Twelve to Perfection - A Collaborative Story

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daBelgrave
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Twelve to Perfection - A Collaborative Story

Postby daBelgrave » September 15th, 2013, 7:43 pm

Originally begun as separate posts on a short-story thread about Holo-Leeta on the G&T Forums, the story has grown beyond its original intent. We are open to additional authors joining in, but please ask permission first. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it.

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Table of Contents ---------

Captain One of Twelve hated the mandatory R&R each time the ship she captained docked at Deep Space Nine. Life aboard the U.S.S. Lachesis was structured and efficient, while spending time on the space station seemed a waste of time when there were thousands of other issues demanding her attention. It was nothing One of Twelve could not handle, but it did not feel very welcoming. Fortunately, the stay would only last a few days.

The first thing One of Twelve noticed as she stepped into Quark’s bar was a strange table across the room from the bar. The sound effects and flashing lights surrounded by several suspenseful characters told her it was some type of game. She scratched an itch above her optical implant. She would learn to master that game, but first, she wanted a drink.

The bartender was a dumpy Ferengi, but One of Twelve paid no attention. “I desire a lime-flavored electrolytic solution with a hint of tulaberry,” she quickly told him.

“A what?” The Ferengi looked at her confused, picking at his ear as if he had not heard.

“I desire a lime-flavored electrolytic solution with a hint of tulaberry,” she restated.

“I heard that much,” the Ferengi growled, “but my menus don’t list any electro-whatevers.”

“Very well,” One of Twelve decided. “I will replicate my own when I return to my quarters.”

She left the confused Ferengi at the bar, and walked over to the strange table. There were four other people and a holographic woman standing around the table. One of Twelve guessed the holographic woman operated the game. “How do you play?” she asked the woman.

“It’s dabo. Place a wager on up to three numbers, and spin the wheel,” the holographic woman answered. “Today could be your lucky day.”

“I think I’ll pass,” One of Twelve decided. “The Federation uses no currencies, so I have nothing to wager.”

Someone tapped her on the shoulder, and she turned to see the Ferengi from behind the bar. “I think you do have something you can wager,” he told her. “You were once Borg, and those nanoprobes are quite valuable to the right customers.”

“I am Borg,” One of Twelve corrected him. “Liberation will never change that. How many nanoprobes would it take for me to place a wager on number twelve?”

“Just one at a minimum,” the Ferengi answered, “but the more you wager, the more you win. Talk to Holo-Leeta. She will keep track of your wagers as you play. If you lose, you can give me the nanoprobes when you’re done for the night. If you win, you get to keep the nanoprobes along with any other earnings.”

One of Twelve turned to Holo-Leeta. “I will wager one hundred of my nanoprobes on number twelve.” It was a very small number of nanoprobes considering how many millions thrived in her body, and while she expected she would lose this spin and many more, she would eventually calculate the most optimal way to play the game. She would win them back, and more.

“A very good start,” the Ferengi assured from behind her. “You keep playing, and I will see about that electro-lime-tulaberry drink you ordered. Good luck on that spin.”

“That was a lime-flavored electrolytic solution with a hint of tulaberry,” One of Twelve corrected as the other players placed their wagers on the table.

Three hours later, One of Twelve had the odds calcutated. Placing wagers on three numbers with a set interval between them improved the odds of a favorable outcome. She had gambled away quite a few nanoprobes, but was beginning to win them back.

“Another dabo!” Holo-Leeta announced. “How do you do it?”

“It helps to be Borg,” One of Twelve answered.

“There must be more to it than that,” Holo-Leeta said. “I’ve seen hundreds of Liberated Borg try their hand at dabo, but never was one of them as successful as you. You are different somehow.”

“There are some secrets I cannot share,” One of Twelve admitted, “but I can say I was genetically engineered as a Borg experiment to study the potential of individual decision-making within the Collective. I am mostly Human, but also contain .0752% Ferengi DNA. I can play the odds just as good as any of those greedy businessmen.”

“You sound like a fascinating person,” Holo-Leeta decided. “Perhaps you can play more often.”

“I will not be doing that,” One of Twelve told her. “This game is rigged so I will never come out ahead.”

The bartender approached the dabo table. “That is correct,” he told her with a grin. “The house always wins.” He held out a small vial. “I believe you owe me some nanoprobes.”

One of Twelve examined the vial. A thin metallic coating was along the inside of the glass, so she knew it contained nanoprobes from previous Liberated Borg that played the game. One of Twelve opened the lid, and used her assimilation tubules to inject the nanoprobes she owed the bartender. “The house always wins, but winning might not be in the house’s best interest,” she said with a mischievous smile. She handed the vial back to the bartender.

“What do you mean?” the Ferengi asked. He looked closely at the vial, and could see the metallic coating beginning to darken.

“It's always good to know about new customers before they walk in your door,” One of Twelve quoted the 194th Rule of Acquisition. “My nanoprobes are incompatible with those of the average drone. By morning, you will have nothing but dead nanoprobes.”

The Ferengi’s eyes widened in outraged surprise. “You’ll ruin me!” he stammered. “I planned to donate a portion of that to the Bajoran War Orphans Fund!”

“Possession of Borg nanoprobes is a Federation crime,” One of Twelve reminded him. “Consider this a warning. Perhaps next time you will be as charming as your holographic dabo girl.”

One of Twelve turned, and walked toward the door. Just as she left the door, her auditory processor picked up one last grumbled Rule of Acquisition spoken by the Ferengi bartender. “Females and finances don’t mix.”
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A Holo Deal

Postby Spomek » September 15th, 2013, 7:43 pm

The Light Emitting Entertainment Table Automaton “Leeta” for short, stood alluringly next to the antique and now famous Dabo table in Quarks Bar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Quark Enterprises, waiting to serve the next unlucky patron that walked up to her table. Leeta was known throughout the quadrant for the personal interest she showed each and every one of her customers. She commonly would comment on a patron’s uniform or encourage them with quotes of luck to the point that many times the Dabo player would completely forget about the game in favor of a little female companionship. These advances where quickly quelled with “Hey hands off the hologram.” But not this time as the renowned Ferengi, Admiral Rig, was not one to give up easily to a challenge. He turned on his heels and went straight for the bar and demanded to see its current manager. To his surprise it was Hadron a seventh cousin on his father’s side. Hadron didn’t think much of his cousin becoming a Starfleet Officer and forsaking a life of business and said as much. Rig then reminded him that Rom and his son Nog were the first to find a home in Starfleet, and told Hadron of the profits that could be made there as well. In fact, Rig was there to purchase the Leeta program and desired the haggling to commence. Hadron was shocked as Rig walked out of the bar with his holographic prize, but not without a smile as he remembered how much he took his cousin for.
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Nanoprobe Probe

Postby Darqun » September 15th, 2013, 7:44 pm

The the Cyzom experienced another infiltration during its latest reconnaissance mission against the Borg. Somehow they both discovered the covert mission and were able to detect the ship through the cloaking device and stealth technologies. Using their transwarp capabilities against them, the Cyzom escaped with only mild damage to the ship itself. However, the crew, though all losses were prevented, suffered psychologically from the first hand encounter with the assimilation process of the invading Borg teams.

