The Starbase 801 Chronicles, part 3

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2 years ago

I found this episode half done in my documents. Couldn't resist finishing it. If the second half isn't as good as the first i apologize. I really really feel awful atm.

==== Ops level, SB801 ====

Zotoke had to admit that as he left Ahrund under the care of one of the station's care centers his nerves started to act up. It was an instinctive reaction when he faced having to deal with anyone ranked Captain or above.

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He had always considered those people "brass" and he'd learned that most of those people tended to get annoyed by Zoteke far too easily. Having met the Captain earlier that day and the circumstances of that meeting didn't help Zoteke feeling more confident about how the meeting with his new CO would unfold.

Speculations about the Commander in chief

He had pulled up what he could about the man, not really learning all that much about him other than that the man had seen his share of war. That at least would give them some common ground and the refusal by capt. Teron to accept a promotion scored points with Zoteke as well.

Zoteke was actually hoping very much the Captain was someone that he could relate to and someone who could look past the Lieutenant rank in the Starfleet sense. In Starfleet, the Lt. rank was just two hops from that with which officers obtained when graduating from the Academy.

It usually indicated the officer was no rookie anymore but by no means experienced. In the case of Zoteke though the Lt. rank, or Lieutenant JG he'd learned Starfleet had demoted him to for abandoning the Sparrow's test procedures, was a hard-earned rank that very few Marines had ever reached.

The meaning of rank

The rank stood for 20 years of answering the call of duty in dedicated service to the Federation and doing it well. Sure that didn't mean squat in the performing of his job, having no more or fewer responsibilities than any other Lt. in the fleet and it didn't excuse Zoteke from any protocol either, but it did when it came to the interpersonal relationship between officers.

A young man ranked Lt. could be suspected to be naive, regulation bound or insecure requiring more active guidance and managing, but in Zoteke's case, one could suspect insight, pragmatism, and better judgment. In the end, both Lieutenants get the same results, but there was a significant difference nonetheless.

If the Captain turned out to be capable of seeing that and if Zoteke felt he could trust the man he had decided he'd confide in him about the whole deal with section 31 and have him make a decision on what to do about it... or don't do.…

The incident that morning had left Zoteke with little confidence in the Captain's abilities in managing his personnel and it still baffled him how he could have a man like Cho in command of the station's security department.

The hairs on the back of his neck still standing on end when he remembered that morning's events.

"Ah heck, if the big brass gives him command of a place this size, there must be something he is doing right" Zoteke thought as he pressed the panel next to the office door to announce his presence.

==== Capt. Teron's office, SB801 ====

Nick answered the door and showed Zoteke to a chair in front of his desk, while he stepped over to the replicator for a fresh cup of coffee.

"Well Lieutenant, you've had a hell of a morning. I know you feel like Lt. Cho was a little over-zealous in carrying out his duties, but don't blame him, it wasn't his idea to move the sparrow to the less secured shuttle bay, it was mine. The chief wanted to keep her in the heavily secured fighter bay under lock and key, but with no one on board that could fly her, and a replacement pilot still in training at Memory Alpha... She was more or less just an oversized paperweight taking up valuable space. Besides, I assured the chief that measures had been taken to protect the sparrow if anyone had the notion of trying to take her," Nick explained, and then added as he noted Zoteke's confused expression, "just be glad you didn't try to start her, or you'd still be in sickbay feeling like you'd just come off a weeklong bender."

He moved back to his desk and sat down, bringing up Zoteke's personnel file on his computer screen. Not one to beat around the bush, Nick got straight to the point.

"You've had one heck of a career so far Mr. Madwan, but tell me this... how exactly does one go from being a full lieutenant to being a lieutenant (JG) without the slightest bit of a reprimand being listed on your permanent record?"

A smile spread on the Katarian face. All the fears he'd had going into the office had evaporated in the first few seconds.

"Well, there's a story behind that... I hope you have some time to hear it though. And when I'm done telling you you're probably not going to believe a word of it. So let me start by giving you this." Zoteke said, putting the data storage crystal on the table.

