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Evidence in Plain View

Posted on Wed Jul 6th, 2022 @ 1:31am by 2nd Lieutenant Christian Rogers & Petty Officer 2nd Class Corvus Hannah [Rogers]
Edited on on Fri Jul 22nd, 2022 @ 6:27pm

Mission: Mission 1: A New World
Location: Malon Frieghter
Timeline: After "Pushing Against the Dark Waves"

"I don't think it's fair that he's mad at us," Baldwin said as he checked the holorecorder then activated the timer so he could step out of the room and into the corridor with Kawolski.

"It's not like we broadcast that conversation," Kawolski answered, checking the PaDD as the holorecorder set about making an image of the room. Once it was finished, they would be able to upload it to the holodeck as an interactive program. It would take a few minutes for the holorecorder to record every detail in the room, down to the dust on the door jamb.

"Right?" Baldwin said. "That's on Warren." He immediately hated the idea of throwing one of his teammates under the shuttle like that. Even if he was a new guy and nobody knew him very well, he was still one of them and should be treated as such.

This time both men double checked they were on a private and non-recorded comm channel before they left the shuttle. They were still monitoring the main channel between the away team, but sure as hell didn't want another incident like that to happen a second time.

"And it's not like we said anything we haven't said before," Kawolski said. "Or that he's said."

"Yeah, that doesn't matter though does it? He's an officer. Different rules apply." Baldwin checked the progress of the recording. "I'm not seeing active devices in the room though. Did you see any on the ship before?"

"No," Kawolski answered, trying to think about it. "But we weren't really looking for them were we?"

"No. We'll do another sweep after we're done here. Make sure there's nothing."

Kawolski shrugged as he too waited for the holorecorder to finish.

Malon Bridge

"Yep, we need to find the computer core," Specialist Uriah said as she crawled out from the terminal and stood. Wiping her hands on her EVO suited thighs was just out of habit when working in dusty environs. "Their systems are locked out. I'll need direct access to the core to break their encryptions." Uriah faced Rogers at that moment then her eyes widened as she saw the scuffed baseball in the pouch at his waist. She had spoken out of turn!

"Relax," Rogers said, noting the direction of her gaze. "That's just for briefings. Will you be able to break their encryption and download their data?"

"Their systems aren't that advanced and we have already studied it as part of our preparations for this journey. Success rate has been a consistent ninety two percent."

Rogers looked around the bridge. Two others were at stations doing whatever it was that they did. One had one of the data storage systems hooked up. "We'll need to replicate two more data storage units if you want everything, Lieutanent."

Rogers only nodded and the computer systems crewman walked briskly away, headed, Rogers presumed, back to the shuttle. It would be an unpleasant few minutes back to the shuttle bay, but it was only a few minutes.

"Ah, there we go, in Engineering, of course," Uriah said, having tracked down their physical computer core. She motioned to the other crewman and both of them left. Rogers, finding himself alone on the bridge, sat in the command chair.

"You okay, Lieutenant?" Hannah asked as he found Rogers sitting on the bridge.

"Fine, Hannah. I'm fine. How's the away team?"

"Radiation levels are still at tolerable levels. We've got some time before intervention is needed. I'm not worried about the away team."

Rogers glared at his medic. "Something you are worried about?"

"Well, yes, since you mention it, Lieutenant, one team member has an issue that needs to be addressed."


"Oh shit." Baldwin said.

"Oh shit." Kawolski said.

The explosive devices they found behind a false panel in a crew quarters didn't say anything. Several lights flashed on the casing however.

"Lieutenant, we've discovered more evidence," Baldwin said, wishing he didn't have to report in. Last thing he wanted was to be in close proximity with Rogers again. Not for several weeks at least. The rest of their seven year mission if he could manage it.

"Acknowledged. What's their status?"

Baldwin looked at Kawolski. Corporal Chackton and Lance Corporal Triss were better trained where explosive devices were concerned. But they were back on the ship and, as the team previously discovered, the ship's high radiation levels interfered with communications outside the ship. "I think they're deactivated at the moment. They were stacked and stored in a hidden compartment. Leads me to believe they aren't armed."

"Make sure they're secured and don't let anyone near them," Rogers answered.

"Rogers that," Baldwin said, unable to help himself at that moment. Kawolski's open palm strike to the back of his helmeted head showed what his battle buddy thought of that.


"Uriah," Rogers said through the open comms.

"Go ahead, Lieutenant," Uriah answered.

"Do we have any access to data now or will that have to wait until you've decrypted the systems?"

"If you're asking what I think you're asking, Lieutenant, it'll have to wait. I highly doubt they left terrorist plans out in the open where anybody could find them."

"Agreed," Rogers said. "Make that a priority. Even if we can't download the data, we need to know what their plans were. Especially if they have any active plans in place."

"On it, Lieutenant," Uriah said. A click indicated she placed her comms back into passive mode.

