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Alenis Meru
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Mission Six: "Unto the Breach, Part II"

Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:35 pm

Last time, on the Endeavour and the Portland...

Nova Europa Colony:

With a heavy sigh, Marcus took in one last breath. It smelled of the pine tree forest surrounding them and the salty ocean. He turned to his first officer and said, "I'm coming." Giving her a smile, he asked, "Do you ever miss being out there where you had to more to worry about than crop yield and comets?"

"But here we are, defending the Federation from all who seek to eat," responded Flores with a hint of sarcasm.

With a smile, Marcus then added, "Speaking of eating, what about dinner tonight?"

Almost on purpose, the two stepped into the observation lounge, ending the conversation. Marcus nodded at his senior staff and took his place at the end of the table. Lt. Jeffers, the Chief of Operations, had just finished connecting the holo-emmitters. The command staff of the five other colonies became visible and the meeting was off to a start.

Marcus stood, as it was his turn to kick off the meeting. Before any words could come out of his mouth, the uplink suddenly was terminated. "Jeffers, what happened?"

The man checked the communications console and shrugged, "Everything says it should be working, only...."

Before he could finish his sentence, a static pop came from the speakers. "Something's comming through," said Jeffers.

Then, a mechanical voice that sounded like it was being spoken by a dozen or so people started ominously. "We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile."

From his standing position, Marcus tapped his comm badge and said, "This is Commander Byrne. Red alert. All hands to battle stations. Prepare for an invasion. This is not a drill."

With that, the senior officers broke from the meeting, rushing to their respective places. As she left, Lt. Cmdr. Flores said, "Well, you wanted some adventure. If we make it out of this, you're on for dinner."


Bridge, USS Endeavour

"Lieutenant Swiftpaws, prepare to launch the shuttle," she called out, looking down at the helm station. They had the unusual situation of having two helmsmen aboard; Petty Officer Sandyman was there too in order to assist Miracle in flying two ships at once. "Lieutenant McKinnon, prepare to route auxiliary power to the engines and weapons; I want to hit them hard and fast."


In orbit around Nova Europa

The shuttle "Ole Grumpy" rose above the bubble and shot forward towards the Borg Sphere, then it disappeared into warp to reappear close to the Borg Sphere at max sublight speeds and slammed into the Borg Sphere....

The effects where without question beyond spectacular. For the first second it seemed as if nothing was happening outside of the initial impact, but than the entire sphere just ceased to exist the energy of the impact created enough energy to turn most of it in vapor and the little which was left as solid matter was blasted away. The Endeavour's sensor array just went totally blank and shut down due the radiation and sensory overloads and the shields flared up with great intensity blasting away gases, derbies and radiation.


The caves of Nova Europa

In the cave, things were desperate. The Borg had quickly adapted to the phasers and things had degenerated into hand-to-hand combat. The survivors had pushed back as far as they could into the caverns and had, literally, hit the wall.

Marcus rubbed his face with his hand, trying to find some sort of plan. If they had been outside, they would have seen the spectacular display of the Borg ship's demise. Instead they got an increasingly erratic enemy who had just been cut from the Collective. The drones were scared, angry, and alone for the first time since their assimilation.

All of that led to more ferocity in their attack. Marcus took note of the weakened ceiling in the section above their position and the main portion of the attacking drones. If they hit it just right, they might be able to buy some time for rescue. He leaned toward Yvette and Fotu. With an finger pointing at the cave ceiling, he commanded, "Aim there, bring it down."

...

After a few seconds, a series of loud cracks sounded the collapse of the cavern ceiling. Rocks piled up and dust was tossed around making things virtually invisible.

As the dust settled, Marcus noticed that the new rock wall had cut off the large majority of the attacking Borg. There were a few stragglers still with the survivors, but they were now safely trapped. Taking the moment of calm, Marcus nodded toward the few remaining Borg as he went towards the back of the cavern to check on the wounded.

Zureel was at the far rear of the cave, clutching his shattered and now-misshapen left leg; either a Borg had sent the Saurian flying with a mighty bash, or he was simply unlucky during the scrabble. Remaining conscious, the crewman met eyes with Marcus. "Commander," he hissed in pain, but managed a brave nod. "Let'sss hope we don't die here."


Transporter Room Two, USS Endeavour

Marcus had resigned himself long ago to the necessity of the transporter, and this time he felt very grateful for such technology. However, that never stopped him from hating the disorientation felt after being beamed from such a difficult place. '112 people coming home... out of 3,000,' thought Marcus with more than a hint of sadness. His sadness was eased a bit by the relief that they had gotten so many out, there had been other colonies and outposts which couldn't claim even one.


Bridge, USS Endeavour

"Let's get out of here!" exclaimed Kate. "Maximum wa--"

It was too late. The Endeavour shuddered as it was hit by a plasma torpedo. The cube was bearing down upon them, firing all weapons, making it impossible for them to go to warp.

"Evasive maneuvers," shouted Kate as the ship shuddered again. "Head for the asteroid belt; maybe we can lose them there!"


Bridge, USS Endeavour

The tactical officer, Ensign Tina Ashingvale, pulled her phaser a fraction of a second too late as a Borg materialized practically on top of her. With a mighty upward swing, the junior officer was sent sailing across the bridge, sent into a bulkhead with crushing force. She crumpled to a heap, unconscious, or worse.

...

Kate looked around her bridge. From the consoles on the port side where brave officers were fighting bravely to the starboard side where the Borg had completely taken over. Kate raised an eyebrow as she realised that the Borg weren't assimilating anyone, but before she could 'investigate' further another drone appear in front of her and even though people around her tried defending their Captain the drone said "resistance is futile" and disappeared in the Borg's familiar green transporter beam, taking the Endeavour's young Captain with him. Immediately followed by the other borg drones transporting off the bridge as well. It almost seamed as if Kate was the target of the attack.


Airlock, USS Portland

Standing at the airlock, with Tim at her side and Ko-ko perched upon her shoulder, Alenis was dreading the moment they were to open for she knew exactly who would be on the other side. “Are you ready?” she asked.

“How bad could it be?” replied Tim in a gentle tone. “It’s the Portland.”

“Oh, you haven’t heard about our special guest?” asked Alenis, raising an eyebrow. “Trust me, it’s bad.”

The airlock doors whooshed open to reveal a tall, severe looking Andorian in a black uniform. “Captain Alenis,” called out Shras th’Karath, the head of the dark energy project. “I was told you were dead.”

“Oh, how I wish I were,” replied Alenis in a droll voice. She couldn’t stand even being in the same room as the man. “Shras, you remember Commander Rouse, right? And Ko-ko?”

Ko-ko simply glared at Shras, taking up a defensive posture on Alenis’ shoulder.

“How can I forget?” he asked rhetorically, taking on a patronizing tone. “Now, Captain, I don’t need to tell you and your goon here about the importance of this project. The dark energy reactor could revolutionize space travel.


Briefing room, USS Portland

Taking one last look over her crew, Alenis tapped a button in front of her to activate the holographic display. A three dimensional star chart showing the position of Nova Europa, the nebula, and the Portland, among a few other things, appeared in front of everyone. "The Borg are back," she said in a firm tone, pausing for a moment to allow that to sink in.

...

"Was Nova Europa attacked by the Borg? Were there any survivors?" Jason asked fearing for his sister Yvette's life, she'd recently taking a position as Chief Intelligence Officer. Although the Science Officer had never encountered the Borg, he remembered his mother telling him of her encounter with them during the Battle of Sector 001 almost 20 years ago. He'd always dreaded coming across those cybernetic zombies.

"Yes," replied Alenis in a firm tone. Wearing a dataglove connected to the holo-projector on the briefing table, she pointed towards Nova Europa, highlighting it in red. "72 hours ago, Nova Europa sent out a distress call, reporting that they were being attacked by the Borg. Four hours ago, the USS Endeavour engaged a sphere in orbit of Nova Europa, destroying it and rescuing a few dozen survivors before being engaged by a tactical cube."

...

Sera pulled at the collar of her new uniform, it was the same style as Shras as she had been transferred to his command while retaining her Chief Engineer position. She had yet to really feel comfortable in it, especially when in the same room as the Portland's senior staff. "Was the Captain captured? If so, could this be another Captain Picard situation where her experience and knowledge could create another Wolf 359?" There was the slightest bit of fear in her voice. That battle had destroyed 39 starships and had been as devastating as any of the battles against the Dominion, and that had been against one tactical cube with the knowledge of one Starfleet Captain.

Alenis paused for a moment. "Yes, she was," she replied. "We don't know what they've done with her. All we know is that the Borg broke off their attack and retreated as soon as they captured her, almost as if Captain Banninga was their sole objective."


Bridge, USS Porltand, NGC-3814 Nebula

He remained silent for a long moment until he let out a soft grunt. The visual on the screen tilted sharply as he swung the ship low from her current course. "There's a lot of polaron scanning beams the further we go, Captain. Whatever it is is just coming into range now and-" The young man choked off whatever he'd been about to say and looked up as the wispy clouds parted.

