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Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #1
USS Archeron, Deck 07, Admiral Staff's Quarters

The drop out of warp was enough to startle Lieutenant Commander Carrigan Trent from his dozing. The translation back to sub-light velocities was one that he, as an experienced Starfleet officer, was familiar with. The slight shift of the deck, the nearly imperceptible feeling accompanying the brutal deceleration the inertial dampers could never quite fully compensate for. And, after two months of chasing claims of sightings, rumours and long-range sensor readings, Task Force Archeron had finally caught up with its quarry.

Straightening into his chair, Trent reached with his left hand to bring his seat closer to the console in his quarters, the exposed prosthetic scraping against the table as he did so. And, no sooner had he straighten himself up that the dread klaxon of Red Alert sounded through the ship, accompanied by a familiar voice in the ship-wide broadcast: "This is Admiral Sankolov. We have found the renegades. Remember, they have forsaken Starfleet and the Federation. They are not your colleagues and comrades anymore. Do your duty and let us put an end to this mutiny. Make me proud; make your comrades proud; make yourselves proud. Sankolov out."

You have no idea what you are in for, Admiral, was the unspoken thought that instantly echoed in Carrigan's mind as he accessed his console and accessed the data that was already there, just waiting to be brought to the forefront. This piece of information he retrieved was a singular computer program, and once his remaining hand hit the button that would execute it, he was challenged by the security protocols. "Computer, authenticate Lieutenant Commander Carrigan Trent, three-seven-four-nine Epsilon. Initiate Soup Sandwich."

And he could not help his smirk, and his recollection.

The twenty-four captains of Task Force Archeron, Admiral Sankolov and his staff were gathered in the Archeron's lounge for a strategy meeting, and before long, options to engage the renegade vessels Theurgy and Harbinger were discussed. One captain was the first to provide a suggestion. "Admiral, these ships could be hard to replace in short notice. I suggest we transmit their command codes and secure them without firing a shot."

And that was when Trent snickered and made himself heard. "Captain O'Langton, if you honestly believe Jien Ives would leave the option of Starfleet using his ship's command codes unchanged or even accessible from the outside, I have some ocean-front property in Vulcan I can sell you." While there was some laughter from around the table, the offended Captain was quick to show his outrage. "And who do you think you are, Lieutenant Commander, to talk to me like this, let alone in a command-level meeting?"

It was the Admiral who spoke next. "Ladies and gentlemen, meet Lieutenant Commander Carrigan Trent from Starfleet Intelligence and attached to my staff. And unless I read you improperly, Mister Trent, you have a suggestion in mind?"

The crippled officer stood from his chair, his artificial left lower leg clanging against his seat in the process. "Yes Sir, I do. Captain O'Langton is thinking about it the wrong way around but the idea of the soft-kill has merit. I was toying with the concept ever since I read the reports about the Breen weapon at the Second Battle of Chin'toka. It will take some doing and a lot of coffee, but I think I can find a way not only to disable these ships but also incapacitate their crews without firing a shot."

Sankolov did not even wait for other opinions when he nodded. "Then that is your priority, Mister Trent. Use whatever resources you need and do your magic."

And that meeting had led to two months of work and it was not two days prior to the fleet catching up to the Theurgy that Trent had put the finishing touches to his program, including its name, Soup Sandwich, after an expression he was rather fond off: more fucked up than a soup sandwich. And if it worked, then its recipients would indeed be, as another expression went, completely FUBAR.

As soon as the command had been given, Trent wasted no time in affixing his phaser and tricorder holsters to his waist, throw his lucky black coat on over his uniform, slip a PADD in one of his coat's many pockets and to sling the duffel bag containing a few possessions and a pair of precious data cubes across his back. Only then did he look back at his console, and he swore. His program was not dispersing as it should be. Furiously, he pounded at the keys. There was nothing wrong with the codes and the parameters. The problem was with the Archeron's computer system: red alert had set consoles in quarters on a secondary network, isolated from the primary system Trent required. And, after several minutes of trying to redirect the virus, he went for his last resort. "Computer, connect this console to the primary ODN network, Intelligence override Trent Theta-two-nine-one."

And it was within moments of saying these words that his console began to flicker as the computer virus began attacking the Archeron's systems.

It was a good thing Carrigan was well-prepared, for it was just as he strapped a flashlight to his mechanical left arm that main power and the lights went dead.

Wasting no time, the intelligence officer forced his quarters' door open and made his way down the dark corridor, weaving his way past crew members who had absolutely no idea what had just happened. If only they knew, he thought silently as he headed for the nearest turbolift. And no sooner did he pass the door to Sickbay the he felt his feet lifting completely off the deck. Artificial gravity had just shut down, and incidentally all turbo lifts would have grounded at the bottom of their shafts. I don't have much more time, thought Trent as he floated to the end of the corridor, dodging bubbles of floating vomit from a hopelessly nauseous Ensign as he did so, and once reaching his destination, he started to work at forcing the turbolift shaft door open. He had to get to the main shuttlebay on Deck 6 and get off this ship...

OOC: TheBanshee, all yours now.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #2
Cinn felt the gravity shut down and his feet lift from the deck.  "What in the name of the Prophets is going on here?" he thought to himself as he began to float, he gripped the door and began to pull himself through but quickly pulled himself back into the sickbay as a dark figure in a long, black coat shot past.  That was a man on a mission but who was he and what the hell was he doing?

Floating forward he peered out and watched as the stranger pried open the doors to a turbolift.  Well if he wanted to do that it would save Cinn a job at least.  Waiting until the stranger had disappeared he followed, dodging that same floating vomit before slipping through the open doors and heading to Deck 6 where he knew the shuttle bay would be, thanks be for previous assignments.  The sooner he got out of here the better, whatever was happening to this ship he wanted to be far away from it and back on his own before the power and gravity came back online.

There was no sign of the stranger as he progressed and he wasn't hanging around.  It was possible the stranger was heading to some repairs but there was a nagging sensation in the back of his mind that he hadn't seen the last of him. 

The doors were closed to the shuttlebay as he arrived.  He pried them open enough to get through and once inside shut them again.  Getting out was one thing but he didn't want to unnecessarily waste life by having the atmosphere vented as he left.  On his way to a shuttle he stopped at a panel and pulled out a phaser, just in case he told himself. 

The door was already open on the shuttle, cautiously he entered and began to float towards the cockpit.  A noise made him flatten himself to the wall, the door slid closed and the engines thrummed as they warmed up.  Since out was where he was wanting to go he didn't argue the point, he braced himself for the gravity to take hold again and landed as gently as he could in the circumstances.  The engines' sound grew louder and Cinn realised they were moving, clearly the pilot, whoever he was, was as eager to get off this boat as he was.

Stepping forward he raised his phaser and pointed it at the figure in the chair, "Put your hands where I can see them and stand up, turn around slowly and identify yourself."

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #3
The turbolift door on Deck 7 did require some brute force to be opened, but after a short float up the shaft, the access to a Deck 6 was practically effortless. Indeed, Trent did not even need to fumble with the door itself as he had spotted the manual override on his way up. However, without power to actuate the sliding panels, Carrigan still needed to pry it open, his legs providing the leverage against the frame and his synthetic hand grasping at the metal. Never thought I'd ever be thankful for losing a hand, thought the Intelligence Officer once he managed to create an opening wide enough to go through. Indeed, the amount of effort required for this latest task and the sharpness of the corners would have most likely caused some severe lacerations to a biological limb.

Deck 6 was complete and utter chaos. Officers and enlisted alike were shouting back and forth, trying to get messages across each other while others were yelling the few computer panels that hadn't gone complete dark yet or trying to access a communication grid that was the first thing to go down. Christ, what a clusterfuck, thought Trent as he made his way down the hallway, his prosthetic left arm extended in front of him with his flashlight, his right providing the motive power to cross the distance. There were no doubts in Carrigan's mind that the virus he had devised was an effective soft-kill weapon. However, he still had to figure out just how effective it was. And he had no intentions of sticking around long enough to see how long it would take for the USS Archeron to be functional again. However, a nice long while was what he had designed Soup Sandwich for.

It took some doing, but eventually he reached the shuttlebay and once again he used the manual override to open them. Once he threaded his way through, this time actually needing to unsling his duffel bag first, Trent wasted no time in shutting the doors behind him. For he knew time was short before the atmospheric containment field would shut down, exposing the bay to the void of space as the outer doors, courtesy of Soup Sandwich, were already open and the servos seized into place in such a way that they would need physical replacement to shut again. And there was no way he would risk decompressing at least two decks to make his escape.

