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Old July 27 2009, 02:51 PM   #31
mirandafave
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Nice to see the character of Icheb explored more. Sad to see that his decision to help Seven appears to be biting him in the ass now, years later.

It is a fascinating prospect about going back to the DQ after these years and fly the Federation flag on a planned seven year mission. It is a neat idea to go back to exploring strange new worlds and the like.

However, considering the sheer scale of this ship and the crew involved, there's a world within itself to explore. I hope that you devote some time to expanding on it, the mechanical and technological issues bound to arise, nevermind the many interpersonal and departmental issues that would plague a ship of that size. With that in mind I also would question the validity of such a new captain and young commander having charge of such a complex mission. Maybe there ought to be more of a command staff who help share the captain's burden along with Icheb. I understand that with a mission back to the DQ they would take on someone as young [and yes capable but still relatively inexperienced] along with first hand knowledge or experience at least that would be invaluable.

Should be interesting to see how you continue this, how it is developed and what direction you take.
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Old July 27 2009, 05:12 PM   #32
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Yeay! wonderful way to start a monday morning!
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Old July 29 2009, 05:55 PM   #33
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

CHAPTER SEVEN

Captain’s Log, Stardate 62197.09. I have dispatched Tactical and Rescue Team Alpha, headed by Commander Icheb, to investigate the explosion and distress call at Aris 4. They will be using one of the redesigned Saber-class starships with its new slipstream drive, and I look forward to learning how it performs. The team is missing several key members due to its premature deployment, but nonetheless, I believe they’re up to the challenge.

Captain Oyugo watched from the bridge as the Sol eased out of the launch bay. Despite the optimism she had claimed in her log entry, she had her doubts about her second-in-command. It was true that Icheb possessed a brilliant scientific mind and a proven aptitude for making good command decisions, even under pressure. He had earned the respect and trust of every Captain he’d served under, and had received glowing reviews year after year. But he was extremely young, younger even than most of his peers from the Academy, whom he had nonetheless long since passed in rank. He looked passably close to thirty, but when she had reviewed his file in depth, she had realized he was probably more like twenty-two or twenty-three, having spent several months in a maturation chamber during his time with the Borg.

Despite the fact that the Borg maturation chamber had accelerated the boy’s physical and intellectual development, Adele was convinced that being part of the Collective must surely have stunted his emotional growth. However, by all accounts, he had made remarkable progress in that area, and seemed to have had a normal Academy life, except for the not-entirely-unexpected negative treatment from a vocal minority of students who felt having any Borg, even an ex-Borg, at the Academy was a dangerous risk. All the people who knew Icheb best, though, including Kathryn Janeway, spoke very highly of the young officer. Indeed, Captain Oyugo had no concrete reason to believe Commander Icheb was not one of the greatest assets the Tesseract had as her crew ventured back into the Delta Quadrant eight years after Voyager had destroyed the Borg Unicomplex and one of their six transwarp hubs.

Although the Captain could not quantify with facts what it was that bothered her about the young man, she was a quarter Betazoid and, despite the relative weakness of her telepathic abilities, she could definitely tell when someone was hiding something. Her senses told her that this was the case with Icheb. She had no strong sense that the secret was a dangerous one, but she could tell whatever it was weighed on him heavily. Interestingly, she had gotten the same feeling from Lieutenant O’Connor on the Bridge the previous evening -- something she had never sensed in her Chief Engineer until she had seen her with the First Officer. It was obvious there was a connection there, but she felt strongly that her standing as Captain didn’t give her the right to go prying into people’s personal lives based on a feeling.

The fact was, between his extreme youth, the several kilograms of hidden Borg hardware he was carrying around inside his body, and her certainty that he was hiding something important, Icheb simply made her feel uneasy. Of course, Adele was self-reflective enough to realize that the circumstances of her husband’s death might also have something to do with her discomfort. She knew that was unfair. The kid probably hadn’t even been assimilated yet when the Battle of Wolf 359 was fought, and even if he had been, it wasn’t his fault. Still, Adele had to try hard to see Icheb as Brunali first, not Borg. She had almost requested a different First Officer, but quickly realized it was entirely possible that Starfleet would kick her off the mission before they would reassign Icheb. After all, she had never been to the Delta Quadrant and had only a single dismal battle’s worth of experience with the Borg (more than enough for one lifetime, Adele thought).

Instead of requesting Icheb’s reassignment, Adele had decided to try and befriend the young officer, despite her misgivings. Perhaps, in due time, he would reveal the secret he was hiding. Until then, she would keep a close eye on him. She did so now, as she watched the Sol engage slipstream drive and seemingly vanish into space.

On board the Sol, Adrian couldn’t resist a smile. He had flown test flights with the slipstream drive, but this was the first real mission of any kind he had been on that was actually using the technology, and he was at the helm.

“Icheb to engineering. Status?”

Adrian thought Icheb sounded a little nervous. Nervous Borg. This mission is full of surprises, he thought with some amusement.

