USS BASTET - Mission 07
IN PROGRESS
POST INDEX
Post # Character Title
001 Valentine Questioning
Sarena goes to speak to Sofia and Nicole
002 Dean Second Thoughts
Ashton deals with meeting Mordana
003 Gemma Split Second
Gemma recalls her meeting with Admial Koniki
004 Andersson & Dima You Can’t Go Home Again
Sofia and Nicole contemplate their situation
005 Iverson Special Research
The BASTET is dispatched to the ZENALLI Sector
006 Mitshiba Like No Other
Aki analyzes the sensor data from the HAWKING
007 Dean Scrambler
Ashton scrambles to get ready to board the BASTET
008 Andersson Small Unexpectednesses
Sofia goes to check on Ashton's girls and meets Emma
009 Valentine Urgent Rendezvous
The BASTET meets up with the HAWKING, just in time
010 Mitshiba Sneaking in Closer
More is discovered on the dimensional breaches
011 Gemma Energy Transfer
Gemma helps with the transfer and self-analyses
012 Dima Memory Lanes
Nicole reviews the crew files and her own situation
013 Andersson Just Fine
Gemma goes to see Sofia in Sickbay
014 Valentine Unexpected Surprise
Something is beaming over to the BASTET
015 Iverson A Better Understanding
Samson gives the crew a detailed breifing
016 Dean First Danger
Ashton is concerned about his daughters's safety
017 Gemma Shadow Contemplations
Ashton asks Gemma about the Lokustaar
018 Mitshiba No Problems
Aki and Samson talk
019 Dima The First And The Last
Nicole speaks with Ashton and Sofia
020 Valentine Unexpected Surprise
A new plan to reach the HAWKING is devised
021 Dean Contemplation
Ashton is concerned about the situation
022 Valentine Change of Plan
The away team gets the plan started
023 Gemma Sneaky Ways
Gemma and Nicole talk, a new breach opens
024 Mitshiba Unwelcome Visitors
The away team makes their way into the HAWKING
025 Dean Through The Rabbit Hole
Ashton recalls a moment of his past
026 Valentine New Considerations
Sarena considers what Ashton suggested
027 Gemma Crowded Decision
Gemma discusses the situation with herself
028 Mitshiba Vanishing Darkness
The away team confronts the intruder
029 Dean New Developments
The away team makes its way to the bridge
030 Iverson The Darkness In Between
The BASTET pierces through the breach
Post # Character Title
031 Gemma Reflected Darkness
Gemma switches personality while working
032 Valentine New Day, New Possibilities
Sarena takes in the details of their situation
033 Mitshiba Troubled and Concerned
Aki desperately tries to find a way to help
034 Dima Not All Who Wander...
Nic confronts Gemma and her personalities
035 Dean A Father and an Officer
Ashton does his best to deal with the situation
036 Iverson Searching for the Light...
Selene is depressed, Aki gets an idea
037 Mitshiba Rumblings
Aki deals with the situation and her stomach
038 Gemma Multi-Tasking
Gemma dealing with her split personaliy
039 Andersson Putting the Pieces Together
Nic comes to check in Gemma in Sickbay
040 Gemma Struggle Within
Gemma remembers part of her past
041 Andersson Putting the Pieces..., Part 2
Nic and Sofia trigger Gemma's trabnsformation
042 Valentine Casting the Net
Sarena, Misaki and Ashton search for the BASTET
043 Mitshiba Echoes of Nothing
Aki checks the telemetry of the probes
044 Dean The Search Begins
Ashton worries about his children
045 Andersson Shocking Personalities
Nicole and Sofia deqal with Gemma's waking
046 Gemma Clarification Required
Gemma no longer tries to hide her other personas
047 Mitshiba Inspired
Aki and Ashton discuss the situation
048 Gemma Shadow Predator
Gemma locates a threat and offer a plan
049 Valentine Foreshadowing
Sarena and Aki talk about the situation
050 Iverson The Switch
The BASTET finds its way home, at a cost
051 Andersson Something Missing
Sofia has problems dealing with Selene's loss
052 Mitshiba Irreplaceable
Aki dwells on the loss of their CO
053 Gemma Emotional Parkour
Sofia meets Sylthia
054 Valentine Reluctantly
Sarena is made acting CO after speaking with Koniki
055 Dima Lost
Nicole goes and speaks to Sarena
056 Mitshiba Looking Back, Moving Forward
Aki gets invited for drinks by Sofia
057 Andersson Never Forget
Sofia and Nicole talk about the gathering
058 Valentine Invitation
Sofia goes to speak with Sarena
059 Gemma Silent Acknowledgement
Gemma attends the Captain's wake
060 Valentine Moving Forward
Sarena checks up on the other officers
M06-P001: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 1500 ("Questioning")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Questioning"
[previous post ((ANU) "Agent of the Shadows" / (BAS) "The Long Journey Home")]

Setting:  USS BASTET, Valentine's quarters
Stardate: 33113.1500

Sarena walked into her quarters, her head still spinning. She had not expected a fanfare to welcome them back from their last mission, but the Executive Officer had certainly imagined more than being told to head back to their ship to await further instructions. Then again, life in the world of Intel was never meant to be the glamorous or even outwardly rewarding one, so there was nothing else to do but for Valentine to accept things as they were and move on.

The woman took a moment to take in the welcoming peacefulness of her quarters, the familiar decor making her feel at home, a feeling that she had not experienced for quite some time now thanks to the issues encountered with the Blink Device. As traumatic as all of that was, the Executive Officer had to admit that in the end, they managed to return with far more than they could have ever expected.

The loss of Janeel was a sad turn of event, that much the Executive Officer could not deny, but the HATHOR had returned with three other Starfleet officers, one actually presumed dead but found very much alive. The question now was what would those three women do next?  As curious about that as Commander Valentine was about that, she pushed the question aside and instead decided to comply with the orders of their Captain. A long hot shower would certainly feel amazing at this time; the small ship they had been on for over two months was not equipped with such enjoyable commodities. The moment the hot water touched her skin, Sarena let out a moan of absolute delight making her forget about everything that had happened as well as what would soon come to pass.

The soothing sensation of the hot water though proved insufficient to make Sarena forget things for more than a few minutes. There was just too much for the Executive Officer to consider at this time  to be able to fully abandon herself to the delights of the shower. She needed to know what would be asked of them and what this would mean for the three women who had been made to be temporary members of the crew during their journey back home.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] 
Setting:  USS BASTET, Corridor, outside the guest quarters
Stardate: 33113.1530

With a press of the chime, the Executive Officer made her presence known and soon after the door opened.

"Commander Valentine, what brings you here?" Doctor Andersson asked, not having expected to see the woman there, dressed in a fresh uniform so quickly following their arrival on board the BASTET.

"I was hoping that we could have a moment to talk before Captain Iverson summons us to the bridge," Sarena explained, prompting the woman with the golden hair to invite her into the quarters that the Executive Officer herself had provided.

"before you start, I would like to thank you for this. I truly never thought I would ever again be in quarters such as these. I will also admit that the hot shower was beyond enjoyable."

"These quarters could be yours on a more permanent basis," Commander Valentine proposed, hinting as to the reason why she had come here in the first place. "Doctor, i will not waste time as I do not know how much of it we have. I wanted to officially offer you the position of Chief medical officer on board the BASTET. I have already discussed this with the captain and she agrees, you have proven yourself to be an exemplary physician and we would be honored to having you as an official member of the crew." Sarena paused for a moment, trying to gauge the woman's reaction before continuing. "Officially, as far as your former crew is concerned, you are dead, so it would be difficult for yo to return to them. Your skills and expertise are very much needed here."

"I don't know," Sofia stuttered.

"I am not asking you to make a decision now, but I am sure that Captain Iverson will be offering you the exact same thing following our briefing. I wanted for you to have a moment to consider this. I know that we would both be very happy to having you with as our new Chief Medical Officer."

"Thank you. I will think about it," Doctor Andersson said, knowing that she had a great deal to think about and very little time to do so.

With the offer presented to the Doctor, Sarena made her way to the adjacent guest quarters where the Trill Counselor had been lodged. Again the Executive Officer made her presence known by using the chime and again the door was opened by the person inside.

"Commander Valentine, what can I do for you?" Nicole asked, the Trill not at all appearing surprised by the woman's presence at this time.

"I was hoping that we would be able to talk before Captain Iverson calls us up to the bridge," Sarena quickly explained.

"You are going to offer me the position of Ship's Counselor on board the BASTET," Dima said, grinning at the now baffled looking Executive Officer. "I may not be a telepath, but with several lifetimes of experience to draw upon, I have an advantage in recognizing certain signs and anticipating what people will say or do next. You are going to tell me that I am needed and that since the ANUBIS and her crew are currently not here, it would be best if I remained busy, especially with a crew that i have come to know better over the last couple of months."

"Case and point," Sarena said, unable to hold back her smile. "As a Counselor you helped every member of the crew back on the HATHOR during our long journey back home. It would be a failure in the part of Captain Iverson and myself if we did not recognize your abilities in this domain. All I can do is ask that you consider the possibility. I know that there are some amongst the crew who would be greatly saddened by your departure."

"Commander," Nicole teased with a smile. "I never thought that you would use guilt to try and sway my decision."

"I am not using guilt Counselor, only the truth. Please consider this carefully, I am sure that Captain Iverson will be needing your decision by the end of our briefing," Sarena said to the still grining Counselor.

"After an urgent meeting with Admiral Koniki, I suspect that the Captain might be in need of more than a simple answer from a Ship's Counselor," Dima clarified without making it a certitude that she would accept the offer presented to her. "I will give the Captain my answer then, thank you Commander."

With both the Doctor and Ship's Counselor spoken to, Sarena had only one person left to speak to. Unlike the CMO and CNS though, the Executive Officer suspected that the discussion with the ILO would prove to be much more complicated, but the fact remained that Gemma had proven herself more than once during their journey back. In fact, although Valentine would never openly say so, she believed the mysterious woman to be a better fit for the BASTET than Janeel could have ever been. The woman possessed a range of skills that seemed endless, making her occasional odd behavior to be easily dismissed when it did surface.

Standing in front of the door to the third and last guest quarters she needed to visit, Sarena pressed the chime, when no reply was given she pressed it a second time and soon after a third and still no one answered.  "Computer, locate Lieutenant Gemma."

=/\= Lieutenant Gemma is no longer on board the BASTET. She beamed over to Admiral Koniki's office immediately following her stepping into the quarters that were assigned to her. =/\=

Valentine was disappointed by the report from the computer. She had truly hoped that Gemma would be the one to remain on the BASTET following everything that she had done for its crew.

=/\= This is Captain Iverson to all members of the senior staff. Please report to the Observation Lounge immediately. =/\=

Time was up and Sarena could only hope that by the end of the upcoming meeting the crew of the BASTET would be able to officially list a new Chief Medical Officer and Ship's Counselor if not a new Intel Liaison Officer.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] 
Setting:  USS BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 33113.1550

The Executive Officer walked into the briefing room to find Lieutenant Gemma already sitting at the table with Captain Iverson. Selene appeared tired, drain of energy and yet ready to face whatever task the Admiral had given her and her crew.

"After hearing that you had beamed directly to the Admiral's Office following you stepping into your quarters, I was not expecting you to return," Sarena explained as she took a seat.

"It would be improper for me not to be at this meeting as I am the BASTET's new ILO," Gemma sternly offered.

"Lieutenant Gemma was actually present at the meeting between Admiral Koniki and myself. Following a quick account of everything she did for us during our voyage back, the Admiral ordered her to take over the position left vacant by Commander Janeel's unfortunate departure," the Captain explained, her head still spinning for everything that had taken place during her meeting with Koniki. The Executive Officer suspected that the assignment of a new ILO was but one of a great many details that had been talked about.

"As soon as the others are here, we will start the briefing," Selene stated seeing a certain expression of joy coming from Sarena making it clear that the woman was pleased with the appointment of Gemma to the BASTET. Now all that remained was to see if Sofia and Nicole would follow suit.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M06-P002: USS BASTET: Dean: Day 00 - 1100 ("Second Thoughts")
"Second Thoughts"
previous post (ANU) "It's The Small Things That Count" / (BAS) "Questioning"

Setting: RELAY OUTPOST SIGMA 385, Corridor
Stardate: 33112.1100

Ashton scooped up the girls and continued down the hall. “That was rude. Remember to respect everyone until they give you reason not to,” he said toTristan, but as soon as he said it he realized how stupid it was to say that to a five year old.  Tristan didn’t say anything. She just watch the woman round the corner and walk out of sight. 

___________________________________________________
Setting: RELAY OUTPOST SIGMA 385, Dean's Quarters
Stardate: 33112.1115

"Let’s get some lunch and then it’s nap time."

“No nap,” Cordelia said defiantly. 

“Yes but lunch first. Nuggets?” Her little face lit up when she heard that.  Ashton ordered up a plate of four nuggets with carrot sticks and a plate of three nuggets with carrot sticks for the girls who happily enjoyed their lunch. After getting them settled for their nap, Ashton took time to sit and relax. He looked around the room at the boxes and the girls sleeping in the next room. “Is this the right thing to do? With all that’s going on right now should I take them out there?” Staring out the window he heard his mothers voice. “They belong with you. No place is perfectly safe,” she said in a whisper. He smiled a sad smile at the thought of his mom and her advice. He knew she was right, but he was still worried he was putting his girls in unnecessary risk. “Stop. Damn it. They belong with you, there’s no one else so just stop dwelling on what you can’t change,” he told himself. 

___________________________________________________
Setting: RELAY OUTPOST SIGMA 385, Common Area
Stardate: 33112.1200

“Excuse me, Mordana was it,” he said approaching the woman his daughters met earlier. 

“Yes,” she said internally a bit annoyed at the interruption, but not showing it. 

“Hi, we met earlier. I wanted to apologize for my daughters rudeness. You know the honesty of children they have no filter.”

She smiled and waved off his apology. “Think nothing of it.” 

“Are you here to meet the BASTET?” he asked.

“No, I have other business in the region. If you excuse me I have someplace to be,” she replied and walked away before Ashton could say anything else.

“Intriguing lady,” he thought to himself, but he had a feeling she was not all she seemed. 

___________________________________________________
Leigh Rachal
FCO USS BASTET
M06-P003: USS BASTET: Gemma: Day 01 - 1550 ("Split Second")
=-=
"Split Second"
[previous post was (ANU) "Researching The Unknown" / (BAS) "Second Thoughts"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 33113.1550

Gemma sat next to Captain Selene Iverson, the person to whom the ILO had been assigned to. Admiral Koniki displayed mixed feelings when he saw her. Those feelings had been the reasons why she had not returned to NEW ALEXANDRIA. It was evident that he still held her responsible for what happened, and why he did not hesitate to assign the operative to the BASTET.

The assignment proved to not be the most surprising aspect of their meeting with the Admiral though. Koniki thought it best to inform Iverson of the unique abilities of her new ILO. Certainly, there would have been a better way to do this, a way that would not have shocked the CO quite as much.

=-=
Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Admiral Koniki's Office
Stardate: 33113.1520 (30 minutes prior)

Gemma stood motionless, at perfect attention following her handing over her report to the Admiral. The half dozen data transfer chips contained everything she did, everything she saw since her departure from NEW ALEXANDRIA. Given all that she had done, the ILO had actually surprised that it all fit on six such chips. Then again, the Intel Agent had never been one to embellish her accounts of what had taken place. Her instructions were clear on that matter; report only the events that could prove of interest to the Intel community.

It took less than a minute for the Admiral to peruse the overview of the files. Captain Iverson stood patiently, wondering why the operative had been called to be part of this meeting. That question was the first the Admiral chose to answer.

"With Janeel gone, the BASTET is in need of a new ILO. Lieutenant Gemma will take on that role."

"Admiral?" The Captain said. After all that Gemma had done to help get the HATHOR back, the CO had no objections to the new assignment. It might have been nice to be consulted first though, but that had never been the Admiral's way.

"Gemma, I know that you are used to operating alone, but the BASTET needs someone like you. Your expertise and special skills will be most valuable to Captain Iverson in the days to come. The night is falling."

The Admiral's last words meant nothing to Captain Iverson, but they were more than enough to startle the ILO. From her stoic pose, Gemma appeared as if she had been hit, hard. Her breathing quickly increased and it was easy to see that the ILO was struggling to remain calm.

"What's going on?" Captain Iverson asked, the woman's patience being tested to a higher extent than usual by the Admiral.

"The details of your mission are here," he said handing over a PADD to the Captain. "Before you go, I need you to meet a few other people."

The Captain looked at the Admiral, expecting him to call forth the officers he wanted her to meet. Instead, the Admiral did nothing more than to look at Gemma, the operative quickly understanding what he meant. There were so many for her to call that she did not know whom to introduce first.

"Captain Iverson, allow me to introduce myself, I am Darla, a skilled pilot according to most."

The Captain was surprised to see a blonde-haired Varro woman standing where the auburn-haired Terran woman had been seconds before. "How?" Iverson demanded, taking her eyes off the woman to glare at the Admiral.

"Captain Iverson," someone else said, someone standing at the exact same spot. The voice was the same as that of Darla but different in some ways. In any case, the CO looked back to see a smiling blue-haired Kotakian woman standing where Darla and Gemma had been. "My name is Yshuni Talz, and it is most pleasant to meet you."

Stunned, Captain Iverson turned to look at the Admiral, hoping that some sort of explanation would be forthcoming. Instead, another greeting was offered, again from a very similar yet different voice.

"My name is Wimdalli and I am very much looking forward to working with you Chief Science Officer, Lieutenant Mitshiba."

Iverson studied the brown-haired Uxali woman who appeared almost as a sister of the previous woman. Something weird was happening here, as each woman seemed unaware of the others.

"Wimda," Admiral Koniki intervened. "Would you be so kind as to wait outside? I have a few more things to discuss with Captain Iverson."

The woman nodded her head and made her way to the exit, her attention on everything that surrounded her. As soon as the Uxali vanished from sight, Iverson turned to the Admiral who jumped in before the Captain could say a single word.

"Gemma suffers, for a lack of a better explanation, from a shattered personality disorder. The nanites in her body allow each personality to be physically displayed to the outside world. Although each of these personas is aware of the others, as far as Gemma is concerned they are separate individuals from herself. As an independent operative, no one needed to know this. Each persona possesses unique skills and talents that are often referred to by her as belonging to someone else. As a member of your crew, I thought it best for you to be aware of this. I am sure that your Ship's Counselor will find this to be most interesting."

"Nanites? Split personality? How many?" Those were just three of the countless questions that came to the Captain's mind.

"If you are referring to her personas, we are not sure. The last time she was here, Gemma displayed in excess of 50 different individual personalities, each with their unique appearance, skills and knowledge base. It may take some time for you and your crew to get used to this. Once you do, I am sure you will see the advantages of having her on board the BASTET."

Captain Iverson already knew about the advantages of having someone like Gemma under her command. Her help on board the HATHOR had been instrumental in getting the ship and crew back here. The knowledge of her split personality also helped the CO make sense in some of the behaviors of the ILO. How well she would fit as a full-fledged member of the BASTET though was still to be seen.

=-=
Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Outside Admiral Koniki's Office
Stardate: 33113.1535

Captain Iverson walked out looking bemused. The revelation concerning Gemma had even made her forget about the mission orders currently in her hand.

"Captain," the ILO said, sounding and appearing like the woman she had come to know and respect while on the HATHOR. "I am sorry that the Admiral forced this assignment on you and your crew. Rest assured that I will do my best to be a valuable member of your crew."

Iverson smiled. She knew that Gemma would be that, having already proven herself. The same could not be said for the other 50+ personas though. The Captain knew nothing of them other than what she saw in the Admiral's office. Who was hiding inside that head of hers? What surprises laid waiting for the crew of the BASTET?  Whatever concerns the CO might have, the Admiral had made his wishes clear. Gemma and all of her other personalities were now officially part of her crew. Be it for good or bad.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M06-P004: USS BASTET: Andersson and Dima: Day 1 - 1545
("You Can't Go Home Again")
“You Can’t Go Home Again”
[Previous Posts (ANU) "Feeling Guilty" / (BAS) "Split Second"]

=-=
Setting: USS BASTET, Temporary Quarters→ Corridor
Stardate: 33113.1545

Nicole sat down for a moment after Commander Valentine’s visit, trying to collect her thoughts. Since her rescue, the HATHOR had been her existence. However, she had thought many times of NEW ALEXANDRIA and the ANUBIS as her final destination. Home. But those had been the simple ideas of a young woman on her first assignment. It had been the whole of Dima and her former hosts that had spoken to Sarena. The paradigm had shifted, the world as she knew it was changed, and it was with sadness that Nicole realized she had been holding onto something that even her symbiont knew had passed her by. Even now, there was no time to dwell on it. They had a briefing to attend.

Nicole emerged from her assigned guest quarters to see Sofia doing the same. All Senior Officers, be them longtime members of the crew or more recently picked up along the way while in Romulan space, were ordered to report to the Observation Lounge. Following the visit from Commander Valentine, it was a foregone conclusion that both Dima and Andersson would be offered to remain on board the BASTET. This would prove to be another difficult decision for them to make, but if the last three months had revealed anything, it was that they were up to the challenge.

=-=
FLASHBACK
=-=

Setting: USS HATHOR, Sickbay
Stardate: 33004.0130 (109 days ago)

Following the presumed departure of the cloaked Romulan ship, things on board the HATHOR returned to normal, at least as normal as could be expected given that the Starfleet vessel and crew were stranded deep inside Romulan space after having lost one crew member and gained three others. The move from Captain Iverson to accept the three refugees as members of her crew, even if only temporarily, had helped make things a great deal easier, even if that decision was based on simple needs and necessity.

The mysterious Lieutenant Gemma had been put to work in the ship's Engineering section while Nicole and Sofia were assigned to help in the areas where they felt most comfortable in. Due to the compact layout of the HATHOR, the Doctor and Counselor were required to work out of the same room, a reality that created a unique work environment for them. Following the unexpected kiss shared by the two women, a sense of uncertainty had developed between them leading to odd looks and smiles being occasionally sent from one to the other.

Sofia took a moment to look more intently at the Trill woman who was reviewing the personnel record of the senior officers. As a Ship's Counselor, Dima needed to know everything she could about everyone, and in some ways, the physician hoped that her name was on that list, anywhere on it.  On her side of the quiet room, Nic casually held the PADD in her hands, not fully paying attention to the displayed information, memories of their incarceration and rescue continuing to invade her thoughts.

The room that Sofia and she were in now was a little larger than the cell they had shared, and although it was much warmer the proximity of the surrounding walls still managed to create this odd feeling of being trapped at times. However emotionally uncomfortable as this sensation was, Nicole could not help but acknowledge that the presence of the golden-haired woman was reassuring. Through all of the hardships they endured, they were here, alive and together.

"I'm hoping Gemma gets hurt," Sofia absentmindedly admitted causing Counselor to suddenly glare at the blonde Physician.

"What happened to your Hippocratic Oath?" the Trill asked, surprised and slightly amused, never having expected to hear such words coming from the sweet looking woman.

"I don't mean it that way," Sofia clarified. "I just hope that she gets a scratch or something that would force her to report here for medical attention. That would give me the chance to scan her. I have a medical dossier on every member of this crew except for her, and to be honest I am curious to see what hides beneath that secure controlled shell of hers."

"I would not mind having a look at her psychological profile," Nicole added, joining her friend's curiosity about the Intel operative. Just as she was about to continue to speculate about the mysterious woman who had secured their freedom, the door to Sickbay opened and Lieutenant Mitshiba walked in. The Asian woman visibly appeared tired from her many hours of work.

"I was not expecting to find you both here, but I am glad I did," the Science Officer announced. "I have a massive headache."

"What's the cause?" Nic asked, smiling because the Asian woman made her announcement to both the Doctor and Counselor at the same time.

"Sensor sweeps, trying to figure out how to give the Blink Device he coordinates to get us back home and learning that Commander Janeel is now on board a Romulan ship," Misaki replied before adding a long, drawn-out sigh.

"One of *those* headaches," Sofia grinned. "Let me see what I can find.”

“Thank you for your efforts, Lieutenant,” Nicole said, still grateful for the positive change in their situation. Regardless of how difficult their position was on the HATHOR, it was still tremendously better than prison.

“Aki,” Mitshiba added, returning the Trill’s warm demeanor.

"Here you go," Andersson said as she gently applied a hypospray against the Asian woman's neck. "That should be more than enough to ward off a sensor-induced headache. As for Commander Janeel now being on board a Romulan vessel, I think my partner here is better equipped to help you."

Nicole wondered exactly Sofia meant by using the word ‘partner’ to describe her. Lifetimes of experience told her this would require an in-depth analysis of the ship’s Doctor, but it was one that would have to wait until after Lieutenant Mitshiba's own issue was dealt with.

“I am worried… or rather, concerned, about Janeel,” Aki admitted.

“In what way? Are you concerned for her safety?”

“Not exactly. This whole event has given me the idea that she is possibly a Romulan spy,” Mitshiba reluctantly answered. It was unthinkable, but not outside the realm of possible outcomes.

Ensign Dima paused for a few seconds before responding. "I cannot tell you if she is or is not, but I can point out the facts as they were left following the departure of the Romulan ship. Commander Janeel could have easily given up the location of the HATHOR to the Romulans, and even provided them with the means to see through our cloaking device. Instead, she risked being discovered to send a message telling us that she was alive. This means that Admiral Koniki will be listing her as MIA with a possibility of her coming back or even trying to mount some rescue. I know that there is no proof for any of this, but had Janeel been a spy or if she had wanted to defect, it would have made sense for her to make sure the HATHOR was destroyed. That way, she would have been listed along with the other members of the crew as dead and no one would not be searching for her."

Misaki looked relieved. The logic used was elegant in its simplicity. "Thank you, that makes me feel a lot better. You are right, she could have revealed our exact position to them, and as tough as this ship is, we would not have been a match for that Romulan cruiser had it opened fire on us. Thank you both. I will make sure to tell Captain Iverson what you did here."  With a renewed bounce in her step, the Asian woman exited Sickbay, the issue of her headache dealt with better she could have hoped for.

Sofia found herself impressed with the way Nic had allayed Aki’s fears. **I guess that's why she’s the Counselor,** she thought before pausing for a moment. It was also the reason she felt so close to her.

=-=
END FLASHBACK
=-=

Setting:  USS BASTET, Corridor
Stardate: 33113.1545

Nicole made her way quietly to the Observation Lounge, her blue eyes adrift in thought. What she had always considered a temporary situation had turned into an opportunity. She wondered how Sofia was taking the idea. Would she decide to accept the offer? Even after working alongside the Doctor these past months, Dima was still unsure how much healing the woman had to do before being able to explore their feelings. The symbiont had been in love enough times to know there were no boundaries of race, gender, or species. Love was love. But Nic was genuinely concerned that the woman had developed a case of reverse Florence Nightingale syndrome, falling hard for Nicole only because she had bonded with her and helped her escape. She had acknowledged and validated Sofia’s presence when the rest of the universe had presumed she was dead. And while their friendship had been cemented in this shared experience, the Counselor’s mind knew that wouldn’t be enough of a foundation to build a relationship on unless she pushed Sofia to confront her demons and ensure she wasn’t just reaching for Nicole because she represented a safe haven to her, a choice of convenience rather than something more. Nicole had sacrificed the chance to be married in order to be joined with Dima. She had proven to herself that love was something she could do without and still be fulfilled. She wanted Sofia to have the same liberation from that constraint, so that whomever she chose as her mate, it was for all the best reasons.

=-=
A dual post by

Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

And

Susan Ledbetter

Cns
USS BASTET
M06-P005: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 01 - 1600 ("Special Research")
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"Special Research"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Feeling Guilty" / (BAS) "You Can't Go Home Again")
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Setting: USS BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 33113.1600

It didn't take long for the rest of the senior officers to trickle into the room following the arrival of Commander Valentine, and this included Ensign Andersson and Dima. Selene tried her best to gauge what the two women's answer would be before the question of their joining the crew was officially presented to them, but their thoughts and outward expression were visibly on other matters.  It seemed that they would have to wait for an answer, so once everyone was seated, Captain Iverson began the mission briefing.

"Following a quick meeting with Admiral Koniki to explain the situation that we are being asked to address, the BASTET is being deployed to the ZELLANI Sector, there, we will be meeting up with another vessel and investigate the strange trans-dimensional readings they have been analyzing for a few days now. Initial reports and data collected seem to indicate that the Lokustaar may be involved." A hush spread through the Observation Lounge at the mention of the nightmarish race, many of the officers present silently wishing that they had never dealt with them in the first place, let alone having to do so again.

"Guess that's what we get for being the resident experts on all things trans-dimensional," Lieutenant Mitshiba said in a dry tone that seemed to attempt to bridge sarcasm and pride.

"Actually," Selene began, sounding even more serious than she normally did, "it is our dealings and expertise with the Lokustaar that has made us indispensable to this mission. The trans-dimensional expertise belongs to the ship and crew that we will be joining up with."

"I thought we were the only ship in the Federation able to purposely travel to other dimensions?" Sarena gasped, stunned at the possibility of running into other Starfleet ships and crews while in a dimensional other than this one.

"We are," Captain Iverson confirmed, a faint grin appearing for a brief moment on her lips before vanishing as if it had never been there as a wave of confusion washed over the other members of the senior staff.

"The ship we are to rendezvous with is from another dimension," Gemma accurately theorized, one of the multiple personalities of the Intel Operative, one with a better understanding of science, had likely put the pieces of this puzzle together.

"With all of the parallel universes that are out there, it is easy to imagine that there are other Federation-like organizations that possess the same or even a better ability to travel to other dimensions as we do. Mathematically speaking, not every race can be like the Masters or the Lokustaar; bent on conquering every other dimension they come across," Misaki established, sounding rather relieved at the idea that there were allies out there to possibly help them against the likes of the two races she had just mentioned.

"The vessel belongs to the Galactic Alliance, a Federation-like group from a close parallel universe in which the exploration of the multi-verse and the expansion of scientific knowledge have taken the highest priority. No internal conflicts have been recorded in over three centuries in that dimensional."

"Now that's a place I would love to visit," Lieutenant Mitshiba cooed.

"Before we get underway," Captain Iverson began, bringing the meeting back on track. "There are some matters concerning the personnel on board the ship that I need to address. First, I am happy to announce that Lieutenant Gemma has been officially assigned to the position of Intel Liaison Officer for the BASTET. Having already proven her extensive range of skills, I was very pleased when Admiral Koniki informed me of this assignment. Next, as soon as we depart from NEW ALEXANDRIA, we will be heading for RELAY OUTPOST SIGMA 385 where we will take on board our new Flight Control Officer, Ensign Ashton Dean."

"Looks like the crew is filling up nicely, but we still have a couple of official vacancies on board the BASTET," Sarena teased as she glanced at Ensign Andersson and Dima knowing that the Captain would soon be presenting them with the question the First Officer had previously mentioned to them.

"Commander Valentine is correct, the positions of Chief Medical Officer and Ship's Counsellor are officially available," Selene specified looking directly at Sofia and Nicole. "I know that the decision may be a difficult one for either one of you to make at this time. I also understand that your allegiances may very well still be with your previous ships and crew, but we, meaning Sarena and I, hope that the last three months have shown you both the need we have as that you would be more than welcomed on the BASTET."

The gathered officers anxiously waited for the women's answer, the smiles and glances coming from the two women hinting as to what their reply would be, but again the universe decided not to make things easy for the crew of this particular vessel.

=/\= Koniki to Iverson. =/\=

"Go ahead Admiral," the Captain replied, easily picking up on the tone of urgency in the voice of the Admiral.

=/\= We have just received an emergency transmission from the USS HAWKINS, the ship that you are scheduled to meet in the ZELLANI Sector, they are asking for help. Since no other ship in the Federation is able to follow them should they need to leave by other means than normal propulsion, the BASTET is to leave NOW and reach them as quickly as possible. =/\=

"We are on our way," Selene stated as she quickly jumped to her feet while the other members of the senior staff rapidly followed suit.

"What about Ensign Dean?" Commander Valentine inquired, concerned as to what would happen to their new Flight Control Officer.

"RELAY OUTPOST SIGMA 385 is actually along the course we would normally follow to reach the ZELLANI Sector, it just means that he will be beamed on board with little advance warning," Captain Iverson explained.

"I have heard of near-warp transports from a ship to a stationary target like a planet or even another ship, but I have never heard of this being done the other way where someone is being beamed on board from a stationary location onto a ship jumping back to warp before the transport is completed." The Chief Science Officer said, openly voicing her concerns.

"The targeting sensors will need to be carefully calibrated and tied in with the warp controls, not to mention that the transporter pattern buffer will need to be modified to accommodate the sudden phase shift in the matter stream as the ship jumps back to faster-than-light speed," Gemma stated, looking at Doctor Andersson, the Chief Medical Officer normally being the one who would need to supervise this task.

Sofia glanced at Nicole as neither one of them had given their official answer to joining the crew, and yet they seemed to be forced into a situation where their actions would provide whatever reply the Commanding Officer of the BASTET, as well as the rest of the crew, were waiting for.

"I am no expert on transporter systems," Doctor Andersson admitted after a few seconds of hesitation.

"I will assist," Gemma stated without delay, the woman clearly being one of action over words.

"I better start researching possible psychological effects for someone undergoing such a transport, not that I am expecting to find a great deal of material on that subject, but there might be some theoretical medical papers out there that I can start with," Nicole added. "One of my previous hosts might have a few additional ideas as to where I might find material on this."

Captain Iverson was known for not being big on letting her emotions show, but following what she had just heard, the Commanding Officer of the USS BASTET allowed a smile to appear, a display that was witnessed by everyone present officially dispelling the thoughts some had about the woman being physically incapable to do as she had just done.

"Report to your stations and let's go. We have a Flight Control Officer to pick up and a ship to rendezvous with, all to be done as quickly as possible," Selene said ushering everyone out of the Observation Lounge.

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1630

The BASTET had likely set a new record in regards to how quickly it departed from the secret Intel base. Luckily, the ship was relatively small and nimble allowing it to sneak through the massive space doors before they were fully opened. Now out of the asteroid field near the GIZA Nebula, the ship was traveling at maximum warp speed with the crew on route for RELAY OUTPOST SIGMA 385 which they would reach in just under four hours.

Once Ensign Ashton Dean was on board, their next stop would be at the ZELLANI Sector where hopefully the USS HAWKING would still be there.

---
Jessica Solarik

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

&

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

"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)
M06-P006: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 01 - 1730 ("Like No Other")
"Like No Other"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Feeling Guilty" & (BAS) "Special Research"

///^\\\
Setting: USS HATHOR, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1730

With three hours or so before the BASTET would reach RELAY OUTPOST SIGMA 385, Aki decided to find out as much as she could about this USS HAWKING. Of course, such a search could not be conducted through the regular channels as the vessel in question belonged to the Galactic Alliance, a claimed scientific powerhouse located in another plane of the multiverse. The first question on the mind of the CSciO was whether or not the ship was named in honor of the famed 21st-century scientist who, amongst other things, had established the foundation of black hole mechanics.

In his life, Dr. Stephen Hawking was considered a genius and a man able to see the universe like few others could. Although not required reading at the Academy, many first-year cadets with a course load in science made a point to read 'A Brief History of Time' as it provided some unique insights into the way the universe functions. Discussing the content of the book also proved to be a good way for the cadets to start conversations that could lead to some of the more theoretical aspects of the space and their own existence.

Could there have been another Stephen Hawking in that dimension, one who might not have been afflicted by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS as it was commonly referred to? It was hard for Aki to imagine the man in any other way than a wheelchair-bound scientist only able to communicate his thoughts and ideas, in his later years, through a primitive voice synthesizer. What kind of a man would he have been without all of the physical and social obstacles he overcame on a daily basis?  All of those questions and several more hung on the Asian woman's lips making her that much more anxious for the BASTET to reach the ZELLANI Sector.

This eagerness to reach the USS HAWKING was unfortunately tempered by the fact that their need to meet with the trans-dimensional vessel was brought on by an urgent call for help. Something was forced the visiting ship to this plane of existence to request assistance and Aki could only hope that they would be able to make it there before it was too late.

"Lieutenant Mitshiba," Commander Valentine said as the ExO came to stand behind the Asian woman. "Admiral Koniki was kind enough to forward the sensor telemetry from the HAWKING in the hope that it would help us understand what happened and for us to be in a better position to help once we get there. Could you review the data and give Captain Iverson and I your take on what we might be rushing into?"

"Of course Commander, I will get started on this right away," Aki said wasting no time to call up the computer file to her station. The first thing the CSciO noticed when the data appeared on her screens was the size of the file and the complexity of the data in contained. A fleet of research vessels, each equipped with a different type of sensor array would not have been able to compile what she was looking at. There was so much there that Mitshiba had no other choice but to start dismissing some of the data in order to make some sense of what would be left.

One by one, the layers of data were analyzed and considered as to their potential usefulness in figuring out what had happened to the HAWKING to have it send a call for help. As Aki made her way through the copious amount of data, she realized how much more advanced that ship's sensors had to be in comparison to their own. The claim of the Galactic Alliance being a science powerhouse appeared not to be an exaggeration, in fact, based on what the CSciO was looking at, the claim seemed to be quite understated.

What mysteries had their technology figured out? How much more advanced was this Galactic Alliance as compared to the Federation in not only the specific fields of astrology, astrophysics, and dimensional travels but also in the more general domains such as biology, exobiology, and countless others. The possibilities were endless as Aki considered the scope of having such an organization dedicated to the advancement of all sciences.  The more Aki thought about this, the more she had to concede that the ship they were rushing to meet had indeed been named in honor of Stephen Hawking, a man whose influence had likely help shape not only the Galactic Alliance but the whole of their dimension.

A few simple questions would possibly confirm this, but for the moment, understanding what had caused the USS HAWKING to send the message needed to be the CSciO's top and only priority. Wish a renewed drive to get to the bottom of this mystery, Aki focused on the most basic data, trying to isolate something that might give her an idea as to what was happening.

It was when she noticed a quantum bias in an area of space near the HAWKING that Aki figured she had discovered what the cause of the urgent call was. According to the sensor data, a highly focussed breach in the fabric of space-time had formed less than a kilometer from the ship and was now being contained by a gravitational field that effectively stopped it from expanding.  By the looks of things the trans-dimensional research vessel was not in any immediate danger, but it could not move from its current location in the ZELLANI Sector and risk the breach expanding beyond anyone's ability to stop it.

With that figured out, all that Aki needed to do now was to figure out what had caused this quantum bias in the fabric of space-time, how to reverse the process and figure out if this was an isolated natural phenomenon or if it was something purposefully created. Since Admiral Koniki had mentioned the possible involvement of the Lokustaar in this, it made sense for the CSciO to consider the possibility that this was yet another way for the nightmarish race to seek to get a foothold in this dimension. If this was the cases as suspected, Mitshiba was glad that the HAWKING was there to help, certain that the ship would, like its namesake, be far more than it appeared to be.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P007: USS BASTET: Dean: Day 01 - 1630 ("Scrambler")
“Scrambler”
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Feeling Guilty" / (BAS) “Like No Other”)

Setting: RELAY OUTPOST GAMMA 385 - BASTET
Stardate: 33113.1630

Ashton was in the holodeck version of the BASTET when an emergency transmission from the actual BASTET came in.

=/\=BASTET to Dean. Be ready to transport immediately. We will not be stopping at the base. You must transport in to the ship in flight. =/\=

"But that is against protocol and extremely dangerous."

=/\=ETA 20 min, you have your orders. BASTET out =/\=

“What the hell? Their going to kill my family before I even report to the damn ship.” Aston left the holodeck at a run and headed to his quarters he was angry, concerned, and focused. How can he subject his daughters to this, but he had no one to leave them with so he had to put them through this. 

“Thanks Za we are about to depart on to the BASTET. I need you to take the 3 bags to the transporter room. Tell them we will be there in 5 minutes.”

“Sure,” she replied confused but hearing the tension in his voice did not question him further.

“Girls lets go. It’s time to go to our new ship.” They jumped up and started bouncing ready to go, but now the hard part. The only way they will make it through a near warp transport is asleep and to do that he will have to sedate them. “Before we go we are going to have some chocolate milk to celebrate it may be a few hours before we get there so you need something now,” he said moving to the replicator. He ordered up 3 kid size chocolate milks. Then he manually ordered 2 doses of mild sedative and added one to each girls drink before handing them the cup and bottle. “Here you go. Just like the big people. Like this tap it to daddy’s cup,” he explained holding out his up and moving Cordelias bottle filled hand to tap his cup. Tristan did the same and then they all drank the milk. As Ashton took the empty items to the replicator the room got quiet. He turned to find them curled up on the floor asleep. Carefully he put Tristan on the couch then he picked up Cordelia from the floor. Once he was standing and had her secure he carefully lifted Tristan with his right arm. “This is easier with weight bags. No pressure if you drop those,” he said to himself as he steadied himself before heading out to the transporter room.