At first there was the worst pain he could imagine, then only it's memory. But still, Commander Carrigan Trent's vision was filled with the afterimage of the plasma conduit rupturing and his ears ringing from the conflagration. He was on the deck, and when he tried to push himself up, it is only then that he screamed. His left arm was burnt, badly burnt. In fact, from the elbow down there was no intact flesh left and his hand and fingers were nothing but charred bones holding together with nothing but fused cartilage. However, he still managed to attempt to stand, but he collapsed again. His left leg would not bear him. And looking down, he could tell why: it had suffered the same fate as his arm, save for the fact that his foot had been completely severed by the explosion.

However, there was no time to think. His ship, his one and only starship command, the USS Harrier, was being systematically demolished by the Jem'Hadar fighters that had ambushed her and he was the last man to make his way to the escape pods. Indeed, such was a leader's way, to see to one's subordinates before himself. And although there were bit three pips on his collar, he was still the ship's captain.

But Trent never made it to the escape pods. His good hand was clawing for purchase as his remaining leg was pushing him onwards when the bulkhead twenty meters from him burst and the rush of escaping atmosphere deafened him. Smoke swirled about him, fires were snuffed out and he was ejected into open space. He remembered the cold, his vision blurring as the moisture was sucked from his eyes, his eardrums rupturing and the agonizing pain of his body literally tearing apart from the inside. And, in this rare occasion, he remembered the tingling of the transporter beam that enveloped him before he sank into darkness

The flashback had been violent. And, knowing first-hand the horrors of being exposed to open space, he would never wish it on anyone. Perhaps the crew of the Archeron was following the orders of an imposter but these were Starfleet officers and crewmen in board, good men, women and asexual aliens who were following orders in good faith, honestly thinking they were hunting down a threat to the Federation instead of their most faithful protectors. And while a part of him knew his actions would cost the lives of innocents, Carrigan Trent had programmed his virus so it could be given parameters as to its effects, and he had set it to disable its target in such a way as to minimize the loss of life.

Shaking off the traumatic memories, Trent floated his way to the stand-by shuttle, in this case a full-size runabout. His entry was swift and not wasting a moment, the crippled officer made his way forward, tossing his duffel under a console along the way. Once he pulled himself into a seat and strapped himself in, he brought his getaway ship's systems online, his stomach lurching as the 9.8 meters per second squared of standard gravity exerted their force on him again. And that was when he heard something behind him; he had picked up a passenger. However, there was no time to do anything about it, for the atmospheric containment field had just failed and there was no way he would ever consider spacing a man in cold blood. However, he did draw his phaser and held it in his lap as he launched the shuttle from the now dead in space Archeron.

Trent had expected to be challenged, and when he was, he was somewhat surprised at the cool but surprisingly civil tone of the man behind him. " I'd rather stay seated," replied the Intelligence Officer as he slowly swivelled his chair towards the would-be passenger, his phaser's business end lined up with the source of the voice. Carrigan took a moment to examine his stowaway. A Bajoran male, powerfully built, wearing a tattered uniform, wearing the yellow of Operations, Engineering or Security, a a Lieutenant Commander by the pips on his collar.  And instantaneous recognition flashed in Carrigan's mind.

What the fuck, that man was spaced for hours, he's dead in the fucking morgue! The thought nearly caused Trent to raise his weapon instead of keeping his aim from where it was in his lap, but his voice was still incredulous. "If you really must know, I am Lieutenant Commander Carrigan Trent, Starfleet Intelligence and attached to Admiral Sankolov's staff up until about ten minutes ago. And seeing how you were very publicly dead, it is safe to say you aren't one of these things all over Starfleet Command, Lieutenant Commander Wenn." It was a simple tactic, using this Bajoran's name and rank, and a way to let him know he was indeed well-informed. But then again, Trent wanted that weapon pointed somewhere else than at him. There was no telling if this Bajoran zombie (or whatever it is) had that thing set on stun or to vaporize him on the spot.

"Now, I'm on my way to the Theurgy. And if they still have that half-Klingon XO and that Nausicaan at Tactical, and if Captain Ives is pissed off enough, their trigger fingers might be a little itchy. Not to mention the rest of this here fleet. So mind if I get us the fuck out of here before we get turned to scrap?"

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #4
The figure that spun around in the chair held a phaser too.  Unsurprising perhaps but this led to one of those stalemate situations that rarely ended well.  The man began to talk, identifying himself.  That was a good start at least, perhaps this situation could be diffused yet.  He listened carefully, considering every word the man said and watching his body language for any sign of deception.  Of course with him being Starfleet Intelligence the chances of him slipping up and displaying said deception were remote.

"The report of my death was an exaggeration it seems," he began whilst weighing up his options.  This Lieutentant-Commander Trent seemed to know about the infiltration of Starfleet but was that because he had seen something suspicious or because he was one himself?  At this point it was not going to be an easy issue to clear up and returning to the Theurgy was Cinn's priority.  Trust wasn't an option but neither was remaining here in a stand-off.

"As a Starfleet Intelligence officer I would be disappointed if you hadn't reeled off a list of facts to try and prove yourself," he smirked, "but it doesn't impress me.  You know that the Theurgy is my preferred destination and since we both want to get there I won't stand in your way.  I'll just stand back here, in case you decide to make a detour or accidentally do something stupid."

"You know," he added, "it might be easier to get on board if Jien hears from me rather than some Intel officer who could just be trying to infiltrate.  I know I'm technically dead but the chance of me actually somehow surviving would be too great a risk to turn down... I hope anyway.  Get us closer and then open a secure channel."

The easy tone of his words belied the stress of the situation but currently there was no need for any aggression and until there was he would remain passive but defensive.  Cinn waved the phaser in a gesture of 'go on' and held his ground.  The weapon was no longer held as a direct threat to the man at the controls but as a warning against doing anything he shouldn't.

Back to the Theurgy, back to the fight against the infiltration of Starfleet.  The memory of those final moments as he was dragged out into the vacuum of space came back as he thought about his return.  It wasn't the physical pain that hurt the most, it was that he had let down his comrades and that he would never see his homeworld again.

All those people on that ship who had relied on him.  He may have let them down once but the Prophets had given him a second chance.  He wouldn't let them down or waste the opportunity he'd been given.

It had been so long since he had been home to Bajor he wondered if he would even recognise it anymore, he'd kept saying he would go back, kept promising that the leave he'd saved up he would take and go home.  He'd never done it.  If the chance ever arose again he wouldn't turn it down.  No more holding back on any front, he did not want to feel those regrets again.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #5
Trent might not be one of these Starfleet Intelligence officers specializing in covert operations, these men and women with warp core coolant in their veins, but he could manage to appear calm while being at the business end of a phaser. His passenger, though, did seem to be one of these types who actually thrived under these conditions.

"Look, Wenn, I'm not trying to impress you. You asked a question, I answered you and I'm not the kind to play dumb or to bullshit. I'm not an operative, I'm an analyst with a few tricks up his sleeve and I work openly. And I don't like people playing dumb with me either. So how about we cut the shit?"

Carrigan's own weapon remained fixed in the Bajoran as he considered this fellow returned from the dead. There were so many questions unanswered here, but according to his personnel file, Wenn Cinn was a deeply spiritual individual. And considering the sheer amount of reports about their deities and their actions, then just maybe that man had been affected much in the way reports stated they had with the late Ben Sisko. "As for your death, I've seen your body on a slab. You were as dead as last week's fish. How or why you're here right now, all I can say with some degree of certainty is that you aren't one of these things. But let's discuss that later, shall we?"

"Now like I said, I'm going to the Theurgy. I don't really care whether your preferred destination is there or in your Celestial Temple, unless you try to stop me." Still, the Intelligence officer was unyielding. But at the Bajoran's final words, Trent shook his head. Perhaps he was no expert in these sort of things, but only a fool would have complied instantly.

"I don't think so. Maybe you Security types are all right turning your back to someone who just had a phaser on you, but that's just not my style. What's to stop you from shooting me the moment I take my eyes off you? So tell you what. I think you are who you say you are so unless you try something stupid, I'm not planning to stun you. How about you toss your phaser under one of these side consoles, I'll do the same and you come sit right here next to me and strap yourself in. That way you get to see what I'm doing while I keep my eye on you and we both get where we want to be."

As he finished talking, Trent took his weapon's aim away from the Bajoran, holding it between his last two fingers and his palm, his thumb and forefinger well-clear of it. It was not much but it was a gesture of conciliation. He knew both men needed to cooperate and fast. But the human was far too careful to trust blindly.

"I think I'll talk to the Theurgy first. Look out the front and tell me what state Sankolov's fleet is in. Trust me, Captain Ives will want to talk to me."

