Table of Contents
Nothing More Than a Fairy Tale - Page 5
Jordan Levi - USS Presidio
Lieutenant Timothy Davis rubbed the side of his head. The letters swam across the datapad in front of him. He groaned. The headaches were almost intolerable. He glanced up from the CMO’s desk to the chaos in sickbay just outside the small enclosure that seemed to isolate him from the rest of the mayhem. He glanced at the clock. Where was she? Jordan Levi had been called to engineering nearly a shift ago and no one had heard or seen her ever since. There had been some commotion regarding a rogue officer in engineering but somehow he thought that Jordan had left before all that had happened. From the lack of her presence it appeared that that was not the case.
The blinking on the computer screen caught his attention. He would never have opened the message under normal circumstances – Jordan would have killed him on the spot. But with her disappearance he didn’t think it would harm anyone. He glanced at it.
He had to reread the message twice before he fully grasped the contents. He opened a communications channel to the USS Horizon, more specifically to their CMO.
“Doctor Timothy Davis here,” he began. “Sorry to disturb you Doctor, but Our CMO is currently missing in action.”
“I understand,” Emily Star replied. She looked as tired as almost every other member of the crew. Timothy tried not to succumb to his headache as he pushed on with the conversation.
“I have had a look at your proposal, I believe you might be onto something,” he said. “I believe the test results of two of our officers might be of some help, one of them is our XO and they seem to be less effected that the rest of the crew. I am sending their test results through to you.” It took a moment before Emily acknowledged receipt of the results. Timothy continued. “As you will note they were effected by some chemical in the past. You will see that they have a higher dosage of toxins in their blood by some abnormal growth in the brain. It’s non-lethal but the effect is that it almost shields them to the headaches and hallucinations.”
“But not completely,” Emily noted. “These toxins create a barrier so to speak but there are holes in the barrier nonetheless.”
“Exactly,” Timothy said. “It appears as well that alcohol assists these toxins – they almost reinforce the barrier that the toxins create in the first place. I believe that I’ve isolated the element in alcohol which does this within the two officers bodies. I am sending you my results. If we can simulate the toxins within the crew we might be able to dampen the effect of the headaches.”
Emily read through the information.
“I believe this might just work,” she said. “It won’t be a cure though …”
“But it might be an inhibitor … at least something that will alleviate the headaches. I think it’s our best shot at getting the crew to being capable of doing their jobs again. It’s a best shot.”
“May I suggest we activate the EMH’s of both our ships and brief them should the medical personal are unable to continue with forming this inhibitor?”
“Yes, good idea. Let’s get working on this,” Emily said. Timothy nodded and the view screen went dead. At least they had a plan now. It was a long shot but it was a plan nonetheless.
Jordan Levi - USS Presidio
Savoy had a look in his eyes that Jordan did not care to see. It was one of danger. He had completely fallen into the delusion of his imaginings. Jordan wasn’t completely sure of what he was imagining but it was evident that whatever it was he believed it. The two officers that he shot were not serious injured – they had been stunned. Between Jordan and nurse Elle they attempted to fix the damage caused by the first set of injuries that had them called to engineering in the first place and then the second set of injuries which were the latest stun victims. She knew that it could have been much worse if Savoy hadn’t had the phaser on stun when he shot the two officers. And what was even worse, she didn’t know what he was capable of in the state he was. Now they were trapped in engineering with him.
”This isn’t good,” Elle commented.
“You’re stating the obvious,” Jordan said. She glanced around engineering, assessing her situation. The remainder of the engineers were huddled together not far from Jordan. There must have been just fewer than two dozen of them. It wasn’t surprising that there were so few officers in engineering, as the headaches had rendered most useless to work. Savoy had barricaded them into engineering and he was armed. Apparently, he didn’t have any reluctance in using his weapons. Even worse – he was delusional.
She glanced around. There was no way she could get to a computer terminal to call for help. They still had their comm. badges. That had to count for something. But she didn’t see how she could use hers without drawing Savoy’s attention. What she needed was a diversion …. At least then the bridge would know what was going on in engineering. They could put a stop to it. Who knew what else Savoy would attempt to do now that he had full control over the engineering systems?
“Elle,” Jordan began. “I need a –“
“I am way ahead of you,” Elle said and got up. She headed towards Savoy and stumbled crashing into him. Elle being a small woman didn’t do much but put him off balance. It was a risky move but enough for Jordan to do what she needed to do.
=^=Levi to Bridge. We have an emergency in Engineering. Lieutenant Savoy has barricaded us into engineering. I believe he has succumbed to his delusions. He’s armed and has already shot two officers. =^=
Jordan suddenly broke off communications. She thought she heard the low growl again. She was vaguely aware of an officer on the bridge speaking to her through the communicator, she knew his voice but she didn’t understand what he was saying. Her attention was now fully on the dark room ahead of her. The growl became louder. Then for the first time she saw the pair of terrifying yellow eyes staring back at her through the dark.
She screamed and backed away, almost tumbling into Elle and Savoy. What the hell was that? She blinked. She had suddenly come back to her senses. She was losing herself to the delusions, she realized. This was not good.
Jan Vogels - USS Presido
Jan headed back to the bridge. There was nothing he could do for T'lara right now. Jordan was probably too busy in Engineering. As long as T'lara was not in any immediate danger, he saw no reason to get her out of Engineering where she was probably needed. Jan arrived on the bridge. The crew was doing their best.
The Ensign at Operations suddenly gulped. Jan turned around. He finally remembered her name.
"What is it Ensign Masterson?"
"Sir, weapon's fire detected in Engineering."
Jan hurried up to her console.
"Raise the guards on the comm."
The Ensign managed controls.
Jan tapped his own comm badge.
"Bridge to Engineering. Bridge to Commander Levi. Anyone?"
There was only silence. He tapped another control.
"Bridge to Security, assemble a team on the Engineering, fully armed. I'll be there."
"Sir, someone is tampering the warp core. I'm locked out!"
"What?! What the hell is going on."
"I'm locked out, sir. It must be Lieutenant Savoy."
"Security to bridge. Engineering is barricaded, we can't enter."
"I'll be down in a minute", Jan responded. "Have someone bring explosives."
Jan turned back to Masterson. "Can you scan Engineering?"
"No sir, some kind of force field is blocking everything. I presume it will also block your explosives."
"Can you flood the room with gas?"
"No sir, not if that forcefield is up. I have cut all physical access from Engineering, there is no way to gain control over other ship systems from Engineering now until someone repairs the wiring which can't be done in Engineering. Unfortunately I can't get control over Engineering itself."
"Find a way, cut the entire supply of the ship if you have to. If that warp core goes critical we will be atomized."
"Sir, what about gravity and life support?"
"We can survive a few minutes without life support. You have to be creative on the gravity part. I'll be down there, try to re-establish control."
Jan ordered the guards going for explosives to get gravity boots as well. He would outfit his team with them. In case they could cut power they would need them or float helplessly through the ship.
Masterson's voice appeared over the comm again.
"Sir, you should hear this."
"Levi to Bridge. We have an emergency in Engineering. Lieutenant Savoy has barricaded us into engineering. I believe he has succumbed to his delusions. He’s armed and has already shot two officers."
Jan ordered Masterson to patch him through.
"Jordan? What is your status. Jordan? Can you hear me?"
There was no response. The channel was still open. But Jordan had gone silent.
< = Away Team | Phorait Prime = >
With just a few hours until her death, Dorothy was falling into madness. At least that's what she thought it was. It was an odd feeling, and she wasn't sure if it was this world, Wonderland, that was doing it to her. But her mind was slipping away, while it created fantasies of flying spaceships in distant universes. The odd thing was, she almost felt like she was being watched, as it was on the tip of her consciousness. Something about a man, on the surface of a planet who was on a mission to stop something from happening…
Owain bolted upright. The dream felt too real. Down here, the effect was much stronger than in orbit. It couldn't be… Was the Dorothy in his mind, really dreaming about him? The situation he felt was all too surreal. But then, he started to wonder. If they, in reality were suffering from dillusions, then maybe it went both ways. Maybe these characters were experiencing the same effects. Afterall, they were everywhere but their own story at the moment. Dorothy had entered Wonderland through a portal that had appeared in the eye of her Kansas storm.
He had been sleeping well up until this point. Surprisingly well, actually, considering how cold it was down here. He shuffled out of his tent, realizing there was a commotion out there. He heard it again; the same sound he had heard when they first arrived on the surface, but the sound was much closer this time. He turned around and what he saw took his breath away. Good lord, it was only a few feet away from their camp. These Mammoth creatures were as big as the name suggested. But they were obviously tame creatures.
As he was awed, he hadn't noticed Steve, who had come up beside him, admiring the view. "Quite something, I say. Amazing such creatures can pose no threat.", he told the Captain.