The reply from engineering sounded almost giddy. “We’re fine down here, sir. History in the making! The slipstream drive is running completely textbook. We should arrive in about six minutes.”

“Six minutes?” gasped John at tactical. He quickly regained his composure and broke into a wide grin. “I think I’m going to like this slipstream stuff,” he said.

Icheb clenched his jaw to keep from snapping at John. This was the kind of thing they’d argued about in their Academy days. John, with his propensity to see the fun, adventure and opportunity in any situation, had clashed often with Icheb, who took a slightly darker, and (Icheb thought) more realistic view of the universe. It wasn’t that he was a pessimist, exactly, but his extraordinarily disturbed childhood had given him a perspective not shared by many who had grown up sheltered and happy in the Federation. While John was marveling at the wonders of the slipstream drive, Icheb was preoccupied with the colonists on Aris 4 and wondering if everyone on board the Sol was about to meet the same fate, whatever it was, that had befallen them. He involuntarily thought of his parents back on Brunali and wondered if they had yet been assimilated by the Borg, then quickly pushed the thought aside.

The Sol dropped out of slipstream seventeen seconds ahead of schedule.

“Icheb to Engineering, report,” said Icheb.

“Nothing’s wrong with the drive, sir, we’re just not moving.”

“Find out why. Are we in visual range of the planet?”

“Yes, sir,” replied T’Pring at the science station.

“On screen.”

The bridge instantly fell silent as the crew realized the colony was gone. The small planet looked strange -- ragged and broken. The surface was largely obscured by a voluminous dust cloud. But stranger still was the massive and rapidly expanding debris field emanating not from the planet itself, but a point several thousand kilometers away. Just behind the cloud of debris was a glowing anomaly that Adrian, Icheb and John all recognized at once.

“Shit,” cried John. “Icheb!”

“Back us off, Commander Keller, full impulse. Get as far away as you can while remaining in visual range,” ordered Icheb urgently.

“Aye, sir, I’m a step ahead of you,” replied Adrian, who had already begun to bring the Sol around to put some distance between the ship and the angry glow.

“What is it?” asked Ensign Par nervously.

“It’s a subspace tear; it’s the reason we dropped out of slipstream,” explained Icheb. “If we get too close to it, we’ll have to eject the warp core or risk being pulled inside. There are likely to be other smaller rifts nearby, as well. We need to be careful. Watch your scans.”

Icheb stood up. “Are there any life signs on the planet or in the debris?” he queried.

“None detected,” came the emotionless reply from T’Pring.

“I’m picking up a residual energy signature of some sort -- it doesn’t look natural,” John said warily. He tapped his console a few times. “It could be a weapons signature, but I’m not picking up any ships in the vicinity.”

Icheb walked around John’s console to take a look at the data. “That energy signature might be Borg. But it looks off somehow.” He narrowed his eyes as he analyzed the data. “T’Pring, analyze the debris field,” he directed the science officer.

T’Pring’s fingers flew over her console. In her serene, dispassionate voice, she said “Sir, the debris field appears to be hull fragments -- millions of them, the largest less than one-half meter across. I believe the fragments may also be Borg. However, there is enough material here to compose several Borg cubes.”

John let out a low whistle. “Someone made a really big boom,” he said.

“It looks like the planet got caught in the concussion,” said Icheb. “Are the conditions safe enough for us to go to the surface?”

“Negative, sir,” answered T’Pring. “The seismic reactions to the explosion are severe, not to mention taking the ship any closer to that subspace tear would be unwise.”

Ensign Par cut in. “Sir, I thought the Borg were incapable of traveling to this part of the galaxy since Voyager destroyed the transwarp hub that led here.”

Icheb turned to the young man standing at Ops. “The Borg adapt,” he said. “Don’t underestimate them, Ensign.” The Bajoran turned slightly pale at this, and quickly found a spot on his console to stare at instead of his ex-Borg commander, who was suddenly, irrationally creeping him out.

“Well, if those hull fragments are Borg, it looks like they didn’t adapt too well to whatever -- or whomever -- they encountered here,” John said.

“Ensign Par, beam some of the hull fragments into the cargo bay and erect a level 10 force field,” ordered Icheb. He turned to Adrian. “Commander Keller, plot a course back to the Tesseract. Stay at impulse until we clear the subspace damage, then increase speed to warp 6 until we’re out of sensor range from here.”

“Warp 6, sir?” Adrian asked in surprise. At that speed it would take nearly ten days to return to the Tesseract.

“If there are Borg nearby, I don’t want to be more attractive to them than we have to be,” Icheb explained. “Notify me when we’ve gotten out of sensor range and we can reassess the situation. I’ll send a subspace message to the Tesseract, apprise them of our findings, and let them know we’ll be delayed. I’ll be in my ready room. Lieutenant Quigley, you have the bridge.”

“Yes, sir,” came the reply from both Adrian and John.