Indeed, Carrigan Trent knew what was out there, the fruits of two months of programming and coding, twenty-four starships adrift and dead in space. And if disabling an entire task force wasn't a bona fide display of his commitment to the cause of joining the Theurgy, her captain and her crew, he didn't know what could be.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #6
Part of him couldn't blame this augmented human for being so suspicious, the other part however felt a twinge of annoyance at his refusal to co-operate with instructions.  It wasn't something he was used to, taking orders from superior officer was one thing but this Intel man was contradictory and something about the guy just itched.  Cinn tried to put it to one side, they both wanted to get to the same place and at this rate neither would get the opportunity.

The phaser in his hand rose and fell with each breath, each one another opportunity to shoot the human gone.  He listened, still deciding whether or not to trust him.  He could shoot, take control himself and get back to the Theurgy or he could see where this went.  Cinn didn't want to shoot a man who was simply trying to do the right thing so he would listen a little longer.

So he had seen Cinn on the slab?  Well that would explain a few things.  Considering Cinn was still trying to come to terms with what had happened it was hardly likely that someone who had seen his dead body lying there in front of them could fully comprehend what had happened. 

He watched as the human held out the phaser as a gesture of truce.  At this point neither had much of a choice but to agree to the truce and get to their destination, trusting that Ives would deal with the matter once they were safely aboard.

Still holding his phaser outstretched in one hand, up to eye level and trained on the man, Cinn stepped forward a little further and looked out of the viewscreen in front of them as he had been asked.  Nothing could prepare him for what he witnessed and his jaw dropped a little as he watched the lights on each ship in the fleet blink out as though a switch had been flipped.  It crossed the whole fleet, one ship after another going dark and drifting in space.  Finally every ship was just a patch of grey against the black background.

Slowly Cinn lowered his hand before he dropped his phaser and kicked it to one side before heading to the chair beside the human and sitting down.  He didn't look at the man, his gaze still held by the unbelievable sight in front of him, "Alright.  You've convinced me.  You had better try hailing the Theurgy."

His fingers danced across the console, looking at the sensor readings from the ships and shaking his head in bewilderment, "What the hell have you done?"

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #7
The wait between Carrigan's words and the Bajoran's decision felt like a hundred years, but when he made his way forward to look at the viewscreen, the Intelligence officer could not help his change of expression. Indeed  a mix of amusement at Wenn's reaction and the pride of such a job well-done could not be contained. But then again, it was not every day that someone deployed an untested soft-kill weapon and it needed only a minor tweak in order to be as effective as it theoretically could be.

Once the security officer's phaser clattered to the deck, Trent followed suit and simply flicked his wrist. The weapon had a short flight before it too landed and skidded somewhere out of the way. Truth be told, the man was glad the situation had been resolved without violence. The Theurgy had few enough allies without shooting any of them.

Once enjoined to contact the renegade starship, Trent simply nodded. "Just let me get us clear from the fleet first. Even adrift, one of these ships could crush us if it connects." Having said that, Carrigan started piloting the liberated runabout away from the drifting vessels, and as he avoided a large container that had obviously been ejected from a decompressed shuttlebay, the Human let slip a vicious string of curses. Indeed, as he rounded the container, a dead and frozen Starfleet officer collided with the runabout before being sent deeper into space. Sweet Jesus, how many did I kill?

The thought remained unvoiced for now and Trent suppressed if for the time being and instead proceeded to answer Wenn's incredulous question, a most welcome distraction at this point. "Sankolov wanted me to come up with a soft-kill option to retake the Theurgy and the Harbinger. Long story short, I used a combination of Borg programming algorithms, Starfleet heuristics, a very specific method of attachment and and nice data-sharing link throughout the task force and distributed a virus that attacks the firmware in damn near every key system to do what I tell it to. Most of these officers and crewmen, they have nothing to do with the infiltrators and their only involvement is following orders in good faith. I couldn't just kill life support or drop their antimatter containment. So instead, I shut them down, giving us and the Theurgy a chance to escape."

As he finished his explanation, the runabout cleared the danger area and Trent's fingers, natural and otherwise, danced on his console and he finally opened hailing frequencies, in the clear, and spoke.

"USS Theurgy, this is Lieutenant Commander Carrigan Trent and one passenger on this runabout. Captain Ives, we are responsible for the fleet's situation and we are trying to join you and have some information you need. Request immediate landing clearance. Please acknowledge."

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #8
[ USS Theurgy | Main Bridge | Deck 01 ]

At this point, the entire Bridge Crew was staring upon the viewscreen, at the drifting cascade of starship vessels before them. They remained cloaked, lights dimmed, for they had no idea what may have caused what they were seeing.

Given the timing, Jien's thoughts had gone to the idea that the activation of the Theurgy's and the Harbinger's cloaking devices had somehow caused this, yet it seemed even more likely that the Calamity was behind it. Was it a weapon from the future? Sarresh Morali was not present to tell if there were any temporal anomalies taking place, so her incredulous ruminations did not lead anywhere...

...until there was a hail incoming. Judging it safe enough, Jien nodded to patch it through.

[... is Lieutenant Commander Carrigan Trent and one passenger on this runabout. Captain Ives, we are responsible for the fleet's situation and we are trying to join you and have some information you need. Request immediate landing clearance...]

Responsible for the fleet's situation? Jien looked around at the Bridge crew before answering, being like the rest of them a bit sceptic as to how such a thing was possible. "Yellow Alert. Tovarek, decloak, and return power to standard SOM settings. Stark, open a channel to the runabout. On screen."

She stepped forward from her chair and changed... to his male form, since he'd rather put the ordeal they had just faced behind him somehow. "This is Captain Ives of the USS Theurgy," he said, the viewscreen lighting up and showing a man with greying hair in the pilot seat. There was an arm and a shoulder visible on the edge of the screen showing the mentioned passenger. "You may understand, Lieutenant Commander, that while I am intrigued, I need to verify your identity and your claim. You are, however, free to dock in the Fighter Assault Bay, where a security detail will await you. Theurgy out."

He knew the shuttle bay was a mess after the hasty departure from Theta Eridani IV, with injured people littering the bay area as much as damaged shuttles. The name of the Lieutenant Commander was vaguely familiar somehow, but Jien could not yet place it. "Winterbourne, fall back to the rendezvous-point in the KNZ for the time being. Full impulse. The Harbinger will follow us there. We will hide until we pick a new course into the Alpha Quadrant. Fedd, I want a complete overview of our tactical systems after this ordeal. What kind of ordinance do we have left? Lin Kae, inform Tatiana Marlowe that I want a complete damage report. Tovarek, work with her and Thea to find out how troublesome this cloak might be for us. Activate the cloak again after the shuttle has landed. Number One, accompany me to the flight hangar. Commander Stark, you have the Bridge."

As he left together with Commander Rez, Jien tapped his combadge. "Ives to Ensign Henshaw. I need the personnel file on an individual going by Lieutenant Commander Carrigan Trent. Whatever you can find. Meet up with me and Commander Rez in the Fighter Assault Bay."

OOC: TheBanshee and CanadianVet, leave it open-ended at the point where they step out of the shuttle in the Fighter Assault Bay.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #9
Trent was nervous. His virus had proven to be quite virulent, and while he had set very clear parameters as to its dispersion, through the data-sharing network the vessels of Task Force Archeron shared, there reminded a chance it would keep on hunting and seek out any other Starfleet heuristics and attack them as well. And where was the Theurgy? Where was the Harbinger? There was no sign of either vessel on sensors. Had they found a way to mask themselves, or were they dead in space as well?

However, the answer came fast as a sensor alert blared on the runabout's console as a massive spike of energy showed and the Theurgy, shortly followed by the Harbinger, reappeared in sensors. The reading made no sense to the experienced Human officer. And if he did not know better, he could have sworn a pair of Romulan ships had just dropped their cloak.  There goes the treaty, immediately thought the Intelligence man. The next thought through his mind was about how desperate Ives would have had to be to make such a move, especially given his latest interactions with the Romulans.

At least, the halo was answered and it was Captain Ives in his male form that responded. And once the careful docking clearance was granted, Carrigan did not even have a chance to acknowledge. However, he did begin to pilot the runabout towards the fighter bay, laying a lazy, predictable course at a slow speed. Pat this point, aggressive maneuvering or a high speed would be less than advisable.

 As the auxiliary craft was making its way towards the Theurgy, Trent rotated his seat towards his unexpected passenger and undid his seat's restraints. "Well Wenn, looks like we're getting our wish. Ives and the rest of the crew, I'll vouch to them for you as much as I can. I hope I can expect the same from you?"

