NCC - 81102
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Over the Edge

Posted on Thu Jul 22nd, 2021 @ 1:04pm by Lieutenant Aurora 4827/A & Five of Seven & Commander Tavis Inahri & Lieutenant Commander Kazyah Linn & Lieutenant Commander Bear Jasper & Lieutenant Ayanja Tusalo & Ensign Alex Dalton & Chief Warrant Officer Javiylah MacArthur & Commander Magnus Hawkins & Lieutenant JG Cassandra Thorn PhD & Ensign Clarice Pichette & Ensign Mason Dekker & Maximilian Dedeker

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: Various Places - USS Odyssey
Timeline: Mission Day 39 - 1337 hours

Runabout

The distress signal kept pumping out its SOS, but the source had been unclear. That meant Aya and Javi had no clear bearing in their slow and meticulous search at quarter impulse. Upon a sudden, the sensors began blaring at something new.

The pair had switched off piloting and manning the sensors since their trip had begun. The pair could have left things on autopilot but that would have made this assignment even duller than it had already proved. It was still better than waiting around on Odyssey for something to happen. Besides a bit of a spat with the locals over their ship's systems failing they'd most been left to entertain themselves.

Aya generally didn't have a problem finding things to do, but the rest of their freighter crew weren't as inventive. Many joining the maintenance teams in their free time. Aya had taken to spending time with various members of the Starbase crew, but more and more she gravitated toward Javi and Mara. Ever since their trip through Ashland's mountain ranges the normally stoic woman had finally started to open up.

"All I'm saying is it's a nice design, I'd think it would have fewer issues than we had on the Galaxies over the years...."

Before Aya could continue the Runabout's lights dimmed to a deep red, alarms blaring in her ears. The Betazoid looked up, her eyes going wide as the space around the runabout began to change. Color exploding across the void..

The blackness of space was rent asunder by an even darker void. Lancing arcs of plasma spilled out as normal space twisted into dimensional knots as something it pushed against the incursion of something that was never made to exist forced its way through.

It roughly resembled the tentacles of an octopus or squid, though they were bent and jagged like tendrils of a weed. Sonic bursts emanated from the spatial rift like a dirge from the chorus of the damned.

And then the runabout was seized by the talons at the end of the grasping tendrils.

Aya was thrown from her chair, landing hard against Javi as the Inertial dampeners of the Runabout were pushed to their limits. Letting out a sharp shout of pain, Aya fought to get upright again and reach the ship's controls.

“Easy” Javi tried her best to steady both of them as the runabout continued to shake violently. She gripped the edge of her seat with one hand and tried to push Aya back into her chair with the other. “Try the controls first,” she focused her attention on the sensors though they weren’t being very helpful. “Caught by…”




Bridge

The doors of the Bridge opened as Commander Tavis Inahri and Magnus Hawkins stepped off the turbolift. The air was thick with anxiety and concern as the various Bridge crewmembers went about their work, preparing for what might come.

"Report," Tavis stated as he stepped towards the center chair, but not taking a seat.

The young woman at Ops turned to look at the Captain. "Sir, our runabout is sending out a distress signal. They're claiming that they're under attack from an unknown source."

Tavis glanced at his XO, "Any idea what they're under attack from?"

Before the man could respond, the woman at Ops interrupted. "Sir, we're receiving a hail from Fiddler's Green," she said.

"On screen," Tavis stated.

As the viewscreen came to life, the face of a familiar man dominated the screen. And he did not look happy.

"How can I help you, Max?" Tavis asked, crossing his arms.

"That's funny," Max said through his scruffy beard. "Last time I saw your face, it was on a piece of shit freighter waiting in line for admittance to my port in the stormy black. Now, after a Federation transporter signal was detected, that shitty freighter breaks berth and now I see you on the bridge of a Federation starship." The pirate lord glowered. "When you came to my home, I extended you a very generous offer. You have disrespected my offer. You've disrespected me." Smiling malevolently, Max said, "Fiddler's Green operates on a quid pro quo basis. This means that if you disrespect me, then I will disrespect you. Take something of mine..." His eyes turned dark with rage. "... then I take something of yours."

"I've taken nothing of yours," Tavis responded, folding his arms. "I thank you for your hospitality, and I paid quite handsomely for docking at your port. You said that your offer was only for today, I took that as meaning you wanted us to leave asap. We did exactly that."

