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Starting the Search

Posted on Sun Mar 1st, 2009 @ 5:02pm by Commander Lorran Vos

Mission: Echoes of the Damned: Pilot Episode.
Location: Planet-side, Genesis Base Camp

Commander Vos approached the three members of his team with a blade of grass held in his hand. He held it to his lips in such a way that when he blew it made a sound like a kazoo. Then, seeing the looks he was getting, just smiled and let the grass flutter to the ground. "Alright, Lieutenants. Our job is to scout out the other ruins in this section of the city, just outside the area with the pyramid and the obelisk." he explained, waving them around a PADD he was carrying that showed an overview of the city. "We'll start in this area here," he pointed to a long building that ran nearly the length of one side of the pyramid and traced it up with his finger to a courtyard with what had once been a fountain, "and work our way through to here. If we don't find anything, we'll start working through the smaller buildings outside one by one."

"Lieutenant Mason, do you have a couple of security crewmen to bring with us?" Vos looked up at Krissy.

She lifted her eyes from the PaDD Vos had been demonstrating on. "Yes," she answered turning her gaze ever so slightly over the rest of the her party. "Both Lt Hark and Ensign Shire will be joining us shortly."

Ardeth looked at the grass, the sound the lieutenant commander had made had startled him for some reason.
In the meantime Ardeth had already begun to analyze his surroundings in his mind, the plants, the fresh air, the buildings. It was all very alien, almost exactly what you would expect on a alien planet. He tried not to think of the holo-horrors he had played when he was in the academy.

True to her word cutting a straight line through the long grass came Hark and Shire, both carrying a rifle, side arm and various over weaponry they had picked from the armory. Smoothly the skimmed around the team stopping between Lt Mason and Commander Vos.

K'Tan looked around and spoke quietly "Security crewmen or not we need to set up a perimeter around the area, sensor grid posts. If anything moves in or out we have to know. Second we have to set up codes of recognition with the other teams. Whatever will not reply to these codes is a potential hostile. I am sorry I am bringing such militaristic view on it but as they say, I don't want to get caught with my pants down". He looked at each and searching in his backpack he pulled out a sensor grid generator planting it in the ground "Lt. Mason, your assistance would be good if we planted these with the help of your team. it'd go faster. I have enough with me in the crate i brought along to set them up from three to three meters".

Feeling the eyes of her security team upon her Kristina looked to Commander Lorran for his approval before assisting K'Tan. His idea sounded solid even if his approach was a little biased.

"Mr. K'Tan, our job isn't to secure the area. It's to scout out the site we were assigned. We won't be able to stop every three meters to set up sensor posts. Base camp and the crash site will be secured by those left there to do that job by Commander DeVuor. Now, put those down and let's get going." Vos said, getting more and more irritated with K'Tan's continuing lack of regard for military protocol or the expertise of the Starfleet crew. Nonetheless, he left it at that as he led the way towards the long, vine-covered building that he'd pointed out on the PADD. "Hark, Mason, take point. K'Tan, Shire, rearguard. Everyone stay sharp." Vos ordered, producing his tricorder and hand light from his belt. They may not be able to pick up lifesigns, but comm badges and other technology were a different story. Perhaps if they got close enough to a group of survivors they'd start to pick something up. Unfortunately, that meant searching nearly room by room.

K'Tan nodded "I was trying to suggest with my idea that having a secure location to retreat to would be beneficial, then again seems safety is not a concern", he grunted and took a somewhat aggressive rearguard position, rifle set up to full power.

The ruin was strangled with heavy vines and centuries of dust. As the Lieutenants in front passed through the main door they suddenly found themselves in cool shadow, the lights on their rifles painting ominous shadows upon the walls. With the rest of the group filing in behind them and the soft chiming of tricorders the most noticeable sounds, they proceeded inside. Every once in a while the ceiling would open to either a natural skylight or a crack in the roof as a result of age or ancient battle, allowing them to pass through the odd pool of sunlight. It was like coming up for air.

Sweeping her weapon from side to side probing into every shadow Kristina stepped cautiously the beams of light illuminating the dusty, weathered space that had once served perhaps as community house of some sort. The rooms were bare, the contents long vanished with time but the engravings around each doorway remained ineligible to the away team as a reminder of the people that once lived here a long time ago.

At the rear the five foot frame of Ensign Shire was dwarfed by K'Tan but Mason had taught the robust women well not be intimidated by such people. Thankfully the Lieutenant could not see her how as her rifle trembled in her grip flashing her beam into the darkest corners frightened by the stories she had heard.

"K'Tan, you're the first Klingon I've ever met who was concerned with safety." Vos quipped before they moved in.

