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Got To Break Free

Posted on Sep 28, 2019 @ 7:47pm by Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Sep 28, 2019 @ 7:47pm

Mission: Last Days of Empire

"Got to break free"

(Cont. "Logic dictates")
* * *=(/\)=* * *

Stardate: 2.19.0928.1115
Scene: Captain's Ready Room

"We can't just waltz in there and force the Klingons to let us search for the crew of the Satet," Kassandra said with a frown creasing her brow. She and Jasmine were sitting in front of Kane's desk in his ready room as the Captain stood behind it staring into the starfield. Along the side of the room, Jake sat on a couch, watching the proceedings. "Even asking nicely would tip our hand, they'd know they have valuable prisoners, and then there is absolutely no way they would let assets go. While it would be more fun'n a barrel a monkeys, a straight out hostile takeover is *definitely* out as that could be construed as taking sides in the Kling-Orion Conflict."

"... I think we can all agree we are not calling it The Kling-Orion Conflict," Kane deadpanned, turning back from the window. He leaned both his hands on the back of his chair. "You raise some excellent points, Major. What about a small extraction team?"

Kass and Jasmine exchanged a glance.

"We have nowhere near enough intelligence to plan something like that. We don't know anything about the layout, the security, it would be suicide," Jasmine said with a shake of her head.

"Even if we did get in, we have no idea where to even start lookin' and no team, no matter how good they are is gonna be able to stay hidden long enough ta search a whole prison, an' as soon as they catch us it's galactic political nightmare," Kassandra agreed.

"I need solutions and you're just giving me problems," Kane said gruffly. "We've got enough of those, without you two giving me more."

Kassandra raised an eyebrow at the Captain, and pursed her lips to convey that she was unimpressed. He sighed, and returned to the window. Evidently the caginess of the secret squirrels was putting him on edge. There was a few minutes of silence as everyone sat, lost in thought.

"Weeeelllll," Kassandra said finally. "I gotta idea, but you most likely won't like it sir. We can't break in, but mayhap we kin break out, or near enough to it, anyway, sos y'all can get us. All we gotta do is find a way to get us taken into the prison. That's the only part I can't figure out. I mean, I know plenty well how to make a Klingon mad, but really only punch ya in the face mad, not throw ya in prison mad."

"That actually isn't the hard part, I think," Jasmine said, snapping her fingers. "Crime is high here, we should be able to find some plausible petty crime to pin on our extraction team, something serious enough for the Klingons to be annoyed about, but not so serious they'd feel the need to execute them to save face. We could contact the Klingons, and say we have some criminals to give them as a token of goodwill in hopes that they will let us search for our stolen ship."

"Surely that's an obvious trap," Jake interjected. "Any Klingon with half a brain will smell something fishy."

"Nah, I think Yu's onto somethin’." Kassandra leaned back in her chair and laced her fingers behind her back. Out of force of habit she started to swing her booted feet up to rest on the edge of the desk but was stopped by Kane's unamused gaze. She quickly dropped them back to the carpet. "We might have trouble if it weren't for Masters. She’s been kickin’ round this area fer a while, and not in the most legal of ways, neither. She’s probably on someone’s radar, heck, might even have her own file with the Klingons, for all we know. Anyways, if we couch her as the leader of the group, and they do a little diggin’ they’ll find fire for the smoke.”

“You can’t seriously be suggesting that we send a civilian into what is liable to be a highly volatile and dangerous situation,” Jake was sitting up straight now, looking slightly indignant. “That’s against at *least* several regulations, as well as-”

“Not a civilian, a mercenary,” Kassandra pointed out. “Remember we’re buying her help with your ill gotten lucre. It ain’t like it's compulsory, neither. It’s not like I’m gonna beat her into doing it if she doesn’t wanna. Plus, we’re a long way from Kansas, Toto. Ain’t no rules out here where we’re skirtin’ dangerously close to antagonizin’ two nascent powers.”

