Star Trek: The Adventures of Argus

Nuclear Time

Chapter 9

From her vantage point, Kate Sheridan observed the movements of the five guards protecting the command building, mentally noting the position of each one. There was one keeping a lonely vigil on the building’s roof, two more occupied the guard station at the building entrance and the final two patrolled the building’s perimeter. She also noted the schedule of their movements. The patrolling guards took fifteen minutes to do a complete circuit, followed by a five-minute change over period as they all swapped places and the next pair began their patrol. Based on this pattern she’d ordered her people into place. Somner had set up a sniper position targeting the guard on the roof and Raj and Halpen had been sent to intercept the two on patrol when they reached the apex of their route. However, the two in the guardhouse worried her.

When Sheridan and her team had begun monitoring the guards’ movements they’d initially only counted four of them, believing that there was only one manning the guard post at the building’s entrance. After observing them for forty minutes, Sheridan was about to order her team into position when she observed the guards rotating their positions and two of noticeably different builds had taken up residence in the guard post. Ever since they’d been able to tell that the two of them swapped positions at the same interval as the two on patrol completed their round, covering the entrance as they swapped. It was a good system that gave little opportunity for an attack to succeed before the alarm was raised and as a result Sheridan had had to rethink her strategy. It was going to be difficult to take both out before one of them raised the alarm.

She checked her chronometer, noting that Raj and Halpen should have neutralised the patrol guards at this point. She signalled to Somner to be ready to take out the guard on the roof and the sharp shooter took aim. Finally, she positioned MacGillis ready to cover her.

Raj and Haplen soon appeared along one side of the building and signalled that their task was completed. Sheridan now focused her concentration on the guard post, waiting for the opportunity that should now present itself and soon the first signs began to show.

The guard positioned outside the guard post began to get restless. The two guards on patrol were now behind schedule and that meant that the two in the guard post couldn’t exchange places without leaving the entrance unprotected. As time went on and the patrol became more overdue the guard’s unease only got worse. He began take more and more frequent doses from the drug dispenser on his left breast until finally, he disappeared inside the guard house to report the missing patrol and that was Sheridan’s cue to act.

She immediately launched herself towards the front wall of the building, knowing that that was Somner’s cue to also to take out the guard on the roof.  The strategy was a calculated risk, the calculation being that, with both guards inside the guard house, she could cover the distance to it and take them out before anyone else knew that anything was wrong. Half way there she heard the zip and saw the flash as Somner fired his phaser rifle, taking out the roof top guard, who she also heard collapse with a thud. She tucked into a roll to cover the remaining distance, coming up in a crouch with her back to the wall as she heard the guard come back out of the guard post to investigate.

Sheridan slowed her breathing and calmed her heart beat as she waited, straining to hear the guards movements as he cautiously moved forwards. After a few moments, she saw the stubby nozzle of his compact machine gun venture beyond the corner, shortly followed by his forearm. Sheridan struck, grabbing his arm, relieving him of his weapon and throwing him to the ground in one fluid movement before rendering him unconscious with a Vulcan nerve pinch. She looked down at the soldier’s face, the dulled look of the drug control still plastered on it even while comatose.

The sudden flash of a phaser bolt a short distance from her caused her head to snap up and turn in the direction it was headed just in time to see the second guard drop to the floor stunned. She looked back towards the cover she’d launched herself from and saw MacGillis with her rifle levelled in the fallen guard’s direction. The security officer lowered her weapon and flashed a smile in Sheridan direction, but Sheridan just ignored it and gestured for the team to regroup at her position. Immediately they all moved forwards, splitting themselves between either side of the entrance. Sheridan signalled again, describing the next move and each person’s role in it.

Again, everyone immediately repositioned themselves. Sheridan, Raj and MacGillis crouched down; their phaser rifles levelled at the entrance to the Command Centre, while Lieutenant Sommner and Lieutenant Halpen pointed theirs outward, covering the team’s rear. With everyone in place Sheridan indicated to Raj and MacGillis to approach the entrance, while she kept her phaser rifle trained on it. Raj moved first, keeping his rifle levelled at the door. He positioned himself low and to the side of it, his hand on the handle. MacGillis moved next, similarly keeping her phaser levelled, and positioned herself on the side of the door opposite to Raj. Once in place, she indicated to Raj and he slowly opened the door. MacGillis tracked the opening, keeping the nozzle of her rifle pointing through the expanding gap until the door was open completely. The moment it opened fully MacGillis moved through it and secured the corridor beyond. Raj then also moved from behind the door next and took position on the opposite site of the corridor. Satisfied it was safe, he signed the all clear to Sheridan and she turned to Somner and Halpen, gesturing for them to follow, maintaining their vigilance at the group’s rear. They joined Raj and MacGillis inside the building, Sheridan taking the lead as the group moved cautiously forward along the corridor.

