USS BASTET - Mission 08
Post # Character Title
001 Valentine Distant Shores
Sarena is given new orders
002 Gemma New Purpose
Gemma considers the crew as family
003 Andersson In The Blink Of An Eye
Sofia is scared about the blink jump
004 Mitshiba Looking For Something
Having arrived, the HATHOR searches for the probe
005 Gemma Testing Patience
The crew feels bad at their lack of progress
006 Valentine Path of Nothingness
The HATHOR discovers a planet inside negative space
M08-P001: USS BASTET: Valentine: 33119.0600 ("Distant Shores")
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"Distant Shores"
[previous post (ANU) "Unexpected Damage" / (BAS) "Mind Games, pt 2")]

Setting:  USS BASTET, Mess Hall
Stardate: 33119.0600

The Executive Officer sat alone at a table, a steaming cup of coffee cradled in her hands while her eyes were locked on the small cup resting on the recently added shelf in the corner of the Mess Hall. Sarena wanted to be here, to spend time alone and away from anything that might remind her of her responsibilities.  Here, in the early hours of the morning, she could spend some time as a regular person wishing that things had not happened the way they had, but the weight of her position made this exceptionally difficult.

As the acting Commanding Officer of the BASTET, she did not have the time to indulge in what was, in the end, nothing more than a colossal waste of time. Every second of every day needed to be spent dealing with the needs of the ship and its crew who relied on every single decision of their Captain. So she took in a slow deep breath and allowed her gaze to fall onto the PADD she had brought with her.  One after the other the reports concerning the ship were read, the important details carefully noted to be addressed at a later time. Not so long ago, Captain Iverson would have done the exact same thing and delegated some of these items to the Executive Officer. Today, Sarena sat alone to perform all of these tasks, tasks she knew sooner rather than later would require the help of someone else to handle.

Admiral Koniki had made her acting Captain, and as such she now possessed the authority to elevate someone else to the position of acting Executive Officer. The question was who? Even before she could start thinking about who amongst the senior staff might be able to fill that role, Sarena had to deal with the changes in staff. Following the stress incurred during their last mission, Ensign Ashton Dean requested a leave of absence from the BASTET. His reasoning was more than understandable as he wanted to see his daughters safe and be able to spend more time with them, something that he could easily be accomplished inside of their base of operation.

With Ashton gone, at least for the time being, this meant that there would be two positions needing to be filled before the start of their next mission; a Flight Control Officer and an Executive Officer. Since it would be easier to find a replacement FCO, Sarena decided to work on looking for someone who would be able to help her as acting Commanding Officer. Due to rank and skills, two names immediately came to mind; Lt. Mitshiba and Lt. Gemma.

Sarena was sure that both women would readily accept the position if offered to them, so that was not the problem. What might prove to be difficult was their personalities as well as the way the rest of the crew looked at them. Misaki, or Aki as she liked to be called, was a dedicated scientist who loved to tackle any mystery they came across, and for a vessel capable of traveling to other dimensions and time, this insatiable thirst for knowledge had proven to be an asset to them more than once. The problem was that as an Executive Officer she would need to curb this desire to perform more administrative tasks as she would be directly responsible for the crew.

Where Misaki could be considered to have a weakness, Lt. Gemma could be seen as having a huge advantage. As an experienced Intel Operative, she knew exactly how to handle people and present herself in the best possible way in order to get others to behave as the situation required. The problem there was how, or more accurately, how would be the person to make this happen. The greatest advantage of the ILO, that of being able to be anyone the exact person needed to deal with a situation would also prove to be the greatest weakness for an Executive Officer as no one would know whom they would be dealing with.

With Sofia and Nicole both being Ensigns and Chief Medical Officer and Ship's Counselor respectively, neither seemed to be a good fit for taking on the responsibilities of an Executive Officer.

=/\= Admiral Koniki to Commander Valentine. =/\=

As unexpected as the call was, it proved to be perfectly timed to have the acting Commanding Officer delay having to make a decision on her temporary replacement.  "Valentine here, what can I do for you, Admiral?"

=/\= Need to see you in my office as quickly as possible. So, I am expecting you as soon as you have finished your coffee. Admiral Koniki out. =/\=

"That man knows everything that happens, be it here inside NEW ALEXANDRIA or anywhere else in the universe, and strangely enough that thought is not at all comforting," Sarena said before taking one last sip of her coffee.

