USS BASTET - Mission 12
To The Rescue
IN PROGRESS
POST INDEX
Post # Character Title
001 Andersson Perfect Sunny Day
Sofia and Nicole enjoy a perfect moment
002 Enel Mind The Gap
Zub arrives at NEW ALEXANDRIA
003 Mitshiba A Distant Whisper
Aki stumbles on a distress signal
004 Gemma Unresolved Issues
Sarena speaks with Gemma
005 Dima Sailing
Nic is deep in thoughts before speaking to A'Janni
006 Iverson To The Rescue
The BASTET goes on a new mission with a new CTSO
007 Enel Life On An Intel Ship
Zub goes to see Sofia for his physical
008 Valentine Tactical Readiness
Sarena, working with Zub, calls for a combat drill
009 A'Janni Unacknowledged Envy
A'Janni goes to speak to Nicole
010 Mitshiba Unnerving Silence
Aki presents a plan to Selene
011 Enel Sticks of Fury
Zub goes to speak to Gemma
012 Gemma Sticks of Fury (Her...)
Anya's take on the discussion
013 Andersson Sticks of Fury (Aftermath)
Nic goes to speak to Sofia
014 Valentine No More Drills
Another signal is picked up
015 A'Janni Pre-Jump Chat
A'Janni and Zub share opinions
016 Gemma & Enel Listening In
Gemma and Zub get ready for the D-Jump
017 Iverson Dimensional Jump
The BASTET uses the D-Drive
018 Mitshiba Dimensional Survey
Aki analyses the dimension to better understand it
019 Mitshiba & Enel The Color of Wonder
Zub goes to see Aki with a very odd issue
020 Andersson Good Vibrations
Sofia examines Zub in Sickbay
021 Mitshiba Difficult Decision
Aki presents her findings to the senior staff
022 Enel Whipsawed
Zub and Gemma discuss various options
023 Valentine A Simple Discussion
Sarena goes to see Selene
024 A'Janni A Simple Suggestion
A'Janni offers a course of action to Sarena
025 Andersson & Dima Friendly Evaluation
Sofia and Nic talk about their feelings
026 Gemma Imperfect Purrfection
Gemma speaks to A'Janni about his plan
027 Iverson Command Level Decisions
Selene takes the decision to send A'Janni down
028 Mitshiba A Bump on the Head
Aki is in Sickbay being looked after by Sofia
029 Enel Cat Herding
Zub, who is not himself, beams to the planet
Post # Character Title
030 Valentine Predators
The away team makes an unexpected discovery
031 A'Janni One Race, One Name
A'Janni finds Zub and a little more
032 Gemma Caged Fury
The captured away team talk about their situation
033 Enel Staff & Flock
Zub & A'Janni are unable to rescue the others
034 A'Janni Bad Kitty
A'Janni loses his temper against the locals
035 Andersson Field Medic
Sofia, now planetside, tries to help
036 Enel Dream Weaver
Zub enters Gemma's shattered mind
037 Mitshiba Magical Explanation
Aki forms a theory about the powers of the Pa-Ha-Sa
038 Andersson A Doctor's Duty
Sofia struggles with current events
039 Iverson It Never Is
Things get more interesting for the BASTET and crew
040 Enel Shaker
An earthquake shakes things up on the surface
041 Valentine New problems
Sarena figures out that the Masters are in orbit
042 Mitshiba Fearful Amazement
Aki is in awe with the planet and its people
043 A'Janni Cats Always Land On Their...
The situation goes from bad to worse
044 Enel Pancakes
The away team deals with the Masters
045 Gemma Crowded Loneliness
Gemma finds a way inside the excavator
046 Andersson Alone, Together
Nic takes care of an injured Sofia
047 A'Janni & Enel Legwork
A'Janni and Zub rescue Nic and Sofia
048 Gemma Crystal Clear
Gemma makes an interesting discovery
049 Valentine Power Play
Sarena sets a plan of action in motion
050 Mitshiba Negative Energy
Aki goes into the excavator to inspec the crystals
051 Enel Tessorcism
The PA-HA-SA explain their position
052 Anderson Into The Next Life
Sofia believes herself to be dying
053 Gemma Implosive Solution
A solution for the cruiser is conceived
054 Iverson & Enel A Few Simple Questions
Zub is called in to speak to Selene
055 Valentine Mission Review
Sarena and Selene talk about the mission
056 Gemma & Enel Multiple Issues
Zub, Aki and Gemma work together
M12-P001: USS BASTET: Andersson: 35006.1430 ("Perfect Sunny Day")
=-=
"Perfect Sunny Day"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Daily Routine" by Hanali / (BAS) "Full Circle" by Jessica]
=-=

Setting: ELYSIA, Ocean side clearing
Stardate: 35006.1430 

The air was warm and sweet, the waves beyond the edge of the cliff were gently crashing against the rocks with an enchanting and soothing rhythm. Overhead, the 'flying whales' were performing their slow graceful dance. Everything was as perfect as could be for the two women sitting on a checkered blanket, and old-style opened picnic basket sitting at their feet while they laid next to each other, enjoying this moment of perfection.

"This is wonderful, thank you," Sofia said after turning her head to look upon Nicole.

"It was your idea for us to have a picnic. I just offered a possible location," the joint Trill said in return.

"Any location would be perfect as long as you are there," the blonde-haired woman said with a beaming, loving smile.

"Noted," the Counselor said as a devious grin began to form on her lips. "Next time I will pick that icy world we were emprisoned on."

"JDO-SHEN!?!" The Doctor gasped in horror. "Alright, I will grant you that there are different levels of 'perfection'. While this current location is at the very top, that Romulan version of a frozen Alcatraz would be at the very bottom. That said though, as long as you are there, it would still be a place that I would be happy to be there with you."

"You are too sweet," Nicole said before leaning in and kissing the other woman. Once the embrace ended, this after several minutes, the two women laid flat on the blanket and enjoyed the scenery as well as each other's simple presence. "I wonder what we are going to do next?"

"We could plan for an adventure-filled dinner," Andersson suggested. "Misaki has a few mystery programs that I am sure we could modify to include a fancy feast while we try to figure out who the guilty party is for whatever crime took place."

Dima laughed. "I meant the BASTET, but that mystery dinner date does sound interesting."

"The BASTET has been temporal mapping since we left KZINTI ALPHA," the physician said with a sigh of displeasure. "Koniki has been beyond paranoid about our making sure that what happened in the past of that world did not affect the timeline. Despite everything we found, which was absolutely nothing, the Admiral is convinced that there is something that changed. I am just tired of us scanning the timeline fo every world in the quadrant."

"The presence of Gemma and A'Janni on KZINTI ALPHA did alter the planet's history," Nicole pointed out.

"Not according to Misaki," Sofia argued. "The planet's history is exactly as it was recorded according to the protected archives in NEW ALEXANDRIA. Nothing changed other than the children of the ruling family surviving."

"I guess that the Admiral knew something about the future of that world, a future that was somehow altered by what took place," Dima suggested. "It is the only possible explanation as to why he has been so adamant about our search for any other changes in the timeline. We both know that a single change, however small, in the past can result in things being completely different in the future. Imagine what would have happened and Edgerton and the Neoessentialists had not gained the level of power they did."

"Millions would not have died when Paris was erased from the surface of the planet, and I would not have landed where I am today," Andersson said sitting up and feeling a tremendous wave of sadness sweeping through her body.

"I'm sorry," Dima quickly offered. "That was the worst possible example I could have used to make my point. Please, forgive me."

"It's alright," Sofia said forcing a smile onto her lips. "Speaking of Gemma and A'Janni, how are they?" It was clear to see that the Doctor wanted to change the subject, something that the Counselor understood all too well and was more than happy to accommodate.

"Since our departure from KZINTI ALPHA, Gemma has not taken on the personality of Sheetora, and A'Janni is still manning the Flight Control Station every chance he gets. Both of them have a great deal to work through after what they experienced in the past, and I have done everything that I can to help them. The rest is up to them.

"How about we go and check in on them?" The Doctor offered. As much as she might not have wanted it to be so, their perfect sunny day was over, Andersson no longer able to enjoy the scenery as it was meant to be.

"Very well," Nicole reluctantly agreed. The last few seconds had shown very clearly as to just how fragile a moment of perfection could be. Like all other things in life, it was how people moved on that mattered in moments like these, and the Counselor would not let this get in the way of what the two of them shared. In time, they would have the opportunity to enjoy another moment of perfection, but for the time being, they would go and check on their fellow shipmates.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M12-P002: USS BASTET: Enel: 35005.1200 ("Mind The Gap")
=-=
"Mind The Gap”
[The previous post was (ANU) “Scavenger Hunt" / (BAS) “Perfect Sunny Day”]

=-=
Setting: USS NILE, Cargo Transporter Bay
Stardate: 35005.1200 (in the past)

Ensign Zub Enel recalled “Mind the gap” as the USS UMBERLAND’s blinding golden-white transporter beams obscured his friends.

The theory goes that certain species experienced a brief gap of nonexistence between disassembly and reassembly.  If teleportation failed, consciousness became trapped in this gap; where you weren’t meant to be and anything living there was probably hungry.

There wasn’t a gap.  Fading transporter beams revealed a control console crewed by a blueberry-blue Andorran female.  Standing in Security uniforms next to her were a dark-haired Human female and a bald Tiburonian male.  They all stared at him.

He knew they were parsing what had just  beamed in: a seven-foot tall, mocha brown lizardman, in dress uniform, and down on one knee so his massive head crest didn’t materialize in the ceiling.  Voths weren’t common.

As the Security duo approached, he noted they wore phaser belts.  Armed details were for visitors deemed potentially hostile.

His crest prevented scowling.  The fine down between his scales stirred under his security dress uniform.  His scales tinted red.  Yet, he controlled his annoyance.  A big, insulted lizard might find himself stunned.

The Human wore lieutenant pips.  She boomed, “Welcome aboard, Ensign.  Forgive the cargo transporter pad.  They did say you were awfully tall.”

Zub Enel stood.  The room could indeed swallow huge cargo or whole Voths.  He offered the lieutenant a PADD with his reassignment orders.

The Human took it and said, “I’m Lieutenant McBree.”  She indicated a valise beside Zub Enel’s boot. “I’ll take that, too.”

The valise held everything the ensign owned.  The Tiburonian stepped up, grabbed the valise and then backed off a step.  He kept a wary eye on the saurian.

The ensign’s voice was resonant but he had a lisp because his forked tongue, when he wasn’t flicking it at insects, folded back on itself.  “Am I getting arrested, ma’am?”

McBree chuckled.  “No.  Just a body scan and a baggage check.”

“For?”

The lieutenant’s smile dissipated.  “Ensign, your duty is to comply completely with security protocols.  Anything less will make me suspicious of you.  You do not want that.  Understood?”

“Yes, ma-am, but these precautions seem like overkill for a simple personnel transfer.”

The lieutenant’s face took on a deep red hue that the Voth recognized as anger.  “This is a highly classified transport taking you to an even more highly classified location.  Our duty is to be 100% certain you are not wearing, carrying or have ingested a locator device.  Is that perfectly clear, Ensign?”

“Perfectly, ma’am.”

“Do you have any more questions, Ensign?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Follow me.”

=-=
Setting: USS NILE, Deck 8, Junior Officers Billet
Stardate: 35005.1800 (in the past)

Customs took forever.  Every downy feather, scale, nook and cranny had been scrutinized.  They minutely inspected valise and contents.  His snack jar of tasty flying insects so amused the lieutenant that she kept it.

Now, he faced a two-day warp to the place that didn’t exist.  He hunched on his bunk, head in his three-fingered hands.  Defensive paralytic darts reacted to his annoyance by itching under his sleeves.  His stomach growled.  He straightened and stared at the replicator across his little room.

=-=
Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Section A, Level 7, External Security Command Centre
Stardate: 35007.1100

The door was marked “Du’Kim, Commander”.  Zub Enel clutched his valise in one hand.  He loosened a finger from his PADD to adjust the lay of his dress jacket.  He tapped the call button.

After a pause a deep voice said, “Come!”  The door slid aside to reveal a fit, male Cardassian of middle age seated at a large wooden desk with a screen for a desktop.

Zub stepped briskly up to the desk, came to rigid attention and announced, “Ensign Zub Enel reporting for duty, sir.”  He stared straight over the Cardassian’s head at a framed picture of a starship with an unfamiliar configuration.

“PADD,” Commander Du’Kim said.

Zub complied.  The commander began to read.  No smile.  No “At ease.”  No offer of a seat.

The Cardassian murmured, “Permanent Change of Station,” without looking up.

Zub Enel was careful to stay at attention.

“Know where you are, Ensign?”

“No, sir.”

“Excellent.” The Cardassian’s thin lips raised fractionally.

Zub Enel’s valise grew steadily heavier.

The commander chuckled.  “USS UMBERLAND.  There’s an old boat.”

The Voth unintentionally grinned.  “It was a pleasure serving there, sir!”

“Starfleet is not here for your pleasure, Ensign.”  The Cardassian’s stare bored into him.

Zub Enel went from mocha brown to pink. “No, sir.  I’m….”

He stopped before he apologized.  Instead, he endured the commander’s stare.

“Eyes front, sailor.”

Zub stared ahead, sure his valise arm was steadily dislocating from its socket.

“Ever heard of the USS BASTET?”

“No, sir.”

The corners of the Commander’s mouth again raised minutely.

“Are you afraid of the dark, Ensign?”

Insulted, Zub’s scales shifted over to red.  “No, sir!”

“Good,” Du’Kim said. “It will make your stay on the BASTET that much easier."

=-=
David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

“Develop flexibility and you will be firm; cultivate yielding and you will be strong.” 
― Liezi, The Book of Master Lieh
M12-P003: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 35007.1300 ("A Distant Whisper")
"A Distant Whisper"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Scavenger Hunt" & (BAS) "Mind The Gap"

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 4, Astrometrics Lab
Stardate: 35007.1300

This was not bad, not at all. After the stress and rollercoaster emotions that the crew had endured during their search for the away team in the past of KZINTI ALPHA, this temporal mapping mission was a welcomed change of pace, at least it was as far as Aki was concerned. Everyone else seemed to be going out of their minds because of the lack of action, but the Chief Science Officer was happy to be able to focus on this simple task. The fact that she was learning a lot about the history of each world they were surveying was an added bonus, one that Mitshiba suspected she was the only one able to fully appreciate.

With the final temporal mapping completed, all that was left for Aki was to catalog the gathered data and have it ready to be compared to the master 'protected' archives hidden deep inside their home base of NEW ALEXANDRIA. Although everything looked fine, the Chief Science Officer understood that her perception in this matter was completely polarized as any temporal shift would have affected her as well as everyone else. If VULCAN was the home of the United Federation of Planets, she would not know the difference although that thought made her wonder is maybe that planet was not the one supposed to be the center of the Federation instead of EARTH?

While pondering this possibility, Aki noticed something odd about the data gathered during one of the temporal scans performed by the BASTET. A quick search uncovered that this oddity, which was some kind of trans-dimensional signal, was present on all of the scans they had taken. Strangely enough, the signal had nothing to do with the history of any of the planets surveyed, that conclusion was easily reached due to the fact that the signal appeared in multiple different locations, all at the exact same temporal coordinates.

It took a little bit of work and time, but Aki managed to isolate and enhance the signal in order to figure out that it was some sort of distress call. The message was relatively short and contained very little information, but one word made it perfectly clear that whoever had sent this message was facing something terrible.

"Mitshiba to Captain Iverson... I need to speak to you... right away."

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 1, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 35007.1330

The member of the senior staff sat around the conference table, all eyes on the reason why this meeting was called. Aki was asked to explain to the others what she had reported to the Captain, but instead of trying to verbalize what needed to be said, the Chief Science Officer decided to instead play the message they had intercepted. First, though, she needed to explain something. "This message was picked up by our temporal scans each time we came back to the present from one of our planetary surveys. The signal is from another dimension, one that I am still trying to identify, but the content of the message forced me to inform the Captain and she, in turn, asked me to inform you all."

"Play the message," Commander Valentine said, not quite as an order but certainly more than a simple suggestion. Either way, Aki immediately complied.

The transmission was mostly static but certain keywords could be picked up.

=/\= ... peaceful... cannot... protect... invaders... Masters... help... please... =/\=

"Who are the Masters?" A'Janni asked easily noticing the reaction of the other members of the senior staff as the word was said.

"They are a race of trans-dimensional conquerors," Captain Iverson explained. "We have encountered them before and know how dangerous they can be."

"What are we expected to do about this? There is nothing we can do against the Masters" Gemma was as cold as ever. Her time spent as Queen Sheetora had clearly not softened the disposition of her primary personality.

"We have to go to them and help in whatever way we can," Dima said, offering an opposing view to that of the ILO. "We might not be able to stop the invasion, but we might be able to save countless from perishing at the hands of their invaders."

"Are we not obliged to render assistance whenever possible?" Sofia asked, setting her position on this matter as being in line with that of the Ship's Counselor, a move that did not surprise anyone as their relationship had long ago stopped being a secret.

"As of right now, we can't," Aki explained, the sadness in her voice indicating that this was not what she would have liked to say. "The message was too badly distorted to allow an accurate fix on its dimension of origin."

"I have contacted Admiral Koniki on this matter," the Captain added. "He wants the BASTET to return to NEW ALEXANDRIA. Once there, Commander Valentine and I will meet with him to see what, if anything, will be done about this. While we are speaking with him, Misaki will use the base's resources to try and pinpoint the dimension from which the message was sent. My hope is to convince the Admiral that we need to, at the very least, investigate this and evaluate the possible threat the Masters represent to the Federation and its allies."

"I am sure that the last thing he will want is for us to have to deal with a second invader from another dimension, especially so soon after the first one had been contained," the Commander said. "We witnessed the Lokustaar take out a Masters vessel once, so we can conclude that they are tactically weaker, but every race has suffered sizable loses in the last conflict and I doubt that any of us would be able to go up against the Masters if they came here. That will be the reasoning given to the Admiral to justify our going there and hopefully present them from coming here."

"How do you plan on stopping an entire race of conquerors able to travel from one dimension to another from doing whatever they want?" Gemma coldly asked.

"The first obstacle is for us to find the dimension they are currently in," Aki said. "I am sure we will be able to figure out the rest once I have done that."

"Set course for NEW ALEXANDRIA, maximum speed," the Captain ordered. "If we are going to be helping whoever sent that message, we need to act quickly. Dismiss!"

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M12-P004: USS BASTET: Gemma: 35007.1430 ("Unresolved Issues")
=-=
"Unresolved Issues"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Scavenger Hunt" / (BAS) "A Distant Whisper"]
=-=

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 35007.1430

The expression on Gemma's face said it all. This was a waste of time. The Masters were a race dedicated to conquering worlds from other dimensions. Although they did not have the killer instincts of the Lokustaar, they were not to be taken lightly. This race of giants cared for only one thing; to impose their will and power of others. Even if the BASTET did manage to retrace the origin of the distress signal, what would they do? Sofia and Nicole were unrealistic in their desire to help. It was more likely that the ship would have to escape or be destroyed long before they were able to offer any sort of assistance.

Gemma did not agree with the Captain's decision, but that changed nothing. As long as she was on the BASTET, she would obey every order given without question. After all, that was who she was, who the Admiral had made her to be, a devoted Starfleet Officer.

Commander Valentine approached Gemma who was manning the Tactical station.  Having confirmed that the ship was on its way back to NEW ALEXANDRIA, Valentine could move on to her next objective. The ILO glanced up at the woman for a brief moment before returning to her work. "Yes, Commander?"

"Can we talk?" Sarena had somehow become the closest thing to a friend the ILO had. As close as she was to Anya and Gabrielle, neither could be considered to be a friend. They were acquaintances who showed up when they were needed, nothing more, nothing less. Valentine, on the other hand, was there through whatever hell they encountered.

Gemma shrugged. "I will follow the Captain's orders. You do not have to worry about me in that regard."

"I was not worried. I know you well enough to know that. I wanted to speak to you about something else." Sarena glanced in the direction of their FCO. That was enough to let the ILO know what this was actually about.

"Observation Lounge? Your office?"

Sarena shook her head ever so gently. "How about the mess hall after your shift?"

"Really?"

"I just thought that a less formal setting would be best." The Commander was trying to find a way to explain her decision. "What I want to talk to you about is not in an official matter. I would just like to understand something better. Something about you."

Had Nicole made this same request, Gemma might have felt uneasy. The CNS wanting to understand her better was kind of a red flag. Sarena making the same request though did not bother her as much. In fact, the ILO found herself oddly accepting of this. "I will meet you at the Mess Hall at 1900."

"Good," the Commander said with a smile. "I will see you then."

=-=
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Mess Hall
Stardate: 35007.1900

The ILO walked in just as the time display in the room changed to show 1900. Gemma could be accused of many things but being late for something was certainly not one of them. A quick scan of the room was all she needed to locate Valentine. The Commander had selected a table in one of the far corners. There were no doubts about it, Sarena knew her very well.

"Right on time," Sarena noted as she invited her guest to sit. "I swear, there are times when I am sure that the computer gets its time from you."

"Time is an easy enough concept to understand once you stop trying to fight it." It was the Uxali scientist that said this as she joined the Commander at the table. Wimdalli's presence did no surprise Sarena, in fact, the woman smiled upon seeing her.

"I asked you here because I just wanted to check in on you." Valentine knew how to handle the ILO. "Things were hectic until the end of the mission on KZINTI ALPHA. Some have voiced their concerns about you since then."

It was Gemma who sighed, the ILO now sitting at the table with Sarena. "By some, I gather that you mean A'Janni."

"Why would you say that?" The question was pointless. Sarena knew that Gemma was already very well aware of everything that would be discussed here and now.

"CNS Dima has, on more than one occasion, spoken to me. Dr. Andersson has also managed to get me into the Infirmary in order to run scans. Both will tell you that I am fine, so this leaves A'Janni. He is the only one who seems unsatisfied with the answers I have given him."

Sarena grinned. Nicole had likely spoken to a single of Gemma's other personalities. Sofia's scans would have revealed only what the nanites allowed her to see. As strange as it was, the fact that A'Janni had failed in his efforts was the most telling. It took a while for the Caitian to get used to the ILO's multiple personalities. His need to get through to the dead Queen though forced him to learn quickly and adapt. "He is concerned about Sheetora. You are the only one who he can talk to about her."  

"Why?" Gemma asked with a distinct hint of irritation. "She did what was required of her. The legacy of the royal bloodline was preserved. There is no need for him to see or speak to her. Has she not endured enough already? Why does he insist on forcing her to relive the hardships she went through?"

"Because he cares for her." The answer was simple and to the point. It was easy to see that it was not what Gemma wanted to hear, but she knew that this was true. It was the only valid explanation to account for his exuberant stubbornness.

"If he truly cared for her that way, he would let her be. His wish to see and speak to her is a purely selfish one. He was sent to KZINTI ALPHA to protect the royal family. He failed! Now he feels guilty and needs to vindicate himself. A'Janni wanting to see her is not for her benefit but rather his and his alone. He can't look himself in a mirror because of what happened. Why else do you believe he took over as FCO instead of Sec/Tac? He should be talking to Nicole, not me."

Sarena knew that this was a longshot, but she needed to at least try. As the ExO, it was her responsibility to take care of the crew. "I am not asking you to drag Sheetora out for him. I just wanted you to allow them to speak if the chance ever came up."

"They are both hurting, in their own way." It was Finnja who spoke now. The Dinaal woman had a completely different perspective on this situation. "A'Janni needs to speak to her in order to heal. Sheetora needs to be alone in order to forget all that she has lost. There is no way for both of them to heal at the same time. Unfortunately for our Caitian friend, he needs to be the one who gives in. Hopefully, his feelings for Sheetora will be enough to allow him to do that."

"I have the feeling that our next mission is going to help." Sarena leaned back on the chair.

"Are you so certain that the Admiral is going to agree to send the BASTET to search for who sent that message? He might not want to risk losing the ship and its crew to the Masters." Gemma said, the ILO having reasserted herself.

"My take on this is a simple one. Sending the BASTET in to investigate will be less of a gamble than waiting. At least once there, we might be able to come back and warn others. If we just stay and wait, we could end up with a very unpleasant surprise."

"Dealing with unpleasant surprises is the standard for us." Gemma sighed, now understanding the Captain's position a little better. "If you want, I can add my support behind this plan." The voice of the Russian Assassin was a pleasant one to hear. Anya rarely made an appearance like this. The woman was meant to fight and kill, not to discuss possible courses of action. Her presence also served to reassure Sarena by indicating that all seemed to be as it should be in regard to Gemma.

"Thank you for the offer. I will inform Selene. Now, we still have a few hours before we reach NEW ALEXANDRIA. Would you join me for dinner?"  The question presented by the ExO was met by a smile from the ILO. Gemma's nanites were working as well as ever. The rapid switches between personalities might still take some by surprise, but Sarena was now more than accustomed to it. So much so that she had begun to miss it when it stopped following their mission to KZINTI ALPHA.

=-=
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]
M12-P005: USS BASTET: Dima: 35007.1500 ("Sailing")
“Sailing”
[Previous Posts: (ANU) “Darker Than Normal”/ (BAS) “Unresolved Issues”]

=/\=

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35007.1500

Nicole stood on the Bridge, hands clasped behind her back, watching the uneventful streaming of space through the viewscreen. They were headed home… again. At last. In light of the message of distress that Aki uncovered, however, it would likely be a short stay at the hidden base that was the Bastet’s refuge.

The Counselor still felt as though she didn’t belong there. The Bridge, that is. But she had done enough in both training and experience in the ‘school of life’ to know continuing to push herself outside her comfort zone was the only way through this gauntlet of change.

She sighed as she reflected on the Masters, another enemy of the Federation and free people everywhere that they were likely to be facing off against, or at the very least pursuing in order to help those who had been threatened by them. They had superior size and strength, and the ability to enslave other races through brute force and depletion of the natural resources of whatever world they chose to command. Their home dimension and home world were unknown.

The joined Trill had once told Sofia that it was important that they knew of the enemies of the universe, so that they could act as the first line of defense against their machinations. But Nic had grown to understand the Doctor’s reluctance to be briefed on each and every baddie out there. It could make it seem overwhelming that they would never triumph, that their one small light could not illuminate all the darkness. The fight between good and evil wasn’t a metaphor or a fable; it was real and relentless. Long after they were all gone, nothing left of them but memories, the battle would continue to rage.

A little ignorance would have been bliss. But knowledge was power. And while striving for a balance of sorts was a fruitless endeavor, Nicole kept trying.

“What do you see out there?” A’Janni asked, having watched the petite woman silently from the Flight Control station.

Nic smiled. She’d been so wrapped up in her thoughts she hadn’t noticed anything in particular. “Why do you ask?”

“Because of your intensity,” the felinoid man replied. “Your focus.”

“I’m thinking about our next assignment,” Nicole answered honestly. “It’s still up to Koniki, but I strongly suspect we’ll be directed to that distress signal.”

“What if he sends you elsewhere?”

She shrugged. “You understand how orders work. Wherever we go, it will be somewhere we are needed.”

The Caitian grunted doubtfully, his one good eye cast downward.

Ensign Dima took a few steps towards the operative. She hadn’t meant to not show compassion.  “Apparently, I have a knack today for saying the wrong thing.”

A’Janni sat up a little straighter. “No, you are correct. A new mission might be welcome in times like these.”

“We only knew the Grand Duke and Sheetora for a small span of time. Obviously, you were much more familiar with them. It’s only natural that their spirits stay with you,” Nicole offered gently. The officer would need time to grieve, if he would only allow himself that.

He rapped his clawed fist against the console, mystified. “That does not explain Lieutenant Gemma’s ability to *become* Sheetora.”

“Some things have no explanation, at least none that I am capable of offering.” Nicole knew that there was an explanation, but it would be better handled by a scientific or medical mind. “Mitshiba and Doctor Andersson would be your best bet at a proper hypothesis.”

A’Janni scoffed. It was not a comfort to him; all that mattered was how real the woman behaved as Queen of her people. “I don’t know whether to call it a miracle or a cruel joke.”

“Gemma’s ‘skill’ is one of those things we are still learning about and adjusting to. This was the first time she became someone that we know existed outside of her impersonation.” 

The Caitian looked surprised. “That woman is full of mysteries.”

“She becomes another when the need arises. We don’t have any way to predict when or if that will happen, with any of her personas, including Sheetora. It’s not anything that can be forced or coerced.”

“You are trying to say that Sheetora will not offer any good-byes.”

“I am only saying that *if* she does so, it will not be until she is ready to do so- she may have fulfilled her purpose when she was able to show the heirs were safe and would carry on the family legacy.”

“Her purpose… I wish I could be as certain that mine was complete.”

Nic rested her hand on A’Janni’s massive paw. “The royal family will continue. You should take pride in that. Because you saved Krayss, then took a chance and sent an encrypted distress signal. Much like the one that Aki just uncovered. And I’m willing to take the next chance we can help whoever it is out there.”

=/\=
Susan Ledbetter
Writing for

Cns
USS BASTET
M12-P006: USS BASTET: Iverson: 35007.1700 ("To The Rescue")
---
"To The Rescue"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Darker Than Normal" / (BAS) "Sailing")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 35007.1700

It would not be long now, the BASTET would fly through the asteroid belt surrounding the GIZA nebula, following a very specific course meant to bring it to one particular oversized rock. Inside that rock, the hidden Intel base known as NEW ALEXANDRIA would be found and within it, the Captain and First Officer would seek out one specific man who was in charge of it all.

Vice-Admiral Charles N. Koniki, Head of Starfleet Intelligence and Commanding Officer of the NEW ALEXANDRIA complex was an imposing man, both physically and psychologically. The man seemed to have been created for that role, playing the Intel game to an extent that very few could truly follow. Since a very young age, Selene was fascinated by the world of Intel, so it made sense that the name of the Admiral came to be known to her as he rose through the ranks. It was only after he himself recruited her to be part of the elite team operating from the NEW ALEXANDRIA secret base that the woman came to understand just how dangerous the man could be in his chosen role.

With a single order, the Admiral could order the assassination of a high-profile world leader and send an entire civilization into chaos. Despite yielding such power, Charles N. Koniki always gave the impression that his decisions were meant to protect the freedoms of others, be them members of the Federation or not. Selene knew that part of this was nothing more than a facade, but it was a mask that she willingly accepted to see and acknowledge. Hopefully, his efforts to present himself as a benevolent force would tip the balance in favour of the request the Command Staff of the BASTET would be presenting him very shortly.

=/\= Captain, we will be entering the GIZA nebula in two minutes, =/\= the Caitian Flight Control Officer reported.

"On my way," Selene instantly replied.

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35007.1705

The image displayed on the main viewscreen appeared almost like one of those painting people displayed in their homes to convey peace, tranquility, and awe for the universe. The deep purple, red and orange hues of the pyramid-shaped nebula were a perfect enchanting contrast to the asteroid belt standing between it and the BASTET.

"Tactical, contact NEW ALEXANDRIA and inform them of our arrival," Captain Iverson ordered from the center chair.

Lieutenant Gemma, who was manning that station, acknowledged with a silent nod of her head as she opened a coded communications channel. "74977 to control, awaiting authorization and approach vector."

=/\= Welcome back BASTET, =/\= a disembodied male voice said following a few seconds of complete silence. =/\= You are cleared for approach on vector delta-three-ninner. =/\=

"D39," A'Janni repeated quickly reviewing in his head what he needed to do next. The one-eyed Caitian was training for security detail, not piloting a starship the likes of the BASTET. Starfleet Academy did require all personnel to have basic knowledge in Flight Control, allowing them to fly a shuttle or runabout in a pinch, but this was an entirely different thing. Still, the Junior Lieutenant had practiced a great deal at the controls since his arrival on the ship, claiming that he needed to keep busy. Both the First Officer and Captain believed that not wanting to take over the station Gemma was usually manning might have played a bigger role in that decision.

Everyone watched with piqued interest as the BASTET navigated its way through the asteroid field until one large rock stood directly before them.

"I know what comes next, but it gets me every time," the First Officer said as they all watched the ship grow increasingly closer to the moon-sized asteroid. Even knowing that the huge space-doors were there in front of them, they could not see anything that might hint to the presence, which only served to make what came next that much more unnerving. The only clue they had that everything was as it should be was the lack of a proximity alert warning that a collision was imminent.

"500 meters," Misaki reported, no hint of concern in the voice of the Asian Chief Science Officer. The asteroid filled the main viewscreen, so much so that they could easily discern the details and irregularities of the craters that gave the rock its unique shape. "250 meters," the Lieutenant continued. "The doors should be opening... right... about... now!"

On cue, the outline of the massive doors appeared as they began to move apart revealing the inside of the docking area. =/\= Control to 74977, power down your engines, we will tractor you to golf-fiver docking station. Enjoy the ride and welcome home. =/\=

As soon as this was heard, Iverson and Valentine made their way to the back of the bridge to board the turbolift. "Lieutenant Mitshiba, see that all needed supplies are transferred as quickly as possible. Lieutenant A'Janni, keep the BASTET ready for a quick departure. Our goal is to be given the green light to locate the point of origin of that trans-dimensional distress signal and be on our way as quickly as possible."

"Aye, aye, Captain," the Caitian acknowledged.

---
Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Section A, Level 3
Stardate: 35007.1720

"Good day, Captain Iverson, Commander Valentine," Allyson said greeting the two officers with her usual exuberance. "May I get you something to drink? Or maybe something for a snack? Commander Quint was able to bring in a shipment of nectar covered flower petals from ARALON SIGMA, the Serli consider these to be s prized delicacy."

"No, thank you," Selene said dismissing the offer in such a way that no other would be made. Allyson was well known for always being happy, too much so in fact, doing everything she could to make the wait of any visitors for the Admiral as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. "Just inform Admiral Koniki that we are here."

"He already knows," the receptionist said, her smile not wavering in the least.

"Good," Selene noted glancing in the direction of her First Officer. "It means that we can see him now."

"Captain Iverson!" Allyson objected, her voice and posture still as friendly as could be despite the fact that the two officers were acting in a way that went against standard protocol.

=/\= Let them come in,=/\= a booming voice said over an open channel.

"The Admiral will see you now," Allyson offered, still smiling as if everything that had just taken place was as normal as could be

---
Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, ASPS Transport pod heading for Section G, Level 5
Stardate: 35007.1740

The meeting with the Admiral had not taken long, and the outcome had pleasantly surprised both Iverson and Valentine. The BASTET would track the distress signal as hoped to analyze the situation and determine if the Masters were an immediate threat to the Federation and its allies. As good as this news was though, Koniki added one piece of information that left the First Officer of the BASTET in a less than happy mood.

"I cannot believe that he is doing this to her," Sarena huffed.

"He is not doing anything to anyone," Selene countered. "The BASTET is being assigned a new senior officer."

"He could have sent us a Chief Engineer or even a Chief of Operations, but no, he has to give us a new Tactical Officer," Valentine was livid, the more distance grew between her and the Admiral, the more she felt able to voice her full discontent. "Gemma has done everything asked of her and more. She is one of the best Tactical and Security officer that I have ever worked with. She deserved better than to be replaced like that."

"Sarena," Selene began trying to defuse the situation. "First, Gemma was never assigned to the BASTET as a Chief Tactical or Security Officer, she is our Intelligence Liaison Operative. The fact that she is able to effortlessly slide into any position is an advantage, one that we should not be limiting her to. I am sure that Ensign Zub Enel is going to be a valued addition to our team, but you have to give him the opportunity to prove himself."

"Him proving himself is not the issue," the Commander specified. "As you pointed out, Gemma has a personality for each station that we have ever asked her to fill in. Dalra is a natural pilot and took to the Flight Controls of the BASTET as if she had been born there. Gabrielle Wolf is an equally gifted engineer despite her primary skillset being sabotage instead of fixing things. Wimdalli is a match for Misaki when it comes to dealing with the strangest scientific things from other dimensions. We even got to meet Finnja and Gwenvel, both being skilled and talented women in their respective fields of medicine and psychology. My point is that those positions, those roles were able to be filled by one of her countless *other* personalities, but Gemma is the one who took over Tactical and Security, not anyone else."

"To be honest, I kept fearing that we would find Anya Petrov there on a more permanent position, but I understand what you are trying to say. It was Gemma who took care of that role, not any of her other personalities."

"That is why I find it so unfair," Sarena added. "How is her being replaced in that role affect her?"

Selene chuckled. "This is Gemma we are talking about. She will adapt. Of everyone on the BASTET, she is the one best equipped to adapt to whatever crosses our path. I understand that you two have developed a strong friendship and that you want to jump to her rescue, but she is more than capable of taking care of herself. This might be a good opportunity for Gemma to focus on something else and find new ways to impress us."

"I hope that you are right," Valentine said reluctantly accepting the situation as presented by her Captain.

---
Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Section G, Level 5, Umbilical connection
Stardate: 35007.1745

A tall and imposing figure waited at the entrance of the umbilical connection to the BASTET, the colour of his uniform and the rank insignia strongly hinting that this was the officer responsible for the earlier discussion.

"Ensign Zub Enel, reporting for duty, Sir." Selene and Sarena had no choice but to stop several steps earlier than usual to avoid having to break their necks in order to look at the towering man.

"Welcome to the BASTET, Ensign. I am Captain Iverson and this is Commander Valentine," Selene stated.

"I am ready to take on my responsibilities as your new Chief of Security, Sir," the giant said displaying his eagerness to please and prove himself worthy of the role he was given.

"Tall *and* eager," the Captain said in a teasing manner to her First Officer.

"Glad to hear that," the First Officer followed up with. "Follow us, we will be departing shortly."

"Shortly?" Zub repeated not entirely certain what that meant. The word was too vague for him to get an accurate feel of the timeframe he was looking at.

"It means that you have until we reach the bridge for you to get comfortable with the ship and its systems," Commander Valentine said before following the Captain who had already entered the retractable connection linking the base and ship.

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35007.1755

"Everyone, please say hello to Ensign Zub Enel, our new Chief of Security," the Captain announced as the trio stepped onto the command deck, the Voth bringing up the rear. Noticing the quizzical expression on the face of the Intelligence Liaison Officer, Iverson decided to give a little more information. "Admiral Koniki has assigned him to the BASTET to help fill one of our vacancies. I am sure that you will all do your best to make him feel welcomed." Not giving anyone the time to say anything in response to the announcement, Selene made her way to her chair. "Lieutenant Mitshiba, have all supplies been transferred?"

"Yes, Captain," Misaki replied.

"Good," the Captain continued. "Helm, clear all moorings and take us out."

"Am I to gather that the Admiral agreed to your proposed mission?" Gemma inquired as she took a couple of steps back from the Tactical station, making room for the new arrival to take her place.

"He has," Commander Valentine confirmed, her eyes bouncing from the former to the new Chief Tactical and Security Officer.

"Lieutenant Gemma," Captain Iverson interjected. "I would very much appreciate you taking over the Operations station for the time being. I am sure that Lieutenant Mitshiba will welcome any assistance you can provide in tracking the point of origin of the distress signal we intercepted."

"Of course, Captain," Gemma acknowledged, not displaying in any way or form physical or verbal apprehension at her no longer being the acting Chief Tactical and Security Officer. Actually, Selene thought she noticed a flash of a smile as the woman made her way to her new post.

"Counsellor," the Captain called out drawing the attention of the joint Trill away from the Voth. "Care to take us out?" Dima had taken steps to complete her bridge officer training and always welcomed any chance to put in time in the big chair, but Nicole felt a little too distracted at the moment. The towering Voth now standing at the Tactical station not helping in that regard.

"Since we seem to be in a rush, I think I should let you handle our departure at this time," Nicole said justifying her decision.

"We do not get to leave NEW ALEXANDRIA all that often," Valentine pointed out.

"Very well," Iverson acknowledged. "Tactical, contact control and get us cleared for departure."