Sera tried to say something about the Borg transwarp gate that was coming into view on the screen and how that explained the readings that she was getting, however what came out of her mouth was a stammered curse.

"Transwarp conduit aperture," Marcus breathed, looking a mixture of horrified and mesmerized. "Captain, just a ballpark guess here without active scans, but that's a fledgling unimatrix complex. No telling if it's fully operational or not."


Shuttles, NGC-3814

=/\=Portland One, what's going on over there?=/\= crackled Alenis' voice through the audio systems of the shuttle. =/\=I've got some strange energy readings here, and I can't make heads or tails of it.=/\=

=/\= "At the risk of Commander Shras' wrath and a blow to his ego, ma'am, the technology that we've got aboard the Portland matches what's on that transwarp aperture," =/\= Marcus relayed to the other shuttle. =/\= "And it's better. Refined. The Borg could deploy silently to anywhere in the Alpha Quadrant from this transwarp conduit." =/\=

Alenis gasped. The tactical implications of this could be massive. =/\=Relay this information to the Portland.=/\= She looked down at the sensor readings; the readings were definitely centralized in an area with the Borg equivalent of work bees -- nanoprobes ranging in size from small dogs to larger than a shuttle -- buzzing around a large structure. Glancing back at the explosives in the back, she nodded at Tolaran. =/\=We're going in with the charges.=/\=


Inside the Borg Unicomplex, NGC-3814

"No not exactly what I had envisioned my assignment would be Captain. My first tour was aboard the Paul Revere and it was mundane and routine. Nearly bored me to death but that would be a terrible way for a doctor to die. Now on the Portland... well its been quite unusual to say the least from day one."

"The unusual is what we do," replied Alenis, flipping the sight of her compression rifle up and down. "We--"

She was cut off by a Borg probe appearing directly in front of her and Brad. "Stay calm, no sudden movements," she said, clutching her compression phaser rifle tightly. Out of one of the arms of the probe, a scanning beam was projected, the horizontal beam moving up and down, scanning first Brad and then Alenis.

The scanning beam. To Alenis, it looked just like the tractor beam that had captured the Gol only moments before its destruction. Shaking in her magnetic boots, she gritted her teeth and stared up at the probe, clutching her rifle tightly and ready to bring it to bear at a moment's notice.

Suddenly, the probe spun around and pointed another arm at Alenis. Ducking just in time, when she looked up, she could see two assimilation tubules jammed into the neutronium plating behind her. "Fire!" she shouted, bringing her rifle to bear and blasting away at the probe.


Bridge, USS Portland

"Commander Rouse, this is an unacceptable risk," protested Shras. "Leave them behind! They're only a handful of officers, and you're risking the ship and the Dark Energy project for--"

"Shras, shut the hell up!" interrupted Tim, staring up at the screen as the Portland barreled towards the sphere to rescue the shuttles. "Tactical, target that sphere's tractor beams and fire! Helm, bring us between the sphere and the shuttles. Ops, tractor them in, now!"

At the flight control station, Ensign Kat Steel expertly moved the Portland into position. While she didn't know how long a Miranda class would last up against a Borg sphere, she knew a couple shuttles had no chance once the Borg took notice of them, which they quite clearly had. As the sphere's forward tractor beam faltered under the Portland's barrage of phaser fire, Kat used a quick burst of impulse to place the Portland in between the spheres and the shuttles, blocking their shot.

Trading fire with the sphere in an effort to hold them off until the shuttles could be recovered, the Portland's shields were holding -- for now. On the main viewer, Tim could see three cubes closing in, which would make short work of the Portland. And then, without warning, the screen flickered and he was looking at the interior of a Borg cube. A woman was standing in the center of the room, flanked by Borg drones. She was clad in a dark form-fitting suit made of some sort of synthetic material, with fiber optic cables running up and down and across the suit. Her pale face and neck sported a number of cybernetic implants, and, unusually for a Borg, her dark hair remained. Tim immediately recognized her from a personnel file he had reviewed only a couple hours previously.

"Captain Banninga?" he asked.

"I am Locasta of Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."


Bridge, USS Portland

"Captain," started Tim, vacating the center chair, "we used the dark energy reactor for some sort of subspace jump. I don't fully understand it, but we're safe, 1.6 light years away from the nebula. Damage and casualty reports are coming in, but it doesn't look like anything too serious--"

"Sir, Ma'am," called out Duvall, "we have one casualty. Lieutenant Williams is in sickbay, suffering from severe radiation poisoning."

Alenis looked up at Tim, pain in her eyes. Seeing your crew come to harm in the line of duty was never easy. But Sera... she was too young, and her career was too promising. Less than a year out of the academy, she had been made Chief Engineer and was by all accounts an excellent officer. And, on a personal level, Sera was one of the ones who in the alternate future risked everything trying to save her.

Alenis swallowed the lump in her throat. "Tim, take us out of here. I..." She paused for a moment, thinking of Sera lying in sickbay. Radiation poisoning was one of the worst ways to die, especially for someone so young. "I need to give Admiral Washington a call."
Capt. Alenis Meru
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USS Portland

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Marcus Kallan
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Re: Mission Six: "Unto the Breach, Part II"

Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:42 pm

When: After Escaping the Borg Nebula
Who: Marcus Kallan and Sera Williams
Where: Sickbay, USS Portland

Sickbay was not on the top of Marcus' list to visit, especially not with the chance of running into Dr. Silverton. Still, he had someone to visit, and that warranted the risk of another confrontation with Brad. He arrived at Sickbay, a cube of transparent aluminum in his hands with some sort of purplish, scintillating crystal embedded within it. Discreetly inquiring with a nurse as to where Sera was laid out, he headed over to her where her biobed was. He waited to make sure he wasn't interrupting a treatment or a nap or anything like that.

Sera turned her head toward the door as her name was spoken. Before she could see who it had been, she had an almost gut feeling that Marcus was visiting. Three minutes ago had marked the longest that she had been conscious for however long she had been in Sickbay. As Marcus became visible, Sera greeted him with her best attempt at a smile. The Cortical Stimulator on her forehead and the various other medical devices attached to her must have made her look like a machine. Sera gave a simple welcome, "Hello Marcus, I'm glad you made it back to the ship."

"Hey, trooper," Marcus said as he approached. "All in a day's work, y'know? You look like hell." While talking, he turned the cube over in his hands; the crystal didn't seem to retain its shape, shifting from pattern to pattern. "I wanted to come in and check up on you. You know, I kind of feel a tiiiiny pang of guilt for you almost getting killed because of my idea."

As Marcus talked, Sera felt a sizable amount of guilt for something that she couldn't place. Rubbing her head for a moment to try to clear her mind, she reassuringly responded, "All of us are still here." It was then that Sera noticed what the Chief of Operations was carrying. Nodding at the cube, she asked, "What's in the box?"

"So when we cracked open Engineering, we had a fair amount of contamination to clean up," Marcus explained. "And since I know just enough about subspace harmonics and subdomains to be dangerous, they called me in to help. Ever hear of subspace manifold intrusion-calcification? Well, this is it." He placed the cube beside Sera's biobed, next to whatever other flowers or personal items she's had brought to her. "Most of the intrusions dissolved immediately. It's got a half life of about three days, as subspace is resolving itself back to normal, but I thought it was kind of pretty. And it completely ignores Euclidian space, so I put it in specimen container treated with a warp field. It's its own pocket of reality. Neat, huh?" He shrugged. This was the closest anyone was ever going to get flowers from Marcus.

Sera took a look at her new gift, it really was her own small part of real subspace. Sera was mesmerized by the way the substance changed shape and color. In all honesty, it was better than a dozen flowers or a well-wishing card. "Thank you, that is a great gift," she said with real appreciation. Pointing at a half eaten tray of protein cubes on a retractable table near the biobed, Sera said, "The hospital food would meet your highly refined tastes." There was a hint of playfulness in her voice, at least as much as a person in her shoes could muster.

He glanced over at the tray. "Supplement twenty three. It's not bad. Kind of tastes like chicken." Marcus looked back at Sera, his expression turning a mixture of hesitant and confused. "Hey, I, uh, wanted to tell you. I had a dream about you." He fidgeted a little. "About us. It was weird. I got hurt in an accident very similar to what you went through. Ended up needing biosynthetic replacements across half of my body. You ended up helping me through it all." Why was he telling her this? "I guess I'm trying to tell you that, if you need anything, I'll be holding Engineering together for you." He smirked. "You know, because Nikki isn't having any meltdowns over you or anything." He seemed to take some kind of sarcastic pleasure in her discomfort for whatever reason.

Sera couldn't help but feel bad for her friend in Engineering. The poor woman had almost put Quark's tavern in lockdown after the ever infamous sand pea incident, Sera shuddered to think about what was happening in Engineering now. Going back to what Marcus said, "I saw something about that too. It was our future selves bringing back the Captain." She paused for a moment then continued with an intentionally vague response, "I remember that that future me was devastated when the..." what was that ship called,"The E... Eclipse stopped chasing the Portland."

