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Chapter 02: Crucible

Episode 04: Simulcast | Chapter 02 "Crucible"

"The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual - for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost."
- M. Scott Peck

[ USS Theurgy | Main Bridge | Passing Through the Tachyon Defence Grid ] Attn: All

In grey mode, one could hear things that were not there. On his part, Captain Ives thought he heard the screams of those he had failed up until that day. Until that hour that he now faced. He continued to count the seconds left, waiting for the tachyon grid that they were approaching to compromise their position, to hear Commander Trent annoucning that they had been detected. Yet nothing happened as he sat there, back straight and face unreadable. Slowly, he opened his eyes where he sat in the commanding officer's chair, and the first thing he saw on the viewscreen was not the infrared reading of the grid... but a small pin-prick of light. It might just as well have been a star, but he knew knew it for what it was. Starbase 84. They had made it through.

The bridge was silent, and Jien imagined how everyone stared at him, waiting for his word now that they had passed the detection grid. He could feel the weight of their expectation pressing down on him, but that was but a fleeting thought as he weighed the full import of the next few minutes, hours and hopefully, days to come. Not only for him and his crew, but for the entire Federation. His next few words required perfect rhetoric, yet he wasn't perfect, and he feared that anything he said would be woefully inadequate. He fought down a deep breath, and rose to his feet, knowing he had to remain stoic at all times. He turned eyes his bridge crew, and they stopped what they were doing - looked up from their stations.

"Put me through to the whole ship. Low band frequency." There were a few of his senior officers that were not there, but he knew their assignments, and also knew that they were waiting to hear his words. He wanted to make sure everyone aboard heard him, for there were no room for mistakes. He wanted to demand just that, but he knew they needed to hear something else entirely.

"This is your Captain speaking. The time has come for us. For you, brave men and women. You, who have survived months of wandering, or joined us more recently. You, who have fought against the fleet that we swore to serve. Too long, you have endured the accusations of the usurpers. For too long, we have resisted this exile. We did it not for ourselves, but for truth, justice and freedom. We did it for the future of the Federation, and potentially, the whole galaxy. The true face of the enemy lay hidden in the heart of the fleet, but we shall not permit this to continue. Not for one more day. Not for one more day... shall the usurpers be deceiving our people, taking the role of our true leaders. We know the truth...and it's time to let it be known."

Not the best of starts. Too stoic. He could not just recite worn facts already known. Jien cleared his throat and paused, his thoughts venturing to what they have been through, and he knew he had to address it somehow. How could he not? He just wanted them to look forward, though, instead of what lay behind them.

"I do not need to remind you of the sacrifices you have made, scarred onto your bodies, and etched into your memories. You will carry these reminders with you for all your days to come. Yet in the best of outcomes, one day, many years from now, you might be able to gather your families and closest friends, and tell them the tale of how when the Theurgy saved the Federation. You will be able to tell them that you were there. You will tell them of those we had to kill, not in cold blood, or a desire for vengeance, but because we were forced to. We will one day face those who suffered loss at our hands. We will face their families, and we should do it with heads held high - with the calm assurance of those who did what was required. What had to be done in order to save all the rest. For when we were pressed into the darkest corners, we were able to survive. Not because we were better men and women. But because we were filled with the righteousness of our cause. We had the most at stake, and when cornered, we rose to the occasion like no other crew has ever done before."

Jien swallowed, closing his mouth for a moment. He changed... to her female form, needing to gain fortitude in order to continue - as if she channeled strength from a fresh, new form. She continued in her crystal clear tone. "When you tell those dear to you about our story, I ask that you tell them of the friends, the brothers and sisters-in-arms, who fought and died beside you. About those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be here today, fulfilling their mission." Clenching her teeth, she took a couple of steps forward, oaken eyes pinned on the distant starbase ahead of them. "For now... we shall honour that memory, and fulfill their duties for them. We face now, what I hope will be our final battle. When the truth is known, the battle will no longer be just ours. No longer will we be alone in the cold darkness. We will return once more to the fleet where we belong, and I - at least - dare hope that we will be lauded as saviours of the Federation."

Her thoughts went to those who thought differently, those who had sided with Captain Vasser out of self-preservation, untainted by T'Rena's mind-meld. "Some aboard might say it's folly, but I'm not telling you that this will be a simple mission. Nor will I tell you that we are all going to live. When we get there, we will have only a few minutes before they detect our presence. They will order all of the docked ships to target us, to kill us, and unleash the collective firepower of that base against us. In all probability, we might all die... but only if we fail." In the end, it was quite simple, so she spelled it out for the entire crew on no uncertain terms. It was long overdue. "Entering that base, activating the whistle-blower system, and letting everyone hear the truth, it will unmask the usurpers in front of the entire fleet. Aside from everything else, that alone gives sense to everything we had endured these past months. That alone gives sense to all our losses. In the eyes of the fleet, it is the only thing that can redeem us for all we have done. It is the compensation we bring... for the severe cost of our duty."

It was that simple, boiled down on no uncertain terms. "Well, I suppose we could go back and hide again," she said, a faint, rueful smile touching her face, fading quickly even if it drew a chuckle or two from the bridge crew, "Indeed, we could live the rest of our lives in the darkness, knowing what we do about Starfleet Command and what awaits, letting the Federation rot and fall apart from within. Watch the onset of a new galactic war. Or... we can continue forward. We can shed some light to this darkness. I don't know about you, but I'm done hiding. We are mere minutes away from executing our mission. Minutes away from saving those we love. From saving ourselves. I'm ready to right this wrong, and while I regret that more of us could not be here to see this day, I do not regret having each and every one of you at my side... in this final crucible. What say you?"

She turned from the viewscreen and faced those assembled. "Should we go back... or should we go forward?"


"I say these months have been enough. We are going forward. Let's us unmask the usurpers and let everyone know the true face of the enemy. This is Captain Ives. All hands, be ready. The time has come."


"Ives, out."

OOC: Next to post, CanadianVet, where the count-down to transporter range is done. Thea and Ravenholm gets their orders too. The order for the boarding teams to energise is given. After that, Brutus has Stark energising the transports from her duty station. Important to note is that Starbase 84 goes to Red Alert and raises shields just as they are transported - bringing to question whether or not they made it through. More notes to come after that point to the boarding teams. Everyone are encouraged to post ahead of this, and it would be in reaction to Ives' speech and before the Theurgy enter transporter range (one minute of waiting before the count-down) and Commander Trent deals the pre-set orders.

I will be posting separately for the ongoing Starbase 84 scenes, in the starter for other Chapters.


Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #1
[ Commander Trent | USS Theurgy | Main Bridge | Passing Through the Tachyon Defence Grid ] Attn: All

The preparations after the final briefing had been done.  Personnel had been assigned, and even a promotion handed out in the time between that last chance for the Senior Staff to get their heads together and dropping out of warp.  There had been some protest, mainly from Lieutenant Carson, who was in charge of the Torpedo section of the Tactical Department, when Trent handed Arisaka the rank of Provisional Lieutenant J.G. and appointed him as the Assistant Tactical Officer.  If anything, the former Petty Officer was the best choice for the role; he had the right instincts, unlike Carson he did hold a valid Bridge Tactical Operations certification, and overall he had the respect of the department as a whole.  And truth be told, the XO did need a strong right hand with that department. 

And also he had effectively made Dewitt his right hand.  Granted, she as not appointed as Second Officer, and mostly she stood outside the chain of command, but she would be answering directly to him as his adjutant, help with intelligence matters, and as Starfleet's first dedicated Electronic Warfare Officer.  But on this day, she would not be on the Bridge, and it was Lieutenant Masuda Yukimura, whom he had also been bringing up to speed in such matters, who would be manning Theurgy's less conventional defensive systems. 

After all, he needed a chance to download some of his responsibilities, if only so he could focus on what he had to do. 

Each Battle Bridge was manned, and despite being in Grey Mode, the ship was effectively at Red Alert, with everyone ready to man their stations the moment power would be restored and the klaxons would sound.  But for the time being, he waited.

Once they crossed the Tachyon Grid, Trent looked at his console at Tactical before crossing to Support Systems, where Yukimura was managing Theurgy's fledging EW capabilities.  There hadn't been enough time to further polish it, but so far as he could tell they had a fraction of Calamity's sensor-blinding capability at their disposal, but for now the power levels were tightly leashed, doing nothing but providing the impression they were nothing but a chunk of rock and covering their minimal power signature, and instead he looked at the sensor readouts.  "We've crossed the Tachyon Grid.  Tachyon particles are sticking to the deflector shield, and we are radiating our cover signature.  We are being actively scanned by long-range sensors..." 

For a moment the Executive Officer held his breath.  Normally, it would be just a cursory scan to determine what triggered the alarm, and if it was nothing it would be but a single pass.  But if they were more persistently looked at... "We're no longer being scanned.  I think they've bought it."

But if he heaved a sigh of relief, it was entirely in his mind.  After all, the crew did not need to now just how nervous he had been.

Following the announcement, he listened to the Captain's speech, and once Ives had said his piece, Trent returned to Tactical and for what must have been the hundredth time, he checked the status of the other Battle Bridges, the Fighter Bay and the relays that would be tripped to bring all systems ready for action.  And then, he had to give the countdown.  "Captain, eleven minutes to transporter range.  Commander Stark, our personnel are beaming over and the crash power-up are on your go."

From Tactical, Trent tapped the earpiece he wore, one connected to a boom mike.  That had been his initiative, to keep the noise levels down on the Bridge while he would need to coordinate with the fighters in Ensign Henshaw's absence, two other command facilities, and the Flag Bridge where the drone operators were located.  "Battle Bridges, Fighter Bay, Flag Bridge, Shuttlebay, Allegiant, this is the XO.  Stand by for action.  You all know what you need to do, so I won't bore you with the details.  Remember, self-defence and minimum casualties rules of engagement don't mean you have to get yourself killed to spare anyone on the other side.  Try to avoid killing anyone if you can, but do it if you must.  But anyone trying to withdraw or standing down is to be left alone, but keep your eyes peeled in case they try for a dirty trick.  Watch each other's backs, and good hunting.  Trent out."

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #2
[ Miles Renard | Wolf 01 | Fighter Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: All In Fighter Bay.

The squad leader looked around from his seat in his mark 3 Valkyrie.  The small ship was silent but prepared to be fired up and launched at the command of the mission ops desk.  He looked around the bay looking to his fellow pilots as he listed to Ives speak over the intercom knowing in mere minutes the silence would be a distant memory through the heat of stellar combat.  For the moment though his cockpit remained open. At some parts of the Captain's speech, his thoughts went to Dyan Cardamone, who would be on one of the boarding teams. He thought about the argument they had gotten into, and he was not even sure who's fault it had been.

