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CHAPTER 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

[ USS Theurgy | Main Bridge | Deck 01 | 1200 hrs. ] Attn: Everyone

The hour gone by had not been a primrose path for Captain Ives, and now - at the portentous onset of their new mission - he walked out on the Bridge.

"Captain on the deck!" called Winterbourne, being the first to spot him. Jien raised his oaken eyes and saw them standing up. Turning his way. The majority of his senior staff. Those who trusted his judgement and looked to him for orders. And yet they had to wonder now... would he truly give this order? Surely not now, because of what had happened since the Senior Staff meeting. That there was a rapist and a murderer loose was bad enough - regardless who he was or if he hailed from the Theurgy or the Harbinger - but the critical EPS system failure and the fact that they were still undergoing heavy repairs, added with the fact that they had neither the cloak nor sufficient plasma levels, it all pointed towards a delay.

More time in hiding. More time for the Calamity to find them.

They had no Chief Engineer with Tia Marlowe in Sickbay, but Master Chief Petty Officer O'Connell now served as Acting Chief, and he had been summoned to the Bridge to man the Marlowe's station. Natalie Stark, who was at her station, had performed excellently in limiting the damage when she took command during the crisis in Main Engineering, but she was needed in overseeing the gravimetric mines project, not to mention her other duties, so O'Connell had been chosen to fill in for Marlowe until she was back on her feet. Dr. Nicander was  in mid-surgery, replacing her damaged heart with an artificial one. Jien had no idea how long it would take, but from what he had understood from the CMO, recovery time was far less than one might expect.

"Open a link to the Harbinger bridge, on screen." It only took a couple of seconds.

Simon Tovarek was present too, and since he had also been in Engineering, there had been no time for him or Stark to alter the current deployment method of the gravimetric mines - still to be released from their original deployment rig in Cargo Bay 04 as they were. Besides CTO Sjaandin Fedd and Winterbourne at the helm,  Lieutenant Commander Carrigan Trent was also present, standing at the back of the Bridge by the support staff control panels. So was Ensign Henshaw, Jien's Yeoman, who was there on Jien's request. First Officer Rez had yielded the con to him, and the multi-facetted Trill stepped out of the way by the CO chair. It was time to give the fated orders. Regardless the circumstances.

"Mister Winterbourne," he said gravely, "lay in a course towards Starbase 84, and get us there as quickly as the stitchings of our wounds will allow. Chief O'Connell, I understand you are the closest we have to an expert in propulsion systems, so make it happen. Shut down whatever you must for us to get there, and if needed be, don't count on us having to leave. It may be our last stop."

Jien rounded on the rest of the gathered people, noting their reactions.

"Captain, with all due respect," said Lieutenant Fedd at the tactical station, and the Betazoid appeared almost frustrated, "you are taking us on a suicide mission, and the truth would die with us. Did you read my report? You must know what we are up against. Even if we get that far and the Calamity does not find us first, the Romulans are at the state of civil war, so they are on high alert, and SB84 has a tachyon detection grid that would alert station command to broadcast our location across the whole Alpha Quadrant within a couple of minutes. I am not even sure our cloak would have passed through that grid - had we still been able to use it - and what chances do we have to get aboard the station at that point? They have station defence systems and a transporter inhibitor that will prevent us from beaming aboard, and that's just before the cavalry arrive in full force. The only way we could have pulled it off was to have the element of surprise on our side, and we lost it the moment we lost the cloak. I urge you to reconsider, Captain."

The last sentence seemed almost a plea, but Jien sat down in his chair, changing... to her female form as she did. She turned her head to glance towards Lieutenant Commander Trent. "All you say has been taken into account, and Mister Trent had a number of good countermeasures recommended in his report. I am confident that we will get aboard, and also be able to broadcast what we know to everyone far and wide in the Galaxy. Therefore, the truth will survive, and that is our mission objective."

On the viewscreen, Commander T'Rena raised her halcyon eyes and spoke from the Harbinger's Bridge. "Given the damage to your EPS system, and the fact that you do not possess a cloak, your chance of success is less than 7 percent, and the likelihood that your entire crew will die and the Theurgy will be destroyed in the attempt is at 95,2 percent. Moreover, the Harbinger is to be a decoy for the Theurgy, lending tactical support in whatever way we might, so our odds are the same, if not worse."

Captain Ives did not clench her jaw, but her crystal clear voice was rather terse. "We do not know how firm a foothold the enemy already has in the upper echelons of political power, but it is safe to say that they are able to reinforce their positions further with each day that pass while we hide in nebulae and crawl along asteroid belts. Unless the word gets out, it may be too late, and our call will ring hollow by the influence they wield."

"The wise avoid speculation," said T'Rena without pause, "it is also how battles are won. Evidentl-"

"Imaginary obstacles may seem insurmountable. Real ones aren't. Fear can even create more imaginary obstacles than ignorance can." Jien stood up, addressing everyone present, "We must all find courage, and we must therefore do this even before we are ready. The statistics you hold to, Commander T'Rena, are speculative too, because who knows, maybe the ships that will come to destroy us will listen to our broadcast, and join our cause." Courage was fear when it had said its prayers.

Behind Jien's back, T'Rena said nothing. Neither she nor Captain Vasser had to.

The sliding doors opened on the Theurgy's bridge, and a team of security officers - ten people strong - entered with phaser assault rifles drawn. They were led by Zaraq. The Klingon Master-at-Arms.

Overhead, there was a surge of power, and the holo-emitters were overloaded - the smell of sulphur filling the air while the projectors frizzled and cracked by the heat. Whatever commotion could have happened was, however, kept in check by the arrival of the armed force - rifles aimed at everyone present. All except Sjaandin Fedd, who produced a hand phaser of his own. He pressed a button on his tactical station. "Locking out their access to all controls," he said, stepping out on the floor, "Ravenholm is en-route, her assignment successful. Thea is dealt with. Too bad Cir'Cie did more damage than intended. The CSec is located and about to be locked up. Teams are moving in on the Flight Hangar and Sickbay. The ship is just about yours... Captain Vasser."

Hands white-knuckled fists at her sides, Jien rounded on the man on the viewscreen like death itself.

"You..." she said with a cutting tone. Her mind was catching up quickly, even if she felt numb with shock. Mutiny. That which she had feared since they left Earth. "Is this why you transfered so much of your crew to the Theurgy? To take it from me by force?  Did... Were you behind the sabotage too? You murdered my crew! Turned them against me! What the hell is your aim, Vasser?"

The subject might start to look forward and lay long-term plans for the future. Eventually, it will be able to think about the incident without pain. It may feel sadness, yet the emotional pain will be gone. It will once again hope; anticipate some good fortune to come. Indeed, it may even find joy again in the experience of living.

It is clear, that by intricate design, such hope and joy may be found in actions that benefit our cause.

Be it by acceptance... or vengeance.

- Manipulation of Grief, by Host named cin Nicander

OOC: Some guidance: [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 03 The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #1
[ Master Chief Petty Officer William Robert O'Connell  | USS Theurgy | Main Bridge ]

A summons to captain's office brought on symptoms of dread from William Robert O'Connell.  An invitation to the captain's office almost never meant good news.  Nine out of ten times it meant you were in trouble, especially on this ship.  Either O'Connell had broken regulations blatantly enough to get the captain's attention, he was being volunteered for a dangerous mission, or he was being promoted or reassigned to fill in for somebody who wasn't around anymore.  With luck he was only being debriefed on the extent of the Theurgy's damage or being told what systems were a priority to get back online asap.  That was probably what it was.  Nothing to worry about.

O'Connell was proud of the poker face he maintained while the skipper filled him in.  If Jien Ives noticed that Billy Bob's stomach had dropped into his shoes, the shapeshifter was too polite to say anything.  The master chief was assuming Lieutenant Marlowe's duties on the bridge today.  The day William O'Connell dreaded had finally arrived:  He was assuming the duties of the chief engineer. 

On this voyage, the assignment of chief engineer was a death sentence.  It was as bad as being assigned as the chief security officer.  The Theurgy had been through three of each so far and from what he had seen this morning the engineering department had just lost a fourth, making it the unluckiest, most jinxed position aboard the ship that he knew of.   Being assigned as the Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor in the Harry Potter books of classic Terran literature would be less risky.  At least those guys lasted an entire school year.

