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Ch 2: S [D01 | 1642hrs] The Spare Tire

[Director K’treena Dasyn | Bridge | Conclave Arkship V’traeus] Attn: @Havenborn 

Eighty thousand.

That was the number of souls (give or take a few thousand) that she was directly responsible for. The number felt like a curse repeated in the back of her mind, over and over; a chant – a crushing reminder of what rode in the decks below her paws. The hope of her people’s future, those fortunate enough to be chosen by lottery and avoid the slow decay of their home-world; a cruel hand dealt by cosmic fate. Nothing could stop the inevitable. She knew, like every other refugee aboard, that there was no going back. The unstoppable tide of stellar radiation - a plume of hyper-charged particles no shield could withstand - would scour their home of all life, down to the cellular level. An entire system; a whole world and its twin moons – three civilizations – borne apart and raised in isolation until they found each other in maturity.

All gone, except what remained.

Eighty thousand.

A chill raced up her spine, visible to the crew that attended their stations around the central dais where she stood, the multitude of data screens reflected from the pitch black of her eyes. Scarlet hair, dimmed gray from the march of time on a body well into its fourth decade, quivered. The Vermanian Director – diminutive and mouse-like in appearance  – cast her gaze up high to meet the holo-projected images of the giants that stood beside her. They were fellow Directors, each responsible for their own Arkship, their own people within; Dracanii and Lilioqoan.

“We mussst pressss on,” the first snarled without meaning to. Dracanii’s forked tongue flicked out at a constant rhythm, blazing yellow eyes glared wide. The Slyntari people were once fierce predators – and savage warmongers – for the majority of their history. A generation ago, K’treena had no doubt the reptilian race would have gladly left them all to die – taking only those of her own people they required for sustenance.

The grey hairs of K’treena’s elongated brows bobbed in the air for the span of thirty beats of her heart at his comment.

“We agree,” a tinny machine voice translated the sequence of pulsed bio-luminescent diodes embedded in the primary dome lump surrounded by a churning mass of tentacles opposite them. The holographic image of Lilioqoan, Director of the Oaarian Arkship, rotated freely in the artificial liquid tank that served as its life support cradle while the multitude of its limbs performed various tasks beyond view. Unlike the Vermanian and Slyntari Arks, the Oaarian shared a gestalt consciousness; only one was deemed necessary to oversee the mostly automated functionality of their ark. “Time is not our ally,” the machine voice continued as its bulbous, nearly translucent flesh flashed in multi-colored pulses.

Is that fear? An emotive response, finally glimpsed from our high-and-mighty founders, K’treena wondered distractedly, her own nervousness translated into the physical tic of a rapid chitter. “Disagree; yes-yes. Cannot proceed without escort,” her facial fur rippled in annoyance at her telling behavior. This was not the time to be timid, nor could she let the others see her growing anxiety. Her people were counting on her leadership. “Friends, we face much danger now. Yes-yes. Alone in the dark. Romulans show no mercy. Must wait. Yes. Must wait for the escort to return – or word from the Federation -”

The Slyntari hissed loudly in interruption. “You sssent that dissstresss call for nothing. Federation isss nothing. They do nothing. Let usss die, let our worldsss burn. You,” he raised a menacing claw at K’treena, “idle on falssse hopesss. To the pit with the Federation, and their worthlessss Sssstarfleet!”

“This exchange solves nothing. We must act,” Lilioqoan’s machine voice growled. “We calculated for this eventuality; our drones can be re-purposed to provide protection for the flotilla.”

K’treena’s nose twitched in fear. Those same drones had been re-purposed after the last void-conflict, generations ago, that saw billions of her people dead. Thanks to the inherited memories of her bloodline, she knew exactly what they were capable of – which is why the Conclave Accord that bound them together for the past century and a half had strictly forbidden them to be weaponized, ever again.

“No – that is not an option,” she squeaked, raking a paw through the air for emphasis.

“The Conclave holdsss,” Director Dracanii turned his glare upon the Oaarian, fangs bared in a grimace.

Thank the Burrows for that, K’treena sighed in relief, but then the entire bridge erupted in noise around her. “Report!”

Several of the crew spoke up over the ruckus, nearly speaking over one another. “New signals detected – high rate of speed – two signatures – unknown vessels incoming! – unable to lock on, moving too fast – possibly Federation!”

“We confirm – two signatures, broadcasting Federation signatures – unknown vessel classifications.”

“It appearsss to be ssso, but could mean anything thisss far into Romulan ssspace.”

K’treena’s chest heaved as her heartbeat raced. The consequences of their actions would not be looked upon kindly. They had asked, pleaded for help, but to no avail. The bureaucracy of those far away powers-that-be had abandoned the Conclave to its fate. “Distress call answered, has to be! No choice – no choice! Must talk. Explain ourselves. Yes-yes! Ask for assistance!”

“We calculate a high probability of deception and ultimate annihilation in this decision.”

The Slyntari hissed in agreement, but added nothing.

K’treena furrowed her brow as her nose wiggled left, then right, before it set motionless. “Faced death together before, yes-yes. Face it again, if we must,” she told them, then pointed a paw at the communications station. “Open a channel,” the Director ordered, then returned her attention to her fellows. “I will speak with them. Be ready to run, yes-yes, and do not wait for us.”

Beyond and within the confines of their respective Arks, each one a whale-hulled giant compared to the dozens of lesser vessels that hung in the void around the three leviathans, the entire flotilla of the Conclave held its breath, and waited...

Here we have the NPC’s of the convoy established, in a bit of a pickle trying to get somewhere with no escort. Be a damn shame if something happened to ‘em. :) With only two writers it seems a bit redundant to mention the posting order; but sure, @Havenborn  is next then I’ll go again (unless someone else wants in - there's room!). Both of us are eligible for tokens as well. Oh, and don’t bother looking these guys or species up I kinda just poofed them into existence for the lols. Have fun!

Re: Ch 2: S [D01 | 1642hrs] The Spare Tire

Reply #1
[ LT Daniel Havenborn, Callsign: Salvo | Cockpit | AC-307 Mark-II Valkyrie “Hellcat”] Attn: @Dumedion

Daniel and his wingmate, Junior Lieutenant Andram Obair whose callsign was Javert, had drawn CAP duty, as soon as the Ranger had dropped out slipstream Daniel and Javert launched.  The start of their patrol was pretty quiet until shortly before they were slated to return they picked up a distress call, Daniel knew that standing orders were to answer any distress call, it was what it meant to be an Starfleet officer after all so he contacted Javert and told him that they were changing course.  He then sent a message to the Ranger asking for any reinforcements that they could spare.  Daniel hoped for another pilot, maybe even a shuttle with a full away team but for now it was just him, Knight and Javert.

