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Winner: The Bunny Abides

Talos Dakora

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((Federation Research Outpost "Flagg's Hope"- Shuttle Landing Pad - Elanus 9))

:: A single shuttle broke through the thin green clouds that made up the atmosphere of Elanus 9. Slowly, deliberately it descended towards a small group of people, the last remnants of one man's now broken dreams.::

::His mission had been a total failure, his objectives utterly incomplete. The entire population of his outpost, some 350 scientists and technicians had already been transported to the ship in orbit above. Doctor Flagg glanced back at the facility behind him as the shuttle settled on the tarmac in front of him.::

::With a defeated look playing across his face he recalled his proposal, how excited he was to begin his research. Elanus 9 was the only planet in the Federation with an atmosphere sufficient to synthesize the new element. One that he postulated to have the potential to make conventional warp technology look antiquated. But after 5 years and countless failures the Federation had decided to cancel the project. And that is why USS Exodus circled above, in high orbit, why it's shuttle The Archos was here now.::

::Doctor Flagg and his family, his wife Rebekka and young son Daxon, were to accompany the last of the equipment on the shuttle. The equipment had been purpose built and calibrated to such an extreme degree that the use of the Exodus' transporter would have damaged it beyond repair. In the end it had been Daxon's begging that had found them taking the shuttle.::

::The group approached the small craft carting the equipment on repulsor sled as the rear cargo door opened. A tall man in a uniform stepped out and down the ramp, his footfalls clanging with every step. Three full pips shined on his collar.::

The Commander: Good afternoon Doctor Flagg, are you all ready to go here?

::With a deep sigh the middle-aged scientist responded.::

Dr. Flagg: I don't suppose we have any reason to stay.

::With a curt nod, the officer responded matter-of-factly, in the way that he did most things.::

The Commander: Alright, we'll get this equipment secured and be on our way shortly. My name is Commander T-

::But he was cut off by the nervous voice of Rebekka Flagg.::

Rebekka: Where is Daxon? ::She looked around frantically and pointed to spot nearby.:: He was just here!

((Not Too Far Away - Elanus 9))

::A young boy, maybe 9 or 10 years old, pursued a small creature. He whistled and called out to the pitiful little thing but it didn't seem to have any effect.::

Daxon: Nibbles! Nibbles come here, I'll give you a treat!

::A small black and white rabbit, hopped along at a steady clip. If it noticed the boy's pleas, it gave no indication.::

::The boy followed the rabbit over a ridge, the desperation in his voice becoming more apparent. He was getting too far away now.::

Daxon: Nibbles come on! They're gonna leave without us!

::Again, the rabbit paid the no attention to his owner's desperate cries. As it reached the bottom of the ridge it found something of interest. An object, something un-natural. Something worth sniffing.::

::It hopped over to the long cylindrical thing with curiosity and took it in cautiously. Not really caring if the boy caught it now, because it had found something new to care about.::

::The boy descended the other side of ridge and spotted his now stationary pet near a piece of old junk. He smiled as he quickly closed the distance between them.::

Daxon: What'd you find boy? Are you eating trash again?

::Finally, he caught up to the fugitive bunny and scooped it up into his arms.::

Daxon: Not cool, Nibbles. Not cool.

::He glanced down at container, it was roughly the size of the photon torpedo casings he'd seen his "Ships of The Line" schoolbook. The object was obviously old and in poor condition, it had likely been here for some time and it had corroded through in some places, leaking the oily black substance from within.::

::Wrinkling his nose, the boy spoke to his furry companion.::

Daxon: You're gross. I'm gonna have to give you two baths.

::The sound of his Mother's worried voice carried over the ridge and caught his attention. He raised his eyebrows, knowing that he would be in big trouble later, he held the rabbit much tighter this time as he quickly made his way back to the shuttle pad.::

::Neither animal or child could have known what they had found, though it would've hardly mattered if they did. The Tarellian Biological Agent Containment Unit, an artifact of hatred from distant wars long past, had already done it's work.::

((Shuttlecraft Archos - Upper Atmosphere - Elanus 9))

::The Commander carefully guided the shuttle up and away from the now abandoned outpost. He could have selected a junior officer for this mission but had instead opted to oversee it personally, much to the relief of his fellow officers who saw the quick trip to pick up a cranky scientist and has family as a frustratingly mundane task. He didn't mind though, he'd been in Starfleet for years but it still hadn't gotten old. Never routine. He loved the stars and as the tiny grey ship left the atmosphere he relished the beauty of the galaxy. He was in good spirits.::

