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Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
Commanding Officer
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:57 pm

Blood is thicker than water...
Captain's Office, USS Portland
MD6, 0900 hours


In the privacy of her office, Alenis answered the hail from a Gamian jail, knowing that only one person could be on the other end. “Hello, Inaji,” she said as she sat down at her desk, the woman’s Cardassian face staring back at her on the screen.

“Meru, I’m sorry I didn’t have time to explain but you have to believe me.” Inaji spoke in a panicked voice. “I--”

Raising her hand, Alenis motioned for the woman in the other end to be quiet for a moment. “I recovered a sample of your DNA from my clothing, from last night at the bar. Do you have any idea what our analysis found?”

“That I’m only half-Cardassian, and that the other half is your sister?”

“Yes,” replied Alenis. “I’ve also spoken to our mother and confirmed it. But that only explains half the story. What are you doing running from the law and trying to track me down?”

“It’s a long story…” started Inaji.

“It appears as though you have plenty of time,” countered Alenis, her guard still up.

“All right,” replied the half-Cardassian woman, relenting. “It all started when I was born. Gul Narale, my father, was always ashamed of me. He kept me locked up, as though I was his dirty little secret from the occupation. He beat me regularly. He was a vicious, brutal man.” Inaji wiped away a tear; even discussing this was difficult for her. “Then, when I was twelve, he had me surgically altered to look fully Cardassian. He said it was so I wouldn’t bring shame upon him and his family. But the abuse… that never stopped.”

“Did you kill him?” replied Alenis, her voice deadly serious.

“I didn’t plan to,” she said. “I was going to finally break free of him. Stow away on a Khobeerian freighter bound for Orion space. I’d emptied his bank account; I figured it would be enough money to buy my way to freedom and purchase a new identity for myself.”

“And?”

“He caught me. I was all packed up and ready to go, and someone at the bank tipped him off.”

“Did you kill him?”

Inaji took a deep breath. “They say that the great river flows in a straight line. But is a river not a part of a cycle? Does the water not evaporate and fall, returning to the lake from which it is fed?”

“I don’t follow,” replied Alenis, her eyes narrowing.

“He confronted me with a rage more intense than anything I have ever seen. I knew then and there that it was him or me. So, I grabbed a kitchen knife, and…”

“You killed him,” replied Alenis, finishing her sentence.

“The news reports say he had sixty-seven seven stab wounds. It’s funny, I only remember the first three or four.” Inaji sighed deeply. “I must have blacked out. They say only a monster could be responsible for such a brutal and savage murder, and maybe they’re right. But I’m nothing more and nothing less than the product of my environment. Narale deserved what he got.”

“Inaji…” started Alenis, wiping away a tear. “What do you want from me?”

“I can’t go back, Meru. Narale was well-respected on Cardassia. The courts are stacked against me. It would be a death sentence.” She took a deep breath. “And not a quick death either.”

“Gamia has only recently opened relations with the Federation and Cardassia,” replied Alenis. “I’m not familiar with their legal system. Whether they extradite you to Cardassia or not is up to them.”

“Meru, please. You’re the only one who can help me.”

Alenis stared into Inaji’s eyes. She could almost see herself in them. But there was something else. Years of pain and suffering had caused her brown eyes to take on an almost dead look. She knew that trying to intervene in this case would only complicate matters with the negotiations, and that Admiral Washington and the Bajorans would surely object to putting the negotiations at risk for an escaped Cardassian fugitive. But, they say blood is thicker than water…

“I’ve got my best man on the case.”
Capt. Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
USS Portland

Tyrlai_Zade

Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:58 pm

Into the Caves part I
by Lt Tyrlai Zade, Lt. Jason Beauvoir, Lt. (JG) Thoval sh'Kor, Lt. (JG) Amata Zan, Lt Parker Hudson


The Caves
Gamia III
MD 6, morning



The two shuttles skimmed over the treetops and circled the clearing once before touching down. A few moments passed and the hatches on both opened simultaneously and six members of Portland's security detachment quickly moved to establish a perimeter and scan the surrounding jungle. Tyrlai Zade stepped out of one of the shuttles and walked a half dozen meters towards the ridge-line. She popped her hand scanner open and took a reading of the caves, only two hundred meters away several openings led into a small labrynith the original settlers had used for shelter on their arrival, several hundred years earlier.

Lieutenant Zade turned back to the others, adjusting her lightly-shimmering violet uniform jacket. She was wearing the same ablative layer of protection she had been using on Bajor when this had all began. She fully expected a Reptillian somewhere in the caves ahead. "According to the local network, these caves had been abandoned after the first generation or so and now are looked at with a sort of spiritual and cultural reverence. We've traced energy signals unique to the persons who targeted our original shuttle to this location. Our mission is to discover who and possibly what these people are and what they are up to. They have alien tech and alien friends so be careful, we don't have a lot of decent tactical information on what we are facing. Any questions or suggestions, now is the time."

Tyrlai looked out at the others while beaming eagerly at the impending danger and uncertainty.

Thoval, who had followed the security detail, made a sound approximating a sigh. "Your enthusiasm for the unknown remains... unsettling, Lieutenant." Her tone was light, mild, but her eyes were sharp where she gazed beyond the perimeter. "The Portland's sensors were unable to pierce very far into the caves. We'll have to rely on ground scans."

"Yes." She answered taking it as a compliment. "It is interesting how many rocks there are in the galaxy that we cant scan through. But I expect they chose these for a reason and that one is certainly understandable."

Following the Andorian officer off of the shuttle, Amata visually scanned the perimeter, his hand resting on the phaser secured to his hip, he was as alert as a prey animal. With a professional focus, his eyes took in every detail they could see, and he seemed to take a special interest in the performance of the Security team. Though his expression hid whether or not he approved of Grel’s men, the team worked displayed a textbook execution of their task under the direction of the Portland's Master-at-Arms. There were far too many horror stories told among the fleet about Security crewmen dying because of some easily avoidable mistake. Occasionally he would give a twitch at the atypical presence of his earring, though also may have just been guarded, “Thoval's correct,” his voice became temporarily tenser as he spoke, “The caves should be treated with wariness.” He let his point hang, as if it was the only one he needed to make. When he continued, the tension gone and his tone expressed nothing but his factual opinion, “Chief Coren and her team should stay here as a reserve and rear guard, they will be able to hold this ground better as a unit. If things go hot, they will make an adequate fallback point. First team should be more than enough to investigate the tunnels. Besides, we do not want to be perceived as overly aggressive with too large a show of force.”

After he disembarked from 'his' shuttle, Jason took a deep breath and let it out slowly. The lifesupport systems on a starship did an excellent job of 'scrubbing' and recycling the air, but there was nothing like sweetness of the air produced by a natural biosphere. Even with moist smell of jungle decay. Taking in his surroundings, he noticed the tall straight trees festooned with creeping tendrils, so unlike the sprawling oaks that grew near his home and the small arboreal animal that bore some resemblance to monkey. The temperature was fine, but the humidity wasn't to his liking, making him physically uncomfortable. He never thought he'd miss the arid deserts and savage winds of Vulcan. Concentrating on the caves, he remembered a children, how he, Yvette and J.P. had explored the caves near their home and he knew how well caves could offer a respite from inclement or oppressive weather. With tricorder in had and phaser on his hip, Jason was ready to enter they caves as soon as the order was given.

The smell of the tall native trees in the air reminded Parker of Pine trees back home. His eyes turning from Tyrlai and the others towards the area of the caves ahead. Taking out his own engineering tricorder from his suited back-pack he confirmed with the Lieutenant.

