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Doctor Baptiste, I Presume? (Part 2) [CD]

Posted on Tue May 14th, 2019 @ 5:03pm by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Commander Yumi Han

Mission: Interlude 3
Location: Aboard the Emmett Ryan
Timeline: 1 December, 2394 - 0900 Hours

Continued from "Doctor Baptiste, I Presume (Part 1)"

[ON]

Jackson sat at the helm. He casually scanned the screens before him. They were coming up on the rendezvous coordinates. He subtly started to adjust their speed. Over the past few weeks he had become pretty familiar with the ship. He glanced around making sure all the crew were preoccupied with their own stations. For the most part that was true, although it was pretty boring trip so far. He made eye contact with Laura over at tactical just as she looked up towards him. He gave a slight smile, which she returned, and he returned his focus to his console. He hoped that she just considered him being flirtatious as opposed to nervous about anyone seeing him slow the ship down to pick up their unknown traveling companion. They were at the coordinates, but there had been no signal so far.

Sitting at the conn, Vance flicked his eyes to his blank message queue every few minutes. They had entered the rendezvous system minutes ago, but their contact's signal had yet to arrive. He cleared his throat and glanced again, frowning at the empty display. He sighed. The act of secrecy came almost second-nature to Collins who was piloting as nonchalantly as he had been for the first three hours of their flight. "Anything on sensors, McCain?"

The tactical officer stiffened, clearly not expecting any questions to come her way while they were in the middle of a long warp to Bajor. Laura McCain's hands bustled over her console for a second. "Nothing, sir. Warp 9.5 is warp 9.5." Laura looked hopefully at Commander Vance, and Joe realized the young Crewman thought that she was about to be dismissed for the rest of what should have been a boring shift. Vance flexed his jaw but said nothing and turned to stare at the hypnotic flow of warp space on the main screen.

His fingers dug into the pads of his arm rests as the seconds ticked by. They raced toward the system edge, and Vance felt a growl of frustration growing in his chest. "Helm, full stop."

Jackson could see the captain getting anxious. He was not surprised at all when the command came to stop, but Jackson did his best to seem surprised just like the rest of the crew and only hesitated a short moment to look at the captain, "Aye, sir." Jackson brought the ship out of warp. While he didn't know who they were picking up, he hoped that all was well. Jackson kept his fingers close to the controls.

"McCain?" Vance said.

"Sir." Laura scowled at her console and swept her hands rapidly through the subspace scans coming in. Around the bridge, crewmen sagged with the realization that this stop was planned and shore leave was at least one mission farther away than they thought. Vance messaged the rendezvous coordinates to Laura from the controls in his captain's chair. She froze as the notification popped on her screen. Then she stopped brushing from one system-wide scan to another and zoomed in directly to a specific moon of the system's only ringed planet. Laura shook her head. "I'm sorry sir. There's nothing. Wait... Traces of monoterium pulsate from the gas giant planet."

"What does that mean?"

"That's an artificial compound, Captain" the bridge-duty engineer answered. "A byproduct left in subspace by a jump into warp space."

"Give Collins that location, and proceed at max impulse." Vance leaned forward, eyes locked to the main screen, and raised the communicator on his left wrist to his mouth. "Attention. All crew standby. One of our finest has missed rendezvous, and we're stopping to find out why."

The crossfire of confused, furtive glances across the bridge stopped, and the crew of the Emmett Ryan set to the task finally made clear.

Once Jackson received the coordinates he pushed the ship to max impulse and headed that way. Jackson wasn't sure what to make out of what was happening. The secret attempt to retrieve this individual. The fact that the captain referred to them as "one of our finest". Then the missed connection. He was ready for anything at this point.

As the ringed planet grew closer on the main screen, a ghostly shimmer appeared in their path. "Magnify that sector--that cloud of something," Vance said, squinting at the faint image. It burst to fill the screen, and his bloodshot eyes opened wide. Starship detritus drifted in metal claws and a spore cloud of frozen water drops. "Doesn't look like they made it to warp space," he said.

Laura scanned the debris area for an escape pod. Her console barked, and the main screen flipped automatically to the threat. "Cardassians," she hissed. Laura tapped her tactical UI open, and her finger dropped on the option the moment Commander Vance said, "Shields!"