::The sentiment would be short lived.::

The Commander: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot speaking

::He placed his hand over his mouth to simulate the sound of an archaic intercom system.::

The Commander: If you look out the Starboard viewport you will see Elanus 9's only moon, Raimi. ::With his back to them he couldn't see the elder Flagg shaking his head in annoyance or the boy smiling gleefully.:: Directly ahead you'll see the USS Exodus in all of her glory. She's a -

::He trailed off as a flashing red indicator caught his attention. It was a little early to be getting in contact with Flight Ops. He guessed some nervous new officer was behind it.::

::Opening the channel, The Commander spoke.::

The Commander: This is the Archos, what's the problem?

::As he suspected a tense, young voice came through the comm system.::

Voice: Archos, this Ensign Jaksonn, Exodus flight ops. We're getting some, uh, anomalous biological readings from your ship Commander. I think the Archos' sensors may be faulty.

::The Commander's brow furrowed. Still, he wasn't about to be frazzled by a minor sensor fault. Entering a few commands into the console, he spoke again.::

The Commander: Alright Exodus, we've disabled our internal sensors and lowered our shields. You should be able to scan us better with your sensors. ::A pause:: What kind of anomaly are we talking about here Mister Jaksonn?

::He glanced down at the various displays on the helm console. All systems showed status Green. He glanced back at the trio strapped in on the crew seats. The two elder Flaggs had heard the conversation and wore their concern plainly on their faces but the boy seemed oblivious as he calmly stroked the pet rabbit sitting on his lap . He offered them a reassuring smile as the comm chattered again.::

Jaksonn: It’s a biological contaminant sir, and I’m no longer sure it’s an anomaly. We’re getting the same results here. ::The tension in the man’s voice was palpable.:: Commander, Sir, I need to ask you to hold to at 10km. Just…I Uhh…. Just a moment.

:: Finally, the Commander began to feel the first creeping, spindly tendrils of fear tugging at his well developed composure. They probed for weakness but found none. Not yet.::

::A few minutes passed in tense silence before he turned to his passengers.::

The Commander: Doctor, there’s nothing in this equipment that would cause this kind of problem. Right?

::The now frail seeming scientist shifted in his jump seat nervously and shook his head.::

Flagg: N-N-no. They’re just controllers for the the elerium collider system. There’s nothing biological to them.

:: An ominous silence fell over the shuttle and it’s occupants. The Commander did not like the gut feeling he now had that something might be very wrong. Then he heard a voice that confirmed his suspicions::

::A confident, too calm tone filled the tight confines of the shuttlecraft.::

Voice: Archos, this is Captain Dornak. Do you read me Commander?

::The Commander managed to maintain his composure for the moment, but his calm demeanor was rapidly deteriorating now. Captain wouldn’t have been involved so urgently for a minor problem, and he wouldn’t be handling this exchange personally for even a moderate complication. Beads of sweat began to form on his forehead.::

The Commander: I hear you, Sir. What’s the problem?

Dornak: Commander, I’m sorry.

::A stressful silence stretched out the seconds that passed. The Commander felt his face get hot.::

Dornak: We don’t know how, but you are all infected with Tarellian Hemorrhagic Fever. I...I’m afraid we can’t allow you to board the Exodus. We’ve initiated a quarantine of the planet surface and we’re carefully monitoring the scientists we brought aboard, but it seems that only the four of you are infected. Please understand Commander, my hands are tied on this.

::His head was spinning, it felt as though reality was a rug that had been pulled out from under him. The Tarellian plague was as legendary as it was deadly, even as he frantically grasped for a solution he knew there was little hope. Starfleet had clearly stated protocols in dealing with this sort of thing.::

The Commander: Captain, could there be a mistake? ::He glanced back at his passengers:: We’re all…

::What he saw sent a shiver down his spine. The terrified Flagg family had left their seats and huddled together on the floor of the cargo area. The mother held the boy in her arms, comforting him as they listened to the grim news. That’s when he noticed the red fluid seeping from the boy’s eyes.::

The Commander: Fine…here...

::It was no mistake.::

::Rebekka Flagg began to sob audibly as the Captain of The Exodus spoke again.::

Dornak: No, Commander I don’t think so. ::He paused:: We don’t have the facilities to help you and the nearest medical ship is at least two weeks away. Just sit tight and we will see if we can get this all sorted out.

