USS ANUBIS - Mission 11
IN PROGRESS
POST INDEX
Post # Character Title
001 Morningstar Agent of the Shadows
Contact is lost with TAU OMEGA
002 Stark Darker Reality
Jayson is tricked by Adriana to reveal his feelings
003 Paquette It's The Small things...
Sonja returns to Engineering to work on the DRONEs
004 Shar'El Researching The Unknown
From the IGC, Shar'El reviews the mission
005 Lopez Counseling the Counselor
Satella helps Adriana with her troubled thoughts
006 Stark Feeling Guilty
Jayson and Ya'Han talk about Adriana and Nicole
007 Morningstar Hints of Shadows
Shar'El explains her findings to Erik
008 Ya'Han Pre-Counseling Session
Ya'Han and Jayson talk as to they to meet Adriana
009 Shar'El Eyes In The Shadows
Shar'El suffers from a nasty nightmare
010 Lopez Counseling On The Run
Adriana, Ya'Han and Jayson rush in to help Shar'El
011 Stark Bruised Ego
Jayson and Adriana continue the counseling session
012 Bruxa Morning Musing
Satella watches Shar'El and speaks with Adriana
013 Lopez Let's Talk
Adriana and Shar'El have a chat
014 Shar'El Into The Shadows
The away team beams down into the facility
015 Stark Imagination Worse...
Jayson expresses his dislike of the situaton
016 Bruxa Deep Breath
Satella is searching for clues
017 Ya'Han Uneasy Journey
The away team discovers something
018 Shar'El Scary Shadows
The away team leaves the Infirmary
019 Stark Getting Antsy
Jayson is keeping an eye on things from he ANUBIS
020 Ya'Han Black Fear
ANI and the DRONEs are taken out
021 Shar'El Not So Empty Darkness
The away team makes an unsettling discovery
022 Lopez Reaching Out
Adriana finds Erik in a trans
023 Bruxa Living Darkness
The away team finds survivors
024 Stark Not As Expected
Jayson tries to deal with his odd feelings
025 Ya'Han From Red to White
Ya'Han recalls her earning her white hair
026 Shar'El Nothing To See
Shar'El scans Erik and comes up with a plan
027 Bruxa More Tests
Satella examines their guest witout success
028 Paquette Mechanical Things Great...
Sonja joins the second away team
029 Shar'El Situational Review
Shar'El reviews the current situation with the crew
030 Ya'Han Second Time Around
The away team runs into some trouble
031 Bruxa It's Official
Satella is having trouble dealing with the situation
032 Lopez Head Games
Adriana confronts their guest
033 Shar'El Something New to Consider
A new theory is proposed about the ooze
034 Bruxa Darker Understanding
Maya and Satella work on the black ooze
035 Lopez The Storm Within
Adriana observes what is happening in Sickbay
036 Morningstar Shadows of The Soul
Erik searches for answers in the Spirit Realm
037 Shar'El One Memory At A Time
Shar'El deals with Erik broadcasting memories
038 Lopez Outside Observer
Adriana watches as Shar'El links with Erik
039 Bruxa Breaking Point
Satella tries to make herself useful
040 Ya'Han Shadow Fighting
Ya'Han fights against their guest in Sickbay
Post # Character Title
041 Stark Spring of Hope
Jayson arrives in Sickbay to deal with the aftermath
042 Morningstar Nap Time Is Over
Erik wakes up and is informed as to what happend
043 Bruxa Medical Report
Satella examins Erik
044 Lopez Who Counsels the Counselor?
Adriana preps herself to speak to Erik
045 Morningstar Time For an Explanation
Erik gives Adriana a possible explanation
046 Ya'Han Darker Complications
The situation gets complicated as a ship appears
047 Paquette Trying To Make An Omelet
Sonja is working to bring the new weapons online
048 Shar'El Dancing Shadows
The ANUBIS deals with the Lokustaar ship
049 Lopez Darkening Fears
Dark memories haunt Adriana
050 Ya'Han Darker Complications
The ANUBIS loses all power
051 Shar'El Unseen Eyes
Shar'El meets with Erik
052 Stark Distracted
Jayson's mind in not where it should be
053 Shar'El A More Personal Take
Shar'El gets the plan rolling before going to Sickbay
054 Lopez Fear is the Greatest Enemy
Shar'El goes into Adriana's memories of the KROGEN
055 Paquette One Eggshell Piece at a Time
Sonja returns to Engineering and speaks with ANI
056 Shar'El For Our Next Trick
Shar'El returns to the bridge
057 Bruxa Too Quiet
Satella learns of Selene being MIA
058 Ya'Han Past Shadows
Ya'Han has a flashback while alone on the bridge
059 Shar'El Unseen Watcher
Shar'El intercepts the message for Satella
060 Morningstar Keeping Secrets
Shar'El tells Erik about Selene
061 Stark Scared
Jayson works on the outer hull
062 Maya When Life Vanishes...
Maya makes a disturbing discovery
063 Shar'El Wounded Retreat
The ANUBIS returns to TAU OMEGA
064 Bruxa Crowded Loneliness
Satella and Adriana talk about recent events
065 Lopez Heading Home
Adriana confronts Amanda
066 Ya'Han At The End Of The Day
Ya'Han and Jayson talk about what happened
067 Shar'El Overseer
Shar'El goes to see Ya'Han in the Gym
068 Bruxa Solitary Togetherness
Sofia contacts Satella to talk about recent events
069 Paquette Just Another Shift
ANI gives Sonja a hard time about her still working
070 Lopez Another Day
Adriana and Amanda have an argument
071 Ya'Han Returning
Ya'Han recalls her dancing & returns to her quarters
M11-P001: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: Day 01 - 1015 ("Agent of the Shadows")
##########
"Agent of the Shadows"
Previous posts (ANU) "Darkness Inside The Void" / (BAS) "Crowded Mind"
##########

"All life is transitory. A dream. We all come together in the same place at the end of time. If I don't see you again here, I will see you in a little while, in the place where no shadows fall.” 
― Ambassador Deleen

=====
Setting: ISS THUNDER COMET, Guest Quarters
Stardate: 33112.1015

"Miss Mordana," a crewman said as he poked his head through the open doorway. "We will be reaching RELAY OUTPOST SIGMA 385 in about 15 minutes."

"Thank you," the woman with the long straight jet-black hair politely acknowledged. "I will be ready long before we arrive," she confirmed as she placed the last of her personal items in the small hand-held bag that she had brought along for the journey.

"If I may be so bold," the man nervously added. "I have never seen anyone travel as lightly as you do. Most people tend to bring along a lot more than you have, especially on a trip this far from any known civilized world. On a relay station like the one we are heading for, there are not a great many luxuries to be enjoyed, even basic necessities can be lacking, so people tend to come prepared."

"I am a simple person with simple needs," the woman with the gray-shadowed soul clarified. "The luxuries of this universe are not what I enjoy. I much prefer a good conversation, like the one your Captain and I shared over dinner last night in the mess hall. It was interesting to hear his views and opinions on the Federation and the impact it has on the worlds it touches. I found his accounts of the help offered to less technologically advanced worlds to be most intriguing. I also noted the way the crew seemed to align themselves with those same views, everyone appearing more than happy and willing to help those less fortunate then they are."

"Captain Jonas, as well as most of us, would love to be on one of those fancy Federation starships, going from planet to planet and helping everyone we came across," the crewman said, offering an agreeing smile to the stoic woman. Had it not been for her appearance, and the fact that she did smile once in a while, the crew of the transport vessel THUNDER COMET would have sworn that the woman was of Vulcan origin.

"Yes," Mordana quietly nodded. "I did get that feeling from him and those in the mess hall during dinner. Captain Jonas' greatest wish, as he voiced it to me, is to one day be free of the limitations of this transport vessel in order to embrace the larger expanse of space. He believes that this would permit him to explore unknown worlds to see and help people from races never before seen."

The crewman laughed. "Yup, our Captain is a dreamer all right. Now, I will let you finish getting ready for disembarking. I hope that your journey to the relay outpost in the middle of nowhere will prove to be as enjoyable and fruitful as you hoped it would be."

"It already has been," Mordana said adding a gentle nod of her head followed with a smile that hinted at something the crewman could not even come close to understanding. As curious as this last exchange was, he dismissed the entire affair, knowing that he had neither the time nor the patience to try and figure out what the woman had meant.

=====
Setting: RELAY OUTPOST SIGMA 385, Transporter Room
Stardate: 33112.1035

"Welcome aboard," the Transporter Chief said, greeting the one and only passenger to have beamed over. After having glanced at the transport manifest sent by the THUNDER COMET, the man looked back at the exotic yet clearly humanoid-looking black haired woman with visible puzzlement. "Miss Mordana?"

"That is me," she acknowledged with a politeness that seemed oddly fitting for a person like her.

"My apologies, I am not used to seeing a Terran without a last name."

"I have not been on EARTH for many, many years now, and I just found my last name to be an unnecessary burden, so Mordana became the only name I needed," the woman explained as she stepped off the transporter platform.

"Shall I have your belongings brought to your quarters?" The Transporter Chief asked, realizing only after the fact that the only baggage that had come with the woman had been her handbag.

"No need," the slender woman smiled, patting the bag with one hand. "I have everything I need right here."

Leaving the Transporter Room and the somewhat puzzled Chief behind, Mordana made her way into the small relay station with an assurance and mannerism that seemed to indicate that this had not been her first time here, a fact that the station's logs could not support no matter how far back they went.

Casually making her way down one of the corridors, the latest and only guest of the relay station encountered to her great surprise two small Humanoid females.  "Hello there," Mordana cooed as she lowered to one knee in order not to present herself to be an imposing figure for the girls to fear. "What are your names?"

"I'm Tristan and this is my sister Cordelia," the elder of the two sisters replied. "You are not a member of the crew. Who are you?" The sweetness of the girl's question was offset by the demanding tone she used, almost challenging the unknown woman to provide an answer that she would evaluate to see if it was acceptable or not.

"I am so sorry," their father offered in a hurry as he caught up with the girls. "That was very rude," he scowled the elder, matching the woman's posture by doping to one knee.

"The honesty of children can be very refreshing," the woman offered, clearly not having taken any offense to the interrogation she had been subjected to.

"My name is Ensign Ashton Dean, and this is..."

"Tristan and Cordelia, I know," she completed with a smile. "My name is Mordana. I was on my way to my quarters."

Ashton returned to a fully upright posture and offered the woman a helping hand which she politely refused. Following that, the Ensign returned her smile before shifting his attention back to his daughters. "Take your sister to our quarters while I show Miss Mordana the location of the guest quarters."

"No need," the woman with the long jet black hair stated, a polite smile dancing on her lips. "I know the way," and with that, she resumed her course for the room leaving the family behind.

"She's weird," Tristan announced with a grimace.

"There is defensively something strange about that woman," Ashton agreed. "And that's above and beyond the fact that she came here on her own accord while everyone one else on this outpost would be happy to be anywhere else but here."

=====
Setting: RELAY OUTPOST SIGMA 385, Guest Quarters
Stardate: 33112.1055

The room was small, and the ambient lights set to the lowest possible illumination. As Mordana completed her survey of the room, she turned to face one of the empty corners and began speaking as if some invisible being had been there.

"I have been able to confirm the reports from TAU OMEGA. The secret Federation's underground facility has discovered one of our lost scouts. They have not yet been able to excavate it from the cave in which it was found. Measures have been taken to ensure that they do not succeed."

A strange, barely audible sequence of high pitch squeals and clicks filled the room, the sound would have been enough to give anyone nightmares for weeks and more, but the woman remained calm and composed. To her, the eerie sound emanating from the shadows were as normal as could be, the reason for this being that she was more than she appeared to be, much more.

"No," she replied to a question that only she could hear and understand. "No one on board the THUNDER COMET is worthy, they can be disposed of without worries to our cause."

=====
Setting: SPACE
Stardate: 33112.1115

The attack was swift and the transport vessel proved to be no match for whatever it was that came after them. Sensors showed nothing, and by the time the damage reports began to come in, it was already too late. For the most part, the THUNDER COMET had been reduced to space dust, its Captain blown into space when the bridge was ripped in half as if it had been made of paper.

Now floating in space, his body as cold as the icy void that surrounded him, the man had been given his wish. He was free of the physical limitations of his ship and could now explore space freely. His personal desires were granted even more as his wide opened eyes stared into the emptiness of space to see the nightmare that had ended his life as well as those of his crew. Even in death, his eyes reflected fear as the black skinned vessel shimmered and vanished from sight as if it had never been there, the only hint of its presence being the small debris field that had once been the THUNDER COMET and its crew.

=====
Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Section A, Level 6, Admiral Koniki's office
Stardate: 33112.1300

"Here are the latest reports Admiral," Allyson said as she handed over several PADDs to the man sitting behind the imposing onyx desk. The blonde haired secretary to the senior most officer of the ultra-secret station always smiled, even when bringing bad news in whatever form they might present themselves in.

"That three ships that have suddenly gone missing," Koniki sighed, clearly annoyed by what he was reading.

"Actually, there are now four ships, Admiral," Allyson corrected. "The ISS THUNDER COMET vanished from long-range sensors over an hour ago. Sensor logs from the nearby RELAY OUTPOST SIGMA 385 show the exact same readings as the previous three vessels which suddenly vanished."

"Only one explanation for this... It has begun. The sisters warned me but I didn't listen. Why would they be wrong now when they had never before been wrong?" Koniki demanded of himself as he slammed a closed fist onto his desk.

"The sisters only provide likely possibilities, never certainties. You decided to play the odds against."

"And look where that has led us. The attack on CAIT was a failed attempt to establish a foothold in our galaxy, but I should have known that they would not wait too long before trying something else. As patient as they might be, they have been planning this for countless centuries," the Admiral paused as he considered his options. "What is the status of the main response fleet?"

"The crew of the BASTET is still out on the HATHOR, and no news or signal has been detected. Wherever the Blink Device took them, it is well outside of our ability to detect them," Allyson reported.

"Selene will find a way to get back, the problem is that the moment she does, I will need her back on the BASTET and out there. We can't afford to have that ship sitting here without her captain. What about the others?"

"Captain Harris reported that the USS HORUS has not had any luck with discovering the recent destruction of the Cardassian listening outposts. According to all witnesses, whoever few there are, no one saw anything other than shifting shadows between the stars," the blonde-haired woman explained. "Captain Sangolo is still waiting for the repairs on the SEKHMET to be completed which he estimates will take another week or so. Whatever they encountered destroyed one of the warp nacelles and without a nearby space-dock to help with repairs; they are doing the best they can. As for Captain Morningstar and the crew of the ANUBIS, they are still waiting for you to release them back to active duty. Everyone has passed all physical and psychological exams they have been subjected to since their return from that temporal event."

"Fine," Koniki relinquished, the situation clearly having placed him in a situation where his options had been very limited. "Tell Erik that the ANUBIS is cleared for departure. I want them at the TAU OMEGA research facility yesterday. They are to investigate why the orbital station has lost contact with the underground facility. Last we heard from them, they discovered something, I need to know what that something is without risking the orbital outpost."

"I will relay the message right away Admiral."

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 33112.1330

"Captain's log, supplemental. After 109 days of endless tests, we have finally been returned to active duty. The fact that the news came from Allyson only leaves me to believe that something bad happened and forced the Admiral's hand, otherwise, he would have found a way to rub this into our collective faces before we were allowed to leave. In any case, the ANUBIS and its crew will be heading to TAU OMEGA to investigate an underground facility that has done silent, all contact with the orbital station overhead having been lost. It may not be an action-packed mission, but I am sure that the crew will welcome any reason that gets us out of NEW ALEXANDRIA. End log."

"The crew has been notified Captain," Commander Shar'El reported, the First Officer having been permitted to enter while the Captain gave his verbal account for the official log.  "Many amongst the crew are curious as to whether or not our mission has to do with the missing HATHOR."

"I seriously doubt it. Nothing points to another ship being anywhere near TAU OMEGA, and even Koniki would not come up with such a lame excuse to cover up our going there if it was to render assistance to the HATHOR and its crew. No, we are on an investigation mission, nothing more," the Native American sadly reported.

"Being able to look at the screens in the IGC and see something other than the inside of this base is going to be a huge bonus that will help me and several others get out of bed in the morning."

Shar'El and Erik laughed for a few moments. "We are to get on our way as soon as we are ready and cleared of all moorings," Morningstar stated to his First Officer.

"The moorings were disconnected before I walked in," Shar'El pointed out.

"Guess that means we are late for our departure. Let's go!" The Native American jumped out of his chair and quickly made his way around his desk. Like the other member of his crew, he had been more than anxious to get moving and be outside of the protective shell of the secret base. Only seeing the shadows cast by the internal lighting had been a rather depressing daily sight instead of the quiet beauty of the twinkling stars that filled the endless void of space.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M11-P002: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 01 - 1500 ("Darker Reality")
"Darker Reality"
[previous (ANU) "Agent of the Shadows" / (BAS) "Questioning"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge 
Stardate: 33112.1500

This felt good, really good. To be back at his post was what he needed. Performing his duties was far better than enduring endless psychological tests to see if his journey through time, and into another reality, had affected him in a way that would affect his work. This was as real as it got for him, and with the ship heading for TAU OMEGA at maximum speed, things were just going to get better.

"Lieutenant Stark, if I may?" The new CNS said, looking at Jayson as if a third eye or a second nose had suddenly appeared on his face.

"Is there something wrong?" He asked, nervous and quite a bit self-conscious.

"Nothing wrong," Lopez reassured. "I just wanted to clarify the reason why you have not stopped smiling since our departure from NEW ALEXANDRIA."

"Wait a minute. You are asking *me* why I am smiling?" He questioned feeling singled out. "Last time I checked she was smiling just as much as I am," he pointed out casting an accusing glare in the direction of the woman he was romantically involved with.

"Yes, but I know what her reasons are," Adriana said, not breaking her gaze of the increasingly nervous OPS Officer. "We spoke earlier."

"You spoke earlier?" Jayson repeated, glaring with even more intensity to Ya'Han who could barely manage to not break out laughing. "Why me? Why not ask someone else?"

"No one else is smiling the way you are Lieutenant," the CNS pointed out forcing Jayson to scan the members of the bridge's crew to confirm the accuracy of the statement. At the front of the bridge, Ensign Jones was busy piloting the ANUBIS, and from what he could see, the woman was not smiling, then again she rarely did. At the engineering station, Lieutenant Paquette appeared swamped with her work, the redhead appearing rather frustrated with something, so she was certainly not in the mood to smile. So aside from Ya'Han and himself, this left the Captain who now seemed interested in the conversation between his OPS Officer and new CNS.

"Alright," Jayson said, abandoning any hope of winning whatever this was. "Yes, I am happy. I am happy that we are finally out of NEW ALEXANDRIA. I am happy that we are back in our own time and reality, but most important I am happy that we are back on active duty. Sitting around doing nothing was never what I signed up for when I joined Starfleet."

"See, that wasn't that hard," Adriana said, concluding their little public chat.

"That's it? All you wanted was for me to admit why I was happy?" Thanks to all of his dealings with countless Counselors, Jayson had become used to things not being so straightforward. Usually, a CNS would ask him a question meant to make him talk about something that he was not ready or willing to speak of, so this 'straight to the point' approach by Adriana Lopez was something that he had never expected.

"That's it," she confirmed. "Unless there is something more that you would like to talk about?"

From frustrated, he became confused to such an extent that he was not sure how to reply. "What more could there be?" He asked wondering if he had missed something through any of this.

"Like you said, you are happy that we, as well as the rest of us, are back on active duty," the CNS explained. "There is absolutely no reason for any of us to be unhappy. You are back at your post, Lieutenant Ya'Han is back at hers, everyone is where they should be."

That was when his right eye twitch. Many times, people would use an external display of overflowing happiness and joy to hide something sad, something painful to them. In some of these cases, the person doing this would not even be aware that they were doing it, at least until something made them come face-to-face with the reason for their behavior.

"You are not," Jayson hissed at Adriana, his eyes had narrowed as they locked onto the new Ship's Counselor. "Nicole should be the one here, not you."

Lopez remained silent and motionless. All of this had been carefully planned, even to the extent that Ya'Han needed to be there in case Jayson decided to physically lash out. Trying to bring this out in the Counseling office would have made the realization of his own feelings that much harder to be expressed, so everyone had agreed to do this on the bridge instead.

"I am sorry that Nicole is not here. I am sorry that the ANUBIS was not sent to look for her, but you have to realize that everyone misses her a great deal, including me," Adriana explained.

"How can you miss her? You never knew her. You never spoke to her. As far as you are concerned she was a CNS who vanished allowing you to take her place."  Whatever rage he felt was held in place by a single look from the woman he teased by calling her the Red Dragon. Whatever his feelings were, he was thinking clearly enough to know that a single wrong move on his part would unleash the now fully red-haired Nylaan upon him.

"Jayson," Ya'Han said, the softness of her voice instantly disarming him. "This was my doing. Adriana came to see me so that we could talk about how I felt about her being here instead of Nicole and during the conversation, your name was mentioned. I knew that you were close to her and that her not being with us during all of the testings was difficult for you. It was difficult for us all, but we came to accept Adriana as well as her help. We all did, except for you."

"It's not fair," he growled, realizing that Adriana had played her role to perfection, like every other Counselor before her. As angry as he now was though, he understood, at least in some small way, that she had done this for him. "She is still somewhere out there, and we are heading to this TAU OMEGA instead of going out looking for her. It's not fair."

"I know," Ya'Han said, taking Jayson into her arms and hugging him with all of the affection she felt for him. "Holding on to that anger though is not healthy, not for you and certainly not for us. You need to let it go. We will find her someday, but right now we have to concentrate on the larger issues. We have no idea what we are going to encounter in the research facility on TAU OMEGA, but I know that things will be a lot more complicated if any one of us is not mentally ready."

"You are right," the OPS Officer admitted to the woman whose hair had returned to the safer mixture of black and red. "Counselor Lopez, I am sorry."

"You have nothing to be sorry about Lieutenant, that is why I am here, to help those in need, even if they are not aware that they are in need of help," Adriana said, looking relieved that the unexpected public counseling session had gone smoother than she had feared it might. "If you are ready to talk, I would be happy to continue this in a more private setting."

"The Black Hole Lounge, say after our shift and dinner, 2000?"

"That will do just fine," Lopez agreed, knowing all too well that trying to have this discussion in the CNS' office would only make things more difficult as those were still Ensign Dima's as far as the OPS Officer was concerned.

"Alright, everyone back to work," Captain Morningstar said, bringing everyone back on task. As much as he might have agreed to allow this to happen, the bridge was still not a place where such events needed to take place on a regular basis.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P003: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 01 - 1530
("It's The Small Things That Count")
"It's The Small Things That Count"
previous posts were (ANU) "Whispered Voices" / (BAS) "Introduction"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge, Engineering Station
Stardate: 33112.1530

Normally, the Chief Engineering Officer would have been down in her domain, making sure that the warp core, engines and all parts attached to them were working at their highest level to make sure the ship and crew reached their destination as quickly as possible as per the Captain's wishes. Sonja had agreed to instead be on the bridge at this time because of one single reason; Ya'Han.  The Nylaan had requested the presence of her friend when their new Counselor would confront Jayson about his actual feelings about the woman and the position she now held.

Obviously, the Chief of Security had become aware of something about this and she wanted to help, so after speaking with the Counsellor and devising some sort of devious plan, Ya'Han had come to see Sonja to enlist her assistance. The Nylaan explained in length the reasons as to why this needed to happen in a controlled environment outside of the Counsellor's normal work environment. That way, Jayson would not expect this to happen and it would also permit those present to intervene should the proverbial bovine excrement landed into the rapidly spinning blades of a cooling device. Sonja agreed to this, partially to offer support to her friend who was more than capable of taking care of herself, but mostly to see the man in question be hopefully made to twitch as Lopez played some Jedi mind trick on him.

It was true that Nicole being gone bothered Sonja, how could it not? The two of them had become friends and come to share a secret like no other, a secret that directly targeted the ANUBIS' Chief of Security. With Counsellor Dima gone, the Chief Engineer was the only one, aside from Commander Shar'El, to know that Ya'Han had been pregnant and come to lose the child due to the unspeakable trickery of the Dolbargy named Soturemol.

As troubled and sad as Sonja might have felt though, the redhead Engineer knew that dealing with the lost of friends and helping others with their sorrows was a part of life in Starfleet. With all of the evils out there hiding in the darkness between the stars, it was impossible for things to always go as plan and to end in the best possible manner. Life out here was cruel in the best of times, and that was one of the reasons why the ANUBIS and its crew were out here; to help in some small way to tip the balance on the side of good.

Sonja glanced over her shoulder to meet Ya'Han's thankful gaze. The plan had worked, at least as much as the Chief of Security had hoped it would, the Chief Engineer on the other hand was left feeling somewhat disappointed that the head of their Chief of Operations had not gone spinning like a top. All hope was not lost though as the ANUBIS was heading for a secret research facility located on some distant world. Maybe there they would encounter something that would make Jayson lose it, not that the redhead truly wanted to see something happen to the man whom her friend had become romantically involved with.

"Captain," Sonja said, calling upon her the attention of the ship's CO. "Receiving a report from ANI. There appears to be a minor power fluctuation in the starboard power coupling. With your permission, I will head down there and fix the problem before it forces us to drop out of warp speed and delay our arrival to TAU OMEGA."

Morningstar did not hesitate to grant his permission and the Chief Engineer was out of her chair and into the turbolift before the man could even turn back to look at the forward screen.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 22, Main Engineering
Stardate: 33112.1545

"Thank you ANI," Sonja said the moment she walked into the room and was greeted by the ship's Avatar.

"Given how quickly I received your signal, I can only gather that Counsellor Lopez' plan worked," the artificial woman stated to her co-creator, almost managing to add a smile as she did so.

"It worked all right," the engineer sighed. "The things I do for my friends. I hope that Ya'Han realizes the extent that i went through for her. I could have been down here instead of up there."

"I am sure that she appreciated all that you did," ANI stated trying her best not to sound condescending in doing so.

Sonja twisted her lips in a show of annoyance before changing the subject. "Give it a minute or so before you restore the power flow to the starboard coupling back to its optimal level. If we show it to be fixed too quickly, someone up there might actually figure out that your message to me was a trick to have me be back down here," Sonja explained as she made her way to the rapidly pulsating warp core. "I am sorry for the discomfort hold friend," the redhead said as she extended her hand to ever so gently touch the proverbial heart of the ANUBIS. "I very much appreciate what you did for me and we'll have you all fixed up in no time."

A few moments passed before the ship's Avatar spoke once again. "The power fluctuation in the starboard power coupling has been eliminated," ANI reported. "All systems are operating at optimal level."

"Perfect. Now, I need you in the robotics lab with me. There are a few little things that I want to look into before we reach TAU OMEGA. That underground research facility might be the perfect opportunity for us to test the new D.R.O.N.E. but I have to make sure that your interface with them does not interfere with your ability to communicate with the ANUBIS. The last thing we need is to have you lose contact with the ship while we are down there testing our Dynamic Remote Operated Nanotech Explorer.

This time there was no denying it, ANI had actually smiled. Over the nearly three months of their debriefing, psychological and physical exams and testing following their journey through time and space, Sonja had found a way to keep herself busy and not completely lose her mind. The creation of the DRONEs had become just that, all that remained now was to test them in a live environment which Sonja believed the research facility on TAU OMEGA would be perfect for.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M11-P004: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 01 - 1600 ("Researching The Unknown")
=-=
"Researching The Unknown"
[previous post were (ANU) "It`s The Small Things" by Lorraine / (BAS) "Second Thoughts" by Leigh]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 33112.1600

In an isolated star system, far away from the busy interplanetary shipping routes and curious wandering eyes, the world designated as TAU OMEGA could be found. The small N-Class planet with a 98% carbon-dioxide atmosphere had long ago been deemed worthless by everyone who took the time to scan it. This was no surprise as no important mineral deposits or anything of relative value was discovered on that planet. Whatever plantlife did manage to exist on the surface was too sparse to make any sort of harvest worthwhile.

Of course, as it was since the dawn of mankind, the discarded junk of one person would soon become the priceless treasure of another. So it was not entirely surprising to the ExO / ILO that a secret base had been established below the inhospitable surface of that world.  What did surprise Shar'El was the presence of a research station in orbit of that same planet.  If SFI wanted to keep the presence of the underground base a secret, placing an orbital research facility right above it seemed rather foolish, drawing attention to a planet that would normally not have been given a second look.

Maybe that was part of the reason why all contact was lost with the underground facility, but that failed to account as to why the orbital station was still fully operational and without a single clue as to what had happened below. According to the most recent Intel report, only a select few of those working on the orbital station knew of the presence of the underground facility. This was meant to help protect the secret research base. The fact that those who knew about it had no idea as to what happened for them to lose contact with the below-surface base only added to the mystery that surrounded this whole affair.

As the ExO, it would be her responsibility to lead an away team to investigate what had happened. Flashbacks of Paris filled Shar'El's mind, the idea of going into another secret underground research facility being less than thrilling. Between now and reaching their destination, the Ullian would have time to ward off those feelings and create what she would consider being the perfect team for this mission.

According to the information provided by the orbital station, no signal or power output could be detected from the underground facility. This meant that Lt. Paquette needed to be part of the away team in order to determine what the problem was and hopefully fix it. Of course, the Avatar ANI would also be required to beam down, her ability to remain in contact with the ANUBIS being essential not to mention that this situation would be a perfect way to test the Chief Engineer's latest toys. Although Sonja had not informed the Captain or anyone else of the existence of these DRONEs, Shar'El had not been one to remain unaware of such projects for very long, especially when they took place on board the ship.

Based on all of the information she had gathered on these small, airborne extensions of the Avatar, the ExO / ILO was actually very much looking forward to seeing these latest creations in action. As interesting as the DRONEs might be though, more than their creator and controller needed to be members of the away team. Shar'El continued her deliberation, adding Ya'Han to the list to ensure the safety of the team, knowing that the ANUBIS would not be in any sort of danger while in orbit of TAU OMEGA.

As useful as Maya's presence might prove to be, the ExO / ILO decided to have her remain on the ship, there the Shillian would be able to analyze the gathered information from both the away team and orbital station, making full usage of the ANUBIS' resources. The same reasoning was used by Shar'El to dismiss Jayson from being part of the away team. Not only would his expertise be of more use on the ship, but after the scene forced upon him by Counselor Lopez, the First Officer thought it best not to add too many uncertainties around the man.

Only one name remained on her list of considerations, the ANUBIS' new CMO, Doctor Satella Bruxa. According to information provided by Admiral Koniki, the underground facility on TAU OMEGA had nearly 200 people working on various secret projects. If the loss of communication was due to some sort of biological event instead of a mechanical breakdown, it would make sense to have the Doctor be part of the away team. That way she would be able to hopefully identify the cause and danger of whatever had happened.

What made the ExO / ILO debate taking the CMO down was the fact that although the young Mikulak woman had served on the BASTET, her experience in such situation was limited to say the least. There were no doubts that Satella had proven herself more than once as being a skilled physician, but never had the woman faced the potential of seeing so many dead people so quickly. Starfleet Medical did everything it could to prepare its graduates for such scenarios, but to deal with something like that in a holodeck and to see it for real in person was an entirely different story.

Eventually accepting that there was no better time than the present to gain such experience, if this was indeed what had happened to the researchers in the underground facility, Doctor Satella Bruxa was made the fourth and final member of the team. All that remained to do was for the ANUBIS to reach TAU OMEGA and get this investigation underway.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P005: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: Day 01 - 1730 ("Counseling The Counselor")
-=-=-
"Counseling The Counselor"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Researching The Unknown" & (BAS) "Split Second"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33112.1730

The situation concerning Lt. Stark could have been handled in a lot of different ways, but this proved to be the fastest and most direct way to get Jayson to bring his feelings out in the open. Lt. Ya'Han had explained her concerns about the man, her romantic relationship with him granting her access to him in a way that no one else could. It was because of her insistence that Adriana decided to act as she had, a decision she could not professionally denounce. On a personal level though, the events that had taken place on the bridge of the ANUBIS had been a lot harder for the CNS to accept.

"It's hard being the black sheep, ain't it sis?" Amanda said, the vision of the twin sister actually smiling. Although the sibling was not physically real, her words could be just as damaging, even if they were meant to do nothing more than to reflect the sister's thoughts back to her.

"Adriana?" Satella said as the Doctor walked into the room, the tears crawling on the Counselor's cheeks a clear indication that something was not right. "Don't listen to Adriana; you know that she's only trying to get a rise out of you."

The twin sister smiled and quickly dried her tears. Satella was the only one who knew of her hallucinations and never had the Doctor said or done anything to make the CNS feel bad about them. Adriana could not help but admire the fact that her friend had pinpointed so accurately the reason for her display of emotions.

"That is what she does," Adriana admitted, knowing all too well that the statement was partially incomplete since the twin sister was nothing more than a mental projection created by the Counselor to help her deal with events that took place around her. "It's what she has always done. She makes me face those things I do not want to accept, making me deal with the reality of whatever situation I find myself in."

"I am not denying the fact that this can be a good thing," Satella said, sitting on the examination bed upon which Adriana had been sitting on. "As per your own admission, she was instrumental in getting you off the KROGEN alive. She is a part of you, there is no denying that, but you have to accept the fact that her point of view is limited. She sees things from your eyes and processes everything that happens from where you stand, ignoring everything else. My guess is that right now, she's hounding you based on what Lt. Stark said to you."

"I don't know why I am here," Adriana said, allowing herself to cry which led her friend to reach out and pull her into a caring hug. "You are as good a Counselor as I am, even better, just look at how fast you figured out what is troubling me. It took me twice as long to even get Jayson to start talking to me, let alone him vocalizing his true feelings at my being here on board the ANUBIS."

"You need to stop beating yourself over for that. You came here because this ship needed you because the BASTET was no longer the place for either one of us to be in order to do what it is we do best. As for my being a better CNS than you, that's Amanda talking. I could never do half the things you do, and the way you handled the entire situation with Jayson is a perfect example of that." Satella paused for a moment to give her friend a big great hug before pushing her at arms' length so that the two of them could see each other. "Ya'Han came to see you because you are the ship's Counselor. You then went to see the Captain in that same capacity to inform him of the situation and what you believed was the best way to deal with it. He agreed to follow your recommendations for no other reasons than he accepts you as being *his* ship's Counselor."

"You may be correct, but it still doesn't make it right that I am here instead of Nicole. I can't help but feel that I am usurping her position and that she will walk in at any moment to claim it back. It's not easy being here while she's somewhere else out there."

"Of course it's not easy, life was never meant to be easy, and we both discovered that first-hand thanks to what we faced while on the BASTET. The problem, at least as I see it, is that you are the one making it more difficult for yourself. Yes there may be a few people who are sad that their former CNS is gone, that only makes them human and normal, that is also part of the reason you are here. They need your help to make sense of what happened, of their own feelings. The situation would not be any different had the crew suddenly lost their Captain, First Officer or any other member of the senior staff. The only difference here is that you are both the person reminding them of who is gone and the one here to help them deal with that loss, and for the record you are doing an excellent job at it. Something that Amanda is failing to see because you yourself refuse to see this."

Adriana blinked a few times as the words spoken by her friend sunk in. Aside from the fact that she had no other choice but to accept what was being said as true, the Counselor also noted the absence of mental projection of her twin sister which further proved the Doctor's point.

"Thank you."

"Thank me? For what?" Satella asked, smiling like a Cheshire cat.

"For being such a great and loyal friend, not to mention a descent back-up Ship's Counselor."

Doctor Bruxa laughed out loud before jumping off the examination bed. "You are still the Counselor, I am just someone trying to help, and as the ANUBIS' CNS I am going to be calling upon you soon enough."

"Why is that?" Lopez asked, suddenly concerned that she had been so preoccupied by her own affairs and problems that she had failed to see that her friend needed someone to talk to.

"Commander Shar'El sent out the list of people who will be part of the away team once we reach TAU OMEGA. Looks like I'll be heading down into the unknown mysteries of that secret underground base. Just thinking about it is giving me nightmares, can only guess as to what state I will be in when I return, so you'd better be ready."

"I will be," Satella giggled. "I'll even have a bed prepped for you so that you can lay down and relax as you tell me all about your adventure."

"Speaking of which, we really need to talk about you claiming your office and work area. I don't mind having you here in Sickbay but as this ship's Counselor don't you think it would be better if you actually made use of the area specifically set aside for that purpose? I am sure the couch in that room is just as comfortable as one of these beds, and I know that the area will be much more private and conducive to the kind of discussions you will be having."

"Can we take it one step at a time?" Adriana asked, the CNS still not entirely ready to jump into the deep end of the Ship's Counselor's pool.

"Come, I'll help you find your way there. If I let you go I have the feeling that security will find you somewhere else, trying to hide."

"I would not hide!" Lopez adamantly defended. "At least not for very long, I can't help but feel like Commander Shar'El as eyes everyone."

"True, reason more for you to do as you are expected. That woman as a way of looking at you that frankly sends shiver down my spine."

With that said both women laughed and made their way out Sickbay and towards the Counselor's office, a location that Adriana would have to claim as being hers, at least for the time being. All that thanks to the support and words of encouragement she received from her friend, Satella Bruxa.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M11-P006: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 01 - 1730 ("Feeling Guilty")
"Feeling Guilty"
[previous (ANU) "Counseling the Counselor" / (BAS) "Split Second"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge 
Stardate: 33112.1730

Despite the ANUBIS heading for TAU OMEGA at maximum warp speed, things were quiet, and maybe that was part of the problem. Without something concrete to keep him busy, his mind was running just as fast as the ship was.  Since the forced run-in with Counselor Lopez a few hours ago, the OPS Officer had been trying to make sense of his own feelings. He wanted to sort things out prior to the scheduled meeting with Counselor Lopez in the Black Hole Lounge. Jayson felt bad for thinking the way he had and saying what he did to Adriana. Whatever had happened, the new CNS was here to help.

"Still beating yourself over what happened with Counselor Lopez?" Ya'Han whispered, the Chief of Security had found some official reason to leave her post to come to his.

"Is it that obvious?"

"Yes," the woman replied, gently nudging him with her elbow. "That's why I am here, to remind you that beating you up is my job." Jayson knew that she had meant this in jest, but still his initial reaction was one of shock. Did she truly find it that enjoyed to beating him while they trained in the ship's gymnasium?  "Don't be angry at her, she did what she did because of me. I was the one who approached her with concerns about you and your well-being. You said some things during our downtime at NEW ALEXANDRIA, and it bothered me, so I decided to call upon Adriana for help as the ANUBIS' Ship's Counselor."

"I'm not angry at her," Jayson clarified, keeping his voice to be no louder than a soft whisper. "As much as I might not want to openly admit it, I understand that what happened needed to happen. I am just a little troubled that it needed to be done the way it did. I actually feel bad for Adriana, because of me she was placed in a very difficult situation due to my inability to deal with Counselor Dima's disappearance in a more professional manner. Since long before my joining Starfleet, I have relied on Counselors to help me get over every little bump that I came across. When Nicole vanished I felt like a part of me disappeared with her. You would figure that I should be used to going from one Counselor to the next by now, but Nicole was different."

"She was part of the crew, part of the family," Ya'Han said knowingly.

"Yes," Jayson agreed. "It hurt then, and it still does now."

"We all hoped for some sort of closure when the HATHOR was sent out, and after three months we are now dealing with not only the fact that we still don't know what happened to Nicole, but we also have no idea what happened to the ship. Now we have to deal with the possibility that it and its crew may never be heard of again. Testing any piece of new and experimental equipment carries a certain level of danger, and for the Blink Device, that was even truer. That we have not heard anything from them, not even a faint signal indicating that they are out there, somewhere, only adds to the emotional burden we put on ourselves. If it was not for Adriana, many would not have made it through those last three months."

"That's part of the reason why I feel so bad for saying what I did. I should be thankful for her being here instead of resentful. Adriana is in no way responsible for Nicole vanishing the way she did, so why do I hold her responsible in some way?" Jayson's anger was clearly directed at himself, but it was the overflow of those feelings that threatened to trample their new CNS. The irony of the matter was that is was the ship's Counselor herself who was best equipped to deal with his rage.

"She's stronger than she appears," Ya'Han said, thinking back to the soft and gentle impression the Latin woman radiated, something that played well in her favor given her job description as a Ship's Counselor. "Take it from someone who has gone through enough to be able to recognize this when she sees it, there is a hidden strength in her."

"I hope so for her sake," Jayson softly chuckled. "With this crew, the emotional turmoil never seems to end, so she has her work cut out."

The Nylaan hesitated to smile back, feeling in some way targeted by his words. "We, as a crew, do seem to deal with more than our fair share lot of soul-wrenching issues," Ya'Han said, agreeing with Jayson while at the same time making sure that she was not being singled out for whatever reason he might have to do so, if it was, in fact, his desire. "Would you like me to go with you to your appointment with Adriana? I can be there at the start and stealthily make an exit when you two start hitting the heavier personal stuff."

"I would like you being there, and you would not have to leave. Whatever Adriana manages to pull out of me will not be any sort of secrets and I would prefer not keeping anything from you. I understand that you have secrets that you need to keep from everyone, including me due to your troubled past as the daughter of the High Ruler."

"High Sovereign," Ya'Han corrected her voice cold and unfeeling.

"Sorry, High Sovereign," he continued. "Whatever reasons you have for wanting to keep that to yourself is yours and i understand that.  I just believe that those should be more than enough secrets between the two of us, so I want to be the open book, that way I will be there for you if and when you decide to share some of those dark and sad memories with me."

Ya'Han seemed surprised at the wording of the offer. She made a point to keep those mentioned secrets as far away from him as she could, but apparently, she had failed since he was aware of them, even if only in passing.  Not certain as to how to answer, the Nylaan woman just smiled and made her way back to her station, not realizing that her hair had changed to being solid black.

However hard she tried to hide her feelings, Ya'Han's lack of control over the color of her hair when she allowed her emotions to take over was the only clue Jayson had. This allowed him to know that something was bothering her without the Nylaan realizing it or saying anything about it. Usually, it was her hanger that came out for all to see through fiery red hair, but every now and then, her sadness and pain would be visible through the appearance of a solid black cover atop her head. This advantage, however small it may be for him and everyone else was certainly something that the OPS Officer would not be revealing to her anytime soon. All that he could do was to hope that the upcoming discussion with Adriana would not change this minor advantage he believed to possess over the Nylaan.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P007: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: Day 01 - 1930 ("Hints of Shadows")
##########
"Hints of Shadows"
Previous posts (ANU) "Feeling Guilty" / (BAS) "Small Unexpectednesses"
##########

"Boundaries drawn on maps or marked by signs have no meaning for shadows.” 
― Ancient saying credited to the Lokustaar

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Array Section, Deck A-5, Holographic Simulation Chambers 1
Stardate: 33112.1930

The Native American stepped into the specialized holographic simulation room to find his First Officer standing in the middle of what appeared to be the control center of a facility that he had never before seen. Erik had come here as per Shar'El's request but since she had not given him any details as to the reason why the Captain could not have expected to find what he did.

"I thought these holodecks could only recreate outdoor settings," Morningstar stated, approaching the pensive-looking woman.

"The simulation chambers are normally linked to the ship's planetary sensors, but they can still be used as any other holodeck on board the ANUBIS. In this case, the holographic projectors are processing the data and information that has been provided by the TAU OMEGA orbital station," Shar'El explained. "This room was recreated using the visual segments of the most recent encoded communications between the underground facility and the station's CO. This is the best we have at the moment to give us an idea of what might have happened."

"Not much to go on," the Native American commented, realizing from what Shar'El had said that the holographic recreation was, in fact, lacking several key details. "Guessing that the missing parts were filled-in using the facility's layout at the time of its construction."

Shar'El chuckled. "Can you believe that it was harder to get those layouts from Admiral Koniki than it was to get a copy of the encoded transmissions from the orbital station's CO? There are times I swear that man is too paranoid even for his own good."

"The problem of working in the environment he does I guess," the Native American offered as a possible explanation, not that he was trying to defend the man that he found hard to trust most of the time due to that very same paranoia.

"That will have to be a discussion between you and Counsellor Lopez at some other time, right now we need to focus on the mission at hand," Shar'El said as she made her way to one of the side consoles. "I wanted you to see this," the First Officer added, drawing the Captain's attention to the small screen.  "The resolution may not be perfect, but it is clear enough to identify the area that I believe we will find the cause of the facility having gone dark."

The Native American leaned in and studied what appeared to be a floor layout with one large flashing indicator beyond the limits of where the walls were. "Theories?" Erik asked, knowing that his First Officer would not have called him here had she not have one or more ideas to explain what it was they were looking at.

"Each floor has certain unique configuration making it easy to identify using those hard-to-get construction layouts from Admiral Koniki. What we are looking at is the lower-most level of the facility, and that flashing indicator appears to show something that was discovered outside of the normal tunnels. My guess is that someone found something on the internal sensors or maybe as they were passing by while their tricorder was open.  Whatever it was, they could not immediately identify, and because of that, they decided to dig their way in to find out what it was. From there, things happened quickly and the orbital station lost contact with the underground facility shortly after. The last report from the base's CO does mention them, and I quote, 'stumbling onto something weird'. That was the last and only useful piece of information provided before contact was lost."

"At least it does give us something to focus on once we arrive," Erik noted, trying to keep a positive spin on all of this despite the eerie feeling that was slowly creeping up his spine. "I gather you have already formed your away team for this mission."

"I have," Shar'El confirmed. "This mission seems to be the perfect opportunity to test Sonja's new toys. As an extension of ANI, the D.R.O.N.E. will be able to travel the corridors and relay what they discover without risking the members of the away team. I thought that this would be preferable since the composition of the walls of that facility make it extremely difficult to get any sort of accurate long to mid-range tricorder readings.

"Drones?" The Captain asked, never having heard of them before.

"Not drones," Shar'El corrected, "but D.R.O.N.E. which stands for Dynamic Remote Operated Nanotech Explorers. It is something that our resident Chief Engineer was working on during our three-month debriefing following our last time-traveling mission."

"I suspect that Ya'Han is not going to enjoy having extensions of our Avatar, however small they may be, take point on this mission," the Native American chuckled for a very brief moment. "Our Chief of Security is definitively the 'hands-on' type of officer."

"That is why she will be down there with us. "The DRONEs are only meant to give the away team as wide and far-reaching scan as possible, but it will be her task to ensure that we all make it back alive."

"All right, who else do you have on your team?" Morningstar inquired, curious as to which other officer Shar'El had selected for this particular mission into the unknown.

"I thought it wise to bring Doctor Bruxa along in case we encounter any of the base's personnel or discover that the cause for the facility having gone dark is biological in nature," Shar'El explained.

"Makes sense, Maya and Jayson will be able to monitor your progress through ANI and use the ANUBIS' resources to analyze and help as the mission progresses," Erik stated. "Of course, Jayson being able to help will depend on how his meeting with Counselor Lopez goes. After the display on the bridge, I am not entirely convinced that everything will go smoothly even if they are in the Black Hole Lounge."

"I would not count our new Counsellor out so quickly," Shar'El voiced. "There is a hidden strength within her, one that comes across as almost being a separate entity."

"Shar'El," Erik softly growled. "You made me a promise."

"One that I have kept, Captain," the ExO quickly said in her defense. "I did not scan her memories, my impression of her in that regards comes from her own mental projections when we were in the same room, at least when she did not have any knowledge of my presence. For some reason, she manages to mentally distance herself with urgency when she sees me approaching."

"Did you check with Doctor Bruxa to make sure that everything is alright with her?"

"I did," Shar'El said, not sounding overly convinced. "Satella reassured me that everything was fine with Adriana and that this 'alter ego' I picked up on is nothing more than a mental trick used by Counsellors allowing them to more easily separate their professional dealings with their own private lives.  With Nicole, I knew exactly where those multiple personalities came from, being a joint Trill, but with Lopez, I am still trying to figure it out."

"I think you have been dealing with Admiral Koniki a little too much," Erik dismissed with laughter. "You are starting to be just as paranoid as he is."

"This is nothing compared to how the Admiral thinks, especially when he suspects some sort of foul play or hidden agenda," the Executive Officer pointed out in all seriousness.

"You are right," Captain Morningstar agreed.  "I better return to the bridge and oversee our approach to TAU OMEGA. In the meantime, you can continue with your investigation and report back anything new that you may come across."

Shar'El simply nodded her head before resuming her meticulous scan of the holographic recreation of the underground facility's control center, a location that she would get to see for real in person soon enough.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M11-P008: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 01 - 1945 ("Pre-Counseling Session")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Pre-Counseling Session"
[previous post were (ANU) "Hints of Shadows" / (BAS) "Small Unexpectednesses"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Corridor
Stardate: 33112.1945

The feelings of uncertainty and concern seemed to be growing the closer the ANUBIS came to reaching TAU OMEGA. The crew had not been given any details of their latest mission, only that they were heading for a secret underground facility to investigate why it had unexpectedly gone silent. The fact that their destination was a secret underground research facility was enough to make everyone apprehensive in one way or another, but as in all other situation, there were exceptions. The Chief Science Officer stood at the proverbial head of the line of those who were not concerned, Maya actually sounding thrilled that they were going to investigate some sort of mystery.