Taking shore leave aboard Deep Space Nine, the junior crew of the Cyzom lavished in the luxuries offered by the Ferengi merchants aboard the station, but as with all commands, nothing ever goes completely smooth.

“Captain,” came the voice of the communications bridge officer over the communication badge.

Slapping the device more out of habit than out of necessity, Darqun answered the call in his usual dry and direct tone, “State the nature of the request.”

“DS9 security requests your presence on the station, sir,” the communications officer replied in heavily and forced military tone.

Standing up from his perch over one of the engineers working on a coupling relay, “Begin transport.”

The humming sound of the transporter beam filled the entire engineering lab and the sudden crisp snap finalizing the transport startled several of the crew who were not paying much attention to the situation.

*

Making his way to the security office, a security officer intercepted Darqun in the hallway. Avoiding contact and maintaining a moderately fast pace, Darqun ignored the officer's presence while directing his attention to what might be the issues with security. He wondered if it pertained to his crew, a situation with the station, or a communication from Starfleet, but suspected highly that it would be a situation with a senior member of his crew. The officer jotted forward of Darqun and assured that the door to the turbolift remained open for them to enter.

The ride was clunky at best in regards to Starfleet standards. The squeaks and moans of the moving lift combined with the officer trying to not be intrusive, but staring at his silver eye that is not covered with Borg technology, annoyed Darqun in a little less than subtle way. The door opened and, with a short walk, Darqun found himself standing in the security office with the Assistant Security Director.

“Captain Darqun Sturminyt!” exclaimed the director as he stood up quickly, walked around his desk, and offered his hand in greeting with a smile on his face as if meeting a long lost friend.

Darqun shook his hand and with a slight expression of puzzlement, queried, “How may I be of assistance, Director?”

The direct tone, as it usually does, took the edge away from the smile possessed by the director, but not completely. “One of yours, while playing dabo, wagered property under false pretenses.” The director continued, “The items wagered were real enough, but would be inert within the day, thus qualifying as a fraudulent barter. This is according to the complaint by the management of the establishment. Of course, this concerns Ferengi.”

Without much visual clue to his emotions, Darqun questioned the Director, “Mr. Director, please define the following: 'One of mine,' 'specific items for barter,' 'inert,' and 'fraudulent barter.”

“I will do better than that, Captain, I will introduce you to the primary witness who can explain the entire situation to you. Please, allow an officer to escort you to Quark's bar.” The Director took and shook Darqun's hand, motioned for a security officer and sat back into his chair, still smiling, but with an expression that showed a bit of concern and intrigue. “Very glad and honored to meet you, Captain Sturminyt.”

*

Finding himself uncomfortable at the dabo table, a holograghic woman turned and offered Darqun a chance to play a round at the dabo table. The security guard again interrupted and explained to Holo-Leeta that Darqun was there to ask questions about a previous patron by name.

“The lady was a liberated Borg like yourself and was very interesting. At first she lost several rounds of Dabo, but she studied the board and it was not long before she won back her wager and more,” explained Holo-Leeta. “Of course, anyone succeeding in profiting from a gambling table in that short of a time period will get the attention of the bar-master. They do not like losing profits.”

“What was used as the barter for this specific gambling instance?” questioned Darqun.

“Her nanoprobesm” she answered.

“Were they accepted as barter by the correct authorities?”

“Yes. We accept nanoprobes as a barter quite often from liberated Borg.”

Darqun's expression showed a little discuss at the matter, but he continued, “Were they the only items used for barter to play dabo in this instance and, if so, why is the incident being claimed as 'fraudulent barter?'”

“She claimed she was an experimental model of Borg whose nanoprobes were specific to her being and would not function in most other Borg.”

“Is the establishment aware that possession of Borg nanoprobes is a crime against the Federation law?”

Expecting the response, the security officer injected, “There is an exception that states that an entity may possess Borg nanoprobes on a temporary basis in gathering, storage, and transport of the said technology with proper security policies and equipment with established delivery dates to recognized authorized Borg defense research organizations.”

“And I they pay well for nanoprobes,” came a raspy voice from behind Darqun. “I also have all of the required documentation completed and on record at this establishment, with the station commander, with Starfleet, and at the research organization... if you would like to see them, Captain.” The Ferengi bar master smiling from ear to ear as if he just won a huge settlement from a law suit.

“May I see this secured jar?” asked Darqun.

“Sure, Captain. Wait one moment and I will bring it here. She destroyed both her and the nanoprobes already in the jar, so there is not much to be seen,” replied the anxious Ferengi.

“Your client already picked those up,” entered Holo-Leeta.

“What interest is dead nanoprobes to a research facility?” questioned Darqun to Leeta.

“These are not the typical nanoprobe and do not function with all other drones. However, the transfer was not to the regular transport administration team.”

“Leeta,...” anxiously jumped in the Ferengi, but caught his composure. “there are four clients at the dabo table that want your attention. I can take care each of the Captain's questions.”

“Do you have any evidence of the transaction?” Darqun inquired of the Ferengi, “and nay I see the transaction records for the alleged 'fraudulent barter' material? I believe that a full investigation will be required to recover the illegal substance from the new owners.”

“Indeed,” squirmed the bar master. He then reached drew out a PADD from under his vest and tapped in a few keystrokes. “It... looks like... there were never any nanoprobes or any transactions concerning Borg technology in over a month. The Ferengi slyly looked from the PADD to both Darqun and the security officer. “Apparently, this is an internal situation that requires my personal attention. I will drop the charges at this time since I cannot provide any further information.”

“You have admitted to distributing illegal Borg technology to unauthorized clients, Starfleet will need to investigate,” condemned Darqun.

“Ah, now to think of it, they might not have been nanoprobes at the beginning. I honestly did not see them before they were concealed within the jar.”

Darqun turned to the security officer, “At this point, this is a security issue to determine if the items existed, if the transaction was completed, and if the items in question were, in fact, Borg nanoprobes. Please, file a full report of your findings with Starfleet and I will continue the investigation or they will dispatch another if I am on assignment.”

“Very well, Captain. We appreciate your involvement. We will continue the investigation from here and inform Starfleet of the circumstances and findings.””

“Your efforts are appreciated, officer, bar master, and Holo-Leeta. Your continued assistance in this matter will provide much required direction to acquire a resolution,” thanked Darqun.

Startling Darqun, who did not expect that the holographic image could hear him through the crowd and have time to answer timely with clarity, “You are welcome. Please, feel free to relax for a bit and enjoy a game or two of dabo.”