The difficult story gets told

"It's the complete logging set and data collected by my tricorder that corroborates what I am about to tell you. After that, I'm going to leave it up to you to decide what to do with it all."

Zoteke looked the Captain in the eye then

"Because I have no idea what the hell is going on with the Fleet at the moment. Maybe you have the info I don't...." and left it hanging in the air from there.

He then turned to the replicator. "It's a long story, mind if I lube the talk tube sir?"

Nick took the data crystal from Zoteke and tucked it away in his uniform jacket. He had no idea where this was going, but he was intrigued enough to tell his ensign to hold his calls for now. Once Zoteke had retrieved a drink from the replicator and resituated himself in his seat, Nick nodded for him to continue.

Here goes nothing

"Okay, let's hear it."

Zoteke took a sip of the pilsener he'd ordered from the replicator frowning at the bad taste and briefly wondered why technology was able to carry people across the galaxy but failed to replicate a good beer. Then, gathering his thoughts he began.

"It was when we, being the USS August, were heading here, after that weird mission where we were all basically put to sleep. One night I got back to my quarters and my son was gone. Now that in its self wasn't all that odd. Computers have always had a difficult time keeping my son locked in anywhere and so I asked the computer where he was. The answer came in the form of a message addressed to me." Zoteke started.

Section 31

Despite the bad taste Zoteke took another gulp and wished the alcohol wasn't fake before going on.

"The message was from a man, calling himself Smith no less, and the man told me my son was abducted. I managed to reign in my first reaction which was to ring every alarm that I could find, but realizing that the man had been able to rig the computer systems, so a call from me for my son's location started the message... well, it made me pause." regarding the Captain, looking for any kind of reaction, and finding none Zoteke went on.

Nick had a lot of questions already rolling around in his head, but he'd learned through the years that it was sometimes better to just let an officer give the complete report before responding, so he sat back impassively.

"The message was your basic black ops initiating orders. I'd been in enough of them to recognize all the signs to know this was no prank or anything else, but just that... black ops." he stated.

Then he took another sip, deciding to concentrate on getting the story straight instead of looking for a reaction from the top dog of the Starbase. It didn't really matter anymore at this point. He was committed and he'd tell his tale and let the cards fall where they may.

Threats to Ahrund

"The man said he was from a division or department called section 31. I've looked since but as far as I can tell, they don't exist. He said they took my son to put him through tests because of his computer skills. I have no idea if this really was the reason, and Ahrund is reluctant to talk about the time he spent with them, but the other reason they took him was to force me to undertake a black ops mission."

Another gulp of the bad beer preceded the rest of his tale.

"I won't bother you with details, everything being on the data crystal for perusal at your leisure, but the quick version of it is that I was sent to steal a fighter craft from a remote outpost, a fighter which was essentially thought-controlled," he stated, really cutting the story short, figuring the details of it would draw attention away from the important bits.


"I managed to complete the mission, but in the process.... " and now Zoteke hesitated, thinking back to the deaths he was forced to be the cause of on that mission.

Suddenly he wasn't sure if he should reveal what he felt was the most sickening of the whole ordeal. Then, after downing the last of his beer, shivering at the revolting taste he decided that he was in for a dime....

The sad thruth

"To accomplish the goals of the mission I was forced to take lives Captain..... Federation lives by the looks of it. Vulcans, Humans... "

Tears filled the eyes of the gnarled veteran Marine.

"I had no choice... It was either them, or my son..." and to his own great surprise Zoteke's barriers came down, and the repressed guilt that'd been bubbling beneath the surface since the moment he pulled the helmet off that guard officer he killed getting in the compound erupted.

A big gnarly marine in tears.

"I... killed... them...." he said sobbing…"

Let it all out lieutenant," Nick said calmly, knowing precisely how much a part of a person's soul was damaged when one had to take a life.

In his own experience, he'd oftentimes been forced to kill in battle, he'd ordered officers under his command to certain death in order to keep a mission from failing. He remembered all the faces and details... every damned one.

When it seemed that Zoteke had weathered the worst of it, and was beginning to pull it back together, Nick decided it was time to ask the obvious question.