Last edited by kes7; July 30 2009 at 03:45 PM.
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Old July 29 2009, 07:17 PM   #34
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

For a first fanfic this is turning out to be one of the better I've read! Keep it coming!
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Old July 29 2009, 07:22 PM   #35
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Holy crap! Not only have they already found evidence of the Borg back in the Alpha Quadrant, now there's the additional mystery of who or what created the subspace rupture. Icheb's got his work cut out for him, and the fact that all he's got with him is a tiny Saber-class ship doesn't bode well if the Borg make another appearance.

I especially liked the segment where Captain Oyugo reflects on her relationship with Icheb. Though she still harbors reservations about her exec based both on his youth and his former Borg status, she's determined to make the best of things. Given his skills and knowledge of the DQ, that's probably for the best, though I'm hoping the decision doesn't cost her in the long run.

Terrific work!
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Old July 29 2009, 09:29 PM   #36
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Your characters continue to be a really interesting bunch, Icheb and his mysterious condition especially. I also enjoyed his encounter with his former financee. Now that's an awkward situation.

The plot thickens with a great premise. A new Borg threat or something much worse?

Good stuff.
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Old July 30 2009, 06:03 AM   #37
kes7
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Thanks for the comments.

More coming soon, just touching things up on the next couple of chapters.
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Old July 30 2009, 03:26 PM   #38
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

I like that the captain has a healthy dose of scepticism about Icheb. Unwarranted of course! But in her position she has to be careful if not outright dubious.

The new mystery is quite unsettling. The Borg could be back [I like the idea that they were not completely destroyed by Janeway's endgame] but worse still they've encountered someone or something that can take them on.

Added to that, I think it is safe to safe having a former drone as your commanding officer and being told in stark tones by said commanding officer that the Borg adapt has to be pretty unsettling - no check that- freaking out time unsettling.

Good things. Liking the build up with the character introspection form the captain adding depth to her and reassuring the reader that she is probably suited to this mission afterall. Yet also the fact that she recognises that Starfleet would sooner likely change her billet than Icheb's is revealing too.

Nice development and yet the story has a frantic pace keeping the story zipping along.

Looking forward to more.
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Old July 31 2009, 06:50 PM   #39
kes7
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

CHAPTER EIGHT

Irina Marchenko bent over a workstation, peering at the magnified image of the neural fibers within the malfunctioning gel packs Lieutenant O’Connor had sent for analysis. The gel packs had become a source of annoyance early on for the Chief Engineer, and Irina was beginning to commiserate. In O’Connor’s four days on board getting the ship ready, nineteen of the gel packs had failed. The engineering staff could find no external physical problems with any of them. The science staff had run scans for radiation that could be harming the bio-neural material, and come up clean. So the gel packs were now Irina’s problem. Thankfully, overnight, she seemed to have been granted a reprieve -- it was now nearly 0800 hours, and nothing had failed since the previous evening.

Despite her mounting frustration with their frequent failure, Irina thought the gel packs were fascinating technology. They worked like the human brain, sending information through neural fibers and making connections, or “short-cuts” between data points that a normal computer might miss. The gel packs helped the Tesseract’s computers to make “best guess” decisions quickly using these short-cuts instead of processing all possible outcomes before recommending a solution. Irina was impressed with the concept, and had done a little reading on the Intrepid-class starships that first used the technology to see how it had worked in practice. She noted that Voyager had only a few problems with the gel packs in the seven years they were lost in the Delta Quadrant, which she found encouraging. The severity of those problems, however, was not encouraging. The gel packs could succumb to radiation, disease and almost anything else that would harm a biological entity, and once they failed, that was it. They couldn’t be repaired, and it was as impossible to replicate new ones as it was to replicate a living being. Irina understood that the Tesseract carried a lot of spares, but at the rate they were losing them, she wondered if it was possible to run out.

The previous afternoon, Irina had put each failed gel-pack through a microcellular scan looking for evidence of pathogens, and found nothing. The sub-neural scans hadn’t proved much more helpful, so she was now performing detailed neurographic scans on the “bags of goo,” as O’Connor had derisively called them. It was painstaking work, even with the help of the computer. She had been at it since her shift had started at 0600, and her body was aching and stiff from hunching over the console so long. She stretched and contemplated taking a short break.

Then suddenly, she saw something on the scan. It was subtle, but there was a chance it could be what they were looking for. She forgot about her weary neck muscles and called out to Sarik.

“Sarik, look at this,” she said. The Vulcan looked up from his console, where he was entering a report on a crewman who had broken an elbow climbing a rock wall in the gymnasium after hours. He got up and walked over to Irina’s workstation, where he peered at the area of the scan where Irina was pointing.

“Interesting,” said Sarik, raising a single eyebrow. “If that is what it appears to be, this problem may be more complicated than we anticipated. I suggest you notify the Chief Medical Officer.”

Irina rose and walked over to the glass-enclosed central office where the CMO worked. The glass was frosted for privacy except for one large window overlooking the rest of Sickbay, and on the door, a decimeter-wide transparent horizontal stripe backing the Starfleet Medical logo. Irina pressed the call button.

