"Three-Player Game"
Previous post "Freedom - Sorta"

"If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles."
- Sun Tzu

Setting: PI ALPHA III, Underground cave system
Stardate: 30148.1430

The crew members of the ANUBIS had all gathered at the end of the passage way where the CO and acting ExO had been held captive, everyone appearing more than happy to having regained their freedom.  Although no one had been hurt or even mistreated, and in fact some had seen their injuries healed, the period of time spent in captivity had been less than enjoyable.

Without any tools at their disposal, the officers had been forced to rely on their senses to figure out a way out of this underground prison.  Tricorders and communicators had been taken away when they had been brought here, making the task slightly more complicated.  Luckily for them, the group as a whole possessed skills and experiences that would have made most ancient trackers envious.

"I will take point," the Native American stated in a whispered voice, not wanting to take any chances as to anyone or anything discovering their recently regained freedom.  "Lieutenant Dalziel and Ensign Shar'El, you two will be right behind me, making sure that I didn't miss anything.  Commander, you and Ensign Mizore will bring up the rear with Ensign Ttosk, making sure that we are not being followed.  Everybody else in the middle. Unless there are any objections... let's go."

Morningstar headed down into the passage way, silently confirming to himself the reasoning he had used.  His own tracking skills and rank had made him the only logical choice to lead, as well as using Eve's Cardassian genetic ancestry and Shar'El's Intel training to see what he might miss.  Having the next most experienced officer at the rear in Maya had made just as much sense, adding the Bajoran instincts and Zaldan strength to insure that all went well.

As much as the group moved forward carefully, their speed had been steady leaving no doubt in anyone's mind that they had been searching for an exit with the greatest of possible haste.  When the group arrived into a larger chamber they discovered what appeared to be some sort of control center.

"This is definitively not your typical cave formation," the red headed CEO pointed out as she studied the rock pillar that appeared to be shaped to create the supports for the consoles.

"It would seem that whoever did this is capable of reshaping stone formations to suit their needs," Commander Maya added in clear and unmitigated admiration.

"It is clear that they possess a high level of technology," the ILO stated to their Captain with some puzzlement. "It does not explain the reason or purpose of them putting us in isolated cells though."

"It is a natural reaction to fear what is not understood," Eve explained, trying to understand herself the nature of what they had all experienced thus far.

"They did heal all of our injuries," Doctor Doyanne added, certain that this simple fact had made them to be more friend than foe.

"With all due respect," the Bajoran aCMO quickly interjected.  "Cardassians were well known for healing their prisoners during the occupation just before executing them. It made them feel good about themselves and served to show everyone how just the Cardassian Union was."  It had been easy for everyone else to see and hear that this particular memory had deeply bothered Seska.

Just then all eyes turned towards the latest arrival in the room, a tall and muscular creature that appeared almost as a Terran wold standing on its hind legs.  Everyone froze as each tried to guess as to what would happen next, the crew of the ANUBIS reflecting the surprise displayed by the strange alien being.

"We mean you no harm," Erik offered, not at all certain if his words would be understood.  Without their communicators the universal translator had not been available, something that could make this situation far more complicated than it could have otherwise been.

"Friends... no," the words from the wolf-like alien had been partially distorted as if spoken by someone who had never heard those sounds before.

"Did he just say that he is not our friend?" the FCO snarled, ready to tackle the creature should the need arise.

"He might just have stated that he *is* a friend and for us *not* to do anything to him," Ensign Stark offered as an alternative.  "He actually looks scared of us."

"That's all nice and dandy," Sonja whispered to no one in particular, "I am not all that thrilled to seeing *that* either."

"Difficult is your language," the menacing-looking creature with the shimmering fur stated, leaving most among the crew to realize that it was not fur at all but some kind of artificial fiber.

"We are friends," the Native American repeated, offering both of his wide opened hands as a gesture of friendship and peace.

"Akitashiinu we are," the creature stated after a short pause during which he tried to form the proper sounds to say what he had intended to.

"Wow, that rolls off the tongue," the redheaded engineer added again in a whispered voice to no one in particular.

After the exchange, the wolf-like creature pointed to one of the consoles near the far wall and the collection of Federation issued devices that had been placed there.  The crew moved in the indicated direction to retrieve their belonging with one single exception. The ILO remained behind, her eyes scanning the room as if searching for something that had touched her thoughts, the fact that she could not see anything only made her search all the more.

The entire scene played out in front of blue eyes hidden by natural invisibility. Normally the sharp senses of the lupine like race would have alerted them to the presence of the invisible intruder, but the presence of these never before seen aliens had given the cloaked being the opportunity to remain undetected and be a witness to this unexpected meeting.

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 30148.1430

"All combat systems have been activated," ANI confirmed in reply to the order given by the Chief of Security only seconds before.

"Return fire," Ya'Han ordered, more than happy to be in the middle of the action in a ship that she suspected could take care of itself in a fight with elegant ease.

"Against which target?" the ANUBIS' Avatar inquired, drawing a rather puzzled look from the new Chief of Security.  "There are two other ships in orbit with us, and they seem to be fighting one another, not us."

"How did we not detect them before now?" Ya'Han asked as she called up the latest sensor data to her station.

"Likely for the same reason we were losing sensor contact with the moon," the Avatar explained.  "Those ships were most likely present in this dimension when the moon was drawn into it as we were.  Given the very different construction styles and weapons being used, it is highly unlikely that these ships belong to the same race."

"So our luck being what it is, we just crossed into another dimension in the middle of a fire-fight," the Chief of Security sighed.  "Back us away from the battle zone and let them finish it without our interference."

"Engaging reverse thrusters, transferring all available power to forward shields," ANI said as she complied with the order, moving the ship back literally through the power of her thoughts.  Once the ANUBIS had reached a safer distance, the vessel stopped allowing those on the bridge to witness the ongoing conflict between the two alien vessels.

Although the two ships were proportionally small in comparison to the ANUBIS, the battle between them was fierce and soon led to one of the ships to distance itself in a hurry.

"Why are they not perusing the other vessel?" the crewman at Flight Control inquired out loud.

"Two possibilities come to mind," Ya'Han said through a lengthy sigh.  "Either they are the type not to finish a fight, or they have identified a larger threat that requires their immediate attention."

"A larger threat?"

"That would be us," ANI confirmed.  "Alien ship as altered course and is now targeting us.  We are being scanned and I am detecting an unauthorized access to our computer's linguistic bank."

"Looking to find how to say *hi*?" Ya'Han said in a half grin.

"If so they have found it.  We are being hailed," the Avatar announced calmly.

"This is where things get interesting," the Chief of Security offered as she straightened her uniform.  "Put them on screen."

A large, almost featureless face filled the main view screen of the ANUBIS, two rather menacing wide-spread blue coloured eyes looked back at them with such intensity that it had been almost a foregone conclusion that whatever this species had been, they meant business.

[/\] We are Yxidii. State your identity, purpose and allegiance. [/\]

"OK... This is Ensign Ya'Han of the USS ANUBIS, we are here in search of our missing officer who are likely trapped on the moon over there.  As for our allegiance, we are part of the United Federation of Planets," the Chief of Security replied, not entirely certain that her answer would satisfy the imposing beast that had appeared on the screen.

[/\] If your people are in the hands of the Akitashiinu, they are either already dead or in mortal danger. [/\]

"Well," Ya'Han said as she closed here eyes for a brief moment.  "Not exactly what I had hoped to hear."


Francois Charette

Captain Erik Morningstar
Commanding Officer


Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn
Robotics Engineering Officer