Harry Finn 07-19-2009 11:20:03 AM
Dead Space: Sheol

Yith Asteroid Mine


Jenny heard Harry's warning but she had a bead on the advancing enemy, who was about to fire, again. She took the shot with the M23 and the projectile got his attention as it glanced off the edge of his shoulder. Well, hell… Flipping the blade in her left hand, she let the knife fly and there was some joy in seeing it penetrate the throat of the approaching Yith. There were, however, two more. One went straight for the tunnel which the three men had taken but the third was making her a priority and it was fast. Jenny barely had time to raise her gun when it was there, clawed fists punching straight in and sending her flying back in the direction of the first tunnel. That would have been it, except for Wekesa's personal force field, kicking in at the point of impact, causing the crewman to bounce off the wall, hit the ground and roll over a few times. She was blinking her way to seeing straight when the lizard appeared over her, clawed hand reaching down…

"We're clear ahead!" Jamal shouted as they moved into the tunnel and he found it, surprisingly, empty of Yith for the moment. Tenanji was weighing them down, and even with Finn's help, they definitely weren't moving as fast as they should be. Suddenly, a loud blast resonated through the tunnel. He could hear Finn yelling something from behind him, and then there was a loud clatter of rocks and a cloud of dust engulfed the three officers. Jamal tried to run forward, tripping over the loose rock which came tumbling down the tunnel from behind.

A sudden thundering shook the entire area and the Yith above her staggered. Not much, but enough for Jenny to fire six rounds, point blank, into the creature from below. The energy pulses which the previous lizard had shrugged off from ten meters were much more effective when the muzzle was in contact with the target. It fell back and she rolled sideways and up, looking for another target but was faced, instead, with the collapse of the far end of the chamber.

"Harry?" She slunk forward, past the two Yith she'd killed and catching sight of five of slaves, still toiling on as if nothing had changed. Beyond, that, however, "Oh, God…" Jenny tapped her combadge, wheezing in the dust and trying not to think about the arm of one of the Yith, protruding from the collapsed cave wall before her. =/\=Anderson to Finn… Hastings?=/\= Anyone? She raised the tricorder and, at the least, had the assurance of three living beings on the other side…

A further rumbling, this reminiscent of dozens of heavy feet pounding on the earth, took her attention from the cave-in and away from the scene of the disaster. She drew the knife that she'd been using to mark the tunnels, made a massive hash at the entrance to the collapsed area and then took off, down a subsidiary tunnel. She still had the tricorder and, like Harry said, more people to find.

As the dust settled, Hastings flipped on his wrist light and shined it back in the direction they'd come from. The tunnel was closed off, collapsed by a blast from one of the Yith disruptors. Finn was standing up from the tunnel floor a few meters away, apparently unharmed.

"What the…?" Usher blurted out, sitting up suddenly and rubbing his head as he looked around the dark tunnel.

Coughing the last of the dust out of his lungs, Jamal pushed himself up from the floor and hastily brushed the worst of the dust off his uniform. The tunnel was eerily quiet now that the rockslide had sealed it off from the mining chamber they had just left. "They must have hit a deposit of the disilicon," he muttered to nobody in particular. He looked over at the security chief, who was still sitting on the ground, looking lucid but disoriented. "You back with us, Lieutenant?"

Usher shook his head quickly as if he were shaking off the Yith toxin altogether. "Chief… Commander?" He looked quizically at the two officers. "Where are we, and how did we come to be here?"

"That's a long story and right now it's not looking like there's going to be a happy ending," Finn growled, tapping his combadge, =/\=Anderson, this is Finn… do you…=/\= the badge sputtered and sparked under his hand and he swore, shaking burned fingers. "What is the point of all this effing tech if it never works?" He started back towards the cave in, looking ready to dig back to his god daughter, if he had to.

Suddenly, Tenanji stood up and grabbed Finn's arm. "Commander… whoever is back that way, we cannot go back." As disoriented as he was, the Lieutenant still had a vague impression of a running firefight from a few moments before.

"He's right," Jamal replied as he took a quick scan of the area with his tricorder. "That cave in is deep… we might collapse the structure of the tunnel if we try to dig. Besides, the lizards know where we at… ain't gonna take them long before they come around from the other side. We gotta keep moving."

Harry spun back on the two, professional duty and personal responsibility shredding at his guts. But they were here… Jenny had been far enough back, right…? "Tricorder," he remembered, raising his. "Come on…"

But before he could catch a signal, a more organic sound infiltrated the haze-filled air.

"It's them," Tenanji's fingers dug into the commander's arm, which he still held, "we have to go… now."

*Sheol is the Hebrew abode of the dead.

JP with Jenny Anderson, Simba Wekesa as Jamal Hastings and featuring NPC Lt. Usher Tenanji.

Benjamin Hyde Pierce 07-19-2009 03:37:13 PM
Yeah, that hurt… Jenny shifted, checking the various aches and twinges but none of them felt debilitating. It hadn’t been a huge fall, just rather unexpected, coinciding as it had with her flashlight deciding to kick at the same time the last tunnel she’d been maneuvering began to echo with the hiss-clicks of an approaching enemy patrol.

Grabbing hold of some fairly stable rock face, she dragged herself up to standing, noting as she rose that she could see, now, sort of, and she could hear sounds, too… echoes more like but mixed in with the crack and thunk of labor were voices.

Both the light and the sound came from her right. Jenny again drew her sidearm and began to carefully pick her way through the rubble.

The prison bull gripped the shotgun tightly and used it to shove BHP towards another rock face, one deeper within the mine. "Hey! Careful with that trench-broom," Ben protested as he stumbled forward. The Iotian tried to catch himself but the long work shifts and lack of rest had made him clumsy with exhaustion. Ben fell flat on his face. Angry at the treatment the guard was dishing out, Ben pulled the sledgehammer up under him as he regained his footing. When he moved to stand, Ben grasped the handle of the sledge and swung it with all the force he could muster. The hammer slammed against the side of the guard's skull and knocked him out cold.

"How'd ya like that tune?" Ben said smuggly to the still form of the guard. The sound of shoe soles on loose gravel made the Iotian turn to his left. "Hey, it's the canary," the gangster stated when he caught a glimpse of the woman that approached him. The woman was carrying some type of fancy heater and looked determined. "Say Doll, what are ya doing in the big house? Come to spring me after turning into a rat?" His fist clenched the handle of the sledgehammer tightly. He didn't want to hit a dame, but then again he didn't want to get burned by one either.

Joy at the sound of Ben's voice had been knocked smack out of Jenny at the sight of him, hunched over the dead Yith. Battered didn't even begin to cover it but worse, the look on his face as he greeted her (or the 'Doll' he thought she was) and the very significant hammer he held were more than a little intimidating. She wanted to take him and hold on for dear life but, for now, she just held the M23 out and down and slipped the hypo she'd prepped behind her back, out of sight. "I came to… uh, spring you… of course," she tried, edging forward, trying to sooth him and keep a weather eye out for any more Yith as she did.

"Sure ya did," Ben answered, his eyes narrowing in suspicion. She'd said her Pop had carried a buzzer and he knew that Jenny had ratted him out. "You must think I'm a sucker," the man said as he kept his distance by sidestepping away from the dame. "First you call copper on me, then you make nice with the bulls." He noted the way she was holding the heater. "Why would that same broad want to spring me?" BHP reasoned. He needed to move, the other bulls would come looking for him soon. But the canary stood in his way. "Listen doll, I ain't a hood that goes around smacking women with a hammer," Pierce explained, "but you're blocking my way outta the big house. Let me go my own way and we'll call it even.." A spasm of pain shot up his neck and caused his arms and shoulders to twitch. Before he could wonder what had happened, another wave of pain clawed it's way up his central nervous system. The agony was so intense that he lost his hold on the sledge. Through the haze of pain he recognized Jenny and attempted to speak, but he was driven to his knees by the excruciating pain that shot up his spine. A yell of agony erupted from his lungs and the Iotian began to tear at the spot on his neck that felt as if it were on fire.

“No,” holstering the gun, Jenny raced towards Ben, where he writhed on the ground, ripping at his neck. "It’s not too late,” she said, whether to Ben, herself or God, she had no idea. “It’s not." Jen slid down beside him and raised the hypo, trying to hold him still enough to give him the dose and praying as she did that the Yith weren't the type to respond to shouts from their prisoners. Almost there. "Don't you dare die on me…" she ordered, as the telltale hiss indicated a successful application.

The fiery stakes that were being driven into his neck and shoulders were steadily quenched. When the agony receded BHP realized where he was and who he was with. He wasn't in a prison and the canary was Jenny, his Jenny. The other reality hadn't been a reality at all, but a dreamlike state. "..don't be a dream," Ben said wearily as he hugged Jenny in relief.

"Not a dream," she whispered as the weeks of emptiness faded with his touch. "Not a dream," she repeated, closing her eyes but then… there it was… that horrific clicking, "but if we don't get our asses in gear, the nightmare is going to come back." She pulled away, digging into the bandolier she wore, "Look, I brought some ammo in case… I mean, I knew I'd find you but, in case you had your piece."

"Piece?" Ben looked around in confusion. There was a moment of thought then the Iotian reached down in his boot and pulled out the M1911 pistol. "This ain't mine," Pierce said as an afterthought. He took a new magazine from Jenny and inserted it in the grip's receiver. "I got it from my first big score," the security officer explained as he chambered a round. "It..I shouldn't have taken it but I was moving up and.." It was hard to explain to Jenny what had taken place before he had joined Starfleet. The hissing noise grew louder and Ben aimed the pistol towards tunnel where the sound originated. His arm was tired and began to shake, disturbing his aim, so the security officer clasped one hand over the other to steady himself. "When we get back to the ship, I'll explain it over dinner."

“It’s a date,” she replied burying her concern for him to take up her weapon again. Jenny activated her tricorder, hoping there was another tunnel nearby but no joy… and worse, they were smack on top of one of the gas pockets. “We have to go back,” she jerked her chin hisswords, “that way… to the place I fell through…it’s the best route to the shuttle…” And maybe they'd find some more of their crew, on the way.

Of course, that meant straight towards the oncoming Yith. Jenny placed a hand on Ben's arm, partly to support him and partly to reassure herself of his presence. "Love you," she said, just in case.

"I know," Ben answered before he changed his grip on the pistol so he could offer it to Jenny. "I can't use this..I'm too tired and its too heavy. Take it and give me your M23." When her hand grasped the pistol, Ben pulled Jenny to him and kissed her lips with a fierce, quick kiss. "There'll be more of this later," he promised as his glacial blue eyes looked into her warm greys.

"Ohhh, yes… what?" Focus… Jen slipped herself under Ben's right arm, so each had their firing hand free. She tried to ignore the impact of that explosive kiss… explosive! "Right, also," she said softly as the two moved towards the only known exit, "the mineral you've been digging up is wicked unstable… one wrong shot can bring down the roof…"

There wasn't time for more, though, as they came through a narrowing in the tunnel to find, not just a pair of Yith but the seven other slaves who'd been laboring next to Ben, all carrying various heavy and/or pointy tools and moving towards the escapees. All were talking, yelling or muttering something… apparently angry but not in any language Jenny understood.

BHP fumbled with the settings on the M23, cursing his clumsy fingers. He managed to switch the weapon to stun and set the dispersal beam higher before firing on the workers. He got lucky and dropped three with the first shot. The other slaves kept coming, some of them brandishing their tools in a threatening manner. Another phaser shot took down two of the closest slaves before the others charged. Ben ducked a pick-swing and slugged the slave hard in the gut before taking a snap shot at one of the Yith guards. He scored a hit and the guard was momentarily stunned. The picker was trying to recover when BHP played him some Iotian chin music. He felt remorseful for hitting the slave but knew from firsthand experience that the slave didn't have a grasp on reality.

While Ben took the heat from the intended cannon fodder, Jenny jumped up a pile of rubble and took aim. The two Yith herding the slaves were possibly shielded and both were armored and then there was the disilicon to consider so she knew each shot had to be precise. One enemy stumbled under Ben's attack, giving her a window with the second. Steadying her grip, she relaxed, as he'd taught her and aimed for the largest body part… a kill shot was too much to hope for in the tumult… and fired. And fired again. Five rounds went into the saurian torso before it dropped. It had been less than ten seconds. Jenny shifted to the first Yith, now straightening and looking her way but someone grabbed her calf and yanked, pulling her down onto the rock pile as her finger was squeezing the trigger. Jenny's head and the bullet hit rock and she lost a few seconds before a pair of hands, presumably the same ones which had pulled her down, brought her back to the present by dint of wrapping around her throat and squeezing, up until she brought the gun she still held to the side of the manic slave's head, anyway.

He hit the remaining Yith with a concentrated firing pattern but the creature soaked up the shots. Pushing the firing selector forward to full power, Pierce took aim and let the lizard have it. The focused beam sliced off the it's right arm causing the scaly attacker to howl before it turned and retreated down the tunnel at a fast gallop. Pushing the flailing slave off of Jenny with the bottom of his shoe, then giving the hapless attacker a stun shot to keep him down, Ben caught Jenny's hand, pulled her to her feet and led the way down the tunnel. Looking at the grenades that were hanging from her belt and the garb she was clad in, Ben asked: "So what exactly were you doing on the Colony? Training with the marines?"

"You could say there were some war games," she told him, not elaborating. Right now they needed to get, "Up there," she skidded to a halt and pointed to the scattered rockfall which marked where she'd come through from a tunnel above. Checking the tricorder again she found it's readings losing cohesion. "There may be a linking tunnel, 87 meters further or," she shook her wrist, "it could be another gas pocket." And the way the tricorder was behaving, she felt more confident going back the way she came… then at least they'd have the hash marks to follow back to the Royal Flush.

JP with Jenny 'In the Nick of Time' Anderson

Luku 07-20-2009 10:55:30 AM
::Royal Flush::

"Okay," Jameson stated simply, looking at his tricorder, "Ten minutes is up, Luku, let's go."

"Aye Chief." Luku replied simply, quickly giving her Les'trum a final once over as she followed the NCO down the shuttles exit ramp.

They were only a relatively short distance down the barren tunnel before they came to its first intersection. Luku opened her tricorder and took a short scan of the immediate area. "No obvious pointers on which way to go Chief." she commented as her scan brought up nothing of use.

Jameson simply pulled out one of his sheathed knifes and tapped at the tunnels wall, "I'd look again Cadet."

Luku looked up to see what the Chief had spotted, there, scratched into the walls surface was a neat arrow under which was marked H-F.


"Harry Finn Cadet…The Commander is showing us which way he has gone, we shall therefore go….the other way." He pointed towards the left most of the three tunnels.

"Aye Chief," Luku nodded, marvelling slightly at the simple yet ingenious wall marking, "should I make a similar mark?"

Jameson looked down at the diminutive cadet. "No offence, but I think the others will have an easier job looking for something a little higher up."

"Ah…None taken Chief." Luku smiled as Jameson moved over to the far tunnel and made a similar marking, smartly re-sheathing his knife after he had done so.

"Right….Left it is, lead the way Cadet."

Their tunnel of choice weaved left and right in a vague attempt at keeping straight, cutting off line of sight every twenty metres or so as it jinked into a new direction. After about three minutes of walking Luku rounded another rough corner, almost to walk straight into the back of a Yith guard.
Pulling herself back from the disastrous collision the S'ti'ach backed away as quickly and quietly as she could, signalling to Jameson to back up as well.

The pair retreated to the previous corner, some fifteen metres back. Luku looked up to Jameson, "Should we try another tunnel Chief?"

The NCO simply shook his head, once more unsheathing the knife at his side, "Negative, we go through him, and we keep it quiet."

Slowly the pair moved back up to the next corner, Jameson taking point, his knife raised, Luku followed a few steps behind, Les’trum aimed and ready. As the Chief raised his knife to strike a large echoing bang roared into existence from the tunnel behind them, the Yith snapped round in response, spotted Jameson poised to strike and instinctively lashed out, its hard head impacting with the Chiefs and sending him sharply to the ground.

“Juh’ta!” Luku swore as the Yith reached down for the dazed NCO, then she fired.

