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Meltdown, Part Two

Posted on Jul 29, 2015 @ 12:30am by Lieutenant Eve Dalziel & Captain Kassandra Thytos & Selyara Chen
Edited on on Jul 29, 2015 @ 12:31am

Mission: The Lights of Hyperion

"Meltdown: T minus 15 minutes (pt.2)"
(cont. Meltdown: T minus 45 minutes (pt.1)
* * *=/\=* * *

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. - Yates

* * *=/\=* * *

Scene: Battle Bridge

Time Index: T minus 15 minutes

“It’s time, Miss Chen,” Embry said. “Time to deepen the lesson we’re teaching. The shot needs to be closer this time. Close enough to show I mean business without a hull breach.”

She slowly manipulated the controls, exhaustion and great care mingling as she adjusted the targeting for the main Bridge. The conniving part of her, buried under layers of muddled reactions and the sloppy, fragmented memories of others, had to hand it to him. He played a better game of cat and mouse than she expected of him, unerringly striking at all the places it hurt most. When she thought the things he said, the rational part of her mind could dismiss them. She knew she was crazy, so the things she thought were easily put aside, but somehow when Embry said them, it seemed like they became real, somehow.

“Ready,” she said quietly.

Embry raised his free hand like he was calling a home run. “Now.”

Selyara held her breath and fired. The beam made a satisfying contact and generated a small vaporeal fireball. A few seconds later, the Battle Bridge jolted and rocked to one side unexpectedly, and the sound of some kind of detonation was heard, followed by most of the tactical controls going haywire with light and noise.

“What was that? Did they *dare* fire upon us?”

“No, we would have been alerted of that,” she snapped. “This came from us.” Her slender hands searched for information, and it didn’t take long for her to find it. “There’s been an explosion in the phaser array. I’m also detecting radiation.”

“What kind of radiation?”

“Not anything that would be consistent with items typically found in a phaser array,” Selyara said as she continued to study what had happened.

The modulated sound of a hail came through, and Embry wearily answered it. “Ready to meet my demands, Commander?”

{{That was an Amaterasu attack, Mister Embry. Actually, it was an example of their curiosity with your phaser fire. They don’t mean us harm, but we have no way of communicating with them to advise them that they are. Are you ready to accept this issue is bigger than you and your people can handle?}}

“How do I know you didn’t sabotage the Battle Bridge?” At this bit of conjecture Selyara turned to look at Arthur. She was incredulous.

Eve stood, hands clenched and wearing a dour expression. {{Excuse me, Mister Embry, but for us to create and plant explosives on the phaser array *before* we knew your target was to control the Battle Bridge, that would take a mind reader… and you’ve got the *only one on board* as your hostage! Wake up!}}

{{Sit down,}} Aerdan said with authority to his wayward Counsellor, and she complied, crossing her arms. {{I believe what my associate is trying to say, Embry, is what do we need to do to convince you that the Amerastu threat is real?}}

“Captain Kane could tell me that, and I’d believe *him*,” Embry quipped.

{{Launch the ‘drone’,}} Jos grimly ordered, and Russ BaShen complied with a smile on his face. He was proud of his handiwork.

Selyara reviewed the information and parameters on the tiny vessel. “It’s an escape pod,” she said to Embry reassuringly. It wasn’t that she wished to placate the man, but he was prone to panic and she was prone to dislike being shot with a phaser.

“Is there anyone on board?” He asked. “Like the Captain?”

Selyara rolled her eyes. Michael would never abandon ship. Especially when he had no place to go, but out into the Expanse. She opened her mouth to respond but Aerdan Jos beat her to the punch.

{{It’s an unmanned and unarmed escape pod. It’s been modified to act as an energy beacon.}}


She looked up from the display. She told him not to call her that. “They aren’t lying, *Arthur*.”