"Dean to Ops."

=/\= Ops, are you ok Sir? You sound out of breath. =/\=

"Fine, just in a hurry. I need the best transporter operator on station in the transporter room now."

=/\= Understood we received the transport order from the BASTET. Lt. K’tana is waiting your arrival.=/\=

"Good," Ashton replied making the final turn to the transporter room.

“Let me help,” K’tana said stepping from behind the transporter console. Ashton gladly let her take Tristan. "Place her on the pad 2,” he said more firmed than intended. K’tana did take offense, his stress was understandable in this situation. Ashton gently placed Cordelia on pad 4 before joining K’tana at the console. 

“Make sure you triple check their patterns in the buffer.”

“Already working it. Ensign you must take your place. They will be here any minute. At last transmission they were 10 minutes out traveling at max warp.” Ashton took his place on pad 1. 

"Ops open a channel to the BASTET."

=/\= Channel opened.=/\= 

"Ensign Dean and family ready to transport," he said masking his anxiety about the danger.

=/\= Standby,=/\= Captain Iverson replied

On the BASTET the transporter room air was thick with tension as the controller made the final configurations for the fly by transport of not one, which is dangerous enough but now it’s three people. 

_____________________________________________________________________
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1650

“Prepare to drop out of warp. Transporter standby. Engineering are the warp and transporter controls synced?” Iverson asked.

=/\= Aye sir. =/\=

“Transporter mark 5, 4, 3 , 2, now,” Iverson commanded. With that the transporter operator started the transport. As soon as he started the process the ship instantly dropped from warp. On the base Ashton, the girls and their bags shimmered and began to transport. Seconds later he felt a jolt last the ship jumped back to max warp. On the BASTET the transporter controller activated and immediately deactivated the process.

_____________________________________________________________________
Setting: USS BASTET, Transporter Room
Stardate: 33113.1651

Seconds later Ashton, Tristan, Cordelia, and their bags appear on the BASTET. Ashton immediately collapsed to the pad floor. Dr. Andersson immediately was at his side, but he waved her off. “I’m fine. Just a little dizzy. Check the girls. I sedated them before the trip so they should be fine, but make sure.”  The doctor move to the sleeping girls and checked them with the tircorder. “All vitals are normal.” 

“Thanks doctor. Can someone show us to our quarters? I will get them situated quickly and then report to the captain.”

“Of course,” Andersson said motioning to the crewmen standing by.  Ashton picked up Cordelia while Ensign Vance picked up Tristan and led the way. An crewman carried the three bags and followed them to the Dean quarters. 

“Just put her on the couch Ensign. Thanks for the help. Crewman just drop the bags by the door,” Ashton said. As the two men left Ashton took in the surroundings and noticed there were two main rooms and a bathroom. In the corner of the bedroom area a twin bed had been placed along the wall. He laid Cordelia on the bed near the wall and she immediately turned on her side facing it and continued sleeping soundly. Then he carried Tristan to the room and put her in the bed with Cordelia tucking the blankets in around them. He then quickly pulled a PADD from his bag, tapped a few commands activating a holographic woman. 

“Greetings Ensign. It’s been a while,” she smiled. She appeared to be in her 50’s with a British accent. 

“Hello Nanny Emma. No time for catching up. As you can see we are not on the station any longer. This is our new home and I have to report to duty asap. The girls are asleep in there. I had to sedate them for the trip so they should be out for several hours. Please take care of them.”

“Of course. Always sir. Don’t worry about a thing they will be in good hands,” she smiled. 

“Thank you. I must go,” he said quickly leaving. 

_____________________________________________________________________
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1700

The doors to the turbo lift opened and Ashton stepped out taking in the real BASTET bridge for the first time. He quickly scanned the room, located Captain Iverson. “Ensign Ashton Dean reporting for duty,” he said standing at attention.

“Good to have you aboard. You seem no worse for ware after your transport.”

“Shaken, but fine sir ready for duty,” he said confidently hiding the splitting headache that was pounding in his temples. 

“Did your children fair as well?” She asked.

“They are doing fine sir. I sedated them before the trip so they slept through it. I have a trusted holo-nanny with them now,” he said taking his place at helm. 

“I look forward to meeting them once this is all over,” Iverson added. “We should reach the HAWKING in thirty minutes. All stations be ready.”

The buzz of activity quickly resumed as all stations returned to their preparations. Ashton checked his systems and made sure all was well. “Glad I did all the prep in the holodeck bridge,” he said to himself wishing he had taken something for his headache before reporting to duty. 

_____________________________________________________________________
Leigh Rachal

Chief Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P008: USS BASTET: Andersson: Day 01 - 1710 ("Small Unexpectednesses")
=-=
"Small Unexpectednesses"
[previous post was (ANU) "Feeling Guilty" by Jayson / (BAS) "Scrambler" by Leigh]
=-=

Setting: USS HATHOR, Corridor
Stardate: 33113.1710

The near-warp transport went better than could have been expected, mostly because everyone involved in this neck-breaker stunt did everything hey could think of to make sure nothing bad would happen. Sofia had to give credit to Ensign Dean for his quick thinking in putting his daughters to sleep for the transport. Not only had this saved them from any potential psychological trauma, but it had also greatly reduced the negative physical effects that could have presented themselves.

That said, and although the initial medical scan had not revealed any problems in their two youngest guests on board the BASTET, Doctor Andersson wanted to make sure that she had not missed anything. A near-warp transport like the one that had just been accomplished would have been hard enough on an adult, so Sofia could only guess as to how it might affect the new Ensign's daughters. Another reason for the physician to act this way was that, as a Doctor in Starfleet, she rarely had the chance to examine and take care of children.  Maybe it was her motherly instincts kicking in, or simply an overly developed need for the Doctor to make sure everyone under her care on board this new ship of hers was in the best possible health as could be.

Having confirmed with the computer the location of the two little ones, Doctor Andersson made her way to the quarters of Ensign Dean, certain that the man would not object to the Ship's CMO checking up on them. Life on board a starship was hectic enough but on board a vessel such as the BASTET, it was nice to not have to worry about more than was strictly required.

Not expecting anyone other than the two sleeping kiddies to be inside the quarters, Doctor Andersson used her medical access privileges to gain access within. Sofia nearly screamed in fright when she noticed someone standing in the room where the girls were, the middle-aged woman not appearing like anyone the CMO knew.

"Please identify yourself," the woman politely yet sternly asked, her British accent only adding to the perception that whoever that woman was, meant business.

"I am Doctor Sofia Andersson, Chief Medical Officer on board the BASTET," the physician softly replied not wanting to wake the girls she had come to check up on. "I just wanted to make sure that Ensign Dean's daughters were alright."

"Establishing a link to ship's personnel roster," the woman announced hinting that she was more than she appeared. "Confirmed, you are listed as this ship's CMO."

"Since no one else other than Ensign Dean and his daughters was brought on board from RELAY OUTPOST GAMMA 385, I am guessing that you are a holographic program."

"My name is Nammy Emma and I am tasked with watching and tending to the children's needs while Ensign Dean is working or otherwise occupied," the woman explained, confirming the physician's suspicions.

"I had heard of such holographic programs, but never actually saw one until now," Sofia smiled. "It is nice to meet you. If you would permit, I would like to run a few more medical scans on the children, and I promise not to wake them."

"You may proceed," the holographic woman politely said, her British accent making Sofia smile. Somehow, the sound of the nanny's voice seemed to perfectly lend itself to the role the photonic creation was meant to perform, making Emma that much more the perfect person to be here at this time.

Carefully, quietly, Doctor Andersson made her way to the double bed, the already opened tricorder firmly in her hand and set on mute. "Who do we have here?" Sofia asked the nearest sleeping girl, just wanting to address her young patient in case the child could actually hear her.

"That is Cordelias," Nanny Emma stated. "Her sister is named Tristan."

The initial medical scan Sofia took in the transporter room had established that the near-warp transport had not caused any obvious medical issues, but now the CMO was more interested in making sure that both girls were in as good health as possible.  "Such sweet little angels," Doctor Andersson whispered as her tricorder moved from one resting child to the next.  Once her scan was completed, the physician turned to face the holographic woman. "You can report back to Ensign Dean that I performed a more thorough examination and that both of his girls are in perfect health. It would appear that he is doing very well in being both a Starfleet officer and a father."

"I am sure that he will be pleased with your report Doctor," Emma noted.

"If there are any issues, don't hesitate to call me," Sofia offered. "One would think that with roughly 325 souls on board this vessel, I would be busy, but so far things have been quiet, not that I am complaining."

"Thank you, Doctor," the British woman said, making it evident that the physician had been dismissed as the purpose of her visit had been accomplished and her services were not required at this time.

=-=
Setting: USS HATHOR, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1725

Nicole was standing in the corner of the room, slightly out of the way, taking care of a few things when Sofia returned. As a Ship's Counselor, the woman was by default required to be observant and as a joint Trill Dima had a great deal of experience to fall back upon to help make sense of those faint signs people constantly projected. In this case, the CNS noted something very *motherly* about the CMO, something that made her smile just as much as it concerned her.

Some vessels within Starfleet were officially designated as 'family ships', their mission dealing far more with basic diplomatic journeys or travels to the inner worlds of the Federation. The mission profile of the BASTET, on the other hand, saw the ship travel to the edge of known space and time, going as far as into other dimensions when needed. This could prove to be very difficult for the children and their father as well as anyone who would grow attached to the newest and youngest members of the crew. Keeping a certain professional distance was already hard enough, but to do so with two innocent little girls would most certainly prove to be a challenge for many, and by the looks of things Doctor Andersson would be the first one to have to deal with such a difficult task.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M06-P009: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 1730 ("Urgent Rendezvous")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Urgent Rendezvous"
[previous post ((ANU) " Pre-Counseling Session" / (BAS) " Small Unexpectednesses ")]

Setting:  USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1730

"There she is," Lt. Mitshiba announced from the science station, referring to the USS HAWKING, which was now visible on the large forward screen. "She could easily pass as a Federation vessel, even with her larger size and the odd configuration of those Bussard collectors. We would be hard-pressed to figure out that the vessel came from another dimension instead of being a class of ship that we had never heard of before now had we not been told about her first."

"I agree, although I will say that she does look to be on the rather sleek side of things for a trans-dimensional research vessel," the Executive Officer added. "I have to admit that I am impressed by the outer appearance and am curious to see what the inside is like."

"Being sleek must be an unspoken rule for the external design of ships traveling to and from other dimensions," Captain Iverson shot back, the usually stoic woman sounding a little slighted by the comment made by Commander Valentine as if the HAWKING somehow had proven itself to be nicer or better than the BASTET. "Helm, bring us to 10,000 kilometers from them and hold position there. Lt. Mitshiba, run a full sensor sweep of the area and confirm the information we Admiral Koniki supplied. I want to know what it is that we are dealing with."

"Captain, I can already confirm the telemetry we received earlier," the CSciO immediately said. "Sensors are picking up the presence of several quantum biases in the fabric of space-time around the USS HAWKING. Sensors are also showing high energy beams being directed from the ship to those breaches creating some sort of barrier stopping them from expanding more than they already have."

"Looks like they have everything under control," Sarena noted, sounding even more impressed by the ship that until less than a minute ago they knew nothing about other than its name. "So why send us here with such urgency?"

"I might be able to answer that question as well," Mitshiba said. "I am counting 14 high-energy beams directed at different locations around the HAWKING. It appears that something or someone is trying to turn this part of the ZELLANI Sector into Swiss cheese and that ship is doing everything it can to make sure it does not happen. The problem though is that based on these readings, this is requiring every bit of power the ship has. The current power out up is off the scale. Most vessels within Starfleet would not have been able to maintain that power output for more than a few minutes without risking a complete system's failure or worse a warp-core breach."

"Captain," Ensign Dean joined in having picked up on something else. "It is barely noticeable, but that ship is slipping to one side, not a lot mind you, but they are moving at a rate of about 1 centimeter every 20 or so seconds to their port side. My guess is that there is some sort of undetectable gravitational effect caused by the interaction of those energy beams and the breaches in space-time."

"It would explain why they have not tried to make contact with us," Sarena proposed. "They are too busy trying to keep their ship from slipping too far off the center to acknowledge our presence. Those high-energy beams must have a limited range and the HAWKING needs to stay in the middle of those breaches in order to contain them all at the same time. That would be more than a reason for them to ask for urgent help."

"Helm, try to open a comm channel with that ship and get us in closer so that we can offer some help, but stay clear of those breaches, the last thing we need is for us to get dragged into one of them or collide with those energy beams," Captain Iverson ordered before turning to her Executive Officer. "Options as to our best course of action to help?"

"We could try and match the specifications of those energy beams and target a few of the breaches in order to maintain them from expanding. Theoretically, this should allow the HAWKING to use more of its power to hold its position while attending to the remaining space-time breaches," the Executive Officer suggested.

"Forget the fact that I am not entirely sure that we could match those high-energy beams based on these readings, especially not on such a short notice. From the looks of thing, there is some sort of dimensional resonance field surrounding both the beams and the targeted area of space-time. I also have no idea as to what kind of problems trying to do this might cause with our own power distribution system not to mention the D-Drive," Mitshiba explained. As much as she wanted to help the HAWKING, the CSciO was not sure that they could do so as mentioned by Sarena.

"Captain, if I may?" The ILO asked, the woman who had remained silent to this point evidently having an idea of her own. "It may take too long for us to research and properly modulate our emitters to match those energy beams, but we could direct a simple power transfer beam directly at the HAWKING. We could start with just enough power to let them know what it is we are trying to do and make sure that the power is compatible with their system, which it should. When we have confirmation that they are actually able to use that power to supplement their own, we gradually crank up the juice to the maximum we can safely manage which will provide them with everything we can give without risking our getting underfoot."

"That sounds like a plan," Iverson noted with optimism. "Lt. Gemma, please report to Main Engineering and help set up this power transfer as quickly as possible, in the meantime, we will continue with our attempts to hail them and see if there is another way that we might be able to assist in case our first option proves to be ineffective."

Sarena glanced at the Captain for a brief moment. In a situation such as this, the ILO would normally be required to remain on the command deck and offer whatever insight they might have, but the Executive Officer could understand why the Captain had made the request she did. While on the HATHOR, Gemma had proven herself more than capable in the area of Engineering, and right now, those skills would be far more needed than those of an Intel Operative would.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M06-P010: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 01 - 1800 ("Sneaking In Closer")
"Sneaking In Closer"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Bruised Ego" & (BAS) "Urgent Rendezvous"

///^\\\
Setting: USS HATHOR, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1800

Aki was glad that Gemma had agreed with her. Trying to match the specifications of the energy beams from the HAWKING would have required much more time than they had available especially when considering the dimensional resonance field that surrounded both the beam and targeted area. Had it not been for the BASTET being equipped for trans-dimensional travels, it would have been very likely that any other ship in the fleet would have failed to notice this aspect of the beams. What the CSciO needed to do now was to try and figure out why those resonances had been there in the first place and what purpose they served. It was a shame that all attempt at communicating with the other ship had so far failed.

While working on that aspect of her research, Aki was also keeping a close eye on the location of the breaches being contained by the HAWKIN, trying as best she could to understand why they were there in the first place. With so many of them in such a small region of space, it was hard to believe that they were dealing with a naturally occurring phenomenon. One such breach would have been rare to encounter, but over a dozen was mathematically impossible. This, of course, left the question as to who was creating them and why? The first theory and the one that no one wanted to be true was that the Lokustaar were once again trying to open some sort of gateway between their dimension and this one. On CAIT, their effort to establish a foothold on the planet with ground troops had failed thanks to the intervention of the BASTET and its crew. By the looks of things, it seemed that the same ship and crew were setting themselves up for a repeat confrontation, this time in the wide-open void of the ZELLANI Sector.

"We are getting awfully close to one of those dimensional breaches," Aki announced wide-eyed, noticing the distance between them shrinking at an alarming rate.

"No worries," Ashton said in a calm and focused voice, the hands of the FCO moving across the controls as if he had been doing this for years. "Those rift in the fabric of space-time may show to have a low gravitational field but their pull increased exponentially the closer you get to them. I am trying to find that sweet spot that will allow us to not have to use all of our power just to avoid being dragged inside them."

"Sensors show the breaches to be no larger and a meter or so," the CSciO specified, emphasizing the physical problem they faced of having a ship the size of the BASTET being forced through an opening barely large enough for a single humanoid.

"I know," the FCO quietly muttered, "that's why I'm trying to make sure we don't turn the ship into a space pinball. If I apply too much power to pull us away from that breach, we might end up caught in the gravitational pull of any of the others, and with our added momentum there might not be a way to break free."

Aki glanced over her shoulder at the Captain and First Officer. As nervous as they might appear to be, both women seemed confident in their new FCO to do what was required to keep the ship and its crew safe. The tension on the bridge was palpable as all eyes were on the main view screen, which showed the breach growing gradually ever closer. A shared sigh of relief was heard when the image of the rift in space-time stopped moving closer and started to move away.

"Got it," Ashton said sounding just as relieved as the other officers on the bridge did. "Check the sensor readings on the axis of the gravitational pulls of those breaches, I have the feeling you will find that they are not spherically uniform."

"Confirmed," Aki said after a few seconds, now able to get much more precise sensor readings of the breach that the BASTET had just flown next to. "The gravitational pull from the breach we just passed is linear and unidirectional, something that is impossible for any naturally occurring phenomenon. There is no doubt that we are dealing with artificially created dimensional rifts in the fabric of space-time."

"That is not good news," Commander Valentine offered, not finding Mitshiba's report to be overly encouraging as this confirmed that they were dealing with a more than likely hostile force.

"Actually, it might be," Aki stated in return. "The fact that we now know that the gravitational pull of these breaches is linear makes them easier to be disrupted. If we apply an inverse gravitational wave at a perpendicular angle, the HAWKING should, in theory, be able to break free and reposition itself to ensure that it no longer is being pulled."

"Get started on that inversed gravitational wave," Captain Iverson ordered. "Helm, bring us on a perpendicular course to the gravitational line of the closest breach. Let's see if we can help the HAWKING get out before it is pulled too far to contain the breaches located on the other side."

"Always wanted to fly a ship through the eye of a needle while risking being pulled apart by gravitational lines," Ashton sighed. This was not what he had in mind when he was reassigned off RELAY OUTPOST GAMMA 385, but that said he had to admit that things were a lot more exciting here than they had ever been before on that station.

///^\\\ 
Setting: RELAY OUTPOST GAMMA 385, Guest Quarters
Stardate: 33113.1820

Mordana stood in the barely lit room, her dark eyes intently looking through the window, her attention focused on a very specific section of space known as the ZELLANI Sector. From where she was, there was nothing to see but some distant specs of lights, and yet the woman studied the area as if she was somehow aware of the two trans-dimensional vessels and their current struggle for survival.

Despite the distance separating them from her, it was evident that she knew of their presence and their battle against time. No expression could be seen that would betray her feelings or even her hopes as to the outcome of this single-sided confrontation. Those she worked for were ageless and patient, and no matter the result of this specific battle, their work to spread darkness and chaos through this dimension as it had in theirs would continue.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P011: USS BASTET: Gemma: Day 01 - 1825 ("Energy Transfer")
=-=
"Energy Transfer"
[previous post was (ANU) "Bruised Ego" / (BAS) "Sneaking In Closer"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Main Engineering
Stardate: 33113.1825

It was hard for Gemma to be here, on this ship, surrounded by so many others. Not that anyone would be able to see or pick up on her discomfort. She had learned long ago to hide her feelings and emotions as to not be betrayed by them. Her training had made sure to painfully point this out to her. Because of that, she became a loner, a person who found it difficult to be part of a team.

For as long as she could remember, she was alone, dealing with everyone else's nightmares. Her earliest memory was waking up on that cold examination table without a single piece of clothing on her. The only thing on her body was a bracelet around her wrist engraved with a single word. She had no recollection of the bracelet or the name that appeared on it. In fact, she remembered nothing prior to her waking up that day. The absence of any childhood memories, pleasant or otherwise had helped. It allowed her to detach herself from her work with a near Vulcan logic and efficiency.

Being a loner did not be that she was alone. There were many people she could count on when things got tough. Neri was always ready and willing to help and charm their way out of trouble. More often than not, she would lead them into trouble, but they always found a way out. Dalra could fly them out of any situation they found themselves in, no matter what it was. Winda could solve most problems they encountered and Anya could fight her way out of the others.  Those were just a few of the people Gemma could count on. The problem was that none of them could help her be a member of a team, as she needed to be.

Keeping busy was the best solution for her. In some dark corner of the ship's engineering section, she could be herself. Those she had relied on for so long would be there for her without judgment. They knew her as she knew them. Yshuni, Ema, and Fiinja did try to convince her that making friends could help. The Kotakian wanted to listen in on their conversations to see if anything useful might be said. The Oltharian wanted to sample the way of thinking of as many as she could. As for the Dinnaly bleeding heart, all she wanted was to help as many as she could in whatever was she could. With so many people by her side, why was it so hard for Gemma to be part of this crew?

"Lt. Gemma?" The imposing Oltharian male called out from one of the control panels. "Have you calibrated the power regulator for the energy transfer? I am still getting some spikes during the test runs."

"My apologies Commander," Gemma replied. The task would have already been done had it not been for Ema's infatuation for the Oltharian. Having so many people unsure as to what they needed to do was becoming a problem for the ILO.

"I was just making sure of a few things," Gabrielle followed. As a saboteur, the blonde-haired human was the one with the greatest working knowledge of engineering. Ironically, she was working on the opposite of what she had become an expert in. "We have no idea of the power frequency being used on the HAWKING. So, we need to make the transfer be as clean as possible. Any type of unexpected frequency oscillation could create a feedback in their power system. For all we know, it could cripple the ship or even cause it to explode."

"A very dark though but one that I am sure the Captain will appreciate you considering," Elan said. As an Engineer himself, the Oltharian was not used to thinking of things blowing up. As a saboteur though, such thoughts were usually the first thing on Gabrielle's mind.  "As soon as this power transfer is established and working, I would like for you to report to Sickbay. Your voice has changed again and I am concerned that you may be working yourself to illness."

Gabrielle could feel Ema wanting to step forward. Her admiration for the man growing with every word he spoke. Like her, Elan was a kind soul, a being concerned for the well-being of others. Letting the two of them chat would be something interesting to witness, but now was not the time.  "As soon as this is done and our situation secured, I will go and see Doctor Andersson. Before that though, we need to make sure this energy transfer helps the HAWKING in dealing with those breaches."

"I am ready for the first live test," the Oltharian announced. "The HAWKING's core, at least as close to it as we can, has been targeted. We can try a 5 percent transfer as soon as you give the word."

Gabrielle checked her work once again. Everything appeared to be wrong, at least for what she was used to looking for. All readings were in the green and the computer was programmed to make sure they stayed that way. The energy flow had been made to be as straightforward and clean as could be. This would make sure that the other ship would not suffer any problems should the energy be incompatible with their system. As a saboteur, she had done everything wrong, but that was not the role she needed to play here. "Everything checks out, you may engage the power transfer."

Slowly, the indicators came alive and Gabrielle found herself wavering between pride and shame. The energy transfer was working and the HAWKING was accepting the extra power provided without issues. To an engineer, this was a moment of pride in a job well done. However, that was not who she was, or at least the person she had been before now.

"Increasing power transfer to 50% of our capacity," the Oltharian announced. "Sensors are not picking up any feedback or energy bleed. We are looking at a perfect transfer. Well done Lieutenant, it would appear that your diligence has paid off."

"Thank you," Gemma replied, Gabrielle having stepped back to wallow in her shame. It would take some time for the saboteur to get used to this, but in time, she would. Like the others Gemma had relied upon for so very long, they would learn to adapt to their new roles. For some, being part of the crew of the BASTET would be an easy task. For others, it would prove to be a daily challenge. For Gemma, it would be another situation for her to adjust to with the help of those who had been there with her from the start.

Returning to the primary work area of the department, the Gemma made her way to Elan. The Oltharian appeared very pleased with the way things were going. The indicators were showing the power transfer at 75% of maximum capacity and still increasing. No feedback was being detected from the HAWKING, which was taking in every drop of extra energy that was being supplied.

"As delicate as the situation may be," Elan began. "I would like for you to report to Sickbay now. If things should get rough, we will need you here at your best. Right now, the energy transfer is proceeding without any problems. This may be the best time for you to take care of this. We may not get another chance for quite some time once the breaches are taken care of.

Gemma wanted to argue the order, not that it was an order. The Oltharian had been nice enough to make it a polite suggestion. Of course, this meant that the ILO could feel Ema swooning even more over the giant. In order to avoid a scene, the woman agreed to do as she had been requested. The CMO would find nothing wrong with her, they never did. The only thing that would be accomplished by this would be to ease Elan's worries. After that, they would all be able to get back to work, help the HAWKING. From there, they would deal with figuring out who and what created these breaches. The answer to that would dictate their next course of action.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M06-P012: USS BASTET: Dima: Day 01 - 1845 ("Memory Lanes")
“Memory Lanes”
[previous post was (ANU) "Bruised Ego" / (BAS) "Energy Transfer"]

=/\=

Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 5, Counseling Department
Stardate: 33113.1845

After the mission briefing, Nicole had quietly and unassumingly accepted Captain Iverson’s offer. She had discovered that Sofia had also agreed to her new position. Now, what felt like a very short time later, they were in the midst of the ZELLANI sector, assisting a ship from another dimension, a vessel named after a distinguished scientist, a man most likely revered in multiple universes.

While Nic had no appointments scheduled, the console in her cozy office was active with displays. The left side showed a real time feed from Aki’s science station on the Bridge, as they developed a way to give the HAWKING the much needed energy to shore up the breach in the fabric of space-time caused by something other than natural sources. The Counselor was by no means a scientist, but one of Dima’s hosts, Zaccarias, had been, and the stream of data fascinated the part of her that remembered.

It was easy to understand the heightened concerns that the Lokustaar were responsible for this attempted intrusion. That had yet to be proven, but if they could eventually communicate with the HAWKING, maybe their suspicions would be confirmed once and for all.

A trace of amusement crossed Nicole’s mind while thinking about the serious situation they were in. During the time that Richard Edgerton had controlled EARTH’S borders with a firm Neo-Essentialist hand, Nicole’s parents had demanded her return to TRILL, not willing to risk her safety as she finished her Academy training. She wondered what they might have thought if they knew where she was now. Would they have been hesitant to let her serve? Risk was an essential part of her vocation, and she decided it was better to continue to keep them as unaware as possible. Being joined with Dima before her official graduation and deployment helped her care less and less about what they wanted for her versus the life that she wanted for herself. She was still adjusting to that reality.

The other side of her desk displayed crew bios, both past and present, that needed to be reviewed. Intuition and experience could only go so far- and she wasn’t a mind reader. Discovering who these people were, and how their collective memories and journeys had brought them here was an integral part of being able to help and support them.

On the ANUBIS, she felt very natural and comfortable at Erik Morningstar’s side. But this new crew and command staff was different. She didn’t know where her place was among them. So she decided in her research to include the files of those who had transferred off the ship or been declared missing. While one person could never truly replace another, she might be able to understand the change in dynamic a little better. Being thrown into the BASTET, due to the consequences of the Blink Device, had left her unbalanced and feeling challenged and unsure of herself and her abilities.

There was Doctor Satella Bruxa, a Mikulak woman. Nicole was pleased to know the ANUBIS was finally getting a CMO due to being without one for a while. It appeared everyone in her immediate family was also a physician of some kind.  Her personnel file indicated she was headstrong and able to take charge, which in matters of life and death were important.

Next was Lieutenant JG Adriana Lopez, the Counselor. Among other things, she had survived the damage to a ship called the KROGEN before being rescued and assigned to the BASTET. Adversity had the ability to powerfully mold an individual, so clearly the Latina had impressive coping skills. She wondered if the woman was having as hard a time adjusting to her new home as Nicole was having aboard the BASTET.

With trepidation, she opened the file regarding Janeel, the ship’s previous ILO, now missing in action. It wasn’t a shock that the data there was scant and overly general at best. Nicole sighed. It seemed that ILO’s were enigmatic by nature. She’d learned much more about Shar’El from interacting with her than she ever had by looking at her service record, and knew the same would be true for Gemma. Her file, which was the first she tried to access when they came aboard the HATHOR, was the most lacking of all. Selene Iverson seemed to treat her as a Renaissance woman of sorts, and she had yet to disappoint in that regard. But Nicole sensed that Gemma was not completely comfortable in this role, or in the concept of working with others. The joined Trill would attempt to be more helpful in that arena.

Nicole then went back to Sofia Andersson’s records. After browsing Gemma’s nearly non-existent files, Dima had wanted to know more about her prison partner. She had read all the details but it painted such a bleak picture, that she didn’t feel that she was absorbing everything fully. But as she read the history again, it was still as difficult as it had been the first time.

Sofia had fallen for the false promises of the Neo-Essentialists, committing her time and energies to their cause, and ultimately taking some of the responsibility for being a tool towards the destruction of Paris. She was certainly far from alone; many had been drawn into the homespun words of that madman. She’d been tried and sentenced to serve as little more than a laborer, cleaning and clearing the ruins of the once famed City of Lights, while her family disowned her for her bad decisions. Her attempts to work with dignity and elevate her situation caught the attention of certain members of Starfleet, and she was given a position aboard the flagship PHOENIX. That should have been all the turnaround the blonde woman would have needed to put her life back on track. However, only a few months in, she was kidnapped and replaced by an impersonator working on behalf of the Romulan Empire, and nobody realized the switch until much later, when the operative was killed and the trail to the real Doctor Andersson was obscured. By this time Sofia had been beaten, tortured, and temporarily blinded. She had been forgotten and left for dead.

Nicole sipped the green tea with honey that had gone cold. It was no wonder Sofia carried strong feelings for her. Accidentally, the Counselor had been the first person to treat her kindly as they needed each other to survive. She hadn’t tied Sofia’s worth to her past or her present, she had only been humane to her as they worked through a supremely difficult situation. And while Nic only saw that as the right thing to do, it was uncommon in Sofia’s world, and special.

Sofia had done nothing but focus on the positive since their return from JDO-SHEN, but Nicole was worried she had simply denied her past instead of facing it head on. Dima would have to figure a way to bring up and reconcile Sofia’s past with her complete cooperation and awareness, so that she could really move forward without the ‘ghosts’ that continued to haunt her.

=/\=
Susan Ledbetter
Writing for

Cns
USS BASTET
M06-P013: USS BASTET: Andersson: Day 01 - 1850 ("Just Fine")
=-=
"Just Fine"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Imagination..." by Jayson / (BAS) "Memory Lanes" by Susan]
=-=

Setting: USS HATHOR, Sickbay
Stardate: 33113.1850

"Doctor Andersson?"

The call from Gemma brought the blonde-haired physician running out of her office expecting some sort of medical emergency, instead, Sofia found and unimpressed looking ILO standing in the entrance to Sickbay, just outside the door's sensor. "Please state the nature of the medical emergency," the CMO laughed, trying her best to make the standard welcoming line from the EMH sound more friendly and inviting.

"There is no medical emergency," Gemma said, the woman not appearing to have found the woman's attempt to humor amusing in the least.

"Just dropped by for a visit?" Sofia asked in a far more serious manner, making a mental note about how to deal with the ILO in the future.

"Lt. Cmdr. Fairborn asked me to report here and submit to a full medical examination. He is concerned that there may be something wrong with me because my voice slightly changed while I was working on a hard to reach engineering component as we increased the level of the power transfer to the HAWKING."

Sofia looked at the woman, tilting her head ever so slightly as she wondered if the ILO was actually a living person or one of those fancy androids. The way she stood and explained the situation had certainly tipped the balance on the side of the latter possibility as far as Doctor Andersson was concerned. "Wouldn't want to disappoint our resident gentle giant," the CMO said inviting the still unimpressed looking woman to step further into Sickbay and take a seat on the main examination bed.  "Any pains, aches, physical discomforts?"

"I am fine." Gemma's reply was blunt and lacking in any emotions further leaving Sofia to question if the woman was a living person or a simple machine, not that such a mechanical being would be simple in any way.

"I will be the judge of that," the physician shot back, trying to trigger some sort of response from her patient. Following the lack of any such reaction, Sofia sighed and thought that she would need to get Nic involved the next time Gemma came into Sickbay. "Let's start with a complete body scan, and then I can do a more thorough analysis of your vital organs and see how well they function."

The patient remained perfectly still as the computer ran the requested medical scan, the results of which were being displayed on the main diagnostic board. Sofia studied the results with great interest, trying to find something to use against the woman's earlier claim but Gemma had been right, she was fine, in fact, she was better than fine as every reading showed her to be in perfect health.

"You *are* fine," Sofia said sounding a little disappointed. "I mean, you are in perfect health. The medical scans did not pick up the slightest thing wrong with you. Every reading shows you to be as healthy as could be, maybe even more. Guess whatever intense training Intel Operatives suffer through and continue to practice helps to keep you in tip-top shape."

The cause for her excellent health was not the training she had endured or the years of struggling to stay a step ahead of those who hunted her for questioning or simply wanted to dispose of her. This gift of eternal health, which Gemma considered to be more of a curse at times, had been hers when she woke on that cold examination table somewhere in that fortress she came to call home. The laboratories of NEW ALEXANDRIA were her earliest memories and the empty containers once filled with nanites made it perfectly clear as to where this gift had come from.

The microscopic robots coursing through her body kept her alive even in the harshest and most inhospitable of environments. They allowed her to regenerate, healing even the most serious of wounds in hours, but most important they shielded her gift and curse from the rest of the world. Only Finnja, as a member of the Dinaali Medical elite, found this fascinating, everyone else considering it to be something that none of them could affect in any way.

Sofia was just about ready to dismiss Gemma when the readings on the main diagnostic board unexpected fluctuated. According to every piece of information available on the woman, the ILO was Human and the bio-readings confirmed that, but for a brief moment, the readings appeared to be those of a Dinaali woman. Of course, that could not be possible as there were no means for anyone to change their inner biology to such an extent in such a short period of time, so the Doctor had no other choice but to dismiss this as an instrument error.

"Is everything alright Doctor?" Gemma asked, having noticed with ease the blonde-haired woman's sudden confusion.

"Everything is fine," Sofia confirmed, her eyes glued to the diagnostic board in case the error would occur once more. "There was just a glitch in the information being displayed that made you appear to be Dinaali for a split second."

"It is possible that the power transfer to the HAWKING is causing some energy drains throughout the BASTET and its system. I will mention this to Lt. Cmdr. Fairborn who I am sure will dispatch someone to look into the matter and make any corrections or repairs that might be required."

Sofia accepted the woman's explanation without question. The lack of surprise on the ILO's part should not have been unexpected, but the CMO took it as a sign that the possible stated cause was as normal as could be. For a moment, Andersson wished that Dima was here, her expertise in reading people far better than that of the blonde physician, but since the Trill Counselor was not present, the Doctor had no other option but to accept the offered explanation as fact.

"Thank you," Andersson added. "I appreciate it as it would not be a good thing if the medical scanners began to show things that are not there. I am sure Captain Iverson would not appreciate being treated as a Vulcan or an Orion if she came down here with some injury."

"Although my interaction with the Captain has been limited, I suspect that she might actually find it a compliment if you treated her as a Vulcan," Gemma said sounding oddly enough as serious as could be.

"Maybe when I see her for her next physical, in the meantime it may be best to not rattle things too much," Sofia said with a grin still wishing that Nic had been here to listen in on the conversation in order to give her professional opinion on the ILO whom medically speaking was much more than just fine.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M06-P014: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 1920 ("Unexpected Surprise")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Unexpected Surprise"
[previous post ((ANU) "Imagintion Worse Than Nightmares" / (BAS) "Just Fine")]

Setting:  USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1920

An uneasy silence held the BASTET and its crew in a choke hold as the energy transfer continued. According to the ship's sensors, the HAWKING was using every nano-joule of energy being sent over but still, the other ship failed to acknowledge the help or even the arrival and presence of the second ship.

"The HAWKING is managing to hold position," Lt. Mitshiba reported. "It appears that the extra power being supplied has allowed them to counter being pulled into the breaches."

"Well, that's one small victory for us. The next step is for is us to open communications with the HAWKING," Commander Valentine said, glad to see that their efforts were helping, even if not as much as she might have liked.

"The gravitational effects of the breaches were nearly undetectable, so it is plausible that there is some external reason as to why we are unable to open a channel with them," Ensign Dean offered. "We believe that the cause for this silence is inside that ship, but what if it was external in origin? Maybe some sort of interference field generated by the HAWKING's efforts to keep those breaches from opening any more than they already have."

"Unlikely," the ILO said as she stepped onto the command deck following her physical examination in Sickbay. "Both the HAWKING and BASTET are equipped for trans-dimensional travel, which means that we have the instruments required to detect any such interference field or effect. Since we have not discovered anything in that regards, it is more likely that the reason why the HAWKING has not replied to our hails will be found on that ship."

"Could we add a modulated frequency communication signal to the energy transfer? If the HAWKING is as sophisticated as we believe it to be, they should pick up on the added signal and figure out that we are trying to find a way to communicate with them," Captian Iverson suggested relying on her gathered experience to come up with a simple solution that would have the best odds of success. "If we are dealing with a language issue, the signal might bridge the gap. If the problem is with their being unable to receive our signal through conventional means, this solution should also get around that."

"Simple and effective," Sarena said with a smile. "Now I know why you are the one sitting in that chair," she teased. "Lt. Gemma, Lt. Mitshiba, make it happen."

The two officers jumped into action with eagerness. This was not a complicated task but it was one that would require them to work together in order to ensure that the signal was properly modulated in order to be recognizable by the crew of the HAWKING.  As the ILO and CSciO labored on the task they had been given, the FCO continued to keep a diligent eye on the two ships and the energy beam linking them together.

"Bridge to Engineering, this is Ensign Dean, my instruments are showing a very weak, but equally strange oscillation emanating from the energy transfer beam to the HAWKING."

=/\= We are reading the same down here. Whatever is causing this feedback is coming from their end and I have no explanation as to why it just started. The beam was working perfectly up until a few seconds ago. =/\=

"Is this feedback posing any sort of danger to us?" Sarena asked, her concerns immediately going to the ship and crew. As willing as she was to help the HAWKING, the Executive Officer had not been ready to put the BASTET in more danger than it already was in to accomplish this.

"The energy emitters are not showing any negative effects from this feedback," Mitshiba reported, the CSciO having abandoned her with work the ILO in order to make sure that everything was alright with the energy transfer. "Actually, the frequency seems to be a perfect match as if they were trying to send a signal back to us very much along the same way we were about to try and communicate with them."

"Guess they had the same idea," Gemma noted. "They just beat us to the punch."

"They did a lot more than beat us to the punch," Misaki added. "Once you isolate the feedback, you get to see just how complex it is. This is not a simple communication signal; it actually appears to be a transporter pattern being sent back to us."

"That would be crazy," the ILO exclaimed. "Even if their transporter technology was way better than ours, the risk of the signal being degraded by the energy flow would make it almost a certainty that the biological pattern would be irreparably damaged."

"Well, whatever it is that they are beaming over, it's materializing on the bridge now," Mitshiba announced as all eyes locked on a faint shimmering effect that had just appeared in the middle of the command deck of the BASTET.

"We could terminate the energy transfer and stop this transport before it is completed," Sarena quickly suggested, fearing that whatever was being beamed over might proved to be dangerous to the crew.

"If the HAWKING wanted for us to stop the energy transfer or if they considered us to be a threat in any way, I doubt that they would have gone through all this trouble to end our assistance," Selene offered as a counter argument. "Let the transport sequence run its course."

With a mixture of nervousness and excitement, the gathered officers on the bridge watched as something began to appear in the shimmering lights of the transporter beam embedded into the energy transfer link.

"Bridge to Doctor Andersson, your presence may be required on the bridge," Iverson said after tapping her communicator, the sight that she and everyone else was seeing proving to be a little disconcerting.  Unlike a normal transport sequence which reconstitutes the body all at once, this one was working its way up from the feet up slowly enough for everyone to see the process take place.

