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Breen Hunters: Breadcrumbs (Part 2 of 3)

Posted on Sun Jun 28th, 2020 @ 8:21pm by Petty Officer 1st Class Sandrine Ngamba & Lieutenant Xavier Leiko & Centurion Llaiir t'Seroht & Lieutenant Alistair Nicholas

Mission: Entropy
Location: Outskirts of Pra Grav, Arsakon VII

Previously on "Breen Hunters: The Hole (Part One of Three)"...

"Make sure you send all data back to the ship," Xavier replied. "Once my team reconfigures the sensor pod to match the atmospheric disturbances, we should have a much clearer picture on what we're dealing with." Xavier pointed at Lieutenant Nicholas, "You're with me, Lieutenant. Our job will be to scan for any Breen energy signatures. Equipment, weapons, anything that can confirm that the Breen were actually here. The Centurion, Lieutenant Trell, and Crewman Ngamba will continue to look for physical proof of Breen activity. Remember to all set your tricorders to the scanning range on the delta bandwave as we discussed. This should counteract any ionic fluctuations from the atmosphere. Any questions? Okay, let's go hunting..."

And now the continuation…

Sandrine watched the two men walk off and then turned her attention back to the rest. Bodris had thankfully started engaging Gul Prin in a heated discussion about the need for more patrols along the outskirts of the town. The gul actually caught her eye and gave a subtle nod, as if to say, 'I'll keep him busy so you can do your job.'

"The soil was disturbed in this area prior to our arrival," she said, gesturing to several spots in the general area. "There was more than one individual. From the level of disturbance, I'd say it was more likely three. Or two, if they were in a rush and not too keen on covering their tracks. From the residual tachyon signature of the missing plant, I'd say they took it about an hour ago." She turned suddenly, peering down the hill into the valley below them. They'd come from that direction, and she realized only now how clearly you could see the approach from this vantage point. With her hands shading her eyes, she squinted. "Do you think they saw us coming? There's a fairly clear line of sight between here and where we came from..."

"Maybe," Llaiir thought for a moment as she studied the ground, looking for something that would answer some of their questions. And then she noticed something, "Right there." She pointed to a section of the ground and brought up her tricorder, "The tracks here are not as organized. There are signs of EV boots, some unsure footing, and they walked heavier than the others as they make their way away from the scene." It was definitely a puzzle. Signs did point to the Breen, but the Romulan wanted her own evidence rather than hearsay from Bodris.

Sandrine needed no further encouragement. She set off to follow the uncoordinated footprints in a search for evidence, and she didn't have to go far for it. Beneath a shrub, she found what appeared to be a shovel. Or perhaps some sort of soil sample tool. Regardless, it was decidedly foreign to Federation or Cardassian design aesthetics. But what she couldn't quite understand was how casually it had been tossed aside. They hadn't even bothered to cover it up very well.

"What do you make of this?" Sandrine called out, gesturing to the tool. "Obviously Breen. But it's just there, practically out in the open."

Pausing a moment to take a look at the tool, Llaiir tried to put herself in their shoes. "Either we spooked them, or this is something they were planning a return trip," the Romulan pointed out. "For the moment, let's assume that Bodris is an idiot and has no idea what a Breen is." She fought the urge to crack a smile toward Sandrine before continuing, "Let's look at the evidence. We have a dig site, we have EV suit footprints, and various tools and trace residual evidence that could possibly be Breen. We are going to need to track down whomever left the mess before we speculate."

Sandrine tried to detach herself from her preconceived notions and first-hand experience in order to put herself in Bodris' idiot shoes. For all she knew, he was seeing beekeepers wandering around in the hills. A lot of the jora berry varieties seemed to produce beautiful flowers, so wouldn't it make sense to have the local equivalent of Terran bees? Or what if they were monks on a pilgrimage? Local researchers from some agricultural cooperative?

"You're right. I wish we had more to go with but we need to run some analysis on these things, eh? Assuming they don't show us up and find a bunch of Breen," she said, gesturing in the direction of Lieutenants Leiko and Nicholas. "Nicky likes to show me up all the time. It's a stretch but this could be evidence of beekeepers for all we know."

"I think we can rule out beekeepers," the Romulan spoke up. It was not much of anything, but a glint caught her eye and her tricorder picked up trace metallic components under a small bush. Llaiir walked toward the small bush and took hold of the object. "It looks like a smashed PADD. Not much to go on for language and the memory appears to have been blasted," she described the blasted hunk of metal. "We would need to analyze this for blast residue and origin point for the metal."

"And there's residual DNA here, but it's degraded. Maybe we can get something better from it with the forensic tools back on the ship," Sandrine said, producing an evidence bag from her toolkit and opening it for the centurion to drop. "Either way, it ought to tell us something, eh?"

Xavier tapped a few buttons on the device, increasing the scanning range but not by too much as he wanted the readings to be as accurate as they possibly could be. The tiny viewscreen on the tricorder currently showed a small geographical map of the area. The vineyard was extensive but now that they had access to the defensive platforms in orbit, it made scanning the area a lot easier to do. He came to a split in the path and stopped.

"I'll take the west side, you the east," he ordered the security officer. "We'll meet back here in 20 minutes. And check in if you find anything of interest."

