USS BASTET - Mission 09
IN PROGRESS
POST INDEX
Post # Character Title
001 Iverson Hunting Shadows
Selene gives the mission briefing and talks to Nic
002 Dima Occupational Hazzard
Nic speaks to Sofia on a personal matter
003 Andersson Overthinking
Sofia considers everything that Nic said to her
004 Valentine Hard Decisions
Sarena confronts Selene following an incident
005 Mitshiba Still Asking Why
Aki tries to figure out the Lokustaar
006 Gemma Shattered Identity
Gemma is having trouble with who she is
007 Dima The Wonder Games
Nicole talks to Aki, trying to help her
008 Valentine Quick Changes
Sarena can't handle Gemma's personality changes
009 Iverson Time for Action
The BASTET responds to a Romulan distress signal
010 Andersson The Longest 20 Seconds...
Sofia goes through her thoughts and feelings
011 Gemma Looping Time
Gemma is volunteered for a unique mission
012 Mitshiba Time is Relative
Aki and Gemma prepare for beaming
Post # Character Title
013 Gemma Home Terrain
Gemma boards the Romulan ship, take 1 and 2
014 Iverson Outside Looking In
The crew of the BASTET watches what is happening
015 Valentine Timely Glitch
A new problem is discovered
016 Mitshiba Time Can Be a Fickle Thing
A dimensional shockwave hits the BASTET
017 Iverson No Mistakes Allowed
A new plan is made to destroy the Romulan D-Drive
018 Valentine Important Discovery
Sarena discovers something about the Romulan ship
019 Mitshiba No Time To Waste
Gemma, Sofia and Aki walk into engineering
020 Andersson The Face of Terror
Sofia watches helplessly as gemma fights
021 Gemma Mortal Combat
Gemma fights against the Lokustaar
022 Mitshiba The Key
The away team deals with the aftermath
M09-P001: USS BASTET: Iverson: 34005.0800 ("Hunting Shadows")
---
"Hunting Shadows"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Medical Collaboration" / (BAS) "To Boldly Go... Home")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 34005.0800

The senior staff sat around the table, anxious to see what their next mission would be and happy to see a familiar face sitting in the head chair. Since their return to NEW ALEXANDRIA, not a great deal of Captain Iverson had been seen by any of them. It made sense that Admiral Koniki would want to debrief the woman on what happened and have his medical staff confirm the reports of Doctor Andersson and Counsellor Dima, but all that had taken far longer than anyone would have liked.

The expressions on the faces of the officers sitting around the table were varied but reflected the same general consensus. They were happy to see Captain Iverson back, no matter the circumstances that had led her to return.

"We have our new orders," Selene said, meeting the gazes and smiles of those she was just as happy to see. "Gemma."

"Fact," the ILO began, "the Lokustaar originate from another dimension, one that we have yet to identify.  Fact, their vessels do not possess the ability to travel back and forth through dimensions. Fact, there is a set number of Shadow vessels in this dimension, and according to the gathered Intel, there may be up to 50 or so of them scattered throughout the galaxy."

"50 of those ships are more than enough to spread death and destruction on a scale the likes of which we have never seen before," Ensign Dean noted. "Just one of those flying nightmares is enough to wipe out an entire planet."

"Luckily for us, direct confrontation does not appear to be the way the Lokustaar operate," Commander Valentine added. "They prefer to create chaos and have species fight amongst one another, forcing them to embrace the concept of survival of the fittest. Our only question is what do they intend to do when that goal is achieved?"

"I hope that we get to end this before that happens," Doctor Andersson said, the sheer number of casualties that this would create freezing her blood in her veins.

"That is what we hope to accomplish," Iverson continued, returning the mission briefing to Lieutenant Gemma.

"Following a closer analysis of the probe handed to us by Adrien, we may have identified the dimensional coordinates of a dimensional passageway between us and the home dimension of the Lokustaar," the ILO reported.

"That would mean that more of those ships are crossing into our dimension," Lieutenant Mitshiba gasped.

"Based on the data retrieved from the probe and Intel gathered, we suspect that the Lokustaar are using another species' technology to accomplish this," Selene explained. "That is why we suspect the rate of travel is much lower than what we would expect from an invading force. All attempts from the Lokustaar to gain a larger foothold in our dimension have relied on technology that was not of their own creation, this is part of the reason why they are so interested in the BASTET and other vessels like it such as the HAWKINGS. Our mission is to investigate the region of space where we suspect the dimensional passageway is and destroy that corridor as well as any technology creating it should we find it."

"That sounds simple enough," the FCO said, sounding rather excited at the prospect of taking the fight to them instead of waiting to react.

"I doubt that it will be that easy," Commander Valentine added. "If the coordinates do bring us to a Lokustaar trans-dimensional passageway, it is very unlikely that it will be unguarded, and after reading the reports from the ANUBIS as to the damage a single one of those ships is able to inflict, our task may prove to be near impossible."

"After a long debate with the Admiral, it was decided that a more surgical strike would have the greater chance of success, hence why the BASTET is going in alone," Captain Iverson reported. "Our one and only advantage is that since the area indicated by the coordinates appears to be in an isolated and empty region of the galaxy away from any civilization, we will be able to use both the Temporal and Dimensional drives to gain and maintain a tactical advantage."

"I better stock up on headache medicine," Sofia said followed by a long sigh. "A single temporal or dimensional jump is enough to give most of us a headache, I can only guess as to how our heads are going to feel when we start doing multiple jumps in quick succession."

"Doctor, figuring that out will be your task as we travel to those coordinates," Sarena said. "We need you to figure out the potential physiological impact of repeated temporal jumps on the crew and to find a way to minimize them."

"I guess that my task will be to assess the potential psychological impact of repeated temporal jumps," Nicole theorized which was quickly confirmed by a nod from Captain Iverson.

"The BASTET, as well as the Temporal Drive itself, were never meant to go through repeated jumps. All of our previous tests and actual jumps have had hours is not days in between them. How are we expected to do this?" Misaki asked looking somewhat troubled.

"We have until we reach those coordinates to figure it out," Commander Valentine said.

"If the coordinates are accurate, and if we are conservative in our estimates as to how many Shadow vessels are crossing over, we figure that there is one additional ship arriving in our dimension every 36 to 48 hours. This means that by the time we reach our destination, we may have one or two more Lokustaar vessels to deal with in addition to all those already here. We cannot afford to test the ship and drive before heading in. We will just have to do the best we can once we are there. The quicker we are there, the better our chances to stop them will be."

"You heard the Captain," Sarena said as she quickly stood. "Report to your stations. We have an invasion to stop once and for all."

As the senior staff made their way out of the Observation Lounge, Selene motioned for Nicole to stay.

"Yes, Captain?"

"In addition to you looking into the possible psychological effects of repeated temporal jumps on the crew, I need you to do one more thing. I need you, as the Counsellor for this ship, to look into a specific member of the crew and evaluate their ability to perform."

"Of course Captain," Nicole agreed, expecting that the crew member would be their ILO, Lieutenant Gemma.  "Will the crew member be aware of my investigation or is this meant to be covert research?"

"I am pretty sure that she will know what you are doing," Selene said, confirming that the target was a woman.  "In fact, I can assure you that she will cooperate as best she can."

That last line made the Counsellor question her initial idea that it was Gemma who she would be looking into. After a few moments, Nicole figured out where she had gone wrong. "You want me to evaluate your ability to Command?"

"Yes," Iverson confirmed. "I was given a thorough mental workout back on NEW ALEXANDRIA and I need to know just how much my abilities have been affected, not only by what was done to me by our own people but by what I went through due to Adrien. There are times when I am not entirely certain if I am here or back there before being with Adrien, wherever that may have been."

"Of course Captain, I will do my best. When would you like to start?"

"A couple of days ago would have been fine," the Captain said. That is when I started having flashbacks of that moment when Adrien, as he said to me, plucked me out of time."

---
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)
M09-P002: USS BASTET: Dima: 34005.0830 ("Occupational Hazard")
"Occupational Hazard"
[Previous Posts: (ANU) “Scars From The Past" / (BAS) "Hunting Shadows"]


=/\=

Setting: USS BASTET, Corridor near Sickbay
Stardate: 34005.0830

A starship had its own rhythm; the warp core of each vessel produced a specific hum that was as unique as a snowflake. You could feel it in the deckplates if you were perceptive enough. Any good Engineer worth their salt could *sense* it. And while Nic enjoyed being an erstwhile pilot, especially of smaller craft, she was by no means an Engineer.

Likewise, a ship’s crew had a unique tempo. Each person had duties to perform to ensure they met their objectives. Selene’s forced departure had thrown them all off as they struggled to find an equilibrium, while also being concerned for her well-being. Somehow, Adrien had brought her back to them safely, but the experience had changed Captain Iverson in such a way that they were still trying to find their way back to this new normal, even as they celebrated the reunion with grateful hearts. These concerns rested squarely on Counselor Dima’s shoulders. It was a burden she was proud to carry, as the others faced head-on the challenges of reaching the probe’s dimensional coordinates and attempting to stem the tide of Lokustaar ships entering their space.

Nicole walked towards Sofia’s domain, carrying a small basket with her, a rediscovered confidence in her stride. She still wasn’t sure how their extended stay on the Okari planet had affected everyone else, and those changes would continue to unfold during the journey. Luckily for the Trill woman, it had fortified her resolve to help the crew through it.


=/\=

Setting: Sickbay

Ensign Dima walked into Sickbay proper, and not unexpectedly, Doctor Andersson was examining a slide of cells, engrossed in her work.

“Good morning- I brought a peace offering,” Nic handed the basket to Sofia. “You can’t come up with medical means to fight jump sickness without a good breakfast.”

“We’re not at war,” she countered, as she took a blueberry croissant. “But this should certainly prevent any discord,” she replied with amusement.

“I know we both have work to do, so I thought something quick was in order. I need to get back to the Bridge shortly to make sure Selene has all the support she requires. Before I do that though, I wanted to apologize.”

“For what?”

“I’ve been preoccupied with everything that’s happened lately, and haven’t been very social, and I didn’t want you to think it was because of you… it’s because of me.”

Sofia didn’t seem to think an apology was necessary. “As you recall, we met under pretty extreme circumstances. Active duty has not been any less action-packed.”

Nicole nodded, tearing the edge off of a croissant. “I’m still not sure I fully understand the point of Adrien’s journeys with us into our own psyches. Obviously one of those reasons was to get the Captain back.”

The CMO nodded. “I assumed the ‘who’ was Iverson.”

“I did too. But I also tend to believe we were meant to explore our own self-discovery as the ‘who’. As in ‘who am I?’ or ‘what is my purpose?’ And perhaps even a part of that is knowing that we were meant to be together on the BASTET, and that we were supposed to be working with Selene Iverson all along.”

“That kind of put the concepts of ‘fate’ and ‘destiny’ in a new light,” Sofia mused. “But I still don’t get why you’re apologizing.”

Nicole looked a little downcast. “It’s because I care about you.”

“That sounds like a real problem,” Andersson quipped, having gotten a cup of coffee to go with her breakfast.

“I care about you on a professional level and also on a personal level,” Nic said softly. “I’m trying to compartmentalize the two and focus on my job first, but because of that I’ve neglected the other. I still think there might be something special between us even though I haven’t been acting like it. And I didn’t want you to be uncomfortable.”

“If I remember correctly, I was the one that kissed you out of the clear blue,” Sofia said recalling the moment.

“And I didn’t try to stop you. I was surprised, but I wasn’t uncomfortable. There’s a difference.”

A smile came across Sofia’s pink lips. “Deja vu. What are we going to do about it?” They were arms’ length apart. But Nic hesitated.

“I know what I’d like to do. But I have concerns.”

“About what?”

“Our experiences change us and they challenge us. Many of those changes for the better. Some are for the worse, damaging us, making us less capable of leading the lives that we were meant to lead. In particular, I worry about you.”

“Why me?”

“You were presumed dead, were rescued and reassigned, and as far as I know you haven’t told your family otherwise. Is that healthy?” 

Sofia’s expression was shadowed by memories. “I was disowned by them for the crimes I committed against the Federation. Somehow I don’t think that gives them the right to give them the opportunity to *not* send me a Christmas card.”

“Have you thought that decision to withhold the truth from them might be hurting you more than it hurts them?”

“No, not especially.” Sofia put down the pastry; she had just lost her appetite.

“I want to be with you because you *choose* to be with me, not by default.”

“What do you mean?”

Dima gestured bullet points with her hands as she verbally reviewed the Doctor’s file from memory. “You supported the Neo-Essentialists, not realizing where their agenda was headed and became an accessory to the destruction of Paris. You faced criminal charges and paid your debt to society by working to clear the very ruins that haunted you. In the aftermath, you were left without anyone to turn to. You were assigned to a ship, given a chance at redemption, but soon afterwards kidnapped as part of some plan that we still aren’t sure of. You were physically and emotionally abused, tortured at the hands of our Reman captors.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“It has everything to do with everything. How can you believe in your feelings for me, when all I was was the first person who showed you kindness, concern, and compassion? You may have had a string of bad luck and consequences, but despite the universe giving ample reasons to the contrary, I’m not the only person capable of being decent to you or being worthy of your affection. I don’t want you mistaking gratitude for love. We both deserve better than that.”

“You don’t trust me when I say how I feel about you?”

Nicole clasped her hands around Sofia’s. “I’m asking you to think, deep down, are you choosing me because you think I’m all you can get, that you’re settling, or because you truly think we have the potential to be soulmates?”

Sofia looked exasperated. “What are you asking me to do?”

“You need to be able to heal. I need your honesty about the things you’ve been through. As your Counselor we need to break through old scars and excise those wounds. Even if you don’t like where those answers lead. And…”

“What?”

“I also want to find out where *this* is headed,” Nic admitted while still holding hands with the ship’s physician. “I would like for us... to date.”

The blonde couldn’t believe her ears. “Counselling sessions *and* dating? And you think I have issues?”