O'Connell had hoped that the assignment was just a temporary one, just until Marlowe was back on her feet but that hope was dashed when Captain Ives told him the mission:  This was it:  This was the big one.  They were going to attack a starbase in order to get the word out to the Federation that their precious Starfleet had been taken over from within, literally.  This was the big one, and estimating their chances of succeeding and coming out alive would do nothing but cause a biblical weeping and gnashing of teeth, especially since the cloaking device was out.  And they were doing it anyway, despite the recent setback, or rather they were doing before something else went wrong.

Looking back, O'Connell was impressed with his professional demeanor.  The revelation had been enough to scare him so badly that the redneck hick from Nimbus III vamoosed and only the Master Chief was left in his place.  Enough stress had been placed on O'Connell to make it a combat situation and an eerie calm had come over him like a condemned man who has accepted his fate.  This was it.  This was the end.  There was no point being frightened anymore.  Davy Crocket was defending the Alamo, and he was going to make it one for the history books.

Billy arrived on the bridge shortly before Ives did.  "Transferring main engineering functions to the bridge," he announced as his hand passed before the engineering substation's LCARS console and the readout changed to control and monitor the warp drive and EPS systems. 

Captain Ives entered seconds later and ordered a communications link with the Harbinger to coordinate the mission with Vasser.  He was in his masculine form and his longer strides made him move like a man with purpose.  "Mister Winterbourne lay in a course towards Starbase 84, and get us there as quickly as the stitchings of our wounds will allow," he ordered before turning to Billy Bob.  Chief O'Connell, I understand you are the closest we have to an expert in propulsion systems, so make it happen. Shut down whatever you must for us to get there, and if needed be, don't count on us having to leave. It may be our last stop."

"Aye-aye sir, understood," Billy nodded, thankful that he had answered with his 'chief's voice'.  He turned to the console and started deactivating every system that the Theurgy wasn't going to need anymore. 

He ignored Lieutenant Fedd's protest from the tactical station.  It was an officer's place to think and a chief's job to do, but deep inside O'Connell thought that it was a protest best made in private and not on the bridge.  Only the first officer should second guess her captain on the bridge and then only to provide alternatives.  Ives responded by shifting in to her feminine form to appear less aggressive and more reasonable but Fedd was having none of it.

On the main viewscreen, Commander T'Rena added to the chorus of naysayers who said that the mission was suicide.  Of course it was.  There was no way they were getting out of this, but at least this way their deaths would expose what happened to Starfleet.  No matter how long they hid they'd be found sooner or later.  The bad guys from the future confirmed it.  Ives was going to make sure their deaths meant something and that maybe those bastards aboard the Calamity would never be born.

That was when a half score yahoos from security entered the bridge brandishing phaser rifles.  The flash and pop of the Theurgy's holoemitters overloading accompanied them meaning the Thea was down for the count and the security forcefields were gone with her.  Sjaandin Fedd pulled out a phaser, pointed it at the captain, and proceeded to bitterly gloat.

"Ravenholm is en-route, her assignment successful. Too bad Cir'Cie did more damage than intended. Thea is dealt with. The CSec is located and about to be locked up. Teams are moving in on the Flight Hangar and Sickbay. The ship is just about yours... Captain Vasser."

The mangy skunk was behind what happened in engineering!  Visions of Tia Marlowe being electrocuted and almost a dozen crew laying on the floor of main engineering blurred Billy's view.

Ives reacted as well as could be expected.  "You..." she seethed at the viewscreen.  Is this why you transferred so much of your crew to the Theurgy?  To take it from me by force? Did... Were you behind the sabotage too? You murdered my crew! Turned them against me! What the hell is your aim, Vasser?"

Was Captain Vasser and his officers taken over from within too?  What had been the Harbinger's real aim when they made all nice-nice with the Theurgy?  And why the hell was O'Connell so surprised?  He had prided himself as the most paranoid man on the ship but somehow these bushwackers had blindsided him.  Belay that.  They had blindsided all of them.  And Lord knew what they were going to do now.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #2
[Declan Vasser and Edena Rez]

With the bridge secured by those loyal to him, it was finally time to lift the veil on his little farce.  "My aim is to repel the enemy, Ives, and to do so at any cost.  You've been away from Starfleet Intelligence too long if you don't feel the exact same way.  You keep insisting on playing by a rule book that the enemy already threw out."  He had tested the Captain on occasion, questioned how far she was willing to go, and bending the rules was as far as she would go most of the time.  She was still guided by a moral compass that had to be forgotten in such dark times.  This wasn't battling the Klingons, or the Dominion, even the Borg.  This was an enemy who had inserted itself into their very organization and grown like a cancer.  Now was not the time to play by the rules.

"You and your cohorts are responsible for the sabotage," Edena said, glaring a hole straight through Vasser.  How had he turned their people against them?  It was Kiya, in the back of her mind, who suggested that Declan's Vulcan First officer might have been responsible for that.  "A Vulcan mind meld could have put her in touch with members of the crew, and used superior telepathic abilities to warp their mind.  There is a basis for it in medical journals, including an incident aboard the USS Voyager in which Commander Tuvok was used to turn former Maquis into sleeper agents."

"The damage done during the sabotage was . . . regrettable.  It isn't a game of chess where I can move all the pieces exactly as I want them.  The problem with moving gears in a machine is that sometimes a few fingers get crushed in the process.  Something had to be done to silence the talk of going to Starbase 84, but with the insistence on the matter, more motivation was needed.  Just another example of you needing to know when to fold your hand, Jien."  Declan glanced to the female form of the Captain, eyes meeting in a clash of ideals.  Both likely saw the other as unfit for command, him for his willingness to go against regulations, and her for her weakness and rigidity in time of crisis.

"Theurgy represents one of the most powerful ships in the Federation, and it will be needed for the coming battles, far more then the Harbinger.  That is why I saw all my supplies and resources go towards fixing your ship, but now I need what it most sorely needs is a Captain who will command it properly.  I'm thinking T'Rena will serve well in that position, since I have loftier goals."  Ravenholm was taking care of the final matter, the key to taking down the Calamity, the Theurgy of the future.  That was the ship he planned to take command of once he had it in his grasp.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #3
[Lieutenant Commander Carrigan Trent]

To say the morning had been hectic for Trent would have been an understatement. Between the senior staff meeting, coming up with a preliminary plan to assault a Starbase, the inconclusive interrogation of a prisoner, and then a series of explosions even before he could make it to Engineering, it was a fair thing to say he hadn't stopped. In fact, once the first blast shook the ship, he did what any man with no official station in an emergency and training as a commanding officer ought to do: he made for the Bridge.

And what was most interesting about this decision was that it was no conscious one. It had been purely a reflex, something that just had to be done. So indeed, the Captain's challenge the precious morning had worked. It had forced him to face his demons and it did wake something up within him. He wore a red shirt and held a rank that was quite respectable. He had to make these things worth what they signified. He had to act the part.

However, as the Bridge Crew had things well in hand, Carrigan mostly observed and began his work on his part of the assault on the Starbase. There was much work to do, and while he would probably work better in the computer core, he had to be seen as a presence on the Bridge to begin with.

When the link was opened to the Harbinger, Trent turned around in order to focus on the upcoming conversation. And what he heard and saw immediately rang alarm bells in his mind. The first of them was from Fedd talking back to the Captain. Yes, perhaps the cripple and the Betazoid had just met again after nearly fifteen years apart but that was definitely out of character for the man. Of course, he had known the man to voice his opinions, but he knew better! The senior staff meeting was the place to do so, not on the Bridge! Not in front of junior officers, and definitely not another starship's captain!

As such, as Ives sought to reassure him, Carrigan closed in on his former classmate. That matter had to be addressed, and while he was still unsure where he sat in the chain of command, he was certain he was expected to show some leadership of his own and at least enquire as to what he was thinking.

Another red flag was raised when it was Vasser's XO who led the conversation from the Harbinger. That was highly irregular and there was something about that woman that just gave the Intelligence Officer a strange feeling. Vulcans always bothered him but this one? She simply sent shivers down his spine. And it was not her place to speak, not when her own CO was right there. What was going on?

