USS BASTET - Mission 05
Shuffling Shadows
Post # Character Title
001 Iverson Needle in a Haystack
The BASTET discovers the wreckage of a Master's ship
002 Valentine A Spider's Web
The away team investigates the wreckage
003 Janeel Stillness of Death
The BASTET does it best to keep track of the away team
004 Bruxa Nothing To Fear
Satella is beyond creeped out by the vast emptiness
005 Mitshiba Nothing To See
The away team discovers a body, alive
006 Janeel Darker Dealings
The dead Yxidii appears to not be so dead
007 Bruxa When Death is Not Death
The Yxidii dies and return to life repeatedly
008 Lopez Why So Serious?
Satella and Adriana debate what to do next
009 Valentine Finding a Way Out
Sarena gets Adriana out of the alien's grasp
010 Janeel Figuring Things Out
Janeel points out somthing to Satella and Adriana
011 Bruxa The Kiss of Death
Satella and Adriana work on how to kill the Yxidii
012 Iverson Early Morning Surprise
The Yxidii is awake and Selene speaks with Sarena
013 Valentine Beyond The Darkness
The Yxidii talks about what he experienced
014 Janeel When Shadows Attack
The BASTET opts to stay as another ship arrives
015 Bruxa Quietly Waiting
Satella and Adriana dicover something frightening
016 Lopex The Bad News
Satella and Adriana discover something dark
017 Iverson The Only Option
The BASTET finds a way to get back home
M05-P001: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 01 - 1430 ("Needle in a Haystack")
"Needle in a Haystack"
(Previous Post: "Light at the End of the Tunnel")

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32305.1430

Since the events that had taken place on CAIT, the USS BASTET and its crew had been on a mission to discover everything on the Lokustaar and to take every steps possible to stop any other attempt from them to invade this dimension. Not having access to alternate realities as the ones the crew had gone to during their search for the Eye of Eternity, the ship was limited to travelling from dimension to dimension in search of weak zones between dimensions. There they would set up surveillance buoys that would report on any unusual activities giving NEW ALEXANDRIA a heads up as to possible trans-dimensional activities.

With an infinite number of dimensions, each possibly occupying an equally infinite space, the term *limited* was rather inaccurate, and their odds of actually discovering something in this manner had been minuscule at best. The old saying of 'Looking for a needles in a haystack' applied here, although the haystack was the whole of the multiverse and the needle was a shadowy race capable of rendering itself and their ships invisible, both to sight and sensors.

"Buoy Alpha-Romeo-Sierra-8-7-1 launched and confirmed operational," Janeel reported, this being the 9763rd such monitoring device to have been deployed over the last several months.  "With all due respect Captain, at this rate we will all be dying of old age by the time we have seeded enough of these to actually make a valid sensor net, and that is only counting the dozen or so dimensions that we have covered so far. Without knowing exactly what dimension the Lokustaar came from, we may never be able to find them before they launch another attack."

"Unfortunately," Commander Valentine stepped in with, "this is the best course of action we have at the moment. Our Intel on the Lokustaar is severely lacking, forcing us to use whatever we have to the best of our abilities and technology. That we have managed to narrow down the list of possible dimensions to a finite number is something that we should be proud of, regardless of how large that actual number is."

"87," Lieutenant Mitshiba solemnly announced, the number engraved in her mind for obvious reasons. "We currently have 87 viable dimensions as a possible place of origin for the Lokustaar. Using that number as a starting point, and adding the lowest possible target seeding of each of these dimensions at 250 buoys, and given the replication and manufacturing time for each at 2 and a half hours, it will take us over 5 more *years* to get the job done."

"5 *years?" Counselor Lopez gulped, thankful that she had been sitting down when this figure was announced.

"Consider it job security," Commander Valentine chuckled. "Guess you should be thankful that we are on board a temporal ship."

"With all due respect Commander," Misaki started, her scientific mind having simply kicked in. "Time on board the BASTET is not affected by whatever temporal displacement we go through. To the rest of the universe these buoys might all suddenly appear out of nowhere, but for us the stated time will still have elapsed."

"What is our next destination?" Captain Iverson asked, thinking it best to change the subject before a more heated and unpleasant discussion ensued.

"We are done for this dimension," Lieutenant Mitshiba reported. Our next dimensional  weak spots can found at 001 by negative 047 by 002. I believe that this will be our first time there."

"Well, let go and see what we can find there," the Captain said. "Commander Janeel, as soon as you are ready.

Setting: SPACE
Stardate: 32305.1500

Against the backdrop of infinite space, the BASTET appeared as a small spec lost in the endless dark emptiness before suddenly vanishing from sight through a faint shimmering effect indicating that a portal had been opened between dimensions.

Not so long ago, such travel had been the high point of being on board that particular ship, but thanks to their latest dealings with the Lokustaar and the mission they had been sent on, the voyages between dimensions had almost become routine.

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32305.1515

"Returning to normal space in 3... 2...1..." The Chief Science Officer reported, the main view screen showing a nearly identical set of stars as to pone they had just left.

"Confirming dimensional location,: Commander Janeel added. "001 by negative 047 by 002.

"Good," Selene noted, not that she had expected there to be any problems, the crew having become experts at such travels. "Set course for the location of the nearest weak spot, maximum warp as soon as it is available."

"Course set and laid in," Commander Valentine reported, although there was something odd about the way she had said those words, enough to prompt the Captain to inquire.

"Is everything alright Commander?"

"Sensors are picking up a large metallic mass .5 light years from our current location," Sarena reported with hesitation as she tried to make sense of what the sensors were reporting. "The energy output is very weak and seems to be coming in and out as if it was blinking from reality."

"Blinking in and out of reality?" Misaki said, her curiosity having been piqued. After spending so much time dropping sensor buoys it was understandable that the Chief Science Officer, along with the rest of the crew, had been ready for something different.

"What is the threat potential?" The captain asked, not wanting to take any risks. After all they were looking for the Lokustaar and any confrontation against that race would best happen on terms set by the crew of the BASTET and not the other way around."

"According to these sensor readings, I doubt that there is enough energy available in wherever is out there to pose any sort of danger to us," Janeel reported, having taking control of the tactical station for the time being.  "If it is a ship of some sort, and they diverted all available power to shields, they might be able to deflect our first volley of phasers. If they did the same but to weapons instead, we would be able to easily deflect the power sent our way."

"All right then," Captain Iverson said, evidently ready for a change of pace. "Go to yellow alert and take on is closer, nice and easy. If there is someone in there, let us not scare them into reacting in a hasty manner.

As ordered the ship altered its course and headed for the unknown structure at a slower than normal speed, but even at that the distance of half a light year would be traversed fast enough.

"We are now in full sensor range of the metallic mass," Mitshiba announced. "It looks like a ship," she added."

"That is not any ship," Sarena gasped as the enlarged image was brought unto the main view screen. "We are looking at a cruiser from the Masters'."

"Power readings are fluctuating wildly," the Chief Science Officer reported.

"The blinking effect we are picking up is likely do to some residual effect of their dimensional drive, which judging by the extent of the visible damage on the outer hull is likely malfunctioning," the Intelligence Liaison Officer theorized.

To see an imposing ship of the Masters had been troubling enough, but to see one so heavily damaged had been something that seemed to defy all comprehension. The first time this race had been encountered when dealing with the J'Den, the Masters had proven themselves to be ruthless conquerors possessing technology far superior to what the Federation has at its disposal.

"Captain, what are your orders?" Sarena inquired, making it clear by her words that she had been ready to follow the lead of their Commanding Officer.

"Long-range sensors are not picking up anything else for several light-years," Janeel reported. "We are alone here, and primary sensors are not showing any life signs on board the cruiser. In fact several decks and sections are exposed to space due to multiple hull breaches.

"Whatever they encountered ripped them to shreds," Counselor Lopez offered, obviously weary about the situation.

"This could be a perfect opportunity to learn more about the Masters and maybe even whoever or whatever was able to do this to them," Commander Janeel stated, the Intel Operative always on the lookout for new information that could prove useful at some point in the future.

"Can we stabilize the dimensional fluctuation of that ship?" The Captain asked of Lieutenant Mitshiba who seemed to have already been on the case.

"We could use out our D-Drive to establish a stabilizing field around the malfunctioning dimensional engine," Misaike stated with confidence. "I might even be able to remotely turn take the dimensional and regular space engines off-line making sure that the wreckage cannot go anywhere."

Selene glanced over to her First Officer, making sure that both of them were in agreement that the possible benefits outweighed any risks. When Sarena nodded her head, the Captain confirmed what they would do next.

With a motion of her hand, Commander Valentine pointed to the Chief Science Officer. "As soon as you are done stabilizing that ship, I need you to join me on the away team." After receiving the acknowledgement she had expected from Misaki, Sarena reached for her communicator. "Doctor Bruxa, please report to transporter room 1 for an away mission."

=/\= Is someone hurt? =/\=

"No Doctor, we are simply going on an away mission," Commander Valentine confirmed.

=/\= An away mission? =/\= the Chief Medical Officer questioned. =/\= I thought we were bouncing from dimension to dimension putting down sensor buoys. Where are we going? =/\=

"We are going out looking for ghosts Doctor," Sarena answered with a grin. Hopefully that would be the extent of what they would find once on board the wreckage of the imposing ship they were about to transport to.

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)
M05-P002: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 1630 ("A Spider's Web")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"A Spider's Web"
[previous post (Needle in a Haystack)]

Setting: Masters' cruiser, corridor
Stardate: 32305.1630

Three forms materialized into the dark and empty corridor, the EVA suits protecting those within from the extreme cold and lack of any breathable air that had claimed this location.

"I thought you said that only some of the areas on this ship were exposed to space?" Doctor Bruxa complained as soon as the transporter sequence was complete.

"The shielding of these walls is extensive," the away team leader explained. "I thought it best to not take any risks and beam on the outer edge instead of risking becoming part of the bulkheads by trying to reach one of the sealed areas of this ship."

"I am not sure I would call this place a ship Commander," Lieutenant Mitshiba said, amazement and awe lacing her words. "I feel like Alice in Wonderland after she drank that potion. This place is huge."

"We might have only seen the Masters through the main view screen when we were helping the J'Den, but we did have a lot of visual cues to indicate that the members of this race were 'larger than usual'," Doctor Bruxa detailed. "Shutaar and the other J'Den who had any dealings with the Masters did describe them has being towering and imposing."

"Towering and imposing are vague descriptives," the Chief Science Officer pointed out, stretching her neck to see the ceiling that extended several meters over their heads. "I would be more inclined to call these aliens for what they are -- giants."

"Giants or not, I don't like it here," the Chief Medical Officer promptly added.

"Doctor, was it not you who complained about being bored not too long ago?" The Executive Officer shot back to the woman who had done nothing but complain since their arrival.

"We stopped an invasion from another dimension, and were given a party and ribbon to acknowledge what we did," Satella said not sounding overly impressed. "As a final reward, we were sent on this crazy mission, bouncing from one dimension to the next while dropping sensor buoys everywhere. Frankly. I wondered more than once if it would have been better for us if those nightmarish spiders had not made it through that portal of theirs."

"Doctor," Misaki began, a smile dancing on her lips. "First, the portal that the Lokustaar opened on CAIT was not from another dimension, but rather from another dimensional *reality*. During the handing out of the ribbons by Admiral Koniki, I clearly recall you being very pleased, and lastly I know for a act that you do not believe that things would be better for anyone had those shadowy hexapod aliens, not spiders, made it through the portal. The Lokustaar having only six legs, not eight."

=/\= Alright you two, =/\= the Captain sternly said through the open communications channel, Selene wanting to make sure that everything went without any problems. =/\= Doctor Bruxa, as much as I do understand your apprehension at being on that ship, your presence there is required in case the away team encounters the corpse of one of the Masters. We know nothing about this race and any information you may be able to provide could prove beyond valuable. =/\=

"Of course Captain, I am sorry," Doctor Bruxa said, accepting the blame for her behavior.

=/\= Commander Valentine, proceed with the exploration of the ship but stay in constant contact. We have no way to know how the hull and systems of those ships could affect communications or our ability to beam you back. =/\=

"Understood Captain," Sarena conceded, motioning for the other two members of the away team to follow. "We are heading towards the forward section of the ship, keeping as much as possible to the corridors that are exposed to space. We will keep you informed as to our progress and movements through the ship."

Looking around the spacious corridor, the Executive Officer of the BASTET felt like a little girl wandering through a grand hotel, the walls and ceilings appearing so much farther than would normally be expected. The sensation was somewhat overwhelming but that did not hinder the slow and stead progress of the team as they pressed on.

Passing various closed doorways and inactive control panels on the walls, Lieutenant Mitshiba could guess as to the average height of the Masters who would range between two and a half to three meters. The size of the corridor combined with the placement of the controls further emphasised the diminutive feeling all three members of the away team experienced.

"I know that I have said it before, but I truly do not like this place," Doctor Bruxa reiterated with determination and passion. "As if the size of this place was not enough to make me feel like a dwarf, there is a feeling of death that is hanging around us. I actually wish you hadn't joked about us coming here looking for ghosts," Satella said, aiming her last words at Commander Valentine specifically.

