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Old October 13 2009, 09:27 AM   #22
unusualsuspex
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Location: Norfolk UK
Re: Star Trek : Angel

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

11

USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0145 FST


Dan was suitably refreshed after taking 10 minutes out to grab a shower before filing his report with Starfleet Command. They’d immediately dispatched a Starfleet Corps of Engineers vessel, the USS Brunel, which was scheduled to arrive within 72 hours, and the USS Mainstay, a step sister to the Angel, was due a day later under the command of his old friend Captain William Johnson.

All told, the Angel and her crew had been instrumental in moving over 5,000 refugees to safety. Some had been beamed aboard and were still here while others had been immediately routed back down to refugee camps inland away from possible impact sites. Many more had escaped in civilian registered ships or had been beamed aboard the orbital dock facility, but despite their best efforts there had been significant loss of life. With the initial frantic rescue operation almost complete, the aftermath was likely to take a lot longer to deal with.

He stepped out on to the bridge, glad to see that the majority of the prime bridge crew had now rotated out leaving the Gamma shift crew in place. Commander T’Sell was still at Science 1 and he knew that DeSalle was taking only a short break in readiness for beaming over to Scorpion. That reminded Dan, time to check in.

“Angel to Scorpion away team.”

Kat responded immediately, but with no great urgency in her voice.

“Go ahead Captain.”

“Commander, any change in your situation?”

“Absolutely none,” she replied, “which I’m currently accepting as a good thing. If the ship had meant us harm I suspect we’d have known about it by now.”

Dan nodded, “Agreed. Do you want to switch any team members out while we have breathing space?”

There was a brief pause as Kat conferred with the away team. Finally she replied, “Not yet Captain, but if we get to the three hour mark with no change we’ll re-evaluate.”

“Stay on your toes out there Kat. We’re keeping a transporter lock on you but right now that doesn’t extend to Dixon.” And that worried Dan. He’d hate to pull the away team out and leave one behind, especially when that one had been responsible for saving his life.**

“Understood Captain, we’ll keep you informed.”

“Thank you Commander, Angel out.” Dan closed the transmission and returned his attention to the crisis on Zethander.

“Right T’Sell, let’s see where we’re at.”

(** The story of the previous events at the Utopia Planitia Training Facility is covered in the STARFLEET ACADEMY series of stories available on my site!)


CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0145 FST


The night that earlier had been crystal clear was starting to close in over the remains of Coral City. Dark clouds were piling up effectively blocking the light from the planet’s two moons. Dahaan Marechenis had spent the past hour working her way down through the dark stairwells of her apartment block, carefully stepping over detritus that had washed up as the waters had pounded at her walls. She passed the occasional body, often twisted and broken resembling little more than rag dolls. So far she’d managed to keep it together, but it was an effort to hold back her tears.

As she stepped out of the apartment block at street level, the darkness remained stygian. Normally, even at this late hour, revellers would still be thronging the well lit streets flitting from clubs to holo theatres to market vendors. To see it like this was heart breaking, but for now her only desire was to reach civilization and safety.

Far down the street she heard the rattle of disturbed wreckage and prayed that the buildings around her would remain stable long enough for her to escape their confines.
Dahaan moved out to the centre of the street which seemed the safest and least clogged route. Heading inland, she was continually unnerved at sounds emanating from the darkness convinced that something was following her.

She quickened her pace, passing by the shattered front of her favourite café, The Brandysnap. The beautiful little coffee bar had also contained an antiques shop and as she passed she looked in sadness at its shattered contents. So completely was her attention distracted that she never saw the cable laying across her path and tripped, sprawling in the mud.

As she struggled to stand, a hand caught hers lifting her to her feet. In surprise she was about to thank the Samaritan but her mouth opened in a horrified O as she saw exactly what had helped her. She didn’t even have time to scream.


SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0150 FST


Vonny had stared disconsolately at the solids for a while. Although similar to the familiar isolinear chips of Starfleet, at least they had the decency to be colour coded. As she examined these ones however, she noted that several had markings on them that corresponded with slots in the wall. These she put to one side. The rest had no markings and all looked very similar so she began scanning them with the tricorder.

It transpired that although they looked similar, many had slightly different edges. When she scanned the unmarked wall slots, she was gratified to find that they too showed similar shaping and so began to organize them into groups on the floor.

After 20 minutes or so she had several distinct piles divided into marked, shaped and some that she still wasn’t sure of. She looked up at the sphere which had remained immobile above her throughout and displayed no flashes of colour.

“Well it’s now or never my little friend” she said and flicked her palm beacon to blue. She hoped the sphere would translate it as her readiness to begin. Sure enough, it too flashed blue and then bobbed away from the wall giving her room to work.

She began with the marked pile, carefully matching them to their related slot. As each one was inserted there was a small chime from the console and a blue light lit up above the corresponding niche. Looks like I’m doing it right so far she thought. Five cards later however she struck her first problem.

She slipped the card in but there was no chime or light. Thinking she may have mixed up her arrangement, she checked the markings but found that they were correctly matched. She tried once again but without any luck. Considering the problem briefly, she imagined what she would do back aboard the Angel in a similar situation. If it was a faulty chip, she would pull up a spare and replace it of course, but where were the spares here?

She withdrew the card and held it up to the sphere. At the same time she activated her palm beacon to show yellow hoping that the little orb would understand. For a few moments the sphere did nothing. Come on figure it out. She flashed her palm beacon again and waved the corrupt card and suddenly the little sphere bobbed up, glowing blue.
Scooting off to a corner it hovered beside a blank section of wall which began to ripple before finally dissolving to reveal rows of the cards neatly racked. She stood and hurried over, only to look despairingly at row upon row of seemingly identical cards.

She looked at the sphere and said “I don’t suppose you fancy giving me a clue do you?” She held up the card and flashed yellow then pointed at the racks flashing yellow again. A golden wave of light emanated from the sphere enveloping the card and surprising Vonny so much she almost dropped it. Without waiting for her reaction, it floated off along the racks scanning each row with that same golden beam before stopping and switching to its red pointer once more. Vonny almost felt like it was an obedient little puppy eager to please as it wobbled back and forth.
She drew the indicated card and held it against the corrupt one, delighted to see that it matched perfectly. “Well done Fido!” she laughed, hurrying back to the wall and sliding the card home. As expected the wall chimed and the small blue light lit up. What she didn’t expect though was for the consoles around the room to suddenly come alive and a loud rising hum to begin filling the small room.

“Oh bugger.” Fido said nothing again.


SCORPION – NULL NODE AREA
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0230 FST


The silence that had settled over the away team waiting outside the room was shattered simultaneously by two events. The first was the sound of a rising hum of power as lights dimmed around them. The second was the familiar tingle of the transporter as it whisked them away at the exact same moment that Scorpion raised its shields.


SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0230 FST


Vonny moved quickly over to the consoles to study what might be happening but was at a complete loss. Many of the screens were filled with alien script scrolling rapidly sideways, occasionally pausing and then scrolling once more. The hum had reached a level now that was noticeable but no longer quite as loud which led Vonny to conclude that she probably hadn’t initiated a self destruct.

“You could have warned me Fido.” She watched as the little orb bobbed back to the wall where she’d been working and began to flash blue again. “I have no idea who designed you but they could have at least fitted you with manipulator arms!”

As she returned to her work, she smiled to herself despite the circumstances. This was the reason she’d joined Starfleet and the task engrossed her. It never even occurred to her to feel afraid.


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0235 FST


When Kat Gray eventually stepped on to the Angel’s bridge, she saw that the main view screen was filled with an image of Scorpion.

She approached the centre seat and Dan swivelled to look at her.

“What happened Sir? Why were we pulled back?”