The building’s internal walls were constructed from concrete and coated in an off-white wash that gave it an institutional and oppressive atmosphere. This feeling was only amplified by the harsh illumination of the overhead lights. They reminded Sheridan of the low level lighting that she’d seen in emergency shelters and together it all caused the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.

As the group approached an intersection, Sheridan brought them to a halt out of sight. With caution, she moved forward alone and checked both directions. To the right the corridor continued for another fifty meters or so with several doors at random intervals along its length. It terminated at a staircase with flights going both up and down. To the left the corridor was much shorter, only continuing for another meter before terminating at a door. Sheridan ordered Raj to keep watch on the rest of the corridor to the right, before indicating for MacGillis and Halpen to peel off with her towards the door on the left and perform the same manoeuvre as the one used to enter the building.

This time it was MacGillis who moved first, the raven-haired security officer quickly and quietly worked her way down the short section of corridor, aiming her rifle at the door. Sheridan and Halpen followed suit, until they were both poised at the entrance. Sheridan indicated to MacGillis again, who reached for the handle. In one swift movement, she turned it, pulled the door open and Sheridan and Halpen burst into the room, each woman covering one end of the room.

Moonlight flooded through the two windows that were positioned along the opposite sidewall and the blue/white light illuminated several maps and charts that adorned the wall and table, identifying it as a briefing room. Otherwise, it was dark and empty. Sheridan elevated the tip of her weapon and turned to see Halpen do the same, shaking her head.

Nothing; the room was clear.

Sheridan indicated for them to rejoin the rest of the team and the five of them started to move along the rest of the corridor. Each time they encountered a door they repeated the manoeuvre, finding each room to be similar to the first one they’d entered and just as empty. Eventually they reached the stairs at the far end of the corridor and Sheridan approached the top of the downward flight. Carefully she checked it was clear before doing the same with the upward flight. Happy there was no danger, she beckoned the others forward.

The downward stairs continued for four flights before it reached the bottom; the most likely location for the control centre’s entrance to the underground base. Similarly, the upward staircase ascended four flights before reaching the top where the control centre’s operations room had to be located. Sheridan indicated to Somner and McGillis to descended the stairs and secure the entrance, while Halpen and Raj were to accompany her upwards and take control of the operations room. The first two officers indicated that they understood and began their decent as Sheridan started to move up the ascending staircase, her rifle trained on the next flight. Reaching the level area at the top of the first flight, she indicated for Halpen to follow, leaving Raj to cover the bottom. She quickly moved to Sheridan’s position before moving past and securing the top of the next flight. Raj moved next, continuing upwards until he reached the top of the third flight. Finally, Sheridan made her way to the top of the last flight, securing the area just outside the control room itself. She indicated for the other two to join her and they positioned themselves around the door.

Sheridan reached to her belt and pulled out her tricorder, scanning the room beyond. The device registered four life signs; two to the left, one to the right and one at the far end in the centre. She quickly considered her options and decided that the easiest way to take them all out quickly was using a stun grenade. However if that didn’t work they had to be prepared, so she issued orders to the other two officers to set their phasers to a wider beam and assigned them their targets. Halpen would cover the one on the right, Raj the one in the centre and Sheridan the two on the left. Nodding their agreement, Sheridan reached to her belt again and pulled a stun grenade. Activating it, she signalled Halpen to pull open the door. She then rolled the grenade through the entrance and across the floor, before retreating to the side. From inside the control room there was an exclamation of “What the…” cut off by a sudden flash. Sheridan indicated for the three of them to enter and they burst through the doorway. To Sheridan’s relief, all four people were unconscious, the one that had been standing collapsing to the floor, away from a control he’d obviously been reaching for.

“Let’s get these people tied up and out of the way,” said Sheridan, moving to unconscious man on the floor. Then we can get on with phase two, she added to herself.


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