Owain nodded, "I feel bad for what happened to the one at the nose of the Yacht. Poor thing." He paused, taking in the majesty of the creatures and pondering a thought that had been brewing ever since he first saw them. "I wonder. Do you think these things would let us ride them to the top?"
The Major laughed and shook his head. "You've been affected too much. That's crazy talk. Besides, there's no way I'm getting on top of them things…"
"Where there's a will, there's a way…", Owain told him with a wink.
"Crazy… completely crazy. Your mental stability is wearing thin, Captain."
The thing is, it was, and Owain was bound to fix this once and for all. To fix it for everyone who was getting affected.
"Sir", it's no use. I'm not getting through to the Horizon. There's too much static.", said one of the men who approached him. Owain nodded understanding the situation. He figured they would be having trouble, which is why he wanted to set up a signal booster to transmit a message to tell them of their progress. Once the booster was set up, he sent his message."
"This is Captain Taggart to both the Horizon and Presidio. We've made camp, and we're about to set out again shortly. I assure you all, we haven't frozen. We should be at the base by evening. Taggart out." While Owain was sure this would go out with static, he knew it would be better than nothing to not send them anything at all."
"Bombed there of three" the PADD dropped onto the biobed and Emily rubbed her eyes. She'd been working with a Lieutenant from the Presidio and although they had more work to do, which caused time to pass faster, it wasn't helping ease the tired feeling.
"It's nice to know we haven't hit a complete wall" she laughed to herself. They had been working on the alcohol inhibitors and the progress was depressing. It seemed like whatever was causing this was getting stronger and their results lasted for varying amounts of time, some long some short. It wasn't much but it was something. Sadly the people who needed it most were away from the ships.
"Lieutenant Davis, do you think there's anyway we could get this to the away team?" she thought for a moment, "Provided we stabilize it and get it to last a specific amount of time. It's not much but it will probably help their headaches and dillusions".
Daranavo Savoy - USS Presidio
“Belle? Are you two alright? Will that boy be ok?” Lt. Savoy looked at them with concern painted upon his face. He was clad in a skin tight, bright green outfit complete with a cap with a feather in it. A hawk feather. At his side was a shimmering, silver scabbard . The Ornate sword he held tightly in his hand. Belle had mumbled something but he could not hear her words right then. Red remained speechless with a frightened look in her eyes. “Everything will be fine Belle…I promise…just think of happy thoughts, and we will all get out of here without a scratch,” he said confidently. With that he stepped up to the thick, iron bars of the cage. “Get us outta here Peter!” One of the boys pleaded as he gripped the cold bars with his hands. The fairy fluttered up and down as if she was agitated or nervous. Daranavo carefully scanned the room for anything that he may be able to use to pry the cell door open or to break the lock that held the boys inside. Slowly, he began to move around the cage, testing the bars for any apparent weaknesses that may be obvious.
USS PRESIDIO – MAIN ENGINEERING
“Belle? Are you two alright? Will that boy be ok?” A straight faced Lt. Savoy asked Jordan and Elle as they stood when he approached them, the phaser still in his hand. Elle stepped closer to Jordan that had just finished speaking to Jan before Daranavo stepped up to her. “Everything will be fine Belle…I promise…just think of happy thoughts, and we will all get out of here without a scratch,” he intoned to her expressionless. Seemingly with purpose he moved up to the Main Console opposite the Warp Core. He was locked out and each command he entered was followed by a discordant beep that signaled the failure of his last command. He moved over to the secondary console and bent down in front of it. With the phaser he cut the locking mechanism on the panel and with his free hand he swung the panel open. Jordan looked over at the Canister and then stepped closer to him as his back was turned to her at the moment. As she did Daranavo seemed to startle and looked over at her briefly. Quickly he turned back to the panel and lifted out several small chips from their sockets within the console. From the distance she was at, Jordan could not exactly see what he was doing but began to grow more and more concerned. After a few moments he stood moved over to the main console, stooped and fired the phaser at its panel door. It popped upon easily and he went to a knee as he withdrew several more chips from it. The console lights went dim and he moved back to the secondary console and knelt in front of it once more. With a steady hand he placed several of the chips from the first console into it and sparks popped all around it not a second later. “WARNING, DILITHIUM CHAMBER PRESSURE WILL REACH CRITICAL LEVELS IN APPROXIMATELY 15 MINUTES,” The computer said in a loud tone all over the ship.
Jan Vogels - USS Presidio
"Bloody hell, he better have the mother of all delusions or I will make sure he doesn't even make it to his court-martial", Jan said.
"Sir, we still can't enter."
Jan nodded and contacted the bridge.
"We have no choice. We have to pull the plug."
"Sir, if we shut down power to the entire ship it will take quite some to restart everything. Who knows what has been done in Engineering. If we can't get the systems running again, we might suffocate if life support is out too long."
"If we don't do anything quick we will be atomized, your choice", Jan replied dryly.
"I'll start working on it."
"How long will it take, Ensign?"
"I need several minutes."
"Very well, inform me when you are ready. Once the power goes down, we will blow a hole and secure Engineering, you start working on getting the power up."
Jan turned to the guards. "Start placing explosives. Once the power goes out, detonate, then enter. Set your phasers on on high stun."
"Sir, what if Commander Levi or any of the others are too close to the door?"
Jan had thought about that. He hoped Jordan would forgive killing her to save the rest of the ship. This was one of the reasons he had pushed Jordan away in the past. He was afraid if it ever came to this, he wouldn't be able to make a decision. Still, he would never forgive himself.
"If we don't do this, the entire crew dies and we are running out of time. Commander Levi is an officer and understands this. Activate your gravity boots and stand by. Engineers, as soon as the power goes back up, stabilize that dilithium chamber."
The engineering crew nodded as they hid a safe distance from the door. They too wore gravity boots. It was a gamble, but the only gamble they could do. As soon as the power to the entire ship was cut, everything would go offline, including the force field, life support and gravity. With a failing life support life system, life could be sustained for a few minutes. The absent gravity would make their job of securing Engineering easier. Suddenly a fatal mistake hit Jan. He hastily contacted the bridge.
"Bridge, get the ship to a complete standstill right now. It's absolutely necessary we are not in motion when you cut the power. I'm not in the mood to be smashed into a wall when the inertial dampers fail."
Lack of sleep was getting it's toll. Technically things shouldn't go wrong. The inertial dampers were only necessary when the ship accelerated or slowed down. When power to the engines was cut, the ship would maintain it's speed, because of the lack of friction. But Jan was not taking any unnecessary risks. One sudden shift in speed and they would be pancakes on the wall. Surely Jordan would never forgive him killing her by stupid negligence.
Jordan Levi - USS Presidio
Jordan Levi checked on the unconscious crewman once more, but she kept glancing up at Savoy. She couldn’t see what he was doing – but whatever it was, it wasn’t good. Within the next moment the computer warning blared over the internal speakers of engineering. Jordan swore under her breathe. Fifteen minutes … Savoy was going to kill them all and what was worse, he didn’t seem to understand what he was doing. No … that wasn’t entirely true. Savoy (in his mind) was trying to save “the boys” who appeared to be the engineering staff. He was trying to do the right thing, but the delusions were making him do the opposite inadvertently. So how could she convince him otherwise? It didn’t matter what she did, she needed to do something!
“Daranavo,” Jordan said. He turned to her with that glanced look in his eyes. He was living whatever delusion was in his mind and it appeared as if he was engrossed by it. Yet … he was still lucid enough to comprehend what was going on around him – to an extent. She needed to play on that. He spoke of freeing the boys … the engineers but that resulted in the situation that they were in now. “Listen to me … you must stop what you’re doing.”
“I must save the boys,” Savoy answered. “They’re in trouble.” Jordan frowned, this wasn’t going to work. She needed to act on his level … speak to him as if she was in the fantasy with him. But how? She didn’t even know what fantasy he was having? Then it hit her – the only thing she could do was act out her own delusions and what she had seen. Maybe that would convince him. It was a long shot…
“You want to save the boys, I understand … but that’s the problem. There’s a wolf out here, I think a beast as well. If you release the boys they will be in more danger than staying trapped.” Jordan saw a flicker of concern in Savoy’s eyes. “Please … stop what you have done. It will only kill the boys.”
Savoy took a moment to consider what she had said. He seemed to be having a discussion with another entity that was only existent in his own mind. She had no idea what they were talking about. The computer sounded with another countdown … they were running out of time. She didn’t know what else to do. Without knowing what Savoy had done she couldn’t reverse what had been done. The entire ship would be destroyed.
The next few moments seemed to happen in slow motion. At first the lights in engineering went off. The entire room was pitch black. Jordan couldn’t see a hand in front of her face. In the back of her mind she couldn’t help wonder what had happened. Was the ship in trouble? And more importantly why hadn’t the emergency generators kicked in? Unless … the entire ship had been shut down, which meant that life support would be gone as well. Savoy couldn’t have done this. It must have been someone else on the ship, but who and why? The engineers and Elle mumbled in the dark. They were worried but they didn’t voice their concerns other than the tone of their voices.
