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
 
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

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