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Setting:  NEW ALEXANDRIA, Admiral Koniki's office
Stardate: 33119.0630

"Good morning Admiral, you wanted to see me?" Sarena asked as she walked into the large office possessing an unmistakeable Egyptian decor.

"Good morning Commander, thank you for coming so quickly. I have reviewed your report and I thought you might be interested in seeing this," the Admiral said as he handed over a PADD to the puzzled woman standing before him.

"What is this?" Valentine asked as she quickly scanned the data contained on the PADD.

"Several deep space monitoring stations keeping a close watch on the Gorn Hegemony picked up something that I thought you would be interested in. Although the resolution is weak, the object detected on the other side of their space does appear to have several similarities to the probes used by the HAWKING in their trans-dimensional search for the BASTET. Since long-range sensors also detected a dimensional disturbance in the general vicinity, the odds do seem to point to this being one of theirs," the Admiral explained.

"You believe that Captain Iverson might have been able to use one of the probes to escape the Lokustaar and find her way back?" Sarena asked displaying a great deal more exuberance than she had wanted to.

"The odds of that being the case are rather slim. I am far more convinced that it may be an attempt by the Lokustaar to get a better lock on this dimension. In either case, the event cannot be ignored, so I want you and your senior staff to take the HATHOR and investigate. Your primary objective is to locate whatever the monitoring stations discovered, once that is accomplished you are to perform a threat assessment and if at all possible bring the object back. If you are unable to do this, you are under orders to destroying there and then. If it is some sort of probe capable of transdimensional travel, we cannot afford it falling into the hands of the Gorn or anyone else for that matter.  Thanks to the new blink-drive, you will be able to make the trip to the far side of Gorn space in no time, which means that you will have a head start on anyone else who detected what we did."

"Guess that means you want us to leave right away."

"Actually, I would like to have you already be on your way, but using the BASTET's temporal drive to get all of you there before we have this discussion might actually cause more trouble than it is worth. So yes, I want you and your crew on the HATHOR as soon as possible.  With a smaller ship and crew, I believe that it will make things easier for you to handle being in commander. Just look upon this as a long distance away mission."

"Thank you, Admiral," Sarena said, not at all sounding impressed by the man's last few words which she saw as him believing that she was not capable of meeting the challenge.  With the Admiral's permission, Commander Valentine exited the office and summoned her officers to the HATHOR for a rushed mission briefing.

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Setting:  USS HATHOR, Bridge
Stardate: 33119.0700

Sarena had made it clear that everyone needed to hurry up, and no one disappointed.

"We are all here, so what's the rush?" Doctor Andersson asked.

"Actually, we are not all here. Where is Ensign Dean?" Misaki asked, the CSciO being her keen observant self as always.

"Ashton will be staying on NEW ALEXANDRIA for this mission," the acting Commanding Officer replied.

"Makes sense," Nicole said. "After all that happened during our last mission and the constant worries he had about his girls, it makes sense that he wants to keep them as far away from the craziness that we deal on a regular basis."

"His family should never have been brought on board the BASTET," Gemma said making it evident as to where she stood in that regards. "What's our mission? based on you asking for us to report here as quickly as possible, we can only surmise that time is of the essence and that we will be using the HATHOR's blink-drive to get wherever we are going as quickly as possible."

With those few words, the ILO had proven Sarena's point in both wanting Gemma as her Executive Officer as well as the reasons why she could not do so for fear of alienating the rest of the senior officers. With that matter settled, the Commander called forth a holographic representation of the region of space they would be traveling to. "Deep space monitoring stations looking into Gorn space saw this." All eyes studied the image with interest, everyone trying to understand what it is they were looking at.

"That looks like one of the probes used by the HAWKING," Misaki observed. "How is that possible though? Could they have sent another probe back here?"

"Could it be one of those they sent out to search for the BASTET that somehow found its way back?" Sofia proposed, clearly wanting to present the possibility, even if slim, that the probe had been used as the means for their Captain to come back.

"We do not have any answers, that is why we are being dispatched to investigate. Whatever it is, if it possesses transdimensional travel capabilities, we are under orders to collect it and bring it back, or if we cannot to destroy it so that its technology does not fall into enemy hands."

