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Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #25
Miles hearing Thea's alert looked up in attention and as soon as the others finished talking he looked to Thea.  "Thea patch my badge into Mission OPS alerts.  I want to be able to hear when every one of my birds launch."  He said as he headed for the door unzipping his flight jacket as the turbolift door opened.  "Fighter bay."

As the door behind him Miles closed his eyes as he centered himself.  slowly he unzipped the flight jacket and took off the gray uniform top leaving only the Tac-conn white undershirt still on.  The Lift stopped for a moment as his fellow wolves entered.  He could smell the distinct odor of alcohol on their breaths but that almost was to be expected given their time off duty.  "Evening, you all feeling fit to fly?"  he said obviously unconcerned at their various states of undress and more concerned about whether or not the alert had sounded before they had drank too much to be fit for duty.  If they had of course it wouldn't be their fault, after all he had told the ones here to take the rest of the evening off and enjoy some Below-Decks time.  "Oh and if i hear one word of complaint about whatever lead to your varying states of non professional attire then 1 week on cleaning detail of the hangars along with your normal duties.  If I receive compliments regarding it then next time use one of your quarters for your party.  If I hear nothing.  Then I seriously think you need to reconsider your occupations as fighter pilots."  Completing what he said he then looked over at the rather nervous looking Hannah who was covering her chest with her arms hoping the bit of joking had alleviated her fears.  "Now, we are on duty."  He finally said as he resumed looking forwards tapping his combadge and asking to be patched into the squadron com channel he began listening the reports coming in hearing the awaiting launch requests as the group approached the bay.  There was one that caught his ear as he looked over to the other Wolves.  "Wait a sec, Ghost? She aint been cleared yet.: he said to himself and the other wolves in the turbolift.

The Mission-ops voice spoke up over the channel. "Roger that O'Six you are clear for launch."

Miles had merely one reaction as the turbolift opened as the two Valks launched from the bay. "God fucking dammit Rawley."  he said in a deadpan voice as he watched Ghost and Hardtop's fighters exit the bay.

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #26
[ Fighter Assault Bay | Deck 15 ]

At Fox's query about whether or not they were feeling able to fly, Hannah chuckled. "There's just so many of us left. Don't have much choice but to rise to the challenge, do we? I think we have enough hours under the belt to do some things right, at least," she said and cleared her throat, meeting the gaze of their new SCO, and when he laid out the conditions about having to resort to reprisals against them, she felt compelled to answer since she had instigated the games. "Understood, Commander. I request that the consequences lay heavily on me, should that be the case."

There was no more time to discuss the matter. A chirp announced their arrival on Deck 15.

Tearing through the opening doors of the turbolift, she joined her fellow pilots in their common rush. There was no room for thought, only the training carved into her bone-marrow and leading her bouncing run out onto the vast area of the hangar. She had no delusion about having sobered up yet, but she spotted the barely repaired Valkyrie of Ghost's taking off. Heard the SCO behind her. She had wanted to wish Rawley luck, and tell her that she would have done the same thing under her circumstances. Or she would have liked to, knowing that she might have thought twice before going against regulations with a body just as battered as that bird of hers.

Jacket quickly thrown away - modesty forgotten - and after drunkenly struggling with the white flight suit, Nightmare eventually climbed the mobile stairs that was being rolled into place for her. Only once she was in her cockpit did Hannah slap her own cheeks, just before the technician that had followed behind her handed her the helmet - eyes widening at the scent of synthehol vodka. He made no comment through, and for sake of saving some time, the man helped strap her into the seat while she tapped through pre-flight diagnostics and established communications with the whole squadron, Mission Ops and a direct link with her wingmate.

Maverick. The memory of his stubble against her skin distracted her from her system checks, yet eventually, the final status inquiry came over the comm. Nightmare barely acknowledged the multitude of hasty replies to this, merely waiting to add her own to the mix, and concentrated on the flashing messages on her displays and powering up her engines for launch. It felt like the bloody controls were moving underneath her hands.

"Wolves Zero-One, Zero-Two, Zero-Niner, One-Zero, One-One and One-Two, you are clear for take-off," came the voice from the posted Mission Ops officer. Hannah barely managed to keep up with the consecutive acknowledgements from the six crafts, and the on-board displays chimed in.

'TAKING OFF' scrolled across the monitors and as a collective group, the Valkyries taxied into formation - starting and landing thrusters sending them off two at the time through the bay doors. Nightmare scowled through the open maw that led into the celestial lights of the Hromi Cluster, thinking about this continuation of a battle they had fought for more than two months now - steeling herself against the thoughts about killing Starfleet personnel for the sake of the whole of the Federation. Orders were orders, and the drunken state she was in made the troubled thoughts easier to bear. "This is Wolf One-Zero standing by. Primary armament fully stocked and loaded. Auxiliary armament; two Mk.XXVII photon torpedoes and two Mk.I Hellbournes. Bearing Nine, Five, Alpha and awaiting orders, over."

While the other Lone Wolves chimed in, including those that had already launched, Nightmare switched on the TVD in her helmet and pulled her Wolf-10 fighter's stick back and bared her teeth - shooting off into non-atmosphere. Everything was moving around her because of her synthehol intake, her actions sluggish, yet she fought off the nausea - no choice but to sharpen up or quite possibly die trying.


[ Wolf 06 Cockpit | Hromi Cluster ]

The adrenaline rush making her grin wide despite the possible dangers she had put herself in, Evelyn Rawley circled their Theurgy-class den hungrily - eager to set her teeth into something. Famished yet feasting on the moment of being in the cockpit once more, she howled in elation whilst her intercom mics were shut off. By the time when the stragglers shot out of the hangar, she formed up in a two-by-two formation with Hardtop next to her, reporting in.

"Wolf Zero-Six standing by and feeling very good about it!" she said with a shit-eating grin, the energy in her small body perhaps making up for the diminutive condition that her bird was in, "I would not advisedly fire my fucking tetryon canon since its barely hanging on to my bloody fighter, and I am halfway dry on mirco torps since my last engagement. Cudos to my techicans, I did manage to get four Hellbournes mounted before the Red Alert came. Bearing... Um.... Nine, Two, Bravo and awaiting some orders! Whom the hell dares come our way?"

The light on her separate wingmate channel - Khorin's and hers private one - lit up and Hardtop growled a mirth-filled comment. [Cheeky woman, barely out of the biobed and daring to stick your finger in the eye of command. Your arse nga'chuq should have stayed behind.]

Making a spitting sound, Ghost jammed her thumb on his intercom channel relay. "You can fuck my arse when we get back, you watered-out Klingon half-breed, because your soiled Sickbay sheets hasn't been changed yet either," she said and laughed, ignoring the pain in her torso as she did, "Bloody hell, as long as I get to stretch my wings again, I would suck Vulpinian cock in order to do so. Hell, Fox might even get off my case if I do. Dammit, it was either breaking some bones back there in Medical or take my fucking grudge out here."

"qoH pujwI'! hab sosli' Quch!" came the reply, with a loud guffaw following it.

"Ha! I fucked your mother the other day so I'd say I prefer it to be so. Ugly bitch couldn't stop mewling like a sow in heat when I fisted her. A shame on your house for breeding such a foul being. Her cunt spilled roaches and had the stench of moulding fish - reeking with lack of proper bloody usage."

And thus the banter continued until their Squadron Commander gave orders to form up.

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #27
Razor looked up as he heard the red alert go off. "You have to be fucking joking..." He muttered as he shoved Carver from his lap and doubted wether or not to down his last shot. He ignored it and took his jacket as he raced with the other wolves to the turbolift. As it arrived they stepped in and Thomas nearly ran over his SCO. He halted just in time to look up at the large man and he waited for the lift to close. As he remarked if they were fit to fly Thomas nodded and answered "Ready and able sir." He said it way softer than Hannah who obviously still had a bit too much in her system.

He grinned a bit at the remark of Nightmare and didn't make eyecontact with her or his SCO. Hearing the penalties that would hit them if they screwed up made his grin fade away though, he heard how Nightmare wanted to take the fall for it all yet he answered before the lifts would arrive to their Hangar deck "With all due respect sir, we're wolves for a reason. We won't..." He had to break off his sentence now as Fox informed them about Ghost. Thomas frowned and thought to himself that it'd be impossible for her to fly a bird after her injuries.

As the Turbolift doors opened up he saw the damaged Valkyrie fly off and it brought a faint smile to his lips "Good luck out there Rawley..." He whispered as he ran into the hangar bay. He quickly jumped into his flightsuit and grabbed his helmet as he dashed his way towards his fighter. He jumped into the cockpit and fired up his systems, scrolling through the checklist before taking off. He let the tech strap him in as he answered and called for take off procedures and completing his checklists.

Mission ops chirped that they were cleared to go and he took in a deep breathe as the alcohol was being pushed away by the adrenaline rush. He took the joystick in his hand and easily led his bird forward before firing up the thrusters and cracking out of the hangar bay. Once He made it out of the maw he closed his eyes for a split second, the dark empty void of space greeting him as he opened his eyes again. He smiled feeling more at ease in space than in the confined box of the Theurgy, he could taste the freedom out here and he knocked the joystick back as he climbed away from the fighter to get a better overview. The rush of the G force at the base of his stomach made him scream out loud as the microphones were put off and he rallied back to meet up with the other wolves. "Wolf One-One standing by for orders, all systems green, Primary weapons are hot and loaded. Two Photon torpedoes and Two Emps are standing by for launch. Current bearing Nine Three Alpha, Over" He looked around and saw the other wolves form up and he tried to pinpoint the aggressor's force.