Trent was about to speak his misgivings when the Bridge doors opened to disgorge a heavily-armed team of men. Instinctively, he reached for the weapons locker in the tactical console, only to be preempted by Fedd. And the Security crewman who closed the distance and fairly jammed the muzzle of his rifle in his face.

Staring down the weapon trained at him, Trent knew he would not be able to make a move, and even set on stun, a shot to the head could very well turn out to be lethal. As such, he did the only thing he could do and raised his hands even as the holo-emitters were overloaded and the dastardly plot was fully exposed.

For a moment, Trent remained silent. He needed a plan. The Theurgy needed a plan. It was obvious Vasser had somehow managed to get to a number of Theurgy's crew. But what could be of use? And then, Carrigan had an idea. And hopefully, between the SI-trained Ives and Rez, they would understand he was making a move. "Captain Vasser," started the Intelligence Officer, "what are you planning to do with our crew? You are heading into battle one way or another and you will encounter both Starfleet and the Calamity and you will need every last member of this crew to fight this ship. And every resource you can tap." He had spoken calmly and made a point to keep his tone submissive and deferential. He was playing the analyst trained in strategic and tactical support to the hilt, the man who advised his superiors but did not act.

Hopefully, the mutineers would not know about his recovery, that they would see a half-broken man who had no ambitions of leadership but had considerable experience, someone they could use.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #4
[ Master Chief Petty Officer William Robert O'Connell  | USS Theurgy | Main Bridge ]

"He's right!" O'Connell agreed a heck of a lot louder than he intended.  "With the holograms and all the automations down you're gonna need every hand available if you want to keep the ship a flyin'!"  The look on Vasser's, Fedd's, and Zaraq's faces told him that opening his yap was the last thing he should have done right now.  Usually in the presence of officers or people with guns pointed at him Billy Bob never missed a good chance to shut up, but as long as he had his neck in the noose, he figured he might as well jump off the horse.  "Beggin' the captain's pardon sir but if you're fixin' to have us survive our next engagement we're gonna need every hand at the ready, and askin' one crew to fly two damaged ships into combat strikes me as a very tall order!  I know what you heard about MVAM ships, but the ship can't fly itself right now!  Come on Mister Fedd, back me up on this!  You know I ain't lyin' don't ya?"

Sjaandin Fedd may have betrayed them, but he was both a department head and a telepath.  He'd know that Billy Bob believed what he said, and that he believed that he was the best engineer still standing who was the most familiar with the Theurgy's systems.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #5
Loftier goals? came an errant thought into Winterbourne's mind, his heart beating loudly in his head. He had no idea what the traitorous Captain was talking about, and his pale blue yes darted between the people on the Bridge when they... when they were bargaining for their survival? Captain Ives' command among his own was deteriorating too quickly, and shock laced with disgust rose like bile in Cale's throat. He could not... What could he do? Whatever was...

The helmsman's eyes landed on the hip of one of the security guards, who was busy keeping the sights of his rile trained on Simon Tovarek. A handphaser.

"...I know what you heard about other MVAM ships, but the ship can't fly itself right now!  Come on Mister Fedd, back me up on this!  You know I ain't lyin' don't ya?"

Suddenly, with perfect clarity, Winterbourne knew what he could do. He had to do it. He ground his teeth together... and leapt from his station, snatching the phaser from its holster. When the closest guards had realised what had happened, he had rounded on the gathering with the phaser against his own head. Everyone was looking at him, and he bared his teeth in the vile disgust he felt. His eyes were flinty slits in his pale countenance.

"Listen to yourselves! I refuse to take orders from someone prepared to go over bodies to steal a ship! I take my orders from Captain Ives, and no one else!" With his thumb, he changed the setting from stun and to the highest setting, "O'Connell may be a fucking turncloak but he is right! This ship won't fly on its own! You need me to align the Theurgy's warp trajectory with the Calamity's, otherwise, the gravametric mines won't hit her, and we are all done for! So lay down your weapons, restore our system access, and surrender yourselves to Captain Ives, right now!"

Winterbourne sought Jien's eye, but when he met her gaze, he could not see any triumph or hope there. No, Captain Ives looked like she was meeting the stare of a dead man, her otherwise stoic eyes lined with alarm and worry. As he looked into her eyes, he did not notice how the Betazoid traitor looked towards the viewscreen and shook his head, as if confirming that the helmsman wasn't bluffing. Because Cale may not have realised it, but he meant what he said. He was prepared to die for Captain Ives.

"According to your personnel file," said T'Rena evenly as she was looking at her console, "you have a three year track-record flying starships, Ensign. One year with the Excelsior-class and two years at the helm of the Theurgy. Because of the death of Lieutenant Lawrence O. Lance, and your limited experience, Captain Ives doesn't even have a Chief CONN Officer. Only you, and compared to Master Chief Petty Officer Aisha S'Ithi here - who's experience and talents have become renown since she left the Marquis and served under Captain Vasser, and who could easily make the mines hit their mark - you... are expendable."

The silence lingered after the Vulcan's flat announcement. Winterbourne looked between the faces on the Bridge, at a loss for what to do. He glanced towards the viewscreen, met Aisha's eye through the digital hailing frequency. Was she on Vasser's side? He wished he could perceive where her heart was at by merely looking at her, but there were no guarantees in guesswork. He looked towards Zaraq next, the Klingon that he had celebrated Lohulnat with, meeting his uncompromising stare across the sights of his rifle. Cale was having difficulty breathing, fighting down the panic. His hand was shaking.

"I suppose I am..." he said quietly, his thoughts going to his half-sister, Rawley, who was probably ignorant about what was going on. His vision was blurring. "B-But that does not make this right."

"Stand down, Winterbourne," said Ives sharply. "We need you. I need a helmsman. They have not ye-"

"Kill him," said T'Rena. "He is a risk factor and I do not need him at the helm of my ship. Let him be the exampl-"

"No!" Winterbourne thought it was his Captain who shouted, and when the panic overwhelmed him, he quickly pointed his phaser towards Zaraq with wide eyes, mindless instinct taking over.

The Klingon, however, was quicker. The world vanished in bright light.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #6
[Simon Tovarek | USS Theurgy | Main Bridge]

It had been a very eventful morning for Simon today as he stood by his console, tapping away as information appeared and vanished on his screen. First there was the first real senior staff meeting which had been interesting to be part of and which outcome had not really been something that he had expected. Secondly there was the quick interaction between him and Lieutenant Marlowe before they had to head for engineering. It probably was the best part of his day which only hours later turned into one of the most gut clenching moments in that same life. The drama in engineering had somewhat affected Tovarek psychologically, yet he had deemed himself fit to carry on with his duties. He simply had to as the Chief Science officer, there was no other choice, not now.

Finally there was the little argument on the bridge between the Fedd and Ives after the order had been given to make course for Starbase 84. Simon had looked up from his station to look over at Ives after Sjaandin publicly announced his disagreement with the plan. A slight frown appeared on the Russian his face when T'Rena appeared on screen and before his mind even fully registered what she said he saw Zaraq and his armed force barge in. When the emitters got blow, the first reflex was to shield his eyes. Yet when Simon looked around now the situation on the bridge had deteriorated as Cale Winterbourne stood with a phaser against his temples after he stole it from one of the armed men pointing a rifle at him.

After that everything happened rather fast, the interaction between Cale, Ives and T'Rena. Suddenly the shot from Zaraq followed by the thud on the floor as Winterbourne just laid there lifeless. Simon just stared at the dead helmsman as he swallowed and looked over at the rest of the bridge personnel. What on Earth did they have to do now, trying to fight back would only lead to more loss of life, life which was already so fragile aboard the two renegade starships. It made little sense and flight wasn't really an option either. Thus Simon remained where he stood, hands raised in the air and eyes darting from crew member to crew member.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #7
[ Master Chief Petty Officer William Robert O'Connell  | USS Theurgy | Main Bridge ]

O'Connor could only look on in horror as Ensign Winterbourne snatched a phaser from a turncoat security man and pointed it at his own head.  The symbolism of the action was awe inspiring, the stuff of legends.  Unfortunately, by seizing that hand phaser the way he'd done, he endangered all of their lives even more.  It was the sad truth that all youngin's had a self-destructive side, but if they let that self-destructiveness manifest at the wrong moment they may never get a chance to grow old.