The distress call was a general message of distress with little details so Daniel had no idea what they were jumping into.  He set course for the distress call as another fighter was launched, Talia Al-Ibrahim, callsign Shadow, was the pilot listed flying a Mark-III, his wingmate Javert also flying one of those fighters.  He also noticed a Type-11 Shuttlecraft launch, the Friedrich Mohs, the shuttle that he piloted down to the Klingon island with Ensign Bjorge, Ensign Thorne, Lieutenant Tek and Crewman Nueva to retrieve the benamite crystals.  It was good to see the shuttle hadn’t taken any serious damage after that mission.  “Salvo to Shadow and Shuttlecraft Mohs, sending coordinates, maximum warp as soon as possible.”  Daniel said.  He knew that they’d be a few minutes behind him and Javert.  Daniel signaled Javert to engage his warp drive and the two attack fighters entered warp making their way towards the distress call.
Defeat, Genocide; why quibble with semantics.

Re: Ch 2: S [D01 | 1642hrs] The Spare Tire

Reply #2
[Ens. Talia “Shadow” Al-Ibrahim | Cockpit | AC – 409 Mk. III Valkyrie “Anahi” | FAB, The Ranger] Attn: @Havenborn
“Wolf Four, ready up,” Talia reported, unable to keep the grin out of her voice.

While she waited for launch clearance, her eyes flicked to Janus. The SCO was leaning against the landing strut of his fighter, looking bored out of his mind. Wonder if he’s found it yet, her grin widened at the thought. If he had, he didn’t show it. With his earlier comments in mind, Talia couldn’t help but shake her head; she’d assumed his words had been directed at her, seeing as how the rest of the squad seemed to be handling the situation much less energetically. She’d done her best to relax after that, or at least appear more relaxed. All that was thrown out the view-port the instant her bird was called up onto the line, however; one second she was standing around Ghost and Goldeneye, talking about nothing, then the next she was a blur of motion, running at a dead sprint to her ship.

Probably broke a new record, racing across the FAB like that, Talia mused.

Still, she had hoped to stick around long enough to see Janus’ reaction; after all, it wasn’t easy to install the lifter chair onto his ladder. Quite a few favors had been called in with the deckies to pull it off discreetly. Ah well, Talia sighed, then flexed her gloved hands impatiently. I’m sure there'll be more opportunities to mess with him.

[Copy, Four – good luck Shadow. Launch in five,] Ops crackled in Talia’s helm, her hands flexing on the controls, eyes narrowed as the count continued. [Four, three, two – send it.] In an instant, fuel lines severed; the launch tractor’s powered up with an audible hum through the ship, preempting a lurch of acceleration that forced Talia’s helm to snap back into the cushions. The FAB blurred past the canopy, a cavern of white on black; faster than a blink, faster than Talia had expected, despite all the runs she’d done in the simulator. All the while, her canopy boomed with the bass, guitar and drums from “Too Fast For Love” by Mötley Crüe.

Once she hit the void, Talia throttled up and boosted clear of the nacelles in a roll just for the hell of it, unable to stop herself. “Wolf Four, clear and holding for escort,” she reported, nodding to the music only she could hear, while visually checking her envelope. Over her shoulder, the shuttle was sliding free of the Ranger in a visible crackle of blue force-fields. Talia blinked at the sheer size of the ship – only then realizing that she’d never seen anything like it. Fuck me, she’s a beautiful beast.

[Salvo to Shadow and Shuttlecraft Mohs, sending coordinates, maximum warp as soon as possible.]

Talia’s eyes narrowed at the voice while she searched for Salvo’s flight signature, eyes scanning the heavens around her. She saw them, or rather, saw the flare of their engines and subsequent streak of light as the pair warped off to port. Guess they couldn’t wait for all of us to form up, she suppressed a snort and sent an acknowledgment while the Friedrich Mohs pulled up to her wing. As the intro began for “The Devil’s bleeding Crown,” by Volbeat, Talia rolled the ship over and increased her envelope to a hundred meters between fighter and shuttle as the pair aligned for warp, throttling up to full impulse. So glad I dumped my whole playlist in here – I swear, if I get stuck on some lame escort duty when the fun starts I’m gonna be pissed, she shook her head, hailing the shuttle.

“Ready when you are, Fred,” Shadow grinned as the nav trajectory in her HUD blinked green – hands steady on the controls, loving every second. She refused to relinquish manual control; needing to feel the ship respond to her. They were still getting used to each other, after all.

[Stand by,] the shuttle pilot chuckled, probably at the excitement in her tone, no doubt. [Alright, warp on your signal Shadow – call it.]

“Let’s rock,” Talia smirked, then punched the throttle up.

[Unknown | 20 light-minutes from the Conclave convoy | Romulan Space]

The prey/enemy vessel in its coils sheds intermittent sparks, its emerald hull broken and rent, adrift in the black between stars. It’s killer, an oblong mass of threat, shaped like a metallic arrowhead, cradled it in a multitude of chrome-plated tendrils; like a cuttlefish feasting on a paralyzed meal. Once the biological refuse had been removed – for It had no need or interest in organic animal residue – the process of data retrieval could begin. Needled mechandrites slither forth to spike into flickering consoles as the craft bleeds power. More sparks are shed, only to live and die an instant later. Dead, broken craft float around It in a loose cloud, the slain remnants of the prey/enemy vessel’s kindred. Crystallized blood and organic refuse glitter in the black.

Unlike the prey/enemy craft, It holds no organic controller within – It is Its own controller. A drone, autonomous and whole, built to exacting specifications to perform a specific task.


Internal light-globes fluctuate rapidly beneath its silvered hull/skin as information is processed; learning, or re-learning, the technology of this age. Primitive, energy based offensive weapons – refractive, modulating energy fields. Rudimentary alloys. Biologically dependent control systems; based on flawed or incomplete understanding of physical laws. Visual dampening screens, limited by organic sight capabilities. On and on, component by component, each system and function in turn.

Inferior, It concludes, flinging the detritus aside to crash into a drifting wreck with a heave of its mechanical tentacles. Prosecute primary objective, It decides.


Sated, It moves off, hunter-killer algorithms engaged; It’s metallic hull/skin darkens to match the cold, uncaring void around It in a shimmering display of its superior bio-mechanical capabilities. It was sent to this temporal juncture for a purpose – now that the Creator’s defenders are neutralized – It would turn It’s full attention to completing that directive.

Trajectory computed and locked. Initiate.

It leaps forward into the void; silent and light-less as a shadow, on a direct heading for the Creator's defenseless convoy.

OOC: Something wicked this way comes...

Re: Ch 2: S [D01 | 1642hrs] The Spare Tire

Reply #3
[ Lt Cmdr Jaru “Janus” Rel | Cockpit | Wolf-01, AC-409 Mk III Valkyrie, which doesn’t have a name | FAB | The Ranger ] Attn: @Dumedion @Havenborn

“How long will it take to fix it?” He was trying his best not to sound annoyed but Janus had a feeling that the only thing saving him from the chief’s ire right now was Ghost’s swearing, which had been a constant stream from her mouth since he’d ordered Ghost and Shadow to join Salvo, only for the former’s Valkyrie to emit a massive plume of smoke at startup and nearly explode.