“The Major does have a point,” Jasmine interjected, sensing that both parties were starting to get a little prickly. “Masters would be an asset in regards to adding credibility to an extraction team’s cover, but since we’re doing this under the auspices of Starfleet Intelligence, we do also have quite a bit more tools at our disposal than we would normally. They have whole departments which specialize in making cover stories and plausible identies, that’s something we could utilize. They don’t know us, of course, but if Eve worked with them, I think they could put together something that our extraction team could convincingly play, and would pass more than basic scrutiny. I’m sure the Klingon’s already have put together their own intelligence operations, but it most certainly ain't up to snuff with ours, so I'm bettin' we could fake up somethin' that will last as long as it needs ta."

"But Masters is key to this working," Jasmine stressed. "And we need to get together a team that will be believable, and fly under the radar."

"Counts me right out," Kassandra said, sounding disappointed. "Too close to my home patch, an' most of the Human criminals round here are from Sherman's. Can't risk some I know or who knows my family seein' me and ruinin' my cover." She brightened a bit. "You'll be needin' an extraction team fer the extraction team anyhow, someone to scout from the outside an' figure out where the team inside will likely exit. But back to the team to go into the prison, Yu obviously, Masters, an' the new doctor-"

"Why the doctor? She doesn't have field experience, and certainly doesn't have any undercover skills," Kane asked, crossing his arms.

"We ain't got any idea of the condition of the Satet's crew. You ever tried to jailbreak sick or injured people?" Kassandra scoffed.

"Alright, so Yu, Masters if she agrees, the doctor, who else?"

"I'd say Solozar- he knows Masters, and the real life history will make the group dynamic seem more 'real," Jasmine interjected. " But I think we may be too Human heavy, it might arouse suspicions, plus I need someone else who specializes in fighting in case things get nasty, and preferably one big enough to make even a Klingon think twice about messing with them. I have an Orion in Security by the name of Harrad-Tor whom I think will fit the bill. We should probably present him as the employer, the Klingons are likely to have a kneejerk reaction to seeing an Orion, that they might not even dig too deeply into the rest of us."

"Alright, you, the Doctor, Masters, Solozar, and Harrad-Tor. Mr Thytos, do you want to talk to Masters?"

"Nope," Kassandra said, then elucidated as she saw Kane's eyes narrow. "I don't think I'm the best pick. She's already pegged me as pragmatic, and liable to be perfectly willin' to sacrifice her if I gotta. Na, you, sir, or the Commander's be a better choice. Perfect 10 there will make her feel safe and be pretty convincin' in the whole 'we'd never let you be in danger' arena, tho he's not sold on this, an’ she might sense that. You, on the other hand, Sir, got the weight of Authority behind ya. She's more likely to believe you'll be able to deliver what you promise her."

"Fine, then you come up with a plan to get your people on the planet without the Klingons noticing, and a plan to get our people out once they find the crew of the Satet. Mr. Crichton, stay after, if you will? Dismissed."

* * *=(/\)=* * *

Scene: Marine Barracks

"We'll have to do a dead drop," Sargeant McQueen was saying. "Otherwise, we'll show up on the scanners."

She was referring to an old technique of hiding small craft as junk by having the crew enter wearing EVA suits, turning off the shuttle power completely, opening the doors, and having the mothership jettison the shuttle into space in the general direction of its intended target. The shuttle would settle into orbit, and you'd bide your time until you were in a sensor blind spot, or at least a place with iffy reception like the other side of the planet, then the pilot would ininitiate a series of propulsion microbursts to bring yourself down to the upper atmosphere. Then, just as things started to sizzle, the pilot would turn on power, seal the shuttle, and plummet through the atmosphere, waiting until they were under the radar to slam on the brakes. Sensors evaded, you'd then proceed to your desired drop point, shrubs and treetops gently brushing the belly of your ship.

It worked (if you had a good pilot). The only problem was it was uncomfortable as hell for the people on the shuttle. Warm bodies in space are like a beacon, so the hapless crew would have to keep their body temperatures barely above hypothermic levels until you got close to the atmosphere, when things suddenly became unbearably hot. Woe betide the idiot who ate food before doing a dead drop, because after the heat came several minutes of belly churning free fall, before a short, sharp stop.