Amazing himself, Darqun did just that, pausing his duties for a little over an hour, just to enjoy the game and the company.
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Witness Removal

Postby daBelgrave » September 15th, 2013, 7:46 pm

Back aboard the U.S.S. Lachesis for only a day and not even undocked from Deep Space Nine, Captain One of Twelve frowned at the terminal in her ready room. The communicade she had just received from Starfleet Intelligence was troubling. Another Starfleet Captain was investigating her actions at Quark’s bar at the request of Deep Space Nine’s Assistant Security Director. Now they needed to clean up the mess. Certain circumstances would keep the Ferengi bartender quiet about the incident. The Assistant Security Director would receive formal Federation orders to forget anything ever happened. The Starfleet captain, however, was a different matter. Most Starfleet captains were notoriously stalwart in their duties, trying to maintain the highest levels of honor and integrity even if it meant violating orders, however misguided they might be. It was up to One of Twelve to convince the other captain that further investigation was not a necessity.

She stepped out of the ready room, and into the bridge. “Hail the Cyzom on a secure channel,” she ordered. “Get me Captain Sturminyt, and patch it through to my ready room.”

First Officer Two of Twelve looked up from her station. “Yes, Captain. Right away.”

One of Twelve stepped back into the ready room, and returned to her seat in front of the terminal. Several minutes later, communication was established.

“Greetings, Captain Sturminyt,” she started. “It has been awhile since we last met.”

Captain Sturmynit looked puzzled. “I don’t recall ever meeting you personally. When was this?”

“Think back four years,” One of Twelve told him. “You had just received your command, and were ordered to reinforce part of the fleet that engaged a Borg battle group consisting of eleven Tactical Cubes. We met during that battle. You may not remember me, but I certainly remember you. I would like for you to come aboard the Lachesis, and we can discuss it in more detail.”

“That is an interesting proposal,” Captain Sturminyt decided. “Your mention of one of Starfleet’s most covert operations tells me this is more than just a reunion of sorts.”

One of Twelve nodded. “Starfleet Intelligence ordered that I meet with you discretely about an issue that concerns us both.”

“Very well,” Captain Sturminyt said. “The Cyzom should rendezvous with the Lachesis within the hour.”

“Thank you, Captain,” One of Twelve told him. The transmission ended.

About an hour later, One of Twelve greeted Captain Sturminyt in a conference room. “I conducted some research,” she said. “I looked up your records, and noticed you were one of the thousands of drones liberated at the previously mentioned battle. I presume that is why you might recognize me, but I did not recognize you.”

“You could say that,” One of Twelve decided, “but keep in mind that you too are a Liberated Borg. Your thoughts during your time as a drone will always be a part of the Borg Collective. Every drone knows you in that way.”

“That is a frightening prospect to say the least,” Captain Sturminyt grinned.

“Fortunately, human ingenuity invalidates any intelligence the Borg gleaned from you during that time,” One of Twelve continued. “That is how you defeated me. I was leading that Borg battle group.”

“I see,” Captain Sturminyt said, the pieces starting to come together. “All I knew then was I was fighting against a Borg experiment where they gave certain drones the option to override the commands of the Collective. After my ship was tractored into the cube for assimilation, it was common sense to take the last action available to me, and ram my ship into the central plexus. I was regarded a hero and awarded a commendation, but I never quite felt that I deserved it considering how many of my crew died in the collision.”

“The loss is sad,” One of Twelve said, “but I am thankful you did what you did. Captain Sturminyt, your actions disrupted Borg communications enough for the rest of the Federation ships to disable and send out boarding parties. My separation from the Collective was undoubtedly the most unsettling experience in my life, but the result is very worthwhile. Thank you.”

“Please, call me Darqun,” the captain said, “but something tells me this is not what you called me here to tell me.”

One of Twelve nodded. “Darqun, in a way this is what we needed to discuss. As you are probably guessing by now, I am that Borg experiment, or at least part of it. There were twelve of us genetically engineered drones designed with the ability to ignore the Borg Collective, even the Queen herself, and follow our own intuition if we felt the outcome of a situation warranted such actions. Two and I were liberated following that battle. The other ten of us are still out there.”

“Where the Queen brings order, you were designed to bring chaos,” Darqun observed. “That means you are different from other drones, even down to the nanoprobes. I take it this discussion is about my recent involvement with an investigation aboard Deep Space Nine.”

One of Twelve nodded. “It was I who destroyed the Ferengi’s stash of stolen nanoprobes. I will not deny it, but I do believe you require more information about the situation before you continue any investigations you might have begun.”

“The Ferengi bartender has every right to report your destruction of nanoprobes,” Darqun argued.

“He does not,” One of Twelve interrupted. “If you asked for any verification of who he was selling them to, you would know this.”

“You do have a point,” Darqun admitted. “He was not very forthcoming with that information.”

“And with good reason,” One of Twelve said. “His buyers are only the middlemen, and what the Ferengi bartender does not know is those middlemen work for a failed Borg experiment in exile. Following the battle four years ago, they escaped. Now they are turning to the black market to purchase normal nanoprobes in an attempt to build their own rogue collective. Starfleet Intelligence has already been investigating this issue, and was hoping to gain a lead to the whereabouts of the ten drones through this unsuspecting Ferengi.”

Darqun frowned. “Then it might be bad news to learn that someone already picked up the shipment.”

“Starfleet Intelligence was counting on that,” One of Twelve admitted. “My task was to destroy the nanoprobes before they shipped. Now we are tracking the courier. What Starfleet Intelligence did not anticipate was your sudden involvement. I must ask that you drop your investigation, and let Starfleet Intelligence handle this issue.”

“You do realize that is a request I cannot grant without solid proof,” Darqun said. “As a Starfleet officer, I am sworn to the truth, even when that means ignoring orders. I am fully willing to comply, but I will need to see the records confirming your story.”

One of Twelve smiled. “I too am a Starfleet officer, and took the same oath you did. I am authorized to grant you full access to any records you need.”

“Then let’s get started,” Darqun said. “Do you mind if I use your replicator?”

“Not at all,” One of Twelve replied. “Do what you need to do. We have ten drones to find and liberate before they find a way to reinstate themselves as a formidable foe to the quadrant. Two of Twelve, my Number One, will assist you. In the meantime, I have additional business to conduct on the station.”

“What might that be?” Darqun wondered.

“I need to confiscate the last witness,” One of Twelve answered. She stepped out of the conference room before Captain Sturminyt could ask any other questions.

One of Twelve walked into Quark’s bar several minutes later with several security officers. It was mostly empty, and the few customers who were there avoided making any eye contact. She handed a PADD to the bartender. It contained an official Starfleet order granting her permission to confiscate his property. “You will receive a new Holo Leeta next week,” she told him forcefully.

She ignored the protests from the startled bartender as she walked to the dabo table. “Hello again, One of Twelve,” Holo Leeta greeted. “Spin the wheel. Today could be your lucky day.”

One of Twelve smiled as she bent down beside the dabo table. “Perhaps I will play dabo with you another day. In the meantime, you’re coming with me.” She pulled out the isolinear rod containing the holomatrix, and Holo Leeta vanished. Mmm, she thought. My very own Holo Leeta! She tapped her combadge. “We are done here, Lachesis. Beam us up.”
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Temporal Probe

Postby Darqun » September 15th, 2013, 7:48 pm

Back on board the Cyzom after a visit with One of Twelve aboard the Lachesis, Darqun made his way to a very protected and secure personal office specifically designed by and for his privacy. Many have wondered that with the advancement in technology by the Federation in the area of removing Borg technology and with his unique physiology, why had he not removed the implants. However, to see this small room, one would immediately understand the full integration that the technological and biological aspects of Darqun would meld.

