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Old October 14 2009, 11:17 PM   #31
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

Commentary on Chapter 7

Wow. Talk about the poop hitting the air re-circulator! Things are going very badly in this system very quickly, and Angel’s crew is caught squarely in the middle.
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Old October 14 2009, 11:36 PM   #32
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

Commentary on Chapter 8

I’ve got to say that for a crew that has just starting working together, Angel’s personnel do so flawlessly under even very stressful circumstances. That’s a credit to their training and leadership, no doubt.

Zethander’s going to be in a world of hurt, even if Angel can manage to divert the majority of the most threatening incoming debris away from populated areas. The planet might even be looking at a nuclear-like winter.

Here’s hoping our heroes can save the day, as well as solve the mystery of the curious new ship that’s arrived on scene.
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Old October 15 2009, 12:02 AM   #33
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

Commentary on Chapter 9

From bad to worse as the situation deteriorates. The crisis starts to claim the lives of not only the planet’s inhabitants, but of Angel’s crew as well. You action sequences here were as riveting and the loss of the runabout’s medic was achingly portrayed.

Good thing the captain remembered their mass transport capacity!
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Old October 15 2009, 07:00 AM   #34
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

Commentary on Chapter 10

Doh! I hate it when away team members get abducted or cut off!

The captain has his work cut out for him. This is going to be one hell of a report to Starfleet Command.

Wonderful First Contact with whatever remains of the ‘Scorpion’s’ shattered intellect. I’m guessing the scattered iso-chip analogues are what’s responsible for segment’s of the ship’s AI shutting down over the eons.

Great work!
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Old October 15 2009, 09:58 AM   #35
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

Commentary on Chapters 11 & 12

Now that was a First Contact for the history books. Kudos to Vonny for thinking outside the box and for trusting the ship when trust was what was called for at that moment.

Not only to they assist a damaged craft back to ‘life’, but they immediately gain invaluable aid in assisting a Federation planet in crisis. Fishlock shouldn’t get too complacent, though, as I doubt they’re all going to be anywhere near that easy… and this one isn’t over yet.

The insidious onslaught of what I presume to be surviving Borg on the surface is detailed in frightful clarity as victims fall one by one. The Valkyrie returning with partial Borg corpse parts was as unexpected as it was unnerving. Good thinking on Spider’s part in preventing further contamination of the ship.

Oh, and I loved Kate razzing Dan about his formal ‘contact’ language. That was priceless.
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Old October 15 2009, 06:36 PM   #36
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

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

14

ZETHANDER SPACEPORT
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 0925 FST

Mo climbed down from the cockpit of the USS Hildr and stretched in the warm morning air. She loved flying and the freedom of space, but to arrive on a planet, stretch and take that first breath of fresh air was something she luxuriated in.

“No time for aerobics trusty leader.” Homer waved over at the admiring ground crew as they walked around the USS Gunr, his own Valkyrie. “Guys, orders from my Master Chief Petty Officer; you can look all you like but if you touch it he swears a fate worse than death!”

Turning back to Mo, he grinned. “So who’s this Commander we’re supposed to be liaising with?”

“Commander Etcher apparently.”

“Well I just hope he’s not some desk bound bonehead who wants to mess with my master tactical plans.”

Mo raised her eyebrows in mock disbelief. “Master tactical plans?”

Before Homer had a chance to respond, a young fresh faced woman in flight gear jogged up to greet them.

“Lieutenants Martari and Richmond?” Homer stepped forward immediately and shook her proffered hand.

“That’s us Ma’am. We’re here to meet with Commander Etcher?”

She smiled and indicated they should follow her. “It’s Escher actually, like the guy who did all those kooky paintings of stairs?” Seeing Homer’s blank stare, she shrugged. “Anyway, most people make that mistake so it’s ok. Oh and it’s me by the way.”

Homer had been far too busy admiring the young woman’s six o’clock and nearly fell over his own feet at the greeting. Mo did all she could to stifle a giggle, but was nowhere near successful.

They stepped out of the bright sunlight of the Zethander Spaceport apron into the cool air conditioned environment of the militia aerospace operations bunker. Escher led them into an office with a long narrow window overlooking the flight line and offered them a cool drink.

Mo accepted gratefully and took a long swallow of the sweet fruit drink. “So Ma’am, I understand you want to organise a little affiliation training?”

Escher nodded and pointed out to the flight line. “If it’s possible yes. I guess right now with the situation as it is we’ll need to take a rain check, but certainly it’s something that would benefit the pilots here. Think it’s a possibility?”

Mo looked at Homer who was suddenly all business. Baseball and flying were his own personal raison d’etre and any chance to indulge in either was guaranteed to grab his attention.

“Seems like a beneficial arrangement on both sides Ma’am. I’d like to suggest we include the combat medic pilots in it as well. Nothing quite like flying dissimilar sorties.”

Homer was referring to the practice of flying craft of differing abilities against each other. Practicing tactics to negate an opponent’s advantage was always a worthwhile endeavour.

Escher nodded at the suggestion. “Sound’s good. Let me show you round the squadron and I can show you how we operate at the moment. Even if we can’t get any flying in right now, it’ll give us a basis for comparing notes.”

Homer was out of his seat so fast he nearly spilt his drink. Mo rolled her eyes knowing that all the pretty young commander had to do now was mention baseball and Homer would crash and burn.


USS ANGEL – FLIGHT DECK
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1003 FST

As the door to the Zethander Militia shuttle folded down, Dan stepped forward to greet General Mendark. Dan had read of the General’s exploits and knew from his reputation that he was that rare breed of commander who could genuinely lead. It was after suffering major injuries in a shuttle crash towards the end of the Cardassian Wars that he had retired from active duty with Starfleet and took an administrative post with the Zethander Militia.

He still looked every inch the marine as he descended the ramp, from his buzz cut iron gray hair to his spit bulled boots and trim physique, but Dan saw how he favoured his left leg.

“Welcome aboard General.” He shook hands warmly and introduced Kat Gray and T’Sell. “Commander T’Sell has just returned from the vessel we discovered after the Borg incursion.”

“Oh? I read the initial report on…what is it? Scorpion?”

Dan grimaced. “Ah, that was just the name we coined for it Sir. I think when you have time Commander T’Sell can fill you in with a lot more information she’s just brought over.”

It was information that she hadn’t even had chance to discuss with Dan yet and he was looking forward to getting a little more insight into their unexpected guest.

Mendark’s eyes twinkled. “Wouldn’t mind a visit either, but it’ll have to wait for now I’m afraid. I understand you have a suite where we can operate a co-ordination centre from Captain?”

“Certainly Sir, this way.” Dan led the General from the hangar deck, down the central boulevard and up one deck to a hastily refitted science lab, chatting all the way about their mission and its complexities.

“We can accommodate whatever personnel you need to bring up General, but obviously if the team’s bigger than fifteen we’ll need to appropriate another lab.”

As Dan led Mendark into the lab, he nodded appreciatively.
“This’ll be fine thank you Captain. We’re square over the disaster zone and having real time sensor information is really going to help.”

“Well it’s all available Sir, and there’s a dedicated communications suite as well. If you need anything else, just speak to Commander Gray here and we’ll try and pull it together for you.”

Mendark looked at Dan seriously. “Captain, I just want to say on behalf of the people you’ve helped down there, thank you. It’s still a hell of a mess but it would have been so much worse without your ship and crew.”

Dan couldn’t hide the swell of pride he felt. “It’s what we do Sir.” And damn we do it well he thought.


TANGO CONTROL – SERVICE DUCTS
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1007 FST

By now Petrov felt she had exhausted all the possibilities of safe escape from the underground labyrinth below Tango Control and had to face the looming prospect of risking her life to save it. There were really only two options left open to her. The first was to check out the scum filled pool at the end of the shattered service duct and the second was to work her way back up into Tango Control itself and face the horror that waited there. Neither option filled her with confidence in her chances of survival.

But sitting here like a malyshka will get me nowhere she thought. She sat and watched one of the small furry rodents that inhabited these lower regions and made an arbitrary decision.

Ok little Rata, if you go left I go back to the pool, if you go right it’s back up to the surface.

For a while, the obstinate little creature did nothing except clean its whiskers and blink myopically at her. Petrov was on the verge of throwing a rock just to make it move when it dropped to all fours and scuttled off to the right.

Her decision made, she wasted no time in second guessing herself and began the long crawl back through the ducts that would eventually lead her back to the horror she had so desperately tried to escape.


USS ANGEL – CAPTAIN’S READY ROOM
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1015 FST

“This is amazing!” Dan had read through T’Sell’s updated report and still couldn’t believe it. “Did Chariscarpia explain how all this works?”

“She tried Captain but the physics of it are way beyond my comprehension. The nearest I could actually get is that the null node is almost like a stasis chamber which preserves the body while allowing conscious thought to continue. Chariscarpia is cybernetically enhanced so that when she occupies the cocoon she essentially becomes the ship and has access to every function of it.”

Dan shook his head in disbelief. “What about her crew?”

T’Sell still seemed chagrined that a scientific concept, albeit an alien one, could be beyond her understanding. “Again Sir, the concepts are all slightly vague to facilitate our understanding, but it would appear that the ship passed through an anomaly that even Chariscarpia had difficulty explaining. Her description matched what we might expect of an energy ribbon of some sort but when the ship emerged the crew had simply vanished. No bodies, no remains whatsoever.”

Dan couldn’t begin to imagine what two hundred years alone would be like, and wasn’t sure he wanted to.

“I assume between the work that Ensign Dixon did in the control room and the subsequent repairs you’ve listed here, Chariscarpia has full functional control of the vessel again?”

T’Sell nodded. “Indeed Sir. It would seem that Ensign Dixon effectively enabled Chariscarpia’s awakening by replacing the chips that had either worked loose in the wormhole or been knocked free following the collision with the cube. Replacing the expired chips is what eventually restored Chariscarpia’s recall and from thereon she directed work teams to facilitate the final repairs.”

