Jonozia Lex finally reached the corridor that lead up to the blast doors protecting the main launch facility itself and raised his fist to halt the team behind him. As planned once he’d secured the hanger he’d contacted Lieutenant Johnson to give clearance for the White. The Type-10 shuttlecraft touched down moments later and quickly hovered inside the hanger along with the shuttlepod. With the engineering team safely inside, Lex started to lead them into the base itself to secure a route to the launch area.
It seemed that Sheridan’s false alarm had worked. They met little resistance en-route from the hanger entrance, only coming across a few engineers who had been working late and several of guards who hadn’t left their posts, each one on their own. When the alarm had sounded one guard had left their post while the other remained. While it allowed for a quick response during the alert it also meant that meant there was nobody left to raise the alarm properly once each single guard had been taken out.
That’s because nobody expected an attack on this base, let alone at all three entrances, thought Lex, but then why would they? We only know about it because our technology is three centuries more advanced.
Lex reached the next junction and ordered his team to stop. He pulled out a tactical reflector and used it to look around the corner. In the small mirror he could see a single guard standing at the side of the large blast doors that led to the launch area and their objective.
Collapsing the reflector he stowed it back on his tactical belt and started to issue orders, pulling Lieutenant Olabi to the front. The sharpshooter positioned himself out of sight around the corner, mounting his weapon to his shoulder and took a side step to the right. If the guard registered Olabi’s presence, Lex heard no indication of it before Olabi fired.
Olabi raised his weapon and gestured to the rest of the team. “All clear,” said the African in his deep rhythmic voice.
Lex nodded and ushered the rest of the team forward. The five of them approached the door’s controls carefully and Lex pulled out his tricorder. Scanning the controls, he tapped several commands into the tricorder. The small device beeped in response and he started pressing controls on the panel itself. There was a loud creaking noise, swiftly followed by a rumble and the doors began to part. All the members of Alpha team shouldered their weapons and moved towards the widening aperture; ready for anyone or anything that might come through.
As they reached the gap they came face to face with the barrel of a Type III phaser rifle. At its other end was Kate Sheridan, who raised her weapon as soon as she saw Lex and his team.
“Glad you could make it, Captain,” she said with a smirk.
“Likewise, Commander,” responded Lex. “Is the facility secure.”
“Yes, Captain,” she responded. “The rest of the base’s personnel are all contained and are now taking a good long nap. I’ve also permanently disabled access to the base systems from the control tower and locked down that entrance. All base functions are now controlled from the launch control room.”
“Good,” said Lex. “Any sign of Beta Team yet?”
“Not so far. They may have encountered more resistance coming from the barracks.”
“Possibly, but I don’t want to leave anything to chance. I’d like you to take your team and check it out.”
“Aye sir,” she acknowledged. “First, I think there’s something you need to see.”
An ironic smile came to Jonozia Lex’s face as he found himself yet again staring up at the place on the sleeper ship’s hull Kate Sheridan had shown him two hours earlier.
“S.S. Argus,” he said, reading the ship’s name aloud, once again feeling that it was fortunate it had originally become lost in the mists of time. Had he known it matched that of his own command he would probably have thought it a coincidence too far and taken it as a sign that the course of action they had planned wasn’t the right one. As it was he now believed more that ever that they’d done the right thing.
It had been nearly five hours now since the beginning of the operation. Lieutenant Johnson, Lieutenant Dulmis and the other engineers had now arrived and had begun getting to work on disassembling the White and installing its warp core in the sleeper ship and preparing it for launch.
You mean the Argus, he thought. What effect will that have when the Sovereign-class version finds it?
Five hour having passed since the beginning of the operation also meant that over two hours had passed since his team had converged with Kate Sheridan’s and he’d sent her to look for Beta Team. With Lisley’s team now well overdue he was beginning to suspect the worst.
“Captain, we think we’ve found them,” called Sheridan she entered the room. She held back from any further details until she reached Lex’s location, “There’s a bunker near the barracks entrance to the base that seems to have the remaining guards stationed around it. We think that Beta Team was captured and taken there for interrogation.”
“How well defended is it?”
“That’s the problem,” replied Sheridan with a look of concern. “There are ten guards stationed along the approaching and another five inside. There’s no way to approach without someone spotting you and raising the alarm.”
“Damn,” Lex said, turning from Sheridan so that he could think. He was about to turn back when he spotted something and got an idea. “Commander, what about this…”
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