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Old April 14 2013, 03:39 PM   #151
CeJay
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Too little, too late.

She couldn’t stop thinking it over and over again. Too little, too late, even as she cut down Xenarth warriors left and right, killing the tough insectoids by the dozens while desperately ignoring the fact that she was taking life almost indiscriminately. Trying to pretend it hadn’t been her who had been the attacker, it hadn’t been her who had given the orders to assault this sovereign Xenarth facility and now to shoot and kill.

It was for the good of the galaxy, she told herself. She was trying to safe lives, she told herself. And in the end it may all come to nothing after all because she had given the orders to late.

There were simply too many of them and not enough bodies to fight them off. They were already overwhelmed and barely holding their own. No doubt more Xenarth reinforcements were on the way.

“Captain, get down.”

Before she could even turn to look who had shouted the warning, she was felt a strong grip push her onto the floor. The spear-like weapon came flying in over her head almost at the same instant, she could feel it brush by her hair. It struck something.

The Vulcan woman didn’t as much as flinch as the razor-sharp blade ripped through her side, tearing through her flak jacket an flesh.

“V’Ner,” Maya cried.

“Stay down,” she said as she brought up her phaser rifle single-handed while her other hand was busy holding her side, barely able to the keep the staunch of thick green blood back. She fired the rifle and struck the Xenarth warrior who had tried to take down the captain right in the neck.

The insectoid went down in a heap.

One down, Maya thought, legion to go.

Her personal bodyguard was clearly wounded but the stoic Vulcan security guard showed no signs of slowing down as she continued to cover Maya with her phaser even as the captain picked herself off the ground.

“You need medical attention,” Maya said but found that she couldn’t quite afford taking her eyes off the enemy all around her and instead kept up a constant pace of weapons fire which did little to suppress the enemy and even less to stop them.

“Later, ma’am.”

There was little point in arguing, Maya realized. By now almost everyone was battling with injuries, light or severe, O’Shaugnessy, her other appointed bodyguard was already down for the count. She wasn’t sure if he was dead or alive.

She found Chief Holly, standing on a number of containers, overlooking the battle field like a field marshal of old. He made a mighty inviting target up there but it also allowed him to maintain a semblance of control in the chaos, directing their meager resources where they were needed most. The gray-bearded veteran didn’t look like his best days were behind him. On the contrary, banged up and bleeding from multiple wounds and scratches, he was directing the troops with ironclad confidence, trying to dispel any notion that this battle may have already been lost.

“We’ve got more bugs coming in through the main entrance,” he shouted. “Cut them off, cut them off.” Then he made eye contact with Donners and just for a second his façade dropped and his eyes revealed not just his age and his exhaustion but his hopelessness of wining this battle. It was gone in a flash. “Sonier, get your people over there and cover Daystrom,” he shouted to a group of Marines who didn’t hesitate to take orders from the Master Chief.

Maya spotted Hugh on the opposite side of the room, engaged with two dozen Xenarth. Their temporary truce had given them some time which was rapidly running out. From what she could tell, the former Borg drone had already lost half his men, mostly due to Xenarth using their blades in close quarter combat which was not a preferred Borg battle style, liberated or otherwise.

He was barely holding his ground and it was only a matter of time until he and his remaining men were overwhelmed by the sheer number of the opposition force.

She had taken a second too long to consider their seemingly inevitable fate and failed to notice the staff being side swiped into her direction. Fortunately for her, it wasn’t the sharp end which ended up striking her torso. The blow was more than enough however to force all the remaining air out of her lungs and flinging her back to the floor and sending her rifle out of her hands.

When she looked up she saw the gleaming spike now pointed at her bruised torso once more. The cold, dark compound eyes of the Xenarth warrior seemed to be focused on her with total determination.

Is this how it ends, then? She wondered, as the warrior was bringing down his weapon, gripping it tightly with all four hands. Shortest captaincy ever?

She forced herself not to close her eyes.

Then she heard the shriek. It was a sound of pure agony and it reverberated from the walls and the ceiling, louder even than the sound of unrelenting battle. Maya thought it was a sound she’d never forget.

The Xenarth stopped suddenly, his weapon just inches from running her through, he turned his head towards where the sound had come from. It hadn’t been this room. It hadn’t even been close and yet it appeared to have been unmistakable to the solider.

And then she realized it hadn’t just been the warrior who’d had her dead to rights who had stopped. All of them had. Every single Xenarth in the room had suddenly frozen and turned towards the shriek of pain and misery.

And the Starfleeters had been shocked into inaction themselves by their enemies odd behavior. For a moment that shriek remained the only sound anyone could hear. Then it died away slowly and the room remained eerily quite with a hundred combatants simply standing in place like statues.

Maya, realizing that she was still in mortal danger, quickly pushed herself away from that gleaming spike hovering above her.

“Take’em down, take’em all down. Do it, do it now,” she heard Holly cry and promptly opened fire on the unmoving Xenarth.

Within seconds every phaser and Borg weapon in the room was blasting the momentarily defenseless insectoids to pieces and they crumbled where they stood.

Maya hated herself for it but the moment she found her rifle again, she took aim and took down the solider who had tried to perforate her a moment earlier.

Some of the Xenarth eventually tried to fight back but at that time it was already too late. A battle which had seemed all but lost seconds ago, had completely and irrevocably turned around. By the time Maya was back on her feet, not a single enemy solider remained standing. A few Starfleeters were still firing however, blasting away at injured or already dead Xenarth to make doubly sure they’d never stand up again.

Maya stepped up to a crewman who was taking aim at a squirming Xenarth on the ground, already oozing profusely from a number of wounds. The young man was bringing up his weapon to the warrior’s head to finish him off but she pushed his rifle away before he could fire. “That’s enough, Crewman.”

His eyes were wide and filled with rage and hatred. The firm look in his captain’s eyes seemed to reassure him however. She was neither upset nor accusing but her tone left little doubt to her resolve. “That’s enough.”

Then she turned to the rest of her people. “Cease fire and secure the room.”

“Let’s do it, people, we’re not out of this yet,” Holly shouted, adding some much needed urgency. Then he hopped down from his elevated porch and approached the captain.

“You were asking for a miracle earlier, Chief. Somebody just delivered,” she said to him.

He nodded. “I’m not one to look a gift targ in the mouth. It has rather sharp teeth and all but if you ask me this is just a reprieve. We need to pack up and get the hell out of Dodge yesterday.”

“Agreed,” she said and quickly headed towards Daystrom and the surprisingly undamaged Omega generator which she quickly found was still pulsating with blue energy, a clear sign that the molecules within were still alive and well. Her heart sank.

The scientist was only lightly wounded with his flak jacket slightly torn around the chest and arms. “Captain,” he said when he saw her approach.

“Wayne, tell me we’re almost done here.”

He looked pained as if he didn’t even want to reveal the truth which his captain would clearly not be satisfied with it. Then he shook his head ever so slightly. “I … I can’t do it.”

Maya became furious. “Wayne, so help me God, I will—“

“Captain, you don’t understand. I couldn’t shut them down even if I wanted to. The molecules have fully bonded, there is no way to reverse the effect from here. I’m sorry.”

Hugh had stepped up to generator as if in trance. “I can see them,” he said reverently as if he was facing the physical manifestation of a deity. “I can see them through my optical implant. It’s ... it’s perfection.”

The other former Borg quickly gathered around him, equally spellbound by the pulsating chamber in front of them.

Maya hit her combadge. “Donners to Cuffe, what’s our status?”

Glover responded with little delay. “All teams are reporting that they have completed their objectives and are moving to their exfil positions. We’re not quite sure what happened yet but the Xenarth seem to have been stunned into inaction for a short moment. They are back on the move now.”

“Can you beam the teams out?”

“Negative, not with the residual Omega radiation emanating from the various generators. And the radiation is through the roof at your position. How close are you at shutting down your generator?”

Maya watched the former drones wordlessly for a moment. Where they praying? “Apparently no longer an option. We’ll have to go to plan B.”

“Not sure if we’re ready for it yet,” said Glover.

“We’ve got movement,” called Holly who had proceeded closer to the main entrance. “Second wave coming in.”

Donners whipped around. She couldn’t see anything yet but the sound was unmistakable, the pounding of boots, the clicks of Xenarth ready for battle were approaching rapidly. “Glover, are you getting this?”

“We’re seeing it on sensors. You’ve got at least sixty bodies heading your way. Two minutes, maybe less,” he said, managing to sound cool under pressure but then again it wasn’t his butt about to be overrun, she mused darkly. “Maya, set up the pattern enhancers, we’ll be ready.”

Holly had overheard Terrence Glover and was already directing half the men to take position by the entrance for their counter attack and getting the rest to set up the pattern enhancers around the Omega generator to allow Cuffe to beam the molecules into its resonance chamber where they could be neutralized.

“Ma’am.”

