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Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

CHAPTER 04: CHARADES | DAY 05 | 1500 hrs.

“I'm hoping, I'm praying, I won't get lost between two worlds. For all I have seen the truth lies in between. Give me the strength to face the wrong that I have done. Now that I know the darkest side of me. How can blood be our salvation, and justify the pain that we have caused throughout the times? Will I learn what's truly sacred? Will I redeem my soul? Will truth set me free?”
― Sharon Den Adel, Within Temptation

“Personal Log, stardate 57554.23. As of right now, it had been 48 hours since the battle against the Savi ship. It was not until this morning that the crew of this Vector could find some peace. The Savi fighters hunted us through the Azure Nebula, and the Lone Wolves have truly earned their keep. Captain Wenn made a good choice in taking us to this part of the nebula, where the radiation is far lower, and the wolves and the Sword alike could raise shields that made a difference, which - at least - could hold off the graviton beams for a few seconds. It was enough to make a difference, but if the word from the Wolf Leader is to be believed, the shields on the enemy fighters are still to be reckoned with. Nonetheless, we missed the first Rendevouz with the other Vectors, and the next one is in six hours, at 2100.

Not all of the fighters made it back in that first battle, I heard, but being a man of science, I know very little about the on-goings in the fighter bay. I even heard there was a big saucer craft from the Asurians in there, unless they discarded it already.

What I do know, is what we learned from the scan of the Savi ship. What my scan didn't see, we have been able to estimate. As advanced and strange as that ship was, it still can't defy the laws of physics. Of course, there are many areas we have yet to make sense of, but we are getting there. The question remains, however... Can we even make an attempt to get back our crew - and the Captain - back from that ship, without risking the Theurgy's mission?

Lastly, dreadful news came from sickbay after the battle. I can't give any of it credit... but it seems Doctor Nicander is in the Brig... and... he is one of them. One of the infested. Just like Sonja Acreth. He mentioned Garen Nelis, that he killed the Chief Counselor back when I was hurt. It means he must have been one of the enemies for quite some time. I could have believed it about many others, but the Doctor? Before I went into stasis, wasn't he almost killed by Acreth down on Theta Eridani IV? According to the reports from the battle at Starbase 84, wasn't he the one that fought against Acreth? Nothing makes sense any more.

While I take command of the bridge, they are going down there, the others. To see it. To speak with it.”

― Lieutenant Tyreke Okafor, the Sword, Vector 2 of the USS Theurgy

[ Dr. Nicander | Holding Cell A | Brig | Security Center | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya @Nolan @DocReno @Arista @Doc M. @CanadianVet
On his knees in the middle of the holding cell, the overhead light cast Lucan's features in darkness.

He sat there, shivering as the host body was forced to grant him the wish of longevity despite its damages. Of course, the agony was excruciating, exquisite, but Lucan cared naught. He revelled in the pain. Couldn't quite wipe the smirk from his lips as he plotted what he would do once he left the cell. Of course, the options were a bit limited because of the development, which was the reason why he hadn't left already, but he did look forward to the more opportune time, where he could truly cause harm to the surviving crew of the Vector. There was also a limit to how long he could wait, since the host body could not sustain itself indefinitely in such a damaged state. In the end, it would have to be a compromise. By the winds, it would be liberating... to show them all what awaited. The ones in sickbay had merely got a foretaste of it.

When his esteemed guests arrived, Lucan's smile never changed, but his pale grey eyes opened to acknowledge their presence. From the shadows beneath his browridge, he looked at them, the tremor of his host body's struggle evident in the shaking of his remaining hand, which rested on his thigh. His other arm hung loosely at his side, ending in charred stump below his elbow. He still wore his uniform, yet after the touch of fire it had sustained, it remained a smouldered shadow of its usual immaculate state. The worst damage it had suffered, of course, was the phaser beam that had eaten into the side of his waist. Indeed, his right side, below the ribcage and above the hip, a portion of his torso was missing - a cauterised gap where there once was flesh.

On the other side of the forcefield, he met the gaze of the largest figure. Wenn Cinn, his old friend, and now an acting Captain for one of the Theurgy's Vectors. Since he'd had the time to recover, Doctor Duv - now Rez - appeared to have arrived as well, along with Doctor Maya, both being key witnesses, he presumed. The former Chief Science Officer was there too, Simon Tovarek, now being Wenn Cinn's First Officer, and the Chief Tactical Officer, filling the same role aboard the Sword alone. Lieutenant Keval ch'Rayya looked quite ravishing. Perhaps he'd take his time with the Andorian before he died?

Lastly, there was some security guard there too. Bremmer? Lucan remembered her from... Wasn't she supposed to be on the away team to the dilithium outpost? Lucan's stare lingered on her, and even though the smirk never faltered, he wondered if the Radiant had made it back aboard the Sword as well. If that was the case... He might have to change his plans a bit. If anyone had to die first, it was the Alata.

"Welcome to my humble abode," he said, his voice normal, and slowly climbed to his feet - the motions disjointed because of the limitations of the host flesh. Once he was standing before them, his smile showed teeth, and he made the caricature of a bow in their direction, flourishing his stump. "Pray tell, have you all come to reminisce, to ask me questions of no consequence, or are you merely here to gawk at the creature you managed to trap? Will you prod and poke it, like children that managed to snare something from the wild?"

The way he emphasised the last word alluded to the chaos which he sprung from.

The nameless darkness that awaited them all.

[ Lt. Tyreke Okafor | Battle Bridge | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat @Even Angels Cry @Nolan @trevorvw @TrexelCat
The battle bridge was filled with the usual benign orders and chatter that always came when a starship remained idle in grey mode, not moving since it might alert any patrolling Savi fighters. It was a thin veil of protection, Tyreke Okafor thought, having studied the scans of the Versant - the dreadnought the fought before the Theurgy split into three.

It was the first time, ever, that Okafor was seated in the Commanding Officer's chair, unless - of course - one might count his Kobayashi Maru test in the Academy. He wasn't sure if anyone was aware of this, but studious as he was, he had made sure to try and brush up on bridge protocol before the shift began. Sitting there, he couldn't help but think back on his years on Bajor, and the time on the Hawkins, on peaceful times before the Theurgy. Before the parasite-infested seized command, and began to incite war. How long had they been around? No one seemed to know for sure.

There was a chirp standing out from the rest, and Okafor raised his eyes. Ensign Thorne was at the helm, even if the ship was standing still, but beyond her, the viewscreen showed a new marker, pulsing faintly with the sound. Okafor's eyes rose. A distress signal?  Out here in the middle of nowhere?

He turned his head towards Ops, looking past Ensign Henshaw, towards the Hermat on duty at hir station. It appeared that Junior Lieutenant Nator was already following up on the signal. "What is it?"

OOC: This is the starter for Chapter 04: Charades. This thread denotes the hour when the USS Niger and the Sword will cross paths, and all Supplemental Threads that are started will either have to be set before this time of 1500 hrs. on Day 05, or afterwards. No posting order in the Brig, but every writer with a character there has 7 days to reply. @Top Hat posts next in the bridge scene with Nator and Ducote both, the latter setting the scene on the USS Niger.

Just like in the interregnum, Supplemental one-on-one threads are started at your leisure! Supplemental threads should be named Chapter 04: Supplemental [Day XX|YYYY hrs.] Insert Title, and can extend as far back as right after the battle with the Versant and all the way up to 2100 hrs on Day 05, where the second Rendevouz will be missed due to a hostile threat to the Sword.

These are the main tasks to solve, your Mission Objectives in this Chapter:
Battle Bridge & Closest Deck Interior Blueprint: [Show/Hide]
Known staff on the Sword: [Show/Hide]
Known staff on the Niger: [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 04 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #1
 [ Maya | Brig | Security Center | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya, @Nolan, @DocReno, @Arista, @Auctor Lucan, @CanadianVet

“Why yes, yes we have,” Maya replied in calm conversational tone that was almost pleasant.  “I expect that there will be much prodding and poking, and I myself am not above gawking, for once again we have a tremendous opportunity.  No doubt we will make attempts to reminisce, and to ask you many questions of no consequence,” she continued.  “I expect that you will welcome such distractions for it will allow you an opportunity to exploit our psychological weaknesses and possibly inflict permanent harm.”  Her voice suddenly lost its casual, conversational tone.  “More permanent harm than you have already inflicted upon us of course,” she added without a trace of warmth or emotion.  Her large hazel eyes that had been wide open were now narrow.

“So if you are interested in reminiscing, I will oblige.  Looking back many things that were mysterious are now clear,” she continued.  “It seems unlikely that Garen Nelis perished by accident; you were the one who performed the autopsy.  The reason for the involuntary actions I have performed yet I cannot recall has now become perfectly clear in light of this current revelation.  Sarresh Morali's operation.  Looking back, I must confess that the fault was mine for being so trusting.  And as for the questions of no consequence,  I will oblidge:  How much trust has been lost and how many casualties have we taken because of your actions?  Which is the real Lucan cin Nicander, the loathsome underhanded monster you've become or the loathsome underhanded monster we came to love?”

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 04 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #2
[ Lt Simon Tovarek | Brig | Security Center | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya, @Doc M., @DocReno, @Arista, @Auctor Lucan, @CanadianVet

Two full days had passed since the encounter with the Savi, two full days had they been hiding in the nebula for now. At least shield were back on track and emergency repairs were being conducted. Strange was the life of a makeshift XO, Simon looked around at the gathered crowd at the cell of Nicander. He recognized most of the faces yet he cared little about it as his eyes were focused on Nicander, or at least what was left of him. The mind of the science officer buzzing with possible ways to prod, dissect, experiment and dismantle the Câroon in the holding cell. However the the outside world, Tovarek looked calm, somewhat agitated perhaps due to the lack of sleep. It was ironic really... Having shared breakfast with the COps and mentioning how he enjoyed the life with less responsibilities, only to be appointed as XO for the continuance protocol. Life surely had weird curves to throw at one.

The Vulcan doctor spoke p now and Tovarek snapped back to attention as he listened to her words and glanced her over. The accusations weren't of the lightest. As CMO, Nicander would have the chance to end the life of those important, corrupt or maim where he pleased, inflict scarring, physical or mentally. Would they need to examine every death and surgical procedure the good doctor did to dig to the bottom of this?