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #28
Miles quickly looked over the group but had his own things to deal with at the moment.  He headed to his fighter as he yeled at one of the techs, "Quick, gimmie a readout on what repairs are still needed on O'Six's ship."  he said as he was climbing into his own taking his helmet from the side of the seat and putting it on.  He began activating the on board systems on his ship and patching himself into all the necessary com channels.  He reached out of his ship as a tech handed him a PADD with the info which he read over quickly and threw back out to the tech, "Thanks, good job getting her ship fixed up this well." he said a little surprised the thing even was able to take off properly.

"Wolves this is Lead, Ghost and Hardtop, can the Chatter, we have work to do. O'Nine through Twelve form up,  Your designation is Group Gamma; Mav's your group lead.  O'Five to O'Eight Form up designation Group Beta; Hardtop is lead.  O'Two through O'Four you're with me as group Alpha, and you know the drill there.  Form up into your groups in escort formation Miles-Zero-One around the Theurgy.  If and when Thea goes MVAM pick a vector and stay with her for now as per Formation Miles-One-One, Fox Over."

He switched over to a com channel directly with mission ops and opened the frequency making sure the rest of the squad were not on the frequency, "Mission Ops. this is Wolf Lead.  Ghost has disobeyed her medical leave orders and launched her fighter in to battle.  I am making the call to treat her launch as under an emergency medical release so I don't have to worry about trying to drag her back into the hangar while in combat.  Frankly I can use her in the fighter screen and would rather not have to engage her as something between a friendly and a hostile.  There will be disciplinary actions take once we are back in the hangar of course but I would rather worry about combat at the moment."

Miles eased his fighter over to the side of the hanger as he awaited orders regarding Rawley's actions.  He had already sent the electronic orders for the others launches to take priority.  Had the enemy been in firing range he would have prioritized himself to the front but given the short window of planning time he decided to let the others launch and take the time still in the bay to coordinate actions with the bridge.  Within moments though that time was over and he was all that was left in the bay as he eased out of the bay.  As soon as he cleared the bay he punched the throttle pushing away from the Theurgy rapidly as he climbed and pitched his craft around to cut just behind the saucer forming the head of a diamond formation with the rest of group Alpha.  Groups Beta and Gamma formed  Two diamonds in a line abreast with the Theurgy in the middle giving the Theurgy plenty of room to engage MVAM.

Once the conversation about Ghost was over Miles reopened the com channel so the rest of the pack could hear, but remained talking to mission ops and the bridge. "Current Standing orders are escort and go weapons hot only if fired upon. If enemy fighters approach current tactic is engage in standoff tactics, get weapons lock and stay on them until they bug out.  Priority targets on main enemy vessel are weapons systems then engines and shields with priority on neutralizing and not destroying the enemy.  Theurgy do you have any further orders beyond current operations or any advisement of tactical change? Over."

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #29
[Nathaniel "Maverick" Isley - Below Decks to piloting Valkyrie]

With a grin on his face, Nathan looked at the shot glass nestled into the lovely cleavage of his fellow female pilot.  Perhaps Nightmare was worrying that she was losing ground to Kestrel, whose sexy lap dance, underwear clad body, and the kiss serving as a means to provide alcohol to Razor had elevated her to being the focus of the little drinking game they were playing.  Now, at least, all eyes were on Hannah, and on Nathan's mouth approaching Hannah's chest.  The alert not only put a hamper on all games, but the resulting jolt that it gave the woman left the drink spilled over her chest.

Looked like she was doing to be tipsy and sticky while they were piloting.

Clothing had to be grabbed quickly to get changed on the way.  He did not pity the girls, who had much more to put on, especially Skye, who had decided to strip to her undies for Razor's lap dance.  She would probably be hopping into her pant legs on the way down the hall towards the turbolift.  In terms of alcohol level, Nathan might have been the only one of the four who might have been able to pass a test, which prompted him to call out a computer command while they were waiting for the turbolift to carry them where they needed to go.  "Computer, increase the oxygen content on the Flight Deck by fifteen percent," he said, knowing that the higher concentration of oxygen would help sober up the minds of his fellow pilots.  All they had to do was take in some deep breaths.  It wasn't a perfect solution, but it was better then doing nothing at least.  As stable as they could be, they had to be it.

On the flight deck, Isley boarded his own Valkyrie and awaited launch.  Renard was giving them their strategy, which placed them in what Nathan would have referred to as deterrent mode.  They were meeting an armed vessel in a display that said their fire power was greater, that they wouldn't go down.  A single ship, even another Starfleet vessel, would be hard pressed to stop the Theurgy, armed to the teeth as one of the Federations newest models with even newer technology implemented.  They would be in their holding pattern, designed to grant them line of sight to fire all weapons without getting in the way of Theurgy herself should she seek to defend herself.  Nathan armed his weapons, fully powered and sat waiting for the command to use them.  He was already focused, whatever booze was in his system cleared out by the rush of adrenaline moving through his body.



[Lin Kae and Edena Rez - Conference Room to stations]

It should have been a major victory for Kae, to have been given the go ahead to grant Thea the power of the Mobile Emitter.  Instead, celebrations had to be cut short as red alerts signaled throughout the ship.  Edena joined the bridge crew while Kae was rushing off to join the engineering staff.  Weapons were powering up, shields ready.  Edena could at least be hopeful, so she put the suggestion out there.  "Should we hail them?  We might be able to reason with them."  She hoped so, but she also knew that no Federation ship would stand down, even if the odds were against them.  Theurgy was marked as an enemy vessel, and that meant that any crew of Starfleet, compromised or not, would not just allow them to get away. 

"Thea, do we have any information on the ship or it's crew in our databases?" she also questioned.  Thea might have been able to scan the hull, get the name and serial number of the ship and check their records for anything they might be able to gleam from it. Service record, retrofits, or dossiers on it's command staff would all be considered vital information in a firefight.  Though it was a horrible thing, it was at least an advantage to facing off against another Federation ship.

They knew their enemy better.



[Declan Vasser - Harbinger Bridge]

When Harbinger had been ordered into a pursuit course, Declan had doubts of them ever catching the Theurgy.  It already had a lead, and possessed superior engines to that of their outdated Vessel.  Harbinger was a war horse; not pretty or all rthat youthful, but it had been reliable, kept on going no matter how rough things got for it.  She had a good crew, one that kept her engines running smooth and her warp core fully powered.  Coupled with the troubles that Theurgy had for herself, they were able to bridge the gap.

"Did we manage to get any scans before their shields went up?" Vasser asked his Ops officer.  He wanted to know if there was any damage, any sign that any part of Theurgy wasn't operating at one hundred percent.  He hoped to resolved this peacefully, but if they opened fire, they needed to be ready to defend themselves.

"Helm, make sure we're as small as possible," he added, prompting them to take the bearing which presented the least amount of surface area to the ship.  In the event they opened fire, he didn't want to be presenting the broad side of a barn to them. 

"Open a channel."  Harbinger might have been a warship normally, but that didn't mean Declan couldn't be diplomatic when he needed to be.  "This is Captain Declan Vasser of the Federation starship Harbinger.  We ask that you lower your weapons and open a channel with us.  No one wants to be blown up today and I don't want to blow anyone up."  It was expected that Theurgy, as the ship with the superior firepower, should be the one to step down first.  Only then could the inferior Harbinger feel safe enough to do the same.

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #30
[Miles Renard; Location: Valkyrie, Wolf:01]
Miles began punching in a few commands into his ships computers as a bit of technical data began to fill the targeting data on his computer.  He quickly sent a query to the other squad ships computers to display their ships views of the same ship.  It wasn't much data but it was more than Theurgy had at the moment with its long range sensors down.  He sent the information he had hoping with his sensor info Thea could make something out of it.

[S'iti Aisha; USS Harbinger: Main bridge]
The Cardasian woman slowly glided her fingers over the flight control systems in their usual dance like fashion.  Watching her calmly glide her fingers across it was akin to watching a lady gliding their hands over the surface of the water in a luxurious bathtub.  Each movement was seemingly graceful almost like an organic dance of her hand over the panel.  She nodded to her Captain having already acknowledged his order and the ship was underway in its graceful cat and mouse dance against their enemy.

From the outside the ship moved delicately in ts position almost as if some unseen wind currents glided it into its place seemingly steered more by a breeze within the stars than the thrusters, impulse and warp engines of the mammoth of a battleship of sorts The Harbinger was.  Slowly it changed its vectors as the ship bared its smallest cross section in its movement each movement the Theurgy made the harbinger seemed to counter organically showing as little as possible like a shy temptress standing in the buff but turned just right so nothing indecent could be seen.

Siti's capable hands and delicate touches were  but part of the puzle of the large ships almost fluid movement.  Siti had originally been a freighter pilot and later a Maquis.  She had learned just how valuable inertia could be for not only saving fuel but also how inertia plus minor adjustments could make a ship no matter what its size behave in ways far unlike what any tactician could anticipate.  She knew she was far from the best flight control officer as far as standard Federation tactics nor the most adept stellar cartographer, in neither talent was she lacking, but she was no prodigy or genius in either all the same.  Her talent that gained her this seat was one for making a massive hulk of metal preform ballet at the touch of her fingertips.  With one skim she grazed a finger just over one of the thrusters adjusting to push the ship in a mild strafe around course The Theurgy was taking it heding in with another touch she gave more power to the impulse engines on one side of the ship letting the ship spin flatly. Finally with a soft stroke of the pads of her fingers he power of the engines was cut to minimal as she allowed inertia to seemingly glide the Harbinger in her strafing dance around the Theurgy's relative position as the engines conserved the energy they may need to evade, attack, or shield themselves.

