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  1. (( First Officer's Office - USS Apollo)) :: Liam had lost track of how much time he had spent in his office, though his chronometer had kept perfect time and indicated that it had been about forty-five minutes. He looked at the monitor in front of him, taking stock of how far he had gotten with the message he had prepared for the family of Daniel Brandon.:: :: Nowhere.:: :: There were, at times, words on the screen in front of him, but none of them seemed appropriate, and none of them seemed to stay there for long. Of course, there would be a note made in the Apollo's official logs, and Starfleet would likely forward that information once it was processed. But it seemed so impersonal. If anything happened to him in the line of duty, Liam had always felt it would be better for his family to find out personally, from someone like the Captain, or even Sidney.:: :: But the Solstice had been missing for nearly twenty years, and her crew presumed lost along with her. It was possible that Commander Brandon's family had moved on since then and made peace with their loss. If that was the case, would contacting them about it simply be opening old woulds that had been healing for more than half of Liam's life. there was the chance that saying something, anything, to them might just make things worse for the family.:: :: He spent long moments pondering it, what he should do. He considered asking someone, Jaxx or even Cayden, how to act. But he couldn't bring himself to put it on either of them. They carried the same burden, or the memories of it, and to put that weight on them seemed more than just unfair.:: :: He took a deep breath, and a long sip of coffee before entering a few commands into his terminal. He waited for a few moments while the subspace relays of the Apollo connected to the ones that he had requested. After a few seconds, the Stafleet logo was replaced by the face of a woman a few years older than Liam. He could tell she was the woman she was looking for, she bore an unmistakable resemblance to the man who's Starfleet record he'd been looking at a few minutes ago.:: Woman: Hello. :: Liam did his best to keep his voice neutral.:: Frost: Lydia Brandon? Brandon: Yes. And you are? :: He could tell she was at least mildly confused. She was a civilian. And to be contacted directly by a Starfleet officer was at least the slightest bit strange.:: Frost: I'm Lieutenant Commander Liam Frost, of the USS Apollo. Brandon: How can I help you, Commander? :: He allowed himself as long a pause as he felt he could without creating any unnecessary tension. He needed to choose his words carefully, but he had to do so quickly.:: Frost: I have some information that I though you would want to here. :: He paused a moment longer.:: Frost: We recovered some wreckage this morning, as well as the body of a Starfleet officer. :: He could see her expression begin to change slightly, as though she were steeling herself for the information that she was about to receive. That she had always know that she might receive.:: Frost: We found your father. :: There was nothing for several long moments except silence while Lydia Brandon finally absorbed the fact that she had suspected would come for so long. There were no tears, no visceral reactions, no anger. Just a solemn acceptance of what she had suspected for so long.:: Brandon: I see. Frost: I'm sorry that you had to find out this way. After so long. Brandon: I think a part of my always knew this day was going to come. The Solstice was declared lost when I was a kid. :: This time it was her time to spend a few moments choosing her words.:: Brandon: Can I ask you something, Commander? Frost: Of course. Brandon: My father... do you know how he die? :: It was the most loaded questions he had ever faced. The answer raised questions about the nature of life and death that human philosophers had grappled with for centuries. from a strictly biological stance, Daniel Brandon had been alive right up until the moment Liam had shot him. But was he still Daniel Brandon at the time? Some might argue that Daniel Brandon died twenty years ago, the day he was assimilated. He ceased to be an individual, and became a drone. He followed the will of the collective, and was no more a person than a character on the holodeck. In the end, it didn't matter what the answer was, he couldn't bring himself to place that burden upon her. He looked the as straight in the eye as the connection would allow him to, and told her exactly how her father had met his end.:: Frost: Bravely. :: She stared at him for another long moment before nodding slowly. She knew there was more to the story than he was telling her, she had to. There would be time for her to read the official reports, to find out what had happened. But for now, It was enough for her