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The Beginning Of The End

Posted on Mar 11, 2017 @ 3:19pm by Lieutenant Jasmine Yu & Ensign Lynette Ryan
Edited on on Mar 11, 2017 @ 3:19pm

Mission: Holodeck Havoc

“The Beginning of the End”
(contd. from Shawn’s ‘The End of the Road’)

SD: [2.17] 0307.2131
Scene: Holodeck

In the darkness, the group began climbing the spiral staircase in silence. They held onto the railing and kept close to each other as they took each step. A couple of minutes later, the eight Starfleet officers had reached the top without incident.

“That was easy,” Jake said, sighing. “So far so good.”

Too easy. The danger lay beyond the door, Jasmine thought with apprehension. Hopefully it would all be over soon, once they either defeated the Necromancer and/or saved the princess. Yu arched a brow, wondering if the library itself was within the castle walls or somewhere else – one never knew with the program. Perhaps after they made it out of the holodeck, Jasmine would return another day to try completing the challenging maze but that also wouldn’t be anytime soon. Carrying her Bat’leth, she shot a sideways glance and no creatures of the dark. It would be interesting to find what awaited them inside.

The Sec/Tac stepped forward, raising the Bat’leth and turned to the ExO. “With your permission, sir.”

Jake nodded and everyone waited with baited breath, watching the dark haired woman push open the door, inch by inch. Once the door was fully open, Jasmine took a step forward into a dark and quiet hallway, also quite dank and dusty.

“Looks to be clear,” the security chief announced.

“Alright.” Crichton waved forward. “Let’s go in.” He and the others joined the Asian woman inside. As everyone gathered together at the entrance, the door closed, stranding them inside. “Wish we could find some light somewhere.” But before anyone could say anything, a shout alerted their attention forward.

“Halt! Who goes there?” A bipedal rhinoceros stepped out of the dark, holding a torch in its hand, which should be a hoof but who could tell with the craziness with holograms. The rhino towered over everyone by at least a foot and adorned a Samurai outfit over its large body.

Jasmine groaned, shaking her head. “Oh you got to be kidding me.”

“Okay, whose program has a rhinoceros dressed up as a warrior?” Lynette asked, a puzzled expression.

The security chief sighed. “Mine and I thought I was done with it.”

Kass pushed through the others and approached the hologram. The marine raised her katana and took a swing at it. She struck the blade through its chest. The rhino vanished and the marine nodded, smiling. “Let’s move.” But then to everyone’s surprise, the rhino appeared again and she nearly ran into him, when Cantor Von pulled her back. “Hey, what’s going on?” She shoved the Betazoid, when freeing herself from his grip.

“The rhino has re-appeared,” the Betazoid informed.

“What! I killed it.”

Jake shook his head in frustration and turned to Jasmine. “Lieutenant Yu, if I heard right, he was from your program?”

“Yes.” Jasmine nodded. “He was an obstacle I needed to overcome to get to the next floor and you cannot kill it.” She could hear Kass mutter angrily under her breath.

Eve asked, her gaze on the creature, “How did you get past it?”

“By answering a riddle,” Yu replied.

“Who goes there?” The hologram asked again, its deep voice reverberating all over the room.

Jake approached the giant being. “Travellers to see the princess.”

“Are you humans or spirits?”

Lynette blinked, glancing at Jasmine. “I’m confused. What happens if we don’t answer the question correctly?”

“Then it won’t let us pass,” Yu replied, sighing.

Kass pushed again to the front and aimed her katana towards the rhino. “Let me have another go. This time I’ll kill it.”

“It doesn’t work that way,” Jasmine said politely.

Jake asked, “What answer did you give?”

“Tell the hologram we are spirits,” the security chief said.

Stavik raised an eyebrow, his demeanor stoic. “But we are not spirits and not all of us are humans.”

“You don’t want to answer human, trust me on this one,” Yu said, wondering if she should laugh or cry at the absurdity facing them.

Crichton inhaled in a deep breath as he turned to face the hologram. “We are spirits and want an audience with the princess.”

“Good answer.” The rhino opened its mouth wide and produced what seemed to be a smile or a sneer perhaps but it was hard to tell. “Prove it?”

