Star Trek: Tesseract

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by kes7, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. KimMH

    KimMH Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeay to you for adding Dctr Bashir to the ships complement! I always liked him and found the dislike he generated from fans puzzling. You are getting to be my guilty pleasure at work. Yeay you!!! Thanks for the new installment! :bolian:
     
  2. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I figured it was a risky move as far as possibly turning a few people off (I also fail to understand the Bashir hate, but I know it's there), but he always wanted to practice frontier medicine, and there's no frontier quite like the DQ. By the time this story takes place, he's 44 and ready for a big assignment like this ... he seemed a pretty natural choice. I kept trying to write it for someone else, but Bashir kept popping back into my mind, and I've got a lot for him to do as the story progresses. Glad that you, at least, do not object! :)
     
  3. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

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

    You're building a taut drama here, with an undercurrent of mystery and highlighted by terrific, well-rounded characters.
     
  4. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, The Doctor (like most of the Voyager crew) flatly refused to return to the Quadrant of the Damned. They were left with little choice. ;)

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

    Icheb is having a very bad day, indeed. I like Icheb, so I hope his day gets better ... oh, wait, I'm writing this story. :lol:
     
  5. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CHAPTER TEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Understood,” replied the Denobulan.

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

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

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

    “How are you feeling?” he asked Icheb.

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

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

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

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

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

    “Why didn’t you say anything?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    "Understood, Captain," acknowledged Borux.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    As John turned to walk away, Icheb stepped into his quarters. He slowly crossed the room and laid down on the modified bed that served as his regeneration alcove. With a few quick taps on the small console beside him, he manually activated the regeneration cycle and instantly fell into a dreamless sleep.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  6. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The mystery deepens. Who's probing Icheb through his implants, and why?

    Quigley may have been acting out of concern for his friend, but he disobeyed orders and my have inadvertently endangered the ship and crew. I'm wondering if the captain is going to have a 'come-to-Jesus' discussion with him about the chain-of-command.

    Terrific stuff all the way around. :bolian:
     
  7. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Have to say, what a way to ramp up the mystery and suspense. At first, I was worried that things were moving too quickly with the reappearance of the Borg. But the mystery underlining their destruction and who exactly probed Icheb means to say that I was wrong-footed and the story is unfolding nicely. Good stuff.
     
  8. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

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    I wasn't so sure about adding Bashir to the crew but it makes sense that he has been chosen for this mission. I'm curious to see what you'll do with him.

    I like that Quingley ordered the slipstream jump even if he disobeyed orders from Icheb. Nothing like having a slightly flawed character around whose humanity might outweigh his sense of duty. It remains to be seen if he made horrible mistake.

    In any case, the story will be richer for it. Well done.
     
  9. PSGarak

    PSGarak Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm really glad you directed me to this. So far, I'm enjoying it very much. You have good pacing, and you sustain suspense very well without being heavy handed. Also, bonus that Dr. Bashir is on board! I can't wait to see what you do with him.
     
  10. KimMH

    KimMH Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    another crummy crazed day at work another 50cents . . . yeay! another Tesseract installment! I'm much better now! Thank You!
     
  11. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The fact that my new hobby improved someone else's day absolutely makes my day.

    Everyone else, thanks so much for reading, and for the comments. More to come, soon!
     
  12. KimMH

    KimMH Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  13. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CHAPTER ELEVEN

    Adele took a deep breath and straightened her uniform before entering the large conference room on deck eight of the Tesseract. The mission advisory board was already seated around the massive table, and behind them was an enormous window looking out over the recreation area two decks below. She could see quite a few crewmen down there, running around the giant track, playing games, relaxing and getting to know one another.

    She hoped she would have time for some of that herself someday soon, but for now, she had to report on the situation at Aris 4 to the group of five men and women who would either provide her with wise counsel or make her life a living hell for the next seven years. She had been handed this mission with the caveat that it was too important to leave to one captain, and so the mission advisory board had been created. A flag officer, two retired starship captains, a counselor and a Federation lawyer comprised the board. Walking in blind, it was the lawyer who scared her most.

    For the most part, Starfleet had promised her, she would have autonomy to make decisions as she deemed appropriate. But with regard to situations that were likely to affect the entire Delta Quadrant, let alone the galaxy, she was to seek the opinions of the advisory board. Only the flag officer had the authority to directly overrule Adele’s decisions, and -- at least theoretically -- only during very specific situations. Of course, since he could easily be influenced by any of the other four, she would have to play nicely with all of them.

    Adele had scheduled this meeting as soon as the subspace message had come in from the Sol reporting their initial findings. At first, she hadn’t been sure whether to be relieved or disappointed that all five members of the board were already on board the Tesseract. After the events of this morning, though, she was grateful for any help she could get. As she walked into the room, the entire group, save for one, rose to greet her.