to know that her father had died the way he lived, bravely in the face of danger and the unknown. And perhaps, with that information, she would be able to better handle that report. Or perhaps, he could only hope, that would be enough. For a moment, the faintest smile appeared on her features, as if a small portion of the weight she had carried with her was lifted. Brandon: I see. I never knew quite how I would feel when I found out what happened. It's nice to have some closure. Frost: If there's anything I can do, please don't hesitate to contact me. Brandon: I won't. And, Commander. Thank you. Frost: You're welcome. :: He reached forward and closed the connection before leaning back in his desk chair. He let his head fall back slightly and closed his eyes as a small wave of relief washed over him. It wasn't a pleasant duty to perform, but one that was necessary. In spite of himself, he was slightly relieved that he had never known Lieutenant Commander Brandon. It gave him a small degree of separation from the situation that he wouldn't have had otherwise.:: :: After a few seconds, he stood, taking a one last sip of his increasingly cold coffee before replacing the mug into the replicator to be reclaimed. He had, once again, emerged from the situation with his humanity intact, and that was something to be grateful for. He moved towards the door, straightening his uniform jacket and letting a long breath out before he stepped back out onto the bridge and into reality.:: LtCmdr Liam Frost First Officer USS Apollo
  2. ((Outside the Mansion)) ::Blackwood and tr’Khellian snuck down the stairs and out the front entrance of the Count’s big, creepy Mansion, being careful not to follow too quickly behind Derrick. They shut the door ever so gently behind them and snuck into the shadow of the closest home.:: ::Blackwood craned her neck trying to get a view of what was going on down in the town. There were still occasional shrieks and if Blackwood had thought it was spine chilling before it was ten times worse being so much closer to the source.:: :: They were crouched down, behind a decrepit house on damp cobblestones and Blackwood could feel herself shaking. She didn’t consider herself a coward by any means and in fact there was very little that frightened her. In fact her parents had often commented that she could use a healthy dose of it to curb some of her more outgoing, trouble attracting talents. She was feeling the flight instinct pretty strongly but she held her ground. The message they’d received on the ship had suggested something was going on down here and perhaps this was it. The same curiosity that drew her to the sciences drove her to find out more.:: ::tr’Khellian grew concerned. Very concerned. Blackwood seemed to be losing it. He put a reassuring hand on her shoulder.:: It’s all good. As long as we have each other’s backs. Clear? ::Looking her directly in the eyes.:: ::Blackwood nodded her head firmly and plucked up her courage once again.:: T’Lea: =/\= T’Lea to Blackwood, what is your location? =/\= Blackwood: =/\= We’re just outside the Mansion. =/\= ::Talking just loud enough to be heard.:: T’Lea: =/\= Any indication what caused the alarm? It was not *you*, I hope. =/\= :: Blackwood frowned, she was always on the receiving end of suspicion it seemed. No wonder she was getting along so well with the intelligence officer, they were like two peas in a pod.:: Blackwood: =/\= Not sure yet, that’s what we are going to find out. =/\= tr’Khellian: =/\= I think many Starfleet mice are lost in this maze. We have taken care and used countermeasures. What are your orders Commander?=/\= T’Lea: =/\= Since you are already outside, proceed to the shuttle craft, make certain it is secure, and report back.=/\= Blackwood: =/\= Aye, Aye ma’am. =/\= tr’Khellian: =/\= Roger that. Moving to the shuttle.=/\= ::Blackwood looked at tr’Khellian. She was the ranking officer but he was more experienced and better trained for these kind of scenarios. He seemed a lot more confident and comfortable than she did and it was with relief that she allowed him to take the lead.:: tr’Khellian: I’ll take point. Stay right behind me. We are gonna move faster. ::They moved quietly and at a good pace . Their journey punctuated by random sounds coming from their left or right at times. tr’Khelllan ignored them as he moved the pair to the shuttle.:: ::Something was not right. He turned. Blackwood was not there:: oO Frak Oo ::He began backtracking:: oO Double [...]ed steaming pile of FRAK-ity frak! Oo ::He could not risk actively searching for her combadge using his primary tricorder. That sort of ping would show up on even passive scans. oO FRAK. MY FAULT. Oo. ::He picked up the pace.:: ((Elsewhere)) ::Blackwood had paused for a second as something had caught her eye. She hadn’t even meant to stop for long. She ran her tricorder