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CHAPTER 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

[ USS Theurgy | Security Office | Holding Cell D | 1000 hrs. ] Attn: TheBanshee, CanadianVet & Cathreen Dawinter

Seated on the floor, the being formerly known as Sonja Acreth heard the noise of her visitors well before they showed up in front of her forcefield. She smiled with her eyes closed, her true self coiling in the abyss of her soul.

With her legs folded and with her arms on her knees, her dark hair was hanging before her face. She had been given a black dress at some point, she did not remember when, but the fabric was made to tear easily so she could not use it for anything else than wearing it. There was a small washstand in the corner too, and with little to do over the course of time she'd spent in her cell, she had cleaned herself from the blood of her victims on the Harbinger. Her hair was still quite wet, but it had ceased dipping into her lap.

When her visitors stepped into the white light of her holding cell, with merely the forcefield between them and her, she raised her smiling face and opened her eyes - peering at them though the shroud of her hair. Watching them, she wondered which one she'd kill first if she could escape. Well, upon seeing them, she supposed she'd settle for three of them. She'd rather fuck her kin than kill him.

"Oh, my..." she said, chuckling where she sat, "If I knew I would have such handsome visitors, I would not have bothered dressing."

In a slow motion, she raked back her wet hair from her face with one hand, and her brown eyes moved between the four people outside the forcefield. There was her two former neighbours in the brig, Lieutenant-Commanders Wenn Cinn and Carrigan Trent, and then there was a Petty Officer with white hair and... tail and horns... like some bedtime story back from her Host's planet. She seemed familiar, somehow....

Then, of course, there was her dear kin. The doctor, who had made sure she could escape last from the Harbinger's brig. All four of them were in their uniforms, and the woman looked like she was under direct command of Wenn Cinn, at his side. Carrigan Trent looked like he had a lot on his mind, but since he was present, Sonja guessed that she had to be some kind of priority. Whatever do they want to know?/ she wondered.

"I take it this is not strictly a social call, then?" she asked with a grin, her wet hair clear from her face as she looked at them with no trace of fear, as if they were funny monkeys in captivity - living their puny lives on their side of the forcefield. She looked at Dr. Nicander the same way, of course, wondering what kind of games they could come up with this time around.

Just when the subject's close acquaintances may think the subject should be getting on with its life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake it instead. This is a normal stage of grief, and while encouragement from others is not helpful during this stage, the subject still quite vulnerable to suggestion. During this time, the subject may realise the true magnitude of its perceived loss, causing depression. It may isolate itself on purpose, reflecting on things done by the time of the incident. The subject may sense great feelings of emptiness or despair during this phase, and be prone to listen.
- Manipulation of Grief, by Host named cin Nicander

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #1
[Carrigan Trent]

Trent had work to do. He had a meeting in Engineering to sort out sensor data and integrate a countermeasure to Calamity's barrage jammer to begin with, and now he had to sift through all the data about a Starbase to come up with his side of a viable boarding plan and then make use of its communication systems in a way that would be propagated through all of Starfleet and be as hard to stop as possible at any point, from the transmitter to the most distant receiver.

And now, he was requested in the Brig to assist with an interrogation. Why him? He was no interrogator. But then again, he had spent a lot of time in close proximity to a number of these impostors and that likely made him as much an expert as anyone.

Upon arrival, joining his fellow escapee from the Archeron and the ship's CMO, Trent's cold eyes went straight to Ensign Acreth. No. Pseudo-Acreth. Just as he termed the compromised Sankolov. Just in time to hear her quip. "Then feel free to strip," he said without any emotion. Yes, she was attractive but he felt no desire for this thing behind the forcefield. His deadpan response had been in his customary low tone of voice and delivered without any hints of scorn or, in fact, anything beyond what one might consider a mild bit of amusement. Perhaps he was not an interrogator but the fundamentals had been covered in the Basic Intelligence Officer Training Program and they shared something with the world of tactics and command: keep your opponent off-balance. And besides, his memory was still filled with the sight of the gorgeous Trill he spent time with the previous night. He would come to her the moment he'd have some time to himself...

Turning to his companions, Trent spoke, sharing his insight to go along with the reports he'd managed to skim through between his office in the computer core and the brig. "Gentlemen, from experience, there's no hard and fast way to identify the enemy short of the test designed by Lieutenant zh'Wann. Mostly, from my end, any identification of a compromised individual was based on observation and deviation from the norms established by their victims. And, if the parasite theory is correct, then it would seem the enemy lacks some access to the victim's memories or it can prevent allergic reactions."