Nicole allowed herself a laugh. “I can’t do anything halfway. If we end up as simply friends, I want us to be the best of them. If we end up as something more, then I want that to be for all the right reasons.”

Sofia walked back over to her research. “This is a lot to think about.”

“I know, and it’s another reason for me to apologize. We have important work to do and here I come around with distractions.”

Sofia was about tell Nic to stop apologizing but something else crossed her mind first. “Wait- how long have you been thinking about this?”

Nicole dug the toe of her shoe into the floor. “Longer than I should have been. But there never is a right time.” She glanced at the chronometer. “Speaking of which, I have to go. Talk to you later.” Having done quite enough damage, the petite brunette slipped out.

“Never a right time- that’s one thing I can wholeheartedly agree with.” Sofia said to the air, sighed, paused, then went back to peering through the micron scanning device. 

=/\=
Susan Ledbetter

Cns
USS BASTET
M09-P003: USS BASTET: Andersson: 34005.0900 ("Overthinking")
=-=
"Overthinking"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Scars From The Past" by Hanali / (BAS) "Occupational Hazard" by Susan]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 34005.0900 

The half-eaten blueberry croissant sat on the edge of the counter, drawing on it the occasional glance of the troubled physician. Nic had given her a great deal to think about, maybe too much, and that may have been part of the problem. Life had not been simple for Sofia and this long before her becoming affiliated with the Neo-Essentialists. Meeting her parents and siblings expectations had set the bar high by anyone's standards, and every day she felt as if her abilities and efforts fell short of what they needed to be.

Had this been the reason why she had taken on the habit of taking the 'path of least resistance' as Nic suggested? Were her choices more of a default than a decision?  Had she joined the Neo-Essentialists because it was the easier way for her to be accepted by others and have her efforts validated? Had she turned her back on her family because it was easier than to face them following everything that had happened? There was no denying that it was easier to let everyone believe that she was, in fact, dead, matching her physical condition to the emotional one they had imposed on her. However, was it the right thing to do?

With all of that spinning in her head, the CMO wondered if the feelings she felt for the Trill woman had not been just another example of her taking the easy way out. Nicole had the advantage of multiple lifetimes of experience, allowing her to bridge with ease the space between personal and professional objectivity. Had Counselor Dima seen something that Doctor Andersson had missed? Did Nicole share in the feelings Sofia felt stirring in her heart and soul? More important, were those feelings real or merely an attempt for her to find something to hold on to in order not to feel completely alone and abandoned?

Sofia glanced at the remains of the pastry still sitting on the edge of the counter, an odd feeling of kinship taking over the woman. Both showed clear signs of damage, neither one of them able to resolve the situation on heir own. Was this why she felt the way she did? Was Nicole nothing more than the person who had been at the right place at the right time?  If this was true, would she have felt the same way had Gemma, Sarena or even Selene been the one in the Reman detention cell with her?

Doctor Andersson allowed herself to imagine each individual scene, looking at the other women of the BASTET as if they had been the one who had been there in the cell with her.  The first to come to mind was Gemma as she had been the one to actually rescue them. The woman with the multiple personalities was a very interesting person, maybe too much so to allow Sofia to have such feelings for her. Next came Commander Valentine whose overall air of mystery made her a person of possible interest, but Sofia could not see herself ever having feelings for her. Maybe this had to do with the 'path of least resistance' once more, Sarena coming across as being a person that would require a lot more than Sofia could ever see herself able to give.  On the other end of that spectrum was Aki, the Asian woman likely too busy with her research and work to ever be preoccupied with being involved in a relationship.

Sofia sighed. She had no choice but to admit that Nic was right, the pattern in her life was consistent. When faced with some sort of hardship, she tended to follow the path of least resistance in order to escape the demands of that particular situation. Richard Edgerton and the Neo-Essentialists had been her excuse to run away from the demands and expectations of her family. The crew of the ANUBIS had given her the opportunity to avoid the full extent of the consequences of her role in the destruction of Paris, and Nicole had provided the one thing for the captured CMO to emotional latch on to in order to escape the hardship of her imprisonment and torture.

If this was true though, why did she feel so terrified at the possibility of losing the Trill woman? Maybe while in the Reman detention facility, clinging to her had been the easiest thing to do in order to secure hr emotional and physical survival, but things had changed. Even Nicole had pointed to this in stating that 'Our experiences change us and they challenge us'.  Things had not been easy for and between them, each woman trying her best to find their own footing in an ever-changing universe. If Sofia had remained true to her pattern, the Physician would not have been so troubled, concerned or fearful of what the future held should the relationship collapsed.

The feelings she felt for the Trill ran deeper. Yes, they might have grown from the way she usually dealt with difficult situations, but from that point on everything had changed, including herself. A grateful smile formed on the physician's lips as her hand reached for the partial pastry, her mind recalling the woman's markings on her neck with amazing details as well as the softness of her touch on her hands.

A chime from her workstation indicating the end of a scan cycle brought Sofia back to her work. There was a lot to be in relatively a short period of time, and doing as the Captain had requested would not fall along the line of being the easiest thing to do. Sofia's smile grew even brighter as she thought back to what Nic had said about experiences changing and challenging them. Doctor Andersson hoped that the person she was now was different from the person she had been. She hoped that all of the events since Paris had changed her for the better. There would only be one way to find out, and that would be to speak to the Counselor and further explore all of these feelings.

In the meantime though, Doctor Andersson needed to complete her research on the biological effects of rapid and subsequent dimensional and temporal jumps. Once that was done, she would be able to set time aside to speak with Nicole, both on a professional and personal level. The thought of this proved to be more than enough to make the CMO feel ready to tackle the most demanding of tasks in order to make this happen, further confirming that the feelings she felt were more than a mere easy escape from reality.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve 

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M09-P004: USS BASTET: Valentine: 34005.1100 ("Hard Decisions")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Hard Decisions"
[previous post (ANU) "Red Red Wine" / (BAS) "Overthinking")]

Setting: USS BASTET, Main Engineering
Stardate: 34005.1100   

The Executive Officer studied the devices upon which the success or failure of their latest mission rested upon. Neither the temporal nor dimensional jump drives were designed to perform their relative jobs repeatedly or quickly. Specific and carefully calibrated coordinates were required to travel from one dimension to the next, and the opening of the rift itself took some time to accomplish. To imagine the BASTET being able to rapidly move from one dimension to another was beyond the woman's ability to visualize. As complex as the DJD was, the TD was thousand times more intricate and dangerous. The slightest miscalculation in setting temporal coordinates could see the ship and crew lost in the fabric of time to never to be seen or heard of again.

Yet, as dangerous as all of this was, the results of them doing nothing would be much worse. With each new vessel crossing over into their dimension, the Lokustaar became a deadlier threat that would soon prove to be unstoppable, if they were not already that. The BASTET and its crew were the only ones actively standing in their way, and it was for that reason alone that they could not turn away from what needed to be done. No matter the price they might have to pay, they needed to try in order to stop the Shadows from spreading death and destruction throughout the galaxy.

When the lighting changed to plunge the room into a red glow, Sarena knew that something had happened.

=/\= Red alert! All hands to battle station! =/\= Sarena actually smiled at hearing the voice of their Commanding Officer. The situation might not have been the best but having Selene Iverson sitting where she belonged seemed to make things easier to accept. 

"Commander Valentine to the bridge," the Executive Officer said as she tapped her communicator, her feet already in a rapid dash to the nearest turbolift. "What's going on?"

=/\= We have received a distress signal from a small relay outpost slightly off our current course. They are under attack and based on the description of their attacker, we are looking at a Lokustaar cruiser, =/\= the Captain reported.

"With all due respect, Sir, we are in no position to fight against one of their cruisers. The ANUBIS was barely able to survive a confrontation against one of those bioships and we have but a fraction of their defensive and offensive capabilities. What are you expecting us to do?" As Sarena boarded the turbolift, she wondered if maybe her initial thought of having Selene back being a good thing was wrong. Had her dealing with the Lokustaar in their own dimension made the woman too impulsive or maybe even vengeful for her to make reasonable decisions?

=/\= We are going to come face-to-face with one of those ships sooner or later. I think it would be safer for us to test the Dimensional and Temporal drive in actual combat before we reach our destination. This will give us a chance to fine-tune the drives as well as our using them in combat. =/\=

For the rest of the journey up to the bridge, Sarena considered what their Captain had just said. It did make some sense to test the temporal and dimensional drive in a combat setting before facing the Lokustaar, but to do so in a live situation was taking risks that did not need to be taken,

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1105  

"Captain, as much as I might agree with the need for us to test the drives, we are nowhere ready to do so," Sarena said as she rushed onto the bridge. "Furthermore, doing so here and now would alert the Lokustaar as to our presence and might even tip our hand as to our capabilities allowing them to be more prepared. I understand that you want to strike back at them, but this is neither the time nor place. We need to keep the ace up our sleeve for the time being."

"Captain, Commander," Ashton said from the FCO's station. "I believe that the discussion might be moot at this point. I think we are too late. Long-range sensors are not picking up any sign of the outpost. It's gone." All eyes fell on the large screen at the front of the bridge, a field of debris found where the relay station should have been.

"Sensors are not picking up any signs of life," the CSciO reported.

"Expecting anything else was foolish," Gemma said dryly. "We know how powerful the Lokustaar energy weapons can be, and we are equally aware of the minimal defensive systems those relay outposts possess. The call for help was likely a ploy to see how fast a ship would respond to the distress signal. The shadow vessels are able to appear, destroy their intended target and vanish long before anyone even knew they were there. It would be wise for us to consider the distress signal as a trap."

The Captain gave the Counselor a quick inquiring look, Selene wanting to confirm with Nicole that she was making the right decision. The Trill woman responded with a barely noticeable shake of her head, which quickly led to a loud sigh being released by Selene. "Ensign Dean, change course and take us away from the outpost last known location."

"Aye, aye, Captain."

"Continue with the preparations, I'll be in my Ready Room."

Counselor Dima was about to follow the Captain when the Executive Officer intercepted the Trill by gently taking hold of her arm. "Let me talk to her first."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 34005.1110 

"What can I do for you Sarena?"

"Just wanted to tell you that I want to kick those shadows back to their home dimension with their tails between their legs as much as you do. The problem was this was not the right time or place, I hope that you understand that."

"I do," Selene nodded, "and I appreciate your candor. You are correct in wanting us to keep the element of surprise. We cannot afford to give the Lokustaar any more of an advantage than they already possess. Using the temporal and dimensional drives the way we plan on doing is going to be a one-time deal. If we fail, we risk losing everything and I was ready to take an unnecessary risk. Let's proceed with the mission as planned; we have until we reach our destination to get both drives and the crew ready."

"I will make sure everything is ready before we arrive," Sarena said before making her way out of the Captain's Ready Room.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1112

"Is everything alright?" The CNS asked of the Executive Officer.

"Everything is fine," Sarena replied. "We all have to keep our calm and keep our eyes on the mission. Any distraction could lead to us making a decision that we would come to regret. We just need to get where we need to be, once there we can make the Lokustaar pay for not just the last destroyed outpost but for the death of every man, woman, and child they are responsible for, be it directly or indirectly."

"Where are you going?" The Trill Counselor asked, seeing the Executive Officer heading for the turbolift instead of the Captain's chair.

"I need to return to Main Engineering. We need to get the drives ready before we reach our destination. Gemma can take care of the bridge in the meantime."

The ILO and CNS exchange a quick but intense look once the doors of the turbolift closed behind Sarena.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M09-P005: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 34005.1130 ("Still Asking Why")
"Still Asking Why"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Threat Analysis" & (BAS) "Hard Decisions"

///^\\\
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1130

Aki studied the sensor readings once more even though the ship was moving away as fast as it could, the CSciO trying her best to find some sign that someone had survived the vicious attack. She held onto her quickly dwindling hopes despite knowing the odds, the Lokustaar not being a race known for either their mercy or their habit of making mistakes.

The power of their energy weapon had been felt by many, and by now everyone knew just how destructive it could be. The relay outpost did not stand a chance against such a powerful opponent, but that did not answer the question as to how and why they had managed to get a distress signal out. It was unlike the Lokustaar to not be as efficient as possible, so it was unlikely that this was some sort of error. The race of walking shadows had allowed the outpost to send one last desperate call for help before being destroyed, but why? What could be possibly gained by doing this?

An uneasy smile flashed on Aki's face as she recalled the time spent with Adrien. He had dedicated so much time trying to have her ask 'who' and here she was still trying to answer the 'what' and 'why'. Maybe that was the problem, her focus was on the wrong question so the CSciO decided to try and approach this dilemma from another angle.

"Who are the Lokustaar?"

The question might have sounded easy but it was anything but, forcing Aki to start at the very beginning and work her way out while doing her best not to forget anything. The Lokustaar were dark and dare she say it evil race from another, undetermined dimension. Based on everything they had seen and dealt with, the race nicknamed the Shadows cared for nothing other than spreading chaos, destruction, and death. More interesting was the fact that the race seemed to have, for some unknown reason, set their sights on this particular dimension.

The only clue as to a possible reason was the battle the BASTET had witnessed some 20,000 years in the past which saw the race of shadows locked in an epic war against a race whose vessels resembled the ones the Tholians currently used. Could the reason for the Lokustaar's present interest in this dimension be as simple as them seeking revenge or was there something more? Since they displayed absolutely no interest in claiming physical territory, supporting one particular political view or seizing resources, the options to explain why were very limited.

Aki sighed. "Here is that 'why' again. Doesn't matter how I try, the 'why' is the one question that keeps coming up. There is just not enough data on the Lokustaar for us to even come close to understanding the 'who'."

"Having problems?" Captain Iverson asked, the woman had noticed the perplexed expression on the Asian woman's face the moment she had emerged from her office.