The Ensign gazed at the control panel before him, desperately trying to figure out how to do the task that he had been ordered to perform. Zub knew *how*, that was not the issue, the problem was that during his short stay at the secret Intel base, he quickly figured out that things were not done quite at the same level as the rest of the fleet.

"74977 to control," Gemma said after opening a channel, jumping to the rescue of their new Chief of Security. "Requesting departure clearance, priority red."

=/\= Control to 74977, you have been cleared for priority departure. All connections have been severed, you are free to leave following vector alpha-fiver. =/\=

"Vector A5 confirmed," A'Janni said entering the needed data into the flight controls.

Ensign Enel felt a little out of place, but the expression on the face of the woman who had just helped him made it clear that she had not done so to point out any lack in his knowledge or abilities. Somehow, he understood that all she wanted was to help if for no other reason than he needed it.

"As soon as we have some time, I will be able to review the departure and arrival protocols used by NEW ALEXANDRIA," Gemma offered. "I am afraid that you will not find those in any training manual."

With the BASTET now on its way, the crew could get busy with getting ready for their new mission, which now included getting to better know the new Chief Tactical and Security Officer, Ensign Zub Enel.

---
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)
M12-P007: USS BASTET: Enel: 35008.0700 ("Life On An Intel Ship")
=-=
"Life On An Intel Ship”
[The previous post was (ANU) “Darker Than Usual" / (BAS) “To The Rescue”]

=-= 
Setting: USS BASTET, Infirmary
Stardate: 35008.0700

The BASTET was where it needed to be in order for the crew to work on finding out where the distress signal originated from. That meant that things were quick giving everyone the chance to go what they needed to, which for the Chief Medical Officer included giving their new Chief of Security a full and thorough medical exam.

The moment the Infirmary doors whooshed open, calling the attention of the CMO, Doctor Andersson quickly moved around her desk and headed for the main treatment area. Nicole had mentioned a few things about the new member of the team but had remained vague on several points, one of which was the Voth's height. The moment she saw the giant standing there, the 5'6" woman came to a dead stop.

"Elan?" Sofia asked since the Oltharian was the only possible explanation to account for the imposing height of the man standing in the entryway of her Infirmary. Had Nicole omitted to tell her that he was on the BASTET as well?

"Who is Elan?" Zub inquired having turned to face the much smaller woman standing to his side. Truth was that everyone was smaller but the Voth was used to it by now.

"My apologies," the physician quick said, hesitating to move too close for fear that her head might actually fall off her shoulders from looking so far up. "I thought you were someone else."

The chromophores that speckled Zub Enel’s mocha brown scales flushed soft pink as he gazed down in surprise at the little blonde Terran.  He lisped his S’s but had an otherwise resonant voice.  “I have never been mistaken for anyone else.  It’s….”  He blinked his golden eyes a couple of times as he assessed his feelings.   “…nice.  As the only one of my race in the Federation, I have always been a singular stranger, to everyone.” 

He checked her for a look of understanding.  It was there.  Of all the races, the Terrans with their soft skin and mobile faces were always the easiest to read.  The Voth could tell that, by mammalian standards, she was pretty and while her face held the habitual smile of a public-facing professional, it struck him that around her eyes, cheeks and mouth was a subtle expression of long-standing sadness.  He opined that the emotional life of a CMO must be a hard one.

Normally, Sofia had her patients lie down on the main examination bed, but this was impractical for the Voth as he was simply too tall. Clearly Starfleet had not taken into account taller races when designing ships or their medical facilities. Forced to perform the examination manually, the physician found herself standing on a small step stool in order to reach the Voth's upper chest and head, this even while he sat on the examination bed.

"According to your file, you are a Voth," Sofia said as she continued her scanning of the towering Ensign.

“They informed me of that right after I hatched.  It was too late for me to do anything about it,” he said, being sure to smile.  She gave off a faint whiff of sweat like he was making her nervous.  He wanted her to be completely at ease.

"That was really smooth Sofia," Nic chuckled from the doorway linking the Counseling Office to the Infirmary. The joint Trill was finding it rather enjoyable to see the CMO be so verbally clumsy. Given the size and appearance of their new officer though, Dima could understand where this was originating from.  "Please, forgive Doctor Andersson, she, like the rest of us, are not accustomed to dealing with a member of such an imposing race. That said, you would think that living on an Intel vessel the likes of the BASTET would have prepared us better for the unexpected."

The big lizard man again flushed pink in surprise.  He’d not been aware of anyone else in the infirmary.  Framed by her brown cropped hair, filigree tracings gave her away as a Trill.  She was even smaller than the doctor scanning him.  She leaned with a studied casualness on one shoulder against the doorframe and had her arms folded over her chest. 

Having worked alongside Trills he knew some of them could be quite mercurial.  As he answered her, he kept his tone friendly and his voice soft even though she didn’t appear to be a drunken lout ready to pummel him.  “I rarely intend to be imposing. My parents and a few other Voths moved here from the Delta Quadrant about 60 years ago.  Somehow, in this quadrant, most denizens are always smaller than us.  My experience in Security has been that my sheer size and reptilian aspect makes some people afraid, like they’re some kind of prey to me.  I’m a vegetarian.  My greatest danger to anyone is their salad garden.”   

The Trill gave him a knowing smirk but remained at ease leaning in the doorway.

"Well Ensign, everything seems to be in order," Andersson announced as she stepped down the stool and placed the tricorder back onto the tray from where she had fetched it. "I will admit that some of the readings are like nothing I have ever encountered, but they are well within what I was told to expect for a member of your race.  I realize that this is not the best time for me to ask, but I hope that you will allow me to perform more scans at some later date. We actually have very little in the matter of medical data concerning your species. This would be a perfect opportunity for us to learn more."

"Sofia!" Nic exclaimed in desperation. "Zub is not a lab rat for you to examine. He is our new Chief of Security, and even if he was not a member of the senior staff, you should be treating him with a lot more respect, this regardless of his height, appearance or his not referring to you as *healer*."

Even though he didn’t catch all the references, it was clear to Zub Enel that these women had worked long and hard together.  The ensign raised his three-fingered hands palm out in a calming gesture.  He realized his claws might be sending a mixed message, so he first balled them up, but then they looked like fists so he placed them back on the biobed. 

“Please don’t fight over me.”  He halted horrified at the unintended meaning.  Flushing bright fuchsia-pink he rushed onward, “I mean, I do not feel disrespected.  I’m perfectly happy with this examination, with this doctor, and with her unsurprising request for more scans.  After all, she needs a baseline of my physiology, especially since I am a member of Security.”

"We weren't fighting," Sofia said shooting a warm smile to Nic.

"Not at all," the Counselor confirmed returning the Doctor's smile. "She just gets a little weird when around very tall men," the joint Trill teasingly fired, making sure to add a chuckle and wink. "We are all very glad and excited to have you here with us. It is nice to meet someone who does not have some sort of hidden agenda."

"Hidden agenda?  I’ve heard the phrase but what does it mean?” The Ensign asked, looking at the two women with puzzled curiosity.

"You are on an Intel ship," Sofia stated in an all-too-serious tone, glancing for a brief moment at Nicole. "Hidden agendas are a part of everyday life. People have reasons for doing what they do, but things get really interesting when those agendas are hidden inside nuances that are themselves camouflaged behind lies."

"I never lied," the Trill cooed. "Maybe I omitted certain facts and hid others behind half-truths, but I never lied. I would never lie to you, well at least not in a way that you would find out." The Counselor did her best to keep her amusement hidden, which seemed to work gauging by the aura of discomfort that was now enveloping their new Chief of Security.

"Ladies?" Zub was again concerned that this was going to turn into an argument. When both women burst out laughing, the imposing man allowed himself to relax.

"Life on the BASTET is filled with unsuspected surprises, both deliciously sweet and terrifying dark. This causes people to focus on certain aspects of their lives and work creating specific 'agendas'. It would be impossible for us to explain this, so my best suggestion is for you to experience this yourself and form your own opinions. At the end of the day though, whatever might have been said or done will not change the fact that we are all here for each other."

"Thank you for the explanation,” Zub offered both excited and a little intimidated by what kind of life he would have while aboard the BASTET.

=-=
David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

“Develop flexibility and you will be firm; cultivate yielding and you will be strong.” 
― Liezi, The Book of Master Lieh
M12-P008: USS BASTET: Valentine: 35008.1100 ("Tactical Readiness")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Tactical Readiness"
[previous post (ANU) "Darker Than Normal" / (BAS) "Life On An Intel Ship")]

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35008.1100

It was quiet, too quiet. The idiom might have been a little over-dramatic, but it perfectly reflected the way the Executive Officer was feeling. After rushing and pushing as much as they had to get here, it felt wrong for the ship and crew to just be sitting there, waiting for a breakthrough. Misaki and Gemma were hard at work trying to figure out where the distress signal had come from, but that left everyone else with nothing more than their normal routine to keep them busy.

The temporal surveys the BASTET had been engaged in proved to be long and tedious work, so it made sense that many looked upon this new mission as a way to finally shake things up, but instead they were finding themselves with even less to do at the moment. Something needed to be done and the Executive Officer could only think of one thing to do, something that she could not do without Gemma's presence on the bridge. The truth was that it was not that she *could* not, but rather that she did not *want* to, Valentine still rather upset about what Admiral Koniki had done.

As the Executive Officer glanced across the bridge at the Tactical station, Sarena could hear the voice of their Trill Counselor in her head pointing out the unfairness of her thoughts and actions. Ensign Zub Enel was not responsible for his assignment to the BASTET and therefore should be held accountable for what happened after. To make matters worse, Gemma appeared undisturbed by her transfer to Operation, in fact, she seemed to enjoy that station just as much as she did Tactical. Looking directly at the imposing reptilian, Valentine began to wonder if she was indeed being unfair to the new member of their senior staff.

Letting go of the frustration and anger brought upon by the Admiral, the Executive Officer made her way to the Chief Tactical and Security Officer. Zub was busy getting better acquainted with the various tactical systems of the BASTET, as any decent officer would have been expected to do when taking on a new post. She watched as his three-fingered-hands expertly moved across the console. There were no doubts that he knew what he was doing, the one issue facing Ensign Enel was figuring out the specifics of this ship as compared to any other he had previously studied and experienced.

"All tactical systems are in perfect order, Commander," Zub reported without turning around, showing that his skills as the Chief Tactical and Security Officer were not limited to technical knowledge. "If I may be so bold as to say this, I am impressed by the state of the equipment. I have checked the repair logs and most of these systems should be showing a great deal more wear than they do. In fact, some of them almost appear new, as if the ship was fresh out of space dock."

"We had to do some field repairs," Sarena admitted. "So those might not have been as carefully noted in the ship's maintenance logs." The Executive Officer thought back to their stay on ELYSIA and their rescue from that world by the USS HAWKINS, their engineering team restoring the ship to a near-new status.  "It might be a good idea for you to review some of our mission logs," Valentine added. "There are several details contained there that will help you better understand the ship, its crew and the kind of missions we deal with."

"Thank you, Commander," the Ensign said. "I will do as you suggested as soon as I have familiarized myself with the ship's tactical systems. I am sure that everyone on the BASTET will appreciate having a Chief Tactical and Security Officer who knows how things work."

"Agreed," Sarena said. "Since we are waiting for Lieutenant Mitshiba and Lieutenant Gemma to locate the point of origin of the distress signal, there is a good way for you to get a better feel of the ship and crew's capabilities during a crisis."  The Ensign looked back at the Commander, making eye contact for the first time since their conversation had begun. The Executive Officer could see a nervous curiosity dancing on the reptilian's features prompting her to smile before moving forward with her suggestion.  "Computer, stand-by to initiate a level-1 security drill. Let's make it a simple combat readiness drill to get things started."

=/\= Standing by, =/\= the disembodied feminine voice confirmed.

"Do you believe it wise to do this now?" Zub was clearly nervous about this. Granted there was no better way to learn than to jump right into action, but the Chief Tactical and Security Officer might have preferred drills taking place after he had become fully familiarized with the ship's systems.

"Ensign, the one rule on board the BASTET is that there may never be *time* to do something. So if you have the opportunity, it is best to take full advantage of it while you can." The line sounded almost ironic given the ship's unique ability to travel through time, but experience had shown time and time again that this was true. It was impossible to plan what might happen, taking away time that they might have otherwise been able to spend doing what they wanted or needed. "Computer, initiate drill... RED ALERT!"

The normal illumination on the bridge immediately switched to the red hue of the alert condition. Had this been a real emergency, additional red flashing indicators would have also appeared, but as this was only an unannounced drill, the lights were meant to set the mood and get people to react as they needed to.

Ensign Enel quickly turned back to look at his console, confirming that the drill was in effect and that the ship and crew targetted by this drill were reacting as they were supposed to.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P009: USS BASTET: A'Janni: 35008.1300 ("Unacknowledged Envy")
"Unacknowledged Envy"
[previous (ANU) "Darker Than Usual" / (BAS) "Tactical Readiness"]

[/\]
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35008.1300

A'Janni let out a sigh of relief as he placed his paws on the upper edge of the Flight Control console making sure not to trigger anything. The combat drills were over, and the Caitian found himself experiencing a wide range of emotions because of it.

From where he sat, he could easily see the Tactical station where Ensign Enel, the BASTET's new Chief of Security, sat. At his size, he was nearly impossible to miss, reminding the one-eyed Caitian of another giant. What A'Janni discovered was that, in some ways, he envied them both. He could have fostered anger towards them, hated them each for what they had, but he knew that this would be wrong in countless ways. Now that the drills were over, the new FCO could excuse himself from his post and seek out a corner of the ship where he would be alone and able to think.

[/\]
Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 5, Corridor
Stardate: 35008.1330

One would have assumed that on a vessel possessing 15 decks, finding a place to just sit and think in peace would have been easy. A'Janni could not return to his quarters for a reason of his own making, the small room having been decorated to remind him of the world he had been on and the people he was sworn to protect -- and failed. Yes, the royal lineage was safe thanks to their work, but as great as that accomplishment was, it fell quite short of what the Caitian desired. The last thing he needed right now was to remind himself of that failure.

The crew of the BASTET, at least those involved in the drills, were now casually wandering the corridors as they returned to whatever they had been doing before. Many seemed to be doing as he was, walking and thinking although A'Janni was quite certain that none of them were entertaining the thoughts he was, how could they?

As he continued walking, the one-eyed Caitian found himself strolling directly in front of the Counselor's Office. It seemed that the universe had taken pity on the felinoid man, making it so that his presence there perfectly coincided with the Ship's Counselor exiting into the corridor without looking. With both distracted as they were, the only possible outcome came very quickly as they bumped into each other.

"My apologies Counselor Dima," he said first, fearing that his size alone might have been enough to cause the petite woman some harm.

"It is me who should apologize," she quickly said in return. "I was not paying attention to where I was going, which is a very bad thing to do when stepping into a corridor. Are you injured?"

Surprise and disbelief would have reflected in both eyes had he have two for him to look at the woman with. "I am unharmed," he replied after taking several seconds to debate if she was serious, kidding or simply using that line to open a conversation between them. The more he thoughts about the possible reasons for her voiced concern, the more he found himself believing that she was being who she was, the Ship's Counselor and that he was not opposed to it. If the Caitian had learned anything during his journey into the past, it was to take advantage of every moment that came your way, however, they might present themselves to be.  The Trill knew of his plight and understood his pain.  "Can we talk?"

Dima smiled. She had not expected him to be willing to talk to her so quickly after their little chat on the bridge the day before. As a counselor, she understood the need for him to think things through, to come to his own conclusions. Only then would he feel comfortable enough to open up. Whatever had brought him to this point, there was no way she could push him away, not that she would have done so to him or anyone else, especially seeing the pain displayed on his face.  "Of course, come on in."

[/\]
Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 5, Counselor's Office
Stardate: 35008.1340

Nicole waited for A'Janni to make himself comfortable, but despite several invitations to sit, the Caitian remained standing. Apparently, this would be a standing session. "What can I do for you today? Is it about Gemma?"

"No," he replied, quicker than she would have expected had he been trying to avoid the question which meant that there was something else on his mind.

Dima waited for a few seconds but when no further information was provided, she pressed on. "What is on your mind, A'Janni? You asked if we could talk, and yet here we are, in silence. I could spend the next few hours asking you questions until I finally figure out what it is that brought you to me, or you could just tell me. That is why I am here you know." Dima knew enough about the Caitians and specifically the one standing in her officer to know that a more direct approach was best.

"Ensign Enel seems to be doing well in his new role on the BASTET," he announced.

To anyone else, this might have been interpreted as a random thought, something said to break the silence, but Dima understood and quickly read between the lines. "You feel uncomfortable that he is there instead of you? After all, you are trained in Security and find yourself at Flight Controls instead of Tactical."  When she noticed his hesitation, the Counselor narrowed down her questioning to one specific target. "Purpose? You envy him because he has a clear and defined purpose."

"Yes," he admitted with a shrug. "No," A'Janni added shortly after. "It is not that simple.

"It never is," Dima smiled.

"He's doing great, maybe even better than I could have ever done. The drills we just went through proved that. Maybe that is why I envy him and the other giant; Elan. Both have something that I believe I wanted, but I am not so sure about any of this now. I guess I am still trying to figure out what it is that brought me here and why I even staying."

"Those feelings are perfectly normal," the Counselor said. "You have experienced things that most could not even come close to imagine. Give it time."  The most interesting part of all this was that she knew why he was on the BASTET, why he accepted to take a position that he had not been primarily trained for. The reason was as obvious as could be, at least to everyone else but him. Maybe one day soon he would come to realize this, but for now, he needed to be close to Gemma and through her Sheetora, and this even if he could not talk to either one of them.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG A'Janni [Access Character BIO for A'Janni]
Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P010: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 35008.1330 ("Unnerving Silence")
"Unnerving Silence"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Medical Anguish" & (BAS) "Unacknowledged Envy"

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 4, Astrometrics Lab
Stardate: 35008.1330

Their search for the origin of the distress signal detected roughly 24 hours ago had produced no results. With the help of Gemma, Aki reviewed all of the data collected by the temporal sensors permitting them to do nothing more than confirm that the signal was a wide-band transmission meant to travel to other dimensions. The signal was just powerful enough to travel through the invisible boundaries separating the different realms but proved to be too weak to provide any useful information to help identify which one it came from.

Now that the combat drills were over, the two officers could take a moment to relax. Doing so while everyone was running around dealing with imaginary attackers would not have been the best time for either one of them to step out of the Astrometrics Lab. Now, Gemma could go and check in on the ship and crew to make sure everything was as it needed to be while Aki could relax by reviewing the gathered data once again.

It might have seemed weird for the CSciO to want to be alone to review the data instead of taking full advantage of an extra set of eyes, especially when those belonged to Wimdalli. The Uxali scientist was a joy to work with but even she could not find a way to solve their problem. Maybe that was part of the reason why Gemma had returned the moment the end of the drills was announced.

The more Aki looked at the data, the star maps and every other piece of data gathered, the more the Asian woman grew to accept that they would need more than what they had if they were to ever be able to go and help whoever had sent the distress signal.  With the BASTET sitting as close to the center of all the planets they surveyed when the signal was detected, the best they could do was to wait.

Just the thought of doing nothing sent shivers down the back of the CSciO who could easily recall the way the J'Den acted when confronted with the results of their efforts of using a temporal drive to undo the Masters' occupation of their homeworld. Waiting was always the worst part of any mission, and in this case, it was even worse as Aki could imagine the devastation the race of giant invaders was likely unleashing on the world and people who had reached out with a desperate plea for help.

With a thought forming in her head, Aki tapped her communicator. "Mitshiba to Captain Iverson."

=/\= Yes, what can I do for you? =/\=

"I wanted to report our inability to locate the point of origin of the distress signal. Unless a new signal is sent, I am afraid that we will be unable to figure out where it came from," Misaki reported.

=/\= That is most unfortunate. I am guessing that you and Gemma explored all possible avenues available? =/\=

"There is one that we did not consider as I have just thought of it," Aki explained with hesitation."

=/\= Go ahead, I'm listening, =/\= the Captain prompted.

"We could use the D-Drive to send a signal of our own, matching the amplitude of the signal we initially received. It would, in theory, travel back to all of the same dimensions the first signal was able to reach, including the one that is the point of origin. The signal could simply state that we have received the message and await more information. As soon as they reply, we would have a new signal to work with, one that might actually provide us with the data we need without us having to poke around the endless layers of dimensional space."

An uneasy silence followed Aki's explanation which left the Asian woman to wonder what the Captain was thinking. The wait for an answer to that question though did not take so long to come. =/\= Aki... that would advertise our location to countless other dimensions, any number of them could have the Masters, or something worse, just itching to find a new place to invade. I appreciate what you are trying to do, but we are here to respond to the distress signal and evaluate the threat that the Masters are representing to this dimension. We are not here to *invite* them to come here and enslave us all. =/\=

"I am truly sorry Captain," the CSciO said. "I was just trying to come up with a way for us not to have to wait for a second signal that might never come."

=/\= I understand your frustration. The last thing any of us wants is to wait while knowing that there is a race somewhere out there fighting for their very existence against a ruthless and merciless adversary the likes of the Masters. =/\= The Captain said before taking a moment to gather her thoughts. =/\= Maybe, just maybe, if we had not just gone through a war against the Lokustaar we could have taken the chance, but every race possessing space combat capabilities, including the Federation, have endured severe loses and are in no condition to fight off another invader. We have to proceed with extreme caution. Our primary objective here is to evaluate the threat, not engage in combat and certainly not drag the Federation into another war, one that we would be sure to lose this time around.  Continue with your work, do your best to narrow down the possibilities, in the meantime we will keep our ears and eyes open for another signal. I am truly sorry about this, but that is the best we can do at this time. =/\=

"Of course Captain," Aki said undoubtedly understanding the situation. "I fully understand. I am sorry that I even brought up this suggestion as I knew that it was not valid. I just thought that I needed to propose it, just in case I had not thought of every possible consequence."

=/\= Please do not take what I said as an indication that I do not appreciate or want your input in whatever situation we may be faced with. I have always welcomed your opinion and ideas and do not intend to stop. Your suggested idea was a good one, it is just not one that we can afford to implement at this time. =/\=

"Thank you, Captain," Aki said smiling. "I will see if there is something that I might not have thought of and will keep you apprised of any progress we make."

=/\= I have the utmost confidence in you Aki, keep up the good work. Iverson out. =/\=

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M12-P011: USS BASTET: Enel: 35008.1415 ("Sticks of Fury")
=-=
“Sticks of Fury”
Previous posts (ANU) "Medical Anguish" & (BAS) “Unnerving Silence”]

=-=  
Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 8, Mess Hall
Stardate: 35008.1415

Weary from the combat drills, Zub Enel took his tray from the replicator and turned to look around for a table.  There was at least one person at each table.  Some tables had groups of crew members laughing and smiling.  Just as he decided that since he didn’t know anyone, he should simply pick a table, he noticed one, the furthest back.  He saw the set of squared-off shoulders of the woman along with her shoulder-length, coppery hair.  He recognized her as Lt. Gemma despite her hair appearing distinctly brighter.  Dismissing this discrepancy as being caused by the lighting in the room he headed through the other tables toward her.

As he drew alongside her, he noticed she was eating a salad sprinkled with, from the odor, bits of preserved meat and strange white rings with bright yellow centers that wafted up sulphur.  She didn’t look at him, per se, but he saw her eyes dart in his direction and back to her meal. Her posture reminded Zub of an animal ready to pounce, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. Again, he dismissed this, remembering that Gemma had been the one to help him back on the bridge.

“Do you mind if I sit with you, ma’am?” he asked.

Her face, striking in its symmetry, turned sideways and angled up to take him in.  Her expression was completely flat, like he was looking down at an animated doll.  “I do mind," she replied in an accent he did not recognize.  "I’m sure there are plenty of other seats.  If not, eat in your quarters.”  Her eyes narrowed at him ever so slightly.

In spite of a stomach-fluttering spike of rejection, he worked to keep his face pleasant and dampened as much as he could his rippling downy feathers and pinking scales.  “I have an important question to ask you.” 

“Ask me some other time.  I want to finish my meal.  Uninterrupted.” The tone of the Russian woman was unforgiving.

Most people leave when she addresses them like that.  The Voth stayed put.  His tone of voice remained reasonable.  “My question will not take long and I believe that this is the best setting for my asking it.”

She arched an eyebrow, thinking the big talking lizard was going to ask her something sexual.  His face below his huge crest of bony ridges was earnest.  There was no leer.  No dilated pupils.  None of that simmering eagerness men often looked at her with.  No, more like a large, scaly Vulcan, he appeared to have stated honestly his reason for needing to ask her an *important question* at her table.

She inhaled to redouble her rejection of the offer when it occurred to her it had already taken longer to get him to leave than it would to answer whatever his question was.  She saw a worm rear up high enough off his tray for her to see it even though the ensign was holding the tray higher than her head.  “Your meal is escaping,” she said instead.

Zub Enel had thought she was going to be firm about not wanting him there.  Instead, she seemed to be offering him an opening.  “Oh,” he said through a smile, “gagh.  It’s the only insectlike animal the replicator can make that’s alive.  I usually eat them with my tongue, but today I thought I’d try to figure out how to use these Chinese eating sticks.”  He lifted up a pair of black lacquered chopsticks.

Her gaze fixed on the sticks.  “That’s where they went,” she said.  “They fell out of my hair earlier.”

Zub Enel found that notion distinctly unappetizing.  Sweaty hair oil.  The stink would ruin the gagh.  He looked down at her.  The squint in her eyes was gone.  He remembered he’d replicated the sticks along with his meal.  An insight came to him.  “You are joking.”

She tapped the tip of her nose, a gesture he didn’t recognize.

“Sit,” she said coldly in her Russian accent. “Ask.”

After he’d set down his tray and angled exceedingly long legs under the table but far away from hers, she saw he had a plate heaped with various appetizing greens carefully counterbalanced with his black bowl of disgusting, squirming gagh.  He gave her a respectful little head bow before he picked up the chopsticks, one in each hand.  He looked at them puzzled.

“Here.” She plucked away each stick and quickly demonstrated the technique. The way she handled them, it was easy to see that she knew how to use them.

“I see,” he said, his scales turning a bit pink.  He mimicked exactly the use with his three fingers.

The Russian woman said, “Now. Question!” Her tone made his scales flutter ever so slightly. It was as if she had threatened his very life by those simple two words.

He looked into a face that had once again gone featureless.  Only her eyes stayed actively engaged with him. 

He lowered the volume of his voice, “I was wondering about Captain Valentine’s….”

“Commander Valentine is the XO.  Brown hair.  If you meant the CO, that one is Captain Iverson.  Black hair.”

He found her description of the two officers was delivered dispassionately like she was describing a pair of Organian Tree Goats.

Zub asked softly, “How would you describe Captain Iverson’s battle style?”

If there had been any warmth, or rather any echo of warmth in Lt. Gemma's face, it vanished.  “You will find out her battle style soon enough, Ensign.  What you need to concentrate on right now is learning everything you can as fast as you can about a race called The Masters and *their* ‘battle style.’”

“I didn’t mean to offend, ma’am.”

“Who’s offended?” she asked, her icy voice making him wonder if she could actually be offended by anything.  “Eat.  Your gagh is getting … restless.”

They both finished their meal in silence, Zub trying to understand why the woman seemed to act so differently from when she was on the bridge. Anya on her end of the table, studied the massive lizard debating as to how best to strike in order to cause the maximum amount of pain and damage. He had convinced her to allow him to join her, so it made sense that she would take full advantage of this opportunity.

=-=
David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

[“To eat or be eaten, to escape or be taken...a matter of utmost importance to the one concerned, yet it happens all the time and we don't even notice.” 
― Nahoko Uehashi, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit]
M12-P012: USS BASTET: Gemma: 35008.1415 ("Sticks of Fury (Her Perspective)")
=-=
"Sticks of Fury (Her Perspective)"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Medical Anguish" / (BAS) "Sticks of Fury"]
=-=

(The below is taking place at the same time as David's "Sticks of Fury")

Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 8, Mess Hall
Stardate: 35008.1415

As soon as the combat drills were over, the Uxali scientist left the Astrometrics Lab. The frustration had become too much for her to handle. The fact that Anya kept whispering in her ear about their need to destroy the Masters did not help.  By the time the woman reached the Mess hall, the content of the PADD in her hand had changed. Wimda had wanted to review the sensor data, but Anya had other, more battle targetted, plans.

First, she needed to get something to eat. For some reason, being around Misaki had made her be famished. Anya requested something simple from the replicator; a green salad with eggs and bacon. With the bowl and PADD in hand the redhead Russian made her way to a table.  She set her eyes on one of the tables at the far corner of the room. Seeing who was coming closer, those sitting there quickly moved. To recognize Anya Petrov was a matter of survival for anyone on the BASTET, and everyone knew this.

Just as she sat down and the now vacant table, Anya noticed someone else walk into the Mess Hall. It was a physical impossibility to not see the towering Voth but she paid little attention to him. That was until he began to walk towards her. The closer Zub Enel got, the more Anya Petrov prepared herself. The battle played itself in her mind a thousand times with the same unpleasant ending for the reptiliam man.

“Do you mind if I sit with you, ma’am?” he asked.

She turned her head to get the fullest view of him as she could get given his height and her being sitting. Vulnerable locations where instantly mapped along his neck and head. Petrov had never faught a Voth before. She therefore had to use expertise from bettles with similar opponents. The Russian assassin figured that he could not be any more difficult to dispatch than a Jem'Hadar or Nausicaans. Killing a member of the senior staff though would not please the Captain, so she opted on a different tactic. “I do mind. I’m sure there are plenty of other seats.  If not, eat in your quarters.” She looked at him through narrowed eyes hoping that he would realize the kindness of her words and actions.

He did not. “I have an important question to ask you.” 

Anya used every ounce of self control she possessed to not strike at him. She respected Captain Iverson enough not to deprive her of the ship's new Chief of Security. Why she had chosen him over her though would still be an unanswered question. “Ask me some other time.  I want to finish my meal.  Uninterrupted.” Petrov was not pleased. The towering lizard man was gambling with his life and she would not be able to hold back much longer.

Again he did not move. His voice remained calm and peaceful. “My question will not take long and I believe that this is the best setting for my asking it.”

She arched an eyebrow, thinking the big talking lizard was going to ask her something sexual. That was the only reason she could accept for him taking such risks with his life. Men, no matter their race, seemed tolose all sense of prudence when dealing with an attractive woman. A fact and weakness that Anya had used more than a few times to reach her intended targets. As she studied him though, none of the normal indicators were present. His face below his huge crest of bony ridges was earnest.  There was no leer.  No dilated pupils.  None of that simmering eagerness men often looked at her with.  No, more like a large, scaly Vulcan, he appeared to have stated honestly his reason for needing to ask her an *important question* at her table.

She inhaled to redouble her rejection of the offer when it occurred to her it had already taken longer to get him to leave than it would to answer whatever his question was.  She saw a worm rear up high enough off his tray for her to see it even though the ensign was holding the tray higher than her head.  “Your meal is escaping,” she said instead thinking that there might be more to this creature than she had initially thought. Gemma had helped in on the bridge. Anya believed that this had been a show of weakness. Now she wondered if the other woman knew something about him that she had failed to see. A more thorough investigation was required.

“Oh,” he said through a smile, “gagh.  It’s the only insectlike animal the replicator can make that’s alive.  I usually eat them with my tongue, but today I thought I’d try to figure out how to use these Chinese eating sticks.”  He lifted up a pair of black lacquered chopsticks.

Anya gazed at the two small sticks. Small, easily concealed, they had proven to be effective weapons more than once. The memories of her using them with such deadly accuracy softened her thoughts. Not much, but enough to make her tolerate the giant lizard for a little longer. She might even be able to have a little fun with him.   “That’s where they went,” she said.  “They fell out of my hair earlier.”

The reaction was as she expected it to be. He instantly appeared repulsed by the thought. As he looked down at her though, his posture changed as a realization dawned onto him.  “You are joking.”

She tapped the tip of her nose. The gesture sometimes used by humans signified that a correct guess had been made. The look on his face showed that he did not understand what she meant to convey

“Sit,” she said coldly in her Russian accent. “Ask.” This would provide her with a perfect opportunity to study him physically. Every race has a weakness, and this might confirm what his was.

Anya watched with great interest as he set down. His efforts to force his legs under the table were almost comical. The assassin also took note of the side dish of various appetizing greens  next to the Klingon gagh.  What came next made Petrov roll her eyes. With a puzzled expression about him, the reptilian held the chopsticks, one in each hand

“Here.” She plucked away each stick and quickly demonstrated the technique. The two small sticks quickly became an extension of her form. They moved with mesmerizing grace and precision, just as any other weapon she got her hands on. With a single motion of her wrist, she could pluck an eye out. With a little bit of pressure, the armless sticks could be made to penetrate any softspot along the neck. With a little knowledge as to his physiology, she might be able to stab straight into his heart. For the moment though, she displayed their officially intended use only.

“I see,” he said, his scales turning a bit pink.  He mimicked exactly the use with his three fingers.

Growing tired with this game, Anya decided to end this. “Now. Question!” Her tone made his scales flutter ever so slightly. It was as if she had threatened his very life by those simple two words. He looked into a face that had once again gone featureless.  Only her eyes stayed actively engaged with him. 

He lowered the volume of his voice, “I was wondering about Captain Valentine’s….”

“Commander Valentine is the XO.  Brown hair.  If you meant the CO, that one is Captain Iverson.  Black hair.” Anya forced herself not to roll her eyes. The Ensign was new and very likely too nervous to keep the names of everyone he had met straight. At least she hoped that this was the case. Otherwise, his inability to associate names to faces may prove a major liability for a Chief of Security.
Zub asked softly, “How would you describe Captain Iverson’s battle style?”

If there had been any warmth, or rather any echo of warmth in the Lieutenant's face, it vanished. Iverson was a strong woman. She had to be after everything she endured along with her crew. This did not mean that she was a fighter though. Her unwillingness to decisevely act in a crisis could prove their downfall. That was something Anya had to accept despite her experience and better judgement. Right now though, there was a more pressing matter to focus on.  “You will find out her battle style soon enough, Ensign.  What you need to concentrate on right now is learning everything you can as fast as you can about a race called The Masters and *their* ‘battle style.’”

“I didn’t mean to offend, ma’am.”

“Who’s offended?” she asked, her icy voice making him wonder if she could actually be offended by anything.  “Eat.  Your gagh is getting… restless.”

That was how the conversation came to an end. Anya could imagine that he was processing her answers. On her end, she was studying the massive reptilian. During their conversation she observed his movements, isolating possible weaknesses. She silently debated as to how best to strike in order to cause the maximum amount of pain and damage. He had convinced her to allow him to join her, so it made sense that she would take full advantage of this opportunity.

=-=
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]
M12-P013: USS BASTET: Andersson: 35008.1530 ("Sticks of Fury, Aftermath")
=-=
"Sticks of Fury, Aftermath"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Medical Anguish" by Rachel / (BAS) "Sticks of Fury (Her Perspective)" by Rachel]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Infirmary
Stardate: 35008.1530 

Nic walked into the Infirmary and made her way to the CMO's office knowing exactly where to find Sofia.

"Doctor Andersson?" The joint Trill had one of those smiles dancing on her lips making it clear that this was not an official visit.

"Counselor Dima?" The physician said in return, matching both the playful tone and the dancing smile. "What can I do for you, my dear?"

"My dear?" Nic repeated using her hand to fan her face as if the words had caused her to blush and be stricken by a tidal wave of emotions. "Doctor, are you always this forward with your colleagues?"

"Only when it is you, sweetie," Sofia said. With the BASTET floating in space waiting for something to happen, the atmosphere on board was much more relaxed, and this even after the combat drills called by Commander Valentine. So, Andersson saw no harm in playing these little games with Dima, and by the looks of things, neither did she.

"First, 'my dear', and now 'sweetie'," Nic laughed. "It sounds like things are getting serious."

"I truly hope so," Sofia said as if the words had somehow wounded her in some emotional way. "Bored?"

"No," the Counselor admitted. "I was just made aware of something and thought I would share with you. Did you know that Ensign Enel spoke with Anya?"

"Anya?" Sofia said before swallowing hard. "I did not know about this. How far away was he from her?" The Doctor tried to estimate what a safe distance would be. As friendly and helpful as Gemma could be at times, the personality of Anya Petrov was the complete opposite. Everyone on the ship knew to avoid her at all costs if they wanted to see another day.

"I was not there to see this, but according to some of the crew, they were sitting in the Mess Hall... at the same table."

Upon hearing this Doctor Andersson quickly fetched the medical kit next to her desk. "Where is he now? How badly injured is he? Why was I not informed earlier? Heck, why did you take so long to tell me? That poor man could be dying, or is it too late?"

Nic found Sofia's reaction both entertaining and educational, showing how the woman's thoughts linked one to the next in rapid sequence. "He's alive," Dima said easing her friend's fears. "In fact, he's unharmed. Again, according to the same crew members, they had lunch together. I am not completely certain about this next part, but it seems that Anya might have shown Zub how to use chopsticks."

"What did Anya do? Shoved them through his eye sockets? Used them to pluck out his eyes in order to feed them to him?" The reputation of the Russian Assassin was well known, her deadly skills and cruel efficiency having become almost legendary amongst the crew members of the BASTET. That was one of the reasons why Captain Iverson did not want that particular personality to be on the bridge as it would only make things that much more impossible to control.

"In a nutshell, Anya walked into the Mess Hall, found a table, Zub joined her, they exchanged a few words, he sat down, she showed him how to use chopsticks, and ate in silence and she left without laying a finger on him," Nic explained.

"Wow," Sofia was stunned beyond her ability to speak, her gaze dropping onto her desk without focusing on anything in particular.

"See, I figured you might want to know about that," the Counselor added.

"How am I going to handle this?"

"What do you mean?"

Sofia looked up at Nic. "I have to make a log entry about this. I just need to know if I am going to label it as an oddity, a shift in the fabric of space-time or a flat out miracle of biblical proportion?"

"You might be over-reacting just a little," Nic said with a smirk. "What it does show us though is that Anya may not be the absolute killing machine we believed her to be. I will not say that she is not dangerous, as I am sure that she is someone that is better left alone and given a wide berth, but Ensign Enel might have found a way to get through to her."

"That or he is the luckiest creature in the galaxy," Sofia theorized. "Maybe there is something about Voth physiology that makes them naturally luckier than most."

"You and I both know that luck is nothing more than a psychological concept, one that not even Misaki would be able to quantify. It is far more likely that, if there is something about Voth physiology, that it is some kind of pheromones that make anyone close be less violent and confrontational."

"I will have to look into that possibility more closely," Doctor Andersson said. "In the meantime, though, I will be happy to consider our new Chief of Security as the BASTET's lucky charm."

"A seven-foot-tall, scaly, reptilian lucky charm trained for security and combat?" Dima chuckled. "Well, I have heard of worst things and people considered for that role."

"Care to go for a little something to eat?" Sofia said as she stood, apparently leaving the previous discussion behind as if it had not even taken place.  "I'm sure we can find something in the Mess Hall to make our going there worthwhile."

"Why not just go back to either one of our quarters?" Nic asked. "It would be much quieter."

"I am sure it would be," the physician said. "The problem is that I would not get to see the table where this miracle took place. I thought we could admire the location and officially designate it as holy ground. The place in all of the universes where Anya Petrov became human."

The joint Trill slouched and gazed at the Terran Doctor appearing unimpressed. "I will say this, not having something concrete to keep the crew busy is not a good thing."