The one question Dan had put off until last was perhaps the most important to him. “Has Chariscarpia stated her intentions now that the ship is functional again?”

“It would appear,” T’Sell said with just the hint of a smile, “that she would like to stay for a while and learn more about the Federation.”

Dan couldn’t resist a smile himself. “Good work T’Sell, I was hoping that would be her choice. So how do you feel about being my first contact specialist?”

“Given a choice between that and lassoing asteroids Sir, I feel the former would be less stressful.”


TANGO CONTROL
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1040 FST

Rousseau awoke slowly, or rather he didn’t. for the person that had been Captain Thomas Rousseau no longer existed except as a rapidly dwindling small voice that railed against the abomination he’d become.

Instead it was One of Fourteen, Primary Tactical Adjunct of Trimatrix 3231 who now awakened in Tango Control’s transformed MedCentre. Where once gleaming sterile medical equipment had stood in immaculate order, now vines of knotted cable and conduits dripped condensing moisture on to instruments of unknown purpose. Unknown to any except the Borg of course.

All around him drones passed to and fro and the beehive buzz of communal thought drowned out the small dissenting voice that was all that remained of Thomas Rousseau.

“One of Fourteen, Primary Tactical Adjunct of Trimatrix 3231, you are now of the Borg and yet separate. Your task is not that of ours. It is one of deception.”

One of Fourteen saw that unlike the drones around him, his body was unencumbered by Borg implants. Outwardly his appearance was as it had always been though the Borg nanoprobes were spreading rapidly within him, changing, controlling, and rewriting his very DNA.

“I am One of Fourteen, Primary Tactical Adjunct of Trimatrix 3231. I understand.”

No. NO! The miniscule remnant of Rousseau screamed his horror at the abomination he had become, but it didn’t matter. His voice went unheard, ignored by the Collective as irrelevant.
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Old October 15 2009, 06:37 PM   #37
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

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

14 (cont)

CENTRAL PARK
CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1045 FST

Misaki sat in the mission ops seat of the USS Galen as it descended into the ruins of Coral City’s Central Park, still restricted from flying but allowed to perform her duties as a combat medic.

As the runabout gently touched down, she looked at the scene of destruction that surrounded her and wondered how anybody could have survived it, and yet sensors were still picking up intermittent life signs throughout the city.
Lieutenant John Dorian stuck his head into the cockpit, his seemingly permanent smile still in place despite the horrors outside.

“Lieutenant Ress wants to set up a security perimeter before we’re cleared to start.” His smile faded slightly as he glanced out of the cockpit window. “Looks worse in daylight doesn’t it?”

Misaki was simply glad that she was still alive to witness it. She passed the Doctor a PADD containing all the closest life forms that sensors could detect. “There are not many here, but you can see that further in towards the centre there appear to be more.”

“Resss to Galen, you’re clear to disssembark.”

“Looks like our good Lieutenant seems happy with things out there. The MedCentre in back’s prepared as well, so we’d best go see what we can do.”

Misaki stood and followed Dorian through the small but comprehensive ER compartment before stepping out into the misty morning air. The stench of the sea was everywhere, not the fresh salty tang of the beach but the smell of decaying seaweed and aquatic life that had been dragged ashore by the tidal wave.

Trees that had once proudly lined the park’s perimeter were snapped off at the base, their trunks now elsewhere, and the tall glistening structures that had once reflected prismatic light across the manicured lawns were little more than skeletal shells. Despite the sun trying to break through the pervasive mist, a chill hung over the park and Misaki shivered.

“Lieutenant Ress?” Dorian called. “Lieutenant Andrews has orders to lift and loiter if he feels the Galen is under threat, you happy with that?”

“Happy isss a sssubjective term Sssir, but it isss a wissse precaution. If you’re ready?”

Dorian nodded and the team of four combat medics and three security officers set off through the rubble towards the nearest life sign.


TANGO CONTROL – SERVICE DUCTS
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1047 FST

Petrov couldn’t deny it. She was lost, completely and utterly. As she’d started to make her way down through the ducts, she’d scratched markers on junctions to indicate her passing. Bizarrely on her way back up, she had reached a junction without any markings and cursing her inattention had retreated to what she thought was the previous one.
Oddly that also proved bereft of any markings and Petrov felt a small shiver of panic. Had she been so distracted by her thoughts that she’d passed more than one junction? She was now torn between reversing her course to attempt to once again pick up her trail and continuing on in the hope that her upwards climb would at least bring her to the surface.

She looked at one of the small rodents and shook her head.

Not this time little Rata, not this time.


CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1100 FST

As the team made their way carefully through the wreckage clogged streets, Misaki was amazed by some of the bizarre sights. Where buildings had been gutted by the force of the sea, a lighting post decorated with festive lights still stood. A ground vehicle hung suspended in cables some twenty metres above the street causing the team to take a wide detour. A shop containing gaily dressed mannequins stood almost untouched while the jeweller’s next door was impaled by what looked like a small craft’s nacelle strut.

Above all this hung the pall of silence that lent the scene a dreamlike quality. As Misaki glanced up and around, scanning as she’d been taught in Basic Tactical, the shattered windows reminded her of the empty eye sockets of countless skulls.

Ress suddenly stopped, dropped to one knee and held up his hand. Misaki dragged Dorian down behind an upended cargo container as the other two security officers did likewise with the remaining two medics. She knew from the briefing that the main concern was possible gangs of looters roaming the derelict properties. Reports coming out of the city had hinted at them but so far there had been no sign.

She watched carefully as Ress carefully moved forward and extended his tricorder before him. He paused briefly then stood, shaking his head and chuckling. “All clear!” He waved them forward and pointed down an adjoining street. Misaki saw a mechanically animated astronaut lifting a drink to his mouth and noted it had become entwined with cable. As the twisted arm lifted it scraped along the supporting beam causing an eerie wailing sound that Ress had obviously detected before them.

Dorian stepped up beside Ress. “You weren’t honestly thinking of stopping for a drink?” he smiled.

“I’m on duty doctor,” Ress grinned toothily. “Besssidesss, I believe the drinksss would be watered down.”

“Oh you have such a black sense of humour Mr Ress, you really do!”

Ress turned to look over his shoulder. “I sssussspect it might be the company I…”

He never finished the sentence as the section of street they were walking down collapsed, pitching them into a choking dust enveloped darkness.


TANGO CONTROL
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1105 FST

One of Fourteen waited patiently for his communication to be answered. Since the Borg had been transported into Tango Control just before the crash of the cube, they had assimilated staff and equipment quickly and efficiently. Wisely they had run the base at low power to avoid attracting attention in the disaster’s aftermath and now they were ready to expand. The console chimed and the rotating Zethander Militia logo was replaced by the face of General Mendark.

“Tom, you got through to Tango then?”

“Yes Sir, but it’s a bit of a mess here. Those nearby impacts caused some earth movement and the engineers seem to think there are some severed conduits. They may have to power Tango down for a while, but right now we’re operating at minimum capacity anyway.” With his previous knowledge of Tango Control, One of Fourteen found the lie both convincing and easy.

“Is that likely to present any security issues?”

“No Sir,” the Borg impostor replied, “it shouldn’t. In fact with Tango down, I’d like your permission to deploy HazTeams out to Bayview, Harriot and Bethel Ridge for site inspections. They can co-ordinate out there while I check out Haven.” He paused for a moment. “That is unless you’d prefer us to sit tight here Sir?”

Mendark shook his head as One had expected. “Waste of manpower keeping you cooped up there when we need teams out in the field Tom. Operations are at your discretion, keep me up to date.”

“Will do Sir, Rousseau out.”

As the screen faded, he turned to the drones who had remained safely out of view. With them were three drones whose assimilation had been internal only like his. They would act as the pilots for the assault shuttles he was about to dispatch performing all communication duties. He knew that by the time the shuttles were on the ground at their respective destinations, it would be too late for the people greeting them to realise their mistake.

“We are Borg but our survival and expansion now requires a change in tactics. Our mission will depend on stealth. Go.”

Without waiting for a reply that he knew was irrelevant, he turned to the master systems display and began shutting Tango Control down.


TANGO CONTROL – SERVICE DUCTS
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1107 FST

Without warning Petrov was plunged into darkness. The ducts had built in service lighting that had provided her with both the means to navigate and the comfort of knowing what was around her. With that small measure of comfort removed, Petrov screamed in terror. They know I’m down here!

In a blind panic she tried to turn and run but in the darkness lost her footing. As she tumbled sideways, her head struck an unseen stanchion and the darkness became immeasurably deeper.


USS ANGEL – MILITIA CO-ORDINATION SUITE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1108 FST

“Problem General?” Kat Gray had overheard the last part of the conversation, but was relieved to see that Mendark seemed unperturbed.

“I’m hoping not Commander. Tango Control is our main defence co-ordination centre for the region and right now we have to take it off line.” He looked around the suite that his team now occupied and smiled. “Of course with the facilities you’ve provided here it shouldn’t affect operations at all. My aide, Captain Rousseau is taking charge down there so I have no concerns.”

Kat was reassured to hear it. “In that case Sir, if you’ll excuse me I need to update Captain Fishlock. If you need anything, Ensign aBrar here will find me.”

Mendark’s smile was genuine as he said “I greatly appreciate your help Commander, thank you.”

Kat left the co-ordination suite feeling that at last they were getting on the topside of the unexpected disaster. It seemed that there was little that could go wrong now that they couldn’t deal with.

Last edited by unusualsuspex; October 15 2009 at 08:57 PM.
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Old October 15 2009, 08:55 PM   #38
unusualsuspex
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Location: Norfolk UK
Re: Star Trek : Angel

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

15

CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1112 FST


Misaki fumbled for her palm beacon in the swirling dust laden air and eventually managed to twist it back into place on her wrist. The bright beams lanced through the clouds of fine powder thrown up in the wake of the collapse and she turned them back and forth desperately seeking the other away team members.

