Star Trek : Angel

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by unusualsuspex, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. unusualsuspex

    unusualsuspex Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk UK
    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
    NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

    10 (cont)


    USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
    ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0113 FST

    “…and since then we haven’t been able to contact her.”

    “What’s your risk assessment Commander?” If there was the slightest possibility that the team was at risk aboard Scorpion, Dan wanted them out.

    “So far Sir, it seems that our contact has been fairly benign. For now I’d prefer to wait it out over here.”

    Dan was happy to trust in Kat’s assessment of the situation but just to make sure he’d ensure that one of the transporters was dedicated to a keeping a constant lock on the team. “Alright, keep me updated. Angel out.”

    “Lieutenant Gittings, arrange for the next free transporter team to keep a constant lock on the away team then advise Commander Gray.”

    “Aye Sir.” As Gittings dealt with that matter, Dan returned his attention to the bigger crisis.

    “Commander T’Sell, tell me you have good news?”

    T’Sell raised an eyebrow, and Dan noted that she had to brush an errant strand of her normally immaculate hair back behind a finely pointed ear.

    “I would say that it depends on your definition of good Sir. Right now we’ve managed to negate all the major threats and almost half of the mediums, but there will still be many that get through.”

    Dan smiled ironically. “Right now that amounts to good news Commander, well done.”

    Dan stood, only now realising how much tension had crept into his muscles and he worked the kinks out of his shoulders.

    “Commander Machilveen, you have the bridge. I’ll be in the ready room giving a preliminary report to Starfleet. Any change in status, inform me immediately.” He also needed a very black coffee but the report would need to be done first.

    The Chief Engineer left her post at the rear of the bridge to take the centre seat, the majority of her work complete, while Dan headed tiredly into the ready room. It seemed almost impossible, but in the space of two hours their quiet layover at Zethander had turned into a major crisis. Dan had watched with quiet satisfaction though as his untried crew had risen to the challenge.

    And, he realised, so had he. Maybe Starfleet did get it right after all he conceded wryly. Of course it wasn’t over yet, not by a long way.

    SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
    CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0113 FST

    “…There are what look like terminals in…”

    Vonny heard the rustling silk sound of the door reforming behind her and spun around. Sure enough, the door had indeed re-solidified and she found herself alone in the room with the sphere. It hung motionless by the door, and much like the Commander earlier, she had the unnerving feeling it was watching her.

    Strangely, however, Vonny didn’t feel panicked at being physically cut off from the rest of the away team. The ship in general and the sphere in particular had made no threatening move against the team’s exploration.
    Realistically though, Vonny had to admit to herself that that situation could change at a moments notice.

    Tapping her commbadge, she wasn’t totally surprised to hear the negative connection chirp but she tried it again just to make sure. Satisfied that, for now at least, she couldn’t contact anybody, she turned her attention back to the room she’d been isolated in.

    Along the furthest wall was a bank of…well, somethings with empty receptacles along their pristine white faces. It was almost like an isolinear chip bank aboard the Angel, a notion reinforced when she noted small rectangular solids scattered on the floor around the wall units.

    To her left was an tall unit which resembled a transporter station although it was encased rather than open and only had a single pad. There were no controls that she could see so for now she moved on.

    Beyond was a work surface, angled to sit at a comfortable viewing level for the 'almost' chairs that were arranged before it. Vonny thought of them as 'almost' chairs because there was something slightly off about them. The seats and backrests were normal enough, but they seemed to sit too near the deck as if the race that used them had much shorter legs. Vonny knew that wasn’t so however having seen the holos in the accommodation rooms. If anything, their legs seemed longer. Another fact to store away.

    Across to her right was a similar arrangement but without the seats, and finally there was the empty wall that contained the entrance. She scanned and recorded all this along with her own descriptions and thoughts, and when eventually she realised there was little more to do from her current position she moved towards the seated console.
    The sphere followed her slowly, neither opening nor closing the distance between them, and she sat down.

    “So what next oh mysterious orb? Am I meant to do something here?”

    Vonny hadn’t expected a response and so was surprised when the previously white orb flickered through various colours. Vonny quickly raised her tricorder but was too late to scan the changes before it returned to its original white. She thought for a moment. It seemed to have reacted to her voice and yet outside the room it had made no such show when anybody else had spoken.

    Feeling slightly silly, she pointed at herself and said slowly and clearly “Vonny Dixon.”

    There was a slight flicker of colour this time then nothing. The tricorder however had picked up signs of activity that it could not yet define but were definitely emanating from the orb. Is it trying to understand me she wondered?

    She stood enthusiastically and obviously a little too quickly, the sphere bobbing backwards away from her. Realising she must have spooked the thing she raised her hands palm out in the most non-threatening way she could. “Sorry! Sorry. I’ll just sit down again.”

    How can I do this? She examined what she carried with her, which in essence was very little. The tricorder, a palm beacon, a holocamera and her commbadge was the limit of her gear. She suddenly had an idea and scrolled through the tricorders menu until she found the presentation menu.

    Selecting the projection item she aimed the tricorder at the blank wall beside the door and brought up a presentation on the United Federation of Planets.

    Instantly, a galactic map appeared showing all four quadrants and Vonny stood slowly to approach the display. Pointing to the central core worlds and then tracing her finger around the periphery of the Federation’s boundary she said “United Federation of Planets.”

    She was gratified to see a sudden expression of interest as the lights once again began flashing. A red beam not unlike a laser pointer lanced out to trace the same boundary that Vonny had. “Yes, that’s it, United Federation of Planets!” She repeated the demonstration a couple of times then the sphere changed tactics. Its pointer outlined the periphery of the Romulan Empire appearing above and to the right of the Federation. Vonny traced the outline herself and speaking clearly said “Romulan Star Empire. Romulan Star Empire.”

    The sphere now took the lead, tracing out different sectors of the map with Vonny describing each one in turn. “Klingon Empire.” “Tzenkethi Coalition.” “Cardassian Union.” “Ferengi Alliance.” The list went on until eventually most of the major powers and territories had been covered. Next Vonny brought up images of some of the races prevalent in the Alpha Quadrant.

    She started with Humans and as the image displayed, she waved her hands to indicate herself. “Human. I am Human.” The beam pointed straight at her, then at the image and the sphere stayed blue for a few seconds. She’d noticed this before and decided now that when it did this it meant (or at least she thought it meant) that the sphere understood. She nodded and progressed through Vulcan, Andorian, Tellarite, and as many other Federation member races as she felt made sense.