The two core questions Maya asked however were interesting. Simon however wasn't sure how truthful the reply of the creature would be. In captivity he could feed them false replies, statements and the sort. His eyes went from Maya to Nicander once more. Remaining silent for now as he choose to wait and see how things would develop here. His eyes ran from Nicander to Wenn Cinn, resting on the colored man and wondering what was going on in his mind.

[ Dr Amelya Rez | Brig | Security Center | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ]

Standing next to Maya stood a familiar Trill face that seemed that seemingly still looked different. As she had awoken rather traumatically from her induced coma, Amelya Rez had taken a day to get her senses back to her. SHe had used the sonic shower for a while and made a drastic decision as she decided to assume her natural hair color. It felt like the right thing to do as she felt different, yet more complete now with the Rez symbiont. Thus she traded her oaken brown hair to her natural blonde hair and it felt right as she looked at herself in the mirror. The past hours she has used her time to clean up and take charge of Medical. The dark green eyes of the Medical officer resting on Nicander as a lot of information had been granted to her due to the addition of the Rez symbiont to her. She remained silent as she let Maya speak, the Vulcan doctor being paramount to why she was standing here today. The follow up after the capture of Nicander preventing further harm to be done to the Trill.

Standing in her teal uniform with the familiar lab coat Nicander used to wear draped over her shoulders and back she gazed at the abomination standing barely in the holding cell. Wearing the white coat was perhaps deliberate, to mock Nicander into lashing out and giving them more than it should. It could very well be a psychological move as Nicander's uniform was scarred, melted into his skin at certain points. She could only wonder the amount of pain he was in. Yet despite her oath to help those in need, she could only feel a mild form of amusement in watching him like this. She knew what he had done to Edena Rez, how he had been a key figure in the mission failure at SB 84. Yet she also got an insight as to why he did so. How ever wrong or right as it might've been. Who was he to decide for the lives of those that were lost during the battle. He had no right did he? Even if it was under the excuse that the loss of those lives would prevent the loss of lives of many more.

Amelya shifted her stance as she formed two fists in the pockets of her lab coat. She wondered what nonsense or cryptic messages Nicander could spout out this time. She hoped for the truth, yet held no real hope for it. She looked over the rest of the assembled crew before looking back at Nicander, a stern expression on her face as she wanted to do nothing more but finish him off for what he had done to all of them. Despite the knowledge and evidence trapped inside him. Perhaps that was just the initial rage speaking up inside of her... or did Nicander plant something inside of her too?

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 04 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #3
[Lt. Commander Wenn Cinn | Brig | Security Center | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy]

Ever since he walked through the door, Commander Wenn’s dark eyes were locked onto the gruesome corpse that was Dr. Nicander, sealed behind the most powerful forcefield they could project.  He’d seen the reports from when the Harbringer had contained Sonja Acreth and had applied them when she was transferred here later on so they had an idea on how to handle this…thing, but Nicander presented a complication.  Being a Câroon gave the “man” abilities that might overcome their defenses, and with what he’s seen other possessed people do, the results would calamitous if it got out.

That said, even knowing that there was absolutely nothing he or anyone could do if Nicander got out of that cell, Cinn had to be here, face the very thing that was the source of all of their pain.  His dark face had to be showing the tension in his pagh though, and it was an effort to keep his emotions under control.  With so many of his senior officers here in the brig, if Nicander got out it would be a massacre.  Worse, Rez was standing right there in the group.  Cinn knew that she was a different person, her face and body were clearly different than Edena, but she was still Rez, the one who’d shared his bed, and his heart.  It was beyond tempting to send her away, or even just stand between her and the cell, but both would be futile.

The thing wearing Lucan’s face finally started to speak, and as usual for those possessed by the parasites, it had nothing but disdain (at best) for its captors.  Maya fired right back with her own taunts, even if they were very matter-of-fact, just like a Vulcan.  Cinn watched in silence, waiting to see what might happen, gauging the mood from each of his compatriots.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 04 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #4
[ Lt JG Nator 159 | Battle Bridge | The Sword ] Attn: @Even Angels Cry @Nolan @Auctor Lucan

The Hermat let out another bored sigh, reaching for the mug of steaming spcie tea standing on the corner of hir console. The aroma was maintaining its wonderful job of drowning the scent of a bunch of tired and stressed humanoids in a single compartment, try as the environmental circuit might to keep things moving. At least sickbay had sorted hir back injury without issue; some muscular and dermal regeneration, as well as a good protein and fluid intake, and s/he was feeling just fine in the morning. Idly, s/he wondered if Stark had survived the escape.

Still, the last few days had been... sombre. Even for hir taciturn demeanour. There was usually some gentle hubbub to be heard on the crew decks, of people off-shift and conversing. Since the Vectors had split according to the Continuance Protocol, there had been little of it at all.

Slowly, s/he closed hir eyes as s/he brought the mug to hir nose. Before s/he could sip, though, the console before hir trilled a contact. Hurriedly, s/he set the cup back down again to free both hands. A Savi ship would have taken them to red alert automatically, but there were plenty of things that could-

What the f-

"What is it?" came the question from the well-built human in the centre seat.

A few taps at hir console brought up a comparison table. "Warp signature reads a Runabout, sir; crawling along at warp three. I'm... not sure how they got this far out, Captain. Possible that their home vessel is nearby - I would call this 'bait'."

Task Force Archeron could hardly have been expected to give up. And even the Azure Nebula couldn't have hidden every scrap of energy released in the battle with the Savi scant days before. If this was some sort of trick courtesy of Admiral Sankolov's forces...

Gradually, the silhouette resolved... mostly. It didn't seem to be a standard runabout. If that's what it was. It was also, astronomically speaking, right on top of them. Then, hir console trilled again.

"Sir, they're hailing us. EM band."

[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | Pilot Cabin | USS Niger ] Attn: @trevorvw @TrexelCat

Eventually, the runabout had to settle into a routine. Such as it was, anyway. Days had gone by; evidently the Cube had been travelling at a much higher warp than they could manage inside the nebula with their damaged, rearranged shuttle craft. Their route had remained ruler-straight the entire time, which had been a trial all of its own. Keeping an eye on the sensor return became a trial when it never changed. Only the fact that the warp trail would drop under their detection threshold with increasing regularity even let them know that there wasn't some data loop in the ODN network.

Even a signature with the magnitude commensurate with a Cube would decay eventually. Ducote ground his teeth together; if they lost the trace, then they'd all but abandoned the survivors of the Endeavour crew. It wasn't as if escape pod beacons were particularly quiet. They could have picked up at least one and taken them to 234 or something.

Second guesses are the enemy, Ran.

The console trilled; Ducote started to say "Thank God," out of habit but stopped when he realised it hadn't been the usual bleep of a reacquired contact but the more insistent alert to a new one.

He sat up, accumulated tiredness clearing from his eyes as the adrenaline kicked in. "Hey! A warp trail! A Federation one!" he called back aft. Except, wait.. not a warp trace, a straight-up nacelle radiation pattern. A ship! A fair distance away, but close enough the subspace impression of their warp coils was apparent to their half-finished sensor array.

"Get the emergency beacon going," he ordered to the compartment at large.

Christ, the chances against stumbling across another friendly ship this deep into the nebula were literally astronomical. And the chance to warn the Federation at large (yay for functioning subspace communication arrays!) was too good to waste. He didn't bother taking the time to wonder what exactly a ship was doing all the way out here in a radiation field. Even a science ship like the Endeavour would have preferred unmanned probes and deep scans to actually flying around inside the thing.

Something about 'gift horses', right?

The Brazilian reached towards the communication console and punched at the parts of the board that were perpetually red out of sheer habit. Their wrecked subspace array was an endless pain in the ass. Moving his hand to the EM panel, he opened a narrowbeam transmission to better pierce the ambient noise of the nebula.

"Federation starship, this is Commander Ducote of the USS Niger. Please respond."

He set the message to loop to help cover any packet loss, and rearranged their course. "Kai, bring us about. I'll make sure the others are ready to go."
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 04 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #5
[ PO2 Eliska Bremmer | Brig | Security Center | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy]

Brig duty wasn't one Petty Officer Second Class Eliska Bremmer drew often.  Oh, certainly she could keep watch on some reprobates one the far side of the forcefields just like anyone else who was part of the Security branch.  But that wasn't what brought her down there this morning.  First thing that day, she had received a rather odd briefing.  She had seen some of the footage before, but it had been followed up by a series of analysis about the capabilities of one someone possessed by one of those parasites.  There was even something from a civilian name Drauc, and from Commander Marquez, no less.

And those were scary all right.  And that was what they had in the brig; the chief medical officer, missing a number of non-trivial parts of his anatomy, still standing when he should have keeled over and died a long time ago.  And she was part of the backup team when there would be an interview with that prisoner.  Partially, as she'd been told, because Commander Wenn asked for her specifically; apparently, he said she was one of those he trusted to get the job done.  And because he trusted her to know enough to now when it was appropriate to shoot first and ask questions later.

And that sent her, once again, into her exo-suit.  If that thing got loose, she would need every edge she could get.  And given just how tough that particular bit of armour was, it might be just enough to keep the Nicander-thing from ripping her apart limb from limb with its remaining hand.  Well, her and the other two ACS-qualified people she could scrounge on Vector 2.  Well, there was another one but she wasn't available.  And it was a shame, since she was an old war buddy, and one of two people Eliska would have at her back any day of the week.  The other had been on Vector 1 when the battle started, and they were both incommunicado at this point. 