“Could be an hour, could be a day! Won’t know until I’m in there!” Herrold’s voice was muffled, both by his location beneath the bird and the mask he’d donned to protect from the toxic fumes still drifting out. Thea’s atmospheric systems had kicked in, pulling it up and out of the bay before it got more than a meter from the Valkyrie, but that wasn’t helping the deckhands tasked with fixing it.

“The whole bloody reactor core tried to melt down, and yer going to fix it in a fucking hour?” Ghost sounded skeptical. Personally, Janus agreed with her, but he didn’t know Herrold well enough to judge. It didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things anyway, even an hour was too slow for his plan. Shadow had already launched. He’d meant for someone else to join them. A mysterious distress call in Romulan space? The whole thing screamed trap.

“If he does, buy him a drink,” he advised Ghost before activating his com. “Janus to Flight Ops. New plan, prep Wolf One for launch.” Then he turned back to the other pilot, gesturing for her to follow him back to his ship. “Alright. I’m going, you’re staying. Try not to get in any fights until we get back. If you do, Goldeneye is in charge. One of you stick the new kid in a flight sim for the Mk III and see how fast he picks things up. Don’t put him in any actual combat unless you’re truly desperate. I don’t care if he’s the most natural born stick you’ve ever seen, its still his first hour on this flight system.”

He didn’t wait for an answer, racing up – what the fuck was that on the side of the ladder? – to the cockpit and starting preflight checks. Thankfully, they were all already on alert, so it didn’t take long. The next few minutes were a blur of activity, a routine that he’d done hundreds of times before. That repetition had always served to relax him, and it was no different this time, even when he’d realized that Shadow, Salvo, Javert, and the shuttle had all gone to warp already. Typical Starfleet bleeding hearts, running headfirst towards any hint of someone in danger. It was stupid. He loved them for it. 

[Wolf One, launch in five.] He counted silently with them, then laughed as he burst out into the void.

Already late, he didn’t have time to enjoy the moment – and he was enjoying it, his first real mission since being pulled from stasis. The moment he was far enough from the Theurgy, he threw the ship into max warp behind the others, the coordinates already laid in and ready.

“Janus to Salvo and Shadow. I’m three minutes behind you.”

[ Lt. Talera Emlott | Passenger Section | Shuttlecraft Friedrich Mohs ]

As the shuttle entered warp, the doctor’s hands both tensed, one on the seat of her chair, the other on the emergency medical kit seated on her lap. Per Starfleet regulations, medical personnel were sent on missions of mercy to render whatever aid they could. Talera was a war veteran. Even medical ships during the Dominion War hadn’t been safe, so surely she’d been imperiled enough to be used to it by now. But somehow this felt different. Probably because it wasn’t a danger they could name. Had they entered Romulan space just to answer this distress call? No one seemed to know.

“Does anyone know where we’re going?” She asked the rest of the shuttle crew, hoping a little conversation would break the tense atmosphere.

Re: Ch 2: S [D01 | 1642hrs] The Spare Tire

Reply #4
[ LT Daniel Havenborn, Callsign: Salvo | Cockpit | AC-307 Mark-II Valkyrie “Hellcat”] Attn: @Dumedion @rae

Daniel watched as the stars whipped around them, long multicolored streaks surrounded his small fighter.  A few short minutes later the pair of warp fighters returned to realspace and they took stock of the situation.  Several large ships hung in space, he traced the distress signal to one which looked to be leading the convoy.  He opened a communications channel and spoke.  “Attention unidentified vessel, I am Lieutenant Daniel Havenborn of the Federation starship Theurgy, I am responding to your distress call.”  He stated, as he now waited for a response from the vessel.  He knew that Commander Rel and Ensign Al-Ibrahim and the shuttle were only a few minutes behind him but finding out any sort of relevant information about what the distress call was all about sooner was better than later and he could brief the Commander as soon as he arrived.

Knight sent Javert instructions by text to remain on alert and to watch out in case this was a Romulan trap.  Javert confirmed the instruction and began scanning the area, if there was something else out there he’d find it.  He was still getting used to being Salvo’s wingmate, so far he seemed like a decent pilot.

[ LTJG Ava Weaver-Havenborn | Cockpit | Type-11 Shuttlecraft “Friedrich Mohs”]

Ava had been tapped very quickly for shuttle duty, she had been one of a few CONN pilots on standby, Vector 2 only had a small number of shuttles for this mission and she had made sure that she had gotten herself assigned to Vector 2 with her husband Daniel.  Hearing the question from Lieutenant Emlott she looked at the coordinates she had received from Daniel.  “Looks like a few light years away, should be a quick five minute trip.”  She responded, she kept the shuttle on course and flying in tandem with their escort.
Defeat, Genocide; why quibble with semantics.

Re: Ch 2: S [D01 | 1642hrs] The Spare Tire

Reply #5
[Director K’treena Dasyn | Bridge | Conclave Arkship V’traeus] Attn: @rae  @Havenborn 

Beneath the ceremonial robes of her office, K'treena’s chest heaved with rapid breaths while the dozens of crew beneath and around her station scurried about their duties. Clawed hands raked across rodent-like features, combing the long whiskers that framed her snout for the umpteenth time. Elongated ears twitched and panned about, fully open to catch to every report and update; two unknown contacts had now become five – closing at speed – and the arrival of the first two was imminent. Black, beady eyes shifted quickly from the seniors of her crew, to the sensor display, then to the ever-present holographic projections of the Conclave’s other directors and back again in a seamless cycle.

Lilioqoan, Director of the Oaarian, gurgled a stream of bubbles while its jelly-like invertebrate body spun lazily. “Defensive formation achieved – all ships report drive readiness. The Oaarian and Hsshtii have fallen back from your vessel, Director K’treena; awaiting deployment order,” its mechanical voice reported, followed closely by a hiss of affirmation by the snake-like Dracanii by its side.

K’treena turned her mouse-like face to her crew for verification, then nodded quickly. “Confirmed, yes-yes. Maintain readiness, my friends,” she nodded again, then attempted a reassuring smile before she rose to her full height of nearly forty centimeters. “All will be as it should, yes-yes.” It wasn’t a lie – or a sin – to hope aloud, she told herself. Her eyes scanned the flotilla deployment and lingered on the image of her ship as it slowly pulled ahead of the others. “Ancestors, watch over us,” she chittered quietly. Her old heart ramped up even faster as two craft appeared from the Dark, slightly askew of the Ark-ship’s bow; the crew frantically called out reports – talking over each other in a chorus of alarmed voices.