"Commander!" Lieutenant Mitshiba said, calling the attention of the Executive Officer onto a specific section of the hull that had been ripped open. "I noticed this before, but didn't think anything about it, but the more I encounter this type of damage, the more I am convinced that something odd happened here."

"Define odd," the Commander requested.

"The damage on the hull plating is not indicative of an external blast but rather of an explosion from within," the Chief Science Officer explained, cautiously moving closer to one such panel to demonstrate her point.  "If the damage to this section was caused by another ship firing some sort of projectile weapon or high intensity energy bolt, the edges of the outer hull would have been bents towards the inside of the ship as the hull structure gave way to the impact. As you can see, the edges of this damaged section are curved outwards, indicating that the force that caused the breach in this area came from within."

"Could this have been caused by a weakening of the outer hull?" The Executive Officer offered as a possible theory.

"Impossible to say at this time," Misaki replied. "I would need to perform a complete analysis of the outer hull near the breach to see of the material was actually weakened through some external mean. What I can say is that by simply looking at the thickness of the outer hull, the force of the explosion required to breach it would have taken this entire area where we are currently standing on."

=/\= Means that we are possibly looking at a highly focussed energy weapon, one capable of piercing that hull without damaging the immediate surrounding area, =/\= Captain Iverson said, indicating that she was closely following the progress of the away team.

"The question is why would such a weapon be used *inside* the ship?" The Executive Officer questioned.

"Not only once," the Chief Science Officer added. "I noticed the same damage pattern several times while making it here, each time the damage having been noticed on the outer most wall. It is as if whoever did this knew exactly where to fire in order to cause that section to have whatever atmosphere be vented into space."

"It would explain why we have yet to find any corpses," Doctor Bruxa continued. "If this damage was done purposefully, anyone in the immediate vicinity would have been blown into space due to the extreme pressure differential."

=/\= If there was any sort of conflict inside the ship where one side purposefully targeted the outer wall to open the area to space, would it not have affected them as well as their intended targets? =/\= Captain Iverson presented, the point having been a very valid one.

=/\= Two possibilities, =/\= Counselor Lopez said, having also been listening in on the conversation. =/\= The first is that the damage was caused by some sort of kamikaze fighter, willing and ready to give his life to inflict the damage and take out whoever else was there with him. =/\=

"The other possibility," Lieutenant Mitshiba continued, "is that who or whatever did this is not affected by a sudden change in atmospheric pressure and is either naturally or through wearing specialized equipment immune to the extreme cold of space, not to mention the lack of an atmosphere."

=/\= Could we be looking at the handy work of the Lokustaar? =/\= Commander Janeel proposed, the thought that this particular race had been involved in this affair sending a chill down everyone's back.

"We do not have enough data to formulate a solid hypothesis at this time," Misaki stated. "Although it is possible based on the type of energy weapons we witnessed being used in that distant war of the past, we have yet to find any sort of residual energy that would support any of the theories so far presented."

=/\= Commander, looks like we have a true mystery on our hands. Proceed with extreme caution, =/\= the Captain said, a hint of concern clearly audible in her voice. =/\= If this is the handy work of the Lokustaar, they might still be on board. =/\=

"Understood Captain, we will take every possible precautions as we make our way into the spider's web."

"The Lokustaar are not spiders," Misaki sighed in frustration, although she did have to agree that the shadowy creatures from another dimension had been just as creepy as the eight-legged creatures they were constantly being referred and compared to.

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

Executive Officer
M05-P003: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 01 - 1700 ("Stillness of Death")
"Stillness of Death"
[previous post was "A Spider's Web" by the persevering Karen]

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32305.1700

Janeel manned the tactical station. Although she was the BASTET's ILO / Mission Specialist, it had been deemed necessary for her to keep as close a watch on the away team, the badly damaged cruiser and anything else that might be out there with them. The possibility that the Lokustaar were somehow involved in this had made the task that much more crucial, not to mention nerve wracking.

Despite all of the sensor buoys that were deployed all over the multiverse, nothing new about the mysterious race of shadows had been obtained. From their experience on CAIT, the crew knew how patient and dangerous and frightening the Lokustaar could be, but that was the extent of their knowledge. Everything else, was mere speculation, and it proved to be more than enough to make that particular race seem even more terrifying.

"If those walking shadows are actually involved in this, we might have stumbled upon what we have been looking for since we started jumping from one dimension to the next," Adriana said, a certain hint of joy in her voice. Clearly, the woman had been more focussed on the fact that they might have found something instead of the immediate significance of what it was they had discovered. If the nightmarish race was responsible for destroying the Master's cruiser, it meant that they were here, in this dimension and they possessed weapons that easily matched the general perception of the race - a dark and shadowy embodiment of death itself.

A quick look at the Counsellor from the ILO made Adriana realize that their situation had been far more than the one she had stated. Maybe it was due to her being a counsellor and trying to look on the brighter side of things, or maybe it was because she had wanted to avoid exposing herself to whatever psychological trauma the Lokustaar could so easily create. Either way, Counselor Lopez had been able to hold on to the some sliver of innocence, something that Janeel actually found herself envious of at that moment.

"Commander, is there anything on sensors that could prove useful?" Captain Iverson asked, hopeful that maybe in this dimension the Lokustaar, or whatever was responsible for the damage they could see on the main view screen, could be tracked.

"Sensors are getting a very good readout of the ship's layout, at least as far as we can see inside" Janeel reported, but not in the positive tone the Captain had hoped for. "We can scan every inch of those corridors exposed to space, the sensor beams reflecting like a sonar off whatever surface they encounter. The problem is that we are unable to scan beyond any enclosed sections. Even with Mitshiba stabilizing the dimensional fluctuations we saw earlier, we are only able to scan roughly 10% of the ship, and those sections are all located near the outer hull." The ILO paused for a moment before continuing. "The internal layout of the ship is a complete mystery, as is the potential presence of any other life forms inside aside from the away team."

It was easy to see that the Captain did not like that, but the potential benefits of learning more about the Masters through their technology and to possibly discover who or what had been able to turn their ship into Swiss cheese had been just too much of an opportunity to pass.

=/\= Away team to BASTET. We have located an access point to one of the inside sections. The door is ajar, but thanks to its size, or more accurately our size in comparison to it, we are able to make our way in, =/\= Sarena reported. =/\= We will likely loose contact once we are inside, so we won't venture too far in before coming back and reporting in. =/\=

"Understood," the Captain acknowledged. "Be careful though."

=/\= We will, =/\= Valentine confirmed. =/\= Away team out and back in a few. =/\=

Captain Iverson turned to look at the officer manning the tactical station, again hoping that their suspicions would not prove to be accurate, but the expression on the face of the ILO made it evident that everything that was expected as to their ability to keep track of the away team was true.

"BASTET to away team," Janeel said. "Communications check. Can you hear us?"  After looking at her instruments for a few moments, the ILO shook her head confirming that no parts of the signal had reached Commander Valentine or the other members of the away team.

"Commander," the Captain began, the silence that had suddenly taken over the bridge having been too eerie for her to leave it intact. "Use every sensor we have available to scan that ship and its surroundings. The moment something becomes visible, however small or insignificant, I want to know."

"Of course Captain," Janeel acknowledged, glancing over to Counsellor Lopez who now seemed to have lost whatever hope and innocence she had managed to hold on to. Listening in on the conversation between the BASTET and the away team, it was becoming clear that the danger that they all faced needed to be carefully considered.  With the simple possibility of the Lokustaar being the ones who were responsible for the extensively damaged cruiser, death it seemed could be hiding in the quiet stillness around every corner inside that ship.

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
M05-P004: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 01 - 1720 ("Nothing to Fear")
"Nothing To Fear"
[previous post was "Stillness of Death"]

Setting: Masters' Cruiser, inner corridor
Stardate: 32305.1720

In the outer corridors, at least some faint light found its way into the immense ship. In the inner maze of the giant ship though, the only light that could be seen came from their own handheld torches. Thanks to the size of the ship, those lights did little to show the away team what was around them.

"So, this is what a mouse feels like." Satella's comment clearly reflected her hatred at being here. Boarding a ship in search of survivors was one thing. Beaming over to another location to help those in need was something the Doctor was used to doing. Mentally bracing herself for whatever mangled bodies they might find was part of the job description. The problem was that none of those things applied here.

They came over to analyse what had caused the extensive damage to the gargantuan ship. To see if they could find a clue as to a possible weakness in the technology of the Masters. They had hoped to even come across a few bodies to give them a better understanding of the race of giants. All of those things could have been done without the CMO here though. Whatever corpse they would find could have been beamed back to the BASTET. That is, if they actually found one and were able to drag it back to an outer corridor. Anywhere else and the ship could not reach the away team in any way. Because of that, Doctor Bruxa had accepted the fact that she *had* to be here against her wishes. Her presence was essential to the away team's mission. Therefore, fear or no fear, she came.

Now that they were here and discovered how the damage had come to be, the mission had changed. The away team was also searching for traces of the nightmarish race known as the Lokustaar. The beasts that appeared to be the embodiment of everything dark and evil were involved in this. Just being near one of them was enough to make someone's skin crawl. Now, they were actually looking for them, here, in this place, amongst the darkness.

"Tricorder scans are being reflected back," Mitshiba said. "Whatever these walls are made of, nothing is getting through them. I can't even start to tell you what they are made of."

"At this point I would be happy just to have some actual light," Bruxa added. "The darkness in these corridors is giving me the creeps."

"There is nothing here," Valentine pointed out. The thoughts of the First Officer had ventured beyond the current complaints being voiced around her. "There is no debris, no bodies, not even a sign of a confrontation. It almost seems that the crew just vanished. The problem is that we know something happened, this based on the damage to the outer hull. Damage that came from within. So where is everyone?"

"They could be behind any of these doors," Doctor Bruxa pointed out. "Without power there is no way for us to open them, and we certainly can't force them open."

Mitshiba chuckled. "From the thickness of the door that we found ajar, I doubt we would be able to move any of them. I know starship outer hulls that are half as think as these doors are."

"It would indicate that the Masters have a physical strength matching their size," Satella said. "No race builds something they are unable to move or open when in a pinch. Reason more for us to avoid them and those who did this to them."

"Our data on the Lokustaar is rather limited," Misaki began. "Still, we did not find any indications of them being overly strong."

"Being as scary as they are, they don't need to be strong," the Doctor countered. "Maybe that's how they did it. They scared the Masters clear off their own ship, everyone rushing out to jump out."

"A little excessive, don't you think?" Commander Valentine noted. The First Officer having proven remarkably patient considering all of the complaining she was listening to.

"I don't know," Satella added. "The way my skin feels right now, I would not be surprised if I started running without explanation."

"Let's quit the chatter," Valentine ordered. "We told the BASTET that we would be contacting them back soon."

"With all due respect Commander, it could take us *days* to survey this ship," Misaki said. "Even to scale, the Master's cruisers are nearly twice the size of ours."

"And to scale they are not," Satella added in a loud voice meant to create an echo. Instead of her own voice coming back though, it was the sound of something falling in the distant that was heard. "That's not creepy at all," Doctor Bruxa added, this time in a much lower whispered voice.

"The sound waves could have caused something to come loose." The offered explanation by the scientist was see for what it was. Although Satella was a Doctor, she knew that sounds did not travel through the vacuum of space.

"Let's go!" The First Officer shook her head in disbelief. How had she managed to have these two in her away team? Granted, the way this place looked had been enough to make anyone nervous. Their contant complaining and attempts as humor could have been their way to deal with their surroundings. As the team reached the end of the corridor, another door was discovered. This one fully opened.

"Is it just me or does it actually look like it is darker in there?" Doctor Bruxa asked. If the First Officer even hinted to saying they were heading back, Satella would have run at top speed in compliance. The more they explored this giant death trap, the more she wanted out.

The three officers moved in, slowly, carefully. Their handheld torches barely making a dent in the darkness they were moving into.

"With the door opened my tricorder can actually see into the room," Misaki announced. "Still, I am not picking up anything. In fact I am detecting absolutely nothing. Either the room is completely empty or whatever is inside is like the walls. Not registering in the slightest way on my instruments.

Satella wanted to run. Whatever reason for her to be here did not warrant this. So far they had found no bodies for her to examine. In fact they had found nothing other than silence and darkness. What was truly troubling was that all this nothingness was more than enough to scare her like a little girl. A girl who wanted nothing more than to rush back home, close and lock the door before going to hide under her bed.

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M05-P005: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 01 - 1740 ("Nothing to See")
"Nothing to See"
Previous post: "Nothing to Fear"

Setting: Masters' Cruiser, inner room
Stardate: 32305.1740

Complete and absolute darkness.

That was the only way Aki could describe the environment the away team had just walked in. Had they not felt the solid floor pressing back against their feet as they walked in, there would not have been any way for anyone to know which way was up. Their handheld lights were effective only to show where the one holding them was, beyond that the small devices were proving to be absolutely useless.

"I think I remember having a nightmare like this once," Doctor Bruxa commented, the CMO making it perfectly clear with each now statement made that she did not want to be here. As great as a scientific opportunity as this might have been, Misaki had to admit that she shared the woman's apprehension. This place was not even a locale place to visit.

"Commander," Aki said, looking down at her tricorder with disbelief. "I'm picking some faint life signs some 400 meters to hour left."