over a strange, putrid smelling goo that coated a railing, the device didn’t know what to make of it. She cast her eyes around the scene and notice what she thought looked like fresh scratches on the door. :: ::She looked back to where tr’Khellian had been only moments before and he was gone. A wave of nausea and panic washed over her and his words floated back to haunt her. oO*Never* leave the group. You hear a noise, you stay with the group.Oo She scurried in the direction she thought he went, paying less attention to her surroundings than she should have been. She didn’t have the same training that would be second nature to one of the security, marines or intelligence staff. She was just a curious science officer who had dropped the ball for a few short seconds and was now on the edge of a panic attack.:: tr’Khellian activated his earpiece:: =^=Evanna.=^= Blackwood: oO Oh thank goodness! Oo =^= Sorry! I stopped to look at something. It was just a second!=^= ::Feeling exceptionally guilty.:: tr’Khellian via earpiece: =^=It’s no big thing. Where are you? =^= Blackwood: =^=I’m outside. I can’t see the shuttle.=^= tr’Khellian: oO That was a bonehead question. You know better. Oo =^=What landmarks are in your eyeline? Anything to help me triangulate on your position.=^= Blackwood: =^= Erm let me see.=^= ::Blackwood looked around at the place she’d ended up. She was crouched behind a low wall and could see through the darkness the outlines of some trees and what was maybe a bench. Perhaps she’d ended up at a small communal garden, though given the air quality Blackwood was amazed anything could grow outside at all. The air quality seemed to have become particularly rancid but she wasn’t sure if it was her imagination playing tricks.:: ::She felt a few drops hit her shoulder but paid it no mind.:: Blackwood: =^=There isn’t much to see. Just a indistinct wall and maybe some trees. Maybe. Sorry.=^= ::Glumly.:: tr’Khellian: =^= Can you climb up on on that wall to get some elevation? =^= oO(Evanna) I can do climbing, I’m great at climbing.Oo Blackwood: =^=Hold on.=^= ::More confidently.:: ::Blackwood looked up slowly, assessing the wall. It wasn’t too high, but then it wouldn’t give her much of a better view either. It was then, as some more drips splattered her that she realised she was not alone and she wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d heard her shriek from the shuttle, wherever it was.:: *SHRIEK* tr’Khellian: oO That was to my left and *close*. Oo =^=Evanna. Do you read me? Evanna, please reply.=^= ::The comm remained silent.:: tr’Khellian =/\= tr’Khellian to all crew. Lt. Blackwood is missing in the streets of the old shanty town. She is not responding to hails. =/\= Anyone: ? ::There was no response because whoever had found her had their cold hands tightly clasped around her mouth and was pulling her back through the garden, or wherever it was. Evanna reached for her knife and nearly fumbled it. Unfortunately the mishap had alerted her attacker and another hand wrestled for control of it. Evanna tried to remember her self defence classes and tried to get her attacker off balance but ended up being the one heaped on the floor.:: :: tr’Khellian had the tricoder in hand and pushed the power level to max and began to actively scan for Blackwood’s lifesigns and combadge.:: ::During the struggle that followed the blade was dropped and lost in the dark. She also lost a sleeve and there were several chunks of fabric ripped away from her uniform. Blackwood found herself again being dragged into what appeared to be a small bunker. She instinctively went to hit her combadge, wishing she’d thought to do it sooner and found it to be missing. :: ::*Beedeepbeeep* tr’Khellian’s tricorder blurted:: oO (tr’Khellian) oO *THERE* Oo. He had her for a second. His tricorder was showing her lifesign to be about 100 meters to his left then a second later it disappeared off his scan. oO (tr’Khellian) What the frak? Oo :: Her lifesign disappeared but her combadge was still registering at that same location.::: ::tr’Khellian broke into an all out run.:: ((Underground)) ::A heavy stone covering was closed over their heads and Blackwood finally got a look at the attacker. It was one of the colonists and she recognised him from the dinner party.:: Blackwood: What the frak do you think you’re doing? Senile Simon: Saving your skin. Blackwood: By jumping me? Senile Simon: I didn’t have time to warn your people properly before, at the dinner party. The Count has eyes everywhere. Blackwood: Get me out of here right now! Senile Simon: Can’t do that. ::Blackwood activated her earpiece and tried to get hold of someone.:: Blackwood: =^= Blackwood to tr’Khellian.=^= ::She waited for a reply but there was none.:: Blackwood: =^= Blackwood to the away team, respond.