"There is no mention of this anywhere in the Starfleet databanks -classified or otherwise - why bring this to me?"

The secrecy

"I apologize sir for coming apart like this... The reason I came to you is exactly that there is nothing to be found anywhere. Normally when there is black ops going on, which is always these days, there's at least a listing in the department index in the database. Starfleet Intelligence, counterintelligence, foreign relations, anything... Section 31 isn't listed anywhere. And of course, there are about a billion officers called Smith. I came to you because I feel there is something so terribly wrong about this section, not to mention the mission and how I was forced to undertake it.... something should be done..... shouldn't it?" he then looked at the Captain.

A revelation of sorts

"Those I killed shouldn't have died in vain."

Nick looked at Zoteke for a moment before sighing. He pulled up another screen on his personal console.

"Computer, recognize voice print Teron, Nicholas. Rank: Captain," he said and waited for the computer to comply. "Access data file 030.275E. Security clearance: Pi Alpha Lambda 72,"

the computer brought up the requested file titled simply: Directive 75. The file contained Starfleet's standing orders to it's captains regarding Section 31, it's background, and all known or suspected encounters with the shadowy organization. He looked up at Zoteke.

"We're well aware of Section 31 lieutenant," he replied to Zoteke's astonishment. "As for what we can do about them... that's a different matter."

Zoteke was no speed reader by any means, but what he saw on the screen, most notably the time tags of the entries in the listing shocked him.

"This goes back to before the signing of the Federation charter. Seems to start with Archer's legendary crew." Zoteke said in awe, suddenly feeling nauseous.

Not only had Lt. Reed been involved with the section before he joined the Enterprise NX crew, but was the section, according to the id tag discovered by 2 other legends: Nog and Jake Sisko, responsible for faking Commander Tucker's death. And those were just the first entries. He looked up at the Captain with fear in his eyes.

"They had my son.... they've taken an interest into my son...." and wasn't able to get more out of his throat as he realized the implications of a centuries-old shadowy ruthless organization with their relentless eye on his kid.

Nick sat back and regarded the Starfleet directive for a moment.

"I don't know what we can do at the moment either lieutenant? I'll have a security detail install extra monitoring equipment in and around your quarters, and near the station's daycare facilities. I'll also bring Lt. Cho up to speed on this, but until we know what they want... the ball is in their court. But, let's get one thing straight: you have even the slightest contact with them, you bring it to me immediately. Understood?"


"Sir, I've been carrying around this crap alone for too long. I've had my fill of black ops to be honest and you can rest assured that you'll be the first to know if there's even a hunch in my mind of section involvement of anything..... Uhm.. I mean SIR YES SIR.." Zoteke replied, cold sweat pouring from his pores and gitty with relief radiating off him.

Zoteke was in fact so relieved with the weight of his mind he forgot his place and got up to the replicator, held his tricorder up to it, and entered a code into it. The replicator came to life and produced 2 shot glasses holding a light brown liquid in them.

*"Warning. Requested beverage holds alcohol and is in violation of Starfleet regulatory guidelines."* the computer intoned when it was done creating the two glasses.

Zoteke took them, turned, and as he extended a hand with one of the glasses his eye fell on the Captain's collar. All color drained instantly from the Katarian's face as he realized what he had done.


"Glenfiddich?" was all he could utter.

Nick saw the expression on Zoteke's face, so he decided to let him off the hook easy.

" Now is not exactly a good time lieutenant, but the offer is appreciated."

After Zoteke had disposed of the shot-glasses, Nick tossed him a PADD of mission parameters.

A new mission

"Right now, you have a mission to attend to," he said as Zoteke sat back down.

Zoteke looked over the PADD quickly and took in the mission specifics. "Hmm, yes, I've read what was available about the thing with the Tenk.. tanake... tentak... Tentetaka wasn't it" he said, not lifting his head off the PADD. He frowned as he took in the bits he hadn't yet learned, such as the Valliant's crew and the condition they were in.

"Ah crud!" he exclaimed when he read about the shields going up and the escalation of the situation. When he came to the part about the route of the freighter and the unknown station he understood immediately what his part in the mission would could or should be.