"I might never again take a transporter for as long as I live," Ashton voiced, his sense of discomfort growing exponentially as more of the body of their unexpected guest appeared. The officers remained still and quiet as the process continued in at much slower rate than all of them would have liked it to be

"What's going on?" Sofia asked as she and Nicole rushed onto the bridge to see the lower half of a humanoid body standing in the middle of the bridge surrounded by a transporter beam.  "Whoever is in there is already dead. There is no way for the bio-matter to survive such a slow reconstitution."

"There is one way," Gemma noted. "The pattern being reconstituted inside that beam is not of a living person but of some sort of android.  If you look very closely into the beam, you can actually see some of the components as they appear. This is not a regular transporter sequence, it seems to be more of a remote assembly which explains why they were able to make the transfer and how whoever, or whatever this thing is will survive the process."

"Their ship's avatar?" Sarena asked of Selene, thinking back to the android on board the ANBUIS.

"That is a valid possibility or maybe it is actually a member of their crew," the Captain proposed. "For all we know, the crew of the HAWKING could be entirely made of artificial life forms. Since we know nothing of their dimension of origin, we could be facing a first contact situation with a completely robotic life form."

"That would add an interesting and completely unexpected aspect to this mission," Counselor Dima cooed, the prospect of being part of this first contact being something that she was very excited about.

Whatever fear the crew had suddenly turned to curiosity and wonder as the transport and reassembly sequence continued, allowing for more of the individual to be seen. All they could do was to wait and see who and what had beamed over to the BASTET in this most unexpected manner.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M06-P015: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 01 - 1945 ("A Better Understanding")
---
"A Better Understanding"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Black Fear" / (BAS) "Unexpected Surprise")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.1945

There was no denying it, witnessing the gradual materialization of the envoy from the HAWKING was a remarkable sight, and it was even more so when taking into account that the individual beaming on board the BASTET was some sort of robotic entity.  For a brief moment in time, the entire bridge crew had taken a break from their duties and responsibilities to gaze upon what many would come to qualify as a show the likes of which had never been seen.

"You have to admit that this is something special to see," Ensign Dean said, the new Flight Control Officer of the USS BASTET silently wishing that his girls had been there by his side to see this.

"The energy output of the transporter beam is nearly identical to our own," Lieutenant Mitshiba mused aloud proving that the Asian woman was a scientist no matter the situation. "This would confirm that they are using technology that is very similar to ours, but the way the beam is reassembling the matter stream is well beyond anything that we have ever thought possible. It would appear that the individual components are individually re-materialized before being inserted into their rightful position and I believe that they re even tested. This would hint that although they may be operating with similar tech as to ours, there are certain aspects of it that is more advanced."

"I think we already knew that just by the way the ship was able to maintain so many breaches from fully opening," Commander Valentine noted, sharing in the admiration of their Chief Science Officer.

"I am curious to see how advance the personal interface is," Nic quietly offered, the Trill Counselor having a unique interest in the materializing mechanical being.

"By the looks of things you won't have long to wait," Sofia smiled. "The transport sequence is nearly completed and I do have to admit that I am impressed with what it is that I am seeing," the Chief Medical Officer added showing that her interest was slightly more on the physical side of things as the android appeared to be a recreation of a tall muscular man. 

All of the officers appeared excited to meet their guest with one glaring exception, Lieutenant Gemma, the BASTET's new Intelligence Liaison Officer seemed concerned, even apprehensive. The fact that some unexpected and uninvited being was beaming on board was troubling enough, but to see it become something that appeared to be more than a simple avatar was more than she cared for.

Expectantly, the officer watched as the very complex and greatly slowed down transport sequence ended. For a few seconds, the android remained motionless leaving Captain Iverson and the others unsure as to what to do next.

"Was there a problem with the transport?" Sarena suggested as a possible cause for the lifeless machine now standing on the command deck of their vessel.

"It might require undergoing a full system initialization following the transport sequence," Misaki offered as an alternate explanation. "It was just completely rebuilt piece by piece. Even our computer would need to reboot if we decided to beam it to another location and that without taking it apart in the process."

"According to my medical scans, which are not overly helpful in his case as we know it to be a 'him', I am not picking up any sorts of readings," Doctor Andersson added as she used that excuse to approach the imposing man.  "If we didn't know that he came from another dimension, I would be ready to bet that he has some Greek ancestry. He looks like one of those statues found in the museum in Athens.

"He's no deity," Gemma said almost growling in doing so. "To me, he appears more like a conquering demon."

"Why such a negative stance?" Commander Valentine asked. As much as she agreed with the fact that they knew nothing about the purpose of the android that had just been beamed over, and that caution was in their best interest, the First Officer could not understand why their new Intelligence Liaison Officer had been so apprehensive.

"I am sure Counselor Dima can explain it better than I," Gemma said glancing over at the Trill.

"Psychologically speaking, the avatar of a ship is normally made to be a female as they are more readily accepted by a crew," Nicole explained, figuring that this is what Gemma had meant. "The concept that women are considered to be friendlier and less confrontational is at the foundation of this idea. That said, we are dealing with a different culture, one that originated in another dimension, so there is no telling what base mentality was used here. We are not even sure that this android is the avatar for the HAWKING as it was suggested earlier that he could be just another member of their crew."

"If he is 'just another member of their crew'," Gemma repeated word for word matching the intonation used by the Counselor. "Why not send the least threatening looking member?"

"Gemma?" Sofia huffed. "It is not because he appears like Hercules that you have to be afraid of him."

It was at the precise moment that the android opened his eyes and gave the bridge and its occupants a quick scan. Doctor Andersson, despite her obvious admiration for the mechanical man, took several long steps back, just in case.

"Apologies for my unannounced and I am sure unexpected arrival," the android said, his voice not at all sounding mechanical or even alien. "My name is Samson and I was sent here from the HAWKING to relay information that is crucial to resolving the situation that we are currently in the middle of."

"Welcome aboard Samson, I am Captain Iverson, Commanding Officer of the BASTET," Selene said greeting the much taller android in as friendly a manner as she could. "This is Commander Valentine, my second in command, Lieutenant Mitshiba our Chief Science Officer, Ensign Dean our Flight Control Officer, Doctor Andersson our Chief Medical Officer, Counselor Dima and Lieutenant Gemma."

The android nodded his head, acknowledging the introductions by meeting the eyes of everyone mentioned before returning his attention to the Captain.  "If it would not be an inconvenience, I would like to brief you on the details of our situation. I would be more than happy to answer any and all of your questions after that."

"Of course, I understand," Iverson offered in reply. "Will our observation lounge be sufficient or do you require a more suitable location?"

"Whatever location best suits you and your officers," Samson replied. "I am able to adapt to any environment."

With a gesture of her hand, Captain Iverson invited their guest towards the observation lounge.

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 33113.2015

With the senior officers sitting at the table, Samson began the briefing immediately. "The HAWKING was on a survey mission when our sensors picked up a strange reading, some sort of a ship that barely registered on our instruments. As we maneuvered in closer to gather as much information as possible, the ship collided with what we can only surmise was the vessel in question causing a breach in our outer hull. As repairs were being made, the ship became caught in some sort of powerful collapsing energy field that we suspect was created by several unknown vessels, likely belonging to the same race as the one we were investigating. A quick analysis showed that any attempt to breach the energy field would result in our destruction, so with no other option available, the Captain ordered the ship to jump back to our own dimension."

"Something happened or you would not be here, in our dimension instead," Sarena proposed, anticipating the next part of the report from the muscular android.

"You are correct," Samson confirmed. "Engineering reported something interfering with our trans-dimensional drive and we ended our journey here. Before we could figure out what had happened, our instruments picked up a breach in the fabric of space-time that we suspected were attempts from one of the unknown ships to follow us. Although our systems, including ship-to-ship communications, were damaged by the collision and the failed dimensional jump, the HAWKING used all of its resources to stop the breach. Our initial goal was to seal it but when others appeared, we found ourselves in a situation that we could not win. The Captain decided to send out a general distress signal that would be specifically calibrating to only be received by someone also capable of dimensional travels. We were very pleased to see you when you did as our situation had degraded to our being drawn into the breaches which had been modified in an attempt to counter our efforts."

"That settles it, those breaches are not naturally occurring," Mitshiba noted.

"No, they are not," Samson agreed. "The race that created them meant to open a way to follow us. It is our theory that they were the ones that caused us to arrive here in your dimension, using our trail as a guide to open the breaches that we have been trying to keep closed with a reducing amount of success until your arrival. The extra energy you supplied was greatly appreciated and allowed the HAWKING to gain the upper hand, although we have no way to know how long this will last."

"Why is that?" Captain Iverson inquired. "Now that you have the upper hand, should you not be able to seal the breaches?"

"That is part of our problem as there appears to be something working against us from within our own vessel. We have not been able to detect anything, but we suspect that something used the outer hull breach to board the HAWKING and hinder our efforts to bring this situation to a close."

"Trans-dimensional beings with ship unable to be detected bent on reaching this one specific dimension over all others," Commander Valentine sighed looking at her Captain.

"Looks like the concerns and suspensions of the Admiral were correct," Selene nodded.

"We are dealing with the Lokustaar and by the sounds of things, there is one of them inside the HAWKING," Gemma added, sounding even less impressed than the two senior-most officers of the USS BASTET.

---
Setting: RELAY OUTPOST SIGMA 385, Guest Quarters
Stardate: 33113.2015

As an agent of the shadows, Mordana was tasked with keeping track of the progress of those she worked for. Her primary duty was to identify potential allies and relay information about any and all opposition they would encounter in the quest to gain a foothold in this dimension. From this small space station located in the middle of nowhere, she could coordinate the efforts of several regions at once.

Although Mordana was visibly alone in the unlit, shadow-filled room, she acted and spoke as if some unseen presence was there with her. Where many would have felt a sense of dreed or even fear, she felt perfectly at home, the cold darkness that surrounded her being the environment she felt most comfortable in.

"I am still waiting for a report from the HAWKING. All efforts to stop their interference has been unsuccessful and thanks to the arrival of the BASTET, it may prove that much more difficult for us to open a portal between the dimensions," the mysterious dark woman reported. "The only other worthy piece of information I have received is from the station in orbit of TAU OMEGA. It appears that we may be able to gain control of more resources from this dimension."

A reply which only Mordana could hear was given prompting the woman to continue.

"Of course, all efforts to gain control of the ship currently in orbit will be made. The orbital station is a good staging platform but the ANUBIS would prove to be a far more useful commodity for us to use. I will make sure that all efforts are made to secure it and its crew brought under our control as the personnel of the underground base were made to be.

---
Jessica Solarik

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

&

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

"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)
M06-P016: USS BASTET: Dean: Day 01 - 2030 ("First Danger")
“First Danger"
(Previous Post: (BAS) "A Better Understanding”)

Setting: USS BASTET, Dean's quarters
Stardate: 33113.2030

Ashton watched the girls playing on the floor and briefly debated his decision to bring them again. From what he gathered, the new threat was this Lokustaar race. **I want them to see their next birthday, preferably in this dimension and timeline,** he thought lovingly gazing onto his daughters. During the briefing, his concerns had multiplied faster than he could manage, and that led him to return to his quarters the moment the meeting with the envoy from the HAWKING had ended. There were so many things to think about, so many things to consider, and apparently, even more, to be fearful of.

Cordelia snapped him out of his thoughts and he spent the next hour playing with his girls before bedtime. After the longer than usual tuck-in he left Emily in charge and headed to the Mess Hall to see what he could find out about this new danger.

_____________________________________________________________________
Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 8, Mess Hall
Stardate: 33113.2130

Upon walking into the common area with a Spartan feel, Ashton saw Gemma nursing her dinner and thought she would be a good one to talk to about their situation. As the ship's ILO he figured that she would have the answers to his questions.

“Can I join you?”

“What?” She asked looking up distractedly. “Oh yeah I guess,” she said motioning to the seat.

“Thanks,” he said ignoring the tone. “I need to know about these Lokustaar you mentioned earlier. Who or what are they and how much danger are we in?”
_____________________________________________________________________
Leigh Rachal

Chief Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P017: USS BASTET: Gemma: Day 01 - 2130 ("Shadow Contemplations")
=-=
"Shadow Contemplations"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Black Fear" / (BAS) "First Danger"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Mess Hall
Stardate: 33113.2130

The moment the briefing ended, everyone rushed head first to work. Their goal was to help the HAWKING. At least that was the official statement that the Captain would claim. Gemma believed that for some, spending a little more time with Samson was the real goal of their efforts. Whatever their reason was though, it did not change anything. The Lokustaar were here and trying to get their claws into this dimension. That was the reason why she had come here, to gather her thoughts. The plate of food the ILO had replicated still sitting in front of her. The items on it having been moved around to the point of being nothing more than a single mess.

She knew little about this specific race, and then again so did everyone else. They were a mystery hiding in the shadows rarely making their presence known. Their primary objective seemed to be the creation of chaos by any means available. Admiral Koniki suspected that the Lokustaar were somehow involved in many political conflicts. The most notable being the rise to power of the head of the Neo-Essentialists, Richard Edgerton. A few clues were found to hint as to possible outside meddling in this unfortunate situation.  As hard as they searched through, nothing could link the race of walking shadows to what had taken place. Whoever was responsible the final result would be the same. Countless had died and EARTH had found itself plunged into darkness. Wherever such darkness was found, it was a sure bet that the shadows were not far behind.

"Can I join you?"

The question from Ensign Dean took Gemma by complete surprise. The one-word answer that immediately followed was proof enough of that.  "Oh yeah I guess," the ILO added motioning to the nearest vacant seat. Anywhere else in the universe, Anya would have jumped out to snap the man's neck. The Intel Operative was not one to take kindling to being startled. Some had made that mistake before and all had paid the price. Here though, on the BASTET, things needed to be different.

"Thanks," the FCO said ignoring the ILO's dismissive tone. "I need to know about these Lokustaar you mentioned earlier. Who or what are they and how much danger are we in?"

Gemma paused and looked directly at the man now sitting in front of her. Their eyes locked as the ILO wondered who would answer his question.Wimdalli could give him a complete physical explanation of what the Lokustaar were. The Uxali scientist had reviewed whatever little data was available on the race. After telling him about them being black, ugly arachnoid-like creatures though, she would have little else to offer. As a Nylaan commoner, Za'Ran could tell him about the stories and legends she had heard in her travels. As old as time itself, the Lokustaar were darkness given form. One world even claimed that when the universe was created two races were born. The first being one of prosperity and light, the other being one of pure evil and darkness. It wasn't difficult to figure out which of the two the race known as the Shadows fit. There was also Anya who could give her opinion on this race. Unlike the others who feared the idea of this race, the Russian assassin admired them. Being a race able to walk between shadows undetected, the Huntress felt a certain twinge of jealousy.

"*Who* are the Lokustaar?" Gemma asked herself aloud. The tone used indicated that the answers he sought would be more complicated than he could have imagined. "A dark and ancient race. From what we have been able to gather over the last several hundred years is this. They are ruthless, able to hide in the shadows without ever being seen. They spread chaos and death wherever they go. We have gathered that they are from another dimension and that they want to destroy this one. The only advantage we seem to have is that they are unable to just cross over and invade us. The fact that they are still trying though makes them determined and patient. Those are not good things to be paired. It means that they will wait for the right time to strike, and when they do, we will all know."

Ashton took a long, slow swallow. His initial concerns were confirmed and now he feared for his daughters even more. 

"*What* are the Lokustaar?" Gemma asked herself aloud, continuing her answer. "Death, chaos, confusion, anarchy, havoc, disorder. They are the eyes you feel looking at you from the shadows. They are the reason why the tiny hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. They are fear made real. A walking despair that forces those unfortunate enough to encounter them to confront their innermost demons. They are the monsters you tell your children about to make sure they stay in bed."

The expression on his face indicated that he had heard enough. As a Starfleet officer, the description had been more than sufficient to unsettle him. As a father, the feelings within him had grown to be ready to explode. How could he protect his little girls from these monsters? How could anyone oppose these dark beasts even if the ILO's description had been greatly exaggerated?

"How much danger are we in?" She continued. Most would have stopped upon seeing the expression on the man's face. Unfortunately, Gemma was not like most. Maybe Ema would have tried to find some religious parable to soften the blow. Finnja would have certainly tried to water down the reality of their situation. In the end though, it would not have changed anything. The Lokustaar were here, and likely a great deal closer than anyone would like them to be. "Darkness is where they dwell. The icy coldness of their soul calls forth whatever evil might be nearby. We are being dragged into a war that is older than the Human race. A war that for simplicity's sake is nothing more than light against dark, good against evil, life against death. The concept of danger is beneath what it is that we are facing here. When dealing with the Lokustaar, survival is our only objective. Not survival as individuals, but survival as a race, as a people, as living entities born from this dimension."

Stunned and speechless, Ashton stood and left Gemma to deal with her cold meal. The ILO could not say that she did not understand the man's reaction. In fact, she understood it all too well. The only difference was that she did not feel the dreed that he did. His connection to life was through his daughters unlike her. All of the individuals she called associates were just that, simple people with whom she had no emotional attachment to. This detachment was her strength as an ILO, but it also proved to be her weakness as a woman. A weakness that she never cared for, until now.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M06-P018: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 01 - 2130 ("No Problems")
"No Problems"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Reaching Out" & (BAS) "Shadow Contemplations"

///^\\\
Setting: USS HATHOR, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.2130

Thanks to the briefing given by the mechanical entity known as Samson, the crew of the BASTET had a much better idea of what they were dealing with. Now, all they needed to do was to continue feeding extra energy to the HAWKINGS, figure out a way to seal the dimensional breaches that surrounded that ship, and to find a way to confirm the presence of, and then accurately pinpoint the location a Lokustaar onboard the other vessel.

Aki sighed. "No problem."

"Feeling a little overwhelmed?" The new Ship's Counselor inquired, the Trill had easily noticed the Asian's slight bewilderment.

"Overwhelmed would be us just trying to help the HAWKING with their Lokustaar issue, but doing so while providing extra power and finding a way to deal with those nasty breaches in the fabric of space-time is something that is well beyond being overwhelmed," the CSciO explained with visible dismay. "We already had some dealings with those walking nightmares and the thought of actually trying to find one of them is not at all appealing. To make matters worse, I know first-hand just how difficult it is to get any sort of readings from them, actually I would qualify that more in the range of 'impossible'. That race has taken being invisible to a whole new level that would easily make the Romulans envious."

"Then, I would say that the HAWKING is in good hands," Nicole smiled, the Trill radiating a joy and confidence that actually took Aki by surprise.

"Didn't you hear me? The Lokustaar are as nasty as they get. Our sensors are unable to get any readings from them or their ships, so it is going to be next to impossible to help the HAWKING in confirming that they have an intruder, let along pinpoint their location." Aki seemed upset at Nicole's reaction. They were dealing with the Lokustarra here, a race bent on destroying whatever they set their beady glowing red eyes upon, so there was no logical reason to be joyful.

"I heard you perfectly," the Trill reassured, her smile not wavering. "You, on the other hand, are not hearing me. Thanks to your first-hand experience with the Lokustaar, not to mention your own dedication as a science officer, I believe that the HAWKINGS odds have greatly improved. As much as you consider the task to be one that is 'next to impossible', according to what Samson said, they considered it to be completely undoable prior to our arrival. By your own words, you are granting them a chance where as far as they were concerned none was."

"Nice spin on that, Counselor," Aki chuckled. The CSciO could not deny anything that the CNS had just said. Samson's account of the situation on board the HAWKING conveyed a lack of hope in their being able to address the possibility that they had an intruder on board while at the same time trying to keep the breaches from opening more than they had. With the arrival of the BASTET and the knowledge Aki had gathered on that particular race, the odds, as Nicole mentioned, had gone up. Not a great deal mind you, but they had moved from nothing to something.

"After dealing with other people's 'spinning' for a while, you learn a few tricks," Nic said adding a confident wink before moving on to see if there was anyone else who might require her services.

With all that said, Aki returned her attention to her station and the unenviable task of finding a Lokustaar. The Counselor's encouraging words had made the CSciO smile, but that was far from enough to make Mitshiba be happy about what she needed to do. After all, that they had endured on CAIT, and with what the crew had witnessed some 20,000 years in the past, the Asian woman had truly hoped to never have to deal with that particular race ever again. The universe it seemed had other plans.

"You can ask me anything you require."

Samson's offer took Aki by surprise, not having expected the mechanical man to be standing right there next to her as he was. After a few seconds of considering what she could ask of him, the Asian woman felt a certain warmth touching her cheeks. As much as she was a scientist, Misaki was also a woman and having such a tall and muscular man standing next to her declaring that she could ask of him anything she wished proved more than sufficient to make her blush.

"Is everything alright?"

"Everything is just fine," Aki replied, rapidly studying the man's Olympian physique. As a scientist, she was in awe of the way he appeared so perfectly human, and as a woman, she was in admiration of the perfection of his appearance. "I was just wondering why you are the way you are. I mean, as an android, you would have been given any form, so why this particular one?" Mitshiba said then paused for a second before adding one last thought. "Not that I am complaining." As soon as those words were spoken, she felt a certain heat coming from her cheeks, which she quickly tried to hide.

"My primary function is to assist the crew of the HAWKING in whatever way they need, which can include physical tasks requiring a level of strength beyond their own ability to perform. My secondary function is to be part of the security detail of the ship. My ability to continue operating even when the away team is incapacitated is considered a good way to avoid the escalation of any potential conflict."

"I was under the impression from what you said that the Galactic Commonwealth was founded on the principles of science and peace," Aki ventured. "Would having a member of a security force with an appearance as formidable as yours not give an impression that is opposite to these ideas?"

"My physical size is required by the components that make up the operating system based on the functions that I am meant to perform. Although my appearance may be formidable as you have described it to be, my programming is specifically set for gathering and processing scientific data and protect the peace at all cost, including that of my own existence."

"In this dimension, many would consider you to be a false idol, showing such power and yet dedicating your every effort to science and peace," the CSciO said, finding herself more in admiration of the mechanical man then she was mere seconds before.

"I hope that it is not the way you consider me to be," Samson said making Aki wonder if he was actually capable of experiencing emotions and feelings. With the Galactic Commonwealth clearly possessing technology superior to their own, such a possibility was well within their reach.

"You have nothing to fear Samson," Aki smiled, the redness of her cheeks persisting. "I am sure that there is not a single woman on board the BASTET that would think of you as being anything less than perfect. At least I know I am. Now, before this discussion takes us too far from our work, I need you to help me with trying to find a way to scan the HAWKING to help them confirm that they have an intruder on board."

Clearly not burdened by emotions, a fact that would delight any Vulcan, Samson offered a pleasant smile to the Asian woman and stood ready to help in whatever way she would require of him.  All that Aki had to do now was to keep her mind focused on the task at hand and not think of ways to test the extent of the mechanical man's ability to act and behave as a living humanoid.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P019: USS BASTET: Dima: Day 1 - 2140: ("The First and the Last")
“The First and the Last”
[Previous posts: (ANU) "Living Darkness" / (BAS) "No Problems"]

=/\=

Setting: USS BASTET, Mess Hall→ Corridor
Stardate: 33113.2140

While assisting the HAWKING and Samson, the dimensional ship’s liaison, was in the forefront of her mind, after she reassured Aki that they had the knowledge and tools necessary to improve their odds against the Lokustaar, Nicole realized she hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, and decided to correct that situation. She’d almost finished her grilled chicken and spinach salad when she looked up and noticed Gemma had been speaking to the new FCO, Ensign Dean. 

Gemma had been operating as a solitary officer for so long in the field, Nicole didn’t expect to see her interacting openly with another member of the crew in a casual setting, but the Counselor’s hope faded as she saw Dean leave the table abruptly, the look on his face indicating things had not gone well. 

She wasted no time in turning her tray into the reclamation unit and following him. It took her a few quick steps to catch up to the taller man. “Ensign Dean?”

He turned to face her. His expression was apprehensive. “Counselor,” he acknowledged quietly. 

“Are you alright?”

“The Lieutenant was filling me in on the finer points of the Lokustaar.” He seemed to be trying to shake off the imagery Gemma had introduced to his mind. 

Nic’s impish face registered understanding and empathy. It wasn’t that long ago that she had learned of the ruthless race. “I see.”

“Do you agree with her?” he asked, thinking of Cordelia and Tristan.

“I’m not entirely sure of her viewpoint, but judging by your exchange there might have been other ways to explain them, but they are unlike any enemy that has ever been faced, of those we are aware of. I would imagine her description was a completely unvarnished view of them.”

Dean nodded. “And you’re not afraid?”

“I’m afraid, I would imagine we’re all afraid,” Dima asserted, “but the extent that it molds our behavior, that is very different. But I’d rather be aware of an aggressor and have the opportunity to try and stop them instead of losing my life to some sneak attack or unknown quantity. We are the first and the last.”

“The first and the last what?”

“Line of defense. Most of the fleet isn’t even aware of our existence, much less that of the creatures of the shadows. If Koniki’s New Alexandria didn’t exist, I’m not sure we’d still be here having this conversation- we might have been decimated by the Lokustaar years ago.”

“Is that supposed to be reassuring?”

“I’m merely introducing the idea that we could be in a much worse situation than we are currently in. We cannot change what we do not recognize as a problem. The Lokustaar knocking on the door of our universe is a problem. However, it is one we are uniquely equipped to work at stopping.”

His face softened, but still registered a greatly heightened concern. “I’m going to check on my children. Good evening, Counselor.”

“Take care,” was all she could say as the young father of two walked away.


=/\=

Setting: Sickbay

The normally adept blonde woman looked puzzled. It was the second full diagnostic that Sofia had run on the equipment that had been used to check Lieutenant Gemma out earlier, and there was no trace of any problem. But that did not change what she had seen for a split second- the readings of a Dinaali woman. 

“Penny for your thoughts,” Nicole said as she greeted the CMO. 

Doctor Andersson considered the offer with mock seriousness. “There’s a lot going on- at least worth a bar of gold-pressed latinum.”

“I agree. It feels like everyone is on edge- then there’s Gemma.”

“What about her?”

“Nothing. She’s unflappable- calm, cool and collected. She even took a moment out of her busy schedule to explain the Lokustaar to Ensign Dean.”

Sofia winced. “How did that go?” she asked, already suspecting the answer. 

“Not as well as I would have hoped,” Nic admitted. “We’ve had some time to adjust. Ensign Dean hasn’t. And he has a family to be worried about.”

“Do you think she’s hiding something?” Sofia asked, bringing the discussion back to Gemma as she and Nicole went into the Doctor’s office.

“All ILO’s are hiding something,” Nicole countered, looking thoughtful. “But I’m not convinced as to whether or not it’s important to the crew and the mission.”

“And what if it is?”

Nicole sat down with a freshly replicated cup of tea. “Then the Captain would be the first with a right to know, and not necessarily the rest of us.”

“Is that why you came to visit?” They were both curious as to the large swaths of Gemma’s history that they didn’t know about.

Nic shook her head. “Actually, no. I was thinking about the Lokustaar, trying to help Samson and maybe ourselves in the process.”

“In what way?”

To infiltrate other dimensions, they require humanoid assistance, do they not? Either willing or coerced?”

Sofia nodded. “Yes, as I understand it.”

“Is it known if these techniques the Lokustaar use to recruit their minions cause biological or physiological changes to the body of the affected? Samson has a strong reason to suspect they have a sympathizer aboard the HAWKING.”

The Doctor appeared to be following Nicole’s line of thought very well. “And if we could help detect that, then we would be able to use the same technology to look for any others.” Sofia didn’t like the idea that ‘agents of the shadows’ could be anywhere, but it was true. 

Nicole ran a hand through her cropped dark brown hair. “I know it’s a longshot, but…” the joined Trill had an unsure look in her eyes.

Sofia set aside the issue with Gemma and her scan and threw her support to the idea. “It’s worth pursuing, we can research while they’re working on resolving the breach issue.” 

=/\=
Susan Ledbetter
Writing for

Cns
USS BASTET
M06-P020: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 2150 ("Unexpected Surprise")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Unexpected Surprise"
[previous post ((ANU) "More Tests" / (BAS) "The First and The Last")]

Setting:  USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.2150

This game of trans-dimensional chess they had been dragged into had been brought to a standstill thanks to the intervention of the BASTET. With the extra energy being supplied to the HAWKING, the Galactic Commonwealth vessel was able to keep the rifts from opening any more than they already had while maintaining its position. It was a fair assumption that the Lokustaar were trying to regain the advantage by any means possible but with the help of Samson, the hopes were running high that it would be those on this side who would tip the balance in their favor.  In order to do that though, they first needed to confirm the presence of a Lokustaar agent on board the HAWKING, a task that was by no means easy.

"Helm, what is our status?" Sarena inquired. As the Executive Officer, it was her responsibility to coordinate all aspect of their mission and to stay on top of potential issues, this if at all possible before they happened.

"Holding position, as is the HAWKING," the aFCO reported having taken over the station following Ensign Dean's departure. Valentine would have preferred seeing Ashton at his post but she understood his need to be with his family. Of course, this meant that she would need to speak with him at some point to impress upon him the requirements of his chosen field of work. As much as Starfleet supported officers having families, not every vessel in the fleet could be considered a safe environment for such, and the BASTET thanks to its mission profile definitively fell into that category.

"The energy transfer is proceeding as planned Commander," Lt. Mitshiba chimed in with expecting that te next question would be directed at her. "We are still trying to open some sort of communications channel with the HAWKING but so far no luck. I am not even certain that we would be able to send Samson back if we wanted to, the technology used to send him here is, as much as I hate t admit it, beyond what I could figure out in the limited time we have. Give me a few weeks, maybe a month, and I could replicate the process, but right now my focus is on trying to confirm that they have an intruder on board."

"We have had a fair amount of dealing with the Lokustaar, surely there is something we learned during those that could help us," Selene added, the Captain voicing her frustration at their inability to do what should have been a simple task.

"Had we been dealing with any other race, things would have been a great deal easier," Misaki offered. "What we do know about the Lokustar and their technology is that they are both meant to remain unseen and undetected. It is no coincidence that they are referred to as 'Shadows' by every other race who have dealt with them in one way or another. We actually know very little on them, but it is not hard to figure out that it's the way they like it."

"They operate from the sidelines," Sarena sighed in disgust. "They prefer to have others do their dirty work, only showing themselves when they absolutely have to. This makes them even more dangerous as you are never certain as to where they are or how heavily involved they may be in any situation. Everything about them is a blind guessing game that leaves us at a clear disadvantage."

"We need to fix that," Iverson firmly stated. "We need to apply what we learned on CAIT to put an end to this threat once and for all."

"An admirable thought Captain but based on what we did learn on CAIT, stopping the Lokustaar is not going to be simple, if actually possible. The battle that raged some 20,000 years ago showed that it takes a lot to even oppose them, let alone defeat them, and by the looks of things they have a lot more patience then we have. They could just as easily retreat for a few hundred years and try again when the memory of their latest attempts have faded into the back pages of history."

"Remind me never to ask you to give a motivational speech to the crew," Selene huffed. As much as she might not have liked what her Executive Officer had to say, Iverson had to agree that Valentine was right. Fighting an opponent they knew so little about and which remained hidden in the shadows would prove to be exceptionally difficult at best, but yet they had to try and gather as many allies as they could along the way.

"What if we took a shuttle over to the HAWKING?" Sarena suggested.

"With all due respect Commander, that would be suicidal," Mitshiba gasped. "The gravitational eddies from those dimensional rifts, not to mention the polarization effect of the energy beams being used to keep them from opening makes flying a shuttle to the HAWKING nearly impossible. Granted the beams are anchored, so there is no risk of them suddenly shifting and landing in the flight path of the shuttle, but keeping the shuttle steady is not going to be easy."

"Then I'd better have a skilled pilot at the helm," the Executive Officer said turning to look directly at the Captain. "You said it yourself, we need to fix this and we can only do that by getting involved no matter what obstacles get in our way. The HAWKING needs our help and above and beyond our supply it with extra power."

"You have made your point Commander," Selene relinquished. "Assemble your team."

"Lt. Mitshiba, I believe that your skills and knowledge on the Lokustaar will come in handy," Sarena said, pointing to the Asian scientist who smiled and nodded her head. "Valentine to Ensign Dean," the Executive Officer continued after having tapped her communicator.

=/\= Dean here, go ahead Commander. =/\=

"Report to shuttle bay 1, your piloting skills are required."

=/\= Understood. =/\= The reply received lacked the enthusiasm that the Executive Officer had hoped to hear but given the circumstances, she understood his unvoiced objection.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M06-P021: USS BASTET: Dean: Day 01 - 2155 ("Contemplation")
“Contemplation”
[Previous post (BAS) “The First and the Last”, (BAS) “Unexpected Surprise”]

Setting: USS BASTET, Dean Quarters
Stardate: 33113.2155

Ashton left the counselor in the hall and returned to his quarters. His mind was racing with the new information the ILO gave him. The Lokustaar were the worst of the worst making the Borg seem like the perfect babysitters. “What have I done,” looking at the sleeping girls cuddled together in their bed. “That bitch,” referring to their mother. “Not only did she leave them she put them in grave danger.” Sitting on the edge of the sofa he continued, “There is no one to leave them with and I want to be in their life. If the Lokustaar do invade there is no place they will be safe so at least here they are with me and we will go together.” Standing, he looked back at them once before heading to the bridge. “Right here is where you belong,” his words said he was resolved to his decision, but his tone gave away his underlying doubt that remained. 

(From “Unexpected Surprise")

=/\= Valentine to Ensign Dean, =/\= the Executive Officer continued after having tapped her communicator.

"Dean here, go ahead Commander."

=/\= Report to shuttle bay 1, your piloting skills are required. =/\=

"Understood."

(Mine)

Ashton nodded to the nanny and left his quarters still uneasy with his decision, but determined to get past his trepidation. 

*****
Setting: USS BASTET, Shuttle Bay 1 -> Shuttle TITAN
Stardate: 33113.2210

Dean entered the shuttle bay with Lt. Mitshiba close behind. He saw Valentine and Sampson waiting by the shuttle TITAN’s entrance. “Let’s get the shuttle ready to launch. I’ll fill you in on the mission on board,” Valentine ordered.

“Yes sir,” he replied entering the shuttle and taking his sear in the pilots chair. He powered the engines, checked the systems, “Where to sir?” 

“We are taking Sampson back to the HAWKING. You will have to guide the shuttle through all the beams keeping the rifts closed. I am confident you can manage.”

“Yes sir. Always up for a challenge,” he smiled turning back to the console and inputting his flight plan. **This is going to be a manual challenge, but a flight plan is still required and a good practice so the ship knows where you are going in the event something goes awry,** he thought. 

"Shuttle TITAN to Bridge."

=/\= Go ahead, =/\= Selene replied.

"Ready to depart," Ashton responded.

=/\= Proceed. God’s speed. =/\=

Carefully Ashton piloted the ship out the shuttle bay making a sharp left toward the HAWKING. He had to thread the needle between two close beams. The ship shuddered as gravitaion from the beams pulled the shuttle in all directions. The engines strained as he pushed them harder to stay free. Once they moved past the first beams he had to make a turn away from he HAWKING to go around on directly in his path. “Slamming on the breaks” so to speak to avoid one directly ahead, he turned toward the HAWKING as he passed the last beam and lined up for his approach to the HAWKING. 

“Sampson, do they respond to regular transmissions?”

“I have already contacted them just maintain course and they will do the rest,” the machine replied. 

As the slowed and neared the HAWKING he dematerialized the same as he arrived on the bridge earlier. 

“Okay,” Ashton said surprised and impressed.

"TITAN to BASTET Package delivered."

=/\= Understood. Return to the ship. BASTET out. =/\=

Ashton turned the shuttle around and headed back the way he came. This time it was bumpier. “What’s the problem Dean?” Valentine asked. 

Checking his systems, “The hull is ionized from the beams and attracting energy. It’s like lightening bolts coming off the beams and hitting the shuttle. If we stay here much longer the systems will be overloaded.” 

Lt. Mitshiba began routing power to the shields to buy some time for Ashton to get them back to the ship. A pannel near her sparked and Ashton fought to stear the shuttle back to the ship. 

****************************************
Leigh Rachal

Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET
M06-P022: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 2220 ("Change of Plan")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Change of Plan"
[previous post ((ANU) "More Tests" / (BAS) "Contemplation")]

Setting:  Shuttle TITAN, Flight deck
Stardate: 33113.2220

"Commander, I'm confused," Misaki said in an exasperated fashion as she worked on increasing the TITAN's shield strength to counter the effect of the energy discharges from the confinement beams coming from the HAWKING

The statement made by the CSciO caused the Executive Officer to smile, a reaction that further puzzled the Asian woman. In all honesty, Sarena had expected something along those lines following the change of plans. As far as she was concerned, the shuttle had for mission to bring the away team to the other ship since using any sort of transporter system would have been far too dangerous. Never had it been mentioned, or considered, to take a shuttle to allow Samson to return to his vessel and crew. As Valentine looked back at the confused Mitshiba, the smile grew threatening to slip the woman's face.  "Just wait, it gets better. Ensign, how are we doing on our cloaked approach to the HAWKING?"

"I will admit that Samson is good. I was not expecting these discharges to happen quite as quickly as they did or be as powerful as they are," the FCO replied, his struggle to keep the shuttle from being hit as it flew back to the BASTET being as real as it could be.

"Samson is causing this? Why?" Misaki asked, the CSciO appearing as if the universe itself had suddenly turned upside down.

"I am sorry that I did not have the time to brief you on the details of this part of our mission," Sarena apologized. "We were short on time to make this happen in order to make it appear as convincing as possible. Let me explain," the Executive Officer said, making sure that Ashton was in full control of the situation first. "Following your work with Samson on finding a way to confirm the presence of an intruder on board the HAWKING, a plan was devised by the Captain and me. It was believed that an unexpected event, one that would be traumatic enough for all parties involved, could bring the intruder out of hiding in the hopes of taking advantage of the situation."

"You were concerned that the Lokustaar might have a way to be clued in on this new plan of yours, so you decided to keep it a secret," Misaki said, the CSciO proving that her mind was as sharp as ever. "You believe that the perceived destruction of this shuttle would offer an opportunity that the intruder could not ignore."

"In a nutshell, yes, that was the plan," Sarena admitted.

"If it makes you feel better, I didn’t know about this either until I reviewed the flight plan," Ashton said looking at Misaki, then turning to look straight at Sarena, the FCO continued. "Just for the record, the plan was to make it *seem* like the shuttle was being destroyed, not to actually turn it into scrap metal, right?" Lt. Dean asked as he forced the craft into a sharp right turn to avoid another energy discharge.

"The sensors on board the HAWKING are as good if not better than our own," Commander Valentine pointed out. "We have to make sure that this little trickery of ours is believable."

"A couple more direct hit like that last one and we won't have to pretend that we have been destroyed. If I didn't know better, I would swear that Samson is actually trying to kill us," the FCO unhappily argued, working hard to keep the small ship in one piece through the storm it was flying through.

"It would go against Samson's core programming to even try to kill anyone," Lt. Mitshiba stated. "Also, keep in mind that there is no way for him to control the frequency or vectors of these energy discharges. He just made them possible; the rest is entirely up to us. You also have to keep in mind that the hull could never be polarized sufficiently to hide the shuttle from sensors if those discharges did not actually hit us."

"Well, they don't have to hit us as hard as they are," Ashton noted once again as the TITAN was sent into a roll to avoid another direct hit.

"We need to suffer one massive direct impact to make it plausible that we were destroyed and the shuttle vaporized, so you need to be a little less *good* with your flying," Sarena pointed out.

"Sorry Commander, doing everything I can to stay alive is a hard habit to break," the FCO dryly chuckled before the small ship was struck by a powerful discharge causing another panel to explode in a shower of sparks.  "Speaking of which, I think that last shot did it, but we have to act quickly. The polarization of the hull is not going to last, nor do I think the hull is going to be able to withstand another similar hit," the FCO reported.

"Bring us in under the HAWKING," the Executive Officer ordered. "When speaking with Samson, he explained that the strongest sensor arrays are set on the ship's outer most edge, the closer we get to being underneath her, the less likely we are to be detected once the polarization wears off."

"I would suggest that we target the aft middle section. The sensor data Samson shared with us did show a lack of data coming from that region around the ship," Misaki added, giving Dean a clearer target for him to aim for.

"You heard her, make it happen," the Executive Officer ordered.

