"The End?"
Previous post "Did Not See That One Coming"

"Alas it is far too often the most gentle and peaceful minds that fall victim to the ideas of power and conquest."
- Captain Seamus McTavish

Setting: Moon of PI ALPHA III, Underground cave system
Stardate: 30148.1955

The Native American smiled, even if only a little, as he looked around to see no one other than the angered Akitashiinu in the large open space.  As the Commanding Officer of the USS ANUBIS, Erik's first priority had always been to insure the safety of his ship and crew, so it was with unrestricted delight that he welcomed the voice of his acting First Officer as it came over an opened comm channel.  This joy was multiplied by several folds when the rest of the senior officers were brought back to the relative safety of the Intel vessel.  Now, alone with the knowledge that his crew had been out of immediate danger Captain Morningstar could address the rather lengthy list of tasks that he believed still needed to be accomplished.

"The machine has been using you and your people," Erik offered in a delicate tone to the red furred Akitashiinu who appeared ready to tear the man limb from limb for what he had done.  Not only had he tricked her, but he had found a way to remove from her grasp all who Eeru believed she needed to bring the machine to its fullest potential.

"We are meant to rule the galaxy," Eeru barked as she took a single decisive step forward before coming to a full stop as another Akitashiinu came to stand next to the Native American.

"We are meant to go home," Maro, the silvered fur healer of the Akitashiinu calmly countered with as she stepped into the room and made her way to stand next to the carbon-based life form as if hinting that he had now been under her protection.

"You do not understand what this machine can do for us, for all of the Akitashiinu," the fox-featured being continued in blatant defiance, her anger having shifted to her kinsman without as much as a split second of hesitation.

"You were a knowledge seeker," Maro said in an effort to remind her angered red furred friend of what she had once been.  "Machine changed you and those who stepped in as you did.  This is not your path, not our path."

"You know nothing of what our path is," the fox featured Akitashiinu snarled with an almost evil chuckle.  "For too long have we lived as *nothing* when we were destined to rule *everything*."

A soft growl emerged from Maro as she noted the arrival of Eeru's number one henchman who came to stand by her side with an air of arrogance about him.  A challenging snarl rolled on the lips of jackal featured enforcer as he glared back at the Human and silvered fur healer next to him.

"The Akitashiinu are meant to rule the galaxy and *I* am destined to rule our people," Eeru growled as her narrowed eyes focussed on the kinsman opposing her.  "If you will not stand by my side, you will be made to lay at my feet."

With a quick movement of her head the red furred fox featured being unleashed the brute that had come to stand by her side.  His strength and speed had been far more than either Erik or Maro could manage and in the span of a single heartbeat Captain Morningstar had been easily tossed aside so that Ruhek could deal with the traitor as he had been instructed to.

The powerful hands of the enforced tightened around the neck of the healer until she could no longer utter a sound.  The Native American had been ready to rush back to his feet and try his best to rescue the silver furred healer when another Akitashiinu leaped into the fray.  Satesh, the dark grey furred warrior had come to Maro's rescue just in time, tackling the enforcer clear off his prey.

"Eeru!  You have to put an end to this NOW!" the Native American pleaded as he pushed himself back onto his feet trying his best to ignore the fierce battle taking place only a few meters from his location.  "All that you will succeed in doing will be to divide your race in conflict.  You will be leading your people into a civil war from which neither side will ever be able to come out victorious.  If you lose, the idea of power as well as its false promises will forever haunt your people, and should you win, you will be the ruler of a broken people who will hold you personally responsible for the countless lives lost for generations to come.  You have it in you to stop this *now* before it actually starts and help bring your people back onto the path that they have always been meant to follow."

The anger visible in Eeru's eyes slowly began to drain as she watched the two Akitashiinu fighting, imagining the same scene repeated a hundred folds.  The Native American could see that his words had been heard, but there had been no way for him to know if the red furred being had actually been listening to what had been trying to explain.  The future of an entire race hung in the balance and all that the CO of the ANUBIS could do was to wait and hope.

"Ruhek... stop." Eeru sighed just as the enforcer had been poised to unleash what could have been the final and fatal blow against the warrior.

"You have to use the knowledge you were given in this place," Morningstar explained, "not as a foundation but as a warning of what would happen should you permit yourself or your people to walk down the path of conflict.  War is not now nor will ever be the solution or the way to a prosperous future.  All that would come to pass would be the fading memories of a people who left nothing but pain and destruction in their wake.  Use the knowledge that you have been given to create, not to destroy, and in doing so you will insure your as well as your people's place in the galaxy."

Silence stretched throughout the ancient ruins as each person fell back onto their own thoughts, contemplating a future that had still to be written.

"Thank you," Maro whispered as she finally managed to get back onto her feet to once again stand next to the Native American.  "It will not be easy, but try we will," she added as the healer made her way towards the visibly troubled kinsman.