"Listen to yourselves! I refuse to take orders from someone prepared to go over bodies to steal a ship! I take my orders from Captain Ives, and no one else!" the headstrong ensign shouted.  Was it Billy Bob's imagination, or was Winterbourne turning the phaser up to the highest setting?  It was a miracle that Zaraq hadn't dropped the boy right then.  "O'Connell may be a fucking turncloak but he is right! This ship won't fly on its own! You need me to align the Theurgy's warp trajectory with the Calamity's, otherwise, the gravametric mines won't hit her, and we are all done for! So lay down your weapons, restore our system access, and surrender yourselves to Captain Ives, right now!"

The boy's remark stung, but he was too young to understand that if you want to last long enough to make a difference you got to know when to fight and know when to knuckle under.  When phaser rifles are pointed at you and a telepath is in the room backing them up, you give in.  There's no point being brave or planning something clever, because the mind reader can blow the whistle on you at any time.  You gotta give in and really believe it, or you'll never get the chance to turn things around.  Yet the helmsman had made his move too early and defiantly dared them to kill him. 

Unfortunately it is very difficult to intimidate a Vulcan, especially if that Vulcan wasn't in the same room, or even the same starship, as the man with the hand phaser is.  The boy would never be a musician or even a comedian, because he knew nothing about timing.  And if he didn't let go of that phaser he wouldn't live another day.  Cale had dared them to kill him, and the odds were good that they would take that dare.

Come on Cap'n, O'Connell thought, talk some sense into the kid.  There's a time to make a stand but this isn't it.  Tell the boy to surrender his phaser.  Go on, you can do it.

Despite appearances, Jien Ives wasn't really a human being, but sadly she chose that moment to be human.  By the time Ives found her voice it was too little too late. 

Trouble was, it seemed that Harbinger had helmsmen of their own, and the greenblooded XO thought that they could get along fine without Winterbourne thank you very much.  So long Ensign and thanks for playin'.

"Kill him," she said. "He is a risk factor and I do not need him at the helm of my ship.  Let him be the exampl-"

"No!" Ives cried as the Ensign Winterbourne took the gun away from his own scalp to point it at the gunmen.  The ensign may have been young, he may have been fast, but he still couldn't outdraw a group of armed men who had the drop on him.  

Zaraq dropped the boy before he could blink.  Winterbourne hit the deck and looked like a marionette that had its strings cut.  With his eyes open like that it sure didn't look like the Zaraq's rifle had been set on 'stun'. 

Winterbourne had been made an example, alright.  An example of what kind of people the Harbinger's command staff really were.  O'Connell didn't know what they were up to but they weren't any better than the varmints that had taken over Starfleet.  They really were what the imposters in Starfleet accused the Theurgy's people of being.  The danger was fearsome and O'Connell really wished Fedd wasn't in the room because the engineering chief was finding it damn near impossible to keep thoughts of defiance out of his mind right now.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #8
[Aisha S'Iti | USS Harbinger| Main Bridge]

Aisha watched from her station on the Harbinger's bridge.  SHe listened as the truth of the mission unfolded as designed but her heart sank when she saw her lover from mere hours ago begin his one man resistance of futility.  However, she was more than shocked as the words left the Vulcan XO's mouth.

"Kill him, He is a risk factor and I do not need him at the helm of my ship.  Let him be the example-"

Seeing the man crumple to the ground his insides essentially boiled from within by the weapons beam nearly caused Aisha to crumple to her desk but she stood stern as her hand griped the console the desk like object being the only reason blood wasn't dripping from holes her sharp fingernails would have just sliced into her own thinly scaled palms.

There was a neutral dead glare coming from the Cardassians eyes as she looked into the viewscreen locking eyes with Captain Ives and glancing towards the dead body of the man she would be replacing.  There was an anger in her eyes that she hoped the Captain as a woman in the field of Intel could see.   She only hoped in the brief moment she could see that whatever plans she had been following did not include cold blooded murder. It didn't last long knowing she would have to hide her feelings from the prying eyes of her superiors.  She dared not show much more than her glare to the captain before she spoke up and in a tone of pure uncaring business she spoke up to her Captain.  "Beam me over to the Theurgy immediately.  It is crucial that I get to work prepping for the inevitable encounter with the Calamity."

Her words were cold and calm and had no request to them.  If the Vulcan questioned her tone or demands she had a facade already created.  She was Maquis.  She had always been Maquis.  This Federation uniform was always too stuffy for her true self and now that this ruse of Federation rules was over she had no intention of being anyone but the Maquis she had always truly been.  A mask that was a veritable caricature of every negative stereotype that Federation citizens were fed as lies to dissuade civilian support for her beloved resistance.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #9
[ USS Harbinger | Main Bridge | Deck 01 ]

T'Rena turned her emotionless stare towards the Cardassian at the helm, judging that while not addressing her by rank as per protocol, the woman mightn't had meant to sound insubordinate. Chief S'Ithi had served them for years, always loyal to Vasser since she transferred over from the USS Rapier. Based on her performance and track record, she had not been deemed required to undergo the mind-meld, at least not during the first phase. In the second and third phase, however, T'Rena thought she might need some convincing to bear their Commanding Officer's legacy into a new era.

"Indeed," she said, looking to a Hispanic man that stepped forth, "Lieutenant Trujillo, you have the con. Make sure the replacement security team on board handles our new Chief of Security and Doctor Duv until I can pay them a visit in the Brig."

She turned to look at the being that would sire her augmented offspring. "Commodore Vasser," she said, inclining her head in fealty as she used his new title for the first time now that they had two ships that would seed their distant civilisation, "Let us secure command over the Theurgy and plot our voyage away from the Alpha Quadrant. Operations, beam the Commodore, Chief S'Ithi and myself to the Theurgy Bridge."

"Aye, Captain T'Rena."

[ USS Theurgy | Main Bridge | Deck 01 ]

The three of them materialised on the Theurgy-class starship, and Zaraq turned to face them with his rifle in his hands. The Klingon looked at them from underneath his thick eyebrows, three known faces from his old Senior Staff joining him on the Theurgy at last. "The Bridge is secure, Commodore," he rumbled to Vasser, deferring to him first and then to the Winter Queen, who was to be his new Commanding Officer. "What should I do with these, Captain?" He gestured towards Captain Ives and his present Senior Staff with the muzzle of his weapon.

"Lieutenant Commander Trent is correct in that we may need their skills, but the Chameloid will be confined to the Brig and watched at all times by security guards posted before her holding cell. If we cannot make her see the benefits in our cause, she is disposable, but ideally, she can be made to convince her most loyal crewmembers to accept the orders of Commodore Vasser and I. Take her away, Zaraq, and don't take any chances with someone like her."

"Aye, Captain," he said and turned towards the prisoner, gesturing for six of the ten security guards to accompany him. The former Captain was easy on the eye, and Zaraq had not minded to sample her if it weren't for the fact that she was dangerous. That she could turn into a man at the blink of an eye had little to do with it, strangely enough, and Zaraq supposed it was because he had found himself enjoying to sodomise the very same white-haired boy that now lay on the deck plating. Last night's exploits had, however, not made Zaraq flinch for a moment when he killed the young human, and it would have been the same if it had been a female one.

"I can vouch for the Captain's Yeoman," said Sjaandin Fedd confidently, gesturing towards Cameron Henshaw where she stood next to Carrigan Trent. Right then, Zaraq had to raise his rifle a little to to keep Jien Ives in check as she changed... and his male form turned around to glare at the Ensign. Ah, the short-haired woman that had transferred from the Harbinger and taken the Yeoman-position. It was usually considered a non-com position aboard a starship, so in light of Vasser's plans, it now seemed obvious to Zaraq that the Ensign had deliberately tried to get close to Ives and win his trust. It had obviously worked, and considering how smoothly things had gone, it must have worked quite well.

"But what about Commander Rez?" continued Sjaandin gesturing with his hand phaser towards the Trill standing in the middle of the Bridge. "Does she stay or should she be joining Ives in the Brig?"

T'Rena appraised the Commander with a flat stare, and then looked towards Vasser, awaiting his word in the matter of the former First Officer of the Theurgy. It might be that he had orders about the fate ofTrent, O'Connell, Tovarek and Stark as well. Idly, Zaraq wondered if he was supposed to lock them all up, or if he would be allowed to kill some of them.

