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Cmdr Waterhouse, LtCmdr Caine & Lt Khan - "I Want A Stainless Steel Road Stretching Off To The Sky"

Posted on 2016-06-18 13:39 by Captain Amelia Waterhouse & NPCs (Amy) & Rik Caine & Lieutenant Streeh Khan II & Ensign Kelly Liebenswert

Mission: Black, White & Red All Over

An all terrain buggy made its way across the Vulcan desert, tracking the device attached to one of the Romulan hover bikes wrapped in small cloaking devices that currently moved towards the Mesa to the north at their top speed. The tracking device had been causing glitches in the cloak for a while now, at first only affecting the bike it was attached to, but soon finding the right frequency to start disrupting the others — by this point the cloak was all but useless. It still rendered the bikes and occupants invisible, but they were fully exposed to any sensor systems of serviceable quality. Having realized they were exposed to sensors, the Romulans had thrown caution to the wind and sped up, now kicking up dust clouds in their wake where they hadn't before.

"Want to lay wager on which group we get to pluck the evidence from?" Both men in the buggy were wearing dark suits, dark glasses, and somehow looked no worse for the heat. The one in the passenger seat casually asked this as he flicked at the screen for the sensor system and considered the spread of life signs ahead of them.

"The Norton crew hang onto it, your wife's gotta make me a batch of her tamales. The real ones, not replicated. I can taste the difference." The one driving shifted gears and slowed just a little. He wasn't in a rush yet, and was happy to let the two groups soften each other up before he and his partner collected the last hanging thread of this S'Blen business.

"Okay, and if the Romulans get it from them, your husband's going to make me his chocolate soufflé."

"Remind your wife that I like pork in mine, but Ru Ling prefers the spicy chicken."

"It won't matter, but if he wants to make his chocolate chili soufflé when I win, I certainly won't object."

------ =/\= =/\= =/\= ------

"Okay, Helios and Kleiô will cover from here while Lēlantos and I make our way to the bottom of the stairs, then we'll provide cover from down there on your way down. Do not open fire unless fired upon," Amelia directed, switching on her suit's stealth as she moved towards the door. "If you've got the box, please lead Lēlantos."

Rik activated his HUD and pulled the rifle off his back, switching it to sniper mode and taking up a defensive position. He flicked up the scope. "Still no visuals, but the blips are certainly getting closer. Must be some sort of dampening field or cloaking technology in play." He said over the comm, scanning the horizon for something. Anything to get a visual confirmation of what Kelly had picked up. "About 15 klicks north, by northwest on a direct intercept." He finally stated as his scope picked up unusual sand cloud dispersion. "If we're going, let's go now!"

Kelly kept her HUD active as she tracked the incoming vehicle and linked it to the tricorder so she could transmit it to the others. She kept the rifle targeting the bogey and one ear open for the crew, but kept motionless in the window other than her minute movements.

Streeh grabbed the leather journal and it inside of his stealth suit and the isolinear chip in another pocket before he activated it again. He tucked the box under his left arm and brought his disruptor pistol out of it's sheath and activated his comm. "I've got it, Persephone," he said.

Amelia let Streeh move out first, letting her HUD keep track of his location for her as she followed him down the stairs. Her attention moved between staying close to him with her weapon at the ready, and looking out at the approaching dust clouds. It looked like there were multiple smaller clouds grouped together on the approach, she would hazard a guess that it was a group of hover bikes similar to her team's. As she looked, her suit's sensors focused in and counted five life signs in the group, but attempts to zoom in gave no visual conformation.

Streeh paused and grabbed the holorecorder that had been attached to the telescope to put in the metal box. Nodding, he headed downstairs and opened the comm as he went down the stairs. "Helios and Kleiô, it's time to move out," he said. He made sure that Commander Waterhouse was behind him and headed for the front exit. "We're going to have to move fast. I hope that Hermes can get a lock on us on the go if we have to."

Rik moved away from his vantage spot and switched the rifle to carbine mode, as he moved to the doorway and slowly down the stairs, to where Streeh and Amelia had taken up defensive positions. As he approached the last step his HUD flashed, five klicks and closing. Whatever was heading their way, it was moving at speed. "Saddle up, they're only five klicks out," Rik said as he ran to his bike and mounted it, keeping the rifle aimed in the general direction of the dust clouds.