“Come in,” came the British-inflected reply over the intercom.

As the door slid open to reveal Dr. Julian Bashir leaning back in his office chair reading a PADD, it took effort for Irina to keep her facial expression neutral and professional.

It was a damned shame he was her direct supervisor, Irina thought, as the years had been more than kind to Dr. Bashir. The CMO had arrived on the ship the previous evening, and she almost hadn’t recognized him when he had walked by her on the Deck 10 promenade outside Ten Forward. When she had realized who he was, she had almost choked on her drink.

Julian’s time in the line of fire during the Dominion War had given him a slightly dangerous edge he’d lacked when she had met him at a Starfleet Medical function years ago, while she was still in pre-med at the Academy. He had flirted grandly and awkwardly with her then, clearly believing himself the universe’s gift to women everywhere, and told her a breathtakingly dull tale of how he’d ended up salutatorian instead of valedictorian of his graduating class -- something about postganglionic nerves and a trick question on the final exam, if she remembered correctly after all these years. She had decided he was an arrogant twerp, and hadn’t been able to get away from him fast enough. Yet here she stood, the better part of fifteen years later, regretting that judgment. Damn. Amazing what a few years and an interstellar war will do for a man’s charisma, thought Irina.

“Doctor Bashir,” she addressed him, “I think I may have found a possible cause of the gel pack failures. Would you mind taking a look?”

“Certainly,” Julian replied. He stood up and walked out onto the main sickbay floor.

When they arrived at Irina’s console, Julian looked over her shoulder at the scan. “I see it. Subtle post-traumatic degradation of the neural fibers. It’s very much like what you see in victims of telepathic assault. Not many people would have caught this, Doctor. Good work.”

“Are you suggesting someone tried to mind-rape the ship’s computers?” Irina asked incredulously. Julian’s eyebrows rose in momentary surprise at her crude expression, but he quickly recovered, and his brown eyes danced in mild amusement. Sarik merely raised an eyebrow.

“No, I’m not, Doctor,” Julian replied. “At least, not yet. But I'd say you do have a lead, here. Unfortunately, it’s not a very good one without more data. Keep running scans on the remaining gel packs and let me know when you have your findings. In the meantime, have someone pull a list of all the telepathic species on board.”

“I can take care of that, Doctor,” Sarik interjected, as he sat down at a nearby console and brought up the crew manifest.

As Dr. Bashir turned to walk back into his office, Irina couldn’t resist giving him the once-over. She let her eyes rest on his backside for a moment before forcing her concentration back onto her work. Take a high-pitched sonic shower, Irina, she thought to herself. You’ll be working under him every day for the next seven years, don’t screw it up now.

With a sigh, she resumed the neurographic scans on the gel packs. Nearby, Sarik sat silently, searching 1,478 crew members’ files for a clue to the mystery they had just uncovered.

Last edited by kes7; August 1 2009 at 03:35 AM.
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Old July 31 2009, 07:02 PM   #40
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

CHAPTER NINE

On board the Sol, the mood was subdued as the ship headed slowly back toward the Tesseract. Inside the captain’s ready room, Icheb sat analyzing the data their sensors had collected at the site of the explosion. He kept going back to the data from the tactical console, specifically the unknown weapons signature John thought he had found. His headache was growing worse by the minute and he was worried he was making errors in his analysis. He recalled the old Terran proverb “Two heads are better than one,” and called John into the ready room.

John looked over Icheb’s shoulder at the display sitting on the small desk as they analyzed the data together and tried to figure it out.

“The hull fragments are definitely Borg,” said Icheb, once again pinching his nose ridge as the throbbing pain behind his eyes increased. “But the weapons signature, if that’s what it is, is much more ambiguous.” He briefly rested his head on his hand and squeezed his eyes shut.

John looked at him with concern. “You okay?” he asked. Icheb forced his eyes back open and sat up straight again.

“Fine. I just need to regenerate,” replied Icheb in a tone that he hoped discouraged further questioning. “Look at this,” he said, indicating a data point on the display.

John leaned in closer. “It’s too close to call. It looks more Borg than anything else in the database, but not quite. And I’ve never heard of the Borg using subspace weaponry.”

“It could be something they assimilated. As for the energy signature, it’s impossible to tell how the Collective might have changed in the last eight years. We weren’t even sure it had survived.”

“Well, I guess all those little Borg pieces sitting in the cargo bay are a pretty conclusive answer to that question.”

“Not necessarily,” answered Icheb. “We have pieces of a ship, or perhaps several ships. We don’t have any conclusive evidence that it was manned at the time of its destruction, nor do we know with any level of certainty what destroyed it.”

John opened his mouth to argue, but quickly shut it when he realized that, as usual, Icheb was correct, and resistance was futile. John might prefer to operate on quick analyses and gut instincts, but Icheb would require all the facts before coming to any conclusion.