The Yiths fierce facial features vanished in a haze of super heated air, its body, caught by the force of the Les’trum’s shot, was flung into the opposite wall with a crunch. As the now limp body slumped to the ground a loud, almost feral sounding alarm roared into being.

Luku rushed over to Jameson and pulled him roughly up from the floor.

“Chief! We need to get moving!”….

Harry Finn 07-21-2009 10:44:20 PM
USS Royal Flush

B’naath’s tail slashed the air as he waited for their ‘go’. Whisker’s twitched as hints of the asteroid’s scent slipped through with each of the prior departures. “What time is it?” he asked.

“Two minutes since the last time you asked,” Fehr told the Caitian, who smiled, having succeeded in needling the LT once again.

“So,” the petty officer asked, as he watched the Elasian run over the ship’s systems, putting all unnecessary functions to sleep, “how was your assignment with Special Operations?”

Fehr grimaced in response, “The original assignment was simple enough to be almost tedious,” he began. “The time spent on the Outpost, however…” he broke off as an alarm, low pitched but insistent, began to sound.

“What is it?”

“Proximity alert,” Fehr said. He called up the screens and sensors, “A’scherzia,” he swore. “Buckle in, one of the locals is about to land on this ledge…”

B’naath dove into the tactical station, locking himself in as Fehr virtually cold-started the vessel, reverse thrusters shoving it backwards off the ledge and into several harrowing moments of free fall before the impulse engines came back to life. Fortunately, the cloaking remained in tact but now, as Fehr maneuvered the Royal Flush to its previous altitude, they found their parking space well and truly filled with Yith, quick-timing their way from a transport and into the very tunnels into which their comrades had so recently disappeared.

“Someone must have made some noise,” Fehr said.

“That can’t be good,” was B’naath’s studied opinion.

Featuring NPC's Lt. Fehr and PO2 B'naath

Simba Wekesa 07-24-2009 10:40:16 AM
Jamal squinted down the dark, hazy tunnel. It split into two, going off in different directions, about ten meters ahead. "Go to the right," he commented as the tricorder gathered what limited data it could. "I think it joins up with some of the other tunnels I was in before… maybe we can get back to the abandoned section from there." He was already moving toward the junction as he spoke. Even if they could make it back away from the mine, there was nowhere even remotely safe now that the Yith were aware of their presence, and it would only make things harder for the other teams.

"Finn," Tenanji said, "Harry… what good can you do anyone, if you die here?" When the commander finally looked at him, Usher jerked his head after Hastings and began to move, gratified to see the other man begin to follow, slowly gaining speed. "I don't suppose you have a weapon to spare?"

Wordlessly, Harry tossed Tenanji his M23, unslinging the rail gun and cradling it as he ran.

Seeing that the two senior officers were, thankfully, following, Jamal turned down the right fork of the tunnel and broke into a near-jog. Stealth movements were best, but for the moment, at least, the priority needed to be to put some distance between them and the quickly-approaching Yith. The tunnel was definitely curving around, though it was hard to have any actual orientation inside the narrow, rocky passageways. Hastings silently hoped that he was right and they were moving into known territory, where at least there was some chance of survival.

Harry slid forward, laying a hand on Hastings. When the young NCO looked his way, he leaned in and whispered, "Got a clue what we're heading into?"

Hastings paused, not entirely sure that he really did. "If I'm right, there's a section of narrower passages up ahead… at least it'll make us harder to follow."

Harry jerked his chin at Tenanji, calling him into a quick huddle. "This isn't going to work," he said, "we can't waste our time running from these tyrannosaurus turkeys. You two, move on ahead… make your best speed towards where you think you'll find one of ours and, when you do," he dug the hypo he'd been unable to use on Tenanji out and passed it to Hastings, "wake him up."

"And you?" though Usher thought he knew.

"Rear guard," Harry said, dropping the rail gun into his palm. "Time to take the offensive… I'll follow when the odds get evened out some."

Jamal nodded as Usher accelerated and fell into step alongside him. It felt better that way. Even though he had a better idea of the tunnels' layout than Tenanji or Finn, it somehow didn't feel natural to be leading two senior officers. "Ulrika and Kowalski were back the other way when I saw them… I don't know how we're going to get back there, at least until the Commander clears out the lizards. There's some kind of cargo storage area up ahead… Govan was working near there when I found him before. I think that's our safest bet, sir." He looked over at Tenanji, who seemed to have regained most of his composure, for confirmation. Still, he couldn't help but wonder if the Lieutenant was really back to running on full thrusters or not.

"Then that is our course," Usher said, checking the settings on his pistol. "The more of us in the fight, the better…" his comment was cut off by the resounding crack of what had to be the Finn's weapon. "We'd best make good use of the window the commander is giving us…"

Hastings didn't need to be reminded twice. As far as the CPO was concerned, the sooner they found their people and got back to the ship, the better. By now, he was running mostly on adrenaline and the whole situation was putting him on edge. The sound of Finn's gun came again, fainter this time, as they made their way towards the storage bay to find Govan. They could only hope that he hadn't moved. It would be a lot harder to do reconaissance now that the Yith definitely knew they were here. "I think the bay is just fifty or sixty meters ahead… if we can get to him, we'll need to inject him with the antidote. It only took you two or three minutes to come around, so hopefully it's the same for Cardassians."

"Tell me, son," Zyr Malkat was saying as Zal hauled another load of unrefined ore to the pallet, "have you found the true Cardassian in your self, yet?" He followed the younger man, giving him a solid thwack on the shoulder.

"I was always a true Cardassian," Zal hissed, trying to throw off the weight of his father without dropping the crate of ore.

"He's… talking to that… Yith, are they called?" Usher whispered, watching the strange interplay between his security officer and the lizard nearest Govan. He and Hastings were concealed by a stack disilicon-filled crates. Beyond the two, over a dozen slaves shoveled, packed and crated the mineral under the cold, basilisk eyes of four of the enemy.

Of course this couldn't just be simple. Jamal frowned as he pondered the situation.

"It couldn't be simple," Usher breathed, unconsciously echoing Jamal's thoughts. He looked at the younger man, "We need a distraction…"

At which point another series of blasts… no fewer than six in close succession, reverberated throughout the chamber. Three of the lizards drew various weapons and made rather impressive speed towards the disturbance while the one remaining shifted to cover the one exit to the room/cave.

"Well that was sure convenient," Hastings quipped with a smirk as the odds suddenly shifted in their favor.

Usher nodded. "Let's go, before they come back… I'll take out the guard, you inject Govan with the antidote." The security chief was already creeping forward, lining up his shot.

"Yo, we might want to move away from these containers… just in case they shoot back," Jamal suggested, remembering the large explosion in the last cavern. "I mean, with these crates filled with disilicon…"

Tenanji jerked a nod, then signaled Hastings to move around the outskirts of the chamber. He remained in place, however, as it was the best vantage. He double checked the setting on the M23, making certain it was set to the highest possible output then took his shot. Whatever shielding this particular enemy might have possessed, it wasn't able to deflect the narrow-focused beam. He only eased off the trigger when the creature's top half slid off the bottom and the beam hit the cavern wall behind it. He held his breath but nothing exploded.

Jamal watched in horrified fascination as Tenanji's fire divided the Yith guard, then seized the opportunity to get to Govan while the area was free of hostiles. Remembering Usher's initial resistance to the hypospray, he decided that the easiest way to do this would be to take the Cardassian, who was apparently unphased by the weapons-fire around him, by surprise. Jumping quickly over a half-filled crate of disilicon, he hit the ground running and pressed the hypospray into Govan's neck before he even had a chance to react.

The security guard quivered for a moment, then his eyes rolled back into his skull and he collapsed onto the ground, out cold as the antidote spread through his body to begin its work. Damn, I was hoping it would work faster on Cardassians… Hastings grimaced at the thought of having to carry Govan through the tunnels. Lugging Usher around had been one thing, but the Cardassian was going to be a lot heavier.

“Time to go,” Tenanji joined him and, between the two, they got Govan’s arms hitched over their shoulders, the better to drag him back the way they came. They’d made it into the narrow crevice and were well on their way towards where they’d split from Finn when Usher remembered something. “Is this not the same tunnel the other three sentries took…”

The sentence was cut off by, first, Govan practically leaping from their grip and away in martial instinct and second, the aforementioned three Yith, hot-footing it back towards the three Chimera crew.

"Aw, hell naw!" Jamal pulled his phaser out and fired towards the approaching reptiles. The blast hit the center Yith in the head and the creature split away from the group, letting out a horrible screech of pain. The other two kept coming, and Hastings fired again. The phaser beam conveniently glanced off the armor, doing little damage to the creature. "Lieutenant, I don't think this is gonna work," he called out.

"We'll take down the tunnel if we have to!" Usher called back, struggling to get the disoriented Govan under control as the Starfleet officers continued their running firefight. "Petty Officer, it'll be alright, we're getting you out of here… just keep moving!"

"Shit, they're gaining on us!" Jamal shouted as he continued to lay down fire as best he could while navigating the narrow tunnel. Suddenly, they came around a corner and burst into a larger, open cavern which was thankfully vacant at the moment. Jamal tripped over a loose rock and hit the floor hard. He could hear Tenanji shouting something to him from further ahead, and instinctively rolled over onto his back and took aim at the tunnel opening. Just as the Yith came into view, he pulled the trigger. The blast from the phaser hitting the rock knocked the reptiles backwards into the tunnel as the rock tumbled down with a great rumble and sealed off the passage.

Leaving the still-bewildered Cardassian for a moment, Usher quickly stepped back to the exhausted Hastings and extended his hand to help him up from the ground. "Good work, Chief. Now what do you say we go find Finn and get out of here before their friends decide to show up?"

JP with Harry Finn as Usher Tenanji

Harry Finn 07-24-2009 11:30:01 AM
While Hastings and Tenanji fetch Govan…

There was, he had to admit, a sort of distant satisfaction in his current activity. The rail gun was a wonder of destruction and Harry was in a mood to destroy. Too bad the three Yith pulling up the rear decided to err on the side of caution, pulling back before they could join their precursors in the Les’trum’s easy weight loss program.

He contemplated following, to finish the job, or be finished by it, but he only had the two clips and Tenanji and Hastings were expecting backup.

You shouldn’t have let her come… he turned and started after the other men, pursued by a sense of guilt as poisonous as the Yith toxin.

And if he hadn’t? If he’d ignored protocol and left a necessary skill set on the ship?

So what if he had? Not like his career would suffer for it…

Whoa… He pulled back, on his thoughts and his steps as a shadow began to spill from a narrow opening to his left. Slipping into a deep crevice, he watched as two humanoids, so emaciated and filthy he couldn’t identify their species, made their muttering way in the direction from which he’d come. He waited but no Yith followed, though he could hear it’s hissing breath, bouncing off the narrow cavern walls.

He crept into the passageway from which the slaves had come, thinking of nothing beyond taking out another one of the enemy. What he saw, however…

The child… almost certainly this was a child… was on a leash which had been strung through a ring in the cave wall. The silver-haired head was drooping, he was clutching at his stomach and his movements were erratic, almost drunken. For all that, however, when his eyes lifted and he looked up at his captor, Harry could see that they were sharp, focused and, the officer was sure, filled with hate.

Something else he noticed, watching the Yith loose the cord from the wall, the air was different here, heavier… like…

… like gas.

Canaries in a coal mine, he thought, as the Yith drew near, shoving the boy ahead while he kept one hand on the tether. The kid would be too small for heavy labor, but small enough to be effected by toxic fumes before anyone else would notice.

With the combination of disilicon deposits in the rock and gas in the atmo, he couldn’t use the rifle. Fading back to the main tunnel, he slung it over his shoulder and drew a long, black-bladed knife. Pressing against the wall at the right side of the opening, Harry waited.

The child came out first, shoved roughly from behind and then his keeper appeared, tongue tasting the air as it went and it must have caught Harry’s scent because it quite suddenly dropped the leash and turned to its right, taloned hand raised to strike but the turn brought it directly into upward thrust of Harry’s blade, ripping into the behemoth’s abdomen even as the man ducked sideways and the toxic claw struck the wall of the cave, rather than the flesh of the man, scraping the cave wall in a long, spine shrinking screech.

Harry shoved the knife in further, waiting until he was sure of the enemy's death before shoving the slack creature off of his blade. Kneeling down to wipe it clean, he turned to see the child crouching, eyes wide as he watched.

“Hi,” Harry told him, carefully, not wanting to spook the kid.

“Ø´∞⁄⁄⁄¿” the boy pointed to the leash.

Harry raised the knife and nodded towards the tether.

“ŒÅÎÅ˛≈ Ø´∞⁄⁄⁄⁄¡”

“Okay,” he scooted forward and slowly brought the blade to the crudely knotted collar. It only took one quick slice and the thing was off. Both watched it fall away then Harry sheathed the knife and rose, holding out his right hand, “Ready to blow this popsicle stand?” he asked.

“ÏÎ∞ ‹⁄⁄`Ø ≈¡”

“I hear that,” Harry replied, as the thin, cold hand slipped into his. “Let’s go see how the others are doing.”

“¶¶º¿ ¯ ‹‹⁄⁄`¿”

“Well,” Harry said, as the two began to move in the direction Hastings had indicated, “Tenanji is kind of uptight but he grows on you… and I think you and Hastings speak the same language…”

This post dedicated to Wendy, who first came up with the idea.

Benjamin Hyde Pierce 07-24-2009 01:04:30 PM
The rockfall looked unsteady and treacherous to BHP. It wasn't very high but the rocks didn't seem to be stable. The burst of energy that he'd gained upon seeing Jenny, had dwindled away during the fight, and now the Iotian felt tired and worn down. "Gas pocket, yeah, I guess we'd better climb then." He returned his gaze to Jenny then glanced back at the rockslide. "You go first," Ben smiled, pretending to be at ease, "I'll follow right behind you." Truth be told, Ben didn't think he would make the climb, but if Jenny went first, there was less chance that he would slip and knock them both back down.

Not a chance she thought, taking in his condition. Glassy eyes and papery skin of dehydration, tremors of muscle exhaustion and never mind any leftover poison that the antitoxin may still be fighting… she wasn't leaving him to try the ascent on his own. "Maybe could rig a tether and you could take the lead…" Then, before he could muster an argument, she put her hand on his face, "You're my guy," she told Ben, gently drawing him down so that her lips brushed against his as she whispered, "You've always been my guy… I won't leave you…" and then she kissed him.

Ben pulled Jenny close to him as they kissed. The closeness was what he'd wanted for so many days since she had left the ship. There was the temptation to lose himself in the softness of her lips and not think of danger of the mission. But in the recesses of his mind, Ben remembered a conversation he had with Lt. Tenanji and he knew he couldn't let Jenny endanger her chances of escaping by burdening her with himself. "You gotta go first," Ben said as he broke the seal of their kiss. "You have a better chance of making it..I'll be right behind you, I promise." He saw the dissent in her eyes. "Jenny, it's not a request."

“I can’t believe you pulled the rank card,” she said bitterly before sucking it up and moving to follow his order, hitching herself up about five slithering steps before looking back. “You’d better not let me down, soldier,” she said, falling back on Nora, the alias she’d used while on her last assignment, “I’d hate to have invested in a barely-there negligee and silk stockings for nothing.” With that last incentive, she scrambled, as fast as she could, to the jagged hole at the tunnel’s ceiling… it really wasn’t that high and, once through, she spun around, drawing the M1911 to better cover Ben’s own ascent.

With images of scantily-clad Jenny in his thoughts, Ben slowly followed her up the rockslide. His legs felt like jelly and shook every time he put his weight on them to find the next handhold. His arms didn't feel much better but working with the sledge had helped strengthen them, taking some of the work off of his shaky legs. "You lost some of your shyness while you were on the Colony," the Iotian remarked. I liked that shyness. Ben glanced up to find Jenny peering down at him. "Watch the tunnel up there. These lizards like to sneak up on you from behind," Pierce said as he moved upwards on his jelly-legs. He realized he was giving orders again and followed the advice with, "that's how they got me.." to try and soften the statement. After a few more minutes of shaky climbing Ben was able to make the edge of the hole with Jenny's help. "So this negligee..when do I get to see it?" Ben asked after laying on the floor for a few minutes to catch his breath.