"Faint EM mech frequencies to the Northeast Bearing." He spoke quiet enough.

"A good enough choice." Tyrlai said, "lets head over and see how welcoming the locals are." She headed out along the vector Jason had just given her and turned back with a grin. "Phasers on stun and all that."

She picked her way through the trees, closely grown together and tangled in places, and was quickly flanked by first team moving through the jungle like they had trained for it ahead of time. She made a mental note to train for this sort of thing a little better. It was less than two hundred meters when the trees began to open up a bit and they stepped out into a strange makeshift marketplace laid out in a clearing. Small booths with trinkets laid out and arrayed for sale, little awnings placed at points for shade. Three large cave entrances opened into the rock-face at the far end of the clearing placed about seventy meters apart. There were a few attendants staring at the Federation team as it strode out of the thick brush.

Tyrlai looked at the others knotting her brow a bit. "The terrorists seem to have shops."

"Where did you expect the religious to go on vacation," Amata almost asked, as he stepped out in front of the away team and slowly the nearest merchant, doing his best to make himself smaller,his hands up in open to show he was no threat. He couldn't hear what he was about to say, but he had been well briefed on the culture of Gamia III. He did not meet the merchants gaze, sparring only a glance at the man's earring before focusing on the ground, "Forgiveness for this unclean one's arrogance, esteemed merchant, but I have traveled from Bajora with the Federation aliens. They value the wisdom of the Prophets and wish learn what they can from this sacred cave," Amata paused, glancing up to the merchant's chest, letting a beat pass before he continued, "Our party's leader also has an eye for fine wares, as you can tell from the bright dye of her cloth."

"I see," responded the merchant, a stout man with a brightly dyed beard and new if not common clothes, for Gamia at least, "You are forgiven for addressing me in such a way, lowcaste." The eagerness barely hidden in his tone as his eyes locked on Tyrlai, perhaps never seeing the bright purple of her duty shirt, and the way her uniformed shimmered. "Offworlders! All who travel to seek the Prophets wisdom are welcome, just as all merchant welcomes a new customer as a friend." The man did an exaggerated bow, I'm Dawk Gallen, but you must feel free to call me Gallen. My stall and my knowledge is yours."

Tyrlai made a show of bowing back. "Hello good merchant, I have been to many a bazaar on many a world but this one is by far the least expected. It's quite refreshing. Tell me do you have any Kralian silk, something in a violet hue? Or perhaps there is a local variety." She smiled and ran one hand through her hair, it seemed to have an advantageous effect in negotiations, at least since she had become Tyrlai. The others fanned out while Tyrlai engaged as many of the locals as she could in pleasant conversation. She produced a few strips of latinum from her shimmering tunic and began haggling here and there to attract as much attention as possible.

Parker walked up close near to one of the other stands as the crew made it's way slowly but assuredly into the entrance way of the settlement. The various shanty wooden crafted and wheel stalls had a very Victorian look to them. With keen interest Parker let his Engineering Tricorder screen dance to life revealing a few of the trinkets had data chips, and some trinkets were spare energy cells for various makes and models of possible hand weapons. Amata was conversing with the main stall.

Without much notice the Engineer began to let the Tricorder start to download what was on some of the data chips as he went past the stalls slowly. Only a few mega quads of data per a isolinear chip run. "You seem a fine barter! Please come and make me an offer, surely you and your fine ship must be in need of Energy Cells!" The old woman gruffed extending her sand crackled skinned hand at her 'bounty'.

"Not today thank you. Perhaps the..." He looked at the sky above the stars and the evening shadows below "next day." He moved on not wanting to get bogged down.

Jason looked around at the seemingly welcoming merchants and dealers, but he'd been in Starfleet long enough to know that things were seldom as appeared to be. He had a stoic countenance and although he appeared calm, his eyes were vigilant for any signs of danger. Jason may be a Science officer, but he'd been on his share Away missions and was aware of how quickly things could change, often for the worse.

With thoughts similar to Lt. Beauvoir, and it being improper for him to approach the merchants anymore than he already had due to his D'jarra, Amata stayed back from the stalls and settled for keeping an eye on the other members of the away team as they investigated the stalls, wondering at what he could possibly do if an ambush of some kind was sprung on them while they were all scattered. He also made it his business to listen to every word Dawk said to Lt. Zade, half because he was the only natural Bajoran speaker in the group and would hear things others would miss, and half be cause he was hoping for a reason to but the fat merchant in his place. Though the Dawk's only ulterior motive seemed to be profit.

"... and I also have the finest collection of relics of any of the stalls here. In fact I just so happen to have a finger bone of our First Kai, though I can only offer it to peoples of your obvious wealth."

"Oh, I am sure I couldn't take such a precious relic off world. It must stay here but I am sure there is some sort of memento I can take along on my journeys."

Thoval didn't seem to share in his inhibitions, moving freely from stall to stall, offering currency and—more effectively—a smile to pave her way to their good graces. She made no move for her scanners, merely pointed and asked and bent her head close to better hear... and simply for the sake of proximity. While the others turned to technology to try and answer their questions, the Andorian used what skills at diplomacy she had retained from her upbringing—along with a few tricks she had picked up along the way.

The alacrity with which the two-meter tall Andorian simply disappeared from the landing party would have been worrying had her laugh not been audible from time to time. When she reappeared, it was draped with various amulets and a pilgrim under one strong arm.

"Lieutenants ," she called. "This is Havel. Zhe's on a pilgrimage to Gamia III, to a holy site within these caves."

Havel, one of the pebble-skinned humanoids making up the merchants' ranks, shoved Thoval playfully. "I can speak for myself," zhe said, then extracted zhirself from the Andorian's grasp and turned to the rest of the landing party. "Thoval said you have questions. If you're interested in our religion, I may not be the one to ask—"

"Zhe's a recent convert," Thoval provided. Havel gave her an exasperated look before continuing.

"But I can show you around the site, if you're willing to observe the proper protocol." Zhe nodded towards the scanners and weapons the landing party wore. "I'm afraid we don't allow technology further into the caves." Havel seemed sincere, but that didn't speak to the others in the market.

"Lieutenants, I protest, "interrupted the Bajoran Security Officer, forgetting that he had decided to remain quiet, "At least until we have a chance to meet with a recognized leader, and notify the ship."

Tyrlai_Zade

Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:59 pm

Into the Caves part II
by Lt Tyrlai Zade, Lt. Jason Beauvoir, Lt. (JG) Thoval sh'Kor, Lt. (JG) Amata Zan, Lt Parker Hudson, Cmdr Alenis Meru

The Caves
Gamia III
MD 6, morning


Tyrlai appeared and smiled reassuringly at everyone, draping her arms over Amata and Thoval. "We can leave our 'technology' out here with one of the security team. Anyone else we might contact is at the Capitol anyway, it can do us no harm to take in a little spirituality before we return to the ship. By threes, I'm most completely certain that all this peaceful mercantilism is no way a threat to trap our spirits." She pulled her scanner and phaser off her belt and handed them to a security officer and waited for the others to do the same.

