USS BASTET - Mission 04
The Lost Artifact
Post # Character Title
001 Iverson The Lost Artifact
The BASTET is sent to CAIT in investigate a stole artifact
002 Lopez A Different Mystery
Adriana goes to see Alexandria to see how she is doing
003 Mitshiba A Puzzling Enigma
Aki tries to understand the Eye of Eternity
004 Valentine Rushing In
Enroute to CAIT, Selene and Sarena talk about Alexandria
005 Bruxa Another Mystery
Satella and Adriana discuss the effects of the artifact
006 Janeel Twisted Reality
A new theory as to the effects of the artifact is offered
007 Lopez Unwelcome Reality
Adriana has to deal once again with the illusion of her twin
008 Valentine Cautious Approach
The away team beams down to CAIT
009 Mitshiba Endless Possibilities
The away team enters the museum and meet R'Lisi
010 Janeel Listening In
Janeel and Lopez beam down to CAIT
011 Lopez A New Reality
Janeel and Lopez regroup with the others
012 Bruxa Impossible Possibility
The illusion of Amanda Lopez becomes real
013 Janeel World of the Real
Satella defends Amanda against Janeel
014 Valentine Mysteries on All Sides
The artifact is more carefully scanned
015 Iverson Confidence
Selene wonders why the authorities are so scared
016 Thorquelsson Shifting Reality
An energy signature matching EPSILON 358 is discovered
017 Lopez Sisters No Matter What
Satella talks to Adriana about her sister
018 Bruxa Hard Reality
The artifact is found, in another reality
019 Valentine The Darker Side
The away team tries to figure out where they are
020 Janeel Force of Will
The Lokustaar make their presence known, as well as M'Jinn
021 Mitshiba Clashing Realities
Trying to understand what happened
022 Bruxa Painful Realization
Sarena distrusts both M'Jinn and Amanda
023 Valentine Best Laid Plans
The plan to return to the museum is explained
024 Janeel Poker Face
An explosion threatens the lives of one of the teams
025 Bruxa Dark Sorrow
Satella deals with her sadness and fears
026 Mitshiba Making Something Happen
Aki hopes to trigger the artifact using her tricorder
027 Valentine Surprises Aplenty
The second team is alive and the plan is revealed
028 Lopez Concerns of a Sister
Adriana accepts that Amanda is not her sister
029 Janeel Eye-to-Eye
The artifact is triggered once again and the team transported
030 Bruxa Another Reality
Amanda opens up about her knowledge with the Lokustaar
031 Mitshiba Chaos All Around
The away team run into a strange man calling himself The Doctor
032 Valentine Back In Reality
The artifact is triggered once more in hopes of going back
033 Lopez Fear for a Sister
Adriana fears for what will become of Amanda
034 Janeel One Step Closer
Back into the Lokustaar reality, M'Jinn offers his help
035 Bruxa Real Feelings
Satella tries to deal with her feelings with Halston's help
036 Valentine From One Mess Into Another
The away team manages to return to their reality, with a guest
037 Mitshiba Elusive Rest
Aki gets an unpleasant surprise about the Lokustaar corpse
038 Iverson Anxiety
Selene meets with the senior officers to get some answers
039 Bruxa Fear Is In The Air
Janeel, Misaki and Satella investigate the Science Lab
040 Valentine Studying Shadows
Sarena, Halston and Adriana compare notes on the Lokustaar
041 Mitshiba Red Eyes
Everyone regroups as the theory of self-vaporization is presented
042 Bruxa Walking Around
Satella goes around to make sure everyone is sleeping
043 Janeel Chaotic Dreaming
Everyone wakes up after sharing a dream about the artifact
044 Bruxa Real Questions
Satella and Misaki try to understand the latest mystery
045 Valentine Playing Games
The away team returns to CAIT and meet up with R'Lisi
046 Mitshiba Rapidly Multiplying Questions
The away team splits and discoveries are made in the basement
047 Lopez Looking For Something
Adriana finds herself distracted and is helped by Satella
048 Janeel A Glitch in Reality
Janeel and her team make a disturbing discovery about R'Lisi
049 Valentine Inescapable Sacrifice
R'Lisi is found to be responsible for a lot more than anticipated
050 Mitshiba 50 Hours and Counting
With the portal opening, the team has 50 hours to find a solution
051 Bruxa Small Problems
Satella and Adriana offer their help to solve the current problem
052 Lopez Something Missing
Adriana, after speaking with Amanda, proposes a possible solution
053 Iverson Growing Problems
Alexandria goes to the surface after a long chat with Selene
054 Janeel The Observer
Janeel observes the others from the upper balcony
055 Valentine Time For Another Perspective
Sarena is given new information by Janeel
056 Janeel A New Plan
The senior staff comes up with a new plan
057 Mitshiba A Timely Debate
Alexandria deals with the knowledge of timetraveling
058 Valentine Temporal Sneak Peek
The BASTET travels back in time, to Alex' amazement
059 Iverson Not The Answer We Were Looking For
The Eye is found to have an important role in this
060 Bruxa Professional Evaluation
Satella and Adriana take care of Alexandria
061 Valentine The First War
The BASTET travels in time to witness the first War of Shadows
062 Lopez Lost In Darkness
Adriana recalls similar events on board the KROGEN
063 Mitshiba For The Best
Aki observes what is happening from the Observation Lounge
064 Iverson Fighting Against Time
The BASTET rushes back to the present, avoiding being seen
065 Bruxa The One Left Behind
Satella is hit hard by the news of Halston's vanishing
066 Valentine Moving Forward
The link between the Eye and the plate is discovered
067 Mitshiba Searching For Nothing
Aki is searching for the artifact
068 Iverson Never Easy
The Eye of Eternity is located
069 Janeel Lost In The Shadows
Janeel and Alex discovery something dark
070 Lopez Darkness Within
Adriana tries to explain what happened to Janeel
071 Valentine Nothing is Impossible
The markings found in the basement may be the answer
072 Lopez Coldness Within
Sarena, Mitshiba and Adriana search for the markings
073 Bruxa Frozen Fear
Satella falls under fear induced control from Janeel
074 Mitshiba See No Evil, Hear No Evil
The away team makes it past the wall
075 Valentine Light at the End of the Tunnel
The Eye is finally found and the portal closed
M04-P001: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 01 - 0820 ("The Lost Artifact")
"The Lost Artifact"
(Previous Post: "Debate in Engineering")

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32101.0820

For the last couple of months the USS BASTET had been mapping various dimensions, thus expanding the list of known coordinates as well as adding details of those that had already been discovered. The mission had quickly become a monotonous routine as they jumped into a dimension, stayed there for a couple of days as they performed various scans before returning to the prime dimension to re-calibrate the instruments before starting all over.

The exploration mission proved to be uneventful despite the numerous dimensional jumps, this to the delight of the Commanding Officer, Captain Selene Iverson. As pleasant as the routine proved to be for her, the Captain blamed the monotony as being the reason why the senior officers had, from time to time, been talking about the issue that had involved the cargo bay on deck 8 so many days ago.

With their last dimensional finally behind them, the BASTET had set a course back to NEW ALEXANDRIA. There they would download all of the data collected as well as give the crew some well earned rest and relaxation.

"Now approaching the GEZA Nebula," Commander Valentine announced as the main view screen was made to display the impressive colours of the stellar formation which offered a breathtaking background to the base hidden within the nearby asteroid field.

"Send course and transmit our clearance code then get us home," the Captain offered, glad to see the familiar sight of the asteroid field. home of the NEW ALEXANDRIA base of operations.

"We are receiving a communication from Commander Quint," Commander Janeel announced, the expression and tone used showing surprise from the woman, no one having expected the Chief of Operations for NEW ALEXANDRIA to communicate with them, especially not with the ship being so close to home. Something was wrong.

"Put it on main viewer," Selene quickly ordered, trying not to let her concerns take the better of her. There had to be a perfectly normal reason for this call, as unexpected as it might have been.

"The Commander is request a private channel with you Captain," Janeel added, her surprise having grown by leaps and bounds at the latest development of this simple call.

Captain Iverson sighed, her hopes for a simple explanation having been crushed into nothingness. "I will be in my Ready Room if you need me," the Captain said before standing from the central chair and heading to her office where she would be able to take the call privately as requested.

Setting: USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 32101.0830

[/\] Sorry for the mystery and urgency Captain, but I thought it best to discuss the matter with you personally, and this before you docked, [/\] the Ferengi man announced the moment the communication channel was open.

"Just tell me what this is all about Quint," Captain Iverson said clearly frustrated and not in the mood for whatever excuses or reasoning the Ferengi Chief of Operations had come up with to justify his calling her like this.

"It's Alexandria."

Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Section A, Level 6, Administrative Office
Stardate: 32121.1000

Allyson, as charming and helpful as she always was, ushered the Captain into the office of Admiral Koniki who had been standing behind his desk, waiting with his hands clasped behind his back while his gaze was cast beyond the massive window looking into the open area of the docking facilities.

"Welcome back Captain Iverson," the Admiral offered without turning to acknowledge the presence of the woman who had just walked in. "I gather that the dimensional mapping mission was a success."

"It was," Selene confirmed, not surprised that the man had decided to give her the cold shoulder based on what Quint had said during his earlier call.  "The BASTET is downloading all of the gathered data as we speak There will be a great deal of work required in the analysis of that data, we came across several very interesting spacial anomalies that could never have been possible in this dimension."

"When will you and your crew be ready to head back out?"

The question had been blunt, direct and deprived of emotions. Obviously the Admiral had been in a rush to see the BASTET head back out for reasons that had been his and his alone for the time being.

"Ensign Thorquelsson has some material to be transferred to and from the BASTET, but I suspect that this will not take much longer than the actual download of the data we collected," the Captain detailed. "We can be ready to head back out in say three hours, if that is to your liking?"

"Three hours," the Admiral unhappily sighed, clearly the time frame given to him had not been what he had hopped for.  "Fine, I will have the complete details of your next mission sent to you before then, and Captain..."

"Yes Admiral?"

"You will need to make accommodations for an additional presence on board the BASTET."

"May I inquire as to whom will be coming on board?" Selene asked, already suspecting the answer, this again thanks to her conversation with the Ferengi Chief of Operations for NEW ALEXANDRIA.

"It's Alexandria."

Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Section C, Level 1, Auxiliary Quarters
Stardate: 32101.1045

"Will you stop for a moment and tell me what happened?" Selene demanded of the frustrated archaeologist who had been walking the full length of her quarters while angrily mumbling to herself.

"The man is a pompous ass," Alexandria shouted, still not stopping her thundering walk. "All he knows, all he cares about is Intel. I have spent months in this cage and that is all he has ever talked about.  I can't stay here anymore, I honestly don't care where I go as long as it's as far away from this place as possible. It's either that or I will find a way to drop one of his towering Egyptian statues on him the next time I have to be in his office."

"Alex?" Selene said, trying to cut in against the verbal current of rage the woman had been in the middle of expressing.

"I tried," the daughter of Admiral Koniki continued having completely ignored the attempted interruption. "By the ancient gods of ANDOR, I tried! I gave him every chance possible but the man is obsessed with this place. The only things on his mind are the ships that operate from inside this rock, the issues that you all deal with behind the scenes, and keeping everything out there safe from threats that make no sense. Who in their right mind keeps talking about deadly moving shadows? The man should not be in charge of a place like this, he should be confined to a mental institution lost on some rogue moon heading into the dark empty space outside of our galaxy."

"Alex," Selene said once more, this time taking hold of the woman's shoulders to stop her from wandering back and forth through the quarters and insure that her attention had been focussed on the woman trying to help.  "Pack your bags."


"Pack your bags," Captain Iverson repeated with a gentle smile. "The BASTET may not be as spacious as NEW ALEXANDRIA but at least you can see the stars from your window."

"That would be nice." 

Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 1, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 32101.1230

The senior officers had been summoned to a meeting the moment the specifications for their next mission had been transmitted to the BASTET by the Admiral. Captain Iverson had been pleased to see that everyone appeared more than ready to tackle something else than dimensional mapping and not overly upset in seeing their rest time reduced to mere minutes.

"Let us get started," the Captain offered once everyone had taken their seats. "First I would like a status report from every department. Medical?"

"Given the absolute chaos that we had to deal with during our last mission, it took us a few minutes to get the dust off the biobeds," Doctor Bruxa said in jest. "Everything and everyone is ready," she added having quickly changed to a more serious tone.


Counsellor Lopez had been ready to make a joke about having treated the majority of the crewe for boredom from their last mission, but given that Satella had already gone that route, Adriana figured it best to continue on a more professional level. "I have no ongoing cases that require being mentioned at this time."


"All data gathered from our dimensional travels has been downloaded to NEW ALEXANDRIA for further analysis. All sensors have been perfectly re-calibrated to the standards of this dimension. Everything is working as expected," Lieutenant Mitshiba reported, glancing at the Chief Engineer noting by such his involvement and help in the stated accomplishments.


"We ran a full diagnostic on all systems," Ensign Thorquelsson answered. "My team is looking at a slight variation in the dimensional field generators, this likely from the repeated use that the system has endured over the last few months, but we should have it back to perfect in 10 to 12 hours, that is as long as we are not planning on performing another dimensional jump before then."

"No, it looks like our next mission will have us remain in this dimension," Captain Iverson confirmed before continuing. "

"Command and Control?"

"All systems are reading fully operational," Commander Valentine reported. "Everything and everyone who needed to disembark has done so and those coming on board have already been assigned quarters," Sarena clarified making sure that the Captain understood that everything had been taken care of in regards to their returning guest, Miss Alexandria Koniki.

"Commander Janeel," the Captain said handing over the briefing to the Mission Specialist.

"We have been made aware of the theft of an artifact which occurred on the Caitian homeworld of CAIT less than five hours ago," the Intelligence Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist began as she called up a holographic image of the system and planet. "The artifact was on display in one of the secondary display rooms of the planetary archeology museum, and according to witnesses and security records, the item simply vanished into thin air."

"Could a transporter system have been used to take the item?" Lieutenant Mitshiba asked, finding the solution to be far too simple to not be at the very least considered even if only in passing.

"The museum is a high security building, shielded from sensors and transporters," Commander Janeel explained, "but even if it had not been, it would not explain how the artifact appears to have vanished from its display in less than a second. Before anyone asks, the display casing as well as the solid marble pedestal were untouched during this theft."

"There are no know transport system that operate that fast," Ensign Thorquelsson pointed out, the man now curious as to how this crime could have been done so quickly. "Just the initial transport sequence takes as less a full second if the entire system is previously prepared."

"However interesting the method of the theft might be, I'm guessing that there is something special about that artifact itself for us to be called in to investigate," Doctor Bruxa added, suspecting that there had been something missing from the information that had been given to them so far.

"The artifact is called the Eye of Eternity," Commander Janeel stated as the holographic image set in the middle of the conference table changed to show the item in question. "The chemical composition of the three outer rings is a naturally occurring mixture of iron, copper and silver. What is truly remarkable is that the actual ring formation is also naturally occurring on CAIT. This though, is the only known example of three such rings being formed together in such a perfectly symmetrical arrangement."

"As interesting as the outer rings may be, I suspect that the central sphere is what makes this artifact truly unique," Commander Valentine added, her attention having already been focussed on the glowing center of the holographic display.

"The mystery of the outer rings is only the first page of a mystery that spans several imposing volumes," the Mission Specialist confirmed. "The inner sphere is described as a positive energy zero-gravitational output quantum singularity."

"A what?" Counsellor Lopez gasped, voicing what many others had wanted to.

"A white hole, one that does not generate a gravitational field," the Chief Science Officer explained in terms that everyone would understand. "But that's impossible. There are no known accounts of a white hole in this universe, let alone one that generates light without matter and without any accompanying gravitational field.  Although only theoretical, white holes should have a negative gravitational force, pushing things away from it instead of attracting them. Even if the theory was proven false, as many claim it should, there should be some sort of gravitational field around the sphere, however minuscule as it may be."

"The CAIT Science Institute, with the assistance of the Federation Science Council, have been studying this artifact for over a century and they have been unable to figure out how it does what it does," Commander Janeel continued. "The artifact is as much a complete mystery now as it was when it was discovered nearly 1400 years ago.  Every effort to understand it or even tap into the power it is believed to contain have been met with complete failure."

"Could some sort of change in the quantum energy of the artifact have somehow caused it to vanish?" Lieutenant Mitshiba offered, loving the mystery this scientific enigma was proving the be. "Maybe something influenced the artifact at the quantum level and caused some sort of shift turning the core into a black hole instead. This could, given its limited size, have forced it to collapse onto its own imploding gravitational field."

"The security and surveillance system of the museum picked up no increase in energy or gravitational forced either prior, during or after the disappearance of the artifact," Commander Janeel clarified. "The artifact was there one second and simply gone the next. We are being set to CAIT to help in the investigation. Officially we are there because of our, as an exploration vessel, have encountered something similar in our travels. Unofficially, the BASTET is being dispatched because we have instruments and knowledge that will permit us look into and investigate avenues that others would not considered."

"Our ability to consider that maybe the manipulation of time, dimension, if not both, could have been at play in this theft," the Captain further clarified.  "All information on the Eye of Eternity, as little as there is, as been made available to you all. The BASTET will be heading out in 15 minutes.  Ensign Thorquelsson, we will need maximum warp speed as we are expected on CAIT as quickly as possible."

"Understood Captain," the Chief Engineer acknowledged with a nod of his head.

"If there are no questions, dismissed."

As everyone stood and made their way out of the Observation Lounge, Captain Iverson intercepted Counsellor Lopez and instructed her to stay with a silent motion of her head.

"Is everything all right Captain?"

"Everything is fine with me, but I will need you to speak to Alexandria."

"She is back on the BASTET?"

"She is," the Captain confirmed. "Things were less than pleasant for her on NEW ALEXANDRIA. It seems that the Admiral and her could not bridge their differences. I need you to speak to her, get her to open up. I am hoping that this mission will provide her with an opportunity to stretch her professional and social skills," the Captain stated.

"That would be nice."

Jessica Solarik

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer


Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M04-P002: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 01 - 1330 ("A Different Mystery")
"A Different Mystery"
[Previous post: "The Lost Artifact"]

Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 5, Corridor
Stardate: 32101.1330

With the ship well en-route for the Caitian home world of CAIT, Adriana had decided to tackle the task given to her by Captain Iverson. Her dealings with the archaeologist several months back had been somewhat limited, but even then, the Counsellor had detected something hiding in the woman's psyche. Professionally, Counsellor Lopez had hoped that spending time with her father would help, allowing the two to talk and rediscover the link that they had certainly shared at some point or another. Based solely on what the Captain had said after the mission briefing, it had been evident that no such link had been rediscovered and that possibly the rift between father and daughter had actually grown even wider.

As Adriana stood in front of the door to the woman's quarters, the CNS wondered as to just how bad things had become between them to lead Alexandria to return on the BASTET. Although her time on the ship had been short, it had been enough to make it clear to everyone that she had not wanted to be here. Looking at the closed door standing directly in front of her, the Counsellor took in a deep breath to gather her courage before reaching for the door chime that caused the door to open only a few seconds later without anyone saying anything.

Carefully stepping into the quarters, having taken the now opened door as an invitation to do so, the Counsellor looked around the room in the hopes of locating the woman she had come to see. No personal effects could be seen, not that Adriana had actually expected there to be any. As an archaeologist, the woman had become used to traveling light, bringing with her nothing but the absolute minimum. Therefore, it made sense for her not to have arrived at NEW ALEXANDRIA with anything and continued that way when she came on board the BASTET.

"I am truly not in the mood to talk to you Selene, at least not right now," Alexandria said, her voice on the edge of unimpressed anger having coming from the bedroom. "I appreciate that you took me out of that dreadful hole lost in he middle of no where, but that does not give you the right to force me to talk about what happened. I promise to stay in my quarters and not get underfoot while you and your people do whatever it is that you are being sent to do. Deer old father made it abundantly clear as to just how important your work is in keeping the Federation safe from whatever may be out there. So relax, I will not stick my nose in things that I have no right to. That too was made clear."

"I will make sure to relay your message to the Captain whom I am sure will be glad and saddened to hear all of this," Adriana said, hoping that this would not only make her presence known but also defuse some of the hostility that had been coming from the Admiral's daughter.

"What?" Alexandria questioned as she looked around the corner to see who had spoken, obviously not having been the person she had expected. "Oh. Sorry, I thought you were someone else."

"That much was obvious," the Counsellor offered in a happier tone trying to warm the icy cold mood that had filled these quarters. "I just came by to make sure that everything was to your liking."

"I am out of that stone jail that your Admiral likes to call a base of operation, I guess that's a start. Plus, I have windows now and I can see stars. That is truly a bonus," Miss Koniki said, thinking back to the promise that the Captain had made her.

"NEW ALEXANDRIA can feel somewhat claustrophobic at times," Adriana said with a nod of her head, "but at least there you are safe from the chaos of the universe."

"Obviously you have never spent months with my father," the young woman huffed. "If you had, you would be embracing this chaos you speak of without the slightest hesitation. Better to face nameless dangers out there than to be slowly drained of any will to live in there. Anyway, please relay my thanks to Selene, I mean your Captain, and please assure her that I have everything I need and will not get in anyone's way as I will be staying right here."

"I will happily give her the message but I suspect that you may find it difficult to work from these quarters. As great as the communication screens may be, they are far from being sufficient to perform any sort of detailed in-depth research on," Counsellor Lopez offered, certain that the woman would leap at the bait set for her.

"Work? I'm an archaeologist! What possible work could I do on an Intel ship the likes of the BASTET, or does your Captain plan to have me scrubbing the decks? Knowing Selene she might actually have me take on the duties of a waitress in the mess hall, she never could let that story go," Alexandria huffed, displaying a frustration and anger that clearly ran very deep.

"Our new mission deals with an ancient artifact that has somehow gone missing from a museum on CAIT," Adriana said, certain that the mention of a missing ancient artifact would be more than enough to pique the woman's interest.

"Is this why she wanted me here on this ship? To get me to help with this mission without actually asking me to?" Alexandria said, anger still lacing her every words.

"I doubt that it was the Captain's intentions to deceive you since you came on board well before we received the mission orders," the CNS explained. "I believe this to be more a fortuitous coincidence, but of course if you wish to remain in your quarters for the duration of the mission, no one can force you otherwise. You are after all a guess on board the BASTET being a civilian, but should you be interested in offering your expertise, I am sure that Captain Iverson, Commander Valentine or even Commander Janeel would be happy to fill you in on the details of our mission should they believe your assistance would prove helpful in our investigation."

Adriana waited to see how the woman would react to what had been said. The Counsellor had already confirmed the willingness of the Captain in having their guess join in on the investigation, so that would not prove to be a problem. All that was left was for Alexandria to let go of her anger just enough to accept taking part in this investigation.

Seeing the woman silently debating the pros and cons of the situation that had been presented to her, Adriana made a quiet exit out of the quarters knowing that the first step in her personal mission had been accomplished. Making the archaeologist feel as part of the crew instead of just an unwanted nuisance would go a long way to get her to open up about what had happened on NEW ALEXANDRIA and with her father.

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M04-P003: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 01 - 1400 ("A Puzzling Enigma")
"A Puzzling Enigma"
Previous post: "A Different Mystery"

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32101.1400

Heading to CAIT, the homeworld of the feline race known as Catians, was something special to begin with. As a member of the Federation, they possessed technology very much like that found on every other planet with the same political status, but as a culture, the world was something unique to say the least.  Any mission that would take them to that particular world would have been great, but Aki found herself torn between the destination of their hurried travels and the reason why they were going there in the first place.

The Eye of Eternity. The artifact was as beautiful as it was mysterious. A puzzling enigma that no one had yet been able to figure out despite centuries of research. As a piece of the planet's history, its theft had been unforgivable, but as an unexplained ancient scientific anomaly, the lost of the artifact was immeasurable.  As a member of the crew of the BASTET, Aki would be asked to do everything in her power to finding clues as to how the artifact had so suddenly vanished as well as its possible current whereabouts. As the Chief Science Officer though, her drive to find the missing piece of antiquity would come not from the need to solve the theft but to return the item to where it could continue to be properly studied.

"You seem to be lost in your thoughts," Commander Valentine said, the woman having come to stand next to Aki without the CSciO having realized it.

"Sorry Commander, I was..." the Asian woman began, having been interrupted by the First Officer's smile as she pointed to the image being displayed on the science station.

"No need to be sorry," the First Officer quickly stated. "In fact I suspect that Captain Iverson believes as I do on this matter, in that any information that you can provide us will be of great help as this mystery has very few clues for us to start with."

"Which mystery would that be Commander?" Aki asked as if teasing. "The artifact itself or its theft?"

"Both," Sarena chuckled. "Why would anyone want to steal something that, as far as everyone is concerned, does nothing other than present the universe with an unsolvable mystery? Do they know something that no one else does about this Eye of Eternity and if so, what is it?"

"The artifact has been studied for centuries by the Catians," the CSciO pointed out. "When they joined the Federation, a lot of scientists were curious to join in on the research but after a few decades the enthusiasm whittred away leaving the artifact and its mystery pretty much in the same state as when it was discovered 1400 years ago."

"We are not asking you to solve the mystery, although it would be nice," Commander Valentine added in good humor. "See what has been discovered about the artifact and try to figure out what we need to look at in order to get ourselves on the right track. Either something was recently discovered to make someone want to steal the item, or something changed in the artifact itself. Understanding the reason why this theft happened may be our only real clue to explain everything else."

"Of course Commander," Aki acknowledged. "I will do my best."

With that, the First Officer returned to her station leaving the CSciO to her search for something and anything that might give them a clue as to why the Eye of Eternity had been taken while all other artifacts remained undisturbed within the whole of the museum.

For the next hour or so, Aki reviewed everything available about the artifact. Given that it had been discovered some 1400 years ago, the CSciO had been surprised and even annoyed by just how little actual data had been available. The artifact had proven to be an impenetrable mystery; this even after the Federation had joined in the research with some rather fancy high-end equipment. Whatever tests the Eye had been subjected to though, the results always came out the same -- nothing new had been discovered.

Like some, Aki found herself looking more closely at the possible quantum level interaction of the artifact's three naturally occurring rings with the luminescent central sphere. Many believed the joined rings to be nothing but an independent yet very interesting anomaly, but some thought that maybe the mixture of iron, copper and silver played some yet to be determined role in containing the sphere and all of its secrets.

All attempts to pry the sphere from within the three rings failed, none daring to go as far as to break the bands for obvious reasons. Although there was no physical connections between the outer and inner components, the two appeared to behave as one making it impossible to separate them through conventional means. Again, many believed this to be a side effect of the sphere's unexplained abilities but Aki leaned towards the other school of thought that pointed at the three rings as a key and not a cage. Of course there had been no way for the CSciO to test her theories on this matter, even less given that the item itself was now missing, but still it gave her a starting point.

"Can I join you?" Alexandria asked as she came to stand by Aki, the Asian scientist not having noticed the woman's arrival onto the bridge or next to her after she had spoken, a recurring pattern that somewhat troubled the CSciO.

"Of course, maybe a fresh perspective, one that is not based in pure science might be able to answer some of the questions we have," Aki offered, gladly inviting the archaeologist to sit next to her.

"I doubt it, but I will help in whatever way I can," Alexandria said, glancing at their Captain who had not moved from her chair or even acknowledged the arrival of their guest onto the BASTET's command deck. "I did some research on my end before coming up. The eye of Eternity was a religious artifact for over a thousand years, claimed t be responsible for both healing entire villages as well as killing countless through plagues. When science become more accepted then the foolishness of faith, the stories were dismissed as having been nothing more than fables to explain the unexplained events of the time."

"Fearing the unknown is universal," Aki pointed out. "Wonder if anyone actually tested the Eye of Eternity for any psionic effects? It would not have been something that would have been considered 1400 years ago and certainly not by the first Federation scientists who went to CAIT to get their hands on the artifact."

"There are several accounts of ancient artifacts having some psionic abilities, the most famous one being the 'Stone of Gol'," Alexandria detailed. "So it is a possibility that may be worth looking into."

"See," Aki grinned. "Told you that you would be able to help."

The archaeologist glanced once more at the Captain, not sure if this had been the woman's plan form the very start.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P004: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 1430 ("Rushing In")
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"Rushing In"
[previous post (From A Puzzling Enigma)]
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Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32101.1430

After having made her rounds of the stations on the bridge, the Executive Officer returned to the centre of the bridge where the Captain had been all along.

"We should be in orbit of CAIT in 45 minutes, that is as long as nothing unexpected gets in our way," Sarena reported to the woman who had made a point to keep her eyes on the main view screen located at the front of the deck.

"At some point we will need to thank Ensign Thorquelsson and his team of engineers for their efficiency and work," Selene offered in return. "I think we are breaking a few speed records for a ship of this class."

"The BASTET doesn't really belong to any class," the Executive Officer pointed out, tongue in cheek. "That is unless Starfleet as another ship that is capable of traveling not only through dimensions but also time."

The Captain quickly turned to glare at the woman standing next to her, a quick motion of her eyes towards the science station being all that the Executive Officer needed to know why she had suddenly become the target of such an unpleasant look.

"With all due respect Captain, you were the one who invited her back on the ship," Sarena pointed out never having been one to hold back on matters concerning the BASTET, this regardless of who she was speaking to. "She may be a civilian, but after having spent as much time on NEW ALEXANDRIA, which itself is a secret base, I doubt that the woman is going to be any more of a security risk than she was before. If you had truly been worried about her revealing the secrets of this ship, why bring her back on board?"

"Point taken," Selene regretfully admitted, casting her gaze back onto the main view screen. "I'm sorry. Force of habit I guess. I have the suspicion that Alex may be more than a passing guest on board the BASTET given that she will not want to return to NEW ALEXANDRIA."

"Not to mention the high likelihood of the Admiral making sure she does not go anywhere else," the Executive Officer added, glancing back to the science station. "Now that she is aware of her father and his position, I really do not see him as leaving her out of his sight and protection."

"Agreed," the Captain noted. "Plus, given our unique mission profile, it might be useful to have a seasoned archaeologist like her on board. Our current mission is a perfect proof of that."

"She and Aki seem to be working well together," Sarena pointed out returning her gaze forward. "Will be interesting to see our guest's reaction to her first dimensional or temporal jump."

"I think it will be best for all of us if we wait as long as possible before making the full potential of this ship known to her," the Captain suggested, surprising the Executive Officer who had figured that this had been a moot point.  Seeing the confusion on Sarena's face, Selene smiled and added, "Just imagine what an archaeologist would do if given the chance to travel back in time to see how a now extinct civilization actually lived or being able to study cultures that no one has ever heard of because they are in another dimension."

"You are right," the Executive Officer nodded. "After the first jump, she will never want to leave."

The Captain grinned and looked back at the woman they had been speaking about who appeared busy and content in her helping the BASTET's Chief Science Officer with their preliminary investigation into the Eye of Eternity.

"Captain," Janeel called out, "we are receiving an urgent communication from CAIT. They are asking if we have a qualified Medical Doctor on board."

"Qualified?" Sarena repeated, sounding confused and surprised at the specification of the request.

"I am sure that Doctor Bruxa would consider herself qualified, but to make such a request can only mean trouble," the Captain said as she stood from her chair. "Inform the good Doctor that you are transfer her an emergency call and that I am on my way to join her.  Commander Valentine, you have the bridge."

Sarena watched as the Captain vanished into the waiting turbolift before looking back at the Intel Liaison Officer who had taken on the role of Communications Officer, both women appearing equally at a lost for words in response to what had just happened.

"Bridge to Main Engineering," the Executive Officer called out, returning hr gaze forward.

=/\= Go ahead Commander, =/\= Halston promptly replied.

"We may need to get to CAIT a little faster than our current ETA," Sarena explained without given any details, as she had none. The best she could do was to anticipate what this call would mean for the ship and its crew. Even if the medical emergency did not require them to be there any sooner than they had been set to, arriving even an hour faster could only work in their favor.

=/\= I already have the engines working at 115%, =/\= the Chief Engineer argued back.

"Every little bit more you can squeeze out of the transwarp system will be welcomed Ensign," the Executive Officer said, acknowledging the man's objection while still making it clear that they needed to increase their speed, even if only by a small fraction.

=/\= I will see what I can do, but I might need to borrow power from some of the primary systems.  The air might get a little stale for the rest of our journey and you might want to warn people to stay out of the cargo bays, the gravity might not be as strong as it should be to avoid certain crates from flying about. =/\=

"Understood Ensign, do what you can. Bridge out."

"At least we don’t have any of that sand to deal with," Lieutenant Mitshiba quietly grinned, the memory of the ordeal they had endured because of the crystal-filled sands from EPSILON 358 still very fresh in her mind as well as that of several other members of the crew.

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Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P005: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 01 - 1445 ("Another Mystery")
"Another Mystery"
[previous post was "Rushing In"]

Setting: USS BASTET, CMO's Office
Stardate: 32101.1445

"Slow down," Satella begged of the man on the other end of the communications channel. With a motion of her hand, the CMO invited the Captain to step in and join Bruxa and Lopez who had already been there. Together, they would be able to listen in on the conversation already in progress. "I think I understand what you are saying but please bare with me. Can you go through what you have said to me again, this time more slowly? I want to make sure that I have all of the details straight so that I can properly assist."

=/\= About six hours following the theft of the artifact, certain members of the museum staff started complaining of headaches. No one paid this any special attention, figuring that this had been caused by the stress of the theft. That was until the symptoms suddenly escalated despite our medical staff's efforts. An hour ago, those who had been complaining of headaches began to show much more severe symptoms. These included extreme dizziness making it impossible for them to sit, let alone stand, vomiting and even loss of fur. No one can understand the cause of, or how to address this latest problem. The CAIT Planetary Medical Center dispatched experts but so far they have nothing and are hoping that you will be able to help them understand what is happening.  I do not need to tell you that the rest of the staff here is in a panic, fearing that we have somehow become infected by an unknown disease. Some believe that the thief or thieves were the carriers of this illness while others claim that the missing artifact is the source. In either case, we have no way to identify the cause of the illness or a way to treat it. =/\=

"The CAIT Planetary Medical Center has placed the entire museum under quarantine, am I correct?" Doctor Bruxa asked already knowing the answer but wanting Captain Iverson to hear it for herself. As the Commanding Officer, she needed to be aware that the situation had been taken under control. This of course being a relative term given the Caitian's near complete lack of understanding as to what they were dealing with.

=/\= The moment the call was placed to the CPMC and our situation was explained, the entire museum was quarantined. All of the sick have been isolated in one of our atmosphere controlled airtight vaults while everyone else is under observation to insure that no one else is infected, =/\= the man explain clearly fighting his own fears. =/\= So far the number of infected staff members is at eight and holding. =/\=

"I have just received the medical data you sent at the start of our conversation," Doctor Bruxa said. "I, along with the Medical staff, will see what we can do. That said, I doubt that we will be able to find something that the CPMC did not already take into account. The Doctors there are as competent, if not more, than I."

=/\= It is hope that you will be able to look at this from a different angle, in the same manner that you were going to look at the missing artifact. We are at a complete loss to understand any of this, so any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.  We are all very anxious for your arrival. =/\=

"Do your best to keep everyone, including yourself calm," Satella said. "We will be in orbit soon and will offer all the assistance we can, starting by reviewing the data you provided us with."

"=/\= Thank you, =/\= the man said before the channel was closed.

"The man is beyond scared," Adriana said, feeling for the individual who had been placed in charge of dealing with the situation. No one could envy the position that he and his staff had found themselves in.

"Look over the data they provided and try to see if we are actually dealing with a separate medical problem, or something related to the missing artifact. If you need to, get Misaki and Alexandria working with you on this," Captain Iverson ordered. "I want to know if this is something that we need to be concerned about before we beam down to the planet surface.

"Of course Captain," Satella acknowledged. "Without going into the full details of the data that we were given, I can already confirm that we are not dealing with a biological agent."

"Radiation?" Counsellor Lopez suggested, this having been the only other possible cause in her mind to account for the mentioned symptoms.

"No. There would be a distinct cellular degradation if radiation was at play here. According to the data provided though, the cells of those affected are fine, not showing any signs of being affected by radiation or anything else. Something has to be responsible for this," the Doctor said, puzzlement forming on her face.

"See what you can figure out," the Captain added as she walked away. "We will be in orbit in less than an hour, sooner if Ensign Thorquelsson can manage his magic once more."

"Thor will manage," Satella whispered to herself, "he always does."

"You are never going to let go of that nickname are you?" Adriana asked, laughing mildly having heard the whispered name of the Norse deity.

"Why would I want to stop calling him 'Thor' when it suits him so perfectly," Doctor Bruxa replied. "Now, come with me. It may help us if we look at all of this on the main medical display board. Something is causing these symptoms; all we have to do is discover what no one else has. Nothing like facing an impossible task before dinner to get us in the right mood."

"Nothing is impossible," Counsellor Lopez offered in a supportive and encouraging manner. "The term is a simple admission of our being, at that specific moment in time, unable to accomplish said task. Something impossible is something that has not been done yet, not that it can never be done," Adriana explained. "The moment you believe something to be impossible is when it truly becomes that."

"Spoken like a true Counsellor," Satella said to her friend, adding a pleasant smile. "Then allow me to rephrase. Solving one impossible thing before dinner should get using the right mood."

"That's the spirit," Adriana stated in a joyous tone. "Some people go as far as to believe six impossible things, all before breakfast," the Counsellor continued, paraphrasing Alice in Wonderland.

"Six?" The Doctor chuckled. "Well, dealing with only one should be a piece of cake. Just hope that it doesn't make our problems grow like it did Alice," Satella said, confirming that she had understood the reference made by Adriana.

"What if this is what we are dealing with?" Lopez offered, her train of thought having gone somewhere entirely different.

"What? You think that we are dealing with Wonderland?"

"Not exactly," Adriana explained. "What if the Eye of Eternity, by its sudden vanishing, actually caused a localized change in the basic laws of reality?"

"Wow, that's thinking outside the box."

"We are on board a ship capable of traveling through time and to other dimensions," the Counselor pointed out. "Thinking outside the box is beyond expected, it is a requirement."

"If we accept the possibility of the basic laws of reality having been altered, everything becomes possible," Satella thoughtfully noted. "Will be hard to prove this, but it might provide us with a perspective that no one else would have considered. Even knowning this, I am still having problems trying to envision what this actually means."

"Six impossible things before breakfast?"

"With the rules of reality altered, six would only be the starting point," the Doctor said, finding the possibility both fascinating and terrifying. "We could be looking at something the likes of which we have never even been able to imagine. Given what we have seen while on board the BASTET, that's saying a lot."

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P006: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 01 - 1500 ("Twisted Reality")
"Twisted Reality"
[previous post was "Another Mystery" by the unrealistically talented Rachel]

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32101.1500

It had not taken long for Doctor Bruxa and Counsellor Lopez to call upon the scientific expertise of Lieutenant Mitshiba considering the path that their medical research had taken. Trying to identify the cause of what had appeared to be a strange biological infection had been one thing, but trying to redefine the laws of reality to explain everything that happened had been an entirely different story. With CAIT only minutes away, the Captain had thought it best to call upon everyone to add in their two cents worth on the latest development, the open channel between the Bridge, Sickbay and even Main Engineering making it easier for everyone to continue with their work while voicing their opinions.

"I realize that we asked for everyone to think outside the box," Commander Valentine sighed, "but I think that what you are suggesting is beyond that. How could a simple artifact, as mysterious as it might be, be capable of redefining the established laws of reality?"

=/\= We are saying that the effects would be localized, =/\= Doctor Bruxa clarified. =/\= If not limited to the specific room where the artifact was, the effects should not extend beyond the walls of the museum. =/\=

=/\= Still, that would be a major feat, =/\= Ensign Thorquelsson added from the BASTET's Engineering deck. =/\= Not even the combined powers of the Dimensional Jump Drive and Temporal Drive could achieve what you are claiming that artifact can do. =/\=

"As strange as it may seem," Mitshiba jumped in, "it would go a long way to explain everything that we know about the Eye of Eternity and the more recent events surrounding it."

"Go on," Captain Iverson prompted, curious to see how the Chief Science Officer would neatly wrap this all up into a single explainable form.

"Since the artifact was discovered, no one has been able to make sense of it based on the understanding of reality at the time. Even with higher scientific understanding of the universe around us, the artifact remained a near complete mystery. Just the fact that we are looking at something, namely the central sphere of the Eye, which by any definition is *impossible*, we have to consider the possibility that the item obeys a different set of rules."

"Would it not have made more sense for the effects of these different rules to have been experienced *before* the item vanished?" Commander Janeel offered, the logic of her statement making sense in multiple ways. Even under different rules of reality, the effect of something should be felt during any exposure and not hours after its disappearance.

=/\= We never claimed to have all of the answers, =/\= Counsellor Lopez offered, the challenging tone in the voice of the ILO /. Mission Specialist having been unmistakable.

"Commander Janeel is right," Mitshiba agreed to the surprise of many. "That is, *if* the artifact was the actual cause of the effects that are currently affecting the museum and its personnel."

=/\= Wait a minute, =/\= the Chief Engineer followed up with, dumbfounded. =/\= Are you now claiming that the Eye of Eternity is *NOT* responsible for all of this? =/\=

"Hear me out," the Chief Science Officer requested. "It is very likely that the artifact has been in our universe for a lot longer than the 1400 years that we know about. During all of that time, the Eye remained, as much as we can tell, in harmonious balance with its surrounding. All that changed when the artifact suddenly vanished."

"You are claiming that it is the sudden removal of the artifact that has caused this shift in the laws of reality, not the artifact itself?" Captain Iverson summarized.

"Imagine a large pool of water," Mitshiba proposed, nodding her agreement with the Captain's statement. "Now imagine an alien rock in the center of the water. Since this rock belongs to a completely different universe and set of rules, forces that we do not understand keep the water around the rock away. As far as we can see though, the water and the rock are perfectly normal although we are unable to understand the rock.  Now, suddenly remove the rock, this will create a void in the water. Under the rules of reality that we know, the water would quickly fill the void and the rock would become nothing more than a memory, but what if the field that surrounded the rock remained? Without a central focal point, this field could in theory begin to affect the water around it as it begins to collapse onto itself."

=/\= That is going under the theory and assumption that the field you suggest was always there is actually shrinking, =/\= Halston added. =/\= What if the artifact actually helped contain the field surrounding it? With the Eye gone, this field would expand instead of collapsing. =/\=

=/\= Thor! =/\= Doctor Bruxa sighed in exasperation. =/\= Must you always see the darker side of things? =/\=

"Unfortunately, the theory offered by Ensign Thorquelsson is a valid one," the Chief Science Officer countered, not sounding overly pleased with both the suggested possibility and its implications. "It would explain why the effects took hours to manifest themselves following the Eye vanishing. It also means that this is only the beginning and we can expect things to get a lot more difficult as the field expands."

"Do you all realize what you are talking about?" Valentine huffed back in. "We went from investigating a stolen artifact to a threat that could possibly rewrite the laws of reality on an unknown scale."

"We are dealing with a completely unknown set of variables," Mitshiba continued. "All we currently have are theories which we will need to further investigate so that they can either justify or disprove them."

=/\= Wouldn't the expanding field become weaker as it grows larger? =/\= Counsellor Lopez said, a distinct tone of hope in her voice.

"There is no way to know as we do not understand the mechanics behind this field," Mitshiba offered.

"We are not even sure that there is a field at this point," Janeel added, reminding everyone that they were in fact dealing with nothing more than a theory at this point.

"True," the scientist acknowledged. "As for the effect of a dispersing wave front, the effects of tsunamis back on EARTH can be felt more than half a world away. If we are dealing with a field able to affect reality, and if this field is actually expanding instead of collapsing upon itself, there is no way for us to know the full scale of what we may be dealing with.  What we do have though is a scientific research focus that no one else could have come up with, and that may very well allow us to find answers that have been 1400 years in the making."

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El [Access Character BIO for Shar'El]
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M04-P007: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 01 - 1510 ("Unwelcome Reality")
"Unwelcome Reality"
[Previous post: "Twisted Reality"]

Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 5, Sickbay
Stardate: 32101.1510

"Here we are," Satella announced as she and Adriana looked at the main medical display, which had been set to show the same view as being displayed on the bridge.

"Doesn't look all that special," the illusion of the twin sister who had remained silent for quite some time said having apparently decided to make her presence felt once again. "You would think that a world filled with cats would look more like a ball or yarn than a planet."

"Not now," Adriana said in complete exasperation making the Doctor turn to look at the Counsellor who had visibly appeared defeated.

"Your sister?" Satella asked, the expression on the latino woman having left little other options as to the cause of what had just been said.


"I thought you had managed to put a stop to these episodes?" Satella asked, concerned as both the ship's CMO and the woman's only friend.

"So had I. I have not had to deal with her in a while now."

"It is likely the stress of the situation that had caused you to have a relapse," the Doctor suggested. "Would you like me to give you something? Maybe a neuro-relaxant?"

"Wait a minute?" Amanda scowled, facing the Doctor as if she had been ready to hit her, had she been real. "She can't treat me like some sort of medical condition that can be taken care of with medication. I may be a mental projection of your twisted psyche but I am not a disease," the illusionary representation of the Counsellor's twin sister claimed, her anger sounding as real as could be.

"No need for medication," Adriana said, glaring at her sister before giving her friend a weak smile. "We are now in orbit of the planet and about to start an investigation into something beyond our understanding. I think it would be best for everyone if I kept my wits about me."

"Are you sure?" Satella asked, clearly caring about the well-being of her friend above the needs of the investigation they were about to jump into.

"I can handle my sister," Adriana chuckled weakly.

"You wish," Amanda quickly said back, crossing her arms in a defiant manner as if daring the real sister to prove her claim true.

=/\= Doctor Bruxa, Ensign Thorquelsson, report to transporter room 3 for an away mission. We will be beaming outside of the Museum to try and ascertain he possible dangers of us entering the quarantine zone, =/\= the voice of Commander Valentine was heard saying.

"Bruxa here, on my way."

"Please be careful," the Counsellor said to the Doctor. Adriana had not been ready to lose the one person who knew about her strange mental situation, especially given that the woman was offering help instead of judgements.

"Don't worry," Satella reassured. "Thor and I are going down to check things out. His knowledge and expertise will be focused on trying to figure out if the field we have been theorizing about is actually there, and I will be there to see what kind of biological impact the field, if there is one, might have on us.  My guess is that the Captain wants to see if we can come up with a way to properly protect the away team so that we can go into the museum and see what the situation is first hand."

"I am still allowed to be concerned."

"Of course you are," Doctor Bruxa said as she fetched her medial kit. "Stay here, stay calm, and don't worry. I am sure that Janeel will have a constant transporter lock on the away team, ready to pull us back at the slightest indication of trouble, not that there will be any."

Adriana watched in silence as Doctor Bruxa exited Sickbay leaving the Counsellor alone in the main treatment area.

"Don't worry sis, you are not alone," Amanda said, the twin seemingly trying to comfort the other.

"I have never been alone," Adriana snapped back at her sister. "For as long as I can remember, you have always been there and I grew to believe this to be normal. I knew that others would think me completely bunkers, so I kept my being able to see you a secret. Because of that it was nearly impossible for me to make friends because you were *always* there."

"Don't start blaming me for the things that went wrong in your life," the illusionary twin countered. "As I recall, I was the one who helped you through the Academy's psych test. I was also the one who made sure you didn't give up with the USS LANCELOT ran into trouble and you found yourself injured in one of the Jefferies tubes.  I may not be real, but I am a part of you that had proven itself to be just as useful as any friend you might have had, if not more since I am by your side no matter what."

"That is not the way things were meant to be," the Counsellor said, turning away from the image of her sister only to have her reappear directly in the middle of her field of vision. "Yes you have been a great help during certain times of need, a shoulder for me to lean on and a sounding board to encourage me when I would have given up. You have also been a massive pain at times, one that nearly forced me *to* give up."

"What is a twin sister for?" Amanda laughed, but Adriana remained cold stone faced.

"There is something truly wrong."

"Relax; there is nothing wrong with me. I am now as I have always been just as you would have me to be," the illusion pointed out. "I am your twin sister, and as such I will be there by your side no matter what."

"I know," the Counsellor, sighed. "That's why when I said that there is something wrong I meant that there is something wrong with me."

The two sisters looked at one another, Amanda appearing hurt while Adriana seemed cold and having difficulties accepting the reality that the entire conversation that had just happened had been with herself.

=/\= Janeel to Counsellor Lopez, can you come up to the bridge. I need your input on something. =/\=

"I will be right there," Adriana said, walking through the image of her twin sister causing it to vanish into thin air.

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi {}

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M04-P008: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 1525 ("Cautious Approach")
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"Cautious Approach"
[previous post (From Unwelcome Reality)]
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Setting: CAIT, In front of the Museum
Stardate: 32101.1525

The away team had beamed down more than 500 meters away from the main entrance to the museum, and still the structure stretched beyond their ability to see it whole. The architecture had been old, covered with statues of figures that belonged in the lore of this world. Had it not been for the reason for their being here, Sarena might have actually enjoyed studying the building and learn about the history behind each of the carved figures.

"Ensign Thorquelsson, start scanning for the presence of some sort of reality altering field. Use whatever you can think of and don't take any chances," the Executive Officer ordered of the Chief Engineer before turning her attention to the Chief Medical Officer. "Doctor Bruxa, see if you can pick up on any cellular deformities that resemble those reported by the museum curator. If we cannot scan for the field, maybe we can scan for its effects. Lieutenant Mitshiba, scan for everything else. We need to make sure that we can get safely inside that building as I suspect that the regular hazmat suits are not going to provide any protection should our theory pans out to be true, even in the smallest way."

"Aye, aye Commander," the three officers acknowledged as they pulled out their tricorders and began the search for something that none of them had any ideas about. As grand as all of the theories had been, they had still been just that, theories as to what they might be dealing with. The problem of course was that they could be faced with something entirely different, something that they would not be remotely ready for.

"No one is to get within 300 meters of that building before I say so. If you find anything, report back to me right away," Commander Valentine added before she reached for the communicator. "Away team to BASTET. We have begun our external scans and will report back before moving inside the 300 meter mark."

=/\= Understood Commander, =/\= the Intel Operative and Mission Specialist confirmed. =/\= we will keep a transporter lock on every member of the team, ready to pull you back at a moment's notice. By the way, you have someone approaching your position from the Northwest. =/\=

Sarena turned to face the stated direction and saw a Caitain approaching slowly, as if fearing getting closer to the Starfleet officers who had just beamed down.  "Are you from Starfleet?"

"We are," Sarena confirmed. "I am Commander Valentine, Executive officer of the USS BASTET and in charge of the away team," she added not introducing the other members of the team to avoid interrupting their work and efforts to figure out exactly what it was that they were dealing with.  "You are?"

"I am M'Trarr, 3rd Science Minister and special envoy from the CAIT Planetary Ministry of Science" the Caitain cautiously replied as he approached the Starfleet officer while keeping as great a distance between him and the museum as possible.

"Glad to meet you, but I was expecting to find someone from the Planetary Medical Centre to be here due to the quarantine of the museum," Sarena said, glad that someone had come to greet them but perplexed as to the apparent absence of a medical representative.

"The CPMC is monitoring the situation from the command center over there," M'Trarr said as he pointed to one of the buildings behind him. "Both the CPMC and CPMS thought it best to extend the quarantine to the museum plaza so as to avoid people going in by mistake."

=/\= Sensors are also picking up several armed individuals on the surrounding rooftops, =/\= Commander Janeel reported, the Executive Officer having kept the communication channel open, just in case.

"I see that you are not taking any chances with this," Sarena half grinned as she looked at the rooftops now able to see the armed individuals that had been mentioned. "Guess that explains why you are so nervous. Sorry for having forced you to be inside the quarantine zone."

"We may be curious by nature, but this situation has presented us with something that we just cannot make any sense of," M'Trarr explained. "So it was decided not to take any risks until your arrival hoping that you would be able to confirm our findings, or lack of, or maybe be able to find something that we missed."

"We came as quickly as we could, but still we were able to come up with a few ideas that would at least in part explain what happened," Commander Valentine offered. "Granted, the only thing we current have are theories but they are giving us something new to look at.

"All scans are showing nothing out of the ordinary," Lieutenant Mitshiba reported, this after having confirmed with both Thorquelsson and Bruxa. "Looks like we are clear to move in closer."

"Closer?" M'Trarr echoed, the visible portion of his fur actually standing on end.

"You do not have to accompany us," Sarena said, reassuring the Caitain and giving him an excuse to stay behind, something that the Commander silently wished he would do. Dealing with a scaredy cat would only make an already delicate situation that much more uncertain. "What do we have?" Valentine asked of the other three officers as she came to stand next to them.

"No signs of any strange energy field," Halston reported.

"All cellular compositions are as they should be for this world, not strange mutations were detected," Satella added.

"We scanned for everything we could think of, including temporal and dimensional residual energy," Misaki continued, "but so far nothing. It looks like the effects are contained within the museum, at least for now."

"Do you believe that we have equipment that could provide us with some sort of protection from whatever we might encounter inside?" Commander Valentine inquired. Although solving the mystery had been her goal, keeping the members of the away team safe while doing so had been her first priority.

"We are not even sure what it is we are dealing with," the Chief Engineer said.

"A hazmat suit would provide protection from most biological or chemical agent, but based on the information that was transmitted to us by the museum curator, I doubt that we are dealing with anything of the sort," the Chief Medical Officer explained. "The cells showed no signs of degradation, so physically those who are currently confined are fine, yet they exhibited symptoms that point to them suffering from something the likes of which we have never encountered before."

"If we had arrived here without knowing what we do, we would already be inside the museum," the Chief Science Officer pointed out. "Even with our suspecting what we do, our instruments are still not showing anything. Getting ourselves all geared up would only make us take time that we might not have if the field is actually growing. The sooner we get in and find some answers, the better we all will be."

"Commander Valentine to Captain Iverson. Have you been listening?"

=/\= Yes we have, =/\= the Captain confirmed. =/\= The final decision is yours though. From up here everything around the museum appears to be clean. The problem is that the building being shielded as it is, there is little more help we will be able to offer. Be reminded though that we will be unable to beam you out after you walk in. =/\=

"Understood," Sarena said, looking at each member of the away team to confirm that they were all in agreement with their next course of action. After having received a positive acknowledgement from everyone, the Commander announced their decision. "We are heading in and keeping the comm channel open so that you can follow our progress."

