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Re: Chapter 06: No Cosmic Justice

Reply #50
[ Command Center | EOC Tower | Starbase 84 ] Joint-Post by Nolan, SummerDawn, Striker N7 & Auctor Lucan

Even as the fighting still raged in the the Command Center, with Zaraq roaring as he threw an officer into the duty stations lining his side of the area, the situation before the viewscreen had reached an impasse. Drauc did not have a clear shot with his phaser rifle since Captain Hawthorne was using his daughter as a human shield, and the young woman was pleading that Drauc and the others wouldn't shoot Hawthorne. The only tactical advantage on the battlefield was that the transporters were deactivated, and the traitor could not escape. His upper lip curled, Drauc tried to edge sideways, keeping the traitor on his toes.

Meanwhile, ThanIda zh'Wann was pushing her way forth, shooting and striking down the Starfleet officers that tried to oppose her. Ensign Sel was also making progress, seemingly having encountered quite an adversary since he needed to be shot several times, but Ida did not see just how much damage the officer could sustain since he fell into the lower level. Even as Ida dispatched officers that tried to overwhelm her, she could track Zaraq's advance on the other side of the center by the sounds he made as he subdued any officers that dared get in his way. The human with the red collared uniform - could he be from the Resolve since he knew Drauc? - was also getting closer to the front of the area, and eventually, they would reach the Henshaw and Ian Hawthorne. With eyes and antennae, Ida saw the impasse where Drauc had his rifle pointed at the base's Commanding Officer, and she wasted no time in trying to do something about it.

She swayed to the side to avoid an officer that dashed towards her, and drove her rifle into his back. Another one tried to seize her rifle, but she twisted it upwards and caught him under his chin, the rising strike causing him to land a couple of feet away. Two more came from her blind side, but her antennae spotted them, so she whipped her rifle around and stunned them both - the projectiles catching them in the throat and chest respectively. She managed to get a few more steps towards Hawthorne, Henshaw and Drauc before a fifth officer appeared from behind a throng of running Science officers, with her hand phaser raised towards Ida. Activating her SAFTI-gear before the beam hit her, Ida fired back. Only she couldn't. She was out of ammo. It was the disadvantage of the TR-120s, using adhesive projectiles instead of energy. It forced her to bolt towards the woman instead, earning two more beams against the protective force field projected around her while she crossed the distance, but when she reached the shooter, she spun and kicked out her legs underneath her. A second kick to her head subdued her.

Only then, earning a moment of respite, did Ida have the time to tear a grenade from the SAFTI-gear's utility belt, and she tossed it high with a short fuse - making the anti-nadion flash erupt above the area where Hawthorne was at. She knew she had just rendered Drauc's, Sel's, the enigmatic red-collared officer's and Hawthorne's phaser weapons inoperable, along with all the rest of the opposing security detail's... but it mitigated the danger to Henshaw. Hopefully Zaraq had some ammo left in his TR-120 rifle...

Lieutenant Leon "Striker" Marquez had taken the aft position when he'd entered the Center, but preferred to fight upfront if he had the upper hand, which he had, noting the Romulan had taken overwatch as Marquez used the recommended stun setting against the remaining personnel that The SAFTI-clad strike team had missed or not completely subdued. Soon, none of the remaining opposition would so much as twitch.

Striker saw the well-trained Andorian produce a grenade and shielded his eyes during its detonation. Then he strategically approached Captain Hawthorne and his hostage. He had seen the effect it had on the weapons of the security detail, deduced its nature, so with phase rifle little more than a blunt instrument for the moment, he slung and strapped it in the offchance it could be a bludgeoning weapon. Striker faced the Captain and his hostage with arms in a nonthreatening posture; he cringed, he had a younger sister about that girl's age. "Stay Calm, Ensign." Marquez calmly assured her, but kept his distance and his focus on her captor.

"Captain Hawthorne, my name is Striker Marquez, Resolve's XO. I know that you and your command have been compromised per Regulation 6-1-9, and that you can still come out of this alive. But please, release the hostage. If you cooperate and communicate,  I give you my word you will not be harmed." Marquez remembered what he heard during his escape from security. "Where is your Wife, Captain? If there's any human in you left, maybe we can negotiat-" The Lieutenant Commander was interrupted by an inhuman voice.