=^= ::Still there was no answer.:: Senile Simon: It won’t work you know. ::He rapped the surface of the “stone roof” with his fist. Now come with me, I need your help. Unless you’d rather face what’s out there on your own? Blackwood: What is out there? What’s the big emergency? I need to get back to the shuttle my people are getting the frak outta here. Senile Simon: The Count’s experiments got loose. He won’t like that but I had to show you. Blackwood: What? Are you saying *you* let them in? Senile Simon: Had to. Didn’t figure you’d come outside to see ‘em though. Miscalculation. I’m getting old you know, brains not what it once was. Had to expose the horror. Blackwood: What horror? I didn’t see any horror. ::She looked at her PADD and the strange readings, and thought about that shrieking. There certainly was *something* out there. Senile Simon: There was a vessel in this system in distress, but it’s not now. There have been several over the decades. They all end up the same. Blackwood: Go on... Senile Simon: He has a puppet in the stars that attacks any vessel stupid enough to wander by. They disable the ship and the crew are turned into mindless abominations. This is a mining colony alright but it’s not the ore the Count cares about harvesting. ::Blackwood stared at the dishevelled man. Under any other circumstances she would have written him off as a blundering, stinking drunk old man. Under these conditions she felt much more inclined to listen.:: Blackwood: Spit it out then. ::She was anxious to regroup with her team and hated being out of communication.:: Senile Simon: It’s blood. The blood of the transformed beings has properties that are prized in the potions he creates and sells. It’s this trade in rare and exotic potions that supports the colony and keeps it rich. Anyone who steps out of line disappears... transformed into a horror. Blackwood: So what can we do? ::She noticed he kept itching the same spot and wondered if it was a nervous habit.:: Senile Simon: I captured one of the horrors. You have fancy technology. Use it, find a cure. They were people once and if they cannot be cured then find a way to destroy them so they might find peace. ::Blackwood nodded, this practice did indeed have to stop.:: Blackwood: I need to contact my team, they will be looking for me. If they have to come outside to do it they will be at risk. ::He pulled her over to a corner of the room and as they approached she could hear the sound of scratching and shuffling.:: Senile Simon: Here it is. Find out what you can, I will inform your team. ::Rubbing the underside of his forearm again.:: Blackwood: No can do. I’d rather see to it personally. ((Aboveground)) ::tr’Khellian finally arrived at the location of Evanna’s combadge. It felt like forever. Using his tricorder he made another full scan. Looking down he used his foot to uncover Blackwood’s combadge. Moments later the combadge dematerialised.:: tr’Khellian: =/\= tr’Khellian to Away Team . I found Lt Blackwood’s combadge but no sign of her. Scans are negative. Beginning a house to house search. =/\= Anyone: ? ((Underground)) ::Senile Simon turned nasty at this point and a row broke out. Evanna noticed the smell was getting increasingly stale and unpleasant. She thought she might vomit or suffocate from it. The man’s skin, particularly around the face and eyes appeared to be blotchy, loose and very pale. It was hard to tell in the lighting which was poor and probably responsible for the illusion. oOWas that drool?Oo Blackwood shuddered as she pulled out her tricorder and started to scan the horror to see what had happened to this lifeform. :: ::Blackwood yawned and wondered how long she had been here as another scan completed. She had a lot of data to gather and she didn’t even know what species this poor creature used to be so it was hard to measure the changes. Hot breath was on the back of her neck suddenly.:: Blackwood: Look i’m going as fast as I can and I really do need to report to my team! This is kidnapping you know. A very serious offence. I understand your problem but I really shouldn’t be helping you out... ::There were a few more drips on her shoulder and Blackwood turned to see a big set of rotten teeth inches from her face. Somehow his appearance seemed to have deteriorated, but how was that possible? It must have been the lighting. All the same she glanced from the horror, to him, and then back again. oOHow long does it take to become a horror? How is it spread?Oo She thought it could be airborne, or by a bite like rabies perhaps. There were a lot of possibilities but what seemed clear was that something was very wrong with Senile Simon.:: ::Blackwood swung her tricorder round to analyse Senile Simon and try to determine if he was infected. While she did that she backed away and looked around, hoping to see some way out of the bunker, or whatever the place was. Senile Simon