The Long Ride There"
By: Bart "Burner" Read , Fighter Pilot , [NPC]
Dr. Alyssa Caitlin Northrop, Chief Intel Officer, [PST]
Keighlee Alexi, Engineer , [RNPC]
M'Ressha Mikaht, Fighter Pilot, [RNPC]
Matthew Mason, Prisoner, [RNPC]
Maxine Lucinda Tapert, Computer Specialist, [PC]
Samantha Carter, Security Officer, [RNPC]

Stardate: 58209.03 1420



--Aeroceba XII Space port---

Burner stood up as soon as the doors opened . He turned around and faced the Marines who were getting ready to get off the shuttle. He was careful to stay back out of the light of sight of the open door. This was a Ferengi ship and anyone noticing a non-Ferengi pilot might be suspicious. He gave them a thumbs up sign and nodded at them as they left the shuttle.

Taylor stepped out of the shuttle onto the dirty little space port. There were not many ships in the docking bay, most of them were smaller personal space craft. There was one very large freighter parked right in the center of the space port. Taylor was sure that this would be their next stop.

Maxine looked over at Blitzer and offered a small smile and lift of her hand in farewell before she stepped from the shuttle, following the bulk of Marines. The remainder of them mingled in and brought up the rear once everyone was out.

Blitzer waved back.

Keighlee looked up from the dusty tarmac they walked along, turning for a moment to watch the shiny Ferengi shuttle which was now just a small speck of silver against the planet's hazy green sky.

She envied the pilot's duties because their mission would be over soon. She shifted her gear on her shoulders and continued along.

Sam was glad to get out of the shuttle and stretched her legs. All the space ports looked the same to her but yet the smell and hustle from the other passengers kept amazing her.

She only hoped that they would not look so conspicuous.

It was somehow crowded, merchant and other people walking quickly to their next transport, close to them she heard a pilot and a merchant bicker about the price of transport. Then other flares of conversation came drifting their way.

..."you told me 2 bars of Latinum"...

....that was before you signed the transport manifest... No wild animals allowed..."

..." never did anything of the sort....."

...."what about the security checks.."

Keighlee peered over the shoulders of Sam as the group slowed. From a slight distance she watched as Alyssa discretely exchanged call signs with the freighter's Captain.

The group sauntered forward again when Alyssa motioned.

One of the freighter personnel showed them to their quarters which consisted of a room with 6 bunks, several chairs and a small table.

"Mess is at 1900," he grunted.

"Well this looks better than the shuttle," Sam said grinning, throwing her pack on one of the bunks.

"I'm not so sure," volunteered Keighlee noting the shortage of bunks and the generally grimy condition of their quarters.

Beck looked over at Taylor. "Standard rotation?" he asked, meaning they'd rest and stand watch in two hour shifts. "And do you want me to send out a recon pair?"

Taylor nodded.

"Been in worse," one of the Marines commented, and a general grumble of consensus rippled through the rest of them as two of them automatically took up a stance on either side of the door and the rest settled in various places.

Maxine settled in one of chairs at the table and pulled her personal computer out. It was a smaller, more compact version of the one she left the Zion.

Sam took her backpack from the bunk and gestured at Keighlee, "You can use the bunk, I'll take the floor."

"I'm sure the marines will show some chivalry," whispered Keighlee.

She watched a moment as Sam continued to settle in.

The chime rang on the door to their quarters. Taylor crossed the room and opened the door. Outside was a middle aged crewman dressed in the standard gray uniform that all members of this crew seemed to wear. In his arms he carried a large case. "Can I help you," inquired Taylor.

"Nah," he said, his gravelly voice echoed loudly in the room, "The Cap'n says he 'spects ya ta wear a right proper uniform while yer here." He set the case down on the floor just inside the door. "Here ya go." He looked at Max and Sam, "Course we ain't never had no women crew afore."

He chuckled and then left.

Taylor waited for the door to close and then bent over to open the case.

"Let's see what we have here." He opened the case and inside, just as promised were the standard issue uniforms. He tossed a set over to one of his marines. Reaching for the next one, he stopped suddenly and a slow whistle escaped his lips. He held up what he could only assume was the standard uniform for females. The uniform -- if you could call it that -- did not leave much to the imagination. Taylor looked at Max and then at Sam. "I'm thinking that this is yours."