Marcus frowned; he was clearly being careful with his language because Sera was in such bad shape. "Just a dream, Sera. The danger's over now."

For some reason, she knew Marcus was having a much more difficult time being here than he was showing. Getting a bit more serious, she returned, "I appreciate the offer and the help. I'll ask if I need anything. No matter what Nikki says, it's good to have you aboard." She added a smile to the last part of what she said. She then asked, "How did you make it out of the unicomplex? I was a bit... unconscious at the time."

Getting a warning look from one of the nurses, Marcus patted Sera on the arm. "Look, I'll visit you soon, all right? You need to rest." There was no need to overload her with details. "I'll see you soon, all right?"

Sera nodded her head, she was a little disappointed that he didn't tell her what happened. She knew that he had his reasons, so she simply replied, "I expect a list of the best food supplement cubes by the time you return." Almost before he turned around to leave, she quickly added, "And be careful, that dream vision, or whatever it was... it better not happen."

"Don't worry. Dreams can't hurt us, Sera." Perhaps the most gentle thing Marcus Kallan has said or ever will say, he turned to let his friend rest, the light of the subspace intrusion lulling her back to sleep.
Marcus Kallan
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USS Portland

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Re: Mission Six: "Unto the Breach, Part II"

Sat Nov 07, 2015 3:39 am

When: Sometime between mission Five and Six
Where: Captain's Ready Room
Who: Lt. JG Marcus Kallan and Capt. Alenis Meru

Dropping by the Captain's Ready Room was not high on the list of things for Marcus to do, especially since he spent so much time conversing with her holographic copy. Still, the two had grown distinct in likes and personality that made them more identical sisters than clones of each other. That didn't make Marcus' off-bridge interaction with the Captain any easier. Sighing, and swallowing his social anxiety, he pressed the door chime.

"Come in," called out a strained voice from the other side of the room. Now that she had some time to reflect on her interaction with the Borg, Alenis was badly shaken, and not even Ko-ko could calm her. A part of her wanted to find her relief in a bottle of springwine, but she had promised Timothy that she wouldn't.

"Ah, Lieutenant Kallan," she called out as the doors whooshed open, Ko-ko pivoting to face him as well. "Can I get you a mug of tea or something form the replicator?"

"No, sir, but thank you," Marcus replied, coming to halt in the center of the room. He was fidgeting with his hands, left thumb occasionally sawing against his index finger in some sort of nervous tic. "Um, sir, I'll cut to the chase. I have a personal request of you, if that's all right."

"Oh?" asked Alenis, glancing down at Marcus' hands, recognizing that something was wrong. Ko-ko, using her empathetic abilities, also detected some anxiety and let out some calming coos. "What is it, Lieutenant?"

"I went to see Sera, er, Lt. Williams, in Sickbay. And it came up that we've both had dreams, or visions if you believe in that kind of thing. And that they are both of an alternate future where I ended up in an accident much like what she went through with the dark matter reactor... except a lot worse." Marcus began to pace. "There was a lot of subspace tessellation during the reactor overload, which means, potentially, a lot of alternate realities could have touched. And the probability of both of us having the same dream is impossible without external influence, so... I guess..."

Marcus stopped pacing. He looked at Ko-ko. He looked at Alenis. "Captain, did I die? In the alternate timeline, I mean."

Alenis took a deep breath. She hadn't talked much about her death and resurrection in the months since it happened. She didn't even tell Tim the whole story, never mind Muldur and Lucsly from DTI. "Marcus," she said, speaking slowly and deliberately. "You have to realize that what I saw was just one possible future out of an infinite number of possibilities. And that this future has already been invalidated by my continued presence in our timeline."

"Forgive me, sir, but I don't care about causality and timeline integrity crap," Marcus spat, almost shouting. He gestured backward, pointing. "I have what amounts to my only friend on this boat laid out in Sickbay after being exposed to tessellating subspace quanta of unknown frequency and intensity. Do you know what that does to our biology? She's lucky she's alive!" He lowered his voice. "And it was my idea. I did something similar in the other timeline, didn't I? And then later, I sacrificed myself to save the Portland, didn't I? Some... some kind of Borg freak."

Alenis was taken aback by Marcus' response. Aside from the fact that it was disrespectful to a superior officer, it was out of character. She didn't know Marcus to be one to get emotional over anything. Sarcastic, maybe, but not emotional.

Standing up from her desk, Alenis rose to nearly eye level with Marcus. "Lieutenant," she started, reminding him of the difference in rank, "first, you're going to have to calm down and remember how to address your superior officers. Second..." She paused and let out a sigh. Marcus was right, and the fact that the three of them all had the same vision couldn't be a coincidence. Her eyes fell down towards the bottom left drawer of her desk. She had promised Tim that she wouldn't touch the stuff, but between the Borg outside, Sera in sickbay, and the return of these visions, she figured that now was as appropriate time as any.

Leaning over, she opened a desk drawer and produced two small glasses. Then, a glass bottle with Bajoran markings on it. "Not all Bajoran spirits come from the celestial temple," she said as she poured the clear liquid into the two glasses and then put the bottle away. "Drink, Lieutenant," she added, sliding one of the glasses across her desk. "It clears the mind."

Marcus regarded the glass as if he were calculating something, perhaps the odds as to whether or not it would make him ill enough to warrant a trap to Sickbay. Exhaling a sigh, he took up the glass and drank. "Hmm, not bad. Never had springwine before." Looking down at his shoes for a moment, he said, "I apologize, sir. I don't know why I'm so upset about Sera. Ever since the dreams started, and then Sera saying she experienced something similar... it made me recall my studies of anti-time echoes and alternate subspace realities and... well, the mind goes to Warp 9 pretty quick."

"It's all right, Lieutenant, temporal mechanics can drive one to drink," replied the captain, raising her glass. Then, with a smooth motion, she downed half the contents and placed the glass back on the desk. Taking a deep breath to regain her composure and control the strong aftertaste, she looked back towards Marcus. "If you want the truth, Lieutenant, the prophets did show me what happened in that timeline. You're right; you sacrificed yourself to allow the Portland to get away. I suppose in some strange sense then, I owe my life to you and to the crew. But as for why you're having these visions right now..." Alenis took another sip of her drink. "I can't say. The prophets work in mysterious ways, but perhaps dark energy works in ways that are stranger still."

"At first I thought they were just, y'know, subconscious expressions," Marcus explained. "But when Sera mentioned she, too, had a similar dream, my thoughts immediately went to the alternate timeline." He eyed his glass. "Oh, and the fact that we might still have some subspace contamination on the ship. Or that the clean-up crew was exposed to more tessellated energy than previously expected. I'll recommend everyone get a cbeck-up with Sickbay again, just to be sure." He winced -- rumors were beginning to circulate about his regular butting of heads with Dr. Silverton.

"Level with me, sir, if you would indulge me... there's one other thing that doesn't make sense. I got the impression that Sera and I..." Marcus shook his head. "...were closer than friends." It was hard for him to say, despite he and Sera having a good working relationship. "I can't imagine someone like her falling for a jerk like me."

"Well, Lieutenant, I'm sure you have your redeeming qualities," replied Alenis. She had seen that they were close in the alternate future, but how close, she didn't know. Raising her glass again, she finished her sentence. "...whatever those are."

Marcus shrugged. He didn't like that answer, but he had already pressed further than was appropriate. He finished the drink and placed the glass on her desk. "Sorry to bother you, sir. I'll... I'm going to go think."
Marcus Kallan
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Re: Mission Six: "Unto the Breach, Part II"

Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:26 am

When: Sometime before Episode Six
Where: USS Portland, somewhere in the Alpha Quadrant
Who: Enslgn Malbi and Lieutenant JG Marcus Kallan

Title: Welcome, Warrior?

Marcus swore under his breath as he thumbed angrily at his PADD. He had intended on reading up on the Portland's new computer specialist before she arrived, but with the aftermath of the nebula still keeping people busy, as well as the planning of the return mission, it slipped his mind. And now, he couldn't find much about the Ensign called 'Malbi tai-Konjah' other than she was an Ensign and that this was her first real assignment.

Oh, and she was a Klingon.

When the signal came from the USS Canterbury that they were within transporter range, the transporter chief on duty let Marcus know. He looked up from his PADD and nodded grimly. "Right. Energize, chief."

Malbi was still not used to transporters. She by far preferred shuttlecraft and such, but beggars can't be choosers. As her particles reassembled, she could make out two figures in the room: one operating the transporter, and the other, in yellow, she assumed was her new boss. She'd done her research, his name was Lt JG Marcus Kallan, Chief of Operations, a Human from Mars. He looked tough. She respected that.