“I was about to ask you the same thing” said Dan raising an eyebrow. “The first thing we knew was a power surge and the transporter chief pulled you in. She’d only just got you aboard when Scorpion’s shields went up and since then nothing.”

Kat shook her head in frustration. “I can’t really add anything to that Sir. We were sat waiting for some progress when the lights dimmed and there was what sounded like a power ramp.” She waved her hands helplessly. “Next thing we were here.”

Dan turned to tactical, manned at the moment by the Gamma shift security chief Lieutenant Commander Jorgen Ottesen.

“Mr Ottesen, any change in Scorpion?”

“No Sir. All power levels have stabilised and the ship is not moving. No sign of any weapons charging.” The big Dane shook his head frustrated. “Still no sign of Ensign Dixon though.”

“Maintain passive scans then Mr Ottesen, let’s not spook it. Ops, have the Valkyries come back aboard yet?”

Lieutenant JG Juliette Pontoin shook her head. “Negative Sir. They are waiting for clearance at this time.” Her soft Parisian accent always reminded him of a sultry holo-star and her stunning looks certainly qualified her for the role, but her bridge record was that of a no nonsense officer.

Dan had to decide quickly on Falcon flight. They’d been spaceborne since the start of this incident and maintaining them in the cockpit could be tiring when he needed them sharp. “Very well, bring them in but ask them to turn round as quickly as possible. I want them on cockpit readiness.” That would give them chance to stretch their legs briefly but still achieve a rapid launch.

“Aye Sir.”

Kat leaned in close and said quietly “Told you Starfleet had made the right choice didn’t I?”

He grinned, a welcome relief from the stress of the past three hours or so. “What did I warn you about brown nosing your Captain?”

“Whatever.” She stood and stretched. “With your permission Sir, I’ll grab a coffee and prepare a second away team with Commander DeSalle.”

“Thanks Kat. You did a good job out there.” It was meant as a genuine compliment, but she frowned.

“It’s not over yet Sir. We still have Dixon out there.”

“Then let’s make sure we do this properly Kat.”

She nodded and headed to the starboard bridge turbolift as Dan once more immersed himself in the enigma that was Scorpion.


USS ANGEL – FLIGHT DECK BAY ONE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0242 FST


Mo stepped from the cockpit of the recovered Valkyrie, pulling the flight helmet from her head and shaking her hair loose. At one time she had kept it cut short, operations in the older Peregrine fighter requiring constant use of a full helmet. But since she’d begun piloting the new craft with its more spacious and ergonomic cockpit, she’d allowed her hair to grow and the feeling of letting it down now was luxurious.

“So brave leader, what next?” Homer strode in from fighter bay two with his trademark grin.

“Who knows?” she replied, genuinely perplexed at how they would handle the mystery ship. “For now it’s a case of sit and wait my man, but I get the feeling that if we’re needed it’s gonna be short notice so take your bathroom break while you can.”

“Uh oh”, grinned Homer, “I do hope you didn’t scratch the paintwork out there.” He indicated across to where Spider was examining the rear of her Valkyrie.

“Problem Chief?” Mo walked over to where he stood and saw that indeed across one of the rear plates were three deep gouges.

“Nothing a fresh lick of paint shouldn’t cure I think Ma’am. Did you feel anything?”

As Spider followed the grooves round to the rear of the wing she followed him.

“Nothing unusual Chief. Of course there was a…”

She didn’t get the chance to finish her sentence as Spider leapt back and ran to a wall panel.

“Computer, isolate the craft in Bays One and Two immediately, full quarantine protocols.”

“Bays One and Two isolated,” replied the synthetic voice as force fields sprang up to surround the Valkyries in their individual berths.

“Spider! What the hell is going on?” Mo now found herself caught inside the forcefields with Homer and was feeling more than a little nervous.

“Check out the trailing edge of the wing Ma’am, but just stay back please. Computer, full scans of both Bays for foreign contaminants.”

Mo stepped back and looked beneath the down swept wing of her fighter and gasped in horror. There, gripping the frame was the remains of a Borg arm. She leapt back, almost stepping into the forcefield.