The next moment she was floating in mid air, in the complete and utter darkness. The gravity wasn’t working or had been deactivated for some odd reason. She was completely helpless floating in the darkness unable to do anything but float. The heard the others shouting, and in between the voices Savoy said something indistinguishable to her. Her mind was however on the loud clang she heard from the door.
In that instance she knew what was happening. It was a rescue or perhaps more aptly it was an attempt to stop Savoy. There was only one way in and that was through the door and with the power out and knowing Jan they were going to blow it. She knew the procedure and she knew what she would have done had the roles been reversed and she had been the XO of the Presidio. She would have stopped Savoy at any cost – it appeared that Jan had made that same decision. Then way did the thought of that leave a sour taste in her mouth? She was overreacting. His first priority was the ship and that is where it should be. She would have done the exact same thing – at least that’s what she kept telling herself as she waited for the inevitable to happen.
Jordan swore under her breathe, she was too close to the door for her liking and with the gravity deactivated she had no way of getting out of the way.
She heard the explosion before she saw the red flames licking at the doors. The doors popped off spinning inwards to engineering with debris flying all over the place. The darkness made it almost impossible to see what was coming and also made it impossible for her to duck out of the way.
She only saw the part of the bulkhead coming to her when it was already too late. It hit her forehead dead on. A sickening thud emanated when the metal slab connected with her forehead.
The lights from the entrance seemed to go dimmer as she lost consciousness until finally she had slipped away and lost herself to her subconscious.
Jan Vogels - USS Presidio
Jan waited. A total of three minutes had past before the bridge responded.
"We are ready sir, we can kill the power at any time."
"Have you found a way to just disable Engineering?" Jan asked.
"No sir, Engineering is shielded. Only but cutting the entire power supply can we do anything or physically sever every connection, but that will take too long."
"Alright, cut power in fifteen."
Jan turned to the guards. "Stand ready. We'll wait ten seconds before blowing, that should get him disoriented and floating."
They waited. Then the lights went out. Their gravity boots kept them pinned to the floor. They wouldn't be able to move very fast, but they wouldn't float. Everyone activated the lights on their weapons and activated hand held reserve lights. Jan counted to ten.
Jan looked away when a Petty Officer activated the remote detonator. The door exploded. Jan didn't wait for smoke to clear. He rushed in as quickly as he could. He saw several bodies floating, the key was to find Savoy. He saw him. A phaser beam went wide over Jan's head as he ducked but hit a crewman behind him. Jan returned fire. The floating Savoy had no chance to evade and was hit. His body went limp. Jan got up. Already faint lights started to flicker and he heard a voice over his commbadge.
"Bridge to Engineering. Auxiliary power kicking in, emergency lights and communications back up, we are rebooting the power core. What is your status."
"All clear, all Engineers will be ready to stabilize the core. Get on it."
He ordered the rest the to secure the floating bodies to the ground. Then he saw Jordan. Before he could move over to her, the gravity kicked back in and she landed with a loud noise the deck. Luckily her head didn't hit the ground, but she didn't look well. Shrapnel from the explosion was visible in her head and torso. He moved over quickly.
"Jordan, can you hear me?"
She heard someone coughing and Jordan's assistant came crawling to them. She wasn't wounded by the explosion but was still recuperating from hitting the deck.
"You are Elle, right?"
She nodded, not being able to speak. "We need to get her to sickbay, help me."
He suddenly heard someone screaming.
"Ah, get them off, get them off."
One of the guards was going berserk, probably caught in a delusion. He fired his phaser wildly, knocking one of the engineers out. Elle was caught in the shoulder and screamed. Jan saw the other guards react by stunning him. Elle was bleeding from her shoulder but she was conscious.
"Get them out of here, put them in the brig for now", Jan yelled, pointing to the mad guard and Savoy. Jan contacted sickbay, but the nurse caring for T'lara was alone. There would be no help from sickbay. Jordan was bleeding badly.
"The rest, help me, we must get them to sickbay."
Elle shook her head as a guard wanted to pick her up.
"I'm alright, I can walk."
Jan heard the intercom. "Commander, you are needed on the bridge ASAP."
Jan looked at Jordan. It didn't look good. He was torn between his duty and his love.
"Sir, go. I will take care of her. I'm sure she will understand", Elle said placing her hand on Jan's arm. "If you don't get life support running it all won't matter in the end."
She had a point there. Two guards had already taken Jordan and were carrying her out of sickbay as fast as possible. Elle hurried after them. Jan got up. He had several problems on his hand, Savoy was neutralized but the canister was still missing. The guards had not found it in Engineering. Engineers were working to stabilize the dilithium chamber while everyone on the bridge was working to the power back up to restore life support and then the other systems. Jan sighed and with a heavy heart went to the bridge instead of going after Jordan.
Ozu - USS Presidio
Ozu walked just behind the marines through the thick snow. The people in the best conditions walked on the front on turn to the clear a path for the rest to follow. Ozu once more cursed at the powder snow. Then he raised his hand to his neck to check the stabilizer there. He heard a small beep coming from it. Guess it is not build for the cold weather. Ozu thought. And a minute later it failed, so Ozu removed it from his neck and tried to control himself without its support.
“Are you all right Lt?” Ozu heard from his back. He looked back into the captain Owain’s face or what he could see of it.
“I hope so, this neural stabilizer just failed”.
“Well keep it together will ya, we can’t use crazy people down here.
“You must be joking. But I will try. But if you will excuse me it is my turn to take the lead”.
Owain nodded and Ozu moved to the front. Slowly the group moved on.
“I am sorry I don’t want to be of any trouble but could you please check my wing?” an eagle said who was resting a rock.
Ozu looked up to his side. Then he holds his movement.
“I am sorry did you say something? “
I said something. Can you please check my wing it appears to be hurt.”
Ozu looked at the eagle and it didn’t look well. He forgot the group and moved to the beast.
“Sure stretch it out will ya so I can see what is wrong”.
The group looked at him with surprise. He moved his hands in the air above a rock and he even seemed to hold something.
“It appears that you have taken a phaser hit. It won’t take long to heal that just hold you wing in this position.” Ozu picked his med kit to help the eagle.
“Lt what are you doing?” Owain screamed, but Ozu didn’t respond.
“Thank you very much” the eagle said and he moved his wing freely again. “Now let me repay the favour, follow me I will lead you to shelter. A storm is coming and out in the open you won’t survive”.
“And how do you know that?” Ozu said as he packed his med kit.
“I live here in case you forgot. Now follow m,e we only have till the sun starts to lower”
“How far is it than?
“Not the far away but don’t you listen, we have to hurry” the eagle flapped wildly with his wings.
“Are you sure about this? A well I guess you are, let us pack up”
“Thank you for trusting me now hurry up.” The eagle started to fly in circles around Ozu.
“Let me pack my bag for a minute, then I follow you”.
5 min later Ozu had all his stuff ready and followed the bird.
Jordan Levi - USS Presidio
Lieutenant Commander Sara Sidle had been having similar headaches as the rest of the crew, but unlike her comrades she had been less inclined to complain about it. She had toughened it out and kept quiet, while she suffered quietly in her quarters. Jordan had sent her to her quarters after the first few days. Jordan had already known what she would do even before it occurred to Sara; she would have worked herself to a standstill regardless of her headaches. That in itself could have been dangerous but with the hallucinations and depravity of sleep, Sara had to grudgingly admit that Jordan had been right.
Sara smiled slightly. It was an odd thing to have Jordan as Chief Medical Officer. It was even stranger to have her former XO back on the same ship. She recalled the time when Jordan, Jan and herself had served on the De Ruyter. Those had been rough but good times. She had thought that Jordan and Jan had finally gotten over their differences. She had clobbered both of them over the head enough times to see reason – that was until Jordan left. Everything went downhill from there. Jordan had always managed to temper Jan’s hand (as every woman should), with her gone Jan became distant even cold. The stories she had heard of Jordan was similar, even though it was fundamentally different. Sara would still never understand exactly what had happened between the two. But then, Jordan was transferred to the Presidio (and obviously demoted for some unknown and unofficial reason) and they seemed to patch things up. Odd as it might have seemed to Sara everything had turned out all right – even though she had been thrown out of her old CMO position. But she didn’t mind. Not when it was Jordan.
Which brought Sara to her current predicament – sickbay. With no one able to run the place and Jordan going MIA, Sara took it on herself to return to sickbay (even though it was against Jordan’s orders). Lieutenant Timothy Davis was working on a “cure” for the headaches with the CMO of the Horizon. From what she could see they had developed some drug that formed a resistance to the headaches. It was a far cry from a cure but it was something. He had already sent a batch down to the away team and some of it was being administered to the crew. The problem was that it had a variety of effects and lasted for different time spans for each individual crewmember. Davis was still working on improving the drug but that was going to take some time. At least in Sara’s case it seemed to be working quite well.