As she fully materialized, Malbi resisted the urge to look down and make sure that all her limbs were still in their proper places. Instead, she stepped off the transporter pad and up to her new commanding officer, giving him her best salute and saying, "Ensign Malbi tai-Konjah, reporting for duty, sir."

"Relax, Ensign, this isn't the Academy," Marcus replied. Tough wasn't a word that described Marcus, who was more lanky and tall than anything, although he had a dry wit about him that some Klingons, in his experience, found refreshing. "No need to salute or make believe you're in the marines or anything." He indicated towards the exit. "I'll show you to your quarters. I think you're the first in that room, so you get to pick your bunk. Fun times."

Malbi nodded, not how she was supposed to act if her usual academy-trained way wasn't what he wanted. So she followed him out the exit, and decided a smile might be in order. She wasn't very good at appearing happy, but she replied anyways, "Thank you, I'm glad I'll finally get top bunk."

As they headed towards the turbolift, Marcus made smalltalk. "So, uh, I've read over your record, as much as has been sent over so far, anyway. Good grades. Uneventful cadet cruise. Got a specialty, or are you a general computer nerd?" Somewhat informal, this one is...

"I started programming computers and robotics when I was young, continued that at the academy, and that's about as specific as it gets. I can also work with the hardware as well, but programming is where I like to work," Malbi replied. She had never really thought about it much, he just did whatever she thought would be the best path to discovering information about her past. She was about to add about how she had started as a hacker, hacking the Starfleet database, but she knew from 5 years in Starfleet that some people didn't approve of that. So she pushed that aside to perhaps mention at a later date.

Malbi waned to ask the man about himself, but she never knew how to ask a superior officer anything personal. Heck, she didn't know how to ask her own peers anything, so she just kept quiet. Maybe this made her seem distant an impersonal, but at least she didn't seem like a fool.

"Good. We've some hairy and complex systems running on the Portland, and I'd be glad to involve you." Marcus pressed the call button for the turbolift. Rocking on his heels, he looked as uncomfortable with smalltalk as Malbi felt. So he went with what he knew, dry humour. "So, uh, headbutt anyone interesting lately?"

Malbi snorted, trying to keep the sass out of her voice as she replied, "No, Starfleet doesn't take to kindly to that kind of... interaction." The turbolift opened and she stepped in, then continued. "But if they ever choose to amend their rules on physical assault, I'm sure I'd find someone to headbutt." She joked, hoping her humor wasn't too morbid.

As Marcus stepped in to follow his new computer specialist, Marcus nodded appreciatively. And right before the doors closed, Marcus said, "I think we're going to get along just fine, Ensign. Welcome aboard."
Marcus Kallan
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Re: Mission Six: "Unto the Breach, Part II"

Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:27 am

Skot reporting in
Captain's Office, USS Portland
Sometime between mission five and six
Authors: Skot Petryr, Alenis Meru


Initially tasked with being part of the relief effort for Nova Europa, when it became clear that there was nothing left to relieve, Skot was transferred mid-flight to the USS Portland and had just gotten off his shuttle. He had heard about the Captain being Bajoran, and was genuinely looking forward to reporting in. He grew up on Bajor and thus knew all about the prophets, and knew they were with him this, and every, time.

Inside her office, Alenis was deep in prayer. With their encounter with the Borg, her flock had been through a lot, and one of her crew members, Lieutenant Williams, was clinging to life in sickbay. Not to mention the fact that she still had not quite gotten over her last encounter with the Borg years ago, when the ship she was on was destroyed. But, instead of seeking the answers as the bottom of a bottle of springwine as per usual, she was now looking to the prophets for guidance.

Hearing a chime at the door, Alenis quickly rolled up her prayer mat. "Come in," she called out as she fiddled with the piece of rope she used to tie around her mat to keep it rolled up.

Skot stepped inside, coming to attention before speaking, "Lieutenant Junior Grade Petryr Skot reporting in." He went with the standard way of introducing oneself on Bajor, since he knew there'd be no confusion about his family name here.

"Welcome aboard, Mr. Skot," replied Alenis, recognizing him immediately from his personnel file. Placing her prayer mat in the corner, she sauntered over to a side table and turned on her kettle. "Would you like a cup of tea? My office has the best selection of Bajoran teas in the sector."

"Yes sir." It had been a long time since he had a good cup of Bajoran tea, the replicators mess it up worse than coffee most times. "That would be such a welcome taste, real Bajoran tea.

"All right; two mugs of Pyrellian ginger tea coming right up," she said as she began getting the tea ready. Off in the corner of her office Ko-ko was in her cage, taking a little birdnap. "I only had a chance to peruse your personnel file," added Alenis, "why don't you tell me a little about yourself?"

"Well my father is Bajoran, my mother a human who came to help rebuild. She got pregnant, I guess she got tired of the culture, after she had me she left. I was raised on Bajor, and I have this really annoying allergy to some Bajoran foods." Skot hated admitting to his allergies, since he disregarded them and usually just ate whatever he wanted.

"Really?" asked Alenis, raising an eyebrow as she fixed the tea. She was surprised that someone could get tired of the rich culture of Bajor; even though she grew up on Earth and hadn't returned to Bajor until recently, she would study the culture with an intense fascination. "Moba fruit? I hear a lot of people from the Dakhur area are genetically predisposed to that allergy. Honey or no?"

"Mostly all kinds of fruits and vegetables from our homeworld." Skot admitted, "And yes to the honey."

"Tea with honey..." mumbled Alenis as she stirred a dab of honey into both glasses. After garnishing both with a mint leaf, she turned and delivered Skot his drink. "So, you were raised by just your father then?"

"Yeah, never met my mother. My father says the Prophets meant it to be that way, but I sometimes doubt that they even cared." He felt bad talking about the Prophets like that, but sometimes it seemed that way.

Alenis paused, surprised that a Bajoran could have these sorts of negative opinions towards the prophets. She gazed out at the stars once more; growing up on Earth, the prophets weren't as big of a part of her life until recently. Sure, she had worn the earrings, studied the culture, and gone through the motions, but she was a rationalist at heart. Not until her recent experiences with visions and coming back from the dead had she had her religious awakening.

Placing her tea down on the desk she stepped forward and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Lieutenant, do you mind if I feel your pagh?"

Skot was slightly startled, not by the request itself but more by its abruptness and lack of warning. He was used to many Bajorans just grabbing his ear upon their first meeting that he hadn't really noticed that it wasn't done yet. "Oh...yeah, why wouldn't I be?"

"Some people aren't comfortable with that," replied Alenis as she gently squeezed his left earlobe between her thumb and forefinger. She closed her eyes for a moment, trying to feel his very essence. "Your pagh is strong, Lieutenant," she said, releasing him and returning to her desk. "At the risk of crossing the boundaries between a Starfleet captain and a Vedek, I'd suggest that the prophets often work in mysterious ways. Even tragic, senseless events make us who we are, both as individuals and as a people."

"You sound a lot like my father, he'd say the same thing. I do know one thing, if the prophets tell me to go somewhere, I'm going." Skot said, before continuing. "I'm not really good at it, but could I feel yours?"

Alenis smirked slightly at the comment about her being like Skot's father. As the ship's captain, she felt in some ways as though she was a parent to the hundreds of people on the Portland. More than just telling them what to do, she would look out for their safety, provide them with guidance, and try to support them in their development as officers as people. "Go ahead," she said, "just don't squeeze it too hard."

"I've never been able to quite get it down, but any practice helps." Skot said, gently squeezing Alenis's left earlobe. He closed his eyes, trying to get it right. After a few moments, he let go with a sigh. "Still nothing."

"That's alright, I never quite got the hang of it until recently," replied Alenis. "So, have you been to sickbay yet?"

"Ah, not yet. I was going to go there next. How's the CMO's competency level?"

"According to his records, Doctor Silverton is a brilliant young doctor," replied Alenis, taken aback by the bluntness of Skot's question. "Plus he's saved more than one life on the Portland so far, so I can't really complain. Though, we do have a patient who is suffering from radiation exposure, and I see that you have a specialty in that field..."

"Yes, the prophets told me to go that route. It's come in handy a few times, so I can't complain." Skot was more at ease when talking bout his specialty and medicine in general.

"Well then, I shan't keep you much longer." Alenis pressed a button on her terminal to pull up Skot's transfer orders. Pressing her thumb against the screen, she formally signed his transfer papers and with a swipe of the finger sent the official acceptance notice to Skot's PADD. "Report to Lieutenant Silverton at your earliest convenience, and if you need any help settling in, contact Commander Rouse. Welcome to the Portland, Lieutenant Skot."
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Re: Mission Six: "Unto the Breach, Part II"

Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:29 am

Chief Morale Officer to the rescue!
Sickbay, USS Portland
Before the briefing
Authors: Captain Alenis Meru, Lt. Brad Silverton, Lt. (JG) Skot Petryr, Lt. (JG) Sera Williams, Acting Ensign Ko-ko (played by Alenis Meru)


By now, most of the Portland crew had gotten used to Alenis' pet bird, so that she didn't even bat an eye when walking through the corridors of the ship, Ko-ko perched upon her shoulder. While Alenis was headed down to sickbay, it was her companion who had the most business to attend to. As captain of the ship, it would be remiss of Alenis to allow one of her crew who was in severe pain and confined to a biobed to go without a visit from the Chief Morale Officer.