"I think you are right," Andersson agreed before taking Dima by the hand and taking her out of Sickbay and to the Mess Hall, even if it was only to get something to eat.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M12-P014: USS BASTET: Valentine: 35008.1730 ("No More Drills")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"No More Drills"
[previous post (ANU) "Who Are You?" / (BAS) "Sticks of Fury, Aftermath")]

Setting: USS BASTET, Astrometrics
Stardate: 35008.1730

The ship and crew were as ready as could be; the combat drills had made this beyond clear. They would be ready to handle whatever the Masters would throw their way, now all that was needed was for the BASTET to get going, but where? Searching for a planet in any uncharted region of space would be difficult enough, but they were searching for a planet within the multiverse without a single clue as to where to start looking.

Not wishing to pace the bridge or to force the crew to endure another drill, the Executive Officer went to see Lt. Mitshiba knowing full well that if something had been found, she would have informed them mere seconds after. Sarena walked into the Astrometric lab to see an intricate 3D holographic map of the region of space, showing where the distress signal had been picked up. According to the map, the BASTET was near the center of all the locations indicated on the map meaning that they were exactly where they needed to be. What they required above all else was patience.

"Commander Valentine," Mitshiba said after turning her head to see who had walked in. "I am sorry, there is nothing to report. I am afraid that you came all the way down here for nothing."

The Executive Officer chuckled. "All the way down here? The BASTET is not *that* big. You do realize that the bridge is only 3 decks above us."

The CSciO nodded her head and pointed upward in a slightly diagonal direction. "It is more that way, but I understand what you meant. I just feel sorry that you came down here only to hear me say that we have not picked up anything new. I have modified the sensors to detect the slightest hint of a signal that matches the frequency and modulation of the one we intercepted during our temporal survey of the planets in this region. There is nothing more I can do. Whoever sent the signal, if they are hoping for us to fly to their rescue, will need to send another signal."

"They might not even know that their first signal was picked up," Sarena said. "You said that it was very weak, so it might have been a desperate shot in the dark, one that they are now convinced has failed."

"True," Misaki said. "There is also the possibility that the signal was the last thing they were able to transmit before the Masters annihilated their ability to transmit. We do not know a great deal about their Modus Operandi, but knowing that they are expert conquerors means that they should target a planet's ability to communicate first before moving in for the kill."

"Agreed," the Executive Officer sighed. Each minute that passed only decreased the odds that whoever sent the signal was still in any shape to receive whatever assistance they would be able to provide.  "Keep searching," Sarena said as she made her way back to the door. "I will inform the Captain of our lack of progress. I suspect that we will not stay here indefinitely."

The door whooshed open and Valentine stepped into the corridor, but just as she did so a strange noise resembling distant static was heard prompting the Executive Officer to do a 180 and return to Mitshiba's side.

"It's another signal, and this one is not quite as weak as the previous. I should be able to clear it up well enough for the universal translator to make sense of it and allow us to clearly hear its content," Mitshiba said while already working on the task.  It only took a few seconds before a voice came over the laboratory's speakers.

=/\= Distress signal received. We will be in orbit shortly. We are not seeing your ship though. Respond to this signal so we can locate your ship. =/\=

Misaki and Sarena exchange looks of surprised shock. "Are you certain that this signal is of the same frequency and amplitude as the first one we intercepted?"

The CSciO quickly ran a comparison of the two signals, and ran it again just to be absolutely certain. When the results came back the same the second time around, Misaki looked back at Sarena. "It is. The two signals are a perfect match. They were sent by the same technology."

"That puts an interesting twist to this story of ours," the Executive Officer said. "We initially believed the target to be a planet, but now it would seem that we are dealing with a ship."

"I would appear so," the CSciO said, "but there is one more twist. I just compared the signal to the data we collected when the BASTET was helping the J'Den. The signal is a match."

"The signal is a match to the J'Den?" Sarena asked with surprise. She had not expected to be dealing with that race again.

"No," Misaki quickly said. "The signal is a match to the technology used by the Masters. If this is true and not some sort of similar technology, the initial distress signal we received did not come from someone being attacked by the Masters, but rather by the Masters themselves."

"I need to report this to the Captain. Keep monitoring the signals, I have the feeling that our mission might just have taken a very unexpected turn, one that I doubt anyone could have anticipated."

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: USS BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 35008.1800

With this new information in hand, it made sense for the Captain to call a meeting of the Senior Staff as everyone needed to be made aware of this unexpected turn of events.  Instead of trying to explain everything, the CSciO opted to playback all of the transmissions they had collected in order of their being intercepted.

=/\= ... peaceful... cannot... protect... invaders... Masters... help... please... =/\=

=/\= Distress signal received. We will be in orbit shortly. We are not seeing your ship though. Respond to this signal so we can locate your ship. =/\=

=/\= We are in orbit and still unable to locate your ship. Respond and confirm your dimensional coordinates. =/\=

=/\= This is cruiser 455 of the Masters third fleet. We have detected the remains of some of our warriors on the planet surface. We are descending to investigate. Requesting back-up. =/\=

"That last message repeats a few times before stopping," Lt. Mitshiba reported.

"They probably figured that it was received," Lt. Gemma said. "That or they received some sort of confirmation that we were not able to detect."

"That is what I thought at first, so I checked a little deeper," The CSciO added. "I was able to identify the dimension from which the signal came from. They did not stop transmitting that last message, it simply stopped, mid-sentence. Something caused it to stop."

"Something made a Masters cruise just *stop* transmitting?" Doctor Anderson gasped. "I say we count ourselves lucky, be thankful that something bad happened to them and go back home with our mission completed."

"Our mission is far from completed," Gemma pointed out. 'We came here to investigate the possible threat the Masters were presenting to this dimension. Now, we have enough evidence to suspect that there is something else out there capable to stopping the Masters. We have to go and figure out whom or what did this."

"The enemy of my enemy?" Counselor Dima said, not sounding overly convinced by her own words.

"No," Gemma clarified. "I was more thinking along the lines of us possibly facing a race that could be more of a threat than the Masters."

"She might be right," Zub nervously said, not sure if he should voice his opinion at this time.

"Captain," A'Janni said. "We can't just leave without better understanding what happened. Ensign Enel is right in stating that Lt. Gemma is correct. Our mission has not changed. We were sent here to investigate a possible threat to this dimension and its inhabitants."

"Commander Valentine," Iverson said as she stood from her chair at the end of the long table. "bring all systems to full battle readiness and get the D-Drive warmed up. We are going to check things out."

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P015: USS BASTET: A'Janni: 35008.1810 ("Pre-Jump Chat")
"Pre-Jump Chat"
[previous (ANU) "Getting Ready" / (BAS) "No More Drills"]

[/\]

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35008.1810

Immediately following the meeting, Zub and A'Janni left the Observation Lounge and headed directly to their respective stations. Once there, the Caitian mutters to himself, "Well, for a moment there I was getting concerned that I would not get to see the D-Drive at work."

Sitting at the Security and Tactical station located at the front of the bridge on the same side as Flight Control, Zub easily overheard this. "From what I have been able to gather about these Masters, we should be more concerned about them, or whatever it is that made them call for reinforcements."

"I think we'll be alright," the FCO said. "I have been reviewing the way this ship uses its D-Drive and Temporal Drive to create a sort of cloaking device that shields it from pretty much everything. It does severely limit the number of things that the ship and crew can do, but since this is nothing more than an investigation mission, I do not think that we have a lot to be concerned about. Let us be honest, there is no reason for us to engage the Masters or anything else we might see once we are there. All we need to do is jump to whatever dimension Lt. Mitshiba points us to, gather the information we need and jump back."

As the new Chief of Security, Zub had reviewed the dossiers of every member of the crew, at least as far as his clearance allowed. Enel was very well aware of what happened on KZINTI ALPHA which led A'Janni to sit at the Flight Control station instead of where the Voth was; at the Security and tactical station. The Caitian was trained and possessed experience that made him a perfect candidate this this role, but Zub wondered if his fears of failure had driven him to be where he was now. Understanding the motivation of humans was already difficult enough, and to do so for a Caitian was definitively out of reach for Zub at this time.

Not fully understanding why someone did what they did though did not preclude him from offering a few words of wisdom. "There was an instructor at the Academy who kept repeating that it was good practice to plan for the worst while hoping for the best," Enel said getting the ship's systems as ready as he could. "We have no idea what it is we will encounter once we get there. I agree with you and hope that there will not be any need for us to engage, but everything is possible in this universe, and by the sounds of things, we are not even going to be in *this* universe. Therefore, there is no harm in being prepared.

"I know," A'Janni said. "I am still trying to wrap my brains around the fact that this ship can travel both through time and to other dimensions."

The Voth shook his head as if to clear it.  “I too am amazed.  And pleased.  This ship has some unexpected tricks to play on the unwary.”  

Zub made his fourth or fifth check to ensure all phasers and torpedoes were fully charge.  A thought came to him.  “Lieutenant A’Janni, listening to all those transmission, I had the impression that the Masters have been talking among themselves.  The original distress signal may have been directed outward to anyone in range, but the intent may have been to raise one of their own vessels.  Now some misadventure may have occurred to the last Master transmitting, but I suspect the Masters are not asking for or expecting our help, much less know we’re even here.  How do you think they might react if we make ourselves known?”

"I have never directly dealt with that race, but I have the feeling that any encounter would not be a good one," A'Janni replied. "All I know is that I do not wish to test that perception."

"I believe that many others amongst the crew would agree with you."

"Are we ready?" Commander Valentine asked.

"Yes, Sir," A'Janni and Zub replied in unison. Everything was as ready as could be for the dimensional jump, this no matter what they would or would not have to deal with once there.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG A'Janni [Access Character BIO for A'Janni]
Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P016: USS BASTET: Gemma & Zub: 35008.1820 ("Listening In")
=-=
"Listening In"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Missing Pieces" / (BAS) "Pre-Jump Chat"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35008.1820

Sitting at the Operations station, Gemma easily overheard the conversation between A'Janni and Zub. She did not show any external acknowledgment of what was said. In fact, she never even looked in their direction. Being an ILO required the ability to multitask. This meant that she could easily perform the pre-jump verifications while still listening in.

It was almost comical to hear them talking back and forth. As lighthearted as their opinions might have sounded, they both presented valid arguments. The BASTET had for a mission to locate the source of the distress signal. Once that was accomplished, they would travel to that location, investigate all possible threats, and return home. Getting involved in whatever was happening in that other dimension was not part of their mission. Would it all end up being that simple? Gemma strongly doubted it.

The Vulcan belief in the IDIC nearly assured that something unexpected would happen. Not everyone needed to believe this for it to be true. 'Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations' was a reality, especially when considering the multi-verse. The ship's database was filled with the specifics of other dimensions, each stranger than the one before. Dimensions where an entire lifetime could be by in a single second of our time. Dimensions where gravity itself appeared not to exist. There was even the home dimension of Species 8472 where space was liquid.

With endless possibilities in endless arrangements, everything was possible. This also meant that there was no way for anyone on board the BASTET to predict what would come to pass. All they knew was this; the dimension was one never before visited by the Federation and the Masters were there. Beyond those two facts, everything else was mere conjecture and speculation.

While reflecting on all this, Gemma continued performing her duties. During that time Ensign Enel made himself stop fiddling with the Tactical station controls.  He felt his down prickling.  His hands were icy.  His scales had gone pale tan.  He was holding his breath.  He recognized that his desire to adapt flawlessly to whatever awaited them had revved him into a state akin to panic.  Not panic. Just wound up on the knife edge of flight or fight.

He glanced at the big cat warrior beside him at the flight controls.  The Caitian ignored his screens.  His one eye was pointed slightly up and to the side, unfocussed.  One furry ear was pivoted backward as he listened for the command to get underway.

Zub Enel glanced toward Lieutenant Gemma at the Ops station.  Her shoulder-length hair fell in ringlets that were a more subdued coppery red than he’d seen in the Mess Hall.  Her face, too, was more animated than the oddly flat aspect she had shown him while eating.  Her eyes followed the data scrolling in from the sensors.  She looked intent, but not tense.

He stared at his screen that showed nothing within range of the tactical sensors, nothing to raise shields against, nothing to target.  His hand-to-hand coach’s voice from his teen years came to him.  Before tough matches, the coach, a Voth named Pul Aris, always imparted wisdom in quaint sayings.  He’d take a look at Zub’s usually unfamiliar opponent and then say to Zub, “Use the Force, Luke.”  

To this day Zub had no idea what that meant, but the saying tickled the coach endlessly.  Zub Enel remembered how he’d flush red with resentment that the coach was having a good time while Zub was about to endure a storm of painful punches, kicks and flips.  

On the heels of that bon mot, Coach Aris would intone with gravitas, “Relax at the first contact.”

That wisdom served Zub well, after he learned to follow it.  Instead of being afraid of the pain of being staggered back or surprised by a flip or smacked with a kick, he would relax his mind and body as the first blow came.  That pause from the anticipation of pain let his mind’s eye see without thinking how that fist or a grab or a foot was coming.  That awareness of the true moment let his reaction match the situation.  Adapting while the attack happened, he’d roll, float or deflect, versus his mind being paralyzed, spinning through a million ways to avoid being hurt.

He inhaled deeply and quietly exhaled. The breath had drawn in the furry scent of A’Janni next to him.  He slipped into that old hand-to-hand mindset.  His muscles remained toned for a lightning fast reaction, but not tense.  His hands warmed.  His scales darkened.  His prickled down settled.  His mind cleared. 

Back at the OPS station, Gemma glanced down at the Operations console before reporting. "Final checks have been made. All departments are reporting ready. Only one last thing needs to be done," the ILO added. "Ensign Enel, be sure to take all tactical systems offline before the jump. Only the shields are to remain operational."

"Offline?" Zub said, not understanding why. This would leave the ship vulnerable upon their arrival into whatever dimension they were heading for.

"The D-Drive requires all power to be diverted to it. The shields are part of the process of creating a bias in the fabric of space. The rest of the power will be used to take us from here to there." Gemma explained sounding much more amicable than she had back in the Mess Hall. "The BASTET will be safe as the dimensional distortion field will hide the ship from sensors and wondering eyes."

Zub nodded his head showing a deeper understanding of what had just been explained. "It makes perfect sense. If the tactical systems are powered up during the jump, the power drain would leave them in a quasi-powered state. Our instruments here on the bridge could show them as being ready while in reality, they are not. Since the shields will be receiving extra power, they are not an issue. The weapons, on the other hand, would present a possibly fatal issue if we tried to use them."

"You are a natural at this," A'Janni said. The way he said this hinted that the Caitian had not considered this possibility. "Glad you are sitting there instead of me.”  

The Voth’s massive head crest prevented him the pleasure of cocking an ironic eyebrow.

"Lt. Gemma," Zub said looking back at the woman sitting at the OPS station. "Would a delayed power-up of 15 seconds be enough to avoid any problems."

Gemma actually smiled, taking Cmdr., Valentine off guard. "The power distribution of the BASTET is actually set to account for this. Power is channeled back from the D-Drive as soon as the jump is completed. You should have 70 to 80 percent power available after 5 seconds. Full power will be available a few seconds later. So, if we do land in the middle of a battle, you two will need to keep us safe for at least 5 seconds, 8 to be absolutely sure."

Zub and A'Janni exchanged a quick glance before turning their attention back to their consoles.

"I will make the necessary modifications to the tactical systems," Enel said.

"And I will have several possible evasive techniques at the ready," A'Janni added. "Clearly, jumping through time and to other dimensions is *not* the same thing."

"No," Gemma confirmed. "No, it is not."

"If you are all done, can we get on our way?" Cmdr. Valentine asked. Whatever patience the woman had was gone.

Gemma glanced once again at her console, then looked back over her shoulder to the Captain. "We are ready, Sir."

"Let's go. Engage D-Drive in 3... 2... 1..."

=-=
This joint post brought to you by

David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

and

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]
M12-P017: USS BASTET: Iverson: 35008.1830 ("Dimensional Jump")
---
"Dimensional Jump"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Missing Pieces" / (BAS) "Listening In")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35008.1830

Selene was nervous but no one on the command deck would know it. Since their return from ELYSIA, thanks to the repairs performed by the crew of the USS HAWKING, the BASTET had only used its Temporal Drive. This would be the first real test of the rebuilt D-Drive without having the assistance of another trans-dimensional vessel nearby. The endless possibilities of something going wrong haunted the Captain but she knew that they did not have a choice. Their mission, as simple as it sounded, could not be ignored.

"We are ready, Sir," Lieutenant Gemma announced pulling Captain Iverson out of her thoughts.

Whatever hesitations or misgivings she might have had no longer mattered.  Selene needed to believe in her ship as much as she did in its crew.  With a nod of her had she gave the go-ahead signal which was quickly followed by Sarena changing the status of the BASTET to Red Alert with a simple touch of her controls before giving the order. "Let's go. Engage D-Drive in 3... 2... 1..."

A quiet, barely audible hum filled the ship accompanied by an equally faint vibration. Just as every previous dimensional jump before, both this sound and vibration did not register on instruments, but yet everyone could hear and feel them. On the main view screen, the distortion in the fabric of space steadily grew until it was the only thing visible.  The shifting patterns made it seem as if the stars beyond it were performing some sort of slow dance, becoming the BASTET and those inside to venture forth into whatever new world awaited them.

"Dimensional field strength is at maximum," Gemma reported from the Operations station.

"Shields are not showing any signs of there being anything out there, Ma'am," Enel added, the new Chief of Security not entirely certain if this was normal or not. "Although I will admit that it feels like there is electricity dancing on my scales."

"No need to worry Ensign," Selene offered. "It is quite normal for the shields to not register anything as they are used to generate this bias in the fabric of space. The same goes for the feeling of electricity on your body. The energy created by the Dimensional Drive supercharges the air around us. Nothing dangerous, but the feeling does require some getting used to."

The Caitian softly growled as he noticed his fur standing on end. The feeling might not have been all that unpleasant physically, but it was easy to see that he did not appreciate the way it made him look.

"Not wanting to bring any attention to the discomfort of their Flight Control Officer, Captain Iverson continued speaking to the Chief Tactical and Security Officer. "As for calling me Ma'am, you can stick to Sir. I realize that some of the other female senior officers feel like using 'Sir' somehow strips them of their femininity, but I assure you that I am not one of them."

"I can second that," Sarena chuckled. "I am still waiting to see which will come first -- You wearing a dress or you punching someone flat to their backs. I still believe that the odds are an even 50/50 on that bet."

"You might be waiting for a while," Captain Iverson said glancing at her First Officer before turning her attention to the Caitian Flight Control Officer. "Lieutenant A'Janni, take us in, thrusters only."

"Thrusters, aye," the Caitian said sounding rather anxious to see this end so that his fur could return to the way he was used to having it -- flat against his skin and not sticking straight out.

---
Setting: Space
Stardate: 35008.1835

The USS BASTET hung in the dark void between stars with grace and purpose, the distortion appeared to be mere meters ahead of the arrow-shaped forward hull, a distance that soon grew shorter as the ship began to move ahead and started to vanish into the breach between dimensions. The process was relatively slow, taking several minutes, which made it that much more interesting to see, not that there was anyone around to witness this feat of technology.

From the tip of the forward hull to the entire front of the ship followed by the four warp nacelles, the USS BASTET vanished into the rift leaving no signs of it ever having been there when the process ended and the stars could be seen as they were now that the distortion was gone.

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35008.1840

The dancing stars that were previously visible had been replaced by fractal fields of distortion within one another. The way the image and colours appeared on the main viewscreen reminded many of a kaleidoscope effect, mesmerizing them for the duration of the transition from one dimension to the other. The journey only took a few seconds, but they were spent in complete admiration of what was happening.

"We are through," Gemma announced as soon as the main viewscreen displayed a still stars cape with the edge of a planet in the lower-left corner. "All systems are showing green. The D-Drive performed as expected and the coordinates match those that we entered. We are where we wanted to be." The Intelligence Liaison Officer who was also acting as Chief of Operations paused for a few seconds as various reports appeared on her console.  "Doctor Andersson is already reporting several cases of headaches and one case of extreme dizziness. Other than that, no injuries have been reported."

"Captain," Lieutenant Mitshiba said from the Science Station. "Sensors are not detecting any vessels in orbit of the planet. They are picking up traces of metal on the planet surface that matches the construction materials used by the Masters. The problem is that there is not enough there to account for a missing cruiser, let alone two. Maybe the ships were simply damaged and withdrew."

"That or whatever destroyed them did enough damage to pulverize those ships into sub-atomic particles," Commander Valentine proposed.

"Now that is not a nice thought," Counsellor Dima voiced, the joint Trill stood next to the Captain ready to offer whatever supports or advice that might be required depending on the situation.

"We are here to evaluate potential threats to the Federation," Iverson said, giving an agreeing nod of her head to Dima. "We thought we were here to see what the Masters were doing, but it would seem that this mission has taken on a slightly more urgent aspect.  Keep the dimensional field active in order to hide us from sensors and let us try to figure this mystery out."

---
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)
M12-P018: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 35008.1845 ("Dimensional Survey")
"Dimensional Survey"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Missing Pieces" & (BAS) "Dimensional Jump"

///^\\\
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35008.1845

Every dimension was different and possessed its own rules, laws of physics and even concept of time if any of those things actually existed. It was impossible to accurately gauge the extent of those differences from another dimension, so Aki needed to go through her full checklist as quickly as possible upon their arrival to ensure that the dimension they were in did not possess some unexpected characteristics. An example of his would be a higher or lower universal gravitational constant crating major navigational problems forcing the BASTET to change the way it moved around stars and planets. Increased or even a completely different magnetic polarity could cause the ship's hull to suddenly attract other particles or even smaller asteroids.  Needless to say, the list was long and seemed to get longer with each jump as more unexpected variants were encountered.

So far though the survey of this dimension had not revealed there to be anything overly strange. Space was a black void and the distant stars appeared to be large balls of gases caught in a cycle of solar nuclear fission. Aki grinned as she recalled one journey where they came across a reverse light-wave dimension where everything they saw appeared as a negative opposite where black was white and white was black.

Aki processed down the list as quickly as she could, lost in her own universe of science research in which she both hoped for and feared to discover something new and different. With more than half the items on her list checked, this dimension appeared to be very similar to the one they referred to as X: 000 / Y: 000 / Z: 000, or better known to everyone else as 'home'.  

With the main physical characteristics checked, the Asian scientist could focus on the smaller aspects of this dimension such as background radiations and quantum oscillations. Again, Aki performed the tests as quickly as possible and confirmed that everything was within the norms as set by their own dimension. The only notable difference was the presence of an odd galactic vibration that had never before been encountered. Although it did not seem to have any effect on the BASTET of its systems, the CSciO made sure to keep a close watch on it, just in case.

With the survey of the universe around them complete, Aki could shift her attention to the nearby planet and the sensor readings she had reported on immediately following their arrival. As far as they knew, two Master cruisers had been here, one destroyed after summoning the second for help. Now, both of those ships were nowhere to be found and the debris on the planet's surface, if that was what it was, was certainly too small to account for a crash. Following Commander Valentine's suggestion that they might have been vaporized, the Asian woman searched the orbit of the planet for the presence of those particles in higher concentration. Again, to Aki's relief and disappointment, her search provided no results or even the slightest clue as to what could have happened to the Masters’ vessels.

The only thing that kept showing up on her sensor scans was this strange galactic vibration that seemed to be everywhere. It was not the result of some collapsing star or nearby black hole, the vibration was just there, present in everything. Aki quickly began to theorize that this vibration could be the standard molecular oscillation magnified several million times, but if this was the case, it would likely suggest that all matter in this dimension was on the edge of breaking itself apart, something that their sensors would have picked up on the moment they arrived.

Aki found her attention slip despite her greatest efforts to keep herself focus. On one side she was trying to figure out what could have happened to the two missing cruisers, and on the other, her mind scrambled to find some sort of explanation for this vibration. The Asian woman always loved to uncover a mystery that needed to be solved, this was why she had joined Starfleet and why she did not hesitate to join the crew of the BASTET. Exploring new dimensions was a dream come true, although it did come with a fair share of frustrations as unimaginable mysteries came knocking at her proverbial door begging for her to solve them.

Their mission had not truly begun and here she was faced with not one but two haunting mysteries that might or might not have anything in common with one another. Was the galactic vibration something unique to this dimension? If so, could it have led to the destruction of the two Masters' cruisers, and if so could it do the same to the BASTET?  This did not even begin to address as to whether or not the two cruisers had indeed been destroyed as no physical proof of this could be found. As much as Aki would have loved there to be one solution to explain both, it seemed that there was no sharp increase in luck present in this particular dimension leaving the Asian CSciO to continue her search for answers to these puzzling mysteries.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M12-P019: USS BASTET: Mitshiba & Enel: 35009.0700 ("The Color of Wonder")
=-=
“The Color of Wonder”
Previous posts (ANU) “Relaxation Technique” & (BAS) “Dimensional Survey”

=-=
Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 4, Astrometrics Lab
Stardate: 35009.0700

Zub Enel paused before the door of Astrometrics to look for the call button. He’d been told the Chief Science Officer was often there. The door slid aside with a little hiccup that made a jagged orange triangle appear before his eyes. The shape stood out vividly against the darkness in the room. 

He stepped in and blinked until the image faded. The door hiccuped closed and the orange shape appeared again. “Ah,” he gasped in frustration. It didn’t hurt, but some sounds had started to make geometric shapes float before his eyes. They were distracting. He had planned to go to Sickbay after his stop here.

“Who’s there?” He recognized the voice in the dark as the Terran female Lieutenant Mitshiba. 

He realized the entire lab was projecting a 360 degree view of space around the BASTET. Unblinking white stars hung in utter blackness. A planet shaded toward green, but mostly brown, floated nearby, below and to his right. A sun with a reddish cast blazed behind and above his left shoulder.

The effect dimmed as lights came up at low illumination. The Science Officer was seated at a bank of consoles. She was half turned in her chair, looking toward him. “Oh, you,” she said with a little huff that sounded like an exhale of relief. 

“Ensign Zub Enel,” he said. “I apologize for the belated response. I was taken in by this projection. Stunning.”

“Thank you,” she said. “I’m studying this dimension every way I can think of.”

Zub detected a hint of impatience in her voice. He guessed he was interrupting her. “I won’t keep you. I have a science question. Do you think this dimension would affect someone’s eyesight?”

“I’m Science not Medical. That’s a better question for the Chief Medical Officer.”

Zub looked at the stars. “I was heading there next. I just assumed that during or after my exam she’d come to you with the same question. So, in a way, I’m trying to save us both a step.”

Aki brought her chair more fully around to face toward the towering Voth. “You are having vision problems?”

“Two of them. Certain sounds cause colored shapes to appear in front of my eyes. Also, lately, some numbers appear to be both a specific color and a certain distance away from all other numbers. The number 2 is pinkish and sits further back than 9, which is more tangerine.”

“And that is unusual for your race?”

“Yes, Ma’am. Sir.”

“It started since we arrived in this dimension?”

“Yes. Last night I was awakened by various clicks and hums in my room. Not because they were louder than usual, but because I saw blue squares and yellow circles behind my eyelids.”

“That’s definitely Medical, but...” She was silent for a long moment as she thought about what he had described. “This dimension is in all ways exactly like our home dimension. That is, with the exception of a vibration, which I cannot explain, at present. I am not even certain what exactly is vibrating. Matter? Energy? Space itself?”

“So it might be the vibration?”

“Everything is possible, especially when you find yourself in another dimension. You said you see colored numbers? Some closer or further away than others?”

“Yes. Whenever I look at a table of data. It’s very distracting. Tactical readouts involve a lot of trigonometry and geometry. The color and distance throws off my understanding of where things are in space.”

“What do you see here?” She turned her chair and tapped a few controls on the console. The view of the stars and planet vanished and the walls and ceiling were filled with densely packed columns and rows of numbers of a black background. The data was dense enough to dimly light the room.

Zub gazed around. "Oh. Oh! Oh.”

“A touch more articulation would be helpful.”

He waved a hand at a wall. “There is a blue sort of rectangle here made out of some of the data points.” He traced out an area with his hand that was the size of his head. “Next to it is a yellow rectangle.” He made the motion again. “In fact, this whole room is filled with blue and yellow rectangles.” 

She couldn’t see it. “The values projected are vibration readings from every angle around the BASTET. The values are so close to identical that I can barely differentiate one from the other." Aki paused as she carefully thought of possibilities, explanations and ways of testing them. This was another aspect of the mystery she had been dealing with, leading the Asian scientist to hope that maybe she would be able to find something to point her in the direction of an answer. “Here,” she said. “Take this stylus and draw what you see. It’ll project a color on the walls like a child’s light crayon.”

He stepped up, took the stylus and looked up and around her. It was clear to her he was seeing something. 

She said, her interest beginning to pique. “Let’s try blue. Draw the blue rectangles.”

Quickly, with considerable grace and precision, the big lizard man waved the stylus. A thick blue line enclosed certain sets of the numbers on the walls within rectangles that had their long sides slightly bulging. 

“Now yellow,” she said.

He filled in yellow rectangles bulged the same way between the blue ones. Row upon row of them formed a blue and yellow checkerboard of sorts. 

“Interesting!” she said with feeling. 

Ensign offered her the stylus. “Enough?”

“Yes. I’ll interpolate the rest.”

She stared at his drawings in silence. Something about it nagged at her memory.  “You’re not a maths savant, are you?”

“Trig is as far as I can get a grasp on. I have no idea what I’m seeing here. It may be nothing. A symptom.”

After a long pause of standing in semi darkness, the Voth added, “So, off to Sickbay for me?”

“Yes,” she said in a distracted way as she stared at her console and the room with it patches of rectangles.

The door hiccuped open. Blinking away the orange triangle, he stepped into the hall. 

“Wait!” The Science Officer called. “Are the rectangles closer or further from each other?”

He paused, a silhouette that filled the doorframe. “Blue seems closer.”

“Thank you,” she replied, taking in the checkerboard. She turned to her console and started programming a way to verify what the ensign had seen. “Amazing,” she breathed. 

Zub stood in the corridor while he let the orange triangle fade from view. For an instant he felt pride in discovering something interesting for the CSciO. And then disappointment for not getting a definitive answer about whether the mysterious vibrations were the source of his affliction, if that was what it could be called. It occurred to him he may have spent all that time with Lieutenant Mitshiba suffering from a complete hallucination. Something she’d discover soon enough.  Embarrassment made his down prickle and his scales pink. 

He took a deep breath and held it as he headed toward Deck 5 and Sickbay.

=-=
David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

and

Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M12-P020: USS BASTET: Andersson: 35009.0730 ("Good Vibrations")
=-=
"Good Vibrations"
[the previous post was (ANU) "The Bodyguard" by Hanali / (BAS) "The Color of Wonder")" by David]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 5, Sickbay
Stardate: 35009.0730 

Ensign Enel sat on the main biobed, his long legs dangling over the edge like two massive pillars. Everything about the Voth was impressively imposing, including the problems he brought with him.

"Tell me again what Aki said," Sofia demanded while desperately trying to make sense of what she was looking at.

"She said that this was definitively Medical," the lizard-man replied, repeating the answer for the third time since his arrival to Sickbay. "The vibration present in this dimension is affecting me on a physiological level, at least that is what Lt. Mitshiba believes and why she sent me here to you."

The CMO sighed and looked straight into the reptilian's golden eyes before speaking. "I really wished that you had come to see me first," Sofia said appearing even more perplexed now than she had only a few minutes ago. "It would have made things a lot easier."

"I am sorry," Zub said as he felt a surge of guilt taking over his mind. "Would you have been able to help me then?"

"No," Andersson admitted. "I would not have been able to help you more then than I can do now, but at least I would have been able to bounce you over to Mitshiba instead of her doing it to me. Now the responsibility of figuring out what is wrong with you falls squarely on my shoulders, and according to all my thorough and repeated scans, there is *absolutely nothing wrong* with you. I see no reason to remotely explain why you see geometric shapes and numbers in various colors and depths. Maybe if you had suffered some sort of head trauma, I would be able to explain it without actually proving why, but other than us being in another dimension, there is no reason for you to be seeing any of what it is that you are seeing. Maybe what you are suffering from could be psychological instead of physiological?"

"Oh no, you don't! Nice try though," Nic chimed in as she leaned in the opened doorway separating Sickbay and the Counselling Department. You are not passing this one to me. There is no way a psychological cause, however severe, could cause the symptoms Ensign Enel has described. If you can't figure it out all by yourself like the big girl you are, then I suggest you get a hold of Misaki and explain to her that you can't do it. Maybe the only way to solve this mystery is for the two of you to work together on this and save poor Zub from not only enduring what he has to see, but also deal with what you two are putting him through above and beyond everything else.  Right now, we are lucky that nothing has happened, allowing the BASTET to just sit there and scan is surroundings, but that could change at any moment and I am sure that Captain Iverson would appreciate having her Chief of Security back on the bridge when and if that happens."

"Nic! What am I supposed to do? There is no way for me to see what he sees," Sofia argued. "Maybe I could directly tap into his optic nerve, but I am pretty sure that it would not be overly comfortable for him, and there would not be any assurances that we would be able to see what he does as those shapes, numbers, and colors could be caused by countless other reasons."

"That is why you and Misaki need to work together on this one," Counselor Dima said forcing the issue. "Why is it that you and she are fighting over this? Should it not be more important to find the solution and help Ensign Enel?"

Sofia leaned in closer to Zub. "Are you single?" She asked in a whispered voice.

"Yes," he nervously replied not at all certain as to the reason for this question.

"Good," the Doctor said grinning. "Consider yourself lucky," she added with a wink before returning to a fully upright posture and tapping her comm badge. "Andersson to Mitshiba, can we talk?"

Instead of a reply from a disembodied voice, the BASTET's Chief Science Officer exploded into the room, barely allowing the doors time to part open to give her the room she needed. "I figured it out! I figured it out! I just had to think of things on a more global level, well, I should say on a more galactic level as this affects the entire dimension, but the moment I started thinking that way, it all made perfect sense." Misaki was speaking so fast that everyone else in Sickbay could barely make out what the Asian woman was saying.

"Nicole, can you hand me that hypospray over there," Sofi said as she looked over her shoulder to her friend while pointing to a medical tray by the door next to where she was standing. "The one labeled with the crossed-out Bat'leth. It contains a high-potency tranquilizer that I keep on standby just in case."

Misaki took a moment to draw in a long calming breath before continuing at a much slower rate, one she hoped would allow everyone to understand what it was she was trying to say. "There is nothing wrong with Ensign Enel. The vibration that is present in this dimension is affecting everyone differently based on their physiology. Actually, I believe that the micro-amplitude is too faint to impact the biological systems of most humanoids, but it clearly has an effect on our friend here."

"Can we come up with a way to shield Zub from the effects of this vibration?" Nicole asked on behalf of the Ensign.

"I *just* figured out what the problem was," Misaki let out. "I have not even begun to look at the possibility of blocking this vibration, but based on what I did uncover so far, I am sorry to say that I doubt I will be able to. This vibration is an integral part of this dimension, permeating everything that is in it, be it native in origin or not."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M12-P021: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 35009.0800 ("Difficult Decision")
"Difficult Decision"
Previous posts: (ANU) "The Bodyguard" & (BAS) "Good Vibrations"

///^\\\  
Setting: USS BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 35009.0800

The senior staff was called for a quick meeting to allow Aki to present her findings. Since their arrival to this dimension, not a great deal had been found other than a few pieces of debris from the Masters' cruisers which were insufficient to account for the two missing ships the intercepted communications hinted should have been here.

"By now I am sure that you are all well aware of the vibration that was detected in this dimension," the Asian scientist started with. "Except for a single case, namely that of our Chief of Security Ensign Enel, there appears to be no negative impact on any of our systems or personnel. This vibration is very similar to what can be observed in the astroseismology of stars. At first, I did not make the link as I believed the vibration in this universe to be static, like some sort of background noise, but after a while, I came to realize that this vibration shifts and oscillates." As she said this, a three-dimensional holographic image representing a sphere with a pulsating blue and red checkered pattern appeared."

"Looks like some kind of weird chessboard," A'Janni said. Having trained in the field of Security and now acting as the BASTET's FCO, the Caitian was clearly not one to naturally take to sciences and the intricacies of the multi-verse.

"It is a representation of the pulsating vibration found within stars, a pattern that appears to be repeated here in this dimension but on a galactic scale," Aki explained. "Of course, the changes you are witnessing here have been greatly sped-up in order to demonstrate what it is we are dealing with. As you will notice, the colors and patterns shift from one to the other representing the changes in the vibrations which are so small that our instruments could barely detect them."

"Yet, Ensign Enel was able to see them?" Commander Valentine asked if only to make sure that this was explained to everyone present.

"Not was, is," Doctor Andersson specified. "Lieutenant Mitshiba and I were unable to find a way to isolate his nervous system from the effects of the vibration. I am afraid that he will continue to see those colored shapes and numbers for as long as we remain in this dimension."  Of course, the sharing of this news drew all eyes on the reptilian man in a mixture of curiosity and pity.

"We are continuing our efforts to block, even if only partially, the effects of this vibration on Ensign Enel, but so far our results have not been promising," Aki explained.

"To me, it sounds like just another reason for us to leave this dimension," Commander Valentine said. "We came here to investigate and so far, we have found nothing. No cruisers and the nearest planet to us shows nothing of interest."

"That might not be entirely true," Mitshiba said. "Before the meeting, I took the liberty of modifying the sensors to take into account any interference the vibrations might be causing. The only thing I could look at was the planet so that I could compare our previous sensor readings to the new ones, and what I found was quite remarkable." The holographic image of the spherical checkered board was replaced by another sphere, this one of the planet in question. "As you can see, we are now able to detect several settlements that were invisible to our instruments before. The piece of debris we detected earlier appears to be directly in the center of one of those settlements. The modifications to our sensors have made it possible for us to also modify our transporter system allowing us to beam to the surface. Unfortunately, like our sensors, the modifications are not 100 percent effective as offsetting the interference of the vibration. We would only be able to beam one person up or down at a time and we cannot be completely certain of what our sensors are picking up against what they are still unable to lock onto. Still, I believe that it is worth the try."

"Wait! Are you actually suggesting that we go down there?" Lt. Gemma asked visibly not thrilled with that idea.

"Captain," Misaki said turning to look directly at the commanding officer. "We were sent here to investigate a mystery, and we have the opportunity to do just that. I will agree that this is not what Admiral Koniki had in mind when he authorized the mission, but there is no telling what we could discover now that we are able to beam down to the planet. At the very least we could go down and confirm as to whether or not the metal debris our sensors picked up is indeed a piece of a Masters' cruiser."

"What if those people down there on that planet are the reason why we are unable to find any traces of the Masters?" Zub asked, his station as the BASTET's Chief of Security requiring him to take a more cautious approach to this situation.

"If they are responsible, should that not be even more of a reason for us to go down and check things out?" Aki said, standing firm on her initial proposition. "If they possess some sort of weapon able to destroy not one but two cruisers the strength of those used by the Masters, should we not do everything in our power to obtain this technology to ensure that our dimension remains safe from those ruthless conquerors?"

"Let me think about it," Captain Iverson said. "Our going down there will advertise our presence to them and everyone else, and as interesting as the prospect of making contact with a race from a new dimension might be and the technological advantages we could benefit from, I am still not entirely convinced that the benefits outweigh the risks. Do your best to get as much information from sensor sweeps as possible but let's not make our presence known. I would rather not have for us to deal with another enemy if we do not absolutely have to."

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M12-P022: USS BASTET: Enel: 35009.0830 ("Whipsawed")
=-=
“Whipsawed”
Previous posts: (ANU) "The Ultimate Question" & (BAS) “Difficult Decision”
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 35009.0830

The Observation Lounge had cleared out of other senior officers. Only Zub Enel and Gemma remained at the table, separated by several seats and faced toward each other. At a low hum, the air changers quickly helped the heady odor of so many different races ebb away. All that remained of the miasma was Gemma’s scent; dark, subtle, like freshly scrubbed root vegetables. The room cooled in silence. The Voth had the three fingers of each hand laced together, palms pressed onto the table. His golden eyes gazed at his hands.