So, there she stood in the Brig, being point with the three-man team that would be watching the Chief's back and that of a couple of Medical types who would be there for the interview.  She was closest to them, the first to be in a position to respond.  The second man, another Dominion War veteran, but one she didn't know as they had served in different theaters, was the second line of defence, in a back-up position.  And the third was just some crewman she doubted even needed to shave, but had been sent to ACS practically right out of basic security training.  If it got to him, well, the entire security force left on the Vector would be converging on the Brig by then.  Or they'd have beamed Nicander into space or something.  That, and the Brig itself, and the whole Security Center, had been all but evacuated and sealed from the outside to contain the monster if it got loose.  But their instructions had been simple.  Draw rifles, and set both pistols and rifle to Level 7, high enough to remove parts from him and leave some serious scoring on the bulkheads.  And the rules of engagement had been simple: if there was a need to shoot, shoot; and keep doing so until told otherwise or there isn't anything big enough to be worth shooting anymore. 

When the interview began, Bremmer was there, with a clear line of sight towards Nicander, her rifle in the shoulder and at a point midway between a low ready and snapped all the way up.  Even with the artificial musculature of the exosuit, holding a weapon up could take its toll after a while, and if she needed to react, she couldn't afford being the least bit tired.  And, really, she would let them do the talking.  After all, she was just the hired muscle here.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 04 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #6
[LT Keval ch'Rayya| Brig | Security Center| Vector 2| USS Theurgy] ATTN:  @chXinya @Doc M. @CanadianVet @Nolan @Arista @Auctor Lucan

Keval was quiet as he studied the creature within the cell with the man who wasn’t a man moving into a standing position, its attempt to be clever simply made his antenna twitch as the Theurgy’s CIO simply tapped the slender black PADD against his right thigh.

He silently listened to the comments made by his fellow officers and noted with a smile at the security rating keeping her weapon trained on Nicander and nodded his approval to Petty Officer before he turned his attention back to the creature, a trained eye noticing how he in turn was being studied like he was a bug in a jar…

… much like how Keval was viewing him.

“Our disgust at his actions aside, one must play the devil’s advocate for a moment and respect the amount of effort put into his efforts into screwing us over.” Keval said, his tone low and flat as he stepped forward, his dark eyes glaring at the creature that wore a man’s face before turning to look at Cinn. “I have a theory, sir, and I only have half of the relevant data at hand so that I can only provide only a partial outline until we hook back up to the primary vector but other then that, I can provide you what I have when you wish.”

Keval then turned and looked at the Vulcan doctor. “To answer your question though, Doctor, I do believe that we may have never met the actual Doctor Nicander.”

The chaan then offered up a polite bowing of his head towards her, “But then again, that is my simple thought.”

Keval then turned to face Nicander, "But that does pose a question doesn't, my bad doctor?" he asked, his antenna angled downwards as he gave the creature an expressionless look, light blue eyes tight and focused. "How many lives did you destroy in order to screw over the Theurgy's planned operation at the starbase? How many men and women right now either in stasis or the morgue of this very dreadnought did you put there because that and please spare us the monologues and stay to the heart of the facts."

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #7
[ Lt Cmdr Vael Kaeris | Aft -> Pilot Cabin | USS Niger ] Attn: @trevorvw  @TrexelCat  @Top Hat

He'd spent the better part of his time on board optimizing the limited resources of the runabout to accommodate the comparatively vast number of personnel currently housed aboard.  Oxygen scrubbers, environmental systems, even the gravity plating would be taxed by the unplanned load.  At best, this was little more than a lifeboat, one that might get them to some form of relative safety.  He'd been secretly disappointed that they'd come away from an encounter with the borg with less than they'd started.  If he could have gotten his hands on even a portion of their database...

But such thoughts were a distraction and he was nothing if not notorious in his focus while on duty.  He'd managed to find a reasonable compromise between comfort and efficiency in most of the systems, but he was still concerned with food rations.  Using the replicator to keep everyone well fed depleted their energy reserves ever more and the runabout hadn't exactly been supplied for an extended run given as it had been under sensor upgrades before this unplanned adventure began.

Standing, he swept a lock of his long black hair out of his face. He disliked such informality in his appearance while on duty, extended as it was, but circumstances had necessitated that he sacrifice the pins that he normally used to keep his hair neatly arranged in order to bypass some circuits that had been damaged during the initial onslaught.

After ensuring a presentable appearance once more, he turned and stepped through the door leading to the cabin.  "Commander," he reported, giving a practiced and graceful incline of his head.  "I've managed to optimize our energy systems by an additional 32.6%.  I estimate that will extend our viable resources by another 72 hours provided we eat sparingly and avoid any unforeseen difficulties." 

The borg, he mentally noted, were a wholly foreseen difficulty at this point, and one he questioned whether an overcrowded runabout would survive.  He didn't relish the thought of becoming assimilated just for the sake of a sensor upgrade.  True, they needed to find the rest of their crew, their ship, but he held out some hope that Commander Ducote would set course out of the nebula as soon as possible.  But, such concerns were held privately, filed away neatly in the back of his mind behind his sense of duty and protocol.  It was the Commander's call in the end, and Vael would support his decision to the best of his abilities.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #8
[ Lt. Tyreke Okafor | Battle Bridge | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Joint-Post by Auctor Lucan & Top Hat
Attn: @Top Hat @Even Angels Cry @Nolan @trevorvw @TrexelCat @steelphoenix @Mathis
[Federation starship, this is Commander Ducote of the USS Niger. Please respond.]

Once the message was cleared up, since it was only heard over the EM band, Okafor frowned and turned to the assembled bridge crew. "Check the database, please. Who is this officer?"

The better question was, of course, why he and whoever else were on a Runabout in the middle of the Azure Nebula. Did it belong to Task Force Archeron? There were a lot of questions, but the sensors suggested that the Runabout was damaged. That much he could tell, but why? Why would a damaged Runabout belong to Admiral Sankolov's fleet? Did they run into the Savi? The Asurians? Before he could make a decision, he had to know more. "Someone message Captain Wenn, please," he said and then nodded to Ops to patch his voice through. Should he pretend they were some other ship? So many thoughts and decisions on the fly. He sorely missed his lab.

"This.... is the USS Vanguard," he said, the only Sovereign-class ship he came to think of that wasn't in Task Force Archeron, as far as he was aware. At least the class would be reminiscent in size to the Sword. "You are broadcasting a distress signal, and you appear to be alone. What happened?"

[The Vanguard?] Pause. [Seems our sensors are damaged worse than we thought. Our ship - the Endeavour - was destroyed by the Borg a few days ago. We've been tracking their route to point-of-origin through the nebula since then to see if this is a full-scale invasion.]

Whatever Okafor had meant to say, the words turned to ashes in his mouth, eyes widening. No, that couldn't be right. He looked around the bridge, seeing his thoughts reflected in the bridge crew's faces. Had they heard the same thing? Okafor cleared his throat, his heart-rate suddenly elevated. "Please repeat, Commander. It sounded like you just said 'the Borg'. Please confirm?"


Numbly, Okafor had to step away from where he had hovered behind Nator's shoulder, slowly pacing through the bridge. How could it be? The Borg wouldn't appear on the border to the Beta Quadrant. By all accounts, they would invade from the Delta Quadrant. There was no word from Wenn Cinn, and the only way to learn more was to continue talking with the people on this Runabout. Of all the things he had feared to happen as he took on bridge duty, hearing that the Borg had destroyed the Endeavour was not one of them. Okay, pragmatism. We need more data. How? They will not believe that we are a Sovereign-class ship indefinitely. We only have this window of opportunity.

It was a half-baked idea, but given the slim options he had at his disposal, and the magnitude of the situation, what was he supposed to do?

"This is the Vanguard," he said, thinking fast, hoping he was doing the right thing. "Stand by to receive docking coordinates. The Captain will debrief you here, and... I am sorry for your losses."

And I am equally sorry for this... He turned to Miss Thorne. "Make a slight course change towards that dense cloud in the nebula there." Then he turned to the Hermat next to Throne. "Ops, what's the visual range inside it, by your estimation?"

"Practically nothing; less than a kilometre," said Nator. "Silhouette has resolved some, sir. That is not a standard Danube."

After a pause, the reply from the Niger came through. [Thank you, Vanguard. Standing by.]

Biting his teeth together, Okafor was beginning to regret his decision already, but it was too late. "What's special about it?" he asked Nator, but turned to Cameron Henshaw. "Misson Ops. We'll have visitors in the fighter bay. Given the interrogation, we are short-handed on security personnel, right? Could you please ask the pilots on duty to receive the Niger? I am afraid they might be hostile when they realise who we are."

Nator waited for the scientist to finish his next order before replying. "Aside from some apparent impact damage to the nose and fuselage, its mission pod has been modified outside of the standard configurations listed in our database. Without a scan or pulling it apart I can't tell you what it's for."

"Noted," said Okafor, not liking an unknown element. "Henshaw, make sure the SCO knows this too. Nator, once we have a lock on the Runabout with a tractor beam, you need to be ready to act if they do something rash, like opening fire while they are tractored in. Then, you'll have to change the polarities of the beam, repelling them, and either Tactical CONN or we will have to disable the shuttle."

All this just to learn more about the Borg? No, they had to know. As a scientist, he knew the import of data, and what the Niger brought was key to the continuation of the mission. Okafor took a deep breath. "Send the coordinates."

OOC: A few stragglers still, but let's move on nonetheless. So! @Nolan and @Top Hat goes next, order unimportant. Once @Nolan has posted, 7 days response time begins for affected Tactical CONN and Fighter Bay Ops officers. Once @Top Hat posts, 7 days response time begins for the officers on the Niger, which includes @steelphoenix , @Mathis , @trevorvw and @TrexelCat . I will be posting in the Fighter Assault Bay too, if nothing else to help further the scene. My next post is with Nicander in the Brig scene. :)

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #9
[ Dr. Nicander | Holding Cell A | Brig | Security Center | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: 1) @Nolan  2) The rest: @chXinya @Arista @Doc M. @CanadianVet
Standing there, with the forcefield separating them for the time being, Lucan smiled towards Doctor Maya when she spoke in her Vulcan calmness, her tone as conversational as if they were discussing shift rotations in his office again.

What galled Lucan was not her tone, however, since it had been expected from her. It was how she did not leap to denial, trying to refute him. Instead, she was acknowledging all that he claimed, confirming all points he'd made. The only change, was when she spoke of her own experiences, for he saw her eyes narrow to slits. Only then was he content; when he knew she had realised the extent of his violation of her, and how it had begun. He only wished she knew the full extent of her crimes in his name. She spoke of Garen Nelis, of the neurological treatment of Sarresh Morali, but knew far too little, instead asking to learn more. Indeed, as she said, obliging him, even if she thought he'd always been a loathsome monster. If she only knew.