"Life signs?" The Chief Medical Officer gasped. "There is not an iota of atmosphere in this place, how can anything be alive?"

"Doctor, of the three of us here, I would have expected you to know that not all life forms require a breathable atmosphere to live, and some are actually quite capable of surviving in the emptiness of space for a surprisingly long time, this without any equipment," Commander Valentine pointed out, the woman having been a literal saint in dealing with the unhappy CMO.

Led by the life sign readings picked up by the tricorder, the away team ventured further into the all encompassing darkness. It was only when they were within less than 10 meters of the source of these readings that the away team managed to see what had caused their instrument to react.

"Is that a Masters?" Doctor Bruxa questioned, the alien life form laying on the table appearing different from the species of conqueror they saw while dealing and trying to help the J'Den.

"No," Aki reported, now close enough to get some useful tricorder readings. "The physiology of this being is completely different from what we were told a Masters would be. Size, muscular density, even the skin is completely off. My guess is that we are looking at a possible prisoner who avoided what happened by his being here and apparently sell fastened to the table.

"Are they alive enough to walk and return to the BASTET with us?" Commander Valentine asked to the visible shock of the other two women by her side. "They are the first and only life form we have encountered so far, alive or otherwise. They might be able to actually tell us what happened to this ship and crew. It is not because they have been treated this way by the Masters that we should automatically consider them to be an adversary. In fact, I would venture that being rescued from this place might even grant us some brownie points."

"Alright," Satella huffed reaching for her medical tricorder. "Guess I should make myself useful since I am here," she added as the device was waved over the restrained being. "No respiratory functions, and the cardiovascular system is working at an extremely reduced pace. Now, this could be perfectly normal for them, there is just no way to know. What I can say is this, these vital signs are barely registering and are in fact gradually decreasingly. At this rate, this thing, whatever it may be, will be dead in 15, maybe 20 minutes."

"Set it free," Sarena ordered, the decision as to how to proceed having already been made. "We have to drag it to he nearest outer corridor where the BASTET will be able to get a transporter lock on us.

"At least the lack of gravity is going to make this easier," Aki noted, trying her best to keep a positive point of view of all of this.

"Easier will not mean faster though," Satella said. "With our magnetic boots, we are not all that fast in moving about, and it took us a lot more than 20 minutes to get this far in."

"Doctor, are you not sworn to protect life in whatever form you may encounter it?" The First Officer said, shutting down the CMO's arguments once and for all.

"Yes," Doctor Bruxa agreed. "I am sorry. This place is getting to me and I am not acting as a member of my profession should. Aki, take care of the restraints at the legs, I will take care of the ones at the neck and chest area.

In less than a minute, the being was freed and the away team had begun their journey back towards the closest outer corridor. The lack of artificial gravity had indeed made the moving of their discovery a lot easier, but their speed had been far too slow to make it where they needed to in time to have even a small chance to save the alien now in their care.

"Commander," Aki offered. "We could give ourselves a large push and disengage our magnetic boots. From our current location, we only have to make it to the inner corridor and make a 90-degree portside turn. Another good push should get us to the outer corridor faster and hopefully in time to be able to get beamed back to the BASTET before it is too late."

"Once the boots are disengaged, we may not be able to regain any sort of footing," Valentine noted.

"We won't have too," Bruxa added. "Even if we float our way out of this creepy vessel, the BASTET is right there. They won;t have any problem detecting us and locking transporters on us. Also, by the time we get close to the outer corridor, we should be able to communicate with the ship, warning them that we are coming out with a plus one."

"Sounds like a plan," the First Officer said, glad to see the Chief Medical Officer back on the eager side of things.

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32305.1755

"Captain," Commander Janeel said. "We just received a strange communication from the away team. Apparently they are coming out with a *plus one*."

"Plus one?" Counselor Lopez repeated, curious as to who or what this addition was.

"They must be in a rush," Janeel added. "They are requesting for an emergency beam back directly to Sickbay."

"Where are they?" The Captain asked.

"Floating our way actually," the Commander replied, the form of the three members of the away team and a much larger *plus one* having appeared on the main view screen. "Establishing a transporter lock and beaming them back into Sickbay."

"Commander Janeel, you and Counselor Lopez get down there and find out what happened," the Captain ordered causing the two women to head straight to the turbolift.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M05-P006: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 01 - 1830 ("Darker Dealings")
"Darker Dealings"
[previous post was "Nothing To See" by the Imaginative Dawn]

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32305.1830

Commander Janeel stood well out of the way of Doctor Bruxa who was busy with the unresponsive form of the alien that had been brought back from the Masters' cruiser, her attention shifting from the odd-looking body to the even stranger readings appearing on the main medical display.

"Will it live?" Janeel dryly inquired, unable to make any sense of what she was looking at.

"I don't know," Satella answered honestly, the Doctor being just as confused with the readouts as the Intel Operative was. "We initially believed that he was dying due to exposure to space, but now that we are back on the ship and able to get some more precise readings, his condition appears to have nothing to do with the lack of oxygen or near absolute cold. Something is causing him to die and I do not have the slightest idea what it may be. His physiology is like nothing I have seen before."

"Do your best Doctor," Commander Valentine offered. "Any bit of information we can get on our guest could prove crucial in figuring out what happened to the Masters."

The ILO closed her eyes for a brief moment, silently debating with herself her next course of action.  "That thing is from a race called the Yxidii," Janeel informed. "The crew of the ANUBIS encountered them while on a training exercise on the moon of PI ALPHA III."

"Why didn't you tell me this sooner?" Doctor Bruxa demanded, outraged that this possibly life saving information had been kept from her.

"I was not certain of this until I was able to get a clear view of it," the ILO replied, her voice as cold as the void in which the alien had been discovered in. "Also, according to the report made by Captain Morningstar, these trans-dimensional beings can be quite dangerous and needed to be closely watched. You bringing it back, this regardless of its condition, was unwise and it dying may be the safest course of action for us all."

"We didn't bring him back from that forsaken ship only to see it die on my examination table," Satella bellowed. "Now, tell me what you know about his species so that I can at least try to save him."

Janeel remained quiet, thinking that she should not have divulged what little she knew. Beyond being able to identify what race the being belonged to; there was little else the ILO / Mission Specialist knew, and nothing that could prove useful at this time.

"Commander?" Sarena questioned, curious as to what the ILO knew and why she was remaining silent.

"My apologies," Janeel offered. "I know nothing more than what I have already stated other than the Yxidii were, at the time of there being encountered by the crew of the ANUBIS, in a conflict with the Akitashiinu, another trans-dimensional race."

"So, if I understand what you are trying to say, it is that the real question is how did a dying Yxidii find its way onto a now crippled and deserved Master's cruiser?" Commander Valentine said, not sounding in the least bit happy that the mystery had only grown.

"Satella," the Counsellor offered in a gentle, calming voice having noticed that all of the readouts had gone flat. "You did everything you could."

"Obviously that was not enough," the Doctor snarled, glaring in the direction of the ILO / Mission Specialist whom she help responsible, at least for the time being, for her failed attempts to keeping the Yxidii alive. "All of you *out*, I need to do an autopsy in order to figure out what actually killed him."

Truth be known, the Chief Medical Officer would have been more than capable of doing this task with those who were already there present, but right now she wanted to be alone. Death, in whatever form it was presented to her, was not something overly easy deal with. As a Doctor, Satella was called upon to face this harsh reality of their existence on a regular basis, but her inability to stop caring for the well-being of others had proven t be both her strength and weakness in such situations.

With Sickbay empty with the exception of the Chief Medical Officer and her recently deceased patient, an air of stillness took over as Satella prepared herself for the task ahead. Hopefully, she would be able to discover something through the autopsy, but given the choice Doctor Bruxa would have much preferred not to have to do this at all.

While getting ready, Satella could not see that the readings on the diagnostic board had changed once more. From perfectly flat, some of the indicators had once more displayed activity where none should have been present. Of course, this was quite a shock when the Doctor returned and saw this, causing her to drop the tray she had been carrying.

Her initial reaction was to run and have someone come back with her to confirm that she had not completely lost her mind. Being a devoted Doctor though, Satella's curiosity quickly won over making the silver-haired woman move closer to the examination table instead of away from it.

Her eyes scrutinized the motionless for of the alien as well as the readings, which had proven to be even stranger than they had been before. Whatever was happening stood well beyond the range of understanding of the Chief Medical Officer of the USS BASTET, a fact that by itself said quite a bit Slowly, carefully she approached, trying to understand what was happening. According to the readings as they were being displayed, there were no signs of any bio-electrical activity anywhere in the body of the alien, yet her instruments still were picking up very weak cardiovascular and respiratory activity. These were too weak to keep a normal humanoid alive, but as Commander Janeel had stated, this was not a normal being from a normal point of origin.

Satella grew increasingly closer, unsure as to what to expect. Was the Yxidii truly dead or was this normal behavior for a being from another dimension?

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
M05-P007: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 01 - 1900 ("When Death is Not Death")
"When Death is Not Death"
[previous post was "Darker Dealings"]

Setting: BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32305.1900

Satella gazed upon the body of the Yxidii for the longest time. If she only took into account what her eyes indicated, the alien creature was as dead as could be. If on the other hand she only accepted the reports of her instruments, he was alive. At least, as alive as a being from another dimension found in the emptiness of space could be.  This was a mystery like no other and as scared as Bruxa was, she remained where she was.

"Makes no sense. The blood chemistry says that you are dead. There is absolutely no neural activity whatsoever. Yet your heart is breathing, if that is your heart. I could not even guess as to what half of the organs on this display are. Why are you not dead?" Satella was talking to herself, hoping that the echo of her own voice might provide some answers.

"He's not dead?" Adriana asked, startling the poor Doctor nearly out of her mind.

"You of all people should know not to sneak up on someone," Satella said, trying to catch her breath.

"Sorry," the Counsellor offered. "Just wanted to make sure you were alright. You seemed less than thrilled with the idea of performing an autopsy on our guest. That was, when he was dead, which according to your own words is no longer the case."

"I can't explain it," Satella sighed. "The readings we first saw already made little sense. I could rack that up to his being from an unknown race to us. That Janeel confirmed he is from another dimension only solidified that conclusion. When everything went flat, I assumed that he was dead. However different his physiology may be from ours; dead is dead. At least that was that I believed up until a minute or so ago. Now, I am getting even stranger readings than before. According to this, there is no cerebral activity whatsoever. This means no voluntary or involuntary signals are traveling through his nervous system. So how is it that there are, granted faint, indications that his heart and lungs are actually functioning?"

"Maybe the answer is somewhere deeper inside his physiology?" Adriana suggested. "Could each organ have a redundant neural nod that controls those functions even if the brain is inactive?"

"That would be creepy beyond words," Satella admitted. "Imagine being brain dead and yet have your body still be able to sustain itself on the edge of life. I always thought those stories of zombies were a flight of fancy, but that would make it actually possible."

"Only one way to know for sure," the Counsellor said. Handing over a laser scalpel to her friend was a clear indication that Adriana was ready to see this through. The problem was for the Doctor to be as willing to act.

"I cannot perform an autopsy on a living being," Satella vehemently argued. "The heart is still beating. Well, at least whatever that organ is. I am not entirely certain that it is a heart, but it functions along the same lines. The lungs are also drawing in air. Again I am not entirely certain that those are lungs, but they do seem to behave as such."

"Shouldn't the medical scanners be able to give you information?" The Counsellor asked. Never before had Adriana heard her friend Satella be so vague about anything medical.

"There is something in his body that is interfering with the medical scanners," the Doctor explained. "The best I have been able to get barely reaches 65% clarity. This means that I am guessing on the other 35%. That is where all of my *uncertainty* appear to be focused on. On a humanoid, that would be more than enough to confirm death. On him, I can't even start guessing as to what is or is not happening."

"Give it a few minutes," the Counsellor grinned. "By the looks of things there won't be any uncertainties left."

"What?" Satella gasped, looking at the medical readouts. "How is this possible? He was dead! Everything was flat-lined and now everything is back, even stronger than when we brought him on board."

"I guess the autopsy is out of the question," Counsellor Lopez chuckled.

"We need to keep our eyes on him," Doctor Bruxa said. "There is something very peculiar happening here."

Setting: BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32305.1930

Both Satella and Adriana appeared shocked and puzzled. The two women were staring at the Yxidii as if expecting him to suddenly jump to his feet.

"You wanted to see me Doctor?" Commander Valentine asked, the First Officer having been asked to report to Sickbay.

"We needed you to see something?" Satella said, showing the medical display, which once again showed no activity whatsoever.

"I have already seen this Doctor," the Commander pointed out. "He is as dead as he was the last time I saw him. Did you discover something during your autopsy?"

"There was no autopsy," the Counsellor said. Her voice tittering between puzzlement and amusement. "He's not dead."

"Not dead?" Sarena echoed in shock.

"There is something in him that is either killing him or reanimating him, or maybe both," the Doctor tried to explain. "Without being able to get a clearer readout of his inner physiology, I can only guess as to what is happening based on what we have observed. One moment he is dead, everything having flat-lined, the next he is as alive as can be."

"How is that possible?" The Commander demanded.

"Whish I knew," Satella exclaimed. "I can only guess that the coldness and vacuum of space slowed this process. Now that he is here on the BASTET, this has sped up quite a bit. This will be the fifth time he will be returning to life."