"Anything else you want to discuss, Hannah?" Rogers asked his medic.

"Sir," Hannah said. "Baldwin and Kawolski-"

"They will be dealt with at the appropriate time, Hannah," Rogers answered. "Not before and certainly not in the middle of orders from Captain Keys."

"Lieutenant," Hannah said, knowing he was pushing it and knowing that his own relationship with Rogers was just recently repaired.

"Don't you have personnel to check for radiation levels?" Rogers said.

Hannah looked at the time display on his HUD. "Not for another-"

"Five seconds, Hannah. Go." Rogers moved toward the exit. "Leave Baldwin and Kawolski for last. Limit the exposure to the devices as much as possible."

"Yes, sir," Hannah said, following Rogers off the Bridge.

Some time later...

"If we angle it that way?" Uriah said from outside the room while she directed Baldwin to move his pattern enhancer to his left. "Then yours over that way...stop! Right there. Let me check. Yep, looks good." Uriah put her PaDD back into the pouch. "Lieutenant we can't transport them off the ship, the radiation is too strong for that, but by interlacing the shuttle's transporter into this transport buffer, we can store them until we get back to the Pioneer, then retrieve them."

Rogers nodded. "Do it. What's the status on the computer download?"

"Five minutes at the most," Uriah answered as she worked on interlacing the transport buffer.

"Thank you, Petty Officer," Rogers said then moved into the room. "Have you secured the other evidence?"

"Yes, Lieutenant," Kawolski answered after a moment. "We also have it fully recorded."

"Have you found anything else?" Rogers asked.

"No, sir. Just that workroom and these bombs. It looks like they destroyed the radiation refiner when we first boarded. It was secured to the deck plating and couldn't be easily moved or hidden. Other scraps indicated they'd run out of materials to craft the devices. There's four here but looks as if there's room for six."

"The previous attack," Rogers muttered. "The Benthan Guard will definitely want to know about this."

"Clear the space," Uriah called into the room. As one the three moved away from the pattern enhancers. Seconds after they did, the enhancers activated, created a barely visible energy line between the three devices. A silver shimmer dropped over the bombs then they disappeared. Uriah came in and grabbed the transport buffer. "Secured and powered. We're good here, Lieutenant."

"That's your responsibility to get back to the ship safely," Rogers told her.

"Petty Officer, download completed, checking data integrity now."

Rogers glanced at Uriah. "Three minutes then we're done here."

"You two, collect those storage devices and get them to the shuttle." Rogers waited for them to move out. "Hannah, we're preparing to bug out. Be ready for decom on the shuttle."

"On my way now, Lieutenant," Hannah answered.

Six Minutes Later...

"We'll still need to do full scans and innoculations back on the ship," Hannah told the crewman seated before him. "But diagnostic scans show you're still within tolerable levels. There's nothing to worry about." Hannah looked up as the airlock cycled. The rest of the team were starting to pile through. The shuttle, already cramped for space on the trip out, was more so with the crates and storage devices that also filled the hold area.

"Hannah, up front with me," Rogers said as he moved through.

"Sir," Hannah said, "I'm needed here to scan and treat."

Rogers turned, glaring at his medic. Hannah only looked back, shrugging. Roger's felt the young men's duplicity but it was such that there wasn't much more he could do about it. Hannah was justified, even though he could do one, maybe two, more diagnostic scans before they returned to the ship. "Baldwin," Rogers said, indicating with a nod of the head for him to take his customary seat.

Baldwin sighed but made his way through the crowded hold and took the empty seat. "Pre-flight status checks," he said after a minute of intense silence.

"Acknowledged," Rogers said. "Take us back, Sergeant."

Baldwin looked at Rogers for a couple seconds. His lieutenant didn't turn his head or meet his gaze but stared out the viewport. Baldwin took a breath. "Aye, sir," he answered. His fingers moved over the keys and the shuttle began to move. It took only a few minutes, as Roger stated, to get back to the Pioneer. Without inertial dampeners, it was a rough ride for the passengers even though they were restrained to their seats. Hannah worked hard to keep his balance and not fall over while he continued to work.

Pioneer, Shuttle Bay 1

"Secure the evidence in Cargo Bay Three for decom procedures, then everyone is to report to Medical for full diagnostics and treatment," Rogers said. "I'll report to the captain."

Rogers waited for the teams to acknowledge understanding of the orders then headed to a decom station before making his way to the Bridge. He wasn't sure how Keys was going to react to his briefing or that the Malon had indeed graduated from merely radiation poisoning of the nearby systems but actual terroristic activity. But, was that really their business? No Federation targets were involved unless the Malon went after their Talaxian allies. That was information for another time however.

Sergeant Brownell. I'm sure you heard that broadcast earlier between Baldwin and Kawolski. Take care of it. He tapped out on his PaDD as he moved through the ship.


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