She turned around to find who had addressed her. It turned out to be Redmon O’Shaugnessy, one of the two security officers Mer’iab had designated her personal guards during the assault. The young Irishman had been injured earlier and was quite obviously not on the mend. His face was sickly pale and his bandages were already soaked through with his blood again. He barely managed to keep his balance. A heavy backpack was strapped to his back.

“Lieutenant, you need the medic,” she said and then turned to find a first aider. “Corpsman?”

“Captain,” he said and coughed hard, spraying blood onto his hands in the process. “I think … it may be too late for that. But … I can give you the time … you need. I’ve got the explosives,” he added gesturing first to the backpack and then to the main entrance.

It took Maya a moment to understand what he was saying. Then she quickly shook her head. “Absolutely not, that’s suicide.”

“Please, Captain, it may be our only chance,” he said coughing again.

Something that Vej had said days earlier reverberated in the back of her mind. Something about sending good people to their certain death.

She turned back to see how far along the pattern enhancers were. There were twelve in total and the cylindrical-shaped devices had to be carefully positioned around the Omega generator in order to allow Cuffe to get a stable signal on those molecules and beam them up. Only half of them were in place.

And those pounding boots were mere moments from reaching them.

Maya looked at O’Shaugnessy. “Do it.”

He gave her a crisp salute and then she watched in astonishment how he managed to sprint towards the entrance despite his grievous injuries.

Holly saw him coming and understood. “Clear the area, clear the area,” he said to the men positioned closest to the entrance. He exchanged a meaningful look with the younger lieutenant as he sprinted passed him, giving the man one last nod before he rushed into the dark corridor.

Maya held her breath for the next few seconds.

Then came the explosion.

The floor trembled and a bright light shot out of the corridor, giving absolute proof that O’Shaugnessy had been successful in his final act of valor and heroism.

The clicks quickly gave way to shrieks and then all was still for a moment.

A small dust cloud came wafting out of the hallway.

“Pattern enhancers in place,” said Daystrom.

Maya watched as they were turned on, a bright blue beam shooting out from each device until the generator was completely surrounded.

“Glover to Donners, we’ve got a lock.”

She nodded. “Any chance you can get us out here the same way?”

He hesitated for a moment. “Sorry, no. All the eggheads up here seem to agree that adding additional molecules to the attempt is a recipe for disaster. We’re not even sure we can get the molecules safely out of there.”

“Understood.”

“In any case,” he said. “I suggest you hightail it out of there. The main force heading your way has stopped but there are plenty more Xenarth trying to reach you and cut you off from your extraction point. You’ll still have a battle on your hands just to clear out.”

She turned to what remained of her people. “Set up timed charges on the generator and get the wounded ready to move out. Double time folks.”

Nobody had to be told twice.

Daystrom joined the Borg in watching the molecules beginning to dissolve as they were transported onto the starship in orbit. It wasn’t an instant process.

“How long will this take?” she asked the science officer.

“I’m not sure,” he said as he kept his eyes on the Omega generator which turned dimmer by the moment. “But it can’t be stopped now. I doubt we have to stick around to the end.”

“We’d be lucky to get out of here alive if we leave now,” she said.

Hugh turned away from the generator for the first time in what had seemed forever and considered the Starfleet captain. “We can help,” he said.

“A few moments ago you were willing to kill us all to stop us from destroying Omega, now you’re just going to help us get out of here?” she said skeptically but fully aware that Hugh and his men had made no attempt to stop them from beaming out the molecules and claiming them for themselves. She had anticipated another battle but just like Holly, she decided to stay away from those targ teeth.

“I only ask that you allow me to see them up close, in your resonance chamber.”

She considered this for a moment. Hugh didn’t really have the numbers anymore to try and fight the admittedly decimated assault team. But she could use his help to avoid further casualties while evacuating the facility.

“No promises,” she said and found Hugh surprisingly relaxed and reverent perhaps for the first time since she had met him. It was almost as if he had found some inner peace by observing the fully bonded Omega particles. He was almost serene now.

He nodded in agreement.

She found her phaser rifle and gripped it firmly. “Let’s move it people.”
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Old April 15 2013, 06:13 AM   #152
Gibraltar
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Brutal fight!

I hope Mr. O’Shaugnessy receives a posthumous medal for his act of valor, but as this mission (if they succeed) will be classified and buried so deeply nobody will ever hear of it... I doubt his sacrifice will receive the recognition it deserves.

I'm wondering if someone stuck it to one of the queens, causing the momentary 'freeze' among the Xenarth soldiers? Whatever caused it, it was all Starfleet and the Free Borg needed to turn the tide.

Now I find myself hoping Hugh keeps his word... otherwise, there will be a great deal more fighting (and dying) yet to be done.

Fantastic installment!
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Old April 15 2013, 07:10 PM   #153
CeJay
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
I'm wondering if someone stuck it to one of the queens, causing the momentary 'freeze' among the Xenarth soldiers? Whatever caused it, it was all Starfleet and the Free Borg needed to turn the tide.
Yep, that would have been Mer'iab and Sh'Fane who took care of the Warrior Queen in the previous segment. We'll soon find out if it was enough.
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Old April 16 2013, 04:38 PM   #154
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

This is an awesome story,CeJay! I can't wait to see how it ends. Good job!
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Old April 16 2013, 06:39 PM   #155
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Indeed. That was a violent, visceral fight. This story has it all!
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Old April 21 2013, 06:39 PM   #156
CeJay
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Cuffe, 2372

“Somebody talk to me.”

Terrence Glover stood from his chair after he decided he could no longer handle the rising tension on the bridge sitting down. He knew everyone was doing what they had to, the dozen or so officers on the bridge talking to each other as they passed information back and forth but nobody, it seemed was keeping him advised and that was simply not good enough.

“Lieutenant Meldin reports his team is three minutes from the extraction point. Minimal resistance to exfil,” said Bhuto, turning from ops to give her report.

Glover nodded. His mission been to locate and neutralize any boronite caches in the facility, a vital objective to ensure the Xenarth would not be able to just pick up the pieces and try again once this mission was complete. Sensors had already confirmed that no trace of boronite containing material remained.

“Lieutenant Sh’Fane’s team is two minutes from their extraction point,” this from another bridge officer tasked to oversee the ground assault progress.

Omega-Three, the team lead by Agamemnon’s Marine commander had joined up with Lure Mer’iab’s people earlier to assist fighting back a Xenarth onslaught after they had successfully neutralized the third Omega generator. Following the defeat of the Warrior Queen the two teams had split up again to head for their respective extraction points.

Kojo stood at tactical behind the captain. “Captain Donners’ and Lieutenant Mer’iab’s teams are four minutes from extraction.”

“We still can’t use transporters?” said Glover and glanced at the main viewscreen which was currently setup in split-screen mode. The left showed a tactical display of the facility on Zenith along with movements of friend and foe alike, the right showed Cuffe’s main cargo hold were Pedro Rojas, Seb N’Saba and a whole bunch of engineers and science personnel were swarming around the resonance chamber that had been set up there.

Rojas turned to face the screen, shaking his head. “Not going to happen,” the chief engineer said. “Even if we were confident in being able to beam up the Omega molecules alongside bio-matter, which we are not, we’re currently using every last drop of energy in the transporter system to beam up the molecules without them disintegrating during the process. And trust me, you don’t want that to happen.”

“We got two starships, Pedro. You telling me we can’t use Agamemnon either?” he said with obvious impatience lining his voice.

“She’s using her targeting sensors to ensure we’re doing this right,” he said. “Sorry but for the moment, we’re not beaming anything aboard other than these blasted molecules.”

“How much longer?”

The chief engineer turned back to look at the resonance chamber which was already glowing and pulsing with dim blue light. “We’ve got about half of them up here. Maybe another ten minutes.”

Cuffe’s captain looked at his Andorian ops officer. “Where are our Romulan party-crashers?”

“Should be coming in range in about thirteen minutes,” she said.

“Damn tight,” he said and turned to his first officer.

“Captain, there is something else.”

Glover looked at the screen were his lupine science officer had stepped closer to the visual pickup, his artificial eyes glowing with undeniable intensity.

“What now?”

“I’ve done the calculations but I don’t think we can safely neutralize the particles before the Romulans reach our location. The harmonic resonance required to safely neutralize this many molecules far exceeds the tolerance of the chamber itself.”

Glover massages his temples. “What are you saying? That you can no longer destroy them? What the hell are we doing all this for then?”

“We can still neutralize them with a lower resonance frequency but it will take longer.”

“How much longer?”

“An hour, perhaps two.”

“And in the meantime we face a fire-fight with three to four Romulan Warbirds,” said Kojo. “We’re not going to survive that.”

“Nobody will,” said the science officer. “Not if they land a lucky hit and take out the cargo bay, destabilizing Omega in the process.”