{{Since you insist on continuing to fire phasers, we need something to attempt to draw the Amaterasu away from the ship. This was the solution we came up with.}} The view was switched from the Bridge to that of the outside, with a long shot of the metallic dot that was the pod, then back to the Bridge proper. {{Mister Varn?}}

Thomas picked up the conversation. {{While we’re waiting for the show, I’m sending readings to you that catalog the last several encounters with the Amaterasu. You’ll see the correlation between them and what happened with the phaser array.}}

{{Maintain distance on the pod, Mister BaShen. I want it on the threshold of the safe zone,}} Jos said as the Science officer transmitted data to the Battle Bridge. It was probably one of the only times he *wanted* something to blow up. {{I know you’re a stubborn man, Embry, but I assure you again, we did not cause what happened on deck four. It was the Amaterasu reacting to the discharge of energy.}}

“What you call being stubborn, I call fortitude.” He leaned back in the center seat, letting the chair support his aching back and shoulders. “Report, Selyara.”

“One moment,” she said sharply, trying to sort through the data provided with a muddled brain and physically spent body. An evaluation of raw information, once so simple, was fraught with mental pinpricks that wore away at her intelligence.

“Don’t tell me my trust in you was misplaced,” he chided. “Perhaps I’ll have to leave you to rot in the Brig like your ‘friend’ Michael did.”

“You don’t know the meaning of friendship,” she replied harshly. She fought back at the sting of tears that she could not allow. Why was she arguing with him?

“Are you speaking to me, or to your precious Michael?”

“It was not like that, it was- It was- you know, don’t talk to me about Michael.” Selyara was now firmly in retreat, and Embry sensed his opening.

A bright yellow light blossomed from space and Embry raised his arm reflexively to shield his eyes. Selyara’s optical membrane provided much needed protection.

“What was that?” Arthur asked, hastily gripping the phaser he’d been threatening Selyara with off and on.

{{That was the escape pod. Take the data from its destruction for yourself, and take the next fifteen minutes to decide if it’s worth firing on us again.}} The connection was cut by the ExO.

* * *=/\=* * *

Scene: Bridge, Saucer Section

Time Index: T minus 13 minutes

Aerdan Jos sank in his chair, feeling somewhat defeated and yet also justified, painfully aware of the sound of his breathing. He looked over to the Lieutenant. Her body was frozen in the defiant pose she had after trying to give Arthur Embry the business. “Is that the way you talk to the crew when you’re trying to help?”

“Sometimes people need to hear things without the sugar coating. But I guess Embry is too special for my mind tricks,” she replied, stretching in her seat. “But it works great on Cade.”

“Captain Kane?” the other Marine asked loudly, touching her earpiece. Pia Kuenzi hadn’t said more than three words in hours, so obviously this was important.

“What about the Captain, Private?” the Andorian asked.

“He’s on the party line from Engineering,” she said, tossing him the headset. “You’re up.”

“Jos here.” He tried for calm and capable, even though things were anything but.

[[Report,]] Kane barked.

“I don’t have to tell you, but Embry is firing on us every quarter hour until he gets to talk to you.”

[[What, no seance yet?]] He said gruffly.

“It was called stalling. You can haunt me later. Can you stop him?”

[[We’re working on it.]] Kane’s voice had a ragged quality that hadn’t been there before he had gone to Engineering.

“I’m concerned about him… but moreso about the Ameratsu. They’re getting antsy.”

[[To stop one we’re going to have to stop the other,]] the CO said, looking at the fabric draped remains of Savaar.

“If their phasers were to be disabled, it would help until you can decide how to confront him. He may not believe you’re departed this world anymore, but he doesn’t seem to have a clue you’re in his section of the ship.”

[[Thanks for the eavesdrop.]]

“I wish it was better news to listen to.”

[[Better than what’s going on down here,]] Kane admitted. [[Put Dalziel on.]]

A fumble with the equipment later and Eve acknowledged the connection. “Sir?”

[[Talk to me. What’s Embry’s mental state?]]

She sighed. “Borderline delusional. Bouts of paranoid schizophrenia possibly brought on or exacerbated by fatigue. There seems to be little reasoning with him at this stage. He’s also desperate. He realizes he bit off more than he can chew.”

[[How should we approach him?]]

“Good question. We need the element of surprise, but on the other hand he seems panicked. Neutralizing as much of his power as possible is important. He’s got a phaser and he’s been threatening Selyara Chen with it, along with the verbal abuse. Frankly, I’m more worried about what he’s doing to her. We need her as much as we need the ship.”

