Ok, cool, just remember that criticism is also welcomed, so you see anything you don't like, you can let me know and why... Chapter 9
As the Musashi approached Feltin III, the planet on which the listening post had been constructed, the excitement on board the ship was felt everywhere.
Especially in James’s team.
The team was composed of some of the ship’s veteran Security Personnel, people who had seen combat before, and could keep cool under fire.
Each and everyone had been hand-picked by Cmdr Teramak and the XO, and each and everyone had been told that on this mission, the leader was James Reynolds, or as he would be called on this mission, “Shadowmaster”.
While surprise had etched every face at this announcement, none had offered a single complaint.
James had quickly understood that it was mostly because the order had come from Cmdr Teramak, a man these officers obviously respected.
A respect that was well earned, in James mind, because once his plan had been accepted, Cmdr Teramak had quickly made all the necessary preparations, including procurement of the strange equipment he’d requested.
And strange equipment it was for the Starfleet personnel, for anyone looking at them would have recognized the uniform colors, but not necessarily the uniforms.
Gone were the pyjama-like garments, replaced with body armour and a visored helmet.
James had told the Captain and his team in no uncertain terms that only idiots went into combat without any kind of protection.
Armour was useful, for even if it couldn’t protect you fully from your opponent’s weapons, it would protect you from a glancing hit, and could even make a difference between a deadly wound, and an incapacitating one.
While the Captain had not liked James calling Starfleet idiots for not equipping personnel in combat with armour, he was forced to accept the views of a man who’d seen more combat than anyone aboard, a man who knew exactly what he was talking about.
But while he wanted his men to be well protected, their unfamiliarity with any kind of armour meant that James had to settle for light armour for them.
Being used to wearing some, he opted for Heavy armour, since he knew it wouldn’t slow him down, or alter his stealth much.
He had requested that all Helmets have Comm-Links and full audio and visual augmentations in them, including Infra-Red vision and Hearing Augmentation.
Using the replicators to manufacture the armours, James had had eight full sets made in minutes, seven for his team, and one for him.
The team had been limited to eight members, because it had been decided that a smaller team could move faster, and hide easier than a bigger one.
Each team-member had a melee weapon of their choice, so they would maximize their efficiency in close quarters, and they all had a Type-III Phaser rifle as their main weapon, and a Type-II weapon in a special holster at their belt.
James had opted to use his Colt Manhunter as his main weapon, since it was the weapon he was most familiar with.
He did have a back-up weapon, which he intended to use if necessary.
They had called it a TR-116 projectile rifle; he called it the “Barrett of the future”.
It was a sniper rifle, nothing less, nothing more.
It fired Tritanium slugs at its target, the Tritanium making the slugs armour-piercing in nature, up to two kilometers away.
James was sure it would find itself useful during the mission, and since he was the most experienced with such a weapon type, he would be the one to use it.
He had had Teramak create a sound suppressor for the weapon, intent on making any shot as difficult to pinpoint as possible.
He also had the Cmdr replicate APDS -Armor-Piercing- rounds for his pistol, since they were going in fast, intent on hitting the enemy hard.
James understood they were in a war, so while he usually did not like to kill, he knew this was going to be a kill or be killed situation, very different from his usual missions, where guards - with the exception of the high-security location guards – were more interested in apprehending him than killing him.
And of course, each of James team-mates had the standard Starfleet Tricorder in order to detect enemies.
They were all sitting in the back of a craft, called a Runabout, checking their gear, and repeating the role each of them would take in the upcoming mission.
It reminded James of his military service, when he was younger and a lot more naïve.
He had been part of an elite Spec-Ops team, working for the United Canadian-American States armed forces, or UCAS for short, doing special missions for the good of the UCAS – or so he had thought at the time.
He had been doing missions for a full year, sometimes going up against Corps who acted against UCAS interests, sometimes against other countries - James usually acting as point man in these missions because, despite of his size, he had always been light on his feet- before he started realizing his superiors were just as corrupt as the people he went against.
James had been happy when he had found out that all his team-mates felt the same way he did, and as a group – filled with starry-eyed kids - they had decided to bring them to justice.
The men pulling the strings had been doing it for many years though, and they didn’t need much time to discern what James’s group was up to.
That was when they had decided to send James and his group on a mission deep in Aztlan territory, what was once called Costa Rica, under orders to capture and bring back a Shaman of Quetzalcoatl, for “crimes against the free world”.
The group went in, and realized very quickly that their intel was bad, so bad in fact that they had lost two men of the 8 men team in the first 10 hours of the mission.
Isolated, with no way of knowing what intel they could trust, they had decided to go back, and find a way to cross the border North back into the UCAS or the Sioux territories.
Luckily for them, their Shaman, Dancing Bear, was powerful and had many allied Spirits, so in the beginning, they had been able to make some headway back towards the North, towards home.
