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Ground Zero

Posted on Wed Nov 11th, 2020 @ 8:25pm by Commander Samantha Howard & Lieutenant JG Carolyn Fredrickson & Commander Jonathan Grayson

Mission: Sabotage
Location: Planetside

The away team ran towards the large stone structure that housed the planetary defence grid - which apparently was offline according to Carolyn. Sam hoped that by some miracle the young engineer could repair it before they were overrun with goodness knows how many Cardassians.

Once the trio was inside the building, Jon began to barricade the doors by moving heavy, bulky furniture . "Carolyn, you and Sam get to the planetary defensive system and see if you get it online, even partially will be a help."

As the two women ran to see what could be done about the planetary defensive system. Jon pulled out his phaser and adjusting the beam to a tight, narrow beam focused it on the heavy doors and welded them shut. If the Cardassians wanted to get in, he was going to make it as difficult as possible. Satisfied that the barrier was the best it was going to be, he turned and headed after Sam and Carolyn.

Carolyn made a beeline for the control panels, still scorched from the previous attack. Several sections were blackened and unusable but some were functional.

" Ahhh... I hope you know how to drive this thing" Sam mused as Carolyn launched into action - the toolbox was thrown open and various equipment shoved in her pockets.

" Ahh.... got no torpedoes... and their phasers are woefully - oh wait, got phasers but no targeting sensors. " The young Engineer prattled off as her tricorder created an interface between the two systems.

"Carolyn, can't you crosswire the targeting sensors for the torpedoes into the phaser system? We won't have near the accuracy we normally would but right now, something is better than nothing."

" On it" Carolyn muttered as she dived under the control panel and buried herself waist deep in circuitry. Several grunts, swearing and the occasional clunk as she hit something to make it work emerged from the control panel before several more sections sputtered to life. " Before I drag my ass out from here could one of you see if it works."

Jon moved to the control panel and flicked some switches to the on position. For several seconds nothing happened then the screen sprung into life . "Think we have something here Carolyn. The sensors are active and their picking up one ship from the size, I'd say it's the Washington." He relayed to the young engineer.

" Great... I'll just stay under here holding two wires together" Fredrickson retorted, wriggling further under the console then banging some more things. " Is it still working?" She questioned, as some electrical sparks erupted from under the console "Don't you do that you wretched glorified toaster... I swear I'm gonna decompile you and recycle your components" She muttered under her breath.

"It's still working. Now tie them together and get out from under there." Jon ordered. "We're going to need you out here with us. Your job is defend this system. Sam and I will do our best to keep anyone from getting in here." Jon finished.

" You hear that toaster? stay working or I'll get back under here and wish you were never invented" Carolyn warned the console, carefully finalising the very temporary repair and rejoining her companions on two feet. More soot graced her face, this time she didn't bother trying to wipe it off.

" Defend.. right." She affirmed, checking her phaser attached to her hip, as did Sam.

The sound of transport beams could be heard, followed by screams of panic and the heavy footfalls of ground troops.

" Crunch time" Sam said, pulling out her phaser and finding a defensive position if the doors fell.

"We'll have the element of surprise but it won't last long." Jon told Sam and Carolyn. " We'll catch them in a cross fire and hopefully keep them bottled up at the entrance." He looked around. "There aren't any more weapons lying about are there?"

He looked at both women. "Stay calm. Focus on your targets. Short bursts are they best. Find something solid to get behind. Know I have every confidence in you both."

Sam looked around for a defensive position, flipping over a metal table and ducking down behind it. It wasn't great but it was better than nothing. Carolyn tucked herself down behind a tall cabinet near the control panel, weapon at the ready.

" Just breathe" Sam said softly, calming her breath and focusing on what would happen next.

Jon centered his phaser on the main doors as he knelt behind a wall outcropping. As he waited he thought back to his time at the Academy before an exam where he would think * I hope I pass* Now like then his thoughts were the same and he hoped he passed.