“Oh, it’s umm, it’s on the Chimera. I mean, I didn’t have time to unpack, you know but, it’s there… with a dress and some… well, a few other items that, well, there was this Caitian at a boutique who said they'd be just right for, for… oh boy,” Jenny fumbled, face going warm. Clearing her throat she activated her fitzy tricorder: best, all in all, to stay on-mission and leave the more personal discussions for later. Please let there be a later.

The tricorder blipped a recognition of a biosign. “Hey, I’ve got one of ours,” she said, patting Ben on the arm as the tricorder fizzled out, again. “Dammit, come back!”

"Close out the other functions for the moment..and reroute power to the bio-signature scan..that will boost the power..for a few minutes," BHP said in between deep breaths. He had been an engineer before he'd transferred to security, and had managed to pick up a few handy tricks in his time in Main Engineering. The climb had taken more out of him than he would like to admit. And something keeps poking me in the leg.. Ben thought as he slid his hand into his pocket and pulled out a shard of ebony colored pottery. "Where did that.." he dropped the thin, shell-like piece of pottery to the floor then dug into his pocket and extracted other bits and pieces. The color of the pottery reminded him of the stone he had picked up in the cargo bay and slipped into his pocket. Did it break in my pocket? As his hand slid into his pocket once more, Ben's fingers found a smooth, curved object that had been hiding beneath the fragments. He withdrew the object and gasped as the tunnel was suddenly illuminated by a bright light that poured from his closed fist. Opening his fist, he and Jenny beheld a small flower with white petals. The petals were closed but emitted a soft luminescence. The flower not only had its own light but also seemed to generate sound. Ben was sure he could hear the soft sound of chimes originating from the object.

“Oh… my. Oh,” Jenny’s breath sighed out at the wonder Ben had discovered in the middle of the dark and, despite the urgency, her fingers reached out towards it but then the tricorder, as Ben had promised, rebooted and flashed a strong signal, “Left, ten meters,” she said, trying to memorize the location of the Chimera crewmember, “then another thirteen or so, sloping up…” she turned to grab Ben, meaning to take his arm and help him up but her hand brushed over the delicate flower instead.

As Jenny's hand passed near the flower, the petals swirled open and emitted a pale blue light. The stamen inside of the flower swayed gently to and fro as if there were a breeze in the still tunnel. The longer the flower stayed open, the brighter the light became, until the stamen were bright silver filaments.

"Left..ten meters," Ben repeated mesmerized by what he held in his open hand. When Jenny pulled her hand back the flower's petals swirled closed. Ben waved his hand over the flower but it remained closed. "I think this belongs to you," he told her as he presented the 'flower' to Jenny. "Happy Birthday."

Luku 07-26-2009 05:41:56 PM
A fierce volley of Disruptor fire ripped over Luku's head…forcing her to duck again behind her former Yith cover….

"Qel'nag'twik'ta!" Luku swore loudly as she took a shot back, another Yith slamming back the way it came down the corridor in response, a sizable chunk of its lower torso nowhere to be seen. "Where are they all coming from?!"

"We must've stumbled across a barracks." Jameson grunted as he leant out from behind the corridor wall and took a shot, his beam cutting a Yith from groin to sternum, dropping it like a split fruit.

Luku swore again as she lined up her next shot, a Yith taking cover behind a cargo container, apparently unaware he sat four inches taller then the container itself.

"Six." Luku whispered to herself as she pulled the trigger, with the familiar CRASH! of superheated air, the visible part of the Yith vanished.

Jameson snatched a look down at Luku before firing again, just narrowly missing a Yith running from cover to cover. "Six? Cadet….are you counting your kills?"

"Yes Chief," CRASH! "Seven…Standard S'ti'ach mission lines."

"The purpose being?"

"It makes for more accurate mission reports." CRASH! "Twik'ta!" Luku swore again as another Yith took further pot-shots at their position.

"I've got him." The Chief's beam sliced through the offending Yith’s rifle, its main body detonating, leaving little of its owner other then a rather large mess…

CRASH! Yet another Yith slammed backwards into a parked cargo trolley and twisted sharply into a shape nothing mortal could obtain. "Nine."

Another beam launched across the gap, ripping an arm and a good portion of shoulder from a Yith just rounding the corner to join his hostile companions.

"Twelve." The Chief stated simply.

Luku laughed loudly as she fired again, missing her intended target, the shot smashing into the corridors wall, blowing shards of rock across the pair of Yith beside it, causing one to leap to it's feet roaring, a large brown chunk sitting in the former spot of one of its eyes.


The chunk, the other eye and a good portion of the Yith vanished a split second later.


Jameson split another Yith in two, then spun behind the wall to reload.
"Something’s not right."



"Look at them Cadet, with those kind of numbers they could've rushed us by now….what are they waiting for?"

"Reinforcements." Luku stated simply as a good dozen fresh Yith roared into the corridor, running past their comrades, who quickly picked themselves up and followed suit.

"Cadet, get back!" Jameson swung his rifle to his shoulder and in a smooth motion ripped two grenades from his belt.

"Disilicon one o'clock high!" Luku, now standing shouted to the Chief as she moved back, rifle still firing.

"Got it." Jameson replied as he launched the first grenade, aiming high, quickly passing himself the next grenade he threw that low.

"Go!" The Chief shouted, turning and running quickly down the corridor, Luku in pursuit shortly afterwards.

Barely two seconds later a huge bang roared down the corridor, a great blast of hot air announcing the sounds wake.

"Did that get them?" Luku asked, turning to face the way they'd come, a series of growls and cries of pain and anger gave her the answer.

"It'll give them pause but not for long, let's get back to the shuttle."

"Chief?" Luku turned towards the NCO, ears held horizontal in confusion.

"That way's blocked Cadet and the only other tunnel we know of is what started this mess to begin with. Normally we'd go help the commander, but we have no idea how far down that first tunnel they are, or even if they are still there. We go back, find them with the shuttle. Clear?"

Luku nodded, "Aye Chief."

The pair ran back down the twisting corridor, the sounds of raging Yith echoing behind them, they'd made it back about half way before Luku slid to a halt, her ears twitching.

"Chief! More Yith coming that way!"

Jameson grabbed the corridor wall as he stumbled to a stop. "You sure?"


"Crap, any way out now?"

Luku opened her tricorder and, throwing caution to the wind pushed it to full power…

"Ah! Ten meters back, the cavern wall is only about twelve inches thick, and opens into another corridor system."

"Right, Phasers!" Jameson ordered simply, pulling his pistol from it's slanted holster at his side, Luku mirroring his actions.

Adjusting the pistols settings, Jameson pointed it at the rock face, "Sixteen, wide spread."

"Aye." Luku answered simply, entering similar settings and aiming about 2 meters to the right of the Chief.

"Now." As one the pair fired, the segment of wall in front of them quickly flowed into nothing, leaving a roughly circular gap about two meters wide before them.

"Right, in ya go." Jameson stated as he picked up the diminutive cadet and threw her gently through the hole.

A sharp roar snapped Jameson's head round, a group of maybe eight Yith charging down the corridor towards him met his gaze.

Snapping a brace of grenades from his belt the NCO armed them both and flung them down opposite ends of the corridor, before launching himself through the phaser burned aperture.

Skidding to a halt in the loose shale on the other side, Jameson turned to face the hole just in time to see two large bursts of light, shortly followed by the sight of their escape route disappear in a shower of rock.

"Okay then," Jameson said to no-one in particular as he picked himself up and dusted himself down, "We need to find another way out of here…"

Javier Costala 07-26-2009 09:41:12 PM
Deck 5

The corridor was full of officers and civilians, if Javier had not been lost in his own thoughts, he might have likened the throng of people to an outdoor bazaar. Officers and crew were making their way toward their assigned posts; civilians had been ordered to Alpha section and the stragglers were filing towards the section in a steady stream. The Chimera stood at Yellow Alert and each section was preparing for the inevitable Red and then the order to break apart for Multi-Vector Assault Mode that would come when the ship dropped out of warp. The Chief Engineer was returning from he and T'Shaini's quarters, where he had checked on Lia and the two other families that were taking shelter in the larger Alpha section quarters for the duration of the battle. His somber mood had passed to Lia, and the little girl had rested her head on his shoulder as he hugged her, neither of them saying anything until Javier had moved to leave. "Love you Daddy," Lia had said quietly before promising to think good thoughts once more. "Mind Miss Katie and be good," Javier said stoically before letting go. When he left the quarters he was met by the security officer for that section, Ensign Mellon.

"We have places for everyone, Commander, now we just need to get them to their assigned emergency quarters," the officer had told him.

"Carry on Ensign," Javier replied before setting out on the path that would take him to the bridge. His less than enthusiastic comment and his emotionally stunted goodbye to Lia all stemming from the same place, the pit of his stomach, where the fear that the mission was doomed lay. It was unusual for Javier to feel that the mission could go sour even before it started, he generally jumped into the fray and worried about consequences after acting. But now he had the spectre of superstition looming over him. The thought that Li had died because he'd not been at his post, had Javier thinking that Nils assigning him to Alpha section's bridge, the bridge, would only increase the likelihood of the rescue's chances of failing.

He stepped into a turbolift, sighed then said: "Bridge." in a tone of resignation. The engineer felt worse than he had before he'd jumped out of a transport plane over Normandy on the ship's recent temporal mission. Forget butterflies..I have pigeons thumping around in my stomach, Javier thought with another sigh. The turbolift's passage passed too quickly and before the engineer knew it he had stepped off the lift, walked down the short passage and trudged through the doors to the Bridge. Nils crossed the room to speak to him before the captain made his way to Gamma section.

"Everything ready, Javi?" Nils asked, even though he knew they were prepared.

"Yes sir, it is," the engineer replied before asking, "Captain, let me take Gamma section. I think the mission would have a better chance of success if you remained on the bridge."

The Chimera CO's eyes narrowed then he said, "I assure you Chief, I may not have your experience in combat but I'm quite capable of taking on the Yith battle cruiser."

"That's not what I meant," Javier said, as he sought for a way to explain himself. Nils was a religious person but that didn't mean he would place any value in a superstition. "It's just..I think you would do better on Alpha..on the bridge. The captain belongs on the bridge..not the Chief Engineer."

"And I'll be on the battle bridge on Gamma," Nils said as a smile broke on his serious features. He patted Javier on the shoulder. "Don't worry Javi, I'll be fine." The senior officer glanced around the bridge one last time then said, "Commander, you have the bridge, we'll be dropping out of warp shortly. Good luck." The Bajoran left the bridge at a brisk pace.

It's not you I'm worried about, Javier thought as he watched his friend leave, it's me, I don't belong here.

T'Shaini hesitated after she stepped off the lift, she had come straight to the bridge once the civilians were safely evacuated. She felt a personal connection, not only to the members of the Chimera that they were seeking to retrieve, but to the myriad Golnarran that, over the years, had been preyed on by the Yith. And if her presence on the bridge could aid in some way, however small, she wanted to be there to contribute.

Listening to the two men who meant so much to her speak and yet not communicate, made T'Shaini shake her head quietly, now was not the time to translate between the miscommunication of their insecurities, and they knew each other well enough that it did not get in the way of duty. The counselor touched Nils lightly on the sleeve as he stepped into the lift.

"May the prophets walk with you." She was gratified to see a brief lightening of the care he carried as her words reached him before the doors slid shut. Then turning her attention to the center of the bridge, she crossed to Javier and stood at his side. "I suppose I must report to you now, sir."

"I suppose so..," Javier agreed with a sigh. He paced around the outer railing, hesitating before he stepped towards the dais where the captain's chair sat. The engineer paused, his foot at a half-step, placing it on the deck would put him beside the chair. I can't do this. I shouldn't be here, I should be in Engineering. He started to pull back but a thought stopped him. He'd been given an order. His captain, and his friend, had ordered him to take command of Alpha. Javier had never disobeyed an order that Nils or any superior officer had given him. And I'm not about to start now. he resolved placing his foot on the command dais. The next step was easy, as was the one that took him to the chair. He sat down in the command chair gingerly, then relaxed back into the chair. So far so good.

Javier looked over to where T'Shaini was standing, she had reported in to him. I guess I need to give her orders or ask her something..? "Commander T'Shaini..what's our status on the civilians?"

"Safely evacuated and in the process of being assigned emergency quarters, Mellon was assigned to report to you, I to the Captain." T'Shaini answered, she was relatively certain he had been informed, but if he needed to tread water in the command chair before he could swim she was more than happy to oblige him.

"Right," Javier replied. "Ensign," he directed the question to the officer at Ops, "how long until we drop out of warp?"

"Two minutes, Commander," the Operations officer answered.

"Are the other sections ready?" he asked then waited as Jezreen checked with Beta and Gamma.

"The Captain and Lt. Wekesa are standing by," Jezreen informed Javier.

"Go to Red Alert," Javier replied. "When we leave warp prepare to enter multi-vector assault mode." He was repeating what they already knew, but it seemed to steady the crew and give them purpose. The red alert klaxons began to sound as the bright lights of the bridge dimmed and the light above him flashed bright crimson. Two minutes out. He felt like he had when he was in the marines, aboard a dropship, hovering above the conflict, ready to dive in. Javier's hands clenched the chair's armrests.

T'Shaini stood next to the command chair, no place of her own to occupy and watched as the controlled chaos that was the bridge under red alert kicked into overdrive. Her gaze swept the stations and as if from above, witnessed the eerie effect of the red light flashing across faces tense with concentration. There was a stillness in their absorption in each appointed task that was contrasted with the harshly sounding klaxon. Then Jezreen's voice sliced through the sirens.

"Coming out of warp."

"On my order, Ensign," Javier said, pausing to watch the Yith ships on the viewscreen. The ships slowly turned toward the Chimera as they made sensor contact. "Initiate Multi-vector Assault Mode," the engineer ordered.

"Aye Commander," Ops and Tactical answered in unison. The sound of the couplings unhooking was a soft thump beneath the red alert klaxons, then Gamma and Beta section were free. "Turn off the alarms and bring us two kilometers off of Beta's port side," Javier ordered. "Arm torpedoes and charge phaser banks." A small Yith cruiser was hustling towards Beta sections flank. "On my command disable that cruiser, hit her with everything we've got if necessary."

Me & Tee leading the pack.

Benjamin Hyde Pierce 07-27-2009 09:05:54 AM
Accepting his gift, almost as magical as Ben in her eyes, Jenny watched in quiet wonder as the petals once again spread to fill the immediate world with its luminescence, “Thank you,” she whispered, momentarily losing herself in his eyes as they glowed in the light. “Come on,” her spare hand took hold of his and, magic aside, she hurt to see how exhausted he was, “I think I found Kal-El. Let’s go wake him up and show him how lucky I am, to have a guy who can conjure a birthday present in the middle of lizard-infested mine…"

"Kowalski? He's here? This should be worth a month's pay," Ben said as he stood to his feet and began to follow Jenny. Her present became a light source in the dark tunnel, its light shinning well ahead of them in the tunnel. Clenching her hand, the Iotian wished he could sink back to the floor of the tunnel and rest, but knew he would never get up if he rested again. 'And if I rest I'll be captured, and so will Jenny, because no matter what orders I give she won't leave me here alone,' Ben realized. He forced himself to continue even though his legs threatened to give out when they began to walk up a sloping stope cut into the rock. At the top of the stope the tunnel widened out into a room or small chamber. Inside the chamber various piles of rock were scattered across the floor. In the middle of the piles a single figure worked, sorting the fragments as he spoke to himself at the top of his voice. "No! That chip doesn't go there," Kal-El admonished an engineer only he could see as he grabbed a large rock fragment from a pile of smaller ones. "Honestly, when did they start graduating ignorami at the Academy? You can't just stick these isolinear chips in any socket you want to, engineering is an exact science after all." Kowalski huffed in annoyance then proceeded to sort through the rock piles at an astonishing rate.

"Looks like the lizards found a one man sorting team," Ben stated as he watched Kowalski start to berate another imaginary engineer.