Then again, perhaps they could be used for breeding purposes later on.

OOC: For those that do not remember Mister Trujillo - the Harbinger's Chief of Operations - or had to yet become members of the Group when he was last seen, here is an excerpt from the Prologue of Part 1: [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #10
[Declan Vasser - Theurgy bridge]

Appearing on the command deck of his new acquisition, the mighty Theurgy, it instantly felt more like home.  Before, he was a guest upon the ship, but now, it felt like his, not just something he had taken.  Instantly, the need for decisions came, and he truly felt like the Captain of the vessel.  "T'Rena, you can mind meld everyone into seeing our way of things?"  He knew she could, but hearing her say it was a good confirmation that she understood the order even without having to hear the rest.  "Prioritize those members of the crew who have skills and positions of value to the ship's operation and work your way down."

The matter of what to do about Ives and Rez was another question entirely, as Vasser's eyes moved between the two.  "Will a Mind Meld work on a Cameloid or a Blended Trill?  For that matter, are there any methods of resisting the meld which might be available to Starfleet Intelligence."  Both Jien and Edena were former operatives, so there was a concern that attempts to brainwash them might prove ineffective.  To many unknown factors with those two made him wary.  "i think it would be better to keep them both in the brig for the time being, until we can be certain that there is not enough left of the crew for them to try and recruit should they escape.  Should they free themselves, let them find no allies who have not been made to see our way of thinking."

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #11
[Aisha S'iti Theurgy Bridge]

Aisha listened closely to the conversations going on around her as she made her way to the now empty Conn desk.  she shot the klingon a look before her comander the ice blooded vulcan.  "You could have just stunned him or something."  she said agrivated.  "You know the thing withthe gravametric mines is a lot more complex than just hold onto a damn stick and pull a trigger to drop bombs behind us.   Each ship has a feel and certain quirks and the helmsmans the only one with the right feel for it.  Yo coulda just stunned him and then gave me some time with him to pick his brain.  Now I've got to figure out his flight patterns with the grav-mine seeding all on my own.  Thanks a god damn lot."  she said eagerly voicing her complaints with little to no tact at all.   "Least if the Maquis got a Feddie ship from some defector captain we had the god damned sense to not immediately kill people who could make running the ship easier."  she complained wasting no time to make it known that when it came to taking over a captured vessel it was clear she probably knew much more than either of these two morons in charge who had suckled from the proper Federation's teat all their lives."

Hearing the comments about a mind meld she now understood what was going on though.  'So that's why they obey so easily. ' she thought.  'I'll be damned if I let that green blooded snow-bitch in my head.'  she mused as she could already see the methods of the deceased helmsmen's unique ways dawning on her knowing duplicating his maneuvers would not be all that difficult knowing no matter what she would keep his unique tweaks to familiar maneuvers within the console as a memorial to the unique soul that was wasted here.  There would always be a piece of him still here in this console she swore.

The Cardassian piped up.  "If you don't mind I would like to borrow the former XO.  Since you threw away our best insight into this ship's particular feel my next best option would be to make sure i get the information from someone at least competent in the ship's capabilities.  I assure you from my old posts I know a a lot more than you would think about relieving stuck up privileged Federation XO's of their so called authority.  If my species taught me anything before i was adopted by a far superior culture, it was the finities of cruelty and how just the right amount of its application, or more importantly pointing how how one has been surrounded by it for far too long, can turn even the loyalist of so called Federation hardliners into a sympathizer to a more worthy cause."

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #12
[ Master Chief Petty Officer William Robert O'Connell  | USS Theurgy | Main Bridge ]

Mind meld?  What did Captain Vasser mean by 'mind meld'?  In a flash, the answer came to the USS Theurgy's self-proclaimed conspiracy expert.   Vasser's ice queen T'Rena had used her telepathic powers for evil.  It explained how the dastardly duo had managed to get so many of the crew from both ships to go along with their dastardly scheme.  Lieutenant Fedd's Betazoid telepathy should have made him either extra resistant or extra susceptible, and William Robert O'Connell had a pretty good idea which one it was.  Would Cir'ce or Maya be able to resist?  They were Vulcans too so they'd know how it worked right?  Hopefully they'd know the trick to it and be able to shake it off wouldn't they?  Would they know how to reverse it and make their shipmates come to their senses?

For a brief moment Bill Bob imagined himself defiantly being able to resist the mind meld.  His stubbornness, rebellious attitude, and paranoia would be like a duranium wall to that witch, and she'd have the added difficulty of trying to meld with a mind as primitive as his to begin with.  Then reality kicked in.  William O'Connor thought himself a clever man, but he knew that he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.  T'Rena would use his paranoid conspiracy theories against him.  Since so many of this worst guesses had already come true, getting him to believe what she wanted him to believe would only take half the time.  She'd probably set a speed record giving him the whammy.

As Billy's frazzled and hung over mind checked for options, he realized that he had a few things going in his favor.  One, Vasser was so overconfident and drunk on his own power that he wasn't keeping anything a secret anymore.  That meant that he was believing what he wanted to believe.  That made him stupid but incredibly dangerous.  Two if Sjaandin Fedd wasn't himself right now it was probably affecting his telepathic abilities.  That meant that Lieutenant Fedd wasn't guaranteed to read Billy's mind at an inopportune moment.  Like any officer, he tended to ignore the enlisted people; that could be used to Billy's advantage.  Three, Carrigan Trent, the fracking new guy, wasn't in on the plan and he wasn't one of the Theurgy's old timers either.  He had obviously come aboard because he found out the truth about Starfleet's leadership and was as cagey and paranoid as O'Conner right now.  It was unlikely that he had fled an evil conspiracy wearing Starfleet uniforms just so he could join an evil conspiracy wearing Starfleet uniforms.  Since he wasn't one of Jien Ives' men Declan Vasser was more likely to trust him.  The question was, could anyone else?

But now first things first.  Step one: get the bad guys to trust you.  Time to use the ancient art of kissing up.  There was almost no way to overdo it.  "Orders Cap'n?" Billy Bob stood at attention as he addressed Captain Vasser.  "Engineering is at your disposal sir!"

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #13
Trent's eyes were constantly moving and his mind was racing. Perhaps there was no tactical display before him, but as any time he was faced with a tactical problem, he could understand the relationships between distances and movement everything around him. The battlespace was ever becoming clearer to him. And he knew what he was to do. If he remained on the Bridge, he would be subjected to a mind-meld. And at that point, there would be no guarantees he'd be able to resist it.

And there, he saw it, his opening, when the crewman who held him at bay turned to look at the Cardassian woman making all kinds of noise about flying the ship. And O'Connell proclaiming his loyalty? It was the perfect time to make his move and his synthetic hand shot forward and grasped the crewman by the collar and, driving hard with his legs, he started to rush across the bridge, his face set in a savage snarl and an animalistic growl in his throat.

 As he ran, the shrieking of phaser-fire echoed in his ears and he could feel the hapless crewman in his hand jerking and going limp and he let him go just as he reached the far door, followed by a hail of weapons discharges pocking the bulkheads about him as he ripped a hand phaser from the rack and returned fire, taking a single moment to call out. "O'Connell! Move your ass!"

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #14
[ Master Chief Petty Officer William Robert O'Connell  | USS Theurgy | Main Bridge ]

The problem with desperation is that it can be awfully contagious.  A lot of folks know that the best away to escape capture is to avoid being captured in the first place.  While Master Chief O'Connell was making himself the center of attention, Carrigan Trent decided to make his move.  When O'Connell inadvertently created a distraction, the bionic officer seized the security crewman standing next to him and used the poor son of a targ as a battering ram to knock down the resistance between him and the nearest door.

Trent had been standing at the subsystem panels behind the captain's chair and rather than heading for the turbolift that was obstructed by enemies he had headed right past O'Connell and the engineering station towards the portside door that led to a security checkpoint, a weapons locker, a head, and the corridor that encircled the bridge.  When Trent had used his makeshift battering ram to knock down the opposition he had knocked down the fella who had O'Connell at gunpoint. 

O'Connell would have liked to say that he thought fast but to tell the truth he didn't have a lot of time think about it.  "Stop him!  He's getting' away!" he shouted.  "I'll get him!" he hollered as he dove out the door behind Trent.  Phaser fire shot over him as he hit the deck. 