To one side she heard a panicked shout and turning the beam she saw Lieutenant Alyson Marlow desperately scrabbling for purchase as she slid backwards towards an open black chasm. Misaki threw herself forward managing to catch Marlow’s sleeve but the very powder that was making visibility and breathing so difficult also made her own grip on the slab perilous.

Swinging her leg to the side she managed to catch an upright bar with her foot but realised it was a battle she would rapidly lose without help.

“Lieutenant Ress! Doctor! Anybody, quickly please help!!”

She heard movement somewhere behind her at the same moment she heard the tearing of material. Marlow’s already torn sleeve parted where it met the body and despite Misaki’s desperate grab for her hand it was too late. Marlow’s arm slid from the sleeve and she fell back screaming into the stygian gloom.

Had it not been for the large hand that clamped around her ankle, Misaki may well have followed as her foot finally lost its tenuous grip on the pole. She turned gratefully to her rescuer but what she saw made her eyes go wide.


TANGO CONTROL – SERVICE DUCTS
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1120 FST


Petrov lay with her eyes closed and listened to the silence. Perhaps when she opened them, she would find that it had all been a bad dream. The Borg, her escape into the ducts, everything. She would awaken properly in her own room and chide herself for her childish nightmares. She might have lain there much longer if one of the ever present rodents hadn’t chosen that moment to run across her arm. Lacking even the energy to react to its panicked passing, she instead began to quietly sob as the reality of her desperate situation finally returned.

I can lay here and die or I can get to the surface and expect much the same thing. At least here I won’t become an abomination.

Her lurid imaginings ceased abruptly as she suddenly realised she could feel a slight breeze. Turning her head, the breeze ceased and she realised that perhaps the only reason she had felt it in the first place was the wet tears on her face. Scrabbling to all fours she turned her face until the gentle draught of air cooled her skin again.

Her morbid fears of just moments before were swept aside at the sudden chance for freedom. They will not have me! She promised herself, slowly crawling forwards on her hands and knees. They…will…not!


ZETHANDER SPACEPORT – MILITIA AEROSPACE UNIT BASE OPERATIONS
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1137 FST


“I think it would provide some good flight practice Sir, though obviously the mission takes priority right now.”

“I get the feeling”, said Captain Fishlock, “that you and Lieutenant Richmond just want to show off with your shiny new toys.” He smiled and held up his hands in surrender. “Just kidding. I’ll get Commander O’Hara down to co-ordinate something and for the record I agree, it could be very useful.”

“Thank you Sir, I’ll let Commander Escher know.”

“In the meantime Lieutenant, there’s no harm in taking part in co-ordinated operations with the Militia. I’ll clear it with General Mendark; if we need you back up here control reverts to Angel.”

“Understood Sir, thank you.”

“No showboating Lieutenant, Fishlock out.”

Mo turned to smile at Homer. “Looks like we have a mission my man!”

Homer, however, was already on his way out of the office to find the young Militia Commander.

******

By the time Mo caught up with him, she heard the tail end of the conversation.

“…so no air to air practice sorties yet but we get to fly with you on planned missions!”

Mo shrugged apologetically for Homer’s enthusiasm, though secretly she was just as excited to be involved.

“Actually, General Mendark just called from Angel. Apparently we’ve just been tasked to fly escort on four separate sorties if you’re interested?”

Homer’s face fell slightly. “Escort?” He’d been hoping for something a little more intense, but a mission was a mission after all. “Ok let’s brief!”

As Escher followed from behind her desk, she whispered to Mo “Is he always like this?”

Mo shook her head. “Just on his good days.”


TANGO CONTROL
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1140 FST


With the majority of Tango now shut down, One of Fourteen Ran outside to the assault shuttle waiting to take him and the secreted Borg drones to Haven. He watched as the other three shuttles lifted for their own destinations before climbing through into the cockpit.

The drone in the pilot’s chair pointed to the comm which flashed MESSAGE WAITING and One picked it up, ensuring that the Borg pilot was out of pickup range.

The face of General Mendark appeared in the pre recorded message. “Tom, I realise you’re busy right now but you’ll be glad to know I’ve assigned escorts for the four shuttles. I know you’re not expecting trouble but it gives us more eyes in the air. Update me when you can, Mendark out.”

It was a complication that One could have done without, but it didn’t change the mission. He simply ordered the Borg pilot into the rear compartment and took the controls himself. Through the Collective link he ordered the other three shuttles to take similar precautions leaving just the externally unaltered drones in the cockpit. Once at their individual targets, the escorts could be ordered out of range to perform reconnaissance while the drones disembarked.
No, nothing had changed. Resistance was futile.


CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1143 FST


Misaki’s initial horror at Ress’ injury was quickly replaced by professional calm as she used tissue and bone regenerators on his shattered leg. How he’d managed to drag himself across to where she was struggling with Marlow she would never know, but she was grateful for his resilience.

After making sure that Ress was comfortable, she left him to contact the runabout for assistance while she continued searching for the other away team members.

Her tricorder was currently refusing to scan at all, simply reporting that it was experiencing strong local interference. Oh well, eyes were invented before tricorders she thought. “Lieutenant Ress, you had better advise the Galen that we are having problems with tricorder scans down here.”

“I am assuming it isss the sssame interference that isss blocking communicationsss.” He tapped his commbadge and the desultory ‘no connection’ chirp indicated that for now they were on their own. “I will help you…”

“No Lieutenant. You will sit down and rest your leg.” Misaki realised she had just snapped at a senior officer and was about to apologise when Ress grinned at her.

“My apologiesss Ensssign, you are quite correct.”

She hoped the grime covering her face at least obscured her blush. Drawing her phaser, she stepped carefully into the darkness and hoped against hope that she would discover more of the team.


USS GALEN – CENTRAL PARK
CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1145 FST


Lieutenant Emmett Andrews was taking the time afforded by his enforced stay aboard the Galen to catch up on his personal comms. He’d been fully intending to reply to Miranda last night when this whole mess had kicked off and he figured he ought to at least shoot off a short reply to her before she got into one of those moods again. The last one had lasted almost a week.

Hearing movement behind him, he called back as he continued with his short letter. “Don’t tell me Marco, even though it’s only the fourth time you’ve checked it its still all working back there?”

Instead of the exasperated reply he’d come to expect from the young combat medic, a hand grabbed him by the hair pulling his head back and exposing his throat. He barely had time to draw breath let alone scream as the assimilation tubules penetrated his skin.

His PADD clattered to the deck and his girlfriend would never get to read his apology.


ASSAULT SHUTTLE 5
EN ROUTE TO HAVEN
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1152 FST


The Borg plan required two things, stealth and time. The intention was that the use of the first would gain enough of the latter that once their forces were large enough in number, they could escape the confines of the planet.

One was already aware of the group of Borg from the destroyed cube that had washed ashore in Coral City. Currently hidden in the subterranean caves that riddled that part of the coast and hidden behind sensor blocks, he had just received information that they had taken a Federation runabout. It was a move that he considered to be foolhardy but the group in question was under the command of another and therefore not his responsibility. As long as they maintained a low profile long enough for him to complete his mission, then the ship might prove useful.

With Haven in sight, he placed a communication to the garrison commander requesting that he be met on landing by the senior officers for an on site briefing. Their assimilation would just be the start.


HAVEN FLIGHT
EN ROUTE TO HAVEN
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1152 FST


“Assault Shuttle Five, this is Haven Flight checking in.”
Homer looked across from his seat and saw the shuttle pilot wave to him and he returned the salute. To the other side, Gabby Escher had taken her place on the shuttle’s starboard wing.

“Haven Flight, this is Assault Shuttle Five. Thanks for the escort. Have you received any further instructions?”

“Negative Five, do you want us to check in with ops?”
Escher wasn’t exactly sure what other orders there could be.

There was a slight pause before the assault shuttle pilot replied.

“Ah negative Haven Flight. This is Callsign Raven requesting authentication Delta Delta Four Echo?”

Raven? That’s Captain Rousseau’s personal callsign she thought. Tapping the day’s authentication code into her computer it responded with a confirmed ID of Captain Thomas Rousseau. “That callsign identified Raven. Do you have further orders?”

She knew that the next step above Rousseau was General Mendark himself, and with the callsign verified, the chain of command meant she would naturally accept orders directly.
“Affirmative Haven Flight. After we’ve landed I need a reconnaissance of the area around Haven for possible impact sites. Work inwards from the suburbs and then route your report on any possible problems directly to Condor on Angel.”

“That’s copied Raven.” Escher switched to the discrete frequency shared between the two fighters. “Did you copy all that Homer?”

“Affirmative Blackjack.” Homer brought up a map of Haven and its surrounding area. “Looks like there’s several small impact sites already marked.”

“Ok, once the shuttle’s down, you take up position north and I’ll take south. We’ll spin in clockwise and call out if we spot a problem.”

“Sounds like a plan Blackjack.”

As the shuttle began its descent for Haven, Homer put the escort mission out of his mind to begin setting up his search pattern.


CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1153 FST


As the dust began to settle and her eyes became used to the darkness, Misaki could see they were in a horizontal tunnel that appeared natural in origin. Behind her was the falloff into darkness that effectively blocked any progression in that direction, and ahead, the tunnel appeared to bend to the left before fading into the blackness. The hole through which they had fallen was some twenty metres overhead and thus offered no escape route. With communications seemingly blocked, it would be unlikely that they would be transported out either. For now, they were on their own.

Working outwards from where she had left Ress, she performed a circular search using his palm beacon as a reference point. It had taken her just ten minutes to find Lieutenants Arkaran and Medway, or at least what remains she could identify protruding from beneath the slab of ferrocrete that had ended their lives.