"Here, hold this," Jenny handed Ben the flower, shaking her head in wonder as it closed in on itself when her hand moved away. She drew the hypo and moved towards the muttering engineer but, when her foot knocked a piece of loose rock, he jumped up to face her, eyes blazing with all the fury of genius, interrupted.

"Kallee-Walleee!" Jen squealed in her best 'Darby', then ran/jumped to wrap her arms and legs around Kowalski in a full-on koala hug. "Oh, Kallee… bowling hasn't been the same without you," she added, administering the hypo and then leaping free to await developments.

"Darbs, we've discussed this," Kowalski spluttered, "don't ever disturb me when I'm in the middle of.." The engineer's face went blank then he keeled over.

The security officer took hold of the flower as it dimmed upon contact with his skin. He watched as Jenny proceeded to give the hallucinating engineer the antitoxin, almost laughing out loud at her impression of Ensign Saunders. His mirth was cut short when Kowalski collapsed. "Oh hell." BHP hobbled forward, his concern for the stuffy engineer giving him a much needed burst of adrenaline. Kneeling beside the engineer, Ben helped Jenny turn the man over. "Kowalski!" he called out loudly. Ben wracked his brain but couldn't remember any first aid instructions that seemed pertinent for the situation. "Kal-El!" He smacked the engineer in the face a couple of times. The man groaned and began to regain consciousness.

"Are you hitting the Chief Engineer, you little pipsqueak?" Kowalski raged before realizing where he was. The engineer went still as he looked from Pierce to Anderson. "I was having a dream," Kal-El admitted quietly.

Ben fought down the urge to laugh, instead he patted Kowalski on the shoulder and said, "I dreamed Jenny ratted me out to the cops."

"Ahhh," Kowalski sighed, then quite typically added, "well that isn't much of a stretch is it?"

“Hey… that’s not… I'd never… oh, never mind,” Jenny linked her forearm with Kal-El and rose, hauling him with her, then turned to Ben but he’d made it up on his own. She looked at the two men, both of them suffering from their ordeal and Ben had clearly been worked past the point of endurance. She had one more dose of the antitoxin left but she couldn’t justify dragging two walking wounded on a possibly fruitless chase.

Time for a pretend-you’re-an-executive decision. She looked at the two men, each a superior officer, “We have to get back to the shuttle if we want to make the deadline,” she told them, fudging the time a bit. After all, it could take more than an hour to get back, especially if they ran into more Yith. If they made it quickly enough, she could get Ben and Kal-El settled safely and make another run.

"Deadline?" Kal-El looked from Pierce to Anderson. The distinct possibility that he could be left behind gave the engineer the heebie-jeebies. "What are we waiting for then..?" He started to walk forward, halting when a clicking noise came from the tunnel in front of them. "That sounds like one of those lizards." The clicks became more staccato and Ben surmised that a group of lizards were coming up the tunnel. He fought down the surge of panic and the weariness that followed. Reaching towards one of the grenades on Jenny's bandolier, his hand was blocked by hers. "No, the disilicon is unstable," Jenny reminded him.

Applesauce. Ben thought. He turned to watch as the first of five lizards moved into the room from a tunnel opposite to the one from which he and Jenny had entered the room. His eyes came to rest on the small pile of rock fragments near the tunnel entrance. Disilicon. Another lizard followed the first and then another. They started to fan out which meant they were going to attack the Starfleet officers from different directions. I can't let that happen. Ben turned back to Jenny and Kal-El. "Duck." Before either could question him, BHP drew a bead on the small pile of rocks near the tunnel's mouth and sent a beam of energy towards the unstable mineral.

”Yipes.” Jenny hauled on Kowalski’s arm, dragging him away and down while the mound of disilicon went critical, exploding yes but it wasn’t just a simple ‘boom’, this was an expanding, recursive wave of energy, destabilizing the tunnel, the floor of the cavern and the unfortunate Yith who walked into the detonating mineral.

Jenny had to look away from what became of them.

Ben had the presence of mind to 'hit the grit' after he shot into the pile of disilicon fragments. In his weakened state it was more like a planned fall rather than a dive, and as he slid to the floor, the security officer felt a shockwave of pressure pass above him. A piece of something wet slapped him in the back of the head. "Don't let the other disilicon blow," he whispered almost prayerfully. A rumble that Ben felt while on the rock floor reverberated through the cavern. Looking up, BHP saw a cloud of dust around the area he had shot. Searching the room he found Jenny and Kal-El laying a foot away. Jenny stared at him and all Ben could think to say was: "I need a drink."

Seeing the… bit… that had bounced off him, Jenny flopped back, "I need to throw up…"

"I need a new job," Kowalski complained, "this one is too hazardous for someone of my constitution."

"I suppose," Jenny said, after the three had taken a moment… okay, a few moments, "we should get moving."

Especially since the tunnel they'd come from was now thoroughly scragged. No more hash marks to follow and, even assuming the tricorder could be made to function, the shuttle they sought was cloaked.

Oh, but the Yith vessels weren't. "Here," she removed the tricorder from her wrist and offered it to Kal-El, "if you can get it to work, we're looking for an open space, a cave bigger than a shuttlebay, very active… dozens of small ships. We parked probably half a kilometer from the floor of the cavern." As Kowalski took the device and began to mutter, she moved over to Ben, "It's not that far," she told him quietly, taking a bit of sleeve and gently wiping away some of the grime and… other stuff, "you'll be able to rest, soon."

His uniform shirt sleeve had torn sometime during his capture and the scar on his left forearm was visible. The scar made him remember what had taken place during 'shore-leave'. The gentle brush of her sleeve made Ben think of the sterile treatment of the medical staff while they kept him prisoner. Shrugging off Jenny's careful ministrations, Ben pushed her hands away. His exhaustion fed the seed of doubt, left over from the harrowing nightmare that Jenny had betrayed him, and from it was born suspicion. "Why did you have to go before shore-leave?" If she had stayed, if they had gone ahead with the plans..would he have been forced to go to Starfleet Medical? Or was there a darker truth to Jenny's disappearance? "Did you tell them?"

"Tell who, what?" Jenny asked, sitting back on her heels, confused but, sick plus male generally did equal cranky. The fastest way to get things moving would be to answer the bits she could understand. "I left because Admiral Nechayev ordered me to," she said, glancing to see if Kal-El was having any luck with the tricorder but he was still talking to himself. Jenny turned back to Ben, "She was worried there was a leak in the Spec Ops house so she brought in some outside eyes. Harry and I both used to work for her, you know, and Fehr was called in because he's Elasian and that was the sector under investigation. Turns out no one in her department was dirty but the Elasian contact in the field was double dealing. Once we got that cleared up it just… took a while to get some transport to the Chimera." There was a lot more to that last part of the story, but, time and a place. "Anyway, not to be a whiner but, can we please go, now, before anymore bad guys show up?" Despite his expression, she put her hand over his and, as she did, the flower he'd been holding began to open, once again.

JP with JA and BHP

Lisbet Ulrika 07-27-2009 08:52:14 PM
::Yith Asteroid Mine, and a drug induced haze::

The banging started up again. The infected that had been shambling around the store front were alerted by Bet sneezing unexpectedly. They seemed even more determined to get to them then they were before. For her part, Bet felt a fresh burst of fear course through her…try as she might she just could not understand how she found herself here.

"They'll get us for sure this time," her companion said as he listened to the throng tearing its way through the barrier.

…In that corner of her mind Bet began to sense a calmness approaching her. All around was chaos, but a glimmer, like a lighted window on a dark night, of assurance and calm was seen/felt. Not calm exactly, but a trained discipline that was just as good.

"Which way are they Cadet?" Jameson asked plainly.

Luku looked at her tricorder, and then promptly smacked it on its side. "Can't be sure Chief, disilicon in this cavern is a lot heavier then what we've had before, the tricorders out of whack."

Jameson slung up his rifle and opened his own tricorder, to be met with little more than high tech static. "Okay, we do this the simple way, start looking for a Starfleet uniform."

Bet struggled to increase her awareness of the outside. Panicked fear close by, tight space all around her, then something else. Not ferociousness, but a vibrant determination that bordered it. Bet stretched out, trying to make contact, knowing somehow that she had a friend there.

Her sphere was growing larger, spilling into the real world. The storeroom they had been in faded into a cave like space. The darkness prevented her from seeing any detail, but Bet was certain the wall she found herself clawing at was real, evidenced by the bloody marks left by her torn fingers. Seeing the damage suddenly broke her fully from the hysterical hallucinatory state she had been in, the pain was so immediate.

A sudden motion to her right caught Luku's eye, spinning round she saw a miner, caked in dirt and filth pull back from the wall, as if in fear…or pain, one look at their hands showed them to be ripped and bloody. Then Luku noticed something, the miner was aware of their injuries…


Bet heard this and turned to see a pink furred Security officer heading toward her. The human following had a look of relief on his face. As they neared, Bet caught a sudden feeling of the reptilians captors nearing them, the alien anger tinged with irritation raised a fear in her akin to what she felt in the storeroom hiding from zombie attackers. Bet put her fingers to her mouth to warn them and leaned back into the wall. She made a motion to her right around the corner and inched toward the approaching pair, "I think two of the beasts, coming our way."

Luku nodded and quickly dove behind a cargo pallet resting against the opposite wall, with practiced ease she leant out, Les'trum aimed down the cavern towards the corner Bet had indicated, Jameson edged towards the dirt covered cadet and pulled her towards him, putting himself between her and the Yith.

Luku listened intently, she could hear the hissing movements of the Yith now, yes, two of them….but that was it… She motioned this to the Chief who simply nodded and made one simple sign.

Take them out.

Nodding Luku lined up her sights, waiting for the Yith to appear, eventually, almost hours later in Luku's mind the pair of Yith walked round the corner, eyes flitting from side to side, checking on the miners, Luku waited, held her breath…and fired.


Bet watched with awe as the two behemoths' chests disintegrated before her eyes. "Wow!” she said woozily, “can you two get me out of here now? I feel a little like I might pass out any minute."

Jameson unslung his rifle and moved to Bet's side, offering his other arm as a leaning post. "We're working on that one Cadet, but we'll get you home."

He turned to Luku, now standing by the Yith, performing the seemingly redundant task of checking to see if the Yith were actually dead.

"Cadet, lead us out."

"Aye Chief." Luku nodded, taking another look at her tricorder, trying to make sense of the fuzz. Just then a gust of air blew down the corridor the Yith had emerged from, shortly followed by the echoing sound of an explosion.


Jameson nodded, "I heard it, that one sounded like one of ours, close too, let's check it out."

The trio proceeded down the corridor, slowly approaching the corner the two Yith had just rounded to their deaths. The walls opened somewhat, making walking easier now that they didn’t have to crouch down so much. “We’re clear for the time being I think,” Bet said. The feelings she was getting in the immediate area were that of her companions and a few other humanoid slaves working nearby. “We are going to do something about the captives, right?” she asked. She knew from her academy days that the Prime Directive was very specific about tampering with new species’ cultures. She hoped, now that these creatures had attacked and captured Starfleet personnel that it would be void.

“That will be up to the Captain,” was all Jameson would say.

They continued down and heard voices in the near distance, voices speaking coherently. They rounded a small turn and saw ahead of them three figures, two walking hand in hand.

A JP with a pint sized pink furred Dynamo! and

Jenny Anderson 07-28-2009 08:35:49 AM
(sometime prior to Lisbet's post)

The room was spinning as she spoke. Pierce brought his arm up and wiped whatever had been sticking to his face away from his eyes. Clenched tightly in his fist was an automatic, the likes of which he had never seen before. Ben was holding something bright in his hand and the canary was reaching out to take it. "I don't think so doll-face," the Iotian stated as he slipped the object into his pocket for safe-keeping. "Bad guys? You mean the bulls that you ratted me out to..why'd you come back?"

“I… what?” Doll-face? He sounded the way he had when she’d first arrived, while he was still under the influence of the toxin. Kal-El had caught on that something wasn’t right but she waved him back, afraid what Ben would think of the other man, just now. “I came back for you,” she told Ben, “because… because I felt bad about… ratting you out to the cows…”

“Bulls,” she heard Kowalski whisper.

Heck. “Bulls,” she amended, trying not to sound as nervous as she felt but every minute they remained here was a risk. Maybe, she thought, maybe Ben had received too much of the Yith toxin… what if he needed more of the anti-toxin? Criminy, were there any side effects to a second dose?

Swear to God, next rotation I take will be Triage. “Ben,” she leaned forward, deciding that disclosure was the only hope, right now, “the thing is, you’re sick. The… bulls… doped you,” she began to reach for the hypo, “But, I have something that might help…”

"Hold the blower, Babe," Ben said as he waved the fancy heater in the dame's general direction. "I wasn't born yesterday. When a broad drops a dime on me to the coppers and gets me a free ride to the big house, I ain't gonna let her sell me some sap story." He backed away and staggered before catching his balance. "Someone slipped me a Mickey..for all I know it was you," Pierce accused before covering the other man with the canary, "or this boob over here." The Iotian sat down on one of the rock piles where he could cover the canary and her bruno. "You said your pop was a bull, I don't trust you Babe," he remarked, "but if you've got a hay-burner near by we need to blow this joint." Ben slowly stood to his feet and waved the heater at the other man. "Hey Boob, get your fancy pocket-watch and get to steppin'. Me and the canary will follow you to the car."

Jenny and Kal-El looked at each other. His hands and eyebrows raised in 'WTF' and her shrugging back a 'damned if I know what he's saying' but, "The gun's set to full" she mouthed at him and then said aloud, "You heard what the sap said… Boob," she winced an apology to Kal-El. "Head to the hay car and we'll be right behind you." And first chance I get I'm slipping Ben another Minnie.

"Umm yes, the car is in this direction," Kal-El stated as he took a directional reading and then set off down one of the side tunnels.

Ben waved the gun, motioning for the canary to follow the boob. "I ain't the sap here either," he said walking along behind Jenny. The gangster took the opportunity to admire the singer's caboose and the tight-fitting pants she wore. His gaze moved up her chassis and took in the explosives hanging from the bandoleer crossing over her chest. "You got enough hardware to fight a war. Those bulls not telling you about who iced your pop must have you balled up."

Jenny hissed and spun around, "Listen Ben, I know you're sick but I'd appreciate it if you could leave my father out of your… whatever this is…" she waved her hands helplessly at him, "And what the hell is a bull, anyway? I mean, not the boy cow, I mean…"

"A bull is a dick," Ben informed the canary, who was beginning to act a little light in the loafers. "And you got your pop involved when ya ratted me out." The Iotian grabbed the dame's arm, covering her with the heater and began to propel her along behind the other guy. "This ain't like no big house I've ever been sent up to," he mumbled, staring at the bare cavern walls.

"Because it's not a big house it's a big asteroid and I never ratted you out, that was a dream… a drug-induced dream and," she turned on him, again, "are your really going to shoot me if I try to help you?" She moved closer, eyes on his, not the gun, "Because I'm not going to stop trying to help," another, tiny step, "so if you are going to shoot, let's just get it over with," a centimeter… she could touch him now, if she tried. "Well?"

He looked deep into her eyes and said, "Snap out of it. I don't know what you're game is but I ain't nobody's patsy. Now start walking or I'm going to sock you in the jaw and take you out of here over my shoulder."

Her eyes narrowed and her chin went up. "Try it."

"Okay, but remember I gave you a chance," Ben said as he acted like he was going to jam the heater into the front of his waistband. He fumbled the heater and nearly dropped it, bending over to catch the weapon. Instead of straightening up immediately, Ben moved forward a quick half-step and put his shoulder into the dame's midriff. His arm circled her waist as he lifted the canary up..the plan might have worked if he hadn't been so weak. His legs collapsed beneath him and the woman landed on top of him.

Any other time, she would have been laughing. As it was, for the moment, Ben was right where she wanted him and she slid the hypo out of its pocket. "Hold still, for the love of… ha… gotcha…" quickly she found the first bit of open skin she could find and gave him the remaining dose. Now, as long as no one else got stung, it should be… "Ben… are you okay?"

"Did I miss something or have we been rescued and are celebrating now?"