    She finally collected all the images together and overlaid them on the map. First she circled the small images of the disparate races, and then pointed at the area of space covered by the Federation. “Federation.”

    When the sphere copied her actions and turned its affirmative blue she smiled. Aren’t you the clever one? She thought, and then repeated the process for all the other powers she’d outlined. Checking the chrono, she realised with some surprise that half an hour had passed and she suddenly wondered what the away team would be doing. Vonny was fairly certain that Commander Gray would do nothing to antagonise the ship or the sphere unless she felt there was some danger to the team, and as far as she could tell that wasn’t the case right now.

    Deciding to take the initiative, Vonny slowly walked around the sphere and stopped at the door. She pointed and said “Open?” The sphere didn’t move to stop her but when she pointed at the door it glowed yellow. Obviously not. She was surprised again when the sphere bobbed away from her to hover by the wall containing the empty receptacles. It glowed blue, then descended to hover above the solids on the floor and glowed blue again before rising once more. It repeated the performance and then sat quite still.

    Vonny waited a moment to see if there would be more. She found herself wishing that she herself could change colour to indicate her…wait, the palm beacon! Taking it from the bag over her shoulder she checked the filters which were designed to shine any colour of the spectrum (and some beyond) during engineering work. The sphere did nothing else but observe her.

    Eventually, impatient with her lack of response, it approached her and then backed away to repeat its performance. Vonny interpreted the dance to indicate that the sphere wanted her to replace the scattered solids in the receptacles. Selecting blue on the palm beacon - and hoping this particular shade had no other connotations to the sphere – she shone it for a few seconds. Almost comically, the sphere bobbed up and down appearing almost excited. “Ok my small friend; let’s see if I’m half the engineer people keep telling me I am!” Vonny walked over and sat amidst the pile of solids. “Trouble is where do I bloody start?”

    The sphere, naturally, said nothing.
     
  2. unusualsuspex

    unusualsuspex Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk UK
    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
    NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

    11

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


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

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

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

    “Angel to Scorpion away team.”

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

    “Go ahead Captain.”

    “Commander, any change in your situation?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Oh bugger.” Fido said nothing again.


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Mr Ottesen, any change in Scorpion?”

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

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

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

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

    “Aye Sir.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Working.”

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

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

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

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

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

    “Tarrant to Bridge, priority.”

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

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

    Dan’s reply was less than eloquent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Do you need a hand with that Spider?”

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


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


    Misaki looked up as the Medtech finished his examination.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    unusualsuspex Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk UK
    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
    NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

    12

    SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
    CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0254 FST

    Vonny held the last ten or so cards in her hands and looked around her at the room, marvelling at how different it appeared to when she’d first entered. Active consoles showed multiple screens of scrolling text and views of space around Scorpion, including a beautiful image of the Angel seemingly close enough to touch.

    The lights and chirps from the panel she was working on added life to the room and just a few moments ago, the booth that had the appearance of a transporter had come to life, its pad glowing warmly. While nothing else had happened, Vonny couldn’t help but wonder if it might offer her the means of returning to Angel.

    She also wondered whether the changes taking place around her were being reflected across the ship. Her communicator had remained stubbornly silent for the duration of her work so she had no idea exactly what was happening beyond the sealed door.

    Sighing, she looked up at Fido, a name that had stuck when Vonny found that applying it had helped her focus slightly better on communicating with the small sphere.

    “I don’t suppose you’ve decided to talk yet?” Rhetorical as the question was, she still harboured hopes that replacing the cards would in some way enable it to communicate with her, but so far nothing.

    “Oh well, let’s get these last pieces in and see what happens next shall we?” Surprisingly, up to a few moments ago, Vonny hadn’t actually considered the end results of her work. She’d been happy to treat it as an engineering challenge until now, but the thought stayed her hand momentarily.

    Fido bobbed down to shoulder height, glowing an affirmative blue and flashing its laser pointer at the slot as it encouraged her to continue. This late in the operation, Vonny realised there was little point in delaying and so, checking the card matched the port, she slid it home.
    Again, as had happened twelve times now, the light remained dark and the chime was absent. Withdrawing it, she held it up for Fido to scan and then it bobbed off to indicate the correct replacement. She withdrew the replacement card and returned to place it in the slot where she was rewarded with the familiar light and sound.

    Some ten minutes later, with the final card in her hand she looked at Fido. “This is it then. What happens next?” Fido didn’t say of course, and so Vonny slid the card home in its slot. It remained unlit and silent. “Had to happen on the last one didn’t it?” She pulled the card and allowed Fido to scan it, then followed him across to the rack. He roamed the length of the replacements, and then repeated his scan of the card before searching again.

    When he stopped and hovered in front of the lines of cards, Vonny stepped up to retrieve the replacement but found the rack empty at that line. Fido flashed yellow as he pointed at the empty rack. For possibly the first time in the past two and a half hours, Vonny was at a loss. Without the card there was nothing at all she could do. She pointed at the line next to the empty one and held up the useless card.

    Fido increased his flashing yellow and continued pointing at the empty rack.

    “Well unless you can pull up more spares my little friend, there’s nothing I can do.”

    Vonny stood silently as Fido bobbed around for a short while in a seemingly random manner. Eventually he returned to her, indicated the unserviceable card and then the slot with his pointer, and flashed blue. If Vonny didn’t know better, she would have sworn it was the equivalent of a shrug.

    She returned to the wall and slid the card home with as equal lack of response as the last time she’d tried. Sitting down once more at the console, she watched as Fido bobbed along the panel scanning each slot with a golden wave before hovering at ceiling height over her head. A noise to her left, the same silk rustling noise that had accompanied the dissolving door, caused her to turn as another panel appeared from behind the rippling wall.

    A box like extrusion slid out and Fido came down to hover before her. With his laser pointer, he indicated her hands and then pointed at two translucent panels on the front of the extrusion. He flashed blue, hovered to the side and then repeated the show. Vonny stood and reached out her hands tentatively before drawing them back again.

    It was then that Fido did the most unexpected thing. Moving in close and flashing blue, it gently nudged her shoulder. There was no force to the action and as soon as it had done it, it floated away again. Vonny was forced to smile at the gentle encouragement and suddenly felt more confident. The contact had been that of request, not demand.