"Sounds like a wild goose chase, but it is better than us being here," Gemma said not hiding the fact that she was ready to accept any excuse that would take her away from NEW ALEXANDRIA.

"I want the HATHOR out and the blink drive ready within the hour. We can figure out what our next step will be once we are on location. Lt. Gemma, since Ensign Dean will not be with us, I would appreciate if you took the helm. You have proven yourself to be a skilled pilot and we will be in need of someone like that both to get there and once we arrive as there is no telling what we might run into."

"Yes Captain," the ILO replied, again not showing any hesitation in doing anything that would get her as far away from the secret base of operation.

"Guess you will be performing the duties of both the Captain and Executive Officer for this mission?" Nicole whispered as the other officers scattered to take care of their respective duties.

"As the Admiral said, this is a smaller ship with a smaller crew so I can look upon this as a long distance away mission," Sarena said repeating Koniki's words.

"Don't let him convince you that you would not have been able to handle something more. It is what you believe that matters, not what he does."

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Karen Price

Acting Commanding Officer / Executive Officer
M08-P002: USS BASTET: Gemma: 33119.0720 ("New Purpose")
"New Purpose"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Unexpected Damage" / (BAS) "Distant Shores"]

Setting: USS HATHOR, Bridge
Stardate: 33119.0720

The moment the meeting came to an end Gemma made her way to the front of the bridge and the flight control station. The console was much more compact than that of the BASTET but she did not appear to mind. As long as they were heading away from NEW ALEXANDRIA, she didn't care what type of ship she was on. The bonus of being on board a ship with a blink-drive was that they would be able to travel a great deal of distance in very little time. That alone was enough to make the ILO smile, even if only inwardly.

Gemma paused as she looked down at the vacant chair now by her side.  The more she studied the Spartan seat, the more she felt an odd sensation sneak its way into her mind. The woman actually felt sorry that Ashton would not be joining them. He had shown himself to be a skilled pilot and a competent officer during their last mission. Due to that alone, he would be missed. The issue was that they already had a large void to deal with in the absence of Captain Iverson. His decision to remain on NEW ALEXANDRIA would only serve to make that emptiness larger.

That said she could not begrudge the man's decision to stay behind.  Following the events of their last mission, Ashton needed to be a father first and above all else. This was a feeling that, although Gemma understood, she could not personally relate to. Thanks to her past, or what she could recall of it, Gemma had never been part of a family.  When that thought embedded itself in her mind, the woman turned around to scan the occupants of the command deck.

For as long as she could remember, Gemma had been a loner, a person who sought out solitude whenever possible. True, she was never alone thanks to her omnipresent associates, but that was different. Being around people she did not thoroughly know was an issue for her. That was the reason why she learned as much about them as quickly as possible. That was why she was a natural in the field of Intel gathering.

That attitude began to change the day she became a member of this crew. The choice had not been hers, but that no longer mattered. Those around her were not strangers in the sense that she considered everyone else. Like her, they were part of an organization dedicated to fighting the darkness wherever it hid. Gemma did not know about their innermost fears or dreams, yet she could not claim to not knowing them at all.  Aki was a dedicated scientist who loved discovering anything about the universe. Sofia and Nicole were skilled officers in their respective domains. Each looked at the ILO with a professional interest that forced them to be cautious. Commander Valentine was a leader despite herself, trying to make the best of a bad situation.

As a member of the crew they represented, Gemma had to consider them each an important part of the team. This meant that in some strange and twisted definition of the word, they were her family. Since she had never been part of such a group before, the ILO tried to understand what this meant. All she could do was to fall back on what she had observed during her undercover missions. Her knowledge of what a family meant was unfortunately second hand at best. On countless worlds, in completely different cultures, she witnessed parents sacrificing themselves for their child. On war-torn planets, the ILO observed siblings standing shoulder to shoulder against impossible odds. She could even recall a few instances when small infants stood before their parents in the hopes of protecting them at the cost of their own existence.

As far as Gemma could tell, being part of a family meant putting someone else's safety above your own. As strange as the concept may seem to be, it somehow felt right as she looked at the other members of the crew. Being here was her new reality, and as such, she would do everything in her power to protect them. Maybe in doing so she would also come to better understand the emotions that came along with being part of a family.