"Hello doctor," asked Alenis, spotting Brad as she stepped through the doors of sickbay. "Doctors," she added, spotting Skot as well. "How is the patient?"

Ko-ko just tilted her head at Brad; she had recognized the man from previous visits to this room of his. The last time she was here, the man held a strange metal object up to her and then injected her with something. She didn't know what it was, but she did know that whatever the man did, she felt better afterwards. And that the man didn't like it when she pecked at his tricorders. The other man, she didn't recognize, but he was wearing the same clothes as the first.

"Captain," Brad said slightly surprised. "Its difficult to tell right now. She keeps going in and out of consciousness, but she remains stable. She doesn't appear to be in any immediate danger like normal radiation would cause, but the long term affects..." Brad shakes his head in response to his own statement. "this dark energy radiation is unlike anything I have seen before. Radiation poisoning is not my specialty though. Its actually perfect timing for Lt Skot here to join us. He's been a huge help with Sera."

"I've just been using Hyronalin to slow down and temporarily counter its effects. If its similar to Theta Radiation then I'll change it to Arithrazine. Won't know anything until after we get the readings back" Skot said, since this was his specialty.

"Have your treatments been effective so far?" asked Alenis.

Brad responded to the Captain. "We've had mixed results. Her internal organs tissue all appear fine and no damage. However there is a very small but detectable trace of the dark energy radiation. A doctor probably would miss it unless they were specifically looking for it. Its unlike anything we have really encountered before. Dark energy is after all still very experimental for all the sciences. Then there are the outbursts."

Brad didn't mean to make a dramatic pause. It just sort of happened as he collected his thoughts.

"In the beginning. Sera would slip in and out of consciousness. Sometimes shouting. Sometimes just raising her head, looking around, and then going back unconscious. It is obviously linked with the radiation but we aren't sure how."

Alenis glanced towards her chief engineer and then back towards Brad. Even Ko-ko, who couldn't understand the words that the humans and Bajorans were saying, but she could tell with her empathic abilities that whatever it was, it was distressing.

"Is it brain damage?" asked Alenis.

Brad replied, "Not that I can tell Captain. At least there is no physical evidence of it, though Lt. Skot might have better insight on that."

"It could be, still too early to tell." Skot said, "although it doesn't seem like it'll develop any time soon."

With Ko-ko perched on her shoulder, Alenis walked towards Sera. Lying there in the biobed, she looked pale and weak. A number of sensors placed on her body picked up detailed readings, checking for the extent of the damage caused by the radiation poisoning. "Lieutenant Williams," said Alenis in a soft voice, loud enough to get her attention but not loud enough to wake her if she was sleeping.

Sera stirred a bit. She had been told that she had been drifting in and out, but all of her times being away seemed to run together. She felt exhausted and really wasn't quiet sure what had happened. Her last memory was running to Engineering, desperate to get the ship out of danger.

Detecting movement, Alenis stepped forward. "Lieutenant WIlliams, you have a visitor."

In a raspy, weak voice, Sera said, "Why hello Koko. Thank you for the visit." She attempted a smile, but it probably wasn't her best. Turning a bit serious, the Chief Engineer asked, "Are we safe, Captain?"

"Yes," replied Alenis as she held her arm out, a signal for Ko-ko to transfer herself onto her wrist. Gently, she placed the bird next to the head of Sera's bed, where it immediately started emitting a series of calming coos. "I've been told by Ensign Roberts and Ensign Barclay that you saved the ship."

A look of relief crossed Sera's face. "I'm glad I could help. And I'm glad that all of you made it back. And that everyone is safe," she rambled a bit. Her hand went up to Koko, trying to gently pet the bird that was cooing just beside her head. Clearing her thoughts for a moment, she asked, "Can I go back to wearing my greys? I don't like the black uniform anymore."

Alenis smiled. It was nice to see that Sera was already thinking about getting out of sickbay. She placed a hand on Sera's other shoulder. "I think as soon as you get out of this hospital gown, I'll let you wear any uniform you want."

Brad added in looking to Sera, "I don't see any reason why you cannot return to duty on the condition that you feel anything abnormal that you alert me or Doctor Skot immediately. Deal?"

"But don't do it if you don't feel you have the strength for it," interjected Alenis. "I suppose we could get Marcus and Nikki to set you up with a video uplink so you can work from sickbay."

Skot remained silent, having learned that stress and too much physical activity might aggravate the radiation poisoning.

The Chief Engineer looked at those around her. Something drew her to the way the new radiation doctor stood silently. "Have Nikki and Marcus put something together when they have time, though I think the new doctor should clear me first. I don't want to create a safety hazard in Engineering." Realizing she had yet to introduce herself to the new doctor, while conscious that is, Sera said, "I'm Sera Williams, the Chief Engineer, though you probably already knew that."

"Yeah I did, and many forms of radiation poisoning can be aggravated by high stress and physical activity, I would highly recommend spending a few more days in sickbay to be sure its not going to come back with more symptoms." Skot said, simply stating the truth.

Nodding her head, Sera shrugged her response, "I can do that." Her voice was full of relief, but she was anxious about returning. Just behind her, a medical tricorder fell to the ground from a tray next to a biobed.
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Meet the Hologram!

Sun Nov 29, 2015 9:22 pm

Meet the Hologram!
Holographic Lab, USS Portland
Shortly after Malbi's arrival
Authors: Malbi tai-Konja, Holo-Meru (played by Alenis Meru)


Malbi was working at her station, patiently checking through the system. She thought she had found a bug, or at least a faulty subroutine that was diverting an excessive amount of power to a holo-program. No hologram ever needed that much power. At least, none that she'd encountered. So she plugged the hologram's recall information and went down to a lab to check it out.

A few minutes later, Malbi arrived. She placed the paDD on the access panel and directed the computer, =^=Computer, open the file in this paDD and route controls through this terminal.=^=

Appearing in the middle of the room, the hologram looked around and took in her surroundings. In front of her was a yellow-shirted Klingon, obviously a new member of the crew. "Good morning, ensign, I'm afraid we haven't met," said the hologram who was the spitting image of the captain, only with red hair instead of black. "I'm Alenis Meru."

Malbi stood at attention on instinct, "Captain, I... Wait. You can't be the captain, you're..." She trailed off, confused.

The hologram sighed. "It's a long story, and I see you haven't been briefed by Lieutenant Kallan yet. Though perhaps to avoid confusion, I should pick out a new name. I've always been partial to the name 'Nerys;' what do you think?"

"I... Uh... That sounds... lovely," Malbi replied, her hands moving awkwardly over the computer panel, trying to remember what she came down here to do. Then she realized that she'd been asked a question, so she replied, "Oh, I'm Ensign Malbi, computer systems specialist." She saluted.

"Don't bother saluting, I'm not the real captain," replied the hologram in a lighthearted tone. "It's nice to meet you. I suppose since you're into computers, we'll be getting to know each other very well. So, Lieutenant Kallan seriously hasn't briefed you on my program?"

Malbi shook her head solemnly, "No, we haven't gotten much of a chance to really talk yet. He's been 'lly busy, and it must have slipped his mind." She felt bad for the chief, honestly. He had a lot on his plate, and dealing with a new ensign was just extra work. Not to mention, she was a Klingon, and he probably didn't want to deal with her hot temper.

"Ah. Well, in that case, I'll give you a quick run-down." The hologram was interested in Malbi; there weren't many Klingons in Starfleet, and most of them seemed to be more interested in phasers and photon torpedoes than in lines of computer code. "My program is based on the Portland's EMH. For reasons that are perhaps best left unsaid, the EMH was reprogrammed with a copy of the captain. And..."

Pausing for a moment, the Alenis hologram gathered her thoughts on how to explain this. "Well, you know how the EMH Mark I had that bug where under certain conditions it may become sentient?"

Malbi nodded, then slowly realized, "Oh... So that happened to you? You're actually sentient?" Her eyes grew wide, probably making her look angry, but then again, she always looked angry. But he was in awe. She'd never met a real sentient program before.

"At least, I think so," replied the hologram. "And, I think, therefore I am, so, therefore, I am. I think." She sighed and let out a smile. "At the very least, I think I've managed to convince the Lieutenant that I'm more than just a disjointed jumble of code."

Malbi nodded and then out of curiosity, pulled up the expanded version of her code on the computer panel and began to scroll through it. "So you're formatted off of the Mark 1, you said?" She asked, seeing many similarities to the Mark 1 programming style. She had studied this program extensively in her last two years at the academy, since Starfleet was always looking to inspire creativity in the students. Her professors had always used this as an example to show that mistakes can often yield the best inventions.