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #31
[Thomas Ravon |Valkyrie One-One]

After receiving his orders from Renard, Thomas formed up on Maverick's lead. He took his designated position into the diamond formation and adjusted speed to match the other ships around him. He looked at the unidentified vessel before them and he recognized the Akira class ship. He became a bit silent again now as he realized that they would have to kill Federation crew if it came that far. The silence and feeling of guilt quickly got washed away though as he focused again on making sure the ship as ready for anything unexpected.

[Amelya Duv| Harbinger Bridge]

Amelya stood towards the back of the bridge as the Harbinger started their manoeuvres to reveal as little as possible. She looked confident to her captain yet she hoped that the confrontation between the two ships wouldn't take place. The med bay still had some patients from earlier encounters or incidents. A mass flow of injured crewmembers would be unfortunate if not disastrous. Amelya communicated to her head nurse that the med bay should be prepped as good as possible in case of an attack, she'd join the people in med bay if the situation would turn for the worse.


OOC: Sorry for the shorter post! But at this time there's not much more than waiting to do on my end.

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #32
[Skye - Below Decks then To Infinity ... And Beyond!!]

Things were going so damn well, Razor's hard cock feeling damn good as she ground against it while he made sure to get every drop of that shot from her mouth.  She figured on staying put for a while, at least until Maverick was rolling his dice.  Peeking over her shoulder, she grinned as she saw Nightmare set the shot in her cleavage knowing she was going to enjoy his face on her lovely mounds.

Alas none of their happy plans for the night were going to go any further as the red alert sounded and she found herself summarily dumped on the floor as Razor pushed her before she was ready.  A hearty laugh could be heard from under the table as she grabbed her boots and socks then climbed out from under to grab her pants and jacket.  "Didn't expect my ass to hurt from hitting the floor ... thanks Razor," she chortled as she took off running with them.

Skye didn't bounce through the halls trying to put on her clothes, completely unconcerned about running along in her underwear.  Instead she dove into the turbolift and plunked down on her ass to quickly pull on her socks and trousers.  "Sorry, Sir," she said to Miles.  "Be ready in just a minute."  She'd just pulled her boots on when he made his joke and she grumbled out "better not be any complaints" before shooting up and zipping her pants.

As soon as the jacket was on and zipped, the snarky and playful Skye was gone.  "I'm steady and alert, Sir.  Take a lot more shots to make me concerned."  She knew she was Mile's new partner and gave him a level gaze and held out her steady hand to assure him she was fit to work.  When the doors opened she filed out with the others and jogged over to her ship, giving it a loving pat as she ducked inside and went through her systems check.

The launch always brought out an exultant laugh but she immediately maneuvered into the formation with Miles.  "Wolf Oh-Thr...Two ready," she said correcting herself.  She used to be 03 but with the revamping had been switched to 02, something she almost forgot.  "Good luck everyone," she said over the open comm and settled herself, ready for battle though wishing it weren't fellow Starfleet fighters.

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #33
[ USS Harbinger | Main Bridge | Deck 01 ]

Standing at the right hand side of Captain Vasser, Commander T'Rena's countenance might be misjudged as halcyon despite the precarious situation. Yet she was Vulcan, and the passionless stare upon the view screen was naught more at ease than any other of the Starfleet officers on the Bridge. No, her expression was void of emotion, and not to be taken for inattentive. While she stared, the cold blade that was her mind cut away all things irrelevant, and laid bare the weaknesses and the strengths alone, presenting her with the risks and opportunities without distracting elements. When the Operations Officer answered her Captain, she did not blink. Did not take her eyes away from the Theurgy-class starship that emerged from the asteroid field.

"No readings, sir," said the Hispanic man seated next to the Cardassian Conn Officer, "which is odd. Unless our long range sensor array is malfunctioning since the last battle we fought, and we are missing a source for a jamming signal, the asteroid field must be presenting some kind of disturbance. I cannot detect any other ships, nor any outpost or probes, so that leaves us with the Theurgy causing our blindness, or this sector of the Hromi Cluster."

In an even voice, T'Rena spoke up as the Captain's First Officer. "Reroute powers to the long range sensor array and keep us updated on what you might find, Ensign. If there is a jamming signal, its frequency needs to be isolated. It is your responsibility to make sure we are not walking into this situation blindly." She then turned her dark eyes to her human CO.

They were hailing the Theurgy, so she said no more. She had already given order to their remaining Valkyries to be prepared to launch. Their Wing Commander given confirmation, and their hangar bay doors were wide open - all Federation fighters taxied into position to launch consecutively by elements. Their Tactical Officer was ready to open fire at the slightest provocation.

One word from the Captain, and they would again bring their damaged ship to battle.


[ USS Theurgy | Main Bridge | Deck 01 ]

Before Operations, Tactical and Engineering had gathered data for their verbal reports - which would answer both his own and Commander Rez' queries - they were hailed by the Starship. It was hard to tell from the outline of her back, yet Jien got the impression that Commander Stark at Ops was struggling with some readings. Nevertheless, the hail was patched through.

"This is Captain Declan Vasser of the Federation starship Harbinger.  We ask that you lower your weapons and open a channel with us.  No one wants to be blown up today and I don't want to blow anyone up."

Frowning, Jien thought she had heard variations of that message before during their flight across the Alpha Quadrant, yet since the Harbinger - which she knew to be an Akira-class ship - was inferior to the Theurgy, and it appeared that they were alone, she reasoned that there was little to loose by seeing their opponent on the duelling grounds more up-close. The only thing that came to mind was the burden of seeing those faces in their dreams after having killed them in the coming battle.

"On screen," she said and took a step forward once the feed was established - her brown eyes scanning the faces of the Harbinger's bridge crew. None of them were people she knew in person. Captain Vasser was the only one she knew somewhat about, his track record being solid and clean. A shooting star in the fleet, it had seemed, and a proven commander in battle situations.

"Captain Ives," she said, the crystal clarity of her voice cutting and uncompromising, "Commanding Officer of the USS Theurgy. I question, Captain Vasser, whether you are truly commanding a Federation ship, or if you follow the orders of Starfleet Command - once wholesome yet now corrupted and untrue. If you have come to try and barter our surrender and return us to Federation space as prisoners of war, then you are on the true enemy's leash, and we will be forced to take up arms to preserve the truth from being lost. Turn around and go back whence you came, lest we will open fire."

So many lives. How many were aboard the Harbinger? How many more would it take before this madness came to an end?

"I know not what lies you have been told about us. On what grounds we are charged to have betrayed the fleet. It would grieve me to make another Starship the charred coffin of more Starfleet officers," she said quietly, yet the confession turned into a dire promise, "yet if that is what it takes, it is something we will do again."

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #34
[ Senior Staff Meeting | Conference Lounge | Deck 01 ]
Back and forth ,the argument went. Again, Natalie couldn't help but recall the meeting from before. She reined in her embarrassment at how...heated she had become, as the Vulcan Tactical officer addressed her points, then tried to keep her ire in check as well. The lead Fighter pilot added his own two cents to the mix, and the brunette found herself nodding, slowly in agreement with Miles. Both officers had good points, even if Natalie was opposed to T'Less's views.

She turned to her side to watch Dr. Nicander, still feeling..awkward next to the man. The events they had both gone through were...harrowing. And yet, when she looked at him...memories surfaced, unbidden, again. Another shake of her head, as she stopped imagining his strong, tattooed hands running over her body, and instead focused on the dark teak wood of the conference table. It sounded like Captain Ives was going to take a good long look at the rest results before making a call.

But any further discussion was killed by the announcement that rippled through the room. "Red Alert!" she heard, as fear griped her chest for a moment. A Starfleet vessel approaching. Any vessel approaching was bad, for the Theurgy, but one of what should be their sister ships? Even after the horrors of the past few weeks, it was the combat with people they should be fighting side by side, that hit Natalie the most. This wasn't what she'd signed on for, but what choice did she, or any of the crew, have? Not when faced with the infiltration of the highest echelon's of Starfleet Command...

She was up out of her seat as fast as any of the other crew. Any visible signs of fright were quashed with a few fast, jerky breaths, drawn in through the nose. She fell in step behind T'Less, ahead of the captain and the doctor. The group seemed to split in two: those headed for the bridge, and those headed for the rest of the ship.

[Main Bridge | Deck 01]
Natalie bolted out past the doors of the turbolift, peeling to the left, down into the sunken main deck of the bridge. She took the left hand console, with a rapid exchange from the Ensign that had currently been manning the Ops station, and slid in next to Ens. Winterbourne, with a silent nod. Her hands flew across the controls, resetting them to her preference, drawing up status reports as fast as she could, and tying in with the ships sensors to see what she could make out from the approaching vessel.

Which...wasn't much. There was a lot of localized distortion being picked up on the sensors, and it made her frown. She barely registered the captains command to the conn officer, nor truly noticed the shift in the ships axis (tho part of this was because the ships internal dampeners were functioning at almost 100% for the first time in a while). Instead, she began trying every nasty trick in the book that she knew, to clean up what she was picking up.

