Cardassian Assult on Carida, Part II - Lansine & Neyes
Continued from Cardassian Assult on Carida, Part I - Lansine & Neyes
Chapter 5, Torture
Cardia – Cardassian Prison
There was buzzing. A constant, high pitch whir, punctuated by a loud pulsing drumming. He didn’t recognize the people in the room. They wore strange clothing and spoke in a peculiar way.
He didn’t know where he was.
“Oh good, he’s awake again,” a feminine voice said as a Cardassian woman stepped out of the shadows. “Hello, Human. My name is not important, however, my intentions are. I am going to ask you a number of questions. You are going to answer them. If I don’t like your answers, then I’ll have my associates here have a little fun. Do you understand?”
“What?” Rob said, examining the their faces. He still couldn’t recognize the other people. He bent down in his chair, he was tied to it somehow; he couldn’t see what but his hands were immobilized behind him. Sweat dripped from his brow, blood stained his uniform and a pain in his left leg was shooting up his spine.
The woman raised her left hand and made a small gesture. At that sign, two of the other Cardassians in the room stepped forward and started beating the prisoner with their fists. After roughly one full minute, they stepped back.
“I assume that you understand me clearly now,” the interrogator said. “What is your name, rank, position, assignment, and security clearance within Starfleet?” Rob grimaced as the fists cracked against his already battered body, but with each punch the reality of the situation began to become more clear. The plan began coming back.
"Lieutenant Commander Robert Lansine Starfleet Identification number 71810409." Rob coughed a bit of blood before finishing. The Cardassians had interrogated plenty of Starfleet personnel before, surely they'd be expecting such a response.
Tapping the information into a Cardassian Padd, the interrogator hummed thoughtfully for a moment before smiling.
“It seems, Lieutenant Commander, that we don’t have a record of you, however, that’s something that can be corrected right away.” Turning to her assistants, she nodded. “Remove two of his teeth,” she ordered.
Rob coughed, but this time instead of blood, he choked back laughter. "You Cardassians sure know how to solidify a stereotype." Rob prepared himself for the pain, but it didn't mean he couldn't have a round with his captors.
The interrogator smiled in the typical Cardassian manner and held out a hand to stop her assistants. Staring at Lansine for a long moment, she smiled again and waved for the extraction to continue.
“Use the larger tools, and no pain killers,” she said as she stood back to watch.
Rob grimaced as the interrogator ripped the two canines from his mouth. The pain, while excruciating, still wasn't enough to dampen his overall mood--Landon was on his way right now. Rob ran his tongue along his now exposed gums in attempt to stop the bleeding but to no avail. Blood trickled out of his mouth as he spoke, "There's certainly a point to all of this, your people don't aggress without knowing exactly what it will get them. You're meticulous, tactical and cunning." Rob paused, realizing he was complimenting his captors. "What the hell do you want?"
“Answers, Lieutenant Commander Lansine,” the Cardassian woman replied as she moved to stand before the captured Starfleet Officer. “Why did the Federation order the Intrepid to attack our forces? How many ships are deployed and ready to strike at our borders? What was your mission while you were on Carida?”
Rob coughed back more blood before replying, "Attack? You attacked us." The imagines of civilians and his own men laying dead on the ground flooded into his mind. "You murdered innocents and without provocation."
“Lies!” the woman shouted as she slapped Lansine across the face. Stepping back, her assistants took over, beating the Starfleet Officer for what seemed to be an eternity. During the course of the beating, at least two of his ribs were broken. The woman stepped forward and leaned forward.
“Understand this, you can agree to cooperate, or things can get very unpleasant for you,” she said. “But of course, they can be much more pleasant at the same time. I’ll let you decide how you want to spend the few remaining hours of your life, Lieutenant Commander.”
Rob was barely holding onto consciousness now, he was losing blood and his body screamed in agony, "You have my PADD, you've captured my men, how much more do you need to realize we're not the guilty party?" With his last bit of energy he managed to question his captor one more time.
"How many people do you need to kill to rationalize you're arrogance?"
Standing back, the Cardassian woman smiled thinly towards the captured Starfleet Officer.
“Oh, you wouldn’t know that you were the only one we managed to capture alive,” she said. “The others tried to escape, and unfortunately they were all killed. As for your Padd, I’m afraid it was destroyed during your capture, along with your ship. You are all that is left of your crew, Lieutenant Commander Lansine.”
Walking over to the door, she paused as her assistants all stepped outside before she turned towards the Officer.
“Perhaps you should consider an alternative life, otherwise you may not survive your prison sentence,” she said, and then she was gone, leaving Lansine alone in the room.
The words were the last thing Rob heard before he slumped back into his chair unconscious.
They were most painful of all.
Chapter 6, Lost
Carida Prison Facility
Landon quietly made his way down the dark and forbidding hallways of the Cardassian's base. Unlike most starfleet outposts, the overall feeling of Cardassian installments was uninviting and hostile, with sharp edges, poor lighting, and that awful brown color on every wall and bulkhead Landon could see.