"Not problems per se," the CSciO replied. "I am just trying to answer the question of 'who are the Lokustaar?' and it is proving to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. I just keep falling back on the 'why', as in why are they doing here? Why are they so bent on spreading death and destruction? Why this dimension over the billion others out there? The only non-why question I can come up with is 'what did we do to warrant this?' We have nothing that they want. All they seem interested in is creating as much chaos as they can by killing anyone that gets in their way."

"Maybe that is all they are," the Captain said as if she actually knew the answer. "We judge alien races according to our standards, to our way of living, and most important against our perception of right and wrong. That is part of thre reason the Prime Directive was created, to avoid us imposing our ways on other races and civilizations. The Lokustaar are just one of countless other races that do no follow our ideas. For them the universe could be nothing more than a field they are driven to change to what they believe is best. As a force of darkness, chaos, destruction and death are the normal things they want and need to see in this field. That they are from another dimension does not change anything, we have races here in this dimension with similar concepts, the only difference is that the races from this dimension lack the technology to implement these views on a larger scale."

Counselor Dima, who was listening in on the conversation smiled ever so gently at the explanation given by the Captain. It was plain to see that she agreed with Iverson.

"If all they want is to create chaos and see races destroy one another, then we need to find a race that thinks the opposite of them, one that hopefully has the same or higher level of technology," Aki said. "Like the Tholians. We saw them fight the Lokustaar some 20,000 years ago, so why are they not getting involved this time around?"

"Can't answer that, but I can say this. Looks like we are still stuck asking why."

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M09-P006: USS BASTET: Gemma: 34005.1200 ("Shattered Identity")
=-=
"Shattered Identity"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Last Minute Training" / (BAS) "Still Asking Why"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1200

Gemma stood at the back of the bridge where the engineering station was. She kept an eye on the Commander's progress in Main Engineering, just in case. At the same time, she stood ready to jump into action should something happen. With Iverson in her office and Valentine down below, the ILO was put in charge of the ship. This was a strange feeling for her, something that she was not at all accustomed to. Before being assigned to the BASTET, she was a simple solo operative. This meant that the ILO knew nothing of being in command.

There were a lot of people she relied on when things got complicated. Her associates were always there ready to help with their respective skills and knowledge. This was not all that different from the current situation, with the exception that she had never been in charge. Her associates were always there and did their jobs without being asked. They worked with her as a team, thinking as one. That thought made her think back to what Adrien had shown her.

For a brief moment, she saw the mirror right there in front of her, whole. No cracks could be seen in the perfectly smooth and reflective surface. The problem was that the moment she thought she recognized the person in the mirror, the reflection changed. The images changed slowly at first but soon they were moving faster than Gemma could process. Even though she could not identify the reflections, somehow she knew that those people meant something to her. This, of course, confused Gemma as she had no past to call her own. Her earliest memories were of when she woke up in one of the laboratories on board the NEW ALEXANDRIA base.

She reopened her eyes to see another person looking back at her. This one was not a reflection but a woman of flesh and blood. The CNS met the eyes of the ILO, the Trill staring with concern.

"Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," Gemma dismissed. "I was just thinking about the Lokustaar and the personnel of that relay outpost."

"There was nothing we could have done," the Trill said, justifying the Captain's decision. She also wanted to see Gemma's reaction to the statement. This would help the CNS to evaluate the woman's current state of mind.

"I know." That was all that Gemma said in return, shifting her gaze onto the large main viewer.  She knew that the Lokustaar could not be trusted under any circumstances. They were nothing short of demons able to appear and disappear at will. If at all possible it was best to avoid a confrontation with them. Yet, the BASTET and its crew were rushing to meet them head-on. The worst part of this was that she agreed that this was they needed to do. The race of invaders needed to be stopped, no matter the cost.

Considering the discussion, as little as it was, over, the CNS left the ILO alone. Left to her own thoughts, Gemma took a moment to think of nothing and everything all at once. Silent and motionless, she observed the bridge and everyone on it. She felt strange as if not entirely herself, but she knew that this was where she needed to be.  Everyone had their reason to be here, fighting against the darkness that the Lokustaar represented.

A soft and quiet sigh of relief escaped from Gemma when Captain Iverson returned. The ILO was no longer required to be in charge of the ship and its crew. She could return to being herself, but thinking back to the question Adrien kept asking, who was that person?

"With your permission Captain, I will join Commander Valentine in Main Engineering. I am sure I can be of greater assistance there than here."

The Captain looked back than nodded her head giving Gemma permission to leave the bridge. The truth of the matter was that the ILO wanted to be alone for a few minutes. No, she needed to be alone and figure out what exactly was expected her of.  Without hesitating, she boarded the turbolift and allowed the doors to close without giving a destination. Alone and isolated from everyone, the woman took a moment to just be, concentrating on nothing else but her breathing.

"Everything will be alright." As a member of the medical elite of the Dinaal people, Finnja had always been an optimist. That she wanted nothing more than to help anyone in need had made things difficult at times. Right now though, her words of comfort were welcomed.

"Nothing will be alright if we just stay here." The German accent identified the source of the words as being Gabrielle Wolf.  Of all the associates accompanying Gemma, the Saboteur was the closest thing to an Engineer they had.

"You are right," Gemma said. "Deck 12, Main Engineering."

As soon as the destination was provided, the pod began to move. Gemma smiled thinking that everything would be as Finnja said. That is when the woman looked around and realized that she was alone. Something within the ILO felt that something was wrong. She did not feel alone and yet her senses said otherwise.

"Everything will be alright," Finnja repeated. The reassuring words were enough to make her feel better. When the doors opened, she stepped out of the turbolift before coming to an abrupt stop. She caught an odd reflection in the corner of her eye. On one of the smooth black panels, a blond woman had been looking back at her. She stopped, turned and studied the reflection intently. She recognized the woman as the Dinaal nurse, but the problem was that this was not who she was.

Gemma closed her eyes and shook her head. Was the stress of their mission getting to her? Was she hallucinating? When she reopened her eyes the ILO saw the reflection she hoped to find there. She wondered what was happening but right now there was no time for such a question. After they dealt with the Lokustaar she would be able to look at her reflection as much as she cared for. Right now though, she needed to find Commander Valentine and help her in whatever ways were required.

=-=
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]
M09-P007: USS BASTET: Dima: 34005.1205 ("The Wonder Games")
"The Wonder Games"
[Previous Posts: (ANU) "It’s Game Time" / (BAS) "Shattered Identity"]

=/\=
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1205

Commander Valentine was down in Engineering, working on ensuring the dimensional and transwarp systems could withstand repeated use from a mechanical standpoint. Sofia was in Sickbay, studying the physical effects their trip might have and deciding how to counteract them, so each crewmember would remain in tip top shape. The crew’s readiness was about to be tested in the most demanding way, and that made everyone a little on edge.

Gemma, having been relieved of her post, had gone down to help the ExO, but Nic wondered if that was the ILO’s only reason for wanting to leave. If Iverson’s miraculous rescue from the Lokustaar by Adrien had caused changes in the CO, it stood to reason that Gemma’s experiences with Adrien might have done something to the multifaceted officer also, although certainly in a much different way. The Counselor hadn’t wanted to press her, but wanted her to know that she was there to help in any way she could. It was near impossible to tell if that was the vibe Gemma got from her or not, but it wasn’t in Nicole’s nature to stop trying.

Meanwhile, Aki was at the Science console, still looking troubled. “There’s more questions than answers, aren’t there?” Nicole asked gently.

“Who are the Lokustaar? Why are they here? Why are we the only ones seeming to step in?”

Ensign Dima nodded. “All good questions, as you know. I want to know ‘how’.”

“How what?”

“How are we going to defeat them?” The joined Trill asked. It was a question at least as worrisome as the others, although she asked it with more of a curiosity than a fear.

“It’s okay to be afraid, isn’t it?”

The wise-beyond-her-years woman nodded again. “A little fear is healthy, it keeps us attentive and drives our decisions. But we never want to be a slave to it or let it control us. It’s a tool, much like stress can be a tool. Necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s necessary right now to focus on the enemy.”

“My thoughts are completely occupied with them, but I don’t think it’s helping.”

“Maybe you could try envisioning their destruction.”

“I’m not sure I understand… you want me to pretend?”

“In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, a concept called The Law of Attraction became a social and spiritual movement. Basically, you attract what you put intent into. If you put your thoughts on positive things and good outcomes, you will attract more of the same. If you dwell on negative thoughts or poor results, that is what you will receive. By visualizing our success, it will make it manifest.”

“That sounds a little hocus-pocus to me.”

“It’s not scientific method,” Nic admitted. “But there’s one thing about it that is fascinating.”

“What’s that?”

“When you describe the ‘what’ you want to have accomplished, the universe is supposed to provide the ‘how’.”

“So it’s out of our hands?”

“You could say that. But the result isn’t, only the means with which we reach it.”

Aki shook her head. “That seems counterproductive.”

“Think of all the times we’ve overcome impossible obstacles. Can you say they always happened the way you planned or the way you expected? When Sofia was trying to get out of that prison, she put conscious thought into being able to leave. And the universe responded by sending me there with the Blink Drive. Is that was she asked for? No. Is that something I could have thought would happen? No, again. But the universe heard her need and fulfilled in a most unique way.”

The CSciO considered this. “The odds don’t appear to be in our favor.”

Nicole allowed herself a small grin. “Are they ever? But, it’s okay, they don’t have to be. Our *thoughts* need to be in our favor.”

“The questions I have are still largely unanswered.”

“And they will probably remain so, at least for a little while. But you aren’t alone,” Dima said with reassurance. “I believe we will succeed. We work hard, which is definitely a factor. But also, it’s because I know it’s the only outcome we will accept. One of victory.”

“You make it sound simple.”

“That’s because I’m trusting the universe to do the heavy lifting.”

=/\=
Susan Ledbetter

Cns
USS BASTET
M09-P008: USS BASTET: Valentine: 34005.1215 ("Quick Changes")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Quick Changes"
[previous post (ANU) "It's Game Time" / (BAS) "The Wonder Game")]

Setting: USS BASTET, Main Engineering
Stardate: 34005.1215   

It felt like her head was about to explode and send bits and pieces throughout the multiverse. Getting the Dimensional Jump Drive, or DJD, operating at a level that would allow for rapid jumps had been difficult enough. The device had never been designed to operate in such a manner. Actually, as far as the Executive Officer was concerned, she was amazed that it worked at all. Opening a bridge between two dimensions seemed to already be an impossibility, now she needed to figure out a way to make the impossible happen multiple times in rapid succession.

If that was not enough, Sarena needed to also work on the Temporal Drive, or TD, which also needed to be tweaked to allow the BASTET to jump back or forward in time at a moment's notice, which according to the device's own specs was something that simply could not be done.  As ironic as it may seem, traveling through time required one very important element -- time itself.

One device was meant to allow the ship to travel to other realities, simply opening a gateway that allowed free travel within that space. The other device was designed to allow the ship to slip through time while locked in that one spot in space. Individually, the devices worked admirably, one allowing travels through space while the other granted access to time itself. The problem was that the Executive Officer needed the two devices to work together, simultaneously.

"What you are trying to accomplish cannot be done," the ILO said in the persona of the Uxali scientist. "Using the equipment currently available to us, we cannot affect the fabric of space-time on both the temporal and physical space axis at the same time."

"If we are to have a chance at defeating the Lokustaar, we have to find a way," Valentine said, keeping her mind on the goal instead of going on the woman and her multiple personalities.

"It would require having the two devices working as one," the German engineer said, having replaced the darker haired Uxali.

Sarena wondered if she would ever get used to the constant changing the woman did without any warnings, each persona surfacing according to the situation or skill set required. Gemma was a true renaissance woman, but the Executive Officer had to wonder what price the woman, or women, paid for possessing an unorthodox ability.

"I am already having a hard enough time understanding how each device functions on its own," Sarena admitted looking at the DJD as if begging for it to find a solution on its own. "As much as I would like to, I could not even start to image the two of them working together as one. The simple theoretical logistic is beyond my abilities."

"Just relax and let things happen on their own." The calmness and state of complete mellowness of the speaker made Sarena quickly look over her shoulder to see a pink-hair Risian woman standing there, not a care in the world reflecting off her features. "Worries are counterproductive. You need to clear your mind and let the knowledge of the universe reach you, and that can only be done by making your mind completely still. Close your eyes and breathe, you will be surprised as to how quickly your mind welcomes this state of peace."

"Lieutenant Gemma!" The Executive Officer was in no mood for this hippy stuff. The situation was dire and required everyone to be at his or her best. Valentine was willing to grant the ILO with a fair amount of leeway, but that was long as whatever person was there actually contributed to finding a way for them to accomplish their goal, which the Risian woman clearly did not do.

"Apologies Commander," Gemma said, the core personality having reasserted itself over the others. "I was distracted, what were you saying?"

Sarena closed her eyes and took in a long deep breath. This was not because the Risian had just suggested to do this but rather to avoid the Commander blasting the woman clear into both another dimension and time period. "It was not important. I need you back on the bridge and keep an eye on how whatever modifications I come up with are affecting the BASTET. With Mitshiba busy trying to have a better understanding of the Lokustaar, I need someone up there keeping a more broadband view of what is going on."

"As you wish Commander." Without as much as a blink, the ILO turned on her heels and started to walk away, not appearing hurt, disappointed or in any emotionally affected by the request made by the Executive Officer.  Watching Gemma leave Main Engineering, Sarena had to admit that part of her felt bad, a small part but still it was there. She needed to concentrate on the DJD and TD and to find a way to make them work as their mission objective would require them to, and that would not be possible with the woman, however good intentioned she might have been, changing to another personality every few seconds.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M09-P009: USS BASTET: Iverson: 34005.1400 ("Time For Action")
---
"Time For Action"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "One Hour or One Hour and One Minute" / (BAS) "Quick Changes")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1400

As far away as the coordinates of their destination were, there would not be enough time for the BASTET and its crew to be ready for the confrontation ahead. The problem was that they could not delay their arrival as the longer they took, to more they ran the risk of coming up against a force that they would never be able to defeat, this despite having a Dimensional Jump Drive and Temporal Drive at their disposal.