Once the captain had said his piece and the XO said his own miles spoke up breaking the silence on the Deck.  "We were all in the briefing so I don't think the mission needs repeating.  With any luck we will all pull through this together.  He said reminding himself of last mission's tragedy.  Everyone keep your engines cold till we get the launch order then fire them up and we all launch try and stay non-lethal if you can but don't get yourself killed doing it."  He reminded everyone before adding.  "Chief you got anything to say before the shit hits the fan?"  He asked turning his head to Covington.

[ Aisha S'iti | USS Theurgy | Main Bridge ]

The officer at the helm listened and watched patiently as the ship drifted through space inertia and the occasional tug of gravity having adjusted their course as they passed through the grid.  Patiently she waited for the controls to light back up so she could resume a more active role knowing that until they exited gray mode there was nothing to do but trust in the flight path she had put them on before cutting all unnecessary power and allowing the nature of space and physics pilot them to their destination.

[ Selena Ravenholm | USS Theurgy | Transporter Room ]

As the captain spoke the cyborg adjusted the pistol in her left hand checking the power cells before looking to the rifle that was at her right side.  It was a TR120, a weapon she was more than familiar with the ammo for.    Quite possibly the perfect partner for her anti nadion grenades and a non-lethal partner at that.  It had not been hard at all for her to create a more intuitive interface for the rifle than its monocle like scope well for her at least.  All she had needed to do was to create a feed sending the visual data the scope would give to her enhanced eyesight's feed.  Now all she needed to do was touch her temple near her right eye and she saw a direct fed from the guns sights out of one eye and out of her left there was her usual field of vision.  Picking up the weapon in her right hand she got herself used to the view of her left field of vision being her POV while the right was that of her rifle's aim.  Given the strength in her prosthetic arms it was no issue to carry the normally two handed and shoulder aimed weapon loosely in the one hand.  Of course her plan was not to rely on one handing the rifle but she knew that if necessary she could double her effective firepower.  For the time being though she put the pistol like weapon away storing it in her thigh compartment and raised the rifle to her left shoulder lining up both views with each other.  Her augmented left eye and the view of the guns sight in her right aligned and her mind sorted the image allowing a level of detail unmatched by natural vision.  She was ready for her mission.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #3
[ Heather McMillan | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Nada


Daintily making her way through the corridors of the Theurgy, Heather McMillan's glow was non-existent now, as the tense buildup in her stomach made it hard for something even as natural as glowing to continue. Wispy thin strands of hair flowed around her in a surreal manner as she moved, followed by Bunny, the hologram rabbit. She nodded politely to whomever she passed, sometimes making a clumsy salute, which earned looks, and an increase in her speed of walking, which looked odd with the way she walked on tip-toe all the time, and her tendency to trip or fall. She was carrying her boots in one hand, preferring to go bare feet, and that was when she heard the Captain's voice. As he spoke, she placed her right palm over her heart, and started a soft ray of light from her palm, over her own chest, and her eyes began to shine.

"I walk in the light of Your favour and mercy," said McMillan, in a soft, nearly-inaudible murmur, "let Your light shine. Protect these people, may peace rest upon them and all who meet them."

A prayer, a plea, a petition, for the crew, even the ship, whom McMillan had come to regard to be as much a living being as anyone else on board her. Thea, they called her, and she had a shape, a form, a face, and to some extent, a personality. She fascinated McMillan no end, but the young woman was far too afraid and embarrassed to even approach the ship's humanoid form more than ten feet. Resuming her trek to the Medical Bay, the Radiant let the light from her hand vanish, and she idly patted her hair down, trying to keep it from floating up, more a force of habit than necessity now that everyone was aware of the fact that she was not human. Captain Ives' continued, now in a female voice, which made McMillan pause for a brief second, as she had to remind herself that the Captain could switch faces and voices.

Once at her destination, she carefully stepped through the threshold, yet still managed to trip over her own feet the last two steps in. "Hwah!"

She was back up as quickly as she went down, blushing furiously. "Quite all right, quite all right."

She was either assuring herself, or anyone else who bothered to look and listen.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #4
[ Maya | Deck 11 | Main Sickbay| Entry Corridor/Waiting Room]

"Hwah!"  Provisional Warrant Officer Heather McMillan cried as she entered main sickbay on Deck Eleven.  Somehow the little scientist had tripped over her own feet.  It was the first time that Lieutenant (junior grade) Maya had seen her in uniform and apparently the shoes took some getting used to.  The greenblooded physician was manning the registry duty station and had an excellent view of her spill.

"Are you all right Miss McMillan?" Maya asked as she rose with an eerily fluid motion and glided around the desk to help Heather to her feet. 

"Quite all right, quite all right," the blushing woman replied as she rose to her feet quickly, too embarrassed to accept assistance.  Maya got the distinct impression that she had an aversion to being touched. 

"You're not hurt?" Maya asked.  "Are you certain?"

Maya didn't know Heather McMillian very well.  She did know that she was a civilian xenobiologist who had come aboard just a few weeks before they fled Earth.  They both had an interest in music but while Maya had a dulcet mezzosoprano voice Heather was completely off key.  Despite her clumsiness, Miss McMillan was an accomplished dancer.  Both Maya and Heather had an interest in fiction and were avid people watchers.  They were both pacifists, both socially awkward, and both of them were naïve, friendly, and cheerful.  (Maya considered herself friendly and cheerful, but in reality came off as aloof and distant.)  And both of them weren't homo sapiens from Sol III.

Aboard the Theurgy, the medical staff were privy to certain secrets above their clearance, namely what species their patients really were.  Maya wasn't really sure just what Miss McMillian was, only that the civilian scientist was a member of an intelligent species that hadn't made contact with the Federation yet.  Maya wasn't Heather McMillian's doctor, all she knew was that Heather McMillian was extremely fragile and was biologically so alien that it was unlikely that the intelligent parasites that had taken over Starfleet could infest her.  She also knew that anyone as susceptible to injury and infection as Miss McMillian was probably shouldn't be assigned a job where she might be exposed to bodily fluids. 

[ Tessa May Lance | Wolf 07 | Fighter Bay | Deck 16 | USS Theurgy ] 

Tessa Lance, call sign 'Goldeneye' sat in her Valkyrie waiting for the signal to launch.  She went through her breathing exercises and tried to put herself into 'the zone' she while she listened to her squadron commander's words through her helmet's headphones:

"We were all in the briefing so I don't think the mission needs repeating.  With any luck we will all pull through this together."  Miles Renard's steady and encouraging voice assured her.

Yeah right, Tessa thought.  Not going to make that promise.

"Everyone keep your engines cold till we get the launch order then fire them up and we all launch try and stay non-lethal if you can but don't get yourself killed doing it," Renard instructed. 

Tessa closed her eyes and recalled the mission briefing.  If she remembered correctly, the Lone Wolves' job was to provide an antifighter screen for the Theurgy and prevent any shuttles or runabouts from getting close enough to beam anyone aboard the carrier.  The Valkyries had been equipped with the new Twin mount cannons and given additional microtorpedo launchers to take down a small craft's shields and a tetryon pulse cannon to disable the small craft once its shield was down.  They were to avoid killing if at all possible; the men and women in that Starbase 84 would send after them were just as dedicated to protecting the Federation as the Lone Wolves were.  They were divided into two man flight elements.  Hurl was her wingman.  That meant that Chief Petty Officer Earl Lundh's life was her responsibility.  She prayed to Gods that had apparently gone deaf that he'd make it back today.

[ MCPO William Robert O'Connell | Transporter Room Two | Deck 05 | USS Theurgy  ]  

With a RG-M1506 PT-10 Accipiter in his hands, MCPO William Robert "Billy Bob" O'Connell listened to Ives' speech as he stood in Transporter Room Two the company of six other men...  Seven other men and Miss Thea. 

It was normal to fret aboard this ship but the Theurgy seemed so much more complicated now.  Was it Billy Bob's imagination or was the ship somehow bigger, more complicated now that he had assumed the position of acting chief engineer?  For a ship this advanced, so cutting edge, so complex, it needed a well-educated savant who was trained specifically in the new technologies found aboard her.  Just last week he had bragged that he was the only one left who knew every nut and bolt of the Theurgy and now the ship seemed so large and complex he felt completely lost.  Thank God Miss Thea was aboard to explain how everything worked.

Thea, the patron saint of the Theurgy and the holographic representation of the ship's artificial intelligence stood by just as if she was a human crewmember.  Billy Bob wasn't sure it was a great idea to have Thea's personality "elsewhere" while the ship was danger, but with the ship in "grey mode" it hardly mattered.  Everything from the warp core to the structural integrity fields were either shut off or at minimal power; it wasn't as if Thea was going to have her mind on the ship or anything. 

Billy Bob wasn't sure it was a good idea to have the acting chief engineer go on a suicide mission.  He supposed one of the engineers recovered from the Harbinger or Black Opal Outpost would end up replacing him if things went south, but he was hoping it would be Master Chief Nolak Kalmil, who had just recently been taken out of stasis and undergone surgery.  Ensign Carla Abner was probably making herself at home in main engineering right now.  Just what the ship needed.  A green behind the ears ensign calling the shots in Engineering.  Could a kid fresh out of the academy handle the job?  He only hoped that Master Chief Kalmil was cleared for duty in time to keep Abner from blowing the ship up.

He looked around at the support team that was supposed to help him and Thea take over the reactor room and the station's systems.  They had been chosen not only for their skills, but because each of them had at one point been assigned to an Orunal-class spacedock and wouldn't get lost.

Chief Warrant Officer Gimli Luff of Operations had been serving in Starfleet since Zephram Cochrane was in high school.  A native of Tellar, his craggy porcine face and shaggy salt and pepper beard made him look like a figure from nightmares, but he had operated just about every piece of technology that Starfleet was currently using at one point or another.  He had spent five years of his life at Lya Station Alpha and knew the systems of the station as well as he knew the mess hall.  His corpulent frame meant that he seldom missed a meal and that he wasn't going to be sharing a transporter pad with anyone.

Chief Petty Officer Lavar Manfredi, main engineering's propulsion chief, was short and slender, so he'd probably be the lucky stiff who'd be sharing a transporter pad with Thea.  The coffee colored Terran from Earth's city of New Orleans was an expert in power and propulsion and it would be his job to take over the main reactor.  O'Connell hated to take him out of main engineering, but Manfredi actually had worked the reactor room of Starbase 84 before and would know his way around. 