=/\= Understood Commander. Good luck. =/\=

"Let's go," Sarena said as she pointed to the main doors to the museum, the away team quickly fallen in line as the Commander took point knowing that the three officers behind her would be looking at their tricorders, for all of their sakes.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P009: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 01 - 1535 ("Endless Possibilities")
"Endless Possibilities"
Previous post: "Cautious Approach"

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1535

With her eyes glued to the scanning device in her hands, the only part of the museum Aki had so far been able to admire was the unusual design of the marble steps leading to the main entrance as well as the equally mesmerizing floor of the grand gallery. On the positive side of things, her tricorder had not detected any signs of a reality altering energy field, or any other anomaly for that matter. The lack of a discovery in that regards had been a bittersweet one though, as it meant answers would be that much more difficult for them to uncover in order to explain the disappearance of the Eye of Eternity and the illness that had stricken some of the museum's staff members shortly after.

"Thank you for coming so quickly," an aged Caitian said as he approached the four Starfleet officers who had entered his domain. The feline humanoid moved faster than one would have expected from someone appearing to be of such an advanced age, giving credit to the race's natural longevity and endurance if not to the particular health and stamina of the individual.

"We came as fast as we could," the lead officer said as she greeted the Caitian with a nod of her head. "I'm Commander Sarena Valentine, First Officer of the BASTET. This is Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba, our Chief Science Officer, Ensign Halston Thorquelsson our Chief Engineer and Doctor Satella Bruxa, our chief Medical Officer."

"Yes, the Doctor and I spoke earlier, I hope that the data I sent to your ship was useful," the aged curator said having focussed his attention solely on Doctor Bruxa.

"It was, thank you," Satella confirmed. "It gave us something to work from in order to get a better idea of what we might be dealing with here."

"Glad to hear it, by the way my name is R'Lisi. I am the museum's curator and the one who contacted both the CPMC and CPMS following what happened. Since then and thanks to a complete lack of answers, panic has taken a chokehold on the museum and everyone around it. The entire building was placed under quarantine and from the sirens we heard, we can only guess that the buildings surrounding us have all been evacuated."

"Seems a little excessive," Ensign Thorquelsson pointed out.

"Fear of the unknown will do that to people," Doctor Bruxa added.

"The unknown is exactly what we are dealing with I'm afraid," R'Lisi added. "The theft of the Eye of Eternity was something that no one could explain, and the more we looked into it, the more we found that we could not understand how it done. Then the reports of illnesses began sending a shockwave of fear that reached the highest level of our government."

"Could we see the room where the artifact was?" Aki inquired, thinking it best to focus their efforts where their theories pointed as the point of origin of the field that they still had not been able to confirm or deny the existence of.

"Of course, please follow me," the curator said doing his best to hide his own fears and hesitation.

"Have you experienced any of the symptoms that were reported from those affected?" The Doctor asked while scanning the Caitain from head to toes.

"No," R'Lisi confirmed with a hint of relief. "We were able to confirm though that everyone one who became ill had entered the room since the theft. They all have been confined to one of our sealed chambers as per the orders of the CAIT Planetary Science Ministry and Medical Centre."

"That at the very least helps to confirm our first hypothesis," Aki said, actually finding the news a positive one.

"Hypothesis?" R'Lisi asked.

"One of many," Commander Valentine replied, not ready to go into details at this very moment, given that they had yet to confirm any of what they had theorized.

"The room is located at the end of this corridor," the curator announced, his walking speed having greatly decreased since the first time they had encountered the Caitain.

"Ensign Thorquelsson, Doctor Bruxa." Commander Valentine said inviting the two officers to resume their thorough scanning to see if they could confirm or deny the presence of the energy field they had believed was responsible for the reported illnesses.

"Commander," Aki said as she pointed to a strange and barely visible shimmering effect.

"I am guessing that this is not a normal occurrence for this museum," the Commander said, the shimmering appearing to fade in and out of the visual spectrum.

"I have never seen this or anything like it before," the curator confirmed, actually taking a few steps back.

"The tricorder is picking up something," Halston added. "A faint energy signature, but there is something there."

"The energy is in the extreme low range which might explain why it was not detected before," Aki explained. "It could have easily been dismissed as background residual energy from a nearby device. That said, it does not explain why we are now seeing a shimmer on the field's outer edge."

"Energy fields are not usually visible," Commander Valentine pointed out, not at all against the fact that they were able to see something confirming the presence and location of the field.

"Could something else have changed since the initial report?" Doctor Bruxa suggested.

"Since the quarantine, no one has come in or out of that room, or even this corridor," R'Lisi stated. "No one wanted to risk getting close to this place for fear of also becoming infected."

"Turn your tricorders off," Aki ordered causing the other two officers to look at Commander Valentine for confirmation, which she quickly gave with a nod of her head.  As soon as the devices were turned off, he shimmer vanished.

"We are causing the shimmer," Doctor Bruxa pointed out.

"The investigating teams from CAIT would not have had their instruments tuned as ours are," Aki explained. "They were searching for clues as to the theft of the artifact, not for an energy field caused by the absence of the Eye of Eternity. Looks like we have confirmed, at least in some ways, the theory that way came here with. Unfortunately it seems that we have uncovered several new questions not only about the actual source of this energy field but of its effect on this reality."  

"With endless possibilities, where do we start?" Halston mused, having turned his tricorder back on to confirm the return of the shimmering effect on the field, which it did.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P010: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 01 - 1540 ("Listening In")
"Listening In"
[previous post was "Endless Possibilities" by the reality bending Dawn]

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32101.1540

With the communication channel kept open, Captain Iverson, Commander Janeel and Lieutenant Lopez could listen in on the conversation between the away team and those few they came across. For the Captain, listening in had been for no other reason than to make sure that the away team was safe. For the Counsellor, it had been an opportunity to study and evaluate the members of the away team while under a very specific type of stress. For the ILO / Mission Specialist though, simply listening in on what was happening had been an unwelcomed tease.

Being content to simply sitting on the sideline as an observer had never been Janeel's strongest attribute, the woman having always been one to get in the middle of the action, even when she did not like it.   Commanding Officers were expected to keep a more global view and perspective of things, thus often requiring them to not get directly involved in the action. Maybe that had been the reason why the ILO / Mission Specialist had found it so demanding to be the acting CO while on EPSILON 358.  Her need to get into the action having conflicted with the requirements of the position she was dropped into due to the absence of both the Captain and First Officer.

"The curator, R'Lisi, he is good, but he can't fully hide his fears," Counselor Lopez pointed out to no one in particular. "His voice breaks ever so slightly when the conversation goes directly onto the state of those that were affected by the artifact."

"Or the disappearance of," Janeel corrected, the theory having clearly been that the effects had been caused by the Eye having vanished, offsetting the balance that had been maintained up until that point.

"Whether the theory is proven or disproven, the fear that the curator is displaying is all too real and potentially more dangerous than the situation itself," Adriana mentioned, her concerns heard by everyone on the bridge.

"More dangerous?" The Captain asked. "Explain."

"Fear makes people become irrational, leaving them to react through emotions instead of thoughts and logic. When fear is involved, even common sense tends to be tossed to the side," the Counsellor explained. "How many armed personnel have we detected surrounding the museum?"

"Sensors are showing over 12 armed personnel scattered on the surrounding rooftops and several more securing the parameter that has been established around the museum," Janeel reported after having confirmed the most recent sensor data.

"Establishing a quarantine zone is one thing," Adriana noted. "Enforcing that zone with armed personnel shows that there is an elevated level of fear, and with that, people will be more nervous and could react in a way that will only make the situation worse."

"Speaking of which, sensors are picking up movements around the museum," the ILO / Mission Specialist reported. "The armed personnel on the ground are moving in. Looks like they are tightening the parameter."

"BASTET to Commander Valentine, is everything all right on your end?"

=/\= Everything is fine here Captain, =/\= the First Officer reported sounding somewhat confused by the Captain's query.

"Commander," Janeel jumped in with, "our sensors are picking up movement outside the museum. It appears as if they are tightening the parameter that had been established. We are not detecting anything that could explain this on our end though."

=/\= We have confirmed the presence of the energy field we had theorized about, =/\= Mitshiba added. =/\= It seems that the scanning beams from our modified instruments are interacting with the field making it shimmer. Maybe there is another effect that we are not yet aware of and which has been picked up by those outside the museum, =/\= the Chief Science Officer explained.

"I recommend that you turn off your instruments while we try to figure things out on this end," the Captain stated.

=/\= Understood Captain, we will keep the comm channel open and report back with any changes. =/\=

"Aside from the movements of the armed personnel, sensors are not picking up anything," Janeel confirmed, not hiding her frustration is having been unable to identify a cause to explain what was happening. "At this rate, those armed guards will be at the museum's main entrance in just a few minutes."

"Can we contact someone on the surface and try to get some answers? Maybe even resolve this before it involves the away team?" The Captain proposed.

"There is no time," the Counsellor pointed out in a hurry. "We need to act now or risk them rushing into the museum and firing at anything that moves. Their fear of what is inside has become greater than their fear of becoming ill like the others, and that is not a good thing. Permission to beam down to the planet surface and try to defuse the situation in person."

"Permission granted," the Captain agreed, not seeing any other course of action given the tight timeframe they were suddenly working with.  "Commander Janeel, please go with her, hopefully the two of you can figure out what is happening and avoid the away team finding itself on the wrong side of a crazed shooting gallery. I will contact the CAIT authorities in the meantime and see if I can get answers and pull some weight as a Starfleet Captain whose officers are now in arm's way."

Setting: USS BASTET, Transporter Room 1
Stardate: 32101.1555

"Set coordinates to be behind the armed forces moving in on the museum but close enough for us to be able to call out to them and be heard," Commander Janeel ordered as Counsellor Lopez quickly followed onto the transporter platform.

"What about those on the rooftops?" The Counsellor stated with concern, not at all liking the idea of becoming an unwilling target. "If something has made them nervous enough to force them to move in on the museum, I can only guess as to how trigger happy those on the rooftops will be, especially when they notice two people materializing behind their advancing line."

"Let's just hope that they have their weapons set to stun," Janeel said with a faint smile to Adriana before looking back at the transporter chief. "Energize."

The transport sequence had been well underway by the time Counsellor Lopez had started voicing her objection to them beaming down so ill prepared. Never had Adriana expected the ILO / Mission Specialist to be such a reckless woman, but given the current situation, the Counsellor could only hope that things would unfold as expected and that the Caitians snippers had very poor aim or that their weapons were indeed set to stun as Commander Janeel had mentioned.

Either way, they would find out soon enough.

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El [Access Character BIO for Shar'El]
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M04-P011: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 01 - 1600 ("A New Reality")
"A New Reality"
[Previous post: "Listening In"]

Setting: CAIT, In front of the Museum
Stardate: 32101.1600

The materialization sequence had been nearly completed, allowing Adriana to see the armed officers before them while waiting to see if she would feel the unpleasant sting of an energy discharge hitting her in the back.  Luckily, the armed forced had stopped their advance on the museum and no one had starting shooting at them, at least not yet.

"You! HALT!" Another armed Caitian yelled as he moved in from where the initial parameter had been set before this, whatever this was, started. "Are you responsible for stopping that infernal sound?"

"Infernal sound?" Commander Janeel asked, being completely loss as to what the feline man had been speaking about.

"We are from the BASTET and came down to see if we could offer our assistance in resolving the situation," Adriana continued with, doing her best to identify the latest members of the BASTET's crew as being friendly and of no threat to them or anyone else. "You mentioned an infernal sound," the Counsellor added further showing their intent to help while gathering information which would be automatically shared with the first away team thanks to the open communications channel.

"A few minutes ago, an ear-piercing tone filled the air," the Caitain explained, his voice and body posture making it perfectly clear that the noise had been more than annoying. "We were moving in on the source when it stopped and you beamed down."

"The modified tricorders?" Adriana suggested, that having been the only thing that seemed to make sense, the sound not having been present before the arrival of the first away team and their discovery of the no longer theoretical energy field.

"Our apologies," the Commander offered making sure that Commander Valentine and the others understood what had happened. "It seems that the modifications made to the instruments of our first away team had an unexpected effect. Since we do not have any Caitians on board, we never realized that their use would crate such unpleasantness for your kind. We will regroup with them and make sure that this those not happen again."

"That would be greatly appreciated," the fenile man said before motioning for his men to retreat back to their initial position at the more distant parameter.

"Janeel to Mitshiba, you might want to modify the tricorders once again. Would be nice not to have to be concerned about our hosts trying to rush in and blow up anything that gets in their way."

=/\= Understood. =/\=

"Now what?" the Counsellor asked, still sensing an air of uneasiness.

"Let's join the others and see what they have found," Janeel said, glancing back at the still retreating Caitians.

"I would not turn my back to them if I were you," the image of the Counsellor's twin offered, having joined her sister in looking back at the armed officers who still appeared to be ready to shot at the first thing that moved in an unexpected manner.

"You coming Counsellor?" Commander Janeel asked, having noticed that the woman had not kept up prompting Adriana to run the ten or so meters that separated them in order to catch up.

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1610

"This place is remarkable," Counselor Lopez said as she look at the latest ancient carving to fall within her field of vision. "I bet Alexandria would love to be here."

"I doubt it," Commander Janeel commented. "She is not interested in artifact that have already been found, if she were we would not have found her where we did. Some people like to be where the action is, making the discovery before anyone else while others like to sit back and enjoy thinking about how things might have been. The Admiral's daughter daughter strikes me as the former."

"You are right," Adriana nodded, still struggling to keep up with the quick walking Commander.

"Just like you," Amanda added, causing her twin to twitch as she did her best to not comment or react openly. "I really don't see you sitting behind a desk in some comfy office talking to people who can't get their heads screwed on right. You like being out here, you looking for your poor missing sister, that would be me, is just an excuse to justify you being in Starfleet."

Adriana came to an abrupt stop as she turned to face the illusionary twin sister who vanished the moment that this happened.

"Did you see something?" Commander Janeel asked, having noticed the sudden change in the woman who had been following her.

"I thought I did," the Counselor replied, "but it must have been a shadow."

"No need to get as jumpy as our Caitian friends out there," Janeel dryly chuckled. "There we are."

"Glad you were able to find your way Commander, Lieutenant," the First Officer said welcoming the two officers.

"The museum is quite large," R'Lisi said appearing somewhat bemused by everything hat had recently happened.

"Have you been able to modify the instruments to avoid a repeat of what happened out there?" Janeel asked.

"Everyone was quite on edge when we arrived," Adriana added. "Whatever sound was created by the interaction of the scanning beams and energy field literally drove them to near madness.

"The problem is that whatever sound was created, it is well beyond our ability to hear it," Doctor Bruxa said. "Even our friend the curator is not able to ear it due to earring loss caused by his age.

"So there is no way for us to know is the latest modifications are working?" The Counsellor gasped, not at all wanting to see the armed forces resume their assault on the museum and those in it.

"We'll just have to look outside," Commander Valentine offered as the most simple method to confirm if the modifications had been successful or not.

=/\= No worries, =/\= the Captain was heard saying immediately after. =/\= We will report any motion from the armed guards.

"Guess we are ready to run a test than," the First Officer said as she gave Lieutenant Mitshiba the signal to proceed.

"Is there some place where we could hide?" Amanda asked, the image of the twin sister having appeared next to the Counsellor. "I would hate to be in the blast radius of whatever is going to happen."

"Quiet," Adriana snapped, no longer able to contain her frustration. In doing so though the Counsellor drew upon her the gaze of each and every member of the away team.  "I was just thinking that we should all be as quiet as possible so that we might be able to hear something should the modifications create a sound resonance that is more within our ability to hear."

Everyone appeared to have accepted the stated explanation, all save Doctor Bruxta who continued to look at the Counsellor with distinct concern knowing that the outburst had likely been triggered by the psychological projection of the woman's twin sister.

"Starting the scan at minimum power," Misaki said, everyone remaining perfectly silent and motionless as they listened and watched for some sign of reaction from the energy field or the Caitains.  "Power output now at 50%."

"The shimmer is back," Ensign Thorquelsson announced, the engineer appearing ready to jump in response to whatever might happen.

=/\= No movement from the Caitian surrounding the museum, =/\= the Captain reported.

"All right, push it," Commander Valentine said, giving Mitshiba the okay to push the scans to full power.

The moment that the instrument was turned up to maximum, the small shimmering that had been previously noticed grew to cover the entire visible surface of the energy field before it suddenly expanded with enough force to push all of the members of the away team along with their host several feet back.

"Well, that was not planned," Mitshiba said, the tricoder having been turned off once more as she rolled herself off the floor.

"Is everyone all right?" The First Officer asked. "Doctor?"

"I'm fine and yes i will check on everyone," Satella said as she quickly took a visual account of everyone's condition stopping on Counsellor Lopez.

"I'm all right, nothing broken," Adriana said, not feeling any effects from the force that had pushed her back.

"I was more worried about her," the Doctor said pointing to the woman's side where the image of the twin sister could be found, kneeling as if the shockwave had actually affected her.

"Wait, you see her?" the Counsellor gasped in surprise and horror.

"How and more to the point why did the energy wave create a double of you?" the Chief Science Officer asked, utterly puzzled by the unexpected turn of event.

"She's not a double of me," Adriana corrected. "She's my twin sister."

"Hasn't she been listed as missing for years?" Commander Valentine said, recalling that particular detail of the officer's family, which was in her personnel file.

"And that would not be the strangest part of this," the Counsellor said as she glanced at her sister who, for the first time, had not been a simple illusion that only she could hear or see.

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M04-P012: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 01 - 1620 ("Impossible Possibility")
"Impossible Possibility"
[previous post was "A New Reality"]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1620

The unexpected appearance of the twin sister had been a shock top everyone. Of all the possible things that could have happened, this had not been on anyone's list, least of all the Counsellor.  The impact had been that much more severe to Adriana and Satella who knew that the woman had originated from her sister's troubled mind.

"Circulatory system, respiratory system, neurological system, they all match Human physiology," Doctor Bruxa reported. Even following her own report though, Satella refused to stop her scanning of the woman would should not have been there. "She appears to be human."

"Of course I'm human," Amanda snapped. "I'm her twin sister, not some alien from who-knows-where. As for you," the sister continued, targeting her twin. "Why are you looking at me as if this is the first time you have ever seen me?"

"You have seen her before?" Commander Valentine inquired, still trying to ascertain the possible dangers of this development.

"Of course I have seen her before," Adriana quickly replied. "She's my twin sister, we grew up together." The Counselor knew what the Commander had meant, but now had no been the time to get into *that* story. "I beg of you, don't make this more difficult than it already is," the sister asked of her sister in a pleading whispered voice.

"Commander," Doctor Bruxa added. "You, Janeel, Mitshiba and Thor can continue your scans of the energy field. Maybe you can figure out what the heck just happened. I will continue my medical scans using Adriana as a base for comparison."

"Are you certain that you would not want me to assist?" Janeel offered, the Intelligence Liaison Officer having found this development rather interesting to say the least.

"With all due respect Commander, I would rather not have to worry about someone looking over my shoulder. I would request the same if we were on the BASTET," Satella explained.

"I will be right over there should you need any assistance," Janeel reluctantly said.

"Now it's official," Amanda chuckled. "You are all equally nuts."

"How could this have happened?" Adriana asked in a forceful whisper. The Question was directed to the Doctor while an accusing finger pointed to the sister who was now as real as could be.

"Love you too sis," Amanda snarled back. "Since I am now *real*, you might want to be nicer to be. You won't be able to push me away as easily as you used to."

"Getting you to leave me alone was *never* an easy task," the Counsellor snapped. It was easy to see that the sister knew exactly how to push her twin's buttons.

"Adriana," Satella said, needing to keep the woman calm. "Every scan shows her to be your twin, everything matches, but she is still not real."

"Not real?" The two sisters said in unison.

"Yes, she is real in he physical sense," Satella explained. "Whatever happened though, she is not the person who went missing so many years ago. The energy wave that pushed us gave form to your visions of her."

"I would very much appreciate if you two could stop referring to me as if I was not here," Amanda sighed.

"Sorry," Adriana offered in return. "Hard habit to break. So that energy pulse made her real?"

"Real based on your thoughts and feelings," Satella specified. "At least that is what I am guessing as you are the only one who can compare the image she was to the person she now is."

"Looks and sounds the same," the Counsellor noted.

"Of course I do," the physical representation of the twin sister said in frustration. "Who else would I sound or look like?"

"And she is just as annoying," Adriana added with a sigh.

"What I'm saying is that although we do not understand what happened, we can say this: she is not your sister but your idea of her given physical form. There is one easy way for me to prove what I am saying," Doctor Bruxa said reaching for the twin's hand, exposing the palm and fingers.

"Hey, what are you doing?" Amanda objected.

"I don't see anything," the Counsellor said, the emotional ordeal having made it so that she could not notice the obvious.

"Exactly," Satella chuckled. "There is nothing to see. No lines or fingerprints."

"What?" The twin gasped as she looked at her own hands. "Leave it to you to not be able to have a complete mental image of your own twin sister. How you actually made it through Starfleet is truly a miracle? That or it shows as to just desperate they were to have another nutcase join their ranks."

"My parents were less than happy that I joined Starfleet," Adriana said in an effort to explain where her sister's dislike of the organization had originated from. "They knew that I was doing so to search for her, but still they thought that I could have done this in countless other ways."

"Sorry to be the bearer of bad news," Doctor Bruxa offered to her friend. "Your search is not over. As much as she may look and sound like your sister, she is not. The energy wave gave your mental image of her a physical form. All of her actions and reactions are as you would have them be, not as they would have grown to be. All I can do is analyse the final result, which in this case she is not your actual twin."

"Well that's just grand," the illusionary image made real sighed. "I am who I am, whoever that may be, and as such I do have feelings."

"So, who is she?" Commander Janeel asked as she joined the small group unannounced. "Sorry, could not help overhearing your conversation. Blame my being used to listening in on people from a distance. Kind of a required skill for my line of work. Anyway, if this woman is *not* Counsellor Lopez's actual missing twin sister. Who is she?"

"She is the proof that we are dealing with an artifact capable of altering reality," Satella announced. "Beyond that we have very little more to formulate any sort of hypothesis or theory. Although I might want to caution everyone here t be careful who or what they think about."

"Yes," Adriana nodded in agreement. "One annoying sibling is more than enough for all of us to have to deal with for the time being."

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P013: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 01 - 1625 ("World of the Real")
"World of the Real"
[previous post was "Impossible Possibilities" by the accommodating Rachel]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1625

Although Doctor Bruxa had not had the authority to tell Commander Valentine of the rest of the away team what they should be doing next, everyone had thought it best to accommodate the CMO as she tried to understand how the away team had suddenly gained a new member. That the new arrival had been Counsellor Lopez' long lost twin had just made the situation that much weirder than it already was.

Sarena, Misaki and Halston had jumped onto the task of trying to understand how the modified tricorder had triggered the energy blast, while the curator and ILO / Mission Specialist listened in on the discussion.

"The field is still there," the Chief Engineer confirmed using his own tricorder, which was set at the lowest possible setting, so as to not trigger another similar event.

"Base on the shimmering effect," the Chief Science Officer added, "it appears that the field has not changed in dimension. I mean, its size appears to have remained the same, beyond the energy barrier though I cannot confirm if what we are seeing is actually from this dimension, another dimension or something entirely different. The scanning beams do not seem to be able to penetrate the field at this low setting."

"Do you people always deal with things like this?" R'Lisi asked of the only other person who did not seem involved in either of the discussions currently taking place.

"We do have a habit of dealing with the strange and unknown," Janeel admitted, grinning. "I will say though that this one ranks rather high on the strange scale of things," the ILO / Mission Specialist added as she glanced over her shoulder to see the twin sisters speaking to Doctor Bruxa in what appeared to be a less than relaxed manner.

Being able to read lips had proven to be a valuable asset as an Intel Operative over the years. Although the ability had not been as effective with certain alien races and languages, with Terrans speaking English, Janeel could easily follow any conversation. With Adriana Lopez and her 'sister' well in view, it had been easy for the ILO / Mission Specialist to notice the friction between the two women. Something that the Commander found odd given hat the two should not have interacted until now.

Certain things that the Counsellor also said increased Janeel's curiocity as to the specific dynamic between the two sisters, Adriana making several comments as to having had to deal with her twin in the past. Of course, that could not have been possible until now since Amanda Lopez as been listed as missing, this as per what Commander Valentine had said earlier.

Given the choice between continuing to listen in on the technical and scientific discussion about the energy field, its effect on our reality and what might be beyond it *or* the confrontation between the two sisters, the choice for Janeel had been a simple one.  As an Intel Operative, finding out more about certain individuals had been part of her primary job description, and there had been a great deal to discover about the woman who had appeared out of nowhere.

Without even excusing herself from the company of the museum curator, Janeel made her way back to the trio of women, non of them aware that the ILO / Mission Specialist had already been part of their conversation from a distance.

Excerpt from Rachel's Impossible Possibility

"So, who is she?" Commander Janeel asked as she joined the small group unannounced. "Sorry, could not help overhearing your conversation. Blame my being used to listening in on people from a distance. Kind of a required skill for my line of work. Anyway, if this woman is *not* Counsellor Lopez's actual missing twin sister. Who is she?"

"She is the proof that we are dealing with an artifact capable of altering reality," Satella announced. "Beyond that we have very little more to formulate any sort of hypothesis or theory. Although I might want to caution everyone here t be careful who or what they think about."

"Yes," Adriana nodded in agreement. "One annoying sibling is more than enough for all of us to have to deal with for the time being."

End of excerpt

"You have to admire the unique and special manner with which siblings interact with one another," Janeel pointed out matter-of-factly. "I have a sister as well, and I will admit that sparks often fly when we do meet. That said, as much as I know her, I doubt that I would be able to have such a detailed recreation without the help of some computer files including the results of Ladeel's most recent medical exam."

"Are you two twins?" Satella asked, trying her best to defend Adriana thus avoiding having to reveal the details of the continued interactions between the two sisters, all of which happened only in the mind of their Counsellor.

"No we are not…" Janeel replied, the rest of her argument being quickly push to the wayside thanks again by the intervention of the Chief Medical Officer.

"Adriana and Amanda share a unique bond, one that unless you are a twin yourself is impossible to fully comprehend," Satella continued. "There are countless accounts of twins be able to sense and feel what their sibling is experiencing, this even if there are countless light-years separating them. You cannot wrong Adriana for having such a unique and powerful link to her sister. I know that if I was in her situation, I would be thinking of my missing sister, concerned and worried about her, each and every second o=f every day. That the energy wave made her thoughts become real over that of anyone else here may simply be because hers were more prominent or emotional. Have Misaki or Thor managed to figure what happened?"

Janeel paused as she studied the face and posture of the Chief Medical Officer who had just unleashed a tirade in the defense of the ship's Counsellor. Why had Satella felt so strongly about this? Why was she trying to defend Adriana so adamantly, and more important what was she trying to hide?  For the time being, the woman having taken on the form and identity of Amanda Lopez, the twin sister of Counsellor Lopez, did not appear to be posing any threat to the away team of their mission. Her sudden and yet to be explained presence served to validate the need for them t be here and investigate.

That said, Janeel would keep a close eye on the twin sisters and the Doctor who seemed bent beyond the call of her duties and responsibilities to protect a secret that only the three of them shared.

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El [Access Character BIO for Shar'El]
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M04-P014: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 1635 ("Mysteries on All Sides")
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"Mysteries on All Sides"
[previous post (World of the Real)]
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Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1635

Thanks to the modifications to the tricoders, the would-be invisible energy field had been given a shimmering effect, one that proved to be as mysterious as the artifact that should have been in the room beyond.  Through the mesmerizing liquid-like ripples of the field, the Executive Officer could see shifts in lights and shadows that gave the impression of movement. According to R'Lisi though, the room had been completely vacated when the quarantine was called and enforced, so there had been no accounting why the Commander had seen what she believed she had.

What had begun as a simple investigation into the presumed theft of an ancient artifact had quickly become something far more mysterious. The theory that had been formulated in order to explain the information that they had received had not been confirmed for the most part, in that the sudden removal of the Eye of Eternity had likely been the cause for everything that had transpired since. Explaining the energy field and its effect on anything and everything that it came in contact with though had been a mystery that was far from being solved.

With several Caitians locked in an airtight chamber suffering for an unknown illness that could neither be identify nor treated, the mystery surrounding the disappearing artifact had become that much more fantastic with the yet to be explained appearance of a woman that had not been there before. Added to this the relative jumpiness of the CAIT authorities, the situation held a great deal of potential to turn into something much worse very quickly.

As Commander Valentine scanned her surroundings, her gaze fell upon the two officers standing by her side. Lieutenant Mitshiba and Ensign Thorquelsson were both busy trying to make sense of the field and the energy pulse that had thrown them all back several meters not that long ago. The hope was that in understanding this, they would be able to start making sense as to how and why the twin sister of Counsellor Lopez had appeared out of nowhere.

With the mystery of the energy field and missing artifact in front of her, and the puzzle surrounding the woman who had claimed the identity of Amanda Lopez behind her, the Executive Officer had been left in the middle waiting for someone to discover something. Hopefully, they would uncover a detail or a clue that would shed some light on the situation and help them gain some level of understanding as to what was happening.

=/\= BASTET to away team. Things have gotten quiet down there, is everything all right? =/\= The Captain asked through the open communications channel.

"Sorry Captain," Sarena offered. "Trying to solve one of the many puzzles we are currently faced with, the strangest of all being the appearing of Counsellor Lopez' missing twin sister. Doctor Bruxa and Commander Janeel are tackling that mystery along with the sisters while Ensign Thorquelsson and Lieutenant Mitshiba are trying to figure out the specifics of the energy field as well as figuring out a way to scan beyond the barrier without triggering another blast."

=/\= Sounds like you have your hands full down there, =/\= Captain Iverson noted. =/\= Be aware that both the CAIT Medical and Science governmental departments are keeping a very close watch on you and your progress on this mission. There are many people very concerned and scared about this, fearing that the illness could spread. =/\=

"Imagine what they would be like if they learned about this energy field and its ability to alter reality," Sarena said, not at all wanting to see what the reaction would be. Given how nervous everyone had been before, this latest development could run the risk of creating widespread panic. "Please tell me that one of you saw that?" the Executive Officer asked of the CSciO and CEO, Commander Valentine having clearly seen something moving beyond the shimmering energy field.

"Sorry Commander, I was looking at my tricoder," Mitshiba apologised.

"Likewise," Thorquelsson followed up with sounding just as apologetic. "What did you see?" the Chief Engineer asked, his curiosity having been piqued.

The answer was delayed as Sarena stared through the shimmering energy barrier, trying desperately to get a glimpse of whatever it was that she had seen. At this point Commander Valentine would have settled for a small rodent or a banner that had become unhinged, but as hard as she tried nothing came into view.

"To be entirely honest, I am not sure," the Executive Officer reluctantly admitted with a sigh. The last thing Sarena wanted to do was to sound and act like the Caitians who were at this very moment surrounding the museum, all of them seemingly ready to jump at the slightest shadow or sound. Whatever mystery they were faced with, the need to remain calm and keep their wits about them had been essential, and as the one in command of the away team, the responsibility to show by example had been hers and hers alone.  "Might just have been a trick of the light caused by the shimmering effect of the tricorders on the energy field. I am sure that it was nothing," she added trying to convince herself as well as everyone else.

"Tricorders are still unable to penetrate the energy field," Lieutenant Mitshiba reported, sad that she could not confirm the Commander's conclusion. "We are doing our very best to make sure that we do not trigger another shockwave. Based on what happened the last time, there is no way to know for sure what would happen next or how we would be called to deal with whatever came to be," the CSciO added as she looked over her shoulder to the two Lopez sisters.

"No worries," the Commander noted with gratitude. "Take all the time you need," Sarena added as her gaze also fell onto the woman whose presence had been just as much a mystery as the method that saw her come into being.

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Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P015: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 01 - 1645 ("Confidence")
(Previous Post: "Mysteries on All Sides")

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32101.1645

Selene quietly sat in her chair, her gaze on the image of the planet being displayed on the main view screen while her mind reviewed everything that had happened so far.  The Eye of Eternity was a mystery unto itself, an enigma without an answer, and now it appeared that it was at the core of an even greater mystery, which had plunged the CAIT Planetary Ministry of Science as well as the CAIT Planetary Medical Center into a near complete panic.
The Captain's effort to ease the concerns of those in charge had proven futile, leaving both planetary organizations in the same state that they had been found in. As hard as Selene tried to make sense of this, the more she found herself unable to understand any of this. Why had everyone been so quick to jump to the worst possible outcome without having any reason or proof to support this way of thinking? Yes, something had happened, an ancient artifact had gone missing without a trace, and a dozen or so people had fallen ill shortly after, stricken by an unknown ailment. Still, why had both the leading planetary Science and Medical organization gone on full alert as if the future of the entire planet had been at stake?
"Still wondering as to why they have reacted the way they did?" Alexandria asked, the archaeologist having remained on the bridge following the departure of the rest of the senior officers.
"That obvious?" Selene asked in return, glancing over her shoulder at the woman who she had once considered to be her best friend. Life it seemed had gotten in the way of their friendship, but at least they were back to being on speaking terms.
"This would not be my first time dealing with the scared bureaucratic type. I might have chosen to stay away from people as a whole, but that doesn't mean that I can't read them," Alex explained as she came to stand next to the sitting Captain. "I remember you being very secretive with your emotions, never allowing anyone to know how you felt. I can imagine that it was a useful skill, one which helped you to get where you are today, but I can see that you are concerned for the safety of your people while they are surrounded by a bunch of scared cats."
"Being concerned for your crew is a trait that every Commanding Officer shares, or at the very least one that they should," Selene pointed out, making a mental note to be more careful in allowing her emotions to show.  "As much as it is an integral part of what we do on a daily basis, dealing with the unknown is never an easy task."
"You are not only dealing with only the unknown here," the archaeologist added, "you are also dealing with a fear that has been blown out of proportion for no apparent reason. I remember being on a remote Andorian outpost set in the middle of an ice world. The entire settlement was facing starvation following the breakdown of their hydroponics. Help was months away and with several dozen already sick, no one knew if any of them would make it out alive. Yet, no one allowed his or her fears to take control or influence others. Here on the other hand, a dozen people get sick and everyone else goes jumping off the edge as if the world was ending."
"Different people, different race, different way of dealing with issues, "the Captain pointed out, "The Andorians are not the type to give in to fear even when facing the worst possible scenario."
"True, but the Caitians are not known for being scaredy cats either, and certainly not to this extent," the civilian countered.  "I will admit that I have never had the pleasure of directly dealing with any member of the race before, but somehow I doubt that they would have joined the Federation had they been so scared of everything. My guess is that there is something else fueling their fears, but you already suspect that hence why you are as concerned as you are for your people. This is not normal behavior."
"Could the artifact have something to do with that?" Selene inquired. "I mean is it possible that the Eye of Eternity possesses a more wide-range psionic or even telepathic ability that would directly or indirectly account for this level of panic in the general population?"
"We know so little about the Eye of Eternity that everything is possible," Alexandria admitted. "The item is ancient; there is no denying that, so it is very possible that we believe it to be something that it is not, especially given that there are no records of its existence, let alone any possible purposes.  I recall reading something about an Iconian artifact once; it appeared as a simple cube that was believed to be part of some environmental control mechanism based on the complexity of the inner parts. Only when the artifact was accidentally placed next to an active power source that the true purpose of the item was discovered. It transformed and attacked the power source, draining it of as much energy as it could before completely destroying it. The artifact was not something meant to make life better or easier for the Iconians, but rather it was a weapon meant to strike at their enemies where they would be most vulnerable."
Captain Iverson returned her gaze onto the main view screen, her concerns for the away team having rapidly multiplied. What if the Eye of Eternity had been designed to be a type of Trojan horse, an item meant to appear mysterious to draw attention only to unleash a darker purpose once ready?
Selene had already contacted Commander Valentine to check in on their status, and with the open communications channel, she would know right away if something went wrong.  As in countless other times before fear was the enemy here, regardless of where it originated. To give in would only make a bad situation worse, so the Captain needed to trust her crew as she had done countless times before. The away team consisted of skilled as well as experienced officers, all of whom could deal with anything this universe could throw at them. Iverson simply had to remind herself that whatever was happening on the planet surfaced, her people would handle it.

Jessica Solarik

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer


Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M04-P016: USS BASTET: Mitshiba & Thorquelsson: Day 01 - 1645 ("Shifting Reality")
"Shifting Reality"
Previous post: "Confidence"

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1645

The presence of Amanda Lopez, or at the very least the entity that had taken on her form and identity, had served as a constant reminder of what kind of situation they were all dealing with. Normally, the modifications to the tricorder would have happened much faster but neither Halston nor Aaki had wanted to trigger another event.  As unpleasant as the energy pulse had been, tossing them to the floor like ragdolls, the possibility of something else being created had been far more unappealing. Instead of a long lost twin sister, the away team could find itself face-to-face with some bloodthirsty beast from one of the officer's past or worst still, a true nightmare brought to flesh.

"The more we work on this, the more I doubt that we were the ones who triggered that energy pulse," Ensign Thorquelsson stated, the disappointment in their lack of progress having been apparent.

"I am forced to agree with you on that," Aki said, agreeing without reservation with the opinion of the Chief Engineering Officer. "We have been able to cautiously affect the shimmering effect, meaning that our tricorder scans are having an effect, but nothing we do seems to change the power resonance of the field.  Add to that the fact that we still cannot scan beyond the event horizon of the energy field and I am left to believe that we were not the ones who caused whatever happened earlier to happen."

"That leaves us with one question," Halston offered with a long deep sigh.

"Who or what?"

A loud, blood-curdling scream made everyone look back at the Counsellor's sister who could now be seen kneeling on he ground, holding her head as if it had been ready to explode.  Doctor Bruxa stood over the agonizing woman with her tricorder in hand while Counsellor Lopez had also dropped to her knees to offer whatever support she could to the woman claiming to be her twin.

"Now what?" Halston sighed, not entire sure if he should be concerned for the woman he knew nothing about other than her claims, or be ignoring her to instead resume his search for answers.  Having decided on the latter after a few seconds, he turned back to face the energy field which instantly made him gasp. Without taking his eyes from the shimmering surface, he reached out to get Aki's attention.

"What?" the Asian woman asked, quickly identifying the reason for the man's locked stare and concerned expression.  "Was it something we did?" Aki quickly said, amending her earlier question.

"My guess is that whatever caused our guest to scream in the pain the way she did is also responsible for that," Halston theorized, the field having expended by several meters, making it now be well within reach of the two officers who had been the closest to it.

"Slowly back away," Commander Valentine ordered, following her own words as she was less than a step behind the two officers tasked with finding answers as to the energy field.

"Not the answer we were searching for, but an answer nonetheless," Ensign Thorquelsson offered. "There is a link between whatever is creating that field and our guest."

"Not much of an answer though," Aki pointed out. "The more we deal with this thing the more questions we end up with. I will say that this is very frustrating."

"Well, as much as I hate to say it, we'll have to resort to the old trial and error method.  We have to get a handle on what's making the field react, or we're never going to get the answers that we need.  Like you said; more questions."  Thorquelsson turns his tricorder back on and takes a quick scan of the field.

Commander Valentine throws a sharp glance at Thorquelsson.  "Turn that off, Ensign.  We don't need any more of those events."

Thorquelsson turns off the scanner, but continues to look at the readout.  "These energy readings look familiar in some way, but I can't seem to narrow it down.  Lieutenant?"  He turns the tricorder to Aki.

"You're right, but I can't put a finger on it," she replied, her full attention now focussed on the small hand-held device. Although the readings had been very familiar, the best the CSciO could do was to recall having seen something similar months ago but she could not recall where exactly.  After a few more minute during which she was unable to pin down as to where these readings had been earlier seen, Mitshiba handed the tricorder back to the engineer.

"Hmm.  I could have sworn I've seen this recently.  Since I've been with the BASTET." Thorquelsson goes pale.  "I think these look very similar to the readings we got EPSILON 358.  From the guide.  It's not exactly the same, but the technology that created that planetary computer in some way had a hand in what's going on now."

"You are right!" Aki exclaimed, confirming Halston's conclusion. "These readings are very similar to the background energy signature we picked up on EPSILON 358. There is one major difference though. Back on the planet that energy frequency was minimal, almost as if it was added to the planetary system as an afterthought. Here though, the same energy signature is prominent and could very well be the source of the energy field."

"As I recall we did not encounter anything other than the guide on EPSILON 358, a holographic entity sent from the past," Commander Valentine pointed out. "Are we dealing with another remnant of D'Arcay technology?"

"No," Aki quickly replied. "The two energy signatures are completely different.  We are dealing with something completely new. Remember, we only explored a very small fraction of that world Commander," the CSciO continued. "It is very possible that there was something else there, something that we never directly dealt with, and apparently something that may have had something to do with the Eye of Eternity. That is of course assuming that the artifact is the cause of this expanding energy field."

"Great," Commander Valentine unhappily sighed. "We just could not deal with something as simple as an ancient missing artifact that?"

Kenneth W Choate

Chief Engineering Officer


Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P017: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 01 - 1650 ("Sisters No Matter What")
"Sisters No Matter What"
[Previous post: "Shifting Reality"]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1650

From the first time Amanda had appeared to her sister, Adriana knew that the twin by her side had not been real, at least not in the sense of being a physical being of flesh and blood. The conversations and even the arguments the two sisters shared had been as real as those any other siblings would have had, and maybe that was part of the reason why the illusion had been so convincing.  Despite her professional knowledge as a Counsellor, Adriana Lopez accepted her sister's presence as a reality.

Kneeling next to Amanda, holding the once illusionary figment of the Counsellor's imagination in her arms, the twin sister seemed beyond real. After all of the times Adriana had wanted to just reach out and touch her sister, the sensation of their holding on to one another felt surreal. The initial pain had gradually subsided but still the twin who had become real not so long ago appeared beyond distressed.

"I bet you are enjoying this," Amanda said, trying her best to hold back the tears that continued to flow.

"How can you say that?" Adriana demanded, the twin demanded, her own tears having joined those of her sister.

"After all of the times I made you cry, I figured that you would be happy to see the roles reversed," the illusion made real said before reaching out and hugging the woman who had not hesitated to drop to her knees to join in and offer her support.

"Everything seems to be fine," Satella offered after having used her medical tricorder in an effort to identify the source of the pain Amanda had experienced.  According to the medical scanner, there had been no indications of said pain, yet the display, the screaming and the tears had been proof enough for the CMO to classify the event has having been real. Then again, given what had happened with Counsellor Lopez' vision of hr sister, what had been real and what had not seemed to no longer be so simply identified.  "Can you describe the pain that you felt?"

The question took both sisters off guard. Surely, Doctor Bruxa should have been able to identify the type of pain the woman had endured even if she had been unable to identify the cause of it.

"Doctor?" Adriana said, placing in question the woman's bedside manner. Could she not see that her sister was still in pain and trying to regain some level of composure?

"It's alright sis," Amanda said, adding a faint smile as she did so. "I will admit that it is nice to have you defend me for once, but I can assure you that I do not need it.  Remember back on the LANCELOT, I was the one helping you, not the other way around."

"Maybe it's about time that things changed in that regards," Counsellor Lopez stated before looking back at Doctor Bruxa in a challenging manner, the twin sister still holding on to one another.

"Adriana, could I speak with you please?" The Doctor said, her tone bordering on making the request a medical order.

"As soon as Amanda is feeling better," Adriana replied, dismissing her friend as if the CMO had been the one who was an illusion instead of her twin sister.

"Sis," the twin, who still appeared to be in pain said, pushing her sister away by pushing on her shoulders. "Don't get into trouble for me. I'm fine, or at least I will be in a few minutes. The pain has stopped and it no longer feels like my head is about to go supernova. So go. If the Doctor wants to talk to you it is likely important. You have nothing to worry about, I am not going anywhere."

Reluctantly, Adriana let go of her sister and returned to her feet, her eyes never leaving those of her twin as if fearing that the flesh and blood woman would suddenly return to the mental projection that she had been up until not that long ago.

"Adriana?" Satella asked of the now upright woman trying to draw her attention away from the twin sister and onto the CMO who desperately wanted to point out several things.

"Yes," the Counsellor replied sounding very much so annoyed at the woman for having taken her away from her sister in need.

"I need your help to calibrate my tricorder," the Doctor said.

"Of course, what can I do?" Counsellor Lopez replied, her tone having completely changed to being far more positive and enthusiastic.

"Just need a few details, such as at what age did your sister go missing?"

"She vanished at the age of 6," Adriana said, glancing over her shoulder at the woman in question. "That's means it was roughly 18 years ago."

"As I recall from your file, she just vanished without a trace, is that correct?"

"Yes," Adriana confirmed, the smile that formed on her lips hinting that the Counsellor believed that the nightmare had finally ended.

"You joined Starfleet because you were hoping to find a clue as to her whereabouts, am I right?"

"Yes," the Counsellor answered, her eyes still on he kneeling sister.

"Adriana," Satella continued, this time taking hold of the Counsellor's shoulders to make sure that the woman's attention would be on her and not the twin sister. "You joined Starfleet to find clues about the disappearance of your 6 years old twin sister who went missing 18 years ago. During that time, you created a mental projection of her to help you through the hardship. If this was truly your missing twin sister, would she make references to events that she was never there to witness?"

"But… I mean…" Adriana tried to argue the point made, but as a Counsellor for the BASTET she had to admit that had she been looking at the situation from the outside, she would be arguing *with* Satella and not *against* her.

"I know that you desperately want her to be your sister, I understand that need, but you cannot allow yourself to become so emotionally involved with her that you may risk placing the rest of the away team in danger," Doctor Bruxa firmly pointed out.  "Whoever that person is, she is not your twin sister. At best, she is your thoughts of her made real. At worst, she is an entity using that form to gain your trust for a yet to be determine reason.  I know that you do not want to hear this, but you must. She is *not* your sister."

"But…" Adriana said, trying to defend herself as well s her emotions despite knowing that her friend was right.

"Think about it this way," Satella added, "if you accept whoever this person is as your sister, you will give up on your search. That means that Amanda, wherever she may be, will no longer be able to count on you finding her one day and letting her know how much you devoted to finding her.  I know that this will be hard for you, but you have to accept the reality of the situation.  She is *not* your sister, but your mental projection of her given physical form. You have to keep reminding yourself of that."

"I… I will," the Counsellor confirmed, a deep sadness lacing her few words as it did her face.  "It was just so nice to finally be able to not feel like I was completely crazy when speaking to her, or better yet being able to touch her."

"After 18 years of searching, I can only guess as to how it must feel," Satella admitted, wishing that she could do more to help her friend at this time.

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M04-P018: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 01 - 1700 ("Hard Reality")
"Hard Reality"
[previous post was "Sisters No Matter What"]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1700

Although Satella had not lost her sister, she understood how the Counsellor flt. The Chief Medical Officer could relate as she imagined losing Drelna who was two years her senior.  The feelings might not have been the same given that they were not twins. Still, the Doctor could imagine how the Counsellor had felt for all those years.  Spending 18 years wondering as to what had happened was a sure way to make things difficult for anyone.

Doctor Bruxa wished that there had been another way. Making Counsellor Lopez face the harsh reality was not something easy, but necessary. The way Adriana had reacted to the pain displayed by the entity claiming to be her twin showed that there were issues. No one could blame the grief stricken woman for having emotionally latch on with such force onto the woman. Anyone would have done the same. Unfortunately, their current situation had made it dangerous for any one of them to be distracted.

"Commander!" Lieutenant Mitshiba called out, not daring to look away from the energy field.

"I said to turn the tricorders off." Valentine reminded the two officer. Without saying anything, both raised their respective scanning tools, showing them as being in an inactive status.

"Like I said before. I am pretty sure that we are not the ones responsible for the changes in the field aside from the shimmering. The field is reacting to something else, something that is most likely inside that bubble." Ensign Thorquelsson explained. Normally he would have been pleased to being proven right, but right now had not been the time for gloating.

"Commander, maybe it would be safer if we retreated." Doctor Bruxa pointed out. Although the energy field had not been shown as being dangerous, Satella had not liked seeing it this close to them.

"Let's back away and regroup in the other room. We can try to figure out what is happening from there."

The order was simple and everyone was more than willing to comply. That was until they tried to move and realized that they were doing so at an exceptionally slow rate.

"What... is... going... on?" Commander Valentine asked, her words stretching over several seconds.

"Temporal... dilation..." Misaki said, her words coming out even slower than those of the Commander.

Something had triggered the energy field into an unexpected and never before seen reaction. Instead of simply expanding, this time time itself had been affected. This of course meant that there had been no way for the away team to move out of the way as planned.

Literally fighting against time itself, the away team did its best to retreat to the other room. For a moment things seemed to finally be going their way as the dilation effect appeared to be weakening.

"Hurry!" The Commander yelled, the single word coming out must faster than even she had expected it to.  Just when their hopes had been at their greatest, the field expanded once again. This time though, it did so covering a much larger area that unfortunately covered the entire room. Before any of the away team could realize what had happened, they found themselves engulfed by the energy field.

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32101.1710

Captain Iverson had jumped out of her seat when she heard the Commander calling for retreat. The strange sounds that followed did not help ease the woman's concerns. Something had happened to the away team and as of right now, there was no way to know what had happened.

"The museum is well shielded, I will give them that much." Alexandria's announcement, as lighthearted as it had been meant to be, had not helped the situation. As far as the Captain was concerned, the away team had gotten into trouble and there was nothing she could do to help.

Every effort to locate or get in contact with the members of the away team failed. For a moment the Captain had even considered beaming down herself, but that would not have changed anything. As much as she hated to do so, the only thing she could do was to wait. The communications channel was open, and without any sensor lock on the team, patience would be her one and only ally.

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1715

The first time the away team had run into the expanding energy field, things had not been pleasant. That said, it was nothing when compared to this time. Maybe it had been because of the time dilation or something else, but the impact was brutal.  The strangest thing tough was that the away team had not been pushed, but rather pulled into the area covered by the expanding field.

"Status report." Commander Valentine requested, glad to hear her voice had returned to normal.

"I have no idea how it happened," Misaki said. "I can only guess that we were involved in a massive and highly localized gravitational shift. The time dilation we experienced fits what is encountered when nearing the event horizon of a black hole."

"Well, obviously we didn't find our way inside a black hole," the Chief Engineer added. "If we had, we would all be dead."

"I am disappointed in you Thor," Satella said with a wince. "I always believed you better than being the type that simply points out the obvious."

"Are you alright Doctor?" Commander Janeel asked, having noticed the woman's discomfort.

"I think hitting that pillar might have dislocated my shoulder."

"Pointing out the obvious Doctor," Thor snickered back, pointing to the woman's shoulder with a nod of his head. One did not need to be a Doctor to see that the joint in question had indeed been well out of its normal place.

"See what you can do to help," Commander Valentine said to Misaki and Halston as she reached up for her communicator. "Away team to BASTET."

"Communications won't work here," the twin sister of Counsellor Lopez calmly announced.

"How do you know that?" Adriana inquired,

"I don't know. I just do," was the woman's cryptic reply.

"Anyone seen R'Lisi?" Commander Janeel asked while Ensign Thorquelsson and Lieutenant Mitshiba assisted with Doctor Bruxa's dislocated shoulder.

"He was the first to make it to the other room," Counsellor Lopez stated. "By the looks of things, he's the only one who did and avoided the expanding energy field."

"Away team to Captain Iverson. Come in BASTET. Can you hear us?" the First Officer said, trying once again to contact the ship.

"It won't work," the twin sister announced with even more certainty than before.

"Mind explaining why and how you are so certain of this?" The Commander asked, not at all impressed by anything that had happened.

"Commander," Satella jumped in in with, pointing with her good arm. With everyone's attention on someone else, the Doctor had been the only one in a position to see the oddity. To call what she had seen an oddity had been a grave understatement.

Floating in mid air, a rapidly spinning sphere could be seen, one that resembled very closely to the artifact that had been reported as missing. Of course, the fact that it was spinning in the air had been odd enough, but the shimmering waves of energy coming from it at a steady interval proved to be even more surprising.

"Looks like we found our stolen artifact," Commander Janeel said, shocked by the discovery.

"Obviously, it was not stolen," Thorquelsson chuckled as he glanced over to the injured Doctor.  Yes, he had once again pointed out the obvious, and as long as it annoyed the good Doctor, he would continue to do so. "That said, I am not entirely sure that it's a simple artifact either."

"So what is it?" Satella asked, having momentarily forgotten about her dislocated shoulder or the pain it was causing her.

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P019: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 1725 ("The Darker Side")
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"The Darker Side"
[previous post (Hard Reality)]
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Setting: CAIT, Museum, inside the energy field
Stardate: 32101.1725

Although their surroundings appeared just like the rest of the museum, there was something colder, darker about the space contained within the energy field which ad expanded to engulf the away team.  With the floating and spinning artifact in front of them, and the edge of the energy field behind their current position, the Executive Officer was left with a simple yet demanding question. Which way to go?

With their communications link to the BASTET no longer functioning, returning to the relative safety of the other side of the energy barrier had taken the lead as to which course to follow. Dealing with the artifact that seemed to be cause of all this had been their primary objective, one that literally now stood within reach.

"Lieutenant Lopez," Sarena said as she turned to look at gathered officers. "As soon as Doctor Bruxa is able to, please escort her back through the energy field. Your sister can assist you in this task.  Lieutenant Mitshiba and Ensign Thorquelsson will remain here with me as we try to figure out what this thing is and how to stop it.  As soon as you are outside of the field, please contact the BASTET and relay our situation to the Captain."

The twin sister, who appeared to know far more about this entire situation than she even herself realized, had been ready to argue the orders given. That was until Adriana reached out and took hold of the woman's arm in a gentle yet assertive manner.  The shaking of her head which followed made it clear to the entity claiming to be her twin that any sort of argument would not change anything, and in fact would only make things worse.

"Sorry Doctor," Halston said, the Engineer having made his way around the injured woman.

"Sorry for what Thor?" Satella asked in return, taking the opportunity to tease the man once again with he nickname he was not overly fond of.

"This," he added as he forced the Doctor's shoulder back into its socket causing the woman to yelp in pain.  "She's all yours Counsellor," Halston stated after having confirmed that the procedure had been successful.

With that situation taken care of, the Chief Engineer and Chief Science Officer returned to the Executive Officer's side to explore their options on dealing with the next problem.

"The energy being generated by that artifact is tangible," Mitshiba pointed out as she stood next to he Executive Officer.  "When you are not paying attention to it, the waves are not strong enough to be noticed, but looking at the artifact and seeing the waves actually being created, I can definitely feel them passing over me."

"Without better equipment, there is no way for us to get a sense as to what possible effects these energy waves have," Thorquelsson added. We need to get detailed readings and send them to the BASTET were a more in-depth analysis can be performed.  I would be best if both Misaki and I were there to supervise this, but if we have to stay on the planet at least our respective departments would be able to take care of the analysis and report back their findings."

"It is not like we have many options," Sarena sighed. "Start collecting the data you need. As soon as you are both done, we will join the others outside of the energy field."

"That may not be as easy as it sounds," Counselor Lopez announced as the twins returned with the Doctor. "We could not find the edge of the energy field."