The Native American cautiously grinned as he watched the two female Akitashiinu come to stand one next to the other under the resentful glare of the enforcer.  "Peace is never an easy path, but it is a course that will prove to be a far more rewarding one."

Maro took a gentle hold of Eeru's arm and began to escort her out of the large open room, the two of them having been joined by a limping Satesh leaving the angered enforcer alone with the Native American.  Erik could not help but understand the creature's thoughts and feelings despite the wolf-like being having been from a completely different universe.  Even through the fabric of space and time which stood between dimensions there had been certain constants that could never be escaped from.  The sad reality had been that the need for some to impose their will on others could and would be found therein.

In time the jackal featured being followed his people, leaving the Human by himself.  Like all things, success in prosperity and maintaining peace could only be measured against the prospect of desolation and war.  None could truly enjoy the warmth of light without having felt the coldness of darkness, and Ruhek would be one of many reminders to the Akitashiinu of the darkness that they would have to fight while on their chosen path.

=/\= ANUBIS to Captain Morningstar, please come in. =/\=

"Morningstar here, how are things up there?" the Native American replied as he tapped him comm badge, once again drawing pleasure in hearing the Shillian's voice.

=/\= Not entirely sure as to what happened but the fighting suddenly stopped, =/\= the acting First Officer reported with a clear hint of surprise in her voice.  =/\= We are ready to beam you up at your convenience. =/\=

"Standby on that Commander," Erik stated as he turned his attention towards the ancient machine, "I still have a few things to take care of down here."

Slowly the Native American approached the machine, his eyes traveling the length of what he could see of it.  As a former Engineer Erik could not help but admire the mechanical entity that had been at the center of this, and as an explorer the Captain wished that there had been more time to investigate the endless knowledge that had been gathered.  Unfortunately time had been, as always, against them as there had been no way to insure that the peace that had come to pass would remain for any notable length of time.

So, faced with the issue of returning each race and their vessels to their own dimension, Erik stepped into the alcove where Doctor Mizore had been not so very long ago. Although the information he had received from Ensign Shar'El had been limited, the Native American had been relatively certain that he would be able to accomplish what he had set out to do.

With the device that had been interfering with the machine's programing removed, the Native American had hoped to be able to at the very least open a dimensional portal for the ships to use.  At best, he would be able to open multiple such rifts simultaneously and insure that each ship went into the proper one.

Once the connections had been established, Erik found his mind flooded with images and it took him several moments to be able to access the information he required and used it to perform what he had set out to.  The ILO had explained at one point the need for the machine to tap into six minds to enable it to open a dimensional rift.  Erik had hoped that his having been the CEO on board the USS PROPHECY and Executive Officer on board the USS PARADOX, both vessels capable of transdimensional travels, would grant him the experience and knowledge the machine required to accomplish this task.

From the machine the dimensional coordinates for each of the races were obtained as well as the current location of each and every member of the respective races.  The machine's tracking capabilities had truly been spectacular, but as much as Erik might have wanted to study this further, time had still been against him.  From his own mind, the Native American offered the mechanical entity the means to create stable dimensional rifts, each one targeting the race's own point of origin.

Although he could not see anything, Captain Morningstar had been able to follow the movements of each ship as they made their way into the rifts that had been created directly along their flight path.  Erik sighed as his mind locked on the coordinates of the ANUBIS and the rift that had been opened for it.

=/\= ANUBIS to Captain Morningstar, we are being pulled into a dimensional rift.  We need to beam you back NOW. =/\=

The Native American could not reply and knew that his presence within the machine had been required to insure a safe transition from one dimensional to another.  As long as his ship and crew were safe, all would be fine.

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 30148.2005

"Unable to alter course," Jayson Stark stated with frustration as he watched the ANUBIS making its way ever closer to the dimensional rift that had opened directly in their path.

"Boost the confinement beam," Commander Maya ordered of the Transporter Chief, all of their efforts to get a lock on their Commanding Officer having so far been unsuccessful.

"The distortions from the dimensional rift are making it almost impossible to scan the moon, let alone get a specific lock on the Captain," Ensign Ya'Han added having tried to use the weapons' targeting system to supplement the ship's sensors.

"Captain Morningstar, please respond!" Maya said in desperation as she ship entered the dimensional rift and began its journey home.

A general veil of silence descended on the command deck of the USS ANUBIS as the vessel went from one dimension to the next, everyone's thoughts having been on the one individual who had been left behind.  When the ship finally stopped shaking and the lights returned to their full entisity, Maya found herself leaning back into the chair that she had done her best to avoid.

"All stations, status report," the Shillian demanded trying her best to come to terms with the reality of their situation.  The ANUBIS had returned home without its Captain.