Thoval's smile returned as Tyrlai put her arms around the chiefs of tactical and security—or nearly chief, in Amata's case. The Andorian brought up her own arm to grip Amata's shoulder behind the Trill. "Threes indeed," she said, looking at him over Tyrlai's head. "I doubt our human—or Vulcan—colleagues will enjoy the site as we will. They should remain to savor the market." She squeezed his shoulder pointedly before extracting herself as the diplomat had and handing her phaser to the nearest member of security. It was the only technology she bore, if not the only weapon, and she hoped Amata had learned enough of her to guess there was an ushaan-tor strapped to Thoval's chest. If it was only Tyrlai that the Andorian and Bajoran had to protect, Thoval was reasonably certain they would be able to handle themselves, but two more officers in the line of fire would complicate the situation. Chiefs Hudson and Beauvoir would be better served by monitoring the situation from outside the caves with their scanners... and a security detail.

Although he'd rather go into the caves, Jason agreed that Lieutenant sh'Kor's idea was a better plan of action.

Glancing at the Science Officer and realizing he was out voted and out ranked, Amata disentangled himself from the two women, "Understood, protest withdrawn, ma'am," palming his phaser by the control panel and removing it from his waist. Without hesitation, the junior officer handed his phaser over to the nearest security member, grip first, making sure that crewman saw that he set the emitter to fire a wide beam, "And you make sure the rest of the team understands." Amata received a nod; he slapped the crewman's shoulder in support before leaving him him to his task.

Sliding back to the Zade and the towering Andorian, the Bajoran attempted to appear positive, despite hating the plan, "I've been told I should be more spiritual. And I'll more than capable of noting any cultural or linguistic points of interest for Lt.Beauvoir's department."

Tyrlai led the way, suddenly and with purposefully long strides, meaning to be well into the caves before any planned 'honor guard' could assemble and accompany them. To her mild sunrise the others kept up with her usually impossibly long strides easily. The were in the cave in a few seconds and around a bend a few seconds after that, and then around another just for safety's sake. The cave floors were a mix of stone and dirt, the floors clearly leveled by a few centuries of use. She looked back and forth, seeing nothing in the way of hostiles. 'How am I the shortest person on an away team?' She made a mental note to start bringing Thosk on more away teams. "Alright, who palmed a scanner?"

Unzipping his duty jacket, Amata tossed his scanner to Zade, "What was the point of the show out there if we were just going to barge in, ma'am?"

"To test the merchants, to see how much of an act the bazarr was, what percentage of them were military,..." She flipped open the scanner and blinked. "The walls are filled with something giving off strange energy readings. The canners will be limited and I doubt we can beam out."

The Bajoran turned back towards Thoval, who was lagging behind, and tapped his combadge, not wanting to call out, "Keep closer, Blue, I want our eyeballs on each other." It was lucky that the Gamians in the market didn't know that Starfleet kept their communications units on their chests. So much for much for no technology in the caves; Amata would have found it funny if he still had his phaser.

Thoval's lips quirked even as the "honor guard" forced to stay behind her towering form frowned.

"Eyes forward," she reminded the com. The next moment, the first man made his move. It started friendly enough—a sidestep to put him past the Andorian, but Thoval's indifference to the alien's attempt at maneuvering had taken on a provocative note in light of her communication.

"I must attend to your party," the man told Thoval. She glanced down at the pebble-skinned man, scratching her collar with raised brows.

"I am certain they can find their way," the lieutenant said, offensively calm. When the surfacer attempted to move past her, she was ready with an outstretched arm across the increasingly tight tunnels. Her eyebrows climbed yet further. "Why are you in such a hurry?"

There was a moment of tension, in which the lead surfacer smiled, and the two in Thoval's periphery tensed. They did not take an Andorian's increased range of awareness into account.

"Our religious site—" he started. One of the other men aimed a punch to Thoval's kidneys, meant to take her out before the conflict truly began. She turned with practiced ease. The hand that had lingered at her collar dipped within her uniform, gripping the ushaan-tor even as her her unarmed hand shot out to catch the attacker's hand. He was shoved unceremoniously into the speaker, who was cut off with a squawk audible even to Amata and Tyrlai as Thoval slammed them both into the wall.

The third member of the guard was left to flounder as Thoval raised her ushaan-tor. Even if, at the last second, she chose to favor the blunt side of the weapon, he did not flounder long.

"Pink, watch your blood," Thoval warned Amata in between labored breaths. There were still two men she had to keep off of her colleagues' backs, gunning for a cause Starfleet still did not understand. She had no idea what lie ahead, nor what the colleagues they had left behind might be facing.

Tyrlai turned with the scanner and led the way deeper into the caver, confidant in what she saw of Thoval so far that there would be no followers. The four who came around the far bend just as she had arrived were another matter. Tyrlai spun and pushed two of them stumbling towards the large Bajoran, the third caught her, snarling in triumph until he realized whom had caught whom. He was flipped tail over torso and kicked in the head before he hit the ground in a silent heap. Tyrlai turned smiling, her eyes glittering as she took in the others.

The Reptilian was flanked by six more guards. He lifted his disruptor and shot her in the abdomen knocking her with a sharp yelp onto the hard packed dirt of the cave floor.

Slowly walking outside of the caves on the surface Parker had the chance to take a look at his tricorder findings of the data sticks he had scanned earlier. Even though the information on them had been wiped and erased for new use and sale on the markets, the federation tricorder could still read the remnants. What had appeared on them were ship coordinates and vessel armament detail and cargo listings. A trade of black market weapons. This was typical he thought.

Looking around he flipped closed the tricorder and he then sat down near a fire side where there were a bunch of the merchants holding a conversation. When Parker sat down the conversation slowed and stopped. They were not too happy with him being there; not that he could say otherwise they had dropped in on one of the Bajoran sects most religious of properties. The caves however he thought was a bad idea. What more could be observed from deep beneath the rock tunnels, no technology nor weapons. Then the information that he had come across the old merchant wiped data sticks. He didn't like this. Perhaps Parker could have brought then down a few hockey sticks to high stick them with in the caves.

Once the others were gone. Jason ordered the Security officers to set up a defensive parameter and remain vigilant. This done, he set his set his tri-corder to scan for potential weapons' signatures as he watched Parker attempt to make friends with the merchants. The Science officer didn't trust these 'vendors' any further than he called throw them on a high-gravity planet. He kept his fingers near the phaser on his hip.

"Kosst," yelled Amata as he stepped and threw a straight right at the first unbalanced man, like the kiai of a vulgar mouth blackbelt. The instant the Bajoran's pointer and middle knuckles sharply collided with the man's temple, he repeated the move with his left, crumpling the second man almost in time with the first. They needed to finish this quick so they could fall back and reinforce Thoval.

Amata began to move towards his next opponent, until he saw disruptor's flash and heard the Trill call out. As the Reptilian brought the weapon to bear on him, Amata had just enough time to slap his commbadge, his plan had changed, "Withdraw!"

The blast caught him on his right arm and knocked him to the ground, rendering the Bajoran unconscious.

Back in the merchant camp, all hell suddenly broke loose. Jason's tri-corder beeped, and he dived for cover as a blast of energy struck where he'd previously been standing. From his cover, the Vulcanoid watched as Parker and the security took cover from the energy blasts fired by several of the dealers.

Huddled behind a vacant stall, Jason tapped his commbadge as things exploded around him. "Beauvoir to Portland, we're pinned down and we're taking fire. I request assistance."


-- USS Portland, ready room --



"I hear you," replied Alenis in response to the emergency message that was automatically directed to not just the bridge but her comm badge as well. "Hold out as long as you can, I'll be leading a team down there. And stay in communication." Standing up from her seat, she looked around the room. "Everyone, these negotiations will have to wait. Major," she said, turning to Judith, "can you take a shuttle and provide some air support?"