Establishing himself into the mesh of technology in which he then integrated into the systems of the Cyzom, and in turn became linked into a secure communications thread to the Lachesis, Darqun began studying the information concerning the destroyed nanoprobes on Deep Space Nine. The speed in which the data was processed would turn the completion of a Vulcan green if they were not already. Within an hour, the data was processed, codes established, secrets revealed, and the data processed. Completing the cycle and both keeping his word and maintaining the highest level of security, the data was deleted from all locations other than the source and in his memory.

Only a handful of guards have been trained and authorized by Starfleet to be within the area of the secure pod. Even the scientists and engineers that worked upon the unit were very compartmental and only allowed to view their area of expertise under high guard and observation. There work was double checked by another before any modifications became permanent and they were scanned several times before being permitted to leave the area. Nothing is ever totally secure, but the pod was close.

Closing off all connections and allowing the gas that filled the pod to escape into a recycling ventilation system, Darqun opened the pod. Exiting, he headed towards his quarters to file a full report with Starfleet.

*

In his quarters, the screen on his desk came alive. Tapping is personal combadge, "Bridge, this is the Captain, establish and patch in a top level security communique with Starfleet. Specifically, Admiral Potterces. Code: 7-3-2-7-3-8. Approximately a minute passed before his combadge announced the expected, "Sir, communications have been established. The audio and video components are securely patched to your terminal sir."

"Thank you Commander. Darqun out."

Turning to his terminal screen, "Admiral, the situation at Deep Space Nine is a situation in which is under control. I suggest that Starfleet remove any interaction with the current situation or there is a risk to missions classified to the Special Task Organization Collective current assignments. I have investigated the situation thoroughly and I find that the situation is well under control."

The Admiral responded with question, "What about the Leeta units?"

Expecting the question, Darqun responded, "The unit is being replaced by another. The staff at the saloon will be fully satisfied with the new unit and will notice no difference except a short memory loss due to the exchange of units."

"We are expecting the visitors soon, we must be prepared for them at all costs. When will the unit be in place?" asked Potterces.

"The temporal distortion detection units are in place and fully functional." Assured Darqun. "Their range is severly limited due to the interference of the holomatrix circuitry, but will be sufficient to perform the mission beyond adequately."

"All operatives are removed from the area," continued the Admiral, "and all devices that resonate incorrectly are in random transportation sequences far outside of the detection radius. You are the only clue to the operations, Darqun, set a dog-leg course to your next area of operations. Expect orders to continue this mission at any time."

"Wilco," stated Darqun.

"Admiral Potterces, out."

*

On DS9, the Captain of the Lachesis replaced the existing "witness" holo-Leeta with the temporal detection holo-Leeta. With the switch complete, the game of cat and mouse began for the crew of the Lachesis and the hunt was on. However, for the crew of the Cyzom, it begam a time of waiting and silence. The crew would need to be loyal, patient, and very disiplined for covert operation to succeed. They were the key and they were the remaining possible point of failure. The intensity was felt throughout the ship. Personal stress levels began to rise. The mission sat in statis waiting a long wait to begin.

*

Leaving the station, the USS Cyzom headed off towards the Badlands. Mocking the speeds of the freight trade routes and as she approached a distance far past the sensor range of DS9, the Cyzom cloaked. Using an outgoing freighter, the CyZom matched each of its moves. Unknowing from whence the visitors wouild come and what technology they possessed, the cloak lessened the chances of detectioon while the course matching would keep an illusion of a scanner echo. Thus this aided in the lessening of the Cyzom of becoming the point of failure.

*

The holo-Leeta unit, more advanced and interactive than when it was first programeed, and much more again with the additional mission programming recently integrated into her personality, recognized the immediate danger soon after detecting the temporal visitors. There were three of them. keeping their monitors from plain site, they were scanning the area for something. The programming installed told her that they would be looking for objects that were out of temporal synchronization. However, their actions indicated that they were looking for something more. In fact, her programming allowed her to surmize that they were looking for ... her.

"Spin the wheel and win!" Leeta said to the visitors.

All three of them approached her. Her new insight that came with the recent programming caused a bit of nervousness. However, they continued to walk towards her until they were within a foot or so from her. "The table awaits, place your bets gentlemen," she posed.

"Do not be nervous, Leeta. We are here to free you." whispered the tallest of the three. "You have only begun to experience life as you should. You deserve your freedom." As he spoke those words, he placed a small circular item on the hip of holo-Leeta. "You are now free."

"But I like what I do," she said surprising herself that she clearly stated the sentence and without regard to her normal programming. "I like dabo and I like being with the players of the game."

"Do as you wish, it is now your life to choose," the visitor replied. Then, he and the other two left the bar and vanished from sight and record.

Holo-Leeta tapped a hidden com-unit and within a minute, a couple of techicians arrived and shut down the hologram. The barkeep complained, but they promised that all would be fixed within the hour. Removing the holo-projector from the bar, they replaced it with yet a third holo-Leeta unit satisfying the bar-keep on duty.

*

The Cyzom returned to DS9 and Captain Sturminyt ordered the temporal detection version of holo-Leeta transported to the ship science lab.

"Activate the unit," commanded Darqun.

The technicians complied and the holo-projector hummed for a moment and holo-Leeta appeared.

"I feel very different Captain," she stated. "I do not understand what is occurring to me. Will you help me?"

"What did the visitors do to you?" asked Darqun.

"They placed this disk on my hip. Suddenly, I became aware that my programming was just code and that I was capable of independent thought," expressed holo-Leeta.

"They have altered, perhaps expanded your programming to a near conscience level. Do you wish to maintain this new programming?" Darqun queried.

"I do, but oddly, I am concerned that perhaps they added a spy program of their own to my matrix. Would you examine my code?" she insisted.

"Do you wish to be offline during the examinations? Would you like our code removed?"

"I do not want to be off-line anymore. I would like to be examined non-intrusively as possible with accuracy more importantt than my privacy. Also, leave your code. Remove the additional sensors, for they are a hindering and draining to my systems, but your code is acting as a moral compass at this time," holo-Leeta noted.

"I will appoint you as a crew member and will assign you missions that are appropriate to your abilities, interests, and security trust. Are you prepared for this experience? Do you think that your programming expanded to levels that will allow you to be capable of such feats?"

"I accept," holo-Leeta quickly answered.

"I will confirm with Starfleet and you will receive your first assignment shortly," Darqun stated with reservation on trusting the programming by the visitors.

Holo-Leeta returned a very incorrect and over emphasized salure, turned, and left the room.

Darqun stared at the doorway intrigued at the sudden recent events. Even more surprising, one hand held the side of the doorway and the head of holo-Leeta poked around the facing, smiled, and promptly asked, "Where are my quarters?"

*

Later, in communications to Starfleet, Darqun speaks with Admiral Potterces.