Gemma studied the mottled green and brown planet that floated outside the viewing windows behind the ensign, managing to take in the details of each. Shifting her stance ever so slightly, the ILO looked directly at the Chief of Security. “I don’t know all of your expressions yet. Are you feeling pensive?”

He looked at her, his gaze above her chin unlike 90% of all males in the universe. He seemed to be assessing her expression, not preparing to tell her, needfully, that he thought she was beautiful. Judging his brown, scaly face, her Instinct took over. She said, “You can speak freely.”

Zub Enel let out a sigh. He shook his head slowly. His mouth made a line. At last he said, “Beaming down is a fraught proposition. If Lt. Mitshiba is correct, we can teleport an away team only one member at a time. This, to a planet we know nothing about. Inhabitants we know nothing about. Except they may possess cloaking technology and may have somehow destroyed two Masters cruisers. That ‘debris’ could be a Masters lifeboat or landing craft. If there are survivors there, they’ve been attacked or marooned. They’ll be armed and on guard. And we come, beaming in one at a time. How do I secure the site?” The weight of what he was saying drove him to lower his gaze onto his clasped three-fingered hands causing him to miss the subtle change in the woman sitting in front of him.

The Uxali Scientist watched as he scratched a scaly cheek. “The point of us being here is to ascertain what is going on and if it presents a danger to the Federation. Exploring the planet is a logical next step. The situation is actually not all that uncommon. We discover a new planet and find it to have people on it. So, we send a team down to investigate and better understand what it is we are dealing with. Once the survey is completed, the team returns, usually without having directly dealt with any of the local inhabitants. Many would claim that this is what Starfleet is all about.”

The big Tactical officer let out a loud grunt. He stood, his massive head crest nearly scraping the ceiling. He faced the verdant green and sandy brown planet. “A fine plan, unless our survey team accidentally meet the inhabitants. It’ll be a First Contact situation with a mountain of protocol procedures to monitor and adhere to. Further, setting aside for a moment the potential for hostilities, Mitshiba wasn’t certain that the vibration interference would allow the BASTET to target the transporter properly. What if the first member of the away team materializes 20 meters in the air or in a boulder?”

He looked at her. In the low light of the Observation Lounge the coppery ringlets in her hair appeared looser and brighter red. He blinked. His malady left him ever more distrustful of his senses.

“Yes,” the sitting woman said, “You make excellent points.” Her voice held an accent it hadn’t before, and her voice was sterner, colder. He touched his ear, uncertain if whatever distortions to his hearing he had from this dimension’s vibrations had now changed from simply triggering glowing geometric shapes before his eyes. Curious, he returned to the table and deliberately sat facing and nearer to her so he could get a whiff. Gemma smelled exactly like herself; confirming his sensitive nose still worked.

It was Anya who spoke now. “No matter what combination of personnel you send down, doing it one at a time means someone could pick off each person before they could alert the BASTET. Beaming down is tactically unsound, especially with the sensors not being 100% accurate.”

Zub brought the corners of his mouth down. “What about your notion of surveying the planet? Assessing the threat to the Federation?”

“Well,” Anya said drawing out the word. “You’ve since explained how dangerous the situation could be down there.” She waved a hand toward the planet behind Zub. “A trap. A perfect one. As you indicated, we know nothing of those people down there. They could be murderous savages. We also run the risk of coming face-to-face with a handful of Masters. Either scenario would not end well for anyone beaming down.”

The ensign looked over his shoulder at the planet. He carefully considered the words that had just been spoken. Due to his attention being once again off the woman sitting on the other side of the table, Zub failed to notice a change in the woman's hair as it went from wavy red to a more curly auburn.

Her tone of voice was sharper, “We need to know what happened down there. I would suggest we offer the Captain to take a shuttle down.We would then be able to land in strength. Stay buttoned up until we know if we’re in immediate danger and then send out a soldier or a diplomat, depending. Of course, that would have the disadvantage of announcing both our presence and arrival well before we actually get there.”

His down prickled as he turned to face her in confusion. Gemma’s accent had vanished. Her hair was less red. She was scowling when she hadn’t been a moment before. He said, “You seem to be of two minds about this.”

Gemma raised a finger to point at his massive chest. Her voice resonated with command. “*You* need to figure out how to get us planetside so we can fulfill our mission.”

“Yes, Sir.” He felt his scales flush red as his frustration grew. She agreed. She disagreed. In the end, she ordered him to find a way down against his better judgment.

He stood and as he made his way to the door he looked at the planet. It hung there, beautiful and serene. A perfect trap, as Gemma had said, before she unsaid it.

He glanced at her as the door slid open. The door’s hiccup sound put a bright orange triangle in front of his vision. Through the glowing shape, Lt. Gemma’s hair looked straight instead of tight ringlets or waves. He worried his malady was truly compromising his ability to see clearly. He stepped out of the room in a state of utter confusion.

=-=
David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

“Sixty minutes of thinking of any kind is bound to lead to confusion and unhappiness.”
- James Thurber
M12-P023: USS BASTET: Valentine: 35009.0900 ("A Simple Discussion")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"'A Simple Discussion"
[previous post (ANU) "The Ultimate Question" / (BAS) "Whipsawed")]

Setting: USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 35009.0900

After announcing her presence using the door chime, the door opened, and the Captain beckoned the Executive Officer to enter. "Commander Valentine," Iverson said inviting the woman to sit. "I will say that I expected you to come and see me much sooner."

"You said you wanted time to think about what we would do next," Sarena explained taking one of the chairs set in front of the Captain's desk.

"That has never stopped you before from voicing to me your opinion as quickly as possible, so what's different today?"

Valentine grinned. "Most times, these kinds of decisions are taken by you with minimal input from the senior staff. This time though, it sounded as if you wanted everyone who was in the Observation Lounge to review the all of the possibilities and give you their honest opinion, one carefully considered."

"I have always respected the opinion of my crew," Selene said.

"Especially when we are in another dimension," the Executive said making reference to when the BASTET was unable to return home and the crew faced aimlessly wondering space or settling down on an unknown planet. "This case is not like ELYSIA though, we are not faced with a life-changing decision."

"I would not be so sure about that," Iverson said. "We could just return home and leave what happened to the Masters as another unknown that we may or may not have to deal with again at a later time, or we could stay here, investigate the settlement on the planet and discover something that might or might not change everything. If there is some sort of all-powerful weapon down there able to destroy a heavily armored cruiser, what chance does the BASTET have against it? Our revealing ourselves could lead to the destruction of the ship and the demise of everyone onboard. If we are able to secure the technology of such a weapon on the other hand, will we keep it to defend us from the Masters and other invaders or will it end up being used to shift the balance of power in our dimension in favor of the Federation? The decision we make here could have wide-spread repercussions for every world in every quadrant."

"I know," Sarena said knowingly with a smile. "That is why I gave you more time to think about this. I knew that you would likely overthink this, not that doing so is a bad thing. I just knew that you needed time to consider every possibility and that my pestering you too early would only cloud the issue."

Selene leaned back into her chair, displaying as much annoyance as the woman ever allowed herself to no matter the situation. "You have been taking lessons from our Counselor I see."

"I thought it was only fair since she wants to become a bridge officer. At least that way, if she ends up taking over my duties, I will be able to take over hers. It might not be as exciting as being on the command deck and dealing with the seemingly endless string of galactic threats, but I can definitively see some advantages to being down there in the Counseling department," Valentine said, keeping this little discussion as lighthearted as she could.

"Well, I will have to inform Counselor Dima that she is doing a great job in teaching you her tricks," Iverson said as a faint grin danced on her lips. "You got me to open up about our situation quite quickly, maybe even more so than she would have been able to accomplish."

"We have been at this together long enough for me to recognize when something is bothering you more than it should," the Executive Officer said. "I would also venture that you know me well enough to predict when I will make such an observation and that you just let me talk so that I can feel useful in some insignificant way."

"Maybe I should let you take over the big chair as Captain, allowing Nicole to take on your responsibilities as Executive Officer while I head down to the Counseling department or maybe even Main Engineering. After all, we are still missing a CEO.  I might have taken on the ILO or Security and Tactical position, but I believe that Lieutenant Gemma and Ensign Enel would not be happy with that decision. Speaking of which, it does seem that our latest addition to the crew as integrated quite well."

"Agreed," Sarena said. "Taking on any senior officer's post is not an easy task and many end up failing because they never fully understood the responsibilities that come with being in charge of an entire department on top of being right there in the middle of the action. Added to this the unique mission profile of this ship, and I will admit that the 'big lizard guy' is doing quite well. I hope that he will be with us for quite some time as I would love to see how far his potential is going to take him."

"Then we better make sure we make the right decision here," Selene said, leaning back over her desk. "Get me the latest sensor data from Mitshiba along with Enel's tactical evaluation of our situation. It might also be an idea to see what Gemma has to say on this."

"Asking Ensign Enel should be easy, he was on the bridge working out various scenarios when I came to see you.  As or Gemma though, do you want her opinion or were you saying that you wanted Anya, Wimda, Gabrielle and/or Lireen's take on this? I am sure that there are a few more opinions for her to share, but getting to them might prove to be a mission on its own."

"I guess asking for all of those would be a little much?" The Captain said with a nod of her head. "See what you can get from her, whichever *her* you end up speaking to. I want to have as much information as possible before I commit the BASTET to a course of action on this mission."

"The sign of a wise Captain," the Executive Officer said as she stood up. "I will have something on your desk within the hour."

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P024: USS BASTET: A'Janni: 35009.0915 ("A Simple Suggestion")
"A Simple Suggestion"
[previous (ANU) "Exit, Stage Left" / (BAS) "A Simple Discussion"]

[/\]

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35009.0915

The Caitian sat at the Flight Control Station, his one good eye trained on the image of the nearby planet. Thanks to Lt. Mitshiba's discovery, they now knew that the planet was sparsely inhabited, the small settlements scattered over the land masses as if none of them knew about the existence of the others. Lt. Gemma had not reported picking up any sorts of transmissions coming from the planet's surface, so it was a safe bet to believe that whoever the people down there were, they did not possess any kind of advanced technology. If this was the case, how could they have in their possession a weapon capable to taking down two war cruisers?

As unlikely as that possibility was, it found itself at the very core of the debate about going down to the planet and risking the BASTET from being detected. The logic of the argument escaped A'Janni, and this even with his training in Security. Yes, sensors had picked up some sort of debris on the surface, metal fragments that matched the composition of the ship hulls used by the Masters. The theory that it might be an escape pod proved just as valid as several others shared amongst the crew, but that did not explain why everyone seemed so worried about going to the planet surface and getting some real answers.

Something was holding this crew back, something that he could not understand, so the Caitian decided to offer a possible solution.  "Commander Valentine?" A'Janni said as he cast his one good eye onto the First Officer. "May I have a moment with you?"

"I am working on my report to the Captain as to what would be our best course of action," the woman said.

"What I would like to say and offer fits directly into that, Sir."

Wanting to make sure that her report would be as complete as possible, the Commander approached the Flight Control Station and the Caitian sitting there. "Alright, what is it that you want to say and offer?"

"The settlements on the planet surface are small with quite a bit of space between them, enough to support the possibility that they do not know of each other's presence. Because of that, it is difficult to imagine that their civilization possesses any sort of weapon capable of destroying the Masters' cruisers."

"We have encountered many civilizations where the technology was very well hidden, allowing them to surprise any possible threat. Both Captain Iverson and myself believe that this could be the case here, hence why we are proceeding with extreme caution."

A'Janni had to admit that this made perfect sense, but it still did not dissuade him from the plan he wanted to propose. "If the idea is to keep the BASTET hidden and therefore not a target of whatever might be hidden on that planet, we could send a single person down, as per the limitations explained by Lt. Mitshiba. That person could perform a quick survey of the settlement where the metal fragment was detected and report back using some sort of laser signal. That way no communication would be employed and possibly detected."

"An interesting proposition Lieutenant," the Commander said.  "The problem is that I suspect that Ensign Enel will not be willing to send any members of this security forces down there, or even volunteer to do it himself. Unless he has had a major change of opinion, his suggestion will likely be for us to leave."

"Commander," the Caitain said, using his one eye to look straight at the higher ranking officer. "I was not suggesting for Zub or anyone under his immediate purview to beam down. I was offering that this be done by someone else with the necessary training, namely me. I could easily beam down to the planet; well as easily as it is given the way these vibrations are affecting our sensors, and perform the survey of the settlement. If my mission fails, if the transport is unsuccessful or I discover that the inhabitants are so hostile that they killed me immediately on sight, the BASTET would be able to return home while having lost nothing more than its FCO."

"Every member of this crew is just as important as anyone else," Commander Valentine sternly said, not appreciating that the Caitian seemed to undervalue his life. "Rank and positions have no impact on a person's value. You possess skills and knowledge that makes this crew stronger, therefore losing you would mean the exact same as losing someone else including me or the Captain. Losing a single person weakens us in ways that no one can fully express, so I would appreciate you remembering that in the future."

"Yes, Ma'am," A'Janni said, realizing only too late that his choice of words might not have been the best. "I am sorry for having wasted your time."

"You have not," the Commander continued. "As much as I may not agree with your evaluation of your own worth on board the BASTET, your plan does have several valid benefits and is good enough for me to mention it to the Captain in my report to her."

"Thank you, Ma'am."

"I am only presenting your suggestion to Captain Iverson. The final decision will be hers and i suspect that she will look onto Ensign Enel for his opinion. As Chief of Security and Tactical Officer, his take on this situation will be closely listened to."

"I understand," the Caitain said. "I still appreciate you considering my proposal as worthy of mention."

"Everyone's opinion on this crew is valued equally, Lieutenant. You have not been with us long enough to maybe realize this, but I am sure that you will in time."

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG A'Janni [Access Character BIO for A'Janni]
Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P025: USS BASTET: Andersson & Dima: 35009.0915 ("Friendly Evaluation")
=-=
"Friendly Evaluation"
[Previous Posts: (ANU) “Exit, Stage Left”/ (BAS) “A Simple Suggestion”]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 5, Sickbay
Stardate: 35009.0915

Doctor Andersson was walking around Sickbay sorting through the medical equipment, as she usually did when something was on her mind, while Counselor Dima sat on one of the biobeds, her legs crossed beneath her.

"You really need to stop that," Nic said to her friend, concern lacing her words. "It's not healthy."

"I can't help it," Sofia said, straightening the items on one particular medical tray for the dozenth time. "When I start to think, I need to walk around and clear, it helps me stay calm and not have my thoughts go all over the place."

"Your thoughts were not all over the place back on ELYSIA," the joint Trill pointed out. "As I recall, you were not all that busy nor did a lot of walking around and cleaning."

"That was different," Andersson dismissed.

"How so?" Dima asked, always playing the Counselor no matter who she was speaking to. The only difference was that Nicole cared about the other person more than she did anyone else on the BASTET.

"First, we are in another dimension, again."

"Nothing different about that," Nic said. She understood what Sofia was trying to say but the Trill decided to downplay this point as she believed it was only an excuse to explain her behavior. "We are on the USS BASTET, a ship *designed* to travel to other dimensions, you cannot claim to be troubled every time this happens. If you truly did have a problem with that aspect of your life, you would have asked for a transfer to another ship or even to NEW ALEXANDRIA. Since you have not mentioned to me any such plans, I must gather that you are happy to be here and do not plan on going anywhere else."

"Maybe I was just planning on leaving without telling you," Sofia said, and instantly regretted uttering those words. "I'm sorry. That is not what I meant to say."

"I know," Nic lovingly reassured as she uncrossed her legs and slid down from the biobed to move closer to her visibly troubled friend. "Something is bothering you," she said gently caressing the other woman's cheek. "Tell me, that is what I am here for after all. Having a relationship with the Ship's Counselor has to have some advantages somewhere along the way, right?"

"There is something about this dimension that bugs me," the CMO admitted following a short period of silence. "Maybe it is this vibration that is *everywhere*, maybe it is the fact that the distress signal we came to investigate actually came from a Masters' vessel, maybe it's just my trying to find reasons for being scared when I should not be."

"Scared about what?"

Sofia turned to face Nic, looking straight into her eyes. "Scared of losing you."

"I am not going anywhere," the joint Trill said, adding a smile and wink for good measure.

"You know what I meant. We have no idea what happened to the missing Masters' ships. That means every second we stay here is just another second for us to be found out and possible dealt the same fate as them.  I feel completely useless right now, unable to help Zub with his vision problems, Gemma with her shifting personalities and A'Janni with his lingering guilt for what happened to the royal family on KZINTI ALPHA. if I am unable to help them, how am I supposed to help myself in making sure that nothing happens to you?"

"You are taking on way more responsibilities than are yours to claim," Nic pointed out taking her friend's arm and escorting her to the same biobed she was sitting on only a few moments ago.  "Helping Ensign Enel could be said to fall within your jurisdiction, that I will give you, but helping Gemma and A'Janni is not your problem. If it is truly someone's issue to be dealt with it would be me. Gemma's personalities are triggered not by a physical problem but rather by a psychological one, a very deep and complex one at that. As for A'Janni, the only thing you could possibly do to help him is to give him a sedative. His sense of loss and his troubles dealing with one of Gemma's personalities is solely mine to deal with." Nicole ended by patting the bed with her hand inviting the other woman to sit.

"I want to help. I want to help you," Sofia said, dismissing the invitation and trying to walk away, only to be held and pulled back by Nic.

"You are helping me, just by being you and not another member of the crew that I have to worry about."  Dima patted the bed once again making it evident that there was only one answer she would accept.

"Talk about being a basket case," the CMO said, holding her head down and accepting the invitation. "Here I am trying to justify what I am doing to help you and all I am doing is to prove that I am doing the exact opposite."

"And I still love you for trying," the CNS said joining the other woman on the biobed. "We both have a lot to deal with on a daily basis, never able to enjoy the peaceful routine that most everyone else in the fleet endures. We have to learn to enjoy the moment as it is, to make the best of every second, just as we did when we were on ELYSIA."

"We had all the time in the world then," Sofia said.

"We did not," Nicole pointed out. "If we did, we would still be there. As enjoyable and peaceful as our time there was, it ended, forcing us to move on. We choose what is important to us and shape our lives accordingly. You are important to me and I know that I am important to you, so it means that we have to take every opportunity we are given. I am not saying for us to ignore our responsibilities here on board the BASTET, but it also doesn't mean that we have to consider what we have, what we share as being something separate. You have the right idea in a way, by wanting to help me, but your error is in thinking that you have to do it by yourself instead of doing those things *with* me."

Sofia smiled. "You are a wise woman, Nicole."

"The curse and benefit of having lived multiple lifetimes," Dima grinned. “Just promise me, no matter what, you’ll keep the lines of communication open.”

If that idea had ever occurred to Sofia, she hid it well. “Who *wouldn’t* talk to a Counselor?”

“More people than you might think,” Nic quipped. On any crew, there were always a few who were reluctant to share.

The Doctor acknowledged Nicole’s point with an inclination of her head. She now felt the need to resume working, despite Nic’s help in calming her nerves. "Maybe we should have a look at this mysterious planet and the settlements on it. I am sure that Misaki has already scanned every inch but a fresh set of eyes might reveal something that she missed."

“A fresh set of eyes,” Nicole repeated, thinking about Ensign Enel’s predicament. Could anything have been overlooked?

“Yes,” Sofia asserted. “Is something wrong?”

“Maybe... I don’t know.” The brunette tapped her comm badge. “Nicole to Aki.”

Unlike before, this time Mitshiba responded through the communication link. =/\=Here. What’s up?=/\=

“I was thinking about the vision issue that’s plaguing our newest crew member. It seems to have a geometric and numerical component, correct?”

=/\=Yes, and a pattern. Why?=/\=

“Well we know it’s being caused or triggered by the vibration in this dimension or universe. But is there any chance it’s more than that?”

=/\=What do you mean?=/\=

“Well, we don’t know a lot yet about the planet below and its inhabitants. What if there are other saurian-type beings here, and the vibration is some sort of communication to them?” Nicole sighed. Science wasn’t her specialty. “I know it’s far-fetched. But perhaps information or transmissions are somehow present in the symbols Mister Enel is seeing?”

A pause. =/\=That’s interesting.=/\=

“I know it’s not a good time, you’re already busy. But if there’s anyone I know that can give the proper attention to the theory, it’s you, Aki.”

=/\=Is that your way of saying ‘please’?=/\=

“You know me too well,” Nicole admitted. “Please and thank you.”

=/\=I’ll get back to you if I can find anything,=/\= Aki said before signing off.

“Where did that come from?” Sofia asked after witnessing the exchange.

Nicole leaned in and kissed the CMO. “I should be thanking you too- for the inspiration. But I have to go.”

Sofia smiled at the unexpected show of affection. “Where are you going?”

“To the Bridge- I’m going to see what kind of trouble I can get into.”


=-=
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35009.0935

Ensign Dima stepped out of the turbolift a few minutes and noticed A’Janni speaking with the ExO.

"...I am sure that you will in time," Commander Valentine said firmly, then walked away, leaving the felinoid man with a subdued and yet still determined expression.

Sarena had wasted no time in returning to her seat, obviously working on something of great importance. That left Nicole a few steps away from the Caitian. “Have they decided on our course of action for the planet?” she asked A’Janni quietly as she approached.

He glanced at Valentine with his one good eye. “Not yet. I told the Commander that I would be willing to go.”

“I’ve rarely seen them turn away volunteers,” Nic thought aloud, guessing that might be the cause of A’Janni’s discomfort.

He manipulated the controls at his console. “She didn’t provide a firm answer either way. That will still need to be discussed with Captain Iverson.”

“That can only mean one thing- something else is wrong.”

A’Janni still looked ill at ease, but continued. “Logic dictates that if I were the only casualty by beaming down first and meeting with a bad outcome, the crew would be in the best position to stay safe.”

The realization of what he meant came over Nicole. “And I’m guessing that did not go over well?”

“We are a team, with each member being important and vital to our success,” he paraphrased. He was trying to adopt his senior officer’s words, but didn’t sound like he quite believed them yet.

Nicole wanted to reassure him that this was indeed correct. But telling someone something, even if it was heartfelt and true, was never a guarantee of acceptance by the other party. Time and experience would serve him better than any platitudes she could provide. She struggled to say something meaningful. But Sarena’s voice interrupted her attempt.

“Miss Dima, good to see you. Is this your normally scheduled time on the Bridge?”

“No. But I was hoping to-’

“Say no more. Please assume a command station.”

Nicole stepped forward, complying with the ExO’s request. She had been kidding when she said she was looking for trouble, but it had seemed to have found her anyway.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS

And

Susan Ledbetter

Cns
USS BASTET

“If you wish to be a writer, write.” -Epictetus
M12-P026: USS BASTET: Gemma: 35009.0930 ("Imperfect Purrfection")
=-=
"Imperfect Purrfection"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Exit, Stage Left" / (BAS) "Friendly Evaluation"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 35009.0930

Following the departure of the Voth, Gemma worked on trying to get a better overall picture of their situation. As an Intel Operative, she needed to aware of everything happening on the ship and beyond. Under normal circumstances, she would be able to call upon Intel reports and data from various sources. Here, in this dimension, there was no other source of information than the BASTET. So, in order to accomplish her intended task, the ILO gathered everything iota of data she could get her hands on.

Lt. Mitshiba was, amongst other things, trying to increase the resolution of their sensors. This was likely in the hopes of getting a better idea of what kind of civilization was on the planet below. So far, the scattered settlements appeared less than demanding the kind of attention and time the Asian was dedicating to them.

"Will you stop being such a stick in the mud," Wimda, the Uxali scientist said. "Misaki is doing exactly what she is supposed to. We are dealing with a never before encountered life form. There is no telling what we could discover from them."

The copper-haired ILO reasserted herself, her hands clenching into tight fists. "We are focusing too much attention on one side of the issue. Having all of our attention focused down on the planet could leave us vulnerable. The Masters are not known for announcing their arrival or presence. They just show up and take what they want. Losing two cruisers is not going to be ignored by them."

It was Anya's turn to voice her opinion. The Russian assassin was almost smiling as she spoke. "Let them," her accent was heavier than usual making her words even colder. "We have no idea what happened to the first two cruisers. f another shows up, it might allow us to see what happened to the previous two. If this costs the Masters a third cruiser, it will be one less for us to be concerned about."

"Cold as ever," the blonde Edo woman said in a sing-song voice. "You would risk the lives of an entire civilization to see a single cruiser destroyed. Wimdalli is right, we have an opportunity to discover something special, something unique. We should be trying to protect them, not use them as bate."

"You all seem to be forgetting something," Gemma said. "This amazing discovery could very well be the reason why the two cruisers went missing. Our going down there and making contact could label us a threat. One that the inhabitants of that planet will dispose of just as easily as they did the Masters. I agree that there is a potential for a great discovery. We also need to keep in mind that we could be faced with an even greater threat."

The debate of one came to a sudden stop. Gemma read something on one of the PADDs she was working on. The information was simple but prompted her to act.

=-=
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35009.0945 

"Captain Dima," Gemma said walking onto the bridge to see the CNS sitting in the central chair.

"Counselor will do just fine," Nicole said. Sitting in the chair was one thing. Being referred to by the title was a completely different thing.

"It is standard protocol to refer to a Command-level officer by the position and role they are performing." Gemma did not even wait for a reply, instead, she made her way directly to the FCO's station. "Lt. A'Janni, you are volunteering to beam down tot he surface?"

The FCO shook his head before turning his one good eye onto the ILO. "At this rate, the whole crew will know before the Captain." A'Janni glanced at the Trill sitting in the main chair. "I meant, Captain Iverson."

"I know," Nicole softly grinned.

"How did you find out?" The FCO asked of the copper-haired woman standing next to him.

"I'm the ILO. There are no secrets from me. Now, let me guess, you figured that you are the most expandable one?"

The Caitian glanced at the CNS, then at the First Officer before returning his one eye onto the ILO. "Had I known everyone's reaction, I would not have made the offer."

"The offer is noble," Gwenvel said. The El'Aurian woman now standing next to the Caitian. "It is the reason behind it that we all have issues with. You have not let go of the guilt you feel for what happened on KZINTI ALPHA."

A'Janni rose a paw to stop her from giving him a repeat of the speech he had already endured more than once. "Maybe my motives are not as selfless as you believe they should be. That does not change the fact that we, as a crew, need someone to go down there. It makes no sense for the Captain or First Officer to be the ones to do this. It would be too dangerous to risk the CNS or CMO. Lt. Mitshiba would be too focused on the scientific aspects of the mission. This would put her life at risk. That leaves only three possible candidates left. As much as I respect Ensign Zub, his lack of experience could prove costly. This means that only you and I are left. I will admit that you would be a much better choice. Well, the 'you' that I know could deal with this particular situation. The problem is that the others on the ship need you more than they need me. I have the skills and experience required."

Gwenvel and Dima looked at A'Janni knowing that there was something more he wanted to say. Both of the CNS were expecting him to speak those words, but the FCO held back. He would not admit, at least not today, that he did not want any harm to come to Gemma. Not because he cared more about her or the El'Aurian standing beside now at that moment. He could barely understand who the person was, but he knew that somewhere in her was someone he could not allow to be hurt. Not now or ever again.

"Very well," Gwenvel said before heading back to the Observation Lounge. The El'Aurian and joint Trill shared a quick glance as the ILO passed by. Just as she vanished into the room, the Voth stepped onto the bridge, catching a glimpse of the woman.

"Who was that?" Zub asked, not sure if what he saw was real or some sort of visual distortion.

Nicole and A'Janni looked at each other for a brief moment before answering in unison. "It's complicated."

=-=
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]
M12-P027: USS BASTET: Iverson: 35009.0950 ("Command Level Decisions")
---
"Command Level Decisions"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Exit, Stage Left" / (BAS) "Imperfect Purrfection")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 35009.0950

Selene felt bad and maybe even a little angry. This was not one of those impossible decisions for her to make. The situation was actually simple and required little thinking as to what needed to be done, and yet here she was sitting on the proverbial fence finding every reason possible *not* to make the decision that needed to be taken. In between thinking that she would need to speak to Counsellor Dima about all this and wondering if she had truly lost her professional edge, Iverson studied the nearby planet, or at least what she could see of it through the window of her Ready Room.

Captain Iverson hated the fact that she could not bring herself to make the call. Asking for the opinion of the crew made sense when they were contemplating a decision that would affect all of their lives on a permanent basis. This was not the case although there could be arguments offered to show that the decision could have deeper repercussions, that said though, this was an integral part of their missions. Each and every time they ventured out, they risked encountering some unfathomable danger that could threaten millions. Each time they traveled into a new dimension, the BASTET could find itself trapped or worse, destroyed, and that was considering the best-case scenarios. The knowledge that the Masters and the Lokustaar were out there, in their respective corners of the multi-verse, only hinted to the kind of demons they risked encountering at any time.  So, why was any of what they faced now so different than anything else they had already come up against?

Selene glanced at the time display and realized that Sarena would soon be returning with her report and proposed course of action. Again, this was as it should be, her First Officer presenting all possible scenarios and offering the best way she believed they needed to address it. The final say would remain in the hands of the Captain though, that was both the curse and ultimate benefit of being in command. It was her responsibility to evaluate all of the risks, to weigh them again needs and potential benefits and finally to make a decision using an illogical formula that mixed facts with gut feelings.

The sound of the door chime echoed through the room. "Right on time," Selene said making her way back to her seat. "Come on in Commander."

"Should have asked Gemma or Counsellor Dima to come in instead of me," Sarena chuckled. "I have become too predictable."

"I find great comfort in your predictability," Iverson admitted.

"As I would hate to disappoint," the Commander said handing over a PADD. "Here is my report and recommendations."

Selene perused the content of the PADD, quickly locking onto the details that she believed to be most important to her final decision. "Are there any updates on this idea that what Ensign Enel is seeing is some kind of communication?"

"Lieutenant Mitshiba is still looking into that," Sarena reported. "The idea was presented to her by Counsellor Dima not that long ago, and I would suggest that we do not base our decision on the possibility that she may be right. It could take days if not weeks for Misaki to figure out that language if it is indeed that."

"Agreed," Selene said nodding her head. "I find it interesting that A'Janni has volunteered to beam down to the surface. Have you spoken to him and asked about his reasons for his volunteering?"

Sarena laughed. "I did, Nicole did, and believe or not, but Gemma did as well. Everyone who learned about it went straight for the cause without giving him the slightest chance to try and deny it. He was almost ready to admit that it was because of Sheetora and the rest of the royal family, but he didn't. What he did say to Gemma though made it clear that his feelings are tempered with logic. He is right, there are only three members of the senior staff who are qualified for doing this. Ensign Enel, Lieutenant Gemma and himself."

"Zub is still trying to find his footing," the Captain said. "Taking him into a new dimension on his first mission is already putting a lot of extra pressure on him. We also have to take into account the fact that his visual perception is not as it should be and we have no idea how this would affect him once on the surface."

"Agreed," Valentine confirmed. "That leaves Gemma as the best person to take care of this. I appreciate that A'Janni volunteered, but we have to consider the skills and experiences of the person we are sending down above everything else."

"There are other things to take into account here," Selene said challenging the opinion of her First Officer. "Gemma has proven herself to be more than a skilled operative, no matter the situation, but she is also highly unpredictable. If we were absolutely certain that Gemma was the only one do beam down, then I would agree with you, but there is no telling what she might encounter and how, or more to the point, who would show up to deal with it."

"I still believe her to be a better choice than A'Janni."

"Objection noted, Commander," Selene said, her tone reminiscent of the way she used to be before the War of Shadows. "Please call for a senior staff meeting.."

"Aye, Aye, Sir."

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 35009.1020

As requested by Captain Iverson, all of the members of the senior staff were present anxiously waiting for the decision of their Commanding Officer, some more than others.

"First, Lieutenant Mitshiba," Selene began looking straight as her Chief Science Officer. "Have you discovered anything new about this vibration and the effects it has on Ensign Enel?"

"I am sorry, I have not discovered anything new at this time," Misaki reported clearly sounding less than happy with her own lack of progress and inability to provide her Commanding Officer with more information. "I am looking into several aspects of this vibration, one of which is that it is used as some sort of carrier wave to transmit a communication signal that only Ensign Enel is capable of perceiving. So far though, I have not been able to confirm or refute this possibility.  As for our sensors, I am afraid that they are as good as they can be at this time. The modifications made to them greatly increased their sensitivity and resolution allowing us to pick up the settlements on the planet, but that is as far as I have been able to push them."

"Thank you, Lieutenant. Doctor Andersson," the Captain continued, turning her attention onto the Chief Medical Officer. "Have you had any success in shielding Ensign Enel from the effects of this vibration?"

"I am sorry," Sofia replied, her words directed at the Voth far more than to anyone else including the Captain. The guilt of her failure was personal as Doctor Andersson saw her inability to find a solution as having let the reptilian humanoid down. "There are simply too many possibilities and there is still so much we do not know or fully understand the physiology of his race. Maybe in a couple of weeks to a month, but I doubt that I will be able to make any serious breakthrough before then."

"Thank you, Doctor. Counsellor Dima," Selene said taking Nicole by complete surprise, the Trill not expecting to be called to voice an opinion on anything pertaining to what was to come next.  "In an effort to expose you to the demands of a bridge officer, I would like your opinion on this matter. Please know that my decision has already been made and what you say next will not affect this. I simply wish to see how, if you were in command, you would handle this particular situation."

Nicole let out an elongated sigh. This was not what she had expected when she asked to be considered for bridge officer training, but Counsellor Dima understood that this was a part of it just as much as sitting on the bridge. Making difficult decisions using only the available information is part of the game.  "Leaving this dimension and ignoring what happened to those two cruisers is, in my opinion, not a valid option. We need to figure out, in one way or another, what happened, either to utilize it at a future date or for us to become aware of a weapon that we may need to defend ourselves against at some point."

The Captain nodded her head in a way that did not show any emotions but only acknowledged the logic of the statement made by the Counsellor. "Go on," Iverson politely urged the Trill.

"This means that we must send an away team to the planet and since a shuttle would be too vulnerable during its descent and our transporters are only able to send a single individual at a time, sending Lieutenant A'Janni, as per his own suggestion and volunteering for this task, seems to make the most sense." The Trill looked onto the Caitian, his one eye looking back at her with almost gratitude.

Looking around the table, the Captain noticed something amiss with the Voth Chief of Security. "Ensign Enel, you do not appear to agree with what the Counsellor has just said."

"It is not my place to disagree, Captain," Zub quickly stated as it was his belief that it truly was not his role to voice any apprehension towards any command-level-decisions, that they affected him directly or not.

"Openly stating opinions is one of the reasons why we have these briefings, Ensign," Commander Valentine pointed out. "No one will think any less of you, in fact, we are all more likely to respect you for stating what you believe even if it should stand against the opinion of anyone else in this room."

"Stating an opposing point of view can be very useful," Doctor Andersson offered. As a physician, I often have to deal with opinions that differ from mine, and I consider this to be a good thing as it forces me to look upon a given situation from possibly a different perspective."

"Captain," Zub began. "I am not opposed to Lieutenant A'Janni being the one sent to the planet surface. I agree that given my current state, I have become a less than valid candidate. My expression, which I suspect may have been misinterpreted, was only one of support. I will follow whatever orders I am given, no matter what they may be and if I agree with them or not, this of course as long as those orders are not patently illegal. If your decision is to send A'Janni down and you wish it to be done using a rope, I will do my best to ensure that he reaches the planet safely, even if it requires my jumping down with him."

"I do not believe we have a rope long enough for that," Commander Valentine teased.

"We could always replicate one," Lieutenant Mitshiba added. "I would just need to target one of the empty cargo holds as I am sure that it would take quite a bit of space."

Zub was about to say something, likely pointing out that he was only kidding and that his example might have been ill-chosen, but it was the Captain that spoke next. "I greatly appreciate your devotion and loyalty, Ensign. The rope will not be necessary, but you all seem to have reached the same decision as I have. We cannot just leave and Lieutenant A'Janni does seem to be the best candidate for this mission."  Everyone agreed, with two barely noticeable exceptions, Commander Valentine and Lieutenant Gemma who looked at one another before returning their attention to the gathering. "Then, let us proceed."

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Transporter Room 2
Stardate: 35009.1045

The Caitain stood on the transporter platform, ready to go, but first, he needed to be given some last-minute instructions by those officers present in the room with him.

"Your mission is to survey the settlement where the metal fragment was found. Do your best to identify what it is, but you are to do so without making contact with the inhabitants of that world," Captain Iverson explained.

"The laser beacon is set to emit an invisible beam that we will be looking for," Lieutenant Mitshiba followed up with. "There are three settings. Setting A, also known as 'green' will indicate to us that all is well and that you believe it safe for others to follow. Setting B, also known as 'yellow' will indicate that you are safe but suggest that no one else follows at this time. The idea is for you to change the setting once you are more comfortable with whatever it is that you are dealing with down there. Setting C, also known as 'red' is a call for immediate beam out, likely due to you discovering something bad."

"What about setting D?" The Caitian inquired, his one good eye locked on the device in question which he held in his right hand. Even with only one eye, A'Janni could easily see that the Beacon was set to emit four different signals.

"That setting is your way to tell us that the mission is a bust and that there is no way for us to get you back," Misaki reluctantly explained.

"The problem is that there is no way to know for sure what you may encounter down there," Gemma offered, her tone of voice calm and unemotional. "Technically, there are only three options; we beam down after you, we beam you back up if we can, or we leave you down there because beaming you back could expose us and threaten the entire ship and crew."

"For the record, I did not want to have that setting on the beacon," the Chief Science Officer said.

"I understand," A'Janni confirmed with conviction. "Any final words, Captain?"

"Do not take any risks," Selene said. "We can always try again at a later time or even just leave with a full crew. You going down there is just to satisfy our need to get as much information as we can. We want you back, safe and sound."

"Thank you, Captain, I appreciate."

"Lieutenant Gemma," the Captain said to the woman manning the transporter station. "Energise."

Within seconds the Caitian was engulfed in a swirling dance of light until he and the equipment he had with him vanished from the platform.

"Transporter Room 2 to the bridge, Commander Valentine, report."

=/\= As we feared, we are not picking his life signs on the planet surface. =/\=

=/\= I am sure that he is fine, we just need to give him the time to do an initial survey of his surroundings before he sets up the beacon. =/\= The Chief of Security added.  The next few minutes passed in near-complete silence and steadily growing anguish. =/\= Captain, we are picking up a signal. It is the beacon and it is on setting B. =/\= 

"It means that he is safe," Gemma said, the announcement indicating that she was pleased even though her facial expression did not convey that sentiment or any other for that matter.

"Now we wait," the Captain said not having any real other options at this time. Whatever they would do next rested squarely on the shoulders of Lieutenant A'Janni.

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 35009.1330

"Captain's log, supplemental. It has been nearly 3 hours since LieutenantA'janni beamed down to the planet surface. Sensors are still unable to pick up any life signs, and as far as we can tell, nothing has come close to the beacon. The crew is becoming increasingly concerned about the well-being of our Flight Control Officer, but alas there is nothing we can do at this time.  We hope that..."

=/\= Captain, =/\= Commander Valentine interrupted. =/\= Its the beacon. The setting has been changed from 'yellow' to 'green'. Looks like we are cleared to beam more people down. =/\=

"Very well Commander. Have Lieutenant Mitshiba perform some basic beaming tests. Once she gives the go-ahead, you and a small away team can head down and see what Lieutenant A'Janni has discovered."

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 35009.1335

Ensign Enel sat on the biobed while Doctor Andersson performed some additional medical scans. Sofia was hellbent to discover a way to help Zub, but so far all of her efforts had proven futile.

"Good news," Nicole said as she stepped into the medical department. "The setting on the beacon was changed to green. A'Janni is safe and sound and has cleared the way for an away team."

"I'm guessing I should get my field kit ready," Doctor Andersson stated. "First-contact with a race from another dimension almost always calls upon the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Science Officer to be involved. Sorry Zub, looks like we are going to have to wait to complete this latest exam."