"I would suggest we also search for something more broad. Tachyons aren't exclusive to Breen, and while I don't disagree with the assumptions made, we shouldn't rule out the possibility that there may be someone else lurking... Just in case. It's always better to have side-by-side scans going in my experience. That way if we can rule out Breen interference, we have another lead, and we aren't sitting at square one." Alistair trailed off, already in his side bag for a pair of iridescent blue and green-lensed goggles. He slid them over his head, eyes narrowing into the eastward direction. "At the very least, I'll be able to see if these can discern tachyons in the air like they were advertised on Starbase 50."

"I think you're correct, Lieutenant," Xavier said as he waved his tricorder in the air. "However, based on what I learned a few hours ago, I have very little doubt that the Breen are behind this, and we'll be running into them sooner rather than later. What exactly are those?" He asked as he spotted the goggles on Alistair's head.

Alistair lowered the goggles over his eyes. "I spent most of my last assignment tracking minor cases around a starbase. These are meant to discern trails of tachyons specifically. They use a light layer of a crystalline mineral found on one of the various canyons on Tellar Prime. It was a gift from one of my old security officers that-"

"Wait," Xavier suddenly said, interrupting the man. "I'm detecting a faint build up of tachyon radiation coming from that direction," he said as he waved his tricorder in the direction he was indicating. "It's very faint, but there's something unnatural about the grouping."

Whirling on his heel, the security officer squinted down as far as his eyes could see through the reddened lenses of his eye-wear. He took a couple of steps forward, frowning. "Do you think something was buried in that direction? Or maybe there was a reason for weapons discharge... maybe they were spooked by some creature." He looked back toward his searching companion. "Shall we?"

"Let's," Xavier responded as he moved off in the direction that his tricorder was indicating.

His eyes were glued to the screen as he watched it flash and bleep and make all the noises you would expect from the small device. They walked through the vineyard and were coming out on the far side, away from where the rest of the away team were conducting their investigation. The land was mostly flat and the ground was soft. The perfect conditions for growing fruit, but the terrain was changing now. They were heading further uphill, and the ground underneath was more rocky and dry. They were clearly on the very outskirts of the settlement and everything was starting to be more wild and natural looking.

As they walked, Xavier kept checking the readings on the tricorder to make sure they were still heading in the correct direction, and, as far as he could tell, they were. The strange thing was the elevated reading of tachyon radiation wasn't getting any stronger; however, they were definitely there, and they were definitely not natural. Xavier was just checking the device again when he stopped suddenly. He pressed a few buttons on the tricorder but nothing was happening. The readings had disappeared.

"I've lost the signal," Xavier said to Lieutenant Nicholas. "Are your glasses picking up anything?"

"... Simply that the trail falls cold here." Alistair gave a shrug.

Xavier pressed some buttons again and even attempted to retune the tricorder just as he had shown everyone before they had transported down. It seemed to be working fine. It was displaying the regular data, geological, meteorological, biological, as well as all the bandwidths controls and input controls. Everything on it was working fine; it just wasn't showing him the data he needed to see right now. He tapped his combadge.

"Leiko to T'Mir."

"T'Mir here, Sir, how can I assist?" She replied in her usually cool, emotionless tone.

"I'm currently tracking a trail of tachyon radiation on the outskirts of the settlement but we have lost the trace. Have you finished reallining the sensor pod on the Triton?"

"No, Sir, we are in the process of recalibrating the sensors. However, I may be able to provide some assistance, please stand by." Xavier waited patiently as his acting assistant worked the computer on her end. After a moment or two, his tricorder sprang to life and started bleeping furiously. "I have managed to link your tricorder to one of the orbital sensor platforms," she said finally. "I have linked it to the one in geostationary orbit, closet to your position. It won't have the same sensor resolution as the Triton's sensor pod, but it will act as a temporary measure until the recalibration of the sensors are complete. Is there anything else I can help you with, Sir?"

"That's it for now," Xavier replied. "Thanks, Lieutenant. Leiko out."

Xavier tapped his combadge again and started looking at the new information that was displayed on the small tricorder screen. The tachyon signature was back and stronger than before. He spent a solid minute working on the device before he said anything to Lieutenant Nicholas. "From what I can tell," he said finally, "it looks as though there are traces of radiation all over the place, and they are all leading to one place." He angled the tricorder so that they could both see the screen.

At this point, Alistair had removed his goggles, looking over the other man's shoulder at the tricorder display. "Hm. How far do you think it is?"

"I'd say roughly 10 kilometres, but I have no ideas what could be out there. Any guesses?"

"Hopefully something without phasers or the idea that we're hostile." The security officer patted his belt, where one phaser pistol lay, just in case. "... I'd rather not get ourselves into a firefight right now."

"I agree, I think we need to gather everyone up and transport there," Xavier said. "Something is out there. Something that shouldn't be, and something the Cardassians either don't know about or 'forgot' to mention."

Lieutenant Xavier Leiko
Chief of Operations
USS Triton, NCC-62389

Centurion Llaiir t'Seroht
Chief of Security
USS Triton, NCC-62389

Lieutenant Alistair Nicholas
Security Officer
USS Triton, NCC-62389
(NPC - Seong)

Petty Officer 1st Class Sandrine Ngamba
Security Investigations Officer
USS Triton, NCC-62389
(NPC - Rezvani)


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