However, there was no time to get a reply as the runabout came to a stop, lined up with the fighter bay and Carrigan resumed control and landed his craft well in the open and in front of the awaiting security detail. Once the runabout touched down, Trent wasted no time in shutting down the ship and opening the hatch and when he rose, he drew the PADD from his coat pocket and held it in his right hand  while his left gathered his duffel bag and he headed for the open door. Before standing in the opening, he loudly called out. "This is Lieutenant Commander Trent. We are coming out. I am holding a PADD and a bag, but I am unarmed."

Having given this heads-up, the Intelligence officer stepped off his captured vessel, holding his burdens well-clear of his body. A few steps away from the runabout, he set down the bag and stood there, still holding the PADD and awaiting the questions he knew would come.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #10
As Trent piloted the shuttle away from the floating fleet Cinn couldn't help but shudder as a frozen body clipped the hull and went spinning away with the obtained inertia.  That was him not so long ago.  He remembered each moment as though it was a lifetime it had taken.  He heard Ida's shout.  Felt the pull of the pressure trying to reach equilibrium.  The indescribably cold that tore through every fibre of his being until his vision had faded to black and there was no more.

The voice beside him brought him back to reality and he focussed on that to try and push the negative thoughts from his mind.  Cinn nodded approvingly, a small smirk appearing on his lips as the human explained what had happened.  So the weapon created in order to render the Theurgy impotent had been turned on the predators with some incredible style too.  There was no small dose of irony in that.

With the lack of hostility there was little for Cinn to do while Trent piloted the shuttle away from the fleet so he turned to try and find where the Theurgy had gone.  There was nothing showing.  There had to be something wrong.  Maybe this shuttle had had some kind of sensor problem and was being repaired when they had boarded it.  Trent opened a channel to hail them and Cinn hoped that they weren't so far away that they couldn't receive it.

The power spike was obvious on the consoles in front of them and for a second time since entering this shuttle Cinn was speechless and in shock.  Jien must have been in a desperate position to have resorted to a cloaking device and risk the treaty.  Well it was done now and they would just have to deal with any fallout if and when it happened. 

Trent's last statement was never in doubt, the next few hours aboard the Theurgy were definitely going to be interesting in the Earth proverb from China kind of way.  He simply nodded and stood to follow Trent as he landed the shuttle and moved to the door.  A small part of him was amused that the human hadn't mentioned who his passenger was at all during either the conversation with Jien or the call to the security details that would no doubt be waiting for them to disembark.  That same part wondered who would be pulling the most shocked face.

Cinn took a deep breath and stepped forwards, hands raised, palms outward and fingers splayed in the ancient method to demonstrate surrender.  His eyes were lowered as he watched his step out of the shuttle, a triumphant return from the dead would be somewhat spoiled by falling arse over elbow as he came back aboard his ship.  It wasn't until he was stood beside his fellow fugitive that he stopped and raised his gaze.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #11
Fighter assault bay

The mood was strange as Miles watched the shuttle approach.  He couldn't help but be astonished at the turn of events.  Most surprisingly was the cloaking device but almost equally surprising was the revelation that there was a shuttle headed their way with what could best be described as a defector who had rendered a whole search and destroy fleet not only defenseless but adrift.  Slowly he watched as the shuttle made its way into the bay.

Moments ago he had ordered the other wolves to join the security detail who had arrived and noted that the XO and Captain both were headed for the bay.  Not the best of ideas in his own opinion as this could easily be some form of trap with the goal being to kill both of the command level officers and leave them in disarray at best.

Now the stage was set.  The shuttle landed and the occupants were exiting.  The first he noticed was the Pilot who had a prosthetic arm.   The other though drew his attention much more.   Miles had known little more about Cinn than he was chief security officer but recalled upon his reemergence from the buffers that among the changes in the command structure Cinn had died due to being sucked out into the vacuum of space.  Oh the irony then that was presented when Miles was noticing the figure of a Former CSO who was but a ghost in his memory.  While Cin saw the Vulpinian Pilot who was supposed to be dead now leading his other wolves in the security detail as their SCO.  It was a literal case of two ghosts facing each other.

Rather than the joy of seeing another face return Miles couldn't feel fully exited.  He knew more about their enemy now than he had before.  He had seen the debriefings what a host to these beings could do.  A frail host at that, injured, unarmed, and a being who shouldn't have even been physically impressive.  Not only that but It was clear these things were capable of great feats of healing.  What if Cinn was one of these beings now.  What if his resurrection was the work of these things.  What if he was a trap of sorts waiting to be sprung.  What scared him the most was he knew the capabilities of this officer.  This Bajoran was more than physically impressive but had survived a lot.  If the augmentations that occurred in their prisoner was scaled to a person like Cinn then he could only imagine the physical strength one of these parasites would have in the body of someone like Cinn.  If he was their enemy in disguise than for lack of a better way of saying it...they were fucked.  He now understood what suspicions Ida must have been plagued with regarding Carver.

Still Miles didn't show the suspicions that plagued the back of his mind.  They were less distrust and more preparation for the worst possible scenario.  Really he was glad to see the Security officer return.  At least from what he remembered the Bajoran was competent at his job unlike a certain person he had butted heads with recently.  For now though Miles simply stood with his hands on the rifle prepared to use it only if absolutely necessary.

(( OOC: Summation of events prior to current involving Cinn and Miles Knowledge of each others status regarding alive or dead.:

During a battle while Miles was not SCO but just a pilot in the squadron Miles executed a dangerous maneuver and his ship was destroyed.  He was presumed dead due to malfunction in the emergency transporter onboard the fighter.   Cinn would until this point think that Miles is dead.

During another battle prior to ep 1 Cinn was "killed"

MIles' Patturn was found within the transporter buffers and as such he was recovered.  AS such he experienced no passage of time and had to be informed of how long he had been presumed dead.  He was brought up to speed on the changes in the ship's personel (deaths and the like) and was also promoted from lt to Lt cmdr.  And placed as SCO of the lone wolves as he was the ranking officer of the currently living squadron. and had the most combat flight experience and leadership experience (prior to his time in the Federation).
It is at this point that Miles would have learned of Cinn's death. He didnt know Cinn that well but from what he could tell he felt that security was doing its job well and ths its chief officer must therefore be doing a good job as well.  He really had no opinion of Cinn other than Not my department seems like he's doing a good jogb in his I guess.  None of my business.

Present Cinn stepped out of the shuttle and when/if sees Miles he may recognize the current SCO as a person he had thought to have died before his accident.  In other words Miles being alive would probably be just as strange to him as Cinn being alive is to everyone else.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #12

She'd felt numb and the cacophony around her had put her off balance.  Not that there was much order to be had.  Lisa was gone. Rennan....Rennan was dead.  She glanced toward the door to the morgue, where a pair of crew members had silently moved Rennan's body.  Lisa's body would never be accounted for, would it?  She thought as tears started to pool in her eyes.  All she wanted to do was find a dark corner and hide.

An agonizing scream pulled her from her thoughts.  Any remaining color blanched from her face as the emotion and pain from the horrifically injured fellow crew and staff members around her once more penetrated her grief.  Shifting the burn ointment from one hand to the other, she turned quickly to assist as best she could.  Pausing to speak to people, she had slowly made her way toward the entrance where a medic was triaging the injured; relocating the walking wounded to the large room across the corridor and the more severe carried into the sickbay. 

She'd kept moving, just dealing with the person in front of her.  Focusing on the task at, assessing, comforting.... anything to keep from thinking of ... Once more she gritted her teeth and forced herself to bury her emotions.   At least Ives was safe, she thought briefly as she recounted how the Captain and Sarresh had beamed into the sickbay.   There had been probably twenty-five people, stretchers and all sorts of medical equipment between them.  Cam was used to fading into the background.  She grimaced and glanced down at herself. 

She was out of uniform and still in her running gear from the day prior.  Her lean muscular legs, arms and torso were covered in grime, ash, blood and who knows what else.  She had shaken her head negatively to one injured crew member and ash had actually flown from her hair.  She was fairly well camouflaged, in fact she looked like a street urchin.  So for her Captain to not have given her immediate orders - well it was understandable.  The Captain had huge issues to address.  She could do little to assist currently on the bridge and here... well they needed lots more hands. 

When people had seen Ives return the emotion in the sickbay had actually normalized.  Ives was a charismatic leader and was well respected.  That the Captain was back onboard had many feeling better.  Ives had been there mere seconds before she had returned to the bridge.   This lull and feeling of relief had been short lived as the ship ascended and left the unstable planet's atmosphere.  

With the discovery of the fleet, the sickbay had devolved into only slightly controlled chaos.  People had panicked.  She had been calming as many people as she could, but she was feeling pushed to her limits as well.  Standing beside the medic at the entrance, she braced herself against the wall as the ship lurched as though it had hit something.  She turned back to assess the sickbay just as her combadge crackled to life.  Acknowledging Ives, she took three strides into the sickbay and snagged a PADD from the workstation.  