Petty Officer First Class Mathew Johnson would be assisting the propulsion chief.  The rising star of Manfredi's propulsion team, Matt Johnson had experience aboard civilian starships before he enlisted in Starfleet after the Dominion took Betazed.  He spent the war as a reactor technician at Lya Station Alpha before accepting a post at Deep Space 5.  He transferred to the Theurgy because he wanted to be part of something bigger.  He should have been careful for what he wished for because the fight for Starfleet's soul is as big as it gets.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Verguy Cam from Andoria was the tactical specialist who would be overriding Starbase 84's defensive systems.  His previous assignment had been at Starbase 133 and he had been a supervisor for the team that had updated 133's shields after the Dominion War.  His assignment before that had been manning the phaser room of the USS Kurmari.  He had earned his Bridge Tactical Certification prior to being assigned to the Theurgy and had experience in close quarters combat.  He was a shooter who was capable of taking the phaser off the stun setting if he had to.

Speaking of phasers, the muscle of this group would be provided by Chief Petty Officer Amlas Keyah, the deadliest security specialist from Bolarus IX who peed sitting down.  Prior to being assigned to the Theurgy, she had studied for the chief's exam at Starbase 74, where the security department still talk about the day a team of Bynars hijacked the Enterprise back in Stardate 41365.9.  Her reflexes were reported to be lightning quick and she had seen action on Betazed during the Dominion War.

Backing her up was Petty Officer First Class Jean Paul Rivard who had accompanied Commander Carrigan Trent during the supply raid at Black Opal.  Rivard had personally captured Black Opal's executive officer and helped repel the Romulans when they chose that moment to board the station.  He was combat tested and ready for action, and had spent his first assignment following boot camp and security school guarding the reactor level of Starbase 84 during the Dominion War.

Standing behind the transporter console was Chief Petty Officer Jeff Kowalski, a mournful expression on his long face.  From the expression he was giving the team, you'd think he was never going to see them again.  Come to think of it everybody in the room looked like they were either attending a funeral or suffering from constipation. 

Time to break the mood.  O'Connell decided it was time to flip the Tellarite the bird.  Chief Warrant Officer Luff responded by giving the backwards 'V for victory' signal and thrusting upwards to let O'Connell know where he could stick it.  Chief Petty Officer Amlas Keyah took her hand off her TR-120 rifle long enough to give him the 'A-OK' sign, or maybe she was letting him know that was the gesture for asshole on her planet.  It wasn't long before they were all flipping each other off. 

It was times like this that O'Connell knew how lucky he was serve with people like this.  Their dedication and spirit brought a tear to his eye.  But know it was time to put their game faces back on and get to work.  They'd be beaming down any minute now.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #5
[ Sten Covington | Fighter Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: All In Fighter Bay.

When he was briefed about the plan, Sten was largely left to his own devices as to the role he and his people were to play in it.  Oh, there were some clear directions such as taxiing the fighters into a launch position so they could scramble out the moment the word would come, and to prepare both the fighter and shuttle bays for recovery and combat service if it came down to it.  After all, even if the plan was for the fighters to warp out and be recovered at a rendez-vous point later on, he had been instructed to be ready to get fighters coming in for combat landings if required.  And in a crunch, it would mean all of the Valkyries would need to be brought onboard in a hurry, because one of the truisms he lived by what that no matter how well laid, Plan A never survived the start line. 

Along the wall of the hangar, there were countergrav pallets loaded with ordnance ready to be brought out to fighters, already counted and ready for rapid reloading, as were ladders and toolboxes and some of the more common spare parts that tended to need replacement in combat, or at least would be necessary to keep a fighter combat-capable even if it took a beating.  And the same was in the main shuttlebay, where he had a detachment of technicians ready to do the exact same job if it came down to it.

As the time came closer, the Chief of the Deck was wandering between the fighters, making sure the safety plugs for engines and weapons had been removed for the hundredth time.  Well, it was the pilots' and his Cubs' job to do it, but his double-checking (even several times over) was not because he distrusted them.  It was one of the ways he dealt with the stress of impending combat.  But then, the Captain's voice came on the shipboard broadcast, and that was his cue to get the final preparation underway.

Even as he ordered his ground crew to remove the blocks that kept the fighters in place, another voice sounded, the XO, and that one he acknowledged curtly as he ensured everything was ready to go, save for the cockpits that would remain open until Iron Fox would give the word to launch.  However, he did ask the Chief of the Deck for any last words of wisdom, which he was more than ready to give. 

"Remember, we won't be sticking around long after the Captain gives the order to break off, so if you can't go to warp both our bays will be ready to receive you.  In the meantime, if you need rearming or repairs during the engagement, we've got teams and stores in the shuttlebay too.  Now, if any of your warp drive components take a hit, say the hell out of the shuttlebay.  I'm keeping Ji here to back me up if there's a repair needed, but if I can't fix it, remember to stay close so you can execute a nice controlled crash into my bay or directly on the hull." 

"Now, at least try not to ruin my birds."

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #6
[IrnaShall ch'Xinya | Stellar Cartography | Deck 15]

Sitting in the center of his domain, Ensign ch'Xinya stared at the one of the only sources of light in the expansive cylindrical room: the small console in front of him.  It's a strange sight, stellar cartography labs of this type are usually among the most brightly lit on a starship, but grey mode meant almost everything had to be shut down.  The massive screens were too much of a risk, and with the ceiling a full deck above him the dimmed lighting barely reached the platform that the Andorian resided on.  Reflecting off of his face, the green spherical outline of Starbase 4's tachyon grid grew larger as they approached.  It wasn't until after it passed the ship's location indicator that Shall realized he was holding his breath.

Deft fingers worked the controls moments after the ship was through the grid, the small screen shifting in response to show more of the area around the starbase.  They were still in grey mode so Shall was limited to the passive sensors for the moment, but as soon as they went to full power it would be his job to watch the entire sector, to be the first set of eyes on any reinforcements that may come to the Starbase's defense.  It may not have been what he'd been trained to do, but the Andorian was ready for it.

When the general broadcast tone echoed from the speakers above him, Shall's ears and antenna rose in interest.  The Captain's pre-mission speeches were legendary on the ship, and now that he was back at his post he could actually hear it for once.  It didn't disappoint.  The first mentions of their flight from Earth and all they had fought both with and against sent Shall down into his memories, his anger over his denial to return to Andoria, to his selthreth.  Thankfully, his job as a scientist kept him out of the fighting for the most part, but that didn't mean his hands were clean.  Twice he'd been beguiled into betraying his family, and sometimes he would wonder just what kind of danger they were in because of him, or what they were fighting.

As the Captain's speech continued, it brought Theta Eridani to mind.  Separation from his family was damaging enough, but when the rock shrapnel took his antenna...never before had Shall been wounded that badly, and it still affected him.  His balance was always off, sometimes so badly that it would bring him to his knees sometimes.  But he was recovering, bit by bit.  And like the rest of the crew, he was done sitting in the shadows licking wounds and feeling sorry for himself.  It was time to act.

As soon as the speech was over the call for reports came quickly from Commander Trent.  Waiting for his turn in the sequence, it was barely a minute before Shall gave his own.  "Bridge, Stellar Cartography.  Passive sensors show no inbound ships of any type in range."  Short and too the point, just how he liked it.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #7
[ Wenn Cinn | USS Theurgy | Transporter Room OneDeck 14] Attn: IronFerrox, FollowTomorrow, All Others

Ives' speech emanated from the speakers and like all who were assembled in the transporter room, Cinn listened. The speech was good, although sad. Cinn reminded himself that he should sort out some time for him to sit down with the captain. The Bajoran had been a sounding board for years, helping Ives to make the hard choices, and to live with them. Cinn wouldn't have said it took much to help out Jien, he tended to work it out himself and Cinn's main purpose there was to occasionally interject. At times, he had wondered if Captain Ives could have the same support from the bulkhead wall, but Cinn guessed the occasional times he told his friend to stop being stupid might have helped.

Assembled alongside the large Bajoran was Selena Ravenholm - the cybernetically augmented communications specialist who, while Ives spoke, was fidgeting with her weapons. It caused Cinn to crinkle his brow slightly, did she not respect the captain enough to listen or did she just not care? Across the transport pad was the rest of the first team - an additional Operations officer to help Ravenholm as needed, two Engineers to get systems running in case of failure, two of his security officers to help secure starbase personnel and Dyan Cardamone. Or was it Sar-unga Neleo now?

The Asurian was a bit of an enigma, she had transported Cinn to the USS Allegiant instead of Sickbay during the whole farce with Vasser. Apart from that she had kept to herself really. In an ideal world Cinn would know everyone who worked under him but it wasn't always that easy in reality. He would make more effort in the future. Starting with this woman once they completed their mission. If she were to look over at Cinn during the time he was assessing her, he would give her a respectful nod.

The minutes after Ives' speech seemed to drag on and on. His team was assembly and ready. The waiting was arguably the worst part. He resisted the urge to double check his TR-120. He had to trust in the work of Ryuan Sel. She was qualified and capable, even if she was a heretic. Cinn tried to be more cultured and reasonable than to alienate the woman because of her religion, but the fact that the woman worshipped Pah'Wraiths made him uncomfortable. He'd never admit it out loud, but he was pleased that she was on another team for this mission.

Pushing the previous thoughts aside, he inhaled a long breath through his nose and closed his eyes. There was time for one last prayer to the Prophets. Safety for our crew, sense for the Starbase.

From the transporter console he heard a small chirp. It was time. 

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #8
[ Heather McMillan | Entry Corridor/Waiting Room | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Maya


Unfortunately for the Radiant, her little act of kissing the floor was not unseen. She sighed, then looked to Lieutenant JG Maya with wide eyes, wondering, and considering. "Mostly just my pride..." said McMillan unevenly, with flecks of light beginning to glow within her cheeks, and her eyes were beginning to glitter like stars. She supposed Maya's concern was warming, and somewhat comforting, enough to finally allow her to begin feeding light back into her skin and body. But more than that, she felt...something...not towards Maya or anyone in particular in the immediate moment, but the place that surrounded her right then, and their proximity to the Starbase. "...oh, but yes, I'm quite certain. Thank you."

She studied Maya a moment. The Vulcan was an enigma, even for her race. She knew a little about her, but McMillan's memory of her files did little to make sense in her head. So, she opted instead to get to know her in person better. She understood the woman's curiosity. It was only a short time ago that McMillan had revealed the truth of her race and character. The fact that she managed to conceal the truth for so long was impressive, but now that they knew, there was bound to be much intrigue and interest in her, as far as a desire for knowledge went. And she had explained why she so seldom visited medical, since most treatments would prove fatal to her. It made the young biologist wonder how her own people had survived for so long when they had such an unprecedented level of weakness and frailty. But she supposed the Light more than made up for it.

"I'm light..." said McMillan, "...lighter than I look, I, whether I fall down or jump into water, I make less of an impact than I should, based on my appearance. Oh..."