"I guess I could say I'd rather start getting the squadron up to spec and with the fighters and all.... or state that taking a wing up and down the route, a couple of times would likely shake out the bad guys we'd be looking for... but...." he said frowning, then lighted up his expression and looked over the PADD edge.

"But they'd likely be blown out of space... and give little information. I can see why I may come in handy. I've been to a lot of those kinds of stations, grey areas and all. I assume we'd be in civvies?" he asked.

He wasn't looking forward to the kind of mission he was told to go on but knew that his experience made him a natural choice for the mission.

"I wish we had more to go on lieutenant, but we're running out of time. We need that information, and we need it fast," Nick in no uncertain terms.

Orders have been given.

"See to your son's needs, you'll be departing at 1900 hours."

Zoteke frowned at the departure time, having had no sleep that night, but knew the Captain was right.

"I'll have my son in bed before that. He doesn't know I know but the kid didn't sleep last night either so that's not going to be a problem. I'll be ready and waiting at 1900 sharp." he told the Captain.

"I guess we'll discuss the squadron and all at another time... or should I discuss that stuff with the XO?" Zoteke asked getting up and moving towards the exit.

"It's your squadron lieutenant. I trust in your ability to whip them into shape. Feel free to discuss any problems you are having with Commander Grant. Dismissed," Nick said, turning back to the materials he was gathering for an upcoming briefing as Zoteke departed.

==Fountain Station, Lower Levels==

Zoteke took in the surroundings as the group he was part of making their way through the station they'd just beamed into. The smells and waftings of smoke told him they'd beamed into the lower levels of the station and that the station was far from up to Starfleet specs.

It was a station like those he'd been too far too many times during his career and wouldn't mind to set foot on again. Alas, no such luck and he pulled out his tricorder.

"Seems nobody noticed us coming in. There's no one on this level or the one above. Looks like some workers doing maintenance on some conduit below us though." Zoteke said, not to anyone in particular.

He then looked at the commanding officer. "Guess we look for the bar next? Drinks are on me" he added.

"This isn't a vacation Zoteke," Ian said, seemingly seriously, though his small smile took most of the edge from the remark.

"A few of us should check out the market here, see if the crew of the Ketetenka had any contact with the traders there, and...actually, you probably have a point about the bar, Madwan. A couple of us should probably see if someone there noticed any of the Ketetenka's people."

Joke fell flat

Zoteke nodded at Lt. Cmd. Grant and with half a smile on his face said "Sorry sir, that was what I meant. I attempted, and failed apparently, to lighten the mood a bit with humor."

Then with a more serious expression, Zoteke said "But I've been to lots of places like this. My experience tells me two important things about them. A: The best place for getting any kind of information in places like this is the main watering hole. B: If you're not drinking alcohol in the bar at a place like this you're instantly suspicious and unlikely to get any answers from anyone sir. Hence the offer of the drinks."

Hoping not to have given the wrong impression or gotten off on the wrong foot with the Lieutenant Commander.

"This is more your kinda thing Zoteke, I've never been undercover before," Jason replied stifling a cough from the surroundings.

"It's true I've been to similar places before Ensign" Zoteke answered softly, kind of hoping to soft for Commander Grant to hear adding "Nevertheless... if I remember correctly from the time Commander Grant and I served together on the August before your arrival, Commander Grant has an excellent feel for things in a way mission Ensign. If he feels I should compose myself with a more disciplined bearing then I was, you can trust he is right about it."

Glancing over his shoulder, Zoteke couldn't tell if Grant had or hadn't heard what he told Ensign Trask. The Commander had, in fact, heard.

"It's quite alright Zoteke," he said, "I understand what you meant. And you do have a point."

He paused, looking around at the away team, taking stock as it were.

"In fact," he continued after a moment, "Why don't we follow up on it for now, and we can split off into sub groups later, if we need."

The bar it is

Zoteke nodded in the direction they needed to go for them to get to the bar, and took point moving cautiously but casually towards the turbo-lift ahead. As the group began crowding into the turbo-lift, Ian glanced around, silently evaluating the condition of the station.