“And we sure as hell are not just going to hand them over,” said Glover, finding himself in one of those rare situations in which he had no feasible option to fulfill his mission.

“There may be another way.” This from the science officer on the view-screen.

“Don’t keep us in suspense,” said Glover, keeping himself from barking at the man.

“GRS 2127-341.”

Terrence didn’t understand straight away but Bheto nodded in agreement before turning to look at him. “The black hole.”

“We dump whatever we cannot neutralize inside,” the Alshain said.

The captain looked at his helmsman. “How quickly can you get us there, Ensign?”

Jean Hajar had begun her computations before he had even asked. “We’ll be limited to impulse for most of our way there. About nineteen minutes.”

“We should be able to stay ahead of the Romulans if we can depart before they get here,” said Bheto from ops. “They won’t be able to go any faster than we can.”

“Still going to be tight,” said the first officer.

“I take tight over dead,” the captain said but then noticed something else on the screen. On the tactical display on the left. More and more red dots, signifying the enemy, were appearing close to Donners’ extraction point. The very same her team was rapidly moving towards.

Kojo noticed it too. “Its an ambush.”

Glover took a step closer to the screen as if his proximity to the monitor would make a difference. “Get me through to her now.”
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Old April 21 2013, 11:24 PM   #157
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

It seems nothing is destined to go right with this mission! Every time Starfleet catches a break, the equation changes, and our heroes find themselves behind the eight-ball once again. Now this should be the Academy’s new no-win scenario.
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Old April 27 2013, 07:35 PM   #158
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Zenith, 2372

“You’ve got threat signatures closing in on your extraction point. Omega-Two’s LZ is already compromised and we had to pull out the shuttles before they were overrun. Mer’iab’s team is re-routing to your position as we speak. With Sh’fane and Meldin’s teams already wheels-up, yours is the only exfil we have left.”

Donners took Glover’s report in stride. Quite literally. Enemy approaching or not, she knew she couldn’t afford to slow down because no matter how many Xenarth had been sent to cut of their escape route, there was an even greater number on their heels, trying to surround them on all sites.

“How we doing on casualties?”

“I don’t think this is the best time to get sidetracked with—“

“Just tell me,” she said, cutting the other captain off.

She heard him sigh audibly. “We’ve got twelve confirmed KIAs and at least thirty wounded.”

Maya knew that casualties had been unavoidable but realizing how many people they had already lost on a single mission, her first as a captain no less, was not easy to swallow.

She stopped in the middle of an intersection, much to V’Ner’s displeasure; her only remaining bodyguard had stuck to her like glue and driven her hard, almost bordering on subordination, to keep moving towards the now questionable safety of the extraction point.

Maya paid the chief petty officer little mind and turned towards the rest of her team, especially the slow-moving strugglers. Most if not everyone was wounded somehow, the luckiest ones had come away with superficial scrapes and flesh wounds, the worst cases had either lost consciousness or entire limbs from the brutal close-quarter combat with the relentless Xenarth warriors.

She found Chief Holly taking up the rear, doing his best to have the more seriously wounded security personnel and Marines keep up with the rest of the team.

To Maya they were not moving fast enough. “Chief, let’s pick up the pace,” she shouted loud enough to make sure her firm voice was being heard by every last person still awake. “I’m not losing one more man on this damned rock.”

“Yes, ma’am,” the senior NCO hollered back loudly. “You’ve heard the lady. You rest when we get back to the ship, until then you haul ass.”

Maya could tell the message was received but for some it was simply physically impossible to move any faster, no matter how much Holly yelled at them.

“We will not make it out of here at this rate,” said Hugh who had stepped up to Maya after observing their progress in a cold, analytical, almost Borg-like manner.

She turned on him, anger flashing in her eyes. “I’m open to suggestions,” she said. “You and your people seemed to have no problem beaming in here, how about you get us all out the same way?”

Hugh shook his head. “The vessel we used is too small to carry more than my men,” he said. “I could get you out of here if you wish. Perhaps a few more of your men.”

“Captain, I urge you to take that offer,” V’Ner said.

“Not a chance, I’m not leaving anyone behind,” she said and then turned back towards Hugh with newly found appreciation. Not because he had offered her a way out of this but because he himself hadn’t yet followed his own advice. Apparently having decided to make good on his promise and stick with her on this no matter how bad it would get. She wasn’t sure how much this was simply because he wanted her to keep her side of the bargain and allow him to see Omega again.

She found Holly again. “Chief, find out who’s slowing us down the most,” she said and immediately hated herself for the way she had phrased that. “Whoever has the most critical injuries,” she corrected herself before she glanced back at Hugh. “How many can you take?”

“Ten, maybe fifteen, plus one of my people to pilot the vessel. It will be a tight fit.”

She nodded. “We’ll take it,” she said and then to Holly: “Fifteen souls, chief. Find them now, they’re getting a ride on Hugh’s shuttle.” She could see that nobody in her team was comfortable with that idea, some may have preferred being killed in combat than taking the chance of being beamed onto a Borg vessel, fears of brutal assimilation no doubt playing out in their heads. Maya would have none of that. “Do it now. No arguments, no hesitations, get it done.”

Holly understood and within moments those who couldn’t walk, those who had to be carried or were close to collapsing, disappeared in bright shimmers of emerald colored light along with one of the surviving former Borg drones.

“How long until they can get make it to one of our ships and then come back for a second pick-up?” Maya said.

“Too long,” said Hugh. “Even our transporters are affected by the 010 radiation. The shuttle has to get fairly close to the surface to get a transporter lock.”

She nodded. “Alright, folks, that means no more free rides, we’re on our own, keep moving.”

But even lightening their ranks by fifteen injured crewmen made a big difference and where their progress had previously been handicapped by a couple of men on stretchers and a few others who could only remain on their feet by being carried by others, the pace now picked up significantly, allowing the rest of the team to proceed in a steady trot.

Maya felt a sense of relief when she spotted the vertical tunnel which had been dug earlier and which currently functioned as [i]Nelson Mandela[/]i’s improvised landing bay.

Star-Wanderer and a couple of Marines were waiting for them by the opening which had been blown into the facility and led to their extraction point.

“Let’s pack in tight,” she said to her people as she watched them head for the runabout, “We’re giving Omega-Two a lift as well so it won’t be a comfortable ride.” She shot a glance at the Xelatian pilot. “Any trouble taking off with the extra weight?”

The face-plated officer offered a nod. “It will be rough but we’ll make it.”

Donners hit her combadge. “Glover, we’ve reached our exfil point. Where the hell is Omega-Two?”

“Couple of minutes out. Maya …”

“What is it?” she said when he uncharacteristically stopped himself in mid-sentence.

“The Xenarth will be on top of you much sooner than that. You need to go now.”

“I’m not leaving them behind.”

“Maya, listen to me,” he said, keeping his voice free of the arrogance and haughtiness that people often attributed to him. “If you don’t get out now, you won’t get out at all.”

“Incoming.”

Holly’s cry came less than a second before the shooting started. Xenarth troops were converging on the extraction point from both ends of the corridor and they had opened fire the moment they had their targets in sight.

One unlucky security man was cut down instantly. Another shot slammed in Holly’s side, causing him to stumble and fall hard. Maya watched in amazement as the man defied his years and picked himself back up, his face a grimace of pain, he nevertheless helped a Marine to pick up the fallen man and drag him towards the opening leading to the runabout.

He briefly made eye contact with her but instead of communicating the agony he surely felt, what his intense eyes made clear to her beyond a shadow of a doubt was that they could not survive this latest onslaught.

V’Ner ignored rank and protocol and harshly pushed the starship captain out of the corridor before she, along with the Borg and others returned fire. It was an effort to slow down the latest Xenarth advance and it achieved little.

Maya hit her combadge. “Donners to Mer’iab, what’s your status.”

“We’re coming across heavy resistance, Captain,” he said and apparently had to stop himself as he had to shout orders to his men to take cover and return fire.

“Lieutenant, I need you to make exfil now.”

There was a short delay. “Unable to comply,” he said and sounded pained to having to admit this. No matter how much he willed it, no matter how much he wanted to follow her orders, this was one he wasn’t able to.

Accepting this turned out to difficult. Mer’iab’s team consisted out of nearly fifty men and women which she would leave behind to certain death if she ordered their retreat now. Intellectually she understood that the alternative was to possibly lose close to a hundred men by trying to stay behind and fight against seemingly impossible odds.

She heard Vej’s words he had spoken to her fairly recently in the back of her mind: “I want to make you aware of the responsibility which now rests solely on your shoulders. I want you to be able to deal with a difficult situation when it sneaks up on you from seemingly out of the blue without it leaving you paralyzed.”

Kobayashi Maru all over again but this time for real. The ultimate no-win scenario and it was threatening to do to her exactly what Vej had warned her about. Don’t let fear of your decision paralyze you.