"You seem deep in thoughts Captain," Counsellor Dima said while standing next to the sitting woman. "Care to share?"

"There is nothing to worry about Counselor," Selene replied, certain that the joint Trill was checking up on her to make sure that her return from death had not left the woman in a compromised situation and inability to command the BASTET. "I am simply thinking about the Lokustaar and trying to come up with ways to go up against them that will not result in the ship and crew meeting an unsavory end. At least that is the plan."

"A plan that has my complete support," Nicole said trying her best not to show her concerns. "Have you come up with a way for us to stop the Lokustaar from invading this dimension?"

"I have," the Captain replied to the surprise of the Trill. "It involves a fleet of Dominion vessels accompanied by a few of those massive Gorn heavy cruisers. Actually, I think that it might be better if we traded the Dominion warships ships for the latest Romulan D'Deridex cruisers. I think that their cloaking devices could prove helpful in keeping the Lokustaar ships off balance while we figure out how to close whatever trans-dimensional rift they are using to bring ships over."

"An interesting plan," Dima noted still finding it odd that their Captain had suddenly developed a sense of humour following her return at the hands of Adrien.

"Captain," The Flight Control Officer said as he looked at his instruments with a distinct air of surprise and disbelief. "We are receiving a distress signal."

"Another one?" Captain Iverson lamented. "What are the Lokustaar up to? Are we dealing with another trap?"

"I am not sure Captain," the Chief Science officer chimed in. "The latest distress signal is from a Romulan ship. What is interesting is the fact that the signal is not being transmitted along the frequencies usually used by the Empire, but across all of them. They are calling for help and do not appear to care who or what comes to their rescue."

"That is odd," Counsellor Dima noted with suspicion. "Romulans are not known for calling for help, no matter how bad the situation may be, especially from outside the Romulan Star Empire."

"We are dealing with another trap?" Captain Iverson wondered aloud, glancing over her shoulder at the Asian scientist.

"I am not certain, Captain. The first distress signal we received clearly identified the attackers as being Lokustaar, but this one is not as clear as to what is happening to them. They are reporting several system malfunctions, this after having encountered some sort of dark unidentified ship."

"With all due respect Captain," Gemma stepped forward having heard enough to formulate an opinion that she now needed to share with the Commanding Officer. "We cannot allow ourselves to be delayed with each and every distress signal we received. Our mission is to reach the location where the Lokustaar are able to bring more ships into this dimension. We know just how formidable a single one of those ships can be, it is therefore imperative that we get there as quickly as possible. To delay would only see our odds of accomplishing our mission decrease, and right now those odds already stand quite low."

"I agree and understand your point of view, but we have to consider the larger issues, namely that it is very unlikely that we will be able to resolve this matter on our own. Officering assistance to a Romulan ship could open up new opportunities that could increase our odds of victory. Granted it may not do so by a lot, but at this stage of the war we have to take whatever advantage we can get our hands on."

"Commander Valentine is not going to be happy if we alter course and respond to this distress signal," the joint Trill stated. "As she mentioned the last time, keeping our presence here hidden is more important than to render assistance to others, even if they are Romulans."

"Especially if they are Romulans," Ensign Dean corrected. "The Romulan Star Empire and those working under their banner have never been trustworthy. I say we let that ship deal with its own issues and we carry on dealing with ours."

"I would normally agree," Commander Valentine said as she stepped out of the turbolift and onto the bridge. "This time though I would recommend that we change course and see what we can do."

Selene turned to look at Sarena, quickly recognizing the expression on her face as being one of hidden plans. "You are not asking us to render assistance just to be friendly or to make a helpful gesture, there is another reason behind that smile of yours."

"I have been able to make some modifications to the Temporal Drive, but to be honest I have no way to test them. So I thought that we could use this distress signal as a way for us to see if we can use the modified equipment in a combat setting."

"That is taking a huge risk," Mitshiba pointed out. "It would announce our presence to the Lokustaar and might even warn them of our possessing some sort of temporal weapon."

"I agree that this would mean that we are taking a huge risk," Sarena agreed. "The alternative is to wait until we reach our destination and engage the Temporal Drive without knowing how well it will function, or if it will work at all. At least here, we would be able to test the drive without having to face multiple Lokustaar battleships."

"So we are going with the lesser of two evils?" Counsellor Dima rhetorically asked of the Commander before turning to look at the Captain.

"What are we looking at?" Iverson asked, the Captain appearing more than willing to jump into action now instead of waiting until they arrived at their destination.

"The Temporal Drive will still not allow us to move through space while traveling through time, but I believe I have been able to reduce the activation time by more than 50 percent. At least that is what all of the simulations show. Once we drop out of warp speed and complete a full stop, the Temporal Drive would need 20 to 25 seconds to engage," Commander Valentine explained.

"20 to 25 seconds?" Ashton gasped. "I have seen battles start and end in less than that. We would be sitting ducks for all that time, and our having a Temporal Drive will not matter in any way if we are destroyed.

"I am sorry," Sarena apologized, "but that is the best I could do, and there is another potential issue."

"Of course," Selene said closing her eyes for a brief moment. "What is it?"

"I was forced to take several of the security systems offline to speed up the activation sequence. To ensure that no one of the BASTET suffers from potentially severe or even fatal side-effects caused by any type of movements during the Temporal jump, everyone will have to remain perfectly still during those 20 to 25 seconds."

"Not only does the ship have to be motionless but the crew as well?" Mitshiba asked, thinking that this was a near impossibility to accomplish.

"The ship not moving is so as to allow for the temporal field to be generated without any distortions. In order to cut down on the time it takes to trigger the drive though, I have to bring the bio-protection fields to their lowest possible settings. The computer simulations show a 50/50 chance that people on board may not be affected, unfortunately, the other 50 percent showed the creation of some very bad side-effect at the cellular level."

"Have you spoken to Doctor Andersson?" Sarena asked just as the doors to the tubolift opened to reveal the Chief Medical Officer of the USS BASTET

"Yes, she has," Sofia forcefully replied, the woman appearing less than happy. "The biological and cellular complications created by the computer simulation are atrocious at best. Triggering the Temporal Drive with the current modifications runs the risk of killing everyone on board. You cannot agree to this test, at least not without a lot more work and research to be done."

"We simply do not have the time for more simulations," Commander Valentine said. "The computer is using what little data we have, but we actually need to run a live test to see if this will work. Us doing it now or later will not change anything. I know I objected trying anything before, but after trying everything that I could come up with, I am forced to admit that there is only one way to make sure any of this actually works."

"Then it would appear that we do not have a choice," Captain Iverson said, making herself comfortable in her chair as she looked at the streaking stars visible on the large screen ahead at the front of the bridge. "Doctor, please return to Sickbay and prepare as best as you can. Commander, we will do everything we can to make sure the BASTET comes to a complete stop as quickly as possible in order to engage the Temporal Drive.  Lieutenant Gemma, Counsellor Dima, please make sure that the crew understands the need to not move the moment we give the signal.  Lieutenant Mitshiba, how long before we reach the source of the distress signal?"

"We can be there in just 4 minutes."

"Helm, change course and bring us to Red Alert. Time for some real action."

---
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)
M09-P010: USS BASTET: Andersson: 34005.1410
("The Longest 20 Seconds in History")
=-=
"The Longest 20 Seconds in History"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Fighting Through" by Moi / (BAS) "Time For Action" by Jessica]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Corridor -> Sickbay
Stardate: 34005.1410 

"Prepare as best as you can?" Doctor Andersson huffed repeating the words of Captain Iverson as the physician speed-walked down the corridor reading the content of the PADD in her hands. "What am I supposed to do? According to the data Cmdr. Valentine and Lt. Mitshiba sent my way, the damage caused by the Temporal Drive at the cellular level would be irreversible and lead to a complete collapse of the DNA rendering those cells inert. I could deal with just a handful of cells being affected that way, but the simulations indicate that thousands if not millions of cells could be damaged in that manner."

Sofia was upset, there was no missing that, and as the Chief Medical officer walked into Sickbay, she released her frustration by knocking a tray from a nearby shelf onto the floor.  The Doctor took a moment to look at the mess she had just created, her anger morphing into sadness that swept over her.

"I could even handle having to amputate the extremities where those cells would be if they were all clumped into a single area. The problem is that, again, this is not what the simulations show would happen. The affected cells would be scattered throughout the body and could easily cause a stroke, a heart failure, or some other fatal condition that I would not have time to fix."  Sofia tried to hold back her tears, but her efforts were in vain. As far as she was concerned, the Captain was sending the crew to their death.

Doctor Andersson glanced at the time display as she walked into her office; the four minutes were almost up. There was little she could do to prepare for what was about to happen other than to control her emotions as best she could and force herself to clear her mind. Whatever was to happen would not change her emotional state or thoughts.

"Sofia?" It was Nic who had come to check up on her friend. "Are you alright?"

"I'll tell you after whatever happens next," the CMO replied looking into the Trill's blue eyes.

=/\= All hands, prepare for the rapid temporal jump. =/\= The announcement made by the Captain indicated the 20-second countdown which terrified Sofia, not because of the jump itself but rather because of what it could lead to anyone not becoming perfectly still before it happened.

[00.19]

"Everything will be alright," the CNS said in a soothing and reassuring tone, but the effect was not what Nicole expected. Instead, the CMO quickly shook her head with fear in her eyes, silently pleading for the Trill to not move or even speak.

[00.18]

Sofia feared what could happen to the crew in the next 20 or so seconds. The slightest movement before and during the temporal jump could result in extensive physical damage and even death. How would she ever be able to forgive the Captain if something like that happened to any member of the crew on board the BASTET?

[00.17]

How distraught would she be if Ashton, Misaki or Gemma were injured? How would she manage to carry on if Cmdr. Valentine or Captain Iverson were to be lost because of some sudden and unexpected move? The worst possibility was what would she do if Nicole was one of those injured during this 'rapid temporal jump'?

[00.16]

Would she ever be able to forgive the Captain for having forced them into this situation? How could Sofia ever find it within her to accept what had happened if the CNS was to even only be injured?

[00.15]

Sofia wanted to scream, or cry or maybe a little of both all at the same time. Never before had she felt this way, so scared and powerless to do anything about what was about to take place.

[00.14]

Yes, this was for the greater good, a way to test the tools at their disposal in order to be better prepared to face the enemy and increase their chances of pushing back the darkness from where it came.

[00.13]

The CMO forced a smile on her lips but quickly erased the gesture from her face as the thought registered. Could such a simple motion result in what the simulations had predicted?

[00.12]

She really didn't care about what might happen to her, but that smile might cause Nic to reciprocate and if the gesture was enough to cause her harm in any way, how could Sofia ever forgive herself. No, she had to remain absolutely still, focussing on the Trill's eyes for reassurance and strength.

[00.11]

The more the Terran woman gazed into Trill's eyes, the more her emotions swelled within her, so much so that Sofia feared they would explode out of her. How much longer could she manage to remain like this? How much longer could she hold back expressing the feelings that threatened to break free from her?

[00.10]

Nicole just stood there, appearing as confident as could be. This made Sofia jealous, envious and at the same time totally taken by the woman and her inner strength. The CMO could not help but admire the woman even if this was nothing more than a show put on for no one else's benefit.

[00.09]

How fast was her heart racing? Nothing in the reports said anything about internal motion, could the rapid flow of blood caused by a frantically beating heart cause some of the side effects noticed in the computer simulations?

[00.08]

Sofia felt light headed and she was not able to know exactly why. Was it the stress, the fear, her lack of oxygen caused by her inability to breathe? Was it all of those things combine or was it something else?

[00.07]

Nicole still just stood there, motionless, as calm as could be. How was she able to do that? Was is something about Trill physiology that enabled her to be so calm in a time such as this, or was it something about Dima that allowed them both to not worry about what might happen?

[00.06]

The physician could not deny the fact that the more she gazed into the woman's eyes, the more impressed she was with her. Professionally, the CNS was a wonderful person always ready and able to help anyone at a moment's notice.

[00.05]

The woman could also not deny the fact that the more she gazed into those sapphire eyes, the more she felt her emotions grown and her heart feel lighter. As troubling as the situation was, just seeing Nic there, looking back at her, made everything instantly better.

[00.04]

They had endured so much together and this would be just another event that they would be able to look back upon and smile knowing that they had made it through. The universe it seemed enjoyed testing them in increasingly more imaginative ways.

[00.03]

What if either one of them did not make it this time? What if this was the end of one, or the other or even maybe both? Would their memories endure? What about what could have been of them, not separate but together?

[00.02]

There were so many things Sofia wanted to say, so many things she wanted to do. There was a universe of possibility out there but all that the Terran could think about was the Trill standing right there before her.

[00.01]

She wanted to reach out, to touch her, to feel her hand in hers, but more important was that she wanted to press her lips against hers as a show of her feelings. Now there might never be another chance to give in to those feelings and experience a joy like no other. Life, when it came down to it, was about taking chances and not wasting a single second, as so many had just been left to slip between her fingers.

[00.00]

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M09-P011: USS BASTET: Gemma: 34005.1415 ("Looping Time")
=-=
"Shattered Identity"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Fake Shadows" / (BAS) "Longest 20 Seconds"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1415

Staying motionless was not really an issue for Gemma. As an Intel Operative, staying for long periods of time still was normal. It was one of the core requirements in order to avoid drawing attention to one's self. Even controlling her breathing and heart rate was second nature to her. The problem right now was controlling her thoughts.