Keighlee moved closer and picked up one of the uniforms and held it to her frame. It was very skimpy. "I have seen more clothes on an Orion Slave girl on Risa!"

Sam too picked up one of the garments. "Man this bearly covers my butt."

"I think that's what the freighter Captain 'ad in mind," Maxine commented as she eyed the garment. "Pervert. Probably pinch your butt when you wear that..."

One of the Marines snorted and eyed Sam. "It's a cute butt. Shame to cover it up."

"Oh stop it you guys." Sam said with a grin, "give us girls some privacy, be nice and turn around ok?"

"And miss a good show?" one of the Marines grinned and another one let out a wolf whistle, while yet another one started humming out the stripper song.

"Stow it, Marines," Beck barked and they all laughingly made a big show of turning around.

"I swear Keighlee, " Sam said, holding up a blanket from one of the bunks so that the young girl could change, " Maquis regulation undies covers more that this flimsy thing.

Keighlee peeked up over the top of the blanket, the marines seemed to be minding their own business. She fastened the civilian cloths she was already wearing and stepped out of it.

As small as her frame was, the garment she pulled on was snug. She tugged on the short little flaps which were supposed to be a skirt. You are right about the regulation undies." she said shaking her head. They'd be a give-away if they were left on.

She felt blushed and humiliated as she took them off. "A ship of perverts." she muttered to herself.

Max took over Sam's duty of holding up the make-shift screen.

It was Sam's turn to put on the so called uniform. "I have never worn a dress in my life. I feel naked." she said stepping back from behind the makeshift screen.

"The trick to that is making sure you 'ave on tight panties," Maxine told them. "And make them match the skirt. That way it doesn't look like you're trying to flash 'em," she added with a grin. "I like leather myself."

"No one ever told me..." said Keighlee with a slight frown.

"I knew you were a bit kinky," Sam said with a grin, "but what you say girls.. "let's show those peasants what women are really like..shake that booty!!

Alyssa came into the quarters the rest of the team had been assigned just as the girls were finishing up. She'd been up with the Captain going over everything one last time. The freighter's Captain continued to insist that the Maquis regulars pose as ship's crew. After seeing what they had in mind for a uniform....well...she was very glad that she still have her Academic Credentials. Though...she couldn't really blame them. Especially when it came to young Ms. Keighlee. The brunnette felt her cheeks flush a bit as she looked in on the scene....but quickly pushed the thoughts down into the back of her mind. There would be time for that later.

"Ok group....everything's green as far as the Captain goes. He's gotten the first half of his payment and we'll be on our way momentarily."

Sam glanced briefly at her chronometer and tugged the uniform again. "Shall we go to the messhall? It's nearly 1900 hours, besides I think we all can do with something to eat or drink.

Keighlee knelt down carefully and stowed her cloths into her bag and stood back up. "I'm starving."

Sam smiled. "So am I and I do hope they have something good to eat. Preferably a medium steak with roast potatoes and green pies.."

Keighlee smirked, "I can't imagine the food is better than these accommodations."

"I can't imagine that it wouldn't give us all dysentery, Max commented as she packed up her gear and slipped her arms into her backpack.

"Eaten worse," one of the Marines commented.

"I hear ya there," another one agreed.

The two marines standing 'guard' on either side of the doorway didn't look like they were going anywhere.

"We will bring something back with us." Sam said as they passed them. After a short walk the little group passed to main doors entering the mess hall.

There they were greeted by noise, sweaty smells and hungry looks from the ships crew. "I don't think they have room service do they?" Sam said scouting the room for any potential threats and escape routes.

The mess hall was grayish, not one single bit of color on the walls, making it a dull and very uninviting place. On the left side there were about 2 replicators which looked like they could do with some extra tune up. Opposite of them was a small bar where a greasy Bolian wavede his serving spoon the scepter. There was a queue waiting, and judging from the smell and the lack of enthusiasm on the faced of the people in line, fresh vegetables and meat were not on the menu.

The Bolian looked up at the new crew members and watched with amusement as they eyes the replicators. "Forget it," he shouted at them, "those things haven't worked in ages." He held up a spoon full of whatever it was that he was serving and added, "You get what I give you." He dumbed the contents of his spoon on the tray of the person in front of him with a sickening plop.