They traveled through the ruins in a tight knit group, every angle and shadow covered by sweeping hand lights and lamps affixed to phaser rifles. So even as Vos' tricorder began to chime a different tune, they had already seen what it was he had detected. They passed through a set of ruined doors that looked to have been barred from within and subsequently smashed through. Inside it was dark, with only the flickering of a Federation-pattern heating lamp providing the only meager light source from a corner of the room where it had been knocked over. Each strobe of the red light illuminated the blood stains that were like a coat of paint upon the walls, turning it black. Hark was the first in, right alongside Lieutenant Mason, and as his phaser's lamp revealed what lay on the floor he turned pale. "My God..." he gasped, pushing past Vos and Franklin in order to begin greeting his breakfast against the wall outside.

Lieutenant Mason was joined by Commander Vos at the door, and he echoed Hark's sentiment. "By the Prophets..." he said under his breath as he proceeded into the room. Everyone would soon be treated to the sight as well if they chose to follow. What had disturbed Hark so much was the bodies upon the floor. A group of colonists, ripped apart, dismembered and bled out, violated. Among the dead were women, children, infants... None had been spared. It was hard to tell which body parts went together at times, the scene was so chaotic. Of one thing Vos was sure...Henk O'Brien couldn't have done this.

K'Tan's face grew appalled by the sight as he cursed "Who could have done such a dishonorable deed?! I will rip the P'TaQ who did this limb from limb!". He growled studying each body, for any possible clues, any items left by the attackers. In a corner he approached a body he knelt besides letting out a sigh. It was a deceased Klingon, possibly a crew member of the crashed bird of Prey. He touched the dead woman's forhead lightly, but it was obvious something was boiling inside him. He whispered in Federation Standard, loud enough for all to see "May you find peace in Sto'Vo'Kor, Sister". Turning slowly toward the others he took a sensor pod from his belt pouch discretely hiding it in the room, setting it up. It would detect any non friendlies entering the area then he spoke "Let us proceed Commander Lorran though if we run into the thing that hurt these people we may need some additional firepower".

Shire ducked out of the room covering her mouth likewise. Outside Hawk still heaving dryly Shire swallowed down the lungfuls of air with difficulties. "That," she whispered. "Will stay with me forever."

Setting her jaw Kristina watched K'Tan and Commander Lorran pick a careful route around the room. "How long have they been like this?" she asked her voice surprisingly steady.

"Not more than a few days. Local scavengers haven't gotten in here yet." Commander Lorran held his sleeve to his face and forced himself to breath through his mouth, trying not to let the sour, charnel house smell of death get to him. He had trained himself once to look at this sort of thing clinically, classifying a body as an "it" instead of a "he" or "she", but then he saw the remains of what used to be a mother curled protectively around her child. His head swam and he almost fell over, but he managed to stumble out of the room and lean against a wall outside.

"Commander!" Hark yelled from outside. "I think you should take a look at this!"

Turning around, Lorran followed Hark's voice down a side hallway where the man had foolishly gone in the hopes of a little privacy to empty his stomach in peace. Shire had joined him and the two were instinctively huddling together for that little added security, their phaser rifles up and sweeping the corridor in front of them. They both still looked deathly pale, but Hark at least had no more to throw up. Vos followed their eyes with his lamp to yet another gruesome scene not far from where the colonists had been butchered. "K'Tan! Get over here!"

Giving the bloody room one last sympathetic look Kristina turned on her heel following K'Tan at the sound of the Commanders voice. His tone she noted sounded raw as if he was struggling to hold on to his composure.

The first thing noticeable after rounding the corner was a bat'leth stuck into the stone wall. Its owner was still clinging to it, kneeling against the floor, ridged head resting against the wall. Past him lay what looked to be the entire crew of the bird of prey. They, at least, seemed to have put up a fight, but the result was the same. Klingon dead lined the hallway in various macabre poses. Vos once again gathered his intestinal fortitude and proceeded to examine the scene, noticing an armory of Klingon weapons scattered about, scars from disruptor fire lining the walls, and bright pink Klingon blood giving an almost cheerful air to the whole affair. Somehow, though, it was better than what he'd seen in that other room. Maybe it was because the Klingon's went down fighting and weren't merely slaughtered, or maybe it was the color of the blood, so alien to him. Maybe he was just more used to seeing scenes like this from the Dominion War. Perhaps it would dishonor the dead if he ran away and started heaving his guts out at the sight of them.

Something about the way the corpses were scattered, their blood splattered in arcs along the walls made Kristina shiver. It was clear to her now that her previous thoughts of O'Brien being a murdering coward were completely wrong. Abruptly she snapped back round to the direction they had just come from, her rifle poised pressing against her shoulder.
Her beam, however fell away into the thick darkness they had passed through, the weak streaks of sunlight appeared to be fading back into the sky, stealing their hopes of finding living survives with it.

Ardeth backed away from the room and went to find the nearest shaft of sunlight, drawing steady breaths through his mouth in order to stave off dry-heaving himself.

K'Tan followed the voice of the Commander and what he saw, changed his whole demeanor. His eyes nearly turned red at the sight of dead Klingon's. Tracing the disruptor shots on the wall he looked around trying to estimate the direction from which the attackers arrived. He let out a roar in anger at the death of his kinsmen. Without regard about personal safety he charged down a hallway from which he suspected the attackers came. With his rifle raised he proceeded forward prepared to fire, illuminating the shadowed area.