Then the hailing signal came in, an Natalie finally looked up from her controls, back to Captain Ives, then the main view screen, as Natalie brought up the transmission from the other ship. The screen wavered, then focused in on the bridge of the Akira-class vessel. A vessel of which Natalie still could not draw a stable read on. Oh, she knew where it was, well enough, that it had assumed a defensive posture, on its axis, limiting its tactical profile, but specifics beyond that were...blocked. She frowned, then schooled her features, letting the captain deal with her counterpart as she sent a discreet text transmission to the Tactical station.

Quote
Lt. T'Less. Can you confirm that tactical sensors are also unable to get a stable read on the Harbinger? We appear to be under the effects of a dampening field.

Nervously, Natalie watched her readings, brown eyes flicking back and forth between her console, and the screen in front of her.



[Lower Science Labs | Deck 07]

Sarresh Morali sat in near total darkness, breathing in the humid air around him. He had finally achieved written permission from the chief Science Officer to set up shop for himself down here, in one of the unused science labs: the Theurgy did not have much of a science department at the moment, so the room had been unused, and Sarresh saw no reason not to take it over for himself. Permission acquired, he had taken his time to convert the lab to his personal specifications.

Some of that meant, as best he could, specialized equipment. Bursts of insight and half blurred memories had allowed him to upgrade part of the ships sensor net to detect fine grained chorniton emissions and other tale tell signs of temporal incursions. It wasn't a full fledged Time....time...he frowned, unable to remember the word. An automated display that tracked the flow of the time continuum. There was a name for it, but like many things, all Lt. Morali had left was an impression.

Regardless, between the sensitive machines set up around Sarresh, and the modified environmental controls, the Ash'reem Temporal Agent turned scientist almost felt at home. Almost back on the Relativity. The deep, near total darkness, the moist air. The Steady thrum of the sensors, the throbbing beep from the--the throbbing beep.

Eyes wide, Sarresh turned around to face the console screen behind him, focusing in on the readings there. He stared. And stared. Then swore, loudly. ohhhh no he thought. Images flashed before his eyes, in his mind. The sensors were picking up a slight distortion, that seemed to be muffled by a local disturbance. But his tools were able to lock onto a distinct quantum signature that was definitely out of phase with the time line. The readings cleared up as his hands tweaked various settings, seemingly acting on their own accord, with no conscious input from the junior Lieutenant.

He stared for a good thirty second at what the screens were telling him, before reaching up and tugging the special, light dampening goggles atop his head down over his oversized, and oversensitive, eyes. "Lights to standard" he said, eyes shut as the room flushed with light. He was up and away from his console before the computer completed his request. Eyes adjusting, he began to run, for the lab door, out in to the hall. He had to get to the bridge. He absolutely had to be there, to be sure, he couldn't say why, he just knew...


OOC:Figure I'd save a little bit for another time, once we get a few more reactions, Luncan

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #35
[Declan Vasser - USS Harbinger Bridge]

"I was ordered by Starfleet Headquarters to bring you in or shoot you down in the event that I couldn't.  It was sent to me via subspace transmission with a priority one clearance.  That sort of order is not one easily overlooked.  Harbinger's pursuit course was laid in with intent to follow that order . . . but there were unforeseen circumstances."  Declan was providing the Captain and bridge crew of the Theurgy a great deal of transparency.  He didn't hide the fact that he was sent after them, that his orders came from a high ranking Admiral who wanted nothing then to see Theurgy taken or destroyed.  From anyone else, especially in a military ship like an Akira-class, that might have been enough to keep shields and weapons ready, but Vasser had a disarming approach to himself.  He could talk with such civility that he could calm someone down even when he had them at phaser point.  Indeed, he had many reports submitted to Starfleet headquarters in which a mission was completed with diplomacy and not just war.

"I discovered an agent aboard my ship who was sending encoded messages back to Starfleet.  Apparently, he had been keeping tabs on myself and my crew for weeks now, ever since we left dry-dock after our last round of repairs.  He was a loyal officer, which left me thinking that he was coerced in some way.  Through that, I was able to find out that the Federation is not quite under our control any longer."  Declan believed what the Theurgy did, that the Federation was in danger from an inside source, something that was eating it from it's core outward.  "In accordance with Starfleet protocol, I am rejecting orders given by a higher authority that I believe to be compromised.  As I am unable to ascertain a higher authority who is not similarly affected, I instead am seeking to jointly cooperate with officers that I believe, within reasonable doubt, to be still in control of their mental faculties."

In not as many words, Declan Vasser was offering his help to the Theurgy in their mission to save the Federation from it's inside threat.  "Captain, I would like to request the right to beam aboard your vessel with a small delegation of my own crew.  I believe our crews should be on the same page, so senior staff only.  Our various department heads can start sharing what they know while you and I better discuss the terms of our collaboration.  Oh . . . and I should also ask if you would consider ordering a stand-down of your weapons?  We may be a military vessel, but even I get a bit nervous having that much weaponry pointed at me."

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #36
[ USS Theurgy | Main Bridge | Deck 01 ]

While listening to the explanation of the unforeseen circumstances that forestalled Captain Vasser from pursuing them, Jien Ives crossed her arms underneath her breasts and frowned at the man - gauging whether or not the Harbinger's Commanding Officer was telling the truth.

If he was, it might just be the best news they had received so far during their hellish journey. The realisation that they were not alone anymore, along with the fact that they would not have to bear arms against another Federation starship... oh, it was so tempting to believe it at face-value. Yet at the same time, the idea to accept unknown Starfleet officers aboard the Theurgy had many facets of right and wrong in a tactical situation such as this. While the diplomatic intent was sound, what spoke in ill favour of the forthright offer to come aboard was the experiences of the flight from Earth, and how other Commanding Officers than Vasser had tried to convince Captain Ives to turn around or to initiate talks. Yet like Vasser had already pointed out, they had been under orders that they could not refute. Each and every time had ended up with confrontation, and the disablement or destruction of the pursuing starship. Then again, there was the possibility to take the delegation hostage and use it as a bargaining ship to make the Harbinger stand down and leave - the delegation not left behind in an escape pod until the Harbinger was way out of the sector.

Grayson should have been there, to tell them if what Captain Vasser suggested could be done without dropping their guard the slightest. Glancing behind herself, Jien sought Lieutenant T'Less' eye, only to find her preoccupied with her station... as if something was amiss. Didn't Stark have problems too just earlier...?

As if confirming what Jien was beginning to notice, the Operations Officer on the Harbinger spoke up on the view screen in front of them. The digital static of his accented words carried through clearly to the Theurgy's personnel. "Captain," he said, brown eyes widening, "I cannot locate the source, but our sensors are jammed by some kind of signal. We might have entered a dampening field, but I cannot locate the frequency. It is as if... it changes just ahead of our rotating sensor harmonics."

The Vulcan woman to Captain Vasser's right stepped up to the Ops station, which made Jien notice the red scar that crossed the woman's emotionless countenance. Her words were not hasty, nor said in ire, but in cold efficiency. "Recalibrating the the upper sensor array," she said and tapped upon the station across the Hispanic man's shoulder, "New locked algorithm to our harmonics rotation: Five-Zero-Seven-Epsilon. Energised."

"Contact! A ship! Twelve k-kilometers away!" the Operations Officer said, eyes going wider, "bearing Five-Five-Two-Niner!"

Jien rounded on the Mission Ops officer, a man seated at Edena Rez' side. "Triangulate from the Harbinger's current position and send the wolves there immediately. If hostile, weapons free upon making contact. Now!"

"This is Mission Ops," said the man after jamming his thumb down on the comm relay, "Contact, bearing... Nine-Nine-One-Alpha. I repeat, Nine-Nine..."

Turning back to the Harbinger crew, Jien inclined her head. "Seems we are not alone," she said as she walked up to the view screen, meeting the eyes of Captain Vasser. She was staring into those blue orbs and judging the man during a few utterly tense moments, where both their bridge crews were astir and shouting orders over the comm, fingers and hands punching away at the touch panels. The Vulcan Commander roused the Harbinger's starfighters - a squadron of Valkyrie Mk.IIs launching out of the Akira-class ship's bay doors. Behind Jien, this was noticed, and the questions assaulted her back while she stared into Declan Vasser's eyes.

"Captain, your orders?" asked Mission Ops, "Should we keep a Flight Wing of our Valkyries here?"

"Captain, should I lay in a new course or not?" asked Winterbourne, his blonde head swivelling Jien's way, "we will bear our side to the Harbinger..."

A few more moments, Jien's gaze was unblinking - judging the situation and the man facing her. She would have to stand down first. This she knew, lest the inferior starship's commander would not dare do the same. Given Jien's track record as of late, the human had every right to be cautious of the Chameloid and what she might do, yet all the same, Jien was not prone to trust Starfleet any more given what they had been through. That Ops officer of Vasser's did not seem to enact the ploy of a distraction, yet how could Jien be sure of that? Vasser had a spotless tactical record himself. By Vasser's side, the Vulcan First Officer said nothing, as if none of what transpired around her could unphase her. She appeared perfectly fine to die if that was inevitable.

"Captain..."

"Disengage weapon's lock on the Harbinger. Send all of the wolves. Conn, lay in a course towards the unknown vessel. Half impulse. Engage." Jien said this without looking away from Vasser. "Before we compare notes, let's first see whom might wish to blind us, shall we?"

She still had MVAM, should Captain Vasser try to play her false.