She looked down at her feet, bare, whilst her boots were still in one hand, and she blushed, looking at Maya uncertainly, "Uhm, excuse me." said the young woman, and she bent down to put the uncomfortable boots on. It wasn't that it didn't fit her right, or was physically discomforting, but rather she simply did not enjoy footwear. Somewhere in the back of her mind, tickling her memory, she recalled running through gentle landscapes, with others, their bodies bare and shining, clothed only in light. Laughter and music intermixed in the air of a soft blue sky with puffy clouds billowing around in a pleasant and relaxed dancing pattern.

The sudden interruption of that memory, of a place and time she had never even seen or heard of, caused her to freeze, staring at the ground, unmoving. She had never seen this place before, but it looked like something and someplace she would love to be. A place and a life she longed to have, and she let out a soft, faint gasp, that perhaps only Vulcan ears might have perceived. With only one boot on, she stood up again, staring blankly at Maya, then turned her head to look, as if staring right through the bulkheads and the walls, through the structure of the Theurgy herself, and right at Starbase 84. And for an instant, Maya would have seen McMillan turning her entire body into a deeper shade of light and translucence that she had never shown before, because she never knew how to.


It was as if she had briefly become one with the stars. Even her movements were a level of fluidity and grace that she never showed. Bunny, the holographic rabbit reared up on its hind legs, intrigued, but the glow of the Radiant interfered with its own projections, and the rabbit flickered and shook, like a strange image distortion. Within her body, it looked like stars and galaxies, and a whole nexus moved within. In an instant, as soon as it had appeared, she was back to normal. As normal as a Radiant could get anyhow, with a soft glow around the entirety of her body, so that even if the lights of the entire room went out, she could easily illuminate the entire place. She blinked, and looked at Maya, perturbed, "How unusual," said McMillan, "but I feel like I just connected with something."

She put her hand out to the Vulcan, smiling, "Heather McMillan, nice to meet you."

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #9
[ Lt. Simon Tovarek | USS Theurgy | Main Bridge ] Attn: All

Passing through space in grey mode had been something Simon had always found special. Simon had been looking at the view screen as well, watching the pseudo star shaped object before them, knowing the starbase was right ahead. He hoped that the alarms wouldn't go off blaring as they would be discovered despite them trying to sneak in like this. Yet everything remained as silent as it could ever be, until Ives spoke up. Simon looked at the captain as he heeded his words. Inspiring once more as always, yet Simon's gut feeling was warning him about possible complications during the mission.

This mission would be the first where his newest project would get any attention. Never been space tested, the Tovarek drones were perhaps an ace in the hand of Theurgy. Then again, for all he knew the fighters might as well black out at some point due to the pressure and fighting going on, causing for loose debris to float around in space. This would make the life of the actual pilots out there more then hell. He shook the idea out of his head as Ive's speech came to an end and Trent picked up on it.

Tovarek looked at the readings on his control panel, nothing out of the ordinary yet he had added a status window on the drones, curious about how they'd perform out there. The readings would be stored automatically on the computer as he had to analyse and tweak them to improve the drones for the next assignment, if there even came a next assignment. Tovarek placed his hand on his stomach as he couldn't shake the upset feeling. Was it just stress about the mission? Or was there something larger at play here?

[ Ensign Cameron Henshaw | Transporter Room | Deck 15 | USS Theurgy  ]

Standing a bit uneasy between the members of her support team, Cameron Hensaw glanced over at her Andorian guard. For Cameron this was the first time that she had been appointed as a mission specialist. Unless you counted the events on Theta. She wrapped her hands against each other nervously as the time to get some actual face time with her adoptive father was closing in way faster than she had imagined it would be. She had prepared herself for the encounter for days now. Having trouble with it at first, yet now knowing that it had to be done for the good of the mission and the survival of the Federation.

She walked over to Ida now and asked her softly "Deputy, how do you estimate the odd of this mission?" it was probably a foolish question. Even so as the odds of success were deemed to be minimal, there had to be a speck of hope for them. Yet more importantly, Cameron was wondering how the situation would escalate if she wasn't able to convince her father of the truth. If the man wouldn't be open to their pleas and motivation, or worse... If Ian Hawthorne would be devoured by grief as he would hear about the loss of his daughter. Grief would do funny things to people, it made any speculation of the outcome unreliable and impossible to predict. Cameron could only hope that her counseling skills would come in handy to ease the man into lowering the shields and complying with them.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #10
[ Hylota Vojona & Vinata Vojona | Entry Corridor/Waiting Room | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Maya & Heather McMillan

          As the Maya and Heather stood outside the main Sickbay apologizing over their collision a rather irate and grumbly voice could be heard coming down the corridor, one that Heather had not heard in a while. Approaching was a duo of amphibious individuals, the one that instantly caught attention was the shorter and by far much more colorful womanly looking indevidual, despite their vibrant blue and orange coloring they wore the teal of a medical officer, they had a hand on the side of their head rubbing their temple as the larger masculine looking individual groaned. Her name was Hylota a masculine looking individual who also wore medical teal, but her uniform was that of a pregnant crewman, she looked at least 8 months along and her attitude showed it as she got close enough to be heard.

"I do not care how close I am to delivery Vinata, as your commanding officer I am telling you to drop the subject. Besides Doctor Lucan has already permitted me to work, so long as I remain in my administrative and supervisory role, so stop acting so concerned, it is annoying brother. Vinata sighed and shook his head. He looked as though he had been working a well thought out argument only to get rank pulled on him. Throwing up his hands he let out a croak and sighed. "Fine, but I am sticking close and if things begin to happen I am reliving you of your duties and taking you to isolation to begin your delivery." Looking away from his sister Vinata looked to the two women before him and his sister and blinked before he smiled. "Oh Hello Doctor Maya, I am Nurse Vinata, I will be working along side you today, I hope to be of help." He smiled as he tried to be confident, but he was clearly nervous and looking to make a good impression.

Hylota rolled her eyes at her brother and looked to heather and smirked to the woman as she gave a quick wave. "Hey there Heather, you paralyze someone's arm again?" Hylota chuckled at this statement, but Vinata looked to his sister concerned before Hylota waved things off. "Sorry, I am having a bit of trouble with filtering things lately, comes with the territory I guess." She rubbed her swollen belly and sighed. "I had intended to track you down for a drink after our little adventure together, but turns out I got knocked up and I was strictly prohibited from alcohol. I have also been getting trained to my new post and helping my brother get settled." She shrugged. "Perhaps we can meet up after all this is over, I shouldn't be pregnant for much longer." Smiling she pushed Vinata from behind and encouraged him to go into the Sickbay as she slowly followed behind, lingering to just get a response from Heather before getting to work.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #11
[ Chris "Husker" Slayton | Wolf 04 | Fighter Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: All In Fighter Bay.

Husker was starting to go through his third pre-flight check to ensure that everything was working perfectly as he knew how important that this operation was going to be but he was also using it to hide his nervousness.

It wasn't every day that one went into an operation like this with a woman that you cared about in your squadron...

Chris turned his head just enough to look over at the Valk that contained Tessa and used the HUD's zoom function to try and get a better view on his fellow pilot but then his training kicked in and he pulled the zoom back and resumed his efforts by checking the plasma flow regulators to ensure peak efficiency in the field.

"Drinks are on me when this shindig is over gang and that means the strongest of stuff for you, Ghost, so don't go cheap on me boss lady." Husker said into the squadron's channel in a jovial yet respectful tone as he quickly did some minute re-alignment of his pulse phaser network.

That particular one wasn't because he needed to, he just learned from his time on the Harbinger that shaving time off his pulse weapons recharge time was much more important in a dogfight then anything else in the opening stages but once again his eyes strayed over to Tessa's plane and he felt a little bit nervous as he was still trying to figure out things between himself, Tessa and one other person...

...but just as quickly as that thought entered his head, he forced himself to shove it away as he quickly went back to his work.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #12
[ Dyan Cardamone | Transporter Room 1| USS Theurgy] Attn: Those in Transporter Room 1

Jien's voice held her captive for quite some time, but right now Dyan had many thoughts in her head and they were competing against the Captain's voice. Her hands fidgeted with her Sindt blade, mounted on her left arm. She tightened, then loosened, then tightened again, then took a cloth out to polish it. She kept a TR-120 rifle slung over her shoulder, ready to use at a moment's notice. Her tail had been wrapped around her right leg to keep it out of the way, but she felt the muscles spasm as they attempted to move against their bindings.

She stood still as a statue, staring at the wall in front of her. Ives's voice had faded, unfortunately, she had to force herself to tune back in. Should we go back, or should we go forward? Forward, she thought in unison with her Captain. And then there was silence, only interrupted by her heart beating somewhere in her throat. She hoped one of her companions would speak, or that they would fall under attack or something.

She tilted her head up just enough to look over at Selena. Her arms were bared, her sleeves cut off to not interfere with her movement. She was fussing over her weapons in a way that was intimately familiar to Dyan. It's so much easier to busy yourself by preparing before the fight than it is to sit and think about what could happen.

Her eyes wandered over to Wenn and she was surprised to find her glance returned to her. He gave her a nod. She wished she could find it comforting, but she didn't know the Bajoran man well enough to tell.

It occurred to her that maybe she ought to get back into the habit of making friends. If she died here and nobody knew how to dispose of her body, well, she'd probably be quite sad, if she weren't dead.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #13
[ Dr. Nicander | Main Sickbay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Zenozine

On the curved walls, behind both the duty stations at the very centre of Sickbay, there were the scheduling displays. Large monitors that showed all the planning for the RW, ICU and PCU. Even the isolation wards and sugical suites were listed there, with dedicated nurses and medical officers named for the current and next shifts. Shifts that were going to see the strife of the Starbase 84 mission. There were only rough estimates on the number of wounded that might arrive, but the entire Sickbay was at full readiness. In front of one of the two scheduling displays stood Dr. Lucan cin Nicander, perusing the rows and columns to make sure everything was in place. Or rather, he appeared to be studying the large display.

In fact, he was already certain of the set schedule, his sharp mind devoted to other things when he saw a flash of light coming from the reception area, making his staff pause and look in that direction for a moment. The light died away quickly, but for some reason, the parasite inside Lucan was restless, as if the light had affected it somehow. Lucan frowned and remembered how it had acted that way sometime before, and soon, he remembered it to have happened in the presence of Heather McMillan. Was it her? As he looked that way, Vinata Vojona soon appeared in the corridor, and Lucan turned his pale grey eyes to the Ovri. He had no idea why the thing inside acted the way it did, but there was no time to contemplate it.

"Nurse Vojona," he said and smiled as he greeted the male Ovri, even though Vinata looked far more female than anything else; the figure of the teal-coloured uniform clearly suggesting feminine curves. Even though the two of them had been intimate a couple of days past, Lucan made nothing of the kind openly apparent as he spoke with the Ovri in the corridor. "I trust your sister is here as well, because the winds know I tried to deter her from taking on administrative duties today. I assume you had similar difficulties?"