Max's dark eyes gleamed at Tavis with sadistic delight. "That's how you wanna' play it? Good... I was worried for a second you might be an honorable man instead of the lying thief you've shown me. Finder's Keepers is an age-old tradition that I'm happy you're upholding." He grinned wide enough to part his beard. "Needless to say, if I see your face again, you're a dead man, so don't come askin' for whatever I claim as mine." Leaning into the display so as to take up the entire view screen, Max said, "Everything here is mine. And everyone. Run along now, Starfleet."

The transmission terminated without further delay.

Tavis growled to himself as he turned and sat down in the center chair. "What mess did you get us into, Commander? Why do we have a runabout off board?"

"Check the log," Hawk said. "We picked up a distress signal on a Starfleet frequency. Two officers volunteered to take a runabout to investigate so as not to compromise Odyssey herself. We agreed on radio silence, so there has been no report yet. They ought to be about finished with the sweep now."

"The fact that they're breaking radio silence to send out a distress signal tells me things aren't going as well as you might hope," Tavis said. "And just why did we respond to a distress signal way out here? Did it occur to you that it was probably a setup?"

"No shit, Sherlock," Hawk snapped at Tavis. The man's incessant condescension was becoming insufferable, particularly in light of his own blunders. "Protocol is protocol, so volunteers went to investigate. Do you want to stand here and argue about it some more and maybe do a few preliminary reports, or should we handle the task at hand?"

Tavis ignored his XO's question. "Ops, try to raise the runabout and get a report."

Reliving the woman at the station Ensign Dalton keyed the console and shook his head in confusion: "Captain, I can't raise the runabout but I'm getting some really strange readings from their location. Plasma storms, gravatar fluxes, spatial distortion - it's possible they're trapped in all that disruption as was the vessel they went to investigate."

"I have a sneaking suspicious that the vessel they were trying to find was a rouse," Tavis stated. "Helm, take us closer in. We don't want to abandon our people in a place like this."

Mason did a classic double-take at this command and didn't bother to hide either his internal dissent or his surprise. "Aye aye Captain," he said, pithily, while guiding the Odyssey marginally closer. There. He'd take them within the scope of the order if outside the realm of immediate danger, he figured, moving on impulse and with extreme caution. "Sir, much closer and we run the risk of being caught in the same disruption..."

The ship grumbled, as if to prove Mason's point. "The Odyssey can handle it better than the runabout, Ensign," Tavis stated. "Let's get into transporter range."

The ship lurched to one side as multiple alarms began to blare throughout the Bridge. A console burst in a flash of sparks as multiple officers fell sideways and to the ground. The lights went dark for a moment, before the emergency running lights illuminated the smoke that hung in the air.




Brig

"Sounds like there's a problem," Kaz said as he started to wake up from his phaser-induced sleep. "You have me, and no one's going to be happy about that."

"It does, doesn't it," returned Bear somewhat matter-of-factly. Linn was... complicated, but that didn't matter right now. It came down to his job which was to protect the asset. "Lucky me, I get to be front and centre with you for company," he deadpanned.

A brief pause, and as he leant casually against the brig wall, Bear regarded their prisoner. "Any personal preference as to who grabs you at this point?"

"Not really," Kaz said, leaning back against the wall. "Though I'm probably much safer in your care than elsewhere. Been a while since I've been on a Federation Starship. The accommodations are a bit different than I remember."

Bear smiled, knowing their prisoner would sense it if not actually see the expression. "Well, good of you to say," he noted. "But yeah, we're trying out some new methods of hospitality lately. You kinda drew the short straw there on account of your fearsome reputation."

Kaz grr'd in response, jokingly. "I do my best. Have to keep up the appearance, right?"

In an instant, Kaz found himself thrown into the side wall before falling to the ground. Blood trickled down his forehead from where it had made contact with the metal bench he had previously been sitting on.

"Commander, are you alright?" Kaz called out. While he may be a prisoner of theirs, he certainly didn't want to see any of them injured or worse.