"With pleasure" Judith said, already on her way to the door after hearing of the surrounding of the Lieutenant.

User avatar
Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
Commanding Officer
Posts: 552
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:33 am
Contact: Website Skype

Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:00 pm

Failure to Compile (Fixing Alenis, Part I)
Holodeck Two, USS Portland
MD6, 0930
Authors: Ensign Sera Williams, Ensign Nikki Barclay (played by Alenis Meru)



"Come on, compile," muttered Nikki Barclay as she stared at the display screen on the holodeck console. She had spent hours staring at the damaged boot sequence in the hologram's programming, trying to somehow get her to boot up. She had been up all night, not having gotten any sleep since the incident in sickbay. Sera had come to help a couple hours previously, but had presently stepped out to fetch something from the replicator for the two of them. An extra strong coffee kept Nikki going into the morning, but she was starting to feel the effects of not getting a wink of sleep in the last 28 hours and drinking too much coffee on an empty stomach.

A silhouette, shaped vaguely like the captain, appeared in the center of the holodeck. "Yes!" exclaimed Nikki. "Just--"

"Failure to to compile." As quickly as it appeared, the silhouette disappeared again. "Program corrupted."

"No!" she shouted as she brought her fists down on the console. She must have heard the computer's words dozens of times in the past 12 hours. After the twentieth or thirtieth time, it started to feel like the computer was mocking her in its dull, robotic voice. Failure to compile, programm corrupted. Nikki was about to lose it if she heard that phrase one more time.

Alone in the holodeck, she walked over to the corner, sat down, and began crying. The EMH was a sentient being, and to Nikki, it was starting to look like one she couldn't save. Her sobbing was interrupted, however, by the whooshing sound of a door opening.

Nikki walked through the door to the holodeck, toolbox in hand. Never sure what to expect when walking into an occupied holodeck, Sera was a little startled to see the default black with yellow outlined squares. In the corner, Sera saw Nikki crying.

Her heart went out to the young woman. The experiences they shared on DS9 had formed the beginnings of a friendship, at least in Sera's mind. Sera slowly walked over to the other woman. Knowing better than to touch her, Sera simply leaned against the wall beside and let herself slide to a sitting position beside Nikki.

"I want to save the sentient being just as much as you do. While I do have holographic experience, I'm no Barclay. Let me know if I can help you in anyway." With a smile, Sera added, "Don't worry, I didn't bring any sand peas with me."

"We just need to find a way to recover the corrupted files in her boot sequence," replied Nikki as she wiped away the tears. "I tried running a decryption algorithm but..." Nikki trailed off as her eyes wandered down to the sandwiches -- individually wrapped, at her insistence -- in Sera's hand. "Is that a bagel with cream cheese and lox?" she asked, her eyes going wide as her stomach rumbled.

Sera took one of the sandwiches Nikki had her eye on and handed it to her hungry companion. "Of course, and it's all yours."

Sera then unwrapped on of the ham and cheese sandwiches and began to eat. While they waited on Brad, Sera looked toward Nikki and asked, "How have you been since coming aboard? I've had a little trouble adjusting, but I think I'm getting it. Besides, with every micron we move forward, I'm farther from home than any other Williams has ever been. It's kind of mind blowing when I start thinking about it."

"Yeah," replied Nikki. "Not my family. My mom and dad didn't like to leave earth, but, well... you've heard about my uncle." Nikki let out a deep sigh as she unwrapped her sandwich. Cream cheese and lox was her favourite, and it was a recipe she was known to replicate every morning at precisely 7:13 while she was at the academy. "That's the thing. Everyone knows about my uncle. It's hard trying to establish myself on a new ship while still living in his shadow."

She couldn't blame Nikki for feeling the way she did. Sera's father had been a botanist at the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, which had been almost a family calling for generations. "I know what you mean, but I respect you for trying. My father is still angry that I didn't take up the family business of plants. It's one of the reasons why I chose a career in Starfleet."

"Plants?" asked Nikki, raising an eyebrow. "You mean like a florist?"

With a quick smile, Sera replied, "Yes, like flowers. I suppose I should count myself lucky that I wasn't named Lilly."

"That sounds nice, working with flowers all day," replied Sera. Staring up at the console screen, she took a bite of her sandwich. "Must be boring though," she added. "That's the thing with Starfleet, you never know where you're going to go and what you're going to do next. Like... trying to save a sentient replica of the captain."

Sera replied, "Very true. I suppose we should get started... we do have a life to save after all." Williams crumpled her sandwich wrap and gave it a toss into the disposal. Somehow... luck probably, she made it into the trash disposal. She knew somewhere in her mind the atoms and molecules of the wrapping and crumbs were being converted to energy, ready to become the next tomato soup or power coupling. AS she retieved her toolkit, she added, "Dr. Silverton will be joining us?"

"I hope so," replied Nikki as she placed the half-eaten sandwich on top of her tool box before walking over to the console. "Here's the problem," she said, pointing towards the screen. "The transfer wasn't quite completed before the commander... you know... shot the console." Swiping the screen, she pulled up a graphic showing the places in the holo-matrix where data was lost. "The physical image and personality matrix were slightly damaged, and if we boot her up we can diagnose and repair most of that. But we've also lost large blocks of data from her boot sequence, and that's what I've been trying to restore all night."

Standing beside Nikki, Sera gave the screen a look. "I... think I have an idea," Sera began. "The physical image and personality should be fairly quick fixes. What if we were to 'transplant' data from other holograms to plug into the holes in the boot start-up sequence. It wouldn't be as good as the original coding, but it should work... or at least point us to where to start. We could even run it on a simulation before attempting it on the sentient program." Throwing a quick glance back to Nikki, Sera added, "You wouldn't happen to have a journal of Voyager's EMH programming handy would you?"

"I think I have one in my quarters. You know, light reading," she explained, in a tone almost like one would use when confessing to something embarrassing. "I can go get--" freezing in place suddenly, she was just struck with an idea. "Hmmmmmm," she thought. "Maybe..."

Sera paused almost in place, she didn't want to mess up Nikki's train of thought. "Got something, Nikki?"

To be continued...
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:01 pm

Another Annoying Hologram (Fixing Alenis, Part II)
Holodeck Two, USS Portland
MD6, 0930
Authors: Lieutenant (J.G.) Brad Silverton, Ensign Sera Williams, Ensign Nikki Barclay (played by Alenis Meru)


Last time, on Star Trek: Portland


Sera paused almost in place, she didn't want to mess up Nikki's train of thought. "Got something, Nikki?"


And now, the continuation...


"Well, you mentioned Voyager and it got me thinking..." Nikki could barely contain her excitement. "I was fascinated with Voyager's journey, and I've read everything there is to read about their time in the Delta Quadrant. Anyways, about two or three years into their journey, the Doctor was suffering from a progressive cascade failure. To fix it, they grafted his program and that of the EMH Diagnostic Program together. If we have the same program on board, maybe we can import his boot sequence into this hologram."

Sera paused to consider Nikki's plan. Nodding her head, Sera said, "You know something, that may just work." Sera then turned her attention to the computer, "Computer, activate the EMH boot loader program and load the data into the console in the Main Holodeck."

"Files corrupted. Do you wish to continue?"

