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Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #100
[ Drauc T'Laus | The Fuzzy Flayer | Upper Shuttle Bay | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Triage
The fight had not ended well. The supposedly parasite-infected Base Commander had countered Drauc's attacks faster than he could launch them. He had tried everything he could, but soon enough, Drauc had sustained too many strikes to remain on his feet. He had been on his knees, struggling to remain upright. Through the blood in his eyes, he had seen Captain Hawthorne pull back his hand to deliver the final blow. Yet as he saw this, Drauc heard a voice over the winds, a transmission. It had been Kendrick, wishing him to say good bye to someone.

The next thing he knew. Hawthorne had let his strike fall, but instead of feeling it... Drauc had ended up inside the small bridge of a shuttle, seeing someone with the same kind of exosuit that K'Ren had worn on the Aerowing. The profile of the suit suggested a female as she turned and took aim against him - the orange light of phaser beams outside the viewscreen reflecting against her figure. He had hardly been in any condition to move, to disarm her, and when she dismissed him, he could barely get his bearings in the tumultuous flight. The poor condition of the shuttle was alarming, but at least it seemed the pilot was still able to make it move - heading towards a shuttle bay of some sort. He could read Federation Standard letters above the open bay doors. The USS Theurgy...

Remembering - through the pain and vertigo - what ThanIda zh'Wann and her boarding team had spoken of, he knew it could be safe ground. The battle outside was raging, and he expected the broken shuttle to split apart any second from another hit, but by some miracle, the shuttle touched down inside the shuttle bay. The pilot made it.

Slowly, Drauc tried to pick himself up from the floor, seeing the human remove her helmet and her flaxen red hair spilling down her shoulders. It was the woman from the Resolve, who had aided in breaking him and the Orion officer named A'vura out of the starbase's brig. Krystal Tancredi, he remembered, and her fear of solus bats. She seemed a bit worse for wear after the battle too, but she got the airlock open and stepped out on the deck of the shuttle bay. With slow steps, aching all over and bleeding from his face, Drauc stepped out after her. He wasn't sure he could 'walk it off', but he could still move. He heard her speak of Kendrick, and realised he owed it to the Resolve's Commanding Officer to relay his words. It was the least he could do. The righteous thing. He turned to face Tancredi, his calloused hands idle by his sides.

"Captain Kendrick," he rasped, not sure how he might continue, "he was out there too... in the Aerowing. He had brought it inside Starbase 84, firing its phasers into Ops - trying to kill Hawthorne. It was he who beamed me aboard your shuttle. I was in in his line of fire, fighting the base commander."

Saved my life. Drauc paused, flexing his hands inside the sleeves of his threadbare cloak. He tried not to absorb the pilot's thoughts - leave her mind her own. "The Aerowing was leaking plasma. On fire. He fought well... but he might not have made it. He told me to tell you good bye. My condolences."

Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #101
[ Krystal “Meony” Tancredi | Docking Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Drauc T'Laus & any EMT or anyone around near a battered Type 8 shuttle

Tancredi weakly opened her eyes when she realized that the Romulan was talking to her. Frowning, she struggled to stay conscious when she noticed how her vision was so blurry and everything was echoing in her head and the dizzyness and the migraine intensified at the slightest move of her head. He mentioned Captain Kendrick, and she smiled weakly, more of a grimace, as she leaned heavily against the shuttle. "That's mah captain," said Tancredi, "always thinking of an' lookin' out for us all..."

She frowned and stifled a groan as the pain intensified again, but she heard his explanation, and she recalled vaguely when the captain himself led the rescue team to get her away from her would be executors, her tormentors. She had looked like she had been through a meat grinder and then a tenderizer. She laughed in the face of her enemies, ready to meet death. But Kendrick was there. He prevented her death, carried her back, treated her wounds personally and stayed by her side until she woke. Well, he stayed by as much as he could while captaining. But he was the brother she wished she had. He was untouchable.

He told Drauc...that was the Romulan's name, right? To tell her goodbye? Naw, he'd probably just said that like in case.

"No...need for condolences, hon," said Tancredi, her voice quivering, "Ah've...been through worse scraps with 'im an' Ah know he'll make it. He' Ah need a driiii..."

Her last words trailed off as she slid against the shuttle, sideways, her bleeding head a grisly mask of crimson and flesh, her vision swimming, then dimming...

And then she dreamt of her crew, her family, and the Resolve traversing space, forever safe, forever happy.

Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #102
[Wenn Cinn | Transporter Room | USS Theurgy] Joint-Post by Arista & Auctor Lucan. Attn: All

Wenn Cinn stepped off the transporter pad with a heavy sigh. The disappointment and frustration of the mission had taken its toll on the large Bajoran. Whilst there was a part of him which wanted to just go back to his quarters and drink, or head down to the gym and smack around a punching bag, above all else, Cinn wanted to get the right message, beam back to Starbase 84 by myself and get it out. It was a fruitless desire, he knew. The communications tower was no doubt swarming with security by this point. Even if he could get back, he very much doubted that he could defend himself long enough. He certainly couldn’t ask the others to join him on that suicide mission. Especially since Theurgy was likely to go to warp any minute.

As he looked between the crowd, Cinn could see the damage done to them all, well, except Cardamone, who was joyously whooping and hollering calling out ships and identifying them as the relevant family member they were. It broke the tension in the room and couldn’t help but bring a smile to Cinn’s lip. In the end, it had all gone wrong, but there was a little joy. Someone had been reunited. All Cinn could do is pray that it would end better than with Henshaw. By the looks of her, the mission to stop Hawthorne had ended as well as the plan to send out the message.

“Wenn to Security, the away teams are back. Anything to report?” Cinn queried, pressing his combadge. The security centre would be able to give him a suitable report on the situation aboard Theurgy, however after a few minutes there had been no reply. “Wenn to Security Centre, please respond.” He tried again. The security department knew better than to ignore a request from the chief. Something was wrong.

“Cal, head down to security. Find out why they’re not responding.” He ordered and once again, Cinn got no reply. Looking over the crowd, the Bajoran scouted for his enlisted officer to no avail. Cinn looked towards the transporter operator. “Calvin Reager?” He asked, the question simple. The response was as equally clear. A brief shake of the head and averted eyes. It told Cinn everything he needed to know. Calvin Reager had not made it back. Cinn had lost one of the most dependable of his department. He swallowed and pushed down the emotion. He knew losses were possible but out of all them, he had never imagined that Reagar would be the one to fall.

“Thea, I need a sit-rep. What’s going on? Why is there no response in the security centre?” Cinn implored. The last thing he needed now was the computer to offline. Luckily the response was near enough instantaneous.

[Communications in the Security Center were deactivated by Doctor Maya along with internal Sensors. An Intruder Alert has been issued,] began Thea, replying without being present through the intercom system.

“Maya?” Cinn repeated after Thea, confused. Why would Maya have done that? “Do you know where she is now?”

[After Maya attacked Doctor Nicander in sickbay, she used the Jefferies tubes to reach Security. With sensors down, I do not know what happened to her, but no Vulcan life-signs have yet left the area. Doctor Nicander and Provisional Warrant Officer McMillan tried to pursue Maya, and they discovered how she released Sonja Acreth from the Brig.]

“Acreth?!” Exclaimed Cinn, incredulously. He couldn’t believe the words coming out of his mouth. How could it be, that after all that happened that Maya had turned traitor? Had she secretly been one all along?

As if on cue, Cardamone gave a blood curdling scream. From the viewscreen, the real cause of her distress was obvious. Much like a scene from one of those old human science fiction movies that Cinn had seen at the academy - twirling, dancing, saucer-like ships were now being blown to smithereens and along with it, Dyan’s family. Cinn could do naught but feel for her. He had lost his family many moons ago during the occupation but while covered over, the mental scar was still sore. If it wasn’t for the reports coming from Thea, Cinn would have immediately gone to comfort the young Asurian. He looked for Isley, wanting to wave the disgraced wolf over. It would be a valuable experience for the newly demoted officer to learn to console grieving colleagues. Cinn had clocked him when beaming back onto the ship, but now he was gone. Typical. The half Romulan never seemed to be in the right place, or to be doing the right thing. For now, Cinn had to let it go, but he wouldn’t forget. He tried to bring himself back to task, although it was all starting to get overwhelming. He just had to focus on one item at time. Trying to place the wailing woman to the back of his mind, he desperately tried to recall what it was that Thea had said again. Acreth. That was it. Acreth was loose. “What the Kosst is going on?” He cursed. “Please tell me you’ve managed to stop her?”

