USS Adelphi


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Post 49 - The Underspace Railroad

Posted on Sat Jul 25th, 2020 @ 9:35pm by Captain Björn Kodak & Lieutenant Nico Oliveria

Mission: Episode 1 - The Metreon Paradox
Location: Cargo Bay 3
Timeline: During attempts to exit Underspace

[Cargo Bay 3]
[During attempts to exit Underspace]

Security officers had -- just moments ago -- rounded up and returned the last of the Talaxians to the cargo bay. With the Adelphi coming to an unexpected stop in the Underspace tunnel headed for Delta-Bravo, the Bridge had ordered all of the ship's guests back to their accommodations "for their own safety." But several of the Talaxian refugees were not at all happy being so promptly escorted back to what some believed was nothing more than a large prison cell. A throng of people had gathered around their leader -- Jasaxar -- and were demanding in very loud, angry voices that he speak with the Federation captain to improve their plight.

"Calm yourselves," Jasaxar yelled as the lights flickered out for a moment before returning at half strength. "Look around you, they are in the middle of a crisis, and it will do us no good to try and force their hand at this moment."

In the midst of the Talaxian leader attempting to calm his people, a jeffries tube access hatch -- which had been secured from the outside under a security seal to prevent use -- quietly popped open. A figure extricated himself from the hatch, rising on gangly legs to regard the crowd gathered around Jasaxar. Eyes immediately flew to him as it was exceptionally surprising to suddenly see a Haakonian in their midst. Expecting the crowd to become a mob, the figure held up staying hands to show that he was neither armed nor a threat.

"Good people," the Haakonian began, "my name is unimportant but I come to you as a friend. Not all of us agree with how your people are treated. Please, will you allow me a moment to address you? I want to help you escape." This was said to Jasaxar in hopes that he would rally his people to listen.

"We don't want your help, Haakonian!" One of the Talaxians -- aware that no Starfleet officers were currently in the cargo bay to witness the act -- threw a combadge-emblazoned coffee mug at the would-be savior's head. "Captain Kodak has this ship headed away from the Order to safety. We don't need or want you, you Haakonian filth!"

The man had easily ducked out of the way of the cup, which flew past to hit the deck and skip several times across it. "The ship has come to a halt. The subspace corridor they were using to travel across the region is mostly collapsed," the Haakonian explained. "That was the jolt we all felt. The tunnel ahead isn't big enough for this ship to traverse. But one of their smaller craft could still make the journey. It's waiting for you in a shuttle bay not far from here. The Seleya." It was the same runabout that had ferried the Talaxians from their doomed Bolitx.

"Starfleet is going to return my people to the Order, but you needn't make the return trip with us," the Haakonian continued. "Their 'runabout' is pre-programmed with an incredibly complex auto-pilot course that will navigate the collapsed sections of the tunnel and take you straight to the Delta-Bravo station they originally set course for. I'm to understand you'll find refuge there, but only if you do not attempt to override the auto-pilot. If you do, the small craft could uncontrollably exit the tunnel and be destroyed. I've bypassed the security seal on this passage," he pointed behind him at the jeffries tube. "It will take you to the shuttle bay."

"Why are you helping us, you feckless furuncle?!" another of the Talaxians shouted, dubiousness filling her voice with suspicion. "How do we know you didn't alter it's auto-pilot to take us back to the Order?" Voices rose around her in unison, the crowd clearly not believing the Haakonian would truly want to help them.

"Prixin," came the Haakonian's reply. To Jasaxar in particularly, he said, "I cannot help those confined in this vessel's brig. But you can get the rest of your people to safety with this." He handed a PADD across to the Talaxian leader; its display showed a map of the jeffries tube network with a highlighted path leading to the shuttle bay. "With the emergency alert that's been called, the bay is currently free of guards. You can escape if you hurry. But you must decide now. Jasaxar," the Haakonian's eyes imploringly bored into the Talaxian's, "what is your decision?"

Jasaxar took the PADD and examined it quickly. He had never trusted Haakonians, even the ones that helped their cause usually did so only for personal gain. However, The Talaxian leader had to consider if the ship was forced to return could the crew of the Adelphi avoid having to turn them over to the Haakonian Order? "Thank you," Jasaxar stated, having made his decision. The old man knelt to enter the tube, "Into the tunnel, my friends, we must make haste."

The Haakonian -- who'd purposefully remained nameless -- simply replied with, "You are welcome." As Jasaxar clambered into the tunnel, ushering his friends to follow, the Haakonian stepped to the side and out of the way. He watched as the remaining refugees followed their leader's suit, one-by-one disappearing into the bowels of the ship. All of their injuries had been attended to in Sickbay, so there were no broken bones or ailments that would physically hamper their progress. Some of the mothers had small children and babies who needed special handling, though, meaning the group's pace would be slowed as a result. Even so, they would find the promised runabout to freedom waiting for them at the other end.

When the last Talaxian had vanished into the jeffries tube, the Haakonian sealed the hatch once more. With a slight rippling of skin, hair, and clothing, the features of the lanky Haakonian then smoothed, flowing and expanding into a shorter, more barrel-chested man of the Human-looking variety. Drab, generic gray garments had given way to the formation of standard Starfleet apparel, shoulders coalescing with a bold emblazonment of cranberry red. Corded pants morphed as well, giving up their striated lines for the crisp, uniform blacks that descended down the man's legs and ended at the shining toes of onyx-formed boots.