"Yes!" exclaimed Nikki, crowding around the console. "Now activate the boot loader program for the EMH Diagnostic Hologram, and--"

Nikki was interrupted by a flash of light in the middle of the room. "Please state the nature of the holographic emergency," stated a holographic representation of Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, clad in a Starfleet engineering uniform. Aside from a few grey hairs and yellow instead of blue on his uniform, he looked exactly like the EMH Mark I

"I... I..." Nikki froze, realizing she must have tripped a subroutine that accidentally activated the diagnostic problem. "We..."

Just then, Brad walked in through the holodeck doors. "Sorry I've been away for so long. There was an minor accident down in the cargo bay that... oh. You got the EMH fixed enough to load. What about the captain?"

Sera gave Brad a nervous shrug. "It isn't exactly fixed. It I remember history correctly, Voyager had this problem 10 or so years ago while they were in the Delta Quadrant? That looks like the Diagnostic EMH program."

She then brushed back a strand of hair that had come loose somewhere during the day, then continued, "From what I remember, they had to merge the two programs in order to fix the problem."

"Merging sounds awfully disruptive. I know you two have been at this a while now. Are there any other ideas to try? Do we have any time limits involved with the software corruption keeping her intact? Seeing as we are looking at an AI...who is a member of the crew whose care and health is my responsibility...I'm fearing having to make a medical decision here that I don't want to make." The tone was uncharacteristically straight forward coming from Brad.

"Software corruption?" asked the diagnostic program. "How did her software get damaged?"

"I was transferring her program to the holodeck when the executive officer shot the EMH console. The transfer wasn't complete before he shot it."

"Shot the EMH console?!" exclaimed the diagnostic program, raising his voice. "HER program? What have you done with my EMH!"

"Uhhhh..." Intimidated by the angry hologram, Nikki began stammering. "We had to... Well, not me, but other crewmen... we, uh..."

Brad jumped in with the diagnostic program, "Well I see where the EMH gets its attitude. It was damaged in an accident but that's not whats important. Before the damage set in the EMH files were transferred here for safe keeping. The files have been corrupted for about 18 hours now and I have concerns we won't be able to recover the EMH's personality and sentience. So... can you fix it or not?"

"Let me see the extent of the damage," said the diagnostic hologram as he walked over towards the console, shaking his head at the stupid things that organics do. At least he wasn't activated often, unlike many unfortunate EMHs. Or the seven years of hell the Voyager EMH went through. Pulling up the program, he quickly sped through various matrices, diagrams, and lines of code. "The logical thing to do would be to simply delete this abomination you created by messing around with the work of Dr. Zimmerman and install the latest model of the EMH. Quite frankly, I'm amazed that you're still running a piece of technology as obsolescent as the EMH Mark I in a modern... whatever class of ship this is... in 2391."

"No!" exclaimed Nikki.

"No?" asked the diagnostic program.

Yup thought Brad. Annoying just like the EMH. "Exactly as she said. No. We only need it repaired. Do not under any circumstances alter or delete what you are calling an abomination. Are we clear?"

The hologram sighed deeply. Organics were so sentimental. "I suppose you can copy the boot sequence from my program. That should at least solve your little failure to activate problem. However, you have significant file corruption here, here, and here," he said as he pointed at the display on the console. "You'll have to repair it manually, and some data may be lost for good. However..." The EMH paused and let out another exasperated sigh "...given that the EMH is an advanced hologram with the ability to learn and evolve, a damaged personality matrix will be repaired over time as the program interacts with it's surroundings."

Brad immediately responded the second the hologram stopped talking, "That's an interesting way of describing memory and personality loss. How bad are we talking about here?"

"So what you're saying is that once we repair the boot loader, the EMH itself will be able to repair its own personality given the correct environmental influences?" Sera asked. From experience, she knew that certain holograms enjoyed appearing more capable than the sentient beings it served with, though she was also confident she would get a good tongue lashing for asking it the same thing it had just stated.

"The damage is minor," explained the exasperated EMH. "You will have to do some repairs to its subroutines manually. But while this program may have some long-term memory loss and slight personality changes, through social interaction it should develop a complete personality matrix. And, of course, you will have to repair the damage to its physical matrix manually." He took a deep breath -- something he always thought was inefficient in his program. After all, if he doesn't need oxygen, why does he need to breathe? But, apparently some egghead thought that humanoids had a negative reaction to things in what they call the uncanny valley, so they installed a whole bunch of useless "features" into his program.

"Fortunately," he continued, "the first step is deactivating my program so you can copy my boot sequence into that of the EMH. I'm sure between the three of you, you have enough almost enough talents to make one competent engineer, so it shouldn't be too hard."

Almost as the hologram was finishing his instructions and latest degrading comment, Sera hurriedly said, "Computer, deactivate the Diagnostic Hologram." With a satisfied smile, Sera looked at the other two in the room, "I have to say, I enjoyed that more than I should've." With a light clearing of the throat, Sera continued, "Computer, copy the boot sequence into the modified EMH program."

"I'm sure he is as well," replied Nikki. Some holograms were just curmudgeonly and didn't like to be turned on. The early marks of the EMH had that reputation, and no doubt the diagnostic programs would have had that reputation as well if they were used as often instead of just sitting in a mostly unused corner of the ship's database. As the computer worked, she returned to her sandwich, managing to take a few bites before a chime alerted her that the operation was complete. "So, shall we turn her on?"

"Yes lets proceed. I'm concerned with the part of her having to relearn through experience... so basically memory loss. Who knows how bad. Possibly just a few hours. Possibly everything and she comes out pre-captain, pre-starfleet academy, pre-teen infact. Regardless... go ahead."

"All right." Nikki took a deep breath. "Computer, activate EMH."

To be continued...
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:02 pm

Activated Again (Fixing Alenis, Part II)
Holodeck Two, USS Portland
MD6, 1000
Authors: Lieutenant (J.G.) Brad Silverton, Ensign Sera Williams, Ensign Nikki Barclay & Holo-Alenis (played by Alenis Meru)


Last time, on Star Trek: Portland


"All right." Nikki took a deep breath. "Computer, activate EMH."


And now, the continuation...


In the center of the room appeared the holographic recreation of the captain again, complete with dark hair and a cocktail dress. "What's going on?" asked holo-Alenis, immediately raising her left hand to her head, only to realize that it wasn't there. "What happened to my hand!?" she exclaimed.

"Computer, recreate the left hand of the EMH using a mirror image of the right hand," called out Nikki.

Alenis watched as her hand appeared in front of her before her very eyes. It was unsettling to say the least. "So," she said, looking at the three junior officers in front of her, "would someone care to explain to me what is going on?"

Brad tried to ease the news to Alenis, well the holographic version, but they seemed similar, well apart from the missing hand. "There was a slight problem with the computer that you were stored in and we had to repair your files. How are you feeling? What is the last thing you remember?"

"You deactivated my program," said the hologram, thinking back to what felt like only a couple minutes ago. "You said I was going to be able to speak to the captain. Where is she?!"

"Yes I said that and you still will. I promise you that." Brad was fairly relieved. She remembers the last conversation that they had which was a good sign. Perhaps there wasn't any damage at all. Or perhaps it wasn't purely chronological but bits and pieces here and there. Time would tell. While Brad had basic psychological needs training, this went far beyond that. She'd need real help. With Arvel still recovering in sick bay for another day plus the complications of his and the captain's relationship he wouldn't be the best pick. The assistant chief counselor would be best. What was her name again? Delainey? He'd have to go talk to her afterwards.

"The Captain is currently down on planet on an away mission. When she returns you two can talk things out. For now we just wanted to be sure everything was ok with your programming."