[My hologrid and its force-field emitters were deactivated by Maya along the path Sonja Acreth took. She headed for the Temporal Observatory Lab, with Nicander and McMillan in pursuit. Sonja Acreth has killed eleven officers on her way there, nine of them were of intercepting security details. Currently, Acreth is in the lab, and Nicander and McMillan have just entered as well, trying to stop her.]

“Nicander and McMillan? They don’t stand a chance.” By now, Cinn was re-fixing his SAFTI gear and checking the power levels on his rifle. His mind whirred over possible breaching plans for the Temporal Observatory, occasionally getting side-tracked remembering how Doctor Nicander had been so easily overpowered during the interrogation with Acreth previously. “Can you work out what Acreth is doing there?”

[With the lab equipment left behind by the USS Relativity, Sonja Acreth has created a temporal vortex – the temporal breach is active now. Internal sensors cannot penetrate the distortion.]

“I’m on my way. Alert all Security personnel, priority one threat. Acreth must be stopped.” Cinn slowed his push through the throng to the door. “Is Vector 1 aware of the situation?” He paused, at the lip of the doorway. “Thea, Does the Captain know?”

[Negative. There has also been unforeseen development on the bridge. Edena Rez – possessed by her former host Jona Rez – switch the simulcast message and deleted all the attached personal logs. A security officer on the bridge shot her, and now she is in sickbay. Her life-sign is fading. Stand by…] Thea paused, before continuing. [Junior Lieutenant Morali has just now also beamed himself to the Temporal Observatory Lab.]

Edena? Cinn hadn’t considered anything happening to her, and now she was dying. As the AI told him, Cinn managed to croak out a few unintelligible words. Overcome with emotion, he was stuck to the spot, and leant back against the door. He could feel the tension in the metal, pushing gently into his back, reminding him that he was in way. And what of Morali? Was he defending his lab or was this all part of plan for his so-called cult? Conspiracy theories whirled through his brain. It was all too much. He couldn’t just sit by anymore, he needed to get moving.

Cinn set off running for the turbolift. But where should he go? Sickbay or the Temporal Observation Laboratory? He knew which he should call for. The ship came above all crew. He knew that. He had used that logic to leave Cardamone behind, grieving for her lost family. But now, even with the ship on the brink of literal calamity he couldn’t get the image of Edena from his mind. That radiant smile, those soulful eyes, contorting in pain in his mind’s eye as he couldn’t help but think of her slowly passing. His mind told him, in cold stoic logic, Ship before crew – always, but his heart screamed at him a different tune. Up to the point the doors of the lift opened, he had no idea which direction he was going to call.

Then in the moment of need, he spoke a destination and the turbolift whisked him away. 

Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #103
[ Chris "Husker" Slayton | Lone-Wolf 04 > Fighter Assault Bay | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] ATTN: Renard, Eun, and Lone Wolves

Husker gripped his controls tightly as he heard Renard's growl for him to do the combat landing and that the other man would be right behind him but the young Asgardian's eyes narrowed as he had a sinking feeling that wasn't going to be the case.

"Computer, set following message to tight beam point to point access. I don't care if he doesn't have a channel open but ensure that it's logged." Husker stated firmly.


"Renard, I wasn't able to help Kanti or Fasha today and I'll carry that weight for the rest of my days but I'll follow orders, but one way or another drinks are on you at the bar..and we'll be back." Christopher said into the channel before he closed his side of the channel before turning his fighter in such a tight, power turn that his primary engine went close into the redline from the damage that had been done to it previously.

Husker then forced the throttle wide open as his Valkyrie then roared past everything as his time started to count down the final seconds that he had before the Theurgy was going to jump to warp.

*Warning, primary impulse drive coil is now past acceptable operational conditions.* the computer said in his ears at which point Husker simply shook his head.

"Come on baby, give me just enough juice to get me home and then you can fall apart." Husker begged as he started shunting all of the power that his bird had from weapons to life support into the engine in order to increase his speed and also try to stabilize the impulse coil long enough to land safely on the ship.

The energy being shunted around and into the two sections did just that as the fighter sped up just enough to make the lower bay suddenly start to loom large and inviting before Husker's bird at which point he opened a channel. "This is Lone Wolf Zero Four coming in slightly hot, I have the ball but not sure how long the impulse prime coil will be happy with me...Eun, sorry about the scuff marks."

At that point he quickly reduced the systems just enough as he made his combat landing on the deck and quickly made adjustments to keep from crashing into any of the other Wolves before the primary coil gave completely and the crash restraints kept him from adding another bit of damage to his bird.

"Husker to Ghost, what's our status?" Christopher asked respectfully. "Are we all aboard?"

Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #104
[ William Robert O’Connell | Main Engineering | Decks 24-25 | USS Theurgy  ] 

Despite the fact that the Theurgy’s stardrive vectors hadn’t been reassembled, Thea could still adjust the transporter to the proper frequency necessary to beam through her own deflector shields.  So that was how Master Chief Petty Officer William Robert “Billy Bob” O’Connell managed to get from Transporter Room Three in Vector Two to Transporter Room Four in Vector Three.  From there it was a short walk comparatively speaking to get to main engineering.  Thea had informed him that he was need there ASAP.  That probably meant that Ensign Carla Abner was either in sickbay or the morgue. 

By the time Billy Bob entered main engineering, Thea was just leaving.  She gave him a nod and then vanished like a digital ghost.  The reason why he noticed her is because of the momentary vision of glowing green lines as she faded away.  The reason why he didn’t notice her before was because main engineering was a disaster area.  Smoke obscured vision and irritated nostrils.  Exposed conduit was everywhere.  Jets of steam from damaged pipes increased the humidity in the area and plastered hair to the scalp and there didn’t seem to be enough engineers on duty, which meant that many of them were either repairing something out of sight, dead and out of sight, or receiving medical care and out of sight.  None of this was a surprise, ever since he left the turbolift the whole deck looked like this.  At least the warp core was thrumming steadily and the fire extinguish system was working.

There was no sign of Abner so he marched the master systems display table.  “Sitrep,” he ordered, “Where’s Abner?”

“Um, I think she’s dead sir,” one of the few engineers remaining called out.  It was Petty Officer Zil Arex; the Bollian propulsion technician’s bald blue seamed dome was shiny from all of the moisture that the steam had produced.  “No wait, I heard they beamed her sickbay.”

Rihen Neyah heard the Chief Engineer and turned his way, and she smiled in her blinding way - the relief clear on her sweat-beaded face. "O'Connell! You made it back!" She ran the short distance up to him, the fact that she had her undershirt unzipped as far as the uniform jacket arrived far from her mind at that point.

Billy Bob blinked twice as his tired eyes took in the view of the ravishing Risian as she bobbled up to him.  He had just come back from a fire fight and fist fight with the security of Starbase 84 and physically and mentally his tired bones felt that the the mission should be over.  But it wasn’t quite over yet; they still needed to complete exfiltration and get the Theurgy out of harm’s way before Starfleet destroyed them.  But something about the seeing the divine Miss Rihen jog over to him with her bouncing bosom and her beatific smile seemed to reinvigorate him.

Bouncing up to his side, Rihen told him what he needed to know. The report she'd give him was not cheerful news, however, so the smile and relief at her superior officer being in one piece was replaced by the shifting tide of her mix of good and bad news - talking really fast as she told it.

"Early on, we lost inertial dampeners, and Abner fell down somewhere below. I managed to restore the dampeners using the gravity wells in the hologrid, but I wasn't alone doing it. Someone named Nolak Kalmil came here, and he took command when Abner was lost, talked to the bridge at every turn. Lin Kae - oh, Kae - he helped too! Ventral shields were busted, but he found the flaw, fixed it with Kalmil's help, only... Kae was trapped over in that room, there was an explosion inside, and the fire suppression system was offline. I fixed that too, but I had to run to the root cause to do it - an EPS conduit towards the aft of this deck - and then double back all the way here. Oh, before I went, Doctor Duv got her with her triage team, and some of them are still here. I think they saw to Abner, not sure. Oh, my. When I got back, Lin Kae and Duv were gone, and Kalmil had climbed the warp core itself, fixing it. Thea helped him finish up, but I heard talk about him having radiation poisoning, so it looked like Thea beamed him to Sickbay. That was like just now, before you walked in."

Once she finished up, she cocked a hip and wafted air against her face and bosom. "Gosh, what a day, huh? But it's not over yet, right? I just hope Kae, Abner and Kalmil are okay..."

“Okay, now calm down, Warrant Officer,” Billy stammered as he resisted the urge to put a comforting hand on her shoulder.  Being in such close proximity to her was bad enough but actually touching her was a distraction that he wasn’t sure he could handle right now.  “As you jest said, it’s not over yet.  How are the shields?”