Commander Kodak looked around the cargo bay one last time -- to ensure no one had left anything of import behind -- before nodding with satisfaction. Phase One of his plan was complete. He only hoped Phase Two would go equally as smooth. Timmoz and Drakken had done an excellent job of prepping the Seleya to ferry the Talaxians to Delta-Bravo but such an outcome depended heavily on the Talaxians themselves accepting a rather convenient string of happenstances in their favor. The Chameloid hoped desperation would, in this case, override their entirely natural and understandable suspicions.

"Nothing more to do here, it seems. Computer," Kodak intoned, "initiate site-to-site transport to my quarters." The computer chirped with acknowledgement before the glowing haze of the transporter beam took hold, whisking the Captain away.

[Shuttle Bay 2]
[Ten Minutes Later]

The trip had taken some time, but eventually a jeffries tube hatch in the shuttle bay popped open, spitting Jasaxar and his people single-file onto the deck. As the refugees extracted themselves from the tunnel, the scene was exactly as their Haakonian benefactor had said it would be. Sitting there -- hatch open and ready for boarding -- was the runabout Seleya. Its lights were on and the nacelles of the craft glowed with the promise of freedom. Curiously, the shuttle bay doors were also open, the telltale blue rimming their edges denoting the presence of a protective forcefield. Clearly, the stage had been set for the Talaxians. It was now up to them to play their own part.

The elderly Talaxian waited for some obstacle to materialize, preventing their escape. The journey through the Jefferies tubes left him in a weakened state, and Jasaxar was forced to take a moment and catch his breath. During their escape, the leader has pondered on their Haakonian helper. While he could accept there might be a few Haakonians who genuinely wanted to help the Talaxian people, he could not understand how he had orchestrated their escape. Everything seemed just a bit too perfectly planned. Trusting himself to speak without collapsing, he gathered his people, "According to the instructions. We must board this craft, and when we close the door, the craft's autopilot will engage and ferry us to freedom."

One of the more militant members of the group stepped forward to face Jasaxar. "Suppose it takes us directly into a Haakonian trap?" asked Belltax, causing murmurs of agreement in the group.

Jasaxar's eyes narrowed as he focused on the boy. He recalled how much time he used to spend with Eerobax, and wondered if they had missed one of the co-conspirators. Unfortunately, he had not time to waste on such thoughts as he pointed to the runabout, "That vessel is our only chance. What you say is possible, but it is at least equally possible it can deliver us to safety. However, this ship cannot continue forward. They will have to return to Haakonian space. I say a half a chance is better than no chance at all."

Belltax glowered and faded back into the group as Jasaxar solidified his hold again. He led the way up the ramp and into the familiar craft. Only a short while ago, they had been saved by the very same vessel, and it seemed poised to do so again. As everyone found a seat, he followed his instructions, tapping the console that would close the door and sealing their fate one way or the other.

As the hatch sealed, the Seleya's systems came to life, though the blinking and chirping consoles would not respond to the random touch of overly curious passengers. Whomever had programmed the auto-pilot system had smartly disabled such access, instead tying all command and control functions into the pre-programmed instructions given to the computer. An audible warning had also been included, it seemed, as the computer suddenly advised all passengers to physically strap themselves in.

Once all of the Talaxians had secured themselves, the Seleya rose into the air and nosed its way through the forward opening and out into the Underspace beyond. As the vessel slid away from the Adelphi, the starship was clearly visible from the viewports of the runabout, awkwardly stuck on the 'reef' at an acute angle, its after section pointing upward. The Seleya zipped past the larger vessel, arrowing into the small opening that led further into the mostly-collapsed section of tunnel ahead.

As the runabout continued forward, Underspace around the ship appeared twisted and knot-like. The forward viewports alone did not show signs of an obvious avenue of continued travel, which explained why the Seleya then slowed to a stop. The vessel turned on its axis, reorienting itself to approach another opening, this one to starboard. With a flash from the engines, the craft once again sped forward, slipping into a new pocket of the collapsed tunnel before slowing to a halt once more. Turning port this time, the runabout also rolled onto its side, its artificial gravity and physical restraints keeping the passengers in their seats. Once more, the vessel slipped through another opening and then another, the automated process keeping the Seleya ever moving in the direction of Talaxian freedom.

It would seem the mysterious Haakonian had, indeed, kept his word. With the Adelphi falling further and further behind, the Talaxians drew ever closer to their destination. Projected on most of the ship's displays was now a projection of the vessel's course, showing their proximity to Delta-Bravo in both distance and estimated time of arrival. It would take another half day to reach the alien station in orbit of Mithrar II but, once it did, the Talaxian refugees would find that -- somehow -- they were expected.

Warm beds, ample foodstuffs, and continued quality medical care awaited them all. And though -- to the letter of fact -- Commander Kodak and the Adelphi did not grant the Talaxians' asylum request, the Federation starship had still indirectly provided them the means of escape to a better life. And given the intricate map of the Underspace tunnel programmed into Jasaxar's PADD, such escape could be possible for other Talaxians as well. They would just need to find a way to get the map of their Underspace Railroad into the right hands back home. Given the bustling station full of mercenaries, traders, and pilots for hire to which they were headed, such a thing was far beyond the impossible...

A post by...

The Haakonian / Commander Kodak
Anonymous Benefactor / Commanding Officer
Haakonian Order / USS-Adelphi


Mister Jasaxar (NPC'd by Reece)
Talaxian Leader


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