"Yes, though fortunately they changed that default greeting line. I was getting tired of asking people to please state the nature of the medial emergency all the time." The hologram smiled at Malbi, and glanced over at the readings on her PADD. "but enough about me; I've never met a Klingon computer systems specialist before, and I'm sure we'll end up spending a lot of time together. Why don't you tell me a little about yourself?"

Malbi froze. "I... uh... well there's not much to say." She thought for a moment, not wanting to reveal her entire life story to the hologram, but also not wanting to seem completely rude. She started with, "I've worked with computers and programs since I was a child, and Starfleet seemed like the right next step to continue that. It's just what I do. Outside of work, I run and box, but I try to stay away from Klingon combat holodeck programs. They bring out the worst in me."

"Well then," replied the hologram, "I'd suggest we might practice Hal'Kereth, the Bajoran martial art, sometime, if that might not bring out the worst in you. It is the unity of the spiritual and the physical, the perfect martial art for fitness, self-defense, and spiritual health."

Malbi already had a routine, but perhaps she could use something new in her life. She'd made so many changes to her lifestyle already, so why not one more? "Thank you," She replied, "I'll think about it." She didn't know what else to say, she wasn't much of a conversationalist. So she waited for the hologram to see if she would try to further the conversation.

"So..." started the hologram in response to the awkward silence, "how's my program looking, doc? Are all my subroutines stable? No bugs or viruses?"

Malbi finished scrolling through the extensive code and nodded, "It looks like you're in perfect working order. No glitches, no bad subroutines, a clean bill of heath, if you will."

Malbi picked up her paDD, moving around the access panel to come face-to-face with the hologram. "Well, it's been a pleasure meeting you, but I've got to get back to engineering." She stuck out a hand for her to shake.

"The pleasure was mine," replied the hologram, shaking Malbi's hand. "Welcome to the Portland."

"Thank you," Malbi replied, then moved towards the exit. She turned back to look her new acquaintance in the eyes as she said, "Computer, end program." She watched the hologram disappear, and then left.

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Re: Mission Six: "Unto the Breach, Part II"

Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:25 pm

Briefing Time! Part I of III
Briefing Room, Starbase 375 & Holodeck One, USS Portland
MD01, mid-afternoon
Authors
Portland crew: Captain Alenis Meru, Major Judith Rouse (NPC Tim), Lt. Tyrlai Zade, Lt. (JG) Marcus Kallan
Endeavour crew: Cmdr. Marcus Byrne, Lt. Miracle Swiftpaws, Lt. (JG) Rebecca McKinnon, Lt. (JG) Zhuang Fotu
Guest stars: Admiral Washington (NPC Alenis), General Mar'dok (NPC Sera), Captain T'Lisa Anderson (NPC Jason), Gul Jatok (NPC Alenis)



On Starbase 375, the briefing room was set up for the type of emergency conference that happens only rarely. Portable holo-emitters stood in each corner of the room, patched into the a holo-communicator that would allow captains and senior officers from across the sector to patch in from their holodecks as though they were actually there. Many distinguished captains who had joined the makeshift fleet assembling at Starbase 375, including Captain Anderson of the USS Canterbury, General Mar'dok of the IKC Gre'thor, and Gul Jatok of the CDS Galandar, were there in person along with most of the senior staff of the USS Endeavour.

With so many distinguished officers, the yeomen kept themselves busy offering glasses of water and PADDs to everyone present and ensuring that everyone was comfortable while they discussed the most uncomfortable of topics: the impending Borg invasion of the Alpha quadrant.

The atmosphere in the room was serious; there was a bit of idle chatter as the officers got to know each other before the battle, but there was a distinct somber tone to it -- except for the Klingons, who were almost boisterous in their anticipation of the coming battle. For everyone else, there was no looking forward to what was sure to be a good day to die.

Nodding towards one another, the yeomen hurriedly activated the holo-communicators. With a flick of the switch, the room went from half-empty to completely full, as the senior staff of the Portland as well as a couple other captains flickered into appearance at some of the empty chairs. Respectful nods were exchanged, and Gul Jatok's eyes lit up in surprise at the appearance of Captain Alenis of the Portland, who he had heard was killed in action the last time they met.

But Judith was perhaps even more surprised at the sight of General Mar'dok. He had not yet made General when she divorced him, but since Klingon culture apparently does not allow for divorce as easily, she had to find a way to get reassigned to the other end of Federation space to get away from him.

At the head of the table, Admiral Washington, commander of all the Starfleet forces in this sector, also appeared, along with a couple PADDs and a holographic glass of water in front of him. "Greetings," he said, getting the attention of everyone at the table. "I'm sure you all know why we're here," he added, pressing a few buttons to activate the holographic display at the center of the conference table, a star chart appearing before them with the position of the Portland, the starbase, and all the ships in the improvised task force in the center of the table before them.

Captain T’Lisa Mary Anderson, CO of the USS Canterbury, looked around at those present, both physically and by hologram. An admirable effort had been made in assembling this fleet, but would it be enough? The Borg were a formidable adversary due to their ruthlessness and their adaptability. Stood next to her was Commander Caelena Drusa, her new XO. The Romulan woman had replaced her good friend Charles Walker who had be killed during a recent failed diplomatic mission. Drusa was former SI and the Captain was not sure whether she could trust her or not.

Commander Marcus Byrne, Captain of the Endeavour sat with his XO, Eahar R'Soll at the conference table. His crew, more than most, had seen these Borg up close. His outpost had been destroyed by an attack and his new ship had lost it's former Captain to the invaders. He kept his eyes on the holographic star chart. He most certainly wasn't in a social mood, given the mission they were about to undertake it would be better to view the casualty reports as though they were only names.

At the other end of the spectrum, General Mar'dok had been the picture of Klingon confidence. He had stocked his Vor'cha class warship with enough blood wine to go around the task force. Accompanying him were the Captains of the Birds of Prey that were part of the Klingon forces, each seemed to match not only Mar'dok's temperament, but his love of battle. The Klingons sat in their own corner, impatiently awaiting the call to arms to take on such a worthy adversary.

One of the younger Klingons looked to his left as what appeared to be an adolescent Trill sat down at the edge of the Klingon contingent, dressed in a grey sciences coverall and bearing some sort of strange feline creature on each of her small shoulders.

Lieutenant Swiftpaws groomed and wearing a newer lighter authorized version of the Starfleet uniform, looking sharp with her hair tied back into a ponytail. She sat next to Captain Byrne, just back a bit, yet still in full view of everyone. Her eyes sparkled mischieviously as she glanced over at the Klingons. Then to the rest of those present. She had managed to get one of the Minor Klingon Captains riled up a bit more than usual. She had her mottled black, grey and dirty white digital camouflage electronic notepad (laptop) on her lap ready to go, along with her everpresent wrist computer. To take notes, receive and send data as needed. Ears swiveling to take in the ambient noises and not to miss anything that would be important later on.

Lieutennant McKinnon, sat next to her friend Miracle and keyed into the comm array looking ahead at the files to be presented and quietly monitoring comm traffic in and out of the room.

Standing behind the seated Endeavour senior staff, Zhuang Fotu stood at parade rest. He appeared to be human, although his nose had slight ridges indicating Bajoran heritage. Whereas his frame was physically imposing, his face was kind and he wore a passive closed-mouth smile on his face.

Tyrlai Zade walked in, late as usual and surveyed the assemblage. A few centuries of diplomatic experience told her that this room was a bad idea. She elected to sit at the equidistant point between the Cardassians and the Klingons. This would give her an equal running start at whomever started the fighting later on.

Marcus Kallan, a tall and lanky human male of unremarkable stature, sat/was pictured with the rest of the Portland's bridge crew. His arms were crossed and he looked generally annoyed at nothing in particular.

Washington cleared his throat and pressed a button to begin the presentation. "A few days ago, the USS Endeavour responded to a distress call at Nova Europa. There, they engaged the Borg."

In the center of the table, the tactical view was replaced with telemetry from the Endeavour, showing the destruction of the sphere and the approach of the cube. "Only a few dozen officers and colonists survived. And in the ensuing battle with a Borg cube, Captain Banninga was kidnapped by the Borg." Washington put up a picture of the captain for emphasis.

Flicking another button, Washington returned to the long-range tactical view. "Using long-range sensors, we tracked the Borg vessel which kidnapped Captain Banninga to the NGC-3814 nebula. When we sent the Portland in to investigate, this is what they found."

In the center of the table, a holo-image of the transwarp gate appeared. "This," said Washington, "is a Borg transwarp gate. If it is completed, it will allow the Borg to send massive numbers of cubes streaming into the Alpha Quadrant. And that's not the worst of it. They are using an experimental dark energy reactor, which, if our theories are correct, would allow them to then catapult those cubes hundreds of light-years, deploying them deep into Federation space. I don't think I need to tell anyone what the tactical and strategic implications of that would be."