Across Henshaw's shoulder, Ian answered the Resolve's First Officer. When he spoke, his voice was in flux, and could not fit into their current reality - tearing at the very fabric of existence. "I raped her, and then I killed her," he said, aiming for shock, and taking pleasure in saying the words right next to Cammie's ear. "She did not die well." While the flash from the grenade had blinded him momentarily, Ian remained calm, perversely amused but the development. He had yet to truly test the abilities of his host's body when it was unrestrained by pain, fatigue or doubt, endowed with the strength of his kin.

The flash still caused for little dots in the vision of Henshaw as Hawthorne kept her perfectly in place. She looked at the man called Marquez before she looked at Drauc and Ida, they could see the glint of fear in her eyes as she realized that she was in a bad if not worst case position. She knew Hawthorne, her adoptive father was part of the very same conspiracy she tried to warn him about. The idea only confirmed as he spoke of Trish. Cameron's eyes widened as she heard what the perverted creature had done to the wife of Ian, a mother she loved once. "You're an animal!" she grunted under the strain of his powerful arm.

Cameron knew that the man she once knew would no longer exist, perhaps a small shred of him left in the body that was now fully under control by the parasite. "Ian, please... Fight it..." she murmured, trying to encourage the host to make a move. It was the only thing she could hope for as she knew she was only being used as leverage to the gathered away team. Who'd know what the parasite would do to her if left unchecked. A faith of her adoptive mother most likely to happen if not worse.

A final move of Cameron was to use her elbows and stomp with her feet against respectively his stomach and shins. Yet it didn't have any effect as his grasp around her neck become suffocating now. She had to gasp for air as time became critical for her survival. Dead or alive, Hawthorne would probably keep use of her as a functioning meatshield.

Appearing from the right side of the Command Center, Zaraq came running straight towards the human father and daughter. The exiled Klingon barrelled straight towards them, knowing he had no clear shot with his TR-120, but he could create such an opportunity. He just needed to separate the two. Of course, Captain Hawthorne saw him, and upon realising what the Klingon meant to do, he squeezed the trigger of his hand phaser. He would have vaporised his daughter's head in that moment, had it not been for the anti-nadion particles in the air. It was all the time Zaraq needed before he had closed the distance, and rammed straight into Henshaw and Hawthorne, sending them both off their feet.

Zaraq had ended it all right there... had not Hawthorne torn the rifle away from the Klingon in the commotion.

Sel reached the Captain first, and while her phaser rifle was useless, she brought it down hard upon the muzzle of the TR-120 - Hawthorne's shot going into the floor. Then, Ida came in hard from the flank, trying to strike the possessed officer across the head with her depleted rifle. Ian dodged the sideways attack, struck Sel across the face and kicked Zaraq in the head as he tried to get up. Then he took aim against Ida, only to have his rifle struck by Drauc, who just reached him with a savage kick to the black human's forearm. Sel lay motionless on the floor, but Ida swung her rifle again, and broke the TR-120 in Hawthorne's hand.

Marquez waited his turn to attack, letting the security specialists take their first shots while he waited for his opportunity. Acting with a renewed indignation for the events of the day, Marquez timed his first kick to Hawthorne's spinal cord when he had a clear shot, whiplashing the Captain. Then, Marquez followed up with the full force of a right-cross punch to the face, upon the first somewhat effective kick had gotten Hawthorne's attention. Brought down on his knees, a gash across his temple from where Marquez had split skin with knuckle, Hawthorne rounded on the puny human with his face twisted in a grimace a human could never make. Striker sneered and followed up with a left uppercut to the freakishly-resilient Captain's chin, only missing when he swayed back - leaving himself open to a strike against the edge of his ribcage, and his heart.

Hawthorne meant to split skin and cartilage with the blade of his hand, and yank out the heart of the Resolve's First Officer. Ida stepped in right then, and blocked the deadly attack from Hawthorne - kicking the arm wide off target. The counter was immediate, delivered with a snarl, a kick from the possessed human to her abdomen that made her fall over. Almsot as an afterthought, Ian dealt Marquez a backhand strike, and then turned back to Ida with his bionic fist raised.  Drauc appeared then, and dealt Hawthorne a brutal overhead strike across the head with his phaser rifle, saving Ida from having her life ended by the possessed Captain.