“Buckling, Master Chief, but holding,” Petty Officer Arex replied wearily.

Billy Bob looked into Arex’s eyes and saw how demoralized they were.  And no wonder, they had lost two officers of the watch, Abner and Kalmil, either to injury or the grim reaper and they still weren’t out of the woods.  Seeing Kalmil come back from the dead only to lose him again must have been especially bad for the enlisted folks who had been aboard since the beginning.  But the look of hope in Rihen’s eyes told Billy what he needed to do.  It was time to restore morale and but the spring back into his people’s steps long enough to the Theurgy to escape the wrath of Starfleet.

Master Chief O’Connell turned theatrically and marched away from master systems display table to the center of the room where he could be seen by the most people in engineering regardless of what deck they were on and tapped his combage.  “Attention all engineers,” he growled in an exaggerated drill sergeant voice, “This is your acting chief engineer Master Chief Petty Officer William Robert O’Connell and I have jest returned from my suicide mission to discover that you numbnutted, pencil-dicked, saggy pussied, penis sucking, carpet munching, hamfisted, morons have damn broke my ship!  I did not jus’ returned from a firefight jest t’ have yew numbnuts burn out every sensor in Starfleet with a humgongous fireball from our destruction!  Rest assured, I will not allow any of you smooth headed mother rutting father fucking jackasses blow us up before I have the chance to ream the asses of each and every gorram one of you!  Ah don’t care how many chief acting engineers you idgits kill with yore stupidity, yore not gettin’ outta this so easy!  You folks seem t’ have short memories so let me remind you of William Robert O’Connell’s first law of the black:

“Serve your ship.  Do your job.  Stick by your shipmates and do what it takes to keep her flyin’.

"Oh and by the way, it’s good to be back ya’ll.  Now git yore asses back to work and git us out of here afore I lose my temper huh?  Starfleet kin throw anything they want at us but I swear by the Lord Almighty that nothin’s gonna stop us from keepin’ her soarin’ on through the black ‘til the end of time!  This ain’t the end, this ain’t even the beginning of th’ end and there’s a lot more adventures fur the USS Theurgy ahead an’ I expect y'all t’ be there fur each and every one o’ them!”

~ Fin

Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #105
[Sithick | Allegiant Bridge ] Attn: Steelpheonix, EAC, Auctor, and Others.

Sithick had only encountered one other situation as intense as this. It had resulted in his previous ships distruction and his resulting freedom from his Klingon slavers. This time however he would go down with his ship. Not because it was the honorable thing to do, but because there was no way back to the Federation he had known and served. He had no home outside of the ship branded as traitors. Sink or swim for him there were no second chances.

For the moment he just had to float and watch. His attention going to the creature he had tried to tackle leaving it be for the moment as the commander had put it, to just grab onto something and shut up. Becuase their intruder did not matter. The only thing that mattered was the return to theurgy which each passing second seemed to be all the more difficult.

He and the rest of the team had restored this Yacht once before, they could do it again, but now that team was two men lighter. One was fighting in his death bed in the medical bay, the other had been spaced when the warp core had lost oxygen. Had he been down in the engineering room there would have been a small chance that he would have survived, he had survived the cold oxygen-less atmosphere of space before through careful exposure, this would have been more traumatic but there was a chance he could have survived, which of course meant that he should have been down there instead.

All of these thoughts were weighing heavily on the Gorn as he watched them get closer and closer to the ship. No gods to pray too, just Jaya's skill at this moment everyones survival was on her shoulders.

She did not disapoint, and the Gorn let out a soft yelping noise as he felt the cabin depressurize as it reached the landing pad, and his body hit the ground landing ass first. If his jaw could have smiled he would have, what counted as the creatures lips peeled back in a wide toothy grin as his yellow eyes almost welled up with tears. They had lost one of their own, another was wounded, but thanks to Jaya the rest would live to fight another day.

Sithick pulled himself to his feet, a moment of Joy coming over him as he quickly moved on the pilot, the prisoner he should have been securing long forgotten. The Gorn instead rushed to Jaya's side his foot falls heavy against the metal, as he grabbed the pilot disengaging her chair and lifting her up for a moment. His broad arms wrapping around her to press her close against his chest in a hug. He had seen others do this often, but had never actually done it himself. To the tall, strong creature Jaya was pretty much a toy in his arms, but a comfortable one.

His translator forgotten in the moment the Gorn spoke in the first and native language. It was a low guttural set of noises which hardly fit with the jubilant atmosphere of the room. "You beautiful creature, we are in your debt today, May your brood always be safe."

As he gave a blessing he quickly remembered himself, in literally every essence of the word. This was not his usual scene, and he quickly dropped Jaya, and tried to make himself seem professional again, fearing being chastised.

Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #106
[ Temporal Observatory Lab | USS Theurgy | Vector 02 ] Joint-Post by Triage, Brutus & Auctor Lucan

Through the dark entity inside him, Doctor Nicander had a déjà vu experience that bridged the entire space-time continuum when he entered the Temporal Observatory Lab. The abyss in his soul echoed with past experiences, where he entered the room through those doors. This time, he had forced his way inside, and there was a Radiant with him, but like in all cycles past, Sonja Acreth was there, and the room vibrated with the tear of the temporal vortex she'd made. She had the stasis unit with the vector in her hand, and she turned to face him - covered in the blood of the Theurgy's crew.

"You?" she said, a smile touching her sanguine lips when she saw him step through the smoke in the doorway. She would think he'd come to join her, stepping through the dark portal with the twisting, crackling frame - fickle lightning from the vortex licking the equipment in the lab. She might think she would have his company, like she'd had in other cycles. Yet then, she saw Heather McMillan step through the doorway as well, and the smile faded from her bloodied face.

When the dark-haired woman locked eyes with the Radiant, the frail biochemist looked ready to faint dead away. It was the way she looked at her, like she could kill with just her gaze. Only her concern for Lucan’s well-being overrode her fear and kept her knees from giving way completely. But it was only barely that she maintained what sliver of courage she could find within herself to not bolt out of the room or scream for help. Not that screaming would do her much good at present. She lost her voice somewhere right when Sonja Acreth’s eyes settled on her. The woman’s face being caked with blood did not help the queasiness in her stomach either, nor the nightmarish vortex behind her.

That was the moment when the parasite stirred inside Lucan, fighting him, trying with teeth and nails to wrest control back from the host. Diminished as the darkness in the abyss had become at the touch of the Radiant, Lucan still felt its presence keenly - the will of the nameless darkness trying to compel him. He was already weakened from using his Câroon powers to breach the door, vertigo making him stumble and spread his feet wide to keep his balance. His eyes still glowed brightly, mouth spilling light into the twisting storm from the vortex, and his tattooed hands were fists at his sides. Yet regardless his resolve, and his conviction to end the cycles... he still found himself doubting. Is it not easier to just let it begin anew?

He turned his head, and the bright orbs of his eyes fell upon the Radiant. Was it not easier to kill her, to unleash his powers upon her instead of Acreth? Killing Acreth was unprecedented. It had never been done before, yet the Radiant had been in the room before, only to be killed by Acreth, Lucan, or them both. Killing Acreth, a fellow kin of the dark, that was unknown ground. Dangerous. He could not predict the outcome. We know that all beauty will die.

The feeling in the room was palpable, and stifling. Like a moment in eternity, where all things moved, and yet nothing did all at once. McMillan met the man’s look with her own. He had a look of conflict on his face; why? Meanwhile, she returned his look with one of confusion, fear, and obliviousness. She didn’t know what to do, and frankly, her only thought was if Acreth tried anything, the Radiant could buy him time by throwing herself in the way of danger. It was her nature, and that was not something that needed one iota of thought, but why was the doctor looking conflicted? Was there more than she realized going on here? What did Sonja Acreth have with Lucan? Then she turned back to the still murderous looking woman near the vortex. “Miss Acreth,” said McMillan.

As Lucan had looked at the Radiant, he saw her trust in him. Her fear. Has darkness truly taken over me, consumed my mortal soul? All my virtues sacrificed? He clenched his jaw, shining eyes returning to Acreth instead of Heather, and he saw the bloodied human forego speech and reach for her hand phaser on a desk. No... I can't justify it any more.

"No!" he called, and he channelled the energy from the EPS grid again, roaring fire filling his zi'naaq. The lights in the lab dimmed, only his eyes and the Radiant herself challenging the conflagrations around the portal. With his lab coat flaring out behind him from the distortion of the vortex, he reached forth with his tattooed hands. The thing inside coiled in protest, tried to stop him. Forgive me my sins. Forgive me for what I have been.