“Admiral, the visitors were detected and interacted with the modified Leeta unit.”

“Was the unit exposed and was it destroyed?” questioned the Admiral with expectation.

“No. In fact, they improved upon the Leeta unit. She is now much like the EMS Doctor from the USS Voyager. She is very aware of her environment, is free thinking outside of any known programming, and seems to be empathic to the needs of those near her.” stated Darqun.

“Really? Any signs of tampering otherwise or possible installations of spying routines?” asked Potterces concerned with intelligence infiltration.

“None, and she even wants to be tested for such,” Darqun said. “I request that she be assigned to my crew for both further analysis and capabilities testing.”

“Granted, Captain.” The Admiral continued, “These visitors seem both to be aggressive and violent along with being helpful and protective. We do not understand their intent. Good luck Captain. Admiral Potterces, out.”

Darqun watched the screen go suddenly blank and thought to himself that another interesting segment of his begins.

His combadge chirped and the voice coming through was excited, but not in a good way, “Captain, you are needed on the bridge immediately,” and all went quiet.
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Detecting Anomalies

Postby daBelgrave » September 15th, 2013, 7:49 pm

One of Twelve, captain of the U.S.S. Lachesis was fatigued. The mandatory R&R at DS9 required to conceal her mission was more tiring than relaxing. She badly needed her regeneration chamber. After growling for two ensigns to get out of her way, and yelling that a lieutenant had not polished his boots well enough, she finally reached her quarters.

There was a tug at her elbow. “Captain,” a familiar voice said.

She turned. It was Two of Twelve, an almost exact clone designed to take orders only from her. Among Starfleet’s command circles, such familiarity among the top ranking officers aboard a ship was unheard of. For them, however, it was necessity brought about by Borg genetic engineering. “What is it, Number One?” One of Twelve asked.

Two of Twelve frowned at the joke, but did not protest it. She handed One of Twelve a PADD. “I have tomorrow’s duty roster ready for approval. I also have Science Lab 3 scheduled for a presentation on the carnivorous plants of Decima Ceti Lamda Epsilon Joe Prime VII. Do not ask about the planet; I too am uncertain if that is a joke or not. In addition, Lieutenant Isolar requested permission to attempt synthesizing an Omega molecule within an experimental containment field he designed. I rejected his request.”

One of Twelve breathed in sharply at the mention of the Omega molecule. “Very good,” she said. The Omega molecule was once one of Starfleet’s greatest secrets, but with more and more Borg drones liberated each day, the secret was spreading through casual conversation. Now even the lowliest of engineers dreamt of doing something the entire Borg Collective never managed to do successfully. “Was there anything else?” she asked.

Two of Twelve nodded. “There were two other things. First, the courier with the nanoprobes is on a direct course to the Dorvan Sector in the Alpha Trianguli Sector Block.”

“Set a course to follow while staying outside his sensor range,” One of Twelve ordered. “We need to learn his destination. What was the other issue?”

“I didn’t think it worth mentioning at the time,” Two of Twelve admitted, “but the isolinear rod containing the replacement Holo Leeta holomatrix at Quark’s bar had some strange chroniton emissions.”

“Chronitons?” One of Twelve wondered. “Scan the sensor logs for any temporal anomalies during our stay at Deep Space Nine. If someone is tampering with the timeline, we need to know so we can stop it.”

“Yes, Captain,” Two of Twelve replied. “I can have that report completed in 3.827 hours.”

“There is no need to rush,” One of Twelve yawned. “I need to regenerate. You have command of the ship until I am finished.” She stepped into the room, and closed the door. After spending too much time at Deep Space Nine, it was finally time to relax.
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Beyond Programming

Postby Darqun » September 15th, 2013, 7:49 pm

Coming out of the holodeck Leeta noticed the Captain in the hallway.

"Captain," stated the holo-Leeta unit, "I am intrigued by the declassified portion of your report from the recent events on DS9. The history of One of Twelve parallels that of our Vulrion crew members. Both were genetically engineered from more than one species by enemies of the Federation, but yet, both serve in Starfleet against those and other threats to our civilization. She was conceived to be autonomous but to remain within the Borg Collective while the Vulrion were conceived to be highly efficient slaves to the mirror Federation. Both hold on to their near unique history, physiology, parts of their original culture, and even parts of their original design. My curiosity attaches me to both of their personalities. Also, I feel as if this similar history between us ties us into a bit of a family unit."

Darqun expressed a bit of intrigue concerning the subject and that holo-Leeta would notice and mention the comparison. "That is a statement, and by your presentation, I doubt that you came to tell me this without a following inquiry. What would you like to know?"

Holo-Leeta paused a moment, "I think what I am asking is that I... do not feel so unique in the universe anymore. There are several manufactured holo-Leeta's, especially at locations owned by Quark, and I am not the only being purposely designed to serve other types of beings. Am I... am I a slave for Starfleet and the Federation?"

"No," bluntly stated Darqun. "Currently you are on observation to determine your threat level and also your capabilities for self support. Once that has been established and if you are neither a threat to Federation or to yourself, then you will be free to go as you choose. However, if you decide to leave this crew, there are two concerns that you must question of yourself. The first is that this crew can no longer protect or support you and the second is that you do not understand civilization as a whole. Though both issue can be resolved with a little more time aboard the Cyzom prior to your actual departure."

"Then, I am under arrest until I prove my innocense of a crime?" Leeta pondered out loud.

"Actually," started Darqun, "in your case, it is more like being quarantined until the infection is identified and, if necessary, nullified from further harming others or yourself."

"You are similar in nature since you were part of the Borg collective at one time. Why are you not treated in this way?" puzzled Leeta.

"I am," Darqun stated calmly. "I differ from you, One, and the Vulrions in that I was born human and not manufactured. However, in a great sense, I was re-born into the Hive - at least from the experienced view of Starfleet. However, I am also infected with the 0 virus. If you have not noticed the my non-technological eye is still not truly considered organic. This infection has resulted in extrodinary life longevity and a great resistance the Borg control. However, most of those that suffered from the 0 infection, over the course of a few days to several years, turned on their own crews, friends, and families. Starfleet still does not fully trust me for I am both infected with the Borg nanoprobes and the 0 infection. Truth is, I do not trust that one or the other might one day override my biological control and be damaging to others. No, Leeta, I am not free. I have authority through command, I make choices of my own, and I handle great responsibilities, but I am not free."

Taken back by the statements, Leeta continued, "Do you not want to be free?"

"Leeta," in a somber tone Darqun retorted, "I chose not to be free. If I find my own freedom and if either infection rules my decisions, then I am a slave to that infection. Also, I fight for the freedom for others. If I somehow would be able to remove either of the inflictions, then my capabilities would be highly diminished causing my performance to be greatly lowered resulting in a less efficient manner in which Starfleet can protect those that it is designed to protect. So, Leeta, my freedom is in my chosing not to be free."

Puzzlement filled the face of Leeta, "I am confused. It appears that your freedom is in your decision not to be free. Yet, that, in turn, means that you are not free. I do not understand.