Amelia made the dash to her hover bike next, the bike powering on as she settled into place. She engaged the shields that Zola had installed; they weren't anywhere near as powerful as Starship shields, but they certainly would be better than nothing. "Once everyone's on and ready to roll, Kleiô take lead and guide us wide around the incoming targets. All shields up, and the goal is to ditch these guys quickly, in case we can't get a moving beam up."

Streeh got on his hover bike and got it warmed up after he secured the rifle across his lap. "Want me to take the rear?"

Kelly came down behind Rik and headed to mount up on her hover bike. "Hard and fast, Commander?" she asked as she slung her rifle over her back and fired the hover bike up.

"Hard and fast, Kleiô," Amelia confirmed, "Give me the isolinear chip, and then you and Helios can share rear guard."

Streeh pulled the isolinear chip out and handed it to her before he secured his suit again. "I'd rather stay by your side, Commander," he said.

Meanwhile, Kelly made sure all was ready with the hover bike and waited to head out on her orders.

"You're on rear guard with Helios," Amelia insisted as she tucked the isolinear chip away. "If we quit wasting time debating and head out now, that should keep you between me and them. So, on that note, Kleiô, hit it."

"Acknowledged, Persephone," Kelly said and gave the hover bike the go ahead and headed out in a different direction from what they had came.

Rik kicked the hover bike into gear and followed behind, finding a spot to prop his rifle up, should the need arise. "Be advised tangos have altered course, they're pursuing," He stated over the comm.

"Persephone to Hermes, be advised we are being pursued and may not be able to make the rendezvous point or be able to come to a stop. Can you prepare for a hot transport?" Amelia ask as she triggered her comm connection to the ship.

"Acknowledged, Persephone. It's going to take a few minutes to calculate for the moving transport and to compensate for your inertia. I will inform you when the transport is ready."

"Thank you, Hermes." Amelia looked across the desert in front of them and the sensors highlighted a number of small fissures in the ground and rocks scattered about. "Kleiô, do you see any obstacles that you think we could use to trip up our pursuit?" As she asked this, hand held disruptors lit up the dry desert air between the two groups of hover bikes, bouncing off the shields of the away team's bikes. Amelia swerved a little as one of the shots hit her forward shields and pushed her off course, but she quickly corrected with a Klingon curse escaping her lips.

"We have what looks like a desert canyon coming up in three klicks, Persephone," Kelly replied. "ETA in two minutes at current speed."

Streeh turned on his hover bike and put it into hovermode directly facing the enemy so he presented a minimal profile and began laying down cover fire. "Persephone," he said. "I'll catch up to you. I want to give these bogey something to think about other than firing at us without retaliation."

Rik continued towards and past Streeh, to keep the rear guard maintained. He craned his neck trying to get a better look and still couldn't make out who or what was chasing them. "Hermes, can you fire a tachyon burst to out location?" He asked over the comm.

"A tachyon burst, Helios?" Hermes confirmed, a little surprised. "Oh, you think the pursuit is cloaked. Roger that, tachyon burst, wide spread, coming in three, two, one." The burst covered the area, and the sensors on the away team's hover bikes easily locked on five Romulan design hover bikes, and one Starfleet design buggy much further back.

"Anyone else see that new tango further back?" Amelia asked. "Do you intend a last minute turn, or a jump, Kleiô? And if a turn, left or right?"

"I saw it Persephone, and sensors indicate a Federation signature in a wheeled buggy. Sadly we're on these infernal things and they have a vehicle with offensive capabilities," Rik said as he watched the sensor readings on the HUD. He hated hover bikes, and the idea of jumping one.

"Jump, Persephone," Kelly responded. "It's only a quarter kilometer and we can do it easily. However, there are two large spires that I'm aiming to go between. Sensors indicate there's a gap of about six meters, but we have clearance for them. Line up on my mark." With that, she veered slightly to the left and punched it.

In the buggy, an Andorian curse word tumbled out of the mouth of the suit watching the sensor screen.

"You kiss your wife with that mouth?"

"The Norton just lit up the area with a tachyon burst. They had to have seen us."

A Klingon curse slipped from the suit driving. "Well, I guess that means we can't wait for them to soften each other up now. Have we tested the stun setting on the phaser canon yet? I really don't want to have to kill more of our own people over this mess if I can help it."

"No testing outside the lab, but lab results claimed it's safe."

"Take down the Romulans first, they don't know anything yet, and I'd like to keep it that way."