The Emmett Ryan staggered under a swift volley of photon torpedoes. "Red alert," Vance ordered. "Collins, get us out of torpedo range."

Laura had already targetted the Cardassians and was ready to unleash on them. She recognized this ship and she was ready for a rematch, when the order to disengage she was a bit surprised, "Sir, should we fire?"

Jackson was already maneuvering away. He knew that the Captain would need answers, a destroyed Cardassian ship would not let them know exactly what happened here. The Cardassians were nice enough to be predictable in their attacks, and Jackson easily looped around their shots and quickly got them out of torpedo range.

“Scan for human life signs,” Vance said.

Laura started a shield-penetrating scan for life and watched the progress wheel spin as the bridge went silent with a mutual held breath.

“Now, now, Joseph,” a smokey voice resonated across the bridge half a second before a familiar—long hated—Cardassian face appeared on the main screen. The enemy captain grinned smugly. “You could just ask me nicely if we have her...” She leaned forward in her command chair, enjoying the moment of suspense. “We do. Dr. Vanessa Baptiste of the Maquis will finally face the consequences of her war crimes agaisnt the Dominion.” She leaned back. The smirk slid off her face like a garden slug. “And so will all of you.”

Jackson hid his smile inwardly. He finally had confirmation of the location of his target. His mission would soon be over. If he survived this...

The Cardassian ship reappeared on the main screen. It charged at full impulse and loosed another blistering volley of proton torpedoes.

“Shields at 30%, Captain,” Laura said tightly.

Thirty?

“Field repairs ran short of materials. Full repairs are scheduled at Bajor.” A hint of accusation crept into her voice. They weren’t strong enough to take on another battle so soon.

Vance bared his teeth savagely at the Emmett Ryan’s nemesis. Baptiste knew far too much to lose to the enemy alive. “Maximum evasion. McCain, target fire to punch a hole for transporters. If you can’t lock on to Baptiste, I’ll go in myself and drag her out.” He slashed his tunic sleeve across his lips to dry the spittle gathering on them.

Jackson chuckled to lighten the atmosphere, "No need for dramatics, cap, we will get you that hole." Jackson was already spinning the ship as shots flashed by around them. He looked over his shoulder at Laura, "Ready to kick some Cardassian's butt?"

Laura returned the grin. The ship was falling apart but she couldn't let Jackson's confidence and enthusiasm boost her up, "Always!" The two of them worked furiously together as they pushed their damaged ship to the brink. Jackson was easily avoiding the shots as the Cardassian tactics officer seemed to be a bit slow on reflexes and as far as Jackson was concerned, very predictable. While things did look good as their torpedoes and phasers lanced into the enemy ship, it would only take a one or two good shots to knock out the shields.

Jackson knew he wouldn't be able to keep this up for much longer. He glanced quickly over his shoulder again and Laura caught his gaze. While no words were spoke, they both knew the situation and what had to be done. She nodded to his unspoken request. Jackson turned back to his console and focused. "Captain, get ready, you will have one chance to get Baptiste." Jackson maneuvered the ship to face off with their enemy. He pushed their impulse engines to the max and the they barreled directly towards what seemed to be their destruction. Photon torpedoes were immediately fired into their direction. Laura setup a spread of phaser fire and blew the first few torpedoes out of the air. Jackson blew right through their rubble and spun the ship back and forth as more phaser fire flashed by. Jackson took the ship directly at the enemy and at the last second pushed the ship down and they raced along the underside of the enemy.

Laura unleashed a barage of phaser fire and torpedoes that ripped into the underbelly hitting their mark, "Shileds momentarily down, sir!"

"Energize," Vance said, standing from his seat. He walked toward the wail of a transporter ghost, and smiled in triumph as a human woman materialized on the bridge. He reached out to catch her as she teetered forward, but she stiffened on nimble feet, stepping into the empty air where her captors had stood. Stone grey eyes rose to meet his. Steady and calculating. His grin widened. "Doctor Baptiste. My crew will have us out of here in moments."

Laura quickly targeted two more major systems and fired just as Jackson pulled out of the maneuver and started to gain distance from the Cardassians.