    Standing behind the conference table were two retired Captains, a Bolian named Drare, and a human named Mario Alvarez. Next to them stood Federation lawyer Eleanor Gentry, a human woman of about thirty-five with a wild shock of chin-length frizzy blond curls. Next to Eleanor was counselor Taran Madar, a younger Betazoid female with close-cropped dark brown hair and the black eyes characteristic of her species. Admiral Shane Beckley alone remained seated. Adele noted that he had not brought his aide to the meeting. The Admiral leaned back in his chair and assessed her with a coldly critical eye as she introduced herself to the group.

    “Hello. Thank you for convening on such short notice. As you know, I’m Captain Adele Oyugo, commanding officer of the Tesseract. I apologize for this meeting being so hastily called, but by now, I’m sure you’re aware of the situation our away team encountered at Aris 4 early this morning. The PADDs I distributed to your quarters this morning contain the data collected by the away team, as well as the preliminary analyses by both the away team and our senior staff here on the Tesseract.” Adele smoothed her uniform out one more time as she sat down at the table.

    “To summarize for any of you who may not have had time to review the data, we have evidence of several Borg cubes in the Aris system, all decimated by a subspace explosion so large its shockwave destroyed a small planet thousands of kilometers away and tore a hole in subspace. We have an energy signature of unknown origin, but no evidence of any ships in the vicinity other than the destroyed Borg vessels. The energy signature does not appear to be naturally occurring. It actually shares many characteristics with the Borg weapons signatures we have on file, but it is not an exact match to anything we’ve seen before.”

    Adele stopped to catch her breath before continuing, “Given the situation, Starfleet has decided to send one of the new Altair-class ships to further investigate the area around Aris 4, with reinforcements to follow as they are able. With the slipstream drive, an Altair class can be there within a day as soon as they get a crew together, but it will obviously take longer for the older starships. There are three ships currently within three days’ journey from Aris 4, so they are being rerouted. We’ll be notified of their additional findings, if any. We are not being asked to return to Aris 4.”

    “Moving on from facts to analysis,” Adele continued, “all the senior staff officers who weren’t assigned to the away mission met early this morning to analyze the data we received from the Sol. The most logical suggestion was that this was some kind of Borg experiment gone awry,” she said. “The lack of evidence of any other ships in the vicinity and the similarities between the possible weapons signature and the Borg signatures we’ve seen suggest it to be a reasonable theory. But it doesn’t explain what the Borg are doing in this part of the galaxy, or how they even got here, since the USS Voyager destroyed the transwarp hub that led to the Alpha Quadrant eight years ago, not to mention the Queen's Unicomplex. So we're still trying to generate additional theories.”

    “Perhaps the Borg have adapted to the damage done by Voyager,” said Drare quietly. The group paused for a moment as the implications of his statement sunk in.

    Taran, the counselor, broke the silence. “Captain?” she asked. Adele looked over at her. “I’m wondering why Commander Icheb is not present at this meeting. Since he led the away team, and has much more experience with the Borg than any of us in this room, I would be interested in hearing his perspective.”

    “I’m getting to that,” Adele replied with a sigh. “Commander Icheb is in his quarters regenerating. Something happened to him on the mission that also can’t be explained by a mere self-contained accident or test gone wrong. While the away team was well on their way back to the Tesseract, something, or someone activated his neural transceiver -- ”

    “I’m sorry, his what?” said Eleanor Gentry, the lawyer, cutting Adele off.

    “All Borg drones are fitted with a neural transceiver as part of their cortical array,” explained Adele. “In the case of a liberated drone like Commander Icheb, it is a component that cannot be removed without risk of serious injury or death. It works like a subspace communications system, allowing drones to communicate over vast distances.”

    “Isn’t that a security risk?” asked Eleanor, with a surprised look. Admiral Beckley, still silent, smirked at this. Adele wondered if he agreed with the lawyer’s assessment.

    “Yes,” admitted Adele. “It has caused problems in the past when liberated drones have served on Starfleet vessels. More to the point, it presented a problem today. As I was saying, Commander Icheb’s neural transceiver was activated and used as a portal to probe his neural pathways -- ”

    Eleanor interrupted again. “I’m sorry, Captain, but I’m a lawyer, not a doctor, and I didn’t minor in Borg studies, either. Can you simplify this at all?” Her tone was impatient.

    “I’ll try, Ms. Gentry, but please understand that the very nature of the Borg dictates that any discussion concerning them usually requires a fair amount of technological literacy,” Adele said, trying to keep an impatient edge from creeping into her own voice. “If you have questions about technical terms, perhaps you can ask them of Commander Icheb or the Chief Medical Officer at a later time.” Eleanor reluctantly nodded her assent.