"What do you mean you could not find the edge?" Lieutenant Mitshiba gasped, quickly opening her tricorder and rushing past the three women to where the edge of the field had been when they were pulled in.

"Could the field have continued to expand?" Commander Valentine guessed.

"Impossible to tell," Ensign Thorquelsson replied. "We simply do not have the data needed to be able to make any sort of hypothesis as to what happened or is continuing to happen."

"Are we trapped inside the field?" Adriana asked as she looked at the woman who had claimed the identity of her lost twin. It was evident that the woman knew a great deal about what was happening, and maybe she would be able to answer the question not having realised up until that moment that the answer had been within her.

"I don't know," Amanda sadly announced.  "I have no idea how I knew that you would be unable to communicate with your ship, but believe me, I know nothing about this energy field or with the spinning ball that seems to be the cause of it.  This whole thing is just as much a mystery to me as it is to you."

"You will forgive me if I do not entirely believe you," Sarena said, the Executive Officer unable to find it within her to trust the woman who had appeared out of nowhere to claim the role of their Counsellor's missing twin sister.  "As far as I am concerned, you are just as much a potential threat as that thing over there," she added pointing to the floating, spinning artifact.

"Commander," Adriana jumped in to defend her sister. "I understand your skepticism but there is no need to be hostile towards her. Since her arrival, she has done nothing but help.  Maybe she is not who she appears or claims to be, but she has done nothing to place any of us in any sort of danger."

"The day is still young," the Commander and lead officer of the away team countered before shifting her attention to the returning Chief Science Officer.

"There is no discernible edge to be found," Misaki announced as she rejoined the group. "I walked all the way back to the previous room and scanned up to the main entrance.  I could neither see nor detect anything that points to the energy waves being generated by the artifact to have an outer limit. This of course makes no sense as we saw and felt the event horizon twice.  Even if the field had continued to expand, I should have been able to detect it if not walk through it."

"Maybe the field is more than just an energy barrier," the Chief Engineer suggested. "Although we could not scan through the event horizon, we could see through it and yet we did not see the artifact until after we were pulled inside. What if the generated field is actually a dimensional shift of some sort? It would explain why the artifact appeared to have vanished and why those who passed through it when it was weaker saw their bodies affected in a way that lead them to become ill.  Either because of our instruments or because more time had passed, the field became stronger making it possible to pass through it edge and be transported to wherever this place is."

"Looks like we made it to the darker side of the mirror," Adriana sighed, not liking what she had heard from Ensign Thorquelsson.

"Darker side of the mirror or not," Commander Valentine said as she turned her complete attention back onto the floating, spinning artifact, "we have to figure this thing out if we ever want to get back to the BASTET."

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Great posting everyone. The mission is taking on a nice spin and we still have a great many number of questions to address. Is the artifact the cause of what happened? Can we undo it? Where are we and are we there alone?  I know that some of you have ideas already and I made sure to leave things open for you to introduce them should you so wish it.

Keep up the amazing writing. I am very much looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Details to keep track of:

Theft occurred on stardate 32101.0720 (ship time)
Medical symptoms began on 32101.1320 (ship time)
Advanced conditions noticed on 32101.1420 (ship time)

M'Trarr, male Caitian, 3rd Science Minister and poor soul who ended up being sent in to meet with the away team.

R'Lisi, male Caitain of an advanced age, Museum curator

CPMC: CAIT Planetary Medical Center
CPMS: CAIT Planetary Ministry of Science

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Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P020: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 01 - 1735 ("Force of Will")
"Force of Will"
[previous post was "The Darker Side" by the Force-Attuned Karen]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1735

The Caitian curator carefully looked around the corner and through the chamber's doorway to see what had happened to the members of the Federation team sent to investigate the strange happenings. He had heard strange noises, like voices slowed to a crawl before everything went silent.  R'Lisi had expected to find them all unconscious or worse dead, but never had he expected to not find them at all.  The only thing that he could see was the still shimmering surface of the energy field that had returned to its former dimension.

Not wanting to risk suffering the same fate as the Starfleet officers, the Caitian remain mostly hidden behind the large doorframe, silently asking himself a single question.

"Where are they?"

Setting: CAIT, Museum, inside the energy field
Stardate: 32101.1735

Leading the small team comprised of Lieutenant Mitshiba and Ensign Thorquelsson, Commander Valentine approached the floating artifact trying not to look at it too much. The manner with which it spun so rapidly could make anyone feel nauseous, so the three officers kept their gazes down as they pushed their way through the increasingly more powerful energy waves.

"We may not be able to actually reach the Eye," Misaki announced following the latest wave to pass over them. "If these waves continue to increase at this rate, we will be forcefully pushed back well before getting close enough to touch the artifact."

"We have to try," Halston pointed out. "We may have to time our steps to be in between the waves, but I'm pretty sure that we can do it.  We can't give up before having tried. I for one would like to get back to the ship and not be stuck here, where ever here is."

As another wave of energy was sent out by the spinning artifact floating a few meters above the floor of the museum, something appeared directly in the path of the three officers. The creature, for lack of a better descriptive, appeared as a dark giant four-legged arachnid-like beast spawned from someone's worst nightmare. If the appearance of the creature had not been frightful enough, the dozen or so glowing eyes looking back at the three officers had been enough to insure countless sleepless nights to come.

The creature stood its ground, insuring that the advancing officer could not continue on their quest to reach the energy wave-generating artifact. When Commander Valentine motioned for the other two to try and go around the dark nightmarish beast, two more appeared, one on either side of the first.  When all three began to move forward, it was clear that they would not reach their target at this time, and more that they would need to retreat to reevaluate their course of action.

"They do not appear to be overly happy with us being here," Janeel mentioned as she watched the three creatures following Commander Valentine, Lieutenant Mitshiba and Ensign Thorquelsson, as if corralling them and the others out of the room.

"Maybe we could try and reason with them," Counsellor Lopez suggested.

"Trust me sis, those things are not the type you can reason with," the twin sister said prompting several quizzical glares to be shot at the woman. Given their current situation Commander Valentine did not ask the question that had been on her mind, opting instead to accept what had been said as fact.

"Set phasers to maximum stun," Valentine ordered as she reached for her side arm, everyone else with the exception of the Doctor and twins doing the same.

"My weapons is completely dead," Lieutenant Mitshiba announced.

"Mine as well, looks like our little trip here drained the power source," Ensign Thorquelsson added in a distinctively unhappy tone.

"Same here. Head for the main entrance," the Commander ordered. "We can try to figure things out from outside."

The away team proceeded as ordered only to come to a full stop a few meters from their new target destination as two more nightmarish creatures stood in their way.  As much as the beasts might have wanted them to be away from the artifact, it was evident that they also did not wish the intruders to simply leave the museum.

"I don't know about the rest of you but I'm getting a bad feeling about this," Doctor Bruxa mentioned as the first three creatures approached, being unexpectedly joined by two others, each appearing on either sides of the group forcibly cornering them with no way to make an easy escape. Surrounded by 9 such nightmares, the hopes of the away team to have a simple mission had completely vanished, replaced with concerns as to them actually making it out of this alive.

"NO!" A Caitain dressed in a full-length brown robe called out as he jumped down from the second level, some sort of laser sword firmly in his grasp.  Despite the height of his fall, the feline humanoid landed with grace, seemingly pushing one of the creatures back with the simple force of his mind as he extended his one free hand towards the beast.  "If you wish to live, follow me," he added, striking the two nightmarish creatures guarding the door with his sword causing them to let out an ear-piercing screech of pain.

With the exit now cleared, the unexpected rescuer turned his attention to the other creatures, making sure that everyone he had come to help made it out of the museum safe and sound. As much as many would have liked to watch the brave knight continue the fight using skills and a weapon the likes of which had never been seen before, the away team took full advantage of the opportunity to escape.

Apparently safe, at least for the moment, everyone studied his or her immediate surroundings. Although everything appeared the same as what they had seen before entering the museum, there was an air of darkness around them. This near physical darkness bathed everything including the cloudless sky above.  It was as if some powerful entity had dimmed all of the lights in the universe to plunge this entire reality into one giant shadow.

Jumping from the entrance of the museum all the way to the gathered officers in a manner that defied the known rules of gravity as well as the limits of Caitain physical skills, the robed knight rejoined the away team, his laser sword still in his hand.  "We can seek shelter over there," he said pointing to one of the buildings on the edge of the open courtyard. Again, many had several questions to ask, the possibility of this fight against the shadowy nightmares had made everyone more than willing to comply, even when the warrior's sword was turned off causing the brightly lit energy blade to vanish into the handed.

Setting: CAIT, City streets
Stardate: 32101.1750

Moving as stealthily as possible between buildings, the away team struggled to keep up with the robed man who moved with a skill and speed that could only be classified as being beyond normal. Aside from his obvious physical extensive physical skills, the man also appeared to possess some sort of ability allowing him to sense the presence of these nightmarish creatures, allowing him and those following to avoid any further confrontation.

With a motion of his hand, the brown robed Caitain opened a basement door at a distance, allowing for the away team to enter while he continued to insure their safety. Once he confirmed that everyone was safe and that they had not been followed or noticed, he joined the group securing the door behind him.

Setting: CAIT, Basement
Stardate: 32101.1755

"Is everyone alright?" Commander Valentine asked, not having had the opportunity to do so since their rushed exit of the museum.

"No injuries, although I will admit to being a little out of breath," Halston reported.

"Same here," Misaki added, shooting a glance at their benefactor who appeared as fresh as rain.

Commander Janeel looked at Doctor Bruxa and the twins to confirm their status before reporting back to the First Officer. "Everyone is accounted for and not suffering from any apparent injuries. We owe you our thanks for that," she concluded looking straight at the robed man who holstered the strange weapon onto his belt.

"I felt a disturbance and went to investigate," he stated. "I am just glad that I was able to reach you in time."

"What were those things?" Lieutenant Mitshiba asked, her curiosity about the creatures having surpassed her desire to learn more about the man who had saved them, at least for the time being.

"They are called Lokustaar," the knight who had come to their rescue explained. "They are creatures of darkness; moving and appearing out of nowhere like shadows. I do not know much about them, but I can assure you that they are agents on the side of night, caring for no one other than themselves. I have seen them dispose of others who have come to appear in this place, their methods are less than gentle to say the least."

"As Janeel said, looks like we owe you our thanks for saving us," Sarena offered, still not entirely convinced about the man's full intentions towards them but willing to accept what she had seen so far as an indication that he was in fact on their side against these Lokustaar.  "Would you mind answering a few questions?"

"I can imagine that you have many," the Caitain said with a smile. "My name of M'Jinn and I have been trapped year for what feels like years. The city that we are in appears similar to the one I came from although there are several distinct differences, as if reality itself had been changed for a reason that I have yet to discover."

"A parallel dimension?" Halston asked in a whispered voice of those nearest to her.

"Or some sort of localized self-contained altered reality with the Eye of Eternity as its anchor point into our reality," Misaki added, expanding the possible explanation of what they were now dealing with.

"How do we return to where we came from?" Commander Janeel inquired, not seeing the need to beat around the proverbial bush at this point.

"Unfortunately, I am not aware of any way to achieve this," M'Jinn informed. "Up until recently the museum was not a center of attention as it is now. I can only guess that the sphere found therein is the reason for their increased security. As I know not the purpose of the item or the range of its power, I cannot offer any more information on it or whether or not it is the key to what you seek to accomplish."

"It is the only thing we have to work on," Commander Janeel pointed out.

"Agreed," Commander Valentine noted. "We are going to have to figure out a way to deal with the Lokustaar defending the artifact first though," the First Officer said before turning her attention onto the robed Caitain. "You wouldn't happen to have a few more of those fancy swords that we could use?"

M'Jinn smiled as he bowed his head in solemn respect. "I am sorry, but the weapon you speak of is the only one of its kind here. That said, it would be my pleasure to offer my assistance in your quest to return to your home. Maybe in doing so I would be able to achieve the same."

"Without phasers it will be difficult to fight through all of the Lokustaar we saw, and that is going under the assumption that there are not going to be more showing up once the battle starts," Janeel pointed out.

"I do not know exactly how many of these creatures of the shadows there are, but I can assure you that there are several hundreds wandering the city as we speak, likely searching for us," M'Jinn stated.

"How do you know this?" Counsellor Lopez asked, glancing to Amanda afterwards wondering if the two of them shared some link with this place and its nightmarish inhabitants.

"I can sense them," the robed knight explained. "I am able to feel their presence, the darkness of their thoughts is impossible to miss. Luckily, they seem to not have the same ability thus allowing us to travel through the city unnoticed."

"Well, that's one advantage," Commander Janeel noted, not overly enthusiastically. "Not sure it will be enough to get us back to the museum or close enough to the artifact to even test a way for us to get back home."

"Do not allow your despair to cloud your mind," M'Jinn said, speaking as if echoing centuries of wisdom. "Let go of doubt, let go of fear, focus your thoughts and mind on the present. Do not underestimate the force of your own will. To believe something possible is to embrace that is can be done without concerns of failure. The Lokustaar, being agents of darkness, feed on fear and doubt, do not give them what they want and in return, you will achieve what you seek."

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El [Access Character BIO for Shar'El]
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M04-P021: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 01 - 1810 ("Clashing Realities")
"Clashing Realities"
Previous post: "Force of Will"

Setting: CAIT, Basement
Stardate: 32101.1810

While Commander Valentine and Commander Janeel worked out the details of a plan that would permit the away team to re-enter the museum and reach the Eye of Eternity, Aki found herself lost in thoughts as she gazed at the man who had enabled their escape and offered his protection as well as his assistance.

"Taken by our new found ally?" Adriana asked, the smile on the woman hinting that she had been in some way teasing the CSciO.

"As a person, I do find him interesting," Aki admitted, "but I am far more curious about that laser sword of his. The technology is like nothing we have ever seen."

"A Scientist through and through," the Counsellor chuckled.

"Yes I am," Mitshiba agreed wholeheartedly. "That is why I cannot accept what we have been dealing with so far. There are just too many things that do not add up," Aki explained glancing over her shoulder to see the Counsellor's supposedly twin sister.

"The artifact is is altering reality," Adriana proposed as she too looked back to the woman whom she wished had actually been Amanda, but Satella had been right in her perception of the situation. The knowledge that her twin had displayed made it impossible for her to be whom she had appeared to be.

"Altering reality is one thing," Aki pointed out, "all of this is something completely different. I just can't figure out what it is that e are actually dealing with.  The laws of physics that we know would make the weapon he used impossible. A laser beam cannot be contained, especially one powerful enough to cut through matter the way we saw that this do.  As amazing as that laser sword of his is, it is something that belongs to an entirely different reality, one that operates on completely different laws. I agree that we know very little about the Eye's powers, but one would expect changes in what we know as our reality to be somewhat gradual. That weapon is not."

"You two ladies talking about our friend's sword?" Halston asked as he joined in the conversation. "I would love to be able to take it back to the BASTET and see how it works. To generate a confined beam as powerful as what we saw requires technology that I have never even heard of," the Chief Engineer said in complete awe. "Imagine what we could do with something like that."

"Imagine how little we would be able to do *against* something like that," Satella joined in as well, closely followed by Counsellor Lopez's self-proclaimed sister. "That sword cut through those nightmarish creature like they weren't even there, which leaves me to wonder if there is even any type of protection against it."

"I guess it is to our advantage that he's on our side," Adriana noted.

"That is part of the problem," Aki followed up with. "We are not even sure what side we are all on or why we are now fighting against the Lokustaar for control of the Eye of Eternity," the CSciO explained, not at all pleased. "Yes I am a scientist, and as such I need more than the word of a robed man with a fancy weapon as proof of what it is we are dealing with."

"I guess that the fact that they wanted to kill us doesn't count in your books," Halston sighed in disbelief.

"The creatures we saw protected the artifact from beings who appear as alien to them as they are to us," Aki pointed out. "The only actual attack we witnessed was at the hands of our *ally*. How do we know that he is not after the artifact for his own benefit. For all we know the Lokustaar defended the artifact because their lives, maybe even their own reality depends on it."

"Then why bring us here?" Doctor Bruxa inquired.

"Satella is right," Adriana continued. "If we are the enemy here, threatening those creature's existence, why make it possible for us to be here?  Even if our being here was due to some sort of mistake, we should have met resistance the moment we arrived and not only after we made a move towards the artifact."

"That's what I mean by things don't add up," Aki admitted. "If the Eye of Eternity actually alters reality, then why have we been transported to this place. The energy field we encountered in the museum was very limited in range and could not have suddenly affected this entire planet to the point of creating new inhuman life forms and technology that is theoretically impossible by our known laws of physics. If on the other hand we were transported to another reality, one that the artifact is able to somehow bridge, why has this tunnel been opened now?"

"You are wondering if the Lokustaar use the artifact to open a passageway between realities?" Halston asked, now wondering the exact same thing.

"The other question is far complex," Adriana added. "If the Lokustaar did open this passageway to this and other realities, have they done so out of a desire to explore and discover or out of a need to conquer and destroy?"

"Unfortunately we need more evidence than we currently have," the CSciO reluctantly admitted. "M'Jinn is only one piece of a puzzle that we know nothing about. We came to CAIT to investigate a stole artifact, and now it appears that the item in question was not stolen but simply triggered creating a link between at least two realities if not more.  Getting back to the Eye may very well be our only way to return to the BASTET, but in doing so we may become involved in a conflict that we have no clues about."

"The Lokustaar are the enemy here," Amanda said as she looked at the robed man who had offered his assistance, "I know," she continued with a sigh. "I have no idea how I know this, all I can tell you is that I can feel it in every cell of my body. Those creatures are the real threat, not only to us right now but to this and every other reality they come in contact with."

Aki looked at the woman who had just spoken before looking at the twin sister who seemed just as torn as everyone else in this little gathering. Everyone had ideas, feelings and alas no real tangible proof to go on. All that the CSciO and the others could do was to hope that Commander Valentine and Commander Janeel were making the right decision in whatever plan they were creating.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P022: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 01 - 1825 ("Painful Realization")
"Painful Realization"
[previous post was "Clashing Realities"]

Setting: CAIT, Basement
Stardate: 32101.1825

The statement made by Amanda took everyone by surprise. For Satella, knowing what the woman who had spoken those words had been an illusion not so long ago had not helped matters any. Stating that the Lokustaar were indeed the enemy presented the group with more questions than they had before. How had the creation of their Counsellor's mind given form knew this? How had someone who had not exsisted in a physical manner come to know what she knew? Maybe if the pain of the reset dislocated shoulder had not been so distracting, Doctor Bruxa might have been able to come up with the answers.

"Do you have something to dull the pain?" Adriana asked, breaking the silence that had settled over the group.

"Are you hurt?" Satella replied with a concerned question. How could she have missed the Counsellor being injured? Yes, things had been hectic but that had not been an excuse for missing this. That her shoulder had been dislocated or not, there had been no excuse for this lapse in her performing her duties. With concern engraved on her face, the Doctor gave the woman a quick once over.

"Not for me, but for you." Counsellor Lopez smiled. It was a tender and caring smile that warmed the soul, or at least it should have. Satella had been so lost in her thoughts and discomfort that she had not realized how loudly she was broadcasting the physical pain she felt.

"Thor did a wonderful job in setting my shoulder. Unfortunately, that will lead to my experiencing some serious pain for a while," Satella explained.

"Not sure if I should be thankful for the compliment or concerned that I am the cause of your pain," Halston said in a half grin.

"You did what you had to, and for that I am grateful," the Doctor stated. As much as she wanted to hide her pain, Satella realized just how impossible it had been.

"You really should take something," Adriana insisted.

"I can't," Satella said glancing over to Commander Valentine and Commander Janeel. "Whatever plan they come up with, we will all be required to be at our sharpest. Any painkiller, even at its lowest dosage, would result in my not being able to think as fast as I will need to."

"Doctor, with all due respect, the look on your face says that you are not thinking straight now," the Engineer pointed out. That Satella wanted to be clear headed was nice. Being able to actual function though had been something that everyone else would have liked to see. "If we are going to rush the museum, it is likely that someone is going to get hurt. M'Jinn is good, we all saw what he can do, but he can't protect all of us all the time. We need our Chief Medical Officer to be there and ready to help. Not in some corner allowing her shoulder to distract her from her responsibilities."

"Ensign Thorquelsson!" Counsellor Lopez snapped. "There is no need t be so brutal."

"It's all right Adriana," Satella said, reaching for the Counsellor's hand. "He's right." Having said this, the Doctor reached inside her medical pouch and retrieved a hypospray which she immediately applied to her own neck."

"Feeling better?" Halston asked, looking at the Doctor straight on.

"A little lightheaded, but the pain is quickly diminishing," Satella answered.

"No worries," Adriana offered. "We'll stay by your side," the Counsellor added motioning for her twin sister to move to stand on the other side.

Ensign Thorquelsson laughed.

"What's so funny Thor?" Satella asked.

"Nothing," the Engineer smiled. Seeing the Doctor in the middle of a Lopez sandwich had been amusing, even if only to him.

Shaking her head while echoing Thor's smile, Satella noted something else, something that they all had apparently missed.  While looking at the Engineer, the Doctor could see M'Jinn in the distance. Standing in one of the corners of the basement, the warrior with the laser sword kept an eye out for the Lokustaar using a small window. When he was not doing so, his attention had been fully directed onto the woman they referred to as Amanda Lopez.  Something about the way he looked at the twin sister made it evident that he did not trust her. Although others had shared the feeling in many ways, the manner in which the man glared at her made his feelings perfectly clear.

Something about the Counsellor's now physical twin bothered him. Without knowing the group more than he did, the man could not voice his misgivings. As far as he had been concerned, the new arrivals to this reality considered this person as a friend or even more. Given that she so closely resembled another of their group hinted to a connection that he could not easily challenge. Still there was no hiding his dislike for Amanda. That was if someone actually took the time to look at the man while he studied the woman in question.

This led Satella to think. The man had claimed to having been able to sense the Lokustaar. Base on that and that alone, Doctor Bruxa could not help but wonder if the alien race had been involved in the woman's unexplained and sudden appearing.  If they were involved, be it directly or indirectly in Amanda having become real, this would change everything.  The Doctor glanced at Adriana for a few seconds before turning her attention to the other side. There, she looked at the twin sister wondering if maybe, just maybe, the woman had been in fact an agent of the shadowy race of aliens.

Her unexplained knowledge and method in which she had come to be had raised many questions. Now Satella found herself concerned that the answer she might have discovered would prove to be even more painful than her shoulder. Not to herself of course, but to the woman who had embraced the twin sister from the very start out of a deep emotional need. A need only the physical presence of Amanda Lopez, a woman who had disappeared at the age of 6, could fill.

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P023: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 1830 ("Best Laid Plans")
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"Best Laid Plans"
[previous post (Painful Realization)]
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Setting: CAIT, Basement
Stardate: 32101.1830

Sarena and Janeel looked at the plan that had been drawn in the dirt covering the floor of the basement they had been brought to by their benefactor, a Caitian by the name of M'Jinn. Everything about their situation felt wrong, including the mysterious man who stood by the window, his gaze shifting from the dark world outside to their Counsellor's twin sister before going back to beyond the window.

"He seems very interested in her," the ILO whispered as she caught M'Jinn looking at Amanda once again.

"He is not the only one," the Executive Officer admitted. "The woman knows more than she lets on and I suspect that he is aware of that fact. My guess is that he doesn't trust her thinking that she is working with those Lokustaar of his."

"You don't seem to trust him either," Janeel expressed, finding the woman's reaction rather interesting.

"I don't" Sarena confirmed. "Everything about his arrival was too coincidental, too perfect.  I feel like we are being played by both sides, and the worst of it all is that we don't even know what these sides are.  The unexplained appearance of Counsellor Lopez's missing twin sister was strange, and I was willing to accept it as something that came to be because of the Eye of Eternity. What I have a harder time accepting is her knowledge of the Lokustaar's mindset. In order for her to possess such knowledge, she would have had to be involved with them on some level. Since she did not exist beforehand, we can only conclude that the shadowy nightmarish race had something to do with her being here."

"So you believe her to be a spy working for the Lokustaar?" Janeel asked, wanting to hear the words from Sarena's lips.  When dealing with so many uncertainties it had been best to make sure of those things that could be confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt.

"To be perfectly honest, I am not sure what it is that I believe," the Executive Officer sadly admitted.  "You know me; I usually find the opposing point of view to that of the Captain.  My guess tough is that in this situation she would be just as puzzled in trying to figure it all out as we are."

"Actually, the situation is not as complex as it may seem," the Intel Operative pointed out. "As of right now we are dealing with five pieces of this puzzle; the artifact itself which by everything we have witnessed appears to be the cause of our being here. The alien race known as the Lokustaar who appear to have invested interest in protecting said artifact. Next, we have M'Jinn who by his actions and own admission fights against the Lokustaar, claiming that they are on the side of darkness while he represents light. Adriana's sister Amanda is the next piece of the puzzle, a woman who appeared out of nowhere possessing knowledge about the Lokustaar."

"What or who is the fifth piece of your puzzle?" Commander Valentine inquired.

"Us," Janeel softly chuckled. "As much as we not realize it, or even accept it, we are part of both the problem and solution to this puzzle. Without our presence here things would have unfolded very differently, all that we need to do is figure out to which side of the conflict between M'Jinn and the Lokustaar we need to be on and at what level we get involved."

"Like it or not I think we are more than knee-deep in this mess," Sarena noted glancing at the robed man.

"So, do we proceed with our plan as set or do we try something else?"  The question from Janeel had been simple, yet it carried with it far more than the words had portrayed.

Sarena sighed and looked at the woman whom she now considered to be nothing more than a Lokustaar agent. A few seconds later, the Executive Officer of the USS BASTET turned her attention to the robed man accepting as fact that he was at war with the shadowy race. With the away team literally caught in the middle, Commander Valentine found no other option than to accept the plan that had been created.  "Let's do it," she whispered before lifting her head to make sure everyone would hear her. "Gather around."

Everyone quickly took a spot around the map that had been drawn on the floor, easily identifying the museum, open courtyard in front of it as well as the buildings that surrounded the whole.

"This feels like a rugby ruck," Ensign Thorquelsson pointed out, trying to defuse the air or gloom that had gradually settled on them.

"A what?" Commander Janeel wondered, never having heard those words before now.

As popular as rugby was on EARTH, Halston had expected some of his fellow shipmates to not catch the reference, but in hindsight, the Chief Engineer should have known that the ILO would not have known about the Terran sport or its terminology. "Nothing important Commander. What's our plan of attack?"

"Given our clear field disadvantage and our lack of weapons, we will need to rely on stealth and misdirection to gain access back into the museum and the artifact," Commander Valentine explained.  "To accomplish this, we will split into two teams that will be lead by myself and Commander Janeel.  Her team will be tasked with gaining access to the museum while mine will be in charge of drawing the attention of the Lokustaar to make things easier on the first team."

"As I said before," M'Jinn offered. "I cannot protect you all, especially if you separate."

"We may not have weapons like your laser sword but we are not completely defenceless," the Executive Officer stated.  "With your help we will head to this point right on the edge of the museum's courtyard, hopefully without being detected. From there Commander Janeel's team will head to the near side of the building while my team draws the Lokustaar to the other side following our being accidentally discovered trying to make it to the other side.  Once discovered we will retreat to the narrow streets and try to lose those following us. If all goes well, we should be able to keep them busy long enough for the first team to reach the artifact."

"What exactly are we expected to do with the artifact if and when we actually get to it?" Lieutenant Mitshiba inquired.

"Best case scenario is to capture it in the hopes that we can find a way to use it to return us all back to our respective reality," Valentine explained.

"Even if you managed to draw half of the Lokustaar away, the team forcing its way into the museum will still need to face the other half," M'Jinn said, thinking that he had pointed out the most visible flaw in the suggested plan.

"That is why you will be joining Commander Janeel's team," Sarena added. "She will need your skills and abilities to be able to reach the target with the least amount of confrontation. Your primary goal is to avoid being detected until it is absolutely necessary. We will do our best to draw as many of them away to help in you achieving this."

"Who are the lucky ones to be on the decoy team?" Ensign Thorquelsson asked actually hoping that he would be on the stated team, the Engineer never having been the type to shy away from a challenge.

"Commander Janeel will attempt to reach the artifact with M'Jinn, Lieutenant Mitshiba who will be in charge of figuring out how to make the artifact work and Doctor Bruxa."

"I may be hurt, but I am not an invalid," the CMO objected.

"The decision was not based on your current physical status Doctor," Sarena explained. "The unpleasant reality of the situation is that the team you are assigned to runs the greater risk of injuries. That is why Amanda will be going with you to provide another set of hands."

"You are separating us?" Counsellor Lopez gasped. As much as she had come to accept that the woman who had appeared to be her long lost sister had in fact *not* been her twin, she had not been ready to part ways with her.

"I am sorry but there is no other choice," the Executive Officer pointed out. "You are an experienced Starfleet Officer and we need to be more than two in order to draw as many of the Lokustaar away from the museum.  Since everyone else is required to be on the first team and your sister has no Starfleet or even any combat training that we know of, this is the only way that we can proceed to have the odds in our favor."

Although it was easy to see that the Counsellor had wanted to argue the decision, Adriana soon accepted the reasoning that had been provided.

"If there are no other objections, we can head out now."

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Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P024: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 01 - 1900 ("Poker Faced")
"Poker Faced"
[previous post was "Best Laid Plans" by the devious Karen]

Setting: CAIT, Streets
Stardate: 32101.1900

The journey back to the museum had taken far more time than their escape from it. Even with the assistance of M'Jinn, who somehow could sense the aliens able to become invisible, their progress from one street to the next had been painfully slow.  Each time the robed warrior sensed something causing them to take an alternate route, Sarena would give the ILO / Mission Specialist a narrowed eyed look.

The rest of the away team had figured that the Commander had simply been annoyed with the detours and the delays they caused, but Janeel knew exactly what those glares had meant. The plan explained to the others had been relatively simple, but there had been certain details that Sarena and Janeel had kept for themselves. With each detour forced upon them, the reason for having kept certain parts of the plan hidden had been further justified.

"Never thought I would actually be happy to see this place again," Misaki noted in a whispered voice as she and the others hid behind the corner of the last building.

"Might want to keep the celebrations for *after* we make it inside," Adriana added in the same whispered voice, her eyes scanning the open courtyard which now seemed to be so much larger than she remembered it to be,

"You are the ship's Counsellor," Satella quietly huffed. "Aren't you the one who is suppose to keep our morale up?"

"She was never all that good at cheering people up," the twin sister pointed out, smiling for a brief moment before meeting the cold glare of the woman leading the team that her sister was assigned to.

"Commander Janeel, stay hidden and give us a few minutes to get into position," Commander Valentine ordered, her whispered voice still coming across with authority. "We will do our best to draw as many out. Good luck." After having received an acknowledging nod from the ILO / Mission Specialist, Sarena motioned for the Chief Engineer and Counsellor to follow which they did but not before glancing back at the CMO and twin sister respectively.

"Your Commander Valentine is a brave woman," M'Jinn stated as he watched the woman in question leading the other two officers away. As much as they might try to remain hidden, everyone knew that they could be spotted at any moment, and without the ability of the robed warrior to guide them, the trio also risked running into a Lokustaar patrol.

"Now we wait?" Janeel quietly sighed, not envying Sarena's current position but understanding why they needed to carry out the plan as they had created it.  As they all waited, the ILO / Mission Specialist glanced at the two additions to their little group, silently wondering to herself if the First Officer had been right about them both.  Studying their features as well as the way they seemed to handle the situation, the Commander had called upon her extensive experience to evaluate each individual.

M'Jinn had been solely focused on their situation, his eyes scrutinizing the open courtyard with an intensity that the Starfleet Officer would have expected from a trained member of the Marine Corps. Next to the robed warrior was the twin sister who clearly appeared concerned for the wellbeing of the woman who had spent the greater majority of her life searching for the missing sibling.

Sarena believed that the skilled warrior had been after the artifact for his own purpose while the twin sister had been created to act as a spy for the Lokustaar. Without any actual proof to support either claim, Commander Valentine had been forced to devise the plan that they were now about to unleash.  All that Janeel could do was hope that the woman had been wrong in some of her opinions while at the same time being perfectly correct in the way that the plan would come to unfold.

"I feel a disturbance," M'Jinn announced, leaning every so slightly forward as if being that much closer would allow him to be more accurate in his ability to determine what was actually happening. "There is some activity by the entrance of the museum; your friends might have been seen by the Lokustaar before reqaching their target location."

Janeel sighed as she glanced over to the twin sister, the news having caused the woman to be visibly that much more concerned for her sister.  If she was indeed a spy for the Lokustaar, the woman who had claimed the identity of Amanda Lopez had played her role to near perfection.

"Can't we do something to help?" Doctor Bruxa asked, the woman concerned not only for the Counsellor but also for the Chief Engineer whom she considered valued and cherished friends.

"They are doing exactly what it is that we need them to," Janeel pointed out as a counter argument. "Allowing us to be noticed at this point would void any work they are trying to do. As upsetting at this may be, Commander Valentine knows what she is doing."  As certain as her words were, the ILO / Mission Specialist had to admit that she too had been concerned for the other team, there had been absolutely no room for mistakes if this plan was to succeed.

A large explosion brought one of the buildings on the other side of the courtyard down causing everyone with the exception of Commander Janeel to fear the worse. Quickly trying to regain control of her team, Janeel turned to face the others. "We have to move NOW. Head for he side of the museum, from there we will try and gain access inside through the front doors."

"What about Adriana and the others?" The twin sister demanded in a panic, voicing the concerns that had been equally present on the features of the Chief Medical Officer.

"We will have only one chance to reach the artifact," Janeel stated with authority and certitude. "We have to use this to our advantage or risk all of us to perish for nothing."

"Your Commander is right," M'Jinn announced. "Now is the time to move, I can feel the Lokustaar scrambling towards the explosion. Whether or not this had been the plan all along, it has achieved the intended objective, now we have to accomplish ours."

"Lead the way," Commander Janeel said, allowing the robed man to take the lead while she and the others followed closely behind, everyone casting a quick and terrified glanced in the direction of the explosion and the pile of burning rubble where the building had stood only seconds before.

Following M'Jinn, the team quickly made it to the side of the museum, the Lokustaar having apparently shifted their complete focus on the explosion and destruction that it caused.

"The front door is unguarded," the robed man announced, sounding actually surprised by his own discovery.  "In fact, I am sensing only a few Lokustaar inside. That explosion is proving to be more successful diversion than I suspect any of us might have hoped. If your friends did not survive the blast, know that their sacrifice will not be in vain."

Janeel had not liked hearing about the possible demise of Commander Valentine, Lieutenant Lopez or Ensign Thorquelsson even though she knew this to be a likely possibility, but their mission objective had for the time being not granted them to the time to grieve. Reaching the artifact needed now to be the one and only thought in their minds.

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El [Access Character BIO for Shar'El]
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M04-P025: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 01 - 1930 ("Dark Sorrow")
"Dark Sorrow"
[previous post was "Poker Faced"]

Setting: CAIT, Streets
Stardate: 32101.1930

She did her best to hold back her tears. The explosion had been massive, easily bringing down the multi-floor building. Even if the other team had not been right next to it when the explosion occurred, the odds of someone being injured had been high.  As the CMO for the BASTET, Satella wanted to rush there and help, but she could not. Running through the open courtyard would not only reveal her presence but that of her teammates as well. In addition, it was fair to expect that the area surrounding the collapsed building would be swarming with Lokustaars investigating the site. Even with the best of intentions at heart, the Doctor knew that going there would only make a bad situation worse.

Satella did her utmost best to keep her eyes focused on the person in front of her. She followed the group like a twig caught in the current of a river. Although her body had been here with Janeel and the others, her thoughts had been on the other side of the courtyard. That was why her gaze kept returning there despite her, scrutinizing the debris field with paralyzing fear. Each time she did so, it grew increasingly more difficult for her to hold back the tears as her sadness swelled more and more.

Doctor Bruxa never truly had to know Sarena Valentine, the First Officer of the BASTET, more than she did. The Commander had always been profession as well as passionate in the performance of her duties. That had been the extent of the CMO's knowledge of the XO, but it had been enough to insure that her absence would be sorely felt.  As for Thor and Adriana, Satella had gotten personally close to each in her own way, causing her to now to feel their absence even more.

The Chief Engineer had been an expert in his field and a man that she had found a great deal of pleasure in teasing. The nickname she had given him had not been anything overly original, but it had been enough to get under the man's skin in a playful manner. Satella had more often than none gone out of her way to use the shortened version of his last name, just to tease him that much more. Now, she would remember his name with sorrow, wishing that maybe she had not been so annoying to him.

The Counsellor had become a dear friend, Adriana having felt comfortable enough to share her personal dealings with the reoccurring vision of her lost twin sister. What made this even more difficult was that the sister in question now stood in a physical form by the Doctor's side.  Up until recently the best Satella could have done was to imagine the twin's appearance based on the way Adriana looked. Now Doctor Bruxa could actually see the image in question, wishing that she could trade the life of one sister for the other.

"Be sure to keep up," Commander Janeel said before the group began to move towards the unguarded doors. M'Jinn had reported that he had sensed the entrance had been left unattended and that only a few Lokustaar were inside. In order to take full advantage of this, the team needed to be focused and move quickly. A task far easier said than done for the distraught Chief Medical Officer.

As they climbed the steps leading to the main entrance to the museum, Satella stopped and turned to face where the explosion had taken place. For a brief moment she gazed at the rubbles hoping to see something that would hint as to the other team having survived the blast.

"I share in your concerns Doctor, but we cannot stay here like this." Jannel's words had been gentle, unlike her taking hold of Satella's arm so that the ILO could pull the troubled CMO inside and out of view. "We need to focus on our part of the plan. Try to keep your hopes up," the Commander added. "Sarena is a highly experienced officer. Halston is beyond resourceful, and Adriana is not one to easily give up. If there is any way for them to have survived the blast, they will have found it. Right now, the best we can do for them is to reach the Eye and secure it."

Satella nodded her understanding as a single tear dropped onto her cheek. Janeel had been right. If there was a way for the officers to find a way out of the situation, those three were the best possible team to make it happen. Knowing how skillful the engineer was and how driven the Counsellor could be, the odds had been in their favor. When adding the experience of the XO, Doctor Bruxa had to agree that maybe she had been too quick to accept the worst-case scenario.

As the group made their way into the museum, Satella notice something strange about the way the twin sister was behaving. More to the point, it was her lack of emotions that the Doctor found strange. Yes the woman had been nothing but an illusion until very recently, but still she had behaved as Adriana had expected her sister would have. That was until now, the twin seemingly unphased by the absence and possible death of her sister.

Maybe the shock was so much that Amanda had completely shut down her emotions, mentally closing in on herself. Such a reaction had not been uncommon for people faced with extreme traumatic experiences. In such cases, Adriana would have been quick to point out that people tend to fall back on personal memories seeking comfort. In some cases, individuals would go as far as to embrace a different reality to shield them from the trauma.

In this particular case, Adriana had no personal memories to officially call her own. Retreating into another reality had also been an impossibility since the woman had not been *real* before the away team had beamed down to CAIT. This left Satella to wonder a great deal about the long lost sister who had been nothing but an illusion.

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P026: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 01 - 1945 ("Making Something Happen")
Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1945

According the M'Jinn there was only a few Lokustaar inside the museum, all others having gone to investigate the explosion. The accuracy of the robed man's extra-sensory perception was confirmed by the fact that the team had not encountered any resistance as they made their way back into the building. By the time they reached the entrance of the room where the artifact would be found, the oddity of the warrior's power and become an interesting fascination.

With the Eye of Eternity now in sight though, the CSciO feared that their luck would be coming to an end very soon. Whatever had driven the Lokustaar to seek out the cause of the explosion would certainly not be more important than safeguarding the artifact that seemed to have a unique importance to them for a reason that had yet to be discovered.

Having reached the preliminary target, Aki allowed herself a moment to rest. The CSciO quickly regretted the seemingly harmless gesture as her thoughts took this opportunity to jump onto an entirely different matter.

Up until that point, Aki had done remarkable well in keeping her thoughts trained on he task at hand. The explosion they had witnessed had sent shockwaves through each and every member of the team, some more than others, but none could afford to be overly distracted by what had happened or what the unexpected event meant for the wellbeing of Commander Valentine, Lieutenant Lopez and Ensign Thorquelsson. Reaching the artifact needed to be the one and only goal in their minds, which as far as Lieutenant Mitshiba had been concerned had been the case, until now.

From around the corner into the room where the artifact had still been floating and spinning in mid-air, Aki found herself thinking about the other team. Had they been caught in the explosion or had they somehow been the ones responsible for it? Without been there to see first hand, and being unable to communicate with the others to avoid revealing their positions to anyone listening in, there was nothing else any of them could do other than wait and hope.

Aki briefly glanced at the others, trying to gage how well they were handling the situation. As expected, Commander Janeel and M'Jinn both appeared to be on task, each ready to do whatever was within their power and skill set to see the mission be successfully completed. Doctor Bruxa on the other hand appeared extremely troubled, the woman visibly upset by what she likely took as having been the demise of not only fellow shipmates but also friends. As much as Aki shared in those feelings though, the CSciO refused to give into them reminding herself that Commander Valentine would have wanted them to complete the mission no matter what.

When Aki's eyes fell on Amanda Lopez, the woman claiming to be their Counsellor's twin sister, the CSciO was surprised by what she saw, or more accurately, by what she failed to see. The woman appeared unphased by the explosion and the possible death of part or the whole of the other team. It was true that she knew nothing about anyone, with the exception of her sister, but still one would have expected there to be some sort of emotional reaction.

Needing to refocus her thoughts on something more productive, Aki pulled out her tricorder in order to scan the room and item therein.

"Scans are picking up nothing but the eye," the CSciO quietly reported.

"It makes no sense," M'Jinn immediately added with puzzlement, matching the Lieutenant's low spoken tone. "The artifact is far too important to them to have it so completely unprotected. We might be walking into a trap."

Commander Janeel looked at each member of her team, spending some extra time on M'Jinn and Amanda Lopez as if trying to figure out what each had been thinking.  After a few more seconds, the team leader returned her attention to the hovering artifact.  "Lieutenant Mitshiba, do you still have the frequency setting on your tricorder which we suspected of triggering the expansion of the energy field."

"It was not saved on the tricorder," Aki admitted, quickly adding an amendment, "but I do remember the settings as I wanted to make sure not to use them again."

"Perfect," Janeel said, her satisfaction at the news being offset by the seriousness of their mission as well as the unknown status of the other team. "I want you to use those settings and pump up the power to maximum. Right now we *need* to trigger some sort of reaction from he artifact. If we are indeed faced with some sort of a trap, hopefully this will uncover it or if I may be so bold to hope, disable it allowing us to reach the artifact truly unchallenged."

"I will see what I can do Commander," Aki acknowledged, the CSciO wasting no time to modify the handheld device to meet the specified requirements. The Asian officer, delaying her work for a few fleeting seconds, made an unspoken wish for the Chief Engineer to be here and assist. That desire was rapidly transformed into a renewed drive to make this work in a way that Ensign Thorquelsson would have been proud of had he been here to witness it.

With her complete focus back on her work, the CSciO did not see the intensity with which Commander Janeel had been following the Scientist's hands and progress. Aki had also been unaware of the way M'Jinn had targeted all of his extra sensory abilities in the direction of the artifact, or how much Doctor Bruxa was struggling to remain strong in light of what had happened. The Asian scientist had been so absorbed by her work that she also failed to see how completely absent from their current situation the woman claiming to be the Counsellor's twin sister had been. Success or failure, the woman seemed to not care in the least with either outcome.

Seconds ticked in complete silence as the work progressed and neared completion.  "I think I have it Commander," Aki finally announced, still in a quiet whispered voice.

"I would suggest that you hurry," M'Jinn said, not taking his attention away from the artifact. "I feel a presence approaching, one that I am unable to identify."

The gaze of the Commander and Lieutenant briefly met; just long enough for the team leader to nod her approval to engage the tricorder in its modify setting and hopefully trigger the artifact into creating some sort of event that would prove the presence of a trap that would have been set for this specific occurrence.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P027: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 1945 ("Surprises Aplenty")
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"Surprises Aplenty"
[previous post (Making Something Happen)]
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Setting: CAIT, Streets
Stardate: 32101.1945

The dust covered officers made their way through she shadow filled city, the dirty uniforms acting in some strange way as camouflage although that had by no means been part of the plan.  Still, it seemed that fortune had been in their favor as the team easily avoided being detected by any of the Lokustaar rushing towards the sight of the explosion.

Ensign Thorquelsson glanced once again at the location where the building had been not so long ago. Never had he expected the tricorder that had been set on overload to create such devastation, this in spite of having added the nearly depleted power cell of his side arm.  The Engineer had expected, with a fair side order of hope, that the explosion would be loud enough to draw some attention. What happened instead surprised him as well as everyone else including the nightmarish alien race.

"Stop being so proud of yourself," the Counsellor sighed, this not having been the first time she had caught him looking back with a delighted grin dancing on his dust-covered lips.

"What is there to be proud of?" The Engineer asked in jest. "The Commander asked me to create a diversion using my tricorder and I did."

"And the fact that you brought down a building in the process was just a nice bonus that you have not stopped grinning about since it happened," Adriana pointed out. "Would also like to point out that we almost didn't make it out of there alive. Had we gone the other way, we would have been crushed by the falling debris instead of just finding ourselves engulfed in a cloud of dirt and dust, which by the way was not overly pleasant."

"Look on the bright side," the Engineer suggested, "or at least on the less dark and gloomy side of this place. You have to admit that everything worked far better than we could have ever expected," Halston noted, again with beaming pride. "Did you see how many of those aliens showed up in a panic to see what had happened? Not only did they not expect there to be an explosion, but from what we say it was clear that they were worried."

"If their numbers was not overwhelming, that clicking sound they kept making was pretty close to it," the Counsellor admitted. "Wonder if it was some kind of sonar, like the type dolphins back on EARTH use. Would have been a good way for them to search the pile of debris for anything that did not belong there. It is too bad that Aki was not with us, she would have loved to see and hear all that herself. I bet that she would still be there trying to figure it all out."

"As interesting as this exobiology discussion may be, can we focus on getting back to the museum undetected instead," Commander Valentine snapped at the other two officers, still managing to keep her voice to be nothing more than a forceful whisper.

"Sorry Commander," both quietly replied before glancing at the collapsed building one last time.

Luck, it seemed, had still been well on their side as they made their way into the museum without any incident. Sarena knew that this would be the most dangerous part of the plan, not having access to any equipment or sensory skills to insure that they would not run into any Lokustaar. Then again, the Commander had not counted on the diversion t be so overwhelmingly effective.

With a gesture of her hand, the the team leader brought everyone to a sudden stop. The room in which the artifact had been located in had not been far, and to insure the success of their plan the team needed to remain hidden from all.

"There's the other team," Adriana said before being unexpectedly brought back by Sarena, who placed a finger over her own lips to indicate that she needed everyone to remain perfectly quiet.

"Now it makes sense," Halston said very quietly, nodding his head with understanding. "That is why both M'Jinn and Amanda were made to be part of the other team, you are testing them."

"Testing them? How? *Why?*" Adriana demanded causing the Commander to pull her back to insure that her voice would not alert the other team, or anyone else for that matter, as to their presence.

"As much as you might want to believe it, that woman is *not* your long-lost sister," Sarena explained. "Her knowledge of the Lokustaar made that exceptionally clear. As for M'Jinn, his skills are formidable but the fact that he is against the race guarding the artifact does not make him an ally that we can blindly trust. There are simply too many unanswered questions that we need to address before allowing either one of them to become fully aware of our plans."

"So you set this up not t reach the artifact but rather to test them?" the Counsellor asked, evidently appalled by the unexpected news.

"The plan was always t reach the artifact," the Commander admitted without hesitation. "Commander Janeel was in agreement though that we needed to go about it carefully and in a way that would limit the danger to the away team while maximizing our ability to determine what side of this conflict each one of them truly stand."

"So you believe that Amanda is a spy for the Lokustaar," Adriana huffed in indignation, not liking what had been implied about her twin sister whom in all honesty she knew not to be the person she claimed to be. For he Counsellor though, this situation had been much more difficult to handle and even more so to explain as no one here knew that this had not been the first time the sister had been interacting with her lost twin.

"You have to admit that her arrival was strange, both in how it came to be and in its timing," Ensign Thorquelsson pointed out.  "If the roles had been reversed and we possessed the ability to create someone who would be so readily accepted, we would have done the same to get the information we needed to stay one step ahead of our would-be adversaries.  The fact that we escaped as easily as we did may indicate that they wanted us to do so."

"She is not a spy for those nasty looking creatures," the Counsellor said in defence of her twin sister while still allowing her face and posture to reflect an acceptance of this possibility that had been in her mind for quite some time.

"I am sorry that we needed to do this the way we did," the Commander apologised without remorse though, the situation having called for certain steps to be taken so as to reveal the truth. "That is why we needed to separate you two," Sarena clarified referring to the twin sisters.  "It was necessary to have both Amanda and M'Jinn to be unaware of the true plan Commander Janeel and I had created. Now, we have to wait and see what happens next.  If Amanda is truly not a spy for the Lokustaar, then triggering the artifact to unveil any type of trap will have little effect. Either way, it is hoped that at some point the true intentions of M'Jinn will be voiced due to the fact that he is so close to the objective we share."

"That is a lot of 'maybes' and 'what ifs'," Halston offered, "and to be honest I am not entirely sure what we would be able to do following the discovery of either there being a spy or manipulator or both as part of the team."

"That is why I need you both to listen carefully to what I will be saying next," Commander Valentine said as she leaned in closer to the other two officers. "Each one of you will have a very specific role to plan depending on what happens next."

With undivided attention and in complete silence, the Engineer and Counsellor listened to the next part of the plan as carefully and yet rapidly explained by the Executive Officer.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P028: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 01 - 1955 ("Concerns of a Sister")
"Concerns of a Sister"
[Previous post: "Surprises Aplenty"]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1955

Adriana carefully listened to the plan explained in somewhat of a rush by Commander Valentine. As simple as it might have sounded, the Counsellor knew that timing and near perfect execution were the key to the successful conclusion of this plan.  That said though, she knew that there was another variable that would come to play heavily in the outcome of the plan, an unknown factor that could easily make or break everything in the blink of an eye.

While Ensign Thorquelsson worked on the technical aspect of the plan, Counsellor Lopez found herself looking at the other team, more specifically at one member, the one that was both beyond familiar to her and a complete stranger all at the same time. This had not been the firs time Adriana had seen Amanda as she appeared today, but it had been the first time the sister had seen her twin interact with others.

As much as she had delighted in the physical presence of her sister, the more time passed the more the Counsellor had to agree with what Doctor Bruxa had said. The woman might have appeared as her sister, even going as far as to sound like her and remember all of the events they had shared, but that in all honesty actually proved that the woman could not have been the real Amanda Lopez.  The sister had been separated at the age of six when one of them suddenly vanished without a trace.  To this day, the lonesome twin had no idea what happened, hence why she joined Starfleet with the hopes of finding clues that otherwise would not have been within her reach.

With all of her hopes and reams of one day finding her missing sister, never had Adriana expected to just have her appear out of thin air, which of course she had not. The person that had taken on the identity of her sister had been nothing more than the psychological projection of scared and lonely mind made into flesh and blood. The reason for this had yet to be fully understood but one fact remained uncontestable, the woman was not her sister despite her claims to the contrary.

The mention of the events on the LANCELOT as well as more recent happenings on the BASTET served to only prove that the woman could not be who she claimed to be. Having vanished at the age of six, it was more likely that Amanda Lopez would not even recognize her sister should they come to suddenly be face-to-face.  The reality of her situation proved to be difficult to accept, but Adriana had little choice in the matter.  At best, the woman currently on the other team and unaware of her sister's troubled locked gaze would be her thoughts made real through some unknown power of the Eye of Eternity. On the other side of this strange and alien coin Counsellor Lopez could see the worst case scenario in which the woman was a spy working for the Lokustaar and given the form she had to help her gain the confidence of the away team.  In either case, Amanda Lopez was not who she claimed to be.

"Looks like Misaki is ready to try and trigger the artifact," Halston whispered making Adriana realize just how focussed her attention had been.  Of the five people who formed the team in front of them, the Counsellor had been able to look at only one individual, studying her every move, her every reaction, all in an effort to figure out which side of the coin the woman belonged to.  As a spy for the nightmarish race, the Counsellor had expected to see some kind of relief if not joy at the possibility of the other team's demise; instead Adriana could clearly see a deeply felt sadness from the woman. If Amanda was indeed only a mental projection brought into the realm of physical matter, then how had she come to kow what she did about the Lokustaar?

It seemed that the woman would continue to be as much of a mystery as she was when she had first appeared. Whatever reason and powers had come to play in the twin sister being here, the Eye of Eternity had an important role to play, a role that the twin sister as well as everyone else hoped would be discovered soon thanks to the efforts of Lieutenant Mitshiba and the other members of the first team.

"We move as soon as they move into the room," Commander Valentine announced.

Adriana gave her sister, or at least the woman who had taken on the physical identity of her sister for the time being, one last glance. In some ways, the Counsellor wished that they would have been able to spend more time together, even if she was not truly the person she claimed to be, if for no other reason than to be able to actually touch her.  It had been so long since she had held her sister in her arms that she could honestly not recall the feeling of doing so.  In many other ways, the twin would be glad to see her sister return to the domain of thoughts and dreams from which she had somehow come from. To have everyone else see and hear the woman in the same manner as she had in private had been troubling to say the least.

As far as Counsellor Lopez had been concerned in this specific matter, it had been far better if the extent of her madness remained private so that she and she alone needed to handle the endless annoyances of her sister's presence. Maybe one day in the not so distant future the two sisters would be reunited, but today had not been that day.

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M04-P029: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 01 - 1955 ("Eye-to-Eye")
[previous post was "Concerns of a Sister" by the caring Marissa]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.1955

Janeel wanted to look back and confirm that Valentine and the others had been there, somewhere, anywhere. The plan created by the two Commanders had been set to see the group led by the First Officer rejoin the team of the ILO / Mission Specialist just as they were about to enter the room where the Eye of Eternity was located.  No member of either teams was to know the details of tis plan until the final act to insure that those being tested would not be aware of this fact.  As much as the explosion had been part of this grand plan, which was to create a diversion that would draw the Lokustaar away from the museum's entrance, but the strength and scale of the destruction had not part of the plan.