Peace,” K’treena chirped over the din with a clap of her pawed hands. “Peace, my kindred, yes-yes,” she repeated, then pointed to each senior in turn to hear them speak. The contacts were Federation ships, but of an unknown class; heavily armed and armored – with only a single life-form in each. The Director’s nose twitched at that, for the occupants must have to be gigantic; several dozens of her people could crew one of those ships, with room to live in relative luxury. When the comms officer spoke up in the silence that followed, K’treena’s eyes snapped to him instantly. One of the Federation ships had hailed them.

“We speak,” K’treena nodded with a gesture.

An image of a giant face framed in some manner of protective suit appeared between the projected holos of the other Directors. It identified itself, its ship, and its purpose – quite succinctly and formally – K'treena noted. Heard us! Yes-Yes! Here to assist, she thought, jubilant yet wise enough to conceal it. “Lieutenant Daniel Havenborn of starship Theurgy, we are The Conclave,” K’treena replied rapidly, then introduced herself and the other Directors before she paused to breathe, unable to keep the anxiety from quickening her speech pattern as she continued. “Aware of our trespass into Romulan void-territory, had no choice – no choice; we seek no quarrel! Only fastest route to new den-world! Our flotilla escorts assured us of safety, but have abandoned us, yes-yes! Please, Lieutenant Daniel Havenborn of starship Theurgy; will you aid us? Can transfer coordinates – can reach system under our own power! Only wary of Romulan aggression – cannot risk colonists – are all that remains of our kin! Please help us, yes-yes!”

[Meanwhile…| Ens. Talia “Shadow” Al-Ibrahim | Cockpit | AC – 409 Mk. III Valkyrie]

Her head nodded along to the drums of Psychosocial by Slipknot, while the stars wheeled around the sculpted curve of the cockpit. Talia’s eyes lingered on the tactical console just above the throttle assembly however; soaking up every once of intel she could draw in from the ship’s long-range sensors. They’d been at warp for about a minute, with at least two more to go before they reached Salvo’s position. So far, her scanners showed her a cluster of what appeared to be (or must be, this deep in space, she reckoned) at least three cruiser-sized vessels surrounded by several dozens of smaller craft. Her eyes narrowed, wondering what the hell they were doing out here; conveniently placed almost directly in Theurgy’s path – wherever the fuck that led, Talia thought, teeth sucked in annoyance.

Suddenly, Janus’ voice crackled in her helmet; Talia’s brows lifted in surprise – she had been expecting to hear Ghost’s scottish drawl in a bitch fit for warping off without her. Ugh, I hope it’s not her damned ship again, Shadow grimaced. That was a bad omen, if true. A finger tap reopened the channel Janus used, and Talia synced in the shuttle as well – just as a bright yellow blip appeared on her sensors, then vanished just as fast.

The fuck?

Fred, you peep that bogie,” Talia asked. The shuttle pilot seemed to hesitate for longer than she liked, however. “Sensor contact, heading 092 mark 18,” Shadow clarified with a huff of impatience, her eyes locked on the sensor display.

[Negative, sensors are clear Shadow...wait! Unknown contact, heading 099 mark 25, high warp!]

The console bleeped as the yellow dot materialized again, several light-minutes away from its original position. What the hell, it’s hauling ass!

“Confirmed. Janus, Shadow – you copy? Bogie inbound, hot for Salvo’s AO,” she grit her teeth and synced Salvo into the comms, then relayed the same to him and Javert as adrenaline spiked her heart-beat up a notch. Shadow took a breath and re-checked her console displays; her ship was already at max warp, but knew she could push a bit more out of the engines for a short time. Dark eyes and head turned to the shuttle off the starboard wing. Hope you guys are ready for some shit to go down, Talia smirked, waiting to hear what Janus ordered or Salvo reported.

[Meanwhile...| The Drone | Space]

It leapt from the void in silence, wrapped in darkness. It wasted neither time nor precious energy; for that was an imperfect, biological-like waste of resources. Passive, untraceable scans swept over the primitive vessels of the Maker’s pathetic flotilla of biological refuse. Threat assessments were calculated; strengths and weaknesses noted and analyzed – hunter/killer subroutines activated while cognition engines simulated attack strategies, only to eliminate them one by one until the maximum desirable outcome was achieved.


It prowled in the dark, unseen, until it was far, far too late:

The Drone’s mass of tentacles wrapped around the engineering compartment of a lesser tender-ship, (one of K’treena’s support vessels, home to almost two hundred of her kin), before the obsolete biological detritus within could even react. The hull buckled in Its grip, then sheared – venting gas, plasma, and tiny frozen bodies – until it finally broke apart completely in a silent implosion of expanding gas and debris. The Drone itself coiled tighter around the crippled habitat and cargo section, its liquid metallic body and mechanical limbs blended perfectly to match the color and contoured hull of the ship it had just murdered. There, it would hold and wait in ambush for the prey it desired to lure closer.

[Director K’treena Dasyn | Bridge | Conclave Arkship V’traeus]

Pandemonium reigned.

K’treena’s ears flattened against the sides of her head, trying to fight aside her own panic and grief. She turned to the giant Federation representative with pleading eyes. “One of our ships has suffered some...catastrophic damage! We are initiating rescue operations, yes-yes – please help if you can!”

OOC: Sorry this was so long, but I wanted to cover all the things. Please reach out if you have questions or aren’t sure about something. By the by, I vote you send Javert in first lolol

Re: Ch 2: S [D01 | 1642hrs] The Spare Tire

Reply #6
[ Lt Cmdr. Jaru “Janus” Rel | Cockpit | Wolf-01, AC-409 Mk III Valkyrie, which he just remembered that Gemini and Frank did name… “Lazy” ] Attn: @Dumedion @Havenborn

“Confirmed. Janus, Shadow – you copy? Bogie inbound, hot for Salvo’s AO.”

Thank the Prophets for sensors, the only things making him not entirely useless right now. When they got back, Janus was going to give a refresher on why pilots waited for everyone to form up before going to warp, but yelling about it now would only distract everyone from the problem at hand.

“Shadow, Janus. I—Fuck.” It had been on the sensors when he’d started, then blipped off again. “Wait, it’s back again. I’ve got a better lock on it now. Heading 101 mark 25.” Since his course was already laid in, Janus let the autopilot take over for a minute, switching the console to a more detailed view of the sensor readouts.

“Friedrich Mohs, Janus. Pull back Fred,” he’d adapted to Shadow’s name for the shuttle rather quickly, “Leave the Wolves room to maneuver. Salvo—tell me what you see.” He didn’t want to start snapping orders yet. He was too far away without a good enough reading on the situation. For all they knew, this new ship could be attached to the fleet that had called them here. Or it was answering the distress call. Or the whole fucking lot of them could be a Romulan plant.

“Anyone got a visual? Whatever it is, I lost it again.” The way it kept popping in and out, there wasn’t enough information getting through to even begin to identify it. If it was cloaking whenever it dropped off sensors, that suggested Romulan, along with their being in the neutral zone.