Looking up she noted the presence of the doctor and a harried nurse.  They were too busy, she'd either return or replace it later.  Spinning she strode from the sickbay as she rapidly delved into the PADD for the requested information.  

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #13
[ Deck 15 | Turbolift -> Fighter Assault Bay ] Attn: Kurohigi, Cathreen Dawinter, Valarie and everyone already stated to be present around the shuttle

Given the nature of this meeting with their new passengers in the Fighter Assault Bay, Jien had ordered Deputy zh'Wann to accompany them and to arrange for a reception on Deck 15. The Andorian had brought along a young, white-haired human security guard that Jien did not recognize, as well as the new Klingon Master-at-Arms. The three Security Officers now shared Captain Ives' and Commander Rez's turbolift. Ida was talking though her combadge with her security teams to head to Deck 15 ahead of them. "...and make sure to arm the Lone Wolves so that they may assist in setting up a perimeter around the shuttle. Zh'Wann out."

As they headed down towards the flight hangar in the turbolift, Captain Ives told Commander Rez about Sarresh Morali and the orders he had given Dr. Nicander. It was a shortened version of the ordeal to get the Ash'reem off the planet, and since they were short on time to delve into the subject at length, Jien ended the quick summary with the obvious. "We'll speak of this later when the time presents itself. Yet perhaps Kiya - your former host of the Rez symbiont - may have ideas, or may at least be able to stand in for Nicander and any of the other doctors as needed while Lieutenant Morali is undergoing treatment. Despite the import of Sarresh, we cannot neglect the needs of the other injured."

The turbolift doors opened for Ives, Rez and the three Security Officers then, and they all stepped out into the corridor leading to the Flight Hangar. At the next intersection, having arrived by another turbolift, Jien came face to face with Cam, and this new Captain's Yeoman of his fell in next to him and handed over a PADD with the information he had requested on Carrigan Trent. Ensign Henshaw's appearance looked as bad as many others in the group, himself included, that had been on the planet when the eruptions began. The short-haired woman was out of uniform too, but that small fact was secondary, and Jien was quite intimately aware with why she was not in uniform. Yet given the hour of the Calamity's attack, there were quite a lot of people who did not adhere to dress code regulations right then. This was not the time to be bothered by appearances.

"Thank you, Ensign," said Jien as the six of them eventually walked through the double doors that led to the large open flight deck - lined with Federation attack fighters on each side. It stretched a long way ahead of them, and yet they could still see the Runabout touch down upon the deck beyond a living wall made up of the backs of the security detail and the present fighter pilots. The shuttle had just landed, and as they walked the distance, Jien read the file that Cameron had given him on the person that they were about to meet. Carrigan Trent had been a familiar name, and Jien quickly learned why that was the case.

What first struck him was that Jien remembered reading an intriguing paper in Starfleet's Tactical Development Journal decades ago, and the file he read now revealed that Carrigan had been the author of that paper. Also, having been a part of the Dominion War himself, he'd also heard about the USS Harrier and its fate, with its commander having taken the defeat badly. What he had not know was that Starfleet Intelligence had recruited the man afterwards, and that meant that Jona Rez or Edena herself may have heard about the man before he was commissioned to Admiral Sankolov's staff. There were hints in the file too, as to how the man could have had the means to dispatch the fleet in the way he and his passenger had done. Having studied at the Intelligence Academy's Advanced Tactical and Strategic Support Division and specialised in electronic warfare, it seemed like the man could very well have done as he had claimed.

Jien handed over the PADD to Commander Rez after having finished reading what he needed to know from the file; not having the time to read it in depth but still picking out the gist of it all. They were dealing with a Starfleet Intelligence operative that possessed dangerous knowledge that may either aide them or... be a serious threat to them. "Deputy, send someone into the shuttle as soon as you can and make sure it is powered down . Look for items that may pose a threat to our systems and power them down as well."

"Yes, sir. Petty Officer Cardamone, you heard the Captain. Secure the shuttle after our passengers step out." The shuttle's doors were opening, and Jien came to stand in the middle of the gathered people on the deck with Commander Rez next to him.

"This is Lieutenant Commander Trent. We are coming out. I am holding a PADD and a bag, but I am unarmed."

Out stepped the first man that Jien recognised from the personnel file, and the identity appeared quite genuine based on the fact of that mechanical leg and the arm. He was holding a PADD and carried a duffel bag, as if he meant to check into some kind of Starbase hotel. Yet what happened next was something that did not merely come as a bolt out of the blue for Jien, but for many others in attendance as well.

For Jien knew the large Bajoran that emerged and raised his eyes once he stood next to the Intelligence Officer. It was a face that did not belong to the living. And while Jien did not say anything immediately, Deputy zh'Wann did - her rifle raised towards the imposing figure before the runabout.

"By Lor'Vela... It's... Commander Wenn," she breathed, eyes sharp in both alarm and scepticism, "I watched him die. I saw... I am positive he was sucked through the hull breach back then. This is impossible."

"What the hell..." said Evelyn Rawley, standing among the Lone Wolves with a hand phaser raised in a two-handed grip. "How can we know it's really him? He can't be. He must be the same as that Acreth woman."

"Hush, Ranger," said Nightmare quietly to her fellow wolf, eyes along the sights of her assault rifle.

Captain Ives raised a hand to bid for quietude, and then he stepped forward - his light steps echoing across the flight deck. He came to stand before both the passengers that had emerged from the Runabout, and he nodded towards the PADD. "I take it that is for me?" he asked in a quiet tone and held out a calloused hand. His countenance was unsmiling, not giving away anything about what he was thinking. "What is it?"

He did not address Commander Wenn just yet... if the large man was indeed whom he seemed to be.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #14
The welcome awaiting Trent and his passenger was something he had expected. The Theurgy had effectively been at war with the whole of the Federation for some time and while they were chronically short on allies. And trust was one thing they had in even shorter supply. And it did not take a Starfleet Intelligence officer, or even a Starfleet officer at all, to know why.

However, it did not mean that Carrigan's calm mien was nothing more than a facade barely hiding his nerves. But it did not take long for the situation to change as Jien Ives, in his well-documented favoured male form, approached him and spoke, calmly and quietly yet firmly. There was no doubting the senior officer's strength and resolve, even if there was no real way to get into a shapeshifter's mind just by looking at their face. And when he extended his hand, the a Intelligence Officer slowly and deliberately reached with the PADD and handed it over, ever careful to keep his movements obvious and easily predictable. "One of a few gifts for you, Sir. This is the program I used to disable the fleet. Pseudo-Sankolov wanted a soft-kill weapon for you and Harbinger. When I came up with it, he had me program it to kill everything including life-support and the inertial dampeners except antimatter containment, structural integrity and to generate a quick impulse burst and emergency deceleration."

It was obvious what was desired: to disable the renegade starships' ability to fight or flee, while killing the crew by subjecting them to murderous G forces.

"Instead I built in a safeguard to protect Theurgy and Harbinger and a targeting algorithm for Task Force Archeron and left them dead in space. And depending how smart their crews are and how well they deal with the dark and a zero-G environment, I bought you anywhere from forty-eight to ninety-six hours head start.

Only then did Carrigan let go of the PADD and looked down to his duffel bag. "And in there I have a few persona possessions, and two data cubes with the most up to date Starfleet deployment orders, patrol routes, supply depot inventories, which ones are manned and which ones aren't, encryption codes for the next six months. I also have the communication logs for everyone I even suspected of being compromised in sensitive positions for the last two years. Basically, every scrap of strategic and tactical information I could get my hands on on short notice."

And only the did he look at the Bajoran revenant beside him. "And I also have your chief of security. Dozens have seen him dead, either floating in space or on a slab so he would be a very poor candidate for replacement."

There, he had done it, made contact with the Theurgy and given them what he knew he had to and then some. "Sir, I just deployed one Hell of a virus, disabled an entire fleet and killed... spaced Starfleet personnel to be here. I mean to join you, if you will have me."

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #15
Clear answers, perhaps through a precautionary rehearsal in advance of this moment. The Lieutenant Commander handed things over to Jien Ives on a silver platter, without going into needless detail about the weapon. The only thing that seemed in contrast with the explanation was the utter lack of one for how it was Wenn Cinn was standing next to them. The only thing Jien got from Trent in that regard was that Cinn would have been a poor choice for the enemy to replace, which suggested that Carrigan Trent knew just as little as they did how it came to be that the Bajoran had returned to them.