And then he unleashed the fire, screaming with his shining mouth agape. A torrent of raw, fiery energy tore through the lab, about to consume Acreth where she stood - her phaser already raised against Heather McMillan. Acreth was caught unaware, eyes wide, and tried to get away. In the face of his rare display of Câroon power, she must have forgotten herself. Forgot the force field she had already raised as a shield, and threw herself to the deck plating... even if the invisible wall stopped the flames from reaching her.

Mind reeling, knees failing him, Lucan could barely keep himself conscious in the wake of being a funnel for so much energy. No! He fell down, on his hands and knees - utterly spent. The light in his eyes had winked out. He trembled from lassitude and failure. Eyes clouding over. And yet his determination had not abandoned him. In fear that Acreth might crawl through the vortex, beginning the cycle nonetheless, he besought McMillan to act - her powers able to penetrate the force field. "Blind her!"

Despite how far gone Acreth was, could the Radiant guide the host back from the darkness, like she'd done to him?

McMillan stood there. She could only stand and stare, mouth agape, at the sheer amount of power that Nicander had displayed all of a sudden, and even Acreth couldn’t stay up against the onslaught, regardless of the protection she had erected. Probably just as well that neither of them had tried rushing forward. But the doctor’s words rang in her head, and it was like a strange phenomenon. Normally such an order - literately meant or not - would make the young woman balk, even outright refuse, since that constituted as harming someone. She still felt guilty for stunning officers with a flash of light during the mutiny.

But this was different.

There was an odd desire growing within her, something that she felt only once, and so subtly she had thought it an imagination in a flight of fancy during a high-stress situation, but now, now it seemed stronger, in the presence of Acreth and Nicander. She knew that using her gifts, the lights, actually produced a form of pleasure for her, literally like something sexual, and could become addictive, making her use it more and more. But she now felt like she needed to shine, to flare, to burst with light and everything she had, and it was almost impossible to deny now all of a sudden. So when the doctor told her to blind Acreth, and keeping in mind what the woman had done to who knows how many officers of Starfleet who would never see home again, as a form of justification, McMillan filled the whole room with all the light within her soul. And as she shone, she hurriedly slipped out of her lab coat, tore off her uniform jacket and undershirt - making herself brighter with each garment shed.

Her body became translucent as she shifted from flesh to the suns of the galaxy, with a purifying flare of brightness, an absolute absence of darkness. She completely forgot, when she was lost in the bliss of letting free all that light, to tell Nicander to shield his eyes. So to spare him, she raised her bare arms towards where Acreth were, and her light focused into a straight beam. This was enough to pierce even bulkheads and the hull of the the Theurgy - the wavelength beyond known science.

Nicander had covered his eyes with his arm, lying on the deck plates of the lab. The storm of the vortex roared still, and yet he could not see anything, the light all-consuming. He realised that the Radiant might not want to stop, even if she was well beyond the point to stun or even blind Acreth. So he shouted over the din. "Stop! It's enough!" There was no answer. "McMillan! Stop it!"

The young woman showed no indication of having heard the Câroon shouting, as she tilted her head back, lost in an indescribable bliss. It was like nothing she had felt before. Even the pleasure of contact with Commander Carrigan Trent did not compare to this. Unfiltered, unrestrained, purest light, and McMillan couldn't have stopped herself if not for a sobering reminder that nobody else could stand to see her like this, literally, and that when all was said and done, she still needed the people, for solace, for guidance. So, reopening her eyes, she finally had enough sense to realize what she was doing, and that helped her bring her light back down. After such flaring, however, she couldn't completely shut down her light, and she could only reduce it to tolerable levels, but she would still brighten up a dark room with daylight. "D-doctor...?"

When the light faded at last, the afterimage remained as Lucan blinked and tried to get his bearings. His pale grey eyes ventured to the vortex, and he saw Acreth... She was fumbling, breathing as if she drew breath for the first time in years. Perhaps it was the first time since long that the host used her own lungs, and yet she saw nothing. She stumbled, the stasis-chamber in one hand and the phaser in the other, until she dropped the weapon. It clattered against the deck, and she kept hyperventilating.

"Stop moving!" Lucan tried to shout where he laid, but he could not make his voice carry over the distortion of the breach. Even if he could get back on his feet, the force-field would still be in the way. Acreth was panicking, and... "Don't..!"

With growing alarm, Lucan saw her stumble, fumbling for a hand-hold. With dread and defeat filling him, he saw her take the crooked step, and got too close. The vortex caught her, and she screamed - utterly terrified. Perhaps she knew, through the darkness that had left her, what awaited her on the other side. Whether or not she did, she was gone the next second. And since the vortex had been made for one transfer... it shut itself like a closing maw.

The silence in the aftermath was deafening - ringing in Lucan's ears. No...

What just happened? wondered McMillan, with a slight panic. The woman had fallen through the portal and it closed, and she wasn't sure if this was the desired intent, or if she had messed up royally again. "Uhm...m-mission accomplished?" said the young woman hopefully, "I mean, this is what we needed to do, right? Stopped her from bringing something in from wherever that was? What was that by the way? Some sort of a time-space vortex? You have a generator that can do that? Sorry!"

McMillan shook her head, realizing that she was talking to a mildly concussed, recently flashed man here, and she was excitedly going on about a machine. She really needed to work on her brain-mouth filter. "Can you stand up? Let me give you a hand...uh..." she hoped he wouldn't need her help, or they'd both be in trouble, considering her strength was no where near sufficient to lift someone like the doctor, and she'd very likely crumple under his weight. Fortunately, she thought she heard footsteps, perhaps announcing the arrival of security forces at last. "Ov-over here!" said McMillan, calling out enthusiastically.

Can the winds be so cruel`? Lucan was asking himself where he laid, not looking at the Radiant. In her uniform trousers and her bra, she lit the room, and Lucan saw someone else standing there. The owner of the lab. How long had he been standing there?

Sarresh Morali sunk to his knees, shaking, just having witnessed the vortex closing. "You're wrong... You don't know anything..."

It was then that McMillan realized she was semi-undressed in the presence of a superior very male officer and someone else around, making her squeak and quickly pull on her uniform and coat then she fumbled to adjust everything with the clumsiest fingers in history.

On his knees, Sarresh put his shaking hands against the deck plates, digging his hideous, human fingernails into the metal. He stared at the point where the vortex had closed, his mind reeling in impossibilities of centuries past and future. In his mind's eye, he saw Amikris Neotin, the reason he was here in the first place. Couldn't save you. Never could... he thought, the fork remaining in the time-stream. He had failed. "Time has passed us by..."[/color] he muttered, chocking on his vocal cords, the human reaction to grief making his throat strained. "Can you f-forgive me for trying again?"

He doubted the two idiots could hear him. They had thought Acreth meant to bring something to the present. He knew he shouldn't blame them, but they had been right there, able to do something to stop her. He had seen it! The thing in her hand. The DNA of his people. The last sample aboard of the Ash'reem genome. Now, it made perfect sense! He had volunteered because he had seen the nature of the Niga virus. He had known what it did to Amikris. The missing nucleic acids, making her fertile like no other Ash'reem.

But his treatment... His bloody memory engram treatment was not aiding the mission. It was just forking the stream over and over again. Here I am... left in a lost timeline. I'm reduced to a fool that just rush in where he's rushed before! Endlessly... He turned his ocular implants to the medical personnel who had failed, tears making his metallic eyes gleam. "You have just restarted everything! The cycle without end... We are left here, trying to salvage what is already lost. You could have stopped it!"

Of course, Lucan knew this already, but he had no time to make another lie. His combadge chirped, and Doctor Duv was heard. [Doctor Nicander, this is Duv, Edena Rez has been brought in Sickbay with a serious laceration and trauma. Readings show that the pressure inside her head is rising rapidly so we'll need to act fast. I remember she was your patient, so how do you wish to proceed on this matter? I needn't tell you how time critical this situation is.] Hearing this, Nicander blinked, trying to pick himself up from the floor. He suspected Jona Rez had gotten himself attacked, and he shed a small hope that the Trill had failed in his endeavour to stop the Simulcast. With the kind of injury Duv described, the host was likely dying, yet Duv wasn't finished. [An alternative is that I stabilize her as best as I can and prepare her for a joining.]

Hearing the message from the doctor's combadge, Sarresh began to chuckle, both horrified at how the memories were starting to fade away already, and at the same time... quite relieved. After what he had just seen, after what he just lost - again - he just wanted ignorance to return. Like a soothing balm of primal stupidity, where he was reduced to the same kind of idiots that let Acreth through the temporal breach. "You should take that call, Doctor... All we have left now... is what a man long dead might still tell us." He could not help laughing, shaking his head and feeling tears fall on the back of his ugly hands.