Then the ship’s sensor were pinging with a whole lot more data. Plasma, oxygen, nitrogen… organic matter. “Salvo, one of the convoy ships had some sort of rapid decompression, in case you weren’t dealing with enough over there already. Confirm coms contact with the convoy before we send Fred over.”

Janus switched back to the nav console and worked out the same calculations Shadow had been at moments before, seeing what he could push out of the Valkyrie’s engines to get him there sooner. Even cutting off a few seconds was better than nothing. He dropped the ship from autopilot back to manual to make the adjustments, minor alterations to power flows and the intermix ratio to create an extra boost.

After that was done, a ping from the sensors alerted him to yet another new and interesting discovery. “Fred, Janus. I’m seeing some sort of particle differential in the last known location of the bogey. You got anyone on there who can take a look? Science isn’t really my thing.”

[ Lt. Talera Emlott | Passenger Section | Shuttlecraft Friedrich Mohs ]

Talera sighed when the data package appeared on her screen. Out of everyone on this mission, she understood why they were giving it to her, but still. She was a doctor, not a particle physicist. The file opened on the console with a dizzying array of raw data. Off the top of her head, she couldn’t parse… any of it. The others were talking in the background as she started to read, trying to get a broad understanding before diving into the granular details. She could get this. Not as fast as an actual science officer, but in time.

However, she was not certain that time would be forthcoming.

“I can analyze the data Commander, but once we arrive I would be more useful providing aid on the damaged ship,” she insisted. If there was one thing Talera was sure of, it was that she wasn’t going to sit here while there were people in need of medical assistance.

“Better have an answer for me before we get there then.”

With yet another sigh, Talera got to work.

Re: Ch 2: S [D01 | 1642hrs] The Spare Tire

Reply #7
[ LT Daniel Havenborn, Callsign: Salvo | Cockpit | AC-307 Mark-II Valkyrie “Hellcat”] Attn: @Dumedion @rae

Daniel listened to the diminutive mouse-like being speaking to him, survivors trying to reach a new homeworld, he could empathize with that.  His own people had fled from Earth in the late twenty-first century and then in the mid-twenty-second century had expanded and established their first extrasolar colony; he had spent a few years living there with his aunt and uncle.  It sounded like they had had escorts but now they were gone, that sounded odd to Daniel and made him a little more alert, these beings may be being hunted by a potentially hostile faction, either the Romulans or someone else.  The Romulans were known for their kindness when it came to infractions in their territory and these beings seemed to be fairly defenseless.  He had questions as to why but this was not the time or place to ask them.

“Conclave Leader, we stand ready to help you, be advised that I do have reinforcements en route and should be arriving momentarily.”  He told them.  It was better that they knew about Shadow, Janus and the shuttle before they arrived.

A moment later there was suddenly an explosion, one of the Conclave’s ships had exploded, from the way the ship had exploded it seemed like it had been attacked but there weren’t any hostile ships that he could see, but then again Romulans did have cloaking technology, they likely could have developed a way to attack the smaller defenseless ships.  “Salvo to Javert, move in closer to inspect the damage, keep on alert.”  He told his wingman.  He got an affirmative from the other pilot who began to maneuver his Mark-III towards the sundered vessel.

Daniel heard the communications traffic from Janus.  “I’ve made contact with the Conclave leader, as we were speaking one of their transports suddenly exploded, I’m sending Javert in to inspect damage.  I’ve got him covered.”  He reported.  There wasn’t much else they could do, sometimes in void combat all you could do was wait for the enemy to make their next move, especially if the enemy had cloaking technology.  He suspected it was the Romulans but it could be someone else, he didn’t know much about these aliens but if it was one of them why were their ships unarmed and why had they required an escort.

[ LTJG Ava Weaver-Havenborn | Cockpit | Type-11 Shuttlecraft “Friedrich Mohs”]

Ava maneuvered the shuttle away from Shadow as per Janus’s orders.  “Copy Janus, keeping distance.”  She said, she had been keeping pace with Shadow’s attack fighter but she slowed the shuttle down slightly allowing the fighter next to them to take the lead.
Defeat, Genocide; why quibble with semantics.

Re: Ch 2: S [D01 | 1642hrs] The Spare Tire

Reply #8
[LT Talera Emlott | Passenger Section | Shuttlecraft Friedrich Mohs] Attn: @rae @Havenborn
Her lips pulled down in a tight frown as her eyes narrowed in concentration at the sensor data. This wasn’t how I planned this day to turn out, Talera mused ruefully in an attempt to fight her own building anxiety. Pressure was nothing new, yet she felt the keen weight of being forced into a role outside her area of absolute expertise all the same. Why they had opted to leave without a dedicated science officer was beyond her, but now was hardly the time to discuss her misgivings. It wasn't as if she was incapable, either, but as a medical professional, well...she wouldn't want someone from security performing open-heart surgery. Nothing for it, now.

“Analyzing, stand-by,” the doctor murmured as her hands danced across the console of the shuttle’s modest science suite, then threw a glance over her shoulder to the pilot. “Confirm sensor tracking position – did we upload to Theurgy for triangulation?”

“Confirmed – about 20 light-minutes out away from distress signal source.”

Emlott nodded as she initiated a broad-spectrum index and began cross-referencing the anomaly signature through the database. “Whatever it is, it’s definitely not supposed to be there,” her head shook with another frown as the console bleeped with an affirmative tone. “It appears to be a mass of dissipating chronometric particles...some kind of temporal wake? But it’s tiny, barely twenty meters wide – that doesn’t make sense – every temporal anomaly ever encountered has been massive, naturally occurring or otherwise. From the epicenter, a faint trail of rapidly decaying particles leads directly to the convoy. It’s extremely faint.” The doctor glanced back to the cockpit as she spoke aloud. “Be advised, whatever it is, it left a trail right to where we’re going – but given the rate of particle decay, we wont be able to track it in time to make a difference. The EM interference from the convoy itself isn’t helping, either.”

[Just broadcast last known position Fred, then fall back as ordered], another voice cut in – female, clearly impatient. Talera blinked at the curt tone, but complied.

“We’re heading straight at it,” she whispered, then shared a worried look with everyone in the shuttle. “I have a really bad feeling about this.”

“Heading adjusted Wolf Leader. We’ll run a circuit sixty seconds out from the convoy and remain at warp on stand-by,” the pilot announced, then turned back to Doctor Emlott. “You and me both, but we’re here, and so are the Wolves. Let’s keep our heads and see it through.”

[Meanwhile...[LT (JG) Andram “Javert” Obair | Cockpit | AC-409 MK-III Valkyrie]
Temporal what? The hell does that even mean, Andram thought incredulously as he reduced thrust. His ship was in the thick of the convoy, approaching from above their angle of orientation. Even at this distance, he could see the glittering debris cloud that surrounded the crippled, lifeless transport - drifting as it fell out of the travel column. The tac-display lit up with data as the Friedrich Mohs uplinked the anomaly’s position, which earned a confused scowl. That doesn’t make sense, that’s just the dead transport, he huffed an unimpressed snort, then keyed his coms open again.