    Moving forward with her hands extended before her, she finally placed them against the plates. It was almost as if she had pushed them against a spongy and sticky surface. There was resistance but her hands seemed to sink in a little and it was then difficult to pull them away, until suddenly it released her. The extrusion withdrew and the wall reformed leaving Vonny stood with her hands out and feeling slightly silly.

    At the familiar rustling sound, she turned quickly, half expecting the door to have opened to allow her to exit. Instead, what she saw was something totally unexpected, and her mouth fell open in shock.


    USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
    ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0310 FST

    “Ensign, how are the hull scans progressing?” Dan felt fatigue creeping up on him now and he pressed his hands to his eyes in an attempt to remove the gritty feeling of exhaustion.

    The young Bolian, who had replaced Kara Asheen at Science 1, and whose name Dan simply couldn’t remember at the moment, turned in his seat.

    “Scans are 30% complete Sir. Negative results so far.”

    “Thank you Ensign, keep me updated please.”

    Turning to face the main view screen he peered intently at Scorpion. Just what is going on with you? He wondered.

    T’Sell appeared by his seat hands folded primly behind her. “Might I suggest Sir, that while we have a quiet period you take a break.”

    Dan grinned. “Is it that obvious Commander?”

    “As a Starfleet science officer, I am a trained observer.” She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Over the past seventeen minutes, you have yawned six times, rubbed your eyes three times and generally asked staff to keep you updated far too often.”

    “Other than that though Commander, is it obvious?” Seeing that she was about to reply, he held up his hands. “It’s alright T’Sell, suggestion accepted. If I’m required I’ll be in my ready room.” He stood to leave the bridge when the chime of an incoming communication caught his attention.

    “Sir?” Ottesen called from tactical. “Incoming hail from Scorpion Sir, it is Ensign Dixon.”

    Dan’s fatigue fell away instantly. “On screen Mr Ottesen.”
    He stepped down from the raised command platform to stand between conn and ops as the familiar view of the white ship changed to show the young ensign standing in a similarly white room surrounded by active consoles and equipment. Her face was slightly flushed and she was beaming broadly.

    “Ensign, report.” He’d wanted to say a great deal more but protocol dictated otherwise.

    “Sir, there’s a great deal to tell which I think can safely wait until the debrief. The most important part is that there is a surviving crew member and I believe she wishes to speak with you.” Vonny stepped aside and a stunning but obviously alien woman appeared.

    Standing in front of the pickup with an air of regality she spoke with a beautiful, lilting cadence. “Hath tehr’manyo cad berekjah. Meendes lek ens’etyel.” She pointed to herself and then inclined her head. “Im neth harch Chariscarpia.”

    The last was spoken as if a proclamation of identity although Dan wasn’t certain whether it was her name or her race. First contact protocols ran around inside his head, tumbling over each other and eventually emerging as a broad smile and widespread arms.

    “Welcome,” he said, “to the United Federation of Planets.”


    SCORPION – CONTROL ROOM
    CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0310 FST

    “Welcome to the United Federation of Planets.” The Captain stood waiting for a reply and Vonny stepped in before the silence could become embarrassing.

    When the beautiful alien woman had appeared in the transportation chamber, Vonny had almost panicked, but the calm and gentleness she’d projected had soon soothed Vonny’s fears.

    What had followed had been a conversation of improvised sign language as Chariscarpia had indicated herself and spoken her name.

    “Hath tehr’manyo cad berekjah. Mends lek ens’etyel. Im neh Chariscarpia.”

    The voice had reminded Vonny of Amanda Gittings Welsh lilt as it flowed and danced even though she could understand none of it. Her tricorder recorded every word but with no previous knowledge of the language, it would require much more input before it could even begin to translate.
    The woman had pointed to the image of Angel on the screen, and then at Vonny. She nodded, confirming that she had come from there. The next part had been difficult to mime and even more difficult to translate, but it seemed that Chariscarpia was asking if she was the commander of Angel. Vonny shook her head, pointed to herself and at the single pip on her collar. She then repeated the hand on shoulder gesture that the alien had used to indicate commander, pointed to her collar again and held up four fingers, then pointed at Angel.

    Chariscarpia had nodded and smiled. She walked across to the bank of cards that Vonny had earlier reinserted. With a questioning look, she indicated the cards then pointed at Vonny.

    Vonny nodded but pointed at the non-working card, shaking her head and pulling a hand across her throat. Oops, I hope she doesn’t think that’s a threat! Fortunately, Chariscarpia understood. She pointed to the card, then her mouth and finally at Vonny and herself. It’s the translation unit! Realised Vonny. Typical that the one card she couldn’t replace would be the very one that would be most needed right now.

    Chariscarpia crossed to the console in her curious gliding walk and pointed at Angel, her collar and held up four fingers. She then pointed at the deck, her mouth and herself. “You want the Captain to come over to speak to you?” She repeated the pantomime emphasising the words connected to the gestures. Chariscarpia nodded.

    Vonny had then pointed to herself, her mouth, her collar with four fingers and finally Angel. Chariscarpia had defined her request instantly and opened the channel that had finally put her in touch with the Captain.

    “Sir, I should tell you that right now Chariscarpia’s universal translation equipment is down, but I’ve spoken to her in a fashion and she wants you to come over.” Vonny tried to condense everything into short succinct phrases. “I believe there is no threat Sir, and she will lower her shields at your request.”

    Turning to Chariscarpia Vonny nodded encouragingly, and pantomimed with her hands a falling curtain. The alien closed her eyes and aboard the Angel, Vonny heard the big Danish lieutenant report “Scorpion’s shields are down Sir.”

    The Captain looked at Vonny with a quirky smile. “It would appear you’ve made a new friend Ensign. Good work. If you wouldn’t mind telling Chascarap…”

    “Chariscarpia Sir.”

    “Yes,” he said trying to control the blush he knew was creeping up his neck, “tell her that I’ll transport over shortly with Commanders Gray, T’Sell and DeSalle.”

    “I’ll do that Sir. The best location is close to the null node where Commander Gray was before.”

    Dan nodded. “Thank you Ensign, we’ll be there shortly.” He inclined his head in a copy of Chariscarpia’s previous gesture. “Angel out.”

    Vonny stood slightly dazed as the commlink terminated. In the space of three hours she’d gone on her first active away team assignment, repaired an alien ship and made a first contact. Tevara would never believe it!
     