"Go, else there are no more forks in our path into the darkness..."

Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #107
[ Derik Veradin, Thea, Tovarek & Captain Ives | Main Bridge | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy ] Joint-Post by Mathis, Nolan & Auctor Lucan. Attn: All

Derik finally had a few moments to survey the full layout of the controls in front of him and at first it was threatening to overwhelm him. It appeared to be like the Resolve's in overall layout and control pattern - the two starships not too far apart in terms of when they were commissioned - but three times the size. Taking a deep breath to calm himself and focus, it clicked into place. The central area controlled Vector 1 while the side screens provided views and info for Vectors 2 and 3, currently being piloted by autopilot or someone else, but Derik could tell that he had the ability to override or send orders from his console as well.

More commotion rang out across the bridge, including expletives from the OPS officer sitting next to him. She was shouting about someone behind him having a seizure. Derik couldn't allow himself to be distracted, though, with a new ship and a complicated reintegration maneuver he'd never attempted about to happen. Why was there a bright beam of light exiting the hull of Vector 02 on his screen?

He did his best to focus and block out everything but his station and the orders directed at him, such as the one he had previously received from who he assumed was the XO and then one from Ives. The orders had confused him a bit though. Who was this 'Thea' that was supposed to guide his hand? What did that even mean? It was not like he could ask either, the Captain was ordering someone to find out where Sarresh Morali had gone. Was he the one who had the seizure? Derik kept an eye on the readout showing all the incoming fighters, support craft and the other vectors as they came closer, and Derik followed the XO's orders, keeping the ship as steady as possible as various craft began to dock and line up for reintegration.

Then, Thea materialised next to Derik, leaning over his shoulder. "Ensign Veradin, I am Thea, the ship you are flying. Please change my trajectory one degree to the port side, else we will lose five seconds before reintegration. I also recommend powering up all three of my Vectors' warp engines now. They all respond to that lever over there."

His focus being what it was, Derik still couldn't help jumping halfway out of his chair at the surprise materialization of a female hologram next to him that leaned over his shoulder. "Fuck me sideways," he exhaled, though only loud enough for Natalie and Thea to likely hear him. She leaned in over his shoulder and started giving him pointers for minor course corrections. Listening to the Captain's earlier command, he made the suggested correction. "So, you're Thea then."

"Yes." When the new helmsman had done was she'd recommended, Thea straightened where she stood, hands folded behind her back. She looked at the viewscreen, and saw what was out there with her sensors as well. In the aftermath of the massive barrage that had hit the Asurian forces, spotting individual vessels was futile. She could but hope the fighter elements would make it in time. "Reintegration will be complete in ten seconds," she announced, even as the Archeron herself began to fire against her shields. As Thea counted, the last fighters that could docked with the different vectors, and latches secured the Allegiant underneath her saucer. "Nine. Eight. Seven. Six..."

The incoming fire from the task force and debris from the battle threatened to push the vectors out of alignment. Just a few more seconds wais all they needed. They weren't to be that lucky. A broadside of phaser fire shot shook Vector 01 and the CONN display lit up with red and orange alerts with the words, 'INTEGRATION OUT OF ALIGNMENT.' Derik had only a few seconds to correct it.

"Five..." Thea did not end the count-down.

Brand new ship, sweat running down his temples, and having no for sure idea what to do to fix a maneuver he'd never attempted, Derik stared blankly at the console for what seemed like an eternity.

"Four..." Thea continued, still hoping the Trill would manage to compensate.

Derik held his breath, eyed the trajectories of the three vectors, and punched in a course correction for Vector 01. Vector 02 adjusted automatically in response, Derik assumed that was thanks to Thea. His displays lit up green again showing a correct reintegration course. He exhaled in relief and heard the countdown end.

"...Three. Two. One... Reintegration sequence complete."

"Maximum warp. Engage!" called Captain Ives from her chair, holding on to her armrests but her voice still crystal sharp.

Derik had received their course from Stellar Cartography and had just laid it in as the countdown was closing out. He shouted to be heard above the noise on the bridge, "Warp ready. Tovarek, 3, 2, 1, now!" Derik slammed his hand down on the console to send them to warp. For a moment, he flashed back to Resolve and hoped they wouldn't have a repeat of an inoperative drive. He smiled and finally allowed himself to relax as the stars started to stretch across the viewscreen.

Tovarek had counted along with the countdown from the Trill pilot as his drones had all been placed in position behind the reintegrated ship. The readings were nominal and the time to push was nearing. As Derik shouted 'Now', Simon hit the execute order as the drones fired up their warp drives and catapulted themselves forward along with the Theurgy, only to divert into various directions mid-warp. The objective to mask the trail of the Theurgy would be no problem and for now, it seemed like the drones had done exactly what they were designed for.

As the shooting stars lit everyone's faces on the bridge. Captain Ives got to her feet, and the tension seemed to leave most people. She looked towards Tovarek, getting a nod of confirmation. The drones were right behind them, mimicking their warp trail and starting to deviate from their course, one by one. "Damage report," said Ives...

...but Thea was not as relieved. She remained standing where she was, a frown coming to her. "Captain...."

"What is it, Thea?"

"The damage to one of my starboard nacelles has degraded our current warp field." She turned her head and looked at Ives. "As a result, I can't go any faster than Warp 8,5. This will allow Task Force Archeron to catch up with me within five minutes, unless the drones can give us another minute or two depending on which warp trails are pursued first and which ships pursue ours."

The CONN display confirmed to Derik what Thea was saying. An image of the nacelle in question was radiating damage on a side screen. They were approaching their top speed already and their 20-light-year trip to the Azure Nebula was projected to take much longer than probably expected. He opened his mouth to say as much, but Thea beat him to it, fear almost touching her voice.

"At Warp 9,995, I would not only have been able to outrun them... but reach the Azure Nebula in 5,767 hours. With this velocity, it will take me 5,828 days. Needless to say... we will never make it there."

Curses and sharp intakes of breath were heard around the bridge, the knowledge sinking in. Captain Ives curled her upper lip and rounded on the bridge crew. "Repairing that nacelle is our top priority, and I want it fully functioning now."

It seemed that even in their escape, they had failed...

Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #108
[Doctor Hayden O'Connor| Main Sickbay| USS Theurgy| Vector 02]

Hayden didn't want to leave Hylota alone with Maal since he appeared to be so frazzled emotionally and now physically hurt, but she thought under the circumstances, it was better for her to get the phasers. She didn't want to risk additional injury to Maal and she wasn't entirely certain he was focused enough to reach for weapons so they could defend themselves. Of course, even as Hayden rushed as much as she dared while getting out of the pool, she prayed the weapons would be unnecessary and the worst she would ever be considered was over prepared.

She forced herself to move carefully, trying to anticipate based on the groans of the ship when she might have to steady her footing or hold onto something quickly because of a sudden list of the ship or a quick maneuver. Helmsman were concerned about survival, after all, not a smooth ride for laboring crewmembers. Hylota's screams of pain only led her to feel more torn about her decision, but she knew she couldn't afford to turn back now. Her heart racing, after what felt like an eternity, she finally made her way toward the cabinet where she'd stashed several phasers. O'Connor had stashed extra weapons, because at the time she wasn't sure how many people would be with her attending the birth. O'Connor knew the female Ovri wanted as few people as possible, but giving birth under battle conditions meant, clearly, that not all wishes or circumstances could be honored.

So focused was she on her task that when the Klingon nurse started singing, she was startled at first by the sound. Turning, she realized if they were about to die, at the very least they could pass triumphantly, a warrior song ringing in all of their ears. If Hayden didn't know any better, she might've assumed she was watching a scene in a holo-film.

If only that were true.

With no time to waste, Hayden knew she need to get back to Hylota and Maal quickly. O'Connor didn't think she had anything to be concerned about related to the female Ovri’s labor, despite Hylota's obvious pain, but the truth was, she couldn't be certain. Deep down, she knew anything could go wrong, and as much as she tried to prepare ahead of time, not all circumstances could be anticipated. Even if she had created a billion backup plans, there was no guarantee any of them would work.  At this point, she wasn't even sure there was much of a ship left outside of the fragile safety of this room.

Despite her careful movement, Hayden almost fell herself at least twice on her way back. It was only by sheer luck she didn't go down hard, fearing if she did, she might not be able to get back up properly. Gritting her teeth to suppress her own growls of frustration, Hayden eventually made it back into the water, both phasers above her head so as to keep them dry. Handing one to the Klingon nurse, she offered him a small smile of encouragement.