There had been no denying the effectiveness of the distraction though; following the explosion, the museum had been left empty. The relief that this unexpected turn of event had created was alas entirely offset by the possibility that the second team had not made it out of the blast zone.  Janeel had given the other team as much time as she could to allow Commander Valentine, Lieutenant Lopez and Ensign Thorquelsson to regroup as stated in the plan, the problem was that there had been no way for her to confirm the team's presence in he museum. While being so close to the artifact, the threat of the Lokustaar returning and discovering them increased exponentially with each passing second, so time was against them.  As much as the ILO / Mission Specialist might have wanted to give the other team even more time, the safety of those under her immediate command as well as the completion of their mission needed to take priority over the rest.

"I have isolated the frequency that I believe will trigger the artifact without affecting anything else," Lieutenant Mitshiba announced.

"Are you sure?"

"As sure as I can be about anything in this place," Misaki clarified. The truth was that anything dealing with the Eye of Eternity had been a guess from the start, and this latest dealing with the artifact had been no different. "The frequency is based on the current quantum resonance of the artifact. We might not be sure what will happen, but I can pretty much guarantee that *something * will happen."

"We need to act now," M'Jinn jumped in as he looked at the two women, his whispered voice forced to the point of extreme urgency. "There is a presence nearby observing us, so we need to act before it does."

"A presence?" Janeel repeated with a distinct hint of hope in her voice. Could this presence have been the members of the other team? The ILO / Mission Specialist could only hope. "Observing us?" the Commander continued unable to hold back her smile. "Can you identify this presence?"

"No. Not from here," the robed man replied after having tried to focus his ability to lock on the presence he had just mentioned. "Being so close to *that* is making it very difficult for me to sense anything specific," M'Jinn added pointing in an accusing manner to the floating artifact.  "What I can tell you though is that there is another presence approaching, a much larger and darker presence, and one that will wash on top of us like a wave of devastation."

"The Lokustaar?" Doctor Bruxa asked clearly nervous about the prospect described by the robed warrior, the woman easily suspecting that the dark wave mentioned could be a large number of the nightmarish race heading back to the museum as fast that their long, spiky legs could carry them.

"They probably realized that the artifact was left unprotected and are now rushing back to make sure that it is still safe," the twin sister of the BASTET's Counsellor said in a way that again hinted to the woman possessing a knowledge of the alien race that went far beyond anything that could be easily explained.

"Our luck is about to run out," Satella added, the CMO not at all looking forward to having to deal with any number of those nightmarish creatures.

"In other words, we need at act, now!" Janeel said, as she turned to the Chief Science Officer and gave her the okay to activate her tricorder and trigger the artifact in a way that would, if lady luck was still on their side, help them. At the same time, the Commander motioned for everyone to enter the room, making their presence known to anyone or anything that might be there. This was where the plan relied on luck more than anything else did. There was no way to know what tempering with the artifact would result in, or even if it would make actually a bad situation worse. Given their unique situation and a distinct lack of options though, this course of action was still believed to be the best option available to them if they wished to return to their reality.

The moment the tricorder began transmitting the selected frequency, the artifact immediately responded by visibly vibrating and causing everything around it to move slowly, which included the members of the team as they rushed into the room. The goal and hope was that by triggering the artifact it would in some way make any hidden Lokustaar present in the room visible or maybe even go as far as to disable them.

What the team encountered instead was not at all expected, although in hindsight it should have been as the exact same things occurred when the away team was drawn into this alternate reality. Janeel managed to look over her shoulder to see the three members of the other team rushing in, leaving the ILO / Mission Specialist to hope that they would make it into the field in time and not be left behind as the museum curator R'Lisi had the first this time had happened.

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.2030

The team woke one by one, finding themselves on the floor of the museum room. Everything appeared the same as when they had seen it last, at least for the most part as some of the smaller artifacts on display had been missing or replaced by others.  The most notable change was also the most significant as the Eye of Eternity could no longer be seen floating and spinning in mid air. In fat the artifact had been nowhere to be seen at all.

"Is everyone alright?" Commander Janeel asked, her head feeling several sizes too small. Whatever had come to pass had left her and likely everyone else in a state of extreme disorientation, this left another important question unanswered. Had *everyone* make it to wherever this place was or had Commander Valentine and her team been left behind?

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El [Access Character BIO for Shar'El]
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M04-P030: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 01 - 2030 ("Another Reality")
"Another Reality"
[previous post was "Eye-to-Eye"]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.2030

She was in pain. Her dislocated shoulder might have been put back in its place, but the joint had been sensitive due to swelling. Any abrupt gesture automatically caused the Doctor to wince in agony and with her medal kit lost in the chaos there was little she could do. The matter would be easily taken care of once they returned to the BASTET. Unfortunately, by the looks of things, that was not about to happen any time soon.

Following the trigger of the artifact by Misaki, the team had been caught in a new bubble. Like before everything inside this sphere moved at a reduced speed. Although their minds processed the events at the same rate, their bodies had no choice but to comply with the altered rules of reality. Like that first time they had encountered this phenomenon, everyone found themselves thrown around like rag dolls to wake up on the floor.

"You would think that someone able to create an artifact able to toss you around into other realities would be able to make it do so more gently." Ensign Thorquelsson said, the voice of the Engineer having been all that Doctor needed to make her instantly feel better.

"Thor! You're alive!" Satella rejoiced, quickly turning around to not only see him but the rest of the team led by Commander Valentine. "You are all alive!"

"Alive and bruised," the Counsellor said, meeting her twin sister's smile with her own.

"Feeling pain is a good thing," Amanda stated. "As long as you feel pain, you know that you are alive."

"Then I can state without any reservations that I am very much alive." The Chief Engineer said, rolling his shoulders to work out the kinks the rough arrival had caused.

"Sorry Commander," Janeel offered. "I should have expected that this would happen."

"No need to apologise," Sarena dismissed. "We are dealing with an item that is completely unknown. There is no way to predict what will happen."

"Speaking of which, where is the artifact?" Misaki asked, her visual search for the Eye having confirmed its absence.

"The Eye is not the only thing missing," Satella added. "When we were instructed to enter the room, I noticed a large odd shaped vase. It was nothing special, my eyes just having fallen over it, but that vase is no longer there."

"We are not in the same place than we were before," the robed warrior confirmed. "The dark presence I felt approaching has vanished."

"We need to survey wherever this place is," the Commander said. By the looks of things, everyone was well, so there was no call for delaying getting some answers.  "M'Jinn, Thorquelsson, you are coming with me. The rest of you stay here. Since the Eye of Eternity is currently not in this location, it is safe to assume that the Lokustaar will not be rushing in."

With the Commander and her new team heading out to look for some answers, Satella motioned for Adriana to come closer.

"Are you alright?" The Counsellor asked, seeing her friend in obvious discomfort.

"I am fine," Satella confirmed. "Not to mention very happy to see you alive and well. When we saw the explosion, we all feared the worst."

"You can blame Halston for that," Adriana chuckled. "Seems he's even better than he believes himself to be. That explosion surprised us all, including the Lokustaar by the looks of things.

"They were afraid," Amanda announced. As great as it was to be able to get information as to the alien race's thoughts, saying such things was not helping the woman's position. As both Adriana and Satella looked back at her, it was clear that they all knew that the sister shared a link with the race. A link that no one, including Amanda, understood anything about.

"How?" The Counsellor asked of the woman she knew was not her sister. Even with that knowledge though, Adriana could not help herself but feel a closeness to her twin made real.

"I wish I could explain. Believe me; I want nothing more than to be able to explain to you all how it is that I know what I know about them. To be honest, it scares me. Part of me knows that this is alien knowledge, that I should not know this, yet I do."

"There is a lot of things that we do not understand about all of this," Satella said. "The artifact is only one piece of a much more complicated puzzle. Just the fact that we have been transported into a second alternate reality because of it is enough to realize that we do know understand what is happening. Now, you said that the Lokustaar were *afraid*. Can you elaborate?"

Amanda seemed to hesitate. Certain that whatever she would say would likely further brand her as the spy everything thought she was. When she met her sister's concerned gaze though, the link between twins proved to be stronger than that which the woman shared with the nightmarish race.

"The artifact is present in multiple realities all at the same time," Amanda explained. "I don't understand what that means exactly. All I know is that they know of its power to alter reality and when the explosion occurred every single one of them were struck with panic. The sensation was almost overwhelming, especially given that they usually cause others to feel like that. For them to feel that way was as alien to them as they are to us."

"So the artifact is not theirs?" Doctor Bruxa asked, motioning for both Commander Janeel and Lieutenant Mitshiba to join them.

"As I said, the artifact exists in multiple realities simultaneously. No one race could ever claim ownership of it. What I do know, is that they want to use it and far someone using it against them." Amanda paused as she noticed Janeel and Misaki standing behind her, listening in on her explanation.

"The Caitians did claim that the artifact was ancient," the Commander offered. "Could it actually predate the birth of the Lokustaar?"

"No way to know," the Chief Science Officer shrugged. "Without a common base of reference as to the actual age of both the Lokustaar and the Eye, all we can do is guess and speculate."

"At least, thanks to the information provided by Amanda, we have a slightly better idea of what it is we are dealing with," Satella said. The Doctor might still have her reservations as to the real reason for the twin sister's presence. Given how she had come to join them and what she knew, it was to be expected. On the other hand, the look in the woman's eyes as she saw her sister alive and well had been enough to make Doctor Bruxa reconsider. Instead of looking at the twin made real as a ploy by the Lokustaar, maybe she had been a simple creation of the artifact.

With the Eye of Eternity capable of altering reality itself, it had been a valid possibility that Amanda had been just that. A reality created from the mental image of Counsellor Lopez who due to where they had been transported to had gained an additional link to the alien race.

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P031: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 01 - 2055 ("Chaos All Around")
"Chaos All Around"
Previous post: "Another Reality"

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.2055

Aki found herself torn between the information provided by Amanda Lopez and the woman who was the source of that information. That the two had been one and the same had only made things that much more complicated, but given their current situation, the Chief Science Officer had not expected anything less.

The scientific mystery of an artifact capable of existing in multiple realities at the same time was something that Aki desperately wanted to explore. On the other hand, the Asian scientist had also wanted to look into how the woman who had appeared out of nowhere knew so much about the Lokustaar. Had Mitshiba been on board the BASTET, she could have easily tackled both research at the same time, but thanks to limited resources and time, she found herself stuck in the middle having to select only one.

"If the Eye of Eternity actually exist in multiple realities, would it not be here like the others?" Doctor Bruxa asked, apparently puzzled by the absence of the floating and spinning artifact.

"There might be some sort of trans-reality quantum attraction that would pull the artifact to be in the same location throughout its multiple physical representations," Aki explained. "That does not mean that it cannot be moved though. It may simply mean that over time, it would be drawn back to the same location, this through influencing events and people around it to make it be back in sync with the others. The other possibility is that the artifacts follow a set hierarchy forcing all others to follow the location of the one set above it."

"You do realize that you are giving me a headache with all this talk of multiple artifacts and their realities," Commander Janeel sighed, while still managing to show a smile on her lips.

"Luckily for you, we have a Doctor with us," Aki laughed, realizing as she said so that the woman in question had no longer been where she was seen last.  "Doctor Bruxa?"

"DOCTOR!" Adriana called out, worried that something had happened to her friend.

"Yes," the reply simultaneously came from two different sides of the room. If that had not been strange enough, the voices that had been heard had clearly been of different genders.  With everyone focussing their attention towards the male voice, those who had stay behind were confronted with a strange sight. The group ped by Command Valentine had returned, with an extra member.

"Who is he?" Aki questioned, noticing that the laser sword of M'Jinn had been active, showing that the robed man did not trust their latest encounter.

"He says he's a Doctor," Ensign Thorquelsson answered.

"*The* Doctor," the middle aged man corrected in a distinct British accent.

"You certainly don't look anything like me," Satella pointed out, the woman having returned from her venture through the room.

"If I did, I certainly would not be complaining," the strange man said, flashing a debonair smile at the woman. "Lovely hair by the way," he added before heading for the location where the artifact had expected to be when they all had arrived here, branding some small humming, metallic rod-like object.

"May I ask what it is that you are doing?" Aki asked of the strange man.

"Nothing that you would be able to understand," he replied in a pompous fashion, his British accent only making the tone of his words that much more pretentious as he continued to not pay any attention to the woman who was following his every move with great scientific interest.

"The best we can gather is that he is trapped in this reality as M'Jinn was in his," Commander Valentine explained.

"The one main difference is that this one seems to be completely nuts," Halston added, rolling his eyes.

"I am not crazy," the man countered while still waving the small hand-held device through the air. "I am simply trying to isolate the quantum frequency that the artifact uses to keep itself at the same place. The more it is scattered throughout realities, the stronger the frequency shift becomes making it easier to locate those those that have somehow been moved to another location."

"Not only does the artifact exist in multiple realities but it is physically linked through them?" Aki exclaimed, her theory having been proven, in a matter of sorts. "What would happen if the artifact was moved in several realities at the same time?"

"Chaos my dear, pure and unadulterated chaos," he replied as he suddenly turned and pointed the small device held in his hand directly at the the CSciO. "You are from EARTH. Fantastic!" He joyfully announced in a very British manner.  Not giving Aki or anyone else the opportunity to say anything else, the strange man returned to his scanning of the area where the artifact should have been.

"I'm suspecting that this chaos would not be a good thing," Commander Janeel said, trying to get more information out of the man who clearly seemed to be mentally unhinged.

"When as chaos ever been a good thing?" He rhetorically asked as he continued with his investigation. "The artifact is a chaos engine, a very old artifact that draws its power from whatever reality it is in. The more the artifact is separated, the more each reality that the artifact touches is altered. This effect increases to the point of ripping open portals from one reality to the other."

"Wouldn't that cause a bleeding effect of the respective laws of each reality?" Aki questioned, her eyes wide opened in fear.

"Clever girl," the man grinned, appearing genuinely impressed. "You remind me of a very smart woman I know is also from EARTH. As for the effects, they respective laws of reality of each point of origin would eventually bleed into one another, but it is the physical matter that would make the journey first. Creatures and beings, such as the lot of you, will be able to travel from one reality to another long before the conflicting laws begin to affect other realities. Of course, once that happens, things are going to become exceptional interesting for everyone."

"Sounds like we have to find the Eye that is in this reality and return it to this location to avoid all hell breaking loose," Commander Valentine offered.

"Getting the artifact from this reality back may only be one part of a much greater problem," Aki pointed out as she turned at the strange man, who appeared uninterested in what the rest of the gathered people were discussing.  "How many of these individual realities are we talking about?"

"Not taking into account those that are actually self-contained inside a finite field where the artifact would not be able to be moved more than a few inches from its point of origin, you might be looking at 4 or 5."

"That doesn't sound too bad," the Chief Engineer noted with a sigh of relief.

"4 or 5 *hundred* my good man," the man clarified without any visible concerns. "Given that there are an infinite number of realities though, you are right in saying that the situation is not as bad as it could have been, then again I might be mistaken. There are simply too many realities to visit them all, even for me."

"So glad this was meant to be nothing more than a search for a single missing artifact," Doctor Bruxa sighed.

"Shall we?" the man asked as he made his way further into the museum as if he had picked up a trail of some sort. With little other options available to them, the team followed suits, leaving the latest addition to the team to take the lead which he seemed more than happy to do.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P032: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 2120 ("Back In Reality")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Back In Reality"
[previous post (Chaos All Around)]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.2120

To say that this mission had gone from weird to weirder would have been a drastic understatement. The missing artifact that they had come to find had somehow become an inter-reality chaos engine capable of rewriting *everything*. If that had not been weird enough, the away team had managed to collect along their short travel from reality to reality the twin of Counsellor Lopez, a robed warrior using a laser sword and a strange British man who simply called himself Doctor.

At this rate the Executive Officer and lead of the away team wondered what else could possibly happen, that is aside from the fact that the group as a whole had unexpectedly decided to follow the Doctor and his small hand-held scanner, if that was the instrument's actual function.

"There is definitely something strange about that man," Janeel whispered. It was evident that she did not entirely trust the Doctor, then again she had not trusted any of the away team's unexpected additions.

"I think he's kind of charming," Mitshiba quietly said in return.

"You are the Chief Science Officer of a transdimensional temporal ship," Thorquelsson sighed. "You live for the strange and unexpected. The Eye of Eternity has to be a dream come true for you."

Misaki grinned, unable to find any way to argue what the Chief Engineer had just said.

"Unfortunately, dreams have the potential of turning into nightmares," the Chief Medical Officer added, glancing over her shoulder to see the twins. If their mission to locate and return the Eye of Eternity to its rightful place proved successful, all of the realities would theoretically be restored. This would mean that Counsellor Lopez would lose once again the sister she so desperately wanted to be with. The loss would be lessen by the woman's own knowledge that the woman he had been interacting with had not been the real Amanda, but simply a projection of her mind made real. Still though, it would be unrealistic to expect Adriana to not be affected by things returning to the way they had been.

The Doctor, who had taken point came to a sudden and unexpected stop causing many of those who were following to bump into one another.

"Is there a problem?" The Executive Officer asked of the man who had retreated from he doorway as if wanting not to be seen by whatever was in the room.

"Guess it would depend on your definition of problem," the Doctor replied. "It appears that the Eye of Eternity has been appropriated by some old friends of mine."

"You are friends with legless robots?" M'Jinn asked having sneaked a peek through the door frame.

"Guess it would depend on your definition of friend," the man added in the old EARTH British accent that only added to his strange and weird ways. "Looks like they are moving the artifact to an alternate location, but why?"

"Didn't you say that the more the artifact in each reality is moved away from the location of the others, the more chaos is created in all of the realities?" Lieutenant Mitshiba pointed out.

"Yes I did, but even chaos needs a reason," he explained as he quickly looked around the corner to get another look at the robots and the artifact that they were moving. "I need to investigate this."

"What about us?" Commander janeel asked, not sure if the rest of the away team had been included in the Doctor's plan, which by the way he looked ad spoke they had not.

"We need to bring all of the artifacts back to where they where," he explained although it appeared that the man had been speaking to himself instead of to the others who had followed him here. "Restoring the integrity of the realities needs to be our primary objective. The more of these artifacts are moved, the easier it will be for the rest to also be moved which will create a cascade effect through each and every reality. This cannot be permitted," he added.

"You said that there were 4 or 5 *hundred* of these realities," Halston quietly gasped. "How are we supposed to make sure that the artifact is back in its place in every single one of them?"

"You don't," he giggled as only a British fellow could. "We all need to focus on restoring the reality that we originated from. If we try to fix one reality at a time, we will never be able to stay ahead of the chaos that will be created. No, we need to fix them all at the same time."

"Forgive my math," the Chief Science Officer said, "but what about the other 397 to 497 realities?"

"Leave those to me," he smiled as if the task had been something beyond simple. "I have a few tricks up my sleeves, well maybe not in this coat but I do have a few tricks that will help. You all need to focus on returning to your homes and making sure that the artifact of that reality is returned to the pedestal where is was when this chaos started. Get it? Chaos?" He said actually trying to make a joke despite the perceived seriousness of the situation.

"I could invert the frequency used to trigger the artifact in the hope that it would open a portal back to the reality we came from instead of moving us ahead to another," Misaki said as she pulled out her tricorder.

"That still leaves us with the problem of getting close enough to *this* artifact to be able to trigger it," the robbed warrior said, suspecting that being the only one with a working weapon he would be called upon to make this plan work.

"Just be ready to do whatever it is you do," the Doctor said. "Leave the rest to me," he added before jumping into the room and making his presence known through whatever verbal and physical means at been at his disposal.

"That guy is nuts," Halston noted.

"Maybe he is, but his plan does make sense," Mitshiba pointed out.

"There are too many variables, too many realities for us to try to fix," the Executive Officer agreed. "We need to return to our own realities and deal with those," Sarena said glancing at M'Jinn. Although alone, he possessed both skills and equipment that would hopefully tip the balance in his favor.

"DOC-TOR!" A loud, combined robotic voice was heard coming from the adjacent room followed by the sound of footsteps running away.

"Think it worked?" Satella asked, the room having become completely quiet.

"It did," Commander Valentine confirmed having looked around the corner. "Let's hurry, we have no idea how long this diversion is going to last."

Misaki rushed into the room, an opened tricorder in her hands. "I am using the inverted frequency that I used to get us here," she announced. If I am right, it should bring us back to the reality that M'Jinn comes from."

As great as the plan sounded, Adriana could not help but feel a tightness form around her chest. Would Amanda, through forces that they still could not understand, be made to remain in that reality or would she simply vanish back into the realm of illusion from which she had been born of?

Everyone began to move slowly, indicating that Mitshiba had been successful in triggering the artifact once more. All that was left to do was for the away team to wait and see into which reality they would end up in this time.

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Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P033: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 01 - 2140 ("Fear for a Sister")
"Fear for a Sister"
[Previous post: "Back In Reality"]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.2140

Although the slow-motion effect was disorienting it had not been all that physically unpleasant. That said though, Adriana still hated it beyond words for no other reason than it did not slow their minds. While everything around them slowed to a near complete stand still, unlike their bodies their minds were rushing faster than ever on whatever thoughts had been in their heads when the effect started.

From the corner of her eye, she could see Misaki holding onto her tricorder as the energy waves from the artifact expended to envelop every member of the away team. The Counsellor could easily imagine the Chief Science Officer's concerns about her latest set of calculations. Aki had managed to trigger the artifact once again; something that had almost become second nature to the scientist, but despite the experience the outcome would still be a mystery until after the fact. Adriana could see in the other woman's features the nervousness she felt as this time around the away team tried to reach a specific reality instead of simply escaping the one that they had been in.  Knowing Lieutenant Mitshiba as she did, Counsellor Lopez had been confident in their success, the woman being a shinning example of what a Starfleet Chief Science Officer should be.

A little off to the side Doctor Bruxa, unlike Ensign Thorquelsson who was right next to her, appeared uncertain, likely worried that she would suffer another injury from their latest reality jump. So far, the Doctor had been less than lucky in that regards and hopefully this latest reality shift would be kinder to her then the others had been. The best Adriana could hope for was that being close to her; Halston would be able to insure that the Chief Medical Officer did not get hurt once again.

The one person that the Counsellor had been more focussed on than anyone else, for obvious reasons, had been her twin sister Amanda. Looking at the woman who had been a complete stranger and someone she had known her entire life all at the same time filled the other sister with conflicting feelings that she could not bridge. Adriana knew deep down that the woman had not been her real sister, a strange understanding given that they were all moving from one reality to another, in which anything could theoretically become possible.

The woman had been everything that the Counsellor had expected her sister to be, matching every aspects of her visions to perfection. That alone should have been enough to make Adriana realise and accept without arguments that the woman had in fact not been the sister she had claimed to be. On the other side of things though, having her sister sharing the same physical world had been something that Counsellor Lopez could not simply turn away from. For too long she had interacted with her sister in isolation, the illusion only able to be seen or heard by Adriana, but now the sister had been there for everyone to see and hear. 

As conflicted as Counsellor Lopez was about this, one thing remained constant in Adriana's mind. She was afraid, very afraid. Yes, the woman was not her real sister, but over the short period of time that they had been together in these alternate realities, the illusion made real had filled a void that the twin sister had not realised the full scale of until now.  It was evident that there was a huge psychological issue at play; why else would one sister have been made to see and hear her twin all this time? To be able to physically interact with her sister though had brought Adriana's personal needs into crystal clear focus.

Be it her sister or not, the woman responding to the name of Amanda Lopez had been someone that the Counsellor would instantly miss the moment she would vanish. Even if the twin returned to being nothing more than a figment of her imagination, the physical connection that the sisters had rediscovered had proven to be very powerful. Such a link would not be easily broken and even less so forgotten.

When everything went dark, Adriana knew that the reality shift was in the home stretch. She had no idea as to where they would arrive to, and in all honesty, she actually did not care. All that the Counsellor wanted was to open her eyes and be able to see that her sister had still been there, in her physical form even if Amanda had not truly been the twin who had gone missing for so many years.

Before her eyes could once more pierce the darkness that the shift had forced them into, Counsellor Lopez quietly sighed to herself thinking that of all the officers on board the BASTET, she had been by far the one who needed the help and support of a ship's Counsellor. Alas, the best she would be able to rely on would be the understanding of her friend Doctor Bruxa and the knowledge that she kept forcing back upon herself. The sister, the twin, the woman currently known as Amanda Lopez had been nothing more than the hopeful dream of a scared sister brought to life by means that belonged to the artifact known as the Eye of Eternity.

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M04-P034: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 01 - 2145 ("One Step Closer")
"One Step Closer"
[previous post was "Fear for a Sister" by the concerned Marissa]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.2145

The landing into this new reality had proven to be just as rough as the others, everyone quickly picking himself or herself off the ground once the passage of time returned to normal. A quick look around revealed nothing special or out of place, which was accepted by all as a positive sign, especially given the uncertainty they all faced. By the looks of things and the placement of certain items through the room, the away team had apparently made it back to the reality in which the Lokustaar had initially been encountered.

"Is everyone alright?" Sarena asked, the First Officer and away team leader giving their surroundings a more thorough scan. The Commander knew that if this was the reality that they had expected it to be, they all could already be in grace danger.

"Looks like nothing is broken," Halston replied as he rolled his shoulders before helping the Doctor up onto her feet.

"We are both fine," Counsellor Lopez said, holding on to the hand of her twin, confirming that the jump into this reality had not deprived Adriana of her illusionary sister's physical presence.

"Everyone present and accounted for," the ILO / Mission Specialist chimed in following a quick head count, glad to see that they all had made it, including the robed man now armed with an active laser sword.

"Based on these readings, we made it back to the reality we were targeting," Misaki reported as she studied the readings on her tricorder. "The more reality we jump into, the more I can detect the subtle quantum differences. This reality matches the one in discovered after having entered the museum on CAIT and the artifact was triggered."

"Technically, this is still the museum on CAIT," Janeel pointed out.

"Yes, I know," the CSciO offered in return. "We are in a building set on a planet that exists in a parallel reality to our own, and based on the extent of the similarities, it is a safe conclusion to say that this reality and our own are very close to one another when considering the multi-verse we have managed to find our way into."

"Looks like you should not have said that Commander," Ensign Thorquelsson briefly chuckled, having found Lieutenant Mitshiba's explanation rather amusing as well as informative.

"Our objective is to make our way back to the artifact and return to our own reality," Commander Valentine stated, wanting everyone to focus and be aware of what needed to be done. With everything happening around them, it would be too easy for anyone to be sidetracked by the unique situation they had been in the middle of.

"The advantage is that we know where the Eye is in this reality," the ILO / Mission Specialist pointed out as she looked at the doorway that would lead them in the right direction.

"The disadvantage is that the artifact will likely be heavily guarded once more by those nightmarish creatures," Adriana said glancing over to her sister who nodded in agreement. Although no one had yet been able to explain the link between the twin made real and the Lokustaar, there had been no denying that the sister possessed knowledge that no one else in the group did.

"Your goal is to return to your home," M'Jinn stated, the robbed man remaining as calm as ever while at the same time appearing to be ready to jump into action at a moment's notice. "Concern yourselves with only that, i will take care of those nightmarish beasts and make sure that you have a clear path to the artifact."

"We cannot ask you to place your life at risk for us," Doctor Bruxa stated. Although little had been known about the Caitian warrior, it had been clear that he was a being of honor, someone who they could could on in whatever reality they would be in.

"The Doctor is right," Commander Valentine added. "You have already place your life in danger for us; we cannot ask you to do more than you already have."

"You are not asking," M'Jinn said with a smile indicating that he would act as he had stated regardless of what would be said. His own code of conduct made what he needed to do clear and beyond any contestation. "This is my reality and I will do everything possible to make sure that you all return to yours."

Janeel had to admit in silence to herself that she would miss the robbed Caitian. There had been something noble about him, like the knights of old mentioned throughout EARTH's ancient lore.  The ILO / Mission Specialist glanced at the other members of the away team to see their reactions to the warrior's announcement. The Commander could see that both Mitshiba and Thorquelsson wanted to have more time with the strange man, not because of him but rather because of the technology that had been at his disposal.

The most emotional reaction came from Counsellor Lopez. The reason for this was not because of what M'Jinn had said or for what he would be doing, but for a much more personal reason. For the away team to return to their reality of origin likely meant that her sister would be no more. If this reality was the true home of the illusion made real, travelling back would most certain relinquish Amanda back to her previous state.

Janeel could see the conflict in the Latino woman's eyes. In a way, Adriana wanted for her sister to remain as she now was, but the Counsellor also knew that the physical representation of Amanda Lopez had not been her real sister. In the end, the troubled twin would have to accept what would come to pass, whatever that may be.

"Thank you," Sarena graciously said to the robbed man, all too aware that the away team would not have been able to easily reach the artifact without the warrior's help and skills. "We will not have a lot of time," Commander Valentine announced to everyone else. "We will need to be as close to the artifact as possible when it is triggered. Lieutenant Mitshiba, how long do you need?"

"I am ready now Commander," the CSciO reported, the opened tricoder having already been programmed to repeat the process that had brought them back to this reality, one step closer to their home.

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El [Access Character BIO for Shar'El]
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M04-P035: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 01 - 2150 ("Real Feeling")
"Real Feeling"
[previous post was "One Step Closer"]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.2150

There was no doubt about it, they were back. There was something about this particular reality that made Satella feel uneasy. Even the hair at the back of her neck responded to this place by standing on end. The best the Doctor could do to explain this was that this reality was nothing short of a nightmare given form. The way those living shadows appeared had helped matters any.

"You're trembling," Halston pointed out in a whispered voice.

"I'm cold," Satella countered in the same whispered tone, hiding her hands as best she could. As a physician, she knew that her feeling cold had not been caused by a change in temperature. Her body had reacted to a psychological trigger instead of an environmental one. What was she supposed to do? Admit to the Chief Engineer that she had been scared? Unlikely.

M'Jinn and Commander Valentine had taken the lead, closely followed by Mitshiba. The robbed knight and scientist had been the key to them getting back to their own reality. Everyone else just followed, remaining as quiet as they could. No one wanted to run into the Lokustaar if it could be helped.

"Thor?" Satella quietly gasped, looking at the Chief Engineering in shock. "What are you doing?" She demanded in a forced whispered voice. Th Doctor's eyes glanced at the Engineer's hands now on her arms before quickly going back to his eyes.

"You're trembling," he repeated in a calm and steady voice. "If the Lokustaar don't hear us, they sure will feel the vibration you are creating."

Satella glared at the man through narrowed eyes. She was not sure if he had been using this as an excuse to hold her this way or if he had been serious. After having calmed herself a little, Doctor Bruxa realised that he had been right. Her body had bee trembling a great deal. Glancing at Mitshiba, the CMO wondered how the tricoder of the CSciO had not picked up on what would have most certainly registered on some seismological sensor.

"I'm sorry," Satella offered. Maybe Halston had wanted nothing else than to help steady the Doctor. Maybe he had wanted to take this opportunity to get closer to her while keeping a certain professional dignity. Maybe he had just wanted to set a precedent that would put the woman at ease. That way, the next time he took hold of her like this, she would not fight him as he tossed her out the nearest airlock. Whatever his motives had been, Doctor Bruxa graciously smiled at the Engineer for what he had done.

The group came to an unexpected halt, M'Jinn having completely stopped moving. Silence spread through the members of the away team, no one daring to allow the simplest sound to escape. They might not have known a great deal about the robbed man, but they knew enough. His extrasensory perception along with his combat skills with the laser sword made him someone to follow, not challenge.

"This is where we part ways," M'Jinn whispered to Commander Valentine before turning to face the others. "It was a honor to fight by your side. May the forces of the universe guide you back to your own reality safely. Maybe one, in some other reality, we will once again meet."

With that, he offered a respectful bow before jumping into the room, his laser sword firmly in hand.  Everyone remained silent as they waited for some sort of indication as to what to do next. They all knew the plan, but its specific execution depended on how well this part went.

It took less than a single second for the sounds of battle to reach them. As expected, the artifact had been under protective guard. The sounds of the energy blade rapidly slashing through the air indicated that several Lokustaar had been tasked with the defence of the item. The high pitch screams that soon followed and filled their heads made it clear that he battle had been fierce.

Then they heard a bloodcurdling cry from the robbed Caitian. Satella quickly jumped out of reflex to help but Halston stopped her in her tracks. The expressions on the faces of everyone else made it clear that M'Jinn had been on his own. He knew the risks and had freely accepted them to help the group. As much as they might have wanted to help, revealing their presence now would doom their plan. The best any of them could do was to hope that he was all right. As thanks, the only thing they could do was to return to their reality. Once there, they would be able to find the Eye of Eternity to help restore stability to not only this but also all other realities. At least that was the plan in its simplest form.

Once again, Halston found himself holding onto the arms of Doctor Bruxa, although for a completely different reason. Although she had stopped fighting him, he held on tightly, for fear that she might try again. He might not have known a lot about the woman who enjoyed far too much calling him by the nickname of Thor. What he did know though was that she was a passionate Doctor who disliked seeing people in pain. That alone was enough to make it so that he would not release his hold until he was convinced she would not rush into the room.

"He's moved into the adjacent room," Mitshiba announced, using her tricoder to track the robbed man.

"Hopefully he's drawn all of the defenders with him," Sarena sighed. "Stay together. We are going to have only one chance at this. Whatever happens, whatever we see, stick together."

Although the words had not been specifically directed to her, Satella knew. She knew that the last part had been meant for her over everyone else, and she could not blame the Commander for that. Halston reacted as he needed to, just as Sarena had said what needed to be said. Whatever her desires had been, however much she wanted to help the Caitian, her duty was to the rest of the away team.

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P036: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 2155 ("From One Mess Into Another")
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"From One Mess Into Another"
[previous post (Real Feeling)]
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Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.2155

As the group ran into the room where the artifact had been, every member of the away team hesitated as they became aware of the scale of the battle that had taken place. Several dead Lokustaar could be seen scattered on the floor, all of them having been dispatched by the energy blade of their robbed benefactor. What proved to truly be the troubling sight though had been the trail of crimson blood leading to the next room.

Likely due to the way the weapon used by M'Jinn functioned, no blood could be found near or on the Lokustaar, if such a substance was actually part of their biology. Had it not been for time being against them, Commander Valentine would have most certainly allowed Lieutenant Mitshiba to run some tests on the nightmarish corpses, but alas the possibility of other very much alive such beings returning had made that impossible.

"M'Jinn is hurt!" Doctor Bruxa stated in a voice that had been far louder than should have been in order to help keep their presence in the room a secret. "We have to help him."

"Doctor!" Sarena snapped, having turned to face the troubled Chief Medical Officer. "As much as I would want for all of us to help him, we cannot. He took it upon himself to draw these beasts away so that we could reach the Eye and make it back to our reality. He has a job to do as do we," Valentine said, nodding her head to Mitshiba who instantly understood what had been meant by the gesture.

"Trying to activate the artifact using the algorithm previous used and modified to hopefully get us back to our reality," the Chief Science Officer said while frantically tapping at her tricorder.  Everyone else followed, keeping a vigilant watch out for any signs of trouble. M'Jinn had apparently done a good job at drawing the Lokustaar out, obviously as some physical cost, but that had not meant that others would not come to replace them. The away team had a small window of time to operate in, and anything could still happen.

"COMMANDER!" Counsellor Lopez called out in a panic a split second before the slow-motion effect enveloped the away team. Turning her head towards the woman as fast as she could, Commander Valentine saw what had caused the woman, as well as those immediately next to her, to be in the state that she had found them in.

Trapped in the same temporal effect which indicated that the artifact had been triggered, the away team found itself joined by an unexpected 'plus one'. Whatever hope that this might have been none other than M'Jinn was quickly crushed when the inquiring gazes of the away team feel on a beast that belonged in someone's nightmare.

As great of a job as the robbed Caitian had done in drawing the guards away, it now was clearly evident that one of the artifact's protector had either returned or failed to follow. Whatever the reason for the presence of the Lokustaar in the room, the final outcome would remain the same. The nightmarish beast had been caught in the reality altering sphere created by the Eye of Eternity, and without the laser sword of M'Jinn the group was left to wonder, in excruciating slow motion, how they would be dealing with this situation once they would arrive into the new reality - be it theirs or not.

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Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32101.2200

Like every other time before, the arrival from one reality t the next had been less than graceful causing the members of the away team to crash to the floor in a completely random pattern. The one main difference that this arrival had compared to the others was that their unexpected traveler had seemed unaffected by the transition leaving it firmly on its multiple legs, looking down at the others.

Either due to the fact that the Lokustaar had not expected to see the humanoids it had followed drop to the floor as they did, or because of some unknown lingering effect from the reality shift, the nightmarish creatures remained motionless for several seconds following their arrival. As short as this delay was, it proved to be more than enough to allow the members of the away team to insure that they were all out of immediate harm's way. Although no weapon had been seen on the perfectly black colored beast, the blood that had been seen before had established beyond any doubt as to the danger of these creatures.

Commander Valentine performed a quick head count to see if everyone had been present, this caused a wave of concern to quickly flash through the woman's body as she came one short. A rapid follow-up scan was enough to identify why the group had lost another of its member.

The twin sister of Counsellor Lopez had been nowhere to be seen, and likely had returned to whatever state she had been in before the team from the USS BASTET had ventured onto this world in search of a simple, ancient artifact.

"Let's go! Move!" Sarena called out, motioning for everyone to move away from the Lokustaar who had been looking around as if searching for an explanation as to what had occurred.

"Where are we going?" Commander Janeel inquired. Although she had not at all been against putting as much distance between the creature and herself, an idea as to where they were rushing to in such a hurry seemed to be of some importance.

"Aim for the museum's main door," the Executive Officer replied. "We will have more maneuvering room out there than we have in hear. Hopefully once outside we can figure out a way to deal with our unexpected guest."

Having accepted the stated directions as being the best course of action, everyone complied without question, anyone hesitating or lingering behind were quickly made to follow by the others. In this particular case, it was Counsellor Lopez who had wanted to remain behind to see where her sister had been while both Doctor Bruxa and Ensign Thorquelsson forced the woman to follow and exit.

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Setting: CAIT, In front of the Museum
Stardate: 32101.2210

The away team literally exploded onto the open courtyard set in front of the museum, everyone trying their best to stay as far ahead of the creature which they had confirmed had been following them. Although open area had indeed provided the members of he away team with a much larger area to work with, the absence of any working weapon had tipped the balance against them. Now the Executive Officer was faced with a dilemma that placed the well-being of the rest of the population against that of her team.

Sarena stopped and turned around to face the creature. The rest of the team would need to use whatever time she would be able to provide them to make their escape. At least that had been her plan, which was quickly rewritten by the fact that everyone else did as their leader had.

"What are you all doing?" The Commander asked.

"Please tell me that you didn't expect us to leave you to face that *thing* alone?" Janeel sighed.

"I might have picked up a few tricks from our friend M'Jinn," Doctor Bruxa added

Sarena had been ready to argue with the rest of her team but given the situation she quickly thought better. At least with everyone by her side, there might be some way that together they would find a way to defeat the Lokustaar, although the odds had not been in their favor.

Although they could not see it, the group could feel the presence of the invisible shadow beast. Being at a clear disadvantage the group could do nothing but wait for it to make the first move which hopefully would permit them to retaliate quickly and with enough strength to end the conflict before it spilled over to the general population.

Glancing around the cobble stone floor in search for some sign as to the creature's movements, Mitshiba noted a fair amount of sand scattered about. The small pointed feet-like extremities of the creature had likely made it impossible to notice its moving but another idea formed in the mind of the Chief Science Officer.

"Everyone," Misaki said summoning the attention of everyone else on her. "Grad as much sand as you can and throw it in the air ahead of us. Maybe we can use that to offset its invisibility cloak."

Sarena complied, finding it interesting that they might have found such a simple low-tech solution to their problem. As hoped by Lieutenant Mitshiba, some of the sand found their mark, which lead the others to quickly repeat the process, this time casting the sand in a far more specific area. It only took a few more handful of sand to make the Lokustaar visible in all of its nightmarish hideousness.

"Now what?" Janeel asked, not entire certain as to how they would use the advantage, as little as it may have been, that they had just gained.

The away team jumped when the creature screeched, obviously less than happy by what had just happened. The high pitched, ear-piercing scream actually caused several members of the away team to move away while trying to block the sound that for all intent and purpose had been painful. Seconds later, the scream of the Lokustaar was joined by the found of several energy weapons being discharged.

By the time silence came to reclaim the courtyard, the motionless and shattered form of the creature laid on the ground.

"Guess we should be thankful for the local authorities having been somewhat trigger happy," Janeel noted with a certain air of relief. Not only had they make it back to their own reality, but the creature that had followed them back had been dealt with. Now, the only issue they were left with was the exact same one that they had come here for in the first place. To locate and return to its rightful place the ancient artifact known as the Eye of Eternity.

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Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P037: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 01 - 2300 ("Elusive Rest")
"Elusive Rest"
Previous post: "From One Mess Into Another"

Setting: USS BASTET, Science Lab
Stardate: 32101.2300

Following their return from the multiple realities they had visited, the away team was ordered back on board the BASTET for a quick debriefing and to get some well deserved rest. As crucial and urgent as locating the Eye of Eternity present in this reality was, getting everyone rested and ready to tackle the task at hand had been even more important.

Aki, as the Chief Science Officer, had been told, after getting some rest, to find out what she could from the corpse of the Lokustaar, which had been brought on board. The simple fact that there were difficulties for the transporter to lock on the dead alien had been the first indication that the task would not be as easy as one might have hoped. That alone had been enough to make the CSciO skip on getting some rest for the time being, the mystery of the dead nightmarish creature begging to be investigated.

Standing next to the corpse, Aki felt shivers crawling up her spin, as if the creature somehow generated some sort of icy energy field despite it being dead. At least the CSciO hoped that it was indeed dead, the simple presence of this nightmarish creature in the room having been enough to make her question her own sanity for having been here alone.

After having run every scan she could think of, Aki found herself with nothing more than her physical observation of the corpse in her report. What she found interesting and troubling at the same time was that despite the amount of energy that had been fired at it, the black exoskeleton of the Lokustaar appeared nearly intact. Having observed first hand the effectiveness of the energy blade used by M'Jinn, her interest momentarily shifted by to the weapon she would have loved to study.

With nothing to show for, Aki decided to get the rest that she and the others had been ordered to get. Her research into the Lokustaar would have to wait, and given the level of fatigue she felt the CSciO figured that her thinking process were far from being sharp enough to face a mystery as complete as the one next to her. 

Setting: USS BASTET, Mitshiba's Quarters
Stardate: 32101.2320

Her Starfleet uniform had been replaced by a far more comfortable nightgown, the simple change of clothes having gone a long way to making her feel better. After some rest, Aki was certain that she would be able to find a way to get through the pitch black armor of the Lokustaar and discover more than she had, which was not really setting the bar too high given that she had not learned anything.

As the lights were turned off and she made her way to bed, a strange sensation flowed through her body, as if someone else had been in the room with her. Reacting out of sheer frights, Aki called for the lights to be turned back on so that she could survey her surroundings. To her great relief she found her quarters empty.

Aki resumed her course for the bedroom, this time leaving the lights on. Although her sense had confirmed that no one else had been there with her, she felt more at ease knowing that she would be able to confirm this as needed with each step she took. Once comfortable in her bed, the Asian woman called for the lights to once again be turned off, as she did the sensation almost instantly returned causing her to bolt up into a sitting position.

"My imagination is running wild," she said, adding a short lived forced laughter. "That dead Lokustaar in the Science Lab sure did a number on me. The thing is dead," Aki added, trying her best to reassure herself. "I need to calm down. I can always as for Commander Janeel or even Ensign Thorquelsson to join me tomorrow when I go back. Yes, that will do it. The key is just for me not to be along with it, that's all."

Dismissing the feelings that her own words had not been able to fully counter, Aki snuggled back into her bed before calling for the lights to again be turned off. She actually managed to laugh thinking that they were lucky the BASTET's computer had not been equipped with an artificial intelligence system. Following the lights being turned off and on again and again, the computer would have most certain have something to say.

Aki focused on her thoughts, pushing away whatever strange feelings that might be trying to take hold. The efforts appeared to work as she found herself slowly drifting to sleep, secured in the thoughts that this had been nothing more than the work of an overactive imagination brought upon by the nightmarish appearance of the Lokustaar currently in the ship's Science Lab.

=/\= Commander Janeel to Lieutenant Mitshiba> =/\= The voice of the ILO brought Aki back. Sleep had been but a few seconds away, but it seemed that it would have to wait a little longer.

"Go ahead Commander," the CSciO replied without even lifting her head from the pillow.

=/\= Was the corpse of the Lokustaar moved from the Science Lab where it was beamed to? =/\=

"This is truly not the time for jokes," Aki muttered t herself. "No, I did not. The remains of the Lokustaar were on the examination table when I left to come to my quarters to get some rest... as we were ordered by the Captain."

=/\= Rest will have to wait, =/\= Janeel said adding a deep troubled sigh. =/\= The corpse is no longer here. =/\=

"WHAT?" Aki questioned as she again bolted into a sitting position.

=/\= Something was bothering me about the creature so I thought I would come by and give it a look before heading to my quarters, =/\= the Commander explained. =/\= When I got here it was gone. =/\=

"I'll be right there," Aki said as she bounced out of bed. "Computer, lights!" the Asian added thinking that maybe it would be best if she learned how to sleep with the illumination on from this point on.

Setting: USS BASTET, Science Lab
Stardate: 32101.2330

"You could have changed," Janeel pointed out as she saw Aki rush into the room in her night gown.

"Sorry," she offered, "I thought this required an immediate look into," Aki added witnessing with horror that the nightmarish creature that had been dead on the examination table the last time she had been here was no longer there.

"I am guessing by your facial expression and the fact that you are as white as snow that you truly had nothing to do with this or even have any ideas as to what might have happened," the Commander stated, worried that the woman would pass out right there and then.

"I have absolutely no idea as to how this happened," Aki admitted, leaning back onto whatever she could reach to help stabilize her body. What did happen? Was the creature loose on the BASTET, and if so was it the creature she had felt in her quarters?

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P038: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 01 - 2345 ("Anxiety")
(Previous Post: "Elusive Rest")

Setting: USS BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 32101.2345

An emergency senior staff meet had been called following what had been discovered in the science laboratory, or more to he point what had been missing from that location.

For reasons that were very understandable, Commander Janeel and Lieutenant Mitshiba had sounded the alarm for fear that a member of the nightmarish race known as the Lokustaar had been lose on board the BASTET. Base solely on the reports provided by the members of the away team, the race had been one not to be underestimated on any level, their actions and drive being as dark as they appeared.

"If there is one of those *things* on board the BASTET, we need to act now," Commander Valentine said, recalling her encounters with the particular race.

"I know that you are all on edge following the news," Captain Iverson offered, trying to be a calming presence for the rest of her officers, "the fact is that we are doing everything we can to secure the ship and limit access to all critical systems. So far, I am glad to report that no sign of the Lokustaar have been reported."

"It may be difficult to find it," the Chief Science Officer noted in a clearly less than thrilled manner. "Their exo-skeleton appear to be impervious to our scans. I fear that even if one of them held a tricorder, it would fail to register their presence."

"The fact that they are able to make themselves invisible is not making things any easier," Ensign Thorquelsson added, having witnessed the mentioned ability first hand.

"Force fields have been set to isolate each and every section of the ship," the Captain reassured. "This Lokustaar may be able to evade our scans and even remain hidden from our sight, but it will not be able to get anywhere without triggering some sort of alarm as it crosses designated sections of the ship or tries to force its way through one of the force fields.  What I do need for you all is to calm down and work to confirm that we are indeed dealing with a intruder on board."

"You are right Captain," Sarena agreed, realizing that fatigue had begun to hinder their ability to deal with the situation as effectively as they needed to.  "I recommend that no one venture through the ship alone. Given what we have observed of the Lokustaar and their abilities, I would say that groups should be no smaller than three."

"That sounds like a fair precaution," Captain Iverson agreed. "This should also help us keep things on the calmer side and not allow our fears or fatigue make any of us see monsters in the shadows." The gathered officers remained silent. Although many understood and even agreed with the position of their Captain, the fact that Selene had not directly dealt with the Lokustaar had biased her opinion on the side of almost being naive, something that Iverson had actually kept in mind. "I have read your preliminary reports and understand that we are dealing with a highly dangerous race that is why I would like for us to make absolutely certain that we are indeed dealing with a rogue intruder.  Commander Janeel, as the Intelligence Liaison Officer and Mission Specialist, I would like you to take Lieutenant Mitshiba and Doctor Bruxa back to the science lab where the creature was last seen. Try to determine if the creature got up and walked away of if it was somehow removed without our knowledge." The Captain waited to get an acknowledgement before continuing which she did shortly after. "Commander Valentine, I would like you, Ensign Thorquelsson and Lieutenant Lopez to compile all of your notes on this race and come up with some sort of action plan to help us deal with them. You three have had first hand experience with the Lokustaar and I hope that you will be able to provide us with an advantage, however small it may be."

"I am not sure how much help I can be," the Counsellor offered, her thoughts still lingering on the sister that she for all intents and purposes lost for the second time.

"Don't sell yourself short," Satella quickly said to her friend, understanding better than anyone else where this attitude had likely originated from. "You are no less important to this crew as you were before the mission started, and we all need you in more way than any of us can count."

"At the very least we need you to be our number three," the First Officer added with a smile, trying to downplay the self-uncertainty that Counsellor Lopez had unexpectedly displayed.

"Good, then it is settled," the Captain offered to end the meeting. "Miss Koniki and I will remain on the bridge and continue our research on the Eye of Eternity. Now that we know it is an object that exist simultaneously in numerous realities and that its primary design appears to be to create chaos, we might be able to find a little more than he had.  I will also try to get in contact with the CAIT Planetary Ministry of Science to get them to answer some of my questions. They seem to have been reluctant in providing us with the most basis information, and I intend to figure out why.  If there are no questions, you are all dismissed."

While Selene read the PADD that she had brought in with her, waiting for everyone to exit the Observation Lounge, the Captain noticed that both her First Officer and Intelligence Liaison Officer had remained behind, likely to speak to their Commanding Officer in a more private setting.

"Is everything all right?" Selene inquired; worried that maybe she had omitted something during the brief meeting.

"We just wanted to keep you informed as to the mental condition of the away team," Commander Janeel explained, leaving the Captain certain that they would be elaborating with details as to how Counsellor Lopez had been handling the emotional mess she had been forced to live through.

"Your call to give everyone some time to rest, however short it would have been, was spot on," Commander Valentine clarified. "Our bouncing from reality to reality and dealing with everything we did was not easy, and it shows in the way everyone is handling this latest crisis. This includes myself as i can see that I am not thinking as quickly as I should in this situation."

"All that to say, you need to keep a close watch on us all while we try to unravel this latest mystery," Sarena added. "Dealing with the Lokustaar as we did was not at all easy, and our preliminary reports will certainly not do justice to what we experienced. Those things get into your head the moment you lay eyes on them, and they stay there long after they have vanished. We cannot underestimate the effect they continue to have on us, and how this will play in our trying to figure out if there is one of them here with on the BASTET."

"So noted," Captain Iverson acknowledged, not at all trying to downplay what had been said, but actually grateful that this had been clarified to her now. There was no doubt that the Lokustaar would prove to be a resourceful and highly dangerous opponent, one that no one could ever afford to underestimate. "You two take care of your teams; I will take care of you all as best as I can in getting you answers from CAIT. There is something not quite right down there and I will find out what it is, that's my mission."

"Thank you Captain," the two Commanders said before leaving the Observation Lounge in order to regroup with their assigned teams.

Jessica Solarik

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer


Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M04-P039: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 02 - 0010 ("Fear Is In The Air")
"Fear Is In The Air"
[previous post was "Anxiety"]

Setting: USS BASTET, Science Lab
Stardate: 32102.0010

At 10 minutes past midnight a Commander, a Lieutenant and a Doctor walk into a dark lab. To some this might have sounded like a joke. To those actually walking in though, there was nothing funny about it. At every step, the trio expected something to jump out of the shadows. Something that was as dangerous as it was terrifying. That was the short definition of the Lokustaar.

"It was there the last time I saw it." Misaki's voice was trembling just as much as her finger. She had not seen the creature move, but the simple thought of it had been enough to scare her. Their dealing with the Lokustaar had been limited, but it had been ample enough. As a scientist, she knew better than to give in to her fears. As a living, breathing person though, that task had been far easier said than done.

"My medical tricorder is not picking up any other life form in the vicinity." Satella made the announcement knowing the result of her scans even before she had started them. As much as it was pointing the obvious, she hoped that it would help everyone feel a little more at ease. 

"Doctor," Janeel said, scrutinizing their surroundings like a hawk. "Please perform a thorough scan of the examination table. We need to figure out what happened to that thing. At the very least, we need to figure out something that we can actually scan for."

"I will start with a cellular residue scan," Bruxa announced. She was just as scared as the others were, but instead of giving in she focussed on the instrument in her hands. For the follow few seconds, the whole of the universe comprised of nothing more than the table and her tricorder.

"Any luck Doctor?" Janeel asked. The urgency in the woman's voice made it evident that she wanted to leave. Being trapped in this room with possibly a dangerous alien had not been anywhere on her to do list. With a job to do though, there had not been any choice. They all needed to be here and figure out what had happened. Was the creature lose on the ship or had something else happened to it.

"Sorry Commander. I am not picking up any sort of cellular residue. It is as if nothing was on this table." Satella replied while keeping her eyes fixated on her tricorder.

"Trust me, it was there," Misaki forcefully stated. The memory of it having been there was vivid. Frighteningly so in fact. Even with the knowledge that the Lokustaar had vanished, she could still feel its presence. Despite her eyes continuing to deny her feelings, she could feel her fear growing.

"Alright then, if there is noting for us to find here, we might as well leave." The Commander had never been one to give up that easily on anything. This time though she had been more than willing to make an exception.

"Give me a few more seconds," Satella said. Even tough she had heard herself say those words; the Doctor could not believe it. She had been just as ready and willing to leave as everyone else. So why ask for more time in this room? Focussing on her tricorder might have made her less susceptible to the atmosphere of fear in this room. It had not rendered her immune to it.

"We need to leave, now!" Misaki said having quickly turned to face the Doctor. By the time the Chief Science Officer had realized it though, it was already too late. She had shifting her center of gravity well beyond her ability to bring it back to where it needed to be. Her anxiousness had caused her to over-rotate and now she found herself heading for the lab's floor.

"Lieutenant!" Janeel screamed, noticing her officer going down. No one had heard anything but her lingering fears were enough to make the Commander believe the worst.

"Are you alright?" Satella asked, both Janeel and her having arrived mere seconds after her fall.

"I'm fine," the scientist confirmed. "I just lost my balance. Nothing happened."

The Commander scrutinized their surroundings once more as if doubting the woman's claim. Doctor Bruxa on her end was busing scanning the fallen officer for hidden injuries.

"Your heart rate is elevated and your body chemistry is way off the norms," the Doctor reported. "It is not surprising that you turning so fast caused you to be dizzy. That in turn made you lose your balance; luckily, you suffered no physical injuries due to your fall. You might have a few bruises though, but nothing that will leave a scar."