    “As I was saying, something performed an invasive scan of Commander Icheb’s neural pathways. He went into neural shock and collapsed in the ready room of the Sol. He was treated for shock and some associated pain and released to his quarters to regenerate about three hours ago. My understanding is that the regeneration cycle takes six hours, so it will be some time before any of you can speak to him about this.”

    “So, what would this scan of the neural pathways have shown someone?” asked Mario Alvarez, one of the retired captains.

    “I don’t know,” replied Adele. “I don’t know how long the connection was active, and I honestly don’t know how much information Commander Icheb’s brain and cortical array has stored. Everything since he was liberated from the Collective, I suppose, plus whatever he retained from his time inside the Collective. I imagine in terms of pure data, the amount of information is huge. Much of it is classified by Starfleet, so obviously, this is a huge security problem. But there’s no way to tell how much information was received by whatever, or whoever initiated the probe. I haven’t been able to discuss the matter with him yet because of his condition.”

    “Have you notified Starfleet?” asked Eleanor.

    Adele nodded. “Yes, I contacted the fleet first. They’ve ordered us to proceed on schedule to the Delta Quadrant, but with significant alterations to our flight plan in case our original plans were intercepted. We’ve also issued new security codes, which Commander Icheb does not have, yet. So now, I just have to decide what to do about the situation with the commander.”

    The surprisingly taciturn Admiral Beckley smiled at this. His grin sent chills down Adele’s spine, because there was absolutely no feeling behind it. Her enhanced Betazoid perception told her nothing about this man or his motivations. It was like sitting across from a hologram. His face displayed a single expression -- a sort of smug conceit -- but there was no feeling to it, at least not that she could sense. Her unease around Icheb was nothing compared to the downright creepy feeling she had sitting across the table from Admiral Beckley. Hell, she’d take the entire Borg Collective over this guy right about now. How had he ever made Admiral? And did she really have to spend the next seven years trying to keep him satisfied with her work? Adele suppressed a shudder.

    She pushed her thoughts about Admiral Beckley aside and forced herself to address the topic at hand. “I’d considered confining Commander Icheb, at least temporarily, to an area of the ship with a strong dampening field to prevent any further incursions into his mind while we try to figure out what happened. He could continue to perform his duties as First Officer, preparing schedules, reviewing department reports, serving an advisory role ... but his movement around the ship would be restricted. However, I’m extremely hesitant to take this course of action. For one thing, it seems like punishment, and he hasn’t done anything wrong; in fact, his service over the past few days on board has been exemplary. For another, I’m not sure we can create a strong enough dampening field that won’t have a deleterious effect on his implants.”

    “So what are you going to do?” asked Taran, who sounded truly curious. It was clear she had forgotten her role as counselor for the moment, as she stared across the table at Adele, her black eyes wide with interest.

    Adele paused for a moment and glanced around the table before answering, “I honestly think that maybe we should just let this play out -- have him wear a modified cortical monitor at all times and see if it happens again. If we can create a contingency plan, a temporary kill switch of sorts for the neural transceiver, we can minimize the risk of both security breach and injury to Commander Icheb while learning much more about whatever it is that’s trying to get inside his head.”

    Drare, Mario and Taran all nodded thoughtfully. Eleanor looked noticeably skeptical, but said nothing. Admiral Beckley sat staring at Adele, still an empty emotional slate. The shiver went down her spine again. “Admiral Beckley,” she said, “You’ve been very quiet. May I have your thoughts on all of this?”

    Again, he smiled his creepy blank smile. “Well, regarding the situation at Aris 4, we have our orders, and as for the situation with your executive officer, it sounds like you know exactly what you want to do, Captain. You’re in command here. What do you need my opinion for?”

    Taran, sensing Adele’s unease, jumped in, suddenly all counselor again. “Sir, I believe the Captain is asking for a second opinion because she feels there may be something she has missed. The events of the last twelve hours are a lot for one Captain to process, especially during a time as chaotic as the launch of a mission.”

    “Indeed,” said Admiral Beckley, shifting his soulless gaze from Adele to Taran. Taran looked almost as uncomfortable under his stare as Adele had felt a moment earlier, however, no one beyond the two telepaths seemed to be bothered by the Admiral. Adele made a mental note to seek Taran out later and discuss the matter.

    “Well,” Beckley finally said, turning back to Adele, “I’ve nothing to add. I’m not here to run your ship, Captain. My job concerns the bigger picture. I believe you can handle your staff problems.” The content of his words should have reassured Adele, but his cold, almost flippant tone only served to unnerve her more.