Kane had been concerned by the latest exchange, but wondered if he wasn’t exaggerating the impact because of their relationship. But to hear it from the Counsellor, it unpleasantly confirmed things he didn’t want to admit. [[What if we storm the Battle Bridge?]]

“He could react erratically. You’d need to subdue or stun him before he could fire back or reach the phaser array controls. Some type of distraction might work better. But... that would be dangerous.”

[[What are you thinking?]]

“He’s going to fire another shot in a little less less than fifteen minutes. We sent an ‘energized’ escape pod to draw the Ameratsu away last time. I think there was maybe a two minute window before the pod exploded. We could repeat that, and they could be watching it while you made your move.”

[[The shots are getting closer to the hull each time, correct?]]

“Don’t remind me. The odds aren’t in our favor as he has Miss Chen calling the shots under duress.”

[[Never tell me the odds, Lieutenant.]]

“If you’re planning anything, please do it soon. Even if it’s half-assed.” Aerdan observed Eve smile and offer a quick “Yes, Sir” before she passed the headset back to PFC Kuenzi.

“What did he say?” Jos asked the pale woman as she sat down and crossed her legs.

“That he never goes into anything less than full arse.”

* * *=/\=* * *

Scene: Battle Bridge

Time Index: T minus 8 minutes

“Arthur, please stop this, just stop. Admit defeat, you aren’t going to be able to pull a coup, not with just me here. Better to use me as a hostage to negotiate, rather than to blow up the entire ship you’re trying to take control of out of spite. Believe me, the Amaterasu aren’t something to be taken lightly, they can seriously damage the ship, and furthermore, if you draw too many of them here, you’ll lose me as an asset as well. I was there when one of them appeared in the Marine barracks, and it hurt, it hurt a lot,” Selyara grasped the edge of the tactical console, deciding things were getting so out of hand that it was time to try a Hail Mary. Embry brushed his hand through his hair with one hand, his phaser never wavering from her chest. Everything here was becoming more of a mess the longer it dragged on. She pushed a button and brought up an image of the outside of the ship where a corona of shimmering lights and bright balls of energy were beginning to congregate. If she were in a position to appreciate it, she would have been in awe of the sight. The rainbows and orbs formed a pulsing nebula of rainbow lights that rivalled that around Limbo, shifting and flickering with a hundred different colors. “Do you see that, Arthur? That’s enough radiation to fry every single person in your precious Shanty Town.”

“Then we have to end things quickly Selyara, don’t we?” Embry scowled at her.

“There is no ‘we’ Embry. There is you, and there is me. I’m not involved in your crusade.” Selyara retorted. The upside of his preoccupation with Aerdan Jos and Eve Dalziel was that he had, momentarily, become too preoccupied to continue playing his games with her head. She chewed on her lip, tried to think through the noise of all the other voices in her head, and wondered if James Barton had survived. If he had, where had he gone, would he have told someone she was captured? Had anyone picked up her message earlier?

She became aware of Embry’s gaze upon her and squirmed as she realized that her mouthing off had been a grave tactical error. Embry’s light brown eyes pinned her to the wall, filled with an intensity that made her feel like she was being hunted. She faltered and took a step back under his gaze, trying to make herself small, hoping that he wouldn’t threaten her again with the phaser. He’d fired it at her twice more since the first time, each to punctuate an order she didn’t follow quickly enough, and it was beginning to scare her.

“Not involved, Selyara? I would say that you are intimately involved in my coup. You’ve fired all the shots at the saucer, haven’t you? And don’t protest that it was under my orders, do you really think if I fail they are going to believe that you had nothing to do with this?” He advanced on her, waving his phaser and pointing his finger at her, his eyes narrowed, calculating. “You, who make a practice of deceit and betrayal? The woman who, apparently, tried to wipe out an entire stadium of people just to get rid of one man, you really believe that they are going to think that you weren’t an integral part of this whole operation?”

“But I-” Selyara choked on the words and took another step back from Embry.