"I'm sorry," Misaki said, feeling foolish. Why had she been so scared? As the Chief Science Officer of the BASTET, she had faced things far worse than a missing Lokustaar.

"You have nothing to be sorry about," Satella reassured her unexpected patient. "We are all feeling the effect of this fear, as if it was a physiological response to something." The Doctor's voice trailed off into an odd silence. Without saying anything more, Bruxa stood and refocused her attention on the examination table.

"Found something?" Janeel asked, still hoping to find an excuse for them to get out of the science lab.

"We have been focussing on the table this entire time," Satella explained. "What if the residues we are searching for or not there but rather in the air we are breathing? As scary as the Lokustaar might be, we all have been responding with an out of proportion fear." Doctor Bruxa paused as she turned her tricorder towards the Commander.

"What exactly are you trying to say?" The Commander asked, not entire certain that she understood what the Doctor was saying.

"There are several accounts of creatures in this universe who produce specific pheromone," Satella explained. "Some use these to attract a mate, but many others use them to elicit other behaviors. Some actually use bio-generated chemicals to create fear in others allowing them to ward of possible predators."

"You believe that the Lokustaar are able to create such pheromones?" Misaki wondered aloud, finding the idea very interesting.

"It's only an idea. A far-fetched possibility. Those creatures appear to thrive on fear, so why not? Imagine what would happen if a chemical was released upon the death of one of them. A chemical designed to create a deep-rooted fear in anyone that was close to the corpse. The effect would only serve to reinforce their natural appearance, not to mention protect the mystery that surrounds them."

"You believe that the body of the Lokustaar simple vaporised into an airborne component? That's crazy," Misaki huffed in disbelief.

"Maybe so, but I have rerouted the airflow of this lab to the Exo-biology lab, next to Sickbay. I will be able to perform more accurate tests there." Satella stated, actually smiling after having done so.

"What makes you think that you are right?" Janeel inquired with a hefty dose of skepticism.

"I have no reason to believe that I am right," Doctor Bruxa replied. "Although, by the looks of things, all of our heart rates have notably gone down."

"Those creatures are as nasty as they come," Mitshiba sighed. "Even after they die they still find a way to get into your head," she added. The theory presented by Doctor Bruxa might have been far-fetched, but for the time being it seemed to be right on track with everything they were experiencing.

"Alright then. Let's head to the Exo-Biology lab and get some answers," Janeel stated. "I will still feel better once we get out of here. Will have to make sure maintenance gives this room a thorough cleaning."

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P040: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 02 - 0030 ("Studying Shadows")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Studying Shadows"
[previous post (Fear Is In The Air)]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.0030

As per the orders of Captain Iverson, Commander Valentine, Lieutenant Lopez and Ensign Thorquelsson had taken on the task of compiling their notes and observations on the alien race they had encountered during their jumping from one reality to the next. So far, the report contained very little as to hard facts, the greater majority of their knowledge on this obscure race having come from observations.

"Scary," Halston said, brainstorming adjectives that would best describe the Lokustaar.

"We have already mentioned that in the report," Sarena sighed.

"Three times if my count is accurate," Adriana added, the sister doing her best to put out of her mind the fact that her sister, or at its its physical representation had no longer been there by her side.

"Without any sensor data, there is not a lot that we can say about what those things were," the Chief Engineer pointed out clearly frustrated. "They are big, black and have the ability to become invisible. Put all of that together and you have something that is nothing more than scary."

"Actually," the Counsellor continued, "we do know more than that. By what we saw, the Lokustaar are a very intelligent race, possibly working in a hive-like mentality. When they moved, they did so as one which shows some type of organization and communication. There might have been some inner hierarchy that we did not manage to see, but I would side more on the idea that they were being guided by a greater intellect."

"An interesting theory," the Executive Officer said, accepting the proposed system with keenness. "Th Captain, as well as I though, will need more than your opinion. Can you give us more to support this idea of a hive mind being at work?"

"Not really," the Counsellor sadly admitted. "This is solely based on my observations as well as a feeling. When we actually saw them move as a group, there was no chaos, no randomness. Even if the Lokustaar did communicate with one another, it would have been nearly impossible to avoid some of them to run into others.  Also, when they became invisible or visible as a group, they did so simultaneously, one one after the other or even as a spreading wave. If the order to appear or disappear had come from within the group, one would expect to see some sort of delay as each individual Lokustaar complied, instead it all happened perfectly timed."

"I am glad that you were able to see all that," the Chief Engineer huffed. "When I was close enough to those things, all I could do was think about either running away or hiding to avoid being seen. The one thing I do clearly remember though is that nightmarish high-frequency bursts and chirps that we kept hearing when near them, as if some crickets or grasshoppers had gone completely mental."

"There we go," Sarena smiled. "Not only do we suspect them working from a hive-like mentality, but we know that they are able to make sounds, likely to communicate amongst themselves."

"That is not really helping us," Adriana sighed. Although the Counsellor knew that they would not be coming out of this little search with all of the answers they could have asked for, she had hoped that their comparing notes would result in there being slightly more than what they had at this point.

"No, put we have to start somewhere, and this is as good a place as any," the Commander said, trying to point to the success they had, as limited as it might have been, instead of focussing on what might have been looked upon as a failure to find out more.  "We can add to what we have our observations as to how the race responds to energy discharges."

"It took several repeated blasts from over a dozen weapons to finally get that thing down," Ensign Thorquelsson pointed out, "and now we are not even sure if that was enough to kill it. Just by what we saw, I can say with absolute certainty that their armor would make a great addition to any starship outer hull or to any Marine Corp. Based on their armor along, we can only guess as to the strength of their weapons. I have yet to see a race that has come up with any type of defences that they themselves cannot breach, just in case the technology fell into the wrong hands."

"I agree that from what we have seen, as well as what we have come up here, the prospect of the Lokustaar being a very dangerous race is a forgone conclusion," Sarena found herself agreeing once more. As much as this little brainstorming session had been considered to be unproductive by Lieutenant Lopez and Ensign Thorquelsson, the Executive Officer felt that they had achieve quite a lot, and this regardless of how tired all three of them had been.  "I suggest we make a note of everything that we have said here and head to our rooms to get some rest. I am sure that the Captain would not look kindly on us falling asleep right here on he bridge."

"You won't get any objections from me," the Chief Engineer said with a smile. "We do have one problem though."

"The Captain did say for us not to wander the ship by ourselves, just in case, but she never said anything about resting or sleeping. I am pretty certain that she did not intend to have us be along during what could be argued would be our most vulnerable time."

"I guess this fatigue is getting to me just as much as everyone else," Sarena admitted. "I had not thought about that, but I might have a solution. As the Executive Officer of the BASTET, my quarters are amongst the larger and it would not be difficult for you two to crash there. This would allow us to get some rest while at the same time not being alone."

"Sure beats sleeping on the floor or cuddling the warp core," Halston chuckled. "Not that I have ever done that before."

"Then let's go," the Commander announced. "The quicker we actually get some rest, the quicker we can get back at figuring out what these Lokustaar are. First though we should regroup with the others and see what they have discovered"

"That the Lokustaar are Scary," the Ensign said, sounding rather pleased with himself that he had managed to repeat that one particular qualifier one last time.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P041: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 02 - 0045 ("Red Eyes")
"Red Eyes"
Previous post: "Studying Shadows"

Setting: USS BASTET, Exo-Biology Lab
Stardate: 32102.0045

The intense fear that they all had fallen prey to had somewhat diminished since their departure from the science lab, lending additional credit to the theory that the cause of this had been in an airborne element. Thinking more clarity, Aki began to realise just how deviously ingenious these Lokustaar had been, be it through genetic manipulation or an odd evolutionary process. The final result still proved to be as dark and creepy as the nightmarish creatures themselves.

"Are you certain that this is the right air sample?" Janeel asked, looking at what appeared to be a completely empty container.

"We have confirmed the origin of the air sample multiple times," Doctor Bruxa confirmed with insistence. "The fact that our sensors are not detecting anything means nothing."

"Actually," Aki chimed in. "The fact that the sensors are not picking up anything special is a clue on its own," the CSciO said, peering into the transparent container. "Following your repeated doubts about the origin of the air sample, I thought about doing a test that would not actually require our sensors."

"Are you telling us that you can tell the different simply by looking at the inside of that container?" The Commander asked incredulously.

"Of course not," Aki replied, never taking her eyes off the air sample. "I was just working on the theory that the corps of the Lokustaar literally vanished into thin air."

"What?" Janeel gasped, thinking that she had to be even more tired than she had believed herself to be, her hearing no longer functioning, as it should.

"You think the body self-vaporised into some sort of airborne particles?" Satella asked, visibly intrigued by the proposition.

"I agree that it may sound a little far fetched," the CSciO admitted, "but everything we have seen and experienced points to that possibility. I am not saying that there are no other way of explaining what happened, but this perfectly Accam's razor as we actually are able to test this hypothesis."

"Higher air density," the CMO smiled as she joined the CSciO intense scrutiny of the visibly empty air sample.

"I think you are both well overdue for some rest," Janeel pointed out in frustration. "Neither one of you is making any sense."

"What is the difference between the air sample from the science lab and your comparative sample?" Satella asked, ignoring the tired rambling of their ILO.

"I wanted to be absolutely certain, so I used one of the secured oxygenated isolation chambers in Sickbay to get the base readings," Aki explained.

"Brilliant," the Doctor noted, sounding even keener than she had been before. "So, what are the results?"

"Currently, the weight difference between the two samples show an additional 87 parts per million," the Asian scientist stated. "What is even more interesting is the fact that these additional particles are actually vanishing. My guess is that they are breaking down into sub-atomic particles."

"You two look like you have found something of interest," Commander Valentine said as she, Lieutenant Lopez and Ensign Thorquelsson walked in.

"We are looking at the difference in the weight of the air," Aki announced, sounding far crazier than she had intended to.

"And I thought *I* was tired," Adriana chuckled as she looked at the kneeling CSciO.

"We think we might have solved the mystery of the vanishing corpse," Satella explained. "Our theory is that self-vaporized leaving no visible traces other than airborne particles which induce fear in whoever breathes them in."

Unconsciously the Counsellor began to cough while the Chief Engineer and First Officer simply placed a hand over their faces.

"We are safe here," Commander Janeel stated, glancing to the two women still scrutinizing the emptiness of the sample container.

"The particles appears to have a very short life span when airborne," Doctor Bruxa added. "My guess is that they need to be quickly absorbed by an organism in order to trigger the effect."

"The effect?" Commander Valentine repeated. "What effect?"

"Fear," Aki solemnly replied. "As if a thousand red glowing eyes were looking at you from the shadows."

"Well, guess I won't be getting any sleep any time soon," Halston gulped, the image that had been created having been enough to insure his staying awake despite the fatigue that he and everyone else felt.

"Then you can take first watch," Adriana said in far more serious tone than had been expected.

"There is no need to sleep in shifts," Aki pointed out. "There is no Lokustaar wandering the ship.

"Are you 100% certain of that?" Commander Janeel inquired. Although she had been there from the start, the ILO had not been entirely convinced that the theory of a self-vaporizing alien had been the answer to the vanishing corps as well as the sense of extreme fear that had been experienced earlier.

"There is no way to confirm beyond any doubts that this is what happened," Aki replied, admitting the obvious flaw in the theory. "We can test for the presence of these particles when they are actually there, but because they disintegrate so rapidly and cannot be detected by our sensors; there is no fool-proof method at our disposal to make a perfect call."

"Then my suggestion is that we do not take any chances," Janeel said, looking directly at the First Officer. "There is no harm is us taking a few extra precautions. The alternative is that we do have an invisible alien on board who would be able to pick us off one after the other while we try to get some rest."

"Commander," Doctor Bruxa gently offered. "You might still be suffering from the effects of the airborne elements,"

"I am not seeing thousands of red eyes looking at us," the ILO quickly offered in her defence. "All I am saying is that there is no reason for us to not take all adequate precautions to insure that we are all safe."

"Unless you can offer a valid objection, I will have to side with Commander Janeel on this one," Sarena said. "We need to get some rest and there is nothing to be lost by us doing so together."

"If we are to all get some rest together, may I offer Sickbay?" Satella said. "At least that way we can all be in view of one another while actually having a bed beneath us. I can even program the medical equipment to monitor our vital signs and sound an alarm should something be wrong."

"Thank you very much Doctor," the First Officer said with a smile. "Your offer is most charitable and welcomed."

"We better get moving," Aki said while she yawned. "I might fall asleep before we actually reach Sickbay."

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P042: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 02 - 0130 ("Walking Around")
"Walking Around"
[previous post was "Red Eyes"]

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32102.0130

The lights had been dimmed and by the looks of things most had already fallen asleep. Satella had readied a few hypospray, just in case, but everyone had been far too tired to require them. It had not taken any time at all for fatigue to claim those it had been seeking for a while.

Doctor Bruxa had been just as tired but she had made a promise to Commander Valentine. In order to keep that promise though, Satella needed to properly calibrate the instruments. Too sensitive and everyone would be abruptly woken up at the slightest move or snore. Not sensitive enough and someone might end up on the floor well before anyone else was warned of something happening. So one by one she made the rounds of the bed, making sure that everything was as it needed to be.

First stop was Adriana Lopez, the ship's Counsellor. After everything that the poor woman had endured, Satella wondered how she had managed to fall asleep. Then again, sleep had likely been the safest escape from her problems, allowing her to be with the semblance of her sister once again. Despite knowing that the physical form of Amanda had not been her real sister, losing her again could not have been easy. The best the CMO could do was to offer a caring and understanding shoulder, that is as soon as she woke up.

Moving to the next biobed, Satella's eyes fell onto Misaki Mitshiba, the Chief Science Officer. The woman had worked her magic more than once during this entire ordeal, and she had well earned her rest. Whatever they knew about the Lokustaar had been in a large part thanks to her. It all made sense with her being the scientist, but still some sort of recognition needed to be made.

Next was Commander Janeel, the ILO and Mission Specialist. Under normal circumstances she would have been the one leading this entire thing. Dealing with a dangerous alien adversary would have been right up her alley. In this particular case though, things had not been so simple. Everything about this, including the artifact and the nightmarish race had been unknown. Based on that alone, Satella could only guess as to how frustrated the woman was. Knowledge of a situation or opponent was the key element in her line of work, and here she had next to nothing to work with.

Moving on to the next bed, Doctor Bruxa stopped next to Commander Valentine. The woman appeared to be peacefully at rest, at least until she suddenly opened her eyes.

"Trying to give me a heart attack?" Satella gasped in a whispered tone. The fact that she was holding her hands against her chest had been proof enough of the scare she had been given.

"My apologies Doctor," Sarena said, trying to hide her smile. "Is everyone else asleep?"

"I thought *everyone* was," she quietly growled. "Yes, they do seem to be asleep," Satella confirmed after glancing around Sickbay. "Is there a problem?"

"No problems. Just glad to see that they are able to sleep. After all that happened, it was possible that one or more would find it impossible to close their eyes."

Satella nodded her agreement. The Doctor hd thought the same, hence why she had readied some hyposprays. It had been a pleasant surprise to find everyone resting, save the First Officer. Her being awake had been anything but pleasant since the CMO had not expected it. "We should be happy that this airborne particles do not have a longer lasting effect."

It was Sarena's turn to nod her agreement. If the theory proved to be accurate, the repercussions could have been much worst. The thought of the BASTET as a whole locked in the grasp of such fear could have been disastrous.

"I know that Captains and First Officers often consider themselves to be invulnerable," Doctor Bruxa said. The smile on the woman's face making it perfectly clear that she was being completely honest. "That said, I  know that you do have physical limitations. You are not immune to the fatigue that everyone else was experiencing. You need to rest."

"I suspect that my scaring you again is out of the question?" Sarena teased.

"Next time I come by your side, I will have enough sedatives on hand to down a platoon of Jem'Hadar soldiers. Just in case," the CMO stated without any hesitation. Although her words had not been meant as a threat, they had been clear enough to not be misunderstood.

"Good night Doctor."

"Good night Commander," Satella smiled in return before making her way to her last sleeping patient. Ensign Halston Thorquelsson, the Chief Engineering Officer appeared like everyone one, relaxed. The journey to CAIT and subsequent jumps into other realities had not been an easy one. What troubled the Doctor was that the mission had been far from over. They would all have to return to the planet and resume their search for the Eye of Eternity. Hopefully this time though, they would not be dragged into parallel worlds filled with shadows and nightmares.

With every medical scanner calibrated, Satella had but one more task to perform. Her muscles aches almost as much as her mind, leaving her all too aware that she would not be able to just fall asleep. The hyposprays had been meant for others who would find themselves in this exact situation. As the CMO she had not considered having to use one on herself, but now she reluctantly gave in to the reality of the situation. She needed to rest just as much as everyone else, and this would be the only way to insure it.

Having made herself as comfortable as possible on the closes empty biobed, Satella looked up at the ceiling. After a few seconds, the Doctor brought the small medical device in her hand into view. There was no other way, that she knew, so she closed her eyes and pressed the device against her neck.

The single soft hiss of the hypospray indicated that the compound therein had been injected. She quickly brought her hand by her side along with the hypospray to avoid it crashing onto the floor. It would not take long before sleep would claim her senses. All Satella could do was hope that her dreams would not be troubled ones based on what she had experienced during their visit to CAIT.

Rachel Jackie Johnson 

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P043: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 02 - 0545 ("Chaotic Dreaming")
"Chaotic Dreaming"
[previous post was "Walking Around" by the supervising Rachel]

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32102.0545

The room was quiet and filled with shadows due to the lights having been brought down to their lowest setting. Everything appeared to be well as even the heart monitors showed steady rhythmic pattern for each and every resting officer. Alas, like so many other things, one needed to look more deeply to see that things were not quiet as tranquil as all would have liked things to be.

Setting: Dreamscape
Stardate: 32102.0545

The darkness beyond the windows of the museum, as well as the general low lighting inside, pointed to it being night time. The familiarity of the architecture, layout, walls and pillars, as well as the works of art and artifacts on display pointed to her being on CAIT. What felt strange was the fact that she knew there were others here with her, but that knowledge did not frighten the woman in the least. Actually, she took comfort in this.

As much as she believed her wandering through the rooms and corridors to be without purpose, she felt drawn to move forward until she reached a specific destination. It was when she saw it that Janeel understood that this had not been a simple dream.

Floating a meter or so above the floor was the Eye of Eternity, the soft blue light that the artifact emitted caused the eerie shadows to dance on the walls that surrounded the artifact. She glanced to both her sides and saw others with her, appearing as not entirely physical beings but far more than what would have been expected from ghosts or any other sort of apparition.

Again, the woman did not felt frightened in any way by these other entities by her side, knowing without understanding how that they were here with her and not against her. Slowly, the group made their way closer to the artifact which began to spin faster as the distance between it and the approaching people grew smaller.

It was just when they were close enough to actually touch the Eye that an additional presence startled them. From it came a a dark aura that was as cold as the deepest abyss, its gestures indicating that it wanted them to back away from the artifact.  Uncertain as to what to make of this, the group back away in unison. They might not have known exactly why they had come here but it had been evident that their presence had not been meant to be an excuse of catalist for any sort of conflict.

Suddenly, and without any warning, the dark presence turned and engulfed the Eye of Eternity, making it vanish into nothingness leaving the woman and her ghostly friends to wonder as to what it was they had witnessed.

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32102.0600

As if some sort of alarm beyond the reach of normal sense had gone off, all of the officers resting in Sickbay opened their eyes and began to look at one another with puzzlement.

"That was a dream, right?" Aki asked.

"How could it have been a dream? You were all there with me, or at least I think it was," Adriana added.

"I could not see anyone's features, but I certainly felt the familiarity that I do when any of you are around," Satella confirmed.

"Whatever it was, it was weird," Halston sighed, his technical mind unable to accept that they all had apparently been in a common dream.

"Doctor," Commander Valentine began as she quickly threw her legs over the edge of the bio bed. "Were we in any way linked?"

"I know what you are asking," the CMO nodded with wide opened eyes, "so the answer will be no. We were all being monitored by the bio scanners, but there was no active brain scan happening, so there is nothing I can offer as an explanation to what we experienced."

"So we all had the same dream?" Janeel rhetorically asked. "This cannot be a coincidence. Obviously something caused us to have this shared experience and I believe we should consider the focal point of our dream as the most likely source."

"The eye?" The Counsellor gasped.

"It would make sense," the Chief Science Officer noted. "The artifact was described as an item that could alter the very rules of realty, so it is not that much of a stretch to accept that such an item would be able to cause people who have actually dealt with the artifact in other realities to have experiences that go beyond what can be explained."

"All right," the Chief Engineer sighed. "I'll bite. That explains why we all saw the glowing, spinning blue sphere, but what was that dark and cold presence that engulfed it?"

"Something that we might not have considered to be an actual player in his mystery," Janeel offered.

"More like someone," Sarena corrected. "We need to return to the planet surface as soon as possible and set up an meeting with the museum curator. I have the distinct feeling that he knows more about the artifact's location and abilities than we were led to believe."

"R'Lisi," Janeel said while nodding her head in agreement. Although they were not in possession of any proof to support their suspicions, the name seemed to oddly fit the dark and cold shadow they all had seen during their shared dream. At the very least it would give them something specific to resume their search for the missing ancient artifact.

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El [Access Character BIO for Shar'El]
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M04-P044: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 02 - 0620 ("Real Questions")
"Real Questions"
[previous post was "Chaotic Dreaming"]

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32102.0620

The dream was weird. The fact that they had all shared it was even weirder. That they all agreed that the museum curator had somehow been implicated had been flat out strange. Crazy even. Still, Satella could not find any arguments to go against the consensus that had been reached.  Somehow, they had been given this shared dream for a reason. All they needed to do now was to figure out why and how R'Lisi fitted into this story. For a reason yet to be determined, the museum curator the artifact as well as all of them had become linked.

"You seemed perplexed Doctor," Commander Valentine said. It had not required an Betazoid empath to detect that something was troubling the CMO.

"It's this whole shared dream thing," Satella admitted. "None of my medical instruments detected anything that could account for what happened. There was no increase in heart rate, no change in blood pressure. The instruments did not even pick up any changes in brain activity, which should have shown us dreaming. As far as the official records show, everyone was in a perfect, restful sleep.

"We are dealing with some rather strange and ancient alien tech," Sarena said, referring to the artifact known as the Eye of Eternity. "Normally, I would not take something like that into account, but we did travel to several other realities. Using our knowledge and experience in trans-dimensional as well as temporal travels, I think that we can agree everything is possible."

"True," Satella said, reluctantly. "I guess it is possible that the mental link was established in a way that was beyond our instruments to detect. Still does not explain the lack of physiological changes while we dreamt. I just do not trust what I cannot measure, even if only in the most minute of ways."

"You sound like a scientist," Misaki said with a hint of amusement. Immediately, the CSciO noted a look of surprise appear on he face of their CMO. "I mean, yes as a Doctor you are a scientist specializing in the field of medical studies. I just meant that you sound like me when looking at a mystery that deals in pure science. Sometimes, there is just nothing for us to focus on in order to get the answers we seek."

"Alright," Satella huffed. "Six stars suddenly go supernova all at the same time," Doctor Bruxa offered. "Nothing on any of your instruments show that this even happened. What do you do?"

Misaki smiled. "First, I would confirm that the instruments were actually working," the Chief Science Officer replied, understanding where this was going. "Once you have that, I as I am sure you already did, you move on to the next step. You check to see if something interfered with the scans. In space, you could be dealing with any sort of subspace anomaly or even an undetectable distortion field that would hinder the sensors. In Sickbay, I am not entire sure of what could cause the instruments to not register anything out of the ordinary. Could they have been tempered with?"

"Tempered with?!? That is highly doubtful," the ILO stated with certainty. "The ship and all of its systems are completely isolated. Beyond that, everything is protected by countless security protocols. No one would be able to gain access from an outside location. That only leaves internal tempering, which makes no sense. Why would anyone want to hide the evidence of our having had a shared dream?"

"This entire mission is turning into a full blown mystery fest," Misaki sighed. "Every time we get close to getting a single answer we uncover three more questions." The CSciO paused for a moment as she considered what they needed to do next." All of the instruments in Sickbay are calibrated for biological data gathering, right?"

"Of course," Satella shrugged.

"See, if those six suns had been hidden by some sort of biological event, the sensors would not have pick it up right away. The reason being that no one would have expected to have something like that get in the way. What if we were dealing with the same thing but in reverse? What if the 'malfunction' in the medical instruments was caused by a non-biological source?" Mitshiba seemed rather pleased with herself, the solution now appearing to be as simple as could be.

"What would we be looking for?" Commander Valentine asked.

"Pretty much anything that the medical scanners are not by default set to look for," Misaki detailed. "Since we are dealing with an artifact capable of altering reality itself though, we could narrow the search parameters."

"Narrow the search parameters?" Janeel gasped. "You would think that dealing with the Eye of Eternity would actually *increase* the possibilities, not reduce them," the ILO pointed out.

"The possibilities are actually infinite," the CSciO confirmed. "That said we are searching for something that would have a very specific result. Namely to have everyone here share the same dream while hiding this fact from all medical instruments. The specifics of the outcome does see the number of possibilities drastically reduced."

"Sounds like you already have an idea," Satella grinned.

"A few actually," the CSciO clarified. "What if the artifact left us with some sort of residual energy from the other realities?" The proposal from Misaki left everyone in stunned silence. "Nothing huge, nothing dangerous. Something small enough to allow a link that we simply cannot explain or detect. The other possibility, which is far scarier, is that the basic fabric of our reality is starting to deteriorate. This could lead to one reality leaking into another and disrupting sensor data. In theory of course. Let's face it; we have never had to deal with anything like this before."

"We will be heading back to the planet surface in about 30 minutes," Commander Valentine stated. "You have until then to try and figure out what happened. Would be nice to have a few additional answers before we speak to R'Lisi. My guess is that once we have spoken to the curator, we are going to have even more questions."

"Looks like we have our work cut out for us," the CSciO said, grinning at the CMO. As simple as the task might have seemed, both officers knew that the reality of their situation had been anything but simple. Especially when taking into consideration that possibility that they were dealing with more than one reality.

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P045: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 02 - 0700 ("Playing Games")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Playing Games"
[previous post (Real Questions)]
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Setting: CAIT, Museum Entrance
Stardate: 32102.0700

The away team led by Commander Valentine materialized right in front of the steps leading to the museum, the grand yard still as empty as it was the first time they had been here.

"Commander," Misaki said, tilting her head ever so slightly to the right as he studied the facade of the large structure that was home to the CAIT National Museum. "I just thought of something. We assumed from the start that the interference surrounding the building originated from the Eye of Eternity, but what if it was not the case? What if the interference field was generated by something else to hide the fact that the artifact is somewhere else?"

"Or actually there." Counsellor Lopez offered as an alternate possibility. "We know so little about the artifact that it might have been beneficial for someone else to hide the Eye from our sensors."

"The kind of power needed to generate a field of the intensity that we are dealing with right now would require a small warp core," the Chief Engineer said as he opened his tricorder. "Unless the power source is heavily shielded, there is no indication that there is anything in the vicinity that would be able to generate that much power."

"Just another mystery to add to our list," Sarena sighed as she gave her team a quick once over before making her way up the stairs. With Lieutenant Commander Janeel, Lieutenant Mitshiba, Ensign Thorquelsson, Counsellor Lopez and Doctor Bruxa, the Executive Officer of the USS BASTET believed that every angle would be covered in the hopes of them finding some answers to this puzzling mystery that surrounded the artifact known as the Eye of Eternity.

With great caution, the imposing front doors were opened slowly, every member of the away team half expecting a Lokustarr to jump in front of them or something even more nightmarish.

"Relax people," Satella grinned from the back of the line. "I can pick up all of your elevated heart rates from here, and I am not even using my medical tricorder."

"Easier said than done," Janeel muttered, her eyes darting from one side of the main hall to the other. After everything that they had faced, in this reality as well as the others, the ILO had not been ready to drop her guard anytime soon.

"Welcome back," the museum's curator, an elderly Caitian named R'Lisi said as the doors slowly closed behind the away team revealing that he had been standing there behind one this entire time.

Doctor Bruxa jumped, as the Caitian seemed to have appeared out of nowhere to greet them. Although his words had been spoken calmly and softly, their unexpectedness mixed with the team's general nervousness had create the perfect atmosphere to enlist such a fright-filled reaction.

"Need me to call you a Doctor?" Halston joked, unable to hide his amusement at the woman's terrified state.

"Thank you *Thor*," Satella promptly retaliated with. "I think I can manage on my own."

With the fright of the moment dealt with, the Executive Officer turned her attention to he museum curator. As she met the Caitian's feline gaze, Sarena could not help but remember the dream that they had all shared, a dream in which the man currently standing in font of her had played a strange yet prominent role in.

"Thank you for allowing us back," the Commander offered. "I hope that we are not interrupting anything."  Her words had been an obvious ploy to test the curator's reaction to their returned presence, and as much as Sarena had not expected the man to tip his hand, if even he had one to tip, she wanted to make it clear that he had been under suspicious. The logic behind that was simple, if R'Lisi was involved with the disappearance of the Eye of Eternity; his knowing that the away team suspected him might force an error to be made on his part.

"Thanks to the Ministry of Science and the Planetary Medical Center, the museum is closed until further notice," R'Lisi explained, remaining perfectly calm as if he had nothing to hide. "You are the only visitors I have had the pleasure to see, so no, you are not interrupting anything and in fact I happily welcome you. Have you made any progress in locating our missing artifact?"

Apparently, this little game of cat and mouse would not be as easy as the Executive Officer might have hoped it would be. From testing him, the setting had been turned completely around to have the curator test the away team's reason for having returned as well as what knowledge they might have gathered.  With a  quick glance over to the BASTET's Intelligence Liaison Officer, Janeel understood that the ball had been passed on to her.

"We did discover some very interesting things concerning the Eye of Eternity," Janeel replied, her gaze scrutinizing the Caitian curator's slightest reaction. "In fact, one could say that we have been able to shine a light on the shadows that were at the care of this mystery."

The words used had been expertly selected to say far more than what had actually been said, and this only to someone who knew more then they claimed to. In this particular case, R'Lisi had been singled out but from the looks of things the effort of the ILO had been for not.

"I hope that you find all of the answers you seek," R'Lisi offered, appearing genuine in his wish. "The sooner you get this mystery solved, the sooner the museum can reopen. Now, I do have my rounds to make, even if there is no one else in here. Should you have any questions or if there is anything that i can do to help, please do not hesitate to call upon me."

"Thank you," Sarena acknowledged with a nod of her head before the curator casually made his way into one of the main display chambers.

"I do not think that went the way we had expected it to," the Chief Engineer sighed.

"He did seemed very calm," Misaki added. "Almost to the point of apathy."

"I did notice that as well," the Counsellor followed with. "His words claimed to wish this situation resolved, but his body posture indicated that he seemed not to care. It might be due to his advanced age, but I think there is more."

"An emotional and possibly even psychological detachment with the museum," Janeel pointed out. "In his case I believe that the lack of a reaction when I mentioned shadows was the most telling. He does know more than he lets on, there is no doubts about that, the question is not *if* but *what*. He is involved in some way, and he knows it."

"Reluctant involvement?" Counsellor Lopez theorized. "You think that he is being coerced into helping the Lokustaar?"

"Unknown," the ILO sighed. "It is a valid possibility, and given what we know of the artifact and what we have experienced, I do believe that anything is possible."

"All right," the Executive Officer interjected. "We have a few things to investigate. First, let us try to identify the source of the interference field surrounding the museum, if it is not coming from the artifact, we need to identify where it's coming from. Second, we need to find clues as to where the Eye actually is and how R'Lisi is implicated in this?"

"Commander," Mitshiba said, calling the attention of the away team leader onto herself. "We also need to do this quickly. As much as we needed to rest last night, we are still dealing with a situation that is affecting multiple realities. M'Jinn did say that we are all working on the same goal even though we are in our own isolated reality."

"Like playing multi-dimensional chess, but instead of dimensions we are dealing with realities," the First Officer described, trying to put into a comprehensive imagery the situation that they were all faced with.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P046: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 02 - 0715 ("Rapidly Multiplying Questions")
"Rapidly Multiplying Questions"
Previous post: "Playing Games"

Setting: CAIT, Museum Main Lobby
Stardate: 32102.0715

The deeper they found themselves involved in this mission, the more questions they came across without being able to even come close to answering them. The vanishing artifact known as the Eye of Eternity had been the first mystery, an enigma that quickly evolved into the multi-reality mess that they were dealing with now.

Was there more about the artifact then what they had discovered? Being told that it was a 'chaos engine' had been of some help, but it had multiplied the questions they all had. That the artifact actually existed in multiple realities only compound the situation. If none of that was enough, the presence of the nightmarish race known as the Lokustaar had only made a bad situation worse, their involvement in this particular affair hinting to their being something much larger at stake. Then there was R'Lisi, the museum's curator who appeared as a sweet elderly member of the Caitian race, something that many believed to be nothing more than a facade. What role did he play in this 'game'?

"We need to get some answers before we find ourselves drowning in questions," Aki suggested.

"Would be nice to figure out where the dampening field around the museum is coming from," Halston noted, that being the one question above all others that bothered him. Upon hearing the words of the Chief Engineer Aki sighed, this had been yet another question, one that she had actually forgotten about.

"Too many questions and not enough time," Commander Janeel offered. "We need to split up."

"Things didn't go all that well the last time we split up," Satella voiced with some concern.

"I promise not to blow up anything this time," the Chief Engineer chuckled.

"Ensign Thorquelsson and Lieutenant Mitshiba will be with me," Commander Valentine said. "While we search for the point of origin of the field surrounding the museum. The rest of you can look into the curator and possible clues as to the whereabouts of the artifact. Try to figure out if he is as he says he is, a simple museum employee concerned about the lack of visitors."

As the team divided along the line set by the First Officer, Aki and Halston looked at one another after having opened their respective tricorders. With limited sensor data, the three-man team would need to us their combined knowledge and expertise to begin to search for answers.

"So where do you suggest we start looking?" Sarena asked, not having expected the two officers to reply at the exact same time with different answers.

"Roof," the Engineer said.

"Basement," the Scientist replied simultaneously.

The two junior officers met each other's gaze and laughed.

"Guess we should both explain why we chose what we did," Halston said. "To cover a building of this size, the field generator would need to be as high as possible to allow for the largest possible surface coverage. It just makes sense to establish such a device there thus making it easily installed while being out of the way."

"I agree that the generator would need to be out of the way of the museum's general work force," Aki offered, understanding that it was her turn to explain her suggestion. "The basement makes more sense to me based on the energy needs of such a field generator not to mention that it would be far better hidden there. On the roof, any passing shuttle might see it and question its purpose. Field emitters could be installed on the roof or even hidden in the actual structure of the museum to make sure that they remained undetected until they were needed."

"You do realize that by pointing to the basement you are suggesting that this was not an out of the blue happening but rather that the disappearance of the artifact was a planned event?" The First Officer explained.

"That was part of my thinking," the Engineer stated in his defence. "If we are actually considering that this whole thing was carefully planned from the start, hen I agree that the basement makes more sense. The generator, emitters and energy cabling could have all been installed separately at any time without drawing unwanted attention."

"The museum being an older structure must undergo a fair amount of renovations," Aki added to strengthen her position. "It would have been easy to hide the moving and installing of equipment during such work."

"Alright then," Sarena smiled. "Let's go to the basement."

Setting: CAIT, Museum Basement
Stardate: 32102.0730

For a building as old as the museum was, it was expected that the lower levels would be cold and dark. In this particular case, the structure did not disappoint in the least, the stone foundation appearing to be several hundred years old and radiating a coldness that seemed almost unnatural but still within the range of what could be accounted as being normal.

"Maybe I was wrong," Aki offered as she tried to modify her tricorder which had so far not picked up anything remotely related to a missing artifact or a dampening field generator.

"This place is huge," Halston added. "By the looks of things it looks like the basement is actually larger than the structure on the surface.  What really surprises me are all of these crates. According to my readings, they are all filled with various items."

"You would think that a museum would display as many of the items it has instead of hiding them in the basement," the Commander noted, easily recalling the sparse displays on the floors above them.

"Great," Aki sighed aloud. "More questions."

"I think I have another for you," the Engineer said as he stopped and pointed to a specific crate. "Do you recall the name of the artifact that was in he same chamber as the Eye?"

"Which one?" Aki wondered with a hint of frustration. "There were a few in that room."

"Sorry, the one that was right by the door," Halston clarified. "I remember seeing the descriptive plaque as we walked in. I am not sure why, but the name stuck in my head even though I saw it only for a second or so."

"What does the name of that artifact have to do with that crate?" the First Officer inquired, wondering why their search had been put on hold for this.

"The name on the crate and on he display are the same," the Ensign explained. "What is even more interesting is that according to my tricorder there is something inside that box."

"An error?" Aki suggested although she did not believe that the answer would be so simple.

"Or something completely different," the Commander continued giving a nod of her head to show her consent to having the crate opened so that they could see with their own eyes what was inside.

With as much care as he could manage, the Chief Engineer opened the crate and cautiously retrieved a plate that oddly enough resembled the one that had been on display.  "A forgery?" Halston proposed.

"Some museums will actually display copies of rare items to avoid them being stolen or damaged," Aki offered as a possible explanation. "The markings on this plate do look genuine and according to the tricorder the item is several thousands of years old."

"If the museum is indeed using copies in their display, was the disappearance of the Eye of Eternity that we came to investigate that of the real artifact or just the copy?" Commander Valentine inquired, adding yet another question to the long list they were all already faced with.

"Who reported the theft of the artifact?" Ensign Thorquelsson asked, curious to see if his suspicions were right.

"R'Lisi," the First Officer sighed.

"Why stage the theft of that particular artifact and have it reported to the authorities?" Aki wondered aloud. "Was this a ploy to try and bolster interest in the museum?"

"As weird as that might be, I doubt that the answer is that simple," the Engineer noted. "My guess is that there is something more going on here and our friendly elderly museum curator is now confirmed to be smack dead in the middle of it."

"Hopefully the other team will have better luck in discovering answers," the Commander said, their quest for the source of the dampening field surrounding the museum having led to nothing more than a lot more questions for them all to try and answer.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P047: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 02 - 0730 ("Looking For Something")
"Looking For Something"
[Previous post: "Rapidly Multiplying Questions"]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32102.0730

Commander Janeel had taken point, closely followed by Doctor Bruxa leaving Counsellor Lopez to bring up the rear. All three scrutinized the slightest details of their surrounding, the ILO looking for clues as to the whereabouts of the Eye of Eternity, the CMO using her tricorder to find some biological traces of who or what might have been involved. As for the CNS, she was looking around without any true purpose, looking for something that was not there or someone that had never truly been there to start with.

When Janeel came to a complete stop after having believed to see something move, Satella stopped a few feet behind the Commander. Not having been paying as much attention though, the Counsellor found herself running into the Doctor's back causing Adriana to quickly apologize.

"A little distracted are we?" Doctor Bruxa asked, the warmth of her smile hinting that this was not meant as an attack or even as a indication of wrongdoing, but only as the concerns of a friend.

"Feels weird being back here," the Counsellor said, quickly realizing that they had never been in this particular section of the museum before now. "I mean in the museum. It's weird being back in here, not specifically in this room."

"I knew what you meant," Satella said, the warmth of her smile growing even more intense. "I understand that this might be difficult for you, especially after what happened in the other reality."

"The worst part is that I knew from the start that she was not my sister," the Counsellor admitted without the need to be prompted to doing so. "Part of me knew that she was something that originated from my mind. Too many things about that Amanda were wrong, including some of the details she knew about me. There was a lot about her that just did not make any sense and yet everything about her felt so real and comforting. Despite my knowing deep down that she was not who she appeared to be I still can't help but to miss her."

"It could not have been easy to have your long lost sister suddenly be right there by your side," Commander Janeel offered, trying to show that she understood, at least in part, the emotional struggle of the Counsellor.

Of course upon hearing this, Adriana began to worry that her secret, that of actually having visual and auditory hallucinations of her sister, had spread beyond the limits of the Chief Medical Officer. As the ILO, it was not beyond belief to think that Janeel had somehow discovered this on her own, or had she managed to draw the information out of her friend, Doctor Bruxa. A quick shake of Satella's head in response to the quizzical expression on Adriana's face indicated that nothing of the sort had taken place. What had been more likely was that Janeel had only referred to details contained in Adriana's personnel file concerning her twin sister.

"Not seeing a sibling for so many years would prove to be difficult for anyone," Satella offered giving Adriana an easy way out. "We can only guess as to how hard it was for you when said sibling is actually a twin sister. To have someone suddenly appear and claim to be Amanda had to be enough t make your head spin, and to discover later on that she was not the real deal had to be devastating."

"Do you need a moment to gather your thoughts?" Janeel asked. "Maybe it would be best for you to return to the BASTET?"

"No. I'm fine," Adriana quickly confirmed. "I am sorry that I was distracted but I assure you that I am fit for duty."

"As the Chief Medical Officer, I can confirm this," Satella offered to the Commander in a manner that expertly bridge humor and professionalism.

"Very well," Janeel acquiesced. "The curator's office is down this hallway. Maybe we can get luck and find something there that will help us figure out in what matter R'Lisi is involved in this missing multi-reality artifact issue."

"Don't worry," Satella said in a whispered voice as soon as she believed the ILO to be out of earshot. "Everything will be fine.

"Thank you," Adriana offered in return, adding a gracious smile to acknowledge the support given by the Doctor and friend. "You may not be my twin sister, but I know that I can count on you and I am most grateful for everything that you are doing to help."

"It's nice to act as the big sister for once," Satella grinned. "My sister Drelna is actually 2 years older than I am, which makes me the one who always seemed to need help, now I get to be on the other side, and to be honest I enjoy it. So, no worries. Now, let's catch up to the Commander before she realizes that we have not been following."

Adriana smiled as she watched her newest sister speed walk to catch up to Janeel. Once more, the Counsellor found herself bringing up the rear but this time her attention had been far more focussed, as if a weight had been lifted from her mind. The events that took place in the other realities had proven to be difficult for her in a multitude of ways, but thanks to the support of her friend, things appeared to be moving along rather well. Counsellor Lopez also found it interesting and ironic that she had been the one received help in this matter while holding the position of Ship's Counsellor.

Feeling far more confident in herself, Adriana made her way to regroup with Commander Janeel and Doctor Bruxa, the knowledge of her not being alone to face whatever might come to be making her feel much better.

"She is not your sister," an all too familiar voice came from behind the walking Counsellor. "I am, and as such I am not that easily replaced or gotten rid of. That said I heard you saying that you actually miss me, so here I am. Granted I may not have a physical form like in those other realities, but you didn't think that I would just abandon you like this? Come on, sis, you should know me better than that. We are twins after all."

Adriana paused for a brief moment, glanced over her shoulder and saw the grinning face of her twin sister Amanda. Whatever had happened in those other realities had apparently not changed anything in Counselor Lopez's state of mind in regards to the hallucinations of her sister.

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M04-P048: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 02 - 0745 ("A Glitch in Reality")
"A Glitch in Reality"
[previous post was "Looking For Something" by the talented Marissa]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32102.0745

The ILO / Mission Specialist cautiously made her way down the hallway, part of the reason was to avoid running into someone unexpectedly, the other was in order to give the chance for Doctor Bruxa and Counsellor Lopez to catch up. As friendly as Janeel had tried to be, she understood that Adriana would need a few moment to talk to her friend without having someone eavesdropping.

The journey into other parallel realities had been difficult on many levels, and that had been even truer for the Counsellor. On the positive side, Adriana had not been alone in dealing with the aftermath, able to lean on Satella for support and understanding. In some ways Janeel found herself almost jealous of the relationship the two women had, able to rely on the other in more than as a fellow shipmate.

As she reached the end of the hallway, Janeel felt an eerie and cold aura, one that had taken over the entire museum but appeared to be much more intense in this particular area.  Feeling this, the ILO / Mission Specialist immediately thought back to those nightmarish creatures they had been forced to deal with in the other realities. The Lokustaar, as they had been called, had obviously a sinister role to play in this affair judging by the way they acted to protect the other copies of the artifact. Of course, their involvement in this matter would be just another question that needed to be addressed along with what connection R'Lisi had with the now missing artifact and the shadowy alien race.

The ILO / Mission Specialist paused for a moment as she studied the unimpressive plaque on the door. The inscription did not even display the Caitain's name, referring to the room beyond the door as being nothing more than the 'Curator's Office', something that Janeel found somewhat odd. As much as the position had not been one of extreme fame, she believed it to be important enough to warrant R'Lisi having his name displayed along with the position.

"Why do I have the bad feeling that there is something that we are not going to link behind that door?" Doctor Bruxa announced as she came to stand next to the ILO / Mission Specialist, the CMO having experienced the same icy aura.

"Normally, I would say that this is psychosomatic," Adriana offered as she too came to stand by Janeel, but on the opposite side. "But I will admit that the way the goosebumps are forming on my skin leaves me to believe that we are experiencing something real."

"Not real enough to be picked up by the tricorder though," Satella added, having pulled the hand-held device out once more.

"You are not picking up anything beyond the door?" Janeel inquired, more curious to know if there might have been some sort of nightmarish beast waiting for them on the other side.

"I am able to scan the room and tell you that there is a desk, some chairs, a lot of smaller items including books scattered everywhere. Beyond that, and as far as the tricorder is concerned, there is no signs of there being any life form behind the door, or anything that could account for the coldness we are all experiencing," the Doctor offered, not at all finding any reassurances in her own report.

"Well," the ILO / Mission Specialist sighed, "we can't just stay here and look at a closed door," she added as she reached for the old-style doorknob that to her surprise did not feel cold to the touch.

Setting: CAIT, Museum, Curator's Office
Stardate: 32102.0755

Despite all of their fears, the office of the curator appeared far less unwelcoming then expected. Delicate ornaments covered every shelf and spare flat space hinting to the occupant of this room to having been a dedicated fan of antiquity.

"Tricorder is still not picking up anything out of the ordinary," Doctor Bruxa reported.

"Maybe so, but the chill in the air is still very much present," Adriana added. "It may not register on the instruments but I can confirm without hesitation that it registers on my skin."

"Scatter and search for anything that might give us a clue as to his being involved with the disappearance of the Eye or possibly some affiliation with the Lokustaar," Janeel ordered, pointing to specific locations for each of the other two women to start at. "Just be careful, I would hate to have to explain how and why an item was damaged or even destroyed by us."

The other two officers who promptly began their search quickly offered nods of understanding, focussing their complete attention on the antiques immediately in front of them.  One by one items, old-looking books, ornate figurines and ancient delicate maps were carefully scrutinized and studied. Most appeared to belong to the ancient lore and distant history of CAIT, while other equally dated items had clearly originated from nearby systems based on the markings found on them. Regardless of where they had all come from though, none had given any indications of offering any sort of clue to help solve the mysteries in which the away team had found itself completely engulfed in.

"Commander?" Bruxa called out while holding what appeared to be an old photograph.

"Found something?" Janeel questioned back.

"How old due normal Caitians live to?" The Doctor asked, obviously having found something that required some level of clarification.

"According to Starfleet records, Caitians have an average life span of 115 Terran years," the ILO / Mission Specialist answered, curious to know if this was some sort of a test or if the question would actually lead to something more concrete and relevant to their search for clues. "If memory serves me well, the record for the oldest Caitain stands at 131. Why?"

"How old would you say R'Lisi is?" The Doctor asked, ignoring the Commander's last question while keeping her fullest attention on the item currently in her hands.

"He does look to be rather old," Adriana jumped in with. "I would guess probably that he in his late 80s, maybe even mid 90s if he aged well," the Counsellor added.

"According to the museum employment file, R'Lisi was 87 Terran years when he was hired by the museum, although there were no indication as to when that was," Janeel clarified. "I took the time to check his records," the ILO / Mission Specialist added before turning to face the Adriana. "Good guess Counsellor.

"Well, if this photo is actually of him, aging well would be an understatement," Satella announced as she moved closer to the Commander, extending the image so that Janeel could take it and investigate it for herself.

"This can't be him," the ILO / Mission Specialist exclaimed. "The date on the photo would place it well over 275 years ago. It has to be someone who resembled him, maybe an ancestor of some sort."

"The resemblance is truly uncanny," Adriana offered once the photo was handed to her so that she too could see what the questions had been all about.

"Keep searching," Janeel ordered, her voice tittering on complete frustration at their inability to find answers.

More time passed as the team perused with great care each and every document and item in the room. Surely, in this exotic collection of antiques they would find something that would give the team the clue that they were all so desperately looking for. Janeel held her breath as she retrieved an old looking book, one that had been hidden on the back of a shelf. As she every so carefully opened it, she discovered an ancient document pressed tightly between the pages. Although she had no idea of what it was or of its possible significance, the ILO / Mission Specialist felt beyond certain that this had been the clue they were all looking for.

With the care of a physician, the Commander carefully retrieved the aged document from he book and laid it out on the nearest flat surface to unfold it without damaging it. As she did so and read the faded inscriptions, a sense of confusion mixed with fear swept through her body and mind.

"Excuse me Commander," Adriana called out, sounding in somewhat of a panic, not at all aware of the discovery that Janeel had made.

"What is it?" The ILO / MIssons Specialist dryly inquired, not taking her eyes off the now unfolded piece of paper resting on the desk in front of her.

"You might want to look at this," the Counsellor cryptically stated, her attention fully directed on a scene beyond the window of the curator's office.

"This is not the time to be looking at something outside this office," Janeel pointed out in frustration as she came to join the Counsellor. Whatever displeasure she had experienced in having been taken away from her discovery quickly vanished as she gazed onto the scene beyond the window. From the office of the curator a splendid view of the museum's main courtyard could be enjoyed, but unlike the bare cobble stone area that they all had walked over before, the two women were looking at an army of Lokustaar.

"How did so many of them make it into our reality?" Counselor Lopez gasped in horror.

"Look at the buildings," Janeel pointed out. "This is *not* our reality. Somehow we have managed to travel to yet another reality, one in which the city is in complete ruins."

"How did we manage to get here?" the Doctor demanded, hoping beyond hopes that they would be able to find their way back as easily as they had found their way here.

"Likely the same way that R'Lisi managed to live for over 600 years," Janeel offered, still trying to wrap her head around what she had discovered before the Counsellor's call. "I found a birth certificate in that book, one that acknowledged the birth of a Caitain boy named R'Lisi.  My guess is that our friend the curator has been involved with this matter for a lot longer than we could have expected."

"As interesting as this may all be," Adriana offered as he stepped away from the window as if fearing that the Lokustaar would see her and be alerted to their presence in this reality. "Can we get out of here?"

"I agree," Satella added, this without having looked through the window, the account of the Counsellor having been more than enough for her liking. 

Without further delay, the team made their way out of the office to find themselves back in the hallway. Since all of the realities they had thus far experienced appeared very similar to one another, the team found no indications to confirm or deny that they had returned to their own dimension.

As they arrived into another display chamber, Commander Janeel made a quick detour in order to sneak a glance out of another window, one that also gave out onto the main courtyard. To her great relief, as well as that of her companions, the bare cobble stone yard had been there, unoccupied by the army of Lokustaar they had seen only moments ago.

"Are we back in our dimension?" The Counsellor inquired, concern and fear clearly present in her voice.

Janeel simply nodded her head 'yes' and offered a soft, reassuring smile, this based on the fact that the buildings had appeared as they did when the entire away team had beamed down to the surface.

Now there had been a lot of other possibilities, one of them being that they had found their way to yet another reality in which the Lokustaar army had been present in the courtyard, but this one being invisible as the race had been previously observed of being capable of doing. For the moment, keeping control over their fears seemed to be of the utmost importance until they could confirm beyond any doubt that this was the reality they truly belonged to. A reality where they would, obviously not soon enough, regroup with the other half of the away team.

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El [Access Character BIO for Shar'El]
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M04-P049: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 02 - 0745 ("Inescapable Sacrifice")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Inescapable Sacrifice"
[previous post (Real Questions)]
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

Setting: CAIT, Museum Basement
Stardate: 32102.0745

The Executive Officer took a moment to process what had been uncovered, glancing to the Chief Science Officer and Chief Engineer as she did so. The more they managed to uncover about the mystery surrounding the missing artifact, the more they discovered that the museum curator, an elderly Caitian by the name of R'Lisi, had been deeply involved in the affair. The question as to the reason or reasons why had still proven very elusive.

The high possibility that the artifact that had been reported as stolen by none other than the same aged Caitian was nothing more than a fake only added to the complexity of this affair. Many would have taken the thickening mystery to be a reason to abandon their quest for answers, but for Sarena the opposite was true. The more complex and difficult this mission became, the more driven she was to get to the bottom of it and uncover all of the whos, whats and whys.

"By the looks of things, all of the artifacts here are the genuine article," Misaki announced following her having scanned every crate an item therein. "To have some of the more valuable artifact be kept safe while a copy is on display does make some sense, but if keeping the originals safe, why have them scattered throughout the basement? Surely there has to be a more secured location?"

"What if keeping the original artifacts was not the goal?" Halston suggested.

"Go on," Sarena requested, wanting to hear what the Chief Engineer had in mind.

"We are going on the assumption that the museum curator is here in this building to oversee the prosperity of the business while insuring that the artifacts are safe, but what if this was not the case? What if R'Lisi, whom we already know is involved in darker dealings, is here for an entirely different purpose."

"If R'Lisi is indeed involved with replacing the artifacts with fakes, for whatever reason, and let's continue along those lines and claim that he had something to do with the disappearance of the Eye of Eternity. Why would he contact the authorities and request assistance? Any investigating team would surely be able to do what we did and link him to this," Misaki proposed, unable to understand why anyone would act as they were suggesting the elderly Caitian had.

"Most investigating team would have done the exact same thing we did," Valentine agreed. "With one huge possible difference."

"What did we do that was so different?" Ensign Thorquelsson asked, not able to identify anything that had done that could be as having been different during the course of their investigation into the missing artifact.

"We came back," Sarena answered in a low voice.

"What?" Halston gasped.

"You believe that all of this was a trap?" the Chief Science Officer said, stunned with the possibility that she found herself actually entertaining. "If this is the case, it means that R'Lisi planned it all and even knew that whoever came to investigate would be dragged into another reality."

"As crazy as it might sound, it does answer many of our questions," the Executive Officer proposed.

"Actually I think it answers one more," the Chief Engineer added. "If the real artifacts are down here, what is the reason to have fake ones up there on display? We have ruled out that this would be for the safety of these antiques and we have pretty much made R'Lisi into someone who doesn't truly care about them. So why switch them unless he needed something else to be in that display room?"