responded by leaping at her but she side-jumped out of the way just in time. A snarl erupted from Senile simon and Blackwood continued to back off. She momentarily forgot about the bound zombie and jumped in fright when it let out one of those ear piercing sounds.:: ::Blackwood dashed to the only exit - the way she’d come in, and scrabbled at it, trying to get it to open. She saw the big padlock but didn’t remember it being locked at first. Then it hit her, when she’d been released and pushed forward slightly, she’d heard a faint click as she’d gotten to her feet again.:: oO(Evanna) Why did he really lure me down here?Oo ::She darted away, trying to avoid the man-horror that was clearly eyeing her up as an appealing appetizer. She needed something to unlock the big padlock and had seen nothing that could break such a lock. She needed the key and unless he’d dropped it on the dusty floor then it had to be in his pocket, or around his neck. She was going to have to incapacitate him/it and get the key.:: ::During the fight that followed Blackwood traded blows with the horror whose long sharp fingernails dug into and tore at her exposed flesh. She cursed and hoped not to be infected but had no choice but to carry on. She clung to a last tiny hope for survival as she fought in the way only a cornered animal can. At one point she felt sharp teeth sinking into her and she howled in pain, but carried on fighting until she finally emerged the victor.:: ::She was sore and shaken from the fight but made her way quickly to the lock and started to open it. The stone covering was incredibly heavy and she struggled to move it, but eventually managed to slide it and give herself enough room to squeeze out.:: ::She felt dizzy as she stumbled back through the gardens but had enough sense left to activate her earpiece.:: Blackwood: =^= Blackwood to tr’Khellian, can you hear me?=^= tr’Khellian: ::Activating his earpiece:: =^= Whew, Evanna.... ::sounding relieved::: Where did you go? I was...concerned. =^= Blackwood: ::She felt weak and out of breath:: =^= Kidnapped. Got free. Where are you?=^= tr’Khellian: ::Activating his tricorder he started to actively scan for her lifesigns:: =^= Evanna, I am on the edge of a garden near a large two story white and red timbered house. Maybe an inn? =^= ::*Breepep* exclaimed tr’Khellian’s tricorder. :: tr’Khellian: =^= I have you. I am 40 meters out. Wait there. It’ll be ok. I’m coming. =^= Blackwood: =^= Wait wait... I’m injured and need to be quarantined. I’m infected. It’s a disease. A rotting disease.=^= ::Something came at her from the right, knocking her down and tearing into her and she struggled to regain the upper hand.:: ::Over his earpiece tr’Khellian’s hears a wet ripping sound accompanied by a gasp of pain followed by sounds of scuffling.:: ::tr’Khellian activated both comlinks:: =^= =/\= Blackwood may be injured and under attack. All converge at my coordinates. Warning...she says she may be infected. Keeping my combadge open so you can track me. =/\= =^= Anyone: ? ::The sounds coming through his earpiece from his open line to Evanna cut off abruptly after 30 seconds right as tr’Khellian rounded the corner and headed at a full sprint into the small town’s square. The square was poorly light with few distinguishing features, only a simple fountain in its center.:: oO (tr’Khellian ) OH GODS...no! Oo ::Blackwood lay still on the ground, slumped against the fountain... blood mixing into the spray of the fountain’s water. It was pouring out of several arteries and a pale skinned, reeking monster perched atop her, it held something in its hand. :: :: Still 3 meters away tr’Khellian who had been moving at a full sprint launched himself, transforming into a 200lb hate-filled projectile. His flying tackle connected at full speed sending both he and the female attacker off of Blackwood and clear past into the other side of the fountain. Both hit the far edge of the fountain. *POP* tr’Khellian felt his left shoulder dislocate. This was followed almost simultaneously by a *kerack* as the female attacker’s head hit the stone wall surrounding the fountain’s pool. :: ::tr’Khellian was about to plunge his knife upward into the attacker's neck when he noticed her head was bent at a 90 degree angle from where it should have been.:: oO Doom on you. Oo ::tr’Khellian got up, turned and begun to move to where Evanna lay bleeding when he heard something rising from the fountain’s pool behind him. He pivoted 180 barely fending off a lunging attack. It’s arms reaching for his throat. Teeth chomping in a hideously hungering manner. Head lolling impossibly at 90 degrees.:: oO No FRAKIN WAY! Oo. ::tr’Khellian flips the knife in the air, catches the knife in a reverse grip, this time blade facing downwards and drove the blade directly into the forehead of the creature. Stepping back into a