What It Takes - Part 12 "Disguise"
Episode 3.5 - Welcome to Paradise
Location: SFMC Camp Prometheus, Beta Antares IV, Antares System
Timeline: 3 Days Before MD 01
[Previously in What It Takes - Part 9 "Go Go Gadget"]
. . . . . .
"You're right," Kevan nodded. He turned to the files showing the Marines. "To the matter at hand: if we're infitrating we'll need disguises. And only these Marines will have access to their personal weapons loadout in the armoury. That means one of their faces." He scanned through the files. "Bolanus' direct report is Major Zahn. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to pull-off a Bajoran woman...perhaps Sergeant Wills? Human...early thirties...physically similar parameters?"
Lea nodded as she studied the file. "Question is, can you emulate Willis behavior in case he runs across someone?"
"How hard could it be?" Kevan shrugged. "Worst comes to the worst I'll improvise. No doubt you'll have all their files up here and can whisper in my ear if need be."
. . . . . .
A rush of tension and excitement ran through Kevan as he approached the entrance to the SFMC camp. It was a standard facility, some of the key areas memorised in his mind such as the commons, the barracks, and - crucially - the armory.
Just behind, one of the Arcadia's marines followed his lead. Relying on him. Normally he'd be proud to lead his fellow crew members into a mission, maybe an away team to an unknown world, or providing reassurance to desperate Federation citizens. It had now struck him that they were about to infiltrate a Federation military camp. If they were caught they'd be court martialled at the very least. Maybe imprisoned. He tried not to let that detail bother him, instead projecting calm and confidence. He wasn't sure that worked through a projection of another man's face.
"Spooky Wolf, this is Dashing Fox. We're at the ball park and the parents aren't home, do you copy?" he reported, knowing that Lea was in his ear as a reassurance that someone up there had his back.
Good morning Fox. The Den is standing ready. Lea spoke into his hear, if the parents aren't home, then let's see if we can get into the ball park. You have a sign-in station coming up about twenty meters to your right. Get your credentials ready, you'll need to swipe them. Remember, you're Wills, you do it every day. Keep it casual yet professional.
"Relax. Casual and professional is me all over," Kevan replied as he marched over to the sign-in station. He glanced around then plucked the Federation ID from his belt and swiped it. There was a momentary pause before the system chirped a positive sound. Momentarily he felt relief wash over him, but kept his poker face on and started into the compound for real. "Nothing to worry about," he murmured.
Alright, the system's accepted you. Lea commented, Don't go to the Armoury immediately, deviate a little, then casually make your way over.
Without acknowledging her suggestion, Kevan led the small group of Marines onward, initially towards the parade ground and the barracks that were positioned nearby. It wasn't entirely away from the Armoury but it was close enough that the detour felt 'natural'. There were few Marines around, given the reasonably early hour. Their intel also suggested Bolanus had dispatched some of his men for drills ahead of the Admiral's exercise.
So far, so good. Kevan mused inwardly. No sooner had he had the thought than a pair of Marines in fatigues came through the door of the barracks structure, almost directly in front of them.
"So I totally won that bet with Laskey." One of the two Marines, a Corporal Mackey commented.
Corporal Eblan rolled her eyes. "Oh, please, you just got lucky there. The Titans would have demolished the Sabers if not for that freak accident." Noticing the Sergent walking toward them, the two Marines paused their steps and came to attention. "Sergent Wills," Said Eblan, "I wasn't expecting to see you back so soon. I guess Bruss didn't put much of a fight, eh?"
Sergeant Tolan Bruss, Bolian ordnance specialist. More talk than show. Don't tangle yourself up in details. Keep it simple. Lea supplied into Kevan's ear.
"You know Bruss. His bark is worse than his bite, am I right?" Kevan tried to keep it upbeat and simple, cringing a little inside as he spoke and waited for a reply.
Mackey chuckled, "you said it, sir. And I did not just get lucky. I keep on top of their statistics!" He added in mock protest to Eblan.
With a chuckle the Bajoran responded in kind. "I think you meant on top of that brunette from the coffee shop, Corporal." Turning to Wills, she said, "You should have seen him last night. It was Rigel IV all over again."
"Rigel IV?" Kevan echoed. His earpiece was momentarily silent and it felt like the pause was dragging out. "Man, that was a bad night for everyone." Go with what you know, he figured. Most nights out ended-up messy. At least for Kevan they did.
Eblan raised a curious eyebrow at Wills' response. "Huh, you and I remember Rigel IV very different, sir. I think your exact words were 'the best damn night of my life.'" Turning to Mackey, she asked, "Isn't that right, Corporal?"
Shrug it off. You were drunk, you know how memory can differ when you're sober. Play the bro card with Mackey. Lea's voice guided gently, he's reluctant to agree with Eblam.
"It was interesting, that's for certain." Mackey added with a chuckle, his eyes searching 'Willis' face.
"I dunno, maybe you should ask your mom. She enjoyed it too." Kevan made a point to wink at Mackey.
Lance Mackey burst out laughing, "bwahahahahaha, touche, sir, touche!"