"Something able to generate a dampening field strong enough to shield the building and possibly even provide the power required to open the portal between realities," the Chief Science Officer continued.

"Us getting caught in he expanding energy waves was no accident," Sarena theorized further. "It would explain why he left and avoided being stuck like the rest of us. What no one expected was that shifting from one reality to another would be almost natural for this crew, so the disorientation was very short-lived and we all understood enough about the general process to find our way back."

"Commander," Halston began, his eyes having opened to their fullest. "If R'Lisi is in fact some sort of agent working for the Lokustaar, it means that if he does not already know that we are on to him, it won't take long for us to figure it out. I doubt that he is going to be sitting in his office waiting for us to apprehend him."

"Agreed," the Executive Officer nodded. "We need to regroup with the others and find him before he decides to act against us. Right now, we know far more than I am sure he would like anyone to, and I would not be surprised if he did everything in his power to stop us."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Setting: CAIT, Museum Main Lobby
Stardate: 32102.0810

Commander Valentine, Lieutenant Mitshiba and Ensign Thorquelsson returned to the main floor as quickly as possible to see the other team rushing down the stairs in just as much as a rush as they were.

"R'Lisi is not who he claims to be," Janeel announced as soon as the two teams came close enough to exchange their findings without having to shout. "Based on what we found, he is at least 600 years old."

"The real artifacts are in the basement, likely having been replaced by items capable of generating a dampening field as well as create a portal to another reality," the Chief Science Officer said, as if trying to outdo the other team."

"That would explain how his office actually sits in another reality, one filled with those nightmarish Lokustaar creatures," Doctor Bruxa said, appearing more than willing to play this little game of whose discovery was the most significant.

"The investigating team meant to look into the disappearance of the Eye of Eternity was walking into a trap from the start," the Chief Engineer countered with, trying to raise the bar that much higher on their side.

"It looks like we have been played from the moment we beamed down the first time," the Counsellor added. "It is likely that we were welcomed back in order for the curator to gage how much we know."

"This goes well beyond searching for a missing artifact," Janeel proposed to the Executive Officer.

"We need to locate R'Lisi and that as quickly as possible so that we can confront him with all of this," Sarena stated, their course of action having been made perfectly clear. "If he wants to see just how much we actually know, I say we let him find out the hard way that there are no more questions, aside from maybe only one, why?"

"Commander," Misaki called out, drawing everyone attention to the Caitian in question who had just walked into the large room as if nothing special was happening.

"Glad that you have saved us the work of finding you," Sarena said in a clearly unimpressed tone. "We need to talk about your involvement with the disappearance of the Eye of Eternity as well as you having replaced the artifacts in that room with replicas that are hiding some sort of technology capable of creating both a dampening field around this museum and open a portal to other realities."

"You are all far too smart for your own good," the Caitian hissed, clearly unhappy that things had not gone as planned but yet without showing any concerns as to the current situation. "It would have been far simpler had you stayed in the other reality. There, your sacrifices would have been used to open and maintain a portal to all six of the parallel realities we needed to access, but I guess that time will have to wait."

"You can do all of the waiting you want in our brig," the Intel Operative said as she moved closer to take hold of the man to insure that he would not suddenly decide to run. A few steps into her hasted walk, she found herself unceremoniously colliding against some sort of force field with enough strength to send her crashing down.

"None of us will be sacrificing anything," Sarena further stated as she helped Janeel back to her feet. Although the situation had rapidly escalated, the Executive Officer had been glad to hear that this entire affair dealt with only a handful of realities instead of the possible thousands that had been hinted to at some earlier point.

R'Lisi simply smiled and pointed to some of the artifacts that were on display in the room, hinting that they too had been switched. "Despite you having found the answers you so desperately sought, you are too late. I was given this long life for a single reason, a purpose to be performed at a specific time, and that time is now. Your sacrifices will all come soon enough, and in a far more painful manner than it would have been had you not returned."

Before anyone could say or do anything, the body of the Caitian curator began to twist in ways that could only be described as beyond humanly possible as it folded onto itself. By the time the unsettling scene came to an end, nothing of R'Lisi could be found, but in his place some sort of opening in space could be seen.

"Mitshiba!" Commander Valentine called out with urgency.

"Scanning," the Chief Science Officer instantly confirmed. "Not sure how, but it appears that a highly polarized opening in the fabric of space has been created, an opening that is at the moment growing very slowly in size, but growing nonetheless. Based on these readings I can only guess that this is some uni-directional portal from one of the other realities."

"If the other side of that portal leads to the reality we say from R'Lisi's office, there are hundreds if not thousands of those beats we dealt with ready to cross over," Satella announced, her words filled with terror, and for good reason. The prospect of an invasion had been scary enough, but to have creatures such as the nightmarish Lokustaar crossing into their reality had been enough to send them all into a panic.

"We need options, and we need them now," the Executive Officer quickly demanded. Although the portal had been described as growing slowly, there had been no guarantees that this rate would not increase leaving the away team with next to no way to deal with this latest crisis.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P050: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 02 - 0820 ("50 Hours and Counting")
"50 Hours and Counting"
Previous post: "Inescapable Sacrifice"

Setting: CAIT, Museum Main Lobby
Stardate: 32102.0820

The person responsible for the mess the away team was forced into for the last couple of days had been found out and seemingly been dealt with. Based on that alone one would have expected that things would settle down leaving the group of officers with the simple task of finding the missing artifact. Unfortunately, when it came to the USS BASTET and its crew, nothing was ever that easy.

"I still cannot find the source of power that is generating this micro portal," Aki reported, unsure on how to label the phenomenon that had been created. "I can't ever start to guess as to why a sacrifice was even required to initiate this. There is nothing in the Caitian physiology, or in any other humanoid that I am aware of, that would trigger or facilitate the creation of something like this, or anything else for that matter."

"Some sort of miniature device could have been implanted in R'Lisi," Doctor Bruxa suggested. "The sacrifice could have been nothing more than a side effect of its activation. Maybe it was for nothing more than show, one meant to create as much fear and chaos as possible. That is the only possible reason I can come up with to explain the why this happened as it did."

"Understanding 'why' at this time may be far less important as figuring 'how'," Commander Valentine suggested. "And by 'how' I mean to say how do we stop this thing from getting larger?"

R'Lisis did point to those artifacts," Halston said as he quickly made his way to the nearest one. "Maybe if we disabled or even destroyed these we would be able to stop the process?"

The idea had been sound, if not overly simplistic, but at this time, any idea had been better than now. Pressured by the situation and the expectations of their First Officer to find a solution, the Ensign decided to test the quickest and what he believed would be the most effective theory he had. Taking hold of the odd-looking sculpture, the Engineer gave it a solid shove expecting it to slide off the pedestal it was on to end up crashing onto the floor.

Halston half expected the item to shatter into a million pieces revealing some sort of hidden device inside, one that would quickly be identified as being an emitter or even a power source of some sort. Instead though, the Engineer found himself unable to move the artifact in the slightest way.

"The rate of expansion does appear to be very slow," the Asian woman reported, her attention solely focussed on the recently created event. "Currently it appears to be growing by no more than half a millimeter every 30 seconds or so."

"That will not give us all that much time," Commander Janeel said having done the math in her head faster than most computers would have likely taken.  "According to your report, the hole in the fabric of space will reach one centimeter in 10 minutes, which means that it will be 6 centimeters in 1 hour. Based on the size of the Lokustaar we have observed, they should be able to start making their way through in less than three days."

"Time does not appear to be an issue for them," Lopez pointed out. "R'Lisi admitted that he was given his long life, which we figured was extended by a scale of centuries, to be able to perform this one task."

"It is evident that patience is something that they have in abundance," Bruxa commented with dismay.

"We have to use that time to our advantage," Thorquelsson added as he returned having been unable to knock the artifact off the pedestal or even move it in the slightest. "Those things are not going anywhere any time soon," he added with a sigh. 

"The Lokustaar had centuries to formulate and prepare for this day," Janeel stated with a hint of discouragement. "I highly doubt that we will find an easy way to stop them. In fact we might not even be able to do this in the three or so days that we do have."

"We surprised them once before by coming back to this reality," Aki pointed out with a tone of encouragement. "I don't see why we can't do it again."

"I agree," Valentine said. "As patient as they may be, they have demonstrated a drastic flaw in their thinking process through underestimating our resolve, and that is the advantage we must make full use of."  The First Officer paused as she met the agreeing looks of each and every of the officer around her.

"Based on the size of the Lokustaar we had a close view of, I would estimate that we have 50, maybe 60 hours before the portal is large enough for one of them to come through," Commander Janeel specified.

"Let's get to work! We only have two days to find a solution to this mess and possibly avoid an invasion of living nightmares. First, we are going to need to bring down anything and everything that might help us. With the dampening field still in effect we can't contact the Captain or get equipment directly sent to this location."

"I can come up with a quick list of devices and equipment that might prove useful in understanding what it is we are actually dealing with," the CSciO stated.

"You give me a list and I will find a way to bring it to you as quickly as possible," the CEO announced with unwavering confidence. "While I am on the BASTET I can get some of my own tools and equipment. While you work on the portal, I can try to see if I can figure out how this blasted dampening field is being generated. We have yet to find the power source that is fueling all of this, so obviously we are missing something."

With a nod of her head, Valentine gave the okay for the two officers to proceed as they had said, the task as well as the time line they needed to do this in having been as clear and precise as could be.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P051: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 02 - 0830 ("Small Problems")
"Small Problems"
[previous post was "50 Hours and Counting"]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32102.0830

What could they do in two days? The timeline had been set at 50 hours during which they needed to find all of the answers. The problem was that Satella believed they did not even have all of the questions.

R'Lisi's sacrifice might not have been required, but it had served at least one purpose. To deprive them of a source of information about what was happening. By his own words, he had been given an extended lifespan in order to perform this task. The CMO could only guess, as did everyone else, that the task he referred to was the opening of the portal. Now they all needed to figure out how to stop it from growing to be large enough to be used. Even that they were unsure as to its true purpose, only guessing that it was to allow the Lokustaar to invade this reality.

"Is there something that we can do to help?" Adriana asked of Commander Valentine. Just like Doctor Bruxa, Counselor Lopez had felt somewhat useless. The situation had changed so quickly and in such a way that neither woman could offer any real contribution. With their only living source of information dead, biological scans and physiological analysis had been rendered useless.

"We still need to figure out where the power is coming from. Something has to be feeding the generation of the dampening field." The Commander answered. "Maybe if we are lucky, we can discover that it also is powering this hole in reality."

"That is a pretty long shot," Adriana stated. "If this plan has been in the works for so long, they would not have put all of their eggs in the same basket."

"Looks like a long shot is all that we have at the moment," Satella added. It might not have been a lot, but the task they had been given was something. It was certainly better than having them stand idly by while everyone rushed around looking for a solution.

"Good luck," Sarena offered. The Commander's attention needed to be on the problem at hand. As small as it might have been, it was the one matter that had the potential of growing into something a lot larger.

"Where do we start?" Adriana asked, appearing more than happy to follow Satella's lead despite the Doctor holding a lower rank.

For a split second, Bruxa debated about pointing out that was was in fact only an Ensign. As much as it would have been meant as a joke, the Doctor realized that this had not been the time for this. "Thor tried to knock that one off its pedestal. Maybe we could start there and see why he was not able to."

"Sounds like a plan," the Counsellor agreed, shooting a quick look at the small opening hovering in mid air. "Hard to believe that we are so concerned about something so small."

"As a Counselor you know this better than anyone else," Satella offered. "It's the small issues that have the potential of growing into the largest problems. That is also true for many medical issues. A small cut can lead to infection. From there sepsis can settle in and lead to a lot more. If untreated, it could lead to amputation or even death. So, small problems should never be underestimated."

"I don't think we are underestimating this one," Adriana said. The Counsellor said as she studied the commotion surrounding the miniature portal. Judging by the way people were acting, it was plain to see that this situation was considered to be critical. Based on everything they had seen and heard, neither one of them had considered arguing that perception.

Focussing on the task that they had been given, Adriana and Satella made their way to the nearest artifact. The Chief Engineer's attempt to knock it down had failed. Now they would try to figure out why.

"The difference in texture and color shows that the artifact is a separate entity from the pedestal," Bruxa said. The Doctor had never been a fan of archeology, but her skills as a CMO had come in handy. She had long ago learnt to look for subtle differences. Granted Satella had never expected to be doing so with a piece of sculpted rock, but here she was.

"Are you sure these are separate?" The Counsellor asked as she put her full weight into trying to have it move. "Must be some kind of super powerful adhesive. That statue won't budge a bit. I know that I am not the strongest, but I am using all of my strength and weight."

"With all due respect. Neither one of those are all that imposing," Satella said with a smile. As grave as the situation might be, a little humor could not hurt. Having said this, the Doctor added her own strength and weight to the effort. After a few seconds or trying though it was clear to see that nothing would change. "I do not think that we are dealing with any type of adhesive. Something else is making sure that nothing moves."

"Something small I would bet," Adriana said playing on the idea forwarded by her friend. Not being able to move the artifact was not truly an issue. What it did point to though was that this had been planned to the most minute details. Those details, as small as they might be, would certain prove to be their greatest challenge in solving the bigger problem they faced.

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P052: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 02 - 0900 ("Something Missing")
"Something Missing"
[Previous post: "Small Problems"]

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32102.0900

The Doctor and Counsellor made their way from one artifact to the next, trying as best they could to figure out why the artifacts had been replaced with replicas and what role these copies played in everything happening around them. The original antiques had been hidden in the museum's basement to make room for these facsimiles, but the belief that this had been to protect the irreplaceable pieces of this world's past had been long dismissed. Although there were no proof to justify the claim, other than the items being unable to be pushed off their pedestal, everyone on the away team was certain that they played some dark purpose.

Knowing that they were dealing with fakes had made Adriana look upon these items in a completely different light, one lacking the lustre and respect that would have normally been expected given their current location.  Instead of priceless artifacts, the Counsellor saw objects that needed to be studied, understood and if all possible destroyed with the hope that this would solve their current situation, or at the very least give them a little more time to be able to find a solution.

"Whoever created these made sure to make them appear as real as possible," Doctor Bruxa said as she moved her tricorder up and down the full height of the nearest replica to them. "Everything checks out as far as looks and feel. The only difference is the actual age of the material as well as the fact that they are solidly glued to their pedestals."

"R'Lisi made it perfectly clear," Adriana offered. "The Lokustaar are patience given form. They are not the type to rush in blind into any situation. They take their time and plan things out, likely anticipating as many possibilities as possible."

"Yeah, those creepy things sure have a way to make things difficult for everyone," the hallucination of the twin sister said, causing the Counsellor to close her eyes and sigh.

"She's back isn't she?" Satella asked. The odds had been well in her favor based solely on Adriana's reaction.  The Counsellor said nothing and only nodded her head yes, not wanting to draw any extra attention to herself although that had been very unlikely as the focus for the rest of the away team had been on the slowly expanding portal.

Doctor Bruxa reached out and gave her friend a gentle squeeze of her hand as a show of understanding and support.

"I'm fine," Adriana said, dismissing the more recent happenings to instead focus on the task at hand. "We need to figure out what these fake artifacts do and how they manage to do it so that we can stop them."

Satella smiled, glad to see that despite her personal issues and hallucinations, the woman appeared to be on task to help with their current situation.

"The problem is that we can't even confirm that these things have anything to do with anything," Doctor Bruxa pointed out with frustration. "The fact that the original artifacts are hidden in the basement is the only clue we have as to the possible involvement of these items in both the maintaining of the dampening field around the museum and the creation of that portal."

"You would think that something like that would require a whole lot of energy," the image of the twin sister stated as she walked around one of the pedestals, looking at it with a complete lack of interest. "Just the field around this building would need a generator the size of this room, so where is the energy coming from?"

"How would a high level of power be transmitted without the use of any sort of conduits?" The Counsellor inquired aloud, using her sister's question as the starting point for her question.

"I'm no engineer," Satella grinned as she turned to the man who held said position. "Thor, I have a question for you."

"I'm kinda busy right now," the Chief Engineer offered in return.

"It will be quick and it might help all of us," the Doctor specified. "How would you transfer energy from one place to another without the use of any type of conduits?"

"That's simple," Halston chuckled. "I would use a directed electromagnetic beam, just like we do when transferring power from one ship to another. It's not like you'd string a conduit from one warp core to another through space. Mitshiba and I have already looked into that, there are no signs of any oscillating magnetic fields anywhere here, so the power to create this is being channelled in a completely different way, one that we have yet to detect."

"Transfer of energy from ship to ship through space..." Amanda echoed.

"What is it?" Satella asked, clearly seeing the wheels in the Counsellor's mind working overtime.

"Thor?" Adriana called out.

"Great, you too?" The Chief Engineer sighed, not overly fond at the idea that the nickname given to him by Doctor Bruxa was catching on with other members of the senior staff.

"Sorry," the Counsellor quickly apologized. "We know that the Lokustaar are able to travel from one reality to another, so could they be transferring power from one reality to this one?"

"That's an interesting idea," the First Officer stepped in with, having overheard the conversation. "We will need to pass this by Lieutenant Mitshiba as soon as she returns to the museum. She's currently fetching some equipment outside."

"You might have found something," Satella said with a pleased smile, their search for answers having possibly proven more fruitful than expected.

"It wasn't me," Adriana sheepishly smiled back looking at her twin sister whom she was the only one able to hear and see, something that the Counsellor had to honestly admit she missed from when the illusion had taken on physical form while in the other realities.

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M04-P053: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 02 - 1000 ("Growing Problems")
"Growing Problems"
(Previous Post: "Something Missing")

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.1000

Since the creation of the hole in the fabric of space, the opening had grown to measure ten centimeters in diameter, which was exactly what had been predicted based on the observed slow and steady increase. As grave as the situation was, at last those trying to work out a solution could find comfort in that they still had approximately 49 hours to solve this matter before the opening became large enough to allow the Lokustaar to travel through. At least that had been the guess as to what the growing opening had been meant for. So far, the team had been faced with far more questions than answers.

During that time, Ensign Thorquelsson had returned from the BASTET with all of the equipment request by Lieutenant Mitshiba along with a few additions that the Chief Engineer had believed might prove of some help. While on the ship, Halston had made sure to relay the details of their predicament on the surface to the Captain. With more people involved in the matter, the odds of finding a solution had increased, even if only ever so slightly.

"Selene," Alexandria said, not trying to hide her frustration in the last. "I should be down there and help. I am useless here." Although the two had been childhood friends, the years as well as their different chosen paths in life had created a gap between them, one that the Commanding Officer of the USS BASTET had not been in the mood to try and fix at this very moment.

"You are a guest on board my ship," Captain Iverson snapped. "I am willing to even grant you the title of archeological special envoy. In either case your continued well being is my responsibility and I cannot simply allow you to wander into what could be a very dangerous area."

"You have no idea what is happening down there," the daughter of Admiral Koniki exclaimed. "I could be of help."

"Fine, then let me explain this to you another way," the Captain said as she came to stand directly in front of the woman. "From what your file states, what your father explained and by your own admission to me, you have been alone for years, interacting with mindless robots. Whatever assistance you might be able to offer to the members of the away team does not offset the possible problems your lack of knowledge in how things are done could cause."

"You cannot be serious?" Alexandria gasped, astonished that this was the argument used to justify why her offer to help had been refused.  "I agree that I might be a little rusty with the whole interpersonal dealings, but I should not have to remind you who my father is.  I was acting like a Starfleet Officer long before I even knew that such a thing existed. Dear old daddy wanted his daughter to follow in his footsteps and maybe that was part of the reason why I went a different way the moment I was given the chance. I am not one of your officers, nor do I ever want to be, but I am not completely unaware of what it means to be part of a chain of command. Right now your people are faced with a situation that requires you pulling every possible and available resources to help. Right now, that includes me, that you might like it or not."

Selene hesitated for a moment then turned away to look at the main view screen which displayed the city as seen from orbit. "I cannot let you go down there."

"At least give me the real reason as to why not," the archeologist pleaded. "That excuse that I am not one of your soldiers makes no sense. You owe me that much if you consider us still friends in any sort of way."

"I cannot risk anything happening to you," Selene admitted, hoping that her reply would be enough to end this discussion.

"Wait a minute, is that the reason? You are not worried about me, you are worried about having to explain to your dear Admiral Koniki how you allowed me to in a situation where I could get hurt."

"How I allowed you to get killed is what I do not want to have to explain to him," the Captain clarified, Alexandria havin pushed hard enough for Selene to have decided that she could no longer keep that. "I could not live with the guilt of having been responsible for your death. Charles asked me to take you on board because you and he could not get along, but he is still your father and cares a great deal about you. You being on the BASTET is already dangerous enough, allowing you to go down to the surface right now would be too risky."

"Yet you had no problem sending that Engineer fellow back down," Alexandria argued. "Why not recall everyone up and just leave orbit. Let the Caitians deal with whatever is down there on their own. Your Chief Engineer reported that they had about 50 hours to find a solution. Imagine how far this ship could be from CAIT in that time."

An odd and eerie silence spread through the command deck as the two women waited for the other to continue, each appearing unwilling to back down from their respective position on the matter.

"Selene, I know better than anyone how difficult it can be to deal with my father," Alexandria continued, this time in a much more relaxed and calm manner. "I can only imagine the kind of hell he would put you through if something did happen to me, but what would he say if he discovered that I might have been able to help and you allowed this situation to grow beyond anyone's ability to deal with?"

"Alex, I just..." the Captain began as she turned around to once again face the woman only to be interrupted before she could finish her sentence.

"Neither one of us is the child we remember being while we were friends. I will not deny that I believe that your life is far more glamorous than mine could have ever been, but that is because of decisions we both took. What we both have to accept now is that we are here, together, and I am offering to help in whatever way I can," Alexandria explained. "I promise to stay safe."

Setting: CAIT, Museum
Stardate: 32102.1030

"Miss Koniki! What are you doing here?" Commander Valentine asked, shocked to see the woman on the surface instead of on the BASTET.

"I offered to help and your Captain agreed to let me beam down," the archeologist explained as if the entire process had been just that simple.

Sarena raised a single eyebrow, certain that the discussion leading to the woman being here had not be as simple as stated.  Not truly having the time to argue or question the reasons as to why this had happened, the First Officer simply accepted this as facts and proceed accordingly. "I am guessing that you have been briefed as to the situation we are dealing with, so I will bring you up to date. The opening is now at 13 centimeters and is steadily getting larger at a constant rate of 1 centimeter every 10 minutes. We still have no idea as to the reason for this although we suspect that it is meant to allow the Lokustaar to travel from their reality to this one. The museum is under the protection of a powerful dampening field which is effectively electronically isolating the building from the outside world. Lieutenant Mitshiba and Ensign Thorquelsson are currently working on identifying the source of the energy used to maintain this field as well as feed the growing opening. The theory at this point is that this energy originates from a remote location, one that might not even be in this reality.  Since you are here to help, I would suggest for you to join Doctor Bruxa ad Counsellor Lopez who are trying to figure out the role the fake artifacts play in all of this."

Sarena paused and looked at the slightly taller woman standing directly in front of her to see what her reaction would be. Given the huge amount of information that had been offered, the First Officer had expected to see some sort of surprise and apprehension, but instead the archeologist appeared to take everything with little effort.

"Thank you Commander," Alexandria said turning her attention to the two women she had been directed towards.

Jessica Solarik

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer


Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M04-P054: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 02 - 1030 ("The Observer")
"The Observer"
[previous post was "Growing Problem" by the web-savvy Jessica]

Setting: CAIT, Museum, upper level balcony
Stardate: 32102.1030

The Chief Science Officer and Chief Engineering Officer were both busy trying to figure out how to stop the hole in space from getting large enough to allow the Lokustaar to walk through, which had been the assumption made given the information they had available. Part of this included them trying to pinpoint the origin of the energy being used to maintain the dampening field and fuel the portal's steady growth.

The Chief Medical Officer, Ship's Counsellor who had just been joined by the BASTET's guest Archeological specialist had been trying to understand what role the fake artifacts played in this mess of a situation. The two Starfleet Officers had very little success in their efforts but with the help of Alexandria Koniki, this had the potential to change.

The First Officer on her end had been busy coordinating everyone's efforts while making sure that nothing was left to chance. If that was not enough, the Commander also needed to coordinate with the local authorities to make sure that all safety precautions were taken to insure that the situation would be contained should a solution not found within the next 49 hours.

All of this left one person to look down upon her fellow shipmates. Although many would have found this to be strange or even uncomfortable, the BASTET's Intel Operative and Mission Specialist had felt rather comfortable with her current position and task.  Scientific research had never been her strong suit, having always preferred to focus on people and puzzles.

From the upper level, the Lieutenant Commander could easily observe the trio studying the artifacts one after the other, trying their best to figure out their purpose. Although Janeel could have been there with them, the ILO / Mission Specialist had preferred to keep a wider scope on the situation, studying not only the scene but the people in it as well. After all, that was where her strength could be found, never having been one to be in the middle of the action preferring to observe.

This by no mean meant that she had distanced herself from the objective of their current mission, quite the contrary. For Janeel, being alone where she could observe others granted a unique perspective, one that no one else would be able to see from down there or appreciate as well as she could. From the second floor, the ILO / Mission Specialist could see patterns that had been oblivious to everyone else.

Each time Mitshiba reached for her tricorder to confirm whatever readings had been there, the Asian woman instinctively took a step to one side as if fearing that something would attempt to strike at her for daring to scan the gradually opening portal. Thorquelsson also displayed an odd idiosyncrasy in which he always took a few extra seconds to insure that whatever instrument were no longer being used had been returned to their proper place in the engineering kits he had brought down from the BASTET.

Commander Valentine had taken on the habit of pulling on her uniform shirt and standing as straight as she could before dealing with a member of the Caitian government. Given the situation, many of them had come to get reports and updates, and each time the First Officer had done her best to ease their worries while ushering them back out of the Museum. It would have been easy to call down a security force to block the access to the building, but doing so would have only increased the concerns of the local officials, and that right now would have only made a bad situation worse.

On the outer edge of the large room, the three women were going about their study and research. Doctor Bruxa had clearly established herself as being a hands-on type as they tried to figure out the replica artifacts, the woman's hands searching each and every curve and groove of the items. As for her friend and counterpart, the Counsellor seemed far more satisfied with keeping her distances, studying the artifacts from several steps back likely hoping that she would notice some detail missed by the others due to their close proximity.

What the observer found odd though was the fact that Counsellor Lopez appeared occasionally distracted, as if another person had been there with them, sharing whatever opinion they might have. As interesting as this might have been to the ILO / Mission Specialist, Janeel filed the matter away in her mind to be reviewed at another time. Even with 49 hours at their disposal, it was evident that her attention, as well as everyone else's needed to be on their current dilemma.

Last, but certainly not least, was Alexandria Koniki, the daughter of none other than Admiral Koniki, the man in charge of the NEW ALEXANDRIA secret base and every ship and crew operating from there. It had been easy to see that the woman had been driven to perform, almost as if she had needed to prove herself to someone. Based on what she knew of the relationship between Captain Iverson and Miss Koniki, it made sense to expect that the BASTET's Commanding Officer had been the person the archeologist had targeted hr work for. Trying to impress the Captain had been an unlikely possibility, so Janeel figured that this drive had originated from a need to show her childhood friend that she could be just as much a productive member of the crew as anyone else.

Janeel paused for an instant, realizing that she had allowed herself to drift off topic.  In her observing of the room below, she had hoped to see something, to pick up on a pattern or design that would have been impossible to see from up close, but instead she had found herself observing the individuals scattered about the room. Although what she had seen would not serve in their immediate needs, the ILO / Mission Specialist had been pleased with what she had learned about each individual, as little or insignificant as it might have seemed to be.

In the world of Intel, something it was the smallest details that could prove to make the most important impact in a given situation.  With that in mind, Janeel gave the main hall another thorough visual scan noting that the portal that had been created by the sacrifice of the museum curator R'Lisi had been in an odd location. At first the ILO / Mission Specialist had dismissed this as having been nothing more than the result of where the Caitian had been, but there was something that she had not noticed before that now unmistakably stood out.

Although she had not been certain of the significance of her discover, Janeel had been sure of one thing, it needed to be shared with those below if only to make them see what she had seen as well as to confirm that the ILO / Mission Specialist had not abandoned them during this crisis.

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El [Access Character BIO for Shar'El]
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M04-P055: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 02 - 1100 ("Time For Another Perspective")
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"Time For Another Perspective"
[previous post (The Observer)]
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Setting: CAIT, Museum, Main Hall
Stardate: 32102.1100

Normally, 48 hours would have been ample time to find a solution to any problem they would have faced. With the resources of a trans-dimensional / temporal vessel such as the BASTET and the combined knowledge and intellect of the crew, the Executive Officer was certain that there was nothing they could not overcome. At least that was until they were presented with this particular situation.

The portal from another reality had been gradually opening and so far they had not found any way to stop it. In fact, they had even failed to understand how this was working and only suspected as to where the power to fuel this portal came from. It seemed that 48 hours would be insufficient for them to counter the plan that in all fairness had been set in motion centuries ago.

A shower of sparks drew the Executive Officer's attention to Ensign Thorquelsson and Lieutenant Mitshiba. "Are you two alright?"

"We are fine Commander," Misaki promptly replied. "It was just the tricorder shorting out."

"It appears that there is an energy feedback within the portal," Halston explained, shaking the stinging sensation out of his hand where the shorted tricorder had been seconds ago. "We have no idea as to why this is happening, but it is sure making our job that much more difficult. Thanks to that energy feedback, there is no way for us to get any sort of sensor reading past the event horizon of the portal. It is as if they know we are on this side trying to stop this, because that feedback was not there a few minutes ago."

"THOR! Are you alright?" Doctor Bruxa asked in a panic as she rushed to the side of the fallen Chief Engineer.

"I'm fine," the Ensign confirmed, silently wishing that the Chief Medical Officer would stop using that nickname each and every chance she got."

"Let me have a look," Satella said in a way that leaned far more towards it having been an order than a suggestion, something that as the BASTET's CMO she had been well within her rights to claim.  Reluctantly the Chief Engineer offered his opened hand to the Doctor so that she could examine it and reach the same conclusion that Misaki and he had already come up with.

While the CMO gave the CEO a thorough examination, the Executive Officer turned her attention towards the CSciO. "Any ideas as to where that is causing this new energy feedback?"

"We can't even pinpoint the source of the power that is making the portal," the Lieutenant said with unchallenged frustration. "Halston might be right; this could be some deliberate effort from the other side to make sure we are unable to slow down the opening of the portal. I will not say 'us closing it', because right now I am not even sure we can in the timeframe we have. On a more optimistic side, the new feedback might have been there all along, we just did not detect it until it was strong enough to interfere with our tricorder scans. Either way though, the result is the same, the only thing we can get any sort of reading on is the visible portion of the portal and how it is affecting the space round it. Whatever answers we might have been able to get from the other side have been effectively denied to us."

Sarena allowed a soft sigh to escape from her lips. If there had been any doubts before, it was a foregone conclusion now that the 48 hours they had before the portal became wide enough to allow the Lokustaar through would not be enough for them to find a solution. Although the situation had appeared to be desperate, the Executive Officer had not been ready to give up, there had simply been too much at stake to thrown in the towel while there still was a chance, however small it might be.

"Miss Koniki, Counsellor Lopez," the Commander called out, waving for the other two women to come closer. "Any luck?"

"The artifacts are clear forgeries," the archeologist stated without hesitation. "I will admit that whoever is responsible for them did a very good job, one that would have fooled anyone not in the business. The appearance are near perfect and unfortunately do not seem to give any sort of hint as to their real purpose. Aside from being impossible to move from their pedestals, the counterfeit artifacts show no indication of actually being part of this, whatever this is. Our guess is that they are some sort of passive components needed to focus the energy used to create and maintain that thing," Alexandria said pointing to the portal in disdain.

Having noticed that the members of the away team had gathered, Commander Janeel had come down from the upper level. This would permit her to share what she had seen while at the same time check on the Engineer's condition and see if maybe something new had been discovered. As she approached, the ILO saw the annoyed expressions on the faces of Ensign Thorquelsson and Lieutenant Mitshiba, giving her the answers to the questions she had been poised to ask. Halston had been fine and hoping that the examination would end while Misaki wished that they had found something of significance to help them in their quest to close the portal.

"Seen anything worth reporting from up there?" Sarena asked, the Executive Officer having been well aware of the ILO's perceived inactivity over the last few hours.

"Actually I might have found something," Janeel replied causing a surprised expression to appear on Sarena's face. "I wanted to see it I had just imagined it, so I stayed there and watched carefully how the portal behaved. Following the exploding tricorder, I believe that I was able to confirm my suspicions."

Again, the Executive Officer though of the timeframe they had been working with and thinking that 48 hours would have been enough of a buffer to allow for anyone to be casual about relaying any findings, but given their present situation Sarena had much preferred a speedier and more direct approach.

Noticing the growing impatience in the woman standing directly in front of her, the ILO understood that she needed to do. "The way the artifacts are scattered around the room seems perfectly normal, even, symmetrical, but the pattern on the floor is skewed towards the front of the room," Janeel explained. "At first I thought that it was just the way the floor tiles had been put down during the construction of the museum but I went and looked at some of the other rooms. None of them display the flawed layout of the floor display."

"You have been looking at the museum's floors all this time?" Sarena demanded, apparently less than impressed by the woman's use of her time in trying to find a solution to their common problem.

"You have to understand that we have been going about this under the idea that the museum is just a building like any other that is being used by the Lokustaar, but what if this was not the case? We have gathered that this plan had been set centuries ago, so what if the actual building of the museum had been part of that plan?  This may sound like a far fetch idea, but hear me out. The patterns on the floor in the other rooms is simplistic, being nothing more than the repetition of geometrical patterns, but the one in the main hall is exceptionally complex. It took me quite a while to be able to discern some of the specific patterns through all of the interweaved ones, but they seem to link everything together and converge in a single location on the floor.

"Right where the portal is located," Mitshiba theorized with some certainty, the explanation from the ILO having already caused the Chief Science Officer to consider the building as a whole as being part of the equation they were so desperately trying to understand.

"Exactly," Janeel confirmed. "We have been trying to figure out where the energy is coming from in order to not only feed the portal's growth but also shield the museum from scans, transporters and other outside interference. What if the dampening field around the building is not a required goal from the Lokustaar but rather was part of the design all along? If we take into account that they have been planning this for *centuries*, it makes sense to consider that they have planned this on levels that we might never even come close to consider in normal circumstances."

"So now we have to deal with the entire building?" Adriana gasped, the scale of the situation having jumped to something the Counsellor believed had been well beyond their means.

"What did we miss?" Ensign Thorquelsson inquired after having returned to his feet after having received a reluctant clean bill of health from Doctor Bruxa.

"Secure all of the equipment," the Executive Officer ordered. "Thanks to Commander Janeel, we may have a found something of significance, something that might very well make this situation a great deal harder for us to handle."

"Great," Satella huffed. "It was not like we were doing so great before."

"We need to return to the BASTET and consider all of our options," the Commander added dismissing the Doctor's statement. "What Janeel discovered might have made things more complicated for other ships and crews, but I believe that it might prove to be the answer we were searching for, an answer that the BASTET may be the only vessel in the Federation able to address."

"Why is that?" The Chief Engineering Officer asked.

"Not *why* Ensign, but rather *when*," the Executive Officer clarified with a twinkle in her eye.

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Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P056: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 02 - 1230 ("A New Plan")
"A New Plan"
[previous post was "Time For Another Perspective" by the timely Karen]

Setting: USS BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 32102.1230

The away returned to the BASTET with Commander Valentine in the lead, the woman appearing quite driven to discuss the plan that she had come up with following the discovery made by the ILO / Mission Specialist.

"Alright, what do you have?" Captain Iverson asked, not even waiting for everyone t take their seats. Although she had not been on CAIT and seen first hand the portal, Commanding Officer had known enough to know that time had been against them, an ironic fact given the ship's unique travel capabilities.

"In about 46 hours the portal will be large enough to allow something the relative size of a Lokustaar to walk right into our backyard, and from what we saw in the other realities, they will be coming in by the hundreds, if not thousands."  The Commander explained, setting the tone of their situation to be as grave as could be.

"So we are dealing with an invasion force?" The captain asked, wanting to confirm what had been hinted to since the very start of this portal business.

"Everything does seem to point in that direction," Mitshiba offered. Although there had not been any concrete proof to support this idea, the way everything had been unfolding could only lead to a very select few conclusions, and an invasion had been the most dreaded and dangerous one.

"Everything including the layout of the museum," Janeel added with a hint of awe. "We have come across a lot of hints and clues pointing to the Lokustaar being a very patient and meticulous race, and our latest discovery certainly seems to support that claim."

"Commander Janeel was able to discern an odd pattern in the floor of the main hall, a pattern that is absent from all other rooms in the museum," Sarena explained, jumping straight to the point. "This pattern seems to have some role to play in the portal, as if using the museum itself as a conduit to possibly channel and focus the energy being used to maintain the opening through space that we are now unable to scan through."

"That does seem to be a far fetched idea," Doctor Bruxa stated with a distinct hint of skepticism.

"It might not be that far fetched," Alexandria jumped in with, glad that she had been allowed in this meeting despite her not having been a senior officer or even an official member of the crew. "There are several archeological accounts of civilizations using specific structures, shapes and patterns to help focus energy. The Iconians were believed to use carefully placed lines of an unknown liquid metal to help isolate specific type of energy to be targeted elsewhere. The T'Kon Empire was said to have priests capable of using the curvature of specifically made dome structure to focus their thoughts into a tangible force which could affect people and matter. So it is not unthinkable that the museum was built to perform a task in the creation and maintaining of this portal."

"It would go a long way to help explain why we have not been able to identify the source of the energy being used to keep the dampening field around the building active, not to mention the portal itself," Ensign Thorquelsson contributed. "Given that the output of the field protecting the building is now close to ten time the maximum output of our own shields, having the building itself be part of the equation is pretty much the only way to explain the numbers we have seen."

"The pattern that Commander Janeel noticed on the floor also seemed to show a great deal more," Mitshiba added, having taken a quick scan of the floor before leaving the museum to return to the BASTET. "There is a lot that seems to be nothing more than lines, but I have the feeling that it is some sort of a map, linking this reality to several others as we experienced earlier in this mission. The artifact known as the Eye of Eternity might have been but a component in this.  At first we believed that it was the cause of the anomalies we observed, now I am moe in line to believe that it was what kept the balance between the realities.  At this point it is possible that the curator was the one who removed the artifact in order to set all of this in motion."

"He did claim that he had been given an extended longevity to perform one task," Counselor Lopez agreed. "R'Lisi did appear not in the least surprised by our arrival or the way the energy fields shifted. My guess now is that he knew a ship would be sent by the Federation to investigate and that we would not be able to affect the outcome he had set into motion."

"He did appear more than a little surprised when we came back from those other realities," Janeel corrected. "That he had obviously not anticipated."

"This also means that as patient and meticulous as the Lokustaar may be, they are not omniscient," Commander Valentine added. "That is our greatest advantage and what we have to use to bring an end to this threat which could extend far beyond the limits of the Federation."

"So what do we do to stop this threat?" The Captain asked, sounding anxious to hear the plan that her First Officer had come up with in order to see this invasion stop before it could even begin.

"If the museum was indeed built to play such an important role in the creation of the portal, we could use the temporal drive to make their plan never succeeds," Sarena offered.

"The temporal prime directive forbids us to interfere in events that have already taken place," Misaki quickly countered.

"The Lieutenant is right," Janeel followed with, obviously siding with the Chief Science Officer. "The slightest change in the timeline could have a catastrophic impact on the Caitians and maybe even the Federation. As grave as the situation may be, we cannot risk trading a bad situation for one that could prove to be much worse."  The Commander paused for a moment, considering her next words very carefully. "As this ship's Intel Liaison Officer I am aware of certain time traveling instances which were recorded and monitored by the temporal division of SFI. It took a great deal of work and *time* to undo what a single person had done, all in the name of saving lives.  As much as we might want to alter the past, we cannot if we wish to keep what we know now intact."

"I was not claiming that we should change the past," Valentine clarified. "I was merely suggesting that we could travel back to when the museum was being constructed to see if we can discover something that would enable us to disable the dampening field currently protecting and isolating the structure. Eben if we are only able to find a small flaw in the design, it could be enough to allow us to shift the tide and stop the expansion of the portal."

The Captain gave the suggestion some serious thought. The Lokustaar might have planed this entire affair, but the return of the away team from the other realities had been proof that there had been something the alien invaders had not taken into account -- the resourcefulness of the crew of the BASTET as well as its unique travel abilities.

"Ensign Thorquelsson, coordinate with Lieutenant Mitshiba and Miss Koniki to come up with the best possible temporal target for us to aim for in order to get the answers we seek," the Captain ordered, obviously having accepted the plan as presented. "Commander Valentine, get the BASTET ready for a temporal jump. Commander Janeel, it will be your task to make sure we do not interfere with the recorded history, however insignificant it might appear to us now."

The Captain took a moment to meet everyone's eyes to make sure everyone understood what had been expected of them. When she was confident that this had been the case, she nodded her had and sent everyone onto their respective tasks.

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El [Access Character BIO for Shar'El]
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M04-P057: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 02 - 1300 ("A Timely Debate")
"A Timely Debate"
Previous post: "A New Plan"

Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 4, Science Lab
Stardate: 32102.1300

Alexandria, Halston and Misake wasted no time in making their way to the science lab in order to comply with the Captain's order. Their task, as simple as it might sound, was to pinpoint a temporal location that would allow them to find a weakness or maybe even possibly a flaw in the design of the museum which had been discovered to be far more than a simple building.

"According to CAIT's own planetary history, the building is ancient," the archaeologist said, the woman having called up the available data on the structure on their way to the science laboratory. "In fact there are several dates listed in relation to the building's construction."

"Likely means that there was a structure of some kind that was discovered and used as the foundation for a building which was later expanded upon until it created the current building, which was later in its turn assigned as a museum," the Chief Engineer theorised as he called up the schematics of the temporal drive in order to better calibrate the delicate piece of equipment.

Such an observation should have come from the archeologist, but the woman had seemed consumed by an entirely different matter, one that she was no longer able to hold within.  "May I ask a question?" Alexandria proposed, understanding that the initial query had been rhetorical but still needed to be voiced in order to make sure that the following question would not be simply dismissed or ignored by the officers next to her. "Are we actually talking about traveling back in time? Is this ship actually capable of doing this?"

"Yup," Halston replied with a beaming smile, the question, the answer and their significances seemingly as normal as could be for this ship and crew. As the Chief Engineering Officer of the BASTET, the Ensign could clearly recall the first time he had been made aware of the unique capabilities of this vessel, and even though he knew and had experienced it first hand, Ensign Thorquelsson had to admit that the thrill of such a journey through time still made him smile.

"I thought that traveling back in time was only theoretical," Alexandria stated in shock. "At the very least I would imagine that if it was possible it would be highly illegal and closely monitored," the daughter of Admiral Koniki said, finding it hard to believe that not only had such a journey been possible, but that she had found herself on board a ship actually capable of performing it. Obviously her father held far more secrets than she could have even believed him capable of.

"It has been a while since temporal travel stepped out of the shadows of the theoretical field into the bright lights of reality," Aki joyfully explained, the Asian woman showing that she too delighted in this unique ability of the ship that she served aboard. "As for being monitored, the Temporal Prime Directive does make it very clear what we can and cannot do. The key for us is to safeguard the timeline, not to disrupt it, regardless of what might have happened. As for being monitored, there in an organization within Starfleet with agents who make sure that the Temporal Prime Directive is very closely obeyed. Should a problem be detected, the BASTET is designated as one of the ships to be sent to investigate and if needed, rectify the situation in order to restore the timeline to its proper flow."

"There are other ships able to travel through time?" Alexandria gasped, wondering how she had never heard of this before now, not even through careless whispered conversations.

"The technology has been used, modified and improved upon a great deal over the decades. With more sensitive and accurate devices and temporal sensors, our ability to pinpoint a specific target in time has gotten a great deal better. Likewise, our ability to travel to that exact moment as also improved, but it does require a fair amount of preparations to avoid finding ourselves in a temporal location that could lead to a catastrophic unravelling of time itself."

"Don't listen to her," Halston laughed. "She's making it sound a lot more complicated than it is," the Chief Engineer added. "Once you get the hang of it, travelling to another time is not all that more difficult than traveling to another star system. The only real difference is that we move through time instead of through space."

"What about temporal sheer?" the Chief Science Officer pointed out. "Gravitational eddies, shifts in the electromagnetic fields of whatever objects is near us or might come close to us, and let's not forget the constant movement of the galaxy which we have to account for. If we actually anchored ourselves to a specific location in space instead of a planet, we could find ourselves light years away from where we were aiming to be depending on the length of the temporal journey."

"Alright, alright," Halston quickly conceded. "It's very difficult and requires a brainiac like you to actually make it work. Now, if you wouldn't mind, the Captain is wait for us to get these temporal coordinate confirmed and locked in."

"You can't do that," the archeologist said, her surprise and shock having rapidly shifted to be more along the lines of anger and outrage.

"Sure we can," Halston countered, not having noticed the woman's change in emotional posture. "All we need to do is enter the coordinates into the system and voila!"

"I mean you cannot be allowed to travel back in time," Alexandria clarified. "The risks are too high. What if you caused an accident that would destroy a priceless archeological structure or worst cause the death of an artist before he creates the one piece he would be known for? With a ship like the BASTET, you could actually destroy an entire civilization and forever change what we know today."

"That is why the Temporal Prime Directive was created," Mitshiba said, trying her best to reassure the visibly troubled woman. "I would have believed that you of all people would have been happy to see time travel to be a reality. Imagine all of the archeological sites you would actually be able to see before they became ruins or destroyed through some war or natural disaster."  Aki paused for a moment to allow Alexandria to hopefully calm herself a little. "When traveling back in time, we do so only as observers, never interacting with people or interfering with events. In fact, it is part of our duty to insure that the timeline remains intact."

"What about what it is that you are hoping to accomplish now?" The archeologist questioned. "Are you not planning on changing the future?"

"That is where the temporal rules get a little complicated," the Chief Science Officer said, hoping that she would be able to clarify this clearly and simply. "We are forbidden to alter anything that *has* happened, but the events following the opening of the portal have not yet happened, at least for us, and as such we have a certain leeway to work with.  The future is not set in stone, there are an infinite number of possibilities that we will end up selecting only one of as our reality. Our travelling back in time is part of these variables, and it will become a event that we will never be able to come back to and change."

"I'm not sure," Alexandria admitted. "This is more than I can handle right now. I need some air," she added before making her way out of the science lab.

"Maybe the captain should have mentioned this to her before," Halston suggested in hindsight.

"Looking back at past event is always easy," Aki pointed out before joining the Engineer in his work to isolate the temporal target they needed to reach in the hopes of finding a solution to their current dilemma.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P058: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 02 - 1400 ("Temporal Sneak Peek")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Temporal Sneak Peek"
[previous post (A Timely Debate)]
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Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.1400

There always was a certain air of apprehension when the ship and crew were about to engage the temporal drive, and the Executive Officer understood why. Aside from the reality that they had not done this to he point of having become experts, the risks of them being trapped in another time or causing irreparable damage to history were always present. As scientifically interesting as such travels could be, the element of danger that accompanied it could not be escaped, no matter how careful they were. Knowing that a single error could lead to the timeline they had been sworn to protect to be altered in ways beyond anyone`s imagination, was enough to have any sane officer hesitate to jump into their own past, even if it was to save the future.

The one person Sarena had expected to be thrilled about this journey had proven to be the strongest voice against it. The Executive Officer had expected that as an archeologist, Miss Koniki would have been beside herself with excitement at the prospect of seeing with her own two eyes what most could only imagine. Most in her domain were forced to study the crumbling ruins spared from having been completely destroyed by the passage of time. While on board the BASTET, Alexandria possessed an opportunity that no other had, and yet her voice was the loudest in regards to the concerns about changing the past, and in so doing affecting the present. Even if the goal had been to possibly save the future of all humanity, the archeologist had been dead set against what they were planning to do.

The Captain had proven beyond patient in listening to her friend`s repeated and insistent objections, but faced with the situation they were, Selene had been left with no other choice.

"Commander, are we ready?" Captain Iverson inquired from the command chair.

"We have green lights across the board," Sarena reported. "Lieutenant Mitshiba and Ensign Thorquelsson have programmed the temporal drive to the specific time and location needed or us to get the information we are after."

"Good," Selene acknowledged. "Helm, move us beyond the moon's orbit. The last thing we need is for history to show that a Federation vessel appeared in orbit of CAIT before there was such a thing as the Federation."

"Here are the exact coordinates the BASTET will need to be at in order to arrive hidden by the moon," Misaki stated. "It took some calculating given that there are historical records of the moon actually having shifted its orbit, but all of the tests were conclusive. We should arrive right behind the moon, completely hidden from CAIT, so no one will ever know that we were there."

"The word that worries me is *should*," the archeologist sighed heavily. "What happens if we don't arrive where and when your calculations say we will? What happens if we are seen by the society of the time or worst detected by one of the ancient space faring races that were present at the time?"

"We can use the temporal drive to mask our presence from sensors, or whatever they were using at the time," Mitshiba explained.

"To them, we would appear as a localized temporal anomaly," the Executive Officer further explained, thinking it best to intervene instead of leaving the argument to be between the Captain and her friend. "Rest assured that we are doing our very best to make sure that our temporal footprint will be at worst negligible."

"I am still not convinced," Alexandria huffed, glaring at her friend in a way that made it clear that she would be held personally responsible should anything go wrong, a judgement that the Captain had actually been ready to accept should things not happen as they hoped.

"Alex," Selene sternly began, looking over her shoulder at the woman who had made it beyond clear that she had been against this endeavor. "I know that you do not agree with this, and I respect and even agree with your concerns, but we do not have a choice. Like it or not we are going back and you can either be quiet and enjoy the trip or get off my bridge. Either way, I do not want you getting in the way and risking causing the problem that you are so scared of happening. I assure you that if any member of my crew makes a mistake, I will gladly accept full responsibility for whatever will happen because of it. That said; make no mistake that if something happens because of your interference or meddling, I will make sure that you are held responsible for every life affected by your actions."

Alexandria stood motionless for a moment as she processed the threat uttered by her childhood friend. As driven as the archaeologist had been, she suddenly came to realise that she had become part of the possible problem and as such, she needed to step back and allow those who actually knew what they were doing with their job.

"I'm sorry," Alex meekly offered. "I'll be quiet."

"I am glad that you have chosen to stay," Selene admitted in a much softer and friendly voice. "The travel alone is impressive enough, but I would have hate for you to miss the opportunity of seeing the CAIT museum before it was that."

"Captain," the helmsman said. "We will be at the stated coordinates in about a minute."

"Bridge to Main Engineering, Ensign Thorquelsson, are we ready?" The Executive Officer asked, taking the opportunity for one last check hoping that this would help to calm the nervous and concerned archeologist.

=/\= Ready as can be Commander, =/\= came the reassuring reply of the Chief Engineer. =/\= The temporal drive is purring like a kitten. =/\=

"Everything still reads green on all system," the Chief Science Officer confirmed. "Temporal drive ready at your discretion Captain."

"Time to see why the floor of that temple is so special," Selene said as she moved to sit on the edge of her seat. "Lieutenant Mitshiba, synchronize the creation of the temporal gate with our forward motion so that we jump at the exact location we need to."

"Calculations already made and entered in the computer," the Chief Science Officer stated, obviously having been more than ready for what would come. "Engaging temporal drive in 4... 3... 2... 1... now."

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Setting: SPACE
Stardate: 32102.1415

A small distortion appeared directly in the flight path of the BASTET which had reduced speed. There seemed to be more than enough time for the ship to alter course in order to avoid the anomaly but the vessel pressed on on its course and speed. By the time the ship had almost been upon the visible distortion, it had grown to be nearly large enough to accept the ship and take it to another time.

In the matter of seconds, the ship had pierced the event horizon of the temporal anomaly and forced its way into it, vanishing from space and time as if it had never been there to start with.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.1418

"Isn't it beautiful?" Misaki asked of their guest, the swirls of colors being displayed on the man view screen having truly been magnificent. As impressive as the sight might have been though, it could not pay proper tribute to the fact that they were now travelling through time.

"What is that flash that I keep seeing?" Alexandria inquired, having apparently abandoned her concerns in favor of enjoying the journey that she had been so against taking.

"That is the moon orbiting the planet," Mitshiba explained. "The BASTET is locked in space with the planet, so as it travels through space, so do we. The moon on the other hand is still orbiting CAIT, and we get to see it as a quick flash when the light of this system's sun comes to hit the moon dead on from our perspective. At our current temporal velocity, we cannot be seen or detected, and in turn we are only able to see larger scale celestial movement."

"That is amazing," Alexandria admitted.

"Shift main view screen from forward view to starboard," the Captain ordered.

The image being displayed at the front of the bridge switched to show the planet, locked in position with the moon flashing between them so fast that it could only be seen for a fraction of a second when the light from the sun was just right. Although the planet itself appeared motionless, the clouds seemed to be in a barely visible frenzy, causing streaks to be seen over a landscape that could not be identified due to it moving too fast for the human eye to recognize the details.

"Lieutenant?" The Captain inquired with a smile.

"We should be reaching our temporal destination is just under a minute," Misaki reported. "We will begin deceleration soon."

"Deceleration?" The archaeologist inquired. As great as her knowledge may have been, starship mechanics had not been something she excelled at, and even less when it came to traveling through time.

"In order to make sure we arrive at the exact time that we have set for ourselves, the BASTET will slow down as we get closer to our destination," the Captain explained. "This means that things from our perspective will start to go by slower, actually allowing us to *see* things happen. Instead of a blur of clouds, we might actually see cities being built."

"Actually Captain," Sarena corrected in all seriousness. "Since we are traveling backwards through time, we would see ruined cities return to their prime before vanishing before our eyes one building at a time."

"I can imagine that either way would be something amazing to see," the archeologist said, apparently having at least partially reconsidered her position as to the unnecessary dangers of travelling through time.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P059: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 02 - 1425
("Not The Answer We Were Looking For")
"Not The Answer We Were Looking For"
(Previous Post: "Temporal Sneak Peek")

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.1425

As the USS BASTET slowed its travel back through time, the image on the main view screen of the planet CAIT began to show more and more details of the civilization beyond the thinning cloak of clouds that hid the world below. From a high orbit well beyond the orbit of the only natural satellite of the world, there had been little for those on the bridge to see, but as decades became single years and ever months, the archaeologist Alexandria Koniki began to identify certain newer settlements as they withdrew back into their earlier days before vanishing altogether into a time when they had not even been there.

