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Captain Shayne - Rhapsody In Screwed.

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Still fairly new on board the USS Arrow, and I am constantly blown away by the quality of writing by everyone. The latest being this particular sim is the latest from my own Captain; @Randal Shayne @Quentin Collins III @Maz Rodan    @R'Ariel    and Ar'Gorvalei

((Deck 1, Bridge, USS Arrow))


With the small cluster of command staff officers still discussing, the newly promoted lieutenants Ar’Gorvalei and Jacin exited the turbolift and stood archly. 

Collins: Response.

Shayne: The commander was bringing us up to speed on one of your plans. I want to hear more about it. 

Being put on the spot was never fun, but considering the circumstances, Shayne couldn’t blame the occasional nervous motion and hesitation from the junior officers. He’d probably be much the same way. 

Rodan: Response 

Jacin: Sir We :looking at Ar’Gorvalei and then back at Captain Shayne and Commander Collins: We think we have a way of rendering the Mera Virus inert.

Shayne: Good. I understand that part. Explain as if I’m a first year medical student? 

An apt statement, considering that was, among other things, exactly what he was. 

Collins: Response.

Jacin:  It’s complicated, and it’s not tested but we think it’s our best shot. I think Lieutenant Ar’Gorvalei can best explain. 

Shayne allowed an impatient but humoring expression to play across his features as he readjusted to focus on the Efrosian. At this rate, they could set up a slideshow. He put away the teasing thought as Ar’Gorvalei prepared to speak. 

Collins: Response

Shayne: No wrong answers here, Lieutenant. Give us what you have. 

That wasn’t quite true. Or at all true. There was a right answer, and they’d have to find it, but in this session of impromptu brainstorming, no idea was too crazy for consideration. Well… almost no idea. 

Ar’Gorvalei: As you’re not doubt aware, the metagenic virus contains coding that causes it to self-destruct, usually after 30 days. That makes sense, since naturally-occurring viruses can persist in the environment sometimes for years. Essentially it has a built-in timer. The timer itself is pretty much tamper-proof – another amino acid sequence, here ::points to an image on the PADD:: forms an extra layer of protection, essentially a wall. Which makes sense, you wouldn’t want a random mutation in the virus to extend its life from 30 days to 30 years, that is, if you were someone who would use a mutagenic virus in the first place. 

He coughed, cleared his throat, and continued. Shayne nodded slowly, almost imperceptibly, and approvingly. 

Ar’Gorvalei: We’re proposing introducing a specially-developed bacterium to the metagenic virus. The virus will, of course, attack the bacteria and kill it. When it does, the bacteria will implant this specially-designed amino acid sequence ::Points to another image on the PADD:: into the virus’s DNA. It’s our Trojan Horse to get inside the virus’s wall. Instead of altering the timer gene, it will nullify it, while leaving the immolation sequence intact. Effectively, it will move the counter to zero, the point at which the virus triggers its self-destruct sequence. In addition, this portion of the sequence ::Points again:: will spread a chemical reaction to all other unaltered copies of the virus in the immediate vicinity, causing them to initiate their self-destruct as well. 

He paused for a moment, soaking in the information on the PADD and in Ar’Gorvalei’s words. His stymied brain struggled to keep up, but what was said seemed to fit with some semblance of logic. 

Collins: Response

Shayne: Then if I understand you correctly, not only would this knock out the weapon, it would prevent them from making more from onboard facilities. 

Then all they’d need to do would be to stop the Sheliak from simply bombing the world back into the Stone Age with conventional weapons- their firepower was enough to make the attempt. But if they were using metagenics, there was a reason. Perhaps they wished to cleanse an “infestation” without destroying the buildings and infrastructure. There were worse strategies, he considered. 

Jacin: Sir there is a caveat to this though. The virus would have to be altered before it was launched.

The captain nodded slowly and understandingly. 

Shayne: …and to do that, the neutralizing agent would have to be presented directly into the supply of metagenic weaponry. Mr. Collins mentioned that little obstacle. 

Collins: Response.

While others might feel the repetition of information to be demoralizing, Shayne valued it. Everyone was on the same page, and in the short time since Collins had proposed the idea, the science and medical departments had succeeded in gaining a greater understanding of the process and procedures. 

Ar’Gorvalei: Once the virus has been released into the atmosphere, it will begin multiplying rapidly in every organism it encounters. At that point, it is too late. 

Shayne smiled for an instant. The practice of magic had always fascinated him, the slight of hand and subtle tricks bringing the most joy. In his own youthful explorations, he’d discovered that ninety percent of the trick took place before any audience was even procured. They’d need to stop the Sheliak’s trick before it was ready to be executed- and show their hand in the process. 

Jacin: We realise this is a risk Sir, but We believe it will work. 

The confidence was good. The lack of options was less good. While Shayne didn’t dare doubt the science, the logistics were an unmitigated nightmare to even think about, and with three hours and change remaining, the challenge was growing exponentially. 

Shayne: It will work if we can get it to where it needs to go. That part still needs a figure. 

It occurred to Shayne that Serinus would need to be brought up to speed on any decision reached on the bridge. Damn this mess of plans. And damn the Sheliak.

Collins/Ar’Gorvalei/Any: Response

Jacin: Permission to speak freely Sir?

The captain hesitated. If this were the ready room or somewhere private, he’d have no issue, but on the bridge, he had to be the captain and the captain alone. His authority had been challenged here too often to not feel some manner of trepidation. Nevertheless, he nodded. 