Ask them where they're off to. There was amusement laced in Lea's voice as she observed the reactions.
"Where are you both heading? Colonel Bolanus is gearing everyone up for this operation against the Starfleet crew." Kevan asked, following Lea's prompting.
Eblan gestured at the two-story building to her right. "The cafeteria. We just did an inventory of the armory. Again. I don't understand what the fuss is all about. Zahn and her men will demolish the Fleeters blind folded. It will be a cake walk for them tomorrow."
"You've got that right. I'll give the gear a once over myself, then I expect you both to lock that place down. Those Fleeters might try something sneaky. So once I'm done I don't want anyone else going near it until Colonel Bolanus gives the word. You got that?" Kevan did his best to sound military. It didn't feel natural, but getting these two to sentry the armory until the exercise would be the icing on the cake.
On the other side of the line, Leonora smacked her forehead with her palm. Taking a deep breath, she slowly exhaled, You don't give the enemy hints about what home team may be doing. Now you've more than likely given them reason to consider it. She said as calmly and as evenly as she could. Make your excuse as soon as possible, give as vague answers as you can, shrug any possible questions off. Don't give them fuel to consider the possibility.
Mackey and Eblan stood at attention as 'Wills' barked his orders. "Yes, sarge!"
"Carry on," Kevan said, starting to walk away as confidently as possible. His escort followed, and he hoped the appearance of the two local marines would be the only wrinkle they faced. The armoury came next, the door marked with a number of hazard notices and warnings about unauthorised entry. If only they knew.
Kevan swiped for entry then motioned for the other members of the team to move in and start their work.
Slowly, casually, have a casual look around then don't look around as you do it. I know...trust me. Lea's voice guided.
Kevan followed Lea's instructions, slowly perusing the environment, moving steadily along the racks of marine-issue weapons towards the body armor mounted at the rear of the storage area.
"Keep talking," he whispered.
Slow down, take a look at a random thing. Pretend you're inspecting it. Use your tricorder to ascertain the positions of your entourage. You can set it up to alert you when someone crosses the room threshold. Lea continued calmly, knowing that if she kept calm, he would have an easier time staying calm. Remember, the environment helps you, use it.
Private First Class Collins had just put his armor back on the racks when he noticed the steps behind him. Turning around, he recognized the man and snapped to attention. "Sergent. I wasn't expecting you till later tonight."
Don't close the tricorder, set it up, slowly. You want to do it sooner rather than later, you like to be prepared. Lea's voice remained calm. Don't talk about them possibly cheating. If he mentions it, shrug it off and say you'll be better prepared.
"Private." Kevan blinked at the marine in front of him. A young man, not much younger than Kevan, stared back at him. "Just making some final checks. Major Zahn will have my head if we have any problems tomorrow. If you're done, why don't you join the others in the mess?" he suggested, hoping that he would be able to get rid of the potential troublemaker while he worked.
Easy, don't push. If he doesn't want to go away let him do his thing while you pretend to do something else. Just keep it flowing easily. Lea said.
Collin hesitated for a second. "Uh, Lieutenant Sarren ordered me to finish cataloguing the new shipment of photon grenades, sir. He said I was not to leave the premise until that is complete."
Offer to help him get it done faster.
"Sarren, eh? Maybe I can give you a hand. Don't worry, he won't know I was ever here." In more ways than one, Kevan thought with amusement.
Collin hesitated again. It was a little odd that the Sergent offered to help. Wills and Sarren didn't exactly see eye to eye - and that's quite an understatement. But again he was just a lowly private. Who was he to reject a senior NCO's offer of help?
He quickly glanced at the other Marine that accompanied Will and said, "Of course, sir. Thank you, sir. The grenades are right over there." He gestured at the five crates piled up in one corner of the armory before heading over to get the work started.
Keep it cool and don't look at the rifles and equipment you need for our operation. Focus on the inventory.
Kevan made an obvious show of running through the grenade inventory, ticking things off on a Padd and then motioning to the Private that he was finished.
"Looks good to me. Think Lieutenant Sarren will approve of this?"
Private Collin had just finished cataloging his portion of the crates so he stepped over and checked the Sargent's PADD against his own. With a few presses of the PADD controls he synchronized the data on the two devices to the central server.
"Looks good, sir." nodded the private. "I think the lieutenant would be fine with it."
Give the private a pat on the should for a job well done and then send him on his way. We have work to do.
"On your way then, son," Kevan said, trying to come off authoritative again.
"Yes, sir." Collin nodded and away he went. Hopefully he would still find Eblan and MacKey in the cafeteria.
As the marine departed, Kevan felt himself let out a breath. He checked his tricorder, noting that it had done the job on the rifles and armor sets. With the virus deployed, it was time to leave. "We're all done here. Will be outside the compound in four minutes. Prepare a transporter lock as soon as we're clear."
Nice work, guys. We'll open a bottle champagne when you get back.
[To be continued in Part 13 . . . . . .]
Lieutenant Leonora Wollf
Chief Intelligence Officer
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Lieutenant Kevan Dash
Chief of Security
USS Arcadia NCC-89015