Posted on Tue May 4th, 2021 @ 10:55pm by Lieutenant Kevin Lance
Edited on on Wed May 5th, 2021 @ 6:30am
Splinter Faction And Assisting
Petty Officer 1st Class Jastin Bentlex followed the Marine squad from USS Independence, eying the population of wolf-like Triangularians trying their best not to noticed the armed humans in their midst. At the Marine sergeant’s insistence, Jastin was part of the order of march but he had successfully convinced the sergeant that as an infiltration specialist, he should be at the back. Only one Marine was behind him and Jastin was scanning the civilians for a place to break from the squad without being noticed.
His mission was simple. The Science Department aboard the Independence had tracked the saboteur’s transmission of bogus Astran strategic data from Lieutenant Lance’s PADD to a government building on the planet of Triangular. Since the Triangularians had not been responding to the ship’s hails, he was to enter the building covertly and discover what the situation was. The Marines were along, on the Captain’s ordes, to secure the building and assist with Jastin’s entry and extraction.
Having a fully armed and armored Marine squad with him while trying to infiltrate the Triangularian government building was like walking through a den of Jackal Mastiffs covered in Targ meat while dragging an anchor and playing Vulcan bells. As a former special operator herself, Jastin though that the Captain would have appreciated the need for stealth but apparently not. The Marine sergeant, whose name Jastin had forgotten, had been none too happy himself to learn that the squad was assigned an escort mission with very limited rules of engagement that amounted to, in the sergeant’s own words, “Don’t shoot until shot.”
Jastin was chosen for this mission because his height and build were close to standard for a Triangularian male and his race, the Carren, possessed the ability to make limited changes to their appearance in order to blend, a residual survival adaptation from ancient ancestors. The ability had atrophied somewhat over the millennia that the race developed to sentience but they could still make limited changes in appearance to appear more like another. The obvious flaws in his altered appearance would be easily masked but the holoemitter that he was wearing, designed off of one the one used by Voyager’s EMH. Unlike the Marines, Jastin was dressed in Triangularian civilian grab, his phaser hidden underneath the tunic that he wore.
As the squad approached what appeared to be a market square, Jastin saw his opportunity. The Marine bringing up the rear of the column was checking the squard’s six to ensure that no threat was coming from behind and was looking away from Jastin. Quickly and silently, Jastin stepped away from the Marine column and into a group of civilians. At the same time as he activated the holoemitter, Jastin willed his body to morph into an approximation of a Triangularian male, then moved away from the Marine squad. As expected, the squad continued to advance into the market square unaware the he was no longer with them.
Jastin began moving along the stalls that bordered the market square, circling around the center in an unobtrusive manner to reach his target on the other side. The ship had scanned the building for possible entry points prior to the team beaming down and now he visually identified the various locations as he casually strolled along the edge of the square. The best entry would be from the roof but he would draw unnecessary attention to himself if he started scaling the building like Lieutenant Lance in one of his holodeck simulations. The main entry was too heavily guarded, of course, so he would need to hope that one of the secondary was less well guarded.
Jastin’s thoughts were interrupted by cries of alarm from the crowd and the distinctive, hammer-like thud of an automatic slug thrower. Jastin turned to the Marine squad that was almost in the middle of the square, taking cover behind anything available. Two of the Marine were already down but the others began to return fire. Jastin would have expect the crowd to melt away but instead many began to draw weapons and fire as well. Unfortunately, most were firing at the Marines.
In his sub-dermal implant, Jastin heard the transmission from a frantic Marine, “Independence, this is Marine Squad Gamma, we need immediate transpor…” The transmission was cut as Jastin saw another Marine fall beneath the withering fire.
The wait for a response from the Independence was unbearable as the Marines and Triangularians continued their firefight. “Marine Squad Gamma,” came the reply from the ship finally, “We are under attack and unable to transport at this time.”
But it was too late. The last of Marine Squad Gamma put up a valiant fight but the sheer number of Triangularian firing at them from all directions was too much. The entire firefight was over in a matter of minutes. In the end, all of the Marines and not a small number of Triangularians laid bleeding on the ground.
Jastin was aghast at the suddenness and the ferocity of the attack. He almost let his features morph back into a natural state but fear generated an instinctive response that froze it in place.
The Triangularians acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Weapons disappear back to wherever they had come from and they paid little attention to the dead and dying in the market square.
Jastin wanted to go and render aid to his comrades, even if they were Marines, but fear of his own death and training held him back. He was an infiltration specialist. The Marines weren’t the mission. The government build was. Jastin knew that there was little if anything that he could do for the Marines even if any of them were still alive. Pushing down the bile that was rising from his stomach, Jastin force himself to look away from ghastly scene and focus on the government building.
The Marines had been killed trying to get to the building. Jastin himself would have been a casualty had he not spilled away. He hoped that he would be able to find something in it that would justify the Marines’ deaths.