For a moment, Trent was silent, then he explained. "I realized something was wrong when Sankolov ordered a shrimp jambalaya at Sisko's. He is violently allergic, yet he ate it without trouble and no antihistamine was ever issued to him."

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #2
Lieutenant Commander Wenn Cinn felt a worm of disgust crawl around in his belly as he came face to face with the creature in the brig.  When it spoke it was mocking in its tone.  It was the representative of the infection that had spread in the highest echelons of the Federation and he was determined not to lose this opportunity to gather as much intelligence from it as he could.

In all honesty he would rather have it strapped into a chair and shown a few of the things he learned from the less savoury members of the Bajoran resistance about retrieving information.  Jien had stopped him from taking it that far, for now at least, but he wondered if the captain might back down should the need arise.

Trent spoke to it first before going into an explanation of the findings from his own experiences with the creatures.  It was certainly interesting to hear his theory regarding the parasite and the level of information it could retrieve from the host.   Still, it didn't change anything, the creature behind the forcefield was not Acreth and whatever it was was still responsible for deaths of crewmembers.

Cinn nodded in acknowledgement of Trent's input and stepped forward and looked at the creature in its cage, "You will answer some questions."  He kept his tone neutral, not wanting to antagonise it just yet.  He had to gauge how cooperative it was going to be and also see how it responded, looking for any tells or use of language that could give away any important clues.

"Firstly, tell me what you are and why you have taken Ensign Acreth's form.  Secondly tell me why you are doing this.  Thirdly tell me why your kind released the Niga virus," he wanted to give it something to think about, send the thought process in a couple of different directions at once to watch how it dealt with the information process.

Crossing his arms he waited for it to reply, watching it carefully for any subtle movements or microexpressions, trying to learn its behaviours through observation at first before it spoke and gave verbal clues.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #3
When given the disdainful comment that she may undress as if she wanted to, Sonja Acreth replied without pause. "Now... now... that's no way to treat a lady, is it?" she said, arms resting loosely on her knees where she sat, eyes unblinking while she smiled. "You could at least take me out to eat first."

The way she said it clearly suggested that they would be her feast.

Lucan, merely being an observer for the time being, resisted the urge to chuckle at her humour. He watched her with his arms folded and a tattooed fist against his own lips, a thoughtful expression worn like mask of skin over his face. He watched Sonja slowly rising to her feet when the amputee Intelligence Officer spoke to him and the two others, both whom he was quite familiar with. Wenn Cinn, who had been on the Theurgy since its comissioning, just like Lucan had. Well, besides having been dead for about a month. As for Dyan Cardamone, or Sar-unga Neleo, she was someone he had just recently become... intimately familiar with.

In Lucan's opinion, the intelligence offered by the intelligence officer was not so intelligent, being well aware that his kin beyond the forcefield as well as himself had little to worry about with the... biological assistance that the things inside them could offer as required. It was dormant, of course, to avoid detection, but it was quite useful sometimes. Lucan did not like to open that door too wide, however, because he had experienced how he'd lost control when he did, and the thing inside would not let him close that door fully again afterwards, making it easier to loose control when he least wanted to. Odd, how he accepted this part of his new nature... but the notion slipped from his mind when Wenn Cinn spoke to his kin.

"That is a lot of questions, big boy," she said and stretched her neck where she stood, and the artificial light played over the side of her face, "but what is in it for me? Why should I tell you about myself, when I know so little about you? The definition of a conversation is that two people engage in a social exchange, is it not? If it is only me talking all the time... someone might think I'm crazy." Her eyes, and only her eyes, snapped towards Lucan. "I don't want to make the wrong impression on that handsome doctor you have there... Tell me, how is your back? Not as sautéed as last we met?"

"I might ask you the same," said Lucan evenly without dropping his fist from his mouth. "I heard your second escape-attempt was as futile as the first, thanks to Petty Officer Cardamone here."

"Ah, now I remember you," said Sonja and laughed as she turned to the white-haired woman, and with the context of her nature, it was a terrible sound. "It would seem there was more to you than met the eye. Too bad the same can't be said for poor David Cerrato and your other friends. Diadeniera Drovo might have been easy on the eye before I shot her face off, but it seemed to me she surrounded herself with mindless cattle... because they were all so easily funnelled to their slaughter."

