Jul 04, 2020 10:08 AM
A Starfleet vessel stumbles across an unintentional visitor.
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"Looking forward to it." Drake says as he shakes her hand. "I'll be honest, I'm surprised you lasted as long as you did. Many people would need mods for that."

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"Not many mods in these parts. I do give these games a lot of practice, though. Easier to get the teams on board than actual combat simulations, and I do like breadth of skill. What kind of training d-" She flinches, sharply, and smacks at her combadge.

"Captain! Recommend immediate full scan with module array, thirty-five degrees starboard, twelve up! Excuse me a moment, Lugh." She rushes into a turbolift, calling for the bridge.

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Without hesitation, Drake dashes into the turbolift after her, sliding in just before the doors close. "Now, I haven't been in this universe too long" he starts, "but I've seen that kind of reaction dozens of times. All of those people though, were wired into an early warning system of one kind or another and I'm led to believe that that kind of thing isn't very common here. Additionally, from what research I've done on this universe actual, legitimate psychics are apparently a thing." He pauses and looks down at Wells. "So I'm curious Lt. Commander, are you a cyborg or a psychic?"

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She takes a moment to calm down, before grinning back at Drake. "The latter! Starfleet's highest psi-rated human, at your service. Let's find out what the scanners say, though."

As they walk onto the bridge, Wells gestures at one of the scanner operators to pull up the module readouts on the viewscreen.

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"Looks like you've caught something interesting, Lt. Commander. I hope you managed to finish your tournament, at least?"

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"Of course, captain. Drake's win, as I said. Waters! I believe the captain owes me five hours, mark that down." She winks at a young woman manning the helm.

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"Yes ma'am. And the readout's ready, too. Looks like an Orion light cruiser."

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"So we're betting on the war bot now?" Drake chuckles as he goes to stand next to the Captain. Tying directly into the ship's sensor feed he regards their target. "They're in silent running, explains why we didn't see them. Not seeing any external damage so that rules out them being attacked. I assume us scanning them would alert them to our presence if they didn't already know, and as they haven't hailed us it means they likely aren't all that happy we're here. My bet would be either smugglers or pirates, though catastrophic internal power failure is also an option." Turning his head Drake realizes that several people, including the Captain are staring at him. "Sorry, I have a habit of analyzing stuff aloud since I was typically on overwatch for missions back home."

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The captain waves off the apology. "Speak freely, of course. An Orion light cruiser hiding near the edge of Federation space is almost certainly slavers, but it is not the Federation way to judge without evidence, so we shall open with politeness. Let's see what they have to say."

A large, green man comes on the viewscreen, as the sensor readouts show the Orion ship powering up. "Greetings, Starfleet vessel. It is unlike you to be so blatant in your disregard for our borders!"

"This is Captain Zarikk of the USS Palmer, but I am afraid you find yourself nearly ten light-years into Federation space. I notice that your ship has been on emergency power, are you in need of assistance?"

The green man glares. "Is that so. We are not in need of assistance, we were simply recalibrating our plasma manifolds. Their misalignment must have affected our navigation systems. We will be on our way."

"We will be happy to speed you on your journey, but being in Federation territory, I must insist that we complete a full scan. We must, of course, confirm for the logs that no contraband has been transported across our borders. Stand by."

The viewscreen cuts out, and the captain directs Lieutenant Waters to move in and target the scanning module more narrowly.

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Already tied into the sensors, Drake keeps a more general eye on the light cruiser as Lieutenant Waters begins scanning. Keeping an eye on the the ship's power distribution as closely as he can with the general sensors in case the other ship tries to run or power up it's weapons.

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The ship is absolutely powering up its weapons, but an Orion light cruiser is no match for a Nebula-class Starfleet vessel and they know it. They don't bother locking on.

Lt. Commander Wells points out the more interesting scan results on the viewscreen. A tightly clustered group of humanoids that she confirms are broadly scared and upset, in contrast with the angry and frustrated general crew. None of the scared group are Orions, and instead include several Federation species, including locals from the nearby star systems and a few humans.

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"Well looks like you were right on the money Captain, those look like slaves to me. What options do we have for getting them out of there?"