On a more serious note, he added, "In your experience, when do you think she is due? Should I put her in the isolation ward right away and ask O'Connor to stay with her?"

Further down the corridor stood Maal, looking a bit hurt as he stared in their direction, hearing him, but Lucan ignored the young Klingon. He might as well be the father to the Ovri's children, something only he and Hylota knew, perhaps, but there had been no mentioning of Maal's name when the isolation ward was booked in pregnant Ovri's name.

[ "Thea" | Transporter Room 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Arista & Doc M.

At first, when Thea stood there on her transporter platform, she had consciously aided in the physical self's computational operations whilst she was in grey mode. A lof of tasks were slowed down because so many of her systems were shut down, but with effort, she was able to invest her emitter's procesing power to ease the burden via the subspace synchronisation link she had to her computer cores. He digital mind was devoted to the extremities of her bio-neural system, and she believed she was able to maintain the required sensor signature through her shield emitters. It was crucial she didn't appear to be what she was, instead looking to Starbase 84 like mere space debris instead of the multivector dreadnought that had passed through the tachyon detection grid.

That was when, suddenly, the organics around her seemed to engage in strange antics and social conventions that were entirely beyond her. She looked around at the boarding team and raised her eyebrows, unsure how she might act in that particular kind of situation. Clearing her throat, a sign of nervousness, she checked her TR-120 rifle and her SAFTI gear, which was strapped around her golden body suit version - colour in accordance to the security operation she was partaking in. By her thigh hung two grenades of Ravenholm's design, with particle charges that would render regular phaser fire ineffective. With the additional armament, she estimated that the mission, or at least the task of the boarding teams, had a 43,649 % chance of success. It was a number that she did not wish to share with the people present, both because it might be discouraging, and because it was a statistical assumption. Any unknown factor introduced through the operation might decrease or increase the estimated success ratio, so it had no valid application.

Eventually, the organics settled down, assuming a behaviour in which they seemed prepared, and that calmed Thea a bit. 43,745 %.

"Thea to Commander Wenn," she said after exchanging a nod with O'Connell, not having to tap a combadge to get in contact with Transporter Room 01, "This is the fusion reactor team, ready." As she counted down the ETA silently, in echo to what the systems told the bridge personnel, she had only wished Lin Kae had been allowed to accompany her on the starbase. Instead, he had to stay behind. Then again, Master Chief O'Connell had a lot more combat experience than her young saviour, so perhaps it was for the better that Kae remained where he was, protected by her hull and her shields.

[ ThanIda zh'Wann | Transporter Room 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Arista, Nolan & SummerDawn

With her rifle hanging across her front, Ida was braiding her white air tightly behind her head, not keen on having her vision or antennae obscured the least during the mission. She wore her SAFTI gear on top of her uniform, a couple of modified grenades by her hip, and she had opted to roll up the sleeves of her uniform, just to avoid snagging them on something. She stood on the transporter platform when Yeoman Henshaw spoke up, and Ida answered her question about the odds without much of a delay.

"Fifty-fifty," she said without embellishment and then stretched her neck once her hair hung in braid down her neck. She turned to check the Yeoman's gear next, since she was Ida's charge during the mission - an operation that would take then inside the command centre of the starbase. Right to the heart of the opposition. it was necessary because of whom the starbase's commanding officer was, and while Ida had hoped there were other ways to confront Captain Hawthrone, she had to agree that facing his daughter might give enough pause to hear the truth. Facing Henshaw, she made sure the pinkskin, while not carrying a rifle since it would seem to hostile in the meeting with her father, had her SAFTI gear on right. The female human was a counsellor, and while Ida was sure Henshaw knew her Academy courses, the SAFTI gear was new to them all. "Here, Ensign. Perhaps this feels better."

Saying so, she strapped a holster with a Type II hand phaser to Henshaw's hip, and then stepped away again. It was set to stun, just like her own was. She looked around to the security personnel that would be coming along with them. Junior Lieutenant Zaraq was there, the immense figure of the Klingon taking up his corner of the pad, and Ida was gratified to have some more muscle with them, despite how many felt uncomfortable around the exiled Klingon since the mutiny. Right then, the last person in the boarding party arrived, Mistress at Arms Ryuan Sel. It had been argued that she'd be on O'Connell's team, but it had appeared that security was tighter around the command centre, so she had switched teams the day before. Luckily, since she was one of the drill instructors, she knew all three boarding operations just as well as Ida did. Ida greeted the Bajoran with a wordless nod.

With the MoA, they were seven, and they were ready. She tapped her combadge. "Deputy zh'Wann to Commander Wenn, we're ready," she said to Cinn, then she grabbed her rifle and powered it up, the sound joined by the others - Zaraq chiming in with a focused scowl lowered over his eyes.

[ Evelyn Rawley | Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: The Lone Wolves Squadron

Like the rest, Ghost was in her cockpit, but with her diminutive stature, she was standing in the seat with her exosuit-covered hands on the edge, just so that she might see Covington better when he spoke. She had heard Miles too, of course, but she maintained a reserved disposition towards the Vulpinian. Not too openly, but she found herself inclined to listen to Papa Bear more than Iron-Fox. Ives speech had been long and severe, painful to hear in some parts because of the loss of Winterbourne. It was when Husker spoke up - one of the new pups in the threadbare Lone Wolves Squadron - that Rawley tapped her own comm link in her helmet.

"Yeah? If you're providing the booze, Husker, you can bloody well consider yourself robbed," she said, turning towards him where she stood and gestured as if she was taking a swig from an invisible bottle. She was sure he could see it from afar in the flight hangar. "This time, I won't have it that you have a private party with Goldeneyes and Gun-Shy, you dog." The next gesture she made looked like she was jerking off on a non-present cock on her exosuit. Rumours travelled at warp speed on the Theurgy

[What? You didn't like our party, Ghost?] came the voice from the comm channel, and Rawley grinned as she turned towards Morrigan's Valkyrie, seeing the Colonist making a casual salute with her fingers to her helmet while she sat in her cockpit. Evelyn remembered hers and Fasha's party quite well, and they'd even had a chance to have an after-party - twice - since then.

"Oh, I'll show you how much I did if we make it through this so you better keep that perfectly rounded ass of yours in one fucking piece!" she called back with a wide grin.

[I... I don't know what she's... I mean,] came the nervous voice from Kanti 'Gun-Shy' MacTavish, which was a quite belated answer to Rawley's comment about her, Slayton and Lance, and it made Rawley laugh. It did feel good to laugh off the tension before a battle, and that was what she meant to do when she teased the others. Pointedly, she did not let herself think about Carver and Isley, not about to let that piss-soup saturate her mood the slightest. The Lone Wolves were few, but she had to try and trust the lot of them. She was not sure, however, if she could trust her Squadron Commander, and that was why she did not look at him. Not once.

The fucking mutt had better not try and kill her again. She turned her helmet his way - wordlessly - before she sat down in her cockpit.

[ Rihen Neyah | Main Engineering | USS Theurgy ] Attn: DocReno

At the main console of Main Engineering, Rihen Neyah was in her new Starfleet uniform, fitted to her figure but feeling a lot less comfortable than her usual overalls. She had conformed to regulations when she got her new rank and position on O'Connell's engineering team, so she would abide the chafe and warmth just to show how much she had come to care for the people on the Theurgy. Best of all was that she got to work with Lin Kae, whom she was so happy to see again.

"Had you imagined this down on Nimbus III?" she asked the Holographic Specialist with a warm smile, stepping up and giving the young Bajoran a quick hug in the midst of all the activity around the warp core. "I will still have you repair my replicator again someday, just so that you know!" This she added and waggled her finger at him, her jest meant to lift his spirits a bit. Ever since he'd left the Brig, spotting him now and then, he had not been quite the same, and Rihen supposed it had to do with the loss of Ensign Carver - the blonde pilot that had been injured down in Paradise City and protected them both during the mutiny. Rihen had not known the tough woman well, but she mourned the loss of her anyway. She had obviously meant a lot to Lin Kae, that was certain. Perhaps she could distract him a bit?

When she walked over to another station to check the readings there, she slapped his behind playfully with a comment thrown over her shoulder. "If you do, I might just thank you the same way I did last!"  With a mischievous grin and a wink, she bit her lip and made sure the warp core was purring like a Caitian before Jamaharon.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #14
[ Hylota Vojona & Vinata Vojona | Waiting Room | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Auctor Lucan

          Vinata sighed as he was shoved by his sister into the Main Sickbay, he was not in a rush, but he had no reason to stick out with Doctor Maya and this other woman, he had other things to be doing, he had to get himself settled in and get into his duties. As he entered he was quick to spot Dr. Nicander and smiled to the Chief Medical Officer as he remembered the brief fling he had shared with the man, it had truly been a special moment for him, but there were much more important things to deal with right now as Nicander asked him about his sister.

Almost without pause Vinata's smile faded and he sighed as he was asked for his professional opinion on the matter. "I tried to get her to take time off as well, but she just pulled rank on me and ended the debate on me." Looking over his shoulder he looked to his sister and then back to Dr. Nicander. "In my experience she will be having her clutch soon, most likely within 36 hours, but with the hybrid possibility I cannot truthfully say. If we were to keep her locked up we would just be punishment to whoever she was locked in with. I trust her to be professional and hand over her position if things happen. I do not think we have to worry about her, not like she would make the act worth the headache." Vinata gave a gentle chuckle and looked his commanding officer in the eye. "As for myself sir, I am prepared for duty and I will not let you down."

As Maal looked on to the Ovri before him Vinata did not notice the Klingon and casually set about preparing for his duties, Hylota on the other hand did take notice of the man who had impregnated her and she lost her jovial smile and made her way over to him. "Hello Maal, it has been a while...I really do not know what to say in this situation, your kind like so many others invests a lot into your offspring,but for me as an Ovri I have not grown very attached...I must admit you slipped from my mind at times. Hylota took a deep breath and shifted her weight. "I have been unkind to you and I did not take you into account, nor how you might be interested in our possible children...I have been selfish with this whole pregnancy and I spited you, I should not have been so petty, I promise after today I shall make an effort to get you up to speed about my clutch." Hylota had felt rather rotten after O'Conner had reminded her the emotional ties Maal might have formed and how this situation w as effecting him, she felt she needed to at least try and meet him half way on this, he was the father after all.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #15
[ Ryuan Sel | Transporter Room 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Arista, Nolan & AuctorLucan

Ryuan greeted those assembled with a nod. She kept her opinion of the odds of surviving this Op to herself. Penetrating the heart of a Federation space station, especially one as large and important to fleet operations would be a tough nut to crack, even for a heavily armed and specially trained team of soldiers. As much as she was proud of the Theurgy crew, seasons and grizzled vets the lot of them. herself included, they still were not the specially trained troops needed for this op. She could only hope, pray to the prophets actually, that they survived this mission, or at least achieved the tactical & strategic aims they were tasked with.