Holding on to this though, Gemma turned back to face the flight control station. With a new sense of purpose, she eased herself onto the chair. The uncertainty of her abilities in performing the desired task gradually vanished. The more she studied the controls, the more familiar they became.

"Helm, are we ready?" Commander Valentine asked.

The delicate hands of an expert pilot moved over the flight controls with confidence. All indicators showed ready, something that the blonde-haired Varro woman was pleased to see. "We are ready to go at your discretion, Captain."

It would take some time for Dalra to get used to being a pilot to more than a shuttle. She had proven herself capable back on the BASTET in a crunch. This would be different as she could take on the role of a full-time Flight Control Officer for the mission. If that was not enough, she would also need to think about those on board with her. Although they were not associates like Gemma and the others, they were part of this new family.

"Take us out!" The Captain ordered making the Varro woman openly smile.

Fingers tapped several controls as if repeating gestures that they had done countless times before.  **It might not be as hard to get used to as I thought,** Dalra thought. With ease she complied with the order, her mind finding peace in the movements of her hands. As the ship began moving, the Varro woman made a silent vow to herself. She would act as any member of a family would towards each other. She, as well as her associates, would protect those on board the HATHOR.  "We have cleared all moorings. Using maneuvering thrusters and setting a course for the primary space doors. We will reach open space in two minutes. After that, our next stop will be Gorn space."

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M08-P003: USS BASTET: Andersson: 33119.0745 ("In The Blink of an Eye")
"In The Blink of an Eye"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Elusive Simplicity" by Rachel / (BAS) "New Purpose" by Rachel]

Setting: USS HATHOR, Sickbay
Stardate: 33119.0745 

With all of its five decks, the HATHOR was a cozy little ship where space was at a premium forcing everything to be compact, including the room the CMO would call home for the duration of their mission. One treatment bed, which doubled as a convalescence bed, was all that could be afforded, which made sense as the crew of the ship totaled no more than 35. As logic and efficient as the design of the room was though, Sofia already longed for the spaciousness of the BASTET. At least there, she could spread her arms and legs without risking knocking something important over.

=/\= Attention all hands; this is Commander Valentine speaking, standby for the blink jump. =/\=

"The blink jump," the CMO repeated with a nervous chuckle. "Sound like something that would be done in grade school," Andersson said to herself, trying to ward off the nervousness she felt creeping up on her. The term might have seemed childish in some ways, but the science behind it was anything but. The ship would travel from one place in space to a distant another in the proverbial blink of an eye, and in that split second countless things could go wrong sending the ship and crew somewhere completely different.

Sofia held tightly onto the one and only bed of her department, trying her best to reason away her fears. On board the BASTET they would travel to entirely different dimensions, so here on the HATHOR, this little jump should be nothing special or of concerned. After all, this was the ship that saved Nicole and her from the Reman detention center on JDO-SHEN, so clearly it could do the task. Still, Doctor Andersson felt her hold on the bed increase with each passing second, so much so that her fingers began to hurt.

If something unexpected were to happen, would she be able to treat the injuries if there was more than one? A number of alternate scenarios filled her mind as she waited for the jump to take place. From deep inside the HATHOR, Sofia would not see anything to confirm that they had performed the jump or even that it had gone according to plan. So she listened for sounds that would indicate that something had indeed happened. Without really realizing it, the CMO strained to hear the sounds of someone in trouble. If something were to go wrong, she could end up being the only one able to help everyone else, so she needed to be ready.

The more she listened, the more deafening the silence that surrounded her grew. When her fears became too much for her to contain, Sofia finally let go of the bed noticing the deep imprints she had left behind before reaching for her communicator. "Doctor Anderson to Commander Valentine."

For a brief moment, the CMO feared that the delay in the reply meant that the acting CO had been incapable of acknowledging the call and that maybe the rest of the bridge officers were in the same predicament.  Sofia let out a sigh of relief when a reply finally came in a few heartbeats later. =/\= Yes, Doctor? =/\=

"Sorry, I was just wondering when this jump was going to take place."

=/\= It already has Doctor. =/\= Commander Valentine informed.