As for Jayson and Ya'Han, the mystery that awaited them on TAU OMEGA came in second to the uncertainty they shared about what was soon going to happen. The Black Hole Lounge was a public area where crewmembers gathered to relax and enjoy the company of others, but it was easy to see that neither the OPS nor Sec/Tac appeared overly enthusiastic at the idea of seeing and speaking to whom they were supposed to.

"Why are you nervous?" Jayson asked of Ya'Han, the woman not appearing as her usual confident self. "My having to go and speak to Counselor Lopez was your idea, as it was yours to come along, so why are you looking like you want to do this less than I do?"

"I am not worried about you meeting with the Counselor, I am just worried about you. I have been worried for quite some time, hence why I approached Adriana with my concerns and why we come up with what happened on the bridge," the Sec/Tac explained. "We both knew that it would be too awkward in Nicole's old office and you needed o be pushed in order to voice what your thoughts really were about our new CNS."

"Speaking of which, I am still less than happy with you being involved in what happened," Jayson hissed. "I agree that it needed to happen, but still, it would not be as hard to accept had you not been the one who started the whole thing."

"You know that if I had not started it, you would still be feeling the way you did before and without any way to deal and talk about it," Ya'Han sternly pointed out, holding the man's arm to make sure he was looking at her as she spoke. "Over the more than 100 days we spent on NEW ALEXANDRIA, you said and did things that made it clear something was wrong. At first, I thought it was because of something I might have said or done, but soon it became obvious that it was because of Nicole or more specifically because she was not there for you to speak to about your feelings and anger. We all feel her absence and that we have no idea as to what happened only makes it worse. Adriana is doing her best given the situation, and it would be nice if you stopped thinking of yourself for a moment and consider how difficult this is for her."

Jayson swallowed long and hard, uncertain if he should or even wanted to offer any sort of reply seeing that the woman's hair had once again taken on the fiery red that reflected her combative mood. "Sorry," he quietly offered, gently brushing a long lock of her red hair into view. "I do love your hair, but I will admit that when you get like this, I actually get a little scared. I understand that it is what makes you such an efficient and respected Chief of Security, but when it's just you and me, even the mix of black and red that you have taken as your default leaves me a little uneasy."

"Uneasy?" Ya'Han asked, her head ever so gently tilting to one side in puzzlement.

"Yes, because I know that the blood-thirst red beast inside of you is not too far from the surface.

The Sec/Tac clenched her first but before she could unleash any sort of strike against Jayson he quickly raised his hands in a defensive posture. "I said *beast*, not *dragon*, so you can't be angry at me for that."

"Really?" The Sec/Tac growled, coming nose-to-nose with the visibly nervous man. "In what world did you think that calling me a *beast* was better than referring to me as some sort of enraged flying lizard?."

"Should I save us some time and call Counselor Lopez to tell her that I will not be making my appointment because Doctor Bruxa will be doing a post-mortem on me?" Jayson said sounding oddly serious as he did so.

"We all went through too much for you to get that appointment with Counselor Lopez," Ya'Han said, matching the man's seriousness with her own. "I will make sure that you make it to the Black Hole Lounge in one piece. I make no promises as to how you will be when the meeting is over though," the Sec/Tac announced before resuming her walk to the mentioned location and meeting.

Jayson just stood there, bemused and a little scared. As much as he had come to know the Nylaan, and as much as he had developed deep feelings for her, there were times when she did truly scare him. And this was one of those times, maybe.

"Jayson! Are you coming?"

The man jumped into a dash to catch up with the Sec/Tac who was not all that far ahead of him, but far enough to require him to run in order to cover the distance between them as quickly as possible.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] 
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Black Hole Lounge, Lower level
Stardate: 33112.2000

The moment Jayson and Ya'Han walked into the two-floor establishment, Counsellor Lopez waved to them from the upper level, Adriana having already secured a table for their counseling meeting.  The couple remained as quiet as could be as they made their way up the stairs, neither of them being overly certain as to what would happen next but for entirely different reasons.

"Welcome," the CNS said, welcoming the OPS and Sec/Tac to what would be for the moment her field office. "I am very happy to see you both here. I thought that a table on the second level but not entirely out of the way would not bring too much attention to us, but if you would like for us to sit somewhere else, I am more than happy to accommodate."

The woman was kind, attentive, caring and maybe even a little overly joyous, but those were qualities that suited her chosen profession perfectly and quickly helped both Jayson and Ya'Han to feel more at ease. When neither one of her guests voiced any objections, Adriana invited the couple to take seats and join her.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P009: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 01 - 2020 ("Eyes In The Shadows")
=-=
"Eyes In The Shadows"
[previous post were (ANU) " Pre-Counseling Session " by Hanali / (BAS) "Urgent Rendezvous" by Karen]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Array Section, Deck A-5, Holographic Simulation Chambers 1
Stardate: 33112.2020

Shar'El used every piece of information available and this was the best she could do. The incomplete Command and Control center of the underground facility gave no clues as to what might have happened with one exception; the mention by the base's CO that 'something weird' had been discovered was the best and only hint they had. Of course, that discovery was located on the lowest possible floor, beyond the walls of the facility.

The ExO / ILO reviewed once again the list of the member of the away team she had put together; wanting to make sure that she had not forgotten something. Lieutenant Paquette would be there to see if she could identify a problem with the facility's electronic systems that could account for the sudden end to all communications. The CEO would also be there to keep an eye on ANI and the DRONEs, making sure that they were functioning as required. Lieutenant Ya'Han would ensure their continued safety and secure the sections of the facility they would need to travel through to discover what had happened. In the meantime, Doctor Bruxa would test for potential biological reasons for the base having gone dark while attending to any person in need, should they encounter any.

Based on everything that the ExO / ILO had read and hard about this situation, and the continued lack of communication from the underground base, Shar'El considered the odds of them finding any members of the research facility's staff alive to be at best slim next to none. Oddly enough, this was the main reason why Doctor Bruxa was made to be a member of the away team and why the team leader was so concerned about her being there. Dealing with death was never easy, but to do so on the scale that they might encounter on that base would be enough to ensure nightmares for weeks to come.

Tired and unable to concentrate, Shar'El decided to return to her quarters and get some rest before the ANUBIS reached its destination. TAU OMEGA would offer more than enough to keep everyone busy, so as the team leader the ExO / ILO needed to be clear-minded and well-rested.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Shar'El's Quarters
Stardate: 33112.2045

Shar'El walked into her quarters feeling exceptionally tired as if the gravitational constant of the universe had suddenly doubled. It had been a while since her last injection but the ExO / ILO could not bring herself to accept that this was the cause of the way she currently felt. Yes, the exposure to Felicium had proven especially difficult for her to handle, forcing her to rely on a substitute compound to help her deal with her runaway thoughts and memories, namely those belonging to their Chief of Security and the unborn child that had been taken from her. As bad and addictive as the Ornaran drug was, there was a side effect that the Ullian could not easily dismiss. While under the effects of the once vaccine, she no longer suffered from the nightmare that Ya'Han had been subjected to.

Heading straight for her quarters, Shar'El opened one of the drawers of her dresser and retrieved a small box containing two small, unlabeled vials and an injector. The compound created by Lt. Cmdr. Maya as per the ExO / ILO's request had none of the addictive properties of the Felicium but maintained the memory blocking effects. As much as her body had not grown dependant on these injections, her mind had steadily become used to this new unhindered way of working, causing the Ullian to maintain this condition whenever possible.

One of the vials was inserted into the injector and seconds later, the medical device was pressed against her neck, releasing a small dosage of the compound into her bloodstream. A sense of peace and tranquility washed through Shar'El's mind causing her to let out a long sigh as she closed her eyes. Maybe after this mission, she would see Doctor Bruxa or even Counselor Lopez and ask them for help, but right now, there was no time. Everyone needed to focus his or her fullest attention on the mission and the investigation as to why the secret underground research facility located on TAU OMEGA had unexpectedly gone dark.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Array Section, Deck A-5, Holographic Simulation Chambers 1
Stardate: 33112.2230

Rest it seems would not be her companion on this night. Even with the most recent injection, the Ullian had been unable to find what she had been looking for; instead, she found her way back here. The holographic recreation was just as she had left it, filled with every detail available and yet unable to provide the slightest clue as to what had happened to the base or its personnel. 

Feeling some sort of presence in the room with her, the ExO / ILO suddenly looked over her shoulder to see if Captain Morningstar had returned as she had. Instead of finding the Native American man, the Ullian found no one. A quick scan of the holographic recreation confirmed that she was indeed alone, this despite the growing feeling that someone or something was there with her, studying her move as if planning an attack.

Shar'El laughed, recalling Erik's earlier comments about her spending too much time with Admiral Koniki, so much so that she was starting to mimic the man's paranoid ways. The lack of knowledge as to what they would encounter on TAU OMEGA was enough to cause any over-active imagination to create things and that was what the ExO / ILO believed was happening to her. Of course, being as tired as she was only made matters worse. After having talked herself down from this self-triggered anxiety attack.

Feeling a little calmer, the raven-haired woman gave the holographic recreation of the Command and Control center a thorough scan, not that she expected to find anything new, but to her surprise, she did. In one of the sections not covered by the visual range of the communications between the base and orbital station, a door that was not there before now stood. Shar'El could not accept that she had not noticed this door before now, which only increased her curiosity. How could this access point have suddenly become part of the simulation? Had the computer extrapolated something new from the facility's floor plans?"

Whatever the cause was for the appearance of this new door, the ExO / ILO saw no reason to not investigate it as well as to where it might lead. After all, Shar'El was inside an independent static holographic recreation, so what could possibly happen. As she drew closer, the door hissed open as if the mechanism had not been used for months if not longer. This added to the strangeness of the situation but not enough to make the raven-haired woman reconsider the curiosity-fueled desire to investigate.

The narrow corridor beyond the now open door also appeared to not have been used for quite some time. There was no reason for the holographic Simulation Chamber to portray the passage in such a way as no available information pertaining to the state of the corridor, let alone its presence had been obtained

Walking down the corridor, Shar'El had to constantly remind herself that this was nothing more than a holographic recreation in order to keep her imagination and growing insecurities at bay. After all of the nightmares she had lived through thanks to the memories of countless others, there were no reasons for her to be as scared as she was now. Then again, maybe it was because of those memories that she found it impossible to push the feelings away.  When the lights suddenly went out, the ExO / ILO could not help herself and screamed like a young child, frightened by something unexpected.

As soon as she regained her wits, Shar'El decided to put an end to this unpleasant situation. "Computer, end program and restore full illumination."

Instead of the dark corridor vanishing though, eight small red glowing lights appeared in front of her, the way they stood together leaving no doubts in the mind of the ExO / ILO as to what they were and whom they belonged to. Those eyes were a nightmare onto themselves and the fact that they belonged to the Lokustaar only made seeing them that much more troubling.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33112.2245

"Captain," Tanith reported from the Flight Control station. "We are receiving reports of a disturbance outside Commander Shar'El's quarters. It seems that she is running through the corridor, screaming."

"Morningstar to Shar'El," the Captain said after having tapped his communicator. When no reply came, Erik decided to act in a different manner. "Morningstar to Ya'Han, I know that you are off duty but we need out outside Commander Shar'El's quarters. Apparently, she is running around screaming."

=/\= I will be right there, =/\= the Chief of Security confirmed.

=/\= Captain, with your permission, I would like to join Lieutenant Ya'Han. Maybe I can be of some help, =/\= Counselor Lopez offered, saving the Captain from asking her to doing just that.

"Please do Counselor. We have no idea as to what is happening, but I would like to make sure that everything is alright."

=/\= We are already on our way, =/\= Ya'Han added leaving the Captain to easily imagine the two women running as fast as they could to intercept the ExO / ILO and figure out what had triggered such a reaction in the raven-haired woman.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P010: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: Day 01 - 2250 ("Counseling On The Run")
-=-=-
"Counseling On The Run"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Eyes In The Shadows" & (BAS) "Urgent Rendezvous"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Corridor
Stardate: 33112.2250

If at any point Adriana believed that the counseling session with Jayson and Ya'Han had been going slow, there would be no arguing that things had picked up in a drastic way. As hard as she tried, the CNS could not keep up with the speeding Chief of Security or Chief of Operations who himself displayed signs of having difficulties keeping pace with the woman.  Having read the Nylaan's file, Lopez knew about her ability to change her hair color to reflect her current mood and mindset, but to see this in action was something of a wonder.

During the friendly chat back in the Black Hole Lounge, Adriana had noticed that Ya'Han's hair seemed at times to be darker. At one point it appeared to almost be solid black instead of the near-perfect balance of red and black that it was when she and Jayson had joined her. As soon as the call came from Captain Morningstar though, a full head of bright red hair appeared on the head of the Chief of Security, displaying that nothing but the warrior trained Nylaan was present and ready for action.

Having fallen behind several dozen meters on the Chief of Security and her partner, Adriana knew that Ya'Han and Jayson would reach the distressed Commander first. All that Lopez could do was continue running as fast as she could and hope to get there in time to be of some help, however small it may prove to be. By the time Adriana rounded the corner and saw Shar'El, things had already escalated beyond what anyone could have expected.

Looking at the Commander, it was easy to see that she was scared, terrified even, and the fact that Lieutenant Stark was on the floor with his back against the wall made clear that the woman was not in the mood to listen to anyone.

"Commander, please, calm down," Ya'Han begged, the Chief of Security trying to find a way to tackle the woman down without injuring anyone in the process. For a moment it seemed that Shar'El was willing to listen, although distrust could easily been seen on her face as she met the concerned eyes of her fellow shipmates present in the corridor.

"We are here to help Commander," the CNS said, drawing onto her the confused gaze of the ship's First Officer. "We mean you no harm. We just want to help."

"They are there! The shadows! They are there waiting for us on TAU OMEGA! We have to turn around while we can." Shar'El screamed at the top of her lungs before attempting to run past the Chief of Security who quickly blocked the way forcing the agitated woman to take a step back to where she had been before.

"Shadows?" Adriana asked, not sure she understood what the woman was talking about.

"It's a nickname use in reference to the Lokustaar," Jayson explained as he was getting back up to his feet.

Having dealt with the trans-dimensional race while on board the BASTET, Adriana knew exactly who the Commander was talking about and this helped understand the reaction that they were now being witness to. The question though was why had Shar'El suddenly believed beyond any reason that those nightmarish creatures were waiting for them where they were heading to.

"Commander, all we need to do is inform the Captain. He will make sure that the ship is ready for whatever may be there waiting for us," the CNS said, trying to ease the woman's fears but with little success. Whatever had caused Shar'El to be this way had placed the woman in a state of near complete hysteria, and would take more than a few reassuring words to see her coma back to being a more reasonable person who would be able to discuss the situation.

"NO!" Shar'El exclaimed. "We have to turn around or we'll all be dead!"

Ya'Han was ready to tackle the Commander, seeing that Lopez's efforts were not making any difference in the state of their First Officer. Just as she readied herself to bring the woman down, Shar'El suddenly collapsed to the ground leaving the others to see a grinning Doctor Bruxa standing behind where the woman was with a now empty hypospray in her hand.

"Guess I will not be asking for another promotion anytime soon," Satella sighed. As much as the CMO had not wanted to do this, the way things were going had left her little choice.  "Help me get her back to Sickbay, at least there we can try to see if this behavior is the result of some sort of chemical imbalance or a psychological one."

Adriana nodded, silently hoping that the cause of this would be discovered to being in her body instead of in her mind. "Are you alright Lieutenant?" The Counselor asked of Chief of Operations, the man clearly limping as he walked towards the unconscious First Officer.

"She caught me by surprise," Jayson explained. "I'll be fine."

"He's gone through worse," Ya'Han giggled as she helped lift Shar'El onto a medical gurney that Satella had seen fit to bring along.

"I'll give you a full physical as soon as Commander Shar'El is secured in Sickbay. In fact, I want everyone here to undergo a full medical examination so that I can rule out any possible physical contagion that could be responsible for what we have just seen."

"You truly think that we could be dealing with some sort of contagion?" Adriana gasped.

"No," Satella promptly sighed. "I would be truly surprised if I found anything along those lines, but as the CMO of this ship I have to rule out all medical possibilities before I offer my report to the Captain.

"I was afraid that you would say something like that," Adriana admitted. As much as the discovery that this psychotic episode had not been the result of some biological or chemical influence would be welcomed by all, the conclusion would leave the CNS with quite a job in getting to the bottom of this. That was as soon as Commander Shar'El became conscious once again and was in a more conducive mood to discus what had come to pass.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M11-P011: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 01 - 2330 ("Bruised Ego")
"Bruised Ego"
[previous (ANU) "Counseling On The Run" / (BAS) "Urgent Rendezvous"]

[/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33112.2330

He had grown used to being knocked to the ground by Ya'Han, in fact, he expected it. As a highly trained Chief of Security, she knew all of the ways to quickly win a hand-to-hand fight, and as hard as Jayson tried, he knew that he was no match for her skill and speed. To be knocked to the ground by Commander Shar'El though had bee completely unexpected, and left the OPS Officer feeling as though something was not right.

Nursing a bruised elbow as well as his ego, Jayson had followed the group now led by Doctor Bruxa back to Sickbay. All eyes were on Commander Shar'El with one exception, instead of looking at their unconscious First Officer, the Counselor had thought it necessary to give her attention to the OPS Officer.

"Are you alright Jayson? You seem a little shaken, maybe even troubled. Are you concerned about Shar'El?"

Jayson looked at Adriana, suspecting that the Counselor was again fishing for his true feelings instead of simply asking him, which of course was the more effective way to get him to be truthful about how he felt. Lopez had been forced to use such a subterfuge back on the bridge and in the Black Hole Lounge, her efforts had continued along the same line. The funny part was that he was not angry about it, understanding that this was the way she needed to proceed in order to get him to drop his defenses and talk.

"She's our First Officer, so of course I'm concerned, just like everyone else," Jayson replied. "As for me being shaken or troubled, I am sure that you already know the answer."

"Like I said while we were talking in the Black Hole Lounge, my knowing the answer is one thing, you knowing that same answer and voicing it is an entirely different matter. Human psychology is such that we often have to hear ourselves say something before we actually recognize that it is how we truly think or feel." Adriana smiled as she gazed down at his bruised elbow that he was still nursing. "In many ways, we deal with emotional pain in the same manner as we do physical. As long as we do not openly admit to being hurt, we can fool ourselves into believing that nothing is wrong, yet the pain and its effects remain.

Jayson huffed, immediately stopping to rub his elbow. "Doctor Bruxa is busy at the moment," he deflected.

"Doctor Bruxa also has an exceptionally good hearing, especially when it comes to making out her name when others are talking," Satella snickered as she turned to look at the OPS Officer and Ship's Counselor. "What's going on?"

"Nothing," Jayson replied as quickly as he could.

"In her agitated state, Commander Shar'El pushed Lieutenant Stark causing him to fall backward and injure his elbow," Adriana explained.

Satella laughed. "I have the feeling that there is more than an injured elbow here, but that is the only bruised part that I have the tools and expertise to fix." Without wasting any time, the CMO reached for the nearest medical tray, retrieved a dermal regenerator and began working on the man's elbow.

Jayson was ready to argue the fact that he did not need any medical attention until he saw that both Ya'Han and Adriana were looking at him as if daring the OPS Officer to deny that he was hurt or that the efforts of the CMO to make him feel better were actually working. In the end, he simply rolled his eye and allowed the Doctor to proceed with her work without him offering any sort of resistance, be it verbal or physical.

With his elbow back to the way it was before the incident with Commander Shar'El, Doctor Bruxa returned to the Commander's side leaving Jayson once again alone with Adriana. "Doesn't it feel better?" The Counselor asked, luring the man into admitting that he did feel better and that things would improve even more if he talked about his feelings. 

"You don't give up, do you?" Jayson sighed in amusement. Being tenacious was not a trait unique to Adriana Lopez but rather it was something that he had noticed every single Counselor he had ever spoken to seemed to share in abundance. Maybe that was a requirement of that particular job, or maybe it was just something that he was able to bring out in them. Either way, the OPS Officer knew better than to try to fight against this as it was pointless to do so.

"In time you would grow to be very unhappy if people started to give up, not just on you but on everything around you. Think about this mission, what would happen if we all simply gave up? We would have remained at NEW ALEXANDRIA doing nothing, and that is not the person you or any of us are. Kind of the reason why we joined Starfleet in the first place because we are not the sort to give up, no matter what the odds may be," Adriana said, her smile enough to make Jayson smile as well.

"You are right," he admitted. "Another counseling session, this one joined with a pep talk," he continued while quietly laughing, "It would be hard for anyone to keep a long-face with people like you around."

"Then my job is complete," Adriana laughed in an almost evil manner which caused Jayson to laugh even more. "All that is left to do is for you to allow yourself to express how you feel, on your own terms and at your own speed."

Jayson glared at Adriana for a few seconds. It always came back down to how he felt and his need to let it out. Although the situation had changed a great deal since the first time he had spoken to a Counselor, the conclusion was always the same. He needed to accept his feelings, to voice them, to acknowledge them and then he would be able to deal with them. He found some comfort in knowing that nothing had changed, and yet he felt saddened by the reality that he was still reacting in the same manner as he had so many years ago, even if the situation had changed.

His gaze moved from the Counselor to the woman being looked after by the CMO to end on the woman who had given him a new focus on life. His way of dealing with most events had come to be because of one woman whom he cared for more than he could say, and it seemed only fair that he was working to change those was for another woman for whom he cared about just as much.

"Doctor Bruxa and Counselor Lopez have the situation well under control," Ya'Han said as she came to stand next to Jayson. "If you are alright, I think it would be best for us to leave them to continue with their work without having us in the way. We need to get some rest before reaching TAU OMEGA."

Jayson smiled before jumping off the examination table upon which he had been sitting on. Thanks to the CMO, his elbow felt a great deal better, and thanks to the CNS, his ego felt much less bruised than it was when he had come into Sickbay. Through the most recent Counselling sessions, he had come to see that Adriana had not been a replacement for Nicole or any of the other Counselors who had come before her. Lopez was just another person to come into his life and help him deal with the issues and difficulties he seemed to inadvertently find along the way. As much as he still missed Dima, he could now accept a little better the fact that the new Counselor had done what she had because of the needs of people like him and not just to fill a vacancy in the ship's roster.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P012: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: Day 02 - 0215 ("Morning Musing")
=-=
"Morning Musing"
[previous post were (ANU) "Bruised Ego" / (BAS) "Memory Lanes"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.0215

Sickbay was quiet thanks to there only being one patient this early in the morning. The CMO reviewed once again the medical readouts to ensure that the Commander was alright. Being unconscious, this was the best Doctor Bruxa could do at this time. Physically, everything appeared to be normal. Shar'El was a textbook example of standard Ullian physiology despite her outward appearance. For her, being perceived as a Human female meant that people did not guard their memories so closely. Satella could imagine how much of an advantage that would be for an ILO. That said, the CMO could not help but wonder if this was also part of the problem.

According to all accounts, Commander Shar'El suffered from a rather violent physiological break. Maybe it was nothing more than work-related stress made to boil over due to some deeply rooted nightmare. That was one of the countless possibilities that Satella needed to consider. The presence of an odd chemical in the woman's system brought other possibilities to the surface for the CMO to look into. That was why the First Officer was currently under the care of the CMO and not that of the CNS.

"How is she doing Doctor?" Captain Morningstar asked. The Captain was a stealthy one, having managed to enter Sickbay without Satella hearing a sound.

"She is likely doing better than I am at the moment." The CMO's quick breathing, as well as her hand over her heart, was the only hint the Captain needed to know what he had done.

"Sorry Doctor, it was not my intent to startle you." As stealthy as he may have been, Erik Morningstar was equally as charming. The warmth of his smile was more than enough to make the CMO forget the near-heart attack she had gone through.

"Commander Shar'El is physically fine. Every reading shows her to be in prime physical form. Whatever happened seems to have originated in her mind. I just cannot tell you more at this time. My recommendation is that she speaks to Adriana as soon as she wakes."

"Is that your professional recommendation as this ship's Chief Medical Officer?" The Captain's question took Satella off-guard. She had just come to be this ship's Doctor and here she was being put on the spot. Was Morningstar testing her or did he want to see if she would act beyond the scope of her duties?

There was only one way to find out. "It is my professional recommendation that she needs to be cleared by the ship's Counselor. I can easily give her a clean bill of health, but the earlier outburst shows that there is something that needs to be looked into by a competent authority. Which in this case is not me."

"We are a few hours away from TAU OMEGA. I need to know if Commander Shar'El is fit for duty in order for her to lead the away team. If not, I will have no other choice but to assign Lt. Cmdr. Maya to lead the investigation team into the underground facility."  The Captain's explanation seemed to be simple enough, but there was a hint of uncertainty in his voice. 

"Wouldn't it be better if the Chief Science Officer be the one to lead this mission anyway?" There was still a lot for Satella to learn about the crew. In some ways, Adriana had the advantage through reading the psychological dossiers. All that the CMO had access to was the medical dossiers, which revealed a lot less about who a person was.

The Captain dismissed the question and looked at the unconscious woman. He either did not want to answer or just did not want to hear his own answer aloud.  Whatever his reason was, he wanted to know if is First Officer would be able to take point on this mission.

"Tell you what," Satella offered. "As soon as the Commander wakes, I will have Adriana speak to her. The tranquilizer used to take Shar'El down should wear off soon. This means that you will have your answer before the ship reaches its destination."

"Thank you, Doctor," the Captain said. The answer was not what he had hoped for, but it was the best he would get. Silently frustrated, Morningstar exited Sickbay and left the CMO and her patient as they had been. Alone in the quiet solitude of Sickbay wondering as to what had and would come to pass.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.0300

All was dark and peaceful before she felt a hand gently land on her shoulder. "Satella?"

"What?" The CMO was startled, having fallen asleep. She leaned on the examination table and closed her eyes for a moment. She had meant for this to be only for a few seconds. Evidently, it had gone for much longer than expected.

"You really should go to your quarters and get some rest." Her friend said, Adriana unable to help sounding like the Ship's Counselor that she was.

"I needed to stay here and wait for Shar'El to wake up." As valid as the explanation was, it failed to excuse the state that she had been found in.

"I told you that I would return to check in on our First Officer when the sedative was expected to wear off. I expected to find her awake, instead, I found you asleep. Maybe you and I should be the ones having a little chat. You are displaying classic signs of an overactive need to prove yourself. Something that in all honesty, I should be the one having a problem with, not you." Adriana smiled. The ANUBIS had been without a CMO for quite some time, but their CNS had been missing only for a short while. This should have placed the stress on Lopez over Bruxa. At least that was the way the Counselor was looking at things. "How about you go and have a quick nap, I will watch over Commander Shar'El. You and I can talk afterward."

"Be sure to include the Captain in your report. He was down here earlier inquiring about his First Officer's ability to lead the away team."

Adriana looked at the still unconscious woman. "Physically, she is fine; you already mentioned that in your report. It's the state of her mind that is in question."

"That is exactly what I told him. Her ability to lead that mission is in your hands, not mine."

The Counselor sighed, unhappy with the responsibility that she had been given. "And here I thought you were my friend."

"Imagine what I would have done if I wasn't." The chuckling physician said as she walked away and exited Sickbay. The ball was in Adriana's court, that she liked it or not.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M11-P013: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: Day 02 - 0330 ("Let's Talk")
-=-=-
"Let's Talk"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Morning Musing" & (BAS) "Memory Lanes"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.0330

Commander Shar'El had already begun to stir, the woman gradually regaining consciousness under the watchful eyes of the twin Lopez sister, one of which was nothing more than a figment of the other's mind.

"Bet you never expected to be a glorified babysitter when you joined Starfleet looking for me," Amanda teased. The illusionary sibling had a sharp tongue that she delighted in using against her sister. Psychologically speaking, the projection was the Counselor's way of keeping herself in check, to challenge her boundaries and self-imposed limitations. As much as Adriana might have hated the hallucinations of her sister, they were a reminder of what she had lost and why she had joined Starfleet.

"I deal with you on a daily, so I am more than used to being a babysitter," the Counselor shot back causing her sister to laugh while dramatically bringing her hands to her chest as if she had just been mortally wounded.

"Counselor Lopez? What happened? Why am I in Sickbay?" The questions from Commander Shar'El instantly ended the banter between the sisters, Adriana needing to focus on the real issue at hand. The Counselor had thought it best to allow the woman to awake on her own terms, at her own speed to help her come to terms with where she was and how she had come to being there. To force her awake would have only added to the confusion the woman was going to experience.

"You are safe; there is nothing to worry about." Adriana did her best to reassure Shar'El. A more detailed explanation would follow if the Commander had displayed signs that she was in a mindset to accept those words. Interestingly enough, the more the Counselor looked upon the First Officer, the more clear head the Ullian appeared to be. "What do you remember?"

"Remember?" Shar'El asked in a challenging manner. At first, it appeared that the Commander was arguing the validity of the question, but when she found it difficult to recall the events targeted, the Ullian's posture changed to being a much more accepting one. "You would think that an Intel Operative possessing the skills that I have would be able to more easily remember events that I was directly involved with. Right now, I seem unable to answer that question, everything is foggy."

"That could be the residual effects of the tranquilizer that was used."

"Tranquilizer? Maybe it is best that I do not remember. Was anyone hurt?" Shar'El appeared troubled, concerned, and even remorseful this without knowing the extent of her involvement in what had transpired.

"You knocked Jayson to the ground and in the process; he suffered a minor elbow injury that Doctor Bruxa quickly fixed."

"Was Ya'Han present?"

"She was," Adriana replied, uncertain as to the relevance of the question to the events and her injuring their Chief of Operations.

"Great, now she will think that I am trying to move in on her territory," Shar'El said sounding rather amused. "Knocking Jayson to the ground is her job, not mine or anyone else's."

"She did not appear t be overly upset when I saw her last. She and Jayson left Sickbay hand-in-hand. So my guess is that she is not holding you responsible for what happened."

"Still, might be a good idea for me to keep a close watch on her to make sure she doesn't get the opportunity to sneak up on me seeking revenge for what I did." Shar'El was in a good humor, something that Adriana took as being a sign that things were proceeding well.

"Speaking of which," the CNS said in an effort to bring the conversation back on point. "Do you remember any details as to what happened? Do you recall what caused you to knock Jayson to the ground?"

"I am starting to," the Commander calmly admitted, her joyfulness instantly vanishing. One reason for this was that the mental fog was lifting from her mind; the other was that the memories of what had taken place were vivid in Adriana's own mind allowing the Ullian to see from another's perspective what had happened. "I was running away, scared."

"If I may and with all due respect, I would say that you were far more than just scared. You acted like someone who was terrified of something, enough so to push people away and refuse any help that was being offered."

Shar'El locked gaze with Adriana while she searched for a way to describe what it was she remembered, what it was she had experienced from her own perspective. "You are correct, I was terrified. The kind of living nightmare that I suspect you could not possibly imagine."

"Commander, I was on the BASTET before being here. I traveled through space and time and saw things that would freeze the blood in your veins. I have seen giants bent on conquering everything they came across leaving shattered worlds in their wake.  I saw shadows moving and walking for no other reason than to create and spread chaos far and wide. Trust me when I say that after that, I can imagine quite a bit."

"Walking shadows?" Shar'El seemed frozen in time, unsure if the admission made by Counselor Lopez was to be taken as being a good thing. That the CNS knew about the Lokustaar would be an advantage allowing her to understand some of the darkness the ILO was dealing with, but it also meant that those walking shadows had a much greater presence in their lives, and that could not be a good thing, no matter how anyone looked at it. "I am sorry Counselor; my reaction was clearly blown out of proportion as were my words to you. It is not every day that someone can talk about nightmares such as these knowing that the other truly understand the feelings that such visions can create."

"Trust me, I understand all too well."  The memories from Adriana, which were picked up by the Ullian, confirmed this claim. Lopez had seen and dealt with these same nightmares in the past, which meant that the CNS could indeed relate to the experiences Shar'El had endured.

"Will you be removing me from active duty?"

Shar'El was not the type to mince words or waste time, which forced Adriana to make an official decision. With all of the evidence before her, the CNS could have easily recommended to the Captain to remove his First Officer from active duty making it impossible for the Commander to lead the away team. As much as she could professionally do this, Lopez found it personally impossible to judge the woman for having such powerful nightmares, the twin sister dealing with some of her own while performing her duties.  "I will not. If we started recommending that people be removed from duty for having nightmares, no matter how simple or dark, I fear that the majority of the fleet would find themselves locked away in their quarters under psychiatric watch."

"Looks like the two of you have something in common," Amanda cooed, the vision of the twin sister appearing behind the Commander's right shoulder. "You two are both crazy. You see a sister that is not there, and she sees walking shadows. I am looking forward to seeing how this crew is going to make it through the upcoming mission without completely losing whatever little sanity they have."

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M11-P014: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 0550 ("Into The Shadows")
=-=
"Into The Shadows"
[the previous posts were (ANU) " Let's Talk" by Marissa / (BAS) "Memory Lanes" by Susan]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Corridor
Stardate: 33113.0550

Following her dismissal from Sickbay with a clean bill of health, the ExO / ILO wandered the corridors of the ANUBIS thinking back to what had happened and the memories she saw in the mind of Counselor Lopez. To have dreamt of the Lokustaar in the manner the Ullian had was bad enough, but her reaction to this nightmare greatly concerned Shar'El. Had she been in the CNS' shoes, the raven-haired woman believed that she would not have been as generous as the Latino woman in allowing the Commander to remain on active duty.

As a crew member of the BASTET, Adriana had faced the Lokustaar and seen the extent of their dark and chaotic ways. Her memories of those instances were being broadcasted loud and clear making it impossible for the Ullian to ignore them, and in some ways, Shar'El believed that this had been done on purpose. The Counselor needed to show that the panic-stricken woman had not been alone in facing the horrific trans-dimensional beasts and that there others out there who understood her plight. The gesture, which was meant to help, proved to have the opposite effect though as the ExO / ILO desperately tried to understand why her reaction had been so strong and beyond her ability to control.

The recreation of the Control and Commander Center of the underground facility on TAU OMEGA lent itself perfectly to such bad dreams and adding the possibility of the Lokustaar having anything to do with the secret based going silent only insured nightmares would follow. Even accepting this as an unquestionable fact, the ExO / ILO needed to understand why her reaction had been so out of control. The only reason Shar'El could come up with was the fact that, at one point not so long ago, she had actually touched the cold void that was the mind of one of the Lokustaar's ships.

As dark and scary as the Lokustaar and their ships appeared to be, their minds were even colder and darker, a complete void of anything that could be considered to be caring. Through that telepathic contact, Shar'El understood in part what drove this fear-inducing race to act as they did. The saw the multi-verse as a battlefield from which only the strongest would emerge victoriously. Caring and helping the weak was a waste of time and in itself displayed a weakness from those trying to act in this manner. Death was a part of the cycle of life, and the Lokustaar, as well as those who believed the way they did, saw it as the only gift worthy to be handed out to others. Individuals and well as races alike needed to prove themselves worthy of living or be cast into the eternal shadows of their failures to never be seen again.

That knowledge was by itself enough to give anyone nightmares, and that was what the ExO / ILO ended up telling herself. The cause of what had happened would not be found in a single element but rather in the combining of everything relating to their current mission. All Shar'El needed to do was to find it within her to confront these fears and make sure that she remained in control of them instead of allowing them to control her as they had done the night before. The raven-haired woman could only hope that such an objective would be as easily accomplished as it sounded to be.

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Transporter Room 2
Stardate: 33113.0600

Despite her wandering the ship, the ExO / ILO had managed to keep track of time well enough to know when the ANUBIS would reach its destination and the away team would gather for beaming down. Shar'El could imagine countless reasons as to why the Captain would insist that she lead the away mission but after the incident brought upon by her nightmare, she could now imagine just as many reasons for him to wish her not to go.

"Shar'El? How are you?" Sonja asked as soon as the ExO / ILO stepped into the room, ensuring that the eyes all of those present turned to the new arrival.

"I'm alright," the Commander reassured, meeting the Captain's gaze with her own.

"Are you sure?" Erik asked. If he was concerned in any about the woman's condition, the stoic man did not allow it to show. Morningstar might not have been the gambling type, but if he ever decided to start, Shar'El knew better than to go up against him.

"I am," the ExO / ILO stated with confidence and resolve. Showing any sort of hesitation would go against her words, so she needed to believe wholeheartedly in her claim if others were to also believe it. "I am sorry if the events of last night caused any trouble, but both Doctor Bruxa and Counselor Lopez have cleared me for duty." Shar'El quickly met the Satella's gaze hoping that the CMO had not changed her mind and offered some reason as to why someone else should be in charge of the away mission.

When Doctor Bruxa said nothing to counter the ExO / ILO's claim, Maya smiled and promptly made her way towards the door. As much as she was looking forward to leading the away team, the Scientist had been much interested in analyzing the data that would be sent back by the DRONEs. "Captain," the Shillian began, "with your permission and since Commander Shar'El is here and cleared for duty, I would like to return to the Astrometrics Laboratory. From there I will be able to keep watch on the progress of the away team and process the data that ANI and her Dynamic Remote Operated Nanotech Explorers will gather."

The Captain joyfully sighed and nodded his head knowing that offering any sort of verbal response to the normally verbose woman might trigger a lengthy acknowledgment.  As soon as Maya stepped out of the transporter room, the redhead Chief Engineer walked forward to greet her friend.  "Since our new resident Doctor has seen you fit for duty, what are we waiting for? ANI and the DRONEs are ready, Ya'Han is biting at the bit to sink her teeth into whatever is down there waiting for us and I want to see just how my newest toys perform in a live environment."

Shar'El could not hide her joy. As cold as she had been as an ILO prior to serving on the ANUBIS, the raven-haired woman had become far more emotional partially thanks to her duties and responsibilities to the crew as ExO. "Captain?" She asked, looking for the CO's final go-ahead for them to head down to TAU OMEGA and the mystery of the secret research facility.

"We will be keeping a channel open at all times," the Captain offered. "Be careful down there."

Without hesitation, the ExO / ILO put on a breathing mask and stepped onto the transporter platform followed by the ANUBIS; Chief Engineer, tasked to discover why the facility was now without any power, the Chief of Security in charge of their protection, Doctor Bruxa who would be hopefully finding out what happened to the base's personnel and the ship's own avatar who would be the one responsible for the physical survey of the entire complex.

=-=
Setting: TAU OMEGA Research Facility, Command and Control Center
Stardate: 33113.0630

The away team materialized in the center of the cold and dark room. Everyone was taken aback by the emptiness that surrounded the team with the exception of Shar'El who had already seen this through the holographic recreation she had been studying. Her attention quickly turned to the section of the Command and Control Center that had been incomplete in the holographic recreation and where a door had been seen in her nightmare. To the ExO / ILO's relief nothing but a normal workstation stood in that location.

"Looks like main power is complete down," Sonja announced, making her way to what she recognized to be the power control station. "Auxiliary power is also down, the only thing working is are the emergency lighting. I will hook up the portable power supply and see if I can get some of these control stations to work and tell us what's happening."

Shar'El nodded, never doubting the efficiency and dedication of their Chief Engineer. Turning to look at the others, the ExO / ILO saw Doctor Bruxa scanning the the room with her tricorder while the Chief of Security was doing the same but with her eyes, both women appearing ready to have something jump at them from the surrounding shadows.  "ANI?" The raven-haired woman asked, locking on the last member of the away team who, unlike the others, had remained perfectly still.

"The DRONEs are operating within specified parameters. I am receiving telemetry and sensor data from all four of them."

=/\= ANUBIS to away team, Maya here, we are receiving the relayed data from the DRONEs through ANI's link to the ship. Everything appears to be functioning perfectly. =/\=

"Of course they are working perfectly," Sonja shot back as if the Shillian's words had somehow insulted the Engineer on a professional level. "I built them."

"Let's secure the room and get as much information as we can before heading out into the research facility. I would like for this away mission to be without any surprises," the ExO / ILO stated, voicing her wish aloud.

"No biological elements present in the air," Satella announced. "Might be an idea to get the ventilation restarted though, the oxygen level is rather low which will force us to keep these masks on and shorten the maximum length of our stay here." The Doctor's last statement sounded to be an almost hopeful one.

"That will be my first priority," Sonja acknowledged. "That is as soon as I can get auxiliary power back online. As powerful as this portable power supply may be, it sure doesn't have enough juice to run this entire facility.

While the other members of the away team were busy with the respective tasks, Shar'El found herself drawn to the monitor where the location of the unknown discovery was being displayed. The darkness of the screen actually sent a chill down the back of the ExO / ILO as if the absence of the image she had come to expect to being there was a sign of things to come. 

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P015: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 02 - 0645 ("Imagination Worse Than Nightmares")
"Imagination Worse Than Nightmares"
[previous (ANU) "Into The Shadows" / (BAS) "Memory Lanes"]

[/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge 
Stardate: 33113.0645

All he could do was watch the sensor data as the DRONEs accumulated it and the Avatar relayed it back to the ship. Jayson knew first-hand that Ya'Han was more than capable of taking care of herself, but that did not stop him from worrying. As great as her skills and strengths were, there were things out there that even she would not be able to fight against. As wrong as he may believe that to be, Jayson knew that this was the unpleasant reality of the universe they were a part of, and that did not help him feel any better.

There was nothing about this situation that felt right. Everything about the underground secret research facility felt wrong, from its location deep beneath the surface of TAU OMEGA to the fact that only one person on board the orbital station knew of the base's existence. Everything about this situation felt wrong and he did not like it one bit, constantly expecting the proverbial 'other shoe' to fall, not that the first one had even been discovered as of yet. That only added to the OPS Officer's dislike of their current situation and by the looks of things that was not about to change any time soon.

Jayson's thoughts were suddenly interrupted when a flashing indicator appeared on his station. "Captain, we are receiving an encoded transmission from a Commander Jackman. According to the data stream accompanying the signal, he is the CO of the TAU OMEGA orbital station. Apparently, he would like to speak with you in private." The request only made the OPS Officer like the entire situation even less. The ANUBIS was here to help figure out what had gone wrong, and here was the orbital station's CO wanting to keep things secretive.

"I'll take it in my Ready Room," Captain Morningstar said looking as if he was doing so only to humor the man. As an Intel vessel, the crew of the ANUBIS held some of the highest security clearances in the Federation, but for the time being, it was best to see what the man needed to say without making an issue of it. The information, if at all important or relevant, could easily be relayed to the crew afterward.

Jayson waited for the Captain to disappear into his office and the door to close behind him before voicing his less than positive opinion of their situation out loud, not realizing that he had done so until the FCO turned back to look at him. The expression on Ensign Jones' face was a mixture of surprise and amusement which seemed to last only for a fraction of a second as if it had never been there in the first place. If the FCO was not Vulcan in any small way, she sure acted like one when it came to the outward display of emotions.

"Distrust is to be expected in the world of Intel," Tanith explained, the way the Ensign spoke hinted that she was doing so from experience.

She is right," the CNS joined in. "Being the only one aware of the secret facility below the surface had to place him in an awkward position with respect to the rest of his crew. Being part of any Intel operation can be very psychologically taxing, especially when there is no one you can talk to about it. Here on the ANUBIS, you all are able to speak with one another without concern, and that helps you to deal with whatever issues you might be facing."

"Having the right person to talk to does help," Jayson grinned while looking at Adriana, remembering their last counseling session before Commander Shar'El went completely loopy. "I guess our real problem is talking about the non-Intel aspects of our daily lives, but again having the right person to speak to does help, a lot." Although clumsy in his effort, this was the best the OPS Officer could do in order to try to show to the new Counselor that she had been accepted as part of the ANUBIS' family.

"How is the away team doing?" Lopez asked. As much as she appreciated Stark's kind words, the CNS figured that it would be better if they kept their focus on the mission and the members of the away team directly dealing with the mystery below.

"According to the sensor data, they are still inside the Command and Control Center," Jayson replied. "I have to say that we are lucky ANI is down there, if it was not for her and her ability to stay in contact with the ANUBIS, our sensors would barely be able to detect the underground facility, let alone the exact location of those inside."

"The facility must have been working on something very important," Tanith noted, obviously listening in on the conversation although not participating as much as she could.

"Why would you say that they were working on something 'very important'?" The OPS Officer asked his question laced with the frustration this situation had created in him.

"Not only is the underground base well hidden and shielded, but it has an orbital station directly over it whose personnel is unaware of its existence with the exception of the CO," the CNS figured. "Whatever is down there was considered to be important enough to be hidden not only from the general public but from the core of Starfleet. If the research subject of that facility was not 'very important', then it would at the very least be 'very dangerous'."

Jayson gulped heavily. Whatever misgivings he had before had exploded thanks to the words of Counselor Lopez. He understood that all the CNS wanted to do was to clarify the situation, but as far as the OPS Officer was concerned, all she had done was to make a bad situation worse. Now, all that he could do was to imagine one nightmare after another, each more gruesome and terrifying than the previous. He glanced down at his console, glad to see the sensors still showing the away team intact. How long that would last tough was beyond anyone's ability to say.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P016: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: Day 02 - 0655 ("Deep Breaths")
=-=
"Deep Breaths"
[previous post were (ANU) "Imagination..." / (BAS) "Unexpected Surprise"]
=-=

Setting: TAU OMEGA Research Facility, Command and Control Center
Stardate: 33113.0655

With one hand firmly on her breathing mask, Satella scanned her surroundings. The results of her medical tricorder scans were irrefutable. There were no airborne biological threats to be found. Still, the physician did not want to take any chances so she held her mask firmly in place. This place felt like a nightmare made real regardless of what the device in her hand said.

The absence of any immediate danger in the air was but a small victory for the away team. It meant that their lives would not be at risk as they proceded with their mission. At least not as far as the air they would breathe was concerned. Lieutenant Paquette was working on restoring ventilation and once that was done, the masks could come off.

The possibility of an airborne biological agent being responsible for the downfall of the base had been ruled out. Therefore, Doctor Bruxa focussed her efforts on trying to find any sort of clue as to the whereabouts of the missing officers. With over a hundred souls working in this underground facility, it was expected to find something. That the tricorder reported no biological residue, even at the smallest level, was very disconcerting. What could have happened to make every single researcher just vanish without leaving a trace as they appeared to have?

The Doctor glanced over at their Chief of Security and smiled. Satella did not know all that much about Ya'Han but she knew enough to know the woman's mindset. The brightness of her red hair indicated that she was in full combat mode, ready to fight whatever would step out of the shadows. As unlikely as this might have been, knowing that she was ready for a fight made the physician feel safer.

"Auxiliary power is back online!" Sonja cheered at the away team's second victory. The away team watched as one after the other the stations came alive. The control room soon after returned to its normal illumination making things appear a little less nightmarish.  "Air circulation as is operational. We can take these masks off."

Cautiously, and with varying levels of hesitation, the breathing masks were removed. The breaths that followed were carefully inhaled even if everyone knew that the air was safe.

"Commander," Satella said looking at the away team leader. "With your permission, I would like to use the base's internal sensors. This should allow us to locate with greater ease the base's personnel if they are still here."

"You mean if they are still alive?" The question presented by the CEO made sense. Unfortunately, the CMO had to consider every possibility.

"As much as I would like to believe that they are alive. Maybe hiding somewhere in this facility from something that we have yet to find. My tricorder did not pick up on any biological residue in this room. That means that no one has been here for days, maybe even weeks. As much as I don't relish the thought, we have to consider the unsavory possibility of their demise." 

"Aren't you the cheerful sort?" Sonja's sarcastic objection might have been on point but it was the truth. Without any signs of the base's personnel, it was unrealistic to believe that they would all be found alive and well.

Shar'El took in a long breath and then sighed. This was the reason why they had come here. To locate the facility's personnel or at the very least discover what had happened to them. "Proceed."

"I believe that the controls to the internal sensors are here," Sonja said pointing to one of the consoles. "Let me help you get a level by level readout."

Satella watched as the facility was visually dissected. Level after level appeared on the small screen, each one appearing as empty as the previous. Frustrated by her inability to find anything, the CEO created a holographic image. That image was made to appear in the middle of the control room for all to see.

"This place is a lot larger than we might have believed it to be." Ya'Han's statement reflected her concerns as to their ability to secure the entire facility. The more levels and corridors this place had, the more difficult it would be to investigate it all.

"No worries," Sonja said in a cheerful yet reserved tone. "With ANI and the DRONEs, we will be able to cover a lot more ground very quickly."

"As soon as you have the internal sensors locate the members of the base's personnel, we can be on our way." The Commander wanted an idea as to where the away team would be going. With a facility o this size, it made no sense for them to just go wandering about aimlessly."