“I don’t think we’re going to figure this out, just the two of us sitting here in your ready room,” said John as he absentmindedly scratched his head, mussing his sandy blond hair. “I’d like to see what Maren has to say about some of the data from the debris field, and I’d like to hear the Captain’s thoughts on all of this, as well. There are a bunch of people in Astrometrics who will probably have some ideas about that subspace tear, too.”

Icheb nodded. “Agreed,” he said. “You’re dismissed. I’ll be back on the bridge in a minute; I have a couple of things I want to finish up here.”

John stood up and walked toward the door, but when he reached it, he hesitated. Icheb looked up.

“Was there something else, Lieutenant?”

“Permission to speak freely, sir?” John asked formally.

Icheb looked surprised. “Of course,” he replied.

“I mean, about personal matters,” John cautioned him.

Icheb sighed. “You mean about Maren?”

John nodded. “I saw her after you ran into her on the bridge yesterday. She was pretty shaken up.”

Icheb nodded in reply. “I went to see her right before we got sent on this mission,” he said. John looked surprised at his candor.

“What happened?” he asked, sitting down in a visitor’s chair.

Icheb left out the part about kissing Maren and getting slapped for it. “We talked. I asked for her assistance in keeping our interactions professional. I don’t know if she’s going to cooperate.”

“That’s it?” asked John. “You didn’t discuss your relationship at all?”

“There is no relationship,” Icheb replied quickly, rubbing his forehead. He added, “I don’t see how this is any of your business.”

“Come on, Icheb. We’ve been friends for seven years. Maren may not be ready to put the past behind her, but you and I don’t have that kind of history.” He paused, then decided to ask the obvious question. “You don’t have to answer this, but I have to at least ask -- what happened between you two back on Earth? I mean, you asked me to stand up for you at your wedding, and then suddenly you were gone and Maren was a total wreck for months. She would never tell me what happened, and you weren’t exactly responding to transmissions about the subject, either.”

“John, it’s between Maren and me,” Icheb replied with a slight edge to his voice.

John knew better than to keep pushing, and tried to lighten the mood. “Okay. But when you two decide to kiss and make
up -- ”

“That’s enough, Lieutenant,” Icheb said sharply, pulling rank. He was surprised at himself. He had always strived to avoid using his position to influence personal relationships. He realized his need to regenerate must be starting to affect his behavior. He quickly apologized. “I’m sorry. That was inappropriate. We were speaking as friends.”

John quickly covered the hurt expression on his face with one of his signature carefree grins and gave what he hoped was a good-natured shrug. “Hey, what good is having the rank of Commander if you don’t use it? You just better hope I never outrank you,” he threatened Icheb playfully.

“That’s unlikely at best. Probably closer to impossible,” Icheb teased back with a slight smile. The smile quickly turned into a grimace as he doubled over in pain, clutching at the back of his head. John lunged to grab him before he fell out of his chair.

Supporting Icheb with one arm, John tapped his comm. badge. “Quigley to Sickbay,” he said urgently, “Medical emergency, commander’s ready room.”

“On my way,” Dr. Duggal replied over the comm.

Icheb, wincing, protested through his pain. “I’m fine. I’m just overdue for regeneration. As soon as we get back to the Tesseract, I’ll rest in my alcove, and I’ll be fine.”

“Bullshit,” John retorted. “I’ve seen you go days without regenerating before and you never came close to keeling over. We’re almost a day away from the Tesseract with our current flight plan, and that’s assuming we’re able to jump to slipstream when we’re supposed to. That’s too long to let you go like this -- you’re going to sickbay if I have to drag you there myself.”

Before Icheb could open his mouth to protest, John cut him off, continuing: “You pulled rank on me, don’t make me return the favor -- as the ranking security officer on the Sol, I can have you removed if I think you’re a threat to the mission.”

Icheb realized he was in no position to argue. “Fine. I’ll go,” he agreed reluctantly. “But you don’t need to drag me anywhere. I'm perfectly capable of walking. Help me up.” John, who was still crouched next to Icheb’s chair, stood and took Icheb’s arm. With John’s assistance, Icheb pulled himself to a standing position. The room faded in and out, first blurry, then clear again. The pain in his head was now sharp and stabbing, and nearly unbearable.

The door chime sounded. T’Pring’s voice came over the intercom. “Do you require assistance, Commander? Dr. Duggal is here and she says Lieutenant Quigley -- ” John toggled the manual release for the door before T’Pring could finish or Icheb could answer. The door slid open to reveal T’Pring’s questioning face, and Sheila Duggal standing behind her holding a medical bag.

“I’m fine, Lieutenant. Thank you for your concern,” Icheb said weakly, gripping the edge of the desk to assist his stability. “Doctor Duggal, please accompany me to Sickbay.” He slowly stepped onto the bridge, and announced to the remaining bridge crew, “I’m temporarily relieving myself of command. It’s Lieutenant Quigley’s mission, now.” He turned to John. “Just get us back to the Tesseract safely. I’ll be fine.” John nodded solemnly at his friend, and Icheb turned to leave the bridge, with Sheila close behind.