“How?” Jake furrowed his brow.

“By answering a riddle. If you get it correct, then you’re a spirit.” Then its dark eyes narrowed as it bent forward, its face a couple of inches from the first officer. “But if you are wrong, then you’re all humans and cannot be permitted to pass.”

Lynette protested, “That’s not fair. Why do you have a problem with humans?”

“I ask the riddle,” the rhino boomed.

“Alright, give us the riddle,” Jake shouted back.

“What walks on two legs, eats like a pig and whose stink pollutes our world, that not even bathing a thousand times will get rid of the stench.”

“I don’t like this line of questioning,” Eve said.

“I don’t think I will like the answer,” Ryan added.

Jake nodded. “Lieutenant, you should answer him.”

Sighing, the Asian woman eyed her fellow officers with trepidation in her brown eyes. “Just a warning, some of us aren’t going to like the answer I’m going to give it but it’s the right one, at least I hope so.”

“Oh hurry up and answer the damn question,” Thytos yelled.

Taking in a deep breath and displaying a nervous expression, Yu replied in a calm voice, “Human.”

“Correct!” The rhino let out a hearty laughter that echoed all over the chamber.

Lynette grumbled, glaring at the rhino, “That felt very offensive. Why does this thing hate humans?”

“I don’t like it as much as you do, Ensign,” the ExO said, his voice filled with annoyance. “But as long as we go through, it doesn’t matter.”

Jasmine arched a brow, a frown marring her features, when the rhino didn’t budge. “Are you going to let us pass?”

“Answer a riddle,” the creature bellowed.

“What!?! But we just answered your stupid riddle,” Jake argued, his eyes blazing with anger.

But the rhino continued as if it had a short-term memory loss, “What walks on two legs, eats like a pig and whose stink pollutes our world, that not even bathing a thousand times will get rid of the stench.”

“And I answered human.” Yu let out an exasperated sigh.

The hologram flickered, vanished for a moment and reappeared. “What walks on two legs, eats like a pig and whose stink pollutes our world, that not even bathing a thousand times will get rid of the stench.”

“Oh for cryin out loud,” the marine shouted, marching ahead, raising her katana. “Let’s just walk around the thing and move on.” But she banged into something and the marine swore loudly. “What the –“

“You ran into an invisible forcefield, Captain Thytos,” Arak said, watching the copper haired officer, swing her katana around, swearing.

Lynette said, “The necromancer’s magic. He placed an invisible wall, preventing us from getting through.”

“Not unless we answer this hologram’s riddle,” Von added, sighing. “But it seems to be malfunctioning like this particular element is running in an endless loop.”

Eve asked, “Then how do we get past it, if it keeps repeating the question again.”

Stavik approached the hologram. “I think I might know a way.”

“How?” Jake asked.

“Watch,” the Vulcan said, his gaze on the towering figure. “I am neither a human nor a spirit.”

“That is not an answer,” the hologram roared. “Two more chances.”

“I am a Vulcan, a spirit of logic,” the pilot said, his expression without a hint of emotion.

“There is no spirit called Vulcan. One more chance.”

Stavik persisted, “As I recall from reading information regarding Terran fauna, you are a rhinoceros, a species, native to the planet Earth.”

“What is the meaning of…” The hologram flickered again. “….this…”

The Vulcan continued, “As we have established that you are a rhinoceros, which makes you neither human or spirit. How would you have the capability to determine whether one is human or spirit if you are neither of the two?”

“That is the wrong…” The rhino flickered, slowly starting to lose parts of its arms and legs. Its voice was beginning to crack. “…answer…”

“I think it is working,” Arak said. “Stavik is attempting to overload the program.

“I will repeat the question and you have two more attempts,” the Vulcan FCO said. “How would you have the capability to determine whether one is human or spirit if you aren’t either? What is the criteria you use to distinguish between the two?”

“Aaaaaaagh,” the hologram hollered, beginning to disintegrate.

“What is the criteria you use to distinguish between a human and spirit?”

“Nooooooooooooo!” The hologram vanished, having completely disintegrated into photons.

“Nice job, Lieutenant!” Jake cheered. “Now let’s go forward.”