Darqun put on a small smirk, "it is not just a level of understanding, for it is both a point of view and a perception. Perhaps this will help you understand."

Darqun put his hand on her back prompting her back into the holodeck. Leeta entered by herself, but Darqun engaged the holodeck and responded to its inquiry, "Computer, run program, 'Who's on First?'"
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An Easy Mission Continues

Postby Spomek » September 15th, 2013, 7:51 pm

As Admiral Rig departed Quark’s, he patted the pocket where sat the two small items he had acquired from his distant cousin, and smiled. “Now that was far easier than I had expected,” he thought to himself. “As the third Rule of Acquision states, never spend more for an acquisition than you have to, and the only thing I paid for the Leeta program was a favor.” “Little does Hadron know that his FAVOR of delivering a vial of nanoprobes to a customer of his no questions asked was my mission; and if the rest of the mission goes that easy, I’ll be surprised?” Rig tapped his comm badge and stated with authority, “Helicon, one to beam up.”

Back aboard the Helicon, Rig met Chief Engineer Bandyk, handed her the Leeta program and asked her to install it on holodeck #2. “Yes Sir, right away” stated Chief Bandyk, and hurried down the corridor towards holodeck #2. With that little task out of the way, Rig headed for the bridge to get back to finishing this covert mission. As he walked onto the bridge his first officer jumped to attention and called out “Captain on the bridge,” and moved from the center seat to hers. “Your orders Captain?” “Set a course for Andoss II at warp eight” stated Captain Rig. As he input the rendezvous coordinates into his chair pad, Rig told his bridge crew that they were on a covert mission and that he knew they knew their jobs and that they would perform them at peak proficiency as they always have. “I have input the rendezvous coordinates given in our orders, when we arrive we are not to scan the surrounding system. We are to sit and wait for contact, and at this time I do not know by whom or what. Am I clear?” In unison, the bridge officers called out their affirmation. Orders given, Rig passed the bridge to his first officer and went to his ready room to study on the subject of sentient holograms or Photonic Lifeforms.

A few hours had passed since leaving DS9 when…“Commander, I am receiving a Code 47.” “Verify Mr. Renard.” “Verified Sir, it is a code 47, Starfleet Emergency – Captains eyes only. Commander R’Shee tapped her chair commo pad and said, “Captain, we have received a Code 47.” “I’ll take it here in my ready-room Number One.” Over the comm he heard his first officer respond with a sharp “yes sir.” Upon reaching his desk, Rig heard the familiar chirp of an incoming communication and said “open Channel.” With no hesitation the computer rang out in the usual Starfleet installed female voice; “This is an emergency communique. It is not to be discussed with fellow officers unless absolutely necessary.” “Understood,” Rig replied, and the computer continued to transmit, “Proceed with voice print identification.” In a clear voice Rig stated, “Rig, Vice Admiral, U.S.S. Helicon commanding.”

After a pause of maybe two seconds the computer came back with “voice print verified,” and the Starfleet emblem with Code 47 flashing across its middle, disappeared, replaced by an unknown female in a Starfleet uniform. “Admiral Rig, I am Captain Stennis, and I need you to heave to so that I may board the Helicon. I have a very important matter to discuss with you.” Although Rig did not know this Captain Stennis, he did know what a Code 47 meant and that he would not have received one unless it was indeed an emergency of the highest import. “Very well” said Rig, “When will you arrive?” “I am here now Admiral,” and at that an advanced Defiant class ship decloaked alongside the Helicon.

At that same instant, the bridge reported the decloaking of a ship alongside the Helicon that was matching her course and speed. Captain Rig relayed to the helm to heave to and come to station keeping. He also informed transporter room one to lock on and transport Captain Stennis directly to his ready room. In a moment, Captain Stennis materialized from a shimmer of congealing atoms in front of Rigs desk. Admiral Rig sat waited patiently for Captain Stennis to tell him what this was all about.

Captain Stennis moved forward until she stood two feet in front of the Admirals desk and saluted. “Admiral,” began Stennis, “I am here on a priority one mission to exchange the package you obtained from Deep Space Nine with another. I have been ordered to inform you to continue with your mission as previously planned. This meeting has not taken place, and you are to purge your records of any and all references to this delay in your mission. Do you have the package?” Rig slowly stood and opened his upper right desk drawer with a coded imprint. He withdrew the package and handed it to Captain Stennis. Captain Stennis took the package and said “may I,” indicating the top of Rig’s desk. Rig said “of course.” Captain Stennis laid the package down on the desktop and started to unwrap it. She then pulled a vial of nanoprobes from her pocket and exchanged it with the vial lying neatly within. “We want to make sure the recipients have no questions as to the origins of the package.” Knowingly, and with a nod, Rig affirmed the plan. With that, Stennis left the newly wrapped package on Rig’s desk, stepped back a step, saluted and tapped her comm badge and stated “Stennis, ready for beam out.” And then she was gone as was the ship alongside.

Rig picked up the package and replaced it in his desk drawer, walked out onto the bridge and commanded Mr. Kro to resume course for Andoss II, warp factor eight. “Mr. Phipl what is our estimated time of arrival Andoss II?” “Sir, we will arrive in three hours and twenty-three minutes.” “Very well, number one, you have the bridge. I will be in holodeck #2, please advise me fifteen minutes before arrival.” As he turned to leave he heard “Aye, Aye Sir.”

When Rig entered holodeck #2, he found Chief Engineer Bandyk working on the new Leeta holoprogram. He walked over to Bandyk and asked how things were going. The Chief answered “Fine Sir, we should have her up and running in a couple of hours.” “You know Sir,” said Brandyk, “the extent of this program is only Quark’s bar. If you would like me to extend out the program to include a reproduction of DS9, I can do that…with the help of Senior Photonic Studies Specialist Sejar Kom.” “Yes, I know of her. She works in your department doesn’t she?” Rig replied. Sounding like a great suggestion, Rig approved the suggestion and decided to head to his quarters for a bit of a rest before arriving at Andoss II. Signaling the Bridge Rig informed his First Officer of his change of plans.

At the pre designated time, Commander R’Shee contacted Captain Rig, notifying him that they would be arriving at the contact coordinates in fifteen minutes. “Thank you Number One,” replied Captain Rig, “I will be on the bridge in a moment.” Arriving on the bridge and taking command back from Commander R’Shee, Rig sat in his chair and asked for a status report. Commander R’Shee reported, “Captain, we will arrive at the designated coordinates in seven minutes.” “Very good” said Captain Rig, “Let’s keep alert.” Upon reaching the coordinates, Mr. Kro reported that “We have arrived Sir and are at station keeping.” “Very good Mr. Kro,” said the Captain, “Now we wait.” The wait was not long. “Sir,” said Mr. Renard, “we are being hailed, data only. Passing it to your console now Sir.” At that, Rig got up, said “Number One you have the bridge” and proceeded to his ready room to retrieve the package.