The door slid open and a mass of people shoved their way into sickbay. There were bleeding, injured and disorientated officer. Some were serious others were less serious. Almost immediately a string of nurses and doctors alike came into the main foyer of sickbay and started sorting the critical, serious and not so serious patients from each other.
“I am fine!” the one shouted. “She needs your help.”
Sara knew that voice and her eyes looked to the direction it came. Elle … she was a nurse and Jordan’s assistant. She was bleeding from the shoulder. From Sara’s brief examination she would venture to guess it was from a phaser shot.
Then Sara saw her. Two yellow uniformed security guards placed Jordan onto the biobed where one of the nurses had indicated. Sara’s heart plummeted to her stomach. Shrapnel was lodged in Jordan’s forehead and in various parts of her torso. Her face was white with lack of blood.
Sara didn’t wait but took immediate charge of the situation. Time was of the essence and they might have been out of time already.
“Elle,” she said. “What happened?”
“We were in engineering. Security blew the door and Jordan took the brunt of the explosion,” Elle replied, knowing full well that she should give the condensed version of events to Sara.
“Let someone look at you,” Sara ordered.
“I can help.”
“It wasn’t a request,” Sara said. “Get yourself looked at. She’s in good hands.” Elle nodded reluctantly. She knew Sara was right even though she wasn’t about to admit it to the woman. Sara watched Elle walk off. “Prep for surgery!” Sara shouted at the staff around the bed. The staff scattered into their respective positions, each knowing their job – each attending to it. This was one of their own. And if Sara had anything to say about it, she wasn’t about to let her die.
“Come on Jordan hang in there,” Sara said leaning close to Jordan’s ear. “You better fight; otherwise I’ll never forgive you.”
Jordan Levi - USS Presidio
She frowned at the odd sensation of floating. No it was an out of body sensation rather than that which she had felt in Engineering. She was aware of the fact that she was unconscious but that awareness soon dissipated as she was fully engrossed in her mind’s illusions.
Her old friend the wolf and the beast were waiting in the shadows for her. This time they were less hidden – perhaps the illusions weren’t scared of her anymore. She was now in their realm, which gave them the upper hand. The sickeningly yellow eyes of the wolf glared at her from the one side and the blood-red eyes of the beast did the same from the opposite side. There was no use running. She thought that it was the end. She closed her eyes waiting for the inevitable.
But nothing happened. She cautiously opened her eyes. Instead of attacking her, the wolf and the beast attacked each other. They killed each other leaving Jordan alone in the dark – but very much alive (at least in her mind). She had been released from her delusions, or was that in itself a delusion?
What was real? She didn’t know. Her mind felt groggy and slow. She couldn’t remember how she had gotten there. She didn’t even know where there was. Her surroundings shifted suddenly into something more of a dreamlike environment and less real. A variety of dreams then occurred, some on their own others mingled into old nightmares and some were old memories. All of which was disorientating and disconcerting to her – until finally there was no dreams but just sleep.
Jordan slowly opened her eyes but closed them again due to the sharp light. She squinted at her surroundings. She was in sickbay – she would recognize that roof any day of the week. Suddenly a face filled her vision. She smiled weakly at the familiarity of it.
“You’re awake, good,” Sara Sidle said. If Jordan didn’t know better she would have thought that there was relief in the woman’s voice. But Sara never portrayed any emotions. Jordan must have imagined it.
“What happened?” Jordan asked, still trying to get her bearings. She tried to sit up but Sara pushed her down again. It didn’t take much effort and Jordan didn’t struggle against it. She was too tired and weak, even though she would never admit it.
“You took a nasty hit in Engineering,” Sara said. Jordan suddenly remembered what had happened as memories tumbled back into her mind. She looked around. Sara, as if reading her mind, gave a disapproving tight lipped smile. “Jan isn’t here. He’s on the bridge. There are serious problems up there. I’m sure if he could be here he would have.”
Jordan nodded. She didn’t try and think about it. She wasn’t going to be angry at him, she told herself. He was the XO after all. She knew what that meant better than most. But a voice in the back of her mind kept telling her that she should be upset. She pushed that voice back out of her mind.
“When can I get out of here?” Jordan finally asked, trying to change the subject.
“Not for the next couple of days,” Sara said and cut Jordan short from protesting. “I am the acting chief medical officer and what I say is final. You’re lucky to be alive Jordan. It took almost an hour just to fish all the shrapnel out of your body, let alone stitching you back together. Don’t argue because it won’t do you any good. That shrapnel went right into your left lung. You’re going to rest and that’s final.”
Jordan believed her. Once Sara made up her mind then there was no way of changing it. Jordan took a deep breathe. Her chest felt stiff from where they had patched her up. It made breathing a difficult. She felt as if she couldn’t get enough oxygen. The deeper she tried to breathe the more constricted her chest felt. She knew that the feeling would pass when she had completely recuperated, but for now it was difficult to get a full breathe of air.
Sara left her then to attend to other injured. Jordan stayed awake for a while but then involuntarily drifted off into a dreamless sleep again.
< = Bridge | USS Horizon = >
Nicholas was on the bridge waiting, and waiting. Then he waited some more. The Captain was on the surface in a communication's blackout. The crew of both the Presidio and the Horizon was suffering a multitude of psychological effects from some unknown source. On top of all that, on his first command without the Captain on the ship, a crewman died. The medical report stated, "… cardiac arrhythmia brought on my excessive spike of adrenalin." In other words he was scared to death. So what did all of Li's Starfleet training allow him to do? Nothing but to wait.
A discordant beep sounded off on the bridge.
"Yes ensign?" replied Nicholas.
"Sensors just alerted us that the Presidio has suddenly lost life support and anti-gravity."
"Communication…. open a channel to the Presidio."
After the mistakable open comm ring the comm officer said, "Channel open sir."
"This is Lt. Li of the Horizon to the Presidio. We've detected your situation. Please respond."
Jan Vogels - USS Presidio
The bridge was bathed in red emergency lights with their own power source. Flickering terminals indicated that power was partially restored as was already evident by the partial gravity and internal communications.
"Sir, the power core is coming back online."
"Divert priority to Engineering, have them stabilize the dilithium chamber. Work on minimal life support and maintain the current gravity."
Masterson nodded. Gravity wasn't up to 100%, but enough to walk quickly. One by one, essential ship systems came back to life. Another officer spoke up.
"Sir, ship-to-ship transmissions have been partially restored, we are receiving a hail from the Horizon. They have detected our power loss and are inquiring what is going on. I can't get establish direct communications however."
"Send them a message, hangon."
Jan walked to a terminal and typed a quick message to the Horizon to inform them of their situation.
TO: Acting CO USS Horizon
FROM: XO USS Presidio
BEGIN MESSAGE: Attempted sabotage of the ship by Lt. Savoy, probably under influence of illusions. Power shutdown necessary to neutralize him. Savoy in custody, canister still missing, minimal life support and gravity back up. Stay clear of Presidio. Dilithium chamber controls tampered. Engineers working to stabilize it. No direct ship-to-ship communication possible as of yet.
Jan nodded for the message to be sent. Jan hoped the Horizon would heed his warning. If the dilithium chamber went critical nothing would be left of the ship. In the current state of mind of the Horizon's crew and no direct communication between the ships an evacuation of a crew as large as the Presidio would only end in disaster. There were too many people to evacuated in time and if lack of direct communications persisted, then the Horizon would be likely caught in the blast as well, killing everyone. There wasn't much else Jan could do.
"Any word from the ground?"
"No sir, nothing since the last transmission."
Jan nodded and went to one of the operations terminals. Masterson and her crew were working hard to restart all the systems.
"Sir, Engineering reports they found Savoy's tampering. They can stabilize the warp core in time. The guards ask what to do."
"Have them stay at their post. Send a message to Horizon to alert them that disaster is being avoided. Is internal communication back fully?"
"No sir, communications only between departments, commbadges still not functioning."
Jan needed to contact the guards that had taken Savoy away. He needed to know where Savoy was to increase the guard and ask him about the canister. Jan went back over the away team's schedule. The last message had indicated that they had made a camp, but it had been barely received. By now, they should be on the move again.
"How long until the ship is fully operational?"
"Hard to tell sir. Internal communications back online."
"Focus on minimal life support and gravity first. Then get ship-to-ship communications, sensors and weapons back online. The warp core can wait, just make sure I've got impulse power."
Masterson nodded. Jan wanted the weapons back online. Who knew, it might come in handy against the base. Fatigue was hitting him suddenly. He also needed to take his "miracle cure".
"Ensign, take over. I'm in the Captain's office. Warn me if you need anything."