OOC: Upon making contact, the vessel... is an Yridian shuttle. It's heading towards the two Federation starships. :)

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #37
[Miles Renard: Wolf 01]

Miles had been listening in on the hail between the two ships and had kept his mic open to mission ops and squad for orders.  "Roger that; I herd the conversation. Squad adjust your sensor harmonics to quaternary preset.  Throttle up and engage Bogey.  Don't fire unless they fire at us or Harbinger.  If Bogey goes hostile, light the Bandit up. Over" As he did as he ordered He felt the mild kick of his engines as he throttled up to the full Impulse speed the Valk 3's were capable. The sensors also seemed to blink to life and he finally had an undampened lock on the Akira class now as well as the new contact the Harbinger had mentioned.  "Roger that Missops we have contact on Bogey 12 Kilo out from the Harbinger.  Multiple contacts exiting Harbnger; probably her type two Valks."

Miles Watched closely as they closed the distance before ordering a reduction to combat speed upon getting a clear sensor lock on the contact as he sent the sensor data back to the Theurgy.  "Bogey is a Yridian Shuttle and We have weapons lock." he said on the semi open channel between his squad and mission ops.  "Squad follow me we are going pure pursuit Alpha group Match speed with target and maintain optimum weapons envelopes for close range Beta and Gamma  Get into optimum Long range weapons envelope on the shuttle and keep an eye on the Harbinger for me. If they so much as try and cross us I want them lit up with everything we have.


[S'Iti Aisha: USS Harbinger Main bridge]
She looked down at the panel as she saw the new contact. and adjusted the angle of The Harbinger to it Placing as many of her weapons on it to bear as possible while still remaining in a decent relative orientation to the Theurgy

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #38
[Razor: Wolf 11]

Thomas kept his eyes on the Akira class ship as his fighter remained in position in his designated Gamma squadron. Glancing over at Mav as squadron leader he tapped his mic and asked "Where do you want us to form up Mav?" He saw Miles and his squadron blast off towards the incoming shuttle and he noticed the multiple contacts shooting out of the bay doors from the Akira class ship. He smiled a bit to see the Valks fly out and he waited for the answered of Isley to carry on.

In the meantime his sensors lighted up as the multiple valks and Akira class ship came in range of his ship. After a few minutes his sensors also registered the shuttle and his weapons got a lock on only minutes later. "Squadron leader, for your information, I have a long range lock and am cleared to fire at your command." He said towards Nathaniel and he focused now while keeping a close eye on the Akira class ship. He didn't like that big ship just sitting on their flanks. As the ship rotated to fire with maximum capable capacity towards the shuttle, Thomas hesitated and opened a comm link to Miles "Fox, Harbinger just rotated a few degrees, bear in mind that you are now in maximum firing range." He said on a calm tone, he didn't want to cause distress to his commander yet he felt the urge to keep the man and his wingmen informed of the situation.

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #39
[ USS Theurgy | Main Bridge | Deck 01 ]

"Closing in on the target, ma'am," said the Winterbourne to Jien where she stood in front of the command chair, "looks like the wolves are already circling the prey."

"Captain, we are being hailed by the shuttle," said Natalie Stark from her Ops station, "Not just us, but the Harbinger too, as well as all of the Valkyries. It is an open transmission on all frequencies, ma'am."

Jien stepped forward, hands folded behind her back and browridge lowered - looking upon the small vessel that was surrounded by a hornet's nest of Federation fighters. Apparently, whomever was in that shuttle wanted to be heard. "I see," she said quietly, "On screen."

The view screen lit up... and there sat a woman with short blonde hair and a dismantling smile.

[Show/Hide]


"Oh, how sweet of you to come to my aid," she said and chuckled, raising her hands in a non-serious gesture of surrender - the gratuitous cleavage of her dark overalls coming into view. "No need to fire upon little me, see? It is just me in here, and I bear no ill will towards the Federation. Now, now, everyone calm?" She dropped her hands leaned forward, her smile blinding and her eyes creased in a very charming way. "As it is, I drifted by merely wishing to ask if you have spotted any other ships heading this way, you see? As you are here, I was also wondering you could bestow your Starfleet kindness upon a silly, silly little merchant like me in an its-bitsy predicament."

She bit her lower lip in pause, yet did not wait for any answer - the smile remaining. "I would be very grateful if you big boys could help in tracking down a group of bad, bad, scoundrels who fooled me in a deal I made back on Nimbus III. I was promised a working, marvellous piece of machinery, and I after they left, they had pulled the programming! I was left with a device working at a half of its potential. Needless to say, my buyers were not too satisfied... and..."

Her big, round eyes became pleading in a heart-wrenching way. "...Now, I fear for my life unless I can fix it. My buyers are big scary people, and yet I make my living out of their purses. So, have you detected any other ships going through the Hromi Cluster? Please, help a poor woman in distress..."

Jien, her hands still folded behind her back, stared at the woman on the screen for a couple of seconds.

The Captain made no comment, even though realisations were being drawn based on a report sent his way a some days ago. She cleared her throat. "This is Jien Ives of the Federarion starship Theurgy, to whom am I speaking?"

"Jien! What a cute name!" said the woman and radiated warmth in a way only a Risian might, even though she seemed to have removed her cultural marking on her forehead, "My name is Rihen Neyah, and I would be sooo pleased if you could help me out. I had trouble spotting you with my sensors, but the light in this cluster caught your hulls and the little ships so prettily, so I saw you from afar. How come Starfleet is out here anyway?"

If there was a dampening field, it was not originating from the shuttle...

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #40
[Wolf 01: Miles]

Miles thought to himself as he heard the words recognizing that this person in question most likely is the same Rizian that their holo specialist had run into. It was rather obvious given the story she gave what ad occurred and the parallels were to much to be mere coincidence.

Hearing  her words Miles closed the hail on his end and turned his attention to his squadron.  "Squad Break off and split into two ship units and establish a local patrol.  Stretch your sensors as far out as they can go and look for anything that seems odd.   Whatever is jamming us ain't this shuttle."  Miles pulled into a tight loop beaking of from the shuttle and away from the Harbinger.  He didnt know why but that predatory instinct within his just screamed that there was an even greater predator in the shadows waiting to make them into its prey.

With that weighing on his mind he opened up a hail and sent it to one of the lead elements of the Valk-IIs, "Valkyrie Two pilot, this is Miles Renard SCO of the USS Theurgy's Lone Wolves Squadron. I am requesting to speak to your SCO via private com channel, over."

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #41
Theurgy:
While attractive, Nicole still found herself not trusting the woman on the screen, something about her striking her false... or it could just be she thought the woman was trying to hit on Jien and didn't like it.  Either way, she wanted nothing to do with her.  If she were honest, she'd just as soon tear the woman's eyes from her head as allow her to continue talking to Jien, which made her glad she wasn't in charge right now.  Finally, she spoke up, trying to remain professional, "Captain, I've done what I can with the sensors to locate the source of the dampening.  There are still a few higher level functions that are in repair."

"If I might point out, we are in no condition or position to assist with a search," T'Less said softly, low enough her words wouldn't carry through the comm to Rihen.  Even as she was switching targets, she still kept a sensor trained on the Harbinger, so they would have at least some notice should the warship decide to attack them while their back was turned.  "Also, we are currently in a rather delicate position with the Harbinger.  It would be ill-advised to remain in this sector longer than necessary."

Harbinger:
He sat in his Valkyrie and waited, arms crossed, his fingers of his left hand drumming the upper muscles of his right arm.  He knew his pilots were more than a match for the fighters aboard the Theurgy, having fought dozens of battles proving their dominance, but now was not the time to prove it.  Even if they were to engage one on one, the Harbinger would no doubt end up a pile of space debris, which wouldn't do him and his any good.  Still, as he listened to the communications from the opposite pilots, he nodded and tapped his badge, "This is Harbinger Wing Commander Phanatos Kilinvoss, Commander.  Switching to private channel 224."

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #42
(OOC: Done over IM by Taguiera and IronFerrox)

Miles heard the voice of the previously opposing SCO as he switched the com channel over, per his request "Roger that Commander, this is Wolf 1.  Over."

"Dor'ghItlh 1 acknowledges Wolf 1.  What do you need, Commander," Phanatos answered, pulling up the databanks from the Harbinger for Theurgy crew, studying Miles' Starfleet record.

"It seems we are right now dealing with a mystery as to what the source of this dampening field we are both faced with is.  I have assigned my squadron into a Recon patrol to try and find the source of this interference.  I wanted to propose that your wing join up with mine in this task."

"I do not recommend a joint venture at this point, Renard," was the quick reply, as Phanatos thought the situation over.  "As our ships have not yet reached an agreement, it would be best to keep our distance.  As such, I would suggest you take your squadron to sectors 2 through 6, while my own will secure sectors 1 and 7 through 10."

He nodded, "That would be fair as well.  You take the sectors on the Harbingers side of the line in the sand and we will patrol on the Theurgy's side.  I just wanted to more than anything reach an agreement with you so we didn't get mixed up in some nonsensical territorial spat."

"I would further suggest we each leave a pair of fighters in these positions, should a quick reaction be required while we are out searching.  I will remain here with my lieutenant," Phanatos said as he typed out a command on his screen, dispatching his fighters to their tasks.  He blinked at the thought of any territory being involved and shook his head, "Commander, so long as your fighters do not attack, and your ship remains with weapons not on the Harbinger, I think we'll get along fine."

He nodded, "That was my thoughts as well.  For safety's sake though, I wouldn't recommend putting our guns down just yet.  I have a bad feeling that there's something in the shadows that's waiting to pounce."