"This is remarkable," the childhood friend of the Commanding Officer said, having for the time being forgotten all about her concerns and objections as to their travelling in the manner that they were. Selene understood the amazement the woman felt, sharing in it despite this not having been her first time seeing how time could affect a single fix point in the cosmos. That said, Captain Iverson also knew that the moment this euphoria would die down, the objections to them being here would likely return, this time with more force and determination than they had initially started with.

"According to the archives of the museum concerning its own creation," Lieutenant Mitshiba reported, keeping a close watch on the years they were passing through. "The floor of the main hall was discovered by a tribe of nomad Caitians some 3500 years ago. Not understanding its significance, they believed it to have been a sign from the deities of the time to establish a great city with the unknown structure as the centre.  Many buildings were erected around the it before the grand palace, which later became the building known as the CAIT Planetary Museum, was constructed directly over it, using the flat surface as the starting point and floor of the main entrance. We should reach that point in time in a few seconds."

Everyone watched with undivided interest as the months turned into weeks and even days, allowing the deconstruction of the palace with be witnessed.  "Look," Alexandria said in astonishment pointing to the structure in question, only the foundation surrounding the clearly visible imposing floor having been visible, the rest of the building not yet having been constructed. "We never noticed this before, but the underground levels of the museum never go under the floor of the main hall. They built everything around it, likely fearing to disturb whatever might have been beneath it."

"It defensively goes to explain why the floor of the main hall is so different from the rest of the building," Commander Valentine noted, glancing to the sensor readings being displayed at the station of Lieutenant Mitshiba and the image being displayed on the main view screen. "The problem is that the sensors did not pick up anything that would link the actual building to whatever that structure is. According to everything our sensors have picked up, the foundation and walls were all made of local material."

"Are you certain?" Captain Iverson inquired, the report not having been what she had hoped for, not in the least. At best, Selene had hoped to get answers as to how to interrupt the energy flow thus stopping the portal from opening more than it already had, and at worst she had expected for them to discover where the energy had originated from. To learn that the structure of the building had no actual link to the floor had proven to be quite a disappointment.

"We ran the scans through everything we could think of," the First Officer confirmed. "As far as we can see, there is nothing that explains how the building is linked to the floor."

"Captain," Commander Janeel said in a tone of urgency, calling the attention of the Commander officer and the rest of those on the bridge to the main view screen. "There was some sort of commotion right at the end of the floor as the foundations were being dug up. It was as if they had discovered something that halted all work for what I would guess was several weeks."

"Make a note of when this happened," the Captain ordered. "As soon as we reach our temporal destination, we will move forward and see if we can more clearly identify what happened."

"Do you believe that this might have some sort of significance?" Commander Valentine inquired, sounding suspicious.

"I was hoping to have a clear answer by now, one that would have explained everything," Selene admitted. "Instead we have nothing more than a floor that was used to build a building around it, a floor that we cannot prove has actually anything to do with the situation that we left in the present. It is evident that we cannot take anything for granted and we must explore every possibilities presented to us."

"We have arrived," Misaki reported as the USS BASTET completed its journey through time. What could be seen on the main view screen was the floor of the building before there had actually been a building or even a hint of one, the large rectangular structure appearing as a large plaque deposited on the surface of the planet."

"What are the sensors detecting?" The Captain asked, wanting to see if maybe at this point in time they would be able to detect something of value.

"Unbelievable," Sarena sighed in complete disbelief. "The sensor dampening field is actually there. It appears as if the floor itself is the cause of it. Maybe it was by design or simply because of some material used, but that field will grow to encompass the entire building in the present."

"Why was it never detected beforehand?" Janeel questioned. "Certainly such a dampening field would have been detected by the Caitians as their technology grew or by one of the many Federation science vessels that were sent to that world over the decades. Something had to hinder that field at some point."

"Bridge to Main Engineering," the Captain said after opening a communication channel.

=/\= Go ahead Captain, =/\= Ensign Thorquelsson replied.

" Set the temporal drive to forward."

=/\= Are we heading back already? =/\=

"No," Selene explained. "We need to investigate something, so we need to move ahead in time but at a reduced temporal velocity so as to make sure we do not miss anything."

=/\= I will see what I can do Captain, but please do keep in mind that we are still trying to understand the finer detains of this temporal drive. The J'Den did not give us a comprehensive manual to go with the tech. =/\=

"I have the utmost confidence in your abilities Ensign," the Captain stated. "Let us know when you are ready."

=/\= Aye, Aye, Captain. =/\=

"Wait a minute," Alexandria gasped, the horror of her realization more than visible on her face. "Are you claiming that you do not have a complete knowledge or control over that device?"

"Miss Koniki," Sarena rapidly intervened. "This is neither the time nor place for this."

"This is the perfect *time* for this," the archaeologist pointed out, her anger on the verge of boiling over. "Do you realize the damage you people could cause to the timeline? I was worried when I was led to believe that you had complete control of the device used to accomplish this, but now that I have learned that this is not the case, how are any of you to know that you have not already set events into motion that will destroy everything that we know?"

"Miss Koniki, you need to calm yourself," the First Officer stated, standing directly in front of the irate woman, making sure that she would not have any direct access to the Captain.

"I will not calm down," Alexandria unleashed at the top of her voice. "You are all blind to the damage you could be causing. By your own admission you have no idea how the device fully works, so how can you all be so unwilling to see the problem? Are you all actually trying to kill everyone? Is that your plan? Is the situation in the museum on CAIT just an excuse for you all to go back in time and change things? Is that what my dear father wants? To reshape the universe to his will? I knew that he was arrogant, but this goes even further than I had thought possible from him."

"Alexandria," Counsellor Lopez said as she walked onto the bridge, drawing the attention and focus of the woman onto her. "You are upset, maybe we could return to my office and discuss this in a calmer and more private setting."

"These people have the potential of destroying everything we ever knew and you want to talk," the archaeologist continued, not giving any signs that she had been ready to stop making her point.

"Please," Adriana pleaded. "This is not helping the situation in any way."

Before Alexandria could continue with her enraged rant, a hypospray was applied against her neck causing the woman to collapse to the group nearly immediately. 

"Apologies Captain," Doctor Bruxa offered, still holding the small device used to subdue the woman. "Commander Janeel informed us of the situation and we thought it best to act before things got out of hand."

"No apologies required Doctor," the Captain happily stated. "I am sorry that it had to come to this, but in the end I do believe that it was for the best. Commander Janeel, if you would be so kind to make sure that Alexandria is returned to her quarters safe and sound."

"Should she not be confined to Sickbay?" The Mission Specialist suggested. "I would have said the brig, but given your relationship to her, I was happy to offer Sickbay instead."

"I appreciate your concerns Commander," Selene said with a nod of her head. "She is still my friend and in all honesty I cannot begrudge her the opinion she so vividly presented to us. I am sure that she will not be a danger to herself."

"I will make sure that she is safe," Doctor Bruxa added, asking with a motion of her head for Janeel to help carry the unconscious woman off the bridge.

"Well, that could have gone better," Sarena pointed out once Counsellor Lopez, Doctor Bruxa, Commander Janeel and their unconscious ward had vanished behind the closing doors of the turbolift.

"It could still go a lot worse," Selene pointed out. "She might have been a little overly blunt in expressing her opinion, but we all have to agree that she is right. We are in a very dangerous situation and are trying our best not to make matters worse than they already are."

=/\= Main Engineering to Captain Iverson, =/\= the voice of the Chief Engineer was heard, breaking the tension, even if only a little, that had been in the room. =/\= I have calibrated the temporal drive to its most sensitive settings. We should be able to travel forward and backwards in time as slowly as a couple of days per second, if all of the calculations and rewiring I did are accurate that is. =/\=

"I am sure they are," the Captain offered. "Lieutenant Mitshiba, move us to that disturbance that was observed and have all sensors focus on the area immediately around the floor plate."

"Engaging temporal drive," the Chief Science Officer announced while all eyes were locked on the image being displayed on the main view screen.

"There is it," Sarena stated as they noticed an unusual gathering at the edge of the floor plate that would in time be where the main entrance to the place and museum would be. "It looks like they found something."

"Something odd enough to bring to a stop all of the foundation work around the floor plate," the Captain noted with interest.

"Captain," Misaki exclaimed. "This is where they discovered the Eye of Eternity. That is why the work around the plate stopped, everyone was trying to figure out what it was and if it had anything to do with the floor."

"Were there any mention of the Eye having been found near the plate?" Commander Valentine inquired, certain that she would have remembered such a detail had it been mentioned at an earlier time.

"No Commander," the Chief Science Officer stated. "In fact the historical records clearly show the Eye of Eternity has having been found in a desert hundreds of kilometres from this location."

"Is it possible that we are responsible for this change in the timeline?" Sarena nervously inquired. As much as she doubted that possibility, the rant from Miss Koniki had made the Commander somewhat nervous as to the possible impact their presence might have on the timeline.

"Highly improbable as we have not had any direct or even indirect impact on the history of this world," Mitshiba explained. "It is far more likely that for one reason or another the historical records were altered to hide the fact that the Eye of Eternity was found here, right next to the floor plate."

"So we are back with the Eye having a role to play with all of this?" Captain Iverson rhetorically asked.

"It gets better," Misaki added. "According to the sensors, the Eye was placed in the centre of the floor plate, likely for display. What is interesting is that the interference field was drastically reduced when it was placed there."

"The Eye of Eternity counteracts the effects of the floor plate?" Commander Valentine asked, in the same rhetorical tone as the Captain had just used.

"Full stop!" Selene ordered before locking eyes with her First Officer. "So we now know that the Eye is responsible for counteracting the dampening field, from there we can guess that it also was the reason why no one detected anything until recently, when the artifact was stolen."

"I would guess that it was R'Lisi who was responsible for the disappearance of the eye, likely to allow the floor and whatever is beneath it to do whatever it was meant to," Sarena noted.

"We need to understand what this is," the Captain stated. "Lieutenant Mitshiba, it looks like we are going to be travelling further back in time. Set temporal coordinates to the earliest mention of the floor plate. We will start our search there and travel back as far back as needed to find out where it came from and why it was placed there in the first place."

Setting: SPACE
Stardate: 32102.1450

Very much as it had happened before, a small distortion appeared this time though directly on top of the USS BASTET as it resumed its travel back through time in search of answers and explanations as to the significance of the floor plate and the role the Eye of Eternity played against the energy that had been theorized has originating from it or from beneath it.

Jessica Solarik

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer


Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M04-P060: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 02 - 1500 ("Professional Evaluation")
"Professional Evaluation"
[previous post was "Not The Answer We Were Looking For"]

Setting: USS BASTET, Guest Quarters
Stardate: 32102.1500

"Her vitals are strong.  She will be fine when she wakes up." The report had been meant for Commander Janeel. The Captain had sent her along to insure their guest's well being, and the CMO saw no reason to not accommodate.

"She might be physically fine," Adriana added. "I suspect that emotionally she is going to be anything but that when she wakes."

"As much as you are the Ship's Counsellor, I suspect that this will be something for the Captain to handle," Janeel said. As her childhood friend, it made sense that Captain Iverson be the one to deal with this situation. That is after they found a solution to the matter on CAIT. If the Lokustaar were allowed to just walk through the portal, the rest would not matter all that much.

"Looks like we are on the move again," the Intel Operative and Mission Specialist said. The strange and ultra rapid movements of the stars visible through the window had been hint enough of this. "You two keep an eye on our guest. I will return to the bridge and report back to Captain Iverson."

"No worries Commander," Satella said, glancing at her friend the Ship's Counsellor. "We'll make sure she is alright, in every way."

Janeel nodded her head and exited the room. Given the choice, the ILO would much rather deal with an angry enemy, than an angry ally. At least she knew how to confront the later.

With the Commander gone, Doctor Bruxa and Counsellor Lopez looked at one another in silence for several seconds.

"Are you worried that she might be right?" Adriana asked. The expression on Satella's features had been clear. The question was more as to why the concern had appeared there in the first place.

"Right about what?"

"About us risking destroying everything we know by being here, in the past."

"It's not that simple," Satella said, looking out the nearest window. "We are not the first to travel back in time, and I doubt we will be the last. The temporal Prime Directive was created because of that simple fact. As dangerous as it might be, someone will do it. Some in order to protect the future, others to reshape it. The problem as I see it is that we are not even certain on what side of that equation we stand on."

"What do you mean?" Adriana asked, stunned by her friend's position on the matter. "Of course we are on the side of protecting the timeline. That is what we are here for. Are we not?"

"We are here to prospect the present that we know and a future that we believe should be," Doctor Bruxa explained. "We have no knowledge of what the future will be. For all we know the Lokustaar do make it through that portal and we are here to change that. The problem is that anything beyond what we know as the present is only a best guess. That makes us no different than someone who is trying to change history to suit their needs in the present."

"I think I see your point of view, but we are not altering the past," Adriana pointed out. "We are simply exploring it in search of answers."

"Answers that will provide us with knowledge that we would not have otherwise," Satella counter argued. "That by itself means we will be changing the present and in so doing altering the future to what we believe would be the better outcome. That is the paradox of time travel. We have no idea how our actions will change the future, regardless of our intents."

"Isn't saving CAIT from a Lokustaar invasion preferable over the alternate?"

"In the short term, yes," the Doctor agreed. "In the long-term though we have no idea what it will mean. Maybe the Federation would be able to fight off the Lokustaar, using their threat as a rallying call to unify the other races. By stopping them here and now, we allow the conflicts and wars to continue. In the end, there is no way to know if more or less people would have died."

"That is a rather dark perspective," the Counsellor noted with concern. "Do you truly believe that we should not be here, in the past? That we should not seek out every possible advantage to save as many lives as possible now?"

"Don't get me wrong Adriana," the Doctor reassured. "I support the Captain's decision and actions. I am just overthinking the whole process. Maybe it is because of what Alexandria said, or maybe those thoughts were mine all along. Either way, I do have some concerns about our role and impact on the timeline. Still, I will follow and aid the Captain in whatever course she deems best."

"I am sure that she will be pleased to hear that." There was a certain air or relief in the Counsellor's voice. Due to the unpredictability of their mission through time, it was helpful to have everyone in agreement.

"I am sure she would," Satella agreed. "Are you coming back to Sickbay with me?"

"I should stay here and wait until she wakes up. Might make things easier for her not to find herself alone after what happened. She could feel betrayed or even isolated, so having someone here would help." It was easy to har Adriana's concerns for the woman. Despite all of her issues with the visions of her sister, the Counsellor had proven herself to be exactly where she needed to be.

"I am sure she would appreciate your concerns, but the dosage I gave her will keep her under for quite some time." With a grin on her lips, Satella pulled out her medical tricorder and scanned the unconscious woman. "Given her metabolism, it will take at least a few hours before she even begins to wake up. Best you can do is to make her as comfortable as possible. We can always have the computer monitor her vitals and let us know when she starts to wake."

"Are you sure? I do not like the idea of leaving her like this."

"The options are simple. She can stay here in her quarters with you watching over her, or we can move her to Sickbay. If you do decide to stay though, I suggest getting a good book as it will be a lengthy wait."

"Fine," Adriana reluctantly agreed although she did add a grateful smile afterwards. "I'll go back with you."

"Tell you what," Satella offered as a compromised to her friend. "We'll both come back the moment she starts to wake up. Seeing both of us may make things easier for her. That is as long as neither one of us mentions that I was the one with the hypospray."

"Deal," the Counsellor smiled before giving the unconscious woman one last look to make sure she was alright.

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P061: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 02 - 1530 ("The First War")
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"The First War"
[previous post (Professional Evaluation)

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.1530

With all sensors locked on the mysterious plate that had been discovered on CAIT and used as the floor for the building that would become the planetary museum, the BASTET was travelling back in time searching for the origin of the odd platform.

"Temporal location puts us back over 20,000 years Captain," Lieutenant Mitshiba announced, sounding even more surprised then when she had made her previous report which had placed the ship and crew some 10,000 years in the past.

"Guess we should have run some sort of test on the floor itself before going on this mission," the Executive Officer suggested in hindsight. In order to avoid going too far back in time and missing the point where the plate had appeared, the BASTET had been travelling through time at a reduced speed. As great and the visual show had been on the main view screen, the time they had so far wasted would make their finding a solution to the Lokustaar portal that much more difficult in the time remaining. Regardless of their ability to travel through time, it would forever remain a slave to it.

"Given all that the plate has endured over the centuries we have been witnessed to, I doubt that we would have been able to detect anything using our tricorders," Captain Iverson countered. "My guess is that you all would have dismissed the lack of findings to the distortion field engulfing the museum."

"You are probably right," Sarena unhappily admitted. "The problem here is that we could be going on for days like this. No one could have ever expected that floor plate to being this old, but it does make its origin clear in that it is not in any way a part of that world's history. Whoever or whatever put it there had to come from another planet. Maybe we might discover a new race."

"As great as that prospect may be, I am afraid that we would not be able to celebrate our discovery if we cannot find a solution to that portal we left behind," the Captain added, making sure that her officers continued to focus on the reason for their being here at this time.

As the bridge officers settled in for what might be a very long temporal journey, the BASTET was suddenly hit by something which caused all of the lights and systems to go dark. Although the impact had been substantial, it had not caused anyone to lose their footing allowing for everyone to quickly attempt to figure out what had happened. To everyone's surprise though, their efforts were met with an odd sensation of weightlessness.

"Primary power is offline, this also includes artificial gravity," Mitshiba reported as she began to float above the deck, nothing at her station appearing to respond to her touch.

"Nothing is working," Commander Janeel added, she too having found herself floating through the air, "not even auxiliary power and based on the amount of lights we have I would say that we only have partial emergency power available. Whatever it was that we hit knocked out *all* of our systems. We are dead in space and unable to even get an idea as to where we are, be it in time or space."

"Our primary responsibility is to make sure the ship is secure," the Captain said as she pushed herself off her chair to join the others in weightlessness. "Commander Valentine, use the Jefferies tubes and get to Main Engineering, hopefully Ensign Thorquelsson is already working on the matter. Commander Janeel, I need you to perform a deck-by-deck survey of the ship, make note of any possible damage we have sustained and reported back here. Lieutenant Mitshiba, you and I will force our way into the Observation Lounge and try to see if we can figure out what happened and where we are by looking through the windows. We might not see all that much but it will be most certainly more than what we are seeing right now."

With their instructions clear, the officers quickly moved as best they could to comply, each hoping that the situation would not be as bad as they imagined or feared.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Setting: USS BASTET, Main Engineering
Stardate: 32102.1545

With only 10 decks to travel through in order to reach her destination, and without the hindrance of any gravity, the Executive Officer found the journey to be a rather rapid one. Had the situation been different, she might have even found it amusing, but given their situation, it had been impossible for her to find anything enjoyable about working her way down to Deck 12 with the BASTET dead in space some 20,000 years in the past.

Without any gravity, minimal light, and with the air quickly becoming stale, Commander Valentine discovered that opening the access panel out of the Jefferies tube had not been as simple as she might have hoped. After some effort, the Executive Officer managed to pry open the access and gain access to Main Engineering where she encountered a chaos the likes of which she could never have imagined.

"Ensign Thorquelsson?" The Executive Officer called out through the chaos that reigned through the heart of the BASTET, obviously the Chief Engineer and his team had been hard at work in trying to rectify their lack of power.

"Over here Commander," Halston replied from some dark and distant corner of the deck where even the warp core had been dark. "We are still trying to restore any sort of power, but whatever hit us seems to have completely polarized every conduit on board. Right now, we can't even get battery powered emergency gravity to work, which would make things a lot easier. I haven't had to do work like this since my training at the Academy, a training that I might add I truly believed to be a waste of time... until now that is."

"How badly are we damaged?"

"That's the weird part," the Chief Engineer replied. "As far as any of my men can tell, we have suffered no structural damage. Our only problem is our inability to get any power going.

"How long before we can have power back to our systems?" The Executive Officer ask, her priorities having been to be able to see what was going on beyond the limits of the hull. Not having artificial gravity might have been annoying, but being completely blind had been flat out dangerous, especially when considering that they were 20,000 years or more in the past and that their presence might alter the course of events in a way that would only justify Miss Koniki's earlier rage.

"We have a few ideas, but we need some time to see if they will work," the Chief Engineer explained. "You being here and asking questions while we are all floating about is not going to make things go any faster."

Understanding that this had been Thorquelsson's way of telling her that she did not need to be here, the Executive Officer quietly made her way back to the Jefferies tube in order to return to the command deck of the USS BASTET.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.1600

Thanks to the lack of gravity, the Executive Officer had managed the journey back to the command deck in record time, although she feared along the way that at any time she might find herself falling down without any means to stop herself.

"Captain?" Sarena called out once she had returned to the bridge. When no reply came, the Executive Officer made her way to the Observation Lounge, expecting that both the CO and CSciO would still be there. To the woman's relief, this proved to indeed be the case. As she made her way closer, Commander Valentine noticed that both women appeared very interested in whatever was taking place beyond the limits of the windows. As she came closer, it quickly became evident as to what had caught their attention.

The battle that raged opposed two races that no one could identify although both did appear familiar in their own way. One set of ships appeared very angular with a distinct triangular form about them, the others appears more fluid and sinister in their design, as if they had originated from someone's nightmares. The energy beams being fired from both sides seems to possess a level of energy that far surpassed anything that the Federation or its allies had seen before with maybe a few exceptions such as Species 8472.

"Are those the Tholians?" Sarena found herself asking as she watched the part of the ferocious battle they were able to see from their location.

"That or some earlier ancestral offshoot," Mitshiba theorized. "We can't be sure, just as we have no way to tell what the other race is, although we do have our suspicions."

"Which would be?" The Executive Officer inquired. As much as she too had her suspicions, Sarena wanted to confirm that she had not been completely off the mark when it came to putting some sort of possible identity to one side of this full out conflict.

"Although we have never seen their ships in the present, or even have confirmed that they indeed have ships, the design and the feeling we get by simply watching them leaves us with only one possible guess," the Captain explained, uncertainty lacing her every words. "It appears as if the Lokustaar might have been in our reality and dimension long before our present time, meaning that their portal is not a first time effort to invade us."

If that had not been enough of a shock by itself, the fact that it appeared that the Tholians had been the ones responsible for stopping this invasion had been beyond comprehension to the current observers. Had the plate used as the museum's floor been Tholian in origin and did it serve some purpose in keeping the Lokustaar in their realm and not part of some strange device to permit them to cross over into this reality?

The question that troubled the Executive Officer the most was whether or not the presence of the BASTET and its crew here, some 20,000 years in the past, might alter the course of this fight, one that based on the lack of Lokustaar in their own time could only be guessed as having been won by the Tholians.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P062: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 02 - 1545 ("Lost In Darkness")
"Lost In Darkness"
[Previous post: "The First War"]

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32102.1545

"Well, this feels familiar."

Amanda's voice was playful and joyous, the mental projection of the twin sister finding the near complete darkness and lack of gravity clearly amusing as she sat on one of the biobeds.  Her sister of flesh and blood on the other hand had been on the verge of a psychological breakdown as images and memories of her last days on the USS KROGEN came flooding back with the force of a gigantic tsunami.

Adriana, as a Counsellor, had truly believed that these memories and the feelings of dread that accompanied them had been dealt with once and for all, but given her current state, it was evident that this had not been the case. Far from it in fact. Holding on to the nearest table leg with one arm in order to avoid floating about, and holding her legs to her chest with the other, the Lieutenant tried her best to keep her emotions in check. Satella having more than enough to deal with at this moment without needing to add the ramblings of a deeply troubled friend.


Setting: USS KROGEN, Sickbay
Stardate: 30152.0650

Images of her parents filled Adriana's thoughts and reflected off the near perfect darkness around her.  She had joined Starfleet to travel the universe and search for clues as to her past, to search for hints as to her sister's present, but never had she expected to be made to face the final chapter of her own future so quickly.

The inexperienced Ensign had done everything that her training had prepared her for, but it had been much too little to be of any significant help to the members of her crew.  The attack had been too quick, too vicious to truly give the KROGEN any real hope of survival, and now the Assistant Chief Medical Officer struggled to remain calm and not give into her fears.

Adriana forced her eyes closed in a futile attempt to ignore the countless white sheets that had been draped over those who had not been as fortunate as she, not that the Ensign currently considered herself lucky.  So far her efforts to find another living soul had been met with no success, the aCMO having taken upon herself the unpleasant task to bring all of her fallen comrades back to a more suitable and final resting place.

"You have to keep your wits about you," the Ensign told herself in an effort to remain calm and ward off her growing fears.  After graduation she had listed her choices for duties as having been in the medical field despite her training which had been in Counseling, this because Adriana had wanted to make her parents proud, especially her mother.  There would have been ample opportunities after her first mission to request a transfer to the Counseling staff, but for her maiden adventure Ensign Lopez had wanted to be a little closer to the action.  A desire, a wish, that she now could not help but thoroughly regret.

Maybe if she had selected Counseling as her preferred field right from the start she would not have been selected by to be part of the KROGEN's crew.  Maybe if she had not so desperately wished to make her mother happy, the Ensign would have been in another section of the ship, instead of here in Sickbay.  Maybe if she had done all of these things, the aCMO would have been beneath one of these white sheets instead of sitting on a bed, her knees held tightly against her chest, and her mind filled with unanswerable questions.

"Snap out of it," Adriana scolded herself.  "What would father say if he saw you like this?"

"He'd probably think that you're a disgrace to the family name."

Adriana's head snapped up to see an unclear image of someone she had not seen in so very long, something that she had missed for what had felt to be even longer, someone who could not have been there in front of her.

"Amanda?  That's impossible, you can't be here."

"I'm not," the vision replied in an amused way.  "You're the one trained as a Counselor, figure it out."

Ensign Lopez stepped off the bed and moved closer to the hallucination of her sister.  "My mind," Adriana said, "My subconscious, it's trying to have me focus on something else, something important to me."

"Because if you give up on yourself, you also give up on me, and that's just not the way you are."

The Ensign stood in front of the sister that only she could see and hear, wishing with all of her heart that the two of them could lose themselves in the type of hug they used to share when one was in pain.  Many times they had felt this connection between them, something that went beyond biology, something that allowed one to know that the other had been in need.

"I won't give up," Lopez said before she turned around and picked up the medical kits she had used in her earlier searches of the ship. When the Ensign turned back her sister had vanished, not that she had ever been there in the first place.  "I promise, I won't give up, but I'm going to need to see a Counselor once this is all done and over with."


Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 30152.1550

"I won't give up."

"I know you won't," Satella reassured as she held on to the same table leg in order not to float away from the Counsellor who seemed to be in a great deal of distress. "No one will, on on this crew. I am sure that Thor is hard at work figuring things out and I am ready to bet that Captain Iverson already has several ideas on how to get us out of whatever trouble we got ourselves into."

"We don't even know what that is," Adriana pointed out, glad that she had someone other than the illusion of hr sister to talk to.

"I was planning on going to check in on Alexandria. Without the computer monitoring her vitals, she could be floating around banging into everything that it up there floating with her," Doctor Bruxa explained. "We don't realize just how much we take the artificial gravity for granted."

Fear and concern flashed over the Counsellor's face but knowing that this time she would truly not be alone made letting go and dealing with the situation that much easier. With a nod of her head she agreed before letting go of the table and instead taking a solid hold of the Doctor.

Setting: USS BASTET, Guest Quarters
Stardate: 30152.1615

Making it to the quarters that had been assigned to Alexandria Koniki had proven to be more of a challenge than either women had expected thanks to the absence of gravity. Gaining access to the room without the computer's assistance or any power to move the doors had been another interesting obstacle for them to deal with. In time though, they managed to make their way in.

The Counsellor and Doctor were surprised to find the room far more illuminated than expected, the bright flashes of light coming from beyond the windows. Although concerned for the well being of the occupant of these quarters, both Satella and Adriana found themselves drawn to the nearest window to see what was happening.

"What is this?" Adriana asked, finding herself actually feeling scares as shivers crawled down her back as she saw one of the black, spider-like ship fly by.

"Your Captain has managed to get us right in the middle of some ancient war," Alexandria announced, the archeologist having obviously awakened from her sedated slumber in a less than happy disposition.

"I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that so far both side seems more interested in the other instead of us," Satella said, trying to look on the bright side of things.

Looking at the intensity of the battle as well as the appearance of the darker ships which easily reminder the Counsellor of the Lokustaar they had seen in those other realities, Adriana could not bring herself to feel all that optimistic as to their predicament.

"Sis," the mental projection of Amanda began, the twin sister having been the only one actually smiling. "You sure have a way to find your way into the worst and darkest possible situations. Should be fun to see how you are going to get out of this one. I doubt that another Federation ship is going to be coming to your rescue, at least not for another 20,000 years or so."

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M04-P063: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 02 - 1615 ("For The Best")
"For The Best"
Previous post: "Lost In Darkness"

Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 4, Science Lab
Stardate: 32102.1615

Maybe it had been for the best that the BASTET had been without power. Any emission of energy on their part might attract the attention of either forces current at war with one another, and given the damage inflicted by their weapons, it was evident that the time travelling Federation ship would have been severely outmatched.  It had been equally fortunate that Miss Koniki had not been on the bridge when every system had gone dead, the BASTET being when and where it was would have most certainly caused the archaeologist to remind everyone, in a less than pleasant manner, as to the disastrous potential our mere presence here could have on the timeline.

Even though their field of vision had been limited to what they could see through the windows of the observation lounge, the Captain, First Officer and Chief Science Officer still managed to get a good view of what was transpiring, this included the setting up of the platform that would in 20,000 years or so the floor of the Caitian planetary museum.

"I wish we had sensors," Aki said, holding on to whatever she could to maintain her steadiness in order to observe the conflict raging in high orbit of CAIT. For some unknown reason that world had been of some important significance to one side, prompting the other to act in order to deny the claim being made. At this point there had been no visible indication as to which side had been making the claim and which side was working to deny it, but it was clear by the fierceness of the battle that the reason had been deemed imperative by all.

"Even if our sensors were working, I doubt that we would be able to get any sort of useful readings," the First Officer offered. "The weapons used in this battle are by the looks of things focussed high energy discharges, maybe plasma, maybe something entirely different and unknown. My guess though is that with that amount of energy being used between us and the planet, our sensors would not even come close to breaking through the residual energy field generated by the repeated firing of those weapons."

"Would still be nice to try," Misaki admitted, her curiosity as a scientist far over-weighting the possibility of failure.

"Lieutenant," the Captain said, drawing the woman's attention to the planet beyond the battle. "Did you see that?"

"That flash of light?" Aki inquired. "I was not sure that it actually came from the surface. To be visible from here, it would have needed to be along the range of a small thermonuclear explosion, but it was far too short lived to be that. So I figured that it was some sort of higher atmosphere reaction to the energy o the weapons being used."

"No," Captain Iverson reinforced. "I am pretty sure that it came from the surface, and if my orientation is is right, that flash came from very close if not right where the floor plate will be."

"Without our knowing what the actual purpose of the floor plate is, we cannot even begin to guess as to whether or not that flash was a consequence of it or the reason for the plate to be created and installed," the Asian woman explained. "For all we know, this entire battle could be because of that plate, one side trying to put it into place while the other is trying to stop it from being installed."

"Well, at least we know the result of the battle," Commander Valentine sighed. "The Tholians, or whoever the aliens fighting against the Lokustaar are win and push those nightmarish creatures back to wherever they came from."

"As valid as that possibility may be, the opposite is just as equally possible," Aki pointed out, the Chief Science Officer always having had a way in seeing any situation from multiple perspectives. "The floor plate might have been placed there by the Lokustaar to facilitate their transition into our universe, an effort that was either thwarted by the other race or proved to be insufficient leading to the shadow race to continue their efforts over the next 20,000 years."

"I believe it would be best if the plate was placed there by the forces opposing the Lokustaar," the Captain offered. "At least that way we would be working to finding a way to restore it instead of trying to destroy it, a task that I am quite certain would prove to be much more difficult for us to accomplish."

"How could a single plate have been responsible for keeping an entire invasion force at bay for 20,000 years?" The First Officer asked, clearly puzzled by the whole thing. "Whoever is responsible for it being placed on the planet, I cannot see how it could be the one thing that held those nightmares out of our universe for so long."

"We know that the floor plate plays a role in this," Aki added. "That was proven by our travelling back to this time, and understanding why is also the reason why we are here. Again, I just wished we had sensors so that we could get a better idea of what is happening on the surface instead of just being witnesses to this battle, however astonishing and mesmerizing it may be."

"Sensors would be nice," Commander Valentine agreed, "but life support and gravity would be nicer. I am truly hoping that Ensign Thorquelsson is having some luck with our primary systems because right now we are looking at either freezing to death, suffocating to death or being noticed by one of those two races out there and dealt with just in case we are in in some sort of association with the other side.

As if the Chief Engineer had heard them, the lights began to turn on ever so slowly, matching the return of the artificial gravity in the observation lounged and hopefully throughout the rest of the BASTET.

=/\= Main Engineering to bridge, =/\= Halston voice was heard, indicating that internal ship communication had also been restored.

"Go ahead Ensign," the Captain more than gladly replied.

=/\= Basic power has been restored, but there is still a great deal of work to do if we are ever to get back home. As of right now, we have life support, heat and lights, gravity, internal communications. Turbolifts are still offline but I was able to restore partial thrusters, so we can move about, not very fast mind you, but we can move. Don't ask for shields or weapons though, I am nowhere close to getting those done. =/\=

"What about external sensors?" Aki wasted no time asking.

=/\= I didn't forget about you. Sensors and view screen should be working, they may not be perfect but they are certainly better than what you had before, which for the record was nothing, =/\= the Chief Engineer replied. =/\= I will keep you updated as to what else comes back online as it does, but for the time being don't ask for more. =/\=

The answer given in regards to the sensors had been more than enough to bring a bright smile to Aki's face. In fact she had been so happy that she immediately rushed back to the bridge to begin scanning the planet surface to see what the flash of light had been and try to figure out which of the two races had been responsible for the floor plate and hopefully discover what its actual function was.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P064: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 02 - 1630 ("Fighting Against Time")
"Fighting Against Time"
(Previous Post: "For The Best")

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.1630

With power restored, even if only partially, the crew of the USS BASTET had in more ways than one found their footing. Now they would be able to scan the battle that raged around them as well as try to figure out the significance of the flash of light they had earlier seen. The problem was that with restored power the ship had also become a much more visible presence to everyone else, forcing the crew to act quickly to avoid becoming part of an event over 20,000 years old.

Commander Valentine had returned to Main Engineering to assist with the repairs to the most critical systems, most important of which had been the temporal drive. As much as staying here 20,000 years in the past would provide some interesting historical facts as to the conflict they had stumbled upon, the words of caution from Alexandria rang truer then ever. The BASTET needed to make sure that it's presence here, at this time, did not impact the timeline in anyway. There were no way to predict how the slightest involvement in the current events would translate over the centuries and millennia to follow.

Commander Janeel was tasked with keeping a discreet watched on the conflict, recording as much as possible without drawing any attention onto the BASTET. Taking notes on historical events that might not have been recorded had been one of the temporal directives the ship and crew had been tasked with. As dangerous as it might have been, the opportunity had been one that could not be so simply ignored.

In the meantime Lieutenant Mitshida was given the responsibility to understand as quickly as possible the mechanics of the floor plate and if at all possible the Eye of Eternity. Based on everything they had so far seen, it was impossible to ignore the link the two items shared. It would be nice to figure out once and for all if they had been meant to work in collaboration or against one another.

While all of this was happening, Doctor Bruxa and Counsellor Lopez would hopefully keep the archeological guest of the USS BASTET in check. Knowing Alexandria Koniki as she did, and following her earlier outburst, Selene could only fear the woman's reaction at their current predicament.

"Captain," Janeel called out, and not in a way that the Commanding Officer would have liked to. "One of the Lokustaar vessel might have taken notice of our presence, but so far they have not been given the opportunity to investigate. The Tholians, or whoever the other ships belong to, are keeping all of them well occupied. At least for the time being. Given the displayed strengths of the ships on either side, the Lokustaar do seem to have a slight advantage. The war, based on what we know of our own present, was lost by the Lokustaar, but since we have no record of this battle, or any other for this conflict, there is no way for us to know how it is supposed to end." 

"Time, unfortunately, is the issue here," Selene reluctantly noted as she opened a channel to the ship's Main Engineering. "Bridge to Commander Valentine, report."

=/\= The temporal drive is our highest priority but it will take some work to depolarize all of the required components. At least with primary power restored, everyone down here is able to get things done a lot faster, =/\= the First Officer reported, clearly busy helping out by the intonations in her voice.

"It may not he fast enough," Captain Iverson clarified. "We are attracting some unwanted attention and I doubt that this will get any better as the battle extends beyond its would-be climax. Whoever wins, they will want to see who was the uninvited observer that suddenly appeared out of nowhere."

=/\= Understood, =/\= Sarina promptly acknowledged. =/\= We will get the temporal drive up and ready as quickly as possible. Valentine out. =/\=

"Rushing the repairs on the temporal drive may not be prudent," the Chief Science Office warned having overheard the conversation while she looked over the sensor data collected from the planet surface..

"I do not see that we have that much of a choice," the Captain argued back. "We can either take our chances against time itself or one of either the two races we have been watching fighting in this system. Our only advantage was that when we had no power, no one paid any attention to us. Now that we are officially in the game, and despite being as little as we may appear to be, our discovery, should I dare say it, is only a matter of time."

"I will gather as mush data as possible for later review," Mitshiba stated, understanding that one way or another the BASTET would not linger in this place and time for an extra second the moment they would get the opportunity to leave without being dragged into the conflict that raged around them.

As Captain Iverson waited for an update on the temporal drive, Selene found herself looking in awe at the raging conflict. As fierce as the battle was, it was impossible to look upon the respective display of power. The way in which the ships fought to the bitter end only hinted to the significance of the battle, and somehow the plate that would be left on the world later known as CAIT played an important role in this.

"Sensors have picked up a new set of ships heading this way," Janeel reported, again her tone of voice hinting that this would not be good news. "A dozen Lokustaar capital ships have just appeared out of nowhere and are about to join in on the fight. Those ships will be more than enough to tip the balance in their favour, meaning that the battle will a lot sooner than we would like it to."

This moment had been inevitable, and yet the Captain had hoped that it would not have come for a little while longer giving Commander Valentine and the Engineering team more time to fix the temporal drive. With a frustrated gesture, Selene opened the channel to that department. "Bridge to Main Engineering, we are out of time. We need to leave, NOW!"

No reply was given but after a few seconds a shimmering effect appeared on the main view screen indicating that the drive had been activated from Main Engineering directly. As the BASTET began to slip back into the space between time, those on the bridge could see the battle rapidly turning in favour of the nightmarish ships as their opponents were destroyed one by one unable to counter the sudden increase in their adversary's numbers.  Just before the ship had been ready to complete the temporal jump, another flash of light was seen, this one engulfing all of the planet and surrounding space including the Federation temporal vessel which was once again plunged into complete darkness.

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.1815

Slowly the lights returned as the consoles throughout the deck returned to life. Whatever the reason for the flash of light, it appeared that it had not affected the BASTET in a negative way.

"Lieutenant Mitshiba?" Captain Iverson asked, hoping to hear that they had returned to their time and that nothing had changed.

"Still getting the telemetry from our nearest relay station, but the major historical markers do appear to match," the Chief Science Officer reported sounding rather relieved. "Readjusting the chronometers to back in sync with the rest of the fleet but it does appear that we returned several hours after we left."

"All in all I would say that we got lucky," Commander Janeel stated, the Intel Liaison Officer and Mission Specialist also sounding relieved. "All we need to do is to review the sensor data we collected and hope that we have all of the answers we need."

"Agreed," Selene nodded. "You and Lieutenant Mitshiba get going on that right away," the Captain ordered as she reached for the small panel on her arm rest to once again open a communications channel.  "Bridge to Main Engineering."

=/\= Main Engineering here, =/\= Commander Valentine replied, sounding far more somber than the Captain would have expected given he successful completion of the latest temporal jump.

"Just calling to extend my thanks to you and Ensign Thorquelsson for pulling us out of there before things got nasty," Selene explained, waiting to see if her Fist Officer would say something that might explain the tone of her voice. The pause that followed indicated that something had indeed been wrong. "What happened?" The Captain prompted.

=/\= We lost Ensign Thorquelsson, =/\= Sarena explained, clearly trying to deal with the situation. =/\= He was bypassing some of the circuits when the temporal drive was engaged. The next thing we knew, he was gone, vanished into thin air. Nothing seems to point to him having died, he just suddenly vanished. My guess is that something happened and he was pulled through time."

Captan Iverson quickly turned to look at Janeel and Mitshiba who both shook their heads indicating that neither one of them had detected anything that might remotely prove helpful in this matter.

"Thank you Commander," Selene said, sadden by the news. "Return to the bridge at your earliest convenience. We still have a great deal to do if we are to try and halt the Lokustaar from getting a foothold in this reality. We can properly acknowledge the sacrifice of our Chief Engineer afterwards."

=/\= Understood, Valentine out. =/\=

Jessica Solarik

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer


Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M04-P065: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 02 - 1830 ("The One Left Behind")
"The One Left Behind"
[previous post was "Fighting Against Time"]

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32102.1830

To say that the archeologist had been agitated would have been a drastic understatement. The woman had literally been beside herself with rage up waking. Seeing the tail end of the battle they had landed in the middle of had only been the start. Informing Alexandria that they had travelled 20,000 into the past had pushed the woman over the proverbial edge. The fact that the BASTET had returned to its proper place and time without having affected the timeline meant nothing.

Satella had tried her best to calm the woman but in the end, the Doctor deferred the task to Adriana. As the Ship's Counsellor, Lopez had been better equipped to handle the enraged archeologist. This also avoided the CMO from using another hypospray on their guest.

As she made her way back to her office, Satella's thoughts went to Thor. It was a forgone conclusion that he had somehow been responsible for their return. The skills and knowledge of the man having already set him apart from many others. She had wanted to reach out to him and simply say 'thank you'. Although they worked in completely different departments, the Doctor knew how thankless their respective jobs could be. A smile crossed her lips as she considered a way to more properly thank the man. Maybe a friendly dinner would do the trick without making things awkward between them.

Sitting at her desk, Doctor Bruxa noted a flashing indicator on her communication screen. This particular one indicated that an official notice had recently been added to the medial file of one of the officers. Given that she had not been the one to do this, nor that she had been informed by anyone on her staff, Satella was confused. Curious to see who had been injured and why she had not been immediately notified, the CMO opened the notice.

A single, short entry made by Commander Valentine appeared on the screen. Satella read the words, slowly, carefully, repeatedly, certain that this had been a mistake.

[/\] "Ensign Halston Thorquelsson, MIA as of stardate 21102.1800 as the result of a situation with classified equipment." [/\]

Satella knew that the 'classified equipment' being referred to was the temporal drive, but that did not give her any of the details. What had actually happened? How could anyone be on board the BASTET one moment and listed as MIA the next? If Thor had somehow gone missing, why had they not been searching for him? Why had no one mentioned this to her before discovering it the way she did?

There was no way for Satella to get any sort of answers while sitting here at her desk. The Doctor needed to know what had happened to Thor and there was only one place for her to go in order to get those answers.

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.1845

"That took less time than I had expected," Commander Janeel whispered to the Asian woman working next to her. Everyone knew of the Doctor's infatuation for their Chief Engineer, so it was expected that Satella would rush to the command deck seeking answers.

"What happened?" Satella demanded of the Captain. For the moment, Doctor Bruxa had forgotten her place and rank. Selene Iverson had for the time being not been her commanding officer but rather the one person who could give her answers.

As vague as the question was, the Captain knew exactly what the Doctor had been inquiring about. The constant banter between the CMO and CEO had made it clear that something had been developing between them. No one knew where it would lead, and now, no one would ever find out. With Halston gone, all of the possibilities, be them good or bad would remain unresolved.

Selene paused for a moment, considering her words and feelings before giving any sort of a reply.

"We are not sure." The words from the Captain had been calm and filled with sorrow. Whatever had happened, everyone felt the loss, not just Satella, and Selene did her best to make that clear. "What we do know is that we are here, back in the present because of him."

Satella wanted to believe that. She needed to believe that. She desperately needed to know that somehow his not being here had been for the greater good. To lose someone was never easy, whatever the situation. To lose someone without having a noble reason though was worse.

Conflicting emotions filled the Doctor's mind and heart. She wanted to argue the accepted final account as to Thor's disappearance. She wanted to scream and lash out. She wanted to hit someone for not having even tried to look for him. Instead she only started crying.

"It's not fair!" The claim came through tear-filled eyes that had been closed to the universe. Through the enforced darkness, Satella could try to protect herself. It also gave the Doctor the chance to see his face in order to engrave it into her memories.

"Life rarely is." The Captain said. As much as she wanted to offer support to the Doctor, Selene needed this to end quickly. According to their sensors, the portal was still on the planet, and still opening. As much as they all needed to mourn the loss, they needed to deal with the Lokustaar threat first. After that, they would all be able to come together and remember the man who had made it possible for them to be back.

The turbolift doors opened once again, this time allowing the Counsellor and archeologist to step onto the bridge. 

"We just heard," Adriana explained in a soft, almost whispered voice as if the expressions on their faces had not been enough.

With a motion of her head, the Captain instructed the Counsellor to take care of their Doctor. Of all the members of the crew, it was expected that Satella would be the hardest hit by this unexpected loss. As the Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Bruxa had been accustomed to losing people. Unfortunately, that did not make things any easier, especially when that person had been closer than usual.

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P066: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 02 - 1930 ("Moving Forward")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Moving Forward"
[previous post (The One Left Behind)]

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.1930

The lost of their Chief Engineering Officer, Ensign Halston Thorquelsson, had been a hard reality to accept, especially for some, but that did not change their current predicament. The portal located inside the museum on CAIT had still been expanding and if not stopped, it would become the point of entry for an army of nightmarish Lokustaar. The man had performed is duties without hesitation to the bitter end, and now it was up to the rest of them to do the same.

"Did we learn anything that we can use?" The Executive Officer asked, referring to their journey back in time, which took them no less than 20,000 years back to witness a war between two ancient and powerful races. Although the identity of the warring sides had not been confirmed, the appearance of the ships had narrowed the possibilities to the Lokustaar on one side and the Tholians on the other. As surprising as all that had been though, their focus needed to be on the floor plate they had seen being placed on CAIT and the flashes of light that had also been observed. It was hoped that these details from the distant past would hold the answer to the present situation.

"Before we engaged the temporal drive to return to the present, sensors were able to gather quite a bit of data on the plate, the flash of light as well as the reason for these," Misaki Mitshiba reported, the Asian scientist having quickly reviewed the mentioned data.  "I will not claim to understanding how this works, but based on the sensor data collected, it appears that the plate is designed to create the portal as we had initially suspected. What is unexpected thought is that it appears the flashes came from an artifact, the effects of which block those of the plate."

"The Lokustaar were using the plate to open up a portal and the Tholians used that artifact to stop it," Sarena theorized, glad to hear that there was some way out there to achieve the goal that they were after.

"It gets better," Misaki continued. "I compared the energy output of the item that was at the center of those flashes of light and found a near perfect match to something that we encountered not that long ago in the present."

"The Eye of Eternity?" The Executive Officer inquired in surprise, the pieces of the puzzle that they had been sent to investigate now falling into place.

"As an agent of the Lokustaar, R'Lisi was placed in charge of the museum to make sure that everything would be ready," Sarena further theorized, wanting to make sure that her thoughts matched the conclusion reached by their Chief Science Officer following her review of the sensor data. "The plate remained inactive as long as the Eye was near, so in order to create the portal the curator had to remove the Eye from the museum."

"Given all of the problems we encountered, we can only surmise that the task was not all that simple," Sarena proposed.

"We know so little about he entire process and how exactly the Eye counters the plate that it is even possible that our presence was not an accident but a required element to get the portal open," Misaki proposed. "Our being drawn into a parallel reality could have been all part of the plan."

"I would personally like to make a few alterations to that plan," the Executive Officer noted in all seriousness. "If the Eye of Eternity is what kept the plate from opening a portal in the first place, we have to hope that finding it and returning it to its original location will resolve our problem."

"According to the sensor data collected during our temporal journey, there is no specific location in which the Eye of Eternity needs to be in," the Chief Science Officer explained. "The item was found, lost and rediscovered a few times over the centuries, each time it was near the plate. I am unable to explain why the historical accounts differ, stating that the Eye was found elsewhere, but based on what we observed, the artifact was never far from the plate. At certain times the Eye was on open display while at other times it was buried and hidden, but it never was beyond 200 meters of the plate."

"Since the portal is now open, we can focus our search on the area beyond that 200 meter in every dimensional directions," Sarena said, realizing that scale her statement and the imposing area they would need to search in the hopes of finding the Eye of Eternity.

"In our travels to the other realities, we discovered that there are similar artifacts in each, so I suspect that the Eye of Eternity found in this reality is dimensionally locked," Misaki offered. "It may not help all that much, but it does mean that our search should be focussed here, in this reality and dimension."

"I'll take that," Sarena accepted, more than willing to take any advantage, as little as it may be. "So how do we search for the Eye?"

"The artifact possesses a very unique energy signature, one that the Lokustaar or their agent would have known needed to be shielded to avoid the artifact being easy found and returned," the Asian scientist proposed. "Again, based on what we were able to gather during our temporal journey, we can determine the type of shielding that would be required to keep that item visible from our sensors."

"Look for the substance that would be used to block the energy instead of the energy itself," the Executive Officer happily said. "Start the scan and report on your findings. Time, as strange as it may be for us to say considering the unique abilities of this ship, is running out."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Setting: USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 32102.2000

With about 40 hours to find the Eye of Eternity and return it within range of the plate in order to stop the portal from opening wide enough to allow the Lokustaar to step through, the Captain and Executive Officer had come together to formulate a plan should the search fail.

"Guess contacting the Tholians is not an option," Sarena said jokingly.

"We are not even sure that it was the Tholians who were fighting against those dark, shadowy ships 20,000 years ago," Selene pointed out. "The ships did share quite a bit of physical similarities but all we have are speculations. No, right now we are on our own to find a way to deal with the Lokustaar should they make their way through the portal."

"The problem is that the energy dampening field is making it impossible for us to erect any sort of barrier around the portal, and i suspect that even if we could do so further out, there would be far too many of those walking nightmares in the enclosed area for them not to find a way through. With 40 hours still on the clock, we could call in extra troops in and set up a parameter."

"What you are suggesting is o turn CAIT into a warzone," the Captain unhappily clarified. "Without knowing exactly how many troops the Lokustaar have on the other side we have no idea of the size of the conflict we would be engaging in. If we use what was seen in that alternate reality, we know that there are thousands of them apparently waiting to step through. If that is only the first wave, we would be setting ourselves up for a conflict that we would never be able to win. There is also the possibility that the moment they come through, some sort of air support would be called in, be it from another reality or even this one. In either case, we would be faced with a full scale assault that would decimate all life on CAIT."

The two shared a lengthy silence as they considered how this mission had changed. From locating a simple missing artifact, the crew of the BASTET had now been called upon to find a way to stop an invasion from another reality.

"Any scenario that has the Lokustaar stepping through that portal is not a good one," Selene continued. "Our objective has to be stopping that from happening."

"Understood," Sarena acknowledged. Their task had been clear, locate the Eye of Eternity and return it to the museum in order to stop the portal from opening wide enough to let the Lokustaar through.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P067: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 02 - 2100 ("Searching For Nothing")
"Searching For Nothing"
Previous post: "Moving Forward"

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.2100

The bridge was quiet. Maybe it was because everyone was very busy. With 39 or so hours to find the solution to the portal on the surface, everyone had been intently focussed on his or her respective tasks. As much as Aki wanted to believe that this was the sole reason for the stillness on the command deck, she knew better.

Although Main Engineering had been several decks below her current location, the Asian woman could still feel the vacancy left by the absence of their Chief Engineer. What truly concerned the CSciO was that she knew that others felt this void far more than she did, and there was nothing Aki could do about it.  Had their situation been different, Lieutenant Mitshiba would have used her time and resources to explain what had happened. Without any traces of the man, it was likely that he had been caught in some sort of temporal event, which meant that he was not dead. At least not in the standard definition of the word.

If Halston had somehow been lost in the past 20,000 years ago, his death had been an ancient event lost in time. Even if the event that had caused him to vanish from the ship occurred somewhere along the time stream they travelled to return to the present, it was a forgone conclusion that the man had dies long before today. What this theory did offer was the possibility of finding him one day in order to return him to his proper time and place.  For now though, Aki needed to work on a more urgent matter, one that held countless lives in the balance.

Using the data collected during their first trip into the museum, the scans collected from the other realities and the sensor data from 20,000 years ago, Aki had been able to identify the specific energy signature of the artifact known as the Eye of Eternity. The item it seemed was a crucial element in their plan to stop the portal, but the problem was to find it in time.

Knowing that the Eye needed to be at least 200 meters away from the floor plate had not helped much, but it was a start. Given the nature of the artifact, it would have been problematic to take it far, so this meant that is was relatively close. Having identified the energy signature of the artifact had also not helped as much as hoped, but again it proved to be a starting point. What Aki needed to do was to locate the substance she had identified as being the one able to block the energy signature from the artifact from being detected by their sensors. Unfortunately, the substance had not been as rare as it could have been, forcing the Chief Science Officer to find some other way to narrow the search parameters.

With the artifact emitting a gamma-based energy signature, Aki had been busy locating the heavier elements in a shape and density sufficient to hide the Eye from sensors. So far, the CSciO had identified no less than 188 possible locations based on those criteria, all of them beyond the minimum 200-meter range of the museum and going as far as 2 kilometers. Expanding the search beyond those limits increased the number of possibilities exponentially, so criteria that were more refined would be needed if they were to find the artifact in time.

"How are you doing?" Came a gently spoken question from the BASTET's own Ship's Counsellor.

"I'm fine," Aki replied, unable to hide her annoyance. She understood the need for Adriana to make her rounds following what had happened to their chief Engineer, but right now the Asian woman had far more important things to occupy her thoughts and time. "I'm sorry," the scientist confirmed in a more pleasant tone. "Honestly, I am fine. I do feel sorrow for Halston's disappearance but right now, we need to work on stopping this portal from opening wide enough to allow the Lokustaar to invade us. As soon as that is done, I will start working on figuring out what happened to him so that we can get him back."

Counsellor Lopez tilted her head ever so slightly to one side, carefully considering the words spoken by the Chief Science Officer. As subtle as the gesture was, it did not escape Aki's keen eyes who turned to face Adriana.

"Before you go off saying that I am in denial, hear me out. Halston was working on the temporal drive when he vanished, having direct physical contact with the device. Satella found not a single biological trace, meaning that either the body was atomized or he was caught in some sort of freak temporal event. As a scientist, I have considered both possibilities and using the data available to me; I have concluded that the second option is far more feasible. Had this accident happened on any other ship, the odds of our Chief Engineer simply vanishing into thin air because of some weird temporal anomaly would never even been considered, but here on the BASTET, we have to keep our minds open to possibilities that we have never before considered. So until I have irrefutable scientific evidence to indicate that he is actually dead, I will continue to consider him as MIT instead."