It had taken him less than an hour to find Michael and the others. They'd been holed up in a completely dark room, half-starved. Lexi kissed him and cried when he walked through the door to free them. Marshal had asked about Rob, and offered to help Landon find him. Under the circumstances, Neyes was tempted to let him, but had to decline. He'd readied a Cardassian shuttle before entering he compound, and instructed Michael to take the others that way. If all went according to plan, Rob and Neyes wouldn't need to make the trip back.
He'd told himself it was his goal to kill as few Cardassians as possible while attempting to rescue the others. He didn't have any means of escaping if they overpowered him, and the Intrepid may have left orbit without them. It was difficult not to let the thought of being stranded on a hostile Cardassian world dishearten him, but the others were counting on his success.
It has been nearly two hours since he'd first infiltrated the prison encampment. In those two hours he'd only had to take down one guard, and the man didn't feel a thing before he passed out. It had taken longer than he'd thought to cut through the interference being generated in the facility, but the signal for Rob's life signs were coming in loud and clear now. It looked like he was just 500m away. If he had to keep checking his readings every few minutes, however, he was never going to make it. Neyes cursed the whistling of his tricorder.
Quickly, Landon disappeared behind a framework bulkhead as a several guards marched past. They were discussing work and were tediously moving about their patrol in a bored fashion. As far as Landon could tell, the Cardassians all believed they'd pushed the federation out of the colony. It was entirely possible they expected they were safe from intrusion this early in the game. He smiled at their arrogance.
As soon as they'd passed, Neyes rushed down the hallway. The man he'd knocked unconcious earlier had been a Gul, as luck would have it. Landon typed the passcode into the door panel and it quickly opened to reveal the prison holding cell block. Rows of cell doors lined a scarcely lit, sparse environment. He could see a room all the way at the end of the corridor
"Rob." Neyes whispered. Silently, he pulled out his weapons and made his way towards the doorway.
Rob didn't recognize the voice at first, the past few hours he'd been smacked, thwacked, kicked, punched, and tortured, any friendly voice was merely a ghost of memory after what he'd endured. Then he saw him, Landon, moving swiftly towards his cell, weapon in hand.
"Landon," Rob gasped, he hadn't spoken in hours and had been refused water since his capture.
Neyes hurriedly manipulated the doors lock with his tricorder.
Rob leaned back against the concrete slab as Landon managed to open his cell, "It's about time you got here."
Pulling a hypo and a dermal-regenerator from his belt, Neyes knelt and carefully tended to the superficial wounds on Rob's face. "Can you move?" He asked. Rob looked like he'd been through a few matches with a Nausicaan and lost every single one. A gash across his face the size of his hand was something Landon saw immediately. His lips were chapped and bleeding, and both his eyes were swollen to slits. He was also missing teeth.
"I'll manage." Rob reached and pulled himself up by Landon's arm.
"We need to get out of here." Landon activated a locator field on his tricorder and tapped his commbadge, "Neyes to Jung. I've got Lansine, transport us back so we can get the hell out of here."
There was a short pause before Michael replied, "That's a no go Lieutenant. There's a scattering field surrounding the interior of the base. You're going to have to get closer to the exterior if we're going to get a solid lock."
"Dai'i!" Neyes cursed. The damn fan-necks were really edging their way under his skin. "Looks like it's the hard way for us..."
"Lets get a move on then," Rob furthered support himself on Landon as the two made their way down the corridor. Rob was bending down for a downed guard's disrupter when two voices came around the corner.
"Take cover," Rob whispered urgently in Landon's ear.
Almost completely ignoring Rob's warning, Neyes practically growled and lunged at one of the oncoming guards. His knives slid effortlessly into the man's chest as they both tumbled to the floor.
Mid fall Rob pressed off two shots from his newly found disruptor, both hitting the other Cardassian in the chest.
Immediately an alarm began to blare across the entirety of the compound, effectively alerting every Cardassian officer on the grounds that there were intruders running amok.
Neyes sighed heavily. "Oh this is turning into more of a challenge than I'd intended."
Rob coughed up more blood as Landon picked him back up, he looked up at the Trill as to say something but held his tongue.
Landon picked Rob up across his back and ran for the access door at the end of the corridor. It was reasonable to assume the shuttle would be able to get a lock on them once they were outside, although at this point Neyes wasn't holding his breath. It was probably a good thing, since Rob apparently didn't know not to choke people with his arms when being carried.
The majority of the guards had apparently been off duty at the time, because the cool air of the night was quiet except for the alarm. It was refreshing to be somewhere where the air wasn't stagnant and dry, as it was everywhere in the compound. They made a dash across the edge of the raised launching platform, about 600 meters from the shuttle. Landon could feel his legs getting tired. He and Rob were almost built exactly the same and came eye to eye in height. While they were both in excellent shape, neither men were considered extremely muscular, and Rob was getting heavy.