Kassandra groaned.

"I understand completely, Sir. I would only use it as a last resort," McQueen said dryly, her lilting Caribbean accented voice sounding amused.

"I know. Only thing is, they're makin' me eat healthy, so lunch was bad enough the first time around…" Kassandra quipped. McQueen flashed her a smile full of preternaturally white, even teeth and chuckled lightly.

"If you're going to be puking, I definitely won't be sending PFC Kathethawukon with you. She's a sympathy vomiter. I'm leaning towards Corporal Honda."

"Midori?" Kassandra tried hard to keep the skepticism out of her voice. Honda Midori was a brash young woman with a pleasingly rotund shape, that, when covered in the green Marine uniform had earned her the affectionate, if slightly cruel nickname ‘Melon Ball.’ Physique aside, she was one of the stronger Marines, landing somewhere in the upper quarter in the unofficial arm wrestling rankings. She also possessed a booming voice and laugh that reminded Kassandra of the old earth actor Brian Blessed.

"Trust me. You'd never know it from the way she gets on in the barracks, but there have been times during training that I know exactly where she's hiding, and it still takes me a few minutes to actually see her. She'll do you proud," McQueen, said, shaking her head firmly, setting her tight curls and golden hair bands bouncing.

"I trust your judgement. We got communications for this shindig?"

"Going old school, Ma'am. Low frequency radio bursts, using Morse code. It worked for the Satet’s crew, and if they have a transponder, they might have a receiver. That would make things much easier for the main extraction team. Anything more advanced than that and I'd worry the Klingons might pick it up, anyway. Suarez will stay on the bridge with Mr. Byte to help monitor so that we know if you guys need backup."

"Pretty sure Byte can handle it solo," Kassandra offered. McQueen wrinkled her nose, dark eyes disapproving.

"Sorry, Ma'am, but I don't want a machine in charge of the safety of our team. They glitch, they get corrupted, and I don't trust them to make the right decision instead of the most logical one."

"Don't let the Space Cadets hear ya say that," Kassandra warned. "Do we got anythin on conditions where we're goin'? I'd sure hate to plan for the beach and find a blizzard."

“The Klingons don’t have a very large empire anymore, do you really think they’d waste a planet with lovely, temperate environs on a prison?” McQueen snorted eloquently.

“So, no tropical paradise or beautiful mountains, then?” Kassandra sighed.

“Alas. We don’t know exactly, but based on the configuration of the planets and the size of the star, and what they can glean from the atmosphere, the eggheads down in science think it’s probably a desert planet.”

“Are we talkin’ Vulcan desert planet, or are we talking ‘Death Valley in August’ desert planet?” Kassandra was beginning to regret not sending someone else to the planet. At least the light camouflage armor they’d be wearing would have some environmental controls, but she knew from experience that that didn’t exactly prevent swamp crotch once conditions got over a hundred.

“No idea, boss. You’ll have to report back and let me know. We’ll send you down with some extra moisture vaporators just in case. Wouldn’t want you two to turn into beef jerky out there. Now, once you get the team, and hopefully the Satet’s crew, we obviously don’t want them to catch you on the way out, so we’ve gotten the shuttled fitted with a false registry transponder, and the engineers have altered the fuel balances and alignments so the energy signal doesn’t scream Starfleet. You’ll have to clear the atmosphere, then go to warp, and we’ll rendezvous with you later.”

“Right. I’ll get suited up and go up top and talk to Solorzano and Sotaar about the best drop points. You get that shuttle ready and scramble Honda. We’re going to have to be ready to go as soon as we drop from warp.” Kassandra stood up. “Impeccable work as always, Sergeant.”

“Thanks, sir. I’ll make sure everything is shipshape.”

* * *=(/\)=* * *

NRPG: Finally, a post! Anyone up for a jailbreak? ;)

Alix Fowler
writing as:
Captain Kassandra Thytos


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