Dee had been the Chief of Security that was killed before Deputy zh'Wann and Lt. Vessery managed to stop her. Lucan gave Sar-unga a couple of moments to reply to his kin before he spoke. "When you pulled me into the forcefield," he said quietly, but sounding firm in certitude, "I was on to something with my theory, wasn't I? Otherwise you would not have interrupted me like you did. You are an interphasic parasite, aren't you?"

Sonja merely smiled at him, but she said nothing.

"Did you come from Thanatos VII?" Lucan pressed, unanswered, "If you are, how come your humanoid hosts survive? Long-term possession should be impossible. You should be feeding on the cellular peptides of your hosts, and the whole of Starfleet Command should be dead by now. Nor can your kind control the minds of your hosts. If anything, your kind seem to exhibit the capabilities of the Denevan neural parasite, but you cannot be detected by our scans... therefore, I am led to believe you are some kind of variation of both. An interphastic neural parasite. A mutation of the Denevan version. Do you originate - like them - from somewhere outside the galaxy? Are you out of phase with our existance? By the winds, is this correct?"

Still, Sonja said nothing, just looking at him with her fixed smile.

"What is it you want?" Lucan pressed further, stepping closer to the forcefield. "So many dead an-"

Sonja was suddenly standing inches away from the invisible wall, the transition of her movement almost impossible to catch with the eye, and Lucan did not have to feign his surprise and how startled he was, staggering backwards. The beast inside him was agitated, and it seemed it communed with the kin inside of Sonja, since its ire rang in Lucan's ears - not the least impressed by the development. In Lucan's mind, however, the best deception did not succeed without an ounce of truth in it...

"Now it is my turn to ask questions," said Sonja after staring at Lucan in his struggle regain his footing, turning her eye towards the other three. "It is quite clear that in the nature of all species, you are capable of acts of love and kindness. Of inventiveness. Mutual aid. And yet, on the other side, you are capable of acts of destruction and defilement. It is inherent in all your biologies, so why deny one side of yourselves for sake of the other? You are being dishonest with who you really are... beyond the doctrine of lawful society."

OOC: Press on with the questions! :) I have also added an excerpt from Part 1 for sake of reference toward what Lucan talks about here:


Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #4
She had been more then happy to be back on duty. To be back in uniform. To be back to protecting the people who where standing as a beacon of light against a growing unseen darkness. What she wasn't happy about was seeing 'that' woman again. Sonja Acreth. If it had not been for others being here and the force field between them she would have liked nothing more then to sharpen her claws on her flesh and not in the nice fun way some would picture. Her tail moved behind her as her annoyance and anger continued growing seeing 'that' woman sitting there. As she spoke all Dyan could do was let out a low soft growl of annoyance. Her eyes remained on Acreth as she remained as still as she could. She was a weapon and all she waited for was the order or the circumstance to attack. Her eyes only half turned from Acreth to the one she had come to know as Carrigan Trent listening to his words though from time to time her eyes fully moved to Acreth. "What ever this thing is it doesn't change the scent of the host. That thing," she said feeling that she was no longer even worth of being called human. "Smells normal,"

As Cinn stepped closer she would shadow him standing a few feet behind him before her eyes moved fully to Trent as though she where truly seeing him for the first time. Which wasn't too far from the truth. Her eyes looked over his arm then to the other before letting her eyes travel over his chest and finally to his eyes. She would only offer him a quite nod before her eyes turned back to the wench that brought them all here. The more she spoke the more Dyan could feel her anger starting to rise as the tip of her tail continued moving with annoyance and frustration.

Her ear twitched ever so slightly hearing Lucan speaking her name though her eyes remained on the woman in the holding cell. Her eyes narrowed as another long deep growl slipped from her lips. "To bad you couldn't get the job done all way. Sloppy work really. It reeks of a weak creature. When and trust me there will be a when. I get my hands on you again beasty it won't be as a Starfleet officer and you won't be waking up again," she spoke coldly as her eyes remained on hers. "You couldn't stop me or kill me when I was human. You won't be able to do anything now that my body is as it should be," she spoke cold and lowly as she continued watching her.