“If they actually believed that you were my hostage, don’t you think they would have rescued you? They don’t believe it Selyara, so if you’re as smart as I think you are, you’re going to wise up to the fact that you’d better throw yourself behind me and make sure I succeed. I can guarantee you that if I fail, they are going to crucify you. They’re going to throw you into the brig, and then once they get wherever they’re going they’re going to throw the book at you again, and you’re right back in the Stockade. Do you really think you’re going to last two centuries in prison?” Embry towered over her now, keeping out of her reach, but making his presence known. “And what about that father of yours? Do you really think he’s going to stand by you again if you get charged with treason one more time? Don’t you think this is going to be the time where he’s going to look at you and instead of seeing his precious little girl, he’s going to see the monster everyone else does? That’s why you refused to see him, even though he came every single year, year after year, wasn’t it? You knew when he saw you, he’d know you for what you really are: The Shadow Master, the schemer, the woman who can’t think of anyone but herself, the woman who is able to destroy minds as easily as a sadistic child pulling the wings off a butterfly, and you knew he’d never come back aga-”

“STOP!” The dig about her father was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Selyara could feel the flood of emotions she’d been keeping in check ripping out her throat in that one strangled word. It felt as though her entire being left her body with her breath, and she had the odd sensation of being disconnected from her own mind, as though she were floating somewhere on the ceiling, watching herself fall apart.

* * *=/\=* * *

Scene: Engineering

Time Index: T minus 7 minutes

[[STOP!]] The agonized, inhuman scream rang out through engineering, causing everyone in the room to freeze. The scream was followed by hoarse, broken sobs, interspersed with nearly unintelligible words. [[Stop, I didn’t want any of this, I didn’t ask to have these powers, I don’t want them - I just wanted to go home. I just wanted to be happy, I just… didn’t want to be alone.]]

The words faded out, and there was nothing but the sound of a woman weeping.

The small redheaded Marine clapped her hands over her ears, a pained look on her face as though she was hearing the cries of some other woman from her past. The large, middle aged Marine standing next to her put an arm around her and looked away, giving her both reassurance and privacy.

The Chief Engineer and all the engineers stopped stock still, mixtures of pity and empathy on their faces. They didn’t know the woman well, beyond having been told that she was dangerous and not to let her touch them, but she didn’t seem dangerous now, not like this.

James Barton felt like his chest was being ripped open, the ghosts of Selyara’s consciousness in his mind ached, and he knew that was the moment that Embry had been waiting for. She’d crumbled completely, every last shred of control or defiance gone. All Embry would need to do now was say the right words - and Embry always knew the right words - and he would be able to get her to do whatever he wanted. He turned to the Captain, his animosity temporarily on hold, to tell him so, but the words dried up on his tongue when he saw the look on the other man’s face.

Kane looked as though he’d been sucker punched. There was something very human and almost vulnerable in his eyes, and James Barton thought that he saw the Irishman mouth something to the effect that he had to go get her. James Barton for the briefest of seconds either forgot the bad blood between them, or the bits of Selyara that had loved Kane and hated to see him hurt took over, and he began to reach out to touch Kane’s shoulder and comfort him before he remembered that he disliked the man. Kane turned and met Barton’s eyes, his eyebrows raising momentarily as he saw the large man’s meaty hand stretched out towards him. Barton let it drop. Kane looked like he was about to say something to him, but shook his head turned instead to look over at the Marine Commander, who quickly shrugged off the arm of her second in command, looking embarrassed.

“Miss Thytos. That plan of Mister Barton’s that you outlined earlier, how long will it take you to get everything in place?” Kane’s mis-matched eyes flicked between the two of them, and Kassandra coughed slightly, her eyes darting apologetically up to Barton’s face.

“They’re in place already sir,” Kassandra admitted. “Thought it was better to have everything ready for usin’ that plan until I heard otherwise from ya sir. Figured time was of the essence in this case.”

“Give me your earpiece, Major. “ Kane’s voice was even and determined. Kassandra ‘s eyes didn’t look directly at him, but nonetheless she scrutinized him closely. His muscles were tense, his heart hammering, adrenaline coursing through his body, even though his outward appearance was calm and collected.

“Yer gonna do somethin’ dumb, ain’t ya, sir,” the older woman said with a resigned sigh, and slapped her earpiece into his hand. “I’m statin’ for the record that I’m formally objectin’ to you goin’ up there alone, and recommend that you oughtta take me with ya.”