"Shhh," Jenny hushed Kal-El, sliding off Ben and taking his face in her hands, "Ben?" Dammit, she put her ear to his lips, caught the faintest of breath sounds, "Come on," she said, laying her lips over his, not really thinking just… "don't go," she whispered through the kiss. "Don't leave me… Ben…" over and over, as she lay kisses down on his chill lips. "Don't leave…"

"Where am I going to go," he whispered as he regained consciousness. "Can't leave my girl," Ben said as he gave her a weak smile. His hands shook as they slipped behind Jenny's head and pulled her lips down against his with surprising intensity.

It took some significant throat clearing from the Boob… Kal-El, to get Jenny's thoughts back into the moment. Pulling slightly away, she looked into Ben's eyes, "Want to walk me home?" she asked, even if it looked more like she'd be propping him up all the way to the shuttle.

JP between the Gangster and the Canary, featuring the Boob

Simba Wekesa 07-29-2009 01:06:13 PM
"Ya found him," Harry said, having followed the sound of exploding cave to where the now-three Chimera crew were waiting.

"Sir?" Govan was shaking off the hallucinogens and coming to his feet. "Weren't you in another part of the galaxy?"

"Was," Harry said, nodding towards Hastings, "See if you can get us a route to the docking cavern. Our ride is waiting there. This is Todd," he added, one hand on the shoulder of his young companion, "he's coming with us."

Tenanji gave the youth a short bow of the head, "Todd?" he asked quietly.

"It seemed to fit."

'Todd', bowing in to Usher in return, glanced up at Finn, "Haaa≈ Ø∞¡¿"

"Todd says we should get a move on," Harry added, only mildly urgent.

"I agree with Todd," Zal said, wondering if there were any weapons left.

Jamal frowned at his tricorder, tuning out the chatter as he tried to keep himself focused on the task at hand. He was suddenly hit with the realization that if… no, when they made it out of here, the first thing he wanted to do was eat. Then sleep. Hastings smiled slightly to himself, realizing the absurdity of thinking about either of those activities under the present circumstances. The smile slowly faded as the tricorder fed him the meager data it was able to collect. "Commander, we can't get access to any of the tunnels I've been through before from here. We managed to close them all off during the firefights. Best I can give you is a guess at this point."

"If we can at least move in the right direction…" Usher began quietly. In reality, the dark, twisting tunnels gave little indication of where they might lead without an experienced guide.

"ß∂∑'øØ ∑Ω¢–ª!" 'Todd' took a few steps away from Finn and moved towards a narrower tunnel branching off from the main one. He stopped and looked back towards the group. "ªÏ◊åø… Ø∞¡¿"

"Yo, I think lil' dude likes that one." Jamal moved closer to the child and made a quick sweep with his tricorder. "It's as good a bet as any, sir. It looks like it leads us back the way we came, and I'm not picking up any biosigns for the moment." He glanced over at Govan, who was excavating one of the dropped alien disruptors from the loose rock which had halted its previous owner. "I recommend we try it."

"Works for me," Harry waved Jamal forward, "You and Tenanji on point, with Todd. Govan, you next, I've got your six, let's go."

They went, with occasional pauses for Hastings to confer with his tricorder and commune with Todd. It was probably only a half an hour but, with the sound of distant explosions and the constant worry that they'd be overrun by hissing, clicking, toxic saurians, it felt like a half a century. Finally, however, they hit a wall Harry recognized. "That's the first arrow," he looked right and waved the others back as he crept towards the parking ledge to find… shit he faded back. "Problem," he whispered then raised his Yith dissolver as a sound of scattering rock approached, lowering it, again as he saw…

"Sirs," Jenny, with Kowalski and Pierce draped between them, came up to join the group, accompanied by Jameson, Luku and another new face… must be the doctor. She waved to Todd who imitated the gesture back.

"Good to see you," Finn said, simply before jerking his head towards the ledge, "Our ride is missing… been replaced by a Yithmobile."

The SCPO looked around, "Where's B'naath and Fehr?"

"With luck, still on the RF," Harry said, reasoning that the Yith transport had clearly not landed on top of their cloaked shuttle, therefore the cloaked shuttle must have been moved. "Question is, will the RF be able to pick up our life signs?"

"Or know to look?" Tenanji added.

Jameson looked at Jenny, who still had her grenades and she smiled back, "I bet we can get their attention," she said.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lt. Fehr grimaced as the Royal Flush dipped from side to side, avoiding the crowded activity which had taken over the cavernous docking bay as ships scrambled back and forth, trying to get into the fray which had evidently begun in the surrounding space. They were being pushed slowly further and further from the ledge they'd been forced to abandon. Even if the away teams could make it back there, there was no way for the ship to get back and retrieve them.

"I think we have a problem," B'naath reported.

"What, just one?" Fehr replied without taking his eyes off the Yith ships moving dangerously close around them.

"The docking bay doors… they're closing." The Caitian nodded towards the giant metal doors, which had begun to slowly slide shut, closing off the docking bay from the battle raging outside.

Dammit. "We need to get out of here," Fehr was already firing up the impulse engines and plotting a course through the maze of traffic towards the space doors.

"But the away team…"

"If we get sealed inside of this docking bay, it's not going to do them or us any good." The lieutenant punched the controls and the Royal Flush moved quickly forward, narrowly missing a small freighter. "Transporters are useless while we're surrounded by all this disilicon. Once we get clear of this asteroid, we'll keep close to the surface. Keep an eye out for them and see if we can beam them out of there."

B'naath nodded as he gripped the edge of his console to keep his balance as the shuttle dove towards the closing doors. "Even if the transporters are working, with all the sensor interference, I don't know that we're going to be able to find them to lock onto."

"Then we'll just need to scan for some sign of their location and make our best guess." The Royal Flush shot through the narrow opening and turned sharply, skimming along the rocky surface of the asteroid's exterior. As the sensor interference cleared slightly, Fehr got his first good look at the situation. The Chimera's three sections had separated and were engaging the enemy fleet in the distance. He briefly considered trying to contact the ship for help, but that would only serve to give away their position, and the Chimera looked to be more than a little busy at the moment.

"Transporters are back online," B'naath purred as he scoured the sensor readouts for anything which might indicate the away team's positions. The interior of the asteroid was still showing up as a frustrating mishmash of interference and labyrinthine corridors with no distinct lifesigns. "Now if we just had something to lock onto…"

"Come on, Finn… give us a sign," Fehr muttered softly, swerving the shuttle to avoid a stray torpedo as it impacted on the asteroid's surface, scattering a spray of loose rock and dust into space. Any time now would be good…

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Jenny and Chief Jameson were back in moments to see every able and armed individual in position and aiming at the tunnel, from which it was only reasonable to expect a response, once the charges detonated. "Cover," Jameson's deep voice said and everyone dropped, Harry shielding Todd and Jenny taking her place with Ben where they held each other's eyes and she counted down from "four, three, two…"

The blast which ensued took out not only the small vessel which had stolen their parking space, it took out the parking space and caused the cave wall itself to shear off, sending Jameson and Tenanji scrambling further inwards as the place they had been crouching began to crumble away beneath them. Spears of rock fell from above, causing the occasional yelp of shock or pain and, sure enough, as the trembling died down, the party heard the more rhythmic rumble of feet, pounding towards their location… a location from which they had no hope of retreat.

"Lock and load," Commander Finn ordered, raising his own weapon as, all around him, his small team prepared to make their last possible stand.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Lieutenant!" B'naath's tail twitched excitedly as he looked at the sensor readouts. "I'm picking up a large explosion, inside the asteroid."

"Location?" Internally, the Elasian was relieved, but he wasn't going to show it until they had some kind of confirmation.

"Inside the docking bay… right where we were landed." He tapped the console and narrowed the sensors' focus onto the bay. "I'm picking up several biosigns at the entrance to the tunnel, but I can't determine their species at this range."

"Sounds like our party," Fehr remarked. "If we saw that blast, you can bet the Yith did too… hold on tight." In a moment, the Royal Flush accelerated to full impulse and looped around, racing back towards the docking bay at full speed to beat the Yith if possible. It would only take thirty seconds, maybe a minute, to get back into transporter range. "Do you think you can get a transporter lock?"

The Caitian shook his head. "There's still too much interference for that… I can get a lock on the biosigns, but not individuals. We'll need to use a wide beam and transport them all. I'm standing by… as soon as we're in range." They could only hope that there weren't any Yith close enough to be beamed up as well.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Jamal felt his finger tense on the trigger of his phaser as he crouched behind the rocky debris left by the explosion, waiting for the onslaught of Yith that they all knew was coming. He quickly glanced around at the rest of the group, amazed that they had all managed to come together, and that they had found all of the missing away team members. Everyone looked surprisingly calm, even 'Todd.' Part of him wondered if they were as nervous as he was, and just skilled at hiding it, or if they were really as calm and collected as they seemed.

The first Yith emerged from the haze which filled the tunnel and was immediately blasted into oblivion by Commander Finn's railgun. The loud bang from the gun resonated through the cavern, momentarily drowning out the clicking, hissing, and footsteps of the rapidly approaching aliens.

Another Yith appeared and was similarly cut down by Lieutenant Tenanji. There was a momentary lull, and then the creatures came surging into the cavern like a wave. Jamal pressed the trigger and began to fire his phaser blindly into the veritable wall of Yith. It didn't matter where he aimed, he was certain to hit at least one of the creatures as long as he fired in that direction. The other Starfleet officers were doing the same, laying down as much fire as they could sustain to hold back the onslaught for as long as possible.

It was a futile battle, and every one of them knew it on some level. They were hopelessly outnumbered and hopelessly outgunned. The only thing they could even hope for was to hold the Yith back for a minute longer and hope that Fehr and B'naath managed to find them before they were all killed or captured again. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. No matter how many Yith fell, more of them kept coming, and each wave was making it closer to the cluster of Starfleet officers before they were taken down.

One of the Yith broke through the blaze of weapons-fire and charged at their position, raising its arm to strike with its toxic claw. Tenanji jumped up from behind his cover and kicked the alien squarely in the side of the head, knocking it off balance and sending it stumbling in another direction.

And then, just as the situation seemed as hopeless as it could possibly be as the Yith closed in to recapture their slaves, the narrow cavern was bathed in the blue glow of the transporter. The writhing, angry mass of reptiles faded from view and was replaced by the interior of the Royal Flush, with a smiling B'naath looking over the weary group from behind his console.

"Welcome aboard!" Fehr called out from the front compartment. "I suggest you all sit down and fasten your seatbelts or find something to hold onto."

A joint post with Harry Finn and Jamal Hastings… and both of us as Tenanji, Govan, Fehr, B'naath, and Todd!

Harry Finn 07-29-2009 09:24:26 PM
USS Royal Flush

Harry gave Todd a reassuring pat on the shoulder, then moved forward to take over the tactical console while the kid and the rest of the wounded and/or recovering crew were settled in by the rescue team. The shuttle was pretty damned crowded and he could only hope that the ride wouldn’t get too bumpy.

Fehr was maneuvering them deftly through a hash of ships and weapons fire and it became quickly obvious that they’d left one battle only to become engaged in another. “What’s the twenty on Chimera?” he asked, sliding into position.

“They are in MVA mode, taking heavy fire on all points,” Fehr reported. “The Yith fleet, as outclassed as they may seem, are numerous enough to be a danger.”

“Send them a com that we’re out,” Harry ordered, “there are other slaves but we won’t be able to extract under this kind of…”

“Sir, no communications have been successful,” the lieutenant replied, swerving to avoid a barrage from one of the Yith cruisers aimed at the Beta section. “These vessels are all emitting various forms of radiation, ions or have holds filled with raw disilicon.”

Harry glanced at the readouts and caught sight of the Gamma section, taking heavy fire. “We’ll need to lend a hand,” he said… thinking quickly. “If we can get in close enough to that excuse of a frigate,” he called up the coordinates for better view, “we can decloak, hit them here,” he pointed to the pulse weapon the ship was currently unloading on their starship, “and then recloak before anyone gets a bead on us.”

From the rear, where she’d just gotten a thoroughly spent Ben safely belted in between Kal-El and Zal, Jenny turned to see what was happening and then rather wished she hadn’t. Fehr was slipping them through a gauntlet of Yith destroyers and shuttles and, as she watched, they slid beneath a vast, knobby excuse for a ship, allowing Harry to fire the Galor class phasers which some Obsidian order member had installed in the upgraded shuttle. The silent destruction her godfather unleashed on the enemy barely had time to register before Fehr had them spinning away, once again cloaked and leaving the scattershot of explosions behind.

“Not bad,” Fehr commented as he guided them across the asteroid’s pocked surface. “Care to try anoth….”

Which was as far as he got before the Royal Flush jerked wildly, almost dislodging Jenny from her death grip on Ben’s seat harness. Jameson, tall as he was, hit his head on the ceiling and there was a line of blood creasing his scalp as Fehr righted them.

“What happened?” Finn asked, searching for a target, “we’re still cloaked…”

“It’s that polaron array we noted earlier,” the Elasian said, “they’ve pierced the cloak…”

Another jolt sent the shuttle skidding towards a rocky meeting with the asteroid and everyone not belted in got a reprise of their first ride on the ‘vomit comet’ of training days, with some contusions added on for good measure.

“We’ve been painted,” Harry was saying, “no sense trying to hide, anymore. I’m killing the cloak… raising shields…” which were down to sixty percent, thanks to that last hit. “Bring us back into the mix,” he ordered Fehr, “give me something to shoot at…” that effing polaron emitter for preference.

“Coming about,” Fehr replied, “hard targets at 021.1 and 006.9.”

“Targets acquired, locking phasers at 006.9,” Harry said, eyeballing the ion cannons dotting the hull of the latter target. “Firing…”

And that was the last word Jenny heard as Harry’s attack hit home, destroying the ion cannon as he’d intended; but the ill-made weapon, in its destruction, released a wave of ion radiation which not only rent its own vessel asunder, it sent the speeding Royal Flush’s systems into a frenzy, knocking out shields, destabilizing the inertial dampeners and causing a series of shorts throughout the beleaguered little ship. Bodies flew, sparks shot and the lights fluttered to emergency standby. Only moments after the pyrrhic victory of their attack, the Royal Flush could be seen, careening aimlessly in the midst of the battle, a tempest-tossed skiff left to the mercy of the raging seas about it.

Torrik Nils 07-30-2009 10:24:18 AM
:: USS Chimera / Gamma ::
:: Battle Bridge ::

No sound… In vacuum, the silence was pervading and oppressive. Could sentient ears survive the lack of pressure and atmosphere, the frigid quiet of space would certainly be devastating. The micro-fleet of Federation vessels that once had been the united Chimera whipped and turned in the void, weaving in and amongst the terrible hulks of Yith vessels. A smaller vessel, The Royal Flush, flipped and spun in an ionic wake of energy from an explosion that still blossomed from the gut of one of the monstrous Yith ships, its hull split in three pieces. Blasts and bolts of energy and plasma painted dark space as if it were a canvas. The stars in the background faded to nothing in relation to the wild and powerful energy weapons careening from ship to ship. Yet even with all the visual fury…in space there was no sound.

“Bring us about,” cried Nils inside Chimera’s Gamma section. The battle bridge blinked stripes of red, signifying their alert status. Klaxons blared and the crew hunkered down, eyes fixed to their station. “Try to raise the Flush!”

“Comms are still inoperable…”

“Radiation,” the Bajoran said in irritation. “I know.” He punched the console on the armrest of his chair and surveyed the scene through the ship’s sensors. He trusted the readout far more than his own eyes despite the cacophony of particulate clouding their resolution.

“Sir, the Yith Battlecruiser is making for Alpha!”

“Like hell,” muttered the Captain angrily. “Block their way, ensign! Add to our ‘Z’ and get us up between those ships!”

The words were barely away before Gamma buffeted and turned under the larger ship’s fire. Nils’ teeth rattled in his head and he gripped his chair mercilessly. The force of initial impact overwhelmed the inertial dampers and the CO slammed back into his seat. The systems quickly compensated.

“Give them our bow. Divert auxiliary power to phasers and empty all our torpedo tubes. Keep their attention…” The order was hushed and angry, but quickly obeyed. On his display, Nils watched Gamma’s own weapon fire span the distance between her and the enemy ship. Their assault was immediately answered as the Battlecruiser seemed to lose interest in Alpha. “Good work… Don’t let up!”