    Mario Alvarez spoke up from across the table. “I think your idea is a good one, if Commander Icheb is agreeable to it, that is. We still haven’t heard what he thinks.”

    “Let’s reconvene tonight after the launch ceremony,” said Adele. “I’ll brief Commander Icheb. I'm hoping he'll be able to speculate more productively as to what we might have discovered today. Say, 21:00 hours?” Four advisers nodded their heads. Admiral Beckley didn’t disagree. “21:00 it is, then. We’ll meet back here.”

    As the meeting adjourned, Adele rushed out of the room. She headed for the bridge, fighting a wave of nausea. Sitting face to face with the human void that was Admiral Beckley had shaken her badly. She usually tried not to put too much stock in the feelings her part-Betazoid genetics allowed her to read from others, but at the same time, she had never before met a human who didn’t give off any emotional data at all. She found it unsettling, to say the least.

    She walked through the doors to the bridge and proceeded directly to her ready room, barely acknowledging the bridge officers as she passed by. Sitting down at her desk, she quickly brought up Admiral Beckley’s file, looking for some clue as to his strange lack of personality. She was rather disappointed to see that the file was entirely ordinary. Beckley had made a truly unremarkable progression from cadet to admiral over a period of three decades. His previous assignment had been on Earth, working in Starfleet Intelligence. At 54, he was on the young side for Admiralty, though not abnormally so, and was unmarried, which made him a perfect candidate for a seven-year mission to the Delta Quadrant.

    She wondered if she would get any more information by contacting a few friends and asking questions, but she didn’t have time for that at the moment. She had a disciplinary issue to address. She rose and got a glass of water from the replicator, then sat back down at her desk, tapping her combadge. “Captain Oyugo to Lieutenant Quigley, report to my ready room immediately.”
     
  14. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego
    Great stuff here. Will be interesting to see what we find out about Beckley as it goes on...I AM so happy that Captain Kirk didn't have to answer to a board like this; he would have been in trouble long ago!! Reminds me, in a way, of the Adama/Council stuff on BSG. But you are giving it your own feel to it...

    Keep it going..love the intrigue!!!

    Rob
     
  15. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sector 001
    Thanks! I'm one of the last five people on Earth who haven't seen the new BSG, but I know everyone loves it so I'll take any comparison as a compliment.
     
  16. PSGarak

    PSGarak Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    PSGarak takes candy from babies.
    I'm another one of those last five people. Kind of hard for me when I don't have cable or satellite. (By choice, at least, so it's not like I can really gripe.)

    And I loved the update. The Admiral is a total creepazoid.
     
  17. kes7

    kes7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sector 001
    Yes, we ditched cable and satellite, too, and our lives are mostly better for it ... but I did miss out on BSG. I wonder if Hulu has it.

    Thanks for reading. Creepazoid? Is that a new species? :lol:
     
  18. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Continued excellence! A board like this must be a living hell for a starship captain. Even the thought that your decisions might be overruled or amended must stick in Oyugo’s craw. It’s like having her status changed to commander-but-not-necessarily-master of her vessel. And here she’s having to consult with them even before Tesseract’s departed the Alpha Quadrant! :scream:

    I can see Admiral Beckley is going to be an issue. His unremarkable service file and Oyugo’s inability to read him are potential problem indicators. I wonder if he’s genuinely human, or if he has some kind of technological gadgetry that makes him intentionally unreadable to the captain? If so, it seems that there may be other agendas at work here, ones that other people or groups may not want Oyugo privy to.

    I’m looking forward to her conversation with Lt. Quigley. You can tell a lot about a commanding officer by how they tackle issues of discipline with their crew.

    I’m eagerly anticipating more of this terrific story.
     
  19. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    I like this segment for the introduction of the advisory board. It appears to be a novel idea in Trek but it is great way to create some interesting conflicts which, say Janeway, never had to deal with while she was gallavanting around the Delta Quadrant.

    This board could be a terrific foil for Adele, especially Beckley who clearly is not her biggest fan. He might be miffed about being relegated to an assignment in which he seemingly has only limited authority. Or maybe it's something else.

    I do agree with Beckley however. Adele went to this board with a matter that she should have delt with on her own as the master and commander of her crew and her vessel. If anything it shows a certain degree of insecurity on her part that she feels the need to refer to the board on this matter at this stage. She's already talked to Command and they've given her the go-ahead. In my opinion there was no further need to consult the board even if some of there opinions may have been useful.

    My two cents.
     
  20. PSGarak

    PSGarak Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    PSGarak takes candy from babies.
    Yes! It looks human, sounds human, but has the ability to induce the willies on sight. Also known as a "Euuuuhhhgghhhh factor" of 10.