The Ensign nodded. There was nothing Jan could do right now. Sickbay was doing their work on the injured, Engineering and Operations worked to get the ship functioning again and Savoy was locked up. Jan headed to T'lara's office. He was sure she wouldn't mind him using it for a nap. She had a comfortable couch. Jan took some of his 'miracle cure'. He wouldn't be able to function like this in the long run. He would eventually burn out. Hopefully the situation would be resolved for that. The alternative was going mad like the rest. He quickly placed a message to sickbay to inquire about Jordan. Surprisingly it was Elle who answered. Apparently Sidle had taken over and had sent Elle away to get treated. She assured him that Jordan would make it, but it would take several hours. She assured him there wasn't anything he could do for her right now and that he should get some rest. For once, Jan didn't mind following doctor's orders. He set an alarm clock to 150 minutes. He couldn't allow him to sleep much longer. By then, the ship should be back to an operational capacity. Jan closed his eyes and slipped into a dark and dreamless sleep.
"Do you want me to shoot him, sir?"
Owain looked at Gastovski.
"He is loosing it sir. He seems to be completely inside an illusion."
"Let me handle it, Chief."
Gastovski nodded and took out his modern binoculars and scanned the horizon while Owain tried to talk some sense into their security officer. Gastovski was feeling the fatigue that his friend had been feeling. But Gastovski surely preferred that over the raving madness he had seen. Unfortunately, whatever incident had caused their resistance, while Gastovski had seemed to be less susceptible at the start, he was now experience very slight headaches, not all the time, but they were there, every now again. At least he wasn't plagued by living nightmares.
"Stay where you are Lieutenant."
Gastovski turned around. Ozu was finally moving.
"Not much luck, have you, sir?"
"Sir, if I may. The Lieutenant's action have some merit. A storm is coming and I'm not in the mood to be caught in the middle of it."
"Do you suggest we follow him?"
"Do you have a better idea, sir? It will take a few hours, but that storm on the horizon will overtake us eventually. We either have to find some shelter. Our target might do also."
< = Away Team | Phorait Prime = >
Cold. Frozen. Hell. Hot.
Owain struggled under the conditions, wondering what he would like better. It was warm in hell, so… He desperately needed a warm place to settle right now, but he had to force himself to move. They didn't have much time. They had to execute their end of the bargain. The last thing he wanted to happen, was for them all to die frozen in a wasteland, so he pushed himself forward, as hard as it was.
Owain watched them all, wondering who was closer to the edge of cracking, when he saw Ozu stopping. He wondered what was going on, as he looked to be conversing with someone, but he saw no-one. He called out to him, asking what the Lieutenant was doing, but even he couldn't stop Ozu as he bounded forward with more energy than all of them combined. Something must have got to him, he thought. But the curious thing was that he was heading in the right direction. Had he found some hope? He thought back at his training, or the little of it he could let his mind recall at the moment, and his mind told him that Ozu had started following his instinct. This was a dangerous unknown landscape, however, and he hoped that Ozu wouldn't lead himself to his death, but maybe he had a point.
It was Gastovski who had come to him out of concern. He looked at him and realized that this could be one of the only sane people currently on the planet. Well, as much sanity as could be saved anyhow. Comparitively to the others, Gastovski had it en masse.
"Do you want me to shoot him, sir?"
Owain shook his head from side to side, replying tiredly, "No, Chief."
"He is loosing it sir. He seems to be completely inside an illusion." The fact is, Owain agreed with him, and what he saw was serious and it only made him wonder how long it would take him to fall into the illusion, but as promised, he had taken care of it. It only made Ozu more confident.
And now back at Gastovsky's side, he shrugged, trying to keep his neck warm. "Not much luck, have you, sir?"
"No, Chief", again was the tired reply, and Owain was starting to feel the wind getting stronger. Any stronger, and it could easily knock them all down like bowling pins.
"Sir, if I may. The Lieutenant's action have some merit. A storm is coming and I'm not in the mood to be caught in the middle of it."
"Do you suggest we follow him?"
"Do you have a better idea, sir? It will take a few hours, but that storm on the horizon will overtake us eventually. We either have to find some shelter. Our target might do also."
So, it was with that, that Owain made his decision. He had thought about it as soon as Ozu had taken off, and perhaps Gastovski was even thinking along the same lines. He looked at Gavstovski hard while he contemplated situation. "Your Lieutenant has found the carrot. Much like a greyhound racing towards an ever-rewarding rabbit." He shielded his face with his hands as the wind shook him, and realized it was now or never. "We'll follow. I have reason to believe that the Lieutenant might even be leading us to the base. Follow the greyhound!"
And with that, everyone got a bit more energy and hope, knowing that they would soon be at the base. It was what they needed, and before long, they were at the foot of the winding road to the top. He looked at Gastovski, pointing at the building high up in the distance, "Only this far, and not much longer.", he told him, while also taking a look behind him, "We've made it far, and I can't see myself giving up now."
And then he heard growling noises coming from above. It was enough to spook them all, "Well, maybe", he thought to himself, grimacing.
Steve Sharp - Marines
As soon as Steve heard the growls comming from above them, He, Mike and Master Gunnery Sergeant Cassidy had their Scorpion Battlerifles raised and ready to fire.
"Captain I suggest we keep moving, what ever these things are im willing to bet that they are not friendly." Steve says as he and the Marines are looking at the snowy cliffs above them for what ever is making the growling noises.
"Mike take the rear…Masterguns you take the middle, I will take point, keep your Scorpions on Setting 3." Steve says as they take up a defensive postition with in the group.
"Captain Taggart, we need to move, we can not stay here." Steve says awaiting orders from the Captain.
< = Away Team | Phorait Prime = >
"Move!", Owain exclaimed as he heeded the Major's advice. "Move!", he yelled out again, and they all started to move again. Owain was alarmed at Ozu's movements however, as he didn't seem to pay attention to the cry of the beasts. Owain didn't have much time to stop and think, though, but the beasts were white and furry, and obviously agitated about something. He wasn't an expert onxenobiology, but even then, he could tell that something wasn't quite right.
The Away team ran up the slope as fast as they could. Hope was being felt all around them as they eventually reached the entrance to the base, thoughOwain was dismayed to find it was locked under keycard access. "Well, damn it, these secret organizations are always under lock and key", Owain grumbled sarcastically.
"Easiest way would be to blow the door down with charges, Masterguns, sir.", Major Sharp said. Owain nodded, as he agreed that they didn't have time to fiddle with electronics, as more white creatures were rounding on their location.
"Alright, set up the charges. We'll get your back.", Owain told him as he got into position and motioned for the security officers to take aim on the creatures and fire at will. Still, he worried aboutOzu as he couldn't see him in position.
Tense moments followed as it seemed to take forever for the charges to set up, though he knew the Marines to be quick. He took this moment to askGavstovsky something. "Just what are these creatures? Have you ever seen anything like it?"
Gavstovsky shook his head, "Negative. Though they look like the mythical Yeti creatures, surrounding the legends on Earth." Owain nodded, remembering hearing about the legend. Earth had apparently an obsession with that one, as people would often report seeing Bigfoots , or Sasquatch, which were all one and the same. Apparently the Yeti was the snowy version that lived up in the cold snowy mountains.
Then finally,the Major yelled out for everyone to lay low. Next, the BANG of the explosives were heard as the door was blown open. The Major hadn't even waited for the smoke to clear before barging in, guns at the ready. Then footsteps were hearing coming down the corridors to see what the noise was all about. A firefight ensued between both oppositions while the Away Team ducked and rolled for cover in whatever they could find for cover. The Away Team had won out, with a few but minor injuries, though Owain still could not see Ozu anywhere.
"Well, what's the big idea?", a voice spoke as the person belonging to it came out of the shadows from inside. The Marines were ready to pierce a hole through the individual, but Owain immediately recognized the voice and restrained him. "Hold your fire, Major." The man, Owain noticed was also wearing something around his temples. Neural inhibitors, he realized.
"I'm thankful that you've decided to spare my life", the man sarcastically intoned. "Well?"
"Quincy McLaughton", Owain said. "I thought you were dead. That's what the Academy told us, anyhow." He looked at his away team and gave them an explanation. "An old adversary of mine from the Academy. He disappeared during the last year of training and Starfleet claimed him as dead."
The gave out a mischievous laugh, then gave Owain a cold hard stare. " That's Commander McLaughton to you. Section 31 always seek out hopefuls. I was always more hopeful than you ever were. They saw to that."
"And arrogant.", Owain added, "And what have you got here? An illegal operation that is causing a lot of trouble, I hope you realize.You're unaffected, aren't you, while your agents are running around in here due to your experiments." Owain sighed. "While you might have been hopeful to a secret organization most people in Starfleet don't even know exist, you've got yourself in pretty deep. While you are a Commander, I am a Captain, and I do hate to have to resort in pulling rank on you, Commander, but I will if that's what it takes to get the job done. I've been sent here to shut this operation down."
"Oh, you will, will you? And how do you propose to do that?"