She slapped her combadge again so hard it hurt. “Lieutenant, you have new orders. Stay alive. No matter what it takes, keep your team alive. We’ll be back for you.”

“Understood, sir, Mer’iab out,” he said before he closed the channel almost as if to spare her from having to cut him loose herself. His voice had been firm and had not allowed any indication that he had doubted her words. She wasn’t sure if she didn’t doubt them herself.

Maya turned to the rest of her people. “Pull back, pull back, we’re getting out of here now.”
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Old May 2 2013, 07:32 PM   #159
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Nelson Mandela, 2372


The runabout had turned out to be a lot less packed than Maya had expected and so she had easily found a quiet niche for herself in one of the compact crew modules just large enough for a fold out chair and desk and a double bunk.

Chief Holly found the captain sitting in the chair with her back towards the door. “Sir.”

“Give me a minute, Chief,” she said in a surprisingly small voice.

But instead the veteran NCO took a step inside to allow the doors to close behind him. “With all due respect, I don’t think we have that kind of time, sir.”

She turned to face him, unable to hide her red eyes and the fact that she had cried not a moment earlier.

“If you were anybody else, I would ask if you’re alright,” he said. “But you’re not anybody else. You’re the captain. You don’t have a choice in the matter. You have to be alright. At least until the current crisis is over.” He walked over to the wall-mounted replicator and typed in a command into the interface. Within a moment a tiny ampoule materialized and he picked it up and handed it over to Donners.

She looked at it for a second before she understood what it was. Then she threw her head back and applied a couple of drops of the clear liquid into each eye. She wiped away any residual moisture and when she leveled her head again, Holly noticed that her irises where as brilliantly white as they used to be.

She stood and stepped up to him, touching his upper arm. “Thank you, Chief.”

He responded with a firm nod.

Then she was out the door with him following close behind.

“What do we got?” she said as she stepped into the runabout’s cockpit, her voice firm and strong, showing no evidence of her weakness just moment earlier.

“We’re three minutes from Agamemnon. All other vessels have already docked with Cuffe or are doing so as we speak,” said Star-Wandered from the conn.

“According to sensors the Romulans are still ten minutes out from our position,” said Daystrom and turned from his station to look at the captain. “I’ve just spoken to N’Saba on the Cuffe. They have completed beaming the Omega molecules aboard but they won’t be able to neutralize it using the resonance chamber before the Romulans get here. The current plan is to head for the nearby black hole and dump them inside instead.”

Maya was already toggling the comm to Glover’s ship. “Donners to Cuffe.”

“Terrence, here, glad to hear you got off that rock.”

“Now that you’ve got Omega onboard, can you get a lock on my team on the surface and beam them up as well?”

“We’re looking into it. The problem is that our transporters as well as the targeting sensors on the Agamemnon needed to be precisely calibrated to lock on to the Omega molecules. We might not have the time to recalibrate them for personnel transport by the time the Romulans get here.”

Donners considered that for a moment. “Fine. You go ahead and dump Omega in the black hole and I keep Agamemnon behind to get my people back.”

“You do that, you might find yourself in a battle against three or even four warbirds, if Toreth rejoins the fight. I don’t like those odds.”

Maya shook her head. “The Romulans want Omega. They’ll chase after you instead of wasting their time here. Best case scenario I can buy you some time by distracting them a bit.”

Glover didn’t respond to this which Maya thought to be uncharacteristically reticent for her fellow captain. Then she spotted Daystrom who had stood from his station to step closer to viewport. At first she figured that this was because he had spotted the approaching Romulan flotilla.

“My God,” he said.

Curious she followed his glance to see what had caused his surprise. And then she saw it too. Those weren’t Romulan ships he had spotted. These were quite a few magnitudes more massive and shaped perfectly symmetrically. A cold shudder ran up her spine when understanding dawned on her. Up to this point it had been difficult to imagine that this day could become much worse and yet the universe kept finding ways to make it just that.

“Maya,” Glover said, his voice not quite as firm as it used to be. “We have another problem and a lot less time then we thought.”
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Old May 6 2013, 05:29 PM   #160
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Iota Crucis IV, 2267


The explosion had been powerful enough to knock Robert Wesley onto the floor of the room he had been assigned by the Xenarth for the duration of his stay, along with everything else that was not bolted down.

His first instinct had been that his worst nightmare had come true. Not only had Ketteract failed to stabilize the Omega molecule, he and his overeager Xenarth counterparts had triggered it somehow, bringing along a feared apocalypse which would be felt across the entire quadrant.

But once he realized that such an outcome would most likely not have resulted in just bruises and aching bones, he dismissed the notion that the galaxy as he knew it had come to an end. It didn’t mean that they were safe. For all he knew, the explosion had only been the first strike in a series of devastating blasts caused by this unstable Omega particle.

Still fearing, not only for the safety of his ship and crew but much of the known galaxy, he picked himself up from the floor and headed towards the balcony of his twelfth floor room. All the while mentally berating himself for having allowed matters to progress this far. His gut-instinct had told him to put a stop to these seemingly uncontrollable experiments the moment he had learned about them. The Xenarth and the Prime Directive be damned.

Now three days had passed since they had arrived on this world and Ketteract had made God-knew what kind of progress to either hand the Xenarth one of the most powerful forces known to man or bringing them all one step closer to total annihilation.

Once outside he immediately directed his gaze towards the nearby mountain within which he knew Ketteract and the Xenarth scientists had been effortlessly working on synthesizing the molecules. He breathed a sigh of relief when he found no apparent signs of damage and catastrophe. The small dome on top of the mountain also appeared undisturbed.

He found the source of the explosion much closer. Back smoke was rising within one of the nearby habitats and he could see an entire block of buildings crumbling and on fire. A number of Xenarth were swarming around the damage, to escape it or try to put out the flames, at the distance he wasn’t able to tell.

The doors to his room opened and he turned to see Kutznetsov and Mtolo rushing inside. Both seemingly greatly concerned.

“Commodore, are you alright?” the Zulu security officer asked.

“Banged up a little but otherwise uninjured, thanks Nealo. How’s the rest of the away team?”

The security officer had his phaser drawn and carefully looked Wesley over until seemingly convinced that he had not been seriously injured. Only then did he replace his weapon and relaxed.

“Vincent and Zha’Thara are on their way back here as we speak. Ketteract is fine too, apparently. From what Talana said over the comm., he refused to leave the lab,” said the Bear.

“Of course he did. Any idea what happened?”

The Russian joined Wesley on the balcony to get a better look at the damage in the other habitat. “Some sort of attack. Tensions between Ergia and Warrior Queen have been worsening over the last couple of days. It appears it finally reached the breaking point.”

The commodore nodded and then looked towards Mtolo. “Lieutenant, see if you can find Selphi. I want to know as much as possible about what has happened.”

The man gave his captain a short nod and then departed, leaving Kutznetsov and Wesley alone on the balcony. For a moment neither of the men spoke as they both silently watched the fires in other dome, now clearly spreading to nearby buildings, threatening to destroy the entire habitat. The Xenarth first responders appeared to struggle to contain the blaze.

“What the hell are we doing here, Alexei?” Wesley finally said.

The burly Russian aimed a perplexed sidelong look at the older man. “We’re trying to keep the Xenarth from accidently blowing up the universe. Sir.”

He nodded slowly. “Sure. But in the process we have inserted ourselves as a variable in their own civil war. We are actively helping one side to get what they want over the obvious wishes of another faction. This will be coming to blows soon at which time we’ll be forced to decide whose side we support,” he said and looked straight at Kutznetsov. “That’s not a decision a Starfleet officer should ever make.”

The first officer considered this for a moment, apparently quite cognizant of the dilemma they were facing. “The Xenarth posses a power much too dangerous not just for them but for our galaxy. I fear the thought of what the Klingons or the Romulans would ever do if they had access to this kind of technology. By helping them now to bring their portal back online, to take them to wherever they wish to go, we maybe neutralizing a serious threat to our quadrant of space.”

“And allow them to threaten another one instead?” said Wesley. “And what about those Xenarth?” he added and pointed at the raging fires in the not so far distance. “What about the ones who have no interest in trying to reach this fabled Xendaru and want to make this planet their home instead? Are we to make this decision for them as well?”

“It occurs to me that we have already involved ourselves in the Xenarth affairs,” said Kutznetsov. “Whatever we do next will have a significant negative impact on one side or the other.”

Further deliberations on the subject were cut short when Charles Vincent and Talana Zha’Thara entered Wesley’s room. The two men on the balcony stepped back inside to greet them.

The commodore went straight to business. “We have one day left until the Supreme’s deadline expires. What’s the progress with the molecules?”

The Andorian had a pained expression on her face.

Vincent found an upturned chair, set it back onto his feet and took a seat. The middle-aged doctor was slightly out of breath.

“Not a good time to play coy,” said Kutznetsov sternly, shooting both of them impatient looks.