A gruff voice muttered some heinous curses not generally heard in the politer realms of Starfleet and best left in the shadows of far murkier company. Bear pushed himself back fully upright and reached up to cradle his own temple with a thumb and forefinger. "Ow," he said, matter-of-factly once he was sure his brain was still inside his skull. "Alive and kicking," Bear answered Kaz, though his skull rang from a hard bounce with a vertical stop. "You're bleeding..." he said, looking to the prisoner.

The hairs on the back of Kaz's neck stood up as a presence approached the doorway. "That's the least of our worries right now, Commander"

"What do you..." Bear was a little later than Linn's pre-emptive reaction, but he caught up real fast.

The doorway opened and a dark figure slinked into the room. Using the shadows to their advantage, they stayed away from the emergency lights that barely lit the floor and brig cell.

"Zora," Kaz said, standing up to face the person. "And here I was hoping you hadn't recognized me earlier. Foolish of me to think that."

Stepping forward into the light, Cassandra Thorn smiled at the prisoner. "Joriel. Dashiel. Kazyah Linn. Whatever it is that you go by now. Did you honestly think that you could escape us?"

"Oh this can't be good," muttered Bear, audibly and with unwanted gravitas. All those names suggested trouble of an undefined magnitude, but more than enough for him to consider a physical reaction. Except, his brain reminded him, this was Cassie. Cass. Beautifully smart and apparently complicated. "Escape us? He asked, hand reaching to his phaser, an inner reluctance to believe not slowing that move to protect.

Noticing the man reaching for his phaser, Cass pulled out her own, pointing it directly at him. "Drop it, Bear. I don't want to have to hurt you."

Seriously?! The counselor. Or not counselor at all, it seemed. "Fuck..." said Bear, on an exhale as he opted for the only option had had. A fast draw. Phaser set to stun already since they were on board the ship, Bear's left hand tapped his comm at the same time as his right drew on Cassie and fired. "Bridge! We have an issue down-"

The blast from her phaser cut the man's sentence short, but not enough to stop him from alerting the Bridge. Whatever she needed to do, she had to do quickly.

Cass stepped to the control panel, deactivating the forcefield that separated her and Kazyah Linn, never allowing her phaser to drop from its target.

"Now, let's make this easy and come with me," she said, taking a step towards the door.

Kaz stood, his breaths deepening as he prepared himself. He'd already been shot more than once today, and he wasn't exactly looking forward to it again. He walked out of the cell, stepping over Bear's poor, limp body, as he got closer to Cassie.

"What happened to you, Zora?" he asked. He stepped closer, his hands clasped behind his back to give the impression of submission. "I thought our team, our project, did great work. Castermer was supposed to be a shining beacon in a dark realm. And yet here you are, working for the Director? At least that's my assumption."

"Castermer was a failure, and so are you," Cassandra spat. "I advised against recruiting you, but I was overridden, so I'm merely here following orders. You're a traitor to the Federation and you always will be in my book."

Taking the opportunity of conversation, Kaz swept out with his leg, pulled Cassie down to the floor.

As she hit the ground, her instincts kicked in as she fired her waiting phaser, striking the man in the hip.

The pain seared within him, but his adrenaline was already pumping and he pushed through as he leapt over the woman, grabbing, her by the arms and wrestling her body under his.

With an upward kick, Cassie's ankle struck true as she used her weight to push the man over and rolled on top.

Grabbing the woman by the neck, Kazyah pressed his thumbs into her jugular. With a quick twist, he could hear the snapping of the woman's neck as her body fell limp on top of him.




Bridge

"Report!" Tavis yelled, picking himself up off the ground. He instinctively rubbed his left arm, which currently hung limp next to his body. There was definitely something there, but he'd have to worry about that another time.

"I told you. I fekking told you," returned Mason with a tone that suggested the Captain was the worst kind of reckless idiot. He'd strapped himself into the seat, but that hadn't stopped that forward momentum or him colliding head first with his own station.

Hauling himself upright having been tossed around like everyone else Ensign Dalton shook off the haze: "We're caught up up in the same thing as the shuttle," he announced. "Main power's been knocking out as well as all propulsion, stress upon the hull is increasing steadily."

"Told you that would happen," Mason muttered in the background.