The Andorian spoke up next, while the others remained virtually silent. Keval deferred to 'Captain' Wenn, but what he said to Maya actually came closer to the truth. They did not know him. Not truly, but if there was one version that they might know better, then it was the host mind that the Radiant had made manifest. After all, that mind was the template. The mould which he had filled. The glove her wore, just like he wore this decimated body before them.

In the end, both Maya and ch'Rayya wanted to know what he had done, so he spoke, casually pacing his cell, even if the host body still trembled with broken synapses. "How many?" he asked derisively, flexing his remaining tattooed hand. "You said you'd oblige me with questions of no consequence, and this is your first, I take it? Wouldn't it be more in your interest to ask me... 'How many more'?"

He said this with a sinister smile, his eyes alone turning to them. "If we are to dwell on the past, however, we might be here a long time. Indeed, Mister ch'Rayya, I have worn this skin-puppet for many years. I was here when this ship was commissioned. During every physical exam, every surgery, every seemingly heroic feat the host made. I was here, always, when you learned to know the good doctor. Some more than others... Yet admittedly... I was only in a diminished state. Irksome as it has been, this particular breed of skin-puppet is hard to control, yet with its abilities, oh, it has been worth the wait. Now, when the host needs me to stay alive, I have assumed full control at last, and I am not limited by the weakness of this mortal flesh."

He stepped closer to the forcefield, which cast his face in garish light. "This has been a long time coming, you see, but I regret none of it, granting you all life day by day, wondering if you'd ever get wise enough to see me before you all died," he said, curling his upper lip. His pale eyes were almost white in the light of the field just before his face, and he was looking at his 'friend', Wenn Cinn, whom he so recently shared stories with on the eve of battle. He had already died once, amusingly enough.

"Rez, I like your new hair...." he said next, his eyes darting to the Trill. "Yet as for Starbase 84... I think you might as well answer on Jona's behalf. Tell them what you did... after I enabled you to do so. I had no part in Jona's betrayal, no more than giving you the opportunity, merely as a concerned member of the crew. Was it not you who deleted all the personal logs meant for friends and family back home, and changed the Simulcast? Surely it was not I. For while I may have done a lot of things... I am innocent in that particular regard."

Lucan said this with knowing smile, stepping away from the forcefield - the light shimmering across his charred uniform.

OOC: The next one to post is @Nolan and after he does so with Amelya Rez, 7 days response time begins for all present characters in the brig. :)

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #10
[ Ens. Cameron Henshaw | Battle Bridge | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ]

Looking a bit astonished at the viewscreen before looking at the acting bridge officer, Cameron could only stare and listen as the distorted audio of the runabout scrambled through the speakers of the bridge. She felt a shiver run down her spine when they mentioned the Borg, yet looked back at her console a she looked up who this Commander Ducote was. It took some time before she could reply "Commander Ducote indeed logs as an officer aboard the USS Endeavour, Lieutenant," was the reply from Cameron to Tyreke when there was a moment of silence between both parties.

She couldn't help but wonder what the ship must've gone through when facing the Borg, the more pressing matter however was why the Borg were in the Alpha Quadrant. She closed her eyes as she realized that the Sword alone would not be able to do much on it's own if they would run across a Borg cube. Their fates would probably be similar to Endeavour's.

Looking at the flight roster, two Lone Wolves were on patrol paths close to Sword. The fighters ready to be sent out for rapid response should the need arise. The situation might dictate such a response now, yet Cameron looked over at Tyreke once more. He claimed that they were the Vanguard so giving away anything that could compromise their cover would be catastrophic for both parties. She informed both fighters to stand ready, yet to remain out of visual range of the incoming shuttle.

Tyreke discussed further details with Nator as the runabout seemed anything but standard and eventually she got an order from the lieutenant. Inform the SCO and prepare a security force led by TAC CONN to welcome the new guests. She nodded and replied "Understood sir."

She turned to face the console entirely now before contacting Thomas Ravon.

[ Lt Cmdr. Thomas 'Razor' Ravon | Hangar Deck | Fighter Assault Bay | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: All Tac CONN+ USS Niger

Thomas had just finished addressing the remaining pilots. He had been debriefed about the away mission to the Coreless Moon and had given the squadron a rundown about the suffered loss of Honey Badger. The fighters had been rearranged on the landing slots so they'd be less spread out and easier to access in case of an emergency scramble. A new squadron chart showed who would fly with who for the next couple of days on patrol. Most pilots had scattered from the briefing room by then, either looking over their ships or socializing with one another as Ravon's combadge chirped.

[Ravon, this is Henshaw. We've been hailed by a runabout that apparently survived a Borg attack. We're bringing it in for landing. Due to security being short staffed, would you be able to get your pilots to overlook docking procedures and welcome our new guests? Be advised, we are not sure if they'll turn hostile once they figure out we're the Theurgy. So far we've given them the intel that we're the USS Vanguard. Act accordingly. Henshaw out.]

Thomas blinked a few seconds before he cleared his throat and tapped his badge once more "All wolves, rally up. Grab your weapons from your fighters and meet me at the hangar deck. Double time. Ravon out."

With a sigh Thomas ran over to his fighter and fetched the Mk III phaser assault rifle. He charged it up and set it for stun as he stopped in the middle of the hangar deck and looked at the bay doors. He tapped his badge once more to inform Sten about the situation as well "Covington, we got incoming guests. Federation folks, but I'm not clear what their intentions might be. You might want to get your pups out of the way in case it gets ugly," he said and looked over his shoulder to check where the rest of his squadron was before his voice boomed through the bay "Move it up people! Time's pretty short here."

The hangar bay doors were already sliding open as the silhouette of the Niger became apparent. Ravon couldn't make out if the ship was being tractor-beamed in or if it was charging up weapons. He kept his rifle aimed at the ground yet ready to be pointed up and fire away. As he heard the footsteps of his fellow wolves close in he looked left and right.

"I want two fire teams, both on the flanks. Your weapons on high in case we need to fire at the Runabout. I want two others with me with rifles set to stun. Remember, these people might be friendly but they just got through a nasty encounter with the Borg. Along with us being branded as traitors, they might come out guns blazing. Be prepared for anything yet do NOT provoke them. Clear?"

Thomas narrowed his eyes as the USS Niger came in now and landed in front of them. It was showtime.

[ Dr. Amelya Rez | Brig | Security Centre | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] @chXinya @Arista @Doc M. @CanadianVet

Standing before the holding cell with her hands tucked away in the lab coat she wore, Amelya looked at Nicander in silence as first. Maya and then an Andorian man took the lead. It wouldn't take long for Nicander to reply, and Amelya was preparing herself for a once more theatrical show of whatever the parasite had in store for them.

It addressed her. The eyes of the people present were burning on her bare skin as if she were wearing nothing at all. Amelya turned herself to face the former doctor fully. Whilst doing so, the blonde hair of the Trill swayed in the process, almost waving a little before she stepped closer to the force field. She stopped with safe distance between the field and herself as she reminded herself what had happened between Acreth and Nicander in a previous interrogation on the Harbinger. She had seen it both through her own eyes, and Edena's.

"Nicander." she addressed him with a faint smile on her lips. "Whilst what you claim Jona did... deleting the personal logs, changing the simulcast... It's all true..." she answered before she looked down at her feet. "You are, however, forgetting one key action here. It was with your help, and your help alone, that Edena was tricked to lay down on your biobed. You helped her suppress her hosts, or that's what she believed. In fact, you imprisoned, caged... exiled her former hosts, all save for one. You locked them away in a bottomless pit where there was no return. It was you. You unleashed Jona Rez and only him upon this ship to change the Simulcast and sabotage our whole mission. So instead of accusing the Rez symbiont for this, I would reflect upon YOUR actions leading up to this debacle. You basically killed Edena Rez in that moment, Doctor. You gave her and her hosts no means or options to fight back or stop Jona. I might even add that you knew his intentions all along, should he'd be unleashed upon this ship. You knew what kind of threat he formed to our mission," she concluded bitterly as she could vividly feel the pain and despair her former hosts had felt. Tears running down her face before she wiped them away. She shook her head chuckling. "Yet look at you now..."

She looked up at Nicander, eyes narrowing and her voice turning darker. "You're a mystery, though, Doctor. For whilst your actions could've costed us all our lives on numerous occasions, you chose to save us instead. I can't help but wonder why? Why go through all the effort to find a cure for the Niga virus, which would've compromised the entire ship and spread across all the Quadrants, just in the way Acreth claimed it would have. The virus that was planted on Niga was put there by your very essence. Why sabotage your mission? To gain trust? Why do so later, fighting Sonja Acreth together with Heather McMillan? I've read the reports... It makes no sense. You aid us in times where the enemy would have us wiped out of existence. Which in turn stands completely opposite of what you're aiming to do," she questioned as she paced along in front of the cell.

"Is it because you... As a parasite... fear death itself?" she asked it, seeking to provoke it. "Nature's parasites need a host to thrive in, live in. With the loss of the good doctor here, your time would come to an end. Are you afraid of it? Do you have a will to live that's stronger than your goal to wipe us all out?" she tested it further as she came to a stop and folded her hands behind her back, assuming the pose Nicander too on more than one occasion. The sole goal to mock the creature inside Nicander, or to see if there was more to it.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #11
[Lt. Kai Akoni| USS Niger | Pilot Cabin] Attn: @Top Hat, @TrexelCat, @Steelphoenix et al

“Sitting and waiting...what fun” Kai mumbled under his breath and specifically to no one in particular. No one had responded so he felt that either no one had heard him or no one had anything to add.  Either way it didn’t matter to Kai as he was now manning the conn of the half functional runabout.

If we find the Borg, it won’t last long Kai thought to himself, but chose to push the negative thoughts about everything and decided to focus on his job.