An arsenal of pillaged weapon arrays spat gouts of multi-colored death at Chimera’s Gamma. Her shields lit up and undulated under the strain. Yet the overpowered ship did not falter or pull away.

“Shields are down to forty percent and weakening rapidly.”

“Understood,” said Nils resisting the urge to pull power from weapons and plug it into their defenses. White and glittering sparks rained down on his head as if to punctuate his decision. He held firm to it. He’d have given into the impulse if not for the sensor reports updating before him. The Yith Cruiser’s shields were weakening rapidly as well. The two ship’s were playing chicken and the first one to blink would ultimately lose the trial. And Nils was determined to drain their shields before his own faltered. The race was on.

((yeah yeah…don't faint… I actually posted something.))

Simba Wekesa 07-31-2009 11:04:14 AM

Secondary Bridge
U.S.S. Chimera Beta

"Damage report!" Simba gripped the armrests of the command chair tightly as the beta section shuddered under a barrage of fire.

"Shields down to eighty-three percent," the reply came from the engineering station. "Minor hull buckling along our port ventral quarter. Containment fields are in place and holding."

Wekesa grinned. Their plan to neutralize the ion cannon by modulating the shields seemed to be working so far. Even still, conventional weapons were a real threat, and they were seriously outnumbered. The ship rocked sharply as a small Yith cruiser that had been flanking them was destroyed by the alpha section. "Remind me to thank Commander Costala…" he breathed. "Helm, hold our course towards the asteroid and accelerate to full impulse."

Fuentas looked up from the tactical station. "Lieutenant, three of the Yith ships are converging on the gamma section. They're taking heavy fire… gamma is focusing most of its fire on the lead ship."

Simba bit his lip as he looked through the chaos of the battle on the viewscreen, then jabbed at the comm controls on his armrest. "Wekesa to Torrik… do you require assistance, Captain?"

"Negative, we'll hold them off. Proceed with your mission," Nils' voice filtered through the static.

"Understood. Good luck," Simba replied as he closed the channel. The captain was right, of course. Their primary mission at this point was to rescue the hostages, and if beta failed to do that, the rest of this battle was in vain. "Ensign, fire phasers and photon torpedoes at will. Let's see if we can't draw one of those cruisers away from alpha without breaking course."

"Aye, sir." The ship shuddered again as a large explosion somewhere nearby sent a shockwave through space. Fuentas was already on it, unleashing a volley of torpedoes which impacted the Yith ship with a satisfying series of explosions. "Direct hit, continuing to fire."

"Sir!" Moretti interrupted from operations. "I've got a fix on the Royal Flush's position."

Finally, some good news. "Helm, adjust course to intercept. What's her status?"

The operations officer paused for a moment while the sensors gathered the requested information. "It looks like they've sustained a direct disruptor hit and were caught in that explosion we just registered. Primary systems are failing and they've lost propulsion."

So much for the good news… "Time to intercept?"

"Twenty three seconds."

Simba nodded and glanced down at his sensor readouts. "Maintain full impulse speed. Moretti, can you get a transporter lock on them?"

"Negative, sir. There's too much ionic radiation for the targeting scanners to lock on."

"Then beam the whole damn ship into the shuttlebay as soon as we're in range!" Lt. Wekesa pushed himself out of the chair to go double-check the operations console. It was a bad idea, as the bridge rocked under the impact of another round of enemy fire, throwing him off balance and stumbling towards the floor. He caught himself on a railing and hoisted himself over. "Divert whatever power you need for a wide-beam transporter from the warp drive. Just get that shuttle on board."

"Ten seconds!"

Simba looked up at the viewscreen, where the battered hulk of the Royal Flush was now clearly visible, tumbling aimlessly through space amidst a sea of debris and glowing, ionized gas from the late Yith ion cannon. A disruptor bolt from one of the remaining Yith ships passed dangerously close but fortunately missed. In her current condition, one shot like that would finish the small Cardassian shuttle. He glanced back down at the console. Five seconds until transporter range.

"Energizing…" On the viewscreen, the Royal Flush was engulfed in the familiar blue glow of the transporter beam as its hull began to dissolve. In a moment, the shuttle had dematerialized, leaving the void of space behind. "Royal Flush is aboard and secure in main shuttlebay," Moretti reported.

Simba smiled and resisted the urge to cheer as he quickly made his way back towards the command chair. "Medical teams to shuttlebay one. Find out if we've got everybody and what their condition is."

The moment of glee was short-lived as the beta section was hit squarely with a barrage of disruptor-fire, knocking the ship off course. "Return fire!" Simba shouted over the klaxons and the rumbling of the explosions that still reverberated through the ship.

"Shields are down to seventy-two percent but holding," Fuentas reported as she continued to lay down phaser-fire at the nearest Yith cruiser. "Enemy ship's shields have failed, targeting all weapons on their propulsion and disruptor systems." She fired again, knocking out the Yith's impulse reactors with a well-aimed photon torpedo. The ship reeled under the force of the explosion, and dropped out of pursuit, leaving the alpha and beta sections free to continue towards the asteroid.

"Sir, gamma section is taking heavy fire… her shields are failing, main power is fluctuating," ops reported.

Wekesa gritted his teeth as he surveyed the battle overview on the small display next to his seat. The path to the asteroid was clear of any large enemy ships, and the Royal Flush was safely aboard. Four Yith ships had survived and were continuing to fight… one was nearly crippled and falling back quickly, having attempted to take on both the alpha and beta sections. One was locked in combat with the gamma section, and the other two were converging on gamma to help finish her off. Making a hasty decision, he tapped the comm panel and opened a channel to the alpha section which was following closely behind them. "Wekesa to Commander Costala… beta is breaking course to assist the gamma section. You should have a clear path to the asteroid… we'll keep the Yith occupied and buy you as much time to evacuate the prisoners as possible."

Closing the channel without waiting for a response, the tactical officer turned his attention towards the front of the bridge. "Helm, adjust course to bring us alongside the gamma section. See if we can draw the fire from those other two cruisers and give gamma a chance to recuperate." The beta section veered off, peeling away from alpha as it continued on its course towards the asteroid. Two against three weren't very good odds, but at least it might give them a chance…

Javier Costala 07-31-2009 03:23:59 PM
Worry. Doubt. Regret. The same emotions he had felt before every marine engagement were working on the Chief Engineer as the three sections of the Chimera joined in battle with the Yith fleet. The hulks of scavenged ships that the Yith had cannibalized to create their fleet had only been caught off-guard for a moment, now they presented an imposing force as they speed towards the trespassing Chimera sections. The space between the two sides was filled with bright energy as weapons fired. An impending sense of doom turned into overwhelming nausea as the officer commanding Alpha section realized he was not prepared for the task set before him. Javier Costala felt the weight of the mission drop down on him as he watched a Yith cruiser accelerate towards Beta section. Doubt roiled up from the deep chasm of his thoughts. You're not a bridge officer. Why are you command? He had never served in an engagement on this scale. He'd never commanded a large group of individuals. There had been training exercises in MVAM but nothing substantial. No battles, no ship to ship actions, no large hostile forces to overcome. You're an engineer and your lack of experience is endangering the mission. The Yith cruiser was in a position to fire on Beta section, lining up to let loose a barrage of disruptor fire that would rake her forward section.

I am a Starfleet officer. Javier, more than anyone, knew the importance of the statement that was in itself a creed. The engineer had risen from the ranks, beginning his service rated as an e-1, and advancing to Petty Officer before receiving his commission. He had the honor of being part of a small group of officers that had received a battlefield commission for their bravery and courage. Javier may not have had the experience that other officers had with ship to ship combat or large scale battles, but he did have a sense of duty when it came to doing what was required of him. We hold the line.

"Fire all weapons," he pronounced, leaning forward to the edge of the center chair.

"Firing," the tactical officer replied. A bright stream of torpedoes sped towards the Yith cruiser as phaser shots surgically struck the enemy ship's shields. The Yith ship's shields flared under the attack, a protective womb of energy with the ship enclosed inside of it. Each phaser strike drained their integrity until the shield flashes grew dim and weak. The first of the quantum torpedos hit and exploded on the weakening shields, the next salvo ripped along the ship's starboard side, gutting her.

"Their shields are down and they're losing power..environmental systems are failing. They're dead in the water..or in space, if you're more comfortable with that analogy.." Crewman Cunningham announced with more joy than the situation seemed to warrant. It was his first official 'kill'.

"Helm, stay with Beta section," Javier commanded, realizing that Wekesa was making a move towards the asteroid. Warof barely had time to reply before Alpha was rocked by weapon's fire. Javier barely missed being dumped down the steps of the dais for the second time in two days, but a strong Vulcan arm kept him from making the trip. The Ops officer, however, had no protection from the sparks that shot from her overloaded console, sending Jezera to the deck.

"Report! Where the hell did that come from?" the engineer demanded as he watched the bridge crew recover their stations. T'Shaini was tending to the wounded Jezera, but gave Javier a questioning look before moving to take over at the Ops console.

"Shields are down to seventy-eight percent!" Cunningham called out.

"The battle cruiser fired their polaron array at us," T'Shaini informed the bridge, reading the energy signatures that the console registered. "It's on an intercept course but.."

"Mister Warof, keep our heading and protect Beta section's flank," Javier snapped as he realized Alpha was drifting off course. He returned his attention to the counselor. "Go on, Commander."

"Gamma has intercepted the three Yith ships," T'Shaini replied.

Nobody liked the idea of Gamma section taking on three ships by herself. It could turn into a suicide mission if the plan to retrieve the Royal Flush and other hostages did not proceed as the senior staff had planned. But it was the plan, and Gamma sticking its head in the lion's mouth would give Beta and Alpha sections the time they needed.

"Beta's firing, taking some heat off of the Captain."

"It's a good idea," Javier said as he looked up at the viewscreen. In his mind he could see what route the ships would take and how as they turned to get a shot on Gamma section, the Yith vessels would expose themselves to fire. "It would seem that the Yith are also inexperienced in fleet battles," the engineer remarked just before a shot slammed home on Alpha's bow. It was almost as if the enemy had heard him and wanted to remind Javier that they were in the fight until only one of them was left. "When you get a clean shot at that cruiser, fire at will," Javier growled as he pulled himself off the floor.

"Flash burst transmission from Beta section," his replacement Ops officer called out, "they have a lock on the Flush and are proceeding to transport them to the ship."

Despite the serious mood, Javier felt a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. It was a victory in the larger scheme of events. And now, the Yith knew what is was like to be defeated. "On my mark break away from Beta's flank and set a course for the asteroid, Mister Warof," he ordered, "we need to rescue the other Yith hostages while we have time." A sudden burst of disruptor fire caused Beta's shielding to flare as a Yith ship cut an intercepting course along Beta's starboard.

"Target that ship, don't let her get any closer to Beta section.."

"Firing," Cunningham replied. Phaser fire etched its way across the offending Yith vessel.

=/\=Wekesa to Commander Costala,=/\= the communications channel flared to life in the midst of the battle, =/\=Beta is breaking course to assist the gamma section. You should have a clear path to the asteroid… we'll keep the Yith occupied and buy you as much time to evacuate the prisoners as possible.=/\=

=/\=Acknowledged Lieutenant, good luck.=/\=

"Now Mister Waroff!" Alpha section came out of Beta's shadow and made a sling-shot maneuver that carried her around the other vessel as it made a full impulse burn towards the asteroid. "Transporter room, prepare for mass beam-out to the primary cargo bay," the engineer stated. The cargo bay had become alpha's temporary triage section so the medical team could assist a large number of injured species. "Divert any with weapons to the holding areas." The Chimera was taking prisoners. Not because they needed information, but because Javier was going to blow the hell out of the asteroid, once they had transported all life-signs off of the floating slave mine.

"Javier!" T'Shaini's plea made him glance toward her station. T'Shaini turned her head to the forward section of the bridge. His eyes jumped to the viewscreen as an ominous shape left the shadowed area near the edge of the asteroid's base and flew on an intercept course with alpha section. "It's been waiting for us.." It was a Yith cruiser made from the remains of what had once been a Federation starship. The lines of the ship were unmistakable and Javier could only stare at the saucer section of what had once been an Intrepid class ship.


The inquiry brought Javier out of his shock before phaser fire from the Hawking's ghost made the deck buck. "Cunningham, fire the polaron weapon, then empty the tubes on my mark." It was dangerous to fire the weapon so close to the asteroid. The polaron burst could ignite the volatile metals within the rock. But the officer realized that the Yith Intrepid could be a greater threat. It had steamed out of the asteroid's shadow like a bat out of hell, eager to consume them. "Fire."

The polaron ray tore through the Yith's shields like talons ripping through meat. There was nothing poetic about using a weapon that caused so much damage. The gaping rents that were left open were then stuffed with quantum torpedoes. A string of explosions along the hull tore the ship in twain as the light cruiser suffered explosive decompression on a massive scale.

"They're finished, there's no reading of a warp core..the ship was flying on impulse only," T'Shaini warned, tearing her eyes away from the death of a class of ship that the crew had once called home.

Javier watched as the ship died, venting its crew into the black void of space. "Transporter Chief, begin transporting those on the asteroid to their designated areas." The saucer section of the Intrepid Class had broken away from it aft section. The torpedoes from Alpha had opened up her belly so that debris and bodies, floated from the rift. "It wasn't the Hawking," Javier commented, verbalizing what the bridge crew must have been thinking.

Written to the original scores of 'I Rise, You Fall.' from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 'Ghosts of Reach' and 'Dust and Echoes' from Halo 2.

Torrik Nils 07-31-2009 04:17:43 PM
:: USS Chimera / Gamma ::
:: Bridge ::

~.~ Earlier ~.~

“So, you’re clear on the details?” Nils stood in the turbolift, his hand on the panel halting their ascent to the battle bridge.

“I’m going to assume that is a rhetorical question. As a holographic life form, not many ‘details’ can escape my matrix,” Atropos said with a quirked smile. “And you’re intelligent for a Bajoran so…”

“Alright, alright, I get it…” Nils smiled at the hologram and released their hold. The lift continued its climb. “I’m just making sure…”

“You wouldn’t be Captain if you didn’t make sure…”

~.~ Now ~.~

“Our shields are failing…”

The deck plating buckled and pitched beneath the CO as if to confirm the report. “Steady as she goes,” cried Nils over the wailing sirens and noise of battle. “Continue firing! We almost have them!”

“But there are two other ships nailing us from our flank! Main power is fluctuating!”

“One at a time, Ensign! One at a time! And the big one has to go down first,” replied Nils, not at all as confident as he sounded. The ship rattled around him and he worried that he wouldn’t be able to hold the line while Javi and Tee evacuated the asteroid. “We almost have them,” he repeated as he watched the lead ship falter as if mirroring Gamma.

~.~ Earlier ~.~

Atropos materialized first in the armory and conveyed her message. Then before a response could be formed she simultaneously vanished and reappeared in tractor beam subsystems. Mere moments delayed her there as she imparted instructions to the technicians. Main Engineering was her next destination and she wasted no time getting there. She knew from her interface with the sensor pallets that the battle had begun. Time was of the essence. She barely knew Chimera’s new Captain, but she at least liked the way he thought. As was ingrained in her programming, Prior Proper Planning Prevented Piss Poor Performance. She smiled as she conveyed the next message the assembled engineers and personally oversaw the orders as they were carried out.

~.~Now ~.~

“Hull breaches on decks 10, 15, and 16! We’re down to aux power only and forward torpedo launchers are offline!”

“Not good,” quipped Nils as he punched the display at his side. “Prophets be with us…” His voiced trailed off as a new blip popped up on sensors. “Or Beta will do!” Chimera’s Beta section rose from another quarter of battle and began pummeling one of the offending Yith cruisers. Wekesa had given him a break, so Nils took it. The lead battle cruiser’s shields were down and the time had come to make a move.

“All power to shields and break off our attack. Bring us about and focus on whatever ship Beta isn’t hounding! Torrik to Attie!” Adrenaline coursed through his chest and his heart pounded.