"Sensors are going off the rails!" Clary squealed from the Science console. "We've got neutrinos reacting to tetryons and...and...and pretty much everything else that isn't supposed to exist outside subspace! The runabout appears trapped in a reverse quantum slipstream!" She squinted at the readout and shook her head in confusion. "It's... the runabout seems entangled in what looks like pseudopodia from a solanogen biomass!" She looked up at Tavis. "Something else that only exists in subspace! It's like subspace and standard space are tangled up in knots, with some giant...thing... dragging the runabout through the rift!"

"Concussive bullshit science," grumbled Mason quietly to himself.

"Get us in there, Ensign!" Tavis commanded to the helm. "Ready phasers and torpedoes. We aren't going to let anyone take us or that runabout anywhere."

"It's too dangerous," Mason protested, knowing it was futile.

The comm system chirped to life. "Bridge, we have an issue down-" The voice of Commander Jasper was cut off from something as the comm system went down.

Tavis looked at Hawk, who was sitting next to him. "Get down there Commander. Last thing we need is to lose our prisoner right after we caught him."

"I'm on it." Hawk thumped the arms of the chair as he pushed himself to his feet and into a full run. Their prisoner would not escape. Not today. Not while Hawk was still breathing.

Once the turbolift doors had closed behind the XO, Tavis turned to the security officer who was standing guard behind him. "I want the borg drone brought up here immediately. Now!"

With a nod, the man turned and disappeared in the other turbolift.

The ship rocked to the other side, sending various people to the floor as the lights flickered.

"Tactical, start firing on whatever it is that's holding the runabout. Try to get its attention on us instead of them."

Phaser beams arced from the Odyssey's saucer section, connecting with the sub-spatial beasts.



Brig

Nearly out of breath by the time he arrived to the brig, Hawk stepped inside and took a moment to assess as well as catch his wind. Two bodies laid on the floor and neither one was Kaz.

The closest was Cassie. At first the sight of her stilled his pounding heart. Bruising around her neck indicated a fracture. Bulging eyes and veins said the rest. Nonetheless, Hawk rushed to her side and checked for vitals. Her remains were already cooling.

It had an inverse effect on Hawk, whose blood raced with righteous fury. This was no longer a retrieval mission. Kaz had just bought his one-way ticket to Hell, and Hawk was going to be his ferryman.

"Hawkins to Sickbay," he said with a tap to his combadge. "Emergency med team to the brig, and I mean right fucking now."

He cut the comm before Sickbay would answer. If Cassie was dead, it's likely Bear was too. If not, then the med team would see him through. There was nothing more Hawk could do here. Not when he had to see a man about a murder.



Bridge

The doors of the turbolift opened as Five of Seven stepped onto the Bridged, flanked by two security officers carrying phaser rifles.

"Captain, you summoned me?" the young man asked.

Tavis gestured to the viewscreen and the horrific drama that was unfolding before them. "We've got subspace beings trying to take both our runabout and the Odyssey into their lair. Weapons have proved to be pointless. Any thoughts?"

Five nodded, "I have a few, but I would need access to your systems. I understand that's been an issue in the past."

"I don't have time for that right now, young man. Just get us out of this mess," Tavis commanded.

Moving to the nearest panel, Five held out his hand as the assimilation tubules sprung forth and interfaced with the system directly.

The Odyssey's deflector array blazed a fiery red as twin beams sprouted from the array and connected with the base of the tendril that was latched to the runabout.

The slithering being recoiled from the energy pulse, giving the runabout a window of escape.

As the small craft shot away from the being, the tendril turned its focus on the larger prey that had attacked it.

"What ever Five did it worked, sir. The runabout has broken free and is fleeing." Dalton announced.

"Great news, Ensign," Tavis said. "Let them know to head for the edge of the Traverse as quickly as they can. We'll be right behind them."

"Captain!" shouted Clarice. "Whatever this thing is, it's grabbed ahold of our port nacelle! It's reacting heavily to our warp core's neutrino emissions and is becoming denser by the second! If we don't do something, then..." She trailed off in horror at the thought. "Wait! If Engineering reconfigs the warp core mixture to deionize the exhaust, then the deionization might extend to our neutrino emissions as well! It might loosen this... thing's... grip!"