Sarena was about to argue this when the medical display suddenly started to display a wide range of activity coming from the Yxidii.  "Can you explain this?"

"Not one bit," Satella admitted. "One theory is that the Yxidii have a way of repairing internal damage, but something is re-injuring him. This causes him to dies before the system kicks into overdrive to save him. Then, maybe the auto-healing slows down or just stops allowing for whatever is killing him to reassert itself."

"The other, darker theory is that this is all done on purpose," Adriana offered. "Maybe his condition is a result of a test conducted by the Masters. A test meant to test how this species dies as well as their limits before their metabolism completely fails."

"Who would want to kill then bring back someone only to kill them again?" The Commander gasped.

"According to the J'Den, the Masters are exceptionally cruel," Satella replied. "I would not put it passed them to come up with a way to do this. Imagine being able to studying the full extent of a race's physical limits when dying. The amount of data that would be collected would prove immeasurable. Instead of killing a thousand members of the same race, all they would need to do is kill a single one a thousand times."

"That is horrible," Sarena admitted, barely able to wrap her head around the significance of what she had been told.

"I agree," Adriana added. "To kill a single being for nothing more than a self serving reason is reprehensible. As far as I am concerned, it is nothing short of pure evil. To do this over and over again is beyond sickening."

"Keep an eye on him," the Commander said, pointing to the Yxidii. "I will brief the Captain but I suspect that she will want the same thing that we all do. Find a way to stop this repeated death cycle."

"Easier said than done Commander," Satella noted. "We will try though."

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M05-P008: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 03 - 1945 ("Why So Serious?")
"Why So Serious?"
[Previous post: "When Death is Not Death"]

Setting: BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32305.1945

The Chief Medical Officer and Ship's Counsellor stood by the bedside of the Yxidii, powerless to do anything about what was happening. The cycles of life and death had repeated itself several times, dragging the poor alien along and still neither women could speculate as to how or why this was happening.

"We knew that the Masters were cruel," Adriana sadly noted. "Just looking at the way they imposed their will on the way of life of the J'Den was enough to see that. There has to be an element of pure cruelty to do what they did to them. That said though, I never expected those giants to do something like this. Forcing any lifeform to experience death time and time again is beyond cruel, it's just plain barbaric."

"I agree," Satella said with a sigh. The sight of the alien's vitals signs going from flatline to living only to return back to flatline shortly afterwards was unsettling to say the least.

"Could you not just put him out of his misery?" The Counsellor cautiously suggested.

As a Doctor, Satella had taken an oath to do no harm, no matter if her patience was Human or not, the problem was that without a better understanding of the physiology of the Yxidii, the only possible course of action was as Adriana had just mentioned; to end his misery. As clear as the course of action was though, Doctor Bruxa could not act.

"Wish I could," Satella admitted. "It's just not that simple. The fact is that I am not able to tell you what is keeping him alive, let along what is continuously killing him. I don't have anything to work on to help in either way. Obviously, his race is very resilient, able to withstand the vacuum of space and counteract effects that would instantly kill most humanoids. So I have absolutely no ideas as to what I need to do to kill him. Now, adding to this I have no idea as to what is killing him, there is no way for me to cure it so I am stuck here able to do the only thing that we have been doing."

"To helplessly watch him," the Counsellor said, adding a sigh of her own.

"Maybe I could try some sort of neuro-toxin?" Satella suggested to herself more than anyone else. "The scans do show him having some sort of neural network, so maybe a potent enough dose could end his suffering. I have no idea if it will work, but I have to at least try something. We can't just watch him go through this endless cycle that is showing no signs of ending anytime soon."

While the Doctor was preparing a hypospray, Adriana stood watch over the alien, joined by the hallucination of her twin sister. "Are you doing the right thing?"

"Don't start now," the sister snapped in a whispered voice. As much as Satella knew of this recurring illusion, there was no need to make a full spectacle of it. "We have an obligation to help him, and since we have no idea how long he has been like this, death is likely a better option."

"Of course," Amanda mockingly agreed. "I am sure that your Captain Iverson or her First Officer Valentine will agree and see this situation in the same light. Why try to keep it alive when you can just kill it and lose whatever information he might have been able to give you on what happened out there on that ghost ship."

That as when Satella returned, and just as she was about to press the hypospray against the neck of the Yxidii, the Counsellor reached out and stopped the Doctor. "Are we sure we are doing the right thing?"

"Adriana? You are the one who convinced me to do this. You can't change your mind now," Satella said, obviously unhappy by this unexpected turn of event. "Would you prefer we let him live tis way, not that I call this life in any way?"

"Maybe we can do something else?" The Counsellor offered. "He might actually have information on what happened to the Masters."

"The ship was completely deserted and the outer corridors blown out from within," the Doctor said having witnessed the sights first hand. "Even if he was conscious enough to be aware of what was happening around him, he would only be able to tell us about what he saw, what he heard while being in the room where we found him. All of that depends on our being able to stop whatever is killing him, which I have no idea what it is or how it is doing this."

Adriana glanced to her side making Satella understand where this unexpected change of heart had originated from.

"I understand why you are feeling this way, trust me I feel he same. I do not want to do this but we have no other choice. He is suffering in ways that neither one of us can come close to imagine. This is the only way to even try to put an end to his suffering," Satella explained before pausing for a moment to let her words sink in. "Based on the readings that we have been seeing since he was brought aboard, he will neither die nor break free of this condition, so we are left with a single choice. Either we break this unnatural balance forcing him to live through his own death time and time again or we just step back and see how long this can actually last."

"I'm sorry," Adriana offered. "I just thought that maybe we were doing something wrong."

"Doing nothing is doing something wrong," Satella pointed out, the Yxidii having gone through another full cycle of life and death during the time of the debate between the Doctor and Counsellor.

Adriana reluctantly nodded her head in agreement of what needed to be done which Satella quickly did, pressing the loaded hypospray against the neck of the alien. The two women watched in dreaded anticipation to see if their efforts were successful. When the body of the Yxidii suddenly jolted, the Doctor and Counsellor believed that this was the beginning of the end to the alien's suffering. That was until he reached out and took hold of Counsellor Lopez's wrist as he met her gaze with his own, horror and fear beyond words present in the eyes of the alien.

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M05-P009: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 2000 ("Finding a Way Out")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Finding a Way Out"
[previous post (Why So Serious?)]

Setting: BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32305.2000

The Executive Officer rushed down to Sickbay following the frantic call from Doctor Bruxa and Counsellor Lopez. It was difficult to understand what the situation was, but through the agitated reports and accounts, Commander Valentine came to understand that the Yxidii was alive and awake.

As she walked in, Sarena immediately noted the hold the alien had on the wrist of their Ship's Counsellor, this even before seeing the expression of panic and fear on Lieutenant Lopez's face.

"Everything will be alright," the Executive Officer said, trying to calm the Counsellor. "What's going on?" Sarena asked, having turned to face Doctor Bruxa.

"We were trying to put an end to his suffering, but after injecting him with a neurotoxin, he just suddenly came to life and took hold of Adriana," the Chief Medical Officer explained in a hurry. "All of our efforts to break her free have failed."

"Guessing cutting his hand off was not a considered option?" The Commander sarcastically snarled. "Given that you were trying to kill him before, why the sudden change of heart?" The question was not meant to be answered, but rather to permit the Executive Officer to make her point. "You and I will have to talk about this after, right now we need to deal with this," Sarena continued, turning to look at the Counsellor. "How tight is he holding onto you?"

"Tight enough for me not to be able to get out," Adriana replied, trying her best to calm herself. "I can still feel my fingers though, so he is not holding on as tightly as he could. My guess is that he is just as scared as we are. After having *lived* through countless deaths, we have no idea how this might have affected him on a psychological level."

"I appreciate you professionalism, but we need to think about your safety first," the Executive Officer said, sending a quick glare towards the Doctor to further make her point in regards to the decision made to put the alien out of his misery.

"Commander, please don't single out Satella, the decision was both of ours," Counsellor Lopez offered. "We both believed that it was for the best."

"Alright, we will discuss the reasons why you did this later," Sarena dismissed. As much as she might have wanted to rip through both of them for what she believed was a drastic lack in judgement, the situation called for the Executive Officer to be calm and focused on the immediate issue. "Can you understand me?"

The question, which was directed at the Yxidii, provided to answers. The alien gave no signs of understanding anything that was being said, be it to him directly or otherwise. With her first effort to communicate having proven unsuccessful, the Executive Officer move on to a more physical approach. Gently, Sarena tried to force her fingers between the alien's grasp and the Counsellor's wrist, but despite his not holding on as tightly as he might have been capable of doing, there was no room for Commander Valentine to accomplish what she had hoped.

"Doctor, is there something you could give him to relax his muscles or even better still knock him straight out?"

Satella blinked several times before offering an answer. "The last time I try to give him something, it was to stop his heart, and this is what happened. I would not even venture a guess as to what might be able to relax his muscle or cause him to fall unconscious. His biology is already very different from ours, and I'm afraid that the Masters might have done something to him beyond that in order to have him be able to survive through the ordeal that we were trying to free him from."

The thought of cutting the alien's hand off flashed through Sarena's mind once again, prioritizing the safety of a member of her crew over the well-being of an alien whom had been discovered in a derelict vessel. Of course this would have to be an absolute last resort and would only be implemented should the well-being of Adriana Lopez was jeopardized, so they needed another option.

"Commander Valentine to bridge."

=/\= Go ahead Commander, =/\= Captain Iverson acknowledged.

"We need a site-to-site transport of Lieutenant Lopez. Her wrist is currently being held by our guest and there is no way to secure her release short of cutting his hand off."

=/\= I believe that a site-to-site transport is a much better solution, =/\= Serene pointed out in a tone that made it clear that she did not like the alternate option. =/\= Stand by for transport. =/\=

A few seconds later, the shimmering lights of the transporter enveloped Lieutenant Lopez who immediately reappear a few steps away, clear of the alien's hold. The expression of relief was all that the Executive Officer needed to confirm that everything had gone according to plan.

=/\= Iverson to Valentine, report. =/\=

"The situation has been resolved," Sarena announced. "Thank you Captain."

"Yes," Adriana said as she vigorously rubbed her wrist. "Thank you both for getting me free."

"You are welcome," the Commander acknowledged before turning her attention back to their Yxidii patient who seemed almost unaware that he was no longer holding someone hostage.  Making sure to remain well out of his reach, Sarena gazed at the alien, trying to gage his state of mind, but all she could get was a vague expression of confusion.

"We have no idea how his dying over and over again might have affected his mind," the Counsellor stated, clearly not holding the alien responsible for what he had done, especially given that she had not suffered any physical injuries.

"Fine, you two try to figure out if he's still in there somewhere," Sarena ordered. "Right now he's the only source of answers we have in regards to what happened to the Masters' cruiser. That means we need him *alive*, this no matter how much he may be suffering. I am sorry if this is uncomfortable to you both, but we do not have a choice. That alien is all we have right now to explain what happened and hopefully give us a heads up before we encounter some real trouble."

With that the Executive Officer walked out of Sickbay, debating if she would make an official record of the Doctor's and Counsellor's decision to attempt to end the alien's life, a sentiment that in all honesty she could find it in her heart and soul to agree with.

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

Executive Officer
M05-P010: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 01 - 2045 ("Figuring Things Out")
"Figuring Things Out"
[previous post was "Finding a Way Out" by the tenacious Karen]

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32305.2045

The BASTET sat motionless in the void of another dimension, a figurative stone's throw away from the badly damaged Masters' cruiser. s interesting and puzzling as the mystery surrounding the how, why and who had done this, the mystery aboard the trans-dimensional Federation vessel had been even more perplexing.

Janeel stood well out of reach of the Yxidii who appeared unconscious. The fact tha the had unexpectedly reached out and grabbed hold of the Counsellor was just another aspect of this situation that no one could understand. According to the report made by Doctor Bruxa, the alien should have been long dead, and yet it lived, this even after Satella and Adriana had taken the decision to end its suffering.

The towering leather-skinned creature seemed unable to die, be it by some inner unknown strength that no one knew it possessed or because of an exterior force that no one could explain. The only thing the head of the medical staff could do now was to try to understand why the Yxidii had not, or could not pass on to a more peaceful state.

"Maybe you should take a break," Janeel offered to the visibly frustrated Doctor, the woman having gone from the main examination table to the diagnostic screen more than the ILO / Mission Specialist had cared to count.

"I was given direct and specific orders to see if this is more than just an undying body that we have here," Satella explained. "I just can't even figure out where to start."

"There has to be some part of him still present," Adriana mentioned. "The fact that he reached out and grabbed my wrist is a display of consciousness, not to mention a call for help. He has to be in there somewhere in that shattered mind of his."

"I applaud your positive point of view Counsellor," Janeel said. "Unfortunately, your conclusion may be completely wrong. Its reaching out could have been nothing more than a involuntary muscular reaction, his hand wrapping around the first thing it came in contact with, which happened to be your wrist in this case."

"Leave it to you to see the darker side of everything," the Doctor pointed out with a huff. "His hold on Adriana was solid but not crushing. As much as it might have started to be some sort of automatic response to our attempt in killing him and his body responding accordingly, he held back from using his full force. Sorry Commander, but I have to agree with Counsellor Lopez on this one, there has to be some part of him in there, somewhere. I just have to figure out how to reach it.  All of my efforts to stop the cycle that causes him to dies and be brought back have so far completely failed."