“Data received, pushing to VR – stand by.”

As the last of the flotilla's maintenance tugs and emergency rescue pods returned to their ships – having realized any hope of survivors was futile – Javert lit the thrusters of his Valkyrie and dove at the dead transport. If they wanted visual confirmation that it was dead, he’d give it, but it all seemed a bit redundant if he was being honest. Whatever had happened, there wasn’t much any of them could do about it now.

As the dead ship grew rapidly, Abram noted what he'd thought was a debris cloud was actually sparks and forks of some kind of electrical discharge; it flashed and crawled intermittently across what appeared to be the remnants of the control section of the hull – which looked as if it had been torn apart. His eyes dropped for a second to his own sensor display.

“Salvo, Javert – we might want to get these people the hell out of here. The transport's dead but it’s giving off some...unstable energy readings. It might blow any -”

The warning died in Javert's throat as a blinding wave of blue-white electrical discharge hit his ship; shields were overloaded, power systems fried, and as sparks and smoke filled his cockpit, the pilot could only grunt in agony as every muscle in his body locked rigid. Blood spewed as he bit through his tongue. Eyes wide in pain-induced panic even though his retina’s were burned to uselessness. An eternity of agony passed, as his ship tumbled off-course, thrusters firing in impotent, erratic death-throes. Beyond the gurgled sound of his own painful grunts as his heart seized in agony, the last thing Javert heard was the muted warnings of his ship's systems failing as he drifted off into oblivion.

[The Drone]

It struck as the wave cascaded out. Mechandrite limbs uncoiled from the useless husk of It’s previous kill, the transport’s limited supply of energy drained and repurposed. Surprise had been achieved, kill-directives re-initiated; dozens of armored claws spread out to ensnare It’s new prey as the drone flung Itself into the void. The prey-ship was helpless; rendered inoperable as it tumbled with EM distortion.

Eradicate - prosecute primary directive.

The presence of the new prey was sub-optimal; an anomaly in the drone's programmed historical events. Lacking essential data to calculate a discernible favorable outcome in regard to It’s primary objectives, they would be eliminated to ensure absolute success. No alternative measures were required. In a matter of seconds, the prey-ship would be crushed and sheared to lifelessness in Its coils.

Unfortunately, the drone failed to consider or account for the stupidity of human courage.

[Talia “Shadow” Al-Ibrahim | Cockpit | AC-09 MK-III Valkyrie]
She dropped out of warp and instantly realized two very important mistakes: one, given the fact that the cockpit was filled with the flashing crimson lights and computer’s droned proximity alert warnings – Talia had failed to adjust her exit point to account properly for her speed. Two, and this was rather more important: by re-routing power from shields and weapons, it was highly unlikely she was going to survive the outcome.

Not that there was anything she could do about it.

“Shiiit this’ll hurt,” Talia grimaced against the breaking thrusters as something chromed with a blur of what looked like tentacles filled her cockpit, even as she tried to raise her nose and roll to avoid it.

Weakened shields flared with the impact, as sparks from overloaded relays filled the cockpit. Talia was thrown forwards in the harness, then crushed back into her seat as the inertia dampening field failed. The stars tumbled beyond as everything faded to gray, then red, then black.

She woke to the sound of multiple voices; all of them distorted with bursts of static. Shadow grimaced, blinked, then swallowed a mouthful of blood. A hand wafted the smoke that filled her cockpit away from the consoles with a grunt of effort. Dark eyes narrowed as Talia struggled to reboot her systems, amazed she was still in one piece, relatively speaking.

“Fuck sakes, I’m here, give me a minute,” Shadow grunted. 

Power flickered back online as she scanned the heavens, trying to find out what the hell happened. Her HUD flashed to life, and with it, the TVD. Talia swore as she looked over her shoulder, through the hull. Whatever she’d hit was slowly jerking back to life; it looked like a chrome cephalopod – twitching as it tumbled – re-orienting itself from the impact. Javert’s ship was a smoking corpse beyond it, drifting off into the void; he hadn’t punched out. Talia couldn’t tell if he was alive or dead, but her eyes narrowed as Chromie jerked its body directly at her, and pounced.

Shadow lit her thrusters and rolled hard.

“Wolf Four, engaging."

OOC: sorry for delay. RIP Javert.

Re: Ch 2: S [D01 | 1642hrs] The Spare Tire

Reply #9
[ Lt Cmdr. Jaru “Janus” Rel | Cockpit | Wolf-01 ] Attn: @Dumedion @Havenborn
Janus groaned – audibly – at the report of temporal and chroniton whats-its, and he didn’t even care if everyone else on the comm channel heard him. There had been a mandatory overview of temporal mechanics at the Academy, and he’d failed miserably at it, deciding very early on that it was a subject for people far smarter and more scientifically minded to pursue. All he’d ever needed to know was this: there was nothing that fucked up a situation faster than a temporal anomaly. A whole squad of enemy fighters would be easier to handle.

Shadow took the words right out of his mouth, so Janus didn’t comment, an amused smile playing across his face as the new coordinates came through the nav computer. He made a few minor adjustments to his heading, another little adjustment to the intermix ratio for another tiny burst of speed, then was on his way to the chronometric particles. Hopefully they didn’t all get sent back to the dark ages. Janus had no idea how people had lived in the 21st century.

“Confirmed Fred. We’ll keep you updated.” Then he switched com channels, so only the other fighter pilots would hear him. “Wolves, Janus. Set your sensors to search for those chronometric particles. Mark any high density areas, but don’t fly in them–” he almost added ‘for Prophet’s sake,’ then thought better of it. Considering the stories about how the Bajoran gods saw time, this was not the time to be invoking their names.

His valkyrie marked the shuttle dropping out of warp, exactly where they said they would be. Shadow continued without slowing, seconds away from the larger group of ships and the two smaller dots that were Salvo and Javert. And Janus was still bringing up the rear. Damn it all. He was trying to shove down his impatience when the sensor panel lit up with a massive energy discharge – right where Javert was. “Javert report.” Silence. “Anyone got eyes on—” Then Shadow dropped out of warp practically on top of it, young and stupid and far too eager to leap before looking, and her ship disappeared from sensors too.

And he didn’t even know what it fucking was yet.

“Salvo, Janus. Tell that convoy to get moving, then let’s go have a look at this bogey.” If it was a bogey. He hoped it was. That was something he could shoot at and destroy. If everyone was caught in some sort of temporal wormhole… they really should have put a scientist in the shuttle. “I’m fifteen seconds out.”

But fifteen seconds was an eternity in a game measured by nanoseconds. The whole thing could be over long before he even got there.

