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[BACK LOG / PLOT LOG] Capt. Neyes (ret.) | "Silent Night" Pt 3

Posted on 01/28/2021 @ 8:52pm by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Captain Landon Neyes

Mission: Genesis
Location: Camelback Springs, Arizona, USA - Earth
Timeline: Backlog, December 25th

December 25th
0130 PST
Camelback Springs, Arizona, USA - Earth

The small disk slid from his side, a gentle shimmer of metallic technology he’d used dozens of times before now. It fit comfortably in the palm of his hand, a small timer box with a permanent “10” waiting for him to begin the countdown. Landon flung it casually over the ice and snow, gliding it across the slick surface as if it were weightless. Once it had reached its target, the disk snapped to the side of the short range sensor suite of the rescue team’s equipment. There was a dull hum for a moment, then a bright flash.

Their tricorders weren’t powerful enough to detect him through the stealth field. The sensor suite however, was a risk he simply didn’t need at this point.

Aela had asked him not to come. She’d assured him there were people out here working with Rochelle’s best intentions in mind. If she was here, they’d find her. If there was evidence, they’d find it. He’d considered carefully her words in the moment, and even stopped to flip the possibilities through the vast scope of his thoughts. She could be right, but there was no reason for them include him in the process if he didn’t assert himself directly. He’d be sitting, waiting to hear word from people he’d never know, hoping against hope that they were somehow legitimately guided by similar ideals and interests.

Or it was something else entirely, and he was going to find out which. Starfleet shuttles didn’t just drop out of the sky. It was Almar’s shuttle, no less, and he was the first person Landon would go to if Rochelle needed help he could provide. They’d been through too much, the three of them, and Landon didn’t have the full picture yet. If he was a betting man though, Landon knew Almar would have nothing to do with an accident involving his own spacecraft, at least not with Rochelle on board. Still, a lingering whisper was bothering him. There wasn’t any information to go on yet, and if someone he knew had taken advantage of their trust, of Rochelle’s trust… well, it was all on the table.

Landon pressed himself against a rocky embankment, his face painted with nothing less than a cold stare. His azure blue eyes blankly watching out over the eastern edge of Phoenix, and for the first time he could feel the chill all around him. He’d seen this before, in one of R’s galleries. Next to an authentic Titian when she was playing at gramary with him and his knowledge of Earth. ‘Titanic Deserts’ or some other human novelty she adored. The tree line down the mountainside had him all but transfixed, a smattering of shrubbery sloping into a thin ice sheet and disappearing entirely as it rose toward him. It felt isolating, seeing the foliage shrink the closer it got, but it reflected how he saw the world. How he’d likely see it from now on...

He looked back toward the rescue site, and tapped his wrist twice as he caught sight of some officers moving towards the disturbance. A brief sparkle of energy materialized before him, quickly revealing the device once more, transported back to remove proof of the deed. This time however, it had burned itself out. The time box was dark, and it was hot to the touch. He took a quick scan with his modified tricorder and confirmed it had blown out the power regulators in their sensors.

The Trill man slid the disk back into his side pouch, and made his way down the rocky slopes toward a small mine vent he’d detected. Each step crunched beneath his boots, and his jaw tightened in stride.

What was he about to find? Anything? What would he do if he found her body?

It made him uncomfortable just thinking about-... A sudden lurch rocked him, and he contained the urge to vomit. His eyes watered and he gasped for breath, the disruption completely overcoming his senses for a moment. A ringing in his ears sent a shock through his skull, and nothing but a piercing agony gripped him while he stopped, dropping to one knee. Could he do this? Was he capable of looking at her frozen and helpless, trapped beneath a shuttle’s worth of wreckage? He took in a quick breath, steadying himself while leaning against the stone embankment.

“I’m coming for you.” Landon whispered quietly to himself.

The bewildered rescue team disappearing behind him, he reached a low overhang of rock about 2 meters high. A narrow passage completely engulfed in darkness yawned at him. Just barely large enough for his muscular frame to crawl into. He stood for a moment, closing his eyes and pushing the flood of images he’d conjured out of his head. If she was gone, there would be evidence to prove it. If she wasn’t, the same was true. He needed to know, even if it meant he’d be haunted forever by what awaited him down inside. He flipped on his overhead beacon and slid on his stomach through the portal.

Occupying his mind wasn’t difficult, staring into the dry and darkened rocky interior he steadied himself by recalling the mental exercises he’d all but stopped using since Zed and Vaan came into his life. The boys provided more than enough stimulation for everyone, and they wouldn’t give him time to do them anyway. His breathing steadied, though, and his thoughts cleared with the craggy lines of the tunnel. Before he could assess whether or not he should be concerned, trapping himself in a cave 10 or so meters underground, the air cleared of his breath and was replaced with the acrid smell of burning metal and plasma. A dull fire smouldered at the pit of what looked like an abandoned mineshaft. His brow furrowed as the beacon light intensified, giving him a clearer view of the wreckage.

There was no temperature cold enough to mask the chill that rocked him as he passed the lights over what was left of the Liberty. Rubble and debris piled into what he could only barely recognize as the primary hull of the runabout. His eyes burned, forcing him to turn and look away as an automatic face mask appeared over his features, shielding his breath from the fumes being expelled into the cavern. He reached for his belt, and a quick check to his tricorder revealed a series of leakages seeping plasma particles into the air. If he stayed long enough he risked igniting what was left of the wreckage. His azure eyes snapped to the open hull breach and he quickened his pace toward faint readings. Too faint to be lifesigns, he approached a shattered remnant of the conn, and a bloody heap of metal.

“The fuck…”, straps hung from the twisted bars of the pilot’s chair. Even with gloved hands he could tell they’d been cut as he inspected them closely, reaching over and touching them. Rochelle would have barely been conscious and barely able to breathe, let alone strong enough to reach for a knife and cut all the bindings of the restraint herself. He couldn’t tell what original position she would have been in. The Liberty obviously tumbled down the shaft AFTER it crashed, but why?

No body. No Rochelle. No transporter signature… “Where are you, Rochelle?” He asked quietly, whispering into the void of the cavern.

“Warning, plasma particle density has reached five million ppm. Immediate evacuation recommended.” His earpiece signalled, rocking him from an intense stare. Shining the light up the tunnel, he could see the opening of the mine’s entrance, completely annihilated by the Liberty smashing into it. His tricorder chirped again, this time with extreme alarm.

It only took a moment for him to identify the readings. A weapon’s signature. Another moment and he closed his eyes, the worry and pain replaced with an icy rage. His tricorder clicked as he closed and put it away, staring hard into a point on the wall. The lights illuminated what was clearly disruptor fire etched into an old wooden support, which was shorn away and allowed the collapse of the shuttle. A moment passed before he realized he’d stopped breathing, and his hands were clenched so tightly they began to tingle from loss of blood flow.

“Computer, access local directories and locate any and all civilian structures within a 100 kilometer radius, parse with filter Neyes 221-0. Verify”

It chirped in response, and a list of several addresses and coordinates appeared on his HUD. He silently slid back into the tunnel and climbed back out into the night. This was no longer a search and rescue, a fact-finding mission.

This was now a hunt.


Captain Landon Neyes


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