Security Office

When Hawk caught up with Kaz, the other man had already reached the Security Office beyond the Brig. Hawk skidded to a halt when he locked eyes on the target. This was the mission. This was their entire reasoning for coming out to the ass end of space, beyond the final frontier into the abyss of criminal scum and villainy, all to find this blind fool who was too much of an asshole to kill himself and spare everyone else the trouble of his existence.

"Computer, lockdown the security office," Hawk said, "XO Authorization Hawkins-Lambda-2-4-Omega-Kyu-þorn." The last letter in the authorization code was pronounced "Thorn", a Gaelic letter for "th", and saying it reminded him of Dr. Cassandra Thorn whom he had just found dead on the brig floor.

The computer warbled its acknowledgement, leading to maglocks clicking into place at every door.

"Just you and me, traitor."

Hawk walked toward Kaz with violent purpose in every stride. Neither hurrying nor delaying, he allowed his opponent to size him up while he did the same.

Rather than replying, either to taunt or beg for his life or anything else, Kaz fluidly dropped into a passive stance with both hands upraised, palms down, readying himself for the inevitable. A smirk might have played at his lips, but otherwise his face was an intractable stonewall.

It was Hawk who struck first. He led with a flying knee strike that would have easily caught Kaz in the chest. The Klingon hybrid had an overhead elbow strike cocked and ready to bring down on his smaller opponent's head.

But Kaz was not where he had been. Pivoting with the grace of a pirouette, Kaz had spun around and was now adjacent to Hawk's landing position. Hawk roared in frustration at the counter, and barely caught the reverse elbow that Kaz leveled toward his neck.

All attempts to grapple were fruitless. Hawk captured Kaz at the wrist, but the man simply slid out and coiled his arm around Hawk's like a python. Hawk tried to free himself by pounding Kaz's face with his free hand, but Kaz's forearm was already in position to deflect and then counter with a knife-hand chop to the throat.

Hawk barely lowered his neck to his chest in time. The chop struck the side of his jaw hard enough to loosen a molar, but better his jawbone than his carotid artery.

Roaring again, Hawk grabbed Kaz by the collar, but the Romulan dropped his full weight into a double slap that broke Hawk's grip.

Too late. Hawk already closed the gap with a savage headbutt. Reeling from the strike, Kaz was too stunned to break the second grab which led to Hawk headbutting him several more times until he started to reel himself.

Ready for the kill, Hawk put his bear-like hand around Kaz's neck and squeezed, building up enough pressure to break the atlas just as Kaz had done to Cassie.

"I read about your sister," Hawk growled. "I bet you crashed that shuttle on purpose. You like killing weak little girls, don't you? You sick fuck!" The squeeze tightened like a vice, making Kaz's blind eyes bulge red. "After I drown you in your own blood and send you to whatever god you wish, tell your sister no thanks is needed."

The taciturn expression on Kaz's face broke into a scowl. He grabbed hold of Hawk's bulging muscular arm with both hands and hoisted his entire body onto the giant man's limb. Locking both feet on and around Hawk's shoulder socket, Kaz twisted his own body around, forcing Hawk's bulky mass to flip forward into a spin that slammed him onto his back. Kaz rolled to the side, still holding tight to Hawk's arm with both legs, and forced Hawk's elbow to hyperextend.

A searing snap meant the joint was shattered.

Hawk roared once again. His elbow was no good, but he grabbed for whatever his hand could grasp. Kaz slid away from the limb and attempted to get a better position, but Hawk's broken arm held fast to Kaz's clothing. His shirt ripped away in Hawk's grip which tore some skin along with it.

Backing away, assessing what the burly Klingon hybrid was going to do, Kaz tilted his head to one side and stared just past Hawk. Listening, concentrating, using his telepathy to predict what would come next.

For Hawk's part, he threw Kaz's ripped shirt to the ground and clutched his broken arm against his ribs. It was no good for striking, but it could still help protect vitals.

The next phase of the attack was far more brutal. Hawk lunged forward with a heel kick that Kaz easily avoided by jumping back, so Hawk turned sideways at the last minute to transition into a sideline kick that added over a foot to the initial strike range. He caught the smaller man in the solar plexus, which knocked the wind out of him along with a burst of spittle from his mouth. Hawk followed up with a quick snap kick to the chin--easy for him due to his superior height--which then set Kaz up for a roundhouse combo. The first roundhouse caught him across the face while the second, much faster aerial spinning roundhouse sent Kaz careening through the air and crashing over the Security Chief's desk. Blood sprayed out from Kaz's mouth all over the walls.