When indicated, Jien had glanced towards the duffle bag, but his face had otherwise been impassive - the dead black centres of his brown eyes completely still when meeting the gaze of the Lieutenant Commander. Seconds passed after the Intelligence Officer was done talking,  and then Jien looked down towards the PADD in his hands - lighting it up and starting to browse the contents. While he read, he said nothing, nor did the people behind him - weapons still raised and aims true. He was by all means no expert and not the best person to validate the credibility of the code and the data schematics that he looked at, but he knew enough to judge that it was most likely genuine. If nothing else, by judging the results that he had seen with his own eyes.

"This weapon of yours..." he said, raising his eyes, "....was a formidable one. Now that it has been used once, I am afraid Starfleet will make sure that something like this can never happen again. They will put a lot of resources into investigating what went wrong and prevent it from remaining a loophole for the Federation's enemies. Yet while it might have been a one-time opportunity, you used it well in the sense that it aided in safeguarding the truth... which you seem to have learned about on your own."

The truth about the conspiracy; the threat from inside the heart of Starfleet Command and who knew how many other institutions of power in the Federation. Then again, who knew if the Federation alone suffered from this hidden rot?

"You have sacrificed a lot to join us, Lieutenant Commander, if what you are saying is true. Your very life as a legitimate citizen and officer; committing veritable suicide in the eyes of the established society. Knowing what you know, about us and what we have been through, I am sure you understand how we may want to be on the safe side about believing you. Indeed, you ought to know already that we have to verify that you are who you claim to be, and validate the authenticity of the valuable intel you have brought. For as far as I am concerned, there are two main things that makes me unsure about trusting your word."

Stepping away, Jien handed the PADD in his hands to ThanIda zh'Wann while he spoke. "One thing is how implausible your story is. How unlikely it would be that you managed to do this and remain undetected. The second reason is the timing. How come you did not activate this weapon sooner, since our lives were in danger the moment that the fleet surrounded us and the Harbinger."

Listening to the reply, Jien then passed the word to his First Officer. She and her former host had been in Starfleet Intelligence for far longer than he had, so she might just pose the more pointed questions.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #16
[Edena Rez - Leaving Theurgy bridge for Fighter Assault bay]

Edena fell in formation with Ives, keeping herself at his pace as the two made their way from the bridge to a new destination.  Along the way, the captain even went so far as to suggest that Kiya, the first of the rez Symbiont hosts, might be of some help in the current situation that saw medical staff overflowing with work.  "I am more then willing to allow her use of my body when I am not required for other duties, Captain, but we may need to take official matters into hand.  Kiya's medical license hasn't been in proper working working order since she died over two hundred years ago.  While her skill are preserved perfectly by the symbiont, we may need to draw up some declarations that allow her to serve as a civilian MD in sickbay, despite this lapse in license."  Perhaps it was strange to worry about legal matters of a civilian doctor with a suspended license, but Jien was a believer that rules helped to keep them on the right path.  Edena made the suggestion only so that, when the crew was acquitted of their crimes following the restoration of the proper governing body, that the rest of their files would be in order.

"I also feel i must be overly cautious, and tell you we should assume that anyone we meet is compromised until proven otherwise.  For that reason, coupled with the difficulties given by Ensign Acerth, that we take every precaution possible when dealing with his Lieutenant Commander Trent."

Dealing with him, however, also meant dealing with the 900 pound gorilla in the room.  A man who should have been dead was alive and standing beside the lieutenant commander.  Like Ives, Rez felt the need to ignore that, only because trying to make sense of it was throwing her off from dealing with the man who was the primary concern before they arrived in the fighter bay.  "Lieutenant Commander, while the information you provide could be very vital to our cause, we cannot simply take it at face value.  If you understand the enemy we face, surely you can also understand that you are an unknown variable, brought into a situation where we cannot honestly tell if you are a well meaning friend, or an attempt to implant a spy among our ranks."

Ironic that Edena was saying that, considering she was once the spy among the Theurgy crew, before her appointment to intelligence officer, followed by first officer.  She could already hear Illya, her past incarnation, snickering at the thought of the accusation.  Still, Jien knew that Edena only displayed that concern because of her former status.  Starfleet Intelligence were supposed to be paranoid.  It was that paranoia that helped her former superiors stay a step ahead of everyone else.

[Declan Vasser - Harbinger Bridge]

Just having the cloak up and operation was enough to make Declan breathe a sigh of relief.  Add to that the sudden halt of the attack force sent after them, and he felt that there must have been some higher force who thought they were owed some good luck after the chaos on the planet and in orbit around it.  "Lay in a course," Vasser said.  Following the Theurgy would be difficult while they were cloaked, but the two ships had already arranged a rendezvous point, somewhere they could meet and decloak when out of scanning range iof their pursuers.

"Status reports from all stations.  Anything that would prevent us from reaching our current destination that needs immediate addressing?"  He was looking for reports that everything was a-okay with the ship, but if not, that was simply a bridge he had to cross.  There was still the matter of an unauthorized weapon on the bridge to discuss in his ready room, as well as a report from T'rena about the Acerth escape that she had been part of ending.  It was all enough to make him miss games of cat and mouse with Romulan Warbiords or Klingon Birds of prey.  At least those threats weren't on his command deck.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #17
Having studied every available file on Jien Ives and committing a great deal of this infirmation to memory was one thing. Dealing with that officer in person was another completely. The Captain's presence alone was enough to shake Carrigan Trent, to the point that the thin veneer of calm cracked and his expression started to shift between anxiety and the simple fact that he had, as the shapeshifter said  effectively committed suicide for what could be no reason.

However, the questions he could answer. "Captain, I am an openly serving Intelligence officer. I didn't specialize in undercover or covert operations. What I do is in my uniform, with my own identity and largely above-board. Pseudo-Sankolov ordered me to build this weapon for him, so I did it in plain sight, mostly compiling it on a standalone terminal in my quarters since I didn't have a workspace on the Archeron. I called it a safety issue since I didn't want to risk my virus activating prematurely and they bought it. Other than having to give some progress reports and running the odd simulation, I had no oversight on that project."

There went one doubt. The other he could answer to as well. "As for timing Sir, I deployed it from my quarters within a minute of dropping out of warp. I had to wait until I was close enough to the Theurgy to have a real chance at escaping, but I failed to foresee how long it would take for it to work. Long story short, I got tripped up in the Archeron's network architecture and the only way I could sort that out was to use my intelligence override to get the virus into the main ODN grid. Then it had to propagate and attach itself in every target system. And that is when it will do what I programmed it to do with each system and corrupt the firmware in the on-board processors."

Only then did Trent take a deep breath. "Sir, I might be very good at what I do, but I am not a computer systems engineer. If I had known my console would have been relegated to a secondary network with no access to primary systems, I would have used my override first instead of trying to figure out where I might have made a coding error."

Having answered the seniormost officer in the room, Trent turned his attention to Edena Rez. So, she was no openly working in the Theurgy, and had been promoted. So, his suspicions had been right that she had been trying to thrown Starfleet Intelligence for a loop. And if it hadn't been the few irregularities he found when analyzing those reports, then suppressed, the Theurgy's run would have been much shorter.

At her own words, he nodded. "Of course Ma'am. I have seen this enemy send good officers to their deaths. They are ruthless and smart. I understand your doubts. However, I am certain you have access to my service record. You are well-aware of my expertise. If I had bought the propaganda or had been compromised, would I be here, on this deck, risking mission failure by being examined by two highly-respected Intelligence-trained officers, or would I have piggybacked my virus on a sensor burst mimicking a return echo from your own active scans and killed everyone on board without anyone having the slightest idea of what hit you?"

There was little Trent could say. However, he knew he was dealing with highly pragmatic people. With some luck, his arguments would carry the weight he needed them to.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #18
Skye Carver - Pilot 02 - Kestrel

Skye had been the last one to dock before Miles, refusing as his wingman to leave his side until the last moment.  She was barely out of the way when her CO made his screeching entrance and exited her ship when all seemed safe ... for now.  Ready 1 was called and she wasted no time in setting up Kestrel for another go at a moment's notice.  Then she exited her warbird and quietly watched the others.

Ranger was doing pretty much what she figured, spewing and pacing while emanating heat like the planet they'd just left.  Nightmare made a quick jaunt over to Maverick, 'thanking' him for his assistance.  Everyone felt like they weren't where they belonged but the outbursts only made Skye set her jaw.  Had they no faith in their captain?  Thankfully Miles said what she was thinking, and in a much more diplomatic way.

There was a moment of something akin to peace when her eyes met those of Ravon.  He was okay and there was relief in that but he was walking along with Ranger and that moment evaporated.  Turning away she started to inspect the outside of Kestrel and she murmured to it as if it were a child, promising that as soon as possible she'd get her cleaned up and looking beautiful again.