If the docking level was to be taken as an example for the care given to well-traveled sections, he could only imagine what the rest was like. That thought, naturally, led to him wondering how much attention the turbo-lift system had been given over the years…


Zoteke began rummaging around in his backpack and then pulled out several hypos. "I've got some Alcohol represents here. Take one shot and you can drink a Klingon under the table. Is anyone interested? Like I said, not drinking alcohol in places like this raises suspicion." he said holding out one hand with hypo's and using the other to inject himself with one.

A secret ally

Valoru walked into the area, in his typical gear - dark blue jumpsuit and dark grey hooded robe. For now, no one would recognize him. But if he kept up this line of work, he'd have to start finding some different clothing for disguises. He looked around and instantly spotted his friends from Legacy - he excelled at that.

He also was able to size up any notable dangers in the area, which included just a few Naussicans (his favorite) and a Hirogen or something if he wasn't mistaken. He made his way to his spot and waited for a signal.

It was after about thirty minutes of casually engaging the patrons at the bar in small talk when Zoteke got a Zakdorn to talk about the subject which would yield intel.

A Zakdorn with information

"How long have you been running goods in this area then?" Zoteke asked after the Zakdorn revealed his trade.

"Oh for longer than I'd have liked to. But it's a profitable route, free of Starfleeters," the Zakdorn answered.

Zoteke nodded to Ian when he caught his eye signalling he should join the conversation. Ian excused himself from what had been a decidedly boring conversation with a Gorn freighter crew-saur when he saw Madwan's signal, and began to make his way across the bar.

"And how do you get through without running into those anomalies?" Zoteke casually asked, sipping his Tellarite whiskey. The Zakdorn looked at Zoteke curiously.

"It's shall we say... an acquired skill to navigate that region. Why are you so interested?"

"Les' jus' say," Ian put in, taking a seat on the other side of the Zakdorn from Zoteke, "My associates an' I," He gestured at Zoteke and himself, "' some of our 'friends' in the Syndicate need some' a way of profiting far from Starfleet would be right up our alley."

Valoru was watching everyone - not the Fleeties - he had his eye on them just fine. But it was the unknown folks who made him keep vigilant... no pun intended. He noticed the one called Madwan, and Grant, talking to a Zakdorn - hard to tell if it was the same one, although probably not, from the sticky mess.

Found out, and in trouble.

It was at that point that he noticed the Zakdorn flick something on his belt. The Andorian quickly gave a signal to Sullivan and Trask that something was up. Hopefully they wouldn't move too suddenly as to keep the Zakdorn talking.

Sullivan observed from his vantage point using years of training in Intelligence gathering and covert operations to stay unnoticed. He notices the signal from Valoru and moved casually to a better spot.

"this dosent look good, then again i was kinda hopeing to have a good barfight" Jason said moreso to himself as he also maneuvered into a better angle, eyes scanning the room. As he eyed his friends his hand brushed his concealed weapon.

The Zakdorn looked at Zoteke and Ian and squinted his alien eyes.

"What ship you guys say you're on again?"

"Mmm...well," Ian began, thrown by the sudden shift in conversation, "Calling it a ship, well, might be being a bit generous, you know how it is..." he chuckled and trailed off, glancing over to Zoteke.

The Zakdorn chuckled with a low, gruff, laugh.

"That's what I thought. Boys?"

Suddenly, from about 6 different corners, 'men' of different species sprang out with phasers and disruptors drawn towards Grant and Madwan.

"Identify or die."

The fight

Valoru wasn't having that - this was their man. They had asked a couple pointed questions about the 'Kent' and were now dead meat any way you sliced it. Valoru, in his robes and all, flung himself at the nearest accomplice of the Zakdorn and kicked the weapon out its hands.

He grabbed it by the neck and put it in a chokehold, knocking him out after a few seconds. Grant reacted with all the speed that had been drilled into him in his time at the Academy and in Starfleet, grasping the front of the still seated Zakdorn's tunic and yanking down and forwards, slamming his head against the bar.