“Duly noted, Major.” Kane said grimly, putting the earpiece in. She grunted, and shoved a chest plate into his arms, and glared at him until he put it on. “I’ll give the signal when I’m getting ready to enter.”

“Harry here will stay outside, sir, but if it sounds like you’re in danger, come hell or high water, he’s goin’ in, and you can take it up with the Marine Corps HQ.” Kassandra snapped a salute off at him. “Good luck sir. I’ll make sure the fort gets held here.”

Kane nodded his assent, and walked out the door towards the battle bridge followed by Horatio Bellecotte.

Kassandra turned towards Barnes, and looked him up and down. Her lips twitched slightly, and she was about to say something when the sobbing over the intercom petered out, and Embry’s voice was back, intense, fervent, whispering promises.

[[There, there, there, Sely. I can call you Sely, right?]] There was a slight pause, and Selyara must have nodded. [[Now, no crying, Sely, you aren’t alone now, are you, I’m here, and I promise I won’t go anywhere. Now, why don’t you come back over to this panel. Unless we make our point to the Captain and his crew, we’re going to be in trouble, aren’t we, and they’ll put you back in the Stockade, and they’ll send me somewhere, and then you’ll be all alone again, won’t you? So why don’t you come up here, and we’ll really show them what happens when a despotic government oppresses its citizens.]]

[[But… the Amaterasu…]] Selyara’s voice wavered slightly.

[[We’ll deal with them later,]] Embry’s voice said soothingly. [[Fire a volley at the saucer. Take their shields down. We won’t make our point unless we breach their hull.]]

“Oh. SHIT.” Kassandra began to curse in a veritable rainbow of languages. She turned to Jake. “Remember when you said something something something, graviton particles an’ there not bein’ any more Amaterasu?”

“You mean that the Amaterasu use Tetryon emissions to manifest in real-space, and similar phenomena have been dealt with using coherent graviton pulses to seal the subspace ruptures like this?” Jake asked, pausing in his work.

“Yeah, that. Any chance one of you plasma pushers can rig me up something to emit small controlled bursts of graviton particles?” Kass leaned in and looked at him intently.

“I probably can-” Jake started.

“Can they do it quickly? Because I think it’s going to get really bad in a-” as if on cue the lights in engineering flickered.

“Commander!” Cindy Rochemonte’s voice was strained. “They’re firing sustained bursts of phaser fire at the saucer section. The radiation levels around the phaser bank on four are going off the roof, it’s going to be swarming with Amaterasu soon.”

“Deck four is where the Environmental controls are, as well as the back-up batteries.” Sylvia Warren said, her voice rising in panic. “If we get explosions there-”

“And the Captain’s gonna be just above that deck,” Kassandra’s swearing became an unintelligible mumble of oaths. “Someone find a way for me to have a portable source of graviton particle beams, and quickly. I’m going to go in and clear those Amaterasu out of there. Will the hull be OK if we don’t take care of the ones gatherin’ on the outside, Jake?”

“Should be, there’s enough shielding we should be able to take the hits until I can shut the bank down and try to pull that escape pod stunt that worked for the saucer section, but just in case, wear a space rated armor.” Beads of sweat were running down Jake’s forehead. “I don’t know who we can spare now to jerry rig a portable graviton pulse generator, but-”

{{Help.}} The scaly Gorn, Chaucer slithered up beside of Jake, and pointed at the crate of Marine weapons and equipment, a small tool kit in his hand. {{Yes. Help.}}

Jake nodded enthusiastically, and Kassandra grunted her assent. As she turned towards the pile of armor she’d discarded earlier, Jason Barton grabbed her arm firmly.

“Got any extra armor? Because I’m coming with you.” He said quietly. She opened her mouth to tell him she could manage it by herself, and then she turned it into a shrug and a sigh.

“Fine, I could use some backup when Cade decides to make funna me for my daily sickbay visits, and you’d be better company than the Vulcan or the three spuds he’s got under sedation there. But don’t say I didn’t warn ya that yer a moron fer comin’ with.”