=/\= Sensors confirm that we are clear across Gorn space. Their nearest monitoring outpost is 21 light-years away, =/\= Lt. Mitshiba added, the woman sounding thrilled by the entire journey.

=/\= Is everything alright Sofia? =/\= Nicole sounded concerned, the Trill clearly having heard something in the CMO's voice that she had tried to hide.

"Everything is fine," the Doctor replied. "I was just expecting there to be some noise or maybe a little rattle. I was not expecting there to be nothing."

=/\= Since the last time the blink drive was used, a lot of modifications were made, =/\= Misaki said thinking that an explanation was in order. =/\= As long as we are able to enter specific coordinates, the HATHOR is able to reach them in mere seconds. The problem is that the drive cannot be used again right away, but we still have our cloaking device to make sure we do not attract any unwanted attention. =/\=

=/\= Sofia, why don't you come to the bridge. Since no one is injured, there is no need for you to be there by yourself. Even if something were to happen, Sickbay is not at all far away from here. You would be able to get back very quickly. That is one of the advantages of being on the HATHOR, everything is so close, =/\= Nicole said, clearly wanting to ease the CMO's nervousness which she had noticed in her friend's voice without effort.

"I'll be right there," Sofia said forcing her fingers into a straighter form. Once the channel was closed, the CMO reached for a muscle relaxant and injected a small dosage directly to the back of her hands to help her regain mobility in her fingers. Once this was done, she fluffed the corner of the bed in an effort to erase the imprint of her earlier death grip on it.

They had traveled beyond the borders of Gorn space without any issues, and this in the span of only a few seconds. The more Sofia thought about this, the more impressed she became, allowing herself to think that maybe this mission would be a quick and simple one.

Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
M08-P004: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 33119.0830 ("Looking for Something")
"Looking for Something"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Tracking" & (BAS) "In the Blink of an Eye"

Setting: USS HATHOR, Bridge
Stardate: 33119.0830

The trip to this remote location in space had happened quickly and without any problems, and although this was worthy of a celebration, it was nothing more than the first step. Now they needed to figure out where the probe that had been detected had actually gone to. The data collected by the Gorn and intercepted by NEW ALEXANDRIA had been good enough to get the HATHOR and its crew here but that was it. The Asian scientist needed to find a way to trace the whereabouts of this mystery probe starting by where it had appeared and where it was heading.

"Any luck?" Commander Valentine asked, her patience starting to wear thin. Although the HATHOR was not in enemy territory and hidden by the cloaking device, everyone felt a little on edge with having the ship just be there, motionless. Following their arrival, the ship had come to a complete stop and waited for Aki to give some general idea as to a direction to take, but so far the CSciO had been unable to do that.

"The trail of ionized particles left behind by the probe detected by the Gorn was weak when they first discovered it. With the data we had at our disposal, which wasn't all that much, there was no way to know if this trail would degrade faster or slower than normal. Right now, I can't even tell you that something came from another dimension and passed through this region of space, then again the sensors of the BASTET are far better calibrated to detect such occurrences. I am doing my best, but I might need to entirely reconfigure the sensor array, and that might take some time." Aki explained, wishing that she had better news to report, but alas this was the best she had.

"Could the data collected by the Gorn have been wrong?" The woman currently at the helm of the HATHOR asked. "Could the image of the probe have been something else, or even worse, a ruse to draw someone, like us, here to be preyed upon?"

"The sensors may not be able to pick up any signs of that probe or of its possible inter-dimensional trail, but our instruments are more than good enough to detect another ship should there be one in this area," Aki reported, actually sounding relieved that the sensors at shown there to be nothing in this region of space, thus dismissing the ILO's last suggested possibility. "You would think if this was a trap of some sort, they would have left bait, something for whoever came here to focus on and draw their attention away while they moved in. So far, I have not detected anything that could remotely be considered as bait or as someone waiting."

"It would seem that our options are limited," Commander Valentine said. "Either we wait for the blink drive to recharge and return home, or we stay here and expand our search to the best of our current abilities and equipment."

"Given the choices available to us, I say we stay and continue to look for that probe, or whatever that thing that brought us here was," Dalra said. "I would much rather be here than back there," the woman added making her sentiments clear to everyone else.