Trent tossed his unconscious captive out the door to block the incoming fire and rabbited down the hall to the weapons rack.  "O'Connell! Move your ass!" he shouted as he pulled a phaser off the rack at shot over the engineer's prone form.

"Aye sir!" Billy Bob said as she clambered to his feet and set the door to 'lock'.  It slid shut blocking the mutinous security men from view.  O'Connell pulled a tool from his belt and used it on the panel that controlled the door.  "It's gonna take a while for them to get in even with the override Commander, but it won't take 'em long to cut through the XO's ready room and cut us off," he announced after a flash and a puff of smoke erupted from the panel.  "You think we can make it?" he asked as he jogged to Trent's side to get a phaser.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #15
Before the commotion, T'Rena had answered Vasser that she deemed the risks that Ives and Rez could resist the mind-meld was too great, and had recommended that they would be taken away. As for the orders to enlighten the crew as according to the chain-of-command and by priority of positions, she had certainly not made any objections. Yet by that point, Aisha S'Ithi's demand had made T'Rena turn her back towards Lieutenant Commander Trent, and the words of the human engineer had also made her fail to see what might happen. Security had been too focused on the Captain and the Trill that they were too late to stop Carrigan Trent, who used one of them as a human shield to cover his escape. The engineer used the chaos to slip out of the door as well, and with so many people on the bridge at the same time, the line of fire had been obstructed.

With her hand phaser pointed towards the closed door - now riddled by scorch-marks from the barrages she and Security had sent after the escapees - T'Rena knew she and Vasser had to bring order lest they would have more foolish people try to be brave. She rounded on Zaraq and spoke with cutting, formal words in wake of the brief shooting.

"Take the former Captain and First Officer to the Brig," she said as if to a child, choosing to ignore the earlier demand from the pilot, petty and uncivilised as it had been. It was clear that they could not keep risk elements on the bridge. "Immediately."

"Aye, Captain," said Zaraq, and nudged the XO to move along together with Captain Ives, stepping aboard the turbolift together with his part of the security detail. Captain Ives' face was unreadable as the door shut. The rest of Security stayed behind, and they looked towards T'Rena and Vasser, awaiting orders. Being Vulcan, T'Rena wondered if they had any more wits than mere animals.

"Lieutenant Fedd, would you be so kind as to lead three of Zaraq's men in the hunt for Lieutenant Commander Trent and... the human that left with him." Had Carrigan Trent named him O'Connell? She did not know the name of the engineer that had taken Lieutenant Marlowe's place, and it held little consequence. "I suggest you leave through Commander Rez's old quarters, lest they will reach the turbolift. Kill them if so required. After all, we have plenty of human DNA available for the breeding of our army."

"Aye, Captain," said Fedd, the Betazoid having walked up to Yeoman Henshaw to brush the back of his fingers against her cheek. "There is no need to be alarmed. This will all be over soon. I promise I will be careful." Then he kissed her forehead and left with hurried strides, the security guards following him. If he was quick enough, he would likely be driving them back towards the conference room and end it there, and if not, he would trap them in the turbolift since he had full system access.

Then, T'Rena turned to Natalie Stark and Simon Tovarek, both humans. Expendable, but the female seemed to have hips made for bearing children. She eyed the Chief of Operations as if she was a mare on display. The remaining two guards looked at her in a similar fashion, knowing what needed to be done. She - and Tovarek - had to receive the mind-meld first, yet there might be more urgent matters. Ultimately, it was Vasser who set the priorities, so T'Rena turned to him. "Phantom will be taking control of the Fighter Assault Bay as we speak. In wait of word from Chief Ravenholm, what are your orders?"

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #16
It all went to hell so fast. If she had time to reflect upon it, she still wouldn't be able to put it all together in hindsight. Some of the other senior staff may have been able to see the signs, after the fact, but for all her rank and position, Natalie Stark was utterly clueless to the planned assault, and couldn't piece it together even after. She had, perhaps been far too busy over the past few days to see what was coming. Between all the preparations for controlling the gravimetric mines, her issues with the weapons aside, to the mayhem that wrecked the Theurgy earlier that very day, taking control in Main Engineering, one could forgive Natalie her shortsightedness. It had already been one hell of a day, in a seemingly never ending sea of such days (the night shared with Rory notwithstanding)/

The reasons why mattered not. All that mattered was the then and there. And that was horrifying in is own right, more so then the assault by the Calamity days earlier. This was a betrayal by those thought to be their allies, their friends, all heralded by the rain of sparks from the short circuited holo-emiters overhead, and the hum of phaser rifles switching over from stun, to kill.

And then there was Cale Winterbourne, making his stand. His foolish, stupid stand. An effort that came to a drastic, short end, with a few simple words repeated across the comm channel from one vessel to the other, and the horrifyingly familiar pulse of a phaser rifle shot, and the sickening crumple that accompanied the burst hitting its mark.

The Lt. Cmdr. staggered back, away from the conn as she watched Cale fall to the ground, eyes still wide open, but deprived of the shine the nearly white haired man usual held. "NO!" She thought she shouted it, but Natalie's words were barely a gasp. They had shot him dead. Cold blooded murder on the bridge, by security officers that were supposed to protect the crews of both ships, not shoot them down. Not that all this stupidity hadn't been real to begin with. But this, this was even worse then the suicide mission they'd been planning. At least that had a purpose. What purpose had killing Cale Winterbourne served? a message to be delivered to the others? No one is expendable? Do as you're told or die?

Natalie barely heard the apparently self proclaimed promotions from the other bridge. All she could do was stare, standing by her station, at Cale. She couldn't even bring herself to look over to Cpt. Ives. The man - woman - that should be the whole ships safe port in this storm. Instead she was left to accept the fact that not only was Cale dead, but now, with the hum of a transporter beam, the woman that ordered her partner at the conn shot down was within arms reach.

A ripple of anger passed over the stunned Ops Chiefs face and she slowly turned away from the body of her friend - such as Natalie had friends, Cale was probably as close to one as she would have gotten - and faced the trio of (in her thoughts) intruders. She listened now, her mind wrapped in a cloak of anger and shock. Mind meld? she thought, furiously. Her mind had been tampered with enough. By the plants on Niga, and the monster that had sent her back there on a whim. By the Betazoid Tactical Officer now pointing a phaser in her general direction. She would not have her mind violated yet again by some treacherous bitch from the Harbinger.

The glare she then shot Aisha S'iti as she spoke up from next to Natalie would have burned through 10 cubic ft of deurainum hull plating, if only her eyes had been equipped properly. If the Cardassian showed any signs of feeling that anger coming off of the Ops Officer, Natalie certainly couldn't tell. This was just getting worse, and worse. Master Chief O'Connel's attitude didn't help things. The same man that had risen to the occasion along side Natalie in Engineering now seemed to be falling in line with the new bosses. She couldn't imaging CPO Sten Convington acting the same way.

And then everything fell apart around her again. Trent, the new man on the ship, whom she had worked hand in hand with over the new plans for the gravimetric mines, played his hand and showed his worth. She ended up watching with an almost comical calm as he snapped forward, and used the body of a Security guard as a shield. And surprisingly, O'Connel went with him. Perhaps, she allowed, uncharacteristically stoic in the sudden onslaught of phaser fire, she had misjudged the Master Chief. If, as the doors slammed shut and the phaser beams scorched their coating - they survived all of this, she would owe both men a drink.

But what cold comforts she could take from their actions rapidly fled from the look - and the words - of 'Captain' T'Rena. Breeding an army? If the Vulcan had mentioned that plan prior, Natalie missed it, and the horror and anger that washed over her was unmistakable. If T'Rena thought she would go along easily with that - and now she could clearly tell what the Security Guards were thinking of when they looked at her - the bitch was mistaken.

She shared a glance at Simon Tovarek, the only other original member of the ships crew now to be left on the bridge. But she could gain no comfort there. Not with the various rifle barrels pointed at them. She wanted to fight back, she was trembling with a need to do something. ANYTHING and yet...what could she do now?