The doctor and the science officer exchanged quick glances before Zha’Thara faced her superior officers again. “We are concerned. About Ketteract.”

The first officer uttered a dismissive hiss. “Da. But what else is new?”

Vincent shook his head. “It’s worse. The man has become practically obsessed over this Omega molecule of his. He has worked in that lab for three days straight. If he’s eaten of slept in that time, I haven’t seen it. The man is teetering at the brink of madness, if you ask me, and has no business playing around with something as powerful as these molecules are supposed to be.”

“Doctor, is it you professional, medical opinion that Bendes Ketteract is mentally unsound to carry out research on the Omega molecule?” Wesley wanted to know.

“Psychology is not my field, Commodore and even if it were, I probably would need to do much more work before being able to give you a full diagnosis. If you want to know about my initial impression, as well as my time-honored gut feeling then yes, the man is showing clear warning signs of the onset of a full blown psychosis and shouldn’t be nowhere near anything more powerful than a toaster.”

“The problems is,” said the science officer, “that the Xenarth have come to almost revere the man. They are convinced that with his help they are close to a breakthrough to have the molecules stabilized and their Star Portal up and running within a few days.”

“And what do you think?” Kutznetsov said.

“I have spent the last three days looking over Ketteract and Queen Chelra’s shoulders and I still don’t fully understand how Omega works but they are not wrong about their progress. I’m sure they have their first molecules fully synthesized either today or before the end of the day tomorrow. Or at least made the attempt.”

The first officer gave the commodore a concerned look.

A second explosion gripped the room, causing the floor under their feet to tremble. Wesley, Kutznetsov and Zha’Thara had to struggle to keep their balance while Vincent slipped out of his chair and fell onto the floor.

“Not again,” the doctor moaned, rubbing his bruised backside.

The tremble subsided and the first officer helped Vincent back onto his feet.

“Commodore,” Zha’Thara was pointing into the distance and Wesley turned to see that another habitat had taken damage in a separate attack. Once again flames and smoke quickly filled the dome.

Not a moment later Mtolo returned, bringing the Artisan Queen with him. The insectoid appeared agitated, judging by her twitching mandibles and her feelers which refused to stay still. “Commodore, I am relieved to find you unharmed,” she said quickly. “The Warrior Queen is making her move against Ergia and I am concerned that her followers are too numerous for the Supreme to be able to hold them off.”

“The timing couldn’t be more lousy,” grumbled the first officer. “With the Omega molecule at a critical state, the last thing we need is a full out war to break out.”

Selphi was in agreement. “I do not believe this to be a coincidence. The Warrior Queen has many spies within Ergia’s ranks. She undoubtedly is fully aware of the progress your scientist has made.”

Wesley looked back out towards the most recent attack. The shockwave had been less severe as the habitat was farther away but the damage appeared worse. The dome itself had been cracked and he wondered if it would eventually crumble completely. Apparently the Warrior Queen had little scruples in tearing down what the Xenarth had built here, even if her ultimate aim was to remain on this world. But she would not stop at anything to get what she wanted, even if it meant to raze the settlements to the ground and rebuild it from scratch, probably killing countless Xenarth in the process.

Commodore Robert Wesley made his decision then and there. “This situation is getting out of control. We have to take action and do it now,” he said and faced the Artisan Queen. “We have to get back to the lab. Take us to Ketteract.”
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Old May 6 2013, 08:04 PM   #161
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Just as the stakes rise even further in the main story, we cut to the back story where things are escalating as well! Nicely plotted CeJay!
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Old May 12 2013, 04:27 PM   #162
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Nelson Mandela, 2372


The plan to stay behind and get a chance to rescue her marooned away team had gone right out of the airlock. The stakes were no longer roughly fifty crewmembers surrounded by enemy forces, the moment those two Borg cubes had showed up out of seemingly nowhere, it had become every last person on Agamemnon, perhaps even every last crewmember on Cuffe as well. Not to mention what kind of destruction the Borg would be able to unleash on the galaxy would they be able to get their assimilated hands on the Omega molecule.

Cuffe had immediately altered course to head for the black hole in hopes to reach it before the Borg had a chance to catch up and Agamemnon was not far behind. Donners had decided to forgo the by-the-book docking maneuver and instead asked for a much riskier high-impulse landing in order to avoid the precious minutes it would take to carry out a more traditional docking maneuver. Timing had now become absolutely essential and any second was now a valuable commodity.

She had left the details of arranging the landing to Star-Wanderer while she remained in conference with her fellow starship captain who simply could no longer hide those worry lines now crossing his face.

“We’ve run the number three times already,” Glover said who, perhaps for the first time since Maya had known the man with the infamous iron resolve, sounded almost defeated by the circumstances who had presented themselves. “We’re simply not going to make it. These cubes are travelling at far higher rate of sub-light speed than we can match. We’re already pushing our impulse engines to the absolute maximum and they are still gaining on us. We’ll be intercepted about eight minutes before we reach the black hole.”

“Then Agamemnon has to hold them off,” she said firmly. “Buy you guys the time you need.”

Glover shook his head. “I appreciate the offer but that’s a suicide mission.”

“I’m well aware of that,” she said. “But what choice do we have? If the Borg manage to catch up with you and secure the Omega molecule, we all lose.”

“Maya, I’ve spent a lot of time studying the Borg. One cube is bad enough but going up against two in a single ship, you won’t even make a dent.”

She offered a little lopsided grin. “Don’t underestimate Agamemnon.”

But his face remained grim. “I’m not. I’m really not. Maybe you could keep one cube occupied for a few minutes but the other one will simply keep coming. Hell, considering how bad the Borg want this thing they might as well barrel right through you and it won’t slow them down much. Tell her, Hugh.”

The former Borg drone stood near Donners and when Glover made eye contact with the young man, he offered an almost mechanical nod. “He is correct. Your vessels have insufficient firepower to be able to delay them. In fact they may even ignore you completely as they won’t see it as a significant threat considering the high reward of obtaining Particle 010.”

“Damn it, there has to be something we can do?” she said, clearly frustrated by their lack of suggestions other than talking her out of her own.

Terrence Glover picked the worst time to—for the first time in his life—not to have any words to offer.

“There is an alternative you have not yet considered,” Hugh said. “Turn both your ships around and fight.”

Maya shot the former drone an incredulous look. “You just said we wouldn’t stand a chance. That we have insufficient firepower.”

“That is correct,” he said and then looked straight at Glover. “However you have on board your ship all the power you need to be able to destroy both cubes.”

It was Wayne Daystrom, also hovering around Donners, who was the first to make the connection. “The Omega molecule.?”

“You cannot be serious,” Maya said. “You want us to weaponize Omega? Out of the question.”

“You have seen what it has done to my own ship when the Xenarth used it with a similar purpose. It will stop the Borg,” Hugh said.

Maya still shook her head. “And they destroyed their moon, not to mention destabilized subspace in this sector so much, it barely hangs by a thread now. Another release of Omega energy and the fabric of space keeping this system together may collapse completely.”

“Besides, we have less than ten minutes before the Borg catch up to us,” said Glover who sounded skeptical of this plan himself. “How do you expect us to make the required modifications in that time?”

Daystrom stood suddenly. “It’s possible,” he said, pacing for a moment before looking up again. “It would probably blow out every single relay on Cuffe but if we were to tie in that resonance chamber into the EPS relay we could channel some of the Omega-generated power right into the main deflector for one incredibly effective energy discharge. If you shut down the warp engines and dump all your anti-matter, you might even survive the outcome.”

“Wait a second, I cannot believe we are considering this,” said Donners as she regarded first her science officer and then Glover. “Putting aside for the moment the fact that this is in complete and utter violation of the Omega Directive, we’re also talking about purposefully destabilizing subspace in this sector.”

“Perhaps not,” said Hugh. “I don’t believe the Xenarth understood the side-effects of 010 when they first attempted to weaponize it and therefore took little to no precautions. The concern is that the excessive energy and radiation created as a byproduct of releasing Omega particles is likely to cause irreparable damage to subspace. There are theoretical ways in which to lessen this danger.”

“We need a secondary outlet,” Daystrom said, clearly in his element now and thinking along the same lines as the liberated Borg.

“Precisely.”

“And we have one. Agamemnon.”

Hugh offered a nod. “That could indeed work.”

“Slow down,” Donner said. “What does that mean, an outlet?”

The science officer turned to his captain. “Think of it like a huge lighting rod. What ever radiation or harmful energy the release of the particles will created, Agamemnon will catch and defuse it.”

She began to shake her head but Daystrom was not done. “The dangers to ship and crew, I believe, would be minimal. The shields and hull will protect the crew from the radiation and again, if we take the right precautions, other than damaging power relays, Agamemnon has a good chance to survive this.”

But Maya did not look convinced at all.