"There usually is, son," Phanatos murmured, watching his screens carefully as his orders were carried out.  A group of 4 fighters moved off to their sectors, while Phanatos remained behind, a single fighter off to his port side and a little behind.  He knew that, so long as there remained any chance of a fight between the Harbinger and the Theurgy, his weapons and himself, would remain on high alert.  "If there's nothing further, I suggest we attend to our tasks."

He nodded.  "Roger that, Dor'ghItlh lead, Wolf lead out," he said as he sent the orders to his own squadron, before taking a position mirrored to Phanatos with Skye along with him mirroring the other's wing.

"Dor'ghItlh 1 out," Phanatos replied, settling in for a wait.  He continued to read Miles' file, including the most recent entry by the corrupted Starfleet admiral who had dispatched the Harbinger on its mission.  It made for uninteresting reading, but necessary.  If he had to engage Renard, he wanted to know his enemy well.

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #43
[turbolift | In transit]

"Come on come on come on," Sarresh muttered as the turbolift. He was still adjusting his uniform jacket, tugging it into place. The previous climate from his lab had made full uniform prohibitive. He'd been lucky enough to remember to grab it on the way out. That it was missing the combadge was something Sarresh would regret, later. As it stood, the Ash'reem was convinced that the dry, tepid air in the turbolift was somehow causing the pod to travel slower then it should up the shaft towards the bridge. He was pacing, his tongue clicking out randomly, a nervous gesture. "come on you primitive bucket of bolts!"

[Bridge | Deck 01]

"Captain, we are being hailed by the shuttle," said Natalie Stark from her Ops station, "Not just us, but the Harbinger too, as well as all of the Valkyrie's. It is an open transmission on all frequencies, ma'am." She turned, glancing just barely over her shoulder, meeting Jien's eyes. She let her head snap back around, and brought the transmission up, as ordered, her efforts to nail down the source of the jamming transmission still proving fruitless.

The woman's plea for assistance rang slightly hollow with Natalie. She had been appraised of some of the events of Nimbus III, and recalled vaguely that there was mention of getting the help of a local native. The name given seemed familiar to the brunette, but she was too busy at that point to really give the other woman much attention. Her opinion of the overly nice engineer was just that: sickeningly sweet, so that meant she wanted something, or was up to something.

"For what its worth, captain," Natalie said, dampening the comm channel entirely at that point, but doing her best to look like she wasn't speaking, her eyes focused down on her console, "that ship is what it appears to be. At least, that's what the sensors we have are telling us. I --"

Her words were cut short as the turbolift doors burst open, and one of the ships 4 Ash'reem officers bolted out of the doors, in a half mad dash around a yeoman that had been caught gaping at the view screen. Nearly knocking the poor junior officer down, Sarresh Morali jerked himself to a stop, steadying the other man.

"Captain," he said, not really caring about the conversation going on, the strange woman on the view screen, or really knowing much about the other Federation ship, beyond the fact that the alert had rung out across the Theurgy a short while before his scans hit. "We have to get out of here, now, sir--ma'am." He had no great love for Jien, in either form, but for once, his condescending manner was absent entirely. His pupils were dilated, albeit hidden behind his goggles, his pulse racing; the veins under the membranes behind is jaw were visibly pulsing a deep purple shade, and his normally moist skin seemed dry. All telltale signs that would indicate, to a trained eye at least, extreme fear or concern.

He started to pace the room, first stopping by the chief Engineer, as if pleading with her, his hands raised, just below his chin, between them, as if begging her to respond "We're not alone out here. There's something coming. Chroniton levels are in flux, a Rift, wormhole, the time-stream cut bare! It's off the charts."

Yet there was nothing, no spark of understanding, and in frustration, he rounded the room, shaking the one yeoman again, then grabbing at the First Officers collar in turn."The phasic variance is over 28.25%. The perturbation of the quantum signature of the Homri Cluster started small but its growing exponentially." The words spewing forth from his mouth at a rapid pace, almost as if he were saying them without thinking them through. His mouth seemed to hang open for a moment as he looked around the bridge crew. Where once he was racking his brain, now the knowledge, the understanding was there! And with it came the panic.

When still no one did anything, Sarresh groaned, and straightened up, running a hand through his hair in frustration, he turned from Commander Rez and twisted about on one heel, nearly falling over, knocking into Jien."Sir, it's a temporal incursion.Its big. Too big. Way too big. We need to leave NOW!"


OOC: sorry for getting a little hands on with some of y'all's characters...

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #44
[Eve - Main Sickbay]

Eve was already in sickbay when the red alert went off and immediately she was at the screen pulling up the medical personnel files.  "Lt. Jenkins acknowledging, Sir, and preparations are starting now," she said and split the screen into four sections.  The oldest and most experienced with battle medics was assigned to the Assault Bay and then the next two were sent to the other two sick bays.  "Computer activate emergency medical holograms in Vectors Two and Three Battle Sick Bays."  Hearing the standard response, she cut in quickly.  "No emergencies yet but be ready.  Nurses are on their way to assist," she informed them.

Turning to the nurses standing by, she began delegating.  "Patterson, Newberry, and Jones get the med kits ready and get them to the three other sites.  You'll be staying in those positions to assist with triage."  As she worked on the surgical bays herself, she worked with Operations regarding all the possibilities for transport.  Pretty much everything was ready and she stood ready in the middle of sickbay but there was no sign of Lucan yet.  For everyone looking at her, she was calm and collected with an encouraging smile but inside her nerves were starting to prickle.  Where are you Lucan? she thought to herself.


[Skye - On Patrol]

Hovering over the shuttle, finger hovering over the trigger, Skye wondered just who the hell was in this shuttle and why they were suddenly trusting another Starfleet ship.  It wasn't really her call though and she would just defend as necessary.  An open hail came through and though she'd not spent much time around her, Skye knew that voice.  "Oh for the love of PETE!  What the fuck is that milk cow doing out here?" she hissed and then hearing more shit spew from her mouth felt every hackle raise.

"Poor woman in distress my ass!  You fucking leech I swear I will tear you limb from limb if the captain lets you on board and you keep spewing lies to cover your jiggly bumper."  Thankfully she hadn't said that through the comm and it was only echoing in her cockpit.  Her finger twitched as her desire to blow that shuttle to smithereens boiled inside of her.  Opening a channel to the other Valkyries in her squadron, most definitely including her CO and wingman, she cleared her throat.

"Don't trust that thing as far as you can throw it.  She's a slimy sneaky snake lookin' to sink her fangs into something.  She's the engineer from Nimbus III who wanted to hold the market on everything with that replicator Lin Kae fixed but when it was all done and we had what we needed, he set it back to proper regs according to the Prime Directive.  Probably promised a lot of people big things while we were still there and now she can't deliver so she's on the run.  Probably doesn't think we'll know who she is ... bastitch," she informed them but slipped with the derogatory word at the end.  Still grumbling, she continued to hover closely but set her scans as instructed.

[Rory - Bar on the Harbinger - Game Entry]

Things were pretty quiet in the bar, only a few people blowing off a little steam after their shift.  In spite of being displaced he'd made a bit of a home for himself and had a few friends.  No matter how buddy-buddy he got though, no one would ever really tell him what was going on and after all this time that had pretty much chapped his ass raw.

The civilian showman didn't know why they hadn't just dropped him off somewhere so he could hitch a ride back home.  It would have been the sensible thing to do but for some reason he'd been kept and kept pretty much in the dark.  Life had been pretty scary ever since.  He was no stranger to fights but not ones that involved ships and the possibility of being vaporized.

He wasn't on the payroll and he wasn't Starfleet so of course he didn't mind sharing a drink while he 'worked' as the bartender.  He'd just downed another lager while flirting with Brigit, that hot little redhead from engineering, when the red alert sounded.  As usual everyone ran out, including Brigit, and he had no clue what was going on other than shit was hitting the fan again.

"Diabhal é go hIfreann!"1 he yelled out, slipping into his homeland tongue as he flung the small towel that had been draped over his shoulder onto the counter.  Normally he was quite cheerful and loved to laugh and sing but it had been a long time since he'd enjoyed the company of a woman and the prospect of another dog fight had his ire up to say the least.

Stomping out of the recreational area, he stepped into the nearest turbolift.  "Take me to the bridge," he commanded in thick Irish brogue, cheeks red with anger.  When the doors opened, he stepped out.  "Would someone kindly tell me .." he started speaking but was brought up short by a security officer who's hand pressed the center of his chest, making him step back.

"Póg mo thóin!"2 Rory snapped and started to push forward again.  He was tall but certainly not imposing like so many of the men in Starfleet uniforms.  His blonde hair had fallen over and completely covered his right eye but the left was narrowed in anger.  "I'll not be kept in the dark anymore.  I demand to know what's going on," he huffed.


1 "Damn it to hell!"
2 "Kiss my ass!"

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #45
[Declan Vasser - Harbinger Bridge]

"Tactical, I want to to communicate to the Squadron to work with the Valkyries of the Theurgy.  We're going to show good faith by supporting them.  Tell the SCO to be in contact with the SCO of Theurgy, and that in the event of disagreement, to defer to the other."  Theurgy was the superior ship, and they were still being measured,.  As such, Declan and his crew were the ones who had to extend the olive branch.  Turning his attention back to the view screen, he spoke to Jien Ives once more.  "I would extend the offer for you to come aboard my own ship, captain, but I am sure you have a security chief off screen shaking a head in disagreement to that right now.  Instead, I would simply agree to whatever security measure your staff places upon me and my crew if we were to come aboard your ship.  If you are looking for the maximum security, your transporters would filter out our phasers to sure we were carrying no weapons, and you would have a security team waiting for us in the transporter room.  I assure you that if this is what you agree is the best precaution, my crew and I would not be offended."