"The sensors are operational and their data is being displayed," Doctor Bruxa announced. With a trembling finger, she pointed to the upper level. There, in the control and command center, five small indicators could be seen. These represented the humanoid elements of the away team, ANI, and the DRONEs being the only ones omitted.

"Are you sure the internal sensors are functioning? Could it be that only those in this room are operational?" Shar'El was calm but her voice betrayed her concerns. How could so many people have just vanished into thin air?

"According to the self-diagnosis, the internal sensors are working as they should. That they are not picking up anything throughout the facility can only mean one thing. There is nothing to be detected."

"Doctor Bruxa is correct," Ya'Han joined in. "I have accessed the visual security feeds. All of the corridors and rooms appear to be completely vacant."

The Commander's mind was working overtime in an effort to find a possible solution. "Could the base have been evacuated?"

"As inhospitable as the surface of the planet is, if they had gone there the orbital station would have detected them. According to this layout, there does not appear to be any way to leave. We are looking at everything that this base as to offer." Sonja knew that this meant something that no one wanted to accept. The base's personnel had somehow vanished, but to where and why?

"There is one section that does not appear on this holographic layout. The area the personnel discovered beyond the walls of the lowest level." Shar'El explained as she pointed to the area in question.

"Of course it's there," Sonja sighed. "The furthest possible point from our current location. Why could it not have been right here, on this level behind a door?"

Paquette's words sent a shiver down Shar'El's back as she recalled such a door from her nightmare. As great as it might have been to have the area so close, the Commander was happy that it was not. Having a door like the one she had seen in her dream might have been problematic.

"Looks like that spot will be our destination. Who knows, maybe we will find something along the way." Satella's forced optimism was impossible to be missed by the others. Everyone agreed that discovering something would be a long shot, but the team agreed to hold on to that hope.

"ANI, scan the hologram and plot the fastest route to the area I mentioned. Have the DRONEs follow us while using alternate routes. That way we will be able to cover more ground. That way, if there is something to be found, we will have a greater chance to find it."  The android acknowledged the Commander's orders and stood ready to proceed.

"Commander, if I may? Could we make a detour to the base's infirmary? Maybe there is something there that could help us shed some light on what happened. The log of the CMO or maybe just some results from medical scans could give us the clues we are looking for." Satella proposed.

"ANI, alter our planned route to take us to the base's infirmary first."

"Thank you."

"We are here to find out what happened," Shar'El confirmed. "Your suggestion falls right in with that objective. I am just not sure if I want there to be something for us to find. This entire situation is truly starting to give me the creeps."

"Agreed," the Doctor said before taking a long deep breath and holding it. The action was as if the away team was about to dive into a darkness in which they would be unable to breathe. Of course, this was not the case, but the sensation was strong enough to make Satella react the way she did.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M11-P017: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 02 - 0730 ("Uneasy Journey")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Uneasy Journey"
[previous post were (ANU) "Deep Breaths" / (BAS) "Unexpected Surprise"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: TAU OMEGA Research Facility, Corridor
Stardate: 33113.0730

The Avatar was in the lead, something that the Sec/Tac understood the reason why but still found to be wrong. In situations such as these, it was her duty to take point and make sure that the path was clear and safe for those who followed her.  Of course, ANI's ability to scan not only their immediate surroundings but four other remote locations all at the same time did make things a great deal safer, but the importance of the android left Ya'Han feeling very concerned. Should something unexpected happen to her, the away team would not only lose their main ability to quickly survey the underground facility but they would also lose their one and only direct link to the ANUBIS.

On the other side of that argument, the away team had the good fortune of having the avatar's own creator with them. Should something happen, it was very likely that the Chief Engineer would be able to bring the android back to some sort of functionality. Now if only the CEO could fix the flickering lights.

If thigs were not bad enough, the flashing lights made their journey to the base's Infirmary that much more unnerving. Each time the illumination fluctuated, Ya'Han would glance at Sonja who would simply shrug her shoulders. The Engineer had done everything she could back in the Command and Control Center and could do no more unless they found their way to the facility's power generators.

With no other option, the Sec/Tac closely followed the avatar, doing her best to accept that she would be a security back-up as they made their way through the dancing shadows that made the corridors also seem hauntingly alive.

"Still no signs of life," ANI reported in the customary unemotional manner that the Android could when not trying to impress her creator by sounding more human than she was. "The DRONEs are not picking up any life signs or indication of a struggle. It does appear that the base's staff simply disappeared."

"This facility is as large as a cruiser, it would be impossible to make the entire staff vanished all at once to ensure that no one could make an account of what was happening or report back to the orbital station," the brightly red-haired Sec/Tac said, voicing her opinion and frustration all at the same time.

"And yet here we are," Doctor Bruxa sighed. "All of the clues we have so far gathered, or more accurately the lack of said clues, are pointing towards what you said as impossible as having happened."

"Without any indications that the staff was simply vaporized, we have to continue on with the idea that they are alive, somewhere in this facility beyond the reach of the internal sensors," Commander Shar'El said needing the members of her team to remain focused and positive. Their current surroundings were less than inviting and it would only make matters worse if the group's morale was to drop beyond anyone's ability to bring back up.

"The infirmary is just around the corner, second door to the right," ANI reported, the avatar having easily memorized the base's layout from the holographic display created by Sonja back in the Command and Control Center. The team followed the Avatar and came to a complete stop in front of the second door to the right after they came around the corner.

"That is odd," the Avatar said when the door refused to open in response to her presence. "All other automated access were functioning."

"The doors to the Infirmary might be on a separate circuit or the proximity sensor could have been somehow damaged," Sonja suggested as a possible explanation for the door remaining closed. "You should be able to just pry it open," the Engineer added, confident that the android had more than enough physical strength at her disposal to easily remove that particular obstacle from their path.

Just as ANI was about to force her way in, the Sec/Tac noticed something flashing on the small display over the access panel to the infirmary. "WAIT! Look," she said pointing to a single word flashing irregularly, very much as the lights were doing.

"Quarantine?" Shar'El read aloud before turning to face Doctor Bruxa. "I thought that you said that you did not detect any biological threats?"

"There was none and I am still not picking up any signs of any type of airborne pathogens," Satella confirmed while carefully analyzing the readouts on her tricorder.

"It is possible that whatever the reason for this quarantine was, they managed to contain in the Infirmary and has nothing to do with what happened to the base's personnel," Sonja said in a clearly hopeful manner.

"Possible but very unlikely," Shar'El countered. "It is more a possibility that whatever caused this quarantine escaped and ran its course, hence why we have not been able to detect anything. ANI, can you redirect one of your DRONEs to enter the room through the ventilation?"

"It might take some time for them to work their way around the isolation and filtration systems, but it should be possible," the Avatar replied, the expression on her face indicating that the process had already been started.

The away team waited as patiently as they could while ANi and her DRONEs worked their magic. Everyone was surprised when the door suddenly opened to reveal one of the floating spheres waiting inside the room.  "No biological threats were detected, but the DRONE did find something that I believe would be of interest."

Ya'Han took the opportunity to reclaim her place at the front of the group, the announcement made by the Avatar proved more than enough to make the red-haired Sec/Tac move in to make sure that the room was safe and secure. It didn't take long for the Nylaan to discover what the DRONE had found causing the Sec/Tac to target it with her phaser. On one of the patient bed was a humanoid shaped black blob as if a body had been enveloped by whatever the substance was.

"What is that?" Sonja demanded as a hint of disgust was heard in her voice.

"My tricorder is not picking up anything," Satella admitted in concern and amazement. "Sensor beams are being completely absorbed by whatever the substance is, so there is no way for me to know what it is or what is inside of it, that is if there is, in fact, something trapped in there."

Th Sec/Tac glanced over at the Commander and away team leader, the look in her eyes being all that Shar'El needed to know what the Nylaan was thinking. With a not of her head, the authorization was granted and Ya'Han fired her weapon at the black blob, aiming for a small section where the feet appeared to be.

"What was that for?" Doctor Bruxa demanded, the unexpected action upsetting the physician.

"We do not have the time to play games," the Commander explained. "We have been sent here to find answers and this was the best and quickest way to figure out what happened."

"It doesn't appear to have had any effect," Ya'Han pointed out. "The substance does not show any signs of having been damaged by my phaser."

"Looks like the energy of the phaser was absorbed just like the sensors beams," Satella reported, using her tricorder to get closer readings. "Whatever this substance is, it would seem to be beyond our immediate ability to understand or analyze. I still can't tell if there is someone trapped in there although the shape does suggest that this may be the case."

"Commander, I suggest that we leave one of the DRONEs here to keep an eye on that while we resume course for the lower level and the area that was discovered."

Shar'El looked around to get a feeling from the rest of the away team members, giving them the opportunity to voice their opinion and possible course of action following their latest discovery.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P018: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 0800 ("Scary Shadows")
=-=
"Scary Shadows"
[the previous posts were (ANU) " Uneasy Journey" by Hanali / (BAS) "Unexpected Surprise" by Karen]
=-=

Setting:  TAU OMEGA Research Facility, Infirmary
Stardate: 33113.0800

The consensus was to leave the Infirmary and resume their mission to find out what happened to the staff of the underground research facility on TAU OMEGA. The ExO / ILO understood the sentiment, sharing in the desire to put as much distance between the solid black blob resting motionlessly on the bed and the members of the away team.  As much as Shar'El wanted to do just that though, she instructed the team to search through the once quarantined room before they left. Maybe something to help them understand what had taken place or what this black blob was could be found.

While the team searched, the Ullian was drawn to stay near the black mass, looking at it with ever-increasing interest, its texture appearing more familiar as the seconds turned into minutes. Every fiber of her being begged for her to walk away and forget that she had ever seen this oddity, but the ExO / ILO found it impossible to comply, her curiosity growing much faster than her fears and desire for self-preservation. The other members of the away team remained unaware of the massive battle that raged within the woman's mind, the only outward clue being her absolute stillness and silence.

A part of her knew exactly what this black mass was, or at least she strongly suspected it as it appeared the same as the exterior of the Lokustaar vessel she had reached out to touch with her mind thanks to the help of Selyara Chen. The head of Section 31 had joined forces with the Ullian to extend their telepathic rage much further than they would normally have been able to individually. Although this had permitted them to strike a blow against the shadow vessel that was following them at the time, it also scarred the raven-haired woman as nothing else could. This was the core reason as to why she found herself acting as she now was.

Very little was known or understood about the Lokustaar and their biological ships. The material used for their construction was beyond Starfleet's ability to scan and even more so to understand. That they had such a perfect sample to study was a chance of a lifetime and yet the ExO / ILO could not bring herself to embrace the opportunity. Instead, like everyone else who had shed eyes on it, she wanted to leave as quickly as possible. Was this fear the reason why the room had been sealed and was it the reason as to why no signs of the base's personnel had been so far discovered?

"Commander!" Doctor Bruxa called out from the office of the medical officer in charge. "I think I might have found something."  Within seconds the entirety of the away team, with the exception of the Avatar and her DRONEs, stood in the office, anxiously waiting for the CMO's report.

"Alright Doctor," Sonja cheerfully said, the redhead engineer obviously trying her best to have everyone be in a better mindset than they were since laying eyes on that black mass. "You have our complete and undivided attention. Dazzle us!"

"I found one log entry regarding that black blob," Satella said not sounding quite as enthusiastic as the Chief Engineer might have hoped to hear. "It was discovered on the lower-most level in that area outside of the base's walls. Because the officers who found it claimed that it felt alive, they brought it to the infirmary instead of the nearest science lab to be analyzed."

"Not sure I like where this is going," Ya'Han said, glancing over her shoulder as if expecting the blob or something similar to have followed the away team to where they now stood.

"What else does the log entry say?" The ExO / ILO inquired, hoping that something in that report would shed some light as to what the mass was in order to confirm or deny her fears. If it was the same as the alien ship the ANUBIS had come up against during their mission to find and rescue Agent Trent Troy, Shar'El was not entirely certain as to what her reaction would be.

"That's it. The log entry simply states when the mass was discovered and that it was brought here. It was the last official entry made from this station," Satella explained. "If they did manage to scan it or get any sort of data from it, there is no record of it here."

"According to the time-stamp, the log was made less than a minute before the base's computer went down," Sonja added, the Chief Engineer had taken a thorough look at all of the files contained within the computer's data storage as soon as auxiliary power had been restored. "There are no indications that the mass had anything to do with this, but the timing does seem to be more than a simple coincidence. The base's logs mentioned nothing about any sort of problems and the only mention of the discovery of this black mass is here. There is no way for us to know how the two are linked, but I think it is beyond contestation that the black blob is connected to what happened here."

"It would appear that I have little choice but to agree with you at this time," Shar'El reluctantly admitted. "We will have to proceed to the lower level and investigate the area where this blob is said to have been discovered. Maybe there we can discover why there are no other records in the base's computer about its discovery and if it had anything to do with the disappearance of the base's personnel."

"I recommend that we leave one of the DRONEs here to keep an eye on the blob while we proceed down to the lower levels," Ya'Han said, again glancing over her shoulder to make sure that the black mass was where they had last seen it. "If the substance has anything to do with what happened here, it might give us some advance warning as we make our way closer to that indicated area."

"I would be more than happy to comply," ANI noted in a calm tone as only the ANUBIS' Avatar could. "The problem I that the DRONEs' sensors are unable to get any sort of reading on whatever the substance is. The best that they could do would be to keep a visual lock on it and report back any movement."

"That will be good enough," Satella said, feeling a shiver crawling up her spine as she looked at the black blob in question. "If this thing decides to suddenly move, I would rather not be here to see it," Doctor Bruxa announced still very concerned about the rough humanoid shape the substance was displaying hinting to the possibility of someone being trapped inside. As scary as that possibility might have been, the fear the physician felt while being close to the black blob was stronger.

"Then it's a plan. ANI, have one of the DRONEs remain here, the rest of us will head to the lowest level and investigate the area where the blob was said to have been discovered," the ExO / ILO said receiving several nods of approval from the other members of the away team. There was something about being in the same room as that black mass. Something that made everyone nervous, uncomfortable and anxious to be elsewhere, anywhere.

=-=
Setting:  TAU OMEGA Research Facility, Infirmary
Stardate: 33113.0830

The DRONE had no issues with being alone, immune to the fear generated by the proximity of the black blob. Every sensor built into the compact little device said the same thing, the black mass was not there which contradicted the visual scan of the medical bed which clearly showed that something was there.

The DRONE's task was to keep a watch on this mass and that was exactly what it would do. The advantage of being a mechanical extension of the ANUBIS' Avatar was that it felt no fear or apprehension at being where it was, doing what it was.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P019: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 02 - 0845 ("Getting Antsy")
"Getting Antsy"
[previous (ANU) "Scary Shadows" / (BAS) "Unexpected Surprise"]

[/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge 
Stardate: 33113.0845

The mystery surrounding the secret research facility beneath the surface of TAU OMEGA was getting thicker by the second. About two hours ago, the CO of the orbital station, a Commander Jackman, had contacted the ANUBIS via an encoded channel and requested to speak to Morningstar. The Captain went into his Ready Room to take the call and he had not yet come back out. According to the communication's log, the channel was still open and active, so Jayson could only guess as to what kind of discussion could be taking so long.

On the side of the away team, ANI's link with the ANUBIS was strong and allowed those who had remained on board to follow their progress. Jayson found it a little annoying to be getting multiple data streams from below the surface making his job that much more complicated. There was a definite advantage in having the DRONEs be able to scan different sections of the underground base, but this meant that the OPS Officer had to keep track of five individual set of data coming in all at the same time.  As much as he might have found this irritating, Stark could only guess as to how thrilled their CSciO was at having so much data to analyze. The woman was always happiest when she had more work than she could handle and yet she always appeared to be able to manage it no matter how much or how complicated the work was.

As he scanned his console, Jayson's eyes lingered on the only image that remained still. The DRONE assigned to monitor the black blob was doing its job to the level of perfectionism that was expected from a machine, especially one operating under the requirements of their Chief Engineer. The image of the oddly shaped black form was perfectly clear as it was perfectly still. The lack of any movement was surely a good thing given all of the other unpleasant scenarios, but the OPS Officer found the whole thing to be nothing more than a bore, so he kept his attention on the away team and the data stream from the other three remove explorers.

As far as he could tell, Ya'Han and the rest of the away team were now only two levels away from their target destination. What bothered him the most was that it appeared that no direct access to the lower levels had been incorporated into the facility's design. Apparently, the moment a base was assigned the designation of 'secret' the basic and logic design system was thrown out the nearest airlock. All access to the lowermost levels were via a set of stairs that only made the journey that much longer.

Jayson's eyes were unexpectedly drawn to the visual data stream relayed by the DRONE that had been left behind in the base's Infirmary. At first, he thought he saw something move, not much, just a little, but still some sort of movement. After a closer inspection, the OPS Officer decided that it had all been a figment of his imagination. The image was exactly the same as when he had looked at it last, the blob just sitting there, motionless while the small remote explorer stared at it. Just as he was looking away once more, He thought he saw another movement. Now certain that this was not is imagination, he called the image to appear as large as possible on his console so that he could confirm what he thoughts he had seen.

Sensors readouts were of no help as the blob did not even register as being there leaving Jayson with only the visual record to check.  After several minutes of waiting for another sign of life from the glob of black whatever it was, Jayson started to question his sanity as the image failed to confirm that he had indeed seen something.  Realizing that this might prove to be a colossal waste of his time, the OPS Officer decided to utilize the technology that he had at his disposal.

"Computer, review the visual data stream being transmitted by the fourth DRONE and list the time index of every noticeable movement no matter how small they may be. Also, extrapolate the size of said movement based on the visible surroundings."

=/\= Working. =/\= The computer replied before providing a short list only seconds later.

Jayson was ecstatic that his theory was proven correct, the blob had in fact moved, but his joy was short-lived when he noticed that the motion he thought to be significant actually measured in the barely noticeable millimeter range. If the glob on the medical bed had indeed moved, it was barely doing so which left the OPS Officer to consider another possibility, namely that the DRONE's hovering capability was being affected by some sort of airflow or another external source undetectable by its own sensors.  Programmed as it was, it was easy to imagine that the small remote explorer was simply correcting its position the moment it discovered that it had shifted. This theory could be proven once the DRONE returned to the ANUBIS through verifying its log of internal functions, but for now, there was nothing more Stark could do.

If the black blob had indeed moved, how dangerous could a less than occasional shifting of a few millimeters be for the members of the away team, especially when the possibility that this movement actually originated from the DRONE responsible for keeping an eye on the motionless matter?

He debated informing the away team of his discovery, however insignificant it might have been but Jayson figured that if it had been worth mentioning, the Avatar would have already done so. As the one responsible for relaying the data, this meant that ANI was aware of everything that the OPS Officer had, and was continue to see. Having access to the same computer than he did, it made sense that the Avatar could have already done what he did to discover the exact same thing. Whatever small motion detected by the DRONE was nothing to be concerned about unless one wanted to be branded a worrywart.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P020: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 02 - 0900 ("Black Fear")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Black Fear"
[previous post were (ANU) "Getting Antsy" / (BAS) "Unexpected Surprise"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: TAU OMEGA Research Facility, Corridor
Stardate: 33113.0900

The deeper the away team ventured into the deserted facility, the more nervous everyone felt, jumping at every shadow they encountered as if they would leap out at them. The bright red-haired Nylaan could easily recall having felt this way during her escape from Ferengi controlled space, but that only served to further focus her thoughts on the here and now. Being afraid of the shadows served no purpose and only contributed to leaving a person that much more vulnerable, something that she could not permit herself to be. Not again.

The discovery of whatever that black blob was had only aggravated the away team's nervousness. Most, if not all, suspected the origin of this black mass feeding their fears as to what they might encounter once they finally reached their destination. Just the mention of the race's name was enough to trigger a reaction born in fear and to see anything that was directly or indirectly linked to the Lokustaar was more than enough to make someone want to perform a hasty retreat and never look back.

It was that thought that stuck in the mind of the Sec/Tac as the away team pushed on. The Avatar who was in the lead showed no signs of being bothered by their shadowy surroundings or the earlier discovery made in the facility's Infirmary. Whatever misgivings Ya'Han had about ANI leading the team, the Nylaan had come to admire the purple haired android.

"Target is now 200 meters directly ahead of our present location," ANI unemotionally reported. "The DRONEs are converging on that location now and will be there in five seconds."

Everything seemed to be proceeding according to plan, their fears and imaginations were the only obstacles that had encountered.

"What's wrong?" Sonja casually asked of her prized creation, the Avatar having suddenly stopped in mid-stride without any visible reason. When ANI failed to reply, the Chief Engineer moved ahead and gazed onto the android's face to see something she could never have expected. The emotion engraved on her face was as unmistakable as it was impossible -- terror.  "ANI!" The Engineer screamed not sure as to how to respond to this unexpected development.

"DRONEs disabled. Lost in cold and empty darkness." The android's words made little sense but the effect of whatever had ha[p[ened on her was impossible to be dismissed.

"ANI, talk to me. What's going on?" Sonja demanded but the ANUBIS' Avatar remained frozen.

"Multiple unauthorized access to core programming. Security protocols are ineffective. Initiating emergency shutdownnnnn." The slowing last syllable stretched over several seconds only adding to the terrifying scene being played in front of the away team.

"What's going on?" The Sec/Tac asked, concerned for the Avatar's condition as well as the continued safety of the rest of the away team. With ANI disabled as she appeared to be, the duty of keeping the group safe had fallen back onto Ya'Han's shoulders.

Sonja delayed offering a reply, the Engineer still trying to come to terms with what she had just witnessed. "ANI is an integral although remote part of the ANUBIS' computer system. Because of that, there are protocols in place to ensure that her link to the ship cannot be used to gain access to the computer. When an unmanageable threat is detected, ANI is programmed to shut down and sever her link to the ship."

"Away team to USS ANUBIS," Commander Shar'El said after tapping her communicator in rapid concern.

"Don't waste your time," Sonja said with a heavy sigh. "This facility is heavily shielded and the only way for us to get a signal out to the ANUBIS would be to have it relayed by the base's own communication system which is currently inoperative. ANI was our only link to the ship, and with her on full security shutdown, I would need to be back on board with access to my robotics' lab in order to restore her systems. Right now she's locked down tighter than the Cheyenne Mountain Complexe when they thought that the Stargate really existed. We are on our own."

"Ya'Han, take the lead. We need to figure out what happened before we can even consider heading back to the ANUBIS," Shar'El ordered causing the Sec/Tac to move forward while Sonja just stood there looking upon the now lifeless Avatar.

The 200 meters that stood between them and their destination slowly shrunk as the party ever so cautiously moved forward, now more than ever worried that something from the shadows, if not the shadows themselves, would jump out at them.  With less than 20 meters left the Sec/Tac motioned for the away team to stop. In front of the large opening created by the collapsed wall, three small black spheres could be seen resting on the ground.

"Looks like we have identified how ANI's system was accessed," Shar'El said, unhappily realizing that the black substance that was now engulfing the DRONEs was the same that they had discovered in the Infirmary. "It's a near sure bet that the one we left behind suffered the same fate as these three."

"The DRONEs were not designed to have the same level of security since they were never meant to be directly linked to the ship. At the time, I believed that ANI's own security protocols would be sufficient but it would seem that I was wrong." Sonja sounded depressed, holding herself responsible for the state in which the Avatar was now in.

"That was not your fault. Like the ANUBIS, ANI was designed to deal with normal threats. If that black gook is responsible for his as we suspect it is, it simultaneously attacked ANI from four different sources. We can only guess that the attack was of a precise and powerful nature, but that is enough for us to say that from a tactical standpoint, such an assault would be a difficult one to go up against, no matter why kind of defenses are available." The Sec/Tac was doing her best to make her friend feel better, but in doing so the Nylaan also realized that she was making the black substance into a much more dangerous threat than any of them might have previously considered it to be.

With the Avatar inoperative and the threat posed by the black matter confirmed of being abl to move, the safest and most prudent decision would have to be for the away team to retreat back to the ANUBIS and return better prepared. The thought of walking all the way back to the Command and Control Center was not a pleasant one, but it did beat the alternative of seeing the team remain at their present location and figure out a way to press on while limiting their risks.

Starfleet was never about making the *safe* choice, instead encouraging those in charge to make what they considered to be the *right* choice. So with her sidearm firmly in hand, the Sec/Tac confirmed with Commander Shar'El before making her way closer to the large opening in the wall, certain that the answer and cause for all of this would be found somewhere in the darkness beyond.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P021: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 0920 ("Not So Empty Darkness")
=-=
"Not So Empty Darkness"
[the previous posts were (ANU) " Black Fear" by Hanali / (BAS) "Shadow Contemplations" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting:  TAU OMEGA Research Facility, Corridor
Stardate: 33113.0920

The ExO / ILO did not like this in the least but the away team had little choice in the matter, they needed to press on. The reason or reasons for the disappearance of the underground research facility's personnel needed to be found. As an additional objective, they also needed to figure out if the discovery made beyond the walls of the lowest level had anything to do with what had happened.  TAU OMEGA was a planet of secrets, and now the away team needed to dig into the latest mystery that they liked it or not.

Everyone proceeded with cautious hesitation, for reasons all of their own. Ya'Han, the Chief of Security who had taken over the lead knew better than to rush into any dark and spooky area. With the ship's Avatar and her DRONEs disabled, Sonja was reluctant to leave her creations behind and defenseless. To the Chief Engineer, the android was more than a meticulous collection of electronic components; ANI was a living entity that represented much more than a simple extension of the ANUBIS.  As for Doctor Bruxa, the Chief Medical Officer was happy to bring up the rear sure that some zombie-like creature would leap out from the shadows at any moment.

"There seems to be some sort of natural passageway beyond the wall that gives onto a chamber," Ya'Han reported, shining her wrist lamp into the darkness. "The walls appear to be covered by some sort of black substance, judging by the way the light is being reflected off of it and that it does not register on my tricorder, I would say that it is the same matter that we encountered in the infirmary and which engulfed the DRONEs."

"Wouldn't that be reason enough for us *not* to go in there?" The Chief Medical Officer asked, now more than ever wishing that every member of the away team were heading in the opposite direction.

"The Doctor might have a point Commander," Sonja said, agreeing with Satella. "We have already seen what that black goop can do, is it really a wise course of action to venture in there? As far as we know that is exactly what the staff of this facility did and which led to their disappearance."

Shar'El had to agree, the idea of going into the darkness beyond the wall seemed rather foolish, especially when taking into consideration what they had seen happen to the DRONEs and the Avatar. It was possible that the black ooze could only affect electronics, but if so what happened to the base's personnel? Just as the ExO / ILO was ready to reconsider her stand on their course of action, a faint sound came from deep within the chamber to which the darkness passageway led to.

The away team became perfectly still and silent, trying to ascertain if the sound heard had originated from within the passageway. When the same faint moan was heard again, everyone sighed as they confirmed that the noise had come from the dark chamber beyond the walls of the underground research facility.

"My tricorder is not picking up anything that could account for what we have heard," Ya'Han reported, the brightly red-haired Chief of Security appearing ready to move forward if the Commander ordered the away team to do so.

"The timing is too perfect," Sonja growled softly. "It's a trap!" She added in a lower, almost alien tone that was reminiscent of a once-famous Terran movie of the 20th century.

"I agree that the timing may seem a little too perfect, but if there is someone in need in there, we cannot simply turn our backs on them," the Doctor sated with passion, her Hippocratic oath and her own desire to not see anyone suffer overwriting her apprehensions and fears. "Trap or no trap we have to go in there and investigate. Maybe the person in there is the one who will be able to give us the answers we came down here searching for."

"HELLO!" The ExO / ILO screamed down the passageway in the hopes that whoever had made those sounds would be able to reply and give them a little more information as to what was going on

"I think I liked it better when we didn't have a CMO on board," the CEO quietly mumbled.

"Fine," the ExO / ILO relinquished. "Ya'Han, move in and keep your eyes open. I will be right behind you. Doctor Bruxa, stay close behind me and keep your hand on my back, at least that way I will know that nothing has happened to you. Sonja, you are bringing up the rear while keeping an eye on the rest of us. If you see anything wrong, pull the Doctor out and return to the ANUBIS to report what happened."

"With all due respect Commander, that's a crazy plan," Sonja huffed. "It's just as bad as cleaning yourself up with a Bat'leth after downing 22 full mugs of over-aged bloodwine, and trust me, that didn't go all that well for the poor idiot who tried it. I know, I was there to see it unlike everyone else who was passed out on the floor."

"Objection noted," Shar'El said, only briefly meeting the Engineer's eyes before turning back to look at the Chief of Security to give her a quiet 'go ahead'.

Ya'Han gave her tricorder one last glance; just in case something had changed but as expected, the readings were exactly as she had seen them before. With a resolve that suited her well, the Chief of Security took the first step into the dark passageway once the handheld device was returned to his holster.

"That has to be the first time I intentionally walk into a nightmare," Sonja grumbled, the engineer not hiding her apprehension as to their course of action before taking a moment to look over her shoulder at the inoperative Avatar they were leaving behind.

A shiver swept through the away team as they pushed deeper into the darkness that surrounded them on all sides. The natural passage was spooky enough, but the black substance that lined the walls and most of the floor only made things that much less inviting. The away team remained as quiet as could be, listening for the sounds of distress that had drawn them all here in the first place. When the team stepped into the large open chamber, a collective gasp of horror was heard as disbelieving eyes beheld a sight beyond what anyone could have imagined in their worst nightmare.

"What is going on here?" Shar'El demanded in a low, whispered voice, her mind trying to make sense of what she was seeing and sensing. Bodies, likely those of the facility's staff, were gathered by the dozen, held in place by the black ooze, which surrounded them. The away team could see the heads of these individuals but as far as the Ullian was concerned, there was nothing but a cold and complete darkness before them.

"Can we go now?" Sonja asked bluntly, the sight of the base's personnel wrapped in that ooze being more than she could handle at that particular moment.

The away team remained motionless as each member debated what their next course of action should be, their minds filled with a fear that they found increasingly difficult to control or suppress. Sonja had already taken a few steps back when Shar'El and the others heard something that would change everything. Two simple words were softly spoken, pleading in a way that was impossible to ignore. A request that would force them to remain in his nightmarish cave and fight against the darkness and fear that clawed with increasing tenacity at their minds.

"Help... us..."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P022: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: Day 02 - 0930 ("Reaching Out")
-=-=-
"Reaching Out"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Not So Empty Darkness" & (BAS) "Shadow Contemplations"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.0930

If it was not for the issues currently at hand, TAU OMEGA would have been a nice planet to add to the places the CNS had visited, even if only from orbit. Whatever joy or excitement Adriana might have experienced though was greatly overshadowed by the developing crisis taking hold of the ANUBIS' bridge and senior officers. Communications with the away team had been terminated at their end without any warning or signs of trouble, worst was that all attempts to restore the link had so far failed.

Lt. Stark, with the help of Ens. Jones worked frantically on trying to reestablish contact with Cmdr. Shar'El and the rest of the officers while Lt. Cmdr Maya was trying to come up with another method to reach the away team without having to physically go down after them. As disturbing as the situation was, one thing troubled the Counselor even more; the Captain had not offered any sort of reply when he was informed that the ship had lost contact with the away team.  According to the instruments, Cpt. Morningstar was still in communication with the orbital station, but surely the latest news would have proven to be more important than whatever they were talking about. At least that was what Adriana believed.

"How does it feel to be useless?" The illusion of the missing twin sister Amanda asked while she sat on the edge of the console where the Chief of Security, Lt. Ya'Han, would have normally been working at.  As busy and engrossed in their efforts as Jayson, Tanith, and Maya were, Adriana, doubted that any interaction with her sister would go unnoticed at this point, so the CNS decided to ignore the hallucination.

"Lt. Stark, is there anything that I can do to help?" the CNS asked. She knew that her skills and knowledge in the field of technology and ship's operating systems were as basic as Starfleet Academy allowed them to be, but still, she hoped that the Chief of Operations would be able to find something for her to do.

"You could check on the Captain," Jayson suggested without raising his eyes from what he was working on. Adriana smiled, happy that she had a task to do but after taking a few steps in the directions of Morningstar's Ready Room, the CNS stopped and looked back at the man who had sent her on this mission. Had Stark done so to avoid putting himself in the crosshairs of the CO's anger for seeing his conversation with the orbital station's CO interrupted or had he just been too busy to do this on his own? Either way, she now had something to do, something that would help keep the mental projection of her sister quiet, at least for a little while longer.

Standing in front of the door to the CO's office, Adriana nervously reached up to her communicator and after a few seconds of hesitation tapped it. There was no turning back now. "Captain Morningstar, this is Counselor Lopez, could I speak with you for a brief moment?"  As in previous attempts to speak with the man, this one resulted in silence. "Computer, locate Captain Morningstar," the CNS asked, thinking that maybe the man had found a way out of the room without anyone noticing.

=/\= Captain Morningstar is on Deck 1, in the Ready Room. =/\=

"Maybe he just doesn't want to speak to the woman who usurped the position of his previous Ship's Counselor," Amanda said, a demonic smile gracing her lips leading the sister to stare in disgust at the location where only she could see Amanda.

Using the anger she now felt, the CNS turned back to face the door to the Captain's Officer and started banging on it. "Captain Morningstar, are you alright?"  As soon as the deed was done, Adriana felt sick to her stomach, certain that such an outburst, especially one directed towards her Commanding Officer would result in her immediate dismissal, not only from the ANUBIS but also from Starfleet. She counted the loud thumping beats of her heart while waiting for the Captain to respond but soon it became evident that no answer would come.

"Lt. Stark, can you please override the door's locking mechanism. There is something wrong with the Captain," Lopez requested to which Stark quickly complied. After the unexpected display they had all been witnessed to and the lack of any sort of reply, everyone agreed that something was not quite right with their Commanding Officer.

When the door finally opened, Adriana looked inside and quickly located the Captain who was sitting at his desk, his face hidden by the monitor into which he was looking at.  As Adriana approached, she noticed a blank expression on the man's face as it came into view. The more she studied the Captain's appearance, the more concerned the CNS became, the CO's face appearing completely deprived of any sort of emotions.

"Captain?" Adriana asked with a great deal more of insistence, hoping that he would show any sign of awareness even if he did not have any reason for his earlier condition and silence. When words failed to trigger any sort of response, the CNS gently pushed on the man's shoulder hoping to enlist some sort of reaction. When this also failed, Lopez glanced at the screen, curious to see who was on the other end of the open channel but instead of seeing the face of the orbital station's CO, or anyone else for that matter, the screen showed nothing but a strange oscillating darkness.

As she studied this strange emptiness, Adriana found herself mentally drifting away even as her sister called out. There was something hypnotic about the image which was nothing more than a bottomless black expense.  The more she gazed into this, the weaker the CNS felt, unable to call up the physical or mental strength to pull herself of the situation she had inadvertently walked into.

A disabling coldness began to claim her mind, but there was nothing Adriana could do other than to surrender to the emptiness that was claiming her. That's when the monitor was slammed down onto the Captain's desk, breaking whatever hold it had on Counselor Lopez.

"Are you alright?" Jayson asked, vigorously shaking the woman. "Talk to me. Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," Adriana groggily said, not entirely sure as to what had just happened. "What happened?"

"Whatever that black screen was, it had you completely hypnotized. I was speaking to you and you didn't reply. I can only guess that this is what happened to the Captain, the only difference being that I was able to get you out and back to us. I'm afraid that it won't be as easy to bring the Captain though," Lt. Stark explained.

"Thank you for saving me," Adriana said, offering a grateful smile as she did so.

"Hold on there sis," Amanda chimed in. "He's already spoken for, and the last thing you want to do is to put yourself in a position that would put you toe-to-toe with that hair color-changing woman. She will have you for a quick snack long before you realize what happened to you.

"I mean, thank you for helping me," the Counselor amended, knowing that Amand's words wear accurate. "What do we do now? I mean about Captain Morningstar, Commander Shar'El, and the orbital station?"

"If you are feeling up for it, bring the Captain down to Sickbay. In the meantime, Ensign Jones and I will continue to try and reach the away team. Guess I should also inform Lt. Cmdr. Maya that she's, for the time being, the one in command of the ANUBIS."

Adriana could only wish for their success, as being able to reach the away team would allow for her friend Satella to be made aware of the situation and have the CMO return to the ANUBIS as quickly as possible.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M11-P023: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: Day 02 - 0945 ("Living Darkness")
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"Living Darkness"
[previous post were (ANU) "Reaching Out" / (BAS) "No Problems"]
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Setting: TAU OMEGA Research Facility, Cave of Darkness
Stardate: 33113.0945

The call for help sent shivers down her spine. As if the surrounding scene had not been enough to accomplish that. Someone in this mess of black ooze covered bodies was alive. All they needed to do was to find them without using their tricorders.

The people swallowed by the ooze appeared asleep, unaware of the situation they were in. Their faces were several shades whiter than they should have been. However, Satella did not get the impression that they were dead. Whatever the ooze was doing to them, it seemed to be keeping the captives in a state of suspended animation.

"Their skin is ice cold." The announcement made by the Chief of Security made the Physician's head spin in her direction. How had she reached that conclusion? Had Ya'Han discovered someone with more than just their heads exposed? The answer to all of Satella's instant questions was as simple as could be. The Nylaan had simply reached out and touched the cheek of the nearest captive to her.

With proof that doing so was safe, the CMO decided to confirm the diagnosis. With careful hesitation, Satella reached out to touch the face of the closest oozed-encased base's personnel. A frigid sensation welcomed the back of her fingers causing Doctor Bruxa to quickly pull away. How anyone could be alive in such condition was beyond her understanding. Could what they had heard have been some sort of subterfuge? Had their Chief Engineer been correct in her assessment that this was a trap? The idea of joining these poor souls in the black ooze was not something she wanted to experience.

"I found them!" Sonja yelled. Within seconds, the entire away team converged on her position. Unlike all of the others trapped by the ooze, the person who had called for help was only half covered.

"We are here to help," Satella timidly announced. She had no idea how they would accomplish this though. The black ooze had proven to be impervious to their weapons. This meant that they still had a serious problem to deal with. With half the man's body free from the ooze for whatever reason, they still needed to address the other half.

"I'm so cold."

Just by looking at his face and blue lips, Bruxa had already gathered that much. What she found strange was the fact that color and warmth were rapidly returning. Even more strange was that the ooze seemed to be gradually relinquishing its hold on him.

The Chief of Security moved in closer to observe the odd happening. "How did you do that?"

"I don't think it was anything I did. I did not even touch him. Something else must be responsible for this." They might have been puzzled by this unexpected turn of events, but no one seemed ready to complain. At least they would be able to get one of the base's personnel out and maybe get some answers in the process.

"Whatever happened, it's spreading." Sonja's announcement made everyone look around to see the same scene unfolding. The black ooze was retreating, leaving the captured members of the base's staff free.

"What is going on?" Ya'Han asked, standing at the ready to act should the movement of the ooze suddenly change.

"I have no idea but I think it might be best for us to get everyone out of here," Satella suggested.  When she turned to get some sort of confirmation from Shar'El, she found the ExO in a trans-like state. "Commander! Are you all right? Commander?"

Following the insistence of the CMO, the Commander finally snapped back to a more conscious state. Once she regained her wits, Shar'El quickly looked around and gathered without effort what was happening. "Let's get everyone out of this cave. We can figure out the best way to return to the ANUBIS once everyone is safe."

Following the given instructions, the away team quickly moved into action. Every base's personnel who became free of the ooze was escorted out of the cave. In the corridor, near where the ANUBIS' avatar had been left, those now free waited, trying to warm themselves in whatever way they could. Satella wanted to run some medical scan on them to confirm how they were doing, but there was no time. The rate at which the ooze was retreating left the away team with no opportunity to do anything else.

"Now what?" Sonja grunted as the last of the captive was now free of the ooze and cave.

=/\= USS ANUBIS to the away team, please respond. =/\= The channel was filled with static. This did not diminish the joy everyone experienced at the sound of Lt. Stark's voice.

"We hear you. How did you manage to get a signal down here?" Shar'El asked. The question had two goals; to understand how this had been accomplished and see if it could be modified for the transporter system."

=/\= We used the ANUBIS' phasers to drill a well as close to the facility as we could. Once that was done, we beamed a communication's relay to help boost the signal. We can use the relay to get a lock on your communicators and beam you back. Your presence is urgently required back on the ship. =/\=

"What's going on?" The Commander asked. Shar'El was not entirely surprised that something else had happened. Still, she would not have minded having to deal with only one crisis at a time.

=/\= The Captain was found in a complete comatose state and we have lost all contact with the orbital station. =/\=

"Sonja, you will be returning with me along with ANI. Doctor, you and Ya'Han stay here and give everyone a quick medical evaluation. If you feel it is safe to do so, we can bring them on board, but not before." When everyone showed their understanding of the new orders, the Commander continued. "Lt. Stark, lock on ANI, Sonja and myself then energize."

Doctor Bruxa watched with mixed feelings as the avatar, CEO and ExO vanished. She understood the reasoning for what had been requested, but that meant they would need to stay here for quite a bit longer. "Guess I should get started," Satella said in a forced cheerful manner. "This job is not going to get done on its own. Come Ya'Han, you get t play nurse today."

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M11-P024: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 02 - 1000 ("Not As Expected")
"Not As Expected"
[previous (ANU) "Living Darkness" / (BAS) "The First and the Last"]

[/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge 
Stardate: 33113.1000

"Transport sequence is complete," the OPS Officer announced, his voice filled with relief as well as concerns. "Commander Shar'El is back on board along with Lt. Paquette, ANI and three of the four DRONEs."

"Good," Maya acknowledged. "Thank you Lieutenant."  The Shillian was relieved to hear the news. Although her rank secured her right to be in command of the ANUBIS when both the CO and ExO were unable to do so, the woman was a scientist first and above all else. To be in charge of the ship was something she rather not do if it was at all possible. Jayson understood this but he was confused about something else, namely the reason as to why Doctor Bruxa had not beamed up with the others. Should it not have been a priority to address their Captain's condition?

Looking around the bridge, Jayson figured that he would be the only one to confront the Commander with this puzzling decision. The FCO, Ensign Jones, seemed more than content to mind her own business and make sure that the ANUBIS remained in geosynchronous orbit over the underground research facility. Counselor Lopez, who likely did not wish to step over the boundaries she had given herself as the replacement CNS shared this lack of curiosity. Having discovered the Captain in the state she had was more than enough to deal with at this time.

The moment Commander Shar'El stepped onto the command deck; Jayson was ready to launch his question at her, trying his best to remain respectfully as he asked for some sort of explanation as to why the Doctor had remained on the planet. His lips had barely time to come apart when the First Officer looked directly into his eyes before instructing him to follow. A few seconds later, both of them were in the Captain's Ready Room.

"This is the way he was discovered?" Shar'El asked as the Ullian's full attention was on the unresponsive man.

"I, nor anyone else, touched him since Counselor Lopez found him like this. We thought it more prudent to get a hold of the away team and have you and Doctor Bruxa beam back up."

"Doctor Bruxa is currently busy giving the base's personnel a field exam," Shar'El explained while never taking her eyes off the comatose Captain. "We found them encased in some sort of phaser immune black goo which, for a yet to be determined reason, suddenly retreated and set them all free. When your call reached us, I decided to come up and test a theory, one that I believed our good doctor might find some objection to, so she remained in the facility."

"Commander?" To say that he was confused would have been a grave understatement. What theory could Shar'El possibly need to test that required for CMO to be elsewhere? Had something happened down in the underground facility to the Commander? The questions multiplied at warp speed but the problem was that he had no way to prove that she was under someone else's influence, so all he could do was to watch and wait. Whatever she was doing, it required all of her thoughts to be on the Captain, meaning that she was no longer hearing anything the OPS Officer had to say.

"Any progress?" Adriana quietly asked, the Counselor having carefully tiptoed her way into the Captain's Ready Room thanks to the door having remained open. "Sorry," the CNS added in the same soft-spoken voice, "the door was opened and I wanted to see how the Captain was."

"I kept the door open," Jayson admitted, matching Adriana's quiet voice. As for the Captain, there are no changes. The Commander is at the moment testing a theory," he continued, trying to convey with the tone of his voice and facial expression his concerns about what he considered to be an odd behavior from their First Officer.

With a motion of her head, the Counselor motioned for the OPS Officer to follow her back to the main bridge where they would be able to talk without disrupting or risking being overheard by the First Officer. "Why the hesitation?" Adriana asked as soon as they were out of the Ready Room. "Do you suspect that there is something wrong with Commander Shar'El?"

"I'm not sure what it is that I am thinking," he again admitted. "This entire story about the underground facility and now the orbital station going dark is making my skin crawl. I keep thinking that something is watching us, observing how we deal with this situation as if we were the ones being tested. Nothing about any of this makes sense to me and I keep feeling afraid for things that I should not, such as Ya'Han getting hurt. I know that she can take care of herself, better than anyone else on this ship can, so why do I feel so scared that something will happen to her. No matter how hard I try to shake that feeling off, it just keeps coming back, digging its claws into my brain deeper each time."

Adriana knew exactly what he meant since she too was experiencing this odd sensation of unmanageable fear. It was a darkness without form that played on the edge of her mind. It whispered thoughts and images that were horrific enough to freeze the blood in her veins. Maybe Jayson was right, maybe there was something out there observing them, testing their reactions to this nightmarish situation. What they hoped to accomplished was unknown, if there were there in the first place, but the sensations were strong enough not to be casually dismissed.

"I better get back in there, just to make sure that nothing unexpected happens," the OPS Officer said, briefly taking hold of the Counselor's hand to give it a squeeze before he walked back into the Captain's Ready Room unsure as to what he would do if something unexpected did occur.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P025: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 02 - 1000 ("From Red to White")
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"From Red to White"
[previous post were (ANU) "Not As Expected" / (BAS) "The First and the Last"]
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Setting: TAU OMEGA Research Facility, Corridor
Stardate: 33113.1000

Ya'Han could understand why Commander Shar'El had done what she did. The ExO needed to return to the ANUBIS to check up on the Captain and bringing Sonja with her would allow for ANI to be restored to functional status. The Sec / Tac also comprehended why Doctor Bruxa was told to remain behind and attend to the base's personnel who had just been released from their black confinement. As much as she understood it all, the brightly red-haired Nylaan could not find it within herself to not question the decision made by the away team's leader.

"As much as I appreciate you making sure that nothing happens to me, I think it would be of greater benefit for us both if you helped with the medical scans of all these people," the Doctor voiced. A quick mental calculation had led the Doctor to figure that they would be here for days before she would be able to scan everyone one-by-one.

"I am not sure that I can," the Nylaan with the red hair said. Truth be known, Ya'Han had earned after a great deal of work the right to display the while color of her people's medical specialists, so she knew that the task would not be as difficult as it might have been for some. Still, the Sec/Tac was reluctant to do so as it had been a great many years since the last time she had displayed that particular for others to see.

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FLASHBACK
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Setting: NYLA IV, Imperial Palace Infirmary
Stardate: 17064.1310 (Age of 10)

The youngest daughter of the High Sovereign stood with her back against the wall, her left hand wrapped around the doorway to ensure that her escape route remained open. All children of royal blood were required to earn the respective colors of each discipline that shaped their society and Ya'Han had worked long and hard to claim the white hair of those involved in medicine. It was repeatedly explained to her as the number of failures continued to increase that as a dedicate mate she would be expected to attend to her husband's every need. These needs would include medical ones, that she liked it or not.

This would be the latest in a dozen or so attempts for her to pass the set of tests allowing her to display the reward her father expected to see dawning her head. Each time she failed, his anger mounted and the youngest daughter feared that another failure could very well be her last. As much as that outcome helped to focus her thoughts, it also served to fill her with fear an anxiety, so much so that her hands shook because of it.

"Ya'Han! I need you here and now! This is not a game or one of your other meaningless tests. If this man dies, you fail!"

The royal physician was a man of passion, a man who gave everything he had in everything he did. Ya'Han suspected that this was part of the reason why he had been selected by her father to hold the position he now held. The fact that he was loyal to the Sovereign to a fault further secured his position. When she came to stand next to Sho'Kal, the youngest daughter was shocked by the sight displayed in front of her. All of the previous tests had been performed on peasants, most of them being criminals who had been made to suffer her father's fury. This time though it would a member of the military she would be working on.

"He was injured during an assassination attempt against the High Sovereign, and now you need to save his life as he did that of your father."

Ya'Han's breathing quickened, as did her pulse. The soldier had proven himself to be a hero as far as his father was concerned, and yet his reward was to have his life placed in her incompetent hands. The odds of saving that man's life lessened with each second she delayed acting. That was when Sho'Kal took hold of the daughter's chin to force her eyes to meet his.

"His life is yours. Wait and he dies. Act and he might live. Either way, you will be the one to report to the High Sovereign to inform him of the outcome of what will take place here. You have all of the knowledge you need; all that is left for you to do is to show everyone that you are capable of putting that knowledge into action."

