The Last March
By: Jonathan Wright, Executive Officer, [PC]
Keighlee Alexia , Engineer , [NPC]
Stardate: 58210.7 0930
The federation's prisoners stood waiting in the control center. Mason's brother remained under watch in his cell. It was the first time the prisoners had congregated together as a group. One of the prisoners, the young girl named Luci studied every movement Keighlee made. She watched as Keighlee placed a small cylindrical object on the ground. Stepping away, she pulled out a padd and tap-tap-tapped on the screen. The object levitated and made a humming crackling sound as it disappeared and energized force fields which resolved into people. Keighlee looked over at Luci and noticed her smiling. That gave her a renewed feeling of confidence.
Keighlee turned her head back toward the holographic figures which consisted of each member of Red Squad and a prisoner dressed in black robes in front of them. She approached the figure of Mason and studied the details closely. She gave the simulacrum a sharp push. It staggered sideways, caught it's balance and turned toward her and said, Hey! Watch it! After which it resumed it unflinching posture. Satisfied, looked up at the clock. Twenty-six minutes remaining. As she began unpacking and assembling the transporter beam pattern enhancer Commander Wright briefed the prisoners.
The mission's timetable was etched in Keighlee's memory engrams like a tattoo. Once the doors opened, the execution ceremony would commence. It was estimated to last about 10 minutes depending on how long winded any speeches would be. During that time, they would be beaming up to the Pegasus.
She turned to Commander Wright and was about to speak when a voice thundered over the intercom.
"This is Admiral Fareck. You are to release prisoner 112AA7. His purpose was to evaluate your performance. I will receive his report now and debrief Red Squad at 1400 hours."
Thinking quickly, Commander Wright moved to the intercom button on the wall which glowed white and pressed it. "This is James Harp," he said with a theatrical snarl in his voice, "your prisoner 112AA7 died during the first round of interrogation."
In a pitched voice, the Admiral replied, "And you did not report this aberration? This is unacceptable!"
For a moment Commander Wright considered the possibility that this admiral didn't read the manual. He was about to be versed on it. Commander Wright pressed the intercom button again and in the same gruff voice replied, "This is James Harp, Red Squad Code of Conduct, Section 1, Article 5, paragraph 1, 'No contact shall be made with Red Squad during the period of sequester.' He paused, "You have violated that code by contacting us. We will be happy to debrief YOU at 1400 hours."
A long pause ensued.
"Very well." Came the response, "bring the deceased to the execution chamber. We will see you at 1400 hours."
Commander Wright turned to Keighlee who nodded, "I know what to do Sir."
She quickly double checked her configurations for the transporter beam enhancers because getting out of there was going to be their biggest priority. Then she turned to the holographic figures which were still standing at attention. She flipped through the scripts as she approached the simulacrum of Mason's brother. "Sorry, you died," she said has she re-wrote some lines of code. The simulacrum dropped dead to the floor.
Next, she considered how undignified it would look for Red Squad to carry the body. She sized up the situation and tapped a few more commands into the PADD. "You are going to carry the body, " she said as the image of the Klingon woman, the tallest and strongest of the prisoners in appearance, picked up the body and slung it across her shoulder. Keighlee smiled as the AI algorithms she incorporated into the program adjusted itself. The Red Squad members shoved he prisoners to regroup them into a new processional arrangement.
Keighlee looked up. Nine minutes and 55 seconds remained on the Death Clock.
The Pegasus Maneuver
By: Quint Freedman, Executive Officer, [NPC]
MRessha KaTira (Blitzer) , Marine Pilot , [NPC]
Stardate: 58210.7 0935
Blitzer got up and went to the rear of the ship. There he found a Burner and the ship's engineer manning small drones to cut free and retrieve something Burner called a "Tesla Roadster" from the early 23rd century. Blitzer could not understand why this primitive looking ESV was a "museum piece."
Blitzer interrupted the silence, "You guys are going to get us in trouble. Is that even going to fit in the rear bay?"
"Take it easy Blitz," replied Burner, keeping his focus on the job at hand," We got this all figured out." Burner winked at the Engineer.
"Well, better hurry 22 minutes til show time."
"Uh huh," said Burner as carefully guided the roadster toward the cargo bay.
Blitzer returned to the flight deck and resumed monitoring passive sensors.
The ship logged the status of the rear bay door open and close which was then accompanied by celebratory sounds.
Suddenly a sensor alert went off, Blitzer tapped his com badge, "Burner, get up here quick. We have a bogey." He calibrated the sensors to try and get a better idea what was there.
"I'm on my way," he replied, "What have we got."
Blitzer replied, "looks like another ship, cloaked, gravemetrical readings indicate it's a good size ship. And... it's taken up position right next to us. They nearly collided with us. Range... 780 meters, at this distance they would detect our impulse engines even if we are cloaked."