Her inspection was cut short when Miles called for backup to the security personnel who were filing in quickly and she took one of the rifles offered before setting up to the side with full view of the people who were apparently defecting.  One stepped out and had enough metal replacements to make her immediately think of the Borg, making her finger over the trigger twitch.

The next stepped out and seemed to cause a bit of issue for some.  She trained her eye on that one, wondering if she should amp up the level.  He was quite solid and no doubt could tear through a group of people before he went down.  As a few commented on him and said his name, the name and face finally clicked in her mind and her eyes widened slightly.

She had never met him, only heard his name a few times and saw his image on the list of those lost, but hearing Ranger spit out the guy had to be like the Harbinger prisoner raised her hackles; both for the possibility he could be and that Ranger was so quick to assume the worst.  Skye herself had been accused by Ida and that wound was still quite fresh.

For now there wasn't much she could do so simply remained alert with her weapon trained on the big guy who somehow defied death.  A tiny voice inside of her railed at that, wondering why he could come back but not Scosche.  Stop right there, Skye.  You've already gotten in enough trouble for being upset about his death.  Focus on the job.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #19
Deck 15 | Turbolift - Fighter Assault Bay

Their trip to the bridge had been short lived as they where quickly reassigned to the Fighter Assault Bay. The orders where simple as they where to accompany key personal to the Fighter Bay and help address the issue of some unknown who came seemingly baring gifts. Something that didn't set well with her, still she wasn't the captain and such decisions were not hers to make. She had her own choices, her own problems to focus on. She was more then happy to leave the decisions as to whom to trust to the ones who had earned the rank. On the trip down she leaned her back against the wall of the turbo life raising her injured leg slightly. Even it if was temporary it did feel good. The fact that it was still hurting was a good sign as her body had not reverted back to the point where such injuries would be easily healed. Her grip on her weapon tightened as she readied for who ever the unknowns where and what ever problems they would be presenting. She listened quietly to the conversation about the problem in med-bay with Sarresh Morali and the horrific orders that had been given. She felt for the man to be left in such a way and not being allowed to die. She couldn't help but shutter at the thought of being patched together. She opened her mouth to speak. To tell that she wasn't fully human and she could help. Tell them everything. Only one though caused her mouth to close. Her people. Above all else she had to protect them. But from the way they where talking and what she had heard from the crew this person would be just as important to their survival as she was to them. After all what good would it be for them to make contact with a corrupted Starfleet?

As soon as the name Acerth founds its way into the air Dyan couldn't help but let out a small growl of contempt. When the turbolift doors opened it was almost a relief though her mind still lulled over the fate of the poor man they seemed to want to stitch back together. Her kind in their true form could heal. From almost any injury. This healing ability could be harvested at great cost to the host. Still if this Sarresh was as important as they seemed to think and it would mean a better chance for their people she would let them milk every last drop she had. She also knew it would prove far more effective then anything they where probably planning. After all nothing beat being able to flood the body with blank cells that could replace damaged or destroyed ones. The same ability that saved her life and was now slowly turning her body back to what it should be. Not this human form she had to take.

Her thoughts kept her mind busy on the walk and she had to push everything out as they walked through the double doors that lead to the large open flight deck. The large open space was welcome as she finally let out a small breath almost mentally slapping herself telling her to focus. There would be time to figure everything out once this mission was over. She watched silently as the Runabout touched down her rifle raising half way. She was ready to strike. Ready to attack. "Aye aye, Ma'am," Dyan said as her eyes remained on the Runabout and her hands gripping her weapon tightly. As much as she fought it her weapon raised a little more hearing they where coming out with something in their hand.

She watched silently as they stepped out her eyes quickly scanning over the PADD and bag. The PADD didn't seem a threat to her but the bag was something else. Someone could hide any number of things in a bag. She was just about to move to the shuttle when she noticed zh'Wann rifle raising her quickly following suit. All that need be spoke was the Bajoran could be like Acreth and he had Dyans fully attention. Her rifle was aimed squarely at his head ready to take it off should he seem to prove a threat. She had lost her whole team and she would be damned if she would see it happen again. The captains footsteps might have been light across the flight deck but to her they where loud, heavy, echoing things. Her head tilted slightly watching the captain closely and the Bajoran she saw as a threat. She remained still for a long while simply watching before her weapon lowered and she slowly stepped back making her way around the group trying to say out of anyone's line of fire.

She gave as much distance as she could around the three men slipping around before stepping into the shuttle. Her weapon raised as she slowly ventured in making sure to check every corner, every place anyone could hide something that would hurt those that she protected. As she searched through the Runabout she noticed there didn't seem to be anything out of place aside from a few out of place phasers. Moving to the cock pit she worked powering down the system before turning to report back that the Runabout was secured.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #20
[Natalie Stark | Deck 01 - Bridge | USS Theurgy]

The ship came out from the 'smoke screen' to a site that left Natalie, and the rest of the bridge crew, for that matter, speechless. Twenty-four ships of the line, a mighty task force of Starfleet's finest - adrift in space. The lights were shutting down all across the 'enemy' fleet, and Lt. Cmdr. Stark was having a damn hard time believing what she was seeing. She spared a glance at the equally bewildered Winterbourne next to her, whom was still trying to keep the ship on course. They shared a very confused look, before snapping their eyes back to their consoles.

What was all the more shocking was the hail that came from what appeared to be the only other vessel under its own power out in the void. The kind of message that could only be too good to be true. But with the captains orders, what else could Natalie do? As the ship came to a halt, the Ops Chief punched in the commands, routing the communications channel from the runabout to the main view screen, and couldn't resist looking up herself.

Not that she got much time to analyze what she saw. Her dark eyes drank it all in, but at the same time, given the angle of the runabouts onboard cameras, there wasn't all that much to see. Nor was there much time. Her captain was short, sweet, and to the point, and before she knew it, the orders were in and the channel was cut. Without being ordered she sent docking instructions to the fighter bay, and passed on a general alert. The captain was issuing orders and the crew was responding, but Natalie almost missed the last bit.

"...Commander Stark, you have the Bridge." Her eyes went wide, nearly bugging out for a moment and her mouth popped open into a rather large 'o' shape. Thankfully, only Winterbourne was in a position to see her face, and his only response was a soft chuckle. Out of every thing that had happened that day, this, this was what knocked Natalie for a loop. I have the bridge....I have the bridge! Holy shit! "Aye..aye, sir."

Her relief came around as soon as she stood up. All across the bridge, the captains orders were being followed. She turned, her skin having paled, as she passed the Ensign that took over her previous station. Crrraaap she thought as she crossed the bridge - Captain Ives and Cmdr. Rez were already halfway to the turbolift. She stood, rubbing her sweaty palms and staring down at the Center Seat. She had to tell herself that Ives would not have ordered her take over command unless he thought she could handle it, but still. She'd never been put in command of anything.

"I have the bridge," she said as the turbolift doors closed. Swallowing, she turned and eased herself into the chair. It was...comfortable. She was surprised. Given how ramrod straight she'd seen the Captain, in both forms, sit in that chair, she had assumed that it wasn't actually a good fit. But damn if it wasn't a very, very comfortable chair. Must be the responsibility she thought as she sank back, bringing up  one of the small consoles on the armrest, and looking at the read out. Damage control teams were going to be working overtime she thought softly.

Alloud, however, she addressed the bridge. "Helm, maintain course. Lt. Fedd...I know you already have a lot on your plate," She swallowed, the continued, "but I want someone keeping an eye on those ships out there. The second they start to power up, I want to know. This is all...too good to be true." She managed more words then she'd expected, truthfully. And her voice hadn't cracked. Would the miracles ever cease? She wondered silently, tugging at the golden collar around her neck. It suddenly felt like a noose, and she eased the zipper down, telling her self the heat she felt was likely from her nerves, and not some life support malfunction.

At ease, Commander. You're just on a slow, routine cruise....away from a fleet of ships that could power up at any moment and vaporize you...and some nightmare vessel from the future sent to eradicate you. Piece of cake, right?

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #21
[ USS Harbinger | Main Bridge | Deck 01 ]

Commander T'Rena, standing by the tactical station, received word from the Theurgy on what might have befallen Task Force Archeron - learning that they would linger a while to pick up two people on a shuttle. The reason as to why they were suddenly out of danger was secondary to that they were, and had she been a woman of less control of her own feelings, she would have sighed in relief. Instead, she dispassionately started working on a damage report and made an inventory on their tactical systems.

"Status reports from all stations.  Anything that would prevent us from reaching our current destination that needs immediate addressing?"