As Sonja moved seemingly faster then even her eye could catch Dyan quickly moved around Cinn tell she was standing beside him her eyes narrowed as she was more then ready to strike. "It is not dishonesty you worm infected thing. In gaining control of both sides we rise above primal animals that are at the mercy of which direction they are pushed. If anything we are more honest then you," she whispered as she slowly started approaching the cell her eyes narrow with anger. "I would like nothing more then to slowly peel your flesh from your body and dip you in a pile of salt. I wouldn't feel bad about in the least. I have done far worse to far better people," she whispered as she stood a foot from the force field. "For far less reasons. We all know there are two sides to our nature but there in lies the difference between us. We don't have to crawl into someone elses skin to express it,"

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #5
There was something predatory to the way pseudo-Acreth replied to Trent's quip. But there was no hint whatsoever that she had been put off-balance. So he had misjudged that approach and instead, he felt part of his awareness slightly  dip away from the physical world as his mind began to re-compile the data he had. He was no interrogator, he was a specialist in electronic warfare and tactical exploitation and an analyst.  So he had to analyze what he had.

His fellow crewmembers, he did not so much follow their interactions with the prisoners as much as registered it all as data to be examined. The Bajoran chief of security came about with a direct approach, which was met with derision, but it seemed the doctor struck a nerve with his assessment as to what this enemy truly was. But this violent a reaction, was it an act or was it something else? And there was Wenn's mention of the Niga incident, which Trent had briefly read upon as he did not have the time to fully cover all that information.

He waited for this unusual alien, who was said to have been a gorgeous but rather pale human but the previous day, to finish her tirade until he spoke again. He had some facts compiled. "Brig officer, isolate Cell D, full privacy." At his command, the forcefield went opaque and the all sounds blocked. If anything, he did not need the new,he knowing what he had just theorized.

"I have a new theory. This enemy, they crave experiencing things through their hosts. That would explain why Acreth here sounded so predatory when she spoke of coming out to eat: she views us as her meal. It would also explain their choice of pathogens when they engineered the Niga incident with the uncontrollable sexual urges it caused. Or why Sankolov started to binge on seafood after he was compromised. They build upon what he host knows, either in the ways of urges or desires and these parasites have, effectively, very limited impulse control. So that is why they went for Starfleet. They might be impulsive and hedonistic but they knew that a rash of such behaviour would attract attention and put a crimp in their goal. But if the one agency in the Federation with the resources to investigate was the first to fall? They would be unstoppable. I have an idea. Wenn, Petty Officer, you've already pretty well started playing the part of a bad cop. Doctor, follow my lead, we're playing good cop."

With a gesture, Carrigan motioned to the brig officer to return the forcefield to its default configuration and again, he spoke. "Look, Miss Acreth, we can't very well free you. It would be too dangerous. But perhaps we could come to a compromise. If you cooperate, I will push to have your confinement made more comfortable. We have an excellent holographic expert and a holodeck to spare. Of course most controls will be locked and the door sealed but you could be under far more comfortable house arrest in exchange for your cooperation."

And something Trent did not specify was the length she would enjoy the holodeck as a prison. For all he cared, she could be stuck in stasis until the parasite could be removed. And if that was impossible, the Theurgy had plenty of airlocks to chose from.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #6
Despite his proximity to the field, when it moved as though trying to scare the group on the outside Cinn didn't flinch.  He'd seen many make the same move over the years and perhaps at first it caused him to second-guess the field's integrity or the nature of the prisoner inside he had learned long ago that nothing he had come across thus far was able to cause the barrier to drop from within nor allow them to pass through unimpeded.  Whatever this thing was it was still in a human body and a human body was unable to pass through the barrier.  He remained unfazed and still.

Cinn stood frowning and arms crossed.  He hated the stereotypical 'good cop, bad cop' play but sometimes it did work.  He didn't think it would work with the creature in the cell but until a better option presented itself perhaps it would cause no harm.  He paused and listened to the offer Trent made it, far too lenient in his book but he would have to see how it played out.

A small vibration from his combadge indicated that someone had tried to contact him.  He had set comms to show up at the main station in the Security office but had left a small notification on.  He noted it and turned his attention back to his task.

"It still hasn't answered my questions," he growled, "There'll be no bargaining until I hear some solid answers.  Why did you take that form?  What is your goal?  Why did you use the Niga virus?"