Kai sipped his Raktajino while zoning out in his seat at the conn. He was periodically adjusting the runabout’s course to keep her straight, he wasn’t even thinking about it at this time. After a few days it had become second nature and muscle memory. His thoughts had drifted to the Endeavour and the crew and people he knew and worked with. He had hoped against all odds that more people made it, but the realist in him realized that more often than not, an encounter with the Borg usually doesn’t end well.

His thoughts were interrupted by an urgent trilling of the computer. It had taken a couple of seconds to fully register with Kai what was making the noise and how it wasn’t the usual sound they had been dealing with for a couple of days.

By the time it registered on a conscious level, Ducote had made his way to the computer.

“Hey! A warp trail! A Federation one!" Ducote exclaimed, which caused Kai to snap to. His fingers flew over the smooth console, pressing buttons trying to triangulate the source of the warp trail.

"Get the emergency beacon going" the Commander ordered to no one in particular. Kai took the order and ran with it as he tapped away furiously at the console to get the emergency beacon activated. After a few seconds, the computer confirmed that the beacon was activated and transmitting.

I’m surprised it worked that quick

Ducote was recording his message for the emergency beacon when Kai heard his name.

"Kai, bring us about. I'll make sure the others are ready to go."

”Aye sir” came the reply from Kai as Ducote headed to make sure the rest of the crew was ready to get to work and hopefully be rescued. Kai’s fingers pressed some more buttons on the conn and brought the Runabout around as they headed for the source of the warp trail as best as they could figure.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #12
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | Pilot Cabin | USS Niger ] Attn: @steelphoenix @TrexelCat @trevorvw @Nolan @Mathis

On his way aft, he was intercepted by Commander Kaeris with a report on resources. The man had one of the more interesting personnel jackets Ducote had had the pleasure of reading, but his efficiency and dedication to detail had been nothing but a boon to the various assignments to which the Indy had been sent. And oh, how I would happily take the universe's most crushingly-dull lunar survey right now...

"Thank you, Commander. Hopefully, we no longer have need for them; we've been rescued." Rather than slip by him, though, he instead stopped short. "Actually, could you help the docs get everyone ready to evac? With any luck we're getting off this tin-can today."

The console trilled once more, demanding his attention, and he hurriedly retook his seat as the ship responded to their hail. They matched the EM band and narrowbeam profile to help punch through the radiation of the nebula, perhaps working out that there was a good reason for their using such old-school methods of communication.

[This... is the USS Vanguard. You are broadcasting a distress signal, and you appear to be alone. What happened?]

"The Vanguard?" The slightest frown crossed Ducote's features for an instant before disappearing - gift horse, and all that. Even if the reply was a little strangely-worded. Ducote tapped a side panel, accessing the registry database. A Sovereign-class... hadn't he seen that name in a report somewhere recently, too? And the silhouette was off. He shook his head. Half-done refits; fuck's sake. "Seems our sensors are damaged worse than we thought..."

There was a back-and-forth, and an understandable break in the contact after he confirmed the statement on the Borg. He could hardly blame them. Something nagged at his paranoia, though. He was sure the Vanguard was on some flag-flying operation near Bajor. Friend of a friend was on it.

[This is the Vanguard. Stand by to receive docking coordinates...]

Ducote sat back, as his conviction grew. He folded his arms, pinching his bottom lip between his thumb and forefinger knuckle. "Kai, are you armed?" The XO had long since unbuckled his belt rig, but was starting to feel an itch to strap it back on. The type-I he habitually carried had never left his trouser pocket, but there was some lizardine part of his brain that was craving the psychological security of some superior firepower right about now. He sighed. "There's something fucky going on, here.."

Reaching out, he reopened the channel. "Thank you, Vanguard. Standing by."

As the coordinates came in, he settled back as Kai took care of flying for a bit. Come to think of it, the one he'd been speaking to hadn't introduced himself, either. He scowled as they lost sight of the ship in a dust cloud. Was that deliberate, or a mere coincidence of their course? He jumped as a docking tractor locked onto their hull. Looking out of the window as the vessel hove back into view, he almost charitably considered the ship a refit; the nacelles were different from most Sovereigns he'd seen. But it was one strangeness too far. "Well, shit. What's-"

He stopped dead as he read the pennant on the spine of the ship, planted dead square in the middle of the landing strip to what was an assault/launch bay, not a mere shuttlebay after all.


"Motherfucker," he growled. "The fucking Theurgy?! God does have a sense of humour."

They were trapped. Locked in a tractor beam they couldn't overpower, in a cramped ship with three days' comestibles, minimal weapons they still couldn't afford to use, the Borg to one side and the quadrant's most notorious traitors to the other. I fucking hated my Kobayashi Maru, too. At length, they were drawn into the bay and deposited on the deck. The tractor beam did not disengage. Running figures entered the bay, type-III rifles shouldered.

Ducote resisted the urge to put a fist through his console. We were this close to safety. Santa Maria preserve us.

Several long moments passed, and the XO looked over at Kai, his face drawn and clearly aware of what he was about to ask. "Seal the airlock. If they try and breach it... repel."

A final deep breath, as he stared at the people in front of the shuttle and the bulkhead behind them, and he tapped his badge. "Ducote to... 'Vanguard' bridge."

[ Lt JG Nator 159 | Battle Bridge | The Sword ] Attn: @Nolan @Auctor Lucan  

The runabout seemed all wrong. Even assuming their story was legitimate, their presence seemed too perfect with Archeron hovering outside the Azure like a pack of wolves. At least its mission pod seemed too small to house anything particularly destructive, and its readable power signature was too low to be dangerous. But still. This had 'trap' written all over it, whether or not the person running the ruse had done their homework on ship names and command staff.

S/he acknowledged the order to be ready to throw the runabout away as soon as they did anything stupid, and switched hir console to have a view off their stern to watch the Niger come in. No weapons power-up detected... so far so good. Until they touched down, and none of the expected landing procedures were followed; no engine throttling, umbilical port opening, anything. Their shields were also still up, if only at a 'navigational' setting that was certainly prudent for the nebula. Looks like the jig is up.

"Sir, they're not-"

[Ducote to... 'Vanguard' bridge.] The voice on the other end was more clearly heard now; evidently using their combadge rather than relying on EM radio. Its tone had changed quite significantly, however. Quieter, more evenly-paced. Behind the speech were the bleeps and trills of commands being input to a console. Hir own panel threw up a warning.

[Remove your crewmen from the bay and release your tractor beam, unless you are as scientifically curious as I am about the effects of a maximum-burn fusion exhaust on a pressurised compartment.]

Nator's face fell as s/he went over the sensor warning. "Lieutenant, the fuel pressure in the Niger's impulse manifold is increasing." S/he didn't need to tell anyone present that there was a reason all docking areas, pressurised or not, mandated manoeuvring thrusters only until clear. An impulse exhaust had to push a ship massing potentially millions of tonnes around at fat fractions of lightspeed; their output was phenomenal.

[Looks as if you have enough guns out there to burn through these shields eventually. But I can guarantee that time is longer than it will take me to press 'Execute'.]

ooc: heehee
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #13
[ Lieutenant Elro Kobol | Aft Area | USS Niger | @Top Hat @trevorvw @steelphoenix @TrexelCat
Elro pressed his thumb and index finger into the inner corners of his eyes, hoping the pressure and sheer willpower would exercise the stress-headache he was currently dealing with. He sighed when it, surprise, didn’t. He looked down at the tricorder results, fatigue making his vision a little blurry, causing him to squint a little bit. The patient was stable, which was as good as he was going to get for now. He looked around the makeshift infirmary, taking up just part of the back room of the runabout, USS Niger, their new home for the time being. He absently went to put the tricorder in his white coat pocket only to remember in time to not drop the thing, that his coat had been made into a makeshift pillow for one of his patients. He set the device down on one of the consoles and tried to decide if he would finally try to get some sleep. He’d spent most if not all of his time in this room since being beamed aboard directly from a Sickbay they couldn’t have escaped otherwise.

Sleep had been elusive since their escape. His mind kept flashing to images of Sickbay aboard the Endeavour on fire, faces of patients he couldn’t save, the feeling of the thoughts and emotions of hundreds of terrified, dying friends. He had had to shut out his psionic senses, it had been too much for him to process. Even now he tried to find something to focus on, but all his patients were as good as he could make them, which for some was just to make them comfortable. What he wouldn’t give to be back in his office in Sickbay, listening to music and reading a silly romance novel waiting for his shift to start.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, opening his sense just enough to encompass the runabout, getting a general feel of everyone’s emotional state. Without their counselor aboard, it would be his duty to see after everyone’s morale and mental well-being as well, especially after a tragedy. He tried not to single anyone out right now, but he did notice that there was some excitement in the cockpit, maybe they’d found something? He focused in on Commander Ducote, feeling as their acting CO’s surface emotions went from guarded excitement to suspicion to anger. Elro opened his eyes, worried, and immediately started for the cockpit.

He passed Vael Kaeris, Endeavour’s CSO, well former CSO, on the way who looked like he had been on his way to the back, maybe to find Elro. “Something’s wrong,” is all Elro said as he passed the science officer and made his way the rest of the way to the bridge, not looking to see if Vael was following him or not.

He entered the cockpit, finding Ducote and Kai sitting in the two front chairs of the runabout and saw that they were being pulled into a hangar bay of some kind. It looked Federation, he breathed out in relief, but it was Ducote’s next words about the Theurgy that made his relief short lived as his memory from recent news reports snapped that name into place in his mind. From the Borg to Federation traitors? Elro immediately worried for everyone’s safety, especially as Ducote began charging the impulse engines, the doctor’s eyes going wide.

“Commander?” was all he said, in a cautioning tone. He wasn’t used to being on the bridge or command area of a ship, and he probably shouldn’t have said anything given their situation, but was this the best action? Elro subconsciously held his breath as he waited for the Theurgy’s response to what he hoped was their bluff.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #14
[ Lt Cmdr Vael Kaeris | Aft -> Pilot Cabin | USS Niger ] Attn: @trevorvw  @TrexelCat  @Top Hat @Mathis 

Vael nodded his head at the commander's instructions, although he was admittedly of mixed feeling as to whether this was fortuitous or not.  True, he would be glad to have some time to himself after being couped up on the run-about for so long, but stumbling over another Starfleet vessel in the heart of the Azure Nebula of all places?  He was dubious.