"Maybe you are going about it wrong," Janeel said, sounding far more conceited than she had intended to.  "What I mean is that you are trying to find a way to keep this creature alive by stopping whatever it is that is killing him. Yet, by your own observations and report, the strongest reaction was from your attempts to actually kill it."

"Commander, if I may?" Adriana cut in. "I realize that for Commander Valentine and yourself, our patient is an unknown alien, but I would appreciate if you referred to him as an individual and not some *thing*. I have been keeping quiet up until now but everything time someone refers to him as *it* bothers me in ways that I cannot even begin to explain."

"My apologies Counsellor," the ILO / Mission Specialist said, actually finding it interesting that the Counsellor had waited this long to make her opinion known. "Allow me to restate my opinion. All of your efforts have been focussed in keeping *him* alive, yet it was your efforts in trying to kill him that created the most noticeable reaction. So much so that he even moved and interacted with his immediate surroundings, granted in a somewhat limited manner, but still he displayed more *life* than he did before or is currently showing."

"Are you saying that I need to try and kill him again?" Satella demanded, stunned by the suggestion she believed Janeel had just made, especially after the fact that Commander Valentine had made it perfectly clear that they needed to keep him alive at all costs.

"Doctor, Counsellor," the ILO said, crossing her arms across her chest. "You both are looking at this situation in a emotional, caring manner brought upon by your personal feelings and respective duties on board the BASTET. Even your attempt to kill him originated from your own feelings of compassion, and it is those same feelings that are making it impossible for you to see what it is that you have discovered. Someone, be it the Masters or another race, created a delicate balance within your patient keeping him on the edge between life and death. Every time you push this balance towards the side of life, some unknown power counteracts this and forces him to die that much more to restore the equilibrium. Now, you have already proven that any effort to push the balance towards the side of death triggers an similar counter reaction that brings your patient into a higher state of life."

"As *logical* as this may sound, you are asking me to gamble, and not in a small way, with his life, and this against Commander Valentine's orders," Doctor Bruxa argued.

"Doctor, you are once again allowing your emotions to cloud your judgement," Janeel stated. "The solution is right there in front of you and you have to see beyond your feelings or those of our First Officer. Currently, her orders are for you to keep him alive and see if there is some remnant of consciousness within him, this sets up a set of parameters that make it impossible to achieve the intended goal. You know that I am right... you need to kill him in order to save him."

"I need to check with the Commander first," the Doctor said, not wanting to find herself once again on the wrong side of a conflict with the ship's First Officer.

"Satella," Adriana gently began, trying to come across more as a friend than as the Ship's Counsellor. "You know what she'll say the moment you propose this plan to her. She will ask you to look at any other possible way because she will not want to risk losing the only source of information we have. I know that this goes against all of your training, as well as mine, but telling her will only make this even more impossible to do."

Satella met Janeel's gaze straight on as the Doctor debated the course of action suggested by the ILO. Not only had she been asked to go against the orders she had been given, but she needed to do so in order to hopefully achieve their intended goal.  The more Bruxa thought about the whole thing, the more she had to admit that Janeel had been correct. Everything pointed to the answer being on the opposite side of what she was trying to do. Whatever was inside the Yxidii keeping him between life and death reacted to maintain that balance at any cost.

"I need to figure out just how far I have to push," Satella said, heading back to the diagnostic screen once again. "The counter force may be good, but it must have its limits. If I push too slowly, nothing will change, but if I find a way to push too hard or too fast, I might end up actually killing him before whatever is keeping him alive kicks in. I have to be very careful and accurate with what I will do as I fear that I may not get too many chances to get it right."

"I have the utmost confidence in your skills," Adriana said, the Counsellor never having been one to skip an opportunity to encourage someone when they needed it most.

"I agree with Counsellor Lopez," Janeel stated. "You are a skilled physician and I believe that you will find what is required to break this undying balance, this without granting your patient a final rest that I am sure we would all say is more than deserved at this point. Subjecting anyone to die only to bring him or her back to life endlessly is unthinkable, and that is what you two have to keep in mind.  As much as I may agree with Commander Valentine about him being our only current source of information as to the situation we find ourselves in at this time, is the price being asked of your patient too high to be paid?"

"Let me look into this a little more," Bruxa said.

"No worries Doctor. Take all the time you need so as to not make a mistake," the ILO said in a reassuring tone. "I will head back tot he bridge and resume my efforts to understanding what happened to the cruiser. I am sure that this will keep both myself and Commander Valentine occupied for some time."

The Counsellor and Chief Medical Officer watched as the Intel Liaison Officer left Sickbay, everyone understanding their role in this unofficial and unauthorized plan. While Janeel would keep Sarena busy, Adriana and Satella would have to figure out how to kill the Yxidii in such a way that hopefully the forces within him would bring him back to life, for the last time.

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
M05-P011: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 01 - 2100 ("The Kiss of Death")
"The Kiss of Death"
[previous post was "Figuring Things Out"]

Setting: BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32305.2100

Everything that Janeel said made sense. The balance between life and death had been clearly observed and the results noted. So why had Satella not noticed what the ILO said before? Had the Doctor truly been thinking too emotionally on this? Was the idea of killing her patient that unpalatable?

As a member of the medical field, inflicting pain or doing harm to anyone was against her beliefs. Actually killing someone, no matter the reason, was not unpalatable, but rather flat out unthinkable. Yet, here she was again, working on ending the life of the Yxidii, but this time with the hopes of saving him.

The first time, Satella had considered this course of action to help the alien. After having died and returned to life countless times before, she felt pity for him. That was why she had accepted the role she needed to play. This placed the Doctor at odds with not only the ship's First Officer but also her own beliefs. Euthanasia was not something new, having been around since the dawn of recorded history. The problem here was that it was something that until now she never had to personally deal with. Yes, she had lost patients, but not by her own actions or lack thereof.

Bruxa had always given her best when attending to the medical requirements of someone in need. Her dedication and drive had been mentioned several times by follow Doctors. Maybe that was part of the reason why she found this so difficult, and equally needed. Medically speaking, the Yxidii was well beyond what Satella could do or understand. Despite all of the blood samples, cellular and neurological scans, she could not explain what was happening to him. Something in that alien body of his was killing him, and likely that same thing was keeping him alive. She just could not figure out what this thing was or how it accomplished this.

"Maybe we could use a higher dosage of the neurotoxin we previously used?" The Counsellor suggested, not truly expecting the idea to have been a new one. Just by looking at the way the CMO was bouncing around, more than one possible course of action had been considered.

"It is still a possibility, but I am looking into others. Too high of a dose could cause irreparable nerve damage that would leave him paralyzed. Worst case, the overdose would cause cerebral damage that would leave us with a brain dead  Yxidii. I may be trying to kill him, but I have to be careful to not *actually* end his life. I just don't have enough knowledge on his race's normal physiology to come up with a viable plan. Stopping his heart would not help as it would restart, just as it did before. Depriving him of oxygen is clearly not an option as we found him in the complete vacuum of space. The same reason why lowering his body temperature would prove just as ineffective. I truly never thought that killing someone would prove to be so difficult."

"Satella, relax," Adriana said, placing her hands on the woman's shoulders to show support. "This is not like you have been looking into killing others for years. At least I hope not. If you did, it would not say a great deal for my ability to figure out people."

"Sorry to burst your bubble," Doctor Bruxa said, sighing as she did so. "I go back to my quarters every night dreaming up new ways of ending life. You would be surprise as just how fragile the human body can be when you really want to kill someone."

Adriana smiled, recognizing the sarcasm for what it was. "What about a powerful poison?"

"Those would not work," Doctor Bruxa said. "Poisons work in various ways, stopping a heart, restricting blood flow, shutting down organs. Whichever one we use would likely be countered by whatever is inside him. The truly scary part is that if one of those should work, the damage done would certainly kill permanently. Janeel might have been right in what it is that I need to do. Figuring out exactly what that entails is far more complicated. Too little of anything won't work. Too much will kill him. If that happens, I can already see Commander Valentine setting up a court martial for me. She seemed more than ready to toss me out the nearest airlock the last time she was here."

"Sarena was upset that we made a decision without consulting her, nothing more." Adriana, as the good friend she was, said trying to ease Satella's mind. "I do understand where she is coming from. She also needs to see this from where we stand. There was nothing we could do other than to watch him die over and over again. The decision we took was a sound one. Maybe not the most acceptable one, but it was the right call."

"If we fail now though, I doubt that she will be inclined to see this as a *right call*." Bruxa paused, looking at the unconscious alien lying on the examination table. Since Janeel's departure from Sickbay, the Yxidii had died and bee brought back to life no less than three times. "We need to focus more on what it is we need to do. Come with me, I am going to need your help. This unorthodox situation calls for and equally unusual solution. We need to figure out how to kill him without causing any long-lasting damage to any of his organs."

"Sounds like you have an idea."

"I might," Satella cautiously agreed. "We will need to test the limits of his regenerative abilities first. After that, I might have a way to bring him to the very edge of death. I hope that it will be enough to overload whatever it is that is keeping him alive. It is all a huge gamble, so I need to do a few tests first. After that, we will have only one chance to make it work."

"Just tell me what you need me to do," Adriana said. The Counsellor was more than ready to assist. The additional bonus of seeing the Doctor so positive helped make it seem as if they had a solid chance to make this happen.

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M05-P012: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 02 - 0500 ("Early Morning Surprise")
"Early Morning Surprise"
(Previous Post: "The Kiss of Death")

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32306.0500

It was second nature for most Starfleet officers to sleep lightly. Veterans because they know what is out there while junior members fear what might be out there. Either way, things in the vastness of space have a bad habit of happening without any warnings and it was always best for everyone to be ready to react in a split second.  Being in another dimension near a badly damaged cruiser of the race known as the Masters, this without any knowledge of what had happened to it, certainly qualified as a reason to keep more than one eye opened. 

Selene could imagine a thousand and one scenarios to explain what had caused the extensive damage seen on the imposing alien ship, and most of them were enough to keep her from closing both eyes for more than a few seconds. Having travelled to so many different dimensions and seen all that she had seen, it was a miracle that she was actually able to get any sleep at all, even on the best of days.

So it was with no great surprise that the Captain jumped to her feet the moment the call came in. What was unexpected though was that instead of coming from the bridge, the call came had originated from Sickbay. It seemed that despite all of her considerations of what might happened, Captain Iverson had forgotten about one particular possibility, the one that could actually be found within her own ship.

The Captain had not even bothered to change into more comfortable garments when she went into her quarters to rest, so there was little delay in her arriving in Sickbay following the call made by Doctor Bruxa. Equally not surprising was the rapid arrival of the First Officer, Intelligence Liaison Officer and Chief Science Officer shortly afterwards. Everyone it seemed had been ready to react, and this greatly pleased Selene, confirming in her mind the kind of dedicated crew that served under her command.

"Alright Doctor," the Commanding Officer said to the happy, although tired looking, Chief Medical Officer. "You wanted us here to show us something you claimed was very *important*. We are all here, so what is it?"

Commander Valentine appeared just as curious as her Captain although she did have the additional look of an annoyed woman. As far as the First Officer was concerned, the Doctor could have just easily informed everyone about whatever it was that she had discovered instead of dragging them down here at such an early hour of the morning. When Sarena scanned the room, she noticed that the main examination table, where the Yxidii had been, was now empty.

"Doctor, where is your patient?" The Commander demanded. After what had happened before, Sarena was not beyond believing that the Doctor and Counsellor had done something that went against her specific orders and that this calling everyone down here had all been nothing more than a ploy to make sure heads would not be rolling, at least not right away.

"Right here," Doctor Bruxa replied, inviting the alien in question to step out from behind one of the privacy walls meant to keep the pride of patients intact.

"Doctor?" Misaki exclaimed in awe, the last report she read about the alien had placed him in a condition between life and death, which most believed to be unalterable. "You found a cure."

"Not really a cure," the Chief Medical Officer amended. "He was not ill or suffering from any sort of infection, at least not according to anything we know. We have still not discovered what it was that was killing and bringing him back to life, but we did manage to find a way to break the cycle."

"I am most curious to know how you accomplished this," the Captain said. Following the report she received from her First Officer, Selene had been hesitant to keep any sort of hope as to how this would end. If both the Doctor and Counsellor had believed that ending the suffering of the alien was the only way to proceed, forcing them to continue on with their work was problematic at best. As far as Selene was concerned, the best case scenario would be to see the status quo maintained during the night.

"I am equally curious as to how you managed this," Sarena said.

"Actually, is was thanks to Janeel that we figured out what was required," Satella explained, "Our patient was being kept in a precarious balance between life and death, whatever it was that was doing this responding almost instantaneously to anything that happened to him. The more we tried to restore his vital signs to some sort of normality, the more his body died.  Commander Janeel pointed out that our most notable reaction was when we actually attempted the opposite in an effort to end his misery."

"Something was inversely reacting to whatever you were doing, trying to maintain the balance," Mitshiba said aloud, trying to wrap her head around how they had managed to break this cycle the Doctor had mentioned. "So, the more you tried to make him better, the worst he got until that balance was eventually restored. Nice, would love to know what it was that was actually doing that, but for now I am curious to know how you managed to heal him beyond the point of whatever was keeping this balance to compensate."