Normally this would not have been an issue, but this time was different. There were so many things to take into account. Their mission and the manner in which they would try to achieve it was just the start. What Cmdr. Valentine was trying to do could not be done. The two devices could not be made to work together; there was no way around it. Wimda knew this as fact but the Uxali could not just say this to the First Officer Sarena would have to discover that on her own. Then there was the Romulan ship and its distress signal. This was an unexpected turn of events but it did open up a few new possibilities. Testing the Temporal Drive on this situation made sense, but would it help in the end? Without knowing exactly what was going on, the BASTET was going in blind. This was something the ILO knew that was never a good thing.

"The temporal jump appears to have worked," Mitshiba reported with a hint of surprise. The CSciO seemed hesitant to move as she looked at the science station. Everything appeared as it should be, but there was still a lot of unanswered questions to be addressed.

"Bridge to Sickbay. Report." Captain Iverson appeared a little surer, but she still showed some concerns.

=/\= I am still receiving reports from departments and personnel. So far though, no indications of any injuries. Not even any mention of headaches of dizziness. From here, it looks like the jump went as well as could have been hoped for. =/\=

"Ensign Dean, please bring the Romulan ship to the center of our main screen."

Frozen in time, the ship in question appeared heavily damaged. Several decks were exposed to the vacuum of space hinting as o the severity of the attack. Looking at the ship, Gemma understood why the distress signal had been sent on all frequencies. What bothered the ILO though was that no sign of the attacker could be seen.

"Lt. Mitshiba. What are we looking at?"

"The Romulan ship appears to be a mid-range cruiser. Temporal sensors are showing the damage as having been caused by a high-energy beam. No way to confirm that it is the Lokustaar though." the CSciO reported.

"Sensors may not be able to confirm it, but it sure looks like their handy work," Ashton said. It made little sense to deny the obvious. The BASTET was heading for a Lokustaar dimensional portal. That would be reason enough to explain why there was an increase in attacks from them here.

"What do we do next?" Gemma asked. While the temporal drive was active, the crew could not directly interact with the distressed ship. The moment they deactivated the drive, they would become a target to whatever else was out there. Possessing such a device was an amazing asset, but one that held some very restrictive limitations.

"Why not go back in time and see what caused the damage? We could even come out and help the Romulans fight." The suggestion made by Ens. Dean drew an unpleasant grimace from both Misaki and Gemma.

"Going back in time would provide us with some answers. The problem is the possibility of a temporal paradox. There would be two BASTET in the same general region, and that could lead to problems." The CSciO explanation did not seem to satisfy the FCO who was looking back at the Asian woman.

"No one had done the research on this for obvious reasons, but the science is there. When two identical sets of matter come to be in the same area, they start affecting one another. Not in a good way," the Uxali scientist said having replaced Gemma. "The closer they come to each other, the more severe the reaction becomes. This will inevitably lead to both sets self-annihilating."

The CSciO nodded in agreement. "If we go back in time, remaining where we are now, our previous selves are heading to this location. This means that both ships and crew would become increasingly unable to function. The result would be the destruction of both BASTETs and the end of our mission."

"In other words, that's not an option," Gemma sighed, the ILO having returned replacing Wimdalli.  "The best we can do is to move forward and see if there is something that we can do to help.

"Actually," Mitshiba grinned. "There is something more we can do. The BASTET is currently outside of time. This means that we can move forward in time and return to this exact moment without any problem. We could also, in theory, transport someone on board the Romulan ship. After that, we could move ahead to see what happens before coming back and relaying the information."

"That sounds like a crazy plan," Gemma said. "Let's not forget that sending an entire team there would be a problem on its own."

"I agree. That is why it would have to be a single person. This would give us the ability to interact with the ship and its crew." It appeared that the Captain was actually considering this course of action. "We would need someone able to think on their feet though. Someone used to being alone in difficult situations."

Gemma sighed. After thinking about it for a few seconds suspended in time though, she smiled. "As you wish, Captain. All I need is a way to get from here to there.

"Lt. Mitshiba, think that you can make it happen?" The smile on the Captain's lips hinted that she already knew the answer.

"We'll make it happen," Misaki replied before glancing at Gemma. The ILO met the gaze of the CSciO appearing to be the least convinced of the three women.

=-=
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]
M09-P012: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 34005.1500 ("Time Is Relative")
"Time Is Relative"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Fake Shadows" & (BAS) "Looping Time"

///^\\\
Setting: USS BASTET, Transporter Room
Stardate: 34005.1500

As long as the Temporal Drive kept the BASTET out of normal spacetime, Aki had as much time as she needed to figure out a way to get Gemma on board the Romulan ship. Beaming through time was not as easy as someone might believe, but since the Captain wanted it, the Asian CSciO had little choice but to make it happen. This was not a complaint as Mitshiba loved these kinds of challenges, that she faced them alone or with the help of someone else. In this case, Gemma was there with her to help figure all of the aspects out.

Some might have been concerned about working with the ILO on this particular project, the woman and her endless personalities could be a little daunting, but once you got used to the unannounced changing appearance, voice, and field of expertise, things could get rather interesting. At least that was how Aki felt, finding Gemma to be a truly unique individual in more than just her unorthodox abilities. As a perfect example of this, the CSciO was not at that precise moment working with the ILO but rather with an Uxali scientist who answered to the name Wimdalli.

"I need to modulate the transporter beam to match the temporal differences between the BASTET and the Romulan ship," Aki said aloud while working at the transporter controls to achieve the stated goal. "The problem is that there are minute unpredictable fluctuations that could make things very dangerous for whoever beams over."

"All you need to do is pass the frequency modulation subroutine through the control systems of the Temporal Drive, that way you will be able to obtain a perfect match no matter the situation."

"Wow," Aki said blinking repeatedly. The simplicity of the solution was ingenious, which also served to make the CSciO feel a little awkward in that she should have been the one to think about that solution, not Wimdalli, or Gemma, or whatever name she would go by next. "Why do I have the feeling that my job is in danger?"

"Why would you say that?" The Uxali woman asked, never raising her head from the PADD that was in her hands.

"Why? Because you are a better CSciO than I am, that's why," Aki joked, at least she tried to make it sound as if her words had been said in good humor, which was not entirely true.

It was the sound of laughter that made the Asian look up to see a bleu-haired woman where the Uxali had been. Mitshiba knew that it was not someone different, that the new appearance only reflected another personality of Gemma, but it was one that she had never dealt with before. "Don't worry about Wimda, she's the highest level, top of the hill, no one above her, hardcore science nerd. She is not after anyone's job, all she wants is to find questions to answer and mysteries to unravel. The woman does not have a single ounce of life outside of that, so I can assure you that your job is quite safe." The smile on the Kotakian's lips seemed to be a permanent fixture on her face. "Nevermind about her, tell me what you are working on."

"Just trying to make sure that Gemma arrives safe and sound on the Romulan ship," Aki replied. "By modulating the frequency as per Wimdilla's suggestion, making sure that the transport is safe has been made a lot easier, now I just have to work on a way to communicate with her once she is there. Captain Iverson wants to have the ship move forward in time before slipping back to now and relay what we saw to Gemma allowing her to act accordingly. In theory, we should be able to do this indefensively until the final result is what we need it to be."

"Gemma is going to be reliving the same moment in time?" The Kotakian woman asked, her smile not having diminished in the slightest. "That could prove to be interesting."

"That is why we need to find a way to relay the information we will gather to her so that the events do not unfold as they did the time before. It may take a few repeats to get it all right, but that is what all of this is about. If we can use this technique here to save the Romulan ship and crew, we can certainly do the same and defeat the Lokustaar and stop them from getting more of their ships into this dimension. Of course, we won't be able to transport someone over to a Shadow vessel, but that's a problem for another time. Right now, I need to focus on making sure we can save the crew of that ship."

"The goal of this mission is not to save the Romulans," a redhead Russian woman said. "The objective is to gather as much information as possible to enable us to defeat the Lokustaar once we reach our destination. The Romulans are nothing more than the means to our end."

"What harm would there be if we managed to save them?" Aki argued, not flinching at the fact that she was now looking and speaking at yet another of Gemma's personalities. The CSciO actually found the whole thing fascinating both in the ILO's uncanny ability to so easily switch as did but also in her own ability to deal with all of these different people as if they were separate individuals.

"What harm as ever come from rescuing a Romulan?" This time it was a Reman woman who spoke, her voice cold, collect and deprived of emotions.

"I don't know," Aki replied as she continued to work on the problem at hand. "Imagine what the Romulans might do if they knew we helped. Maybe they would even join in on our mission and it would lead to a renewed peace between the Romulan Star Empire and the Federation."

"Highly unlikely," Gemma said having replaced the Reman woman. "According to Intel reports, the Romulans have their hands full with several engagements with the Lokustaar both in space and on the surface of many of the worlds under their jurisdiction. It is far more likely that they would ignore what happened here or try to use this as a way to show that the Federation is up to something. As much as you might want to believe that they can, the Romulans cannot be trusted. Never have. Never will."

"Well, one can hope," Aki sighed as she handed over a PADD to the ILO. Because the BASTET will be outside of normal spacetime, the communication will only be unidirectional. We will be able to relay information to you but you will not be able to contact us. We will be keeping a close eye on what it is that you will be doing, so everything that you are involved in will the evaluated as to its temporal impact on what is happening. As I said, you may have to go through things a few times before we get it right."

"Once I am on the Romulan ship, how will I know how many times things were reset?" The ILO asked.

"I thought of that," the CSciO said pointing to the upper right corner of the PADD. "Since we will be sending you updates each time we travel back to this point in time, I have programmed the computer to send a cumulative count. With a simple glance, you will know how many times you have been in that starting location and time."

"Alright, let's get this going."

"Here is one last thing," Aki said handing over a small cylindrical object.

"An emergency beacon?"

"If things should not work the way we hope, this will allow you to indicate that you need to be beamed back. The BASTET can then jump one last time, beam you back and we'll figure out what we have to do from there."

"I have never been one to call for help," Gemma said studying the small silver device.

"You have never been bouncing through time before either," the CSciO said laughing. "Lieutenant Mitshiba to Captain Iverson, I think we are ready to go."

=/\= Proceed at your convenience. =/\=

Gemma made her way to the transporter platform, not appearing concerned but not looking excited either. "Energize!"

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M09-P013: USS BASTET: Gemma: 34005.1510 ("Home Terrain")
=-=
"Home Terrain"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Shadows and Mirrors" / (BAS) "Time is Relative"]
=-=

Setting: Damaged Romulan Ship
Stardate: 34005.1510

The transport was rough, but Gemma had gone through worse, much worse. The location was hostile, but the ILO had been in situations that were more dangerous. As bad as this might have been, she actually liked being here, alone. The thrill of the situation reminded her of life before the BASTET, before being part of a team.

Gemma glanced at the PADD in her hand and smiled as she saw the number 1 in the upper corner. The handheld device would be her one and only link to the ship as time was made to repeat. Her mission, to gather information on the attackers and be at the same time a test subject. They needed to know how feasible it was to reset time and events in order to achieve the desired outcome. Misaki had explained all of the theories and Wimda had agreed with every detail. Resetting time was the easy part, changing the sequence of events each time would prove more difficult.  The ILO needed to think on her feet, anticipating problems and not cornering herself. Repeating time would serve no purpose if she could not act in order to change things.

That was the reason why she was the one selected over anyone else. This was the type of situations she had lived in for almost as long as she could remember. The only difference this time was that if something went wrong, Captain Iverson could just reset the timeline. In some ways, this actually bothered the ILO as it took all of the suspense out of the equation.

Recalling the diagram of the layouts of this class of ship, Gemma made her way to the Engineering section. There she would be able to better observe what was happening. It would also give her a chance to see the extent of the damages the ship had received. Lastly, if there was something she was required to do, that would be where she needed to be.

As the ILO made her way through the barely lit corridors, the extent of the damage became clear. The outer hull was breached and the forcefields holding in the atmosphere were on the verge of collapse. Even if Gemma had wanted to do as Misaki wanted, it would be near impossible to save the ship and crew. Without being able to go back in time to before the attack, there was little the lone operative could do.  The sounds of exploding equipment ahead warned her of what she might encounter. It was not enough to prepare her the body of a Romulan to land into her arms as she turned a corner. The man was seconds away from death. The smell of burnt flesh filled the air as she eased him down to the ground looking at where he had come from. The flames of an out-of-control plasma fire blocked the way, making it impossible for anyone to make it through. So why had he tried anyway? What was beyond those flames that he wanted to get away from so badly that he risked burning to death? The only way to find out would be for her to find another way around the fire.

Returning the way she came, Gemma noticed the body of another Romulan, this one dead on the floor. She was not shocked by the sight or even by the savagery of his wounds. What troubled the ILO was the fact that he had not been there the first time she had walked down this corridor. It was evident that something had taken place, something that resulted in the man's painful demise. That is when she heard the sound that no one wanted to hear. The barely audible clicking from the shadows that indicated the presence of a Lokustaar. The beast was invisible but there was no escaping the fact that it was there, somewhere.

She had fought countless opponents, taken down dozens upon dozens of adversaries, but none of them was invisible. The Russian assassin stood her ground, ready to react to the slightest hint as to the creature's whereabouts. Striking out blindly would only make her more vulnerable to a counter attack, so she waited. Anya had battled in the dark before, relying mostly on the sounds that surrounded her to locate her opponent. But this was not the same, the shadows were filled with noises from the ship, and the Lokustaar knew this. That is why it waited and watched, keeping the advantage it had with lethal resolution.  How long would they wait and who would be first to break the stalemate?

The answer came as Anya felt a sharp pain in her chest. The Lokustaar had moved first and found its mark with perfect and deadly accuracy. As much as the Russian woman hated these invisible shadows, she had to admire their abilities and skills.

=-=
Setting: Damaged Romulan Ship
Stardate: 34005.1510

The transport was rough, but Gemma had gone through worse, much worse. The location was hostile, but the ILO had been in situations that were more dangerous. As bad as this might have been, she actually liked being here, alone. The thrill of the situation reminded her of life before the BASTET, before being part of a team.