Unlike many of the others on the team, Ryuan had elected to arm herself with the 3e model of phaser rifle rather then the standard Type 3a or 3b models in use. Designed for easier use while suited up, Ryuan had found during extensive holodeck simulations that the 3e model offered better muzzle control, leading to better accuracy in close quarters combat, something they'd be facing a literal shit-tonne of this mission. She also packed the standard type 2 in a holster but elected not to carry any heavier weapons, instead extra phaser power packs as those would, to her mind at least, be more useful.

(OOC: Quick nomenclature ref as I can't find info on our wiki: A & B refer to the standard rifle seen in first contact (angular & rounded models respectively) and the 3e model is the one packed during the spacewalk scene in the same movie. Also, Ryuan's opinion is based on my own experience in RL shooting AR-15 derivatives with and without the pistol style foregrip. )

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #16
[ Dr. Nicander | Main Sickbay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Zenozine

"Good to hear, Nurse Vojona," said Doctor Nicander to Vinata before the male Ovri moved to set about preparing for his duties. "Thank you."

As Lucan stepped away from the scheduling display, he happened to overhear Hylota as she stepped into Main Sickbay and began speaking with Maal. Lucan picked up a journal and pretended to read it behind the corner of the corridor, being out of eyeshot but still hearing the Ovri and the Klingon speaking quite clearly.

"I... understand," said Maal, the low rumble of his heard as a stark contrast to the feminine, alien resonance of Hylota's voice. "This is quite strange for me as well, for I have no idea what parenthood to a... a clutch would entail. I do not know what my role is supposed to be, and how it might be different to what human - or Klingon - fathers ought to do. I suppose we need to find out as we go along, after they... after they are out. Let us just hope here is a tomorrow after this battle for... for talking again."

Resisting the urge to chuckle and shake his head at the Klingon's awkwardness, Lucan kept listening as Maal spoke anew.  "My gratitude for speaking with me, it means a lot to me that you do. The last time was not so... I mean, I understand you were upset about the fate of your Brother, so I did not hold it against you. So, please, no reason to apologise. I understand. I hope that we can... That you and I can see each other in... in private again."

Lucan returned the journal to its place and almost rolled his eyes. It seemed Maal wanted more of Hylota, but he wasn't eloquent enough to tell her what he wanted. Lucan decided that it would be amusing to speak with them both. He had to welcome Hylota on her shift, didn't he? He stepped around the corner, and raised his hands in exclamation. "Nurse Vojona! By the winds, you look amazing. Are you ready for - perhaps - your last shift before you are due?" Stepping up to her and Maal, he waggled a finger at her in jest. "You already know I think you should be resting... but knowing you, you rather want me to give you something to do, right? Maal, would you be willing to help Hylota whenever she needs you today?"

Maal looked positively mortified at the timing of Lucan' interruption. "Yes, Doctor, I... I would be honoured to aid her. I c-can brig the administrative work to her, so long as I know where she will be at."

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #17
[ Maya | Deck 11 | Main Sickbay| Entry Corridor/Waiting Room]

"You're not hurt?" Maya asked.  "Are you certain?"

"Mostly just my pride..." said McMillan unevenly, with flecks of light beginning to glow within her cheeks, and her eyes were beginning to glitter like stars. "...oh, but yes, I'm quite certain. Thank you.  I'm light..." she stammered "...lighter than I look, I, whether I fall down or jump into water, I make less of an impact than I should, based on my appearance."

She seemed to be waiting for a response from Maya so the greenblooded physician raised an eyebrow.

"Oh..." the alien scientist murmured as she looked down at her bare feet.  "Uhm, excuse me."  As she bent over to put her boots on Maya instinctively glided towards her in case McMillan started to fall again and needed someone to catch her. 

That was when Heather McMillan stood up straight and emitted a bright glow that seemed as bright as the stars themselves.  It was uncanny.  It was as if McMillan was momentarily transformed into a being of pure energy.  For a millisecond, Maya thought she had been struck be a phaser beam.

Then just as quickly as it happened, Heather McMillan was flesh and blood again, appearing to the naked eye as Terran female from Sol III. 

"How unusual," said McMillan, "but I feel like I just connected with something."

Maya blinked in order to open her inner eyelids. 

"Heather McMillan, nice to meet you." Heather greeted as she extended her hand.

Maya tilted her head in order to stare at Heather's hand.  Maya would often open her large hazel eyes as wide as possible to let whoever she was conversing with know that they had her full attention.  This had the effect of making the little Vulcan appear to be perpetually surprised.  In this case her surprise might have been genuine. 

Vulcans were not handshakers.  As a species of touch telepaths any physical contact had the unwelcome chance of being more intimate than intended.  Fortunately, every Vulcan schoolchild was trained to erect mental barriers insuring their privacy and Maya was no exception.  Clasping the hand of someone who had just been in contact with something and had glowed like the sun was not considered desirable after the Niga incident, the encounter with the entity calling itself Ishtar, or the psychic trauma caused by irresponsible telepaths like Commander T'Rena or Lieutenant Nurse Eve Jenkins.

Nevertheless, paranoia was a greater enemy than trust so Maya considered shaking hands an obligation.  Narrowing her eyes, the greenblooded physician stiffly extended a hand that seemed too large for her petite body and opened it, revealing her long spidery fingers.  "Doctor Maya," she said as she took her hand and gave it two shakes as if Heather was a hand operated pump and released her grip quickly.  "It is an honor to serve with you," she greeted coolly.  She picked up a PADD from the reception desk and made some changes.  "It says here that you're scheduled assist in the Battle Sickbay on Deck Seven, but I'd like to send Newbury there so you can train as an orderly here," the pointyeared doctor said as she led McMillan into Main Sickbay. 

They stopped as they encountered the two Orvi nurses nicknamed "the twins," although Head Nurse Hylota Vojona and her brother Vinata were in fact merely two of a clutch of quadruplets.  "Here are two of our nurses," she said, for she couldn't remember seeing Heather in sickbay before. 

"Oh Hello Doctor Maya," said the blue one with the pronounced bosom.  "I am Nurse Vinata, I will be working alongside you today," he said to the newcomer.  "I hope to be of help."

Hylota had obviously met Miss McMillan before. "Hey there Heather, you paralyze someone's arm again?" Hylota chuckled at this statement, but Vinata looked to his sister concerned before Hylota waved things off. "Sorry, I am having a bit of trouble with filtering things lately, comes with the territory I guess." She rubbed her swollen belly and sighed. "I had intended to track you down for a drink after our little adventure together, but turns out I got knocked up and I was strictly prohibited from alcohol. I have also been getting trained to my new post and helping my brother get settled." She shrugged. "Perhaps we can meet up after all this is over, I shouldn't be pregnant for much longer." Smiling she pushed Vinata from behind and encouraged him to go into the Sickbay as she slowly followed behind, lingering to just get a response from Heather before getting to work.

"Oh yes, we mustn't keep you," Maya replied with an eerily artificial Stepford smile that vanished as soon as the Orvi left.  She turned to face Heather.  "This is a big day for us," she declared in a smooth even voice as she led her past the head nurse duty station.  "It's possible that this could be the day that Hylota delivers her baby.  If so, it will be the first time a child is born aboard the Theurgy."  She paused when they reached the medical storage closet next to the morgue and the recovery ward.  "And it could also be the day that the Federation learns the truth of what happened to Starfleet," she added as an afterthought.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #18
[ Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark and Lt. (jg) Sarresh Morali| Main Bridge | USS Theurgy ]

Natalie would swear that the bridge felt warm, oppressive, like a cloying heat was washing over everyone present. She knew that it wasn't true - that the jungle level heat was just her nerves manifesting themselves, than any failing in the life support systems. After all, in gray mode, not much else was left running - albeit at minimal levels. So while the air was slightly stale, it was not as hot as it seemed to feel to Natalie.

The brunette kept an eye on her console, not daring to look back at Captain Ives, or around the bridge in general. She glanced to her side, to the helm, and then ahead again, before looking back down at her readings. Such as they were. Sensors were powered down to the barest of levels as well. She took a slow, deep breath through her nose, smelling something...something faint in the air, that really didn't matter.

In short, there was nothing much for her to do until they crossed the threshold. And they were....almost.......there.

Silence. No sudden alarms, no hails, no scrambling of fighters (as far as she could see). Behind her, Captain Ives opened the intercom; beside her, Lt. S'iti seemed to be itching to engage the engines. Natalie couldn't blame her at all, even as she forced herself to ease back into her chair.

Ahead of them, the sparkling dot that was Starbase 84 grew larger, slowly, so very slowly on the view-screen. Natalie listened with rapt attention, eager to get underway. Those fingers sifted through one read out after another as the passive sensors slowly reveed up, pulling in more data. She found herself caught up in the moment with everyone else, and despite her unreasonable fear of being too loud, she too joined the cry of "Forward."

Natalie wasn't the only one. Hell, the whole bridge joined in. Even Sarresh Morrali, perhaps the one man on the bridge that had the least reason to fall in line with Captain Ives. He stood as the secondary science station, waiting to power it back up fully so he could do something useful. He wanted to roll his artificial eyes - but he didn't. Sarresh had made a promise - one that he remembered, in any case - to back the Captain, and to do his best not to insight rebellion. He was angry about the conversation, but it had been eye opening.

Sarresh did not want to be a man the crew looked up to - he wanted to wallow (or had until his night with Ryuan Sel) - but what he wanted didn't much matter in the galactic scheme of things. And as rude an awakening as it was, he'd realized he had become someone that the crew - at least parts - viewed highly. And with that came more of a sense of responsibility than some conversation he didn't remember, where he had supposedly volunteered for all this mess.

So he too joined in the cheer, before turning back to his duties, ignoring the itch in the back of his mind, the worry growing there. Worry for the mission; worry for Sel; worry that there was something critical that he was missing.

Meanwhile, Natalie turned her head ever so slightly as she listened to the XO's words when he specifically called her out, and nodded, not wanting to verbally interrupt. They were thru the grid, but despite her cheer, she still - irrationally - felt a bone deep need for quiet. They were past the grid but they were still out of transporter range.

Things could still go wrong. Very, very wrong.

Stellar cartography checked in, their readings matching what she was seeing on her console: nothing out there yet. It also matched what Sarresh Morrali was seeing on the secondary science station. He frowned, and glanced over his shoulder at his immediate superior.   Was it the Ash'reem turned human's imagination, or was Tovarek looking antsy?

They all were, so what did it matter, really?