Zaraq having tackled her and her father, Henshaw had escaped from the grip. She gasped for air and coughed a little, getting up on her knees as she tried to get the much needed oxygen into her lungs. In the meantime, Zaraq had recovered from the attacks he'd sustained and launched another strike on Hawthorne, roaring as he landed a kick right in his abdomen. Hawthorne remained standing, however, and the Klingon got pushed off balance by the possessed captain. Cameron could see Drauc coming for another strike with his rifle, yet in the corner of her eyes, Henshaw saw the looming danger on the viewscreen.

Task Force Archeron had arrived in force, dropping out of warp, and the first deployment orders seemed to be given. The starships moved in position around the Theurgy. The viewscreen was covered with the amount of ships warping in and the situation reaching a critical point. "Guys, we'll have to get moving soon!" she tried to warn the rest, yet her voice was hoarse and lacking in power to carry over the fighting parties.

When Ida raised her eyes, climbing back on her feet, she did not just see the viewscreen. In front of the display loomed the sillouette of Hawthorne, yanking Drauc's rifle out of his hands and sending him rolling across the floor as he did so. Hardly missing a step, he stepped up to Zaraq with the rifle in hand, and brought it straight down into the Klingon's head. The sound of the thick skull breaking like a melon against the floor hit Ida's antennae, and she saw his lifeless limbs twitching.

Right then, Ida couldn't help but notice the dire development, since with both Sel and Ensign Henshaw not back on their feet, they were down to three fighting the dreadful Captain. Nevertheless, she struggled to get back on her feet, fighting down the fear that they would all die at the hands of the base's Commanding Officer before they could beam out of there.

"I already had the Resolve destroyed," said Hawthorne with rueful excitement and turned towards Leon Marquez, bloodied rifle in hand. The eldritch timbre of his voice echoed beyond the fabric of their mortal existence. "And while Admiral Sankolov will finish what I started... I will enjoy eating its First Officer's face while his heart still beats in his chest..." Then, the creature that used to be Ian Hawthorne leaped against Marquez, his speed and strength no longer bound by the laws of physics in their universe.


Re: Chapter 06: No Cosmic Justice

Reply #51
[ Boarding Team 02 | Primary Reactor Control Room | Starbase 84 ] Joint Post by Auctor Lucan, Brutus, & Doc. M

The detonation of an anti-nadion flash grenade on the upper level made the rain of phaser beams stop, and Thea could continue working on patching into the destroyed duty station. She used the power cell from the TR-120 rifle to power up the system, and plugged herself into the tactical systems of the starbase by using her own emitter to replace the broken interface. Once she had her emitter connected with its cable, she rose from her hiding place. She did so just in time to see a security officer coming at her, swinging his useless phaser rifle like a melee weapon.

The heavy strike passed right through her projection, since she had switched off the forcefields of her photonic body, but before the unbalanced guard could get his bearings, she reactivated them and dealt him an efficient overhand strike across the head. He crumbled to the plating underneath her feet without a sound, and Thea raised her brown eyes to see what happened on the second level, meanwhile her software was delving further past the security protocols of the base's systems.

Komial had dropped and taken cover the second the grenade popped up into sight. She'd clenched up, squeezed her hands over her ears and screwed up her eyes as the blast went off. Surprised that she wasn't blown off the edge of the platform, she shook her head and grabbed her phaser in time to see someone from the raiding party right in front of her face. Well, fate rarely handed her a gift on a silver platter such as that, so who was she to pass up the chance?

With trained efficiency, the Trill Lieutenant snapped her rifle up to her shoulder and squeezed the trigger. The emitter gave a spritz - and nothing else. She squeezed again, and then realized what the grenade must have done. "For fuck’s sake," she swore and reversed the grip fast as you please, swinging the phaser rifle into the man's leg.

The skintight force field O’Connell’s SAFTI gear provided made her attacks completely ineffective; blocking the kinetic energy of a purely physical melee attack used up far less power from the rig’s sarium krellide cells than a shot from a particle beam weapon such as a phaser.  “Now you jest hold on Ma’am, try t’ calm down now,” he purred condescendingly once he discovered that she couldn’t really harm him.  “Now you jest give me thet phaser ‘fore yuh hurt yerself,” he continued as he used the buttstock of his T-120 rifle in order to force the phaser rifle out of Komial’s hands.  “We’re not the bad guys here an’ if yah…  Whut the?”