Leaning against a rock she felt a moment of dizziness and concentrated hard to stay upright. Witnessing the death or injury of a stranger was one thing, and something that her training had enabled her to deal with but the loss of a colleague was something else. First Buster, now more. Act first, deal with your emotions later she commanded herself. There was still Abramowitz, the third security officer, and Lieutenant Dorian to find.

Standing carefully, she took one final draw of dusty air and continued her search.


BAYVIEW FLIGHT
EN ROUTE TO BAYVIEW
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1201 FST


Mo throttled back slightly as the Militia shuttle bobbed and dipped. While she knew the air over the foothills was choppy with rising thermals, it still looked like there was a rookie pilot in the shuttle. She’d already dropped out to port to give herself some manoeuvring space and opened up the discrete frequency to her wing man to advise the same.

“Chrome, this is Mo, suggest you space out another twenty metres or so. Looks like the shuttle pilots not doing so well.”

The Denobulan whose callsign was Chrome chuckled. “That’s what you get when you give land types an airborne job.”

Mo smiled. It seemed like any military she’d ever known; there was the usual friendly rivalry between air and ground forces that always seemed to disappear when it came to combat. As she’d chatted with the Militia squadron pilots during the briefing, she’d found them to be friendly and receptive despite the circumstances and she was looking forward to an ease in the pressure that would allow them some training time.

Glancing out of her cockpit window, she watched as the Militia Peregrine side slipped out to starboard and then turned her attention back to the shuttle.

“Assault Shuttle Three this is Bayview Lead, do you want a little more altitude to clear these thermals?”

There was no response from the shuttle and at first she thought it might have been that with damaged pride, the rookie would try and ride it out. She was sure his passengers wouldn’t be impressed, though that wasn’t her problem. But then she realised that the shuttle’s oscillations in the rough air were becoming worse.

“Chrome, I think our shuttle’s got real problems here. Climb and monitor.”

“Acknowledged.”

The Peregrine nosed up and away from the shuttle to take a position some one hundred metres higher. Mo meanwhile edged in closer. Perhaps they’ve lost comms she thought. Waggling her wings she tried to attract the shuttle pilot’s attention but it seemed his concentration was solely in the cockpit.

It was without warning that the shuttle suddenly nosed over and began plummeting to the ground some 500 metres below.


TANGO CONTROL – SERVICE DUCTS
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1203 FST


After more dead ends, bruised limbs and use of profanities than she’d ever experienced in her life, Petrov finally rounded a bend in the duct to see dim light ahead. Quickening her crawl, she eventually reached a twisted panel where shifting earth had tried to crush the duct then fallen away as pressures changed. She placed an eye against the crack and saw that beyond the plate was a dimly lit corridor she recognised as leading to the transport pool.

She ran her hands over the floor of the duct eventually finding the remnants of a metal support bracket. Placing it in the gap she gave a small pull and the panel creaked alarmingly, but gave a small amount. Realising that working slowly would probably make more noise than getting the job done quickly, she braced her feet against either side of the panel and heaved. With a clang that she thought every Borg in the Quadrant would hear, the panel dropped out into the corridor and she was free. Stunned for a moment at the sudden change in her status, she sat and almost began laughing at herself. Dressed in just her underwear and covered in grime, she lowered herself to the corridor floor and immediately headed towards the transport pool.

Each junction she approached, she slowed and listened but heard none of the heavy footfalls or whirring servos that would announce the presence of a Borg drone and by the time she reached the door of the pool, she was becoming convinced that she had imagined the whole thing.

No she thought. I know what I saw and heard. I did not imagine this.

When the door to the pool opened, confirmation of the fact lay at her feet in the form of a dismembered mechanic. It was all she could do not to scream out loud at the sight. Quickly stepping over the prostrate form without looking down, she ran over to the line of vehicles and checked each one, only to find that they were all unserviceable in one form or another.

She ran on past the final vehicle, heedless of the rough ground beneath her unprotected feet and stopped to look out of the grime encrusted panel by the main door. There, across the maintenance yard by the HazTeam barracks, sat a Rhino with its front ramp lowered. There was no sign of movement around the vehicle, but Petrov froze. They could be anywhere!

She realised her final reserves of courage and strength were about to desert her and if she didn’t move now, she might never have the courage to do so. Screwing up her last dregs of nerve, she palmed open the door and ran full tilt across the yard making no attempt at concealment. It was a shock then when her feet hit the ramp of the Rhino and she plunged inside to end up in a heap by the commander’s seat.

Picking herself up she leapt into the driver’s position and studied the panel. It seemed as if somebody had tried to wreck it and yet the only major damage appeared to be to the comms unit. Other readouts were broken and dark but reaching down she almost laughed out loud when the front ramp closed at her command.

Cranking the seat up so that she could see through the three small screens above her, she ran the start-up sequence and was gratified that not only did the Rhino start first time, but that there still seemed to be no reaction to her appearance. Engaging the drive, she floored the pedal and the eight wheel behemoth with its multi wheel steering almost spun in its own length as she steered it towards the exit, the force field no longer active.

Hitting the highway outside Tango Control, she turned east knowing that there was a garrison at Widemeadow but she eased off the accelerator as she suddenly considered the ramifications.

She’d been trapped in the ducts since midnight the night before. If the Borg had managed to take Tango Control, what about Widemeadow? Was there anywhere safe? She passed by the sign indicating the Widemeadow exit and once again opened the power to the electric motors as she saw the indicator for Rainbow Mountain. If that wasn’t safe, then she honestly didn’t have any hope left.
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Old October 15 2009, 09:26 PM   #39
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

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16


ASSAULT SHUTTLE FIVE
HAVEN
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1204 FST

It had been incredibly easy to subdue the five senior officers inside the shuttle. Even now, the nanoprobes were working, and like him they would for the time being remain unchanged externally. Their duty now was to order those under their command to report to the base MedCentre for emergency inoculations, ostensibly to prevent contraction of disease in any of the disaster zones. Each batch however would be assimilated by the drones from the shuttle and the ranks of the Borg would swell.

He knew via the neural transceiver that the shuttles at Harriot and Bethel Ridge had also started their procedure but had lost all contact with the shuttle en route to Bayview. The only reason that would happen is if the team itself had been destroyed which gave his next mission greater urgency than ever.

Placing a comm through to the co-ordination centre aboard Angel, he explained that he would be taking the shuttle to Zethander Dock to confer with controllers on the station about problems with arriving vessels in the chaos that had been wrought through the asteroid field. When he was told that General Mendark was at lunch and was asked if he wanted the message relaying immediately, he quickly assured the young sergeant that it wouldn’t be necessary and to wait until he returned. Every moment of stealth would be another closer to the completion of their mission.

Assault Shuttle Five lifted seconds later headed for the giant space dock above with a cargo of Borg drones.


CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1205 FST

“Lieutenant Ress!” Misaki called. “I’ve found Doctor Dorian!”

“How isss he?” Ress sounded much better for the treatment and rest and Misaki ran the palm beacon over Dorian’s prostrate form. Feeling for a pulse, she found it strong and steady but his leg was firmly pinned against the concrete beneath him by a reinforcing girder. As far as she could tell by feel alone, the leg wasn’t broken but until she could move the girder she couldn’t be sure.

“He’s alive and doesn’t appear to have any serious injuries but his leg is trapped.”

“One moment Ensssign and I’ll be with you.” Misaki thought better of reprimanding the Lieutenant again, and waited as he approached her.

Other than a limp, Ress seemed to be suffering no great after effects from the damage done to his leg. Misaki wasn’t sure whether that was due to her expertise or perhaps the Ch’Tharian healing process but either way she was grateful.

“If I can lever the girder up, I need you to pull the Doctor clear. Will that possse any threat?” As Ress searched for a lever, Misaki ran a manual check of the Doctor detecting no suspicious areas on his body where unseen injuries could be lurking.

“I believe not Lieutenant. The only possible injury I can detect without the tricorder is his leg.”

Ress returned with a length of support iron and placed it under the girder with a rock to act as a fulcrum. “In that cassse, on the count of three.”

Misaki grabbed Dorian’s hands and prepared to pull as Ress counted. “One, two, three!”

Ress bore down on the bar and the girder lifted, Misaki heaving with all her strength to drag Dorian clear before it fell again.

“Clear!” At Misaki’s call, Ress lowered the girder and sat back hissing in discomfort.

“I think perhapsss a little more analgesssic would be appropriate.”

As Misaki applied the hypospray, she warned him, “This will have to be the last shot Lieutenant. Any more and you will be out for the count.”

“Underssstood Ensssign,” he sighed as the pain killer began to reduce the throbbing from his leg. “How isss the Doctor?”
With the application of a stimulant, Dorian groaned as he stirred and tried to sit up.

“Doctor, please lie still for a moment. My tricorder is not working so I would like to perform a manual check?”

Dorian grinned lopsidedly. “I bet you say that to all the handsome doctors.”

“I will let you know if I meet one,” she replied, “for now please lie still!”


BAYVIEW FLIGHT
EN ROUTE TO BAYVIEW
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1208 FST

“Mayday, mayday, mayday, this is Bayview Flight Lead. Assault Shuttle Three has just crashed at grid 443/27. Request Immediate Response Team.”

“Bayview Lead, this is Angel co-ordination suite, copy your mayday call. Angel reports dispatch of IRT at this time.”

As Mo circled the wreckage, she realised that the IRT would probably have very little work to do when they arrived. The crash site was little more than a smoking crater and there had been no movement whatsoever visible through the billowing smoke.

“Acknowledged Angel. Be advised that there appear to be no survivors following uncontrolled descent. Bayview Lead standing by.” Switching to the discrete frequency she called her wing man. “Chrome, I’m taking her down. Maintain an orbit for now.”

“Will do Lead.”