The nervous purple-haired girl nodded her head. However scared she might have been about failing to save this man's life, she was even more terrified as to what would happen if she were forced to face her father with the news of this man's passing. So, calling upon everything she could remember of her previous lessons Ya'Han began to work.  First, she needed to stabilize his condition and stop the bleeding that had already completely stained the sheet that covered his upper body.  A quick inspection of the cuts on his chest showed them to be numerous but none appeared to be life-threatening. That is when the young Nylaan noticed a terrifying truth.

"He's missing an arm!" Ya'Han stated in a trembling voice, the appendage having been violently torn from where it should have been.

"That would explain why he is bleeding as he is and why he is in such pain. What will you do?"

The calmness and detachment of Sho'Kal's voice hinted that he would not help more than he was right now. This was her test and she needed to prove herself worthy, both for her patient's sake as well as her own.

Minutes flowed into hours as the High Sovereign's youngest daughter worked without a second's rest to save the soldier's life. It mattered not who had done this or even how the injuries had been inflicted, all that mattered was for her to save the man's life so that she could report the accomplishment to her father.

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End of FLASHBACK
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Setting: TAU OMEGA Research Facility, Corridor
Stardate: 33113.1010

"Ya'Han, are you alright? You seem distracted."

"Sorry Doctor, my mind was elsewhere."

"I can see that," Doctor Bruxa said with a growing smile, recognizing the expression on the Nylaan's face as having been one of deeply troubled memories. "Did he die?"

"Did who die?" The Sec/Tac asked out of simple defensive reflex.

"Whoever it was that you were thinking about that caused your hair to go all white," the Doctor explained. "I may not know a great deal about the Nylaan people, but from what I read in your file, I know that particular color is linked to those you are involved in the medical field of your world."

Realizing that there was no reason to hide the truth, Ya'Han decided to be as honest and as forthcoming as she could. "Yes, he lived, and it was because of that I earned the right to display my white hair, something that my father was not quite as pleased as I had hoped him to be."

"Meeting a father's expectations has to be the most demanding task of any daughter," Bruxa said in a supportive manner. "The best that can be done is for us to be the best person we can be and not base our goals on what they want or hope. If a father truly loves his daughter, he will be happy no matter what she accomplishes in life."

The Sec/Tac smiled before following with a quiet sigh. It mattered not what she did, as a daughter of the High Sovereign, her accomplishments would never be enough to appease his expectations of her. That much she had come to understand of her father and her position in his eyes over the years of her exile from her home and family.  After receiving a smile in return, Ya'Han reached for her tricorder and joined the ANUBIS' CMO in her examination of the base's personnel, the now white-haired Nylaan thinking that this would be an interesting change of pace for her, but still one that she could never see herself do on a more frequent basis.

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Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P026: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 1020 ("Nothing To See")
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"Nothing To See"
[the previous posts were (ANU) " Black Fear" by Hanali / (BAS) "Shadow Contemplations" by Rachel]
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Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 33113.1020

She had promised to never do this without permission, but Shar'El suspected that Erik would understand why she had to do it. Back in the facility, faced with the base's staff encased in that black ooze, the Ullian had scanned their memories and found nothing. Even following their miraculous escape from the dark substance, she found it impossible to get anything from them. No memories of their activities before the base went silent, not even a faint impression of what had happened to them. All that the ExO / ILO found in their minds was darkness, a cold, deep void that left her without a shadow of a doubt as to who was responsible.

When she learned that the Captain had suddenly become incapacitated and unresponsive, the ExO / ILO feared the worst, which was why she rushed back to the ANUBIS. If she was correct, there would be nothing that Doctor Bruxa would be able to do for him, so for the time being, it had been best for the CMO to remain where she was. Maybe her scans and medical examination of the base's personnel might provide a clue as to how to free the Captain from the state that he was now in, but first Shar'El needed to confirm her theory. Had te Lokustaar managed to get to him, and if so how bad had the situation been?

With the base's personnel, the Ullian had scanned for the most recent memories in search of an explanation as to what had occurred. Having found nothing, in every sense of the word, Shar'El decided to try something different with Erik, digging right away into deeper memories with the hopes that she would be able to find something as she made her way back to more recent events.  The idea was a simple one but doing as she planned was proving to be much more difficult as memories were not neatly filled in the human mind in a chronological order but rather clumped in areas of similar interests.

It took some time and effort to find the cluster of memories she had been searching for, but finding them was just the first step in what would prove to be a very long journey through the man's mind.  Various memories of his time on board the USS PARADOX linked to images from his time on other vessels such as the DISCOVERY, PROPHECY, and AVALON. Each time she believed to have found a memory of the ANUBIS, another would come to take its place. Eventually, she managed to isolate all of the images belonging to Morningstar's time as the Commanding Officer on the ANUBIS. The problem was that with three years of memories to search through, the task of finding that one image without his help was quite the challenge.

When scanning someone's memories, Ullians usually focussed on the current thoughts as a guide leading them to the most recent memories if the target was unaware of the scan. This was most useful when searching for information in a large crowd as the current thoughts usually lingered on important recent events. In the case of Captain Morningstar, since there were no actual thoughts present, accessing his memories, be them recent or not, was proving to be much more difficult, especially thanks to the cold, dark veil that the ExO / ILO was encountering at every turn.

Shar'El took some comfort in the fact that she was able to access his memories unlike her inability to reach anything in the minds of the personnel of the secret underground research facility. As far as she was concerned, this meant that there was still some hope of finding out what happened and maybe even to find a way to undo it.  A smile appeared on the features of the ExO / ILO as she closed in on the one memory she had been searching for in this ocean of images and feelings. Erik was sitting at his desk, speaking with Commander Jackman, the orbital station's CO.

The two men appeared to be discussing possible explanations as to what had happened to cause the research facility to have gone silent when suddenly the image went completely black. What Shar'El saw next confirmed her suspicions and fears as several sets of glowing red eyes looked back through the darkness, striking a paralyzing fear in her soul that she found herself unable to break away from no matter how hard she tried.

Had what happened to the Captain happening to her now? Would she be found, as he had been, in a state unable to assume the responsibilities of her position? What this the plan of the Lokustaar, to perform surgical strikes against those in charge of this dimension's defense?  As she felt her mind falling deeper and deeper into a cold, bottomless void, her questions changed. Now, Shar'El wondered more about how or even if, she would ever be able to escape from this trap.

A bright flash of light suddenly shattered the darkness as a stinging warmth now graced her left cheek. Gradually, the void she had found herself in gave way to the decor of the Captain's Ready Room along with the concerned expression of the Ship's Counselor.

"Commander Shar'El, are you alright? Please tell me that you are alright."

"I'm not alright," the ExO / ILO said, trying to force her eyes back into focus while she rubbed her stinging cheek with her hand, "but I suspect that I will be, in time. Let me guess, you thought it necessary to strike me out of the mental connection I had with the Captain?"

"I am so sorry Commander," Adriana gulped. "I was keeping an eye on you and what you were doing when I saw your expression change drastically. It was like a darkness had taken a hold of you."

"That sounds oddly accurate. I owe you my thanks."

"As I do Jayson. When I came in to check on the Captain, I caught a glance of the image on the screen and it was him who brought me back," Lopez explained. "I was not sure what you would find in his mind, but something told me that it would be best if someone kept an eye on you, just in case."

"Again, your vigilance is very much appreciated," the ExO / ILO offered. "Thank you. Please keep an eye on the Captain; I have to take care of a few things to ensure that we do not underestimate our adversary once again."  Having said this, Shar'El headed to the bridge trying to shake the remnant of what she had experienced with each step. "Lieutenant Stark, do we still have a communications channel with the rest of the away team?"

"Yes Commander," Jayson confirmed. "Wanted to make sure we could beam our people back at a moment's notice."

"Good," the ExO / ILO nodded to the Chief of Operations. "Open the channel." As soon as she received confirmation that her order had been followed, Shar'El continued. "ANUBIS to Doctor Bruxa."

=/\= Bruxa here, go ahead Commander. =/\=

"How are your medical examinations proceeding?"

=/\= Slowly but well. Thanks to Ya'Han's assistance, we are managing to get through the crowd rather quickly and so far, we have nothing to report. Everyone here is showing signs of mild disorientation but none of the personnel appears to display ill effects of having been trapped in whatever that black goop was. We should be done in a couple of hours, but if you want this down faster, we could always send a few nurses down. The area does seem to be safe enough. =/\=

"The danger may be closer than we would like to think," the ExO / ILO whispered loud enough for the away team to be the only ones to hear this. "Select someone, anyone, bring them closer to you both and let us know when you did."

There was an audible pause as the CMO and Chief of Security considered what they had just been instructed to do. Obviously, they could not ask what this was all about but given the situation, they had no reason not to comply. =/\= Ready when you are, =/\= Satella announced prompting Shar'El to give permission to proceed to Jayson who had been on standby to beam the two officers and their unwilling guest straight to Sickbay.

"Transport completed," Stark reported.

"I'll be in Sickbay with Lt. Commander Maya," Shar'El said having already instructed the Chief Science Officer to head for the turbolift.  "Lieutenant Stark, you have the bridge. Do not answer any attempts at communication from either the orbital station or the underground facility. I would like to limit the numbers of officers down to only one, speaking of which, please transport the Captain to Sickbay. Doctor Bruxa and I have some work to do."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P027: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: Day 02 - 1100 ("More Tests")
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"More Tests"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Nothing To See" / (BAS) "TheFirst and The Last"]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1100

She was back in her element. Sickbay was where she dealt with the problems they encountered. As interesting as it was to be out there in the middle of the action, this is where she belonged. This was where she did her best work. This is where she would be able to find the answers, be they big or small. At least that was what she hoped.

On one side of Sickbay, the apparently healthy and uninjured member of the facility's staff waited. He had been selected at random for no other reason that he was closest. His medical scans showed nothing out of the ordinary. As far as her tricorder was concerned, he was the healthiest man alive. The curiosity was that he seemed to share that dreamy condition with every other member of the base's personnel.

On the other side of Sickbay, the unconscious Captain also waited, but not by choice. He was out cold, unaware of the world and people around him. The worst part was that his eyes were wide opened, locked in a perpetual fear-filled stare. Normally, eyes could be forced closed but not his. For whatever reasons though, his muscles were locked and she could do nothing about it.

"Explain to me what happened again?" Satella had heard the story several times already, but nothing made sense. How could what had been described to her account for what she was seeing here?

Adriana allowed for a momentary display of annoyance to show before repeating what she had already said a few times. "According to the communication's log, the Captain was in a conversation with Commander Jackman. When the channel with the CO of the orbital station showed no activity, I was sent to check on the Captain. I found him in a catatonic state, completely unresponsive. When I looked at the monitor he was using, I began to feel weak and dizzy. I could not look away and it was thanks to Jayson that I escaped sharing the Captain's fate."

Satella glanced down at the unconscious man, looking into his frozen eyes. Nothing in the explanation she was given could account for any of this. Yet, that she liked it or not, the result was unavoidable. Without a better understanding of what had happened, the CMO had only a few things she could do. First, she needed to cover the Captain's eye to avoid feeling his empty stare following her. Second, she needed to give their guest a thorough medical examination. The black goo he and everyone else in the facility had escaped from had to be part of the equation.

"I assure you, Doctor, I am feeling perfectly fine."

Bruxa smiled at the man's declaration. All of her instruments confirmed his statement. He was in *perfect* health, so much so that she could not accept the conclusion of her instruments. Nothing they had seen or dealt with hinted to the black goo possessing any sort of healing properties. Yet here he was, not showing any signs of illness, present or past. If at least he had been the only one, his condition could have been dismissed as an oddity. According to the scans performed by Ya'Han and herself though, every member of the facility's personnel was equally in perfect health.

"I am sorry, but I need to perform a few more tests. You were found completely encased in that strange black substance. I just need to make sure that there are no hidden side effects from the ordeal you went through." Satella's explanation was met with pleasant objection. He looked around Sickbay after offering a smile back. The presence of the Chief of Security, as well as several of her officers, made his situation clear. He had no choice in the matter and he could cooperate or be forced to comply.  Sadly, for the fiery-haired Nylaan, the man chose to not object further to the wished of the CMO.

"You Doctor's are all the same. Always wanting to do more tests, even when they are not required. Go ahead; I am sure you will find me to be as I have claimed to be. In perfect health."

Every possible scan was made. Every possible cellular and neurological tests were performed. Satella even went as far as to actually draw blood to see if it visibly was as it should be. The more tests she conducted, the more the results frustratingly remained the same. The man was in perfect health, every single cell in his body supporting that claim.

Adriana had remained by Satella's side during all of the tests, observing as only a Counselor could. When the CMO left the man's side, the CNS followed. "He is as arrogant as can be in regards to his own health status. It was interesting to see his reaction to your efforts to prove his claim false. Despite his unwavering certainty that you would not find anything, he still did not want you to try. It was as if he feared that you might actually find something."

"Well, I didn't." Satella's frustration was reaching its boiling point. "The only thing my report can show is that he is in *perfect* health. There is not one thing wrong with him, or any of the others we scanned down in that research facility. I really wish we could find their Doctor and have a chat with them. The problem is that they are nowhere to be found and no one seems to know where they might be."

"That's something else I noticed when you were talking with him. His attitude towards Doctors and their incessant desire to perform more tests. It was as if he and the others had gone through something similar not that long ago."

Satella glanced over to Shar'El who had stayed in the room but out of the way. The CMO could only guess that their ExO had been scanning the man's memories. Her lack of any sort of reaction indicating that she had not found anything worth mentioning if anything at all. "What if we did find their Doctor but didn't realize it at the time?"

Adriana was intrigued by the suggestion. "What do you mean?"

"We found a large black mass on one of the Infirmary's examination tables. What if it was their Doctor that had been trapped inside? It would have made taking over the rest of the base and its personnel that much easier."

"It would also explain the statement and the way it was made. Their Doctor would have likely been like you, wanting to get t the bottom of the mystery. Not wanting to risk being discovered, whoever or whatever controls the black goo could have taken their CMO out of the equation. That would also account for this man's visible dislike of you as a medical professional.

The CMO's features brighten up as a smile formed. "So there is something to be found. If there wasn't, why be so concerned that it might be found? The question is where can this elusive clue be hiding?"

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Adriana appeared pleased in her quoting the fictional character of Sherlock Holmes. The man was known for breaking through the most difficult of mysteries to find the answers he sought. Oddly enough, Satella found a certain kinship with the man at the moment.

"Commander, if you would not mind?" The CMO said, calling the First Officer closer to them.

"Found something?"

"Unfortunately no, but Adriana suggested something. That black mass we discovered in the base's Infirmary had an odd humanoid shape. What if the base's CMO was the one kept isolated from the others? We do have a few theories but the only way to confirm or deny them would be for someone to return." Satella knew what she was asking was problematic and risky. They had barely managed to get out of there the first time around.

"I am sure that Sonja will jump on the opportunity to get her missing DRONE. Lt. Ya'Han, would you be up for a return trip to the underground facility?"

The Nylaan smiled, the woman always ready to face whatever danger stood in their path.

"Then it is settled. I am sure that Lt. Stark will be able to beam you three as close to the Infirmary as possible to make your journey a quick one."

"All *three* of us?" Satella had not expected that. She figured that the return trip could have been accomplished without her being there. Apparently, she had been wrong.

"Sonja will be heading down to retrieve the DRONE left behind. Ya'Han will accompany to provide security. You will be there to make sure that nothing medically unexpected happens. If your suspicions are correct, your expertise may be required to care for whoever was in that black mess."

Adriana chuckled. "Looks like you just talked yourself into another away mission." The effort to put a humorous spin on this did not make the situation any easier for Satella. As much as she would have preferred to stay on board the ANUBIS, it seemed that she would have a few more field tests to perform.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M11-P028: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 02 - 1100
("Mechanical Things Great and Small")
"Mechanical Things Great and Small"
previous posts were (ANU) "More Tests" / (BAS) "Change of Plan"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Robotics Lab
Stardate: 33113.1100

ANI stood in the diagnostic chamber set in the middle of the room, and even though she appeared as normal as could be, it was easy to see that the redhead Engineer was troubled by the state of the artificial woman. Somehow, the black ooze the away team encountered while in the underground research facility had, through the link between the Avatar and her DRONEs, compromised the Android's system. From that point on, events proceded exactly as the system had been designed to do in such circumstances; shutting everything down in order to protect all parties involved including the ANUBIS.

Seeing the Avatar lifeless and completely unresponsive was unsettling for Sonja but something bothered her even more. Video accounts from the DRONE left in the facility clearly showed the ooze attacking and enveloping the remote explorer, but as hard as she tried, the Chief Engineer could not find any signs of the electronic attack that forced ANI to shut down. Both the Android and her newly created Dynamic Remote Operated Nanotech Explorers were designed to handle physical events much more severe than what had happened without trouble, so why had this particular event led to this?

"Hang in there," Sonja said to the only other person in the room with her. "I'll get to the bottom of this and get you back to full operational status in no time."

=/\= Shar'El to Sonja. =/\=

"I'm busy!" The redhead engineer snapped, not wishing to see her work on ANI to be disrupted for any reason short of a complete collapse of the universe around them. "Leave a message at the beep."

The pause that followed hinted that the First Officer was humouring the Chief Engineering, at least for a little while.

=/\= I am still waiting for that *beep* you mentioned. =/\= Knowing Sonja as well as she did, Shar'El did not find the tone used by her friend to be one of insubordination. It was just one of the many quirks the ANUBIS' CEO had, especially when she was dealing with something important.

"Would you prefer an 'EARTH shattering KABOOM'?" Sonja asked in her best imitation of Marvin the Martian. After having said this, the redhead Engineer paused to see if Shar'El would actually join in on the banter by saying the phrase the cartoon character was best known for, but it soon became evident that although the Ullian had repeatedly scanned the memories of Lt. Paquette, the Commander had not come across that particular tidbit on her past. "Never mind. What can I do for you?"

=/\= Report to transporter room 2. You will be accompanying Doctor Bruxa and Lt. Ya'Han back down to the research facility. We have a working theory that requires further investigation. =/\=

"Would love to, but I can't. ANI is counting on me to not end up like sleeping beauty, and right now I have no idea as to what actually happened to cause her to shut down the way she did. There are no records of any system breach and yet we saw her and the DRONE's react as if there were being subjected to some sort of electronic attack. I need to figure this out, not only for ANI's sake but for our own as we have no idea if the ANUBIS's computer and systems are not under some sort of threat."

=/\= That is part of the reason why I need you to go back down there,=/\= Shar'El clarified. =/\= This return visit will give you the chance to see first hand what happened to the DRONE we left behind and maybe get some of the answers you need to figure out what actually happened. =/\=

Sonja carefully considered the words of the First Officer as she looked at the lifeless form of the ship's Avatar. The last thing the Chief Engineer wanted to do was to leave her alone in such a state, but the prospect of discovering the reason for her current state easily tipped the balance to the other side. Retrieving the last of the four DRONEs was also something that the CEO could hardly say no to, she had after all given them life and as any mother would, she needed to ensure the safety of her creations.

"Very well. I'll be in the transporter room in a few minutes. Paquette out."

Sonja took a moment to draw in a slow, long, deep breath while looking at the unresponsive ANI. "Don't go anywhere. I promise you I will return as quickly as I can and I will get to the bottom of this, in the meantime take it easy. I don't need to have to rebuild the lab once again just because you decided to be bored."

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Transporter Room 2
Stardate: 33113.1130

Sonja entered the room to find the First Officer, Chief Medical Officer and Chief of Security waiting, maybe not as patiently as they all could have wanted to be. "What are you all standing around waiting for? Let's go!"

The gathered officers watched as the redhead engineer quickly stepped onto the transporter platform. Had they not known her as they did, they might have interpreted her words and demeanour as rude. Luckily, they all understood the concerns the woman felt for the mechanical entities she had created and which now stood in the middle of this growing mystery.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M11-P029: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 1135 ("Situational Review")
=-=
"Situational Review"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Mechanical Things Great and Small" by Lorraine / (BAS) "Change of Plan" by Karen]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Transporter Room 2
Stardate: 33113.1135

The ExO / ILO watched as the three officers vanished from the transporter platform in a dance of twinkling lights. Shar'El disliked the idea of sending anyone back down there, but the situation with the Captain along with the events that had taken the orbital station and underground research facility out of commission needed to be thoroughly investigated.

"Shar'El to Stark, can you confirm that they have arrived safe and sound?"

=/\= Sensors are still not able to penetrate the facility's outer shell, but thanks to the hole we drilled with the phasers, we are able to get a reading on their communicators. According to our readings, all three have arrived unharmed as close to the infirmary as we could send them. =/\= The tone of Jayson's reply was filled with relief and concerns, two sentiments that the ExO / ILO understood all too well.

"Keep the channel open and beam them back as soon as there is any sign of trouble," the Commander ordered, already looking forward to seeing the away team back, with or without answers.

=/\= The drill shaft was created to reach as close as possible to that chamber discovered outside of the base's outer edge. Its presence may make it easier for us to beam someone to and from the underground facility but only to areas near the shaft. The infirmary, according to the layout we have, is located in the dead center. The only way for us to get them back is if they move back towards the transporter shaft. =/\=

The ExO / ILO wanted to be upset at this revelation, but the fact of the matter was that she already knew this. Misplaced hoped had caused her to say what she had despite the knowledge she possessed that the away team was, once again, on their own.  "Keep an eye on them. I'll be in the Robotics Lab if you need me."

=/\= Aye, Aye, Commander. =/\=

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Robotics Lab
Stardate: 33113.1150

It felt strange walking into this room without Sonja present. It was even stranger to see the lifeless Avatar standing in the diagnostic section. ANI had quickly become much more than a simple extension of the ship, she had earned her place as a member of the ANUBIS' crew and the rest of the ship's personnel dealt with her as such. It was because of that closeness that the ExO / ILO found herself saddened by the sight before her. The android was a collection of sophisticated mechanical and electronic components expertly put together and given life, and yet she was so much more than the sum of her parts.

The fact that she was unresponsive as the Captain was only made her that much more a proverbial living and breathing part of the crew. As different as Erik and ANI were, one being a living biological form while the other was a mechanical construct mimicking life, the recent development had forced them to be more alike than either could have ever imagined. It was highly probable that this would not influence how they deal with each other, or even how this event would affect their everyday life once a solution would be found, the failure of doing so no being an option. The possibility though proved to be an interesting one to consider.

The raven-haired Ullian wondered for a brief moment as to what it would be like to scan the Avatar's memories. What strange and odd images or even out of place feelings would she discover in that electronic brain of hers? As interesting as this unorthodox mystery might prove to be, now was not the time to dwell on such frivolity. So with a renewed sense of purpose, the ExO / ILO exited the Robotics Lab and made her way back to the ship's Sickbay.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1210

The doors to Sickbay hissed opened and allowed Shar'El to walk in and find Counselor Lopez and Lt. Commander Maya standing over the motionless form of their Captain. By the expressions on their faces, it was evident that nothing had changed since she had last been here.

"Welcome back Commander," Adriana said welcoming the new arrival. "How is the investigation into the facility's Infirmary?"

"No way to know until they come back I'm afraid, but if there is something to be found down there, Sonja, Satella and Ya'Han are the ones to find it," the ExO / ILO replied as she looked down onto the unconscious Captain.  The man was normally the quiet sort, but seeing him like this was bordering what Shar'El could handle, so to help in dealing with the situation, Shar'El diverted her attention onto the Chief Science Officer. "Maya, have you made any progress in figuring out what happened?"

"I am afraid not," the Shillian replied, the shortness of her answer being another hint as to how complicated this mystery was.  "There is nothing for me to start on. I might as well try to scan a void deprived of any matter, at least there I would be able to determine the size of the anomaly. Here, there is absolutely nothing to find."

"What about our friend over there?" Shar'El asked, looking at the member of the base's personnel they had borught back to the ANUBIS, a man who according to their instruments appeared to be in the absolute perfect picture of health.

"He is growing a little impatient but is still behaving," the Counselor replied. "He had inquired on a few occasion as to when he would be permoitted to leave Sickbay and rejoin the others. What I do find interesting is that he seems to have no curiosity whatsoever about his having been trapped in that black ooze. From the answers he had provided me to my questions, he does remember something happening, but to him it is no more significant than having gobe to sleep and woken up as in any other day."

"Keep working on him," the ExO / ILO quietly ordered. "He's hiding something, consciously or not, and since I am unable to scan his memories the task of discovering what it is that he is not telling us is all yours."

The Counselor glanced over at the man and sighed. "I will do my best Commander."

With that said, Shar'El made her way out of Sickbay heading for where her responsabilities demanded her to be, especially in view that the Captain was unable to be there himself.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1230

"Any news from the away team?" the ExO / ILO inquired the moment the turbolift doors parted to grant her access to the ANUBIS' command deck.

"No Commander," Jayson replied, his concern for Ya'Han and the rest of the away team visible on his face. "The channel is open and we are still picking up their signals, but they have not reported back in as of yet."

"What about the orbital station?" Shar'El asked, extending her search for answers to the Flight Control Officer.

"Nothing much to report Commander," Tanith said sounding almost bored. "It just floats there. Life support and communications are working, at least according to our sensors, but they are unable to pick up any notable lifesigns or get any answers to our hails. It is as if everyone just dropped into some sort of catatonic state for no apparent reason."

"It is likely that the entire station's staff suffers from the same condition that our Captain is currently in, and without any way to confirm this or ensure that anyone going over would not fall pray to the same cause, the orbital station is off-limits," the ExO / ILO explained.

"The IGC is still working on trying to gain access to the station's systems but so far they have had no luck. It would seem that whoever or whatever took out the station's staff also disabled the primary computer. Until then, the best we have is a blank screen."

"I will admit to not being overly fond of 'blank screens'," the ExO / ILO stated. "Keep your eyes open and maintain our current position.  Someone is bound to find something at some point."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P030: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 02 - 1145 ("Second Time Around")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Second Time Around"
[previous post were (ANU) "Situational Review" / (BAS) "Change of Plan"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: TAU OMEGA Research Facility, Corridor
Stardate: 33113.1145

She knew that this was not the case, her tricorder proved that much, but for some reason the Sec/Tac found the corridors to be darker, colder. Maybe it was because she was in the lad this time instead of the Avatar, but as much as she tried to convince herself of this, Ya'Han continued to believe that there was something more about the way she felt. There was something different about this second journey through these spooky corridors.

"The infirmary should be the around the corner to our right, the second door down," Sonja announced clearly having memorized the facility's layout since she had not been using a tricorder at the time.

"Should be?" Doctor Bruxa asked. "Are you expecting it to have moved or vanished for some reason?"

"Have you looked at this place?" Sonja shot back. "I have had drunken nightmares more pleasant than this place, and those involved bloodthirsty Klingons, so that's saying a lot."

"I would be more inclined to believe that it is the Klingons who have nightmares about you, Sonja," Ya'Han said, welcoming the opportunity to brighten the mood, even if only a little. "Remember, I have seen you drink."

The two redheads quietly laughed for a short while leaving the silver-haired Doctor to wonder what she had missed. The more she thought about it though, the less willing Satella was to find out, as dealing with this nightmare had been more than enough at this time.

After rounding the corner and making their way down to the second door, the Sec/Tac motioned for the others to stop with a raised closed fist. So far, the corridors had been just as empty as they had been their first time through, but following what had happened in the lower level, it would be unsafe not to consider the possibility that the situation had changed here as well. Carefully, the Sec/Tac looked inside the doorway that had remained opened from their earlier visit. Immediately she noticed two oddities; the first was a very spherical small black mass on the floor of the Infirmary, the size of which hinting that this was the downed DRONE Sonja had been here for. The second was the absence of the larger black mass on the examination table; the one Commander Shar'El believed to be the trapped bases' CMO.

"What did they do to you?" Sonja gasped as she followed Ya'Han into the infirmary and saw the ooze covered DRONE on the ground. Although amusing, the Sec/Tac could not allow herself to be distracted by the CEO's display of emotion. The safety of the away team was her responsibility and she needed to make sure that nothing would come to threaten this.

"Based on what we say in that underground chamber, it is a safe bet that whoever was in that black ooze when we were here last is now free," Satella said, using her medical tricorder in an effort to find some trace as to the whereabouts of the unknown person. "All we need to do is figure out where they went."

"When we were here first, the room was sealed, likely to ensure that whoever was inside could not escape," the red-haired Nylaan theorized. "If, like the others, the person who was in there is now free, and the door to the infirmary was open, there is no telling where they might have gone."

"Commander Shar'El is not going to like this," the ANUBIS' Doctor said exasperatedly. "She was really counting on us finding the base's CMO in the hopes of getting some answers to what happened to the Captain."

"In this field of work, we usually have a lot more questions than we have answers," Ya'Han explained as she scanned the shadow-filled room for any signs of the missing person who might or might not be the one they were looking for. When the Sec/Tac noticed something moving in one of the far corners, partially hidden by the surrounding darkness, the bright red-haired Nylaan quickly sought to place herself between the other members of the away team and whatever it was they had discovered.

"Sonja! We are not alone," Satella whispered to the woman who was a few steps behind them making sure that she was aware of the situation. With all three women now on guard, the Sec/Tac cautiously approached with her phaser tightly in her grasp. Without being able to clearly see whom or what was in the corner, Ya'Han could not take any chances and needed to consider the unknown entity as a threat.

The closer the Sec/Tac got, the more details about the form hiding in the shadows could be made. It was humanoid, cowering in a ball against the corner walls, its face veiled by its arms and legs. A faint sound of mumbling could now be heard, the figure now believed to be a female appeared terrified of something.

"We are here to help," Ya'Han said in a soft and reassuring tone, hoping that her words would ease whatever fear the woman was experiencing. Responding to the sound of her voice, the woman looked up and back at the Sec/Tac causing the red-haired Nylaan to stop dead in her tracks. It was not the fact that the woman had looked back that startled the Chief of Security, it was rather the fact that no perceived eyes had gazed back, at least not eyes as expected for a humanoid female.

"What the..." Satella gasped, having witnessed the same thing as Ya'Han. Through the shadows, it was difficult to make out details, but the solid blackness of where eyes should have been could not be missed. As Ya'Han gathered her courage to resume her forward progress, the unknown woman leaped out of the corner, jumped onto the nearest medical bed and in a single bounce plowed through the two officers who had been approaching.

The Sec/Tac quickly regained her footing but by the time she had done so the unknown woman was gone having knocked Sonja down to the ground in her rush to reach the exit of the infirmary.

"She was in a rush to leave," Sonja said as Ya'Han was helping her back up. "You really need to stop scaring people like that," the CEO added in a tease. "What happened and who was she?"

"Can't answer either question. She was in the corner, scared and suddenly just rushed out," Ya'Han replied. "We don't even know if she was the base's CMO, a nurse or someone else."

"One thing was for sure though," Doctor Bruxa added. "She was terrified of something."

"The fun never ends," Sonja sighed, looking down at the DRONE still firmly encased in whatever that black ooze was. "You, stay!" the CEO ordered to the incapacitated mechanical device. "I'll be back for you."

"Guess that means we'll be going after her?" The ANUBIS' CMO asked, uncertain that this was what they were contemplating doing.

"Whoever she is may be our only hope to get any real answers as to what happened," the Sec/Tac replied. "Those people we scanned earlier are certainly not going to be of any help."

"You're right," Satella unhappily agreed. "Let's go."

"I have a bad feeling about this," Sonja muttered as she followed the Sec/Tac and CMO out of the infirmary and after the unknown woman.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P031: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: Day 02 - 1215 ("It's Official")
=-=
"It's Official"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Second Time Around" / (BAS) "Change of Plan"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1215

Here she was out of her preferred element, again. Many CMOs enjoyed leaving the familiarity of their domain. They long to stretch their legs and see something new, something different. The thrill of experiencing something other than the sterile walls was palpable. Routine for them was the bane to be avoided whenever possible. Satella was not one of them, nor did she aspire to be.  Being out there surrounded by the unknown was something she dreaded. It was not because she could not handle being out there, it was because she'd rather not have to be there.

As a physician, a mundane routine was never part of her daily work. Things happened without advance notice, that was part of the basic job description. Work injuries, training mishaps, and a variety of other medical issues always surfaced. Life on a starship was never meant to be easy or safe no matter how hard everyone tried. As long as any of these unexpected events occurred in while she was in Sickbay, she would be happy.

Walking down the corridor of this secret underground research facility was not where she wanted to be. The dark hallways were something taken out of a nightmare that she wanted to escape from. Dealing with whatever this black ooze was while in its own environment was just asking for trouble. Now, as if all of this was not enough, they were running after a crazed unknown woman. To make matters worse, she seemed possessed by a darkness beyond the limits of this world. Ya'Han was doing her best to ignore what they saw. The Chief of Security focusing on the task of finding and bringing her back to the ANUBIS. As a Chief Medical Officer, Satella could not so easily forget the eyes that had looked back at them. The nothingness that stared back had been cold, absolute and terrifying to put it mildly.

Given the choice and opportunity, Bruxa would have also run away. The one difference being that she would have been heading in the opposite direction.  Sonja said it best when they left the infirmary in claiming that she had a bad feeling about this. They all did.

As luck would have it and despite the limited range of their tricorders, they were able to track the woman. The woman did not bounce around as would have been expected from someone in her state of mind. Her running was straight and purposeful with a single destination in mind. They had no idea what she was running from, but it was plain to see that the woman was running to somewhere.

The determined Ya'Han lead the trio with Sonja bringing up the rear. This meant that there was no way for Satella to do anything but follow. After a short while of running through the corridors, it became evident to the CMO that she no longer had a choice. The CEO might have memorized the layout of this underground base, but she had not. Failure to remain with the other two officers would mean that the physician would find herself alone. Back on the ANUBIS, this would not have been an issue. In fact, it might even be preferable, but here in this deserted facility, being alone was something she did not want to experience.

"These look like quarters. The plates on the doors have names instead of designations. Maybe she went back to the one place she would feel safe."

Ya'Han's logic was spotless, at least as far as Satella was concerned. Going back to the safety of her quarters, or at the very least the ANUBIS would be preferable to being here.

"We can't go room by room. It will take us forever and we have no guarantee that she is in any one of them." Sonja's objection gave Satella the opportunity to voice her own. She would be able to remark as to how the base was too much of a maze for them to search it all. Doctor Bruxa would also be able to claim what she believed to be the best point. As much as the woman they were after might possess answers, how much time could they dedicate to this hunt? The Captain was back on the ANUBIS where the CMO should be in order to attend to her patient.

"We may not have to search every room. One of the doors was left open."

Satella found herself cursing Ya'Han under her breath. Her dedication and drive were remarkable, but they also meant that they would be here for that much longer. Without any other choice, the CMO followed as the trio headed for the opened door. For obvious reasons, the Chief of Security walked in first. When Bruxa followed, she glanced at the nameplate on the door which was neatly engraved with a position and name.

Dr. Kareena Atar

It would seem that they had found the base's CMO. Even if they had not, they at least had a name to go with.  As they walked deeper into the room, the earlier assumption made by Ya'Han were proven to be accurate. These were indeed personal quarters but there were still no signs of their runaway. Dr. Kareena Atar was nowhere to be found.

Without any lights, the only illumination to brighten the room came from the emergency lighting out in the corridor. This made the living quarters appear even more ominous and unwelcoming. Of course, the appearance of the quarters would prove insufficient to deter the Chief of Security in her quest. If these were her quarters, Doctor Atar had sought cover out of sight of anyone simply walking in. This meant that the away team would need to push deeper into the surrounding shadows. At least they would do so together thus increasing their odds of survival.

"Sonja, take the bedroom, I'll check the kitchen."

Just like that, the small twinkle of hope Satella had been holding on to vanished. Ya'Han had wanted to be efficient and that was admirable. Sonja had wanted to get this over with as quickly as possible, so she quickly complied. This left the third and last member of the away team to stand in the middle of the main room, alone. Satella's only companions were the shadows that surrounded her on all sides. However badly she had wanted to be back on the ANUBIS before, the feeling was nearly overwhelming now.  All she wanted to do was to walk out and be anywhere but here. Of course, this would still mean that she would be alone, so instead, she just stayed put.

"Doctor Atar? My name is Satella Bruxa. I am the Chief Medical Officer of the USS ANUBIS. We are here to help."

Satella saw Ya'Han looking back at her, smiling. Obviously, the redhead Chief of Security had approved. Not only did the announcement have the potential of drawing the woman out, it also served to focus the attention elsewhere. Bruxa just stood where she was, waiting for some sort of reply which she doubted would come. As scared as they had seen her be, it was unlikely that Kareen would just walk up to them. Especially when taking into account that they had just been running after her.

Doctor BNnruxa suddenly felt very aware of her being alone in the middle of the room. She had lost sight of Sonja and Ya'Han and the shadows themselves now appeared to be closing in on her. She knew that this was a trick of her mind, but the fear she felt grew with each passing second. To say that she wanted to be anywhere else would have been a drastic understatement. When she felt a hand land on her left shoulder, Satella screamed.  She turned to see which of the other members of the away team had scared her this way. Whoever it was would get a severe verbal thrashing.

When she saw the same black cold eyes looking at her, Satella nearly fainted.

"Help... me..." That was all that the woman said before collapsing to the ground. Doctor Bruxa quickly kneeled down and found the woman to be as cold as ice.

"I need some help here!" The scream of horror from the CMO was more than enough to summon both officers back.

"Well done Satella. Looks like you just ensured that you'll be part of any future away mission. You're a handy person to have around."

The words spoken by Sonja had made it official. Satella truly hated being off the ship.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M11-P032: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: Day 02 - 1220 ("Head Games")
-=-=-
"Head Games"
[Previous post: (ANU) "It's Offical" & (BAS) "Change of Plan"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1220

**Keep working on him,** Adriana thought, echoing the order she had received from Commander Shar'El. **Easier said than done. The man comes across as an over the top manic but I can clearly see that there is something bothering him. He wants to be somewhere else; actually by the way he's acting that want seems to be more of a need. Where does he have to be and why?**

"You could just ask him," Amanda said, the image of the twin sister had appeared right next to the CNS without any warnings, as she always did.

Counselor Lopez quickly surveyed her surroundings to make sure that Cmdr. Maya or anyone else for that matter was not close enough to overhear what was to come. "I doubt that it's going to be that simple," Adriana whispered to the hallucination of her sister, silently wishing that Satella had been here. The pattern in the CNS seeing her missing sister had gone unnoticed, the frequency of the visions being greatly lessened when her friend and confidant was nearby. Somehow, the CMO had found a way to help ground Lopez in reality, something that she was endlessly grateful for.  For the time being though, all she could do was to indulge the illusion of hr twin sister knowing that in the end it was nothing more than having a chat with herself as so many others often did. "The man is a contradiction in how he is claiming to feel and how he is behaving."

"You're the head shrink, figure it out," the twin said, taking another opportunity to insult her sister which by itself was a display that troubled Adriana when she took into account that Amanda was nothing more than a mental projection of her own thoughts and feelings.

"I'm a Counselor, not a head shrink, and I have been trying to figure it out," Adriana quietly defended. "The man is just as much of a psychological puzzle as he proved to be a medical one to Satella. He exhibits all of the signs of being unburdened by emotional problems, this despite having been trapped in that black ooze for who knows how long, but then he acts impatient as if he needs to be somewhere else. It is almost like dealing with two different personalities inhabiting the same body."

"If that's the case, you are the one most qualified to deal with him," Amanda laughed enlisting an unhappy glare from her twin who could not find any valid argument to counter the claim made by the hallucination that followed her wherever she went. Although it could be claimed that on a psychological level her case and that of their guest were completely different, Lopez had to agree that both of them suffered from certifiable conditions that would have any other mental health specialist be concerned.  "At least he's not having an argument with himself," the twin added.

"He may not be arguing with himself outwardly, but there might be a conflict raging within. All I need to do is to bring that inner debate out into the open, that way I will be able to see what each side is trying to win. Thanks, you've been very helpful," the real Lopez said, causing her twin sister to smile. However strange this sisterly relationship was, it did serve a purpose and had proven to be a great source of support for Adriana.

"Everything alright Counselor?" Maya asked, the Shillian having caught only the last part of a conversation that seemed to involved some else whom she could not see.

"I was just thinking out loud to myself," Adriana replied, the explanation given being perfectly accurate from anyone else's point of view. As unsettling as the hallucinations might be at times, they were nothing more than a way for the woman to continue in the performance of her duties while dealing with the void created by her sister's disappearance so many years ago. "I might have a way to get our friend over there to tell us more than he has."

"That would be a welcomed development," Maya acknowledged. "I am afraid that we have gathered all of the possible answers through normal medical and scientific means. My review of the data collected by Doctor Bruxa has revealed nothing more. The man is as physically healthy as can be and I cannot identify any external reasons to account for his perfect health. Maybe a less conventional approach is what is required at this time."

"Trust me, Commander," Lopez softly grinned. "There is nothing conventional about this," she added while looking straight at the man who would become the target of the plan inspired by the twin sister who was not really there. That said, Adriana tugged down on her uniform shirt and headed for the other side of Sickbay where their guest was waiting as patiently as he could.

"Have I been judged fit to leave?" He asked, managing with some level of success to hide his frustration.

"Physically you have been declared as fit as a fiddle, I just need to ask you a few questions before you are officially released," the Counselor explained.

"Ask away."

As simple and short as his words were, they already hinted at the man being on edge. There was a part of the man that wanted to leave as quickly as possible, and all that Adriana needed to do was to discover why.

"For our records, I need you to state your name, position, as well as the duties you were responsible for as a member of the research facility's staff."

"With all due respect, I am sure that you will understand that I am not at liberty to give you any of the information you have asked of me. The facility you are referring to operates under the strictest and highest classified level." The reply was confident, exactly as Adriana had expected it to be. Her not getting any answers had not been a surprise as he had already refused to provide this information before, what it did do this time around was to set the stage for what would follow.

"I totally understand your position and would expect that Admiral Koniki made sure that we all replied in the exact same manner in a similar situation. That said, you also must understand that given the fact that we were sent here to investigate the lack of communication from the facility, we will need some sort of answers to appease the Admiral's curiosity." By using the name of the head of Starfleet Intelligence, not to mention the man in charge of the Federation's most secret Intel operations, Adriana had hoped to trigger some sort of reaction in the man. Would he be surprised at the mention of the Admiral enough to lower his guard or would he see this as an amateur attempt to get him to say something he would not have under other circumstances?

"Admiral who?"

The confusion on the man's face seemed genuine enough, which only puzzled Adriana that much more. The Admiral had sent them here personally, meaning that he knew more than most about the facility. That most on board the orbital station did not know about the underground secret base made sense, as it protected the secrecy of the work being done, but for those working there, it made no sense that they did not at least know the name of the man directly or indirectly responsible for them being there.

"Head of Starfleet Intelligence? Are you telling me that the secret underground facility you were found inside of is not operating under the jurisdiction of Starfleet?"

The man remained silent, the expression on his face showing an inner conflict that threatened to burst into the open at any moment. This was exactly what Adriana wanted, to force the man into a position where whatever sides were fighting for control inside his mind would show themselves.

"Although I appreciate your desire to leave, I am sure that you will understand our inability to release you at this time. As of right now, there is no way for us to know if you are even a friend or a foe, working on some secret plan to overthrow the Federation, something that following more recent events we must ensure never happens again. Therefore, you will remain our guest for the time being until such time as you, or someone else can provide us with adequate and acceptable information as to the purpose of this research facility."

"NO!" The man screamed as he lunged forward at the Counselor. The possibility of losing control of their guest had always been there, so as a precautionary measure a force field had been placed around the section. Even with the protective energy barrier in place, Adriana jumped back at the aggressive display; the reaction had been much more sudden and violent than she could have expected it to be.

"Well done Counselor," Maya said as she came to stand next to Adriana, both women now looking at the man and his solid black eyes.

"Well done sis," Amanda added. "I can see a few more nightmares heading your way after this."

-=-=-
NMM

Doesn't move the story ahead all that much but it does more than just having Adriana talking to Amanda.

Rachel, like what you did with Satella, nice to have someone else not be completely right in the head aside from my character.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M11-P033: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 1245 ("Something New to Consider")
=-=
"Something New to Consider"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Head Games" by Marissa/ (BAS) "Unwelcome Visitors" by Dawn]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1245

The ship's medical care area was starting to get crowded, and not in a good way. On one side of Sickbay was the unnamed member of the facility's staff whom Lopez had been working on. The most the Counselor had been able to discover was that the man was hiding something and urgently wanted to leave. That and the fact that his eyes had become solid black was more than reason enough to leave him behind the force field that kept him in isolation.  On the other side of Sickbay was the unconscious Captain, the victim of what they could only guess had been some sort of hypnotic attack, likely the same that had claimed the personnel of the underground base and orbital station.

With the return of the away team, a third patient was added to the list.  Doctor Kareena Atar, the Chief Medical Officer of the underground facility who now laid on one of the examination beds, her solid black eyes closed. The ExO / ILO did not like this growing pattern but she still tried to look on the positive side of things in that they had someone new for them to target their investigation.

"How is she, Doctor?" Shar'El asked of Bruxa who appeared relieved at being back on the ANUBIS.

"Wish I could tell you that she is fine, but we all know that these readings are false. Physically, all of the scans show her to be in perfect health, but all you have to do is look at her eyes to see that there is something wrong with her. I gave her a sedative to make it easier on everyone, but the medical scanners don't show the presence of the compound in her system, so I have no way to know if it is at all effective." The CMO paused for a moment as an expression of concern formed on her face as she looked down at their latest patient. "I can only guess that she was the first affected by whatever that black ooze is. That is why she was separated from the others."

"If that is the case, there are two tactical possibilities that we have to consider," Ya'Han suggested, the black and red-haired Nylaan never stopping being the Chief of Security, no matter the color she displayed. "Either Doctor Atar was a target of opportunity, being the closest at the time, or she was specifically selected to remove her from the situation because she stood as being some sort of threat."

"Agreed," the ExO / ILO quickly noted. "The first possibility would simply mean that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the second and the one I believe to be the one that actually happened, would leave us to believe that there was something she could have done to stop the rest of the base's personnel to fall prey to this ooze."

"The problem is that we have no clue as to what she might have been working on or knew that could help us in dealing with the effects of the ooze. For all we know, the effects could be irreversible." Bruxa's frustration was palpable, and Shar'El understood all too well where the CMO was coming from. Every time they made a break in this investigation, the more puzzled they became.

"Commander, I may have found something," Maya announced instantly drawing the attention of all gathered officers onto her. "our tricorders have been unable to get any sort of readings from the ooze, and those readings we are getting from those affected by the substance are clearly wrong, so I have been working on trying to identify the reason why this is so. Not being able t get any sort of sensor readings from a substance is uncommon but not beyond the realm of possibilities, there are countless accounts of such instances in Starfleet records, but what I found strange were those perfect health readings we collected from our friend over there, the base's personnel and now Doctor Atar. Since we are unable to get any sort of reading from the ooze, it would be expected that the same would be true from anyone who was encased in it, but instead, we are getting readings that make no sense."

"Commander Maya," the ExO / ILO snapped. "If you have a point to make, please make it now."

"The ooze possesses trans-dimensional properties," Maya said, a little shocked by the abruptness of Shar'El's demand.

"Sorry Maya," Shar'El offered soon after, noticing that the Shillian had gone from one end of the verbal spectrum to the other; from overly verbose to uncharacteristically quiet. "I did not mean for you not to explain your findings, I just wanted to focus your thoughts and words on the trans-dimensional properties and how they relate to our situation."

"The ooze appears to be in a state of dimensional flux, existing in part in another dimension as well as our own. This would explain why we are unable to get any sort of readings from it and why those affected by the substance all display the exact same medical readouts." The information had been the bare minimum that Maya had wanted to relay, but she knew that it would be sufficient for the time being as it would provide the ExO / ILO with a better understanding of what they were dealing with.

"Are you saying that these people are being controlled by someone from another dimension?" Doctor Bruxa cringed as a cold shiver swept through her body.

"There is no proof of that, but the possibility is very real. Doctor Atar might have figured that part out or was working on something that would give her a head start in finding a way to protect the base's personnel. Hence, this might be why she was the first targeted," Maya further explained, still doing her best to keep her words short and on point. "There is no way to know for sure if the ooze is an inanimate substance controlled by someone else or if it is some sort of entity capable of physically being in two dimensions at the same time. The theory at this point only covers the possibility that the ooze bridges two dimensions, maybe even more."

"Too bad the BASTET is not here," Satella voiced, thinking of her former ship and another CSciO. "Their sensors are specially calibrated for dimensional events, they would be able to confirm your suspicion and maybe even pinpoint the location of the other dimension. At the very least, Misaki would be able to lend a hand as this is the field where she excels."

"We will have to do the best we can with what we have," Shar'El pointed out. "Can we use this new information to help the Captain and the others? Even if this is only a working theory, does it give us something to work with?"

"It most certainly does give me something new to consider, but I will need Commander Maya's help. I might have been on the BASTET and even dealt with trans-dimensional events, but this is nothing like I have ever seen or worked on," Doctor Bruxa admitted.