"I feel... okay, I guess. If it's not too much trouble, I'd rather not be turned off. Would you mind transferring me to the captain's office? It's as much mine as it is hers, and maybe I can help her with some of her personnel reports." She glanced down at her new holographic body. "And can someone help me change into something a little more comfortable and less revealing?"

"Sure," Sera said. Her fingers quickly entered commands into the holographic control panel. With a quick disturbance with the visual representation of the EMH Captain as the emitters adjusted to the new commands. When the disturbance faded, the hologram was wearing a regulation starfleet uniform of the command division without the rank pips.

"Thank you, that's much better," replied Alenis. "Computer, transfer EMH program to deck one, captain's office," she added, testing out whether her voice commands would still work. Miraculously, they did -- apparently the computer wasn't able to distinguish between the voice of the captain and the voice of her imitator. And with a polite nod, she disappeared from the holodeck, leaving Brad, Nikki, and Sera behind.
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:02 pm

Settling in...
Captain's Office, USS Portland
MD6, 1045


For the better part of an hour, holo-Alenis wandered aimlessly about her office. Or what would be her office, if she weren’t just a holographic clone of herself. She had tried sitting down, standing up, pacing, and even working on personnel reports, but nothing could get her mind off the nagging thoughts about the meaning of her own existence. Am I alive, or am I just programmed that way, she wondered. Do I have free will or am I just a slave to my programming? Did I have free will before?

And what of Jason? Her feelings for him were complicated. Does he know of the deception? Does he know that she even still exists?

In her confusion, she had even brewed herself a cup of tea – a force ofhabit – before realizing that holograms don’t drink tea.

As she paced the room for the hundredth time, she was interrupted by the door to her office opening.

“Captain!” gasped Yeoman al-Nablusi. “I… I’m sorry, I thought you were on the planet.”

“I’m not the captain,” replied Alenis in a noticeably unenthusiastic tone. She turned towards the yeoman, revealing the lack of pips on her collar. “I mean… it’s hard to explain.”

“Ma’am?” asked the yeoman in a confused voice.

For a moment, Alenis considered explaining. But how does one explain to a poor yeoman that his captain has been replaced with a hologram originally designed for erotic purposes? There’s no standard Starfleet procedure for that.

“Just… never mind.” She flashed him a smile. “Would you mind going to my quarters and fetching Ko-ko for me? And perhaps my belaklavion?”

Abdel saw from the look in Alenis’ eyes that she wasn’t asking. She was begging. With a polite nod, he turned and left.


15 minutes later

With a birdcage in his hands, and a belaklavion on his back, yeoman Abdel al-Nablusi made his way through the corridors and up to deck one, Ko-ko squawking all the way. Upon entering the captain’s office, he briskly put the cage on her desk. “She’s all yours,” he said, relieved to get the squawking bird out of his hair.

“Thank you, crewman,” she said, her attention focused solely on Ko-ko. The bird looked up at her, a puzzled expression on her face, before letting out a loud squawk. She could tell that this wasn’t the real Alenis.

“And the belaklavion?” interrupted the yeoman.

“Lean it up against my desk; you’re dismissed,” replied Alenis as she reached for the latch on Ko-ko’s cage. The bird backed away to the far side of her cage, recoiling in fear at the stranger who appeared to be the woman who cared for her.

Alenis frowned at Ko-ko’s reaction. It was just one more reminder that she didn’t even have an identity of her own; that she was nothing more than a copy of the real Alenis. Dejected, she buried her head in her hands.

But as she looked back up, she spotted something out of the corner of her eye. A couple mint leaves, from the tea that she had made but had been unable to drink. Taking them in one hand, she opened Ko-ko’s cage with another. The brightly-coloured bird instantly darted towards the treat, and started pecking away at the leaves in Alenis’ hand.

“Awwww, Ko-ko.” Luring the bird out onto her desk, she petted her gently. “I know I’m not the real Meru, but let’s be friends anyways.”
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:03 pm

The Rescue
The Caves, Gamia III Surface
MD6, 0930
Authors: Capt. Alenis Meru, Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Rouse, Lt. Parker Hudson, Lt. Jason Beauvoir,



"Captain, this is not only unorthodox, but this is a violation of Starfleet regulations, which clearly state that a captain should not be leading an away team in a dangerous--"

"Shut up, Grel." Alenis knew about the regulations, but she didn't care. Arvel would probably have a fit if he knew she were putting herself in danger. He'd accuse her of having some sort of death wish. Maybe he would be right. But someone threatened her crew, and she couldn't stand for that. She'd have to take care of things personally. "Okay, we're getting close," said Alenis in a harsh whisper, just loud enough to be heard over the phaser fire a couple hundred metres away. "Everyone on me. Acquire targets, but don't fire until I give the signal. Stun settings only."

While the phaser rifles they carried with them were powerful weapons, for a team of four people to overpower the Gamians and rescue the away team would still be a challenge. But Alenis had a secret weapon. Streaking through the sky towards her location was a little close air support, courtesy of the Rouses.

[Shuttlecraft Belvedere]


Tim grabbed hold on the back on one of the vacant seats as the shuttle was taking a abrupt turn. "Hey, take it easy will you,"

Judith rolled her eyes at her brothers comment. "Will you just shut up and take a seat. They didn't put those things in here as decoration. You're making me nervous with your continues walking around." Quickly looking at him she continued. "You did get the memo that you'll be manning the shuttles tactical console, right."

She didn't hear what he replied, bu had a feeling she didn't want to know. She opened a special commchannel with the away team's earpiece. "The present is all wrapped and ready for the party." Tim looked at her after the unusual message. "If they can fire the kind of advanced torpedo, as they did when we arrived, they probably have a way to listen in on our communications."

[Gamia III Surface]

Spotting the shuttle in the sky above, Alenis and her team quickly closed in on the location of the weapons fire. Jason and Parker were trying to hold them off, but they were pinned down and couldn't hold out forever. Fortunately, they were able to get into a good position on the edge of a clearing. "It's now or never," muttered Alenis as she lined up a shot on a tall red-headed Gamian with what appeared to be a disruptor rifle of Cardassian origin. "I'll take the redhead," she said, staring down the sights of her rifle at him. "Open fire," she added, squeezing the trigger.

Alenis' first shot hit, knocking down her target. Shooting was just like riding a bike; one never forgets. The other Gamians around her target ducked for cover, the sustained automatic fire of four Starfleet phaser rifles pinning them down. "I need to get to Hudson and Beauvoir," said Alenis. "Cover me."

"This is an unnecessary risk, captain!" shouted Grel.

"Shut up and open fire," shot back Jita, laying down some suppressing fire.

Sprinting towards Jason and Parker, Alenis dodged a few potshots and ran between the stalls. She was almost there when she saw out of the corner of her eye two Gamians on a rooftop manning a fully automatic heavy disruptor support weapon and lining her up in their sights. Just in the nick of time, she was able to duck behind a stall, the space she occupied only an instant ago being filled with disruptor fire. Pinned down, she decided that now was as good as a time as any to call for support. "Belvedere, I need some support here! Take out the guys on the roof!"

[Shuttlecraft Belvedere]


"Target locked" Tim said. "when are we in range?" he asked his sister.

"Almost, " she flew the shuttle away from their hiding behind the treeline in to view of the target. "Ready,"

"Wait," Tim suddenly said. "Do we have permission to fire?

"Your kidding me right," Judith said in shock. "Now you're thinking about permission.

"Never mind," He fired the first shot, quickly followed by a second. Both were a direct hit and sent the assailants flying through the air. "Gotcha" he said with a smile and raised his hand towards his sister for a high five.