To Hylota, she said, "You're doing great, sweetie. I know it's really hard, but try not to scream, as that wastes your energy. Take slow, deep breaths, and moan if you need to." In the meantime, Hayden took a look at the female Ovri's progress. The water was cloudy, but she could still see the unusual egg trying to emerge. The calcified mass was concerning, but her first priority was to help Hylota relax enough so the egg could fully emerge. “Slow, easy pushes. I know you want this one out and over, but I think it will only hurt more if you force it out too quickly. Let us know if you'd like to try a different position."

Borrowing Maal’s tricorder, Hayden was pleased to see Hylota continued to dilate around the egg. At first, she was concerned the unusual shape and size of the egg would slow such a process, but she could only hope in time, her opening would be large enough to accommodate it. In the meantime, she looked over at Maal and ran a quick scan over his body. They were both preoccupied, obviously, but O'Connor wouldn't be able to forgive herself if she'd allowed her distractions to prevent her from seeing serious injury. 

It appeared the Klingon nurse was going to have lots of bruises and abrasions, she just hoped that was all there was to it.

Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #109
[ Main Bridge | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy ] Joint-Post by Hastata-Nerada & Auctor Lucan. Attn: All.

Vivian Martin suddenly looked up as she realized the dawning opportunity before them.

"Sir," she announced, speaking directly to Ives, "I know someone who can patch the warp field through the deflector. It should be able to compensate."

Hearing this, Ives turned to the human woman with the dark hair, seeing her rank and division and recognising the fact that she might be a science officer from the Resolve - her arriving together with the helmsman. "I am hardly in the position to say no to any ideas at this point." Ives looked towards Thea, who made no warning to what was being suggested. Turning her oaken eyes back to the woman, Ives nodded. "Time is short. If it can be done without slowing down or stopping, then do it."

Wasting no time, Martin tapped her combadge, and deep below decks a gently glowing, blue, serpentine alien received her message. "Martin to F'Rell, do you remember when you calibrated the deflector shield when we were trapped by Fen Domar forces? We need you to do that again but for the Theurgy."

Down there, responding with a deft movement of her tendril, F'Rell simply replied, [This is F'Rell, I am on my way now.] before snaking her way towards where she sensed the deflector.

On the bridge, Ives spoke to the woman again. "What's your name?"

"Apologies sir," Answered the woman. "Lieutenant Commander Vivian Martin of the U.S.S. Resolve, chief of science."

"Martin, what will this person named F'Rell do, and does she need help?"

"F'Rell is a... individual who came aboard the Resolve during our journey back, it should uh, it should be easy to isolate her based on biosignature." Martin straightened her posture and continued. "She has advanced knowledge of warp and gravity mechanics, and has helped the Resolve in a situation like this before, but it would probably help if..." She hesitated, unsure if she had the correct idea as to the nature of the entity which she heard referred to. "...Thea... assisted in some way?"

"You've got it. Thea?"

"Yes, ma'am," said the Ship A.I. "Tracing communication and locking on to combadge. Energizing transport for the individual now and heading to the deflector controls myself." Having said this, Thea's projection shimmered as it vanished from the bridge.

"Trent," said Jien and rounded on the Tactical station, "give the person all the security access she needs to the deflector controls. Authorisation Ives-Gamma-Four-Seven."

F'Rell & Thea | Deflector Dish Control Room | Quaternary Computer Core | Deck 23 ]

The transport was sudden and bright, leaving F'Rell stunned and drifting within the room. She gently bumped against the computer core, sensing its vibrations. As her senses returned, she cast her gaze around the room, attempting to orient herself.

Behind the T'fanrell, Thea materialised, and she raised her eyebrows in surprise as she saw the creature in her quaternary computer core. The species was uncatalogued in her database, and Thea would have started a new file hadn't the situation been less of an emergency. "F'Rell, I am Thea, the A.I. of this ship. Lieutenant Commander Martin suggested I might be of assistance. What can I do?"

"Ah, an A.I.?" Muttered F'Rell through her translator. "Good, this is an improvement. I wish to modify your deflector shield to emit a series of graviton pulses to compensate for instability in your warp field." She stabilized herself and swam towards the nearest console. "Noble Ancillary, I require the algorithms you are currently running that are governing warp field output, and a readout and analysis of the graviton field coherence."

"Acknowledged," said Thea, filing away the strange title the alien had used for her. This was not the time to ask for an explanation. The task force could catch up with her any moment. As for the task, she needn't use the duty stations present to begin, the calculations required initiated in her background processes and quickly yielding the results needed. "Sending the results to the screen in front of you now. Do you need anything else?"

After some consideration, F'Rell requested a system directory, and before long had completed the modified inputs to the Theurgy's deflector. "Noble Ancillary," she said again, barely shifting her focus from the screen before her. "I require you to re-synchronize the output of your subspace accelerators with the shield harmonics I have given you."

"Re-sequencing now," said Thea immediately, and the deck beneath her feet jolted with the mid-warp change to the deflector shield's output. The tremor could be felt on all her decks, the bridge included, but after having done it, Thea could not help the smile that touched her digital features. "Warp field stabilizing. The deflector is compensating for the damaged nacelle."

F'Rell gave an approximation of a nod. "Noble Ancillary, you now briefly have the blessing necessary to safely flee any pursuers. In your measurements, your warp speed is now 9,998 for six of your hours before your deflector shield must be reset and undergo some repairs."

"That is more than enough for us to reach our destination and go into hiding," said Thea and she raised her eyes, speaking and letting her voice be heard on the intercom on the bridge. "Re-calibration successful. Accelerating to new maximum warp speed. ETA to the Azure Nebula: 3 hours, 32 minutes and 47 seconds."

[ Main Bridge | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy ] Joint-Post by Hastata-Nerada & Auctor Lucan. Attn: All.

The silent sigh of relief that swept through the bridge could not have escaped anyone, and Jien even allowed herself a faint smile, despite all that had happened. "We'll make it," she said and turned to Vivian Martin. "Thank you."

The tension in Martin's body visibly relaxed before she regained her composure and answered Ives. "I appreciate the sentiment sir, but I merely relayed the request."

Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #110
[ Captain Jien Ives | Main Bridge | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: All
"Nonetheless," said Ives to Vivian Martin and inclined her head, then she turned to the rest of the bridge crew. "Locate Sarresh Morali and verify that the enemy has not brought something new across. Whatever temporal breach have occured, I want to know what happened." Hopefully, there wasn't another Calamity out there, chasing them again. No, there was no time to consider the ramifications if that might have happened. She continued giving orders, heart still beating fast.

"Someone find Sar-unga...Petty Officer Dyan Cardamone. Those saucers that came to our aid out there were our last resort."

Pausing, she realised that only she and Trent knew about the accord struck with the Asurians, since the hope had been that they hadn't needed to call for their aid. "A couple of days ago, our Asurian crewmember helped gain her people's aid, a partnership struck between them and I... but they just paid dearly to enable our escape. We need to establish communication with the Asurians as soon as it's safe to do so, to gauge the extent of their losses, and make sure we have not lost them as allies. Please realise, they just made themselves the enemy of the whole Federation, and with the simulcast false... they might have done it in vain." The last thing they needed were more enemies, that much was certain.

"Furthermore, I want Sickbay to make Edena Rez a priority, since the knowledge of Jona Rez' contacts is something we need in order to continue. The people out there that can decrypt the truth Jona hid in the simulcast can also give us the decryption key, and make this mission a success after all. Until we know any others, I want someone to dig up everything that is accessible on Elim Garak, and find a way to reach him without compromising our position." Jien knew he was the Cardassian ambassador on Earth, and it might be he resided right in the enemy's nest.

"Stellar Cartography, keep an eye out for Sankolov and his ships." Then, her eyes ventured to the back of the helmsman from the Resolve and then to Vivian Martin. There were a lot of new faces on the ship, people who had already lost so much before the battle, only to return to a hostile Federation, and taking refuge on a ship of outlaws. "Thea, how many of the Resolve's crew made it aboard?"

[Of the Resolve's crew complement of 321 - as estimated on long range sensors as she left Starbase 84 - 197 individuals have made it aboard, Captain. There were no escape pods launched, and aside from the senior staff, the survivors are currently amassed around my airlocks and my transporter rooms. Twenty people still remain in my transporter buffers, and we have sixteen crewmembers from the USS Orcus split between my Upper and Lower Shuttle Bays, with a total of eight Valravn-class fighters powering down. We also have five new life-signs without Starfleet combadges, ma'man, but they appear to be non-hostile.]

Civilians, all caught up in this mess, thought Jien, sorting out what priorities to make, but first, she needed to know what was on many of her own crew's minds. The body of Aisha S'Iti had already been beamed off the bridge, vanishing while they had their warp field restored. Yet it seemed like Jien could still see her lying there, with the back of her head gone. "What about our crew?"