Suddenly RAWR appeared behind them causing both to pilots turn around with a start.
"baQa'" exclaimed Blitzer, "can you be less sneaky?"
"I'm sorry, " said the large dragon avatar, "but I thought you might want to know there is a Romulan ship just off to port."
Blitzer's eyebrow dropped as he regarded her statement suspiciously, "And how do you know that?" he asked.
"Because," she answered confidently, "...it just decloaked" she said pointing toward the forward windows.
Both pilots turned to face the front. "Shuttle bays are opening," observed Blitzer out loud.
Burner watched as a shuttle exited the war bird. "Big Cat, now is our chance," he said bringing the engines online. "Match the shuttles course and speed.."
Without looking down, Blitzer deleted the course he had plotted and switched to manual. The tail of the Pegasus quickly arced around to bring the ship in line with the Romulan shuttle, "looks like we're all going to the same party," said Blitzer, looking over at his co-pilot.
Burner did a passive sensor scan. "It looks like they did not detect us", he said.
Blitzer calculated their new course and trajectory. "Looks like they are going to land on the same pad the we dropped off the away team."
"Nice, we can slip right in there too.," said Burner.
A few short minutes later, the Pegasus was sitting cloaked on the pad next to the Romulan shuttle. "I suspect the shuttle was saturated with tachyon particles there no point scanning for cloaked ships," noted Blitzer.
"....and I have a lock on the away team. Too easy at this range." Blitzer beamed.
Burner nodded in agreement, but he was worried. "This is going too easy," he thought. "And why are the Romulans here?"
"Five minutes til showtime. Are the sensors calibrated for the signal?" asked Blitzer.
"Yeah...hey check this out Blitz," Burner tapped on his console and a live feed popped up on their screen. Burners blood began to boil, "They are openly broadcasting this execution."
Blitzer folded his arms and leaned back, "barbaric!"
On the screen, processions of delegates and dignitaries from many planets filed in and took seats in the large chamber hall. Then, a fanfare started playing and the Federation President and his high council members emerged and walked toward the center of the chamber. There, a large circular platform stood meters off the floor. It supported the Federation's Death Chamber, a podium and a few chairs.
The fanfare subsided as the president stood at the podium.
"Today marks a new dawn in Earth history...." he started, his gestures were exaggerated. "For today, the Earth will join with the Romulan Star Empire and together we will rule the quadrants."
Doors at the back of the hall opened and a small group of Romulans emerged, and proceeded toward the podium. The venue erupted with concerned chatter. The leader took up a position standing next to the President who was gesturing those in attendance to quiet down.
Blitzer extended a claw and pointed at the screen, "That's the ugliest Romulan I've ever seen. Is that even a Romulan?"
On the screen the President continued, "...and to commemorate and seal this day, we are executing six prisoners...."
With a loud metallic clang, the doors behind the stage groaned open slowly. From the darkness, holographic images of the horrific Red Squad emerged, escorting their hooded prisoners. Slowly and ceremoniously they led the prisoners to their spot next to the execution chamber. The images were so precise, no one suspected they were not real.
"...these prisoners represent everything the Federation is against and everything that has made us weak."
From the audience came some some faint clapping has he paused.
The Red Squad removed the hoods of each prisoner as their names were announced.
... a mother of the Klingons, a sli-vak named T'Val." ... A child of the Bajoran, Ro Laren" ... A traitor of the Federation. Admiral Riker." ... A child of the Maquis, Lucinda Sparrow ... A Heretic, spreader dissension and lies, Sophia J. Livingston .... A Father of the Rebellion Edmondo Silvio."
The prisoners were marched into the death chamber and the door was sealed.
The President turned and faced the prisoners who were now all in the death chamber, unmasked and bound behind their backs, he nodded in approval.
The Red Squad sealed dismissed themselves, returning from where they came. The large doors closed and a round of applause came from the audience.
Both the Romulan leader and the President turned and walked toward a control console jutting out of the floor. Each pushed a large red button on it and the sound of the execution chamber powering up resonated throughout the hall.
Then, a moment of silence before the chamber fired with a deafening thunder and hissing sounds. An intense red beam seemed to disintegrate the prisoners layer by layer.
Burner's fingers flashed over his console and he frantically worked the transporter controlled. He wanted to make sure that the timing was perfect. Burner smiled. He looked at the screen. "Got 'em! That crafty little Engineer built in a subspace signal that told me exactly when to energize."
"Pegasus to Commander Wright," said Burner. "We have our new cargo and are ready to drop our old cargo."
"Acknowledged," replied Wright. "We are ready for them."
"Computer execute program Prisoner Swap," said Burner.
"Prisoner transfer is compete," replied the computer. Over the comm system came Wright's voice, "We have them secured. Get us out of here and let's go home."
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