"I agree," Aki said shortly after, "it would be a shame for us to have made it all the way here only to go back simply because we have not found anything right off the bat. Once the modifications to the sensor array are made, I am sure that we will be able to pick up the probe's trail. In the meantime, may I suggest we initiate a standard spiral search patter? Who knows, maybe we can find traces of the probe through normal means or we might even find something completely unexpected. We are after all far from our regular stumping grounds."

"You have to admire the endless curiosity of anyone in the position of CSciO," the Trill CNS said laughing as she recalled the same thirst for knowledge that another scientist on board the ANUBIS displayed on a daily basis.

"Not sure if that is what I would call it," Commander Valentine said, her seriousness broken only by a quick smirk as she looked at the CSciO. "Helm, start us on a gradually increasing circular search pattern. Lt. Mitshiba, get started on those sensor modifications. Everyone else, enjoy the view, we have no idea how long we will be here."

Aki smiled back and quickly began working on the sensor array. Even if they failed to find the probe, them being here was a golden opportunity for research and discovery, and the Asian scientist could not be happier. Of course, finding traces of the trans-dimensional craft would be a nice bonus, not to mention that it would keep the hopes alive that Captain Iverson might, against all odds, have escape the Lokustaar and found her way back to this dimension.

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
M08-P005: USS BASTET: Gemma: 33119.1900 ("Testing Patience")
"Testing Patience"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Being Someone Else" / (BAS) "Looking For Something"]

Setting: USS HATHOR, Deck 1, Bridge
Stardate: 33119.1900

It had been over 10 hours since their arrival to this distant region of space. It had also been over 10 hours since their search for the probe had begun. In the heat of action, 10 hours could pass as if they had been mere minutes. This had not been the case here, far from it. Every second of every minute of every hour painfully ticked away. Each was a harsh reminder of their failure.

"I don't get it," Misaki sighed. "The array sensor was modified and tested. Despite that, we still can't pick up any traces of the probe. I even started scanning for dimensional anomalies. I have to consider every possibility as unlikely as it may be. Could the probe have come and gone to another dimension? No matter how carefully we scan, there is nothing out there. This region of space seems to be completely deprived of residual matter or energy."

A hush spread through the bridge. They had done everything they could, and yet had nothing to show for.  After a few minutes, the pilot broke the silence.

"Captain, may I be excuse from the bridge?" Dalra asked. She had been at her post since their departure from NEW ALEXANDRIA.

"I think we could all use a break," Sarena said, rolling her head on her shoulders. "Helm, bring us to a complete stop. Let's take a few minutes to stretch our legs. Maybe looking at something different for a little while will help. We can resume the search for the probe after."

Setting: USS HATHOR, Deck 3, Engineering
Stardate: 33119.1910

The Varro pilot had left the bridge, needing to stretch her legs. A change of scenery had been in order. Normally, Dalra went to the nearest observation area to look at the stars. The twinkling distant lights were what she found the most relaxing. On board the HATHOR though, that was not a possibility.

That was why Gemma had come to the ship's Engineering section. Here, in relative solitude, she would be able to clear her mind. The rhythmic pulses of the warp core helping her focus her thoughts.

"I have to adapt better than this," the ILO said to herself. "I am part of a crew, and I have to behave as such. I can't hide every chance I get."

Setting: USS HATHOR, Deck 2, Mess Hall
Stardate: 33119.1920

Gemma walked into the mess hall and found the senior officers sitting around a single table. Likely they were discussing their current situation. The ILO debated what to do and eventually headed for the food replicator. After getting a glass of water she turned her attention to one of the vacant tables.

"Lieutenant," Commander Valentine called out just as the woman was about to sit. "Join us; there is ample room here for another."

Gemma hesitated. Being part of a crew instead of being an independant operative was hard enough. Interacting with those same people in a non-official manner could prove to be very difficult. The ILO eventually conceded and with her glass of water in hand joined the others.

"What is taking Misaki so long?" Doctor Anderson asked. The last time any of them had seen the scientist had been on the bridge.

"I doubt that she will be joining us," the Trill Counselor replied. "She is taking our inability to find the probe rather hard. I suspect that she won't stop until we find something, anything."