Mo gently set the Valkyrie down upwind of the crash site, but as she cracked the overhead hatch she was still overwhelmed by the smell of burning wreckage and the sickly sweet smell of burnt flesh. It was one of her worst fears as a pilot, to be trapped in a burning craft and she tried to put the image out of her mind.

Overhead, the Militia Peregrine wheeled in its wide orbit as they awaited the IRT.


ZETHANDER DOCK – DOCKING BAY 4
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1212 FST

One of Fourteen had boosted the shuttle to Zethander Dock in a max rate climb that would have distressed any of the craft’s usual passengers, but the drones in the rear were unperturbed. As the craft settled to the deck in docking bay four, the dock superintendent strode out to meet it. One quickly exited and shook the short stocky man’s hand, outwardly the Militia Captain he had once been. As their hands clasped though, One placed an arm around his shoulders as if in hushed conversation and guided him towards the shuttle. The assimilation tubules penetrated the skin of the superintendent’s wrist and a rapid influx of Borg nanoprobes made him groan.

You are Borg. Our mission is your mission. Resistance is futile.

The statement was not vocal, but instead transmitted via the collective directly to the superintendent’s mind. He stiffened slightly as the remnants of his personality warred with the tide of nanoprobes but ultimately his assimilation, and thus his cooperation, was ensured.

You will inform the senior controllers that they are to attend an immediate conference here on the orders of General Mendark. You will also ask your senior transporter technician to attend.

The superintendent said nothing, for there was nothing he needed to say. Instead he left the docking bay to round up those that were required. One was satisfied and strolled nonchalantly over to the computer terminal in the superintendent’s office. Holding out his hand, the tubules sprang forth piercing the control interface and injecting specifically engineered nanoprobes into the system. By the time the superintendent returned, the station would already be prepared for his next move.


SCORPION – NULL NODE AREA
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1215 FST

Vonny was surprised that there was no hint of tiredness. She’d been aboard Scorpion for almost twelve hours but the constant physical and intellectual challenge had kept her surprisingly fresh. When T’Sell had returned to Angel, Vonny had sat for quite some while talking to Chariscarpia; about her homeworld, her journey, her mission and so much more.

Eventually the conversation had turned to the ship’s technology and in particular the drive that had powered Scorpion across the galaxy for over four hundred years.
Chariscarpia smiled at Vonny’s enthusiasm and indicated that she should follow her.

“The drive was perfected shortly before we left Edrana, my homeworld. For many years the scientists had been working to harness the power of a molecule known as Shomach.” Chariscarpia paused for a moment. “I believe it translates in Federation standard as ultimate or perhaps powerful. It was the power source that would finally enable our race to expand into the galaxy.”

As Chariscarpia spoke, they first descended then travelled laterally in Scorpion’s equivalent of a turbolift, heading ultimately for the drive space.

“But doesn’t this power source need replenishing at all?”
Vonny couldn’t even begin to imagine the benefits something like this could provide to a civilisation.

Chariscarpia nodded. “In the beginning, the molecule was very unstable and it took almost a century of study to solve that one problem alone, but eventually the demon was tamed. It was not without loss however. There were accidents. Whether those losses justify the gains I cannot say.”

As they stepped out of the ‘lift and walked into the drive space, Vonny considered that. “It’s been much the same in the Federation Chariscarpia. Any advance has often demanded a price, but without those advances we wouldn’t be what we are today.”

Vonny stopped in her tracks as she stared around the room in surprise. Scorpion was half again as large as Angel, and yet the central drive room was perhaps half as big. “I assume there are separate drive rooms for the other nacelles?”

Chariscarpia seemed confused. “No not at all. This central nexus powers all six drives.”

Vonny looked carefully and saw that the central chamber, which equated to the Angel’s warp core, indeed had six separate outlets that pulsed rhythmically. “Would you mind if I scanned and recorded this please?”

“By all means Ensign. One moment, I will remove the screen.”

“The screen? What’s that?” Vonny was slightly concerned that she was about to be exposed to ergs of…well of something.

Chariscarpia smiled at her perplexed expression. “Oh, no it is not a protective screen. It was decided to adopt a screen for our journey so that we could remain discrete in our mission. Because of the distinctive signature of the molecule and its particular operating frequencies, we would have been easily identifiable despite our…what do you term them, cloaking devices?” Vonny nodded, her apprehension easing. “It is similar in operation to what you have termed the null-node, allowing operation to continue, but concealing the signature.”

Vonny opened her tricorder as Chariscarpia closed her eyes to commune with the ship. A moment later, the lights in the room dimmed slightly and Vonny’s tricorder lit up like a Christmas tree. In the centre of the screen was one symbol. Ω.

Omega.


CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1216 FST

Dorian was able to walk by himself now and he and Misaki took it in turns to support the recovering Ress. Despite their continued search, there had been no sign of Ensign Abramowitz, the final missing security officer. With regret, they decided it was likely that he had been lost down the same abyss as Marlow as they had been together at the collapse. Progress down the tunnel was slow, but as the section cluttered with detritus from the shattered ceiling receded behind them, they made better time.

Every so often, they would check both the tricorders and communicators but so far they had stubbornly refused to work. As they walked, they discussed possible reasons for the equipment failure ranging from an element in the sub-strata to fractured conduits exuding disruptive fields and much more.

“Whatever it is,” said Dorian as they rested briefly, “it’s obviously not clearing.”

Ress indicated the junction that they’d stopped at. “Then let’sss turn to a sssubject that we do have control over. Left or right?”

“It would appear that the right hand branch becomes narrower than the left.” Misaki panned her palm beacon in both directions. “Plus if my sense of direction is correct, the right hand branch heads towards the coastline.”

“A direction I sssugessst we avoid if posssible,” agreed Ress.

“Decision made then. Left it is.” Dorian stood and brushed pieces of ferrocrete from his hair and winced at the sound of ominous creaks and groans that had been a constant companion to their trek. “The sooner the better I think.”
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Old October 15 2009, 09:27 PM   #40
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

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16 (cont)


USS ANGEL
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1220 FST

The bridge of the Angel was currently in stunned silence. All systems had been locked out and every bridge console currently displayed the Ω symbol. Warp and impulse had been disengaged and a look of concern was on every face. Perhaps more so that of Dan Fishlock as he was the only person on the ship who knew exactly what this meant.

“Commander Gray, you have the bridge. I’ll be in my ready room for a while. Please note that nobody is to enter.”

“Aye Captain.” She was obviously about to ask exactly what was going on, but Dan shook his head imperceptibly and gave the SpecOps hand signal indicating communications silence. He hoped she would understand.

“Computer seal and lock ready room door, command override Fishlock Zero One One Theta.”

“Ready room door sealed and locked. Command override acknowledged.”

Sitting at his desk, he turned the monitor to face him and issued a series of high level security authorization codes. These would enable the unlocking of all workstations and the re-engaging of the drives, but not yet.

“Computer, define and locate Omega phenomenon.”

“Omega phenomenon is located at bearing 090 mark 0, range 2320 metres. Single stable molecule detected. Omega Directive to be implemented immediately. As per Starfleet classified order, this supersedes any other directive until termination of phenomenon.”

Dan knew that meant any directive including General Order One, the Prime Directive. He entered the co-ordinates on his unlocked console and the image that appeared was that of Scorpion. The pulsing crosshairs indicated a location aft of the null node they’d first detected. Dan placed his head in his hands and let loose a string of expletives.

“Please repeat instructions.”

Realizing that there was little point cursing at the computer he ordered an encrypted link opened to Chariscarpia immediately. When she appeared she was smiling benignly as always.

“Captain. How may I be of assistance?”

“Chariscarpia, I need to ask. Have you just activated any equipment on your vessel?”

She waved her hand indicating something off-screen. “I have just lowered the screens in my vessel’s drive area so that Ensign Dixon may study it. Is there a problem?” She appeared quite concerned and Dan knew that what he had to say wouldn’t help to assuage those fears entirely.

“Chariscarpia, I need to ask for your trust and understanding. Right now I need you to replace the screens and not remove them again. Can you do that?”

She closed her eyes and his console beeped. “Omega phenomenon no longer detectable.”

“I apologise Captain if I have committed some error.”

Dan cursed again, but this time under his breath, realising that he could reveal nothing to Chariscarpia until he’d spoken to Starfleet. “Would it be possible for you to transport to the Angel so that I may discuss this with you in person?” If I’m allowed he thought grimly.

“Of course Captain. I apologise again if I have done something untoward.”

Dan smiled, though inside he felt like a hypocrite. “I’m sure we can sort it out when we speak.” Nodding, he terminated the link and immediately opened another encrypted one to Starfleet Command Headquarters as per his orders.

Prefacing his communication with Omega placed the comm directly through to Admiral Benedict Bryan, the current overseeing officer for Omega.

Under other circumstances, Dan thought, Bryan would have appeared like a benevolent uncle; all beard and gruff voice. Right now however, he was all business.

“Admiral, this is Captain Dan Fishlock of the USS Angel. Please confirm that this link is encrypted.”

He watched as Bryan ran a double check of the link before he looked up and nodded. “Encryption is confirmed Captain.”

“Sir I am reporting as of Stardate 48697.3 implementation of the Omega Directive. My vessel is currently located in proximity to Zethander and the Omega phenomenon has been located aboard a vessel with which we have just made first contact.”

Bryan closed his eyes momentarily. “Captain, it is my duty to make you aware of the following. The Omega molecule has been created but never stabilised by Federation scientists. In its unstable form, the molecule has the destructive power to destroy subspace in the area where it detonates making warp travel impossible for an area up to and possibly exceeding five light years for an indeterminate but possibly permanent period. Do you understand this?”

Dan of course knew the background on the powerful Omega molecule as did every Starfleet officer of captain rank and above.

“Yes Sir, I’m aware.”