=/\= Is it Attie, now? I didn’t know we are on those terms. =/\= Nils could imagine the look on her face.

“No time for banter we have to…” An explosion rocked the ship and Nils was thrust from his chair. He flew forward into the pit and cracked his head on the Ops station. “Do it Atropos,” he cried from the floor as blood clouded his vision.

In main engineering, Atropos closed her eyes and released her grip on the escape pods which clung the ship’s ventral hull. One by one the small units drifted away from the larger vessel and their thrusters cast them back behind Gamma as she’d instructed. The tractor emitter pulsed a micro burst for each pod, grabbing it and flinging it towards the crippled battle cruiser. Each escape vehicle screamed through space in Gamma’s wake and slammed into the hull of the Yith ship. She smiled and opened her eyes, and then turned to the engineers she’d enlisted to aid her. “At your leisure gentlemen…”

The crewmen nodded and activated their remotes simultaneously. At the same instant, seven quantum torpedoes nestled in each of the launched escape pod released their quantum energies and tore the Yith cruiser to pieces. Hunks of scavenged metal drifted away from the core of the explosions which continued to blow from wherever the small pods had found berth in the exposed hull. Not much of the ship was left once the explosions stopped.

Atropos watched from the eyes of Chimera’s sensors and she smiled once more with devilish glee. “That went very well,” she said quietly to whoever cared to hear.

Torrik Nils 08-2-2009 11:58:04 AM
O Pride of the days in prime of the months
Now trebled in great renown,
When before the ark of our holy cause
Fell Dagon down-
Dagon foredoomed, who, armed and targed,
Never his impious heart enlarged
Beyond that hour; God walled his power,
And there the last invader charged.

:: USS Chimera / Gamma ::
:: Bridge ::

Chimera’s Gamma section limped through space like a wounded animal. A trail of blood orange plasma swirled behind her. Geysers of atmosphere spewed forth from fractures in her hull and fires burned in some of her viewports. Yet she fought on. As she listed to port a volley of phaser fire lanced from her dorsal section and sliced through Yith hull plating.

He charged, and in that charge condensed
His all of hate and all of fire;
He sought to blast us in his scorn,
And wither us in his ire.
Before him went the shriek of shells-
Aerial screamings, taunts and yells;
Then the three waves in flashed advance
Surged, but were met, and back they set:
Pride was repelled by sterner pride,
And Right is a strong-hold yet.

Clenching his fists and saying prayers, Torrik Nils turned his attention to the viewscreen. “Hurry Javi,” he said softly. On the screen, the Alpha section floated relatively peacefully in space. Though he couldn’t see it, the Bajoran knew her transporters were working overtime snatching people from that Yith rock.

The ship rocked and Nils' attention turned back to the battle. “Return fire!”

“Sir, we don’t have the power. We have to divert everything to life support.”

A rush of air, exploded from the CO’s nostrils and he frowned, his brow low and imposing. On his display, he watched Beta swoop around them and draw enemy fire. Wekesa dogged the enemy and protected Gamma one more time.

“Captain… Casualty reports are coming in from all over the ship.”

A long pause gave Nils only enough time to take one long slow breath.

“We’ve lost twenty four crewmen… Six are still unaccounted for.”

Before our lines it seemed a beach
Which wild September gales have strown
With havoc on wreck, and dashed therewith
Pale crews unknown-
Men, arms, and steeds. The evening sun
Died on the face of each lifeless one,
And died along the winding marge of fight
And searching-parties lone.

Captain Torrik turned his attention back towards the pitted rock floating unceremoniously in space. In his guts, hatred boiled. His imagination and memory mingled to form an impression of what must occur on that asteroid. The phantom of the Bajorans he’d lived with at Hutet Labor camp haunted him. Lowering his head, he remembered the cries of his mother and the hidden tears of his father. They’d survived. But only just barely. Good people had risked their lives to end that nightmare for him. And now good people were dying to end this nightmare. In that moment, Nils decided that this nightmare would indeed be over.

Slavery and forced labor were one of the galaxy's most terrible blemishes. The thought of sentient beings deprived of the most basic rights and freedoms that life entitled them to sickened and infuriated Nils. Sadly, the Yith were only the latest in a long line of beings who thought it their right to steal liberty and impose servitude on others. The blight existed in many histories on many worlds. But there before the Bajoran existed evidence that slavery was not only just a history. The Yith made it a present darkness.

“Prepare to evacuate the crew,” he said somberly. Only a moment passed before he began spouting orders with more vigor. “Get us in close to that asteroid. Send a message to Beta… Microburst transmission. Tell them to cover our tail. Start beaming nonessential crew to Alpha. Empty this ship… And do it quickly. We’re going to blow her up.” He gave the Yith abomination one more angry scowl before adding, “And she’s taking that with her.”

Sloped on the hill the mounds were green,
Our centre held that place of graves,
And some still hold it in their swoon,
And over these a glory waves.
The warrior-monument, crashed in fight,
Shall soar transfigured in loftier light,
A meaning ampler bear;
Soldier and priest with hymn and prayer
Have laid the stone, and every bone
Shall rest in honor there.

Poem: 'Gettysburg' by Herman Melville

Benjamin Hyde Pierce 08-3-2009 05:37:38 PM
-Royal Flush-

His head rolled back and forth as the shuttle dodged and angled between the ships of the Yith Fleet, but Ben felt happy. Even if death was close he would die sitting down, relaxing in a chair with his girl nearby. That's how it should be, Pierce thought, you should pass on with someone you love close to you. Peacefully. The shuttle banked high and he felt a tug at his harness straps. Looking up, Ben could see Jenny struggling to maintain her balance against the reckless flying of the pilot of the fancy shuttle. His hand rose from the seat and touched the harness straps that criss-crossed his chest. BHP's fingers slowly crawled across the straps until they met with Jenny's and caught them. There was a sudden jerk then sparks flew from the consoles within the shuttle and smoke began venting from one of the system panels overhead. The shuttle began to hurtle off course and Jenny was flung against him as the craft spun crazily.

With his last ounce of strength, Ben's arm slid behind Jenny protectively, holding her body against his, as loose weapons, equipment and bodies flew around in the interior of the craft. Through the sound of blaring warning alerts and the yells of the helpless crew, Ben found himself staring into Jenny's eyes. The sensation of peace came over him again. "I like this, I could go like this," he said, his words lost in the maelstrom of noise.

There was no way to know what Ben was saying but Jenny thought, hoped, even after all the time they’d spent apart, she could decipher the look in his eyes, the look that confirmed his promise of long ago that he wasn’t going anywhere… not without her, at least.

Maybe this wasn’t ever after what she’d thought of, when she’d fought so hard to come home from the shadowy underworld of Megiddo, or even when she’d sought Ben in the hopeless dark of the mines but if this was what they got, she’d take it and be glad they were together, at the last. Another punch of weapons fire from the battle without slammed into all those within and as Jenny was thrown hard against Ben she felt the bones in her left hand, only recently healed, snap under the pressure. Tears of sudden pain sprang forth but she shook it off and held on all the more with her right and thought it would be nice if she could kiss him, one more time. She’d spent a lot of time dreaming of Ben’s kisses…

He could see her tears. Is she afraid? Does she think this is the end? Or is she hurt? Ben wanted to comfort Jenny but he could not say anything she would hear. And he couldn't move forward to kiss her either. She was inches away but the centrifuge with which the shuttle spun wouldn't allow him to move his head closer. Jenny's lips might have been a mile away for all the force with which Ben was pinned to his seat. He strained against the unseen force that pressed him down but to no avail, gravity was cruel in its staunch obeisance to its laws.

Once more, just once more before it ends, the Iotian demanded, straining against the forces of nature. Then, victory, as the physical world gave way and retreated from the vigorous onslaught. Their surroundings bled away and Ben could only see Jenny. He didn't notice the calm in the shuttle cabin, or that the craft had stopped spinning, Ben only knew that the force that had kept them apart had been lifted. His lips pressed against Jenny's supple cherry lips, turning his head so that the kiss deepened. If it was to be his last, he wanted her to remember him. The tip of his tongue pressed between her lips, as Ben kissed Jenny like he had wanted to all along, since before she had gone away.

"Do that again," she whispered beneath his ministrations, as she realized they'd been, somehow, pulled from the jaws of disaster. Of course, it had to have been the Chimera's transporter but at the moment she felt transported by another form of magic, entirely.

"Everyone got all their parts?" a familiar voice burst through the moment as Harry picked his way to the shuttle's hatch, which, with the systems shot, had to be opened manually.

"Œˆø∂∂ÒÏ… Haaa?" she heard Todd joining Harry at the rear hatch, which opened with a whoosh of pressure.

And thus endeth the magic, "Come on," Jenny said, reluctantly pulling away so her good hand could unfasten Ben's harness, "let's get you to the medics."

Descending to the shuttlebay proper, they had to have looked like a collective wreck. Jameson's face was covered in blood, Fehr was singed, the rescued members of the crew were still looking as haggard as one might expect from their stint in the slave camp. Ben and the Chief were clear priorities and it was in their direction that medic Saxe-Goethe and Nurse Smit spun. Harry, Jenny realized as she and Ben reached the floor, had already reached the exit of the bay.

"This is a good place," Ben whispered to Jenny, his voice low and hoarse because the dust from the Yith mine still clotted his lungs. The guy in medical blue was running a tricorder over him and from all the discouraging beeps and chirps the device made, Ben deducted he was in a bad way. He closed his eyes briefly. The deck was hard yet smoother than the cavern floor had been, it trembled as Beta section was struck by fire but Ben did not seem to notice or care. "You busted me're a gangster moll.."

The deck shuddered again as Jenny, speechless, reached for Ben’s hand only to discover he was holding the flower from the caves. Not wanting to crush the delicate-seeming thing, she cupped her palm beneath his and, as the ship’s lights flickered and the medic worked to keep Ben with her, the blossom again opened to bathe their small group in its gentle glow. “And you’re a knight in a pinstripe suit,” she told him, softly, “who brought a magic flower from the villain’s cave…”

"It was a stone," he said. "Cold and dark." The cave, no, the flower, the flower was a stone. It didn't make sense and yet he remembered the flower being a stone. "It was covered in stone." He felt himself slipping away, exhaustion finally taking over. "Pinstripes.."

JP with Jenny

Simba Wekesa 08-3-2009 10:58:25 PM
USS Chimera
Beta Section - Turbolift

"… sir," Lt. Peress, was saying as the 'lift jolted around them, "I have no choice. You confessed to a series of capital crimes, protocol demands you be taken into custody…"

"Peress, chill," was Commander Finn's response. "We're on a starship in the middle of a firefight," he grabbed onto the lift bar as they were jilted sideways, "where am I going to go?" At Zane's expression he sighed, "Okay, here," he handed the young lieutenant his phaser, then the ten-inch knife he'd used in the Yith mines. Then he drew the holdout disruptor from it's place in his boot and passed that to the wide-eyed Peress, then added a garotte, a punch dagger and a microphaser that had rested underneath the back of his collar. "Now," he told the assistant security chief as the turbolift doors parted and the two men stepped into the beta section's bridge, "you can say I'm in custody. Wekesa," he called out to the young man in charge of the section, "thanks for the save. What's our status?"

"Not good, Commander," Simba replied without taking his eyes off the viewscreen. "And welcome aboard. Gamma section is taking heavy fire from two Yith cruisers. We're going to try to hold them off while Alpha section evacuates the asteroid mine." He gripped the armrests tightly as the ship shook again from an exploding Yith torpedo.

"Shields are down to forty-six percent," Moretti called out from the operations console. "Direct hit to the port nacelle… we're venting drive plasma."

"Helm, bring us about and put our starboard flank towards that cruiser. Get us between them and Gamma. Ensign Fuentas, lock phasers and return fire!" The bridge was beginning to fill with a smokey haze from a ruptured conduit somewhere behind one of the consoles.

"Lieutenant, incoming transmission from Captain Torrik… they're evacuating personnel from Gamma to Alpha section."

"Then let's make sure they don't get another shot at them," Simba growled. "Fuentas, fire at will… let's keep the Yith occupied." Wekesa looked through the dim fog at the imposing figure of Finn, who had been berating him mere hours earlier, standing just to his right. "Commander Finn, I believe the bridge is yours."

He didn’t bother to look at Peress, who was probably having quiet fits of apoplexy. “We need to do more than keep them occupied,” he said quietly, studying the configuration of vessels currently engaged. “Helm, bring us about to heading 02.7… get us as close to the heavy cruiser as you can then you,” he pointed to Moretti, “flood the port nacelle, I want that vent to become a gush and you,” he turned to Fuentas, “the second I give the go, you fire on the vented plasma. We’ll want to gun it out of here as she’s firing,” he mentioned in an offhand fashion and ignored the quiet, ‘ya think?' Which came from the helm. Instead, he hit the com panel on the command chair, =/\=This is Lt. Commander Finn to all hands; in approximately…=/\= he watched their progress on the tactical screen, =/\=fifteen seconds we are going to create a plasma wave at close quarters, I suggest you grab onto something and hold fast. Finn out.=/\=

Simba quickly crossed the bridge and dropped in next to Fuentas at the tactical console. She'd already locked phasers on the glowing cloud of blue gas that was expanding off the Beta section's port stern. With a single nod, she slipped out of the seat, turning over the console to the Chief Tactical Officer, and grabbed hold of the railing that ran along the back of the bridge.

"Plasma flow at one hundred percent," Moretti reported. The ship was continuing to shake under the ongoing waves of disruptor fire from the circling Yith cruisers. "Shields are down to forty," she was interrupted by another torpedo explosion. "No, thirty eight percent."

Wekesa glanced over the tactical displays as he poised his hand over the firing controls, waiting for Finn's signal. If they were going to do this, now was the time… the shields weren't going to be strong enough to withstand a close-range plasma explosion for much longer. He could only hope that Moretti was able to shut down the plasma flow and that the helmsman got them out of there quickly enough before the plasma stream ignited and carried the explosion back into the nacelle.

Harry was staring at the chair's display, eyes darting from plasma to the enemy to the helm's ready status. They'd have to be gone as the plasma ignited and all around him he could feel the vacuum created by an entire bridge crew sucking in their breaths. Still, he waited for that internal 'ping' that meant… "Now!" he ordered, dropping one hand in a cutting motion, as if that could make the hands of his crew move in synch.

Looking up, he realized that Wekesa had taken over tactical… a far cry from the nervous young man who'd fought off a holographic foe so recently. Now he was a seasoned leader… war and responsibility bringing him early to his prime. Which was all he had time to think as the plasma ignited and the small section of the Chimera shot widly away from the maelstrom of destruction she, herself had created.

The entire bridge lurched forward in a sickening motion as the shockwave from the explosion hit the ship's aft quarter, tossing it wildly off course. Anyone who wasn't holding on was thrown to the floor. Simba felt the edge of the tactical console impale his stomach as he was pressed forward, then shoved back into his chair as the inertial dampeners kicked in and righted Beta section's course. A conduit burst somewhere above him, raining down a shower of sparks and smoldering wires onto the floor of the bridge.

"We're clear of the explosion," Moretti shouted over the rumbling and the sounds of alarms going off. The ship rocked again, more gently this time, as the shockwaves of a smaller explosion passed by.

"The nearest Yith cruiser has been destroyed," Simba reported as he swiped the scattered bits of debris off his console. "The other enemy ship has sustained damage, and is pulling back from Gamma section." He looked at the latest sensor readouts. Gamma was still listing in space, her shields and main power nearly gone, as Alpha hovered over the asteroid, beaming aboard prisoners and evacuees from Gamma. The Beta section shook and the bridge lights flickered momentarily as the ship was hit by a Yith disruptor blast. "We seem to have their attention, Commander… remaining Yith cruiser is closing on our position."

"We're in real trouble now," Peress was saying as he dragged himself back to his feet.

"Good," Harry replied, "I hate the artificial kind." He turned to Wekesa, "I think I may have pulled the last rabbit out of my hat. What have you got?"