“Finally,” Kass said, pushing her way to the lead of the pack, next to Crichton and Yu. The group rushed forward, moving through an opening till they entered a tunnel, dimly lit by torches on both sides of the path.

“Look,” Yu called, pointing at an opening. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

“And who knows what else,” Eve said as they hurried along the path, eager to leave the tunnel and into perhaps another silent hallway or danger, where they would run into the Necromancer’s minions. But when they left the tunnel, they didn’t expect to be faced with this particular obstacle.

Jasmine let out a sigh of exasperation. “It’s a maze.”

“Is there any other way?” Ryan asked, her eyes darting around in all directions.

Von nodded. “It doesn’t seem like it.”

“Then we will just have to get through this maze,” Jake said, sounding as if he was resigned to his fate. “Lieutenant Yu, since your simulation involved a maze, does this seem familiar?”

“A stone maze, set within a castle.” Yu paced ahead, studying the tall, grey stone structures. If only she could access the display map…wait, maybe she could try. “Computer,” she ordered. “Display the map.”

“Map? Map of what?” Ryan asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I believe the maze,” Arak answered.

Jasmine smiled, when a holographic projection of a map of the maze in front, appeared. “Well, at least something still works.” The others crept close to her position and studied the map. “A labyrinth. So we take this route to the centre of the maze.” She pointed at the map, running her finger down a path, pausing at the centre.

“Let’s go,” Jake ordered. Leading the way, he walked through the entrance, followed by the rest of the group.

TI: 10 minutes later

Jasmine realized, the labyrinth was a simple, lower level, 2D maze and that was a relief as the last thing she and her crewmates needed were more complications. But she wasn’t holding her breath as according to the settings of her program, the maze would put obstacles in their path. So far there was none and they were halfway through the labyrinth. Then the Asian woman felt a chill down her spine and shivered.

“Is it just me or has the temperature dropped?” Eve commented, wrapping her arms around her body. “It’s suddenly freezing.”

A look of dread formed in Yu’s eyes. “Oh no,” she murmured.

“Lieutenant, what’s wrong?” Jake raised an eyebrow, uneasy about the worried expression on the security chief’s face.

“Run!” Jasmine yelled. She turned right, the others following suit. The wraith-like creature from her program was back and flying after them at top speed. At the sight of the hologram, whose breath freezes anything in its path, the group of Starfleet officers did as the security officer commanded and ran as fast as their legs could carry. Kassandra, the only one, who didn’t see the hologram was annoyed, even though she ran with the others.

“Why’re we all running like chickens?” She asked.

Von explained, having had firsthand experience battling the creature, when it appeared in his program, “A hologram from Jasmine’s simulation is chasing us.”

“So, why’re we not kicking its butt back to whatever the hellhole it came out of?” The marine was annoyed.

Jake replied, “Best we run and exit the maze and not ask questions.”

“Are we getting close?” Lynette asked.
“I think we are,” Yu replied, leading the pack with Jake as she turned around the corner to the left, then ten steps later, they swerved to the right, then left and again left. “We’re almost there,” she announced, her heart racing. Within moments, they had cleared the threshold and made it out to the centre of the labyrinth. They entered a large hallway with a very high ceiling.

“Glad to be out of there,” Lynette said, stopping to take in a breath and glanced behind her shoulder, grinning as the wraith was seen bouncing off the wall. “Well, looks like that thing is having its own problems.”

“Well, we got even bigger problems,” Eve remarked, making the young engineer turn forward.

Jasmine sighed, holding her Bat’leth with both hands. Facing the officers was an army, comprising of elements from different programs. A very motley band of unlikely groups, organized, in a hurry. A villains reunion – the villains or antagonists from every story, no matter how implausible, coming together for one big party. How lovely? On the leftmost side were the Vikings and shield maidens, carrying axes, swords and round wooden shields in assortment of colours from her program, though she never knew whether they were really obstacles or allies – well now they were definitely not friendly.

On the right most side, Yu spotted Japanese warriors, carrying katanas – Yakuza from Kass’ program. In the centre, which was the biggest surprise, were human men and women in outfits that she recognized were from Jake’s simulation. And what were those weapons they were carrying – staplers, pencils, hole punchers, telephones and other office stationery, the security chief didn’t recognize. Then she raised an eyebrow – one human woman was carrying a box in one hand and a…muffin in the other, raised over her head.

