[CHARACTER ANECDOTE] Raina Lorrel | Operation Emissary
OPERATION EMISSARY, XEPOLITE, 2364 | STARDATE 41517.8
The fallout after the Federation-Cardassian War was not pleasant. Skirmishes rained out along the border, still claiming lives in a war that should have never been fought. Recent unprovoked attacks on the Federation side had prompted a need for deeper intelligence on the Cardassian fleets.
There were many places containing bases that could be infiltrated easily, but Starfleet Intelligence had eyes on a place that seemingly had no ties with the Cardassian military, but had connections with hidden illegal trades for them.
The USS Galaxy, one of the most prominent ships in the war, under the command of Admiral Ross, was sent to stay close to the border, where only ten light-years away the planet Xepolite, which Starfleet Intelligence had identified as a possible connection to the Cardassian military, was.
They couldn't cross the border, as Cardassian ships would converge on them in hours. A lone shuttlecraft, under grey mode to help avoid detection, was sent carrying three crew members of the Galaxy's tactical and security departments, named operatives for Starfleet Intelligence at the time.
The timing of the shuttlecraft's arrival had to be exact. The USS Challenger had been instructed to strike a Cardassian outpost, fifty light-years away from Xepolite. The attacking starship had to be of considerable size and strength to attract a defence from the Cardassian starships near Xepolite, so a Galaxy-class was sent to strike and leave before it could be intercepted.
With the shuttlecraft on grey mode, the crew inside would never know if the Challenger's efforts would prove successful.
Ensign Prol, a tactical officer, and Ensign Soria Sh'ekaalil, a security officer, were under the command of Lieutenant Raina Lorrel. The three officers had accepted that they may well die on this mission, but it was necessary to prevent other planets near the border on their side from being attacked unprepared.
Through their viewscreen, they could see the dark side of the planet, unlit from the system's sun. Not a ship was in sight, and it was noted that the space station orbiting the planet was more than likely on the other side. If was on their side when they tried to escape, however, it could prove difficult.
They followed their instructions of powering up the ship as it neared entering the atmosphere. The shuttlecraft came barreling down approaching a desert part of the planet, where a trading network communications relay was. They had no idea what the relay really was transmitting if it was truly being used for Cardassian military interests.
Their instructions were clear, crash the shuttlecraft into a sand dune facing away from the relay, and far enough away that they would remain undetected, if there were Cardassian soldiers inside.
The small crew strapped themselves in to the sides of the shuttlecraft and braced for the impact. They were shaken about with a thud as the shuttlecraft's nose was planted into the sand dune. They unlatched themselves from the walls of the craft and prepared their equipment; phaser rifles, hand-phasers, tricorders, emergency transporter devices, and nodes for a makeshift transporter they had to set up outside the craft. Each one of the three took a node, strapping around their backs with their rifles.
Lieutenant Lorrel led the crew out of the shuttlcraft. She was the first to face the two foot drop onto an even floor of sand stretched kilometres ahead, dotted with rolling dunes like the one they had crashed into.
Her feet came down onto the sand, followed by the Caitian's, and then the Andorian's. They went forward, fifteen metres off the stern of their shuttlecraft. Behind them they could see their craft placed three-quarters of the way into the bottom of the sand dune. The three placed their transporter nodes five metres apart in a triangular formation. They would transport to here using their devices if they needed to make a quick getaway.
After climbing up the sand dune, the team could look over at the kilometre between them and the massive communications relay standing over them. The Lieutenant couldn't help but think this had to be used for more than just trade communications.
The traversed over the flat sand between them and the relay. There were no dunes here, it seems the area had been excavated, evident by the four roads stretching out from the gorund of the relay in a cross formation. There was no activity outside this late at night, they could see the massive doors at the end of each of the roads leading into the relay were closed. There wasn't even a guard posted outside. It seemed the image of the relay being used for just trade communications was reinforced with minimal protection.
They made it to the base of the relay, standing on what they could identify as the east road.