* * *=/\=* * *

Scene: Bridge, Saucer Section

Time Index: T minus 2 minutes

The console chimed their next encounter with Arthur Embry. It felt like it had been a great deal longer, waiting for the next shoe to drop.

“Time’s up, again.” Aerdan Jos announced as he deactivated the alarm. “Be ready to launch the next pod at my mark,” he told Russ.

“Absolutely,” Russ responded with a guarded enthusiasm. His fingers twitched at the controls.

Eve would have rather been anywhere else but on the Bridge at the moment. She had almost suggested they take a shuttle from the Saucer Section to the Drive Section and mount a rescue attempt themselves, until she realized the foolishness of it. Having to sit there and wait was the most frustrating part. Not that speaking with Arthur Embry was what one would call a pleasure, but there was, at first, the least sliver of hope that she was bringing him closer to his senses. The last exchange between he and Selyara, which had left the Vulcan/Betazoid woman sobbing uncontrollably, had taken her professional confidence down a few notches.

Eve uttered one of her mother’s Bajoran curses under her breath, then glanced at the Marines. “Anything from Engineering?”

Pia Kuenzi shook her head. “No Ma’am.”

At that moment a single phaser beam cut through the sparkling midnight of space towards the near center of the saucer. Shields were already raised due to previous outings.

The ExO steadied himself. “Get ready, Mister BaShen.”


Eve turned to look at Aerdan Jos. “Why is it so quiet? Where did the audio feed from the Battle Bridge go?” Things had been so tense, she wasn’t sure when the transmissions had stopped.

“I don’t-”

Suddenly, multiple beams lanced through the sky in a wild arc, all headed at them like a gymnast’s ribbons flicked midair. “Dammit!” Eve Dalziel said as she pushed out of her seat and propelled herself towards impulse control. If she could move the ship even the slightest amount backward, maybe the bridge wouldn’t get a direct hit.

“Everybody down!!” Aerdan shouted.

She reached the console but her hands merely touched the smooth surface before all hell broke loose. It would have been a stellar idea if not for the illusion that she would have enough time.

The shots hit like mortar shells against the shields and saucer section. Five, or maybe six thunderous booms punctured the gap between calm and chaos, each with a corresponding rumbling that shook everyone to the core. It felt like the saucer section was bouncing with the reverberations. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Massimo being thrown over the seating and Aerdan being tossed to the floor like a sack of potatoes. She felt the sensation of her feet being swept out from under her and she raised her arms to try and protect herself. Everything was moving in slow motion. Her body was violently slammed into the base of the console she had fought so hard to reach. The room filled with acrid, charcoal smoke as they were plunged into darkness.

* * *=/\=* * *

Scene: Battle Bridge

Time Index: T minus zero minutes.

Selyara watched in detached horror at the destruction she’d unleashed on the saucer. Fires flickered around hull breaches in the saucer. Decks 5, 11, and 13. Tractor beam and Mag-locks, Saucer impulse control, environmental controls and life support. She swallowed hard, and looked at Embry. He smiled at her, and she felt herself warmed and wrapped in the comforting mantle of his approval. Her preoccupation with the danger to the denizens of the saucer section vanished and she lost herself in the sense of belonging. She liked Embry. She trusted Embry. Embry would save them. She slipped into the soothing chatter of the bits of other minds in her head. She argued a bit with James Barton who tried to tell her that she wasn’t being rational and she was going to regret doing this, but he annoyed her. She shoved him deep down into her thoughts, and lost herself once again in the sea of other thoughts and Embry’s approval and presence. She wasn’t alone. She wasn’t alone.

And then panic set in as the sensory overload and the pain started. The Amaterasu were there, so close, and so many of them, like little psychic razorblades. She clutched her head. Embry urged her to continue her assault on the Saucer, but she couldn’t move through the pain. Then the decks twisted and shook under her, the displays flickered and died one by one. Embry was frantically calling for the computer, but there was no response.

There was one, final shudder in the room, accompanied by a puff of smoke, and the door opened, to reveal Captain Michael Turlogh Kane. He glowered at Embry, and she could tell, even through the pain in her head, that he was purposely avoiding looking at her.

“I’m here Embry, so talk.” Kane said, crossing his arms over his chest.