“Time is running out,” said Glover on the screen, “and it’s the best idea I’ve heard so far. I say we give this a shot. The alternative may as well be to surrender Omega to the Borg and I think we can all agree that we’d rather sacrifice both our ships, perhaps even this system, before that happens.”

Maya couldn’t argue with that even if she absolutely hated the idea. Since being made aware of the existence of the Omega molecule she had come to realize what an incredible dangerous substances this was and how people in the past, including the Xenarth, had believed to be able to control it with disastrous consequences. The Federation’s foremost molecular scientists had once thought they’d be able to bend Omega to their will and no doubt they hade sounded just as excited and sure of themselves as Daystrom and Hugh did now. And yet they were no longer around to talk about the mistakes they had made.

“If we wish to proceed with this plan, we have to commence now,” Hugh said. “There is much work to be done and I am not certain we will have enough time.”

Daystrom nodded. “Captain, with your permission I’ll beam directly to Agamemnon and work with Commander Chen to start making the modifications.”

“I suggest I beam over to Cuffe to support their engineers there,” said Hugh.

For a moment everyone was looking at Donners who was the only one who hadn’t yet spoken and whose agreement was key to get their risky plan underway.

She nodded her head so slightly it was almost not perceivable at all. “Get started.”

Hugh and Daystrom wasted no time and headed for the runabout’s transporter to beam themselves were they had to be.

Maya glanced back at Cuffe’s captain. “If we pull this off and it works,” she said, “that court martial I was talking to you about, we’re both going to be the main attraction.”

He offered a wry smile in response. “On the flipside, if it doesn’t work, we won’t by needing to worry about anything like that ever again.”
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Old May 26 2013, 05:42 PM   #163
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Zenith, 2372


Lure Mer’iab had his orders but for the first time in his life he could see no way of how to follow them.

It was an entirely foreign experience for him, one he had never before experienced, not as a young man serving the Thane’s army, not as a cadet or a Starfleet officer.

And yet they had been simple enough: Stay alive.

As it turned out, there was absolutely nothing simple about them, considering the circumstances.

“Fall back, fall back,” he shrieked to the forty-odd men which remained of Omega-Two. They had successfully eliminated every trace of the Omega molecule and fought off a Xenarth push on their position thanks to Sh’Fane and her team joining the battle at a critical juncture. They had blown the Omega generator and retreated towards their extraction point.

But things had deteriorated quickly after they had parted ways with Omega-Three and they soon found themselves cut-off from their escape route.

Re-routing to the captain’s location had made sense until the Xenarth had taken that option away as well and they found themselves surrounded by the enemy on all sides.

“There is no place to fall back to,” Lieutenant Yuen said even as he fired his phaser rifle at the incoming Xenarth troops.

Mer’iab knew him to be right. Even if they could find a way around the enemy somehow, there was nowhere to go. All the shuttles had since departed. Mer’iab and his team had been left behind.

“We are too exposed here,” said the security chief. “Sergeant, find us some cover,” he said to the Andorian Marine who promptly nodded and then took two men to follow his orders. Mer’iab had recently developed a newly found respect for Andorians, particularly those wearing Marine colors.

“A.J, watch out,” Yuen shouted and then shoved the science officer aside when a lone Xenarth warrior had breached their perimeter and struck out at what had looked like an easy target of opportunity. Yuen managed to get her out of the razor-sharp spear’s way but not quickly enough not to be impaled by it himself.

“Chi,” Elborough cried out when she saw him getting struck by the Xenarth weapon and then scrambled back on her feet to get to the security officer.

But Mer’iab was at her side in an instant, holding her back with one arm and firing his rifle with the other which he unloaded with pinpoint accuracy, instantly killing the attacker.

“We’re sitting duck out here,” he said. “Where’s my cover?”

“We’ve located a reinforced chamber about fifty meters down this corridor. We should be able to defend that position for a short time.”

“I’ll take it.”

“Sir, I think you should know,” said the Marine, “there is only one way in or out.”

Mer’iab fully understood this. Easy to defend but impossible to escape. “It’s better than to be slaughtered out here. Move it people,” he said.

“What about Yuen?” A.J. said, still being held back by the Aurelian officer.

Mer’iab glanced at the Chinese man on the floor, his blood already pooling around his body. A couple of corpsmen were already tending to him but judging by their grim faces, they were not having much success. “Can you move him?”

One of the Marines shook her head.

“Sir, the perimeter is collapsing,” the sergeant called out.

Indeed the personnel which had been tasked to hold back the Xenarth was no longer able to slow them down. At least two men had already fallen.

“Fall back, fall back, now,” Mer’iab shouted to his men and then looked at the corpsmen. “Bring him.”

“No, he’ll die,” the science officer said.

But Mer’iab didn’t have time for this and she swooped up the young woman easily and carried her against her will as they began to move away from the incoming Xenarth soldiers.

They made their retreat to the chamber in mere minutes and with a limited number of casualties. And the sergeant had been right, the multi-level design and narrow entryway made it a good place to defend. He had no illusions that it would be a last stand. Escape seemed impossible. Already he could count a dozen wounded men which were no longer able to carry a weapon, including Lieutenant Yuen who had been a capable second-in-command.

Elborough had angrily freed herself from his grip once they had arrived at their destination and rushed over to were the corpsmen had placed him, fighting a desperate battle to keep him from bleeding out which had become even more of a challenge since they had been forced to transport him without proper precautions.

“Sergeant, I want you to set up people on all three levels and have them aim at the entrance. Shoot anything that comes through there and then find me a way to block it up.”

The Andorian nodded sharply and went to carry out the orders.

He checked in on the most gravely injured of his men next only to find that the corpsmen had apparently already given up.

“Sorry, sir,” she said. “There’s nothing more we can do.”

Elborough was sitting next to the dead security officer, sobbing. She was looking up at the tall Avian when he approached. “He was going to ... he was going to by me a drink back on Agamemnon.”

He considered her for a moment.

“None of us are getting out of here alive, are we?” she said between sobs.

Mer’iab knew the answer to that question but was unable to bring himself to say it. Then, with newfound purpose he turned to find the sergeant. “How much more explosives do we have?”

It took him only a few moments to check in with the men tasked to carry it. “We have four canisters of tri-cobalt left,” he said. “Probably enough to blow this entire level.”

Mer’iab nodded. “Give it to me.”

“How much do you need, sir?”

“Give me all of it.”

The Andorian’s eyes widened with surprise but he quickly collected what he had been asked for and handed it over.

The security chief found the detonator and within moments he had the entire thing rigged to blow. He swung the explosive-filled backpack over his shoulder and headed for the only exit.

“What are you doing?” Elborough asked him after having watched him put together the tri-cobalt.

He stopped halfway to the exit and looked at her.

“What are you going doing?” she repeated but obviously already aware what he was planning. “Don’t.”

But Mer’iab didn’t respond. Instead he found the Andorian sergeant again. “You are in charge,” he said and then dashed to the exit without another word.

He was immediately greeted by a hailstorm of weapons fire which he managed to dodge only barely and not without taking at least three shots, two of which grazed him and singed away parts of his flak vest and uniform underneath, one ripped right through his left wing and came dangerously close to hitting the backpack.

“Hold you fire,” he shouted. “Hold you fire,” he said again and then threw away his phaser rifle, causing it to clatter on the floor not too far away from where the Xenarth had taken up position.

They stopped for a moment and Mer’iab took that opportunity to jump into the open, fully away that he was taking a huge gamble that they wouldn’t shoot him down the moment they had a clear shot.

They didn’t. Instead one of their numbers, likely and officer but Mer’iab was hard-pressed to see any kind of distinction, took a step closer.

The Aurelian loosened his backpack and dropped it on the floor between him and the Xenarath commander and not far from where his rilfle had landed. The bag opened up and a number of canisters rolled out. The Xenarth took a step backwards but when he realized that the canisters where idle he stopped once more.

“One of those things just took out that Omega generator in what can only be called an expressive display of destructive power,” he said as he considered his counterpart carefully. “Now consider what six of those things can do,” he added and revealed the detonator in his right hand. He flipped open the safety cap and then pushed down on the dead-man’s switch, arming the primers.

The Xenarth clearly understood and took another step backwards. Then he considered his winged opponent carefully. “You detonate those explosives and you and your people will also die.”

Mer’iab nodded.

“We are prepared to die for protecting what is ours,” the insectoid said firmly.

Lure Mer’iab had his orders but for the first time in his life he could see no way of how to follow them.
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Old June 2 2013, 09:15 AM   #164
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Iota Crucis IV, 2267


As they traveled through the connecting tubes, a flood of Xenarth were heading the opposite direction and towards the domes which had been attacked. There had been other explosions since, spreading through the settlement and apparently closing in on Wesley and his away team from all sides.

But when the commodore looked upwards to find the dome on top of the mountain which allowed entry into the underground lab complex, he was relieved to find that it remained undamaged. However, he was fairly certain that it was only a matter of time until the ensuing violence would reach the lab and the unstable Omega molecule it housed.