But then awakened creatures, creatures evolved from standard animals into magical beasts of legends, had come out and had started stalking them, attracted by the Shaman’s Spirits.
After a harrowing fight, they had decided it best to cut to the coast, and try to find a means of transportation out of Aztlan.
They had fought all the way to their target, losing team members every day, until only Dancing Bear and James were left.
One morning, after narrowly avoiding a confrontation with a Feathered Serpent, they had exited the forest, and had found themselves on the coast.
They had exited on the top of a narrow cliff, overlooking the ocean, and had been looking for a way to get down when the Feathered Serpent had attacked again.
Dancing Bear, wounded, dying, and following his Totem’s teachings, gave his life in one last effort, flinging his most powerful spell at the creature, knowing it would kill him but that it would save his friend’s life.
In its death throes, the Serpent had caught James with a swing of its tail, and had propelled him over the cliff, down into the shark infested water.
The tail hit and the impact of the water had made James pass out, thinking it was the end for him.
But he had awakened in a small hut near the shore, where a fisherman had hauled him out of the water, and had tended to his wounds.
James had stayed there a few days, helping the old man with repairs to his house, fishing with him, until he was well enough to travel.
The old man had taken him to the nearest city, where James had used his training to climb aboard a cargo ship going north, to the more civilized lands.
James, after many days of hiding aboard the ship, had finally arrived in Seattle, where he had gotten off the ship, and had made the decision to make his army superiors pay for what they had done.
That was when he had abandoned his old identity, and had become James Reynolds.
That had been nine years ago, but the memories were always vivid in James’s mind, as he saw them every night when he went to sleep, and dreamt of his old team mates often.
And so, it was with these glum memories that James was about to go on a mission in this strange reality.
His teammates were finishing their preparations when their helmet’s Comm-links came to life.
“Cmdr Teramak to Shadow team, prepare to launch on my mark. Copy!”
“Shadow team here, ready when you are, copy!” was James’s reply.
“Launch in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!” Then the Comm went silent, and the Runabout moved.
The plan James had hatched was that the Musashi would leave Warp once it had past the planet, and would then double back, hidden from enemy sensors by the planet itself.
While hidden from the enemy, the Musashi would launch 6 attack fighters and the Runabout.
Then, the Musashi would go full speed around the planet to the East, while the attack Fighters would circle the planet to the West.
The Akira’s greater sub light speed would ensure it arrived face-to-face with the enemy before the Fighters, ensuring their attack would be performed with a small surprise factor.
The Musashi was going to swoop in, fire a full torpedo volley from its four forward launchers in the torpedo pod, all aimed at the Galor-class ship.
It would then continue its attack, attracting the attention of the Dominion ships.
Meanwhile, the attack Fighters, coming in from behind the enemy forces, would fire all their micro-torpedoes at the hopefully already crippled Galor, and would then assist the Akira in the fight until the Runabout gave the signal that the package was delivered.
While these two groups attacked the enemy forces, the Runabout, coming in from the North, would swoop in low through the Mountain range, and beam Shadow team a few kilometres higher up in the mountains, allowing them to recon the terrain before coming into contact with the enemy.
James had decided with this course of action when he had learned that the listening post, in order to decrease the possibilities of detection by enemies, had been built in these mountains where large deposits of Kelbomite – a mineral – made scanning very difficult because of its signal refraction capabilities.
James counted on those capabilities to make his team’s approach almost impossible to detect.
The high position also meant that any sniper would have a great view on the terrain below, and thus would be able to better support the infiltration team.
Once the team had been beamed down, the Runabout would then Warp out of the system and regroup with the rest of the attack group to pre-set coordinates, and would wait for reinforcements from Starfleet before coming back to retake the listening post, and reclaim its troop.
They had estimated one or two hours before receiving any reinforcements, and so the team would be on its own and would need to hold out until help arrived.
“ETA two minutes!” James heard the pilot call out.
The team took up position on the cargo transporter pad, some on the personnel transporter pads, and they waited.
James was much more nervous than he had been in many years, and he knew exactly where this nervousness came from: he was about to be disassembled in his constituent particles and them “beamed” to the surface of a world.
He had been told it was harmless, that the chances of a mishap were less than 1 in millions, yet he was still very nervous when he heard the transporter technician call:
“Shadow team, beaming down now!”
James felt a tingling sensation in his entire body as he was enveloped in a shimmering blue light, thinking “That’s how Teramak got the jump on me” as he saw the interior of the ship quickly being replaced by rocks, trees and a mountain side gradually sloping down to his left.
He realized, as the tingling slowly receded, that he was no longer standing on even footing, and that he had been beamed in the perfect position for his location.
The sophistication of the entire process seemed staggering to James, and he was once more impressed how scientifically advanced this Federation was.
Regaining his composure in the blink of an eye, James identified their current position on their wrist mounted GPS, which was powerful enough to give them a position even through the interference.