::The Commander leaned forward in his chair and rested his forehead in his open palm. He knew that they didn’t have weeks, they had at best hours from the time of exposure and he couldn’t be sure how long ago that was.::

::He knew that the Captain was acting appropriately, that bringing them aboard would risk the safety of the entire ship of nearly a thousand people, but he still felt abandoned. Alone.::

::Unbuckling his safety belts he rose from his seat and tentatively approached Doctor Flagg, who was sitting near but separate from his wife and son. He saw that woman’s tears now ran red as well, a sure sign of the incurable infection. The older scientist appeared understandably stressed, a look in his eyes told the Commander he was near his breaking point.::

The Commander: It’ll be alright. ::He lied:: The Exodus has a fine medical staff, they’ll get it all sorted out. ::He echoed his Captain’s lie:: In the mean time I suggest we just remain calm and wait this out.

::He noticed the boy’s rabbit sitting in silence near where the now unconscious boy lay in his mother’s lap. Unaffected by the blight it had unknowingly brought to it’s owner and his family.::

::Doctor Flagg’s face twitched slightly, and he suddenly appeared inappropriately calm. The Commander had seen this before, it was shock.::

Flagg: We’re fine.

::His face twisted into smile that made the Commander uncomfortable.::

Flagg: When we’re aboard the Exodus I’ll need to access a science terminal to catalog my research.

::The Commander nodded at the placid faced man sitting only feet from his mortally afflicted wife and child. The poor man had slipped out of touch with reality. He felt another shiver as he turned to head back to the helm.::

::Things began to happen rapidly at that point.::

::The tall thin scientist rose quickly, snatched a heavy chemical flame extinguisher from it’s cradle on a bulkhead and struck the Commander brutally on the back of the head. He stumbled forward into darkness and fell hard to the metal deck plate..::

::Doctor Flagg quickly set his desperate plan into motion::

((A While Later - Shuttlecraft Archos - Above Elanus 9))

::Groggily, The Commander tried to open his eyes. He couldn’t immediately remember where he was or what had happened. He heard a repetitive, annoying, noise but couldn’t quite make it out. He felt something brush against his face, it was soft, furry. His bleary eyes came into focus on the rabbit. It’s nose wiggled inquisitively as it investigated the downed officer.::

::His head was pounding and the dizziness was all consuming as he struggled to his feet. There was something he had to do. But what? He suddenly deciphered the sound he’d been hearing for a while now.::

Computer: PROXIMITY ALERT! ::A klaxon sounded:: PROXIMITY ALERT!

::The memories of his dire situation came crashing down on him like a tsunami as he sprang into action. The now motionless bodies of Daxon and Rebekka Flagg told him that he’d been out for quite a while.::


::He wheeled around to see form of Doctor Flagg at the helm, beyond him the USS Exodus grew larger and larger in the view screen as the Archos accelerated directly towards it. With precious few seconds to spare, the Commander sprinted towards the helm, prepared to wrestle the controls away from the man who’d commandeered his vessel, but he too had succumbed to the infection and and lay slumped over the controls::


::The Archos was now meters from impacting the Saucer Section of the Galaxy Class ship at full acceleration. He didn’t have time to wonder why the Exodus hadn’t shot them out of the sky, he couldn’t know that the same nervous Ensign had waited just a second too late. The Commander shoved Flagg’s body aside and jerked hard on the controls, the force was too much for the inertial dampeners and it nearly threw officer to the floor again. In less than a second he had changed direction and fired all of the emergency maneuvering thrusters, but it was too late. The shuttlecraft careened into and through the warp nacelle with a horrific metal rending vibration and out the other side, hopelessly damaged but somehow without hull-breach. The shuttle was sent spinning off into space.::

::The most violent explosion The Commander had ever witnessed made no sound. The death throes of the Exodus were felt not heard. A broken man slumped against the bulkhead of the shuttle, a tear ran down his face. He wiped it away with the back of his hand, and sighed when it came away red.::


((Space - Above Elanus 9)

::A Ferengi Merchant ship en route to Starbase 118 slowed as it approached a large debris field. The ship had a tight schedule to keep, but it had detected and opportunity for profit on it’s long range sensors too rich to pass up. Quickly it began to beam aboard fragments of debris, anything that appeared valuable. The ship’s sensors detected only one survivor of the disaster, inside a damaged and battered shuttlecraft. A decision was made and the transporter activated.::

::A small, black and white rabbit appeared on the Ferengi transporter pad, glancing inquisitively at it’s new surroundings.::

Cdt. Tyler Kelly (Lt. Colt Daniels)

Currently In Training


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