Weapons fire could be heard in the town square, and Carolyn shrunk a little further down behind the cupboard she was hiding behind. The time for the planetary defences was gone - they were now in a hand to hand situation.

Loud banging ricocheted around the stone building as troops hammered on the barricaded doors - demanding entry.

"Here we go' whispered Sam to herself, sucking in a deep breath and mentally preparing for what would happen next.

Jon's eyes remained focused on the doors. They continued to hold despite the banging they were receiving. He looked over at Sam and then Carolyn. "Stay frosty. Pick your targets and short controlled bursts." He reminded them.

" Yessir" Sam snapped into combat mode - recalling the training they'd received back at the academy. She's hoped to not have to use it but sooner or later everything was unavoidable. Phaser raised she waited.

The doors splittered as weapons fire impacted from the outside, the Cardassian's attempting to blast their way through the only entrance. Sam gripped her phaser a little tighter as the doors buckled under the onslaught.

As the doors splintered, Jon whispered to Sam and Carolyn again. "Hold it, not yet. Wait, wait, wait." He urged.

Sam nodded in reply, steeling herself against the urge to fire/ Once the Cardassians entered the Starfleet crew would hold the tactical advantage.

The first Cardassian forced his way through the doors, quickly followed by the second. Sam aimed but waited for the order to fire.

A third, fourth and fifth Cardassian entered through the shattered doors. As the fifth one came in, Jon shouted to Sam and Carolyn. "NOW!" As he fired and brought one, two Cardassians down.

The first two fell, leaving the remaining 3 to whirl around to face their attackers. Sam opened fire again, trying to take out the remainder of the Cardassians before they could get a clear shot.

Phaser fire rang out through the stone structure - filling the room with the acrid smell of smoke and obscuring vision for all sides. Sometime during the chaos more Cardassians entered and attempted to destroy the defensive grid - only to be picked off by a terrified Carolyn.

Soon the firing dwindled and stopped. "Hold it." Jon shouted to Sam and Carolyn. As the smoke slowly drifted away and they could see at least twenty to twenty fire Cardassians lying on the floor below them..

"Check your your power levels and cover me. I'm going to collect some more weapons.... in case we need them." Jon told the pair as he eased down the stairs his phaser on the Cardassians, in case one was playing possum. Stopping at the first Cardassian, Jon scooped up his disrupter and moved to the second and third. In a few minutes he had an armful and returned to Sam and Carolyn. Giving them each extras.

He looked at Carolyn, "You did good. Breathe and focus. You can cry later. We'll all need a drink after this. I'm buying." He looked at Sam, "Sam? You okay?"

Sam emerged from the smoke, most uninjured. It shook her to the core to fire on other beings - even if it was in self defence. Her oath was to do no harm - yet here she was phaser in hand and doing harm. She'd deal with the morality issues after the fact. One of the downed Cardassians rose and Sam took no hesitation in firing to keep him down despite her moral dilemma.

" I'm fine... I'll deal with it afterwards" She admitted as the smoke began to settle.

Jon knew not to press so he simply nodded as he wiped the sweat and soot from his face. "Alright this lull isn't going to last. Let's refortify our position. We've got the high ground and the advantage. Let's keep it. If you find any more weapons, anything we can use collect em."

" Yessir" Sam said again, keeping a tight grip on her emotions. Now was not the time to fall apart, even if the demons from the last away mission began to haunt her once more. She focused on the door, pressing the Cardassian disrupter into her belt in case she needed it. A quick glance back showed Carolyn was still well covered and was defending the planetary defensive grid - so far successfully. Another round of boots approached.

Jon glanced art Sam with a wary eye. He couldn't have her fall apart. He walked over to her. "Sam." He said softly. "Keep it together. We need you, I need you. I know we were hoping for a nice soft mission especially after the last one but it doesn't look that way." He started to say more when more boots could be heard approaching.

"Time for round two." He muttered softly.