As he passed through the door to the aft section once more, he idly swept his long hair backward his gaze falling on their beleaguered chief medical officer. He started to approaching the doctor, only having the opportunity to open his mouth, the instructions to start preparing the crew to disembark not even reaching the tip of his tongue, before the betazoid passed him his expression intent on the pilot cabin.  Quickly, he looked over those gathered in the back, making a hasty mental assessment of their functionality before he turned and looked after the doctor's departure.

The sensation of the tractor beam was unmistakable, the run-about being towed into what was sold to be safe harbor, but he could also hear the engines, noting that they had not disengaged.  He could see the tense line of Commander Ducote's back hunched over the console.  Whatever was unfolding, the fewer agitations around him, the better.

Straightening himself, Vael reached out and placed a reassuring hand on Lt. Kobol 's shoulder, his mind attempting to convey a single message that he hoped the betazoid would pick up on... your patients need you, have faith in the commander.  The crew had been assaulted by the Borg, lost their ship, their comrades, and been stuck in an overqualified life boat for days.  Nerves were frayed and anxiety high, and now was when they needed a friendly smile and assurance that things would work out, and without the counseling ministrations of Lt. R'Rori, that fell to Kobol  and himself.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #15
[ LT Daniel Havenborn | Deck 16, Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy, Vector 2 ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan, @Nolan, @Doc M., @Triage, @Even Angels Cry, @Multificionado, Other Lone Wolves

Daniel ran over to his fighter which was still in the process of being upgraded, he had been informed that the upgrade was going to start at 1900 hours yesterday.  They looked to be doing systems integration and load bearing tests.  From the outside his fighter looked the same so he could only assume that the process was going well.  He looked around for his gear which he had left in the fighter, specifically he was looking for his rifle as he reached into his tactical pack and retrieved his maglock foregrip.  He spotted his rifle and retrieved it, attaching the foregrip to his rifle and making sure that it was locked before he ran over and caught the orders from Commander Ravon.

“I want two fire teams, both on the flanks. Your weapons on high in case we need to fire at the Runabout. I want two others with me with rifles set to stun. Remember, these people might be friendly but they just got through a nasty encounter with the Borg. Along with us being branded as traitors, they might come out guns blazing. Be prepared for anything yet do NOT provoke them. Clear?”

“Understood sir.”  Daniel said in response as his RIO, Knight, fell in beside him with his own rifle.  “Knight, Meony, Husker, Sniper and Bear.  Follow me, we’ll take the right flank.”  Daniel said, he didn’t actually know the last three pilots that well, but his HUD identified them.  Husker was part of his Flight so it made sense to bring him with, the other two he had chosen at random as they were the closest to the right flank and he wanted to get into position as fast as possible.  “Meony, Husker you’ll provide overwatch.”  He said quickly.
Defeat, Genocide; why quibble with semantics.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #16
[ Ens. Krystal "Meony" Tancredi | Hangar Deck | Fighter Assault Bay | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Nolan, @trevorvw, @Top Hat, @Mathis, @steelphoenix, @Auctor Lucan, @Doc M., @Even Angels Cry, @Multificionado & @TrexelCat
Meony had been meeting and talking with some of the other pilots, few though they were now (a sobering similarity to when they were on the Resolve) when Thomas Ravon called out orders. She glanced over at him thoughtfully, then wordlessly retrieved her weapons, replacing her hat with her helmet. She checked her systems and the HUD showed everything green to go...for now. She trailed after the others, following Daniel just a few paces behind, wondering all the while what was going on. Thomas gave her the cliff notes, and it was enough to make her...blink. Borg? Dang, that must've been a bitch.

“Ya got it,” said Meony, when told not to provoke, but she had a fucking rifle in her hands. That struck her as plenty provocative. Maybe if she slung it over her shoulder and posed like a retard, she'd be less provocative? In her full suit of shining armour, and her blades and pistols sticking out everwhere...Yeah not a threat, babe. Just move along.

Daniel was next to issue the rest of the commands for her and the others. Well, his idea was as good as anyone else's, so with a “Yes suh!” the redhead took to the right side of the Runabout, her rifle held at an easy to reach position for any surprises, while she fixed her gaze on the ship, “Ah get th' feelin' they maht already be provoked.” said Meony, “Borg don't normally hit this far in, raht? We got big problems if that's th' case.”

They'd need to work together, not stand here posturing with guns.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #17
[ Tessa May Lance, callsign:  Goldeneye | Fighter Assault Bay | Vector 02 | Deck 16 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @Nolan, @trevorvw, @Top Hat, @Mathis, @steelphoenix, @Auctor Lucan, @Triage, @Even Angels Cry, @Multificionado & @TrexelCat

When Tessa returned to the Fighter Assault Bay, she had to admit that she had really totaled her impulse engine.  Just about every component was burnt out and overloaded.  The only thing to do with it was remove it from the injured fighter and reduce it to its base components that so that the his shipfitters could use them to construct a new Twin-Tandem ITD-900 Series Class V Gravitic Impulse Drive from the ground up.  Deck Chief Sten “Poppa Bear” Covington had always encouraged the pilots to assist in the repairs of their own birds; that kind of cross training would save a pilot’s bacon if they found themselves stranded and needing to repair their fighter in the field the way Ravon did.  It also granted the pilots a greater understanding of just what their fighters could do and what their limitations were.  She had just assisted a team of fighter mechanics removing her Valkyrie’s impulse drive and was awed at how ruined it was.  She was processing her lucky escape when she heard the voice of Lieutenant Commander Thomas Ravon, callsign 'Razor' calling from her combadge.

"All wolves, rally up. Grab your weapons from your fighters and meet me at the hangar deck. Double time. Ravon out."

“What?  Ooh!  Gotta get my weapon!” she squeaked as she trotted over to her cockpit.  “Just a second!  Sorry about that Hussien!  I’ll get out of your way in a jiffy!  Won’t be a moment!” she assured the deck hands as she procured a Type II pulse phase pistol from a compartment to the right of the pilot’s seat.  “Okay!  It’s all good now, I’m outta your hair!” she chirped as tottered away before pausing to check the gun’s settings.  Once satisfied that she had it on the 'stun' setting, she trotted unsteadily over to where Razor was conferring with Poppa Bear. 

"Move it up people! Time's pretty short here," Razor’s voice called.  It didn’t come from her combadge this time.  Thomas was using the acoustics of fighter bay to show what a powerful set of lungs he really had.

“We’re gonna have company!” Poppa Bear Covington boomed at an impressive volume of his own.  “I want all of the unarmed enlisted people to clear the deck!  That includes you too, Thomason!”

The hangar bay doors smoothly slid and a Danube class runabout emerged from the azure mist.  Tessa tried very hard not to think about the firepower a runabout had and the amount of damage it could do if decided to fire into the fighter bay.

"I want two fire teams, both on the flanks,” Thomas instructed.  “Your weapons on high in case we need to fire at the Runabout. I want two others with me with rifles set to stun. Remember, these people might be friendly but they just got through a nasty encounter with the Borg. Along with us being branded as traitors, they might come out guns blazing. Be prepared for anything yet do NOT provoke them. Clear?"

"Understood sir,” Lieutenant Daniel Havenborn, callsign ‘Salvo’, formerly of the USS Resolve acknowledged.  "Knight, Meony, Husker, Sniper and Bear.  Follow me; we'll take the right flank.  Meony, Husker you'll provide overwatch."

For some reason, Tessa thought that she should cover the left flank.  “Um,  okay, Catscratch, Vagabond, Shocker, and Aria… uh… I guess we’ll take the right flank…  Left flank!  Left flank!  We’ll take the left flank!  And um… Aria and Catscratch… I guess you’ll watch over?”

Lieutenant Talidenai zh'Idenna, callsign ‘Terror’, formerly of the USS Orcus thankfully chose that moment to intervene.   “Goldeneye, I’ve got this; why don’t I take the left flank?  You back up Razor.”

“Um… sure!”  Tessa smiled sheepishly.  “Got it.”

[ Maya | Brig | Security Center | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya, @Nolan@Arista, @Auctor Lucan, @CanadianVet

Meanwhile in the brig, Maya was watching the dialog between Lucan Nicander and Ameyla Rez.   Her large hazel eyes were wide and unblinking.  She leaned forward and held her hands in front of her with her fingertips touching like she was a praying mantis.  Her entire manner was that of catlike anticipation.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #18
[Lt. Kai Akoni | Pilot Cabin | USS Niger] Attn: @Doc M. @Nolan @Top Hat @Mathis @steelphoenix @Auctor Lucan @Triage @Even Angels Cry @Multificionado @TrexelCat and anyone else that may have been missed

Kai had been piloting the Niger along as the small Danube class ship followed the Federation warp trail that they had detected. The crew had hoped that the Federation ship out there would detect the signal from their barely functional emergency beacon.

Kai had felt a small pang of hope when the Vanguard replied to their distress call. The Vanguard? Best Kai could remember was the Vanguard wasn't in this sector, but it's been awhile since he had seen the reports of where all of the Federation ships would be.

As Ducote and the Vanguard talked over the comm line, Kai had the hair on the back of his neck stand up. It seemed to him that the Vanguard was being intentionally vague in their answers. The Niger had been told to standby for docking coordinates, when Ducote had said something that confirmed that Kai and the Commander were clearly on the same page.

"Kai, are you armed?"

Kai returned that inquiry with a small smirk while patting the slightly curved type 2 phaser sitting on his left hip.

As the Niger came closer to the Vanguard, the ship rocked slightly when they were hit with a tractor beam.

That's not standard procedure Kai immediately thought to himself, what the hell is going on?

Every person in the pilot cabin of the Niger froze when they were brought close enough to actually see the registry name and number on the hull of the ship.

The Theurgy? Are you fucking kidding me? Those bags of shit! Kai was thinking whilst Ducote was actually verbalizing things along the same lines. The perks of being the XO Kai surmised.