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"Doesn't look like we have a recorded exploit on their shields. We could overwhelm them, or take out the shield generator with a photon torpedo. We also have reasonable grounds to send a tactical team to look around, or to demand an interview with their 'crew members' from Federation species. I presume you prefer the latter, captain?"

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"Correct. Hail them again."

The Orion captain appears back on the screen, Zarikk addresses him.

"We have noticed an unusually high percentage of personnel from Federation constituent species. We would like to conduct some interviews with these individuals, make sure we understand the circumstances of their departure. Wouldn't want any miscommunications to be reported to Starfleet Command as more serious than they really are, of course."

"I will not have you harassing my crew with your baseless accusations! You have no cause to-"

"I'm afraid we will have to insist. This is well within our territorial rights. I will be sending over a team via shuttlecraft."

The viewscreen cuts out.

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"I assume I'll be on that team Captain?" Drake asks. "It's been awhile since I've been able to knock slaver heads." He says as he makes a show of rolling his nonexistent shoulder muscles. He pauses before glancing back down to Captain Zarikk. "To be clear Captain, that was a joke... mostly. I might hate slavers but I won't start anything over there. That being said, if they start something I'm damn well going to finish it before they hurt any of us or the prisoners."

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The captain laughs. "Wells, you can take this one. Take Lugh and Va'reth, and whoever else you feel would be helpful."

Lt. Commander Wells calls over three more tactical team members, two more medical staff, and leads them to a weapons locker and a shuttlecraft. The Orion ship all but bristles as they fly over, but allows them to dock.

The docking port opens into a small airlock, past which some grumpy-looking Orion guards are waiting for them.

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Standing just behind and to the side of Wells, Drake was in a perfect position to watch the Orions' eyes get wide as one of them took a step back, obviously not expecting to come face to face with a seven foot tall metal being when greeting the party of Starfleet crew. In shock the one that stepped back exclaimed "what is that thing?!" Smiling to himself, Drake decided to switch his voice modulator to what he liked to call his "intimidation voice" that is, a voice mod some bored Techno made and posted online years ago that made one's voice sound like a Dreadnought from the game "Dawn of War 2: Retribution." Leveling a cold stare at the Orion he simply said "SECURITY."

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The Orion apparently does not like that at all. Nervously maintaining eye contact with Drake, he takes his radio and speaks "Ready."

The airlock doors instantly slam shut and the team sways on their feet as they feel the ship accelerating to warp.

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"Well, rats." Quickly bringing his comm array to full power Drake sends a subspace burst message to the Palmer. Informing them of the situation and requesting assistance. Whether the Palmer heard the message though, he has no way of knowing unless they respond. Bringing his combat systems to full power he turns to Wells. "I sent a message to the Palmer to give them a heads up." He says. "I'm going to try to hack into this ship's computer system but whether that works depends on how good their security is."

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The Palmer immediately responds on all hailing frequencies with a very strongly worded message about the inadvisability of continuing with the literal act of war which is kidnapping a team of Starfleet crew.

The computers on the Orion ship are not especially sophisticated, but are very alien. It would take a few minutes to spoof an identity badge signal to open the door, though cutting a small hole with nanobots to connect a few wires might be faster. A phaser could also cut through the wall in maybe thirty seconds. The tricorders are showing additional life signs clustering at the end of the hallway.

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Switching his voice modulator back to normal Drake turns to Wells. "The Palmer got my message so at least they know what's up. I'm able to access the surface level of their computer system. Deck plans, non-secure blueprints and wiring diagrams, things like that. Their system security is, frankly, garbage so I should be able to take full control once I figure out their coding structure. That might take awhile though." That said, Drake moves to the airlock's outer door control panel and places his hand flat against it, letting his nanites begin the work of digging in and rewiring the controls. "I'll be able to get this open in a minute or two. Can the shuttle disengage while we're in warp?"

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"Yes. It's warp capable in its own right, actually. We couldn't keep up with this ship, let alone the Palmer, but if they haven't physically locked us on we could bail. Though having mentioned it, they probably have clamps on the hatch. I bet they've pulled this one before."