Gemma glanced at the PADD in her hand and frowned as she saw the number 2 in the upper corner. She could not recall anything of her first time here. All she knew for sure was that something had happened to have the BASTET go back. Reading the note on the handheld device, the ILO was given a clue as to what that something was.

[[Lokustaar on board. Avoid section Delta-6.]]

The ILO sighed. She did not know what had taken place, but she now knew more than she did the first time. Her heading to the ship's engineering section would be more difficult than expected. Then again, traveling through a Romulan ship as badly damaged as this one could never be considered to be an easy task.

Armed with the relayed knowledge of her first trip, Gemma took an alternate route to the chosen destination. In addition to keeping an eye out for the Romulans, she now also needed to watch out for 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]
M09-P014: USS BASTET: Iverson: 34005.1515 ("Outside Looking In")
---
"Outside Looking In"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Familiar Shadows" / (BAS) "Home Terrain")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1515 (Take 2 - 30 minutes since arrival)

There were a lot of advantages of being able to travel back in time, the most important being that errors made could be undone, but this opened up a whole new set of difficulties as it also allowed events to unfold differently. To alter a single moment in time, however small, could unravel the sequence of events to follow in ways that could never be predicted. This was the curse of time travelers such as the crew of the BASTET.

"The message was received," Lieutenant Mitshiba reported from the science station. "Gemma is avoiding section Delta-6 and is heading to Main Engineering using an alternate route. Just wish that we could detect those Lokustaar on board the Romulan ship, it would make things a lot easier on everyone."

"Easy was never part of the job description," Commander Valentine said, frustrated about the whole thing. Coming to the rescue of the Romulan cruiser had been bad enough but not knowing what was happening just made it worse. The ship had been heavily damaged, but why had it been left there, by itself, with members of the shadow race on board?

"Maybe not, but it would be nice to have an easy mission once in a while," The Flight Control Officer said, looking over his console making sure that all was at it needed to be. "Navigational sensors are not showing any sort of disturbances in the vicinity. It would appear that whatever Lokustaar vessel did this decided not to stick around."

That is just another part of the mystery we are trying to figure out," the Captain said, not liking all of these puzzle pieces that seemed to be far from fitting into one another. There was something that Selene and the rest of her crew were missing, and there was only one way to figure it out. They would have to stay out of the normal flow of time and gather as many hints and clues each time they relived this particular moment.

"Vitals are steady, Gemma is doing well" Doctor Andersson reported from the auxiliary science station which had been turned into a medical station for the sole purpose of keeping track of their operative on board the Romulan vessel. It was thanks to Sofia that the BASTET had turned back time and saved their Intelligence Liaison Officer, and after that, the Chief Medical officer had been even more worried about the woman they had sent over to face the dangers alone.

"She is a strong woman, in more ways than I suspect we even know," Nicole offered in a whispered voice. "Thanks to her nanites, she is able to survive situations that would give us nightmares for years if we just began to think about them. We have to trust her that she will succeed."

"Succeed in what?" Ensign Dean asked, looking over at their Commanding Officer. "We don't even know why Gemma is there in the first place. All this talk of coming to their rescue from a Lokustaar attack makes no sense. They are Romulans and we just should let them die." It was beyond evident that Ashton disliked the Romulans, then again there was not a great deal of love for them on board the BASTET or anywhere else in Starfleet.

Selene sighed. "Rescuing the Romulans is not the reason we are here, Ensign," the Captain admitted. "We are here to test the Temporal Drive and try to get some clues as to why this ship was attacked."

"According to the temporal sensors, the cargo holds on board the Romulan ship appears to not have been affected by the attack, it is, therefore, possible that they are carrying something that the Lokustaar deemed of importance," the Chief Science Officer offered as a possible reason.

"Highly doubtful," the Counsellor countered leaving Sofia to stand closer to the Captain. "Based on what we know of the Lokustaar, there is no reason for them to seek out any specific items or resources. Their primary objective is to create chaos, and their technology far surpasses ours, at least in what I would refer to as being normal technology. The only advantage we seem to have is that we are capable of relatively easy travel to other dimensions as well as time."

"Those are advantages that I am sure they would do anything to get their hands on," Mitshiba said, glancing over at the Captain and First Officer.

"It is an unreliable advantage at best," Captain Iverson offered. "Our ability to travel through time is restricted, especially in cases such as this one, and being able to travel to other dimensions had made us nothing more than a target to the Lokustaar as we have yet to be able to determine where they are coming from.  We need to find something more, something more tangible that we can use to defeat them once and for all."

"Captain, sensors are picking up increased activity on the Romulan vessel. There seems to be a rush of people heading for the command deck. Unfortunately, sensors are unable to identify the cause. The best I can offer is that there are no mechanical issues there that would warrant such a deployment."

"Maybe one of the Lokustaar decided to show itself, or at the very least make its presence known," Ashton offered as a possible reason.

"Why would they do that?" Counsellor Dima asked, having a flashback to her time with Adrien, 'why' always having been his question of choice. "The greatest advantage of the Lokustaar is their ability to remain unseen, affecting others from the shadows. They are not the type to make a show of their objectives, no matter what they are."

"Unless it suits their needs," Commander Valentine added. "If you look at those sensor readings, the sudden shift of personnel to the bridge has left several areas wide open, maybe they needed to clear the way."

"Maybe so," Selene nodded. "On the bright side, this will make it easier for Gemma to reach the Engineering section without attracting attention from the crew. This could end up playing in our favour."

"We can hope so," Nicole softly said, turning back to look at Doctor Bruxa who was still entirely dedicated to keeping an eye on Gemma.

"She is almost there," Misaki said referring to their Operative reaching her destination.

Everyone watched, in one way or another, as the lone Operative reached her goal, but there would not be any joy in the achievement thanks to the report from their Chief Medical Officer. "Her vitals are rapidly deteriorating."

"Was she attacked again?" Sarena demanded, questioning as to just how many of those invisible beasts there were on board the Romulan vessel.

"No," Sofia replied. "The readings are steadily but rapidly dropping, it would be as if she came in contact with some sort of poisonous substance that even her rapid healing abilities are unable to go up against. What troubles me the most is that the sensors are not picking up any sign of what that substance may be.  All I know is that she's dying."

"Commander!" The tone used to speak that single word was all that the Captain required to make her wishes known to her First Officer who quickly went into action, rushing back to the Engineering station on the bridge.

"Engaging Temporal Drive to negative flow, setting temporal coordinates to 34005.1510," Sarena announced. "Here we go again."

---
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)
M09-P015: USS BASTET: Valentine: 34005.1515 ("Timely Glitch")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Timely Glitch"
[previous post (ANU) "Multiplying Our Problems" / (BAS) "Outside Looking In")]

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1515 (Take 3 - 50 minutes since arrival) 

The Executive Officer seemed pleased by the performance of the Temporal Drive. The device was designed to allow a ship to travel through time to investigate the distant past or future. It had never been designed to slide back and forth over mere minutes. So far though, everything was working which allowed the ILO to relive the same moment, with input from the BASTET.

Sarena glanced over to the modified science station where Doctor Andersson was. As adaptive as the ILO's body might have been thanks to her nanites, her health was still of great concern. If Gemma should find herself unable to continue, no one else would be able to take her place. All of the theories warned about making even the slightest change to the timeline. Doing so multiple times, all within the same 15 or 20 minutes could have repercussions that no one could have anticipated. So, they watched, studied, analyzed and tried to understand what was happening. Without being able to detect the Lokustaar, the crew of the BASTET could only guess as to what was going on.

"Are we been able to figure out what is going to happen in engineering?" The question presented by the Captain sounded odd. Using sensor data to figure out what would come to pass was still something that the Executive Officer had problems with. Moving as they were through time was turning everything upside-down as they had data on events that had not yet happened.

"Sensors are not picking up any signs of a toxin or poison. There is nothing that could account for what we saw happen to Gemma." Lt. Mitshiba had joined the search for answers. The plan was to have the ILO reach engineering, but that seemed to be an impossibility at this time.

"What I find odd is that there are people in that area of the ship, but only Gemma was affected. Could the doorway she used have been trapped?" Doctor Bruxa was trying to make sense of it all. The problem was that without more information there was little they could do.

"Captain, we may have a problem." The FCO said, voicing words that no one wanted to hear. "I was checking the relative position of the Romulan ship against the BASTET. It moved."

"Explain," the Executive Officer demanded as she moved towards the front of the bridge.

"The BASTET cannot move through space while the Temporal Drive is active. This means that our position in space is constant. The Romulan ship, on the other hand, is drifting, slightly mind you, but still, it's moving. Every time we have reset the timeline, that ship returned to its starting point." Ashton's explanation seemed to be going nowhere.

"Are you trying to make a point, Ensign?" The question from the Captain made it clear that Selene was growing impatient.

"The Romulan ship is not where it was the first two times before. It is still drifting but on a slightly different heading."

"Quantum Variants," the CSciO said not sounding overly happy. "I suspected that this might happen but we had no way to test this beforehand."

"Care to elaborate?" The Executive Officer was getting frustrated with all of these open-ended announcements.

"The one rule of traveling back through time is to not interfere with anything. The slightest change could affect the timeline. The problem is that at the quantum level, our simple presence can create minute changes. Base on the principle of Quantum Variants, those changes would likely be too small to be noticed at our level. That is if we affect a specific area only once. Thanks to our traveling back and forth, it is possible that those variants are increasing exponentially." Misaki paused as she met the concerned gazed of the Captain and Executive Officer. "The more we move back and forth, the greater the impact will be on the timeline. The good news is that those effects might very well be limited to this region of space-time."

"That is a problem, and a huge one at that," Sarena said. "It means that things are not going to happen the same way as we previously observed them. This takes away the one advantage we have. If we are unable to predict what is going to happen, all of this is useless." The Executive Officer's frustration was about to overflow.

"This is a significant development," the Captain said. "That said, I would not dismiss what it is that we are trying to do. Lt. Mitshiba, you claim that the effects would be limited only to this region?"

"That is the theory, but there is no real way to know. The butterfly theorem comes into mind. Over a long term and greater distance, there is no way to know if the effect would dissipate or increase." The look on Misaki's face showed her uncertainty.  "At the quantum level, a single change could grow over time and distance if there is no opposing force. The waves on the surface of a lake will diminish due to surface tension. We have no way of knowing if such opposing force exists at the quantum level."

"Ensign Dean, by how much has the location of the Romulan vessel changed?" Iverson wanted to gauge the size of the effect moving back in time had caused.

"Sensors show the hull as being 0.82 centimeters off from where it was previously," Ashton reported. "It's not a lot, but it's still something."

"We don't really have a choice at this time," the Captain said sinking back into her chair. "Ensign Dean, continue monitoring those changes, however small they may be. Commander Valentine, coordinate with Lt Mitshiba and see if there is something we can do. Try to reduce or even cancel this quantum effect. In the meantime, we will have to hope that we do not have to reset the timeline too many more times.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M09-P016: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 34005.1525 ("Time Can Be A Fickle Thing")
"Time Can Be A Fickle Thing"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Unexpected and Disturbing Discoveries" & (BAS) "Timely Glitch"

///^\\\
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1525 (Take 3 - 60 minutes since arrival) 

While on board the Romulan vessel, Gemma had one major advantage in knowing what would happen thanks to the information relayed to her on the PADD following a temporal reset. Aki thought that such an advantage would be all that the woman needed to find a solution to their situation, but confirming that there moving back and forth through time was causing Quantum Variants brought everything into question.

The changes would likely be very subtle, if noticeable at all, but there would be differences nonetheless. A piece of flying shrapnel that came a millimeter from someone in its path could, following a temporal reset, see its trajectory shift thanks to Quantum Variants by a fraction of a degree. That would be more than enough to cause the insignificant piece of metal to kill someone who, in the previous timeline, had survived. This meant that the collected sensor data used to help guide the ILO in her quest for answers would grow increasingly inaccurate, and that could prove catastrophic for not only Gemma but the BASTET as well. The only hope the CSciO could hold on to was that the effects of these Quantum Variants would prove not to be cumulative, or even better find a way to cancel one another.

This, of course, was all mere speculation and untested theories. The BASTET would have to travel back and reset this timeline several more times for Aki to collect enough data to form a more precise hypothesis but doing so would risk Gemma's life, the ship and more important their mission to stop the Lokustaar from claiming this dimension as theirs to do as they wished with.

Aki studied the latest data gathered by the temporal sensors, trying not to think of the endless possibilities that the discovery of Quantum Variants had created. Gemma would need to continue being the skilled and determined ILO that she was, dealing with whatever unexpected came her way while the rest of them watched and tried to help as much as they could, which as far as Aki was concerned was far less than she wanted.

"We are still unable to identify the cause of the urgent gathering of crew members on the bridge of the Romulan ship," the CSciO said. "Clearly something happened, again, but the sensors are not showing any biological, mechanical or otherwise detectable reason. Whatever the cause for this may be, the Quantum Variants had no effect on it, at least not this time around."

"It is still giving Gemma a better chance to reach the engineering section," Commander Valentine said. "Let's just be happy about that. Once she is there, she can find a way to figure out what the Lokustaar are after.

"She's in," Ensign Dean reported, "and by the looks of it she did not encounter whatever poison she ran into the last time."

"That's one good thing," Aki sighed, not at all feeling reassured. There were just too many variables to consider and she was certain that something unexpected and even more unwelcome would happen. As if she had possessed knowledge of events to come, the CSciO suddenly began to scan her console in an effort to understand what the sensors had just picked up. "Captain, we are picking up a massive energy build-up from the Romulan ship's engineering section."

"What kind of energy?" Commander Valentine asked. "Are we looking at a failure in their Artificial Quantum Singularity Reactor?"

"No," Aki quickly confirmed. "The source of the energy build-up is not the reactor core, and the energy itself is of a completely different frequency. If I had to forward a guess, I would say that the energy is that of a Dimensional Drive about to overload."

"That would explain why the Lokustaar did not destroy that ship," Captain Iverson said. "They are after the Romulan's version of our D-Drive."