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #7
It seemed to Lucan that Sonja Acreth was about to answer Sar-unga's threats before Trent isolated the cell, cutting her off, so the prisoner just stood there behind the forcefield with her minacious smile. She met the gaze of the Asurian with amusement, like she was a monkey throwing its feces on the glass. She did not react before being cut off either, merely standing there and folding her arms when she heard Trent's command.

Lucan listened to the Intelligence Officer's suggestion. It was remarkable how his conclusions were not too far off in some areas, while not very close to the truth in others. While Lucan was intrigued by the man, the sinister whisper in his soul was not so amused, demanding the human's death. "I'm a doctor, not an inquisitor..." he said quietly in answer to the suggestion and sighed, "good or bad. Fine, but you can't expect me to rub her feet after she nearly killed me. She won't expect it either, for that matter."

When the forcefield became transparent again, Acreth had not moved an inch, still standing there and watching them with her minatory smile. So it was to no surprise that the matter of her accommodations were secondary to her, after Trent made his offer, and her ambitions were plainly not to enjoy their hospitality for much longer. "How gracious of you to make the offer, Lieutenant Commander," she said, tilting her head a little. "Yet how can I strike a deal if you do not specify what my cooperation would entail? From where I am standing... as in me still being here... I consider myself already very cooperative. At least compared to what I have been before."

Ensign Acreth was not looking at him, but Lucan was very aware of the fact that he had been the one to arrange her escape from the Harbinger's Brig down on Theta Eridani IV, where she had killed all of Sar-unga's comrades in Security and almost reached the Main Bridge. Her meaning was not lost to him. She counted on him to get her out once more, at the most opportune of times. Strangely, Lucan was not entirely sure what he thought about the prospect, even if it was what he should do. Her released would hamper his own plans, and endanger both their lives. She mightn't care if her Host died anymore... but Lucan was very much interested in staying alive.

Then, the thunderous reverberation that was Wenn Cinn's voice cut off his introspection, demanding answers from Acreth. Sonja slowly turned her eyes towards the Bajoran, and her voice was like a knife in how it cut into the nervy atmosphere.

"You seek the motives for our actions, unable to understand that which is beyond you," she said, and her smile was a rictus expression that creased the corners of her eyes. "How can I make you comprehend something that defies your simple nature? You especially, who enforce rules and order in denial of your animal nature. Law is a construct. The world is not black and white. There is no good or evil. Just chaos... and flesh."

She emphasised the word by running her glistening tongue across her upper lip, her smile remaining. "Our nature stem from a dimension where construct break down, and the vanity of life meets its end. You are all cattle, breeding and moving around for no purpose, thinking there is meaning beyond death and begetting more lives to die in your wake. We represent the hell from which your primal urges surge, and in the primordial soup of feelings that reside at the back of your cultivated minds, we exist, as we've always had."

Sonja reached down between her legs, fingering herself through her dress as she spoke, her facial expression remaining. "Your bodies are our playground, where we can enter flesh and derive pleasure or pain as our honest whims dictate, or deal it unto others," she said, baring her teeth at times when she spoke, and she looked between the lower standing creatures before her, "You are but flesh-puppets leading unfulfilling lives, fooling yourselves that there is more than pain and pleasure to seek. Your purpose is to serve, and be discarded when your bodies are unfit to use any more."

Ensign Acreth, or the thing which spoke through her, lifted her fingers to her nose - scenting herself on them as she took a few steps along the forcefield. Her unblinking eyes were still staring at them. "You ask of Niga, and I ask if it is not obvious? You may have seen it as an abomination that would topple all socitieties in the Galaxy, but you may consider the virus our high-grade narcotic when we claim a Host, as well as the means through which  we both keep whole populations predictable... and reduce them to the chaos in which we thrive."

Sonja ran her other hand through her hair, sighing as if in wishful thinking to be there, living in that mayhem...  "It is from chaos we all spring... and shall return."

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #8
Trent simply cast the doctor a flat look at the mention of rubbing the Acreth creature's feet. Of course he had at least skimmed the reports of when dealings were had with her and from a completely objective point of view he would never expect anyone to get close to her unless fully restrained. And there were limits to easing her captivity.

However, the Intelligence Officer returned his attention to the prisoner when the Bajoran growled his demands. The man was large, tough and returned from the dead. That alone would be plenty to rattle any detainee. But with these creatures, who knew what was effective? But he did not have to wait long for any further insight in these usurpers.