"Of course Doctor, all available resources are at your disposal," the ExO / ILO confirmed before glancing over to the unconscious Native American with the hope that this latest discovery would offer a way to getting their Captain back.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P034: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: Day 02 - 1300 ("Darker Understanding")
=-=
"Darker Understanding"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Something New To Consider" / (BAS) "Unwelcome Visitors"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1300

It would have been nice to have Misaki here. Her extensive knowledge of all things from other dimensions would have been most useful. The woman was a walking computer when it came to anything scientific. That was one of the reasons why she suited the BASTET so well. The woman delighted in working on anything unknown. Solving mysteries was what she lived for, and a mystery was exactly what they were working on.

As much as Satella wished for her former shipmate's presence, she could not complain. Maya might not have been as knowledgeable in cross-dimensional matters, but she was one heck of a scientist. Her ability to multitask was remarkable and far surpassed anything the CMO had ever seen. The woman was a machine, working physically on multiple tasks while juggling others in her head. If there was a breakthrough to be made, she would be the one to make it happen.

Maya had stepped away for a few seconds, the CSciO needing to double check some of the data they had collected. During that time Satella simply watched the sample of ooze they had brought back. Encased in a solid containment cylindrical jar, the black mass appeared inert. No signs of any sort of activity could be detected. The fact that in its larger form it had moved to trap and later free the base's personnel meant that it could move. For some inexplicable reason though, it had decided to be shy about showing that ability.

Satella tried to imagine what it would be like for anything to exist in two separate dimensions at the same time. The CMO could not bring herself to visualize how any living matter could survive being in such a state. Being in two places at the same time was already a stretch of the imagination. To have these locations in different dimensional realities was more than she could comprehend. This could only mean one thing, the black substance was being controlled and did not have a mind of its own.

"The ooze is alive." The announcement made by Maya took Satella by complete surprise.

"How can it be alive and existing in two different dimensions?"

"The mass displays certain properties of living matter, therefore we can classify it as being *alive*. A more accurate description would be that it is a sort of life form the likes of which we have never before encountered. Actually, we may have encountered it before but not in this manner. I suspect that this black mass is the same substance that is found on the outer hull of the Lokustaarvessels. If it is, this would give us the opportunity to better understand how they are fabricated. It might even provide us with a clue as to how to fight those ships." Maya was happy beyond words at her discovery.

"Living shadows stretching over multiple dimensions. Why does that thought give me shivers?"

"I have a theory about that. Let's start with the possibility of endless variations in dimensions. Meaning that everything we can imagine is a reality in one of those dimensions. From there, we can add specific details as a fundamental construct of a particular dimension. Again, these details would not be limited to those we have encountered in this and other similar dimensions. The first detail we need to set is that this matter came from a dimension with its own laws of reality. One such law would need to state that thought energy is, in some way, tangible. If we take this thought one step further, we can specify that this thought energy is based on fear. This would mean that all matter from that particular dimension would radiate said energy. To native life forms from that dimension, this energy would have no ill effect. To life forms from other dimensions though, this energy would trigger a fear-based reaction. That is why we feel the way we do every time we are near anything from that specific dimension. The Lokustaar have learned to use this to their advantage. It could be further theorized that the effect of that energy was what shaped their culture."

Satella smiled as she imaged Aki and Maya working together on this particular mystery. The CMO was certain that a scientific paper would be created in no time about the specifics and theories they would come up with.

"Can we use that energy back against them?"

Whatever joy and excitement were on Maya's face vanished. The question had been a simple one as far as Doctor Bruxa was concerned. After all, all of this was meant for them to find a way to undo the effects of this black ooze.

"What I said was nothing more than a theory. I have not been able to isolate any specific data to confirm this. If this energy as a telepathic frequency that acts as a fear-generator on our brains, I have yet to identify it. Right now, all I can do is to guess as to the missing puzzle pieces to try and make sense of what we have. I can come up with several more theories, all of which would contradict the one I have just mentioned. All we can do is to run tests limited by our technology and understanding of what this black mass actually is."

"I am more than ready to help you in any way I can. We have a test sample, not to mention a couple of living hosts. I am sure that we can find something that will prove useful for the Captain and everyone else in this dimension. It's either that or we just sit back and let the Lokustaar win." Bruxa wanted to jumpstart the Lt. Cmdr. into action, and by the expression on her face, she achieved her goal.

"Let's get started. Using the theory I mentioned earlier, we can use a few experiments to test its validity. Those tests can even help us ascertain other possibilities thus narrowing our final parameters. The closer we get to understanding this mass, the closer we will be to understanding these shadows. From there, we should be able to come up with a way to defend ourselves against them. If we are lucky enough, we might even find a way to fight them using weapons from their own state of reality. This would mean that we would actually be able to hurt them. Once we are able to do this, we might be able to stop their efforts to invade and force them back."

Satella smiled. Maybe she had wished for Aki to be here earlier. Now, she could not hope to be with anyone else.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M11-P035: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: Day 02 - 1330 ("The Storm Within")
-=-=-
"The Storm Within"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Darker Understanding" & (BAS) "Unwelcome Visitors"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1330

While Satella and Maya were busy trying to figure out the sample of the black ooze, Adriana kept an eye on their guests. The sedated Doctor Atar offered little for the Counselor to look at, the woman being peacefully sleeping since her extraction from the underground research facility. The man refusing to give his name, on the other hand, had proven to be an interesting display of increased emotional instability.

"Bet if he stays in there long enough, he'll try to chew his way through the nearest wall," Amanda proposed, the image of the twin sister standing next to her real counterpart.

"Despite his controlled demeanor earlier, it is easy to see that something is troubling him, gnawing at him from inside," Adriana said in a whispered voice. To her, this was just engaging what she knew to be nothing more than a hallucination, but she did so in a way that should anyone else overhear her words, they would accept that the Counselor was doing nothing more than analyzing the situation out loud.

"There are definitively some demons hiding in that head of his. He used to look our way, worried and fearful that we would see beyond his facade. Now, he couldn't care less. With every passing moment, his need to get out from behind the force field grows and it won't be long before he lashes out. Luckily for you, his attention does seem to be directed elsewhere."

The words from her twin sister made Adriana more carefully take note of where the man's attention was directed. Through his pacing back and forth along the small length of the force field, his gaze had been cast in a specific direction that stood behind the standing Counselor.  As she glanced over her shoulder to see what the man was so interested in, Lopez discovered something that was as normal as it was interesting.  "Why is he so interested in what Commander Maya and Doctor Bruxa are doing?"

"Look at him," Amanda said causing her sister to look at the man once again. "Look at his eyes and how nervous he seems to be. What he is displaying is not interest, I would guess that what we see there is pure and unbridled concern. he doesn't like it one bit that your friends over there are playing with that nasty black slime."

The Counselor observed the man even more closely than she had before, this time focussing on only on his discomfort and wish to escape from the confinement he was under, but also on the focus of his attention. Under similar circumstance, more prisoners would focus their attention and thoughts on the closest obstacle to their freedom. In this case, not counting the force field, the man should have been trying to find a way to use his nearest oppressor to his advantage. In some way, Adriana was relieved that she was not the focus of the man's increased emotional turmoil, but the fact that he was so fixated on the research being performed on the black ooze was in itself telling.

"He's nervous alright," the illusion of the twin sister pointed out. "It was not as obvious before, but now, he looks like he's ready to jump out of his skin. Whatever that dark slime is to him, he's not at all happy by your friends poking at it."

Adriana spent the next several minutes watching her friend Satella working on the sample of the black ooze while keeping an eye on the man's reaction to their work. Each time the Doctor and Scientist perform some sort of test, a distinct reaction could be observed, one that bridged concern and anger.  With that observation made and confirmed, the Counselor thought it necessary to inform the others of what she had noted.

"How is the research going?" Adriana asked her friend Satella.

"Lots of great ideas but so far we have not been able to confirm anything that had been suggested. I fear that we might be working for nothing on this," the CMO replied, a hint of desperation lacing her words.

With a smile on her lips, the Counselor leaned in closer to her friend and whispered in her ear. "I would not be so quick to give up. You may not believe that you are making progress, but our guest over there has become increasingly agitated, his complete attention focused on Maya and You. The only reason I can see for this is that you two are closing in on finding something. I have no idea what that may be, but by his reactions, I would guess that you two are getting close."

"Really?" Satella asked in disbelief, glancing over her shoulder at the man for only a brief moment. "Are you sure that it is not just him getting cabin fever?"

"I considered that possibility, as well as several others, but the fact that his attention is so completely locked on the work that you two are doing here leaves me to believe that this is where the answers can and will be found," Adriana stated, her certainty having grown that much more thanks to the way the man had become even more agitated since the Counselor came to join the others.

"Best news I have had in a while," Satella grinned. "Better let us get back to our research then, especially if you being here is only going to make him want to break through that force field even more. By the way, Adriana thanks. See, I told you that you would do just fine as this ship's Counselor."

The twin sister returned her friend's smile as she took a few steps back to give the two women the room they needed to continue working. That distance was all that the other sister needed to make her re-entrance.

"It's nice that you have made a friend, and I will admit that I am surprised that she has stayed so even after learning about me. Let's face it, most people would not have hesitated to throw you into the nearest loony bin upon learning that you have audio and visual hallucinations of your missing twin sister. Heck, even I keep my distances if I was not the one being projected from that sick, twisted psychologically damaged mind of yours.  Maybe it is a good thing that the Captain is out of commission. That way you don't have to be as concerned about being ejected through the nearest airlock."

The Counselor quietly growled as she stared at the twin sister whom only she could see and hear. Amanda had a way of being there to motivate her sister in times of trouble, but she could just as easily crush her spirit when things were quiet. In the hopes of avoiding making a scene that would certainly label her as being crazy, Adriana turned her fullest attention on the man who had just been mentioned.

The man was unconscious, very much like Doctor Atar was, but there was a certain peace about him that was absent from the facility's CMO. Maybe it was because he had not been medically sedated or maybe because the cause of his condition had not been the same as anyone else. Whatever the reason was though, Adriana could still see the occasional twitch of his facial muscles that hinted at something happening behind the relaxed and resting face of the man.

The Counselor could only hope that the work and research being performed by Satella and Maya would uncover something that would help everyone return to normal.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M11-P036: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: Day 02 - 1345 ("Shadows of The Soul")
##########
"Shadows of The Soul"
Previous posts (ANU) "The Storm Within" / (BAS) "Unwelcome Visitors"
##########

"If I take a lamp and shine it toward the wall, a bright spot will appear on the wall. The lamp is our search for truth, for understanding. Too often, we assume that the light on the wall is God, but the light is not the goal of the search, it is the result of the search. The more intense the search, the brighter the light on the wall. The brighter the light on the wall, the greater the sense of revelation upon seeing it. Similarly, someone who does not search – who does not bring a lantern – sees nothing. What we perceive as God is the by-product of our search for God. It may simply be an appreciation of the light… pure and unblemished… not understanding that it comes from us. Sometimes we stand in front of the light and assume that we are the center of the universe – God looks astonishingly like we do – or we turn to look at our shadow and assume that all is darkness. If we allow ourselves to get in the way, we defeat the purpose, which is to use the light of our search to illuminate the wall in all its beauty and in all its flaws; and in so doing, better understand the world around us."
― Ambassador G'Kar

=====
Setting: Spirit Realm
Stardate: Not Applicable

The Native American knew this place well. Many times in the past, he had ventured here, to the serene plains of his ancestors. This was a place of peace and tranquility, a place where the spirits of those who came before him could be sought out with questions that only ancestral wisdom could answer. The first time Erik had come here was on his 'spirit quest' to find his animal guide. The creature had not been easy to find, but then again, nothing in this realm was meant to be easy. The quest for knowledge and wisdom was a test of character and patience, something that Erik also knew all too well.

Despite his intimate knowledge of this the location, there was something different about it, something cold and dark. The land felt cold beneath his bare feet, and the distant mountains appeared gray as if their life energy had been drained from them. Overhead, the cloudless night's sky was empty of star making the Native American experience the vast expense of space in a way that he never did before. To see such a complete void stretching as far as the eyes could see could only lead him to one conclusion; something was wrong, terribly wrong. In this realm, though all he could do was walk, searching for answers that he was not entirely sure were even in this place to be found.

In the spirit realm, the concept of time held no meaning. This place was a dimension of thoughts, a place given physical familiar form through those who ventured here. Thanks to his multiple tours of duty on board the USS PROPHECY and time on the USS PARADOX as Executive Officer, Erik Morningstar understood this more than most. The realm that he found himself in was but one of countless other dimensions with their own rules, and at times there could be more differences than similarities to the world he knew as home. It was partially because of this unique understanding that the Native American knew that there was something terribly wrong with this place, his own feelings only confirming that conclusion.

"Hello son," a voice from his past said, causing the Native American to stop in his tracks and turn around to look in the direction of the voice. "What brings you here?"

"I am not here by choice, father," Erik replied having grown accustomed to seeing the spirit of his departed father. "Something brought me here."

"No one can ever force someone to do something without their consent," Erik's father pointed out, the elderly man speaking in a tone and mannerism that hinted to him possessing a wisdom that extended far beyond his already advanced age. "No matter the situation, we can either chose to allow things to happen as they are, or oppose it. That you are here means that part of you wanted to be here, now you have to discover why this is so."

The Native American took a moment to survey his surroundings, taking in the view and comparing it to what he knew it should look like. "I have been here many times before, but never have the ancestral plains look so cold, so barren, or so dead. Even when I found myself trapped in that shrinking bubble reality and the stars and mountains were vanishing, this place did not feel as empty as it does now. There is something different happening here, something darker."

"You knew for quite some time that the shadows were coming," the elderly Native American said, joining his son in looking at the starless night's sky. "Despite your desires and greatest efforts to not see this come to pass, the war is now upon us. The difference is that you are not like the others. We always leave a piece of ourselves behind wherever we travel, and although this may diminish us in some small way, it provides us with a better understanding of the universe that extends all around us.  The more we travel, the more we see, the more we become one with the universe."

The Native American gazed at the spirit of his father before casting his gaze into the black void above, his mind desperately searching for the stars and constellations that he knew should have been there. Erik considered all that he had hard, all that he had seen in an effort to make sense of what this represented. Here, in this place, it was best to let your thoughts flow free, beyond the boundaries of the known and expected. Answers usually presented themselves in a convoluted way making them that much more difficult to identify. This was part of the challenge of the spirit realm, a challenge that the Native American had faced and overcome many times before.

"I am here, not because I chose to be but because I fought against where it was that the Lokustaar tried to send me," Erik said as the realization came to him. "Somehow I was able to break free of their hold and I came here."

"Your battle, as the war that is about to claim your world, is far from over. Now, you have another choice to make, to either remain here or find a way to return to your people and help them conquer the advancing shadows."

Morningstar met his father's gaze for a brief moment before offering a grateful smile. This would not be the first battle against the shadows, and it certainly would not be the last, but Erik needed this particular fight to end with him victorious. All he needed to do was to figure out how to make this happen.

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33112.1345

The First Officer stood next to the unconscious Captain. Although her duties required her to be in the IGC trying to figure out what had happened and how to best address the situation, the ILO had wanted to check in on the CO.

"Still no changes in his condition," Counselor Lopez reported. "Satella and Maya are working very hard to understand the black ooze and in so doing they hope to find a way to help the Captain and everyone else affected. We just need to have patience."

"Patience is a weapon of the shadows, a difficult weapon for use to use against them."

Adriana glared at the standing First officer, her voice not having sounded in any way like her own. "Commander Shar'El, are you alright?"

"I'm... I'm not sure," the Ullian said, only vaguely aware of what had just transpired. Could that have been the Captain? I made a promise not to pry into his mind and memories, but what I experienced was completely different."

"If it was the Captain, then it means that he is in there, somewhere," the Counselor stated, her joy overflowing for all to see.

"Something changed," Shar'El explained. "The last time I did a surface scan of his thoughts and memories, I got nothing, and I mean nothing. I would have to guess that he was in there, fighting against whatever they did to him, and he's starting to win."

"Is there anything we can do to help him?" Adriana asked, feeling bad that they seemed to be unable or incapable of helping their Commanding Officer.

"I can try something..." the Ullian said as she took in a few long breaths before placing her hands on either side of the man's head. Her telepathic abilities were not like those of other races, but maybe she could use her skill to fetch memories to help the Native American find his way back to his crew.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M11-P037: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 1355 ("One Memory At A Time")
=-=
"One Memory At A Time"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Shadows of The Soul" by Francois/ (BAS) "Unwelcome Visitors" by Dawn]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1355

Shar'El had made a promise to Erik. As the ExO / ILO for the ANUBIS, she would never pry into the memories of the crew without their explicit consent. This did not prevent her to pick up on broadcasted memories though as most humanoids lacked the mental discipline to stop themselves from bringing up emotional moments from their past. These occurrences often dealt with events from previous missions that, in some way, relate to the current situation at hand. Sometimes, these emotional recollections were brought on by more personal feelings making it that much more difficult for the owner to control them and for the Ullian to not take note.

With all of her training, Ya'Han was the best example of this, Shar'El often subjected to snippets from her troubled past. What this did though was to grant the ExO / ILO a unique insight into the woman allowing for a deeper understanding as to the reasons why she became who she was today. If the Ullian had to place the members of the senior staff in order of those most likely to broadcast their memories to the least likely, their Chief of Security would stand at one end followed by their Chief Engineer while the Captain would be at the other end. Of all the people she knew, Erik was one of the most disciplined individuals she had ever worked with. Only a few stood above him in that regards namely the head of the NEW ALEXANDRIA complex, Admiral Charles Koniki and the CO of the USS BASTET, Captain Selene Iverson.

As part of this elite group, Shar'El had never expected to find Erik broadcasting his memories with such force, which could only mean that he was doing so on purpose. What she needed to do now was to figure out why he was doing this and help in whatever way she could. The ExO / ILO both physically and mentally braced herself for what was to come, certain that this journey through the man's memories would not be as simple as it might have sounded.

The first image to fill her own mind was that of a wide-open sunbathed plain with distant mountains breaking the horizon with their irregular peaks. Shar'El could feel a sense of tranquility as she experienced this memory, an emotion that was all too quickly replaced by troubled concern as the scene changed. The plains were still there, as were the mountains, but the light had suddenly vanished. At first, the Ullian believed that this had been a memory of the same place at night, but she quickly noted, as Erik had at the time, that the stars were missing.

From there, the memory went full black before the image was replaced by a strange wormhole effect as seen through the main view screen of a bridge. From what she could see of the layout, the ship was Starfleet, but the specifics were unknown to her. When the ship emerged from the wormhole it was traveling through, Shar'El's attention returned to the displayed image. Very much like the darker first memory she had experienced, this one showed an undisturbed black expense where stars should have been found. The fact that this latest image had been from a memory set on the bridge of a ship left the ExO / ILO to wonder as to where this had actually taken place.

Again, the memory changed making it clear that this journey through Erik's past was out of her control as he forced these seemingly detached moments from his life at her. From a sunny plain gone dark to a starless section of space, the journey stopped on a lifeless world. The nearby rock formation appeared as sharp as Klingon blades, and as uninviting as could be. The ExO / ILO could not identify the location, unable to recall anything like it in all of her readings of mission reports. As the memory saw Erik making his way into a cave, Shar'El wondered if this might have something to do with the Lokustaar. Those suspicions were quickly confirmed when a member of that race was seen looking back at him with those nightmarish eight red-glowing eyes.

"Commander, are you alright?" Adriana asked out of concern following the ExO / ILO breaking the telepathic link she had created with the Captain. "Should I fetch Satella?"

"No need Counselor," Shar'El reassured as she searched for her breath. "I was just surprised by what I saw. It would seem that the Captain is fighting the Lokustaar, or at the very least their trying to control his mind. I am just having a hard time figuring out what it is that I need to do to help him. I am going on the assumption that his broadcasting these memories is a way for him to call out for help; I just wished I knew how to help him.  The one thing that I can see though is that this does not appear to be the first time he has dealt with that race."

"Maybe that is it," Lopez proposed. "He's trying to show you how he dealt with those creatures before so that you can help him do so again."

"Sounds overly simplistic, but I do believe that you may be right. After so many years of trying to figure out things that are always hidden, I might be missing right is right there in front of me."

Adriana smiled and placed a caring hand on the ExO / ILO's shoulder "I would suggest that you rest for a few minutes before trying again."

"No time to rest," Shar'El quickly said back, looking down at the unconscious man she had come here to help. "If the Captain needs my help, then I owe it to him to give him everything that I can as quickly as I can." Before Adriana could say something, be it in support or in opposition, the ExO / ILO leaned in closer to the Captain and opened her mind to his. Somewhere in those memories was the means to help him return to them and she determined to find it, no matter what she might come across.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P038: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: Day 02 - 1410 ("Outside Observer")
-=-=-
"Outside Observer"
[Previous post: (ANU) "One Memory At A Time" & (BAS) "Through the Rabbit Hole"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1410

As the ship's acting Counselor, Adriana had reviewed all of the senior staff's personnel file to allow her to be better prepared in case her services were for one reason or another required. Reading all of the dossiers and the information contained therein had not really helped though as much of the information was hidden behind a high-level classified protective security clearance. She knew that Commander Shar'El had telepathic abilities but the strength, range or limitations had not been mentioned. From her experience and using what she was observing though, Lopez suspected that the specifications of these telepathic abilities were not along the same line as those possessed by Betazoids. This difference led the Ship's Counselor to observe with a mixture of curiosity and confusion as the First Officer resumed her efforts to help the Captain.

As Shar'El reacted to images that only she could see, Adriana wished that she possessed some sort of telepathic abilities. Aside from giving her a clear advantage in her chosen line of work, it would also come in handy in cases such as the current situation, the ability permitting her to get a better idea of what was happening around her. Not belonging to any of the races possessing such telepathic skills though, the CNS could do nothing more than observe and try to extrapolate what was happening from the changing facial expressions of their First Officer.

"You wishing that you could get into their heads is not going to help you any, sis," Amanda dryly snarled at her twin, the illusion of the missing sister not missing yet another chance to take a shot at her sibling. "Just be thankful that she's too busy looking into his scrambled head to pay you any attention. I can just imagine her reaction if she came to find out that you have full-blown hallucinations of your missing twin sister. Let's face it, you would be locked away in a small padded room for the rest of your life if anyone found out about me."

Adriana closed her eyes and focused on her breathing, knowing that she could not say anything or risk proving the hallucination correct. With so many people in Sickbay, it would be impossible for her to hide and later explain what had happened should she openly confront Amanda. How could she explain without incriminating herself that she frequently saw and heard her missing twin sister? 

"How are things going here?" The question asked by her friend would have, by itself, been enough to take the CNS off-guard in the current circumstances. What Adriana had never expected though was for Satella's hand to land on her shoulder. As friendly as the gesture was, it made Lopez visibly jump prompting the CMO to offer a rapid apology. "Sorry, didn't mean to startle you like that. I just needed to take a break from looking into that black goo for a moment. I suspect that Maya could gaze into that nothingness for days. I have no idea how she does it, all I know is that once she starts, there is nothing to stop her. Add to this that as much as I want to help, this whole thing is way out of my field of expertise. Dealing with a trans-dimensional ooze that possibly exists in two or maybe even more places at the same time is not what I was expecting to deal with when I graduated from Starfleet Medical."

Lopez took a moment to catch her breath and regain her wits after the scare. At least she knew that no explanations were necessary, as Doctor Bruxa was already well aware of the hallucinations her friend suffered from.  "I know what you mean," Lopez managed to say after several seconds.  "When I joined the crew of the USS KRAMER as their new aCMO, I expected to have to deal with minor scrapes and bruises. Instead, I barely managed to escape with my life after the ship encountered a very similar black substance as the one you and Commander Maya have been working on. After having migrated from medical to counseling, I again expected to have to deal with simpler things such as interpersonal problems or minor psychological issues, but this is nothing like I could have ever expected." Adriana glanced over her shoulder at the unnamed man behind the force field, his actions, and reactions proving to be beyond what the CNS could have ever expected to have to deal with.

"Life amongst the stars is never boring," Satella said, adding a soft chuckle afterward. "That is the only thing I can offer at this time. We deal with the unknown on a regular basis and that keeps us going. Think about all of the people back on EARTH who would sell their soul to have a fraction of the excitement we face each and every day."

"I thought I was the Counselor on this ship," Adriana said in a teasing manner at her friend. "As for selling one's soul, I can't help but fear that this is exactly what happened, at least in a literal way," the CNS said still looking at the man behind the force field. "I can't find any other way to explain what happened and what Commander Shar'El is trying to do with the Captain."

"Whatever we call it, whatever Shar'El is trying to do, all we can do is hope that she will be successful. It would be nice to have the Captain back and who knows, he might be able to give us a clue as to what is going on. For all we know, he might have been and returned from where no one else has," Satella said. "On that note, I better go back and keep Maya company just in case she gets drawn into that ooze a little too deeply."

After having shared a smile, the CMO made her way back to the research station leaving the CNS to resume her observation of the First Officer's attempt to wake their Captain. 

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M11-P039: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: Day 02 - 1415 ("Breaking Point")
=-=
"Breaking Point"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Outside Observer" / (BAS) "Crowded Decision"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1415

After her short talk with Adriana, Satella rejoined Maya at the research table. The attention of the CSciO was exclusively on the strange, multidimensional black substance.  The CMO chuckled inwardly, thinking that Maya had most likely not even noticed her absence. In fact, Bruxa believed that she could have broken out in a dance without the scientist noticing. That said, it was not a bad thing to have such a dedicated researcher on the case. Normally, Doctor Bruxa would have been the same way. All of her attention focused on her patient and whatever medical needs they may have. The problem here was that the entire affair was beyond her skills and knowledge. The research into the ooze was not a matter of medical knowledge. It was something that rested squarely in the middle of a dark unknown beyond her reach as a physician.

So she stood there, close enough to see but far enough to not be in the way. She wanted to help and be useful in some way instead of just being a pillar in the middle of the room. Maybe Satella could offer Maya some crazy idea as to what the ooze was. The CMO might even be able to offer some imaginative theory on how it existed in multiple dimensions. Although she did not know Maya all that well, she knew her well enough to guess as to how things would proceed. Whatever the CMO could come up with, it would be a safe bet that the CSciO had already thought of it. In fact, the Shillian would have thought of it, found out why it did or did not work before coming up with several new possibilities. If at least they were able to dissect the ooze, she would have been able to do something. Being immune to phasers, it was not unexpected that regular and laser scalpels had proven useless.

She sighed out of frustration. The CMO could not even find release in hitting the black mass with something large and heavy. The dome that the sample had been placed under was meant to protect the crew from the unknown substance. It unfortunately also served to protect it from the growing frustrations of the BASTET's patience. To avoid saying or doing something that she was best not to, Satella turned her attention back to Adriana. Lopez was keeping a close eye on Shar'El who was doing her best to reach their CO telepathically. Having the Captain back might not solve anything, but it would go a long way to raise the crew's morale.

As much as Adriana was not doing much, she gave the impression of being there for a reason. That claim was not one that Satella could make at this time. So, faced with a growing feeling of uselessness, Bruxa decided to at least try to help Maya. With scanners and sensors unable to get any sort of readings on the ooze though, she was at a loss to know what she could do. Best intentions aside, there was nothing the physician could do.

"Have you made any progress?" Bruxa asked hesitantly. The lengthy reply that quickly followed instantaneously lost the CMO. The scientific terms being thrown back at her were simply too fast for Satella to make any sense of them. Unable to tell Maya that she could not keep up, the Doctor's attention wandered back to their unnamed patient behind the force field. His interest in their research had not diminished in the least. Actually, the contrary could be said, the man's entire body gesture changing with every moves made by the CSciO.  It was clear to see that the man was concerned, scared even.

"I would be happy to entertain any ideas that you might have. I have to regretfully admit that I am at a loss to find something that could provide us with more answers than we have."

"Sounds to me like you thought of everything." Not having understood a great deal of what Maya had explained, saying this seemed to be the safest bet. Having a Ship's Counselor as a friend did help in taking the feelings of others into account. "All I can add is that I think you are on the right track. Our friend over there would not be so nervous if you were not close to a breakthrough. He is so nervous that he's visibly shaking."

"Shaking?" Maya repeated, taking her attention away from the ooze to look at the man. "Why would he be shaking like that."

"Like I said. He seems rather nervous, so you have to be on the right track."

"Maybe there is another cause for this vibration? I did subject the ooze to a wide range of frequencies but nothing happened. What if there was something missing. I never considered adding dimensional harmonics to the frequencies. Thank you, Doctor; you might have just given me what I was missing." With that, Maya resumed her work leaving Satella confused as to what had just happened.

It took no time for Maya to get started on this new set of tests. Within seconds, several reactions pointed to the CSciO having found what they all had been searching for. Behind the force field, the unnamed man was now thrashing against the energy barrier. Whatever had been done, he did not like it one bit and would do everything he could to make it stop. Even more surprising was the reaction from the other side of Sickbay. Both Shar'El and Adriana appeared shocked beyond description.

"Is everything alright?" Satella's question had not been specifically asked of anyone in, but it was Adriana who offered a reply.

"It's the Captain. He's waking up."

A wave of joy washed over Satella. Whether this was a coincidence or not, they were finally making some headway. Once the initial happiness had passed though, the CMO wanted to see for herself how their CO was doing. Before making her way to his bedside though, the physician glanced back at their unnamed guess one last time. The man was in an unparalleled rage that threatened to cause him severe bodily harm as he attacked the force field. If it was at all possible, his eyes had become even darker, reflecting an absolute black emptiness. What was even more shocking was the fact that he gave no impression of slowing down. By the looks of things, he would continue until either he physically could no longer move or the force field would collapse.

The CMO found herself frozen as she watched the man continuing to throw himself at the energy barrier. The bruises and cuts caused by the repeated attacks grew larger and more visible but he continued.  "You need to stop!" Satella's warning proved ineffective, actually causing the man to try ever harder to break through the barrier. To the CMO's horror, he eventually managed just that and went directly to the nearest person.  By the time she realized what had happened, his bloodied hands were now squeezing around her throat making it impossible for her to call out or even breathe. Doctor Bruxa could hear the nearby commission but she could not even turn her head to see what was happening. Maya had been the first to try and help, and she had also been the first to be pushed away. The force of the man had been so much that the CSciO had easily cleared the table to land on the other side.

As her vision grew increasingly blurred and her consciousness slipped from her, Satella struggled against the man. His strength seemed beyond that of a normal human, but there was little she could do. She gazed into his solid black eyes as her strength abandoned her. Before she landed on the floor, she hard a loud thud followed by another, the last one being her head hitting ground.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M11-P040: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 02 - 1425 ("Shadow Fighting")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Shadow Fighting"
[previous post were (ANU) "Breaking Point" / (BAS) "Crowded Decision"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1425

By the time the Sec/Tac had arrived in Sickbay, it was too late to block the attack against Doctor Bruxa. With the man's hands tightly around the woman's throat, while she struggled to break free, Ya'Han decided against using her sidearm for fear that she might inadvertently hit Satella instead of her intended target. Waiting for things to settle down was also not an option if their CMO was to be spared serious injuries or worse, so the bright red colored Nylaan did the only thing she could, the one thing she had trained for since her enrolment in Starfleet.

The full body tackle was precise and used all of her speed and strength to ensure that the man's hold on his victim would be broken. As her body collided with his, Ya'Han thought she heard the breaking of ribs, but since he had chosen to assault one of her shipmates, the Sec/Tac cared nothing about not causing any sort of injuries. To be perfectly honest, she actually hoped that her retaliatory strike would leave him with injuries that would serve as a painful reminder of what he had done.

As soon as the Sec/Tac was convinced that Doctor Bruxa was out of danger, Ya'Han changed her fighting style to a more direct and involved one-on-one combat technique that would draw any fight he might still have in him onto her. The moment she met his eyes with her own though, the red-haired Nylaan knew that this would not be a fight like any others she had ever been involved in. The perfect blackness of his gaze made her hesitate for the briefest moment, but it proved to be enough for him to land a punch against the left side of her jaw.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
FLASHBACK
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: EARTH, San Francisco, Starfleet Academy, Combat Training Gym
Stardate: 26118.1500 (Age of 19)

A little over a year ago, the determined black-haired Nylaan had taken her first steps as a member of Starfleet, far away from everything she knew and everything she feared. As physically and mentally demanding as the classes were, the past that Ya'Han did her best to keep hidden had prepared her in ways that she could not fully realize. Spending hours studying had been nothing new and having an Academy professor watching her every move was again something that she had gone through many times before.

The one problem she did have was in the field of physical training. As the daughter of the High Sovereign of NYLA IV, her body had been conditioned to be soft, sensual, and able to charm with swaying moves that came with the greatest of ease. In order to earn her red hair, Ya'Han had trained a great deal, and she still had the bruises to show for it, but the daughters of the planet's ruler were never meant to be warriors. So now, as a hopeful member of the Security forces for Starfleet, her earlier education had proven quite insufficient in this specific field for her to meet the requirements of her current training.

"Cadet Ya'Han," the combat instructor sighed as he looked down at the woman who had been knocked down onto her back. "You have to keep your guard up. When it comes to close-quarter combat, you have to be ready for strikes that may come from your blind side. Being distracted, even only a little, puts you at risk. Should you be engaged against someone with a blade, such a distraction could cost you your life."

"I am sorry," Ya'Han said as she returned to her feet. What the Cadet lacked in physical skills she made up in sheer strength of will, something that every instructor had noted about this particular student.

"You have the moves, there is no denying that, but your focus is not where it needs to be. This is not some sort of dance routine that you can just go into and repeat as needed. In a fight, you have to keep your eyes on your opponent and your mind several moves ahead. Look at your opponent and learn to anticipate their next strike or action. Pure strength and speed will only get you so far in a hand-to-hand fight; you also need to be smarter than your opponent is. Sooner or later you will come up against someone who is stronger and faster than you are, so you have to use your head in order not to end up as a smug on the ground."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
End of FLASHBACK
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1430

Ya'Han took a couple of seconds to quickly gather her thoughts and push away the stars brought on by the hit to the jaw she had taken. The Sec/Tac needed to be clear-headed if she was to find a way to take down the assailant. The man may not have appeared to be much of a fighter, but there was no denying that he possessed strength and speed that ranked well above her own and judging by the black eyes he was glaring back at her with, those had not been his to start with.

From the corner of her eye, the Nylaan saw a rapidly moving fist coming down to strike a finishing blow. Blocking it would require all of her strength and would still leave her in a vulnerable position, so instead, she decided to use her dancing skills and bend with the blow. His fist made contact with her shoulder instead of her face, and as much as it might have hurt, it was not enough to take her out of the fight. 

Recalling the observation her Academy combat instructor had made about her dance moves, Ya'Han found it oddly satisfying that it would be those specific moves that were being used to turn the tide in this fight.  The next several strikes from the man without a name found nothing but air as the red-haired Nylaan pivoted out of reach before she was in a position where she could finally strike back. A powerful right-handed punch landed squared against the man's chest before her right elbow swung up to connect with his jaw followed by a quick left jab to the face.

Those three strike in rapid succession were more than enough to knock out an adversary, usually, but as Ya'Han had previously thought, this would not be a normal fight. Appearing a little surprise, and a great deal angrier by what had just happened, the solid back eyed man simply cracked his neck and snarled at the Nylaan standing before him. If his intention had earlier been to simply disable her in order to remove her from his path, it was easy to see that he now meant to kill her in the most brutal manner at his disposal.

As swift and graceful as her dance moves were, they quickly proved to be no match for the enraged speed and determination of her adversary. Each time Ya'Han managed to avoid being hit, another strike came at her with greater speed and strength. She knew, as well as everyone else watching this, that it would be only a matter of time before one of his fists would find its mark. When it did, a shared exhale was heard as the Sec/Tac was sent flying through the air to crash into the arms of the ANUBIS' CMO.

Like the enraged beast that he had become, the man made his way to the two downed women tossing aside anything that he could get a hold of, not showing any care or preference as to which he would dispatch first. The Sec/Tac gave the CMO a quick glance before rolling herself to be in front and first in line to suffer the man's rage. Ya'Han unleashed one last desperate strike aimed at the man's left kidneys. The blow was precise and powerful enough to take down any normal individual, but the solid black-eyed man was anything but normal.

The red-haired Nylaan gazed straight into the dark emptiness of his eyes no longer having been one to give in to fear. Both of his clenched fists rose above his head in preparation for what would likely be a killing blow but before they started making their way back down, an ear-piercing shriek filled the room.

"Sorry, the amplitude is too high," Maya apologized before making it so that the sound could no longer be heard but its effect was still very much visible. The man appeared as if he had been brought to the very edge of madness, his hands now holding his head with every ounce of strength he possessed. Even more troubling was the sight of a black liquid oozing out from the man's eyes.

Although disturbing, to say the least, the sight of the man caught in the throes of such pain was all that the Sec/Tac needed to believe that she had a chance to end this fight once and for all. Several rapid and powerful punches found them mark causing the man to topple back and crash onto the floor where he remained.

"I think we found the weakness we had been searching for," Adriana said, glad to see that no serious injuries had been incurred during the mad battle.

"It might be more than a simple weakness," the CMO added, having quickly shuffled to the man's side to check up on his condition. "He's dead," Satella noted as she recoiled back after noticing that the black liquid was not only coming out of his eyes but also his ears now. After a few seconds, a rather substantial pool of this black liquefied substance was on the floor surrounding the dead man.

"Well, that was unexpected," Shar'El said, she too very happy to see that no one had been injured.

"I believe that we have not finished dealing with the unexpected," Maya gasped. "Look," the CSciO added, pointing to the man who had begun to sink into the pool of black liquid.

"How is that possible?" the red-haired Sec/Tac asked, uncertain if she should withdraw or try to reach out for the man in order to pull him out of whatever he was sinking into.  Silence washed over Sickbay, everyone watching the man's body gradually vanish into the black pool until even the liquid itself was absorbed leaving no trace of the individual or what he had become.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P041: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 02 - 1445 ("Spring of Hope")
"Spring of Hope"
[previous (ANU) "Shadow Fighting" / (BAS) "Crowded Decision"]

[/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1445

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."  The line from 'A Tale of Two Cities' also stated that "it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope," and as far as he was concerned, there could not be a more accurate description of their current situation. In the fight against the darkness, they had discovered hope; at least, that was what the general feeling seemed to be in Sickbay.

Jayson was happy to see that their Captain was awake, or at least waking, but he could not hide his overflowing joy at seeing Ya'Han safe and sound amidst the chaos that reigned in the room. Even better, not that he would openly admit it, was that she was on the floor while he was standing. He had not seen the fight that had taken place, but the clues as to the intensity of the battle were hard to miss. What he had seen though, namely the melting of the man into a black pool that eventually absorbed itself into oblivion had troubled him enough for him to wish that he had not witnessed any of it. Feeling the way he currently was, the OPS Officer had only one course of action available to him; to use whatever humor he could to mask his troubled thoughts.

"Nice new decor Doctor, I like what you did with the place" he nervously teased as he walked by the CMO who was still trying to recuperate from what had happened. "I will admit that I am not a fan of the 'modern chaotic' look, but here it does seem to work although the obstacle course in the entrance and center of the room might prove to be difficult for some to navigate through." Not waiting for a reply, not that he expected there to be one, the OPS Officer promptly made his way to the Chief of Security. "Care for a little bit of help?" Jayson said, offering a chivalrous hand to the woman at his feet.

"Don't get used to this, Jayson," Ya'Han playfully huffed as she slapped her hand into his, the woman visibly not thrilled about what had taken place but still finding it within her to be happy that he was there by her side during this time of conflict.

"I am not, you have nothing to worry about that" he reassured, fearing what might happen if he did not. "But I will not deny the fact that I am enjoying seeing you like this, even if it was not by my own hands. Are you alright?" He lovingly asked pulling the woman back to her feet, her hair having reverted to the now customary mix of red and black.

"I'm alright. Got only a few bumps and bruises although I will admit to being lucky, whoever he was, he possessed inhuman strength," she said before forcing a smile as she looked back at Jayson. "Whatever I have, it certainly will not be enough to keep me from flipping you on your back next time we train," Ya'Han added with absolute certainty. After looking into each other's eyes for a few seconds, the Chief of Security turned her attention to the now bare spot on the floor where the man had gone down before vanishing. "What happened?"

"We utilized a dimensional harmonic soundwave which we ended up pushing to the higher frequencies," Maya replied, the CSciO appearing more than happy about her latest discovery, so much so that her explanation had been pleasantly short.

"That must have been one heck of a frequency to cause the attacker to completely melt into that black pool," the OPS Officer noted, a shiver making its way up his back as he recalled the scene. Life in Starfleet prepared you for a great many strange and weird things, but that one had been exceptionally strange and weird.

"I don't think it was that simple," Ya'Han sighed, scrutinizing the empty section of the floor.

"Nothing ever is, that easy I mean," Jayson said as he looked around to see the extent of the damage to the room as well as the expression of relief visible on everyone's faces.

"For now though we should be happy that this is over and that we might have found a weapon to use again that black ooze and maybe even the Lokustaar themselves," the Chief of Security added, not taking long to getting back into the mindset that her position and duties required from her.

Jayson smiled and nodded his head in agreement. So far, the ANUBIS's confrontations with anything dealing with the Lokustaar, or the Shadows as they were being more and more commonly referred to, had not yielded anything as far as information on how to adequately fight them. The simple fact that they had emerged from these confrontations alive had proven to be the greatest achievement. Now, thanks to the discovery of this ultra-high dimensional harmonic soundwave, they had scored their first true victory as well as a possible breakthrough. They needed to test this latest discovery but hopefully; it would prove to be something that would help in their continuing war against the expanding darkness that threatened not only EARTH or the Federation but also the entirety of their galaxy.

At least, now they had a renewed hope that the advantages in this conflict were not completely in the hands of their adversary. 

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P042: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: Day 02 - 1450 ("Nap Time is Over")
##########
"Nap Time is Over"
Previous posts (ANU) "Spring of Hope" / (BAS) "Reflected Darkness"
##########

"Understanding is a three-edged sword.” 
― Ambassador Kosh

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1450

The Native American drew in a long, slow breath to fill his lungs to capacity before opening his eyes to see his First Officer looking back at him, an expression of relief shining on her face. As simple as it might have appeared to be to an outsider, the fact that Morningstar was now awake had been something of a near miracle. So it made sense for those in the know to consider this to be a joyous event, one that Shar'El could not help but share, that she wanted to display those feelings or not.

"Welcome back Captain," the Commander enthusiastically said. "I was not entirely certain that you would find your way back to us."

"I am not entirely certain as to how I did manage to find my way back, but I have the strange feeling that I have you to thank for making it possible," Morningstar said as he gently tapped the side of his head with a single finger.  The way he spoke, it was easy to see that he wanted to come across serious as could be, going as far as to border on him being upset. He knew that despite her promise to him, the Ullian had been in his head fishing around to find memories to guide the Native American back to the realm of light and consciousness.

As stoic as the man usually was, his efforts to portray himself as being upset with his First Officer fell drastically short as a faint smile briefly appeared on his features. There was no denying that the Captain was just as glad to have returned as Shar'El was in having him back.

"How long was I out?" Erik asked, stretching his arms and shoulders in order to work out the muscle stiffness he felt. "If I gage by the weakness coursing through my body, I would leave to guess that it has been several days since I was drawn into that world of eternal darkness."

"It has not been days," Shar'El quickly corrected. "In fact, it has been mere hours, but they have proved to be very long hours for us all. As soon as you are ready, I would be happy to give you a full report on what transpired during your nap."

"A nap?" Morningstar repeated sounding unpleasantly surprised. "If this was nothing more than a nap, I can assure you that I will not be taking any more of those for a very long time to come. That said, if you are ready, I would be happy to receive your report.

"That will have to wait," Doctor Bruxa interrupted as she stepped in between the Captain and First Officer. "You are awake, and we are all very happy about that, but before you jump back into the thick of things I would like to perform some basic medical tests to make sure that you are both physically and mentally all right. After what we all had to deal with, I would feel a lot better knowing that everything is as it should be with you, Sir."

Erik paused and glanced around the room. The hints of a physical altercation were still very much evident and as much as he was curious to find out what had happened, the combined stares of his Chief Medical Officer and Ship's Counsellor made it clear to him that his wish for understanding would have to wait.  "I guess my saying that you appear to already be busy with another patient will not be enough to change your mind," the Native American said, his gaze falling on his Chief of Security who clearly appeared to have been on the wrong side of whatever fight had taken place in Sickbay not so long ago.

"You are right," the Chief Medical Officer confirmed. "Ya'Han is fine, and I am sure that Jayson will be taking good care of her while I attend to you."

"Very well then," Morningstar conceded. "You may proceed, Doctor."

Doctor Bruxa wasted no time in fetching her medical tricorder but just as she was about to open it, the doors to Sickbay hissed opened allowing for an agitated figure to storm in.

"I figured it out!" Sonja nearly screamed as she burst into Sickbay, one of her DRONEs being held high as some sort of proof to her claim.  "That black ooze possesses some weird dimensional properties, that is why are sensors are unable to get any sort of readings on it because for all intents and purposes that black goo is not entirely there."

"I know," the Shillian Chief Science Officer noted, the shortness of her claim making it that much more infuriating to the Terran Chief Engineer. "In fact, we have been able to identify and utilize a temporal harmonic wave to help break through the sensor barrier and even oppose the effects the ooze seem to have on whatever biological matter it comes in contact with."

"When were you planning on sharing that information with me?" Sonja bellowed, not trying in any way to hide her frustration.

"The discovery was recently made, as in mere minutes ago" Doctor Bruxa pointed out in defense of the Shillian woman. "It was part of the reason why our guest decided to break free from his containment and start a fight with whoever ended up in his way," she added casting a glance in the direction of the amourous couple.

"Ya'Han! Are you alright?" Sonja demanded, nearly pushing Jayson off his feet as the redhead Terran rushed to her friend's side.

"I am fine," the Nylaan reassured. "A few more bumps and bruises than I might care to admit to, but I am fine."

"Where is the other guy? I would love to see how much he paid for having done this to you." The Chief Engineer asked, looking around Sickbay in an attempt to locate the poor soul who had dared to lay a hand on her friend.

"Thanks to Maya, he ended up collapsing to the ground and vanishing into a pool of his own black ooze which in turn also vanished as if being absorbed by itself," Jayson explained.

"Looks like I missed a real banger of a party," Sonja dryly chuckled as she scratched the back of her neck.  "You people look like you have things under control here so I will borrow Maya for a little while so that we can compare notes and see if we can come up with something that will make sure that something like that never happens again. Might also be good to see if we can find a way to help all of those people that are still in the lower levels of the research facility."

"You were able to find survivors?" The Captain asked of his First Officer not having expected such a strange and yet very welcomed news.

"It's not quite that simple," Shar'El replied with hesitation. "It might be best for Doctor Bruxa to complete her examination before I try to explain what it is we discovered."

"Now I am curious," Erik admitted.

"I promise this will not take any more time than is absolutely required," the Chief Medical Officer clarified. "That said, if the two of you can't stop chatting while I work, this will take a great a lot more time than I am sure either one of you wants."

Shar'El smiled and shrugged her shoulders. Doctor Bruxa might have been a new addition to the ANUBIS' staff, but she certainly was not shy in making her presence and authority felt as their new Chief Medical Officer.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M11-P043: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: Day 02 - 1500 ("Medical Report")
=-=
"Medical Report"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Nap Time Is Over" / (BAS) "Reflected Darkness"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1500

Sickbay was a mess. The medical facility of the ANUBIS had never been meant to host a fight. Certainly not with an individual possessing strength and skills from another dimension. Being involved in this conflict, even if only remotely, had deeply troubled the CMO. Just seeing the intensity of the battle had proven enough to cause the woman to shake. To later see the attacker absorbed in a pool of black liquid had ensured that Satella would never forget what happened. The scene played over and over again in her head. It was because of this that she needed to keep her mind busy on something else.

Satella needed to focus on something other than the state of her place of work. Doing so would only lead her to think back to the fight and how it had come to end. Just thinking of the black liquid that had oozed from the man was enough to make her skin crawl. So the Captain being awake provided Doctor Bruxa with the perfect excuse to focus on something else. With her medical tricorder in hand, that was exactly what she did ignoring everyone and everything else.

Doctor Bruxa took her time, each scan performed to their fullest before being repeated. This was their Captain, so she needed to be absolutely certain that he was as he claimed to be. Since he had never come in contact with the black ooze, Satella did not expect to find anything in that regards. His state had been caused through some sort of telepathic exposure. The best the CMO could hope to find was residual physical effects, like the weakness he said to be experiencing.

When her scans revealed nothing of concern, Satella focused on the man's muscles. Her examination had already been through but she was not about to let him go. As long as he complained of this symptom, she would investigate until she found the explanation.

"You seem perplexed." Adriana was keeping an eye on them both. The ordeal the Captain had gone through demanded that the Ship's Counselor be there. Adriana needed to ensure that their CO was able to take on his responsibilities. She also needed to make sure that her friend was able to do the same. As a CNS, Lopez could see that the events that had taken place had taken their toll on the CMO.