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #17
It happened so quick Cam's mind was still realing as she stood among the others. Captured and defeated. Betrayed by those who where suppose to be there to help them. Fight with them. Stand with them. As Winterburne died she had to turn her eyes away. Such a loss of life it was sickening. There where too few of them left that knew the truth they couldn't be killing each other. As Fedd spoke vouching fr her eyes turned to him in a cold harsh look. The way he put it made it seem as though she where in on all of this. Her eyes quickly turned to Jien wanting to tell him that she had nothing to do with this and that she was with him. What happened between them wasn't the result of trying to get close to him. Her words slowly died off as she seen the way 'he' was glaring at her. "You can go to hell," Cameron snapped her eyes turning to Fedd as they narrowed. Her eyes slowly moved back to Jien wishing he would know that she was with him and him alone. If she knew her one night stand would have cost her she wouldn't have slept with him. She couldn't get over the way Jien had looked at her as though she had lead the attack that removed him from being captain.

She watched her eyes almost burning with anger and hate as the betazoid approached her hand coming up to quickly slap his away being none to gentile about what she was doing to him. "I don't really care," she whispered lowly as she glared at him. "I request to be put in the brig with my captain," she said feeling that was at least where she belonged. With her captain and not the one that was trying to take his place and doing a piss poor job of it. "I refuse to take part in this or to help you maintain control of this ship. Either shoot me or lock me away but there is no way I will help you," Cam all but hissed the words her anger writhing just under her slim form.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #18
With Cale dead the plot seemed to thicken when Vasser and T'Rena appeared on their bridge. Or was it really still their bridge? Simon just watched the entire take over show as if he would be watching a film. From the point of view of the cameraman, without any real interaction with the scene before him. There was little to anything that he could do, especially now that the guards near him paid more attention to him after Cale's valiant yet foolish move. He clenched his teeth together now as he watched the plans unfold yet he felt powerless, almost futile even.

Than a new event occurred. it started with the allegiance of O'Connell to the new captains yet it was followed up quickly by a risky yet calculated run from Carrigan. The two men fled out to the security checkpoint and Simon ducked for cover a bit as a volley of fire whizzed around him. For a split second he doubted to make his escape as well, He could easily make it to the turbolift with all the fire and attention diverted to the other side of the room. Or he could make his escape from the XO ready room. He got up and opted for the second idea yet he heard the door shut and the fire ceased. He froze just as he was about to turn and looked back at the security troops looking around again and more hostile faces now resting on him. There went his window of opportunity...

Simon could see that Henshaw reacted a bit hostile towards Fedd even though she was presumably stuck in the plan with him. It was starting to get complicated for Tovarek as you could never know who really was in on the plan. He glanced around at the remaining staff on the bridge as Ives and Rez got escorted to the brig. Henshaw demanded to be brought to the brig as well or to get shot, a querry that Simon would deem a bit risky since they shot Cale. He noticed Natalie Stark glance over at him and he looked back at her with a small nod of assurance. Wanting to let her know that he'd stick by her during the rest of the takeover on the bridge. It would seem that together with Heshaw they'd be the only two remaining senior officers on deck.

T'Rena spoke of mind melds and breeding an army. Simon could only feel a crop growing in his throat as he knew what that meant. The eyes they shot at Natalie were not really subtle and Simon clenched his fists. It seemed T'Rena waited on Vasser's order to carry on with the mindmeld yet he also overheard where the rest of their key figures were moving to. Phantom to the hangar deck and Ravenholm... Ravenholm perhaps to engineering or to the gravimetric mines in storage? He needed to get this information out. But how, he was stuck behind his panel and escaping was out of the survivable stage. It seemed that all he could do was wait for Vasser to hand out a new set of orders. Should he undergo a mindmeld or would his priorities lie elsewhere.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #19
Simon Tovarek, the chief science officer, also overheard where the rest of their key figures were moving to. Phantom to the hangar deck and Ravenholm... Ravenholm perhaps to engineering or to the gravimetric mines in storage? He needed to get this information out. But how, he was stuck behind his panel and escaping was out of the survivable stage. It seemed that all he could do was wait for Vasser to hand out a new set of orders. Should he undergo a mindmeld or would his priorities lie elsewhere.

It did not take long for Him to find out What Ravenholm had been doing as a voice came over Vasser's and T'Rena's com badges.  "The main computer is yours Commodore; all commands have been transferred over.  Holographic projectors are temporarily disabled pending minor repairs to each individual unit.  Mobile emitter is in my possession.  Reprogramming will begin within minutes.  Expect no response while reprogramming is in progress. Ravenholm out."

The message ended as abruptly as it came solving the mystery of Selena's mission.  THough obviously this could probably only fuel the remaining theurgy crew's paranoia.  NOt even thea was safe from this takeover.  Soon even the soul of the Theurgy herself would be subject to the same wicked meld that seemed to be the destiny of any who resisted the newly self appointed Commadore's plans.

((OOC:sorry for a short post but I thought at the very least y'all needed to receive a hail from Ravenholm by now  I cant really think of anything for Asiha to do atm so there's not much i can do to lengthen the post out more.)) 

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #20
When the Master Chief asked him about their odds of success, Trent turned his head to face him. The Lieutenant Commander's face was oddly calm but his eyes were taut and focused. He was a veteran of wartime command and no stranger to combat. And he didn't have time to field that sort of questions. "Chief, I don't know what you've done but I know you weren't losing your shit half as much as you let out on the Bridge. That means you can help me. First, we need to get off this deck. Come on."

Carrigan wasn't running. Instead, he set a brisk pace that was just short of a jog as he headed towards the forward end of the deck, towards the turbolift. And as he walked, his mind was racing. Command authorizations were locked out, so beaming out was out of the question. There were no spacesuits on this deck or escape pods either so that was also not a possibility and the Jefferies tubes were in the realm of a bad idea, providing easy shots to the eventual pursuers. And that left the turbolifts. And that gave him an idea.

Entering the cab, actually just as the door of the XO's ready room opened to disgorge Fedd and a handful of men, Trent raised his phaser towards the top of the compartment and turned up the power, high enough to out a hole in the bulkhead. And then, picking his target, he fired.

He knew what he was doing. This was something he'd done two days past to an entire fleet. His cyber-attack had grounded all turbolifts by inducing a simulated damage code in their firmware, which would lead them to the bottom of their shafts where they would await maintenance. But this time, he'd create some real damage and he'd let the system's safety protocols take over, independently of the ship's main computer. And that would buy them a few minutes to act once they'd get there, precious minutes to regroup and formulate an early plan. 

As the turbolift plummeted down, it's speed held in check by the same hard-wired guidelines he was using to his advantage, Carrigan ripped his combadge off his chest and then drove his synthetic foot down on it. "Lose the combadge, they'll track us with them," he laconically added.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #21
[Declan Vasser]

As things stood, the potential for losing control was still too great.  Things had to be settled, the crew united, either by fear or brainwashing, before they had to contend with the threat of the Calamity.  With Ives and Rez off to the brig, Declan gave his first order.  "Open a ship wide communication," he said, wishing to address the entirety of the Theurgy, and set the record straight.  "This is Captain Declan Vasser.  I am assuming command of this ship and the mission to liberate Starfleet from it's incursion.  Captain Jien Ives is ill equipped to accomplish this task, too willing to play by rules that our enemies, with superior numbers ships, will be willing to ignore in pursuit of us.  Our first mission is going to be the takeover of the Calamity, so we might gain access to another formidable ship to add to our numbers, as well as to access any records on that ship which may provide us with information about the future it came from, and if there is knowledge of our enemy present in those records.  Those who are willing to join this mission, and with it, become the last hope that our galaxy has, should disarm and assemble in cargo bay two.  Those who insist upon resisting will be detained until they can be made to see reason.  Vasser out."

Looking to T'Rena, he let her know what the rest of the ship wouldn't.  "If we get willing converts, I still want them mind melded, just to be sure we don't have any deception in the ranks.  Once those who appear willing are done, we turn our attention to the resistant.  T'Rena, your top priority, and any of your Vulcan converts working for us, is to see everyone on this ship seeing things our way.  Start with the bridge crew and then head to Cargo bay two.  Take a security team with you, just in case we have any heroes."