"All tactical systems are showing green," the black haired Chief of Security reported first, her not having actually met the captain having granted her a greater ease to deal with the situation.

"Structural integrity, life support as well as all power systems are reading go," Ensign Stark reported next.

Before anyone else could offer their report, Maya bounced out of the central chair having noted something unexpected on the main view screen.  Apparently the moon had also been returned to its home dimension and the Shillian had been quick to hope that the Captain had followed suit.  "Scan the moon for any signs of life, if Captain Morningstar is there I want him found and beamed directly to Sickbay."

"Sensors are showing no signs of life on or beneath the surface of the moon," the Chief of Operations stated.  The Chief of Security quickly followed with a silent shake of her head, confirming the report offered by the Chief of Operations.

After a few seconds, the Shillian turned and looked at the empty central chair with sadness before she drew in a deep breath.  "Ensign Stark, you have the bridge.  Get reports from every department as to the status of the ship, I will be in Sickbay checking up on the rest of the senior staff."

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 30148.2015

Maya walked in to find Doctor Doyanne reviewing her findings on the members of the away team who had been returned to the ship as per Captain Morningstar's orders.

"Commander," the red headed Engineer said, calling the Shillian's attention onto her.  "I brought back a souvenir and thought that this thingy-ma-bobber might be of interest to you," Sonja added as she pointed to the device that had been pulled from the machine.

Although such a prospect would have normally caught the scientist's full attention, in this particular instance the Lieutenant Commander simply nodded before turning her attention to the Chief Medical Officer.  "Doctor Doyanne, how is everyone?"

"Everyone seems to be in pretty good shape," the CMO replied.  "Lieutenant Paquette is suffering from minor muscular strain from pulling that thing out of whatever she has been trying to explain.  Ensign Shar'El showed some elevated endorphin levels but those could have easily been caused by what she endured during the latter part of the mission.  Ensign Ttosk suffered several light lacerations from his battle and Doctor Mizore is in isolation room 1 with Counsellor Dalziel recuperating from her experience.  Physically everything shows Seska to be fine, but it was thought wise to allow her to quietly rest.  As soon as I am done here I would like to check Captain Morningstar, he is the last one left."

"That may be a problem," Maya sighed as Eve walked into Main Sickbay, the expression on her face in response to the Commander's words leaving little doubts that she had understood the extent of the situation.

"Do we know what happened?" the Counselor inquired already expecting that she would have to deal with the emotional trauma caused by the lose of a member of the crew.

"No," the Shillian admitted with regret.  At least if they had known for sure, there would have been either hope or closure.  "I can only guess that the Captain remained on the moon to use the machine to send the Akitashiinu, Yxidii and ourselves back to our home dimensions."

"The machine would have required some sort of external assistance to perform such a task," the ILO interjected with, her own dealings with the machine having given her a unique understanding of the way the biomechanical entity worked.

"I will get the counselling staff ready to deal with the announcement," Eve offered, trying to be as supportive of the Shilian acting Captain as she could.

"Thank you Counselor, but I am not ready to make that announcement just yet," Maya admitted with a faint smile.

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Isolation Room 1
Stardate: 30148.2025

The Bajoran woman laid on the biobed, her eyes closed as she tried to make sense of the events that had only recently come to an end.  The entire mission had been most difficult for the aCMO, and the way everything had ended had only added to the stress that she still experienced.

"How are you feeling Doctor?" A male voice inquired from the surrounding darkness.

"Famished actually, it has been more than 24 hours since I had anything to eat," Mizore answered without any hesitation.

"You did well down there," the amused voice offered from the darkness that surrounded the Bajoran woman.

"It doesn't feel like it to me," Seska replied, not even bothering to open her eyes to see who had spoken.  The intonation and mannerism of the voice had been enough for her to know who it had belonged to.

"I was given the chance to experience what it was like to be linked to that machine," the gentle voice of the male said from the shadows. "So I can tell you this from first hand experience, you allowed it to remember what mattered most to it, a feeling that it carried on back to me when I was linked with it.  If it had not been for you and your memories of VULCAN, things would have turned out very differently down there."

"I still feel like I failed," the Doctor added with clear regret in her voice, still not wanting to open her eyes

"You did not fail," the reassuring voice continued from the surrounding shadows, "and I will go as far to say that the ANUBIS is fortunate to have you among its crew.  It may take a while, but you will find your place here as others have."

"You are being far too kind," the Bajoran countered with a heavy sigh.

"Who are you speaking to?" the Shillian woman inquired as she stepped into the barely lit room.

"That would be me," Captain Erik Morningstar announced as he stepped out of the shadows to the Shillian's overflowing joy.


Francois Charette 

Captain Erik Morningstar
Commanding Officer


Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn
Robotics Engineering Officer