"Will do, but again Commander, and with all due respect, it's easier said than done."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] 
Setting:  Space, distant view of the HAWKING
Stardate: 33113.2230

The trans-dimensional vessel appeared to be held in place by the brightly glowing energy beams, anchoring the visiting ship to the numerous small tears in the fabric of space-time that surrounded it. Through this abstract modern painting, a small craft could barely be seen weaving through the lines of energy and the discharges coming from them.

Even to the trained eyes of the Captain of the USS BASTET, the silhouette of the TITAN vanished in and out from sight until it completely disappeared beneath the hull of the HAWKING. As much as Selene wanted to try to contact the shuttle, she knew that the interference of the beams made any sort of communication with the away team impossible. Like it or not, they were on their own without any way for their shipmates to now if they had succeeded in reaching their objective.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] 
Setting:  USS HAWKING, Aft Ventral Emergency Hatch
Stardate: 33113.2245

With the TITAN magnetically secured to the belly of the HAWKING, the away team was able to gain access to the ship thanks to the information provided to them by Samson.

"I hope that he managed to deactivate the internal alarms and sensors, or our little surprise visit is not going to be that much of a surprise," Ashton pointed out as he pulled himself up before turning around and offering a helping hand to Misaki and Sarena shortly after.

"Part of the plan is that our presence here is unknown to everyone with the exception of Samson. This way we have a better chance of catching the intruder red-handed," the Executive Officer explained.

"What do we do now?" Lt. Mitshiba asked, her eyes darting all over the small emergency access tunnel they had found themselves in.

"You are our resident experts on the Lokustaar," Valentine pointed out. "We follow your lead."

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M06-P023: USS BASTET: Gemma: Day 01 - 2245 ("Sneaky Ways")
=-=
"Sneaky Ways"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Head Games" / (BAS) "Change of Plan"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.2245

Life as an Intel operative was not easy. Gemma knew this first hand. Unlike the rest of the world, they needed to sneak around to perform their required tasks. Success was measured not only by completion but by the lack of people knowing that it had even happened. While most dealt with their daily routine, they were out here fighting shadows on their own terms.

Gemma scanned her instruments thinking of Darla. The Varro pilot could have easily flown the shuttle through the maze of energy beams surrounding the HAWKING. The woman was an expert in such things and had done much worse many times before. The ILO would have preferred to see her there instead of Ashton. The chances of reaching the other ship without being detected would have been much greater. Still, the FCO had managed quite well, at least from what they could see. More accurately, from what they could not see. "Still no sign of the TITAN. Sensors are not picking up any metallic debris or highly polarized mass. It looks like they have made it."

"I really don't like having to do this. As much as sneaking around is part of our job description. It would have been nice not to have to do this to new allies. Let's just hope that it was worth it."

Gemma looked at the Captain with puzzled admiration. The ILO saw many similarities between the two of them. A career Intel officer, Iverson was pragmatic, almost cold in her actions and words. She made decisions based on the mission's objectives and not her feelings. She had agreed to risk the lives of her people for the sake of their mission. That made her, in Gemma's eyes, the perfect Commanding Officer of an Intel vessel such as the BASTET.

"You seem to be deep in thoughts." Counselor Dima said after she zeroed in on the ILO immediately after stepping onto the bridge. "Are you worried about the away team?" As the Ship's Counselor, Nicole wanted to get a better idea of who Gemma was. The woman was a mystery and her personnel file gave no indications in that aspect. As far as official records were concerned, the woman was no one. Looking at the Intel agent, Nic could not agree with that conclusion.

"Not really."

The answer provided by Gemma in no way helped Nicole to get a better idea of the woman's character. Had she meant that she had not been concerned or that the thought had not even crossed her mind? Figuring out the ILO would prove to be a challenge all on its own. Dima also understood that it would not happen overnight. Just standing next to her, the Counselor could tell that the mystery the woman was extended onto many levels.

"What did you think of Samson?" Nicole thought that by changing the subject she might have better luck. The android from the HAWKING had been the center of discussion since his arrival. Everyone had an opinion about him, his role, his abilities and certain his appearance. Maybe this would be a good way to see how the ILO thought. Had she seen him as a friendly, attractive man or as a threat to the ship and its crew?

"He is a very interesting creation. I would have enjoyed speaking to him longer to better understand what he was beyond the mechanics." As much as the reply took Nicole by surprise, it was the voice that most shocked her. For a brief moment, it sounded as if someone else had spoken those words. The answer given hinted to Gemma having a love of science that the Counselor would not have associated with the woman. If that was not strange enough, Dima thought for a moment that the ILO had looked different. Her curly brown hair had seemed to be straight for a split second. By the time she turned to looking fully onto the woman though, everything seemed as it should be.

Dismissing what she thought she had seen, Counselor Dima pressed on for more information. "So you found him to be interesting?"


"Interesting would not be the word I would have used to describe him. His appearance was a blatant attempt to make him more appealing to humanoid females. To me, that was a sneaky way of trying to gain an advantage that was not necessary." Nicole studied the woman, certain that it was someone else speaking. The two statements almost contradicted each other. This could mean only one of two things. Ether Gemma was not sure what she thoughts about the android, or she suffered from a split personality.


Using all available information, Nic decided to go with undecided. Trying to understand an Intel agent was going to be hard enough. To try and understand an ILO with a split personality would be in the range of impossible.


"Something amusing you Counselor?" Gemma had noticed a faint smile forming on the Thrill's lips. Small enough not to be noticed by others, but more than visible to the ILO's homed skills of observation.


"Just trying to understand you." Pure and direct honesty was the best way to tackle this matter. Trying to be sneaky against Gemma could only lead to trouble. Whatever Nicole did not know about the woman she knew at least one thing above all others. The woman was good in what she did, that had been proven more than once. To challenge her in her own domain would be nothing short of foolish. "Please do not take offense at my words. As a ship's Counselor, it is my duty to understand others. This permits me to be more effective in my efforts to help when my services are required."

"Then, I apologize." 

Again, Gemma's reply was short and could be interpreted in a multitude of ways. Had she meant to apologize for making the Counselor's task difficult or was it something else? Could the ILO have offered her regrets because from this moment on her quest for klnowledge would be denied? Was she apologizing for something else? Some yet to come that would directly affect the Trill? For a moment, Nic found herself worried about the significance of this strange apology.

"Captain!" Gemma suddenly said. "Sensors are detecting another breach opening. This one appears to be of much greater magnitude than the others are. If this is the work of the Lokustaar, they are making a show of force with their latest attempt. Even with our supplying additional power to the HAWKING, I fear that it may no longer be sufficient. We will need to find another way to assist them in containing these dimensional openings. If I may make a suggestion? We might be forced to use the temporal drive to help stabilize this region of space. At the very least it would provide us with more time to figure out a better way to address this latest development."

Nicole watched as the ILO performed to the highest possible standard once again. No matter what position Gemma held, she seemed to know exactly what to do. That particular skill further added to the mystery that the woman was. That mystery proved to be something the Counselor hoped she would one day break.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M06-P024: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 01 - 2250 ("Unwelcome Visitors")
"Unwelcome Visitors"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Head Games" & (BAS) "Sneaky Ways"

///^\\\
Setting: USS HAWKING,  Aft Ventral Emergency Hatch
Stardate: 33113.2250

From the moment she had laid eyes on the HAWKING, Aki wanted to board it and see what kind of amazing technology it possessed. Being a transdimensional vessel from a culture that closely followed the evolution of the Federation, the Asian woman was curious to see just how close the parallels would be. Since the general outside appearance of the ship resembled that of most Federation vessel, the CSciO suspected that the similarities would be numerous and likely extensive. When Samson beamed over to the BASTET though, the possibilities of there also being countless differences had been made a certainty.

Aki easily imagined her investigation of the ship extending from bow to stern, leaving no decks or corner unchecked, but she knew that the odds of being able to do this were small. So to actually be on board the HAWKING was a happy surprise, although Aki would have preferred to be on one of the primary decks inside of crawling about the emergency access corridors. It didn't help that these small, restrictive hallways were dark and unwelcoming.

A faint jolt halted the infiltration's team progress as they tried to figure out what had just happened.  Aki quickly reached for her tricorder but thanks to their current location there was little she could say.  "I am detecting a shift in the power allocation, but there is no way for me to tell you why. Although the technology of the Galactic Commonwealth may appear to be similar to our own, there is no way for me to interface this device with their system without a direct access to one of their computer consoles."

"Not going to happen," Commander Valentine said. "For our mission to have a chance to be successful our presence here must remain secret. Samson, being a machine should be able to hide that knowledge from the others, but if anyone else should find out of our presence here, it could send their intruder even deeper into hiding making it impossible for anyone to find them. We have to do the best we can with what we have."

"Could that jolt have been caused by the TITAN breaking free from the HAWKING?" Ashton inquired, not liking the idea that their only way to escape might have been taken away from them.

"Highly unlikely," Aki reassured. "Although the jolt would have been similar, we would have heard a lot more than we did, not to mention the possible sudden decompression as the seal between the shuttle and this ship was compromised. No, it is far more likely that something else happened to force the crew to divert power to other areas."

"As bad as this may sound, the crew of the HAWKING being occupied with something new may give us the advantage we need," the First Officer offered. "While they are busy, the intruder may see this as an opportunity to further undermine their position giving us the opportunity to catch them in the action, thus confirming their presence and intent on board. If we are lucky, we might even be able to capture them for interrogation."

"This is a big ship Commander," Lt. Mitshiba pointed out. "Even if we had access to the main areas and corridors, it would be a massive stroke of luck to find the intruder."

"There is an additional problem," Ensign Dean added. "We have no way to recognize the intruder should we actually encounter him. They could be dressed as a member of this crew allowing them to move about without drawing too much attention."

"It is a possibility," Aki conceded. "Based on what we know of the Lokustaar it is possible that they have enlisted the assistance of someone who is already a member of this crew. The only argument I can offer to go against that possibility is this: the Galactic Commonwealth was built on a foundation of order and peace while the Lokustaar embraces chaos and war. As good as a sleeper agent would be, they would still run the chance of sticking out and be noticed long before they would be able to act. As much as I hate to admit it, it is more likely that the intruder we are searching for is an actual member of this shadow race."

"Why is it that I find that possibility to be a less than pleasant one?" Ashton gulp, liking being in the underbelly of the HAWKING even less now.

"Because it is not a pleasant thought Ensign," the Commander confirmed in a gloomy tone. "We have dealt with this race before, and as little as we do know about them, we know enough to understand that things will only get worse before they get better. That is if they ever do. I do not expect them to have so easily forgotten what happened on CAIT, meaning that they will be that much more determined to succeed this time around."

Following such a motivating speech, the three officers found themselves just sitting, thinking about what they needed to do and the possible futility of it all. As great of a victory as it would be to expose the intruder on board the HAWKING, if there was indeed one, it would be but a small win in a war that appeared to be heading there way like a giant tidal wave.

Having noticed an odd spike of energy on her tricorder, Aki tapped her Commander's shoulder and showed her the strange reading before pointing in the direction from which it had originated from.  After motioning for everyone to keep up, Valentine headed in the indicated direction as quickly as possible thinking that this might be the break they had all been hoping for.

"I just hope that this ship doesn't have any automated defense system against any unwelcomed visitor," Ashton whispered to Aki who was ahead of him.

"If there are, the intruder would have already disabled them to ensure safe passage from one section of the ship to the next without being detected. Of course, that is if the automated defense system were actually able to detect them. Since we are going under the assumption that we are dealing with an actual Lokustaar, a race able to hide not only from sight but also to remain invisible to sensors, there would not be any need to disable any of the internal protection systems in place."

Ashton rolled his eyes. "Between the Commander's less than encouraging words and your bleak assessment of our situation, I am surprised that we are still moving forward instead of running as fast as we can away from this place."

"That appears to be part of the Lokustaar's modus operandi," Aki explained, keeping her voice as quiet as possible. "Fear is their weapon of choice. With it, they can control and demoralize any adversary making their task that much easier. It also allows them to triage those people and species that require their attention and possibly even their direct intervention."

Commander Valentine stopped and glanced over her shoulder at the two officers following her. "It is because of that possibility that we are here. The members of the Galactic Commonwealth have proven, just with our limited interaction, that they are a powerful force opposing the Lokustaar. That should be enough to warrant a more direct involvement which we hope to unmask and by the same token find a way to expose more similar agents both in their fleet and ours."

"At least the goal is worthy, even if the odds of success are limited," Ashton shrugged. Small odds were better than none he thought.

"Then we'd better get moving. If these power spikes are caused by something outside of the HAWKING, the intruder is likely going to try and cash in on the opportunity to destabilize the ship and make it impossible to keep those breaches in the fabric of space-time from opening any further than they are," Aki said, trying to sound cheerful and optimistic.

"I must be crazy to follow," Ashton signed. "But I have to think of my girls, so whatever I have to do to ensure their safety will be done, no matter the danger or the odds."

"That's the spirit," Mitshiba said with a smile before tapping the Ensign on the shoulder. Seconds later the unwelcomed away team resumed their course in search of the intruder and possibly a way to make sure no others would be able to get in their way of protecting everyone from the Shadows.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P025: USS BASTET: Dean: Day 01 - 2300 ("Through The Rabbit Hole")
“Through the Rabbit Hole”
(Previous post "Unwelcome Visitors”)

Setting: USS HAWKING
Stardate: 33113.2300

Ashton followed the others bringing up the rear. His phaser at the ready set up max stun. **I don’t know if it will be effective, but you can never be too careful,** he thought. The passageway darkened as they moved farther from their entry port. Unlike Federation ships the walls where smooth and blank. He could only assume the access panels are activated by motion from recognized beings like Sampson. This could work to their advantage if the Lokustaar were distracted trying to penetrate this security. As they moved along, Ashton remembered the caves he explored as a child on various worlds on which his father had been posted. After a while he could navigate in the dark by sound and the feel of the wind. Maybe this skill would be valuable on this mission. He relaxed as he walked and focused his hearing on the sound Mitshiba and Valentine made as they walked. Once he committed that to memory it would be easier to differentiate them from others in their path. He could feel a slight breeze from a ventilation system of some sort which dawned on him was odd considering the crew of the HAWKING is artificial and didn’t require oxygen. 

“Commander? I just realized, why is there an atmosphere on the ship if the crew doesn’t breathe? Is this just for us or is it their regular environment?” 

Valentine didn’t respond immediately and Ashton took that to mean either she didn’t know or did and could not divulge the information to the others at this time. 

___________________________________________________
Setting: Caves of Xadra 4
Stardate: 20 yrs earlier

Ashton threw stones ahead as he walked the well worn path through the woods. The stones made thuds of tree trunks and larger rocks on the path until on kept going fading away. Curious, he moved closer and threw another with the same result. He dropped the handful of stones and moved to the pile of undergrowth to investigate. Moving it aside he discovered a small entrance to a cave. Getting down on all fours he wiggled into the cave with the curiosity of youth and the fearless of the unknown only 10 year old boys enjoy not thinking of the danger that may lay in the darkness ahead. He took one, two steps and the rock he chose gave way sending him sliding down a dark bumpy passageway. He landed at the bottom with a thud and splash having discovered and underground spring. 

He tore a piece of his ripped shirt and dipped it in the water to dab the grit from his skinned elbows and the rip in his pants just below his right cheek. It stung good, but the pain was worth the adventure. Ashton looked around and marveled at his discovery. In the far corner he found faint paintings on the wall that had to be centuries old. “I wonder who made these and what they were like. Maybe they were great warriors,” he said taking a fighting position. Before he could explore further his communicator chimed. “Ashton where are you? We’re about to have dinner,” his mothers voice echoed through the cave. 

“Oh. I’m hiking. I’m heading back now.”

“Make it quick we have guests coming.”
 
“Ok,” he responded ending the transmission quickly. “Dang I forgot.” He looked up the passage he slid down earlier formulating a plan of escape. He braced his arms and legs on either side of the passage spider like and climbed up the passage until he reached the top where he used a vine to pull himself out of the hole. Quickly he covered his secret cave and made a inconspicuous rock marker to find it later. Then he realized what he looked like, “Man I’m gonna get it when I get back. I look like a pig.”

___________________________________________________
Leigh Rachal

Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET
M06-P026: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 01 - 2315 ("New Considerations")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"New Considerations"
[previous post (ANU) "Outside Observer" / (BAS) "Through the Rabbit Hole")]

Setting:  HAWKING, Maintenance Access crawlway
Stardate: 33113.2315

The moment Sampson had materialized on the command deck of the BASTET, Sarena had thought of him as some sort of ship's avatar, a mechanical extension of the HAWKING. e had been designed and constructed to assist the crew in areas where it would be too dangerous for anyone else to be there. In fact, much of what he said during their discussions supported that belief although nothing had ever been officially stated in that regards. Maybe her experiences with similar entities, such as the one on board the ANUBIS, as limited as they might have been, had biased her perception.

With what Ensign Dean had just proposed, the Executive Officer now needed to consider the possibility that she might have been wrong in her assumptions.  Could the artificial being be part of the majority on board this ship, leaving any biological life forms also present to constitute the rest of the crew? If this was indeed the case, Valentine had to consider how this could affect their mission to confirm the presence of a Lokustaar intruder on board. Would this make things more difficult or actually prove to be an unexpected advantage for them to make use of? 

Knowing what she did about the nightmarish race from another dimension, the suggestion made by Ashton could see everything change in their favor.  If the majority of the crew of the HAWKING were indeed comprised of mechanical entities, the Lokustaar would be unable to affect them with their weapon of choice. Fear was at the core of what this shadowy race represented. They traveled through dimensions spreading darkness and chaos wherever they went, but for that to work, the emotion needed to be felt.

Some races, such as the Vulcans, were far less susceptible to falling prey to such disabling emotions, but despite their continuing quest to conquer all emotions, the Executive Officer doubted that even they would be able to hold out for long against the combined powers of dark and ancient race. As witnessed by her own eyes, 20,000 ago the Lokustaar were already shaping the universe in their image and Sarena could only imagine that over those years they had grown to be better at what they did. Time for them was not an issue, so they could slowly plant the seeds of fear over years to facilitate reaching their final objective.

When it came to a mechanical race though, this dark and cold calculating patience would be countered by an equally strong patience, one immune to the effects of fear. The more she thought of that possibility, the more Sarena found herself wishing that Ashton were right. If the crew of the HAWKING was indeed comprised in a majority of artificial entities, their help in the war against the shadows could prove unparallel. Although they might not prove to be the winning element in this conflict, they would most certainly help to tip the balance in their favor.

"Commander," Mitshiba called out in a whispered voice as she pointed down a small crawlspace that the Executive Officer had completely missed due to her being lost in her own thoughts. "I believe that we should be able to reach the ship's main engineering section if we go down that path.

"Too direct," the Executive Officer said, quickly bringing herself back on task. "If there is an intruder on board this vessel, they will not be out in the open like this. If we are in fact dealing with a Lokustaar, or even one of their humanoid agents, we will have a much better chance of finding them by looking in the shadows. That is where they prefer to be and wait for the right time to strike."

"Normally I would agree, but with whatever is happening out there, it is likely that the intruder will try to make use of the confusion," Misaki offered as a counter argument.

"I agree," Ashton added. "This would be a perfect opportunity for an intruder to strike, no matter who or what they may be."

"Alright then, let's proceed with caution. Be sure to keep your eyes open as we have no idea what it is that we are looking for," Valentine warned.

"I have the strange feeling that once we see whatever it is we are looking for, we won't have any doubts as to their identity and purpose. I think we should be more concerned about what we will do once we find them," Mitshiba continued, a hint of uncertainty in her voice. The plan had always been for them to help the crew of the HAWKING confirms and locate the intruder, but little had been considered beyond that point. It was hoped that once the presence of an intruder was confirmed that the crew of the ship would take charge of the situation. With the possibility that the majority of the crew was like Sampson, Valentine hoped even more that this would be the case; easily placing the odds in their favor should they come face-to-face with an actual Lokustaar.

As they arrived at the end of the crawlspace, Sarena noted through the already opened access port, a shadowy figure tempering with some of the components beneath one of the control stations. It appeared that they had found their saboteur, someone who at first glance seemed to be a member of the crew instead of being an outsider, as they believed him to be.

"Maybe he is part of the engineering team," Misaki quietly offered. For their plan to work, they needed to keep their presence on board the HAWKING secret until the very last moment. To act now would tip their hand and possibly alert the real threat to the ship and crew as to their plan. Waiting too long to act though risked allowing irreparable damage to be caused to the vessel's primary systems making it impossible for any of them to regain the advantage.

After several long seconds of deliberation, Sarena motioned for the others to follow her. Right or wrong they needed to act, and making a mistake here would probably prove to be less of an issue than failing to jump into action fearing that this would be a mistake. Fear was something that the Executive Officer could not allow to control their actions, or in this case to cause them to hold back acting in the manner that their covert mission demanded them to.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M06-P027: USS BASTET: Gemma: Day 01 - 2320 ("Crowded Decision")
=-=
"Crowded Decision"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Outside Observer" / (BAS) "New Considerations"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.2320

The new breach was huge in comparison to the others. Whoever was responsible for these tear in space/time had taken things up several notches. Patience, it seems had, given way to an overwhelming desire for victory. Before the arrival of the BASTET, they were content to take things slowly. They knew it was only a matter of time before they overwhelmed the HAWKING and claim victory. That was until another ship arrived on the scene and started transferring energy to the first vessel. The extra power had shifted the balance back in favor of this dimension. By the looks of things, those responsible for the breaches were less than happy about this shift.

There was not a great deal of information available about the Lokustaar. The race was a mystery, a shadow hiding in the dark recesses of space. The information that was there though only made the race from another dimension come across as even more of a nightmare.  They were patient, determined, and cared little about life. Fear and chaos were their weapons, and over the last several millennia, they had become experts in using them.

Gemma had learned long ago to use those same weapons. Fear made people hesitate, delaying their actions and reactions. It also caused many to second-guess their position. In other instances, it forced some to act without thinking leading to mistakes. If done properly, the use of fear and chaos could lead to a victory even before the fight had begun. Understanding this meant that the ILO was not so easily affected by these weapons. Still, she could not deny the fact that she felt a growing concern at how things were evolving.  Looking at the current sensor readings only made those feelings grow.

"Captain. We are getting some disturbing sensor readings. If everything continues as they are currently going, there will be no stopping the breach from opening. It will take only a few minutes before it is wide enough to allow a ship to come through. The HAWKING is trying to contain the breach but to no avail."

"Can we increase the amount of energy that we are sending over to the HAWKING?"

"I will see what we can do." Gemma wasted no time and dashed into the turbolift. Everything happened so fast that by the time Nic realized what had happened, Gemma was gone.

=-=
Setting: USS BASTET, Turbolift
Stardate: 33113.2322

As the pod rushed down to the ship's engineering section, the woman of German descent considered their options. As an expert saboteur, Gabrielle Wolf knew a great deal about engineering systems. The problem was that her expertise was more along the lines of hindering their efficiency. Here, as a member of the BASTET's crew, she needed to find ways to improve these systems.

"What if we diverted all available power from the warp core to the HAWKING?" The thick Germanic accent made the simple self-proposed question sound that much more ominous. "Such a sudden transfer would be used to completely disable this vessel. As a bonus, it could even overload the other ship possibly even destroying it. The problem is that I need to find a way to do this without making our current situation worse. I hope that Elan will have a better solution to offer than the one I have just come up with."

A short pause followed before the bald Oltharian priestess voiced her opinion. "I have the greatest confidence in what Elan can do, as you should. I am sure he will find a way to adapt your crazy idea to make it work for both the BASTET and HAWKING. He is, like all of us, an integral part of this universe. As such, we have to hold on to the belief that everything will happen as it is meant to."

=-=
Setting: USS BASTET, Main Engineering
Stardate: 33113.2324

When the turbolift doors opened, Ema had vanished, replaced by the mumbling BASTET's ILO. "Only fools place their faith in something that is beyond their control."

"There are instances when there are no other choices. Sometimes you just have to allow for the universe itself to take control." The words from the giant Oltharian did not surprise Gemma. She understood that both him and Ema shared a very deep set of beliefs. "That said, I do not believe that this is such an occasion. I am glad to see you here Lieutenant. I presume that you have come to help with finding a solution to this latest breach."

"Correct. The Captain wants to know if we can transfer more power to the HAWKING."

"I am sure we could, but I am afraid that it might only delay the inevitable." With a motion of his sizable hand, he invited Gemma to follow him to a nearby console. "We have no idea of what is on the other side of those breaches. We are locked in a battle in which we have no knowledge of the capabilities of our adversary."

"You are right. From what we know of the Lokustaar, and assuming that we are indeed dealing with them, this pattern is right up their way of doing things. They are testing us, seeing just how much we are able to do. When they are satisfied that we have reached our limits, they will come in for the kill. They will not even need to risk more than they need to do the job. Our deaths and destruction will be a perfect picture of efficiency. To avoid that, we need to turn the table on them." The last words spoken by the ILO had a distinct Russian tone to them. Had Elan looked back, he would have noticed that it was Anya Petrov who had been there instead of Gemma.

"You sound like you have a plan." Elan was too busy working at his station to look back. He was trying to find a solution that would save both ships and keep these breaches from opening more than they were.

"We only have one option. We take the fight to them."

The Oltharian stopped what he was doing. Hesitant to say anything to the woman standing behind him. Her suggestion was combative and went against everything he believed in. As much as he wanted to argue against the plan though, he knew that he could not. "What do you propose we do?"

"Give the HAWKING as much energy as we can. Let them built up their reserve as much as possible. In the meantime, we allow the breach to continue to open, slowly. When we are ready, we terminate the transfer beam and force the breach open. We do this quickly enough so that however is on the other side is not expecting us to just plow through. With the element of surprise on our side, we close the breaches from the other side."

"That is a very daring plan." For some reason, Elan hesitated in turning around. Something about the way Gemma's voice sounded made him almost fear to look at her. There was something truly strange about the BASTET's ILO. Something that extended far beyond the way her voice changed at times. When he finally did turn around, he saw the woman he expected to see looking back at him. "I am not sure that the Captain will be willing to go that route."

"She doesn't have a choice." The Russian accent had vanished, replaced by an almost Vulcan logical certainty. "We can waste all of our energy here and give them a clear line they will need to beat. This will force the HAWKING and us to be on the defensive in a fight that we are not likely to win. If we take the fight to them though, we only risk ourselves and we may even be able to save the HAWKING. They will be able to relay what we have seen and learned here giving others a better chance in later fights. Us doing this will also serve to show whoever is on the other side that we are not going to make it easy for them."

"I agree." Elan was not happy. Rushing into a fight was the last thing he wanted to do. He also knew that Gemma's argument was beyond contestation and that even Captain Iverson would agree.  "Go back to the bridge and inform the Captain. I will start getting things ready down here. Given how fast that new breach is opening, I do not believe that we have a great deal of time at our disposal.

=-=
Setting: USS BASTET, Turbolift
Stardate: 33113.2330

"He is truly a remarkable man." Ema's admiration of the other Oltharian should have bothered Gemma. This was not the time nor place for such thoughts. That said though, the ILO had to agree that he was a remarkable man. Like everyone else on the BASTET, including herself, they were the right people at the right place at the right time. Whatever the outcome would be, there was no other way to act.  When the doors slid open, Gemma stepped out and made her way directly to the CO. "Captain, we need to talk. After speaking with Elan, we came up with the only course of action that makes sense."

Captain Iverson looked back at the woman. The expression on her face hinted that she knew what the mentioned course of action was. Their choices were limited and growing smaller with each passing moment.  "What do you have in mind Lieutenant?"

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M06-P028: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 01 - 2320 ("Vanishing Darkness")
"Vanishing Darkness"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Spring of Hope" & (BAS) "Crowded Decision"

///^\\\
Setting: USS HAWKING, Engingeering Sub-Section
Stardate: 33113.2320

The decision to act had been taken and the away team made their way out of the maintenance crawlspace as quickly and quietly as possible. The unknown engineer appeared unaware of their progress, too preoccupied with whatever he was doing, and the closer they got, the more suspicious the man's work seemed to be. Despite the growing certainty that he was doing something he was not supposed to, Aki's concern grew with each step. This was not a Federation vessel despite the countless similarities so there was no way for them to know for sure that the unknown man was doing something he was not supposed to.

An unexpected high-pitch shriek forced all three members of the away to their knees, the agonizing pain being too much for any of them to handle. The sound seemed to come from everywhere and made it impossible for them to remain undetected, let alone reaching their intended target. The situation had taken an unexpected turn, that would not be the last of their surprises. When the unknown engineer looked back at them with solid black eyes, they knew that their problems had just begun.

Whatever concerns Aki had about this being the right course of action or not had all but vanished, replaced instead by a fear that she could not control. Looking into those eyes was like staring into a cold abyss without end; a void that threatened to swallow the away team whole without effort or remorse. Through narrowed eyes, Mitshiba noticed a moving shimmering effect near the engineer but quickly dismissed it as a side effect of the loud shrieking that the Asian woman was sure would make her ears bleed if it had not already done so.

Whoever he was, the ear-piercing sound did not bother him, in fact, the way he smiled as he looked down at the kneeling away team hinted that he delighted in the situation as it was. Aki noted another shimmering effect to their right, this one just standing there and judging by the way Commander Valentine had reacted, she saw it too. There was a shape to this effect, a form born of a fear induced nightmare, a horror that they all could feel crawling on their skin and burrowing down to their bones. What frightened them most was the belief that this effect was not just standing there watching them but slowly drawing closer.

Aki could feel her heart racing in her chest, the shrieking sound at the limit of her ability to control herself from trying to escape no matter the cost. She had to remind herself that she had come here as part of a team and that she was duty and honor bound to not leave them behind, no matter what.  However often she reminded herself of this though, she could feel the resolve slipping from her grasp. The sound filled her soul with unimaginable terror and the approaching cloaked figure only made things worse. Despite all of her efforts to hold on to whatever courage she could, Mitshiba knew that this was the end, this would be where her career came to an end, aboard a ship from another dimension while fighting for what she believed in.

That was when the ship violently shook sending everyone flying across the room. At first, Aki believed this to be just another aspect of whatever plan the intruders on board the HAWKING had set in motion, but the expression of confusion on the engineer indicated otherwise. He was just as confused as everyone else, maybe even more.

"I don't know," he replied to a question that no one else heard. "I should be able to tap into the bridge's sensors from here and get some answers" After a few moments, the engineer continued. "Got it, looks like the other ship created a disruption in the HAWKING's energy beams by terminating their power transfer. Maybe the last rift to be open was too much for them to deal with and they are leaving this ship to fend on its own."

Aki quickly looked with puzzlement at Commander Valentine, questioning without words the possible truth in what had just been described. Sarena was just as quick to shake her head, certain that their Captain would never abandon the HAWKING.

"The Captain likely saw an opportunity that she could not ignore," Ashton added, supporting the Commander's belief that Iverson would not act as the engineer had suggested.

"That can't be right," the man continued, looking at the displayed data with visible disbelief. "They are not moving away, they are moving towards the new rift. By the looks of things, they intend to go through it." More high pitch screeching filled the room with varying levels of amplitude and frequency.  "Of course not, it was never expected for either ship to try and use the portals going the other way. As reckless as they may be, most do not have the courage required to take on such a bold move." More screeching was heard, this time sounding more urgent and desperate.  "No, there is no way for me to send any sort of message to the other side. That ship is going to take them by surprise."

The high pitch sounds suddenly stopped and all of the shimmer effects that had been seen in localized areas of the room vanished at the same time. The engineer appeared frustrated by this unexpected turn of events and quickly turned his growing anger towards the three officers who had been stopped dead in their tracks. Aki met his dark gaze with her own and saw a rage beyond measure reflecting in the solid black void of his eyes.

"The battle is over, surrender." Valentine wasted no time in getting back up to her feet and taking control of the situation. As far as she was concerned, there were three of them against a single one of him, and the unexpected turn of events played in their favor so there was no reason not to take advantage of it while they could.

The man laughed maniacally. "You have no idea of what is happening. "The best you will be able to accomplish is to delay the inevitable. You, and all others like you, will fight your way into oblivion and there is nothing you can do to stop it no matter how hard you try."

Before Valentine and Dean could reach the man to take him into custody, he let out a heart-wrenching scream before collapsing to the ground. Within seconds his eyes began to leak a thick black substance that cascadded down his face and body quickly surrounded him. Not knowing what was happening, everyone kept their distances and watched in stunned horror as the pool of black liquid grew to surround him. If the scene had not been traumatic enough, what followed would ensure nightmares for years to come as the man began to vanish, sinking into the dark fluid until he was completely submerged.

Gasping to understand what had just happened, Aki watched as the pool of black liquid began to shrink as if absorbing itself. It took only a few more seconds before the pool had disappeared just as the man had.

"That as unexpected," Ashton said keeping whatever opinion or emotion brought on by what he had witnessed to himself.

"Theory?" Commander Valentine asked, looking at the Asian CSciO.

"My first guess as to the liquid. Some sort of substance possessing dimensional properties. As for what happened to him? I would go along the idea that this was some kind of punishment for having failed in his mission," Aki theorized. "Was he just transported to another location or simply erased from existence is yet to be figured out, not that we have anything to work with that would allow to confirm or deny this idea."

"Trying to figure out what happened here will have to wait," Sarena said. "We need to head to the bridge and report on what happened. At the same time, we might be able to get more information as to what Captain Iverson and the BASTET are up to."

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P029: USS BASTET: Dean: Day 01 - 2330 ("New Developments")
“New Developments”
Previous posts: (ANU) "Spring of Hope”/(BAS) “Vanishing Darkness”

//^\\
Setting: USS HAWKING, Engineering Sub-Section
Stardate: 33113.2330

[From “Vanishing Darkness”]

"That as unexpected," Ashton said keeping whatever opinion or emotion brought on by what he had witnessed to himself.

[Mine]

The sight of the “person” liquefying made Ashton’s blood run cold and steeled his resolved to defeat this enemy no matter what. His girls will have a long life. The trio left engineering exiting into a corridor again with no visible markings or doors along the smooth metallic walls. 

“Commander, do you know the way to the bridge? If not let’s just pick a direction and see where it leads.”

“No I know what you do about this vessel, but seeing that we only have two choices,” she trailed off and led the way left down the hall. Mitshiba scanned the walls for any signs of a door or turbolift. As the team rounded the fifth corner Ashton caught sight of a ladder on the far wall ahead of them.

“Look ahead. That looks like a maintenance ladder.” 

“Lieutenant what do you detect? Is there a corridor above the ladder and if so where does it go?” Valentine asked.

Mitshiba moved to the base of the stairs, boosted her tricorder, and scanned up the ladder. “The ladder appears to go up several meters, which to me means up several decks. I don’t detect any others up there. It appears to be safe, but we should keep our guard up.”

“Agreed,” Valentine replied and motioned for Mitshiba to lead the way.

As the group climbed the ladder into the dim unknown, Ashton thought back to his first days exploring his secret cave on Xadra 4.

//^\\
Setting: Caves of Xadra 4
Stardate: 20 yrs earlier

Ashton checked to make sure he was not followed into the woods. Once he was confident no one followed him, he moved the brush that concealed the entrance to his cave. Before descending down the passage, he secured a rope he brought to a nearby tree, covered it with leaves and moss camouflaging it from anyone that may wander by. Next, he wrapped the rope around his legs, so he could control his descent by sliding the rope around his legs. Finally, he pulled the brush back over the entrance to make sure no one surprised him.

Once he reached the bottom he picked a tunnel and followed it not knowing where it went or what was waiting for him. He had his bowie knife, flashlight, and curiosity, which was stronger than any fear he may have had.

//^\\
Setting: USS HAWKING
Stardate: 33113.2335

Ashton felt that same curiosity he felt long ago exploring his cave, but now it was also mixed and strengthened by his love for his daughters. It gave him the courage of lion. He would fight to the death to protect them and his crew.

As the team neared the top a strange hum began to fill the air. “Do you all hear that hum?” he asked.

“Yes,” they answered in unison.

“Could it be another Lokustaar and companion? I have not encountered one upon arrival before.”

“They don’t make any sound when they arrive. You don’t know they are there until they want you to know or you manage to surprise them as we did earlier,” Valentine answered.

//^\\
Leigh Rachal

Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET
M06-P030: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 01 - 2335 ("The Darkness In Between")
---
"The Darkness In Between"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Spring of Hope" / (BAS) "New Development")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.2335

There was no hiding the fact that Selene hated having to leave the away team behind this way, but the truth of the matter was that she and the rest of the crew of the BASTET had little choice in the matter. With the appearance of the latest dimensional breach, time was now against them more than ever before. The energy transfer to the HAWKING had helped restore a precocious balance but it was clear that those responsible for the openings in the fabric of space-time had not been interested in leaving things that way.

"Captain, are you sure that this is a wise course of action?"  Iverson could not blame the Counsellor for having voiced such a question, the Commanding Officer wondering the same in silence. Forcing the ship into the new rift was a dangerous maneuver that stood well beyond the confines of a calculated risk. In fact, many including herself would have described the action as reckless. That was one of the reasons why Selene had given the order to do this because no one would or could have expected it.

"Too late to ask that Counselor," Lieutenant Gemma said, the Intel Operative had taken over control of the Flight Control Station in the absence of Ensign Dean believing that a skilled pilot was required to help bring the odds of success back in their favour, even if only ever so slightly.  "We are 20 seconds away from entering the event horizon of the breach. Dimensional shields are at maximum but this is still going to be a rough ride, so I suggest that everyone hold on to something."

Selene allowed a faint smile to flash on her lips as she watched the woman piloting the BASTET do so with an expertise that seemed to belong to someone else, which is some strange way it did. The usually curly brown hair of the Intel Operative now appeared a great deal straighter, not to mention much lighter. Maybe the stress of their current situation would make it so that no one else would notice this unexpected change, but the Captain was confident in the ability of the members of the senior staff currently present on the bridge to not let such a sight go unnoticed. This would force Gemma to reveal more about herself, that she wanted to or not, all without Iverson having to do or say anything more than had already said and done.

The command deck of the BASTET was eerily quiet as the ship was quickly placed perpendicular to the breach to help reduce the physical stress of what was soon to take place. The dimensional breach had clearly been designed to allow one or more ships to travel from another location to this one, so there was no way to know if the rift could support a single ship traveling in the opposite direction. The rules of trans-dimensional travel as they knew them to be, placed the odds at 50/50 that such a maneuver would work, the problem was that when dealing with the Lokustaar, odds were never what science made them be.

Gemma suddenly stopped all motion. Everything that needed to be done had been done leaving only one last thing to happen. "Contact with the event horizon in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1..."

---
Setting: SPACE, ZELLANI Sector
Stardate: 33113.2335

One ship stood in the middle of several dozen smaller breaches, energy beams directed to each and every one of them save one, the largest and most menacing. Instead of an energy bean, it was a second ship that targeted that opening in the fabric of space-time, a ship that could be seen forcing its way through it.

The sight was a troubling one as the ship seemed to encounter a great deal of resistance, and yet it continued to push forward as if defying the universe itself in wanting to accomplish this task. The more the ship strained to move forward, the more the effort of the vessel and its crew seemed to be doomed to fail. With the BASTET about half-way through, an energy wave emerged from the breach pushing the HAWKINGS clear of the area which now showed no signs of any sort of breaches, that they were large or small.

---
Setting: USS HAWKINGS, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.2340

"I want a report from all science stations. We need to know what happened to the other ship and if those breaches have actually been closed and sealed," the Commanding Officer of the HAWKINGS ordered, the artificial life form known as Samson standing right next to the Captain.

"Captain," Samson interjected. "We have visitors."

"I am Commander Sarena Valentine, First Officer of the USS BASTET," the lead officer of the three said before introducing her companions. "This is Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba, our Chief Science Officer and this is Ensign Ashton Dean, our Flight Control Officer. You will be pleased to hear that we took care of the intruder on board your vessel."

"Thank you," the Captain said not sounding half as impressed or thankful as the trio from the BASTET had expected. "Now maybe you can help us figure out what happened to your ship."

"Something happened to the BASTET?" Misaki gasped prompting Ashton to place a supporting hand on the shoulder of the troubled Asian woman.

"Samson, playback on the main viewer," the Captain ordered before turning her attention to the nearest science station leaving the android to deal with those he had met and interacted with earlier.

"A new, larger breached opened," Samson explained. "Your ship entered that breach and caused an energy displacement wave to be created, one that pushed us clear of the area we were in. The good news is that it appears that all of the breaches were closed by this, unfortunately..."