"I completely understand, Doctor. Is there anything I can do to help?"

"No," Sofia chuckled. "My bags are already all packed and ready to go. You never know when the head physician might be called to do a house call," the Doctor said finding her joke rather amusing, but as she walked away and was joined by Nicole, the two women failed to notice something odd about the reptilian Chief of Security who just slid onto his feet and walked out of Sickbay as if in a trans.

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Transporter Room 2
Stardate: 35009.1345

The sounds of alarms filled the room and corridors as Lieutenant Gemma, Doctor Andersson and Counsellor Dima came rushing into the transporter room to find the Chief Science Officer on the floor, her back against the far wall.

"What happened?" Sofia asked of Misaki.

"I was performing the transporter tests as requested by the Captain when Zub walked in," the Asian woman explained as she rubbed the back of her neck. "He looked like some sort of walking lizard-zombie. He said nothing, just went to the controls, overrode the security protocols, which was easy for him as the Chief of Security. and he then headed for the platform. When I moved in to ask what he was doing, he just pushed me to the side. I do not think he meant to injure me, just to not have me in his way, but his strength against my weight... well... you can see what happened."

"Yeah, you have a nasty bump on your head," Sofia said.

"What happened?" Commander Valentine asked as she ran into the room.

"Ensign Enel has gone rogue," Gemma explained. "He has beamed down to the surface without permission and there is no way to contact A'Janni to let him know what just happened."

"Commander," Counsellor Dima cautiously warned. "We have no idea what happened here. Lieutenant Mitshiba reported that Zub acted as if he was in a trans, not in control of his own actions. Maybe my earlier theory about what he was seeing being some sort of communication attempt could have forced him to beam down. We cannot simply dismiss as coincidence the facts of him acting the way he did and our getting a green signal from Lieutenant A'Janni so closely together."

"Is it safe to send people down using the transporter?" Sarena inquired of Misaki who was still sitting on the floor.

"Yes, it is safe. I just completed the tests when Zub came in and forced his way onto the transporter," Lieutenant Mitshiba confirmed.

"Doctor Andersson, please take care of her. Lieutenant Gemma, set the transporter for three beam-down sequences. I will go down first followed by Counsellor Dima and you will beam down last. Your orders," Sarena said looking straight at Nicole, "are to try and get through to Ensign Enel. If you fail, your orders," the Commander continued this time looking straight at Gemma, "are to take him down by whatever means necessary. We cannot risk him jeopardizing this mission. Are we clear?"

"Yes, Sir," both Nicole and Gemma said, each understanding the importance of their respective orders and each already planning on how to best achieve their objective.

---
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) 
M12-P028: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 35009.1410 ("A Bump On The Head")
"A Bump On The Head"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Exit, Stage Left" & (BAS) "Command Level Decisions"

///^\\\  
Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 35009.1410

"Doctor, I am fine." The Asian scientist did everything she could to convince the Doctor, but Sofia was on a single-minded mission and there was nothing Aki could say or do to divert the woman from the task she had taken. It was not uncommon to see the CMO driven, but never had the CSciO seen the woman so enraged while she worked.

"This is Sickbay," Doctor Andersson said waving a finger in the air. "People who are *brought* here are not fine. Since you are here, and you were brought here, the conclusion can only be that you are not fine, and that will remain so until I say otherwise."

"Alright, alright," Aki said, granting the Doctor victory in this discussion, not that she had any other choices. "I am here and yes, I was brought here, although for the record I would like to state that I *walked* here on my own. You should know that as you were there with me. All I have is a bump on the head." The Asian woman reached up to gently feel the bump on the back of her head, trying to get a more accurate sense of just how bad it was. Based on the way Doctor Andersson was acting tough, some might believe that the CSciO was only minutes from a brain aneurysm or something as equally dangerous.  "I am not showing any signs that might indicate that I am suffering from a concussion. I was pushed, I fell and bumped my head. I am sure that others have endured worse."

"Many had indeed endured worse, but they all have something in common. They all came to Sickbay and patiently waited for me to give them a clean bill of health.  Whatever happened to them was serious enough for them to be brought here. In your case, it was you being pushed by Ensign Enel," Sofia pointed out, not quite in an accusatory manner but she did so strongly enough to hold the Voth directly responsible for whatever injury Mitshiba would be found as having.

"Doctor, you cannot hold him responsible for what happened," Aki said in Zub's defense. "He was clearly not in control of his actions. He looked like he was hypnotized or under some sort of mental control."

Sofia spun on her heels and faced Aki, erasing the distance between them with a few quick strides. "You are a scientist, right?

"Yes," Aki replied but hesitantly.

"Therefore, as such you accept facts over perceptions and feelings, correct?"

The Asian woman was starting to get the feeling she knew where this was going. "Yes, but..."

Doctor Andersson interrupted. "We know very little about Voth physiology, and maybe even less about their psychology. That means we have no way to know for certain that what Ensign Enel did was out of his control. For all we know, he could have decided that he did not like A'Janni going down to the planet first and decided to go down there to settle the score."

"You cannot be serious," Aki was shocked. "You cannot believe that what you just said is true."

"I am trying to remain objective," the Doctor said. "If I allow my emotions to cloud my work, my findings, whatever they may be, could be dismissed by the Captain. In my heart, I may not believe Zub to be capable of doing what he did willingly, but we as a crew do not know him enough for any of us to vouch for his character. Therefore, I must do everything in my power to prove that he was responsible and pushed you out of the way because you were a threat to his plan, whatever it might have been at the time.  It is only through my failure in proving any of this that he will be exonerated from any wrong-doing. In the meantime, I must investigate every possibility, regardless of how small or insignificant it may be, to ensure that I do not miss the slightest thing that could be held against our Chief of Security. All of this is proving to be something exceptionally difficult to do thanks to your opposition and resistance."

"I..." the CSciO blinked several times. "I am sorry Doctor. I misunderstood your reasoning for pushing as hard as you were. I will fully cooperate." The Asian woman watched as the Doctor continued with her thorough examination, looking at the woman in medical robes in a completely different way. From thinking that Sofia hated Zub, Aki now understood that the CMO likely cared about him more than anyone else on the BASTET. It was nice to see that the towering reptilian had made such an impact on those around him since his arrival on board. Now, all they could do was to hope that he, and the other members of the crew currently on the planet, were safe and sound.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M12-P029: USS BASTET: Enel: 35009.1346 ("Cat Herding")
=-=
“Cat Herding”
Previous posts: (ANU) “Exit”, Stage Left & (BAS) “A Bump On The Head”

=-=
Setting: PLANET, Away Team Assembly Point
Stardate: 35009.1346
(this takes place immediately after the beam down but obviously before Dawn's post with Misaki in Sickbay)

Kyxtn The Fisher waited a moment or two after the strange sparkling ended. The meadow smelled gloriously fresh. He looked at the knee-high flowers turning their bright yellow hexagonal faces upward toward Suroh The Exalted, Giver of Warmth and Light. Tall thin trees sparsely lined the meadow edge, growing more common the deeper into the woods. They leaned this way and that. Their red triangular leaves fluttered in a soft breeze. A shallow river several paces wide murmured over cobbles and around a bend made by a high embankment of red stone. In a dip between the red bluff and the fluttering trees he caught glimpses of sandy dunes. 

He knew this place! Second Bend. The fish were tasty here and plentiful, when the season was right. He looked over his shoulder in the direction the breeze was coming from. Dark clouds had mounted halfway up the sky in a bid to hide the ruddy face of The Exalted. The Season of Storms was not the season for river fish.

It came to him again. *Call to Gather*. Bright figures danced before his eyes. *All Faithful and Loyal Meet At Once*. Knowing where he was, he turned in the direction that the muttering river was coming from. The village of Hill Haven stood there well beyond the trees, but not long away. He knew he had to get himself there so the Catton could tell all the Faithful why they were asked to gather.

He took a step or two in that direction. A sort of hiss came to him. He turned toward the sound. A shrub as high as his chest with purple rectangular leaves hissed again. A kind of short “Psst!”

=-=
Setting: PLANET, Away Team Beam Down Point
Stardate: 35009.1355

From behind a purple bush he used for cover, A’Janni knew something was amiss the moment Zub Enel materialized. The ensign was not part of the away team. He was supposed to be at his console monitoring A’Janni’s situation as best as sensors would allow. And that situation was not inductive of having some 7-foot tall lizard man heading fully upright toward the nearest settlement.

He called a little louder. “Zub!” The big Voth had turned to face him, but the expression on his face was not recognition, rather a mixture of surprise and alarm. The ensign pointed a clawed finger at him and spoke something that sounded like clicks and machine noises.

=-=
Setting: PLANET, Away Team Beam Down Point
Stardate: 35009.1357

Kyxtn The Fisher felt that the big furry animal that had partially revealed itself was somehow familiar to him, but he could not figure out how he would have met or even seen such a creature on his travels through the Lesser Woodlands. The creature was wearing clothing, of a sort - a stye he also found familiar. Vague memories came back about smaller creatures in the same clothing trying to impede him from answering the call. Before those memories, he also had a vague memory of sinking cold and exhausted under a sea with waves as tall as mountains. He couldn’t remember surviving the ocean, but he must have. This remembering left him feeling strange and unsettled. He worried something evil was afoot.

He pointed at the being. “No welcome guest would hide itself so. I must think you mean me harm. Stay back! I am answering The Call. As you should be. But do not! Impede me and you shall answer to the Catton, and then to Suroh The Exalted, but first to me!”

He turned away toward Hill Haven. The Call sounded again. It stirred him to his very essence with urgency. He would be late. Never good. The Catton knew all, saw all. He broke into a run, dodged around a gray, half-buried, hexagonal rock leaning out of the meadow and put it between himself and the furry creature as he sprinted toward the woods.

=-=
Setting: PLANET, Away Team Beam Down Point
Stardate: 35009.1400

A’janni stared in disbelief as Zub bellowed more clicking and whirring nonsense before running away. That big reptile simply could not charge into the settlement. A’Janni left the cover of the shrub, skirted around a gray six-sided column in the middle of the field, and ran after the Chief of Security. He’d never seen the Chief run before. Zub hunched forward, held his clawed hands close in front of his chest while he threw out enormous strides with his long legs. He’d be the devil to catch at that speed.

The FCO poured on the power to his legs. As preoccupied as he was about stopping Zub Enel from showing himself, there was something exhilarating about pushing himself to close the gap; something primal, instinctive, and natural. He wished he had time to kick off his shoes so he could dig claws into the dry ground, tufts of blue grass and yellow flowers. A big cat chasing a big lizard. He’d evolved for such a chase.

The Voth slowed ever so slightly as he reached the thicker woods, as if thinking a path through instead of using intuition. A’Janni planted both boots, flexed his powerful legs and leaped high, hands and claws outstretched. He hit the Voth between the shoulder blades and stiffened his arms to let his momentum shove the man forward. Moments later A’Janni’s boots joined in below his hands so he applied his full weight to the pounce. 

=-=
Setting: PLANET, Away Team Beam Down Point
Stardate: 35009.1405

Under the assault, Kyxtn The Fisher bent forward, staggered two steps until his shoulder smacked into a tree. He caromed off the sparkly red bark and landed hard, face first, on gnarled roots, dried branches and fist sized rocks. He winced as the creature’s claws continued to dig cruelly into his back. 

=-=
Setting: PLANET, Away Team Beam Down Point
Stardate: 35009.1410

A’Janni’s heartbeat thundered in his ears. His claws tingled with such pleasure that he felt a pang of guilt. He resisted the urge to tear through Zub Enel’s uniform with them. During that moment of assessment, the Voth physically stood, bodily lifting the Caitian off the ground while he still clung to his back. Zub Enel swung A’Janni away from the tree like some ponderous backpack and then in a lightning twist bashed him fully against the trunk. It was A’Janni’s turn to wince as unyielding wood slammed his shoulder and hip. The Chief of Security rolled him away from the tree and swung him even harder at the trunk. 

The Flight Control Officer let go, both to save Zub Enel from grievous claw damage and to save himself from splintered ribs. He was agile enough to plant his boots sideways on the tree and catapult over the Voth. He landed, spun to face the ensign, and blocked his path, arms spread wide, claws out. He snarled. 

Zub’s expression had been a mixture of fear and purpose. Yet, after a moment of looking at the one-eyed Caitian, it gave over to complete terror. The Voth turned and sprinted back the way he’d come, crossed the meadow and disappeared behind trees downstream.

=-=
David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

“Genius - the pursuit of madness.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy
M12-P030: USS BASTET: Valentine: 35009.1410 ("Predators")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"'Predators"
[previous post (ANU) "A Friendly Voice" / (BAS) "Cat Herding")]

Setting: Unknown Planet, Beam down site
Stardate: 35009.1415

The visual scan of the area that Sarena had performed upon her arrival revealed no signs of the Caitian or Voth, this did not bode well for the situation.

"Where are they?" Counselor Dima asked as she walked up to the Executive Officer, half expecting the woman to point somewhere to show them fighting.

"I have no idea," the Commander sadly admitted while looking at the knee-high flowers and their bright yellow centers. The warmth of the sun overhead was pleasant, the entire scenery reminiscent of another world in another dimension. "I cannot find any traces of them in this tall grass and thanks to the vibration in this dimension, tricorders are useless beyond 10 meters."

The ILO stapped up between the two women and lowered herself onto a single knee. To the shock of both the Executive officer and Ship's Counselor, the woman between them was not someone they had ever seen before. Her long, flowing deep red hair seemed to almost glow in the natural light of the sun overhead.

"Excuse me..." Nicole cautiously began, curious as to whom this new personality of their ILO was. "May I ask..."

"The name is Jink," the woman said quickly returning to her feet and looking at the other two women with her piercing green eyes, a rather nasty looking scar cutting her face right through the left side. "It sounded like you could use the help of an expert Bounty Hunter."

"We will manage on our own," The Counselor said. As great as it might be to have someone possessing such specialized skills at this moment, Nicole also understood that this latest personality could be completely unpredictable, and by her appearance alone Dima concluded that the Bounty Hunter could also prove to be very dangerous.

"You will?" Jinx grinned, looking and sounding very amused. "How do you plan on tracking the Felinoid that went after the reptilian? My guess is that you are dealing with a Caitain or Kzinti running after a Saurian or Voth?" The Bounty Hunter asked crossing her arms as if challenging them to claim that she was wrong.

"How?" Sarena said, not sure if she should be pleased by the skills demonstrated by the woman or shocked that she had made it look so easy.

"The way Caitians and Kzinti start take off on an all out run is rather unique and can be discerned by the spread of the footprints on the ground. Reptilians are not as quick at the start. but their leg strength gives them an equally unique spread between strides. The depth of the imprints also helps me tell them apart from other larger humanoid species. I could tell you more, but where would the fun be in that? So, still think that you don't need me?"

"Lead the way," Sarena said, inviting the woman to take control of their little hunt.

"Are you sure that this is a good idea?" Dima whispered to Sarena, the Counselor and Executive officer stating several steps behind the tracker.

"Counselor, I share your surprise and even understand your apprehension. We have no idea what Jink can do, and more importantly, what her mindset may be. Right now, she seems to be the friendly sort, but even if she was not, how do you suggest we deal with her? Would you rather Anya be the one tracking Zub and A'Janni?"

Nicole was going to answer but quickly considered the option that she was given by Sarena. As much of an unknown as Jink could be, she was still a less potentially dangerous personality than the Russian assassin, or at least that is what they both hoped for all of their sakes. Sarena and Nicole followed with interest as the woman with the long, flowing red hair scrutinized the ground to be certain that they were still on the right track, at least that as until she suddenly stopped.

"What's wrong?" The Commander inquired.

"There is another set of tracks, this one older by a day or so," Jinx reported, looking around as if she perceived some kind of trouble of threat. "Smaller, bipedal although the feet, if I can call them that, are certainly not humanoid. I would almost be willing to venture that we are dealing with a walking plant as the footprints appear to be like roots." After saying this, the Bounty Hunter's head went back down to study these new tracks more closely, but after a few seconds her head snapped back up before she turned and pushed the other two women to the side.

Both Sarena and Nicole were surprised by this, but before they could ask what this was all about, they realized that someone else had been standing a few meters behind them. The humanoid creature looked at them, tilting its head to the side displaying surprise and curiosity.

"We mean you no harm," Valentine said holding her hand open in front of her, the Executive Officer ever so slowly getting back up to her feet while trying not to offer any signs of hostility.  The creature simply tilted its head in the other direction as if it could not understand what was being said.

"Is the universal translator working?" Nicole wondered aloud.

"With the vibration from this dimension, it is highly unlikely, but even if they did, we have absolutely no knowledge of their language or even if they are capable of speaking." Sarena was looking around, making sure that everyone, especially Jinx, did not make any sudden moves.  The alien tilted its head back, focusing on Jinx who was clearly taking on a more defensive posture. "Do not move or engage," the Executive Officer ordered. There was no need for the Bounty Hunter to turn this into a fight.

"No weapons," Jinx said, scrutinizing the alien. "Physical attributes appear to be on the weaker side, with no visible muscles on either the arms or legs. The face is strangely humanoid in appearance though although you can clearly see that this creature is more plant than flesh.  I wonder..." the Bounty Hunter took a single step forward, but that proved enough to trigger a reaction.  The alien's head snapped up as one hand quickly rose causing some sort of force to take hold of the three women.

"I can't move," Nicole exclaimed.

"Neither can I," Sarena said. "What kind of force field is this?"

"I am not sure that we are dealing with any kind of technology here," Jink observed.

"What? Are you going to claim that this is some sort of magic?" The joint trill said, not ready to accept that possibility even with her many lifetimes of experiences.

The debate was moot as none of them could move. As the alien rose its hand, the three captives found themselves lifted off the ground and unable to oppose in any way them being brought to wherever the creature was taking them to.

[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]  
Setting: Unknown Planet, Near the settlement
Stardate: 35009.1545

The three trapped Starfleet Officers drew quite a lot of attention as they were brought into the settlement. The multitude of aliens they encountered on the way there seemed both terrified and mesmerized by the catch of one of their own. Each of the aliens resembled the first, making it clear that they were dealing with an organized race and culture, but what proved to be more surprising was the fact that none of them seemed to be using any tools. Instead, they were performing various tasks as if using some powerful mental ability resembling a mixture of telekinesis and psy-powers,

The three women were brought to the center of the settlement and presented to one individual who they could only guess was a leader. It looked at them as a group first before focusing on each one at a time.  A wide range of geometric shapes and colors invaded their thoughts, so much so that all three felt overwhelmed from the experience. When it finally ended after several minutes, the alien took a few steps back. "You, not from here. Not like others either." With a wave of its hand, it made the three women move through the air away from each other before branches emerged from the ground and created a cage around each. When the force field, or whatever it was that was holding them was released, the three women gently landed onto the branched floor beneath them.

"This is proving to be an interesting First Contact," Counselor Dima said.

"What were those shapes and colors we say?" Jinx asked.

"Were those not what Ensign Enel reported seeing back on the BASTET?" Valentine wondered.

"It is possible that this is their way of communicating," Nicole theorized. "All I know is that I have three weird sounds in my head, like three distinct syllables."

"Pa... Ha... Sa..." the other two women said in perfect unison.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P031: USS BASTET: A'Janni: 35009.1430 ("One Race, One Name")
"One Race, One Name"
[previous (ANU) "A Friendly Voice" / (BAS) "Predators"]

[/\]

Setting: PA-HA-SA, Forested area
Stardate: 35009.1430

The pain in his chest was bearable but it made his breathing that much more difficult, and this, in turn, hindered the Caitian's ability to catch up to the BASTET's Chief of Security. The earlier fight had been relatively even as the two adversaries had respective advantages over the other. The reptilian Ensign possessed greater height and reach while the feline Lieutenant had greater bulk and weight. The higher-level agility that A'Janni possessed was countered by the sheer strength Zub controlled, and in the end, that proved to be the deciding factor. Keeping this hard-learned lesson in mind, the FCO pressed on reminding himself to use his training and agility in a way to not allow the Chief of Security to utilize his strength against him again.

With each step, A'Janni wondered if the BASTET had received his signal and if someone had beamed down. Under normal circumstances, the Caitian would have waited by the beacon and gave the team leader, likely Commander Valentine, a report on what he had seen. Unfortunately, it was Ensign Enel who came down first and he did not seem to be in a state of mind to accept any sort of report. The FCO was faced with an urgent decision, to stay put and wait for someone else to beam down or go after the Chief of Security and stop him from making his way to the settlement and revealing their presence to the local inhabitants.

Through the trees, A'Janni could see the outskirts of the settlement. The small and simple huts with their dried grass roofs made it evident that those living there were a people of few needs, content in their tranquil way of life. The FCO could only fear as to how they would react upon seeing a giant lizard walking upright, dressed in clothes that they never could have imagined.  To the Caitian's surprise, he found Zub sitting next to one of the last trees before the clearing where the settlement was. The Voth was muttering to himself repeating three overly simplistic syllables. "Pa-Ha-Sa."

The Ensign said this, again and again, his golden eyes locked on some unseen part of the settlement. Despite A'Janni's greatest effort, Zub's focus did not falter while he continued reciting those three syllables which the Caitian was rapidly growing annoyed with.  The FCO was about to try something drastic, something that might end up having him stand in front of Captain Iverson to explain, but just as he was about to strike the sitting reptilian man, A'Janni heard the same chant-like words coming from the settlement itself.

Curious, the FCO crouched down and observed the local inhabitants head out to a common point within the settlement, all chanting this strange and unnerving melody. A'Janni could not see what was happening within the settlement from where he was, but he could tell that the inhabitants were chanting with ever-increasing drive, a fact that was mimicked by Enel.

When the chanting finally stopped, to the Caitian's immeasurable relief, A'Janni thought he heard a familiar voice coming from the settlement, as if someone had been trying to scream over the chanting just before it came to a sudden and unexpected stop.

"Lieutenant?" Zub said, the Chief of Security looking rather confused and lost. "What am I doing here?"

"Aside from chanting?" A'Janni fired back. "I have no idea. You beamed down and started heading for the settlement. I tried stopping you and you... well, let's just say that you made it clear that no one was going to stop you. When I finally caught up with you again, you were sitting there, chanting."

"Pa-Ha-Sa," the reptilian man said, recalling the event as if it had been nothing more than a distant dream. "I was a fisherman," he muttered as memories of what he had experienced slowly came back to him.

"You were what?" A'Janni questioned wondering if Zub had suffered some kind of mental breakdown.

Instead of a reply from the Ensign, it was a familiar human voice that they heard. Both the Caitian and Voth quickly looked at one another before following the forest's edge in search of a better vantage point from which they would be able to see what was happening without revealing their presence.

"Look," Zub said pointing to one of the local life forms holding a metal rod as if it was some kind of medieval staff. "It's that the beacon you beamed down with?"

"It is," A'Janni confirmed. "As there is no returning to the ship without it.  We need to get closer and see what they are doing with it. Hopefully, we can find a way to snatch it back without anyone noticing."

Using their respective skills and common training, the two officers quickly traveled the open space between the forest's edge and the outer most hut of the settlement. With all of the inhabitants occupied with something else happening at the center, A'Janni and Zub had no problem reaching their intended target without being detected.

"What are they doing?" The FCO asked while observing the strange inhabitants looking upon the beacon as if it were some kind of historically defining relic. "Please tell me that they are not worshiping that thing. It would be hell to explain to the Captan as to how we managed to contaminate the natural evolution of these creatures.

"With all due respect Lieutenant," Zub said gently tapping with his three-fingered hand on A'Janni's shoulder. "I believe that explaining them finding the beacon may prove to be the least of our problems right now." The Caitian's one eye followed the line created by the alignment of the Voth's arm, hand, and finger until he came upon three strange-looking cages, each holding a very familiar form.

"They captured Commander Valentine, Counselor Dima, and Gemma?!?" A'Janni gasped, halfway up into a forward lounge that was interrupted by Zub taking a quick hold of the Caitian.

"We cannot just rush in and attempt a rescue without further contaminating their culture. We need to come up with a plan. It might be simpler for us to simply aim to retrieve the beacon and contact the BASTET for extra help before we make any attempt to save them. Waiting for nightfall may also provide us with the added advantage we will need to limit the damage to this culture to the bare minimum."

Reluctantly, A'Janni agreed and followed Zub as the two of them retreated back to the forest to consider all possible options available to them in the goal of rescuing the caged vixens of PA HA SA.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG A'Janni [Access Character BIO for A'Janni]
Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P032: USS BASTET: Gemma: 35009.1500 ("Caged Fury")
=-=
"Caged Fury"
[the previous post was (ANU) "A Friendly Voice" / (BAS) "One Race, One Name"]
=-=

Setting:  PA-HA-SA, Settlement, center meeting area  
Stardate: 35009.1500

The chanting had finally stopped. Unfortunately, the lingering annoyance of those senseless three words remained. They echoed in the ILO's head so much so that she was twitching because of it. What made things worse was the knowledge that this 'Pa-Ha-Sa' actually meant something to these people. It was something important, something larger than they were as individuals. At the same time, it was something that could not be identified as a single 'thing'. How Gemma knew this was beyond her understanding. What she did understand was that she was in a cage. This cage was not one made of energy or unbreakable metal. It was made of wood that could be broken and easily escaped from. All she needed was the authorization to do so.

"Commander," Gemma said looking at the cage her right. "Can we escape now?"

The First Officer just shook her head 'no' and yet appeared relieved while doing so. Of all the people who could have asked that question, it was the ILO who did.  Truth be told, there was not a great deal holding them where they were. The roots that made up these cages were solid enough to hold them in place. The three prisoners also knew that it would not take all that much effort to break them in order for them to regain their freedom. The question was not one of physical capability but rather of diplomacy.

"Someone is approaching," Counselor Dima said. The joint Trill sitting in the cage tot he left of the ILO. All three women watched as one of the aliens moved closer, holding the beacon as if it were a staff. "We mean you no harm," Nicole said. "We are simple travelers. If you will let us go, we will be on our way and never return." They waited for some kind of a reply, but none came.

"You spoke our language earlier," Commander Valentine said joining in. "Do you understand what we are saying?"  The alien looked at Sarena than back at Nicole before returning its gaze onto the First Officer. As it did so, it tilted its head to one said, a simple gesture that was testing the ILO's rapidly vanishing patience. "We mean you no harm. All we wish is to resume our travels."

"Pa... Ha... Sa..." the alien said as if those words represented all of the answers they needed.

"Oh, please," Gemma sighed with utter despair. "No more chanting." The ILO turned to look at the ExO. "Commander, we could break free and grab the beacon. I promise that none of these things, whatever they are, will be injured. We would be out of here before they even realizing that we are free."

"You seem to be forgetting one thing," Nicole pointed out. "From what we have witnessed, they possess telekinetic abilities. If we did break free, what would stop them from recapturing us in the same manner they did the first time?"

The Commander nodded her head in agreement. "We need to be patient. If we are unable to open a dialogue with them, then we will consider escaping. This may not be the best first contact ever, but there is no need for us to make it worse. We still need to figure out what happened to the Masters."

"Wait!" Gemma chuckled. "Are you actually suggesting that they took care of them?"

"They did take care of us," Dima said pointing to the cage she was trapped in.

The ILO did not hold her frustration back. "Trapping us in cages in one thing. Destroying two cruisers is an entirely different matter."  The raised tole of voice of the agitated woman drew the alien's attention. He looked at her, its head tilted to one side before raising a hand in her direction.  Gemma screamed in pain. Her body shifted from one personality to the next faster than the others could identify them. Although this lasted only for a few seconds, it proved more than sufficient to take the fight out of the ILO.

"GEMMA!" Nicole and Sarena called out.

"I'm alright," the ILO said stuttering. "I will never underestimate a 'Jedi mind trick' ever again."

"What happened?" the Counselor inquired. It was too bad that their cages were just far enough apart to avoid them being able to reach any of the others.

Gemma swallowed hard while looking at the alien. The general innocent appearance of the creature only emphasized by the tilting of its head. "It showed me what they can do.  I am not entirely certain I fully understand what it is I saw. I can only guess that they somehow tap into the vibration of this dimension. They can feel it, channel it, focus it and even redirect it. If they wanted, they could have torn our atoms apart without the slightest effort. I can only guess that they believe us to not be a threat."

"Unlike the Masters." The wide-eyed Commander said while looking at the alien. "We need to be very careful in our dealings with these beings. Any suggestions?"

"We need to get off this planet as soon as possible. A'Janni is still out there. Maybe he can find a way to grab the beacon and get us beamed back." Gemma offered as a possible solution.

Nicole looked through Gemma's cage to speak to Sarena. "They do understand some of what we are saying. They clearly have a completely different language, using telepathy as a primary means of communication. There is still a chance for us to covey our intents. Any physical confrontation will most certainly end with us sharing the fate the Masters received."

Again, the Commanded nodded her head in agreement. "We need to get a message to A'Janni. He needs to stop Ensign Enel before he does something that we might all end up regretting."

"Easier said than done," Gemma said just before a wave of dizziness caused her to fall unconscious.

=-=
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]
M12-P033: USS BASTET: Enel: 35009.1500 ("Staff & Flock")
=-=
“Staff & Flock”
Previous posts: (ANU) “Decent Into Trouble" / (BAS) “Caged Fury”
=-=

Setting: PA-HA-SA, Near Settlement
Stardate: 35009.1500

Ensign Zub Enel and Lieutenant A’Janni crouched together behind a wide bush with purple leaves that gave off the scent of tart fruit. They whispered.

“No," said the one-eyed Caitian male. "Nightfall will not be as much of an advantage as we might hope it to be. When these people go to sleep, if they do at all, there are patrols wandering about. You can clearly see the foot trails on the outside perimeter of the settlement. Also, we have no idea of what kind of night vision these people possess. For all we know, they might have even better sight than us two in low light environments.”

Zub gave him a nod.

A’Janni continued, “If we brought the beacon carrier out here among all this vegetation, it might be harder for villagers to intervene. We’d be able to snatch it and disappear. By the time they organized a search party, we’d have beamed up and put a lot more brains to work on freeing the XO, ILO and CNS.”

The Voth looked toward the conical huts. “That might make them angry. They might take it out on our officers.”

The Flight Control Officer nodded. “A good point. Besides, the longer those women stay in cages, the more uncertain their fate is. Maybe when we get the beacon we should all beam out together.”

Zub asked, “We can all beam out together?”

A’Janni scowled. “No, I meant five separate beam outs.”

Zub shot his golden gaze into A’Janni’s single snowy white one. “These are the people who destroyed two cruisers.”

“Maybe they aren’t.”

Zub shrugged. “Maybe the Masters had crew members taken prisoner. The Masters freed them and escaped. They were destroyed. Maybe instead we should get the villagers to give our beacon back.”

A’Janni spotted one of the villagers moving in their direction, its face pointed directly at them. The alien advanced slowly, as if questing a scent or locating a faint sound.

The FCO and CSO crouched lower and held their breath.

A pace away the villager stopped. Curiosity etched its face. It raised one hand with twiggy fingers toward the bush the pair huddled behind. “Pa Ha Sa.”

A’Janni gave a strong tug on the hem of Zub Enel’s jacket, a signal to retreat. Instead, the Chief of Security emitted a strange set of clicks. He started to stand.

Instinct alone drove the FCO backward through the brush. Quietly, quickly, the felinoid put several purple bushes between himself and the ensign. He went prone to lower his profile further but kept his hands flattened on the leaf strewn ground in case he had to hop up and withdraw further.

Laying there, emotions caught up with him. He had abandoned the Voth instead of protecting him. In spite of rising shame, his mind started working. The villagers had not harmed the others so Zub would be safe for the nonce. This left A’Janni free to strategize.

=-=
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Near Settlement
Stardate: 35009.1510

Kyxtn the Fisher felt strange thoughts ebb away about beacons and camaraderie with furry strangers. He knew this person on the edge of Hill Haven. He felt her confusion swirling in her mind. He spoke gently lest he frighten her, “Menia the Weaver. It is I.”

Menia’s voice held incredulity. “Familiar. Strange. Present. Passed.”

She radiated mistrust. Dismayed, he said, “You know me. I have answered The Call.”

Her raised hand closed into a fist. His arms and legs pressed together. He felt lashed down tight. She chanted, “Pa Ha Sa!”

Brilliantly colored shapes flooded Kyxtn’s mind. Compelled, he joined in The Call, although his voice boomed louder than he remembered.

Soon everyone in Hill Haven had assembled around him. There was no greeting. They flogged his mind with alarm. The Catton herself approached carrying a somehow familiar alien staff.

The Call stopped. The Catton tilted her head. Her fingers curled. Kyxtn groaned as claws sank into his chest.

She voiced stern accusation, “Strange beast, devourer of our fisher.”

Kyxtn gasped through the pain, “I am no beast, O Catton, Wise and All Seeing. I stand alive before you.”

“Kyxtn passed last Season of Storms. You, beast, have his tessellation within you. Soul eater!”

Kyxtn suddenly floundered in icy waves, his fish lost, his strength lost. Another wave broke over him, driving him far under black waters. He flailed, tried to surface, but there was no light. He swam but had lost his way.

He stood once again before the Catton, shivering, horrified. He felt her hand and behind that the helping hands of the villagers shifting symbols in his mind to one side like so many seashells to reveal symbols of another soul he knew not.

=-=
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Near Settlement
Stardate: 35009.1515

Confused, Zub Enel looked around at the villagers. He surmised he’d had another episode. He hoped A’Janni was safe.

He felt a presence in his mind like someone huddled there; sad and shaken. Zub recognized him. “Kyxtn the Fisher.”

In Zub’s mind The Fisher replied glumly, *No more.*

The villager with the beacon scowled with concentration. She clicked and whirred unintelligibly and then said quite understandably, “You carry one who was lost to us. Why?”

The ensign wasn’t sure if the villager with the beacon had spoken aloud or not. He replied with earnestness, “I do not know how he came to be with me, but I mean him no harm.”

A’Janni’s keen ears picked up Zub’s words from far behind the gathering of villagers. The Voth’s madness had at least momentarily abated. A’Janni realized that all the villagers were mesmerized by this tableau on the edge of the woods.

He crept back until he felt sure he could sneak into the settlement unseen.

=-=
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Settlement, center meeting area.
Stardate: 35009.1520

A’Janni circled almost half the village before he could approach the cages unseen by the villagers surrounding Zub Enel.

Gemma lay supine in the middle cage between Nicole’s and Sarena’s. The two women regarded him cooly.

Their reaction puzzled him. He tested the branchlike bars of Gemma’s cage. Commander Valentine punctuated her whisper with a palm out. “Stop!”

A’Janni froze. He squinted one-eyed at the XO.

Nicole whispered, “One threatening move and these beings will use telekinesis to blast us into subatomic quarks. You can’t free us without offending them.”

The Caitian looked upon unconscious Gemma with deeply-felt concern, fearing for her life while feeling a resurgence of guilt as he thinks of another woman, one trapped deep within the body and mind of the senseless ILO.

A’Janni’s nostrils flared as frustration surged up. “How do I free you?”

Sarena whispered, “Improvise?”

The FCO scowled. “Zub was talking to that creature with our beacon.“

Nicole asked, “Talking to or with?”

“With. Zub has a fisherman in his head. They want it back.”

Sarena exclaimed, “That makes absolutely no sense.”

“A bargaining chip,” the counselor said, feeling a surge of hope for the first time since their capture.

Sarena arched an eyebrow. “How do we bargain a fisherman out of Zub’s head?”

“Improvise,” A’Janni quipped.

Nicole said sharply, “Here comes everybody.”

The entire village converged on the cages. Zub towered over all of them. The XO thought she caught a fleeting look of recognition as he looked from cage to cage.

A’Janni, between Gemma’s cage and the villagers, retreated. The XO said, “No. Stay. Act submissive.”

The FCO’s fur stood, but he endeavored to appear as non-threatening as a 6’4”, one-eyed, battle scarred felinoid could.

The villager with the beacon tilted its head and raised its free hand. Zub said quietly, “These are my people. None of us mean you any harm.”

The villager lowered its hand.

=-=
David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

“Individually, we are one drop.
Together, we are an ocean.”
- Ryunosuke Satoro
M12-P034: USS BASTET: A'Janni: 35009.1530 ("Bad Kitty")
"Bad Kitty"
[previous (ANU) "Descent Into Trouble" / (BAS) "Staff & Flock"]

[/\]
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Settlement, center meeting area
Stardate: 35009.1530

This was not like him. His knee was down, pushing against the grassy ground, his ears folded back against his head, and his one good eye looking at the ground before him. A'Janni was a Caitian, that alone meant that his pride stood in the way of what Commander Valentine had ordered him to do. He was also trained in security and this 'submissive' posture was akin of inviting his being injured or worse killed.  When he heard Zub speak, claiming that these were *his* people and that they meant them no harm, a chill crawled down the feline's spine.  Enel's voice, or at the very least the sound of it was the same, but there was nothing about what he said or the way he said it that sounded by the imposing reptilian he had come to know.

Nothing about any of this felt right to the Caitian, so he back at Commander Valentine who just shook her head instructing him without saying a word to not do anything that might be considered aggressive which would lead to compromising the safety of everyone here. A'Janni looked to Counselor Dima next, the Trill's gentle smile was her way to reassure him that this was the best course of action.  The FCO took in a long deep breath before looking up at the gathering and the towering reptilian standing at the front of them. The Chief of Security did not give any indication that he was standing ready for a fight, which in itself did not seem that much out of place as Zub was not the type to be looking for a reason to start a fight.

All of this made the Caitian relax, although only a little, but still, A'Janni felt a little less on edge and ready to pounce on the entire gathering. The FCO looked back once again, receiving approving and reassuring nods from both the First Officer and Ship's Counselor. When his eyes stopped on the unconscious form of the ILO though, an uncontrollable rage began to stir within the felinoid officer.

Although he could clearly see that it was Gemma lying in the cage, A'Janni could not help but see someone else, some he knew was somewhere hiding inside. The idea that Cheetora was trapped in another form was difficult for the Caitian to accept, but to see her behind bars was more than the former Special Security Envoy could bare. His muscles tensed, his one eye narrowed and his stance changed to one of combat readiness as he turned to confront the gathering once more.

"LIEUTENANT!" Commander Valentine yelled but it was already too late. Like a powerful spring, A'Janni had launched towards Zub, ready to take him and everyone else down. His paws were extended as were his claws, ready to rip through whatever he would make contact with first, but that proved to be nothing more than air as the Caitian's airborne lunge was stopped in mid-flight.

The villager holding the beacon looked upon the creature suspended in mid-air, its head tilted to one side while its free hand was casually stretched before it, fingers spread wide. Whatever power these people possessed granted them abilities beyond the simple explanation of science, but that changed nothing in regard to the FCO's failed raged-fueled assault.

"Why?" Enel asked in the same manner that he had spoken before, another entity using his voice to speak.

"If you are so peaceful, then why imprison my fellow shipmates? If you mean them or me no harm, why has she fallen unconscious? What have you done to her?" A'Janni was not holding back, if his body could not express the extent of his rage, his worlds would have to do.

The lead villager, the one holding onto the beacon move passed the hanging Caitian and approached the central cage where Gemma was held, the woman curled into an uncomfortable shape following her collapse.  "Is she ill?"

"You did that to her!" The FCO accused without any reservation.

"We are not sure what happened," Counselor Dima quickly interjected, her voice as calm and peaceful as she could make it be. "She just collapsed, lost consciousness, but we do not have the tools or the expertise to tell what is wrong with her."

"We mean no harm," Zub repeated, looking at the FCO hanging in mid-air just a little over an arm's length in front of him. "Can you help her?"  Oddly enough, the way the question was asked seemed to indicate that the person making the inquiry actually knew the answer, if not consciously then unconsciously.

The Caitian nodded his head, "Yes, but I will need the beacon."