"How the hell do we get in here?" Soria said, inspecting the giant door that towered over them by a dozen metres.
Raina stood back ten metres from Soria, looking up at the massive relay. She estimated it had to be at least a hundred metres tall. Her eyes following a very tall ladder and then fixating on a hatch, about fifty metres up the relay on the side they were facing.
Prol came over to her. He purred, knowing exactly what she was thinking. Soria whipped her head back, looking confused at the both of them. The Andorian did not know the Caitian or the Human well, but she knew enough to recognize they seemed to be close friends.
"We're going up to that hatch," Raina said, definitely.
Soria took a look up the tall ladder to the hatch. It intimidated her. In fact, the entire mission intimidated her. She had no idea why the Admiral thought she was fit to be with these two.
"That's insane!" She said, not certain if she could make it the entire fifty metres.
Raina took one last look up and down the ladder. They had no other option.
"I know," She said, before striding swiftly past the Andorian and towards the ladder.
Prol followed suit immediately behind her. The two slung their rifles over their backs before Raina took a rung and began her ascent.
Soria threw her hands up in the air, surrendering to the idea. She quickly followed behind Prol up the ladder.
A million ideas were running through Raina's mind as she went up the ascent. Anything could be behind that hatch; a room, a maintenance tube, Cardassians…
This had definitely been the most adventurous mission any of the three of them had been on. Assaulting a Cardassian base a month before seemed like nothing compared to what they were attempting to do now. Raina knew, in the back of her mind since the day she applied for the Academy, that a time may come when she may have to die for the betterment of others. She just hadn't anticpated that time arriving so soon…
Raina, being the first to go up the ladder, reached the hatch first. She took hold of the handle with her right hand, which had become slicked with sweat and smelled of the metallic rungs of the ladder. She pulled it a bit and gave it a push up, locking into place above her.
She looked down behind her at Prol. He nodded to her, his face dead set. Past him she could see Soria. The colour had drained from Soria's face, she was visibly freightened by their mission. Raina hoped she could keep it together if things went wrong
She had no idea what she was going to face when she poked into the hatch, but was pleasantly surprised to see just an empty room. She couldn't tell what its purpose was, but a Cardassian insignia on one of the consoles proved Starfleet Intelligence right that they were involved here.
She looked back, indicating that the coast was clear, and then hoisted herself into the room. Prol followed, and then the shaky Soria.
The three readied their rifles, stepping quietly towards the console with the Cardassian insignia. She had been briefed on how to operate these, along with the language. Prol kept guard at the door while she tapped through. The interior of the base became clear through the console, they were in what was described as service room 11b, adjacent to the main transmission room.
The team readied to face Cardassians on the other side of the door. Soria stood by the door's release button while Prol and Raina stood ready to barge through with their weapons.
The door opened and they were only faced with one person, a Xepolite. With her rifle on stun, she fired at him. He fell to the floor beside the massive main console. Prol quickly went to the limp body and carried it into the service room.
Raina went to the console, Soria close behind her. There were hundreds of recent transmissions that went through. Sifting through with her knowledge on the consoles, she found a Cardassian transmission. She read it aloud.
Understanding the transmission, it entailed instructions for an incursion on Bajor by five Cardassian vessels to disturb the Federation defense line. Raina quickly downloaded as many transmissions from the Cardassians as possible onto a data PADD.
The team jumped at the sudden sound of an alarm. Red lights bathed the console, and the klaxons being so close to the console pounded on her ears. They could hear a yelling outside, although they could not make out what it was saying. The three hit their emegency transporters, Raina grabbing the data PADD before initiating.
They scrambled to grab their beacons and get back into the shuttlecraft. Upon an urgent re-entry, they powered up the shuttlecraft as fast as they could. Soria piloted the small craft out of the sand dune and straight up back towards Federation space. Their fears of the station coming around the planet were unfounded, and they made it back to the Galaxy with little difficulty, as no Cardassian or Xepolite ships were close enough to intercept them.