"We didn't," Adriana admitted.

"As I said," Doctor Bruxa jumped back in. "Janeel pointed out that when our efforts were directed in the other direction, meaning when we actually tried to kill him, the counter actions actually brought him into a state of near consciousness. It was short, but enough to point out that we were working with the wrong premises."

"So in order to bring him back to life, you had to kill him, again," Misaki said, the Chief Science Officer easily following the logic and course of action that had been required. "Must have been hard for you to figure out just how close to death you had to bring him. I mean, if you didn't do enough, the counter measures would just bring him back to life and make it that much harder the next time. if you went too far, the countermeasures would not be able to bring him back to life in time before being unable to ever do so again. Congratulations Doctor, I can only imagine how difficult it was."

"I will admit that it was not easy and there were a few times when I was certain we had failed," Satella admitted, seeing the anger mounting in the facial expression of their First Officer, Commander Sarena Valentine.

"Well done Doctor," the Captain added, not giving her Executive Officer the chance to voice her thoughts and obvious displeasure. "If your patient is well enough, I would appreciate if we all could meet in the Conference Lounge, say in an hour to give everyone the chance to fully wake up and maybe even get a bite to eat."

"Of course Captain," the chief Medical officer acknowledged. "We will all be there in an hour."

Setting: USS BASTET, Corridor outside Sickbay
Stardate: 32306.0520

The Captain was the first to exit, but instead of heading back to her quarters or even to the bridge, the woman stood there waiting for the others to exit. When Sarena stepped out, Selene reached out and took hold of her arm, letting Misaki leave by herself.

"Something wrong Captain?" Valentine inquired.

"You tell me," Iverson countered. "What was all that about in there? Satella and Adriana managed to bring the Yxidii back to life and you looked like you were ready to rip their heads off."

"Captain, I do not believe that this is the right location to have this discussion," Sarena voiced, maybe hoping that the captain would drop the matter, which of course she did not.

"Fine, my Ready Room, now."

Setting: USS BASTET, Ready Room
Stardate: 32306.0535

"Alright, we are now alone, just you and me, so talk," the Captain said as she walked around her desk to take her seat suspecting that this might take a little while.

"In order to maintain discipline and control over a ship such as the BASTET, the chain of command must be followed and respected at all times," Sarena began with, drawing an agreeing nod of the now sitting woman in front of her. "I gave specific instructions to both Doctor Bruxa and Counsellor Lopez that they were *not* to further endanger the life of their patient, this after they had already done so without informing either you or I."

"So you are angry that they went over your head, not once but twice," the Captain stated. "This has nothing to do with the fact that they managed what many believed to be something impossible. Your problem is that they did so without your seal of approval."

"Permission to speak freely and off the record?" The First officer sternly demanded.

"Sarena, I have always trusted you more than I can ever say. I appreciate you candor and honesty, so don't hold back now."

"I am thrilled that they managed what they did, and yes my issue is with their lack of respect for the chain of command. The end cannot justify the means or you risk losing control over the entire crew. What would happen if Misaki decided to save a deadly entity for the sake of research regardless of the danger it might place the crew under? What if someone on the ship figured that they no longer needed to get your or my approval for whatever they are planning to do while we are in the middle of a crisis situation? Such behaviour is unacceptable on any Federation vessel, and is even less permissible on the BASTET. This ship travels through not only the multiverse but also through time; imagine the paradoxes we would be creating if anyone on this crew suddenly decided to do as they wished."

"All right," Selene unhappily noted. "You made your point."

"With all do respect, I do not believe that I have. Regardless of the outcome, you cannot allow them to disregard instructions and orders the way they did. Either one of them could have come to me, or even you for that matter, to discuss their plan and obtain a green light to proceed. Instead they both decided to do as they wished."

"If they had come to you, would you have said yes? I mean, would you have given your permission for them to *kill* the patient this after you had told them specifically not to do so?" Selene asked, the look on the face of the other woman making is evident that she would not have even considered such a course of action.

"I withdraw my objection," Sarena said, snapping her body to stand at full attention. "Permission to return to my duties?"

"Denied," Selene said, shaking her head. "I do agree with your point of view, but I also have to consider the final result. I will personally speak to them about what they did and make it clear to them that they are not to ignore instructions or orders ever again. All I am asking from you is that you do not brand them as mutineers quite yet. As you pointed out, this is not your standard Federation ship, and we have to be able to work in those grey areas that everyone else avoids. If we do not, we risk having a crew unable to bend when faced with a situation that no one else could even imagine."

"I will grant you that much, but you need to put Satella back in her place. From what I have observed, she seems to believe herself above the chain of command because she is the Doctor on board. Adriana is not helping by taking her side, but if you have to snap only one of them back in line, our Chief Medical officer is the one that needs it most."

"So noted. In the meantime, get some breakfast before the briefing. I have the feeling that we might not like whatever will be said there," the Captain said, adding a faint smile to show her appreciation for the discussion the two had just shared.

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)
M05-P013: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 02 - 0615 ("Beyond The Darkness")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Beyond The Darkness"
[previous post (Early Morning Surprise)]

Setting: BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 32306.0615

As requested by Captain Iverson, Doctor Bruxa, Counsellor Lopez and their Yxidii patient had come to the Observation Lounge for a meeting during which it was hoped that some overdue answers would be obtained. Sarena sat on one side of the table while the other three took seats on the other side, setting the groundwork of their confrontation.

The Executive Officer had no problem remaining calm, finding it within her to even be glad that the Chief Medical Officer and Counsellor had been successful in bringing the alien back from the void between life and death that it had found itself in. As grateful as Commander Valentine might be for thi though, she could not overlook the complete disregard for the chain of command that both women had displayed. Captain Iverson said that she would handle this situation, and that was good enough, for now.

"Sorry for being late," Captain Iverson said as she stepped into the room, closely followed by Commander Janeel and Lieutenant Mitshiba who both sat right next to the Executive Officer evening out the forces on either sides of the table. "I wanted to make sure everyone was present," the CO added as she took her place at the head of the table. "Let us start with a tactical review of our situaton, Commander Janeel?"

"Nothing has changed since our arrival to this location. Long-range sensors have not detected any other ships or any sort of spacial anomaly that might indicate a passageway between this and another dimension," the ILO reported. "As far as we can tell, aside from the damaged Masters' cruiser out there, we are alone."

"Good," the Captain offered. "We might actually be able to make it through this briefing without any issues. Doctor Bruxa, how is your patient?"

"Thanks to Commander Janeel's insight, we were able to permanently tip the balance that was keeping him in a state of perpetual unlife," Doctor Bruxa said, pointing in a friendly manner at the Yxidii sitting between Counsellor Lopez and herself.

"Unlife?" Mitshiba echoed with a hint of a chuckle in her voice.

"How else would you describe the state that he was in?" The Doctor replied, her question equally hinting to some level of amusement.

"Lost in the darkness between life and death," the alien himself answered, demonstrating that he not only understood the conversation but that he had been more than capable of taking part in it.

"I am glad that you are able to understand us," Captain Iverson said, glad as well as a little surprised.

"This is not the first time that the Yxidii have encountered your people," he said, meeting the stare of every member of the crew present at he table.

"Can you tell us more about how you came to be 'lost in the darkness between life and death'?" The Executive Officer asked, using the alien's own words to make sure there would not be any misunderstanding as to what she, as well as the rest of the gathered officers, wanted to know.

"The *Invaders* were the ones who did this to me," the Yxidii replied. Although the name was different, there was little doubt in anyone's mind that he had been referring to the Masters, a race described by now more than a single race as being inter-dimensional conquerors. "Their ship appeared one day over our colony and before the sun had set over the horizon, the majority of the Yxidii there were dead. I was one of the unfortunate ones to be found alive."

"So they brought you back on board their ship for experimentation," the Chief Science Officer said, unmistakable disgust in her voice. "I I hated them before for what they did to the J'Den, not I hate them even more."

Although most, if not all, of those present in the room agreed with the statement just made, Valentine wanted to know more about what had taken place. The Masters were beyond a doubt a high technologically advanced race, one more than capable of take care of business, so this left the question of what happened to them and their ship. "Do you have any idea as to what caused the damage and death of the crew of the ship you were found on?"

"I cannot." The reply was quick and yet it hinted to there being more.

"Is there anything you can tell us about what happened?" The Captain continued. The odds were against them getting anything useful from the Yxidii, that there was no doubt, but still they needed to try. Any information, however unrelated it might appear to be, could in time reveal something useful. At least that was the hope of the officers gathered here.

"I cannot," the alien repeated, making it sound even more that there was something more that he was not saying. "I have no idea what happened to the Invaders. All I can tell you is that at one point I felt a chill."

"You mean you felt cold," Captain Iverson corrected, figuring that however good the alien's control of their language was, it was not perfect and the universal translator would go to the nearest possible match available.

"Makes sense," the Chief Science Officer said in support. "When the ship's outer hull was breached and all of the air and heat was blown into space the internal temperature would have dropped drastically in the span of only a few seconds," Mitshiba explained.

"The Yxidii do not feel cold," Doctor Bruxa said, shaking her head. "Adriana and I did enough work and research on his nervous system in an effort to find a way to bring him as close to death as possible to know that much. It is part of the reason why he survived while in the vacuum of space."

The Doctor's admission that both the Counsellor and her had been again working on the goal of killing their patient made Sarena clench her fists. This was neither the place nor time to address this matter, especially since the Captain hd made it clear that she would be the one to speak to the two officers.

"Was this *chill*, this cold an external physical sensation or more of an internal emotional one? Did it feel like nothing you could have ever imagined? How a complete fear filled darkness should feel like?" Commander Janeel asked, interrupting the train of thoughts of the Executive Officer. The way the ILO spoke left everyone wondering if she had not been channeling her own experience in a similar matter.

"My body felt nothing," the Yxidii explained as best he could. "The *cold* you refer to was great and it was here," he added, pointing at his head, indicating that the sensation was not a physical one but rather a mental one.

A hush claimed the entire room, everyone present with the exception of the Yxidii understanding and fearing what this meant.

"Thank you," Captain Iverson offered, not sounding in the least bit pleased. "Commander Valentine, bring the BASTET to battle readiness and have everyone prepare to leave. I want the dimensional jump drive ready to be activated at a moment's notice."

"RED ALERT!" Sarena called out as she stood from her chair and rushed back to the bridge. Everyone who had been sitting on her side of the table promptly followed leaving the Captain, Doctor Counsellor and their patient behind.  Those that had remained behind quickly noted the utter confused expression displayed by the Yxidii.

"I do not understand," the alien stated, accepting that he had missed an important part of what had just taken place.

"However dangerous you know the Masters to be, I mean the race that you call Invaders," the Chief Medical Officer explained. "The feeling you experienced, that inner sensation of extreme cold, can be from a race that we have had dealings with not so long ago."

"They are called the Lokustaar," Captain Iverson said, unable o hold back the sigh that immediately followed. "Looks like we have finally found a dimension where they operate in, and we also know that they have no problem taking down a Masters' cruiser along with its crew."

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

Executive Officer
M05-P014: USS BASTET: Janeel: Day 02 - 0645 ("When Shadows Attack")
"When Shadows Attack"
[previous post was "Beyond The Darkness" by the talented Karen]

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32306.0645

The BASTET had travelled from one dimension to the next in search of the Lokustaar, but in all honesty no one hd expected to find them. The scattered detection buoy were meant to alert them should something resembling a shadow flyin through space came by. The odds of this happening within any of the areas under surveillance was minimal, and that was counting on those nightmarish shadowy vessels to actually be detected, something that no one was certain could be done.

Now, not only had they confirmed the presence of the Lokustaar in this particular dimension, but they had witnessed the handy work of this race who appeared bend on destroying anything and everything they came in contact with. The scariest part was that even the all mighty and widely feared Masters had proven to be no match for the race of walking nightmares.

As the crew readied the ship for another dimensional jump, Janeel studied the heavily damaged vessel still very much visible on their main view screen. The power of the Lokustaar had not not not even been in question, the epic battle the BASTET had found itself landing in the middle of some 20,000 years ago had been proof enough of that. What puzzled the ILO was that the damage on the Master's cruiser had not been externally caused, the outer corridors having been exposed to space through actions from within.

After having witnessed the power of the Lokustaar's weapons, this fact made no sense whatsoever to the ILO.

"Engineering reports the D-Drive almost ready to be engaged," Commander Valentine reported to the Captain who was back in her seat, Doctor Bruxa and Counelor Lopez having escorted their patient and guest off the command deck and likely back to Sickbay.

"All hands, stand by for dimensional jump," the Captain announced once a ship wide link was opened.

"Captain!" Janeel said with urgency, something having appeared on her console. "Sensors are picking up a distortion in space-time on heading 2-5-1 mark 11. Unable to get a clear readout as to its location, but it is less than 10 kilometers from us."

"Is it the Lokustaar?" The First Officer demanded, ready to have the BASTET turn in order to be in a better position to fight.