Whatever O’Connell was going to say was lost when a phaser beam hit him and sent him flying into Komial, sending them both tumbling across the deck.  Thankfully the force field provided by his SAFTI gear held.  When he stood up he was hit by a second shot that weakened his force field down to the point of uselessness.  The shots were coming from the door that Keyah was guarding.  The Bolian had cover and was keeping her head down before trading shots with the forces trying to get in, but O’Connell was completely exposed!  Keeping his head down, he detonated another anti-nadion flashbang and bowled Komial over as he fled to the far side of the wide catwalk.  That side of the upper deck didn’t overlook a drop of one floor to the deck below. He was now on the opposite side, the side closest to the main reactor that stretched downward over a third of a kilometer.  As his SAFTI gear gave off a chime that it was out of power, he quickly detonated his last anti-nadion grenade... and managed to temporary blind and deafen himself.

Below, Thea turned her head and saw how more security guards poured through the doors that Keyah had been guarding before they had company from the back area of the reactor room. Without any means to fire at them, Keyah was left vulnerable, and there was no anti-nadion particles in the air around that side of the large area. Thea couldn't run there to help her either, connected as she was to the back of the destroyed duty station. With the digital alacrity of her thoughts, she knew that all she could do was to pick up the plate she had torn off the back of the station and throw it up against the new guards.

The sheet of metal was airborne within the second, and hit the ones just through the breached doorway. The heavy piece of metal clattered into the phaser rifles in the hands of the guards, and made them topple backwards - some of them even cut by the edge of the sheet. By then, Keyah had managed to turn around with her heavy weapon, charged another concussion blast, and sent the rest of the guards tumbling back into the corridor.

Pissed did not even begin to describe Komial's state of mind just then. One thing after another, all damned day long. She scrambled back to her feet, spat out a wad of blood and tried not to trip on her ill-fitting pants. She was going to strangle that 'aw shucks' son of a bitch with her bare hands if she had to. She heard more than saw metal crashing into the guards at the opposite door, but she had bigger fish to fry just then. And fry was exactly what she was going to do, as she leapt after O'Connell.

O’Connell’s vision returned just in time to see the fiery redhead tackle him.  He had been crouched down low but staggered to his feet just in time to get hit by forty nine kilos (108 pounds) of irate Trill.  The momentum knocked them both over the railing and O’Connell found himself dangling over the side holding on to the wrist of a struggling girl who a moment ago had done her best to kill him.  A strap on his SAFTI gear had somehow got caught in a gap in the railing and was the only thing keeping them from falling to their doom below.

With alarm fed to her by her emotion chip, Thea saw how Keyah's recharging time made far too many security guards get a foothold inside the reactor room. She must have realised it herself too, switching over to her tetryon stun setting when she appeared next behind her cover, blanketing the door area with wide dispersal energy. It was effective, but it was not the kind of rapid fire solution she needed. Helplessly, Thea still connected to the console, she saw how two guards managed to flank her position, and took her out. She fell down hard into the floor of the lower level.

"No..." she said, seeing the remaining guards begin to shout at her and take aim against her unarmed projection. She raised her hands in surrender, trying to buy time while she got through the last protective measures of the base's tactical systems. She turned her head to see how both O'Connell and the last security officer from the team that had beamed in hung from the railing over the deep reactor pit. It was a matter of seconds until she got through and could beam all three teams back aboard herself.

O’Connell couldn’t worry about Thea’s predicament at the moment because the lives of him and the little Trill were hanging by a thread, or more accurately, a strap.  “Now hang on there, Ma’am!” O’Connell instructed.  “Grab my hand, you jess grab my hand there, an’ maybe you kin climb up mah body without knockin’ us loose.  Hey, you with me?  OW!”

They called it cognitive dissonance - in layman's terms, holding onto a belief despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary (or holding two conflicting beliefs). It was brief, but for just a moment Komial was completely unaware of the shift in position, from being up on the platform, fighting the intruding bastard that kept dropping flashbangs everywhere, and to then be dangling in his grasp, hanging over certain doom. The stunning Trill fully believed she had the older man at her mercy, that the upper hand was with her, and if she could just disable him, everything would be fine. She punched him, once, hard, before realizing what was going on and letting out a startled yelp. She failed, fear gripping her for a moment, as the artificial gravity tugged at her. She was back in the shuttle bay, all over again, the fires roaring around, the screams of her people lost in the rush of venting atmosphere, her legs dangling behind her –

“Now hold on there!” Billy Bob warned her.  “Get a grip there Lieutenant.  Iffin yore not careful, yer a gonna kill us both!  Snap out of it Ma’am or we’re both goners!”