“Wow! Quite the welcoming party,” Crichton commented, grinning but that grin turned to a frown, when a bald man, sporting the keyboard print tie, stepped forward, giving them a menacing stare. “Oh great! Rob!”

The call centre middle manager shook his head, his gaze not leaving the first officer. “Oh Jake, I warned you. I gave you, Nina and the rest of you, delinquents a chance to correct your behavior but now you have given us no choice.”

“What are you talking about, Rob?” The ExO glared at him.

Rob said, sighing, “Upper management has had enough of your blatant disregard for company rules and has made the decision to terminate all of you from the company. Now, we are all gathered here, along with HR, Accounting and the shipping and handling departments to forcibly escort you off the premises.”

“Where’s that ugly bastard?” Lynette demanded.

“Now, young lady you need to learn some manners before you get another job.” Rob wagged his finger at her. “Mr. Necromancer, our most brilliantly evil CEO, is busy right now, golfing with an important client.”

Jake sighed, turning around to address the crew. “We have to take them on if we are get to the princess or defeat the necromancer.” Everyone nodded in agreement. Facing forward, Crichton took a defiant stance. “No, Rob. We aren’t going anywhere.”

“Oh, I tried to warn you.” Rob sneered. “Mark my words, we won’t let you find the princess.”

“Shield wall.” Jasmine turned her head, her eyes moving over to the Viking section. At the command, the warriors went into a defensive position, where they stacked their shields together, forming a wall covering them from head to toe. However, there was something odd and it wasn’t the shield wall. Some of the office workers joined the Vikings behind the wall – an oddity, watching the wielding of axes and swords by 9th century warriors in combination with 21st century office workers with stationery. One woman, the office worker, held an orange coloured pie over her head, a funny sight, when she stood between a shieldmaiden, carrying a sword and a large, bearded Viking warrior, clutching an axe.

“What I wouldn't give for a nice Photon Grenade right about now!” Kass exclaimed as the party observed and studied the unusual combination of minions before them.

“Or even a couple of Phasers,” Lynette added, gripping her long sword and wooden shield firmly as the others readied their Bat'leths.

“Okay team. Are we pumped? “The combined horde of Vikings, Yakuza and office staff lightly roared in acknowledgement as Rob began a confidence boosting spiel.

“Are we ready to make a killing in sales!” The roar grew louder, the Vikings began to furiously strike their shields with the swords and axes they wielded. The Yakuza providing a confident demonstration of their skill with the katana, a flurry of blade slices in all directions within a mere second. The office staff holding the deadly might of their staplers, hole punchers and creamy desserts high in the air.

“Are we ready to make some money!”


“Then let's do it!” Rob finished with a loud cry, which inspired the others. The roaring battle-cry continued without pause, echoing throughout the tower chamber which drove a line of Vikings to begin a charge forward, their axes held high. The rest of the Necromancer's minions followed at a slower pace. The Yakuza making up the middle line behind the Viking charge. The shield wall of the Vikings and shield maidens creeping forward with the office workers sheltering behind ready to unleash the full might of their stationery.

“Here they come!” Jake shouted watching as the Vikings charged towards them with only seconds before they would have to engage them in hand-to-hand combat. He tightened his grip on the Klingon long blade ready for the onslaught that was approaching. They were vastly out-numbered and the ExO hoped that the holodeck safeties were still intact among the madness they were experiencing as this was certainly going to be a fight.

His eyes had been purely focused on the approaching enemy but suddenly were drawn away as he noticed sections of the environment around began to shimmer. Second after second portions of the stone floor and walls were disappearing.

“What's happening?” Eve asked with a puzzled tone her eyes darting all around.

“Ummmmm....what's happened to the floor?” Cantor asked.

“More instability on the holo-grid as they remove more elements of the simulation,” Lynette surmised as they all continued to watch their surroundings.

Suddenly a large section of the floor meters before them began to shimmer. The roaring battle-cry suddenly turned from screams of fury to that of fear as the party watched as the floor completely vanished beneath the feet of the charging Vikings revealing a wide open chasm that led to the tower floors below. There was almost a 20th century cartoon feeling about that moment as the Vikings were suspended in mid-air for a brief second, a brief glimpse of shock then acceptance before each one fell below to their holographic demise.