[Total estimated casualties are 109, plus 47 injured, ma'am, leaving us with a total crew complement of 722 survivors. This amounts to 940 aboard, if counting civilians, the crew from the Resolve and the pilots from the Orcus.]

The numbers sobering - if not staggering - Jien felt numb as she walked towards her chair, slowly sitting down. She raised her eyes to Vivian Martin, to the helmsman, and considered the unknown faces of the Resolve's senior staff in the adjacent briefing room.

"Then 940 it is," she said quietly, a silent reassurance given to them all, that in her regard, they were in this together, and they would have to start functioning as one crew if they were to survive. With resignation towards the cut of their losses and the mission failure, and trying - despite it all - to look ahead, she shifted... to his male form, and looked towards the CONN officer in front of him. He could not wear his feelings about the defeat on his sleeve... even though he wanted to rage. "Helmsman, what's your name?"

"Ensign Derik Veradin, sir," came the reply.

"Mister Veradin, continue to the given coordinates. We will hide in the Azure Nebula, where few would dare follow. From there, we'll find the way forth."


Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #111
[Selena Ravenlolm | Transporter Room | USS Theurgy]

The transporter beam hadn’t even let go of Selena before she was cursing up a blue streak.  Why in the name of the Great Bird had they beamed everyone away now?  At the very least she could’ve disabled the Simulcast, keep it from spreading further than it already had, but no, Thea was leaving and wouldn’t leave anyone still living behind.  As soon as she could move the cyborg was off the pad and pushed some junior officer away from the auxiliary console with little more than a forceful “Move.”  Fingers flew over the controls to bring up various status reports, including a tactical view of the retreat.  Dots and symbols of various sizes and colors signified what was what and who’s side they were on.  When a finger prodded the screen naming who was on the new saucers she just ignored it, too much was going on in her own mind.

That changed in an instant though, when two Federation ships spit out a volley that had never been seen outside of a simulation before.  Represented by little more than a blob, the sudden motion caught Selena’s eye just in time to see the majority of the saucers just disappear, completely unable to avoid or defend themselves against hundreds of torpedoes at once.  The full impact of what had just happened didn’t heat until Cardamone started screaming.

Jumping from the sudden noice, Selena whirled around and grabbed the other woman, pulling her into a bear hug so that she could scream into her shoulder, hopefully muffling the sound enough that it wouldn’t interrupt the transporter operator.  “Shhhh….just let it out, take it to me for now…” she whispers to the grieving woman, steeling herself for the impending onslaught.

Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #112
[ Corridor Outside Transporter Room 03 | Deck 12 | USS Theurgy ] Joint-Post by Striker N7 and Auctor Lucan*

Carrying his bulky and lightly-charred 'lucky' knapsack, Ensign James "Jimmy" Mariner stank of ozone and singed clothing from his last-minute rogue action to stash and collect as many valuable datarods and chips from the Resolve's computer and several other areas where fires raged and the hull still had pressure. His Trill friend Jaesa Cloi had suffered plasma burns and had inhaled toxic gas and was ushered out some time ago by the Resolve's medics.

One of the last ones to leave the Resolve, Ensign Mariner's knapsack bag was nearly overflowing with datarods and mementos that were hastily-collected. Jimmy lost track of the time, and his sense of direction, coughing smoke and, even breathing through his uniform in a makeshift gas mask until he could find his own on the way out, adding the fatigue of carrying a growingly-heavy knapsack. As if some deity from the heavens noticed his actions, he was beamed out by the Theurgy, just as Mariner managed to tuck an important PaDD under his shoulder.

Jimmy had only really managed to secure personal logs and replicator menus, but Jimmy couldn't just leave some equipment designs, not after all they'd gone through to make them in order to find substitutions for tell-tale Federation fire during their 3-year return home. Marquez wouldn't easily forgive losing the Ancient West and World War II combat simulators. Jimmy himself was not going to leave the synthetic taste of his Australian beer. Plus, he was one of the crew, the family under the same hull, and barely an officer by regulation standards. As a combat-proven security operator however, the junior security officer would not allow himself the last three years' worth of accomplishments and keepsakes.

Safe aboard the Theurgy, Jimmy and 20 other personnel from the resolve stayed in the corridor outside transporter room 3. Most of them were nervous, others scared, but Jimmy was just anxious. He hated sitting still when he could be doing something somehow, but he was told repeatedly to stay out of the way. Still,

Mariner impatiently paced the corridor, for what seemed like an eternity. Crammed together with his fellow survivors, the Australian security officer was worried about the Resolve's XO.

"Take this," Jimmy handed his bulky bag off to the nearest of any gold-shirt. "Make sure the counselor sees this one." He distinguished the Cardassian-marked datarod in particular. being on his A-game as he stepped down the corridor, further away from the surprisingly amiable Theurgy security guards. "Computer, can you scan for Captain Kendrick or Lt.  Commander Marquez? Their respective Federation serial numbers are--" Jimmy figured the computer would know, but the young man knew how to filter their records if they weren't in the system.

[Captain Kendrick is not on board. Lieutenant Commander Marquez is currently in Transporter Room 3 on Vector 02, Deck 12.]

"But that's right here, isn't it?" The security guards posted in the corridor were there for a reason, but they did not appear hostile. "Mind if I go to my XO, Gents? He may be a prude but the guy owes me some bars of Latinum. No way I'm going to let him off the hook there."

As if on cue, the sliding door opened and a hover gurney appeared, pushed by a medic and with an Andorian Lieutenant who looked like she'd seen battle. And on the hover gurney, there laid Lt Commander Marquez. The pain in his torso by now had been contained by righteous indignation, nerves and adrenaline alone, but he was muttering incoherently. "Kendr.... Aero..." He rasped, wheezing.

"Boss!" Mariner raced over to the XO's side. "Oi! You! Give us a space for the holo-gurney here, ey? C'mon, C'mon, Vamoos!" Jimmy wasted no time rushing to Marquez's side, despite his orders to stay put.

ThanIda zh'Wann's eyes cut towards the unknown pinkskin, recognised how he seemed to know the prone officer that had come to the boarding team's aid. She had barely gotten three words out of the transporter operator, merely heard that they had the crew of an allied ship named the USS Resolve aboard, and after what she had learned from Drauc T'Laus and overheard in the command center of Starbase 84, she reckoned that the man - as well as the rest of the unknown faces in the corridor - were of the same crew.

"Who are you, and can you confirm the identity of this man?" she asked, the hover gurney not stopping - just as little as Ida did.

Jimmy's eyes sparkled as he regarded the Andorian, clearly finding her attractive until he noticed her rank was one grade above his, so he skipped the pleasantries. "Hey there, Left-enant. Jimmy Mariner, Resolve's Security, this Pit Bull here is Resolve's Exec, Striker Marquez. He owes me some latinum, and a promotion." The Australian was clearly kidding, but he followed the gurney to sickbay. Jimmy continued, but kept it brief. "He's my XO, and a good friend. "Not sure what's a better sight to see, him alive or seeing that there's a tougher sum'bitch in the galaxy than he is-- Hehe, Hear that, Boss? Looks like ya owe me more latinum for winning that bet, ey?" Jimmy smirked, goading his XO.

"I see," said Ida, and she remembered back when the Resolve was lost, and the name of the ship's first officer. "Leon Marquez." She did not have the presence of mind to appreciate the pinkskin's humour.

Marquez stirred, either wincing in pain or chuckling, Jimmy couldn't tell, but his vitals weren't looking good. "Come on, Left-enant, how much further?"

Ida clenched her jaw, knowing she could not linger. "Marquez, can you  hear me? You will be taken to sickbay immediately, and your security guard here can accompany you. I must report the outcome in the EOC to my superior officers. Crewman," she said to the medic, "take them so sickbay now. Hurry!" Saying this, Ida drew to a halt and watched the gurney being led away down the corridor. She was not entirely sure what had happened at the end of the mission, but with her combadge, she started to try contact people who would know.

Why couldn't she shake the feeling that things had not gone as they should?

OOC: This is Part 1, and Striker N7 will post Part 2.

Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #113
[ Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Joint-Post by Striker N7 and Nolan

Jimmy Mariner kept stimulating his friend and companion with his usual colorful attitude of mock insults and in-jokes, himself always leaving himself open for counter-punches. Mariner wasn't keen on slowing down anytime soon for anything, particularly when he barged into sickbay with the Andorian's enlistee showing him the way.

Things were hectic in the medical section as it was until Duv heard a rather loud gentleman stir up her general population. She looked annoyed at the ensign before she gave a short yet loud warning "Ensign! What seems to be the problem?" She strode over to the man who had seemed to seen better days and scanned him over quickly before Mariner spoke up once more.