"The bad news is that the BASTET is gone," Ashton said completing the sentence, not because he knew what he would say but because the thoughts of the Flight Control Officer immediately went for his daughters who had been onboard the ship that had vanished.

"Permission to help?" Misaki asked of the two women in charge at the same time. The Chief Science Officer of the BASTET was relieved to receive accepting nods from both. "Ahston, come with me. Together I am sure that we can figure out what happened and confirm that the ship and crew are perfectly safe and sound."

"Commander Valentine," Samson continued, focussing his attention on the woman who had suddenly found herself alone while standing on the command deck of an alien ship from another dimension. "Allow me to officially welcome you on board the HAWKING and to thank you for dealing with our intruder problem. I am sure that the Captain would be happy to hear everything about how you accomplished this."

"I will be happy to explain everything," Sarena said hesitantly. "I would like to know what happened to my ship beforehand if that is not asking too much."

"Not at all," the Captain of the HAWKING confirmed. "I would have asked for the same had the situation been reversed."

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.2345

Sparks still filled the command deck of the USS BASTET as the lights flickered on and off. The journey through the breach had not been an easy one but by the looks of things it had been a successful one, at least for the most part.

"Bridge to Engineering, Commander Fairborn, can you hear me?" Gemma was concerned and yet the woman came across as being in complete control of her feelings. This had not been the first time she had faced a difficult situation, but there was something different about how she had to deal with it, that Selene could easily hear in the way the woman spoke.

=/\= Fairborn here. Shield held but we have a few overloads that we are taking care of as we speak. I do have a few injuries down here requiring immediate medical attention. =/\=

"Bridge to Doctor Andersson, your presence is required in Main Engineering," Captain Iverson announced.

=/\= On my way, next time though it might be nice if you informed me about any plans to have the ship go through whatever it was that we went through. We are getting reports of bumps, bruises and minor breaks from all over the ship. =/\= Sofia unhappily noted.

"Lieutenant Gemma, what is our tactical situation?" Selene asked of the Intel Operative whose hair had returned to the brown coloured hair that had been expected to be found on the head of the woman, although it lacked the curls that were present before their journey through the dimensional breach.

"Sensors are having a hard time making sense of what is out there. The energy signature does not match any on record. Everything seems so different that I am not even sure we are in an actual dimension. From these readings I would guess that we are in some sort of in-between location, like a buffer zone between the dimensions," Gemma explained sounding oddly like a native of the planet UXAL.

"Too bad Misaki is not here," Counsellor Dima noted as she studied the strange swirling red and black mixture of colour being displayed on the main viewscreen.

"Where are the Lokustaar?" Selene demanded, certain that they would be facing retaliation very soon for what they had just done.

"Sensors briefly picked up a couple of signals as we came through the breach, but they disappeared soon after," Gemma reported. "My guess is that we took them by surprise and forcing them to retreat into whatever this place is."

"Could the shockwave we experienced have disabled, damaged or maybe even destroyed them?" Iverson asked sounding far more hopeful than she should.

"I highly doubt it," the Intel Operative replied. "No signs of debris. Sensors are picking up nothing other than the odd background energy signature of this place. The good news is that we are not picking up any sort of breaches either. It would seem that whatever we did worked in solving that problem."

"Good, at least we managed that much. Now, all we need to do is to find a way for us to get back to our dimension and the HAWKING," Selene said, not hiding that she was anxious to get out of wherever this place was.

"I am sure that our return will be highly welcomed by the members of the away team, especially Ensign Dean," Nicole added, certain that their Flight Control Officer was in a state of panic at the moment following the sudden disappearance of the ship onboard which his daughters were on.  After having said that, the Counsellor studied the woman frantically working at the Flight Control Station, trying to make sense of everything Dima had seen and heard. From the first day she met Gemma, the Trill had the feeling that there was something odd about that woman, now, after all that had just happened, the beliefs had been confirmed. Lieutenant Gemma was more than she appeared to be, and that was after having appeared as being more than she normally allowed others to see.

---
Jessica Solarik

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

&

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

"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)
M06-P031: USS BASTET: Gemma: Day 01 - 2350 ("Reflected Darkness")
=-=
"Reflected Darkness"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Spring of Hope" / (BAS) "The Darkness In Between"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.2350

Dalra was an experienced pilot, there was no denying that. Over the years, she had flown all sorts of crafts from every region of the quadrants. The Varro woman had flown around or even through every imaginable spacial anomaly. So to claim that the latest flight had been a first for her was quite a statement. Once the journey through the dimensional rift was accomplished though, the pilot retreated back from where she came. The job that she was given had been completed and there was no reason for her to linger about. It was the skills and expertise of another that would be required from this point forth.

The woman now sitting at the helm of the ship appeared mesmerized by what she saw. The odd swirling mixture of black and red displayed on the main viewer made Wimda sigh with admiration. She could gaze upon this exotic beauty for hours, even days. The BASTET was in the void between dimensions, adrift in an ocean that no one knew existed. That alone would be reason enough for the Uxali woman to wish to remain here. What unimaginable secrets would be uncovered here? What terrifying wonders would be discovered in this place?

"Lt. Gemma, keep an eye out for any sort of activity, be it Lokustaar or otherwise."

The order from the Captain made sense. Just the thought that those nightmarish creatures could be out there was enough to enlist fear. Wimda could easily imagine that those around her saw this place as a hell. A location not to be admired but rather feared. Because of that, she understood that this was not the time for a scientist. They needed someone with impeccable survival instincts, someone who would be able to help them get back.

Following the Captain's request. Gemma took her leave from the BASTET's helm. The skills of the ILO would be put to better use at the tactical station. At least there she would be able to scan this odd region of space for any signs of the infamous Lokustaar. As she made her way to the station, the Terran woman caught the gaze of the Trill Counselor. There was something odd about the way Nicole was looking at her. It was not something obvious, and would not have been noticed by most. As an expert Intel Operative though, Gemma had long ago learned to recognize such looks on people's faces.

Under normal circumstances, Gemma would have confronted the woman. Experience had taught her that is was best to be on the offensive when dealing with the unknown. That was why she now looked upon Captain Iverson with a certain hint of admiration. Most COs would have hesitated to do what needed to be done, but Iverson had dove into the matter, in more ways than one.  The ILO exchanged another quick glance with the CNS before turning her attention to the instruments in front of her. Dima was an officer in Starfleet, a member of the crew and fellow shipmate. Those alone granted her a status that few others could claim, that was another reason why she would not be confronted at this time.

"Captain," Gemma began. "Sensors are picking up micro debris. The particles are too small to be able to determine what the initial form or purpose of the object was. What I can say is that there are as many debris clusters as there were breaches. Based on that alone, I would guess that these are the remains of whatever was being used to open the dimensional rifts."

"Could the energy wave we encountered have been responsible for this?"

"We did forcefully break through a passageway between dimensions. I believe that the HAWKING would be better equipped to study what happened. All we can do is speculate, but the clues would point to that being the case. The shockwave would have destroyed the smaller devices and forced the two ships to withdraw. Unfortunately, there is no way to know if they left or simply pulled back to figure out what took place. Once they are secured in the knowledge that we are alone, they might return and even out the score."

"Then it would be in our best interest to find our way back to our dimension and the HAWKING." The Captain said this not because she was scared. That was not her way. She understood the tactical uncertainty of their situation, not to mention that the command staff was three officers short. Dealing with the Lokustaar with a full staff would prove to be a great deal easier.

"Gemma to Elan, how are things down on your end?"

=/\= We should have all systems back in a few minutes. The energy spike overloaded a lot of systems but nothing that we cannot fix or bypass. Doctor Andersson is already here and taking care of the injured. =/\=

"It would seem that we weathered the energy blast better than could have been hoped." The Captain was clearly relieved to hear that her ship had not suffered any major damage. The gamble had been a dangerous one, but great gains can only be made by taking great risks.

"I will monitor Lt. Cmdr. Fairborn's progress and will keep you informed as things change. I will also keep an eye out for the Lokustaar should they decide to return. After what happened though, I suspect that they may not be in a rush to deal with us any time soon."

"We can only hope so." Captain Iverson said before adding a simple "Thank you". The CO may have been hesitant to have the woman be their new ILO. There was a lot about Gemma that was troubling, maybe even scary. That said though, it was just as many things that made the woman an asset on board the BASTET.

As the ILO returned her attention to the console before her, she felt the curious gaze of the Ship's Counselor falling upon her once again. It appeared that the more Nicole watched Gemma work, the more curious she became about the true identity of the Intel Operative. It was unlikely that she would get any sort of answers now, but that did not reduce the Trill's curiosity. A curiosity that bridged her professional duties and personal inquisitiveness.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M06-P032: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 02 - 0015 ("New Day, New Possibilities")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"New Day, New Possibilities"
[previous post (ANU) "Medical Report" / (BAS) "Reflected Darkness")]

Setting:  HAWKING, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.0015

Sarena gazed onto the main view screen once again recalling an old saying; things were quiet, too quiet. Not that long ago, this region of space was filled with transdimensional rifts threatening to open the gates for what everyone agreed would be an invasion the likes of which no one had ever before seen. Now, this same region lost between the stars was as still as could be, the sensors of the HAWKING not picking up any signs of activity, be it from the Lokustaar or the BASTET.

Clearly, Captain Iverson had decided to take matters into her hands and tackle the problem head-on, and by the looks of things she had accomplished her goal. The HAWKING, its crew, and its guests were safe, at least for the time being. When it came to the Lokustaar, Sarena knew one thing to be certain; nothing was at it appeared. Very little was known about this race of walking shadows, and that made things even more unpredictable.

"From what I have observed of your Captain and your ship, I would say that the odds of them being safe are in their favor," Samson offered. Although the man was nothing more than a sophisticated robot, he did try his best to project a more human presence, his latest effort almost succeeding.

"Thank you for trying," Valentine smiled in return. "A valiant effort that was a little lacking. You see, someone trying to cheer someone else or at the very least try to make them feel better would have allowed actual odds to dictate their words. You did not say that the odds were well in their favor' or that there was nothing for me to be concerned about. You said what you did base on nothing more than the calculated odds. You say that said odds are in their favor means that they are at the very least 51%, and I suspect that they are not that much higher.

"You may be underestimating Samson as you are your own ship and Captain," the Co of the HAWKING offered. "Yes he may be by simple definition a robot, an automaton, but he is much more than his programming. We all have come to recognize this and to be grateful for it over the years. There are times when he can be quite *human* in his approach to things. The perfect and most recent example of this being that he recognized your need to be reassured."

"If I may add something," the artificial man said, reinjecting himself into the conversation about him. "My choice of words was based on a calculated probability that the significance of the information provided would be dismissed. The odds that I previously mentioned actually stand at 72.8812, this based on your Captain's experience as I was made o understand it as well as the technical specifications of the BASTET which I had the chance to review."

"Like I said," the HAWKING's Captain grinned. "Don't underestimate him."

"We have to consider the facts as we are seeing them to be," Lt. Mitshiba said joining in on the tail end of the conversation. "Since all of the dimensional rifts closed simultaneously, we can extrapolate that the arrival of the BASTET caused enough of a disruption to end the threat. With the D-Drive, it is only a matter of time before they come back as there is no question as to which dimension they need to travel to."

"I know this, my concern is more about in what state is the ship and crew. If the BASTET flew right in the middle of a Lokustaar fleet, there is no telling what kind of hell they will be made to deal with. If we consider the number of dimensional rifts that the HAWKING was dealing with, it is near impossible for us to believe that there was only one Lokustaar ship responsible for them all."

Ashton remained silent as his gaze drifted to the main view screen of the HAWKINGS, his thoughts on the two children he had left behind and who had been dragged into this nightmare. Whatever the odds were as stated by the robotic man, Ensign Dean had no other option but to believe the best possible outcome. The BASTET had to have not only managed to reach the other side of these dimensional rifts safe and sound but it had to be on the winning side of whatever confrontation arose. This belief was the only thing he could hold on to in order to allow him to imagine that his children were there, peacefully waiting for his return.

"Commander," Misaki continued. "I wanted to say this before you asked, there is no way for us to know which dimension the BASTET traveled to. Whatever means the Lokustarr used to open those rifts made it impossible for even the advanced sensors of the HAWKING to get any sort of readings, let alone a lock on the source location. If Captain Iverson and the rest of the crew are alive, they are on their own to get back."

Sarena sighed as she looked at the view screen, the peaceful stars visible on it not offering any sort of respite to the Executive Officer. All she could do was to accept Samson's odds and explanations, adding to them her knowledge of the ship and crew. Every officer on board was experienced and in some cases displayed abilities that went far beyond the expected limits set by their own training.

"Even if Captain Iverson was there alone, I would still believe it more than possible for her to find her way back. With the resources of the ship and the expertise of those around her, I would not be surprised if she returned with a defeated Lokustaar ship in tow." Sarena did her best to sound as confident as her words, but she knew that things could have just as easily gone in the other direction. All they could do was to wait and see what would happen next.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M06-P033: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 02 - 0030 ("Troubled and Concerned")
"Troubled and Concerned"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Darker Complications" & (BAS) "New Day, New Possibilities"

///^\\\
Setting: USS HAWKING, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.0030

Aki was torn between her feelings as an officer on board the BASTET and a visiting scientist on board the HAWKING. The Asian woman wanted to explore the ship, take in all of the wonders it had to offer and learn something new in the process but guilt and concerns for her fellow shipmates made that impossible.  If only Nicole Dima was here, the Chief Science Officer could have called upon the Counselor's expertise to help her deal with this dilemma, but unfortunately, the Trill was with the rest of the ship and crew, lost somewhere in another dimension.  Mitshiba sighed hoping that at the very least everyone was safe, wherever they might be.

"You seem troubled," Ashton whispered as he walked up to Aki.

"Just thinking about the BASTET and those aboard," Mitshiba confirmed. "It is hard for me to be a scientist here, on board a ship such as the HAWKING while everyone else is out there. At least if we knew that they were alive and well it would make things easier, but we don't even know that much. All we know is that Captain Iverson took the ship through the largest rift and managed to somehow close them all."

"I know how you feel," the newest member of the BASTET's crew said, joining the CSciO as she gazed onto the star-filled viewscreen at the front of the bridge.

"I am so sorry," Aki gasped only now realizing whom she had been speaking with. Whatever links and associations Mitshiba may have created with other members of the crew currently on the BASTET could not come close to the link a father had for his daughters. Whatever concerns she had would be multiplied a hundred folds as far as the FCO was concerned.

"It's alright," Ens. Dean dismissed. Acknowledging the Asian woman's words would only make the situation that much more real and right now he needed to focus on anything else if he was to keep his wits about him in order to find a way to help find the BASTET and his family. "The odds are still in our favor," he added as he glanced towards Samson.

"You are right," the CSciO agreed as she unexpectedly found comfort in the man's emotional strength. "Captain Iverson is an experienced Commanding Officer and I sure that the Ice Queen will find a way back."

"The Ice Queen?" Commander Valentine repeated, indicating to Aki's horror that the ExO had heard what had just been said.

"I am sorry," Aki pleaded, this quickly turning out to not be the greatest moment of her career. "I should never have said that it was not meant in any way as a display of disrespect or insubordination, the Captain is well known for being unemotional in her actions and reactions, in fact the nickname is more of an acknowledgement of her ability to remain cool and collect regardless of how demanding a situation may be," Mitshiba blurred in a desperate effort to save her career which now seemed to be hanging on the edge of a bottomless precipice.

"Relax Lieutenant," Sarena calmly said. "I think the nickname suits her quite well, but I will say this, I will deny ever having agreed with you should this conversation between us becomes public knowledge." The Commander's voice was gentle yet firm and her meeting the gaze of both Ashton and Aki made it clear to them both that they were not to mention any of this to anyone. "In the meantime, I think it would be in everyone's best interest to focus on helping our hosts in finding a way to locate the BASTET, this regardless of how impossible the task may be."

"Yes, Sir," Ashton and Aki replied simultaneously each hading in a different direction to see if they could offer any insight or information the crew of the HAWKING might not have considered in their dimensional search for the BASTET and its crew.

As Aki made her way to one of the science stations, Samson quickly followed to stop right next to the BASTET's CSciO. "Ice Queen?" The android appeared almost amused as he said those words.

"You heard that too?" Aki sighed in despair. "I really need to not talk as much or as loud as I do."

"No one else on the bridge heard you," Samson said in an almost reassuring manner. "My hearing is far superior to that of any humanoid race we have encountered."

"I'm guessing that's a lot," Aki snickered.

"The Galactic Commonwealth has cataloged over 17,534 individual sentient humanoid species throughout the 75 dimensions that we have visited. This does not include the 6,189 non-humanoid species we have also encountered."

Aki froze as she heard those numbers. If memory served her well, the United Federation of Planets had encountered less than 500 humanoid species, this including those from the Delta and Gamma quadrants. Maybe another 50 or so could be added from other dimensions, be them humanoid in appearance or not. This meant that they had a great deal of exploration left for them to do in order to come anywhere close to matching the achievement of the Galactic Commonwealth.  "That's a lot of different species," the Asian woman finally managed to say, still trying to overcome the shock created by the information provided by Samson.

"The number refers to specific genetic and dimensional specifications," the android clarified hoping to make it easier for the visiting scientist to understand. "Although many of those on board the HAWKING are Terran such as yourself, they are considered to be a different species if they originated from another dimension as some on this ship have."

"Wait, you are not all from the same dimension?" Aki gasped once again, the surprises coming at her almost faster than she could handle.

"The Galactic Commonwealth is a multi-dimensional scientific organization and we welcome new members no matter what dimension they may be from. It has been noted by several commanding officers that thanks to this policy, many scientific discoveries have been made which would have otherwise not come to be. It would seem that different dimensions offer an equally different perspective on the mysteries of the universe."

Aki looked back at the much taller Samson, her head tilted to one side ever so slightly indicating that she was processing the android's words in great depth. Although she was looking at him, her thoughts were clearly well beyond the imposing muscular form standing before her. Following the Asian woman remaining in this position for quite some time, Samson decided to make sure that nothing wrong had happened to their guest.

"Lieutenant Mitshiba, is everything alright?"

"Yes," Aki confirmed as she snapped out of the deep thoughts she had been in. "You mentioned that people from other dimensions have a different perspective and that got me thinking. Not about the different people but the perspective of things. From our perspective, we are unable to get any indications as to which dimension the BASTET traveled to, but we might be able to get some sort of clue from a different dimensional perspective. I understand that the possibility if faint at best and would be limited to dimensions immediately next to this one, but it is still worth the try, no?"

Samson's expression remained impartial, not betraying any emotion he might have had if that was at all possible. Instead, he just looked down as if trying to find the right words to use. "The odds of our finding any sort of clues as to the dimension to which the BASTET traveled to while in a dimension other than this one are in the fraction of percent. As difficult as it may be for you, our best chance is to wait here and count on your Captain's resourcefulness to find her way back or at the very least find a way to indicate where they are so that we can travel to them and assist in their return."

Aki wanted to argue the validity of her plan, but she knew that Samson was right. Staying where the BASTET knew them to be was the best course of action, even if the Asian woman would have preferred jumping to other dimensions in search for them. At least they would be doing something more than simply waiting for the ship and its crew to give some sign of life.  Once more the CSciO wished that the CNS was here so that she could have someone to talk to, someone to share her fears with, someone to snap her back on track so as to not give in to the growing fears within her.

This, of course, meant that the Asian woman would have to remain troubled and concerned for the time being.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P034: USS BASTET: Dima: Day 01 - 2355 ("Not All Who Wander...")
“Not All Who Wander...”
[previous posts (ANU) "Trying To Make An Omelet" / (BAS) "Troubled and Concerned"]

=/\=
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33113.2355

“I’m headed to the Astrometrics Lab to take a closer look,” Gemma informed the Captain, and Selene nodded her head, accepting this without question. The ILO’s efficiency was obvious.

Nicole watched the woman leave, and took a moment to survey the remaining Bridge staff. They were functioning normally, despite the ominous and confusing view outside. There were no obvious signs of emotional distress or turmoil. 

She wished for a moment they were all back on the HATHOR. Despite its more cramped and austere structure, she would have been able to activate the Blink drive and think them home in an instant.  For all she knew, the D-Drive would be equally capable at the task, as long as there was not significant damage. But the not knowing had a way of feeding into her uncertainty. 

And what if the Lokustaar had somehow managed to push through, despite the BASTET’s efforts? Then the HAWKING was under attack right now, their home universe was threatened, and they would be jumping back into a battleground against an impossible foe. That was not a comforting thought. 

Nic came to realize as she moved to the turbolift, that the only person aboard she was concerned about on a professional level was Gemma. She needed to follow her. Otherwise, if what Dima had seen wasn’t real, she would need to march herself to Sickbay and submit to a comprehensive battery of tests from Sofia. She certainly wasn’t willing to do that until her suspicions had been investigated.

=/\=
Setting: Astrometrics Lab, Deck 4
Stardate: 33114.0010

Wimda knew many things. As a highly respected scientist, she was able to comprehend complex formulae and concepts. A question kept repeating itself to her, through the chatter of the others, even before she found herself below decks; how much trouble were they in?

The Uxali woman’s fingers danced over the console controls as she extrapolated information to gain a sense of where they were.  She was aware some saw their predicament as an entrapment from which they would need to escape. But for her it was an opportunity to research the unknown.

Ema and Finnja had wanted to go to Engineering where Elan and the injured were, but Gemma knew that Elan was well enough to communicate the repair efforts and that Sofia was already administering medical aid.  However, the scientist’s desire for knowledge easily trumped these other concerns.

Wimdalli booted up the spectrometer, to see if there were any minerals or particulates in the vacuum of their transitional space. Would it be anything she could recognize from their own universe, or a jumble of elements that would need to be classified and sampled for further review? The potential interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation beyond the rift was a thrilling prospect. As she happily perused the data stream, losing herself in the information and daydreaming about the discoveries she could make, somewhere Anya angrily snapped that they had surveillance. Gemma turned around.

“I need to talk to you,” Nicole said as she slipped uninvited further into the room, making her presence fully known.

“Now,” Gemma said in response, in a tone halfway between a question and a statement. She had reverted back to the persona that was generally recognized as part of the crew of the BASTET.

“There’s never a good time,” the Counselor admitted. The emptiness of the red and black non-space swirling outside the vessel was in the forefront of her mind, as it was everyone aboard, and finding a way out or a way to communicate to the HAWKING was their directive. But so was keeping the crew safe and mentally fit. What she had witnessed needed to be expressed, even though it was a little difficult for Dima to approach the subject.

Several seconds of awkward silence fell between them. Gemma eyed the joined Trill woman, deciding quickly that since she was the one who initiated the conversation she would not offer anything until prompted.

Nic placed one of her hands on her abdomen, trying to figure out where to begin. “I know you’re already aware of this, but I am the fifth recipient of the Dima symbiont. The history and memories of the four prior hosts dwell within me, providing me with experience and a filter through which I operate in my life. With the exception of certain ceremonies, they are incorporated into my being. Because of them, I cannot ignore my instincts.”

“You are not as green as the typical Ensign,” the ILO reasoned aloud.

“And you are exactly as complicated as a typical Intel Operative,” Nicole replied with a shudder. 

“Is that a compliment?”

“It’s a fact, and I suppose a compliment as well. Did I ever tell you about Commander Maya?” It was actually Lieutenant Commander, but the Counselor had always called her Commander Maya or simply Maya.

“No.”

“She’s the Science Officer aboard the ANUBIS- or at least she was before I unexpectedly left. I hope she still is... intelligent and loquacious to a fault, and one of the most incredibly detailed people I ever had the pleasure to know... she also has the ability to assume different forms.” Nicole’s voice was wistful; it was not the first time she felt her departure from her previous ship as a loss, even though it opened up opportunities she never would have imagined.

“What do you mean?”

“She can shape-shift into various small animals, and remain in that form, acting as that creature for a set time period before having to return to her humanoid state.”

“You witnessed this?”

“Once. It came in very useful when faced with missions outside the normal parameters. Those are part and parcel of what Koniki and NEW ALEXANDRIA is all about.”

Gemma looked faintly annoyed. “You said you wanted to talk with me. Why are you taking this trip down memory lane?”

“What I’m trying to say, is as members of Starfleet, we are all more than just a sum of our parts. We are each endowed with a highly specialized set of talents. And while Counseling is my true vocation, I am also a pilot. And while I questioned the need to bring the BASTET in this particular direction, I also had an intense curiosity with how you handled the controls to prepare us for the impact. But instead of merely technique, I saw something more.”

“What did you see?” Gemma’s voice was quiet and taut.

“The woman that took us into the dimensional rift was a highly skilled pilot- a pilot that existed in the same space as you do, but was *not* you.”

The Varro woman materialized, morphing from the ILO as naturally as breathing. “I am Dalra,” she said by way of introduction. Her lips were drawn tight, fully serious, perhaps even more so than Gemma was. Before Nicole could blink, Gemma was present once more.   

Nic thought hard as she looked the other woman up and down to check for signs that this was abnormal behavior for the ILO and found nothing to indicate that. That was 3 personas she had seen so far- Gemma, Dalra, and the dark-haired woman that she had just interrupted in the lab. It was similar to multiple personality disorder, but on a molecular scale. “This thing you are doing- it is not harmful to you, is it?”

While Gemma did not seem to deny the others, there appeared to be a disconnect that they existed in the same mind and body. “I am not *doing* anything. It is who I am.”

=/\=
Susan Ledbetter
Writing for

Cns
USS BASTET
M06-P035: USS BASTET: Dean: Day 02 - 0015 ("Not All Who Wander...")
"A Father and an Officer”
[previous post (ANU) "Trying to Make an Omelet”/ (BAS) “Not All Who Wander...”]

Setting: USS HAWKING
Stardate: 33114.0045

Ashton left his crew mates and looked for a private place. He needed a moment. That conversation with Aki stired up some feelings he needed to deal with in private. Following the smooth walls he found his way to what resembled a mess hall. Thankfully it was empty. He took a seat away from the door. 

"Whew," he let out a long exhale. "This is where I need to be. We would all still be in danger whether I was here or not so it’s better that I am part of the solution. They are in safe hands of Capt. Iverson and the rest of the BASTET's crew." He wiped a tear from his cheek as he pictured Tristan and Cordelia. Then he remembered what Tristian said to Cordelia when he was leaving, "Daddy has to go get rid of the boogie man so we can sleep safe and play with him when he gets back." Then she took her sister by the hand and led her to the window to watch the ships. "Yeah this is where we belong."  He looked around the room for something that resembled a replicator or coffee machine. It had been hours since they left and now that the battle was over he noticed his stomach was rumbling. 

Not wanting to set off something that could damage the ship or himself, Ashton returned to the bridge to speak to Sampson. “Sampson can I speak to you a moment?”

“How may I assist you Ensing Dean?” 

“Is there a place to get some food? It’s been hours since I last ate.”

“Of course. Follow me,” the android replied and headed out the door toward the room from which Ashton just came.As they entered Sampson stopped in the area just inside the room to their right. He waved his hand across a panel in the wall causing it to disappear revealing a replicator like device. “Just say what you would like. We have a database of over 2 million dishes from all the dimensions we have explored. I’m sure you will find something to your liking. This will show you description of the dish,” he said pointing to the screen above the opening.

“Thank you Sampson. Let Valentine and Aki know I’ll be back to the bridge soon.”

“Of course Ensign.”

Ashton stepped to the replicator, thought a moment, “It’s worth a shot. Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with Okra,” he said hoping.

The computer chirped, the screen swirled a moment, and then replied, “Unknown dish. Choose again."

"Well, thought I’d give it a try.” With that Ashton tapped the screen and scrolled through the list. About 20 dishes into the list he chose something that sounded like shepherds pie. The dish materialized with a fork like utensil. “Computer water,” he asked hoping ti was in the system. Thankfully a glass materialized filled to the top. He took his bowl and glass to the table he used before and studied his dinner. “Here goes,” he said taking a bite. The taste was odd, but after he swallowed his first bite and drank some water the flavor was tolerable. “I shudder to think what is in this. I made the mistake of asking about what’s in my dinner once when Linda made Klingon food for dinner." He smiled at the thought then wiped it away remembering the last time he saw her as she walked out on the girls and him. “She had her moments,” he said out loud taking his last bite. He returned the dishes to the replicator. As he stepped away the panel materialized hiding the replicator. “Ugh,” he said covering his mouth, “That didn’t taste good,” he said out loud about he odd tasting burp. 

=/\=
Leigh Rachal

Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET
M06-P036: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 02 - 0100 ("Searching for the Light of Hope")
---
"Searching for the Light of Hope"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Spring of Hope" / (BAS) "A Father and An Officer")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.0100

The USS BASTET was designed to travel to other dimensions, to explore the unknown and to expand Starfleet's knowledge about what was out there. Base on that mission profile alone, this was exactly where the ship and its crew were meant to be, so why was Selene feeling the way she was? A good chat with their new Counsellor might have been in order, that is if Captain Iverson could manage to break her intense staring into the eerie red swirls being displayed on the main view screen.

There was something about this dimension, something that tugged at her mind and emotions, threatening to unravel everything that she had become, and yet she could not bring herself to look away.  If that was not strange enough the Captain felt as if there was something oddly familiar out there, something that she remembered from what seemed to be another life.  To call this thing *fear* would have been partially accurate although the feeling stretched far beyond the definition and understanding they possessed of that word. Fear, as they knew it to be, would not affect her as she currently felt, but that was the best and the only way she could describe what was happening to her.

The attention of the woman sitting in the center chair was momentarily diverted away from the main view screen as the Trill Counsellor returned to the command deck, an expression of deep thoughts visible on her face. For a brief moment, the Captain contemplated the idea of reaching out to the woman, to ask her what was on her mind before requesting her professional time and expertise in order to get to the bottom of how their Commanding Officer felt, but the words never made it to her lips. The best Selene was able to do was smile at the Trill before returning to her study of the red swirls, this despite the increasing pleas from her mind to stop this madness.

With several lifetimes of experience, Dima quickly recognized the signs for what they were. This was not the woman she had left behind when the Trill had decided to follow Gemma, and this was certainly not the Captain she had come to know. Something had changed but right now the only things she had were unproven hypotheses and farfetched theories.

"I have to admit that Lieutenant Gemma is a truly *unique* woman," Nic said hoping to get Selene to look back at her. It was next to impossible to imagine that Captain Iverson was unaware of the multiple personalities of her Intelligence Liaison Operative, in fact, it made far more sense to imagine that she knew of those personas the Counsellor had encounter as well as any other that had not yet introduced themselves to the Trill. Dima hoped that the statement made would be enough to trigger some sort of reaction, something that would confirm her suspicions, both about the state of mind of their Commanding Officer and the extent of her knowledge about the identities contained within the woman known simply as Gemma.

"We are all unique in our own respective ways Counsellor," Selene offered, her eyes not even threatening in the slightest way of looking away from the main view screen. "And yet this individuality means nothing when we are faced with the darkest elements of this universe and its infinite dimensions," the Captain added ending her musing with a long drawn-out sigh.

This might not have been the confirmation she had hoped for, but it was more than enough for the Counsellor to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that something was not right with their Captain. Now the question was, what could she do about it?

---
Setting: USS HAWKING, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.0115

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba sat at one of the many science stations that could be found on the command deck of the USS HAWKING. Her discussion with Sampson about looking upon their situation in a different perspective still haunting her thoughts. As much as she might have disliked it, the Chief Science Officer of the USS BASTET had to agree with the android in that it was best for them to remain where they were instead of jumping into other dimensions without having any clues as to where to look for the missing ship and crew. Agreeing with Sampson though did not mean that she had given up hope or stopped searching for a way to help get her ship back.

"What are you working on?" Ashton asked as the Flight Control Officer of the BASTET returned to the bridge, desperate to find a way to not think about the odd taste left lingering in his mouth.

"Nothing specific," Misaki admitted. "After a quick chat with Sampson, I thought that getting a different dimensional perspective might allow us to get some clues as to the whereabouts of the BASTET, but he was quick to point out that our best bet is to stay here and wait for them to give us a sign. We could spend years, even decades searching all of the dimensions out there without ever finding the slightest clue as to where that dimensional rift went."

Ashton chuckled dryly. "Guess we can't ask them to commit other ships to this little search and rescue mission? The odds would increase a great deal faster if there were other ships out there looking for the BASTET while we just sit here and wait."

Misaki pondered the suggestion made by Ashton and before he could realize what had happened, he found the arms of the Asian woman wrapped around his neck as she planted a gracious kiss on his cheek. "Ashton, you are a genius. Thank you."  Just as fast as this scene had come to be, it ended as the Chief Science Officer of the BASTET rushed out appearing happier than he had ever seen anyone be.

---
Setting: USS HAWKING, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 33114.0120

Misaki stormed into the office without any consideration or second thought as to what might be going on behind the closed door. "I am truly sorry to burst in like this, but I just had a though, well actually is was Ashton that made me think of this when he mentioned how much easier it would be if we had more ships available to search for the BASTET, and that idea came from my discussion with Sampson about having the HAWKING jump to other dimensions in the hopes of findings some clues as to the whereabouts of Captain Iverson and the others."

"Lieyanent!" Sarena forcefully said, thinking it best to put an end to this warp-speed rambling. "Slow down and start at the beginning. What is it that you are trying to say?"

"As a single ship, our best hope of finding the BASTET is to stay here and wait for them to give us some sort of signal, the problem is that we have no idea if they are even capable of doing this as the ship may be damaged or they are so far from any known dimension that they would be unable to send any sort of signal back. That is why the idea of having multiple ships searching other dimensions make more sense."

"We do not have other trans-dimensional ships available, and even if we did, there would not be enough of them to make this search as you suggest it be remotely effective," the Captain of the HAWKING offered. "There are simply too many possibilities as to where the BASTET could have been taken to. The dimensional rift was unidirectional until your Captain forced her way through, this means that there is even a possibility that they ended up in another dimension then that from which the portals originated from, that is if they survived at all."

"I have been trying to convince the Captain that the BASTET and her crew are alive and well," Commander Valentine clarified, not wanting to let Misaki believe that she agreed with the latest statement made by their host.

"We may not have other ships available for the search, but we do have access to some deep space probes which I am convinced we could modify to transmit a dimensional beacon that would greatly increase our odds of locating the whereabouts of the BASTET. At least it would give us something to do instead of just staying here waiting for something to happen."

"An interesting proposition, but I am afraid that we do not have enough probes to make your plan viable, not to mention that they would all need to be heavily modified in order to be able to transmit a multi-dimensional signal," the Captain offered in return.

"With all due respect," Valentine interjected. "If the roles were reversed and it was your ship missing, you would want to do something no matter how much of a long-shot it may seem to be. I am sure that Lieutenant Mitshiba and Ensign Dean will be more than happy to assist with the modifications to however many probes you are willing to let us use in this attempt."

"Sampson, could you report to the Observation Lounge."

"Silence ruled over the trio as they waited for the android to arrive, which luckily did not take all that long. "Yes, Captain?"

"I would like you to assist our guests in modifying all available probes for dimensional reconnaissance and transmission. Have engineering replicate more probes to add to their numbers thus allowing us to cast a wider search net. I am sure that Lieutenant Mitshiba will be more than happy to provide you with whatever specifications she has in mind for the modifications and casting of this net."

"Thank you, Captain," Misaki said, the woman barely able to contain her excitement. "Come Sampson, we have work to do."

---
Jessica Solarik

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

&

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

"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)
M06-P037: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 02 - 0130 ("Rumblings")
"Rumblings"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Trying to Make an Omelet" & (BAS) "Searching for the Light of Hope"

///^\\\
Setting: USS HAWKING, Engineering
Stardate: 33114.0130

To the untrained eye, the room was a chaotic mess of scattered parts and agitated people running about without any fix destination. There was a reason behind this pandemonium, a goal that everyone present was working towards as fast as they could. Although the sense of urgency only belonged to a select few of those present, the need for speedy work had been accepted by all those who had come to lend a hand. This was just another reason why Aki found herself so enamoured with the Galactic Commonwealth, their dedication to research and science still holding the top stop on her list of reasons.

"Lt. Mitshiba," Sampson said as he walked by the CSciO, the android being the second reason why she wanted to be part of this universe over her own. "This will be the second time that I am pointing out that your display of borborygmus is loud enough to be heard by the majority of those present in this room."

"I am not sure what he just said, but I will admit that it really doesn't sound good," Ens. Dean commented as he gave the Asian woman a concerned glare as if he had been worried that whatever had been mentioned was in some way contagious.

"There is nothing to be worried about," Aki said letting her head drop. "He just said that my stomach rumblings are loud, very loud. My body is just reminding me that I have not eaten in a while, but right now all I want to do is to be working on the modifications to these probes. I will have ample time to eat once that is done and these probes are out there helping us find the BASTET."

"Trust me," Ashton said, the bad taste from his earlier efforts to ease his own hunger still very much present in his mouth. "Being here, working on these probes, is a much better option. The faster we manage to locate the BASTET and get back on board, the quicker we get to have a good meal as our reward."

"Sampson did mention that they have a selection of over 2 million dishes gathered from every dimension that have visited," Aki said, almost taking herself into stopping what she was doing in order to end the loud rumblings emanating from her own abdomen.

"Can I assure you that they did not sample any food from our EARTH," Ashton stated without any hesitation. "At least not in any establishment worth going to. We are all better off working here and keeping our thoughts on the objective. Once we are back on the BASTET, I would be happy to cook something for you."

"You cook?" Aki gasped not having expected to hear such a revelation from the FCO.

"I have to take care of two little girls," Ashton pointed out with a grin. "As great as replicator can be, at least those from the Federation, they are still not 100 percent reliable, so when they stop working, I have to be able to provide my girls with something more than water and field rations."

Aki and Ashton shared a smile, one that gradually disappeared from the man's lips as his thoughts went back to the two little girls he had just mentioned.

"Don't worry," the Asian woman said, trying her best to reassure the troubled father. "These probes, once they are modified and sent out, will allow us to scan with great accuracy and range for clues as to the BASTET's whereabouts. As for your girls, they are in good hands and I am sure that they are being well cared for."

"I know," Ashton said as the smile returned to his lips just in time to hear Aki's stomach rumblings fill once again the area they were in. "So, how about we get back to work before your stomach brings the Captain down to see what kind of monster has set-up home here in engineering?"

"Maybe I should swing by the mess hall and get something to eat," Aki huffed, feeling the rumblings echoing through her abdomen. "Good or bad, at least it will be something that will hopefully silence this *monster* everyone is referring to."

"If you really want to do that, I would suggest staying away from any *regular* dish. At least that way you will not have a pre-established idea or expectations as to what it should taste like," Ashton suggested. "Trust me, low expectations will be your friend in this matter."

"Maybe I can play it safe and only ask for a cup of green tea. Surely the replicators on board the HAWKING can manage to make a decent cup of tea."

"You'd think, but I would not hold my hopes up too high, just in case."

Aki smirked and turned to Sampson who had likely been eavesdropping on the conversation based on the smile on his face, the amused expression appeared oddly out of place when considering that the person displaying it was an artificial life form. The sophistication of his construction and programming filled the CSciO with awe, so much so that she had to repeatedly remind herself that her Captain and fellow shipmates were out there lost in some distant dimension.

"Would you like me to escort you to the mess hall? I am sure that I will be able to help you find something that will be to your liking. It will also allow me to clarify some of the technical specifications you mentioned in regards to the modifications of the probes. I have several questions about how you expect these modifications to operate through multiple dimensions."

There was no way Aki would turn down such an offer, which she quickly acknowledged with a beaming smile followed by the nod of her head. This was the best of both worlds as she would be able to keep working on finding a way to locate the BASTET and its crew while at the same time having a scientific chat with the HAWKING's impressive avatar.

With everything said and done, the two of them made her way out of engineering under the rolling eyes of the BASTET's FCO who found himself unsure if he was feeling sorry for the Asian woman or the android accompanying her.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P038: USS BASTET: Gemma: Day 02 - 0145 ("Multi-Tasking")
=-=
"Multi-Tasking"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Trying to Make an Omelet" / (BAS) "Rumblings"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Astrometrics Lab
Stardate: 33114.0145

"The universe is a living entity. However small or large the parts may be, they are still interconnected. From the smallest spec of sand to the largest exploding star, they are all part of the same universe. This dimension, however strange it may appear to be for us, is no exception. It is part of the living entity that is our universe." Ema spoke from a religious point of view, but the wisdom of her words was still in point. As different and strange as this place appeared to be, the majority of universal rules still applied.