"I'm good" Sam replied, mustering her self control and setting her defensive stance again, her weapon aimed and ready.

The boots entered and another plethora of troops entered, intent on disabling the defensive systems. How did they know exactly where to go?

As the troops came through the doors, Jon again waited for them to get inside. When they were, he shouted to Sam and Carolyn. "Light em up!" And the Starfleet officers fired into the group of Cardassians, not giving them a chance to find cover or return fire.

This unit seemed a little more prepared than the last, the Starfleet team letting lose a barrage of phaser fire and only giving their opponents minimal time to defend. Shouts could be heard above the din from outside and a small canister rolled along the floor, seemingly innocent in its appearance.

"Grenade!" Jon shouted. "Fall back! Take cover!" He yelled and ducked behind a stone column.

Sam dove for the floor, protecting her head with her arms as the grenade detonated. Stone and debris rained down on the team, showering them in a cacophony of shards and equipment. Her ears rang with the aftermath of the explosion and she rose, disoriented to check on the rest of the team.

"Jon, Carolyn!"

Jon rose slowly. His ears was ringing and his head hurt. He looked around, spotted Sam. "You okay?" He asked before repeating the question to Carolyn.

Sam more lipread the words rather than hearing him - the ringing in her ears making it hard to concentrate. She nodded and looked for their junior Engineer who had yet to reappear. So far no more Cardassians had appeared - was that the last of them? Had they not wanted to lose any more men and decided that total destruction was the easiest way to destroy the planetary defence grid?

"Carolyn?" Jon called out to the engineer. "You okay?"

There was a grunt and a groan and a large mount of debris that seemed to heave upwards revealing the young engineer, alive and mostly in one peice.

" Huh?" She called too loudly trying to compensate for the ringing in her ears.

Jon looked to Sam and smiled. He then moved to Carolyn, offered her a hand and helped her out of the debris she had been buried in. Standing in front of her, Jon cupped her face in his hands, "Are you okay?" He said slowly.

Sam continued to guard the door - thankfully no more Cardassians decided to enter, the town square falling to an eerie silence and the population remained hunkered down in their hiding places.

Carolyn looked confused as to why she couldn't hear properly, having never experienced a grande before. She looked at Jon and tried to make out what he was saying.

" OK? I think so" She replied again loudly.

Jon smiled, relieved that she and Sam were both okay. He continued to hold her head gently between his hands. "Your hearing will clear up shortly." He slowly. "It's the effects of the grenade."

Carolyn nodded and allowed her body to relax a little then looking around at the carnage around them. The defensive grid was intact but non functional - more work to be done there once again. It would take a few hours to make some more temporary repairs before the system would be anywhere near functional again.

Sam slowly exhaled, slowly lowering her phaser and taking stock of what had just happened. They had survived. A pile of downed Cardassians filled the centre of the room.

Jon looked at the carnage that lay before them. Body, after dead Cardassian body. They had held and protected the planetary defensive grid. Now it was time to get some answers.

Slowly sounds started to emerge from the still town square, people venturing out into the open to see if the threat had passed.

"Let's get out of here, you can bet your ass there's toxic particles in here" Sam commented, pointing to the much fresher looking air outside. They also had no idea if the Washington had survived either.

"Sounds like a good idea Sam." Jon said as he moved past the dead Cardassian soldiers, past the splintered main doors and into the street and the sun.

Sam looked around the town square - it seemed as though the Cardassians seemed focused on gaining access to the defence grid and hadn't attacked anywhere else. The fact they knew exactly where to go was unnerving to say the least. She pulled out her medkit and ran a medical tricorder over both of her companions, making sure they were more or less intact.

" Nothing major, few bumps and bruises. I'm sure we'll all be a bit sore tomorrow" She smiled, breathing a sigh of relief and reining in her emotions again. It seemed for the time being all was once again calm.

"Thanks for the once over Sam." Jon replied "No doubt, we'll all be a Lot sore tomorrow. Lets see if we can find the Governor and get some answers."


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