"They might have wanted to use the distraction on the bridge to try and take the drive without any interference from the crew," Ashton proposed.

"Whatever they did, it is causing a massive power feedback that is going to destroy the ship and everyone in a 15,000-kilometer radius. Although we are out of normal space-time, the dimensional shockwave could still impact our instruments. Therefore, I would strongly suggest that we engage the Temporal Drive and reset this timeline before it is too late.

"Commander Valentine," the Captain ordered, not wasting a moment.

"Engaging Temporal Drive to negative flow, setting temporal coordinates to 34005.1510," the First Officer announced.

"Too late," the FCO gasped. "The ship is exploding."

///^\\\
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1510 (Take 4 - 75 minutes since arrival)

"Well, that was a rougher ride than before," the FCO commented as he pulled himself back into his chair.

"Looks like we made it," Captain Iverson noted as she looked around the bridge making sure that everyone was alright. "Report."

"The Temporal Drive engaged just as the dimensional shockwave came in contact with us," Aki said, still trying to make sense of the sensor data she was looking at.

"Did we suffer any damage?" Commander Valentine asked, wanting to know if the ship and their mission were in jeopardy.

"Structurally, the ship is undamaged," the CSciO reported in a less than enthusiastic way. "Unfortunately," she continued with a sigh, "I cannot say the same about our Temporal and Dimensional Drives. Both were affected by the energy wave, some sort of residual field that is interfering with the inner workings of both devices. This means that we are back in normal space-time without the ability to travel either through time or escape into another dimension should a Lokustaar ship arrive or something bad happens on the Romulan vessel, again."

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M09-P017: USS BASTET: Iverson: 34005.1515 ("No Mistakes Allowed")
---
"No Mistakes Allowed"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "A Clone Is A Terrible Thing To Waste" / (BAS) "Time Is A Flickle Thing")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 34005.1515 (Take 4 - 75 minutes since arrival)

The one advantage they had, that is their ability to travel back and forth through time and adapt their strategy according to the recorded events, was gone. According to what they had observed previously, Captain Iverson, as well as the rest of the crew, knew that the Romulans had developed an equivalent to their own Dimensional drive. That the Lokustaar were after this piece of technology was no surprise, the alien race had been unable to secure the one on board the BASTET. This had forced the trans-dimensional invaders to seek out an alternate means to facilitate the movements of their capital vessels from their home dimension to this one.

"We cannot allow the Lokustaar to get their hands on a Dimensional Drive, be it built by the Romulans or anyone else," Commander Valentine stated with visible conviction. "Even if the technology is not perfect, those walking Shadows would be able to study it in order to eventually create one of their own. We have to destroy the Romulan ship right here and now before it is too late."

"Agreed," the Captain said nodding her head. "Lock all weapons on that Romulan ship and get a transporter lock on Lieutenant Gemma. As soon as she is back on board, open fire and make sure that nothing of that ship or the technology aboard can be retrieved by the Lokustaar, the Romulans or anyone else."

"Aye aye, Captain," Ensign Dean and Lieutenant Mitshiba acknowledged in unison while the First Officer made her way to the Tactical station.

"Phasers and torpedoes are locked on target," Sarena announced seconds after her taking charge of the console. "Waiting for your signal, Lieutenant," Valentine added looking over at the Chief Science Officer who appeared a little perplexed as she looked down at her console.  When Misaki failed to say something, the First Officer pressed for a reason. "Is there a problem, Lieutenant?"

"Sorry, but yes there is Commander," Mitshiba replied. "I am unable to get a transporter lock on Gemma. I suspect that the dimensional shockwave which disabled our Temporal and Dimensional drives may have affected the transporters. Everything about the equipment shows that the system is fully functional but I cannot get a lock on Gemma, this even while knowing where she is."

"Then we do not have a choice," Commander Valentine said, looking directly at the Captain with the same intensity that she had used before. Sarena had made her stance clear and she was ready to follow up on it, all that the First Officer needed was the okay from the Commanding Officer to unleash the full destructive force of their weapons.

"There are always choices," Iverson calmly said speaking from personal experience. "Lieutenant Mitshiba, can we transport someone to the Romulan vessel?"

"I guess we could use the sensor telemetry from our previous scans before the sensors were disabled. That would allow us to beam someone over without risking beaming them into a bulkhead, but there would be no way to make sure that nothing else is there," Misaki explained before looking up at the two most senior officers and realizing the significance of her answer. If they could not board the Romulan ship and help Gemma the only way to ensure that the equipment on board did not fall into the hands of the Lokustaar would be to destroy the ship killing everyone.  "Yes, Captain, I can make it work. We can beam someone over to the Romulan vessel," the Asian scientist added, quickly meeting the defiant glare of their First Officer before looking back to Captain Iverson.

"Commander Valentine," Selene began, her eyes rapidly bouncing from one woman to the other, "I need you to go back to Main Engineering and get our transporter system back in order while also bringing the Temporal and Dimensional drives back to operational status. Lieutenant Mitshiba, you are to beam over to the Romulan vessel, join Lieutenant Gemma and find a way to permanently disable their dimensional travel capabilities."

"Captain," Doctor Andersson said as the Asian woman turned to head to the turbolift. "Request permission to join the away team, Sir. If either Gemma or Misaki becomes injured or incapacitated we would have no way to bring either one of them back to the BASTET, plus there might be a need for an extra pair of hands over there. There might be a lot to do in very little time in order to meet your stated objective."

"Can you beam two people over to the Romulan ship?" Iverson inquired of Mitshiba who, after a few seconds to contemplate the difficulties that this would present, hesitantly nodded yes if only to give Gemma a chance to not be blown to bits. "Fine!" The Captain conceded, "Both of you, go!" Selene ordered before standing from her chair and making her way towards her First Officer.

"Be careful," Nicole quickly whispered as she attempted to grab Sofia's arm before the Doctor stepped into the turbolift, but Andersson had been too quick, only realizing too late what Dima had tried to do.

The Doctor smiled, touched by the gesture and the emotions she perceived was behind it. "I will be," she managed to say before the doors closed between the Counselor and herself. As the turbolift pod began to move, the Chief Medical Officer turned to the Chief Science Officer, concern in her eyes. "If the BASTET is unable to get a transporter lock on someone currently on the Romulan ship, how are we expected to get back?"

"My guess is that Captain Iverson is hoping that Gemma, or at least one of her other personalities, will be able to find a way to get us back, either by using the Romulan's own transporters or through some strange and unique way that only she could think of," Misaki replied. The rest of the short trip to the transporter room was spent in complete silence as both officers thought about what it was they were about 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)
M09-P018: USS BASTET: Valentine: 34005.1525 ("Important Discovery")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Important Discovery"
[previous post (ANU) "There's Always An Accomplice" / (BAS) "No Mistakes Allowed")]

Setting: USS BASTET, Engineering
Stardate: 34005.1525 (Take 4 - 85 minutes since arrival) 

With both of the Dimensional and Temporal Drives currently inoperative, things were not going their way. While on board the Romulan ship, Gemma had already come up against several and sometimes fatal difficulties, but now there would be no way for them to simply reset things and start over. The three previous attempts would be all of the preparations the ILO would get, as there was no way for the BASTET to reset this fourth try to stop the Lokustaar from achieving their goal.

Back in the ship's Engineering section, the Executive Officer scanned the technical readouts of the two specialized drives trying to ascertain the extent of the problem. Without the DJD, the BASTET would be unable to escape to another dimension should the need arise, and without the DT, they could not hide outside of normal space-time to observe events as they unfolded. Although protected by countless defensive systems, Sarena felt that the BASTET was vulnerable in its current state, especially considering the high probability of one or more Lokustaar capital vessels in the vicinity. She needed to get either of the drives back online, the quicker the better.

With the intention of focusing her efforts on the Temporal Drive, the Executive Officer gave the diagnostic report of the Dimensional Jump Drive one last quick review, making sure that both devices were equally out of commission. Reading the data displayed on the screen though, Sarena noticed something odd, the coils, which had not been recently used showed the presence of residual dimensional energy. Under normal circumstances, Valentine would have simply ordered the coils to be cleared so as to not interfere with anything else, but for some reason, Commander Valentine decided to look into this a little closer. There was something strange about the phase variance of that energy, something that demanded to be explained.

The rapid analysis of this energy confirmed Sarena's suspicions; this was no ordinary residual dimensional energy, as it did not match anything the BASTET had on record. This alone could explain the interest the Lokustaar had shown for the Romulan vessel and clarify why they had not destroyed it as they had countless others before. With a new goal in mind, the Executive Officer went to work searching for something that might identify the dimensional origin of this unexpected energy. Working on a hunch, Sarena looked through their databanks for any data on the Lokustaar's home dimension, a secret that the race of invaders had diligently kept to themselves. The information itself was not present in their computer but a little bit of research provided the answer Valentine had been searching for.

"Valentine to Iverson, we might have the breakthrough we have been looking for."

=/\= How so? =/\=

"The reason why the Lokustaar are interested in that particular vessel is not just because it has an equivalent to our Dimensional Drive, but because the Romulans have somehow found their home. Following the blast we experienced, the coils of our DJD showed signs of residual dimensional energy. Since we had not used it in a while, I went on a hunch and confirmed what I suspected. The energy wave that came from that ship originated from their D-Drive, which was, at that time, set to go to open a portal to the Lokustaar home dimension. They want to bring that equipment back and I suspect the Shadows do not care who comes along for the ride. The diversion to the command deck was likely to ensure that there was limited resistance in their engineering section."

=/\= We have to make sure that this does not happen. I will contact the away team and inform them of this latest development, in the meantime, we need to get our own D-Drive back online. Do what you have to make it happen. It is imperative that we restore our ability to follow the Lokustaar should they manage to take the Romulan ship back to their dimension. That is as of now your one and only priority. =/\=

Sarena looked at the readouts once again, this time with a certain sense of trepidation. When it came to either the Temporal or Dimensional Drives, her knowledge was limited at best, the engineers back on NEW ALEXANDRIA being the ones who knew how all of this actually worked. Yet, she needed to restore the equipment to full operational status in record time. "Aye, Aye, Captain," the Executive Officer said, remembering the old adage that the first job of a Commanding Officer was to ask for the impossible.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M09-P019: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 34005.1530 ("No Time To Waste")
"No Time To Waste"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Medical Confrontation" & (BAS) "Important Discovery"

///^\\\
Setting: Romulan Vessel, Corridor
Stardate: 34005.1530 (Take 4 - 90 minutes since arrival) 

To say that Gemma was surprised to see Aki and Sofia arrive on the Romulan ship would have been a grave understatement. Then again, surprised might not be the right way to describe the expression the woman displayed upon seeing the two officers materialize where the PADD should have been. It didn't take long for the ILO to understand that something had changed and that the situation had deteriorated enough to call for more direct actions that would not be safeguarded by the net of a temporal reset.

Following a quick explanation by Aki as to the state of the BASTET and the specifics of the residual energy, Gemma quickly took the lead expecting the other two to follow. Based on what the ILO had just been told, their goal was simple; to reach this ship's engineering section as soon as possible. Once there they would take every necessary measures to ensure that the Lokustaar did not get their claws on the Romulan dimensional drive in order to erase the coordinates to their home.

"Should we not go down this corridor?" Doctor Andersson asked, recalling the ship's layout just enough to know that the way she pointed at was shorter.

"We can't," Gemma replied in a snap not wasting a single second by looking back. "According to the 2nd temporal data update I received from the BASTET, there is going to be an explosion down that way creating a wall of flames that we would be unable to cross."

Although Gemma had gone through all four temporal resets triggered by the BASTET, the woman appeared as knowledgeable, if not more, about their situation than the two others doing their best to keep up with the hurried pace. Aki could not help but be in awe at the way the ILO managed to maintain all of these timelines, and the shifts in events found in each, straight in her head.

"We have to be careful," Aki said as they quickly rounded a corner, the Asian woman wanting to make sure that Gemma knew everything about their current situation. "We know that the Lokustaar are on board and have caused some sort of commotion on the command deck, likely to diminish the level of resistance they would encounter in engineering."

"I know," the ILO replied with a hint of annoyance. "I read all of the previous temporal updates," Gemma added tossing the PADD over her shoulder for Aki to catch. "My job is to get you to this ship's engineering section, once there it will be your job to secure the dimensional data."

"What about me?" Sofia asked, the CMO trying to bring some general levity to their situation.

"Doctor," Gemma sighed. "If I do my job the way I am supposed to, you will not get to do yours, but the only way that I can concentrate on what I need to do is to not have to deal with either of your comments." Aki and Sofia looked at one another for a few seconds before realizing that it was best for everyone involved if they simply followed the ILO, as quickly as possible.

Just as they were about to turn down another corridor, Gemma lifted her fist indicating to the following officers to stop. The sound of a door hissing open was heard followed by the noise of footsteps running away. With a movement of her hand, the ILO gave the all clear and instructed Aki and Sofia to follow. Whatever had taken place was no longer something for them to be concerned about allowing them to proceed.

"This is it," Gemma said as they reached a closed door. "Engineering is behind this door. You," she explained pointing at Aki, "head left the moment we go in and stick to the wall. The dimensional drive, or at least what I believe to be it, will be about 10 meters ahead.  Whatever happens, whatever you hear, stick to your job. We need those dimensional coordinates if we are to get a solid advantage against the Lokustaar. You," the ILO continued, this time looking straight at Sofia, "the moment we get inside, move to your right and wait. Don't move, don't speak, just wait."

"Wait for what?" Doctor Andersson asked concerned by the way the woman had spoken to her.

"For you to do your job without risking our lives in the process," the ILO replied before turning back to face the door and reaching for the controls. Before either Aki or Sofia could say something, the door was opened allowing Gemma to rush in closely followed by the other two.