When it was Sam's turn, she managed to obtain a tray from a large stack dumped on the ground, she had to control her self from not throwing up.

The goo by lack of a better word was a sickening greenish grayish color.

She sniffed it and felt her stomach revolt as a smell of something undefinable reached her nose.

Suddenly she remembered an old earth tale, something about a young boy called Oliver and the question of "Can I have some more?"

In the far corner was a large table almost empty and Sam pointed. " There's some place there."

"You know.. I might be able t'fix that," Maxine told the Bolian and nodded towards the replicator.

He snarled at her and lifted a spoon of glop. She let him slap some goo on her tray, but seriously doubted if she'd eat it.

The Bolian sneered at Max and without missing a beat slopped some food on Keighlee's tray.

Keighlee felt her stomach try to escape from the top of her throat. She swallowed hard.

As they were walking Sam could feel the eyes of the freighter crew burning in her back. Several of them whistled and yelled at them.

Despite the uniform it was as if she walked the plank naked so to speak. A bald crewmember with a pock marked face and hair that looked as if it hadn't been washed reached out and pinched Sam's behind as she waled by. He smiled at here revealing several rotten teeth.

Sam managed to smile back. She turned back to Keighlee and Max.

"You two alright?"

"No," whispered Keighlee, "But just keep going."

Finally the group managed to sit down, the benches were old and looked like they would collapse under their combined weight.

Suddenly Sam stopped stirring in her goo when she smelled something horrible. It was the same bald crewmember who had pinched her behind now sitting next to her.

She slowly tried to shift to the side but he wouldn't let her.

"Hey baby, you sure look fine in that outfit," said the man as he carefully rested his hand upon her thigh.

"Please keep your hands to yourself." she whispered slowly trying to push away his hand from her leg.

Taylor eyed the scene carefully, several other crewmembers were moving in their direction. He made a quick gesture with his right hand and the marines slowly moved to take up a more defensive position.

The man cackled gleefully, "You sure are a feisty one. I like 'em that way." He smiled at Sam, showing her several gaps in his stained and rotten teeth. He moved his hand so that in now rested upon her bosom.

Clenching her jaw she tried to count to ten but to no avail. With a sudden and swift move she took up the tray and plate with the goo and smashed it in the bald guys face.

"I told you to keep your hands to yourself." she barked and then looked at the other crewmembers.

Several of the crew who had gathered around to watched chuckled as the man growled in frustration and grabbed a hand full of Sam's hair, "You are going to pay for that you little tramp."

Keighlee stood up and stepped back from the table, speechless. Cold hairy arms grabbed her by the waist and before she knew it she was slumped over some thug's shoulder. She pounded her fists on its back without effect.

When the guy with Keighlee turned to walk away with her, he ran into a red-headed Maxine who drew her arm back and punched him full in the face. Then she promptly stomped on his foot and kneed him in the groin, all in a quick one-two-three move. "Bloody frackin' perverts."

Max shook her hand and then advanced on the guy, ready to start poking him in the chest as she continued to rant. "We don't take t'being manhandled by the likes of you."

She glared at the other crew members who'd been eyeing them and making advances. "And t'lot of you better stand the bloody 'ell back or you'll find your testicles an' wankers launched out the airlock in the middle of the frackin' night." It was pretty evident that Maxine had gotten a little miffed.

Beck reached over and plucked Keighlee off the guy's shoulder before she landed on the floor on her rear, given that the guy was more concerned with grabbing his crotch than he was with holding onto her. He set her on her feet with a wink and a grin.

Several of the other Marines stepped up to where Sam was battling another of the crew. Chords reached out a hand and rested it on the offending crewman's shoulder. "We'd appreciate it if you let the lady go," he asked reasonably as his fingers tightened to an almost painful degree.

Sam kicked out with her left leg, hooking her foot behind the bald guys knee, bringing the man down onto the mat. In one fluid movement Sam had the man on his stomach with her own in the guys back.

“Don’t ever call me tramp again. Next time I will break your neck,? Sam whispered softly in his ear.

Then she got up swiftly and pulled down the uniform. She noticed that the Marines were holding back the other crewmembers. Then all over sudden one of the freighter crew started to applaud and laugh while he helped up his bald friend.