While that should have been a finishing stroke, it broke line of sight. Hawk slid over the desk and dropped to one knee, fist cocked back, hoping to land on the man and pummel him if it turned out he wasn't knocked out cold.

Kaz was nowhere to be seen.

When Hawk looked out from under the desk, he was greeted by Kaz's foot which was sliding over the desktop right into the shoulder of his weakened arm. Hawk was knocked backward onto his ass with back against the wall. His damaged shoulder visibly hung lower than the other, dislocated at best.

Not letting up, Kaz came at him with a flying knee of his own. It nearly connected, but Hawk ducked sideways at the last minute. Kaz's knee smashed against the bulkhead with a resounding crack that was pure cringe to hear.

The smaller man let out an involuntary cry of pain, his mouth trickling blood all down his bare chest. Hawk seized the opportunity and punched the side of Kaz's wounded knee with his good fist. It gave way with a crunch.

Kaz's bodyweight collapsed directly on top of Hawk who was still in more or less of a seated position against the wall. While Kaz's arms searched for more joints to break, Hawk pushed himself to his feet, easily supporting the other man's extra weight, and then suplexed him with one arm onto the desk. The impact forced Kaz to release his hold, as well as all the air in his lungs.

Seeing Kaz's head dangling over the edge of the desk, Hawk jumped into the air and prepared to come down with a crushing hammer fist that would break everything from the man's jaw to his cervical vertebrae.

Perhaps on reflex alone, Kaz rolled to the side and, still lying down, spun around on his hip to kick Hawk backward. With the distance he'd gained, Kaz crouched on the desk with one foot until Hawk closed the distance again. This time he lunged toward Hawk's head. His broken leg lobbed against Hawk's neck, providing leverage for the strong leg which allowed Kaz to swing upside down into a roll that sent Hawk tumbling head over heels in a leg-scissors takedown.

Getting back to his feet, Hawk was roaring mad, the pain of his useless arm hanging dead at his side fueling the fire of his bloodlust. He ran at Kaz and threw himself into an unblockable cross-body tackle. Kaz jumped as best he could into the air and summoned a drop kick that met Hawk's middle. Hawk dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes while his momentum pushed Kaz across the room.

Exhausted, agonizing, both men crawled to all fours and fought to get standing.

"I will fucking end you," Hawk spat, fighting to get at least to a crouch, "if it's the last thing I do."

"That's not how this is going to play out," Kaz warned with renewed stoicism. "Stand down."

"Never!" Hawk bellowed.

And then he lunged again, this time shooting for Kaz's legs, capitalizing on the busted knee to prevent another dodge.

This time, Kaz took the impact directly. When they collided, it was like being hit by a train. The thing about trains, though, was they did not have eyes. Kaz had exhaled, preventing the wind being knocked out of him again. That meant he had two objectives. One was to take another breath. The other was to jam his thumb into Hawk's ocular cavity between his eyeball and the orbital bone. A turn of the wrist was all it took to snap the fragile orbital bone, which made the eye pop out along with Kaz's thumb.

Hawk howled in pain and shock at the maneuver. His tackle had turned into a collapse that Kaz easily leveraged despite his own injuries.

Kaz rolled over and got to one knee--his only good knee--and slid his arms around Hawk's neck. Directly behind the man and standing, he locked in a rear-naked chokehold.

As soon as the hold was set, Hawk knew he had mere seconds before it all went black. It was a simple but deadly maneuver that was nearly impossible to break free from. He flung his good arm back hoping to land elbow strikes into Kaz's ribs, but the other man simply hopped in a semicircle to avoid them. Hawk swung desperate, blind punches in the general vicinity of where Kaz's head should be. They missed.

Kaz had been in this position before. He knew to never let up. He yelled every bit of strength into the chokehold so that it would not break. It only lasted less than ten seconds -- the longest ten seconds of Hawk's life -- and ended with a gagging prayer.

"Cassie..." Hawk croaked, one eye dangling against his cheek like a plumb on a tree. "I'm... sorry..."

Even though Hawk had stopped struggling, Kaz held the chokehold a few extra seconds just for good measure. With victory won, though a Phyrric victory all told, he pressed against the combadge on Hawk's uniform.