He kept his face a mask, but that creature fingering itself while speaking was more than a little unnerving, especially combined with her words. They were not just raw information, they sounded almost religious in nature. So, these things were ideologically driven? This was a piece of information that had not been available before. How valuable that tidbit was was unclear but it was something. As was the information on the Niga virus. At least, there was now a little more to work with.

But there was something else in that speech, something confident and had been heard many times before by Starfleet officers, that there was no hope before the threat this enemy posed. And as such, Carrigan spoke. "Miss Acreth, first of all, if you've got access to Ensign Acreth's memories, you will know we've heard these things before. From the Bullders and the Xindi to the Borg to the Dominion, we've heard it all. Each of them said things were hopeless and we had no choice but to submit. Honestly, your kind are just a new threat, and like all the others before, there will be those who will fight you, and win."

There was a hint of a dangerous grin on Trent's lips. Since he had arrived on the Theurgy, he found much of his confidence reborn and part of his old instincts as a tactician and commander had started to resurface. And he found himself, on some level, relishing the fight.

"As for what we need from you will be accurate and verifiable information that can be turned into timely and actionable intelligence. You give us things we can use, your situation will be... improved. You fail to do so, we can find other means. I have the strong impression you have little vested interest in keeping your host intact, but there are other means to deal with a creature of intellect. And I'm certain Commander Wenn and the Petty Officer can think of a number of creative and unpleasant ways to do that. Right now, you're the only person standing between comfort and torture. So really, help me help you."

"So first of all, we know you aren't Ensign Acreth. What is your actual name?"

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #9
OOC: Even at the lack of replies here, I will move on with another post, hoping to give you all more to work with.

Inside, Lucan chuckled at the query of a name to the kin inside Sonja, knowing better. So predictable, that the cattle around them wanted a name on the evil they fought. A means to compartmentalise their existence into their own minds. They feared the unknown, and wanted to add their kind to the very list of foes they had fought before, the same list that the Intelligence Officer delivered in his retort. On Sonja's part, she looked as amused as Lucan felt.

"A name," she said and tilted her head, biting her lower lip, as if to politely keep herself from laughing, "You must be hearing what I say but you have not listened. I am indulging you and yet you fail to comprehend the meaning and implications of my words, human. I ask you all then; what are you, essentially? I do not mean it philosophically, but scientifically."

Lucan let a frown touch his exotic face and replied, playing along for sake of appearances. "Lifeforms."

"Yes, but what do you consist of?" asked Sonja, studying her own hand as she paced her cell - as if she inspected the quality of a glove.

"Matter... Organi-"

"Which is what?" Sonja turned her eyes to Lucan with a smirk. "Oh, doctor, I know that medical science still rely on the understanding that we are all matter, lest you do not know how to treat wounds or ailments. No, you are not matter. This skin-puppet I wear is not simply matter. Quantum physics makes it rather clear, as you go deeper and deeper into the workings of the atom, you can easily perceive that there is nothing but energy waves there."

Sonja's eyes left her visitors, slowly travelling the expanse of the barrier between them. "One might say that the atom is actually an invisible force field, a kind of miniature tornado... which emits waves of energy." Her eyes centred on them once more, and she ran her hands down the sides of her hips as she continued. "Yes, this Host and your mortal coils all consist of energy. Pulsing, vibrant energy. Both in body and mind. And when you die, where does that energy go? Come now, this is easy science. You know that your energy changes form, but never truly dies. Your bodies start to decay immediately as your internal bacteria eat away at it. Fungus spores. Larvae. Maggots that grow and eat. As you decompose, fuelling the ground in which you lay or simply generating new life, energy always persists, only in new ways. Your energy change, but never dissipate. You say 'body and soul' in your different cultures, but there is only energy asleep and energy awakened. Nothing else."

Casually, she raised her hand and broke her middle finger by bending it backwards. There was no mistaking what she had done by the sound of it happening. Yet she screamed not, moaning instead before she continued. "What we represent... is pure chaos," she said and breathed heavily as she began to flex her hand before her face, watching the broken finger try to cooperate with the commands that the body gave it. "All the complex biological processes of life - not to mention the technology of starships and buildings - all break down. Under those circumstances, there can neither be energy asleep nor energy awakened. So..."