  4. unusualsuspex

    unusualsuspex Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk UK
    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
    NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

    12 (cont)

    CORAL CITY
    ZETHANDER
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0316 FST

    Stowarn had been a member of the voluntary emergency services in Coral City for just twelve months and in that short time, his duties had pretty much amounted to zero. To be sure there had been the usual minor incidents that made up the day to day life of emergency teams across the galaxy, but like the thousands of other inhabitants of Coral City, never in his wildest nightmares had he imagined that one day the emergency he would respond to would be planet wide.

    His bright yellow protective gear was now barely visible under a coating of noxious smelling mud and debris. Worse still, in the warm tropical night, it was stifling. He’d been left on duty outside the central governmental tower, or at least what was left of it. It had been decided by control that survivors would try and make for either here or one of the three hospitals and it was Stowarn’s task to record details and arrange transportation for them. So far it had been a lonely and ultimately futile task. The only living thing he’d seen since being dropped off was a bedraggled looking Ethin Gull wheeling above the detritus choked street cawing in confusion.

    I know exactly how ya feel fella he thought.

    As his face plate fogged up yet again, Stowar finally decided that it was proving to be more of a hindrance than a help and he was willing to risk the stench for a few moments to get some much needed air into the hot, sticky suit. Popping the quick releases, he gratefully pulled the helmet off and wrinkled his nose at the overpowering smell.

    He sat on the bottom step and placed his helmet beside him. It had only been a few minutes earlier that he’d received a personal comm to say that his parents and sister were safe and well in the evacuation centre at Reef Park, but their home was history. Still as long as they’re safe…

    He cursed involuntarily as his helmet rolled off the step and bounced into a pool of slime that he didn’t even try and identify. Cursing all the way, he bent forward to retrieve it when his neck was snared by something cold, slick and smelling as bad as the street. He struggled vainly to free himself and in his panic, kicked his helmet with it’s built in comm unit further out of reach. His struggle was mercifully brief as nightmare filled darkness enveloped him.


    SCORPION – NULL NODE AREA
    CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0330 FST

    Four columns of sparkling light coalesced into the forms of the USS Angel’s senior bridge staff, and as the transporter effect released them they stood for a moment to admire their surroundings. With full power and control apparently restored to the ship, the lighting had taken on a warm and ambient quality that had been absent in the images transmitted by the away team’s tricorders.

    Dan sniffed appreciatively. “I don’t know what that scent is but if this goes to plan I’m going to ask Chascarpar… damn…”

    “Chariscarpia Sir,” chipped in T’Sell.

    He eyed Kat and DeSalle cautiously. “I suppose neither of you two have trouble with her name either?” They wisely remained quiet. “Well, anyway, I’m going to ask if she can give us the secret recipe.”

    A section of wall to his right dissolved with the noise that Kat had already briefed him on and a small sphere bobbed through the opening to be followed by Vonny Dixon and the woman known as Chariscarpia.

    Chariscarpia stood before him, appearing as a strangely beautiful dark haired woman in her early thirties. Her eyes were a mix of blue fading to violet, and even the frond like antennae, absence of a nose and small gill like structures fluttering at the side of her slender neck that he’d seen in the images couldn’t detract from the serenity she projected. Standing with her hands folded in front of her, for a while she simply watched him and then pointed to her mouth then to the familiar sphere that now hovered by her side.

    T’Sell whispered from just behind him. “I believe it may be on a par with our universal translator Sir, or at least what she is using until her own translator is repaired. She obviously needs input for it to begin parsing our language.”

    “Ok,” he said, “let’s try the simple stuff first.” Using his hands to gesture at himself he began. “Erm, my…name is Captain Daniel Fishlock of the USS Angel.” He pointed to a screen that displayed the image of his ship. “USS Angel.”

    He detected a huff of impatience from behind him. “Sir she is an intelligent being, not a dull child.” He heard Kat snicker, and whispering from the corner of his mouth he said “If you think you can do any better, step up to the plate T’Sell!”

    Missing the sarcasm and taking his offer literally, T’Sell stepped forward. “Thank you sir.” Dan didn’t have chance to object as T’Sell held up her tricorder, and passed it to Chariscarpia who took it and examined it carefully. A smile of dawning realisation crept on to the aliens face, and she nodded enthusiastically. Holding the tricorder towards the sphere, a translucent wave of golden light washed over it as it was scanned before a rotating ring of lights appeared around the circumference of the sphere. Within seconds the lights on the tricorder were in synchronisation and Chariscarpia closed her eyes.

    “I took the liberty of uploading the Federation standard language module Sir.”

    “I appreciate you telling me that T’Sell.” His attempt to hide a smile failed. “Slightly late, but thank you.”

    Minutes passed as the tableau remained frozen. Dan took the chance to nod appreciatively at Dixon, who still seemed in awe of the whole situation. She returned his acknowledgement with a smile.

    Eventually, the lights on the small sphere slowed and then stopped to glow a healthy blue colour. Chariscarpia opened her eyes and smiled broadly.

    Holding out her hands palm up she said in a voice bereft of any inflection, “Captain, I welcome you aboard my vessel.” She bowed her head and crossed her arms across her chest.

    Dan stepped forward, mimicking her arms out gesture. “I’m Captain Dan Fishlock of the USS Angel. We thank you for allowing us the privilege of being here Chariscarpia (Yes!). On behalf of the people and government of the United Federation of Planets, welcome.” Indicating the three officers behind him he introduced each one.
    “This is my First Officer Commander Katerina Gray.” He knew Kat hated her full name but he thought to himself that’ll teach you to snicker at me. “This is Lieutenant Commander T’Sell, my Chief Science Officer and this is Lieutenant Commander DeSalle my Chief of Security.” He indicated towards Vonny. “Ensign Dixon you’ve already met.”

    “Thank you Captain and thank you Ensign Dixon.” She turned and placed a hand gently on Vonny’s shoulder. “Without your hard work, none of this would be possible.”

    Vonny blushed furiously but mumbled a thank you. Returning her attention to Dan, Chariscarpia became business like again.

    “I have scanned my records Captain and I am now up to date with the situation on the planet below. While there is much I wish to discuss with you concerning my past and my mission, I feel that the safety of those below is of a higher priority right now. Is there any way in which I may offer help?”