Owain thought about it for a moment. He was a bit slower with his wits due to the effects running in his mind, so it took him a bit longer to come up with a solution, while McLaughton smirked at him. "I'm taking over this operation, Commander. And then I'm shutting it down, so I suggest you do all you can to cooperate."
"Over my dead body, Captain."
"Exactly.", Owain said as matter of factly started motioning for the rest of the Away Team to come in. He then had the security team arrest him. From then on he would always have at least two officers escorting him wherever he went. "You'll show me where everything is. We'll want to explore and see what is causing the mess you've made." From then on, the team would be split up to take care of their own tasks, and so Owain turned to Gastovsky for the next major one.
"We'll be blowing up the base," he whispered to him as to not alert McLaughton of his plans, "It occurred to me we didn't bring enough charges. The base is much larger than I anticipated. Here's what I need you to do. We'll need to triangulate the base using amplifiers to amplify a tricorder signal to let both the Horizon and Presidio know that there's a target. I want you to set up those amplifiers and report back to me when done. I'll be checking the base out to figure out what else needs to be done."
And then Owain looked around again. "Has anyone seen Lieutenant Ozu?"
Jan Vogels & T'Lara - USS Presidio (JP)
Jan yawned. He had slept for ninety minutes. He felt only minor rejuvenated. He headed to the bridge.
"We are still busy bringing all systems to 100%. But we are out of danger. We have trouble bring the phaser's online. We have full shields. Torpedo bays are ready to be used. Our sensors are only up to 50%.
"Not that it would matter", one of the other crewman behind operations said. Ensign Masterson nodded.
"Horizon can't penetrate the atmosphere of the planet. We have no communication with the away team."
Jan sighed. "What about Savoy?"
"He is in custody."
Jan nodded. "Very well. Alert me when you get word from the ground crews." He left the bridge and headed to sickbay.
Jan hesitated. He had come all the way to sickbay and now when he was standing in front of sickbay’s doors, he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to go on. He was worried about Jordan and he wanted to see her but something held him back. He knew what it was but didn’t want to admit it to himself otherwise he would make the truth a reality. But he couldn’t run from it. What kept him from entering was guilt, among other things. He felt guilty for putting Jordan in danger. But he also knew he would do it again if necessary. Feelings were such a burden. Sometimes Jan envied Vulcans. He sighed and moved forward, wondering for a second if the door automatic was working or not.
Sara caught a flicker of movement in the corner of her eye. She looked up. She had wondered when he would come. It was about time, she thought to herself. She knew him well enough by now to know that he had been delaying this for some reason. She also knew him well enough that his reasons were his own and that she wasn’t about to get any answers out of him, regardless of how hard she tried. Even though she suspected his reasons for only coming to sickbay now.
He stood uncomfortably in the foyer of sickbay. She walked up to him.
“It’s about time,” Sara said.
“Not now, I am not in the mood,” Jan answered, circumventing any comment Sara would have had. “How is she?”
Sara gave him an appraising look. In the end she decided to pursue the matter later. It wasn’t the time for her to give him a hard time. She put her hands on her hips and sighed before continuing.
“She’s going to be fine,” Sara finally said. Tension in Jan’s face visibly relaxed – but not all of it. “But it is going to take some time before she recovers completely. Some of that shrapnel pierced her left lung. It was touch and go there for a while.”
“Can I see her?”
“Not for long, she needs her rest,” Sara said and then indicated to the general area of where Jordan was resting.
"Oh one thing", Sara said.
"Jordan's brain scan shows significant change, for now."
"It seems that whatever was affecting her, and is affecting the rest of us but you", the last words had an extra emphasis and made clear that Sara Sidle would kill to be relieved of the headaches, "is not affecting her right now, or so it seems. She will have a headache, but that is understandable considering she nearly had a door blown into her skull."
"Hmmm", Jan said. "Are you suggesting I should take a club and whack everyone over the head to cure them?"
"Don't be ridiculous", she said in that chilling, calm and deadly voice that meant she was not taking any crap. Jan had learned long ago that she meant business. "I hope that this discovery might help the others to come up with some kind of cure or at least something to battle the symptoms."
"Now get in there before I change my mind."
Jan nodded and moved swiftly. Sara Sidle had been known to change her mind in the past. He walked into the separate room that held Jordan. The door closed behind him. She was laying on a bed, deadly pale, but breathing. Seeing her like that nearly made Jan's heart stop. He quietly moved over to her and sat in a chair next to her bad. He carefully took her hand into his, suppressing tears.
Jordan was aware of a presence near her. She felt a hand touch hers and she opened her eyes. Her eyes locked with Jan’s and she smiled.
“Hey,” Jordan said. She frowned slightly. Jan looked haggard. Blue lines circled under his eyes. His jaw was clenched tight. As much as Jan could read Jordan like a book, the opposite was true. She had come to know his mannerisms through the years. She didn’t like what she was seeing in his face and eyes at that time.
“Hey you,” Jan replied. “How are you feeling?”
“Oh I’ll be up and about in no time,” Jordan said without actually answering the question. The last thing she wanted to do was make him worry. He already had enough on his plate with the Presidio and current disaster. “I am fine.”
“You’re a terrible liar,” Jan said finally.
“Only with you,” Jordan winked. Jan smiled for the first time since he arrived in sickbay. Was it relief she saw on his face? She also saw guilt and weariness. The stress had made his eyes look more serious. She squeezed his hand.
She could see it in his eyes and she didn’t like what she saw. Even though she had been angry at him for doing what he had done, she knew that he had been in an impossible situation. The choice he had made was the right one and if she had been in his position (no matter how hard it would have been) she would have made the same one. He needed to understand this.
She tried to sit up. The sudden movement made the tightness in her chest worse. She grimaced, trying to get a lungful of breathe – which didn’t seem all that easy at that moment. Jan’s strong arms helped her into a sitting position. After a moment she seemed to calm down. The tightness in her chest didn’t go away.
“You did the right thing. Jan,” Jordan said finally. “I would have done the same. You have done nothing wrong.” Even as she said that she didn’t know if he believed her.
Jan took a deep breath, rose and turned around. He looked at the wall.
"I know that I did the right thing considering the options I had. But why do I feel so terrible about it?"
"Turn around and look at me", Jordan said. Jan really didn't want to. But he did as he was told. His eyes only projected weariness and sadness and even a hint of resignation. He didn't want Jordan or anyone see him in such a state. He was supposed to lead the crew of the Presidio. But his mind kept tearing itself apart for the fateful thing he had done, saving the Presidio but nearly killing Jordan.
"I just don't know what to do anymore Jordan. The crew is succumbing to madness, T'lara is in a coma, the ship is almost destroyed by a madman and I almost blew up the only person I love and I nearly lost the strength to go on. I just want to close my eyes and sleep."
Jordan’s heart broke for him as he spoke. Jan was hardly ever open about his emotions and to hear him speak in such a way was alarming. There were no words to help him, there were no words that would make the situation better. Jordan didn’t even know if she could do anything to help him. The burden he was carrying was cumbersome one.
She stretched her hand out, asking him to come closer. Hesitating Jan sat back down next to Jordan. Jan’s weariness was evident not just in his face but in every move he made.
Jordan cupped his head in her hands and stared into his eyes.
“Jan you’re the strongest person I know,” she started. Her serious tone was not lost to Jan. “You will find the strength to do what you must. If you cannot find the strength then draw it from me.”
She kissed him on the forehead and embraced him and held him close, hoping that at least she could do something for him – even though it wasn’t much.
“Jan, I love you. I have faith in you and I believe you have the strength to do as you must. Remember that.”
"Thank you", Jan whispered quietly. It felt good to have someone had faith in him, he was loosing faith in himself. He returned Jordan's embrace and held her tightly for a second.
"Ouch." Jan hastily let her go. "Are you alright?"
Jordan coughed. "My ribs. I'm fine, really. Stop worrying about me Jan. You have enough on your plate already. But I know you can handle it."
"I love you, Jordan. I'll pull through, for your's sake. And now I better go before that dragon lady outside rips my head off for agitating your ribs."
Jordan smiled and gave Jan a kiss on the cheek. Jan returned the kiss, squeezed Jordan's hand and then left. Sara Sidle was waiting outside, but not to close to listen in. She had her arms crossed in frost of her chest. She was about to open her mouth, probably starting a tirade and demanding to know what he did so long. But Jan was first.
"Look after her doc. Please keep me up to date with Jordan's status and the condition of the Captain."
Jan didn't wait for a reply. He had no time to waste it in sickbay arguing with Sara Sidle. He would personally regret it later. But Jordan had instilled some new vigor. Jan put his mind above matter. But he also knew there was a simply physical limitation to his body. He would push on for now. The crew depended on him and Jan would get them out, or die trying. Talk about cliché Jan thought as he headed to the bridge.
Jan Vogels (Gavstovski) - USS Presidio
— S31 base —
Gastovski nodded and packed the amplifiers. They were quite heavy, but nothing he wasn't used to.
