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
Post # Character Title
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
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")
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"Scary Shadows"
[the previous posts were (ANU) " Uneasy Journey" by Hanali / (BAS) "Unexpected Surprise" by Karen]
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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.

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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"]

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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.

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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")
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"Black Fear"
[previous post were (ANU) "Getting Antsy" / (BAS) "Unexpected Surprise"]
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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.

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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-P021: USS ANUBIS: Shar'El: Day 02 - 0920 ("Not So Empty Darkness")
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"Not So Empty Darkness"
[the previous posts were (ANU) " Black Fear" by Hanali / (BAS) "Shadow Contemplations" by Rachel]
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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..."

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Tiffany Reeve

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

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

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