One by one, the security teams checked in with Winn Cenn, and the Chief of Security checked in with the bridge in turn.  "Acknowledged, Commander," Natalie said softly in response to the C-Sec. She looked back over her shoulder at the captain, and the steady force of control and calm that Jien Ives radiated. The dark haired captain nodded towards Natalie, and the C-Ops pulled up transporter control.

"All teams, stand by for transport," she said, her voice calm, betraying no trace of the anxiety boiling under the surface. That worry was tamped down tight, pushed into a small marble of fear in the pit of her stomach. Manageable. On the top left portion of her console a countdown clock appeared, ticking down faster and faster.

Behind her, at the Sciences section, Sarresh ran his fingers over his console, adjusting the passive sensors to focus in - as best as could be done, which wasn't all that much - on Starbase 84. He spared one more thought for Ryuan Sel, in one of the Theurgy's transporter rooms, ready to beam over. He wanted to see where things with her might go - if anywhere at all - and so he silently wished her luck.

It took everything that Natalie had not to fidget as the ship drifted into transporter range. Her eyes were glued to her console read out, but her mind was imagining all the ways this could go wrong. Her toes curled in her boots, and she slid forward ever so slightly in her seat as she brought her fingers down to bear.


"All teams, all teams, transport initiating. Repeat, transport initiated," she calmly ordered, as her fingers pressed down on the padded console top. Applying pressure, she swept her fingers up across her console, leaving a yellow green wake of four lines on its receptive surface. And in each of the transporter rooms, the blue white sparkling glow of Federation transporters began to form, along with the tale tell whistle-whine of the matter transfer beam.

One moment, the teams were on the dreadnought - and the next, they weren't, bodies trapped as pure energy, whisked away towards -

The base shields had gone up! They snapped into place around the large space fortress, effectively cutting off transport between Theurgy and Starbase 84.

"Dammit!" Natalie cursed, pulling up the full sensors, "Starbase 84 has raised shields," she stated quickly, "They must have spotted us and gone to red alert. Suggest we do the same!" Her heart began to pound in her chest, but instead of panic, a strange calm gripped her. Punch this sensor node online, she thought, bring up this feed, scanning, scanning....please don't let them all bed dead. The transporter room computers clearly showed that the teams had been dematerialized, their patterns no longer in the Theurgy's buffers. But were they alive...did they make it, or are they just....

"Transport successful. I repeat, transport successful!" She called out, over the din of the Red Alert siren now sounding throughout the ship, the command having been given while Natalie was focused on determining the result of their people.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #19
[ Captain Ives | Main Bridge | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: All

The count-down to transporter range seemed longer than the time to approach and pass through the tachyon grid had been, but when they were finally there, Lieutenant Commander Stark wasted no time on energising the transports that the operators in each transporter room had keyed in.  As one, and without delay, all three boarding teams left them. Jien had pursed her lips to speak...

...when Stark said that they had been compromised. Jien's eyes widened, her first thought going to the people on the boarding teams and whether or not they passed unscathed through the raised shields of Starbase 84. The Orunal-class base loomed larger on the viewscreen, and the fact of all its collective fire power made the choice simple. Jien could not afford hesitation if she'd keep her crew safe.

"Red alert!" she called, the klaxon resounding in her ears as they exited grey mode. She threw Commander Trent a glance where he stood at Tactical. "Stand ready for MVAM at my command, alert the Battle Bridges, have Dewitt launch the Allegiant, and release the Wolves immediately." Having said this, she turned to Stark, who just informed them that the boarding teams had been successfully beamed out of the Theurgy's buffers. A small sense of relief despite the battle they now faced: that the mission parameters might still be met. So much was riding on their endeavour, and the worst thing possible had just happened. They would have to fight for survival right from the first moment, and do so until the boarding teams could lower the base's shields and have the message sent.

"We defend ourselves and await word from the teams on the base. Stark, keep your eyes on any hails or messages coming in. It might be from our own." Jien turned, belatedly realising that the projection of Thea was not with them, the hologram instead on the base. It did not matter, since Thea was still present, only incorporeal. "Thea, engage multi-vector assault mode."

[Initiating decoupling sequence. Auto-separation in ten seconds,] said Thea on the intercom, overriding the klaxon. [Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Separation sequence in progress.]

The count-down would give Commander Trent ample of opportunity to carry out his orders before Thea separated. Once Dewitt and her small crew on the Allegiant had decoupled from the saucer section, Thea would tell them, and Squadron Commander Renard would report when all the Lone Wolves were out of the Fighter Assault Bay.

"On the defensive, Mister Trent, and evasive manoeuvres as required for all Vectors," she ordered as she sat down in the Commanding Officer's chair. Her mimicked heart beat quickly in her chest, and she clenched her jaw hard, knowing that the base was bound to open fire any moment. All starships within communication range would be receiving the alert of their location, and unless Thea was successful in preventing it, all the ships inside the spacedock would launch in defence of Starbase 84.

The die is cast.

OOC: CanadianVet, you are next with Trent. The transcript for the Tactical Officer during MVAM can be found here. Below it you an find the Attack and Defensive Patterns. After CV has posted, IronFerrox can have the Lone Wolves launch. I will be posting with Jennifer Dewitt, launching the Allegiant.

Boarding teams, no need to wait for CanadianVet to post with Trent. Here is the map you need, which I made to help get your bearings a bit:

Description of Boarding Team 01's insertion point can be found here. Boarding Team 02, yours is a regular corridor close to the spacedock control computers, and the staffed primary reactor controls are on the same level, only further away. Boarding Team 03 transports into a lounge on the ground level of the Executive Offices Complex (EOC). All these insertion points are as close as they can get without immediate detection.

Please let me know if you all have questions or need me to set the scenes or locations for you a bit more with further detail!

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #20
[ Commander Trent | USS Theurgy | Main Bridge ] Attn: All

Time was trickling by.  The way before an engagement was the worst.  Once they would come under contact, then things would crystallize and simplify a great deal  But in the meantime, in the minutes before the battle would be joined, there was entirely too much time to think.  But there was something to be said for Theurgy's bridge crew: they knew how to handle themselves and while the tension was palpable, everyone seemed calm enough; even Stark who had seemed to be one to wear her feelings on her sleeve.  It would seem their conversation and her mission on the Allegiant had done wonders for her confidence. 

And just at the moment he had expected it, lights and systems became to come back to life even as the boarding party was beamed over.  But then, there were those horrified words, words that accompanied his own readings of the Starbase's defences coming online.  And when the Captain called for Red Alert, the XO and Chief Tactical Officer's finger jabbed the control that would send the alarm coursing through the ship and bringing his own combat systems to full readiness.  Oh, he knew it would be fast, much faster than it would normally take when coming out of Grey Mode thanks to the preparations that had taken place in the final hours before crossing the Tachyon Grid.  And when his orders came, he spoke again in his headset even as he acknowledge the Captain's orders with a nod, quietly as to avoid unnecessary noise on the Bridge.  "This is the XO.  All hands prepare for MVAM.  Allegiant and Lone Wolves, launch now.  Battle Bridges, prepare for independent operations.  Flag Bridge, stand by for orders to activate and launch the drones."   

There was much for Trent to manage, but he still had his head above water.  But soon he would be busier than he'd ever been on a starship's bridge.  Effectively he would be in tactical control of three warp-capable platforms, and at least having Commander Renard and his experience out there would mean that he would not have to do much to manage the fighters, especially with Allegiant out there to act as a sensor and coordination platform.  But this would still be as complex an engagement as he'd ever taken part in. 

As the ship began to separate and new instructions came, the XO acknowledged again.  "Aye-aye, Captain.  Bringing all point-defence clusters online.  Mister Yukiumura, drop to simulacrum and bring up the EW suite."  And only then did he address the Battle Bridges again.  "Vectors 2 and 3, fall in for maximum defensive fire coverage.  Hold fire until fired upon, and you are to target only combat systems, and even then only if you have a clean shot." 

But then, now that he had a moment to consider what had happened, he quickly reviewed the sensor logs, and he called out.  "Captain, I don't know what's happening on the Starbase, but they didn't detect us, otherwise they'd have destroyed us while our shields were down.  There's something else going on in there."

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #21
[ Jennifer Dewitt | USS Allegiant Bridge (Docked) | Deck 10 | USS Theurgy NX-79854 ] Attn: All

[Allegiant and Lone Wolves, launch now.] 

That was the command heard on the intercom, and Lieutenant Commander Dewitt sat down in the central chair on the Allegiant's bridge. Pre-flights checked well before the Theurgy passed through the Tachyon Grid, her verification to Commander Trent and the orders to the small bridge crew were succinct. "This is the Allegiant, launching now," she said raking her hand through her red hair as she collected herself a bit - not having thought they'd be given the order so soon. She steeled herself, her hand closing to a fist. "You heard the XO, power her up and launch immediately."

"Aye, Commander," said Jaya Thorne at the helm, a Petty Officer that had been the ace on the Black Opal when it came to shuttle operations inside the docking bay - drilled in flying the Allegiant since he came aboard the Theurgy. But Miss Thorne was not the only one from her past command. In fact, everyone present on the Allegiant had served under her at the Black Opal. Ensign Edgar Rogers manned the tactical station - the co-pilot seat next to Thorne's. He had been the last one from the Opal to conform to the Theurgy's mission but perhaps, now, the most steadfast in his conviction that Captain Ives did was the right thing. Jennifer thought the shaved man's guilt about shooting down that fighter pilot - Ensign Carver - had something to do with it.

Morwen Angharad was at communications and sensors behind her right shoulder, keeping an eye on both the Lone Wolves and Tovarek Drones. Behind Jennifer's right shoulder was Ensign T'sebl Felr, the Vulcan manning the Ops station and being in direct communication with the three people down in the Allegiant's warp core room. As she gave her orders, the last person aboard - Doctor Henandez - retreated from the bridge, heading to the yacht's medical bay to prepare. He had been the CMO on the Black Opal, and would be monitoring the development from the med bay. Before he left, he put his hand on Jennifer's shoulder.

"A patient of mine once said he thought he'd broken his leg in two places," he said and winked at her as the whole bridge came alive with lights and sounds,  "I simply told him to quit going to those places.... Then again, I suppose we won't have any choice today, so... Break a leg, I suppose? I will be waiting int he back if you do."

Jennifer could not help but chuckle at George's bad puns, and she shook her head, grateful for the small distraction. It was, perhaps, the last joke she'd ever hear.

When her green eyes returned to the viewscreen, the Allegiant had decoupled from the Theurgy's saucer section. As the vista of space spread out before them, Starbase 84 came into view directly ahead, and she willed herself to be brave. She found herself grateful, in spite of all the time she'd spent with them, that she would undertake this mission in the company of her old staff from the Opal. The conditions of their commissioning to that remote base had not been healthy, but now, with a change of pace and with new conditions entirely, the bond between them had grown stronger than it had ever been on the Opal. In fact, she had only wished to have Yukimura at her side, but she knew he served better next to Carrigan Trent on the Theurgy's bridge.