“Well that certainly solves that immediate dilemma.” Cantor followed as he peered over the edge of the newly created abyss.

“Which does not solve all that remains in our particular solution.” Staavik added, directing their attention to the rest of the Necromancers minions that still remained. The shield wall had stopped a meter before the gaping chasm and the Yakuza had taken up positions along its treacherous edges but then stood motionless and silent...just watching.

Scene: Main Engineering

“How are we going, Ensign?” Kane asked, standing over Asta's shoulder as she worked.

“We are about twenty percent complete in decompiling the meta-file, which then we should be able to have all the elements removed and can hopefully shut down the program.” The Ensign explained, not fazed by the Captain's question as she continued to work.

“Estimate time to completion?” Kane asked further hoping that they could get this mess sorted out as quickly as possible, regain control back of the holodecks and most importantly get his crew out.

“Unsure. Some of the algorithms and sub-routines have been merged together making it a little tricky to separate and remove. Especially this’s a strange one.”

“Elaborate, Ensign.” Kane wasn't the only one looking over Asta's shoulder as Malin-Argo kept a close watchful eye on her progress.

“It's very complex. It's going to take me a few minutes.” Asta seemed to show adept skill in working with holographic technology and coding. In fact, she was quite enjoying being given the responsibility of the decompilation process so they could regain control. She also enjoyed the challenges it presented.

“Keep at it, Ensign. We need to get our people out of there.” Kane backed away, running his hand across his face, attempting to wipe away the weariness that he felt was building up. Sleep was the last thing on his mind knowing that members of his senior staff, other officers and guests were trapped inside and they had no idea what they were even facing inside that merged simulation.

Scene: Holodeck

An eerie silence had fallen over the chamber after the instability had removed sections of their environment and watched as a Viking band plunged to their hologramatic deaths because of it.

“What are they waiting for?” Lynette said eyeing off the Yakuza before her, feeling uneasy and admittedly a little creeped out as they continued to stand motionless, not even an iota of movement. The silence was then broken by Rob's booming voice once again.

“Catering! Ready? FIRE!” From beyond the shield wall a barrage of desserts appeared. Glazed donuts, meringue pies and other assorted sweet pastries had been launched into the air like salvos from a medieval catapult or trebuchet.

“Okay....they plan to kill us with sweets?” Eve said still a little puzzled watching the desserts flying high into the air.

“Lieutenant... They are not simply sweets. Observe.” Staavik pointed out as the desserts reached the high point of their trajectory before arcing down towards their position and engulfing in flame.

“Everyone move!” Jasmine shouted and everyone proceeded to dash away as the barrage of flaming desserts impacted onto their former position with a small explosion of fire.

“Sales Team. Fire!” Rob's voice boomed again as now tiny glints of forked metal shot towards them morphing into arrows mid-flight.

“Drop!” Jake shouted and everyone dropped hard to the ground to his warning. The arrows rushed swiftly overhead striking the back wall.

“You know I'm starting to get really pissed off with all of this,” Kass stated with anger and frustration at their predicament and had the growing compulsion to break something.

Scene: Main Engineering

“Just give me a break will you.” Asta sighed as her fingers furiously tapped against the buttons of her console. This particular data packet of algorithms and sub-routines was causing her some grief as it kept fluctuating and changing on her algorithms as she worked.

“Ha! Gotcha! Woo!” The young engineer shouted in glee as she achieved success, throwing her hands up in the air. She then quickly regained her composure once she realised where she was and to the nearby presence of immediate boss and the Captain.

Kane and Malin-Argo didn't have time to really notice as the lights began to dull a second time and the displays across engineering began flickering.

“Oh come on not again!” Kane said with frustration as he was growing tired of all the surprises that had been thrown to them ever since the beginning of the test and just wished it was all over and done with.

Unbeknownst to the crew in Engineering, a purple coloured mist began to seep in and start to form and coalesce.