* * *=/\=* * *

Scene: Bridge, Saucer Section

Time Index: present


The sound of coughing and various groaning made Eve realize she wasn’t safe in bed in her quarters. Then the smell of burnt circuitry and melted plastic assaulted her senses. She felt something hard pushed up against her right side. Her eyes opened and she saw a smoky crimson halo around everything while she looked up from the floor. “Hey,” she tried to speak out, but it came out softer than she intended. A sharp pain radiated from her right torso when she tried to pull herself up to a sitting position. She guessed she’d been thrown into the console pretty hard. Besides her ribs, her right arm was the next pain. She felt some ripped material and a large cut which was oozing blood. She took as deep a breath as she could, winced, and tried again. “Hey.”

“Eve?” her vision began to adjust in the semi-darkness and she saw Russ on his side of the console, pulling himself to a standing position. He was holding his left hand gingerly.

“Aw Jesus effing Christ,” Massimo said, grunting as he pulled himself up to a seat. “My leg’s busted.” The lower portion of his right leg listed in an unnatural angle.

The Counsellor carefully rose to meet BaShen, grateful that she didn’t seem to have any broken bones, except possibly a cracked rib or two. “Is your hand cut? I can’t see enough in here.”

“Burned… it got pretty hot when the circuits blew.”

Kuenzi and Thomas Varn were tending to Aerdan. “What’s wrong with the Commander?” Eve asked huskily.

“He hit his head, I think it’s a concussion. No other obvious injuries though.”

Lieutenant Byte was dissecting the front console, in an effort to make repairs. The first metallic panel being released only yielded a mass of sparking and smoking wiring

“Sir, if you don’t mind I’d like to try to check the Engineering link.”

The OPS officer nodded. “Whatever you can manage, Counsellor.”

Questions played through her mind as she slowly walked closer to the back of the Bridge to see if any of the equipment had survived the hit. How long had it been since the attack? Did they have any shields left? Who had fired the volley of shots at them? Had it been Selyara or Embry? Did it even matter anymore? “Dalziel to Engineering,” she ventured. “Is anyone there?” She covered her mouth as she choked a little on the remnants of debris in the air.

[[Jake here.]] Jake’s voice was brusque, he was clearly frantically busy. [[How are you guys doing over there? I’m reading breaches on 5, 11, and 13, but all vital systems seem to be doing fine. Listen, do you have any sensors at all? We’re having Amaterasu issues over here and -]] there was a sudden dull thud of a distant explosion. [[Kass and the guy that pulled her ass off LIMBO have gone to the forward phaser array with a graviton pulse gun we’ve jury rigged up to clear up the infestation, we’re sending you the schema - it was made using Marine issue equipment, so you should be able to make one of your own if you need it. Embry’s been shut down, we cut off all systems from the battle bridge, Kane is trying to talk him down.]]

“I don’t know. We took heavy casualties on the bridge, but I’m relieved to hear at least we aren’t going to be taking any more fire. What’s the next step, Jake?”

[[I’m working on overriding Embry’s lock out. It might help if you find Dr. Foster and you two declare Captain Kane unfit for duty. That will render his command codes null and void, which means we should be able to undo everything that Embry did to keep us out of the system.]] Jake’s voice mumbled something unintelligible to someone else in Engineering. [[I think if you can get someone to deck 15 we should be able to manually re-dock the drive and the saucer sections, provided Russ can work some of his piloting magic- we’ll probably scrape the paint job up there, but it’s nothing we can’t fix. That’ll let me send Engineers to help you get everything patched before more damage occurs.]]

“Right.” Eve coughed again and then rose, to her feet. She looked at the wreckage of the bridge. “Okay, people, I need a head count, I need to know who can walk, limp, or crawl somewhere. Engineering wants us to dock with them, and we may have Amaterasu crawling all over us soon.”

* * *=/\=* * *

NRPG: Phew. Part 2 of 2. This should begin the wrap up of the mission pretty well.


Alix Fowler as:

A lady with no fingers left

No, really, what happened to my fingers.

Seriously, all that's left are bloody stumps.


Susan Ledbetter as:

A posting dynamo, and the defacto leader of the Saucer section for now, Eve Dalziel.


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