Feeling the sting from staring through her tactical viewing goggles for too long, Lisley lowered them from her face and blinked several times to remoisten her eyes. As the pain began to fade she let out a sigh of frustration. The away team had been watching the base for over four hours so far and in that time they had discovered nothing unusual happening beyond a larger than expected security presence for an installation of its size. However even that could be easily explained away with the foreknowledge that a major nuclear strike was to be launched in the next few days. There certainly wasn’t any indication of anything top secret going on here, but then Lisley hadn’t expected there to be, otherwise it wouldn’t be very top secret. Whatever it was would most likely be hidden inside the buildings or underground and she could only hope that McGregor’s flyover scan in the shuttlepod revealed more when she returned.
Lisley put the goggles back to her eyes and winced as the luminous green of their night vision hurt her eyes. She scanned over the base again, catching one of the guards dosing up on the drugs that the Optimum used to control their military. The act made her shudder in disgust in just the same way as the guard shuddered with his fix. She lowered the goggles again and looked over to Lieutenant Mendez who held a portable audio sensor dish that he was using to scan over the base.
“Hear anything Lieutenant?” she asked in hope.
Mendez looked like he was about to shake his head when he suddenly paused. “Hold on,” he whispered. Lisley waited patiently as he adjusted several of the controls on the dish.
“Yes, bearing 034 degrees,” he said. “Sounds like an officer.”
Finally, thought Lisley taking one of the spare headsets and putting them on her ears.
“Get out of my way,” ordered a male voice. It was deep and had a hard edge to it, the kind of voice that when heard you listened and obeyed. Definitely an army officer, thought Lisley. The voice triggered memories of her father, a career officer in the Starfleet Marine Corps.
With the headphones still on, she put the goggles back to her face and followed the voice to its source. She soon found a man an officer’s uniform and there was no mistaking that he was the origin of the commanding voice. His back was rigidly straight and his poise carried an air of self-assuredness and alertness that seemed to be a common trait in high-ranking army personnel and reinforced the connection that Lisley had made between him and her father.
Beside the officer stood a woman in a white lab coat who was nervously tapping something into a personal digital assistant. There was a tense look about her that suggested the officer was both very important and wasn’t going to like what he saw, but at the moment she wasn’t the focus of the officer’s wrath.
In the green hue of the night vision she could see that they was standing outside the doorway to one of the small concrete buildings that were dotted around the base. In front of the door was a soldier wearing the hooded and padded uniform of a British Republican Army conscript. His body language suggested that he wasn’t completely focused or paying attention, both of which were a side effect of the drugs, it was a stark contrast to the self-confident way in which the officer held himself.
“Yeth, Colonel,” replied the conscript, his voice sounding like he had a permanently blocked nose due to the regular sniffing of the drugs. He tried to scramble out of the way but was too sluggish and ended up getting roughly pushed aside by the Colonel anyway, who disappeared through the doorway with the woman in tow. Once the door closed, the soldier pulled something attached to his left breast by a cord. He then put it to each nostril and sniffed hard. The action made Lisley shudder in revulsion again.
She lowered the goggles again and turned to Mendez. “Lieutenant, can you give me sound from inside that building.”
“I think so, but we’ll likely loose much of the quality” he replied, adjusting the controls on the sensor dish. After a few moments, the recognisable voice of the Colonel returned. Lisley replaced her goggles and switched them to exographic mode, adjusting the range until they passed through the building’s wall. To her surprise it was empty save the top of a staircase, which was where the Officer and the Scientist had paused for a moment. It was evident something the woman had said had displeased the Colonel.
“…and will this problem affect whether your engineers are going to be ready on time?” he was asking in his stern voice.
“No sir,” replied the female engineer timidly, shaking her head. “The problems we’ve been having with the cryo-stasis chambers shouldn’t delay the project’s completion.”
The Colonel leaned towards the woman menacingly. “It had better not because the High Chancellor wants no delays,” he warned sternly. “Once we have eradicated the worthless ECON he wants the conquest of the deserter colonies to begin and the Project is the key to that.”
“Yes sir,” responded the terrified woman.
Satisfied, the Colonel started to make his way down the stairs with the engineer following closely behind and soon the two of them dropped from Lisley’s view. The sound of the shuttle pod landing a short distance away with its thrusters in silent running mode drew her attention and she dropped the goggles from her eyes and handed them to Mendez. As she approached the small craft the small hatch in its side opened and the petite form of Ensign Sarah McGregor stepped out. She handed Lisley a padd with her scan results from the flyover and Lisley looked it over, her eyes widening surprise.
She turned back to Mendez. “Pack up your equipment,” she told him. “We need to get this to the Captain.”
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