(Previous Post was Ashley's "First Encounter")

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 63072.1525

The young woman sat in her chair at the center of the Bridge… her light blue eyes scrutinized the three images displayed on the main view screen with concerned anguish while her thoughts dwelled on the people onboard the USS LANCELOT.  The main background image had been that of the CAVALIER-Class vessel, or at least what had been left of it following the missile impact.  Two other images had been superimposed over that of the drifting ship; the first had been a security feed from the Robotics Lab on deck 21, and the other feed had been from the Transporter Room linked to the LANCELOT.

Radio silence with Commander Enaii and her team had still been in effect so the only information as to the situation onboard the crippled vessel had been from the Officers who had returned.  So far only four individuals had beamed back from the USS LANCELOT; the ANUBIS' own CEO, COO, CMO as well as a single surviving crewman from the original crew.

Lieutenant Fairborn and Ensign Thomas had submitted a quick verbal report as to their encounter and rescue efforts upon their return before heading to the Robotics Lab with their prize… a disabled Imperian.  Even inactive these metallic creatures seemed to emanate an ominous aura that left most cautious and fearful.  The knowledge that the creature had been *dead* and 21 decks lower had done little to ease the redhead's anxiety about the metal monster.

The core processor, located deep within the creature's head, had been separated from the rest of the body and handed over to Lieutenant Commander Maya who had rushed next door into the Cybernetics Lab to decipher the programming of the mechanical monstrosity.  One advantage with artificial life forms had been the ability to figure out their main reason for being with nothing more than basic research, but what the CSciO had discovered in her initial findings had been rather grim.

Most robots were designed to serve, to perform complex or otherwise dangerous duties, or even to protect and defend those who had created them.  Some more advanced machines had been constructed with the purpose to assist in the daily lives of their creators, but safety measures such as Asimov's Rules of Robotics had always been implemented to insure the obedience and servitude of these creations.

Unlike them though the Imperians apparently possessed no such fail-safe in their programming, in fact it seemed that their sole purpose had been the complete annihilation of *life* in all of its forms.  The redheaded CO could not imagine any single being able and willing to create such machines, but the fact of the matter had been that they had been created… and knocking at their door.  There was no way to know for sure why the Imperians had suddenly manifested an interest in their sector of space… maybe the Federation had simply been along their path, or maybe the race that had built them had lost control of these killing machines which were now loose in the galaxy.

Whatever the cause had been, the ANUBIS' CO knew that none of the Imperians present on the LANCELOT could be permitted to continue on or even return to wherever they had come from to report on their findings.  The loss of a single ship along with all of its crew might not have been much, but hopefully it would be enough to keep the Imperians out of this sector for a little while longer.

Had the USS ANUBIS been in normal space, it would have been child's play to transport all survivors to safety and obliterate the LANCELOT along with any Imperians caught onboard, but the GUMBARA Nebula had made this impossible.  Survivors, if any, would have to find a way to let their presence known to the away team so that they could be directed to the transporter room and subsequently to safety.  At the same time, the away team had been entrusted with the undesirable task of locating any and all invading robot to insure that their incursion into Federation space came to a stop here and now.

With the link between the transporter systems established, the redheaded woman had placed the rest of the Marines on stand-by… just in case the Intel Operative and her team required assistance.  The CO doubted that such a possibility would come to pass knowing Enaii but still she had wanted to play it safe… the same reasoning that explained why Rikar had been unwilling to send more people.  Being the killing machines that they where, there had been no way to know how the Imperians would react if suddenly cornered or place in a situation they may perceived as hopeless.
As much as it pained the young woman, the best course of action for the time being had been to wait and let the ILO proceed as she saw best.

"Captain," the ANUBIS' Avatar announced, taking the redhead away from her thoughts.  "We are receiving a priority-one coded transmission."

"I'll take it in my ready room," Rikar stated as she stood from her chair only to stop after a couple of steps had been taken.

"The transmission is being automatically relayed to Commander Enaii using the light-of-sight array," Annie announced in a rather surprised tone despite the android having been unable to experience any feelings.  As the ship's Avatar, the black haired woman had been able to access and follow all of the ship's functions without effort, so it had been with a certain sense of bewilderment that the message had been relayed without her knowledge.
Sabrina Jones {sabrina_sweet@hotmail.com}
Captain Sabrina Rikar
Commanding Officer
"We are Grey, we stand between the Candle and the Star, between the Darkness and the Light"
-Entilza Delenn, Babylon 5