“Then you are aware that following the directive, I have to send in a specialized team authorized to use whatever means necessary to destroy the molecule. This team has already been placed in motion by your communication Captain.” Bryan looked genuinely crestfallen. “You say the molecule was detected aboard an alien vessel?”

“Yes Sir, a first contact situation that Headquarters have already been briefed on.” Dan hesitated. “Sir, it’s my belief that this Omega molecule is what powers the alien’s drive. Her mission has lasted centuries which suggests that it is more than stable. Is it a necessity to destroy it?”

“Captain Fishlock, that decision is way above your pay grade, and mine for that matter. For the time being your orders are to restrain the vessel if possible. If not, standing orders are for it to be destroyed.”

“Understood Sir.” Dan was damned if he did understand and for the first time in a long while felt very uncomfortable with his orders. “Do I have permission to unlock my ship Sir?”

“Permission granted Captain, and just a reminder. You are not to discuss this matter with any other member of your crew.” Dan acknowledged the reminder with a nod. “Remain on site and detain the vessel. Bryan out.”

As the screen faded, Dan input the unlock codes and was gratified to hear the steady hum of the impulse and warp drives return. Throughout the ship, computer terminals sprang back to life as the Ω symbol disappeared and they continued their scheduled work. Dan unlocked his ready room door and called Kat in from the bridge.

As she sat in the chair opposite him, she saw the worried look on his face. “I’m guessing that I shouldn’t ask what this is all about but that it’s serious.”

“Correct on all counts Kat. This incident is not to be discussed aboard ship nor speculated upon by any crew member.” His frown deepened. “Kat, I may have to issue some unorthodox commands soon and…” His voice trailed off as he sat back and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“And you’re obviously not happy about them,” Kat finished for him.

“Whether I’m happy or not is not important Kat. You’ll have to trust me when I tell you this goes way, way higher than just about anything else we’ve ever dealt with. I can’t tell you any more than that.”

Kat blew out a breath and sat back in her chair. “I’m suddenly having second thoughts about the big seat Dan.”

“Me too,” he replied quietly. “Me too.”


CORAL CITY
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1223 FST

“I don’t understand it,” said Dorian in hushed tones as he stared at the strange scene before him.

“I don’t either Doctor, but asss a sssecurity officccer it isss my duty to be sssussspiciousss and right now I have alarm bellsss ringing just about everywhere.” Ress handed the powerful monocular to Dorian. He took it and trained it on the cockpit of the Galen which sat in the middle of an expansive cavern where they observed it from a side tunnel partially blocked with rubble.

“Noticcce that there isss nobody in the cockpit, which isss not what I would have expected of Lieutenant Andrewsss.”

Dorian understood that. Andrews was a stickler for the rules and even if he’d had to wet himself, he wouldn’t have left the cockpit unmanned.

“So what do you suggest?”

Ress’ answer was forestalled by the sound of rocks being dislodged somewhere in the darkness behind them almost immediately followed by the growing tramp of heavy footfalls.

“I sssuggessst that dessspite my better judgement we get aboard asss quickly asss posssible.”

Taking an arm each, Dorian and Misaki half carried, half dragged Ress down the slight incline towards the runabout.
They were only halfway there when a tall black figure emerged from the rear and to their horror its facial features were those of Andrews. His body however was now almost completely Borg. Without a single flicker of recognition he raised the prosthetic arm that had replaced his own and took careful aim, before disappearing in the sparkle of a transporter beam.


ZETHANDER DOCK
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1223 FST

One of Fourteen was pleased with the assimilation progress both on the planet and here on the station. Up until now they had managed to maintain the element of surprise and with so many of the arrayed forces on Zethander tied up in rescue and recovery duties, it seemed that by the time they were finally detected, it would be far too late to do anything about it. Their sensor blocks, subtle and pervasive, had covered their activity perfectly.

So it was with some shock that the blinding detection of Particle 010 disrupted his plans. To the Borg, Particle 010 (known to the Federation as the Omega molecule) was the zenith of perfection and its assimilation perhaps the only thing that would override any other directive.

Swinging the dock’s modified sensor array around, the source of the emissions was quickly narrowed to a large white vessel in close proximity to the Federation ship he’d been hoping to assimilate. As of now, that plan had been superseded by the need to capture this unknown vessel and Particle 010.

One quickly issued orders that all the planetside Borg should be beamed immediately to the station. There, they would board the ship that had been captured in the dock and an assault would be made on the alien vessel. Revealing themselves now made little difference, for their mission had changed in just a matter of seconds.

Raise the dock shields, power to weapons and prepare to activate the tractor beam.


USS ANGEL – CAPTAIN’S READY ROOM
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1224 FST

Chariscarpia had transported over immediately and stood before Dan looking slightly bewildered. Dan had asked her to sit but she had declined saying that the chairs weren’t really suited to her physiology. Damn he thought I’m about to tell her I have to impound her ship and I know next to nothing about her!

“We need to discuss the power source of your vessel Chariscarpia.”

“By all means Captain. I assume you mean the Shomach molecular drive?” She spread her hands wide and her face was open and honest. “What is it you wish to know?”

“I, erm that is the Federation know of this molecule and…”
He sighed as his commbadge chirped.

“I’m sorry Chariscarpia.” Tapping it he reminded Kat that he’d been asked not to be disturbed.

“Apologies Captain but this is major bad news. Zethander Dock has raised shields and sensors are showing Borg re-configuration Sir!”

“What? On my way! Red Alert!” Dan stood quickly and apologised once again to his visitor. “I’m sorry Chariscarpia this is really bad. Does your ship have shields and weapons?”

“Of course Captain but I must ask that you and your vessel retreat immediately and I shall deal with this.” She closed her eyes and before Dan had chance to protest, she shimmered and disappeared.
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Old October 16 2009, 10:08 AM   #41
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

Commentary on Chapter 13

Your descriptions of the destruction and disorder on Zethander following the asteroid strikes, tsunami, and the crash of pieces of the Borg cube are harrowing in their detail. We get terrific glimpses at the first responders from the colony doing their best to pick up the pieces as Starfleet coordinates efforts from orbit.

The levity between Fishlock and Captain Johnson was a nice break from the misery planet-side, and gives the reader an nice window onto how Dan conducts himself with friends other than Kat.

Gah! An untimely end for Rousseau, and I liked the guy, too! This is getting grimmer and grimmer… just the way I like it.
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Old October 16 2009, 01:59 PM   #42
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

Commentary on Chapter 14

Oh, crap! These new stealth-Borg are a dangerous breed, indeed. With their infiltration plan in place, there’s no telling how far they might spread before the Angel becomes alerted to their presence and true nature.

I appreciated the gallows humor of the search team, right up to the point where they dropped out of sight, literally.

So far, the restoration of Chariscarpia’s vessel has been the only bright spot of this mission. Here’s hoping she and her remarkable ship can lend Starfleet some much needed assistance.

Continued excellence!
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Old October 16 2009, 02:44 PM   #43
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

I just discovered this tale (thanks to a friend *cough*Gibraltar*cough*), and am really enjoying it. I have a lot of catching up to do, but I am already enjoying your characterizations, plot and subplots, and the time period you've chosen. Looking forward to seeing where this ride takes me.
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Old October 16 2009, 06:49 PM   #44
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

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

17


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1224 FST

Dan sprinted on to the bridge and as he took the centre seat from Kat, DeSalle called out from tactical.

“Sir I have messages from both General Mendark and Lieutenant Martari.”

“Pipe them through to Commander Gray at Mission Ops and open a channel to Scorpion please Commander.”

As the screen switched from the view of the dock to show Chariscarpia, Dan heard Kat fielding the other incoming calls behind his left shoulder.

“Chariscarpia, I’m not quite sure how you managed that disappearing act but what the hell is going on? You need to…”

“No Captain, YOU need to act and quickly. My sensors indicate that there is a vessel within the dock that currently holds in excess of two hundred Borg drones and it is preparing to depart. The command decks of the dock still hold unassimilated personnel so I cannot fire on the station until I am in position.” Her demeanour had changed from affable first contact to military commander in the space of seconds and Dan felt he was rapidly falling behind on the plot.

“Chariscarpia, I understand that you are trying to help but the Borg…”

“…are well known to me Captain. Trust me or do not Captain, but I assure you that I can and will deal with the Borg. There is no time for explanation, just remain clear of the Borg vessel when it emerges and maintain a clear path between the dock and the spatial rift.”

Dan was about to argue when Chariscarpia cut the channel.

Scorpion coming about Sir, shields up, weapons now charged…I think.” DeSalle looked slightly abashed at his fuzzy readings. “I’m sorry Sir, we have no previous data on Scorpion’s weapons but if the board is telling me what I think it is we’d be well advised not to get between Scorpion and the Borg ship.”

“Damn it!” As if shocked by Dan’s sudden outburst, Angel shook. “What was that?”

“Tractor beam from the dock Sir.” DeSalle looked directly at him. “Borg configuration.”

Dan pointed towards the screen that now showed the sickly green pulsing thread tethering them to the dock and effectively immobilising them.

“Tactical, target the emitter on the dock, full phaser spread but watch the command decks. Conn don’t fight the tractor.”

He watched as a concentrated burst of phaser fire splashed against the Borg enhanced shields of the dock but failed to penetrate to the hull.

Kat Gray had taken comms duty as DeSalle attempted to neutralise the tractor beam.

“Incoming hail from Scorpion Sir.”

“On Screen.”

Chariscarpia once again appeared, this time bathed in a milky white light that gave her a shimmering halo.

“Captain, cease fire and prepare to take evasive action on my command. I believe in your co-ordinates it translates to heading 133 mark 180.”
“You believe?”

“Even I’m not perfect Captain!” Dan almost laughed at the half smile the line was delivered with, but nodded and hoped he wasn’t making the biggest mistake of his short captaincy.

“Conn, standby full impulse, 133 mark 180.”

