is long gone. The question is why anyone would kill the crew and then sabotage the ship. Undoubtedly, they had something of great value."
He tapped his tricorder and pointed it in a forward direction. "According to these readings, there are crew quarters ahead."
Edra and Edruj peeled off to the left, checking any rooms and alcoves. After a few empty rooms, the Bajoran broke the silence. "Nothing like diving head first into a mess on your first away mission to say welcome aboard the Merc, eh?"
"Quite right Commander..." Edruj said with a smile as she stared down at her tricorder. "...These readings are the mystery to me. Everything about the environment on this ship says that there should be no reason for all this death. But yet, here it is. A worthy study." During the short pause Edruj realized that Edra was attempting to lighten the mood. "So tell me Commander does the Merc often get into this kind of hot water?"
Edra stopped looking at the Klingon with a sardonic look. "We seem to have a knack for finding trouble. Was that not in the position description?"
Edruj chuckled, well a chuckle for a Klingon was a hearty laugh for everyone else. It was an odd sound given the surroundings, but the laughter came nonetheless. "Pardon the laughter, but you brought forth a memory for me. When I was young on Q'Onos my father used to say that Starfleet had a habit of finding trouble. He would go on to say that it was always Klingons that had to bail Starfleet out. But that was my father, not I." She paused as she looked at the tricorder again. "This is quite perplexing. Was this vessel scanned for micro-organisms before we boarded?"
Edra raised a brow, moving closer to get a look at the Science Officer's readings. "That's a good question. The scans were probably for only humanoid lifeforms. Whatchya got?"
The doctor motioned to Constance to go to her right, hopefully Vox would follow to the left. Caressa took the middle. She checked each body and ran the tricorder as she visually inspected. She took another step and there was a crunch under the sole of her shoe. Looking down there was a vial that had emptied its contents. The white liquid flowed onto the ground. "Oh god I hope this isn't what I think it is." She scanned it with the tricorder. The tricorder indicated the substance was Ketracel-white. "Damn, why this" tapping her comm badge
Before Edruj could answer, Melanick's voice came over the com. Edra didn't like the tone of voice she heard; it didn't bode well. "What have you got?"
Constance starts to Caressa's right when she heard the crunch. She then here Melanick's voice she noticed the concern in her voice she quietly asks Melanick " what's Ketracel-White?" She didn't want to go off by herself before knowing what this substance was and what to do in case she ran into any more of it.
Caressa Acknowledged Constance and held up one finger, "Commander, I just broke a vial of Ketracel-White." She turned to Constance. "Ketracel White was used to keep the Jem'Hadar soldiers addicted. There bodies did not produce the enzyme. They were manipulated and controlled by withholding it from them. If they do not receive Ketracel White they go crazy and are violent. It was prevalent during the Dominion War. Its very concerning finding it here, with the execution style killings."
Vox frowned at the vial. "Well, at least we know who the unfriendly visitors were." He ran a scan of the dead crew member and nodded slowly. "The blaster injuries are consistent with Dominion weapon signatures."
Edra blanched. "That means Jem'Hadar," she mentioned to Edruj. She tapped her badge to the rest of the Away Team as she scanned around her and her Klingon partner. "Keep an eye all around you. They could still be here and cloaked. Stay together." She tapped her badge again. "Away Team to Mercutio. We have evidence that the Jem'Hadar have been here. Unsure about of they've left or not."
"We're sending security backup," came the reply, "but I think it's best if your team wraps up as soon as possible and comes back."
"Understood. We have yet to find the remaining crew's...remains."
"I would suggest a trip to this vessel's science lab, if they have one and/or the cargo bay. It is possible that this freighter was transporting the Ketrcel White for unknown reasons. The Jen'Hadar may have attacked to get their hands on it. With the Dominion crumbling the Jem'Haar may be getting a bit worried about where they are going to get their next fix from." Edruj turned to Edra as she drew a Klingon blade from her hip.
Edra nodded, drawing her own sidearm. "If my recollection is right, that would be 2 decks below." She tapped her badge to the other team. "Expect some backup, and be ready for anything until we have more information. We're going to check another lead on deck 4. Lets try to wrap this up as quick as we can." She looked back at Edruj. "Let's go."
Edruj holstered her scanning device and proceeded to the appropriate deck at the lead. When they arrived they were greeted by more strewn cargo containers and more ketrecel white. "It seems at least from here that my theory is correct."
Edra looked around the expansive room, nodding silently. It did, in fact look like there had been a shipment of the drug on the freighter, but why was it littering the floor of the cargo bay, spilt from broken vials and unusable now? Had the Jem'Hadar wanted it shouldn't they have taken as much in tact as they could? "Yeah, but something still feels off."