ready position, hands extended and ready, stance almost 50/50 weight distribution front to back, he prepares to meet the next attack. :: ::Which never comes...the woman’s now inert body slides like a rag doll into the fountains pink waters. :: ::Out of his periphery he notices the away team members have begun to appear from each direction leading to the small town’s square. :: ANY? :: Turning his full attention to Evanna, the full horror of the situation hit him. Blood is no longer flowing from the huge tear in the side of her neck. He checked her vitals and...:: oO Dead Oo. ::tr’Khellian gently lifted Lieutenant Evanna Blackwood’s lifeless body into his arms. The fountain’s spray washing her body, cleansing it of all her transgressions, failures and successes; preparing it for her final journey. The spray obscuring one final item of note, the tears streaming down tr’Khellian’s muted saffron colored cheeks.:: ANY? -Fin- Lt Blackwood CSO USS Avandar and Lt (jg) tr’Khellian Intel Officer USS Avandar
  3. ::There was a cakey kind of taste in the air as her friends mingled around her; green swirls of light in her blackened world. Nessa was giggling as Levi slipped on some spilt beer and sprawled on the floor. The green swirl flashed with red, then blue and back to green as he picked himself up, brushed himself off, and went to the bar to collect another drink. Nights like this were rare, and they were getting rarer as the group got older. Nobody muchly cares what a group of kids get up to in the big city during the night, but as you approach adulthood certain things are expected of you, it seemed. Even kids like them. The lost, abandoned, broken children of the world. "The bigger you get, the more useful you become so the more people notice you" is how Arlie had put it. She hadn't seen Arlie for months now. People must've noticed him for something. Nessa hoped it was something good - she'd liked him. He'd been the one that had saved her all those years ago, and also the one that had introduced her to the little pills that made everything so colourful. That was an accident on his part, but she was nonetheless grateful for it. It was always so dull and boring without them.:: ::She often wondered why she was the only girl around on nights like this. Sometimes, when they went to the nightclubs or holomovies, there'd be other girls around. But they were never with her group. They were just... there. They all seemed very pretty; maybe that was it. Maybe they were too pretty to be hanging around with the likes of her, with her man-face and short hair. Arlie said she looked pretty, but he was the only one. He was probably just being nice. Besides, the hair was his fault in a way - though she couldn't rightly blame him for the face.:: ((Flashback - 6 Years Previously)) Arlie: 'ere, Euan. Be a good boy and look after this one, will ya? ::The big burly one they called Arlie presented Nessa to the kid as if she was a present. Perhaps she was. She certainly felt delivered, from somewhere very dark and scary that she didn't much care for to... here, wherever this was. Some half-empty warehouse in the middle of a stinking shipyard. There were bits of shuttlecraft everywhere, and some bigger pieces that Nessa had never seen before. None of it worked, though. That would've been too easy. She could climb in and fly away into the sky, leaving smelly London and all her troubles behind. Of course, she'd quickly be apprehended by Starfleet, or even more likely die in a massive fireball, but she was never one for foresight.:: ::Arlie couldn't have been older than eighteen years, but little Euan made him seem fatherly by comparison. The Welsh accent really didn't give the boy chance to even pretend to be older, either. In truth he was twelve, only a year older than Necessity. Though he tried to stretch that year out as far as it would go. It was hard to believe she would become friends, of a sort, with Euan and his ever-cheerful sing-song voice.:: Euan: Alright there, is it? What's your name then little'un? James: ::Stroppily:: Necessity. And I'm not little! Euan: ::Thoughtfully:: That's a weird one, never 'eard that name before... you one o' them aliens or summut? Lots o' weird names they have like, Arlie tells me stories about 'em. ::A grin of triumph crept across Necessity's lips.:: James: Arlie *gave* it to me. I didn't 'ave one before. Or if I did I dunno know what it was, nobody never used it. ::She beamed:: Said I'm special and res... resor- ::The strange word gave her pause, so - true to it's meaning - she found a way around it.:: summink what means I find ways of doin' fings. Even when they's too 'ard. I get's 'em done. Euan:: Resourceful, is it? Well, gotta be that out 'ere I suppose. James: Arlie says necesserty's the muvver of invention. Says I'm gonna be an inventor. Euan: ::Under his breath:: 'spect she'll be the mother o' more'n that 'fore long. ::He s[...]ed, then spoke louder, to Nessa:: That 'air o' yours. Breedin' rats in it, are we? ::As much as Nessa scrunched her face up in offence and annoyance, she couldn't actually remember the last time she'd washed her hair. Or any of her, for that matter. Instead she resorted to the age-old defence of crossing her arms and stamping her foot.:: James: You're mean! ::A scathing riposte, sure to win any argument.:: Euan: Sorry precious, only commentin' like. Looks a bit of a mess, that's all. 