Shayne: Granted.

Jacin: Time is an issue and yes under ideal circumstances we would lab test this and then inspect the data :beat: But we don’t have time for that. 

His eyes squinted. What answer could that equation manifest? 

Jacin: There’s something not right about this whole situation. The way the Sheliak are behaving is very ‘unSheliak’, but for the moment isn’t our job to protect those colonists? I, we believe that this offers an opportunity to do so. 

Shayne: That’s not in dispute, Lieutenant. But I’m not about to risk that colony on a half-baked plan. 

His tone was conversational but arch- he couldn’t afford to fight on behalf of the planet and against his own crew. 

Jacin: So send a small strike team in. Myself , an Engineer and 2 Security personnel at most.  We board the ship and alter the virus. Even if we are caught they will need to examine if we have sabotaged the lunch system and that will delay the firing of the weapon.

Shayne’s eyes widened, now more understanding of Jacin’s earlier comments. She was offering herself- in effect, a guinea pig. No, worse than that. A martyr. 

Ar’Gorvalei: ::Turns sharply to look at Jacin:: Wait, you … 

Shayne held up a hand, staying Ar’Gorvalei’s personal protestations, but agreeing with them in spirit. 

Shayne: Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re not trained in advanced combat tactics. Why you? 

Jacin: Sir don’t the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one? Is the possible sacrifice of 4 or 5 people worth it if it saves those colonists?  And what if it’s a success? It could stop it being used at all.  It buys the Arrow and the colonists time!

Shayne stood suddenly, anger flashing across his features. It wasn’t a challenge. No, it was worse than that. It was guilt. As expected, Jacin was still coming to terms with the death of Crossley. He couldn’t blame her. He wouldn’t blame her. Indeed, he was pleased that his words to her had not been taken too closely. But her seeking absolution through death, while something he could personally relate to, was the last thing he, the ship, or the colonists needed. 

Ar’Gorvalei: If there is any other option for stopping the Sheliak, I recommend we take it. But if we have no other alternative, this may be the only way to prevent the death of all life on Mercia IV. 


Shayne: Now you had better listen up well, both of you. The idea is good, but I am not satisfied with the plan until we have a reasonable expectation that anyone who goes comes back. Self-immolators do not get put on away missions… 

His voice trailed off as the presence of Counselor R’Ariel reminded him to pause his temper, if only for a moment. 

R'Ariel: I'd love a little catch up on what we've come up with so far, but ::she paused, doing her best to slip back into her easy disposition:: I'm afraid I have an unexpected update on the situation.

Tears, for Shayne, would have been insufficiently expressive to describe his dread and overwhelmed fervor. Something new! Oh, goody! That’s what they were there to find, right? Something new and dangerous and inconvenient and probably a threat to all civilized life as they knew it! How freaking grand…! 


R’Ariel scritched herself, and Shayne tried to divert his mind by not thinking of petting a housecat. 

R'Ariel: It turns out that Merica IV is the site of a secret lab ran by a competitor of the Exploratores Consortium.  They were running an experiment that got out of hand, and ended up with a virus that has a disastrous result when interacting with Argon, among other things.

Shayne felt bowled over. Questions abounded- where she had gotten this information from, being the most relevant. But instead, the triaging part of his brain began to put the pieces together. Argon might be found in tiny portions of Earth’s atmosphere, but Mercia IV was a modified Class-H world. His recollection on the planet’s dossier brought forth some small tidbits of information he’d found inconsequential at the time; the efforts to colonize the planet had left terraforming scars on both the topography and natural chemical interplays. In particular, Argon in the atmosphere had been influenced in some way. Most Class- H worlds had an abundance of Argon present- and the Sheliak very much liked Class- H worlds; the majority of border disputes between the Federation and the Sheliak had been over barely habitable Class- H planetoids. If the Sheliak knew of a virus that had potentially disastrous impacts when combined with Argon, whatever they were, it might be enough to motivate their sudden expansion against Mercia IV. It still didn’t explain their other aggressions, but it did help make sense of why they were so keen on glassing this target in particular. 


Someone else had asked the question that was on his mind. 

R'Ariel: Xena S'milus just told me.

Ah, S’milus. The new and rather unexpected member of the ship’s small civilian contingent. While S’milus herself had made herself a fast friend of R’Ariel, and Shayne’s trust of R’Ariel had allowed the unusual Caitian to stay aboard, the knowledge that this information came from a source yet to be proven worried Shayne. Still, Jacin had been right- it didn’t matter a toss why the Sheliak were doing this; they were doing this, and had to be stopped accordingly. 

Shayne: Alright. Counselor, we can use that information later. For now, though… we need to form a team to go aboard with the equipment to make this stuff inert. We need a way in. A way out. And we need the ship to be able to distract the Sheliak before we get their attention in all the wrong ways. 


He paused, before making his final, insane decision. 

Shayne: Now here this- Jacin, Ar’Gorvalei, Dewitt, and Voral will form an away team. I will lead it. We’ll beam aboard and destroy the bioweapon. The rest of you will get us in, and then get to Mercia to prepare their defenses. There’s a whole civilization that the Sheliak can take out with heavy cannons just as easily as this metagenic virus. Coordinate defenses, get them into fighting shape as best you can, and when convenient, beam us out- preferably before they leave the planet, or you disable them. 

Shayne expected a number of expressions and opinions, and was not disappointed. 

Bridge: Response 

Captain Randal Shayne
Commanding Officer

USS Arrow
NCC 69829


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