Washington took a deep breath before he launched into the most chilling section. "And then we have this." He brought up a recording from the Portland's viewscreen. In front of everyone was Captain Kate Banninga, complete with cybernetic implants and flanked by drones, as the new Borg Queen of the Alpha Quadrant.

"I am Locasta of Borg," she said, "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

To be continued...
Capt. Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Six: "Unto the Breach, Part II"

Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:35 pm

Briefing Time! Part II of III
Briefing Room, Starbase 375 & Holodeck One, USS Portland
MD01, mid-afternoon
Authors
Portland crew: Capt. Alenis Meru, Lt. Arthur Reynolds, Lt. (JG) Tolaran Kian, Lt. (JG) Marcus Kallan, Lt. Brad Silverton, Lt. (JG) Delainey Carlisle, Lt. (JG) Jason Beauvoir
Endeavour crew: Cmdr. Marcus Byrne, Lt. Cmdr. Eahar R'Soll, Lt. Yvette Beauvoir, Lt. Miracle Swiftpaws, Lt. (JG) Rebecca McKinnon,
Guest stars: Admiral Washington (NPC Alenis), General Mar'dok (NPC Sera), Captain Vek'ma (NPC Alenis)



Last time, on Star Trek: Portland...

Washington took a deep breath before he launched into the most chilling section. "And then we have this." He brought up a recording from the Portland's viewscreen. In front of everyone was Captain Kate Banninga, complete with cybernetic implants and flanked by drones, as the new Borg Queen of the Alpha Quadrant.

"I am Locasta of Borg," she said, "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

And now, the continuation...


Washington paused the recording, allowing those words to sink in. "I think we've all read our history and know about the battle of Wolf 359. If Locasta is able to get her transwarp gate online, this could be the end of not just the Federation, but the entire quadrant."

Lieutenant Yvette Beauvoir watched the presentation as she stood next to Lieutenant Zhuang. Her face was impassive, but inside she felt anger and hatred for the Cybernetic zombies.

Lieutenant Miracle Swiftpaws felt a loss at seeing Captain Banninga all implanted with cybernetics that ruined her once natural looks. Subconsciously, she reached up and pinched her ear stud at the base of her ear. Miracle leaned forward and spoke in a well modulated voice, "Squeakies, Mez Lord Admire. Whoz will be the Flagship of the joint Cardasian, Klingon and Federation Fleet for this assualt on this Borg Forward Operating Base?"

"Excellent question, Lieutenant," replied Washington, a little surprised at being referred to as "Mez Lord." Not that he minded all that much, it was a very respectful salutation. "We've developed a plan of attack involving two main forces. The USS Endeavour will lead an assault on the unicomplex, with the goal of severing Locasta from the collective and recovering Captain Banninga. Meanwhile, our Klingon friends will, using their cloaking device, escort the USS Portland to the transwarp gate."

Captain Vek'Ma, one of Mar'dok's best Bird of Prey commanders, scowled at Washington's response. She knew the Federation was soft, but not this soft. "You aim to capture Locasta?" she asked in a sneering, incredulous tone before turning and spitting on the floor. "We should kill her. Cut the head off the snake, nice and quick. Honour demands it." Her eyes darted across the room. "And you would have us be led into battle by a museum piece? This is an insult, and--"

Tolaran bristled with anger listening to the Klingon. "Excuse me Captain, but I believe the Klingon fleet are full of Bird of Preys and other older ships yet you would see fit to talk about the Portland in such a way... if you've even read about her records in combat and other missions which I'm sure the Klingon Empire has access to then you wouldn't be so disrespectful. The Portland is more than up for the job of leading your ships and ours into any engagement that is to come." he knew it was dangerous confronting a Klingon in such a way but he also knew that to gain any respect from them then the Federation couldn't show signs of weakness...

Alenis couldn't help but let out a smile at Tolaran's spirited defense of the Portland. But they had business to take care of, and little time for arguing with the Klingons. "Thank you, Lieutenant, I think that's enough. I'm sure the good Captain will eat her words in a few short days upon witnessing the Portland in battle."

"Need I remind you that a lowly Bird of Prey took on and destroyed a Galaxy-class starship?" asked General Mard'ok with a bit more pride than intended. Not giving the Lieutenant time for a response the General continued, "We will ensure the Portland remains intact long enough."

"Killing Locasta does nothing, Captain," Marcus said from across the table, leaning forward, but still holding arms crossed. "She's a mouthpiece, nothing more. The Borg collective consciousness is distributed evenly throughout every drone. If anything, we should aim to capture her and use her command pathways to shut down the Borg's efforts in this quadrant with a minimal loss of allied forces. We can't hope to stand up against that size of an armada without tricks."

"I agree," replied Arthur, who finally weighed in on the conversation. He'd bit his tongue through most of the meeting, but now he felt a need to contribute. "The Borg are about efficiency. It would be too inefficient if they all continued to rely on a queen, particularly after the past few incidents when Starfleet disabled a fair number of them by simply targeting said queen. If they're really looking for perfection, they'll adapt... and if they adapt, they'll change tactics."

"Which is exactly why we can't simply kill her," interrupted Washington. "Lieutenant Kallan, if we can capture Locasta, would it theoretically be possible to allow her to regain her individuality as Captain Banninga while still preserving her command pathways?"

"It's been done before, but under very specific circumstances," Marcus replied, looking thoughtful. "To even have a chance at doing what the Enterprise did after Wolf-359, I'd need a ship mainframe more powerful than what the Portland has, and a sophisticated cybernetics lab." He looked pointedly across the table at the Endeavor crew.

"We can give you remote access to the Endeavour's mainframes until we rendezvous," chimed in Eahar, recalling the sheer computing power his crew had at their disposal. The refit nebula class, as a large vessel, often outfitted with a sensor pod for scientific surveys, had one of the most powerful main computers out of any ship in the fleet. "And I'm sure Lieutenant McKinnon will be willing to provide you with anything you need, right, Lieutenant?"

"We are actually in a fair state of repair at the moment." Bekka mentioned looking across the room at the pale man from the Portland. "The core is operating at full capacity, as for the lab we have a myriad of multi functional facilities. We can augment what we currently have and probably get close to the best possible field cybernetics lab. You wont find a starbase level lab flying about, I'm afraid. Those are at the colony currently, prying it back from the Borg."

"Lieutenant Kallan, is this going to be sufficient?" asked Admiral Washington.

"I'll coordinate with the relevant officers," Marcus replied to the admiral, leaning back in his chair again. Once again, Washington called on him to do the impossible...

"Good. Make it so," replied Washington in a gruff voice. "You'll also be working with our medical officers, Lieutenants Vanth and Silverton. I don't want Captain Banninga dying on us before she can give the command."

Doctor Brad Silverton had been silent until now that he was addressed. He was content to let others speak out of turn in front of the Admiral and Generals of the various Alpha Quadrant races. "Don't worry Admiral. Starfleet Medical has made it a priority to research and develop ways to reclaim those that have been assimilated. We'll be ready."

Brad wasn't thrilled to have to work with Marcus. However they were both Starfleet officers and professionals. He was sure they'd both do their duties regardless of their continued personality differences. In the grand scheme of things it did seem to be such a petty minor thing compared to the task before them.

Echoing Dr. Silverton's words, Delainey Carlisle offered, "I'd like to be on hand to help provide any psychological support you may need. At this point, I think it's wise to act on the assumption Captain Banninga is fighting every bit as hard as Captain Picard did when he was assimilated and there may be some psychological traits we can identify to predict her behavior and to aid in her fight to return to us." Despite the practical necessity of the discussion, it bothered Carlisle greatly to speak of a fellow officer as a specimen or a component to be manipulated or calibrated precisely to achieve their ends. Before Kate was any of that, she was a sentient being, a current tortured captive, who deserved to be treated as such as much as they dared. The thought of bringing a woman in that condition back to a lab with engineers and scientists broke Carlisle's heart.

After staying quiet through most of the meeting, Commander Byrne spoke up, "If we do manage to retake Captain Banninga, I have an idea that may help." Turning his gaze toward Bekka, he continued, "In a recent tour of our computer core, I spoke with the Lieutenant about ways to counteract the Borg Collective. I believe that she may be on to something that could buy us some time. Care to take over Lieutenant?"

Bekka stood, brushing her long blonde hair out of her eyes and addressed the assemblage seeming unusually calm and collected for someone who looked like they should be stressing over academy entrance aptitude tests. "I have collected a couple quad crystal matrices worth of otherwise useless comm chatter as relayed through 75 starbases. I have layered that under a fractal generated series of algorithms to make it look like we are trying to hide this data, below that it should appear as if the useless conversational snippets are encoded with another layer of important data. All of this is further encrypted.