"Raise shields and boost sensors. Feed all readings to the Lone Wolves and the Theurgy. Take us about the base and as far out of phaser range as you can without loosing sensor integrity. Engage!"

A thought went to the boarding teams on the starbase, hoping they would be successful before they suffered too heavy losses.

[ ThanIda zh'Wann | Executive Offices Complex Lobby | Starbase 84 ] Attn: SummerDawn & Nolan

In the transition from Transporter Room 03 to Starbase 84, Ida had no idea what kind of danger she and the team had been in - the signal almost severed along the way as the base raised its shield. When she did materialise, however, the first thing she heard was the Red Alert klaxon echoing in the gargantuan lobby of the Executive Offices Complex, and she saw people getting up and running out of the area. She frowned, wondering if she and the team had been displaced in time as well as space, their arrival much later than she'd thought. If the base was at Red Alert already, it meant that the Theurgy would have to fight every moment in wait for them to lower the the base's shields, lest they'd be trapped without means of returning.

"Perimeter," she ordered and raised her rifle, eyes along the sights as she looked about. The team fanned out in the small visitor's lounge in the corner of the large lobby. At this point the pinkskin behind the counter noticed them, and her eyes went wide at the sight of a fully armed group of Starfleet officers having beamed into her establishment - all whom were clearly not there for her beverages and snack assortment. Ida met her alarmed stare, antennae angling towards the civilian. "Get out."

The woman needn't be told twice, taking off in the same direction as the throng of visitors that were returning to their assigned quarters. Ida didn't shed her another look, instead stepping towards the side of the lounge that faced the entrance to the EOC, fourty yards away and their singular entry-point before they could enter the jefferies tubes. The small lounge was the closest they could beam in, with transporter inhibitors set up inside the complex itself. They had to make their way through the security gate inside the entrance, and if the Red Alert had been raised, those high, transparent blast doors before the gate would be sealed as well, with additional staff about to arrive. It was the worst conditions for the onset of their infiltration, but it also granted one, small opening.

"Ensign Ryuan," said Ida and turned her gaze to the Mistress-at-Arms. The Bajoran already knew what she had to do, having drilled the procedure a hundred times on the holodeck. Sel not being armed with the TR-120 or the SAFTI gear as she were, she would be able to more easily slip into the wake of the security detail that was about to approach the blast doors. She was to take the long way around the lobby, fall in behind the new detail without being noticed, and as soon as the blast doors opened, she would deploy stun grenades to take out the whole present security force - the new detail included. "Go."

Ida looked to Yeoman Henshaw, Zaraq and the other team members, gesturing for them to crouch down and hide behind the furniture in the lounge - their presence obscured by the plants and the lounge decor. Meanwhile, Ida was on the lookout, her antennae scanning the bustling activity in the lobby from her hiding place. By Lor'Vela, how could they go to Red Alert so fast? she thought, clenching her jaw as she waited, keeping her pulse in check.

Did someone tip them off about our arrival? Once more, she found herself thinking about Nathaniel Isley, and whether or not he was a traitor after all.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #22
[ MCPO William Robert O'Connell | Transporter Room Two | Deck 05 | USS Theurgy ]  

"All teams, stand by for transport," Natalie Stark's voice announced.

"All right, you heard the lady," O'Connell said he gestured to the transporter.  "Everybody git on th' transporter pads and prepare to share!  Manfredi and Johnson, share a pad.  Go ahead and hug each other, hold each other as close as your girlfriend, maybe closer.  Chief Keyah, you kin share one with Thea.  Ah kin see yore holdin' that great big rifle, so you'll have to go cheek to cheek.  That's it; jest back up into each other.  Squeeze them hindquarters together now!  That's it.  Jest like an advertisement fer a Ferengi holosuite.  Okay, thet leaves a spare pad fur th' rest!"

"All teams, all teams, transport initiating. Repeat, transport initiated,"  Stark's voice reported.

"Energize now, Kowalski!" O'Connor ordered as he hopped up onto the remaining pad and turned to face the transporter chief.

"Energizing," Kowalski murmured as his hands played over the console.  A field of sparks obscured Billy Bob's vision as an electronic hum filled his ears.  The hum faded away as the sparks disappeared to reveal...

[ MCPO William Robert O'Connell | Corridor outside the Spacedock Control Room | Level 14 | Starbase 84 ]  

...a wide corridor, the same kind of ubiquitous corridor found aboard many starbases and large starships.  As the eight of them appeared, they jerked violently at the sound of an alarm klaxon!

"Why don't these things ever run smooth?" O'Connell whined.  It was a saucy, yet delicate whine that cleansed the palate.  

"They're onto us!" Gimli Luff barked his deep phlegmy baritone.

"Ya think?" Senior Chief Cam growled.

"No wait Luff, that's a General Quarters klaxon," O'Connell corrected him, "not an intruder alert!  We can still make this happen by pretending to be security!"

"I can do that," Chief Keyah nodded as before directing her newfangled TR-120 rifle down the corridor before turning to cover the other direction.

Chief Manfredi shook his head. "Oh I got a bad... feeling about this."

"Stick to the plan y'all," O'Connell hissed.  "We reckoned things would go south.  Let's knock off the jawjackin' and git t' work!"

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #23
[ Outside the Spacedock Control Room | Level 14 | Starbase 84 ] Attn: DocM.

When they materialised, the first sound they heard was the klaxon that Thea hadn't hoped to detect just yet, at the very onset of the mission. She scanned the vicinity with her projection's optical sensors, head whipping about as the organics spoke, them debating whether or not their endeavour had been made futile. Thea's priorities were others, the foremost one imperative that she addressed within the minute. Each second counted, and the odds became worse with every minute moment they tarried.

"I need to lock down the spacedock immediately," she announced, and they knew it to be the first task at hand.  Yet with her approach being compromised, the starbase was about to deploy everything it had against her, making the battle short before she was destroyed, and the subspace sync her emitter had to her A.I. brain core would fall silent, and she would merely remain with the emitter's reduced processing powers until the power cell was depleted. Therefore, she did not wait for the organics to settle their argument, instead striding at a brisk pace to the next intersection and the corridor where the spacedock control room awaited them. Every second counted, and she raised her rifle to her shoulder - eyes along the sights.

Rounding the corner, she saw the two posted security guards - the regular deployment since it was a critical area of the base. Within the minute, the guard detail would be increased because of the Red Alert, three times as many about to materialise via site-to-site transport. There was no time to await them, making an ambush not the highest priority. At least not for her, since she was the one that needed to access the spacedock control subroutines and seal the entire base from launching any crafts - Starfleet or civilian.

The two guards in front of her in the corridor had drawn their hand phasers in reaction to the alert, and the closest one spotted her the second after she came into sight, which was too late. She raised a cry to alert the other guard, but Thea's TR-120 had already fired twice, and both guards sank to the floor in two disjointed heaps - one ending up lying against the bulkhead. Thea never paused her step, calling back to O'Connell. "Starbase security inbound. Cover me."

She walked up to the control panel next to the door, tore away the cover and dug her force-field hard fingers into the circuitry gut of the door mechanism, finding an awkward grip on the two key isolinear chips there. She ripped them out, making the sliding doors part for her. Even as she strode through, she heard the familiar sound of the security detail beaming into the corridor. She had no time to address the threat they posed. She had to trust O'Connell, lest she'd loose too much time. She heard the voices raised, but she was inside the control room already.

Two technicians were there, likely having run diagnostics, but Thea spared no time in opening fire again, one shot each making them topple to the hard floor.  Before their bodies settled, she was by the main console. She held her rifle vertically in one hand while she let her projected abdomen fade away - revealing her spherical emitter within. She had a cord there, connected to her dataport, and she took the other end in her fingers, quickly plugging herself into the console. Having done so, her pre-written program was executed and she could turn around and take aim towards the doors - hoping that O'Connell and his men did not let anyone through while she shut down the spacedock in its entirety.

Re: Chapter 02: Crucible

Reply #24
[ Heather McMillan | Deck 11 | Main Sickbay| Entry Corridor/Waiting Room | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Maya, Vinata & Hylota Vojona


McMillan barely concealed the wince as she felt the sheer strength of the Vulcan. She wished she had remembered sooner that Vulcan were much, much stronger than Humans were, and though Vulcans were very controlled, they hadn't had the chance to meet the Radiant or know the exact extent of their frailty. Fortunately, Maya did not appear prone to crushing on first grip, or the young woman would have been down one hand. The hand that had touched Maya's was pulsing, literally, with a red-gold light.

"Orderly?" said McMillan, "Yeah, all right."

Smiling, she made to trail after the Vulcan, walking on tip-toe, when she whirled around, and her light fade away completely as her eyes widened with recognition at the sight of Hylota Vojona, "Oh dear God." Her voice was a weak squeak as all the memories and the shame of her actions came back. She still had nightmares of her stupidity causing the death of a sentient being. The guilt and horror was evident, and the woman clammed up due to her failure to decide whether to apologize, or break down in tears first.

It bothered her that the female Ovri was treating her like a friend rather than shunning her. She was also glad to see that the woman was still intact, and even pregnant! When did that happen? She kept talking of taking her for a drink, and McMillan was tempted to blurt out that Vojona ought to be putting toxins into her drink for what she had done, nearly incapacitating her arm with a medication that had an adverse effect on Ovri instead of making things better.

No Radiant shall ever do harm to another life form.

McMillan was doing a terrible job of it.

Bunny, her little hologram pet, was hopping around the young woman's feet. "After all of this is over," said McMillan at last, with a shaky smile, and guilt-ridden eyes, "I'll be right here, whenever you want."

She breathed a little easier once the two were past, going further in, and she turned back to Doctor Maya, looking like she had just run naked through a crossfire between Romulans and Klingons and escaped with her life. With no lights, she looked even paler, and more sickly. She didn't realize that her dependence on glowing like a lamp was making her addicted to her own abilities. Until she had shown herself to people, she had only ever allowed light to flash from the palms of her hands and fingertips, but now that she was letting the Light flow through the entirety of her body, she could no longer control or stop herself from touching the light. And when she did stop, it required conscious effort, and her body and mind would keep yearning to let herself glow, as if her life depended on it. But seeing Hylota made McMillan want to punish herself, and so she willfully shut off her light, and lowered herself to stand on the soles of her feet. Only her hair continued to float about with the slightest movements.

She listened to what Maya had to say and smiled weakly, nodding, "That should be good for morale," said the Radiant. "a newborn child, and maybe...maybe the chance that this would be coming to an end...that we could go home."

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