Komial forced herself to focus. The Chief of Security wouldn't go out like this. She couldn't let Ian down. Her body swung under the redneck’s - a term she'd picked up in a bar - pulling on him, adding friction to the strap of the gear he wore. Back and forth, feeling her own hand slipping from his grasp. Snarling, she swung until she was able to get enough momentum to launch herself upward, gripping onto the gearframe itself, pulling her weight from the invader to the gear itself, a - for the moment - slightly more reliable perch.

"You -" she puffed - "treacherous bastard - are under arrest."

O’Connell laughed out loud.  “Who I’m loyal too is a mite irrelevant now Ma’am, ain’t it?” he drawled as they hung over the fatal drop like an ornament on a Christmas tree.  “Now t’ mah way of thinkin’ we gotta work together.  Lessin’ we cooperate both of us are gonna drop a long ways.  I’ll help yuh up, an' you kin decide whut happens afterwards.  Whatever you decide, no point both o’ us dyin’.  I jest hope yer guards don’t end up killin’ us ‘fore you git t’ safety.”

In the meantime the guards were still shouting at Thea, but she only had eyes for O'Connell's plight on upper level. When both he and the security guard vanished from view, Thea assumed the worst. The guards had seen the cord connecting her to the computer at that point, and wanted her to disconnect lest they'd open fire. She could not comply to that, and as she looked back... the energy beams speared her projection from all angles.

As the energy discharges that went through her made her projection shimmer and waver, she thought her emitter was hit too, but she did not have a nervous system, so she could not say. All she could do was to duck behind the damaged console and curl up, making herself as small as possible while the security detail shot at her. She pressed her digital eyes shut as if it might ward her somehow. She needed only a second more....

...then she was through. Quickly, she powered down Starbase 84's entire defensive system, disabling any phasers or torpedo launchers from firing at her or her fighter elements in the battle outside the base. She got an indication that the Simulcast had been sent, and given the development out there, the orders were clear. Beam out.

Thea wasted no time, alerting the transporter personnel, and aided in locking on to all the Theurgy personnel she could. All the while, she was pelted by energy weapons fire. Then, she was gone.

One by one the entire boarding party were beaming out, despite the fact that most of them were prone and unconscious.  O’Connell was ignorant of what was transpiring until the last second.

“Now don’t worry, Ah got yuh!” Billy Bob assured the little Trill as he helped Komial climb up his SAFTI-gear.  “Everything’s gonna be… Damnation!  Ah’m beamin’ out!” he exclaimed as his body was covered in a shower of sparks.  “Quick! Grab mah…”

There was a shimmering of light, sparkling and serene, there, and then gone, taking the invaders with it. But not Komial, who held on by a thin grasp of a stuck piece of equipment. She bit her lip and snarled in fury, screaming out, "You thrice damned son of a bitch!" Rage washed over her, fueling her as she reached up, grabbing for the railing. There was a moment, brief, of disbelief, followed by a sudden sinking sensation in her stomach as it tried to rise up in her chest. It felt like floating, until she noticed the rushing of wind in her hair and her perspective shifting.

At first she had been facing up, seeing the rail receding drastically, but something buffeted her, causing her to flip end over end. Inertia took a hold, and she screamed, as realization dawned on her. She was falling, falling down the long shaft of the starbase. This couldn't be! The safety protocol would engage, beam her out. She would be all right she would be whisked away and then she could go after the bastard that did this. Just another few seconds for the star ba--

Her head impacted the side of a power conduit at a frightening speed. Were anyone there to hear it, the crunching, wet splat that followed the impact would give lie to any false hope of survival. The body - for it was a body now - bounced off the metal casing, tumbling back towards the core of the shaft, continuing its fall for quite some time, before landing in a broken, mauled heap at the bottom of the corridor. The emergency transporters - designed to fire off in such an instance and beam a potential victim back to safety - never engaged.

They had been overridden by the Theurgy's boarding party - incidentally, of course - when they shut down the transporter systems on the base.