She accepted and chuckled. Glad to see Tim smile, really smile. "Who next?"

[Gamia III Surface]


Jason let a brief smile grace his lips as he saw Meru.... Captain Alenis and the others coming to the rescue.

Seeing an opening when two Gamians broke cover to get better shots at the rescue party, the science officer fired twice. The first shot hit its target, while the second appeared to go wild, but actually hit a portable stove, which exploded. The blast blowing several Gamians off their feet.

Hearing the explosion and with the Gamians on the rooftop who had her pinned vanquished, Alenis stood up from her position, fired off a few shots at a group taking cover behind a stack of crates down the street, and sprinted towards where Jason and Parker had been taking cover. "Lieutenants, report. Are you all right? What happened to the rest of the team?"

"Captain, on our way to the caves, we came upon this settlement. The occupants seemed friendly, even providing a guide to help us explore the caves. They claimed the caves to be a holy site and refused to allow us to take scanning equipment or energy weapons into them. Ensign Amata objected to this, but he was overruled. Lieutenant Zade then led the others into the caves, leaving myself, Lieutenant Hudson and the security team as a rear guard." Jason reported. "Moments after their departure the Gamians became hostile, opening fire on us, Specialist Rollins was injured and we've been pinned down ever since."

When Lt. Beauvoir had finished his report to the Captain a surprise of four Gamians broke away from one of the merchant stalls that had not been checked. The stall was a checkpoint for the entrance to the caves and had not been adequately checked out due to the commotion. They had begun a run towards the east side of the hill top of magmite rock surrounding the caves. Of the four retreating men, two of them had long dirty scraggly hair along with animal bones as necklaces mercenary-type. The other two Gamians were slender females.

Looking at them Parker narrowed his eyes as he pulled out his over used tricorder... "Captain, I've had a chance to download a lot from these stalls." He gestured for Alenis and Jason to lower their disruptor and phaser.

"Plenty of time to put something into the oven..." He muttered to his self uploading an engineering prefix code detonating one of the four Gamian's running away, their ion grenaide exploding when Parker set it off. A bright flash of orange and red, along with magmite rock raining down upon some of the stalls below.

"I love to cook." He smiled flipping it shut.

"Dinner's just about ready," replied Alenis as she popped up from behind cover to blast away at a small group armed with various pistols and rifles, stunning two of them. "We have to get into the caves." Glancing over, she figured that she could make it. Ducking down again behind the stall, she tapped her comm badge. "Jita, Grel, cover us. Belevedere, you know what to do. We're going in."

"Captain, I must protest...." The Security Chief began, but then stopped as he knew it would do no good. "Aye, ma'am." He replied instead.

Jason collected his things and got ready to move out.

Seeing the Belvedere swoop down for another attack run and Jita and Grel putting out an impressive volume of cover fire, Alenis clutched her rifle tightly and peeked out from where they had taken cover. "All right, on my mark, we all make a run for the cave as fast as we can."

[Shuttlecraft Belvedere]


"You got it?" she asked just to check if Tim had seen the away team leaving their cover.

"Of course, can you fly us sideways to the team. I like to use both front and aft energy weapons." He quinced his eyes. This attack demanded accuracy. The away team was very near the area he targeted. He pushed away the thought that he possibly hit one of their own, instead of the Gamian rebels. Seeing the Captain and her team approaching even closer he switched the weapons setting to single beam instead of wide spread. "Keep an eye on the rooftops and such?" he said to Judith. "Specially the places that are out of sight of the away team."

"Already doing that," Judith replied annoyed. "I know you don't want to know this, but I've done this before. I used to be a fighter pilot and a Marine, remember."

"I'm perfectly aware of why you are taking tons of painkillers a day and why you should be using a cane to walk." He threw back.

She wanted to sneer something back, but didn't after realising what he said. She had never told him about the last accident. Not wanting to go into that now she remained silent and focused on the surface.

[Gamia III Surface]


With phasers and disruptor blasts flying everywhere, Alenis figured that now was as good of a time as any. "Go!" she shouted, standing up and firing off a few shots from her rifle before turning and sprinting towards the open cave...
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:03 pm

...but who will rescue the rescuers?
The Caves, Gamia III Surface
MD6, 0930
Authors: Capt. Alenis Meru, Lt. Parker Hudson, Lt. Jason Beauvoir,


Last Time on Star Trek: Portland...


With phasers and disruptor blasts flying everywhere, Alenis figured that now was as good of a time as any. "Go!" she shouted, standing up and firing off a few shots from her rifle before turning and sprinting towards the open cave.


And now, the continuation...

The Belvedere was a good source of laying down a flanking target for the three of them. It lay down fire for an expedient retreat if needed, or when the Gamian's returned. Parker knew they would not want to be blocked from their entrance of the cave without a way to exit which was something he feared.

Only weapon on him Parker had was his type-two hand phaser which he fired off towards the surrounding entrance to the main cave creating as much cover for them as they could in their semi base rush manoeuvre.

Reaching up to the mouth the of cave entrance Hudson took out his hand held flash light and began examining the foot marks of the Gamian's and the Federation foot steps. The lighting in the cave passageways was dimming by the moment. "Looks like we don't have a lot of time."

As they entered the comparative safety of the caves, Jason listened and watched for pursers. It was cool and dark within the caves, illuminated only by dying flame torches and Parker's flashlight. The Science officer could smell, the burnt particulates from the torches along with strong incense smoke and the organic smell of dampness coming from deeper in the cave system.

To Alenis he said. "Captain, with your permission, I'll guard our rear, not that doubt the Grel's people and the Belvedere to keep the attackers off our backs, but these caves are unknown to us and there could be many crevices and blind paths which could be utilised for the purposes of ambush."

If Alenis noticed the double entendre about guarding one's rear, she didn't acknowledge it. "Good. Set your phasers to a heavy stun setting. If you see anyone armed, shoot first and ask questions later." She pressed a button on her rifle, activating the tactical flashlight, and shining it into the various crevasses. "Jason, Parker, if either of you can figure out which way they went, it would be most appreciated."

Walking along the side of the walls Parker used his tricorder to narrow in on the heat signature of the recent passing personnel from the Portland. Grounding his sensors of the tricorder and laying down a heat marker pathway he started to lead the way, so to speak for the team. He didn't say anything as to keep it quiet.

Their first large narrow corridor led into calamite rock, before taking a left and then another short left, before a fork in the passageways. The dim light in the hallways could only be lit enough to show the recent Starfleet boot footprints in the sand before they had dropped off... They had went in with the heat signatures around 1.7 kms before reaching a bright red, yellow and blue field from top to bottom of the hallway. What was on the tricorder had seemed to stop them dead in their tracks. "There seems Captain to be a bright holoessence field blocking us from any further." He showed Alenis the tricorder.

In a fit of rage, Alenis fired a couple of shots from her phaser rifle at the edge of the field where it met the wall of the hallway, to no effect. Her crew was behind that field, which meant she had to get through it. "Lieutenant, do you have anything in that tricorder which we can use to get through this thing," in a voice that made no room for confusion on which answer she wanted to hear.

He looked at the shimmering field blocking them and then at Beauvoir. It was not like he had his engineer's tool kit with him. Decoupling the coil scanner from the tricorder and then placing the microdyne coupler at the bottom right corner saddled along the energy field. Turning to the Captain Parker said "Ma'am when your ready would you please shoot at level three." He pointed to the coupler on the ground.