"The beacon?" Enel against asked in a way that hinted to him knowing the answer despite asking the question.

"Yes," A'Janni confirmed. "The beacon... the staff that your friend over there is holding.

Strange clicking sounds filled the air as the lead villager regrouped with the others. The scene was surreal, a mixture of an out worldly dream and a twisted nightmare. When the clicking ended, A'Janni found his feet being slowly returned to the ground and the 'staff' handed to him.  With the beacon in hand, the FCO turned to look at the Commander.

"I could ask for a beam out," A'Janni said, his fingers already hovering over the controls.

"They are showing an unprecedented level of trust," Nicole said. "They will judge us on what we do next. They may have accepted your lashing out as a show of loyalty and desire to protect another of your group, but there is no way to know how they will interpret any one of us suddenly beaming away. Given the extent of their powers based only on what we have observed, it is, therefore, conceivable that they may be able to block any other attempts to beam someone up or down."

"Send a 'red' signal followed by a 'green' one," Valentine suggested. "Repeat this sequence three times. Hopefully, Captain Iverson will understand that this means we need help to be beamed down."

Placing the beacon in a more open area next to the cages, the FCO did as he was told, this time. The beacon was activated and set to transmit a 'red' signal followed by a 'green' one, this little switch repeated three times. Once this was done, A'Janni stepped back from the beacon and waited to see what would happen, just like everyone else.

A few seconds later, a transporter beam appeared right next to the beacon and when the sequence was completed, it was Doctor Anderson who stood there with a medical field kit hanging on her shoulder.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG A'Janni [Access Character BIO for A'Janni]
Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P035: USS BASTET: Andersson: 35009.1600 ("Field Medic")
=-=
"Field Medic"
[the previous post was (ANU) "The Dome" by Hanali / (BAS) "Bad Kitty" by Jayson]
=-=

Setting:  PA-HA-SA, Settlement, center meeting area 
Stardate: 35009.1600 

As soon as the materialization sequence was complete, the physician scanned her immediate surroundings. The message received by the BASTET had not been clear, how could it have been since it was only a couple of beeps, each meaning something different, the whole signal repeated three times. For all that Captain Iverson knew, the away team could be in the middle of a picnic or stuck in a pool of molten magma, sinking to their deaths. Needless to say, Sofia was rather pleased to find everyone alive and well, for the most part.  Sarena and Nicole were in cages made of branches while A'Janni and Zub looked like they were ready to come to blows at any moment while a group of strange-looking humanoid creatures stood behind their new Chief of Security. The only one that appeared to need any medical attention was Gemma who laid unconscious in a cage of her own.

"What happened?" Doctor Anderson asked. "I mean with Gemma," Sofia clarified looking at the cages, the Caitian and Voth. As curious as she was as to how all of this had come to be, the physician needed to keep her mind on the task at hand. "I suspect that you trying to explain any of this would take quite a bit of time, time that I am guessing we do not have."

"She just collapsed unconscious after we were captured by the Pa-Ha-Sa," Commander Valentine reported. "We have not been injured but were unable to check her vitals. The best we could do was to confirm that she was breathing."

"Breathing is good," the physician said opening her field medical kit and pulling out her medical tricorder.

"The equipment will not work, at least not as it should," Nic stated, the vibration present in this dimension having so far affected everything piece of technology they possessed.

"I can see that," Sofia noted with a heavy sigh. "Not that it would have made that much of a difference with Gemma. My medical equipment always gives me the same readings no matter what state she is in." After returning the tricorder to the case, the Doctor reached in and pressed her fingers against the woman's neck searching for a pulse.  "Her heart rate is slow and I can barely feel her pulse. Are you sure that nothing happened? I am not feeling any signs of a fever, but I suspect that her nanites would have taken care of whatever infection would have found its way into her."

"Could this dimension's vibration be interfering with the nanites in the same way that it is interfering with our technology?" Commander Valentine proposed.

"I do not know..." Sofia's voice trailed off as the sound of another transporter sequence was heard. "I completely forgot," the Doctor said with her head held low.  "I was supposed to turn the beacon off when I arrived. If the signal continued, Aki was ordered to follow and see what the problem was."

"Let me guess," the Asian woman said after getting her bearings. "You forgot to turn the beacon off upon your arrival?"

"That obvious?" Sofia smirked. "I am glad that you are here though, this may fall more under your expertise than mine. First, though, we might want to turn the beacon off."  Misaki did just that but as soon as the beacon was deactivated it flew through the air to land in the open hand of one of the strange alien creatures standing behind Ensign Enel.

"Telekinetic powers?" The Scientist asked with astonishment. "Are these people able to use the planet's gravitational field to move objects?"

"We are not entirely certain," Nicole offered. "They do seem able to move objects and people or just stop them in mid-air. These cages were also created by them, or at least that is what we suspect based on our observation. All any of them needs to do is to raise a hand to generate some sort of effect."

"As unscientific as it might sound, what we have seen them do looks almost like magic," Sarena added.

Misaki looked around at the village, taking in the details of the huts as well as the materials and technics used in their constructions. "No visible technology, but that does not mean there is not some sort of mental interface that controls narrow-band field generators. We could also be dealing with forces or beings moving faster than our eyes can perceive. As for the creation of those cages," the scientist continued, running her fingers against the nearest structure, "they do feel to be natural in origin hinting to some sort of possible controlled rapid growth. We could be looking at some sort of controlled field able to alter the direction and density of natural materials on this planet."

"Aki," Sofia said calling the woman's attention back onto the matter at hand. "I need you to help me confirm that something is interfering with Gemma's nanites. Her vitals are weak, and I am afraid that they are getting weaker. If this is the case, she could die."

Snapped out of her scientific curiosity, the Asian woman rushed to the physician's side and did her best to get an idea of what was happening. "Without any instruments, there is little that we can do. I mean, we can speculate as to what the cause might be, but there is no way for us to test any of our theories. Can the locals help us in any way?"

All eyes turned toward Zub and the villagers, most of them with their heads tilted to one side as they observed with great interest what was happening. It was Commander Valentine who spoke first. "Ensign Enel, if you are in there and able to understand what we are saying, please help Gemma."

Zub stared at the Commander before turning his yellow eyes onto the Counselor, Doctor, and Scientist before finally landing onto the unconscious ILO. All the villagers behind him looked upon Gemma with the same general expression, their heads tilting in near-perfect unison as they studied the situation in an effort to understand what was happening.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M12-P036: USS BASTET: Enel: 35009.1610 ("Dream Weaver")
=-=
“Dream Weaver”
Previous posts: (ANU) “Over Thinking” / (BAS) “Field Medic”
=-=

Setting: PA-HA-SA, Settlement, Center meeting area
Stardate: 35009.1610

Zub Enel blinked his eyes. He squinted. He had trouble seeing Gemma in her cage of curled branches. A brilliant rainbow of geometrical symbols had flooded his mind and obscured his vision. He felt like he was melted in between the bars of Gemma’s cage to hover before her fierce but unconscious face. The Catton muttered in her unintelligible clicks and odd mechanical rasps. From Gemma’s forehead like a stream of smoke, distorted orange triangles, squashed purple hexagons and others too mangled to recognize floated into his mind. 

=-=
Setting: Dreamscape, a noisy bar on a distant world

Her sapphire hair bobbing, Yshuni Talz held aloft a wide tray full of drinks while she negotiated between tables crowded with workers. At each, she brought down her tray. Drinks were taken. A young male or an older female would look at the blue-haired server, and without waiting, start telling on some grim tale.

She had many drinks to serve, so she smiled and left him mid-sentence. At each table, someone else launched unbidden into a story.

No one ever asked her for a story. She spied a table with an enormous reptilian male next to a morose humanoid. 

Zub Enel watched the blue-haired beauty’s smile wilt as she progressed. Tray empty, she arrived. She looked from Kyxtn the Fisher to him. “Order a couple of drinks?”

Zub asked, “Do you know me?”

"Not personally as we have never met, but I know someone who knows you."

Kyxtn answered, “I do not know him. I am dead and stuck in his head.”

She silently mulled this bit of news.

Zub asked, “Perhaps you know Gemma?”

Alarm filled her face. She dissolved into brightly glowing geometric shapes.

=-=
Setting: Dreamscape, a Science Lab like on the USS BASTET

Wimda moved quickly from console to console in the USS BASTET Deck 4 General Science Lab. She set up one experiment after another. The Uxali scientist wanted to test the vibrational energy for overtones. She wanted to do topological surface scans of PA HA SA for any unusual features that might mark settlements or industrial or other structures. She wanted to analyze the atmosphere for exotic chemicals. She wanted to probe the planet’s ocean for submarine structures. The plans for other experiments flooded her mind. She would barely start one experiment before she thought of another. She zipped around the lab until she’d kicked off something on all the consoles she had. 

More ideas poured in. She rushed to the first console, cleared the vibrational overtone experiment before it had finished and set up scanning for any notable energy-producing minerals in the soil. She canceled the topological surface mapping to do a new soil test for unknown microbes. She replaced a running test with a scan for all known causes of psychic phenomena. Ideas came faster than she could implement them. 

Zub Enel stood in the center of the science lab watching the woman with long auburn hair and Gemma’s face move in what seemed manic, single-minded determination from console to console. Her face registered confusion when she suddenly pivoted to cross mid-room and slammed hard into him. 

She huffed out an exasperated breath. “Whatever you two want, this is not the time. I have to isolate what is going on.”

She stepped around Zub and tapped rapidly on a console, interrupting an experiment there. She quickly keyed another.

The ensign quietly asked the racing scientist, “Have you discovered anything new?”

The woman stopped. She turned to face him out of breath. “New?” She looked at all the consoles running her experiments. She brought a hand up to grip her chin. She repeated, “New?” 

Her puzzled face hardened. “I need to focus. I need you and that humanoid to get out now. Leave. Me. Alone!”

“Yes sir, Lieutenant Gemma,” Zub said as he stepped back from the angry woman toward the door.

A look of alarm crossed her face. “I’m Wimdalli, not Gemma. She’s down on the planet with Commander Valentine and Counselor Dima. She’s helping them find you and A’Janni….” Her face registered confusion. She and the lab dissolved in so many streams of glowing geometric shapes.

=-=
Setting: Dreamscape, Bridge like on the USS BASTET

Gemma stood on the bridge at the Science Station display. Hazy shapes of people floated there. They drifted aimlessly as if in clear oil. Sometimes two would bump and merge into a floating puzzle piece. 

Sensing a pattern, she tried touching the floating images to merge them together. That didn’t work. She stood still and just observed.

After a few minutes, all images of people had merged into puzzle pieces. She studied the shapes but no edge matched any other.

She caught a scent like sun warmed leather. She tried her head quickly as she readied her fists to strike. The Voth ensign stood a pace or two behind her, head tilted, his golden eyes calmly watching her. 

She asked, “Can you make any sense out of this pattern?”

To Zub Enel, Gemma looked and even smelled like Gemma. Her coppery hair in ringlets was right. Her bold stance and confident tone of voice were Gemma’s.

He felt a flutter of fear in his stomach. The other people he’d met must have been her, too. They had fled or dissolved when he’d attempted to tell her who she was. He didn’t want this version of her to disappear. Gemma herself was what he’d come searching for.
 
He said, “I met a blue-haired woman in a bar…”

Gemma ’s full lips twisted into a sneer. Yshuni Talz is a simp. She listens and listens and never asserts herself, never tells her stories. She’ll die one day and no one will know what to say at her funeral.”

Zub leaned back, put off by her dismissive tone. He noticed glowing symbols streaming into her forehead.

As if feeling them, Gemma frowned and pressed a finger or two on the spot. 

Hoping he was intuiting the correct path, he said, “I also met a scientist with long red hair rushing around a science lab, starting tests, but not finishing them.”

Gemma lowered her hand. “Sounds like Wimda, but she is as focused a scientist you will ever meet.”

“She was struggling with focus today.”

Gemma shrugged. “You met some other crazy redhead.” 

“She looked like you.”

The ILO’s eyes widened. She frowned a moment later. More glowing symbols had flowed in a stream into her forehead. 

She turned to the floating puzzle pieces on the display. She touched one. It halted. She let it go. It went back to drifting. 

She turned around, her lips forming the first word of a question. She froze.

Zub looked around. The bridge was filled with the villagers. The Catton holding the beacon like a staff clicked and whirred unintelligibly and then gestured her twiggy hand toward Gemma. The Catton spoke clearly, “Puzzles within puzzles.”

Gemma gave her a knowing smile, “Someone on the BASTET that calls me a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. You should meet her.”

“We have,” said the Catton. She waved toward the Science display, “Solve the puzzle. Save yourself.”

Gemma looked from the villager with the transport beacon up at Zub Enel. A chill settled between her shoulder blades. She asked him, “Am I dead?”

“I am,” piped up a villager next to the Voth.

Zub said, “No, you are in a trance, I think.”

She took this news with surprising calm. “I must find my way out,” she stated as if she had known this all along. 

She turned again to the aimlessly floating puzzle pieces. After a long minute or two she tilted her head. “No piece matches any other. So maybe it doesn’t matter how they fit together.” She brought up both hands and with sliding motions pushed and herded all the piece into a jumbled mat full of gaps. The mat held together. She turned to face Zub and the bridge filled with villagers. “There. Prove to me that isn’t right.”

=-=
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Near Settlement
Stardate: 35009.1640

The bridge flickered, but Gemma, the villagers and the ensign remained solid. Light, sky, the smell of woods flooded in. Zub and the villagers stood clustered near the three cages made of branches. Standing outside the cages, the Chief Medical Officer, the Chief Science Officer and the Flight Control Officer’s had their expressions of deep concern morph into surprise. They all looked at the center cage.

Gemma sat up and gazed around. “So,” she said, as she tried to sit comfortably on the wooden bars under her. 

=-=
David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

“Of all the things you choose in life, you don't get to choose what your nightmares are. You don't pick them; they pick you.”  
 - John Irving
M12-P037: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 35009.1645 ("Magical Explanation")
"Magical Explanation"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Over Thinking" & (BAS) "Dream Weaver"

///^\\\  
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Settlement, Center meeting area
Stardate: 35009.1645

Aki just stood there, watching as the scene unfolded. Ensign Enel and the villagers had moved in closer to the bramble cages, more specifically, to the one holding the unconscious Lieutenant Gemma captive. The Asian woman could feel a charge in the air as the group walked past her, the feeling was not uncomfortable, but it was most certainly a strange one to experience. At the height of that experience, which only lasted for a second or so, the CSciO felt as if her thoughts were being cast to the wind for all to hear. More interesting was the strange sensation that he could hear those of others.

Not being a telepath, there was nothing Aki could use as a frame of comparison, but she strangely suspected that this was what it would feel like if she did possess the ability to link her mind and thoughts to someone else. As short-lived as this experience was, it gave the Asian woman a new perspective on the inhabitants of PA-HA-SA allowing her to dismiss the more technical explanations of the powers they were said to possess for a more natural one. The general humanoid appearance of the native inhabitants mixed in with a clearly more flora-based influence made it possible that the race stood well beyond the standard expectations the crew might have had.  Even when traveling to other dimensions, certain standards remained firm, but the people of PA-HA-SA might very well prove to be the exception to this.

Everyone gazed upon the gathering and the cage that stood in the middle, more specifically to the now conscious woman who had sat up to make herself as comfortable as she could, this based on her current accommodations.  Doctor Andersson quickly joined in to check on the medical state of Lieutenant Gemma while the other officers of the USS BASTET stood still, observing, analyzing, theorizing.

"You appear puzzled Lieutenant," Commander Valentine said from her cage, the First Officer not appearing to be overly bothered by the fact that she was a prisoner.

"More along the lines of questioning and reevaluating my initial explanation of what I saw, namely the beacon being summoned to the hand of what I am guessing is the leader of this settlement. Although telekinetic abilities are known to exist in our own dimension, I was not ready to account what I saw to such a simple explanation," Mitshiba explained.

"Telekinetic abilities are a 'simple explanation' to you?" Valentine chuckled. "You and I do not live in the same universe, figuratively speaking of course." The last part of the sentence was quickly added in for fear that the Asian woman would jump on the perceived inaccuracy of the statement.

"The ability of one person to affect the physical world around them using nothing more than their thoughts would be a much simpler explanation when compared to what I have come up with following what I experienced. When the villagers walked by, I felt a kind of bio-static energy emanating from them, and for a brief moment in time, maybe briefer than I would have liked it to be, I felt my thoughts opened to these people, this planet and might I even venture to say, this dimension. I am quite certain that the vibration we detected earlier has a key role to play in these beings' abilities."  Aki paused and looked upon Gemma who now appeared as if nothing had happened to her, looking as healthy as she was all of the other times the two of them had crossed paths.  "My new theory is this, these people evolved in an environment in which this dimensional vibration is as natural as the air we breathe. It is therefore easy to envision that they would learn to use this to their advantage. By controlling and channeling this vibration I believe that everything that we have seen can be explained. Telekinetics, in a simple definition, is using the power of one's mind to affect the outside physical environment. In this particular case though, this 'power of the mind' would not originate from the individual but from the universe itself. These people have simply learned to tap into this unending supply of energy to redirect it to suit their needs."

"That is quite a theory," Counselor Dima said. "I do not believe any of my former hosts have ever heard anything like what you have just proposed."

Aki smiled. "How many of them traveled to other dimensions?"

"Touché."

"My current theory would explain how these people are able to live such a simple life and be able to still perform many of the tasks we would expect based on our observations. It also accounts for what we have seen and experienced, such as the moving of objects and creation of these cages. It would also explain why Lieutenant Gemma was incapacitated and is now looking to be in perfect health since she has likely been shielded from the effects of the vibrations. More importantly, the theory could account for this sense of shared consciousness I experienced for a very brief moment, explaining Ensign Enel's rather odd behavior. There is still a great deal about Voth physiology that we are not aware of, so it is, therefore, possible that he possesses a particular brain chemistry that makes him more receptive to what the villagers of this settlement do on a regular basis. it is something that we should most definitively keep in mind as we continue dealing with these people, heir planet and their dimension."

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M12-P038: USS BASTET: Andersson: 35009.1700 ("A Doctor's Duty")
=-=
"A Doctor's Duty"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Rude Awakening" by Marissa / (BAS) "Magical Explanation" by Dawn]
=-=

Setting:  PA-HA-SA, Settlement, center meeting area 
Stardate: 35009.1700 

There was no denying it, Misaki was a nerd amongst nerds, a member of the scientific elite, a woman who loved the field she worked in and who was never shy to show the extent of her knowledge and curiosity. What she did not know or understand quickly became an interest that she would relentlessly pursue. The only person able to match that scientific drive was Wimda, and in many ways, Sofia was glad that the Uxali woman was not a permanent fixture on board the BASTET. Having one 'uber science nerd' on the ship was more than enough but having to constantly deal with two of them would drive everyone nuts.

With Gemma awake, Doctor Andersson moved in to make sure that the ILO was alright. Granted the scope of her medical analysis would be limited thanks to the inability of her instrument to get any useable data, but the physicians would be able to test the woman's pulse and relative blood pressure with a few simple touches.  As the Doctor reached out to take a hold of the ILO's wrist, Sofia's eyes unconsciously drifted onto the occupant of another cage.

Duty required Andersson to be professional and take care of the person who visibly appeared in need, but her emotions made this very difficult as she wanted to be by the side of someone else, someone whom might not need her as a physician but most certainly would appreciate having her companion nearby in these uncertain times. The best Sofia could do was to offer a reassuring smile to Nic who did the same. As physically close as the two women were from one another, the distance between them felt like an endless void, an emptiness that they both silently desired to erase from existence.  In situations like this though, personal desires and emotions could not be permitted to dictate actions, so the Doctor forced herself to look elsewhere, her heart aching more than she could have ever imagined as she did so.

While Gemma and Zub were talking, Sofia did her best to keep her mind on the task at hand which was to confirm that their ILO was in good health despite having been unconscious not that long ago. When the physician was satisfied with her findings, she allowed herself to extend the field of her attention to include those immediately around her which included the reptilian Chief of Security, Ensign Enel. That was when she noticed the state of his back which he presented to her for only a brief moment before turning away.

Even without the use of her diagnostic equipment, Doctor Andersson could easily determine the cause of the injuries although she was at a complete loss to understand why this would have happened. The four straight-line gashes she noticed, the two in the middle were much deeper than the outside ones, could only have been caused by a set of claws yielded by someone possessing an imposing physical form and strength. Sofia's eyes immediately went onto the Caitian FCO in a futile effort to understand what could have happened between the two officers. There were no doubts in her mind that he was the one responsible for this but answering the why would have to wait until she would be able to properly address the wounds the Voth seemed completely oblivious to.

One of the villagers noticed Andersson's new focus causing him to look at what she had noticed. It took no time for those around the alien to do the same. Within a few seconds after that, all of their heads tilted to one side in perfect unison.  As amusing as it might be to see such a display of inquiring puzzlement, Sofia found it almost annoying making her feel like the entire away team was nothing more than a passing curiosity to them.

"He's hurt," the Doctor pointed out unhappily causing the villagers looking at the injured Voth's back to turn their attention onto her as they shifted the tilt of their heads from one side to the other, a perfectly synchronized move that made Sofia visibly twitch.

~Sofia, don't. They are only trying to understand us.~ The Doctor immediately recognized the voice as being that of the joint Trill making her look in her direction. When her gaze fell on Nic to see concern change into surprise, Andersson instantly realized that the words had not been spoken aloud. The two of them stared at one another for a few seconds, each trying to understand what had just happened. When nothing else was heard, the physician turned her attention back onto the villagers, several of them with their hand raised as if aiming for the Ensign's back with the palm of their hands.

Not having the slightest idea as to what their intent was, Doctor Andersson went to warn Ensign Enel who was still chatting with Commander Valentine and Lieutenant Gemma. Before she could do so though, Sofia noticed a strange glow emanating from Zub's back, the light was barely visible, but she still managed to sense a soothing heat that she unconsciously associated with the light. When she reached the imposing reptilian and gazed upon his back once again, the physician was shocked to see that the wounds have completely vanished. The rips in the officer's uniform were still there, confirming that she had not imagined this, but the four clawed out gashes were nowhere to be seen.
Sofia's eyes bounced from the Voth's back to the closest villager before going back and repeating this several more times in an almost comedic manner. The problem was that the Doctor was visibly not amused by this although she did feel a sense of relief in the knowledge that Zub was no longer suffering from what she was certain should have been a most painful injury.

"You... were... worried..." one of the villagers said, he words coming across as a strange combination of a question and statement.

"Of course, I was," Andersson stated. "Actually, I still am," she clarified. "He is a member of my crew."

"Crew?" There was no questioning it, this was a question.

"My crew," Sofia repeated before realizing that saying the same word without anything else would not help answer the question. "A crew is a group of people working closely together to achieve a common goal." What the physician saw instantly scared her. The expression on the faces of the villagers all changed at the exact same time, shifting from curiosity to a deeply felt concern bordering on fear. Andersson quickly reminded herself that two Masters’ cruisers had suddenly gone missing and that maybe her description of a 'crew' made the inhabitants of this planet believe that the BASTET and its crew were no better than the interdimensional conquerors. Glancing back at Nic for a brief moment in search of something more to say that would undo what she had inadvertently done, Sofia added, "We work together, we care for each other, we are more than a crew, we are a family and we do everything in our power to protect each other as well as anyone else we encounter."

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M12-P039: USS BASTET: Iverson: 35009.1730 ("It Never Is")
---
"It Never Is"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Rude Awakening" / (BAS) "A Doctor's Duty")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35009.1730

Captain Iverson sat in her chair overlooking the forward section of the command deck of the USS BASTET, her gaze lost on the image of the planet the ship was in high orbit over. That world could have been one of the countless others, possessing its own silent beauty and charms as it hung against the vast emptiness of space. Alas, things were not that simple, they never were.

The ship and its crew had come here in response to a distress signal sent by the Masters, a race of ruthless inter-dimensional conquerors. Two of their war cruisers had vanished without a trace, and the only possible clue as to what might have happened to them was a faint metallic presence on the planet picked up by their sensors. Scattered, small settlements were also discovered on the planet forcing the crew to temper their actions for fear of contaminating a culture that was clearly below the requirements for First Contact.

To make things more interesting, as if it was needed, the data collected by those same sensors were extremely limited thanks to a strange vibration embedded in this never-before explored dimension. All of this would have been more than enough to be of great concern for any Commanding Officer. Alas, the details of this situation did not end there, they never did.

For a reason yet to be determined, their most recent addition to the crew, Ensign Zub Enel who took on the role of Chief of Security and Tactical officer, had beamed down to the planet surface without authorization. In the hopes of avoiding the contamination of the visibly primitive culture found on the planet, Lieutenant A'Janni was sent down to retrieve the wayward officer. Due to the vibration found within this dimension, transporters could only beam one person up or down at a time, and a beacon was required to allow for sensors and transporters to pinpoint a specific target as well as allow for someone on the surface to communicate back with the ship using the most basic of signal making things less than easy. Alas, this was not the extent of their problems as nothing was ever that easy, it never was.

An away team consisting of the First Officer, Commander Sarena Valentine, the Intelligence Liaison Officer, Lieutenant Gemma, and the Counsellor Ensign Nicole Dima was also dispatched with the intent of gathering as much information as possible on the local inhabitants and even to initiate 'First Contact' should the situation require it. Thanks to the effects of the vibration on their instruments, direct communication was impossible with the away team leaving the captain to guess as to what was happening. When a signal was received indicating potential trouble, Doctor Sofia Anderson was beamed down to the planet followed by the Chief Science Officer Lieutenant Misaki Mitshiba. With the entirety of the senior staff, with the exception of the Captain, now on the surface of this unknown planet, the situation was as critical as could be. Alas, that never stopped the universe to send something else their way no matter what dimension they were in, it never did.

"Captain, sensors are picking up a mild tremor. Looks to be an earthquake with the epicenter located directly in the middle of the settlement, right where our sensors originally picked-up the presence of metal matching the alloys used by the Masters."

"How strong is this earthquake?" Captain Iverson asked, trying to gauge how much more trouble the away team would have to face.

"Hard to tell with our sensors working only at a less than perfect resolution, but based on the impact on the surrounding vegetation, I would guess a 2.5 to 3.0 on the Richter scale. That said, there is something odd about this quake."

"Of course there would be," Selene said with a sigh. Even earthquakes could not just be earthquakes when the USS BASTET was nearby.

"The quake seems to be lasting much longer than what we would normally expect it to. Also, the strength of the quake appears to be steady. Again, normally an earthquake, once detected, should sharply increase in strength before dying down, it could be followed by aftershocks, but those would be of much smaller intensity than the original tremor. According to our sensors, the quake, which is still occurring, just started and peaked."

"We are dealing with a planet located in a dimension that we had never before visited, a dimension that emits a vibration that seems to permeate everything. We, therefore, have no common base of reference as to what is normal here," the Captain said. "Continue monitoring and keep a sharp eye open for any signs of the beacon being reactivated. If our people need to evacuate, I would like to bring them back as quickly as possible, even if this will need to be done one officer at a time."

"This should be fun," the junior Science Officer muttered without realizing that the Captain was able to overhear the observation.

"It never is," Selene said. A few seconds passed when suddenly the BASTET went into Red Alert. "Report!" The Captain demanded.

"Proximity sensors have picked up a dimensional distortion less than 20,000 kilometers from our present location. Something is entering this dimension."

"Put that distortion on the main viewer," the Captain ordered causing the image to immediately change to show a large visibly bias in the fabric of space-time. All eyes were fixated on the image as everyone waited to see what would appear, fears and hopes to merge into a single emotion that kept everyone silent and riveted to the edge of their seats.

When the distortion finally vanished after a few seconds, a massive battlecruiser bearing the markings of the Masters stood in its place.

"Temporal and dimensional fields are operating at 100 percent, it is unlikely that they will be able to see or detect us."

"At least we are lucky in that aspect," Selene said with a faint sigh of relief.

"It would have been nice if it had been the HAWKING coming to investigate the distress signals we intercepted earlier"

"We may be lucky," the Captain noted, "we are just never *that* lucky, we never are."

---
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) 
M12-P040: USS BASTET: Enel: 35009.1735 ("Shaker")
=-=
“Shaker”
Previous posts: (ANU) “Final Farewell” / (BAS) “It Never Is”

=-=
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Settlement, Center meeting area
Stardate: 35009.1735

Nicole gripped the interwoven branches that formed her cage tightly.  She pressed her face against the roughly square gap between the bars.  Her eyes were opened wide.   She stared at Sofia as the doctor finished speaking to the villagers.  Nicole knew exactly how Sofia felt.  Exactly.

In her own chest, she had traced her closest companion’s emotions, her heart first raced with fear and then fluttered with hope.  The Counselor knew this was how Sofia felt, not some projection of the Doctor’s most likely reaction, or some form of empathetic identification constructed in her own mind.  Nicole knew solidly that she felt the doctor’s emotions.  Amazement swamped the shared emotion.

Sofia Andersson turned at her waist to peer curiously at Nicole.  She not only knew the CNS was amazed, she herself could feel that amazement.  She thought, *What does this mean?”*

~I don’t know.  Maybe it’s a kind of collateral telepathy emanating from the villagers.  Isn’t it…AMAZING!~

Both women laughed at the same time.

Zub Enel turned his massively crested head toward the two laughing women.  They hadn’t been speaking. Neither had done or said anything funny.  Yet they were spontaneously laughing and smiling at each other. 

He didn’t understand completely, though he did know the two officers seemed very close friends.  It made sense to him that they could communicate volumes with just a look. 

“Beast,” the Catton said, as the villager holding the transporter beacon interrupted his thoughts. He looked down at her. 

The ground began to pulsate in a light up and down movement.  He wondered what she was doing.

Concern pinched her usually calm face.  The gentle roll of the village center was accompanied by creaks and chirps as the huts swayed lightly.  She and the villagers abruptly turned away from the away team and quickly formed a circle around them.  They all tilted their heads, pointed open palms downward and began to chant, “Pa Ha Sa.”

The meeting place continued to pulse up and down like a flat bottom boat on a lake bobbing in a wake. 

A’Janni came up to the scaly Voth.  He waved a paw at the backs of the villagers in their simple tunics.  “Are they doing this?”

“I am not sure,” Zub Enel said.  “The Catton seemed surprised when it started.  I think they are reacting, not causing it.” 

The three cages perched on their woody stems picked up the motion and began to rock and squeak.  Each of the caged women gripped the bars. They looked with concern at Mitshiba and Andersson standing nearby.  For their part, the two women outside the cages also registered confusion and growing concern.

The chant grew louder.  The villager’s arms had stiffened at the elbows.  They posed looked like they were pushing down on the ground. 

Crackling, the swaying cages suddenly fell apart.  The stems disintegrated. Branches dropped away. Commander Valentine, Lt. Gemma and Counselor Dima landed hard on their backsides.  Gemma got her feet under her and rose into a crouch just as A’Janni rushed up to help.  Zub went to the Commander and offered his three-fingered hand.  She gripped his wrist and with athletic litheness pulled herself upright.  Sofia rushed to help up Nicole.  They held onto each other’s arms as they stared around the rattling villager and the ring of chanting villagers.

The rolling in the center of the village and the creaking of the huts continued. “This is no ordinary quake,” Lt. Mitshiba said.  “It’s like the ground shaking from something huge being dragged or something like meteors impacting, or dozens of tracked vehicles approaching. 

Sarena said over the rumble, “Lt. Mitshiba, tricorder.”

Aki brought it around from behind on its strap. She said to the Commander, “But it is compromised by the vibrational….” The look of insistence on the XO’s face made her stop mid-sentence.  She pointed the scanner at the ground and studied the readings.

Legs spread to steady himself, A’Janni’s voice carried easily over the rumbling, chanting and creaking huts. “Look at the beacon!  It’s flashing red.”  He pointed a paw at the Catton.  The beacon was resting against her chest. The top poked out between her shoulder and neck.  It pulsed a steady ruby red.

Sarena took a glance at the beacon.  The villagers had no way of knowing how to operate it.  The signal must have initiated from the BASTET.  She wasn’t sure what flashing red meant, but it most likely wasn’t good.

Zub stared in surprise when Gemma’s coppery ringlets darkened, smoothed out and cascaded over her shoulders in waves.  The woman with Gemma’s face spoke with an accent he couldn’t place.  Her face brightened.  The villager’s chanting had risen so loud that the woman had to shout at the XO. “I know this feeling from my time in an Ardanan mine," Sylthia said easily managing to keep her balance through the quake.  "Something is boring through solid rock.  Something huge.”

Sarena had learned over time to trust all of Gemma’s personas, each was an expert in their own areas. Boots wide apart, the XO turned her head toward the CSciO. She used her command voice over the quake. “Lt. Mitshiba, report.”

Aki’s forehead had wrinkled and her mouth had all but disappeared as she stared at her tricorder.  She looked at the XO, “There is a lot of interference with the readings.” She paused to look at Sarena.  She knew the XO would forgive her under these circumstances for not giving an exact readout.  “There’s a gigantic metal mass below the village.  I’m getting crazy energy readings from it.”

When the shaking finally began to subside, a small section of ground collapsed, dropping straight down by several meters. No one was hurt, but this provided everyone with a clearer understanding of what they were dealing with thaks to what they could now see; a large machine with familiar markings.

"Commander!" Misaki said in horror.

"I know," the XO said. "The Masters."

=-=
David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

“An earthquake is such fun when it is over.” 
 - George Orwell
M12-P041: USS BASTET: Valentine: 35009.1755 ("New Problems")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"'New Problems"
[previous post (ANU) "Things Are getting Complicated" / (BAS) "Shaker")]

Setting:  PA-HA-SA, Settlement, Center meeting area  
Stardate: 35009.1755

**The Masters.**

Those words echoed in the mind of the Executive Officer following her speaking them. Although the away team had faced several challenges since their arrival on this planet, things had been relatively calm. Everything that happened could easily be accounted for through the difficulties usually associated with making 'First Contact' with another race, especially one with a visibly different culture and way of life.  The discovery of a Masters' device beneath the settlement opened up an entirely new set of problems that both the people of PA-HA-SA and the crew of the BASTET would have to urgently deal with.

"Lieutenant Mitshiba, what do you make of this?"

Misaki looked at Sarena for a brief moment before turning her eyes onto the part of the machine they were now able to see. The CSciO knelt down as close to the edge as she dared for fear of falling down into the newly created crevice, extending her tricorder as far forward as the length of her arm permitted. "The marking and the composition of the hull match those we encountered when dealing with the Masters. That said, the power readings are way too high for this thing to be some sort of escape pod as we had initially believed. The interference of the dimensional vibration on our instruments makes it impossible for me to get any sort of accurate readings on the size of whatever this thing is, but I can say that it is big."

"Gemma," the Executive Officer said as she turned to look at the ILO, finding the Ardanan acrobat standing there instead.  "I mean, Sylthia, you said that this thing is boring through solid rock?"

The woman known for her speed and agility nodded her head. "You can't mistake those kinds of ground vibration. Earthquakes tend to be more random, these type of machines crate a very steady vibration that varies only depending on whatever the drill is forcing its way through."

"Based on your experience, do you believe that this machine is manned?" Valentine feared that a group of Masters would, at any moment, emerge from the machine and lay waste to this village and everyone in it.

"From experience," Sylthia repeated. "No, it is highly unlikely that a mining machine would have a crew on board, regardless of its size. It is much more probable that it operates on a preset schedule and programming, only resurfacing when its containment pods are full or someone remotely recalls it to the surface."

Sarena took a moment to process what had just been said, hen turned to look at the beacon still firmly in the hand of the Canton. The device was meant to send signals from the surface up to the BASTET, but the Executive Officer could easily imagine Captain Iverson finding a way to reverse the process if the situation was dire enough. Looking at the red flashing tip of the beacon, Commander Valentine reached the only conclusion possible based on the evidence before them.  "The Masters are in orbit!"

"What?" Sofia gasped, her heart immediately starting to beat faster.

"Are you sure, Commander?" Counselor Dima asked, Nicole sharing in her partner's sudden influx of concern and fear.

"I am not," Sarena admitted, "but everything seems to point to that one unsavory possibility. The sudden activation of this mining machine and the now flashing red light on the beacon can mean only one thing."

"What can we do?" Misaki asked, the scientist shaking at the thought that the Masters could be arriving on the planet surface at any moment.

"They will likely be searching for the missing cruisers first," Sarena said. "Once they fail to find any signs of them, as we did, they will likely come down and see if this machine has any sort of information to provide about this mystery. It is a near certainty that they will not be in a mood to talk once they arrive."

"We need to evacuate the village," Doctor Andersson strongly suggested.

"We need to stop that machine first," Sylthia added, wasting no time in jumping into the opening where Lieutenant Mitshiba had been kneeling next to. The moment the feet of the Ardanan woman touched the ground, the soil beneath her feet gave way causing her to fall."

"GEMMA!" Several of the officers screamed fearing the worst. 

"She will be alright," Sarena said, her words being the only reassurance she could give. "Look, she's bouncing from ledge to ledge better than any mountain goat could have. If there is one person who can manage something like this, she is the one. As for the rest of us, it might be prudent to figure out a way to protect the villagers."

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P042: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 35009.1800 ("Fearful Amazement")
"Fearful Amazement"
Previous posts: (ANU) "Things Are getting Complicated" & (BAS) "New Problems"

///^\\\  
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Settlement, Center meeting area
Stardate: 35009.1800

The universe was an amazing place with wonders that could keep a scientist like the Asian woman busy for several lifetimes. The study of this world and its inhabitants would prove to be more than enough to keep Aki occupied for the rest of her days if she was given the opportunity. The vibration of the dimension was something the likes of which Mitshiba had never before encountered and the humanoid life forms living on this planet would be enough to corner her time and attention.  Despite all of this, the CSciO found herself focusing on several other things that had nothing to do with this dimension's unique vibration or the gentle creature that called this place home.

The crevasse that she was still kneeling next to had effortlessly swallowed the ILO whole. What had first been a simple land-shelf that had fallen a few meters down, now was an open abyss that seemed to go down into a dark and bottomless hell from which nothing or no one could ever come back from. Now, Aki knew Gemma well enough to accept the fact that the woman could easily deal with this situation as she had done so with much worse in the past, still, the sight of seeing the woman parkour her way down and vanish into the darkness was not something the Asian woman found pleasant or comforting.

Another set of tremors made Mitshiba raise her head and look upon the gathered villagers, their hands still extended to the fullest reach of their arms while they chanted, using whatever mystical abilities they had ion order to contain or maybe even stop the quakes. In many ways, Aki found herself hoping for their success as it would mean that Gemma’s odds of returning, however good they already were, would be greatly increased. This would leave the away team with the simpler task of dealing with a Masters' underground excavator without the fear of the ground beneath their feet giving way as it had for the ILO.

Aki watched in bemused astonishment as the villagers focused all their power against the machine and the tremors caused by it. As the scientist that she was, the Asian woman could not help but wonder as to the full extent of this unique ability. As she continued her observation, doing her best to remain steady while kneeling by the edge of the crevasse, Mitshiba wondered if the inhabitants of this world could combine and merge the generated energy or if they were limited to being only able to direct what they could summon alongside what their fellow villagers could do. In the end, it mattered little, but Misaki was curious about the mathematics of this process. Was the combined power of a dozen villagers equal or greater than that of twelve individual inhabitants, each trying to perform the exact same task at the exact same time?

The mesmerized attention of the Asian woman was drawn away from the villagers and cast upward into the sky as a loud boom accompanied by a bright ball of light came hurling down towards the planet’s surface. By the time Aki had looked up, the energy bolt had already traveled through the atmosphere and crashed a few kilometers from the settlement. A few seconds later, a large gust of wind, dust, and debris washed over the village with enough strength to easily knock everyone down, everyone except for the settlement's inhabitants who appeared unaffected by the shockwave.