"He's the Resolve's Exec; he needs medical attention. Upper torso trauma. Probably needs some Tequila to get him going. Fancy some? Keeps your engines going, if ya take my meaning." Mariner was serious despite the remark, but began his characteristic humor, assisting however possible. "C'mon, Luv, heal thy patient and all that! Put your spots into it."

Duv shot the man a look as he mentioned tequila and shook her head. When he even provoked her to put her spots in to it, the good doctor snapped back at him "In case you haven't noticed... Ensign... I have a full sickbay!" She angled for his name as her eyes had narrowed to him. "Your XO here has a few fractures rib wise and some lacerations." she explained.

"Sorry, Luv. Name's Jimmy Mariner. Charmed. Now, can ya kindly bring him back for me, he owes me some latinum." Jimmy quipped, largely to get a rise from the unconscious XO.

"They'll heal but he'll need some rest and refrain from doing anything intensive. The other wounds can be fixed with a dermal spray." She showed him the spray before her attention was called by another nurse "Doctor, we need you here." Duv sighed and looked at Mariner "You had basic training with dermal sprays and the such right. Bring him back to his quarters or wherever you guys are resting. Keep him off his feet for a few days and report back to sickbay in three days. We'll see how his ribs held up until then." she spoke quickly before she left he duo once more.

"Hear that, Boss? The cute Trill Doc there says you'll be on your feet in no time," Jimmy reacted at the doctor's instructions as he got the tools necessary to begin curing his boss, wishing he had less on his mind than the day's events or his brush with death earlier. Of course he didn't mean to offend, but biting humor tended to get a good reaction from people, even a hard man like Marquez could find the humor intended. But the devices seemed to either be ineffective or taking their time to heal the injuries. Mariner continued.

"C'mon, ya stubborn taco-eating jack-ass, you. I nearly got my arse fried off in the Resolve getting your damn stuff! I dunno if these chaps here can even spell carne asada. C'mon!" Mariner was growing desperate. "Wake up, ya stubborn ee-jit: Cloi's alive!"  Jimmy cited the unconscious second host of the Cloi Symbiont, but didn't mention she was unconscious and under life support respiratory equipment, nor did he mention that she would have to be placed in stasis indefinitely, but Cloi was once Marquez's fiancée.

Marquez's EKG seemed to monitor a normalizing heart rate as the injuries seemed to fade away. Jimmy knew it was only a matter of time. Jimmy sighed out of relief. "Thank God, Mate, who would've looked after Sharky if you kicked the bucket? I would've fed your-- what?"

"--ter.  --Ter!"

Jimmy listened in to Marquez, brushing his way past some of the medical staff to replicate a glass of water and poured into Marquez's mouth. Striker accepted it and moments later began to sit up and stir. Marquez continued to murmur something. Jimmy listened in, unable to hear, setting aside the water on a nearby tray.  "This.... one's.... for..."  Jimmy couldn't hear, but soon howled an aloud 'Oi!' as Marquez spilled the rather-chilly water on the Austrailian's head.  "...for setting... it... to... Ando..rian... temperature." Marquez rasped, opening his eyes and-- was he smiling?

Dripping wet and plainly annoyed, Mariner stepped away, shaking himself off like a wet dog for a moment before contacting the Resolve crew. "Mariner to Keval... 'Leather-skin' Marquez is alive. Laid out in sickbay, but he'll be up and congratulating you by day's end. Just one thing, Sir: Sharky's gotta pee sometime. If anyone gives you or the chaps any shite, remind them that Pit Bulls get territorial and are good shots."

Noticing someone was chuckling at the spilt water, Jimmy cast a, 'What are you lookin' at?' regard.

OOC: [Show/Hide]

Lt. Commander Leon "Striker" Marquez
Chief Tactical Officer, USS Theurgy
"No one left behind."

Ensign James "Jimmy" Mariner
Security Officer, USS Theurgy

Lieutenant (J.G.) Alessia "Angel" Garcia
Valravn Fighter Pilot, USS Theurgy
"You're not the only one with a gun,"


Re: Chapter 07: Cost of Truth

Reply #114
[ Vinata Vojona | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ]

          Vinata listened to what Nolak had to say before simply giving a confirming nod, truthfully Vinata was not sure what to say on the matter, as far as he was aware he was tasked with cleansing a patient contaminated with radiation, he was unaware of any foul play or dishonest activities that had occurred. Of course as Nolak began to explain his intentions and how he wanted to be at his post Vinata nodded again before looking to the injured shoulder as he administered the iodine solution. Once he had performed his first task he decided he might as well take a more hands on approach.

Clearing his throat Vinata spoke in a melodic voice that could easily make his mistaken as a woman. "I am sorry that you feel imprisoned here, but in your current condition I do not think you would have been able to maintain stable functionality for very long, and with the level of poisoning you have taken I fear you could be at risk of numerous cancerous tumors if you were to put off cleansing sir." Vinata turned and left the chamber, locking it behind him as instructed, but as the machine began to start up the door opened once more and Vinata reentered.

"I am sorry I have been a bit short with you Master Chief Nolak Kamil, but the serious of your condition required direct attention, and due to the state of your body we must have you cleansed before further healing can be undertaken." Swallowing Vinata took a deep breath, a tad bit uncomfortable with what he was intending, the reasons his own, but to Nolak it might seem as though Vinata was being shy around a nude man. "With the injuries you have taken I feel it would be beneficial if I were to be here to assist in the cleansing of your body as you will likely struggle to reach all places with your existing wounds." Vinata took a deep breath and let out a chirping sound as he exhaled, he also did not want to go back to the other patients, after cleaning up a severed limb he was at his limits for gore he needed to calm himself or risk a panic attack. "I realize you must not want to be be burdened with a doting nurse...but please allow me to help you sir."

[ Hylota Vojona | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ]

          Hylota clenched her jaw firmly and pushed against her eggs, once one would squeeze past the opening there would be a moment of relief before the next would begin to spread her vaginal opening, stretching her as she began to push the egg out of herself once more.  They felt firmer and less flexible than Hylota had thought they would be, they were actually rather uncomfortable to force out and she was beginning to see why this was considered more of a commitment than just laying an unfertilized clutch, and she was just glad that she was not dealing with this situation alone, after all that she had been through she doubted she could have maintained any level of composure if she was alone.

Of course as Maal held her and tried to comfort her with a traditional Klingon song Hylota was too busy clenching her jaw as she pushed a calcified egg out once more, the movement was slow and grating as she pushed, but as the Klingon balled began she ground her jaw, if ever there was something she would question as music it was very primal sounding, more a chorus of growls and roars used to form words and music, unlike Ovri music which was more a chorus of chirps and various sounds. What the Klingon's considered music was not something the Ovri would create, but all the same there was a strange rhythm to it and it served the purpose of being encouraging in her labored state.

Wailing as another egg was pushed out she let out heavy labored breaths as she tried to collect herself as the next egg began to crown, it was not comfortable by any means, the feeling of her flesh stretching and squeezing over the spheres provided a stinging tingling pain that coupled with the pained strain of her muscles sent Hylota's mind into a wash of hazy pain for a moment, it was not blinding but it did make it so Hylota did not notice Hayden arriving back in the room, as she climbed into the pool with Hylota and tried to get her to go slowly with the latest calcified egg and to try not to scream Hylota croaked. "It feels like I am passing glass, I will scream if I Gods Damned Feel Like IT!" Hylota took a long deep breath as she tried to calm herself, slowing herself and pushing a bit less aggressively, it took a while but the egg did slip free, dead and malformed Hylota payed it no more attention as she relished the moment of relief before the next egg came.

Hylota pushed the next two eggs out without much harm as they were clearly dummy eggs and slipped out with enough force. As the third egg began to crown Hylota began to groan and hiss in discomfort as one of the calcified eggs seemed to be on its way out as well. It was a slow process as Hylota began to push less and she tightened her hold on Maal, she took a long deep breath before looking to Maal, her eyes a mixture of anger, pain and yet pleading for comfort, she finally passed the dummy egg and croaked as she moved on to the next, this one moved more smoothly than the previous calcified eggs, but it was still slower than the dummy eggs. It took a moment but as it crowned it was clear this egg was different, unlike the deformed eggs this one still had a smooth flexible shell that pushed against the rough form inside and it shifted to pass more easily. Although it was not clear to the naked eye that the egg was anything special, but with the tricorder it was clear, the egg held a viable offspring, the first Ovri Klingon child and the first child to be born to the Theurgy, oddly fitting to be born in a battle.

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