"I will be on my way, Captain. But the snowstorm is getting heavier."
"How long will you need?"
"Taking into account the worsening snowstorm, the size and shape of the base and henceforth the positions for the amplifiers…I estimate two hours. But I can only hope that whatever is following is us won't be following me. I'm not worried about myself, but the amplifiers."
"It's a risk we have to take, Chief. I can't spare anyone. We have to comb this base. Unfortunately I can't even spare someone to watch your back."
"I will be fine Captain, don't worry about me. I will try to keep in touch."
Owain nodded. Gastovski shouldered his heavy burden and headed outside. The only consolation he had was that his burden would get lighter every time he placed an amplifier. He took out his tricorder. It displayed the size and shape of the base. Based on this, Gastovski made calculations on where to put the amplifiers. Taking into account different patterns for ground bombardment he came up with a triangulation pattern that would required the shortest distance. He set on his path. Icy wind bit into his face.
"Grmbl, this reminds of the nights on Antiga IV", he muttered to himself. He had to acknowledge that this planet was chilly even to him. Antiga IV had been a hell to almost everyone. Starfleet had taken significant casualties to cold related injuries. But Gastovski had done relatively well. But this bloody planet was getting under his skin. The snow was pilling higher. He moved on. He had calculated a thirty minute walk to each location, allowing himself ten minutes to set up the amplifier.
He reached the first spot quicker than he had anticipated. He double checked his coordinates. It was correct. He set down his backpack. He checked his surroundings. All clear. He took out the first amplifier and began to set it up. Once it was done, he set up the power supply. Then he verified the working. Satisfied he noted that the amplifier was working. He activated it to open a comm channel to the Presidio. It took a few minutes to get through.
"Ground team, this is the Presidio, what is your status?"
Gastovski recognized Jan's voice. He was sounding tired.
"Master Chief Gastovski here. We have found the base and have taken one Section 31 officer prisoner. Captain Taggart and the rest have entered the base to shut it down. The Captain requests an orbital bombardment once we have gotten everyone out."
"Our sensors won't penetrate the atmosphere", came the reply.
"We are working on that Presidio. I'm setting up a trio of amplifiers. Once all three are set up you will be able to triangulate the focal point for a bombardment according to pattern Tango."
There was a short pause. "Acknowledged. We will be ready."
"Acknowledged Presidio. I will be on my way to set up the remaining amplifiers. I'll try to make contact once the second amplifier is up."
Gastovski closed the comm channel and rose. He send a message through the amplifier to Captain Taggart. He didn't wait for an acknowledgment and moved on, he had no time to lose. He shouldered the remaining amplifiers and started moving. Suddenly he heard a growling. He ducked just in time to evade a blow that was aimed for his head. A large, white, furry bi-pedal creature, that would indeed would be called a Yeti on Earth, towered over him. Gastovski aimed his rifle at the chest, increased the power setting and fired. The Yeti howled and fell down. Gastovski got up and took out his tricorder. The Yeti was dead. For a moment Gastovski was saddened. The Yeti had not been his enemy, it was simply a creature, probably defending it's territory.
"I'm sorry, I had no choice." He closed the hulk's eyes and set on his path. He really regretted killing the Yeti, but he had no choice. He couldn't risk the Yeti waking up and demolishing the amplifier. Hopefully the creature had been alone.
Ozu - USS Presidio
“There I told you there was shelter”
“Yeah thank you now lets find a way in”
“The entrance is there but we have to be careful claver beast whit magic power are here to”
Ozu looked to the bird in disbelieve. “Right. A there is the entrance. Looks like a explosion happened here”
“Yes a few like you destroyed the door. But hurry e must get inside and block the door before the…” As stunned the bird drops from the sky into the snow.
Ozu ran to the bird and lifted it up to bring him inside. Once in side he turned around to see how he could close the gab. He spotted a control panel. He moved to it and tried to activate a force field. After a few min he raised a force field. It would hold out against serious pounding but it would stop the air and cold.
“Ouch those clever beast got me that barrier you made must have cut them off somehow” The bird sat up again looking a bit dazed.
Ozu turned around and sat down next to the eagle. “I am glad you are fine. Here want something to eat? It aint tasty but it contains what we need to survive”
“I could use some I guess I haven’t eaten for a week prey a rare in these times” The bird looked to him and started to eat a bit.
“I just think of it I don’t even know your name. So may I ask what it is?”
“I don’t have a name we don’t need those but you can call me Jaren if you like. Do you have some water to I can’t go out now to get some snow.”
“Sure here take my bottle I wont need it”
“You do not require water? I thought that all life like you needed water”
“I do need water but my species can life without it for a long time. We live on a desert planet mostly”
“I see well thank you for this than.”
“You said that others like me had blown this hole in the door. Do you know where they are?”
“Deeper inside here but do not go there strange and dangerous thing happen there. The ones of your kind started to act weird and they drawn the clever beast to here. do not go there I tell you saver here.
“Well I guess we are than and they would have to get out trough here again anyway. These walls will prevent any kind of transportation”
“I have no idea what that might be but I presume you know that. Are you sure that the barrier you build will hold I hear the beast coming toward us”
Ozu looks up and sees a beast standing at the barrier. It looked like a beast of a old earth myth known as a yeti. “I guess we are in trouble now the power grid was damaged the field wont hold it if he would pound on it”
“Than we can either fight or run”
“We fight than if what you say is true I wont go in there” Ozu readies his phaser rifle and other weapons and puts his gear behind.
“Now lets see who is clever”
“I certainly hope it is you because if not we have a problem”
Than without a notice Ozu fell down on the floor he pushed his hands against his head and screamed loudly. But as fast as it had begun it stopped. Ozu slowly came back to his feet again and looked into the eyes of the yeti who had broken trough the force field. He quickly looked around for his rifle and pistol. But his rifle was snapped in two when he had thrown it away and his pistol was nowhere to be found.
“What happened? Are you all right?” The eagle looked to Ozu.
“I don’t know but just suddenly passed out and felt a great pain in my mind”
“Look the beast is coming to you!” The eagle flew straight to the head of the yeti trying to attack its eyes.
Ozu saw the eagle flying in and drew his katana blade and charged in but at the moment he putted the blade into the yeti he screamed again graphed his head and fell down on the floor.
“The beast has gotten you” the eagle said wile he watched over Ozu
Ozu was barely there but he couldn’t feel anything he didn’t even breathe all his brain functions where offline except for that part that made him who he was. He raised his hand and placed it on the eagle’s head.
“You must keep this save follow my people when they get back but until than please stay here” He preformed a mind melt and placed his katra into the eagle.
“Be with those who need your aid” And when Ozu passed away the bird became real like the switched position. And in Ozu favour Jaren remained whit him to wait for Ozu’s kind to pick him up and than he could follow them. But right now he felt a bit weird whit this thing in his head although it slow adapted to his birdbrain. and wile he looked at Ozu a tear fel.
Jan Vogels - USS Presidio
Jan rubbed his eyes. He had just received Gastovski's report. The ship was ready to fire on the ground team's request. Jan was relieved that Jordan was alright. T'lara was still comatose. The ship was running on 30% capacity only, the rest of the crew was effectively disabled by now and the few still up and running wouldn't keep on going forever. Neither would Jan.
"Have they found the canister?"
An Ensign from the security department shook his head.
"No sir. We have no access to the transporter logs at this moment. If they were transported again, we have no record of it. We are trying to piece back together sensor and transporter logs."
Jan nodded. The tactical officer suddenly looked alarmed.
"Sir, the targeting sensors are messed up. Automatic target acquisition and firing controls are off line."
Jan swore. "Then get them back online."
The Lieutenant nodded. This was not good, they would have to fire manually on the triangulation signal. Their sensors were useless anyhow, the triangulation system could be easily served as input manually, but if the fire automation failed, each torpedo of the pattern would have to be targeted manually. Jan wasn't sure if the tactical officer was up to that, even in a normal state. Tactical school wasn't what it used to be in Jan's days when tactical officers were drilled in manually firing weapons. Jan hoped that his skills weren't rusted shut as he might need them.
"Any new word from the ground teams?"
The operations ensign shook her head. Her eyes were red and swollen and Jan was surprised she was still holding out. All officers of the bridge had been relieved today, but she hadn't. Her two aides had left the bridge hours ago, carried away by medical teams, succumbing to their headaches. Ensign Masterson was still manning her console, trying her best to keep the ship's systems working. There was no replacement for her, she was the only qualified bridge operator left. Jan rose from his chair and walked to her station.
"Why don't you take some rest Ensign?"
"I can't sir, there's no qualified replacement for me."
Jan really admired her sense of duty. "I'll take over your station for a few hours."
She looked at him, eyes filled with fear.
"I don't dare to go to sleep sir. I fear I will go mad. The dreams are more than I can handle. I prefer fighting this headache that seems to split my skull. I can do this sir. I rather die than have one of those horrible dreams again."