"Unable to tell," Janeel replied. "If it is though, it would be the first time we witness the Lokustaar using such technology. The fact that they were trying to open a dimensional portal on CAIT using ancient artifacts leads us to believe that they do not possess such technology. As powerful as they may be, their ability to travel from one dimension to another does appear to be very limited."

"So who is coming to join this party?" Lieutenant Mitshiba asked, the focus of the main view screen already having been changed to be on the detected distortion.

"Who ever it is isn't coming through in a small ship," the ILO offered, the size of the distortion in space-time having nearly doubled and still expanding.

"How long before we can engage our own D-Drive?" Captain Iverson asked of her First Officer who quickly checked her instruments to find the answer.

"We will have full power in about 10 seconds," the Commander informed before looking up at the main view screen and seeing that although small, the delay would prove to be too long to avoid being detected by the ship now coming out of the dimensional distortion.

"Looks like another Masters' cruiser" Mitshiba noted, directing all available sensors towards the arriving ship. "Based on the forward section that we can see and scan, it looks to be the exact same type as the one that we discovered here."

"It is likely that they have traced the first cruiser to these dimensional coordinates and have come to investigate what happened," Valentine said, this being the most logical explanation for what they were witnessing.

"I would not take any bets on that at this time," Janeel said as she changed the magnification of the main view screen to focus on a specific section of the ship now more than half way through the dimensional distortion."

"That looks like the same type of damage that the first cruiser suffered," the Captain said, voicing everyone's thoughts. "That ship is not here looking for the other, it is being brought here to suffer the same fate."

"But why?" Janeel asked, this entire mystery having only grown more puzzling with the arrival of this second damaged Master's cruiser.

"No idea why," Valentine said as she pointed to the screen. "But it does explain how all of the bodies were disposed of. As they are being blown into space, they are falling back into the dimensional distortion as if whoever is responsible for the damage also wanted to not have to deal with the mess that was created by the process."

"Deadly, efficient and hyper calculating," the ILO sighed. "Individually, these qualities are noteworthy, but when put the overall picture created when you assigned them all to the same race leaves me feeling rather uneasy."

"It is to be expected that members of the crew be blown into space given an unexpected decompression," the Chief Science Officer said, trying to remain professional in view of what they were all witnessing. "Judging by the number of bodies coming out of the ship and passing through the dimensional vortex through, it is hard to claim that this is nothing more than an accident."

"Agreed," Janeel said, suddenly finding it difficult to breathe. "It looks more like a systematic genocide of whoever is on board. By now the emergency bulkheads should have closed to avoid the entire ship from suffering a catastrophic decompression, but it is evident that this has not happened as the body count continues to remain constant."

"Have we been detected?" the Captain asked.

"No indication of any sort of sensor sweep has been directed in our direction," Janeel reported. "Obviously the crew of that second cruiser are busy dealing with something far more urgent, and whoever is responsible for what is happening on board, be them the Lokustaar or another race, they are also too preoccupied with looking around to see if there is someone else here."

"This means that we have an opportunity to get out without being detected," Commander Valentine said, clearly wanting the BASTET to get out before they too became the target of whatever was responsible.

"They may not expect any other ship to be out here, therefore never bothering to look for one," the ILO said as a counter argument. "Our mission was to locate the Lokustaar and not only hope to discover what dimension they called home, but also identify what their intentions are. This is a golden opportunity to gather more Intel than we could have ever hoped for, be it on the Lokustaar if it is them who are responsible for the damage inflicted in these ships, or on the Masters themselves as we figure out who is able to inflict such damage to them."

The Captain remained silent as she considered both points of view on their situation. The safety of the ship and its crew was important, but on the grander scope, gathering intel could prove far more valuable and could potentially save countless lives. Knowing one's adversary had, since the dawn of time, been worth more than the individual lives of those responsible for attempting to obtain it. As much as she might not have wanted to agree with the ILO, the decision had to be for them to stay.

"Shut down all non-essential systems," Captain Iverson ordered. "Sensors are to be kept at minimal strength, and keep the D-Drive on stand-by. We may not be entirely invisible, but that should help us keep a low enough profile to avoid being detected."

"Captain?" Commander Valentine questioned, visibly unhappy with the decision made by their Commanding Officer.

"I am sorry Sarena, but Janeel is right. If we jump now, not only will we have advertised our presence and capabilities, but we will have also turned our backs on a perfect opportunity to understand what happened here. Your objection is appreciated, understood and noted, but our mission profile dictates that we do all that we can to gather as much information as possible."

"Of course Captain," the First Officer reluctantly agreed before turning her attention to her console and doing what Selene had requested.

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
M05-P015: USS BASTET: Bruxa: Day 02 - 0730 ("Quietly Waiting")
"Quietly Waiting"
[previous post was "When Shadows Attack"]

Setting: BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32306.0730

The lights in Sickbay were at their absolute minimal. All non-essential systems were offline, and everyone was on edge. At least on the bridge people could see what was happening. Even those fortunate enough to be stationed near a window could try to see what was going on. Medical facilities were by default set in the middle of a ship, providing a more secured environment. The drawback was that unless someone said something, there was no way for them to know why they were now on minimal power output.

"I hope everything is alright." Adriana sounded nervous, almost scared. Following what their Yxidii guest reported, the possibility that the Lokustaar were near proved very unsettling. The crew of the BASTET had already dealt with the nightmarish race, not being in any rush to do so again. Yes, their mission through dimensions was to identify their point of origin. That did not meant they were looking for a confrontation. From everything they learned about that race, it was evident that they were ill equipped to openly face them.

"No flashing red lights. No sounds of battle. No rapid turning or changing heading. My guess is that we are sitting still, waiting, observing. Something is happening and we are making ourselves as small as can be so as to not be seen. We just don't know why," Satella said, trying to reassure her friend.

"The Captain had just called for everyone to be ready for another D-jump," Adriana said. "Whatever happened did so after that."

"Let's face it. We are in another dimension, searching for the home of the Lokustaar. Anything could happen. Right now, I think it would be best if we just focussed on the moment at hand. We have to trust that the Captain knows what she is doing."

"Still feeling bad about what we did?" The Counsellor asked, referring to them having gone against orders to save the life of the Yxidii.

"We did what we had to," Satella replied. "That Commander Valentine is unhappy about it or not does not change anything. We did what we had to, although Captain Iverson is right, we could have gone about it a different way. In the end though, he's alive and that's what counts," the CMO said pointing to the standing alien.

"You can sit you know," Adriana suggested to the Yxidii. "We have no way of knowing how long this may last."

"They are near," he announced in a cold, almost detached way. "I can feel the fear they create in others."

"The Lokustaar?" Counselor Lopez asked, truly hoping that she was wrong in her assumption.

"Who else?" Doctor Bruxa sighed. "There is no other race capable of enlisting that feeling in someone. I will admit that it is an efficient way to tip the balance in their favor. How is anyone suppose to fight an enemy they fear even before seeing them?"

"It is unlikely that they are responsible for the way we feel right now," Adriana said as if trying to convince herself first and above all else. "The last time we were able to identify this feeling, the Lokustaar were very close. This is likely more of a psychosomatic reaction. Just the fact that we suspect their presence is enough to cause a reaction in us."

"That does not change the way we feel. If this is a tactic used by the Lokustaar to gain a psychological advantage over their opponents, I can unequivocally say that it works quite well. Just the mention of their name is enough to send shivers down my spine," Satella said.

"I do not *fear* them," the Yxidii calmly announced, not having moved one bit from where he stood. "Fear is not something that we know. Their name is a word, nothing more. I can feel their presence, the coldness of their thoughts. Because of this, I know they are near. The coldness here is the same as before," he said, gently tapping the side of his head.

"You my friend are not helping," Satella growled. Unable to see what was happening was bad enough. Between the Counsellor and Doctor, he two could have come up with a thousand and one explanations. Thanks to what the Yxidii had just said though, there was only one possibility left. The Lokustaar were here and the BASTET was trying to avoid being detected by them.

"Maybe we could call up to the bridge and ask for an update as to what is happening? Trying to see if we should be ready for possible injuries," Adriana offered. Sitting in the barely lit Sickbay was only making things worse. The Counselor needed to know what was happening, even if it confirmed her greatest fears.

"You just have to ask yourself one question first though," Doctor Bruxa said.

"Which is?"

"Do you fear the Lokustaar or Commander Valentine the most?" Satella replied. "We call up just to see what's going on and I can almost guarantee that Sarena is going to lose it. Even if we just walked onto the bridge, I am pretty sure that she would use that as an excuse to throw us into the brig. She did not appreciate us going against her orders, and the only reason we are still here is because of the Captain and her understanding why we did what we did. As bad as it may sound, it may be best for us not to press our luck."

"You may be right," Adriana said with a sigh. "If the Lokustaar are indeed nearby, we are going to need all of the luck we can find."

"Maybe, but they do not seem to be overly preoccupied with us at the moment," Satella pointed out.

"So then why are they here?"

"The Invaders," the Yxidii replied actually surprising the two women. "They travel through dimensions in search of worlds to conquer and people to enslave. For them, travelling this way is normal, natural."

"Not for the Lokustaar though," Satella noted. "The situation we dealt with on CAIT was proof of that. We know that those walking nightmares are from another dimension, but they are limited in their ability to travel to others."

"That may be why they attacked the Masters' cruiser. They are trying to obtain the technology that would allow them to travel through dimensions," Adriana added. Whatever fear the Counselor felt before became that much more concrete. The thought of this nightmarish race being able to travel as they wished to their dimension scaring her beyond words.

"Now we need to go to the bridge," Doctor Bruxa said. "Commander Valentine may not be happy about it, but at last we have a valid reason to do so. It might be best if you came along," Satella said looking at the Yxidii. "It is thanks to you that we might have figured this thing out."

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Chief Medical Officer

[Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain]
M05-P016: USS BASTET: Lopez: Day 02 - 0800 ("The Bad News")
"The Bad News"
[Previous post: "Quietly Waiting"]

Setting: BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32305.0800

It was strange to walk onto a barely lit bridge, like stepping into someone else's nightmare. What made it even more unnerving was the display on the main view screen. To see a second cruiser, just as large as the first was frightening, but to see bodies floating into space and pulled out of existence through some sort of dimensional portal was enough to freeze the blood in the veins of the Ship's Counselor.

"Remind me again why you took this job?" Amanda asked. The mental projection of the sister delighted in teasing her twin any and every chance she got, especially in cases such as this when the universe showed its darker side. From her first tour of duty on board the LANCELOT to this precise moment, the prospects of the sister losing her life to deadly shadows had been present.

"Because of you," Adriana whispered back. As much as the Counselor knew that her sister was nothing more than a hallucination, she felt the urge to justify her reason for joining Starfleet, which was to find the sibling who vanished at the age of 6 some twenty years ago.

Although whispered, the comment made by Adriana was loud enough to draw the attention of Satella who luckily knew about the ongoing conflict between the imaginary sister and her flesh and blood twin.  Doctor Bruxa reached out and took hold of her friend's hand, giving it a firm yet supportive squeeze. As much as she might understand what was happening, this was not the time to make those visions known by the rest of the crew.

"You two should not be here," Commander Valentine quietly hissed knowing that every use of the turbolifts, in theory, could reveal the presence of the BASTET.

"We had to," Satella said, choosing to speak to the Captain directly instead of confronting the irritated First Officer. "Our guest pointed out something that we thought you needed to be made aware of," the Doctor said pointing to the Yxidii who followed them to the bridge.

"Go on," Captain Iverson urged, the woman curious to see what additional information the alien rescued from the first cruiser would be able to provide them.

"We are not sure how or why, but he seems able to sense the presence of the Lokustaar," Adriana stated.

"So, you are saying that the bad news is that it is the Lokustaar who are responsible for the attacks on the two cruisers?" Commander Valentine asked, not sounding impressed in the least.

"Actually no," Satella said, glancing over at the image displayed on the main view screen. "That's not the *bad news*. It was pointed out hat the *Invaders* as the Yxidii refer to them are skilled dimensional travellers, able to easily move from one to another unlike the Lokustaar."

"True," Iverson agreed. "We saw the extent they had to go through in order to open a portal back on CAIT," and then she paused. As the Captain of the BASTET Selene had earned that position through experience and knowledge, and those quickly kicked in to fill in the missing parts of this situation.  "The Lokustaar are trying to get their hands on a dimensional drive."

"They had one at their disposal with the first cruisers," Sarena said. "The J'Den made it clear that every ship of the Masters are equipped with one, so why attack a second?"

"There are just too many possibilities for us to list at this time," Lieutenant Mitshiba said.

"Maybe the Lokustaar require more than one such device, or maybe they encountered some problems with the first making it unusable to them," Adriana said, listing the two most likely possibilities that came to mind. Then again, as a Counselor, Lopez had never claimed to be a tactical mastermind.

"Whatever the reason is for them to go after another Masters' cruiser and displaying their ability to do so with what I can only describe as being with relative ease, we have to consider another problem with this entire situation," Satella announced.

"With us here, the Lokustaar have the potential access to another D-Drive, one that is on a ship also equipped with the means to travel through time," the Captain said, managing to maintain an air of absolute calm about her, unlike the rest of the junior officers who found the situation rapidly growing from bad to worse.

"You sure have a way of getting into the worst possible situations," Amanda said laughing, making Adriana glad that she was the only one able to see and hear her twin sister. Things were bad enough without having the rest of the crew deal with an insensitive sibling who was more than happy to add to the chaos instead of helping in dealing with it.