"I doubt that she is the only one feeling bad about our not having found anything," Gemma said. Her effort to join in the conversation had been unexpected. The ILO's words triggered a few nods of agreement. It was the scowl from Nicole that she noticed about all else though. A burst of anger flashed in the back of the woman's head. Anya was not too pleased with the Trill and she was not against teaching the CNS a lesson she would not soon forget.

"I hope we do find something soon," Sofia added. Unaware that her words had defused the situation before it became one. "If we go back without finding something, a lot of people are going to be unhappy. Let's face it; we would all be left with a lot of unanswered questions."

"Life is filled with unanswered questions," the ILO offered. Her own life was a sequence of unanswered questions that started with the one that plagued her every day. Who was she? From that fateful day in one of the labs in NEW ALEXANDRIA, that question haunted her. No matter how hard she searched, the answers could never be found.  "With your permission Commander, I will go and check on Misaki."

The gathered officers quickly understood that this had not been a question. Gemma had already stood from her chair making her way out of the Mess Hall, her glass of water left behind.

Setting: USS HATHOR, Deck 2, Mess Hall
Stardate: 33119.1940

It was not Gemma who walked onto the bridge but rather Wimdalli. The Uxali scientist had been thinking about their situation since leaving the Mess Hall.

"Any luck?" Misaki was so engulfed in her work that she did not even realize who had asked the question.

"No," came the unenthusiastic reply. "There is nothing. No traces of the probe or anything else for that matter."

"Maybe you are trying too hard. You might be looking at this from an unwavering perspective. Space is immense, just as the number of possibilities it holds. Whatever you do though, don't give up," Wimda said. "It is the absence of any findings that holds the greatest potential for discovery."

The CSciO paused for a moment, letting the words that had just been spoken wash over her. "Absence of any findings... of course," Misaki's demeanour instantly brightened up. Without wasting a moment, she reached for her communicator and tapped it. "Bridge to Commander Valentine, I think I've figured it out. I know why we have not been able to pick up any traces of the probe."

Rachel Jackie Johnson

Intel Operative

[The fun is getting to wear multiple disguises and getting to explore multiple personalities and bring them to life. - Jenna Fischer]
M08-P006: USS BASTET: Valentine: 33119.2000 ("Path of Nothingness")
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"Path of Nothingness"
[previous post (ANU) "Darker Horizons" / (BAS) "Testing Patience")]

Setting:  USS HATHOR, Bridge
Stardate: 33119.2000

The Executive Officer of the BASTET, now acting Commanding Officer of the HATHOR stepped onto the bridge to see the Uxali scientist standing behind their Chief Science Officer, Lt. Mitshiba. The moment their eyes met, the woman known as Wimdalli vanished to be replaced by the ILO who quickly moved away as if not wanting to be involved with what was about to happen.

"What did you find?" Doctor Andersson asked, her curiosity making her jump ahead of Sarena who was momentarily distracted.

"I could not understand why we were unable to pick up anything," Misaki began. "I mean not just the probe, but particles or other matter that should normally be present in space. There was nothing at all. I never considered the possibility of this nothingness being a natural phenomenon."

"A natural phenomenon?" Valentine asked, turning her attention away from Gemma and onto Misaki. "What do you mean?"

"Phenomenon like this have been identified and clearly mapped throughout the Federation and in surrounding areas, but here, on the other side of Gorn space, things like this have not been cataloged. I will say that this one has to be one of the largest I have ever seen, but I still should have thought of this as a possible explanation as to why our sensors picked up nothing even after the modifications."

"Misaki," Counselor Dima said. "You are rambling, so slow down and focus on what you want to say."

"Sorry about that," the CSciO apologized. "We are in the middle of what if referred to as 'negative space'. I will skip the detailed explanation as to what this is and how it works. All you need to know to understand what is happening is that our instruments are unable to detect anything within this type of space. The largest encountered area of 'negative space' by a Federation vessel was a roughly spherical area less than a few kilometers across. The space we landed in the middle of appears to be several lightyears across and appears to be of a cylindrical shape instead of spherical. I'm not sure what the cause of this phenomenon is, but it does seem that the probe arrived as we did, right in the middle of it, and followed its path."

"That is going to make things slightly more difficult," Sarena said as if the challenges of their current mission had not been enough. "How do we proceed?"