In the blink of an eye, the Oltharian priest gave way to the Uxali scientist who immediately sighed. "I would say that the universe is a dynamic and intertwined complex system. I do not think there is a need to try to describe the universe in an esoteric manner. There is no mystical force at play here. The key to all problems can be found through science." Wimda had never been one to give a great deal of credibility to any sort of religious belief. As far as she was concerned, everything could be explained by science, no matter how miraculous it may appear to be.

A brief moment of quiet solitude took over the Astrometrics lab. The only person present in the room gazed at the red swirls displayed on the large screen. The scene was enough to enlist plenty of conflicting emotions. For some, the oddly colored space was a cause for admiration and contemplation. For others, it was the worst possible nightmare given form.

"Call it what you want, it doesn't change anything," Dalra said scolding everyone else. "We are here and have no idea where here is or how to get back to our own dimension." However, each wanted to romanticize their current situation, the truth remained that they were lost. Without stars to navigate by, the BASTET could not risk moving from where it was. Without their instruments working the way they needed to, there was no way for them to get back home. The only thing left for them to do was to argue as to how to label what they were all faced with.

Gemma growled under her breath. Through all of this uncertainty, there was another issue that needed to be addressed. The way Counselor Dima had looked at her seemed odd, and her words even stranger. Their little chat ended quickly enough, but the memory of it lingered on. Nic seemed to admire Darla's piloting skills, yet puzzled by the Terran's closeness to the Varro pilot. One thing that had been said troubled the ILO the most.

'The woman that took us into the dimensional rift was a highly skilled pilot- a pilot that existed in the same space as you do, but was *not* you.'

Of course, it was not her. Darla and Gemma were two distinct individuals. Each possessed a unique skillset along with individual thoughts, ideas, and even dreams. So why had Nic said that they existed in the same space? This sounded like one of Wimda's wild ideas. How could two distinct individuals occupy the same space at the same time? Had their being here, in this nightmarish dimension, caused the Trill to lose her hold on reality?

"You need to relax," a pink-haired Risian woman ever so calmly said. Arennis was not one to just make her presence known. It was usually in times of great stress that the serene woman showed up. Some would welcome her arrival while others would see it as just another issue to deal with. "I can feel the stress filling this room. This is not healthy for you or anyone else around you."

"I do not need you to tell me how I should feel!" The outburst of anger even took Gemme by surprise. This was not how she was. Giving in to anger was the best way for her to make a mistake, to let her emotions take over. As an Intel Operative, emotions were the one sure way to fail in your mission. "The last thing I need is to waste time arguing with."

"We are not arguing, we are talking, discussing, and venting harmful thoughts and feelings. This is a good thing; why else would I be here if not because of your need for me?"

"NO!" Gemma screamed, her powerful swing hitting nothing but air before she collapsed onto the floor.

=-=
Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 33114.0230

"How is she?" Nic asked. The Counselor had rushed here the moment the report of Gemma having been found unconscious had reached the bridge.

"Not sure," Sofia answered. Every scan performed thus far showed the exact same thing. The woman was in perfect physical condition. "According to my instruments, she is fine. So much so that she should not even ben unconscious. Wish Misaki was here, she might be able to tell me if this is because of the dimension we are in."

"I suspect that the problem might be internal, not external."

"Alright, it's clear that you know something that I do not. So spill it." Although she was still smiling, Sofia came across as not willing to play games. Nicole recognized this right away and saw no reason to try and explain what she suspected.

"How would you go about having an ILO be able to change their appearance at will?"

"I fail to see how this has anything to do with Gemma being unconscious."

"Just answer the question," Nic said. "It should help us both make more sense of what happened."

"Alright," the CMO signed. "I guess some very specifically programmed nanotech could do the trick. It would need to be linked to the thought patterns of the host. That would, in theory, allow them to change their appearance at will."

"Could such nanotech be able to shield the host from medical scans? Just thinking aloud. Would it not make sense for the host to be able to hide their true race? If she appeared as a member of a race other than her own original self, any scan could show her to be an imposter."

Sofia agreed, still not having any clue as to how this linked to the ILO's current condition. "There are no signs of nanotechnology in Gemma's bloodstream and her scans show her to be a perfectly healthy human."

"Maybe we are seeing this because it is what she needs us to see. Even unconsciously, she is protecting herself from anyone discovering who she really is."

"Great, so you are now claiming that Gemma is not actually Gemma? If she is not hr, who is she?"

"I think she is much more than she appears to be," Nic admitted. "As for who she truly is, I am not sure if there is an easy answer to that."

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M06-P039: USS BASTET: Andersson: Day 02 - 0245 ("Putting the Pieces Together")
=-=
"Putting the Pieces Together"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Trying to Make an Omelet" by Lorraine / (BAS) "Multi-Tasking" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 33114.0245

Sofia heard everything that Nic had said, but part of the CMO did not want to accept what was being explained. Doctor Andersson had herself seen odd things about the appearance of their ILO, and now she had a probable method to explain it all. It made sense for an Intel Operative, especially one meant to operate alone deep inside enemy territory, to have the means at her disposal to be as unnoticeable as possible.  What troubled the physician the most was that she had no idea that such technology was available, let along in use by the Federation. Then again, when it came to Admiral Koniki using whatever means was necessary to accomplish a mission, things did not seem to be such a far stretch anymore.

"When she came for her medical exam, the instruments picked up the bio-signs of a Danaali woman. I dismissed it as an instrument malfunction, but after what you have just said to me, I am starting to think that I picked up something that I might not have been supposed to. Did you see her change into a Dinaali?"

"No," Nic quietly said, shaking her head while keeping a close watch on the unconscious woman they were talking about. "She appeared as a Varro woman, a skilled pilot, the one that flew the BASTET through the dimensional rift. Her name was Dalra."

"Dalra? Why would Gemma change her appearance and name to fly the ship through a dimensional rift?" It was easy to see the complete puzzlement the CMO was in the grasp of, the agitated physician flailing her arms about/ "It makes no sense whatsoever. Changing one's appearance has no impact on who she is or the skills that she obviously possesses and used."

"Like I said, I suspect that there is much more about our ILO than meets the eye."

"Care to elaborate?" Sofia queried in a rather rough manner.

"Not sure that I can."

"Can't or won't?" Sofia asked, her smile crunched to one side of her mouth.

The Trill Counselor echoed her friend's smile before offering a reply.  "If you unexpectedly became aware of someone's unique and undocumented medical condition, one that no one else is remotely aware of, would you not be bound to keep that information confidential?"

"Maybe so, but I would still not be opposed to discussing a specific case with someone who is professionally involved in said case, like this one. You may have a psychological angle to your approach and take on Gemma, but right now her condition clearly falls within the medical field. So instead of fighting, we should be working together, no?"

Nicole felt bad, not because of this little friendly byplay that she was sharing with Sofia, but rather because this was being done at the expense of their ILO, a member of the crew who required help in ways that may very well go beyond what either woman would be able to offer at this time. As much as the two of them might have required this diversion in order to forget, even if only for a moment, that they were lost in another dimension, it still did not excuse them from doing so while Gemma needed their combined assistance.

"What do you need from me?" Nic asked, ready to tackle the matter of helping Gemma in whatever way they could.

"You said that you saw her as a Varro woman, did you see the change? I mean did you actually see the transformation or was it just that you looked at Gemma and suddenly say someone else there?"

"The change happened right in front of my eyes," Nic explained. "I was speaking with Gemma, mentioned that I saw someone else expertly piloting the BASTET, and Dalra just appeared. It was as if she had been there all along, then when Gemma came back, the change was almost instantaneous. What concerns me the most was the fact that neither persona seemed aware of this transformation. The identities were completely separate despite them occupying the same physical space."

"That's good to hear."

"How can you say that?" Nic exclaimed, shocked by the words of her friend. "Gemma is suffering from a severe case of dissociative personality disorder, one that is amplified by the fact that her external appearance reflects the dominant persona at the time. Although there were no signs that this transformation was in any way painful for her, I can only imagine the stress that it creates on her psyche. It might very well be part of the reason why she is now unconscious."

"That may very well be, but until I can get some sort of actual reading on her condition, there is no way for us to know what the cause was," Sofia pointed out.  "For all we know, it could be something she was exposed to while in the Astrometrics Lab, or maybe some side effect to us being in this dimension, an effect that she just happened to be the first one to succumb to. That said and if we take into consideration the presence of some sort of high-end nanotechnology in her system, my guess would be that she would be the last one affected by what this dimension might throw our way."

"Unless it is that very nanotechnology that is making her more vulnerable," Nic offered as an alternate possibility.

"We need to get to the bottom of this, and again I wish Misaki was here. She would be able to help us on a more scientific level, that is as soon as she stopped being thrilled with the prospect of researching something new."

The Trill followed with a short chuckle as she remembered someone from her more recent past, someone whom she had mentioned to Gemma not that long ago.  "I think Maya would be thrilled to be here as well. Unfortunately, neither one of them is here, so getting to the bottom of this rests on our shoulders, and for Gemma's sake we have to figure it out."

"Let's get to work." 

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M06-P040: USS BASTET: Gemma: Day 02 - 0300 ("Struggle Within")
=-=
"Struggle Within"
[the previous post was (ANU) "A More Personal Take" / (BAS) "Putting The Pieces Together"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 33114.0300

Gemma laid on the medical examination table, oblivious to what was happening around her. Doctor Andersson and Counselor Dima were struggling to understand what was happening. Their instruments said that the woman was fine while everything else pointed to there being a problem.

Nicole and Sofia struggled to find a solution to the problem they faced. In the meantime, the ILO was facing a struggle of her own. This internal battle was invisible to the other two women buzzing around their unconscious patient. Understanding who she was would be key to understanding everything else. So they searched as best they could to find the answers they all so desperately needed.

=-=
Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Gamma Division, Confinement area
Stardate: Unknown (several years ago)

The room was empty with the exception of its occupant. The walls were as bare as could be and offered the woman inside nothing but a light grey color as companionship. This was her home when she was not training or put through some new medical test. Although the room was barely large enough for her to lay down in, it was home. This was where she could rest and be alone with her thoughts. Unfortunately, her mind proved to be as bare as the walls that surrounded her.

Her skills as a warrior had rapidly grown, going so far as to force the training holodeck to be reprogrammed. The increasingly more deadly opponents she was forced to fight against were proving to be no match for her. The woman's knowledge and ability to use a growing number of tools and equipment had also gone off the charts. This meant that while in the training holodeck, she was someone to be feared. While on the medical examination table, she was an oddity to be probed and studied. But here, inside this small barren room, she was nothing.

She sat cross-legged in the middle of the room longing for some sort of self-identity. Fingers capable of squeezing the life out of a man gently traced the edge of her bracelet. The faded inscription on the small piece of metal was the only clue she possessed as to who she was. Both the woman, like the word engraved upon the bracelet, were incomplete.

With an uncharacteristic gentleness, she caressed he small piece of metal. Maybe one day someone would show her the same kind of care. Maybe one day she would become someone worthy of being more than what she currently was. Maybe one day she would be able to claim a name other than Gemma. For now, that name was the only one she knew, and she would cherish it for as long as she drew breath.

=-=
Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Gamma Division, Control Center
Stardate: Unknown (happening at the same time as the above)

Two men in white lab coats watched the woman who sat alone in the middle of the small empty cell. Their interest was not born of a desire to protect her well-being. As precious to them as she was, their interest in her was purely scientific. All they wanted at this moment was to understand the thought process that made her act as she was. In order to maximize the results of their work, they needed to identify the woman's strengths in order to exploit them. Everything else would be pushed out of her in one way or another. Nothing could be allowed to get in the way of their final objective. She was meant to be something the likes of which no one else had ever seen. She was meant to be the one agent they could send into any situation without concerns. She would be the best, and this no matter the cost.

"She is trying to figure out who she is."

"The Admiral made it very clear that this cannot be permitted. At least not yet. In order for her to accept the training, she cannot be allowed to question who she is. We may need to increase the number of nanites in her cerebral cortex. At the very least we may have to redirect those already there to the frontal lobe. This need for self-discovery cannot be permitted to take root."

"We have already assigned more then it is considered to be safe to that task. Forcing more nanites to migrate into her brain could cause irreversible damage to her psyche. As great as her physical performances have been, they would mean nothing if she is unable to adapt. Yes, we need her mind to be blank. This will avoid emotions to get in the way of her missions and adapting to rapidly developing situations. However, we have to be careful not to repeat the mistakes we have already made. All other test subjects before her became useless when we tried to completely suppress their desire to have an identity of their own. We need to find a way to contain this need without endangering the project."

"It is evident that this need is an unavoidable side effect of the procedures. It may force us to go back to the concept and rebuilt the entire project from the ground up."

"I doubt that the Admiral will be willing to see years of work pushed aside because of this side effect. It is far more likely that we will be forced to find a way around it. Maybe we should try something different?"

"What do you have in mind?"

"Clearly, suppressing the need for a self-identity does not work. Therefore, what if we shattered this need instead. It would not completely vanish; instead, it would be made so insignificant that it would not affect her day-to-day performance. I predict, if we are successful, that she would only have a faint recollection of this need when left alone. This would allow her to rest without having to deal with her mind searching for something that it can never find.

"An interesting idea. It might be worth looking into it. How do you suggest shattering this need?"

"I have read a report on methods to alter the way a person thinks being used by the Orion Syndicate. The process may be somewhat barbaric but it does show some valid results. I am sure that we could adapt this process here."

"Anything that will help us achieve what the Admiral wants is perfect for us. Let's get to work."

"What about her?"

"She's not going anywhere, and right now she seems engrossed with trying to figure out who she is."

=-=
Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 33114.0315

"If only we knew more about who she truly is," Nicole said, the frustration in her lack of progress heard in her voice.

"Don't dismiss what we already know," Sofia said as she reached for her patient's hand to take into her own. "Hang in there Gemma," the CMO continued speaking directly to her unconscious patient. "We know that you are in there somewhere. All we have to do is find a way to break through those nanites of yours. Once that's done, everything else will be just fine.

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M06-P041: USS BASTET: Andersson: Day 02 - 0320
("Putting the Pieces Together, Part 2")
=-=
"Putting the Pieces Together, Part 2"
[the previous post was (ANU) "A More Personal Take" by me / (BAS) "Struggle Within" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 33114.0320

Sofia held on to Gemma's hand as if the physical connection might help her find a way to pierce the protective field generated by the nanites inside her body, miniature technology that the CMO and CNS had still been unable to confirm the presence of in the body of the unconscious woman next to them. According to their instruments, the ILO was a Humanoid woman in perfect health, but both the Doctor and Counselor knew that this was not true having witnessed the changes in their patient's appearance,

The two women had jumped into the proverbial deep end in their attempt to figure out if the nanotechnology hiding inside the ship's ILO was responsible for her current state. With little to go on, the ship's CMO and CNS needed to figure out if the dimension they had found themselves in was in some way responsible for Gemma having lost consciousness. 

"How am I supposed to find a miniature technology that is designed to not be detectable?" Nic exclaimed. "Obviously, we know that it is there since we both saw their effects on her appearance, but I can't get any sort of lock on them with these scanners. As far as I can tell, there is nothing there," Sofia added, her frustration mounting with each attempt to get to see this elusive nanotechnology. "How am I supposed to find something that doesn't want to be found?"

"If this technology is, as we suspect, there, I am concerned as to how it is affecting her brain. As you said, we have witnessed the effects on her body, but could it be the cause of her shattered psyche? Could these nanites actually force her to acknowledge each and every persona as separate individuals living in the same body? What would happen if they failed in maintaining this psychological separation? Would the individual persona come crashing into one another? If they did, what would happen to the persona that we know and recognize as Gemma?"

The two women thought of the questions plaguing their thoughts. As different as their approach and focus were, it dealt with the same person, a patient who required their respective expertise if she was to make a complete recovery, physical as well as psychological.

"Not sure how any of those different personas would react if they had to fight for control of the only body available to them," Nic said with a sigh. "Although I am pretty sure that it would not end well. The sudden disappearance of the separation between the personas could easily cause her to go mad, and I would not be surprised if she took others down with her in that state."

"Guess I should have a tranquilizing hypospray at the ready," Sofia half grinned. "Guess it doesn't hurt to be ready, just in case. It might also not be a bad idea to have the computer ready to send a low power electrical shock through her body just in case the unseen nanites counter the effects of the hypospray. The shock should paralyze her muscles unless those miniature cloaked headaches take the hit instead. Then I would have no idea what to expect."

"We could run a few localized tests," the Counselor suggested. "Gemma has not displayed any signs of being a danger to anyone on board the BASTET, but right now we should not take any chances. We know next to nothing about the extent of the nanites' abilities."

As much as she did not want to use Gemma as some sort of guinea pig, the CMO agreed that their lack of knowledge in this particular matter made the situation that much more dangerous for everyone involved. Reluctantly, Sofia began working on a way to test their patient's reaction to a low power electrical discharge. Although they could not see the nanites themselves, they would be able to monitor the effect of the shock on the unconscious woman, or at the very last surmise that the invisible robots had protected their host.

Doctor Andersson stopped fiddling with the controls when Counselor Dima gasped. "What did you do?" Nic asked, not having expected their Terran patient to suddenly vanish to be replaced by a bald woman.

"I haven't done anything," Sofia claimed as she turned to look at their patient once again.

"Well, something definitively happened," Nic said as she gazed upon the bald woman who was now on the examination table. "She looks Oltharian," the joined Trill said, that knowledge belonging to one of her former hosts. "Do you believe that this is a result of what you were doing?"

"Not entirely certain," the CMO admitted. "The computer was trying out various artificial brainwaves to try to have the nanites reveal themselves, instead of making them appear on our instruments, I would seem that it caused them to activate and change Gemma into whoever this person is." Sofia paused as she scanned the biological readouts. "According to the medical scanners, she is Oltharian as you suspected."

"The question is, what cast does she belong to?" Although Nicole may not know a great deal about that specific race, the Dima symbiont did possess some passing knowledge of the race and its people, enough to know that things could become very interesting depending on what cast this persona believed herself to be part of.

"This is getting stranger and stranger by the moment," the CMO grumbled. "Guess being stuck in another dimension was just not good enough for the universe to throw at us. I just hope that Captain Iverson is having better luck with getting us back home because I have the feeling that we will be dealing with this particular issue for quite some time."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M06-P042: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 02 - 0400 ("Casting the Net")

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]

"Casting the Net"
[previous post (ANU) "A More Personal Take" / (BAS) "Putting The Pieces Together, Part 2")]

Setting:  USS HAWKING, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.0400

"You really should get some rest," Samson said. "You staring at the image on the view screen will not make things go any faster. Lt. Mitshiba and Ensign Dean, in collaboration with the engineering staff of the HAWKING, are working as fast as they can to replicate and modify the probes. It may take several more hours before we are ready to launch any of them.

"I don't expect you to understand why I am this way," the Executive Officer o the BASTET offered in return. "As much as I appreciate everything that everyone is doing, I should be out there actively searching for my ship and crew."

"I may be nothing more than a sophisticated android to you, but I assure you that my understanding of your emotional state far exceeds your expectations. I have observed a great many emotional reactions to a wide variety of situations, both on board the HAWKING and beyond. I may not be an expert, but I have gathered and analyzed enough data to recognize the signs and understand their most likely cause. The final analysis may not be perfect, but the margin of error is well within the parameters to permit me to speak with a certain amount of confidence."

With narrowed eyes, Sarena glared at the taller mechanical man. Knowing that he was a collection of electronic component did play on the way she dealt with him. In some ways, she admired him for being free of the emotional burden all too often associated with most humanoids, but his constant efforts to try to be more like everyone else bugged her.  After carefully considering what she would say next, Sarena decided to meet his efforts to be more human with an android-like response.

"Although your efforts at counseling are appreciated, they are not required at this time. I have access to a skilled CNS on board the BASTET, and although I do not require her services at this time, my focus in wanting to locate and rejoin my ship and crew will not change until the stated task is accomplished.

The expression on Samson was one of quiet confusion, a sight that Sarena would never openly admit to having pleased her.  The discussion came to an end when Lt. Mitshiba stepped onto the bridge and made her way to the standing pair.

"My apologies Commander, I hope that I am not interrupting."

"Not at all, Lieutenant. Am I to gather by the light bounce in your sep that you and Ensign Dean have made progress?"

Misaki smiled. "We have. There is no denying that the HAWKING is far more advanced than the BASTET when it comes to its ability to travel from one dimension to another, that is why I believe that this plan may actually work better than we had expected. The probes that we are currently working on will be able to be dispersed through various dimensions, but they will be able to remain linked to one another. Each probe will be transmitting a signal identifying the dimension that they are in. This, in theory, should help the BASTET figure out where they are and plot a course back. The signal will be specifically modulated to also allow for Captain Iverson to extrapolate which dimension they are in even if the probe is not in that specific dimension. A sort of trans-dimensional echolocation."

"You seem quite confident that this will work," the Executive Officer said, the joy radiating from the CSciO leaving Sarena with no other choice but to smile as well.

"I am," Misaki confirmed without a second of hesitation. "Ashton believe this as well. We may all have our own personal reasons for wanting his to work, but the science is sound. Despite there being endless mathematical probabilities as to where the BASTET is, we all strongly believe that this plan will work and help them find their way back to us."

"I do not wish to cast a dark shadow over this discussion," Samson said. "Is it not anyone's concern that these probes may be advertising the location of this dimension over all others to potential threats, including but not limited to, the Lokustaar?"

"Ashton had the same concern," Misaki said. "That is why we came up with this specific method of transmitting the data. We are not broadcasting a stellar roadmap back to this location in the multiverse, we are merely helping the BASTET identify the dimension that they are in, thus allowing them to figure out their own way back. Since the ship and crew did not use their own D-Drive, it makes sense to believe that they have no idea as to their exact trans-dimensional location making it impossible for them to properly orient themselves for the voyage home."

"Before you say anything," Sarena said, cutting the HAWKING's android off before he could jump in. "Yes, we are all working on the belief, bordering on hope, that the BASTET is still intact and its crew alive and well. Anything else is, as far as we are concerned, unacceptable at this time."

Samson smiled. As much as the concepts of emotions and hope were foreign to him, he knew enough about them to acknowledge the power of such feelings and their ability to motivate people into facing odds that were clearly set against them.

Seeing that the Android was not challenging their plan, the Executive Officer turned her full attention back to the Asian scientist. "As soon as you are ready, cast the net out. I think we will all feel a great deal better once we have helped the BASTET and the crew return to where they belong."

"Aye aye, Commander. I will let you know the moment we are ready to send the first probe out."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting:  USS HAWKING, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.0500

Over the hour that followed, the bridge crew of the HAWKING came to accept the presence of the BASTET's Executive Officer as a permanent fixture, one that would not move until the plan to reach out to her shipmates had been acted upon.

=/\= Mitshiba to Commaner Valentine. =/\=

The eagerness present in the scientist's voice was all that Sarena needed to know that the probes were finally ready to be launched. "Go ahead, Lieutenant."

=/\= We have 12 probes ready with another two dozen in the works. Those should be able to be sent out within the next 30 minutes or so. Both Ashton and I believe that we have enough right now to get the process started in order to properly calibrate the equipment. The initial twelve probes will create the core of the net, the other two dozen that will be sent out after will be linked to the first twelve to extend the reach into out dimensions. Once we have the entire system in sync, we will be able to add other probes to the net as needed. =/\=

"The presence of such a net in the multiverse could prove to be of great scientific value to us as it would permit the HAWKING to monitor multiple dimensions all at the same time," Samson noted, once again showing that the Galactic Commonwealth's primary objective was rooted in science above everything else.

"Once the BASTET is found and its crew is back here safe and sound, the net will be yours to do with as you wish," Valentine said, her interests not being as noble or altruistic as those of the crew of the HAWKING. "Lieutenant Mitshiba, you and Ensign Dean may proceed at your convenience."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: Space
Stardate: 33114.0510

A dozen small dimensional rifts opened not too far from the HAWKING. A few moments later, the probes were launched from the transdimensional vessel one after the other, each quickly vanishing into one of the rifts causing it to close. Hours of work had led to this moment which came and went in the span of less than a minute. All that was left to do was to wait and see if this net would be able to snag the USS BASTET in whatever dimension it had found itself in.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M06-P043: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 02 - 0515 ("Echoes of Nothing")
"Echoes of Nothing"
Previous posts: (ANU) "A More Personal Take" & (BAS) "Casting the Net"

///^\\\
Setting: USS HAWKING, Engineering
Stardate: 33114.0515

The launch of the first set of probes into the far reaches of the multiverse should have been a cause for celebration, but that was not the case. Aki wanted to openly acknowledge their accomplishment but she could see that Ashton was not in the mood, and she understood perfectly why he felt the way he did.  The father of two was not ready to call it quits, he knew that there was still a lot of work to be done, so he would not stop until the BASTET and those onboard had returned safe and sound.

Aki wanted to reach out to him, to help comfort him, but the words she was ready to offer seemed insufficient and inadequate for the task. As much as she missed the ship and those she had come to consider to be more than just shipmates, the Asian woman knew that the FCO felt a thousand times what she did. She might not have been a Counselor but as a scientist, she understood the concept of actions and reactions.  Keeping busy was the best way for him, and her, to keep their emotions in check. As long as they were working on the probes, their hopes would remain strong and unwavering.

"Are you alright?" Aki eventually asked of the working man, his arms buried deep inside the shell of the latest probe they were working on.

"I'm fine," Ashton replied without looking up. "I've got his one and it should be ready to join the others in less than an hour. Do not worry; I can finish this, go check on the telemetry. I know that's what you really want to do."

Aki smiled. That was not what she meant by her question, but the answer he gave made still managed to make everything clear. The best part was he was completely correct in his assessment of what she would have rather been doing. As fun as it was thinking with these probes, doing scientific research, especially when it stretched into multiple other dimensions, was far more up her alley.

The CSciO quickly took a seat at the first available station and called up the telemetry of each of the probes that had been launched. Aki understood the physics behind how this was all possible but she still managed to be surprised by just how well the signal was piercing the boundaries between the dimensions. If only half of the signal strength reached the BASTET, they would easily be able to use it to figure out their dimensional coordinates and plot a course back. The probes had also been equipped with a dimensional communication relay that would allow Captain Iverson to send a signal back should the ship be in any sort of trouble. The problem was that no one on board the HAWKING had offered their help should such a scenario come up. All that Mitshiba could do was hope that Commander Valentine would be able to convince the host to go after their ship if the need arose.

=/\= Valentine to Mitshiba, =/\= the Commander called as if she had heard the thoughts of the CSciO. =/\= How are the probes performing? =/\=

"To be perfectly honest, better than expected. The strength of the signal reaching into other dimensions is much higher and clearer than we had initially anticipated. This, in theory, means that the BASTET will be able to pick up the signal with much greater ease. In fact, all depending on which dimension they are in, they might even be able to pick up on multiple signals which will make the task of identifying their current dimensional location that much easier.  As more probes are sent out, the reach of the signal will increase so it will only be a question of time before they pick up the signal." Aki's reply was followed by a long silence, a lull that the CSciO understood to be the woman considering the significance should nothing happen.

=/\= That is great news Lieutenant. Please make sure to extend my appreciation for your work to Ensign Dean. =/\=

"I will make sure he gets the message," Aki said as she looked over her shoulder to the man who had not stopped working since this plan had been put into motion.

=/\= Keep me informed if something comes up. Valentine out. =/\=

Aki was about to get up to relay the message to her shipmate when out of the corner of her eye she noticed something on the display of the station she had been at. At first, she believed the single blip to be nothing more than an electronic glitch in the system as it only appeared once, but when she noticed it again the CSciO immediately dismissed that possibility. Either one of the probes was malfunctioning or something out there was using it to relay some sort of message.

The Asian woman carefully studied this unexpected signal which lasted less than half a second once every 20 seconds or so. It was because of this odd pattern that Aki's attention was piqued to an extent that would not have been expected in these circumstances. Had the relayed signal been from some unknown natural source, it would not be so precisely timed, and if the same signal had originated from the BASTET, why would it be so short with such a lengthy delay in between? There was no denying that they had found something, the question was what had the probes encountered.

A quick analysis of the relayed signal provided no clues as to its origin. Actually, it left Aki with more questions than she had started with as the signal possessed no pattern of its own. It was like the probes had picked up the echo of something that was not actually there. That thought sent a chill down the Asian woman's back as she began to wonder if this signal was somehow caused by the Lokustaar. Could they have so quickly zeroed in on one of the probes in the hopes of using it to gain access to this dimension?

Needless to say that this possibility was a less than pleasant one for the BASTET's CSciO. It had always been a likelihood that the Lokustaar would encounter one of the probes, but Aki had never expected them to be able to access the network so quickly as to send a signal back.  Out of fear that this was what was actually happening, she concentrated on the possibility that the odd signal had originated from something else, something as far removed from what the race represented. When taking into account all of the variables available in the multiverse, it was more than acceptable to consider the source of the signal to be something that had nothing to do with the race known as the Shadows.

With that in mind, the mystery persisted, the odd signal maintaining its presence and pattern challenging Aki's hopes with every repetition.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P044: USS BASTET: Dean: Day 02 - 0520 ("The Search Begins")
“The Search Begins"
Previous post: (ANU) "A More Personal Take"  & (BAS) "Echoes of Nothing”

Setting: USS HAWKING, Engineering
Stardate: 33252. 2033

Ashton finished calibrating the probe and passed it on to the HAWKING crew member for launching. As he wiped his hand off a shop towel he thought about his girls. “I wonder if Emily is doing ok?” referring to the holo-nanny he brought on board to watch the girls when he was on duty. “I wonder if she’s used the special feature yet.”

___________________________________________________
Setting: USS BASTET, Dean Quarters
Stardate: 33252.2033

“Girls time for bed,” Emily said entering the main room. 

“I want daddy,” Cordelia the three year old began to cry. “I want daddy to tuck me in.” The tears flowed and nothing consoled her, not even Tristan. 

“Sissy it’s ok,” Tristian said putting her arm around Cordelia. “Daddy’s working and can’t tuck…”

Cordelia wailed louder and pushed her away and made a beeline for the door. Emily scooped up the screaming toddler who went stiff as a board and pushed against the holo-woman trying as hard as she could to escape the “older” woman grasp. “Now enough of that,” she said heading to the bedroom. “Your father is working and can’t be here. I promise he will be here in when you wake up.”

Through broken gasps the toddler asked, “You promise. Daddy will be here for breakfast?”

“Yes, I know he will,” Emily smiled wiping the tears from the baby’s cheeks. “Now lets clean off your face and brush those teeth. The sooner you get to sleep the sooner you’ll see your father.” 

“Okay,” she sniffed letting Emily carry her to the other room. Tristian was not as convince. She climbed on the couch and scanned the stars for the shuttle. Emily paused, “Tristian come now. Let’s brush your teeth and get to bed.”

“Yes ma’am,” she said reluctantly watching the window until she entered the bedroom. 

In the bathroom Emily handed Tristian her toothbrush already loaded with a dollop of toothpaste. Then she helped Cordelia with hers,”I can do it myself,” the little one said pushing Emily’s hand away. “I know. I’m just helping you keep it in your hand because it’s slippery,” she fibbed to the child as she held the girls hand as it gripped the brush and attempted to clean her teeth getting more paste on her cheek that in her mouth. Tristian took her blue cup and filled it with water to rinse. “Her sissy,” she said handing the cup to Cordelia helping her take a sip. “Remember don’t swallow it.” “I know,” Cordelia said dribbling foamy water down her chin. The ever patient holo-nanny wiped the toothpaste from her shirt and took the cup from her damp fingers. After one last pass of the towel to make sure all fingers and faces were dry, she carried Cordelia to the bed and placed her in her spot by the wall. Then Tristian hopped in after and took her place on the outside place. Cutely she pulled the cover up over Cordelia and put her arm around her giving her a kiss on her cheek. “Night Delia.” Cordelia didn’t respond. She was so worn out from her meltdown she was already sound asleep her thumb partially in her mouth. Emily pulled the cover over Tristian, kissed her forehead. “Sweet dreams little ones.”

Emily returned to the main room closing the bedroom door behind her. In the living room she opened a small box Ashton left on the top shelf of the bookcase. She removed a data chip from the box and inserted it into her holo-emoter. It beep and seconds later the image of the matronly English nanny was replaced by the image of Ashton Dean. He straightened his hair said a few words to calibrate the voice. “Let’s hope this works.” “Ashton” sat on the couch and read a book. After a couple of hours he was sure the girls were asleep. Then quietly he slipped into the room and changed into his pajamas. Then the holo-Ashton laid in the bed and went into standby mode. That way if either of the girls woke up they would think Ashton was home and asleep. The holo-nanny could still hear them and instantly respond in an emergency. Once they woke in the morning He would feed them breakfast and send them to the bathroom to get dressed and then switch back to Emily. This was the first time Emily had to use the special program, but if all goes well it will keep the girls calm in this very difficult situation. It’s the first time Ashton has been away for more than two days. And the first time Cordelia’s been old enough to notice his absence. This has to work because they cannot be a burden to the captain. There is no where for them to go if the captain says they are not welcome on the ship so Emily must keep them out of the way.

___________________________________________________
Leigh Rachal

Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET
M06-P045: USS BASTET: Andersson: Day 02 - 0515 ("Shocking Personalities")
=-=
"Shocking Personalities"
[the previous post was (ANU) "A More Personal Take" by me / (BAS) "The Search Begins" by Leigh]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 33114.0515

Since the accidental discovery that gave the medical staff of the BASTET access to their ILO's hidden personalities, or at least their physical representations, Doctor Andersson and Counselor Dima had seen an impressive list of people appear. One after the other a bald-headed Oltharian, blue-haired Kotakian, a red-haired Terran and a gold-skinned Ub-Hani hybrid along with several others came to be on the examination table. Every time they made a minor change to the weak bio-electrical current sent into Gemma's body, a new personality seemed to emerge to the delight of the CMO and concerns of the CNS.

"As interesting as all of this may be, I think we should stop," Nic said just as Sofia was about to send another electrical pulse, the Trill appearing visibly troubled. "I can't help but feel that we are violating her privacy in doing this. All of these different personas are as much a part of who she is as my past hosts are a part of me, and as such, they should not be called forth and put on display for the simple reason that it can be done."

"You're no fun," Sofia teased before nodding her head in agreement and turning the system that was causing these changes off.  "At least, on a medical level, we know that the nanites respond to these bio-electrical signals. We have also confirmed their presence and the extent of their ability to change Gemma's appearance accordingly. All that's left to do is for us to figure out who each of those people was and what role they play in her psyche."

"That would be a job for me," Nic sighed already expecting this task to be one that would commandeer a large portion of her time as Ship's Counselor. "Just getting to meet each of them individually is going to be a challenge."

"What is going to be a challenge?" Gemma asked, the ILO having awakened from her unconscious state.

"Nicole was thinking about meeting the entire crew of the HAWKING when we return," Sofia quickly replied, hoping that the off-the-cuff answer would be enough to satisfy the inquisitive ILO. "On another note, we are glad to have you back with us. We were concerned for a while."

"Concerned?" Gemma asked looking at the medical readouts, confirming what she knew should be there. "Whatever for? According to these readings, I am in perfect health."

"People in perfect health do not just pass-out the way you did," Sofia said, twisting her lips in a clearly unimpressed manner.

"The cause of my fainting could have been external," Gemma said as she swung her legs over the edge of the examination table without the slightest effort from her part. "As I recall, there have been a handful of medical reports on this very matter and although no proofs have been found, the theory is that some people are susceptible to the shift in spacial resonance that can occur when traveling between dimensions. Guess you can just add me to the list of yet-to-be-explained cases."

"Gemma," Nic said as she stepped to be directly in front of the dismissive woman. "I would like for us to talk some more. I think there are a few people who could use such an opportunity."

The ILO stared back at the CNS through slightly narrowed eyes. There was something in the woman's eyes that hinted to an understanding that went beyond the limits of her current persona, something that seemed to hang between controlled fear and tempered anger. As the joint Trill grew a little more concerned as to how the woman would finally react, Gemma suddenly smiled taking the other two women in the room by complete surprise.

"I would be happy to have a professional chat with you Counselor, that is as soon as my duties permit. Right now, I believe though that my presence is required on the bridge in order to offer Captain Iverson all of the support and assistance I am able to provide." With that said, the ILO made her way past the two women and exited Sickbay without a hint of hesitation.

"That went well," Sofia sarcastically chuckled. "I will say this about her, she is good."

"You don't become a deep cover operative without having certain specific skills," Nicole said to no one in particular which left her friend to silently speculate as to where the Counselor had come to be in possession of such knowledge.

Sofia twisted her lips once again, this time directing the contorted visage straight at the Trill woman. "I can tell that the two of you are meant to spend a lot of time together. Although the way it happened was completely different, the end result is the same."

"What do you mean?"

"You and she are alike in that you both have multiple personalities, each with its own distinct history," Sofia said, leaning back against the new vacant examination table. "Your different personalities originated from the hosts of the Dima symbiont that you currently carry while Gemma's personalities came from whatever trauma she suffered that lead to the shattering of her mind. The way I see it, you two could spend days, weeks, maybe even years talking to one another without ever having the same two people in the room."

Nic was taken aback by the unexpected tone of Sofia's words. Had she not known better, the Trill Counselor would have credited this mild outburst to some sort of jealous anger directed at the ILO. Instead of continuing with that train of thought, the CNS instead scrutinized the golden-haired woman as she walked away trying to see if this had been the result of stress, something that they were all suffering from in one form or another.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M06-P046: USS BASTET: Gemma: Day 02 - 0525 ("Clarification Required")
=-=
"Clarification Required"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Fear is the Greatest Enemy" / (BAS) "Shocking Personalities"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Turbolift
Stardate: 33114.0525

Gemma clenched her left fist for a few seconds before releasing and opening her hand as wide as she could. This went on until the turbolift began to slow down as it closed in on its destination. The request of Counselor Dima for them to talk bothered the ILO. She was used to being alone, to operate without having to explain her every action and decision. Being a loner was something she had been accustomed to since well before leaving NEW ALEXANDRIA.  During her first mission, she quickly figured out whom she could trust. Those people were never her way but always there to lend a hand when needed. As friendly and helpful as the crew of the BASTET were, they were not the same.

"Glad to see you back on your feet Lieutenant. We could use your help." The Captain's welcome was respectful but serious, to the point of being almost cold. The tone was demanding, not friendly, just as the ILO expected things to be.  OF all the members of the crew, Gemma felt most at ease with Captain Iverson. Her extensive training had made the Intel Operative recognize the authority of those above her. The ILO also liked the fact that the woman was all business, never wasting time with social frivolities. This was how she had been trained and whom she was; someone who got the job done first and above everything else.

"What do you need me to do?"

"We are in an unknown dimension without the means to find our way back. It was a gamble that I had no choice but to take at the time. Now, we need to find a way to figure out where it is we are so that we can head back." The Captain's explanation was simple and to the point. Just the way the ILO liked it.

Gemma turned her head to look at the image displayed on the bridge's main screen. It was like nothing she had seen before. The swirls of red against the black emptiness confirmed that they were far from home. What they needed to do now was to figure out just how far had they gone.

"Data gathered by our sensors is sketchy at best. Even the trans-dimensional array is having a hard time making sense of what is out there. Unfortunately, that is not what concerns me the most. We are in hostile territory and I expect that we will not be left to our own affairs for much longer." Their situation was as clear as could be and Gemma understood that time was a factor.

"I will see what I can come up with using the science station." The ILO said after having already taken a step in that direction

"I am sure that Misaki won't mind." The Captain added.

The curly-haired Terran made her way to the science station. Everyone was busy with their own thing, so no one paid any attention to the ILO. Therefore, no one noticed that it was a straight-haired Uxali who sat down to begin working on their situation. If there were a way to figure out what dimension they were in, Wimdalli would be the person to find it.

An ominous stillness spread through the command deck. The eerie space that enveloped the ship made everyone nervous but Wimda didn't mind. It meant that she would be able to focus on what needed to be done without interruptions. Researching the unknown what was she enjoyed above all else, and this was as unknown as it got.

The Counselor soon joined the officers on the bridge. She had not expected to find the ILO there, even less one of her other personas. Seeing the Uxali scientist working at one of the stations though did seem rather natural. Doctor Bruxa had created a quick list of the individuals they had seen while the woman was unconscious. Since Nicole hd encountered, although briefly, the Uxali, her identity had been the first to be added to this list

The Trill cautiously made her way to the CO, never taking her eyes off the unexpected visitor. The woman was visibly busy with whatever task she had taken on. Judging by the way her hands easily flowed over the controls; it was safe to believe that the Uxali was a skilled scientist.