"What was that?" Commander Valentine asked, coughing through the haze of dirt and soil that now covered everything. Visibility was also greatly reduced thanks a few more similar shockwaves to pass through the village, limiting the First Officer to only see the Asian woman and a couple of the nearby villagers who had yet to make a single move.

"I did not get a chance to get a good look at whatever it was," Aki replied, her eyes narrowed as much as she could to avoid the dust from coming into her eyes. "It looked like some sort of directed and controlled energy discharged coming from space, I can only guess that reason why is that the Masters decided to open fire and avoid having to deal with any sort of resistance from local inhabitants. That or they just wanted to make their presence known and instill fear."

"I can vouch as to the effectiveness of them instilling a certain level of fear thanks to this," the Commander said. "That said, why not target the village directly instead of hitting whatever was out there?" Sarena asked, continuing with her quest for answers as to what had just happened.

"I can only think of two possibilities as to why this would be at the moment. The first is that they did not want to risk damaging their own equipment with a direct shot to this location. The second option is that the dimensional vibration is similarly hindering their equipment as it is affecting ours. They might have wanted to destroy the settlement but with their targeting sensors not working as they should, the impact zone was a few kilometers in that general direction," Aki said roughly pointing where the energy bolt landed, trying to hold her coughing back as she did so.

"We need to find shelter, and quickly," the Commander said while looking around and still seeing next to nothing due to the cloud of dust hanging over the settlement.

"We need to find the others first, and in this mess, that might not prove to be as easily done as we would like it to be."

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M12-P043: USS BASTET: A'Janni: 35009.1820 ("Cats Always Land on Their Feet")
"Cats Always Land on Their Feet"
[previous (ANU) "Sciencing Th Crap Out of It" / (BAS) "Fearful Amazement"]

[/\]
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Settlement, center meeting area
Stardate: 35009.1820

Crouching down with his claws into the soil of this world, A'Janni could barely see anything around him, and that had nothing to do with him only having one eye. The dust cloud that had spread across the settlement was thick and gave no indications of going anywhere anytime soon. The shockwave had been powerful enough to knock people clear off their feet, so it was with a hint of disbelief that the Caitian watched the villagers still standing as if nothing had happened. What troubled the FCO, even more, was the fact that the huts also appeared to not have been affected by the shockwave, something that structures appearing as they did should not have been able to do.

The Caitian's ears perked up at the faint sound of coughing. It was not a lot to go on but it proved to be enough for the Caitian to identify the general location and identity of the person. "Commander Valentine!"

"A'Janni! We are right here."

The Caitian smiled at the First Officer's words which confirmed what he believed as well as add in the fact that there was someone else with her. Following the sound of her voice, A'Janni quickly regrouped with the Commander and Lieutenant Mitshiba.  "Any signs of the others?" The FCO asked while using his one good eye to try and pierce the cloud of dust surrounding them.

"Gemma went down the crevasse that opened up due to the quakes with the goal of stopping the excavator. We lost sight of Doctor Andersson and Counselor Dima and the last time we saw Ensign Enel he was with the villagers," Misaki reported. "What I find interesting is the fact that dust particles appear to be suspended in the air. The energy bolt we observed coming down preceding the shockwave could have been comprised of polarized energy. That could, in theory, explain why the dust cloud is just hanging like it is instead of gradually dropping to the ground."

"Do you believe this to be on purpose?" The FCO inquired, his training in security kicking in through simple reflex.

"It is difficult to tell since we actually know very little about the way the Masters proceed with any given situation. Our earlier dealings with the J'Den gave us some understanding as to the race's methods, but this is a completely different matter," the CSciO explained. "This could be nothing more than the result of the incompatibility of their energy weapons with the specifics energy phase found in this dimension. It could also be the result of the vibration we discovered as being an integral part of this dimension. It is also a possibility that this is exactly what they wanted as it would provide cover for any forces landing on the planet, which might also explain why the village was not the actual target."

"That is a lot of possibilities," Commander Valentine said.

"We need to prepare for a worst-case scenario though," A'Janni offered. "If this cloud is meant to provide cover for a landing party, we have to find the others and locate some sort of shelter that we could manage to defend should it become necessary."

"You do realize that at almost 3 meters tall, there is little we would be able to do to stop even a single member of that race," Misaki said. "It is very unlikely that our energy weapons would work thanks to the interference created by the dimensional vibration, and that is if we actually had any weapons with us. Remember, this was meant to be a reconnaissance mission, one that unexpectedly turned into a 'First Contact'."

"Three meters..." The Caitian was trying to figure out the kind of fight he would have to deal with should he come face-to-face with one of those Masters, a creature that would stand nearly a full meter taller than him. "Maybe it would be best to find Zub if we are going to deal with the Masters on a hand-to-hand basis, we will have to rely on our numbers and wits just to be able to hold our own."

"Let's go," Commander Valentine said as she pointed int the direction of the villagers where the Voth Chief of Security had been last seen. "If we are lucky we might even run into Doctor Anderson and Counselor Dima along the way."

A'Janni, who had taken the lead, turned his head to show his understanding and agreement with the First Officer. This was a simple move that he never expected to regret but when he was hit by something large sending him flying through the air, regret was only one of the things he experienced. Contorting his body as only a Caitian could, the FCO managed to land on all fours, requiring only a mild turn of his head to look at what had hit him. What he saw was the massive outline of a towering beast. Initially, the FCO believed it to be the Chief of Security but the bald head and lack of scales quickly dismissed that possibility. With the taste of copper become more prevalent in his mouth, the felinoid man stood at the ready to leap and counter-attack, but he decided to hold back when the monstrous hulk was joined by several others.

The Masters had landed, and it was evident that they did so in large numbers.

[/\]
Jayson Sousa

Lieutenant JG A'Janni [Access Character BIO for A'Janni]
Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P044: USS BASTET: Enel: 35009.1825 ("Pancakes")
=-=
“Pancakes”
Previous posts: (ANU) “Searching” / (BAS) “Cats Always Land on Their Feet”

=-=
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Settlement, Center meeting area
Stardate: 35009.1825

When the dust rolled into the settlement, the Chief of Security went to stand protectively in front of the village leader; the female who had commandeered the transporter beacon. She stood in a circle of other villagers, backs to the settlement center, chanting “Pa Ha Sa”. They were absorbed in stopping the earthquake from the Masters autonomous mining machine or controlling the machine itself.

He checked his assumptions. A Masters mining unit shook the ground. The beacon flashed red. A nearby energy hit raised obscuring clouds that didn’t settle. Zub guessed the Masters had begun either an armed reconnaissance or an assault. He and the others had to protect the distracted villagers without weapons or contact with the BASTET. 

His nose detected a faint licorice scent in the quartz smell of pulverized sand.

His golden eyes scanned the billowing dust. The village had three concentric rings of thatched huts. He guessed from their voices that Sarena and A’Janni had moved outside the chanting villagers to form a triangle with A’Janni at the apex and Zub and the XO on either side. Zub knew the Masters would be one to two feet taller and more heavily built than him. They’d be nearly twice as tall as Commander Valentine. 

His hands grew icy and all the down between his scales stood up. His close combat training kicked in. He needed to concentrate on something, anything. He spoke over his shoulder to the villager with the beacon. “An attack is imminent, Catton.”

Colorful triangles, rectangles and hexagons obscured the floating dust. Her voice was strained as if she was lifting something extremely heavy. He couldn’t tell if she’d spoken or thought the words. “Control. Difficult.” 

He turned his head forward. His fists weren’t up before a blow out of the dust hit his chest. He grunted. Ahead in the swirling cloud he glimpsed a being with a bald head and smooth body armor. An enormous rifle was slung behind its back. He’d finally been introduced to a Master, a head, shoulders and chest taller than he was and with a punch like a photon torpedo. 

In a blink, the Master’s other hand had clamped on the front of Zub Enel’s uniform and gathered the fabric tightly enough to impede his arms. Zub felt his boots leave the ground. He was lifted face level and then started to be slung sideways like so much garbage. Zub used his massive crest to give the bald brute the hardest head butt he could manage. 

Stars bloomed amid glowing polygons before Zub’s eyes. Through this he saw the Master’s broad face had gone slack. The huge hand lost its grip. Zub landed and brought up fists. The shapes of more Masters swayed in the dust. He had no idea how many were following the few he could see.

Zub’s chest felt close to having been caved in by the first blow. Below his elbows, his coiled paralytic darts throbbed to be exposed, but he resisted pushing up his uniform sleeves. They were an evolutionary boon but meant as a defensive last resort. He first wanted to know how many Masters he faced.

=-=

Three Masters converged on A’Janni, two side by side with one close behind. He leaped upward, doing parkour on a living wall. As one Master stepped forward, A’Janni put a foot on that Master’s thigh, pushed off, put his other foot on the next Master’s hip. He pushed off to plant his feet momentarily on the chest armor of the two closest Masters. He punched the trailing Master hard in the nose. Snarling, he slammed both fists sideways into the temples of the two under his feet. They reeled long enough for him to leap free and reset his stance.

=-=

Having heard fighting, Sarena had taken a defensive stance in the blinding cloud of dust only to be confronted by a shape twice her height. She kicked high, aiming for a spot parallel with her face. Her boot glanced off belly armor. “Great,” she muttered as she recovered her stance.

A hand reached out for a grab. She first bent her knees meaning to duck it, but realized at the last moment that she might be in a better position if the Master grabbed her and lifted her. She punched both fists straight up into the dust laden air just as the hand gathered every thread of her uniform and lifted her. 

A bald head. Dark eyes stared at her. Sensing his punch coming, she jabbed the nearest eye. He grunted. Her uniform tightened like he was going to shake her. She punched his nose. A grunt. She punched his other eye. A cry of anger. Roughly level with his throat, she swung a double-fisted uppercut into his chin. He dropped her. As she landed, her hands ached like she’d broken them. The hulking brute was joined by another Master. 

=-=

Beset by two Masters, Zub deflected a huge hand. Simultaneously, he punched upward to send a backslap up over his head. He hoped the Masters would stick to hand-to-hand. He guessed their rifles were rendered useless by the vibrational energy, but the sheer size of them would make devastating clubs. If he was too successful at hand-to-hand, they’d surely club him down.

A loud, keening wail sounded, like big metal being tortured to the breaking point. The wailing stopped. The ground stilled. The chanting stopped. Through the dusty air came the smacks of fists and boots. The chanting began anew. 

A third Master had joined the two before Zub. Three Masters would be impossible to stop completely. Zub tried to relax enough to let instinct dictate his defense. Combinations of kicks, punches and head butts might keep him from being killed, immediately.

A rhythmic cracking and thumping started from behind the Masters he could see. The foggy dust made it hard to tell what was going on, but the ground was shaking again but in a steady crack-thump rhythm. The sound grew louder and closer. 

The ground just behind the three Masters in front of Zub opened in a wide jagged crevasse. The three Masters flailed out huge arms trying to keep their balance, but the rim under their boots collapsed. They toppled into the crevasse. The crack that had swallowed them thumped shut with a finality that made him step back. 

The rhythm stopped. Out of the dusty cloud he could hear no more blows landing, only the chanting. 

The dust thinned enough to show there were no Masters anywhere, The ground looked pristine where they’d been cast down and crushed. Just ahead of the XO and Zub Enel, A’Janni kept his battle stance for several seconds longer as he looked around warily with his one white eye. 
 
Sarena massaged her aching fists. The chanting villagers came into view. The conical huts, some shaken askew, rose out of the dust as the cloud dispersed into the red-gold sunlight.

A’Janni looked positively happy as he started toward her. “Not the outcome I expected!”

Zub Enel hands shook as he smoothed his rumpled uniform. “I am glad we aren’t in the ground squashed flat.”

Sarena felt as if she had taken wing and soared high in the golden air. She’d been in battles and brawls, but this was one of the few where she had been absolutely certain her life would end in mere minutes, dead on a strange world in another dimension. 

She looked at the chanting villagers in their simple tunics. They were truly able to defend themselves. She and her away team were in their debt, not the other way around. The Federation had beamed in to the rescue only to be rescued. She smiled at the irony. Flexing her aching hands one last time, she shouted over the chanting “We thank you.” 

The chanting continued. The metallic wail keened up the scale again and then the ground began to shake. Clearly, the villagers couldn’t control everything. She turned to figure out where everyone on her team was.

=-=
David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

“Sometimes that's all life is... One desperate act after another.”
- Terry Goodkind
M12-P045: USS BASTET: Gemma: 35009.1845 ("Crowded Loneliness")
=-=
"Crowded Loneliness"
[the previous post was (ANU) "The Last Musketeer" / (BAS) "Pancakes"]
=-=

Setting:  PA-HA-SA, Underground, next to the Masters' excavator  
Stardate: 35009.1845

Sylthia was a natural at flying from wall to wall with her feet barely making contact with whatever surface or edge that she came across. Doing this was her way of escaping the crushing claustrophobia she experienced as an Ardanan miner. While stuck in the underground of her world, all she did was to dream of flying. To imagine herself free as a bird and not be trapped in a subterranean cage. Following her escape from the mines, she claimed her prize through running parkour. This was the best way she could claim her newfound freedom.

Her skills allowed the woman to navigate the crumbling rocks with ease. In the corner of her eye, she could see the smooth metallic surface of the excavator. The machine was very much like those that had constructed it. The contraption was large, imposing and apparently deprived of any superfluous details. Sylthia kept her mind on finding a way to gain access to the machine as she continued to jump. Each ledge, each rock, each step took her further into the rocky crust of this world. With each bounce she also found herself falling deeper into the fear she wanted nothing more than to escape from.

If the task had been nothing more than for her to reach the bottom, none of this would have been an issue. The on and off again tremors though added another level to this descent. Physically the Ardanan woman could manage this with ease. Psychologically though, each rock and patch of soil that fell on top of her increased her anxiety. Running parkour was meant as a way for her to relax, a way for her to experience freedom. Doing this underground defeated the purpose, but right now she had no other choice.

**There! That looks like some sort of hatch.** Gabrielle cared nothing about the rocks, be them beneath the woman's feet or falling from overhead. All that the saboteur wanted was to find a way to gain access to the excavator.

With a couple of well-placed pushes, Sylthia bridged the gap between her and the machine. Using one hand she hung on the excavator frantically searching for a way in. It took several attempts, but Gabrielle eventually managed to uncover an access panel.

**Maybe we can bash it in?** The saboteur suggested.

**Why is it that your answer for everything is to 'bash it in'?** The scientist sighed.

Sylthia jumped back in. **I can't hold on forever. This machine is shaking too much.**

**We need to study the symbols and see if we can figure out a pattern." Wimdalli said.

Gabrielle came back, more determined than ever. **We do not have that kind of time. We stay here outside, we die!**

**You 'bash it in' and it breaks, we also die!** The acrobat countered.

The next personality to emerge did so out of necessity. The internal conflict could have kept on going with no end in sight. The woman with the wild purple hair had no other choice but to make her presence known. **And they wonder why I hate dealing with people.** After having said this, Viras' fingers began to dance on the access panel. At first, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason for the way she was pressing buttons, but that soon changed. With a few seconds, the hacker had figured out certain patterns. A few seconds after that, a loud hissing sound was heard. The access port seen by Gabrielle began to recess back into the machine before sliding to one side. As soon as the space was large enough, Sylthia pushed herself in.
=-=
Setting:  PA-HA-SA, Underground, Inside the Masters' excavator  
Stardate: 35009.1910  

Lines of dark green lights shed their gentle illumination on the inside of the machine. Gabrielle felt exceptionally small as she looked around. The ceilings stood more than twice the distance she was used to seeing them. There were no doubts about it, this contraption was a creation of the Masters.  Once she managed to accept her surroundings, the short blonde-haired woman surprisingly smiled. While aboard the BASTET she was often called upon to fix things. Here, inside this monstrous mechanical machine, she could finally be herself. Her task; to sabotage the excavator and stop it from doing whatever it was doing.

The saboteur rubbed her hands together with glee. "Time for me to get to work."

"Where are you going to go?" Viras asked. "This is not some sort of common freighter or Romulan shuttle. Look at the lights, look at the control panels. You would not know where to start. For all you know, you could end up cutting out life support and killing us all. I understand that this seems to be a situation tailor-made for you, but it is not. Let me access the computer and see if I can at least point you in the right direction."

Gabrielle Wolf stretched and cracked her neck. The expression on her face was one of extremely angered frustration. "What makes you believe that you can do this better than me?"

"I got us in here didn't I?" Viras snarled.

With that said the argument came to an end. However, troubled Gemma's mind was, the idea of completing a mission always remained the priority. With a clear path in mind to achieve their goal, the hacker moved to the nearest console. After finding something to stand on to reach the out-of-reach controls, Viras went to work. It was just her against the machine, exactly the way she liked it.

=-=
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]
M12-P046: USS BASTET: Andersson: 35009.1900 ("Alone, Together")
=-=
"Alone, Together"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Unknown Pawns" by Marissa / (BAS) "Crowded Loneliness" by Rachel]
=-=
 
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Settlement, Crevasse
Stardate: 35009.1900

Counselor Dima was hunched over, using her body to protect the woman she was tightly cradling. The tremors did not give any indication of ending anytime soon, but it appeared that the bulk of the loose soil was done falling on top of them.  Slowly, cautiously, Nicole sat up and look onto the peaceful visage of the woman she had been protecting.

Things could have been worse, then again, things could have been better. They could have been on a beach on PACIFICA or enjoying a couple of colorful drinks on RISA. However bad things were, there was one silver lining to brighten the moment – they were together.

"Don't move," Nic quietly instructed Sofia as the Doctor began to wake and stir.

"Hi," the physician softly said in return sounding somewhat out of it. The expression of near-complete disoriented as she looked up at the Counselor was obvious as the Doctor was not expecting to see the joint Trill looking down at her the way she was. It only took a few moments for Sofia to realize that her head was resting rather comfortably on Nicole's lap. "What happened?"

"You fell," Dima said while offering a comforting smile to her partner and brushing a strand of blonde hair from her face.

"I fell?" Andersson repeated trying to remember anything about what had happened but to no avail.  "I remember that there was an energy bolt that came down some distance away followed by the shockwave and the dust storm that was created because of it. Is that why you look so disheveled?"

"You don't look so pristine yourself," Nicole teased clearing dirt from Sofia's cheeks "Now, just rest."

"I feel lightheaded... dizzy, did I hit my head when I fell?"

Nicole took a moment before answering, scrutinizing Sofia's body before returning and locking eyes with her. "Maybe just a little, but you have to keep one thing in mind though."

"What would that be?"

"You are Terran and blonde," Nic grinned. "According to everything I have read about that particular combination, being lightheaded should be a natural state for you."

Sofia laughed knowing that the comment had not been meant in a bad way but rather to distract from the current situation. The Doctor suddenly stopped laughing and let out a mild yelp as pain shot through her body. "Did I break my left leg? It hurts... and I can't move it."

"You might have," Nic replied glancing down at the leg in question and seeing nothing but a pile of large rocks.

"You said I fell," the physician said noticing for the first time the expression of deep concern on the Trill's features. "How bad of a fall was it?"

"You just need to rest and try not to move," Nicole said dismissing the question. "Someone will be here to help you soon."

"Help m..." Sofia's words drifted into silence as she noticed a towering wall of soil and rocks behind Nic. That by itself was disconcerting but what truly bothered the Doctor was that she could not see the upper edge of this wall. "Where are we?"

"You have nothing to worry about, I am here with you," Dima said, doing her best to change the subject while at the same time reassuring the woman resting on her lap.

"Nicole, I may not have several lifetimes of experiences to fall back upon, but I can tell when something is bothering you. You are on the verge of tears, and despite your greatest efforts to keep me calm, I am starting to get agitated," Sofia said, her rant ending with her face contorting as pain rushed through her body once again, this time worse than the first.

"The shockwave from the energy bolt impacting the surface was powerful enough to push you back several meters and into the crevasse," Dima explained, no longer able to hold back her tears. "I did everything I could to catch you before you fell, but I was not fast enough. All I could do was to lay flat on the ground and watch you tumble down until you stopped here, unconscious and hurt."

"It's okay," Sofia said reaching up to caress Nic's cheek with her hand. "None of this was your fault. Now, maybe it is just me being blonde, but if you were up there and I was down here, how come you are here with me now or am I just imagining this?"

"You are not imagining anything," Nic confirmed. "I called out to you several times, and when you didn't reply, I jumped in after you to make sure that you were alright. I figured if Gemma could do it, why couldn't I? I had a simple plan; to help you back up, but your left leg is stuck under a pile of rocks that I cannot even begin to move. So, I did my best to make you as comfortable as possible while we wait to be rescued."

"Then we will wait here together," Sofia said still caressing Nicole's face with her hand. "By the way, you feel hot, are you sure you are alright?"

"I am fine," the Trill Counselor said holding back her tears as she took hold of the Doctor's icy hand. She did not need multiple lifetimes worth of experience to know that this was a sign that the woman's injuries were much worse than she had let on. Beyond the fact that her leg was more than likely broken, it was also a strong possibility that she was losing blood and would soon go into shock unless help came. Given just how far down they had both fallen, it was unlikely that a rescue would come anytime soon though and without a clear way for Nic to get back up to get help, all she could do was to sit here with the injured Doctor.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M12-P047: USS BASTET: A’Janni-Enel: 35009.1930 ("Legwork")
=-=
“Legwork”
Previous posts: (ANU) “Wanderings Feelings” / (BAS) “Alone, Together”

=-=
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Settlement, Crevasse
Stardate: 35009.1930

With the Masters gone, at least those that had come to the village and the long-anticipated end to the tremors which was quickly followed by the chanting from the villagers stopping, the away team could focus on getting back to business.

"I know Gemma went down into the crevasse, but where are Doctor Andersson and Counselor Dima?" A'Janni asked, his ears pivoting like small radars searching for any signs of the two people he had just mentioned.

Ensign Enel joined the search, but it was his sensitive nose that was indicating his preferred method to conduct this search. Thanks to his vision which was still clouded by geometrical shapes of random colors, the Voth opted to rely on his sense of smell instead, a decision that he would have made anyways as his ability to detect specific odors far exceeded the limits of his eyesight.

Watching the towering reptilian follow his nose, the Caitian grinned. "Zub, you got something?"

The scaly Voth did not reply. He only continued to walk until he reached the edge of the crevasse. "Down there," Zub reported. "They are somewhere down there."

A'Janni rushed to Zub's side and looked down into the abyss that stretched before them. "I see them," the Caitian said showing off his better eyesight. "They are on a ledge at least 50 meters down, maybe closer to 60 or 65."

"SOFIA! NICOLE! Can you hear us?" It was Misaki, the scientist had joined the Caitian and Voth, each standing like a pillar next to the much smaller Asian woman.

=/\= Yes! =/\= Nicole replied, her voice echoing through the crevasse causing some of the soil to become loose. =/\= Sofia is hurt. We need help, quickly! =/\=

"Getting down there is not going to be easy," A'Janni said. "Every step we take might risk bringing the entire facade down on top of them.

"I might have an idea," Zub said turning his gaze onto the PA-HA-SAians.

The XO stood next to Misaki looking down the steep apron of soil and rock at the two women far below. Of all the people to be hurt on her team, Sarena needed the doctor to be the last. “Misaki, should Gemma return, make sure she doesn’t come up to the rim here without being very light-footed.”

The Asian scientist nodded as she peered down the crevasse. “The vibrational energy is interfering with the medical equipment. It might be useless or even dangerous to operate. We may need to improvise bandages, splints and maybe tourniquets.”

Sarena knew better than to sigh in front of her already highly stressed away team. She looked at her Chief of Security. “Zub Enel, the villagers fixed up your back. Maybe….” She trailed off when she saw how far away the look in his eyes was.

Zub could physically feel the strain the villagers were under. There was a torquing of his torso like a Master was trying to unscrew his chest from his hips. All the visitors were under the same strain. They all fiercely resisted being twisted.

He put together that they were mentally preventing the autonomous mining machine from rotating. They were aware of Gemma, Nicole, and Sofia underground. They were aware of the precariousness of the women’s position under tons of rock and soil. Along with the villagers, he could feel the machine below trying to rotate, ramping up, pressure building inexorably. It would eventually overwhelm the villagers' ability to hold it still. The ground would begin to shake again.

Though the call to do so was strong, he resisted trying to join the villagers effort. He pushed away mentally. Stepped back. Came up to the surface of his own consciousness. His eyes focused once again on the three people standing on the edge of the crevasse.

He felt exhausted as he spoke. “It is all they can do to hold the machine in place. They are preventing an earthquake to protect our team down there, but we are on our own to retrieve the CMO and CNS.”

“Thank you for the report, Ensign.” Sarena studied the crevasse. “A’Janni and Zub, you are the strongest. Ease down there one at a time. Move laterally so you don’t bash Sofia in the face with rocks. Call out if you do break big something loose and it starts to roll.”

“Aye,” the FCO and CSO said in unison, their attention already focussed on the sloping face of the crevasse.

Zub said to the felinoid, “You are heavier. I should go first. Less likely to start a slide. You can follow my tracks.”

A’Janni nodded. He pointed a claw toward the edge of the crack where it opened up into the ground. “Maybe work yourself down that narrow part.”

Zub nodded and started in. He said, careful not to yell for fear of shaking something loose, “We are coming down. Nicole, stand ready to cover Sofia's body if something comes tumbling your way.”

“Ready,“ Nicole's voice came up the hole.

Zub saw the Counselor cradling the Doctor in her lap. He stepped up against where the crack started. Rock and soil slid a foot or so, but stopped. He pressed it with his boot, leaving a solid stepping place for when the FCO followed.

A’Janni fought the desire to just jump the 65 meters into the hole. Even his strong legs couldn't take a landing that far below. He might miss the ledge completely and disappear down into the bowels of PA-HA-SA. He watched the Voth carefully zig a step or two away from the edge of the crack and then zag back. The crevasse was narrowing steadily, so each step carried the lizard man ever closer to the two women.

The trek down the facade should have been an easy one, the Caitian and Voth using their respective strengths to claw their way down, but that would have resulted in a lot of soil and rocks being set loose risking the safety of the two women below. Both proceeded down with absolute care, keeping to a minimum their disturbance of the crevasse's side they were clinging onto. Every time a rock became loose and fell, the two officers held their breaths as they watched it fall hoping that it would miss the relatively small target below them. So far, luck was on their side.

Meter by meter the distance between them and the ladies slowly shrunk. From his higher position, A'Janni kept an eye on everyone, fighting the urge to leap down. Even with half of the distance initially separating them having been erased, the Caitian knew that the sudden impact and addition of his weight to the ledge where the Doctor and Counselor were could risk sending them crashing all down making a bad situation worse. Keeping this possibility firmly in mind, the FCO followed the CSO, his mind wandering on how this seemingly simple reconnaissance mission had turned into a life-and-death situation.

"She is hurt...," Nicole said about Sofia as soon as Zub arrived next to them, the Counselor barely managing to hold back her tears. As soon as A'Janni joined them, the reptilian and felinoid man looked at one another formulating a silent plan of action which they immediately put into play. One by one the massive rocks were removed drawing looks of concern from the FCO and CSO as they noticed a growing pool of crimson blood from the CMO’s left leg. Freeing the Doctor would prove easy enough, but saving her life was going to be a challenge made even more complicated thanks to their unsteady location and complete lack of resource.

“Oh, Sofia. Not good. Your leg is bleeding,” Nicole said, her voice trembling. She still sat with Sofia in her lap.

“You need to help stop the bleeding,” the Voth said. He took off his uniform coat and folded it twice. “For her head.” As the CNS moved carefully from under the Doctor’s head, Voth helped her place the folded jacket as a cushion. Nicole immediately knelt down and squeezed the Doctor’s left thigh as hard as she could.

Sofia lay splayed out on her back, left leg now exposed to the knee, right leg cocked up with a boot on the rocky debris. Her face was pale, but her eyes fluttered open. “Even though these are my absolute favorite pants in the multiverse, one of you needs to rip off the right leg and fashion a tourniquet.”

A’Janni knelt down on her right side. He used a claw to pierce the black cloth of her pant leg. The cloth put up a surprising amount of resistance. “Who knew Federation pants were so tough.”

“My hands are getting tired,” Nicole said.

Zub Enel stepped over near the Counselor and knelt on the rubble. “Let me squeeze before you release, alright?” Nicole gave him a big nod. He gripped the CMO’s leg with both his three fingered hands and nodded. Nicole let go.

She sat back on her heels for a moment to look at her dear friend. “You’re doing fine, Sofia.” Tears made faint plopping sounds on the Doctors uniform jacket.

“Of course I am,” the CMO said with a crooked smile although her voice was weak. Her eyes closed again.

A’Janni managed to get the pant leg torn free. He pushed it down to her boot. Nicole had stepped carefully over the Doctor to help pry her boot off. The big cat man pulled the torn pant leg free.

Sofia, ghastly pale, opened her eyes again. sHe said in a whisper, “Now, to make a tourniquet…” She stopped, sweat breaking out on her pale, dirt smeared face.

A’Janni, ex-Security, had already twisted the cloth into a thick rope. He rumbled, “Don’t worry.”

He had to bend over the prone Doctor’s right hip to reach her left leg. Nicole stepped over Sofia’s to wedge herself against the kneeling Voth. There wasn’t much room between them and the edge of the ledge. She dug rock and soil from under Sofia’s pinned thigh. The felinoid handed the cloth through under the leg. Nicole brought her end up. A’Janni grabbed it and tied the twisted cloth around the thigh. Muscles flexed under fur as he pulled the knot as tight as he could.

Sofia made no effort to modify her cry of pain. She took several rapid breaths afterward. She bared her teeth for a moment or two.

Nicole punched the Caitian with all her might in his upper arm. “You hurt her!”

Sofia reached up to grasp the Counselor’s wrist with an icy palm. “It’s okay. I understand. He’s used to patching up battlefield casualties.”

A’Janni peered down at her with his one white eye, He wasn’t entirely sure he’d done the technique right. “You *are* a battlefield casualty.”

“Alright,” the Voth said soothingly. “Letting her leg go.” He loosened his grip. Sofia propped herself up on her elbows. All four of them looked at her leg. The pool of blood did not grow any larger.

“She’s lost so much blood,” Nicole said, putting her hand over her mouth because she feared she might start to scream wildly in despair. “Oh, Sofia. Don’t die.”

A’Janni stood. “We all dig and then carry.” He, Nicole, and Zub set to work.

It took time to get Sofia’s left leg free without triggering a landslide over her. Her shin lay bent at a shallow angle. Nicole said, “We can’t move her with her leg broken like that! A bone might come through her skin.”

“What if we wrap it tightly above and below the break in another pant leg,” asked the towering Voth.

A’Janni raised a single claw and eyed the CSO’s extra long pants. “Don’t move.”

The result was Sofia’s leg tightly wrapped from knee to boot top in black cloth. The Doctor groaned softly. She grimaced. Pale, she gave them a nod while clamping shut her jaws.

A’Janni said, “We need to get her out of here now. Who knows when another quake is coming.”

It took all three of them; A’Janni at the Doctor’s shoulders, Zub lifting her hips and Nicole sideways cradling her legs above and below the knees. They lifted her and A’Janni led them up backward with her shoulders. They trudged up the steep face of the slide. They slid back down a meter or so every now and then, but doggedly carried her upward. As they reached the lip of the crevasse, Sarena and Misaki helped lift the CMO onto firm soil.

Sofia was laid out a good distance from the hole. Misaki knelt on one knee to inspect the tourniquet. Nicole went down on her knees next to the Doctor and sat on her heels. She pressed a hand on Sofia’s chest.

The XO smiled gratefully at Nicole, A’Janni and Zub who were dirty and on the edge of exhaustion. She looked the CMO and the Chief of Security. One was missing a uniform jacket and both were missing a pant leg. Sarena glanced at the circle of chanting villagers. “We’re still missing Gemma.”

=-=
Jayson Sousa [jaysonstatham22@gmail.com]

Lieutenant JG A'Janni [Access Character BIO for A'Janni]
Flight Control Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

AND

David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

“Valor is stability, not of arms and legs, but of courage and the soul.”
 -Michel de Montaigne
M12-P048: USS BASTET: Gemma: 35009.2030 ("Crystal Clear")
=-=
"Crystal Clear"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Wandering Feelings" / (BAS) "Legwork"]
=-=

Setting:  PA-HA-SA, Underground, Inside the Masters' excavator  
Stardate: 35009.2030

Taking the machine offline proved to be a little more difficult than the hacker had anticipated. The language barrier and the unfamiliar controls had presented quite a challenge. Varis felt a surge as she worked, crediting it to the thrill of dealing with a system for the very first time. The feeling of heightened energy was invigorating, pushing her to work harder, faster.

It was because of this surge of energy that Gemma decided to investigate the inside of the machine. Once the excavator was offline, the ILO should have made her exit and regrouped with the others. Instead, she felt drawn to the innermost sections of the underground craft.  To say that her surroundings made her feel small was an understatement. The Masters were a race of giants easily standing twice her height. So, it made sense that anything built by them would be equally imposing. The walls extended upward higher than she could see without hurting her neck. Doors appeared to be massive gateways worthy of royalty.  All of this would have made the adventure almost enjoyable had it not been for the minimal lighting. The craft was designed to be autonomous, so there was no need for actual lights. Even Varis had failed to locate anything that might indicate the presence of such luxury. That said, Gemma had never been one to feel uncomfortable in dark, shadow-filled areas. In fact, this was the kind of environment she felt the most comfortable in. Maybe that was why she felt such a rush as she made her way deeper into the mysterious machine.

She was not sure why, but Gemma followed a very distinct path through the giant maze. Each time she came to an intersection, there were no doubts in her mind as to which way she needed to go. Nothing about the inside of this machine seemed familiar, yet she knew where she needed to go. It was almost as if her body was in charge while her mind sat back and enjoyed the ride.

The mystery of this unexplained drive only grew when the ILO walked into a room filled with crystals of various shapes and sizes. Even before walking closer, Gemma could feel the energy coming from them. The mild glow emanating from these crystals was enough to bathe the entire storage room in an eerie light. The ILO could feel the presence of these crystals within her. This was not her skin reacting to some static charge. It was her body as a whole responding to the energy coming from the crystals.

"These are amazing," the Uxali scientist said as she knelt down to study one of the crystals more closely. "My guess is that the dimensional vibration is interacting with the chemical structure of these crystals. It is the only way that I can explain the energy that I can feel coming from them."

"It doesn't hurt in explaining that enchanting glow either," Lireen added. The Edo explorer was beyond fascinated by what she was looking at. The crystals were just another amazing aspect of a universe that she was enthralled by.

It was the German saboteur who spoke next. "I have the strange suspicion that the Masters are not digging for these because of their charms. In fact, I am certain of it," Gabrielle said looking at a conveyor belt moving the crystals into another chamber. Curious to see where they were being taken, the ILO followed the trail. In the next room, Gemma discovered a processing station that seemed to be harvesting the energy found within the crystals.  The woman watched with stunned amazement as the crystals were turned into energy, leaving nothing behind.

Wimdalli's curiosity became more than the Uxali could contain, so she took hold of the closest crystal. She studied it with care, wishing that she had the necessary equipment to more properly investigate the properties of these mysterious crystals. The longer she held onto it, the more she felt a surge of power rushing through her body. Soon, this sensation became too much for her to control and she let go of the crystal allowing it to drop.  As it impacted the floor, it vanished in a blast of bright light, leaving behind a rather sizable crater. "Negative energy," the scientist gasped. "Those things don't *explode*, they *implode*. By the looks of things, they do so with roughly five times their mass. Those crystals are not just a source of power, they are weapons of impressive destructive potential."

After having made such a discovery, the ILO knew that she needed to regroup with the others. Cmdr. Valentine needed to be made aware of this latest development. It explained why the Masters were here, mining for these crystals. It also meant that the already dangerous race of conquerors might prove to be even more dangerous. It was unlikely that they would let such a powerful source of energy simply slip through their grasp.

As she made her way back to the storage area, Gemma glanced over her shoulder. She had this strange feeling that someone else was there. When her eyes fell upon the form of the Uxali scientist, the ILO felt a strange wave of confusion sweep through her mind. She recognized the woman but could not recall having ever seen her like this. Wimda looked back, a similar expression of confusion appearing on her face.

"As much as I would love to stay here and explore the possibilities of these crystals, we have to go." Gemma turned to look at the woman who had just spoken. The ILO's eyes fell upon the blonde German saboteur who was looking back at her. "We need to go back, now!"

Gemma forced her eyes closed for a second or so before reopening them. When she did, both Wimda and Gabrielle were gone, but the confusion as to her seeing them remained. As much as part of her wanted to stay and investigate what had just happened, the ILO left. She needed to report this discovery to Sarena. Once that was done, if time permitted, Gemma might try to better understand what had happened here.

=-=
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]
M12-P049: USS BASTET: Valentine: 35009.2200 ("Power Play")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Power Play"
[previous post (ANU) "The Answer" / (BAS) "Crystal Clear")]

Setting:  PA-HA-SA, Settlement, Center meeting area  
Stardate: 35009.2200

The dust was finally starting to settle, literally and figuratively. The away team was back together and the threat from the Masters' appeared to have been dealt with, for now.  What needed to happen next was for them to come up with a plan of action that dealt with every aspect of their situation, a task that the Executive Officer figured would be far from easily accomplished.

Sarena's eyes lingered on the injured Chief Medical Officer who was laying down on the ground with the Counselor sitting by her side. The complexion of both women was very pale although the reasons for this were unique to each. Sofia had lost a fair deal of blood while Nicole was simply scared, and this for good reasons. A'Janni was doing his best to keep the pressure on the injured leg while Zub tried to convince the villagers to help in whatever way they could. The Voth had experienced first-hand the medical abilities of the local inhabitants but for some reason, the humanoid creatures seemed unwilling to offer any kind of assistance at this time.

"Will she be alright?" Misaki asked, her concern for the injured Doctor clearly visible.

"It all depends on him," Sarena quietly hissed, glaring at the alien holding their only way to communicate with the BASTET. "If Ensign Enel is unable to convince them to help, be it by releasing the beacon back into our care or healing Sofia's wound," the Executive Officer added, turning to look at Gemma before finishing. "We may have no other option but to force their hand and retrieve the beacon."

Gemma nodded her head just enough to show that she understood what Commander Valentine meant as well as the ILO's readiness to act accordingly. "In the meantime, I should inform you about what I discovered inside the excavator. The Masters appear to be using self-sustaining machinery to mine for some sort of negative energy crystals."

"Negative energy crystals?" The Asian scientist asked not certain that she had heard correctly. "Are you sure?"

"It is the only way to explain why an implosion occurred instead of an explosion when I dropped one of those crystals," Gemma explained not giving any indications of her being interested or even excited by the discovery.

"There have been some theories about how pure energy could be possibly transformed into solid matter, but those theories never dealt with negative energy. I can only guess that the reason for this is that such energy is considered to be too unstable to even be converted into anything resembling solid matter," Misaki said, her thoughts running at warp speed trying, to the best of her knowledge, figure out how such a possibility could have come to light.

"Different dimension... different rules," the Executive Officer said.

"True," Mitshiba agreed although hesitantly. "You said that you were able to hold one of those crystals?" The Chief Science Officer asked, turning her full attention towards the ILO.

"Yes," Gemma confirmed.

"How was it like? did you feel anything strange? You would not have happened to bring one of those crystals back with you?" Misaki was coming across as the proverbial child in a candy store. As grave as the situation around them was, the CSciO was only interested in the scientific aspect of this latest discovery.

Admiring Misaki for her enthusiasm, Sarena thought it best if she interjected and brought everyone back on a more pressing and urgent matter. "Lieutenant Mitshiba, if we are forced to try and retrieve the beacon, we may require your assistance to send an urgent message back to the BASTET. Doctor Andersson will need to be the first to be beamed back, and I want you to make sure that this happens as I suspect the rest of us will likely be too busy dealing with the villagers."