Constance heading off to the right of where Vox and Caressa. She had her phaser in her hand and she knew first hand how violent Jen'Hadar were. She dealt with them during the Dominion War. However, she was not sure why she forgot about the ketracel-white. The war was just starting before she left DS9. Meanwhile, she kept checking for any more bodies. She heard Edra call for back up which we will need if their are any Jen'Hadar around. She hoped they were all gone but she had a feeling they weren't.
Vox led the doctor and security chief down the other corridor, checking rooms as they went. Eventually they came upon a door labeled Security Office. The door was slightly ajar so Vox grasped it with his hands and manually pulled it to one side with some effort. The room was barely tall enough for the officers to stand in. The space was cramped with a few consoles and security monitors that were offline at the moment.
Leaning over the main console, Vox started tapping it in hopes that there was still a way to get things to work. "I'm attempting to reroute emergency power to the console. With some luck, we might be able to see what happened here." He held up his tricorder to monitor the power flow to the work station.
Caressa scanned the area visually as much as she could in the dark murkiness. She turned to Vox, "None of this makes any sense.
Vox frowned at the console as it began to flicker. He slapped the side while he worked to bring up the security feed, though the system was badly damaged. "I was successful in bringing emergency power back online... Scanning for the last hour of video before things went dark." Tapping the console some more allowed the adjacent screen to flicker to life, showing a badly damaged video log of what appeared to be four Jem'Hadar following the lead of a mysterious woman. She seemed to be carrying some sort of briefcase or satchel. "Look at this..."
She leaned over his shoulder to look at the video feed. "Who the heck is that? Did she come on board with the case or is it something she took from here? Any other video? She leaned over so far looking she almost fell over his shoulder. She caught herself with her hand, almost like a twister move.
Edruj took the cue from Edra and drew a sample kit from her bag. She took a small sample of the drug from the floor of the cargo hold. "When we get back to the Merc I can run this through the scanner and see what is what. It is possible that this shipment was tainted in some way and that is what drove the Jem'Hadaar to do this."
Edra had begun exploring the rest of the cargo bay while the scientist tested the white. Her hackles were raised. Something wasn't right. She knew that, but she couldn't figure out how she was so sure until she realized her nose was picking up on something.
She noticed a removable grate, covering a chasm that probably held more cargo when needed. But as she approached, she had a sinking feeling she knew what it held now. "Edruj..." she called out carefully before getting quite there. She paused, waiting for the Klingon.
Meanwhile, in the security office, Vox worked diligently to bring up the security file fragments still in the memory banks. Flickering clips of the Jem'Hadar tossing the ship in search of something. "Well, whatever they're looking for, they're very eager to find it..."
Constance looked at the security fragments that Vox brought up. "What are they looking for? Who is that woman, she's not Jem'Hadar. I wonder if they have a manifest of what they have in the cargo hold. Maybe they were delivering a shipment of white and ran into problems. When the Jem'Hadar didn't get their medicine, they came looking for it. It's just a thought..."
Vox pondered that line of reasoning for a moment. "It's possible... Though, the woman doesn't appear to be a Vorta. I've never heard of Jem'Hadar following orders from anyone else." His eyes danced around the images on the screen. "Very unusual."
Edruj had been looking down the corridor scanning for any other clues when Edra called her name. She ran to catch up. "Everything okay Commander?"
The other woman merely nodded toward the grated chasm below them. Inside was the rest of the crew, or rather, what remained.
Edruj looked down and saw the maimed bodies of the crew, all she could do was whistle. "These deaths are without honor. It is clear that the Jem'Hadar killed these people. However, the question is why. It has always been my understanding of the Jem'Hadar that they do not kill without reason. They are not a race that adheres to senseless violence."
Edra shook her head, her eyes catching sight of the lifeless bodies staring back at them. She swallowed before responding. "Not unless they're being bribed with their next dose of White." She tapped her badge as she heard the security force begin to arrive at their location. "Vox, what's your status? Found anything?"
Vox tapped his wrist-mounted display on his suit. "Affirmative. We found security video of an unidentified woman accompanied by Jem'Hadar soldiers. They tore the place apart looking for something. I'm transmitting the data back to the Mercutio."
"Sounds good. When you're done, I want all three of you to head back to the Merc. We found the rest of the crew." She let that hang for a moment, staring at those she spoke about. "We'll be back soon."
Edruj stared at the death around her as the Commanders spoke. It was the order to return to the ship that snapped her out of her thoughts. "Commander before we return, I would like to formally request permission to give these people a proper send off. I know that none of them are Klingon, however, they all deserve a warriors burial so that they may enter whatever their version of Sto'Vo'Kor is." The Klingon woman looked at Edra as she awaited her response. Although her mind was scientific, there was the part of her that demanded closure and retribution for all of this senseless death.
Edra nodded absently. "That would be nice."
"Thank you Commander I will begin immediately." Edruj responded then she turned and began to gather the bodies side by side.
Edra instructed the security officers to assist the Klingon. When the bodies were laid out, and Edruj's words were spoken, they left the grizzly scene and returned quietly home.