The tractor beam brought the Niger inside the Theurgy and put them down on the landing deck, but they hadn't released the tractor beam yet. All of a sudden, they saw the traitors running around on the flight deck to surround the Niger. Kai immediately knew what Ductoe was going to say as soon as the Commander opened his mouth.

"Seal the airlock. If they try and breach it... repel."

Kai nodded in acknowledgement as he immediately leapt from his seat, sealed the airlock and made his way to the weapons locker. He quickly distributed the Type 2 phasers to all of the conscious crewmembers on the Niger.

Kai returned to the weapons locker and grabbed two phaser rifles for himself. He checked the power cells on both and they were fully charged and ready to go. Kai made his way quickly back to the airlock, one phaser rifle in each hand.

He aimed the phaser rifles at the airlock in anticipation, sighed and then spoke,

"Bring it on you fuckers..."

He knew he wouldn't have to wait long before whatever was going to happen next.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #19
[ Lt. Tyreke Okafor | Battle Bridge | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
[Looks as if you have enough guns out there to burn through these shields eventually. But I can guarantee that time is longer than it will take me to press 'Execute'.]

Okafor swore and pushed away from where he stood at Nator's side. He should have known he'd make a mistake. He was scientist, not a tactician. He was tempted to answer right away, but he remembered a Beninese proverb that his father had taught him. 'Words are like spears: Once they leave your lips they can never come back.' He wet his lips, yet delayed in answer, thinking. Nator, however, reminded him that time was short.

"Lieutenant, the fuel pressure in the Niger's impulse manifold is increasing," she said, and it appeared that testing Commander Ducote's word seemed redundant. Tyreke had to assume the man meant what he said. Thinking about all the people down there in the bay, he knew he had to do something. He turned to Henshaw first.

"Warn the pilots down there," he said. Should he order them to back away? The tractor beam still held the Niger put. No, he had to try to talk to the man first. After all they merely wanted information on the Borg. Then, they could just release the Runabout. He would not make the situation worse than it had to be. "...and Fighter Bay Ops too. Hail the Niger again."

"My apologies for the ruse, this is Lieutenant Tyreke Okafor. Please, there is no need for aggression. We have no interest in posing a threat to you and your crew. The reason we wished you to linger is because we are interested in intel on this new Borg threat to the Federation."

Tyreke had no idea what to bargain with to get the information. All he had was the truth. "Please, accommodate us with information on the Endeavour's fate, and the residual warp signature that you are tracking. Despite what you have been told, we are not traitors to Starfleet. We pose no threat to the Federation. It is Starfleet Command that are corrupted, usurped by an enemy that impersonate our leaders, just like the Dominion did during the war... Only these alien entities are harder to detect."

Could he really release the Niger now? He'd given orders, thrown his spears, and in doing so, he had compromised the Theurgy. Directly, in how what kind of damage Ducote might cause them, and indirectly, in how the Niger could alert Task Force Archeron about their last known location. After all, it was a known fact that Admiral Sankolov would eventually have tracked the Theurgy into the Azure Nebula.

Little did Okafor know that there was new development in the Fighter Assault Bay.

"Has someone reached Wenn Cinn yet?"

[ CPO Liam Herrold | Fighter Assault Bay | Deck 16 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Blue Zephyr
After Chief Covington gave the order to clear the deck, they soon heard from Mission Ops about the development in the bay. Evidently, the officer in command on the Niger was none too impressed with being duped, and was about to ignite full impulse whilst locked in the tractor beam, which could be catastrophic to the pressurised compartment of the whole fighter bay.

Hearing this, Covington was not too impressed either. "What did the brass think he'd do?" he said to Liam and Ji where they had withdrawn, behind the transparent blast shield walls that ran on both sides of the bay. "That he'd surrender with his hands in the air? For all they know, we eat Starfleet officers for supper and wash them down with with their blood."

Liam looked between Ji and Covington, surprised that they had not already moved to deal with this development. He realised, right then, that the two hadn't served on the Resolve, where they had dealt with this kind of scenario before. He ran a hand through his hair, looking between the Niger out there and Covington. "I'll deal with it."

Covington raised his eyebrows at him. "What do you mean?"

"Give me twenty seconds," he said, then looked at Ji. This was neither exciting nor dangerous to him. "When I say when, you can just run up to the Niger and pull out the power couplings behind the maintenance panel marked MA4 in the aft, just to be on the safe side."

Having said as much, Liam unhurriedly waked down the side of the fighter bay, glanced at the fighter pilots all up in arms and being told what the Niger might do any moment. The situation was far more tense than it had any right to be, Liam thought, glad to be able to prevent any rash mistakes. He adjusted the sleeves of his jumpsuit and stopped by the tractor beam controls. Once there, he calibrated the polarities of the beam that held the Niger in its place, accommodating for the added energy. Next, he calibrated the output, maximised it, but before he executed, he turned his head and looked at the Runabout. A single tap on the touch screen...

...and he sent an electromagnetic pulse through the tractor beam.

The result was easily discerned. Not only did the shields fry out when the emitters were killed, the whirr of its engines were killed too, and the external navigation lights on the Runabout flickered out. He'd fried the Niger's circuits, shutting down all systems. Satisfied that the Niger was bricked, he turned to shout to Ji. "Your turn, Ji!"

Knowing that the fighter pilots out there likely hadn't done this before either, he stepped out from behind the blast shield and called to them. "Could you just please make sure Chief Ji has some cover while she pulls out its power couplings? Thank you, Gre- Lone Wolves." His work finished, he walked back towards Covington, giving him a shrug. "When the brass fails, I suppose we have to clean up their mess, right?"
Chief Covington actually did smile at that all too true observation, shaking his head.

OOC: I noticed how Dax did this in the DS9 episode "The Passenger". Thought it was a handy solution. @Nolan , @Top Hat and the rest of the wolves ought to have plenty to react to, and @chXinya could have Cinn leave the brig, I guess? :)

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #20
[ Ens. Krystal "Meony" Tancredi | Hangar Deck | Fighter Assault Bay | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Nolan, @trevorvw, @Top Hat, @Mathis, @steelphoenix, @Auctor Lucan, @Doc M., @Even Angels Cry, @Multificionado & @TrexelCat
And just like that, Liam turned the situation from Fucked Up Beyond All Reason back to Situation Normal, All Fucked Up, and then to Oh Hey, We Just Might Live Through This Fucking Day Don't Jinx It. She considered calling Sharky down now, and say "Bad alien" to whoever stepped out of the Niger, or better yet, beam Sharky in and let him feast on butt sandwiches. Their shields were down now, and it'd be so much fun for the dog, and her. Jimmy would probably get a laugh, and then chew her out for sending Sharky in half-cocked, and then kiss her, then chew her out some more. But hey, far as the redhead was concerned, it'd be worth it.

She'd been around shuttles and flown one around long enough to know that the Niger was doing something that would have cooked the lot of them if Liam hadn't shut down the Runabout. She used her comlink to send a message to Liam, “Babe, Ah owe ya a drink,” she said, grinning madly with appreciation at the man, “hell, we all owe ya a drink. Yer're a hero. Don't let none tell ya different, y'hear? Muah.”

She then levelled her rifle on the airlock of the tiny starship, letting Eun Sae Ji know, “Ah got ya covered, hon, do what ya gotta do!”

Now Meony so very much wanted to behave to keep the peace between the people of the Resolve with the crew of the Theurgy, but what the people on the Niger just pulled had her feeling a little...okay, very annoyed. So she opened a direct hail to the crew of the shuttle, “Yo FUCKNUTS! Didja just try t' fry us? Real asshole move! But Ah guess yo mama nevah tot'cha no manners, raht?” She looked at Daniel Havenborn, and stuck her tongue out to one side, then looked back at the airlock. “Ah dare ya t' come out 'ere an' act lahk Starfleet officers, if ya still got an ounce o' decency left'n ya!”

She ended her communique with the Niger then looked down at her rifle's settings, her eyes widening, “Shit! Ah left it on 'blast 'em t' smitherins'! Mah bad! Okay, there. Now they'll live t' regret it.”

The weapon was now set to stun the fuck out of whales instead of wiping them out of existence.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #21
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | Pilot Cabin | USS Niger ] Attn: oh, all o' y'alls.

"Commander?" It was Kobol . Ducote muted his end of the channel while he waited for the next step. As he looked around to the full-blooded Betazoid, his face was somehow even more drawn than it had been for the last few days - a strain he would have plainly seen mirrored in everyone else aboard, with or without his empathy. The XO wasted little time with pleasantries, however.

"Doc. We were 'rescued' by the Theurgy. I'm trying to get us unrescued. I'd honestly rather deal with the Borg."

[My apologies for the ruse...]

Yeah, okay. Sure. Now you start being honest. After you eroded all trust. Though, he did have to admit that if this two-pip idiot had been up front in the first place the first thing this ship would have seen was the Niger's ass-end disappearing into supralight. Not for the first time, though, he cursed his blunted empathy. The pilots hadn't moved, not that he could read them from here. They seemed content to call his bluff.

Well, if it was a bluff. Ranaan honestly hadn't decided yet. It wasn't as if there was a dearth of people out there who'd cheer him reducing a few dozen Theurgy crew to plasma and ash, in meagre repayment of the lives they'd claimed in turn. It was hardly very 'Starfleet', but...

Then something changed in the ambient noise. Some subtle creak as the tractor beam changed its hold on them. He had only time to furrow his brows a little further before a klaxon blared and squelched in swift order, the consoles flickered, and something went bang somewhere above him. The actinic smell of a shorted shield generator began to permeate the compartment.

"Enraba-me," he muttered, punching the glowing red EXECUTE button on the engine controls.

Nothing happened; the pulse overloaded the safeties and the runabout went dark around them. For a fleeting, infinitesimal moment, he considered manually depowering the antimatter containment pods, safe with their independent systems as they were. A standard torpedo carried two kilograms of annihilation fuel, enough for an eighty-megaton flash. The fuel stores on something even as small as a runabout carried many times that.

But that was certain death. They'd take this ship with them, sure. But 'almost no chance of survival' was still infinitely better odds than 'none'. Besides, there was no guarantee that he'd get the chance before they were beamed into the brig.