"Of course, Commander," the Asian woman acknowledged. Misaki did not want to see things degrade to that point, but she understood the necessity of her role should the situation require it.

Taking the Executive Officer a little more out of the way and out of earshot of the CSciO, the ILO added. "Commander, it is my belief that the Masters are well aware of the potential of these crystals. The excavator was actually using them to power itself, meaning that they are unlikely to allow us or anyone else to interfere with the mining operation on this planet. We also still have not figured out what happened to the first two cruisers to come into the orbit of this planet, and now that the team to be sent down has been disposed of, their next move is most certainly going to use the fullest extent of their capabilities."

Sarena looked at the villagers one again, this time letting her eyes travel to the members of her team one after the other. If the Masters wanted to secure their claim for those crystals, it was safe to expect them to see everything in her field of vision as a hindrance that needed to be dealt with on a permanent basis. This meant that they needed to find a way to stop the race of interdimensional conquerors or find a way to get everyone back to the BASTET, and this as quickly as possible.
"Commander," Mitshiba said forcing herself back into the conversation. "If the crystals are as powerful as Gemma claims them to be, maybe we could use them to our advantage. There is no way for us to keep fighting the Masters, especially if they end up coming down in greater numbers. Using those crystals as a source of power, we might be able to fashion a weapon capable of ending the threat and giving us more time to come up with a more permanent defensive set-up."

"My presence is required here," Gemma began but she was cut short by Misaki.

"I know, that is why I am offering that I be the one to go back into the machine and bring back some of those crystals. I know that you were hoping I be the one to use the beacon to send a message to the BASTET, but that job can be accomplished by anyone else. Making sure that the negative energy crystals actually come back to be used against the Master may require a more knowledgeable set of hands. With Gemma's presence required here, mine are the next best option."

The Executive Officer debated the offer for only a few seconds before instructing the CSciO to proceed as suggested. "Lieutenant, we need you back as quickly as possible, so no wasting time looking inside that machine, this no matter how interesting something might appear to be. Is that understood?"

"Yes, Commander," Misaki said and after getting a quick account of the path she would need to follow, the Asian woman was off on her quest to retrieve some of these mysterious crystals.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P050: USS BASTET: Mitshiba: 35009.2220 ("Negative Energy")
"Negative Energy"
Previous posts: (ANU) "The Answer" & (BAS) "Power Play"

///^\\\  
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Underground, Inside the Masters' Excavator
Stardate: 35009.2220

Thanks to Gemma's instructions, Aki found the access port of the excavator with relative ease. Had the Asian scientist not been so completely focused on the task at hand, she might have found the sliding trough the dirt almost enjoyable, but this was not the time for frivolity. The lives of the entire away team could very well depend on her successful completion of her mission to bring back some of the crystals Gemma had spoken about.

Aki had to admit, even if it was only to herself, that part of the reason for her volunteering to come down here was so that she could see these marvelous oddities that should not exist according to the laws of physics from her home dimension. When potential energy is released into an open space, such as when atoms collide, the force of this reaction can easily be felt through expansion waves.  In a model using negative energy, the resulting reaction is claimed to be inversed due to the creation of a quantum vacuum. Everything that Gemma had said about how the crystals behaved supported this theory, explaining the unparalleled interest of the Asian woman.

The CSciO did her best to ignore the unbelievable scenery she found herself in the middle of, everything about the inside of this alien machine demanded her attention. From the control stations that stood well over her reach to the soft glowing lights, Aki could barely manage to keep her eyes locked on where she needed to go. When she finally did make it to the storage compartment, things became even more difficult for her as all she wanted was to sit down and study the crystals.

Although Aki did not sit down and set up shop, she did take a moment to study the one crystal she ended up taking a hold of. The energy emanating from it was tangible, causing a strange crawling sensation to make its way across her fingers, hand and then arm. As the Asian woman observed the item in her hand while trying to understand the reason for experiencing the sensations coursing through her body. The whole thing was fascinating to her leading to countless theories to be formulated.

"I can see why the Masters are so interested in these crystals," Aki noted to herself. "The potential energy contained in this single crystal is likely off the charts. I wonder if this is because of the dimensional vibration? I mean, that vibration penetrates everything, be it mechanical, biological or geological, so it could be the reason why the crystalline formation is able to contain something as unstable as negative energy. The one drawback, as I see it, is that these crystals would only be able to maintain the stability of the negative energy as long as they remained within this dimension. The moment they are taken away from the vibration, I fear that the crystals would love their structural integrity and allowed the energy to return to its purer form. I suspect that it might not require too many of these crystals to lead to the destruction of a ship. Enough of them contained in the same general area could see a larger vessel, say a heavily armored battlecruiser, implode onto itself leaving no traces of it ever having been there in the first place."

A bright smile began to form on Aki's lips as the proposed explanation for the destruction of the two first cruisers further solidified itself in her mind.  It was conceivable that the first cruiser had come to empty the excavator or another like it somewhere else on the planet. As soon as they would engage their dimensional drive, the resulting energy bubble around the ship could have reduced or nullified the effects of the vibration causing the crystals to no longer be able to contain the negative energy trapped inside. The resulting implosion could have easily been believed to be some sort of attack prompting the Masters to send out a distress signal.  The second cruiser could have done the same thing, retrieving the crystals when they failed to locate the first cruiser resulting in the same fate.

Using her field jacket as a makeshift basket, Aki carefully took as many of the crystals as she could. Although she would not be able to bring any of them back to the BASTET with her, the crystals could prove indispensable in shifting the odds in their favor should another team of giant aliens came down to the planet surface. That of course depended on all of them surviving the crystals being brought up to the village and whatever use they might end up being put to.

With her heart racing, the Asian woman very carefully made her way back, making sure not to have her precious cargo hit anything that might cause a chain reaction that would end her career, as well as her life, in a most horrific way.

///^\\\
Dawn Bohr

Lieutenant Misaki 'Aki' Mitshiba [Access Character BIO for Misaki Mitshiba]
Chief Science Officer
USS BASTET - NCC 74977
M12-P051: USS BASTET: Enel: 35009.2045 ("Tessorcism")
=-=
“Tessorcism”
Previous posts: (ANU) “The Answer” / (BAS) “Negative Energy”

=-=
Setting: PA-HA-SA, Settlement, Center meeting area
Stardate: 35009.2045

The Chief of Security Ensign Zub Enel, in his undershirt and missing a pant leg, stood with growing frustration before the cluster of villagers. The Catton remained resolute about not helping stabilize the Chief Medical Officer. She stood with the transporter beacon clamped vertically in one twiggy-fingered hand.

Zub Enel said, “But we fought the Masters to protect you.”

Many voices babbled in his mind like the sound of the broad, shallow river near the beam down point. Glowing geometric symbols swirled and eddied before his eyes. The villagers discussed in this way. The Catton tilted her head. The villagers copied her. She raised her free hand. The babbling died away.

She spoke word-like thoughts. —You, Beast, Eater of our Fisher, not invited, heeded the Call to Gather. Trouble followed you. The giants returned. You fought them. We had to interfere.—

The towering Voth said with sincerity, “We all are grateful for your help. We have managed to stop the Master’s mining machine that was destroying your village and occupying so much of your attention. Is that not valuable to you?”

The Babel for voices and glowing symbols rose again in his mind. It ebbed again. The Catton thought, —We did not ask for your help.—

“But you cured my injures,” Zub said, “Now one of us lies gravely injured. Her need is far greater than mine was.”

—That one was not injured by us.—

“Nor was I!”

—Beast, devourer of Kyxtn the Fisher, *you* were aided to preserve his tessellation.—

Zub Enel let out a long sigh of frustration. “I did not devour anyone! When we came near to this place, Kyxtn somehow entered my… my being. You began your summoning. He took control of me and brought me here. Kyxtn the Fisher has returned to you, but he brought me along with him. Many members of our crew were forced to follow me here because I had left them without explanation. We had never intended to make contact with you and your people.”

The babble rose again and continued for a considerable period of time. The Voth waited, blinded by geometry figures. He tried to relax this body, keep his mind open, feel nothing but benevolence.

Voices ebbed away. The Catton thought, —We, The Faithful, are all the same. Your people are not alike.—

Zub nodded, “We are different from you and from each other, but one way we are all alike, you and us, is we do not act alone. We act for the good of all, whether our own or that of other peoples. I came here without my knowledge or choice. None who followed me here knew of Kyxtn, his fate, or your desire to be left alone. They had come to help me.”

Silence followed his statement. After so much babbling of voices, the silence made his heart flutter. He hoped he’d not consigned the away team to the Masters’ fate; dropped into the ground and clapped flat.

The Catton asked, —Why did you devour our fisher?—

“I did not. It happened without my understanding or permission. Perhaps there is something about this place that gathered him in.”

—After death, each tessellation adds to our knowledge and power. We were incomplete without Kyxtn the Fisher. Will you release his tessellation so it can be woven into the knowledge of All That Were?—

“Only if you help our injured companion. She must not die. She is our healer. We need her skills. Help her and I will give up Kyxtn the Fisher. Or return our beacon and we will leave this place immediately, never to return.”

—That one is dying. Cannot her tessellation be joined with your All That Were?—

Zub Enel turned to look through the cloud of glowing shapes at their Chief Medical Officer lying so still on the ground. The whole crew had assembled around her. They watched him. He went cold. His heart felt like it rattled, like had began to skip every other beat. His down rose high. He knew her life was in his hands.

“For people like us, when we die we are lost to the living forever; our bodies, minds and souls, everything we knew or felt. For us, to die is to vanish utterly. We have no All That Were, at least in a way we can access it. That is why we fight so hard to keep each other alive.”

More discussion among the villagers.

—Our fisher died too far away to gather his tessellation. He ‘vanished utterly’ from us in this way you describe. The Faithful are weakened by him missing.—

“If our healer dies, how you felt before Kyxtn returned is how we will feel now. If you won’t help her, please let us quickly return to our place of healing.”

The Catton angled the beacon toward him, but not in a way that meant he could take it. —You are a weak people. Your minds flow in ways we do not understand. Your strength relies on machines that do not function. Like dull children you have offered your help only to need us to intervene. If we continue to help you, we fear you will always need our help. We need nothing you offer, except Kyxtn the Fisher.—

The towering lizardman put his three-fingered hands on his hips. He fought through a wave of anger and defensiveness. The PA-HA-SAian opinion of Federation personnel was not the tantamount issue. Getting Doctor Andersson help was. “You may gather the tessellation of Kyxtn the Fisher only if you return our beacon and allow us to leave immediately.”

The villagers shuffled into a circle around him, the Catton centered before him. They joined hands, tilted their heads and began the “Pa Ha Sa” chant. Hope fluttered in Zub’s chest. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do, but he decided being completely open and relaxed would help. He relaxed his muscles and mind. He sank to his knees. He sat on his heels, placed his hands on his thighs and bowed his head.

Waves of color broke over him. Yearnings to join the chant stirred within his chest. A surge of alien thoughts suffused with loneliness grew in his mind. He let it.

Kyxtn the Fisher opened his eyes and thought, —Menia the Weaver, I have answered The Call—

A villager put out her hands, came forward and flattened them his forehead. He felt her a shiver in disgust. Dismay sparked to life. He knew he was of The Faithful. He should be welcomed, not rejected. It came to him for the first time in many seasons that to be of The Faithful meant he had to trust and be faithful. He quieted.

Kyxtn heard the Catton, Wise and All Seeing, and the joined voices of The Faithful.
The Catton intoned —Kyxtn the Fisher, long awaited. Come. Join us forever.—

He felt himself afloat, sloshing and bobbing in the strange incomprehensible mind of another. A warm wave of beautiful symbols raised him high. He saw Menia the Weaver’s hands outstretched toward the sky, toward the bright red-gold face of Suroh The Exalted, Giver of Warmth and Light. He reached up as a child would to a father. The wave of symbols bore him higher than any wave he had experienced in any Season of Storms.

Brilliant symbols coursed between his hands and the ruddy face of The Exalted. Menia the Weaver directed the thick stream of symbols, all he was, had been, and had hoped to be upward toward the expanding face of Suroh. On the widening face of The Exalted, a multitude of villagers from long passed reached out toward him. Sensing a belonging that would last forever, he went to them, gladly.

The chanting stopped. Zub Enel got to his feet. His head felt strange. There was a silence in his mind like a noise was gone that had been there so long he’d gotten used to it. There was darkness where there had been a constant glimmer of color and figures. His vision was no longer obscured by glowing triangles, hexagons and rectangles.

He saw the Catton with startling clarity. She held out the beacon in both hands. As he took it, she turned her palms toward the ground and gave him a dismissive flicking motion with all her fingers.

Insulted, he stiffened. He reminded himself of the priority issue. He turned and strode to the away team. “They won’t help us further. They want us to go. Let’s get the CMO beamed to sickbay.”

=-=
David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
— Mother Teresa
M12-P052: USS BASTET: Andersson: 35009.2100 ("Into The Next Life")
=-=
"Into The Next Life"
[the previous post was (ANU) "The Answer" by Moi / (BAS) "Tessorcism" by David]
=-=
 
Setting: USS BASTET, Sickbay
Stardate: 35009.2100

Sofia could barely stay awake, her eyelids growing heavier by the second. The only thing that stopped her from completely abandoning herself to the coldness that was gradually claiming her body and mind was Nicole's voice as she begged for the Doctor not to leave her.  Andersson was too weak to speak and the sudden feeling of weightlessness made her contemplate the possibility that this was the end. Her fall and subsequent injury had been bad enough to bring her to the very edge of life and it was becoming increasingly evident that she was losing the fight to stay amongst the living, this despite having every reason to do so.

She felt her body move, lifted and eventually brought to rest on a soft and comfortable surface. Would this be her final resting place? She wished for a moment that she could open her eyes and gaze upon the joint Trill one last time if only to thank her for making her last moments the happiest she had ever experienced. Memories of their time together on ELYSIA and on the BASTET filled her mind and caused her to feel a wave of peacefulness sweep through her being. Many people experienced regrets in their final moments but the only sorrow Anderson was feeling was that she would not be able to continue to enjoy Nicole's company. The Trill had proven to be a guiding ray of light that the Doctor would have happily followed until the end of time itself.

When Sofia began to experience a sense of warmth through her body, she mentally braced herself for what she believed to be her final few seconds. This was it; there was no medical reasoning to account for her body to feel this way given the extent of her injury. The fact that the away team did not have access to any sort of medical equipment only made this realization that much more certain. For some reason, Doctor Andersson could not bring herself to even accept the possibility that this sensation might be caused by something else, not daring to hold on to any false hope that might hinder her journey into whatever waited for her in the great beyond.

She searched for the light that so many claimed would be there to guide her final steps, but all she could see was darkness. Were the stories wrong? When she began to see a flashing red glow accompanied by the sound of what appeared to be an alert claxon, Sofia feared that her journey into the afterlife might not prove to be as pleasant as so many people had made it out to be.

"It's okay," Sofia heard Nic's voice piercing through the darkness. "You are safe," the Trill added making the Doctor relax knowing that she could not have asked for a better angelic guide to usher her into whatever next stage of life was waiting for her.  Suddenly, she felt a sudden shift quickly followed by a weight landing on top of her making the woman realize that she was not standing but rather laying on her back. "I am so sorry," Dima apologized.

All of these proved to be enough for Sofia to finally manage to open her eyes. What she saw surprised her, but not entirely in a bad way. She could see the whole medical array making it clear that she was on the main examination bed. Sickbay was bathed in the flashing red alert condition lighting further indicating to the Chief Medical Officer that not only was she on the BASTET but that she was also quite alive.

"Hi," Nic said, a smile joining the tears that were caressing her cheeks. "What happened?"

"Ensign Enel was able to convince the PA-HA-SAians to hand over the beacon. Once that was done, we managed to get a signal back tot h ship and get you beamed up. It took a few minutes to get everyone else back, but we are all back safe and sound," the joint Trill explained, unable to contain her joy. "You had us quite scared."

"I'm sorry," Sofia said with a smile matching her current state; grateful but weak. "PA-HA-SAians?"

"That is what we are calling them," the Counselor said, squeezing the Doctor's hand. "Kind of makes sense as that is all they kept chanting. I have the feeling that Zub is going to have quite a report to give to the Captain about what he experienced, that is once we are out of danger."

"Danger?" Andersson asked as she looked around the room as best has her ability to move allowed her. "I can see the red alert status, but what is happening? Are the PA-HA-SA people attacking us?"

"No," Dima quickly replied. "I truly do not believe that they have it within them to strike against someone else. What they did on the planet surface was meant to protect us as well as them. I have no idea what is happening but I do know that it involves the third Masters' cruiser that came into orbit while we were on the planet's surface.

"If we are in the middle of a combat situation, I should be getting Sickbay ready to receive casualties," Sofia said as she tried to get up from the examination bed only to be stopped with ease by Nicole who used a single hand to keep the Doctor where she was.

"You are not going anywhere," the Trill grinned. "You are the first and only casualty at this time, meaning that you have priority. Your leg is still far from being able to support you and based on the amount of blood you have lost, I can only imagine as to just how weak you are feeling at this moment."

"Weak, dizzy, yes," Sofia chuckled. "I thought it was because I was looking at you. You have always managed to make me feel a little lightheaded when you are around."

The Trill Counselor shook her head and smiled. "Funny, we had a very similar conversation back on the planet about the reasons for you feeling lightheaded," Nic said as she ran her fingers through the Doctor's blonde hair.

Sofia gently grabbed hold of Nic's hand and bright it to her cheek. "Thank you."

"For what?"

"For saving my life," the Doctor said. "You didn't have to jump down after me and stay by my side during that entire ordeal."

"Someone has to keep an eye on you," Nicole said, her smile growing by the second. "The universe is a very dangerous place, especially for someone like you."

"Someone like me?"

"Yes, you being blonde and all."  Before Sofia could voice any sort of objection, Nic leaned in closer and kissed the woman ending the discussion right there and then.

=-=
Tiffany Reeve

Chief Medical Officer
USS BASTET

Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer
USS ANUBIS
M12-P053: USS BASTET: Gemma: 35009.2100 ("Implosive Solution")
=-=
"Implosive Solution"
[the previous post was (ANU) "The Answer" / (BAS) "Into The Next Life"]
=-=

Setting:  USS BASTET, Bridge  
Stardate: 35009.2100

The moment the crew was back on the BASTET, everyone hurried to the bridge, at least those who could. Being back on the ship did not mean that the situation was resolved. Quite the contrary. The Masters were still out there threatening the planet and its inhabitants. It was also very likely that they were in a less than happy mood following the loss of their away team.  No one wasted any time in returning to their respective stations. Time was of the essence and they needed to act quickly if they were to avoid the hell that would soon be unleashed.

Gemma stood at the back of the bridge. She had, at one point or another, manned every station. So she could not follow any instincts or training. The best she could do was to wait and see what station might need an extra set of hands.  Ens. Enel quickly took over the Tactical station while Lt. A'Janni slid at the Flight Controls. When the ILO noticed that Lt. Mitshiba was not at her post, Gemma did not hesitate to take over.

"Reading a massive energy built-up from the cruiser," Zub reported. "There can only be one explanation. They are about to open fire."

"Red alert!" Cmdr. Valentine called out, plunging the bridge in the red hue of the alert lights.

"Defensive screens are active," the reptilian CSO said.

It was Wimda who report in next. "The BASTET is still hidden by the combined fields of our Dimensional and Temporal drives. It is highly unlikely that they are targetting us. Our sensors are unable to get any specific readings from the cruiser tough. I suspect that this is because they are utilizing the same trick. They must be using their Dimensional drive to general an interference field."

"Power built-up still increasing," Zub said. The Voth sounding a little troubled by the power levels he was looking at.

"The cruiser is in perfect parallel with the planet's surface," the Caitian FCO reported. "Unless they have a very weird layout for their weapons' array, they are not aiming for us." Although he was the BASTET's pilot, A'Janni could not help fall back on his combat training. Not that this was such a bad thing given the circumstances.

Ens. Enel did not dare to look away from his controls. "Captain, the power output from that cruiser is enough to level a full-size city or a small island. The problem is that it is still increasing."

"They are not planning on leveling the village," Sarena noted. "They are planning on erasing that part of the planet from history. We suspected that they might want to seek revenge for what happened to their away team. We never could have expected them to go this far."

"It actually makes sense," Anya spoke up from the science station. "The Masters are conquerors, this means that fear is as natural a tool to them as anything else. They want to make sure that everyone knows resistance will not be accepted."

"We cannot let them destroy that planet or its inhabitants," Zub said. The Voth was still fixated on his tactical display. Had he not, he might have noticed the changes in the appearance of the woman at the science station. "They are in this situation because of us, because they wanted to help us. We may not have parted as friends, but we cannot just sit here and watch this happen."

Cptn Iverson turned her attention onto the CSO. "I am not entirely certain as to what we could do, Ensign. We can see that their ship is larger and more powerful than ours. We would need to drop our camouflage to engage them. If we do, the odds would be against us."

A'Janni turned around to face the Captain. "It would only take a fraction of the energy currently being channeled to their weapons to destroy us. There would not be any *odds*. All we would be able to do is delay them, at the cost of our own lives."

"I might have a solution," Mitshiba said as she stepped onto the bridge. "The theory is that it was the crystals that imploded the first two cruisers. What if we beamed the crystals I brought back to the surface right against their hull? The moment the crystals become shielded from the dimensional vibration, the negative energy should trigger an implosion. In theory."

"There is no way for us to lock transporters onto those crystals," Gemma pointed out.

"I was the last one to beam up," Aki said. "They were left right next to the beacon. So, in theory, we should be able to lock in on whatever is there. That is, of course, as long as the PA-HA-SAians did not move them."

"Captain?" Cmdr. Valentine asked, looking at their commanding officer.

"Lt. Gemma, lock transporters on whatever is down there next to the beacon. Beam the whole mess as close to that cruiser as you can manage. Lt. A'Janni, as soon as the transport is initiated, get us out of here. I would feel a great deal safer with more space between us and them."

With their orders received, everyone went to work. Ens. Enel still did not dare to look away from his instruments as he monitored everything. It only took a couple of seconds before his station showed something small appearing next to the imposing cruiser. "Captain, something is happening," the CSO reported. "It appears that the crystals were beamed inside the cruiser's dimensional shielding. Sensors are showing a severe increase in gravitational pull."

"Aki's theory is proving right," the Uxali scientist added. "The moment the crystals were shielded from the dimensional vibration, the negative energy collapsed onto itself. The hull of the Masters' cruiser is being torn as if a miniature black hole had appeared next to them."

"Engaging reverse thrusters at full," A'Janni announced causing everyone to suddenly shift. The sudden acceleration proved to be too much for the inertial dampeners.

"It's working," Aki said, summoning all eyes onto the main view screen. Even Zub finally looked up from his station to witness the cruiser being reduced into nothingness.

"That was... scary... interesting, but scary," Gemma said. Her words made Zub look back at her, but not fast enough for him to see anyone else other than the ILO. "Well done Lt. Mitshiba," she added. "Looks like you were right."

"I guess it was a good thing that I did not bring those crystals back with me." Misaki grinned ever so softly as she said this.

"Let us make sure that everything is as it should be," the Captain said. "Once that is done, we can head back home."

=-=
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]
M12-P054: USS BASTET: Iverson & Enel: 35010.0840 ("A Few Simple Questions")
---
"A Few Simple Questions"
(Previous Post: (ANU) "Exit, Stage Left" / (BAS) "Implosive Solution")
---

Setting: USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 35010.0830

Life was returning to normal, at least according to the definition of that particular word a Captain in command of a ship able to travel to other dimensions as well as through time could abide to. Sitting at her desk, Selene read through the reports that had been handed to her so far. The medical team was happy to report that Doctor Andersson would make a complete recovery, aided by the constant support and encouragement from Counsellor Dima. Whatever others might think about the couple, Iverson had to admit that they made a solid team, each being there for the other no matter the situation.

The next report the Captain gazed upon was that of Lieutenant Mitshiba, the Chief Science Officer going into details about the crystals, the negative energy contained within and her continuing efforts to find a way to safely bring a sample back for further analysis. Even if the Asian woman did find a way to manage the safe transport of a single crystal, it was unlikely that Selene would authorize it. The risks to the ship and its crew were just too great, and based on what Commander Valentine had reported about the indigenous life forms on the planet, it was best if they did not return to the surface at this time.

With that in mind, Selene realized that there was one report missing, that of her new Chief of Security, Ensign Zub Enel. The omission from the Voth was not looked upon as something negative, in fact, the Captain welcomed this as a chance to get to know the towering reptilian better.

"Captain Iverson to Ensign Enel," Iverson called out after having opened a communication channel.

=/\= Yes Captain, =/\= the Ensign almost instantly replied, a hint of nervousness in his voice.

"Could I see you in my Ready Room?"

=/\= Of Course Captain, I will be right there. =/\=

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Bridge
Stardate: 35010.0835 

The Chief of Security straightened from his Tactical station to quickly adjust the lay of his newly replicated jacket and tugged up his new uniform trousers. The felinoid Caitian at the Flight Control Station next to Tactical looked up balefully at him with his one white eye. “You have nothing to worry about. Unless you didn’t hand in an After Action Report.”

Zub Enel felt like he’d received a powerful electric shock. He said a bit too fast, “I haven’t finished it yet. So much happened.”

The FCO looked the 7-foot tall lizard man up and down. “No PADD? In that case, I’m sure we can replicate a coffin big enough to fit you. Unless you designated that you wanted to be dispersed into space via the widest possible transporter beam.”

The Ensign closed the three fingers of each hand into loose fists along the seams of his trousers. “She is strict about these things?”

Gemma, standing behind Lt. Mitshiba at the Science station, spoke up. “Don’t listen to him, Zub Enel. The Captain is fair and a good judge of character.”

A’Janni added, “If she is mad enough to point a phaser at you, remind her that the proper firing sequence is stun first.”

Gemma shot the FCO a scowl. “I am about to demonstrate the improper firing sequence, Lt. A’Janni.” 

A’Janni waved a paw toward the Ready Room. “She doesn’t like to be kept waiting, Zub.” As the Ensign stepped toward the door, the Caitian added gravely, “Good luck in there.”

---
Setting: USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 35010.0840 

As the door closed behind him, Zub noticed no glowing geometric shapes accompanied the sound, as it had done since his arrival in this dimension. He came to attention. His deep voice was resonant, covering the nervousness he felt about having to explain himself to a Captain he barely knew. “Reporting as ordered, Captain.”

“At ease, Ensign,” the Captain said in a mild tone from her desk. She was sitting up straight, not lounging back in her chair. Her gray eyes were lifted to his face, not a stare, rather a steady, focused gaze. Her face was pretty, the way Terrans go, but her expression was carefully neutral. Zub remembered meeting her and the XO in NEW ALEXANDRIA. They’d practically ran to the USS BASTET. She looked a trifle weary now around her eyes, the corners of her mouth. The Ready Room had a faint scent of wood resin, possibly from the polished frames of the sparse but comfortable furnishings, also a trace of lilac, likely coming from her. 

"I noticed that you have not handed in your report on what happened on the surface," Selene pointed out, the stoic Captain doing so without a hint of emotions in her voice or posture. Had he not known better, the Voth might have believed the woman to be Vulcan and not Human as he knew her to be.

"There were some details I needed to review first," he offered as his explanation for the delay. "My dealings with the PA-HA-SA was... complex to say the least. I needed to take some time to more clearly think about what I saw and heard in an effort to make sense of it all. I just found transcribing this onto a PADD to be quite difficult."

"Maybe a verbal report would be easier," the Captain offered, ever so slightly leaning forward over her desk. "Before you start with your report, I would like to ask you a few questions."

"Of course, Captain."

"What are your impressions on the ship and its crew?" Selene knew that the question would put the Voth in the proverbial spotlight, but that was part of her plan. She wanted to see his reaction without giving him the chance to think about his answers. "What do you think about the BASTET? What about Commander Valentine and Lieutenant Gemma?

The Ensign had told himself not to lick his lips when he was nervous because anyone perceptive enough to be a starship Captain would instantly read his fear of having messed up the mission. But, he realized he had flicked out his forked tongue and licked them anyway.

He refolded his long tongue, clasped his hands behind his back, and rested them on his backside. “Well, Captain, everyone on the Away Team struck me as highly competent both at their specific jobs and their ability to improvise successfully in a fluid and dangerous situation. As for the BASTET, its ability to move safely between dimensions and time is truly amazing. Commander Valentine kept us focussed on the most important tasks facing us and if I may say, Captain, she willingly faced, without weapons, Masters twice her height and hit one with her fists so many times that she stunned it. To say she was useful in a fight seems to understate her ability. As for Lt. Gemma ….”

He faltered. “Gemma is ….”

“Complicated?” Serena offered without a smile.

Zub Enel grinned in relief that the Captain understood his confusion. He wasn’t sure grinning was appropriate so he immediately sobered. “I had thought the geometric figures were affecting my vision, but I am more and more certain she physically changes into … into … different persons, different races, all highly competent. I am not sure what exactly she is. I honestly think it doesn’t matter what she is. I am truly indebted to her all the same.” Feeling like he’d started to babble like Pa-Ha-Sa villagers, he closed his mouth and looked down at her.

Selene wanted to reassure Zub for no other reason than to make him understand that labeling Gemma as 'complicated' was only the very tip of the proverbial iceberg. Whatever she could say to him though would not be able to explain what the woman was, a reality that the Captain had to herself contend with as the Intel Liaison Officer always found a way to surprise everyone on a regular basis thanks to whatever new personality would unexpectedly emerge. "I am looking forward to reading your full report," the Captain said. "I am sure that your interaction with the local inhabitants of that planet will be most informative. Once you have completed the report, I need you to coordinate with both Lieutenant Mitshiba and Lieutenant Gemma to perform a full multi-dimensional tactical scan of the area. So far three cruisers have come to this world, likely to retrieve those crystals. As much as I hope that them not reporting back may convince the Masters to leave this place alone, even if only for the time being, I would feel better knowing that nothing is heading our way. Also, I would appreciate if you three could come up with a way for the locals to send us a signal should there be a need. They may not want our help, but I would like to still offer it nonetheless. Since I would like for the BASTET to head back before 1300, you have just over four hours to get this done. Can you do this?"

"Yes, Captain, of course, Captain," Enel acknowledged realizing that his 'to do list' had drastically lengthened even if the time he had at his disposal did not change. In short, that was life in Starfleet, a life that he had willingly chosen for himself.

---
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) 

AND

David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

“The greatest weariness comes from work not done."
— Eric Hoffer
M12-P055: USS BASTET: Valentine: 35010.1000 ("Mission Review")
[/\] [/\] [/\] [/\] [/\]
"Mission Review"
[previous post (ANU) "Mirrored Perspective" / (BAS) "A Few Simple Questons")]

Setting: USS BASTET, Captain's Ready Room
Stardate: 35010.1000

"Well," Sarena said as she sat in one of the chairs in front of the Captain's desk. "This mission didn't go as plan."

"Do they ever?" Selene asked shaking her head. "What troubles me the most is the fact that we messed up with this new race. According to the reports I have read, the PA-HA-SAians are a remarkably unique people."

"I am sure that if given the chance, Aki would have been more than happy to spend a year or two down there just to conduct more research on those crystals," Valentine said chuckling. "Come to think of it, I think most would have liked to stay, that is if we didn't run the risk of going toe-to-toe with the Masters every couple of days or so."

"I would still feel better if we knew for sure that the inhabitants of that world were safe from them," the Captain said referring to the race of trans-dimensional conquerors. "They might have been able to defend themselves against a smaller landing party, but I doubt they would have a shadow of hope should they came back and decided to obliterate the planet as the last cruiser was about to do."

"The Masters are may be conquerors but they are not stupid," the Commander said. "They already lost three cruisers, the last one not having had the chance to send any kind of report or distress signal as far as we can tell. This should label this dimension as being a high-risk venture, one that they would avoid in order to focus on more promising targets."

"We can hope for the PA-HA-SAians' sake," the Captain agreed. "I am just worried that the presence of those crystals is going to make this dimension and more specifically this planet a prized possession for them to claim at all costs."

"If they do, there is little we would be able to do to stop them," Sarena pointed out. "We were lucky the last time in being able to beam some of those crystals up, but if the Masters decide to send an entire fleet, I am afraid that no one will be able to do anything to stop them. It is an unfortunate reality of this situation. We are only one ship with limited resources. As must as the Dimensionlan and Temporal drives give us a clear advantage, we are meant to be explorers first and above all else. Saving whatever race we come across in the multi-verse is not part of our mandate."

"I know," Selene sighed. "How are the members of the away team doing now that they are back on the BASTET?" It was evident that the Captain wanted to change the subject.

"Gemma, Misaki, and Zub are busy working on what you asked of them. I am sure they will be done well before the 1300 deadline you have set for our return to our own dimension," Valentine replied. "Sofia is in Sickbay with Nicole watching over her. A'Janni is on the bridge keeping one eye on things."

"Please tell me you are not planning on taking the stage the next time the crew decides to have a comedy night in the Mess Hall," the Captain said without as much as a hint of emotion in her voice.

"It was worth the try," the Executive Officer shrugged. "You need to learn to relax a little. You are also so serious. Just look at this latest mission; we came to investigate a distress signal and ended up discovering a new race and taking down a Masters' cruiser. I think all in all that this was not a bad day's work." Selene remained silent prompting Sarena to move on to yet another subject. "Any ideas about what we are doing next?"

"It looks like the ANUBIS may be in need of our assistance," Iverson stated. "I received a coded private transmission from Captain Morningstar. He was not able to explain in detail what the situation was other than to say that he needed us to help save members of his crew."

"Morningstar? Erik Morningstar? He asked *us* for help?" Sarena gasped. "Which dimension did that call come from because it most certainly does not sound like the Captain Erik Morningstar we know."

"Going to another dimension is exactly why he needs us," Selene clarified. "It seems that some of his officers were taken to another dimension. He wants to mount a rescue and needs us to provide transportation."

"Great, so we are a trans-dimensional shuttle bus now?" Valentine said not hiding her displeasure.

"He is asking me as a personal favor, and I have no reason to refuse him. Erik making that request could not have been easy and only indicates as to just how in need he is. As soon as we are finished here, we will rendezvous with him and see how we can help. One thing is certain though, if he is asking for our help, it will not be a simple 'transport' mission and I want to make sure that the crew understands this. We are lending a hand to a fellow Captain, a man who has earned our respect time and time again."

"I will make the necessary arrangements to have quarters ready for him and his people," Sarena said as she stood from her chair. "How many people are we expecting to come aboard?"

"Total of five," the Captain replied. "His Chief of Operations, Chief Medical Officer, Chief Science Officer, First Officer and himself."

"Shar'El is coming here?!?" Sarena gasped. "I am not sure the ship is going to be able to handle having both her and Gemma."

"I am sure that everything will be fine. Let us focus on getting back to our dimension first though."

The Executive Officer nodded her head to acknowledge the order, thinking to herself that maybe things would be easier if they stayed here in this dimension and dealt with an entire fleet of cruisers.

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

Executive Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977
M12-P056: USS BASTET: Enel & Gemma: 35010.1040 ("Multiple Issues")
=-=
"Multiple Issues"
[the previous post was (ANU) "Mirrored Perspective" / (BAS) "Mission Review"]
=-=

Setting: USS BASTET, Deck 4, Astrometrics Lab
Stardate: 35010.1040

The task given to them by Captain Iverson was simple. Perform a scan of this and all other nearby dimensions to see if the Masters were there. Obviously, this was overly simple as there was more. They needed to come up with a way for the people of PA-HA-SA to contact the BASTET should the need arise. Technically speaking, both of these tasks were relatively simple. The main obstacle was time as they needed to do this before the 1300 deadline.

"Ensign Zub," Misaki called out from the science station she was working at. "Do you think this communication beacon will be enough? I mean, will it be simple enough for them to know how to use it?"

"They are more than capable of using our technology," the lizard man said. "It is their will to do so that I believe may not be there. When I was trying to convince them to allow us to use the first beacon to return to the BASTET, they made it perfectly clear that they do not want us there. We disrupted their way of life in a way that made us unwelcome. It is therefore highly unlikely that they would call upon us should any sort of trouble befall them."

Gemma interrupted. "According to the latest tactical scans, there does not appear to be any signs of the Masters in this or any adjacent dimensions. So this is all a non-issue. We have been asked by the Captain to provide them with the means to contact us. That is what we are doing. The option to use this or not is entirely up to them."

Enel said, "They are an amazing people, deserving more than what we have given them."

"What did we *give them*?" the ILO asked turning to face the much taller Chief of Security. That was when he noticed something different about the woman. It was Gemma, and yet not Gemma. "We were forced down to the planet because *you* beamed down first. After that, they held three members of this crew hostage. They high jacked our technology. Anything that came to happen was their fault, that they or you like it or not." The curls in her hair were more pronounced and the color was far redder than before. If that was not enough, her voice had changed, now possessing an accent that had not been there the last time.

Ensign Enel was not sure what to say or what do to about this perceived change in Gemma’s appearance. Was he dreaming? Was his eyesight still being affected by the dimensional vibration permeating this space? Zub even considered for a moment that the woman was not who he believed her to be. His acute sense of smell said that this was not the case, but could it be wrong?

"Anya, leave the poor reptilian alone," Misaki said without even looking back. "Don't mind her," the Asian woman continued speaking to the Voth. "She is not the friendliest person on board. Trust me, dealing with Wimdalli or Gabrielle is a lot easier."

Misaki had said this hoping to clarify things, but it achieved the complete opposite. Who were these people she had made reference to?

Zub Enel recalled the detail he’d laboriously put in his After Action Report to the Captain. He spoke to the woman that may or may not have been Gemma. He raised the thumb of his three-fingered hand to count off his points, "One, Lt. A’Janni was the first down. He set up the beacon. Two, you figured out how to turn off the autonomous mining machine that was occupying so much of the PA-HA-SAian’s efforts to stop the quakes. Three, we showed them we were willing to fight the Masters hand-to-hand to protect them. Four …." He’d run out of fingers on that hand. "And last, without any intention to do so, we gave them back a long lost soul of one of their people. So, we did give them something."

The oddly altered red-head’s expression had changed steadily as he spoke until it was cold and positively lethal. Her stance shifted in an aggressive way that made the Voth’s down rise. She said with a heavy accent, "Never contradict me!"

She leaned into her first step toward him. Baffled, but well trained, he brought up his hands ready to deflect blows.

"Anya! Stand down!" Commander Valentine said with authority, having apparently entered the Astrometrics Lab unnoticed. "Zub Enel, if you want to live, do not move."

Zub froze. The person in Gemma’s clothes halted as well. Zub watched in wary wonder as the bright red hair darkened and loosened into ringlets. The face shifted from coldness to a neutral expression. The heavy accent had vanished when Lt. Gemma addressed the XO like she hadn’t being one step away from severely injuring the Chief of Security. "We should consider simply beaming the communicating device down without a person. The last time we went down there, we lost all control of our plan. Beam it down. Let them find it and figure it out."

Commander Valentine put her hands on her hips as she scrutinized Lt. Gemma. The ILO certainly looked like she had returned. After a moment she said, "You make a good point about the PA-HA-SAians and any best laid plans we might have. Very well. Get it constructed, tested and beamed down. We must leave this dimension on time."  Lt. Gemma and Lt. Mitshiba went back to work as if no kerfuffle had occurred. Zub Enel moved back out of the way in a state of confusion. "Ensign, as soon as we are back to our home dimension, you and I will have a talk. I will do my best to try and explain everything. Right now though, there is just not enough time for that."

Enel nodded his head. He understood little of what had happened, but at least he had something to focus on in the meantime.

=-=
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]

AND

David Michael Inverso

Chief Security and Tactical Officer
USS BASTET, NCC 74977

“In contradiction and paradox, you can find truth.” 
— Denis Villeneuve

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