"Jung! Now would be an excellent time to transport!" Landon hollered.
"The field is still too strong, we can't risk it!" Jung replied.
"Compensate! Narrow the Anular confinement beam! Use my commbadge to lock on!" Neyes shouted.
The quiet air suddenly lit up as Cardassian disruptor fire began pelting them from the roofs of the compound. The energy discharges were impacting all around them as they continued to make their way across the catwalk-like path to the other side of the launch platform. Neyes had to wonder why it was so inconvenient to get to a shuttle, who would design it like this?
"Hang on, Robby! We're almost th- UuGh!" A disruptor blast pounded into Neyes' arm and sent both men toppling over the guardrail of the walkway. Neyes felt Rob lose his grip and fall away from him. It was probably 15 feet off the ground, and nothing but the grassy field that the base was built on waited for them at the bottom. Neyes' senses were dulled, but he distinctly felt the tinge of the transporter wash over his body.
Seconds later he materialized on the floor of the confiscated Cardassian shuttle. The pain of his wound lashed out in his arm and Landon heard himself cry out a little.
"Where's Lansine!?" Jung called back from the pilot's station. His face was a image of surprise and fear.
Landon forced himself to sit up and move to the co-pilot's station. The pain in his arm was throbbing to a point where he thought he might black out. Rob was still down there, in a Cardassian encampment, and he had been badly hurt. Panic pushed its way into his mind and his fingers raced across the consoles in an attempt to find Rob's bio-signature. Rob didn't have on a commbadge so there was no other way to find him. Nothing was coming up on his screens except blank data. All he could detect were the energy readings coming from the prison facility. The interference was pulsating across the sensor fields like a bad headache and every second that ticked by Neyes could feel his patience starting to dwindle.
Still no sign of Lansine. "I'm not a fucking transporter chief! I've never been a scientist in any life! I need more power to the sensor grid! Find the source of the interference! Goddammit! Someone!" Landon's voice broke a little.
"They're powering up the anti-aircraft defenses! We need to get into orbit! Back to the Intrepid!" Jung hollered. The shuttle started to lift off.
Landon hissed back, his voice shouting with no control over the rage that was filling him, "Not without Rob! I won't leave him here to be slaughtered like some animal!" The panic was relentless now, and he couldn't think straight. The buttons all began to move together, he couldn't read them quickly enough. They needed to move. He had to save as many as he could.
There was no way to find him and still save everyone else.
A uncomfortable moment passed as everyone kept silent, unsure what to do.
"...Sir! We need to go!" Jung repeated.
"Open the hatch!" Landon stood as he moved to the back of the shuttle.
"What?!" Lexi called out.
Landon grabbed the emergency supplies container from the bulkhead behind the piloting control station and yanked it from its mooring. "I said open the hatch!" He seethed.
If there was even the slightest chance Rob had survived the fall, and would somehow escape, Landon was going to give him the best shot possible. The doors of the rear hatch opened a little to reveal the compound moving further away from them as they lifted off. Landon scanned the ground to see where they had probably fallen, and heaved the massive container out the back of the shuttle to the ground below. It landed in some trees probably 2000 meters away from the compound's outer perimeter, and somehow remained intact.
"Get us into orbit." Landon's voice was hollow and cold. He'd abandoned his only real friend on a world where hundreds of innocent people had been murdered just hours ago.
Landon collapsed against the bulkhead of the shuttle. His eyes wet, his head throbbing, and a knot that was threatening to bring him to his knees was twisting around in his stomach. The taste of vomit began to work its way into his mouth. "I... Is uh... everyone alright?" He managed.
The rescued crew all nodded solemnly, bruised and battered as they were. Lexi quickly moved over next to Neyes and laid his head down in her lap carefully. He didn't resist, and felt every muscle in his body loosen as soon as she laid him down. Something in his mind had been sure he'd never be comfortable again.
Landon felt helpless in a way he hadn't experienced since before he was joined. They were all so exhausted. The responsibility of being the senior officer weighed on him now. Every part of him felt the need to be strong for his crew mates, but nothing in him had the strength to be their leader. They'd tried so hard to save the lives of everyone they could, and for what? Neyes could only find solace in knowing Lexi was safe, and nearly 5000 innocent colonists had been rescued as well.
Some time passed as they cleared atmo and exited out into open space, following the footsteps of the convoy.
Nearly two hours into their silent journey, a pained sound came from the forward section. "Sir..."
Everyone looked intently out the forward window. Landon's heart nearly sank back down to the planet at what he saw next. Immediately obvious was the massive warp nacelle of a Sovereign class vessel, broken and destroyed, floating free from its mooring. Behind it was a field of metal and debris.
The Intrepid had been destroyed.