Satella studied the tricorder readings for a few extra seconds before acknowledging her friend's observation. "Puzzled would be more accurate."

"Should I be concerned?" Morningstar asked, no one enjoying the idea that they were the reason for someone else's puzzlement.

"You will be happy to hear that the scans are not showing any physical anomalies." Satella tried to sound as reassuring as she could saying this. There was no need to concern the Captain, at least not at this point.  "What I am detecting is a very faint energy residue in your nervous system. The traces of this energy is so small that I almost missed it. I can only guess that it is the cause of your feeling weak. What truly puzzles me is the fact that this energy appears only in your muscles. Even more puzzling is that it appears to be disappearing for no reason that I can account for."

The Captain remained silent. Those observing the examination could see that the man was thinking of something. Maybe it was the cause of his weakness that played on his mind. Maybe it was the reason why the faint energy was disappearing that plagued his thoughts. As far as the CMO and CNS were concerned, it could have been an entirely different matter that was occupying him. The only certainty was that he was deeply thinking.

Satella gently sighed as she turned to look at her friend the Counselor. "Looks like the next step is going to be yours." the CMO kept her voice to be nothing more than a soft whisper. "Physically the Captain is fine, just as he claims to be. It is his mental state that I am still uncertain of. He may be suffering from some sort of post-traumatic effect. We also have no clue as to why he has woken up while Doctor Kareena Atar is still unconscious. There are plenty of details about this entire affair that we are still uncertain of."

Adriana nodded with understanding. "You go and check on Doctor Atar, I will take care of the Captain. That way I can make sure that he is alright while you keep busy. Right now I do think it would be best for you not to have to worry about the state of Sickbay."

"Was it that obvious?" Satella was concerned that her showing emotions would weaken the impression others had of her.

"Satella, relax." Adriana smiled as only a CNS could in order to ease someone's concerns. "Your main work area was turned into a war zone. If that was not enough, you saw a man vanish into a pool of black liquid. If you were not emotional, then I would be concerned. Your reaction is perfectly normal. So right now, focus on your patient and I will focus on mine."

"Thanks." With that said, Satella made her way to the research facility's CMO. With the data collected from Captain Morningstar, she now had something to use as a comparison. Maybe that data would help Bruxa in figuring out a way to wake the unconscious woman. Maybe it might even give her a way to help those still in the lower level of the facility. The last thing she wanted was to see them end up the same way the man had. Seeing anyone vanishing into a black pool was not something the Doctor wanted to witness again.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS


[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M11-P044: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: Day 02 - 1515 ("Who Counsels the Counselor?")
-=-=-
"Who Counsels the Counselor?"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Medical Report" & (BAS) "New Day, New Possibilities"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1515

There she was, standing in front of Captain Morningstar, nervous as could be. Being a mere Junior Grade Lieutenant on a new ship was bad enough, but to make matters worse she saw herself as being nothing more than a temporary replacement CNS. As far as Adriana was concerned, she had no right or authority to ask this ship's CO anything about what had happened. Her curiosity and desire to unearth something that might explain why he had woken up while others, such as the underground facility's Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Kareena Atar, had not, was not sufficient to speak.

"Stop being such a wuss," Amanda hissed, the image of her sister having appeared sitting right next to the Captain. Normally, Adriana would have said something back or at the very least dismissed the hallucination of her twin, but with the CO right there in front of her, the CNS could do neither. "You are this ship's Counselor that you want to claim the position or not. You are here while the other woman is somewhere out there, and that is *if* she is even alive at all. Both the Captain and First Officer have welcomed you here of their own accord, this no matter how much you believe Satella influenced their decision. She may be a force to be reckoned with at times, but I am sure that if either Captain Morningstar or Commander Shar'El did not want you to be here, you would not be. So stop scaring yourself into being a useless lump who is just standing there and do the job that you are here to do."

Adriana knew that the image of her sister was nothing more than a mental projection, a psychosis brought on by the unexplained disappearance of her twin so many years ago. The studies in counseling also made it evident that these visual and auditory hallucinations were her own mind's way of dealing with the trauma of that lost mixed in with the hopes and wishes of one day of being reunited with her sister.  Amanda's words were an externalization of her own presented in such a way as to provide a clear and direct perception of the situation she was currently in.  Many people spoke to themselves when trying to work out the details of an issue they were faced with. She was no different in that regards with the exception that she could see and hear the counterpart of her discussion which presented itself as her twin sister.

"Are you alright Captain?" Adriana said, glancing in the direction of her twin sister as if challenging her to say something now that the CNS had made the first move to speak to the ANUBIS' CO.

"I will be fine Counselor, thank you."

The reply was as she expected it to be; confident and dismissive. Adriana would have likely been disappointed had the man started unloading all of his problems right there and then, weakening her perception of the strong native American man sitting in front of her. He did seem to be a pleasant man, one who she could in time have very meaningful conversations with, but that would come over time as the trust between them grew beyond the limits of professional expectations.

"I have no doubt that you will be far more than simply fine Captain," Adriana said. "As long as Doctor Bruxa is in charge of this ship's medical department, she will not allow you to just be *fine*."

"No, I guess she will not," the Captain said in amusement as he watched the woman in question labor over the underground facility's Chief Medical Officer.  "What about you Counselor? Is my just being *fine* satisfactory to you? As the ANUBIS' Ship's Counselor, I will not be able to return to duty without both of your supporting reports.  I would hate to see what Commander Shar'El would do if I tried."

"He's making this way too easy for you," Amanda objected. "He's hoping that you will just say yes and be off the hook without you even asking him a single pertinent question. Either's he's scared of what he might say or he is just trying to see if you have the guts to be this ship's CNS. Either way, if you let him off here and now, you will lose any hope of ever being respected as a Counselor on this ship or any other later on." The twin sister held no punches in defining the situation for the other. "Like I said before, stop being a wuss and do your job. You are a trained Counselor, that you are assigned to this ship or not doesn't matter right now. You have a professional responsibility to make sure that this man, the CO of an entire ship currently dealing with a situation that no one in their right mind would want to, is mentally fit. Forget that he's a Captain and that you are a mere Junior Grade Lieutenant for one minute. You are a Counselor and he is a patient, someone who needs your professional help and evaluation."

A very faint smile came from Adriana as she considered the words of her twin sister. Of all the people on board the ANUBIS who needed the help of a trained Counselor, the Captain was not at the top of that list. By any account, she required far more help and evaluation than anyone else, and yet here she was about to question a man to see if he was fit to return to duty as CO.

"Well, Counselor? What do you say? Do you believe me to be ready to return to duty?"

"I do not," the Counselor admitted prompting her sister to jump off the bed cheering at the top of her lungs making her twin sister glad that she was the only one able to see and hear her.  Ignoring the boisterous display from Amanda, the CNS continued. "I believe that you may have experienced some sort of low-grade trauma due to your exposure to whatever it was that caused you to fall unconscious. I also need to understand why it is that you have woken up while others have not. What is something different in your exposure or is it something different about you.  I am sure that Doctor Bruxa will agree that neither one of us can release you back to active duty until those questions are answered."

"YOU GO, SIS!" Amanda cheered. "He might throw you out the nearest airlock by the time this is done and over with, but in the meantime, you keep at it and show him that you are not the wuss you believed yourself to be."

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M11-P045: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: Day 02 - 1520 ("Time For an Explanation")
##########
"Time For an Explanation"
Previous posts (ANU) " Who Counsels the Counselor? " / (BAS) " New Day, New Possibilities"
##########

"Evil is a source of moral intelligence in the sense that we need to learn from our shadow, from our dark side, in order to be good." 
― John Bradshaw

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1520

The Native American gazed upon the Latin woman holding onto his earlier amusement. The moment Erik had cast his eyes on the nervous Ship's Counsellor, he knew that the next few minutes would define the dynamic of their professional collaboration. Taking over Nicole's position on board the ANUBIS would not be easy, especially when taking into account how the position had been vacated by the Trill woman. From experience, he understood her plight and could not begrudge her the uneasiness that radiated from her. That said though and as the ship's Commanding Officer, Morningstar had to see if the woman was truly as ready as he and his First Officer believed her to be.

"So, you do not believe me capable of resuming my duties as Captain of the ANUBIS?" Erik's tone was firm and yet not as challenging as he could have made it be. The truth of the matter was that he was happy to see the Lieutenant Junior Grade stand up to him, holding on to her principles despite the fear that he could so easily see in her. The fact that she continuously gazed elsewhere for a few seconds before returning her eyes onto him was proof enough of how uncomfortable this situation had made her be.

"As I said, Captain, I do not," Adriana gulped before doing a mental search of the ANUBIS' layout to make sure that no airlocks were in the immediate vicinity. "Maybe once we have identified the reason or reasons as to why you are now awake, I might reconsider that decision."

Erik could not help but smile. As a Commanding Officer, the Native American always had a unique professional relationship with his Counsellor, counting on her to be there to offer him other possibilities and points of view even if they contradicted his own. This meant that those holding the position of Ship's Counsellor needed to be strong-willed and not afraid to stand toe-to-toe with their Captain, and by the looks of things Adriana Lopez would be just that kind of officer.

"I have no explanation as to why I am awake, aside from the telepathic assistance Commander Shar'El so kindly provided," Morningstar offered.

"That is part of the mystery," the Counsellor quickly added. "Commander Shar'El has been unable to telepathically reach anyone affected by this other than you. We need to understand why this is so and if it is something that we could use to help us help the others."

The Native American's smile softened as he glanced over to Shar'El who was overlooking the medical examination conducted by Doctor Bruxa. The expression on the face of his First Officer made it clear that no progress had been achieved with their other patient.  Erik took a moment to think before returning his full attention to the woman standing before him.  "I might have something."

"Would it have to do with your time on the PROPHECY or maybe the PARADOX?"

Erik's smile returned in full force out of surprise of the man's questions. "You read my personnel file?" He inquired, clearly remembering that the details of his serving on both names vessels were sealed.

"We both know that the specifications of your service record are classified well above my reach" Counsellor Lopez explained. "I was here when Commander Shar'El offered her telepathic assistance as you called it, and during that time she mentioned several ship names but when she encountered your thoughts on both the PROPHECY and PARADOX, there was a subtle physical reaction from you. I can only guess that this meant there was something unique about those ships and what you dealt with while on them that might offer some sort of answer."

"It was not thoughts, but memories," the Captain clarified, "and you are correct, I did deal with something while on board those vessels that might offer an explanation as to why I am now awake."

Morningstar could see that the woman's curiosity had been piqued. Aside from his confirmation of what Adriana suspected, his admission that it was memories and not thoughts that Shar'El had touched while in his mind would require the Latin officer's investigation at some later time.

"Since you were stationed on the BASTET before being here on the ANUBIS, what I am about to reveal to you will likely not come as a great surprise," Erik stated. "The BASTET is the latest trans-dimensional vessel to operate under the banner of Starfleet, but it was not the first. The PROPHECY was a different ship but with the same mission profile. To explore other dimensions and identify possible threats to the Federation."

"Is that when you encountered the Lokustaar for the first time?"

"No," Morningstar quickly dismissed. "We came across vague hints of their existence but never uncovered any substantial proofs.  Even while on board the PARADOX, we came across stories and legends about a shadowy race that spread chaos and destruction everywhere, but never did we encounter them, at least not that we could say for sure. While on the PARADOX we did have to deal with a darkness that spread through the ship, but despite our best efforts, we were unable to identify the cause of reason for it.  We returned to NEW ALEXANDRIA shortly after not having yet realized that nearly half of the crew had perished in countless ways, each more horrific than the previous. Admiral Koniki eventually decided to decommission the ship and have every piece, regardless of size, be examined and then destroyed.  Maybe I was exposed to something at that time which allowed me to not completely fall victim to the effect of whatever cause these people to fall into an abyss of complete darkness."

"Are you saying that you suffered some sort of physical alteration that gave you the ability to fight off whatever it is that happened?" The Counselor's question was based on what she could understand of the Captain's explanation and her hope that whatever it was that he had endured then could be copied now.

"Not physical," Erik explained. "Those on the PARADOX who came back alive were subjected to months of physical examination and nothing was found. The best anyone could come up with as an explanation was that the temporal dimension we found ourselves in somehow affected the way we think, the way we process certain emotions, namely fear. The one common thread that was identified amongst the survivors was that we are much less prone to experiencing any sort of worry that would lead to fear."

"That sounds like it would be a great advantage," Adriana said, imagining how life would be for someone able to resist the crippling hold that fear could have on someone.

"This advantage came at a cost," the Native American pointed out. "Not everyone was affected in the same manner, and for some, the inability to experience fear actually lead them to their death. In the end, I was one of the lucky ones, at least according to the medical staff and Admiral Koniki who saw this as another reason for my being assigned to command the ANUBIS."

"I am sorry," the Counsellor offered unable to imagine the extent of the emotional trauma the man had been forced to endure and how the current situation had brought all of this back to the surface.

"All of this may be part of the reason why I strongly believe that the ship and I need the presence of a strong Counsellor on board, and I am glad to say that you seem to be just that."

"Thank you, Captain," Adriana replied, not entirely certain as to what she should say or do at this precise moment. "Is there anything you provide Doctor Bruxa with that might help her in dealing with the other patients? Command Maya's hypersonic waves proved physically effective against the black ooze, but I believe that the real answer may be more complex."

"Fear, which is the Lokustaar's primary weapon of choice, is useless against someone unable to feel it. Maybe that is why so many of those I had come to call friends are no longer with us," Erik said before stopping himself. "There is still a lot that we do not understand about the Lokustaar and the way they operate, but that is no reason for any one of us to stop fighting against what they represent and stand for. We cannot allow chaos and destruction to spread through this dimension and decimate it as it did so many others.  However, I was affected is but a single piece of a much larger puzzle that we all need to solve to ensure that the nightmare never takes hold here."

Adriana nodded in agreement. The Captain was right, but she still felt some reservations about allowing him back to active duty. That was when the attention of those present on the bridge shifted to Lieutenant Stark who in a hurry made his way to the nearest communication station. Following a short exchange, the Chief of Operations returned, this time making his way straight to the Captain.

"The bridge just reported picking up some strange activity from the orbital station. Something is happening over there."

That he was cleared or not for returning to active duty, Erik instinctively jumped into command mode to ensure the safety of the ship and those on board. "You and Lieutenant Ya'Han return to the bridge and make sure that there are no threats to the ANUBIS. Either Commander Shar'El or I will join you there shortly."

Jayson and Ya'Han wasted no time and made a quick exit out of Sickbay leaving the Captain and Ship's Counsellor with one last thing to take care of. Knowing that time was of the essence, Adriana decided to go with her gut feeling and allow the Native American to personally handle the situation. After his explanation as to what he had dealt with while on board the PARADOX, Lopez suspected that Morningstar would be more than able to take care of things now. Once this was done though, she would make it a point to speak with the Commanding Officer again to learn more about the troubles he had faced and possibly discover the odd link he and the Lokustaar shared.

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M11-P046: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 02 - 1530 ("Darker Complications")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Darker Complications"
[previous post were (ANU) "Time For An Explanation" / (BAS) "Reflected Darkness"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1530

The Sec/Tac and OPS officers rushed back to their stations to get a better idea of the situation. The report Jayson had received while in sickbay was somewhat vague as the 'strange activity' from the orbital station could have been anything, Based on what they had seen in the underground research facility and in their own sickbay, the full red-haired Nylaan was not about to take any chances and downplay any possible event.

"This is weird," Jayson announced as soon as he scanned his instruments.

"Mind being a little more specific?" Ya'Han fired back. "Are we talking weird as in strange and unexpected or more along the lines of mysterious and unnatural?"

"After our arrival, the ship's sensors lost track of all life signs on the orbital station as if everyone had simply vanished," the OPS officer explained. "Now they are back, every single one of them. Since I know that the instruments were working fine before and during, the only possible explanation is that something temporarily hid them from us, but why?"

"There is more at play here than we have been aware of, that I am certain," Ya'Han stated. "We still don't know what happened with the facility's personnel who were encased in that black ooze only to be suddenly set free as if nothing happened. What we do know is based on the way that one man we brought back with us acted before he attacked us and then vanished into his own pool of black liquid as if he had never been there in the first place."

"Do you think that the same thing happened to those on the orbital station?" Jayson asked, that specific thought sending a creeping sensation down his spine.

"I am not sure," the Sec/Tac replied. "I am not even sure of what it is that happened down below on the planet so it is hard for me to even venture a guess as to whether or not the same thing happened on the orbital station. All I truly know is based on my gut feeling, and that tells me we have only begun to scratch the surface of what is happening here."

"Speaking of the underground research facility, I am picking up a signal from the planet aimed directly to the orbital station. It's being sent using a narrow-beam transmission but our sensors are sensitive enough to pick it up. No way for us to know what it contains, but there is no denying that someone is sending a signal from the planet specifically meant to someone on the now repopulated station."

Jayson's report added another level of strangeness to the entire affair as if things had not been strange enough. The ANUBIS had been sent to investigate the underground research facility going silent, and now here it was actively transmitting something back to the orbital station meant to keep an eye on it.

"If those down there are in the same state as the man we brought back, this signal could easily mean trouble for us all. Either it is a method for them to gain control of those on the orbital station or it is an attempt for them to coordinate their efforts, likely against us. Either way, this is not going to mean anything good for us," Ya'Han said keeping a very close watch on the station and its activities.

"Always looking at things from the worst possible perspective," Jayson said in a tone that seemed to be a mixture of complaining and admiration. Even when she was not on duty on the bridge, the Nylaan always seemed to look at the world with the expectation that something bad would happen at some point.

"It's part of the job," the brightly red-haired Sec/Tac declared with a smile. Being the way she had been described by the OPS officer had come from countless events from her past but in this way of looking at the world around her had served her well and allowed the self-exiled daughter of the High Sovereign to survive up to this point.  Ya'Han's smile quickly vanished as her instruments picked up something new. "Something else is happening, it looks like the orbital station is doing a massive sensor sweep of the area."

"What are they looking for?" Jayson asked out of surprise. "We have not moved from this spot since we arrived and our ablative armor is not active, so they can't be looking for us."

"The sensor sweep is too broadband," Ya'Han confirmed. "Whatever they are looking for is out there in space but the amplitude of the signal is also all wrong. If there was something out there for them to find, their sensor waves would be too weak to actually pick anything up. They would have a better chance of finding something if they looked out their windows."

"What if the sensor sweep is not a sensor sweep?" Jayson offered instantly drawing a glare from the Sec/Tac causing him to explain himself in more detail. "It is possible that the orbital station is being used as a relay for the communication from the research facility. The signal may be weak and overly general, but it would be more than enough to get the attention of someone or something that is out there with us."

"If there was something else in orbit with us, our sensors would already have picked up something by now... unless..."

"That!" Jayson gasped as the image on the main view screen was focused on a strange shimmering effect in space that quickly became an all too familiar form, one that instantly filled those looking upon it with apprehension.

"RED ALERT!" The Sec/Tac called out. "Brighing shield up to maximum and arming all weapons."

Captain Morningstar arrived on the bridge just as the lights on the command deck turned to reflect the alert condition and for him to see the cause of this sudden change. Easily filling the main view screen was a Lokustaar capital vessel, then solid tentacles menacingly extending outward towards the Federation ship. Any doubts as to the shadowy race's involvement with the situation on and around TAU OMEGA had now been laid to rest once and for all, the question now how would this all end for the crew of the ANUBIS?

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P047: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 02 - 1535 ("Trying to Make an Omelet")
"Trying to Make an Omelet"
previous posts were (ANU) "Darker Complications" / (BAS) "Troubled and Concerned"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Robotics Lab
Stardate: 33113.1535

The ANUBIS was sent to TAU OMEGA to investigate a research facility that had gone silent. The underground based was found empty until the away team reached the lowermost level where the entire staff was discovered encased in some odd black substance.  After they unexplainedly became free of their dark prisons, one member of the staff was brought back to the ship along with the unconscious base's CMO, a woman by the name of Kareena Atar.

As strange as all of this might have been, there was certainly no need to put the ship on it's highest combat readiness. This was part of the reason why the Chief Engineer decided to make her way to the bridge when the lights throughout the ship changed to reflect the alert status.  When the ANUBIS was violently rocked by what Sonja could only guess had been weapons' fire against them, the woman's desire to reach the command deck shifted to be an urgency.

As soon as Sonja set foot on the bridge, everything, including her own role in this situation became perfectly clear. "Who invited them here?" The sarcastic query of the redhead engineer was met with the rolling eyes of Lt. Stark who was not overly fond of now having to deal with both the Lokustaar and the ship's own Chief Engineering Officer.

"Our best guess, it was our friends left in the underground research facility who made the invite," Ya'Han replied while Jayson ensured that the initial attack had not caused any real damage to the ANUBIS or her systems. "They sent a narrow beam transaction to the orbital station which was retransmitted on a wider-band area," the Chief of Security added.

"Luckily, the ablative armour was activated just in time to shield us from that first blast," the Captain added. "We are trying to modulate our weapons to include the dimensional frequency discovered by Maya, it is hoped that they will be more effective against our unwelcomed guests."

"Using that frequency on a single person was one thing," Sonja sighed. "Trying to incorporate it into our weapons, especially while under attack, is an entirely different matter. If we have any sort of misalignment, we could do more damage than that shadow ship would with that blasted high-energy plasma weapon of theirs."

"That is why we are all very glad that you are here," Ya'Han announced just as the ship was hit once again. "The ablative armour is holding, but I suspect that it won't last. The second plasma energy discharge was just as powerful as the first, which we have to gather means that the enemy ship is capable of repeating that attack countless more time."

"Guessing that a strategic retreat is not being considered as a potential plan," Sonja said more as a statement than a query. "So that leaves it up to me to get our weapons ready before they crack our armour like an eggshell. Just once I would like to walk into a room without having someone telling me that we are all about to die unless I come up with a solution."

"This is the first time we have ever been in a situation as you have just described," Stark growled unimpressed by the engineer's statement.

"Only takes once to start a pattern," Sonja shot back without looking up, the woman already hard at work at the bridge's Engineering station to assist Ya'Han in bringing the weapon modifications online.

The ANUBIS was again violently rocked as the Lokustaar vessel unleashed another powerful attack, causing some of the lights on the command deck to flicker. Captain Morningstar glanced back at the Chief of Security, the inquiring expression on his features said it all.

"Ablative armour now at 72% but still holding, the real problem is that the plasma energy discharge was 15 percent more powerful than the previous," Ya'Han reported.

"They are likely not used to meeting this level of resistance," Sonja theorized. "That means they are going to do everything they can to make an example of us. I really don't see the Lokustaar as being the type to accept defeat and just crawl back to the shadows from where they came, no matter the situation."

"If that is the case, I would suggest focusing your work on the pulse cannons," the Nylaan with the matching red hair suggested. "We may only get one shot, so it would be best to make it count."

"Easier said than done," Sonja unhappily declared as her fingers danced over the engineering station. "Even under normal circumstances, those cannons use a lot of our energy reserves. With the modifications currently being made to the power coils, we could end up blowing ourselves up."

Again the ship was hit, and again the lights flickered, this time even more than the last time prompting Ya'Han to offer an update to her earlier report.

"The armour is now at 42% and is showing signs of failing. That last energy discharge was 25 percent more powerful than the previous. I suspect that the next shot may end up piercing through not only the ablative armour but the ship's hull as well."

"Helm, emergency evasive maneuvers but keep us with the TAU OMEGA system. Regardless of the fact that the facility's and orbital station's personnel may now be under the influence of the Lokustaar, we are obligated to do everything possible to see them freed of that control."

"The evasive maneuvers may not give us all that much more time," Jayson noted. "We have already established that those ships to be very fast and maneuverable."

"You worry about keeping us out of their crosshairs and I'll worry about getting us the weapons that will actually work against them," Sonja fired back. "At least I'll try doing that without causing a chain reaction in our power systems that would save the Lokustaar the trouble of destroying us," the Chief Engineer added in a whispered voice under her breath not wanting anyone to hear her wavering hopes in the outcome of this latest confrontation.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M11-P048: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 1545 ("Dancing Shadows")
=-=
"Dancing Shadows"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Trying to Make an Omelet" by Lorraine/ (BAS) "Putting the Pieces Together" by me]
=-=

Setting:  Space, TAU OMEGA System
Stardate: 33113.1545

The Lokustaar vessel was as black as space itself making it nearly impossible to see as it effortlessly slipped through the emptiness of space trying to lock onto the ANUBIS, which, thanks to its dark ablative cloak, matched the nightmarish ship stealthy appearance. Invisible to the greater majority of the worlds around them, the two ships relentlessly danced around one another, the occasional high-powered energy strike that split the darkness being the only noticeable record of the life-and-death conflict currently taking place.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 33113.1545

The ExO / ILO needed to help in whatever way she could. The Lokustaar vessel was impressive in every aspect that they could measure. Its size and appearance alone were enough to instill fear in whoever was unfortunate enough to cross path with it. The power of their energy weapons only served to solidify this fear into a harsh and unforgiving reality that made it clear beyond doubt that this was a living nightmare. It also did not take long to realize that this nightmare had but one single intent; to destroy anything and everything that dared to stand in its way.

The whole of the ANUBIS shock as one of those powerful energy beams struck the defensive armor. The physical damage paled in comparison to the psychological price the crew was made to pay with each hit.

"Commander," one of the IGC techs said unable to hide the panic in his voice. "The ablative armor is at 12%. The only reason we still have some sort of armor is due to the fact that the last hit only grazed us instead of hitting us dead on."

Ensign Jones was an expert helmsman, but her expertise and skills were being put to the test like never before as the shadow vessel moved with dark grace to quickly close whatever gap was created by the imaginative and often unorthodox escape maneuvers of the FCO. From the IGC, the ExO / ILO could keep tabs on the efforts of their CEO who was desperately trying to upgrade the pulse cannons in order to make them effective against the Lokustaar, but the amount of work that still needed to be accomplished far surpassed the time they had. What Shar'El feared even more though was that if Sonja did manage to complete these modifications in time, the ANUBIS might not be given the chance to get into position in order to use the modified weapons. As powerful as the pulse cannons were, they possessed one ultimate drawback; that of their firing arc. In order to hit their intended mark, the cannons, along with the ship carrying them, would need to face their shadowy adversary head-on.

Carefully, and as quickly as she could, Shar'El reviewed the data displayed on her monitors. It would have been nice to have a few hours for the IGC team as well as herself to analyze this data, but they had mere seconds, so the ExO / ILO needed to think fast. Remembering her personal direct dealings with the Lokustaar, thanks to the assistance of Selyara Chen, the Ullian had a unique perspective on how to possibly deal with the nightmarish ship.

"I need the IGC subspace emitters to be reconfigured to transmit a broadband telepathic signal."

"What message are we sending?" One of the IGC techs inquired certain that there had to be a better way to transmit a distress signal if that was the ExO / ILO's actual intent.

"The message is not the important part, it is the frequency that is," Shar'El promptly explained. "The Lokustaar and their bio-ships are sensitive to telepathic transmissions, we may not be able to get through their external armor, but we sure can get into their heads. I am hoping that we can create confusion, even if only for a few seconds, that will give us a little more maneuvering room."

"We'll have the secondary transmitter ready in 30 seconds."

A great deal could happen in 30 seconds, that is why the ExO / ILO thought it best to relay the latest idea to her Commanding Officer, Captain Erik Morningstar.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1547

"Are you sure that this plan of yours will work?" Erik asked. He was never one to dismiss new ideas, but given their immediate situation, he could not afford to have anyone working on something that did not have a solid potential of helping them.

=/\= I cannot say. All I am asking is for 25 seconds. =/\=

"Ensign Jones, you heard the Commander's request?"

"Aye, I did," Tanith replied. She wasn't sure what more they expected from her, but it was clear that she needed to step it up a notch.

"Captain, I might have a way to get us a few extra seconds," the Chief Engineer said, the redhead glancing over to the Chief of Security and Chief of Operations who appeared more than willing t ear what Sonja had to offer. "We could open the rear cargo bays as well as the shuttle bays and release the confinement fields. That would have for effect to vent anything not tied down into space."

"It may not be much, but it will be something to get in the way of that blasted ship," Jayson agreed to Sonja's surprise.

"I doubt that it will make that much of a difference," Ya'Han sighed as the two red-heads locked gazes, "but I might have something to contribute that will move that idea to the next level."

=-=
Setting:  Space, TAU OMEGA System
Stardate: 33113.1547

The two barely visible forms continued with their unseen energetic tango until something joined into the dance. Debris of all sorts, including several shuttlecrafts, seemed to appear out of nowhere. To an untrained eye, or someone unaware of the struggle taking place in the emptiness between the stars, it looked like a ship had been destroyed. The truth was that this was a last-ditch attempt of a ship to avoid that fate.

What happened next would have surprised anyone witnessing this unusual scene as the shuttle crafts suddenly exploded with enough force to send a powerful shockwave through space knowing back anything it came in contact with.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1548

"Beaming a dozen live quantum torpedoes on board all four shuttles and detonating them simultaneously might have been overkill," Jayson said as he pulled himself back to his workstation.

=/\= What the hell what that? =/\= Doctor Bruxa demanded.

"Just us trying to buy some time before the Lokustaar turns this ship into swiss cheese," Sonja replied, not sounding overly happy about having been knocked to the ground by the force of the shockwave.

"Looks like it did work, at least somewhat," Ya'Han announced. "The Lokustaar ship as broken pursuit but it is still out there, and by the looks of things, it is intact."

"It's more than I can say about us," the Chief Engineer noted. "That shockwave disabled a lot of our systems including primary propulsion. We may have gained those precious 30 seconds, but I am not sure how that will help us now that we are limited to thrusters to move about."

=/\= We're about to find out. Initiating broadband transmission NOW! =/\=

Everyone collectively held their breaths to see the result of this latest, and desperate plan.

"Put the Lokustaar ship on the main viewscreen, full magnification," the Captain ordered, wanting to see if they would witness the demise of their adversary or the coming of their own end.

"Is it me or is that ship shaking?" Jayson asked, finding the sight of the nightmarish vessel in distress to be very entertaining.

"Whatever Commander Shar'El had in mind seems to be working," Ya'Han added.

"Lt. Paquette, are the modifications to the pulse cannon complete?" the Captain asked.

"I just need to make some last minute fixes, mostly thanks to the effect of that shockwave on our systems, but I should have them all done in a minute or so," Sonja replied.

"You have until the ship is in firing position," the Captain stated. "Helm, use whatever means we have available and turn us around. We need the pulse cannons to be directly aimed at that ship."

"Aye, Aye, Captain," Ensign Jones confirmed as she complied with the order.

=-=
Setting:  Space, TAU OMEGA System
Stardate: 33113.1548

The tumultuous dance and become a gentle waltz as the two ships barely moved, one uncharacteristically trembling as if it had fallen prey to its own fear while the other turned every so slowly on its axes to bring its forward facing cannons to bear on its intended target.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1549

"Pulse cannons will be in line to fire in 35 seconds," Ya'Han announced, her fingers already hovering over the trigger controls.

"We might have enough time," the Chief Science Officer added. "The effects of the transmission from the IGC appears to be wearing off. I estimate that the Lokustaar vessel will be back to its full operational status before then."

"We didn't make it this far to stumble and fall with the finishing line in sight," Sonja exclaimed. "Come on baby, you can do it, show us that you have it in you to beat that big meaning black nightmare out there," the Chief Engineer added in a whispered voice, her words directed to the ship itself.

Again the officers on the bridge held their collective breaths as the ship continue its slow turn to bring the Lokustaar vessel in line with the pulse cannons.

"It does appear as if the Lokustaar vessel is regaining its sense quicker than we might have hoped," Maya reported. "We will not be in optimal firing position by the time it has regained enough of its systems to move out of our cannon's line of fire."

"Oh no, they don't!" Sonja growled as she hit her controls, opening one of the side cargo holds, the sudden venting of the air in that room causing the ship to turn ever so faster for a short time, but it would prove enough to get the ANUBIS where it needed to be.

Ya'Han's eyes opened wide as she realize what Sonja's little move had accomplished.  "Lokustaar vessel will be in the crosshairs of the pulse cannons in 3... 2... 1..."

Captain Morningstar actually moved to the edge of his seat as he called out the order that everyone had been anxiously waiting to hear.

"FIRE!"

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P049: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: Day 02 - 1549 ("Darkening Fears")
-=-=-
"Darkening Fears"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Dancing Shadows" & (BAS) "Putting the Pieces Together"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1549

Adriana understood very well why Satella had been as angry as she was. Whatever it was that hit the ship had been powerful enough to send everything in Sickbay flying, including the CMO and CNS, and as in most similar situations, it was the landings that proved to be the worst part of the entire affair.

"Are you planning on staying on the floor for the rest of this mission?" Amanda asked, the hallucination of her sister standing directly in front of her twin with her arms crossed in a dissatisfied expression bordering on anger.

Adriana quickly scanned the room to see all matters of medical instruments scattered about. "It's safer down here, at least until whatever it is that is happening to us is dealt and done with."

The truth was that the impact had not only knocked the Counselor down physically, but it had also caused her to psychologically fall into a very specific set of memories. The day that saw the end of the USS KROGEN had started in a very similar manner with the ship being hit by something massive. Knowing what she did about their current mission, Adriana could not help but make the link between then and now, leaving her to fear to see the shadows come alive as they had then.

"You have to be kidding me Sis, you are still stuck on that?" Amanda said, being what she was there was no way for the sister to hide anything from the illusionary twin. "You'd think that after everything you have gone through and seen, you'd be worried about something other than you being surrounded by moving shadows."

Adriana was expecting to see her sister laughing at her, maybe going as far as to point a finger in her direction in accusatory mockery. While on board the BASTET, the Counselor had indeed seen a great many things, but in all honesty, those had served to reinforce her fears, not lessen them.

Lopez felt her throat tighten when the lights in Sickbay rapidly faded until only minimum illumination filled the room with eerie, flickering shadows.

"What's going on?" Adriana demanded, forcing herself back as far as she could against whatever hard surface had been there.

Satella could not help but hear the distress in the Counselor's voice, prompting her to stop her straightening efforts to help the woman who was on the floor, clutching her knees to her chest.

"It's alright. It looks like power is simply being diverted elsewhere, I have no idea where, but that's all this is. I am sure that there is nothing for us to be concerned about. I have seen it done many times in simulations at Starfleet Academy." As soothing and reassuring as Satella's words might have been, they failed to ease Adriana's condition and did little to convince the woman who had spoken them.

"The ANUBIS is not one of those small freighters the Academy likes to use in order to train Cadets on. This ship is huge and there is nothing here, that I know of, that would require that much power being diverted to," Adriana argued, her breathing quickening at an alarming rate. "Even if someone on the bridge needed to divert that much power, Sickbay is the heart of all emergency protocols, meaning that no power would be diverted *away* from it. No, this has to be something else, it has to be them."

"Them? Who's them?"

"Leave it to the Counselor to be the one who needs counseling the most," Amanda said sounding and looking completely exasperated, but in the state in which the real sister was in, it was not surprising that Adriana failed to acknowledge the psychological projection of her lost twin sister.

"The shadows," Lopez replied in tears, looking straight into Satella's grey eyes. "They boarded the KROGEN, killed the crew and left it drifting in space as broken wreckage."

Satella could do nothing else but to hold the frantic woman as she sobbed, watching the lights around them fade even more. Adriana had been correct in her assessment of the situation, Sickbay was a part of the ship where power was always directed to, not away from. That this was happening now could only indicate that the situation they faced was indeed dire. That simple realization made Satella hold on to her friend that much tighter. There was little else either one of them could do for the moment as running around without any idea of what was happening could easily make the situation worse.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M11-P050: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 02 - 1550 ("Darker Complications")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Darker Complications"
[previous post were (ANU) "Darkening Fears" / (BAS) "Putting the Pieces Together"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1550

No one had expected the lights to dim, especially not the Sec/Tac. This was not the time to see their power level drop, not when they were so close to hopefully deal a crimpling blow to the Lokustaar ship that had been hounding them. As bad as their luck might seem to be at times, the red-haired Nylaan could not believe that it would be *that* bad.

"Sonja?" Ya'Han asked, scared that this was the result of an engineering issue brought upon by the modification made to the pulse cannons or worse, an energy-draining weapon being used by the Lokustaar. Either way, this meant trouble for the ANUBIS and its crew, big trouble.

Instead of a reply from the CEO, the bridge went black plunging the command deck in complete darkness. Every light and console as lifeless as could be, even the main viewscreen, which was locked on the ship threatening to destroy them, had gone dark leaving the senior staff with no way to know what was happening. A heartbeat later, a loud thundering sound echoed through the ship accompanied by a low vibration that seemed to resonate through the bones of each and every officer.

"Report!" The Captain demanded as he stood from his chair to look back at his officers only to see nothing but darkness. Without emergency lighting, the bridge was as dark as could be.

"Everything is dead," Jayson said, all of his efforts to have the Operations console response to his touch had been frustratingly futile.

"My bad," Sonja sheepishly said. "I bypassed all of the security protocols to make sure that the pulse cannons would have as much power as possible. That blasted flying nightmares out there was hitting us with increasingly more powerful energy beams, so I thought it wise to respond in kind. I made sure that we threw everything we had at them."

"Everything?" Ya'Han gasped. "We are blind and defenseless. We don't even have enough power to see if the pulse cannon hit their mark. In fact, we can't see *anything*!" The Sec/Tac pointed out not hiding her frustration and anger.

"I'm sorry, but given our situation, I didn't think we had much of an option. If we didn't destroy that ship, it would certainly destroy us, and that forsaken armor of theirs managed to handle everything else we sent its way, so I had to make that one last shot count."

"How long before power can be restored?" The Captain calmly asked. This was a question that everyone else on the bridge was anxious to hear the answer to as no one as the means to see or do anything until some level of power would be restored.

"As soon as the main computer gets enough juice from the backup generators, the primary systems should reboot and come back online. There was no damage caused to any system by this, I only diverted every ounce of power we had to the pulse cannons. If there is anything damaged, it will be the cannons themselves. Let's face it, I am pretty sure that they were never designed to channel that much power in a single strike. I will admit that I am actually surprised that nothing exploded."

"Are you completely insane?" Ya'Han blasted, the absence of any light making it impossible for the Sec/Tac to see the person she was screaming at, or for the Engineer to see just how bright the Nylaan's red hair had become. "We are sitting here unable to defend ourselves in the slightest way against an opponent, who, if given only a fraction of a chance, would destroy this ship as well as any memories of it having been here in the first place."

"We are still here," Tanith unemotionally pointed out through the darkness, the FCO making a quick yet powerful point in the hopes of restoring some level of professionalism.

"Systems are starting to come back online," Jayson said just as the emergency lighting turned on allowing everyone to see that, as Ensign Jones had stated, they were, in fact, all still here, alive and well. At least for the time being.

"Sensors are still down," the Sec/Tac quickly reported while doing her best to curb her frustrations. The one thing she wanted most of all, even before slapping her friend Sonja silly for what she had done, was to see if the Lokustaar ship had still been there, threatening their very lives.

"Hang on, I should be able to bring the main view screen online... now," Jayson said, sure that sooner or later Ya'Han's anger would overflow and somehow find him in a most painful manner. Seconds after speaking those words, the large screen set at the front of the bridge came alive, allowing the bridge officers to see an unobstructed field of stars.

"Where is the Lokustaar ship?" The Captain asked, summoning the full interest of the Sec/Tac who was very anxious to know the answer to that question.

"Sensors should be back online now," Sonja reported, hoping that this would bring her back in the Nylaan's good graces, as well as allow them to know if this little stunt of hers had actually been successful. For all any of them knew, the shadow vessel could have still been out there, waiting for the ship to give some sign of life before striking a final blow.

"There is no sign of the Lokustaar vessel anywhere," Commander Maya reported from the science station. The CSciO had not wasted a second to scan their immediate surroundings in order to get an idea of what had happened. "There is a high level of residual energy though, so it would make sense to believe that the pulse cannons did manage to hit something. Unfortunately, I am unable to detect any sort of debris to stipulate as to the destruction of the Lokustaar vessel. it is possible that the sensors are giving false readings due to the pulse cannons having channels so much power. I need to run a few tests on the entire sensor array to make sure that this is not the case.

"Even if the sensors are working as they should, we know that the Lokustaar's technology makes then undetectable to our instruments if that is their intent, so it is still possible that they are out there," Ya'Han warned, the Sec/Tac not ready to claim victory at this point in time. Anything short of seeing a Lokustaar ship in pieces would not be enough to satisfy the red-haired woman.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P051: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 1600 ("Unseen Eyes")
=-=
"Unseen Eyes"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Darker Complications" by Hanali / (BAS) "Putting the Pieces Together" by me]
=-=

Setting:  Space, TAU OMEGA System
Stardate: 33113.1600

The USS ANUBIS, still under the protection of its ablative armor, at least what was left of it, stood motionless in the empty space between the stars, its crew still trying to figure out what had happened and if they could claim this as being what was hoped to be the first of many victories to come.

The shadow vessel of the Lokustaar, which had been pursuing them, was nowhere to be found. Most took this as a good sign, hoping that the blast from the supercharged pulse cannons vaporized the nightmare that had nearly destroyed them. Unfortunately, not everyone was ready to jump to this conclusion, their own personal experiences with the shadow race from another dimension forcing them to temper their hopes with the cold and dark reality that was their opponent.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 33113.1605

The ExO / ILO stepped into the Captain's office immediately after having been invited in. It was at his request that she had left the IGC, Shar'El suspecting that Erik wanted to discuss their situation in a more secure location.

"Here is the damage report from every department," the ExO / ILO said as she handed over one of the PADDs she had walked in with. Shar'El immediately noticed a concerned expression on the man's features that she could only guess had come about due to the current state of the ANUBIS. "Aside from a few overloaded secondary and backup system caused by the redirection of all available power to the pulse cannons, the ship is in good shape, that is with the exception of the ablative armor. I have to admit that Sonja's gamble paid off, we might not be here if it was not for what she did."

"I know," Erik acknowledged. "She is a credit to her chosen field as well as a valued asset to this crew. That is not what is bothering me," the Captain added, quickly realizing that the ExO / ILO had picked up on his darker mood.

"The ablative armor will take no time to be repaired," Shar'El said trying to make him feel better without breaking her promise to him about not looking into his memories which she was certain would have given her ample clues as to why he was feeling the way he was displaying. "Once the ablative armor is deactivated, I am sure that Sonja's and her people will have the emitters repaired and back online in less than an hour. Once that is done, we can head back to the orbital station and research facility with our defenses to full capacity."

"We can't afford to deactivate the ablative armor, not now," the Captain stated, removing all questions in the mind of the raven-haired ExO / ILO as to the cause of the man's mood.

"You believe that they are still out there, somewhere?" Shar'El rhetorically asked, the ExO / ILO sharing the same concerns although she had not wanted to reveal this in case it would cast an unneeded shadow over what many saw as a cause for celebration.  "The IGC was unable to find any debris. So, we are left with two options; the first being that the Lokustaar ship was utterly destroyed and the debris is somehow cloaked from our sensors, or the ship is still out there, effecting repairs and waiting for us to show our proverbial hand so they can strike back without any chance of incurring further damage."

"I can't help but feel that we are being watched," the Captain admitted as he stood from behind his desk and looked out the window of his office which at the moment gave him nothing more than a close-up view of the interior layer of the ablative armor.  "Right now, it feels like they have the advantage. What condition they may be in, they are able to see us, a claim that we are unable to make. That means we have to wait for them to make the next move, but if we did strike a blow against them, our staying here like this is only offering whatever reinforcements that are heading our way with an easy target. Those walking nightmares are not one to accept defeat, no matter how small it might be. If we did find some sort of weakness, it is a sure bet that they will come for us and make sure that we are never able to boast about this victory."

Shar'El wanted to say something reassuring, something that would dismiss the man's concerns, but all she could manage to do was to nod her head in silent agreement. When her mind touched, thanks to the telepathic strength of Selyara, the Lokustaar ship that was tailing them a while back, the Ullian had become aware of just how cold and dark the race was. Whatever little bit the ExO / ILO had touched, it was more than enough for her to know that the Captain was correct and that this victory, if indeed this is what it was, would not be left unchallenged.  "What are your orders, Sir?"

Erik's posture straightened before he turned to look at the ExO / ILO once again, tugging down at his uniform shirt as he spoke. "We may not know a great deal about the Lokustaar, but we know at least this; they are a patient race, scaringly so in fact. Waiting for things to be just right, even if it takes centuries, is something they re quite comfortable with, so we are clearly ill-equipped to fight them on that front. The only way for us to keep whatever advantage we may have obtained is to take charge of the situation. Have Lt. Paquette ready her teams, we have no other choice but to effect repairs before we find ourselves having to deal with more than the one ship we already had to.  Speak with Lt. Stark and Lt. Ya'Han, try to come up with a repair schedule that will keep the ANUBIS safe.  We may not have the choice in dropping the ablative cloak, but it doesn't mean that we have to do it all in one shot."

"Aye, Aye, Captain," Shar'El acknowledged before she made her way out of the Captain's Ready Room. First, she needed to speak to Sonja, Jayon, and Ya'Han in order to come up with the best and safest way to repair the ablative armor. After that, the ExO / ILO would visit Sickbay and make sure that everything was alright with their new CMO and CNS. Following a report she had received from one of her techs in the IGC, there might be a developing situation in that department that required the attention of the Senior Officer in charge of the ANUBIS' personnel.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P052: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 02 - 1615 ("Distracted")
"Distracted"
[previous (ANU) "Unseen Eyes" / (BAS) "Putting The Pieces Together"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1615

When Commander Shar'El stepped out of the Captain's Ready Room the First officer immediately called for a standing meeting of the Senior Officers present on the bridge.  As they gathered around the woman, Jayson found himself unintentionally standing in between the Chief Engineer and Chief of Security.  At the best of times, this would not have been an ideal location, but the way Ya'Han was feeling right now about Sonja, feelings that were clearly noticeable thanks to the glares the Nylaan was shooting as the Terran, Jayson felt even less safe.

As the Chief of Operations, Stark had to side with Paquette, even if only a little, giving her credit for what she had done. Had it not been for her diverting all of the power to the pulse cannons, it was very likely that none of them would be here to discuss what to do next.  He also understood Ya'Han's take on the matter, and due to his personal feelings, he instinctively sided with her, so right now he found himself in a very unappealing situation, caught between two fiery redheads.

Sonja's hair never changed, but her mood was still easy enough to be determined by the expressions on her face.  On the other hand, Ya'Han's hair was the perfect indicator of how she felt, and right now the almost glowing redness of the Nylaan's hair warned everyone about her state of mind. No one could argue the fact that the 'Red Dragon' was in full battle mode, ready to burn to a crisp anyone who had wronged her, which to Jayson's great relief had for once not been him.  The key for him at this time though was to avoid finding himself in the crossfire of whatever hell would be unleashed, something that would be exceptionally difficult given his being right in between the two women.

To avoid being blindsided by any possible strikes coming from the Chief of Security, the OPS Officer decided to keep an eye on her. In fact, he made sure to keep both eyes on her going almost to the point of snubbing the Commander who had been explaining the situation.

"Any suggestions?"

Jayson blinked a few times as he realized that he had not heard a single word spoken by Commander Shar'El thanks to his attention being so completely on the two women he had found himself in the middle of.  That thought made him smile briefly. Surely there were worse ways for a man to meet his end, especially taking into account the unpleasant possibility that the Lokustaar ship had not been destroyed as everyone hoped, but was out there waiting for the right time to set the record straight as to the official outcome of their last confrontation.

Jayson looked at Shar'El for a brief moment before returning his gaze onto Ya'Han as she complied with the Commander's request to offer suggestions. Stark tried to listen to what was being said, but the OPS Officer was so taken by the woman's drive and appearance that he did not ear a word of what she was saying. Maybe it was their close call with death or the bright red color of her hair, but the man found it nearly impossible to concentrate on what this gathering had been about. Instead, all he could do was admire the woman standing next to him, committing to memory each and every detail of her currently frustrated and angered appearance.

The gaze of veneration originating from the distracted OPS Officer was suddenly interrupted when the Chief Engineer pushed the man out of the way. Somethings that Ya'Han had said triggered a physical reaction from Sonja, and thanks to Jayson having been so completely distracted, he had no idea what the cause was nor how quickly this situation might escalate.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P053: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 1620 ("A More Personal Take")
=-=
"A More Personal Take"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Distracted" by Jayson / (BAS) "Putting the Pieces Together" by me]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1620

Coming out of the Captain's Ready Room, the ExO / ILO had a simple plan; discuss the situation with the members of the Senior Staff and try to come up with a way to make repairs to the ablative armor without leaving the ANUBIS vulnerable to another Lokustaar attack. At least that was the initial idea, a plan that quickly changed as Shar'El explained the situation to a group that grew increasingly more distracted with each passing moment.