Last edited by kes7; August 1 2009 at 04:21 AM.
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Old July 31 2009, 08:46 PM   #41
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Yeay to you for adding Dctr Bashir to the ships complement! I always liked him and found the dislike he generated from fans puzzling. You are getting to be my guilty pleasure at work. Yeay you!!! Thanks for the new installment!
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Old July 31 2009, 09:02 PM   #42
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

oldstredshrtevr wrote: View Post
Yeay to you for adding Dctr Bashir to the ships complement! I always liked him and found the dislike he generated from fans puzzling. You are getting to be my guilty pleasure at work. Yeay you!!! Thanks for the new installment!
I figured it was a risky move as far as possibly turning a few people off (I also fail to understand the Bashir hate, but I know it's there), but he always wanted to practice frontier medicine, and there's no frontier quite like the DQ. By the time this story takes place, he's 44 and ready for a big assignment like this ... he seemed a pretty natural choice. I kept trying to write it for someone else, but Bashir kept popping back into my mind, and I've got a lot for him to do as the story progresses. Glad that you, at least, do not object!
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Old August 1 2009, 02:47 AM   #43
Gibraltar
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Aside from a certain hologram, they couldn't have picked a better CMO for this mission. It will be interesting to see if the Salacious Slav can keep her hands off Bashir for the duration.

The mystery of what happened to the Federation colony continues, and one wonders if Icheb's reactions aren't perhaps influenced by something in the remains of the possible Borg ship(s)?

You're building a taut drama here, with an undercurrent of mystery and highlighted by terrific, well-rounded characters.
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Old August 1 2009, 02:59 AM   #44
kes7
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Aside from a certain hologram, they couldn't have picked a better CMO for this mission. It will be interesting to see if the Salacious Slav can keep her hands off Bashir for the duration.

The mystery of what happened to the Federation colony continues, and one wonders if Icheb's reactions aren't perhaps influenced by something in the remains of the possible Borg ship(s)?

You're building a taut drama here, with an undercurrent of mystery and highlighted by terrific, well-rounded characters.
Well, The Doctor (like most of the Voyager crew) flatly refused to return to the Quadrant of the Damned. They were left with little choice.

Thank you so much for the compliments. We'll see about Irina. Bashir seems to have compromised her confidence a bit, hasn't he? She's suddenly less cocky.

Icheb is having a very bad day, indeed. I like Icheb, so I hope his day gets better ... oh, wait, I'm writing this story.
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Old August 3 2009, 04:30 PM   #45
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

CHAPTER TEN

Adrian watched with concern as Icheb exited the bridge. The Borg kid looked like hell. He was sweating and pale, and his previously meticulous brown hair was a mess. The petite, dark-haired Doctor Duggal followed closely behind him, scanning him with her medical tricorder as they walked slowly off the bridge. Strange, he seemed fine an hour ago, thought Adrian. He turned back to the flight controls. He had already made the jump to Warp 6 a few hours before, per Commander Icheb’s instructions. So far, there was no sign of anyone or anything pursuing them, but Icheb had been insistent that they not jump to slipstream before they were all the way out of sensor range from Aris 4.

John waited until the door slid shut behind Icheb and Sheila before issuing his order: “Commander Keller,” John said, “Go to slipstream on my mark.”

“Lieutenant?” Adrian asked in surprise. Commander Icheb had been quite clear that they should wait until they were completely out of sensor range before engaging the slipstream drive. By his calculations, they had the better part of a day to go -- a bit less if they went to a higher warp factor.

John knew exactly what he was thinking. “Commander Icheb is not giving the orders right now, I am. Jump to slipstream and get us back to the Tesseract as fast as possible. I want us docked in the hangar bay within ten minutes,” he said firmly. His previously relaxed, jovial demeanor had given way to one of tension and worry, and Adrian wondered just what had happened in the ready room.

“Lieutenant Quigley,” sighed Adrian. “As the default first officer, I feel obligated to point out that jumping to slipstream now would make us an extremely attractive target if we’re within range of Borg sensors.”

“I’m aware of the risk. Lieutenant T’Pring, increase long-range sensor resolution. Tell me if you see evidence of anything that could possibly be a ship,” John requested.

T’Pring’s fingers danced over the console for a moment. “Sir, I read nothing out of the ordinary. We appear to be the only ship within ten light-years of this position, other than the Tesseract.”

John nodded. “Thank you, Lieutenant." He turned to Adrian. "Commander Keller, engage slipstream drive, now.”

“Aye, sir,” sighed Adrian. He could have argued with him further, but what would be the use? He entered the sequence and engaged the slipstream drive.

Within minutes, the Sol dropped out of slipstream in sight of the Tesseract. Sol to Tesseract, we’re on approach. Request permission to begin docking sequence,” John broadcast over the comm.