    Dan considered for a moment, but was unsure of his answer. Chariscarpia’s technology appeared to at least be on a par with the Federation’s if not beyond from what he had seen so far, but knowing little of it he didn’t know what to suggest. T’Sell rescued him.

    “Sir, if I might suggest?”

    “By all means Commander.”

    “Sir if Chariscarpia agrees, I would like to remain aboard, possibly with a science team. It would help to ascertain in which areas Chariscarpia’s aid could be utilised best.” Dan was almost certain he detected a note of excitement in T’Sell’s voice but chose not to capitalise on it. The thrill of first contact was excitement enough for anybody.

    “Would that be agreeable Chariscarpia?” The name seemed to flow easily now that he had had the chance to use it properly and not embarrass himself.

    She dipped her head in reply, the frond like antennae waving gently with her movement. “Most agreeable Captain; it has been far too long since I had the opportunity for discussion. My ship is at your disposal.”

    Dan sighed with relief. As far as first contacts went, this one was proving much easier than any of the simulations in Command school. One thing still bothered him though. “Our thanks.” He paused. “If I may ask, this is a large vessel and we have detected no other crew aboard.”

    She lowered her head, but this time in what appeared to be sadness. “Captain, it has been almost two hundred of your years since this vessel had a crew. I will relate the details when you have more time, but suffice to say, they are gone. Irrevocably.”

    The pall of sadness that surrounded Chariscarpia as she made that revelation was almost palpable and Dan was moved to say “My condolences.”

    Not wishing to prolong Chariscarpia’s obvious discomfort, Dan turned to T’Sell. “Commander, if you’d like to organise a science team?”

    “Aye Sir.” She turned and tapped her communicator to speak to Angel and Dan turned back to the exotic alien.

    “Ma’am I look forward to talking further with you, and thank you for your forbearance.”

    “You’re welcome Captain.”

    “Sir, request permission to stay aboard as well?” Dixon was almost hopping from foot to foot. “That’s if Chariscarpia doesn’t mind of course?”

    Dan deferred to Chariscarpia on that one. She turned and smiled once more at the young engineer. “It would be my pleasure Ensign. We appear to have struck up quite a rapport.”

    “Thank you Ma’am, Sir!”

    Dan couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm and nodded.

    “If you’ll excuse us then Chariscarpia, we’ll return to our ship. I’ll leave Commander T’Sell to co-ordinate any requirements you may have, and once again thank you for your offer of help.”

    “Captain in my many years of travel there have been times when I dearly wished to offer aid and could not. Now is the time to change that. Good luck.”

    He nodded and tapped his commbadge. “Angel, three to transport back.”


    USS ANGEL – TRANSPORTER ROOM TWO
    ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0350 FST

    As the three officers stepped down from the transporter platform, Dan spoke to the chief on duty.

    “Mr Arum, Commander T’Sell is just rustling up a science team to beam over and Ensign Dixon is remaining aboard Scorpion as well. I don’t expect any issues, but maintain a transporter lock just in case.”

    “Will do Sir”, replied the Trill.

    “If you’ll excuse me Sir, I’d best check in with security control for an update.”

    “Certainly Mr DeSalle, though I’d request once you’ve got an update you delegate to the Gamma shift chief and get some rest.”

    Looking slightly disappointed, he nodded. “Aye Sir, good night.”

    Leaving the transporter room with Kat in tow, he couldn’t help but notice a sparkle of mischief in her tired eyes.

    “Go on; spit it out before you burst.”

    “And I quote, ‘Thank you for your forbearance’ unquote!” Her trademark laugh echoed down the corridor startling a passing medic who ducked reflexively. “Since when did you start to use words like that Captain Fishlock Sir?”

    Dan pinched the bridge of his nose. “See! There’s that whole respect issue again. Why did I decide to surround myself with people who don’t respect my multifaceted skills?” He stopped dead in his tracks. “Did I just say multifaceted?”

    She nodded, barely suppressing another guffaw.

    He sighed and carried on walking, but at least now he had the feeling that things – as bad as they had been – were at last coming under control.
     
  5. unusualsuspex

    unusualsuspex Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk UK
    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
    NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

    13


    ZETHANDER EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CENTRE
    RAINBOW MOUNTAIN
    ZETHANDER
    UFP SPACE

    September 12th 2371 – 0817 FST

    Like many governments across the quadrant, plans for crisis situations revolved primarily around maintaining a coherent chain of command. At any one time on Zethander a senior government official was delegated to be at the Rainbow Mountain safe facility. In the mere hundred or so years of the colony’s history, and despite their relative proximity to the Tzenkethi borders, there had never arisen a need to evacuate the seat of government here.

    However, the regular rehearsals for just such an eventuality had paid off in the overnight crisis. All but two of the twelve elected council members had been ferried to the safe haven built deep into the bedrock of Rainbow Mountain some forty kilometres south of Coral City. Sadly one of those missing was the Planetary Governor Carnac Ferith.

    He and his wife had been attending the opening of a brand new complex on the Coral City waterfront and although when the emergency call went out his security detail checked in to say they were airborne and safely en route, nothing further had been heard from them.

    For the time being, temporary control had passed to the Deputy Governor, a striking Vulcan woman named T'Prar, who had retired to Zethander after the death of her husband. Her return to politics had been unintentional, but the role suited her and until now it had been an almost bucolic mission.

    “Council members, I pronounce this emergency session of the Zethander Planetary Government in session. Those present include myself Deputy Governor T’Prar, Transportation and Communication Minister Enrik Tharl, Trade and Commerce Minister Arianne Morgan, Industry Minister Carl Hagan, Agriculture Minister Asheth Penraj, Energy Minister Conrad Harbin, Minister for Health Tanya Edwards, Planetary Security Minister Kerry Ethlan, Planetary Development Minister Belle Zeth and Militia Forces Representative General Argan Mendark.”

    Looking around the table she saw tired and frightened faces. Even the expression on General Mendark’s face betrayed the stress and tension he was under.

    “Those absent,” she continued quietly, “include Planetary Governor Carnac Ferith and Immigration Minister Patricia Hoyt, both currently missing following last nights events.”
    She sat down at the head of the table and folded her hands in front of her, taking a deep cleansing breath before continuing.

    “If you would all study your PADDs, as pro tem Head of State, it is my duty to instigate PROJECT FIREBREAK which you will see described in detail there.”