'course, I could fix that for you, y'know. ::She had been so eager for the remedy. Looking back, there were several points along the way where a more suspicious girl - the cynic that she would later become, for instance - would have noticed what was happening. But for eleven-year-old Necessity James it wasn't until her fringe fell to the floor in front of her eyes that she noticed. She'd screamed then. Screamed so loud that Arlie had come rushing up the stairs and stormed into the room.:: Arlie: Euan! What in 'ells name, boy?! Euan: Quicker than washin' it, isn't it? Lovely now it is... ::Nessa's eyes had narrowed in rage at the smile Arlie couldn't quite conceal. Looking back, it must've been pretty funny for everyone except the victim. Worse still was that Arlie actually restrained her, so that Euan could finish the butchery! Hours later when she was put to bed that night, Arlie came to her with a mirror.:: Arlie: I know you're angry, Ness. But in time you'll realise that actually, young Euan might've saved you a lot of trouble with that 'aircut. ::The restraining made sense almost immediately, when she realised how she must've looked with only half her hair cut off. The actual cutting didn't make sense to her until much later, but he was right. That was the defining thing about Arlie; sooner or later, he was always right.:: ((End Flashback)) ::Nessa smiled as she read the message on her PADD the next morning. There was to be a 'meet and greet' in the Holodeck on the Victory tonight. A chance to get to know everyone. She recalled bitterly the last time she'd "gotten to know everyone", It was shortly before the entire bleedin' lot of them were shipped off to the USS Apollo along with the Captain she'd met for the most brief of moments, and left her on the station with another bunch of strangers. Except for a Caitian named- no, she wasn't even going to try that one from memory. What had happened to her, anyway?:: oO They'd better not take Luna away... Oo ::Puling herself out of her bed, she had a little giggle at the mess that greeted her in the mirror. Nessa pulled on some cargo pants and a vest top, and stumbled over to the replicator.:: oO This one's for you, Euan. Ya little taffy git. Oo James: One pair of hairdressing scissors, left handed. Computer: ::Playing a discordant error tone:: Access denied. James: ::Incredulously:: I'm denied... a pair of scissors? Computer: Access to sharp implements and cutting blades restricted in these quarters. ::Necessity stood, staring at the replicator in awe.:: James: Oi, I ain't bein' told what I can and can't 'ave by a metal box. What am I, six? Computer: Restriction implemented by Starfleet Counsellor Lisa Hyatt, 238901.18. ::The date Nessa graduated from Starfleet Academy. She'd forgotten about the Hyatt woman, and her objections to Nessa even entering training, let alone graduating it. Nessa had expressed quite plainly that she was not "a mental case", that a Starfleet Cousellor should not be using such a term even if she was, and finally had given quite a detailed description of where she thought Dr. Hyatt could store her psycho analysis report. Nevertheless, it seemed Lisa had gotten the last laugh. Well, Nessa would just have to consult Lieutenant Valyn about that, wouldn't she...:: Walker: =/\= Commander Walker to Lt. Valyn and Lt. James. =/\= James: ::Trying not to sound annoyed:: =/\= James 'ere, sir. =/\= Walker: =/\= I need your assistance in setting up the meet and greet tonight, I'd like to get your opinions and determine what supplies we can utilize. =/\= James: ::With a mischievous grin:: =/\= Not sure the kinda parties I'm used to 'aving are what you've got in mind... oO nor the type of supplies, for that matter Oo. But I'll give it a go, sir. Fancy discussin' it in person? Feels like I ain't eaten for six weeks. =/\= Walker: =/\= [Response?] =/\= James: =/\= Sounds like a plan, sir. I'll meet you there in, what, an hour? =/\= Walker: =/\= [Response?] =/\= James: =/\= Five-by-five, sir. See ya then. =/\= ------------------------------------------------ Lieutenant (JG) Necessity James H/C/O USS Victory/SB118