"As long as we remain inside this anomaly, our sensors will be useless. The only way to get any sort of readings is for us to make our way to the outer edge and scan around the phenomenon for traces of the probe as it exited the 'negative space' corridor." The CSciO explained.

"The HATHOR will need to perform a continuous circular path around the corridor to make sure our instruments can get a complete readout. To follow the corridor on a straight line would only give us a partial picture and we could completely miss the point of exit and flight path of the probe," Dalra said, the Varro pilot having returned to the ship's helm. "It should not be all that difficult to do this. I can use the sensors to plot the outer edge of this corridor and keep the HATHOR a few kilometers above it. This should allow us to have a fair enough sensor range while keeping the extra travel distance to as little as possible. This flight path though is going to add a lot of time on our journey to wherever that corridor leads to."

"It will be better than us going around in circles," Sarena said heading for her chair. "Take us out of this negative space and plot a course according to the last known direction of the probe."

"Aye, Aye, Captain," the Varro pilot said, gladly acknowledging the order. At least now, as the Executive Officer had just said, they would be going somewhere.

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Setting:  USS HATHOR, Bridge
Stardate: 33120.0900

Getting out of the negative space had not been all that difficult, and thanks to the expertise of their acting FCO, following the invisible corridor had also not been overly demanding. The real first problem they encountered was the actual size of this phenomenon which extended to well over 4 lightyears in width and stretched out beyond their ability to detect. This meant that thanks to the forced new flight path, their actual forward progression had been greatly reduced.

The crew had accepted the fact that the search for the probe would not be a quick mission, and Sarena could only draw some minor comfort in that anyone else trying to find the same objective would be faced with equal difficulties.

Now into their second day of search in an unknown sector of space, the small crew of the HATHOR had gradually taken on a routine that helped them deal with the monotony of their task.

"Commander Valentine, we might have found something." the pilot reported causing everyone present on the bridge to look up at the main view screen. There, in the middle of the negative space corridor, was a small planet.

"Is that an actual planet?" Sarena asked, not sure if this was a good find or not.

"Looks like it," Mitshiba replied. "I would say that its size is approximately that of Mercury or Mars. Hard to tell without sensors which is also part of the problem. While inside the negative space corridor there is no way for us to scan the planet for signs of the probe. Our only way option is for us to do a visual survey of the surface and see if we can detect something that would lead us to believe the probe crashed on the surface."

"I really do not think we have a choice here," Sarena said clearly unimpressed. "Our mission is to find the probe, so we cannot leave any possibilities unchecked."

"Changing course to bring us back into the corridor. We should be in orbit of that planet in a few minutes," the pilot announced, anticipating the acting Captain's next orders.

Since sensors would not be functional while in orbit of the planet, the HATHOR was brought in to a tight low orbit allowing for all eyes to help in the search via the main viewscreen. The planet appeared as a barren desert world with a few scattered small village-like settlements. No roads or any signs of technology could be seen, which actually made the search for any indication of a crash that much easier.  It took several more hours but finally, the crew saw what they had been looking for, a large straight crevice that seemed to have been carved into the surface of the planet.

"Your orders Captain?" The Varro pilot asked.

"How is the cloaking device?" Sarena replied.

"The cloaking device does not appear t be affected by this negative space," Mitshiba replied. "I believe that it would be safe for us to land, at least a lot safer than trying to use the transporter as there would be no way for us to lock in or even guess as to any set of coordinates."

"This does seem o be one of those missions where we have very little say in what or how we do things," Nicole said, trying to keep a good humor about the situation.

"Helm, take us down. Land the ship a few hundred meters away so as to not disturb the crash site," Sarena ordered causing Dalra to immediately comply.

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Setting:  Okari homeworld
Stardate: 33120.1215

The Okari hunting party sought refuge when the wind suddenly picked up causing a wall of dust and sand to blow through their long blue hair. They waited behind whatever cover they could find, curious as to what transgression had summoned this wrath upon them. Just as the lead hunter was about to motion for his men to move, a strange noise caused them to hide once more. They watched in stunned horror as a portal opened and members of another tribe stepped out to step foot on their land.

They appeared as they did, with two arms, two legs, and a face that closely resembled their own. The most obvious difference was the color of their hair and the garments they wore identifying them as a tribe they had never before seen or heard of.

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Karen Price

Acting Commanding Officer / Executive Officer

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