Standing back far enough with the away team, Alenis aimed carefully and fired. In a shower of sparks, the field went down. "Come on, lets go," she shouted, quickly making her way down the hallway. But as she passed through where the field was, she was hit with a sudden stabbing pain in her abdomen. "Oww," she groaned, leaning over in pain, losing her grip on her phaser rifle and leaving it dangling by its sling.

"Halt!" Wincing in pain, Alenis looked up just in time to see two nervous Gamians armed with hand phasers blocking their path. Recognizing her, one of them gasped. "It's her!" he exclaimed. "You, come with us!"

Seeing the Captain hold herself into her chest and fall into her pain was very concerning. Parkers reasoning was not to follow through with these two getting lost in the caves, they would never get out. Slowly getting up as the Gamian had ordered their directions Parker didn't like that, knowing behind him was Lt. Beauvoir with a rifle his self still aimed...

"GGNnnHH!" Hudson swung his Engineer tool belt slamming the metallic accessories of durinium alloy into the face of the first Gamian. The Gamian holding his face in pure pain. The injured Gamian took the butt of his large disruptor Parker didn't see from inside of his shroud and swinging it back 75 degrees hammering him into the wall and forehead.

Dropping to the ground the embarrassing dizziness faded then looking to Alenis who was still tender doubled in pain. "Alright... lets try it their way."

Lt's Beauvoir, Hudson, Captain Alenis and the Gamians headed forward. Hopefully bringing them to the others.

"Why didn't you shoot when I hit him?" Parker asked Beauvoir.

"I didn't believe it was a prudent action to take." Jason replied with little emotion. He knew this would be very little comfort to the engineer, but at least now there was a better chance they'd be reunited with the others. Besides there captor wouldn't expect him to do anything so wouldn't be watching him as carefully as they were Hudson and wouldn't expect his attack, when it came.

As they were led down deeper and deeper into the caves at gunpoint, Alenis' pain only started feeling more and more intense and spread throughout her body. Down in the caves, the naturally carved caves and rough-hewn walls gradually gave way to a finely constructed underground temple carved out of stone. Carvings on the walls were in Bajoran, but an old script. Alenis might have been able to decipher it, had she had more time and not been in severe pain. But even considering for five hundred years of separation, something didn't look right about it.

When they entered the temple, the Gamian escorts exchanged nods with some hooded sentries who joined the party. Soon, Alenis, Beauvoir and Hudson were surrounded by six guards as they were taken deeper and deeper underground. Glancing at them, Alenis could see that the deeper they went, the more the ruby red jewelry on their traditional earrings began to glow.

Down a few more flights of stairs, they finally arrived at the bottom of the temple. In the middle of a large room lit by torches, with her back towards the entrance, was a woman in a much more ornate robe and headgear than the rest. Flanking her on either side were about a dozen others, all wearing purple robes and chanting in ancient Bajoran. In front of the woman in the center was a low altar made of an obsidian-like material about a four feet square and a few inches high. Beyond that was a large stone torch with a fire that seemed to get more intense as the party from the Portland entered. And even further beyond that was a cliff, with the glow of fires and swirling magma emanating from below.

"Captain Alenis," said the woman, he voice smug and confident. "It's a pleasure to see you again," she added as she turned around, revealing her identity as that of Kai Sellra.
Capt. Alenis Meru
Commanding Officer
USS Portland

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Alenis Meru
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Re: Mission Three: "Pilgrims"

Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:04 pm

Revelations
The Caves, Gamia III
MD6, 1000 hrs

Last time, on Star Trek: Portland…


"Captain Alenis," said the woman, he voice smug and confident. "It's a pleasure to see you again," she added as she turned around, revealing her face.


And now, the continuation...


“Sellra,” gasped Alenis, instantly recognizing the woman as the one she had butted heads with for the past few days. But what was she doing down here? As she stepped forward, she felt another pang of pain in her abdomen and nearly doubled over in pain. Two guards rushed to her side, grabbing her by each arm, stopping her from making any threatening moves.

“That’s Kai Sellra to you.”

“What have you done with my crew!”

The Kai slowly sauntered towards Alenis. “Your crew are fine. They are simply being held for the time being. Though, I suppose they may make fine vessels.”

“But you said--” protested one of the robed Vedeks. With a wave of the hand, the Kai had him silenced.

“Vessels?” asked Alenis. She was seriously sick and tired of the Kai speaking in riddles.

The Kai let out a laugh. “You really don’t know, do you? After all this? The prophecy said that the wanderer would not be wise, but I didn’t expect you to be this ignorant. The carvings, the sculptures, the scripts, the caves of fire--”

“Kosst.” The realization hit Alenis like a ton of bricks. The symbols, the red earrings, the temple… she knew she had seen all this somewhere before, but until now, all she could feel was a strange eerie familiarity. “You all... you worship the pah-wraiths, don’t you?”

Sellra smiled wickedly. Alenis had finally understood. “Since our people first left Bajor, the pah-wraiths have protected us and watched over us. It was in these very caves that we first sought shelter after the crash of our lightships. But these were no ordinary caves. Here, we found shelter, refuge, and spiritual guidance. If not for the wisdom of the pah-wraiths, our people would have perished during the first rainy season. We do more than worship them, we serve them, in honour of a centuries old debt. A debt which is soon to be repaid…”


[Temple of the Ages, Bajor]


“Vedek Aara! Vedek Aara!” The nineteen year old Vinn Orona bounded up the stairs of the temple to the study room, two or three steps at a time, a holy book under his arm. Reaching the study room, he spotted the Vedek, a frail, elderly man with a white goatee and silver hair, hunched over a heavy tome at a large and ornate desk.

“Mister Vinn, what could possibly be so important that it would cause you come running up these stairs at this hour, screaming my name.” Aara turned to face his apprentice, seeing much more dread on his face than the old man could possibly invoke. “Not only are you violating your vow of silence, but you are interrupting my work.”

“It’s the Tolic shards,” replied Orona. “I’ve been re-examining some of the prophecies, and I think I’ve found something.”

Aara just sighed. “Orona, thousands of scholars have studied the holy books for thousands of years. You mean to tell me that you, an apprentice Vedek, have found something so groundbreaking that has been missed by so many of the wisest scholars that Bajor has known, that it warrants such alarm?”

“Take a look at this,” replied the young apprentice, opening the book to a page he had marked. “I’ve just been thinking, with the recent return of the fifth Tolic shard, and the diplomatic mission to Gamia III… here, read for yourself,” he added, pointing to the page.

Squinting at the words, the expression on Aara’s face turned from irritation to horror and his skin turned a deathly pale as he quickly read the ancient text. “No… it cannot be.” He hoped he would not see this day. “The shards, the wanderer… Captain Alenis…” He shook his head as he read the words Orb of the Pah Wraiths.

“What does it mean?” asked Vinn, feeling that he had decoded something but not sure precisely what.

“Armageddon.”


[The Caves, Gamia III]


“…soon the pah-wraiths will be free, and you, my child,” continued the Kai as she placed a hand on Alenis’ cheek. Behind her, the flames grew brighter and brighter, “will be bestowed with the greatest honour of all. It is as it has been told in the prophecies. It is you who will be a vessel for Kosst Amojan, liberator of the Pah-Wraiths. It is you who will reconstitute the Orb of the Pah-Wraiths, freeing their spirits from the purgatory of the fire caves! It is you who will lead them into the heavens, into the celestial temple, for the final conflict!”

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

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