The dark eyes of Ensign Acreth snapped to the Intelligence Officer. "Do you honestly think we would care to denominate ourselves, and create order by individuality?" That which had once been human tilted her head forward, and when she spoke next, it was as if the voice could not fit into their current reality - tearing at the very fabric of time with each fractured syllable. "We are the nameless darkness, and it is only through the flesh we wear that we abide to the laws of physics in this dimension, and adapt to your detestable societies. Our purpose is to reduce you to the primordial soup from where you all came - where energy is at its rawest form. We only need these sacks of flesh and bone to facilitate your inevitable decomposition, and once we can digest you, we will devour this existence... like sucking the marrow out of your brittle spines."

Lucan acted as tense and fearful as might be expected, taking a couple of cautious steps back, but on the inside, the darkness within resonated with Sonja's, and he came to revel in the thought that it was not just the result of their work that mattered, but the delicious journey there - experiencing how it all crumbled apart in corruption, perversion, retrogression and complete dissolution. Thoughts not entirely his own, even though they more and more felt like they were. Odd, how he was not troubled by the development, even if he should be. Shouldn't he?

Being around Ensign Acreth was confusing to him, yet at the same time, very familiar.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #10
She didn't care what they called them. What they named them. The only thing that mattered in her mind was how to kill them. Just the sight of  Acreth made her blood boil and not in a good way. Her arms crossed over her chest as she stood there listening to that thing ask what they where. They where life and life was important. She remained quite as the thing went on talking more and more about simple science and biology and Dyan found herself trying to fight back a yawn. She didn't flinch as the creature before them broke her fingers not wanting to give it the pleasure of knowing it creeped her out. Her eyes only half way turned to Lucan before they returned to the woman in the cell. "Nice little act and speech there. We're all impressed we truly are," she said as her head tilted to the side ever so slightly wishing they would allow her to attack. Allow her to pull the information that they wanted in the torture ways that their people had developed. During her fathers rule they had developed so many different ways to make people talk. All of which she was sure would not go along with the federations rules and regs. Then again they where not part of the Federation any more.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #11
Trent didn't hear what the winged woman at his side said. The shock of the Acreth woman's words and actions had struck him like a ton of bricks. How wrong he had been! This enemy, my was not so much driven by ideology as the need to expand and feed. But he had been right about how they used their hosts to feel the world about them, how they craved the ability to experience it.

But he was still shaken to his core and as soon as the air was clear, so to speak, the Intelligence Officer whirled about and pointed his prosthetic hand towards the Brig Officer and his voice sounded, sharp and clear, brooking no dissent. "Full isolation. Now!" He needed to segregate this creature from the rest of the ship. What had been said, it needed to be contained and restricted only to essential personnel. If he had been rattled by that creature's true nature, what could it do to those less capable of dealing with this knowledge than he was? It would spread like wildfire, get embellished, distorted and the crew would shatter. "I'm calling this one under the Official Secrets Directives. Only Captain Ives hears from this and she'll decide further dissemination." Then he pointed his synthetic hand directly at the young ensign manning the Brig station. The winged woman meant business, and perhaps she didn't know the Directives inside and out, forward and backwards but she'd understand his meaning. Wenn? He would be intimately familiar with them. The pale kid shaking like a leaf across the room? Not so much. "Ensign, whatever you heard or saw here today, forget it. Talk about it with anyone who isn't in this room right now and you'll become her neighbour, got it?"

Then, he looked at the now-opaque forcefield. "No one interacts with her without the Captain or my say-so. But let's soften her up for interrogation. Let's hit her with sleep deprivation, sensory overload and deprivation. Pain isn't going to work, but she's a creature of the mind, so we need to attack that for now. And let's play with gravity and inertial dampeners in her cell too. Anyone have any questions?"

He sounded every inch the senior officer at that exact moment. Perhaps he technically did not have any real seniority at this time and his status as an Intelligence Officer might not mean much but be did have the expertise at his point. And only when the Brig officer got to work that Trent allowed himself to drop into a crouch, leaning against a bulkhead nowhere near Acreth's cell, his hard facade finally giving way to the human beneath. "Christ, I can't wrap my head around that thing." Then, he looked up to the doctor and security personnel. "That thing, it scares the living shit out of me."