"Hum, Captain?"

"Yes, Counselor?" Iverson replied, turning to look at the Trill who was still staring at the Uxali. When the Captain saw who was sitting at the science station, Selene turned back to look at Nicole.  "Guess an explanation is required."

"I was coming to report that Satella and I stumbled across her nanites and their ability to make her appear as someone else. I just wanted to make sure that you knew about this."

"I do," the Captain confirmed. "Admiral Koniki did brief me on Gemma's, shall we say, unique abilities and diverse personalities. He did not see it necessary to explain how or why, but he did warn me to expect visitors. Each identity that Lieutenant Gemma takes on possesses a specific set of skills and knowledge. I will not claim to understand how this works, but each persona is aware of the others. They just seem to be unaware that they share a single form."

"At first I thought I was hallucinating," Nicole said, looking at the woman targetted by this conversation.

"I had no idea of just how quickly the transition from one persona to another happened. I wanted to wait and see this for myself before informing the rest of the crew. I thought it unnecessary to draw extra attention to Gemma." Now both the Captain and Counselor were watching the working scientist, the Uxali oblivious of the conversation taking place.

"Guess asking Gemma for a list of her alternate identities is not a valid option."

"In our line of work, nothing is ever as easy as we would like them to be," the Captain pointed out. "I do apologize for not informing you and the others about this. To be honest, though, I would not have been sure as to what to say. I believe that the best we can do for the time being is to just let things happen. Lt. Gemma, through whatever persona she is displaying, has sworn to protect this ship and crew to the best of her abilities."

"Hearing this, I should feel far more at ease. That said, I will state for the record that I do have some professional concerns." This was the first time that the Trill actually looked away from the woman in question.

"I understand your concerns Counselor. In fact, I will admit that I may share in some of them. Whatever our feelings may be though, she is someone whom we are in current need of. That is regardless of what identity she chooses to display."

"I don't think it is a question of choice," Nicole said returning her gaze to the woman at the science station. "Each time I have seen someone other than Gemma, it was because of a need. I cannot say for sure at this time, but I doubt our ILO has a true control over who or when someone else takes over. I suspect that it is entirely depending on the situation and its requirements."

"Captain," the Uxali woman said. "I think I might have found something."

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M06-P047: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 02 - 0630 ("Inspired")
"Inspired"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Fear is the Greatest Enemy" & (BAS) "Clarification Required"

///^\\\
Setting: USS HAWKING, Engineering
Stardate: 33114.0630

Aki had not moved from the workstation she was working at since the discovery of the odd signal. Every effort made to make sense of the detected transmission failed, further troubling the CSciO. Even as more probes were sent into the multiverse, the signal remained an oddity, a mystery, an echo of nothing.

"This one is ready to launch," Ashton said slapping the casing of the probe with his open hand.

"Did you do that to all of the other probes?" Aki asked. She doubted that this was the reason for the signal she was unable to explain, but at this point, she had no other theories to investigate.

"No," the Ensign quickly answers. "Don't try to blame me for whatever that signal is," he added. "The probes may contain a lot of sensitive equipment, but I can assure you that it would take more than a slap on the casing to cause a malfunction."

"I'm sorry," the CSciO said. "I'm just at a complete loss to explain what it is that the probes have detected. In fact, if it was not for the signal amplitude, I would not even be able to tell you that it is the probes that are picking it up. As far as the readings are concerned, there are no indications that this weird signal is actually out there. If Doctor Andersson were here, she would likely explain it away as being that song that is stuck in your head. You hear it and as far as you are concerned, it is there, but there is nothing to prove it."

"Your analogy is not entirely accurate," Ashton said leaning over the Asian woman's shoulder to look at her instruments.  "There is proof that the signal is there based on what you are looking at, the only problem is that there is no way to identify what it is or where it is coming from. I would think that someone of your credentials, meaning being a scientist, would be able to make the distinction."

"Are you telling me that I don't know how to do my job?" Aki asked, her frustration coming loud and clear for all to see and hear.

"No, I am not," Ashton said his voice as calm and controlled as could be. "I am only pointing out the fact that you are letting your emotions and frustrations get the better of you. We both have our reasons for wanting to find out what that signal is and if it would help us get back onto the BASTET, but we cannot allow our emotions to take over."

Mitshiba looked up at the man standing behind her and blinked several times. Of the three BASTET officers on board the HAWKING, she would have thought him to be the one most likely to have an emotional breakdown due to the fact that his two daughters were not only on another ship but in another dimension without them having any means to know if they were alright.

After a few more moments of looking into Ashton's eyes, Aki returned her attention to her console and sighed. "I'm sorry, again. You are absolutely right, I am letting my frustrations get the better of me. How you are managing not to do the same is beyond me, but I will say that I admire you for being able to stay this strong."

Ashton chuckled. "Kids have a way of bringing the best out of people."

"If you say so," Misaki shrugged. "I was an only child and my parents gave me their fullest attention each and every day. I do not believe that they would have ever claimed that I brought the best out of them, but I also do not recall them ever complaining about my being a creature spawned from hell itself.

"My girls are no angels, but they made me a better person by just being there. That is enough of a reason for me to keep my calm and work as hard as I can to get back to them."

"Then it's a plan, you keep working on those probes and I will keep trying to figure out what that signal is while at the same time checking to see if any of the probes are picking up something that might tell us where the BASTET is." Aki paused for a moment before looking back at Ashton who was just about to leave. "By the way, thank you for being such a pillar of strength."

"Anytime," he said with a smile before calling forth another probe casing for him to work on.

With all that said and her mind refocussed on the task at hand, Aki concentrated all of her attention on the unknown signal, trying to see or hear something that she might have missed before now. Captain Iverson and the rest of the crew of the BASTET were likely counting on the three of them to do their utmost to finding and helping them get back to where they belonged, and Aki did not intend to disappoint her Captain or anyone else for that matter. Even when she was not right there next to her, Lt. Mitshiba found herself inspired by the commanding officer, and that was more than enough to have her work even harder to solve the current dilemma.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P048: USS BASTET: Gemma: Day 02 - 0645 ("Shadow Predator")
=-=
"Shadow Predator"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Fear is the Greatest Enemy" / (BAS) "Inspired"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.0645

"What did you find?" Captain Iverson asked not appearing troubled in the least by the woman's changed appearance. Counselor Dima was not far behind, carefully observing the interactions between the two women.  The CO admitted having been briefed on their new ILO's personality, or more accurately on her having more than one. Selene had hoped to inform the crew of the BASTET, but things did not work out that way. Things were just never that simple.

"There is something in this dimension that distorts our sensors. Like a shifting shadow that can only be detected some of the time. I know that this is by no means a scientific report, but it is the best I can offer as an explanation. Using that analogy, I calibrated the sensors to scan not through the distortion but with it. Like a boat on the waves of a storm. Instead of trying to fight through them, I have the sensors try to keep up with the shifts."

"I think Misaki would be proud." The Captain said, glancing over her shoulder to the Counselor standing not too far behind. "What did you find?" Iverson asked again.

"There is something out there." The reply from the woman was not a happy one. Her voice was cold and tainted with concerns, deep concerns. Both the Captain and Counselor understood the extent of this concern when they saw someone else sitting at the science station. Instead of the Uxali, it was a redhead Russian who offered her thoughts on the discovery. "It's out there, hiding in the dark shifts of this dimension. The perfect prey, unseen and ready to strike at a moment's notice. It is likely trying to figure out what we are doing. It might be hoping that fear will make us reveal a weakness it can use. It is more likely that it wants information on our abilities and resources. That is the only reason why it has not attacked and destroyed us yet."

Nicole watched and listen with interest. Not because of what had been said, but rather because of the way one persona had so easily replaced the other. The woman's appearance had changed in the blink of an eye. The thick Russian accent left no hint of the Uxali who had been sitting in the same chair a heartbeat ago. Something else the Trill noticed was the intonations of her spoken words. The scientist had vanished to be replaced by a hunter who understood the threat they faced. She knew what their adversary was thinking because her own mind worked in the same manner. Being a deadly predator was not limited to a specific race or form, and that troubled the Trill.

"What do you suggest?" What Nicole saw as a cause for concern, Selene saw as an advantage. Having someone who understood so clearly their adversary would give them an edge.

"We need to strike first. Their goal for the moment is to gather information. That is the only reason why we are still here. The moment this need is quenched or considered no longer important, they will attack and destroy us. We have to strike while they are still waiting and unaware that we know they are there." Anya turned her chair in order to face the Captain before continuing. "We could modify the shields on a shuttlecraft to have it blend in with the dimensional shifts. We could also have the BASTET engage the dimensional drive to add to the distortion. This, in theory, should allow the shuttle's pilot to get close enough and release an explosive payload."

"Why not have the pilot relay the location of that ship instead? That way the shuttle could be given enough time to return and avoid being caught in the explosion's shockwave."  Nicole hated the plan as offered by the ILO. That said the Counselor hated the idea of putting a member of the crew in danger even more.

"The dimensional distortions present here make using a transporter impossible." The Uxali scientist who had reappeared replied. "The same reason why sensors are barely working in this dimension would make a transport beam scatter. Flying a shuttle is the only way to accurately locate the other ship and deliver any sort of explosive. Anything else would miss the mark and force an immediate retaliation."

"This would be a suicide mission," Nicole gasped in horror. "The shuttle would never survive the type of explosion needed to damage one of their ships."

"Maybe not. The shields of the shuttlecraft, in theory, could be modulated to match the explosion's amplitude. Since we know exactly what type of explosive would be used, it could be done. This would cause the ship and pilot to be propelled back towards the BASTET. It might get bumpy, and there are no guarantees that it would work. Still, it is possible and it would shift the odds out of the range of certain destruction."

"There has to be another way." Nicole forcefully objected, visibly upset by the suggestion made. Whatever reservations she had towards Gemma had multiplied. The Counselor was not ready to accept that the ILO would so easily ask for someone to risk their lives on such a dangerous mission.

"Counselor," Selene said. "We will look into other options, but for now this is the only option we have. Either we act or we wait for the Lokustaar to get tired of waiting and use us for target practice."

"Who would pilot that shuttle?" The Trill demanded, not entirely succeeding in holding back her emotions.

"I will," a blonde-haired Varo woman said as she stood from the chair were the Uxali had been sitting. "I'm the best pilot you have here, and I've flown in worst situations than this. I'm your best chance to make this mad plan work."

The Captain glanced over to the Trill Counselor before looking back at the Varo pilot. They had seen Dalra in action when she flew the BASTET through the dimensional rift. It was because of that display of skill that they knew her boasts were not exaggerated.

"Start working on getting a shuttlecraft ready," the Captain said to the standing pilot. "In the meantime, the rest of us will see if there is another option available. One that might not be as dangerous for those directly involved."

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M06-P049: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 02 - 0700 ("Foreshadowing")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Foreshadowing"
[previous post (ANU) "Fear is the Greatest Enemy" / (BAS) "Shadow Predator")]

Setting:  USS HAWKING, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.0700

Almost two hours ago the first set of probes were launched, since then several more had joined the multi-dimensional search, and yet nothing had been found. The Executive Officer of the USS BASTET knew that this was a longshot as there was an infinite number of dimensions each possessing an infinite number of locations where the lost ship and its crew could be hiding. The worst part of it all was that this line of thinking was along the most positive set of possibilities available to them. On the other, darker end of the scale, the odds were that the ship had been destroyed and all hands onboard lost, never to be seen or heard of again.

"Commander Valentine," Samson said as he walked up to the standing officer, the woman not having moved a muscle since the last time he had seen her. "I admire your resolve and tenacity, but unlike me, your human biological form requires rest and nourishment. I can assure you, as soon as the probes detect something, you and your officers will be immediately informed. In the meantime, may I suggest, as the expression goes, for you to take a break.""

Sarena quickly turned to face the HAWKING's Avatar ready to argue her need to be here and that she did not feel any level of fatigue, but the moment she moved her muscles promptly reminded the woman that she was as the android had claimed: human and tired.  All that she had been ready to say, the excuses she believed would grant her victory in this argument remained unsaid. As much as she did not want to admit it, the Executive Officer had no other choice but to concede that there was no way for her to win. Arguing with a walking computer was pointless, especially when he was right.

"Fine, I'll be in the mess hall," Sarena huffed as she walked past the muscular android and made her way to the back of the bridge where the turbolift was located.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting:  USS HAWKING, Mess Hall
Stardate: 33114.0730

Sarena cradled in her hands around the cup of steaming hot coffee that had been refilled twice already. The taste was not one that she enjoyed, but the effect of the non-synthetic beverage was undeniable. Her mental and physical acuity had greatly improved over what they had been when she left the bridge. All the Executive Officer needed to do now was to find a way to rekindle her patience in order to avoid rushing back to the bridge of the HAWKING and resume her vigil.

"Commander Valentine, I am surprised to finding you here," Lt. Mitsiba said, holding a very similar steaming cup in her hands. "Thought you would have been on the bridge waiting for the latest results of the dimensional scans."

"As I would have expected you to be in Engineering making sure that all of the probes are working to their highest design specifications," Sarena shot back. "Looks like we were both told to be elsewhere."

"Ashton was rather clear that I needed to take a break."

"Samson was equally subtle. Please, join me. At least we can not do what we wanted together," the Executive Officer said, inviting with a gesture of her hand the BASTET's CSciO.

"Thank you," Misaki said, accepting the invitation.

The Executive Officer could see that there was something weighing on the woman's mind, so she gave the Asian woman a chance to share. "Something bothering you Lieutenant?"

"Permission to speak freely, Commander."

"Granted," Sarena said. "Right now, I do not see a need for us to be this formal as we may be in this situation for a great deal longer than any of us would like."

"That was part of what is on my mind," Misaki said. "The probes are doing an amazing job at scanning the multiverse, but the truth of the matter is that we have not even covered a fraction of a percent of what is out there. Without having any clues as to where those rifts were being opened from, we are blind in searching for that dimension, and even if we do find it, there is the possibility that the BASTET will not be in the area where the probe can reach. It's all a best guess scenario with odds that most mathematicians would run away from if asked to calculate the odds of our finding something."

"I know," Valentine acknowledged. "I have been thinking the same, but we cannot give up hope of finding the BASTET, Captain Iverson or the rest of the crew. The moment we give up, their hopes will vanish, so we have to continue no matter how desperate the efforts may seem to be."

"I agree wholeheartedly, but as a scientist, I have to keep a more realistic perspective on the situation, just as much as you should in your role as our Commanding Officer. I am sure that Counselor Dima would be quick to warn us both of the dangers of holding onto unrealistic hopes. As much as we may not want to, we have to plan for the worst even if we are hoping for the best."

A shiver swept through Sarena at the thought of being considered as the Commanding Officer. Valentine had no issues being the Executive Officer of the BASTET or being in charge of an away team, but the thought of being the one ultimately in charge of a ship and its crew filled her with dread. Counselor Dima might have some long and detailed explanation for this, above and beyond her warning them as Misaki suspected she would, but that would only be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Right now, though the problem was simpler and possibly a lot darker in that there was no way for them to know if the BASTET or its crew had even survived the journey to this other unknown dimension. Even if they had managed to whether the journey, it was likely that the Lokustaar had been there on the other side to make sure that no intruder would ever be able to identify the location of their point of origin.

The two women sat at the table, holding onto their respective cups in a shared troubled silence of shattered hopes. That as when the voice of the HAWKING's Avatar came over the ship-wide communication system.

=/\= Commander Valentine, Lieutenant Mitshiba, please report to the bridge at once. We believe that the probes have located the BASTET. =/\=

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M06-P050: USS BASTET: Iverson: Day 02 - 0715 ("The Switch")
---
"The Switch"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "For Our Next Trick" / (BAS) "Foreshadowing")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.0715

An aura of uncertainty hung in the air as Lieutenant Gemma, in her persona of the Varo Pilot Dalra, made her way to the back of the bridge and vanished inside the turbolift pod. Nicole and Selene locked gaze for a few seconds which felt like an eternity, neither woman saying anything but each thinking a universe of things to say. It was the Captain who broke the silence.

"Counsellor, in my ready room please," Selene said, the tone of her voice polite but leaving no doubts that this was not a request that could be ignored or dismissed by the joint Trill. With a nod of her head, Nicole acknowledged the order and quickly took the lead knowing that the Commanding Officer of the BASTET would not be far behind.

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 33114.0716

The two women stepped in one after the other, both remaining silent until the door hissed closed behind them. Nicole expected to see the Captain walk past her and around her desk, but when she did not see this happen, the Trill Counsellor cautiously turned to face the woman standing in the middle of the room.

"Counsellor, first I need to apologize. I know how difficult it can be to come aboard a new ship and deal with a new crew, and that is without taking into account the unique elements of your personal situation. Things have not been easy for you, and some of my decisions have only made things worse," Selene said allowing for the first time her guard to drop so that she could be seen as something less than the cold and calculating Commanding Officer of the BASTET.

"I can only imagine how difficult all of this has been on you," Nicole said, jumping right away into Counsellor mode. To point out the errors or consequences of her actions would only serve to make this worse, and in all honesty, it was the last thing the Trill woman wanted to do. After all, Captain Iverson had opened up her ship and welcomed both Sofia and her as members of her staff. It was true that the transition had not been as smooth as could have been hoped, but the fact remained that the Chief Medical officer and Counsellor had been given a new home and family to be part of.

"Difficult is part of the job," Selene said, her emotional barriers threatening to come back up. "Experience has taught me that much, but it as also showed me the necessity of a Commanding Officer to have a proper working relationship with their Counsellor, something that I failed to establish the moment you came onboard. The rapid sequence of situations on the HATHOR and after that on the BASTET should have shown me that I needed to seek your input instead of using them as an excuse to ignore our need to talk."

"We are talking now," the Joint Trill said, even going as far as to add a faint smile to show that as a Counsellor she understood the situation without prejudice.

"Yes we are," Selene agreed, "and as always time is the issue. I know that you have concerns bordering on misgivings about Gemma and the only thing I can tell you to help is what I have been told and what we all have seen with our own eyes. Whatever personality, whatever appearance she may have, the core of who she is remains the same. Admiral Koniki suggested that I look at Gemma not as a single individual but rather as a team of specialists, all of them operating in their respective ways on the same objective. Although there may be times when one or more of her personalities will come across as not being entirely in agreement with orders given, the training she was subjected to ensures that she will act as ordered."

"I have read about extreme cases of Dissociative Identity Disorder, but never expected to see one up close, especially not one with a physical component," Nicole admitted.

"The visual cues help to make it easier in knowing who you are dealing with," the Captain said. "I will make sure that you have full access to whatever data I was given. Please keep in mind though that I suspect Admiral Koniki did not provide me with the complete file, so there are likely plenty of surprises still to be experienced when dealing with Gemma."

The two women looked at one another for a few seconds, silence filling the void between them.

"Thank you, Captain," the joined Trill said. "It should make for some interesting reading."

"I hope that this will help you understand our Intel Liaison Operative a little better, and I hope that this also will allow us to have a better working relationship," the Captain offered, allowing herself to appear more human than usual one last time. "Now, I need to check on Gemma's progress in modifying the shuttle. In the meantime, I would appreciate if you and Doctor Andersson could try and find a way to have our transporter system work through the distortion field present in this dimension."

"Without Misaki or Wimda, this may prove to be a difficult task," Nicole sighed.

"See, you are already warming up to her," Selene said referring to Gemma. "Well, at least to one of her personalities, but we all have to start somewhere."

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Shuttle Bay
Stardate: 33114.0745

Captain Iverson walked into the Shuttle Bay to find a short blonde-haired Terran woman working on the craft, he woman matching the description of Gabrielle Wolf, an expert in sabotage.

"Having problems?" Selene asked, half hoping that the woman would not reply in a thick German accent.

"Not in the sense you are likely meaning," the woman replied exactly the Captain feared. "I'm much better at making sure things don't work as they are designed to, so trying to make them perform according to specifications or even beyond said specifications is somewhat foreign to me, still I'm figuring it out and the shuttle will be ready soon.

Pleased with the report, Captain Iverson made her way into the shuttle, making a point to see how much explosives would fit in the small craft. Expecting to find the back of the shuttle empty, Selene was surprised to find the area filled to its fullest possible capacity.

A redhead woman with a Russian accent joined the Captain at the back of the shuttle.  "Enhanced tri-cobalt devices," Anya Petrov reported. "I had to make a few modifications to increase the yield, but since the casings will not require any sort of propulsion or a navigational system, I have lots of room to play with. Each of these packs enough of a punch to rip a normal ship to shreds, so I hope that with twelve of these, the Lokustaar will be made to feel something they are not soon about to forget."

"A little of an overkill?" Selene said, actually grinning as she did so.

"There is no such thing when faced with an opponent the likes of the Lokustaar," Anya explained. "We either deal a fatal blow to them or they do it to us. Right now, we have the advantage in that they are waiting, studying us like rats in a maze. We will get only one shot and we have to make it count."

Captain Iverson was going to state her agreement in some way, but instead, she found herself dropping to her knees, the sudden and unexpected pain in her head proving to be far too much for her to do anything else.

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 33114.0800

Selene finally managed to open her eyes, the pain had subsided enough to allow her to gather her wits and inquire as to where she was. The task was quickly accomplished as the ceiling equipment the Captain was looking at could only be found in one location on board her vessel.

"Doctor Andersson?"

"How are you feeling Captain?" the Chief Medical Officer asked. "Your brain scan has finally come back to normal. We were quite worried for a while. Do you know what happened?"

"I was speaking with Lieutenant Gemma when this sharp, agonizing pain just took over all of my senses. The sensation was so intense that I was unable to do anything but to experience that pain above anything else. Every synapse in my brain, every muscle in my body felt this pain. It was so powerful that I could even describe how it looked, smelled and tasted."

"When Gemma lost consciousness, both Nicole and I played with the theory that it was this dimension that somehow affected her and caused her to faint. We thought that maybe there was some sort of interference with her nanites, but unless you too have those little miniature robots in you, that theory has been pushed aside and replaced by a complete lack of understanding as to what is happening," Doctor Andersson explained. "Why are only specific members of the crew affected while everyone else is not showing any ill effects of being in this forsaken dimension?"

"I am not sure Doctor," the Captain said forcing herself into a sitting position. "All I can say is that whatever you did worked. I am no longer feeling the effects of that pain."

"That is part of the problem," Sofia said with deeply felt concerns. "I did nothing. The pain you experienced seems to have come and gone on its own. There are no traces of a possible trigger that I can find so I cannot tell you why or if it will happen again. What I do find very interesting is that your pain stopped the moment we picked up a trans-dimensional signal which seems to have originated from a probe sent by the HAWKING."

"What?" Selene gasped in delight as she jumped down onto her feet. "Why have you not said this before. That signal may be our only way back to our own dimension." Feeling a certain sense of dizziness, Selene reached back for the examination bed she had been on. Although the pain had vanished, its lingering effects on her body were still very much present.

"With all due respect Captain, I have not cleared you to return to duty. I would like to perform a few more tests to see if I an at the very least understand how this pain was experienced by all of your senses simultaneously," the Chief Medical Officer said, rushing to stand in front of the now standing woman to ensure that she would not go further.

"Doctor," Selene sternly challenged. "As much as I appreciate your concerns, our current situation does not permit us to waste time. As soon as Gemma completes the modifications on the shuttle, we will need to launch it. The subsequent explosion will, we hope, give us a window of opportunity to lock in on the received signal and travel to it without anyone following us. The Lokustaar have done everything they can to get to our dimension, and I certainly will not open a doorway for them to use. I would rather not have to do this, but if I must, this ship and its crew will be sacrificed to make sure these shadows remain here."

It was obvious that there would be no way for the Chief Medical Officer to challenge the Captain on this, but Sofia would make sure to have Nicole check in on Selene as soon as possible, given that they actually survive the events that would soon come to pass.

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Shuttle Bay
Stardate: 33114.0815

"Captain?" The Varo pilot said in shock, not having expected to see the Commanding Officer here after the BASTET had picked up a signal that would show them the way home. "The shuttle is ready, I was just waiting for your signal to launch."

"I wanted to speak to you about the specifics of this mission," Selene said, closing the gap between them. "The force of the explosion will make it exceptionally difficult for you to safely escape the blast and transporters may not be able to help bring you back."

"Anya made it clear that this is going to be an explosion like no other," Dalra noted. "She was rather pleased with herself with the modifications to the torpedoes and went as far as to suggest that the blast may even be felt in other dimensions."

Selene chuckled, a reaction that was quite out of character for the Commanding Officer. "I suspect that Wimda or even Misaki would argue that possibility but that is not why I am here."

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.0825

Doctor Andersson and Counsellor Dima stood on the Command Deck, neither women had wanted to miss the action that was about to take place. 

"Do you think this will work?" Nicole asked of her friend in a whispered, worried voice.

"I have no idea," Sofia reluctantly admitted. "I just hope it does because the alternative will not be a pleasant one for anyone on board the BASTET."

The joined Trill was about to press for more information when the doors to the turbolift opened causing both women to turn expecting to see the return of their Captain so that she could take charge of the operation. To the shared surprise of the Chief Medical Officer and Counsellor, it was the blonde-haired Varo Pilot who stepped onto the bridge.

"Where is the Captain?" Counselor Dima inquired, not sure she understood why the Intel Liaison Operative had returned to the bridge.

"Out there," Dalra replied, pointing to the small craft that had just appeared in the bottom corner of the view screen. "She is the one piloting the shuttle."

"WHAT!?" Nicole and Sofia exclaimed in shock. Why had their Captain decided on such a course of action?

---
Setting: Shuttle, Cockpit
Stardate: 33114.0830

Selene could not explain it, but since having experienced that pain, she felt a darkness in her that somehow allowed her to understand the Lokustaar a little more than she had before. The fear she felt was gradually consuming her, but instead of driving the woman to retreat it forced her to act in order to save her ship and crew. Using that insight, she could feel the presence of the hidden Lokustaar vessel, that was one of the reasons why Captain Iverson had taken over as the pilot of this craft.

The other reason was that the Commanding Officer believed that the odds of the BASTET making it home safe and sound were much better if the Varo was at the helm.  Dalra had proven herself to be more than an expert pilot, and right now her skills would be put to better use on the BASTET instead of here in this shuttle.

Iverson glanced at her instruments, almost happy to see that the ship was not trying to stop her, not that they could have. The transporters were next to useless in this dimension and Lieutenant Gemma, as well as all of her other personalities, had been given the strict orders to get the BASTET back home.  All that was left was to see if this plan would work, a plan that *had* to work.

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.0825

"We have to bring the Captain back," Sofia bellowed, stopping short of trying to physically force Gemma when the Intel Operative glared back at her, her eyes for a split second being those of someone else, someone who seemed a great deal more dangerous than the Varo pilot.

"The Captain knows exactly what she is doing," Dalra defended as she continued to get the BASTET ready for what was to come. "There is a small window for us to use, and within that window, there is a possibility of our being able to get her back. Timing will need to be perfect, but I need you to be quiet and let me do what I was asked to do."

"How are you going to bring her back?" Sofia dismissed the request to remain quiet, her need for an answer being greater than her ability to comply with the given directives.

"The moment the Dimensional drive is activated, the ambient distortion patterns should diminish enough for us to get a lock on the Captain and beam her back. Wimda did all of the calculations and the theory is sound, but the timing is beyond tight. The BASTET will need to open a dimensional rift before the explosion starts so that we can retrieve the Captain and escape before the shockwave hits us. The way Anya described the potential force of the explosion, we want to be as far away from here as possible."

Nicole focussed on the woman and how she referred to her own other personas as if they were independent people, operating beyond her own physical form. This particular subject was not what she wanted to think about, but it was a better alternative than to worry about the outcome of the mission spearheaded by the Captain.

"Here's the signal," Dalra announced. "Opening a dimensional rift, transporter scanning for the Captain."

A collective hush held the bridge in its grasp as the officers waited for news of the fate of their Commanding Officer.

"Do you have her?" Sofia asked, the Chief Medical Officer unable to hold her silence.

"I can't get a lock," the Intel Operative said, her hands frantically dancing over the controls in a desperate attempt to fix the problem. "GOT HER! Energizing!"

Just as the Varo woman made the announcement, a bright flash of light filled the command deck causing the pilot to quickly send the BASTET into the opened dimensional rift.

---
Setting:  USS HAWKING, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.0830

An hour ago, the signal was received from one of the probes which indicated that the BASTET had been located somewhere deep in the multitude of possible dimensions of the multiverse. The crew of the HAWKING had worked hard to try and help the lost vessel in finding its way home, and when a rift opened, everyone's hopes became impossible to hide.

"There she is!" Lieutenant Mitshiba joyously said as the vessel gradually appeared on the viewscreen, the Chief Science Officer knowing that this was what their Flight Control Officer had wanted to see and hear.

Cheers filled the command deck of the HAWKING followed with expressions of relief as the rift closed without any other vessel coming through.

"A communication channel has been opened," Samson reported, knowing that Commander Valentine would ask for this.

"Welcome back Captain, we were starting to worry that you would not find your way back."

An odd silence met the bridge personnel of the HAWKING causing the Commander to look at the Avatar in a quizzical manner, asking without words as to the status of their communication capabilities.

"The channel is open," Samson reported. "They should be replying.

"HAWKING to BASTET, Captain Iverson, please reply."

=/\= This is Doctor Andersson... I'm sorry Commander, but Captain Iverson is not with us. She likely didn't survive the explosion that allowed us to escape without being followed by the Lokustaar. =/\=

Another silence washed over the bridge of the HAWKING, this one born out of sorrow.

"I am sorry for your loss Commander," Samson offered, his condolences being the only thing he could give.

---
Setting:  Somewhere Dark
Stardate: 33114.0830

Selene found herself face first on a black floor deprived of any features, surrounded by walls equally dark and smooth. The room, whatever it might have been, was filled with an eerie silence that felt almost tangible. As she pushed herself up onto her feet, the woman thought back to her last memory of in the shuttle and being enveloped by a transporter beam which she believed to have originated from the BASTET. Given her current surroundings though, Captain Iverson figured that either the transporter beam had come from somewhere else or the transport beam itself had somehow been intercepted. Either way, she was certainly not on board her vessel.

The absolute silence gradually gave way to a single set of high pitch screeches which were soon followed by several others. Although this was more than enough to allow the woman to figure out where she was, it was the appearance of several sets of eight softly glowing red eyes that confirmed her fears.

"Iverson to BASTET."

=/\= Your ship is gone, =/\= an icy cold disembodied voice said as if coming from the darkness itself.

"Who or what are you?" Selene suspected the answer but she still needed to know if she was right or if something else had happened to her.

 =/\= We are darkness. =/\=

"Why am I here? What do you want with me? What happened to my ship, to my crew?"

=/\= Your ship and crew left you behind. You are here, alone. =/\=

"So they escaped," Selene said smiling understanding that the reply she was given was meant to frighten her. "You might have gotten me, but you failed in getting your hands on my ship. That, to me, is all that matters."

=/\= Your crew was resourceful, but that does not change anything. We will spread chaos throughout your dimension as we have done to countless others. It is never a question of whether this will happen or not. It is only a matter of when. =/\=

"I'm alright with that because today was not the day. Today, you lost."

=/\= You are here, and for today, that is victory enough for us. =/\=

As relieved as Selene was in the knowledge that the BASTET had escaped, she could not deny the growing feeling of dread that was taking over her senses. She began to understand that the pain she experienced earlier had been caused by the Lokustaar either as an attempt to distract her, or to achieve exactly what had come to pass. As they said, her being here in their custody had been victory enough for them on this day, and that thought was frightening enough. Even more so than the possibility of never seeing the stars of her home or the people she had grown to recognize as friends.

---
Jessica Solarik

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

&

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

"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)
M06-P051: USS BASTET: Andersson: Day 02 - 1000 ("Missing Something")
=-=
"Missing Something"
[the previous post was (ANU) "For Our Next Trick" by me / (BAS) "The Switch" by Jessica]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 33114.1000

Sofia should have been happy. The BASTET was back in its home dimension and heading home to NEW ALEXANDRIA. During the course of their last mission, not only had they helped the USS HAWKING, another transdimensional vessel but also they had stopped the latest attempt of the Lokustaar to gain access to this dimension. The mission would officially go down as having been a complete success, but as far as Doctor Andersson was concerned, there was something missing. Actually, there was someone missing.

The CMO gently ran her fingers over the padded examination table where Captain Iverson had been not that long ago. The woman had not been the warmest of individuals but as a CO, she knew how to handle a situation and fuel the passions of those under her command. Without her being here on board the BASTET, the ship itself felt lessened somehow, a feeling that was reflected by each and every member of the crew.

According to the ship's own records, this had not been the first time that the BASTET returned home with a member of its crew missing. For obvious reasons though, this time the loss would leave a much deeper wound, one that would not heal as easily as others might have. Whatever else could be said about Captain Selene Iverson, the woman had earned the respect and admiration of all those who fell under her command, which was enough to ensure that she would be greatly missed.

Doctor Andersson tried to force her thoughts onto something else, something less sad, but the best she could manage was to wonder who would take over as their new Captain. Of course, Commander Valentine was the first logical choice to take on the responsibilities of being in charge of the ship and its crew. Sarena was just as passionate and dedicated as their Commanding Officer had been, so it was easy to imagine that a smooth transition would take place. There was one question though, what if she did not want to sit in the big chair? Starfleet history was full of instances where a First Officer refused, for one of varying reasons, to step into the role that they had earned and possessed more than enough experience and recommendations for.

The more Sofia thought about this, the more she could understand some of those reasons. Being in charge of a department was demanding enough, and the CMO could only shiver at the thought of being responsible for an entire vessel. The Doctor was constantly concerned that a wrong decision on her part could lead to the demise of a patient, but as a CO, any wrong decision could spell the doom of the entire crew. That alone would be enough to keep her and many others from accepting to take on the role of a starship Captain.

Feeling the growing shivers through her body and understanding that they would not stop anytime soon, Doctor Anderson came to the inevitable conclusion that she needed to find a more drastic way to change the focus of her thoughts. As a CMO, one would have expected the woman to be better at handling the passing of a fellow crewmember, even if said person was the Captain. After all, that she had seen and dealt with back in Paris though, death had become something that Sofia had a major difficulty dealing with on any level.

Sofia glanced at the examination table one more time; the action caused an uncontrollable swell of sadness within her that threatened to take over. As much as this was her department, the CMO could not be here, at least not for the time being. She needed to go elsewhere.

Since being anywhere else on the ship would only serve to fuel her thoughts and growing sense of anxiety, the Doctor decided that there was only one location where she could go in order to escape from these feelings, even if only momentarily.

=-=
Setting: USS BASTET, Corridor -> Holodeck
Stardate: 33114.1015

The rapidly walking woman kept her gaze locked on the floor directly ahead of her feet. This would make sure that her surroundings would not trigger an emotional reaction that she would not be able to hold back while at the same time ensuring that he would not run into someone. As soon as Sofia reached her destination, she tapped the controls and opened the door, never looking up to see if the holodeck was already active or occupied.

The Doctor was surprised to see what appeared to be a concrete floor instead of the standard holodeck floor beneath her feet. As she slowly raised her gaze, a jungle of walls and structures made from the same material extended for as far as she could see.  There was no escaping the fact that she was somewhere else, now all she needed to do was to figure out what this location was meant to be, who had been its creator and what purpose did it serve?

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M06-P052: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 02 - 1015 ("Irreplaceable")
"Irreplaceable"
Previous posts: (ANU) "For Our Next Trick" & (BAS) "Missing Something"

///^\\\
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.1015

The Asian scientist sat at the back of the bridge, diligently reviewing the transporter sensor log, wishing that they could have spent more time with the HAWKING and its crew while at the same time wishing that they had never been assigned to that mission. Aki looked over her shoulder at the vacant chair at the center of the bridge, wondering if any of them could have done something more or different to change the way things happened. How many of the crew would have gladly given their lives to see Captain Iverson sitting in that chair instead of having to deal with the void that her absence had created? This was a void that extended far beyond the physical realm, and one that would never be filled even if someone else came to sit there in time.

Life in Starfleet was by no means safe, and it was a miracle that ships and crews at all managed to return to their base of operations given all of the dangers and horrors that were out there hiding between the stars. As nasty as the Lokustaar were, the race of trans-dimensional invaders was but one of countless threat wandering the cosmos and threatening their daily existence.

Keeping that in mind, Aki tried to make sense of the sensor data she had been analyzing since their departure from the ZENALLI Sector. There was something that just did not make sense if the Lokustaar were as dangerous and ruthless as everyone agreed them to be. According to the data, the transporter beam had not only reached the Captain but had safely pulled her out of the shuttle before the explosion. This meant that she should have appeared in the transporter room shortly after the dimensional jump was completed. Instead, the sensors showed that the signal was diverted to another location. Since they were aware of no one else being in that region of dimensional space other than the Lokustaar, the only logical explanation was that they had abducted her. Why do this?

Would it not have made more sense for them to beam her out before she could trigger the explosion, or was that kind of technology beyond their means? If so, surely they had the means to kill her before being she was able to trigger the massive explosion. Therefore, was the hijack of the transporter beam nothing more than a spiteful retaliation to deprive the Captain of being able to claim success in her mission?

Using the data collected, it was a theoretical possibility that Captain Iverson had still been alive at the time of the diverted transport, but even if she had been alive following the explosion, there was no way to confirm her status now that she was in the hands of the Lokustaar. Without understanding the alien race more than they did, there was no way to even speculate as to what they would do with her. Would the trans-dimensional race hold Iverson captive as a potential pawn for later negotiations or would they submit her to unimaginable tortures to make her reveal classified information that only she possessed? For what anyone knew, the race of nightmarish shadows could have done what they did for no other reason than to satiate their need for revenge, making the Captain the sole target of their anger and frustrations.

The only thing Aki was certain of was that the Captain had been alive when the transporter beam was intercepted. Beyond that, all that the CSciO had were conjectures and hypothesis, none of which could be proven or disproven without a great deal more information that could not be obtained at this time.

What further bothered Aki was that there was nothing they could do despite having in their possession a Temporal Drive. The moment they left the dimension they were in, the option of using the device to rewind time by a few minutes had been made impossible. Maybe if they knew the location of that dimension things might have been different, but now there was nothing they could do despite the technology at their disposal. That single fact was enough to frustrate the Asian woman to no end.

Aki growled softly. Even if they could have used the Temporal Drive to attempt a rescue of their Captain, the BASTET and its crew were under direct orders from Admiral Koniki not to affect the timeline in any way. Their ability to travel through time was meant as a way to gather information through observation, and nothing else. Of all those on board the ship, the CSciO was likely the best to know the possible repercussions of attempting such a rescue. Saving a single person, however important they may be to a select few, could have effects that would impact millions or billions of lives stretching throughout the whole of the multiverse.

Unfortunately, that knowledge did little to ease the pain the Asian woman felt at the loss of their Captain.  Onboard a vessel capable of traveling to alternate realities and times out of reach of the imagination of most, Aki was faced with a fact that their situation could not be changed. Captain Selene Iverson was gone and there was nothing they could do to undo the tragedy. As powerful as the BASTET was considered to be by a great number of people on and off the ship, the Lokustaar had proven to be more cunning. 

The CSciO dried the few tears that had managed to escape before she looked over her shoulder one more time. The chair was still empty, and despite knowing that sooner or later someone would come to sit there, no one would ever be able to replace Selene Iverson. Some might be able to take her place, but none would ever be able to actually replace the Captain they lost on their latest mission.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P053: USS BASTET: Gemma: Day 02 - 1015 ("Emotional Parkour")
=-=
"Emotional Parkour"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Fear is the Greatest Enemy" / (BAS) "Inspired"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Holodeck
Stardate: 33114.1015

Everyone deals with grief in their own way. Some seek the comfort of a large crowd that shares in their feelings and beliefs. Some want a single person by their side to help with the turmoil of emotions and sense of loss. Others still, want to be left alone not possessing the inner strength to deal with others. Some cry out of sadness, others scream out of angered rage. Everyone on the BASTET was dealing in their own way with the absence of their Captain.  Gemma was no different, although her method might be considered quite unorthodox by most.

Her name was Sylthia, a skilled Ardanan acrobat. For her, jumping from one ledge to another was the best form of relaxation. For her, bouncing from one wall to the next as calming, soothing. To risk falling to her death was emotionally liberating. The moment Gemma stepped into the holodeck seeking a way understand her troubled emotions, the expert parkour runner took over. She rarely saw any sort of action, but this was the best time and reason for the wall dancer to come out.