About twenty seconds after Drake starts tunneling into the door controls, the airlock vents start spewing a nasty yellow gas. Conveniently, the team is already equipped with gas masks to avoid the dangers of Orion pheromones, though the gas might still have some effect absorbed through the skin.

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"Shit, plan B then." Drake quickly pulls his hand from the control panel and with a quiet "snick" extends a foot long blade from both forearms. With several quick cuts from the monomolecular blades the airlock door falls open. Luckily for everyone but the Orions the shuttle's doors had remained open when the airlock slammed shut. "Everyone in the shuttle! Move!" Drake commands. As the team streams into the shuttle Drake takes direct command of the shuttle's computer, erects a force field in the shuttle's doorway and activates the ventilation system to drive out what gas had entered. "Wells, I'm going to bring the hurt to these guys and protect the prisoners. I've got the floor plans but I don't have time to get internal lifeform readings from the computer. I need to know right now, are you able to sense my mind?"

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"Barely, but enough to get location on the same ship. I can guide you, but you should focus on clearing a path to the main slavehold."

She gestures for him to get moving and swaps to radio.

"If you clear sections first we won't be in appreciably more danger than you are, so I'm going to bring half the team and leave the other to hold the shuttle. If the Palmer catches up before we hit Orion space we can take the whole ship, but otherwise we're going to grab the main hold and pull out as quick as we can. Let's get moving."

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"Right. Wait to come through till after I've cleared the hall." With that, Drake turns back to the airlock's inner door. With three quick cuts the door is barely holding on. With a thought, he brings his combat systems to "shipboard close quarters mode" anti personnel rounds are loaded into his railgun feeds and frag warheads into his shoulder launchers. His nanite system sharpens his claws and talons to be sharp enough to give a solid grip on metal without cutting straight through. And his thrusters are primed for quick, high intensity bursts to boost his speed. Smiling to himself he turns his speakers to near maximum and queues a song. "Showtime" he says to himself.

BAPTIZED IN FIRE 

FORTY TO ONE

With a crash of metal on metal the airlock door smashes into the opposite wall. The black metal of the war bot a blur as he sprints down the corridor. Shattering the barricade and the Orions behind it. Following Wells' directions he sprints down the corridors dropping any Orion he sees, triple jointed legs and his thrusters propelling him to incredible speeds. The next few minutes are a whirlwind of violence as Drake slices any Orion that stands in his way, his railguns and missiles taking out those who shoot from a distance.

As the final chords of the song drift away Drake smashes through the door to the main hold, dropping the armed guards before they have a chance to react. Luckily the federation species present, now quite clearly there against their will what with the manacles and fearful expressions, were all clustered in the middle of the hold, the guards having stood around them.

As Drake gets into position where he can easily cover all entrances he calls out to the fearful crowd. "Starfleet's here to rescue you. Keep your heads down, this will all be over soon." Within moments Wells and her team sprint through the smashed door and get to defensive positions, phasers at the ready. With a nod to Wells, Drake marks all present as friendly and drops into a defense fugue, letting his automated systems take over his body and weapons, focusing almost all of his attention on his subspace link to the ship's computer.

In Drake's universe, the processor density of modern quantum computers allows for an incredible amount of system security on every device that can connect to a network. The heightened focus on network security a simple reality of almost a third of the population existing, in the simplest terms, as raw data in a specialized computer. As all Technos are essentially trained hackers from mental maturity, the necessity of security systems that can hold a nefarious Techno back is a simple reality of the UHS. In comparison to that, the network security on the Orion light cruiser is laughably simple. What it also is however, is alien. As the Starfleet personnel and Drake begin trading fire with the Orions, Drake's mind is in overdrive learning a new programming language and network protocol system on the fly. It takes 72 seconds, an eternity where the war in the computer core is concerned, but Drake finally takes the ship's computer over entirely, allowing him to control the Orion's ship as if it were his own body. With a thought, the ship is brought into lockdown. Emergency bulkheads close throughout the ship, control consoles in the bridge and engineering are blown out, and the ship drops from warp.

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