Or space.

And then I'd never see her again. He blinked away the mirage of Blue's face in the reflection of the darkened panels before him, focusing again on the voice issuing from his badge.

[... we are not traitors to Starflee-]

Ducote slapped at it with one hand to close the channel, not caring to hear whatever the next lie from the good lieutenant's mouth turned out to be. The other crunched into the transparent-aluminium panel that had so recently betrayed him, hard enough to spiderweb its surface and make his knuckles sing with the impact.

He drove himself from his seat, snagging his belt rig from the headrest of his chair as he rounded on the crew section, walking back aft to where the rest of the officers were.

"Kaeris!" he snapped, buckling the clasp on the holster closed. "Get the shields back online any way you can. Kai - showtime. Doc - talking failed and it's probably gonna get noisy. I'm sorry."

His badge chirped with a general hail. [Yo FUCKNU-] The commander sighed as he switched off his combadge entirely, simply powering up his type-II instead. It defaulted to heavy stun, but he dialled it up a little to low-disrupt; several of the people outside had been armoured.

"These bastards have carved a bloody swathe across half the quadrant. They've killed thousands as it is; I'm sure a handful more won't trouble them terribly. The Endeavour was never a combat vessel, nor was she destined to be near any particular warzones.

"You have performed far in excess of what anyone could possibly have expected of you, and I have to say I think I took the privilege of serving with you for granted. And now I can only pray that this isn't the end of the line. You deserve better."

Turning away and leaning into the jamb of a doorway to steady himself, he took aim at the airlock.

[ Lt JG Nator 159 | Battle Bridge | The Sword ]

"The Niger is powered down, sir. Won't be able to cycle their systems either."

Now that the shields were down, the Hermat took the time to make a more thorough scan of the runabout's interior. Ten or so life signs, most of whom were at various stages of 'suboptimal', fairly thoroughly-vandalised sensor systems (which went a long way to explaining how they'd gotten away with dragging their shuttle into the bay in the first place), damaged long-range communication gear, and a structural integrity that was holding together more through luck than judgement.

It seemed they were desperate, if they wanted to try and rip themselves free of a locked-on tractor beam and then also try and outrun something that could overhaul them without even stressing their engines. In that moment, Nator finally understood the power of propaganda and what sort of reputation the Theurgy crew likely had in the wider Federation by now.

S/he wondered how they were ever supposed to reverse that.

"Lieutenant," Nator called the man's attention again, "I'm reading several injured people aboard that shuttle. I doubt the thing is in much shape to tackle the nebula again, either."
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #22
[ Lt Cmdr. Thomas 'Razor' Ravon | Hangar Deck | Fighter Assault Bay | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: All Tac CONN+ USS Niger

The situation on the flight deck unfolded quickly as the ship remained in position yet nothing else really happened. Thus far, Thomas didn't know about the dooming order that the XO aboard the Niger would execute until Henshaw's voice chirped out of his combadge. He gritted his teeth as Lance fell in on his side and he gave her a cold look for a second as he evaluated his options. Risking his entire pack to be blasted away sounded like a rather awry plan right now. He would opt to pull the flanks away and get them to safety behind the blast shields, yet that's when he saw Liam Herrold dash along. It took a minute before the SCO figured what he was doing, the evident lightshow confirming his suspicion as the shuttle seemed to lose shields and what else.

As Ji would need cover, the game plan changed for Thomas, he looked over to Havenborn and shouted "Cover Ji!" Yet before he could finalize the rest of his command, Meony tapped open a comm link to the Runabout. Razor could hear loud and clear what she was shouting to them and he could feel the urge to blast the pilot down himself. He looked up at the Niger before he cursed a series of profanities before addressing Tancredi "MEONY! What the actual FUCK!?" The displeasure of the SCO evidently in his tone as he shot the ensign a look which pretty much could've killed her on the spot "I do not have the time, nor the need for further agitation to these people! Hit the lockers and remain there until I say otherwise!" he ordered her with a breezing voice. It was clear that the senior officer was beyond pissed off yet refrained from erupting into a full on shouting and cursing match.

His eyes snapped back forward to the shuttle before he added as a warning to the others "If anyone else is feeling trigger happy, know is your time to step out." The problem was that they were blind on what was going on on the inside of the shuttle. Thomas could only presume they had their needs on a ship that small  and whilst they were on the run for the Borg. He tried hailing the shuttle now himself which only ended up with a non connecting signal and he cursed under his breath. His eyes went back to the fighters for a second as he wondered if supplies would be received as a sign of good will. Alternatively, if he had to think more as Security... Beaming concussive charges in would help them a whole lot as well.

"Ravon to Bridge, Any chance we can beam medical supplies and food rations on that shuttle? Maybe they'll not try to kill us if they receive it?" he suggested as he remained vigilant for a full on shoot out should it turn for the worst.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #23
[ Lt Cmdr Vael Kaeris | Aft -> Pilot Cabin | USS Niger ] Attn: @trevorvw  @TrexelCat  @Top Hat @Mathis @Auctor Lucan  @Nolan  @Doc M.  @Triage  @Even Angels Cry  @Multificionado and anyone else I missed

And like that, the ship was dead.  An electromagnetic pulse.  He'd praise the tactic if it hadn't been so ham-fisted.  Vael placed the tricorder in his hand down on the nearby console with a decided *click*, his expression steadfastly unreadable, but those who knew him could recognize when the "prince" had lost his patience.  As the commander passed him instructing him to power up the ship again, he squared his shoulders and very quietly replied, "Commander, if I may?"

Tapping his combadge, he addressed the ship beyond, "Attention Command Theurgy.  This is Lt. Commander Vael Kaeris, CSO Endeavour.  You'll have to forgive this breach in protocol, but allow me to make a few things clear.  You fabricated your identity and functionally lured us here into your captivity under false pretense.  You then strike our vessel with an EMP and potentially fry our systems and risk the loss of all tactical and tracking data regarding the borg that we have acquired."

His tone was calm and steadfast as he walked towards the pilot cabin to stare at the armed contingent awaiting them beyond.  "But you don't honestly believe we would track the borg through the nebula in a runabout without precautions?  I have left a breadcrumb trail of miniature probes in our wake, all waiting for a timed transmission from our vessel on a regular rotation.  Don't bother looking for them, they're well hidden.  I've been in contact with more Maquis than you'll ever know and I've learned their tactics.  Absent our transmission, those probes will light up a path of burning metreon sufficient to notify half the quadrant.  That signal is due in 30 minutes."  He wished it were true, it was a good plan in retrospect... had they had the resources to devote to it.  "We've no desire to destroy you, nor ourselves, but we will not be taken prisoner."  Years of study had given him a remarkable ability to maintain an even tone, almost dispassionate at times, but he needed to sound matter-of-fact.

"Now, may I recommend you place your captain on the channel so that we can come to a somewhat less destructive conclusion?"  Tapping his badge once more to speak privately, he turned to Ducote and gave a respectful bow of his head.  "I have no desire to see you rush headlong into death.  I ask that you forgive my impertinence."

Taking a deep breath, he retrieved his tricorder and began working on cycling the runabout's systems so, at the very least, they could leave this vessel and its renegade crew.

Re: Chapter 04: Charades [ Day 05 | 1130 hrs. ]

Reply #24
[ Lt. Tyreke Okafor | Battle Bridge | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
"The Niger is powered down, sir. Won't be able to cycle their systems either," said Nator, right in the wake of Okafor's message to the Niger crew. It made Tyreke blink, not sure what could have happened, until someone else on the bridge told him. Evidently, Fighter Bay Ops had disarmed the situation, using the tractor beam to send a electromagnetic pulse into the runabout. Eyes widening momentarily, the development of the situation had become more safe to the Sword, but his words to them, reassuring their safety and the olive branch extended, all lost. He found himself both relieved and exasperated at the same time. Now how am I supposed to get them to talk?

While Nator told them they had injured too, there was more comm traffic. The SCO got in contact, suggesting medical supplies to be beamed in, but judging by the CSO named Kaeris, sounding not the least impressed with them frying the Niger, they would stick to their guns. Okafor had to give the breadcrumb threat some thought, but it was plain that it was a bluff for several reasons, the primary one being that a Runabout wasn't stocked with that kind of resources to leave such a trail. He almost bought it, but he also knew they had to be desperate, and caught on to the bluff before he decided on what course of action he had to take.

"We must assert control over the situation before it escalates any further. More importantly, we need a controlled environment in which we can learn what they know, and tell them what we're about," he said to the bridge crew. He sighed, for he had hoped it wouldn't have to come to that. "There's no choice now either, since the Niger won't be flying again without repairs. Nator, I need you to alert any spare security guards we have on hand to get to sickbay, and I need those that are injured aboard the Niger beamed there. The others will have to be beamed into a holding cell, but all their weaponry and all their combadges must be filtered into the transporter buffers - injured or not. Alert the Brig Officer about his new charges too. Energise."

He turned to Cameron Henshaw. "Could you inform Tac CONN and have the fighter pilots secure it? Check it for PADDs aboard, see if they have intel on this Borg attack on the Endeavour. Logs, anything." He hadn't bothered answering the agitated people on the Niger. It wouldn't help at that point. The chance for immediate diplomacy lost. Instead, he sat down in the command chair on the bridge, rubbing his eyes. "When someone gets a hold of Wenn Cinn, brief him about what has happened, and tell him to contact me. The sooner someone talks to these survivors - once they have settled down a bit - the better."

Evidently, his spears had missed their mark entirely, and he feared them lost forever. I'll never volunteer for bridge duty again...

OOC: I had hoped for a solution where the Niger crew didn't have to spend the next part of the story in the brig, but it's what's most plausible at this point. I'll figure something out, having to rewrite some ideas for what will happen next. In the meantime Security have people from the Niger both in sickbay and in custody. We have established earlier in the story that beaming in and out people form the brig cells themselves would make it too easy to spring people out of their cells, so the holding cell that the uninjured Niger crew ends up is in Temporary Custody, located outside the area with transporter inhibitors where the interrogation with Nicander takes place (see "temporary custody" in the top left corner of the map): [Show/Hide]

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