“Told you Stevenson. You owe me replicator rations!!!.?

Sam nodded at Chords and took a deep breath. "Perhaps we should go back." she suggested looking at the rest of the team.

Before anyone could answer, the freighter's captain entered the messhall flanked with a couple of his security personnel.

The messhall's roar of commotion stopped abruptly. Almost everyone in the room was motionless, as if frozen in time.

Keighlee blushed as she adjusted her apparel which had severely shifted in the mini-melee.

"What is going on in here?" demanded the captain, his voice loud enough to echo in the room. He walked over to one of his crew members who was picking himself up off the ground. "Tell me what this is about Bixer." His intense eyes flashed with anger.

Taylor watched from behind his shaded eyes. He noticed that the man the captain was talking to was the same crewman who delivered their uniforms earlier in the day.

"Awwee Cap'n, we wuz jus gettin' to know the new folk," replied Bixer.

"I'm sure," replied the captain moving to stand next to Sam. "What in the universe are you doing dressed like that?" The captain looked at the other ladies, "What were you ladies thinking coming here dressed like that?"

The Captain seemed to be addressing Keighlee who was still trying to adjust the stringy outfit to cover up as much as she could.

"We were told to dress in these uniforms, Sir." she answered meekly.

"What Ferengi sold you that line of crap?" He demanded as he turned now to Sam. The captain did not wait for an answer, instead he followed Sam's gaze back to Bixer who had now started a careful examination of the fasteners on his boots.

The Captain took three measured strides back to Bixer, grabbed him by the collar of his uniform shirt and slammed him hard into the wall. "Did you deliver proper uniforms to these women Bix?"

"Yesser...I mean no...It wuz jus a joke Cap'n," replied Bixer.

The captain growled and threw his crew member to the floor. "Listen to me," he shouted. "We are 4 hours from entering Fed space. We have an entry inspection to prepare for. I do not have time to deal with jokes. If it happens again I will leave the lot of you on some space rock." The captain empahized his comments by kicking Bixer in the stomach. "Get these women the correct uniform and then get back to work."

Unable to get enough breath to speak Bixer simply nodded as the captain flashed an icy stare at him and turned and left the room.

Sam muttered under her breath and nodded at some of the Marines. Following them, the crowd silently moved to the side as their group walked to the exit, Sam ushered both Max and Keighlee to hurry up. As they were walking back to their joint quarters Sam said to Max.

"Remind me never to get you miffed. You pack quit a good punch."

Point of No Return"
By: Dr. Alyssa Caitlin Northrop, Chief Intel Officer, [PST]
Keighlee Alexi, Engineer , [RNPC]
Matthew Mason, Prisoner, [RNPC]
Maxine Lucinda Tapert, Computer Specialist, [PC]
Samantha Carter, Security Officer, [RNPC]

Stardate: 58209.03 1900



The Federation space station was dark and cold.

Keighlee stared down at the black metallic floor as she waited for Alyssa to return from meeting her contact.

Keighlee had a bad feeling about it. She didn't remember anything about it in the mission specs.

She was scared. More than any other time she could remember in her career. She peaked from around the corner in the direction she had last seen her.

No surveillance cameras were in this part of the corridor but she still felt like she was being watched. "Tara Jones, Tara Jones, I'm Tara Jones." she rehearsed in her head.

Alyssa shook her head slightly as she walked down a separate corridor from the one she'd taken to the meeting. Young Ms. Keighlee was peaking around the corner of the hallway she'd left by. This girl had a lot to learn about tradecraft.

Her shoes made no sound as she walked up behind the girl. Leaning in close, "Tara....what're you doing?"

When the girl jumped nearly out of her skin, Alyssa could only laugh to herself. A smile crept onto her face. The brunnette held her hands up as the engineer whirled around. "Ok...Calm down....it's just me."

They'd left the others in another part of the station and she knew they'd be waiting for them. Once Keighlee's heart had ceased it's threat to explode....she nodded with her head, indicating that the young woman should follow. Once they'd started moving, Alyssa slowed enough to fall into step with the other woman.

While she hadn't mentioned it to anyone, ever since they'd come aboard this station, she'd felt like something was wrong. Though it wasn't anything she could put her finger on.

But it wasn't long before she was to find out.

