((Sensor Dead Zone, Darime IV))
The whirr of machinery overtook the sounds of the breeze, like energy thrumming through a particularly murderous set of chainsaws. Bear frowned, blond brows knitting together in the middle, and Bear looked up to see a metallic compact unit screeching overhead, much like the shuttlecraft of moments before. It headed for the same place, hovering once it reached the line of the mountain again.
O. Marshall: Does that look like a workbee to you?
Josett: Romulan. Stolen, most likely. ::She flicked a finger in its direction.:: That’s the sound of a hot-wired engine. They’re lucky it hasn’t fallen out of the sky. Or blown up in their faces.
O. Marshall: It wouldn’t need to be hot-wired if they had the right access. Stolen workbee, probable smugglers, the likelihood of death on the wind... Sounds like a perfect date. ::He grinned as he stowed the binoculars away.:: Let’s follow it, see where we end up.
Free from the wonders of the fresh droppings covering his hand, Bear and his broad shoulders hefted up from the sodden soil, Lena falling into step beside him. Even as they moved through the whisperings of long grass nipping and brushing at their boots and knees, Bear found his eyes drifting back to Lena, gazing at the astute way she carried herself in the open air; as usual, she adapted to new surroundings.
Josett: Stoking conflict between the Romulans and Pelians would keep our focus on them and away from anything else going on. They’re probably thanking their lucky stars that they’ve got such an easy villain to pin things on. ::She chuckled.:: Most people won’t stop to think that the problem with Romulans being the obvious villain is that Romulans are rarely so obvious. There's a reason they have a reputation for being sneaky gits, and that's because you don't realise they've screwed you until you're well and truly screwed.
O. Marshall: Oh, believe me, I remember that all too well.
Their first meeting, back on Hai Tac Outpost. Bear had believed he was working under the Starfleet radar for the Orion Syndicate, paying back the dues of getting his sister out from another universe, while the reality was entirely different. Valesha was the target; to be taken at all costs. Their stay on board the Labyrinth’s Scream had come at a fatal price nearly paid by the Romulan as she fought for her life on the journey home.
It was a memory that still made his heart mossy, and he swallowed as he looked away from Lena to the long grasses and tall trees surrounding them. Unfortunately, it still carried the same wave of guilt riding through on the barren sea.
Josett: If I had to guess, these smugglers had something in the works and now we’re here, they need to make sure a certain Sovereign-class isn’t looking in their direction when they pull it off.
O. Marshall: Easier said than done, apart from when there’s a heft storm riding across the planet like Stoyer and his battlefields. Everything would be down for an hour. Enough time to…
He stopped mid-sentence and reached a hand for Lena’s forearm to hold her in place. Up ahead, the stolen Romulan worker unit, decked in green and purple, had descended from the sky on a fast trajectory, momentarily hovering above a clearing section of the meadow. A spotlight illuminated, searching the ground below.
Crouching down, this time avoiding any interesting-looking lumps of tiz, he lowered his voice.
O. Marshall: Do you think they’re looking for us?
The side door to the worker unit flung open, and someone decked in black peered out of the access hatch, down onto the ground enlightened beneath. Stuttering in midair for a minute, the working unit barely shifted, though a hatch beneath opened with slow, jittering pneumatics. The familiar buzzing of a tractor beam started, the blue hue artificially added to the process lighting up, and then a body of an unconscious Pelian rose slowly from the ground.
O. Marshall: What the hell? Can you get a better look?
Once the body was safely through the hatch and onboard the working unit, all hatches closed, lights flicked off, and the blackened pilot slipped back into the cockpit. Within seconds, it had flung the controls around and darted off toward its initial heading, leaving a whirring trail of engine dust behind.
Dumbfounded, Bear felt his eyebrows had somehow tried to mate with his hairline, and when he glanced at his partner, they hadn’t yet come down.
O. Marshall: That’s not something you see every day. ::Then, he frowned.:: Didn’t the briefing say the Pelians come down here to die and bury their recently deceased?
Lieutenant Orson Marshall