Scene: Sickbay

Aerdan Jos sat comfortably in his office chair as he looked over the records of the new crew that had been assigned to the Phoenix and assail himself on information of any major conditions that he should be aware of as Chief Medical Officer. He also was enjoying the time to settle and relax in the calm silence of his empty sickbay. All the bio-beds were unoccupied and there was not even the fluttering of his medical staff moving from point to point. Just the gentle hum of the power and environmental systems and him. It was peaceful and serene.

The Andorian embraced this moment as much as he could as after the full complement of crew embarked and the Phoenix launched back into space there would be no doubt that that serenity would soon disappear. Aerdan expected it much later than sooner as his ears drew attention to a slight buzz that seemed to sound outside of his office, which was followed by a slight snarling.

“Hello?” Aerdan said with a puzzled expression as he looked through the window but could not see anything out of place from where he stood. He rose from his seat and moved slowly towards the office doorway to investigate. As he crept out of his office, his heart jumped from his chest with fright as he noticed a creature perched atop the main bio-bed at the far end of the sickbay. It was covered in a thick hide of mottled filthy fur and it looked at him with piercing crimson eyes, saliva dripping from its crooked fangs.

“Sickbay to Securi…” Before Aerdan was able to even finish his sentence the creature leapt from the bio-bed and tackled him to the ground. He felt the full weight of the creature pushing down on his chest, blocking with his hands to try and prevent its fangs from clamping into his flesh. After a fierce struggle Aerdan managed to push the creature off of him and he quickly took advantage of the moment and leapt out of the way scrambling towards the nearby medical trolley.

With the few precious seconds he had before creature would strike again, he grabbed at the nearest instrument that he could find to use as a weapon to defend himself with. The Andorian gripped the laser scalpel tightly in his hand ready for the creature’s next attack.

[[Proctor to Sickbay please respond.]] The voice sounded through Aerdan's comm-badge and he gave it a swift tap.

“Commander Jos here. I have a hostile intruder here with me in sickbay.” Aerdan explained keeping a firm and close eye on the creature that was now circling his position. He didn't know if it was trying to find the best vantage point to attack from or it was simply trying to intimidate and instill fear into its prey.

[[Hold on Doctor. I'm on my way with a security team]] Aerdan detected the tone of urgency in her voice and felt a little more assured and safe knowing that she was on her way with a security team. Unfortunately it seemed it was going to be too late as the creature gave a fierce snarl and backed itself up to pounce again.

The same familiar buzz from before drew attention to his ears again and instantly was followed by a deep bellowing roar. Aerdan watched with alarm as a short and stout figure now appeared, shimmering into existence, swinging a large two-headed axe.

He watched as each swing of the heavy blade cut and sliced its way into the repulsive creature’s flesh, blood splattering across the floor of the sickbay. The creature cried out in pain and distress before it fell into a heap onto the sickbay floor drawing its last breath.

“Hey Laddie. Are you alright?” The stout figure recovered his breath, smiling at his victory as he turned towards Aerdan.

“Who are you?” The Andorian asked as he cautiously came to his feet, unsure what to expect from this being that had suddenly appeared to his defense.

“Lord Bramorin Gildenvein at your service.” The Dwarf took a bow, a hand firmly placed on the head of his axe like that of a nobleman's cane as he came back up.

“Sorry about the blood on the floor.” The Dwarf Lord apologized as his eyes then took interest to all the bright, shiny and spectacular marvels that surrounded him. Wondering how much gold he could earn from it all like the stereotypical dwarf from fantasy tales.

The doors to Sickbay suddenly parted and two security officers burst inside wielding phaser rifles that were now trained against their new guest. Lieutenant Proctor followed a split-second later phaser in hand.

“Doctor, are you alright?” Mackenzie asked noticing the corpse and associated blood stains on the floor.

“I'm fine.” Aerdan answered catching his breath from the experience that had befallen him.

“Oh my, what beauty is this bef...” The Dwarf said in a seductive tone upon witnessing the tall slender woman that had entered the room before he vanished mid-sentence along with the creature’s corpse.

“Were those holograms?” The Andorian asked.

“Must have been.” Mackenzie gave Aerdan an unknowing look as she holstered her phaser and with a hand signal ordered her security officers to lower their weapons.

“Sickbay to Engineering.” Aerdan tapped his comm-badge, ready to explain the unusual events that had occurred in his once peaceful and serene sickbay.