"MIT?" Adriana repeated, actually allowing for a faint smile to appear on her lips.

"Yes, Missing in Time, now can I go back to my searching for the Eye?"

The Counsellor nodded her head before taking a few long steps back. When Aki was in such a mood it had been best to leave her be. If she would be affected by the Engineer's disappearance, it would be after her work was completed, and even then, Adriana suspected that Misaki would be just as dedicated in finding him as she was finding the Eye of Eternity.

As far as Aki had been concerned, she would work beyond her limits to finding him, a task that she had to concede would prove to be even more difficult than what she was working on at the moment. Looking for something in space was one thing, but searching for something or someone through time involved a completely different set of variables. As the Asian scientist considered these specific differences, a new idea came to her in regard to locating the artifact they had so desperately been looking for.

The temporal sensors of the BASTET had been locked onto the floor plate as well as the surrounding area, this meant that as they returned to the present, the sensors should have been able to pick up something being taken out of the area covered by the sensor interference surrounding the museum.

Now, instead of searching for the absence of the gamma-based energy signature in physical space, Aki needed to look for it through time as well. She hoped that this would actually make the task easier in locating where the artifact was.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P068: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 02 - 2300 ("Never Easy")
"Never Easy"
(Previous Post: "Searching For Nothing")

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32102.2300

Selene stood in the middle of the bridge, her eye locked on the image being displayed on the main view screen. From orbit, CAIT appeared like so many other peaceful planets, but today, this particular world stood in the middle of a conflict that had been ongoing for several millennia. The artifact known as the Eye of Eternity, which they had been sent to find, had become an essential part of a puzzle that needed to solve in order to stop an invasion from another dimensional reality.

When the doors to the turbolift opened, the Captain glanced over her shoulder as a reflex and instantly braced herself upon seeing who had just stepped onto the command deck. As a personal childhood friend and daughter of the man in charge of the NEW ALEXANDRIA, Alexandria Koniki had been given free access to the whole of the USS BASTET. A decision that Selene had begun to regret as this permitted her to experience all that the ship and crew did while allowing her to voice her opinion without the the restriction imposed by the chain of command on board a Federation vessel.

"Everything looks like it should," the archeologist said in a distinctively unpleased tone, this despite the fact that as she had just claimed, everything appeared as it should indicating that the timeline had been left intact. "I have to admit that I am impressed," Alexandria continued in the same general tone.

For a moment, Selene hoped that her friend had been about to give them some backhanded compliment for having managed to travel back 20,000 years, be in the middle of an epic conflict and still manage to return without affecting the timeline. The Captain of the BASTET had never been known for being overly optimistic, but never had she been in a position to be side-by-side with her friend in this manner.

"Your people are more conscientious than I believed them to be," the archaeologist stated. "Over the span of 20,000 years a simple change in history could have led to everything to be different, and I do not only meant on CAIT but throughout the Federation and beyond. I took the time to review the history of several nearby worlds and everything appears to be intact. You and your crew got lucky."

Captain Iverson had been know for being cold, collected, in control of her emotions to the point of having been compared to a Vulcan on more than one occasion, but again the woman had never had to be in a situation with someone whom she had once considered to be a friend. Yes, she was the Admiral's daughter, but right now he was not here and it was because of his inability to deal with her that Alexandria had been stationed on the BASTET.

The blonde-haired woman had been expected to contribute to their missions as best she could in her role as a seasoned archaeologist. That had not meant that she had been to belittle the ship, its crew or their efforts, and that is why Selene allowed for another side of her to be seen at this time.

"Lucky?" The Captain snapped, having turned to face the new arrival onto the bridge. "My Chief Engineer has gone missing somewhere in time but I am unable to go looking for him because I have to address the situation of that slowly expanding portal down there and an army of shadowy nightmares waiting to make their way through it. You believe that we are lucky? In what way do you see this? Because your precious timeline is intact? It is the highest priority of this crew to insure that the timeline remains untouched, and I am sure that wherever Halston found himself to be in time, he did everything he could to make sure he would not alter anything. That is not luck but dedication to his pledge to Starfleet and to his Captain. Maybe you were referring to the crew continuing to perform to the highest levels despite feeling the loss of one of their fellow shipmates? Again, that has nothing to do with luck, but a work ethic that you are far from ever being able to understand. When things got too complicated or uncomfortable for you, you left to become a lone archeologist who did everything she could to be as alone as she could. On this ship, the crew is a family, there for one another no matter what the situation may be. In that regards, yes we are lucky to being part of something this special and you should consider yourself honoured to having been accepted as you have."

Selene had wanted to say so much more, to run the arrogant woman through every bulkhead from here to the lowest and farthest point on her ship, but the Captain knew that she had already gone too far in allowing her emotions to take over. As the Commanding Officer of the BASTET, it was her responsibility to lead by example.  Looking into the eyes of the stunned woman, Captain Iverson could see confusion, sorrow and maybe a hint of remorse, but now had not been the time nor place to explore any of these.

"Until such time as you understand what it is that we are all doing here and how this ship and crew functions, you are restricted to basic areas of the ship. If that arrangement is unsatisfactory, I can easily have you confined to your quarters until such time as we can return to NEW ALEXANDRIA and inform Admiral Koniki, your father, of your unhappiness driven interference with this ship and mission objectives," Selene unleashed before motioning to the nearest security detail to escort the woman off the bridge.

Captain Iverson returned her attention onto the main view screen. As much as she hated doing what she did, there had been no other option if Alexandria was to be made to stop hindering their continued efforts to save countless lives on CAIT as well as through the Federation, lives which included her own.

"Sir," Lieutenant Mitshiba called out, not quite as loudly as she would have normally, but still loud enough to be heard by the Commanding Officer. "I believe I have a lock on the Eye."

"Finally," Selene whispered under her breath, "some good news. What do you have?"

"Using the data from the temporal sensors, I was able to identify the moment the artifact went dark from our sensors," Misaki explained. "From that point I put the pieces together as to which heavy shielded container able to hide gamma-based energy signature had been added to the mix. When I did not find any, I started thinking about what we discovered and learned in those other realities. The artifact could not have been taken from this reality, and since no new sensor blind spot appeared, there is only one possibility remaining."

"The Eye is still in the museum, somewhere where it can no longer hinder the plate," the Captain nodded with understanding.

"It is also very likely that the artifact is being guarded in some say," the Chief Science Officer added. "There might be a reason as to why it could not be removed from the museum, something that might explain why it was always seen to be nearby in the past and maybe also explain why the Eye of Eternity was claimed to have been discovered in another location to make the item appear as something else than it was."

"If the Lokustaar or their agent could not easily identify the artifact responsible for keeping the plate in check, they would not be able to open the portal," the Captain noted. "The easy part is that the Eye is still close, the hard part will be for us to find it in time." Selene paused before reaching for her communicator. "Commander Valentine, assemble a new away team. The Eye of Eternity is hidden somewhere in the museum and you will need to find it the old fashion way before it is too late. With the sensor dampening field still in full force around the museum, the BASTET will not be able to assist, and your tricorders will have rather limited range."

=/\= Understood Captain. Maybe we could bring down a few bloodhounds to help. =/\=

"Bring down any and every resources you deem useful in this search," the Captain confirmed. "We have less than 37 hours to find the Eye of Eternity."

=/\= More then enough time Captain, more than enough time, =/\= Sarena said, obviously trying to keep things on a positive level.

Jessica Solarik

Captain Selene Fiona Iverson [Access Character BIO for Selene Iverson]
Commanding Officer


Lieutenant Commander Maya [Access Character BIO for Maya]
Chief Science Officer

"To see the world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
M04-P069: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 03 - 0100 ("Lost In The Shadows")
"Lost In The Shadows"
[previous post was "Never Easy" by the persevering Jessica]

Setting: CAIT, Museum Basement
Stardate: 32103.0100

Everyone who could lend a hand had been beamed down to the surface, a fact that the ILO could easily imagine would concern a great many within the authorities of CAIT. To see so many crewmembers of the BASTET suddenly beaming down to rush into the museum could not have made anyone feel confident as to what was happening. The problem, informing anyone of the actual precarious situation they faced would have only made matters worst. The last thing anyone needed right now was to have a planet-wide panic on their hands.

Commander Valentine had remained in the main hall, keeping an eye on the still expanding portal as she coordinated the search efforts. Thanks to the size of the museum and its apparent endless maze of underground corridors, it had been wise to avoid people going over the same areas twice and possibly missing entire sections. With the tricorders barely able to pick up the person directly in front of the one carrying it, the search for the Eye of Eternity would prove to be a long and difficult one.

Janeel had been assigned to the Northeastern quadrant, an area of the basement that from the looks of things had been built several centuries ago at a time when the building above had been a palace instead of a museum.  Even the markings on the walls appeared ancient, something that made the ILO think of their guest Miss Koniki. As an archeologist, she would have likely loved being here, but the confrontation that had taken place between her and Captain Iverson had made sure that this would not be happening anytime soon.

Using her hand-held light, Janeel scanned ever square inch of the corridors as she slowly made her way through them. Every now and then, she would see something moving from the corner of her eyes but would dismiss it as having been the shadows created by her own light. The possibility of there having been something else down here with her having been too much for the Commander to accept, especially given the nightmarish creatures they had already dealt with in the other realities.

"Commander?" A soft voice said as a hand gently landed on the ILO's shoulder causing her to figuratively jump out of her skin.

"What are you trying to do? Give me a heart attack?" Janeel demanded, holding on to her chest as if wanting to make sure that her heart had still been there and beating. "What are you doing here?" The ILO asked once she managed to recognize the woman who had startled her so.

Alexandria lowered her eyes, evidently feeling sorry for what she had done which seemed to go well beyond the fright she had given Janeel. "I'm sorry. I heard the ship-wide announcement for able hands to report to the surface and after contacting Commander Valentine, I was permitted to beam down and help with the search for the Eye of Eternity."

"I thought Captain Iverson had restricted you to quarters?" The ILO gasped, concerned that she might be found guilty by association for simply being near the woman in question. When it came to the Commanding Officer of the BASTET, everyone knew her to be a calm and level-headed woman, at least that had been until the archeologist had come on board.

"She threatened to go that far," Alexandria corrected. "I was restricted to basic areas of the ship and given the urgency of the situation, Commander Valentine thought that I might prove useful here instead of being on the BASTET."

"Probably thought that some distance between you and the Captain would also not be a bad thing," Janeel theorized, adding a faint smile afterwards to show that she agreed with that particular line of thinking. "I am glad that you are here. I was actually thinking about you when I saw the markings on these walls. They seem to be right up your field of expertise."

Janeel shone her light onto the nearest set of markings, drawing the archaeologist's attention to them. Instantly the woman became fascinated by what she saw, moving as close to the wall as she could in order to study the intricate carvings within the stones.

"This is amazing," the daughter of Admiral Koniki quietly exclaimed. "I consider myself to be rather knowledgeable about ancient languages, but this is like nothing I have ever seen." Evidently fascinated by the discovery, Alexandria carefully studied the markings, going as far as touching the engravings in he stone. Everything seemed perfectly normal until her finger touched one particular symbol that caused her to scream in agony.

"Are you alright?" The ILO quickly asked, falling to her knees to offer help and support to the woman who had collapsed from the pain. "What happened?"

"Cold, so very cold," Alexandria replied. When Janeel reached out and hold her, the woman felt as cold as ice, indicating that whatever had happened had not been limited to her finger but had very quickly spread through her entire body.

Calling for help using her communicator had not been an option, the interference that rendered the tricorder nearly useless had also made contacting anyone using the available technology impossible. Janeel had two options, to either start screaming in he hopes that someone would come to their aid or pick up the shivering woman in her arms and carry her back to the main hall. After a few moments of debate, the ILO figured that there had been no reason for her not to do both.

Taking the woman into her arms, the Commaner used all of her strength to return to her feet before heading back to the main hall while calling for help as best she could while struggling with keeping the shivering woman in her arms and not succumbing to the coldness herself. Whatever had happened to Alexandria had dropped her core temperature to such a point that the ILO actually found it hard to hold on to the woman.

With each step she took, the more difficult it was for Janeel to continue, the coldness radiating from Alexandria making it even hard for the ILO to think. The earlier calls for help had turned into barely audible whispers until the Commander found it impossible to take another step causing her and her ward to collapse onto the stone floor of this shadow-filled corridor.

As she tried to keep her eyes open, the ILO saw some odd movements through the shadows, leaving her to fear the worst as she fell into unconsciousness as the woman in her harm had done not that long before.

Setting: Unknown
Stardate: Unknown

The darkness that surrounded her was not complete, more like an ocean of oddly dancing shadows. The way these shadows moved had been like a dream, but the sensation that came from the scene in general had been one far more suited to a nightmare. Wherever this place was, whatever it had been meant to represent, once thing had been beyond certain; it was cold, very cold.

As frigid as the air felt, she could not feel the coldness again her skin but rather from her muscles and bones as if all of this had originated from within. As much as her mind claimed that this had been impossible, her body continue to claim otherwise, causing her to shiver uncontrollably.

That was when she remembered not having been alone, another shivering woman having been right there by her side before arriving to this place. Although she could vividly recall the woman the appearance and feel of the woman, there was sign of her here in this land of shadows, but what troubled her the most was that she could not remember her name or if she was important to her.

All that seemed to matter right now was for her to find a way to deal with the shadows that surrounded her on all side. Not to run away from them, but rather to find some manner in which she would become one with them. It made no sense, but those were the feelings she experienced, the darkness within hr physical form seeking out to merge with the perceived icy emptiness all around her.

Slowly, without thinking, she began to move forward, not understanding why she was doing this nor able to find it within her to stop. The shadows were summoning her and she was unable to resist them, going so far as to feel that it was her responsibility to become one with them.

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32103.0300

"Welcome back," Doctor Bruxa said, the smile on her face making it evident that she had been very pleased to see her patient awake. "We were actually worried that you would not make it back to us for a moment."

Janeel blinked several times, trying to make sense of what she was seeing and hearing, unable to understand how she had come to be in this place after having reached the shadows that she had been so driven to reach before now.

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Janeel [Access Character BIO for Janeel]
Intel Liaison Officer / Mission Specialist

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El [Access Character BIO for Shar'El]
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M04-P070: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 03 - 0315 ("Darkness Within")
"Darkness Within"
[Previous post: "Lost In The Shadows"]

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32103.0315

Commander Janeel and Miss Koniki were found unconscious in one of the dark corridors of the museum's basement. Something had obviously happened to them but so far Doctor Bruxa had been unable to identify the cause of their having lost consciousness or why their body temperatures had been so frighteningly low. If that had not been enough, the CMO had been bothered enough by something else to call her friend and Ship's Counsellor to come in and have a look at the women who had regained consciousness without any explanation.

"How are you doing Commander?" Adriana asked, taking a seat next to the biobed on which the ILO had been on since her return to the ship.

"I'm fine," Janeel replied without hesitation, an answer that Satella was quick to argue in gestures alone by pointing to the heating blanket on top of the woman and the body temperature readout that still showed it to be several degrees below normal.

"I am glad to hear that," the Counsellor said, keeping the patient's attention on her. "Do you remember what happened to you?"

"Something happened?" The question was odd in that Janeel seemed to honestly not care about being unable to remember, and this without further questioning the fact that she had been in Sickbay, which should have been an indication that something severe had taken place.

"You and Alexandria were found unconscious," Adriana explained thinking that it might help to have some of the of puzzle pieces put on the proverbial table.

"Might have been something in their air," the Commander theorized as if the entire incident had been nothing to be of any concern for anyone. "Could there have been a lower concentration of oxygen where we were found?"

Satella had been ready to burst, again frantically pointing to the diagnostic display while standing out of sight of her patient. According to the medical instruments, the level of oxygen in the woman's system had been well within the norms meaning that this could not have been the cause of her lost of consciousness.

"Could have been," Adriana confirmed, again doing her best to insure that the attention of the patient remained on her. "If you will excuse me, I will check with Doctor Bruxa and make sure that everything is as it should be."

Janeel lowered her head back on the pillow letting the Doctor and Counsellor make their way to the Satella's office where they would be able to talk more privately.

Setting: USS BASTET, CMO's Office
Stardate: 32103.0325

"She is lying through her teeth," Satella said, not even taking the time t make it around her desk to voice her opinion.

"Why would she lie?"

"I don't know," the Doctor shrugged. "You're the Counsellor, isn't it your job to figure that out?"

"Sounds like she's the one off the deep end," the mental image of the Counsellor's twin sister said laughingly, the woman only able to be seen by Adriana having decided to sit on the corner of the Doctor's desk.

Although Doctor Bruxa knew about these hallucinations, Adriana thought it best not to mention this particular apparition, thinking it wise to focus on the situation at hand.  "Satella, you need to calm down. I understand that the loss of Halston is difficult for you but you cannot allow it to get in the way of your professional dealings with the rest of the crew."

"Maybe I am being a little over the top here," the CMO reluctantly offered. "That doesn't change the fact that there is something really wrong with both Janeel and Alexandria," Doctor Bruxa continued, actually taking the time to sit in her chair as a show of her, at the very least, having heard her friend's words concerning the way the matter had been handled.

"I agree," Adriana said causing Satella to actually stop and look at the standing Counsellor.

"You do?"

"Yes I do," the Counsellor confirmed. "You might have been over the top with your reactions as you said, but there is something clearly different about Commander Janeel. There is a detachment about her and the way she is dealing with all of this, almost as if she was someone else."

"I already checked that," Satella sighed. "Her brain scan is a perfect match for what we have on record for her. There is no outside influence at play here, and I can confirm beyond any doubts that we are not dealing with any sort of shapeshifter. I made sure to check that as well."

"Paranoid aren't we?"

"The two of them were found unconscious in the museum's basement. The team that found them reported that both were mumbling something about 'shadows'. After everything that we saw, I did not want to take a chance," the Doctor explained.

"Just through speaking with Janeel I can tell that there is something different about her, a distance that was not there before. As an ILO I understand that a person needs to be detached from heir actions, to have a colder approach to things, but in the Commander's case she always seemed to display more caring then was expected from her position," Counselor Lopez offered. "She didn't ask about Alexandria or even herself, as if nothing had actually happened to her, and that is what troubles me."

"Her claiming that she was fine while still having a body temperature that is on the borderline of frozen is not helping me any," Doctor Bruxa added. "I can't get her body temperature to go any higher, and until I can accomplish that I will not be releasing them out of Sickbay."

"Nor should you," Adriana confirmed once again. "There is something wrong with them, and although it is clear that your instruments point to something physiological I am not entirely certain that there is not something else at play here, something more psychological."

"Good luck in proving that," Satella chuckled.

Setting: CAIT, Museum Basement
Stardate: 32103.0430

Regardless of what she tried to use in order to explain or even justify the witnessed reaction of Commander Janeel, Counsellor Lopez had been unable to get even close to an answer. That is why she had beamed down to CAIT and ventured into the section where the Commander and archaeologist had been found in.  It was Adriana's hope that she would discover something that would help explain why Janeel; had so suddenly become so psychologically detached from her own self and maybe also explain why her body temperature could not be increased back to a more normal level.

Retracing the two women's tracks as best she could, the Counsellor carefully studied and recorded everything she came across. Suspecting that there might have been something they came in contact with, Adriana made sure to not touch anything. Best-case scenario would be that she would find the cause of what happened to Janeel and Alexandria while at the same time locate the missing artifact, but right now, she would be happy to find what she had come down to this dark and dreary place for.

"You have to admit that working for Starfleet you get to visit some of the nicest placed around," Amanda teased, actually startling the only woman who could hear and see her.

"Must you do that?" Adriana sighed in exasperation.

"You tell me. I am after all nothing more than a creation from your own mind."

The Counsellor had just been about to verbally run into the mental image of her sister, but before she could say a single word Adriana stopped herself. Everything that had been said was true, that she could not deny it. Amanda had never truly been there and these hallucinations had originated from a darkness within the twin sister, a cold emptiness that she had never up to this point been able to fully fill. Could this have been what happened to Janeel and Alexandria? Could something have created within them a psychological void that had caused this detachment as well as the unexplainable physical coldness. After all, in the case of Counsellor Lopez, this emptiness within projected itself in the likeness of her twin sister, so there was proof to support this level of externalization.

With this in mind, Counsellor Lopez decided to return to the BASTET. There she would be able to further explore this possibility while studying the recording she had taken of her journey through one small section of the museum`s underground maze.

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M04-P071: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 03 - 0500 ("Nothing Is Impossible")
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"Nothing Is Impossible"
[previous post (Darkness Within)]

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32103.0500

While standing out of sight from the ship's ILO and their guest the archaeologist who were impatiently waiting for someone to release them from Sickbay, the Executive Officer reviewed in her mind the report that she had received pertaining to the two women's condition. Doctor Bruxa had reported both as acting "strange" and "weird", but it was the more specific details of her report that had brought Sarena here to see for herself.

"Still no changes in their bio-readings," Doctor Bruxa reported as she came to stand next to the BASTET's stoic Executive Officer. "Everything checks out and yet I am unable to raise their body temperature. Both of them should be freezing right now and neither is even complaining of things being a little chilly. There is something wrong here."

"I know," Sarena agreed, faster than the Doctor had expected and certainly quickly than she liked given the strangeness of the situation.

"You know?" Satella asked, curious to see what the woman had based her statement on and wondering if maybe there had been something equally wrong with the Executive Officer. In the end, maybe Adriana had been right in claiming that the CMO had all of a sudden become paranoid, seeing anything out of the strict ordinary as a sign of a much more complex problem and conspiracy.

"Yes, I know," Commander Valentine confirmed, never taking her eyes from the two women she had been observing for some time now. "I have seen Janeel at her best as well as her worst. The woman can be a hyper effective Intelligence Operative one moment and be completely out of her element a few minutes later," Sarena explained. "Through all of her displays of skills and inaptitude though I have never seen her to be impatient to the point of being on the verge of lashing out as she is right now. So yes, I know that there is something wrong with her through simple observation, but I am using your judgement and medical expertise to confirm what my eyes have seen."

"Something happened in the underground passageways of that blasted museum, but as much as I trust and believe in Adriana and Misaki I doubt either one of them will be able to find anything that would explain this from the recording our friendly neighborhood Counsellor brought back," Satella offered in return.

"The away teams have gone through every corridor that we were able to find down there," the Commander continued. "Nothing was found to even hint as to the location of the Eye of Eternity. As strange as it may seem, Janeel and Miss Koniki are as close as we get to have any sort of a lead."

"That is not much to go on," Doctor Bruxa sighed, realizing just how much of a bad situation they were in. With the artifact the portal would simply continue to grow until it would be large enough for the Lokustaar to simple walk through. From there on things would go from bad to worst for not only the crew of the BASTET but the whole planet of CAIT and soon after the Federation itself.

"Keep an eye on them and report any changes in their conditions to me directly," Sarena ordered, pivoting on her heels in order to make a quick exit out of the room.

"Where will you be?"

"Checking in with Counselor Lopez and Lieutenant Mitshiba," the Executive Officer replied. "Hopefully they have found something in that recording Adriana took. If not, I am afraid that we might have to let them go and see what happens next," Sarena explained, referring to the two restrained women who appeared to be biting at the bit to get off the beds they were on for a reason that had yet to be discovered.

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Setting: USS BASTET, Science Lab
Stardate: 32103.0520

"Any luck?" The Commander asked as soon as the doors had parted to grant her access to the work area where the Counselor and Chief Science Officer had been working in.

"Sort of," Adriana replied causing a less than pleased expression to appear on the face of the Asian scientist.

"What she means is that we did find something on the recording taken by the Counsellor's tricorder," Misaki clarified as any scientist would being particular about specific details no matter the situation. "The problem is that we can't make any sense of it, at least not from what we are able to see.

"Explain," Sarena instructed. Even a vague theory would put them ahead of where they were in locating the missing artifact and possibly explaining what had caused the changes in the two women currently in Sickbay.

"Down one of the corridors I went through, the tricorder picked up some strange carvings on the wall," Adriana explained. "It was so dark down there that I did not even notice these markings, it was only after I returned and started looking at the data collected that we were able to see that something was there."

"What sort of markings?" Commander Valentine further inquired.

"That's where things get complicated," Misaki replied. "There is nothing in the linguistic databanks that even comes close to this. The best we can guess is that it might be some sort of never before seen language, one that might belong to either of the races we saw fighting in the distant past."

"Since we know very little on the Lokustaar or the Tholian, if indeed those were the ones they were fighting against. There is no way for us or the computer to extrapolate any possible meaning for those markings," Adriana pointed out, visibly frustrated by their lack of progress following the discovery. "For all we know they could have been made by some Caitian youth who got lost down there at some point.

"We used the temporal sensors in an effort to figure out when those markings could have been made, but we found nothing," the Chief Science Officer continued. "As far as our instruments are concerned, with the exception of the tricorder Counselor Lopez used, those markings were never there. It was a longshot to start with; the markings at their size would not have been detectable from orbit. We were just hoping that we would have been able to see someone making them."

"What if no one made them?" Sarena proposed, quickly noticing that her statement had caused the Counsellor and Chief Science Officer to appear confused. "I mean, what if the markings had been there from the start? You would not have been able to see anyone making them as they were already present."

"It is a plausible theory," Lieutenant Mitshiba noted. "Unfortunately, there is no way to confirm this and even if we could, how would it help us? We are not even sure if these markings have anything to do with the Eye of Eternity or are in some unconceivable way responsible for what happened to Janeel and Alexandria. For all we know, we could be wasting our time on this."

"According to the reports from every other team that ventured into the underground maze that is the museum's basement, nothing was found, not even odd markings on the walls," Commander Valentine stated. "Those markings are the first and only clue we have, and since they were found in the general vicinity where Commander Janeel and Miss Koniki were discovered, it is our best hope of finding a way to end this mess."

"There is only one way to test the theory," Misaki said, tugging on her uniform shirt. "We have to go back down there and see those markings for ourselves. Maybe there is something there that the tricorder failed to pick up, or maybe even something that could not have been detected by our instruments."

"That is a very good possibility based on what Doctor Bruxa reported," Sarena concluded. "Every medical instrument shows our people to be in perfect physical form, but yet there is definitely something different about the way they act, not to mention their body temperature that is unable to be raised to anywhere near what it should be. As impossible as it may all seem to be, those markings are our only clue and possibly our only chance to stop that portal from opening fully."

"So what are we waiting for?" Mitshiba said, already half way to the lab's door. "With the data collected by the tricorder we won't have any trouble finding those markings again, regardless of much of a mad maze the basement may be. Once we are there, we'll just have to figure things out the old fashion way; by getting our hands dirty."

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Karen Price

Executive Officer
M04-P072: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 03 - 0600 ("Coldness Within")
"Coldness Within"
[Previous post: "Nothing Is Impossible"]

Setting: CAIT, Museum Basement
Stardate: 32103.0600

Adriana kept looking down at her tricorder certain that she would find that the temperature had dropped several degrees since last she checked, but it hadn't. The temperature readout showed the exact same number as it had when they beamed down to the planet surface, when they walked into the museum as well as when they made their way down into the basement. The only difference was that according to the device in her hand, the away team had been exactly where they needed to be, but the Counsellor could not recall it being so cold the last time she was here.

"Are we sure this is the location?" Commander Valentine asked, trying to fight off the cold that reached down to her bones.

"Why would the museum have a cold storage corridor?" Misaki demanded, rubbing her hands together in order to generate some heat in order to regain some level of feelings in them.

"According to the tricorder, we are at the exact location where the markings were recorded," Adriana confirmed.

"Yup," the image if the twin sister chimed in. "In the dark and by the looks of things, freezing your little Starfleet rear-ends off. I will admit that seeing you all like this is actually kind of amusing."

"We are not freezing!" Adriana snapped, the stress if the situation combined with the intense feeling if cold having completely worn down the Counsellor's patience.

"We are not?" The Commander asked, challenging the statement made while at the same time seeing if everything was alright with the visibly agitated woman.

"I believe that what she means is that the intense cold we are experiencing in thus location is not registering on any of our instruments," Misaki explained although that was not what Adriana had meant when she snapped.

"The coldness we perceive is psychological, not physical," the Counselor added, thinking it wise to continue along the lines set by the Chief Science Officer. "We observed something very similar when dealing with the corpse if the Lokustaar. The creatures appear to be capable of generating an aura that triggers intense fear-based reactions, which our bodies translate into this sensation if extreme cold."

"Are we in any danger?" Commander Valentine wondered aloud, looking over her shoulder as if half expecting to see something or someone behind her.

"Not from the cold as it us nothing more than a psychological projection," Adriana explained 

"You should know," the twin boastfully chuckled. "You are a certifiable expert on those," Amanda said, referring to herself and the inability of the real sister from bringing an end to these hallucinations.

"Unfortunately, that does not mean we are safe. What we are experiencing could be some sort of psionic defence system meant to protect whatever is down here, or it may be caused by the proximity of an actual Lokustaar," Adriana announced, not at all liking the options she had just given.

"Then, may I strongly suggest we carry out the reason why we came here in the first place?" The Commander said through her chattering teeth.

"If you are in such a rush we can always head back to the BASTET now and crawl under some nice thick furry blankets," Misaki suggested, sounding more than ready and willing to do as she had just said.

Adriana had been just about to actually agree with her fellow shipmate when the image of her twin sister chimed in once more. "Snap out of it! Don't you realize that this is what whatever this mental cold is meant to do? All three if you need to fight through this is you want to save Janeel and Alexandria, not to mention stop those nightmarish beasts from walking through that portal."

"We can't leave!" Counselor Lopez forcefully exclaimed, shaking her head as if trying to ward off some mental attack. "We came down here to see if these markings and what happened to Janeel and Alexandria are related."

"Solely based on the cold we are experiencing and the fact that I actually was serious about our going back to the ship, I think it is safe to say that *yes* these things are linked," the Chief Science Officer readily claimed as she too worked to shake off the feeling of dread that had swept over her.

"The question is; what do we do next?" Commander Valentine inquired, fighting off the growing desire to leave this place and never return.

"Look," Misaki said as she pointed to the wall where the markings they were searching for suddenly appeared. "My guess is that in the same way we are made to feel this extreme cold and desire to leave, the markings were blocked from our view. Now that we are fighting it, we are actually able to see through whatever cloak was created."

"How did I manage to see them before?" Adriana asked, sounding quite puzzled.

"You didn't," the Chief Science Officer pointed out. "Your tricorder did because it is not affected by whatever field if fear us being generated at this location."

"Then we need to work fast before we lose whatever mental footing we have just managed to gain," the Commander explained before turning to look at the marking that, as far as she had been concerned, had not been there a few seconds ago.

"Thank you," the real sister whispered to her illusionary twin, realizing that it was due to her intervention that the team had not been driven back to the BASTET.

"You are welcome," Amanda said as a devilish smirk formed on her lips. "But you do realize that you just gave credit for you three still being on task to someone who does not really exist, right?"

The Counselor sighed and nodded her head in agreement. Had the situation not been so direction, maybe Adriana would have been able to find the ironic humor in all if this, but for now she was just glad that they were back on task in trying to solve this dark and bone chilling mystery.

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M04-P073: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 03 - 0600 ("Frozen Fear")
"Frozen Fear"
[previous post was "Coldness Within"]

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32103.0600

Satella could see the impatience growing in her patients. With each passing second Janeel and Alexandria became increasingly agitated and unruly. Had they not been restrained, the CMO was certain that both of them would have jumped off their beds long ago. What bothered Doctor Bruxa even more was the way the two behaved, more like enraged beasts than humanoids.

"Doctor! How much longer are we going to be held here? We have matters to attend."

Janeel's voice loud and demanding, reflecting her frigid body temperature with each syllable spoken. Even from across Sickbay, Satella could feel the unsettling coldness coming from them. Not that the bio-scanners could confirm this, the indicators still showing their body temperatures as being perfectly normal.

With Sarena, Misaki and Adriana back in the museum's basement Satella considered calling a security detail to Sickbay. She was not about to openly say so, but there was something about her patients that actually scared her. Even restrained as they were, the way Alexandria and Janeel stared at the Doctor was enough to make her uncomfortable. Each time their eyes met, the hair on the back of her neck would stand on end as a cold shiver crawled down her spine.

Doctor Bruxa could feel the coldness envelop her, fueling fears that she never had before. She wanted to find a safe location, but to her this place as where she felt safest. Sickbay had been her home, the one location in the entire universe where she could be safe. Of course, as long as Janeel and Alexandria were there, she would never be able to feel that way. They were the cause of her misgivings, of her need to seek shelter.

The more Satella thought about the situation, the more she realized that there was only one thing to do. If she let them go as they so desperately wished, Sickbay would once again be a safe location. She would be able to lock the doors and feel safe. Yes, this was what she needed to do. The solution was so simple, why had she not thought of it before?

All that Doctor Bruxa needed to do was to let Janeel and Alexandria go and everything would be fine.

Fighting through the nipping cold, Satella approached the biobeds where her patients were secured. The shivers coursing through her body grew increasingly stronger with each step she took, but so did her fears. She needed to secure Sickbay, to make this place, her home, safe once more.

Before reaching for the controls for the restraints, the Doctor looked down at the woman who had earlier spoken. Solid black eyes looked back, stabbing directly into her soul, confirming the actions that she was about to do. Satella was scared, terrified, and there was only one way for her to be able to feel safe again. She needed to reclaim Sickbay, to make it the place she knew it could be, a safe haven from every cold and dark.


Satella recognized the voice as being that of Captain Iverson. Likely, she had come down seeking the same safety that the Doctor had been now so desperate for. The Captain would want this, the CMO was certain of that. So her hand drew that much closer to the controls.

"Doctor, what are you doing?"

Why did the Captain sound to be in such a panic? Surely, Selene wanted to be safe just as much as Satella. Therefore, the panic in the woman's voice had to be because it was taking her too long to make this happen. Janeel and Alexandria needed to be released so they could leave Sickbay. Only then would it become safe and allow both Captain Iverson and Doctor Bruxa to no longer feel scare.


Her voice was forceful, just as much as her hold on the Doctor's hand was.

"I need to make Sickbay safe," Satella explained, unable to understand why Selene was acting the way she was. Had the Captain not wished for the same thing? Had she not come here seeking safety and shelter from the fear that surrounded them?  "Do you not want the same?"

That was more than the Captain needed to hear to understand what was happening. With a quick pull, Selene took Satella out of range of the biobed controls and escorted the CMO back to her office. There, Captain Iverson sat the woman down and peered into her eyes.

"Satella? Look at me. Do you know who I am?"

"Of course," Doctor Bruxa replied, feeling an odd warmth reclaiming her body. "What is going on Captain?"

"I was hoping that you would be able to tell me," the Captain said. "You were about to release Janeel."

"I was?" Satella asked in return. "Yes, I was," she added, confirming to her great surprise what had been her plan.  "I felt scared, more so then I have ever felt. I needed to make Sickbay safe, and the only way to doing that was to let both of them go.

"My guess is that Commander Valentine and the others are getting a lot closer than the Lokustaar would like them to. They are using whatever influence they have on Janeel and Alexandria to hinder our progress." The explanation given by the Captain made a lot of sense. What it failed to do was to clarify how the nightmarish race had managed to accomplish this.

"What can we do?"

"First, stay out of the main care area. When I stopped you, I noticed that Janeel's eyes were solid black. Something is obviously controlling her, and through that influence nearly managed to have you release them. Aside from that, the only thing we can do is hope that our First Officer, Chief Science Officer and Ship's Counsellor are able to solve this mess. The sooner, the better."

"At least we discovered one thing about the Lokustaar."

"Which would be?" Captain Iverson said, her smile showing that she was glad to see the Doctor back to being herself.

"They are as devious as they are dark. Using someone's fear the way they did mine was downright unethical."

"I suspect that the Lokustaar do not abide by the rules of combat the rest of us do," the Captain said. "So we have to be even more vigilant in our dealings with them."

Satella agreed with a nod of her head. From now on, the Doctor would keep an eye on her patients from her office. At least from here, those solid black eyes would have less of an effect in scaring her as they had before. At least that is what the CMO hoped, not wishing to go through what she had again. Once had been more than enough.

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M04-P074: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 03 - 0620 ("See No Evil, Hear No Evil")
"See No Evil, Hear No Evil"
Previous post: "Frozen Fear"

Setting: CAIT, Museum Basement
Stardate: 32103.0620

Since they first set foot on CAIT, tricoders had been pretty much useless and communicators had been flat out unusable while inside the parameter of the museum. This was all thanks to the energy field that surrounded the building, a field that was later discovered to hide a far more sinister purpose than initially thought. Without the ability to properly scan the inside of the building or to communicate with any outside resources, like their ship, there was little the away team of the BASTET could do to stop the portal from being opened in the first place.

Now that the nightmarish plan had been enacted and the rip through the fabric of space and time was opening, luckily at a relatively small rate, the crew was now faced with a life or death crisis with possibly the whole of the galaxy in the balance. The Lokustaar had proven to be a dangerous and exceptionally patient adversary who had been planning for this moment over the several centuries. Now the crew of the BASTET had only hours to find the solution to put an end to this threat.

If this time-frame was not enough, the three-woman away team also had to fight their inner fears generated by the area they were in. With centuries to plan, the nightmarish Lokustaar had set up obstacles after obstacles to insure that none would interfere in their plan of dimensional conquest. Unfortunately for them, the crew of the BASTET still possessed a few aces up their sleeves.

The handheld data collecting devices currently in the grasp of the Asian scientist had been reduced in effectiveness to within just a few meters, but in this instance that had been more then enough. Not affected by fear or any sort of emotions that could get in the way and played in the devious plan created by the other dimension invaders, the tricorder could clearly see things such as the engraving on the ways.

She was the one who pointed out that the markings had become visible, likely because the away team had managed to fight of their fears, at least for now. It was when she glanced at her tricorder that the CSciO began to better understand what it was they were dealing with.

"Just to make sure, you all see those markings on the wall, right?"

"Yes," Commander Valentine and Counsellor Lopez both confirmed, although sounding unsure as to why they had been asked that question.

"Good, because I am still trying to figure it all out. I see them too, but according to the tricorder, there are a lot more of them," Aki explained. "I mean a *lot* more," she added showing the small display on the device to the other women.

"What does it mean?" Adriana asked, appearing ready to bolt but staying put as if some unseen influence had been tell her to stay.

"I'm not sure," Aki was forced to admit. "This is not like any language we have every seen. We can only guess that is was put here by the Lokustaar, but even with that we can't be sure if it is their language or some inter-dimensional warning claiming this place belongs to them."

"The fact that we are able to see some of the inscription now has to be significant," the Commander suggested as she reached out to touch one of the markings that she could see.

"COMMANDER!" the Asian woman quickly warned. "With all due respect, I would refrain from touching anything at this time. We have no idea as to how these things work, and having any sort of contact with them could result in our ending in the same predicament as Commander Janeel and Miss Koniki."

"Alright," the First Officer accepted, carefully withdrawing her hand back to its original staring position. "What do you suggest?"

"Aside from running out of here as quickly as our legs could carry us? Not much I'm afraid," Aki replied, not at all liking the fact that she had no idea as to what these visible markings meant or how to proceed from this point on. Fighting back the urge to cower in terror or even just to run away was not helping matter any, making it that much more difficult for her to think clearly enough to make sense of all this.

"The first set of markings became visible when we conquered our fears," the Counsellor said, again acting as if some unseen force had been guiding her words and actions. "Maybe that's the key to figuring all of this out."

"Sounds a little too simple," Aki said, her voice having unexpectedly cracked as she spoke letting everyone know that she had been far from immune to the unique effects this location had on them all.

"May not be that simple," Commander Valentine proposed. "We are barely managing to stay put without succumbing to whatever fears are popping into our heads. I think Adriana may be onto something, but how to we use this, or even test it to see if works?"

Since the situation dealt with matters that went far beyond the realm of applied science, both Sarena and Aki turned to look at the Counsellor who amongst them appeared to have the better control of her emotions and fears. Adriana met the questioning gaze of the other two women and after a few seconds she began to shake her head, indicating that she had no idea to offer. A few more seconds later though, Counsellor Lopez amended her position as a new idea came to her.

"If conquering our fears is actually the key, we need to face what it is that frightens us," she explained.

"You mean more than being here?" Aki asked, still fighting the constant and growing urge to run away from this living nightmare.

"Yes," the Counsellor confirmed. "What is it that we fear the most right now? It has to be something that currently defines all of our thoughts, our actions and is something that would change everything if we were able to conquer it, not in part but in whole."

Aki closed her eyes to try and focus her thoughts, but the images that sprung to mind quickly forced her to reopen them. In a dark and cold flash that lasted less than a second, the Asian woman had relived all of her nightmares, even those from her childhood that she had long forgotten. The experience was troubling to say the least and actually caused her to take a step down the corridor before being stopped by Commander Valentine who had reached out to take hold of her arm.

"We fear failing," Sarena proposed. "Not stopping the portal will undoubtedly led to countless casualties on not only CAIT but any other world on which the Lokustaar manage to venture to. Based on the capabilities of the ships we saw in the distant past, it is hard to imagine that Starfleet, even with the help of the other major races, would be able to stop their conquest of this galaxy."

"Then it's simple," Adriana proposed. "We just have to conquer that fear. We have to believe that we not only *can* fight back but that if we do we would actually *win*."

"Sounds a whole lot easier than it is to do," Mitshiba pointed out, glad that the Commander had still been holding on to her arm to insure that she would not run away as she so desperately wanted to.

"We have to try," Commander Valentine said, eventually getting an approving nod from the Counsellor and a little while after from the terrified Chief Science Officer.

"Imagine the worst possible outcome," the Counsellor said, "then quickly see it changing as we push back the tide and gain ground where none would have expected us to do. Don't think of it as wishful thinking or an unattainable goal, we all have to believe that this is more than possible. In our thoughts the outcome ends in our favor because it is the only way that it can happen. We are the the ones in control of this galaxy and the Lokustaar, despite their ships and abilities to control fear cannot now nor would ever be able to win against us."

The encouraging speech from the counsellor might have sounded over the top, but as Aki looked up onto the wall she noticed that more of the markings could not be seen. Granted there was but a small fraction visible of those displayed on the tricorder screen, but at least this way they were able to see them as a whole instead of as just separate segments.

"Now what Counsellor?" The ExO asked, sounding a little disappointed.

"Now I think it's my turn," Aki said, kneeling down to be able to study the newest set of markings while at the same time making it that much more difficult for her to act upon her desire to run which had not in the least vanished from her mind. "These markings are clearly different from the first set, in fact they almost seem to be some sort of instruction. If the line above is as we suspect a language, this one is showing some sort of oscillation, likely at the quantum level. That is if i am reading this correctly," the CSciO said, already hard at work modifying her tricorder to playback the wave pattern she had been looking at.

When the sound emerged from the small device, everyone quickly covered their ears, as the noise proved to be excruciating painful and disorienting. Realizing what was happening; Aki fought against the pain and retrieved the tricorder that had fallen to the ground. After a few more modifications, the sound vanished as did the markings on the wall.

"That certainly didn't work as well as hoped for," the Commander said, her ears still ringing from the sound.

"I was suspicious about the Lokustaar indicating right on the wall used to protect whatever is on the other side, how to get passed it," Aki explained. "So I modified the wavelength of the isolation to something much smaller, and now I am glad I did. I was correct in that this is some sort of quantum oscillation and my guess is that it was meant to incapacitate whoever made it this far, maybe even kill them. So I wondered what would happen if the oscillation was reversed?"

"Is that why the markings vanished?" Adriana asked.

"It appears to be," Aki said. "Want to see what will happen when I increase the frequency to me closer to a full inverse of the wave pattern that was displayed?"

"We don't have time to play games," the Commander sternly pointed out, giving the go ahead to the Asian woman to proceed as she had stated.

As the tricorder was made to create this inverse oscillation, the wall where the markings had been located began to shimmer until it appeared to not be there at all.

"What is that?" Counsellor Lopez asked, clearly not liking the darkness that stretched beyond where the wall had been.

"The perfect hiding place for the Eye of Eternity I would guess," Aki proposed.

"Only one way to find out," the ExO added as she took point and stepped through the shimmering wall and into the unknown darkness beyond with Adriana and Aki close on her heels.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M04-P075: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 03 - 0645 ("Light at the End of the Tunnel")
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"Light at the End of the Tunnel"
[previous post (Darkness Within)]

Setting: CAIT, Museum Basement
Stardate: 32103.0645

With resolve and determination, the away team stepped into the discovered entrance, the awful piercing screech that had been created by Misaki's tricorder still ringing in their ears. With each step, they braved the all-encompassing darkness, their handheld lights proving utterly ineffective in reveiling any of the details surrounding them. It was as if they had entered some sort of dark void, an emptiness so complete that there was nothing for them to orient themselves with. As lead, Sarena placed one foot directly in front of the other, trying her best to keep as straight of a line as possible, but without anything to use as visual reference, each step took them deeper into an absolute unknown.

"However limited the tricorder was before, here, in whatever this place is, it might as well be one of those smaller artifacts that were on display," Mitshiba reported, her attention half on the device in her hand and half on the woman directly in front of her. "This thing might look nice and interesting, but it's as useless as it gets right now. None of these readings are making any sense, that is when I am getting any readings at all. According to these numbers, we are several *kilometers* above ground and yet the atmospheric pressure is what would be expected if we were several hundred meters below ground."

"I don't think you're in Kansas anymore," the sister who could only be seen and heard by her twin said, drawing a glare from the Counsellor who had been bringing up the rear. As annoying as it could get to have the mental image of her sister making comments on things happening around them, the presence of the sibling had served several purposes over time. Most notably the mental projection of Counsellor Lopez had helped the team to stay focus on their mission by keeping the sister on track.

"Could this place be beyond the physical boundaries of CAIT?" the Counsellor asked, the statement made by the mental projection of her sister along with the tricorder readings having given her a possible explanation.

"After having traveled to not one but two other realities, seeing a dimensional portal being opened in the main entrance hall of the museum and witnessing an epic 20,000 years old war that no one knew about, I would say that everything is possible." The statement made by the Chief Science Officer echoed a certain amount of despair, the woman having stopped trying to make sense of the information displayed by her tricorder.

"From everything that we have seen and experienced during our mission to CAIT, we have to concede that the Lokustaar have technology that is far superior to ours, especially in the areas of trans-dimensional travels," Sarena said as she continued walking in as a straight line as she could. "We were sent to a different reality on two separate occasions, only to come back and discover that this race of walking nightmares have been planning for this invasion for centuries if not longer." The Executive Officer stopped, sighed and turned to look at the rest of her team. "We also discovered that the Eye of Eternity is an artifact that exists in all realities at the same time and cannot be moved from one to another. In order to be able to open this portal, the Lokustaar were forced to remove the artifact without being able to exile it to another location. Therefore, taking all of this into account, it is very possible that this void we are currently in stands outside of what we could consider to be normal space and time."

"It would explain these tricorder readings," Misaki stated, closing the device and returning it to its place on her belt. "It would also mean that we could be in a plane of existence that is well beyond our mental and physical understanding. The wall we had to go through was based on fears and there is no way to know what this location uses as a base foundation to set whatever rules control it."

"If this place was created by the Lokustaar, we can at the very least use what we know of them as a starting point in our efforts to understand this place," Counsellor Lopez offered. "The race is by all definition dark, which judging by this place confirms that they are responsible for it being here. If they created this space to be outside of the normal parameters of time and space as we know them in our reality, they would have done so to protect ad hide the Eye as much as possible."

"Those things are as devious as they are ugly," Mikasi sighed. "It means that in this place we could be walking for days and never actually go anywhere."

"I'm afraid so," Adriana confirmed.

"So how do we find the Eye of Eternity in a place that does not follow any of the rules we are used to?" the Executive Officer inquired, feeling a certain sense of gloom washing over her.

"As strange as it may sound, I would say that we use the same method we did before," the Counsellor proposed.

"What? You want us to think our way to the artifact?" The Chief Science Officer asked, feeling and sounding as if she had been on the verge of giving up.

"The wall presented us with fear as the obstacle we needed to overcome," Adriana explained. "Based on how I am feeling, and the way you are both acting and sounding which leads me to believe you are experiencing the same sensations as I am, this place is meant to make use give up, to leave us lost in a void of despair."

"For the record, I am really starting to hate those black spider-wannabe dimensional nightmares," Misaki angrily said. "I am tired of them playing with my head."

The display of anger by the Chief Science Officer was so over the top that the Executive Officer could not help but smile. The display had been so exaggerated and dramatic that Sarena could not help herself, although the joyous feeling was short lived and vanished from her mind just as quickly as it had come.

"Commander! Did you see that?" Adriana asked, her attention now focused onto a single point in the dark void that surrounded them.

"See what?"

"When you laughed, the darkness shimmered. Not much, but I clearly saw something move over there," the Counsellor said, pointing with her finger to the area where she had observed this unexpected motion. "If this place is built on creating despair and hopelessness, laughter and joy could be our way to break through it."

"Yes, because laughing while we are in a place like this is going to be so simple," Misaki pointed out, her voice trembling as she slipped just that much more into the effects of this place.

"That would be the point," the Executive Officer and away team leader said, agreeing with the Counsellor. "It makes sense that the opposite feelings and display of emotions would be what is required to break through this latest obstacle. Quick, think of something amazing, something funny, something ridiculous but it has to be something that would make you smile regardless of how you feel. This has to be the most hilarious thought or memory that you possess."

Sarena tried to summon up something funny, something that would make her smile despite feeling as she did. Her eyes darted through the surrounding darkness in search of any indication that this was actually working, but when nothing was seen the Executive Officer of the BASTET felt a despair the likes of which she could never have imagined sweep through her mind and body.

The idea might have been the right one, but it seemed that the darkness around them had simply been too strong for them to conquer it so easily. That was when she heard something completely out of place, something both completely unexpected and enduringly welcomed all at the same time. As Sarena looked up to the source of this sound, she saw Counsellor Lopez laughing.

The way the woman was acting, it appeared as if she had not been alone in this activity, sharing whatever humorous memory that had her laughing with someone else who could neither be seen or heard. Whoever that unseen individual was though, they had made it possible for Adriana to break free of the despair they all experienced and the result on the world they were in was soon apparent.

At first, the darkness began to shimmer ever so slightly, but this quickly grew to appear as if this reality had been caught in some sort of dimensional quake. The sight of the Counsellor laughing so uncontrollably soon drew both Misaki and Sarena to join in which proved to be the undoing of the darkness they had ventured inside.

As the team scrutinized their surroundings, the walls of what appeared to be a small chamber could now be seen. Even the entry point they had used to come here, which was only a few steps behind them, was now visible.  On the opposite wall to the entrance, on a small, trivial looking pedestal was the object they had been seeking - the Eye of Eternity.

Approaching the artifact with the greatest of care and precaution, the away team could barely believe that they had finally found the key they hoped would bring an end to the crisis they were faced with. Taking hold of the strange looking object, Commander Valentine looked around to see if some other trap would get in their way, but to everyone's great relief nothing happened.

"Time to get back to the main entrance hall and see if this Eye of Eternity is all that is has been made to be," Sarena said as she again took point, making her that her grasp on the precious artifact was a firm and gentle as possible.

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Setting: CAIT, Museum Main Hall
Stardate: 32103.1830

"Commander! Where have you been?" Captain Iverson gasped upon seeing the Executive Officer and the rest of her team step into the main entrance hall of the museum.  "You went down into the basement over 12 hours ago. All efforts to locate you came up empty. We were all certain that something terrible had happened."

"Sorry for having worried you like this Captain," Sarena said wit a smile. "It was quite a trip to get this thing back," she added showing off the artifact.

"Well done Commander," Selene noted with joy. "How do we get it to stop this portal from opening?"

The away team glanced over at the portal which had grown much larger since the last time they had seen it. After all, they had vanished for over 12 hours during which the doorway from another reality had continued to expand.

"Captain," Misaki said, having retrieved her tricorder to scan the opening. "Looks like we don't have to do anything other than being here. The portal is no longer growing, in fact it is actually shrinking back onto itself.

Just as the Chief Science Officer said this, an ear-piercing shriek filled the air, one that sent shivers of fright straight into the soul of everyone present. Soon after an energy bolt came through the portal and impacted against the front doors to the museum, blasting them clear off their hinges to land a hundred meters or so out onto the main courtyard.

"My guess is that someone on the other end is less than happy with the portal closing," Adriana theorized as the Captain made sure to have everyone stay away standing in front of the dimensional opening.

"At this rate, the portal will be fully closed in less than an hour," Misaki reported. "Whatever the Eye of Eternity is doing, it's doing it fast. The Lokustaar may not be able to react fast enough to do anything about it."

"My guess is that even if they tried, they would be unable to cancel the effects of this artifact on their efforts to gain access to this reality," the Commander theorized. "It took them centuries to get everything in place to get this far, and I doubt that they would be able to come up with a plan *B* in less than an hour. That may be the one main flaw of this race. They are careful to plan for the long-term, but have difficulties adapting to unexpected turn of events."

"That is one advantage we will have to keep in mind should we run into the Lokustaar again at some point," the Captain stated, glad to see the crisis averted and the portal closing at a rate that could easily be noticed with the naked eye.

Not wanting to take any risks, the Executive Officer kept the artifact in her grasp for the next hour, whatever fatigue she might have felt being easily offset by the sight of the portal growing increasingly smaller.  Just as the portal was about to be no more, a strong gush of wind came from the barely visible opening, strong enough to make those in the large room take a step backwards, but nothing more. A few seconds later no sign of the portal ever having been there could be found.

Looking down at her tricorder, the Chief Science Officer not only confirmed that there was no longer any signs of the portal, but that the energy field that had enveloped the museum had also vanished.

"This thing," Misaki said pointing to the artifact, "is better than I had expected. Even the dampening field is gone. Sensors and communications have been restored.

"Captain Iverson to Doctor Bruxa," Selene said after having tapped her comm badge.

=/\= Go ahead Captain. Are you back on the ship? =/\=

"No," the Captain replied. "The portal has been closed and communications with the ship restored. I wanted to check in with you and see how your patients are doing."

=/\= I am glad you called as I wanted to let you know. Over the last hour the symptoms of their conditions, whatever it was, gradually became weaker. Right now I am running a second complete set of scans, to confirm the results of the first. Everything, including body temperature, appears to be back to normal. =/\=

"That is great news Doctor," Selene announced. "We have to take care of some housecleaning down here but we will be heading back to the ship soon."

=/\= Looking forward to having you all back so that I can run a full physical on everyone, =/\= Satella announced.

"Looks like everything is back to normal," Adriana added with a chuckle, glad to see this entire affair finally behind them, hopefully for good.

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Karen Price

Executive Officer

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