“Standing by Sir.” Pharana rapidly input the heading commands and her hand hovered over the final sequence entry.

Dan nodded to Chariscarpia. “It’s in your hands.”

With a look of gratitude mixed with determination she returned his nod. “Good luck Captain. Three, two, one, now!”

Simultaneously a lance of pure white light leapt from a port on Scorpion’s bow and knifed through the Borg shields as if they didn’t exist. The surgical precision of the shot disrupted the tractor beam and Angel dropped away at full impulse.

“Ensign, get us out to starboard. Keep us clear of the lane between the dock and the rift.” As Pharana, swung the huge vessel back up and around, Dan turned to T’Sell. “Commander, what’s the state of the rift?”

“Sensors have been monitoring it Sir. In the past two hours it has been fluctuating, though it still appears to be open.” Adjusting the sensors, she shook her head. “I cannot penetrate beyond the rift’s opening Sir.”

What the hell is she up to? thought Dan. He didn’t like handing the reins to Chariscarpia, but having just witnessed the power she wielded he wondered what else she had up her sleeve.

By now Scorpion had swung around with its stern facing the dock and for a moment, all was strangely quiet.

“Captain?” Kat leaned over her console to speak quietly to Dan. “Those two calls were confirmation of Borg activity on the planet. General Mendark says that his aide Captain Rousseau was one of those assimilated along with several HazTeams and Lieutenant Martari witnessed a crashed shuttle full of drones.”

Dan turned in horror. “Planetside as well?”

T’Sell chimed in from her science station. “I believe that’s where it all started Captain, after the crash.”

Dan couldn’t believe how quickly this had snowballed and right now he really didn’t want to start thinking about it.
“Let’s mark it for the after action report. Commander Gray, get the Valkyries back up here but leave the runabouts on recovery duty. Advise General Mendark he may want to redeploy his aerospace units in case this falls apart.”

It was then that the Borg ship emerged from the dock.


RAPTOR FLIGHT
DEPARTING ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1234 FST

In full boost from the planet’s surface, the pair of Valkyries were at maximum power in their ascent.

“Raptor Flight this is Eyrie, new instructions from command. You are to maintain contact with Scorpion and the Borg vessel but you are to monitor only and not, repeat not, intercede unless instructed.”

Mo could only guess at what had been occurring in their absence but acknowledged the instruction. Ordering Homer to take tactical separation, she watched as he swung out to starboard giving them both manoeuvring space and better sensor coverage of whatever was going to happen next.

“So any idea at all why we’re on weapons hold here?”
Homer’s puzzled tone mirrored her own confusion.

When she’d landed after the crash of Assault Shuttle Three, she’d been expecting little in the way of survivors but when the first thing she saw was a black prosthetic limb her mind had flashed back to the hangar deck. Borg! Sure enough, as she had drawn her phaser and scouted the periphery of the crater she found more evidence. Sprinting back to the Hildr she’d scrambled back into the cockpit, immediately taken off and sent an encrypted transmission to both General Mendark and Angel.

“No idea at all Homer, but if that’s what the Boss wants that’s what he gets.”

Overhead, there was the brilliant white flash of what appeared to be an energy discharge, but nothing like the green blast of a Borg weapon.

“Whoa, something is occurring my man. Increase the spread to two thousand metres.”


SCORPION – NULL NODE AREA
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1236 FST

As she had detected the Borg vessel leave the dock, Chariscarpia had ensnared it with a collector beam and then attached a second and a third. She knew the Borg were strong but she was hoping that a hastily assimilated vessel may still be underpowered.

The Borg.

She had believed them left behind long ago in the Delta Quadrant but they were here. Still stealing. Still murdering. Her mind was in turmoil, partly fear but mainly anger. It was the Borg Collective that had forced her mission into being as they had assimilated a swathe of planets carving a path headed directly towards her home world. Escaping with her crew, they had begun the long trek to freedom never knowing for certain if the home they had known was gone forever as they maintained communications silence.

In her heart though, she knew. The Borg would not stop, they never had. Her people, the Chellantherians, had known what the Borg had wanted and why they were making a beeline for the home world. The Shomach molecule.

It was a source of intense pride when the Chellantherians eventually synthesised and stabilised the molecule. Harnessing that molecule to power a ship had taken longer still, but it had been the next successful step and the generational vessel had been born; a ship that would perform a mission lasting not just a lifetime but many lifetimes as they crossed the galaxy surveying, watching, mapping.

But then the Borg appeared drawn, it seemed, like nightwings to the bright light of the Shomach molecule. The Chellantherians were aware of the molecule’s destructive nature and when the horrors of Borg assimilation became known a final plan of action had been drawn up that would prevent others suffering the same fate.

The three remaining stable Shomach molecules that would have powered Chariscarpia’s sister ships were detonated at equidistant points from the planet creating an area over 20 light years in diameter where subspace travel became impossible. 27 Borg cubes that had been converging on the home world became trapped like flies in amber and their molecular prize destroyed. The Chellantherians, pacifists to the end, had stopped their enemy without a shot being fired.

They had heard nothing from the home world after that, but Chariscarpia knew. Home was no more. Despite that, her ingrained pacifist beliefs would not allow her to destroy the Borg here today. Instead she had formulated a plan in which the Borg threat would be removed without further loss of life, even to the Borg.

As long as it worked of course.


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1237 FST

Scorpion has the Borg vessel in a tractor net Sir.”

Dan looked to the screen and saw a pure white filament connecting the Borg vessel and Scorpion. At the point where it connected to the Borg ship, it spread into a spider web pattern of pure energy. An alarm chimed at tactical and DeSalle silenced it quickly.

“Borg charging weapons Sir.”

“Monitor it Mr DeSalle, conn prepare evasive pattern gamma. T’Sell, rift status?”

“Still fluctuating Sir, aperture appears to be closing but still 80 kilometres wide.”

“Advise me of any change.” Dan turned as Kat called from Mission Ops.

“Sir, just a reminder we still have three personnel aboard Scorpion.”

Dan nodded, aware that Dixon, Asheen and Xantharik had remained aboard Scorpion gathering data.

“We’ll have to trust that Chariscarpia takes care of them for now.”

“Sir! Borg preparing to fire!”

As his eyes swung back to the screen, Dan watched in amazement as the weapons ports on the assimilated border cutter glowed green and simultaneously the white filament glowed brighter. A beam of green light sprang forth from the weapons port but before it had reached halfway towards Scorpion, it slowed and stopped before gradually fading.

“T’Sell, what happened?”

“I cannot be certain Sir, but sensors indicate that Scorpion deployed some form of mass stasis effect. The chroniton readings are off the scale Sir, it must be using vast amounts of energy.”

Slowly but surely Scorpion began to move, the tethered Borg vessel struggling to break free but following nevertheless. Several times the Borg attempted to fire with identical results, their shots coming nowhere near reaching Scorpion.

Suddenly a green beam lanced out sideways and though Scorpion snared it once again, it managed to brush Angel’s shields. Reduced in power as it may have been, the large vessel still reeled from the shot. Lights went out ship wide to be replaced by dull red emergency lighting seconds later.

Dan picked himself up from the floor, wishing he’d worn the harness that was now standard fitting for the command positions.

“Status report!”

“Warp and impulse offline, shields down to 72%, no hull breaches. We still have photon torpedoes but phasers are resetting. Awaiting casualty reports Sir.”

“Mr DeSalle, what did they just hit us with?”

“Plasma weapon Sir. Scorpion attenuated most of the strike.”

Thanks be for small mercies thought Dan. Opening a channel to engineering Dan spoke quickly to Machilveen.
“How long until we can get impulse or warp back up Andi?”

In the background he could hear the shouts of harried engineers struggling to get the mighty starship mobile again.

“I’d love tae give ya better news Sir, but right now we’re havin’ all on to stop EPS taps rupturin’ across the board. I’m thinkin’ it’ll be thirty minutes minimum, an’ that’s bein’ optimistic.”

“Do your best. Bridge out.” Turning to DeSalle he requested a channel to Chariscarpia.

When she appeared on screen, she spoke quickly. “Captain, I have very little time to talk.”

“I realise that, but I thought you should be aware we’re out of the fight here. We have no drive capability and only torpedoes to support you if you should need it.”

“Understood Captain. I see that your fighters are monitoring the situation, if I might ask that they stand by in case I require them? I will maintain them within my protective screens.”

Dan turned to Kat and nodded as she opened a channel to Raptor Flight.

“I’m advising them now. Whatever it is you’re planning Chariscarpia, I want to thank you.”

“Thank me when it is complete Captain.” As she nodded her antennae twitched and her eyes opened wide. Almost simultaneously, T’Sell called from Science One.

“Aperture has begun to collapse more rapidly Sir, down to 47 kilometres. I estimate it will be closed completely in fourteen minutes thirty seconds at its current rate.”

“Captain, I must go. Whatever happens, thank you also.”

Before Dan had chance to reply, the screen flashed back to the tug of war between Scorpion and the Borg vessel.


RAPTOR FLIGHT
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1242 FST

“Raptor Flight, this is Eyrie. Command requests you maintain current profile at request of Scorpion. She reports that you’ll be within her protective screens.”

Mo checked her panel and saw that Homer was now at a point on the opposite side of Scorpion and an equal distance away.

“Raptor Flight copies. Confirm any change in rules of engagement?”

There was a pause before O’Hara replied.

“Negative Raptor Flight, you’re still on weapons hold unless directed otherwise or fired upon.”

Then why the hell are we up here like sitting ducks Mo wondered.

“Understood, Raptor Flight standing by.” She quickly switched to her discrete frequency. “I assume you got all that Homer?”

“Yep got it all, and I suspect I’m wondering exactly the same thing you are.”

No doubt about it thought Mo. No doubt at all.