When Jien took the message from Rihen, Declan was left again to just his crew, their call essentially on hold.  "Number one, I'll want you along if they accept to have us transport over.  We should have a senior tactical officer along to provide reports on our telemetry.  I don't foresee a need for engineering, as I doubt they will let us near any technical systems for the time being.  For now, we just want staff who can help with delegations between Harbinger and Theurgy.  We're going over there to make friends, so I leave it to good old Vulcan logic to decide which members of the crew would be the most welcome faces to bring."

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #46
[ USS Harbinger | Main Bridge | Deck 01 ]

T'Rena turned to face Vasser when he spoke to her, making sure that Ops and Tactical kept their attention on the hail-feed from the Yridian shuttle. Neither of the Senior Staff officers had managed to locate the source of the dampening field that had hidden the shuttle, yet with the Theurgy attending to the irksome circumstances with the assistance of their Valkyries, her CO saw the apt opportunity to plan for the more crucial tactic of winning the trust of the Theurgy-class starship's crew. The Vulcan woman had her hands folded stoically behind her back, taking in what her superior officer said.

"Yes, Captain," she said in an even tone, not batting an eye at the compliment on her species and their character. He simply stated facts, after all. "I will hand-pick the officers that will appear to be the most trustworthy in their expertise, along with those that might thaw the ice... as your human saying goes. Before that, we might win further trust in assisting the search on the source of the dampening field. We should send our readings t-"

"Póg mo thóin! I'll not be kept in the dark anymore. I demand to know what's going on."

Turning to face the civilian who barged into the Bridge, T'Rena did not even say a word. She merely turned her flat stare to the Chief of Security, whom as already on her way.


OOC: Enter stage right; Dee. You're up Arielle. :) I will post again later today.

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #47
[ USS Theurgy | Deck 07 | Surgical Suite 02 ]

His body glistening from the brief time in the small sonic shower, Dr. Nicander found that the nurses had not had the time to restock the shelves next to the small stall with new towels as he emerged from it. Little did he care at that point, since he was due to take charge in Main Sickbay momentarily, having gone to one of the Surgical Suites to wash himself from the residues of Natalie Stark. That morning's physical examination of her in the jefferies tubes was still vivid to his mind, yet he imagined himself to still smell of her sex. Also, there was another reason why he came to this particular surgical suite.

It was one of his safe havens, void of accurately transmitting surveillance devices in the edges of the ceiling and a hidden malfunction in the holo-emitter - keeping the Ship AI from being able to "walk" in on him. The sabotage was of the kind that was overlooked by the ship diagnostics, Lucan having been given the information and calibration tools by his kin in Starfleet Command at the final production stages of the Theurgy and its unique system layout. As a sub-system that overlapped the common authorisation codes, he was reassured that what he was hiding in the suite would not be noticed unless someone actively tore down the rear wall.

Naked, he stepped up to it, a small smile playing on his lips at his ancient Terran password. "Open sesame."

There was a click, and the plating slowly swung open, revealing a terrarium. The florescent light that hit him made him narrow his pale eyes; cast his wet body into a white-washed chiselled statue. The first couple of days, he'd had to look for her to find her. Nowadays, he saw her right away - growing by each day as she did. In fact,she was getting a bit too big to keep there. He would have to tear down more of the plating soon and replicate more sound-proof three-inch glass-clad polycarbonate walls. It would take some time that he had to find in his duties, yet the creative element of the bodily work did have its own base gratification. It was not like she would be going anywhere either, never having left the surgical suite she was born in.

Amikris' child was writhing more as she spotted him... and he smiled to her.

[Access Denied,] said the computer faintly, the words emanating from outside the sliding doors. A murmured voice spoke up afterwards, and Lucan's eyes widened. He moved quickly, shutting the panels as fast as he could... yet he was too late.

"Oh, I am sorry, doctor, this is important but I did not realise..." came a familiar voice, reacting to his nakedness first, and then it paused. "What is that?"

He should not have used his common Starfleet authorisation code to lock the door. A dire mistake to check on her, especially since he was in a hurry to begin with. Fortunately, the location was the most optimal in order to remedy his mistake - being on conditioned ground. Rounding on the intruder like death itself, the demonic doctor's eyes shone brightly with Câroon power, and the same white light spilled from his mouth as he spoke.

"Close the gates of ivory," Lucan said gravely in his deep voice, and the cadence lit Counsellor Nelis' alarmed face... whilst the sliding doors shut him in.


[ Hromi Cluster | AC-409 Mk III Valkyrie Attack Fighter | Wolf-06 ]

Hearing Skye, Evelyn Rawley guffawed inside her helmet, looking at Kestrel's bird through her TVD visor. She pressed the squadron comm-channel and spoke up while turning her ship around to set out on patrol.

"And here I thought blondes had more fun," she said and grinned, turning her joystick sideways into a rolling turn - all the wolves spreading out in the designated perimeter. "Ah, I get it! I suppose blondes don't appreciate competition... Is that is, Carver? Whom are you trying to convince? That Risian has nothing on you. Though I'd not be adverse to find out, in either case."

[jIyajbe',] came from Ghost's wingmate, Khorin Douglas saying he did not get the joke as he flew next to her.

"They are both blondes, you big bloody dimwit." She rolled her eyes...

...and saw it.

Sudden terror made all the white show around her brown irises. She thrust her joystick forward and dove while screaming over the comm. "Evade! Evade! Evasive manoeuvres! Now, now, now!"

And then the hell-fire rained over them - orange bursts lighting up everything in sight. Like the hand of one of those 'gods' that had accosted them last, it smote down upon them in immediate and coordinated precision. Down, down, down came the phasers like a rainstorm, with not so much as a weapon signature registering in the Valkyries' sensors. Khorin was screaming statically in her ears as she kicked the thrusters to maximum and spiralled downwards with the rain. She was screaming as well, she realised, and could not help but turn her head around - the TVD seeing through her damaged bird and the energy emissions in her wake.

The flying that Khorin Douglas did would have made his House proud, and yet one hit sent him slightly off course and into another burst, then another and soon sent him spinning downwards in the storm of enemy fire. Her terror, whilst barely kept in check, was two-fold. Both because Khorin's fighter was shredded to pieces before her eyes, and that his shields had not protected him at all... as if...

"Our shields are not working!" she called as she tried to get away, to angle off at some point. This was confirmed as one hit made her spin out to the side. "Agrh!! It has our shield harmonics! Rotate them! Rotate! Its another fucking Theurgy! It's in MVAM, over!"

And not only was there a Starfleet Heavy Assault Cruiser hidden in the light from the closest star above, for down came also no less than a full sixteen ship squadron of unknown fighters... A third squadron now occupying the sector and descending upon them. What was worse was that none of the enemy showed up on sensors. The coordinated attack was launched upon them all; Theurgy, Harbinger, all of the Valkyries. It was like a butchers axe rammed down on top of their collective necks.

And the second swing held the torpedoes, with none of their shields working.


[ USS Theurgy | Main Bridge | Deck 01 ]

As riling and quick as the TAO was, he was much too late. Little more had he fallen silent than the Theurgy shook with the first impacts. There was no time to address how the Ash'reem's memory had been temporarily restored to him. Not right then. Afterwards, if they survived whatever had come for them, Jien - in his male form now since he switched when being called 'sir' - would tell the man as much as he could.

"Evasive manoeuvres!" he now called and returned to his chair, gripping the armrest as the phasers made the Theurgy screech and tumble in protest. "Get visual on the enemy and tag them when they are spotted! Engage Multi-Vector-Assault Mode! What are we dealing with?"

"Initiating decoupling sequence," said Thea at the back of the Bridge, eyes still as she with her background processes tried to assist both T'Less and Natalie in the scanning and changing of shield harmonics - intuitively providing them with encryptions and new shield harmonic variances to pick from in order to try and disrupt the dampening field and restore their defences. She also set Vectors 1 and 2 to follow the Captain's order of evasive manoeuvring. "Auto-separation in ten seconds. Nine. Eight..."

"It looks like..." said Winterbourne hurriedly from Conn, since there were no readings on the enemy from the sensors. He paused as he was trying to get away from the onslaught of enemy fire to the best of his ability - the last two months having given him more experience than most veterans in Conn would ever hope to achieve, "...a Theurgy-Class variation with a black hull, damn hard to spot with your eyes alone! It's already in MVAM, its vectors coming down upon us in what appears to be a focused attack on us.. then about to go for the Harbinger. Their starfighters do not look like anything I've seen before..."

"...Five. Four...." said Thea. More detonations, Jien gripping the armrest harder. There was no time for a damage report.

Jien turned to T'Less. "We can't enter basic attack formation now, so as soon as we have decoupled, you have the tactical command of all three Vectors. Ops will handle the scans. Ready?"

"...One. Separation sequence in progress," finished Thea, and the three vectors split up in the rain of fire - responding to Tactical command with almost a third of the Theurgy's weapon arrays and torpedo bays revealed. Had they the time to prepare for it, they could have physically manned the Battle Bridges with MVAM transports, yet now they were forced to use the quicker remote control tactics.

"Now, Lieutenant!"