Kristina already tensed nearly leapt out of her skin at K'Tan's cry. Cursing under her breath she turned pelting after him, leaping cleanly over the bodies. They couldn't afford to split up especially if the environment was as hostile as it was appearing. Hawk and Shire still nursing their bruises from K'Tan forcing past them parted quickly as Mason speed past them.
She had almost enough of his lack of respect and ability to follow protocols and knew his promise in the brig was too good to be true. She didn't want to have to do it but if it came to she would stun him before he could put the team in danger.

"K'Tan, wait!" Vos yelled, then cursed in Bajoran as Krissy sped past in pursuit. He whipped around at Franklin and the two security officers. "You three don't move!" he ordered, looking irritated, as he pointed at the ground between them.

"Wouldn't dream of it, sir." Franklin answered weakly, still looking a bit green. The dead Klingons didn't help his disposition any.

However, instead Kristina came to a skidding halt the light from her rifle striking the Klingon's back. She crept up beside him her eyes darting around keenly.

K'Tan eventually came to a stop after a mere 20 meters realizing he will not accomplish much. He looked at Kristina and spoke quietly "I am sorry, I acted rashly again. Let's go back to the others.", he gathered himself walking back to check on Hawk and Shire, assuring both are fine. He looked at both security personnel and spoke "I am sorry you two, I really am".

Both Hawk and Shire shared a bemused look as they dusted themselves off. Mason looked past them throwing K'Tan a dangerous look before resuming her protective stance.

K'Tan threw her back a defying gaze, moving back to secure the area, checking the dead Klingons for clues to the possible nature of the attackers, obviously having calmed down. He knelt besides the Captain of the Bird of Prey's body and he whispered "K'ovor, rest well brother, you died a good death, worthy of a Klingon".

As K'Tan began opening the eyes of the warrior's bodies and howling at the ceiling to send their souls on their way to Sto'vo'kor, Vos turned to Kristina. "I'd say this just about rules out accidental death, wouldn't you say?" he said dryly. He'd put his tricorder away but his hand lamp remained out and on a swivel. Vos was giving the darkness a look of new respect and caution. "Okay, we're returning to base camp as soon as we're able. I want DNA markers from every body for later identification and the d'k'tagh dagger from every Klingon. K'Tan can handle their return to their families after the mission. We might also want to collect some of these other Klingon weapons. They may come in handy if we have a hand-to-hand fight in our near future. I doubt these warriors would object to having their blades used for more bloodshed should that become necessary, and I'd feel much safer having one with me if I happen to lose my phaser. Make it happen, Lieutenant Mason. As soon as we're done we're out of here."

Kristina nodded and knelt beside the nearest body and began her work with care as not to show disrespect for the fallen. Silently Shire bent down to help raising an eyebrow at Hawk who had remained a short distance away still looking a touch pale.

Then, Vos turned away and tapped his comm badge. =^="Lorran to Commander DeVuor. We've found the...remains of some of the colonists, maybe thirty people, and the crew of the Klingon ship. They've been slaughtered, Commander. It's bad. I'm going to collect material for identification and then return to base camp. I don't want to stay here any longer than I have to and I'll need a larger team if we plan on burying these people."=^=

Beverly voice filtered over the com, she sounded somewhat out of breath. "I'll get back to you Commander, we have a situation of our own at the moment".
And with that the link went dead.

Kristina swept her gaze up to the Commander at the sound of Bev's voice. "Perhaps we should leave and assist her. There doesn't seem to be anything more we can do here."

"Agreed, Lieutenant. Once we've gathered what we we need we'll head back to camp." Vos nodded.

K'Tan began moving from Klingon to Klingon retrieving their daggers, any close combat weapons he could find, stashing them with utmost respect. Eventually he gathered the Disruptor Rifles and Pistols, setting them in an orderly fashion on the stone floor. As he knelt besides each Klingon he uttered a prayer for each. Moving to collect DNA markers he proceeded as instructed, relieving samples from both Colonists and Klingon crew. He looked at Kristina and spoke quietly "My kinsmen will be buried by Klingon ritual... they died a good death Kristina and by all my ancestors and my father's name whoever did this to them... will die, slowly. ". It was obvious he was suffering. Once the task was completed he moved to Lorran and spoke "Sir, I have gathered the DNA markers from the Klingon crew, gathered their weapons as well".

Vos reverently took one of the mek'leths from K'Tan's armful of Klingon weaponry. He laid a hand flat against the blade and slid it slowly down to the hilt before nodding. "A good blade. I'd like you to give them out to anyone who might want a melee weapon. They may save our lives and I think these warriors would like to have seen them put to further use." he requested, rather than ordered, showing his respect for the fallen.

K'Tan nodded and smiled for the first time "Very well Sir. If our crew members desire them I shall also provide training in their use". Satisfied for a moment the Klingon took rearguard as the team moved out of the room.

"Alright, team, let's move." Commander Lorran ordered.


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