"Emergency med-team to the Security Office," Kaz said. "Officer down."

And then he collapsed onto his back and simply breathed.



Bridge

The scene was set. Engineering had quickly jury-rigged the set up. Clary and Five were on the Bridge, Green Aurora standing between them, as the three of them were prepared to set their plan into motion.

"Alright, quickly, explain how this is going to work," Tavis asked from the center chair.

Aurora was the first to speak up. "The deionized exhaust will be the first to happen. We'll be using this in an attempt to release the being's hold on the ship."

As if to punctuate her point, the ship rocked again, alarms blaring from various consoles as people held onto their stations to stay seated.

"That won't be enough, though," Five stated in response. "Once the creature has let go, it will just try and capture the Odyssey again. I'll be using the Deflector Array to catalyze a reverse slipstream by using a tachyon beam. This will force the oscillation of the tetryonic radiation in and out of subspace as a spatial constraint, using the Archon's own force against it."

While he was very intelligent, Tavis had to admit he was not as well versed in Engineering jargon as he wished he was in this moment. "In Standard, please?"

Aurora leaned forward, "Basically we'll be using the deflector to latch onto the Archon and ride the beast straight out of the Traverse."

"And what's to stop the beast from attacking once we've crossed the border?" Tavis asked.

"Well..." Five considered for a moment. "In my experience and what I know of the creatures, they struggle existing outside of the Traverse. We are relying on the idea that they will recoil and retreat back to their own space once we've crossed the threshold."

"We're banking a lot on an assumption, Mister Five," Tavis stated.

"Do you have a better idea, sir?" Aurora asked.

Tavis shook his head. "I trust your judgement here. Execute the plan."

As the deionization of the exhaust began, the normal blue of the warp nacelle coils began to flash a brilliant purple as they pulsed fore to aft. A moment passed as the change took effect but the result was almost immediate as the tentacle that held the ship loosened its grip.

Another tentacle slammed into the side of the saucer section, sending the Odyssey sideways from the impact.

Instead of the red that it was previously, the Deflector array sparkled green as the catalyzed tachyon beam arched forward. At first it missed the target but a second attempt landed straight on as the beast was enraged from the attack.

Being pulled behind the creature, the Odyssey began going deeper into the Traverse, past Fiddler's green and further into the depths of the anomaly.

"How do we steer this thing?" Tavis asked as he held on to the supports on his chair. The inertial dampeners were doing their best, but even they could not compete with the velocity of the ship. Those who were seated were pulled back into their chairs tightly. Those who weren't seated found themselves on the floor, pressed against the nearest bulkhead.

With an extension of his hand, Five interfaced with the system once more. "I should be able to project a neutrino field ahead of the creature," he said. "It might not take the bait, but if it does, it'll follow it. And lead us where we want to go."

As the deflector pulled double duty, the creature turned, following the new target and forgetting about the ship that had attached itself to its being.

The trip was short, much shorter than the Odyssey's initial venture into the Traverse, as the beast pulled it towards the entry way.

"Captain, the runabout is just ahead. We'll be leaving them behind for this creature to devour once we've left," Aurora warned.

"Tractor beam them and bring them along," Tavis commanded. "Let's hope they're ready for the ride."

Passing nebulae and anomaly, the Odyssey, with the runabout in tow, eventually emerged from the Sygian Traverse. As they passed the threshold, the Archon recoiled from normal space, making its way back into subspace.

Battered and bruised, the Odyssey sat there, with the runabout still in the tractor beam.

"Report," Tavis asked, after taking a moment to get his bearings.

"There is damage throughout the ship, Captain," Aurora stated. "But so far, nothing too extreme that we can't handle."

Tavis nodded. "Let's get the runabout into the bay and see to any injuries. I'm sure that ride was worse on them than us."

The comm system chirped to life. "Sickbay to the Bridge. Captain, I think you should come down here, please," came the voice of a male medical officer.

"On my way," Tavis responded. As he stood, he looked out over the Bridge crew. "You did amazing work today," he said, taking a moment to look specifically at Five, Aurora and Clary. "Helm, as soon as the runabout is docked, get us back to Deep Space 9. Maximum warp."

 

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