“Damn…” whispered Homer as he stepped away himself.

“Scan complete. Borg artefacts discovered in Bay One and Bay Two. Confirm further directives.”

“Computer, isolate and remove to quarantine, code Alpha One.”

“Working.”

Mo’s flesh crept as first the hand disappeared in a sparkle of transporter activity, and then tiny sparkles flowed up and across the fuselage where the body had obviously been dragged.

“Isolation and quarantine procedure complete. Rescanning Bays One and Two.”

For what seemed an eternity, there was silence and Mo prayed they’d got it in time. Finally, the computer responded in its infuriatingly calm and matter of fact way.

“Scan complete. Bays One and Two are now clear of Borg artefacts.”

As Spider ordered the forcefields to be dropped, he hit his commbadge.

“Tarrant to Bridge, priority.”

“Yes Chief, go ahead.” With the priority call it was the Captain who answered.

“Sir, major problem. We’ve just had to sweep both Valkyries clear of Borg contaminants. If the Angel’s had nav deflectors down at any time, she could well be contaminated as well.”

Dan’s reply was less than eloquent.

“Exactly Sir. Flight deck is reporting clear at this time.”

“Thanks Chief, we’ll get a full diagnostic sweep in. No recoveries to the hangar bay until further notice, bridge out.”

Spider ordered the computer to drop the force fields and walked back to his charge. He stood for a moment looking at the three gouge marks that were the only remaining evidence of the Borg contamination. His face was pale as he turned to Mo.

“Y’know, I used to be scared of dying out there in vacuum. I wasn’t particularly scared of death, just the way it happened. But this…” He waved his hand at the scars. “It’s not even dying and it terrifies me so much more.”

Both Mo and Homer nodded silently, slightly taken aback by the normally phlegmatic Spider’s candid confession.

“Still,” he said, physically shaking the depressing thought, “let’s hope that’s the last of it, for now at least.”

Eyrie strode out on to the deck, hands on her hips, and heard the tail end of Spider’s comment. “We can wish Chief, but if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” She turned to Mo. “Captain says that for now you and Homer are cleared to the crew ready room.”

Slightly ashen faced, Mo joined Homer and left the flight deck as Eyrie returned to Flight Ops.

“Do you need a hand with that Spider?”

The Chief turned to Dingbat with a frown. “I think one extra hand was quite enough. Get back to your own bird.”


USS ANGEL – MEDCENTRE FIVE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0250 FST


Misaki looked up as the Medtech finished his examination.

“Ribs will probably be sore for a while and you’ll have a king sized headache if you still refuse to take the analgesics, but apart from that you’re pretty much whole.” He turned to the small table by his side, repacking the scanners and bone knitter. “You were damn lucky down there Misaki.”

“I know Paul.” Her expression was not that of somebody glad to be alive though.

Paul Chalmers sat quietly on the biobed beside her. “Misaki, no matter what I say it won’t change the fact that we lost Buster, but it wasn’t your fault.”

Since beaming back aboard, she’d run through the crash in her mind a dozen times and a dozen times she had come up with exactly the same conclusion, and yet she still felt responsible. Across the room, a counsellor was quietly talking to Mara and Misaki’s heart went out to her.

“How did all this happen Paul? What were the Borg doing?”

Chalmers shook his head. “What do the Borg ever do other than cause misery and destruction?” He stood and faced her. “Look, take the analgesics and rest. Dr Dorian has removed you from flight ops for 24 hours after that smack on the head, so use it ok?”

Misaki sighed knowing that rest wouldn’t come quite that easily, but nevertheless she nodded. “Ok. Please Paul; tell Mara that if she needs me I will be in our quarters?”

“I’ll do that Misaki.” He pressed the hypospray to her neck, and after a brief hiss she felt the pressure in her temples start to ease. Now, if only they had a hypospray to relieve the heavy feeling in her heart.
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