“Permission granted. I’ll notify the Captain,” replied Lieutenant Commander Borux, who had taken an extra shift so that Captain Oyugo could get some sleep.

“Thanks. Also, tell sickbay to expect Commander Icheb. He’s fallen ill.”

“Understood,” replied the Denobulan.

John instructed Adrian to complete the docking sequence and walked briskly down the short corridor to the Sol’s small sickbay. Icheb was sitting on a biobed while Sheila continued her scans.

Sheila turned around at the sound of the sickbay door opening, and walked over to John. She said quietly, “I gave him something for the pain and treated him for mild neural shock, but I haven't found the cause of either. He keeps saying he needs to regenerate. To be honest, I’m not experienced with Borg systems, and the database on the Sol isn’t as comprehensive as the one on the Tesseract. But biologically, there’s nothing wrong with him ... at least, I don’t think there is. Maybe his body chemistry is a little off ... I have to admit I’m inexperienced with Brunali physiology, as well.” She flushed with embarrassment and realized she was babbling. “Anyway, I think he’s better off with an engineer than a doctor, as it seems to be the Borg components that are bothering him. Maybe he does just need to regenerate.”

“Well, he can do whatever he needs to do in just a minute,” replied John, “we’re back.” Seeing Sheila’s flustered expression, he added reassuringly, “I wouldn’t feel too bad about your inexperience -- he’s pretty unique, at least in this Quadrant, anyway. Can you give me a second with him?” Sheila nodded and stepped out into the corridor. John walked over to the biobed, where Icheb sat looking slightly improved, but still pale and weak. John noticed that his previously messy brown hair had been smoothed back more or less into place, no doubt by Icheb himself. A man’s got to have his priorities, John thought with a tiny smirk. I’ll bet the doctor has a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“How are you feeling?” he asked Icheb.

“Better,” replied Icheb stiffly. He looked up accusingly at John. “Why did you jump to slipstream?”

“You told me to get us back to the Tesseract. I did.”

“I didn’t think I needed to clarify that the task be completed in a manner respectful of the crew’s safety. I should put you on report,” Icheb said angrily.

“I was concerned about your safety," John replied calmly. "You obviously needed to get to a real sickbay with doctors who know things about Borg physiology. You also keep saying you need to regenerate, well, now you can. Besides, your original orders were excessively cautious. It was obvious that there was no one within sensor range.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” Icheb said apprehensively. “It’s true that I need to regenerate, but something accessed my neural transceiver back in the ready room. Whatever it was performed an invasive probe of my neural pathways. That's the reason I collapsed, I started to go into neural shock. I didn’t realize it until I got here and Doctor Duggal relieved some of the pain I was in."

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

“By the time I realized what had happened, you had already ordered Commander Keller to jump to slipstream. It was too late to do anything about it. I didn't even get a chance to tell the doctor before you came in here.”

John looked alarmed. “So, what happened with the transceiver? Did you hear something?”

“No. After Doctor Duggal stabilized my condition, I started accessing the individual indices within my cortical array trying to figure out what was happening to me. I found my neural transceiver had been activated and something, or someone, had used it to scan my neural pathways.”

John tried to sound nonchalant. “It was probably something in the debris we beamed into the cargo bay. I’ll stay aboard the Sol and have someone run a diagnostic on the dampening field generator.”

Icheb looked skeptical. “John, you saw the contents of that cargo bay. Nothing in that wreckage is intact enough to perform an operation as complicated as a neural probe.”

John was silent. He was sure Icheb was right, and felt the sinking realization that he had allowed his concern for his friend to affect his judgment, putting everyone on the Sol and the Tesseract at risk.

“This debate is pointless. If something out there did scan us, it knows now what we’re capable of and we’ve led it right back to the Tesseract. We have to tell the Captain, now,” insisted Icheb.

“Are you up to walking to the transporter room?” asked John with an anxious glance.

“I think so,” said Icheb. He accepted the hand John offered him and steadied himself as he slid off the biobed. He really was feeling better; the painkillers Dr. Duggal had given him were obviously effective. He quickly calculated how long it had been since he had regenerated and tried to force down the panic beginning to rise within him. The likelihood that one or more of the implants that controlled his vital functions would start to malfunction was increasing significantly with every passing hour.

As John and Icheb walked out of sickbay, Sheila, who was still standing in the corridor, protested, “I haven’t released him yet!”

Both men kept walking briskly toward the transporter room. John called out, “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he checks in with Doctor Bashir.” Sheila stood looking after them with her hands on her hips, bewildered, as they walked away.

When they materialized on the Tesseract’s hangar deck transporter pad a few moments later, Captain Oyugo and Doctor Bashir were both waiting for them. “Are you all right, Commander? What happened?” asked Adele. Julian begain scanning Icheb with the medical tricorder he held in his hand.

“I’ll be fine, Captain,” Icheb reassured Adele. “I just need to regenerate. But we’ve got more to worry about -- I suggest we get to the bridge immediately.”