T'Rena paused in what she was doing. The relief that she had suppressed, she found, did not originate in the preservation of her own life - something which she had suspected. No, it had a distinct logical reason behind it, and after what had happened on the Bridge - where Sonja Acreth had meant to kill them all - T'Rena's analysis of the situation at hand called for immediate action. Captain Vasser could no longer remain ignorant of the potential they all possessed through him.

"Yes, Captain," she said and stepped away from her station nodding for her replacement to stand in, "I have important matters to discuss with you. I would suggest we use my Ready Room instead since yours are now unsuitable for confidentiality."

She was not presumptuous in how she walked there ahead of Captain Vasser, for the urgency of the matters at hand made it suitable that she went there ahead of him, so that when she had passed through the sliding doors, she could open the wall panel next to the entrance and remove five crystal clear chips. Thus, she effectively killed all kinds of communication channels to and from the room. No one would be able to eavesdrop on what they needed to discuss. She put them on her desk and waited next to it for Vasser to join her.

The cloaking device had set down the light-levels across the ship, the dim lighting making the shadows of the Ready Room darker. If she would have cared for such details, T'Rena would have thought it fitting. She just hoped she could make Vasser see things her way. Somehow, she had a feeling he might...

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #22
At Stark's order, Fedd nodded and turned the Theurgy's full complement of functioning tactical sensors on the now-disabled fleet. "Aye aye, commander." He reached out tentatively with his mind, and withdrew quickly at the nebulous cloud of confusion now permeating local space. Inwardly he chastised himself for possibly endangering the crew; it was entirely possible the fleet had a Betazoid among their numbers, and here he was broadcasting his presence. His imzadi had not taught him the finer points of long-range thought defence, being Vulcan; that was more his brother's forte.

As his extrasensory apparatus retracted (Fedd always pictured it as a xycton, a Betazoid cephalopod possessed of multiple long tentacles), he picked up a buzz of thoughts from those on the bridge, Natalie in particular. ...Slow, routine cruise....away fr........f ships that could power up at.......moment and vaporize you..............tmare vessel from the future sent to eradicate you. Piece of cake, right?

Great. Now he wanted cake.

Turning away from his console momentarily, Fedd caught Stark's eye over his shoulder and gave her a reassuring smile. When he smiled, it was like a statue smiling. The expression seemed carved into his face like it had always been there and always would be, yet still alive with warmth. He was still exhausted from projecting into the captain's mind, but he hoped his face would be enough to let her know he was there for her.

This reminded Sjaandin that there was someone else for whom he should feel concern, the reason he was standing at this station in the first place. Keeping one eye on the readouts, he slapped his combadge, "Fedd to sickbay. Can I get an update on Mr. Cooper's condition?"

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #23
[Edena Rez - Fighter Assault Bay]

"I would surmise that an intelligence officer might prefer to infiltrate the ranks of a ship in order to assess the new technology found on this ship, including some which has been developed since we became fugitives.  For that reason alone, of of your ranks might seek to acquire all we know before destroying us in some equally clever way, especially if you consider your own life to be expendable."

This was exactly why Edena hated conversations between Intelligence officers.  They often spent so much time making moves and counter-moves that, frankly, it was exhausting to her.  "To simply cut to the chase, we will have to treat you as a possible threat, and keep you under the same level of surveillance we would keep any known compromised crewman until such a time we are able to confirm with certainty that you are not under some alien influence."  The study of Ensign Acerth was hoping to find a means of identifying, though much of that was cut short by her attempt on Doctor Lucan

"That said, you should not take such measures as a personal insult, Lieutenant Commander, but simply a precaution in paranoid times.  I feel that, one with a service record in Starfleet intelligence, you would do the same in our position if you were in command of this vessel."

[Declan Vasser - Harbinger XO Ready Room]

At the request of his first officer, he followed her to her ready room.  "Officer S'Iti, you have the bridge," Declan said, leaving the helmswoman in command while he was not present.  Once inside the XO Ready Room, his first order to business was to commandeer the room.  "In light of my ready room's state, I would have to requisition this ready room for myself.  I'll be needing it for my own work and to meet with members of the crew."  Though T'rena had business of her own, it had to be secondary to the commanding officer, leaving her Ready room to herself only when the Captain did not require it.

It was only when he finished saying that when he finally noticed the crystals piled on her desk.  "I take it this means our next conversation is very deep off the record?" he asked, knowing that the crystals would only be removed if she felt that what she had to say next was for his ears only, and not even the risk of eavesdropping could be allowed.

Re: Prologue: [Under the Bludgeonings of Chance | Part II ]

Reply #24
[ USS Harbinger | Executive Officer Ready Room | Deck 01 ]

"Of course, sir," said T'Rena without blinking to her Captain's request to use her Ready Room. It held no consequence for her. It was the Captain's right to requisition any space on the ship that he liked. She stepped away from the desk, and circled around - letting Vasser take her place by the desk instead. Rather than the use of her office, her thoughts were upon what she needed to say at long last. Yet since she had come to her understanding, T'Rena had been given more than sufficient time on Theta Eridani IV to structure her counsel to Captain Vasser, and she lay out her argument with cold precision - not yet touching upon what she knew about her commanding officer.

"You are already familiar with the great challenge of the opposition that we face. The enemy that we seek to reach, confront and vanquish."

She had decided on using an eight-step methodology to organise her argument. She knew that she - as a Vulcan - had little to offer in terms of pathos, which was the crude emotional commitment in human oral persuasion. What they called ethos and logos, however, she believed she had enough to compensate for it. She folded her hands behind her back and raised her chin, her even stare filled with uncompromising conviction. She had been an Acolyte-from-Birth at the Temple of Kolinahr, stayed true to her ancient beliefs, never erring, and right then, as she spoke to her commander, she spoke as the Master Acolyte that she had once been.

"How can a single ship, even two, go against this invisible enemy that we face? An enemy that in Ensign Acreth now have been proved to be more than just deceivers. They are not just mere conspirators. Clandestine usurpers of political power. No. They are a force to be reckoned with in direct combat." T'Rena slowly walked over to a side-table as she spoke, laying one hand upon it as she looked out upon the space of the Acamar System. They were still more than a hundred light-years away from the Sol System, and the voyage ahead statistically impossible to make. Starfleet, the extended arm of their adversary, made for formidable opposition.

"This, added with the evidence that they can obtain and deploy weapons from the future, they may even have ties to an unknown faction in the Temporal Cold War of the 29th century. A measure of the enemy's resolve can be exemplified in the Niga report that we read, where the Theurgy allegedly were exposed to a biological weapon that would have reduced the majority of the Galaxy to utter debauchery - subjecting Federation, Unions and Empires to a gradual, depraved extinction. Worlds laid to ruin and filled with nothing but ever mating primates - mad with nothing but uncouth desire. In the light of this, logic dictates that the enemy seek not control, but destruction. That they hold political power now... is but an intermediate step."

T'Rena paused there, and opened the side-table with delicate, slow motions. She took out a meditation lamp, and set it down with her fingertips. "Logic dictates further... that it is not just Starfleet Command that oppose you and Captain Ives. It would stand to reason that the enemy has impersonators in other factions. Given recent reports before we were alienated by Starfleet, I am convinced that even the V'Shar of Vulcan - our intelligence and security agency - has been compromised. That would suggest that the Tal Shiar is too, because of the Romulan and Vulcan genetic resemblance."

With small motions, she lit the meditation lamp, letting it burn with a low intensity. The small source of light flickered over her hands and her scarred features. She turned to face Captain Vasser again, and the candlelight teased across her uniform with the movement. "Consider, my Captain, the incident where Ensign Acreth broke free while we were visiting her. If the Vulcans of the V'Shar can be joined by these parasites, which is what the Theurgy's Chief Medical Officer suggested about their biological nature, then Romulans are also vulnerable. Until proven otherwise, I think it is reasonable to assume that we cannot find allies in the Klingon Empire either. Neither can we go to Andoria. Nor to Cardassia. It is likely we are even more alone than we first thought when we sought to make an alliance with the USS Theurgy. Given present parameters, we still cannot succeed. We cannot conquer this enemy and reclaim our worlds. It is no longer an option, but rather what you human's would call a fool's errand. The odds of succeeding in our present course of action is less than one percent, even less depending on how many factions are under enemy control."

The first step was complete. She had presented the problem. She stepped back towards the desk and faced Vasser at arm's length. Then, she moved on to the next step. "I trust you know how thorough my analysis ought to be. I have served you for many years now, both as Chief of Security and your First Officer. I could present you with all the alternatives that you have. Yet I have evaluated them all, and selected the best choice for success based on all present facts of our tactical situation. Would you like me to recite all these alternatives, Captain, or should I tell you what my advice is right away?"

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