A few minutes later, they'd re-entered the main section of the station and easily blended in with the multitude of people there.

Despite all the beings....the uneasy feeling she'd had only got worse. Slowing a bit...she slipped the isolinear chip she'd retrieved into Keighlee's pack. "Take a left at the next junction," she whispered. "I'll meet you back at the rendezvous point with the others. Whatever happens...get to the rendezvous point. If I'm not back in 20 minutes....leave and get the job done."

Alyssa knew "cops"....and she could pick them out of a crowd. There were several Starfleet Security officers down the row....trying to look as if they were just anyone else. It was the haircut that always gave them away. They all had the same one.

Praying to all the gods she could think of...she prayed that they didn't have a clue about the rest of her team...and decided that she'd have to draw them away and make it look like she was there alone. So she didn't make any moves or looks towards Keighlee as she let the girl drift away from her in the crowd.

For a moment, she stopped and looked at one of the store displays on the Promenade. Nothing in the window was particularly interesting...but it allowed her to take a moment to organize just what was going on around her. Three just up the hall in front of the bar....another three back behind her, spread out trying to look like they were doing anything other than watching her.

Amateurs.

Keighlee, after walking for several minutes, Keighlee heard commotion. She could see several security officers running up the corridor. They raced pass her. Instinctively she gulped. She debated her situation and then turned and followed in the direction the security personnel went.

The Archeologist passed the forward three and turned right at the junction, knowing Keighlee had gone the other way. Unfortunately for her, Alyssa found even more Starfleet Security around the corner....and not much else.

Again they were trying to look nonchalant....but when she stopped in the hallway, they all turned towards her. Two in front...another six covering her retreat. "Frack....."

As random people filtered passed her...she reached behind her and slipped her phaser pistols from the hidden holsters in her pack. There wasn't a chance in hell she'd make it out of this...but....well....maybe it would give the rest of the team a chance to get their mission accomplished.

She began firing....taking down the two in front of her....but more came in when their friends had fallen. Diving for cover, the corridor lit up with phaser fire....the Federation forces keeping her pinned down while they advanced.

Northrop made a drastic decision...and popped up from hiding, her weapons firing in full automatic mode. Crimson pulse after pulse flew out from the emitters as she made a run for it down the hall. Unfortunately for her....several beams intercepted her path, striking her torso in a couple different places.

The world greyed out...and then went black as her legs turned to jelly beneath her and she fell onto the hard black floor.

Keighlee saw the firefight from across the promenade. She slipped back into the corridor she came from and leaned against the wall. She felt weak. Her mind wanted to run, but her legs wouldn't move.

She felt the rush of adrenaline and started walking. Trying to appear calm as more security staff approached and passed her.

She had memorized most of the station junction locations and began systematically searching for the rest of the away team.

She spotted one of the marines keeping lookout at a place where a corridor made a T-shaped intersection.

She approached him. Around the corner she could see the others at the end of a hallway sitting in a lounge area. As she walked toward them she spotted a isochip protruding from a junction box. It glowed and flashed as it sent and received data from Max as sge hacked the system with her portable computer from the comforts of a lounge chair.

Max was in the 'zone'. She was totally unaware of Keighlee's return. Her eyes had a far away look to them as they filled with code and strings of data. The Federation had some tricky security, and she was having to be very careful. It wasn't as outdated as she'd believed. It wasn't anything she couldn't handle, and she was almost on the verge of getting into the files she needed to change.

There was little that Sam could do other then pretending she was waiting for some one while Max hacked the system. As she saw Keighlee approached Sam knew instinctively something was not right. Slowly she walked over to her.

"What happened? Where is Alyssa."

Keighlee tried to keep from feeling frantic, but in a shakey voice she replied, "S-she's dead."

"I think we've been compromised. Six or seven of them, shooting she...." her voice trailed off.

One of the nearby marines who was monitoring local com traffic shook his head. "Security was called to investigate a criminal suspect. I think we're okay."

Sam clenched her jaw.. "Damn that woman." she uttered under her breath. "Couldn't keep her guns from firing right."

Maxine suddenly shut the portable computer and stood up. "We're in," she told the Marine who was in charge. "Everyone has a new identity," she added as she stepped over and retrieved the isochip from the junction box and slid it into her pocket.