"Sir, their shields are back up, but their weapons and engines are offline. They are dead in the water." Laura smiled as she saw Jackson look back her way. It was an awesome battle, and they were a great team.

"Ready to warp out of here captain, on your orders." Jackson appeared to be looking back over his shoulder at the captain, but he was smiling at Laura, she was a skilled fighter, but her heart could not handle the Maquis style. It would break her soon. Jackson already setup a meeting with one of Zulg's employees to pick her up when they reached Bajor Just a little longer.

"Fire torpedoes," Baptiste ordered.

Vance whipped his head to scowl at her. "You're a bit shook up, doctor, but so is the Evan Ryan. Punch it, Collins."

"Belay that," she clipped. "You forget--" she aimed a finger at Vance "--that my orders take precedence in all matters of medicine. They have my research mainframe aboard that ship." Baptiste swiveled her gaze to pin Laura in her seat at the tactical station. "Destroy it."

Laura's eyes widened, and she looked to the commander. His lips twisting in a frown, Vance nodded grudgingly. A hail from the Cardassian ship chirped suddenly at his command chair. He looked back at the blinking light for a second. Then turned to face tactical again. "You heard her, McCain."

Jackson was a bit shocked by the command. The Maquis were not normally ruthless. He could see the turmoil rage within Laura. She was so close to her breaking point and this might be it. Jackson inwardly cursed, he was so close to getting her out, they just had to make it to Bajor. Laura stood there staring numbly at the captain. Jackson's lips tightened, he had to act. The captain and Baptiste were focused on the view screen and didn't catch his actions. With a couple of swift strokes on his panel, he transferred command of tactical. He was very grateful of Yumi and Nici's training at that point. He took a deep breath and focused on the hatred that his friends felt for the Cardassians. He pressed the firing button, unleashing the deadly firing sequence. The phasers slammed into the Cardassians, followed by several torpedoes. Each one slamming into the shields of the helpless ship. Jackson's heart seemed to thud loudly with each torpedo that smashed into the shields. He could feel the darkness that he had banished slowly start to creep back to him. He put it out bay for now, this was needed. He had to do this. Finally the shields gave way, the phaser fire ripped into the ship and the final torpedo sliced into hits heart, blowing it to smithereens. Murdering all that was on board. Jackson buried the darkness that threatened to overwhelm him. He would have to deal with his emotions later. A glance towards the captain and Baptiste and it appeared they were satisfied. Neither were looking at Laura at the time, so perhaps the ruse had worked. He could only hope. His mouth tightened as he stared at Baptiste. Justice will be coming for you, Jackson thought.

"They probably wouldn't have broken the encryption, but we can't take that chance, now can we?" For a second, Baptiste watched the particles of sizzling debris rain into the Evan Ryan like a flock of fireflies. Then without a word she left the bridge.

Jackson looked to the captain. Vance turned war-weary eyes away from the dead hailing light on his command console and nodded at Jackson. He took the ship to warp. They quickly left the grisly scene. But that scene would not be so quick to leave Jackson. He turned to look at Laura and their eyes met. He could see the relief in her eyes and that moment filled him with the strength to go on. Stephens had told him that he would have to do the terrible things that others could not. Jackson knew in his heart this would not be the last dark deed he would have to do. Laura's eyes met his his and while he saw the relief, he also saw disgust. She would never look at him the same. His actions had saved her soul, but the cost was what they had for each other. Was it love? He would never know.

Jackson looked to Baptiste, his mouth tightened, his eyes bore into Baptiste. Jackson turned back to his station. Seemingly to work out their path towards Bajor. In reality he sent an encrypted message to SFI.

=^= Package retrieved. Heading to Bajor. =^=

Jackson took a little solace knowing what awaited Baptiste on Bajor.

[OFF]

Lieutenant Junior Grade Jackson Smith
Chief Flight Control Officer/Covert Operations Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298



Ensign Laura McCain
Tactical Officer
Evan Ryan
NPC (by Jackson Smith)

Commander Joseph Vance
Captain of the Evan Ryan
New Maquis
NPC (by Yumi Han)

Vanessa Baptiste, M.D.
Director of Medical R&D
New Maquis
NPC (by Yumi Han)

 

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