Rolling the unconscious Zakdorn away from him, Ian reached into his coat for the civilian Phaser pistol he'd been issued for the mission. Grant turned away from the bar just in time to see one of the Zakdorn's goons, Ian's new Gorn 'friend' no less, behind him, then staggered backwards as an intense heat bloomed on his right shoulder.

"A bit off," he growled, pulling the trigger of his own weapon. The goon stumbled toward Ian, before falling forward, taking the injured commander with it.

The shit hit the fan

As the proverbial feces hit the fan Zoteke decided the Zakdorn they'd been talking to had friends and that if he wasn't immobilized immediately he would probably be out of the bar and gone forever with seconds.

He noticed Ian wasn't about to let him go anywhere though. Zoteke raised his boot half a meter in the air and stomped it against the Zakdorn friend's knee forcing it to bend the opposite way it was designed to, making a loud snapping sound.

The thug must've been one of the Zakdorn's guards or something. It didn't really matter. Screaming the Zakdorn's friend went down sideways, to the side that found itself suddenly unsupported.

The jab to his temple with which Zoteke followed up the kick to the knee was all it took to send the thug off into unconsciousness. Zotekes eyes then went wide as the barrel of a phase pistol, of one of the Zakdorn's other friends and pointed at him, spewed a bolt of energy his way.

Nothing but instinct and reflex assisted by a whole heap of luck saved Zoteke from being disintegrated into atoms. Taking the reflexive ducking move that had saved his life into a roll, followed by a dive, he managed to get himself behind some cover in the form of some unconscious individual lying on top of another equally immobile body.

It never stopped amazing him how quickly things could go from borderline tedious to adrenaline overdosed dangerous action in nanoseconds. He also frowned as he said

"What happened to the identified part of identify or die?" to no one in particular.

Jason reacted in a flash, seeing a much to his disappointment angry Klingon pull a disruptor. His elbow was up in a flash followed by an academy disarm maneuver, breaking the klingons trigger finger followed by a jab to the klingons temple, pure training kicking in, before the pirate could react Jason had him down with a sweep to his legs, a sentry styled neck snap position, learned from his father.

His only difference is rather then snap the Klingons neck he chopped him across his throat, rendering the Klingon unconscious. When he heard a shot, he kicked over a table and dove behind it pulling his phaser and in a split second, dropping the thug that took a shot at his CO with a phaser blast to the square of his back. Then, he waited.

Momentarily pacified

Valoru looked around and the thugs were basically all on the ground. A few others had either run away or were cowering in various corners.

"Take that Zakdorn to one of the back hallways - he's gotta have the info we need."

He walked over to the bartender and dumped a small sack of metal coins on the bar. "Drinking for a day for everyone here, including the pommeled ones. We weren't here."

The Andorian then approached and looked to Grant.

"Now what, boss?"

As there were no more targets, nor energy beams or bolts lighting up the bar, Zoteke pushed himself up and stood. He noticed his back hadn't agreed with the move that had saved him from becoming just a line in a casualty list.

He ignored the stinging pain in his lower back and stepped over to the Andorian he had never seen before and his commanding officer.

"Just once I'd like to see a gig like this to go down without deteriorating into violence" he remarked, taking his tricorder and frowning.

"There's a lot of motion around this level moving towards this place" he told Grant, adding "Orders?".

"Lets get what we came for and get out of here," Ian replied, idly picking at the scorch mark on his jacket.

"Maybe we'll be able to at least finish the mission without getting shot at again…"

Valoru helped someone drag the Zakdorn back into a hallway. He immediately went into defense mode, something that normally triggered in these scenarios. He found himself wishing Cho was by his side.

Any of them that had tricorders running would hear or see an alarm go off. More folks were on their way, several with obvious weaponry drawn and hot.

They would not have long. Jason checked his tricorder letting a curse slip.

"Sirs, multiple contacts, we need to move...or dig in....or get what we can from this pirate....squad size or greater, twelve men plus" he then knocked over some crates, digging in and also trying to create obstacles to slow pursuit.

More trouble.