Adele sensed fear in both men. “What’s going on? I received the data you sent from Aris 4. The bridge officers here seemed to think both the weapons signature and the debris were Borg.”

John and Icheb exchanged a glance. “The debris is Borg. We’re not so sure about the weapons signature -- but it’s possible. There’s more we need to tell you, though. Can we discuss it on the way to the bridge?” Icheb asked.

Adele raised her eyebrows and turned to begin walking. “I’m listening.”

As they walked out of the hangar bay, Icheb spoke first. “While John and I were analyzing the sensor data in my ready room, I experienced a sharp pain in my head and collapsed.” Adele’s eyes went wide with concern, but she stayed silent. Icheb continued, “I was in shock from the pain initially, but after Doctor Duggal gave me some medication to ease the pain, I began to check the memory logs within my cortical array for clues to what had happened. I realized my neural transceiver had been activated, and my neural pathways had been probed.”

“Do you think the Collective was trying to contact you?” asked Adele.

“I don’t know,” admitted Icheb. “The Borg would be the logical theory, but we found no signs of them or anyone else on our sensors. It’s possible that it was due to a stray component in the debris we beamed aboard, but I believe that’s unlikely given the condition of the fragments, and the fact that there was a dampening field around the cargo bay.”

John cleared his throat. Adele looked at him. “Do you have something to add, Lieutenant?”

“Yes, Captain,” John said. He took a deep breath. “Commander Icheb put me in command of the mission while he was in sickbay and, out of concern for him, I ordered Commander Keller to jump to slipstream while we were still within sensor range of Aris 4. I didn’t know Icheb had been, uh ... probed. We had increased resolution on the long range sensors and didn’t see anything at all, but --”

“Understood, Lieutenant,” Adele said, cutting him off. She understood all too well what John was trying to say. “Thank you for your candor.” She tapped her comm. badge. "Oyugo to Borux. Are there any signs of a vessel within sensor range?"

"Negative, Captain," Borux responded. "The last crew transport back to Deep Space 5 left sensor range an hour ago. There's been nothing but the Sol on sensors since."

"Go to yellow alert," ordered Adele. "Move us away from our current coordinates and begin continuous scans for any vessel that may be attempting to follow the Sol back to our present location."

"Understood, Captain," acknowledged Borux.

Doctor Bashir, who had followed them to the turbolift, suddenly interrupted. “Excuse me, Captain, but I’m really going to have to insist that Commander Icheb return to his quarters and regenerate, now. I’m reading elevated levels of -- ” he paused, staring at the readings on the tricorder -- “well, everything, really,” he said, with visible concern. “If he doesn’t recharge his implants immediately, he could do permanent damage to his vital organs.”

Icheb hesitated. Adele spoke up. “Commander, you heard the doctor. Go. That’s an order. I can manage the situation without you for now. I’ll let you know if that changes. Contact me if anything else out of the ordinary happens to you.” She turned to John. “Mr. Quigley, I suggest you get some rest as well.”

John nodded and turned to Icheb. “I’ll walk you to your quarters.” He should have been tired after his sleepless night, but he was pumped up on adrenaline and in no mood to sleep.

Despite the pain medication, Icheb walked more slowly than normal. His overtaxed implants were starting to cause him to feel unsteady on his feet. “We should have just beamed you into your alcove,” said John, only half-joking.

“You’re overreacting. I’m fine,” insisted Icheb sullenly. They entered a turbolift and Icheb leaned against the wall, gripping the handrail.

“Yes, you’re the very picture of health,” replied John sarcastically.

Icheb grew somber. “John?” he asked. “Don’t tell Maren about any of this.”

“What the hell, Icheb?” John asked, frustrated by the request. He was not a secretive person and hated being asked to keep them, particularly from people he cared about. "She’s going to hear about what happened back there anyway,” he said with an exasperated sigh. “Shouldn’t it be from someone who was actually there, instead of hearing some twisted rumor-mill version where you turned into a drone and tried to assimilate half the away team or something?”

“I’d prefer to talk to her myself. Please, John. Just tell her I’m fine.” The turbolift doors opened and the two men stepped out into the corridor not far from Icheb’s quarters.

As they reached Icheb’s door, John said “Icheb, I won't tell Maren anything. But I seriously doubt it will make a difference. You know as well as I do that there’s about as much secrecy on a Starfleet deep space mission as there is on a Borg cube. She probably heard about what happened to you before we even got back.”

Icheb frowned at this, but gave no reply. He leaned in front of the eyescanner and the door opened.

“Get some rest,” said John. “Tonight’s the big send-off, if the Borg haven’t gotten to us before then, that is,” he added wryly.

Icheb nodded. "You try to rest, too. I'll see you then."

As John turned to walk away, Icheb stepped into his quarters. He slowly crossed the room and laid down on the modified bed that served as his regeneration alcove. With a few quick taps on the small console beside him, he manually activated the regeneration cycle and instantly fell into a dreamless sleep.

Last edited by kes7; August 3 2009 at 05:36 PM.
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