"The notion, is that we will send it out on a wavelength that the Borg can process, but we send it fast. In order to ensure that what we are sending is not a threat will require analysis. The Borg will farm this work out to drones when it overtaxes their systems. As it then overtaxes the drones they will co-opt more resources. All the while we will be sending more data. It took 75 starbases more than two years to package the data. Without the encryption keys it will take far more effort for the Borg to decode the burst. They are designed for this, but the best estimate is that they will take in excess of six minutes to determine that our transmission is garbage. There is an outside possibility that we will bring down the central vinculum and cut the Borg off from the collective. That case may buy us hours. If we have the Captain at that time our chances improve dramatically. She is the one unit given the luxury of independent reasoning and therefore the one unit that could suspect that our encrypted data is really an attack.

"In order to stress the capacity of a uni-matrix we will need to augment a main deflector to act as a transmitter. It will be able to send the data faster than even the Borg can collect it, which will further hamper their efforts to analyze the datastream." Lieutenant McKinnon sat down and after a moment stood back up hurriedly. "Oh, sorry. Any questions?"

Marcus scoffed lightly, "Encrypted data isn't enough to get the Collective baited," he said to Bekka. He was clearly dubious of her, likely because of her age, although he didn't outwardly indicate one way or another. "Wrap some faked telemetry and ship positions in loose fractal encryption. Heck, send bits of Shras' dark reactor research; that'll get their attention. If they think they could get a tactical advantage or anticipate our 'talking' -- " He made air quotes. "-- about their technology and how to stop it, they'll prioritize the processing faster."

"If you have four quads of that sort of data you are welcome to try." Bekka glared at her counterpart. "They will assimilate your information in a portion of a second and be able to spend the rest of that second assimilating you."

Having kept his own counsel until now, Jason rose and said. "Forgive me, I am but a simple scientist, so could someone explain to me how exactly we intend to destroy the whole Borg transwarp system?"


To be continued...
Capt. Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
USS Portland

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Re: Mission Six: "Unto the Breach, Part II"

Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:42 pm

Briefing Time! Part III of III
Briefing Room, Starbase 375 & Holodeck One, USS Portland
MD01, mid-afternoon
Authors
Portland crew: Captain Alenis Meru, Lt. Tyrlai Zade, Lt. Arthur Reynolds, Lt. (JG) Sera Williams, Lt. (JG) Marcus Kallan, Lt. (JG) Tolaran Kian,
Endeavour crew: Cmdr. Marcus Byrne, Lt. Cmdr. Eahar R'Soll, Lt. Miracle Swiftpaws, Lt. Julian Horn,
Guest stars: Admiral Washington (NPC Alenis), General Mar'dok (NPC Sera), Captain T'Lisa Anderson (NPC Jason)



Last time, on Star Trek: Portland...

Having kept his own counsel until now, Jason rose and said. "Forgive me, I am but a simple scientist, so could someone explain to me how exactly we intend to destroy the whole Borg transwarp system?"

And now, the continuation...


Miracle busily tapped away on her laptop, downloading the information on the Borg Structure into her laptop and once it was uploaded, she began to look at it from all angles. She wiggled her nose and whiskers as she made tentive routing courses to bring in the Endeavour to where Tactical could deploy the Away Team with minimum amount of time to reach this 'Locasta' and get back to the Endeavour. She was more interested in the gaps in the structure for the Endeavour to traverse. Her Laptop gave off muted sounds of a video game. Her ears swivaled to follow the conversations going on around her, as she 'played' with the 'game' of finding the most advantagous route to where most likely 'Locasta' would be at.

A very gaunt looking Sera stepped forward. She had met the requirements for a return to duty, but she was still not fully recovered. Raising her hand a bit to signal that she had something to add, she interjected, "I think this is where I come into the mix." She clicked a small button that changed the holographic image into a model of the dark energy reactor housed on the Portland. She could feel the emotion from everyone in the room, she could distinctly read fear, bloodlust, anger, and anger. It was almost overwhelming, however, she needed to hold it together.

The display change to illustrate her points as she continued, "As we saw when the Portland escaped the nebula, the Dark Energy Reactor has the ability to 'aggravate' subspace when it is altered." Her eyes found Lt. Kallan when she used his word to described what happened with subspace. The display changed to show the Reactor floating towards the transwarp conduit. "If we can create the same type of dark energy 'storm' that we created earlier, then overload the reactor with energy, then eject it... it will create something that dwarfs a warp core breach by several orders of magnitude."

Julian Horn, the Chief Engineer of the Endeavour stared at the display in front of him, assessing quickly the dark energy reactor, it was fantastic, ridiculously dangerous, but fantastic.

"Subspace manifold juxtaposition and subsequent rupture, for those playing along at home," Marcus offered. "It'd make that sector dangerous to traverse, but it'd eliminate the threat. The nuclear option, as it were."

"And the Portland is the delivery system," chimed in Alenis.

Julian coughed, his voice coming out quiet, talking to his teams was one thing, but this wasn't something he was used to. "That is a very last option, based on the very brief calculations in my head..." he breathed out a heavy sigh "you could potentially destroy the whole system and maybe rip a hole in space so big we may not escape it..."

"Hopefully it won't come to that," added Alenis. "If we detonate the reactor inside the conduit, most of the damage should be contained inside their subspace network." She pressed a button to activate a computer simulation of a dark energy explosion spreading through a subspace network, collapsing transwarp conduits and causing the transwarp gates on either end to collapse and implode. "Of course, things will have to be timed just right to give the fleet a chance to get away from the blast, and there will be a massive burst of radiation and some severe subspace disruption on either end, so you will need to keep your shields up."

After listening a bit more, Commander Byrne looked around the room. Tapping his fingers on the table as he talked, he mostly asked those in the Medical department, "Would we be able to remove Captain Banninga from the Collective before such a drastic action is taken?" He let the question hang for a moment before adding, "Borg who are removed so suddenly from the Collective do not tend handle that loss so well." His voice carried an amount of worry over the person who had rescued him and the remains of his outpost colony from a fate worse than death.

"Based on available information, we'd have to time Locasta's separation from the Collective at the same time of the destruction of the aperture," Marcus said, responding to Byrne. "We'd need her connected up until the end, though, to try and utilize her command pathways to distract the Borg and get them properly chewing on Lieutenant McKinnon's data."

Tyrlai spoke up, a little disappointed that the fighting hadn't started. Back in the day, they would have smacked the Commander around for a few different 'slights'. "We would have to be sure she was on 'our side', otherwise she will know its a ruse and they will discard everything. Or perhaps trick her into believing the data is genuine."

Eahar grunted; surprised at the ambitious nature of the plan. "I probably know Kate better than everyone. It's not going to be easy to trick her; she is very cunning."

"Then don't trick her. Just make it enticing for herz to comply with yooz wishes. Truth. But not the Truth." Miracle paused in her studying, speaking thoughtfully, "Misdirection. Iz think the human term iz." Giving Earhar a cheeky smile, Tone of her voice showing effection and respect for the big gruff Caitian Officer.

Tolaran tilted his head towards the Caitian "You all should remember and keep in mind, the collective had access to everything through Locutus, it would be no different now and I'd recommend if you have anyone even attempt to trick her it would ideally be best that she doesn't know that person then she can't use her experiences to deal with the responses she will receive, she is probably expecting anything her old crew do, she will know what to expect from you all.

"Then it sounds like we shouldn't pull our punches. As the Admiral said, we can't just kill one queen and expect the collective to break down. We need to focus on the unimatrix first, not her." Arthur didn't realize how cold he'd sounded, but at that moment, he didn't care. In his mind, the goal was to rid the sector of the Borg threat... no more, no less. "Maybe we can get her out, but what if we can't? Is anyone willing to sacrifice her? Because, if not, the Borg will know that... and they'll use her to that end. I don't believe even a queen is completely independent from the collective mind, because if she is, that's another weak point they haven't adapted to for nearly thirty years. Should we really rely on them to keep overlooking that hole in their system?"

With that, Washington chimed in. "I'm sure we all agree that we will do what we must to eliminate the Borg threat. If we can capture Locasta and use her command pathways to our advantage, that would be ideal. If not--" Washington paused for a moment, only to be interrupted by Mar'dok.

"It would be better for Captain Banninga and any others to die than continue an honourless existence as Borg," the Klingon General said with disgust seeping through his voice. He never understood the Human notion of putting everything back, some things weren't able to be brought back. He, for one, did not welcome the thought of an Borg Queens having access to allied vessels.

"Well, let's just hope it doesn't come to that," countered Washington. "Any further questions?"

Captain T'Lisa Anderson a veteran of the Battle of Sector 001 and with over 15 years of command experience rose from her chair. "This is not actually a question, but logic dictates that if you enemy knows all your tactics, then you must change your tactics, in order to defeat him." She said in a calm voice that like the calmness of her features, did not betray the anger and guilt that bubbled just beneath the surface.

"Well, in that case, I don't think they'll see the Portland coming," replied Alenis with a smile.

"Good." said Washington, in a gruff voice. "Then I declare this meeting adjourned. Everyone, get to your ships and set course for the rendezvous site. We depart in one hour."
Capt. Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
USS Portland

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