Aki focussed on her task and kept to the directions she had received. As far as the CSciO was concerned, there had to be a reason as to why the ILO had been so specific as to the path she needed to follow and Mitshiba saw no reason to argue with the woman who had already gone through this more than once.

The CSciO followed the wall to her left and as stated by the ILO found an odd machine about 10 meters ahead. The controls did appear to match some of those found on their own Dimensional Jump Drive, so Aki figured that Gemma had been correct in her observation. Just as she was about to give the controls a closer look, the sound of a fight drew Mitshiba's attention back to where they had come into the room. There, she saw a redhead woman dodging the repeated attacks of a Lokustaar.

It was then that Aki understood why Gemma, or whichever persona had taken her place, had given her such specific instructions before opening the door. The ILO had taken it upon herself to keep the Lokustaar busy while the CSciO made her way to the dimensional drive and retrieve the information they had been sent to get.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M09-P020: USS BASTET: Andersson: 34005.1535 ("The Face of Terror")
=-=
"The Face of Terror"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Medical Confrontation" by Rachel / (BAS) "No Time To Waste" by Dawn]
=-=

Setting: Romulan Ship, Engineering Section
Stardate: 34005.1535 

Sofia's back was pressed against the wall as much as she physically could, each millimeter the Doctor could add between her and the Lokustar was necessary to make her feel safer, but it was far from enough. The creature born of a demented, twisted nightmare was large, frighteningly so, and moved with dizzying speed. Its appearance alone was enough to haunt anyone's dreams for years to come, but seeing its multiple red glowing eyes frozen the woman's blood in her veins. As scary as the beast itself was though, what proved even more alarming was the fact that Gemma was there, in front of it, fighting for her very life with every move and counter move she made.

The dark creature lunged time and time again at the woman in front of it with deadly force, its long, sharp claws slicing through the air with audible precision, but somehow Gemma managed to dodge every attack. The woman moved with the speed and agility of a veteran acrobat using whatever structure was nearby to give her whatever little advantage she could in preparation for the next, relentless, assault.  Sofia could do nothing more than to hold her breath as she tried to think of ways to deal with whatever wounds the ILO would receive.

The way the Lokustaar shredded bulkheads with a single swipe through, the CMO feared that should a single strike land against the ILO, no medical intervention would suffice to help save Gemma's life. With nothing else to do, Sofia pressed her back against the wall and silently cheered each time another attack from the nightmare given form missed its target.

The life-and-death battle had only started, yet Doctor Andersson felt as if it had been going on for hours. When one of the Lokustaar's sharp claws managed to finally connect against Gemma's flesh, Sofia let out a gasp that warned the creature as to her presence.  The CMO froze in fear as the creature turned to face the motionless physician, all of its eyes directed straight at the woman. In that split second the blond-haired Doctor feared the worst, her life would end, if not by a vicious attack, she would pass on following her heart stopping from sheer fear.

What came next was as unexpected as it was welcomed. The metallic clang of a metal rod smashing with great force against the exoskeleton of the Lokustaar meant that something of greater importance needed to be dealt with by the walking nightmare. As the creature turned away from the CMO, Sofia saw Gemma holding the make-shift weapon which she had grabbed to bring the attention of the beast back on her.  However violent the previous attacks against the ILO might have been, the ones that came next were beyond measure, destroying anything in their path.

Once again, Gemma proved to be too fast and skillful to allow the attacks to reach their target, but it was clear to see that the Lokustaar had the upper hand in this battle. Each attack seemed to grow closer, some even managing to snag the woman's uniform barely missing the skin beneath. Sooner or later one of those strikes would hit its intended mark and when it did, Sofia knew that the beast would come for her.

As terrified as she was, and despite being told to not move, Sofia felt compelled to do something, if not to help Gemma, at the very least to help herself. Taking a cue from the ILO, Doctor Anderson reached for a broken metal pipe near her feet and grasped it with all of her might, as limited at it was. As the woman tried to figure out the best way to join in on the fight, the CMO recalled her vows to do no harm, no matter the situation. As a physician, her primary role was to heal, to reduce suffering, never inflicting harm, and yet here she was considering lashing out at the creature.

Yes, the Lokustaar were a threat of galactic proportion and could easily be labeled as evil, maybe to an extent never before imagined, but as different as they were from the rest, they were still living creatures.  Each time Sofia was presented with an opening to strike against the nightmare-given-form, the Doctor found herself hesitating just enough for that opportunity to vanish. Each time she tried, more fears came piling on top of those that had been there before, making it increasingly impossible for the woman to think, let along move.

Could she actually justify attacking the creature in order to help Gemma? If she did, would this change who she had chosen to become, a member of the medical profession vowed to save lives. After what she had helped bring about in Paris, would her joining the fight negate everything that she had tried to accomplish since? Would Nicole look upon her differently?  Would she be able to look in a mirror again?  The bigger question though was if Gemma perished here and now, would Doctor Anderson be able to live with the knowledge that she might have been able to help and change the outcome of this fight had she done nothing else but wait?

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M09-P021: USS BASTET: Gemma: 34005.1545 ("Mortal Combat")
=-=
"Mortal Combat"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Decisions Decisions" / (BAS) "The Face of Terror"]
=-=

Setting: Damaged Romulan Ship, Engineering Section
Stardate: 34005.1545

The damn thing was quick. It took everything for the Russian assassin to stay out of harm's way, for the most part. Those long sharp claws of the Lokustaar could slice through flesh as easily as they did air. The relentless attacks forced the redhead combat expert to change her tactics. That was why she ended up calling on the Ardanan mineworker. Sylthia did not possess the killing instincts or skills of Anya. What the acrobat did possess though was an innate ability to use her surroundings to her advantage. Given the restrictive space of the ship's engineering section, any and every advantage needed to be used.

The Ardanan acrobat jumped from one console to the next. That was the easy part. Avoiding the rapid succession of attacks while keeping its fullest attention proved to be the harder task.  In a way, Sylthia was glad to see that Sofia was not getting involved. There was no way the CMO would be able to avoid even the weakest of the attacks. As long as the Doctor remained motionless and out of the way, the odds were in her favor she would remain safe. For how long though depended on how much the skilled parkour runner could keep this up. The beast gave no indication of growing tired, a claim the Ardanan woman could no longer make. She needed to find a way to end this life-or-death dance, all while keeping her own life intact.

So far, the Lokustaar appeared to be immune to the effects of energy discharges from the consoles it would hit. The beast's attacks were not at all slowed down in the least following a strike. This meant that Sylthia needed to find something else to attempt to strike back at it. What if the nightmarish creature hit something with more power coursing through it? Due to the fact that Romulan ships did not use a warp core column, the selection of such a device was limited, to say the least. The Ardanan let out an ear-piercing screech when the latest attack found the back of her leg. The gash was severe enough to cause a solid flow of blood to scatter about as she moved. More troubling than the injury itself was that this considerably slowed the acrobat down making her an easier target. She needed to find a way to strike back now before it was too late.

The creature possessed a natural armor that seemed impervious to damage. The way it also failed to show any response to energy discharges meant they were immune. Trying to lure the Lokustaar into an airlock was also not an option since none was nearby. This left the Ardanan acrobat with a rapidly diminishing number of possibilities. Jumping over the beast, Sylthis aimed for the ship's main power source; the contained quantum singularity. This would be more dangerous than trying to use a warp core, but this was the only option left. If she failed, the nightmare would turn on the others as soon as she was out of commission. It was a last-ditch effort, but that was the only thing left to do.

The acrobat positioned herself directly between the access hatch and the rapidly approaching Lokustaar. She would get only one chance to make it work, so she needed to time it perfectly. Jumping out of the way too soon and the attack might not even reach the target. Wait a split second too much, and the strike would hit, but through her, killing her instantly. Sylthis could hear Ema offer an Oltharian prayer that the Ardanan did her best to ignore. This was not the time for superstitious beliefs; this was the time for action. Perfectly timed action to be exact.

Time seemed to slow down to a crawl for the woman as she began what she hoped would be her final evade. Even if she succeeded, there were no guarantees that this would result in a win for them. At best, the Lokustaar would die from direct exposure to the quantum singularity. At worse, they would all die in an explosion that might even take the BASTET along with them. The risk might not have been one approved by the Captain, but she was not here to voice her opinion.

The beast's claw flew a hair's width from her and continued on its way to hit the intended target. With the strength Sylthia had personally experienced, the Lokustaar easily broke through the outer casing of the containment frame. The creature remained motionless for several seconds afterward. Long enough to make the Ardanan wonder if this had worked at all. When the room was suddenly filled with a high pitch scream of agony, everyone knew that the plan had worked.

The lights in the engineering section went out but those there could still see what was happening. The body of the nightmarish creature had burst into blue flames that Sylthia could not help but admire. As powerful as they showed themselves to be. As scary as they appeared to be. The Lokustaar were in fact as mortal as any of them.

=-=
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]
M09-P022: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 34005.1600 ("The Key")
"The Key"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Decisions Decisions" & (BAS) "Mortal Combat"

///^\\\
Setting: Damaged Romulan Vessel, Engineering Section
Stardate: 34005.1600

Aki had ignored the battle that raged nearby, her focus needed to be on the Romulan version of a D-Drive and the data it contained. Being able to identify the dimensional coordinates of the Lokustaar's home meant that they would be able to take the fight right to their front door and maybe if luck was on their side, find a way to make sure the race would never again bother anyone else. Mitshiba had done well in blocking out everything else but her work, that was until that ear-piercing high pitch screech figuratively bowled her over.

Concerned about the reason of this, and unable to continue her work due to the now near complete darkness, Aki slowly turned to see the source of the screech, hoping in silence that Gemma had succeeded in defeating the Lokustaar. It was with no shortage of relief that the CSciO saw the burning form of the alien arachnid-like creature encased in blue flames, the dancing light of the plasma fire reflecting off the other two women's faces.

Sofia seemed just as relieved as Aki did if not more while Gemma's face showed clear signs of fatigue following the battle against the larger, stronger and surprisingly agile Lokustaar. Glaring at the creature as she walked past it, the ILO approached the CSciO. "Did you get the information we came here for?"

"I did," Aki confirmed, "and luckily just before the power went out. Now we have to make sure that this D-Drive cannot be used by the Lokustaar. Once that objective is accomplished we can figure out a way to get back tot he BASTET.

"Leave that to me," Gemma said, looking back at the flaming creature as if to make sure that it was actually dead and permanently out of commission.

"Which part?" Mitshiba asked. "Destroying the D-Drive or getting us back to the BASTET?"

"Both of course," the ILO replied with a confidence that only she could convincingly convey before reaching for some sort of device in a hidden pocket of her uniform. Moving Aki out of the way with one hand, Gemma slapped whatever she had pulled out against the side of the Romulan D-Drive and quickly motioned for everyone to exit the room.

As the trio stepped out of the Engineering Section, a massive explosion was heard and felt, leaving no doubts in anyone's mind as to what had just happened.

"You had an explosive device on you all that time?" Sofia exclaimed, visibly confused by what had just happened. "Why didn't you use it against the Lokustaar? I am sure that would have been more than enough to severely injure it if not flat out kill it, either way, it would have saved you from jumping around the room like a mad woman trying to avoid getting it?"

"The explosion might have made it impossible for Misaki to complete her part of the mission," Gemma said as if Sofia should have figured that out by herself. "Also, I only have one on me at any time," the ILO added. "It's meant to be used in case my mission fails and I have no way to get out and avoid capture."

"That thing was meant for you to kill yourself with?!?" The CMO said in utter disbelief.

"Me and anyone else close enough to be hit by the explosion, hence why I could not use it against the Lokustaar, at least not as you wanted me to. Now, with the ship's primary power source disabled, we need to find the auxiliary controls, from there we should be able to reroute enough power to get Misaki and the information collected back to the BASTET," Gemma said changing the subject without any problems or second thought.

"What do you mean get *me* back to the BASTET? What about you two?" Aki was sure that she had heard Gemma wrong, that or there was something about this mission that the CSciO had missed.

"The mission was to secure the data and disable the Romulan D-Drive to ensure that it could not be used by the Lokustaar. With the device destroyed, my next and only priority is to get you back to the BASTET."

"Are you just planning to leave the two of us here?" the CMO demanded, feeling her heart racing in her chest.

"If I am capable of securing a safe exit for us all, I will make it happen, but if there is only enough room or energy to see one of us return, I wanted to make sure that you understood that it would be Misaki to be sent back. She is now the key," Gemma explained.

"I never signed up for a suicide mission?" Sofia vehemently argued.

"You volunteered to come," the ILO pointed out in a very stern manner. "For me, every mission I go on can become a one-way trip and I have accepted this long ago."

"Well, I haven't accepted this or any other mission being a one-way trip! I tagged along to make sure that you would be all right, to take care of any injuries that either one of you might have received. I came here to help, not die."

"You came because it was the right thing to do because you wanted to give this mission the highest possible chances of success. That is why we are all here and why Misaki needs to be the one to return if only one of us can."

"I would rather if we all went back," Aki tried to interject but her efforts were quickly shot down by Sofia who was getting angrier by the moment.

"You! Stay out of this!" Sofia said pointing at Aki with a very accusing finger. "Whatever happens from this point on, you are going to make it back. This discussion is between Gemma and me; the two people who might not make it out of here alive."

"Sofia," Aki said trying to reason with the Doctor. "I think you are overreacting."

"Lt. Mitshiba is correct," Gemma said with a calmness that Sofia was finding increasingly annoying. "You are overreacting. Although my goal is to get our Chief Science Officer and the information in her possession back, my hope is that we will be able to make it all back."

"You might have wanted to start with that," Aki pointed out to Gemma noticing that the woman was limping more and more with each step she took. "Sofia, please, help her. She's hurt."

"Help her?!?" The CMO dryly laughed. "I am not helping her with anything, not before we all make it back to the BASTET. I have priorities too you know."

Aki rolled her eyes and sighed. Of all the times and places to have this sort of argument, this had to be the worst possible for both.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977

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