Simba scowled at the tactical readouts. They may only have one Yith cruiser left to deal with, but there was no doubt that the ship outclassed the Beta section. Alpha section was deep into the evacuation, and Gamma was in no condition to render any assistance. Beta was equipped only with phasers, which would do limited damage to a warship that size. The ship shook yet again as a Yith torpedo struck her shields.

"Shields down to twenty-six percent!" Moretti's constant reminders of the bleak situation weren't helping matters.

"The only possibility…" Simba stared at the display, then cracked a slight smile. "The Yith are using some type of guided polaron torpedo. That's how they're able to hit us almost every time… the warhead is tracking our warp signature." He grinned momentarily as he put the pieces together in his head. "Commander, I need you to take us in as close to the Yith ship as we can get. I mean, almost on top of them if at all possible. Ensign Moretti, divert all available power to the tractor beam emitters and reverse polarity. Modulate the tractor beam to match our warp signature as closely as possible." Simba locked phasers on the Yith ship. All they needed now was to get them to fire as many torpedoes as possible…

"You heard the man," Harry waved towards the helm, "let's remora the Yith." As the ship began to move, Harry hit the com again, =/\=Finn to all hands, all non-essential personnel are ordered to report to escape pods… repeat, repeat, all non-essential personnel report to the escape pods and hold for further orders. =/\=

"Commander… I should warn you this is a long shot." But it was the only shot they had… "Ensign, is the tractor emitter ready?"

"Calibrated and standing by," Moretti replied. On the viewscreen, the Yith ship was growing closer rapidly as the helmsman raced towards them, preparing to skim along the surface as close as possible.

Here goes nothing. Pressing his thumb to the firing controls, the Chimera unleashed a barrage of phaser-fire which swept across the Yith ship. Even before the phaser emitters could fully recharge, he fired again, trying to do as much damage and enrage the Yith as much as possible. It worked. The Yith cruiser's torpedo launcher flashed six times as six high-yield polaron torpedoes burst forth from the ship, racing past the accelerating Chimera as she approached the cruiser. The torpedoes arced out into the debris-littered space behind the Beta section, then turned rapidly and shot back towards the Yith cruiser, homing in on the Federation ship's warp signature.

"Moretti, engage tractor beam NOW!" Simba nearly shouted as he watched the torpedoes gaining on them on his sensor readout. The operations officer responded almost instantly, engaging the tractor beam at a near-overload power level and, with any luck, imprinting the Chimera's warp signature onto the Yith cruiser's hull. "Helm, cut all engine power," the tactical officer ordered as the Chimera's momentum continued to carry her clear of the Yith ship. The tension on the bridge was palpable as they all waited to see if the plan would work, and if the polaron torpedoes would home in on the now-stronger Federation warp signature of the Yith cruiser.

The resulting explosion couldn’t in and of itself be heard. The renewed juddering of the Beta section’s deck plating and yet more hissing of temperamental sparks were the only aural indication that there had been any such violence done in the cold beyond their hull. But the view of the last Yith vessel near them was…

“Now that,” Harry commented from where he watched the show on screen, “is what I call a bonfire. Good one, Wekesa,” he tossed over to Tactical. “Now,” Finn let out a huff of breath and prepared to move on, despite the fact that their small section of the ship was nearly spent, “let’s see if we can’t offer some aid to either of the other sections… and someone see if we can get the lights back on?"

A joint-Yith-ass-kicking with Commander Harry Finn

Torrik Nils 08-4-2009 08:41:00 AM
:: USS Chimera / Gamma ::
:: Bridge ::

Transporter energies faded and dwindled as the last bridge officer took leave of the ship. Nils watched the familiar blue pattern pull the last of the crew from the now deserted vessel. He crossed quickly to the command chair, sat down and held firmly to the device in his fist. Giving it a squeeze just to make sure it was there he punched up the auto-destruct subroutines.

“The ship’s empty,” said Atropos as she materialized next to the Ops station. “It appears that the Yith ships have been neutralized and we've achieved sufficient proximity to the mining asteroid. You’re free to initiate the sequence.”

“Good,” snapped Nils angrily giving one final look of fury at the Yith asteroid. The enemy forces had been whittled down to only two Yith cruisers and they were badly damaged to be sure. “Computer: initiate the self-destruct sequence. Authorization: Torrik Iota 1-1-0. Set at two minutes, mute voice warnings, enable.” Quickly Nils held out his hand with the device in his palm and said, “I had engineering bring up a mobile holographic emitter. Download your matrix here and we can get off this ship.”

There was no reply. The Captain looked up suddenly into the holographic eyes. Atropos shook her head.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Attie. Download and we can get out of here…”

The hologram smiled. “Captain, my matrix is as much a part of this ship as any other system. I am not a simple EMH program. Every part of who I am is tied into the Gamma section of Chimera.”

Dark dread shrouded Nils as he realized what he’d done. “What? No…” The Bajoran shook his head and went back to the computer. “I can still stop it. We’ll find another way…” As he punched up the display it went dark. The bridge systems all went dark. Emergency lighting cut on suddenly.

“I can’t let you do that, Captain,” said Atropos with a severe smile. “This is the only way. And this is the right way.”

“No,” cried Nils angrily. “Reactivate the console now! That’s an order.”

Atropos chuckled. “In case you aren’t aware I’m not an enlisted member of Starfleet. Your orders are somewhat wasted on me.” She took a step forward and touched his sleeve. “Go, Captain. Time is ticking…”

“I’m not leaving,” hissed Nils through a clenched jaw. “How could you let me do this…” A new kind of terror seized him as the full weight of his actions bore down on his pagh.

“This was as much my choice as it was yours, Captain. I just needed your authorization codes to make certain the deed was done.” She took a step back and sat down in the Captain’s chair. “Nice bit of tactical planning with those torpedo filled escape pods, by the way. Tossing them at the enemy with the tractor beam was truly inspired. Perhaps they’ll call that the Torrik Maneuver one day.”

“Attie… I can’t…”

“Tell Harry I said goodbye,” she said seriously. Suddenly her features became dire. “A Yith warp shuttle has launched from the asteroid and is closing in… Perhaps we can consume them in the blast," she said looking momentarily satisfied. Then she looked concerned. "Wait… I’m reading an unauthorized transporter…”

Atropos and the bridge faded away as a strange energy grabbed Nils and a balmy dark and heavy atmosphere took its place. Animal cries and an alien stench assaulted Nils' senses. The ground rocked and the Bajoran stumbled as the ship recovered from some unknown blast. Nils braced himself on a bulkhead and frowned. He knew quite well that the explosion had been Gamma, and Atropos was gone. Guilt and anger took root and he wanted to weep. But he didn't. The shuffling of alien foot steps wouldn't allow him that luxury. From the shadows, scaled arms tipped with poison claws suddenly reached out for him and penetrated his skin. The world blurred and grinded to a halt as burning toxin coursed through his veins…

Nils raised his hand just above his eyes and squinted as he strained to make out the bright shores of a beautiful but unfamiliar river. His eyes danced over the ripples of water as they led him further down into a strange forest. Confused and somewhat lost in the experience he began to walk. He pushed through the brambles that crowded an old path and found an old stone marker. The road was covered in wild fruit bushes, and the transport ruts had become long narrow ponds, home to a very strange and very large breed of bug.

It was out of the corner of his eye that he saw him. A little boy. He rushed passed him and disappeared in the muddy rut. Nils pushed deeper into the tangled mess, glad that he had chosen to wear protective gloves. He looked over his shoulder once and found that there was no evidence of his progress; the forest had swallowed him whole. He pressed on, eagerly searching for the boy.

Between two leaning Maples, in a spot where a fine stone Mill had once towered over a small house, stood a project in the throes of construction. Fresh lumber reached toward a brilliant blue sky from an old but strong foundation. He took a deep breath of thick, moist air and closed his eyes.
When he opened them she stood before him. Her crystal blue eyes held him in her gaze and she shook her head. “You’re early,” she teased. Looking over her shoulder she gestured at the skeletal beginnings of the Mill. “It’s not done… yet.”

“Jillian,” croaked Nils, his eyes suddenly wet with affectionate tears. He took a few frantic steps forward but paused suddenly before he reached her. Fear that she may vanish arrested his progress and he tentatively put out a hand.

She smiled and lifted her delicate hand, wrapping her fingers in his, their arms stretching out between them. Nils felt warm and at home… Strength flooded him and the world became right. Nothing mattered, but everything was important. He collapsed forward and pressed his lips against hers and they kissed once more. Lost in the swoon, time became meaningless. Nils held Jillian so tightly he feared he may break her, but he couldn’t loosen his grip. He refused to let her go.

Their kiss ended and he pulled away slowly, drawing her gaze into his own. “I’ve missed you so much,” he choked through a sob that had been hiding just beneath the surface of his furrowed brow. “I love you so much…”

“I love you too.” She said warmly. “But you’re too early. We both have things to do.”

Though he didn’t move, a sudden distance existed between them. Gravity from above lifted him. He reached for her but she shrank away and the bright world of the Mill began to fade. Nils became aware of heat and oppressive damp and someone was screaming. The poor soul cried out pitifully. The crying only stopped when Nils realized he was the one causing the din. So furious was his wail that his throat felt thrashed and he tasted blood. And consciousness assaulted him as if he were being plunged in ice water.

“Your name? You are Captain? Your mission?” Yith. They surrounded him and had him strapped to a table. He was being interrogated. “Name? The location of your home world?” Their eyes bore into him as they enlisted some unknown method of pain inductoin. It scoured his skin and he burned. He was surprised that he could not locate a flame. “Your species designation? The coordinates to your shipyards?” Angry, but unable to move he stared daggers at his assailants. He clenched his jaw and lowered his brow furiously as more pain caused him to writhe. “Your mission? Who are you?”

Nils drew strength from the recent memory of Jillian. He could almost feel her presence… Taste her kiss. His pagh felt light and powerful.

“Who are you?” The question slammed into him with violence.

The Bajoran cut his eyes in the direction of his interrogator and hissed a gravel response. “I’m Batman…”

Many thanks to Jillian Munro for some words and images. /deepbow

Harry Finn 08-5-2009 01:17:44 PM
Dead Space: Elysium

U.S.S. Chimera
Beta Section Bridge

A somber hush fell over the entire bridge, overpowering the ongoing noise of the alarms, klaxons, and damaged systems that still filled the ship. The glowing embers of the Chimera's Gamma section burst out into space and faded into the darkness, intertwining with the rocky debris of the Yith asteroid as it was consumed by the antimatter explosion of the Chimera's warp core. The remaining damaged Yith ships were limping away from the area and disappearing into warp. The Chimera had gone out in the same way she'd spent her career, protecting freedom, fighting oppression, and striving for justice. Still, the destruction of a third of the ship stung like the loss of a close friend for everyone on the bridge. All other concerns momentarily fell by the wayside as the crew paused to observe the grim spectacle on the viewscreen.

"Commander," Moretti said quietly, interrupting the silence and bringing everyone back into the reality of the moment. "We have an incoming priority message from the Alpha section." She paused for a moment, then looked towards the command chair with concerned eyes. "They're asking if we have Captain Torrik safely aboard."

Harry, who had already been rocking with the loss of Atropos… Attie… photonic or not, she'd been through more than one shit storm with him… looked at the Ops officer "Repeat that," he ordered, his voice deathly quiet.

Moretti cleared her throat, "Sir, it's Alpha… they have not retrieved Captain Torrik and wish to know if…"

=/\=Finn to transporter's C and D… did you beam up Capt… anyone from Gamma?=/\= Though, of course, he knew…

=/\=Prela to Finn, negative that. We lost transporter functionality eighteen minutes ago…=/\=

=/\=Understood. Finn out.=/\= There was a moment… a long, breathless, silence in which the import of Prela's words dug into the consciousness of everyone present. Then Harry shook it off because there were still people living who needed to continue doing so. He opened a panel on the command chair and began to enter a code before addressing Moretti, "Inform Commander Costala that we do not have Nil… that we do not have Captain Torrik aboard and he is presumed lost. Also," he continued, before the ensign could turn away, "tell Commander Costala that he is, effective immediately, in command of the Chimera… of what's left of the Chimera…" he hit 'send' and in a single stroke deleted his command codes from active status.

Simba felt his heart sink as the world around him seemed to be moving in slow motion. The battle which had raged only a minute earlier felt a like a lifetime ago as the reality of their present situation sunk in. Captain Torrik had been his first commanding officer on a deep-space assignment, and had been the one who had believed in him when he didn't even believe in himself. The tactical officer stared blankly at the debris that filled the viewscreen for a few seconds before turning his attention to the sensor readouts which filled his console. "Commander, there's still a lot of radiation and sensor interference in the area… there could still be escape pods from Gamma section that we haven't detected." They had to do something… anything.

"I wouldn't recommend our remaining in this area long," again, from Moretti. "That radiation is a danger to us… our shields are down to the single digits and the transporters aren't the only systems suffering."

Harry looked to Mr. Bayal, on engineering. The Bajoran's eyes were quietly streaming but he nodded his confirmation of Moretti's assessment. "The electrical systems are all under stress and structural integrity as well…" he broke off as the XO waved his understanding.

"Is the destruction of the Yith fleet confirmed?"

"Sir, there are no further enemy vessels within our sensor range." Not that it was much of a range.

It'd have to do, Finn thought, shifting his attention, again. "Inform the Alpha section that we are retreating to uncontaminated space and will await their arrival. Until the two vessels are united, Mr. Wekesa," he told to the young officer, "you have the con. After that, you'll be reporting to Commander Costala," he ignored the surprise on the faces around him as he continued, "You'll want to get a damage and casualty assessment and initiate repairs on the fly. Lt. Peress," he didn't look to where the security officer stood, as silent and stricken as the rest of the bridge crew, "I'm finished, here."

Simba blinked a couple of times, but stood still behind the tactical console. "Commander?" He asked, confused.

Lt. Peress stepped forward, recognizing a cue when he got hit with one the size of a brick, "Lt. Commander Finn," he said formally, "as required by Starfleet regulations, I am placing you in custody on the charges of conspiracy, homicide and… and acts unbecoming an officer…" cue yes, but he hadn't rehearsed his lines. "If you'll come with me?"

"You have the con," Harry repeated, quietly, his saddened, tired gaze locked on Simba. "Bring them home."

Lt. Wekesa made eye contact with Finn as he made his way slowly back towards the center seat. "Aye, sir." Honestly, he didn't know what to feel at this moment. The captain was gone, and now the first officer too. The two people he respected most aboard the Chimera, and within a few minutes' time. Quietly, he extended his hand. "Commander, whatever happens… whatever happened… I want you to know that I appreciate everything that you've done for me."

There was a hitch in time before Harry accepted the offered hand, "It was nothing you didn't earn," he said, giving a solid shake, "Now it's on you to keep the crew together and… something I didn't do… uphold the honor of the 'Fleet."

"You know I will do what I can, Commander." Simba paused… he didn't know what had happened with Finn or if there was any truth to what Peress had said. "I sincerely hope that our paths will cross again in the future."

Harry couldn't imagine a less likely prospect but, "If the chance were to arise, it would be an honor to serve with you… any of you," he said to the room in general before bringing his focus back to the lieutenant before him and, releasing the handshake, quirked the smallest of smiles, "Now, do the job." Then he turned and headed towards the turbolift, Lt. Peress close beside him and stepped aboard, not once looking back.

As the turbolift doors slid shut, Simba slowly sat down and eased back into the command chair. He sighed, staring blankly at the viewscreen and feeling the weight of the day's events pressing down on him. All he wanted to do was go back to his quarters and sleep… and maybe, when he woke up, he'd find that this had all just been some horrible nightmare.

But it wasn't. It was reality, and there was nothing any of them could do to change it. Life would continue to move forward, and it was up to them to make the best of it.

"Moretti," he said quietly. "Continue to run sensor sweeps of the debris field in case we've missed anything. Helm, bring us alongside Alpha section and prepare to stand down from multi-vector assault mode. Let's get everyone back together, and go home."

JP with Lt. Simba Wekesa

And, to the crew of the Chimera, one and all, I salute you. It has been an honor to serve with such a distinguished and dedicated ensemble. I look forward, immensely to the new adventures of the Gettysburg and hope there may be a time when a careworn civilian may come by for a visit.

Dead Space

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