OOC:

Current status for the departments are as follows, applying to both Theurgy and Harbinger officers:

Command/Conn/Tactical: Taguiera, you have the MVAM tactical operations for the Theurgy with T'Less. Kurohigi, you have command of the Wolves through Mission Ops via IronFerrox and Nathaniel is out there as well. IronFerrox, you have the Harbinger Conn with Aisha, and with no actively-played Tactical Officer there, you, Kurohigi and I can help out in writing the battle for the Harbinger. OBS: The Calamity-class starship nor its fighters shows up on sensors, only visual contact and tagging their movements in the computers can grant weapons-lock.

Security: ThanIda zh'Wann was overseeing Cadet Bellde'side's initial efforts on the phaser range when the Red Alert was sounded. They are now establishing a perimiter in the bow - ready for the intruder alert to be sounded. They have a detail of ten security guards with them. Arielle, your upcoming post with Dee regarding Rory (see earlier) leads to the Harbinger being attacked and more work preparing for what has come upon them - rallying the Security Department for battle.

Tactical Conn: Wolf-05 is blown to bits, and Khorin "Hardtop" Douglas needs to be tractored/transported aboard the Theurgy at some point and taken to Sickbay. Solve the problem guys, perhaps through Medical (Eve Jenkins atm). OBS: The Calamity-class starship nor its fighters shows up on sensors, only visual contact and tagging their movements in the computers can grant weapons-lock. Here is the new fighter of the Calamity' squadron, which is a bad-ass upgrade on the specs fo the Valkyrie Mk III, and they all fly as if synchronised with one mind... showing no life-signs. Never intimidated and brutally efficient in their flying.
[Show/Hide]


Medical/Counselling: Searcher, with Lucan gone, Sickbay is Eve's with the first patients arriving from the hits that the Theurgy is taking. Nolan, same things for Amelia Duv - the Harbinger being shot upon as well.

Engineering/Operations: Taguiera, Brutus and Aron Garow: Keep the ship together and running! Find a way to restore their shields to twart the enemy fire! If a solution with the shield harmonics is found (I definitely allow it else there is no plausible way they all will make it) make sure the news reach the poor Valkyrie pilots as well.

Science: Brutus, Sarresh may still have his memories and be very helpful for a while so I will let you decide on what you want to do. We can brainstorm over PM or IM if you want my thoughts. Also, there is the matter of the new character to put your time on.

Final note: Remember to have fun! Beyond the notes above, feel free to make shit up, since according to the manuscript, we should be making the Harbinger and Theurgy work together and win the battle - which leads to celebrations galore. If you have any questions, please don't wait to see me on IM, but write me a PM instead!



Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #48
[Miles: Before the attack]
Miles opened a com channel directly to his wing, Ensign Carver. "I thought that story sounded familiar.  Still I could imagine the Benefits of having a person of her skills aboard the ship.  And no I don't mean her Rizian heritage you Perv."  About that time he heard Rawley's voice come over the com channel. and in seconds streams of orange light were raining all around them.

[Harbinger Bridge S'iti]

An explosion rocked the bridge as the surge of energy penetrated through the shields of the Harbinger.  The tactical desk however was in ruins as S'iti looked to her desk rerouting tactical controls to fight-conn.  I thought we lost these guys?" She added to herself as the weapon readouts appeared on her screen  while she looked back and saw the person at the tactical desk was at least not dead though his desk certainly was.  "Weapons are up and ready and I'm trying to recycle our shield harmonics.  Wait did that guy on their ship just say temporal.  Recommend we launch a class 2 probe and set it to detect chronotons.  At the very least at least we may be able to know where to look to get a visual lock.

[Wolf 01 Miles]

He saw the orange beams pierce through his squad member's ship as he Rocked his ship to the side and cut between two of the beams of light. noticing the scorch marks from a glancing hit.  "Dammit they have our shield harmonics too?"  he said tapping a few things into his Knee Pad as a series of signals was sent to the squadron's ships automating them to recycle their shields harmonics to the setting that their ship had programmed under the designation Renard Sigma. "Rawley Join up with 9 and 10 they are the closest to you." he said over the Squad channel.  "CONTACT! We have enemy fighters!  We've gotta find a way to sensor lock these things or they will be on our sixes in seconds." 

Re: EPISODE 03: Shades of Truth [Prologue: Out of the Night That Covers Me]

Reply #49
[ USS Theurgy | Surgical Suite 02 | Deck 07 ] OOC: Due warning for strong content.

The third in a series of concussions shook the air in the room and made the Counsellor slam into the wall - sent there by an invisible fist. In both luck and irony, the ongoing racket was concealed by the enemy fire that slammed into the Theurgy.

Walking after his prey, the darkness inside Lucan had truly come alive in expectation of blood. It writhed and coiled, snapped and screeched for more. Yet the Câroon exercises were taxing, so while he regained his composure, Lucan took deep breaths and picked up an exoscalpel from the floor. He took his time, getting his balance in order, straightening slowly. Tilting his head, the doctor frowned and activated the energy blade of the instrument. He amused himself by making a diagnosis on the half-breed.

Disrupted and wandering attention. Inability to think or behave with purpose. Broken speech patterns. Indeed, poor Mister Nelis was in a state of shock. He kept shaking his head, as if there were no end to the things he wanted to deny. The Counsellor's face was one big wound of blunt trauma. He was barely coherent where he lay sprawled against the wall, yet he finally managed to say something.

"Why? You are n-not him. Who a-are you?" The resemblance of a trapped animal was painstakingly obvious, and the blubbering mewl enticed the thing crawling within. Just as the battle outside did, the ship rocking again from another barrage. The danger. The blood-lust! It made Lucan hard, his cock rising in an arc as he bore down upon the helpless Counsellor - the florescent light making him look like the monster that he was inside.

"I am the nexus of the crisis,"
he said, his eyes and his mouth still shining white. "The origin of the storm. The reason you are all out here, all alone, where no one in the whole wide Federation can come to your aid."

Realisation dawned in Garen's eyes just before Lucan reached him. It was a disembodied feeling that came upon Lucan, watching what happened as if he was an observer. Closing the last distance with a leap, he landed upon the Counsellor like an eagle upon a rodent, ramming the scalpel into the base of Garen's stomach. The scream would have torn the air apart in the surgery suite if Lucan had not clamped his tattooed hand down upon the half-breed's mouth - shoving down his head against the deck plating. "Hush, hush, Mister Nelis..."

The light from Lucan's face blinded his prey; the dull mirrors of the Counsellor's eyes merely a hand's breadth away. Before Garen's bodily strength began to ebb, Lucan had to keep him down with his legs and his elbows. Placidly, like kneading dough, Lucan moved the exoscalpel sideways and up to shred the guts as if he was preparing a fish for dinner. The Counsellor fought for his life, yet neither beast nor Lucan really cared, he just found it irritating because he had to beat away Garen's flailing arms and knees. A tall man with good reach, Lucan knew the odds were not in the half-breed's favour.

Blood gushed against Lucan's lower body. "Ah... that was your common and internal iliac arteries," he said and chuckled despite the strain of holding Garen down, who let out a muffled groan against Lucan's palm. Perhaps an animal was most dangerous when cornered, yet even if Garen fought for all his worth... he could not take hold on Lucan's bare skin since his hands were slick with blood. The beast inside gave him euphoria for committing the act, the disembodied feeling lasting. Perhaps it was the beast in truth that spoke? Lucan had not reflected on that, rare as these moments were.

The democ doctor spoke again as he worked with the scalpel, affecting a seemingly deliberate, lucid tone. "It would be a lie to say I don't enjoy this, Yet it's necessary. Someone has to do this... or your species will just go on living in ignorance." More feeble trashing. "You are neither unique nor special in any way. I don't know how you justify it to yourself, but this self-deception really has to stop. You are all equalcattle. Skin-puppets, to be worn like gloves and thrown away. You fester upon creation, like a wound. Deep down, you know I am right."

He emphasised his statement by throwing the scalpel away. Instead, he placed his hands on Garen'ss cheeks. There was still life in those eyes, but the strength had begun to leave his body along with his blood. Nevertheless, the Counsellor tried to twist away from the grip. "No," he whispered like a bared nerve, no voice left to scream with. Yet the process was underway, and neither man nor the fake gods could forestall it.

"Hush, skin-puppet..." said the beast, or was perhaps it was himself, either way, he shut the eyelids with his thumbs. "It's over now." Lucan was not pressing his thumbs hard against the eyes. All that was necessary was the physical contact. Electricity would do the rest. He closed his eyes to better guide it. It would slice down through the Counsellor's optic nerves, follow those twin highways into the brain, and there deal the final blow. It made him harder just thinking about it. Thought equalled action, ignition, and the power fluctuation made the lights dim and sparks fly. Enemy fire, they thought, the whole of Sickbay.

Garen arched up, despite Lucan's hold and his shed body. The subject's vertebrae was cracking with the intense strain, spasming under the process. Yet Garen still lived, choking and hissing and loosing his sanity in the last seconds, his body dancing a galvanic gavotte - mouth opened even wider as the energy began to sizzle his flesh. Flesh consumed and skin bulging in acid blisters. Only then... did mercy come. The conditions fulfilled. Cauterisation. The grip was released. The puppet had finished dancing.

Opening his eyes, they shone no more, and Lucan felt a bit dizzy, as if he had ingested alcohol too quickly. He stood up, his bloodied appearance swaying in the stark light, and as she did so, he looked towards the ceiling. His throbbing abated, and... he felt sick with himself. Why was it that when the beast was sated, he felt disgusted? Remorse? He frowned in disbelief. "What..?"

Anyway, he had plenty to do and no time to do it.

 
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