Their train reached its destination and the away team, lead by Selphi rushed towards the elevator which took them into the underground complex.

Here the Xenarth were in a flurry of nervous activity. Were before things had looked like an organized, well-oiled machine, now the various scientists and workers were running back and forth with great urgency, stopping every few moments when another explosion rocked the cavern, before quickly carrying on.

Most were too busy or concerned to even notice the aliens had returned. And Wesley didn’t pause on his way to find the main lab. Having recalled the way, he was leading the away team at a brisk and determined pace.

He only slowed once he had found the lab and was once more distracted for a short moment by the bright glowing Omega molecule chamber which had been left exposed and drowned the entire lab into flickering azure colors.

Wesley wasn’t a scientist and he would have lied if he had said that he fully understood how Omega worked, but what he saw in the chamber was great cause for concern nevertheless. Thousand of individual particles seemed to be swirling around each other in a seemingly chaotic pattern and pulsing with barely restrained energy almost as if they wanted to unleash their awesome power at any moment even if it meant their own destruction as well as, most likely, that of the entire planet, the solar system and beyond.

Ketteract was there of course and so was his Xenarth counterpart, Queen Chelra.

Both appeared to be working furiously on various machinery, every so often glancing up at the chamber but otherwise seemingly oblivious to the world around them.

The human scientist looked noticeably thinner and paler than the last time Wesley had seen him just a few days earlier. In fact he looked as if he had aged months in just hours and the commodore had to do a double take to make sure his eyes weren’t deceiving him, trying to convince him that this was in fact the same man who had arrived here with them.

Then he aimed a concerned look at Vincent.

The doctor shook his head. “He’s not well, I told you.”

The lab shook from a nearby explosion and most of the Xenarth paused for a moment, their antennae twitching anxiously and they looked around with concern. Ketteract and Chelra were not among those.

“Isofrequency at point eight terahertz. Point nine terahertz. It’s working, it’s working. I’m reading a measurable slow down in the molecules’ electric charge. They are beginning to harmonize,” Ketteract said, unable to keep the rising excitement he was feeling out of his now raspy voice.

“You were right, Doctor,” said Chelra as she studied the read-outs. “Calibrating the containment field to the molecule’s resonance frequency is stabilizing the particles.”

“Yes, yes,” he said as if it was all a forgone conclusion already. “But it has also accelerate molecular breakdown. We need to adapt the isofrequency at a more rapid pace.”

Wesley glanced towards the Andorian science officer. “What are they doing?”

Zha’Thara needed a few seconds to catch up. She kept her eyes on the molecule chamber were the particles movements were becoming steadily less chaotic before she approached a nearby console to study the readings. “It’s quite brilliant really. They’re using the containment field designed to keep the molecules from interacting with ordinary matter to force them to stabilize permanently.”

“Can it work?”

But Zha’Thara seemed too engrossed with what the displays were telling her to answer the commodore.

Wesley had no time for her inopportune appreciation. He stepped up right behind her. “Commander, can it work or not. I need to know.”

She turned to look at him and then back towards the chamber. “Maybe.”

He shook his head. “Not good enough.”

The Andorian made eye contact. “The theory is sound and the molecules are responding to it but—“

The room shook again and this time some of the ceiling lights blew out. A couple of large cabinets lining the walls toppled over and spilled their content all over the floor.

“But what?” Wesley barked, barely taking notice of the damage that had been done.

Zha’Thara looked around. “But not with this lab taking many more of these hits. This is an extremely precise procedure,” she said and nodded towards the two scientists. “If they make just a small mistake, calibrate the field to the wrong frequency, the molecules will rapidly become unstable and the containment field will fail.”

She didn’t have to put into words what would come after that.

“Can you shut it down?” Kutznetsov said.

She nodded. “I think so. Ketteract hasn’t spend much time over the last few days thinking about contingencies but the Xenarth actually have a backup plan in place which uses an inverse frequency to dissolve the molecules’ interatomic bonds. In short it would wipe them out of existence.”

“Get started on that, Commander,” Wesley said and directed a look at his first officer. “Assist her with whatever she needs. Mtolo, your with me.”

While the Andorian and the Bear went to work, most of the Xenarth far too distracted to realize what they were up to, Wesley and his security chief approached the two lead researchers.

“Isofrequency at one point two terahertz. I am having difficulties maintaining the frequency changes at this pace,” said Chelra as her delicate fingers raced across her computer work station.

“We’re almost there. Keep it up, keep it up. I can see it. I can see it stabilizing. My God, it’s so beautiful.” Ketteract’s eyes were glued onto the containment chamber above as a smile spread over his face.

“Doctor. Doctor Ketteract.”

The man didn’t immediately react to Wesley calling out his name. “We’re almost there. Almost there.”

“Ketteract,” Wesley said again, his voice loud enough to catch everyone’s attention even over the now seemingly constant rumble coming form somewhere outside which seemed to indicate a steady bombardment.

“Commodore,” he said and when he turned to look at him it was as if seeing him for the first time. “I didn’t know you were here. Well, your timing couldn’t be more perfect. You’re just in time to bear witness to history in the making.”

“Not today, I’m afraid. I need you to shut this down. Now.”

His smile widened as if he had just heard a terrific joke. “You can’t be serious. We are moments away from fully stabilizing Omega and giving the galaxy the most powerful energy source since the Big Bang.”

“Either that or you’ll cause another one. I cannot allow you to take that chance. Shut it down.”

Realizing that this wasn’t a joke, Ketteract’s face twisted into anger and indignation. “I refuse. You won’t allow history to be made? I laugh at your small-minded ignorance, Commodore. I pity your fear and your limited imagination. Where you an see only cynicism and destruction, I see the beginning of a new era for—“

“Enough,” Wesley said, unwilling to be delayed by the man’s self-righteous tirade not to mention growing tired of the man’s droning voice. He unclipped his phaser and Mtolo quickly followed suit. “You will stand down.”

Ketteract’s frown turned into a sarcastic laugh. “I should have expected something like this from you. You are a solider and a brute, Commodore, willing to use violence to suppress new idea.”

“My God, man, listen to yourself,” said Vincent who had now joined Wesley and Mtolo. “You’re trying to play God and the people willing to use violence against you are the very same who have invited us here. Open your eyes, we’re in the middle of a civil war.”

As if to emphasize his words, the lab was once again gripped by a shockwave of an explosion nearby. Judging by its intensity which knocked out the remaining lights and many of the work stations, Wesley guessed that they had hit the facility directly.

The containment field, thankfully, was still holding for the moment.

“I cannot allow you to disrupt our progress,” said the Scholar Queen and stood next to Ketteract, her lower arms determinedly crossing in front of her body in a sign of defiance.

“I do not need your approval,” said Wesley. “Commander, how are we doing?”

Zha’Thara looked up from her console for just a brief moment. “Almost ready, sir. I have successfully calibrated the inverse frequency and we are ready to apply it to the containment chamber.”

“No, you cannot do this,” Ketteract cried and moved towards the Andorian. He was stopped in his tracks by the burly first officer who stood in-between them with his phaser pointed at the scientist.

“I’m not going to lie. I’ve been wanting to shoot you from the moment we’ve met,” he said with a smirk. “Please give me an excuse.”

“Commander, initiate the process,” Wesley said.

“You will do no such thing.”

The Xenarth streaming into the lab moved faster than Wesley would have expected them to. Half a dozen armed soldiers quickly surrounded him and his away team, pointing their weapons straight at their heads.

The soldiers wore the insignia of the Cleric caste and wasted no time to push Zha’Thara away from the console before relieving the away team of their phasers.

Queen Ergia, the Supreme of the Xenarth Colony had been just a step behind her soldiers. “Expect to be punished severely for this betrayal, Commodore,” she said and then directed her large compound eyes towards her fellow queen. “And I am disappointed in you, Selphi. You have turned against your own people. A transgression I will not soon forget.”

“Half your people have risen up against you, my Queen,” said Selphi who had stood by quietly while Wesley and company had made their move against Ketteract and the Omega molecule. “They are attacking us while we speak and all of this because of the unnatural power we are trying to unleash here. I beseech you, do the right thing and end this while we have the chance.”

The Supreme considered Selphi for a moment, then let her glance wander across the lab, taking in the now herded Starfleet officers, Ketteract and the Scholar Queen before finally finding the containment chamber and the eagerly pulsing particles within.

“I shall pray that the All-Mother will show forgiveness in the light of your betrayal, Selphi, because I shall offer none,” she said and focused on Ketteract. “Quickly, my friend. Finish what you have started. Open the gate to Xendaru and let us all bask in the unending bliss of the God-Queen.”

“Listen to me, Ketteract, don’t do this,” said Wesley. “You are a scientist. You know that this is no longer a controlled environment. This is a warzone. One mistake, one more errant explosion and you doom us all. Don’t try to—“ he was cut off harshly when one of the guards struck him across the head with his weapon, throwing him to the floor.