The whole area was an electromagnetic soup that his sensors couldn’t make heads or tails of, so Janus was forced to drop out of warp further back than he would have liked to avoid falling into the same trap as Shadow, letting his eyes see what the ship couldn’t. He was momentarily relieved to see that it was a ship, though he’d never seen anything like it. A big metal squid. With a bit of electric eel thrown in to keep things interesting. It wasn’t moving, drifting in space along with the two Valkyries nearby. One looked intact. The other wasn’t.

First mission back and he’d already lost one.

“Fred, Janus. We found your temporal anomaly. It’s some sort of ship and it isn’t friendly. Forwarding sensor and visual data to you. Janus out.” The surviving Valkyrie – Shadow – and the bogey started regaining power at the same time. “Shadow, report. If you can move, now would be the time.”

“Unidentified vessel,” he switched to an open comm, because there were rules. His blood was boiling, his skin itching for a fight, Javert’s ship drifting aimlessly off into space, a charred heap with the canopy still attached, no ejection and no chance of survival inside. But the Federation had trained him well, and the Cardassians had taught him what not to be. So everyone got a chance first. “This is Commander Jaru Rel, detached from the Federation Starship Theurgy. I order you to power down any weapons systems and reply to this—”

He noticed the difference the moment the squid righted itself, his HUD lighting up as the electromagnetic field ramped up again. “Or we could fight. Fine by me.” He cut the comm channel immediately, switching back to the wolves only. “Wolf One engaging, weapons free.”

As the bogey lept towards Shadow, Janus was entering the combat zone above them, firing phasers into the empty space between. It ran right into them, though it didn’t do any noticeable damage. Shadow picked that moment to start moving, showing off her dramatic timing. A red light on the TVD appeared as an accompanying shudder ran through the ship, shields visible for a moment as their strength dropped a few percentage points. One of the tentacles trying to scrape his wing. Janus swore, rolled out of the way, then ducked, angling for a strafing run beneath.

“And while these convoy ships are busting ass out of here, someone ask them if they know what this thing is.”

OOC: Also sorry for the wait!!! I figured I'd let Havenborn answer for the convoy while Daniel is talking to them.


Re: Ch 2: S [D01 | 1642hrs] The Spare Tire

Reply #10
[ LT Daniel Havenborn, Callsign: Salvo | Cockpit | AC-307 Mark-II Valkyrie “Hellcat”] Attn: @Dumedion @rae

As Daniel was dealing with the flotilla and covering Javert he watched as his fighter approached the disabled vessel.  Everything happened in a blink of an eye, suddenly a flash of light pierced through Javert’s cockpit and he received a flurry of orders from Janus who was seconds away.  He had already had the thought of getting the flotilla to safety even before Janus had ordered him to do so, whatever they were dealing with was now a new threat and considering the panic that was gripping the flotilla leaders he could tell that this threat wasn’t one of theirs.

“Conclave Leader, jump to exactly one astronomical unit from this current position towards your destination and hold position while we deal with this threat.”  Daniel ordered them as he kept the transmission open and prepared to engage the hostile.

Daniel watched as the flotilla heeded his orders and made a quick jump away as he turned his attention to the scene unfolding before him.  Hearing the secondary order to find out information Daniel spoke again.  “Conclave Leader, do you recognize this threat, know of any weaknesses or anything that we can use to fight against it.”  He said as he sent his sensor scans of the target to the flotilla lead vessel so that they could analyze it.

[ LTJG Ava Weaver-Havenborn | Cockpit | Type-11 Shuttlecraft “Friedrich Mohs”]

Ava nodded as she received the sensor data from Janus.  “Copy Wolf Leader, data received.”  She said as she helped Talera look through the data, though she was a pilot so she wasn’t entirely sure what she was looking for.  “Anything specific that we should be trying to look for Lieutenant?”  She asked as she kept the shuttlecraft in a wide orbit from the battle zone.  Having seen how quick it had moved to strike against the poor Javert.  She wondered if she should keep up with the flotilla since they wouldn’t be very useful in the fight but she hadn’t received orders to do that so she continued to keep her distance.  There might be a scientific way they could help though.
Defeat, Genocide; why quibble with semantics.

Re: Ch 2: S [D01 | 1642hrs] The Spare Tire

Reply #11
[Ens. Talia “Shadow” Al-Ibrahim | Cockpit | Wolf-4 | Space, near Conclave Convoy] Attn: @rae @Havenborn 
Shadow ran.

There was no hesitation; no time to think - no time for anything but action. All the self-doubt and fear, evaporated from her mind in an instant. She flew by rote, by muscle memory blended into desperate instinct; faster than she ever dreamed – body and ship pushed beyond anything she ever dared – because death was literally on her six, trying to bludgeon its way through her shields and rip her ship to shreds. Whatever the bogey was, it wasn’t wasting time with energy weapons or missiles. Sparks flew from an overloaded relay over her shoulder as the shields screeched under the kinetic impact of the things armored tentacles, drowning out Anahi’s monotonous warning: “Shields falling to 29 percent – failure imminent.”

“Four, evading!” Shadow cried out, unsure if anyone could even read her; only distorted, static filled noise filled her helm. “Somebody get this fucking thing off me!”

Talia clenched her entire body, breath pitched into strained grunts under the G’s while she rolled under, around, and over transport after transport in a blur – trying to clear the convoy. Several ships had warped off to who-knew-where; Shadow didn’t care – she just had to get clear, to gain some space to fight and fire – away from so much collateral damage. After the hull of one of the largest ships fell away, she flipped the fighter over on its side and yanked the stick back to her chest, aiming the Valkyrie’s nose to open space.

But then everything shook so hard Shadow had to grip the stick with both hands.It hammered into her again, and again – each strike somehow more powerful than the last in a devastating series of impacts. While Talia struggled to outrun it, power fluctuations rippled through the cockpit, consoles flickered out of time, then synced and stabilized.

In her helm, all Shadow could hear was her own heart pounding in between ragged breaths. She weaved in and out of turns, bank after bank, roll after roll, trying everything and anything to lose it. Dark eyes narrowed in absolute focus, fingers raced across a console dominated by yellow and red warnings; power relays were engaged, flows altered to force new life flowed into her shields taken from auxiliary and secondary systems. Both hands flew to the stick an instant later, and Talia rolled again, harder, into a looped corkscrew – while flares exploded into life in her wake, hoping the distraction would shake the chrome bogie off. While the void spun around her, a glance behind forced a hissed curse out of her gritted teeth: it was still right there – dozens of metaled claws spread to shred into her ship – like something out of a deep-sea nightmare.

But she had cleared the convoy.

While the last transports streaked off into warp, a pulsed stream of phaser fire lit up the void behind bogey like flares in darkness – Talia couldn’t tell who was shooting, but the fact that they had opened fire was all she needed to know.

“Four, re-engaging,” Shadow called out again. “Rear phasers,” the pilot groaned and banked away, “lock and fire!” Lances of orange-colored fire streamed out, the energy beams painting her canopy in flashes of flame.