    Her opening words were purely for the recorder as each member of the Emergency Council was well aware of PROJECT FIREBREAK and had rehearsed its implementation in exercises many times. Putting it into practice now could prove much different however.

    “Before I outline further individual areas of responsibility, I would like a brief update from each of you as to the current state of your departments and their ongoing operations. Enrik, if you would start please.”

    Before the dour faced career politician had a chance to begin however, General Mendark tentatively raised his hand. T’Prar turned towards the grey haired political representative of the Zethander military and noticed the dark circles around his eyes. His uniform, normally immaculately pressed was both rumpled and smudged with dirt, something she had never seen before.

    “General?”

    “Ma’am, begging Minister Tharl’s forgiveness, but I’d like to make my report and get back out in the field? Right now there are a thousand and one things happening out there that I need to be co-ordinating.”

    Tharl waved a weary hand and nodded for Mendark to proceed.

    “Thank you Minister Tharl. Vice Governor, Ministers, I’m sure you’re well aware that right now it’s a serious mess out there. In the worst hit areas we have no power, communications or municipal systems at all. Further inland and away from the impact zones, whatever facilities we do have are disrupted to varying degrees. Unfortunately this is affecting rescue and recovery operations.”

    Kerry Ethlan, the Planetary Security Minister seemed surprised. “I can understand power being a problem as well as the municipal facilities, but why communications and transport?”

    Mendark sighed. “If you recall Ma’am, some while ago I requested that the communications centres for the military received further hardening against electro magnetic pulse effects and was told that it was a low priority.” She nodded. “Well there’s a decision that’s come back to bite us in the ass.” Ethlan blanched at the comment, but the General continued, his ire rising. “When the Borg ship exploded overland, whatever lit off in there gave us a mighty fine EMP blast. It didn’t wipe out communications totally but its left us severely handicapped. The tidal wave took out everything that was left on the coastal stretch which is exactly where we need it most.”

    In an attempt to recover, Ethlan blustered. “That still doesn’t explain why the military’s transports can’t do their jobs. Or are they lacking in some way as well?”

    Mendark was by this stage tired, irritated and behind schedule and his comment showed it. “With respect Ma’am, we could have a fleet of luxury starliners working over Coral City but without communications, just how in hell do we co-ordinate it?”

    Ethlan’s mouth opened and closed several times without making a sound. Seeing that he’d made his point, Mendark turned his attention back to T’Prar.

    “Ma’am, despite the superb work by the USS Angel and the civilian crews last night, we’re looking at upwards of 10,000 dead and twice that number injured throughout the disaster zones. I’ve no doubt whatsoever that number will rise as we get further into the operation.” He opened a page on his PADD. “Right now I have several requests.”

    T’Prar nodded for him to continue.

    “Firstly, I need to relocate Command and Control to the Angel. She has a better overall capacity at the moment and I’ll supervise from there.”

    Nodding, T’Prar said, “Captain Fishlock has already volunteered whatever facilities we may need. I cannot see that being a problem, I’ll action that immediately.”

    “Thank you Ma’am. Secondly, I hate to do this but I request that within specified areas, a state of martial law be declared.”

    That stirred up a hornets nest.

    The General ignored all the angry comments thrown at him and focussed solely on T’Prar. “It’s not something that ANY of us want Ma’am, but I need to restore authority into areas that are falling apart. I can’t do that with bouquets of flowers.” He turned to Agriculture Minister Asheth Penraj, the loudest complainant. “Minister Penraj, were you aware that pieces of Borg wreckage fell on and around Widemeadow?”

    Widemeadow was a small town some 40 kilometres south of Coral City and Mendark was well aware that it was Penraj’s home town.

    The Minister’s face turned ashen at the report. “No I was not aware of that General.”

    “Neither was I until shortly before this meeting Minister. It’s torn a hole two kilometres long through the suburbs and right now there’s panic and rising lawlessness.” Mendark regretted the sharp way he’d delivered the news, but it appeared to have silenced the objections.

    “Ma’am?”

    T’Prar studied the faces around the table and seeing no further dissension nodded her acceptance. “Approved General within the strictures of Standing Government Security Order 5.”

    “In that case Ma’am, Ministers, if you’ll excuse me I have work to attend to.”

    “Thank you General.” T’Prar looked at him with conviction. “Do your best.”

    As he strode from the room, she silently wished him luck because she knew that he, like all of those in this room, was going to need it.

    ******

    As the General exited the large air lock seal that protected the Rainbow Mountain facility, Captain Thomas Rousseau watched him closely. He had a great deal of respect for the ex-Starfleet Marine and knew that if anybody could pull this mess together it would be Mendark.

    “So where are we at General?”

    Rousseau fell into step with his CO and for a while there was silence as Mendark considered his next move. Finally as they approached the General’s shuttle he stopped.

    “Tom, I want you to rustle up a HazTeam from Tango Control. Get them out to Widemeadow and I’ll drop you off there to take command. Head from there up to Bayview then work east towards Haven. I need a sitrep of what’s happening on the ground as soon as possible Tom.”

    “Comms are out at Tango Sir but I’ll check out Widemeadow then hitch a ride with a garrison transport. I can pick up the HazTeam and head north to Bayview from Tango.”

    Mendark checked his PADD and nodded. “Ok, seems good Tom. We’ve been granted Security Order 5 so if there are any areas that look bad you’ll need to call in the troops.”

    As they climbed aboard the military shuttle and lifted, Rousseau took a final long look at the tranquil surroundings of Rainbow Mountain knowing that Widemeadow was likely to be quite the opposite.


    USS ANGEL – CRISIS CONTROL CENTRE
    ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0830 FST


    “Vice Governor, please tell General Mendark that whatever aid we can offer is his, either here or on planet.”

    The stately Vulcan inclined her head. “Thank you again Captain Fishlock. Do you have any further update on the arrival of the engineering and supply vessels?”

    Checking the status board, Dan grimaced. “Still around 60 hours before the USS Brunel can reach us Ma’am and the USS Mainstay will be here about 16 hours after that.”

    T’Prar smiled in sympathy. “Don’t worry Captain. I’m well aware that even Starfleet can’t change the laws of physics.” She looked off-screen as her name was called. “Captain, I have to go but General Mendark will be contacting you directly to organize his needs. Once again thank you.”