Streeh turned his hover bike around with a final blast and pulled a Romulan disruptor pistol from a holster and set it to overload. He dropped it in the spot where he was and gave the hover bike until he was caught up with Helios. "I left a nasty present for our friends," he said over the com. "Explosion coming up soon."

"Well, it's always nice to bring a gift to the party," Rik commented as he manoeuvred his hover bike into line. "Remind me next time to bring an Argo," he added.

"Gonna have to get a bigger ship if you want an Argo buggy, they come attached to an Argo shuttle," Amelia returned as she fell into line behind Kelly. "Hermes, how are we doing up there?"

"You're moving too fast, Commander. I can't get a lock with whatever's in the sand causing the interference."

"We'll try to slow down after our parlor trick," Amelia returned.

The Romulans spotted the disruptor in the sand, and split like a stampeding herd around a rock: two to the left and three to the right. The last one pulled their right turn nearly right on top of the disruptor as it overloaded, sending them sprawling across the sand and the hover bike flying away on the blast. As the dust started the settle from that, a phase canon blast enveloped the remaining two Romulans on the right. They both slumped over and the hover bikes spun out, spilling their passengers. The last two Romulans towards the left turned around, pulling parallel to the Emperor's away team, though they moved in a serpentine path and tried not to stay too close to each other.

"We could ditch the Type 10... piece of junk..." Rik said as he trailed off muttering. Keeping his bike steady, he leaned back and fired a few pot shots in the direction of their pursuers.

"Jump coming up in five...four...three...two..." Kelly counted down over the comm as she forced the hover bike to give her everything it had as she headed for a natural ramp formation that would give her the best altitude for the jump she wanted. As she cleared it two hundred and fifty kilometers per hour, she shouted "One!" as her hover bike went airborne for the quarter kilometer jump between the two narrow towers of rock. She sailed through them with feet to spare on either side, a war cry of joy slipping from her lips as she sailed through the air and came down on the other side. When she landed, the hover bike bounced hard and she fought to keep it stabilized and airborne without smashing her and it on the ground.

As Kelly landed on the other side, Amelia's hover bike cleared the ramp Kelly had lead the group to. Amelia was off center as she launched, and had to tuck in on the left side as she came too close for comfort. When she cleared it, having seen Kelly's landing before her, she leaned back a little to help avoid going nose first into the desert sand and rock. The tail of the bike scraped just a little before the hover system compensated and balanced the inertial dampeners to level out, and Amelia followed Kelly forward.

Rik watched and and muttered to himself, give him something with a more stable frame and he'd jump it all day, but a bike... He hated bikes. He ramped up the speed and followed the trajectory Amelia and Kelly had taken before him. Before he could decide to change his mind the bike was airborne and as soon as it started, it was over and the bike fell down, nearly hitting the ground below. He managed to keep control, with only a slight scrape to the paintwork, thanks to an ill placed rock.

Streeh followed last and gave the bike it's head and opened it up with all that it had as he approached the ramp. The moment before he left the ramp, he jerked it upwards for more lift as he flew through the air between the pillars and landed on the other side. He immediately gunned it again and forced it up into the air so he wouldn't hit hard and then straightened it out so he could catch up to the others.

The two Romulans in pursuit only just managed to turn in time avoid plunging into canyon. They turned to recover their companions when they saw the gap that was widening between them and the Emperor's away team.

"Persephone, if you can drop your speed under 150 kph, I should be able to get a lock," Hermes said over the comm. "Senors show the Romulans have dropped pursuit, but whatever the other thing is on sensors is still pursuing. They're increasing speed. With a quick lock, they shouldn't be able to get in range with their weapon."

The away team slowed just enough to make it under 150, still headed away from pursuit as if the hounds of hell were biting at their heels. Across the canyon, the dust cloud surrounding the cloaked buggy started to dissipate as it came to a stop at the edge of the canyon. Behind them, the Romulans beamed up their people and hover bikes, and they aimed the phaser canon at the Emperor's away team. As the blast shot out across the desert, the team disappeared in the shimmer of a transporter beam.

=/\= End Log =/\=

Commander Amelia Waterhouse
Commanding Officer
USS Joshua Norton, NCC-74819-A

Lieutenant Commander Rik Caine
Executive Officer
USS Joshua Norton

Lieutenant Streeh Khan II
Chief of Security
USS Joshua Norton

NPCs by Amy: A Pair of Suits, Cloaked in Shadow; a Swarm of Romulan War Boys
NPC by Rocky: Ensign Kelly Liebenswert, Pilot


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