Vincent was at this side momentarily. “I wouldn’t recommend antagonizing them,” he said as he used his medical sensors to check his now bleeding forehead. “Your skull isn’t thick enough to take many blows like that.”

“Trying to save the universe here, Doctor. That’s worth a broken skull or two.”

But it didn’t appear to matter much. Ketteract stared at the downed Starfleet captain for a moment before quickly making up his mind again and turning back to his workstation. “Chelra, quickly, re-modulate the containment field. We can still stabilize them if we move fast enough.”

The Scholar Queen didn’t hesitate and promptly stepped back to her station. “Containment field at one point three terahertz.”

Another explosion, this one seemingly form somewhere inside the underground facility, caused most of the anxious Xenarth to look towards the doors leading to the lab.

Queen Ergia ignored it completely. “Work fast, my children, work fast. The heretics stand by the gates but the All-Mother shall protect us all as our mission is just and our success preordained.”

“God, how I hate religious fanatics,” said Vincent as he cleaned up Wesley’s wound. “They’re as obsessed with their faith as they are with hearing their own voice.”

But the Commodore was not paying it any attention. Instead he turned to his own people. “We have to make a move,” he whispered urgently, hoping the guards wouldn’t notice. “As soon as we get another one of those explosions, I want you to engage. Commander, you the doctor and Nealo create a distraction. Talana you try and get back to that control station to activate that pulse. I’ll go after Ketteract.”

There were quick nods all around.

“We’re losing power to the primary reactor. It must have been damaged. I cannot keep up the frequency shifts and the containment field is beginning to fluctuate,” cried Chelra, her voice taking on a high-pitched squeak.

“Compensate, compensate. Switch to auxiliary,” Ketteract barked, now feverishly working on his own station.

In the chamber above the movements of the particles appeared to have sped up. The previously established order was turning back into chaos, the steady pulses were turning into angry flashes.

“Can’t you see, you cannot stabilize it anymore. Shut it down before it’s too late,” Wesley shouted.

“My Queen, he speaks the truth,” Selphi said, trying to close in on the Supreme but quickly apprehended by her personal guard. She struggled with them for a moment. “Listen to them and take action before it is too late. Before you become the Supreme to oversee the end of our people.”

“Faith,” she said. “You must have faith. The All-Mother awaits.” But she didn’t sound quite as convinced as she had just moments before as it became more and more difficult to argue with the visual evidence before her very eyes. She took a step towards the scientists. “How close are we? When will it be done?”

But neither Ketteract nor Chelra had the time to provide a response.

“Isofrequency now at point nine terahertz. We are beginning to lose containment. Auxiliary power is not sufficient to compensate.”

“It will be. It has to be or we’ll—“ Ketteract couldn’t even say it as he looked up to see the Omega molecules above him now seemingly laughing in his face for his pathetic attempts to try and rein them in and make them dance according to his beat. They were wild and untamable, ready to break out of their artificial prison and unleash their awesome power on an utterly unprepared universe.

“What have we done?”
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Old June 6 2013, 07:34 PM   #165
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Re: Agamemnon Voyages: The God Particle

Agamemnon, 2372


Maya Donners and the rest of her team had beamed off the Nelson Mandela, leaving it behind as a necessary sacrifice to speed and efficiency and if the Borg didn’t destroy it in their pursuit, and if they were still around to do so, they planned on recovering it later. The fate of the runabout, of course, was the last of their worries at the moment.

Amaya had beamed directly onto her bridge and both Texx and Vej were immediately on their feet when they saw their captain appear, her hair dirty and disheveled, her uniform torn in places and her body covered in scrapes and cuts. She had assured them that she was alright but that hadn’t stopped her first officer from calling Doctor Rass onto the bridge.

The main screen had been split into four rectangular sections. Glover and his bridge on the Cuffe were displayed in the top left inset. To his right was a view of one of his cargo bays where the Omega resonance chamber had been set up and where N’Saba, Pedro Rojas and Hugh were hard at work implementing their latest plan. In the lower left quadrant was Agamemnon’s main engineering section where Commander Chen and Daystrom were making their own preparations while to their right was the reason everybody was on edge. Two Borg cubes racing to catch up with the fleeing Starfleet ships. According to a timer underneath the imposing image, they had less than fifteen minutes until the Borg were within weapons range. They had gained a little precious time by diverting all available power to their sub-light engines but Maya already feared that it still wasn’t enough.

Within fifteen minutes they were either all dead or assimilated by the hands of the Borg, or quite possibly, wiped out of existence by collapsed subspace brought on by unleashing a seemingly unstable and uncontrollable Omega molecule powered weapon.

“Don’t these kind of ideas usually go through years of testing before anyone considers using them in a real world application?” said Vej who had been the first one to utter skepticism after learning of their upcoming plan. He had kept his voice purposefully low enough so as not to disturb the scientists and engineers hard at work on both ships.

Maya nodded sharply but didn’t look his way, instead keeping her eyes glued to the various sections on the main viewer and that unforgiving timer, counting down the seconds to the moment she had hoped against hope to avoid.

“We’ve seen the Xenarth use something similar just a few hours ago,” said Texx. “They destroyed themselves in the process but we’ve made precautions to limit the damage. Both to ourselves as well as to subspace itself,” said the first officer and doing an admirable job to sound confident and reassuring but judging by the look on the telepathic counselor’s face, he wasn’t buying the Bolian’s poise, probably seeing it for what it really was. An attempt to dispel the legitimate uncertainty among the crew.

“Right, and these are the same people who’ve studied the Omega molecule for hundreds of years longer than we have,” said DeSoto from the helm, apparently also seeing through the first officer’s words.

“Bobby,” Allenby hissed, shooting him a withering look. “Zip it.”

“In my people’s defense,” said Queen Ket who had also returned to the bridge to witness the coming showdown with the Borg. “We have only recently re-emerged from a long period during which most research into the Xendaru particle or most other technology was either frowned upon or strictly forbidden. Much knowledge has been lost to us during those dark times.”

Vej glanced at the Xenarth female. “From what I understand the Federation has also suppressed any study into Omega and for good reason. Knowledge can be a very dangerous thing. Unfortunately, a little bit of knowledge can be even worse.”

The bridge settled back into an uncomfortable silence while for the next few minutes only the voices of the busy engineers on Cuffe and Agamemnon could be heard as they spoke in rapid-fire dialogue which sounded almost like Klingonese to the uninitiated.

It wasn’t until Terrence Glover barked, “Report,” with less than six minutes left on the timer that the relative silence was broken again.

“It’s not going to work,” said Pedro Rajos almost without preamble and perhaps even sounded a little relieved at the prospect of not having to attempt to initiate a sequence of events which could destabilize subspace for light-years or worse.

“We can fire the weapon,” said the lupine N’Saba, “but we simply have no way of controlling the resulting and uncontrolled release of Omega particles. We might end up dooming the entire sector. Maybe even the quadrant.”

Maya got onto her feet in one swift motion, her face turned into a frown, making it clear that she was not happy with that statement. “A couple of minutes ago Commander Chen suggested the use of Agamemnon’s warp core as an energy conduit by reversing the polarity of the reaction chamber and allowing it to harmlessly channel the residual Omega molecules. Hugh agreed that this could theoretically work. Why are we not pursuing this avenue any further?” she said, making it plainly obvious, not only that she had paid very close attention to every word that had been exchanged by the engineers and the scientists on both vessels but also that she still was an engineer by trade herself.

She was greeted by blank faces initially, perhaps a little surprised by her poignant question.

Chen was the first to respond. “While this is a feasible solution to our problem on how to handle the excess Omega molecules being released by the weapon, we simply do not have the time to carry out the necessary modifications to the warp core and reactor assembly.”

The others quickly nodded in agreement.

“How much time would you need? And be precise,” she said.

There wasn’t an immediate response.

“How much time, gentlemen?” she barked

“If we get every available man on it,” said Daystrom. “Maybe seven, eight minutes. But that’s an optimistic estimate.”

Maya glanced at the timer. Five minutes until the Borg made contact. Everybody understood that once they were in weapons range, the damage the Borg would be able to cause in their initial attack would more than likely nullify their chances to safely deploy a weapon which was already unstable in the first place.

She looked back at Daystrom and Chen. “Get started and use whoever and whatever you need to get it done in seven. I’ll get you two more minutes,” she said and immediately headed off into her ready room without saying another word to anyone.

To their credit Daystrom and Chen didn’t dally and immediately attended to what needed to be done, fully aware that time was now their second biggest enemy.

Terrence Glover stared at Texx and the remaining bridge crew on Agamemnon with an asking expression. “Anyone want to tell me how exactly she plans on doing this?”

The empty faces made it clear that they didn’t have the slightest idea.
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