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi

Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez [Access Character BIO for Adriana Lopez]
Ship's Counselor
M05-P017: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 02 - 0815 ("The Only Option")
"The Only Option"
(Previous Post: "The Bad News")

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32306.0815

Captain Iverson stared at the image displayed on the main view screen. The second cruiser of the race known as the Masters appearing as lifeless as the first, the last of the cast-out bodies of the race of giants having vanished through the dimensional vortex from which the ship had emerged earlier. The Lokustaar were ruthless and meticulous, there was no denying this, but what was more terrifying was the fact that they were clearly looking to take control of the means to travel as they wished through the countless dimensions of the multi-verse.

The situation was bad in countless way. Selene could only guess that their first attempt to secure a working Dimensional-Drive forced them to attack that second ship to bring it here where it could be emptied of its crew and studied for its technology. Learning from their previous mistake meant that the race of walking shadows would have much greater odds to achieving their objective this time around. Should they fail, the Lokustaar would not have far to go to try again, this time setting their sights on the USS BASTET.

As long as the Lokustaar were busy with their current affairs, the powered-down Federation vessel would remain safe, but it was foolish for anyone to believe that this situation would last forcing the crew into a figurative corner that they needed to escape from as quickly as possible.

"Captain," Commander Valentine said as she stood next to the Commanding Officer. "We need to get out of here. There is no telling how long the Lokustaar will take to do whatever it is they are doing out there. Once they are done, the odds of them noticing us here will only increase. We need to take the initiative and leave while we can."

"As much as I agree with Commander Valentine, as the Chief Science Officer I feel the need to point something out to you," Lieutenant Mitshiba added as she joined the unofficial exchange of opinion. "When we were in the past and witnessed the battle in orbit of CAIT, sensors were able to pick up something disturbing about the ships that we believe belonged to the Lokustaar. A quick review of the data showed that many of these shadow ships were able to vanish and reappear hinting that they possess some sort of cloaking technology."

"So how ever bad we think this situation may be, you are saying that it could be worse?" Counsellor Lopez let out.

"Counsellor!" Sarena snapped, having spun on her heels to glares at the woman. "You three should not be on the bridge at this time. We appreciate the information you have brought to our attention, but now the rest is up to us. Please take your patient back to Sickbay."

"With all due respect *Commander*," Doctor Bruxa fired back. It was easy to see that the friction between the Chief Medical officer and First officer had only increased since that first head-to-head confrontation about how to address the condition of the rescued Yxiddi. "Adriana and I are members of the senior staff and as such our opinion needs to be heard."

"Doctor," Selene signed. This was neither the time nor place for such a discussion. "As much as I value all of your input, this situation is not like that of an away mission. We are faced with a dangerous and potentially critical situation for not only ourselves but the whole of the Federation. Imagine what we would have to deal with if the Lokustaar gained the ability to travel to our dimension as they pleased.  I am by no means saying that you do not have a voice in the matter, but right now the BASTET is in need of having its Chief Medical Officer and Counsellor in Sickbay in preparation for what may come to pass."

"The Captain is right Satella," Adriana whispered to her friend. "This is a tactical situation, one that I strongly doubt that either one of us has any real contribution to offer in. We did our part, now we have to let them do theirs."

Had it been anyone else, Doctor Bruxa might have lashed out, but Counsellor Lopez had proven to be a good friend on more than one occasion and Satella had long ago learned to respect the opinion and perspective of the woman whom had confined in her the secret of the visions of her twin sister.

"Fine," Satella huffed. "You know where we will be when you need us."

The Captain and First Officer watched as the Chief Medical officer, Coulsellor and their Yxidii patient left the bridge to board the turbolift, vanishing behind the closing doors.  "Commander," Selene began after turning her attention back onto Sarena. "Personnel issues are your responsibilities and I will not stick my nose into that dossier unless I absolutely have to, but may I suggest that you try to smooth things over with our Doctor?"

"Sorry Captain," Sarena nodded. "I will speak with her privately, that is as soon as we find a way out of this predicament we are currently in."

"I might have a solution," Commander Janeel said, having waited for the right opportunity to jump into the conversation.

"Go ahead Commander," Captain Iverson said, inviting the woman to speak her mind.

"We cannot afford to remain on the defensive," Janeel quickly explained. "The more time elapses, the more we find ourselves at a disadvantage. Even if there are cloaked Lokustaar vessels around us, they are likely all preoccupied with whatever is happening on board that second cruiser. We need to act and make sure that we can safely escape this dimension and return to our own to report our findings."

"Sounds like you have more than a simple suggestion in mind Commander," Sarena said, looking at the Missions Specialist and Intelligence Liaison Officer in a quizzical manner.

"I do," Janeel confirmed handing over a PADD to the Captain.

The next several seconds passed in complete silence as Selene read the details of the suggested course of action handed over by Janeel.  "You are not holding back any punches," the Captain noted, handing over the PADD to her First Officer so that she too could review the plan offered by the Intel Officer.

"That would leave us completely unable to defend ourselves," Sarena quickly pointed out, that being the one flaw in the suggested plan she could not ignore.

"I realize this, but the odds of our being able to successfully leave this dimension while at the same time insuring that the Lokustaar fail in their current attempts to secure a Dimensional-Drive are at their calculated best," Janeel stated. "There is no sure win scenario here Captain," the Intel Officer continued, looking directly at Iverson. "This plan does have risks; as any other would, but at least this one gives us the greatest possibility of achieve all of the objectives that we should be aiming for."

"I agree," Captain Iverson said, knowing that time was against them and a decision needed to be made right away. "How long go get everything in place?"

"With the help of the rest of the senior officers, we should be ready in 15 minutes."

"Captain," Sarena interjected. "Are you certain of this? A single mistake and we would be literally handing both the Dimensional and Temporal drives to the Lokustaar."

"There is one additional thing that I would like for you to be responsible for in addition to what Commander Janeel has suggested," the Captain said. "I believe that this will address your concerns in regards to insuring that the technology on board the BASTET remains out of the hands of the Lokustaar should this plan fail."

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 32306.0830

"The Captain wants us to inoculate the entire crew in less than 10 minutes?" Doctor Bruxa growled, reading as many hypospray dosages as she could with the help of Counsellor Lopez.

"Well, you did want to be more involved in whatever they were planning," Adriana dryly chuckled.

"This is not what I had in mind," Satella huffed as she closed the carrying case to hand it over to one of the waiting nurses. "This one is for Main Engineering. The next one will be for the Bridge. Adriana, can you take care of that one? I still need to make sure that all of the off-duty personnel are inoculated and time is running out."

"I will take care of the Bridge, no worries," the Counsellor reassured, waiting for the dosages to be readied for her to take up.

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32306.0835

"Bridge to Transporter Room 3, I am unable to get any sort of transporter lock from your system," Janeel announced, visibly upset. "I need you to run a full diagnostic; we need you to be operational in 4 minutes."

"Sounds like you are having a few problems," Adriana said as she pulled an inoculation dosage out and inserted it into the hypospray in her hand before pressing it against the neck of the Intelligence Liaison Officer.

"Trying to link every transporter system together, including the emergency and cargo ones is proving to be a little more time demanding than I had expected," Janeel admitted. "Still, we will have everything ready in time."

"I truly hope so Commander," Captain Iverson chimed in as the Counsellor approached with another inoculation shot ready to be injected, this time in the Commanding Officer herself.  "Are we sure that this will be sufficient?" Selene asked.

"Satella did all of the calculations and prepared all of the dosage herself," Adriana replied. "She did not want to take any chances with that aspect of the plan. One thing she did point out time and time again though was that this inoculation will only work if we are not exposed for too long."

"No worries about that Counsellor," the Captain offered. "If we someone end up being exposed for longer than planned, the crew not being properly protected will be the least of our concerns."

Setting: USS BASTET, Main Engineering
Stardate: 32306.0838

"All remaining available power has been diverted to the Dimensional-Drive," Lieutenant Mitshiba reported, the Chief Science Officer and First Officer having both come down to the Engineering department to take care of the energy needs for their plan."

"I still would like to get *some* power to the shields," Sarena noted with a hint of nervousness.

"If it was only a question of using every transporter on board at the same time, I am sure that we would be able to divert auxiliary power to the shields, but that power is going to be required by the Dimensional-drive, and even then we are going to have to cut all of the auxiliary systems and even some of the primary ones to insure that we have enough power to make it all happen."

"That is why you both need to be inoculated," the nurse stated as she pressed the hypospray against the neck of the First Officer before reloading and moving to do the same to the Chief Science Officer.

"Main Engineering to Bridge. Valentine here, we have everything ready and will be diverting all power from auxiliary systems in 30 seconds," the First Officer announced.

=/\= Perfect. Be ready to trigger plan B on my command. =/\=

"Understood," Sarena acknowledged drawing a quizzical glared from Misaki.

"Plan B?"

"We cannot allow the BASTET and all of its technology to fall into the hands of the Lokustaar should Plan A fail," Sarena vaguely explained, shooting a quick glance in the direction f the warp core.  It did not require a genius to understand what this 'Plan B' was all about. If the ship failed to return to its own dimension, this one would become the final resting place of the crew, this after the warp core of the BASTET would be send into a catastrophic manual overload.

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32306.0840

Captain Iverson sat in her chair, contemplating the last seconds before they initiated this mad plan to see not only the BASTET leave this dimension but to do so in a way that would set back the Lokustaar in their efforts to secure a Dimensional-Drive.

"Commander Valentine?"

=/\= We are ready down here Captain. =/\=

"Helm, move us to a safe distance away from the cruiser. Stand-by to engage all transporters."

"Sensors are not showing any signs of activity," Janeel reported. "At least not yet. We will be at a safe distance in 30 seconds."

"A great many things can happen in 30 seconds," Selene quietly noted, her experience in such matters supporting the claim made countless times.

"CAPTAIN!" The Intelligence Liaison Officer exclaimed. "Lokustaar ship de-cloaking on the other side of the second cruiser and moving in to intercept."

"No going back now," the Captain said. "Engage all port-side transporters, hopefully this will give us enough time to get far enough away from the first cruiser."

"Engaging port-side transporters!" Janeel said before the lights throughout the bridge, as well as through the rest of the ship, dimmed to show the extent of the power drain.

Setting: SPACE, near the second Cruiser
Stardate: 32306.0842

The hull of the ships built by the Masters were impervious to transporter beams and sensors, but thanks to the damage caused by the Lokustaar to the outer hull, the BASTET was able to reach far deeper into the ships than they would have normally been able to.

Dozens of photon torpedoes simultaneously materialized through the cruiser, some directly in front of shadowing aliens as they searched for their intended prize. Seconds later the exploded causing an internal shock-wave that ripped the ship apart. At the same time, several other torpedoes appeared in the emptiness of space exploding all around the cruiser taking the Lokustaar vessel by surprise. Although the explosions did not appear to damage the ship in any way, the showy ship was thrown off course by the force of the blasts.

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32306.0843

"Sensors show the second cruiser has been nearly completely destroyed," Janeel reported. "I doubt that they will be able to find anything useful in what is left." The Intelligence Liaison Officer paused for a moment as she confirmed the sensor data. "The Lokustaar vessel is quickly regaining control and appears to be powering some sort of energy weapon. The power readouts are off the scale."

"Engage starboard transporters and target the Lokustaar ship with our little surprise," the Captain Ordered. "Helm! As soon as the transport is completed, get us out of her and engage the D-Drive."

Setting: SPACE, near the first Cruiser
Stardate: 32306.0843

The explosions had not been strong enough to cause any damage to the Lokustaar vessel, and the few seconds they gained from the unexpected display of their limited firepower would not save them from the fate that the Terrans had summoned upon themselves.

As the shadow vessel was ready to fire upon the BASTET, another dozen or so torpedoes were beamed onto the first cruiser and exploded, destroying that ship as well. Simultaneously, a large number of similar explosive devices appeared all around the Lokustaar ship, these ones appearing to be of a much high yield than those used to destroy the two cruisers.

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 32306.0844

"Quantum torpedoes detonating now!" Janeel announced, the flash of light filling the view screen followed a few seconds later by the shock-wave that rocked the BASTET.

"Radiation within expected levels," the Intel Operative reported. "The inoculation should be enough to ward off any effects."

"Now all we need is for us to actually get out of here," the Captain noted. "Engage Dimensional-Drive. Take us home!"

Setting: SPACE
Stardate: 32306.0844

Although the process was a relatively slow one, the BASTET was able to create a dimensional opening back to its point of origin while the Lokustaar vessel tried its best to recuperate from being at the center of a explosive storm created by a dozen or so quantum torpedoes made to detonate all around it.

As daring as the move might have been, the Terran had once again proven that their unpredictability was the one weapon the Lokustaar were ill equipped to deal again. Not only had the BASTET slipped through their shadowy grasp, but they had managed to destroy both cruisers as well as whatever had been inside of them.

In time, the Terrans and all of those small races who called that dimension home would be made to pay for this affront. If anything the Lokustaar were as determined as they were patient and they would get what they had been after for countless centuries. This was not a question of if, but when, and after today the when would come to be much sooner than the others might have wished it to be,

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)

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