Re: Chapter 06: No Cosmic Justice

Reply #52
[ Papa Bear & Ghost | AC-507 Reaver &  AC-409 Valkyrie Fighters | Protecting Vector 03 ] Joint-Post by CanadianVet & Auctor Lucan

Seeing the Reaver in battle once more was an eerie reminder about the engagements Evelyn "Ghost" Rawley had fought against the Calamity and its fighter elements. The triangular silhouette and the heavy armament with its unique firing options, with the open fuselage and the armoured cockpit made a shiver climb her spine where she sat in her Valkyrie - seeing how Papa Bear disabled the Defiant-class USS Chester with the last one of its kind. It helped very little that Rawley had been the one that stole it from the Calamity down on Theta Eridani IV, flown it herself in defence of the Theurgy's ascent, because for the whole week that Covington had spent repairing it in one of the maintenance bays, Rawley had not been too keen to walk in there. It was not like her, but for all the losses they'd suffered in the mutiny and at the hands of the Calamity, her brother being the worst for her, she did not like to see it again.

"This is Ghost to Papa Bear, well done, old man!" she said, not letting the grizzled Chief know how intimidating a sight it had been to see the Chester become disabled by the transphasic torpedoes. Goldie had beamed out before she let her Valkyrie's detonating warp core diminish the ship's shields, or at least that what her sensors said and she really hoped they weren't wrong. So when those torpedoes from a nightmarish future hit their mark, the small Federation warship hadn't stood a chance. "But you know what? Revenge is bloody sweet. Now, I bet you can't fly that thing while singing Mary Mack. Come on now, follow my lead!"

Following Vector 03's trajectory, leading Covington along, Rawley sang on their private channel - firing at interceptors that got close.

"There's a nice wee lass and her name is Mary Mack
Make no mistake, she's the miss I'm going to take
There's a lot of either chaps ...  that would get up on her track?
But I'm thinking they'll have to get up early..."

Sten was no fighter pilot.  He never once pretended to be one, didn't even envy them the freedom they had taking those high-performance spacecraft out into the black for more than the maintenance and testing runs he was usually left with.  Hell, the closest he had ever been to being personally involved in combat while in an auxiliary craft, before today, was being on a shuttlecraft getting in and out of a hotly contested LZ, and he hadn't even been flying, he was the fellow in charge of groundside traffic control!  But now, he was taking a ship that hadn't been invented yet and he had just taken out a Defiant-class ship, with a little help from Rawley to soften up its shields first.  And now that he was pulling away and finding places to make himself useful (well, more like letting the fighter's computers do the tactical thinking and him staying within the suggested flight profile, with his weapons set to auto-fire as much as possible), he heard that invitation on a private channel.  "Oh you've got to be kidding me," he muttered to himself before keying responding.  "Why the fuck not, Ghost?  Not like it'll be my first bad idea of the fucking day," he grumbled back.  Because, well, at this point there was little he could do.  So he joined her in song.

"Mary Mack's father is making Mary Mack marry me
My father is making me marry Mary Mack
And I'm going to marry Mary to get married and take care of me
We'll all be making merry when I marry Mary Mack"

Rawley laughed, releasing her last micro torpedoes against a fighter element of interceptors that tried to engage with them. She had no illusions that they might survive any more, even if some of the Orcus' fighters had decided to side with them because of old allegiances between pilots among the wolves. When the first one detonated, she began the next verse.

"This wee lass she has a lot of brass
She has a lot of gas, her father thinks I'm class
An I'd be a silly ass to let the matter pass
For her father thinks she suits me fairly."

That woman, she was fucking ad-libbing while flying in combat?  Covington had long known fighter pilots were a breed of Starfleet officers apart.  But he'd only grasped they were all a little nuts to some degree on an intellectual level for he'd never experienced it on his own, especially since he was only plugged in to their comms when a bird needed to come in to land for any reason at all.  But now, he found himself with a lot more respect for their particular set of skills, and the fact they must be clinically insane.  And still, he listened to her singing.

"Now Mary and her man.... and awful lot together
In fact you never see the ... or the man without the other
And the fellows often wonder if it's Mary or her mother
Or the ... of them together that I'm.... Gah! Fuck it."

And that was when a nightmare dropped out of warp.  A whole pile of starships, radiating identities that filled his tactical display.  Task Force Archeron.  There was no way they could stand up to this.  But as they arrived, more unknown icons flashed onto his display and were quickly marked as friendlies.  Strange ships, circular, and oddly maneuverable despite that kind of unusual geometry.  And if he'd time to think, he would recognize them as the kind popularized in the early twentieth century.  But what he knew is that things were going to shit. 