Here, in the empty spaces between the walls, nothing mattered other than the here and now. Her focus needed to be absolute so as to not slip and plunge to her death. The life and death struggles of others had no room here in this concrete jungle. Sylthia was alone; moving from surface to surface faster than her troubles could catch up. As strange as it might seem to others, this was perfection given form for the Ardanan.

The sound of the holodeck doors opening and closing drew her attention. The room had not been secured as there was no need for it. As far as she knew, no one on the BASTET enjoyed this kind of pastime.

"Doctor Andersson. What are you doing here? I thought medical personnel only responded to actual emergencies, not perceived ones." Sylthia's tone was rough, cold, challenging. She wanted to be alone, and the presence of the ship's CMO was creating a distraction she did not want.

"I'm sorry," Sofia said finding the rest of her sentence drifting into silence. The woman clearly resembled Gemma, but this persona had not been one that she knew of. The acrobat appeared human with shoulder-length auburn hair. Her voice was, for a lack of a better way to describe it, common. Even her posture seemed to reflect a less educated upbringing. This was not to say that the woman was ignorant. She just seemed to be part of a social class that would normally have nothing to do with Starfleet.  "I didn't realize that the holodeck was occupied and active."

"In other words you just walked in. Now, you figure that because you have a rank and i do not, you should be here instead of me."

Doctor Andersson remained silent. Without knowing more about the specifics of this woman, anything she said might make the situation worse. "I am sorry for having interrupted your jumping around. I will leave you to your activity."

"It's called parkour," Sylthia said as she jumped down several ledged before landing on one knee. It was not the most comfortable position but it was one that she enjoyed doing. It made her feel like a hero with powers beyond the skills she naturally possessed. "I should be the one to apologize. I came here to clear my mind, and it is something that i usually do alone."

"I understand you wanting to be alone," Sofia said. "I suspect that a great many people on board the BASTET feel that way right about now. Losing a fellow shipmate is never easy. Losing the Captain is even more demanding as it leaves us all to wonder what will happen next."

"You people are all the same," Sylthia sighed in exasperation. "You are all so quick to leap off a small step and claim that the fall will end your lives as you knew them. Yes, you lost your Captain, the person you blindly followed. I lost a friend, someone that I could relate to in a way that I can't describe. She was someone who, in her own way, understood me, or at least part of me. Sooner or later, you will get another crisp suited officer to take her place. For me, no one will ever be able to do that, to replace the person I lost. She trusted me and I would have gladly died for her. She just happened to have other plans."

"What do you mean?"

The question was simple. The answer on the other hand would be anything but. What the Ardanan found the most surprising was this unexplainable willingness to give an answer. Sharing her feelings had never been one of her strengths, no matter the situation.

"Why do you think Selene went in the shuttle instead of Dalra?"

"She did not want to risk your life," Sofia answered before quickly correcting herself. "I mean, she did not want to risk Dalra's life." Dealing with all of these different personalities residing in the same body would prove to be quite a challenge.

"It wasn't that simple. Selene wanted to make sure that her crew was safe and had the best possible odds of making it back. To make sure of that, she needed Dalra at the helm of the BASTET. At least that was the explanation she gave. I think there might have been more, but there was not a lot of time for chitchatting." Sylthia paused and looked back at one of the walls she had jumped down from. "She cared about all of you so much that she was willing to sacrifice herself."

When the CMO was about to add something, the parkour runner leaped on the wall. Within seconds she had bounced to a nearby ledge and landed on the ledge several meters above the ground.

"Stop feeling sorry for yourself," the Ardanan snarled as she quickly moved out of view. "We all lost someone special to us today. The only difference is that for some, she was more than a simple Commanding Officer. To me, she was a friend who believed in me when no one else did."

=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M06-P054: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 02 - 1100 ("Reluctantly")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Reluctantly"
[previous post (ANU) "Four Our Next Trick" / (BAS) "Emotional Parkour")]

Setting:  USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 33114.1100

The office looked completely different from this side of the desk. Nothing had been moved, everything was the same, but like the situation as a whole, things had changed in the most drastic of ways that they liked it or not. Sarena knew what she needed to do but the report handed to her by Lt. Mitshiba only made things more difficult. The news was a good one, for the most part, in that Captain Iverson had not perished during the explosion that allowed the BASTET to escape back to its home dimension. That news though did not change the fact that the Executive Officer was now the one in charge of this ship and its crew, again that they liked it or not.

With a press of the controls, Sarena opened a secured channel to NEW ALEXANDRIA. Her first duty as acting CO was to report their situation to Admiral Koniki, who would be the one to decide exactly how things would go from that point on.

The moment the communication was established, the man's face appeared and filled the small desk mounted screen.

[/\] How did the mission go? [/\]

The Admiral was not one to waste time so Sarena decided to respond in kind. There was no easy way to say what she needed to, so going straight to the point was the best way to go about it.

"We lost the Captain." Even hearing herself say this, Sarena could not believe that this had actually happened. "According to the sensor logs which were thoroughly reviewed and analyzed by Lt. Mitshiba, Captain Iverson was abducted while trying to return to the BASTET using the transporter system. There was no way for us to attempt a rescue at the time as a rift had already been opened back to this dimension. It was either leaving the door opened for the Lokustaar to take or for us to jump through and close it, leaving the Captain behind."

[/\] You did the right thing. [/\]

"Glad you think so, but I was not the one in command of the BASTET at the time. Ens. Dean, Lt. Mitshiba and I were on board the HAWKING. It was Lt. Gemma who followed the Captain's orders in piloting the ship back."

[/\] I see, [/\] the Admiral said hesitantly. [/\] Are you en route back to NEW ALEXANDRIA? [/\]

"We are," the Executive Officer confirmed. "We should be there in a few days. We dare not push the engines after the rough ride they endured through the dimensions."

[/\] That's alright. Just make sure you make it back in one piece and without losing anyone else. [/\] The man paused for an instant, thinking of what he would say and do next. [/\] Commander Valentine, I need an honest opinion and answer. Do you believe that a rescue attempt with a valid chance of success is possible in regards to getting your Captain back? [/\]

"The crew, including myself, are ready to attempt any rescue mission you give us at a moment's notice," Sarena replied.

[/\] Commander, I am well aware of your and the crews' willingness to face impossible odds. What I am asking you is the realistic possibility of such a mission being successful and not leading to more officers being lost. [/\]

Again, the Executive Officer was made to see just how much the man hated to waste time. He had asked a question and wanted an answer, one that was honest and truthful. "We have no idea where the dimension actually is. We forced our way through a rift opened by the Lokustar and it was only thanks to a signal being transmitted by probes from the HAWKING that we were able to find our way back. If that was not enough, we have to keep in mind that Captain Iverson is now likely in the hands of those walking shadows and there is no certainty that she is still alive at this point."

[/\] The Lokustaar are not known for abiding by any rules of decency when it comes to the treatment of prisoners, [/\] the Admiral said supporting the Executive Officer's assessment of the situation. A moment of silence was shared between the two officers before Koniki could be seen reaching over to his side and tapping some unseen controls. [/\] Effective immediately you are officially the acting Captain of the BASTET. This will grant you access to all of the files and dossiers that were restricted to your Captain's access only. As soon as you are back home, I will need you to come to my office to complete the transfer of command. [/\]

"Transfer of Command? You mean until another CO can be found?" The Executive Officer did not want to come across as ungrateful, but she also did not want the Admiral to get the wrong idea in that she was ready or desired to take over as the BASTET's CO as a full-time position.

[/\] Commander Valentine, [/\] the Admiral said in a stern voice. Evidently, he did not have the time to deal with this particular aspect of their situation. [/\] I am sure that you understand that in this line of work there is not a list of qualified officers waiting for their chance to take over command of a ship, especially not one the likes of the BASTET. You are the most qualified officer to take command at this time, I will see what I can do to find a suitable replacement, but for the time being, you are in charge, that you like it or not. Koniki out. [/\]

Sarena stared at the now dark screen, trying to wrap her head around what had just happened. She knew that as Executive Officer, the role of commanding the BASTET would fall on her shoulders, but she had no desire to make this a permanent situation. Following the discussion with the Admiral, it seemed that her wishes had been pushed aside to accommodate the needs of the ship and crew.

"Commander Valentine to Counselor Dima, if you have a moment, I would like to see you in the Captain's Ready Room. Would appreciate this being sooner than later."

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

Acting Commanding Officer / Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M06-P055: USS BASTET: Dima: Day 02 - 1050 ("Lost")
“Lost”
[Previous Posts (ANU) “Unseen Watcher”/(BAS) “Reluctantly”]

=/\=
I’m off the deep end
Watch as I dive in
I’ll never reach the ground

Crash through the surface
Where they can’t hurt us
We’re far from the shallow now
- Lady Gaga, “Shallow”

=/\=
Setting: USS BASTET, Dima’s Quarters
Stardate: 33114.1050

“Computer, lights, thirty percent,” came a small and weary voice. Nicole sighed, pushing away the covers on the bed and sitting up. The ship was returning to its port of call, its home base, NEW ALEXANDRIA. They had escaped the other dimension, the eerie red and ebony backdrop having been replaced by stars, familiar and yet now colder than they had been the last time they were among them.

Normally, this would have been cause for celebration, but there was nothing normal about the BASTET’s itinerary or the circumstances surrounding their ongoing mission.

Captain Iverson had taken matters into her own hands when she relieved Dalra of the task of delivering the payload to their enemy. Nic played the string of events over and over in her mind, even as she should have been trying to sleep. The end of the story wouldn’t change, as much as the Trill woman wished it to.

Selene had taken the responsibility for the safety of the ship and her crew. This was by no means a surprise, given the attention to duty she had always displayed. The woman’s attitude had never wavered in the relatively short time Dima had been serving under Iverson as the ship’s Counselor. Now, the calculated decision that had saved them had resulted in the ultimate sacrifice. She was lost to them, and she was alive, but how long would she remain so in the clutches of the Lokustaar?

Nicole shuffled to the replicator, making another cup of green tea with lemon and honey, turning the one that had gone cold into the matter reclamation unit. “What am I supposed to be doing here?” she asked aloud. “What is my purpose?” The otherwise empty room did not answer. She took a sip of the fresh beverage, setting it on the nightstand, then lying down on top of the rumpled duvet, staring at the ceiling.

What *was* she doing here? Her training had not prepared her for this… an accidental transport which resulted in her imprisonment with Sofia, eventual rescue at the hands of a unique operative with the ability to adopt multiple personas, the abrupt shift to a new ship, the loss of the ship’s previous ILO and finally, the coup de grace, their CO. Fate had placed her here and now, but the reasons why escaped her. Even if she gave herself credit for the other four souls that had shared Dima as experience towards such matters, that was only five people against a sea of uncertainty. 

Nicole supposed that revenge could be counted as a reason, albeit not a good one. She held onto a seething rage for the Lokustaar, and it surprised her. A race they had brushed across like a feather in the wind, and she found herself irrationally blaming them and wishing to exact retaliation. However, their motives weren’t personal. They simply sought domination in all universes and all realities. They needed to be stopped, but it wasn’t a private vendetta; it was for the good of all. 

Her body had grown still, eyelids closed. While her mind would not shut down, the endless stream of frustration, sadness, and anger had finally been overtaken by her sheer exhaustion.  She dozed for a short time, until her comm badge chirped. 

[[Commander Valentine to Counselor Dima, if you have a moment, I would like to see you in the Captain's Ready Room. Would appreciate this being sooner than later.]]

“Sure,” Nicole replied, stifling a yawn. “Give me a few minutes.”

=/\=
Setting: Captain’s Ready Room
Stardate: 33114.1120

Nicole walked in to find Sarena Valentine sitting at the Captain’s desk. The ExO offered a nod to acknowledge the Counselor’s arrival. “I hope I wasn’t interrupting anything.”

Nic shook her head. “Nothing important.”

Sarena was fidgeting with her hands, her body language indicating she was uncomfortable. “I’ve spoken with Koniki.”

The younger woman sat down, searching her superior’s sultry features for any clue as to how that went, and she could only detect ambivalence. “And?”

The Commander hesitated. But just because she hadn’t said the words aloud, didn’t make them disappear. And this wasn’t going to be a secret. “I’ve been made acting Commanding Officer until such time as a replacement has been found,” she blurted out.

There was a pause. “Did you expect a different outcome?”

Sarena hung her head, strands of brown hair brushing against her shoulders. “I can tell you what I *didn’t* expect- to be in this position.”

“A position of leadership?”

“No, a position in which I am expected to follow the rules.” Valentine got up and walked over to the side of the room, clasping her hands behind her back. “Selene was the expert at that. With an away team, I can improvise, think outside the confines of rank and file to get the job done. The center seat does not provide that same freedom.”

“Like the freedom to run off and steal the HATHOR and the Blink Drive, use them to whisk us away to wherever she is, rescue her, and bring her back home?” Nic asked, putting her first impression of the issue out there, even if it was illogical. She wanted to save the Captain, and even though she couldn’t begin to understand the technology, and knew that Koniki would never agree to such a thing, hence the term “steal”, it was an option she still thought highly of.

Sarena chuckled, despite the circumstances. “Something like that,” she admitted.

Dima folded her arms defiantly. “Well, I’ve considered it and I’m not ashamed to say so. I like the idea, even if it means I’ll end up in the stockade.” 

The newly minted acting CO raised an eyebrow. “I may not be the best judge of character, but you don’t strike me as the renegade type.”

Nicole demurred, shrugging. “A couple of Dima’s former hosts would have already run off to rescue her. Perhaps time, and the viewpoints of the other hosts, have mellowed their wild streaks. I’m still here.”

Sarena’s words with the Admiral were still fresh in her mind. “Koniki won’t allow it.”

“If the Lokustaar could track the probes that Aki and Ashton used to help us, they could probably detect the Blink Drive as well,” Nic offered reluctantly.  “But if you ever get the chance to go after her, don’t go without me.”

“I think the entire crew would fight to come along. But as they say, it’s not our call. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

“That’s not good enough. They’ve been drilling that into all of us since the Academy. I assert that Captain Iverson may have only been one person, but her impact on this crew was immeasurable.”

“Stop speaking in the past tense,” Sarena replied sharply. The loss was too fresh.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” Nicole apologized.

Sarena rubbed the back of her neck, trying to alleviate the tension that had settled there. “That’s okay. Neither did I.”

The CO’s absence was the elephant in the room they would have to acknowledge, time and time again, as their future unfolded. Both women knew that, but it was uncertain territory. They had to balance their obligations as officers and as a crew with the unfairness of a career path in harm’s way. There was no room to grow soft, but that did not mean ignoring what had happened. “We don’t have her here, and it’s clear that wasn’t by choice, but we still have each other.”

Sarena continued to feel restless, but she sat back down behind Selene’s desk anyway. “I can agree, but continue to have reservations,” she answered.

Dima smiled. “That just proves Admiral Koniki made a good decision. Cautious people seldom make mistakes.” 

Commander Valentine was not convinced. “As long as I’m not being cautious for the wrong reasons.”

Nic leaned forward. “You won’t be… I’m going to ask something I never had the opportunity to ask the Captain- is there anything in particular you need from me?”

The other woman gave this some thought. “A sounding board.... Maybe more importantly, someone to vent to.” 

“Consider it done,” the joined Trill answered confidently.

“Truly.” Sarena did feel a little better. “Do you have any concerns?”

It didn’t take long for Dima to bring up the biggest change since the crew was separated. “Lieutenant Gemma.”

“What about her?”

“She’s much more unique than her service record indicates. The Admiral has prepared a dossier on her, that was recently shared with me by Captain Iverson herself after I noticed some... unusual behavior aboard the ship.”

“Like what?”

Nicole got up, preparing to leave. “I’d prefer to let you be the judge. You should now have access to all the pertinent information from Koniki, as well as my report. When you’re ready to discuss it, let me know.”

“Should I be worried?”

“No. You should be aware, but not worried. She is fit for duty and performed strongly while you were aboard the HAWKING. But as far as her abilities are concerned, we’ve only scratched the surface.”

=/\=
Susan Ledbetter
Writing For

Cns
USS BASTET
M06-P056: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: Day 03 - 1300 ("Looking Back, Moving Forward")
"Looking Back, Moving Forward"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Crowded Loneliness" & (BAS) "Missing Something"

///^\\\
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33114.1300

With each passing second, the ZENALLI Sector grew further away as the USS BASTET rushed back to its secret base of operations buried deep inside an asteroid. As much as she wanted to, the Asian scientist could not help but keep the ship's sensors aimed at the area they had left behind. Officially, Aki would claim that this was to monitor the region for possible Lokustaar activity. Unofficially, the CSciO would state that she wanted to catch a few last glimpses of the HAWKINGS before it returned to it own home, in another dimension. The truth, which she would not admit under any circumstances, was that she hoped to catch some sign that might hint to their Captain having found her way back.

As impossible as the tasks of surviving the explosion, escaping the Lokustaar and finding a way to get back to this dimension without having access to a D-Drive were, Aki believed that if there was one person capable of doing this, it would be Captain Iverson. Sadly, no such sings were found and the ZENALLI Sector was now only a few seconds from being beyond the reach of their long-range sensors.

"She's truly gone," Aki whispered from her sitting position at the bridge's science station not having realized that Counselor Dima had come to stand behind the scientist.

"She will never truly be gone as long as we remember her," Nicole said. As a Counselor, she knew better than to foster unrealistic hopes. To face the trust and reality of a situation might be more difficult in the short term, but over time, this was far more preferable than holding on to dreams and hopes that could never come to pass. Dima also knew that she could ask the members of the crew to simply let go, no matter how small and impossible the possibility might be.

"I know," the Asian woman said, doing her best to hide her sadness. "It is still easier said than done."

"That's why I am here," Nicole offered, placing her hand on Aki's shoulder. "If you want to talk, If you need to talk, I am here."

"Thank you, but not right now. Maybe later?"

"Of course," the Trill said, the reassuring smile on her lips making it clear to the Asian that the offer did not have a time limit.

As the Counselor walked away, Aki returned her attention to her instruments only to confirm that the ZENALLI Sector was indeed beyond the reach of their sensors. Reluctantly and with a heavy weight on her heart, the CSciO reset the sensors to scan the deep emptiness that laid before them. In time, she would pick up on the asteroid field home to the secret base of NEW ALEXANDRIA. From there, each moment that passed would see them growing closer to their destination, leading them to look more to what was to come instead of what had happened.

Aki smiled as she recalled what Nicole had just said, that Captain Iverson would never be truly gone as long as they remembered her. In the vastness of the multiverse, there were countless possibilities that could take shape leading to the crew of the BASTET crossing path with Selene, and that would be enough to keep the Asian scientist smiling instead of giving into the darkness and sadness that threatened to overwhelm her.

=/\= Sofia to Misaki. =/\=

The call from the CMO took the CSciO by surprise for more than one reason. "Mitshiba here, you are rather informal," Aki replied still in relative shock of having heard her first name. "Guessing that this is not about any official business."

=/\= That's why you're the head scientist on board the BASTET, nothing escapes you. I was calling to see if you would be available to join some of the other members of the senior staff. After our shift, we'll be heading there for a brink. =/\=

"Thank you, but I think I'll pass. I'm not much in the mood for drinks."

=/\= I understand that but we are going not to drink, but to share a toast in memory of those no longer with us =/\=

Aki took a moment to think about the offer, and when added to the words spoken by Nicole the Asian woman found it impossible to uphold her earlier decision. "Alright, I'll be there."

=/\= Glad to hear it, we'll see you then. =/\=

The CSciO forced a smile onto her lips. As difficult as it was for her to leave the past behind, the idea that she would not be alone to face the future did make things a little easier, and after everything was said and done, this would be what Captain Iverson would have wanted. The universe was too wonderous a place to keep one's sight and thoughts on things that had come to pass and could not be changed, no matter how much anyone might have wanted it to.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M06-P057: USS BASTET: Andersson: Day 03 - 1400 ("Never Forget")
=-=
"Never Forget"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Crowded Loneliness" by Rachel / (BAS) "Looking Back, Moving Forward" by Dawn]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, CMO's Office
Stardate: 33114.1400 

Sofia tapped on the PADD on her desk, placing a checkmark next to the last name on her list. She had contacted everyone, inviting them to a casual get together where they would raise a glass to the memory of their Captain who had sacrificed herself to ensure the safety of her ship and its crew. So far, the greater majority of those she had contacted would be in attendance, and although she had contacted everyone on her list, there was still one person she had yet to speak to.

Under normal circumstances, the name missing from the list on the PADD resting on Sofia's desk would have been at the top, but there was nothing normal about this situation. Captain Iverson had been lost in another dimension and was likely at the mercy of a race of walking nightmares. Sensor records showed that Selene was alive at the time of the shuttle's explosion, her transporter signal having been intercepted and redirected away from the BASTET.  This meant that the ship's CO would officially be listed as M-I-A instead of K-I-A, a distinction that in this particular case made little difference.

"Still debating about inviting Commander Valentine to your little get-together?" Nic said as she stood int he doorway, her shoulder leaning on the frame.

"Why do I have the feeling this is going to be one of those talks?" Sofia chuckled. "I'm just trying to do the right thing without turning this into a political nightmare. We have had enough dealings with nightmares, especially the walking kind, to not try and add more."

"The fact that Commander Valentine does not want to take official command of the BASTET at this time does not mean that she does not want to be part of whatever acknowledgment celebration you are planning," the Trill Counselor pointed out. "What you are doing is very thoughtful and will go a long way to help the senior staff to come to terms with what happened. Sarena is no different and I am sure that she would benefit from being part of what it is you are doing. Not inviting her could make her feel worse than she may already be feeling, as she could see it as the crew believing that she is an outsider who does not belong here."

"That is not the reason why I have not invited her," Sofia gasped. "Hers was the first name that I put on the list."

"But you removed it, why?"

Doctor Andersson glared at her friend; the expression on the CMO's face was a clear opposition to the pleased grin dancing on the lips of the Trill woman.  "I thought we were friends?"

"We are friends' that's why I'm asking you that question. If I was speaking to you in my capacity of ship's Counselor, I would be asking you about your feelings and what trauma, perceived or real, is making you act the way you are."

"Not much of a difference," Sofia quietly scoffed as she looked at the PADD, asking herself the same question that Nic had presented her with. "I'm not entirely sure why? It just feels wrong to me. Why would Sarena celebrate a fallen shipmate when she is struggling with taking her place? If she doesn't want to be CO, the get together might put her in a position where she would need to explain and defend her decision to others. If she does want the job, would it not be hypocrisy for her to be there?"

"You are overthinking things," the Trill sighed, finally making her way into the CMO's office to sit in front of her friend. "Death and the subsequent promotion of an officer to fill in the newly created vacancy is not something new in Starfleet or in any other similar organization. Right now, we all have to look at each other as fellow shipmates who share a common loss. We each feel and react to this loss in our own unique ways, but the feeling is still there drawing us all together. The emptiness that was left behind was not created by the fact that Selene was our Captain; it was because she was a person we could relate to, talk to, interact with on a level that went well beyond the simple chain of command. Imagine if Admiral Koniki suddenly vanished, how would we feel?"

"Sad I guess," Sofia cautiously replied.

"Yes, and that would be perfectly normal, but because we only know him as a superior officer, the sense of loss would not be as severe. So, keeping that in mind, you have to realize that Sarena lost much more than a Captain and Commanding Officer, and she needs to acknowledge this just as we all must." Nic paused for a moment and reached out to touch her friend's hand. "There is no politics here, no questions of promotions or perception by others. This gathering that you are organizing is for no other reason than to bring people together in order to share feelings and memories about an individual who was taken from us."

"You make it sound so simple," the CMO sighed, leaning back into her chair, pulling her hand from beneath that of the CNS.

"It is simple when you look at those affected as people and not officers, which we all are."

Sofia nodded her head and inserted the name of their Acting Captain at the top of the list, where it had initially been. "All I have to do now is to call and invite her."

"It might be better if you actually went to speak to her in person. By now she must have become aware of this little gathering you have planned and she may be wondering why you have not spoken to her. All you need to do is to tell her that you kept her for last so as to make sure that there were enough people willing to take part in the gathering and that if she wishes it, you can always call the whole thing off."

"Alright, I will speak with her. Thanks."

"Anytime."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M06-P058: USS BASTET: Valentine: Day 03 - 1430 ("Invitation")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Invitation"
[previous post (ANU) "Heading Home" / (BAS) "Never Forget")]

Setting:  USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 33114.1430

Commander Valentine was still getting used to being where she was, sitting in the chair behind the desk. The office was the same but appeared completely different from the other side, an analogy that was very much like her new duties and responsibilities. In many aspects, nothing had changed, as there were a great many similarities between the duties of a Captain and Executive Officer. On the other hand, everything had changed and Sarena didn`t like it one bit but there was nothing that could be done. The crew and ship needed a Captain, someone to take charge and lead even if not in an official capacity.

The sound of the door chime made the Executive Officer take a well-needed break from her reading. How Selene managed to keep all of the higher level and classified information sorted in her head was beyond Sarena`s understanding.

"Come in," Valentine said with a tone of appreciation, already looking forward to dealing with something other than what she had been doing.

"Captain, I hope I am not interrupting anything," Doctor Andersson said as she cautiously set foot into the office as if the woman behind the desk might physically lounge out at her.

"You are, and I am grateful for it," Sarena admitted in a joyous fashion. "So come on in and tell me what's on your mind." Valentine watched as Andersson sat down on the other side of the desk where the Executive Officer would have normally been. It was amazing to see just how such a simple change could make everything so different.

"The senior staff is getting together in the Mess Hall later to share a few drinks and remember Captain Iverson. I thought that maybe you would like to attend," Sofia's voice was shaky, nervous, leaving Sarena to wonder why.

"You are aware that Captain Iverson is officially listed as MIA, so I believe that holding a wake may be premature," Sarena said, letting her words drift into an awkward silence that quickly filled the small room. "That said, and anticipating what Counselor Dima has likely already said to you and would most certainly come to tell me at some point, we have to let go of the past and move forward, and this little gathering you have mentioned may prove to be exactly what we all need. I will be there."

Doctor Andersson looked positively stunned. This had turned out to be a lot easier than she had expected or feared. After regaining her mental footing, Sofia stood from the chair she had been in for less than a minute. "Thank you, Captain. We will see you there. Now, I should let you get back to your work."

Sofia was out of the office before Sarena could utter the slightest sound. Whatever was playing on the woman's mind had been powerful enough to have her want to be anywhere else but here, which strangely enough was a feeling that the Executive Officer understood all too well.

Finding herself alone once more in the Captain's Office, sitting behind the Captain's desk, in the Captain's chair, Sarena had little other choices but to resume her duties as the BASTET's Acting Commanding Officer which now included coming up with something proper and inspirational to say during the gathering to honor Selene Iverson. The list of duties and responsibilities meant for a CO to handle was already long enough, but it was those additional items that weren't listed that made the Executive Officer wish she could go back to her own office.

"Commander Valentine to Counselor Dima," Sarena said after tapping her communicator.

=/\= Yes Commander, =/\= the Trill replied, making sure to repeat the rank used by the woman.

"Just wanted to make sure that you were attending this little get together organized by Doctor Andersson."

=/\= I will be there, =/\= Nicole said, understanding the reason for the question even though it had not been openly mentioned. =/\= I am sure that everyone will be happy to see you there. It is a nice way for us all to acknowledge what Selene meant to us and to see each other pushing forward despite our sadness, anger and possible resentments. In addition, it would be nice to have you there, just in case. =/\=

"Just in case?" The Executive Officer and now Acting Commanding Officer repeated with concern.

=/\= Gemma, =/\= Nicole said, using a single word reply that said it all.

Sarena sighed. She had started reading the classified dossier of their Intel Operative and with each section came a new identity, a particular set of skills and at times a list of warnings about how to handle that particular persona. There was no denying that Gemma was an asset, able to adapt to nearly any situation with little effort, but this flexibility came at a price.  It was that price, that uncertainty that troubled the majority of the crew.

"I understand your misgivings, and I am doing my utmost to get through her dossier to have a better idea of who she really is. In the meantime, I will count on you to help and guide me during the gathering, and I promise to be there and keep an eye on our multi-facetted ILO."

=/\= I suspect that calling Gemma 'multi-faceted' is only the beginning, but I do appreciate your understanding, and even more so your presence. We will see you at the gathering. =/\=

"See you there Counselor, Valentine out."

Sarena leaned back into the chair, looking at the layout of the room, which still seemed so different from what she had been used to experiencing. Life in Starfleet could not be labeled as boring as for better or worse things were always changing.

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

Acting Commanding Officer / Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M06-P059: Gemma: Day 03 - 2200 ("Silent Acknowledgement")
=-=
"Silent Acknowledgement"
[the previous post was (ANU) "At The End Of The Day" / (BAS) "Invitation"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Mess Hall
Stardate: 33114.2200

The atmosphere was somber. There was an emptiness in the room that could not be filled. The senior officers had come here to acknowledge this void and accept that there was nothing they could do about it. They had come to show that the person missing from this gathering had meant something to them. They were here to give their last respects for their lost Captain, even if they did not want to accept her fate.

Voices were kept to a low whisper that only added to the eerie feeling. Only a few of the woman's adventures were openly shared for all to hear. Even in her absence, Selene Iverson commanded respect, and for that, Gemma admired her.

From the far corner of the Mess Hall, the ILO observed in silence. While in such social environment, Gemma preferred to remain unnoticed. As an ILO, she was more skilled at watching than participating in these type of chats. Every so often, her eyes would drift to the solitary cup set on the table in the center of the room. The green tea was Selene's favorite drink and placing it there was Counselor Dima's idea. It would act as a focal point for the gathering, providing those in attendances something to talk about. As for the Counselor herself, the Intel Operative had kept an eye on her.

Gemma did not fear Nicole, but the ILO did notice that the CNS had glanced in her direction more than once. It was evident that there was some level of discomfort and that the Intel Operative had no intention of making things easier.

"I am glad that you are here," Doctor Andersson said. It didn't take much for the CMO to notice the intense focus of Gemma's gaze. "Is everything alright between you and Nicole?"

"Why do you ask?" Gemma inquired, never taking her eyes off the Trill woman.

"I don't know," Sofia sighed. "The way you are looking at her as if planning some sort of covert attack."

"I came here as per your request, Doctor. I am not here to fight or defend my associates or myself. All I wish to do is to show my respects to Captain Iverson and be left alone. I have no stories to share, and my feelings are of no one else's concerns."

Knowing what she did about the ILO, Doctor Andersson thought it best not to press the issue. The last any of them needed right now was to have one or Gemma's other persona make an appearance. Unsure as to what to say or do next, Sofia simply left Gemma alone as she had requested.

The rest of the evening proceeded without incident. Everyone seemed more than happy to leave the ILO to her own affairs, and Gemma was not complaining. When the last of the officers left, leaving her alone in the Mess Hall, she stepped out of the shadows.  Slowly, a bald-headed Oltharian woman made her way to the center table. Her eyes locked on the cup of green tea left behind. No one had dared to disturb the shrine, as simple as it was. This meant that it would be the Priestess' task to take care of this. A task that she was more than happy to attend to.

Standing before the cup, Ema closed her eyes and offered a quiet Oltharian prayer. The body of their Captain may not have been here, but her spirit was. Not in the cup that had been made to represent her, but in the entirety of the ship. Maybe, this was one of the reasons why Commander Valentine found it difficult to take over. Why she refused to just slide into the vacant position. The BASTET had become more than a simple vessel capable of traveling through time and space. Over the many missions, it had taken on some of the energy of those on board. It made perfect sense that the greatest energy imprint was that of the Captain. It did not take a lot of effort for the Oltharian Priestess to sense the woman's presence, even in her absence.

With utmost respect and care, the Oltharian picked up the cup into her hands. Another prayer was offered, this one in the Captain's own language. As far as the universe was concerned, it was thoughts that mattered, not the language. Therefore, there were no issues in offering prayers in different tongues.

Ema continued to speak words of admiration as she took the cup back to the corner where Gemma had been earlier. There, a small shelf had been installed without anyone else's knowledge. The small flat ledge was just large enough for the item which was carefully deposited upon it. The Oltharian gave one last prayer as she took a step back, bowing as she did so. A faint shimmer engulfed the item as a forcefield locked it in place.

When the woman's eyes returned to gaze upon the cup, it was Gemma standing in reverence. The ILO was not one to display emotions, be they joyous or sad. However, had someone been in the room, they might have noticed some aura of sorrow around the woman.  Another bow was offered to the small shrine before the Intel Operative exited the Mess Hall. No matter what would happen, Captain Iverson would forever be a part of the BASTET. The cup was nothing more than a physical representation of what the Oltharian felt.

How the shrine and cup had come to be where they were would be a mystery. Some might wish to unveil this puzzle while others might just be happy about it. Either way, Gemma was satisfied that she had done everything she could to acknowledge the woman. All that was left to do was to focus on tomorrow and continue their fight against the shadows.


=-=
Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative
USS BASTET

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M06-P060: Valentine: Day 03 - 0600 ("Moving Forward")
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"Moving Forward"
[previous post (ANU) "Another Day" / (BAS) "Silent Acknowledgement")]

Setting:  USS BASTET, Valentine's Quarters
Stardate: 33115.0600

With the memorial service behind them, and following a quiet night's rest, the crew of the BASTET could focus a little more on the future instead of the past. Acknowledging the absence of their Captain and the feelings that this void created was necessary, but the Executive Officer knew that lingering too long onto that loss would only make matters worse.  Like in so many other ways though, thoughts and words were not so easily translated into action, a fact that Valentine was becoming painfully aware of in the early hours of this new day.

Sitting at the small dining table, Sarena studied the plate of fresh fruits in front of her once again. This was the same breakfast, as countless times before and yet she could not find it within her to enjoy the taste or even the appearance of her regular selection. The explanation for this was actually simple, but again, knowing the cause and being able to change the reason behind it was two completely different matters.

The Executive Officer had tried her best to stop thinking about the course of events that led the BASTET and its crew to be where they were now. Even her dreams from the night before had touched on the subject of Captain Iverson no longer being with them. Sarena could only imagine that several other members of her senior staff had experienced a similar night and how this would eventually trickle down to land on the shoulders of their Trill Ship's Counselor, Ensign Nicole Dima. Had it not been for that single fact, the now acting Commanding Officer would have already called upon her, using the excuse of sharing breakfast as the reason for them to be in the same room at the same time away from everyone else.

Their discussion would have most certainly gravitated around the ship's ILO, Lt. Gemma, her presence at the gathering had been impossible to miss despite the fact that she had remained out of everyone's way. Maybe this had been by design or as a result from the rest of the Senior staff electing to not engage the woman for fear of triggering someone else's appearing. In either way, the multi-persona woman had remained on the sideline allowing everyone else to address in their way the reason or them being there.

Sarena could not discuss most of what she had read in the classified dossier of the ILO, the information had been labeled for Captain's eyes only. What it did do was give the Executive Officer a much better understanding of *what* Gemma was, while at the same time making the question of *who* she was that much more impossible to pin down. With such restrictions imposed on her, Valentine would have had to quickly change the subject, the next most likely target being her own emotional turmoil.

As an Executive Officer, Sarena was no stranger on the matter of taking charge, the responsibility of leading an away team being hers by design. That said, commanding a small group of individuals, even in the most hostile of environment could not compare to being in command of an entire ship where a single wrong decision could lead to the destruction of the ship and the death of everyone onboard. The BASTET was not currently facing such a predicament, but that did not stop Valentine from imagining how easily it could come to be. Their earlier confrontation with the Lokustaar was proof enough that the dangers out there were more real than anyone could imagine.

With a wedge of orange at the tip of her fork, Sarena pushed all thoughts on that matter out of her mind. If she kept it up this way, not even the multiple lifetimes of experience of their Ship's Counselor would be able to undo the psychological damage that the acting Commanding Officer would cause to herself. It was best for Valentine to keep her thoughts in check and instead focus on the immediate needs of her ship and crew.

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Setting:  USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 33115.0700

With breakfast done and over with, the next order of business was to check with the members of the senior staff to ensure that everything was alright, not only on a professional level but also on a personal one.  Sarena was pleased to see Ensign Dean manning the helm as she stepped onto the bridge, his having been away from his daughters the way he had been could have caused him to not want to resume his duties as the ship's FCO.

"Good morning Ensign Dean, what is our status?"

"We are on course and on time for NEW ALEXANDRIA," Ashton replied. "All systems are operating within normal parameters."

"Very glad to hear that," Sarena said trying not to sound overly relieved. Their base of operation was still quite a distance away and there was no way to know how the rest of their journey back would go. The possibility of the ship encountering some sort of situation was always present, no matter what they had dealt with or were heading to do.

"Lt. Mitshiba, what about the science department? Anything to report?"

"Nothing to report Captain," Misaki replied without thinking. "I'm sorry Commander," she quickly added.

"You have no reason to apologize. The Commanding Officer of a ship can and is usually referred to by the title of Captain no matter their rank, so you did nothing wrong," Sarena explained, realizing by the same token that her discomfort in being the one now in charge of the ship had spread to other members of the crew. This would be something that she needed to speak to Nicole about in order to come up with a plan of action that would see this change. Admiral Koniki made it quite clear that no one was available to take over as Captain of the BASTET, so that responsibility would be hers, that she held the official title or not.

"Yes Sir, thank you, Sir," Misaki said, visible glad that she had not done something wrong by referring to Commander Valentine as 'Captain'.

"Looks like you have everything under control, I will go to Sickbay and check in with Doctor Andersson and Counselor Dima. If anything happens, let me know and I will come back right away."

"No worries," Ashton said adding to the conversation. "Keeping a straight line is the easy part of this job."

Sarena made her way off the bridge without saying anything more. When the doors to the turbolift closed behind her, Misaki spoke up. "Why didn't she just call down to Sickbay?"

"My guess? She wants to avoid having to sit in the big chair," the FCO replied, understanding in some way how the Commander felt.

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Setting:  USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 33115.0720

"Commander Valentine, what brings you here so early in the morning? Is there a problem?" Doctor Andersson asked, not at all used to seeing a command-level officer just walk into Sickbay without a dire reason.

"Just came to make sure everything is alright here," Sarena replied, taken back by the surprise shown by the CMO.

"You could have called," Sofia pointed out. "Would have saved you the journey, but I am glad to see you. There is nothing to report at this time."

"I also wanted to thank you for what you did last night," the Executive Officer continued. "It was very appreciated by myself and the rest of the senior staff."

"Thank you. Nicole and I thought that this would help us all."

"It did. Speaking of Counselor Dima, do you know where she is?" Sarena asked.

"She might be in her office, but there is not usually a great need for her skills this early in the morning. If she is not there, she could be in the Mess Hall. It's a great place to see people and gauge how they are doing without having to do so in an official matter."

"Thank you, Doctor. I greatly appreciate everything that you are and will continue to do for this crew."

Sarena exited Sickbay without saying anything more prompting the CMO to smile. "Hope Nicole can help her, she's clearly trying to avoid being on the bridge and having to sit in the big chair."

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Setting:  USS BASTET, Mess Hall
Stardate: 33115.0740

Within seconds of walking into the room, Sarena located the CNS who was sitting against the far wall giving her an unobstructed view of the entire room and anyone in it.

"Good morning Commander, how are you doing?" Nicole asked of the approaching Executive Officer.

"Doing well, thank you, Counselor. How about you?" Valentine replied as she joined the Trill.

"I will admit that I am a little puzzled," Dima admitted. "Something was added to this room, something that is actually very thoughtful, but I am still trying to figure who did it," Nicole said looking at the small shelf that was added and the cup that rested upon it.

"I totally forgot about the cup when I left, and I believe I was the last one out."

"Either someone came back or someone was hiding in the room when you left."

"Hiding may be overstating it, as it could have simply been that I failed to notice whoever stayed behind wishing to be the last person present to offer their respects."

The two women locked gaze for a brief moment before they both whispered the name of the person they believed to be responsible for this strange oddity.

"Gemma."

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Setting:  USS BASTET, Gemma's Quarters
Stardate: 33115.0745

The ILO sat on the edge of her bed, eyes closed as long deep breaths filled her lungs. Most would have believed her to be meditating, but the tightness of her closed fists hinted to this being something else.  The occasional twitches that appeared on her face pointed to some sort of discomfort, a battle ranging deep within the woman.

When Gemma opened her eyes, all signs of whatever conflict had been present vanished. The only clue left behind was found in her now opened hand. A small wrist bracelet with barely legible engraved letters that seemed to spell out the woman's name.

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Karen Price

Acting Commanding Officer / Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

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