Zoteke had a hunch that they'd bit off more than they could chew as he glanced over the screen on his tricorder. He looked over at Ian and said "I suggest we take the Zakdorn with us and go to someplace.... very much not here...." and pointed at the tricorder adding "We're good, and we can hold our own in a fight but in great enough numbers…"

"Let's do it then," Grant said, "Get him up…"

Valoru nodded. "I agree with the Ktarian. Let's get go--"

But he was interrupted as a group leaped out from a corner and began firing. It seems they didn't care if they hit the Zakdorn - in fact, one might argue they were targeting him as well as them.

Valoru easily evaded and threw the Zakdorn behind a metal crate Judo-style. Fortunately, it appeared, they could get to the ship without having to get through the onslaught of phaser fire.

"CONTACTS FRONT! SUPPRESSING!" Jason cried letting off a few blasts of his own, only to have disruptor bolts hit the crate he was behind.

Luckily his own efforts had similar results as the hostiles now ducked for cover as best they could, one of them falling down from Jason's third shot, too slow to seek cover.

"We need to move sirs, I can't pin 'em for long LT" Jason called out to his most direct superior, Madwan, while popping off shots as best he could.

Mumbling to himself more than replying to Jason, the Ktarian ducked behind some debris that had come down from the ceiling due to a stray shot muttering,

"Crap, This just isn't my decade!" as a piece of twisted metal he hadn't noticed sticking out from the debris pierced his side just below his ribcage as he landed.

The searing pain produced little fireflies all around him, forcing him to shake his head and blink a few times before his vision returned enough to take stock of their predicament.

Taking aim and firing at the moving shades from which directed energy blasts came his way he called to Trask,

"Lay down cover fire to cover the rest's exit. Make sure those thugs wont dare stick their heads up for a look."

Zoteke then proceeded to fire in the enemy's direction at a high firing rate. He hoped the others in the away team noticed and understood what Zoteke and Jason were trying to provide.

He also hoped that whatever was going to happen would do so quickly as he doubted he and Jason would be able to keep doing what they were doing unpunished for long.

The thought passed through his mind no more than two seconds before blinding light flashed in his entire body from the shot that hit him in the shoulder to be followed by equally bright unconsciousness.

His last-second of thought was spent wondering where the hell the shot had come from.

Valoru shouted at Grant, "Cover me!"

He didn't normally bark orders, especially at Fleeties. But this required it. He jumped over a barrel and landed right near Madwan.

"C'mon big guy," he said to the unconscious figure. He did a cursory, albeit non-medical, glance of the injury and assumed he was safe, hefting the large man up and did another Judo throw to get him back behind the others.

Most of them were around a corner now, and Valoru followed as they covered him with return fire. They had Madwan and the Zakdorn in tow, and everyone else seemed to be in fair condition.

The Andorian didn't go without injury himself though. A few disruptor blasts skimmed his torso and shoulder, and worse, tore up his favorite robes. He patted Grant on the shoulder as he did a last roll.

"Ok, let's get to the ship!"

Getting out.

"Read my mind," Grant replied, "You get Madwan, Sullivan, take our friend here," he pointed his thumb at the Zakdorn.

"Trask, you're on point," he continued, "And I'll bring up the rear. Lets get outta here…"

Jason nodded,still covering the team, he was duel wielding now having retrieved Madwans weapon. Hitting a panel a door shut behind them, normally he would try to fully weld the door. This time however he used both phasers and 'tack-welded' three points on the door hopefully somewhat sealing it, given the fact they were under pursuit. As extra precaution he shot the console on their side.

"won't hold them for long sirs, hows Madwan?"

“I'm shuttle qualified under combat situations, if there's any heat when we undock, I can fly us out of it" Jason stated as he took point. both phasers at the ready.

A few more volleys were fired but the team made it to their ship. Valoru and Sullivan took the two unconscious ones and put them in med-beds. Valoru was not medical trained so he let someone else hook them up to the machines.

Within minutes, Grant and Trask would fly the shuttle away from Fountain station. And fortunately, because of the disruption and injuries they caused on the station and to its occupants, no one was able to follow.

To be continued in Part 4

Stay safe, and stay happy!


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