The raven-haired Ullian knew that their Chief of Security had been more than a little upset with her friend the Chief Engineer for what having transferred all of the power to the pulse cannons.  On a professional level, Lt. Ya'Han was ready to rip Lt. Paquette to shreds, but their friendship made sure that the initial anger would be short-lived, at least that was as far as everyone else was concerned with the exception of the ANUBIS' Chief of Operations, Lt. Stark. As far as Jayson was concerned, the two redheads were still very much angry at one another to the point of them coming to blows if they were given half a chance.

It didn't take any telepathic abilities to see that Sonja and Ya'Han were keeping the pretense of their anger alive for the benefit of Jayson who appeared oblivious to the trick being played on him, as most men would have been in his position. As great as technological advancements had been, the core drive of the majority of the humanoid male had remained the same over the last 10,000 years. All that was needed to send them head-over-heels was a pretty face and a well-timed glance.

She could have come down on the whole group, scolding them for their lack of professionalism, but the ExO / ILO realized that this was nothing more than a harmless way for the whole of them to deal with the stress that they were still very much in the middle of. So, the raven-haired Ullan decided to play along, at least for the time being and see just how far the two redheads would take this game of theirs at the expense of Lt.Stark.

Shar'El watched with interest as the Nylaan used her charms to keep the man distracted. It appeared that Ya'Han had honed her skills, able to keep her hair a bright red while tapping into the sensual skills and wiles that were normally part of her when she displayed a greener head of hair. This ability only ensured that Jayson could not suspect that he was being toyed with, and as sorry as she might have felt for him, the ExO / ILO allowed this to continue if only to see just how far the Nylaan had come in controlling her hard-learned skills.

With a nod of her had, the Chief of Security gave the go-ahead to the Chief Engineer to move their little diversion to the next level. Sonja wasted no time and made a move, taking a step forward towards Ya'Han, pushing the unsuspecting Jayson out of the way, nearly knocking him to the ground in the process.

The confused man quickly regained his posture and when he turned to see what he expected to be an all-out battle, he instead saw the two women looking back at him, their calm and serious demeanor leaving no doubt in his mind that he had been made to be the target of a short yet elaborate trick.

"Shall we go back to our discussion?" Sonja asked, looking straight at the man despite her question having been meant for the woman standing by her side.

"I think we should," Ya'Han replied, offering Jayson a somewhat apologetic smile after the fact. This little exchange may have been out of place and highly unprofessional, but it had served to remind everyone that life was meant to be enjoyed when possible and not to let the dark shadows surrounding them to affect them more than they already were.

"Good," the ExO / ILO said, glad that this little diversion had come to an end allowing them to return to the task at hand. "Sonja, is it possible to deactivate the ablative armor in sections, allowing for repairs to be done while the rest of the armor remains active?"

"Doable,"  the Chief Engineer answered. "That is no the way it was designed, but I am sure that we can access the deployment subroutines to have only a single section deactivate. The problem is that this will leave us with a huge hole in our defense armor."

"That is why I need Ya'Han and Jayson's input on the next step," Shar'El continued, shifting her attention to the couple. "Can we divert shields and other defensive resources to the area no longer covered by the ablative armor to reduce our vulnerability to another attack? Also, can we use the absence of the armor to our advantage by giving us the opportunity to perform a more detailed scan of the region of space visible through the gap?"

"Theoretically, that's all very possible," Jayson said. "With the ablative armor out of the way, the sensors will have a clearer view of what is out there. That should allow us to know if the Lokustaar ship was actually destroyed or if it is still out there."

"If it is still out there, I suspect that we will not need the sensors to tell us that," Ya'Han said with a sigh. "I doubt that they will skip on the chance of hitting us where we are most vulnerable."

"That is why I want you to come up with a way to protect that gap in the armor," Shar'El confirmed. "Use whatever means you can come up with. I would even suggest that the two of you enlist Commander Maya's expertise to come up with a way to make sure we are able to counter whatever might be heading our way when the repairs start."

"I am sure that we will be able to find something," Maya confirmed. "We will be ready when Lt. Paquette is ready to deactivate a section of the ablative armor and start the repairs."

"Good, keep me informed of your progress. In the meantime, I have to check on our CMO and CNS."

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1635

It had been almost an hour since the lights throughout the ship had gone out in order to provide the pulse cannons with the absolute maximum amount of power available. Shar'El had expected to find the Doctor and Counselor busy with their own affairs but instead, the ExO / ILO found Lt. Lopez sitting on the floor while Doctor Bruxa was trying to comfort the visibly troubled woman.

"Is she alright?" Shar'El asked looking down at the distraught Counsellor.

"The KROGEN was destroyed by something we can only guess was either the Lokustaar or some force very similar to them," Satella explained. "When the lights went out, it brought the traumatic memories of that event back and I have been trying for the last hour or so to get her to see that everything is alright."

The ExO / ILO dropped to one knee, joining the other two women on the floor of Sickbay. There was no reason for Shar'El to be cold and unfeeling about this situation, and after having allowed Sonja and Ya'Han to play their little trick on Jayson, she felt even more required to approach this matter with a less professional mindset.  "Is there something that you need me to do?"

"Adriana is barely talking other than repeating something about the Shadows being here to kill us all. Whatever happened with the lights caused her to go into a psychosis that I am unable to get her out of.  I have not sedated her in the hopes that I would be able to bring her back, but so far I have been unable to do so," Satella explained then paused for a moment trying to find a way to say what she needed to, knowing that it would lead to an entirely different problem to come to the surface.  

"You want me to see if I can find something in her memories of the events on the KROGEN that we could use to help her out of this state," the raven-haired Ullian said, understanding what was being asked of her but knowing that this would go against her promise to the Captain.  Doctor Bruxa nodded her head, confirming what the ExO / ILO had said which would also lead to the CMO to break the trust the CNS had placed in her friend about the visions of her missing twin sister, something that the Ullian would most certainly pick up on in her journey through the woman's memories.

"Commander, I would not ask if I did not believe this to be absolutely necessary," Satella said. "I could easily knock her out, leaving us without a Ship's Counselor until we can return to a starbase in order for Adriana to get the proper counseling. I am sure that after months or so she would be able to return to work, but I fear that she might not be the person we know her to be. If you could access that one memory that allowed her to make it through the first time, we could have her back on her feet in mere days instead of months.  Given the situation that we are faced with, and that we are still responsible for the lives of the personnel of the research facility and orbital station, it would be to our advantage to have her on her feet helping us helping them."

"Doctor, you make it very difficult for me to say no, despite promises that I have made," Shar'El said understanding the need and reasoning for the request despite not liking what she was being asked to do.

"This is not easy for me either," Satella confirmed, "but it needs to be done no matter what the consequences may be later on.  As a Doctor, I cannot allow her to continue suffering like this, and as a friend, I have to find the best possible way to do this, no matter how uncomfortable it may make things between her and me.  I am not asking you to understand what it is that I am saying, I just need you to know that this is not a simple request."

"I understand," the raven-haired Ullian said before she closed her eyes and readied her mind for the journey she would soon be taking. After having traveled through the troubled memories of their Chief of Security in order to block those about the child she had lost, this would be another venture that she would in time wish she had never taken.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P054: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: Day 02 - 1645 ("Fear is the Greatest Enemy")
-=-=-
"Fear is the Greatest Enemy"
[Previous post: (ANU) "A More Personal Take" & (BAS) "Shocking Personalities"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1645

Adriana sat on the floor of sickbay, shivering uncontrollably while tightly holding her knees to her chest. Her physical form was accompanied by a pair of caring souls, each trying to help a friend and fellow shipmate in their own way, but the woman's mind was in another place, surrounded by darkness that wished nothing else but to hurt her in whatever way it could.

-=-=-
Setting: USS KROGEN, Sickbay

The room was dark, the emergency lighting casting an eerie shadow on the bodies covered by white sheets. If she truly wanted to, Adriana could have counted how many of her shipmates had perished, but the truth of the matter was that a single dead had been too much for her to acknowledge. Whatever darkness had taken over the ship had been vicious in its attack claiming the lives of whoever had been unfortunate enough to be in its way. How she had managed to survive was still a mystery to her, an enigma that filled her with sorrow and guilt.

"You are alive for a reason," the twin sister said from the other side of the makeshift morgue. "You have to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get a grip. There might be nothing you can do for them, but there are others out there who could use a helping hand. You standing here feeling guilty because you survived while they did not is only condemning the others to share in their fate."

"What am I suppose to do?" Adriana screamed, her eyes filled with tears. "I'm a single Ensign stuck on a doomed vessel caught in the grasp of a dark force the likes of which has never been seen."

"I'm sure that someone somewhere in the Federation has seen this, they just thought it best not to tell new recruits about it," the illusion of the missing twin sister said in a dismissive manner. "Why scare everyone if you don't have to? This ship just happened to beat the odds and came across whatever those walking shadows are."

"You are not helping," Adriana hissed.

"I am helping you more than you are helping the other members of your crew," Amanda retaliated. "At least I am causing you to challenge the situation that you are in instead of just accepting defeat."

"Adriana?"

The unexpected presence of someone else in the room took both sisters by surprise, causing them to turn their attention to the woman who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere.

"Commander Shar'El? What are you doing here?"

"I am here to help," the Commander said. "This is nothing more than a memory, a nightmare that was brought on by events in the real world and which trapped you in your own mind. Doctor Bruxa sent me here, inside your mind, to find a way to get you back. She is very worried about you as we all are."

"Nothing like being stuck inside your own mind in a dark nightmare," the sister said laughing, something that surprised Shar'El who had not expected such a display given their current surroundings.

"This is just a memory?" Adriana asked, trying to make sense of the situation she was at the center of.

"Yes," Shar'El confirmed. "This is just a psychological projection of your fears. The lights flickered back on the ANUBIS and your mind latched onto this memory. Your body is safe and sound but your mind stuck in here, hence why I was sent to help you come back."

You could see Adriana putting the pieces of this puzzle together as she looked around the room. The white sheets hung over the dead bodies as they had back then, but the presence of the ANUBIS' ExO left no doubt that this was not some sort of temporal event or her reliving this nightmare.

"You are really losing your grip on reality there Sis," Adriana said, shaking her head in disbelief.

"Don't mind her," Adriana said. "She's my sister, or at the very least a projection of her that my mind creates when I am faced with a situation that seems to be more than I could handle alone."

"I almost envy you," Shar'El said.

"How can you envy me for seeing someone who is not there?"

"Your mind created a way to protect itself," the Ullian explained. "Instead of facing this nightmare alone, you found yourself in the company of someone you knew, someone you trust. That might be the reason why it was so easy for me to find your consciousness within the maze of your thoughts and memories."

"I like her," the image of the lost sister said.

"How can you say that?" the Counselor asked unable to understand. "She's not real! She's a figment of my mind, a creation born of my desperation and fears."

"Adriana," Shar'El began trying to calm the agitated woman. "Nothing in here is real. All of this is a creation born of the desperation and fears you speak of, not just your sister. I would go as far as to say that she is, in fact, the one thing that your mind created to help you deal with this fear. She is your mind trying to keep you from giving in to the fears that were created when you experienced this nightmare in real life. She is the anchor that will help you find your way out of this place."

"Listen to the woman," the sister laughed. "Maybe now you can have a better appreciation of what it is I do for you."

Adriana did her best to ignore her sister and met Shar'El gaze straight on. That was when she realized that the Commander believed the presence of the missing sister to be a localized phenomenon, one limited to the confines of this nightmare.

"Take me back," the Counselor said wishing to leave the nightmare and the illusion of her sister behind so as to need to explain either to the ANUBIS' First Officer.

-=-=-
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1700

Adrianna's hold on her legs slowly began to weaken as the Counselor looked up to see the concerned expression of Doctor Bruxa staring back at her.

"You're alright," Satella reassured. "You're safe. I asked the Commander to help bring you back even if I knew it would let her see something you didn't want anyone else to see."

The Counselor pressed her lips together and looked in the direction of the Ullian woman who had just been inside her mind. Shar'El did not seem to be taking what she had witnessed in any way that might force the woman to explain the presence of her twin sister. It appeared that the Commander was satisfied to accept that the vision was something the woman had created and that what she saw was nothing more than a memory of the illusion.

"If you are both alright, I will head back to the bridge," Shar'El said, waiting to get some sort of confirmation from the woman who had been lost in a nightmare of her own making not that long ago.

"Thank you, Commander," Adriana nervously offered, forcing a smile to appear on her lips. "I'll be alright, thanks to you," she added while trying her best not to have her eyes drift to the illusion of her sister standing right over the Ullian's right shoulder.

"You're not alright," Amanda sighed. "Far from it."

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M11-P055: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 02 - 1700 ("One Eggshell Piece at a Time")
"One Eggshell Piece at a Time"
previous posts were (ANU) "Fear is the Greatest Enemy" / (BAS) "Foreshadowing"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Engineering
Stardate: 33113.1700

"Sure! Nothing to it. I just need to find a way to deactivate a small section of the ablative armour this without compromising the safety of the ship. To make things more interesting, I have to effect repairs on those specific emitters, this all without painting a huge target on the ship that says 'shoot here for maximum damage'," the redhead engineer huffed as she stormed through her department leaving several knocked over bodies in her wake.

"You seem upset," the Avatar chimed, sounding almost amused.

"Ya think!?" Sonja snapped in a heavy Scottish accent. "What tipped you off? Was it my sunny disposition and joyful tone of my voice or was it that you picked up on the fact that I knocked three crewmen onto their aft sections as I came in because they did have the common sense to get out of my way?"

"They do appear to have been shocked by the power of your entrance, but I do not believe any of them will require the immediate attention of doctor Andersson," ANI pointed out, the artificial woman still sounding far more pleased than would be normally expected from the Avatar.

"Good," the Chief Engineer sighed. "I think Sofia has her hands full with Adriana who has gone a little loopy, at least that's as much as I was able to gather from the video feed from Sickbay. I have the feeling that my little stunt of channeling all of the power to the pulse cannon, which plunged Sickbay, as well as the rest of the ship, in complete darkness, affected Counselor Lopez in a not-so-pleasant way."

"You did what you believed to be best for the ship and crew at the time," ANI stated. "The fact that we are still here is an indication that the course of action you decided to follow was the right one, if not in whole at the very least in part. If the Lokustaar vessel that was hunting us had been given the chance to strike once more, none of us would be here to discuss the pros and cons of what happened."

"Thanks for trying to make me feel better," Sonja said, her voice had dropped to a much calmer tone. "It still doesn't change the fact that I have to come up with a way to make repairs to the Ablative Armour Emitters without actually taking our protective shell off-line. I have absolutely no idea on how to pull that off. Well, actually I do, I just don't like what it is that we will have to do to make it happen."

"Commander Maya, Lieutenant Stark, and Lieutenant Ya'Han are currently trying to locate the Lokustaar vessel using a quantum vibration echolocation technique," the Avatar reported. The advantage of having her systems so completely part of the ANUBIS meant that nothing happened without her knowing about it.

"Maya is a smart cookie, I will give her that much," the redhead engineer grinned. "The hull of the Lokustaar vessel will likely not reflect those quantum vibrations creating a hole in the sensor readouts which will pinpoint the location of the ship."

"Is it not more probable that the ship was destroyed or at the very least heavily damaged by the over-powered pulse cannons?" ANI suggested. "Sensors have not picked up any trace of the ship, and logic dictates that had they not been damaged beyond the ability to attack, they would have already destroyed us."

"You naive little thing," Sonja signed shaking her head from side to side. "There is nothing logical about those nightmares out there. Look what they did to the staff of the underground research facility and orbital station. They were not only abducted, but they were brainwashed and turned into something different, something dark that doesn't belong in this universe. We can't apply normal logic to those beasts. Even if the ship was destroyed or badly damaged, it has likely called for reinforcements putting us in a lose-lose scenario.  I was lucky enough to avoid the Kobayashi Maru scenario back at the Academy, but it seems that I am now part of an even worst test."

"The Kobayashi Maru is designed to present the Cadets with a situation that they can never hope to resolve," the Avatar explained. "Our situation is different. As low as our odds may be, there is a mathematical chance that we will be able to escape without suffering any further damage."

"If we get out of this alive, remind me to check your programming so that I can figure out where this annoying optimism comes from. Bet it was Elan that added that to your base personality because I know for a fact that it wasn't me. Now, if you are finished painting the universe pink, I need you to help me isolate the ablative amour generators so that we can deactivate a hand full without turning the others off. We need to focus our repairs efforts on the sections that took the greatest amount of damage."

ANI froze for an instant as she accessed the available data pertaining to that particular system. The fact that she was doing this indicated that the amount of information was extensive and not easily put into a presentable format. "Out of the 124 emitters located on the hull of the ANUBIS, 32 have been completely destroyed due to power overloads caused directly or indirectly by the Lokustaar energy weapon. Another 26 emitters have been extensively damaged and will require several replacement parts before being operational once again. Of the remaining 66 emitters, more than half will require some level of repairs as they have been pushed to beyond normal operating limits in order to compensate for the gaps left in our armour by the inoperative emitters. Where do you suggest we start?"

"Now I remember why I didn't want to see the damage report when I was on the bridge," the redhead said with a heavy sigh. "What is the repair estimate is we could take all of the emitters off-line and have every able body work as long as it takes to fix everything?"

"Without access to the repair facilities and resources of NEW ALEXANDRIA, it would take 194 hours to complete the repairs," the artificial woman replied without a hint of emotion in her voice, not that Sonja had expected there to be any. "This estimate takes into account that all engineering teams would be working double shifts. It also considers that those teams would receive additional assistance from any crewmember possessing some knowledge of the Ablative Armour Emitters or general Engineering."

"Eight days of double shifts?"

"Eight days and 2 hours," ANI corrected.

"ANI?" Sonja said, a forced toothy smile now gracing her face.

"Yes, Lieutenant?"

"Explain to me how, given the data you have just provided me with, you were able to tell me that this was *NOT* a no-win scenario?" Sonja demanded, feeling her knees on the verge of collapsing beneath her.

"I simply stated that there is a mathematical chance that we will be able to escape without suffering any further damage."

"Did you use some sort of high-powered electron-microscope to see those odds?"

"As odds cannot be seen, that statement is impossible to be justified, but the scale of magnification of said instrument does closely match the mathematical notation that accompanied the stated odds," the Avatar said in a nonchalant manner.

"If I didn't need you to make these repairs as quickly as we need to, I would have already pulled that head of yours off your shoulders," Sonja growled, not in the least bit trying to hide her frustration. "Let's get started, we need to find a way to knock that repair estimate down because I am pretty sure that it won't take 8 days for the Lokustaar to either repair their ship or for another nightmare shadow vessel to come here and finish the job the other started."

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M11-P056: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 1715 ("For Our Next Trick")
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"For Our Next Trick"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "One Eggshell Piece at a Time" by Lorraine / (BAS) "Foreshadowing" by Karen]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1715

The ExO / ILO quickly stepped back onto the bridge, the issue with Counselor Lopez now behind them, at least for the most part. There was something about the way Adriana had used the image of her missing sister to offset the trauma caused by her memories of the KROGEN that bothered the Ullian. Somehow, the woman did not seem to belong to that memory or any other which raised some very interesting questions, none of which Shar'El had time to try to answer. There were more immediate issues to be addressed, the possible presence of a hidden Lokustaar vessel within striking distance being but one of the countless others the crew of the ANUBIS needed to face.

"What are you three up to?" Shr'El asked of the officers gathered around the science workstation.

"Maya is trying to locate the Lokustaar vessel by using a specifically modulated set of quantum vibrations, she figures that the biological nature of the ship's hull will absorb such vibration creating a gap that our sensors will be able to detect," Ya'Han explained in a way that conveyed a certain amount of admiration for the plan and the woman who had come up with it.

"Great idea," Shar'El said smiling. "There is one problem though in that there is no way for us to know beyond the shadow of a doubt if this is actually working."

"With all due respect Commander, we are dealing with the Lokustaar here," Jayson chimed in. "There is never any sort of certainty with them, at least not as far as I have seen so far. The best we can hope for is that we find something out there, if not, we won't be any further off than we are at the present, and when it comes to those shadows, not slipping in deeper is a good thing."

=/\= Paquette to Shar'El! =/\= Sonja's voice echoed a frustration that was easily picked up by the group.

"Go ahead," the ExO / ILO replied suspecting that the call would only add to their already overfilled plate of trouble.

=/\= ANI ran the numbers, the repairs will take 194 hours if all engineering teams work double shifts with the help of whoever we can throw in. I'm trying to find a way to knock that down, but it looks like we are looking at eight days. =/\=

"Eight days and two hours," Maya corrected, the scientist always having been one to be as accurate as possible in everything she did or dealt with.

=/\= Not you too, =/\= Sonja sighed in desperation.

"Do what you can," Shar'El said trying to come across as encouraging. "We will see if we can come up with a way to help you get that number down. Bridge out."

"194 hours?" Jayson lamented. "There is no way we can have all of the repairs done before something else happens, be it from the ship that was attacking us before or another one that is most certainly heading our way either to see what happened to the first ship or to join in on the fight."

"Our biggest problem is that we can't see them," Ya'Han pointed out. "It is difficult to fight an opponent that cannot be seen or detected."

"Too bad this is not the HATHOR, a cloaking device would come in handy right about now and it would even out the battlefield," the ExO / ILO said still trying to find a way to address all of the problems that were coming at them faster than they could deal.

"We may not have a cloaking device, but we do understand the process enough to be able to replicate the effect," Maya mused aloud. "We could use the bio-hull matrix to generate a holographic field that would camouflage the ANUBIS where the ablative armor has been deactivated. This would not hide the ship, but it would make it seem as if we had been destroyed leaving only large sections of the hull."

"It wouldn't take much for them to figure out that this was just an optical illusion," Ya'Han said, the Chief of Security always thinking in a tactical manner.

"At this point, I don't think we can dismiss anything that gives us an advantage no matter how small it may be. The fact that the Lokustaar will still see some of the armor may make the illusion that much more believable instead of seeing the entire vessel suddenly vanish," Jayson said, supporting the idea and trying to make it be something better than everyone believed it to be.

"We can use the holodeck matrix to feed a matching starscape image to the exposed sections of the bio-hull. This should not require a great deal of power as we will only be projecting this illuson onto a specific section of the physical surface of the outer hull. We could also have the sub-space transmission array generate a low-intensity disruption field that would match what would be expected had the ship suffered critical damage the likes of which we will be displaying." Maya did not sound overly confident as to the success of this plan, but since they had no other idea, this would be the best they could do.

"The Lokustaar will see through that illusion in no time," Ya'Han sighed.

"Right now we need to gain as much time as we can," Jayson argued. "It might not be enough to allow all of the repairs to be made, but whatever extra time we can manage to get, even if it is those elusive two hours, it will allow the ANUBIS to be in a better fighting position than it currently is in. At least that way, when the Lokustaar decide to strike again, we will be that much more ready."

"Jayson is right," the ExO / ILO agreed. "Let's get to work and make this happen and let's see if we can't offer Sonja some extra help with those repairs."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P057: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: Day 03 - 1130 ("Too Quiet")
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"Too Quiet"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "For Our Next Trick" / (BAS) "Reluctantly"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33114.1130

The work on the repairs to the armor was going well. Over the last 18 hours, the worse Satella had to deal with as a cut to an engineer's arm. The wound was deep but it took no time at all to mend the tissues and muscles. Other than that, the largest demands of the CMO's time was addressing bruises and keeping score as to their origin. So far, being in the way of the Chief Engineer was the leading cause of these minor injuries.

Things were going so well that Doctor Bruxa had actually forgotten that they were under the constant threat of being attacked. Like the shadows they so closely resembled, the Lokustaar had become a silent presence easily forgotten or ignored. This led to Satella displaying a complete lack of worry that caught the attention of her friend.

"How can you be so carefree?" Lopez asked. The Counselor had not forgotten about the Lokustaar, not in the least. Despite the help given by Shar'El, Adriana was still very much on edge. Every moving shadow enough to cause her to take a sideways step in the opposite direction.

"I'm bored," Satella replied. "I should not complain, but it's nice to be busy instead of just sitting here waiting."

Adriana quickly crushed the swell of anger that invaded her mind. As a Counselor, she recognized the tale-tale sign of an overreaction. That knowledge though would not stop her from confronting the CMO, that she was her friend or not.  "Would you rather have this room filled with bodies covered with white sheets? Maybe you would feel a little less bored if the crew was fighting for their lives. Would that make things better for you?"

Satella was stunned into motionless silence by Adriana's outburst. The Doctor had not realized just how relaxed she had become, and now she regretted it. Her friend had been right in that they needed to keep this calm in perspective. At any moment, the situation could change, granting validity to the old adage of this possibly being 'the calm before the storm'.

"I'm sorry. I should not have said what I did. You are completely right and I should be more grateful for the way things are. The repairs are proceeding without incident, but that does not mean we are out of danger." Satella paused for an instant, looking at the remaining anger slipping away from her friend. "I'm sorry."

"You have nothing to be sorry about. It's me. I know what those creatures are capable of, that's the problem. That's what scares me. As hard as I may try, I can't escape the memory of what I saw in the KROGEN's sickbay. The nightmare will always be with me"

Seeing that her friend was on the verge of crying, Satella quickly moved closer and took the Counselor into her arms.  "Don't focus on what was; instead keep your mind here in the present. You are not alone. We are all here with you, no matter what comes our way."

"Thanks," Adriana whispered, recalling her tears before they escaped more than they already had.

"Don't mention it. All I need to know is when are you taking over my office?"

"Why would I want to do that?" Adriana asked, pulling out of her friend's embrace.

"I'm performing the duties of a Ship's Counselor. It's only fair that you take over being the ship's CMO. The advantage is that right now, things are quiet."

Lopez's lips bunched into a knot. She might have picked up on the joke, but the Counselor had not found it all that funny. That was when an audio signal was heard calling the two women's attention to the CMO's office.

"See," Satella teased. "It's probably the bridge calling to see when you will be taking over."

"I doubt that," Adriana huffed as she followed her friend into her office. "If it was anyone on the bridge, they would not have used the comm monitors."

Again, the Counselor had been right. That was part of the reason why Satella had gone back to her office so quickly. Who could have sent her a message? One advantage of being stationed on an Intel vessel was that not a lot of people knew how to reach you.

"That's odd," Doctor Bruxa said standing between her desk and chair. "It's a message from Doctor Sofia Andersson from the BASTET."

"I hope everything is alright," the Counselor said. For a brief moment, her concerns had shifted away from the ANUBIS and its crew. What could have happened to have the CMO of the BASTET contact them like this?

"Don't know. I'm still trying to read the message. It's a jumble of thoughts that are making little sense," Satella explained. When she finally came across the reason for the unexpected message, the CMO fell back into her chair. "She thought we should know." The CMO's voice was weak, barely audible.

"Know what?"

"She's dead."

"Who is dead?" Adriana demanded as she leaned over her friend's desk. All of these unspecified statements were just increasing her frustration.

"Captain Iverson," Satella replied in the same tone, still looking at the message on the screen. "Officially, she is being marked as MIA. They have no actual proof of her demise. The transporter sensors show her has having been alive the last time they were in contact."

"Well, that's good news, is it not? She's not dead, she just MIA. It means that there is still hope."

"Not really,"  Satella said before taking a long deep swallow. "She was abducted by the Lokustaar."

Whatever sliver of hope that the two women might have managed to hold on to vanished instantly at those words. "I'm trying to make sense of what Sofia wrote. It's like deciphering a badly scrambled code. I can tell she was upset when she wrote this. If I understand what she is saying, the ship and crew were trapped in another dimension. They were pinned by a Lokustaar ship and Captain Iverson gave her life to allow the ship to escape."

Having served on the BASTET under Selene, the news hit both women hard. They might have transferred to the ANUBIS, but that did not sever the attachments they had to their former crewmembers. Complete stillness washed over the office of the CMO, both Doctor Bruxa and Counselor Lopez trying to comprehend the personal significance of the news.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M11-P058: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 03 - 1145 ("Past Shadows")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Past Shadows"
[previous post were (ANU) "Too Quiet" / (BAS) "Reluctantly"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.1145

The bridge was eerily quiet. All available hands had been called to assist with the repairs to the ship and ablative armor with the hopes of knocking down the 8 days and 2 hours timeframe. This meant that Jayson and Tanith had left their stations on the bridge to join the engineering workforce. Commander Maya had gone to the Astrometrics Lab to see if she could find some clues as to whereabouts of the Lokustaar while Commander Shar'El had retreated to the IGC to ensure that the holographic camouflage worked as intended. The Sec/Tac suspected that the ExO had always returned to her domain to see if she too could find a way to locate the elusive nightmarish ship that had nearly destroyed them.  Even Captain Morningstar was involved with the efforts from within his Ready Room, the CO overseeing the progress of the repairs while coordinating with the Chief Engineer Lt. Paquette to make sure that no teams got in each other's way.

This left Ya'Han alone on the command deck, looking at the tactical sensors searching for something that did not want to be seen or found. The red-haired Nylaan had tried every possible modification of the tactical sensors she could think, but the results remained the same – nothing was out there, no ship or debris. If the ship had been destroyed, which was highly unlikely as there was no evidence of this, the repairs could proceed without issues and life on board the ANUBIS would quickly enough return to normal. More likely, the invisible vessel was out there, watching to see what they were up to and waiting for the right moment to strike.

Trying not to give into her mounting frustration, Ya'Han though back to a simpler time when the objectives modest, the odds clear, and her opponents visible to the naked eye.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
FLASHBACK
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: EARTH, San Francisco, Starfleet Academy, Combat Training Gym
Stardate: 26174.1500 (Age of 19)

The more the black-haired cadet trained, the more she realized that this would be the most demanding part of her Starfleet Education.  As the daughter of the High Sovereign, she had earned her red hair, but as demanding as her training had been, as ruthless as her tests were, they all paled in comparison to the work and effort she needed to dedicate to the Academy's Security classes.

"You are getting better," the instructor for hand-to-hand combat training said to the Cadet who was looking up at him from the flat of her back. "But I have to admit that I am questioning your desire to be part of Starfleet Security. The personnel of this department is required to be as physically skilled and knowledgeable as they are academically. Your test scores on the written exams are well above average, but your physical skills are not at par with the rest of your classmates. Maybe you should reconsider your line of study and go into Science or maybe even Operations. According to the other instructors I have spoken to, your scores in those fields are high enough to allow you to transfer."

Ya'Han quickly jumped back to her feet in order to face the instructor face-to-face.  "This is where I want to be," the black-haired Cadet said with as much determination as she could muster. "This is where I *need* to be. I will gladly take extra classes and spend every free moment I have in the gym, but please do not force me to transfer to another department."

"I am not forcing you to do anything Cadet," the Instructor said, shaking his head from side to side. "I am simply telling you what I believe to be best for you. As a member of the Security Department on board a starbase or even a starship, you will possibly be facing situations that will require split-second reaction on your part. Failure to act or react adequately may mean your death or worse the death of a fellow shipmate who counted on you to protect them.  Are you ready to accept that responsibility?"

"I am," Ya'Han replied without a hint of hesitation.

"Very well then," the Instructor said with an evil grin. "Your next test will be for you to stop two of your classmates from reaching that chair and sitting on it," he explained pointing to the chair set near the far wall. "If either one of them reaches that chair, I will personally break the arm of another one of your classmates. Failure here will not be limited to bruises or injuries on your person but will also mean that one of the people you have been calling a friend for the last year and a half will suffer just as much if not more than you."

Before Ya'Han could offer any sort of objection, the Instructor motioned for the two largest and strongest members of the class to step forward. "Reach the chair at any cost. Failure means that it will be one of your arms that I will break."

"Sir, is that truly necessary?" Another Cadet asked, concerned as to the possible outcome of this unexpected test.

"Call it an incentive," the Instructor said making the class wonder once again if there was some Romulan ancestry in his not so distant past. "Now, get to it! You have 30 seconds to get passed Cadet Ya'Han and sit on that chair."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
End of FLASHBACK
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.1150

The two classmates had shown her no mercy, easily knocking her out of their way in order to reach the stated objective, and even though she had suffered a broken leg in the process, the Instructor had carried out his threat.

Ya'Han smiled as she remembered being in the infirmary with another member of the class, both of them there to have their limbs mended. On that day, something changed in the black-haired Cadet. The expression of pain on her classmate had proven enough to make the exiled Nylaan understand that she had to give even more. To prove herself worthy of being where she wanted to be, where she needed to be would require an even bigger change from whom she had been before.

Clearly, that particular event had made an impression on the red-haired Lieutenant who now stood as Chief of Security on board the USS ANUBIS, the lives of countless resting on her abilities, both physical and mental. Now, if only the Lokustaar would stop playing 'hide and seek' and allow the Nylaan to act as she had been trained to, things would be a great deal easier to handle.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P059: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 03 - 1145 ("Unseen Watcher")
=-=
"Unseen Watcher"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Past Shadows" by Hanali / (BAS) "Reluctantly" by Karen]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 33114.1145

Eight days and two hours was a long time for a ship to be immobile, and that was in a best-case scenario, which this was not. In their current and precarious situation, those 194 hours could easily mean the end of the ANUBIS and of its crew. That was, in part, the reason why the ExO / ILO had returned to the IGC. From the Intel Gathering Center located in the upper five decks of the ship, she could monitor the entire sector for any signs of the Lokustaar as well as keeping an eye on the progress of the repairs to the ablative armor. This was where the secrets of the universe could be revealed if one knew where to look and how to listen.

Several of the IGC techs were sent to help the engineering teams, those that had stayed behind diligently searched the void that surrounded the ANUBIS, doing their best to compensate for the reduced number of people working on the task.  Every signal, no matter how small, was thoroughly investigated, so when a communication aimed at their CMO reached the ship it was easily picked up and forwarded to the ExO / ILO for closer scrutiny. It was a normal procedure for any transmission to or from the ship to be reviewed by Commander Shar'El, this to ensure that the safety of the ANUBIS and crew would not be compromised in some unexpected fashion. Shar'El had not expected there to be any problems with this message, questioning nothing more than the timing instead of the content, which was why she was that much more surprised when she came across the reason for the communication.

This had not been the first time she had been exposed to such news had she knew that it would not be the last, but that did not change the fact that a respected and admired member of the NEW ALEXANDRIA team had been taken off the list of active officers. Shar'El did not know Selene all that well, but she had gathered enough information on the CO of the BASTET to understand the type of person she was. That knowledge was enough to make the ExO / ILO comprehend the scale of the impact this would have on the members of her crew as well as the rest of the Intel fleet operating under Admiral Koniki.

Captain Iverson would not be listed as the first victim of this ongoing conflict against the shadow forces they were fighting, and unfortunately, she would not be the last. The best they could do was to acknowledge the woman's achievements and remember her for all that she had accomplished, ensuring that her memory became a part of their lives.

In order to do this to happen though, the ExO / ILO and the CMO could not be the only ones to know this, so Shar'El took it upon herself to inform Erik. After all, as a fellow CO, it would be up to him to dictate how the rest of the crew would acknowledge what happened and how they would proceed.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.1200

The ExO / ILO stepped onto the bridge and found the Chief of Security, Lt. Ya'Han alone at her station, an air of brewing frustration about her. "Is everything alright, Lieutenant?" Shar'El asked, thinking that maybe she had missed something during her journey from the IGC to the command deck.

"Everything is quiet," the red-haired woman replied with a sigh of discontent.

"Too quiet for you?" The Ullian asked, catching a few images from the Nylaan as she broadcasted memories of her earlier days at Starfleet Academy. Shar'El was not entirely certain as to how a broken leg fit in this story but right now was not the time to ask, not hat she would have anyway. Her promise made to the Captain prohibited the ExO / ILO from scanning the memories of fellow shipmates, and as a show of respect, she also avoided mentioning any memories that were unintentionally broadcasted for her to see. "Is the Captain still in his Ready Room?" Shar'El asked, moving ahead with the sad reason as to why she had come to the bridge.

"Yes, he is," Ya'Han answered cautiously, studying the ExO / ILO's face in an attempt to understand what the expression she saw there meant. "Is everything alright, Commander?"

"You have nothing to worry about," Shar'El said with a smile. "The reason why I am here and need to speak to the Captain has nothing to do with our current situation," the ExO / ILO explained. As much as she wanted to share more details, the raven-haired Ullian knew better, especially given that the news had yet to be made public or official. Informing the Captain was the only thing she could do, and that only because she believed it proper for the CO of the ANUBIS to be aware of what had happened to the CO of the BASTET, both ships and crews operating under the same base and administration.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P060: USS ANUBIS: Morningstar: Day 03 - 1215 ("Keeping Secrets")
##########
"Keeping Secrets"
Previous posts (ANU) "Unseen Watcher" / (BAS) "Lost"
##########

"The worst place for someone to try and keep a secret is onboard an Intel vessel, especially one that I am on.” 
― Commander Shar'El, Executive Officer, USS ANUBIS

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 33114.1215

The Native American sat at his desk, a steaming cup of Risian tea in one hand and a PADD in the other. A dozen more PADDS containing various reports were neatly stacked into two piles on his desk. The repairs on the ablative armour emitters had started almost 20 hours ago and so far everything was proceeding according to plan, in fact, things were going better than expected thanks to the number of people who had joined the workforce.

As much as Erik wanted to find some joy in the reports of Sonja and her numerous teams being ahead of schedule with the repairs, the Native American could not help but wonder why the Lokustaar had not shown any signs of life. The camouflage created by the holographic images had been good but being the expert tracker he was, the Native American could not understand how the highly advanced race had not as of yet seen through the subterfuge. Still, with each minute that passed the ANUBIS was that much more ready to resume the battle against the race referred to as the Shadows.

The sound of the door chime drew the Captain's attention away from his reading for a moment so that he could look upon the person he was about to allow in. "Enter," he said expecting either Sonja with some sort of problem that required his command-level access to resolve or his First Officer with some news that could only be shared in person. When Erik saw Shar'El in the doorway and the expression on her face, the Native American actually wished that it had been his Chief Engineer there instead.  "What can I do for you, Commander?"

"I have news from the BASTET," Shar'El said after having stepped in and allowed the doors to hissed close behind her.  "Captain Iverson has been abducted by the Lokustaar and is being officially listed as MIA by her First Officer, Commander Valentine, despite the odds that she is either already dead or forever lost in another dimension at the hands of those nightmarish walking demons."

Erik placed the PADD that was in his hand down onto his desk, allowing for the full weight and implication of the news he had just been given to settle in. "Why did the transmission not come to me directly? Did Admiral Koniki have something specific he wanted you to know first?" The Native American grew concerned that some sort of highly classified information in the possession of Captain Iverson was now in the hands of their enemy as if her knowledge of the BASTET and its unique equipment and systems had not been bad enough.

"The message was not meant for either you or me," the First Officer casually admitted. "The message came from the BASTET's Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Sofia Andersson and was directed to our own CMO, Doctor Bruxa. It was thought that since Satella had served under Captain Iverson that she deserved to know what had happened."

"So you intercepted a private message from one CMO to another?" Erik asked in all seriousness, the rhetorical question meant more to force Shar'El into openly admitting what she had done over anything else.

"It is my responsibility to ensure that all communications, be them to or from the ANUBIS, are safe and do not contain information that could end up being used against us, NEW ALEXANDRIA or the Federation in part or in whole," Shar'El defended without hesitation. "Plus, the message was not privately encoded, so it took no time for my IGC team to decipher it."

"Guess there is no keeping any secrets from you," the Native American said in half jest, understanding his First Officer's reasoning for what she had done while at the same time finding himself a little concerned as to what other secrets she might have come across since her assignment to the ANUBIS.

"The worst place for someone to try and keep a secret is onboard an Intel vessel," Shar'El grinned. "Especially one that I am on," she added with a smirk. "Trust me, I know what I'm talking about," she concluded as she gently tapped the side of her head as a reminder of what she was capable of. "Don't worry," the Ullian reassured, "I am not one to share or even keep records of those secrets. I am here telling you about what I discovered simply because I thought it necessary as a fellow CO to know what happened."

"Thank you, Commander; I appreciate you informing me of this situation. We are not in any position to do anything about it at the moment, but if we get out of this in one piece, I will make sure to contact Commander Valentine and offer my condolences and support."

"Sarena is a strong woman," Shar'El offered, knowing the woman as one ExO to another. "She won't let this knock her down, but there is no doubt that losing her CO is going to make things more complicated for her and the crew of the BASTET."

"If you get in touch with her, please extend whatever assistance we are able to provide," the Captain offered. "Again, if we make it back home in one piece, I am sure that we will be able to spare Counsellor Lopez for a few days to assist in grief support. I knew Selene enough to know that although she was not the warmest person, she could instill quite a bit of passion and loyalty in those who served under her. Her death, be it presumed or real, is going to be felt by the whole of NEW ALEXANDRIA." Erik paused for a moment, his attention drifting down onto the two piles of PADDs on his desk. "Now, was there another purpose for your visit?"

"No Captain, I just thought that it was more proper to advise you first and in person, before the news becomes public," Shar'El explained.

"I doubt that Satella is going to make a public announcement as to the fate of her former CO," Erik pointed out.

"Whatever happens on the ANUBIS, especially if it is meant to be a secret, will, naturally, be known by the whole crew," Shar'El said in a tone of voice that clearly hinted to her paraphrasing something someone else had once said.

"Who are you quoting?" The Native American asked.

"We do have a crewmember with an avid love of old movies," the Ullian replied, making it evident by her words and tone that she personally knew the individual in question.

Erik sighed. "Let me guess, Sonja?"

"Of course," Shar'El said adding a faint chuckle. "Who else would quote an old wizard about the inability to keep secrets inside a location where secrets are part of everyday life?"

--==(/\)==--
Francois Charette

Commanding Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501

AND

Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn [Access Character BIO for Elan Fairborn]
Robotics Engineering Officer
NEW ALEXANDRIA
M11-P061: USS ANUBIS: Stark: Day 03 - 1230 ("Scared")
"Scared"
[previous (ANU) "Keeping Secrets" / (BAS) "Lost"]

[/\]
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Outer Hull
Stardate: 33114.1230

He was scared, not that he would ever admit it to anyone. Sonja would make fun of him, and Ya'Han would tell him that allowing the emotion to get in his way was just a way to ensure that something would go wrong. Despite his greatest wishes to push the far away, the uncertainty of the emptiness of space above his head made that impossible.

Not all of the repairs could be done from inside, so a select few members of the crew were required to venture out onto the outer hull and make handle the ablative armor emitters directly. The OPS Officer had been one of the lucky ones to be assigned to that job. If their CEO had wanted to get even for something he had done to her or Ya'Han in the past, she had more than succeeded and he hoped that this would mean they were finally even.

Jayson took a moment to look up into the endless darkness and regretted it instantly. For someone crossing a deep precipice, the rule was not to look down. Here, it was the other direction that offered the potential for trouble, and by looking up, he fell into the trap without any hopes of easily getting out.

He was not afraid of space; it was quite the opposite, the OPS Officer loving to gaze into the night to see the multitude of stars set against the endless blackness of space. What he feared was what stood between those twinkling lights, waiting, watching. So far no one had detected any signs of the Lokustaar vessel that had nearly destroyed them, and Jayson wondered why they had not come to finish the job. Of course, he was relieved that this had not happened as it would mean he and the others would no longer be here and have the time to wonder, but there were times when he wasn't certain if the fear and uncertainty were not worse than the alternative.

There was something beyond dark about the Lokustaar, the simple mention of their name enough to plant the seed of fear in anyone's mind. Like their namesake, they moved silently like shadows and made everyone jump at the slightest shift in the darkness. This was their greatest weapon, and there was no way to defend against it. The best the OPS Officer could do was to keep his eyes down and his mind on the task at hand no matter what he thought he heard or saw.

The quicker he would get these repairs done, the quicker he would get back inside the ANUBIS. Although the hull currently beneath his feet would not offer that much protection against the insanely powerful energy weapon of the Lokustaar, the ship's outer shell would be more than enough to help ease his fears, even if only a little.

=/\= Ya'Han to Jayson, how are you doing out there? =/\=

The sound of her voice instantly made him feel better. She probably had no clue as to the extent of her influence on him, and in some ways, he was glad. Her knowing how scared or how so completely taken by her he was might change the way she saw him, and that scared him even more than the possibility of a Lokustaar ship hovering right over his head.

"The repairs on the emitters are progressing well. Would make things a lot easier if we were back at NEW ALEXANDRIA, but at least the view out here is better."

=/\= I'm surprised that the view has not lost some of its appeals considering that there is a good chance that shadow vessel is out there somewhere, studying us while we are unable to detect it. =/\=

"I was not even thinking about that," Jayson lied, that particular thought had been the foremost thing on his mind.

=/\= I won't keep you from your work. I want you back inside as quickly as possible. I don't like this silence and inaction from the Lokustaar and I keep thinking that they are going t strike at any moment. I'm just scared that you'll get caught outside when it happens. =/\=

"I thought nothing scared you," Jayson said, not wanting to let the opportunity slip away.

=/\= Yes I am scared, now stop being macho and get the job done so you can get back inside. =/\=

"No worries, for you, I will get these repairs done in no time."

=/\= I just want you to be safe. Ya'Han out. =/\=

Jayson smiled and looked up into the dark emptiness overhead. He was scare but at least he was not alone, the only difference was that Ya'Han was a lot more courageous than he was, able to admit to her feelings where he could not. That was another reason why he admired her as much as he did.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG Jayson Stark [Access Character BIO for Jayson Stark]
Chief of Operations
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P062: USS ANUBIS: Maya: Day 03 - 1230
("When Life Vanishes into the Shadows")
---
"When Life Vanishes into the Shadows"
(Previous Posts: (ANU) "Scared" / (BAS) "Lost")
---

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 12, Astrometrics Laboratory
Stardate: 33114.1230

Maya had painstakingly scrutinized every micron of space surrounding the ANUBIS without being able to detect any sign of the Lokustaar vessel. Whatever bits of debris the Shillian was able to detect was far from being enough to account for the ship and offer an explanation as to why it had not been found.  As a result of this, the Chief Science Officer expanded her search and scans all the way back to the TAU OMEGA Research Facility and its orbital station, and still, the sophisticated instruments available to the scientist could not find any signs of the living shadows or their cloaked ship.

As troubling as this inability to find anything was, there was something even more disturbing to the Chief Science Officer who had stumbled onto another mystery.  Long range sensors had been unable to pick up any signs of life on or in orbit of TAU OMEGA. This was not that much of a surprise as the sensors would not have been able to detect the staff of the secret research facility even if the ANUBIS was in orbit of the planet, but the orbital station was another story. Following both staffs being freed from the black ooze they had been encased in, the crew of the orbital station should have appeared on her instruments. As no life signs were detected, this left the Shillian with a mystery that begged to be solved.

Not finding any signs of the Lokustaar was, although annoying, expected given their technology and modus operandi, but not being able to detect anyone on the orbital station was cause to make the Shillian scientist try to come up with an explanation that would satisfy all variables she had encountered thus far. Two theories quickly rose to the surface giving the Chief Science Officer a specific line of research to follow. Either the staff of the orbital station and likely that of the research facility, had perished due to some side effect of their imprisonment into the back ooze or the Lokustaar vessel had backtracked to the planet and taken everyone onboard before leaving the system.

Although the second theory did explain all of the current variables at her disposal, there were still a great many questions that needed to be answered before the Shillian scientist could formulate a valid hypothesis. Unfortunately, there was only one way for Maya to properly test this scenario, and it required her to first speak to the First Officer of the ANUBIS.

"Commander Maya to Commander Shar'El. If you have a minute, I would like to speak with you."

=/\= A minute? =/\= Shar'El said clearly sounding amused. =/\= I doubt that you are asking to see me to discuss something that would only take a minute for you to explain. If it did, you would have already asked me my opinion on it. =/\=

"My apologies Commander, I was not as accurate as I should have been, I fear that it may be the stress of our situation added to the implications of what it is that I want to explain to you," the Chief Science Officer offered as an explanation for her choice of words.

=/\= No need for any apologies, and I can tell that whatever it is you want to talk to me about is important so I will be there in a few minutes. Shar'El out. =/\=

---
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 12, Astrometrics Laboratory
Stardate: 33114.1245

All of the information had been neatly set on the available monitors, each theory presented on opposite sides of the main display console which showed a holographic representation of the position in relation to TAU OMEGA and the orbital station in orbit of that planet. The moment the First officer of the ANUBIS stepped in, the Chief Science officer wasted no time to explain the reason why she had to summon the woman here.

"As I am sure you are aware of, I have been spending a great deal of time scanning our immediate surroundings with the hope of finding some sign of the Lokustaar or at the very least an explanation as to why we have not been able to detect them. Unfortunately, I was unable to find anything which forced me to expand my search all the way to the orbital station in orbit of TAU OMEGA, and it was my continued inability to detect anything that is causing me to believe that we may be now faced with a completely different situation."  With a gesture of her hand, the Shillian directed the attention of her guest to the right side of the main display screen.  "As you can see, our long-range sensors are not picking up any life signs from the planet or the orbital station."