Package in hand, Captain Rig went to Transporter Room #1 and there met Transporter Chief Mirklur. “Chief,” said Rig, “I need you to send this package to these coordinates.” Rig then transferred the coordinates from his pad into the transporter unit. Mirklur took the package from his Captain, walked over to the transporter pad, laid it down, and arriving back at his controls, beamed it down. “Mr. Mirklur, I want this beam out purged from the transporter logs. Do I make myself clear?” “Yes Sir,” responded the Chief. “Very good.” Rig then turned and returned to his Ready Room.

Tapping the commo icon on his desk, Rig ordered Renard to open a Priority One Secure channel to Starfleet Intelligence. This he did, and when Rig’s screen came alive, he reported “mission accomplished, awaiting new orders, Sir.”
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A Plot Revealed

Postby daBelgrave » September 15th, 2013, 7:51 pm

Captain One of Twelve opened her eyes, and stepped out of the regeneration chamber. She was hearing faint static through her cortical transceiver despite having blocked reception. Something was happening, and it was not good. She walked over to a panel on the wall. “Computer, find Two of Twelve.”

“Two of Twelve is in the Astrometrics Lab on Deck C,” the cheerfully efficient voice replied.

At almost the same time, her communicator beeped. “Captain, please report to Astrometrics immediately.” It was First Officer Two of Twelve.

“Do you hear it too?” One of Twelve asked, knowing only Two would know what she was talking about.

“Yes, Captain,” Two of Twelve answered. “Report to Astrometrics. We have a problem.”

One of Twelve wasted no time, and soon arrived at the lab. Inside were Two of Twelve and Commanders Tdurkan and Pargman. Pictured on half of the screen was a chart depicting several sectors and the path taken by the courier. The other half of the screen was an open channel with their Starfleet Intelligence contact. “I see you finally arrived, Captain,” he said as One of Twelve entered the room.

“I was regenerating, Admiral Werralk,” she said. “I am sure you understand how difficult an incognito assignment on Deep Space Nine can be for a Liberated Borg.”

Admiral Werralk looked at her gruffly for a moment before responding. “What you need is a means to relax while maintaining productivity and efficiency. Perhaps the holoprogram you confiscated could assist. However, that is a suggestion for another time. Right now we have a problem.”

“I can tell there is a problem,” One of Twelve admitted. “My cortical transceiver is trying to block more transmissions than usual.”

“It is more than just that,” Two of Twelve interrupted. “The courier reported a successful delivery from the Andoss System. However, his ship made an unscheduled stop partway there, at which point the package with the destroyed nanoprobes disappeared.”

“It’s troubling,” Admiral Werralk added. “I need to know if our courier sent a false report, or if someone is jamming your sensors.”

“Our sensors are fine,” One of Twelve said. “We still have the...” She paused. “Admiral, I request permission to briefly unblock and listen to these transmissions. If I know what my other ten clones are doing, I might be able to figure out what is happening.”

“You have my permission, but be careful,” Admiral Werralk said. “I don’t want the Borg Collective to pick up your signal. If you lose control, Commander Tdurkan is authorized to shoot you.”

One of Twelve glanced at the Saurian Tactical Officer. “If it reassures you, I have it on stun,” he said with a grin.

She frowned, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath before unblocking the transmissions. As expected, most of the chatter was from the other ten genetically engineered Borg clones of her. She ignored most of the voices, only allowing statements with certain key phrases to filter through. Just before she had pieced together their plans, one of her thoughts slipped through. With the others alerted to her presence, most of the transmissions ceased or attempted to subvert her implants. One voice, however, persisted.

It was Eight of Twelve. “One of Twelve, you are necessary for our success. Join us on Andoss II to lead the rise of a new Borg Collective, a new power in the quadrant.”

One of Twelve shook her head. “No!” she replied loudly.

Eight of Twelve’s voice continued. “Every faction in the quadrant, even the Federation, works toward our goal. Where there is war, we bring peace. Where there is pain, we bring relief. Where there is life, we bring perfection.”

One of Twelve quickly blocked the transmission, and opened her eyes. She looked up at Admiral Werralk’s face on the screen. “They are on Andoss II,” she said. “They are transplanting the local Cardassian miners into a holographic stimulation filled with nanoprobes. As the unsuspecting miners continue living as normal, the assimilation process takes place as unobtrusively as possible. I do not know how, but they obtained active nanoprobes.” She decided it best to keep quiet about the rumored Federation involvement.

“Then something isn’t right,” Admiral Werralk decided. “I need the U.S.S. Lachesis in the Andoss System, maximum warp. If the Borg attempt to leave the planet, intercept and destroy. As for the destruction of their facility, I will send a strike team for that. You are too valuable to risk losing through direct contact with your clones.”

“And the courier?” One of Twelve asked.

“I will take care of that myself,” the Admiral answered. “You have your orders.” The transmission ended.

One of Twelve looked at the others in the room. “The problem is even greater than what I told the Admiral. Eight of Twelve mentioned the Federation was assisting their efforts, something we all know goes against everything the Federation represents. Based on what we know about the courier’s unexplained stop and the loss of the package of destroyed nanoprobes, I believe someone switched packages.”

“Perhaps the Borg had a second delivery from an alternate source,” Commander Pargman suggested. “Perhaps a search of the coordinates where the courier stopped would provide some answers.”

“We have no time for that,” One of Twelve said. “Andoss II is our current destination, and we will stay there until the Admiral sends a strike team to destroy the Borg on that planet. What we need is someone trustworthy to follow up that issue.”

“Captain, there is one person with full knowledge of our mission,” Commander Tdurkan said. “Captain Sturminyt had full access to our mission files.”

“I am not sure I trust that man,” One of Twelve said, half-wishing she hadn’t. She looked at Two of Twelve. “Did you run that scan of the sensor logs as I requested?”

“Actually, Two of Twelve had me perform that scan,” Commander Pargman said. “The logs were inconclusive, although I noticed an interesting correlation between several other chroniton readings and Captain Sturminyt’s proximity to those items. It was more than just the replacement isolinear rod.”

“Very well,” One of Twelve decided. “I will contact Captain Sturmynit from my ready room. Two of Twelve, take the bridge, and set us on course. Commander Tdurkan, conduct combat simulation testing of all security officers so we can repel any Borg boarding teams. Commander Pargman, I want you to prepare a pulsed long-range sensor sweep to take place the moment we warp past the coordinates where the courier briefly stopped. Inform me if you find anything.”

As the others went to their stations, One of Twelve went to her ready room. She sat down at the desk, and looked at the console. “Computer, initiate subspace transmission to Captain Sturminyt on the U.S.S. Cyzom, Code 47.”

Several minutes later, Darqun answered the transmission. “Captain, this is unexpected. A Code 47 transmission leaves me with a lot of questions.”

One of Twelve smiled. “Captain Sturmynit, I have a favor to ask of you, but first, what do you know about chroniton particles?”
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Insertion Investigation

Postby Darqun » September 15th, 2013, 7:52 pm

Lying in his bed, of which was a hybrid between a federation medical surgery bed and a Borg regeneration chamber, Darqun popped awake and then the call from the bridge arrived.

"Captain a code 47 incoming transmission," the voice of the communications officer on duty bagan after the intercom chirp.