But then, the recall order came from the Bridge, and all Sten could do was press the 'acknowledge' button on his console, and fly back through the storm of fire that was everywhere now.  So all he could do was hold on tight, and hope his shields would hold as he followed the prompts for a combat landing in the fighter bay.

The Allegiant had just reached Vector 03, where she might dock underneath its pointed front section, when Rawley saw what Papa Bear did. She fell silent too - the might of Task Force Archeron filling her viewscreen.

"Papa Bear?" she said quietly, "if we make it through this, and your old ass is still in one piece, I'll see you on the holodeck again. Deal?"



Re: Chapter 06: No Cosmic Justice

Reply #53
[ Deacon | Guest Quarters to Shuttlebay | Starbase 84 ]

Deacon paced uneasily about his quarters.  For all their so-called amenities, he found the simple suite of rooms far too confining and growing ever more so by the minute.  Explosions thundered against the hull of the starbase and shuddered through the vast interior like a raging storm on the plains back home.  But at home, he had shelter, he had control, he had purpose, family, a life...

He stopped, his breath coming quickly, almost panting, his hearts beating heavily in his chest, the cold panic at the pit of his stomach.  Another explosion.  The bulkhead nearby creaked.  To human ears, such a noise would have gone wholly unnoticed, but his senses were hyper compensating, and what they missed, his mind was eager to ad lib.  While he'd maintained his stoic and unbothered facade for the humans, alone, he knew that his nerves were spent and frayed.

"Calm yourself," he said, as if giving voice to his willpower might somehow give it strength as well.

He trained his golden eyes towards the implacable black screen behind which sat the computer that tied his room to the remainder of the station.  All he had to do was open his mouth and ask what was going on.  And yet his senses were already telling him enough.  Would the unfeeling words of some lifeless device make him feel any better? 

He stared at the black screen and his own reflection in its surface.  Another explosion, another groan like the cry of some metal leviathan.  The lights flickered -- only a moment -- but Deacon could see the look in his reflection, the golden eyes seeking reassurance. He'd seen such looks many times in the aftermath of countless outpost raids... and now that look haunted his own features.

The guards that normally stood sentinel outside his quarters had been called away to deal with some emergency on another deck.  They had been polite enough to ask him to stay in his quarters, but not insightful enough to lock the door, and Deacon was, quite frankly, done with this cage.  If he could not trust the humans to act on his warnings and could not trust them to have a care for his safety and well-being, then the time had come for a new strategy -- one that first involved extracating himself from this rattling deathtrap of a station before it imploded on him.

Stepping out into the corridor, he found it completely devoid of activity despite the obvious chaos that assailed the exterior.  He started walking with a determined pace, relying on his memory of the station layout from his regularly escorted excursions.  Under the circumstances, he'd have preferred a weapon of some sort, but he was a "guest" and humans had forbade the kzinti anything more than peacekeeping gear for the last three centuries as punishment for the wars.  Luckily for him, what the kzinti were denied, they practiced to become... Deacon was anything but defenseless. 

Still, a phaser would have been nice.

The corridors turned and branched and wandered off in a dozen directions, all looking more or less the same. To the untrained or uninitiated, it would be quite overwhelming to navigate the halls under such circumstances, but Deacon was observant.  The Black Priests had instilled that lesson in him from an early age.  While the rest of his kind might rush in uninformed and unprepared, the Black Priests watched and learned.  This was how they had maintained their position for so long -- who could opposed those who saw everything from the shadows? Even the Patriarchy dared not speak against the Black Priests.

The fur on the back of his neck bristled with pride at this train of thought, a cocky smirk playing at the side of his mouth, until the realization again hit that he stood on a Federation starbase having turned against his people, the Patriarchy, the Black Priests... his grandfather.  And why?  For some tiny fragment of humanity that he'd been unable to cast aside?

While his thoughts betrayed him, his memory did not as his steady pace and long stride brought him to the shuttlebay he had spied only two days prior.  The guards had done their best to steer him away from what they no doubt considered a secure area.  He spent the rest of that sojourn touring the arboretum... again.  But not today.

The door slid open with a woosh.  Clearly the shuttlebay wasn't half as secure as they thought.  But who was he to tell them how to do their jobs?  He entered what appeared to be a ferry station of sorts, likely intended to bring personnel into the guest wing when they otherwise could not or would not use the transporters.  All the better for him.  Transporter rooms had tighter security -- he'd seen that as well.  And besides, where would he transport to?  No, he needed a ship.  Everything else would come after.

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