They were two point three kilometres away from the oupost, and so he ordered his team to start advancing, while he looked for a defensible position to set up his sniping post.
At first, they had planned for James to go with the team, and set someone else as the sniper, but James had quickly swept the idea away, as he came to the conclusion that he was the perfect sniper.
He had greater familiarity with solid slug rifles, and his reaction speed made him the perfect sniper, able to react to danger before anyone would even know it was there.
And if a sniper was no longer required, he was the fastest one on foot, and would be able to regroup with the team faster than anyone else.
So James went to work, looking for the most defensible position which afforded him the best view of the lower slopes and outpost entrance.
He found an outcropping topped with a bush, and a narrow ledge about twelve meters long leading to it.
The ledge wouldn’t easily be travelled by anyone not augmented like James, and the small bush would offer him cover from an observer coming down towards him.
He crossed the ledge rapidly, and set himself up in position, lying down on his stomach, setting his extra rifle clips next to his left hand for rapid reloads, and putting his APDS loaded Colt Manhunter on the ground to his right.
If anyone tried ambushing him, they’d be in for a surprise.
And so, for two hours, James watched his team as it slowly make its way to the outpost.
The guys were perhaps a hundred meters from their objective when it happened: James spotted many areas around the team begin to shimmer, before coalescing into the forms of Jem’ Hadar soldiers converging on his team, weapons at hand, ready to fire.
James spotted the Jem’Hadar closest to his team and fired three successive shots, each bullet scoring a hit at the center of his target.
The third Jem’Hadar soldier had jerked and was falling when the rifles’s first loud “crack” was heard by the group.
The sound suppressor, combined with the echoing effect from the mountain made any attempts to trace him practically impossible.
His team reacted perfectly in sync, all going down to one knee, covering all possible angles, and, after each picking a target, they fired.
The Jem’Hadar had been taken by surprise by the sudden death of their comrades and the loud noises, but had recovered quickly, and so when the Starfleet team opened fire, many Jem’Hadar retaliated, some even as they were falling down, dead.
Three Shadow Team members fell down, the remaining four changing their aim to cover newly opened gaps in their fire zones and firing continuously into the advancing enemy.
The first assault by the Starfleet team had cut a swath of destruction on the attacking Jem’Hadar, killing ten in the initial volley, but more still came out of the underbrush to attack the Starfleet officers.
Unfortunately for them, death rained down from above faster then they thought possible.
The first wave of Jem’Hadar were barely touching the ground when James had other targets lined up and had opened fire.
He picked his targets carefully, only shooting those Jem’Hadar who were in position to fire at his team.
Five shots and five more dead Jem’Hadar later, James was already ejecting the empty eight-round clip from his rifle and slapping a fresh one into place.
Another volley from his team at the approaching Jem’Hadar, hitting those who were getting into firing position, thinned the enemy ranks by four more.
Five more, though James, noticing one of his fallen teammates was still in the fight.
Ensign Rekmor had simply positioned himself flat on the ground, and had positioned his rifle in a way where he could fire it one-handed, and had taken his Phaser pistol in his other, covering another possible angle of attack with it.
He was obviously hurt, but still the consummate professional.
The Jem’Hadar had stopped the attack, hiding behind rocks and outcroppings, seeming finally to realize that they couldn’t take down the invaders as easily as they had thought.
James was about to show them they weren’t even safe behind their rocks when they all turned around and looked at an approaching figure, obviously their leader considering the way they acted around him.
James called his team:
“They are regrouping behind some rocks, about twelve of them, possibly waiting for reinforcements.
Take the wounded, and head for the western trail from your area.” He said, “And I’ll take care of anyone who tries to follow. Head for the entrance to the outpost, and call me when you get there.”
“Roger that!” came the response, “And you’ll be happy to know we have no casualties… yet…”
He noticed one Jem’Hadar had looked at what resembled their version of a Tricorder while James was speaking, and now the soldier was going towards their leader, a thin humanoid with curly black hair, and great big ridged ears.
He showed him his instrument, and pointed at the screen.
Some Jem’Hadar were already going back towards James’s team, probably to see what they were doing, when he acted.
He took careful aim, and shot the Jem’Hadar’s leader in the head.
The large calibre round impacted hard, making the leader’s head explode like a ripe melon, showering everyone around with brain matter and blood.
The Jem’Hadar that was standing in front of their leader looked down, dumbfounded, and then fell backwards, a big red hole in his torso.
James fired six more rounds before the Jem’Hadar were able to find cover.
He waited until his team had reached the outpost’s entrance and gave the signal before packing his gear and leaving his position.
In the time it took for his team to reach the outpost, James did not fire another shot, so deep in hiding were the Dominion.
“Watch out guys, the Jem’Hadar may have cloaked again.” He said in the Comm-link.
“I’m on my way, begin penetration of the base.”