Shadow didn’t wait to see if they hit – she banked again, cut thrust, then spun her ship around like a top. Two hundred meters. It might as well have been right on top of her: Talia’s finger squeezed the trigger the instant the HUD’s targeting reticle touched it's outstretched tentacles, firing everything.

But nothing happened.

A silver-metallic blur raced past her canopy through a haze of blue-white energy as her shields absorbed even more punishment.

Talia hissed a stream of curses, throttled up and rolled to pursue. “Weapons to manual,” she growled, disengaging audible control; something she should have done the instant she had engaged – but hadn’t. There wasn’t time to stop and bitch herself out about it: a flare of white-hot light forced a wince as someone scored a torp hit, which caused the thing to tumble off askew; Talia pitched up and around, trying to gain a lock. She watched it recover an instant later, trailing a few limp and broken tentacles. Soon as her HUD flickered red, Shadow opened up, adding more streaks of fire into the void.

Off her port wing, she saw another Valkyrie align with her in a blur of motion; diving into firing position. Talia fired again, an attempt to drive the metallic bastard into their firing arc: pulses of fire-orange energy struck home then flew wide as the bogie rolled into the angle of attack, impossible for anything biological to live through. Out of the corner of her eye, Shadow watched as the Valkyrie boosted ahead rolled up and over her, mid-turn, through her fire; an impossible, perfectly timed and executed maneuver – but also the craziest shit she had ever seen. Despite the fact that it was indeed a mk. III, and she’d seen the smoking wreck of Javert’s bird seconds before – the IFF ident on her HUD erased all doubt about who the pilot was.

Fuck me, old man can fly!

“You're lead, Janus,” Talia breathed out, cut her thrust and rolled onto his wing; a scissor maneuver that mimicked his earlier stunt, without the crazy added in for flavor. Static answered her in a distorted wash, but Shadow could just make out his voice; the EM flash must have screwed up her transmitter somehow. There was nothing for it though – coms would have to wait, which left Shadow flying her heart out just trying to keep up with him; Janus would open up with his pulse phasers to box the bandit in, which allowed Shadow to hammer it with a salvo of micro-torps – then the pair would switch positions on the fly.

Tracking it was hell – it kept shifting in and out of target lock – it’s metallic hull phased in and out of visual, like a fluctuating cloaking device. Sparks of energy arced from it with every hit, but it wasn’t showing any signs of actual damage. Worse, the coiled tendrils that trailed behind it seemed to be absorbing everything they threw at it.

“Four, in the blind,” Talia’s voice strained while she maneuvered, hoping Janus and the rest could hear her. “If anyone has any ideas how to kill this thing, now would be a great time!” Of course as soon as she said that, the damn thing flipped itself over and decided to launch itself directly at them, covered in blue-white lightning that danced across its chromed hull as it surged forward in a menacing blur of mechanical threat. Talia banked hard to port and lost sight of Janus as it rolled between them and vanished.

“No joy, no joy,” Shadow called out as her eyes searched the void, then re-oriented and leveled out off Janus’ port wing. Taking advantage of the lull, still panting and dripping cold sweat, she released the death grip off the throttle to begin emergency repairs – but felt her entire body trembling. “Keep it together,” she breathed out, then started working to restore her coms.

[Lilioqoan, Director of the Oaarian Arkship]

“Data received; analyzing,” it’s machine voiced rasped as the Conclave ships leapt off into warp. The Oaarian Arkship drifted along sedately, too preoccupied with the mysterious attacker, and determined to aid in its destruction if necessary. “Chronometric particles detected; confirmed. Processing.”

The giant jelly-fish-like bulk of its form was clouded with trillions of sub-dermal pinpricks of multi-colored light while it processed the incoming data streamed from the Conclave’s new-found allies. If it were possible for such a creature to appear anxious – with no discernable face, or expressive features at all – it certainly would be. Tendrils thrashed and coiled around it, manipulating the bio-electric interface of it’s fluid-filled globe in a frenzy. Data fed conclusions, yet those conclusions violated rationality; Oaarians were the scientific backbone of the Conclave – utterly logical, unable to comprehend anything beyond the cold rationality of their reality – and yet, the data led to only one definitive outcome:

A drone, highly advanced beyond anything they had ever imagined, had gone rogue; severed from the collective consciousness – operating of its own will.

Impossible, it’s translucent skin flashed with bright red and orange flares of discord – unable to reconcile the evidence of its own logical process. Such a thing cannot be. But it was, and their allies needed to know what they were facing. Lilioqoan re-opened the coms channel as it began to feed power into the launch matrix of hundreds of loyal combat drones.

“Alert: analysis concluded – subject design and alloy composition verified. Base structure, behavior, and aggressive attack methodology confirmed. Subject comparison estimated at 78.789 percent; advise extreme caution – data suggests subject is Oaarian drone of unknown temporal displacement, most likely some centuries or millennia in the future. Aggressive behavior suggests it is intent on disruptive action against current time-line.” While it ‘spoke’, Lilioqoan simultaneously began to upload its vast accumulation of scientific knowledge to its sister Arks – the entirety of its species wisdom and genius – for preservation and service to the Conclave, should the worst consequences come to pass.

We will not suffer this abomination to exist, it decided. The fluid of Lilioqoan's artificial womb turned blood-crimson as it activated the Ark’s defensive systems, built in secret against the stipulations of its fellow Conclave directors.

“We stand ready to assist,” Lilioqoan’s machine voice droned, as the void around its vast Ark filled with hundreds of vastly smaller craft like a swarm of flies; each drone was barely two meters long, silver-hulled, and armed with a single cutting beam and proximity charge. The mass of them flowed around the Ark’s hull in a nauseating blur of synchronization – bound to Lilioqoan’s control.

[The Drone]

It registered damage and initiated repairs; mission parameters had altered in the wake of the unknown and unanticipated arrival of additional hostiles. These had proven more difficult to eliminate and threatened its primary directive – which was unacceptable. Success/failure ratios were calculated; threat assessments concluded. The desired outcome of mission completion overruled all other priorities; It would prosecute its primary directive immediately: The Creator must be eradicated.

Cloaked in a bubble of dark energy, It sent out a sub-space screech of scrap-code that severed the Creator’s will from its distant kin, enslaving the primitive reflections of itself. These It willed out in all directions to deal with the remaining defenders – each tendril several dozens strong, more than enough to eliminate their threat. With the Creator's ship rendered completely vulnerable, It shed the bubble of void energy like a cocoon, which cracked apart like a crystal orb of dark glass, and leapt onto the hull of the Oaarian Ark – every clawed tendril splayed wide – to tear it apart.

OOC: Our number of targets has increased a bit. Each ship (3 Valks, 1 Runabout) now has ~40 or so little drones to worry about, not to mention Chromie is now really pissed off, and taking it out on big papa squiddy. Cheers, have fun :)

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