"Right, time for a change then," Beck announced and motioned to one of the other Marines who began collecting the 'old' chips and handing out the new ones.

Keighlee pulled the IDENT chip from the Federation Combadge they all were wearing and handed it to the marine who was going around collecting them.

Another marine handed out their Federation uniforms from a gear bag. She took the uniform and looked around. They were in a section of the station that was largely uninhabited due to the fact that the station's population was reassigned when the war started. Much of the station's expansion areas were never completed.

She stepped over to a corner of the lounge and quickly changed into the uniform. She wondered if she'd have any modesty left after this mission.

She inserted her IDENT chip into the combadge on her uniform which chirped when it became activated. She could not fathom the magic Maxine must have needed to impose these rogue identities into the Federation's systems.

She handed the freighter uniform back to the young marine for disposal.

The Marine took the freighter uniform and another one handed Keighlee the new one.

Maxine changed along with everyone else. When they were all finished, the Marine with the freighter uniforms and old combadge chips simply took the whole mess to a replicator and triggered the reclamation function until there was nothing left.

Mason quietly walked up to the group, he had slipped away to see what he could find out about the phaser battle with Alyssa. "If we are going to go it had better be now. Security is focused on Northrop. She is dead by the way, she was caught by a random ident scan. She was on a watch list."

Taylor stood up tugging unconfortably at his new uniform. He removed his sun glasses once more and tucked them into his pack, "Let's roll."

Taylor led the group of "Star Fleet Officers" down the corridor toward the hanger bays. They walked almost rank and file. Like 'Fleeters' on a mission.

Keighlee and Max walked in the rear of the troop, discussing how Max had arranged their "mission specs" in the fleet system. Keighlee was astounded at her resourcefulness.

As they arrived at the hanger bay's security portal, they each went through single file, causing the security console to chirp as it registered each of them.

Someone from shuttle operations greeted them with a formal salute, "Your shuttle is on pad 12," he said pointing in the general vicinity.

As they turned to go, the Ops officer spoke loudly, "Wait, you are short one crewman."

There was a long silence. "Hi, I'm Tara Jones," blurted Keighlee who then tried to smooth over the awkward moment with smile and a little sex-appeal. "Uhm, you know... "she continued somewhat blundering, "...staff shortage, double duty for us or double rotation for them."

The young officer suspiciously checked his pad. "It does indicate that crew ISI 2883a was scheduled for a double rotation."

"Yes," acknowledged Keighlee, "I guess we'd best get going."

"Please do," answered the ops officer, appearing somewhat annoyed. "Your pilot is waiting.

Mission Zone"
By: Taylor , Marine , [NPC]

Stardate: 58209.03 2030



Taylor leaned back in his chair and rubbed his eyes with the heal of his hands. Looking around the cramped shuttle he was pleased to see that the away team had settled in for their trip to the tachyon substation. The two Federation pilots talked quietly to each other, but left the other pretty much alone. His thoughts turned to their mission. He was amazed that everything was continuing as planned. The unexpected death of the mission commander had been unfortunate, but the team has managed to work their way though the problem. The big marine reached into his pocket and pulled out a smaller than usual PADD. It fit easily into the palm of his large hand. His CO Major McAllister had given it to him with instructions that he should use it only in the event of Northrop's death. He reached up to rub his eyes again; this time pausing to hold the device over his right eye long enough for a scanner to quickly scan his eye and verify his identity.

The little PADD came to life. The Major had given him copies of the mission specs and protocols. His lips opened to form a slight smile. The Major apparently did not trust Northup. Taylor himself did not trust her. She was a spook, and as a general rule Taylor did not trust *them* one bit. To his way of thinking, spooks had killed more marines than they had helped with their *top secret* information. Taylor read the information on the PADD and when he had it committed to memory he purged the device and stowed it back in his pocket. Taylor cold feel the change in the hum of the shuttle's impulse engines. He looked up to where the pilots sat and watched as the co-pilot turned around in his chair. "We are approaching the station," shouted the co-pilot. "Get ready please," He turned and faced forward in his chair again, but then swiveled back to them again. "Oh, please ask the departing crew to hurry. We are running behind." He turned around again and said no more. Taylor stood as the shuttle docked. "This was it," he thought, "Game on."
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