Turning his attention to Simon and Natalie, he had to determine if they would need immediate melding or if he could allow them to serve their function until T'Rena was done with them.  "I want this ship locked down.  There are to be no Valkyries or shuttlecraft leaving this vessel unless it is directly ordered by myself or Captain T'Rena."  He referred to T'Rena with a field promotion, granting her the Captain status just as she had named him a Commodore.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #22
[ Master Chief Petty Officer William O'Connell  | USS Theurgy | Deck One | Corridor, port-forward ]

"You think we can make it?" Billy Bob asked as he armed himself with a type two phaser.

O'Connell had asked a stupid question, and Carrigan Trent didn't have time to give out stupid answers. The cool grey eyes that peered out from Trent's determined face were the eyes of a shooter.  They were the eyes of a man who wasn't afraid to pull the trigger and would do what was necessary to get the ship back.  They were the kind of eyes that could perform a 'Sherlock scan' and reveal everything about a man in seconds.

"Chief, I don't know what you've done but I know you weren't losing your shit half as much as you let out on the Bridge," he said in a cold, emotionless voice that was almost a whisper.  "That means you can help me. First, we need to get off this deck. Come on."

"Aye sir," O'Connell replied letting the twang in his voice show more than he intended.  It was time to stop playing the fool and put on his 'chief face' or it was game over.  

Phasers in hand, they quickstepped past the back door to the executive officer's quarters and entered the auxiliary turbolift without encountering resistance.  The poor fellows they left behind must have been covering for them, God help their souls.

Or not.  The doors to the XO's office slid open, and out came Sjaandin Fedd and a handful of lackwits bent on bringing back Trent and O'Connell, alive or dead.

As O'Connell raised his phaser, his peripheral vision caught Carrigan Trent adjusting the settings on his.  Rather than fire on their pursuers, he shot a hole in the roof of their turbolift car causing the car to drop below the deck like a stone.  It took a second for O'Connell to realize that the car's inertial dampener was still functioning making the drop thrilling rather than deadly.

As cool as a cucumber, Carrigan Trent removed his combadge and tossed it on the floor.  "Lose the combadge, they'll track us with them," he muttered as his foot came down on the discarded badge with an audible crunch.

O'Connell hated to give up his communicator.  Inside that crystalline composite of gold, microfilament, silicon, beryllium, and carbon-70, were all sorts of little components useful to someone ready to spread a little anarchy.  The sarium krellide cell could be used to power all sorts of useful gadgets, from a portable force field to an improvised explosive device.  The subspace transceiver could be used to create a force field or send a remote signal to activate a device.  The universal translator could be set to reverse and scramble communication making enemy coordination difficult.  But all that took time, a lot less time than it would take for the bad guys to track them so he followed Trent's instructions to the letter.

"Aye sir," O'Connell nodded as he duplicated the commander's actions.  He winced when he stomped on it; a combadge wasn't as fragile at it looked.   Lieutenant Commander Trent must have a biomechanical foot.   Billy Bob glanced and stared as he noticed the robotic metal hand poking out of Trent's left sleeve.  He guessed that he did have a biomechanical foot.  No wonder he brought O'Connell with him.  If one of the mutineers got in a lucky shot Carrigan Trent might need a mechanic more than a doctor.

Billy glanced down at his damaged combadge.  It was no good, the casing was only cracked, causing an emergency distress signal to be emitted.  The official reason was to help searchers locate victims.  The searchers would find victims all right.  Billy took his phaser, adjust the setting and shot a beam that made the combadge emit sparks and a puff of smoke. 

He glanced over at Trent's badge.  Flattened like a pancake.  Trent had a biomechanical foot all right.

Glancing at the brooding officer O'Connell decided that he had two choices.  He could ask bunch of damn fool questions and break Trent's train of thought or he could shut up and hope the bionic man was forming a plan.  Since the second option had better chances of freeing the ship Billy Bob kept his peace and tried to think of something too.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #23
The flight down the turbolift shaft was faster than was customary, almost uncomfortably so. However, Trent had expected it, knowing full well that the on-board firmware and hard-wired safety measures would see the car grounded at the bottom of the shaft as quickly as possible without injuring anyone who might be in it at the time. It was ironic, really, that he was using some of the very knowledge that had been intended to kill everyone in the Theurgy but used to cripple Sankolov's fleet was now applied to fight against what was a cross between a hijacking and a mutiny. However, beyond the merest recognition, the dark humour of the situation was ignored by the Intelligence Officer. He had a job to do.

During the brief trip down the shaft, his mind was racing and he was eternally grateful the Chief had chosen to remain quiet. He had to focus and come up with a plan of action. He needed access to the ship's systems. He needed a command facility and a crew to man it. But other than O'Connell, he had no clue who could be trusted at this time. So he had to come up with something else and he analyzed what he'd heard on the Bridge.

Fedd had locked out the command staff from the computer. That would likely be fairly easy to circumvent, assuming that crypto specialist from Harbinger hadn't had too much of a hand in the matter. But then again, it sounded like she was going to deal with Thea. The computer core was a highly secure area, locked out by his security clearance. That alone would slow down the best security specialists, and accessing the AI at her main physical location would require much effort. So no, Ravenholm was going for the mobile emitter, which would have far less computing power to devote to its firewalls and anti-tampering routines.

Then, he reached his decision just as the doors hissed open as the car came to an abrupt halt.

"Chief, get us to the computer core. We need to get Thea back online. Now, let's not make this a direct route but we don't have much time. You know this ship better than I do, so lead the way."

Trent's voice was quiet, little more than a sandpaper whisper. But there was no arguing with it for his tone and pale eyes would brook no dissent. Once again, he was a commander in combat and not only did he look the part with his set features and sound the part with his quiet decisiveness but for the first time since the last moments of the USS Harrier, he actually recognized and felt that he was as capable as he'd ever been. And what made getting at least himself in a position to command the ship or at least work it's systems even more critical was the threat of Calamity. Yes, they might use his research and theories as he'd described in the briefing but he was the only one on board who truly understood the concepts and had developed a true feel for it. If any of the variables changed, he was the only one who would know how to compensate. And even of their Ravenholm could make them work, odds are she didn't understand the tactical world even half as well as he did and she'd be far too slow translating the data and readouts in a way that would be usable by Fedd. And these lost seconds could get them all killed.

Vasser and T'Rena most likely had no idea what they were dealing with. Fedd might think he did but really his career had been rather unremarkable and he didn't have the various exposure Trent did to unconventional thinking. So the Lieutenant Commander was certain of one thing: if he could get his plan in motion, then he did have a solid chance.

It only depended on his hillbilly comrade at this point.

Re: Chapter 03: The Captain of My Soul [09: Deception]

Reply #24
[ USS Theurgy | Main Bridge | Deck 01 ] Attn: Brutus & Nolan in particular

With her orders dealt, T'Rena walked up beside Commodore Vasser when he spoke to Lieutenant Tovarek and Lieutenant Commander Stark. She was supposed to secure the allegiance of the Bridge Crew before going to the Cargo Bay, yet it seemed that the two of Theurgy's Senior Staff members made no move towards following the Commodore's orders. If they were, they would have been given system access again. It seemed, however, that their silent defiance forced T'Rena's hand. She ignored the Yeoman for the time being, where she stood at the back of the Bridge.

"Mr. Tovarek and Ms. Stark," she said in her even, cutting tone as she stepped forth. There was an eerie emphasis to her words coming from the XO Ready Room, where a few quick bursts of phaser fire ripped against the bulkheads. "Since you will not comply, I will make you see reason. Your loyalty to a defunct Captain has blinded you, and it is time for you to open your eyes - to see where your current path will lead; where we will all die in vain. It would seem that only then will you recognise the error of your ways."

So T'Rena raised her hand to lay it against Simon Tovarek first, and then Natalie Stark second, and should they try to resist, the present security guards had their phaser assault rifles trained on them, and they would fire immediately if they made a hasty move. The choice, if it could even be called that, was to either let themselves be conformed, or let themselves get shot down where they stood.

Then, the turn would come to Henshaw... unless she also attempted something foolish.

OOC: CanadianVet and Doctor Maya, I think you two can end there on that note in wait for Chapter 04. You can sift your focus to the Supplementary: Hostile Takeover events and the Isolation & Depression thread. In the former, CanadianVet is up, and unless TheBanshee post within a couple of days, I would love if we could wrap things in the latter too.

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