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #12
Wenn Cinn's comrade from the Archeron escape had gotten the prisoner talking, and with the help from the formidable... Asurian at Cinn's side and the more liberally positioned Dr. Nicander, Sonja Acreth had divulged more and more about herself and the enemy she represented. Therefore, Cinn had fallen silent, staring at the prisoner while she moved and talked within the confines of her holding cell. He had his massive arms folded across his chest as he observed her, standing perfectly still by the rear wall. When the thing began to speak though, screeching out of some rift in its existence in the cell - as if part of it was in a state of flux - Cinn raised his jaw and returned that diabolical stare. Inside, something was trembling at the implications, and he had not felt something of the kind since his youth - surviving the worst parts of the Bajoran Occupation.

On the outside, he may have seemed collected, and that was what counted in the face of adversity.

He had only known Dr. Nicander long enough to predict his reaction to something like they were facing, them having served under Captain Ives since the Theurgy was commissioned. The Asurian seemed either a tough or foolhardy species judging from how Dyan - or Sar-unga - responded to Acreth, while the bionic spy-hacker ended up wearing his reactions on his sleeve towards the end - probably because he derived more layers and implications from Acreth's words than anyone else present. Because Cinn did not know what to think after the Intelligence Officer made the force-field opaque and shut down the interrogation. He had a keen mind in matters important to him, but the nature of existence and the dimensions beyond his own had never truly concerned him. He turned his bald head and looked upon Carrigan Trent when be began to spit out orders in Cinn's own Brig, but he did not start pissing out his territory like some canine. He remained silent, respectfully so, as he slowly walked over to the human.

"I agree," he rumbled as he crouched down in front of the seated man, and Cinn looked down upon his own hands as she spoke - the furrows on his forehead a testament to his concern, "but there is no need to threaten my Brig Officer. Matthews knows what he is about, even if he is young and he just got out of Sickbay. Don't you, Ensign?"

"Aye, s-sir," Connor said, and the human would fully understand that the query was rather a verification than anything else.

Only then did Cinn raise his eyes to look into the other Lieutenant Commander's. "This is not your battle, Mr. Trent. Let me fight this one. Your say-so is better utilised elsewhere, in matters not so base as sanctioned torture. I have my methods, and I can make her uncomfortable, but as of 1100 hrs yesterday, the Captain ordered me to do so only with the required attendance of Dr. Nicander here. I may not like it, thinking that the results may be too late if we do this by the book, but I will follow the orders of my Captain."

Pausing, Cinn glanced towards the force-field again, not looking towards the winged colleague he had borrowed from the Harbinger crew or the CMO - eyes resting on what that force-field hid from all their eyes. His words were a quiet reverberation deep down in his chest, meant for the spy he owed his new life to. "I cannot understand this creature either, and she does instil fear in one's heart," he said, and then stood up - the seams of his uniform protesting with the motion. He extended his large hand down to Trent to help him up. "Yet we have a motto on this ship, carved into the plaque on the bridge. Now that you are here... you might as well abide by it. Silly words, but I mouth them once in a while when I need to."

Courage is fear, when it has said its prayers.

"I've got this, Mr. Trent, no need to worry." Cinn gave them human a lopsided smile. "Your expertise is better utilised finding a way to bring down the starship you were supposed to help building. Which is something I can't wrap my head around."

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [05: Isolation & Depression]

Reply #13
Trent's mind was racing. The connections were becoming more and more obvious at every turn. The reports that were over classified, misfiled, never disseminated. Crucial information withheld from deployed crews. Less than optimal deployments. Key people going missing. It all made sense in the context of dissolution. That enemy, it discovered Starfleet would be its greatest foes. And really, was it surprising? Unlike the other major governments, Starfleet was composed of more than one species and fostered collaboration with civilian entities and had in essence access to the best minds in Federation space. But without this crucial link between various centres of excellence? Without the melting pot for this knowledge and men and women able to apply it to protect the Federation?

They couldn't destroy Starfleet outright so they would drive cracks through it, destroy its self-confidence and attack its reputation. It was genius.

When the Bajoran's immense hand was offered to him, Carrigan rose to his feet and inclined his head at the Head of Security. "Thank you." There were so many reasons for these thanks. For not taking offence at orders being given by a peer in his own shop; for the hand up; for admitting to fear himself. "As for you, Mister Matthews, you know the importance of secrecy here. But if it bugs you too much and your Chief isn't available for a chat, my door's open. Secrets like these can be hard to hold onto."

"Now gentlemen, I better get to the Bridge. Got a Starbase to board and a starship from the future to deal with."

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