"The research facility is heavily shielded, so it is no surprise that our sensors, as powerful as they may be, are unable to detect anything from this distance. Maybe the crew of the station made their way to the research facility which would explain why we are now unable to detect any life signs."

The Chief Science Officer blinked several times, her stunned silence amusing the First Officer as it was not something she had ever expected to see. As entertaining as the expression on the face of the Shillian was though, it was short lived and quickly vanished as Maya added this new possibility to her list of theories.

"This gives us three main theories to explain this latest discovery, and I am afraid to say that the only way we would be able to confirm or refute any of them is for us to return to TAU OMEGA. Once there we can confirm whether or not the staff of both the orbital station and research facility were taken by the Lokustaar and moved to another location, that the entire staff perished from some unknown side effect of their imprisonment in the black ooze, or if, as you suggested, they are now all hiding inside the research facility beyond the reach of our sensors."

Now it was Shar'El who found herself momentarily speechless. The crew as a whole had been so focused on their repairs and the possibility of another attack from the Lokustaar that they had never considered the possibility that the shadow vessel had simply left to attend other business.

"What do you believe the odds of the Lokustaar having returned to TAU OMEGA are in contrast to them being out here waiting for us to make a move?" Shar'El had never been one to play games with the lives of the crew based solely on numbers and odds, but she trusted the Shillian Scientist enough to seriously consider her answer.

"You know me better than that Commander," Maya replied. "I am not one to forward an uneducated guess, and there are just too many unknowns at this time to formulate any consistent and valid probabilities. if we use the data we do have though, I would say that it is far more likely that the lack of a renewed offensive against us is because the ship was damaged badly enough to warry its departure and that in so doing it returned to TAU OMEGA where it either took the staff on board, killed all of them, or forced them into hiding into the lowest levels of the research facility."

"Killed all of them? That possibility was never mentioned as being part of your theories," Shar'El pointed out in shock.

"The theory was always there, but it was the darkest possibility that I willfully pushed aside so as to not add to the aura of unsettling darkness that has already taken hold of the ANUBIS and its crew."

"Very kind of you Commander," Shar'El sadly smirked. "So you believe that the Lokustaar are gone and dealt, in one way, shape or form, with the staff of the orbital station and research facility?"

"I do," the Shillian confirmed. "Following what we experienced in Sickbay, it is evident that the Lokustaar do not like to leave any traces of their passing or involvement, so it makes sense to believe that they have removed the majority, if not the entirety, of the effect of the presence.

"Great," the First Officer sighed as she pivoted on her heels and headed for the large set of double doors. "We spent all this time working like madmen thinking they were right there waiting to attack when the more likely probability is that they left without us offering the slightest challenge."

"With all due respect Commander, in the state the ANUBIS was, there is very little *challenge* we would have been able to offer. We should consider ourselves lucky that they were unable to destroy us when they had the chance and instead opted to retreat."

"Lucky for us maybe, but I have the feeling that the staff of the orbital station and research facility would not see what happened to them as being anywhere in the realm of good luck. Thank you for your work Maya, I guess the ball is now in my court." As Shar'El reached the door, causing it to open, the Commander reached for her communicator. "Commander Shar'El to Captain Morningstar, we have some new development that I need to speak to you about."

---
Jessica Solarik

Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer
USS ANUBIS

&

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Former Commanding Officer
USS BASTET

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M11-P063: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 03 - 1445 ("Wounded Retreat")
=-=
"Wounded Retreat"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "When Life..." by Jessica / (BAS) "Lost" by Susan]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.1445

Convincing Captain Morningstar to have the ANUBIS head back to TAU OMEGA had not been difficult for the ExO / ILO who had not hesitated to relay the theories of their Chief Science Officer. The ideas were sound and explained the tranquility they all had physically enjoyed. The fear of the shadows laying in wait to strike had been replaced by an even bigger concern of the mysterious race being out there doing something else, something worse.

The moment all of the outer hull repair teams and personnel had returned to the relative safety of the ship, the partially armored vessel quickly made is way back to the planet's orbit. When no opposition was encountered, the theories proposed by Maya became that much more real making the Captain and ExO / ILO silently wonder to themselves why they had not considered this possibility before. Now they were rushing back, playing catch-up with an opponent that could easily be considered to be amongst the most dangerous race to have bee encountered by the Federation and its allies.

"Sensors are still not showing any signs of the Lokustaar," their red-haired Chief of Security reported as the ANUBIS closed in on its destination. "We should approach with extreme caution. They could be there, cloaked from our instruments and view, waiting for a chance to strike us while we less expect it."

"Always love your optimism," Jayson muttered under his breath, followed by a weak smile to show that he did not hold this character trait against her. As the Chief of Security for the ANUBIS, it was expected for her to keep the worst possible scenarios well in mind so that they could be ready should theories became reality.

"Unlikely," the Chief Science Officer challenged, Maya had left the serene solitude of the Astrometrics lab to be more hands-on with heir quest for answers. The fact that it was her theories that had made them rush back to the planet forced her to be on the bridge and share in the steps needed to see if she had been right or not. "According to our sensors, the orbital station is completely deprived of life and there are no indications that anyone beamed to the underground research facility. All escape pods and crafts appear not to have moved. It is far more likely that the Lokustaar came and left, the question is what did they do with the staff of the research facility and orbital station?"

"Helm, bring us in geosynchronous orbit over the research facility," Captain Morningstar said to Ensign Tanith Jones, the ship's FCO before turning his attention to the Chief of Operations, Lt. Jayson Stark.  "Let's start with a link to the station's computer and systems. Think you can patch us into their video surveillance so we can have a look as to what is going on over there?"

"I can do that," Jayson confirmed with confidence, immediately getting to work on the task.

"I would rather not have to send a team over if possible," the Captain continued, this time aiming his quietly spoken words towards his ExO / ILO. "Hopefully, the visual link will allow us to detect some sort of a hint as to what happened and if indeed the staff of the orbital station suffered some dark and unsavory fate as Maya suggested as one of the possibilities."

"I think we are going to get more than just 'some sort of a hint'," Shar'El said as the image on the main viewscreen change from the orbital view of the planet to instead display the empty and barely lit command center of the orbital station which appeared to have gone through a war of its own. "Whatever happened, it did not give the personnel any time to react, not that it looks like they could have done a lot about what did this."

Captain Morningstar studied the chaotic image, trying as hard as he could to find something that would give him a reason to argue with his ExO / ILO, but the more he scrutinized the station's command and control center, the more he had to agree that Shar'El was right.  "Using the tunnel that was created before using our phasers, scan the underground research facility and see if you can pick up any signs of life," the Captain ordered of his Chief of Operations.

"No signs of life," Jayson reported. "There is a possibility that there is someone in the caves we discovered, out of range of our sensors, but given the state of the orbital station and the similar damage I am detecting through the lowermost corridors, I doubt that there is anyone left alive down there."

"The Lokustaar have no affinity for life as we know it," Shar'El pointed out. "The impressions I got from them each time I even came close to them is that they believe in survival of the fittest, everyone else means nothing. Whatever the personnel of the orbital station and research facility meant to them, it was not enough to keep them alive and risk them being able to give us some sort of insight that no one else could have."

"Captain Morningstar to Doctor Bruxa."

=/\= Go ahead Captain, what can I do for you? =/\= Satella replied, a hint of nervousness in her voice as she feared the worst. Knowing that they were returning to TAU OMEGA, the CMO could only guess as to why the CO was calling her.

"I just wanted to check on the status of your patient, Doctor Kareena Atar."

=/\= She is still unconscious but her vitals are slowly, gradually getting stronger. If this continues, she will recover from whatever it was that she suffered while inside that black ooze, =/\= Bruxa relayed.

"Good, do everything you can to see her through," Erik said, his expression shifting to one of mild anger. "She may be the only one who is able to tell us what actually happened."

=/\= Sorry to jump in like this, but what about the other staff members of the research facility? =/\= Counselor Lopez asked having overheard the conversation.

"According to our sensors, it would seem that the Lokustaar made sure to leave no witnesses behind. Your patient, it would seem, is the only one left."

=/\= That's horrible, =/\= Adriana gasped, easily imagining how this race of nightmarish shadows would have gone about doing this.

=/\= We will do our very best Captain, =/\= Satella jumped in with, thinking it best to focus her thoughts on the one person still alive instead of the hundreds of others.

"Good, Morningstar out," the Captain said before tapping his comm badge to close the channel and doing it again to reopen it to initiate another discussion. "Bridge to Engineering, Lt. Paquette."

=/\= I said eight days, and that was when we weren't rushing around the universe in search of who knows what. You want me to get the ablative armor back to full operational status, you have to give me the time and stop asking me if we can make it somewhere else. =/\= There was no doubt about it, Sonja was not happy.

"Don't worry about the ablative armor," the Captain said. "We are heading back to NEW ALEXANDRIA. Just make sure that the ANUBIS stays in one piece and give us the best possible speed."

=/\= Those blasted unnatural nightmares are gone? =/\=

"They are," Shar'El replied. "It also looks like they dealt with whoever was left on the orbital station and underground research facility."

=/\= Oh... =/\= Sonja said, letting the rest of her thoughts drift into silence. "Will get you to warp 5 in a few minutes and at least warp 7 within an hour after that. =/\=

"Thank you, Lieutenant, bridge out." With that, Erik nodded to the ExO / ILO and retreated to his Ready Room to better contemplate the events that had happened as they made their way back to their base of operation.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P064: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: Day 03 - 1530 ("Crowded Loneliness")
=-=
"Crowded Loneliness"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Wounded Retreat" / (BAS) "Lost"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33114.1530

Doctor Kareena Atar laid on the main examination table, peaceful and unconscious. The Chief Medical Officer of the underground research facility was unaware of what had taken place. And right now it was better that way. The knowledge that she was the sole surviving member of the doomed covert project would be quite a shock. So it was best to avoid this for the time being. Not only for the sake of their patient but also for that of the Ship's Counselor.

"I can't believe that they are all dead," Adriana mused aloud. As the Ship's Counselor, the news had hit her harder than most. She looked at the unconscious woman trying to imagine how she would feel, how she would react. Feeling empathy for her patients was key to helping them deal with their pain. After what happened, Doctor Atar would experience pain like no other when she would learn about what happened.

"You know, we could make sure she doesn't wake up until we reach NEW ALEXANDRIA. Her recovery is gradual enough that it would not take much to keep her sleeping until then." Satella's offer was genuine. She wanted to help them both in the only way she could. If the CMO could save the CNS the pain of helping their patient, she would do so without hesitation. They all had their own pain to deal with at the moment.

"It might be an idea. Not because I don't feel that I am ready to speak with her, I just don't know what to tell her. In order for her to properly grieve for her friends, she needs to know what happened to them. Since we do not know what did happen, it is difficult for me to explain it to her. I can't just say that they all vanished without a trace."

Satella looked at Adriana. The CNS often questioned her proficiency in performing the duties of her position. Each time the CMO would reassure her, pointing out to times Doctor Bruxa saw Counselor Lopez at work. This would be another of those moments used as proof that she was doing exactly what she needed to.

"Whatever happens, I know that you will be there for her."

"I'm not sure that I can," Adriana said abruptly turning to face her friend. "I'm still trying to deal with what happened to Captain Iverson. How do I manage to help her when she lost everyone?"

Doctor Bruxa wanted to remind her friend that she had been there. Counselor Lopez, like Doctor Atar, had lost a great number of those they had worked with. Even more to the point was that in both cases, it was the Lokustaar who were responsible. The only reason why Satella remained silent was that she feared that stating this fact would only make things worse. The events on the KROGEN still troubled Adriana, and Satella did not wish to reopen that wound. The last time this happened, earlier that same day, they needed the help of Commander Shar'El to regain control.

There was no denying it. The Lokustaar were a devious race who had perfected the use of fear as a weapon. These shadows could plant a dark seed and wait for the right time to make it blossom. Once that was accomplished, they could just sit back and watch the chaos spread like wildfire.

"Come here," Satella said as she wrapped her arms around her friend, trapping her into a caring, protective hug. Doctor Bruxa could only guess as to how many more such seeds had been planted. How many people lived with the scars inflicted by the dark deeps of this nightmarish race?

"I thought I was the Counselor here?" Adriana said, fighting back tears.

"This mission has been difficult for us all. Dealing with the Lokustaar alone is enough to make things unbearable. We just have to hold on to whatever bit of light we can. Also, it helps to know that we are not alone. However bad things may seem to be, there is always someone nearby to lend a hand."

"Again, I tought I was the Counselor? You seem to be taking over, and quite well I might add." Adriana said, trying to be as serious as possible. "Are you trying to take on both roles? Getting bored with being a CMO?"

"I don't think getting bored is something possible on board the ANUBIS. Plus, I would never try to take over your position. We all need you exactly where you are."

"You are too sweet," the CNS said, allowing a faint smile to appear on her lips. The display of happiness lasted only for a few seconds, vanishing as soon as Adriana looked back at the unconscious woman. "It will be nice to be back home. Hopefully, we can stay away from all this darkness for a while. Part of me just wants to be alone."

"As much as I understand that feeling, I think that being alone may be the last thing we need. Fears grow in solitude, and giving in to our fears is the last thing we need. Our strength is being there for one another."

"Fine," Adriana smiled. "Just do me one favor."

"What do you need?"

"For you to stop being a better Counselor than I am."

Satella laughed. "I can't be better than you are. I learned everything from you, so you should be proud of the job you did in teaching me."

"You're doing it again."

"Sorry," the Doctor laughed. If anything was accomplished by all this, it was that both women had managed to smile and laugh. As strange as it might be, it was something they both needed to fight the darkness that seemed to follow them with every step.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS


[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M11-P065: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: Day 03 - 1745 ("Heading Home")
-=-=-
"Heading Home"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Crowded Loneliness" & (BAS) "Never Forget"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.1745

The chat with Satella had helped... a lot, but it still didn't change the fact that their mission to TAU OMEGA and the secret underground research facility had not been a resounding success, far from it. Despite all of their efforts, the staff of both the research facility and orbital station had vanished, presumed dead, save one. The sole survivor, a woman by the name of Kareena Atar presumed to be the base's Chief Medical Officer, laid unconscious in the ship's sickbay.

As bad as things had been, Adriana had to concede that things could have been much worse.  It was thanks to the CEO's quick thinking that the ship was limping back home instead of being nothing more than a field of floating debris. They could pretty much confirm that the Lokustaar were involved in whatever happened to the missing personnel, even if the crew of the ANUBIS could do nothing about it. The one thing that Adriana could be happy about though was that they were heading home, and that right now was all that mattered.

"You do know that those creatures are still out there, right?" Amanda. the projected mental image of the long-lost twin asked not expecting an actual reply. In the relative seclusion of her office or even in Sickbay, the CNS could openly acknowledge the hallucination's rants, but here, on the command deck of the ANUBIS, she could not permit herself to even react to her sister's words. "I get it, it's easier to deal with the death of so many by trying to ignore that anything happened. Isn't it what you did for the KROGEN? In any case, it is much better for you to conserve your energy and wits for when the one and only survivor of that research facility comes around. In the meantime, standing here, looking at the stars streaking by is as good a place as any to be."

Adriana closed her eyes, bit her lower lip and clenched her fist. What Amanda said might have been accurate but it was the last thing the CNS needed to hear. Maybe that was the reason why the illusionary sibling had said what she had, to make sure the other Lopez would not forget the hardships that brought them here. A lot had happened in a relatively short period of time, and it would take a lot of time for her and the rest of the crew to comes to term with what happened.

"Are you alright Counselor?"

The simple, soft-spoken, question from the Chief of Security startled the Counselor nearly right out of her shoes. Adriana had been so focused on trying not to react to her sister that she failed to notice Ya'Han's approach. Then again, being a heavy-footed head of security could prove problematic from time to time.

"I'm trying to be," the CNS eventually replied, keeping her answer as vague as possible on purpose as she slowly released her clenched fist. Trying to claim that she was indeed alright would have only caused the Chief of Security to challenge the statement, the visual proofs clearly stating the opposite of her would-be verbal claim. This way, Adriana hoped that Ya'Han would accept the answer as it was given, maybe even theorizing that the woman's statement was due to their last mission instead of any other reason.

"This will not be the last time we face the Lokustaar, and next time it will be them who head back with their tails between their legs," Ya'Han said, making Adriana look up and meet the woman's eyes, noticing for the first time that her hair was back to is customary red and black streaks.

"Counselor Lopez, glad to see that you are here," the Captain said as he stepped out of his Ready Room. "If you have a moment, could I speak with you?"

"What did you do this time?" Amanda laughed, as any proper sister would when witnessing such a situation.

"Of course Captain," the CNS replied, ignoring the image of her twin as best she could, something that she had become a relative expert at.  "What can I do for you, Sir?" Adriana asked as the doors closed behind them.

"First, I wanted to extend my condolences to you. I am sure that the news of Captain Iverson's fate was not an easy one for you or Doctor Bruxa to receive."

The CNS blinked a few times, trying to figure out how the Captain had become aware of this. As far as she was concerned, neither Satella nor her had said anything to anyone about this. Likely seeing a hint of confusion on the woman's face, the Captain continued. "Such news travels fast, especially within the confines of what is the NEW ALEXANDRIA's personnel."

Adriana forced a smile to appear on her lips. It made sense that other COs would be informed as quickly as possible to avoid possible security breaches. "Thank you, Captain. I am sure that her absence will be felt by a great many beyond the crew of the BASTET."

"The crew of that ship is part of the reason I wanted to speak with you. We are returning to NEW ALEXANDRIA as is the BASTET, and I wanted to check with you first before offering your services as Ship's Counselor to them."

"Will the counseling department of NEW ALEXANDRIA not take on the responsibility to help them?" The CNS asked finding herself somewhat puzzled.

"They will, but since you knew Captain Iverson as well as the senior staff, I thought that you would be able to assist them on a more personal level, but I understand if you are uncomfortable in doing this..."

The Captain was about to continue when Lopez interrupted. "I'll do it."

"Are you sure? I am in no way ordering you to do this. I simply wanted to make you aware of the opportunity."

"Thank you, Captain, I am sure that Commander Valentine will be more than happy to have someone she and the rest of the crew know offering help on this matter. With her permission, I will return t my office and start preparing. This type of counseling is no an off-the-cuff kind of thing."

"Of course," the Captain said. "As soon as it is possible to do so, I will let Commander Valentine know that you will be heading over."

After having been dismissed, Adriana made her way out of the Captain's Ready Room and after sharing a quick smile with Ya'Hanvanished into the turbolift where the hallucination of her sister manifested itself once again without delay.

"How you manage to help others when you are the one needing the help the most is beyond me."

"I am doubting myself enough without having you making it worse," Adriana snapped at the woman she alone could see. "I appreciate that you are always there to offer a point of view that I tend to ignore or not want to hear, but right now, you are not helping anyone. So I would appreciate if you... just... left... me... alone!"

Of course, that as when the doors to the turbolift opened, allowing Doctor Bruxa to witness the last part of the outburst.  Following a quick scan of the pod to confirm that Counselor Lopez had been alone, Satella leaned in and whispered. "Do we need to talk?"

Adriana lowered her head before quietly nodding her agreement. At least she would not have to explain what happened as her friend already knew about Amanda and how annoying the hallucination could be at times.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M11-P066: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 03 - 1930 ("At The End Of The Day")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"At The End Of The Day"
[previous post were (ANU) "Heading Home" / (BAS) "Invitation"]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Ya'Han's Quarters
Stardate: 33114.1930

The Sec/Tac sat at the dinner table, an untouched mug of beer and an equally untouched slice of pizza resting on a plate in front of her. The Chief of Operations currently sitting at the same table across from her had decided to cook supper for them, which meant that he asked the food replicator to create what he thought would make for a nice private and maybe even romantic dinner. At the very least, the selected items were meant to be simple and enjoyable.

"Trust me," Jayson said looking at the untouched content of the plate he provided.  "It tastes better than it looks."

"What?" Ya'Han said focussing her eyes and attention on the man sitting in front of her. 

"The pizza?" He pointed out with a quiet finger. "If it's the beer, I could replicate some wine if you'd prefer?"

The Sec/Tac quickly studied the items on the table before her as if seeing them for the very first time. "I'm sorry; my mind is just not here."

"I am glad to hear that," the Terran man said. "Your hair gradually went to full black, and that only happens when you are thinking of something unpleasant. So I figured that it was my selection for supper that got you in that mood, or at the very least pushed you over the edge. I was just happy that it didn't turn full red because that's never good news for whoever is the reason for it. At least in the gymnasium, there are mats on the floor to soften the landing."

"It's not you," the Nylaan woman reassured. "Just thinking about everything we went through during our last mission and how it has and will continue to affect us."

"We did get lucky," Jayson said sounding rather relieved that the black hair had not been caused by anything he had said or done. "That blasted shadow vessel could have destroyed us. I really hate to admit it, but Sonja did well. The days of repairs ahead of us are a small price to pay for us still being here to talk about it."

"We may be here, but what about the others?" Ya'Han asked, indicating what specific line of thinking she had been on. "Of all the personnel that was on the orbital station and research facility, only one is alive and accounted for. Everyone else has just vanished and there is no way for us to know exactly what happened to them."

"As soon as she wakes, I am sure that Doctor Bruxa and Counselor Lopez will be able to get some answers from her," Jayson pointed out.

"Maybe, but I fear that our Counselor may have her hands full with everyone else."

"Everyone else? Who? Why?" The Terran asked before taking a large bit from the tip of his pizza slice.

"This last mission was not easy, not that any mission we go on is easy, but this last one was particularly rough. We were sent to investigate why the secret research facility on TAU OMEGA went silent and we discovered that everyone had been engulfed in some sort of black ooze. Somehow they became free but instead of bringing them all back, we lost every one of them with a single exception," Ya'Han explained, visibly frustrated.

"Alright, I see where you are coming from, but based on what we saw in Sickbay, I am rather glad that we didn't bring more of them to the ANUBIS. Had there been a few dozen of them here, they might have taken over the ship," Jayson said before taking a large swig of his beer to make it easier for him to continue speaking. "I realize that this may be of little comfort, but the way things happened may have been the best case scenario for us.  The alternatives could have seen the ANUBIS in the hands of a hostile force or us destroyed.  As much as you may not like the way things came to be, I for one am very glad that it happened the way it did."

"I guess you're right," the Sec/Tac reluctantly said. "Guess Adriana would label what I am feeling as survivor's guilt."

"Look at it from this point of view," Jayson continued, another large bite having disappeared from his pizza slice. "We are alive and able to strike back. We may not be able to do it now, but the time will come when we will make those Lokustaar pay for what they did. I am not feeling guilty for being alive, I am rather thankful for it, and I will be making good use of that feeling the next time we encounter those shadows."

"Great," the solid-black haired Nylaan sighed. "I'm suffering from survivor's guilt and you display signs of misplaced anger. Like I said before, I have the feeling Counselor Lopez is going to have her hands full."

"Counselors and I are nothing new," Jayson admitted as he swallowed and shoved the remainder of his slice into his mouth. "Are you going to heat yours?" He asked in a barely audible manner, his mouth filled to the limit.

Ya'Han shook her head with disbelief as she pushed the plate and mug towards Jayson. "I'm not really hungry. So, you can finish eating and relax here, I'm heading to the gymnasium to work out some of my misplaced guilt."

"Deal," Jayson smiled. "My being here while you are at the gymnasium is going to be a great deal safer for me. Not sure about anyone else though, but for once I am happy to not be on the receiving end of whatever can of whoop-ass you are about to open. So, have fun. I'll take care of cleaning up here, although I might have another slice of pizza before that happens."

The Sec/Tac made her way to the door, glancing over her shoulder before crossing the threshold to see the Chief of Operations completely engulfed in his quest to shove as much pizza into his mouth as possible, using the nearby mugs of beer to wash the mess down so that he could start all over again.  There was something troubling with the scene, and yet the Nylaan had to use all of her will-power in order to bring herself to look away and carry on with her plan of action.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501
M11-P067: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 03 - 2030 ("Overseer")
=-=
"Overseer"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "At the End of the Day" by Hanali / (BAS) "Silent Acknowledgement" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting:  USS ANUBIS, IGC
Stardate: 33114.2030

The routine on board the ANUBIS was gradually returning to normal. The more distance stood between the ship and TAU OMEGA, the less the thoughts of the crew lingered on what had taken place. From the IGC, the ExO / ILO kept an eye on the members of the senior staff, ensuring that everything was all right.

The official shift had ended allowing the senior officers to leave their stations and find ways to deal and forget with the trauma they had all so recently endured. Of course, not everyone had taken this opportunity, Captain Morningstar, Doctor Bruxa and Lieutenant Paquette being the three most obvious ones.  Erik had opted to remain in his Ready Room, looking over reports and analyses in an effort to better understand what had happened, not only to them but also to the staff of the orbital station and secret underground research facility. Satella had remained in Sickbay, making sure that nothing unexpected would happen to her unconscious patient. As for Sonja, the CEO had pressed on with the repair, unwilling to leave the ANUBIS in a state that was anything less than perfect.

The other members of the senior staff including Tanith, Ya'Han, Jayson, Adriana, and even Maya had returned to their quarters to relax and distance themselves from anything that might remind them of what had transpired. In many ways, Shar'el envied them for being able to do this, the Ullian finding it impossible for her to be anywhere else but here in the IGC. This was where she felt most at ease, and as strange as it may seem to most, this was where she could relax the most.

The ExO / ILO's curiosity was piqued when the internal sensors showed Ya'Han leaving her quarters. According to earlier sensor logs, Jayson had gone in with her, but according to the most recent data, only the Nylaan Chief of Security had left. Had something happened between the two lovers? There was only one sure way to find out.

=-=
Setting:  USS ANUBIS, Corridor -> Gymnasium
Stardate: 33114.2050

As soon as Ya'Han's destination was confirmed, Shar'El left the ICG and made her way to the ship's gymnasium where the Chief of Security was, alone. There the ExO / ILO would be able to observe the Chief of Security and with the help of her hair color, the Nylaan's mood would be easily enough determined. When the Ullian arrived, she found the door to the gymnasium sealed.

"What are you up to Ya'Han?" Shar'El asked of no one, in particular, easily unlocking the door in order to gain access to the area beyond and the lone woman inside. As the ExO / ILO entered the gymnasium, she was surprised to find the woman not sporting her combat red hair, but instead, it was the solid black color that greeted the unexpected visitor.

What surprised the ExO / ILO, even more, was the fact that the Chief of Security appeared to be practicing various combat techniques, all of which appeared to lack in strength and determination. Ya'Han was going through the motions but it was easy to see that her heart and mind were not in her chosen activity, so much so that the Nylaan failed to notice that she was no longer alone.  Wanting to understand what was happening without breaking her promise made to Captain Morningstar; Shar'El opened her mind in order to see whatever memories the black-haired woman might be broadcasting. That was when another unexpected surprise was encountered.

From the weak fighting style that Ya'Han had been displaying, her moves quickly morphed into much more sensual and exotic gestures. Had the Nylaan's hair not turn green, the ExO / ILO might have been concerned about what she was witnessing, but instead, Shar'El understood that the warrior had given way to the dancer, this likely because she would have an easier time distancing herself from the darkness they had left behind all too recently.

Shar'El watched in admiration as the moves became increasingly graceful and poetic, Ya'Han's memories drifting further and further into a distant past when, as a young child, she learned and practice this dance for an entirely different reason.

"I hope that you are enjoying the show Shar'El," Ya'Han said without looking back or interrupting the poetic smoothness of her movements.

"How did you know I was here?" The ExO / ILO inquired. "You did not give any indication that you were aware of my presence."

"I would be a lousy Chief of Security if I was not aware of someone entering a room where I was the sole occupant," the green-haired woman said, still dancing with a grace that the raven-haired Ullian could only admire. "And before you ask, no I do not mind you being here. If I did, you would have known by now."

Shar'El chuckled. "I thought I was the telepath in this room."

"You still are, that has not changed, but I am afraid that a great many other things have changed," Ya'Han explained with a sadness that went beyond the confines of the room.

The ExO / ILO remained silent as she looked at the woman who had once not that long ago been a mother only to lose the child, all of this without her being aware of it or capable of remembering anything about the sequence of event. Shar'El feared for an instant that Ya'Han might have found a way to access those buried memories, which could explain the Nylaan's current emotional state.  "What do you mean?" The Ullian asked not wanting to tip her proverbial hand just in case this whole thing had been the result of something completely different.

"The conflict with the Lokustaar," Ya'Han clarified to Shar'El's immediate relief. "Before the end of my shift, I reviewed various reports including the one from the BASTET. The shadows have struck in multiple locations, and although they have not decisively won any of those engagements, they are far from having been defeated. The best we have been able to do at this point is to hold them back, and even when we accomplished this, we ended up losing people. Even if we do manage to continue this pattern, how long will it be before our losses become too great?"

"We can't stop fighting," Shar'El said, surprised in some ways that the normally strong Ya'Han was feeling the way she was.

"You know me better than that, I would never suggest such a thing," the Nylaan confirmed as her hair changed to the now customary black and red mix. "We all have come too far to just give up; no matter what it is we are fighting against or how badly the odds are stacked against us. I am just saying that there might come a point when we will know that we cannot win this war," Ya'Han said having stopped dancing.

"Maybe," the ExO / ILO conceded, "but that won't happen today, and I know that it won't happen as long as any of us are out there. So, as much as I might have been enjoying that lovely slow dance of yours, mind picking up the tempo and going for something a little more livelily?"

For the first time, Ya'Han looked at Shar'El before a smile finally appeared on her lips. As requested, she resumed her dancing, picking up the tempo to a music that no one else could hear. It took mere seconds for the body of the Nylaan to sway in a most alluring fashion causing the woman's now green-hair to cascade over her form as if it was an integral part of the dance.

The ExO / ILO could not help but admire the woman's grace, understanding a little better the value those of her world placed on the women able to achieve this level of expertise under the guides of their green hair. "Jayson is a lucky man," Shar'El heard herself say, surprising even herself.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET
M11-P068: USS ANUBIS: Bruxa: Day 03 - 2300 ("Solitary Togetherness")
=-=
"Solitary Togetherness"
[the previous posts were (ANU) "Overseer" / (BAS) "Silent Acknowledgement"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 33114.2300

Satella sat on the edge of the main examination table, right next to the feet of the unconscious Doctor Kareena Atar. Sickbay was quiet, so the CMO's attention was solely on the information displayed on the large screen next to them. All vital signs were strong and it looked like the patient would make a complete recovery, at least physically. Emotionally and psychologically, the recovery could be an entirely different matter, and Adriana understood this.

The CNS had focused most of her thoughts on that particular matter. That was why her stress level was high enough to be easily picked up by the CMO's medical instruments. Over the span of several hours, the two women had talked and worked out various possible scenarios that would make things easier for Doctor Atar and Counselor Lopez.

As soon as Adriana felt emotionally stronger, Satella had sent her to her quarters to get some overdue rest. Staying here in Sickbay would have left the Counselor to worry for nothing, and right now, her mind needed to be on other matters. The shadows of their mission to TAU OMEGA were still very much all around them. The wounds were fresh and sooner or later, the crew would be seeking out the assistance of their Ship's Counselor. Some might only need to vent their frustrations. Others would need to talk about their concerns and fears. Then there was the crew of the BASTET who had just lost their Captain. All of these things weighted on Lopez's shoulders, so there was no reason to add more.

The CMO sighed. In some ways, she almost envied her patient, not for what she had endured but rather for how she currently was. Unconscious and peaceful, the woman had not a care in the world, but then again that would change soon enough.

=/\= Incoming communication from Doctor Andersson. =/\=

"Guess she can't sleep either," Satella muttered to herself as she jumped down the examination table. "Transfer the communication to my office," the CMO instructed as the woman quickly made her way to the specified location.  As soon as she settled in behind her desk, Doctor Bruxa opened the channel. "Sofia, what can I do for you?"

[/\] Just wanted to let you know that we have a memorial service for Captain Iverson. It was very quiet and unceremonious. [/\]

"That's the way she would have wanted it," Satella said, silently wishing that she could have been there.

[/\] Commander Valentine mentioned both you and Counselor Lopez. She knew that you both would have liked to be here and those present acknowledged that fact. So, even if you didn't know about it, you two were there in spirit. [/\]

"Thank you. Although Adriana is not here to say this, I am sure that she appreciates what you did. How is the crew doing?"

[/\] Everyone is quiet. Not a lot of people sleeping though. I offered to use some type of sedative but no one took me up on the offer. Looks like things are not very different on your end. Should you not be asleep? [/\]

"If I had been, your call would have woken me up," Satella sighed before allowing a smile to appear.

[/\] It was a well-calculated risk, [/\] Sofia chuckled. [/\] I saw the preliminary report on what happened at the TAU OMEGA facilities. I figured that you would not be sleeping either. I took the gamble that you would be keeping an eye on your patient. I know that's what I would have done. [/\]

"At least we will be home soon," Doctor Bruxa said, trying to change the subject. There was no way for them to change what had happened, so talking about it right now only made things more difficult.

[/\] Yes, many on board the BASTET are looking forward to being back at NEW ALEXANDRIA. Once both ships are there, we are going to have to find a way to get together. Will be nice to visit just for the sake of talking. [/\]

"Agreed. Not sure when exactly we will be arriving, but we definitively need to set some time aside for us."

[/\] I suspect that Nicole and Adriana are going to be busy. That should give us more than enough of an opportunity to make this happen. [/\]

"Alright then. Whoever gets back first gets to host the other. I do not mean in either of our respective sickbays. First to reach home talks to Quinn and arranges to have a holodeck reserved for us. That way we can enjoy some time away from everything."

[/\] You have yourself a deal. Now, I will let you go so that we can both get some rest. Well, at least we can officially try to get some rest. Take care and talk to you soon. Andersson out. [/\]

Satella nodded her agreeing before the screen went off. Following that, she gazed at the logo of the Federation hat had appeared on the screen, replacing the woman's face. The two of them had not been official friends; their path through Starfleet had been completely different. Yet, events had linked them in a way that no one else could have ever suspected. Their respective and voluntary transfers between the BASTET and ANUBIS had linked them. Not only as officers but also as Doctors and even as general souls wondering he universe. The events that followed only strengthened that connection in ways that could not be explained.

However different the two ships and their missions were, the crews were linked. Their tireless fight against the Lokustaar was only one of the countless aspects that they shared. This connection was also a primal reason that would see them succeed where many others might fail.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Lieutenant JG Satella Bruxa [Access Character BIO for Satella Bruxa]
Chief Medical Officer
USS ANUBIS

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M11-P069: USS ANUBIS: Paquette: Day 03 - 2330 ("Just Another Shift")
"Just Another Shift"
previous posts were (ANU) "Solitary Togetherness" / (BAS) "Silent Acknowledgement"

=====
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Engineering
Stardate: 33114.2330

Sonja glanced at the engineering monitors once again confirming that the ANUBIS was traveling at Warp 3. This was the safest top speed they could manage at this time given the state of the ship, and it was a number that haunted the redhead each and every time she saw it. The number was an insult that she wished to dismiss as quickly and as far away as possible.

"What if we increased the structural integrity field? I'm sure we could hit Warp 5 if not higher," the Engineer stated, rubbing the back of her aching neck.

"The structural integrity field is already operating at 122%," the ANUBIS' Avatar reported. "That is why we are able to travel at our current speed. Auxiliary power has already been diverted to ensure that the field does not collapse under the added strain. We have also diverted the power from all non-essential systems to reinforce the ship's bio-hull. Until such time as we reach NEW ALEXANDRIA and the outer hull primary structures are fully repaired, this is the best possible speed we can employ without risking destroying ourselves"

"Are you sure?" Sonja huffed. "There has to be something more we can do."

"I am quite certain," ANI replied without delay. "Just as I was certain when I gave you the exact same answer the other four times you offered that same course of action after actually implementing it. I believe that you repeating yourself in such a manner is a sign."

"A sign?! Are you saying that I am losing my mind?" The redhead Chief Engineer snapped, her irritation clearly audible in her words as well as overtly visible in her combative posture.

"No, I am simply relaying the facts as they are which I suspect are due to you being overly tired. You have been supervising and actively participating in the repairs to the ship for over 12 hours now, and according to the ship's records, you had not rested for over 24 hours prior. Therefore, you have been on active duty for over 36 hours." ANI pointed out as only the Avatar could, straight to the point along with a hint of attitude that only the Chief Engineer could pick up on.

"Elan has done worst," Sonja dismissed. "He works 30+ hour shifts all the time."

"With all due respect, Elan is an Oltharian," the Avatar countered. "His world operates on a 35 hour day, so for him doing a 36-or-more-hour shift is not uncommon, but for a Terran, working without any sleep or rest for such a period of time can and does create physical as well as psychological problems, a lack of memory being one such symptom."

"So all work and no plays means that I'm a crazy lady?" The redhead promptly inquired.

"I never said or implied that," ANI said before being interrupted.

"By the way, when did you become such an expert in medical and psychological issues?" Sonja challenged, not willing to give in to her own creation.

"My knowledge in both of these fields is equal to that contained in the ANUBIS' medical databanks, which I am sure you know are quite extensive," ANI retaliated going as far as to add a faint smirk to add insult to injury. "Having direct access to this data, I can also deduce that as a result of the most recent events and judging by your current actions, your stress level has reached a dangerous level."

Sonja was ready to continue the argument, but the more she tried to come up with a witty retort, the more she realized that she was as the android had said; tired beyond measure. Still not willing to admit defeat, the redhead shifted tactics. "Why are you picking on me like that? I'm just trying to get us home faster. I bet Maya is in one of the labs working on figuring out a way to do just that, if not she's trying to figure out what happened to all those people on the orbital station and research facility."

"Actually, Commander Maya is currently in her quarters, and by the lack of energy being used at that location, I would surmise that she is resting," the Avatar offered.

"What! Maya actually has quarters on board the ANUBIS?" The redhead loudly exclaimed in disbelief clutching her chest. "Who would have guessed? I can't remember her ever having been there. I just thought she slept in one of the labs, or in some corner as whatever animal she chose to be at the time."

"I would be more than happy to escort you back to your quarters," ANI offered in an effort to get this discussion back on track. "I will continue to monitor the systems while you rest and I promise to inform you immediately should something happen."

"You're just trying to get rid of me," Sonja lashed out, this time adopting a thick Scottish accent. "I know what you're doing you soulless mechanical lass, you figure with me out of the way, this department will be yours to do as ye will. Heck, you might even be after the Captain himself for all we know."

"Sonja, I implore you. Stop. You are in urgent need of rest and I would hate to have to sedate you as this would have to be put on the ship's official medical records which Doctor Bruxa is sure to become aware of sooner rather than later." ANI refrained from mentioning that, according to the internal sensors, the Chief Medical Officer was still in her office, as doing so might rekindle the debate that had already been going on for longer than it should have been.

"Alright, you win," the redhead Engineer reluctantly conceded. If anything, Sonja knew that trying to win this argument through normal means of irritation or outlasting would not work against the ship's Avatar, not because she was an Android but more precisely because Sonja had been the one who programmed her to be who and what she was. "Will you escort me back to my quarters?"

"Of course, I wouldn't want you to be sidetracked along the way."

"Yeah, I definitively did too good of a job in programming you," Sonja sighed.

"You did," ANI added with a smile. "That is why your access to the ship's transporter system will be temporarily disengaged to make sure that you are not able to sneak around using a sight-to-sight beaming forcing me to go running after you."

"I get it, I get it, you win, I lose. Can I at least ask one thing of you once we reach my quarters?"

"What would that be?"

"Can you tuck me in and sign me 'Soft Kitty'?"

As complex and sophisticated as the Avatar's programming was, Sonja was pleased to see that she had managed to cause the android to finally have a reaction that bordered on being annoyed. At least now, the Chief Engineer could rest knowing that she had accomplished something from her long-term to-do list.

"I might not be able to do proper credit to that song, but I can make sure that your fuzzy, plaid pajamas and Mr. Bunny Kins will be there for you."

Sonja glared at the Android for a brief moment before unleashing a loud raspberry to bring their discussion to an end.

=====
Lorraine Paquette

Chief Engineering Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC 18501
M11-P070: USS ANUBIS: Lopez: Day 04 - 0115 ("Another Day")
-=-=-
"Another Day"
[Previous post: (ANU) "Just Another Shift" & (BAS) "Silent Acknowledgement"]
-=-=-

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Quarters of Adriana Lopez
Stardate: 33115.0115

Space was dark. The small specs of light interrupted the eternal darkness ever so slightly, but inside the quarters of the ANUBIS' Ship's Counselor, it was quite the opposite. Darkness was nowhere to be found.

The computer had been instructed to turn on every light in every room at their maximum intensity. Adriana did not want there to be a single shadow lurking about, and she had gone so far as to add spotlights to shine in areas where the regular ambient lights could not fully reach. Of all the locations within this universe, her quarters would be the one place that the shadows would want to avoid at all costs, and that was perfectly fine for the CNS.

Adriana tried once again to lay down on her bed and rest. The brightness of the lights had not made things easy for her, but the CNS suspected that even in the tranquility of perfect darkness she would be unable to find the rest she so desperately sought. Every time her eyes closed, even if only for a moment, images of walking shadows filled her mind causing her to jump onto her feet, her heart racing. Because of this, Counselor Lopez has seen every hour on the time display leading to this new day, and by the looks of things, this new day would be no different from the previous one in regards to her being able to get some rest.

"You really should see someone for that," Amanda said, the image of the twin sister sitting on the dresser located at the foot of the bed. "Maybe a Counselor or something, oh, wait, you *are* a Counselor."

"You are not helping," Adriana softly growled.

"I'm not supposed to. Remember, I am nothing more than a projection of your troubles psyche meant to present you with the facts and truths that you refuse to acknowledge, be them consciously or subconsciously. The fact that you create an image of your own missing sister whom you have not seen since the age of 6 is an issue all onto its own. So, worrying about moving shadows is really something minor in comparison."

"You know exactly why I am this way," the real sister said as her breathing quickened and became shallower. "I have tried everything to manage the trauma from the KROGEN, and short of a lobotomy, I am afraid that nothing will work."

"Of course I know why you are the messed up Counselor that you are," the mental projection of the twin sister said. "In fact, I know you better than you admit you know yourself, that's why I keep showing up. Without your endless issues, there would not be a reason for me to exist in order to bring you back on track."

"The more you talk the more I feel like a lobotomy would be a good idea," Adriana said out of sheer discouragement.

"You have never been one to take the easy way out of anything," Adriana began as she jumped off the dresser to join her sister on the bed. "That is part of the reason why I am here. Well before the KROGEN, I was there to help you when things got rough and you know the reason as to why. Part of you as always wanted to be a quitter, to give up the moment something got in your way. On the other side of that lovely messed up coin is this need for you to not disappoint father and mother now that they only have one daughter. Everything else just adds layers to this core reality. If it weren't for me, you would not have made it through Starfleet Academy, survived the attack on the KROGEN and managed to handle everything else since. What you and the rest of the crew of the ANUBIS went through recently is no different. You may want to call it quits but you will not because there is something inside of you that is stronger than what this twisted universe throws at you on a daily. I am just the representation of that will to push on and prove yourself better than what you think you are."

Adriana sat on her bed, carefully considering the words of her sister, which were, in fact, her own. To most, this conversation would have been a show of pure madness, but for the Ship's Counselor, it had served as a perfect method for her to review and analyze her own inner character. One of the most basic ideas in psychology is that someone needs to acknowledge the presence of a problem or issue before they are capable of addressing it. As strange as it seemed, Amanda was the way for the sister to acknowledge and overcome her own personal and private issues.

"Thank you," Adriana said to the projection of her sister.

"Don't get all sappy on me, remember, I'm not really here so you thanking me is just you actually thanking yourself, and that's just too weird. People might actually think that you are crazy or something."

"Yes," the real sister softly chuckled. "My thanking myself is what is going to get me branded as someone who has completely lost their mind. The fact that I am having full conversations and even arguments with the psychological projection of my twin sister who is not actually there is in comparison perfectly normal."

"Time for you to get some rest," Amanda said standing from the bed. "Forget about everything else, just focus on the here and now. Nothing else matters right now. You are here, in your quarters, safe from any danger. You can even tell the computer to turn the illumination down before you end up with some sort of skin condition brought on by all these bright lights or before Lt. Paquette comes knocking at the door wondering why there is such a heavy energy drain coming from these quarters."

"The lights stay on," Adriana quietly shot back. "At least for the time being," she amended wrapping the bed covers over her body before allowing the tiredness she felt to take over so that she could finally get some sleep.

-=-=-
Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
USS ANUBIS
M11-P071: USS ANUBIS: Ya'Han: Day 04 - 0215 ("Returning")
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"Returning"
[previous post were (ANU) "Another Day" / (BAS) "Moving Forward"]
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Setting: USS ANUBIS, Ya'Han's Quarters
Stardate: 33115.0215

Dancing without an audience was no fun, and that was likely because of the way the exiled daughter of the High Sovereign had been taught as a young child so long ago. Every move of her arms and legs, every sway of her hips and torso, even the way her head rolled on her neck and shoulders causing her hair to float through the air, everything had a specific goal and significance. Failure to draw any sort of positive reaction was considered a failure, and failure in any form had never been something that her father accepted. The scars all over her body were proof enough of that.

Before Shar'El had stepped into the gymnasium, the Sec/Tac had wanted to practice her combat skills, but her mind was just not there. Ya'Han could hear the disapproving comments of her combat instructor who more than once had said that the youngest daughter of their ruler would *never* be able to earn her red hair. How surprised he would be if he knew where and what she did now, and how utterly disappointed would he be had he been the one to walk into the room instead of the ANUBIS' First Officer?

The arrival of an audience, even if comprised of only one person who had tried to remain unnoticed, gave the Nylaan the perfect excuse to alter her plans. Ya'Han had come to the gymnasium to relax and have her mind focus on something else through the use of physical exercise. For the now green-haired woman, dancing the way she had was taught, could be just as demanding as any combat training. The one advantage was that thanks to there now being someone to watch her performance, the new activity would prove to be much more distracting and enjoyable for the two of them.

Ya'Han quickly lost herself in her dancing, taking Shar'El on a journey that few could claim to have experienced. Even during some of the recreational displays of her skills as an entertainer, the Nylaan had not pushed her abilities to their limits. Some of her most basic moves were more than enough to trigger the reactions required by her training, but last night the green-haired dancer decided to push herself past the known boundaries of her abilities. Judging by the wide-eyed looks and stunned silence coming from the one-woman audience, it was evident that the intended objective had been reached long before the nearly four-hour-long dance came to an end.

With her muscles aching, but her mind free of the troubles that were haunting her earlier, the black and red haired Sec/Tac returned to her quarters to find Jayson asleep on the couch. Ya'Han smiled as she gazed upon the sleeping man who had obviously stayed up waiting for her return, never expecting that she would be dancing for as long as she had, or for an audience of one that was not him. A feeling of guilt slowly grew within her as the Nylaan realized that Shar'El had seen something that he never had, or even imagined existed. There had been many opportunities for her to display the extent of her dancing skills to him, but the green-haired entertainer never saw the need for it. After all, he had never complained about what he had been shown which usually left him just as stunned as Shar'El had been not too long ago.

"You're back," Jayson joyfully said while still being half-asleep, his eyes barely opened enough for him to see anything. "How was your workout?"

"Interesting."

"Interesting? What does that mean? Did something happen?"

"Nothing happened," she quickly dismissed. "I just pushed myself more than usual and now my muscles ache," Ya'Han answered, not wanting to give too many details but at the same time, not wanting to lie about what it was that she had been doing.

"You pushed yourself? Glad I was not there. Bet I would be in a lot more pain than you are at the moment," Jayson said with a smile, imagining himself having been made one with the floor mats had the Sec/Tac been given half a chance.  "How about you go and take a nice hot shower, after that, I can massage your aching muscles," the now sitting man suggested, quickly waking up and visibly happy to have Ya'Han back sporting what he considered to be a safe hair color. Whatever had been troubling her was gone, at least that was he figured given the hints that he was given.

Ya'Han smiled, gave Jayson a gentle kiss on the cheek and made her way to the shower not having any reason to go against the offered suggestion. While in there, the Sec/Tac would take a moment to think about what to tell Jayson, if anything.

As the hot water soothingly washed over her naked form, Ya'Han smiled, partially because of the sensation on her skin but mostly because she was remembering the expression of complete shock on Shar'El's face. The woman would most certainly remember the show the green-haired woman had put on for her, and although teasing the Ullian had not been the primary objective, the Nylaan knew beyond a doubt that this was what had taken place.

How Shar'El would react beyond her initial reaction would be a mystery to be discovered. At least, it would be something pleasantly interesting for the Sec/Tac to look forward to instead of worrying about the Lokustaar and the shadowy hell they were trying so very hard to unleash on all of them as they slowly returned to NEW ALEXANDRIA.

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Hanali Han

Lieutenant JG Ya'Han [Access Character BIO for Ya'Han]
Chief of Security / Chief Tactical Officer
USS ANUBIS, NCC-18501

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