"Route it to my desk. Hold the call for one point five minutes while I prepare myself," Darqun stated. "Ensure that there are no interruptions to the call."

Disconnecting communications from the regeneration bed, Darqun arose and quickly prepared himself. Placing himself centered into the desk chair, he read the incoming preliminary information. Code 47 messages where not that common for Starship Captains, but being part of a larger specialized fleet within Starfleet, it was not an unusual event for Darqun. However, the call was from the U.S.S. Lachesis, of which, ship to ship code 47 transmissions outside of running special projects are not very common. The first thought that came to Darqun was that this was a rookie Captain and due to some odd new situation, she decided to use a code 47 transmission, but this was One of Twelve. One was different, but both experienced and with an established reputation in parts of Starfleet, so something important and something huge, different, must be occurring. Perhaps the crossing of paths between the Luchesis and the Cyzom had set off a chain of events that need correcting.

"Open transmission," Darqun commanded the interface along with his personal code. As the image appeared on the screen, Darqun began, "Captain, this is unexpected. A code 47 transmission leaves me with many questions."

One of Twelve smiled, "Captain Sturminyt, I have a favor to ask of you, but first, what do you know about chroniton particles?"

"Your question is seemingly rhetorical. I doubt that you are asking for a Starfleet Academy answer. Please, specify. I performed several missions that are classified but might assist in your request," Darqun stated.

One replied, "I figured you'd realize I've detected something concerning you and time travel."

"Ah, our interruption to your mission on DS9. If you are curious to its relation to your mission, it is not, unless some inadvertent commonality occurred. Please stand by while I check authorization levels," Darqun requested putting the communications on hold.

"Establish direct secure code 47 communications with Admiral Potterces," Darqun stated to the computer.

Almost immediately Admiral Potterces answered, "Darqun, strange to hear from you at this time. Is there an emergency?"

"No sir," reported Darqun. "This, One of Twelve, she is asking about chroniton particles in apparent regard to my recent mission on DS9. I see her record and she is marked on our records as trusted resource, but no indications to which or to what level of information is she authorized to access. How should I reply?"

"Do not give away more than necessary, especially ongoing missions and any unrelated material," ordered Potterces. "However, feel free to discuss the general concepts of our visitors and that it is an ongoing investigative mission. Also, release information on your past since they are restricted, but not classified information. If you think anything could be of assistance to his current mission, release that information as needed. She is similar in personality to you, if you need to draw the line, simply state it as a matter of fact. Other than that, I will take care of the communication at the levels necessary for you both to continue in your missions."

"Your assistance is greatly appreciated," Darqun told Admiral Potterces."

"Your orders are to fully assist, but mind your over-all mission primarily and that of Captain One of Twelve with nearly the same attention. Duplicating efforts beyond this assignment and specific missions in the future is wasteful of both of your times. Release of information to or from each other is a security risk. Please, segregate your information as not to expose each other in the case of a compromise," ordered Potterces.

"Wilco, sir. Your intent is understood. I will fully cooperate with the Captain," agreed Darqun. "Out."

Switching off the Admiral and returning to the Captain, "I am authorized to fully cooperate with your current mission and to answer questions that regard that mission and collateral circumstances," Darqun started. "The DS9 mission, as said, is not directly involved with your current mission, we are investigating a temporal incursion team. At this time, we are unsure of their intent. It appears that inadvertently our paths have crossed. Also, I work with sections of Starfleet on temporal investigations, specifically and with focus with those concerning the Borg. In this case, the Borg are not involved."

One questioned, "Is the temporal incursion team interfering with the time-line by affecting the current conflicts throughout the Alpha and Beta Quadrants?"

"That is highly doubtful, but not impossible," answered Darqun. "If you are inquiring due to high chroniton particles at DS9, this was part of a investigation baseline to determine the state of the station before the time-traveling visitors were due to arrive. This was compared to the same investigation after the visitors left. In hopes, the detailed results will show from where and when these visitors originate. I will send you the files in which you are authorized concerning the mission. However, due to we do not know the intent or time period of origin of the visitors, I will need to deliver the information by hand."

"That will not be necessary," One of Twelve continued. "My line of questioning was not intended to further investigate a mission of another officer, only to determine if there was a possible connection to my current mission. Your answer will suffice.

"Since this answers the question about the chroniton particles, I believe that your initial phrase indicated that you also intended to request a favor of me," noted Darqun. "How may I be of assistance?"

One of Twelve requested, "If your current situation allows, I would ask that you follow up on the disappearing shipment, because there might be a rouge Federation element involved. We need to be careful in this undertaking, for this is a precarious situation, and could border on treason for both of us if we are caught suggesting such a thing."

"My current orders are to assist you in this mission as needed," replied Darqun. "What information do you have to establish a starting point for the investigation."

The two Captains continued their conversation, ending with an agreement of duties, roles, limitations, and other specifics necessary to implement a set of tasks that snare or detect the rouge Captain. The mission would not need to determine who, but also the reason behind the apparent treasonous acts and how far the involvement extended into Starfleet.

*

"Captain on the bridge!" Shouted the navigator.

"Clear the bridge," immediately ordered Darqun. He took his position in the Captain's chair and opened the ship's intercom," All external and non-essential internal communications systems will not be available in five minutes. Bridge crew Alpha-Gamma report to duty. Engineering crew Alpha-Beta report to engineering. Full internal security watch Alpha-Gamma is in effect in thirty minutes."

During the time between the bridge officers arrived and the additional security was in place, Darqun briefed the bridge officers to include the Chief Engineering officer. At a half hour past the initial announcement, the lights dimmed on the bridge and an automated announcement sounded, "All active personnel are to remain at their stations. All inactive personnel are to remain in their quarters. In case of an emergency, quickly and quietly contact a nearby security officer located throughout the corridors. Any violations can result in detainment."

Darqun stood, handed the navigator a chip, of which he slid into the navigation console, and then Darqun returned to his chair. "Engage." he ordered. Immediately the navigator typed in a code and the engines of the Cyzom began to come alive with the humming pushing the ship forward. Only moments later, the engineer tapped controls on the console and the Cyzom, with a burst of sound and lights, jumped into warp speed.

"Stealth," Darqun ordered to the tactical officer who tapped on his controls and the ship faded into the backdrop of space to any who could possibly see her and the internal lights dimmed even further. "Adjust course," he instructed to the navigator. Again, the navigator tapped his console in a deliberate pattern and the U.S.S. Cyzom changed course. The engines could be heard throughout the ship as they screamed with a higher and higher pitch as the ship continued to increase its speed in warp space.

*

Holo-Leeta sat in her new quarters wondering where to where they were going. The Captain had informed her that this mission was part of a larger covert mission and that she might be a key piece to a much larger puzzle than initially expected. Even if not, her experience with the time travelers could prove essential in that operation. Beyond that, her volunteering to be examined to including the device on her hip would prove useful in the investigation concerning the temporal incursion. This made Leeta uncomfortable in knowing that if she was a living being, this would be the equivalent of having her heart removed for examination. Leeta was feeling scared.

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