Scene: Main Engineering

[[I have just had a strange encounter in sickbay from a creature that attacked me followed by the appearance of a man short in stature that then proceeded to kill it]]

“Are you alright, Doctor?” Kane asked, hearing his former ExO's unusual report.

[[I am fine. I wanted to let you know though that they were both holograms,]] Aerdan added and Kane let out a heavy sigh.

“Thank you, Doctor. We are dealing with the situation at the moment.” Kane closed the channel. He wasn't really surprised at the unusual report especially with the unknown man that had appeared before them as they tapped into the meta-file. He then turned towards Asta.

“Ensign. Can you tell me what is going on?”

“A feedback pulse from the holo-deck systems. I don't know what exactly caused it though,” Asta reported as she read through the diagnostic summary displayed on her screen.

“Such impudence!” The raspy inhuman voice boomed throughout Engineering startling all of its occupants as they looked all around. The twisted and shrivelled form of the Necromancer appeared into view hovering above the deck floor on a dark purple cloud.

“The princess is mine and forever shall she be!” The vile twisted figure continued ranting.

“Oh, what now!” Kane said angrily at this new surprise that now appeared before them, no doubt another holodeck character that had somehow managed to seep through using the holo-emitters in Engineering.

“I will ensure you will not interfere in my plans again!” The Necromancer's hands began to glow and pulse with a dark green energy that was growing in intensity with every moment.

Scene: Holodeck

“We can't just sit here and keep running around like this.” Arak exclaimed, taking solace in the brief moment they had been given as the HR staff reloaded their staplers and re-stocked their supplies of pastries for their next salvos.

“Ultimately we need to just get past them and find the princess and then all of this should end,” Eve followed.

“Any ideas? Kass?” Jake asked running his eyes across the faces of his colleagues for any suggestions before falling on Kassandra's knowing that this would be the Marine Captain's expertise. Kass had been expecting this moment and gladly drew in a breath.

Time Index: A few minutes later

Kass has begun explaining the intricate details of her plan drawing upon many a strategy from her combat experience and rigorous training that they could use to overcome their hologramatic foes and proceed to their objective. To find and rescue the princess and end this program forever.

“We will be then in a position to out-maneuver them and then....” Kass was interrupted mid-sentence as sections of the tower chamber began to fluctuate as the holo-grid instability once again occurred. A large section of the stone wall to their right disappeared revealing the darkened clouds of a raging storm outside. Most importantly though the party watched as the Yakuza began to vanish one-by-one followed by the shield-maidens.

The office workers stood bewildered and dazed with their staplers and hole punchers as they lost their defensive wall, but they too then started to disappear.

“Well we can forget about that then,” Jasmine stated as they continued to observe all the office workers as they were deleted from the program....all but one.

“I am going to make sure the boss hears about this. He will ensure to revoke your working visas so that you never work in this country ever again.” The Call Centre Manager, now alone, still stood defiant and strong before them. The instability to the holo-grid continued as now aspects of the stone ceiling began to twist and disappear.

“You haven't heard the last of.....” Rob's voice was cut off as an enormous metal object, what looked like an ancient safe, suddenly fell from one of the many holes in the ceiling and landed with a loud crash onto Rob's position. Shock appeared on many faces of the party as they watched at what had just transpired and there was silence for a few minutes as many of them tried to compose themselves.

“Well that was kind of morbid but you have to admit it was also kind of funny as well.” Lynette broke the silence with a lightened tone where she received many a stern glare from her colleagues. Kass gave a slight chuckle at the engineers comment.

“Come on, let's get moving.” Jake said trying to re-focus the attention of everyone back to their quest. The party then began to cautiously navigate their way across the chamber. The instabilities were becoming more frequent and they had to be extra careful that they did not end up like the Viking band before. With a slow pace they made it safely across and before them laid the stone steps that lead up to the next floor of the tower and closer to the end of their quest and freedom.


NRPG: A joint post by Phillip and myself. Hope you enjoyed reading this. We had lots of fun writing this post. This should get us closer to the finale :)

The post was a joint effort by
Phillip Wright as Ensign Lynette Ryan
Ranjani S. as Lieutenant Jasmine Yu


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