    As the screen faded back to the familiar UFP logo, Dan was only too well aware that they’d been in the right place at the right time otherwise it might have been the Angel that was three days away.

    He looked around at the hushed activity in C3 and realised that his presence here was only likely to interfere so made his way back through the connecting passageway on to the bridge. The atmosphere here was the same mix of professional calm and Dan stepped around to Science 1.

    “So Ensign, did the hull scans pick anything up?”

    “Yes Sir, but the Borg debris was inert.” Kara Asheen had stepped in to cover the position while T’Sell was aboard Scorpion and Dan was impressed as she continued. “I had workbee crews out to clear it anyway but I believe that our navigational deflectors stopped the majority of it contacting the hull. All areas have now been sterilized.”

    Dan gave a sigh of relief at the news and turned to DeSalle at tactical. “Commander, you can stand the security teams down from general quarters. It would appear that we won’t be expecting the Borg after all.”

    “Aye Sir.”

    “Good work Ensign. Commander DeSalle, you have the bridge. I’ll be in my ready room if I’m needed.”

    As DeSalle took the centre seat, LJ moved across from his auxiliary console to replace him at tactical, and Dan left the bridge feeling confident that Angel and her crew had proved themselves above and beyond the basic tenets of their mission brief. It was a good feeling.
     
  6. unusualsuspex

    unusualsuspex Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk UK
    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
    NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

    13 (cont)

    WIDEMEADOW GARRISON LANDING FIELD
    ZETHANDER
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0856 FST


    As the shuttle boosted for orbit, Rousseau watched it dwindle in the clear blue sky. The rain that had swept through after the previous night’s calamity had cleared to leave the garrison compound smelling fresh, but he knew that was only because they were upwind of the shattered suburbs of Widemeadow.

    As they’d flown over on the way in, he’d seen the deep, smoking scar across almost two kilometres of scattered housing that had been the final unintentional strike by part of the Borg cube. A large segment of it still sat at the head of the charred trail it had carved through the small town; dark, ominous and according to the onsite team, lifeless.

    “Captain Rousseau?” He turned to see one of the combat engineers waving from atop the dark green Rhino, an eight wheeled APC that was the work horse of the ground troops here. Jogging over, he entered through the open front ramp and climbed up into the command seat, donning the comms headset as he did so.

    Trying once again to raise Tango all he received by way of reply was scratchy static that may have contained a voice, but it was totally unreadable. He’d have to try again as they got closer to Tango, but in the meantime he had a job to do.

    “Alright sergeant, let’s go see what it’s like down there.”

    As the big machine hummed into motion, Rousseau couldn’t help think how ironic it was that just 24 hours earlier he’d been considering requesting a posting to somewhere with a little more action.


    TANGO CONTROL – SERVICE DUCTS
    ZETHANDER
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0900 FST


    Lieutenant Magda Petrov stank, and she didn’t care because right now it was all that stood in the way of an untimely and terrifying alternative. Death.

    Crawling along on hands and knees wearing only her underwear, she prayed that there was actually an exit in this direction. Although the conduit she crawled through was relatively intact here, she knew that following the impact of several small asteroids in the general area many of the underground passages had fractured and in some cases collapsed altogether.

    As she rounded the turn in the passage, she cursed vehemently as she saw the pool of stagnant filth that had accumulated below the shattered roof. It really didn’t matter how deep the pool was, she wasn’t about to risk poisoning herself by trying to swim in it until she’d exhausted all her other alternatives, and so turned around in the narrow confines to try a different route. She only hoped she had the time.


    WIDEMEADOW – IMPACT ZONE
    ZETHANDER
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0906 FST


    Up close, the fragment of cube was even more imposing than it had been on their approach. Rising some 20 metres above the lip of the impact trail, it cast a shadow over the surrounding remains of destroyed housing. Rousseau could see remnants of Borg regeneration chambers within the tangle of smashed pipes, cables and bulkheads. Here and there, shattered drones lay at odd angles, their menace perhaps even more enhanced by their lack of limbs or heads.

    Stepping from the Rhino, he approached the lieutenant in charge of the security detail, a man he recognised from Tango Control.

    “Lieutenant Stebbings, any updates?”

    “Nothing Sir. The wreckage and the drones are all inert and damage is restricted to this site. We’ve done a full rescue and recovery sweep, but it was mainly bodies Sir.” He looked up at the wreckage and shivered. “Damn thing gives me the creeps.”

    Rousseau could only nod in agreement. “Seconded.” He checked the chrono on his PADD and realised that the situation here was well in hand. “I’ll be taking the Rhino out to Tango. Any luck contacting them?”

    Stebbings shook his head, “Nothing yet Sir. Last we heard the impacts had caused some local collapses. Could be they’ve lost some of the conduits out to comms.”

    “Alright, for now route it all via Rainbow Mountain. They’re forwarding it all on to General Mendark. I’ll check with Tango when I get there.” Taking one last look at the brooding monolith, he stepped back into the Rhino and considered himself lucky to be leaving the Borg behind him.


    USS ANGEL – CAPTAIN’S READY ROOM
    ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0920 FST


    “I don’t know how you could let them butcher her like that. It’s a travesty!”

    Dan Fishlock smiled having expected some such comment.

    “That’s my ship you’re insulting Bill! Besides, you’re only jealous because you’re still hauling spare parts you pirate!”

    Captain William Johnson shook his head in mock exasperation. “Dan, if you can spend the rest of your tour in a mobile hospital then I’m proud of you. Hope Megan doesn’t get jealous about all those pretty nurses though!”

    “You, Captain Johnson, are a middle aged letch.” Dan leered unconvincingly at the pickup. “And you’re jealous!”

    “I refuse to dignify that with a reply.” Johnson turned as his first officer passed him a PADD, and reading it he smiled. “Looks like we’ve shaved a few hours off the journey Dan. We’re estimating in system at 1625 hours, about 54 hours?”

    “Nice work Bill.” Dan knew that every hour counted in getting the emergency supplies in and appreciated even the smallest saving in time. “I’ll get ops to relay the latest on the asteroid shift. It’s really messed up approach patterns.”

    “Appreciate that Dan. Any change in ETA and we’ll relay it. Oh and don’t scratch the nice new ship!”

    Johnson’s brief guffaw rang out as he terminated the connection and Dan couldn’t resist a smile. He’d known Bill since Command training and had spent his last leave with Bill’s family in the small town of Ashland, Nebraska enjoying one of his legendary barbecues.