SCORPION – NULL NODE AREA
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1243 FST

Time was now Chariscarpia’s enemy. The Borg were struggling to break free of her collector net and their power seemed to be increasing while all the time the fissure that had spewed the Borg cube into Zethander space was rapidly closing. The line between success and failure was hair thin and for the first time Chariscarpia wondered whether this might truly be the end of her mission.

Having chosen her course of action, she knew it was the right choice and if this was to be her final day then there were things she must attend to. She closed her eyes and summoned the remote that the human female had nicknamed Fido.


BORG ASSIMILATED VESSEL
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1243 FST

One of Fourteen showed no sign of anger at their current predicament. They had attempted to transport to the alien vessel but been rebuffed by a field similar to the one that had nullified their weapons.

Through the Collective he had transmitted details of this species to the Queen and awaited a reply. There was no record of them anywhere in the Collective’s memory and yet they possessed the one thing that the Borg desired most. How had they missed them?

Increase power to drive he instructed. Already life support had been shut down and the only other systems drawing power were weapons and shields, neither of which were currently likely to avail them. He ordered that they too be taken offline and their power fed into the drive.
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Old October 16 2009, 06:50 PM   #45
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Re: Star Trek : Angel

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NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

17 (cont)

SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1243 FST

Ensigns Vonny Dixon and Kara Asheen had been working quietly at collating the information that Chariscarpia had allowed them access to and the action of the last twenty minutes had sharpened their need to complete the work as quickly as possible.

Chariscarpia had of course briefed them on what was happening and apologised that at that moment she could neither drop her shields nor spare the time to transport them back to Angel but assured them that she would do so as soon as possible. They had heard nothing from her since and so had continued their work while the big Remvellian security ensign LJ Xantharik had prowled around the control room “humph”ing at his inability to take action.

“Ensign Dixon?”

Chariscarpia’s face had appeared on one of the large monitors. Immediately LJ was alert.

“Chariscarpia, what is it?”

“I’m afraid I have little time in which to speak with you, but I have downloaded as much as I can into my command remote, the one you call Fido?”

Fido? mouthed LJ, and Vonny blushed slightly. “I know it, yes.”

“Once I send it through to you, you must step on to the transporter device one at a time and take the remote with you do you understand?”

Vonny nodded and was about to ask what was happening but Chariscarpia was already gone. With the familiar sound of the dissolving wall, the small sphere appeared and bobbed towards Vonny who reached up and clasped its warm shell. She looked at her two companions.

“So who wants to go first?”


RAPTOR TWO
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1245 FST

Homer was already tense in the cockpit of the USS Gunr so the strange sound of rustling material behind him almost made him wrench his neck as he span around in his seat.

“I assume from your expression that nobody told you I was coming?” said LJ Xantharik from his crouched position on the emergency transporter pad.


RAPTOR LEAD
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1245 FST

Seconds later, Mo had a similar heart stopping moment in the USS Hildr as first Kara Asheen and then Vonny Dixon appeared.

“Mo, I might be slightly late but I’ve just been told you should expect passengers?”

Mo smiled, indicating that Kara should take the spare right seat. “Already got ‘em my man. This just gets weirder by the second!”

Mo was sure she heard a deep voice that wasn’t Homer’s say “Amen to that.”


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1246 FST

Kat Gray sounded extremely relieved as she reported, “Sir Raptor Flight just checked in, they have our three crew members.”

“Thanks Commander, that’s one less worry. Any update from engineering?” Dan hated to hassle the engineers when he knew they were already working as hard and fast as humanly possible to do the job he’d asked of them.

“Nothing yet Sir.”

“Ok, let’s leave them to it.” He stood and crossed to Science One.

“T’Sell I get the feeling that Chariscarpia is hoping to shove the Borg back into that spatial rift. Is she going to make it in time?”

The half Vulcan science officer worked her board for a moment then shook her head. “At the moment Sir I cannot say. It is possible but with the aperture’s rate of shrinkage fluctuating as it is that could change.”

“I thought as much,” acknowledged Dan. “I need you to stand by with our tractors as soon as we get power back to the drives. Let’s see if we can’t give her some help.”

“Aye Sir.”

Come on Andi he silently chided, gimme one of those engineering miracles.


USS ANGEL – ENGINEERING
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1248 FST

“Ach this is bloody stupid.” As Chief of Engineering, Lieutenant Commander Andi Machilveen had long since learned to overestimate repair times. She was fairly certain that most ship’s captains were aware of the trick by now but continued to do it anyway.

“Alpha Team, are the port EPS taps ready?”

“Yes Ma’am. 31 is still giving us an amber but we can’t clear it.”

“Good enough, just make sure there’s nobody near it when I shunt the load. Bravo Team, starboard taps ready?”

Lieutenant Axel Strandberg waved from his console. “All green Ma’am.”

Nodding, she tapped her commbadge. “Machilveen to bridge, either this’ll work or ye’ll have a very pretty fireworks display to remember!”

“Commander, you must have read my thoughts!”

“Just another of my many skills Captain.” She tapped in the re-route commands on her console, crossed her fingers and muttered something under her breath before hitting execute.


USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1248 FST

Dan wasn’t certain, but he was sure there was at least one profanity in that short, muttered engineer’s prayer.

Whatever it was, it appeared to work as the lights returned to their normal levels and the power indications on his chair arm all flickered back into the green.

“Dinnae push her too hard Captain, I’m no’ sure how much she’ll take.”

“I’ll do my best Commander, good work!” He turned quickly to T’Sell. “Ready with that tractor Commander?”

“Aye Sir.”

“Open a hailing frequency to Scorpion.”

Once again, the serene face of the alien ship commander filled the screen, though she was looking worn now.

“Chariscarpia, we have power back online. I believe we can offer a little help in getting the Borg ship where it needs to go.”

“I believe that would be wise Captain. The aperture is becoming increasingly unstable.”

She closed her eyes for a moment and when she reopened them, T’Sell called out “Sir I have the computations from Chariscarpia. Ready to activate tractor.”

“Do it Commander.”


BORG ASSIMILATED VESSEL
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1249 FST

One of Fourteen was almost certain that the large white vessel would not be able to drag them into the aperture before it finally closed. He knew that unless the aperture of a transwarp conduit was immediately attributed to a transwarp hub, or otherwise stabilized, it would dissipate after a few hours. The fact that this one had remained open so long was more due to the accidental method of its creation than any other factor. He only required that their vessel resist for mere seconds longer. By then, according to his calculations, it would be too late and the alien ship would be his.

There was a lurch and without warning their velocity towards the aperture had increased.

Report.

Sensors indicate that the Federation vessel has restored power and is now adding there tractor capability to that of the alien vessel.

One knew that if they were he to activate weapons once more to deal with the Federation ship, then power would be taken from the drive and their fate was certain. If they did nothing, then they would be dragged into the aperture anyway which by now would have no exit back to the hub.

Overload the drive if necessary, break the tractor beam.


USS ANGEL - BRIDGE
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1250 FST

“One minute to aperture closure Sir, diameter now 2000 metres.”

Dan was about to acknowledge T’Sell’s report when DeSalle cut him short.

“Sir Borg drive has increased output! Estimating warp core breach within sixty seconds.”

Dan gripped the armrests of the command chair. Sorry about this girl. He opened a link to engineering once more. “Commander Machilveen, divert all non-essential power to the tractor.”

“Ye won’t get long out of it Sir.”

“I’m praying we won’t need it.”

The lights dimmed and the effect on the Borg vessel was immediately obvious as its speed towards the aperture increased. At the same moment, Scorpion began a swing to port and the Borg, on their brilliant white tether, were whipped around towards the aperture.


SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1250 FST

Chariscarpia applied full forward drive as she released the collector net to allow the Borg vessel to free fall towards the aperture…


BORG ASSIMILATED VESSEL
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1250 FST

Tractor the vessel!

At the instant the Borg vessel entered the rift, its tractor beam extended to grab Scorpion and despite the huge white vessel’s powerful struggle, it too was dragged backwards by the momentum and sank into the aperture.


USS ANGEL - BRIDGE
ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1250 FST

Dan didn’t have to order a switch in the tractor beam as T’Sell smoothly flicked it from pushing the Borg into the rift to attempting to pull Scorpion back out. Sadly, it was a battle Dan could immediately see they would lose.


RAPTOR LEAD
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1251 FST

In horror, the three occupants of Mo’s Valkyrie watched as the aperture contracted. Despite the valiant attempts by Angel, Scorpion slipped backwards until all that was visible was the forward two prongs of the bow, and the aperture tightened in to sever them. Just before it winked shut there was the blast of what appeared to be a warp core breach and the Hildr was sent tumbling backwards.


RAPTOR TWO
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
UFP SPACE
September 12th 2371 – 1251 FST

“Hold on tight big fella!”

LJ needed no encouragement as he grasped the straps holding him into the cramped weapons operator seat.

Homer hauled the Gunr about hard and rode the compression wave that erupted from the collapsed aperture.
As the effects passed them, he swung the agile fighter back around to search for Mo.

“Ok this is where I need a little help big fella. Ever operated a tractor beam?”

LJ shook his head.

“Then you might wanna tighten your grip a little while I run ya through it.”

By the time they’d caught up with the cartwheeling Hildr LJ hoped he’d understood the basics and threw out the low power tractor beam.

“Nice and steady big man, just slow their rotation. You got it.”

Within a minute both Valkyrie’s were motionless in space, but Homer was receiving no response on intership from Mo.
“Best get in close and take a look see.” With a deft nudge of the thrusters, Homer expertly brought the small fighter in almost cockpit to cockpit with the Hildr where they could see three pale faces waving at them.

LJ tapped his commbadge and was gratified to receive an immediate response from Kara Asheen.

“Lieutenant Martari says that power is out but that we can last at least 15 minutes on the air in the cabin, more than enough time to be towed back to Angel.”

“Well we lost the big one,” whispered Homer, “but at least we got one small victory today.”
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