Jan nodded. She wouldn't keep on going much longer but she looked determined. There was no way to get her away from her job other than force. Her work was the only thing that kept her going by now. She had been at the bridge for several shifts straight now, only drinking coffee from time to time, sometimes allowing herself a bite to eat. Those ground teams better hurried. Jan cursed for allowing Gastovski to go to the planet. But then again, they all might go crazy down there and then they wouldn't find that base to destroy it. He sighed. They better hurry.
Jordan Levi - USS Presidio
Jordan stayed awake for what felt like a long time after Jan had left, even after Sara’s incessant pestering about rest. It had been a long time since she had seen him in such a state – and she was worried. She wanted to do more for him, but she couldn’t and she could do less now that she was sickbay. After what seemed like hours but must have been in reality only a few minutes Jordan dozed off and went back to sleep. As she drifted off she was convinced that Sara had give her some sort of sedative – she was unnaturally tired, but she was never to hold onto that memory as her first dreamless sleep since the entire ordeal began, took her.
She opened her eyes and found a familiar face looking at her. She smiled.
“It’s good to see you Elle,” Jordan said. “Glad to see you made it out all right.”
“More or less,” Elle replied. It’s then when Jordan saw Elle’s arm in a sling. She didn’t comment but gave her a sympathetic smile. “Seems like you’re going to make a full recovery.”
“If some people will stop faffing and let me out of here it would be a quicker recovery. I feel like bird cooped up in a cage.”
“Sara just wants things to be done right,” Elle replied.
“I know,” Jordan said.
Elle pulled out a datapad from her pocket and handed it to Jordan.
“I knew you’d be going mad in here,” Elle said. “Thought I’d sneak in a report on what’s happening in the department. If Sara finds out there will be hell to pay.”
“Thank you Elle,” Jordan said, truly grateful. She read through the datapad and suddenly the reality of the Presidio’s current predicament dawned on her. She understood why Jan was so stressed. Everything was falling apart. Even though she knew before she never knew the extent of it – until now. “The crew …”
“Sickbay is full, most have been sent to their quarters. We are quite literally running on a skeleton crew. That and the skeleton crew are almost falling apart.”
“I need to do something,” Jordan said and tried to get up but Elle stopped her. Jordan fought against it anyway. At that point Sara came in.
“What the hell is going on here?” Sara demanded.
“Let me up,” Jordan demanded but she was weak and couldn’t fight against Elle.
“You’re in no condition to go anywhere,” Sara said as she moved closer. She spotted the datapad and glanced at it. “I see some people have undermined my orders,” Sara said glancing at Elle. “Jordan you need your rest.”
“I need to do something,” Jordan persisted, her stubborn streak coming to the fore.
“And what will you do?” Sara asked.
“I don’t know,” Jordan admitted reluctantly. “But I can try. I can do something!”
“You won’t do anyone any good trying to work while you need to recover,” Sara said with a strained patience in her voice. Sara noticed the stubbornness in Jordan and knew exactly what she was thinking. “If you don’t stay put I’ll be forced to sedate you and neither one of us wants that.”
Jordan let out a breath and lay back down. She was defeated in her own sickbay. It left a bitter taste in her mouth.
“At least let me have the department reports,” Jordan said. “It’ll save me from dying from boredom.”
“Don’t be so melodramatic,” Sara said. Sara turned to leave, “well come on Elle, we’ve got things to do.” Elle gave Jordan a sympathetic smile before leaving.
Jordan still had the datapad with the latest report. At least she had something. She didn’t know if Sara had left it on purpose or whether it was a minor oversight but if Jordan knew Sara at all – the woman didn’t miss much.
< = Away Team | Section 31 Base = >
As Owain walked the halls of the base, he was impressed that such a hidden base could look so expensive. But then again, this was Starfleet, and they often put their money even if they never ended up seeing the end result themselves. The base looked very militaristic, however, with dim lighting andOwain wondered how anyone could actually work in these conditions, however all he had to do was remind himself of the Remans and their ability to see in the dark. It made him shiver, though the warmth was very welcoming indeed. It was quite a contrast to what they had all experienced outside, which only served to wish they could somehow stay in there longer to prevent themselves from going outside from freezing to death again.
That was the irony. They could just as easily die in here if something went wrong. They could die out here and nobody would be none the wiser to know. Though it was somewhat comforting that the two ships were only a call away. His mind laughed, and he laughed along with it. Of course they were safe. It was Major Sharp who was leading the way through this maze, with the security officers keeping a keen eye onMclaughton.
They had arrived at a big room with lots of equipment, which Owain figured was their main operations. His mind felt unease however as he started hearing squabbles between what sounded like Major Sharp andMcLaughton , and though he couldn't quite figure out what they were talking about, it told him that he shouldn't be quite in the room at the moment. Still, he felt duty and obligation, even though it was the Major who was technically protecting him. He raised his weapon and stepped into the room, to be immediately greeted by the Major's sharp glare. "I'll handle this one, Master Guns!", he yelled out.
His heart jumped, and his adrenaline was fueled as he quickly stepped out. This was not looking good. Whatever was happening there, he was hoping would be over soon.
McLaughton was a funny kind of man. Not funny in the sense of laughing out loud, but in that it seemed like he had cracked long ago before his assignment at Section 31 even began. WhenOwain first met him, something seemed quite a bit off about him. He would often stare at Owain, his dark eyes boring out at him. It was a little creepy, and back then Owain hadn't even realized that the man might have been destined for Section 32 all along. Now, with all the crazy and appalling things he had done, really started to show toOwain just how crazy he was. This base, and he knew there were probably others similar to this one elsewhere in the galaxy, was practically a factory of madness.
Finally, the Major gestured for Owain and the rest to follow through. Upon entering, McLaughton noticed his gaze at the machinery in the middle of the room. It was like a mini-warpcore, a transparent aluminum spire reaching towards the ceiling, and glowing a bright yellow that threw its light upon nearby electronics. It was bright enough to blind them, as they all put their arms to filter out the glare.
"This is the mainframe of my genius", McLaughton told the group. "Don't be afraid of the light. Embrace it. What? Too bright for you?", he said, chuckling while he handed them all filters. "This machine is only part of it. If you will, wear your filters now and look at the machine. What do you see?"
What Owain saw was madness. Complete and utter madness. What he saw made him really question his sanity, or his insanity, or lack thereof. As if it hadn't been destroyed enough. As he looked at the machine through the filter, he saw Alice, her solemn eyes looking at him and asking for forgiveness for a crime she didn't commit. He realized at once that Alice was actually looking at the King of Hearts, and he shivered, and put down the filter. This machine was actually a link to the literary worlds, which projected itself unto the consciousness of those around the vicinity of the planet.
"Brilliant, isn't it?", McLaughton asked.
Owain shook his head. This was wrong, and McLaughton knew it. His battle was over. "What do you call it?"
McLaughton smiled wickedly. "The Looking Glass Project." It all made sense now, and Owain didn't like it one bit.
He looked hard at McLaughton and shifted his gaze over to the Major and told him to place charges around the machine to make sure it would be well destroyed. Then he got a message from Gavstovski confirming that the amplifiers had been placed. Owain had told him to meet them all near the entrance.
"Your time is up, McLaughton. Come with us."
Steve Sharp - Marines
Steve was keeping a close eye on McLaughton, He didnt like him and had made his feelings known. He didnt trust him. Steve was former S31 himself and knew that there were things about them that make you want to kill every last one of them.
"Hey Sharp arent you still part of Section 31?" McLaughton says with a grin.
"You shut your mouth McLaughton before I shut it for you…Permanently!" Steve says as he puts his hand on his Gremlin sidearm.
Captain Taggert was up front checking out the S31 Base and had left the Marines in the back to watch the prisoner. Or So Steve thought, not knowing Owain was behind him.
"You cost alot of lives you arrogant son of a bitch, your lucky Im bound by this uniform to uphold the policies of the Federation otherwise I would personally take pleasure in seeing that you die a horrible death." Steve says as he stands in front of McLaughton.
"You have no idea Sharp, you cant see the big picture, look at all of this, With a weapon like this we can hurt the enemies of the Federation with out firing a single shot, we can get into their heads and cause them pain, you should be thanking me.
"You know what McLaughton your right…Master Guns thank him for me will you?" Steve says as he looks at Cassidy.
"With pleasure sir." Cassidy says as he elbows McLaughton right in the gut shutting him up. Steve turns to Master Gunnery Sergeant Cassidy and gives him an order.
"Cassidy you keep an eye on that piece of garbage, Im going to check on Captain Taggert and make sure this Asshole hasnt laid any traps for us." Steve says as he turns around and notices Owain right behind him. "Captain we are ready to blow the charges when ever you give the order sir." Steve says as he faces the Captain, wondering if Owain saw anything.
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