    His reverie was cut short as the door chimed.

    “Come in if it’s good news.”

    The door slid aside to reveal Commander Anthony Winston looking tired but at least smiling.

    “Anthony, take a seat before you fall down.”

    Stifling a yawn, Winston shook his head. “No that’s fine thank you. It’s only a brief visit but I wanted to update you in person.”

    Dan knew the surgery teams had been in constant operation since the start of this crisis. Add to that the hundreds of minor injuries that had been treated and he could well understand Winston’s fatigued look.

    “The O.R.s are just finishing up now and if you’re basing it on statistics we did well.” He wiped his face with his hands. “Of the casualties we treated, 76% are back on their feet, 16% are still on wards but fine and 4% are in Critical Care but stable.”

    Dan did the mental maths and realised that still left 4% and he felt fairly certain that Winston was agonising over that figure. In an attempt to divert the torment, he asked “How are the teams holding up?”

    “Considering we weren’t expecting this so soon out of dock, they’ve reacted splendidly. It’s certainly proved the concept.”

    Dan smiled to himself at the big man’s cultured English accent and his use of the word “splendidly”.

    “I’d appreciate it if you could pass on my thanks to them Anthony.” Winston nodded. “And dare I advise the CMO to get some sleep?”

    “Oh I always listen to advice Sir.” He grinned as he left the ready room. “If I get the time, I may even take it.”


    TANGO CONTROL – SERVICE DUCTS
    ZETHANDER
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0922 FST


    After another collapsed conduit and then a dead end with a sealed metal plate, Petrov was starting to become desperate. She realised that as of right now, she was living on borrowed time. Having been trapped in the underground labyrinth without her commbadge for almost eight hours, and with no safe exit in sight, her outlook was bleak and becoming more so by the second.

    She sat with her arms wrapped around her legs, her shivering at odds with the close, humid atmosphere. Keep moving she reprimanded herself, though the dark spectre of what lay around her added to the chill in her bones. Keep moving!


    TANGO CONTROL – SECURITY CHECKPOINT
    ZETHANDER
    UFP SPACE
    September 12th 2371 – 0925 FST


    Rousseau watched from the command position in the Rhino as the force field protecting the entrance to Tango Control dissolved and the vehicle rumbled forward. It seemed as though the base certainly still had power but even now he couldn’t raise anybody on his communicator.

    As the transport pulled up beside the command post, he told the Sergeant to round up the first available HazTeam and meet him back here in 30 minutes. In the meantime, Rousseau wanted to try and contact the General to see if there was a shuttle not already tied up in rescue service that he could commandeer for his site inspection. The thought of being cooped up in the Rhino for hours didn’t appeal at all.

    As the outer blast doors swung closed behind him, the security monitor inside passed over and around to scan him. Standing patiently through the familiar operation, he allowed it to take a retinal and palm scan before the inner doors slid aside to allow him entry.

    The darkness inside came as a surprise as did the humid air that greeted him. Seems like not everything’s working the way it should be he thought.

    “Down here Captain,” he heard the tired voice of one of the command post non-comms call to him. In the dimly lit and humid surroundings it sounded hollow and carried an odd echo.

    Walking through into the ops centre, his first shock was to see that most of the equipment was dark and the rest patched together in a bizarre and unorthodox tangle of cables and conduits. As he suddenly realised what he was seeing, his second and ultimately final shock came as something dark and overpowering wrapped around his neck. Unable to make a sound, he slipped into darkness with the scream stillborn in his throat.
     
  7. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Commentary on Chapter 3

    There were a number of really terrific moments here, notably the character interaction between Winston and Pulaski. I’ve always been a fan of Pulaski’s character, and I wished she’d got more than a single season on TNG for viewers to get to know her. Winston’s words of wisdom (alliterative, aren’t I? :D) rang true here as he tries to nudge Pulaski back on course.

    The problems with launching the fighters while the ship is maneuvering hard hits the mark and seems to be one of those little nitpicky details that falls through the cracks until someone gets killed. Fortunately, the crew chief was savvy enough to realize the danger before the issue raised its ugly head in the middle of an actual combat scenario.

    Interesting mess on the horizon with the Federation taking in Tzenkethi refugees. I can’t wait to see where you take things from here.
     
  8. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Commentary on Chapter 4

    As I’ve not read your Academy series I’m not familiar with your cadet characters, but from what little I’ve read of them they’re well-drawn and engaging.

    The doctor’s finally onboard, and with only a slight layover to fix the fighter-launch problem, Angel’s nearly ready for open space.

    Again, wonderful crew interactions from a variety of species assigned to the ship. You’ve got a knack for establishing characters from the word ‘go.’ :bolian:
     
  9. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Commentary on Chapter 5

    Now I’m wondering if Guinan is going to be joining the Angel’s crew? If so, that would be quite the coup for them… though she does tend to bring a lot of baggage (and hats) with her (Q anyone?). I’m curious to see how this little meeting goes as I’ve got a soft spot for El-Aurians. ;)

    The cadets are starting to get the sense of really being out in the universe, far from their comrades and loved ones at the academy.

    Spider and Dingbat made away nicely with the tech they needed, but was that a little too easy? I guess we’ll find out.
     
  10. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Commentary on Chapter 6

    Ah-ha, so not Guinan after all, but her daughter! Clever move, and it allows us to get to know a different personality than the one we’ve come to know on TV. I’m eager to see what changes she brings to Angel’s crew lounge.

    Spider and Dingbat outdid themselves on that project, and I’m pleased to see them getting the recognition they and their team deserve from the captain and XO.

    And it appears some of the crew have more talents than might be obvious upon first glance.
     
  11. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Commentary on Chapter 7

    Wow. :eek: 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.
     
  12. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    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.
     
  13. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    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!
     
  14. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    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!
     
  15. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    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. :lol:
     
  16. unusualsuspex

    unusualsuspex Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk UK
    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.
     
  17. unusualsuspex

    unusualsuspex Captain Captain

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    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: Oct 15, 2009
  18. unusualsuspex

    unusualsuspex Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk UK
    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.
     
  19. unusualsuspex

    unusualsuspex Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk UK
    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
    NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

    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.”
     
  20. unusualsuspex

    unusualsuspex Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norfolk UK
    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios.
    NO infringement is intended. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009.

    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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