  4. ((Sickbay, Deck 8, USS Mercury)) ::He had never encountered the Borg before, yet even without doing so they were an anathema to him. To one trained to protect and fortify one’s mind to any outside incursion, the idea that one could be overrun by nanites and one’s consciousness irresistibly subverted to the greater Collective was abhorrent.:: ::Avoiding or ignoring the issue would, however, have been illogical. And so he had studied the Borg, as he studied any fascinating alien species. Not that they were truly a species, rather a disease caused by these nanites, and as a doctor he studied them as such. Unfortunately there was no easy cure. Yes, if an individual could be separated from the Collective it was possible to restore both physical and mental function and individuality, to a greater or lesser extent generally dependant on the length of their time as a part of the Collective. But it was difficult and time consuming and not applicable in the case of a mass infection.:: ::So he had pondered the problem, and resolved that, as in all things medical, prevention was better than cure. The question that was the focus of Saveron’s current research was whether it was possible to prevent assimilation. Infecting nanites did provoke an immune response, that had been proven, but the response was far too slow. The situation was similar to many old infective illnesses, against which now most Federation humanoids were vaccinated. Thus, he wondered, was it possible to create a vaccine against Borg nanites? The donation of a sample of Lt. Wulfantine’s adapted nanites had given him new material to work with.:: ::That was what he had been doing, until the red alert klaxon sounded. The Vulcan quickly shut down the analyser he was using, secured his samples, straightened his blue doctor's coat and walked quickly from the Medical Science laboratory to Sickbay proper. Staff were already moving to their stations, efficiently taking Sickbay to full alert. The CMO nodded silently to Dr Del Vedova, who was on duty.:: Kells: =/\= Kells to medical, emergency on the bridge. =/\= Del Vedova: =/\= Responding. =/\= ::As Dr Del Vedova left for the bridge, Saveron stepped quietly to the fore, grey eyes meeting those of his staff with that impenetrable calm that all Vulcans portrayed. There were few things in the galaxy more frightening and more implacable than the Borg.:: ::The ship rocked suddenly, inertial dampners failing to compensate for what was clearly an impact. The logical deduction was that they were under attack. That was regrettable, but not unexpected. However a few moments later faces blanched as the intruder alarm sounded. They had been boarded.:: Saveron: Orderlies, arm yourself from the emergency weapons locker. ::Which would now be unlocked.:: ::As staff normally dedicated to the healing of injured beings acquired weaponry, Saveron’s thin lips pressed into a thinner line, the only outward sign of the intense emotions that he suppressed beneath his calm exterior. This was a scenario out of his worst nightmares.:: ::The fact of the matter was that Borg were known to adapt to Federation phasers within a few shots. The few hand phasers that the orderlies had would not serve them for long. He made a mental note to recommend to Security that they acquire some projectile weapons. Against physical weaponry the Borg had only their body armour. Unfortunately his lirpa was in the armoury.:: ::Moving to the medical equipment replicator, Saveron overrode it’s normal menu limits with a few quick keys and his CMO’s authorisation code.:: Saveron: Anyone with experience with hand-to-hand combat has permission to replicate and arm themselves with their accustomed weapon. ::He said curtly, and put words to actions.:: Anyone: Response ::Vulcans were pacifists, and Saveron found weaponry and violence disagreeable. His people were not, however, unskilled. Something that Commander Parker had been slow to understand was that a pacifist was not someone who could not fight, for they had no choice in the matter. A pacifist was someone who could fight, and chose not to do so unless all other acceptable options had been exhausted. The doctor who normally refused to handle a phaser now hefted the traditional Vulcan polearm, crushing weight at one end, disembowelling blade at the other. Violence was always abhorrent; occaisionally it was necessary.:: ::It wasn’t long until there was a whine and green sparkles hung in the air, coalescing into three Borg drones.:: Saveron: =/\= Saveron to Bridge, intruders in Sickbay. =/\= ::He said in the same bland tones that he might convey the arrival of expected supplies or the discharge of a patient.:: Bridge: =/\= Response =/\= ::As the Borg drones started to lurch towards them, Saveron hefted his weapon and regarded them expressionlessly.:: Saveron: Remove yourselves from this ship, or you will be removed. Borg: Response Saveron: Resistance is not futile. Borg: Response? TAG/TBC Lt. Commander Saveron Chief Medical Officer USS Mercury
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